2000-2001 - "Champions League" home shirt - Radebe 5

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 has the patch from the knockout stages which narrows down the games it was used in.

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 captain, and legend, Lucas Radebe in the latter stages of the Champions League. Radebe arrived at Leeds in 1994 joining from the Kaiser Chiefs in South Africa. He quickly became a fans favourite at Elland Road with his natural leadership, determination and world class ability. In 1998 Radebe, "The Chief", was made club captain.

While at Leeds, Radebe turned down moves to Manchester United and AC Milan explaining that his emotional ties to the club were too strong to consider leaving.

Radebe also captained South Africa and while on a visit to Leeds, Nelson Mandella described Lucas as "his hero".

After the 2000/2001 season Radebe began to suffer with injuries and retured from the game in 2005. After leaving football Radebe focussed on charity work and in 2010 he won the PFA Merit Award.

Radebe is number 13 in the 100 Greatest Leeds Players list.

Image Gallery