Leeds United F.C. History
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1919-29 - The Twenties
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1939-46 - The War Years
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1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
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1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
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Leeds City F.C. History
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Curtis: Alan Thomas (Alan)

1979-1980 (Player Details)


Born: Ton Pentre, Nr Pontypridd: 16-04-1954

Debut v Bristol City (a): 18-08-1979

5’11” 12st 71/2 lb (1979)

Alan Curtis had three spells with Swansea City in his eighteen year career during which time the club lurched from lows to highs and back again in manic style. In that time Curtis undoubtedly established himself as one of the club’s true legends. Curtis joined Swansea as an amateur in 1971, after starring in a Welsh Youth trial at Tonyrefail and after completing his education at Porth Grammar School he turned down a chance to join Tottenham Hotspur to sign professional with Swansea a year later, in July 1972. He first broke into the Swansea side in the 1972-73 season and the promising youngster was given an immediate taste of the turbulence that lay ahead as the club suffered relegation into the Fourth Division. In Division Four Curtis immediately began to prosper even though his club continued to struggle. The only question mark concerning the talented youngster was how best to utilise his skills, as he was picked for the Welsh Under-Twenty-Three and Under Twenty-One sides. He then earned his first Welsh Cap on 24th March 1976, when England won 2-1 at Wrexham, with Curtis scoring on debut with a goal in the final minute. In 1977 the club missed out on promotion by a single point but the next season things really started to happen for both Swansea and Curtis. Curtis banged in six goals in the first six games and didn't stop scoring all season. By the end of the season Curtis had managed thirty-two goals in just thirty-nine games and Swansea had won promotion. The following season the Swans were promoted once more with Curtis again prominent. His quicksilver skills seemed vital to the team's further progress as Toshack bolstered his side with a host of solid, experienced campaigners but, after turning down several requests from other, larger, clubs as Curtis won the award for best player in the Division in 1976-77, and continued his international career by appearing in all three home internationals, he surprised Toshack by asking for a transfer, citing a wish to play First Division football. So, at the end of the season, he was sold to Leeds United for £370,000, in May 1979. It was a record for a Third Division Player. In his first spell at the Vetch Field he had scored seventy-two goals in two hundred and forty-eight League appearances. Although he could have gone to Crystal Palace and despite heading some miles north, Elland Road was still a bit of a home from home for Rhondda-born Curtis, with fellow Welshmen Byron Stevenson, Brian Flynn, Carl Harris and Gwyn Thomas already residing there. It seemed a surprising move by the club and a potential poisoned chalice for Curtis but, in a round about way, the move would work out nicely for both. Curtis struggled to make an impression at Elland Road, although it might be unfair to label him a failure at the club. Leeds were a team struggling to maintain their place among the country's elite, at this time, as the last remnants of their great sides of the Sixties and Seventies disappeared. All around the side holes had appeared which had not been adequately filled. There is no doubt that Curtis also was not of the calibre of player who had graced Elland Road in the recent past, but he still showed enough flashes of quality to suggest that he might have flourished had he stepped into a stronger side. The flamboyant and popular Tony Currie had just left the club and Curtis was billed as the man to take his place. His debut was certainly encouraging, scoring both of his side's goals in a 2-2 draw at Bristol City on 18th August 1979, and a month later, on 11th September 1979 he scored for Wales in a 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland at the Vetch Field. Two more Caps followed quickly, as he scored his country's only goal in a 1-5 reversal to West Germany in Cologne on 17th October 1979 and, on 21st November 1979, he played in a 0-1 defeat by Turkey at Izmir, both games being in 1980 European Cup Qualifiers. He also scored a memorable goal on 27th October 1979, at Southampton, who were a good side then, in which he ran half the length of the field to score and won the award for "Goal of the Month". But there were not enough highlights to follow and he had an hard act to live up to, in Currie. Adding to his problems in establishing himself was a serious knee injury which sidelined him for the second half of his first season there. It happened in a Third Round F.A. Cup-tie with Nottingham Forest, on 5th January 1980, when his knee ligaments were severely damaged in a collision with Peter Shilton and he was sidelined for eight