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David Harvey
Personal information
Date of birth 7 February 1948 (1948-02-07) (age 61)
Place of birth    Leeds, England
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Leeds United
Vancouver Whitecaps
Leeds United
Bradford City
277 0(0)
019 0(0)
077 0(0)
006 0(0)
379 0(0)   
National team
1972–1976 Scotland 016 0(0)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

David Harvey (born 7 February 1948 in Leeds, England) was for many years the reserve goalkeeper for Leeds United during their glory era of the 1960s and 1970s and yet is more fondly remembered than the man who blocked his path for so long.

Born locally to an English mother and Scottish father, Harvey signed professional forms for Leeds as a 17-year-old and made his debut later the same year. But the presence of skilled but erratic Welsh keeper Gary Sprake meant that a patient Harvey made fewer than 50 appearances over the next seven seasons.

Harvey was watching but not playing as Leeds won the League Cup and the Fairs Cup in 1968, the League championship in 1969 and the Fairs Cup again in 1971. In 1970, after errors—one major —by Sprake allowed FA Cup final opponents Chelsea to equalise twice at Wembley and force a replay, it is assumed by many of Sprake's critics that he was dropped by manager Don Revie for the replay. In fact, there is documented evidence that Sprake was in hospital suffering from a knee injury after the European Cup clash with Celtic. Leeds lost 2–1, with Harvey's supporters claiming that he was not to blame for either Chelsea goal, when in fact it was more than obvious that he missed a cross for Chelsea's winner.

Patience was a virtue among footballers in this era, and a modern-day equivalent of Harvey would have been frustrated very quickly by his lack of opportunities and asked to move. Harvey never did so. In 1972 came his break. He only played eleven matches all season, but again he was selected ahead of Sprake for the FA Cup final, this time against Arsenal, because once again Sprake was suffering from a knee injury.

Harvey played a blinder as Leeds won 1–0 with an Allan Clarke goal. Afterwards, Sprake, allegedly, publicly criticised and insulted Revie and was given a wide berth by both manager and team-mates as a result. He only played once more for the club before he was sold for a world record fee for a keeper and Harvey played 63 times in the 1973 season. He also made his debut for Scotland in a 2–0 win over Denmark, having decided that playing through his father's roots would give him more of an international career than waiting for an England call.

The campaign was a personal triumph for Harvey but another season of underachievement for the team. Harvey was powerless to prevent Ian Porterfield's shot fly above him into the roof of the net to win Sunderland the 1973 FA Cup Final; he also had no chance with the solitary free-kick which gave A.C. Milan victory in the European Cup Winners Cup final just days later.

Harvey was outstanding as Leeds put together a record 29-match unbeaten start to the 1974 season, guaranteeing the League championship and earning Harvey the title medal he was not entitled to five seasons earlier. He was then selected as Scotland's first-choice keeper for the World Cup in West Germany, though Scotland went out in the group stage.[1] Revie left the Leeds job the same summer to take over England. Later in the year, Harvey then took the last penalty during the shoot-out at the Charity Shield game against Liverpool—he missed.

Leeds' last big season of achievement coincided with a huge stroke of misfortune for Harvey. He was injured in a car crash to the extent that he missed the European Cup final against Bayern Munich, replaced by his understudy David Stewart. Stewart did little wrong, but Leeds were beaten 2–0 by Bayern Munich in Paris.

There was little more for Harvey and Leeds thereafter. The squad had aged and broken up. Harvey's 16th and last Scotland appearance came in 1976 and he stayed at Leeds until 1980 and then went to play in Canada with the Vancouver Whitecaps. He had a spotty first season in Vancouver and was having a solid second season in the NASL until a car accident put him on the sidelines once again. He returned to Leeds in 1983, by which time the club had been relegated. By the time he left in 1985, he had played under three of his old team-mates - Clarke, Eddie Gray and Billy Bremner.

Harvey played for Bradford City under another old Leeds mate, Trevor Cherry, and then drifted into non-league football until retirement. He now works as a farmer and postman on Sanday in the Orkney Islands, and unlike Sprake, remains on good terms with Leeds, his old team-mates and the supporters. Statistically, David Harvey is Scotland's most successful post-war goalkeeper.


  1. ^ David Harvey FIFA competition record

External links



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