Tag Archives: Bayern Munich

Leeds United 1975 European Cup Final Keeper David Stewart Passes Away at 71 – by Rob Atkinson

Soccer - European Cup Final - Bayern Munich v Leeds United

Leeds United line up for the 1975 European Cup Final – Dave Stewart (far left) RIP

Former Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion, Ayr United and Swansea City goalkeeper Dave Stewart, who played in the 1975 European Cup Final for the Whites, has died at the age of 71. Stewart, who also gained one full Scottish international cap, saving a penalty in a 0-1 defeat to East Germany, was an ever-present in the Swansea side that gained promotion to the top flight in 1981. In all, he made 55 appearances for Leeds, being second choice to David Harvey for most of his United career, including that infamous match at the Parc des Princes in Paris against Bayern Munich.

Life Leeds United, the Universe & Everything sends condolences to those family and friends Dave leaves behind, and mourns a United player who will always have a prominent place in the history of the Elland Road club, as goalkeeper for the team that played in the Whites’ biggest ever game.

DaveStewart

RIP Dave Stewart 11.3.1947 – 13.11.2018

Advertisements

41 Years Ago Today: Leeds Mugged by Ref & Kaiser in European Cup Final – by Rob Atkinson

Yorath avoids a red card - but nothing else went right for Leeds United

Yorath avoids a red card – but nothing else went right for Leeds United

The Great European Cup Final Robbery occurred exactly forty=one years ago today – half a lifetime’s distance in the past – and yet this, more than just about any other of the many injustices suffered by that legendary team, still sticks in the collective craw of Leeds United fans, many of whom weren’t even born on that balmy May night so long ago. It still rankles with us, to the extent that it defines how we feel about our much sinned-against club to this day. So, 41 years on, we still sing “We are the Champions, Champions of Europe” in ritual protest – but in our hearts, believing, knowing it to be true.

The story of this match may be summed up in a series of snapshots; incidents that told us, ever more clearly as the game progressed, which way the wind was blowing. There was a pair of blatant penalty shouts in the first half, the guilty man on both occasions being Franz “der Kaiser” BeckenbauerFirst he handled obviously and unmissably in the area, and then followed that up by perpetrating an illegal “scissors” tackle on Allan Clarke, inside the box on the left – you wondered how anyone could possibly fail to give either decision, unless they were irretrievably, foully bent. But the corkscrew-straight Michel Kitabdjian unblushingly neglected his duty on both occasions, earning himself a permanent place in every Leeds fan’s Little Black Book.

Before these vital non-decisions, Terry Yorath – the first Welshman to play in Europe’s biggest match, before Gareth Bale was even a twinkle in his dad’s eye – had sailed into Bayern’s Björn Andersson in what team-mate Uli Hoeness described as “the most brutal foul I think I have ever seen”. The only question arising out of that first period of play was whether Leeds United’s card was marked by the ref from the time of that 4th minute assault by Yorath – or whether, indeed, the matter was decided long before kick off. 

Lorimer's greatest goal that never was

Lorimer’s greatest goal that never was

Leeds were completely outplaying Bayern, drawing sympathy even from the English TV commentator who was bemoaning the lack of a more even contest. Then, in the second half, the ball fell perfectly for Peter Lorimer just outside the Bayern penalty area. Lorimer timed his volley superbly, and it flew into the net, beating Sepp Maier all ends up. Immediately, all was confusion as the goal seemed to be given, until Beckenbauer urgently directed the ref to speak to his linesman. More confusion – and, scandalously, the goal was disallowed. Bayern scored twice against a demoralised Leeds near the end, and the European Cup was snatched from the hands of Revie’s old guard; the triumph that was to crown their magnificent careers torn away in the most dubious fashion imaginable.

It was the second of a hat-trick of sketchy triumphs for Bayern from 1974-76, at a time when the German influence in UEFA was as strong as that of the Italians (whose Milan side had taken the Cup Winners Cup from Leeds in an even more bent match two years earlier) – and far, far stronger than that of the unpopular English. This defeat of a gallant and far superior on the night United side was probably the luckiest Munich victory of the three – but a year before, they’d been on the point of losing to Atlético Madrid before a last-gasp equaliser enabled them to win in a one-sided replay. And, in 1976, Bayern were outplayed by St Etienne, but managed somehow to prevail for a third year on the trot.

