Leeds United: The 7 Worst Moments in Club History

S. GordonCorrespondent IIFebruary 26, 2012

Leeds United: The 7 Worst Moments in Club History

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    Leeds United AFC is an English Football team based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Their past has been littered with success, but financial issues have left Leeds in the second tier of English football and nowhere near the heights they once saw. 

    The supporters to this day stand tall and are thought of as some of the best fans in the country. 

    So for all the success Leeds United have had over the years, there have been many bad times.

    Here are the seven worst moments in Leeds United's history. 

2003/04 Relegation out of the Premier League into Division I (The Championship)

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    The financial crisis at Elland Road was rumoured to have reached £100 million mark.

    With this in mind, Leeds had to continue selling off some of their star players.

    Australian Harry Kewell was sold to Liverpool for a fee of £5 million, and Olivier Dacourt went to Roma for the same fee.

    Other major players they had to let go were Michael Bridges, Danny Mills and England goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, who went to Everton.

    After collecting a mere eight points from their first 12 games, manager Peter Reid was fired and replaced by Eddie Gray, who signed on a temporary basis. Initially it looked like a successful return to management for Gray with some good results pulling them out of the relegation zone by the end of the year.

    This run of form came to an abrupt end with seven consecutive losses, cementing their place back in the relegation zone. Late on in the season they put together a few good results which lifted them off the foot of the table, but a 4-1 thumping at the hands of Bolton on May 2 confirmed their relegation to Division I (The Championship).

    This ended Leeds United's 14-year tenure in the Premier League, only three years after an appearance in the Champions League semifinal.

2000/01 UEFA Champions League Semifinal Defeat Against Valencia

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    Leeds United constantly impressed throughout the 2000/01 Champions League tournament.

    Leeds drew Barcelona, AC Milan and Besiktas in an extremely tough group in the first stage of the tournament.

    Their first six matches were littered with fine performances and memorable results.

    They didn’t start the tournament in the best way, being well beaten by Barcelona 4-0 at the Nou Camp.

    The first sign of big things to come from Leeds was a 1-0 win at home to Milan in tense fashion when midfielder Lee Bowyer scored a last-minute winner to give Leeds their first three points of the tournament.

    They followed that result with a 6-0 thumping of Besiktas at home, then going to Turkey and earning a hard-fought 0-0 draw.

    Leeds then had to face Barcelona at home followed by a trip to the San Siro to face Milan. A 0-0 draw in the Barcelona game left Leeds needing a point to qualify from the group. Dominic Matteo’s goal for Leeds on the stroke of halftime gave them the lead, Milan clawed one back through Serginho, but Leeds held on to qualify ahead of the Spanish giants Barcelona.

    The second group stage saw them face of Real Madrid, Lazio and Anderlecht.

    The first two games started off the same way as the first group stage, with a loss to the Spanish side and a 1-0 win over the Italian side. The next two games were home an away to Anderlecht, which Leeds came away with the maximum six points.

    Leeds put Europe on lookout with their next performance. Although losing out 3-2 to Real Madrid at the Bernabau, they showed they were ready to compete with the big boys of the competition.

    They went into the final game in the same fashion as the first group stage, needing a draw against the Italian giants to secure progression into the next stage. Leeds and Lazio played out a fantastic match with the score ending three apiece, sending the Lilywhites through.

    Leeds drew Deportivo La Coruna in the quarterfinals and made a push for the final with a 3-0 home win courtesy of goals from Ian Harte, Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand.

    It was a nerve-wracking second leg for Lilywhite fans; with the tie looking to be theirs before kickoff, Deportivo pulled back two goals and with 10 minutes left, and you could cut the tension with a knife. Leeds managed to hold on and won the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

    In the semifinal, Leeds was the only English team left in the tournament, and they were made to play another Spanish giant, this time Valencia. The first leg was a fiercely contested match, but no one could find the net, with the match finishing 0-0.

    The atmosphere was buzzing at the Estádio Metsalla for the second leg of the tie, and there was a real feeling around the ground that Leeds may upset the odds and gain a place in the final.

    Leeds was outplayed by a classy Valencia outfit that ran out 3-0 winners on the day. Leeds will rue the missed chances that came their way through the two legs and the chance to play in the Champions League final.

    Valencia went on to play Bayern Munich in the final, losing out on penalties.

2006/07 Relegation out of the Championship into League One

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    A playoff final loss in the season beforehand saw Leeds confident of returning to the Premier League this season.

    This wasn’t the case, and the financial difficulties that Leeds had been coming to fruition when the club had to go into administration, meaning they were docked 10 points.

    The Lilywhites went on to finish rock bottom on 36 points, getting relegated along with Luton Town and Southend United.

    Leeds' season didn’t get off to a great start, finishing a lot of matches conceding a late goal, losing five of their first eight games. This poor run of form saw Kevin Blackwell fired as manager, and John Carver took temporary control of first-team duties.

    A month later, Carver was relieved of his duties, and former tough man Dennis Wise was given the hard task of keeping Leeds in the Championship. He didn’t manage to do so, and Leeds was flirting with relegation throughout the season even with a lot of experienced players coming in on loan.

    With relegation only a couple of games away and almost assured, Leeds United entered administration on May 4, 2007. This meant that they were deducted 10 points and were condemned to playing in the third tier of English football in the following season.

