When Dinamo Zagreb denied Leeds United after Bologna coin toss

LEEDS United made an almighty noise in their first season of European football.

Sunday, 23rd August 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd August 2020, 12:12 pm
DRAMATIC: Legendary former Leeds United boss Don Revie, left, celebrates with his players as the Whites progress past Fairs Cup quarter-final opponents Bologna after the flip of a card following 210 minutes of football. Picture by Varleys.

The 1965-66 campaign saw the Whites go all the way to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup semi-final as part of a year in which they finished runners-up in the league.

By the time the following campaign kicked off, United had two World Cup winners in their ranks in Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter.

And only Dinamo Zagreb then denied Charlton, Hunter and Leeds from winning what would have been United's first piece of silverware as a top flight side under boss Don Revie as part of a season in which Charlton was named the Football Writers Association's Footballer of the Year.

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Keen to further strengthen his side, Revie tried once again to sign winger Alan Ball from Blackpool in the summer of 1966 only for Ball to be sold to Everton.

But with veteran Bobby Collins now back recovered after a broken thigh, Revie effectively had a signing from within.

Yet injuries were to prove a feature of the 1966-67 season campaign and before it even began with Charlton straining his hamstring in the pre-season friendly against a Glasgow Select XI at Hampden Park.

With injuries to contend with and a lack of a cutting edge, Leeds won only three of their opening 11 league games.

But in the end young wing half Jimmy Greenhoff was switched to play centre forward and Greenhoff netted the game's third goal as United began their second Fairs Cup assault with a 3-1 win at DWS Amsterdam with Albert Johanneson then bagging a hat-trick in the second leg as part of a 5-1 rout.

Johanneson was another player to be frustrated by injuries during the 66-67 campaign and United could not get going until the Whites found their stride with some good results in December, one month after a 7-0 thumping at West Ham in the fourth round of the League Cup.

Leeds were 13th at the start of October but ended the year in sixth and only five points behind leaders Manchester United and with a game in hand, despite midfielder Johnny Giles being out with a thigh injury.

The emerging Peter Lorimer bagged a brace in a 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle United at Elland Road on Boxing Day.

Leeds would ultimately have to settle for a fourth-placed finish but United marched on in Europe after overcoming Valencia in the Fairs Cup third round, despite a huge injury list.

Veteran Collins also left the club for Bury with Jim Storrie also heading for Aberdeen.

But Leeds continued their progress, overcoming Sunderland and then Manchester City to move into the FA Cup sem-finals before their Fairs Cup quarter-final at home to Bologna.

The FA Cup replay against Sunderland at Elland Road was watched by a record number of 57,892 spectators with barriers collapsing under the pressure.

Back in Europe, Leeds and Bologna could not be separated after two legs and even following extra time with the tie then decided on the toss of a coin which Bologna skipper Giacomo Bulgarelli called wrong to delight of Whites captain Billy Bremner.

United's FA Cup adventure was then ended with a 1-0 loss to Chelsea in a semi-final at Villa Park and despite a valiant attempt to make up the early lost ground, Leeds had to concede defeat in the title race as Manchester United were again crowned champions.

But a fourth-placed finish meant Europe again next season and United's 66-67 campaign then ended with so nearly a glorious conclusion to their second Fairs Cup campaign.

The Whites then overcame Kilmarnock in the semis but the final against Dinamo Zagreb was staged the following season due to fixture congestion delaying the other semi final between Zagreb and Eintracht Frankfurt.

The first leg of the final eventually took place on August 30 in Yugoslavia with Leeds already three games into the new campaign and an injury hit Leeds fell to a 2-0 defeat.

The second leg took place the following week at Elland Road but Leeds were unable to break down Zagreb who were crowned Fairs Cup winners after a 0-0 draw.

Leeds were the bridesmaids yet again, but eventually that would change...

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Thank you Laura Collins