1 Rebuilding from the back - Part
2 Defending the Cup - Part 3 The
Revie-Clough wrangle - Results
and table - printer
Leeds United's humiliating defeat
at the hands of Second Division Sunderland in the FA Cup final
was a dagger through the heart of manager
Don Revie. It came hot on the heels of a suicidal collapse in
the League, which saw them trail in third.
As if sensing that his team had passed its peak
and with little appetite for what seemed to be much-needed team
rebuilding, Revie had been in emotional mood at the post-Cup final
In a short but stirring speech, he said: "I feel
that our players have done enough in ten years to walk on to your
applause even without the FA Cup… We never tried to cheat. We
tried to be honest, and we would be less than honest if I did
not ask you to salute the most consistent side that ever lived.
This season we still have the European Cup Winners Cup to play
for. Lads, you've had a terrible season again."
Revie's column in the Yorkshire Evening Post
the week after the Sunderland debacle trumpeted defiantly, "My
disappointment has been offset by the firm belief that the current
Leeds team will remain among the leading contenders for major
honours… Leeds' failure to retain the Cup has inevitably led some
critics to suggest the side is now over the hill… but I do not
agree. Such observations have been made about Leeds on many occasions
in the past, and we have always proved them wrong.
"I am confident we can do so again next Wednesday,
when Leeds face AC Milan in
the European Cup Winners Cup final in Salonika, Greece. Such
is the character of the Leeds players that no one should dismiss
their chances of lifting themselves off the floor and wiping out
the memory of that Wembley nightmare."
In the meantime, on the Monday after the FA Cup
final, there was
a glittering tribute to the veteran
centre-half Jack Charlton, newly installed as manager of Middlesbrough,
with his testimonial game, at Elland Road against Celtic.
It was an enjoyable
game which the Scots won 4-3. Charlton played the first 21
minutes, before limping off with a recurrence of his hamstring
strain, to be replaced by Gordon McQueen.
The following evening United wrapped up their domestic
season with a game at Elland
Road against First Division runners up Arsenal.
As if to demonstrate they still had what it takes,
Leeds gave a real masterclass in the second half, and hammered
the visitors 6-1, with Peter Lorimer getting three of them.
The victory wasn't enough to take them above the
Gunners, but it certainly did demonstrate that Leeds were anything
but a spent force and could look forward to the Cup Winners Cup
final with genuine enthusiasm.
Nevertheless, Revie was in emotional turmoil and
was inevitably vulnerable when he received flattering overtures
from outside the club.
back to top
Everton's 1970 championship-winning side had disintegrated
rapidly with Alan Ball sold to Arsenal and the Toffees had stumbled
into mid-table obscurity as Merseyside rivals Liverpool started
to re-emerge as a force to be reckoned with. Continuing concerns
about manager Harry Catterick's health after he suffered a heart
attack when driving home one night in January 1972 forced the
hand of the Everton board. On 12 April, with four years of his
contract remaining, Catterick was persuaded to accept the less
strenuous role of general manager so that Everton could recruit
a tracksuited boss, a role for which they considered Revie an
eminently qualified candidate.
As the full details emerged of the lavish package
on offer from Everton, it was clear that Revie was seriously tempted
by the possibilities offered by a new start.
Don Warters wrote in the Evening Post: "Don
Revie's possible move to Everton was brought a step nearer with
a breakfast time talk at the home of Everton's wealthy chairman
John Moores before the Leeds United manager flew to Greece for
tomorrow's European Cup Winners Cup final.
"Although neither he nor Everton would discuss the
matter today, I understand that Revie drove to Merseyside yesterday
morning and called at the home of Moores. He pulled up at traffic
lights on the outskirts of Liverpool and asked the way to Freshfield,
the suburb in which Moores lives. The man who gave him directions
- an Everton fan - said today: 'There was no doubt the driver
was Revie. He was driving a yellow Mercedes (which Revie has)
and unless he has a twin it simply had to be him.'
