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Don Revie to Armfield: Top Managers in Leeds United’s History

Leeds United is one of the biggest clubs in the history of English football and legends like Don Revie have had the pleasure of being the head coach of this prestigious club. Some inspirational football minds have had the opportunity to be the manager of the Whites in the past and here are the top five managers in the club’s history when it comes to the win percentage.

To have a level playing field, we’ve only included the coaches who were in charge for 100 games or more.

 

DON REVIE | 53.24 Win Percentage

Don Revie built a legacy at Leeds United that is in existence to date at the club. Revie first came to the club back in 1958 as a player. He skippered the Whites and helped them stay away from relegation. At the fag end of his playing career, Revie considered a move to management and was offered a chance to lead the club as a player-manager.

Under Don Revie, the camaraderie at the club was second to none. Leeds became an English powerhouse, winning the Second Division in 1963–64, the First Division in 1968–69 and 1973–74, the FA Cup in 1972, the League Cup in 1968, the FA Charity Shield in 1969, and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and 1971.

Revie was at the club for more than a decade and in 740 matches as the head coach of Leeds United, his team won 394 matches giving him a win percentage of 53.24, which is the best amongst Leeds managers.

 

MARCELO BIELSA | 52.86 Win Percentage

When Marcelo Bielsa joined Leeds United in 2018, the whole atmosphere around the club switched instantly. He was what the club was craving for as he has been one of the most influential people in the world of football management.

His start was at the Championship with the Whites, as the team was desperate to make their way back to the top-flight after an excruciatingly long wait. They had a solid beginning but things soon fell off in Bielsa’s debut season. After being top of the Championship table for the majority of the season, the performances fell off due to the demands of the English calendar and too many injuries.

Bielsa made note of these errors and in the following season surely some lessons were learnt. A season that was marred by a global pandemic, Leeds never lost their intensity and finished as the league winners giving Bielsa a trophy and Leeds a promotion to the Premier League after 16 long years.

Bielsa has had 140 games as the head coach of the Peacocks and has seen his team win 74 times, giving him a win percentage of 52.86.

 

DAVID O’LEARY | 49.75 Win Percentage

In the 1996-97 season, Leeds’ last League title-winning manager Howard Wilkinson was relieved of his duties. His replacement was former Arsenal boss George Graham. Graham went on to appoint his former Arsenal centre-back and Republic of Ireland international David O’Leary who had just finished his playing career at the Yorkshire Club as his assistant manager.

When Graham went to accept a job offer from London club Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds appointed rookie manager David O’Leary as their permanent head coach. O’Leary worked wonders with the youth of the club and got the best out of players like Harry Kewell and Lee Bowyers. O’Leary’s tenure at the club didn’t get them a trophy but they never finished below fifth in the league table. Leeds played 203 matches under the Irish manager with them winning 101 total games.

 

SIMON GRAYSON (49.70 Win Percentage)

Simon Grayson, a Leeds man through and through, was appointed as the club’s manager in 2008 when the club found itself in League One. A Leeds youth academy product, Simon was a successful manager for the club as he led the team back into the Championship.

One of his biggest nights came against Leeds’ historic rivals Manchester United when his team beat the Red Devils in the third round of the FA Cup. Grayson led Leeds into 169 matches, tasting victory in 84 games.

 

JIMMY ARMFIELD (45.07 Win Percentage)

Finally, at number five we have Jimmy Armfield. The biggest success the Whites achieved under Armfield was in 1975 when Armfield’s team reached the final of the European Cup. They failed to beat Bayern Munich in the final but Armfield remains one of the most influential managers of the Yorkshire club. Jimmy Armfield led Leeds into 193 games and managed to win on 86 occasions giving him a decent win percentage of 45.07.

   

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