Leeds United v Manchester United Greatest Ever XIs: And The Winner Is...

Two great clubs. One great derby. Leeds v Manchester United, one of the game's most ferocious fixtures, returns to Elland Road in the Carling Cup tonight. So what better time to match up the greatest ever XIs of each club...
Publish date:
Updated on


Two great clubs. One great derby. Leeds United  v Manchester United, one of the game's most ferocious fixtures, returns to Elland Road in the Carling Cup tonight. So what better time to match up the greatest ever XIs of each club...

Leeds United Greatest XI - Compiled by Dead Bloke.

GK: Nigel Martyn - Absolutely top drawer. Best keeper I've seen. 10

RCB: Lucas Radebe -  The Chief. Great man-to-man marker. Athletic and quicker than he looked. 10

CB: Jack Charlton - Won a world cup in his spare time. Football writers' player of the year.  Not bad for a clogger. 10

LCB: John Charles -  Il Gigante Buono. Voted by Juventus fans as the best ever foreign player to play for their team (beat Michel Platini). Nuff said. 10

RM: Gordon Strachan - Bananas, seaweed and championships. The best signing Leeds United made in my lifetime. 10

CM: Johnny Giles - The silent assassin who when let off the leash with Bremner was at the heart of Europe's best club side in the early 70's. 10

CM: Billy Bremner - Leader. "You can't put into words what Billy Bremner meant to football." So said another irascible, preternaturally aged Scot, Sir Alex Ferguson. 10

LM: Eddie Gray - "When he walks on snow he doesn't leave footprints". 10

AMC: Tony Currie - Scored curlers and found time to sit on the ball and blow kisses to the crowd. 9

CF: Allan Clarke - Sniffer was simply the best finisher ever seen in a Leeds United shirt and who turned Matt Busby down. 10

CF: Tony Yeboah - Only played  66 games for Leeds United, scored 32 goals but what goals they were. From a hat trick in Monaco, to a goal of the season v Liverpool, via a world class brace against Wimbledon. Might not have paid his poll tax but when he was on fire he was unplayable. 9

Manager: Don Revie - who else? 10

Click here to follow Dead Bloke on Twitter


"You can't put into words what Billy Bremner meant to football." So said another irascible, preternaturally aged Scot, Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United Greatest XI

GK: Peter Schmeichel – Signed as a virtual unknown in 1991, his size, prodigious throwing and mammoth kicks immediately marked him down as something very different. After an early roughing up from Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang he quickly toughened up and went on to become Manchester United’s greatest ever. “Prone to the odd error” critics may point out, but when he saved as many games as he did during a season, who cares? 9

RB: Roger Byrne – Local lad who was captain and elder statesman of the incomparable Busby Babes. Perhaps not the best technically but more than made up for any deficiency with his reading of the game. An England regular, fatefully he never made it to the 1958 World Cup. 7

CB: Martin Buchan – “The Fonz is cool but Buchan is cooler” ran the Stretford End’s chant, summing up the ice-cool nature of United’s best ever defender. Having just the one FA Cup to show for his time at Manchester United is a criminal return for a player who was almost as integral to the team in the ‘70s as Robson was in the ‘80s. 8

LB: Denis Irwin – Incredibly underrated player who, after a somewhat inauspicious start after his arrival from Oldham, went on to become the club’s most consistent and decorated player of the 1990s. Also weighed in with more than his fair share of goals. 7

RM: Cristiano Ronaldo – From 2006–2009 he was as dominant a presence in Manchester United’s team as any of his predecessors. Probably the first player on whom Manchester United supporters could legitimately bestow the title “best player in the world”. 9

CM: Duncan Edwards – Many young players are hyped up beyond justification, yet anyone wondering whether the recognition Edwards received is truly justified for a player who died when only 21 years old only has to consider the range and knowledge of those within the game who cite him as one of the game’s true greats.10

CM: Bryan Robson – The rock on which Atkinson’s Manchester United was built, his absences to injury were the reason Ron’s team so often failed. The phrase ‘one-man team’ is self-evidently an exaggeration when applied in a team sport, but with Robson it was as close to reality as it could come. 8

CM: Roy Keane – The driving force behind Ferguson’s greatest side, he continually set the tone for the team, whether through his metronomic passing, fearsome tackling, lung-busting effort or never-say-die determination. The rock on which the 1999 Treble was won. 8

LM: George Best – The one, the only. Playing alongside both him and Ronaldo would probably have had Charlton tearing out what little remained of his once-flowing blonde locks but it would’ve been worth it. There’d probably have to be two balls on the pitch, mind. 10

CF: Bobby Charlton – Still holds the record for the most starts and goals of any Manchester United player. As two-footed as they come, he could play anywhere in midfield or attack. Officially acknowledged as the continent’s best player in 1966, he’s one of only three Englishmen to win the European and World Cups. 10

CF: Denis Law – Often the overlooked member of United’s Holy Trinity but back in the day was the Stretford End’s favourite, its very own King.Scored every sort of goal, from 20-yard headers to acrobatic overhead kicks to six yard tap-ins. Ballon d’Or winner in 1964, he regularly topped the scoring charts before injuries started to take their toll on his slender frame. 10

Manager: Matt Busby – Built the club up from nothing. Twice. To do it the first time was special, to repeat the feat after the pain, devastation and his own near-death at Munich was almost unbelievable. Never compromised on his ideals, be it for attacking football or anything else. 9


Leeds United win by a clear three points, what do Manchester United fans think?

Click here for a tribute to Leeds super-scout John Barr

Click here for more stories about Manchester United

Click here for more Football and Sport stories

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook