2000-2001 - "Champions League" home shirt - Dacourt 4

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 on the sleeve which was present on the 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 shirt was worn against AC Milan at Elland Road in the first group stage so features the metallic grey version of the patch.

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 Rio 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 midfielder Olivier Dacourt. Dacourt signed for Leeds from French side RC Lens in the summer of 2000 for a then club record fee of £7.3m. Dacourt already had Premier League experience from a season long load at Everton where he had impressed.

The French international made 57 appearances for Leeds before falling out with Leeds manager Terry Venables in 2003 and moving on to Italian side Roma. Dacourt is fondly remembered for his combative presence in midfield and his brilliant contribution to Leeds' run in the 2000/2001 Champions League campaign.

Dacourt wore this shirt in the Champions League first group stage game against AC Milan at Elland Road on the 19th September 2000. Leeds won the game 1-0 thanks to a long range strike from Lee Bowyer which slipped through Dida's fingers in the 90th minute. Dacourt played the full 90 minutes and swapped his shirt with a Milan player at the end of the game.

Dacourt is number 39 in the 100 Greatest Leeds Players list.

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