"That this mystery meeting took place would seem
to be confirmed by the fact that Revie joined his players at Manchester
Airport for the flight to Greece, whereas normally he would have
travelled with them by coach from Leeds to Manchester."
Rob Bagchi and Paul Rogerson in The Unforgiven:
"Bill McGarry, Bobby Robson of Ipswich and Jimmy Armfield, then
of Bolton, had all turned the Everton job down. Quite why Revie
was Moores' fourth choice is unclear. The episode reflects particularly
poorly on Revie, who set such store by meticulous preparation
for important games. Once again, the prospect of more money had
given him itchy feet. Everton were offering an annual salary of
£20,000 £3,000 more than he was earning at Leeds. At forty-six
the Leeds manager was perfectly entitled to seek a better-paid
job, but his timing stank. His players admitted talk of his departure
unsettled them, as their minds turned to the onerous task of defeating
Italian giants AC Milan, and if Revie's strategy was to blackmail
the United board into giving him a rise, it hardly endeared him
to the supporters.
"Revie himself did nothing to quash the speculation,
refusing to confirm or deny the rumours. The Yorkshire Evening
Post drew its own conclusion. 'Unless he has a change of mind,
or United persuade him to stay,' it mused, 'Revie seems likely
his connection with the club that gave him his chance of management
12 years ago, and which he in turn steered from the depths of
the Second Division to a place of prominence in Europe.'
"He had indeed turned Elland Road from a scrapyard
into a shrine, transformed a team that, back in the late 1950s,
even the club's own supporters had disdainfully nicknamed 'the
clowns'. Yet it is surprising that Revie's disloyalty did not
attract more criticism. In the valedictory pieces that were already
being penned on his reign at Leeds, the tone is one of pathetic
gratitude. Despite nearly a decade at the summit of British football,
the city of Leeds still harboured the suspicion that the Revie
era would prove a glorious aberration."
Revie's contract still had six years left to run
with the assurance of a further five in a consultancy role, but
he was undoubtedly and understandably attracted by the riches
that Everton had lain before him.
With United's board scattered across Europe, there
was little opportunity to discuss developments. The only director
actually in Leeds was Percy Woodward with chairman Manny Cussins
convalescing in the South of France after an operation, two directors
in Greece with the players and Sam Bolton away in London.
When asked about the newspaper headlines, Woodward
commented: "I have heard nothing about this. How can a man sign
for another club when he is contracted to us until 1978/79 and
for five years after that as a consultant? The board will have
to discuss the matter first. There can be nothing signed and no
decisions taken until next Monday when the board meets at 4pm.
I can't intervene until I have information, and I can't see any
information coming that is authentic until it comes before the
back to top
"I spoke to Mrs Revie last night after she had been
in contact with Don. As far as I am concerned, this is all rumour
and speculation at the moment. There is nothing we can do until
the board meeting on Monday. We are not stupid at Elland Road.
We don't let managers walk in and walk out just like that. There
must be a reason, but who's to say the reason can't be overcome?
We have had no discussion about this at all, and nothing can be
done before Monday's meeting."
Revie continued to be evasively vague in public
but counselled against concluding that the Milan game would be
his United swansong. He was going to Greece for a two-week holiday
with Elsie from Sunday and intended to think things over while
he was away.
Richard Sutcliffe in Revie: Revered and Reviled:
"Most worryingly of all for the Elland Road players and supporters,
it seemed Revie wanted to go… Revie had long held the belief,
shared by many at Elland Road, that the board did not truly appreciate
him. Not since the 1967 departure of Harry Reynolds, the chairman
who had backed Revie both financially and emotionally in his early
years in the job, had the United manager enjoyed anything more
than cordial relations with the board. Reynolds' successor, Albert
Morris, had died just a few months after stepping up to chairman
and been replaced by Percy Woodward, who had remained in charge
until 1972. Manny Cussins then stepped into the role but such
had been Revie's power at Elland Road since the late Sixties that
few decisions had been taken on club matters without his consent.
