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

Wilkinson: Howard

1988-1996 (Manager Details) (Manager Details)

Born in Sheffield on 13th November 1943. Never rising above mediocracy as a player he represented England Grammar Schools and signed as an amateur for his hometown team Sheffield United. The winger moved across the city to join Sheffield Wednesday in June 1962, where he won England Youth honours, but in four years at Hillsborough he managed three goals and just twenty-two League appearances before leaving for Brighton and Hove Albion in July 1966. He had six seasons with the South Coast team making one hundred and sixteen starts and thirteen appearances from the bench and scored eighteen times in the League. Leaving the Seagulls in 1971 he joined Non-League Boston United in 1972 as Player-Coach and then Player-Manager he took the Pilgrims to consecutive Northern Premier League Championships and made one hundred and forty-two starts and one from the bench and scored twenty-six goals in League games, as well as playing forty-seven games in Cup and other matches and scoring another ten times. Whilst at Boston he used the time to gain a degree in Physical Education at Sheffield University. He also spent time during this period teaching at Abbeydale School in Sheffield. He left in 1976 to become Player-Manager of Non-League Mossley where he scored once in thirty appearances and took them to ninth place in the Northern Premier League. He left Mossley at the end of the 1976-77 season when he was appointed FA Regional Director of Coaching for the North East but was tempted back into the Football League by Notts County. He managed England’s Semi-Professional team and in 1982 he became the coach for the England Under-Twenty-One team. At Notts County he started as Assistant-Manager to Jimmy Sirrel, although his role was effectively that of Manager. He managed Notts County in the middle of the three seasons they spent in the First Division during the early eighties and achieved fifteenth place on the ladder despite little money and very low attendances. He moved to Sheffield Wednesday in the 1983 close-season and in 1983-84 took Wednesday back to the FirstDivision in his first season. Wednesday were close to winning the Second Division Championship, but it was Chelsea who eventually took the title which went to the last game of a thrilling season. Wednesday became a formidable First Division team and in the first season back in the top flight in 1984-85 they acheived memorable victories at both Anfield and Old Trafford. In the following season of 1985-86 Wednesday finished fifth in the League and had it not been for the ban on English clubs resulting from the Heysel disaster, Wednesday would have played in Europe. After finishing comfortably in mid-table in 1986-87 and 1987-88, two months into the 1988-89 season he left the club to Manage Leeds United. During his time as Manager, the Wednesday board were reluctant to spend in the transfer market and their wages structure proved a deterrent to some players who might otherwise have joined the club, otherwise their was a possiblity that he might have enjoyed the success with them he eventually had at Leeds. When he took over at Leeds on 10th October 1988 the club was third bottom of the Second Division and looking relegation candidates but he had always had the knack for getting the best out of players and getting the team to achieve far more than their collective ability. He improved the fitness and discipline of the existing players and staved off relegation to Division three and managed a tenth place finish in his first season. He made the inspired signing of Gordon Strachan for £300,000 from Manchester United just before the March transfer deadline, together with the loan of England Under-Twenty-Three International Chris Fairclough from Tottenham Hotspur, and Unitedlooked like potential promotion candidates for the following season. A fee of £500,000 made Fairclough's move permanent and with the full backing of the board he signed Mel Sterland from Rangers, John Hendrie from Newcastle, Vinnie Jones from Wimbledon for £600,000 each and several other squad players to see United installed as early favourites for promotion. John Sheridan had departed for £650,000 to Nottingham Forest after seven years outstanding service, but with David Batty a fixture in midfield and Gary Speed pushing for a permanent place in the team United were looking good and soon led the League and set a cracking pace but the addition of Lee Chapman for £400,000 from Nottingham Forest in January 1990 added further to United's strength and after a temporary hiccup on the run in it was he that scored the goal in the final game at Bournemouth which saw United promoted as Champions of the Second Division. In preparation for his first campaign in the top flight he added some class to the Second Division Champions with the acquisition of Gary McAllister from Leicester City and John Lukic from Arsenal, each for £1 million and central defender Chris Whyte from West Bromwich Albion for £400,000. United spent most of the season in the top five and fully deserved their fourth place finish as their midfield combination of Strachan, Batty, McAllister and Speed became the best in the Division. Their success was not just confined to the League, they also reached the Fourth Round of the FA Cup and only bowed out after a titanic struggle with Arsenal which went to two replays, while in the League Cup they were eliminated in the two-legged Semi-Final by Manchester United and were beaten in the Northern Area two-legged Final of the Full Members' Cup by Everton or Zenith Data Systems Trophy as it was then known as. In preparation for the 1991/92 season United added more class to their ranks with the purchase of Tony Dorigo from Chelsea for 1.3 million, Rod Wallace from Southampton for £1.6 million and Steve Hodge from Nottingham Forest for £900,000. Wilkinson out-thought and out-psyched Manchester United's Alex Ferguson as the two teams led a