Leeds United legend Don Revie's man management style likened to Jurgen Klopp's in new book

A miner's son who became a globe-trotting sales director  has revealed how he became friends with Don Revie and helped install undersoil heating at Elland Road.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 2:16 pm

Geoff Williams, 88, has spoken about his friendship with the legendary Leeds United manager in his autobiography 'Made in Wales: From Nowhere to Everywhere.'

In the late 1960s, Revie anticipated the benefits of installing the new undersoil heating system and Geoff persuaded the Leeds boss to let his company, Pyrotenax, oversee the project.

"Don Revie had concerns about the Elland Road pitch and he felt postponements were becoming a problem," said Geoff.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Geoff Williams with Leeds United manager Don Revie holding the FA Cup

"It meant towards the end of the season they were having to play three games a week and key players were getting injured.

"This is why Don wanted the undersoil heating in and he wanted it done quickly.

"We faced competition from our rivals, BICC, but we were given the contract.

"We were there almost every day while the work took place during the close season, but we got it completed.

Geoff Williams

"I became friendly with a lot of the players, especially Jack Charlton who was such a nice guy.

"Don Revie was a great guy and he had a really good set of players such as Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter and Peter Lorimer," said Geoff.

"They lived in the city and Don would not let them move into accommodation until he had been to check it out himself. He really cared for his players.

"When I see the way Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool puts his arm around his players that reminds me a bit of how Don used to treat the Leeds team.

Geoff Williams pictured with John Charles

"I liked Don very much. It was so awful to see what happened to him, when he had motor neurone disease while still relatively young."

The relationship Geoff had built with the Yorkshire giants would pay dividends, as it allowed him to take the FA Cup out of Yorkshire and back to his home village in North Wales.

1972 had been a good footballing year for Geoff, with Wrexham winning the Welsh Cup and Leeds lifting the FA Cup.

His friend Greville Williams, who for many years was the Llay village correspondent for the local Leader newspaper, suggested they could try and bring the two trophies together at Llay Royal British Legion.

Geoof Williams with Don Revie

Geoff approached Leeds chairman Manny Cussins about whether it was possible to take the FA Cup to Llay.

"I told him I was a big Wrexham fan as well as Leeds and it would be a good idea to have the two trophies on show together," said Geoff.

"To my surprise he agreed and saw it as a good idea, although he insisted people came with me from Leeds to keep an eye on the FA Cup.

"We took it to the British Legion and the place was absolutely packed. Everyone there wanted their pictures taken with the two cups."

In the book Geoff also revealed how he became friends with Ken Dodd, who gave him two of his famous tickling sticks.

Geoff also rubbed shoulders with singing superstar Sir Tom Jones, Hollywood actors Richard Burton and Jack Nicholson and Kop hero Bill Shankly.

Geoff Williams pictured with Ken Dodd

He was also friendly with comedians Les Dawson and Bernard Manning, but said the only time he felt truly starstruck was when he met former Wales and Leeds United star John Charles.

Made in Wales: From Nowhere to Everywhere is published by Caroline Brannigan and priced £15 plus postage.

For details, email [email protected] or visit www.carolinebrannigan.com