RIP Paul Madeley, the Rolls Royce Footballer who Only Wanted to Play for Leeds – by Rob Atkinson


RIP Paul Madeley, Leeds United’s “Rolls Royce” legend

Another star from the Super Leeds galaxy has left us, with the sad death of Paul Madeley at 73. Paul was the archetypal Mr Versatile, a man whose ability to excel in a number of diverse roles possibly even counted against him as he was less likely to pin down a regular starting berth in a team of superstars that carried all before them. For a team like that to be able to call on a man like Madeley was a godsend – we can only be thankful that “the eleven Pauls” were never far away whenever a gap appeared in the ranks due to injury or suspension.

Really, after that,  there are few words. We all know what Paul was all about, we know he’d have walked into just about any other side at that time, we know that he was preoccupied above all else with playing for Leeds United – to the extent that he told his manager he’d be happy to sign a blank contract and let his boss fill in the amounts and the term of the agreement. Contrast that with the prevailing attitude today, and it’s clear that we were lucky enough to have a real diamond for so long in Paul – and clear also  that we have just lost a genuine legend.

It’s appropriate really that we should take a short break from wondering which football mercenaries we might be recruiting for the season ahead, in order to raise a glass to the memory of Paul Madeley and his legacy of decency, service and loyalty. A better servant to the club he loved you will not find, and I say this in the full knowledge that his team-mates were from the elite end of the stars of that time. That Madeley’s name is a watchword for the qualities listed above, when his contemporaries at Elland Road could also be described thus, says so much about his status in the pantheon of Leeds United legends.

Versatile, dedicated, unselfish – irreplaceable.  RIP Paul Madeley, 1944 – 2018

20 responses to “RIP Paul Madeley, the Rolls Royce Footballer who Only Wanted to Play for Leeds – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Philip of Spain.

    You have have virtually said everything that needed saying Rob.Along with his brother John, I had the privilege of meeting Paul a few times.An unassuming gentleman on and off the pitch not to mention his huge contribution to the cause in the day.He was a pleasure to watch regardless where the Don put him.Solid, at the back and smooth up front.A legend.


  2. Pat McDonagh

    Total hero. Unselfish. Gave everything. Shames todays players.


  3. What we’d give to sign a ‘Paul Madeley’ today. Sadly, players of his type do not exist anymore. A one club player who can and happily will, play where the manager tells them without throwing toys out of their pram. He didn’t just want to play football. He wanted to play football for only Leeds United. For an old school Leeds fan like myself? That counts above all else. R.I.P Mr Madeley. Proper legend .


  4. Well said Rob could not agree more..RIP Paul.


  5. Steve Clark

    R.I.P. Paul Madely – a great player and a great professional.


  6. Thank you Rob, a different era and a better time never to be repeated in the greedy modern game.


  7. When speaking of Paul the word legend is, for once, entirely justified. What an example he set and, as Rob points out above, Paul’s attitude towards his club was in marked contrast to what we usually see from players today. One can only wonder what his transfer value would be in the current market, though the chances are he would decline all offers and stay at the club he loved.
    As I write this with memories flooding back, I do so with a lump in my throat the size of a football, an appopriate and poignant reminder perhaps of a truly magnificent player. We shall be fortunate indeed if we ever see the likes of him again. RIP Paul, and thank you.


  8. howard mackey

    I am so proud to say that i have watched a true footballer play the beautiful game, R.I.P. Paul.


  9. andrew mark hinks

    lovely piece rob!

    The don, then billy & now Paul Madeley gone but NEVER forgotten from the greatest ever English club side!

    Kent white since 1969


  10. NickB(50yrsLU)

    I’ve just said similar to his son, Jason. In terms of versatility, modesty, decency and sheer hard work, he was the Milner of his day. He was my favourite of that generation, alongside Terry Cooper and Eddie Gray, just as Gary Speed was in the following era. I hope memories of his service and loyalty prove inspirational to Bielsa’s lads – we need all the spirit of those who have trodden the hallowed turf before to give us that nudge back to where we can once more attract people of his calibre over clubs with appendages such as Albion and County!


  11. The Greatest all round Footballer that ever lived to play the game, World Class. I’m Gutted, R.I.P Paul.


  12. Leeds Bjorn

    R.I.P Mr Paul Madeley , and thanks for the memories . All you young Leeds fans who never had the privilege to whatch him play , you missed a treat . He epitomized everything that Leeds were all about , he made it look easy , but never failed to put in a shift , and he loved being a Leeds player .


  13. Paul Madely was a hero to most of my generation. You are right, Rob. Sometimes his versatility counted against him, but he always gave a great performance, and was one of the greatest players ever to grace Elland Road.


  14. Paul Marsh

    A privilege to have seen him play!Like all legends he’ll continue to live in our hearts.R.I.P. Paul and thanks for the memories!


  15. Watching that magnificent side when I was young, I had no idea that I was seeing something very special. It wasn’t until post 1975 when I realised that I would probably never see that sort of football again. And I haven’t. It’s only when you look back that you become aware that you saw greatness in so many of those players. And Mr Madeley was one of my favourites, His composure, versatility and calmness struck a chord in the young me that I always tried to emulate (failing miserably) when I played the game. Everything that he stood for, both club and country, has gone from the game now. Probably never to return. I just wish I had known that I was in the presence of greatness at the time. RIP Mr Paul Madeley, gentleman and Leeds legend.


  16. People mid use the term “total football” quite often. They think its a style of passing flowing football when it actually means the ability to play in every position comfortably and Paul was the first total footballer in British football. The man oozed both class and dignity. Any younger Leeds fans really ought to watch his passing and tackling as I’m sure there’ll be some footage knocking about on youtube. I was lucky enough to see him play a few times and there was always something about him that caught my attention,he stood out more probably because he was the quiet type but charismatic too. The nearest I’ve seen to him was Peter Haddock. Paul Madeley you were a hero of mine and i will never forget you and your team mates from that era. You have left us with a dilemma now,which minute of the match shall we applaud you? God bless you.


  17. A gentleman and a true footballing legend. How lucky and privileged was our generation Rob.


Leave a Reply - Publication at Site owner's Discretion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.