DisRepute – Revie’s England by Robert Endeacott

The true story of Don Revie’s three years as England manager, 1974 – 1977; the follow-up to Dirty Leeds.

July 1974, Don Revie leaves Leeds United to take over the England job from the sacked Sir Alf Ramsey. The departure upsets many Leeds people, he is The Don after all, while his England appointment is not exactly met with universal approval either. Already with enemies within the Football Association, the Football League, the game itself and of course the media, he needs to win over a lot of people, and quickly. Undaunted, he vows to restore the nation’s team to its former heights as well as win over all the doubters and the cynics. But it doesn’t take long for him to realise that there might be too many obstacles in his way to achieve the success he craves, and he can only look on helplessly as his beloved Leeds United slides alarmingly too.

Seemingly forever maligned as being too ‘professional’ and obsessed with money, Revie learns that two reasons for England’s downfall have been the lack of professionalism and the mismanagement of the sport by its penny-pinching and not entirely honest rulers.

Numerous reports and theories abound about Revie’s time as England manager: the players he selected or dropped, the tactics, the dossiers, money, why he resigned and if he was pushed, and the ‘deceitful’ manner of his leaving. DisRepute addresses the myths and rumours and allegations, to paint a clearer, more honest picture. Truth is stranger than football!

The main storyline of the book consists of the trials and tribulations endured by Revie’s England from 1974 to 1977, the High Court in 1979 is revisited too to recount Revie’s appeal case against the FA after their 10-year ban on him from club management after he walked out on England. Revie won the appeal case but took a harsh and unjust verbal beating from the judge nonetheless.

Working from numerous books and biographies, as well as (more importantly) previously unpublished notes written by Don Revie and Les Cocker, DisRepute – Revie’s England tells the truth about his exit from Leeds, his time as England boss and his departure to take charge of the United Arab Emirates national team. The story, which is told from Jimmy O’Rourke’s perspective, sets records straight, corrects myths and rumours and puts right certain ‘selective memories’.

Book details

DisRepute – Revie’s England

Robert Endeacott

ISBN: 9781907183027

Tonto Books

Category: Reviews | LEAVE A COMMENT

Dirty Leeds by Robert Endeacott

Players such as Gary Sprake, Paul Reaney, Terry Cooper, Billy Bremner, Jack Charlton, Norman Hunter, Peter Lorimer, Allan Clarke, Mick Jones, John Giles, Eddie Gray, Paul Madeley, Bobby Collins, John Charles, Willie Bell, Albert Johanneson and Mick Bates – all managed by Don Revie. The famous Leeds United AFC – the team they love to hate, run by the man they love to hate. Thirteen years, thirteen chapters. Thirteen, unlucky for some…

Dirty Leeds is the novelisation of Revie’s thirteen year reign as Leeds manager, entwined with the tale of Jimmy O’Rourke, a local lad with the rare ambition of playing for his favourite, his only, football team Leeds United. And he is good enough.

March 1961, Don Revie plans to leave Leeds. They want him out anyway so he will beat them to it and sign for Bournemouth. The truth though, is that Leeds chairman-to-be Harry Reynolds wants him to stay as Leeds’ player-manager. It’s an offer that Revie can’t refuse, and big improvements at the club soon follow. But not on the football pitch, as a torturous two seasons sees the team sink to its lowest ever point.  And then comes the arrival of Bobby Collins, heralding a slow but sure and startling recovery. By 1964, newly promoted Leeds are battling for the League and FA Cup while Revie is revered by the fans. That popularity is uncommon away from West Yorkshire however – to many, he is ruthless, corrupt, bizarrely superstitious, and obsessed with money. His and the club’s reputations are not helped by the tag ‘Dirty Leeds’, inadvertently given them by the FA in a misleading report. Despite Leeds’ miraculous rise, Revie becomes one of the most maligned men in the history of sport.

