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Working from numerous books and biographies, as well as (more importantly) previously unpublished notes written by Don Revie and Les Cocker, DisRepute – Revie’s England tells the truth about his exit from Leeds, his time as England boss and his departure to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

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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

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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.

2010/11: Speed discards Blades for Dragons

Presumably having watched and being an avid football fan for 38 years counts for nothing. Why do I say this? Well because the older I get the less I am able to understand the decisions that are made at football clubs.

As an example, let’s look at Championship side, Sheffield United. Back in August this year The Blades hierarchy decided after three games of the 2010-11 season that it was time for Kevin Blackwell to depart. Surely getting rid of the manager during the summer would have made more sense, so allowing a new man time to settle in and make their mark on the team. In came Gary Speed, an experienced international player and good pro at Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United. Despite his lack of managerial experience he was given a three year contract. Under Speed’s leadership, The Blades have failed to find any consistent form and after defeat at Barnsley on Saturday find themselves in 20th place, just three points away from bottom place Preston. In 18 games in charge the rookie manager has orchestrated just 6 wins and 21 points in total. However, this seems to be enough to convince the FA of Wales that this is the record of a man they want in charge of the national team.

From Gary Speed’s point of view, where is the loyalty of sticking with the club who gave him the opportunity to manage? Where is his professional pride in wanting to get The Blades out of relegation trouble? Is the lure of the coin too great? Can he simply not resist the call of his country? Or is he rushing for the exit as he doesn’t feel he has the ability to get Sheffield United out of trouble?

If Speed is indeed to be the next Wales boss, then the man I feel sorry for is Brian Flynn. Flynn like Speed is another ex-Leeds United player who has moved into management. Unlike Speed his record is a decent one. Brian Flynn took up the reigns at Wrexham back in 1989. During his 12 years at the club and in difficult financial circumstances, Flynn achieved promotion in 1992/93 and got the club to the FA Cup Quarter Finals in 1996-97. His next post was also in Wales as Flynn moved to Swansea City in 2002-03 who had been bottom of the League before his arrival, yet on the final day of the season managed to keep The Swans up. He left in the following season and in 2004 took up the position of Wales Under 21 coach. Flynn came incredibly close to taking the Welsh team to the 2009 UEFA Under-21 Championships, guiding the side to the top of a strong group containing France and Romania, including a superb away win in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, competition rules stated that even Group winners had to go through a two-legged play-off round in order to Qualify, and Wales were knocked out 5–4 on aggregate by England. When John Toshack left as Wales Manager, Flynn came in as Caretaker Manager. However, it appears that his experience and success at club and country level will count for nothing and he’ll be passed over for Gary Speed.

To misquote the lyrics of Delilah by Tom Jones…”Why, Why, Why Wales FA?”

2000/01: LUFC Champions League – Deportivo Moment

During Leeds United’s amazing run to the semi-finals of the Champions’ League in 2000/2001 one moment stood out in particular. The choice might seem strange with so much to pick from. It was, perhaps surprisingly, not a goal, not even Dom Matteo’s effing great goal in the San Siro and it wasn’t a great tackle by a Leeds defender, a goal-line clearance, a stunning save or that blooper by A.C. Milan’s goalie that allowed Bowyer’s 89th minute shot through. There were plenty of all these great memories which have since been firmly absorbed into United’s folklore.

The moment that stood out for me happened away in north-west Spain when we played Deportivo de La Coruña on Easter Tuesday 2001. Almost a fortnight earlier, Leeds had demolished Deportivo 3-0 at home with goals from Harte, Smith and Ferdinand. We went with great confidence to the second leg, knowing that we stood on the brink of a place in the semi-final for the first time in 26 years. However, for the second occasion in Spain during the Champions’ League run (0-4 to Barcelona was the first), the team looked out of its depth as Depor took the game to Leeds right from the start. They were the Spanish champions and had recently stunned the football world by coming back from 3-0 down after 55 minutes to Paris St German in their last home match to win 4-3. This, naturally, gave them great hope that they could do the same against Leeds.

