Against Portsmouth on Saturday, Robert Snodgrass became Leeds’ 32nd permanent captain and the tenth man to be awarded that honour since Rio Ferdinand left the club in 2002.

Leeds United have a proud history of Scottish captains. In the 93 years since the club was founded, The Whites have played in 15 major finals and won 3 league titles, all of which came with a Scotsman leading the charge.

Most successful of all was of course Billy Bremner. The fiery Scotsman led Leeds United to two league championships and twelve major finals, including the 1975 European Cup final, two UEFA Cups and Leeds United’s first and only FA Cup final success in 1972.

However, the reign of dominance Leeds United enjoyed under Don Revie actually started with Bremner’s predecessor, Bobby Collins. Also Scottish, Collins was awarded the captain’s armband in 1962 and repaid him with promotion to the first division in 1964 and Leeds United’s first ever major final appearance in 1965 – an FA Cup encounter with Liverpool that The Whites would go on to lose. Nevertheless, Bobby Collins was named Footballer Of The Year 1965 and with that first sniff of success he’d provided, set Leeds on course for an era of unparalleled success.

It all came to an abrupt halt however when Billy Bremner left Elland Road in 1976, a decade after picking up the captains armband. Relegated in 1982, it wasn’t until another diminutive, red-headed Scotsman was awarded the captain’s armband in 1989 that Leeds United would see a return to glory.

Ending Leeds United’s eight year lull in the Second Division was impressive enough, but when Gordon Strachan followed up with the First Division title only two years later (1992), the parallels with Billy Bremner were impossible to ignore. The second era of dominance so desperately craved in West Yorkshire never did follow, but in bringing Leeds United their third league title, Gordon Strachan forever consigned his name to the history books as the second greatest captain in the club’s history – not a bad position to be in,.when the only man in front of you has a statue outside the ground.

The last major final appearance for Leeds United was the 1996 League Cup against Aston Villa. Despite an absolute mauling at the hands of the Brummies, Gary McAllister became the fourth Scotsman to take Leeds United to Wembley.

In awarding Robert Snodgrass captaincy, Neil Warnock has returned to the tried and tested formula for success at Elland Road. Considering Warnock is our most superstitious manager since Don Revie, you have to wander whether the pattern of Scottish captains and Leeds United success was taken into consideration by our new manager?

The shadow of those that went before him will no doubt play on Robert Snodgrass’ mind, but he’s the kind of player that only grows in stature when the pressure is on. A great captain leads not only on the pitch, but carries himself well off of it, interacting with the fans, keeping spirits high and becoming a spokesman-like figure to the press. The fans need a captain they respect and are proud to have representing the club, and in Robert Snodgrass, that’s exactly what they have.

If he can bring one tenth of the success those that went before him have, he’ll never be forgotten in West Yorkshire. Good luck Snoddy!

14 Responses

  1. TSS

    Since this has caused a little confusion, the “major finals” I counted were as follows. 
    4 FA Cups,
    2 League Cups, 
    3 Charity Shield, 
    1 European Cup, 
    1 Cup Winners Cup, 
    3 UEFA Cups. 
    I also counted the Fairs play-off. which is what caused the confusion, but since success was a pre-requisite for playing in it, I don’t see why we shouldn’t? 

    • Nobby

       @TSS In that case, if you include the Barcelona Fairs cup play-off, it’s 4 Fairs/Uefa cup final appearances: 1) 1967 Dinamo Zagreb    2) 1968 Ferencvaros   3) 1971 Juventus. Added to these ‘proper’ games, your Barcelona play-off makes it 4.

      • Nobby

         @TSS Yep, but in your breakdown list explaining why you included the play-off, your UEFA Cup total shows 3. If you have counted it, it should read 4.
        Sorry, I’m being pedantic, I really need to get a day job. 

      • TSS

         @Nobby No, the list takes you to 14. The note at the bottom explains the 15th – that was my intention lol. 

      • Nobby

         @TSS Ok, I’m with you now. So long as we’re clear. I’m now off to make sure that I have the same number of knives as forks in the cutlery drawer whilst wearing my lucky blue suit, before turning the gas off 15 times upon leaving the house.
        I blame the Don.
        Yours in OCD………

      • TSS

         @Nobby You’re going to love Warnock then. He once refused to give interviews for weeks on end because his team were on an unbeaten run, he always follows the same route to his seat (around the same people etc…) and has some strange fascination with traffic lights, whereby he stops at them all (regardless of what colour they are) if his team has won! 

      • Nobby

         @TSS Thanks for that. I’ll be sure to leave the ground on the first blow of the final whistle; the ring road is bad enough without Colin causing further congestion. Mind you, given our form, I don’t think he’ll be holding us up much.  I’d sit behind him at the lights all day if it means keeping our hopes alive this season. 
        I really hope he’s allowed to strengthen the team where it’s needed – Matt Mills on loan might be a good acquisition if the rumours hold any water. Wouldn’t it be great, though, to thin out some of the loanees/fringe players and secure the right players on decent contracts in the summer?
        Ah well, we’ll keep hoping.

  2. Tyler75

    Scottish and Ginger seem to be the decisive factors – maybe NW can persuade Snods to dye his hair ! 

    • TSS

      I’m blaming the 6am flight back from Spain via Amsterdam for these glaring errors lol. Can’t believe it took so long for someone to point that one out! MOT 


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