months. Although he scored within twenty seconds of the start of his first UEFA Cup match, in Valletta, against Valletta of Malta and did play in all four of United's UEFA cup games, they were before he suffered the injury and he was unable to command a regular place on his return. He sat on the sidelines as the Leeds fans grew more and more upset by Manager Jimmy Adamson's tactics and he got more and more frustrated at not being able to justify his large transfer fee. The new season saw Leeds lose six of their opening seven games. Adamson quit and Allan Clarke was left to clean up the mess. Curtis had scored once in six games, the winner in a 1-0 home win over Everton on 11th October 1980, Leeds' eleventh game of the season, and Curtis pulled on the Leeds shirt for the last time, the following week, in a 1-2 defeat at Molineux by Wolverhampton Wanderers. Clarke had decided that he cut his losses and not gamble on Curtis' fitness and in December 1980 he sold Curtis back to Swansea for a cut-price £165,000. Inevitably Curtis scored on his debut for Swansea in his second spell there, scoring an early goal from the penalty spot on 16th December 1980. Curtis found himself back at the Vetch Field chasing promotion to the First Division with Toshack's Swansea, who had made a neat £200,000 profit in bringing their lad back home. Despite a poor run shortly after his return, the club bounced back strongly to clinch promotion to the top flight for the only time in their history. This completed the amazing journey from Fourth Division to First under Toshack. Swansea's opening fixture in the First Division was a home game against Leeds United. The Swans demolished Curtis's former club 5-1 after a stunning second half display which saw debutant Bob Latchford claim a hat-trick. No goal was sweeter to the home fans, or more galling to Leeds, however, than the stunning second-half strike from Curtis. He cut in from the right flank before bamboozling Trevor Cherry ahead of firing an unstoppable rocket home in front of thousands of aghast United followers. It provided the coup de grace for Toshack’s troops with a brilliant fifth goal, although Leeds were well beaten before then. Swansea were unable to maintain this momentum, however, and suffered relegation the following season with Curtis again hampered by injury. Then, in a farcical beginning to life back in Division Two, the team struggled, Toshack resigned, Curtis was sold to Southampton, for £80,000, and Toshack was reappointed, all before Christmas. The Swans had sold several of their star players due to financial problems and the season would end with them relegated again. Curtis was once more unable to truly settle away from Swansea and, as at Leeds, he was not helped by niggling injury concerns. In his second season at the Dell, Curtis did manage to hold down a first team place with some regularity, operating as a schemer behind the strikers or out wide. Now into his thirties, however, and losing the pace off the mark which had been such a potent weapon, and after a loan spell with Stoke City in March 1986, in which he played three League games without scoring, he was obliged to move back down the Divisions in June 1986 with a move to Swansea's arch rivals Cardiff City, On a free transfer. He had scored five goals in fifty League games with the Saints. There are not many people with links with Swansea City who can find a welcome at Ninian Park, and few people are more strongly linked with the Swans than Curtis, but he managed to win over the Cardiff fans with his skill and obvious commitment. Curtis was a regular for the next three seasons and helped the club to promotion in the second of these. After scoring ten goals in one hundred and twenty-five League games, and with Cardiff in financial turmoil and struggling at the foot of the Third Division, Curtis moved back to Swansea in October 1989 to see out the rest of his final season at his spiritual home, bowing out of football after the final day, in June 1990. He scored three times in twenty-six League games in that third and final spell with the Swans. He played non-League with Barry Town as Player-Coach and then signed for Haverford West County in July 1991. Along the way Curtis had been involved in several European campaigns courtesy of the Welsh Cup and he also participated in one UEFA Cup campaign with Southampton and another with Leeds. On top of this he won thirty-five caps for Wales over an eleven year period. Despite this and his two spells in the First Division with English clubs Curtis's star never truly shone with much brilliance outside of South Wales. He became Swansea City’s Football in the Community Officerbefore becoming the club's Youth coach in 1996. He also had a couple of years as the club's Assistant Manager before becoming the club's head of Youth Development. He linked up with his former Manager, John Toshack, in December 2004, to overhaul the Welsh National coaching set up. Brian Flynn was installed as Manager of the Under-Twenty-One, Under-Nineteen and Under-Seventeen teams, with Curtis and Joey Jones his Assistant Managers. He is the nephew of Roy Paul, the former Manchester City and Wales Star.

League 28 5
F.A. Cup 10
League Cup 20
Europe 41