Category Archives: Leeds United

Leeds United: How Don Revie helped invent the modern game

How Don Revie and Leeds United invented the modern British game

By Amitai Winehouse (@awinehouse1)

When Andre Villas Boas was appointed Chelsea manager in 2011, social media went wild over old scouting reports he had written several years earlier. He was hailed as a new found genius, the Premier League’s new prodigy. The documents that ended up on Twitter were detailed, analytical, clever, and nothing new.

In 1961, Leeds United appointed Don Revie as their manager. Revie, who passed away in 1989, had shown his ability to look at football thoughtfully while still a player – when he was at Manchester City, the 1956 FA Cup Final was won by employing the famous Revie plan, based on the role played by Hungary’s Nandor Hidegkuti. Revie was deployed as a deep-lying centre forward, something unique in the English game at the time.

Revie went on to become the most important manager in Leeds United’s history, but while he is revered in West Yorkshire, he is reviled elsewhere in the country. His team were associated with what were seen as footballing dark arts, but many of these have become a normal part of what we see in the modern game.

Eddie was a key player in Revie’s side. Widely regarded as an ultra-talented winger, he has since managed Leeds United and currently works for the club’s in-house media channels.

“Lasher” Lorimer is Leeds United’s top scorer of all time, despite retiring from football in the 1980s. He played on the right side of midfield for Revie’s side, and was well known for his powerful shot.

“We couldn’t get intimidated, it never worried us.”

Once viewed as wrong, there is now no modern side that doesn’t analyse the opposition before a game. Revie was the first manager to introduce these, using coach Syd Owen as his spy. Leeds’s Peter Lorimer, who was part of Revie’s side, explained that the manager did it as part of an obligation to his players.

“He felt that if we conceded a goal and it was something he hadn’t told us, he’d let us down,” Lorimer told me. “He made sure his side was covered. The dossiers were very intense. Don was a believer in his players going out to perform, but he also wanted us to know everything about our opposition. We’d get a complete dossier on everything they did – free kicks, corners – and any weaknesses we could play on. In training, we’d work on exactly what to do and what to expect. We were basically prepared for everything the opposition might do to us. You can get caught out, especially against foreign opposition. Syd went all over to watch the opposition so we knew what to expect. They weren’t doing that to us – Don was one of the first to bring that into the sport.”

Eddie Gray, who played on the wing for Revie and later managed the Elland Road side, echoed Lorimer’s words, adding: “Don got criticised for the dossiers when he went to manage England, but for us, they were part of our footballing education. He always had people going to games, analysing players and then he would show us where we could hurt the opposition.”

While the dossiers are relatively infamous because of how they were seen at the time, one aspect of Revie’s innovations that has rarely been discussed is his use of team doctor Ian Adams. Arsene Wenger was highly praised for banning food like red meat, eggs and chips at Arsenal in the mid-1990s, but a throwaway comment from Lorimer revealed that Leeds had taken a new approach to player diets in the sixties.

“Don was one of the first managers to bring a doctor into the setup. Dr Adams made sure we were one of the first teams to work on diets and what to eat before games. We would have chicken and things like that. We ate the food that gave you energy. Before that, footballers ate a steak before a match.”

Many modern managers are especially praised for their man management, especially Jose Mourinho and the retired Sir Alex Ferguson, who undeniably changed sides through excellent motivational work, and Revie had that in his locker as well. Revie imbued his players with self-belief.

Imagine a side losing the title on the last day of the season because they had won an FA Cup final only two days before and were fatigued. Imagine that side then losing the FA Cup final the next season to rank outsiders, despite dominating the game, in one of the greatest cup upsets of all time. Imagine that side, with no additions, then coming back stronger to win the championship the next season, racking up a then-record 29 consecutive games undefeated in the process. Leeds did that in 1973-74. They had to believe they were superior and not be knocked back. Revie instilled that.

Gray admitted the team always believed they would win, saying: “We thought Peter was a big threat, the players in the side made sure that he got plenty of the ball. If Don thought I was the avenue to hurt the opposition, Johnny Giles and Billy Bremner made sure I got on the ball. It was nearly always proactive with us. We thought we had great players. You just had to look around the dressing room and see the players that were sitting with us.”