Eleven year-old Jimmy O’Rourke lives next door to Leeds’ Elland Road stadium. His mum died when he was a baby and his father fled, leaving Jimmy’s grandma to look after him on her own. Jimmy, inspired by the success of local boy Paul Madeley, trains twice a day as well as craftily using the club’s facilities thanks to the generosity of Ces, the head groundsman, and his assistant John. At fourteen, playing well for a ‘pub’ team, Jimmy’s progress is monitored by various club scouts until at fifteen he gets a trial with Leeds, the chance he has dreamed about. He plays well in that trial and his prospects of success look genuinely good. But it all goes nightmarishly wrong when he is violently fouled by an opponent. His leg and ankle are broken. He has to endure torturous pain and a long lay off from playing football. The club doesn’t abandon him though and he is eventually given casual work with the Leeds ground staff. Physically and mentally he slides into depression, finding pain-killing solace in booze, much of which he gets for free from Aitch, the generous, sympathetic landlord of the Old Peacock pub on Elland Road.

April 1974, Leeds manager Don Revie, his team about to win the League Championship, is the unwitting subject of Eamonn Andrews’ This Is Your Life programme.  Revie is forced to look back on his life. Jimmy O’Rourke tells his story at the same time.

Dirty Leeds covers major events in the lives of Don Revie, Jimmy O’Rourke, Leeds United and the city and its people.  It is the famous players, memorable matches and battles, jibes, allegations and insinuations. It is pollution, high-rise and redbrick squalor, cobbled streets, tainted landmarks. It is truths and lies, friends and enemies, saints & sinners.  Dirty Leeds is a secret history of Leeds.

Book details

Dirty Leeds

Robert Endeacott

ISBN: 9781907183003

Tonto Books

Category: Reviews | LEAVE A COMMENT

Featured Writers – Robert Endeacott

I’m a writer from Leeds. Born in the Leeds General Infirmary (Born In The LGI should be a Springsteen-homage song title, thinking about it) on April 1st 1965, just hours after Leeds United had won through to their first ever FA Cup Final. I’ve never tried to take any credit for that though. Brought up in the south of the City, Beeston, where I still live and work, my first book, One Northern Soul (as J R Endeacott) came out on Route in 2002. I was/am very proud of how well received it was, and the collection of semi autobiographical tales has recently been reprinted too which is a pleasant though not exactly lucrative bonus. My second book, No More Heroes is the sequel of sorts; published by Relish Books, it’s generally a lighter in tone story as I wrote it when times were getting hard and torrid for Leeds and I wanted to cheer myself up and try and add a bit of brightness to the proceedings while the clowns at Elland Road got to grips with ruining everything. And I wanted to entertain the reader of course, shouldn’t forget that aspect of writing books.

I founded Relish Books, a bloody tiny never mind small imprint, hoping to make profits from publishing and selling books, and then reinvesting the coffers in other new writers. I did it because I was so impressed by Ian Daley’s efforts at Route and I wanted to emulate his achievements there. My ‘move’ surprised and probably puzzled a few people but the overriding point is that I was doing it for the right reasons, or as Elvis Costello sort of said, my aim was definitely true. It worked for a while but not for long enough unfortunately, it was a lonely (and costly) business trying to be an indie publisher, even lonelier than being a writer. Relish titles are Humbugs, Fanthology, An Officer & A Gentleman and his Mum and Yorkshire in a Crombie. It was all too much a sacrifice for me, so now I concentrate solely on writing as it’s less troublesome and tons more fun, plus more people appreciate me as a writer than they did as a publisher. Although I do regret the venture really, I see no point looking back on certain matters in my life – I made a poor choice, simple as that, so what Endeacott, get over it! And I have.

My third novel, Dirty Leeds, published by Tonto Books, came out in 2009 and is proving popular; I’m unsmugly pleased to report, while its 2010 sequel, Disrepute – Revie’s England, is doing pretty well too, thanks for asking. Currently (December 2010) I’m working on the third of the trilogy, provisionally titled Scandal FC, which should be out next autumn, and I’m compiling material for a fan biography of my favourite band The Stranglers also. And in addition to ‘normal’ writing, I’m working on a Dirty Leeds stage adaptation, plus not long ago I co-wrote my first full-length screenplay, a biopic about Heath Robinson and his wonderful creation Uncle Lubin. I earned an MA in Screenwriting earlier this century and I’m hoping the qualification will one day prove to be NOT a white elephant. I love films and television, even more than reading books, but don’t quote me on that. The trouble with books is that I don’t have enough time to read all the ones I want to read, especially when I’m having to read ones I don’t particularly enjoy, in the name of research.