57 Facts About Don Revie


Donald George Revie OBE was an England international footballer and manager, best known for his successful spell with Leeds United from 1961 until 1974, which immediately preceded his appointment as England manager.


Don Revie won the FA Cup in 1956, having finished on the losing side in the 1955 final.


In March 1961, Revie was appointed player-manager of Leeds United, then a Second Division club who had never won a major trophy.


Don Revie later had spells in Middle Eastern club football with Al-Nasr and Al-Ahly.


Don Revie retired in 1984, but was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in May 1987, which led to his death two years later.


Don Revie remains a highly popular figure in Leeds, and has a stand named after him at Elland Road as well as a statue outside the ground.


Don Revie was born in Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, on 10 July 1927.

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Don Revie's father, named Donald, was a joiner who found himself frequently out of work during the Great Depression.


Don Revie played youth football for Newport Boys' Club and then Middlesbrough Swifts, who were coached by influential manager Bill Sanderson.


Don Revie learnt the rudiments of the game using a small bundle of rags in the tiny yard behind his home.


Don Revie signed as a professional footballer for Leicester City in August 1944, choosing them ahead of local club Middlesbrough primarily due to the close links between Middlesbrough Swifts and Leicester City; he worked as an apprentice bricklayer.


Don Revie showed good form at Filbert Street before breaking his right ankle in three places after a tackle from Tottenham Hotspur's Ron Burgess; the injury could have ended his career, but he recovered to full fitness within 19 weeks.


Don Revie decided to leave Leicester after Duncan left the club, having already been dissatisfied with the club's lack of progress in the league.


Don Revie chose to join the Tigers ahead of bigger clubs like Arsenal and Manchester City who had shown interest in signing him due to the fact that Hull were managed by Raich Carter, who had been a great player before and after World War II.


Teammate Andy Davidson later said Don Revie failed to fulfil his potential at Boothferry Park as he was not a tough player, and the rest of the Hull team were not physically dominant enough to protect him and allow him to dictate play with his accurate passing.


Don Revie was often isolated from the rest of the team due to his lack of pace.


Don Revie's role derived from the more traditional inside right position, and was based on the style of the successful Hungarian national team, and in particular Nandor Hidegkuti, who invented the role.


Don Revie devoted 20 pages to analysing and explaining the plan in his autobiography Soccer's Happy Wanderer written in 1955.


Don Revie played only one FA Cup match that season before being named in the team for the 1956 FA Cup Final against Birmingham City, with Johnstone being moved to the wings.


Don Revie recognised his playing days were coming to an end and relinquished the captaincy to Freddie Goodwin.


Don Revie went on to play for the England B team in March 1954.


Don Revie was one of many signatories in a letter to The Times on 17 July 1958 opposing 'the policy of apartheid' in international sport and defending 'the principle of racial equality which is embodied in the Declaration of the Olympic Games'.


Don Revie was made player-manager at Leeds United in March 1961 following the resignation of Jack Taylor, who left after Leeds found themselves struggling in the Second Division.


Don Revie immediately began to institute radical changes such as ensuring the players stayed at higher quality hotels.


Don Revie instilled a "family atmosphere" at Elland Road, making sure to take an interest in the lives of everyone at the club from the cleaning staff to the star players and ensuring there were no "big egos" at the club.

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Don Revie showed trust in his players, leaving them mainly to their own devices though he always made sure he was fully informed as to what they were up to off the pitch, even going so far as to tell them to dump their girlfriends if he viewed them as unsuitable.


Don Revie developed a youth policy at the club, notable graduates of which would be Eddie Gray, Norman Hunter, Peter Lorimer and Paul Reaney.


Don Revie had a difficult task in persuading young players to join Leeds over more glamorous clubs but made sure he put in extra effort to make the youngsters feel happy at Leeds, and in one instance drove to Scotland to talk to Bremner's girlfriend to successfully persuade her to encourage Bremner to stay at Leeds rather than return to Scotland to be with her.


Don Revie played his last game in March 1962 before concentrating entirely on management.


