On this day in 2003 – Jonathan Woodgate joins Newcastle from Leeds in £9m move
Leeds defender Jonathan Woodgate completed a £9million move to high-flying Newcastle on this day in 2003.
The then 23-year-old joined the Magpies, who were second in the Premier League at the time, on a four-and-a-half-year contract after becoming the latest big-name departure from Elland Road.
Leeds faced a dire financial situation which forced them to sell Woodgate and left manager Terry Venables’ future in doubt. The former England boss had stated he would consider his options should the centre-half depart, having already seen the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and Robbie Fowler sold under his watch.
Woodgate had established himself in the Leeds side which reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001 and during his time in West Yorkshire he won the first of his eight England caps at just 19 years of age.
Following his arrival at St James’ Park, Woodgate spoke about his title hopes, with Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle five points behind leaders Arsenal at the time.
“I believe so, the position they’re in. Why not?” he said when asked of his new club could win the league.
“They’re second in the league, five points behind Arsenal, who have got to come here as well. That’s the big game, and hopefully they can win that game.”
The defender, who was found guilty of affray in 2001, also spoke frankly about the court case which almost wrecked his career, saying: “It’s been the hardest time of my life.
“You look back and you think of things that you’ve done wrong – and I’ve done a few things wrong – but I’ve got over them and I’m going to start afresh at Newcastle United and hopefully go from strength to strength.”
Woodgate made 37 appearances on Tyneside before joining Spanish giants Real Madrid for £13.4million in August 2004.
He only represented Real on 14 occasions during an injury-plagued spell in Spain and eventually returned to England with home-town club Middlesbrough, first on loan and then on a permanent deal in 2007.
A year later he made the switch to Tottenham – where he scored an extra-time winner in the 2008 Carling Cup final – before finishing his career with stints at Stoke and then back at Boro.
Woodgate is currently an assistant to Michael Carrick at Boro, having previously been in charge at the Riverside and Bournemouth.