Gordon McQueen – The Manchester United Giant

The enmity between Manchester United and Leeds United may very well originate from the War of the Roses, but in soccer terms the Roses rivalry started back in the swinging sixties 1960 when Leeds United were led by Don Revie and Manchester United by Sir Matt Busby.

Kilbirnie born Gordon McQueen began his soccer career at St. Mirren who signed him as a 18 year old. Impressed by the hard working youngster, Leeds United manager Don Revie eventually lured him to the high flying Yorkshire club for £30,000 in 1973. The Scottish stopper quickly managed to establish himself in the first team at Elland Road and he was a regular member of the vastly talented Leeds United side that went on to win the League Championship in 1974. However, following Revie’s departure to manage the England team, Leeds were declining and hatred between the Elland Road players started to bubble over.

Brought to Manchester Utd by new manager Dave Sexton for £495,000 in February 1978, the Scotland international became one of the first well known Leeds United players to sign for the Lancashire club. At Old Trafford, Gordon McQueen linked up with former Elland Road team mate Joe Jordan who had made the switch from Leeds United to Manchester United only a few weeks before. Evidently, Leeds United selling two of their biggest stars to old rivals Manchester United did not go down well with the Elland Road faithful. Incurring the wrath of the Leeds supporters, the two players were targeted with booing every time they were appearing against their old club.

While at Old Trafford, Gordon McQueen helped Manchester Utd win the FA Cup final in 1983 after a replay against Brighton and Hove Albion. A rough and rugged player, McQueen went on to make a total of 184 first class appearances for the Reds. The blond giant stayed at United until 1985 when he finally announced his retirement from the game because of persistent injuries.

Eventually going into soccer management, he took over the helm at Scottish club Airdrieoninans in 1987. Known for his brilliance in the air, Gordon McQueen won 30 full caps for his native country after making his first appearance for Scotland against Belgium in 1974.

«But Manchester United are Manchester United. They are the bigger of the two clubs, and always will be. Even going from a place like Leeds, with all their household names, you noticed a huge difference. Manchester United weren’t the best, but they were the biggest.» Gordon McQueen quote.

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