Bremner in disbelief after Leeds' "goal" chalked off

Bremner disbelieving after Leeds’ “goal” chalked off

Leeds fans will always look at the collection of stars emblazoned arrogantly over the Bayern badge – and we will always say: one of those should have been ours. May 28 1975 was one of those pivotal nights in United’s history and, as happened frankly far too often, things turned against us – setting us on the low road when we should have been triumphantly plotting a course onwards and upwards. Things were never the same for Leeds United afterwards; Johnny Giles played his last game in a white shirt that night, which signalled the start of the break-up process, under the continuing stewardship of Jimmy Armfield, for Don Revie’s peerless Super Leeds team. How different things might have been – but that’s the story of our great club’s history; fortune has rarely smiled upon us and justice has usually gone AWOL at the crucial moments.

So it was then, so it has been ever since and so, doubtless, it will continue to be for Leeds – who always seem to cop for the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune to a pitilessly unfair degree. Still, that’s why we love ’em, and that’s why we so relish the hate of others. But if there could have been one night when things went right – when we actually managed once to get our just deserts – then really it should have been that evening in the Parc des Princes in May 1975. Not for me, not for you – but chiefly for those white-shirted heroes who had waited so long to be acknowledged as the best in Europe, and who had proved it by outplaying the favourites – before being gruesomely cheated yet again.

Leeds United – Champions of Europe. We all know we have a right to sing that song, loud and proud. Long may it continue to serve as a reminder of the night that the “Der Kaiser & Kitabdjian” double-act robbed The Greatest of their rightful crown.

Karma for the Kaiser as FIFA Ban Beckenbauer (39 Years Too Late) – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Der Kaiser – justice delayed is justice denied

The news that FIFA has imposed a temporary ban from all football activities on “der KaiserFranz Beckenbauer will come as pretty cold comfort to Leeds United fans of a certain age.  They will remember all too well the massive effect that Beckenbauer, now 69 years old, had on the 1975 European Cup Final at the Parc des Princes, Paris.  Beckenbauer, then as now, was a massively-influential figure in the game, having captained West Germany to World Cup success only the summer before.  He certainly seemed to have an intimidating effect on French referee Michel Kitabdjian, who failed to give two seemingly clear-cut penalties to Leeds in the first half, and then quailed before the furious protests of der Kaiser – and, after a short delay, his Bayern Munich team-mates – having initially seemed to allow a Peter Lorimer volley in the 67th minute.

The rest, sadly for United – who had completely outplayed the defending European Champions up to that point – was history.  Leeds, demoralised and feeling cheated of an advantage which would have been well-merited, subsided to two goals from Roth and Muller, putting an end to their dreams of being top dogs in Europe.  It was difficult to overlook the undue influence that Beckenbauer had wielded over the course of the match, and the Leeds fans who remember the occasion still feel that the German’s standing in the game made it far too easy for him to alter the course of events in Bayern’s favour.

If the English club concerned had played in red, the protests from home might have been more vehement.  As it was, the focus was more on the subsequent actions of disgruntled Leeds fans than on any perceived injustice.  Beckenbauer had got away with two penalty claims, and he’d seemingly managed to sway an incompetent – at best – ref.  It’s little wonder that the very mention of his name gives Leeds United supporters the conniptions to this day.

The fact that Beckenbauer is now in some bother with World Football’s governing body might give rise to a few quiet nods of satisfaction in LS11 and considerably further afield – although of course those old wounds will remain raw until the last Leeds fan to remember that night is long past caring.  The current issue is nothing to do with the 1975 Final – it’s a different matter and it’s thirty-nine years too late anyway.  It’s just that, when someone seems to have got away with such a blatant buggering-up of justice for so long, it’s nice to see them called to account for anything at all. You’re almost reminded of Al Capone’s notorious career, bloodstained and terror-strewn – when he finally went down it was for the white-collar crime of tax evasion.  Hardly reflective of his undoubted crimes, but still.  Justice – of a sort.