We knew we were up against it when Kewell gave away a penalty after 9 minutes. Then followed a right battering. Leeds seemed to have no idea how to deal with it and yet, we somehow got through to half time still only one-nil down. The inevitable happened after 74 minutes when Depor scored their second. Watching the game in Woodie’s, Headingley, we braced ourselves for the final onslaught, extra time and Champions’ League exit. Only it didn’t happen. In the minute after the second goal, just when we expected unbearable pressure, it became apparent that Depor had run out of steam. The storm had abated. United picked this up pretty quickly and played out time with increasing confidence. When the game ended, they knew they were a beaten side and we knew we were in the semis.


Author: Graeme Garvey

1974/75: Bridge Over Troubled Water

My match day experience is not complete unless I am able to get a programme. Over the years there have been just four games when this has happened. Thanks to the Internet the ability to try and get hold of those missing programmes has become easier. Just this week I managed to track down one of the missing four. The game in question was an FA Cup 4th Round game between Chelsea and Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge in 1975. One of the things about programmes for me is the memories that they evoke, in the same way songs, smells or photographs do for other people. They are in their own way a piece of social history. But it is also for me about being there, the shared experience and a confirming of your existence.

So it was a real joy to get my hands on the programme and get the nostalgic juices flowing. The cost of admission that day for standing was 50p (adults) and 25p (juniors), with the programme 10p and seats ranging from 80p to £2.00 – that seems incomprehensible when you consider that a programme alone currently at many Premier League and Championship clubs is at least £3.00.

Looking inside I found the results section and details of the game from the previous Saturday (details below):

Division One – Saturday 18th January 1975 (Attendance: 34,733)

Chelsea: Phillips, Locke, Harris, Hollins, Hinton, Hay, Kember, Wilkins, Garland, Hutchinson, Cooke. Substitute (Did not play): Stanley

Leeds United: Harvey, Reaney, Gray (F), Bremner, McQueen, Madeley, McKenzie, Clarke (Yorath), Lorimer, Giles, Gray (E).

On a near waterlogged pitch and in incessant rain, Chelsea contributed to a fine match, but conceded the season’s double to the reigning Champions. Harvey made magnificent saves from Hollins and Wilkins in the first half. When Leeds were opened wide by Kember’s brilliant free-kick, scooped over the “wall” to Hay, he pulled his shot wide. McKenzie shot the first goal after 32 minutes, when Clarke headed down Eddie Grays’s cross. Clarke (pulled hamstring) was substituted early second half by Yorath, who from close range, netted Leeds’ second ten minutes from the end, when Philips pushed up Frank Gray’s cross-shot.

I realised that I had been at that game and had gone along with a friend from school. It was the first time I had seen Leeds United “in the flesh” – the reigning Champions. I was in awe of the Leeds names on display in what was a traumatic season for the club. For Leeds United 1974/75 started with the rather less than glorious 44 day stewardship of Brian Clough and ended with the great rock and roll swindle that was the European Cup Final in Paris. For Chelsea it was no better either as the season ended in relegation.

Elsewhere in the programme for the Chelsea v Birmingham games were details of the other FA Cup games taking place. It then dawned on me that I wasn’t meant to be at Stamford Bridge at all. There in black and white was listed Fulham v Nottingham Forest (then managed by Brian Clough). However, the rain has put pay to us attending that game and so the short journey to Chelsea was made instead. My other abiding memory of the day relates to the end of the game. Birmingham had secured a 1-0 win and as my dad and I left the ground, somebody in front with a radio was relaying the action from Elland Road where Leeds United had been awarded a penalty against Wimbledon. We all stopped in our tracks and waited for the spot kick to be taken and gasped as we shared the news that Dickie Guy had saved Peter Lorimer’s penalty.

Interestingly I was to watch Birmingham City in action later that season. Quite incredibly it was again in the FA Cup at Hillsborough, as a Fulham side containing Alan Mullery and Bobby Moore drew 1-1 with the Midlands team, before winning the replay and getting to their only FA Cup to date. Like Leeds in Paris, Fulham succumbed to a 2-0 nil defeat, although not in such controversial manner.

Finally, just as I was putting the programme away, my eye caught the date the Chelsea match took place. Saturday 25th January 1975. The relevance of that date? 20 years later my son Liam was born. One date, so many memories.


