James Milner describes feeling of getting relegated with Leeds
Former Leeds star James Milner has opened up on what it was like to be relegated with Leeds back in May 2004.
Leeds’ fate was sealed when they lost 4-1 to Bolton, with Mark Viduka getting sent off after giving his side the lead.
Milner left the club that summer, in a £6.6m move to Newcastle, and his career took off with eventual moves to Man City and then to Liverpool.
At the age of 33 he’s still at Anfield, although his current deal expires next summer.
Milner, a lifelong Leeds fan, was asked on BT Sport what it was like when Leeds went down.
“Yeah, it was horrible. It was one of the worst moments of my career,” Milner said.
“Obviously, it’s a club you’ve supported all your life, the first team you played for… there was a lot going on at the time, off-field probs, financial probs, and as a young player you had to grow up quick.
“I think I was protected well by the club and the senior players at the time. I remember the fourth official put a minute up in the game we were relegated, I think it was Bolton away, and the fans were singing ‘We’re going down in a minute’.
“You know, the support was incredible, it’s a special club and I’m biased but it’s a club I think belongs in the Premier League.”
Leeds haven’t been back in the Premier League since they were relegated. The teams that were relegated with them that season have fared better – Leicester have actually won the title and are currently fourth under Brendan Rodgers. Wolves are playing in the Europa League this season after finishing seventh last campaign.
Leeds are currently favourites to go up this season and some Leeds fans are hoping that Milner might be persuaded to end his career at the club if his stay at Liverpool isn’t extended.
According to a Football Insider report, Milner would be willing to take a paycut to return to Leeds but he wants another year at Liverpool first.
Leeds getting promoted in their centenary year and Milner returning would certainly be an Elland Road fairytale, but one that’s actually got some roots in reality at the moment.