When the Leeds United players celebrated winning the championship in April 1992, they had no idea how momentous the occasion was. Manchester United, losers at Liverpool that Sunday afternoon, had now gone 25 years without winning the league. Howard Wilkinson's side, promoted just two seasons ago, could bring back the glory days to Leeds. But Wilkinson would prove to be the last English manager to win the league. In 1992, football changed beyond all recognition.
The Last Champions explores the roots of that success and the amazing cast of characters who came together to fashion the triumph. As in his acclaimed book The Fallen, Dave Simpson's quest to catch up with the protagonists of the era, from the visionary Sergeant Wilko, top scorer Lee Chapman and unsung heroes like Mike Whitlow and Carl Shutt (not forgetting Eric Cantona), sees him unearth some extraordinary untold stories.
And he finds that The Last Champions were also the last ordinary people to win the league, before the Premier League saw skyrocketing wages, billionaire foreign owners and the dictates of television taking the game away from the fans. It is the brilliantly told story of the end of an era.
Dave Simpson is a Guardian journalist who writes mainly on music. His first book, The Fallen, was a monumental quest to track down everyone who had ever played in Mark E Smith's legendary band. Living in Yorkshire, he has supported Leeds since the early 1970s, which has brought about a small amount of pleasure and a great amount of pain. He also wrote for the LeedsLeedsLeeds magazine which documented United's rise and mostly fall from 1998 to 2011.