Don Revie was the football man about whom few were neutral. The Leeds United team he created was possibly the finest in the history of the English league, one of legendary endurance, its characters strong and unyielding. Yet it remained unloved by the world at large, for many felt its voracious pursuit of honours was hallmarked by cynicism and ruthlessness. This study of Revie, one of football's most complex and controversial figures, examines the factors and influences that moulded him. In interviews with playing colleagues, the footballers he managed and others who worked alongside him, Andrew Mourant reflects on the seemingly paradoxical aspects of Revie's nature. He traces Revie's development from a childhood in which, living on the breadline in Middlesbrough, the game was his great escape, through playing days with five league clubs to management of Leeds United, England and beyond; and considers the legacy Revie left Leeds - a craving for a return to the days of glory and triumph he engineered. It is a turbulent story of success and failure. The tragic nature of Revie's untimely death in 1989 through motor neurone disease served only to sharpen memories of his achievements.
He continues to cast a shadow over Elland Road; Revie remains the yardstick against whom all successors are judged. Amid the triumphs, near misses and traumas, his reign brought Leeds United an era of unparalleled prosperity and stability. The story of Revie's career is one of intense dedication, willpower and pursuit of the near impossible. For some it was an inspiration, while for others its darker elements tainted the success he brought to Elland Road and all he strove to achieve for England.
Andrew Mourant is a freelance writer and journalist who has followed Leeds United since boyhood. He is the author of several books on the club and, most recently, The Essential History of England. He also writes on education and business topics, and works in TV documentary production.