Part 2 - The Asa Hartford affair
- Part 3 - Super Leeds - Results
and table - printer
The 1970/71 season
ended on 2 June with Leeds United
securing the Fairs Cup and at least some consolation for missing
out on the League title but the rosy glow was soon gone. A fortnight
later, a Football Association disciplinary committee reached its
verdict on events at Elland
Road on April 17, when referee Ray Tinkler had allowed a controversial
West Bromwich Albion goal. The decision provoked a pitch invasion
and incensed the club's management.
Reporting the FA's conclusions, Geoffrey Green commented
in the Times, "I suspect that this verdict is aimed primarily
at the Leeds chairman, Mr Percy Woodward, and the manager, Mr
Don Revie, for their unwise,
bitter public statements on television and otherwise, made thoughtlessly
at the time, before allowing the dust to settle. Their subsequent
explanations and apologies have since been accepted, but both
are now severely reprimanded for bringing the game into disrepute."
In their wisdom, the FA decreed that Elland Road
should be closed from 14 August to 4 September, leaving the first
four home fixtures in doubt.
United pleaded with opposing clubs to reschedule,
but it soon became apparent that the games would proceed as planned,
but staged on neutral grounds at least 12 miles away from Elland
Road. If attendances fell below the previous season's average,
United would have to recompense visiting clubs. The loss was estimated
at £15,000-£30,000, though the Yorkshire Evening Post's Phil Brown
claimed it would be nearer £50,000 with the 12,000 season ticket
holders being granted free admission to four Cup-ties to mitigate
Don Revie: "We are starting the season under a severe
handicap... I can't think of any side which has won the championship
after playing four more away games than their rivals."
Revie made no major squad changes during the summer,
though the search for a replacement for veteran
centre-half Jack Charlton continued. Blackburn's Northern
Irish international, Allan Hunter, was earmarked, but negotiations
stalled following the appointment of Ken Furphy as manager at
Ewood Park and Leeds turned elsewhere, paying £10,000 for 20-year-old
Newport County defender
John Saunders. However, the favourite to succeed Charlton
remained former Luton centre-back John Faulkner, now fully recovered
from a broken knee cap.
United allowed reserves Paul
Peterson and Jack Kennedy
to leave Elland Road, and there
was one high profile departure: gifted left winger Terry
Hibbitt, dissatisfied with sporadic first team opportunities,
joined Newcastle United at the beginning of August. After early
promise, Hibbitt had failed to fulfil his undoubted potential
at Elland Road.
Leeds warmed up for the new season with straightforward
victories against Morton and an Irish Select XI. The match against
the Scots was arranged as part of the deal which took Joe Jordan
to Elland Road in 1970; it served as a farewell appearance for
former United great Bobby Collins,
quitting the Scottish club for a coaching role in Australia.
Mick Jones injured a groin against Morton and was
missing when United visited Manchester City for the opening League
game on August 14. He was replaced by Rod
Belfitt, but otherwise the selection was the stuff of legend:
Sprake, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke,
Belfitt, Giles, Madeley.
back to top
Away to one of the favourites for the title, United
began wonderfully well. Neither side looked particularly dangerous
going forward, but Leeds had the best of a determined midfield
contest with Bremner, Giles and Madeley figuring strongly. The
Whites won by virtue of a 72nd minute goal from Peter Lorimer,
firing in an angled rising drive after Allan Clarke had crafted
the opening with a flicked header.
Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter were booked, along
with City's Mike Doyle and Francis Lee, as Welsh referee Clive
Thomas gave evidence of the Football League's mandate to crack
down firmly in an effort to improve the game's poor disciplinary
By the beginning of September, 292 players had been
cautioned in the League, prompting Crystal Palace chairman Arthur
Wait to call for the mass resignation of the Management Committee
and the removal of secretary Alan
Hardaker. The clubs were furious about the lack of consultation.
Encouraged by their start, Leeds faced promoted
Sheffield United in midweek at Bramall Lane, but came away with
their tails between their legs after a 3-0 defeat.
