In Leeds United: A History, author Dave Tomlinson relates the complete and definitive history of the club from the early days of Leeds City to the present day. Through the voices of the people involved with the club, including supporters, players and former players, owners, administrators and local writers, to describe the club's history within its social context, how changes have affected the club and how developments in football itself have made an indelible impact upon both the football club and the wider community. This is a must-have for any fan of the 'Mighty Whites'.
‘It's not the despair... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.’ - John Cleese in Clockwise
Every fan of Leeds United will get the sentiment and readily acknowledge the masochistic nature of life as a follower of the Mighty Whites; right from its humble beginnings as Leeds City, the club has been dogged by a cycle of brave new dawns that inevitably give way in a resigned shudder to a disaster even grimmer than the last.
City struggled against financial challenges from the moment the club was established and just as the peerless Herbert Chapman offered the promise of promotion, Leeds were unceremoniously thrown out of the League and disbanded for making illegal wartime payments to players.
Football was reborn in Leeds with the formation in 1919 of United, Second Division champions in 1924 before spending the next fifteen years yo-yoing between divisions.
After the Second World War, Major Frank Buckley unearthed a superstar in John Charles; the Gentle Giant led United to promotion in 1956 before his big money transfer to Juventus left his colleagues with little to look forward to but relegation.
Don Revie brought unprecedented success to Elland Road, but after he left for the England job, the club meandered under the mismanagement of directors who had been spoiled by the achievements of Revie.
Howard Wilkinson led United to the League championship in 1992 before big money took centre stage and the powers-that-be lost faith in Wilko’s plans.
David O’Leary took a set of exciting youngsters through a memorable Champions League campaign only for financial gambles and a high profile trial to bring the club to its knees.
Promotion hopes beckoned in 2006 but United were hammered in the Play-Off final and relegated a year later as Ken Bates plunged the club into administration.
Simon Grayson’s side earned promotion in 2010 and went close to a return to the Premiership before Bates’ unwillingness to invest scuppered those hopes.
GFH Capital promised a money-driven revival, but their promises ran into the sand.
And now we have the eccentric Massimo Cellino …
To live through such a rollercoaster history requires resilience, the kind which few supporters possess. It’s miserable, fascinating, frustrating, exciting and chaotic being a Leeds fan and it doesn’t look likely to change any time soon … Marching On Together!!
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