Top 10 Best Leeds United Players of All Time
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 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.
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.
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 the 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.
Questions & Answers
What about Leeds player Joe Jordan?
Yes, he's definitely a good candidate for inclusion. He was a key part of the Leeds team in the 70's and one of a group of Scots, known as the 'Scottish mafia' at the time. He struggled to get into the side at first, but went on to make 170 club appearances and score 35 goals. He left Leeds near the end of the 70's, they were past their best at that point, and went to Manchester United. He was nicknamed "Jaws", due to his missing teeth, and it's difficult to hear his name without thinking of his fangs and tough guy image, if you were around during that period.Helpful 5
© 2014 Paul Goodman