Terry Cooper (footballer, born 1944)

Terry Cooper
Personal information
Full name Terence Cooper
Date of birth (1944-07-12) 12 July 1944
Place of birth Brotherton, Yorkshire, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Left back
Youth career
1962–1966 Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1962–1975 Leeds United 250 (7)
1975–1978 Middlesbrough 105 (1)
1978–1980 Bristol City 11 (0)
1980–1981 Bristol Rovers 50 (0)
1981–1982 Doncaster Rovers 20 (0)
1982–1984 Bristol City 60 (1)
National team
1969–1974 England 20 (0)
Teams managed
1980–1981 Bristol Rovers
1982–1988 Bristol City
1988–1991 Exeter City
1991–1993 Birmingham City
1994–1995 Exeter City

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Terence "Terry" Cooper (born 12 July 1944) is an English former football player and manager born in Brotherton, West Riding of Yorkshire. He was a full-back in the Leeds United team of the 1960s and 1970s.

Early career

Cooper was not discovered as a young player in the conventional manner - he simply turned up at Leeds United one day with his football boots in a paper bag, asking for a trial. He was granted his wish and impressed enough to be offered an apprentice contract.

Initially a left winger, Cooper was converted to a defensive role by Leeds boss Don Revie on signing at the age of 17. He made gradual progress in the first team over the next six years until Revie decided to make him the permanent No.3 in 1966.

Cooper settled in thereafter earning a reputation as a full back of innovation,[1] showing that the right levels of fitness, skill and an ability to cross the ball meant he could perform a devastating overlap down the left flank to support much feared winger Eddie Gray, this was so successful it became a trademark of Leeds play. He could also 'go inside', joining attacks centrally and scoring some important goals.


In 1968, Leeds won the League Cup against Arsenal at Wembley. A poor and occasionally high-tempered match was settled by Cooper's volley after a corner had been half-cleared, although Arsenal claimed their goalkeeper had been fouled by central defender Jack Charlton. Cooper subsequently featured in the team which won the Fairs Cup in the same season.

In 1969, Leeds won the League championship with Cooper making his contribution. Revie did not buy a reserve left back but instead used the utility player Paul Madeley to replace Cooper in the event of injury or suspension - an indication that Cooper was the finished article. This was further proved when he was given his debut for England by Alf Ramsey against France the same year, and England won 5-0 with Cooper putting on a classy individual showing.


Leeds chased three trophies in 1970 but lost the championship by nine points to Everton, and went out of the European Cup to Celtic in the semi-finals. Cooper played a full role in these near-misses, and also featured in the FA Cup final against Chelsea which Leeds lost 2-1 after a replay. In the summer, Cooper gave an excellent series of performances as England's first choice left back at the World Cup in Mexico, which ended with defeat in the quarter-finals to West Germany.

Leeds won the Fairs Cup again in 1971 but missed out on the League on the last day. One consolation for Cooper on a personal level was that this was his best season for appearances, missing just one League game all season.

He seemed set to follow suit the next season as Leeds again chased League and FA Cup honours, but then suffered a broken leg in April 1972 during a League game at Stoke City. Aside from missing that season's FA Cup final victory over Arsenal, Cooper missed a whole 20 months of football, such were the complications of the injury. Even when he did return to action, he played only one more international game, against Portugal in 1974, after Don Revie had become England manager.

Revie, unable to use Madeley who was already deputising as a central defender due to Jack Charlton's retirement, bought Trevor Cherry in the summer of 1972 as a replacement. Cooper also missed the 1973 FA Cup final defeat to Sunderland and the European Cup Winners Cup final loss to A.C. Milan. When he did come back, it was with just one appearance in the 1974 season, thereby missing out on a League championship medal - Leeds won it with a 29-match unbeaten start - due to a lack of games.

Cooper's Leeds career was effectively over by the time he regained his fitness. The departure of Revie for the England job in 1974 and the emergence over the next season of Frank Gray, younger brother of Eddie, as well as the presence of Cherry, rendered Cooper surplus to requirements. He left the club in 1975 to join Middlesbrough who were managed by former Leeds team-mate Charlton.

Later career

After three years with Middlesbrough, he moved on to Bristol City for a year, before becoming player-manager of rivals Bristol Rovers. He subsequently assisted and played for his former Leeds skipper Billy Bremner at Doncaster Rovers, and had a second spell playing for and managing Bristol City. His management career also took in a period at the helm of Birmingham City sandwiched between two spells at Exeter City.

His first spell at Exeter yielded the Fourth Division title in 1990, and he moved to Birmingham City the following year, achieving promotion from the Third Division in his first season at the helm. He resigned as Birmingham manager in December 1993[2] and returned to Exeter later that season, although too late to keep them in Division Two. The club then went into receivership and despite surviving liquidation, the club finished bottom of the Football League in 1994-95 and only held on to their league status because Macclesfield Town did not meet the league's stadium capacity requirements. Cooper was then replaced by Peter Fox and has not returned to management. He spent 11 years as Southampton's chief European scout before retiring in 2007. He now lives in Tenerife.[3]

Cooper's son Mark became a footballer in the late 1980s, enjoying a worthy career in the lower echelons of the professional game. He is now also a manager.


Leeds United


  1. Bagchi, Rob (17 February 2010). "Cooper: How Terry Cooper added colour to the left-back's art". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
  2. Walker, Andy (17 October 2007). "Cooper: Stay put Brucey". Birmingham: Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20100329215017/http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/England-defender-Terry-Cooper-recalls-days-Bristol-City/article-1890893-detail/article.html. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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