Leeds United haven’t been a top-flight club for 16 years at this point, but it’s still sometimes hard to believe that one of England’s most historic clubs plays second-tier football.
16 years is a long time, and a whole generation may not be sure how we even got to this point.
If you’re in need of a reminder, the Whites’ demise was due to poor ownership and financial mismanagement that left them on the brink of extinction.
How does a team in the Premier League get things so drastically wrong? Well, signings such as the one we’re about to talk about certainly didn’t help.
The Whites blew a lot of money in the early 2000s, but perhaps there wasn’t a bigger instance of the club throwing money down the drain than their purchase of Seth Johnson.
According to the transfer inflation model, the midfielder cost the Whites £26.83m in today’s money (£7m back then), and while that does seem like a lot, it’s his wage that makes you realise just how incompetent the hierarchy at Elland Road were back then.
The story goes that Johnson was hoping for a £13k a week offer as a step up from the £5k a week he was on at Derby.
Peter Risdale’s opening offer was over twice as much as that, as he opened with a £30k a week proposal.
Understandably, this was met with stunned silence, Johnson had just been offered £17k a week more than he was expecting, but in all his wisdom Risdale reportedly immediately upped the offer to £37k a week mistaking the silence for disappointment.
Now, that’s all well and good if you’re paying that for one of Leeds’ big-name signings of the era such as Rio Ferdinand or Robbie Fowler, but this was a man who hadn’t made all that much impact in the game.
Unfortunately, he didn’t do much at Leeds either after arriving in 2001.
He played just 54 league games in four seasons at the club, before being unceremoniously dumped at the end of the 2004/05 season.
Johnson has every right to be remembered much more fondly than he is, he is a former England international with 120 Premier League appearances to his name, but due to this ill-fated spell at Elland Road, he has to be remembered as not only one of the worst signings in Leeds’ history but one of the worst in English history.
In other news, one Leeds man has been handed an England boost.