Sprake, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton…

When I was a boy, at this time of year, you knew which players were going to be in the squads of the significant Association Football teams of the coming season. They were, in short, largely the same players as were contracted to the club the previous year. Growing up in Yorkshire a number of us at school followed Leeds United. The team we knew was Sprake (later Harvey)- Reaney-Cooper-Bremner-Charlton-Hunter-Lorimer-Clarke-Jones-Giles-and Gray. It was almost a playground chant. Anyway, we knew those names by heart. It came as rather a surprise to me a number of years later when I looked back on the line-ups for that era to find that the particular 11 mentioned with Sprake in goal only appeared in a grand total of 1 game for Leeds. That was in a game, in the FA Cup, against Mansfield Town on the 7th of February 1970 which Leeds won 2-0. The 11 mentioned never lined up at the start of a game in the Football League.

How can we account for this?

The answer to this seeming conundrum can be found in two simple words.

Paul Madeley.

Madeley sadly passed on the 23rd of July this year.

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We All Agree…

I was born in the 1960s and from a young age had a passionate interest in football. In 1972, my father decided to take me to a live football game for the first time and gave me the choice of either going to Elland Road, Leeds, to see United (recent F.A. cup winners, several double decker buses leaving from Barnsley Bus Station) or Oakwell (home of local team, Barnsley, within walking distance from the same bus station and struggling in the fourth division).

Not a difficult choice.

That day Leeds beat newly promoted Norwich City and gave a text book account of their great ball skills, solid defensive game and creative attacking flair.

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