Tag Archives: George Graham

The Clubs: Leeds United

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
468 189 125 154 641 573 +68 692 12

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Gary Kelly 325
Ian Harte 214
Nigel Martyn 207
Lee Bowyer 203
David Wetherall 201
Lucas Radebe 197
Harry Kewell 181
Rod Wallace 178
Alan Smith 171
Gary McAllister 151

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Mark Viduka 59
Harry Kewell 45
Rod Wallace 42
Lee Bowyer 38
Alan Smith 38
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 34
Brian Deane 32
Ian Harte 28
Tony Yeboah 24
Gary McAllister 24

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Leeds United 6-1 Bradford City 13th May 2001 2000-2001
Charlton Athletic 1-6 Leeds United 5th April 2003 2002-2003
Leeds United 5-0 Tottenham Hotspur 25th August 1992 1992-1993
Swindon Town 0-5 Leeds United 7th May 1994 1993-1994
Derby County 0-5 Leeds United 15th March 1998 1997-1998
West Ham United 1-5 Leeds United 1st May 1999 1998-1999
Leeds United 4-0 Wimbledon 2nd October 1993 1993-1994
Queens Park Rangers 0-4 Leeds United 4th April 1994 1993-1994
Leeds United 4-0 Queens Park Rangers 24th January 1995 1994-1995
Leeds United 4-0 Ipswich Town 5th April 1995 1994-1995

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds United 8th November 2003 2003-2004
Liverpool FC 5-0 Leeds United 20th January 1996 1995-1996
Arsenal 5-0 Leeds United 16th April 2004 2003-2004
Sheffield Wednesday 6-2 Leeds United 16th December 1995 1995-1996
Manchester City 4-0 Leeds United 7th November 1992 1992-1993
Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Leeds United 20th February 1993 1992-1993
Leeds United 0-4 Norwich City 21st August 1993 1993-1994
Leeds United 0-4 Manchester United 7th September 1996 1996-1997
Liverpool FC 4-0 Leeds United 19th February 1997 1996-1997
Leeds United 0-4 Arsenal 16th April 2000 1999-2000

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Howard Wilkinson 5 10th September 1996
George Graham 3 1st October 1998
David O’Leary 4 27th June 2002
Terry Venables 1 21st March 2003
Peter Reid 2 10th November 2003
Eddie Gray 1 31st May 2004

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Leeds United 0-2 Manchester United 27th April 1994 41,125 1993-1994
Leeds United 3-4 Newcastle United 22nd December 2001 40,287 2001-2002
Leeds United 1-1 Manchester United 25th April 1999 40,255 1998-1999
Leeds United 1-0 Middlesbrough 11th May 2002 40,218 2001-2002
Leeds United 0-4 Liverpool FC 3rd February 2002 40,216 2001-2002
Leeds United 3-1 Aston Villa 11th May 2003 40,205 2002-2003
Leeds United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 4th November 2001 40,203 2001-2002
Leeds United 0-1 Newcastle United 6th February 1999 40,202 1998-1999
Leeds United 3-2 Everton 19th December 2001 40,201 2001-2002
Leeds United 1-4 Arsenal 28th September 2002 40,199 2002-2003

 

Intro

Leeds United were one of the biggest clubs in England when the Premier League was formed. They were the reigning English champions when the new era began in 1992 and were a regular finisher in the top six throughout the first decade. This included a 3rd place finish under David O’Leary’s management in 2000. Leeds spent big to try and break Manchester United’s dominance but this led to crippling debts. Just three years after reaching the Champions League semi-finals, Leeds were relegated in 2004 and haven’t been back in the top-flight since.

 

1992-1993

Having finished as champions in the last Football League season before the formation of the Premier League, Leeds United struggled and finished just two points clear of relegation. They were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Scottish champions Rangers, bizarrely sold Eric Cantona to Pennines rivals Manchester United and failed to win a single league match away from Elland Road. Form was better on home turf for Howard Wilkinson’s side, with heavy wins against Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur, whilst Lee Chapman was one of the star performers, scoring 13 goals.

 

1993-1994

Wilkinson broke the club’s transfer record in the summer of 1993 by paying Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United £2.7 million for Brian Deane’s services. There was a slow start with a heavy 4-0 loss to Norwich City among the low points. However, Leeds recovered and finished in a much-improved fifth place at the end of the season, only one point shy of qualifying for continental competition. Rod Wallace scored 17 goals but championship-winning player David Batty did depart during the season for Blackburn Rovers.