Jim Taylor’s obsession with football might well be about to cost him his job. The angry, youthful narrator of “Beastmouse” is mentally scarred by the injustices his favourite team has suffered. What if the Russian millionaire who flies in to rescue Leeds United is not who he seems?

Sports fiction is a relatively new genre and football writing is perhaps its best vehicle of expression since it is rooted in the lives of so many people. Although it is a truism that football reflects life, what makes the statement actually true in the case of Doolally is that the central viewpoint belongs to that of the supporter not player – and supporters feel the emotions more. The foreword is by Ardal O’Hanlon, renowned comedian with starring roles in “Father Ted” and “My Hero”, and an avid Leeds United fan. The book is centred around a passion for Leeds United, hence personal contributions from Neil Jeffries editor of Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, and Leeds supporters lan Payne of Sky TV and Peter Davies of Africa’s premier sports website Supersports.

Yet, although Doolally first developed out of the Leeds Football Writers group’s commitment to innovative writing, it is about much more than Leeds. The theme of football fans being doolally mad in some way or other is universal. A variety of pieces and genres tests again and again the stereotype of the average football fan and questions not just why people go to football matches but what really matters in their lives. The madness of the comeback by Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League Final is seen from a neutrals perspective and sits side by side with the Saturday ritual of a Newcastle United fan.

This book is sparky, quirky, and lively. An original anthology of writing which will appeal to all football fans.

Book details


Edited by David Gill

ISBN: 9781905519002

PDG Books Ltd

Review by the Editor

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Leeds United FA Cup 1972 (Part 2)

 The alarm woke me at some ungodly hour and it was raining. It wasn’t supposed to rain. Cup Final days are always sunny. Nonetheless, I had a coach to catch so sulking in bed wasn’t an option. Breakfast was, indeed, fast and armed with some food lined up by my mum, I was soon on my way down through the estate to the main road pick-up point for the esteemed Hargreaves of Morley, Motor Coach Co. Ltd.

I had been promised it would stop on the corner for me but I was sceptical and, with no one else around so early on a Saturday morning, I was already thinking if I had a Plan B which could get me to Wembley on time. I peered into the distance. Six thirty, and at least the rain had eased to drizzle. Almost miraculously an approaching vehicle started to resemble the very coach. What’s more, it actually stopped for me and I was soon sitting down, rather incredulously, along with a handful of forlorn looking individuals. Such a low-key start. I found it incredible to believe anything momentous could happen that day, especially starting out from a place called Drighlington.

And yet…and yet as we passed through Gildersome on our way to Morley, with more and more people clambering aboard, a creeping feeling began to grow that it was for real. By the time we had stopped at Tingley, prior to the M1 motorway, the bus was actually full. Early shyness and Yorkshire inhibition began to melt as scarves and banners flowered. All the way down, past Sheffield into Derbyshire then the Midlands, conversation rolled on. Leeds had lost two finals already – to Liverpool and Chelsea – surely we had to win at last? Well, I felt confident since I was going this time. I had collected enough tokens from home and away programmes to qualify, so I reckoned I had earned the right to be there. 

Two hundred miles to London. Two hundred miles of anticipation, added to by seeing the growing number of other coaches and the stream of cars with Leeds scarves trailing from their windows. I thought, too, of all the fans going by train and those who were making their way from other parts of England. Arsenal might have done the Double the previous year but Leeds were one of the best club sides in the world. Their support base was growing but most of those travelling from elsewhere on that day were exiled Yorkshiremen.

One thing I had noticed during those miles was that it was not even drizzling any more. The signs were good and by the time we reached the last Services before London, it all just seemed to be falling in to place. Mind you, there was one positively surreal experience as we began to leave the Service Station. A luxury coach full of spaced out, sunglass-masked hairies from the U.S. of A. was parked alongside. As each driver started up, ready to take us on our separate ways, with paths never to cross again, both sets of passengers marvelled at the mutual weirdness of the other. I’m sure they enjoyed their trip. 

