1996-1997 - "Packard Bell" away shirt - Sharpe 7

Champions League

The Shirt

The shirt is the first to have been manufactured by Puma and also features a new sponsor, computer manufacturer Packard Bell.

The shirt is made of polyester and has the Leeds United badge and stripes embossed in the fabric. The name and number style was only used during this season, clubs had different colours to match their shirts – Leeds had light blue with a yellow trim on the home shirts and dark blue with a white trim on the away.

Oddly, Puma used the same neck labels for both the replica and player shirt so the player shirts are often mistaken for replicas. The three factors which separate the players shirts from the replicas are; the puma logo is machine stitched as opposed to embossed felt, the name and numbers are larger and made of heavy felt and the sleeve patches are larger the ones sold in the club shops. This shirt has all of those features.

The Season

The 1996/97 season was a season of change at Elland Road following a disappointing league campaign in the previous season.

Howard Wilkinson looked to reconstruct the side. Title winners John Lukic, Gary Speed and Gary McAllister left the club while Nigel Martyn, Lee Sharpe, Lee Bowyer and Ian Rush were brought in. All four signings were included for the opening game of the season away to Derby County.

On September the 7th Leeds played bitter rivals Manchester United at Elland Road. The game ended in a 4 nil home defeat and manager Howard Wilkinson lost his job on the Monday. Former Arsenal manager, George Graham, was quickly appointed as Wilkinson’s replacement.

Graham’s style of football was very defensive. Leeds finished the season in 11th position having only scored 28 goals in 38 games, 3 less than Nottingham Forest who finished bottom. Graham’s style did not suit some players and Yeboah aired his frustrations by throwing his shirt at the manager having been substituted away at Tottenham Hotspur, sadly his last act in a Leeds shirt.

The Player

This shirt was worn by former Leeds United winger Lee Sharpe. Sharpe signed for Leeds from bitter rivals Manchester United for what was a club record fee of £4.5 million. Considering Sharpe’s reputation and fee the Leeds fans had high hopes.

Sadly, following the departure of Howard Wilkinson, Sharpe was unable to reproduce his form under new manager George Graham. He played 26 times in the 1996/97 season scoring 5 goals. In the following 2 seasons he only managed 4 appearances and left in June 1999 to join Bradford City for £200,000.

Sharpe is still regarded as one of the stars of the 90s and has appeared on various TV shows since he retired in 2004.

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