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
2004-13 - 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

McConnell: Peter

1954-1962 (Player Details)

Half Back

Born: Reddish, Nr Stockport: 03-03-1937

Debut: v Bolton Wanderers (h): 20-12-1958

5’9” 11st 9lb (1961)

A pupil of North Reddish Primary School and Stockport Grammar School, he represented Stockport and Cheshire Schools before joining Leeds, turning professional in March 1954. As a fifteen-year-old trialist with Leeds, McConnell was running the line in a First-team v Reserves game when one of the players was injured and he came on to show what he could do. With John Charles in his prime, Leeds were then on the crest of a wave and gained promotion to Division One in 1955-56 and then Charles took the First Division by storm as he scored thirty-eight goals in forty League appearances as, on his broad back, Leeds climbed to eighth in the top flight, but the lure of the lira prevailed and he joined Juventus and left a hole that no one could ever adequately fill, even thought he had been sold for £65,000, an ample amount to buy a new team, but there was the West Stand, later to be renamed the John Charles Stand, to rebuild after the disasterous fire of September 1956. So the team went into decline and were eventually relgated in 1959-60 after being on the fringe of relegation since the departure of Charles. This was no environment for the young McConnell to do anything but bide his time in the Juniors and then in the Reserves as he gained vital experience and learned to give and take the knocks. He also had to do eighteen month's compulsary National Service, which he served firstly at Catterick and the final year with the BAOR in Germany and was in the BAOR representative team. He was well turned twenty-one by the time he received his first call into the United first team. He had been signed by Major Frank Buckley and had never seen service under his successor, Raich Carter and it was not until Bill Lambton had taken over that he was called into the team in December 1958 in place of the injured Wilbur Cush. His debut was quite memorable as it was a very closely contested game between two teams desparate for points, for different reasons, Bolton being championship contenders and Leeds relegation contenders. In a closely fought game the Trotters prevailed 4-3 as both teams left the field to a standing ovation. But it was back to the Reserves the following week as the diminutive Irish International took his place once more in the line-up. However, as Archie Gibson lost form, McConnell was recalled for the final five games of the season and, after losing the first of them 0-3 to Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, they looked to be in danger of relegation, but remained undefeated in the final four fixtures to finish a creditable fifteenth, as they beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Elland Road, drew 2-2 with Newcastle United at St James' Park, won 3-0 at Nottingham Forest and won by the only goal of the game at Elland Road against West Ham United. There were another eight games in the 1959-60 season as United were relegated and McConnell was more of a Reserve player as Bobby Cameron and later Freddie Goodwin arrived, John Hawksby and Billy Bremner emerged, Archie Gibson and Wilbur Cush remained and Eric Kerfoot and George O'Brien departed. There were another eleven games as Leeds sampled the Second Division, but still struggled, finally managing to gain fourteenth spot. Eric Smith had arrived from Celtic and Willie Bell from Scottish Amateurs, Queen's Park, but no sooner had Smith arrived than he was sidelined for most of the season with a broken leg, but Wilbur Cush and Archie Gibson had left, which made McConnell's task easier. He had, in fact, not played since 9th March 1960, in a 3-3 draw with Birmingham City at Elland Road, and it was a day shy of a year later that he received his recall to first team duties in a 1-2 home defeat by Luton Town. It was a time of uncertainty for United as Jack Taylor, who had replace Bill Lambton at the start of the 1959-60 season had failed to turn the tide and it was looking like he was going to lead the club to a second consecutive relegation as things went from bad to worse. Chairman Harry Reynolds had had enough and sacked the unfortunate Taylor replacing him with Don Revie. Taylor had just given McConnell his chance in the loss to Luton and retained him for the next game, which saw United win 1-0 at home to Norwich City, but the new Manager showed faith in him and retained him in the team for the rest of the season. Those final nine games were inauspicious for both McConnell and Leeds as they yielded four defeats, four draws and just one victory. The one victory, on 22nd April 1961 against Lincoln City at Elland Road saw McConnell register his first goal for Leeds as Leeds hit the net seven times without reply. The following season 1961-62 once more saw Leeds in a desparate struggle to avoid relegation but McConnell looked to have established himself as a regular until the final third of the season when he was omitted from the team as Revie brought in new experienced faces in Ian Lawson, Cliff Mason, Bobby Collins and Billy McAdams and young players were waiting in the wings for their chance. It was his biggest season at Elland Road as he scored three times in twenty-three starts in the League, once in three starts in the League Cup and also played twice in the F.A. Cup. After Playing three of the first four League games, it wasn't until the departure of John McCole saw a re-organization which saw him re-installed at Inside-Right, that resulted on him retaining his place in the team until Harry Reynolds opened his cheque-book to help Don Revie avoid relegation. He had come back into the team for the home League Cup-tie against Huddersfield Town on 4th October 1961 and he came good with his second Leeds goal in a 3-2 victory. He was also on the scoresheet in the ensuing game three days later in a 1-1 draw at Plymouth Argyle. He could not score in the 1-0 home win over Huddersfield Town a week later but did score in the next two games as United went down 1-2 at Swansea Town and then drew 1-1 with Southampton at Elland Road. While that proved to be his final goal for Leeds he held