So we Leeds fans will hope that Beckenbauer’s current problems don’t go away any time soon.  The man himself doesn’t seem unduly concerned though – and his continuing influence will more than likely see him walk out from under yet again.  He wasn’t the first footballer to get away with on-field dodginess, and he won’t be the last – but the injury he helped inflict on Leeds that night bit deep and it took us a long, long time to recover – while Bayern continued to flourish.

Justice?  It’s a gag, we all know that.  But for a while at least, we might hope and dream that it’s finally caught up with der Kaiser.

Roll Up! Roll Up! A Slice of Leeds United Injustice & Misery for Just £2!! – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Back to the drawing board…

As tempting offers go, it’s right up there with the revolutionary “fork for your soup” innovation – or perhaps the indispensable head-mounted toilet roll dispenser, for those of an out-and-about nature who happen to suffer from a runny nose.  The decision of Leeds United’s Online Superstore to offer us lucky people a DVD of the ill-fated 1975 European Cup Final match against Bayern Munich is pretty much as inspired as that of Decca to turn down the Beatles, on the grounds that “guitar groups are on the way out”.  At £2.00, this product is over-priced by about a fiver. Why on earth would any Leeds fan wish to own it?  It’s like wanting to pay hard cash for the privilege of picking scabs in intimate locations, or perhaps hiring someone to punch you in the kidneys at intervals throughout the day.  It’s not, in short, a commercially viable offer – at least, not in my opinion.

It’s strange, though, what people will buy.  Perhaps Leeds United have identified a gap in the market here, and there really are those out there who wish to relive an occasion of acute pain over and over again, at their leisure. At £2 a shot, it would appear that they are not targeting the discerning, nor yet those who demand pleasurable entertainment for their hard-earned coin. This would appear, on the face of it, to be a promotion aimed at what might charitably be termed mugs – those who are not that thoughtful or choosy about the disposition of their two quid. What other explanation can there be?

It’s tempting to wonder whether our beloved club should instead have aimed at the export market, and flogged these undesirable items in Bavaria, Germany – where they might perhaps be better appreciated.  The novelty of watching their favourites triumph to an English commentary highlighting the injustice of Lorimer’s disallowed goal, the scandal of two obvious penalties not given to England’s Champions, the craven performance of a French referee in thrall to der Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer – all of these unique selling points might go down better in the vicinity of München rather than Beeston.  After all, Schadenfreude has a piquant appeal to the otherwise humourless inhabitants of the Fatherland – much more so than masochism around LS11.

Perhaps there are those that are willing to fork out a coupe of quid to be able to appreciate the beauty of Lorimer’s disallowed volley, which left a keeper of the quality of Sepp Maier helpless and was actually voted into a high position in one poll of Leeds United goals of the century – despite the technical flaw of it not actually counting (by order of der Kaiser).

All in all though, I have to call this particular commercial promotion a failure.  It’s on a par with Germany themselves flogging copies of their effortless 1-5 defeat against England at the start of this century.  That was a defeat that left teutonic jaws sagging across the whole of Deutschland, and – as you might expect – there has not been a high demand in Germany for the privilege of owning that particular debacle.

A few weeks ago, Leeds United were offering a tasteful scarf for sale at about this price.  That’s more the sort of thing we’re after, chaps – particularly while there’s still a nasty north-easterly nip in the air.  It might be a good idea to consign that batch of Bayern DVDs to a convenient landfill site somewhere and come up with something the average Leeds fan might actually want to own.  And before some bright spark suggests the 1973 FA Cup Final – forget it, eh?

Just saying.

Leeds Lad James Milner Stars in Champions League “Tale of One City” – by Rob Atkinson

Image

Milner – star performance

It was a Tale of One City in the Champions League last night, as both Manchester clubs managed to overcome the odds and triumph in their last group games to progress into the knockout stage of the competition.  Leeds United fans – the ones who can cast their minds back to before the start of the nightmarish downhill run to near-oblivion – will have been pleased and not a little proud to see one of our own put in a dominant display against reigning European Champions Bayern Munich.

Milner’s excellent performance for City will have just slightly nibbled away at the extreme edge of exacting the tiniest morsel of revenge for a 38-year-old injustice. Paris 1975 – ’nuff said.  It’s only a crumb of comfort – but still, it was so good to see a lad with Leeds engraved on his heart sticking it up Bayern Munich, whatever shirt he was wearing.  And Milner’s performance last night in the Allianz Arena was one of his very, very best.