It was far from a drubbing with two of the goals
coming in the final three minutes.
Don Revie complained bitterly afterwards that United
were denied three blatant penalties and he lambasted Dudley referee
Bill Castle: Lorimer's feet were taken from under him by Blades
keeper John Hope; then a Charlton shot was handled by Eddie Colquhoun,
who later admitted the offence; finally, full-back Ted Hemsley
floored Lorimer from behind.
United could not even enjoy the comforts of home;
their following two fixtures were staged away from Elland Road
and both ended in disappointing draws, 0-0 against Wolves at Leeds
Road, Huddersfield, and 1-1 with Tottenham at Boothferry Park,
Alan Dunn in the Guardian: "These are early
days, of course, but not too early to begin to wonder if Leeds
United have begun the natural degenerative stage that besets all
humans. In a word, are they growing old? The condition is not
yet serious, but the weakness of Charlton and Giles ... suggests
that in at least two critical positions Leeds are in need of an
elixir or a blood transfusion ... Charlton became a static victim
of the cunning headed flicks and studied positioning of Dougan
... The growth of defensive uncertainty wasn't helped either by
the anonymity of Giles, so often the managing director of Leeds'
Happily, they bounced back with three comprehensive
victories, 2-0 at Ipswich, 5-1
against Newcastle at Hillsborough and 2-0 over Crystal Palace
at Leeds Road. That left them second behind Sheffield United,
who had continued to flourish.
With Sprake, Cooper, Jones, Bates and Gray on the
injured list, the Whites were understandably cautious when facing
Derby County at the Baseball Ground in a League Cup second round
tie on 8 September; they achieved the goalless draw they had targeted.
United were less content after facing reigning champions
Arsenal at Highbury three days later. They looked composed as
they absorbed early pressure, but fell behind to a George Graham
goal. Terry Brindle in the Yorkshire Post: "Leeds' reply was unequivocal.
They lined up after half time with seven forwards strung menacingly
across the field ... Arsenal's glorious trumpet peal died fitfully
away. Their supporters shuffled uneasily, so perturbed at Leeds'
refusal to lie down that they even forgot to barrack Charlton.
Then a gasp of horror became a roar of triumph when Giles, through
on his own, raked his shot against the legs of a spread eagled
Wilson." United's pressure came to nothing and the Gunners added
a second when Peter Storey stroked home a penalty after Paul Reaney
sent Ray Kennedy crashing in the area.
The 2-0 defeat was a disappointment, but Don Revie
was confident that his men could put it behind them when they
opened their European campaign away to Lierse. The Belgian side
had been thrashed 8-0 on aggregate by Manchester City in the Cup
Winners Cup in 1969 and were considered minnows.
Revie was typically cautious. "Lierse are a fit
and well organised side with two capable front runners and they
have obviously improved in the past couple of seasons. It will
be difficult, especially in view of our injury problems." United
were without Cooper, Jones, Gray, Charlton, Clarke and Madeley,
meaning that John Faulkner and 19-year-old Chris Galvin came in
for their first games of the season. Galvin was only called up
when Clarke was injured in the afternoon's training session.
back to top
After 26 minutes Bremner fed Lorimer on the right
and his low cross was clipped home by Galvin. Half an hour later,
Lorimer acrobatically volleyed home the second.
It was not plain sailing, as reported by Terry Brindle:
"Lierse's reaction counselled caution. They broke quickly from
defence into attack, keen in the tackle and eager - sometimes
over eager - to punish Leeds' every mistake. Ressel, a fast, powerful
winger, whipped in a shot which Sprake was relieved to save and
then sped clear to force Sprake to a fine fingertip save even
if the referee did not think so.
"Lierse could not be trifled with even if their
ground, bumpy and difficult, had a modest air around the standard
of English Third Division and their quaint local band played with
more gusto than discipline. The same could not be said of the
team. Effective in defence and determined on attack, where Janssens
and Denul provided a weighty and adroit foil for Ressel's speed,
Lierse often had Leeds at full stretch.
