Part 1 - Injury ravaged but out of
debt - Results and table - printer
The start of the 1966/67 season
had not been kind to Leeds United as they struggled to find form
amidst a catalogue of injuries and ever changing team selections.
They had recaptured a semblance of
authority by December and their goalless draw on New Year's Eve
at Old Trafford against table topping Manchester United took their
undefeated run to 7; the last reverse had come by 5-0 at Liverpool
on November 19. Leeds were in a handy sixth spot, poised for a
The most remarkable thing about the run was that it came regardless
of the protracted absence of midfield general Johnny Giles, missing
more or less throughout with a thigh injury. Earlier in the season
the Irishman had established himself as one of the country's most
effective and influential playmakers.
United's opening game of 1967 saw them entertain seventh placed
Burnley. Matches between the two in recent years had been punctuated
by controversy and conflict. In March 1965, referee Jack Taylor
called the players together to issue a general warning about their
behaviour; in May 1966, there was another 22-man lecture as the
teams slugged it out for runners up spot in the League; the following
September saw five players booked and the referee threatening
to abandon the game if the crowd would not desist from throwing
objects onto the playing area. Afterwards Don
Revie engaged in a war of words with Burnley manager Harry
Behaviour was better this time around and three goals in the
space of 13 minutes either side of the hour (two by Albert
Johanneson sandwiching a powerful shot by Jimmy
Greenhoff) effectively finished the match as a contest. Ralph
Coates netted a consolation goal in the dying minutes.
The victory left United within three points of League leaders
Manchester United, as close as they had been to the top since
The next game brought a sharp wake up call as Leeds went down
by the only goal at third placed Nottingham Forest. It was a tetchy,
fractious affair and Billy Bremner was dismissed 17 minutes from
time. The Yorkshire Post: "As Mr Joe Mercer, the manager of Manchester
City, said the other day: 'There was much more tolerance between
players and officials in my day. Now they are poles apart and
they must be brought together again.' It is a fact that each tends
to look on the other as a potential enemy. The ruling authorities
must try to bring about more understanding of each other's problems.
"All this, I hasten to add, is not aimed at Mr J A Warburton
of Manchester, Saturday's official. He needed eyes at the back
of his head sometimes to see what was going on and while he might
have been stricter no one could have foreseen that the game would
flare up as it did in the second half. He gave Bremner fair warning,
booking him for retaliation after being fouled by Lyons, called
up the captains, Bremner and Hennessey, and read the riot act.
What he did not see … was a Forest player fell Bremner with a
kick. For Bremner, who had previously suffered some rough treatment,
it was the last straw. He declared a one-man war of vengeance
and, of course, paid the penalty when he took a reckless kick
at Grummitt, the Forest goalkeeper, as he lay on the ball."
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The dismissal meant that the hot-tempered Bremner had to face
an FA Disciplinary Committee for the fourth time in three years.
In February 1964 he was suspended for 14 days; in April 1965 for
seven days with a £100 fine; in March 1966, seven days and a £100
fine. When he came before the Committee in February he was banned
for a fortnight, fined £100 and ordered to pay £20 towards the
costs of the hearing. The flaw in the Scot's make up was becoming
a chronic condition. Happily, his appointment as captain had signalled
a massive improvement in discipline but the flash of temper at
Forest demonstrated that he was not quite yet completely reformed.
Bremner was free to play on while he awaited judgement. He was
back in action on January 18 as the Fairs Cup resumed, with United
facing Valencia at Elland
Road. A year previously, the
two clubs clashed violently at the same stage with Jack
Charlton, Vidagany and Sanchez-Lage all getting their marching
orders. Recalls for Bobby Collins
and Johnny Giles seemed calculated to provoke a fiery confrontation.
Deprived of three regulars - Bell, O'Grady and Johanneson - Revie
selected the versatile Paul Madeley at left-back, his sixth differently
numbered shirt in a year when he would feature everywhere but
goal and outside-left. Jimmy Greenhoff played up front, with Eddie
Gray and Terry Cooper offering some support.
