Wednesday, December 7, 2011

7 December 1997 - The Passing Of A Leeds Legend

On 7 December 1997, former Leeds United captain Billy Bremner died after being hospitalized for pneumonia. He was 54 years old.

Born in the Scottish city of Stirling, Bremner joined Leeds United in 1959 at the age of 17 and played there for 18 seasons. He became a regular starter in just his second season and helped them earn promotion to the top flight in 1964 under manager Don Revie.

He played with an intensity and toughness that belied his small stature (he was 5' 5"), earning the respect of teammates and opponents alike. In 1966, he took over as captain and pushed Leeds to domestic and European heights, winning the League Cup (1968), FA Cup (1972), two league titles (1969, 1974), and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups (1968, 1971), while also reaching the finals of the European Cup (1975) and Cup Winners' Cup (1973). His career was not without controversy, however, as he developed a reputation for dirty play and once received a suspension for fighting with Liverpool's Kevin Keegan.

By the time he left Elland Road in 1976, he had made 772 appearances for the club, only one match behind their all-time leader, Jack Charlton. He moved to Hull City briefly (1976-79), then joined Doncaster Rovers (1979-81) as player-manager. He returned to Leeds in 1985 as manager, then moved back to Doncaster in 1989 and retired in 1991.

In December 1997, he contracted pneumonia, then died of a suspected heart attack just two days short of his 55th birthday.

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