Leeds United Dream Team: Your favourite centre backs revealed

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Big Jack has been trumped – with the centre-back aces-in-the-pack in our Leeds United Dream Team being Lucas Radebe and Norman Hunter, with Jack Charlton a close third.

Affectionately known as “The Chief”, revered defender Radebe claimed a hugely-impressive 41 per cent of the vote, with 1960s and 1970s legend Hunter (28 per cent) partnering him in the heart of the back four.

So controversially, there’s no place for World Cup-winning centre-half Charlton – which will represent a colossal surprise to many following his outstanding 20 years service to United.

The vote probably represented the toughest choice we have asked of you so far, with modern-day players Jonathan Woodgate and – whisper it gently – Rio Ferdinand also receiving some support.

There was also a mention for a man not even on our list, the very embodiment of versatility himself in the consummately-skilled Paul Madeley, who had his fans at centre-back, just as he will have and has had in the full-back and midfield positions.

Not to mention the Gentle Giant himself in John Charles, although, rest assured, he’ll be figuring this summer along with Madeley.

But Radebe and Hunter have won our vote and it’s safe to say that not much would have got past either, with both men in every sense of the word willing to put their bodies on the line with a they-shall-not-pass attitude prevalent at the merest whiff of danger.

E-mailing his verdict, yellandroar said: “I’ve seen all the centre-backs listed and would plump for Hunter and Radebe, Big Jack was error-prone and suspect against pace, while for all Ferdinand’s undoubted class, he did not possess the commitment and courage of the two I’ve voted for.”

Pompey Steve also chose the pair, saying: “The Chief and Big Norm in the toughest choice so far. I wasn’t lucky enough to see John Charles or Big Jack play, so I’ve got to go with what I know.”

The non-presence of Charlton is bound to be a major bone of contention for many who were privileged to watch him at his pomp.


This is especially so, given his legendary partnership with Hunter which struck fear into the hearts of opponents for many a year and which was the cornerstone of United’s rise to the top under Don Revie.

Interestingly, a teaming of Charlton and Radebe also had its supporters.

Pro-Charlton fans might venture that their man suffered from a younger generation of United fans not seeing him line up in the famous white jersey, most likely remembering him for patrolling the touchline, flat cap and all, as manager of the Republic of Ireland.

It was a valid issue picked up upon by robripon, who e-mailed: “I cannot believe Big Jack – our only World Cup winner – is not going to be voted in as first-choice centre-half.

“Just because people didn’t see him play is not an excuse. Many people didn’t ever see a game when Don Revie was our manager, but he has always been our number one manager and always will be.”

Different opinions make the world go round. But what is undeniable is that in our chosen pair of Radebe and Hunter, United possess a formidable partnership with all the attributes associated in a top-class centre-half through the ages.

They had pace, tackling ability, power – both in the air and on the deck – bravery, decisiveness and consistency, with a touch of class and intimidation thrown in to boot.

HOW you voted

Lucas Radebe 41%, Norman Hunter 28%, Jack Charlton 23%, Jonathan Woodgate 4%, Chris Fairclough 1%, Gordon McQueen 1%, Rio ferdinand 1%, Chris Whyte 0%.

Sheffield Wednesday boss, Jos Luhukay at Elland Road on Saturday. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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