The match was contested strongly throughout, as reported by Albert
Barham in the Evening Post: "This was a slicker, faster and far
more formidable side than Leeds had met a year ago. This was understandable,
perhaps, for after all they are the leading scorers in the Spanish
League and in Waldo have the individual leading marksman.
"It was the defence that may have shown a little apprehension
under some fierce attacks. Yet, even with a full team, I doubt
whether on last night's showing United could have pierced this
formidable barrier. Greenhoff, however, did spot an opening and
Leeds were a goal up in 10 minutes. Bremner, Madeley and the forwards
led an assault which ended with two shots rebounding from Valencia's
massed defence. The last went to Greenhoff, whose shot went unerringly
through the only gap visible. But from then on Roberto Vidagany,
the faithful Sol, until he was injured, and the wise head of Mestre
provided perfect and competent cover.
"By the thirty-sixth minute, Valencia, in one beautifully designed
and delightfully executed move, had equalised. The individual
effort of Polinario was turned into a goal by Claramunt. Again
battle was joined as Leeds strove to assert mastery. Up came Charlton
to meet a lobbed ball and down went Pesudo, the goalkeeper, who
was injured and was replaced by Abelardo. 'Ee aye addio, here
we go again,' chanted the crowd, remembering the fracas at the
last match between these teams at Elland Road, as the tackling
became rougher. And so it seemed. In one assault, as the second
half opened, Cooper hacked at the ball in Abelardo's arms and
was surrounded by angry Spaniards. It is a lesson one would have
thought had been learned by now that goalkeepers in European competitions
Bremner, Collins and Giles played well in combination, stretching
the Spaniards with long sweeping passes. Ultimately, however,
Leeds were probably content to accept a 1-1 draw, with Valencia
fashioning enough chances to have won. The introduction of the
away goals counting double rule meant that United faced a major
challenge in the second leg
three weeks later in the massive Mestalla Stadium.
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They would face their date with destiny on the back of a crippling
injury list: Paul Reaney, Jimmy Greenhoff, Mike
O'Grady, Albert Johanneson, Alan
Peacock, Rodney Johnson
and Terry Cooper. Don Revie called up 19-year-old
Terry Hibbitt for his European debut; the left sided midfielder
had thus far enjoyed just 25 minutes' experience in the first
team, appearing as a goalscoring substitute in a League match
twelve months earlier.
Bobby Collins, discussing a possible transfer with Bury, and
transfer listed Jim Storrie
were both left at home as Revie persevered with his youth policy,
selecting 21-year-old Rod Belfitt
as a lone attacker and deploying Peter Lorimer and Eddie Gray
in a formation that fluctuated between 4-3-3 and 4-5-1.
An early Giles goal, a determined defensive display and a decisive
strike in the 87th minute by Lorimer earned a splendid 2-0 victory,
which secured a last eight spot. The performance outdid even the
fine continental successes of 1965/66
and earned Leeds headlines Europe-wide.
Between legs, United had set off on the FA Cup trail with an
easy 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, then battered West Bromwich
Albion 5-0. Their League form continued to stutter: a 3-1 hammering
of Fulham was soon forgotten as Leeds contrived to lose 2-0 at
Everton. The exhilaration of their triumph in Spain inspired a
comfortable 3-0 win at Elland Road against Stoke City on February
11. The game acted as a happy curtain call for Bobby Collins;
11 days later he completed a free transfer to Second Division
Bury to end a celebrated five-year association with United.
The Scottish veteran turned in a virtuoso performance, pulling
the midfield strings in the manner that had won him renown. He
fashioned the opening goal after 11 minutes when his lofted ball
from 40 yards out on the right was met by Willie
Bell at the far post, diving acrobatically to nod home as
Rod Belfitt distracted the Stoke defenders. Before half time the
game was done as a contest after Peter Lorimer's 30-yard drive
scorched past keeper Farmer and into the top corner. With 17 minutes
remaining, Belfitt crashed home a third after Giles' lofted centre
brought panic in the box. It was a wonderful conclusion to Collins'
First Division career.
