LEEDS UNITED stares in the face of relegation.
The Whites travel to Brentford knowing they need to improve on Burnley’s result at home to Newcastle on Sunday.
Both teams are stuck on 35 points before last weekend and face relegation just two years after their promotion.
The last time they were relegated in 2004 after establishing themselves as regulars in European competition, Leeds’ financial mismanagement was their downfall.
Stars like Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane, Jonathan Woodgate and Olivier Dacourt had been sold with a string of loans on which they depended in their struggle for survival.
It all proved too much and Bolton smashed Eddie Gray’s men 4-1 at the Reebok on 2 May 2004 to effectively sentence Leeds to the championship.
While there were still a number of familiar faces at Elland Road from earlier glory days, the team was a shadow of its own.
Here SunSport describes the XI on the day and where they are now.
GK: Paul Robinson
If Leeds fans wonder what could have happened to their 2003/04 relegation team, Paul Robinson was one player who could have spearheaded a revival.
The academy product was promptly sold to Tottenham after the fall and, with 41 caps, became an England international and a Premier League mainstay for the following decade.
Today, the 42-year-old is Spurs’ club ambassador and occasional TV pundit.
RB: Gary Kelly
A true One Club man, Gary Kelly stayed with Leeds on their arrival in the Second Division before retiring in 2007.
Seven years later, he made a proposal to become the Whites’ boss after Brian McDermott was fired – claiming he had “all the makings” to succeed.
But the focus of his efforts was the Gary Kelly Cancer Support Center in Drogheda, Ireland, which has been in existence since 2004 and was funded in part by defense counsel’s testimony.
CB: Michael Duberry
Former Chelsea centre-back Michael Duberry has rarely been a first-choice defender at Leeds but has made most of his appearances this relegation season.
Quickly shipped to Stoke during the following season, he returned to the top flight with Reading in 2006, retiring at the ripe age of 37.
‘Dubes’ now serves as a keynote speaker and runs a leadership education company that aims to “develop excellence in leadership and management practices”.
CB: Steven Caldwell
After centre-back Zoumana Camara blew up the club over their financial chaos, Newcastle loanee Steven Caldwell got a run at Gray’s side.
In a short spell at Yorkshire, the Scot made 13 appearances before heading off to play for Sunderland, Burnley and Toronto.
After his retirement in Canada, Caldwell wanted to stay and was most recently assistant coach of the national team until 2021.
LB: Ian Harte
A stint in Spain with Levante before surprise moves to Sunderland and Blackpool meant Irish Settee wizard Ian Harte’s career was seen by many as over.
But a renaissance with Carlisle, Reading and Bournemouth reminded fans he possessed one of the deadliest left feet English football has seen in recent history.
Harte is 44 and part of a talent agency with clients including Harry Winks and Frank Lampard.
RM: Jermaine Pennant
Few men have had a career quite like Jermaine Pennant since she left Leeds.
Appearances for Stoke, Real Zaragoza, Pune City, Tampines Rovers and Billericay came after a Champions League win with Liverpool.
Pennant has also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, Celebs Go Dating and made headlines for his relationship with a glamor model… before recently pondering a return to seventh division club Redditch United.
CM: Dominic Matteo
Club captain Dominic Matteo was moved to midfield for the relegation campaign from Leeds and moved to Blackburn the following summer.
His autobiography revealed huge gambling debts and he was declared bankrupt in 2015.
While working as a TV pundit, Matteo was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November last year but is now on the mend at the age of 48.
CM: Stephen McPhail
One of the many talented young players emerging from Irish football, Stephen McPhail was a real ray of hope to their success in the early 2000s.
He then found a home in Cardiff but missed many months after being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2009 before retiring from Shamrock Rovers.
In 2016 he was appointed Sporting Director of the League of Ireland team.
LM: James Milner
Another member of the “what could have been” picks from that lineup, Wortley-born Milner became one hell of a player.
Leeds were forced to sell the midfielder to Newcastle the following July aged just 18.
But it was at Aston Villa that he really rose to become a star player, winning three Premier League titles with Manchester City and Liverpool. He could still add to that haul this season…
ST: Mark Viduka
Mark Viduka scored the opening goal on that fateful May afternoon before being sent off and causing Leeds to collapse.
It would be his last appearance for the club before a move to Middlesbrough.
The Australian targetman has spent his retirement in Zagreb, where he played in the late 1990s, and owns a cafe – he told ESPN: “It’s great to be doing something different.”
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ST: Alan Smith
Another rising star for the Leeds 2003/04 side was Alan Smith, who was steady on his feet after relegation.
The famous sight of the Reebok forward’s tears was a Yorkshire-born boy seemingly desperate to become a one-club man.
Instead, he controversially signed for Manchester United but was injured while clinching a lone Premier League title. After retiring in 2018, he raised the bar and moved to Florida.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/1402235/leeds-relegation-team-viduka-smith-milner/ Leeds 2004 relegation side and where they are now including Mark Viduka who owns Zagreb cafe and Alan Smith