Leeds United: Young fan made honorary member of 1972 club

Matthew Handley.
Matthew Handley.
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A ‘LEEDS United-potty’ 12-year-old has been made an honorary member of the legendary 1972 Club.

Matthew Handley, from Kippax, was given the honour of joining the likes of 1972 FA Cup winning players, Peter Lorimer and Eddie Gray, after donating his own signed Leeds shirt to the Don Revie Statue fund.

The youngster had waited outside football grounds with his father, Alex, for signatures of squad players, coaching staff, and even club chairman, Ken Bates, before giving it to the cause.

His father Alex, 42, who has been a Leeds fan for 31 years, said: “When I saw the look on his face and how much it meant to him to be recognised for this, it was fantastic.

“I am extremely proud of him, you can only teach so much and hope that your kids pick up them up.”

Matthew was presented with a book from famed sports illustrator, Paul Trevillion, number 163 of just 250 Don Revie maquettes, an honorary membership to the 1972 Club and a signed print of Trevillion’s Don Revie painting.

The youngster was presented with the gifts as part of a ceremony at Elland Road’s Legends Lounge, in which a number of former players were presented with maquettes to mark the anniversary of Revie’s death.

Players including Norman Hunter, Paul Reaney, Peter Lorimer, Eddie Gray, Terry Yorath and Mike O’Grady from the Don Revie era attended the event.

Alex, who is a photographer, said: “Matthew decided it would be really good to give something back.

“It’s lovely for a young lad to make that kind of decision. Normally when they are that age they don’t want to give things that are precious to them away.”

The young Leeds fan, who has not missed a single game, home or away, since his father first took him two years ago, sold the shirt at a fundraiser organised by South Leeds Independents, a Leeds United supporter’s club.

Alex said: “He is Leeds United potty, everything is about Leeds United to him, win lose or draw.

“He’s so positive, if we lose he’ll tell me, ‘It is alright we will get there in the end’.

“He’s the new breed of Leeds United fan, it’s so refreshing to see a young lad being so positive.”

Matthew took the opportunity to collect all the legend’s signatures at the event.

He added: “Matthew fully understands what kind of squad it was back then.

“And he got to meet them all and Paul Reaney made a big fuss and kept calling him his my mate.” The fund is aiming to raise £90,000.

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