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Simon Walton reveals circumstances of Leeds United exit

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Former Leeds United player Simon Walton has revealed the circumstances of his departure from the Yorkshire club in July 2006.

Walton was born in Leeds and developed through the academy before making his debut as a 16-year-old in 2004–first appearing the season after the club were relegated from the Premier League.

The midfielder, who was a Leeds fan growing up, made 35 appearances for the Whites in total but was sold to Charlton Athletic for £500,000 in the summer of 2016–just a month after he had been part of the side that lost to Watford in the Championship play-off final.

Would Simon Walton get into the current Leeds squad?

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Yes

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No

Speaking to The Athletic, Walton revealed the circumstances of his Elland Road exit.

He said: “I’d been told in no uncertain terms that I’d be going if we didn’t go up. The club needed the money. That was it.

“Ken Bates pulled me into a meeting and said there were five offers on the table. If we didn’t go up they’d be taking one of them. But I didn’t want to leave and I wasn’t going to take that so I told him straight. His response was ‘you better hope we win on Sunday then’.

He added: “I’d already turned down other clubs the previous summer. I could have gone to Liverpool, I could have gone to Spurs like Aaron (Lennon) but I was a Leeds fan.

“I’d had a season ticket for years, including the season when I made my debut. I bought one then because I hadn’t expected to be in the first team. But it was made clear to me that I couldn’t stay and that things would be made difficult for me if I did.

“After the final, we all went back to St David’s Hotel in Cardiff. Everyone was there and I had a bit of a meltdown. I was 17, an aggressive little lad, and I was telling anyone who would listen ‘I’m ****** going nowhere.’ But the agency I was with at the time, they talked me into it. They told me the club was about to go to ****. Which, in fairness, it did.”

The 32-year-old never appeared for Charlton, instead spending time out on loan at Ipswich Town and Cardiff City before making a permanent switch to QPR.

Walton spent the majority of his career in the lower leagues of English football, tallying up 88 Championship, 41 League One, and 177 League Two appearances in total.

Currently, he plys his trade for Havant and Waterlooville in the National League South.

Walton revealed that despite his sour exit from the club he remains a Leeds fan and visits Elland Road whenever he can.

The Verdict

It’s really interesting to hear Walton’s depiction of the events surrounding his exit from the club as a teenager.

So often it appears that young players are the driving force behind moves away to big clubs, so it is fascinating to read the other side of the story. Fans will no doubt love to hear his passion for the club.

Walton never featured in the Premier League but as a lifelong Leeds fan, he will no doubt be hoping that the Whites can end their 15-year absence this season.


London-based sports journalist at Snack Media EFL accredited, graduate of New Associates and the University of Brighton

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Simon Walton reveals circumstances of Leeds United exit

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