Throwback to 1960-1975! Leeds United were one of the strongest clubs in England and in Europe, built by their most successful manager Don Revie, who won two League Championships, two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups, one Division Two Championship, one FA Cup, one League Cup and one Charity Shield in his 13-year reign as manager.
He is also the club’s longest-serving manager, presiding over a total of 740 games from 1961 to 1974.
Leeds United was led by their fiery captain, Billy Bremner, won the Football League Championship in 1969 and the FA Cup in 1972.
Leeds again won the league in 1974. Their supporters always believe that they lost the 1975 European Cup Final to Bayern Munich only due to controversial refeering decisions.
Leeds declined in the 1980s but recovered again to win the final Football League Championship in 1992, just before the Premier League was formed.
A young, exciting team under David O’Leary, was competing with Manchester United for the Premier League and reached the Semi-Finals of the Champions League in 2001.
Come 2003, a rebuilt Leeds United suffered a financial collapse, from which the club has yet not recovered. The Chairman, Peter Ridsdale, admitted the club had borrowed heavily to buy star players and famously said of the drive for success. “We lived the dream!”.
Leeds had to sell the star players, including Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United, but they were still relegated in 2004 with debts over £ 100m.
A group of local businessmen took over, settled much of their debts, sold more players, and even the Elland Road Stadium and Training Ground to a landlord but could not keep the club steady financially.
In 2005, they announced a takeover by Ben Kates, who two years earlier had sold Chelsea to the Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich. Bates said he was representing a consortium of owners whose identity was never revealed, through funds registered in off-shore tax havens including the British Virgin Islands.
Bates could not steady the ship as wages increased throughout the 2000s, but the huge gap in income with the multi-millions of pounds paid for television rights in the Premier League, means the clubs in the Championship struggled to balance the books.
Leeds were relegated to League One in 2007 for the first time in their history and Bates cut Leeds debts by putting the club into administration. They stayed in League One for three seasons before winning promotion in 2007.
The following year Bates announced that he had bought the club from the unidentified investors.
He then sold Leeds to a bank based in Bahrain, Gulf Finance House, in 2012. They in turn sold the club in 2014 to an Italian-American businessman, Massima Cellino.
Cellino had himself been convicted of tax fraud in Italy, making him unfit to be the Director or owner of a Football League Club. He returned after a year when his criminal conviction was considered spent in English Law.
Cellino has sacked 6 managers in the period of 2 years from 2014-2016, but his approach has not reclaimed success on the pitch.
In 2016-2017, Gary Monk was appointed the manager in June. In December, The Football Association suspend owner Massimo Cellino from all football activities for 18 months and fine him £250,000, for breaching the FA’s football agent rules over the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham in 2014.
Leeds United finished 7th under Monk, although they came close to promotion to the Premier League with a chance at the Play-offs.
Leeds United, still a big city football club of great traditions and history, play on in the Championship. In the Elland Road ground that they do not own, their large passionate supporters wondering how it all went wrong, but still singing of the glory days of old.
How we wish they play in the Premier League and rekindle those fierce rivalries!