Leslie Silver, the chairman who helped deliver the title for Leeds, dies, aged 89

GOLDEN MOMENT: Chairman Leslie Silver with manager Howard Wilkinson after Leeds's final game of the 1991-92 season. A week earlier United had been confirmed as First Division champions. Picture: Mark Bickerdike.
GOLDEN MOMENT: Chairman Leslie Silver with manager Howard Wilkinson after Leeds's final game of the 1991-92 season. A week earlier United had been confirmed as First Division champions. Picture: Mark Bickerdike.
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HOWARD WILKINSON last night led the tributes to Leslie Silver following the former Leeds United chairman’s death at the age of 89.

The London-born businessman was chairman at Elland Road for a little over 13 years and in charge when the club won the League championship in 1992.

That title success came two years after United had been promoted from the Second Division as champions to end an eight-year exile from the top flight.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Wilkinson, who moved to Elland Road from Sheffield Wednesday in 1988, said: “Leeds will miss Leslie Silver. He did so much for the city, both in terms of the football club and also the education side.

“He was a guy of great humility, of great modesty and enormous integrity. But, along with those more gentle virtues, he had a strong spine and balls of steel.

“We had some great times together but he was never one to claim the credit for himself. Others might have done so in a similar position, but not Leslie. It wasn’t his style.

“I was fortunate in my experience of football club chairmen in that I worked with some good men. And Leslie was the icing on that particular cake.”

Silver served as an RAF bomber commander during the Second World War. Last year, he was awarded the ‘Bomber Command Clasp’ in recognition of the 40-plus operations he took part in over Europe and a further 20 in the Far East.

Demobbed at the age of 22, he used his wartime gratuity to set up a paint business that grew into one of the largest in Europe.

Silver, a former chancellor of Leeds Polytechnic, was awarded the OBE for services to export.

Obituary: Page 21.