Petition demands FA apology for Leeds United icon Don Revie's 'vexatious and vindictive' treatment

Support is growing for a petition to obtain an apology from the Football Association for its treatment of Leeds United's legendary former manager Don Revie.

By Graham Smyth
Friday, 4th February 2022, 4:58 pm

The Leeds United Supporters Network [LUSN] are championing a plea from MP Chris Evans, author of the recently released book Don Revie The Biography, that the FA apologises to the surviving members of Revie's family for what Evans calls a 'witch hunt.'

The FA banned Revie from English football for ten years in 1977 following his departure as England boss to become manager of the United Arab Emirates team.

Evans has told the YEP that Revie has been denied his rightful place in English football after accusations of financial misconduct that the Shadow Minister for Defence Procurement insists were without substance or evidence.

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“He was destroyed from resigning from a job he didn’t like - he walked out on the England job and no one could understand that," said Evans.

“After Revie walked away, the FA and the press went after him and went digging. Remember he was never charged with anything, never charged with a criminal offence, never charged by the FA for throwing games, so there was never any evidence. It was a witchhunt led by people upset that he resigned from that job.”

The FA banned Revie from English football for 10 years in 1977 but it was overturned in court the following year. Evans has written to the FA to ask for an apology and now the LUSN have taken up the cause for a man they say was an innovator.

A spokesperson told the YEP: "Leeds United's best ever transfer, Don Revie had a unique, brilliant, and inventive footballing brain, winning multiple honours and creating a team that not only dominated English football for over a decade, but was feared throughout Europe. Both an England player and manager, Footballer and Manager of the Year, few, if any match his record.

LEEDS ICON - Former Leeds United and England manager Don Revie with his son Don, daughter Kim and wife Elsie at Buckingham Palace after receiving the OBE. Pic: Getty

"Indeed, without Don Revie, many of the innovative aspects of the modern game would not exist and Leeds United would not be club it is today, yet his reputation was tainted by certain members of the FA. Don Revie was certainly way ahead of his time, but the FA was 50 years behind, in a bygone age, culturally and professionally.

"Instead of being lauded in the pantheon of footballing greats for his achievements and revolutionary ideas, the FA continued a vendetta to the detriment of Don and his family, the legacy of which persists today."

The LUSN's petition, which they say has been welcomed by Revie's daughter Kim, is nearing 2,500 signatures. They hope it will highlight the depth of feeling, not only among Whites fans, but throughout the footballing world, that history should be written by winners and not administrators.

Clive Miers, LUSC vice chair, told the YEP: "Looking through today's footballing prism, Don Revie was a footballing colossus - not only did he have immense success as a player and manager, but he undoubtedly laid the groundwork for many successful players and managers that have followed.

"In many respects he is the father of the modern game, and it is hoped that the FA recognise that the vexatious and vindictive actions of their predecessors have done immeasurable harm to his reputation, to his family and indeed English football. We would urge everybody who appreciates football and its history to sign the petition."

The YEP understands that while the FA concede that the events surrounding Revie's resignation as England manager were disputed at the time and remain so, they believe they would have neither sufficient information about the thinking at the time, nor the capacity, to review decisions taken in 1977.