The night Wolves denied Leeds United double glory

Molineux - Wolves - Billy Wright Stand

With Leeds set to return to Molineux on Monday, we look back on the famous day in 1972 when Leeds controversially lost out on the league and cup double.

Leeds had beaten Arsenal 1-0 in the Wembley FA Cup Final on Saturday but, despite weeks of negotiations with FA officials, were ordered to play their final league game just 48 hours later on 8th May 1972. This was due to postponements, but also because the FA's Alan Hardaker refused to release Leeds' England players from an upcoming international with West Germany. 

The title finale was a four-horse race in 1971/72. Liverpool drew their last game at Arsenal when a resounding win could have gifted them the title on goal difference. This left Manchester City, Liverpool, and Leeds all locked on 57 points, while Brian Clough's Derby County sat precariously on top of the league on 58 points in the days of just two points for a win.

While the Rams awaited the Wolves v Leeds result, Clough famously took his Derby team on holiday to Majorca where they simply watched on in hope.

Most observers expected Leeds to achieve the double with the minimum requirement of a draw at Molineux, and crucially Leeds hoped that Wolves would be saving themselves for the Second Leg of the UEFA Cup final with Tottenham Hotspur nine days later. It would have been the crowning glory for Leeds manager Don Revie as his team would have been only the third club to achieve the league and cup double.

The build-up to the game was mostly about Leeds feeling hard done by in having to play two mammoth games in two days, and in the end the pressure and tiredness told as Leeds looked nothing like their ominous selves on the night. With Mick Jones missing after dislocating his elbow at Wembley and with Allan Clarke and Johnny Giles requiring painkilling injections in order to play, Leeds never hit the heights they had during an arduous season.

With 53,000 fans packed into Molineux and an estimated 10,000 Leeds fans among them, Revie's men trailed 1-0 at the break to a soft Frank Munro goal. Wolves doubled their lead shortly after the break when Derek Dougan found himself clear on goal and slotted past the exposed David Harvey.

Wolves then survived two suspicious hand-ball appeals in their own penalty area as Leeds' efforts became increasingly desperate. A late reply from Billy Bremner set up a tense finale but, despite frantic efforts, Leeds couldn't force the equaliser and Clough's Derby were crowned unlikely champions, as Wolves held out for a 2-1 win.

Every return by Leeds to Molineux since this famous night conjures up memories of how close Revie's men came to crowning their golden period with the ultimate recognition they felt they never truly received.

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