Don Revie remains the yardstick against which other
Leeds managers find themselves measured. Although the team only won 6
trophies in his 13 years in charge, the team that he built and the way
they imposed themselves on other teams was legendary. However his legend
has been tarnished by the number of times his side stumbled at the final
hurdle, and by the manner of his departure from the England manager's
Looking at what he inherited - a side on the brink of relegation to
Division 3 - and what he achieved in those first few years, it seems nothing
short of miraculous. Having been with the club as a player since 1958, Revie
was starting to think about management positions when Jack Taylor resigned,
and shortly afterwards, Revie took up the reins at Elland Road. In his third
full season in charge, Leeds romped to the 2nd Division title, with his
inspired signings - Bobby Collins included - playing alongside the youngsters
that were being produced by the system set up by Lambton and Taylor.
In the first season back in the top flight, his side finished second in
the league and were beaten in extra time of the FA Cup Final by Liverpool -
a "failure" that made many people sit up and take notice of the new-look
Leeds side. 1968 saw the arrival of the first real silverware at Elland Road -
the League Cup, with Arsenal being beaten at Wembley, and the season-spanning
Inter-City Fairs Cup was also captured before the year end. The following
season the League Championship was captured for the first time, with Revie
picking up the Manager of the Year award.
1969/70 was a year of too many games in too short a time, as the League,
FA Cup and European Cup campaigns all misfired at the very end, but by 1972
Leeds were back for more with Arsenal again beaten at Wembley, this time
gaining the FA Cup for Revie's side. After a shock defeat in the 1973 final
by Sunderland, 1973/74 was the last shout of Revie's great - but now aging -
side, and a supreme effort saw the League Championship captured again.
When the England job fell vacant, Revie was an obvious choice to take over
and in July 1974 he did. Revie tried to recreate the "family" atmosphere that
had been so successful for the club at national level, but it never really
worked out. Qualification for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina was looking
almost impossible and with rumours of a bullet coming from Lancaster Gate,
Revie decided to jump before he was pushed. He had a very well-paid
job lined up, coaching the United Arab Emirates side for a tax-free £60,000
a year. He became fair game for all the sleaze merchants in the press, and
numerous unsubstantiated allegations were made against him and his side
about match-fixing - mainly coming from has-been and never-was players
and managers. Some of the mud did stick, and he never returned to professional
football in England - although he did act as an occasional consultant to
Leeds United in later years.
After four years coaching the national UAE team, he spent three
years at Al Nasr where he introduced a new professionalism and opened
the side up to influences from Europe.
He died of Motor Neurone disease in 1989 and is survived by his
wife, Elsie. When the old Kop was demolished at Elland Road, it was
natural that the replacement stand should be named "The Revie Stand"
in honour of the man who achieved miracles at a club that would
probably be languishing in Division 1 or 2 today but for his supreme
Anonymous says: the story of the Revie years is the backdrop to
our lives. By endurance we succeed.