When Leeds United overcame late wobbles to be crowned champions of England for second time

DON REVIE knew his Leeds United side had been the best team of the last decade entering the 1973-74 campaign.

Saturday, 11th July 2020, 4:50 pm

He also knew his Whites had not won as much as they should have and the end of the 72-73 season hardly helped from that perspective.

As part of a campaign in which the Whites finished third behind champions Liverpool and runners-up Arsenal, United were defeated in the FA Cup final by Sunderland before also being chinned by AC Milan in the final of the European Cup Winners Cup.

Revie was then offered the Everton job but had unfinished business and was in no mood for messing approaching the start of the following season.

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THE BEST: Leeds United celebrate winning the 1974 First Division title as part of Billy Bremner's testimonial game at Elland Road. Picture by YPN.

The aim, not just to win the league, but to go the whole season unbeaten.

And despite the summer departure of Jack Charlton and Chris Galvin, this time there was no stopping Revie's Whites who finally became champions of England for the second time after falling to just four league defeats all term.

Amazingly, it took until February for Leeds to finally fall to a Division One defeat - by which point United's stellar work throughout the previous six months had laid the foundations for their title triumph.

With Revie's words ringing in their ears, Leeds began the season with seven-straight league wins with the run only broken by a goalless draw at home to Manchester United in the season in which the Red Devils were relegated.

Normal service was resumed with a 1-0 triumph at Norwich City as Johnny Giles bagged the only goal of the game before United suffered a 2-0 loss at Ipswich Town in the League Cup second round.

But United's progress continued in the run-up to Christmas both domestically and in Europe with the Whites edging out Hibernian on penalties in the middle of November in the UEFA Cup.

The bid for yet more European glory was then ended by defeat to Portuguese side Vitoria Setubal in mid-December in the third round but the Whites hit back with three-straight league wins and Leeds then went unbeaten until February when the season threatened to hit the buffers.

After a shock 1-0 loss at home to Bristol City in an FA Cup fifth round replay, United were felled in the league for the first time via a 3-2 defeat at Stoke City.

Draws at home to Leicester City and Newcastle United followed before the Whites recorded a 1-0 victory against Manchester City at Elland Road before the unthinkable - three consecutive league defeats.

A 1-0 loss at defending champions Liverpool, 4-1 reverse at home to Burnley and 3-1 defeat at West Ham left United's title destiny out of their own hands with United four points ahead of Liverpool but with the Reds having nine games left as opposed to United's six.

Yet Revie's side then took 12 points out of a last possible 16 as this time Liverpool hit the buffers with United crowned champions after Bill Shankly's Reds suffered a defeat against Arsenal at Anfield on April 24.

Even with a Reds win, United knew they would have sealed the title in any case if taking a point from their final day fixture at Queens Park Rangers.

The game proved immaterial but United wanted to sign off in style and did so with a 1-0 victory thanks to Allan Clarke's winner.

Then came Billy Bremner's testimonial game against Sunderland at Elland Road on May 6 as part of a season in which Bremner played his 500th league game.

And then ultimately came Revie's departure with the legendary Whites boss departing the club after 13 years at the helm in the summer to take the England job.

He left Leeds as champions with Revie departing after steering United to two Division One titles, two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Charity Shield.

The fact that Leeds then should have won the European Cup the following season under Jimmy Armfield does not need reminding with Leeds ultimately then forced to wait until 1992 under Howard Wilkinson for Leeds to win their next major honour in becoming champions of England for the third time, 18 years after Revie's second title triumph and glorious farewell.