Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Ian Garner
Business Writer
1:01 AM 30th March 2024

Sixty Years Of Marching On Together

It was sixty years ago today that I became a lifelong fan of Leeds United Football Club.

I guess it was to be in my genes when I was born at St James’s Hospital and entered the world in Leeds. I was an eleven-year-old schoolboy in March 1964 when I became a football fan

As a lifetime supporter of Leeds United, I have suffered the ups and downs of which all Leeds fans have become familiar. The team has had almost every trophy possible in their trophy cabinet at one time or another.

My personal introduction to the club was at Easter 1964.

My dad was a PE teacher, and we moved down south when I was seven, and my dad took up the post of Head of Physical Education at a school in North East Essex.

I had an uncle, Uncle Ted, who was a great character and lived in Leeds. He was the kind of guy who would strike up a conversation with anyone, whether they wanted it or not. Uncle Ted was on a train when he spotted Harry Reynolds, who was club chairman, and bent his ear about my dad’s school team, which, to be honest, wasn’t all that good. Unbeknown to my dad, his details had been passed to Don Revie, the club manager.

The first time my dad knew was when he was on the school field when the school secretary sent a message, “Don Revie is on the phone for you.” He dashed to the office to be absolutely shocked to hear the mild Middlesbrough accent of the famous Don Revie OBE!

Revie was following up on the tip from Uncle Ted and told my dad if he had any promising footballers, he could arrange a trial.

My dad thanked him but didn’t think much more about it. A few weeks later, my dad was attending a careers meeting at school when a young goalkeeper said he was interested in a job as a professional footballer. My dad was able to utter the immortal words, “Well, I was on the phone to Don Revie the other day, and I might be able to arrange a trial for you.”

The trial was over the Easter weekend. We were visiting my grandmother in Leeds for the holidays when my dad was invited to Elland Road to meet the great man and talk about the Leeds United course for apprentice footballers.

My dad and I went to the ground and were shown into Revie’s office. As an eleven-year-old boy, I was in awe of Don Revie and hung on to his every word. After the meeting, we were given a tour of the ground and met the likes of Jack Charlton, Billy Bremner, and Norman Hunter, some of the icons of that era. We met the coaching staff, which included Les Cocker, Maurice Lindley, and Syd Owen, all legends at the time.

I was overwhelmed by the experience and couldn’t wait to tell my schoolmates. There was one more thing that weekend. On Easter Monday, May 30th, 1964, I attended a game for the very first time. A crowd of 40,105 packed into Elland Road. It was a good game, and Leeds won 2-1, went to the top of the Second Division, ready to be promoted to the top division, and marked the start of the Revie glory years.

The club had their most successful period under the management of Don Revie in the 1960s and 1970s, when they won the League title twice, the FA Cup once, the League Cup once, and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup twice. The club has also been runners-up five times in the League Championship, three times in the FA Cup, once each in the EFL Cup, the Charity Shield, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Cup Winners' Cup, and the European Cup.

I still have a copy of the match programme, a precious reminder of the beginning of a life of successes and disappointments. I hunger for a repeat of the glory years, and I’m ever hopeful for the future.