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Following Don Revie's departure in the summer of 1974, Leeds United turned to a succession of managers in a bid to maintain the halcyon days experienced under The Don. Brian Clough's tenure lasted little over six weeks and his although his successor, Jimmy Armfield, took his aces to the European Cup Final in 1975, he was dismissed in the pre-season of 1978.

Early that summer, Scotland's FA Committee were due to congregate to discuss several issues, including the future of manager Ally McLeod following a disastrous World Cup performance in Argentina. The man widely tipped to be offered the job was former Celtic manager and still an employee of the Glasgow giants, Jock Stein. 

Meanwhile the hierarchy at Elland Road were also sat around the top table to discuss Armfield's replacement and were sorting through over 100 applications. The front runners were reported to include Southampton's Lawrie McMenemy, the Arsenal coach Don Howe - who had served at Elland Road under Armfield, Aston Villa's Ron Saunders and the Sheffield Wednesday manager Jack Charlton - a legend in West Yorkshire who had spent the whole of his playing career at Leeds. Jock Stein was also on the list.

McMenemy, Howe and Saunders reportedly rejected United's advances but on the eve of the big kick off, reports were emerging that Stein, who had cheated death three years earlier following a horrific car accident, would fill the hot-seat. 

Having served Celtic with distinction and becoming the first manager to bring the European Cup to Britain in 1967, Stein was persuaded to stand down after a disappointing 1977-78 season but was authorised to appoint his own successor (Billy McNeil), and was of the understanding that he would be appointed to the Board of Directors.

Just 48 hours after Stein's Celtic testimonial match against Liverpool, Leeds made a move. An offer of a contract worth a reported £90,000 over three years, coupled with the promise of a one million pound transfer war chest was tabled. However, Stein had already turned down the Kuwait FA's offer of a job with a salary of £60,000 a year.

United kicked off the 1978-79 campaign with a creditable 2-2 draw at Highbury under the temporary stewardship of Maurice Lindley, with Stein watching from the stands and the following Monday, the Scotsman travelled to Yorkshire for initial talks with Chairman, Manny Cussins before meeting the Directors for further discussions over the vacant position. 

Talks proved fruitful and later that afternoon, the battle-hardened manager, a veteran of many years service in the game, accepted the offer that Leeds United had tabled.

The following day Stein was present as Leeds reserves played Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, in the Central League, and he witnessed a young John Lukic keep a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw but 24 hours later came the big one - his first game in charge - a home match against Manchester United with the usual hostile atmosphere cranked up ten-fold due to the return to Elland Road of defender Gordon McQueen and striker Joe Jordan.

The new boss had told the media that Leeds would fulfill a duty of getting fans into Elland Road by playing an attractive brand of football but against the bitter rivals, he finished on the wrong end of a five goal thriller with McQueen putting the visitors ahead in the tenth minute, on the way to a 3-2 win.

Despite his baptism of fire, Stein was more than happy to be at Leeds and when questioned on his decision to leave his beloved Celtic, he replied: "I would rather die in a dug out than melt away in a Directors box." Words that can now be looked back on with a chill following later events in September 1985. 

Leeds gave Stein his first win with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers thanks to goals from Ray Hankin, a Frankie Gray penalty and Tony Currie who rounded off another outstanding performance with his second goal in three games.

The next game produced a 0-0 draw away at West Bromwich Albion in the Second Round of the League Cup before a return to league action with a visit to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in a fixture billed by the media as 'Wilkins versus Currie.' 

Currie had another majestic afternoon, pulling the strings in midfield. With John Hawley (who scored two) and Ray Hankin bullying the Chelsea defence and Paul Madeley outstanding at centre half, United won the game 3-0. Arthur Graham had given Leeds a second minute lead with a scrambled goal and with Stein implementing his own philosophies, he told the press: "We got a flyer. A great start and that helped. We've stopped giving away goals now - that was one of the things that I knew had to be sorted."

With the promise of transfer funds, Stein was keen to strengthen his squad and when Dundee United rejected a combined offer of £500,000 for Paul Hegarty and David Narey, media speculation was rife that Leeds had made the bid. Partick Thistle's Scotland under-23 international winger Bobby Houston was also widely linked with a move to Elland Road.

Another clean sheet followed as the League Cup replay ended with the same scoreline as the first tie, despite thirty minutes of extra time. It wasn't a good night for Leeds and Stein as the inspirational maverick, Tony Currie limped off three minutes before half time due to a knee injury which would keep him out for the next six games. 

Without his newly appointed captain, Stein saw Leeds slump to successive defeats. Manchester City triumphed 3-0 at Maine Road and Tottenham Hotspur left West Yorkshire with both points following a surprise 2-1 victory.

As Leeds prepared to travel to Highfield Road on September 23, Stein was confident of making his first signing. Without giving too much away, he admitted that an offer had gone in and he was awaiting a telephone call to advise if it had been accepted. He was hopeful of the player being in the squad to face Coventry City.

The player in question was Derby County's Gerry Daly who remained at the Baseball Ground despite additional interest from Bolton Wanderers. 

Leeds returned from Coventry with a point following a 0-0 draw and during the week that followed, speculation was re-emerging that Stein was wanted by his country to replace Ally McLeod who had finally left the position to take over at Ayr United. 

When asked about the possibility of taking over his national team Stein told the press: "How can I talk just now about a job that I have not even been offered?"

On the final day of September, Leeds recorded a 3-0 win over Birmingham City and on October 2 they finally saw off the challenge of West Bromwich Albion by winning the second replay of the League Cup tie, at Maine Road, 1-0 thanks to a Paul Hart goal - it would prove to be Stein's last game in charge.

The following day, the Leeds United Board rejected an approach for Stein from the Scottish FA secretary Ernie Walker after a committee of seven selectors unanimously agreed that the Leeds manager was their main target.

"I refused simply because we want to keep him at Leeds", Cussins told the media. "They asked to talk to him about the international vacancy but he is doing a good job here and I think he wants to stay."

However, the facts were that although Stein had been in charge at Leeds since August, he was yet to sign the three year contract and Ernie Walker was intent on pursuing the man that he and the Scottish public wanted in the job.

On the evening of October 3, Jock Stein's 44 day tenure at Elland Road came to an end when he resigned following a thirty minute meeting with the Chairman and Directors. Stein claimed that his wife was not keen on moving to Leeds - a fact which assisted his decision to talk to the Scottish FA.

"Nothing in my life has worried me more than this, not even the Brian Clough affair" admitted a heartbroken Leeds United Chairman.

Leeds and Stein parted company and the hunt was once again on for a new manager.