"Lierse stuck manfully at their task and forged
several dangerous openings
... Ressel (again) shot wide when clear and held his head in anguish;
Janssens (again) almost surprised Sprake and Hunter and turned
a leisurely clearance into a punched and scrambled one.
"Leeds were happy to let Lierse expend their energy
on attack but the dividing line between safety and peril is a
narrow one and Leeds sometimes walked the tightrope. If Leeds
held an obvious advantage it was in their composure under pressure,
their eye for the right path and their ability to switch defence
and attack with admirable speed. Their performance - if not as
polished and precise as it might have been - was nevertheless
hallmarked with the stamp of experience and deep fundamental quality.
"It was this awesome quality which finally wore
Lierse down. Leeds' second goal put the result quite beyond doubt
because Leeds would no more surrender a two-goal lead in Europe
than I would attempt a continental telephone call unless I had
ten minutes to idle away."
Job done, United were able to ply their trade once
more at Elland Road, the month-long closure finally at an end.
Old rivals Liverpool represented a stern test for the first game
at the ground on 18 September. It was watched by a crowd of 41,000
plus, with the stadium's capacity now reduced to 46,000 by alterations
to the Lowfields Road terracing.
United lived up to expectations, though they had
to settle for a single goal from Lorimer, scored on the hour after
a smart move
involving Giles, Belfitt and Galvin.
Young Galvin continued to impress, hitting a post
and narrowly missing another opportunity. Richard Ulyatt in the
Yorkshire Post: "Galvin, sturdy and anxious for the ball, looked
to have the makings of a strong inside-forward. A more experienced
man might have had two goals but no one was more eager to be at
the heart of the game and no one showed better ideas."
Fortified by a victory that left them fourth, United
faced a midweek showpiece game
with Barcelona at the Nou Camp to determine the final resting
place of the Fairs Cup trophy.
Leeds had to call on their reserves with Cooper,
Clarke, Jones, Madeley and Gray unavailable. Jordan snatched a
swift equaliser on his first United start after Duenas had opened
the scoring in the 50th minute. Barca's winner came ten minutes
League action resumed on September 25 with a local
derby at Huddersfield. The early pressure was United's, but it
was Town who took the lead after 17 minutes, Jimmy Lawson firing
home with a spectacular scissor kick.
The Terriers pressed strongly for a while, but then
Leeds took control. They went close several times before equalising
in first half stoppage time. Lorimer's cross led to a goalmouth
scramble and when Belfitt nodded the ball on, Charlton was on
hand to force it home.
United were expected to press home their advantage,
but it was Huddersfield who came out the stronger and took the
lead after 58 minutes. Les Chapman's shot forced Gary Sprake into
a flying save but centre-half Roy Ellam fired home the rebound.
Terry Cooper smashed a long range effort against
the bar with ten minutes remaining but Huddersfield held out for
a celebrated 2-1victory.
defender Keith Edwards came on as substitute in the 71st minute
for Paul Reaney. It was his only outing for the club and thus
possibly the shortest ever first team career.
The following Monday, two goals from Lorimer saw
United through in a League Cup replay against Derby County, in
the process inflicting a first defeat of the season on the Rams.
Leeds had to play three quarters of the match without Billy Bremner,
retired with a badly gashed shin, allowing 19-year-old sub Jimmy
Mann to get his first taste of senior football.
back to top
Two days later United faced Lierse
in the second leg of their UEFA Cup-tie. Taking a calculated
risk, Don Revie omitted Charlton and left Sprake and Hunter on
the bench. The gamble backfired in epic proportions and the Belgians
scored three times in six first half minutes. They added a fourth
goal ten minutes from the end to complete one of the most extraordinary
upsets in European football history.
After two goalless draws with West Ham in the League
and the League Cup, a 3-1 defeat at Coventry completed
a dismal spell of 3 wins in 11 outings. United had slipped to
Revie was defiant: "We are not panicking. Those
who want to circulate rumours can do. All I am interested in is
getting the team right. I am confident we will prove everyone
wrong." The manager pointed to an appalling injury list; the prolonged
absence of Clarke, Jones and Gray had left the front line toothless.
