Leeds Remain “The Damned United” for Jimmy Greaves and the BBC – by Rob Atkinson


Super Leeds – simply the best

A couple of weeks ago, I came not to bury Greavsie but to praise him.  The article I wrote was a thrilled response to the fact that Jimmy “Jimbo” Greaves – a known Leeds-hater from way back – seemed to have seen the light, acknowledging United legend John Charles as the greatest British footballer of all time, ahead of George Best, Bobby Moore and – well, everyone else on a list of fifty.  It was such a surprise, such a welcome oddity coming from Greaves’ usually poisoned pen where the Whites are concerned, that I failed to look beyond the headline. Silly me.

When I finally did read the rest, I was less surprised – but I was utterly disgusted and amazed that somebody who had the honour to share a pitch with (and be heavily defeated by) Don Revie‘s Super Leeds could be so bitter, such a small-minded little man. For genial Greavsie, that impish cockney bundle of fun, had included in his Top 50 British Greats not one member of that fabulous Super Leeds side which dominated football for a decade and which regularly finished above the teams for which so many of Greaves’ Chosen Ones had played.  And there I was, just a few short weeks ago, saying nice things about the little bugger.  Well, I take it all back. Today I come, not to praise Greavsie, but to bury the sod.

It simply makes the mind boggle.  Not one Leeds player from that Glory era of Bremner, Giles, Gray, Clarke, Lorimer et al.  Not a single, solitary one. John Charles, of course, the Jimmy Greaves choice for number one, played at Elland Road in his first spell with Leeds before the Revie years, making a brief but only moderately successful comeback in the early part of the Don’s reign, before heading back off to la dolce vita.   King John’s honours were won on foreign fields; he was not part of the Leeds success story.  Did this exempt him in Greaves’ tiny and still semi-pickled mind from the hatred and disrespect with which he has always referred to the great Leeds side?  Was there some envy there?

Greaves, let us not forget, for all the praise heaped on him as a natural finisher, didn’t win all that much in his career.  You could fairly say he bottled it.  No League Titles, just a cup or two.  He missed out on the World Cup Final in 1966 due to injury, making way for one Geoff Hurst, who fortunately had a fair old game that day. You have to admit that Leeds, for all their talent, were underachievers (largely due to some corrupt refereeing) – but Greavsie out-shone them in that. Perhaps this explains some of that elderly bile and bitterness?

It’s not an unknown phenomenon, this steely determination to ignore Leeds United when the plaudits are being handed out.  It’s sadly quite common and, despite the fact that it reflects ill on those who perpetrate the omissions, exposing them for the petty, shallow revisionists that they are, still they queue up to overlook that great side, and to be seen doing so.  It’s as if there are brownie points to be collected somewhere for the person or persons who can show that they possess the biggest pair of anti-Leeds blinkers in the whole media.  What a sad indictment of supposedly impartial coverage – and the ostensibly most impartial of them all, the good old BBC, are among the worst offenders.

A little while ago, I wrote – well, ranted – about the BBC’s determined stance on ignoring Don Revie when they put together a montage of legendary managers.  It was laughable.  There were managers in there who’d hardly won a bean – good sound men, but not in the same class as the Don, a man who built a European superpower from a provincial nonentity of a football club, scorned by many in a city devoted to Rugby League.  The worldwide fanatical following that United have, even today, have their roots in the miracle wrought by Revie, the greatest manager of all time.  So, I complained to Auntie Beeb, and got the standard fob-off response, naturally. The complacent pillars of the media don’t like being challenged in their cosy little ivory tower funk-holes, they would rather you just concentrate on what they’re saying and not try thinking for yourself too much.

There’s no need for me to start in on correcting Greaves’ list, or indeed the BBC’s laboriously-constructed montage of managers – either would be an exercise in the bleedin’ obvious.  I’m simply happy to get this off my chest, to point out what smug, self-satisfied hypocrites and charlatans these people are, who feel that they really can reinvent history and expunge a whole, massively-significant part of it from the public consciousness.  It’ll never happen, too many of us out here remember all too well who the top dogs were back in the day – and more and more of us are stomping our way into print, the better to emphasise exactly what was what.  So you may take your heavily-edited version of history, Messrs Greaves, Lineker, Hansen and Shearer, and you may stick it where the monkey stuck its nuts.

The truth after all is out there, the evidence is easy to find, and even though some of the men so cruelly overlooked – Bremner and Revie for very obvious examples – are no longer around to defend themselves, there are plenty out here only too eager to do it for them.  Say what you like, Greavsie, but we were there too, we remember and we know better.

31 responses to “Leeds Remain “The Damned United” for Jimmy Greaves and the BBC – by Rob Atkinson

  1. crusader knight

    it will really stick in their throats when we finally get back to the top table


  2. John Leese

    Very well said Rob. What a twerp. Greavsie is really a joke figure and his opinions matter not one jot to me, or you I am sure, or any other Leeds fan.


  3. Aaron Pearson

    I used to feel the same rob but ye know what I learned? F*** em! As irritating and galling it is for us to see that side constantly ignored (usually by southerners and fleet street) it is nothing compared to the bitterness they clearly still possess, let them fawn over their luvvies from white hart lane and upton park


  4. I noticed yesterday that when the BBC website had an article of sporting eulogies to Mandela, they managed to mention: Muhammed Ali, Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Bobby Charlton, Sepp Blatter, Sam Ramsamy (RSA Olympic committee), Francois Pienaar, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, Ernie Els, Gary Player, Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Steven Pienaar, Joost van der Westhuizen, Bryan Habana and Lewis Hamilton (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/22830081).

