Amongst the list of players set to leave Elland Road when their contracts expire later this month is club captain and homegrown lad, Richard Naylor.

Now 34, Richard Naylor has spent the summer undertaking his UEFA B Coaching License leading many to suspect an announcement of his retirement was imminent as the centre-back looked towards life after football.

Today however, strong rumours have emerged linking the centre back with a move to Doncaster Rovers where he would try to help our Yorkshire rivals improve on a close relegation dodge last season.

Many Leeds United fans have been critical of Naylor’s performances over the last twelve months with the centre back looking fatigued and increasingly over-the-hill.

Arriving at the club on loan in 2009, Richard Naylor impressed the Elland Road faithful forming a formidable partnership with Sam Sodje. After signing permanently for the club at the end of the 2008-09 campaign, Naylor was appointed the new club captain.

It was a move universally welcomed by Leeds United fans as an old interview with Ian Westlake started to circulate revealing Naylor (or “Bam-Bam” as he was affectionately called) had a White Rose tattoo and regularly sang ‘Marching On Together’ in the showers during their time together at Ipswich.

Injuries were a common problem for the ageing defender, one of which forced him to miss the game in which Leeds United were promoted at the end of the 2009-10 season. Despite the injuries however, Naylor was a key figure in the promotion winning side and will always be remembered for his heroics at Old Trafford on the 3rd of January 2010 when Leeds knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup in the third round.

His final season at the club was by far his most disappointing. Often sidelined through injury, on the rare occasion he was fully fit he looked a shadow of his former self and was unable to help plug the gaping holes in Leeds United’s dismal defence.

Whatever the future has in store for Richard Naylor, whether he manages another season or two at Donny or whether he simply hangs up the boots and uses his experience to coach the next generation he will leave Elland Road with the best wishes of all the fans. A White through and through, Naylor’s part in our revival should never be overlooked.

  • Norwich White

    Good luck Nayls

  • Rwhites

    To be fair, I thought the season ended too soon for him. He was chasing his fitness all season then when he looked to be finally fit it was the last two games of the season which he was actually better than A O’B.
    Same as Paynter and Parker. Miss pre-season and you are playing catch up.
    Wish him all the best and I honestly would have kept him because if he was fully fit I would prefer him to A O’B if they were the only two options we had (God forebid).

  • Lee B

    He was sorely missed for most of last season – not for his footballing skills, but for his leadership skills.
    When he wasn’t in the side there didn’t seem to be anyone else there to lead the troops and stick a rocket where it needed to be.
    Not wanting to get into a debate about Smithy and his fitness/ability/pace, but leadership is one thing he’ll definitely bring to the club (if he comes back) and is something we need in spades.

  • Peter T

    Agree we missed his leadership and that needs to be replaced
    Hope he comes back on the coaching side long term
    Top man Nayls

  • Gryff

    A good lad, and nice to see him leave after a couple of good performances at the end of last season.

  • Mojoluafc

    He looked good the last couple of games of the season, he always gave his all even when playing poor.

  • Colin

    Where can I buy a pair of these Richard Naylor rose tinted spectacles that everyone else has? :)

    He had one good season – his first. Then age and injury caught up with him and Kisnorbo made him look a half decent player in defence.

    Last season, he was awful – made howlers, poor marking, an own goal and regularly dropped to the bench after being the worst player on the pitch on a number of occasions.

    And I didn’t see any difference in the way Leeds played with Naylor as captain vs. Howson. The only difference I saw is that Naylor shouted and gave aggro to the ref while Howson patiently talked to the ref, and often gained Leeds 15 seconds or so, to allow the ref to calm down rather than be able to get straight to his cards and put them in Kilkenny or Johnson’s face.

    For that, we won’t miss his leadership. We didn’t last season.

    • Irving08

      Come on, show a bit of generosity: he may not have been the best, but he wore his Leeds shirt with obvious pride (and surprise ?) and always gave of his best. And if I was choosing captains, I would choose him over the somewhat anaemic Howson any day….even if it does lead to the occasional booking.

  • Paul South Wales

    Yes Colin, but we should all be grateful for his help in getting us out of league one, he made a hell of a difference. Agree his back legs had gone towards the end of last season, but he was instrumental in shoring our defence up when he first arrived. We just need a new centre half now to come in and do the same, help get us out of this league. MOT

    • Craig

      ‘His back legs’? Is he a labrador?