Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Graham: George

1996-1998 (Manager Details) (Manager Details)

Born in Bargeddie, Lanarkshire on 30th November 1944, George Graham had a distinguished playing career which started with his gaining Schoolboy International caps and playing for Muirkirk in his native Scotland before joining Aston Villa on 1st December 1961 after his seventeenth birthday. He made the Villa first team as an inside forward in the 1962/63 season in which he scored once in two appearances. After scoring twice in eight games, but picking up a League Cup losers' medal, he moved to Chelsea for £5,000 on 1st July 1964 and soon established himself as a regular striker. He picked up a League Cup winners' medal in 1965 but after scoring thirty-five goals in just seventy-two League appearances he came into conflict with his Manager Tommy Docherty and was sold to Arsenal in September 1966 for £50,000. Signed as a replacement for Joe Baker, he immediately commanded a regular spot in the Arsenal line-up, scoring twenty-seven goals in seventy-one games as a striker in his first two seasons at Highbury and was the Gunners' leading scorer in both. Not overendowed with speed and with a languid style which earned him the nickname "stroller", Manager Bertie Mee moved John Radford to Centre-forward and pulled Graham back into midfield in early 1969 in an effort to get the best out of Graham's undoubted skills. It brought out the best in George Graham and for the rest of his career he was a creative midfielder. With Arsenal he gained two League Cup losers' medals as Arsenal failed to beat Leeds in 1968 and Swindon Town in 1969, before getting a winners' medal as Arsenal beat Anderlecht in the 1969-70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final. He was an integral part of the Arsenal double-winning team of 1970/71, winning the 'Man of the Match' award in the FA Cup Final. there was another losers' medal as Arsenal were again beaten by Leeds this time in the FA Cup in 1972. The arrival of Alan Ball from Everton in the 1971/72 season saw Graham's place in the side become more insecure and after scoring fifty-nine goals in two hundred and twenty-seven League games, of which eight were as substitute, he joined Manchester United in December 1972 for £120,000. He failed to add to his medal tally at Old Trafford and was part of their team which suffered relegation from the top flight in 1973/74 and he left to join Second Division Portsmouth in November 1974 after scoring twice in forty-three League matches of which two were from the bench. He stayed almost exactly two years at Fratton Park, scoring five times in sixty-one League starts, and after the had been relegated to Division Three he joined Third Division Crystal Palace and helped them gain promotion in his first season. He scored twice for them in forty-three starts and one substitute appearance before leaving for the USA and the California Surf at the end of the 1977/78 season and there his playing career ended after seventeen games. Graham was capped twice at Under Twenty-three level and thirteen times at full International level and he scored three times for his country. He was voted forty-second on Arsenal's list of all-time greatest players. After ceasing playing he worked for a time as a part-time barman and then helped his friend Terry venables with the coaching of the Youth team at Crystal Palace before the pair moved on to Queens Park Rangers. He was appointed Manager of Millwall on 6th December 1982. At the time the Lions were bottom of the Third Division, and after avoiding relegation in his first season they won promotion to the Second Division in 1984/85. They also won the Full Members Trophy in 1983. His achievements attracted the attention of bigger clubs and he was appointed Manager of Arsenal on 14th May 1986. Arsenal no longer enjoyed the success of Graham's playing days with them and no longer numbered among the elite of the First Division not having won an honour since lifting the FA Cup in 1978/79. If the players expected Graham to be as relaxed as he had been as a player, they very quickly realised that the opposite applied. The new boss ensured everybody was aware they had to earn the right to wear the Arsenal shirt, and follow a strict code of behaviour. Cliques were quickly broken up in the dressing room. His Assistant Theo Foley played the ‘good guy’ to George’s cold, aloof, ‘bad guy’ with the squad. Between them they could cajole or bully performances from their charges. Paul Mariner, Tony Woodcock, and Martin Keown were allowed to leave, the latter because Graham refused to accommodate a contract demand that would have broken the strict wage structure, thereby sending a clear signal to any others contemplating a contract renegotiation. Graham’s first signing