When Leeds United crowned the end of an era

The Last Champions.
The Last Champions.
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Leeds United fans can turn back the clock to one of the club’s finest hours with the help of a new book.

The Last Champions tells the story of United’s famous First Division title win of the 1991-92 season.

Written by journalist Dave Simpson, it hears from many of the key men behind Leeds’s triumph under manager Howard Wilkinson and also gives an insight into life in English football’s top flight before the launch of the Premier League.

Dave, who has supported Leeds since the early 1970s, said: “It was the end of an era, really. Almost as soon as Howard and the team held up the league trophy, football was changing. That summer brought the formation of the Premier League, in came the Sky TV money and everything altered overnight.

“Some of the Leeds team then were on what was good money for the time, but compared to today it was an absolute drop in the ocean.”

Dave spoke to Wilkinson for the book, along with the club’s chairman of the period, Leslie Silver, and its then managing director Bill Fotherby.

Players interviewed included Lee Chapman, Mel Sterland, Imre Varadi and Carl Shutt.

“They were all great guys and they all spoke for a long time,” said Dave. “I must have talked to Carl Shutt for nearly three hours. They gave a lot of their time and that knocked me out.”

Dave also caught up with midfield hardman-turned-movie star Vinnie Jones, who had left Leeds by the time of the title win but was instrumental in the club’s promotion campaign of 1989-90.

“I spent a very entertaining day on the golf course with Vinnie in Beverly Hills,” he said. “I was jet-lagged and getting a stripe of sunburn down me because I was half in and half out of a golf buggy that Vinnie was driving exactly as you’d imagine Vinnie Jones to drive a golf buggy!”

* The Last Champions is published by Bantam Press on May 10, priced £16.99 hardback.

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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