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Leaving the club almost simultaneously was 26-year-old Jim Storrie,
off in search of first team football with a £13,500 transfer to
Aberdeen. He had top scored with 25 goals in 1962/63 after
arriving from Airdrie and managed another 16 in United's First
Division return. Storrie had fallen out of favour with Don Revie,
appearing just 8 times all season, three of them as substitute.
He hadn't featured at all since scoring in the Boxing Day defeat
Given the impact of injuries (there had been almost 100 positional
changes in 37 matches by the time of Collins' farewell against
Stoke), it was something of a perverse decision for Don Revie
to dispense with the services of two of his more experienced campaigners.
However, the manager was swayed by the promise of his youngsters.
The resilience shown by Belfitt, Greenhoff, Gray, Lorimer, Bates,
Cooper, Madeley and Hibbitt had warmed his heart and he was determined
to stand by them.
For all his faith, they were found badly wanting during the visit
of struggling Aston Villa to Elland Road on 25 February. With
Billy Bremner completing two weeks' suspension, United couldn't
find a way through and a goal in either half allowed Villa to
complete an unlikely League double.
The return of Bremner, now formally confirmed as club captain
after the departure of Collins, and goals from Giles and Charlton
brought a comfortable 2-0 victory a week later at Southampton.
It put United in positive mood for an FA Cup fifth round clash
with old rivals Sunderland at Roker Park.
Relations between the two clubs had been fraught ever since a
bitter promotion battle in 1964 and their Cup confrontation did
little to cool the acrimony. The game finished 1-1 after first
half goals from Neil Martin and Jack Charlton. Terry Lofthouse
wrote in the Evening Post: "Leeds United and Sunderland fought
a hard, sometimes bitter, battle at Roker Park without being able
to reach a verdict. One hopes the teams will settle down to a
calmer approach. In the past there has been too much feuding between
these rivals, and Saturday's encounter was no exception. In the
last 20 minutes, during which both Sunderland wing-half Baxter
and United inside-forward Giles were booked after two personal
clashes, the bitterness had to be seen to be believed. Tempers
became far too frayed to be excusable. The referee, Mr Ray Tinkler
of Boston, must shoulder some of the responsibility for not taking
a firmer grip earlier when the warning signs were hoisted. That
said, we can only hope that another chapter of bitter conflict
is not added in the second meeting.
"The first might well have gone either way but for some brilliant
goalkeeping. Sprake, always happier when kept busy, brought off
a great save from Martin's header from close range with the teams
at 1-1, and immediately Montgomery performed a reverse jack-knife
to prevent Greenhoff's powerful drive going in the net."
The Elland Road replay four days later was not quite as stormy,
but there was nearly a disaster, prompted by a lack of time to
make the game all ticket. A record number of spectators - 57,892,
some 5,000 above normal capacity - packed into Elland Road with
thousands more locked outside and many atop the roofs of the stands.
Chairman Harry Reynolds had made much over the last couple of
years about plans for Elland Road to become a premier stadium,
but his words rang emptily as steel and concrete crush barriers
on the Lowfields Road terracing collapsed under the pressure.
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Jim Brady wrote in the Evening Post: "More people than ever before
had crammed the ground to bursting point as crush barriers at
the Elland Road corner of the popular side collapsed and about
1,000 men, women and children swept on to the green playing area
in a human flood. A police officer dashed on to the pitch to ask
the referee to stop the game and the blue shirts of Leeds United
and the red of Sunderland were shepherded off the field. Police
and ambulance men dashed in with stretchers.
"The stricken corner of the ground looked as though an avalanche
had engulfed it. The crowd behind on the terraces swayed dangerously,
the dazed fans forced over the wall were standing and lying in
a ragged semi circle, a dark mass against the floodlit green baize
of the turf.
