Leeds United AFC: Legacy…

50 years ago this week, Don Revie became manager of the Leeds United AFC & his achievements are the stuff of legend. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing & things had to get worse, before they would get better. With just 9 games left, Revie inherited a side that were beginning to flirt with relegation to Division Three for the first time in it’s history & his first task was to ensure the club stayed up. Revie’s first game in charge was a trip to Portsmouth on the 18th March 1961 & in a shock move, he handed defender Jack Charlton the number 9 shirt in the hope that the defender could emulate the striking feats of the great John Charles. The switch paid off, with Charlton scoring, but the game ended in a 1-3 defeat…

The result left Revie’s boys in 11th spot, but just 5 points clear of the drop zone. Things didn’t improve immediately & today’s opponents Sheffield United took the points from Elland Road a week later. Revie’s side went on to win just 1 game during the end of season run in, a 7-0 win over Lincoln City & the side gained just 6 points from 9 games. It was still enough to enable a 14th place finish that ensured the club stayed up. Revie then began to build for the next season, including making plans to change from Blue & Gold to the famous all White strip. However, it would still prove to be another couple of painful seasons before Revie would go on to build the legacy we know today…

Legacy building is something that those who followed in Revie’s footsteps have found difficult to achieve. Only Sgt Wilko managed anything that came close to Don’s achievements & his Title winning 3-2 victory at Bramall lane in 1992 remains our last win on this god forsaken ground:

Our last visit to the Blades saw a Healy goal nick a point for Wise’s relegation bound Whites & with the Blades now struggling, today looked like a chance to end the winless run. As it transpired, on Comic Relief weekend, the players turned in a charitable “Unfunny for money” performance which sadly only benefited the hosts. Grayson’s only change from the Ipswich draw was to give Bannan a full debut in place of Kilkenny…

The on loan Villa player would provide the only real sparks of encouragement in a dreadful opening 45 minutes which began in a woefully flat atmosphere. The Whites simply didn’t turn up & struggled to get to grips with a pitch that seemed more suited for growing potatoes.  However, to use the pitch as an excuse for the lack of “Passion, Pride, Commitment & Desire” would be a crime in itself. From the start, simple passes went astray & miscontrol blighted the lack lustre Whites. The Blades couldn’t believe their luck as their physical approach quickly began to pay dividends. Kasper plucked a Quinn effort out of the air in the first minute, before Vokes headed well wide…

Only Bannan looked capable of creating something for the Whites & his raking passes out to the wings gave hope. However, the ball simply bounced off Gradel, Becchio & Snoddy, meaning most early attacks other than a Becchio header, petered out. It was a surprise to us all when the Whites fashioned the best chance of the game on 20 mins. Snoddy twisted & turned before laying the ball back to Lichaj. The defender swung a ball to the back stick, but Gradel’s far post header bounced wide. The let off boosted the hosts & they should have been ahead soon after. Montgomery had Kasper back peddling to tip over a long range punt, before shocking defending left Bogdanovic unmarked in the area…

Fortunately, Kasper was alert to the danger & was out quickly to smother the shot. Lesson’s hadn’t been learned & Kasper had to come to the rescue again, this time by pushing Quinn’s shot around the post. Grayson had seen enough & switched to 4-4-2  in the hope of shaking the Whites to life. Howson had barely touched the ball & the skippers punishment was to be lumped onto the right wing.  Snoddy went to the left & Gradel joined Becchio up front, but all the move appeared to do was confuse the players. Kasper pulled off another great save to keep the scores level by tipping Evans 20 yarder over & we simply prayed we could hold on till the break…

This was not a repeat of how Swansea’s free flowing football ripped us apart. This was just simply one team having more desire than the other & too many of the Whites players appeared not bothered about getting stuck in. It made for a sombre White Army atmosphere at halftime. Grayson made no changes at the break, but there was a spark of life in the early stages of the second half. Bannan shot wide & Johnson headed over, before defensive disaster struck. Quinn found space down the left of the box & drove forward before slipping the ball back to the unmarked Montgomery. The Blades skipper slid a routine ball across the 6 yard box, which Lichaj expertly diverted past Kasper for 0-1…

The goal appeared to be a wake up call & Bannan curled wide from distance. Back up the other end, Quinn shot wide, before Bromby blocked from Vokes. After the animated Snodin came down from his seat in the stand a couple of times to wake him up, Grayson took off the under par Becchio for Paynter. Sadly, the Whites were in need of much more drastic surgery than that. Minutes later, the game was all but over when McCartney lost substitute Riise inside the box & he fired across the helpless Kasper for 0-2. Somma was thrown on to bolster the attack, but the changes made had failed to address the main problem areas of Defence & Midfield…

As time ticked down, the closest we came to scoring was a goal line scramble, with Gradel, then Bromby unable to force the ball home from 2 yards. With that chance gone, so had any hope of getting back  into the game. Watt replaced Snoddy, but there was little the winger could do to lift the side. To cap the day off, in the last minute of normal time, Paynter tangled with Lowry in an off the ball incident. The referee looked like booking both players, until the intervention of the assistant. After a word in his ear, Jones booked Lowry, but Paynter was to see Red. Billy’s reaction was not that of a hard done to player & he sprinted off quicker than any of our players had moved all afternoon…

The final whistle brought an angry reaction from the White Army, more so for the manner of the defeat than the loss itself. In the aftermath of the result, all eyes were on the chasing pack, but fortunately, we were not alone in dropping points & managed to retain 5th place. So, we head into the International break with much to think about. It is to be hoped this was a “One off” as our remaining away games see us visit “Graveyard” grounds, whilst each home game pits the Whites against potential rivals for that Play Off spot. However, the fear that the boys maybe running out of steam at the wrong time is growing. Performances like today will certainly not help matters, but we have bounced back before. Lets hope we can do so again when Forest visit in a couple of weeks time…

Leeds United AFC… “Don Revie OBE ~ 10 July 1927 – 26 May 1989”…  Keep Fighting…

Youtube clips with thanks to SMUDGELU & WAFLL

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Posted March 21, 2011 by keepfighting in leeds united, Uncategorized

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