Leeds United Part 4: Treasures of the Library

Part four of a four-part series exploring the history of Leeds United, as told through books and other materials held at the Central Library. You can find all of the parts in our dedicated Sport page and all the books mentioned here can be accessed by contacting us on 0113 37 86982 or via localandfamilyhistory@leeds.gov.uk

Think of ‘treasures’ in the context of a football club, and you are more likely to think of physical artefacts connected to achievements or performances on the pitch – trophies, and player shirts, for example – than the printed material more commonly found in a public library. Even so, Leeds Central Library holds a significant collection of rare items illustrating the Leeds United story, from foundation in 1919 to the present day.

While the majority of those treasures cover the period following the 1961 appointment of Don Revie as manager, earlier material is also present. Of particular note is an autograph book containing signatures of players during the 1947-48 season. Autographs and signatures of players form a large part of the Central Library LUFC treasures, in fact, including books signed by legends from the 1960s and 1970s; a short autograph book from the mid-1990s; and several autographed cards and posters.

Most notable, perhaps, is the Civic Reception book for Alderman Joshua Walsh, the Lord Mayor of Leeds when the city hosted a celebration for those members of the Leeds United squad who were also part of England’s victorious 1966 World Cup-winning team. You can read more about that in a previous blog article.

3rd August 1966. Leeds United’s participants in England’s triumphant World Cup winning squad are welcomed at a reception at the Civic Hall by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Alderman Joshua S. Walsh. From the left is Norman Hunter, then the Lady Mayoress, Jack Charlton in the centre, the Lord Mayor and finally trainer Les Cocker. (c) Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net

Many of the most important games in United’s history can be relived through the Central Library’s collection of newscuttings – including several volumes exploring the ‘Glory Years’ of the 1960s and 70s, together with a more recent acquisition of cuttings covering every season between 1984/85 and 1999/00. Similarly, the Central Library holds a wide-range of newspaper supplements and one-off publications, including Super Leeds, a 1972 FA Cup Final magazine.

More unusual items include the only copy of the ‘The Accused’, Colin Jeffrey’s 2003 article investigating the match-fixing accusations frequently directed at Don Revie and Billy Bremner and a selection of Official Handbook from the 1970s to the 2000s. Most notable, however, is promotional material from a joint project between Leeds United and Leeds Libraries in the early 2000s, in which players from that era – including Mark Viduka, Olivier Dacourt, Alan Smith, Nigel Martyn and Lucas Radebe – name their favourite books and pose in a range of unusual locations for some delightfully atmospheric black and white photography.

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