The Harry Kewell-Leeds United Debate
Was Harry Kewell, former Leeds star, right to accept a contract with Turkish side Galatasaray?
It`s a debate, that I must admit right from the off that in my opinion, need not have occurred. However it has happened, and it must now unfortunately be dragged out and discussed.
Harry Kewell has signed for Turkish Premier Division side Galatasaray. This will naturally bring up bad blood between the two clubs, especially supporters of Leeds United, who see the Turkish side none too far from anything but the stabbings of Leeds supporters Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight 8 years ago during the Whites` Champions League exploits.
Kewell`s decision to reject a much safer move to Portsmouth, in favour of moving to Istanbul has created much of a furore amongst Leeds fans, something that the player himself has attempted to quell in a letter sent to skysports.com that reads:
"My love and respect for Leeds United FC and what the club has done for me will never change, no matter what anyone says about me and whatever their motives are. My sense of sorrow and sympathy for the families and friends of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight will always be with me.
"I chose the No.19 shirt when I signed for Galatasaray as a sign of respect for Leeds because that was the number I got when I first became a regular member of the Leeds United FC starting XI. I felt that it might be a way to demonstrate that I had not forgotten where it all started and I was hoping that in a small way it would help the healing process of the tragedy that occurred on the 5th of April 2000.
"For me, sport should first and foremost be about the love of your game. But equally important is the respect for not only your team-mates but all those who you compete against. For this reason I have always objected to any form of discrimination in any sport and football in particular, as that is the sport that is the most near and dear to me.
"To blame the Galatasaray club for the tragedy in Istanbul is simply wrong and discriminatory. This is a club founded in 1905 that has a proud history of striving for sporting excellence and it should be given the same respect as any other football club.
"I respect everyone's right to have their own opinion on whatever they like, but that does not make their opinion right. No one has to agree with my views or my choices, but I think it's only fair and reasonable to allow me and my family to enjoy the same democratic rights as expected by those that have been attacking me over the last few days."
Kewell to Istanbul, right or wrong? Well you can have your say right here on Vital Leeds, leave a comment, post in the forums or take part in our interactive poll.