The Story Behind Leeds United’s Iconic Jersey

Dressforthejobyouwant,notthejobyouhave。

It’saclichéusuallyusedasamantraforsomeonehopingtoskiparungortwoupthecorporateladder,butthat’sprettymuchhowLeedsUnitedFCcametoweartheimmaculateallwhitekitthathasglistenedundertheEllandRoadfloodlightsformorethan50years。

Tobeprecise,itwas1961thatLeeds,atthebehestofmanagerDonRevie,decidedtomaketheswitchfromroyalblue。

Revie,aformerLeedsplayer,wasappointedtosavetheclubfromrelegationtoDivisionThreeinMarchofthatyear,andhedidsobyvirtueofawinonthelastdayoftheseason。

Aheadofhisfirstfullseasonatthehelm,Reviedeterminedthatachangeofkitwasnecessarytoinspirehissidetogreaterachievements。

Atthattime,and,tosomeextent,stilltoday,RealMadridweretheenvyofEuropeanfootball:thelikesofFerencPuskasandAlfredoDiStefanohadguidedLosBlancostofiveconsecutiveEuropeanCupsbetween1955and1960。

TheLeedscoach,imbuedwithaloftysenseofambition,chosetoemulatetheSpanishgiantsbyreplicatingtheirmatchdayattire。

Theysayimitationisthegreatestformofflattery,andLeedscertainlydidtheirbesttoimitatethesuccessachievedbytheSpanishside。

UnderRevie’sguidance,theyclimbedbackuptothetoptierofEnglishfootballandfinishedrunners-upintheFirstDivisionin1965and’66,beforeclaimingtheirfirsttitleinthe1968/69season,atriumphtheywouldrepeatfiveyearslater

DonReviesLeedsUnitedsidewonthe1972FACupintheirallwhitesoccerkits。

TheyalsowontheLeagueCupin1968,theFACupin1972,andtheFairsCup–aprecursortheUEFACup,whichhassincebeenrebrandedastheEuropaLeague–in1968and’71。

RevieleftLeedsattheendofthetitle-winning1973-74campaigntobecometheEnglandnationalteammanagerand,despitereachingtheEuropeanCupfinalthefollowingseason,theWestYorkshiresidewereunabletorepeattheirdomesticsuccessforalmosttwodecades–whiteshirtsornowhiteshirts。

AlthoughRevie’sswitchfromroyalbluetoallwhitewasdrastic,Leedswerealreadyusedtochangingthecolorsoftheirjerseys。

RisingfromtheashesofthedisbandedLeedsCity,LeedsUnitedwasfoundedin1919。

Uponthenewteam’sinception,theyreceiveda£35,000loanfromDanCrowther,thechairmanoffellowYorkshiresideHuddersfieldUnited。

ItwasdeterminedthatthenewLeedsteamshouldwearblueandwhiteverticalstripeswithwhiteshortsandbluesocks,justlikeHuddersfield,asCrowthersupposedlyintendedtomergethetwoclubsatsomestage。

Themergernevermaterialised,andCrowtherendedupleavinghispostatHuddersfieldtoassumethereignsatEllandRoad。

In1934,Leedschangedtheirshirtcolors,withthestripesthrownout,andahalfyellow,halfbluedesignintroduced。

Justayearlateranotherminorchangewasmade,withtheyellowhalf,whichhadbeenontheleftofthejerseyasyoulookatit,swappingsideswiththeblueontheright。

LeedsUnitedsteamphotowiththeirgold/bluejerseysin1955。

Thisconfigurationremainedinplaceuntilthe1948/49seasonbroughtachangetoyellowshirtswithbluesleeves。

But,justsevenyearslater,itwasdecidedthatUnitedshouldsportthecolorswornbytheirpredecessors,LeedsCity,soblueshirtswithgoldcollarswereintroduced。

ThatwashowtheyremaineduntilRevie’sideatocopyRealMadridatthebeginningofthe1960s。

Althoughtheyneverquitereachedtheheightsoftheeleven-timechampionsofEurope,Leedscollectedmoretrophieswhilewearingwhitethantheyhaddoneinanyoftheirpreviouscolorcombinations,soperhapstherewassomesoundpsychologicalreasoningbehindRevie’sbrainwave。

Or,maybehiscoachingandmotivationalskillsweremuchmoreofadeterminingfactorinLeeds’successwithhimatthehelm。

Afterall,EnglandwerealreadywearingwhitewhentheMiddlesbrough-bornmanagertookchargeoftheThreeLions,andreigningworldchampionstoboot,butthatdidn’tseemtohelphimany;Revie’scontroversialand,atbest,mediocrereigninEnglishfootball’stopjobendedwhenheresignedafterthreeyears。

AlthoughthepillarsofsuccessthatReviebuiltatLeedshavelong-sincebeeneroded,withtheclubnowinEngland’ssecondtier,hisbolddecisiontobreathelifeintotheteambykittinghisplayersoutindazzlingpurewhitehasremainedinplaceeversince。