Sunday, October 31, 2010

Club Spotlight : The Greatest Ever Leeds United Team

   When winger Arthur Graham signed for Leeds United from Aberdeen (or £100,000 in the close season, he became the latest in a long line of Scots to join the ranks of the Northern club, all seeking football fame and glory. Leeds have had a long association with Scottish footballers, stemming from the days when Bobby Collins led them to promotion from the Second Division in 1964. Middlesbrough's Terry Cooper, the former England international whose career with Leeds in an ever changing Tartan athmosphere, has definite view of the key players at Elland Road were — and are - Scottish. He says: "Don Revie had a tremendous scouting system operating in Scotland. He believed there was a wealth of untapped talent North of the border. "And when he bought players, he often went for known Scots. Collins was one of the Scots Ravie bought. He joined the club in March, 1962, from Everton. At the time Collins had won 28 international caps. He added three more to that with Leeds in the twilight of a colourful career.

The season after taking the Second Division Championship, Leeds were at Wembley for their first F.A. Cup Final appearance, losing to Liverpool 2-1. But in that side were four Scots: Willie Bell, former manager of Birmingham City, Billy Bremner, their goalscorer, Jim Storrie and Collins. The basis of the side that was to become part of European competitions for the next ten years was there. When Collins left the club, Billy Bremner was appointed captain. Cooper says: "Bremner took over in midfield from Collins. They were both pocket-sized terriers with incredible talent and determination.
"Don Revte obviously had set ideas about the type of player he liked "or each position." Under Bremner's captaincy Leeds established a reputation as one of the most consistent and powerful club sides in Europe, built on the foundations laid by Collins. Between 1964 and 1975 they won seven major prizes.

During the same period they were runners-up eleven times in domestic and European competitions. The highlight of it all was a European Cup Final appearance in 1975. Sadly they lost their chance on the big one losing 2-0 to Bayern. Don Revie had left the club by then, to take over as England team manager, Bremmer was to leave shortly afterwards. But even today the Scottish connection lives on. There was also Eddie Gray, Gordon McQueen, David Harvey Frank Gray. David Stewart, Peter Lorimer, Joe Jordan, David McNiven, and Arthur Graham. Cooper explains: "During my years with Leeds I'd say somewhere in the region of ty out of every three lads who turned up were Scottish! That is a big percentage." One criticism of the Leeds scouting system, they missed all of the talent spotting North of the border, they missed out on a number of good youngster in their own region. Cooper agrees with that. "It was always a big concern," he says. "But this happens all time in football....

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