Leeds United Bygones: Howard Wilkinson was determined to write his own piece of Elland Road history

Howard Wilkinson arriving at Elland Road to be greeted by Leslie Silver to start his new job as manager in October 1988. PIC: Yorkshire Post Newspapers
Howard Wilkinson arriving at Elland Road to be greeted by Leslie Silver to start his new job as manager in October 1988. PIC: Yorkshire Post Newspapers
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A ripple of disquiet whistled through the corridors of Elland Road on Howard Wilkinson’s first day as Leeds United manager.

Wishing to rid the club of what he would later describe as a ‘crutch’ for players, spectators and directors to lean on, he removed photographs of Don Revie’s all-conquering ‘Super Leeds’ team from the reception area.

Howard Wilkinson raises the English first division championship trophy in 1992. PIC: Yorkshire Post Newspapers

Howard Wilkinson raises the English first division championship trophy in 1992. PIC: Yorkshire Post Newspapers

Crackling Youtube footage of Wilkinson speaking to Harry Gration on a windswept Moor Allerton Golf Club just days after winning the first division title in 1992 shows the man himself explaining his tone-setting decision.

“Those photographs were very, very symbolic,” said Wilkinson, who turns 75 tomorrow, “taking them down was no disrespect to Don Revie or that team nor anyone else.

“I had to get Leeds United into the first division and I thought those photographs were symbolic for a number of reasons.

“They were there as a sort of crutch for many people. Spectators, members of the board, even players still basked in the reflective glory of that team and those photographs.

“What I did say was that we now had to make our own history.

“They’ve had their history, and their history will go in the new museum, which we will have when we make this club a big club again.”

It was the first bold move of a man that would go on to fulfill that ambition.

Picking the club up from the bottom four of the second division, Wilkinson sculpted a side some argue were comparable with that famous Revie outfit.

‘The Last Champions’ of the old English first division etched their own history, winning the 1991/92 season with a style and determination that extended directly from the dugout.

Indeed, Wilkinson remains the last Englishman to mastermind a top-tier championship in this country.

One wonders what Marcelo Bielsa thinks of the images of Wilkinson and his side that adorn the walls of Elland Road today.