 

1994-1995

Consistency was a strong element of Leeds’ 1994-1995 campaign. They never dropped outside the top eight from the second match of the season. They did inflict a rare loss on Manchester United at Elland Road in September but goalscoring was a problem for Wilkinson’s side. Although there was initial promise from youngster Noel Whelan, it was the January signing Ghanaian striker Tony Yeboah from Eintracht Frankfurt that breathed new life into an unremarkable but solid side. Yeboah ended as top scorer with 12 goals and nine wins from their last 13 games ensured a second successive finish in fifth place.

 

1995-1996

Leeds made a fantastic start to the 1995-1996 season, winning their first three matches with Yeboah in stunning shooting form. He was forming his own Goal of the Season shortlist, with spectacular goals in victories over Liverpool FC, Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday. When his goal beat Chelsea on 18th November, Leeds sat fifth in the table but their season nosedived after this result. A run of six successive defeats following a League Cup final defeat at the hands of Aston Villa ensured a disappointing 13th place finish – well below the club’s lofty expectations.

 

1996-1997

It was the end of an era at Leeds United on 10th September 1996 as the club elected to sack their 1992 championship-winning manager Howard Wilkinson. Despite winning two of their first five league matches, a demoralising 4-0 home defeat to Manchester United spelt the end of Wilkinson’s successful reign at Elland Road. George Graham returned to management after a one-year suspension and made Leeds tough to beat. However, they scored just 28 goals in 38 matches, finishing with the worst goalscoring total in the Premier League. Nevertheless, Leeds kept a staggering 20 clean sheets and finished in 11th place with a better defensive record than champions Manchester United.

 

1997-1998

After two frustrating seasons, Leeds returned to the Premier League’s top five as George Graham secured UEFA Cup qualification. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink arrived in pre-season and finished as the club’s top goalscorer with 16 goals. There was a 1-0 win over Manchester United in September and resounding home victories against Newcastle United (4-1) and Blackburn Rovers (4-0). The foundations had been put in place for a successful few seasons for the Leeds faithful.

 

1998-1999

Unbeaten in their opening seven matches, the club were stunned in early October when George Graham walked out to move back to north London, filling the vacancy at Tottenham Hotspur. When no.1 target Martin O’Neill elected to stay at Leicester City, it was Graham’s former assistant, David O’Leary who was appointed as his successor. It was a young squad but O’Leary achieved great things. They strung together a seven-game winning sequence to match a record set by Don Revie’s all-conquering side of the 1970s and Leeds finished in fourth place. Hasselbaink shared the Golden Boot with Michael Owen and Dwight Yorke, scoring 18 times.

 

1999-2000

The 1999-2000 Premier League season was the most competitive for Leeds United. They launched a serious title challenge to Manchester United, topping the table at the end of 1999. Their youthful side really sparkled with Harry Kewell winning the PFA Young Player of the Year and Michael Bridges scoring 19 goals in his first season wearing Leeds colours.

A 1-0 loss to Manchester United at Elland Road in mid-February effectively ended their challenge and inexperience did catch up on them, ultimately finishing 22 points adrift of the champions from Old Trafford. Tragedy also shook the club to the core when two Leeds supporters were stabbed to death on the streets of Istanbul just hours before their UEFA Cup semi-final with Galatasaray.

There was a silver lining though. A goalless draw on the final day at Upton Park secured UEFA Champions League football for the following campaign with a 3rd place finish.

 

2000-2001

In Europe, Leeds United really made a statement of intent by reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. They beat the likes of Lazio, Deportivo La Coruna and AC Milan along the way before bowing out over two legs to Valencia. David O’Leary had now become one of the game’s most in-demand managers.

Initially, the demands of UCL action meant an inconsistent start to the Premier League season and Leeds even went into 2001 in the bottom half of the table. They rallied in the second half of the campaign but were edged into fourth place on the final day by treble cup winners, Liverpool FC.

Leeds broke the British transfer record for a defender during the season, spending £18 million on Rio Ferdinand in November 2000 but their failure to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for a second successive season would start to have a worrying impact on their future finances.

 

2001-2002

Leeds launched another strong push for the championship in 2001-2002. They were part of a five-club battle for the summit, together with Newcastle United, Liverpool FC, Arsenal and Manchester United. Tough-tackling midfielder Seth Johnson and goalscoring hotshot Robbie Fowler were added to the squad during the season for a combined fee of £18 million.

