Part 1 of how Leeds reached Wembley to win the FA Cup in its centenary year in 1972, thanks to Allan Clarke's diving header.

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The first ever FA Cup competition began in 1871, long before Leeds United was formed and in its inaugural final, played at Kennington Oval in front of 2,000 spectators, Wanderers defeated Royal Engineers 1-0. One hundred years later, 1-0 was the scoreline again as Don Revie's mighty whites beat Arsenal at Wembley, in front of 100,000 fans, thanks to a glorious diving header from Allan Clarke. Here is part one of how Billy Bremner came to lift the glorious silverware in May 1972.


United were eight games unbeaten when they put the league campaign to one side to face Third Division outfit Bristol Rovers in the Third Round at Elland Road. Leeds were installed as the bookmakers favourites to win the competition and nobody could see them having any problems, despite the previous season's failing against Colchester United.

Jackie Charlton (neck) and Allan Clarke (knee) both failed fitness tests which forced Revie into making changes from the previous game at home to Ipswich Town. Paul Madeley moved into the centre of defence and Paul Reaney came in at right back. Joe Jordan made his FA Cup debut, in attack, partnered by Peter Lorimer, with Mick Jones also absent with a groin injury. 

Bristol Rovers gave a good account of themselves in the early stages with Bruce Bannister and Kenny Stephens causing Leeds a few problems. However, as expected, United began to take command and in the 17th minute, the visiting goalkeeper, Dick Sheppard failed to hold a shot from Lorimer and Johnny Giles was on hand to knock the ball into the net from close range and open the scoring.

Five minutes later, roles were reversed when Giles played in Lorimer and with a Rovers defence appealing for an offside flag, the Scot slipped the ball past Sheppard to double the lead.

Leeds were totally in command and it was 3-0 after 34 minutes when the Irish midfield maestro Giles scored his second. The goal was his 100th for the club and came from the penalty spot after Lorimer, who had been put through by Mick Bates, was brought down by the Rovers custodian who received a booking for his crime.

Three minutes into the second half, Joe Jordan was forced to leave the field with a leg injury and was replaced by Chris Galvin. 

Soon after, Sheppard who had saved well from Terry Cooper and Eddie Gray, was relieved to see a Giles effort come back off the crossbar.

The visitors reduced the arrears in the 74th minute when Sandy Allan fired home a Stephens' cross but Leeds had the final say, and confirmed a place in the next round, when Lorimer scored again, at the second attempt with seven minutes to go, after good work by substitute Galvin. 


Leeds had received a little bonus on the Saturday with both Manchester clubs, challenging at the top end of the First Division, drawing their respective Third Round ties and the Don raised a smile, telling the media:

"I'd like to see both Manchester clubs having an extended cup run with a replay in every round." 

Revie's men could not have been handed in a tougher draw when the suits congregated in London, two days after Leeds' win over Bristol Rovers, to pull the teams out of the velvet bag for the next round. United were drawn away at Liverpool, with the Liverpool Echo reporting that the Merseyside club had landed 'the plum draw.'

The last time the sides had locked horns in the FA Cup was the 1965 Final which Liverpool won in extra time but the previous season had seen United overcome Liverpool in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup Semi-Final, over two legs. Add to that the fact that Leeds hadn't lost at Anfield since 1967, Revie was far from concerned:

"It's a tough draw but if you expect to win anything in this sort of competition, these are the type of teams you have to beat."

United had played twice in the First Division since Round Three; a 1-0 home win over Sheffield United at Elland Road and a 1-0 defeat in the capital against Tottenham Hotspur and despite playing in those two games, Jackie Charlton, who had missed the Bristol Rovers game, was not present at Anfield - this time a victim of 'flu. Eddie Gray was also ruled out, with an ankle injury, with Mick Bates wearing the number 11 shirt.

A crowd of over 56,000 packed into Anfield, paying gate receipts in excess of £23,000. Expectations were high as two giants of English football took to the field. Leeds kicked off and Lorimer tested Ray Clemence with a surprise shot from the halfway line but it was the hosts who had the better of the game.

Norman Hunter and Paul Madeley were outstanding at the heart of the Leeds defence. Gary Sprake made a stunning save to keep out Larry Lloyd's header whilst Paul Reaney received a booking for a foul on Steve Heighway.

Leeds' best chance fell to Lorimer who saw his shot from a tight angle saved by Clemence but it was Heighway who missed a guilt edged opportunity after 20 minutes with Sprake grounded and Reaney on the goal line, he totally miss-kicked his shot from eight yards out as United held on for a replay at Elland Road.


Leeds made changes for the replay, four days later. Jack Charlton and Eddie Gray were fit to play and came into the starting line up whilst Mick Jones was absent after taking a nasty knock at Anfield. Joe Jordan sat on the bench in place of midfielder Terry Yorath.

The draw for Round Five had handed the winners of the replay an away trip to either Cardiff City or Sunderland who could not be separated in a 1-1 draw at Ninian Park.

Due to the miners strike, the game was played in the afternoon, with a 2:30 kick off, but that did not prevent 45,281 fans filing through the Elland Road turnstiles.

It was Leeds who broke the deadlock, and scored the first goal of the tie, after 22 minutes when Allan Clarke's teasing lob beat Ray Clemence's despairing leap after Billy Bremner had flicked the ball on.

Liverpool played their part in a thrilling cup tie and as was the case at Anfield, their finishing let them down. Johnny Giles was everywhere, Billy Bremner was as combative as ever and Allan Clarke was ice cool.

Clarke sealed the passage to the next round in the 62nd minute. Norman Hunter won the ball in a challenge with Steve Heighway and gave it to Giles who played Sniffer in to turn Larry Lloyd and slot a fine goal past Clemence.

Phil Boersma went close for the visitors and Lloyd hit the post. The game was played at a pulsating pace with Emlyn Hughes receiving a booking for a foul on Terry Cooper. 

In an unprecedented act, at the final whistle, referee Gordon Hill stood aside to applaud the players off the pitch.