two horse race for the First Division title. The arrival of Eric Cantona in February, after Lee Chapman was out for several games with a fractured wrist, was the icing on the cake as the enigmatic Frenchman added the flicks and skills to United's well oiled machine and the Old Trafford team cracked and under the pressure of trying to keep up with the cracking pace set by United and the Championship was sealed on the penultimate game of the season as United won at Sheffield United and then watched as Manchester went down to Liverpool, later in the day. Wilkinson won the Manager of the Year Trophy and after Leeds had given a stunning performance in the Charity Shield match at Wembley in beating FA Cup Winners Liverpool by 4-3, with Cantona getting a superb hat-trick, which he followed up witha repeat performance as Leeds traunched Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 in the League a couple of weeks later no-one would have predicted their imminent fall from grace. Wilkinson always maintained that United should have used their position as Champions to attract more players to their ranks to cover for injuries and also said that United had won the Championship one year too soon and 1992-93, the first year of the EPL, was a disaster as United slumped to seventeenth place and failed to win one game in their travels away from Elland Road. They did survive the First Round of the European Cup by beating Stuttgart, the German Champions but were outclassed by Rangers in the Battle of Britain in the next Round. Cantona took off across the Pennines, but there was a ray of hope as the Leeds Youth team took out the FA Youth Cup defeating Manchester United in both legs of a two legged Final, despite their team including many players who were to become full internationals and the backbone of the Old Trafford team for years to come. The Leeds team was honoured by many of their players becoming Youth Internationals, but sadly none, with the possible exception of Noel Whelan achieved anything at top flight level. Wilkinson went back to the drawing board and started to rebuild the side, buying Brian Deane from Sheffield United for a then club record £2.7 million and then selling talisman David Batty to Blackburn Rovers in October 1993 for £2.75 million but managing to finish a respectable fifth in 1993-94. The following season Unitedmanaged to qualify for the UEFA Cup with another fifth place finish and it saw the arrival of the extremely gifted Tony Yeboah from Eintracht Frankfurt for a club record £3.4 million in January 1995 and scoring twelve League goals in sixteen starts. He started the next season with eight goals in the first eight games, including goals against Liverpool at home and Wimbledon away which were voted first and second in the 'goal of the year'. He also had scored a hat-trick at Monaco in the first game of their UEFA Cup campaign and with United riding high in the League things looked rosey. Unfortunately the goals dried up and despite reaching the final of the Coca-Cola Cup and the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup the season fizzled out to a poor ending with six successive defeats and a draw in the last sevenmatches and a disappointing thirteenth finish. A Wembley final should be one of the highlights of a Managers' career, but the Wembley meeting with Aston Villa ended with the Leeds fans screaming for Wilkinson's departure after a very disappointing performance. He had spent another £3.4 million on Tomas Brolin, who failed to live up to his reputation. During the close season the club was taken over by the Caspian Group, and his close association with Chairman Leslie Silver was gone. After giving Wilkinson the funds to sign Lee Bowyer, Lee Sharpe, Nigel Martyn and Ian Rush, partly funded by the sale of Gary McAllister and Gary Speed and watch the team get off to a reasonable start sitting in fifth spot on seven points after four games, the board realised that they needed some sort of excuse to ease him out and bring in their favoured replacement George Graham. A 4-0 home defeat by Manchester United on 7th September 1996 provided that pretext, and Wilkinson was shown the door on 9th September 1996. Wilkinson had brought success to a struggling club andleft as his legacy the Academy, which already had produced a team capable of winning the FA Youth Cup and was soon to bear even more fruit with another FA Youth Cup and Harry Kewell and others had already seen first team duty and the likes of Paul Robinson, Jonathan Woodgate, Matthew Jones, Stephen McPhail and Alan Maybury were soon to emerge as full Internationals. After leaving Leeds, he went on to become FA Technical Director in January 1997, Managing the England Under-Twenty-one side and taking charge of the National side as Caretaker-Manager firstly after the departure of Glenn Hoddle in 1999 and then following Kevin Keegan‘s resignation in 2000. He returned to Premiership football as a surprise choiceas Sunderland Manager, with Steve Cotterill as his Assistant, in the 2002-03 season but his reign was short lived and his catastrophic regime brought him the sack in March 2003, as Sunderland languished at the bottom of the Premier League with a then League-history-worst total of nineteen points. He had won only two League games out of a possible twenty. Wilkinson briefly returned to management in March 2004, taking charge of Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua on a short term contract, but left two months later due to personal reasons. In October 2004, he was temporarily appointed as first team coach of Leicester City, following the departures of Manager Micky Adams and coach Alan Cork. Wilkinson returned to Notts County in December 2004 where he became a non-executive director. He held a coaching role as technical director from June 2006 until September 2007 when he left the club altogether. He is currently the chairman of the League Managers Association.

F.A. Cup2791084136
League Cup31154125135
Charity Shield110043
Full Members' Cup126241919