"An appeal to people to keep calm and for those on the pitch
to stay where they were was broadcast by United chairman Mr Harry
Reynolds. The bowler hatted figure
of the Leeds Chief Constable, Mr A J Paterson, appeared on the
pitch, directing operations. The injured who had been involved
in the crowd slip were shepherded, two and three deep, along the
Geoffrey Green in The Times: "It looked like a battlefield. Girls
were hysterical and ambulances could not get near the ground for
some of the crowds and traffic held up outside. Children were
allowed along the touchlines, but then moved back by the police.
There were several appeals by the chairman of Leeds, Mr Reynolds,
asking the crowd to keep calm and settle down."
It could have been an absolute tragedy, but in the end only 32
people were taken to hospital and comparative order was restored
after a 17-minute break.
When proceedings restarted, Leeds had the best of matters, though
they struggled to find a way through a defence bolted expertly
by George 'Foo' Kinnell and Colin Todd. When they did make a chance,
they found goalkeeper Jim Montgomery in sharp form.
Against the run of play, John O'Hare gave the Wearsiders a 35th
minute lead when his shot bounced off Gary Sprake's foot and into
the net. Johnny Giles slammed the ball through a ruck of players
to equalise almost immediately. United could not add to their
score, though they were unlucky when Montgomery performed more
heroics to deny Charlton and Hunter in extra time. The game ended
With a Fairs Cup quarter final against Italy's Bologna fast approaching,
a second replay was unwelcome, and another stalemate against Sunderland
would have meant United having to play the Black Cats and the
Italians on the same day. Don Revie took a squad of 30 to Hull's
Boothferry Park as insurance against such an eventuality, but
Leeds settled the tie by means
of a late and hotly disputed Giles penalty. Two Sunderland
players were dismissed in the aftermath of the decision and the
police had to protect referee Ken Stokes from angry fans at the
end of the game.
The Fairs Cup quarter final first leg in Bologna on 22 March
was United's fifth match in the space of 11 frenetic days, with
another three games to come over the next 6. The adrenaline rush
of victory against Sunderland carried them through the pressure
cooker atmosphere in Italy. They could be excused for tiring towards
the end, but it was another wonderful example of Leeds' resolve
when the odds were stacked against them.
True enough, their opponents, featuring West German World Cup
finalist Helmut Haller and Danish international Harald Nielsen
in attack, were dominant, taking the lead after 63 minutes. Jack
Charlton headed a free kick from Fogli against Norman Hunter's
back and in the ensuing scramble Nielsen crashed the ball home.
United refused to surrender, and resisted strongly thereafter
to prevent another score. Eric Stanger: "Leeds called on their
last reserves of stamina in the final quarter of an hour and with
Bremner, who looked truly a player of world class last night,
and Giles linking up in the midfield, Leeds launched attack after
attack in an effort to draw level. But this Bologna defence, built
around Janich, a most determined centre-half, was fully professional
in every sense of the word."
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Try as they might, the Yorkshiremen could not nick an equaliser.
They returned to Yeadon Airport with heads held high, and Bologna
team manager Luis Carniglia acknowledged, "Leeds are a very good
side, clever and mobile. We did not see the best of their front
line tonight. We will in England."
||Top of Division One - April 1, 1967
Certainly, the defeat damaged neither morale nor form and United
contrived to win the next four League games. A recalled Alan Peacock
scored twice in the process as the Whites climbed to fourth. After
a disastrous start, prompting Don Revie to write off any chances
of silverware in October, United were moving resolutely towards
a potential hat trick of major trophies. They had suffered a single
defeat in ten of the most punishing games one could imagine, all
in the space of four short weeks.
They beat Manchester City in an Elland Road FA Cup quarter final
on April 8, despite being thoroughly outplayed by the visitors,
with winger Mike Summerbee in blistering form, leading the United
defence a merry dance.