Revie's value to Leeds was, of course, underlined by the decline
that set in after his departure. But, at the time, some directors
felt their manager was guilty
of over-stepping the mark with an often autonomous approach, which
led to resentment festering. The Earl of Harewood, who, as club
president since 1961, shared in all the highs and lows of the
Revie reign, is adamant the board never truly appreciated what
they had. 'When Don left to manage England, the club took his
club car off him,' reveals the Earl. 'It seemed a very mean thing
to do to someone who had done such wonderful things for Leeds.
I felt at the time - and still do to this day - that the club
should think the same. But it seemed they didn't. They were very,
and I mean this in the very worst sense, West Riding in their
attitude. I valued what Don did for Leeds so much that I wanted
to give him a house, but unfortunately I didn't have any to spare.
But I did give him some land that one could build on and he built
a house on that.'
"Revie had been the subject of several offers during
his time as Leeds manager, Sunderland being the first to try and
lure him away from Elland Road in 1964. Birmingham City attempted
the same several years later, while there were also tempting offers
from abroad, with intermediaries from Torino and Juventus both
contacting Revie to say a salary of £30,000 per year was on offer
if he was willing to switch to Italy. All had proved unsuccessful
but, this time, the attraction of Everton and an offer that had
now been increased to include a £50,000 tax-free signing on fee
was, it seemed, just too good to turn down. Revie's apparent attitude
to money had long been a source of disquiet in football.
"In an era when footballers would often see out
their entire career with one or two clubs, he had played for five.
Revie had been taught an important lesson at the first of those
clubs, Leicester City, and it was one he never forgot. John McTavish,
who played with Revie at Manchester City for four years, recalls:
'Don once told me about a chat he had with Ken Chisholm, one of
his team mates at Leicester. Ken had said that the only way to
make money as a footballer was by moving clubs regularly. Don
was a young lad at the time but he never forgot and did the rounds
early in his career. He didn't even stay that long at City, considering
how well he fitted in. At Maine Road, we used to get a £4 bonus
for winning and £2 for drawing. My weekly wage was around £14,
while our bonus for reaching the Cup final was just £20. Don always
pointed to that as proof Ken Chisholm had been right all those
"Jack Overfield, the former Leeds wide man, was
another who saw how much store Revie put by money, hearing first-hand
how he had deliberately engineered transfers earlier in his career.
Overfield recalls: 'The wages were not good for players. When
I was at Leeds, most of us earned between £15 and £ 18 per week.
But the one time you could earn some decent money was if you moved
clubs but did not ask for a transfer. Then, you would get a payment
as part of the move. Revie had been at a few clubs by the time
he came to Leeds so I asked him one day how he had gone about
moving clubs. He said, "Start to cause trouble and you'll be gone
in no time". He said that was how he had got out of Manchester
City. Revie was cute like that. He must have been strong-willed,
though, because it was not something I could do. I was probably
"Revie's determination to maximise his earnings
as a player was understandable. He had a young family to support
and the life of a footballer could be a precarious one. One bad
injury, such as the broken ankle he suffered at Leicester when
18, could leave a footballer on the dole with no support from
the game. The football clubs' attitude towards their players was
also one that hardly engendered loyalty, some going so far as
to show a complete disregard for them.
back to top
"Jack Overfield recalls: 'Players were kept in the
dark by the clubs in those days. I had a few injuries at Leeds
but it was only a few years ago that I discovered I have no cruciate
in one leg. I was having an operation on my knee and the doctors
told me afterwards. Leeds had never said a thing when I was operated
on as one of their players. They probably just wanted to sell
me to Sunderland so kept it to themselves. I played on for three
years and felt quite bad about it when I heard the news as Sunderland
had been very good to me as a club.'
