The FA Cup is undoubtedly the premier competition of its type in the world, despite the fact that it may have been marginalised by leading Premier League clubs since the advent of the lucrative European Champions League. Its history can be traced back over 140 years of football and it continues to deliver thrills, spills and excitement to this day. There are some clubs that have a greater affinity with the competition than others, however, with Leeds United providing an example of a team that has lived through both heartache and triumph in the pursuit of cup glory.
3 Major Moments that have Shaped Leeds’ FA Cup History
With this in mind, let’s take a look at three of the most inspirational moments that have shaped Leeds United’s cup history:
1. Jermaine Beckford Scores the Winner Against Manchester United, 2010
After their heroic exploits at the turn of the century when Leeds reached the dizzying heights of the European Champions League semi-finals, few would have expected the club to by plying their trade in League One less than a decade later. This, though, was the situation that Leeds United found themselves in during 2010, as they headed to Premier League champions Manchester United for an FA Cup third round tie. Despite being huge underdogs and with 9,000 travelling fans providing fanatical backing, yet fearing a thrashing at the hands of their bitterest rivals, Leeds pulled off one of the proudest moments in their cup history as Jermaine Beckford’s first half goal was enough to send Man U to their earliest exit from the competition since 1984.
2. Ray Crawford Stuns Leeds as Colchester Utd Record Huge Upset, 1971
In 1971, Leeds United were on the way to becoming the best and most combative team in the English League under the managership of Don Revie. Hailed far and wide as “Super Leeds”, the Whites were therefore overwhelming favourites when they visited an ageing, lower league Colchester side for the fifth round of the FA Cup in February, 1971. Nicknamed ‘Dad’s Army’ by the press, few gave the home side a chance but a brace from striker Ray Crawford and a deceptively narrow pitch, together with some typically bizarre goalkeeping from Sprake, helped Colchester earn a stunning 3-0 lead early in the second half. Although Leeds recovered with two late goals, they eventually lost 3-2 as Colchester recorded a significant act of an FA Cup giant killing.
3. Alan Clarke Wins the Cup for Leeds United, 1972
From the ridiculous low of their defeat at Layer Road the previous year, Leeds United recovered admirably to beat the cup holders and the previous seasons’ double winners Arsenal and lift the cup at Wembley in 1972. The game was a hard-fought and at times brutal affair, but it was decided by a flash of brilliance and what has to be the finest moment in Leeds United’s outstanding cup history. Allan Clarke was the match-winner, as he dived at full length to head home Mick Jones’ accurate cut-back. Although Leeds United were to fall victim to another act of giant-killing against Sunderland in the following years’ final, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm surrounding the clubs’ first and, to date, only FA Cup win.
These are just three historic moments in a long history of FA Cup football for Leeds. Perhaps you have different favourites – it would be interesting to hear from you with your own FA Cup memories of Leeds United.