Over the years there’s been many Leeds United players that have gone from hero to zero quicker than the referee can point to the spot when a Man United player falls over at Old Trafford, but for the benefit of this post I’m going to stick to the more recent collection of Judas filth.

This post could never be possible without the David O’Leary regime. From this era we start with Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer. The two players who many still blame for our demise to this day. An incident outside a well known Leeds nightclub in January 2000, left an Asian student with severe injuries. Almost two years, two trials and an untold amount of unrest after, Lee Bowyer was cleared of all charges whilst Jonathan Woodgate was convicted of affray and ordered to do community service. The incident undoubtedly brought unrest to the dressing room and Elland Road was swarmed with unwelcomed media attention.  

Next on the list is Harry Kewell. Few have mirrored the spectacular fall from grace that the Australian has managed. After our Champions League exit, when the financing of the club went so badly wrong, Harry Kewell dug in his nails and snatched for every last penny he could get from the club. As the squad was sold off, Kewell remained, but it wasn’t the Harry Kewell that had shown such flair and imagination as before. It was a second rate one who had seemingly lost the will to play for the club that had made him famous.

Kewell eventually left for Liverpool in 2003, where he would prove to be largely inconsistent and a fragment of his former self. On leaving Leeds United, Kewell gave an interview to the BBC, in which he accused the club that had nutured his development of “worsening his injuries.”

The final nail in Harry Kewell’s coffin came in 2008, when he signed for Turkish side, Galatasaray. Leeds fans were heavily critical of his move following the death of two of our fans in April 2000, at the hands of the Turkish supporters. Kewell released a statement claiming that he’d chosen the number 19 shirt as a nod to Leeds United (this was the shirt that he started his career at Leeds in), and that we shouldn’t blame Galatasaray, the club, for the events of that night. Anyone who was at that fixture will beg to differ.

The final player from David O’Leary’s squad is Alan Smith. Although there’s a few more that could have been included for their money grabbing antics (such as Robbie Fowler) none of them were loved as much as the Leeds-born striker. Alan Smith was Mr. Leeds United. He fought for every ball, gave 110% in every match, squared up to Jaap Stam and was loved by every Leeds United supporter throughout the world. When Leeds United were relegated, Alan Smith was brought to tears. He had said previously that should the worst case scenario happen and Leeds were relegated, he would like to stay and help them return to the Premier League.

However, Leeds United were desperate to offload every player with a decent salary, including Mr. Leeds United himself. The Leeds faithful were saddened by the news that Smith would be leaving, but accepting at the same time. Smith was an option for the England squad and playing outside the Premier League wouldn’t help his chances. Plus, Leeds needed the money to keep them afloat. The Leeds fans were realistic and knew Alan had to go. However, no Leeds United fan was ready for him to pack up and head across the Pennines to bitter rivals, Manchester United.

Smith himself will have known the consequences of leaving Leeds for their most bitterest of rivals. For Mr. Leeds United to play in a Manchester United shirt was the ultimate betrayal. Shirts were burnt, fans were in uproar and Smith’s parents were targetted in attacks by the hurting Leeds United fans. Alan had also previously stated that he would never play for Manchester United. Peter Lorimer has since revealed that Smith’s move to Old Trafford was forced by Leeds. Manu were the only team that could pay the money upfront and had they not done so, Leeds would have gone under a lot sooner than they did. Smith was told he had to move to save Leeds United. For some fans, this still isn’t enough. For them, he is unforgivable.

Finally, we come to the only player on the list that didn’t play under O’Leary, Kevin Nicholls. We signed Kevin for £700,000 in July 2006, only to see him injured before he could make his first appearence. He eventually made his debut in September, only to become injured again two weeks later. Despite his injury problems, the new manager (and hate-figure within his own right) Dennis Wise appointed the midfielder as his new captain.

When Nicholls’ second injury cleared up and he made his debut as captain, he was sent off in the dying minutes of a 1-0 defeat to Ipswich Town. He subsequently missed the next three matches, as the £700,000 fee started to look a little ridiculous. After just thirteen appearences in an inconsistent and largely disappointing year, Kevin Nicholls was dropped by Wise for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday. It later emerged that Kevin had put in a transfer request and wanted to return to his former club Luton Town. Despite being made captain of Leeds United and the club sticking by him through injuries and suspensions, Nicholls was clearly ungrateful. For me, he remains the most disgraced player to have worn the Leeds United shirt in recent years.

