Don Warters charts the start of the Revie era from 1960 to 1970...

Don Revie Bill Lambton's reign as manager was a short one, but he did make one decision that was to turn out later to have been a masterstroke. It was he, who with United struggling, signed Don Revie as a player for £12,000 from Sunderland in November 1958 and soon made him captain of the team.

With Jack Taylor at the managerial helm, United lost their top-flight status in April 1960 and in March 1961 he resigned and director Harry Reynolds was instrumental in persuading the board to appoint Revie as player-manager.

The club didn't know it at the time but that decision sowed the seeds for what was to become the greatest period in the club's history. With Reynolds, a self made millionaire, backing him all the way Revie turned the fortunes of the club around.

However, the seeds were slow to germinate. United finished 14th in Division Two that season and the 1961-62 campaign was worse. Only a last-day win at Newcastle, which extended an unbeaten run to nine games, saved the cub from relegation to Division Three.

It wasn't all gloom and doom. Billy Bremner was a young aspiring player, Charlton had, by this time, several seasons of first team football under his belt and South African winger, Albert Johanneson, was at the club.

Albert Johansson There were a number of youngsters here, too, including goalkeeper Gary Sprake and defender Norman Hunter while Revie and his backroom staff set about looking for and chasing after other promising youngsters.

Paul Reaney, Peter Lorimer, Eddie Gray, Paul Madeley, Terry Cooper, Rod Johnson, Jimmy Greenhoff, Rod Belfitt, Terry Hibbitt, Mick Bates, and David Harvey all joined the club as youngsters.

Towards the end of the 1961-62 campaign, Revie had pulled off what turned out to be a great signing when he persuaded Bobby Collins to join United in a £25,000 move from Everton. Small in stature but with a huge appetite for the game, Bobby was the rock on which the foundation for United's rise to football prominence was built.

With Charlton and the youthful Bremner at the club these two, along with Collins, were integral to Revie's planning.

The 1962-63 campaign saw United make progress and finish in fifth place. This was also the season that Revie placed a lot of faith in youth, giving Reaney, Hunter and Johnson their first team debuts at Swansea on September 8 1962. This was also the match when Sprake was re-introduced to the first team and became the first choice keeper.

United won the game 2-0 with Johnson and Bremner getting the goals. John Charles had returned to the club, United paying £53,000 to bring him back from Juventus but the move didn't work out. Sadly, Big John was past his best and after just 11 games (and three goals), United sold him to Roma for £70,000.

Jack Charlton The future, however, at last looked very encouraging and season 1963-64 was the one that saw United back into the top flight of English football. Revie's side didn't lose a single league match at Elland Road and were beaten only three times on their travels. Only two points were awarded for a win and United took the title with 63 points.

United had signed Johnny Giles from Manchester United at the start of the season and when he felt his side needed a boost going into the final quarter of the season, Revie brought in striker Alan Peacock from Middlesbrough in a £53,000 deal and he scored eight valuable goals in the final 14 games of the campaign.

Critics predicted United would struggle to survive in the top flight but Revie's side proved them all wrong and went within a fraction of winning the championship, being pipped by Manchester United who had the same number of points but took the title with a better goal average.

Revie's side had also reached the final of the FA Cup, where they lost 2-1 to Liverpool after extra time at Wembley. Nevertheless, the future was bright.

Season 1965-66 saw United again finish second in Division One and compete in their first season in European football, where they reached the semi final of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, before losing in a replay to Real Zaragoza.

Paul Madeley, Rod Belfitt Peter Lorimer, David Harvey, Mick Bates and Eddie Gray had all tasted first team football by now, along with Mike O'Grady, who was signed from Huddersfield, but the 1966-67 season saw United slip to a fourth place finish, though they reached the semi final of the FA Cup where they lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Villa Park. In Europe they made the final of the Fairs Cup but lost out to Dinamo Zagreb.

Despite so much progress, United were still short of a trophy to show for their efforts. But that was to change. Revie had signed Mick Jones from Sheffield United for £100,000 early in the1967-68 season but they had to settle for fourth place in Division One, though they reached the League Cup final at Wembley where a goal from full-back Terry Cooper was enough to beat Arsenal and bring United their first major trophy of the Revie era.

Billy Bremner United had also reached the final of the Fairs Cup but the game was held over until the start of the following season and United won that cup by beating Ferencvaros of Hungary to add another trophy to the cabinet.

Revie and his players had lifted the club to new heights but the one thing that both he and his players yearned for more than anything else was the League Championship. This was the Number One target when they set out on the1968-69 season.

Four successive victories heralded United's start to the league campaign and they continued in a rich seam of form by building an unbeaten run that extended to nine games before losing 3-1 at Manchester City. That was one of only two league games that United lost on their way to clinching the title. The other defeat was a shock 5-1 defeat at Burnley but United extracted sweet revenge in the home game against Burnley, winning 6-1.

In the Fairs Cup, United had gone out in the fourth round and had exited the FA Cup and League Cup at an early stage. In all United had used just 17 players in the season.

Revie had strengthened his squad with the signing of Allan Clarke for a then British record transfer fee of £165,000 from Leicester City in June 1969 and another action-packed season was to follow with United deeply involved in the battle for a League, FA Cup and European Cup treble.

But it wasn't to be. United finished in second place in the league, went out of the European Cup at the semi final stage to Celtic and lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea in a replay. But United had won the FA Charity Shield, beating Manchester City in the final that was held at Elland Road.



2000s | 1990s | 1980s | 1970s | 1950s | 1940s | 1930s | 1920s