Ranked! The 30 most hated ever teams in British football: 10-1
1. Leeds United, 1973/74
The club’s famous family spirit was, Brian Clough snapped, more mafia than Mothercare
The second league title for Don Revie’s Leeds reminded many how much they had despised ‘Super Leeds’. They were, George Best said, a shin-kicking “bloody nightmare”. The club’s famous family spirit was, Brian Clough snapped, more mafia than Mothercare.
Then there were the allegations of bribery – from Leeds keeper Gary Sprake, Wolves centre-half Frank Munro and manager Bob Stokoe. The revisionist case for Revie lauds him as a pioneer of tactics and dossiers, but he was equally innovative when it came to squad rotation (fielding second-string teams when it suited) and lofty moral lectures.
Revie said: “the manner in which success is achieved must be considered”, but actually created an ethos where a young reserve would boast about a “beauty” of a tackle that left his opponent on a stretcher. Their patented defence – they were protecting themselves – is a favourite rationale of gangsters and dictators. Fair or not, the ‘Dirty Leeds’ tag has stuck.
Chief villain: Billy Bremner. Few had a blend of brutality and brilliance like the wee Scot. The Sunday Times dubbed the skipper “10 stone of barbed wire” - they weren't wrong.