Leicester will play Leeds on Friday afternoon at King Power Stadium, as they face the team that had Don Revie as their manager during a glorious period for the club, in some way also great decades for Leicester at that very same time. Don Revie missed the 1949 FA Cup final being probably the most pivotal player in the Leicester City team. A nasal haemorrhage incident the day before the final as Don Revie was hospitalized.
But this time we will not dwell with his playing career at Leicester, but his time at Leeds and what could have been if he had stayed on at Elland Road and not taken on the challenge of becoming England manager, which in many ways probably was the absolute wrong decision to make. With a clever Don Revie analysis he would not have taken the job knowing the best lot of players at time were flamboyant and far from what he lessoned at Leeds.
Leeds turned to Brian Clough and had no patience with the man that was so far from Don Revie you probably can get, and shame on the board at Leeds that made a fools face creeping to their lowest point, sacking the former Derby league winner, that with a few more months in the chair could most certainly have turned the tide and brought Leeds more fame and fortune.
Looking back and then deciding on the English FA to never approach Don Revie, the former Leicester forward could have carried on with his job at Leeds, getting a 2nd chance to bring home the European Cup title, missing it with just a shoe length in their previous attempt, being defeated by Celtic in the 1969/70 semi-final, as The Bhoys went on to win the title.
In the summer of 1974, Leeds had just won the league title. Revie continued as he started the run towards the European Cup title. On the 18th of September 1974, the team were being led to a 4-1 win by caretaker manager Maurice Lindley, who had previously worked under Don Revie as chief scout and first team coach. The team had no surprices and looked as a Don Revie set up. David Harvey in goal, Terry Cooper and Paul Reaney as full backs, Gordon McQueen and Norman Hunter in the central defence. Paul Madeley had been pushed up in a wide midfield postion, having Johnny Giles as captain in the absence of Billy Bremner. Joe Jordan, Allan Clarke and Peter Lorimer were the three attacking alternatives, giving this team a perfect Don Revie look and spirit.
Jimmy Armfield were later chosen as the next man to take charge, brought in from Bolton, as the former England and Blackpool full back managed to brought some sort of balance, but still the spirit of Don Revie was gone. Leeds reached the final with Billy Bremner back in the team, but had to see themselves defeated by Bayern Munich. Just weeks later Johnny Giles left and became West Bromwich Albion player manager, it all started to slide. Terry Cooper had allready left during the 74/75 season, even if he had been picked by Don Revie for England duty. Cooper joined Jack Charlton at Middlesbrough, he continued to play and had a steady first team experience at Ayersome Park, helping out as ‘Boro established themselves in the top flight.
Billy Bremner left in 1976 and moved down a division to join Hull City. Later a player manager at Doncaster Rovers. Terry Yorath, Mick Bates, Allan Clarke and Norman Hunter left to join Coventry, Walsall, Barnsley and Bristol City. To be honest, the players brought in to replace them, were not good enough as footballers and not at all as leaders and conitinuity carriers. This stopped the progress of Leeds United, but what would have happened if Don Revie had been the man in charge.
His assistants Les Cocker and Maurice Lindley would have been there and the settlement would have continued to build in the same fashion as Don Revie had done in the past. The team would probably not have been ripped apart in the tempo other managers decided on.
We do believe that most moves would have occured but not probably given up on Norman Hunter so early as his form at Bristol City surely showed his quality and he could have continued to play for Leeds in more seasons.
One of Don Revie’s top skills was to move players into different positions and use the abilities they had. Players such as Trevor Cherry and Frank Gray could have been given midfield duties as they could easily had taken up those roles and at times did. Peter Hampton was a young full back who we believe would have been given a role as the team would have changed. Terry Yorath would have easily taken a steady role in midfield instead of being sold to Coventry, becoming their captain. These players were all relatively young at the time and would have been pivotal for Don Revie.
Peter Lorimer was a player with very special skills having a blistering shot and ability to both play as a striker and a winger. He could also play in a central midfield role as the Leeds team would have also “flirted” with a 4-3-3 in the years as Joe Jordan would have been the ideal top man in such system with Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer being the wide men up there with him.
The fact that England opened up for foreign import in front of the 1978/79 season would of course have given Don Revie an option to go out in the that market and chase the best talents of the 1978 World Cup. Watching the transfer activity under Don Revie, he seldom missed a target either in sales or signings. He used money and made grand signings when bringing in players such as Mick Jones (Sheffield United) and Allan Clarke (Leicester City) breaking the English transfer record, paying £165.000 in 1969, that was not for everyone. The signings of Joe Jordan, Trevor Cherry and Gordon McQueen were all splended business. Don Revie nursed players into the Leeds frame in the most beautiful form.
We believe that Arthur Graham, coming in from Aberdeen, would have been the only new signing of Don Revie before the 1978/79 season, as he would have trusted his squad of players, probably just given Johnny Giles and Billy Bremner a chance to leave and replacing his dynamic duo with a three men midfield, using Frank Gray, Trevor Cherry and Terry Yorath as a trinity. Allan Clarke, Mick Bates and Terry Cooper would probably been given a chance to leave when their time was up, but of course perfectly planned by Don Revie as he had made a perfect balance in getting his young players ready and when they were, giving the aging men their chance to leave.
So who would have been the two foreign signings in the summer of 1978, as Dutchmen, Argentinians, West Germans, French, Brazilians and Italian players would have been monitored. At the time West-German and Italian footballers might not have been tempted, as they still, at that time, had no need to move away from Bundesliga and Serie A being at a level even to English 1st division or better.
We believe Don Revie would have made attempts to bring in Ruud Krol from Ajax and Zico from Flamengo as he had his eyes on the best foreign players, taking on roles in the team being in a perfect timing to replace Norman Hunter and Allan Clarke. Krol to partner McQueen and Zico playing in a free role behind Joe Jordan, as a tigerish midfield duo in Terry Yorath and Frank Gray took on the challenge, having Peter Lorimer and Arthur Graham in those flank midfield positions. David Harvey still a great goalkeeper, Paul Madeley and Paul Reaney to use on the right side as well as having Trevor Cherry and Peter Hampton as possible alternatives in the left back position. Carl Harris, Byron Stevenson, Gwyn Thomas and taking on the fringe jobs as they would be happy getting the odd game at that time.
Michel Platine and Marius Tresor were two brilliant players also at the 1978 World Cup, as the two could also have cought the attention of Don Revie, being rated and also monitored for the roles of Krol and Zico, and at an age and price that would have been massive bargains, as we look at this as a possible alternative.
Leeds would have continued to be a force in the game instead of falling down as they did under all their managers coming in the era after Revie, turning the club to mediocrity instead of being the force the once were.
CHECK YOUR FOOTBALL RESULTS
CHECK YOUR FOOTBALL STORIES