7 Of The Best Players To Ever Play For Leeds United
We will certainly not be mentioning the likes of Seth Johnson, Billy Paynter or Roque Junior. We will be focusing on the cream of the Elland Road crop, so we will start from seven and work our way to the best player to ever play for LEEDS, LEEDS LEEDS.
7: Jack Charlton (1952-1973)
"The Giraffe" of Revie's Leeds team and one of the most talented and respected centre-halves in footballing history. Big Jack spent his entire footballing career at Leeds, making an astounding 733 appearances over 21 years and scoring 96 goals.
His height was used to great advantage at Leeds corner kicks and his surprisingly agile defensive ability kept out even the greatest strikers of his day. He earned the first of his 35 England caps at the age of 30 and was an important part of the 1966 World Cup winning team.
Jack retired from playing in 1973 and had mixed fortunes as a manager at several clubs, but his best known managerial success was with The Republic of Ireland.
6: Norman Hunter (1961-1976)
A hard but skillful left half, nicknamed "Bites Yer Legs", he daunted opposition players at home and across Europe, with his bone-crunching tackling. Despite playing second fiddle to the favoured Bobby Moore, he was still capped 28 times for England. In his 15 years at Leeds, he made 724 appearances, scoring 21 goals before moving on to Bristol City in 1976 and later, to Barnsley. He ended his professional football career managing Rotherham and later coaching at Leeds.
5: Gordon Strachan (1989-1995)
Scottish International Strachan joined LUFC from Man U for £300,000 in 1989. He enjoyed a successful career on both sides of the border. Scottish player of the year in 1979-80, he joined Man U for 500,000 in 1984, where he acquired a Cup-winners medal before joining Leeds.
A prominent member of Scotland's 1982 and 1986 World Cup campaigns, he was the inspirational skipper of United's Second Division Championship team.
Anyone who doubted his ability to cope with a return to the top flight were woefully wide of the mark as he was named Footballer of the Year in 1991 and led Leeds to the Championship the following year and was awarded an OBE in 1993. Retiring with 50 Scottish Caps he played 234 games and scored 45 goals.
4: John Charles (1947-1957, 1962)
The 'Gentle Giant' is regarded as being the greatest Leeds player outside the Revie era. Signed at 16 within 3 months he had made his league debut. As a centre-half no one could beat him in the air and as a centre-forward he was lethal.
Voted the greatest ever foreign player to play for Juventus, winning 3 Italian league medals with the club, holds the scoring record in a season for Leeds United with 42 league goals in 1953-54 and the youngest ever Welsh international when he got his first of his 38 caps at only 18. He made 327 league and cup appearances for Leeds scoring 157 goals.
3: Eddie Gray (1965-1984)
In the late 60's and early 70's, he punished the best defenders in Europe, scoring 68 goals in his 19 years as a Leeds player. none of them better than his brace against Burnley at Elland Road, his amazing dribble around 7 defenders before scoring, was met with a full 30 second silence - the Leeds fans were struck dumb by the majesty of what they'd just seen! The players were on their way back to the centre circle, when Elland Road erupted! Just one of numerous occasions that this gifted left winger had the Leeds fans in euphoria.
2: Peter Lorimer (1962-1978, 1984-1985)
Leeds' youngest ever first team debutant just short of his 16th birthday, his powerful shots on goal earned him the nicknames "Lash" and "Hotshot" from the fans, especially after a newspaper recorded one of his shots at 90MPH! His shooting aside, he was a superb right winger and his crosses to the Leeds forwards were deadly accurate.
However he will be remembered for his blistering shooting skills in his two periods with Leeds, which resulted in 238 goals in a total of 676 games. Capped 21 times for Scotland Peter also played in Canada, South Africa and Israel, before finally hanging up his scorched boots in the mid 80's.
Leeds United's greatest ever player: Billy Bremner (1959-1976)
Those fortunate enough to have seen "King Billy" play will have their own special memories of this fiery, redheaded dynamo...for those born too late, one can only say that no player at Leeds has ever played with so much pride and passion for the club. He came off the field after every game, totally bruised from his efforts because he never gave up trying. Made his Leeds 1st team debut in 1960 and went on to become captain for most of the "Glory Years".
An excellent defender and passer of the ball, he always knew where every one of his teammates were, at any point of the match and played the ball right to their feet. No slouch in front of goal either, he scored 90 times in his 16 years at Leeds. Scotland recognised his skills in 1965 and made him captain in 1968 and he played 54 times for them. Football League Player of the Year in 1970, he was idolised by the Leeds fans and given grudging respect by everyone in football.
After 586 punishing games for Leeds, he moved to Hull in 1976 for a paltry £275,000. Returned to Leeds as manager in 1985, but was sacked 3 years later for not gaining promotion. A heart attack on Dec 7th 1997, sadly robbed the football world of one of its true legends... Honoured by a commemorative statue outside the Elland Road ground, which has become a shrine for Leeds fans worldwide.
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