For someone born in Scotland and raised on Merseyside, it’s an honour and a privilege to be known as an honorary Yorkshireman.
As a youngster growing up, I don’t mind admitting my dream was to wear the red shirt of Liverpool and follow in the footsteps of those players I’d idolised as a child. I was lucky to enough to achieve that. I loved my time there and didn’t think it would ever end.
But as we entered the first summer of a new Millennium, my life changed forever. Leeds United came in for me, Liverpool gave me permission to speak to the club, and the rest, as they say is history.
I didn’t think it possible to fall in love with a club the way I did with Leeds. And it wasn’t just the club, it was the city, the area, and the people. Yes, we had some fantastic moments on the pitch – we had our ups and downs as the song goes – but also some truly memorable times off it as well. I forged friendships that will last forever and developed an affiliation with a club that I never would have imagined possible.
It was an honour to be a part of that Leeds United team which reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, and it still makes me tingle when I look back on that era. I get goosebumps when people talk about that goal in the San Siro and it ranks as as one of the proudest moments of my career.
In the years that followed I was given the ultimate honour of following in the footsteps of some truly great names by captaining the club, and while the fortunes of the club dipped – and got overtaken by events off the field – I’ll never lose that pride of skippering such a great football club.
Relegation from the Premier League was heart-breaking and despite wanting to stay to help the club get back to where we belonged, my future was taken out of my hands and I was sold on to Blackburn.
That was never the end for me though. I’ve always remained in the area and followed the club through thick and thin. When my playing days ended I was a regular once again at Elland Road. I was privileged enough to return as an ambassador in 2012, but turn after turn of events off the field, meant the Premier League always looked an unreachable dream.But here we are again. A full 16 years on. Leeds are back, the smiles are back, and there’s a pride and togetherness once again. MOT Dom