The hurt business

Three rounds in the fifth round

Written by: Rob Conlon
Artwork by: Eamonn Dalton
David Harvey making a save for Leeds United away from the threat of Gordon McQueen's swinging fists

Leeds United were uncertain of their future in the post-Revie years, and 1978’s fifth round tie against Manchester City was a reminder of where they had been and a warning of where they were going.

City’s team featured Asa Hartford, who Don Revie had tried to sign in 1971, only for the midfielder’s medical to reveal a heart condition that cancelled the transfer. Their opening goalscorer, Dennis Tueart, was part of the Sunderland side that shocked Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup final.

Leeds were a mixture of Revie heroes like David Harvey, Paul Reaney, and Paul Madeley, supplemented by a new generation of Tony Currie, Arthur Graham, and Ray Hankin. Allan Clarke was on the bench, but the day before the match, his heir to the number 9 shirt, Joe Jordan, had been sold to Scum.

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The game was won by Peter Barnes tapping in City’s second before Frank Gray scored a late consolation penalty, the spectre of a future in which Leeds made Barnes their record signing, then regretted every penny as relegation in 1981 confirmed the Revie days were long gone.

But this defeat is remembered for two other moments. With the game still 0-0, Harvey tipped a header over the bar. After the initial corner was cleared and Leeds were waiting for the next set-piece, Harvey organised his defence by shoving Gordon McQueen into position. Harvey was wearing his red Scotland goalkeeper’s shirt out of superstition, and the push on McQueen had the effect of a matador waving a flag at a bull. McQueen turned and landed a right hook to Harvey’s jaw in one movement, immediately holding his hand up to the referee in apology as Currie and Trevor Cherry quickly separated their two teammates. Ref Colin Seel told both players off, nudging them both in the back and into position, as if he hadn’t paid attention to what started all the fuss in the first place.

The second moment came shortly after City had gone 2-0 up and Leeds were pushing for a goal. City ‘keeper Joe Corrigan celebrated Barnes’ tap in by gesturing to the Kop, and when Clarke came off the bench to start a scuffle after a goalmouth scramble, fans in the Kop were even angrier than McQueen. As the game continued, a supporter got on the pitch to confront Corrigan, followed by a stream of fans either wanting to join in the fun or get out of the way of those who did. Seel halted the game as eight mounted policemen tried to restore order. The ref was given a microphone in front of the West Stand, telling those on the pitch the game would not be abandoned, even if it meant playing until midnight.

The following day, McQueen handed in a transfer request, destined to join Jordan over the Pennines. He claimed he was leaving to further his career, not running away from Harvey. Three years earlier, McQueen had written off a car in a crash; Harvey was a passenger, breaking his ankle in the accident and missing the European Cup final as a result. Harvey didn’t hold any grudges, he was just grateful to be alive, but the way he took McQueen’s punch and the glare with which he responded were all the warning that was needed.

“Yes, we had a quick three rounds,” Harvey said afterwards. “We weren’t doing very well at the time. There was a lot of pressure and it got out of hand. Gordon hit me, but I’ve forgiven him.”

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