Video of the Day: Leeds United vs Nottingham Forest, February 1968
Seldom in the entire history of English football can two clubs have had such differing experiences of one manager than those of Leeds United and Nottingham Forest with regards to Brian Clough. Clough lasted forty-four days at Elland Road in 1974 as the successor to Don Revie, a period encapsulated by the film The Damned United, but his time at The City Ground lasted eighteen years and saw the Football League championship, the League Cup and the European Cup – twice! – delivered to Forest.
Clough was still cutting his managerial teeth at Derby County in February 1968, though, when Leeds United took on Nottingham Forest in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup at Elland Road. It may not have been clearly understood at the time, but Leeds were to embark on a period of success that remains with the club to this day. Over the years between 1968 and 1974, Leeds would be the champions of England twice, winners of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup – the predecessor to the UEFA Cup – twice, the League Cup once, and FA Cup finalists twice.
This match comes from the beginning of that golden period, and comes from a season from which an enduring pattern would emerge. In that February, Leeds were battling on four fronts. In the league, they were two points behind Manchester United in second place in the table, and were still in the Fairs Cup, the League Cup and the FA Cup. They would finish this season winning the Fairs Cup and the League Cup, but four straight defeats at the end of the league season cost them the First Division title (which ended up going to Manchester City), whilst their FA Cup run would end at the hands of Everton in the semi-finals.
Such a pattern of fighting on all fronts and burning out in some of them would become a familiar currency to Leeds supporters over the following seasons, but in February 1968 Leeds United were still a club without a major trophy to their name. That would all change a fortnight after this match, when a one-nil win at Wembley against Arsenal would take the League Cup back to West Yorkshire, though, and it’s certainly a feisty one. Fighting to keep control of it all is referee Jack Taylor, who would go on to earn considerable fame for giving a penalty kick in the first minute of the 1974 World Cup final between West Germany and the Netherlands whilst commentary comes, but of course, from Kenneth Wolstenholme.
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