Gray was recovering from a shoulder operation, Clarke's
thigh injury had kept him out since 11 September and Jones had
played just twice. Willing as Rod Belfitt was, he was no Jones
and there was no one with Clarke's goal instinct. Four games without
a United player scoring - the goal at Coventry was courtesy of
Sky Blues defender Parker - told its own story.
Clarke and Jones returned against Manchester City
on October 16, and inspired a revival.
Paul Wilcox in the Guardian: "From the evidence
of Saturday's match, Leeds profit from their presence so much
that if the two strikers have to be sent out in bandages, splints
or on pogo sticks, West Ham will still be on the receiving end.
"Clarke steered the ball home in the twelfth minute
after a panicky moment by Doyle, and Jones' irritation at being
denied a penalty … was eased when, in an offside position, he
was allowed to volley past Corrigan. Fortune has a way of evening
"Yet it was not simply that Clarke and Jones scored
so that they need only 13 more goals to bring their partnership
to the century mark. It was more the spirit which they engendered
among their colleagues which crushed and demoralised City. Their
selfless devotion to restoring Leeds' reputation inspired not
only Giles, the immaculate Bremner and the ever industrious Lorimer,
but every member of the side … This was the true Leeds.
"Of course, there was the element of a gamble, but
how that gamble paid. Jones had not trained for eight weeks, Clarke
for four, but their displays must make several managers wish that
some of their players were but half as half fit.
"City missed Bell more than they possibly could
have foreseen. Their youthful midfield players were outclassed
by Bremner, Madeley and Giles and Summerbee's hard working threat
to the Leeds rearguard was eased aside as Cooper showed that he
possesses true defensive as well as attacking qualities. When
Lee limped off, City were thoroughly demoralised, but could hardly
be blamed for not preventing Lorimer's spectacularly explosive
dipping volley which completed the destruction seconds from the
end of injury time."
United were set up nicely for their League Cup replay
with West Ham, but, despite having all the play, Leeds struggled
to crack the visitors. As Don Warters reported in the Evening
Post, "West Ham are no longer the happy go lucky cavaliers of
the First Division".
United's cause was not helped when Jones hobbled
off with a recurrence of his groin strain after 20 minutes, giving
Gray his first appearance of the season as sub.
For the third time in three weeks, the two sides
reached 90 minutes without a goal between them. Seven minutes
into extra time, the visitors broke the deadlock when the powerful
Bermudan, Clyde Best, nodded home from a Harry Redknapp cross.
It was the only goal and United had been eliminated from a second
Cup competition in the space of three weeks.
A resigned Don Revie reported on Jones' injury:
"I took a bit of a risk in playing both Mick and Allan Clarke
against Manchester City … The day after the match neither felt
anything and in training before the West Ham match they both felt
okay. Mick's groin went again in the first few minutes of last
night's match when he turned and stretched for a ball."
The following game was an Elland Road cracker against
Everton. The Merseysiders took the lead in the
first few minutes when Joe Royle beat Gary Sprake. United had
earlier enjoyed good fortune when Jimmy Husband's shot found only
back to top
Leeds were nothing if not resilient and, despite
being "slapdash, hesitant and often downright bad", according
to the Guardian's Paul Wilcox, they got up a head of steam. The
foul count at the half hour of Everton 10 Leeds 2 was symptomatic
of the growing pressure.
Toffees keeper West dived full length to deny a
25-yard effort from Giles, full-back McLoughlin cleared a Jordan
header off the line and Lorimer fired a free kick inches wide.
The visitors remained dangerous on the break, however, and would
have increased their lead eight minutes before the break had it
not been for Sprake's anticipation. A through ball sent Husband
racing clear but his shot was brilliantly saved by the advancing
The Leeds drive paid off a minute before half time.
There were claims that Cooper had handled as he dispossessed Ball,
but the referee ignored the appeals, allowing the left-back to
surge forward and crash home a drive from 25 yards.