Alan Peacock was selected up front but limped off after 25 minutes
with a recurrence of his knee trouble.
The only goal of the encounter came in the 50th minute when Jack
Charlton nodded Eddie Gray's inswinging corner into the net. City
claimed a foul on goalkeeper Harry Dowd, but referee Eric Jennings
confirmed the score. The Times: "The goal was not the result of
a foul but of poor judgement by Dowd. Positioning himself too
close to the near post for Gray's corner, Dowd was beaten by the
inswing of the ball, came out too soon and jumped too late. By
time he pawed for the ball like a blind man in unknown territory,
Charlton was already above him.
"Significantly, the corner forced by Lorimer was the result of
Greenhoff beating Heslop in the air at the first attempt. For
45 minutes Greenhoff had watched as Heslop had frustrated Peacock.
As the centre-forward's substitute, Greenhoff turned the game
Leeds' way in the second half with his ability to shield the ball
from his opponent and play it to a colleague moving forward."
United had been fortunate to win, but as Don Revie said afterwards,
"We played just as well as City today at Chelsea last year and
we were knocked out. That's how it goes in the Cup."
A goalless draw at Leicester on 10 April kept Leeds fourth in
the League, six points behind leaders Manchester United but with
a game in hand.
Shortly afterwards, the Yorkshiremen lost Jack Charlton with
a toe broken in England's defeat against Scotland at Wembley,
their first since the World Cup triumph. The injury ended Charlton's
season though he had already done enough to be voted the Footballer
of the Year by the Football Writers Association in May. The centre-half
had enjoyed a wonderful campaign, after struggling early on as
injury and lack of rest took its toll. He had been in almost non-stop
service since August 1965 because of World Cup commitments.
Willie Bell deputised at centre-half for Charlton in the second
leg of the Fairs Cup quarter final with Bologna on April 19. United
were also without Mike O'Grady and Albert Johanneson yet again.
The two only played 36 League games between them all year due
to a series of niggling injuries.
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Facing a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Italy, United feared
they would spend a frustrating night struggling to pierce an iron
clad defence, but were back on level terms after just nine minutes'
Eric Stanger in the Yorkshire Post: "The penalty which squared
the tie for Leeds came when Hunter's long cross to the far post
was headed down by Belfitt and Greenhoff, going in for the kill,
was flattened by the powerful Bologna centre-half Janich. That
deadly shot from the spot, Giles, was neither deceived nor flurried
by Vavassori's premature move and he put the ball into one corner
as the goalkeeper dived to the other. Giles nearly got a second
goal with a fierce cross drive, which Vavassori turned round the
Eric Todd in the Guardian: "Last night's game was a splendid
one between two well-matched sides. Leeds, inspired by Madeley
and Bell - who faltered only once and nearly put through his own
goal - had all the play in the early stages, but their shooting
was affected by over eagerness. Gray was the most determined forward
and like the rest of his colleagues he deserved full marks for
lasting the pace so well on a dry pitch which offered as big a
test to stamina as it did to ball control.
"Bologna undoubtedly were surprised and grateful that they survived
Leeds' early onslaught apart from the penalty. Once they settled
down they played some extremely attractive football, and none
created a greater impression than Perani, whose brilliant runs
puzzled Leeds without confounding them entirely. Fogli and Bulgarelli
also combined effectively, but Haller did not look as convincing
as he had done when leading the West German attack. Janich and
an agile Vavassori excelled in a defence whose power and understanding
improved the longer the game lasted.
"Leeds, swept along by the wind and the dust, and inspired by
Madeley and Gray, who were in masterly form, had a brief period
on the attack early in the second half. Vavassori made two comfortable
saves from Gray and Bremner was not far wide with a left foot
shot. Bologna, nevertheless, were ominous in the breakaway, and
Haller looked anything but a West German international in two
feeble attempts to score from a few yards out. Even more horrible
was an effort by Cooper, who accepted a pass from Belfitt and
although unmarked drove the ball over the crossbar."
