Leeds United's top 30 players of all time - Number 25

Leeds United East Stand

The name Bates may largely be met with disdain around Elland Road these days, but that hasn't always been the case as number 25 on the countdown proves.

Like the man at number 30 on this countdown, David Harvey, Mick Bates could be considered to be one of the unluckier members of Don Revie's squad during Leeds United's glory years of the 1960s and 1970s, as his path to the team was obstructed by Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles. Nevertheless, he still proved to be a hugely valuable asset during their period among the best sides in the English game.

Although Bremner and Giles' partnership meant that Bates was often restricted to substitute appearances, he managed to play 187 times during his 14 years with Leeds, scoring nine goals along the way.

The midfielder's first honour for the club was the 1968 Fairs Cup. He missed the first leg of the final against Hungarian side Ferencvaros, but came off the bench during the second leg to help the Whites hold onto their narrow 1-0 aggregate lead.

He would play a much more important role when United won the same trophy three years later. Against Italian giants Juventus, Bates would bag the late equaliser to ensure that Leeds took the Old Lady back to Elland Road all square and with two away goals to arguably give them the slight upper hand. And his goal would prove crucial as the 1-1 draw in Yorkshire ensured that it was Revie's men that won the final edition of the competition. 

Injuries played their part in his final years with the club before his departure for Walsall in 1976. As well as for the Saddlers, he would go on to play for Bradford and Doncaster before retiring in 1981. 

And while he would undoubtedly have more career appearances under his belt had he left Leeds sooner, there can be little doubt just how important he was to the club's success.

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