Top critical review
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on 13 September 2009
Having read THE DAMNED UNITED by David Peace a couple of years ago, and not been wholly impressed by it, I thought I'd check this one out.
Those looking for any real surprises will be disappointed. Many people, including former players, are interviewed, and a broad concensus is fairly easily reached: that Clough, for all his success at small club Derby, couldn't just smash down a bigger club's doors and change things overnight. Why Clough thought he could win over a rightly suspicious team of established players by telling them to bin all their hard-won medals is beyond me.
There's only so much you can write about a 44-day tenure, even with the background, build-up and aftermath, and I tend to agree with a previous reviewer who felt there was too much irrelevant material thrown in.
One inclusion, so far unmentioned by other reviewers, is part of the interview given by Norman Hunter. I think he comes about as close as any of the great Leeds side to admitting that Revie did bend the rules a bit, that he did in fact offer bribes. "There's no smoke without fire," he states. This I found disturbing and disappointing: for as a long-term Leeds "sympathiser" (I really do feel they were robbed on numerous occasions), I have always thought that the "dirty Leeds" tag and bribery allegations were pure sour grapes from opponents who just couldn't handle Leeds in the late 60s/early 70s.
All in all it's not a bad book, but it's not what I would call essential reading. THE UNFORGIVEN covers the same period and much else besides, and is I think a better book overall for anyone wishing to know about Leeds United's greatest years and not just Clough's time in charge.