2010-2011 - "Unreleased" goalkeeper shirt - Schmeichel 1

npower Championship

The Shirt

This shirt was worn during the 2010/2011 season. The season heralded Leeds' return to the 2nd tier of English football following their promotion from League One.

The shirt is manufactured by macron and is a thick polyester material. There are spotted stripes in the fabric and large macron logos on the shoulders. On the sleeves are npower Championship patches - this was the first season they were used following npower's sponsorship deal with the Football League.

Leeds wore two different styles of goalkeeper shirt during the season - one orange and one green. The green shirt was never released to the public and was only worn by the Leeds players, making this one of the rarer shirts to obtain. The shirt came directly from Thorpe Arch and is in a laundered state. Schmeichel tended to cut his sleeves shirt for games which makes the shirt rarer still - you can see the 'keeper wearing a long sleeved green shirt in the FA Cup 3rd Round replay against Arsenal at Elland Road, this is the only example of this shirt being worn I have found so far.

The Season

The 2010/2011 season saw Leeds make a noisy return to the Championship, narrowly missing out on a place in the play offs. An entertaining season saw Leeds fire their way into the play off places for the majority of the season, only to miss out by 3 points on the last day.

Following their promotion in the previous season Leeds shuffled their squad, releasing some fringe players and bringing in some new faces including Kasper Schmeichel, Paul Connolly and Swindon Town striker Billy Paynter. Jermaine Beckford, Leeds' leading scorer in previous seasons, decided not to renew his contract and left on a free to join Everton.

With the departure of Beckford and the lack of a quality replacement, the source of goals in the Championship was a concern. It soon became apparent that goalscoring was not going to be a problem for Leeds - they were the second top scorers in the division scoring 81 goals, with 4 players hitting double figures in the scoring charts (the first time this had happened since 1990/1991).

After exceeding all expectations Leeds sadly hit a run of bad form at the end of the season and they dropped out of the playoff places with a few games to go. The season did end on a high though, beating League Champions QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road to take the shine off their promotion party.

The Player

The shirt was worn by Leeds goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Schmeichel joined his Leeds from Notts County in the summer of 2010 as Leeds prepared for life in the npower Championship for an undisclosed fee. Schmeichel started his career in the Premier League with Manchester City and was well regarded as one of the most promising young goalkeepers around.

Schmeichel was Leeds' first choice 'keeper during the 2010/2011 season but was sold to Leicester City at the end of the season for an undisclosed as his contract was due to expire the following summer.

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