United continued to dominate after the resumption
and took the lead after 72 minutes. Charlton came in on the blind
side to meet Madeley's cross from the left and beat West with
a fine header. Within six minutes Ball equalised from close range,
but in the 83rd minute the home fans were on their feet. Giles
put Bremner away on the right and the skipper drew the defence
before finding Lorimer, who swept his shot past West to settle
matters, 3-2 to the Whites.
On 30 October Leeds won 1-0 at Old Trafford against
runaway League leaders Manchester United with Jordan playing a
lone striker role. Top scorer Lorimer continued his hot streak,
firing home from 30 yards; the effort was enough to end Manchester's
unbeaten home record.
Paul Wilcox in the Guardian: "Leeds United at their
best are a team of organisation, skill and inspiration to such
a degree that their opponents are to be pitied. They have more
than just the professionalism which has become synonymous with
their name. They have the extra ability to tailor their brilliance
to their needs at any given time - the exuberant flamboyance of
attack in an instant giving
way to restrained power and discipline in defence.
"In individual talent, maybe Leeds were only slightly
better than Manchester United. But that slightness in advantage
over the League leaders was the inch with which they were faster
over any given distance, the inch by which their passing was more
accurate, the second sooner that thoughts were put into practice.
In this level of football, such fractions are everything.
"The players themselves recognised the need to reshape
the game by calming down after the interval, although Jack Charlton
and Gray will need some treatment this week. Charlton has a badly
bruised nose, and Gray a bruised shin, but brighter is the prospect
of the return of Jones and Clarke for next Saturday.
"(Manchester's) lead at the top was reduced by Lorimer's
fortunate goal, the ball skittering under the lackadaisical Stepney
from the speculative long range drive. But it was the earliness
of the score, the fourth minute, which really mattered to Leeds.
They were able to harness their power so effectively that Manchester's
poor record in meetings between these clubs at Old Trafford never
seemed likely to be improved … Best might have changed the course
of the game if his header which hit the crossbar had been an inch
or so lower, but Sprake otherwise was not over employed."
Clarke had suffered another injury against Everton,
and it was plain that United were not as fluent without their
regular strike force. United's chronic problems prompted press
speculation that Revie would enter the transfer market. The favourite
story concerned Blackpool schemer Tony Green, with speculation
rife that he had been watched in the Seasiders' demolition of
Aston Villa on 26 October.
It soon became clear, however, that it was not Green
whom Revie was after. At the beginning of November, United announced
that they had signed another Scottish midfielder, West
Bromwich Albion's Asa Hartford, in a £177,000 deal.
The news was premature; Hartford trained with his
new team mates, but a rigorous medical identified a heart defect.
On the day that the Scot was due to make his Leeds debut, United
secretary Keith Archer announced that the deal had collapsed.
One move did go through: Ipswich's purchase of Rod
Belfitt for £55,000 on 4 November.
The striker made his final appearance in a United
shirt as sub for Jordan at Old Trafford. He had enjoyed a decent
run during Jones' absence, but was clearly frustrated with lack
of regular first team football.
"I am prepared to go anywhere within reason if the
terms are right and I can get regular first team football," he
said. "You don't play for a club for seven or eight years as I
have done and fail to become attached to it … I have been on the
fringe of it
for so long now, and I have become a little tired of not knowing
whether I would be in the first team or in the reserves."
back to top
The news that the Hartford deal had collapsed came
three hours before kick off against Leicester on 6 November. The
shocked players struggled to make a fist of things in the first
half, and an enthusiastic Leicester took the lead through Alistair
Brown after 26 minutes.
Don Revie had to deliver some well chosen words
at the interval to snap his men out of their torpor. Eddie Gray,
in his second start of the campaign, got hold of the game and
set up the goals for Bremner and Lorimer that brought home the
The following week, their three-game winning run
ended at Southampton when a last minute goal from Ron Davies saw
the Saints through to a 2-1 victory.
Leeds bounced back to beat Stoke City 1-0 a week
later, with only England keeper Gordon Banks preventing a landslide
victory. James Holland in the Guardian: "I have never seen such
an exhilarating display from United as that in the first half.
