Leeds United’s decision to let Tom Cairney leave the club prematurely back in 2007 has looked more and more like a disastrous piece of business over the past few years.
The midfielder was with the west Yorkshire outfit for nine years but was released for being deemed “too small” despite only being a 16-year-old. His 5 foot 1 frame grew to 6-foot, and he’s not looked back since.
This rejection at such a tender age “crushed” the Scotland international to the point of it being his motivation and thus, over the course of his career as proven those decision-makers at Elland Road wrong. Ever so wrong.
Former Hull City boss Phil Brown took a punt on him following his departure where he played several times in the Premier League during his debut season before landing a move to Blackburn Rovers – the place he really made a name for himself.
But what is he up to now?
Well, now 29, Cairney has become one of Fulham’s star players as he’s been trusted with the armband by Cottagers boss Scott Parker.
He has enjoyed five seasons at Craven Cottage, including another foray into the English top-flight, and who knows, they could well join Leeds there should the third-place outfit reach the other automatic spot or go up via the playoffs.
The box-to-box maestro has been in fine nick this season, scoring eight times whilst laying on three assists too, via Transfermarkt.
Per WhoScored, he is even averaging an impressive 1.8 key passes, 1.4 tackles and an 89.6% passing success rate for the promotion hopefuls.
Such performances have seen his stock rise to £13.5m, which positions him nicely in second-place for the division’s most valuable player, behind teammate Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is worth more at £22.5m.
Of Leeds’ contracted players, Kalvin Phillips matches it with Helder Costa tagging behind at £9m.
Cairney has made United pay on a couple of occasions, and as seen above, he loves a goal against his former club.
The decision to let him depart west Yorkshire so early has clearly been hugely senseless in hindsight, but then again, they could have given him a platform to shine first. He was only a teenager.
AND in other news, Leeds fans react to Phil Hay’s BIG Elland Road claim…