Anthony Clavane was born in Leeds in 1960, a year before Don Revie became manager. He started life as a history teacher and is now chief sports writer of the Sunday Mirror.
There used to be a sign hanging outside Leeds Station which bore the legend: 'Leeds, the Promised Land delivered'. Anthony Clavane explains why that sign was put up - and how it came to be taken down. Leeds United, one of the most famous names in British football, disappeared in the noughties. In the last 50 years the club has had a chequered history. First, under Don Revie's obsessive control, they were labelled Dirty Leeds, and then, during Peter Risdale's ambitious tenure they became known as Greedy Leeds. 'Doing a Leeds' is now shorthand for chasing 'the dream' and suffering a spectacular fall from grace. Why have Leeds punched below their weight? Why have they always tried, and failed, to get into the promised land? Why, at the most crucial moments, with glory in their sights, have they choked? Critics argue they have got their just deserts but Clavane tells a different story. He links the club's highs and lows to those of the 'beautiful game' itself and the parallel journey of the city. As he considers the modern pressures on the game, the writers who have escaped Leeds, and the Jewish community that climbed out of the ghetto, a bigger picture emerges. This is the story of a marginalised northern tribe's brave - if doomed - attempt to enter the promised land, to barge into the ranks of the elite. Today Leeds United are back. But only to where they started 50 years ago: in the second tier of English football. Clavane asks the question: what went wrong.
'As good an explanation as you will ever read of how the deindustrialisation of the 70s and 80s fuelled Brexit' The Times 'Magnificent . . . A fascinating insight into a decade that changed the nature of sport and changed the face of the country' Rory Smith, Chief Soccer Correspondent, New York Times Featuring many interviews with sportsmen, managers, miners, musicians, fans and local politicians, this deeply researched and moving investigation casts a new light on an era that read the last rites for the country's collective culture.
THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF PROMISED LAND AND DOES YOUR RABBI KNOW YOU'RE HERE? SETS HIS FOCUS TO YORKSHIRE, AND ITS ENDANGERED STATUS AS A SPORTING POWERHOUSE. 'If you want to know how it feels to be left behind, if you want to know how it feels to be forgotten, if you want to know how it feels to be heartbroken, then read this book' David Peace For the past 30 years, something has been missing from British sport. For some it has lost its heart and soul. Anthony Clavane argues that it has lost its Yorkshireness, which possibly amounts to the same thing. A Yorkshire Tragedy is the final part of Anthony Clavane's triptych that examines belonging, identity and the rise and fall of tightly knit sporting communities through the prism of the author's own personal experience. Loved A Yorkshire Tragedy? Then check out Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here? - Anthony Clavane's highly acclaimed history of Jewish involvement in English football.
This is a book about football. It's about unconditional love for a club, even when it doesn't always seem to love you back. But it is also a book about much more than that. Anthony Clavane loves Leeds - certainly the football club, but also the city, and the tribes that make it. Now that he is an exile in the South, his frequent pilgrimages to the stadium speak for themselves. But he no less loves the rarely-glimpsed back-streets of his youth; and even has a feel for the long-gone slums where his ancestors once settled. Leeds is his promised land; idealised and unreachable, yet still it defines him. 'Sports writing at its very best' Daily Telegraph