Leeds United's maiden First Division title triumph under Don Revie was sealed in style

DON REVIE’S Leeds United took no time to adapt to life in English football’s top flight.

Sunday, 28th June 2020, 4:45 pm

In their very first season back in Division One in 1964-65, only goal ratio denied the Whites immediately becoming champions of England with Manchester United taking the crown instead.

Leeds were again bridesmaids the following season – six points this time behind champions Liverpool – and the next two seasons also brought high-placed finishes but near misses with the Whites fourth twice.

Yet at the fifth time of asking, the 1968-69 season finally saw United crowned Division One champions for the first time in their history as part of a glorious 14 months featuring three pieces of silverware.

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WE'VE DONE IT! Leeds United celebrate becoming champions of England for the first time in their history following their goalless draw at Liverpool in April 1969. Picture by Varleys.

The first piece of silverware under Revie as a top flight side had been secured the previous March when United defeated Arsenal 1-0 in the 1968 League Cup final with Terry Cooper bagging the only goal of the game.

Six months later, United were also savouring success in Europe through the first of two Inter-Cities Fairs Cup triumphs with Revie’s Whites beating Ferencvaros over two legs in the final in August and September.

And by the time United lined up for the second leg in Budapest on September 11 1968, United had already laid the foundations for their first ever Division One title triumph.

Leeds had paid the price for their away form the previous campaign – winning just five as part of a season in which they finished fourth but still only five points behind champions Manchester City.

But this time around Revie sent out Leeds to be more expressive, expansive and daring away from home and United’s legendary manager was rewarded as his side became champions of England for the first time in their history.

No-nonsense Revie set his Whites the target of going unbeaten and it took 13 games in league and cup for Leeds to experience their first loss via a 3-1 reverse at defending champions City.

That reverse proved one of only two league defeats for Revie’s all-conquering Whites who stormed to the title by taking 67 points from their 42 games at two points a game with 27 victories and two draws.

Burnley were the only other team to defeat Leeds in the league that season via a 5-1 victory at Turf Moor on October 10 but thereafter United went on a 28-game unbeaten league run – with the only sour points of the season being their defeats in cups. Revie, after all, wanted all four.

As it happened that season, Crystal Palace ended defending champions United’s League Cup run at the fourth round stage via a 2-1 defeat at Selhurst Park in October in the fixture that preceded the Burnley game.

Sheffield Wednesday put paid to United’s FA Cup hopes when winning a third round replay at Elland Road in January while United’s bid for back to back Fairs Cups was ended by Ujpest Dozsa in March.

But there was quite simply no stopping United in the league as Leeds finished unbeaten at home and thrived with their usual 4-1-4-1 system of Gary Sprake behind a back four of Paul Reaney, Jack Charlton, Norman Hunter and Terry Cooper.

Paul Madeley then filled the holding midfield role behind a midfield of Peter Lorimer, Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Eddie Gray with Mick Jones in the lone striker role.

Jones – purchased from Sheffield United in September 1967 for £100,000 – finished top scorer with 14 goals as part of a season in which 16 Whites players made league starts, with only 18 used all told.

Mike O’Grady also made 38 league starts, with Terry Hibbitt making nine, Rod Belfitt six and then Mick Bates and Jimmy Greenhoff three apiece.

Albert Johanneson also made one appearance from the bench with Terry Yorath chalking up one outing as a substitute in Europe.

And that was it, Revie’s champions of England, who ended their wait for the honour by winning the title in style.