Smith hurt by Woody deal

Last updated : 23 February 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game the Elland Road favourite told The Sun: "We'd seen top players leave because of the club's financial situation and we understood why lads like Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Keane had to go.

"But, if I am honest, Woody's sale was the one that upset me the most.

"From the point of view of our fans, they saw it as one sale too many. It was the one that finally snapped their patience.

"Not least because they felt they had been betrayed after being told that the club would never sell its crown jewels.

"Woody, of course, was considered one of the crown jewels. He'd been at the club ever since he was 13 and our supporters absolutely loved him.

"For me, it felt like losing a special friend who I'd known since I was 12 years of age and had grown really close to.

"So, to lose someone who you have grown up with just made me think that you never know what's around the corner.

"At the start of this season, I could never have imagined that Woody would be leaving us for Newcastle or anywhere else.

"His departure came as a massive shock to me and everyone else."

Meanwhile Sir Bobby has confirmed that he is trying to arrange a friendly game for Monday, in order to give Woodgate the chance to prove his fitness ahead of next Saturday’s game with Chelsea.

Sir Bobby told The People: "It's seven weeks since Jonathan played, so we are trying to get a game for him on Monday to help him.

"I want to play him against Chelsea and give our centre halves a rest. But the way we are playing at the moment he might struggle to get into the side!"