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35 Responses

  1. Grumpy Older Man

    Look the problem with this kind of list is inevitabily focuses on mob understanding without focusing on reality. How does Bowyer get on the list given what he did for us ON THE PITCH, for Mill Hill? well he was innocent whilst someone who should be on the list but isn’t, Woodgate, wasn’t, The same applys to Smith you can put him on because of the stupid anti ManU thing (ignoring the already well documented truth that the price of him not going there was folding) or you can instead look at the fat aussie who stood and watched then cracked up while Smith worked his knackers off. Viduka would be TOP of my list (I could write on his crimes for enternity).

    Nicholls certainly deserves some sort of place but given how little we saw of him why give him the satisfaction, Kewell is borderline but just in, wanker of a human being but instrumential in some of our better days before the likes of Viduka dilutted the honesty. Personally I think the concept of Hate needs to be kept for people who put there own selfish interests above that of the club, 5 people spring to mind as guilty of that, 3 I have already mentioned, Woodgate, Kewell and Viduka, the other two are Robinson who is a greedy money grabbing git and Ferdinand who spent the whole of the 2002 WC plotting with SAF his transfer out. Beyond that the question (and subsequent discussion including my contribution) is meaningless.

    • TSS

      “The same applys to Smith you can put him on because of the stupid anti ManU thing (ignoring the already well documented truth that the price of him not going there was folding)”

      I didn’t ignore that. Infact, that’s exactly what i wrote. I included him because some fans do still hate him.

    • Steve Lunn

      yeah, I would have had Ferdinand & FUB (Viduka) on the list too, though Kewell would still be top. I would love to meet him


  2. David

    Whilst I understand the hatred of skum Utd in no way would I include Alan Smith in this line of bandits. Smithy gave life and soul to Leeds and when reality struck he was traded to save that very club he loves. For me Kewell the greedy money grabber, over paid, over rated, lazy, big head gets my vote followed closely by that good for nothing thug Bowyer.

  3. Luke

    Alan Smith never said that he would stay to help us get back to the Premiership. After relegation was confirmed he came on tv and said he was not a ‘championship player’ and wanted to get into the England squad. Still like him though and would have him back anyday.

    I vote Seth Johnson for agreeing to join us. Biggest waste of money EVER!!!

    • TSS

      Sorry, I worded that badly. Alan Smith said he’d stay and help Leeds get back to the Premiership before we were relegated.

      Have no qualms with him these days, but had to be included as a lot still do hold his move against him.

  4. Chris

    Has to be Kewell it was summed up perfectly by David greedy and lazy and ultimately overrated. At least we had the best of him and glad to see he failed elsewhere.

  5. Lee

    Why all the negativity discussing the most hated?

    How about focussing on the most exciting? Hardest-working? Fan-favourite? Best team player?

    Try some P O S I T I V I T Y !!!


    • Terry

      Good thinking, but I have to add I hate Kewell with a passion for what he did, but love Smithy to bits still in spite of his Scumchester period.
      Thinking positively, best player ever, John Charles, hardest working hmm difficult, possibly Strachan, fan-favourite would have to be Bremner and best team player for his play anywhere attitude would be Madeley

      • Lee

        Now they were four magnificent players Terry! Puts a smile on your face just hearing those names

  6. Max.

    I can think of a long list of Leeds players I disliked more than most on this list. Smith I have absolutely nothing against, lovely bloke and wish he was still here. Something went wrong with that generation of players in terms of their management – Ferguson at United wouldn’t have tolerated the development of Woodgate into an oik, or Kewell going round saying he was a striker when we was actually a winger (and as such, as has been proven, likely to have a limited shelf life). My view is that Bowyer was a bad apple, he certainly had previous and having someone like that around can’t have made things any easier.

    As for later, there’d be a fair few in front of Nicholls – Barmby managed to combine money grabbing with making nowhere near the contribution of Kewell or Viduka. Similarly Jody Morris – Bowyer without the talent. Gregan and Butler were both terrible and apparently an awful influence on the dressing room. And so on, and so on.

    And Roque Junior, anyone?

    • TSS

      Ahh, Roque Junior. The name always makes me laugh. Definitely the worst transfer in the history of the club, if not the world.

  7. Silverback

    I agree with Lee. I can’t understand the constant hatred LUFC invokes in people but when I read about our own fans wanting a hate list of ex players, I donno what to think.

    Football is first and foremost a business for the players and there are no loyalties. As in the workplace, if you are offered more money or better opportunities, you take them. It’s the fans who try and force this loyalty on the players just because they have been loyal for decades but for the players, it’s a short term job. When a mic is placed before them and they are asked inane questions about their loyalty, of course they’ll say what we want to hear. It’s human nature and if things are going well for them in a team, of course they’ll be happy staying and will swear loyalty.

