The Leeds Legends

LEEDS UNITED MONTHLY, November 1994, Volume 1 - Issue 4.

Don Revie.

He was known as the "Master". Ranked with Busby and Shankly as one of the game's top managers, the legend of the late Don Revie still lives on at Leeds United. The club paid tribute to their former manager a few weeks ago by officially naming the old Kop, the "Revie Stand". Dave Callaghan tells us more about Don's playing and managerial career with the help of some of the players who made Leeds United one of Europe's top teams during his reign as manager.

For a time, Don Revie was simply Leeds United personified. His playing career first embraced Leicester, Hull, Manchester City and Sunderland, before he joined Leeds United as an old-fashioned centre forward in December 1958. Just three years later he was to find himself in the managerial hot seat, the board of directors having been impressed with his astute tactical knowledge of the game. Now Don Revie was no longer one of the lads, he was the boss - and there's a big difference.

Don Revie introduced a ruthless streak into his Leeds side and they came in for some hefty criticism from areas of the media, especially those outside the fair county of Yorkshire. But Revie was adamant that he was building a side to be feared and the first sign of this came with Second Division Championship in 1963-64 and a cup final appearance and defeat against the mighty Liverpool in May 1965.

Once they had scented success there were few who could stop Revie's Leeds. The press still hit out at the tough image of the side, but much of the criticism was unfair. Revie started to buy fresh talent and he moulded Leeds into a top class outfit combining steel with flair.

The First Division title was now a target and Revie felt he had the makings of a side who could tackle and negotiate European foe successfully.

Well after the Revie era had ended, the club brought out a video entitled The Glory Years. It was an apt description. Two League Championships, one FA Cup Final success, one League Cup victory, plus two European Fairs Cup triumphs. His captain was the inspirational Billy Bremner, who tells me one of his favourite stories about "the boss". Billy recalls: "We had to go to Anfield, where if we avoided defeat we would win the title. We drew and as we started to celebrate, the boss came over and ordered me to lead the team towards the fanatical Liverpool followers in the cop. I thought he had gone mad, but we made our way towards the mass of red and white and slowly, but surely, the applause grew louder. It was a marvellous moment as the applause rang out for the next 10 minutes."

Those legendary footballing figures of Shankly and Busby were fans of Revie's managerial style and he also confided in them as all three battled to prove they were simply the best. Leeds had some memorable matches with the Manchester and Merseyside reds during the Revie era and the rivalry from that time is still extremely strong today.

Don was known to be superstitious - it's claimed he once wore the same suit at matches all season. His ability to inspire players was recognised by many and it was not a great shock when England approached him to become manager. But the England job has proved to be a nightmare for many - Don Revie among them. His time at Elland Road ended in 1974. There was intense media pressure and the national team suffered some poor results. When Don took up a lucrative role with United Arab Emirates, he was slammed by the newspapers as those in Fleet Street had short memories and had quickly forgotten the success of his Leeds United side.

In 1986, Don Revie fell victim to the crippling motor-neurone disease. He appeared in a wheel chair at Elland Road soon afterwards, surrounded by some of his glory team, but on may 26, 1989, Don died.

After Howard Wilkinson took over as Leeds manager, in 1988, the pictures and paintings which had adorned the walls celebrating the Revie success story were taken down. Leeds were quick to point out that all they were doing was recognising the new era. Now, the fans have a lasting memory of the club's greatest ever manager thanks to the official opening of the "Revie Stand" and thankfully within the ground all those old photographs have found a resting place in one room. Many of his old players turned up for the official opening ceremony on October 16, and these comments prove they have not forgotten the legend of Don Revie.

WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT DON...

Terry Cooper
(Leeds and England):
"He was a great man and a great manager who looked after us by wrapping us in cotton wool. On the field of play he made you feel 10 feet tall, so that you wanted to die for Leeds United."

Eddie Gray
(Leeds and Scotland):
"He was a wonderful manager, who turned young players into men. I owe him a great deal."

Billy Bremner
(Leeds and Scotland):
"We are just delighted that this club has honoured this great man by naming this magnificent stand after him. It is a fitting tribute."

ELSIE REVIE
(widow of Don Revie):
"When Don took over at Leeds, Bill Shankly said: 'Surely you are not going to be manager there.' In fact, to be honest, his language was a lot stronger than that. But he loved his time at the club and the stand is not just in his memory - it symbolises the great team which he built."