It was nip and tuck the entire night; not even a gripping 30
minutes of extra time could bring another goal and the decision
came down to the spin of a disc.
Barry Davies in the Times: "Bulgarelli, the Bologna skipper,
called red and as Bremner, looking down at the white side of the
disc, threw his arms into the air Elland Road erupted. Perhaps
Leeds' greater pressure gained its reward, but after such a magnificent
match as these two teams had provided it was a travesty that this
method should be used to produce a verdict."
On April 22 a Peter Lorimer scorcher brought United a 1-0 win
at West Ham, but Manchester United's 3-1 Old Trafford victory
against Aston Villa on 29 April left Leeds nine points in their
wake in the title race. The Whites had three games in hand, but
it was a virtually impossible task for them with just five games
That same day, Leeds' FA Cup
campaign ended when they lost 1-0 to Chelsea in a Villa Park semi
final. They had two goals disallowed by referee Ken Burns
in the closing minutes and were defeated by Tony Hateley's first
half header. It was desperately disappointing stuff.
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A 2-1 victory over third placed Liverpool on 3 May kept United's
slim hopes alive. The win came courtesy of a second half goal
from Jimmy Greenhoff and a Johnny Giles penalty in the 81st minute.
The result was overshadowed by crowd trouble, as reported by Phil
Brown in the Yorkshire Evening Post. "The match was horribly spoiled
the behaviour of a small, unruly element. The referee, Mr Jack
Taylor of Wolverhampton, was attacked during the match and will
duly report to the FA. What action will follow remains to be seen.
Elland Road has never seen worse conduct than last night's. The
police did what they could, and Mr Harry Reynolds, United's chairman,
went to the public broadcast mike during the early second half
pause while the game was stopped to ask the crowd to behave. He
could not be blunter than he was without swearing."
Three days later, Manchester United wrapped up their second title
in three seasons by slaughtering West Ham, 6-1 at Upton Park.
The same evening Leeds drew 2-2 against Chelsea, and could yet
finish anywhere between second and fifth positions.
Defeat at Manchester City on 8 May, the Peacocks' first in the
League in twelve games, was followed by a 2-0 win at Sunderland
thanks to goals by Lorimer and Gray. The victory confirmed a European
spot, with Leeds now guaranteed fourth place.
United had one game to go, a meaningless local derby at Elland
Road against Sheffield Wednesday. With nothing at stake, Don Revie
rang the changes, retaining only three of the players who had
won on Wearside. He gave a first team debut to Dennis Hawkins
and a first League start to Jimmy Lumsden, with Rod Johnson getting
a rare outing and Alan Peacock appearing at centre-half.
Terry Hibbitt scored an 11th minute decider as an eleven whose
average age was just 20 gleefully despatched the Owls. The win
left Leeds only five points off top spot and desperately regretting
a poor start to the campaign. It was obvious where the problem
lay: Leeds had managed just 62 goals in 42 games. Only 8 teams
in the top flight had scored fewer.
With European qualification in the bag, Don Revie's men could
relax a little as they prepared for the two-legged Inter Cities
Fairs Cup semi final against Kilmarnock. The Scots had not enjoyed
the best of domestic seasons, but had performed admirably in Europe.
The first leg at Elland Road marked a personal triumph for Rod
Belfitt, indeed the peak of his entire footballing career. The
21-year-old, born in Doncaster, had joined Arsenal as an amateur
before arriving at Elland Road in July 1963 and making his debut
with a goal in the League Cup a year later.
The Scots were without their regular right wing pairing, Tommy
McLean and Jackie McInally. Kilmarnock manager Malcolm Macdonald
replaced them with half-backs Watson and O'Connor, implying a
All Killie's plans lay in shreds as Belfitt gave United a first
minute lead, with Scottish internationals Bobby Ferguson (soon
to be on his way to West Ham in a record £65,000 deal for a goalkeeper)
and Jackie McGrory at fault. Both waited for the other to clear
as Belfitt leaped to nod home.
