Leeds United's 1997 FA Youth Cup winners: Where are they now?

Alan Smith

We catch up with Leeds United’s 1997 FA Youth Cup winning side.

In 1997, Leeds United’s 18s overcame Crystal Palace 3-1 on aggregate to take the FA Youth Cup trophy.

Twenty years on, let’s find out what happened to this promising side:

Alan Smith and Paul Robinson still have their playing boots on.

Smith turns out for League Two side Notts County. The former Manchester United man took caretaker charge following the sacking of John Sheridan in January. With Kevin Nolan now in the Magpies hot seat, Smith has reverted back to his player-coach role.

Goalkeeper Robinson remains in English football’s top flight. The 37-year-old is back-up to Tom Heaton at Burnley, having notched up 375 Premier League appearances in his career. Robinson has been called into action three times this season and has been on the losing side on each occasion – conceding seven goals in the process.

Jonathan Woodgate and Harry Kewell are both in coaching roles at Premier League clubs.

Woodgate had spells with Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid before retiring in 2016. He recently returned to the Riverside as a first-team coach after Aitor Karanka was sacked.

Australian international Kewell called time on his illustrious career in 2014. The 2004/5 Champions League winner has managed Watford’s Under-23s side for the last two years. In that time, he has helped promising fullback Brandon Mason break into Walter Mazzarri’s first-team.

Defender Alan Maybury is working north of the border. He is assistant coach to Peter Houston at Scottish Championship club Falkirk.

After leaving Leeds in 2004, Stephen McPhail enjoyed a seven-year stint with Cardiff City. The 37-year-old retired in October while playing for Irish side Shamrock Rovers. McPhail has since taken up a Sporting Director role with the Hoops.

Tommy Knarvik and Stuart Gore have both moved into managerial roles.

Knarvik spent most of his playing days back in his native Norway after leaving English football in 2001. He became assistant manager of Nest-Sotra in 2014 before taking the top job at Stord IL in 2015.

Gore is Head Coach of the University of Northwestern Ohio women’s soccer team. The former Leeds youngster has made a considerable impact in his first three years in the job, guiding his side to their first ever NAIA Championship.

Forward Lee Matthews played for seven teams during his post-Leeds career until an injury forced him to quit in 2007. He then co-founded Sports Management International with former Hull City youngster Mark Obern. Their clients include former United men Woodgate, Robert Snodgrass, Billy Paynter and Jerome Thomas.

Meanwhile, the likes of Damian Lynch, Kevin Dixon, Wesley Boyle and Matthew Jones appear to be out of the professional game.

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