On 24 June 1969, Leeds United manager Don Revie paid £165,000 to Leicester City for Clarke’s services, again breaking the record British transfer fee paid by his previous club. Clarke scored 26 goals in his first season at Leeds and earned the nickname “Sniffer”, because of his predatory instincts in front of goal – if there was even the remotest goal scoring opportunity, Clarke would “sniff” it out. Leeds United chased a dream “treble” of League championship, FA Cup and European Cup though ultimately they won nothing. Clarke hit the post in the FA Cup Final at Wembley (with strike partner Mick Jones following up to score the rebound) and then went on a run through several Chelsea defenders in the replay to set up a goal for Jones again, but Leeds United still lost. The title had already gone to Everton who had clinched the title several weeks before the end of the season, and the European Cup campaign ended with defeat to Celtic in the semi-final.(0–1 at Elland Road and 1–2 at Hampden Park)
Clarke was in the Leeds United side which won its second Fairs Cup in 1971 – scoring in the final against Juventus – while again missing out on the League Championship in the last week of the season and losing to Colchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup (after which he was told by club medics that he was suffering from pleurisy).
Leeds United reached the FA Cup Final again in the competition’s centenary year and at Wembley they faced Arsenal, the Cup holders. Clarke scored the only goal of the game with a diving header from a Jones cross early in the second half. He had hit the crossbar with another diving header earlier in the game. Unfortunately for Clarke and Leeds, they lost the League title and the chance of emulating Arsenal’s previous season “double” when they lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers two days after winning the FA Cup.
Clarke played again at Wembley – and lost – when Leeds United were beaten 1–0 by Sunderland in the 1973 FA Cup Final. Clarke was again Leeds United’s top scorer as Leeds United won the league title in 1974, including a run of 29 opening matches without defeat. Leeds United lost the 1975 European Cup Final to Bayern Munich 2–0 and were denied a clear penalty when Clarke was tackled from behind and felled by Franz Beckenbauer in the penalty area.
After this match the Revie side started to break up – their manager had left in 1974 for the England job – and Clarke himself left the club in 1978 after 351 appearances and 151 goals, with a knee injury curtailing his ability to play at top-flight level. He scored in the 1977 FA Cup semi-final, but the game ended 2–1 to Manchester United.
- Full Name: Allan John Clarke
- Position: Forward
- Date of Birth: 31.07.1946
- Birthplace: Short Heat
- Nation: England
- Full Caps: 19
- Major League Career
- 1963-66, Walsall, (72/41)
- 1966-68, Fulham (86/45)
- 1968-69, Leicester City (36/12)
- 1969-78, Leeds United (273/110)
- 1978-80, Barnsley (47/15)