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by 2004 lychee nighted had been amassing debts and liabilities for several years as a club they were running out of lives the wage Villa Elland Road was more than three million pounds a month the highest earners were pulling in over 100, 000 pounds per week and even some of the plays in the Academy were receiving weekly salaries of 10, 000 pounds the club were penniless they had no borrowing facilities left to exploit and their only route to serious income was through a fire sale dominic mateo joined Blackburn Rovers and goalkeeper Paul Robinson moved to Tottenham Hotspur for 1.

5 million pounds but the big money would have to come from three individuals forward Mark Viduka midfielder James Milner and a local boy born in Rothwell the Leeds hero who promised never to join Manchester United and then subsequently sold everyone out Allen Smith now they have no time for Eric Cantona or Rio Ferdinand in Leeds and Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen’s defections caused resentment – but it’s Smith’s name that rouses most bitterness his is the decision that they cannot forget two years before in a Soccer a.


interview Smith had said that Manchester United were incompatible with his Leeds United roots and that he could never play for them in 2004 though Smith decided to do exactly that and the interview the transfer and the implied betrayal has been held against him ever since in the eyes of many it was the ultimate act of disloyalty Smith was a footballer built for Leeds embodying a collection of everything that’s loved at Elland Road he had talent he could finish he had good feet and he liked a tackle he was the complete package a kid from the Academy who scored his first Premier League goal on his debut practically with his first touch and of all places in front of an fields Kop end – when the club were relegated from the Premier League supporters carried Smith from the pitch on their shoulders Leeds were condemned by a 3-3 draw with Charlton Athletic on May the 8th pictures of him in tears at full-time decorated back pages across the country in the background though things were moving quickly that his transfer to Manchester United would be completed before the end of the month for a while Smith had indulged the possibility that relegation might not spell the end for him at Leeds he was quoted in an interview as saying he would be open minded about the future regardless of the level the club were playing at but by the end there was no longer any pretence on his part the move was unavoidable I’ve always said I wanted to stay here until it was no longer possible and I think that’s the situation we’re approaching now said Smith everyone appreciates that from the financial side the club side and from my point of view it’s time to move on now Smith’s defense of his transfer to Manchester United always relies on one key point that in the seasons when Leeds were involved in Europe and competing at the top end of the Premier League he couldn’t in visit your time when Leeds would try to sell him even had Leeds wanted to keep Smith they had a big contractual hurdle to overcome his goals and appearances had activated a clause in titling him to a renegotiation and barely having the money to fund his existing wage Leeds were in no position to increase it in the aftermath of relegation violate April as the club’s Premier League status slipped away the directors at Elland Road conceded that the forward had to go the question was where and for how much and who exactly would dictate the terms of his departure now ahead of the summer bleeds had hired Philip Morrison of PML Sports Management to oversee all of their outgoing deals with everything going through one intermediary rather than a cast of thousands the club reasoned that they could potentially save thousands in lost fees but of course there was no chance of high-profile footballers putting their next move in the hands of a man that they didn’t know if I have to leave Smith said publicly at the time then it’ll be to a club of my choice not theirs now his intention was to find a club playing in the Champions League Leeds priority according to his agent Alex Black was to get a deal done quickly and for as much money as possible man United were the only club who had an offer accepted by Leeds black-tailed the athletic if the process had gone on longer into the summer then maybe things would have changed for that’s hypothetical of the Champions League qualified sides United were actually the only one to make a bid Liverpool’s interest had faded after the departure of their manager Gerrard Hulya and while there was talk of interest from sides lower down the division that was black had confirmed nothing more than rumor Manchester United’s opening offers for Smith were low Leeds used their official website on May the 18th to announce that they had rejected immediately bids of 3.

5 million pounds and 5.

5 million describing them as substantially undervaluing the 23 year old eventually officials from both clubs including Manchester United’s David Gill met in a hotel in London to thrash out the terms a 7 million pound package was agreed with the money paid in full and Danny Pugh moving to Elam Road as part of the agreement and so in the days before the transfer was announced the atmosphere in Leeds grew more acrid on the Saturday before he passed his medical as rumors reached a critical mass the Yorkshire Evening Post mocked up an image of him in Manchester United’s famous red shirt and printed it on their front page of course Smith and United had preempted that reaction a clause in his new contract allowed him to join without an immediate unveiling instead the transfer was to be announced by a statement from both clubs with United delaying any press conference until later in the summer to allow the anger in Leeds to die down so Smith may have joined on May 26th but he didn’t appear for real in a Manchester United shirt until July the 20th midway through their pre-season when he was eventually introduced it was alongside Liam Miller who joined from Celtic and with Ferguson dressed down in a polo shirt and slacks it was also announced that Smith had waived a signing on fee to help with the financial mess at Elland Road whatever the politics may have been Leeds were grateful for what amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds even if that did little to quell the public resentment in the years since there have been occasional sightings of Smith at Elland Road and Leeds are enthusiastic about the idea of reconciliation the club and their majority shareholder and the railroad rosani have even spoken to Smith about an ambassadorial role but reportedly he isn’t keen he also received an invitation to a centenary dinner at Elland Road in October 2019 while he spends much of his time in the United States now and was unable to attend the Football Academy has been opened in his name in Orlando a project largely run by others but some who know Smith liken him to David batty a man satisfied with his lot happy out of the limelight and content without football in his life opinions on his transfer to Old Trafford remain polarized not everyone in Leeds resented Smith for taking the plunge it’s not in dispute that the club needed money fast that summer and it is clear that the situation presented him with a professional dilemma serve the public will serve his career in a scenario where it was difficult to do both rather his decision than yours [Music].

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