Leeds United 100: Graham Smyth - Centenary celebrations the ideal time to remember all Whites legends

“The club history will remember the people who promoted the team.”

By Graham Smyth
Saturday, 19th October 2019, 11:21 am
Updated Saturday, 19th October 2019, 11:59 am
Leeds United manager Don Revie lifts the 'FA Cup' trophy after his players beat Arsenal to win in 1972. Also shown are Jack Charlton (left), Billy Bremner (1942 - 1997), and Paul Reaney (far right). (Picture: Getty Images)
Leeds United manager Don Revie lifts the 'FA Cup' trophy after his players beat Arsenal to win in 1972. Also shown are Jack Charlton (left), Billy Bremner (1942 - 1997), and Paul Reaney (far right). (Picture: Getty Images)

Marcelo Bielsa has it exactly right, history is written about the victors and Leeds United’s centenary celebrations have put a number of legendary Whites winners back in the limelight.

Such as Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson, the men who masterminded the successes fans still cherish, Billy Bremner and Gary Speed, who made themselves heroes by carrying out their manager’s master-plan, men who have never left the hearts and minds of Leeds United fans.

But a 100th birthday is an ideal time for those and other legends to return to the forefront of the collective consciousness and once again have their feats spoken, written and sung about.

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Howard Wilkinson and his Leeds United team with the 1992 Division One trophy

It is fitting that so many of the club’s favourite sons were honoured at the black-tie ball at Elland Road on Thursday night and appropriate that the Leeds United side of 1967 to 1974, the Revie boys, are to be bestowed with the Freedom of the City Award, Leeds’ highest civic honour.

It is also fitting for the entire history, even the period before the actual birth of Leeds United, to be pored over.

Names of the club’s originators and those who subsequently dug deep into their pockets at times when the club so desperately needed it, men like Hilton Crowther, deserve their place in the history books, a number of which have been published to coincide with the birthday celebrations.

It is entirely right and proper that, throughout the past week, the Yorkshire Evening Post has dedicated a good number of pages to the backstory of the city’s biggest sporting institution.

Leeds United is the heartbeat of not just a city but a region whose collective mood can rise and fall with the fortunes of their football club.

It is not only its status as a one-club city that gives Leeds United such prominence in its locale, but the fervour of a rabidly expectant fanbase.

The history of their club, the league titles, the successful jaunts into Europe, the prestigious names to have worn the white shirt are all the justification Leeds fans need for boasting ‘big club’ status.

Our special centenary supplement will bring to life the moments that matter most to supporters of Leeds United, from the very start to the present day and explain what Leeds United means to this paper and this city.

Recent times, the last 15 years, may not have been so kind or so exciting but a sleeping giant is still a giant.

It is surely only a matter of time, too, before the giant wakes from its Championship slumber and takes its rightful place in the Premier League.

To do so in the season that marked 100 years of Leeds United would be nigh on perfect, albeit long overdue, and whether or not you’re a dyed in the wool Bielsista, it is difficult to argue that the Argentine has given the Whites their best hope for promotion in 13 years.

His full-tilt brand of football has not only brought something new to the Championship, it has heralded a new dawn for Leeds United and brought excitement back to Elland Road.

Even his doubters would rejoice, were he to write his name in the history books and become the man who led Leeds back to the promised land.

As much as this week and the YEP’s special coverage has been about the past and taking a moment or two to reflect on what has gone, it is also and always will be about the future, about the next thing, the next win.

This is a club that looks back fondly and proudly at the past while Marching on Together towards the future.

Happy 100th birthday from the YEP, here’s to the victors to be written about in the next 100.