The North Circular Road and the frustration of being so near and yet so far from the ground. I wanted everybody not going to the match to get off the road but queuing in traffic has always been part of the London Experience. Wembley finally hove into view and I suppose the crawling traffic probably built up the fun. We pulled in to a huge coach park and fled the bus. After all, it was only two hours to kick off. Family and friends at home would be close to their televisions, mostly black and white sets, still, unless you were posh. The old favourites; ‘Meet the Teams’ and ‘The Road to Wembley’, would have a special significance on this day of days. I had literally just travelled that road. The cameras panning down Wembley Way would show us this time, mingling with the red and white of Arsenal, our Northern vowels proudly proclaiming how English should be truly pronounced. This was not the Cap Foinoo.

Having joined the huge flow of people near the end of Wembley Way, it was good to see fans of both clubs walking peaceably along together but it was wonderful to see the two rivers diverge as we neared the stadium. Suddenly, I was amongst none but Leeds fans, a slow-moving phalanx making for the entrances at the Tunnel End. I wanted to get in to the ground as soon as I possibly could. Queuing at the austere, barred gates had a wonder of its own. Aged 19, the biggest crowd I had been in up to then was a fairly impressive 63,000 but this would be the magical number of 100,000.  The scale of it all was compelling.

In dreaming of going to Wembley, perhaps the one sight I most keenly anticipated was the first view of the field. Television elongates and so cheats. What surprised me as I stood at the top of the terracing was its ordinariness. It was just a football field after all. It’s strange how stadiums grow in size once the crowd is in place. Yet the pitch looked lovely in the brightening day as I made my way from the top of the higher section down towards the front. There, I was right in the heart of the Leeds fans, slightly to the left of the players’ tunnel. Six years previously, England had lifted the World Cup. I had watched from a hotel in Cornwall. Now I was actually here, at what they called the home of football. We had rented it for the day.

I’d heard tell of people selling Cup Final tickets cheaply and I heard of people who went even though they didn’t like football, just because they had free tickets. I knew there was not a chance of me selling that ticket. How can money compare?

The pre-match build-up inside the ground was a crucial part of the whole experience in those days and it was exciting just watching the crowd grow, listening as chant after chant built up the atmosphere. At Elland Road and elsewhere, the terraces were flat but the huge curve at Wembley allowed the supporters to see each other much more easily. It added to the fun of singing and shouting as kick off drew steadily nearer and we outshouted the Arsenal fans from start to finish. I had the sense that their spirits were not as high as ours at any point. It was the northerners who sang ‘Abide With Me’ with most feeling and when Tommy Steele called on each set of fans to cheer for their team, one after the other, the Leeds roar seemed much louder. The tone for the whole match had been set as 20,000 voices fused into just one.

It was warm. I had a coat and just had to drop it by my feet. There was plenty of room, though, and I was impressed by the size of each step on the concrete terraces. It might have been tiring standing up but it was more fun, more intimate and chummy than today’s armchair football. I didn’t know anyone around me when I arrived, by the end we were treating each other like lifelong friends and that included the man in the cowboy hat who amused all those around him by emitting nothing but barking sounds all afternoon.

Before the players came on, there was a parade to mark the F.A.’s Centenary with each past winner, represented, I think, by some London school kids in replica kits. It was ok. Seeing the Queen was ok, too, but I wanted to see the Whites come marching in. In time, they did, led by Don Revie and then Billy Bremner. With them leading Leeds, I’m amazed we ever lost. Both teams came out alongside each other. It was fantastic to see and hear the whole ground cheering and waving; white, blue and yellow, red and white, together for the one and only time. The teams lined up along the halfway for the pre-match ceremonies. Such preliminaries as singing the national anthem and the teams being presented to our esteemed monarch seemed akin to being back on the North Circular. I just wanted them to get on with the match.

The game itself was a delight even though the standard of football was only ‘good’ not ‘great’. The delight lay in the fact that after Paul Reaney cleared Alan Ball’s shot off the line, I became increasingly sure we would win. Allan Clarke’s reflex header onto the bar following Lorimer’s volley deserved a goal but Leeds did what Leeds did best, they controlled the game. Watching the game on classic video footage can only give an impression since it has already happened and you know that. You can never recapture the first viewing. So when Mick Jones broke down the right and pulled the ball back from the by-line, there was a split-second of nerve-tingling anticipation. I was perfectly in line, behind the goal to see Clarke’s precision header coming straight towards me. I knew it was a goal all the way. Barnett’s dive was nothing more than despairing. Sometimes in the past, Leeds had slipped up but I knew, then, that we had won the cup.