It had started out badly for City, patently out-played in the opening movement of what would turn out to be an opus of two halves. Within twelve minutes, Bayern were ahead by two goals – albeit that both were demonstrably offside – and looked in fair shape to inflict utter humiliation on the out-foxed Mancunians.  This pattern held for the first twenty minutes or so, but then City started to edge their way, inexorably, into a game that was becoming more of a contest as they gained some sort of hold in midfield.  On 28 minutes, James Milner made the first of his three crucial interventions, stooping to reach a deep cross beyond the far post and – somehow – angling himself to head it accurately back across the six-yard box where Silva was on hand to finish.  Half time arrived with City one behind, a situation they would have snatched your hand off for after the early lop-sided exchanges.

In the second half, City managed to retain control against a Bayern side who, on this evidence, seem to have a slight weakness for complacency. One of the main guilty parties in that respect was Brazilian defender Dante, an extravagantly-gifted individual who, nevertheless, seems less than keen on some of the one-to-one responsibilities of any effective defender.  He was guilty of a slapdash challenge on Milner deep inside Bayern’s penalty area on 53 minutes.  It would have been relatively simple to jockey the City player until he ran out of room and options, but Dante challenged, fouled – and it was a nailed-on penalty.  Kolarov’s conversion was a mix of placement and power, giving Neuer in the Munich goal not an earthly.  City were level at 2-2, needing an unlikely two further goals to top the group – and Bayern, unable to rid themselves of that two-nil complacency, were rattled and shaken.

In the event, City were doomed to fall just short of winning their group, but the victory that a third goal won them will be an enormous boost, possibly for their season as a whole.  Last season Arsenal won 2-0 here, and they have hardly looked back since.  Such is the size of the achievement; beating Bayern at home is not given to ordinary teams.  When that winner came it was Milner, naturally, who struck the decisive blow.  A right wing cross flew straight through the Munich area, confusing and bypassing two defenders. Milner, advancing from the left on a curving run, managed to open up his body shape to send a first-time right foot shot bending inside Neuer’s left hand post for a finish of beauty and a joy forever.

Bayern looked shattered and bewildered as they first pressed desperately for an equaliser and then played out time in the knowledge that a one-goal defeat would still see them win the group.  Even then, more casual and lackadaisical defending from Dante almost let in sub Negredo for a fourth to complete what would have been a disaster for the Germans.  On the night, they had deservedly been beaten by a City side that had got its act together to great effect – but there is little doubt that Bayern will address their shortcomings and come back strongly, as they did after the Arsenal defeat. Just ask Barcelona and Dortmund about that.

Meanwhile, back in England, the Tale of One City was playing itself out in much less glamorous vein as Man U managed to overcome a Shakhtar Donetsk side which unquestionably out-played them for the bulk of the ninety minutes.  One decisive finish from Phil Jones, a chance dispatched with a striker’s touch and assurance, was the difference between the teams at the final whistle, and Shakhtar went into the Europa League as Man U topped the group.  But this game had been about the away side failing to take advantage of its superior passing and movement, particularly in the first half when their hosts simply couldn’t get near them. Shakhtar had done everything but score, and you couldn’t help but wonder if they really were as good as Man U made them look.

It’s goals that count though and, consummate as they occasionally seemed, Shakhtar have disappeared from this year’s Champions League with only themselves to blame for that. Whether the Pride of Devon progress much further will depend on the draw – normally quite kind to them – and whether they can shake themselves out of the one-paced game they’re currently playing under an increasingly-anxious David Moyes.

On an evening when all of Manchester – as well as the Home Counties/West Country hotbeds of Man U support – had cause to celebrate victory in Europe, it was, more than anything, Jamie Milner’s night.  His display in helping City to a quite magnificent comeback victory was notable to say the least, and should serve to quell a few murmurings that he’s no long quite “at it” for this level. If Milner became available for transfer at any point in the next few years, there would be no shortage of takers – and on this evidence it would be a lucky club indeed that secured his services.  One fond dream of Leeds fans everywhere must be that – if we did secure promotion in the short-term – Milner would perhaps return to Elland Road to be our elder statesman.