    As for Kewell, he’s doing very nicely in Turkey and for Australia. Again he went where he was going to get the most money and play in Europe and why not ? I worked for a long time with the brother of one of the lads killed in Turkey but how can you blame that club for what happened ? I mean if you blame a club for the actions of a minority of their fans, then it’s no wonder the country hates us. Can’t have it both ways.

    Just enjoy the game for goodness sake. Yes be passionate about Leeds but stop with the hate lists of players who will always see playing for us as a short term job first. That doesn’t mean they can’t be passionate DOING the job but when a better offer comes in, don’t hate them for leaving.

    As always JMHO. Let non Leeds fan do the hating. God know there are enough of them out there.

    • Lee

      Very well put. I’ve felt quite low even being at Elland Road in the past when the songs were more about hatred of Man United than love of Leeds. Hopefully some long overdue success on the pitch might help change some attitudes off it.

  8. chris(wakey)

    Brolin anyone????? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! Bowyer was immense for us, Woodgate was stupid, any of our last Champions midfield could line up for best ever, along with previously mentioned legends.
    Not an issue with Smudger and i probably hated Cuntona for “that spit” most of all!

  9. David

    I find it hard to take part in this debate because I so loved and enjoyed watching those players. Bowyer was, in my view, one of the best in the country and had he been managed better as a person should have gone on to play for England many times. Yes, kewell put himself first, but who wouldn’t. The whole idea of critisising Smithy is a joke not even worth commenting on. Robbo was a great keeper, I remember him coming on for an injured Martin when ‘Englands number 2′ became ‘Englands number 1’! At the end of the day it is the overall management and governance of the club over many years that have let us down, not these players who understandably put themselves first-wouldn’t you? That and the small minority of idiot fans that have caused us to be castigated for the last several decades. I loved the O’leary years, can’t and won’t deny it

  10. Thinyogurtontour

    Mark Aizelwood was one of my hero to zero players. Giving the ‘V’ sign to the Kop was just a bit too much. He went to the best place for him though-Bradistan, seved him right.

  11. west stand rebel

    Never mind the worst players at ER what about the worst Chairman ….not too difficult that one as he is still with us.

    • timm

      @west stand rebel. Oh really? So not Krasner Or that stupid dickhead of a professor then? Both came in & took the money but didn’t actually give a shit about us. This club is in the best shape it’s been in since Leslie Silver was here & we were having the East Stand built. Better the devil you know i say.

  12. Leedsfan1

    Smithy is a hero, especially compared to Kewell. Smithy cared about the club enough to give them his cut of the transfer fee when he left. I think it was close to £1m (though correct me if I’m wrong – too tired to wiki it!!)
    As was said before, it was for the benefit of the club as well as the player.

    In contrast, Kewell stung Leeds for every penny he could and we ended up with a pittance after the transfer fee had mostly been distributed between him and his agent. He knew he had the club looking down the barrel of a gun and they needed to do the deal to stay afloat. He used that to his own advantage.

    The mere idea that he would even consider a move to Galatasaray would make me hate him. For him to have gone there of all clubs beggars belief for me. Sums him up really – he has no scruples at all.

    I know it’s ‘just football’ and we shouldn’t bring hatred into it, but I think Kewell showed no respect to the club and fans that supported, nurtured and payed him. Is it that surprising that he illicits such a strong reaction from people who feel totally betrayed by him?


    • ardswhite

      excellent post , my friend love leeds blogs because of the interaction it creates
      I have tried my hardest to hate alan smith who is the most villified because he went to the scum.
      I remember his first game to his last, some great memories he never gave less any than the max for leeds so why do we feel the need to ripe this leeds man to shreds.
      appreciate his loyalty his snece of belonging his passion is that not what football is all about.
      Jelon lescott, rio , players of such discord to name a few leave a bad taste there you have there is no such thing as lovalty not such as shown by a smith .
      Very few players in the last ten years have succeded after (harry wot a prick)or gone on to accoplisme any great success, but a smith i wiss you well 100 perceter you gave your all and more

  13. bjorn

    just want to say that i hear that t.brolin gonna write a book about his life, and some pages will be about his time in leeds ,he say he was treated unfair in leeds so if you have anything that you can throw back to his face DO IT ,tubbby thomas was greedy little meatball and he talk much negative about leeds

  14. BillyofOtley

    I have mellowed as I have grown older and hate is a strong word GOM. However I cannot put in to words the anger felt when Harry Kewell signed for Galatasary and the complete lack of respect shown to the memories and families of Kevin Speight and Christopher Loftus, may they rest in peace.

