You don't need to be a Leeds United supporter to appreciate the photographs taken by John Varley and his son Andrew. Through 30 years of hurt and history, they've been there, seen it and got the picture. Words by James Brown and Les Rowley
f a week is a long time in politics, then 30 years are an eternity in football. In that time, Leeds United Football Club has scaled the highs and the lows of domestic and European football: from the triumphant Don Revie era of the Seventies through to the Division Two years and the glory of the return to top-flight football in the Nineties.

And through it all, two men have been there to record every one of these fluctuations of fate. John Varley, an ex-Daily Mirror man, and his son Andrew, the current official Leeds United photographer, have dedicated their lives to photographing events at Elland Road.

John, now 65, began his career at the Yorkshire Evening News in 1949. At the 1966 World Cup Final at Wembley, John shot the definitive colour pictures - even though he had to jump out of the stand where he was a spectator and into the press pen to get them. Four years later, at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, John took the picture of Pele and Bobby Moore that became the late England captain's all-time favourite. But it was at home in Leeds that he enjoyed his photography most.

John covered all the big games of the Revie era and, despite offers to move south, he remained in Yorkshire to follow the club he adores.

Andrew Varley, 39, decided at just 16 years old to follow in his father's footsteps - serving an apprenticeship at a Leeds photo agency before establishing the Varley Picture Agency. Behind the lens, he has clearly inherited his father's talent - and for the current Leeds stars, it must be nice to know that they share one thing with the superstars of days gone by.

`Welcome To Elland Road: LUFC in Pictures' edited by James Brown and Les Rowley is published by IFG on 21 August at pounds 12.99. To order a copy call 0181-691 1818.

Essential footwear

During the late Seventies and early Eighties, the demographic of the football supporter shifted, as families stayed away from matches due to the increasing threat of football-associated violence. As the demographic changed, so too did the fashions associated with football - with fans increasingly feeling that they had to look the part. The style on the terraces became as uniform as the team's kit on the pitch. At Leeds United (and many other grounds around the country), this uniform consisted of Doc Martens, flared jeans, capped T-shirts and tightly knotted scarves.

The Italian job

Before Duncan McKenzie signed for Leeds, he used to end his Nottingham Forest training sessions with a race to the drinks machine which he would make sure he won by vaulting over a gate. Leeds' manager Jimmy Armfield, banned him from jumping in case of injury, but gave this party trick centre stage at Elland Road at the end of the 1976 season. This is Andrew Varley's first Leeds photograph - taken at just 15 years old. He even attempted the jump himself - and hasn't played much football since.

The harder they come

Vinnie Jones came to Leeds from Wimbledon in June 1988 for a fee of pounds 600,000. In this 1988 pre-match warm up, Vinnie demonstrated that no one could get away from his fearsome reputation scot-free - even if the opposition happened to be an eager youngster. No one watching would dream that the former hod- carrier and future film star would actually floor the kid but, as Jones said afterwards, "I went for the ball."

He stoops to conquer

At the start of this game against Sheffield United on 26 May 1992, defender Jon Newsome was not the stuff of footballing legend. By the end, he was responsible for one of the biggest street parties Leeds had ever seen. This lunge went a long way to bringing the Championship to Elland Road. Newsome scored the middle goal of three; fans forget the others because of this picture.

Tempting fate

Local lad David Batty's reputation as a fearsome tackler clearly hadn't reached Watford when this picture was taken in 1988. Shot from the side of the pitch, Andrew Varley says this photograph would be almost impossible to take nowadays, as access for photographers is restricted to goalmouth vantage points.

Perfect timing

Cut off a roll of film in Andrew Varley's studio, this previously unpublished photograph shows the patience that a professional football photographer needs to make it to the top. Andrew admits that he didn't know whether he'd actually timed the picture as well as the player had timed the tackle, but this picture - of a Leeds playing hitting the floor - is indicative of the tough times the team were going through around the time: in 1983 they were a team dispossessed and frequently beaten.


Allan "Sniffer" Clarke was a formidable poacher of goals and during the Seventies goalkeepers world-wide came to fear his predatory ways. In this picture Gordon Banks, at the time probably the world's best goalkeeper, shows a small token of respect to Sniffer. Banks' gesture was probably one of relief that he had the ball safely in his hands and was not retrieving it from the back of the net. His relief wasn't to last long though - Sniffer Clarke went on to score the only goal in Leeds' 1-0 defeat of Stoke City in 1971.

The dynamic duo

The end of the Nineties heralds a new dawn at Elland Road. After years of indecision and management mediocrity, the man at the helm now is, according to almost everyone associated with the club, a man with vision. When David O'Leary took over from the previous manager, George Graham, he made a decision to invest in youth; and nowhere is that youth more brimming with talent and potential than in Lee Bowyer and the Australian international Harry Kewell (wearing number 10), seen here being put through their paces at Roundhay Park in a pre-season training session just a few weeks ago. This was the team's first day back after the summer break - a time when even the best and fastest find that the going can get pretty tough.