"With the 1973 Cup Winners Cup final approaching
fast, the rumours about Revie and Everton were growing by the
day but the United manager remained steadfast in refusing to comment
on the story. Eventually, though, the Goodison Park board made
a formal approach to their Leeds counterparts and Revie called
his players together a couple of days before the final against
AC Milan to deliver the news personally. Many, though, had already
worked out what was going on for themselves, as Trevor Cherry
recalls: 'Bill Mallinson of the Daily Mail was big pals with Don
and because he had run the original story, we knew it must be
right. It meant we flew to Greece on the Monday before the final
feeling a bit low.'"
Johnny Giles recalled in later years: "Don was in
bits. When everyone had sat down in the banqueting hall (after
the FA Cup final), he stood before us and he tried to make a speech.
It was so sad for a man who was so driven, to have to face this.
He started speaking, but he couldn't do it. He just broke down.
"About ten days later, he told us he was leaving.
He told us in Greece… I had had to get there via Moscow, where
I had played for the Republic against the USSR on the Sunday,
before making my way to Salonika for the final on the Wednesday
night - a long journey. And, at this time, when everything that
could go wrong was going wrong, I picked up a hamstring injury
in Moscow. As soon as it happened, I knew that I wouldn't be able
to play against AC Milan. And perhaps, even worse than that, I
knew I would have to break the news to Don. I wasn't relishing
this encounter with the man I had last seen breaking down in front
of everybody at the hotel, bearing in mind that we were already
missing Billy Bremner and Allan Clarke through injury and suspension.
"When I got to the hotel, straight away I thought
it was odd that he wasn't there to meet me. Normally he'd be waiting
for me, to see how I was. He'd be anxious about any injuries I
might have picked up on international duty, which was the bane
of his life.
"Instead, a couple of the lads - Norman Hunter and
Mick Bates - were waiting for me. And they looked anxious, for
reasons that I would soon discover.
"But first, I went to find Les Cocker, to tell him
about my injury. When I had told him I couldn't play, I was surprised
that he didn't say something like, 'You'd better see the boss.'
It would be completely uncharacteristic of a man with Don's obsessive
attention to detail not to want to know everything, as soon as
it happened, at all times.
"It was Norman and the lads down in the lobby, who
provided the explanation. 'There are big rumours that the boss
is leaving and going to Everton,' Norman said.
"I looked at Norman and Mick Bates, who had been
at Leeds with Don since they were lads. They were shocked, dispirited,
confused. I had great difficulty myself, trying to take it in.
I felt that the first thing we needed to do was to find out exactly
what was happening, from the only man who really knew.
"'The best thing we can do,' I said, 'is go to his
room now, and just ask him straight out if he's going.'
"So Norman, Mick Bates and myself went up to Don's
room. He was sitting on the bed. I knew I had to ask the hard
question, but I already knew what the answer would be. The fact
that Don still hadn't said anything about my injury said it all.
"'There are rumours you're going to Everton, and
obviously the players are unsettled,' I said.
"'Yes, I'm going,' he replied. And then, just as
he had done at the Savoy, he broke down and cried.
"We appreciated his honesty. We knew he wasn't going
to fob us off in that situation, and he didn't. Don said that
the only reason he hadn't told us already was that he hadn't wanted
to upset the players before the game. He had planned to tell us
afterwards. And, anyway, the deal with Everton wasn't done yet.
"But the lads were devastated. They'd grown up at
Leeds participating fully in the family atmosphere which Don had
created, and which had formed such strong bonds of friendship
and solidarity when the going got tough.
