Yet another legend is lost as Terry Cooper passes away
Sunday, 1st Aug 2021 00:09 by Tim Whelan
There was yet more bad news yesterday, with the passing of yet another member of the great Don Revie side, with the death of Terry Cooper at the age of 77.
Cooper was born on 12 July 1944, in Brotherton, North Yorkshire and joined Leeds in 1961, but according to his Wikipedia entre he wasn’t scouted in the conventional manner. He simply turned up at Leeds United one day with his football boots in a paper bag, asking for a trial. He was granted his wish and impressed enough to be offered an apprentice contract.
He made his debut at the age of 19 in the 3-0 away victory over Swansea on 11th April 1964, in the match which secured Leeds United promotion to the First Division. And his second game was another notable one, a 2-0 win over Charlton which ensure that Leeds secured would go up as champions.
He began his career as a left-winger, but in 1967 Don Revie converted him to a full-back by and he went on to excel in that position. But that didn’t stop him getting forward to score 11 goals during his Leeds career, most notably the winner against Arsenal in the 1968 League Cup final at Wembley, to bring us our first major honour.
And that was after he dreamt about scoring the winning goal the night before the game! He made his England debut on 12th March 1969, in a 5-0 victory over France, and went on to win 20 caps in total, including all four games in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
In total he made 351 appearances for Leeds, but his opportunities were limited after he suffered a serious leg break at Stoke in April 1972. The complications of the injury meant that he was out of the game for the next 20 months, and by the time he was back to fitness Don Revie had signed Trevor Cherry as a replacement, and Frank Gray had also emerged to challenge for his position.
He retuned to first team football in January 1974, but as he only made two appearances for Leeds that season he missed out on a second League Championship medal. In total he played only 17 more games for Leeds after his comeback, before moving to Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough in 1975. He then went on to have two stints at Bristol City, along with Bristol Rovers and Doncaster Rovers.
Once his playing days were done Cooper moved into management, and he had spells in charge of both Bristol clubs and Birmingham City, as well as two periods at Exeter City. Throughout his career as a player and as a manger he was regarded by everyone involved in the game as a complete professional. In his official biography ‘Keep Fighting’ Billy Bremner said of Cooper:-
“He was such a rounded player who could turn defence into attack with one tackle. Terry took the game seriously and I don’t know many players who concentrated so intensely throughout an entire game. He was a great lad to have around and a confidant too, I respected him highly. I enjoyed playing alongside Terry and he instilled confidence with his mere presence.”
And the tributes have continued today, with the sad news of his passing. Exeter City said on their official twitter account “Exeter City is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Terry Cooper at the age of 77. Terry managed the Grecians to the Fourth Division championship in 1990. Our thoughts are with Terry’s friends and family.”
And the official Leeds website said “The thoughts of everyone at Leeds United are with Terry’s family and friends at this difficult time”. RIP Terry, my first favourite player after I had started following Leeds in 1970. We have lost far too many of the Revie team in a short space of time, and you were one of the best.
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