How appropriate that would be for the former Elland Road Wunderkind – and what a welcome he would receive.  In the meantime, it did the hearts of the Leeds faithful good to see him battering Bayern, something that must be high on the bucket list of anyone with LUFC in their DNA.  Well played, James Milner – still a great lad and still a class act.

Manuel Pellegrini vows to go for Champions League jugular as Man City host Bayern Munich

City are as well-equipped to succeed in Europe as they have ever been, and should fear no-one, certainly not Bayern. They should be able to build on an emphatic opening to their Champions League campaign by edging this one.

Leeds United – the Top Five Injustices and the Refs Involved

Lorimer!

Lorimer!

When I heard that Brian McDermott was “optimistic” over Rudy Austin’s red card appeal this week, I had a little smile to myself and thought, “You’ve not been at Leeds long enough to know, mate.” It could be of course that a wily McDermott was doing his best to sway the appeal panel by opining the Austin incident was a “complete accident”. Whatever the case, the appeal was turned down, as most Leeds fans would have expected. We don’t really get the breaks where the football authorities are concerned. Sour grapes? Judge for yourselves.

Prompted to cast my mind back over history, I thought I’d highlight some famous instances where Leeds have signally failed to get the rub of the green. The focus is mainly on referees, and I’ve had no compunction about naming and shaming. In reverse order of spectacular bentness, the candidates for “Injustice of the 20th Century” are:

No. 5: Wolves 2, Leeds 1 – 8th May 1972 (Ref: Bill Gow)

I’ve placed this as least serious from a refereeing point of view because – in the crucial penalty incident – Mr Gow was unsighted and badly let down by his linesman J C Collins of Macclesfield, an inexperienced official who apparently “froze”. It does seem to have been a blatant handball and a definite penalty though – in a match where Leeds would win the Title and therefore the “Double” if they could avoid defeat. Tellingly, Mr Gow got home that night to be greeted by his wife saying “It looked a penalty on the telly.” My main culprits for this game are the callous officials of the FA and Football League, who insisted a tired team should play a title decider a mere two days after a gruelling FA Cup Final against Arsenal. Leeds did not even get to celebrate their Cup triumph, heading straight off to Wolverhampton with their battered and wounded bodies and their missing heroes. It was a shoddy affair that you could not envisage these days. Respected “Guardian” writer Eric Todd described the uncaring treatment of a gallant Leeds side as “scandalous”.

No. 4: Leeds United 1, West Brom 2 – 17 April 1971 (Ref: Ray Tinkler)

No doubts about the culprit here. Ray Tinkler’s face as he walked off the Elland Road pitch after this display wore a tellingly apprehensive expression; that of a man who knew he was walking out of a storm and into a typhoon. The game turned on an offside call – or more accurately, two of them. Already one down against opponents they’d been expected to beat easily, Leeds were pressing hard. A victory was vital in the race for the Title, anything less would pass the advantage to Arsenal. Then Norman Hunter gave the ball away on halfway with most of the Leeds side committed forward. The ball bounced off Tony Brown into the Leeds half where a clearly-offside Colin Suggett is loitering as the linesman flags for the free-kick. Tony Brown continues his run when Tinkler fails to blow in response to the flag, passes the ball to Astle – also in an offside position – who scores. A season’s work, in the words of Don Revie, is undone in a few mad moments. Barry Davies, commentating for the BBC, memorably remarked “…and Leeds will go mad. And they’ve every right to go mad..” Strong stuff from a sober professional. In the wake of the crowd disturbances that ensued, Leeds were forced to play their first home games of the following season away from Elland Road, a sanction that led to points being dropped, and probably contributing to their narrow failure to win the 1972 title as well. So Mr. Tinkler may well have done us for two Championship crowns. Cheers, Ray.