"I suppose I was a bit more distant from Don, on
a personal level. I had arrived at the club a bit later than Norman
or Mick, or Paul Madeley or Paul Reaney or Billy. So while I got
on well with Don on a day-to-day basis, I wasn't as friendly with
him as Norman
or Billy were.
back to top
"I didn't really believe in having a close personal
relationship with the manager. I had seen at Manchester United
the way that Matt Busby would do a bit of socialising with Noel
Cantwell when he was captain, or with Maurice Setters and Dennis
Viollet, and I didn't think it worked. Matt may have wanted to
keep the captain close to him, but, regardless of that, when the
time came, those lads still had to leave abruptly. It ends in
"Manchester United was my family club since the
age of fourteen. Like Mick Bates and Norman Hunter, I had thought
it was going to last for ever. But the time came when I had to
leave, to face that devastation and to start again. I realised
then that, in football, when you have to go, you have to go. The
Leeds lads were learning that now.
"And when you looked at it a certain way, it started
to make sense. There was the bitter disappointment of the defeat
to Sunderland and his breakdown at the Savoy. There was also the
plain fact that Don had never been on more than £15,000 a year
at Leeds, which played its part in his open disdain for the chairman
and the directors throughout his time at the club, and his eventual
decision to move on. But in a complex way, I think that Don's
personal feelings for the players also influenced his desire to
move to Everton. I wonder if he had formed the view deep down
that maybe the critics were right for a change, that some of the
lads really were finished, and that we wouldn't be able to stay
at the top level with this particular team.
"He loved those lads, and the feeling was mutual,
and in the mood of despair after the Cup final, I think he saw
a day coming when he would have to tell some of them that it was
time to go. And he couldn't face that."
On the Tuesday evening, Revie called the players
together to confirm that he intended to leave. One commented afterwards,
"This kind of news is a bombshell. It will be the end of an era
at Leeds United."
Terry Yorath: "Some of the lads believe that because
he had said nothing to the contrary about the rumours that means
he is going. Others feel the board can sway it."
Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry each revealed in
later years that Revie had told them privately that he wanted
them to join him at Goodison.
The same day as Revie talked to the players, a United
official, who refused to be named, told the Evening Post
that Revie had definitely accepted the offer from Everton, though
he was unable to say when he would take up the post.
Revie maintained his refusal to comment, saying
only, "We have a match to play and this is uppermost in my mind
for the benefit of my players and Leeds." However, a source close
to him was reported as saying: "Don felt it was time to move on
after 12 years as manager of the club."
In such grim circumstances, with the manager intent
on leaving the club and a host of experienced first teamers unavailable,
the Cup Winners Cup final against Milan promised to be a nightmare.
In many ways it was, with all the subsequent speculation
that the referee had been bribed to ensure a defeat, but amidst
all the depression United demonstrated clearly that they still
retained unquenchable team spirit.
Against all the odds, they spent
the evening conclusively outplaying the Italians and but for some
outrageous refereeing decisions must surely have lifted the trophy.
The treachery of it all brought far greater admiration
for the club than an easy victory would ever have done; the British
public loves honest triers and that's certainly what Leeds were
that night, despite suffering a 1-0 defeat that meant they would
once again finish a season empty handed.
back to top
The following day, Don Warters reported in the Evening
Post: "Don Revie spent many of the long hours before last
night's Cup Winners Cup final denying he has accepted the managership
of Everton. But I confidently expect that it is only a matter
of time before he announces to the world that he and Leeds United
are parting company after 15 years.
"There is still no one in the Leeds party here prepared
to confirm the position openly, but I understand that it is just
a matter of Revie agreeing to a few final details in a deal that
should make him secure for life.
"This, I believe, is one of the major reasons why
he is leaving Leeds after so much success with the club and after
saying many times that he would like to end his working days with
them. Everton's offer to Revie, I am told, is fantastic - so vast
as to be unprecedented in English football. He has said many times
that he would like to retire in his early fifties and Revie, who
is 47 in just over a month, should now be in a position to do
that if he wishes.
"I expect Revie to confirm his move by the weekend,
for next Sunday he will return to Greece for a two-week holiday.
"No one expects him to stay with Leeds now. He has
told his players he is 95 per cent certain to go and the Leeds
board, I understand, is divided on whether to make efforts to
dissuade him from moving.