The final whistle fixed that fact forever. The hazy sun had been shining for much of the game, after all, it was the Cup Final. Billy Bremner collected the trophy from the Queen and then lifted it aloft to us. The lap of honour was aimed at us. We had sung them home during the match. The Whites were marching in and I was in that number as the players came towards us, Johnny Giles bringing his little children along to share in the joy. The first part of the lap took the players past the emptying Arsenal end. It was merely the prelude to them rounding for the Tunnel End so that they could build up to reaching the heart of the Leeds fans. After so many disappointments, the team were able to celebrate winning the greatest Cup in the world. Such happiness too on our terraces. The lads I had befriended invited me to go back to Leeds with them but I would be expected on the coach so had to regretfully decline. It summed up, though, how all Leeds fans were friends that day. No one wanted to leave, only once the players had finally gone down the tunnel did we gradually drift happily away.

Outside, the Arsenal fans had mostly shot off home, it was only a few miles for them anyway. Wembley was ours. Jubilant Leeds fans were milling about; euphoric, ecstatic, overjoyed as I made my way back to the coach park. It had been fairly empty when we arrived, now it was almost full. I don’t really know how I found the Hargreaves Coach but eventually I did and, having queued our way out, a happy bus set off home in the beautiful late evening sunshine. Circling round towards the M1, I had one last view of the distant Wembley before it passed out of sight and we hurried away to see the game on Match of the Day.

Part of the mighty convoy, we made it back in time and I was able to tell the tale to my Leeds–mad sister, then my friends. Watching the highlights was when I first heard the commentary that accompanied the goal, nice and clipped, no extras needed, “Clarke, one nil.”   The day’s end had to come and at bedtime I was left to reflect that hundreds of teams had entered the Cup, professional and amateur, but only one team could win. That day it was our turn, the turn of Leeds United. It was a perfect day.


Author: Graeme Garvey

Leeds United FA Cup 1972 (Part 1)

“On what grounds are you applying to read English at Liverpool of all places?” my mystified English teacher asked me. How could I tell him the grounds were Anfield and Goodison Park?

I was studying at Liverpool University the year Leeds United won the Cup. I had applied there for the sole reason that Leeds played in the city twice a year (London, with five games, had turned me down). I wasn’t able to get back for the Third Round tie against Bristol Rovers but when we were drawn at Liverpool, it made my going there worthwhile.

A group of us went to the match and arrived at the ground as soon as the gates opened at midday. That might seem a little keen for a 3.00 pm kick off but the match was not all ticket and by one o’clock, the Anfield Road Stand was completely full with a majority of Leeds fans separated from a large minority of Scousers by the thin blue line of Bobbies. Sways and surges up and down the terracing meant that we lost one friend, carried off by a particularly high wave. We didn’t see him again until in the pub afterwards. My main memory of a close, tense affair was being sandwiched in the packed terraces of a 56,000 crowd, with no possibility of moving anywhere. Somebody nearby had a pork pie dashed from his hands and I spent an entire 45 minutes sliding around on its gristly lubrication before somehow escaping to dry land. It was not a great match but we survived to take them back to Elland Road.

The replay was an afternoon kick off so because of the ‘Three Day week’. I had to forego the pleasures of Charles Dickens and also of the Metaphysical poets. Lectures had to somehow manage without me as I desperately thumbed a lift home. Since the fair city of Liverpool invented the ‘sickie’, it was only right for me to employ one on this occasion. The match ended in 2-0 win, we were the better team and it was goodbye to our friends from Merseyside.

Success in the Fifth Round gave us a home tie against Tottenham, the last team to beat us in any competition. Much has been said and written about the thumpings Leeds gave Manchester United and Southampton prior to the Cup game. Yes, they were thumpings but for me the win against Spurs was the best that team ever played because Tottenham Hotpsur were a good side and they actually played very well. Leeds were magnificent and stormed back after conceding a fluky goal. Birmingham City were then swept aside in the Semi-Final and that set up an encounter with the previous season’s double winners, Aresenal.