O’Leary had plenty of options and a 3-0 victory over West Ham United on New Years’ Day took Leeds to the top of the table. However, a seven-game winless sequence followed which included defeats to Liverpool and Newcastle along with a shock FA Cup exit at Division Two side Cardiff City knocked the stuffing out of their season. Leeds eventually finished in fifth place.

Chairman Peter Risdale decided the manager was to blame and sacked O’Leary in June, with no silverware and no Champions League football either. He was now aware of a huge hole in the club’s finances.

 

2002-2003

By now, Leeds’ debts were racking up and were being noted in the public eye. Many star players were now being sold to balance the books. Manchester United signed Rio Ferdinand for £30 million, Robbie Keane was sold to Tottenham Hotspur and Robbie Fowler joined Manchester City in the January transfer window.

Terry Venables succeeded O’Leary as manager and despite winning four of their first six games; Leeds struggled all campaign and were closer to the relegation zone for much of the season. Venables quit in March, not fancying a tussle at the bottom and it was Peter Reid who steered them to the end of the season. A 3-2 victory at Arsenal on the penultimate weekend secured their Premier League safety but a 15th place finish was not what anyone wanted. Worse was to come though.

 

2003-2004

Debts had now reached the £100 million mark and Harry Kewell was the next star to leave, with the Australian joining Liverpool FC. Leeds collected just eight points from their first 12 games and after a 6-1 humbling at newly-promoted Portsmouth in November, Peter Reid was sacked.

Former player Eddie Gray was handed the poisoned chalice and Leeds did record a draw with Chelsea plus victories against Charlton Athletic and Fulham. However, a terrible run of seven successive defeats which started with a 3-1 loss at Wolverhampton Wanderers ended any realistic hopes of staying in the Premier League.

On Sunday 2nd May, Leeds’ 14-year stay in the top-flight ended with a 4-1 loss to Bolton Wanderers. More stars left in the off-season including Paul Robinson, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka. Finances have improved since but apart from one play-off final defeat in 2006, Leeds have remained a club in the mid-table reaches of the Championship.

Advertisements

Premier League Files: Kevin Richardson

Premier League Career: Aston Villa (1992-1994), Coventry City (1995-1997), Southampton (1997-1998)

Kevin Richardson was one of the unsung heroes of many high-profile clubs. He won the FA Cup with Everton in 1984, the league with the Toffees in 1985 and also with Arsenal in 1989. In 1994, he was a big part of the Aston Villa team that defeated Manchester United to win the League Cup final.

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he turned professional in 1980 and spent six seasons at Goodison Park. A versatile midfielder, Richardson moved to Watford in 1986 – the team Everton had defeated at Wembley in the FA Cup final two seasons earlier. He only experienced one campaign at Vicarage Road as Arsenal paid £200,000 for his services in 1987. He operated on the left-wing for the Gunners and played all 90 minutes in their dramatic title-winning success at Anfield in 1989. Despite featuring nearly 100 times for Arsenal, he never enjoyed the greatest relationship with manager George Graham and he moved to Spain in 1990 to play for Real Sociedad.

After one season in Spain, Richardson returned to English shores, signing for Ron Atkinson at Aston Villa. His leadership and knowhow was crucial to an exciting Villa side that seriously challenged Manchester United for title honours in the very first Premier League season. He was skipper that season but Villa faded in the run-in to ultimately finish 10 points behind the Red Devils. The Villans got their revenge in March 1994, defeating them 3-1 in the League Cup final. It would turn out to be Kevin’s final major honour as a player and he won Man of the Match honours with his commanding display in the middle of the park that afternoon.

It was whilst he was at Aston Villa when he won his solitary England cap which arrived in a 5-0 friendly victory over Greece in May 1994. When Atkinson was sacked by Doug Ellis at Villa and eventually turned up at Midlands rivals Coventry City – his first signing was to bring his former captain to Highfield Road. Richardson spent the next two seasons helping the Sky Blues avoid relegation. One further Premier League season followed at Southampton before ending his career with stints at Barnsley and Blackpool. He retired in 2000.

He has been a coach ever since, having spells as an assistant manager at Stockport County and Darlington. Since 2009, Kevin has been an Under-18 coach at Newcastle United.

Premier League Files: Gunnar Halle

Premier League Career: Oldham Athletic (1992-1994), Leeds United (1996-1999), Bradford City (1999-2001)

Born in Larvik, Norway, Gunnar Halle spent the bulk of his playing career playing in England. He was one of the few foreign players who featured in the opening season of the Premier League and was a constant attacking threat from full-back.

