Harry Kewell attempts to defend angering Leeds fans with Galatasaray switch

Harry Kewell

Former Leeds United winger Harry Kewell has defended his controversial transfer to Galatasaray in 2008.

Seeing Harry Kewell in a Galatasaray shirt is the encapsulation of betrayal for Leeds United fans.

Kewell was part of the Leeds side in 2000 which were drew against the Turks in the UEFA Cup, only for the semi-final to be tragically marred by violence.

Two Leeds fans, Kevin Speight and Christopher Loftus, were stabbed and killed.

So when Kewell joined Galatasaray in 2008 from Liverpool, all good feeling towards the Australian evaporated in an instance at Leeds.

He has recently returned to English football as an under-21 coach at Watford, and in an interview with The Guardian has attempted to explain what he feels is the rationale behind his decision.

Kewell said: "I still get a lot of stick from Leeds fans which is unfortunate because Leeds is very close to me. It was one of the best clubs I ever played for. They gave me the start and I had a fantastic time there.

“It’s all about opinions but my idea was about bringing the clubs together. You’ve also got to look at it as after my Liverpool career, what was I supposed to do?

"I still wanted to play football and that was the only club that really showed interest. As much as I know it hurts them, I hope one day they will [forgive it]. They probably never will. That’s football, everybody has their opinions. I loved Leeds but I also loved Galatasaray.”

He's right, he probably won't be forgiven

Kewell's comment about bringing the clubs together is particularly weak, as is his comment 'what was I supposed to do?'

He could very easily have put loyalty to his former club first and rejected the approach, and waited for a different offer from elsewhere.

Juventus attacker Alessandro Del Piero was reported by the Liverpool Echo in 2012 to have turned down a move to Liverpool 'out of respect for Heysel victims', in reference to the 1989 disaster.

Kewell's decision played with emotions connected to more than football. Two Leeds fans never returned from watching their team, and as forgiveness goes, there is a finality attached to Kewell's decision that can never be undone, with his connection to the club now tainted.

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