Leeds City
The badge of Leeds City, also the coat of arms of Leeds before 1924
Full nameLeeds City Football Club
Nickname(s)The Peacocks
The Citizens
GroundElland Road, Leeds

Leeds City Football Club was the leading professional club in Leeds, England, before the First World War. It was dissolved in 1919 due to financial irregularities, after which Leeds United was established as a replacement.


The club was established in 1904, taking the coat of arms of Leeds as the club badge[1] and adopting blue, yellow and white as the club's colours.[2] They were elected to the Football League in 1905. The original secretary, a role that then also carried the modern responsibilities of manager and coach, was Gilbert Gillies (1904–1908) who was followed by Frank Scott-Walford before in 1912, they appointed Herbert Chapman who guided the club to their highest position in the league (4th in the Second Division).

Leeds City's whole league career was in the Second Division. However, during the First World War the club won several wartime honours under the stewardship of Herbert Chapman. Following the conclusion of the war a scandal ensued and the club was accused of financial irregularities, including breaking the ban on paying players during the war, that led to the club's dissolution in 1919. They were expelled from The Football League eight games into the 1919–20 season. The harsh punishment was handed down mostly because of the behaviour of the club's directors, who refused to co-operate in an FA inquiry, and refused to hand over the club's financial records.[3]

Port Vale took over their remaining fixtures (as well as their results up to that point).[4] Leeds City were the first club to be expelled from the League mid-season, and one of only two to be expelled from the League due to financial irregularities, with Bury expelled a century later in 2019. Ironically, Leeds City's successors, Port Vale, nearly lost their League status for similar reasons in 1968, although they ultimately managed to retain it in an end-of-season vote among the other clubs. On 17 October 1919, an auction was held at the Metropole Hotel in Leeds, where the playing staff was auctioned off along with other assets of the club. The 16 members of the playing squad were bought by nine clubs for a total of £9,250:[5]

Player Destination Bid
Billy McLeod Notts County £1,250
Harry Millership Rotherham County £1,000
John Hampson Aston Villa £1,000
Willis Walker South Shields £800
Tommy Lamph Manchester City £800
James Edmondson Sheffield Wednesday £800
William Hopkins South Shields £600
George Affleck Grimsby Town £500
Ernest Goodwin Manchester City £500
Billy Kirton Aston Villa £500
William Ashurst Lincoln City £500
Fred Linfoot Lincoln City £250
Herbert Lounds Rotherham County £250
Arthur Wainwright Grimsby Town £200
Billy Short Hartlepools United £200
Frank Chipperfield Lincoln City £100

In the wake of its demise, Leeds United was formed, and entered the Football League the following year. None of the players auctioned ever played for the new Leeds United, but winger Ivan Sharpe, who had scored 17 goals in 65 appearances for City between 1913 and 1915, spent 2½ years at United between 1920 and 1923 only making one appearance and right-half Harry Sherwin, who left City just five months before its dissolution, went on to score twice in 107 games for United between 1921 and 1925.

See also: Category:Leeds City F.C. players

Subsequent clubs

A second Leeds City was established in 1924 as an amateur club and joined the Yorkshire League.[6] That club folded after leaving the league at the end of the 1926–27 season.

Another Leeds City was formed in 2006 and joined Division Two of the West Yorkshire League.[7] They were Division Two runners-up in their first season, earning promotion to Division One. The following season saw them finish as runners-up in Division One, resulting in promotion to the Premier Division.[7]




Having originally played at the Wellington Ground, the club moved into Elland Road after Holbeck Rugby Club folded in October 1904.[11] In their first season in the Football League their average attendance was 10,025, the third highest in the Second Division.[12] Their best season, 1913–14, saw them average 15,845.[13]


  1. ^ "1905–06, Where it all began..." Dave Tomlinson. Mighty Leeds. Retrieved 13 October 2006.
  2. ^ "Leeds City". Dave Moor. Historical Kits. August 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2006.
  3. ^ What If There Had Been No Port in the Vale?: Startling Port Vale Stories!, Witan Books ISBN 978-0-9529152-8-7
  4. ^ Butler, Bryon (1998). 100 Seasons of League Football. England: Queen Anne Press. p. 392. ISBN 1852915951.
  5. ^ "Review of 1919–20 – Disaster strikes". Dave. MightyLeeds.co.uk. Retrieved 16 November 2006.
  6. ^ Yorkshire League 1920–1953 Non-League Matters
  7. ^ a b West Yorkshire League 1999–2012 Non-League Matters
  8. ^ "1915–16 Season Final Tables". EFL Tables. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  9. ^ "1916–17 Season Final Tables". EFL Tables. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b "1917–18 Season Final Tables". EFL Tables. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  11. ^ Jarred, Martin; MacDonald, Malcolm (1986). Leeds United : a complete record 1919-1986. Derby: Breedon Books Sport. p. 182. ISBN 0-907969-17-8. OCLC 14977257.
  12. ^ 1905–1906 European Football Statistics
  13. ^ 1913–1914 European Football Statistics