Gary McAllister
Gary McAllister
Personal information
Date of Birth 25 December 1964
Place of Birth Scotland
Leeds career
Playing position Midfielder
Number 10
Senior 7/1990 - 7/1996
Manager 1/2008 - 12/2008
Dennis Wise
Simon Grayson

Gary McAllister MBE (born 25 December 1964 in Newarthill, Motherwell) played primarily as a midfielder. McAllister captained the side for two seasons and won a special place in the hearts of Leeds United fans with his fine attitude, blistering long-range strikes and trademark free kicks.

He arrived at Leeds United on 2 July 1990 as a replacement for Vinnie Jones who had just left the club. Leeds United had just achieved promotion to Division One, the top tier of English football at the time. Leeds performed well in McAllister's first season at Elland Road, finishing fourth in the table and reaching the League Cup semi-finals.

McAllister formed a strong midfield quartet that season with fellow Scottish international Gordon Strachan and relative youngsters David Batty and Gary Speed. This midfield was the force behind the success of the 1991–92 season, in which Leeds United were crowned League Champions.

The title-winning team owed a lot to the midfield. The side had little international talent in attack or defence (although full backs Tony Dorigo and Mel Sterland were both full internationals) and so much of the onus was on Strachan, McAllister, Wales international Speed and England's Batty to provide that required class. The quality of the midfield was that any of the four could slot into whichever area they needed to be in, be it left, right or centre, though Batty tended to be the holding midfield player whilst McAllister, Strachan and Speed provided the creativity. McAllister's dead-ball skills were also utilised by top-scorer Lee Chapman, who scored the majority of his goals from headers and thrived off the service provided by McAllister and Strachan's free kicks.

The rest of McAllister's time at Leeds saw the club fail to recapture those heights. The highest the club finished during this period was fifth in the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons and the lowest was 17th in the 1992–93 Premier League – one of the lowest-placed finishes of a defending league champion in English football history.

During the 1992–93 season, McAllister made his debut in the UEFA Champions League. He scored in matches against VfB Stuttgart and Rangers, but Leeds were knocked out by the latter in a match hyped as the Battle of Britain.

Although his final season with Leeds may have been a disappointing 13th, it allowed McAllister to achieve one of his first footballing ambitions – to captain a side at Wembley Stadium. He led his team out in the 1996 League Cup Final, where they were beaten 3–0 by Aston Villa.

In his six seasons with Leeds United, McAllister played 294 games in total, scoring 45 goals.

Gary McAllister is number 22 in Leeds United's 100 greatest players.