Halle moved into the English game in 1991, joining Oldham Athletic for £280,000. He is often considered as one of the club’s finest players during their two-season spell in the Premier League era. In total, Halle played 212 league games for the Latics and scored 21 times. One of his goals came in the thrilling 4-3 victory over Southampton on the final day in 1993; a victory which saw Oldham protecting their Premier League status at the expense of Crystal Palace.

In the winter of 1996 and with Oldham’s decline well underway, Halle moved down to Yorkshire and joined Leeds United for £500,000. One of George Graham’s first signings, he would compete with the long-serving Gary Kelly at right-back and became a very useful addition to the squad at Elland Road. He played 83 times for Leeds, scoring four goals as they finished fifth and fourth under the stewardship of first Graham, then David O’Leary.

By the summer of 1999, Halle was 34 and Leeds decided to move him onto Yorkshire rivals Bradford City, allowing them to go and sign Danny Mills from relegated Charlton Athletic. Halle cost Bradford £200,000 and turned out for them 70 times, leaving the club one season after their relegation from the top-flight in 2002.

After a short spell with Wolverhampton Wanderers, he returned to Norway to finish his playing days with Lillestrøm. On the international stage for Norway, Halle scored a hat-trick against no-hopers San Marino in the qualification for the 1994 World Cup finals. Gunnar would feature at that World Cup in the United States and also at the 1998 edition in France. He won 64 caps for Norway, retiring in 1999.

Since retirement, Halle has moved into coaching and has served as assistant manager at several of the bigger sides in Norwegian club football, including Molde FK, Viking FK and Lillestrøm. He has also worked alongside former Manchester City forward Uwe Rosler, who is currently the manager of English League One side Fleetwood Town.

Halle is currently the assistant at Strømmen IF, a role he has held since 2013.

Shock Results: Arsenal 0-3 Coventry City (August 1993)

Goalscorers: Mick Quinn 34 PEN, 62, 65

Teams:

Arsenal: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Andy Linighan, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Davis, John Jensen, Paul Merson (Eddie McGoldrick 67), Anders Limpar (Martin Keown 73), Ian Wright, Kevin Campbell

Coventry City: Jonathan Gould, Phil Babb, Peter Atherton, Tony Sheridan, Stewart Robson (Steve Morgan 10), David Rennie, Sean Flynn, Roy Wegerle, John Williams, Mick Quinn, Peter Ndlovu

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 33,016

Optimism was high at Arsenal ahead of the start of the 1993-1994 season. The Gunners’ might have finished a distant 10th in the first Premier League campaign but were the reigning holders of both the FA Cup and League Cup. Manager George Graham had won the league championship twice before so expectations of a title tilt were well-considered.

Although beaten via a penalty shootout in the curtain-raising Charity Shield against Manchester United, Arsenal had performed very well. They were expected to brush aside a Coventry City side that had been beaten in both head-to-head encounters the previous season without scoring. Coventry were among the favourites with the bookies’ to be relegated but they also loved to prove the punters wrong and they did so spectacularly on the opening day at Highbury.

Arsenal started brightly but if there was one criticism of Graham’s management, it was he had a perfect Plan A, but no back-up solution if his side got into trouble. Within 10 minutes, they had slipped back into their comfort zone. David Seaman was the playmaker with long punts up the park towards Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell. However, David Rennie and Phil Babb had a comfortable afternoon, dealing with anything the Gunners’ frontline had to offer.

In Mick Quinn, Coventry had an unpredictable presence upfront but someone who knew where the back of the net was. He put the Sky Blues’ infront on 34 minutes from the penalty spot and from that moment on, Bobby Gould’s side were always in control. Only the injected pace of Anders Limpar gave them the odd concern. When he was replaced by defender Martin Keown in the 73rd minute, you knew that Graham simply had no clue with what to do.

Arsenal had been linked seriously with the England international Andy Sinton who was destined to leave Queens Park Rangers. On this evidence, Sinton made the right call to join Sheffield Wednesday instead because this brand of football would have simply bypassed him. Quinn, nicknamed “Sumo,” doubled his tally on 62 minutes, firing a shot into the top corner after the tricky Roy Wegerle had bamboozled Tony Adams with his skill and flair. Three minutes later, almost a carbon-copy move occurred with Wegerle the provider and Quinn producing the perfect finish. The ball went through Seaman’s defences. Graham said afterwards: “Football is about more than ability. It is about application and it’s about winners. Coventry seemed to have more desire than us.”