"Whoever succeeds him at Elland Road faces a big
job, for not only is the team approaching a period of change in
terms of age, but any manager of Leeds United will now be expected
to continue to bring success to the club in the eyes of the supporters.
"A poor run by the team could have a telling effect
on the attendances at Elland Road, where directors have
said a 35,000 crowd is the breakeven attendance."
By now, the Evening Post was reporting Everton's
offer had risen to £250,000, including a tax free £50,000 signing
on fee. When set against Revie's existing basic package of £17,500
this was eye watering indeed.
While all the partisan local press speculation continued,
Eric Todd gave a more detached view in the Guardian.
"Those of us who have known Don Revie for 25 years
will challenge any assertion that a departure from Leeds United
to Everton would be motivated solely by mercenary reasons. I am
convinced that Revie, like Sir Matt Busby did at Old Trafford
in January 1969, realises that he can do no more for his players
and that his players can do no more for him. I would not suggest
that the Leeds ship is sinking, although some of the crew are
getting on a bit, but Revie, again like Sir Matt, surely recognises
that his ship needs a refit and, after it, a new ship's company.
"People will wonder whether Manchester United would
have averted much internal unrest and controversy if Sir Matt
had quit the scene permanently after United's European Cup triumph
in 1968. Those same people now will wonder whether Revie, in attempting
to justify the advice and encouragement of Sir Matt, and possibly
to do even better than his mentor did not demand too much of his
men. In 1967, for instance, Leeds failed bravely in three major
competitions and although before and since, they collected trophies
here and there and had several near misses, they may have pushed
dedication and ambition too far.
"He and I know how close he was to becoming manager
of Manchester City three months before they appointed Joe Mercer
in July 1965. Otherwise the histories of Leeds and Manchester
City would have been so much different. And more so in the instance
of Leeds if Matt Busby had not been at home when Revie sought
his advice in 1963, shortly after Revie had been made team manager
at Elland Road.
"By 1969 Revie had rejected at least six offers
to manager other clubs - including Torino and excluding Manchester
United - and had signed a new seven-year contract. Everton would
no doubt have to pay Leeds considerable compensation, especially
as there was a five-year option of renewal in that contract.
back to top
"Revie would have to start from scratch at Goodison
where Everton, after some prosperous days under Harry Catterick,
have achieved nothing of note in the past three years. They have
few players of the quality of some of those Revie has at Leeds.
I imagine that Revie would wish to take with him most of his backroom
men, notably Les Cocker, Syd Owen and Maurice Lindley, and he
could even make offers for some of his former players. One way
and another, therefore, this may be not only the end of the most
prosperous era in Leeds United's history but the breakers' yard
for their most successful combination off the field and on it.
"Don Revies are not born every day and having accepted,
as I think we must, that Leeds are just about past their peak,
nobody will envy the task of their directors in finding a suitable
manager. Nor that of the successor when they are lucky enough
to find him."
On Friday, 18 May, Paul Wilcox reported for the
Guardian, "It now seems likely that Don Revie's move to
Everton will not be announced publicly until possibly next month.
Or maybe never.
"On his return from Salonika with Leeds United yesterday
after their ill-fated European Cup Winners Cup final against AC
Milan on Wednesday, Revie greeted the battery of reporters and
photographers at Manchester Airport with the same non-committal
answers that he has used this week to try to ward off what he
has called unwelcome publicity. And, although the Leeds board
of directors meet on Tuesday, Revie goes
back to Greece for a holiday on Sunday and will not return until
"After the furore that has been created in the football
world, that seems a long time to wait for such an announcement
if indeed it is made at all. Leeds declared yesterday that they
are going to fight to keep the man who has led them through a
decade of consistency while also having to despair at their number
of near misses.
