10 members of David O’Leary’s Leeds United team to move into management

Quick Reads

Leeds United endured plenty of turbulent times under the management of David O’Leary in the late-1990s and early-2000s.

Despite scaling the highs of reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League with a vibrant, young side full of homegrown talents, there were also plenty of lows as the club slid towards financial oblivion amid a number of off-pitch controversies.

The players no doubt look back at that time as valuable experience in which they learnt plenty of lessons, and a number have now moved into management or coaching themselves.

Lee Bowyer

Bowyer’s style of play hardly screamed ‘manager’ while he was at Leeds. More elegant, cerebral midfielders are often earmarked as future bosses, whereas Bowyer operated purely on instinct, a remarkable engine and the ability to sniff out a goal – and that’s not to mention the when he scrapped with his own team-mate at Newcastle.

But the one-time England international and everyone’s favourite Tim Roth lookalike has mellowed since retiring, buying his own carp fishing lake in France, and was appointed assistant manager at Charlton last summer.

With manager Karl Robinson leaving the Addicks by mutual consent, Bowyer has now been appointed caretaker manager.

READ: A forensic analysis of Lee Bowyer’s on-pitch fight with Kieron Dyer

Harry Kewell

Despite being one of the star players in O’Leary’s side, Kewell is no longer a popular name at Elland Road after he spent three years playing for Galatasaray.

The former Australia international, who won the Champions League with Liverpool, retired in 2014 and spent two years in charge of Watford’s Under-21 side.

He was sacked in April 2017 following a number of poor results but only a month later became the first Australian to take charge of a professional English side when he was appointed Crawley boss.

With an Australian consortium linked with a takeover of Charlton, Kewell has been mooted as a potential candidate for the Charlton job, where he could be reunited with former Leeds team-mate Bowyer.

READ: Great Goals Revisited: Harry Kewell for Leeds v Arsenal, 2003

Alan Smith

Like Bowyer, Smith was a fiery presence on the pitch but also has the full range of experiences from his time as a player: representing club and country at the highest level, relegations, serious injuries and playing in all four divisions of English football.

After leaving Newcastle in 2012, Smith has combined playing and coaching roles at MK Dons and Notts County – and was appointed caretaker manager of the latter following the sacking of John Sheridan last year.

Eirik Bakke

Bakke became a key member of the O’Leary sides which stormed Europe, but his Leeds career was later derailed by serious injuries.

He returned to his native Norway in 2006, and retired in 2012 after a season with Sogndal, who he has managed for the past three years.

Mark Viduka

Another firm favourite of Leeds early-2000s heyday, Viduka was Leeds most reliable goalscorer and, while his velvet touch belied his bulky physique, he was not afraid to mix it with some of the toughest characters – just ask Martin Keown.

According to the Daily Telegraph, after retiring Viduka returned to Melbourne Victory, the club he started his career at, to coach their youth teams, including one of his sons.

READ: The story of Mark Viduka, the ‘lazy’ enigma Australia grew to love

Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink

Hasselbaink was actually signed for Leeds by George Graham, but he shared the Premier League Golden Boot under O’Leary.

The striker’s relationship with the manager broke down along with contract negotiations, with O’Leary telling the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Phil Rostron: “It is unsurprising that some people have formed that opinion that he is a greedy son of a bitch.”

After continuing to score goals – honestly, absolutely loads of them – for the likes of Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, Hasselbaink now manages relegation-threatened Northampton Town following spells in charge of Royal Antwerp, Burton Albion and QPR.

READ: A tribute to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink: Complex, controversial, clinical

Bruno Ribeiro

Ribeiro joined Leeds in the same summer as Hasselbaink and enamoured himself to the Whites’ support, becoming something of a cult hero at Elland Road.

An injury saw the midfielder fall out of favour under David O’Leary and return to Portugal via a spell at Sheffield United.

Since 2011, Ribeiro has taken charge of 10 clubs, including Port Vale, where he was replaced by another former Leeds midfielder in Michael Brown.

The 42-year-old is currently in charge of Clube Desportivo Cova da Piedad in Portugal’s second tier.

Robert Molenaar

Another Graham recruit who only spent a short spell under the guidance of O’Leary, Molenaar was a commanding presence who helped shore up Leeds’ defence before moving on to Bradford.

Following the departure of Thomas Christiansen earlier this year, the Dutchman was briefly linked with the vacant Leeds job, but he remains in charge of the Eredivisie strugglers Roda JC.

Jonathan Woodgate

One of the best young centre-backs in England, Woodgate was among the best of O’Leary’s ‘Babies’, earning England honours while at Leeds.

Despite also playing for Newcastle, Real Madrid and Tottenham, Woodgate’s career will always be overshadowed by injuries.

The 38-year-old has been a member of Middlesbrough’s backroom staff since the sacking of Aitor Karanka last year.

David Hopkin

Possibly the least glamorous name on this list, Hopkin wrote his name into Crystal Palace folklore with the winner in the 1997 play-off final before spending four years in West Yorkshire with Leeds and Bradford.

His career came full circle by finishing at his first club, Greenock Morton, who he has had two caretaker spells in charge of.

Since 2015, the former Scotland international has been in charge of Livingston, guiding the club to promotion last term.


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