There was some anger expressed last week when the BBC listed the great post war managers, and overlooked Don Revie. Leeds fans, understandably, vented ire and made the claim for Revie's inclusion in the list of all time greats. So why was he overlooked?
Leeds fans will, of course, blame Southern bias and all that baloney, but the truth of the matter is that Revie remains something of an embarrassment - in part because of the way his great Leeds team played (and I have not used that adjective sarcastically) but mostly because he was found wanting when in charge of England, and then betrayed the nation when taking the oil money and walking out on his country.
Again, those who love him will make the excuse that Revie only walked because he knew the FA were about to stab him in the back, but that misses the point. Revie left the England job in 1977, and in 1973 OPEC (the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) had plunged the Western world into recession. Rightly or wrongly, many in Britain held the Arab nations to blame for losing their jobs and for the pain of cost push inflation, allied to soaring unemployment.
It was against this backdrop - and there were 5.6million unemployed whilst inflation was running at a terrifying 15.8% - that Revie jetted off secretly to the United Arab Emirates, selling his story to the Daily Mail before he had even told the FA he was going. His massive salary - £340,000 for four years - seemed to confirm what everybody thought, that the Arab nations were destroying our once proud nation because of greed. And Revie was regarded as a traitor.
None of that should detract from Revie's achievements at Leeds, but some will argue that his record was not that great anyway. The big criticism of Revie's reign at England was that he was negative and concerned more with stopping the opposition than playing to England's strengths, and despite the fact that Leeds had far and away the best squad of players in the country in the early 1970's, Leeds had a terrible habit of coming second.
But even allowing for that, Revie, of course, deserves huge credit for what he achieved at Leeds, but his skills did not transfer to England - along with McLaren he is the only England manager to fail to qualify for two major tournaments - and his treachery and greed live longer in the memory for all non Leeds fans. For this reason, he will never be acknowledged as a great by anybody outside of Leeds.