Player explains why he left Leeds and joined rivals Sheffield United - Sheffield United News
Player explains why he left Leeds and joined rivals Sheffield United
Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Player explains why he left Leeds and joined rivals Sheffield United

There is something of a rivalry between Leeds United and Sheffield United.

For the Blades it obviously isn’t as fierce as the Steel City Derby against Sheffield Wednesday. While Leeds have more of an issue with Manchester United.

But for two big clubs based in Yorkshire, there is a little bit of needle between the two. Especially when one beats the other to promotion – as the Blades did in the Championship last season.

So when a player leaves one side and directly joins the other it creates a few ripples. Which is exactly what Matthew Kilgallon did in January 2007.

At the time the Blades were midway through their first Premier League season in 12 years. Neil Warnock was the manager and they were fighting hard against relegation – which would eventually come on the final day of the campaign.


What made the move slightly more controversial was Kilgallon had come through the academy at Elland Road. Yet Leeds were in the second tier as they continued to struggle with financial problems.

Why Kilgallon left Leeds for Sheffield United

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

The Whites had missed out on promotion in 2005/06 after defeat to Watford in the playoff final. The next year they would be relegated to League One.

Kilgallon appeared to make the move at the right time and spent the next three years at Bramall Lane. But clearly it was still a tough decision to make for the defender.

“All I knew was Leeds,” Kilgallon told the Undr The Cosh podcast. “It was a time when Leeds needed money and they were in the Premier League, Sheff United.

“Obviously they’re a massive club as well and I wanted to play in the Premier League. When you start out, that’s your aim.

“I was up for it and wanted to go there. Obviously I was gutted to leave Leeds and had so many memories, but it was time for me to go.

“Sheff United had always stayed there with me and always wanted me.”

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