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Three minutes later Belfitt added a second, diving spectacularly
to head in
a Mike O'Grady centre.
Convinced that Kilmarnock had little to offer, United grew complacent
and took their collective foot off the accelerator. The Scots
needed little encouragement and Carl Bertelsen and Gerry Queen
both went close before Brian McIlroy turned a centre past Gary
Sprake after 21 minutes.
A poor back pass presented McIlroy with an opening that he could
not convert and then Madeley almost allowed Bertelsen in. Belfitt
settled mounting nerves by sliding home his third goal in the
31st minute, following a clever dribble from Johnny Giles and
Eddie Gray's neat cross.
That should have been enough, but United were in casual mood,
as recalled by Gary Sprake. "For the first time in a long while
we went into the match with carefree abandon. The domestic season
had finished and we felt relaxed. The boss, though, was his usual
methodical self; the night before the game we had the same old
team meeting. Which opponent kicked with his left, who tried to
beat a man on the inside, while all we wanted to do was go out
and show the public that we could beat anyone on our day, or any
other day come to that."
United had all but abandoned defensive discipline, and Gray's
back pass to Sprake after 35 minutes held up in the mud, allowing
McIlroy to pull a second goal back.
Happily, Belfitt's endeavours were driving the Killie defenders
to distraction. Within four minutes he earned Leeds a fourth when
McGrory handled the ball in the area to keep it away from him
and Giles calmly stroked home the penalty.
There the score stayed, despite United hitting the woodwork three
times after the interval and Killie once.
It was a somewhat flattering scoreline, but Mike O'Grady had
led the Scots a merry dance to complement Belfitt's efficiency
in front of goal and United had clearly been the better side.
Don Revie pronounced himself satisfied, though Gary Sprake later
spoke of the manager's genuine feelings on matters. "We had defended
ineptly in the first leg and the boss was none too pleased, so
we knew what to expect when he unveiled the team and tactics.
It was no surprise that we were going to operate with a lone striker
and throw a blanket defence around our two goal advantage."
For the second leg on 24 May, United were back to the sort of
mean defensive display that had frustrated many a European attack
over the preceding two years.
Eric Stanger: "It was the power and disciplined drill of the
Leeds defence which carried them through. It wound its coils round
the Kilmarnock attack like a boa constrictor and finally crushed
the life out of it. There were no slips … Every man played his
part, with Bremner, though seldom crossing the halfway line, giving
a captain's lead. Madeley and Hunter particularly barred the middle
with authority, and Reaney and Bell kept a close watch on the
speedy Kilmarnock wingers, McLean and McIlroy, though in truth
Kilmarnock might have used them more instead of constantly trying
to barge through the middle.
"It was not a pretty game. Fouls and gamesmanship were used without
hesitation if it paid at the time. Tempers more than once came
near to boiling over, as Kilmarnock grew more and more frustrated
at the relentless Leeds tackling. The referee from Belgium, who
was not the strongest of Continental officials, booked Murray,
Kilmarnock half-back, for a foul on Cooper.
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"What good football there
was mostly came from Leeds, who worked the ball neatly and quickly
from defence, and long before the end they had shown themselves
much the superior tactically. Right from the start, at the first
sign of danger Leeds never hesitated to pull back all but Belfitt,
and their double white line of defenders presented a solid front.
The longer the game went, the greater grew United's composure
as they worked the ball away from tight situations coolly and
calmly; they were a little unfortunate in the first half not to
make their aggregate lead into three when Madeley headed against
the bar from a corner and when Cooper's shot from Bremner's centre
struck Ferguson on the foot as he desperately rushed out of goal."
Job done, United took their summer holidays with the prospect
of silverware when action restarted in August. Fixture congestion
had delayed the other semi and UEFA deferred the final against
Dinamo Zagreb until the start of the new season.
