Don REVIE OBE (1927-1989)

Don Revie This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 384
  • Subject No: 385
  • Broadcast date: Wed 24 Apr 1974
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Sun 21 Apr 1974
  • Venue: Queens Hotel, Leeds
  • Series: 14
  • Edition: 24

on the guest list...

  • Kenneth Haigh - in audience
  • Joe Mercer - in audience
  • Michael Parkinson - in audience
  • Colin Welland - in audience
  • Harvey Smith - in audience
  • Fred Trueman - in audience
  • Elsie - wife
  • Duncan - son
  • Kim - daughter
  • Jenny - mother-in-law
  • Jean - aunt
  • Jenny - aunt
  • Willy - uncle
  • Joyce - sister
  • Jean - sister
  • Bill Sanderson
  • Sep Smith
  • Matthew McCleary
  • members of Leeds United FC team - in audience
  • Les Cocker - in audience
  • Maurice Lindley - in audience
  • Bill Shankly
  • Danny Campbell
  • Vince Amos
  • Eddie Robinson
  • Butch Appleby
  • Bill Johnston
  • Len Dorman
  • Harry Wright
  • John Wright
  • Alan Foster
  • Albert Bracken
  • Billy Bremner
  • Matt Busby

production team...

  • Researcher: Fred Austin
  • Writer: Fred Austin
  • Director: Steve Minchin
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...
Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Don Revie This Is Your Life Big Red Book

Photographs and screenshots of Don Revie This Is Your Life - and a photograph of Don Revie's big red book

Don Revie's biography

Roger Hermiston recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Clough and Revie...

Middlesborough – or Boro – Swifts were a highly regarded local junior club competing in the Teesside League and in cup competitions like the Magnum Bonum and Ellis cups.

Its manager was George Carr, who had been a successful professional footballer with Leicester City; the highlight of his playing career was in February 1925 when he scored the goal that enabled Leicester (then in the Second Division) to knock FA Cup holders Newcastle United out of the competition.

Carr ensured that the Boro Swifts became a nursery club for the Midlands side, identifying young talent for the club and then dispatching them there for trials. The Swifts weren't unique in this form of set-up; for example, Middlesborough Crusaders (who played in the same Teeside League) were a feeder club for Sunderland, while another club, South Park Rovers, supplied youngsters for Doncaster Rovers.

The deal – if you can call it that – to bring young Revie to Boro Swifts was done by the club secretary, 44-year-old Bill Sanderson, a train driver by day but a man who lived and breathed football every weekend. As Sanderson remembered it 33 years later, when Don Revie was the subject of This Is Your Life with Eamonn Andrews, the initial, tentative – and definitely unsolicited – approach to play for the Swifts had come from young Revie himself.

Sanderson used to take football 'classes' on a Sunday after the match the day before. His young protégés would gather round in the front room of his house in Keith Road. Seated in his former home for the benefit of ITV viewers in April 1974, he addressed his former 'pupil' back in the Queens Hotel, Leeds:

"Hello, Don. You remember this room and this blackboard. You remember when you were sat over there (pointing to the back of the room) as a very little chap, and you wanted to join the club, and I asked you what you were doing here. You shouldn't have been here, you know, it was a private club, but you wanted to be a footballer, and you thought if you wanted to be a footballer you must play for the Swifts!"

Sanderson was clearly impressed by the chutzpah of the youngster and was encouraged to take a look at him. He liked what he saw and, for the princely sum of five shillings, signed up young Revie to play for his developing outfit.

This was to be a defining moment in Revie's life.

Don Revie's biography

Christopher Evans recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Don Revie - The Biography...

Entering the Queen's Hotel in Leeds on 21 April, Revie did a double take. Liverpool boss Bill Shankly and striker Kevin Keegan were there but why? "Football business" was all Shankly would say.

Most Sundays, the Queen's Hotel was the venue for the Leeds United social events. Admiral's Bert Patrick said, 'I was often invited to club social events by Revie, usually on Sunday evenings and usually at the Queen's Hotel, where the whole squad was expected by the manager to attend.

'I remember one charity occasion when Revie, whom I always sat next to, stood up and said he wanted to raise money for a Sunshine Bus for the disabled. "How much do you want Don," shouted a wealthy Leeds businessman. "Sixteen thousand pounds," replied Don.'

'The man took out his cheque book, asked who the cheque should be made out to and said, "Now you have it, for goodness sake let's get on with the evening's entertainment." That was just typical in those heady days of the '70s. Leeds United was top of the pile.'

Although disturbed by the presence of Shankly, Revie got on with the night. At the top of the table, out of the corner of his eye, he could see someone approaching him. There was nothing untoward in that, Revie was often approached at these dinners by autograph hunters.

This one was different. Someone slipped his arm around Revie's back and said the immortal words, 'Don Revie, this is your life' As Eamonn Andrews related Revie's life from Middlesbrough to Leeds it was good to see people such as Bill Sanderson tell viewers how Revie got started in the game and it ended with Revie's old mentor, Sir Matt Busby, proclaiming him as one of the greatest football managers of all time.

For the days leading up to the airing of the programme Revie's mind was elsewhere. Even as Revie was being honoured and Liverpool manager Shankly was expressing kind words about his rival, the canny Scot could not resist playing mind games. Looking to the coming week, the Liverpool manager said, 'We have to pick ourselves up and beat Arsenal on Wednesday. Then next Saturday Leeds go to Queens Park Rangers and I don't fancy their chances. Rangers are very tough to beat on their own ground.'

'If Leeds lose and I think they will, all we have to do is win our last two marches.' To underline how seriously Shankly took the Arsenal game, he told the assembled newsmen he was leaving Leeds immediately after the dinner explaining, 'I've got important business. I am training with the lads on Monday morning to build them up for the clash with Arsenal.'

For Revie, an invite to go and eat with his neighbours while they all watched This is Your Life seemed a good way to break the tension. Besides, as Revie told Elsie as they got ready, every time he had gone over to his neighbours when a game was on he got the right result.

The Times article: Don Revie This Is Your Life

The Times 26 April 1974

Few will question Leeds's right to the League crown

Won with their feet up

By Geoffrey Green

Football Correspondent

It was somehow typical of the perversity of football that the championship title should finally fall like a ripe plum into Leeds United's lap on a night when they had their own feet up while life ran its course elsewhere.

Liverpool's first defeat at Anfield this season by Arsenal, which duly settled the argument, must surely have come as a windfall at an unexpected moment. Yet as came appropriately enough on the very night when Mr Don Revie, the Leeds manager, was chosen as the subject of the long running television programme This Is Your Life.

It was happy timing, made the happier when his captain, Billy Bremner, called on to make a presentation from the team on stage before a packed company, had to confess that with his customary forgetfulness he had left the inscribed golden goblet elsewhere. That brought the house down.

Series 14 subjects

Jim Dale | Vic Feather | Hayley Mills | Pete Murray | George Sewell | David Nixon | Robert Dougall | Deryck Guyler
Derek Dougan | William Coles | Jimmy Jewel | John Alderton | Patrick Moore | Sam Kydd | John Dankworth
Gordon Ostlere (Richard Gordon) | Lionel Blair | Sheila Scott | Roy Dotrice | Barry Briggs | Christopher Lee
Beryl Grey | Terry Biddlecombe | Don Revie | Robert Morley | David Hemery | Eamonn Andrews