Don Revie Leaving the Club to Manage the England National Team

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    Don Revie is one of the greatest managers ever to grace Elland Road and is thought of highly among fans.

    He became player manager in 1961 and straight away began changing things around the club.

    He didn’t hit immediate success as Leeds manager, but he won the second division within his first three years at the club.

    Winning the second division with 64 points earned Leeds a place in the first division. This was in no small part down to the relationship between Chairman Harry Reynolds and Revie.

    All in all, Don Revie won two first division league titles, an F.A Cup, a League Cup and two inter-cities fairs cups.

    This was all after getting promoted from the second division and even before that saving them from relegation to the third division on the last day of the 1961/62 season.

    When Don Revie took over at England, it was the end of an era at Leeds and the so-called glory days were relatively over.

    Revie couldn’t replicate his success with Leeds in the England national team, failing to qualify for two major tournaments and at that time was the only England manager ever to do so, until Steve McClaren didn’t qualify for Euro 2008.

    Ron Greenwood took over from Revie as England boss and took England to their first World Cup in 12 years.

1973 F.A. Cup Final Loss to Sunderland

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    The 1973 final was played at Wembley, the 45th F.A Cup final to be held at the ground.

    Leeds had a tough trip to Wembley, coming through the likes of Norwich, Plymouth, West Brom, Derby and Wolves.

    On the day, Sunderland put their tactics into place early on, with every tackle being a tough one, determined to win the ball with every challenge.

    Ian Porterfield grabbed the goal that decided the game with the ball falling to him 12 yards from the goal and the Scot firing home to give Sunderland the lead. Ian Porterfield’s name is still mentioned today by the Leeds fans for costing them the Cup.

    Sunderland goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery put on a great performance, pulling off save after save to stop Leeds United getting a goal back.

    Leeds' best chance came half way through the second half, when the ball fell to Peter Lorimer, who fired it toward goal from 10 yards out. The ball looked destined for the back of the net, but Montgomery managed to turn the ball on to the underside of the bar and Sunderland cleared their lines.

    Sunderland managed to hold on despite a late surge from Leeds and pulled off a notable upset which still remains with the Lilywhites fans.

1981/82 Relegation to the Second Division

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    After the legendary Don Revie left Leeds United, it sent the club into a downward spiral.

    Brian Clough took charge in infamous fashion, as he had been critical of Leeds' rough play over the years.

    As attendances started to fall, Leeds' league position did the same, and they found themselves in a relegation battle from the offset.

    Leeds finished only two points away from staying in the first division but were still relegated.

    Leeds went down with Middlesbrough and Wolves, who both had financial troubles throughout the year. The Leeds team had slowly but surely fallen apart since Don Revie departed the side eight years prior.

    The season seemed doomed from the get-go, as they were crushed 5-1 by newly promoted Swansea City.

    This set the tone for both teams' Division I campaigns, with Swansea finishing in a surprising sixth place after topping the table a couple of times throughout the season, and Leeds saw themselves constantly around the relegation zone and in the end being relegated.

1975 European Cup Final Defeat to Bayern Munich

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    This match is seen by many of the Leeds fans as the final that got away, with many decisions going against them throughout the game the officials seemed to be favouring the German side.

    Leeds became the first English side since Manchester United (who won the tournament seven years earlier) to reach the European Cup final.

    Leeds played Zurich in the first round of the competition, winning the home leg in resounding fashion, managing a 4-1 win and winning the overall tie 5-3 after a 2-1 loss away from home.

    Then a second-round win followed, against Hungarian side Ujpesti Dozsa (now known as Ujpest FC) over the two legs to send Leeds into the quarterfinals.

    A 3-0 home and a 1-0 away win against Belgian giants Anderlecht gave Leeds United a 4-0 aggregate victory and a place in the semifinals.

    Leeds was thrown a tough tie against Barcelona, but they managed to rise to the occasion with a fantastic 2-1 result in the home leg of the tie. The trip to the Nou Camp would prove to be a harder task for the Lilywhites. With 110,000 people in attendance, Leeds held off a strong Barca side to claim a 1-1 draw and a tie with Bayern Munich in the final.

    The match was played at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. It was a game that Leeds dominated from start to finish. They laid their mark on the game with a fierce tackle on Sepp Weiss from Yorath, which was later described by Uli Hoeneß as the "most brutal foul I think I have ever seen.”

    There were then two penalty appeals that were not given, and when replayed you can see that they should have both been penalties.

    Both of the incidents involved Franz Beckenbauer. The first was a blatant hand ball in the box and the second, which was even clearer, was Beckenbauer tripping the on-rushing Allan Clarke.

    With the second half starting and both teams still locked at 0-0, Billy Bremner fired a fine shot toward the Bayern Munich goal only to be stopped by a fantastic reflex save from Sepp Maier. Less than a minute later, Peter Lorimer had a goal disallowed after Bremner was caught offside in what looked like a very tight call.

    Originally the ref had pointed to the centre circle, signalling the goal had been counted, but after Beckenbauer ran over to the linesman to complain, the decision was reversed and the crowd began to riot.

    Ten minutes later, against the run of play, Roth finished off a quick counter-attack and put the German side ahead. This rocked the Leeds team, and in the 81st minute, Bayern caught them out again.

    Another quick counter-attack, this time finished off by Gerd Muller, gave the German side a 2-0 lead. They managed to hold onto their lead and they took the European Cup back to Germany.