Leeds went into the first leg
of the final, in Yugoslavia on 30 August, with precious little
chance of playing themselves into form. They had played just three
League games, and were yet to register a win, having drawn 1-1
at home to Sunderland, then lost away without scoring to Manchester
United and promoted Wolves.
Bell, Madeley, Johanneson and Giles were on the injured list
and manager Don Revie set his stall out for a defensive display
in Zagreb, as so often in Europe, with Rod Belfitt a lone striker.
Dinamo were formidable opponents and represented a stiff challenge
so early in the season. In reaching the final they had fought
back from a three-goal deficit in Frankfurt to overpower Eintracht
4-0 in the home leg.
United might have got the goalless draw they sought but for a
slack period either side of the break, with Cercek opening the
scoring after 40 minutes and Rora adding a second on the hour.
It was a disappointing outcome but Revie and his men consoled
themselves that Dinamo's away record was nowhere near as impressive
as their form in the Maksimir Stadion. The only away victory on
their way to the final came against Dinamo Pitesti by a single
goal in the third round.
Spartak Brno, Dunfermline and Eintracht had each beaten them by
two or more goals.
Somewhat perversely, Revie drafted Paul Reaney in at right wing
for the second leg on September
6. Despite going close on numerous occasions, United couldn't
pierce an expertly deployed Dinamo defensive curtain. They had
to give best on the night, disappointed with a goalless draw.
It is often said that Don Revie's refusal to allow his men their
heads was the reason why they never won the trophies they deserved.
The dossiers, defensive tactics and nagging had got Leeds out
of the Second Division and among the powers of the game, but the
same obsessions were now holding United back.
As Peter Lorimer observed, "We used to play some teams at Elland
Road that weren't even entitled to be on the same pitch as us.
(Revie) was so thorough that at the end you were creating a bit
of respect for a team you didn't have to. He wanted you to be
totally aware of things other teams did. You would go through
the same talk as you probably had the year before. We knew how
we were going to play anyway."
It was a sad conclusion to an exciting campaign. United had come
a long way in the five and a half years that Don Revie had been
at the helm but they were starting to earn an unwelcome reputation
for choking when on the verge of success, of being the bridesmaid
but never the blushing bride. Revie was obsessed with the idea
that Fate was having its wicked way with him.
However, soon … very soon … Leeds United were to finally have
something of substance to show for their efforts.
Part 1 - Injury ravaged but out of
debt - Results and table - printer
Other Football Highlights from 1966/67
- Tiny Scottish Second Division side Berwick Rangers pulled
off the most sensational result in Scottish club football history
when they beat mighty Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Cup first
- Manchester United wrapped up a magnificent League title win,
remaining unbeaten from December 16 until the end of the season.
They played some breathtaking attacking football with Best,
Law and Charlton outstanding. United wrapped up the title with
a remarkable 6-1 win at West Ham's Upton Park in May
- Everton bought Blackpool's young World Cup winner Alan Ball
in August for £110,000, the first six figure transfer between
two English clubs
- Alf Ramsey was knighted in the New Year's honours list
- Scotland, the Auld Enemy, ended England's lengthy unbeaten
run by winning 3-2 at Wembley, inspired by Jim Baxter at his
- Arsenal's physiotherapist Bertie Mee was appointed as their
new manager and set about the job with a will, making wholesale
changes to the squad
- Jock Stein's Celtic side became the first British team to
win the European Cup by beating mighty Inter Milan 2-1 in the
- The League Cup final was moved to Wembley and Fairs Cup qualification
was made the prize for winning the trophy. These changes prompted
a number of First Division clubs to take the competition more
seriously than in previous seasons, but it was Third Division
Queens Park Rangers who won the first Wembley final, overturning
First Division WBA 3-2. QPR were denied a place in Europe because
only winners from Division One would qualify, but they were
still able to celebrate winning the Third Division title by
- Tottenham and Chelsea provided the first all London FA Cup
final this century and it was Spurs who won, 2-1
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