Yet another disappointing season outside England’s top flight drew to a close for Leeds United recently.
But 40 years ago, Don Revie’s legendary side suffered the most seismic disappointment in the club’s history.
Defeat to Second Division Sunderland in the 1973 FA Cup Final was not an outcome anyone foresaw including Leeds themselves.
However, thanks to a first-half Ian Porterfield strike and a second half moment of magic from the Rokerites goalkeeper Jim Montgomery, that’s exactly what happened.
Montgomery’s incredible double save from Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer has been compared to Gordon Banks’ stunning fingertip stop from Pele at the 1970 World Cup.
But ask Lorimer’s opinion and you’ll get a more prosaic interpretation!
He says: “It was a fantastic save, but how much was a combination of luck and pure reactions, I don’t know.
“I think if you spoke to Jim, he’d probably say he pushed it onto the bar, but it was a typical goalkeeper reaction. I don’t think he knew too much about it to be honest!”
Even now, four decades on, Dundee-born Lorimer’s memory of the incident remains crystal clear.
“Jim dived and saved the initial header from Trevor Cherry and pushed it out,” he recalled.
“I was running in, about six or seven yards out. I had so much time, I thought: ‘Don’t blast it, don’t do anything stupid.’
“I hit it perfectly, just like I wanted, but Jim threw himself off the floor and it hit him somewhere around his elbow before smashing off the underside of the bar and coming out.
“It was a great reaction save, but it was one of those that only happens one in a million times.
“Fair play to Jim, that’s what he was there for. He saved the day for Sunderland. We were all over them, and I think if we had got the equaliser, then we’d have won it quite comfortably.”
That they didn’t was down to an uncharacteristic attitude problem.
Peter, now 66, admits: “I think on the day we were a bit casual, to be honest.
“We were holders and massive favourites to win the game, obviously, but Sunderland had a good team with a lot of Scots like Bobby Kerr, Dick Malone and Billy Hughes.
“There was also the great Dave Watson, who hadn’t yet got into the England team, but they were still a team from a lower league.
“Everybody thought it was a formality. Unfortunately I think we went into it with a little bit of that attitude too, which was most unlike our team.
“We got our just deserts for not being professional enough.”
Leeds and Lorimer, now a football ambassador for the club, made up for their Cup disappointment by winning the League the following season.
That was Lorimer’s second Championship medal, and he also picked up gongs in the FA Cup, League Cup and Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
Lorimer won 21 Scotland caps, and played in the 1974 World Cup Finals, scoring against Zaire.
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