his place until 24th February 1962, in the return game at Plymouth Argyle, before the arrival of Ian Lawson saw him lose his spot. There was one more game at Deepdale in a 1-1 draw with Preston North End, when he replaced the injured Freddie Goodwin, but otherwise that was the end of his Leeds career as Don Revie had now many options, particularly in the up and coming youngsters, such as John Hawksby, Billy Bremner, Rod Johnson, Mike Addy, Terry Casey, Paul Reaney, Terry Cooper, Norman Hunter and many more. The promise he displayed as a youngster at Elland Road finally bore fruit at Carlisle United. He stayed with Leeds until August 1962, when Carlisle manager Ivor Powell, and a former Leeds United trainer, persuaded McConnell to make the hop across the Pennines. His transfer fee was £4,000. McConnell made three hundred and six appearances for Carlisle in League and Cup competition between August 1962 and July 1969, scored twenty-seven goals along the way and won a Third Division medal in 1964-65. In League matches he made two hundred and seventy-one starting appearances and one as a substitute and scored twenty-six times. McConnell, a dynamic wing half, became an ever-present in the United side of the 1960's and captained the team from soon after his arrival, to the day he left the club. He went through both relegation and promotion whilst with the club, and very rarely had to settle for a dull season. When he first joined Carlisle, United had just been promoted to Division Three and were hoping to push on to bigger and better things. It was not to be. Only one away win all season led to a desperate struggle for Carlisle, one that they eventually lost when they dropped back to Division Four. He made forty-nine appearances and scored three goals, and was made team captain by Powell. His inspirational play and strong leadership were not enough to help Carlisle through that difficult first season at a higher level, though on a personal level he did gain a number of ‘man of the match’ awards. The low point of that season came on 5th January 1963. United landed a seemingly easy away tie in the Third Round of the FA Cup, with a trip to non-League Gravesend and Northfleet drawn out of the hat for the Cumbrians. A late goal in front of 9,115 jubilant home fans dumped United out of the competition and gave the sports headline writers easy pickings on the Sunday morning. McConnell vowed to put things right in 1963-64 and proved to be true to his word. Fifty-one appearances, in total, brought six goals and some fantastic individual performances. His drive and never ending energy seemed to spur the whole team on and United stormed their way to second spot in Division Four, and automatic promotion back to Division Three at the first attempt. He wore the captain’s armband with pride that season, missing only two League games, and even managed his first double strike in football, scoring two of the goals in a 4-1 away win at Newport County. Surely things couldn't get any better than this. Oh yes they could. 1964-65 brought one of the few honours the club has earned since its acceptance into the Football League in 1928. A thrilling, exciting and formidable Carlisle United battled hard all season as they competed for the honour of being Third Division Champions come 20th April 1965. McConnell was there to lead them all the way. He made forty-nine appearances and scored a personal best of eight goals as he took his team into the last game at home to Mansfield, needing victory to secure the title. Any fears there may have been were blown away by half time as Carlisle breezed to a 3-0 lead, and the United fans celebrated throughout the second half though no more goals were scored. Manager Alan Ashman and Captain Peter McConnell were proud to be pictured together with their prize. McConnell was also quick to point out that the defensive trio of himself, Harland and Passmoor was amongst the best that Carlisle fans were likely to see. McConnell adjusted well to Second Division football and so, in fact, did the team. They did enough to finish safely in fourteenth position, McConnell having made forty-six appearances and having scored four more goals. They were by no means totally comfortable, but were definitely beginning to come to terms with it, losing only three of their last nine games. United, led expertly by McConnell, came alive in 1966-67. Forty-five more appearances and four more goals, he missed only four games through injury, saw him become the lynchpin around which United's defensive qualities rested. They finished in a hugely impressive third spot in Division Two and pushed Wolves all the way for the right to claim the second automatic promotion spot. It raised hopes so highly that the tenth place finish of 1967-68 was deemed to be somewhat disappointing. McConnell made forty-two appearances and scored his final two goals for the club that season. In the 1968-69 season, at the age of thirty-one, McConnell was pushed out to the right back position. He did play well, but never really looked quite as impressive as he had in the half back positions. After just twenty-four appearances, in a season where he had to struggle against a leg injury, he agreed to make the move to Bradford City in July 1969. Peter McConnell was a giant for Carlisle United in what was an extremely successful period for the club. Successive promotion campaigns, including a championship win, and consolidation in Division Two led to the subsequent success enjoyed by the Division One boys of the early seventies. On the pitch, it was McConnell who was the driving force behind all this. He led by example, an example that always included passion and drive. One of the best captains the club has had, Peter McConnell took his well deserved place in Carlisle United's Heroes gallery. He spent just under two years at Valley Parade, making seventy-nine appearances, including three as substitute, without scoring in League games. A qualified FA coach, he joined Scarborough as Player-Coach in the 1971 close season before making a handful of appearances for them prior to retiring in 1971 aged thirty-four. He became a licensee, being the landlord of the Hare and Hounds at Rothwell. He lived and worked in Leeds before retiring.

AppearancesGoals
League 484
F.A. Cup 20
League Cup 31