As the Yorkshire Evening Post prepares for its 125th birthday on September 1, Paul Robinson looks at how Leeds United have made the paper’s headlines over the years..
Leeds United may have had their ups and downs over the years but one thing has stayed constant – the club’s habit of making front and back page news.
From their scandal-tinged beginnings through the title triumphs of Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson to the present day ownership of Massimo Cellino, United have invariably been a rich source of copy for the Yorkshire Evening Post.
And today, as the countdown continues to September 1’s 125th anniversary of our first ever edition, we look at 10 of the biggest Leeds stories in the YEP’s lifetime:
* United were born from the ashes of Leeds City, who were kicked out of the Football League amid allegations over illegal payments.
The Metropole Hotel was the scene of a remarkable auction on October 17, 1919, as everything from City’s players to their nets and physiotherapy equipment was sold off to representatives of more than 30 rival clubs.
* The YEP had the inside track on United legend John Charles and his record-breaking £65,000 transfer to Italian giants Juventus in April 1957.
Speaking to reporter Phil Brown by what was breathlessly described as “trans-European telephone”, Juventus chairman Umberto Agnelli said: “We need Charles badly – and we are determined to get him.”
* Don Revie’s appointment as manager at Leeds in March 1961 transformed the fortunes of a club then struggling in the old Second Division.
Talking to the YEP after making what we hailed as a “rapid-fire” start to his new role, Revie said: “I shall do my best with United’s difficult situation.
“It offers a real challenge, and there is, I know, a tremendous amount of hard work ahead. One and all have to get down to it at Elland Road.
“I am very pleased with my contract which gives me full power on selection, transfers in and out, training – all aspects of work necessary to get a good playing staff.”
* Revie was left in tears, reported the YEP in November 1971, following the dramatic collapse of West Bromwich Albion star Asa Hartford’s move to United for what would have been a club record fee of £177,000.
‘Asa Hartford – it’s all off’ blared the headline after the player’s medical revealed he was suffering from a heart defect.
* United stunned football in 1974 with the appointment of Brian Clough, one of the club’s most vocal critics, as Revie’s replacement.
Clough lasted just 44 days in the job, with one unnamed member of the Leeds squad telling the YEP of “considerable unrest” in the dressing room shortly before his exit.
United captain Billy Bremner pulled no punches after the parting of the ways, telling us: “People say you cannot get to know a man in such a short space of time but seven weeks was long enough for me to get to know Brian Clough.”
* The YEP used a front page editorial to condemn fan violence that flared at Leeds’s home league game against Newcastle United in October 1982.
We called for life bans and a season-long closure of Elland Road’s Kop after asking: “Just how much more humiliation are the people of Leeds expected to take?”
* United, by then back in the Second Division, announced a sensational – and ultimately unsuccessful – bid to sign Diego Maradona in July 1987.
Leeds commercial director Bill Fotherby told the YEP’s Don Warters that “this is a serious attempt by us to try to bring the breathtaking skills of one of the world’s greatest players to Elland Road”.
* The YEP was United’s shirt sponsor for the 1991-92 season – the unforgettable campaign that saw the Whites lifting the old First Division title.
Speaking about the link-up in the summer of 1991, Howard Wilkinson said: “In my time as manager at Elland Road the YEP has always done its best to give everybody a fair shout relative to Leeds United Football Club and by that I mean both the club and the readers.”
* January 2000 saw the YEP breaking the bombshell news that United players Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate had been arrested in connection with a vicious street attack in Leeds.
In December 2001 Bowyer was cleared of all charges while Woodgate was found guilty of affray.
* The YEP was also first with the news in May 2001 that United were considering leaving Elland Road for a purpose-built replacement ground.
Fans voted in favour of the switch to a £70m site at Skelton but the plan came to nothing as the club’s finances crashed and burned.