  15. Woodgate?? In the Hate List??

    Hi, I never emailed one of these sites before.

    I have just seen this list and I am staggered!!.

    OK, I understand Kewell – must be top of any list – but for one reason only. Forget all the Liverpool crap, he disgraced himself as a human being the day he took the Turks dirty money.

    But the rest of the list??
    Kevin Nicholls is a nobody, a pub player who shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as our great club. Most hated player? give me a break!!

    Then we move on to Bowyer and Woodgate?? How the hell can these 2 players end up in this category.

    I will never ever forget the awesome performances Lee Bowyer put in for Leeds United EVERY week, (not just the CL), I will also never forget the fact that he was always the last player off the pitch, after applauding the supporters for their support both home and away. This kid gave 120% for Leeds United every time he pulled on a white shirt and only left Leeds after his much publicised spat with Peter Ridsdale (hardly a legend at ER).

    Then I move onto Woodgate. Jonathon Woodgate is an absolute legend at Elland Road and would receive a standing ovation from every single fan (obviously barring yourself) if he was to play in a match at Elland Road. He again was immense at Leeds and will always be remembered fondly, so to be put on a list like this is mindblowing.

    Moving on to Alan Smith. I understand why he might appear on this list. However this is another Kid who sweat blood for us and I for one prefer the forget all the scum shite.

    In summary, I can’t believe that someone who runs a Leeds United news/form site can get it so, so badly. I have listed not any players who I believe should be in the list as it is obviously wasted on someone with so little idea.

    I would however put Dennis Wise at the top of my list – He is as hopeless as the writer of this article!!

    • TSS

      Hi. It was written more on general consensus than it was personal opinion. I included Woodgate and Bowyer as a pair, because of the trial and the havoc it caused.

      The ideas for the list actually came from a forum. I wrote it on here for general debate, which is what it’s created. For me, I can’t stand Kevin Nicholls. To leave the club in the way he did after being given so much support and awarded the captaincy was disgraceful.

  16. Anon

    You do not leave a name, so i am replying to the person above TSS’s comment. First of all I agree with every comment you made on the players you mentioned, well written arguments.What I think is a flaw in your post is your attack on TSS.The opening of a debate surely requires two sides who have differing opinions.The article was meant to fire up the polarised views of the forum and is not a written in stone TSS factual document. Like a piece of contentious modern art, the lead article is created to get people reacting and it has done just that, you especially.Would you rather ‘we’ on these sites just cosy up to each other and write leading articles we can all just agree on? Football is passionate and the players are part of that, we love them or hate them, hence the debate. Don’t shoot the TSS messenger.Why not put your reviled players on here, then I can answer if I think ‘you have no idea’ or are as ‘hopeless’ an e-mailer as Dennis Wise.

  17. Anon

    Sorry, last line should have read ‘or as ‘hopeless’ an e-mailer as Dennis Wise was a manager. Apologies.

  18. Rob

    I don’t blame Alan Smith for anything, I completely understand a player wanting to play in the Champions League and a possible England place and walking away with medals etc. Like you rightly said in your article Al gave 110% week in week out and it broke him at the end, thats enough for me. Legend and nothing else.

  19. Craig

    Superb Post by “Woodgate?? In the Hate List??”

    I am the same, I dont post on these forums but have just seen this on News Now and cannot belive what some Leeds fans class as HATED?

    Bow & Woody are 2 Leeds Legends, and Smithy should never be in a Hate list.

    Who did lot yoy lot rate ????

    Huckerby, Okon, Morris????

    • Mike

      Who was that guy who came for two games on loan from Derby – Striker Dickinson…. (not Carl)- Its the first time I have seen a Leeds player booed off after 2 games. Thank god we didn’t sign him whatever his name was!!

    • timm

      Smithy should always be in a hate list. He’s a greedy Manc loving bastard. If he ever comes back i’ll run on the pitch & batter him! & please don’t start with that tired old bollocks about saving the club! He was only interested in himself. Everton had the same offer on the table but he wanted to play for the great sir Alex in the Champions League. It’s about time people stopped coming on here making excuses for him. He’s also a very average player who played absolutely no part in Newcastles promotion season. He should fuck off to Bury or Preston so he can hang out with his manc mates on a night.

  20. Marty

    I wouldnt have put Smithy in the list, i would however have put Michael Bridges on.

    Numerous injuries whilst collecting a masssive paycheck, we stuck by him time & time again & when the time came to repay some of it when he was better he buggered off to another club on a free as i recall.


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