Way back in the early sixties, when Leeds United were a struggling side, Don Revie put Real Madrid on a pedestal as the team he wanted his side to emulate. Not surprisingly, perhaps, it caused widespread amusement and some ridicule, but Revie stuck to his guns and underlined his determination by discarding the blue and old gold coloured shirts United wore in those days and replaced them with the all white strip worn by Real Madrid.
The Spanish giants had unquestionably been Europe’s team of the 1950’s and 1960’s winning the European Cup in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960 in addition to appearing in two other European Cup Finals in 1962 and 1964. A truly amazing record as Revie admitted. “They’re the best and that is what we want to be,” he said. Although Revie’s side went on to become one of the most feared teams in European football, sadly for him, his dream of having his side play against Real Madrid was never realized. Despite competing year after year in European football and playing more than ninety matches, United were never drawn against Real Madrid in competitive football.
after Revie’s memorable reign at
Lindley, who had been Don Revie’s assistant manager,
was still at
Lindley got his wish after United had beaten Gijon 3-2 with two goals from Derek Parlane and one from Brian Flynn, while Real had disposed of Partizan. United could not wear their all white strip because Real Madrid had it written into their contract that they could wear their famous strip in all games. As the all yellow of United’s second strip was not sufficiently distinctive on television against the white of Real, the organizers were relieved when United agreed to play in the black and white stripes of Sporting Gijon.
the long awaited ‘dream’ game turned into something of a nightmare when United
were beaten 3-0 and had two players sent off in controversial circumstances by
the Spanish referee. Scottish internationals Arthur Graham and Derek Parlane were both sent off amid scenes more suited to a
was held up for seven minutes while tournament officials and interpreters
talked with the referee and United’s management team.
It was difficult to understand why the referee took time out to walk to the
touchline and give a television interview. It was conveyed to the
United were already two goals down, Isidro and Santillano having scored. Feelings were running high at half-time and when the players returned to the field, the referee delayed the game and called for an interpreter to pass on another message to the United bench. The referee had complained that the players were laughing at him and if this did not stop he would take the teams off the field. United fought on but the night was further soured for them when Laurie Cunningham got the third and final goal and Derek Parlane became the second United player to be sent off, apparently because he was one of the players who were laughing at the referee.
So what should have been a night of excitement and enjoyment turned into one that was laughingly remembered for all the wrong reasons, which was sad because United had waited eighteen years to meet Real.
Arthur Graham and Derek Parlane both got their marching orders Laurie Cunningham scored for Real