Author: Graeme Garvey

2010/11: My Guilty Football Mistresses

We all have one team that we follow – our team – that team that when they lose, the result ruins your weekend – the team we defend in any situation – the team we spend so much time, money and emotion in watching. How we come to support that team is a very individual thing. Mine is a simple philosophy –  you support your local team, the place of your birth. So in terms of my family, my dad is an Arsenal fan, although he never tried to make them my team, even on the occasional trips to Highbury with him. I was born in Parsons Green in Fulham and therefore the men in white from Craven Cottage are my team. Liam, Leeds born, now has his own team in white to follow.

But I have a guilty secret in that there a number of other teams results that I look for. I want to be clear though, it’s not teams I support, Fulham are my team always were, always will be  – my “other” teams, I have a “soft spot” for. So how have I come to this situation? For the most part, there is a good reason (well for me anyway!).

Where to begin? Well in the Premier League there is Arsenal. Quite simply because they are my dad’s team and I really did enjoy the trips to Highbury. With Fulham languishing in the lower reaches of the Football League, trips to see the Gunners meant First Division and European football during my teenage years. In recent seasons I marveled at their unbeaten Premier League season in 2003/04, admired the manner of their play and more recently because of their sensible financial approach within the Premier League that puts other “big” clubs to shame.

In the Championship, there is Leeds United. The City I came to in 1991 and the place of my sons birth. Without realising it, I’ve been attending games at Elland Road for 19 years. I’ve shared in the Premier League days, the European nights, the dark days of League One, but hopefully will see the re-emergence and return to the top-flight. I can never be a Yorkshireman, I can never be a Leeds supporter, but I do care about what happens to the club. It is one of my pleasures to be able to go to Elland Road with Liam – and all that that means in terms of sharing the experience that is a matchday.

The rest of my “mistresses” are either non-league or European teams. Stade Malherbe Caen FC (also known as SM Caen or just Caen) are a French team based in Normandy. For the 2010/11 they will play in the Ligue 1 having last season been promoted. They have no great history and my “following” of them is because I spend my 30th birthday in this area of France. I didn’t get to see them play, but fell in love with their previous slightly ramshackle ground Stade de Venoix.

Spain is the next destination and here I have two teams within my “establo”, who exist at the two extremes of the football spectrum. Firstly there is Barcelona, a team I am fortunate to have watched at the Nou Camp on a couple of occasions. This came about due to a mate who I was best-man to, moving out to the Catalan City. The stadium itself is nothing in terms of design, but the history of the place and the famous teams that have played on the hallowed turf, resonate within the great bowl that the Nou Camp is. At the other end of my Spanish rainbow is UCD Lanzarote FC. A team who play (unsurprisingly) on the island of Lanzarote. Given the volcanic nature of the island, the team play on a synthetic (FIFA approved) pitch. Los Rojillos unfortunately got relegated last season and now find themselves in the fourth tier of Spanish football. This season entrance to a game is five euros and I look forward to getting to see them in action this November when I go out there on holiday.

So finally, to my non-league favourites. As a kid, I was allowed to get the bus to Plough Lane on my own to watch Wimbledon FC in their Southern League days. It was a sign of growing up, of being trusted and being responsible. It’s where my affection for non-league football comes from. For that reason I’ve followed the Dons fortunes ever since and from afar enjoyed their rise to the top-flight and  the FA Cup victory. I also despaired at their move to Selhurst Park and the hideous creation of MK Dons. A manufactured team in a manufactured town. No history, no place in it for football. The FA should hang their heads in shame that this location is part of the England 2018 World Cup Bid. A big play has been made about the England Bid because of the history of football in this country. Milton Keynes has none – it’s a disgrace. So from all that, you might have guessed that AFC Wimbledon is the team that I recognise from my days on the terraces at Plough Lane. I hope that one day (soon) that AFC Wimbledon get into the Football League and that MK Dons drop into non-league. How much appetite will there be for the club then?

That’s it then, I’ve come clean – made it public – my conscience is now clear. I can now check the scores without feeling like it’s a betrayal. Can you say the same?