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George Graham

George Graham - click for larger picture

Born 30 Nov 1944, Bargeddie (Scotland)
In Charge 09 Sep 1996 - 30 Sep 1998
Honours Won None

Jabba's Comments

Graham enjoyed a successful club career with numerous sides across London in the 1970s, and after a spell in charge at Millwall, returned to Highbury as a manager and built a team around a solid defence that began to challenge the Northern domination of the game. After bringing several trophies to the club, he left under a cloud and an FA ban, being found guilty of accepting a bung on a transfer deal. He probably did nothing more than what several other managers did at the time - but the club he had served so well left him to twist in the wind, and instead of making a clean breast of it, he tried to wriggle out of the allegations.

With the manner of his departure from Leeds, it's hard to disguise my contempt for this man so I won't even try. Brought in by Caspian, he concentrated so much on sorting the defence out in his first season that he forgot about scoring goals, passing the ball in midfield and anything else normally associated with a football team - he was Mr Goalless Draw.

In fairness, he picked up Hasselbaink for a bargain (recognising a kindred spirit I guess) and under him, Harry Kewell and Lucas Radebe really came into their own. The Youth Team were doing brilliantly under Eddie Gray and Paul Hart but GG appeared to pay it scant attention.

Having signed a long-term contract less than a year before, he suddenly decided that he couldn't face living so far away from his beloved London anymore - particularly now that his bung-taking had been swept under the carpet and he was now back in the good books of the Fleet Street slime. He headed down the M1 to Spurs as fast as his Merc would carry him and in doing so did Leeds United the greatest service possible - he left us with David O'Leary in place and ready to take over.

Richard Allen says: You seem to be forgetting that in the time Graham was at Leeds he sorted a mess out. Yeboah and Brolin were both swinging the lead and Graham told them where to go; the team spirit improved massively - compare the '96 League Cup performance with the fight the team showed in e.g. (for Leeds) a meaningless game at the end of the following season against Middlesbrough.

Graham said he would play it tight in '96-97 and wait until the close season before spending. He was as good as his word, and in '97-98 Leeds were one of the best attacking sides in the Premiership. In the following close season, with european football guaranteed, the board did not back Graham to take Leeds on to the next stage, to challenge the likes of Man. U., Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Once the season started, the board starting making noises about money being available, but as Graham rightly pointed out, who sells their best players at that stage of the season? I don't blame Graham for leaving - O'Leary threatened to leave too if there was no clear commitment by the board that funds would be available. That's why he took so long signing the contract. Do you seriously think that Graham would have failed to deliver trophies if he had had anything like the funds available to him that O'Leary has had?

Leeds lost the best possible manager for them, one who could have delivered a dynasty of success similar to the Revie era, because the board dithered at a crucial time. They weren't professional enough to provide the money at the right time and they didn't fight hard enough to keep Graham at Leeds. Since then Leeds have been nearly men, instead of the trophy winners they had, and still have, the potential to be. If Graham had still been the manager, Leeds wouldn't keep being brushed aside when it comes to the crunch. It's Leeds' loss and it's time the fans realised it. Graham's a great manager, but the board didn't match him when it mattered. Leeds ought to get Graham back as the manager and let him finish off the job he started. Just match his ambition with the right funding this time.

Richard Allen says: Born Bargeddie, Fife.

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