Leeds United superfan hails influence of new book with huge legends input and dirty Leeds truth

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Leeds United superfan author Gary Edwards says he owes the Whites a debt because of legendary former boss Don Revie.

"It was because of him that we are all going today basically," says the well respected writer and lifelong Leeds fan. "There's no two ways about it." It's also because of Revie that the popular author has now produced his latest book, the 'Summer of 63', something Edwards is counting his lucky stars he was around for as his own extraordinary Whites love affair was about to first begin.

For Edwards, the 1966-67 season presented a first taste of cheering on the Whites from the terraces as a ten-year-old boy. By the time the 1967-1968 campaign came around he was going every week and amazingly that's been the case for absolutely every game since.

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"I was lucky enough to be born into that era," recalls the author, reflecting on a period in which the Whites secured two league titles, two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Charity Shield. The first of those honours was secured in March 1968 as a tremendous strike from Terry Cooper sealed a 1-0 victory against Arsenal in the League Cup final.

'HE'S EVERYTHING': Legendary Leeds United boss Don Revie pictured filming Bobby Collins back in May 1965. Photo by A. Jones/Evening Standard/Getty Images.'HE'S EVERYTHING': Legendary Leeds United boss Don Revie pictured filming Bobby Collins back in May 1965. Photo by A. Jones/Evening Standard/Getty Images.
'HE'S EVERYTHING': Legendary Leeds United boss Don Revie pictured filming Bobby Collins back in May 1965. Photo by A. Jones/Evening Standard/Getty Images.

But the summer of 63 was when the ball first started rolling and it's a tale Edwards is deeply proud to tell in his brand new book with the help of anecdotes from Leeds United's legends and their families plus supporters of both the Whites and rival clubs.

"It's basically centred around the 63-64 season and Revie's plan as I call it for the summer of 63," Edwards told the YEP. "That's where it kicked in for Leeds really. It does go back three years and it goes forward four years but it stops in the 66-67 season just before we started winning trophies.

"But it's centred around the summer of 63, the building of Revie, bringing in Bobby Collins. Johnny Giles, keeping Billy Bremner at the club. He was chronically home sick and Don Revie kept having to go to Scotland and everything. People know all about this but I have gone right in depth to it. I think it's a great story to tell of the transformation that he actually did. It's obviously been mentioned before but I wanted to do a full book on it because I think it's important that everything is noted."

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Reflecting on the huge amount of work that has gone into his latest publication, Edwards explained "I have had players past and present, players from the 50s such as Roy Wood who was in goals and who is 92 now. There's some absolute cracking stories and that's what the centre of the book is really. There's stories from fans and players but fans from both sides, Leeds and opposition fans.

"There's a full chapter on Goodison, the battle of Goodison but a lot of Everton fans have sent me their testimonies as well which makes good reading. I have been loaned scrap books by players and players' families if the player has died, unique photographs, private photographs, private letters, telegrams that were sent to Gary Sprake when he went to Birmingham City and telegrams when he played for Wales and from Don Revie.

"It's about them players and that era and also the truth as I call it behind ‘dirty Leeds’, a tag which a lot of people do know but I have gone into it in a lot of detail with a lot of input from Duncan Revie who I got to know really well when I was doing another book - No Glossing Over It.

"They call it ‘dirty Leeds’ but it was a tag ‘dirty Leeds’ that people don't really understand. They just think ‘dirty Leeds, they kick people off the park’ which in that 63-64 season all the teams were kicking lumps out of each other.

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"It was a really physical year and physical division and Leeds had one player sent off in 43 years - Archie Gibson in 1956 - and they still come up with this tag ‘dirty Leeds’ which has stuck to this day. They didn't get another player sent off until 63 when Gary Sprake got sent off in a friendly against Scunthorpe. They had one player sent off in 43 years and they just completely glossed over that.

"I have spoken to a lot of players in recent years. I spoke to Norman Hunter at great length because I shared a stage with him when I was proving a book once and I was on stage with him once in Otley. Obviously the questions were mainly at him and it was a great experience.

"I got to know him over the years really well and then I got close and had lots of chats with Jack Charlton, I was very close to Eddie Gray and Pete Lorimer. I spoke to Bobby Collins in depth, Kim Revie has given me a load of stuff, Duncan had already given me stuff, Dave Cocker who was Les Cocker's son has given me a hell of an amount of stuff and it's not a history book, it's in depth and getting some flesh on the bones."

It's what Edwards does best with his latest book following the likes of No Glossing Over It, Paint It White, Fifty Shades of White and Every Cloud - all of which centre around the club's history.

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"I've never actually done the modern stuff to be honest," says the author. "I'm a bit of a dinosaur and I have always looked back!”

That, though, is done with the deepest fondness and largely thanks to one man in particular held in the deepest esteem.

"Don Revie is everything to me and I owe Leeds United a debt because of Don Revie," said Edwards. "I was lucky enough to be born into that era, I fell just into the middle of it and I will always be grateful for him. It was because of him that we are all going today basically, no two ways about it. I was born in 56 and I started going when I was ten. I just came into it just right.

"I can remember the 66 season, I went to most of the games but then from 68 that was the last game I ever missed. I have been going ever since and I have got a fantastic memory of those games. I can remember those games in the 60s more than I can these half the time!"

*Summer of '63 by Gary Edwards is out now priced at £16.99, produced by Pitch Publishing, with foreword by Ralph Ineson.

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