was Perry Groves from Colchester for £65,000, a player he had followed during his time at Millwall. Arsenal's form improved immediately, and the club were top of the League at Christmas 1986, for the first time in a decade. Arsenal finished fourth in Graham's first season in charge and they won the League Cup, beating Liverpool in the Final, and reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup. In his second season he bought striker Alan Smith from Leicester City for £850,000, Full-back Nigel Winterburn from Wimbledon for £407,000, Midfielder Kevin Richardson from Watford for £200,000 and Right-back Lee Dixon from Stoke City for £350,000, with Left-winger Brian Marwood arriving from Sheffield Wednesday late in the season, and though they finished sixth, they again made it to the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup and were beaten Finalists in the League Cup, when Luton Town surprisingly beat them but the team was taking shape. Graham set his sights on Liverpool, who set the standards in those days, and aimed to beat them everytime they clashed. In June 1988 Graham went back to Stoke City and paid £390,000 for central defender Steve Bould, as his successor to David O'Leary and partner to Tony Adams at the heart of his strong defence. Although they made swift exits from both Cup competitions, they won the Football League Championship in Graham's third season of 1988/89 with a magnificent victory at Anfield on the final day of their season. Arsenal went into the game needing to win by two goals to take the title. Alan Smith scored for Arsenal early in the second half to make it 1-0, but as time ticked by Arsenal struggled to get a second, and with ninety minutes gone on the clock, Arsenal still needed another goal. With only seconds to go, a Smith flick-on found Michael Thomas surging through the Liverpool defence and the young midfielder calmly lifted the ball over Bruce Grobbelaar and into the net, and Arsenal were League Champions. Arsenal’s dramatic title triumph was testament to Graham’s tactical nous, and his patient work with the famous back four on the training ground. Graham's side featured a very tight defensive discipline, embodied by his young captain Tony Adams, who along with Lee Dixon, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn, formed the basis of the club's defence forover a decade. However, contrary to popular belief, during this time Graham's Arsenal were not a purely defensive side. Graham also employed capable midfielders such as David Rocastle, Michael Thomas and Paul Merson, and striker Alan Smith, whose prolific goalscoring regularly brought him more than twenty goals per season. Inconsistency in 1989/90 saw Arsenal in fourth place and beaten in the Charity Shield and dismissed from both cups in the Fourth Round. In the close season Graham took action snapping up two former Leeds players, David Seaman and Andy Linighan from Queens Park Rangers for £1.3 million and Norwich City for £1.2 million respectively and Swedish International Left-winger Anders Limpar. The work that the manager had done with his defence paid off spectacularly as the Gunners conceded just eighteen league goals all season. The only League defeat came at Stamford Bridge in match twenty-four when Bould was virtually reduced to a passenger by injury. That the title was only won on Easter Monday was due only to a two-point deduction following a stormy encounter at Old Trafford. One of the mysteries of the Graham era was that after lifting two titles in three seasons, the side developed into one that was more successful in cup competitions. As the young defence gained in experience it became more frugal than ever, yet offensively Arsenal came perhaps to lean on his next major signing, and lost a little consistency as a unit. Graham went on to sign striker and eventual second all-time top scorer Ian Wright from Crystal Palace in October 1991, as the club took part in its first entry in the European Cup since 1971-72. He splashed a club record £2.5 million to bring him from Crystal Palace in a calculated gamble as Arsenal already had Smith, a double golden boot winner, and a blossoming young talent in Kevin Campbell, as well as the versatile Paul Merson. The European venture went badly as Arsenal were knocked out by Benfica in the second round and the season went from bad to worse when the Gunners were knocked out of the FA Cup by lowly Wrexham, though Arsenal recovered to finish fourth in the League. After the 1991/92 season, Graham changed his tactics and became more defensive, turning out far less attack-minded sides, which depended mainly on goals from Wright rather than the whole team. Inconsistency again plagued the side and they finished tenth, but they bounced back to land the first domestic cup double by defeating Sheffield