2000-2001 - "Champions League Semi Final" away shirt - Ferdinand 29

Leeds United Champions League

The Shirt

The "Champions League" shirts worn by Leeds during their heroic Champions League campaign of 2000/2001 conjour up some great memories for the clubs' supporters.

The shirt was manufactured by nike and was worn for 2 seasons between 2000 and 2002. By the year 2000, player shirts and replica shirts were becoming more and more alike. The differences between this shirt and a replica are subtle - the shirt does not have the "dri-fit" logo near the cuff which was present on the long sleeved replicas and the name and number on the back of the shirt is in the European spec Chris Kay style only worn by players which were not available in shops.

During the Champions League two different styles of "starball" sleeve patch were used. In the qualifying rounds and group stages the patch had a metallic grey background, when the competition reached the knockout stages a metallic white background was used - this patch is present on this shirt.

This shirt was worn in one of the biggest games in Leeds' history, the Champions League Semi-Final against Valencia in the Mestalla, Spain. The shirt has great provenance as a businessman owner in Manchester received the shirt directly from Ferdinand as a thank you for valeting his cars. The shirt has various mud stains to the sleeves and also the hem of the shirt has come away on one side from match use.

The Season

Having qualified for the much coverted Champions League the season before Leeds were, to coin a now infamous phrase, "living the dream". Flying in the league and upsetting the big boys in Europe Leeds were making headlines both home and abroad.

Leeds were investing in success. Spending big on household names in a bid to make a stronghold in the top four domestically and to keep making waves in Europe. Players like Mark Viduka, Olivier Dacourt, Robbie Keane and Ferdinand arrived to bolster the squad.

The season will be remembered for the unforgettable run in the Champions League where Leeds were handed big game after big game - Barcelona, AC Milan, Lazio, Anderlecht, Real Madrid, Deportivo, Valencia to name but a few.

AC Milans's Dida crumbling in front of the North Stand, smashing Turkish opposition 6 nil at Elland Road, Dom Matteo's header in the San Siro, Smith's goal to beat Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico, ending Anderlecht's 18 month unbeaten home record with a 4-1 away win, Ferdinand's header against Deportivo La Coruna, Lee Bowyer being player of the tournament while dashing to and from Hull Crown Court - it was a sensational campaign which ended with heads held high following elimination by Valencia in the semi finals.

The Player

This shirt was worn by Leeds defender Rio Ferdinand. Ferdinand arrived at Leeds in 2000 joining from West Ham United for a then British transfer record of £18m and world record fee for a defender.

Ferdinand, an England International and future captain of his country, is regarded as one of the finest defenders of his generation. He made 54 appearances for Leeds before being sold as part of Leeds’ clearout in the summer of 2002 following the World Cup in South Korea and Japan. He left for another British tranfer record of £33m to join Leeds’ bitter rivals, Manchester United.

Ferdinand wore this shirt in the Semi-Final 2nd leg of the Champions League against Valencia in the Mestalla on May 8th 2001. Leeds lost the game 3-0 which ended their heroic European campaign. Ferdinand captained the side on the night in Lucas Radebe’s absence.

Ferdinand is number 42 in the 100 Greatest Leeds Players list.

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