"Percy Woodward, a former chairman, will head Tuesday's
board meeting in the absence of Manny Cussins, who is holidaying
on the French Riviera and who will not return to England until
after the discussions. It is believed, however, that Cussins has
said that Leeds will try to meet Everton's offer and then see
how Revie feels about remaining at Elland Road. But if Everton
come back with an even bigger offer, then Leeds will not raise
their sights again.
"Whether all the directors agree with such a plan
is another matter, for estimates of between £150,000 and £250,000
have been put forward as the sum that Leeds would have to find
considering tax and the four years of Revie's contract yet to
run. But it is certain that Everton are not going to get their
man as easily as had been anticipated. Revie, however, still preferred
yesterday to talk about Wednesday's defeat."
With United's directors in heated discussion about
how much they were prepared to offer Revie to persuade him to
stay, there came an intervention from a completely unexpected
quarter on Wednesday, 23 May.
In an astonishing turn of events, Dennis Skinner,
the radical Labour MP for Bolsover, raised the issue in the House
of Commons, asking Secretary of State for Employment, Maurice
Macmillan, whether the matter would be referred to the Pay Board.
This was a body set up by the Conservative Government,
along with the Prices Commission, under the Counter Inflation
Act 1973 in an attempt to control wage inflation. The Price and
Pay Code, which the Pay Board was responsible for monitoring,
stipulated that new recruits to existing jobs should not be paid
more than those they replaced and pay rises should be limited
to £250 per annum.Robin Chichester-Clark, Minister of State for
Employment, said in a written reply to Skinner that "the details
of remuneration applicable to this appointment were not known".
A spokesman went on to confirm that there would be a full probe
into the matter with the Pay Board consulting the secretaries
of both clubs to verify whether the figures being reported in
the press were accurate; there would then be "close scrutiny of
the relevant answers to see whether the Price and Pay Code had
It may have been pure coincidence, but by Friday,
25 May, Everton's pursuit of Don Revie had fallen apart; the Evening
Post broke the news under the headline: "Revie says: I'm staying".
An official United statement read: "Don Revie, whose
future as manager of Leeds United has been the source of recent
speculation, is to remain with the club. He notified his decision
today from his holiday hotel in Greece. In a telephone conversation
with the club's general manager and secretary, Mr Keith Archer,
he said: 'I am very happy to announce that I will be staying as
manager of Leeds United. At this stage I have no further comment
to make and my only wish is that I be allowed to spend the remainder
of my holiday in peace.'"
The Guardian reported: "Don Revie has decided
to stay with Leeds United after all, and has
informed Everton to that effect. He gave the reason for his change
of mind - if in fact there were such a change - as 'personal',
which could be translated to mean anything.
back to top
"There is no doubt that Everton's offer to Revie
was a very lucrative one. It may be assumed, therefore, that Leeds
United's counter offer has been - or will be - even more handsome.
His original contract was due to expire in 1978/9 with a five-year
option in a consultative capacity, but if the sums involved are
not vast, Revie's decision may have been influenced by the fact
that the Pay Board have been holding more than a watching brief.
"Leaving aside the real reason for Revie's change
of mind, I confess to being surprised to learn that he more or
less had decided to spend the rest of his footballing life with
Leeds a few weeks ago. I suggested that he had nothing more to
give Leeds and that they had nothing more to give him. This was
based on their several near misses in their quest for honours,
and certainly was no reflection on their considerable achievements
in the last dozen years or so.
"Again, Revie may feel that in spite of financial
temptations he could not hope to achieve with Everton - at least
with their present playing resources - what he has achieved at
Elland Road. And although the Leeds playing staff needs a deal
of reconfiguration, Revie could still have enough faith in himself
and his players to pursue the treble crown with renewed confidence
The reactions to the news from Elland Road were
unanimously positive; a poll run by the Evening Post revealed
that the vast majority of supporters had wanted Revie to remain
at Leeds, with 4,119 voting for and only 730 against.
Prophetically, in the same survey, when supporters
were asked who they would like to see succeed Revie if he did
leave, Brian Clough emerged as the favourite with more than 1,000
votes, despite his serial criticism of United.