Gone was the old stereotyped pushing the ball square across the
field or turning it back to a colleague.
"Lorimer and Gray made deep inroads into the City
territory and with Cooper sallying forth in support in his customary
manner, City's defenders were swept off their feet. But the hour
produced the man, and Banks rose nobly to the occasion. Repeatedly
he was in action, and all his saves bore an England hallmark.
His deeds were too numerous to itemise fully but the superb way
in which he dealt with two shots from Lorimer and another two
from Clarke won the unstinted admiration of the United supporters.
Not all of United's shots were on the target, and one from Clarke
must rank as almost the miss of the season. Ideally placed, he
miscued his drive so much that the ball went out of play on the
far side of the pitch.
"United's goal was something of an anti climax.
In the fifth minute there was agonising indecision between Pejic
and Jump as to which of them should go for the ball. Finally Jump
went for it, made a horrible pass back to Banks, advancing rapidly
from goal. The ball went well wide of Banks. Lorimer was on it
in a flash, and the ball was in the net in much shorter time than
it takes to record the fact on paper."
Jones and Clarke, playing in harness up front for
the first time since 20 October, and for only the fifth time all
season, restored a real sharpness to Leeds' play.
United won 2-0 at Nottingham Forest the following
week with goals from Lorimer and Clarke. The score could have
been much more emphatic, for there were several near misses, three
goal line clearances and two goals disallowed for offside. United
enjoyed a man advantage for the entire second half, following
the dismissal of Sammy Chapman.
United began December with a third successive win,
again with a clean sheet, hammering West Bromwich Albion
3-0. Terry Brindle in the Yorkshire Post: "Such is the strong
flowing form of Leeds United at present that Don Revie, their
manager, had promised annihilation to some luckless visitor to
Elland Road in the not so distant future. Annihilation arrived
on Saturday but West Bromwich Albion escaped the promised overkill.
Three goals scarcely flattered Leeds, who might have scored seven
or eight and would certainly have had two more but for the anticipation
of Smith, Albion's newly-signed goalkeeper from Colchester United.
Leeds have met that particular
back to top
"Fear of Jones and Clarke pulled Albion's defence
into the middle and left Lorimer with yards of time and space.
He gradually reduced Wilson to a nervous wreck and finally gave
the scoreline a hint of authenticity with Leeds' third goal, following
an immaculate through pass from Cooper. Giles scored Leeds' other
goals, the first a half volley at speed after Jones' back header
confused the leaden Albion defence, the second a gift after Charlton's
loping miskick was deflected by Jones."
By way of some light relief from the pressure cooker
of League action, United took on an all star selection in Cardiff
during the week in a testimonial game for John
Charles. The All Stars included Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Greaves
and John Toshack. In a light hearted match, the All Stars won
8-5; Gary Sprake netted a second half penalty for Leeds.
It was a more serious affair on 11 December when
United faced old rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a bitterly-contested
Geoffrey Green in the Times: "When Leeds United
took the field against a freshly revived Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
on Saturday, unusually attired in crimson from head to toe, it
seemed a clear indication of Yorkshire intent. They had come to
avoid defeat and the red corpuscles of their garb were there to
"In the event Leeds probably achieved what they
wanted. But an irritable, irritating, abrasive goalless draw did
neither themselves nor Chelsea, nor - most important - the game
itself much credit. At moments, indeed, the opening half more
resembled some Mafia vendetta than football.
"It was Chelsea who finally produced the only two
vintage moves of the game - a silky one-two between
Hudson and Osgood, which split the Leeds defence and forced a
great diving save from Sprake to Hudson's rising shot; and another
brave smothering block by Sprake at Hollins' feet following a
flowing move between Hudson, Cooke and Osgood.
"The rest was an uncomfortable, arid stalemate between
defences who knew every trick in the book and one or two others
in the unabridged version. Still, when the screw was tightened
by Chelsea over the last stages we did at least see all Leeds'
professional, organised covering under pressure, their subtle
'freewheeling' as a time consumer and the sudden counter attacks
from depth prompted by Giles or Bremner. Leeds will be in at the
last furlong for the title."
