Not many posts to go now before I complete my 365 things to be grateful for so I shall have to be selective.
It’s been a while since the once mighty Leeds United gave me anything to be grateful for. We’ve been languishing in the lower leagues since 2004. Scandalous really, when you think about the size of the club.
Leeds United is the benchmark for how not to run a football club. And the new owner, convicted tax dodger, Massimo Cellino doesn’t appear to be fairing any better. We’re already on our fourth manager this season.
But one can’t simply change one’s allegiances because the team is going through a sticky patch. Admittedly, a decade-long sticky patch.
Supporting a football team – or any team for that matter – is an act of basic tribalism. And, as we all know, a tribe is for life, not just for Christmas. So we have to take the rough with the smooth. God knows we’ve had our fair share of rough. Even more than Wayne Rooney.
Most of Leeds United’s success came in the late 60s and early 70s before I started watching them in the mid 1970s, just as they began to decline. Though, I did get to see them win the old first division title in 1992 before it changed to the Premier League.
To pay homage to that team, I have to give mention to our outstanding midfield quatro of: the combatant David Batty in the middle, partnered by the graceful Gary McAllister. On the right, the feisty and mesmerising Gordon Strachan and the on the left wing, the beguiling Gary Speed. (May the gods rest his soul.)
We won the league title three times in ‘69, ’74 and ’92.
Won the FA Cup in 1972 thrashing Arsenal 1-0. Alan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke scoring the only goal.
Won the League Cup in ’66. (Beating Arsenal 1-0.)
Won the Charity Shield in ’69, ’74 and ’92.
Lost 2-0 in the final of the European Cup in 1975 against Bayern Munich. Though we did have two penalty appeals turned down and a goal disallowed even though the ref initially gave it, then changed his mind after a lot of badgering from Franz Beckenbauer.
Won the UEFA cup in ’68 and ’71. Beating Hungarian team, Ferencváros and Italy’s Juventus respectively.
Lost 1-0 to A.C. Milan in the ’73 final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup final.
Champions League semi-finalists in 2001.
We’ll have to wait patiently until a chairperson with integrity and vision comes along to change the fortunes of the great Leeds United. And come it will, one day.
Meanwhile, here are some of their highlights.
1968-69 First Division champions
1973-74 First Division champions
1991-92 First Division champions
1964-65 First Division runners-up
1965-66 First Division runners-up
1969-70 First Division runners-up
1970-71 First Division runners-up
1971-72 First Division runners-up
1923-24 Second Division champions
1963-64 Second Division champions
1989-90 Second Division champions
1927-28 Second Division runners-up
1931-32 Second Division runners-up
1955-56 Second Division runners-up
2009-10 League One runners-up
1972 FA Cup winners
1965 FA Cup finalists
1970 FA Cup finalists
1973 FA Cup finalists
FOOTBALL LEAGUE CUP
1968 Football League Cup winners
1996 Football League Cup finalists
1969 FA Charity Shield winners
1974 FA Charity Shield runners-up
1992 FA Charity Shield winners
FA YOUTH CUP
1993 FA Youth Cup winners
1997 FA Youth Cup winners
1974-75 European Cup finalists
1969-70 European Cup semi finalists
1992-93 European Cup second round
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
2000-01 Champions League semi finalists
EUROPEAN CUP WINNERS CUP
1972-73 European Cup-Winners Cup finalists
INTER CITIES FAIRS CUP/UEFA CUP
1967-68 European Fairs Cup winners
1970-71 European Fairs Cup winners
1966-67 European Fairs Cup finalists
1965-66 European Fairs Cup semi finalists
1968-69 European Fairs Cup quarter finalists
1971-72 UEFA Cup first round
1973-74 UEFA Cup third round
1979-80 UEFA Cup second round
1995-96 UEFA Cup second round
1998-99 UEFA Cup second round
1999-00 UEFA Cup semi finalists
2001-02 UEFA Cup third round
2002-03 UEFA Cup third round
1920-24 Second Division
1924-27 First Division
1927-28 Second Division
1928-31 First Division
1931-32 Second Division
1932-47 First Division
1947-56 Second Division
1956-60 First Division
1960-64 Second Division
1964-82 First Division
1982-90 Second Division
1990-92 First Division
1992-2004 FA Premier League
2007-10 League One
- Record all-time goalscorer : Peter Lorimer 238
- Record appearances in league matches : Jack Charlton 629
- Record all-time appearances : 773 Jack Charlton/Billy Bremner