2001-2002 - "Troyes UEFA Cup" home shirt - Dacourt 4

Troyes UEFA Cup Shirt

The Shirt

The 2001/2002 season saw Leeds wear this version of the nike Strongbow shirt for the second season running.

By the year 2001, the 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.

This in particular shirt carries one other major difference from the replicas. Having qualified for the UEFA Cup in the previous season, Leeds travelled to France to face Troyes AC in the second round 2nd leg. France has strict laws on alcohol advertising, so Leeds were forced to remove their shirt sponsor, Strongbow cider, from their shirts.

This shirt was used in that game making it a genuine one off. The shirt was squad signed and auctioned for charity at the end of the season.

The Season

In the previous season, while making the headlines in Europe, Leeds slipped out of the top four and missed out on the Champions League places. They did still qualify for the UEFA Cup but the potential income from this tournament was much lower.

The reduction in income meant that Leeds had to slow their spending. This meant that the side was kept pretty much the same as in the previous season until November when they invested £7m in Derby County midfielder Seth Johnson. Leeds' major signing came in January when Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler was brought in for £12m - Fowler was a legend at his former club and was seen as a real coup for Leeds.

Leeds started the season well showing potential title form. Unfortunately this form could not be maintained and results suffered after Christmas resulting in another 5th place finish - resulting in manager David Oleary losing his job after three and a half years in charge at Elland Road.

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 2001/2002 UEFA Cup Second round 2nd leg tie away to French side Troyes AC on November 1st 2000. Leeds lost the game 3-2 but still progressed on away goals. Dacourt captained the side on the night.

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

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