Video of the Day: Leeds United vs Barcelona, April 1975

by | Mar 6, 2016

The departure of Don Revie in order to take on the England manager’s job in the summer of 1974 was a culture shock for Leeds United that was always going to take some time to adjust to. This situation was arguably exacerbated by the decision to appoint Brian Clough to replace him. It isn’t that Clough wasn’t an extraordinary manager. His record stands for itself. At Leeds United, however, he was clearly and evidently the wrong man for the job at that time and Clough’s forty-four days still live in infamy as one of the most extraordinary managerial appointments in the history of the English game.

Leeds had ended Revie’s last season in charge of the club by winning the First Division championship at a canter, but even under cloud of discord that Clough’s short spell at Elland Road and the cleaning job required of his successor, Jimmy Armfield, couldn’t prevent the club from another serious push to take the European Cup back to Yorkshire for the first time. After having beaten FC Zurich, Ujpesti Dozsa and Anderlecht – and yes, it is difficult to believe that it could take only six games to reach a European Cup semi-final, but such is the difference in the importance placed upon European football these days – Leeds lined up for a semi-final match against Barcelona.

Barca, led by the mercurial yet troublesome Johann Cruijff, had won La Liga title the year before but were n the process of failing to defend the trophy, which Real Madrid would end up winning with ease and with Real Zaragoza pushing Barcelona down into third place in the table. Leeds United had arguably been even less successful in their defence of the First Division title and would finish the same season in ninth place in the table. At that time, both clubs’ only European successes had come in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup – which was succeeded by the UEFA Cup in 1971 – with Barcelona having won that trophy in 1958, 1960 and 1966, and Leeds having won it in 1968 and 1971.

A place in the final, to be played in Paris against the holders Bayern Munich, was at stake as the teams took the pitch at Elland Road for the first leg of the tie, with the second leg at Camp Nou. Leeds went into the first leg having failed to win any of their previous seven matches in all competitions since their last European Cup match against Anderlecht. Commentary for the first leg comes from David Coleman, and for the second leg comes from Brian Moore.

 

 

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