The following week saw another point gained (or
dropped) after a draw in London, this time against Crystal Palace.
United took the lead in the 40th minute: from the edge of the
area Lorimer drove a powerful yet precise lob over the keeper's
head. Palace drew level through John Craven in the 68th minute.
There were no further goals and United were in the end content
with the draw.
1971 was signed off with a spectacular 3-0 victory
over title rivals Derby County, allowing United to move past the
Rams into third place.
Richard Ulyatt in the Yorkshire Post: "Derby played
as well as they were allowed to by a team who saw in them potential
championship challengers and who were not prepared to stand any
nonsense. There was not a weakness in the Leeds team. Tactically
they exploited Derby's poor strategy in having only two men to
block the midfield and individually they were spectacularly successful.
Madeley, with two exceptional passes, one of which brought a goal;
Charlton, who made one of his successors as England's centre-half,
McFarland, look a novice; Gray, Giles, Bremner, Cooper … it would
not overstate the efficiency of the Leeds team to go through it
man by man and pick out notable examples of football skill displayed
by every member.
"It was evident in the first minute, when Lorimer
had his first, or sighting, shot, that Leeds were
on the warpath. They had three goes at beating Boulton before
Gray, helped by Clarke and an impish backheel by Bremner, scored
the first goal in the sixth minute. That rocked Derby … and in
the 20th minute Lorimer headed the first of his two goals.
"It was the product of a four-man move started when
Madeley killed a Derby clearance on his thigh and swept the ball
across the field to Gray, instead of, as expected, to Cooper.
Gray, galloping like a shire horse as the ball was pushed on to
him, then swung, with accuracy of a draughtsman, a pass to Lorimer,
who completed a memorable move with a header which Boulton, with
an extra arm, would have saved.
back to top
"Half time of 2-0 might have been twice that margin
and Derby … must have noted the writing on the wall. If not, it
was plainly marked 13 minutes later when Lorimer, having taken
a pass from Cooper in his stride and been frustrated by Boulton's
do or die save, tried again from 20 yards and scored his second
and his side's third goal.
"Perhaps the Leeds veterans tired in the heavy going
and fast exchanges, perhaps they were holding something in reserve
for use at Liverpool on Saturday. Whatever the reason, Derby looked
a better side in the last 15 minutes than earlier and Hinton,
eluding his marking opponent, four times stole into the Leeds
goalmouth and might - maybe ought - to have scored once or twice.
"Overall they could not complain as the more ebullient
and optimistic Leeds fans chanted for the last half hour, 'Champions,
champions.' Well, there are not many better teams."
Despite the growing momentum, not everything in
United's garden was sweetness and light.
In November Don Revie had confirmed that deputy
keeper David Harvey was available on a £40,000 fee. The unsettled
custodian had been on the transfer list since February. On 28
December, full-back Paul Reaney was added to the list. He had
been displaced by Paul Madeley at left-back, and spent the last
seven weeks warming the bench.
Within two days, Reaney had a change of heart: "I
was upset at being dropped after playing in the first 17 games
this season. Just before the axe fell I thought I had been playing
well. We had
beaten both Manchester clubs away and I felt I had had a raw deal
… Now I realise I didn't think long and hard enough about the
matter before asking to see the boss.
"Last night I discussed the position with my wife
Sandra and we decided that our future was in Leeds where our families
and most of our friends live. After all, I have been with United
since I was 15 and been a first teamer since I was 18. When I
sat down to think seriously about the problem I knew there was
no other club for me but United."
Revie was only too happy to agree to Reaney's request,
saying, "It was a late Christmas present. Now I am hoping for
a New Year's present from David Harvey. Paul is a very valuable
member of the Elland Road set up … He is determined to get his
head down and fight to regain his place in the side. And knowing
what determination can do for a player of Paul's class, I see
no reason why he shouldn't achieve his ambition."
Part 2 - The Asa Hartford affair
- Part 3 - Super Leeds - Results
and table - printer
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