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Top 10 Best Leeds United Players of All Time

Updated on January 09, 2017
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

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The Billy Bremner statue outside Elland Road football stadium.  Nicknamed "King Billy", Bremenr played for the team from 1959 to 1976, captaining the team through its golden period.  Bremner died in 1997 from a suspected heart attack aged just 54.
The Billy Bremner statue outside Elland Road football stadium. Nicknamed "King Billy", Bremenr played for the team from 1959 to 1976, captaining the team through its golden period. Bremner died in 1997 from a suspected heart attack aged just 54. | Source

Despite moving to the USA, I am proud to say that I am still an ardent follower and supporter of Leeds United (although unfortunately my trips to Elland Road are less frequent nowadays!).

I thought it would be interesting and fun to put together and post my own personal top 10 list of the best Leeds United players of all time.

Top 10 lists always have, by their nature, an element of subjectivity and it is not always easy to compare players who may play different in positions, or in different eras.

It is also true to say, of course, that on a different day, my list might be slightly different, depending on my mood.

That said, I think that my list is a pretty good representation of the top 10 best Leeds United players over the years.

1. Billy Bremner

“King Billy” Bremner is undoubtedly the greatest Leeds United player of all time. He appeared 771 times for the club from 1959 to 1976 and scored 115 goals.

Short in stature, but tough and uncompromising as a player, Bremner captained Leeds through the 60s and 70s and although there are certainly more skillful players in my top 10, there is no one who has played with the same amount of pride and passion for his team.

2. Peter Lorimer

Peter Lorimer played for Leeds from 1962 to 1978 and from 1984 to 1985, with a total of 703 appearances.

He scored 238 goals. Nicknamed “Lash” by Leeds fans, Lorimer was an attacking midfielder with a legendary hard shot (one of his goals was measured as moving at 90 mph!).

He is still involved with the club, serving as a fans’ representative on the board of directors.

3. Eddie Gray

Eddie Gray made 577 appearances for Leeds, playing from 1965 to 1984, and scoring 68 goals.

The highlight of his Leeds career was almost certainly his legendary goal against Burnley, when he flicked and backheeled his way past numerous opposing players to get into a scoring position, before putting the ball in the back of the net.

Rated by many as the greatest all round player, Charles was born in Swansea in 1931 and played for Swansea City before he came to Leeds.
Rated by many as the greatest all round player, Charles was born in Swansea in 1931 and played for Swansea City before he came to Leeds. | Source

4. John Charles

John Charles appeared 327 times, wearing the Leeds shirt from 1947 to 1957, plus a short spell in 1962. He scored 157 goals in total.

Nicknamed the ‘Gentle Giant’ ("Il Gigante Buono" in Italian), due to his nonviolent philosophy of never kicking or intentionally hurting the opposition, Charles was never cautioned or sent off over the duration of his entire football career.

He was nonetheless lethal in front of goal and tough to beat in the air, however.

Charlton spent his entire club career with Leeds, making 629 league and 762 total competitive appearances (club records).  He was also part of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup.
Charlton spent his entire club career with Leeds, making 629 league and 762 total competitive appearances (club records). He was also part of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup. | Source

5. Jack Charlton

Another Leeds legend, Jack Charlton spent his entire footballing career at the club, making 772 appearances from 1952 to 1973, and scoring 95 goals.

Agile and tough, he formed the core of Don Revie’s defence, as well as playing an important part in the England World Cup team of 1966.

6. Johnny Giles

A central figure during the Don Revie golden years, Johnny Giles made 525 appearances for Leeds United from 1963 to 1975 and scored 114 goals.

A penalty expert, his creative partnership with “King Billy” Bremner was pure magic.

Revie wanted Giles to be his successor at Leeds when he left to manage England, but the board of directors controversially (and disastrously) appointed Brian Clough instead.

7. Alan Clarke

Nicknamed “Sniffer”, Alan Clarke appeared for Leeds United 364 times between 1969 and 1978 and scored 151 goals.

His nickname came from his impressive ability to find goal-scoring opportunities from unpromising situations.

Revie paid a then record £165,000 for him, but he soon proved to be value for money.

8. Norman Hunter

Nicknamed "Bites Yer Legs", Norman Hunter wrongly had a reputation for just being a bone-crunching thug, but he was admired by the Leeds United fans and other players for his playing skills as well as his impressive defensive abilities.

Playing from 1961 to 1976, he made 724 appearances and scored 21 goals for Leeds.

9. Gordon Strachan

After a successful career with Manchester United, Scottish international Gordon Strachan fell out with manager, Alex Ferguson and came to Leeds.

He cost £200,000, which turned out to be a bargain. He would go on to appear with Leeds 311 times from 1988 to 1996, scoring 57 goals.

He got his revenge over Ferguson in 1992 by helping Leeds to overtake Manchester United and win the football league.

10. Nigel Martyn

Signed by Howard Wilkinson, Nigel Martyn made 273 appearances from 1996 to 2003 and played a significant role in the team that went all the way to the last 4 of the UEFA Champions League, eliminating FC Barcelona and S.S. Lazio in the process.

The greatest goalkeeper that Leeds have ever had.

A panorama of Elland Road, Leeds United's home ground for many decades.  Legendary Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson has described Elland Road as being one of the most intimidating atmospheres in European Football.
A panorama of Elland Road, Leeds United's home ground for many decades. Legendary Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson has described Elland Road as being one of the most intimidating atmospheres in European Football. | Source

© 2014 Paul Goodman

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    • brutishspoon profile image

      Amy 2 years ago from Darlington, England

      Leeds are a team who have had their ups and downs. They have had it tough at times but can really shine at others. They for me are a team that could do great things in the future if they work at it.

    • profile image

      trump 4 days ago

      leeds are THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD PONTUS JANSSON IS SO GOOD

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