No. 3: Chelsea 1, Leeds United 0 – FA Cup Semi Final at Villa Park 29 April 1967 (Ref: Ken Burns)

The classic FA Cup Semi: two fine teams, not at all fond of each other – the fashionable Kings Road fancy dans of Chelsea against Don Revie’s battle-hardened stormtroopers. Or so the Press would have it. Chelsea were ahead late on, a fine goal from Tony Hately being the difference. Leeds thought they’d drawn level when Cooper scored, but the effort was chalked off for offside, despite vociferous complaints from the Leeds players who swore blind that Cooper had come from an onside position. Then, a free kick 25 yards out. The ref took some seconds organising Chelsea’s defensive wall, and then caught the eye of John Giles – a commonly-accepted signal for the free kick to be taken. Giles rolled the ball to Lorimer, who smashed it into Bonetti’s net. Leeds were joyful, Chelsea despaired – but referee Burns ruled the goal out, ordering a retake because Chelsea’s wall was not far enough back – a technical offence against Leeds. The retaken free-kick came to nothing, and Leeds were out of the Cup in the cruellest circumstances.

No. 2: Bayern Munich 2, Leeds United 0 – European Cup Final, Parc des Princes Paris May 28 1975 (Ref: Michel Kitabdjian)

38 years on, this still sticks in the collective craw of Leeds United fans. 38 years on, we still sing “We are the Champions, Champions of Europe” in ritual protest. Two blatant penalty shouts in the first half, the guilty man on both occasions was Der Kaiser, Franz Beckenbauer. First he handled blatantly in the area, and then a “scissors” tackle on Allan Clarke – you wondered how anyone could fail to give either. Leeds were completely outplaying Bayern, drawing sympathy even from the English TV commentator who was bemoaning the lack of a more even contest. Then in the second half the ball falls perfectly for Peter Lorimer just outside the Bayern penalty area. Lorimer times his volley superbly, and it flies into the net, beating Sepp Maier all ends up. Then confusion as the goal seems to be given, until Beckenbauer urgently directs the ref to speak to his linesman. More confusion, then the goal is disallowed. Bayern score twice against a demoralised Leeds near the end, and the European Cup is snatched from the hands of Revie’s old guard; the triumph that was to crown their careers torn away in the most dubious of circumstances.

No. 1: Leeds United 0, AC Milan 1 – ECWC Final, Salonika, Greece 16 May 1973 (Ref: Christos Michas)

This is the Grand-daddy of bent matches, a game almost universally acknowledged to have been as straight as a corkscrew, allegations of bribery, the referee banned by UEFA afterwards – and still the 1973 Trophy is written into the extensive honours list of AC Milan. Justice, as they say, is a gag. Peter Lorimer on the match: “It was wholly, indisputably and wretchedly bent…” Johnny Giles was out with an injured hamstring, but he’d been working for the media and had heard that the ref was “in Milan’s pocket”. His gloomy view before the game was that it was one Leeds United wouldn’t be allowed to win. Three minutes gone, and Milan are awarded a free-kick, a decision that could charitably be described as dodgy. A weak shot takes a cruel deflection on its way into the Leeds net, and it’s 1-0 early on. From then onwards, it was a story of United pressure thwarted by thuggish challenges from the Milanese, decision after decision going against the increasingly frustrated and demoralised Leeds team, two, possibly three good penalty shouts waved away by Michas, and inevitably the game finished with Milan leading by that early goal, collecting the trophy to hoots of anger and derision from the outraged Greek crowd who cheered the defeated Leeds side as they limped round on a lap of honour “after this most dishonourable of matches.”

There has been a petition to UEFA with a view to overturning the result in this wretched blot on the history of the game, awarding the trophy and medals retrospectively to Leeds. UEFA did nothing. I’ve opened another petition – since the original effort in 2009, Christos Michas has died. It seemed appropriate to try to revive the matter. That petition can be supported here.

Leeds have frequently been the victims of poor decisions and examples of prejudice against them over the years. They are still, to the best of my knowledge, the only team to concede a goal to the background of the referee punching the air in celebration – supposedly of a good advantage decision, but really? Would it happen if the victims had been Man U?

These are the 5 most blatant examples I could find of occasions when Leeds have suffered at the hands of officialdom, referees in particular. I’m sure there are many less famous instances, and I’d be interested to hear the recollections of others. It’s a well-known saying in the game that bad decisions, like bad luck, tend to even out over time so that all teams are more or less equal in the long run. I think any Leeds fan would have a wry grin at that one.