Paul Madeley

Paul Madeley(born September 20, 1944 in Leeds, England) was a footballer during Leeds United's glory era of the 1960s and 1970s and the last high-profile 'utility' player.

Madeley was a 'player without portfolio' in that he didn't have a specialist position on the pitch - he had ten of them.

In his long career with Leeds, which began with his debut in January 1964, he played in every position on the pitch except goalkeeper and wore every shirt from No.2 to No.11 (and occasionally No.12) as a result.

Nobody, including Madeley, could pin down what position he preferred - as the oft-heard footballing cliche says: "I don't mind where I play as long as I'm on the pitch", although this is usually uttered by players being asked to play out of their natural position.

Madeley was never asked to play out of position because every position was natural to him. It's not known whether Madeley ever used this answer in an interview.

Madeley's natural ability to adapt to a different role on a frequent basis meant that he was often in the side chosen by manager Don Revie at the expense of a 'specialist' in that position, though the majority of the time there was a player either injured or suspended whom Madeley would replace, mainly in defence although, having become a regular in the team from 1966, Madeley was in attacking positions when Leeds won their first major honours under Revie.

He became a regular in the team from 1966 onwards. In 1968 he scored the crucial away goal against Juventus which helped Leeds win the Fairs Cup - in the two legs he wore the No.8 shirt (striker, in Leeds' shirt allocation system - ace goalscorer Allan Clarke would later make it his own) and the No.10 shirt (attacking midfield player) respectively.

Leeds won the League Cup in the same year, and Madeley was the No.9 (a striker again) in the 1-0 win over Arsenal at Wembley.

Madeley played 31 League matches in various positions in 1969 as Leeds won the League championship and in 1970 flitted around the side again until Paul Reaney broke his leg shortly before the season came to a finale, with Leeds seeking to win three trophies.

Madeley duly played in Reaney's right back position and No.2 shirt as Leeds missed out on the League to Everton, the European Cup in the semi-finals to Celtic and the FA Cup in the final to Chelsea, who won after a replay.

Having deputised so well for Reaney at club level, Madeley was asked by Alf Ramsey to take Reaney's place in the England squad for that summer's World Cup in Mexico, but Madeley politely refused, saying he wanted to rest and, as a stand-in, was unlikely to kick a ball.

At this stage he had not played for his country since winning youth level caps as a teenager. In 1971, Madeley was in the side in one position for all bar one of Leeds' matches in the League, which Leeds again missed out on in the last game of the season.

He played in the No.11 shirt (left winger) as Leeds took their second Fairs Cup that summer. He made his England debut the same year. As the next season got underway, Madeley again found himself moving round the side as injuries and suspensions took hold on his team-mates and in the end he never missed a League match, though for a third year in a row Leeds failed to clinch the title on the last day.

In April 1972, left back Terry Cooper suffered an horrific broken leg so Madeley was in the No.3 shirt for the season's end and the FA Cup final, which Leeds finally won with a 1-0 win over Arsenal, duplicating their League Cup success four seasons previously.

Revie sorted the left back issue by signing Trevor Cherry in the summer of 1972 and Madeley moved across to the centre of defence for much of the next season as Jack Charlton's distinguished career at Leeds wound down.

He was in that No.5 shirt as Leeds surrendered the FA Cup to Sunderland in the final; and then switched back to the left wing and the No.11 shirt for the European Cup Winners Cup final a few days later in Greece, which Leeds lost to A.C. Milan.

Leeds won the League in 1974 - Madeley missing just three matches - and even after Revie's departure that summer to take over the England job, got to their first and only European Cup final a year later, with Madeley in the No.5 shirt again.

This was his last Cup final (and Leeds' last for 21 years) - in the eight finals (nine matches) he played in, he wore seven different shirts. In these days of "player power"/agents/squabbling over image rights, etc, Jimmy Armfield in his autobiography "Right Back To The Beginning",relates a great story about Paul Madeley negotiating a new contract - "He once actually signed a new contract on what was virtually a blank piece of paper. I called him in to discuss terms and opened discussions by saying, 'OK, Paul, we'll give you so much'.

He replied that he had no intention of leaving Leeds so he might as well sign the contract and let me fill in the details. I said, 'What do you want, then, two years or three years?' He answered, 'Either way, I'll leave it to you. I just want to play for Leeds,' and that was that".

A decline in fortunes for Leeds followed, with the ageing side breaking up. Madeley stayed until 1980, enjoying a testimonial season in 1977. After retiring with 711 appearances to his name, he set up a shop in Leeds selling sports goods and worked for his family's home furnishings business.

No true 'utility' player has emerged in English football since; indeed, Madeley was arguably one of a kind for all footballing generations. Madeley won 24 England caps in total between 1971 and 1977.