Don Revie's team set a number of records: most points, most wins, fewest defeats, and most home points ; a still-unbroken club record is their 34 match unbeaten run that extended into the following season.


The previous season's defeat to West Bromwich Albion led to Don Revie criticising referee Ray Tinkler.


Don Revie told his squad that the aim for the season would be to go unbeaten throughout the campaign.


Don Revie chose to take the job of England national football team manager ahead of leading a European Cup challenge at Leeds and breaking up the ageing team he had stuck with for many years, and though he was well loved at the club he was not popular with the Leeds boardroom members, who appointed Brian Clough, a fierce critic of Revie as his successor.


In July 1974, Don Revie accepted the offer of the England manager's job, succeeding Alf Ramsey and caretaker-manager Joe Mercer.


Don Revie was a popular appointment with the press and supporters; noted journalist Brian Glanville wrote that "Revie was the obvious choice".


Don Revie attempted to build a relationship with the media, and invited 81 prospective and established England players to a meeting in Manchester to make everyone feel included, where he announced that he would establish extra pay for international players as well as bonus payments for wins and draws.


Don Revie held a meeting with Alan Hardaker, chairman of the Football League, but Hardaker had long resented Revie and was very reluctant to accept his proposal to rearrange league fixtures to benefit the England team.


Don Revie had difficult relationships with figures within the FA, most notoriously with chairman Sir Harold Thompson, who allegedly attempted to influence Revie's team selections and undermine him publicly.


Colin Todd stated that Don Revie was ill-suited to the England job, with his strengths lying in the day-to-day contact found only in club management rather than the politics and committee meetings of international management.


Don Revie was criticised for his constant changing of players during the qualifying group, particularly his decision to drop captains Emlyn Hughes and Alan Ball from his squad entirely, his mistrust of flair players like Charlie George and Alan Hudson, and his willingness to play players out of position.


Don Revie missed a friendly with Brazil in Rio de Janeiro for what he claimed was a scouting assignment on the Italians, when in fact he had travelled to Dubai for contract negotiations with the United Arab Emirates.


Don Revie asked for his contract with England to be cancelled, which the FA refused to do and the FA offered Don Revie their full support despite having already approached Bobby Robson to replace him.


On 12 July 1977, Don Revie revealed in an exclusive to the Daily Mail that he was quitting the England job to become manager of the UAE.


Don Revie left the UAE coaching role in May 1980 as the UAE searched for an Arabic speaking manager.


Don Revie returned to club management with Al-Nasr of the UAE Arabian Gulf League, but was sacked in 1984 with the club sitting third in the league.

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Don Revie was approached to replace Alan Mullery as Queens Park Rangers manager by chairman Jim Gregory, but the deal was not completed and Revie never worked in football again.


Don Revie married Elsie, the niece of Leicester City's Scottish manager Johnny Duncan, on 17 October 1949.


Don Revie published an autobiography, Soccer's Happy Wanderer, in 1955.


Don Revie was appointed an OBE for his services to football.


Don Revie was an active freemason attending Leodiensis Lodge No 4029 from 1965 until his death.


Don Revie publicly announced his illness in August of that year, and made his final public appearance on 11 May 1988 at Elland Road in a wheelchair, at a charity football match held to raise money for research into motor neurone disease.


Don Revie died in his sleep in Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh on 26 May 1989, aged 61, and was cremated four days later at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh.


The family atmosphere Don Revie instilled at Elland Road ensured that many Leeds United players remained friends and fiercely loyal to Don Revie long after their playing days had ended; his players generally avoided financial, addiction or family problems, enjoying largely stable lives even after retirement.


In May 2012, a statue of Don Revie was unveiled outside Elland Road.


James Corbett of the Guardian wrote that "[Don Revie] had been the most innovative manager of his generation" and "not until Arsene Wenger would a manager exert such a profound influence on his club - and the English game as a whole".


In 2009, Don Revie was portrayed by Colm Meaney in the film The Damned United, which focused on Clough's reign as manager of Leeds United.


Don Revie's reputation suffered in the late 1970s after his highly controversial England resignation.