Arsenal bounced back from this opening day setback to finish fourth and beat Italian giants Parma to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Gothenburg. Gould resigned from his Coventry position two months later but ex-Liverpool FC defender Phil Neal comfortably steered them to a top-half finish. This was a day where underestimating the opposition was the fable. Arsenal did and paid a heavy price.

The Managers: George Graham

Premier League Clubs Managed: Arsenal (1992-1995), Leeds United (1996-1998), Tottenham Hotspur (1998-2001)

George Graham enjoyed a successful managerial career, notably at Arsenal where he managed to guide the club to two league championships and multiple cup success in domestic competitions.

He had a distinguished playing career and was part of the famous Gunners’ squad that won the league and cup double in 1971. Graham spent six seasons at Highbury, playing over 220 games. He ultimately finished his playing time with a brief spell in America in 1978, figuring for California Surf.

After learning under the tutelage of Terry Venables on the coaching staff at Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers, Graham first became a manager in December 1982 at Millwall. He spent four years at the Den, steering them from the bottom of the old Third Division to promotion during his reign.

Former club Arsenal came calling following Don Howe’s resignation in 1986. Having not won a trophy in seven years, the Arsenal board were keen to get the club back into silverware contention during a time where the Merseyside teams were sweeping the majority of the trophies. He added a stricter discipline to the dressing room and Arsenal instantly became winners. They won the League Cup in his first season in charge.

Building a team around young skipper Tony Adams and a tight defence, the flair of Paul Merson, Alan Smith and Michael Thomas took Arsenal towards the league title in sensational circumstances in 1989. Thomas scored the vital second goal on the final evening of the season at Anfield to win the game against Liverpool FC. The 2-0 victory was enough to snatch the title away from the Reds’ grasp. Two seasons later, he led the North Londoners to another title, losing just one league match all season with the likes of Swedish winger Anders Limpar and future England no.1 goalkeeper David Seaman added to his valuable assets.

Premier League management

In 1992, Arsenal were considered among the title favourites for the first Premier League season but started badly with back-to-back defeats to surprise packages Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers. A victory at Anfield did follow a week later but league form was inconsistent and the team finished tenth – Graham’s lowest finish in the league. However, that disappointment was soothed by a domestic cup double, beating Sheffield Wednesday in both matches.

Graham’s side became very defence-minded and was almost fully reliant on goals from Ian Wright. They averaged just 48 league goals in each of the Premier League’s first three seasons and were the lowest scorers in the division during the inaugural season. His reign at Arsenal ultimately ended very controversially. In late 1994, it emerged Graham had accepted a £425,000 payment from a Norwegian agent, Rune Hauge following the signings two years earlier of Scandinavian pair, Pal Lydersen and John Jensen. Graham was sacked by the club in February 1995 and the FA later banned him for a year for his part in the transfer dealings.

After serving his ban, he returned to football management with Leeds United, replacing Howard Wilkinson in September 1996. As ever, he worked on getting the defence right and despite scoring a meagre 28 goals, Leeds finished comfortably in mid-table in 11th spot. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was signed a year later and the Yorkshire side became a more exciting side to watch. There were thrilling 4-3 victories over Blackburn Rovers and Derby County and a 5-0 trouncing of the Rams at Pride Park. Leeds finished a creditable fifth in the 1997/1998 table.

Tottenham courted his services following the departure of Christian Gross and there was an uncomfortable afternoon when Leeds visited White Hart Lane with Graham still employed by the club but almost about to take over at Spurs. The banners “Who are you supporting today George?” pretty much summed it up.  A 3-3 draw meant the entertainment value on-the-field matched the boardroom discussions between the two clubs.

Graham eventually took over at Tottenham at the start of October 1998. For the fans, an ex-Arsenal manager was not a popular choice but he did guide Tottenham to their first silverware in seven years, defeating Leicester City 1-0 in the 1999 League Cup final. However, Tottenham couldn’t finish higher than 10th in the table and he was sacked in March 2001, shortly after the club’s ownership changed hands. An alleged breach of contract was given as the reason for his sudden departure and it was fair to say, things ended rather acrimoniously between ENIC, who had purchased the club and the manager.

Graham has been out of management ever since, instead focusing on being the chief pundit for Sky Sports’ pay-per-view Premiership Plus coverage from 2001 to 2007. He has been linked with vacancies at Leicester City, West Ham United and Sunderland but opted to stay away from the dugout.

George Graham achieved plenty in his career and his 10 managerial honours in very impressive. However, his best days ultimately took place before the formation of the FA Premier League.