“When we played anybody, no matter, we expected to win,” Lorimer added, “because Don bred major confidence in the team. When a lot of teams go abroad and go away, they look not to lose – we went to win the game. We couldn’t get intimidated by opposition, it never worried us. We had a group of lads who were prepared to step up.”

Charted: The Championship Average Attendances

Eddie Howe led Bournemouth to the Premier League by finishing first in the Championship.

The Championship season has finished, with Bournemouth and Watford the two sides confirmed to have earned promotion to the Premier League.

Middlesbrough and Norwich City are going to face off at the national stadium, Wembley, on Monday, in the play-off final, with the winner being promoted to the top flight. Middlesbrough had their names misspelled on the tickets for the final.

However, how do the top sides rank when compared to other teams in the division in terms of attendance? The chart below shows which the best attended grounds in the second tier are.

The Chart

Average attendances in the Championship

A chart of The Championship’s average attendances

Surprisingly, Bournemouth, one of the two teams to have gained automatic promotion, actually had the second lowest average attendance this season, at 10,265. They were above only Rotherham United in the overall table.

Brentford, another of the division’s high fliers, who have been rejigging the structure of their club, were third from bottom, with an average attendance of 10,265.

The best attended team in the Championship, on average, were Derby County, who dropped out of the play-offs on the last day of the season in dramatic circumstances.

Leeds United, who finished 15th and recently replaced head coach Neil Redfearn with Uwe Rosler, were fourth in the average attendances table.

Photo credit: Stuart Bramley (creative commons)

Top 6 Ways To Follow Leeds United Over The Summer

So here it is, merry summertime. Once again, Leeds United seemingly enter the summer months with little in the way of cohesiveness, plan or any idea of where it’s all going.

Yesterday, owner Massimo Cellino returned from his ban by holding a press conference. Scheduled to start at 2pm, the conference ran until 3.30pm, leaving the newly appointed executive director Adam Pearson around 30 minutes late for a meeting with Andrew Umbers.

The presser itself was staggering. Cellino held court, replying to each question with an extended metaphor. At one point, he left the room to go for a cigarette break, putting Pearson on the spot only days after joining Leeds.

With the press conference only available live to those with an LUTV subscription, many were left to follow it on Twitter. Crazy events like this aren’t to be missed, however, so here’s the top six ways to follow Leeds over the summer, when anything can and probably will happen:

Top 6 ways to follow Leeds United this summer:

Phil Hay

It’d be a shock if you were a Leeds fan and didn’t follow Phil on Twitter. Phil is the Yorkshire Evening Post’s chief football writer, and if you want the Leeds news first, there’s few better than him. His weekly column, ‘Inside Elland Road’, is always a good read too.

The official @LUFC account

A bit of an obvious one. If you want confirmations on transfers involving players you’ve never heard of before, this is the account to follow this summer. Remember to check out the replies whenever something terrible happens.

Moscowhite’s weekly column for The City Talking

Under-appreciated, Moscow is probably, pound for pound, the best writer on Leeds United out there. And I’m not just saying that because he’s a thin man.

In another life, he’d be sat in a bar somewhere in Madrid, writing books about old men and the sea. Sadly, he’s been captured by Leeds United and it won’t let him go. Expect metaphors that take you about a minute to understand, but really make sense when you actually get your brain box in motion.


The brains behind Footballers with Boobs, which you might remember as that thing which became inexplicably popular around this time last year. Funny guy.

Adam Pope

Adam is BBC Radio Leeds’s man at Elland Road, and if you prefer your news in audio format, he’s your man. Popey, as he’s known colloquially, also seems to have heard about a few takeover approaches that seem to be afoot, so might be the best man to follow for news about them.

Okay, so listen, I say this with the greatest of caveats behind it. Waccoe can be a terrible terrible place. There can be polls that make no sense, there are about 400 gimmick posters, and people nearly get into fights every day. On the other hand, some of the funniest Leeds content comes out of there.

ToeNailSoup is still lurking somewhere in the waters of Waccoe, and TNS is the man who (in)famously called Massimo Cellino in the middle of the night a year ago and received the best interview he’s ever given. TNS also tends to step it up another notch when the summer rolls around, and if you want the funniest moments of the pre-season period, being on Waccoe is always a good idea.