We continue our countdown of Elland Road cult heroes. Who is in at number 4?
Don Revie’s all-powerful Leeds United side is not the easiest place to find cult heroes, not least because every member of the team has become a legend at Elland Road.
Paul Madeley, the player without portfolio, is the closest thing to a cult hero of that time.
A perennial 12th man, Madeley played 536 games for Leeds in the league, 82 more than Eddie Gray, but never had a set place in the side beyond whichever one was available through injury or suspension.
Even so, his achievements at the club will have very few equals: two Division One championships, one FA Cup, one League Cup, two Fairs Cups and a place in the PFA Team of the Year in 1973/74, 1974/75, and 1975/76.
Simply put, the fact he made 712 starts for one of the greatest club teams in the history of football says a lot.
Madeley as a player was unique. He was known as Rolls Royce, because of his utter brilliance on the pitch and the manner in which he handled any position he was asked to play - without complaint and with technical aptitude
He signed for Leeds in 1962 and went on to play in every single position for the Whites.
His record for switching positions has to be recounted to be believed: in 1968, he played at number eight and number ten over the two legged final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup against Juventus, scoring the crucial away goal.
In the same season, Madeley played as a striker when Leeds beat Arsenal in the League Cup final.
Over the eight finals Madeley played in, which says a lot for the exceptional nature of Revie’s team, he started in seven different positions.
However, in the brilliant book Promised Land, author Anthony Clavane writes about being asked to name Revie’s side when stood on the Kop to prove that he is Leeds. Clavane, enamoured with the club, forgets about Madeley.
It’s easy to forget about Madeley, because it’s too easy to recall the first 11 of Sprake, Reaney, Hunter, Charlton, Cooper, Lorimer, Bremner, Giles, Gray, Clarke and Jones.
However, he was as important as any of them, arguably one of the most important reserves in football history.
He also loved playing for Leeds, as former manager Jimmy Armfield remembered:
“He once actually signed a new contract on what was virtually a blank piece of paper. I called him in to discuss terms and opened discussions by saying, ‘OK, Paul, we’ll give you so much’. He replied that he had no intention of leaving Leeds so he might as well sign the contract and let me fill in the details. I said, ‘What do you want, then, two years or three years?’ He answered, ‘Either way, I’ll leave it to you. I just want to play for Leeds,’ and that was that”.
The affection Madeley felt for Leeds will always be felt in return by those fans lucky enough to see Revie’s brilliant side.