    So, two former Man U players with no link to Mandela, and one former RSA player who plays for Everton. But it studiously avoided the player Mandela called his hero, Lucas Radebe. Same old same old.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To be fair to Greavsie, he did once state (one of the few) that Wilko’s Leeds won that last Championship and it wasn’t a case of ManUre losing it.

    Also, he stated once that Billy Bremner kicked him before they were out of the tunnel. I think that’s hilarious, but I don’t think it would make me think too highly of the opposition.


  6. Jim Walton

    I have watched football for 70 years starting with Barnsley when I was 8. I have seen it change dramatically and a lot of the old greats, who were every bit as skillful as today’s players. Most of them have
    been air brushed out of history, with the possible exception of Stanley Mathews. The great team of the 50’s was Spurs with their
    revolutionary push and run style;they were very good. but the greatest team in my lifetime has been Don Revie’s Leeds and the most of the players in that squad were amongst the greatest. They played sublime footballwhich has not been matched since despite the huge amount of money which is spent on today’s Premiership Clubs. There are obviously too many journalists who need football history lessons and ex-players who will go to their graves with envy written on their hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. People stopped caring what Greaves had to say in the eighties, if they ever did in the first place.

    Bloated, odious little cockney who was so wrapped up in himself he turned into an alcoholic and lost his fortune. And he is bitter at Leeds United.


  8. I agree, The GREAT Leeds United team never got the credit it so richly deserved.

    Has for the BBC all that they are interested in is showing Sunderland beating Leeds in the FA cup, every year, year in, year out.


    • Agreed. They’re a sad and tragic little corporation these days. It’ll be black armband time for that squeaky scummer Lawrenson tonight.


    • When the BBC ran a series on the Greatest Matches of the Day they featured the Leeds 7-0 thrashing of Southampton.

      Many who are critical of Leeds Utd never even saw the Revie team play.

      People like Greavies never got over being called “southern softies” by Revie or featuring in Big Jack’s little ‘black book’


  9. I wanted to say something clever here but I am a moron


  10. I think making references to Greaves substance misuse is not helpful.


  11. Does anyone really listen to people like Greavies?

    I have a collection of Leeds Utd memorbilai and pick up any programme where leeds played away in the late 1960s/early 1970s and the praise fro Revie’s Leeds is wholeome and genuine. Those who mattered like Busby, Shanakly et al knew Leeds were something special, no team has a 10 year spell at the top without being special. That Revie was named manager of the Year in 1968&1970, Bremner, Charlton and Collins won Footballer of the Year, Norman Hunter ( a defender) was the first ever PFA Player’s Player of the Year in 1974 and every player, including squad members were internationals says it all.

    Greavies should read the Chapter on Leeds in Hunter Davies book ‘The Glory Game’ where Davies spent the whole of the 197/72 season with Spurs.

    Likewise, the BBC would do well to watch the Leeds games in its archives where the BBC commentators wax lyrically about the ‘Super Leeds’ era.

    What people like the ‘Special One. Fergie and others do now that the media crow about was started by Revie, a man way ahead of his time back in the 1960s.


  12. Doesn’t matter what the likes of Greaves think we know what we saw. The failure to acknowledge the talent of Billy, Johnny, Don and the rest of a great team by the southern media makes me believe even more that we made a great impression and they cannot let it go.


  13. Hating Leeds seems to be a national “pet hate, sideline hobby” for people who are probably extremely bored with their own boring football clubs.
    Isn’t it about time that those bad losing sado’s stopped treating Leeds like the Devil and moved on after 45 years, by starting to concentrate on their own football clubs?
    The hating of Leeds was also pathetically spread throughout the football world by Brian Clough, but that hatred was only in the blinkered Clough and everybody at Chelsea, because apparently Bill Shankly, Matt Busby and many other respected managers all got on with Don Revie and did not spread about such slanderous hatred.
    Jimmy Greaves was a joke 30 years ago, when he was slouched in his chair on Saint & Greavsie, with his Pringle jumper on and looked like an old senile bloke that was constantly saying “its a funny old game Saint”.


  14. I do like Greavsie in many ways, he can be funny. But lets not forget he’s just a drunk cockney turd at best


  15. great article, well written and very true


  16. Kevin Wilson

    Well Rob I hate to say I told you so…..but I did at the time you were praising Greaves! The other thing that has stuck in the throat of him, the FA and the BBC is of course the fact we beat Arsenal in the Centenary Cup Final. You never hear of that either. If Arsenal had won it would be mentioned every week ‘the Centenary Cup Final Winners’ etc. Instead they only remember Sunderland.. that loss ALWAYS gets a mention! MOT


    • I remember you did – in fact that was when I pencilled this in as a follow-up, you damn nearly got an originator’s credit!

      I’ve got a lot of time for the Arse, both for themselves as a truly class club, and for their endearing habit of losing to us in Cup Finals. I remember I hoped they’d beat Villa in the League Cup semi in ’96, so that we could win at Wembley again. Ah, well…

      I do get sick of the Sunderland obsession, though. They don’t seem to harp on as much about the Saints beating man u in ’76. Wonder why…?


  17. just visiting, but did my team Celtic not beat you home and away? and their manager get to 2 European finals , 2 semi finals and 2 quarter finals over an 8 year period


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