Percy Woodward: "Mr Revie telephoned me from Greece
to tell me that he will be staying with us as manager. Naturally
if the conditions are to be the same as they were previously I
will be more than delighted. The board will be meeting Mr Revie
on his return from holiday and we shall then learn the truth of
the newspaper reports we have been reading. I am hoping that the
matter will be concluded to the satisfaction of both parties when
Mr Revie returns. If it is, the better it will be for football
and for the club." The ominous "if the conditions are to be the
same as they were previously" spoke of Woodward's irritation at
what he saw as somewhat dubious motivations at play.
Matters were still not quite concluded and, according
to Rob Bagchi and Paul Rogerson in The Unforgiven, "A week
later Revie casually revealed that he had been approached with
lucrative offers to take up coaching and managerial jobs in Greece,
and announced that in light of these new developments he would
be discussing his future with the Leeds board on his return from
"Only a month before, Don Revie had been driving
aimlessly around Liverpool trying to find John Moores. Now he
was cruising the Aegean on a yacht owned by the president of Olympiakos,
Nicos Goulandras. When he got ashore, the president of the Greek
Football Association was waiting for him, dangling a bait of £20,000
a year tax
free, plus bonuses, as an inducement to take over the Greek national
side. As if that were not enough to conquer the charms of West
Yorkshire, Panathinaikos were ready to top the offer, willing
to go as high as £28,000 pa, also tax-free. Leeds' new chairman,
Manny Cussins, was as weary of the affair as the supporters. 'There's
a board meeting on Tuesday. Beyond that you know as much as I
do,' he said. That meeting must have been an expensive one, for
Revie ended up staying, but the Greek interlude had planted an
idea in his mind. A few years later, when Revie's reign as England
manager came to its ignominious end, the prospect of warmer climes
and a huge tax exempt salary would prove too good to turn down."
The affair left an unsavoury taste in the mouths
of many, but the news of Revie's decision lifted the mood at the
club after a dispiriting end to the season. In the months to come,
there would be many reasons to celebrate Revie's apparent change
Part 1 Rebuilding from the back
- Part 2 Defending the Cup - Part
3 The Revie-Clough wrangle - Results
and table - printer
back to top
Other Football Highlights from 1972/73
- Bobby Moore celebrated his 100th international appearance
by leading England to a 5-0 victory over Scotland at Hampden
Park. The game, part of the Scottish FA's centenary celebrations,
was England's biggest victory in Scotland since 1888
- Jimmy Hill temporarily abandoned his job as a commentator
to take over as a linesman when an official suffered an injury
during the match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Highbury in
- David Nish's £225,000 transfer from Leicester to Derby broke
the British record
- Newly promoted Norwich found their first ever season in the
First Division to be a heady cocktail of dismal failure, partial
success and, ultimately, nerve tingling survival. Ron Saunders'
team were sixth in the table on November 18 and then did not
win another League match until they beat Chelsea 1-0 on April
14, but somehow they reached the League Cup final, beating Arsenal
and Chelsea on the way, before losing 1-0 to Tottenham. Norwich
managed to rescue their season in the last five League matches,
winning three of them to finish 20th and two points clear of
relegation. Crucially, in three days they beat West Brom 1-0
at the Hawthorns and Crystal Palace 2-1 in injury time to send
both clubs into the Second Division
- The League's annual meeting in June decided to introduce three
up and three down promotion and relegation for the top three
- Ted Croker was appointed secretary of the FA on June 22
- Celtic's eighth consecutive championship - a record in Scottish
League history - was secured by just a point from Rangers, who
won an Old Firm final 2-1 to win the Scottish Cup
- Gordon Banks was still regarded as the best keeper in the
country even though he was 35, but his career was brought to
an untimely end in October when his car collided head on with
a van and he lost the sight in one eye
- Huddersfield Town went down to the Third Division for the
first time in their history