The glory days of Don Revie’s reign at Leeds United brought his team a trophy cabinet resplendent with silverware.
He was rewarded with the players’ respect and the fans’ adulation but there was another unexpected bonus for “the Don”. The club’s president Lord Harewood was keen to show his gratitude and presented him with a personal gift that money could not buy.
The aristocrat gave Revie a piece of the historic Harewood estate so he could build his dream home. Now the house, constructed in the late 1970s in the hamlet of Weardley, is for sale for the first time since the manager reluctantly left it in 1981.
The property, priced at £750,000, comes to the market just as a long-awaited memorial to United’s greatest ever manager is unveiled at Elland Road.
The statue of Don Revie was paid for by fans, who regard him as a legend.
An ardent supporter may well be interested in buying his former home, knowing that it is a special piece of Whites history.
Deals were certainly done there, though owner Barry Harris was completely unaware of the footballing connection when he arranged to view it 31 years ago.
“I didn’t have a clue until I went into the upstairs study and saw the FA Cup, a replica, of course, but then it dawned on me whose house it was.
“I was impressed but I’m a Liverpool fan and I bought the property because it’s in a fantastic location with the most incredible views.
“It was also very up-to-the-minute for the time, with double fan ovens and a waste disposal unit in the kitchen.”
It now has a reception hall, cloakroom, sitting room, dining room, breakfast kitchen, utility room, conservatory, a study and master bedroom suite. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and a shower room.
Outside, there is a garage and garden with views over the Harewood estate towards Almscliffe Crag.
The fickle nature of football management meant that not long after the four-bedroom house was built, Don and his wife Elsie were forced to sell it.
After a spell as England manager from 1974-77, he left under a cloud after resigning to coach the United Arab Emirates and he stayed in the Middle East until 1985.
His time there obviously made an impression as he named his new house “Inshallah”, which means “God Willing” in Arabic.
“I used to work in the Middle East and Inshallah is a very powerful word. It’s used a lot over there. I didn’t have to ask the estate agent what it meant,” says Mr Harris, who is selling to downsize.
Don Revie enjoyed thinking up appropriate names for his homes. His previous property in Sandmoor Drive, Leeds, was called Offside, thought to be reference to the infamous decision by referee Ray Tinkler that all but cost United the League title in the 1970-71 season. A good sense of humour was something he shared with Lord Harewood, a passionate Leeds supporter. The pair were good friends, though it was an unlikely union.
Lord Harewood, who died last year, was the Queen’s cousin and Revie was a working class lad and former bricklayer from Middlesbrough.
But they had a lot on common and Lord Harewood was sad that Revie’s reputation was tarnished by a ban from the FA, eventually lifted after a legal challenge.
Lord Harewood, who died last year, once said: “We’d have meals together, even played tennis together.
“Don had genuine charisma. We soon realised what a wonderful manager he was. The reason why he was so good was because he treated his team as family. ”
Mr Harris and his wife Patricia, who have updated and extended the property, were also impressed with Revie, who retired to Scotland and died in 1989 of motor neurone disease.
Mr Harris said: “I met him a couple of times while we negotiated the sale and he was a really nice guy. He obviously loved this house, as we do. I think he was very sad to leave it and he told me he wished he could’ve spent more time here. ”
Revie left his size 10and a half wellies behind at Inshallah. They are a perfect fit for Mr Harris, who still uses them to pop out into the garden. Almost 40 years on, over at Elland Road, Leeds United has been unable to find anyone to fill his shoes.
Inshallah is for sale with Carter Jonas, Harrogate, tel: 01423 523423, www.carterjonas.co.uk
Why FA Cup win was no consolation to Leeds: Section 2, Page 5