A couple of high profile Aussies were among David O'Leary's babies who took on Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid on their way to a Champions League semi-final spot in 2000/01. But what became of that young side?
Sixteen years is a long time in life, and an eternity in football.
At least, that’s how it must feel for Leeds fans, who have suffered 16 years of despair since the Champions League anthem last rang round the stands at Elland Road in 2001.
David O’Leary’s babes had been riding high, stiffing Lazio, Anderlecht and Deportivo La Coruna on the way to a semi-final clash against Valencia
David O’Leary’s babes had been riding high, stiffing Lazio, Anderlecht and Deportivo La Coruna on the way to a semi-final clash against Valencia. After a drawn first leg, Leeds’ dream would be shattered at the Mestalla as Gaizka Mendieta & Co. broke Yorkshire hearts with a thumping 3-0 reverse.
Still, O'Leary's frontiersmen are remembered fondly in the Dales even today..
By 2001, Nigel Martyn had already established a reputation as one of the finest goalkeepers in England. A regular understudy for David Seaman in the national team, the Cornwall native’s sharp reflexes were a crucial part of Leeds’ historic progress that year.
After seven years and over 200 appearances, he left the club in 2003, enjoying a glorious Indian Summer at Everton under David Moyes, who would eventually describe him as his “greatest ever signing”. Martyn retired from the game in 2006 aged 40, a legend at Crystal Palace, Leeds and the Toffees.
Mills has a quiet word with Besiktas's Guracar Erman
In a team of young artisans, Danny Mills brought his bald head and bite. At the time, he was knee-deep in a dogfight with Gary Neville for the England right-back spot. He was, however, undisputed as an uncompromising and brutal exponent of the dark arts.
Nowadays, Mills has swapped studs for soliloquies, becoming one of the more forthright pundits in the football media. He can regularly be found questioning players’ commitment for the likes of the BBC and talkSPORT.