Wednesday in both the League Cup and FA Cup Final in 1992/93. The following season, his eighth in charge of Highbury, saw his team in fourth spot once more but they picked up the European Cup-Winners' Cup and the song '1-0 to the Arsenal' was born and it was never more pertinent than in that final when they beat Parma, complete with Zola, Brolin and Asprilla at the height of their powers, in the final to win the last trophy in Graham's reign at Arsenal. What followed in February 1995 was a painful end to Graham’s tenure as Arsenal manager. As his side bore down on a second successive Cup-Winners Cup Final Graham was implicated in a ‘bung’ scandal. As news was about to break of ‘payments’ of £425,500 to Graham by agent Rune Hauge, Graham was advised to hand the money to Arsenal. Graham always argued that these were payments he had received for advising Hauge on potential transfers. His accusers claimed it was his cut of deals that had seen Pal Lydersen and John Jensen arrive at Highbury. It could not be denied that Arsenal had paid significantly more than either selling club had required. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case the Arsenal board, originally outwardly supportive of their Manager, were pressured into forcing him out. The FA eventually concluded that Graham was guilty and banned him from football for twelve months. After serving his ban, George Graham's return to football management came with Leeds United in September 1996. He took over a Leeds team that was struggling against relegation at the time and his first priority was the defence, although Leeds scored fewer goals than any other Premiership club, with twenty-eight goals scored, they still finished in a secure thirteenth position. Probably more importantly the legacy left by Howard Wilkinson had paid its first dividend as the FA Youth Cup was won by the Junior team that was about to deliver full Internationals Harry Kewell, Paul Robinson, Jonathan Woodgate, Stephen McPhail, Matthew Jones and Alan Maybury and indeed the first of them Harry Kewell was to become a regular in George Graham's first team in 1997/98. Graham had brought in Robert Molenaar and Gunnar Halle to bolster the defence and Derek Lilley and Frenchman Pierre Laurent as attacking cover but in the close season he bolstered the attack even further with the acquisition of Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink from Boavista for £2 million and he paid £500,000 to Vitoria Setubal for midfielder Bruno Ribeiro, £3.25 million to Crystal Palace for midfielder David Hopkin, £500,000 to Rangers for Full-back David Robertson and £1.6 million to Nottingham Forest for Dutch defender/midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland. The new season saw Leeds score twice as many goals as the previous season and finish fifth in the Premiership and secure UEFA Cup qualification, but a late slump in which United won only one of their last five games, stopped an even higher finish. Having bought Austrian International defender Martin Hiden in February 1998 for £1.3 million from Rapid Vienna, in the close season he brought in Dutch Striker Clyde Wijnhard from Willem II for £1.5 million and left-back Danny Granville from Chelsea for £1.6 million. There had been rumours of George Graham's wish to return to London and in October 1998 Graham's two-year spell as Leeds Manager came to an end when he was appointed Manager of Tottenham Hotspur. The White Hart Lane club had to pay compensation to Leeds. Leeds were in seventh position on the ladder when he left with eleven points from seven games. He did not take his Assistant David O'Leary with him to Tottenham and it was he who became the next Manager of Leeds United, while George Graham had one last triumph. Although he was generally reviled by the Spurs supporters for his Arsenal links, he led them to a League Cup triumph in 1999, just five months after taking charge, with a victory over Leicester City in the League Cup Final, and with it a place in the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup. Graham could never get Tottenham above tenth in the Premiership,and he was sacked as Tottenham Manager in March 2001 after falling out with the club's new chairman Daniel Levy. Cruelly, his tenure was ended just days before an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal. The appointment of Glenn Hoddle in time for the match may have briefly appeased the Spurs faithful, but was cold comfort as Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners at Old Trafford. Graham had remained unpopular with a large section of the supporters, because of his previous role at Arsenal, Tottenham's most bitter rivals. He has been out of Management ever since, concentrating on his career as a football pundit for Sky Sports.

F.A. Cup8512158
League Cup73131411