PORTRAITS OF THE DON: REVIE AT CITY, SUNDERLAND AND LEEDS UNITED

A true legend whose influence stretches way beyond just Elland Road.

Revered at Leeds United, remembered fondly at Leicester, Hull, Sunderland and Manchester City, Don Revie was an exceptional footballer and a truly revolutionary manager. 

Born in Middlesbrough in 1927, Don Revie learned his trade as a forward with spells at Leicester City and Hull City before moving to Maine Road and Manchester City in 1951.  A dangerous inside forward, Revie was so impressed by the Magical Magyars that had destroyed England at Wembley in the mid 1950’s - and Nándor Hidegkuti in particular - that he developed his own game at City to mirror the deep lying role adopted by the Hungarian star.

Revie’s attacks from midfield so confused the then rigid marking systems of the English first division that his Manchester City side were able to clinch the FA Cup in 1956.  A tactical revolution in English football had begun, but by the time Revie had moved from City to Sunderland and then Leeds United, he was already considering ideas and methods that would change the landscape of football coaching in England.

Taking over as player manager at struggling second division team Leeds United in 1961, Revie instigated a number of innovations relating to diet, coaching methods and psychology.  Not only this, he changed Leeds’ kits from blue and yellow to the familiar all white that dominated English football in the early 1970’s.  A homage to Real Madrid. 

Revie left a dominant Leeds United to take over an England side still adjusting to life after Alf Ramsey in 1974.  Regrettably England were unable to qualify for the 1976 European Championships and 1978 World Cup, and Revie’s controversial departure to the UAE in 1977 left a shadow on his reputation for many years.  Revie was ultimately judged by many in England for his actions at this time and upon his death in 1989, the English FA sent no representative to his funeral.

History has perhaps been unkind to Revie, which we think is grossly unfair.  This was a man who set a tone for modern football whose achievements should be appreciated well beyond Leeds United.  In recognition of Don Revie, we’ve put together the attached Gallery to remember a true legend.

As always the images included are available to buy as high quality prints directly from Colorsport and you can do that by following this link.

In addition, we’d like to draw your attention to the Don Revie statue appeal being run by a group of Leeds United supporters.  You can find out more here and here.

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