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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1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
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Humphreys: Alan

1960-1961 (Player Details)


Born: Chester: 18-10-1939

Debut: Fulham (a): 27-02-1960

511 1/2 11st 5lb (1960)

Alan Humphreys was a star centre-half but later developed into an outstanding goalkeeper with Lache Youth Club. Shrewsbury Town signed him in October 1956 and he quickly built himself a reputation as one of the best keepers in the lower Divisions. He was a talented, brave and agile young goalkeeper and was good enough to be called up for the England Under-Twenty-Three squad for the game with Hungary on 23rd September 1959, as understudy to Fulham's Tony Macedo. Shrewsbury gained promotion to the Third Division in 1958-59 and were pushing for further promotion when Jack Taylor recognised his consistency and potential and brought him to Leeds in February 1960. He made thirty-two League appearances at Gay Meadow before Leeds snapped him up for 5,000. United were well served by Ted Burgin and Royden Wood who were reaching the final stages of their long careers. He was soon thrust into the Elland Road limelight as he was immediately given his Leeds debut on 27th February 1960 in an away fixture at Craven Cottage which saw a salvo of five goals land in his net, without reply from United. It was hardly a start to boost his self-confidence and in the two games that followed, a 2-4 home defeat by Blackpool and a 3-3 home draw with Birmingham City brought his goals conceded to a dozen in just three games. The shaky defence in front of him neither protected him nor gave him confidence. He was happy to be given the respite which allowed Ted Burgin back into the line of fire as Leeds won only four of their remaining ten games that season and were duly relegated to the Second Division. He played his first game in the Second Division and matters did not improve as on 10th September 1960, Huddersfield Town hammered four into the Leeds net, at Elland Road, while United's reply was a Bobby Cameron penalty. It was back to the reserves for four more games until Jack Taylor gave him his chance to establish himself as his first choice in a 3-2 home win over Sunderland on 8th October 1960 and he missed just four games for the rest of the season. Jack Taylor left in March 1961 and was replaced by Don Revie, who knew that his two keepers, Humphreys and Terry Carling were inexperienced and although United routed Lincoln City 7-0 at Elland Road on 22nd April 1961, it was to be their only win under Revie in nine matches as they finished fourteenth, with a defence that regularly leaked goals. A trip to Anfield on 26th August 1961 saw five goals conceded by the porous Leeds defence and after nine games, there were another four conceded at Eastville against Bristol Rovers and Revie went out and bought the vastly experienced Scottish International goalkeeper Tommy Younger and Humphreys' days as first choice Leeds keeper were over. Younger played all but one of United's remaining thirty-two League games and a nervous sixteen year-old Gary Sprake was selected as deputy as he was famously flown to Southampton to make his debut. Although United had survived the drop to the Third Division, in 1961-62, by famously winning 3-0 at St James' Park against Newcastle United on 28th April 1962, in the final game of a forgettable season, Humphreys could see little future at Leeds as a deputy keeper to Younger, particularly with Gary Sprake becoming increasingly likely to fill that spot. At Leeds, Humphreys, who had come with the reputation of one of the finest goalkeepers outside of the First Division, suffered from having to play behind a very shaky defence. It affected his confidence and this was not helped by being at odds with those defenders in front of him, as he suffered many nervous fixtures as defensive mistakes became infectious. So he never fulfilled his potential at Elland Road and he dropped down into Non-League football when he and Bobby Cameron went to Gravesend and Northfleet in July 1962. He re-emerged with good effect at Mansfield Town in January 1964 and featured in fifty-eight games for them. He was at first understudy to Colin Treharne but, on 20th January 1965, he got his chance and although he regularly picked the ball out of the net as the scoreline of Swindon Town 6 Mansfield Town 2, would indicate, there were some kind comments in a match report. "It would have been many more, had not Humphreys produced several fine saves. The goalkeeper has had nothing but bad luck since joining Mansfield, and was considerably dispondent afterwards, because he had let in six in his first game of the season, but he need not have been." In the reverse fixture on 16th April 1966, Swindon left Field Mill with a 5-1 win and again the match report showed Humphreys had once more managed to keep the margin in proportion. "Humphreys flung himself to his left to hold a twenty yard Shergold drive before Aldread headed over from a Gregson corner. Humphreys only just tipped a twenty-five yard effort from Shergold over the bar and then Jones blocked a Nurse header on the line. Humphreys held a diving header from the Swindon Centre Forward on the line before Swindon equalised after 37 mins." However Dave Hollins emerged and became the regular Mansfield keeper soon afterwards and it was time for Humphreys to move again in search of first-team football. He moved to Chesterfield in July 1968 and took over from loan keeper John Roberts, who was transferred from his parent club, Blackburn Rovers, to Bradford City and Humphreys immediately became the regular keeper at Saltergate making forty League starts and three in the F.A. Cup and one in the League Cup in his first season. Chesterfield won the Fourth Division Championship in 1969-70 and the club produced Alan Stevenson from their Northern Intermediate League winning side of the previous season. Humphreys took the oppurtunity to retire while still at the top having made fifty-one League appearances for the Spireites, in which he kept nineteen clean sheets and only conceded forty-eight goals. He later worked as Commercial Manager for Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

League 400
F.A. Cup 10
League Cup 30