It was inevitable and expected but today's conformation of Jonny Howson's departure cut deep...very deep in the hearts of Leeds fans all over the world. Any fan favourite's departure will cause distress but when it is a home-grown Leeds boy it is even harder to take in. Like many Howson's departure has shocked me, even though his contract negotiations haven't been going along swimmingly you always hoped he might sign.
Unfortunately Howson's sale just highlights the problems at Leeds United, the captain of the club and boyhood fan doesn't believe the club are going to be playing Premier League football any time soon. The sale shows the distinct lack of ambition at the club under the control of Ken Bates, and I expect Howson's departure to be the first of many over the coming months. On the day Jonny was pictured with his Norwich shirt, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of my best memories of his times at the club.
4. Scunthorpe 1 - 4 Leeds United: Against Scunthorpe Howson scored a 15 minute hat-trick to help Leeds claim all three points at Glanford Park. The hat-trick wasn't an ordinary one either, a header, left footed drive and right footed curler (the perfect hat-trick) sent the Leeds fans into raptures. The trio of goals showed the division Howson's ability as a goalscoring midfielder, one of the many attributes Norwich will be taking advantage of now (jammy bastards).
3. Manchester United 0 - 1 Leeds: Ahhhh who can forget January the 3rd. I won't break out into song, but as well as being on the pitch and halting the likes of Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney, Jonny was the architect in the goal that gave Leeds the famous away win against the scum. With Richard Naylor dispossessing the opposition, Jonny was given time on the ball to pick out Jermaine Beckford...and well the rest is history.
2. Carlisle 0 - 2 Leeds: Back in 2008 Howson struck a 90th minute winner to book Leeds' place in the League-One play-off final. Earlier in the game Howson had drawn Leeds level on aggregate with a low shot in the tenth minute. The nerve wrecking thoughts of Extra Time were slowly creeping up on Leeds when Howson hit a low left footed shot into the corner past a dejected Kieren Westwood. As the video shows, Howson was on top of the world scoring for his beloved Leeds United on such an important occasion.
1. Leeds United 2-1 Bristol Rovers: One of the best moment for any Leeds fan in the past decade was the game at home to Bristol Rovers. With Leeds down to ten men after Max Gradel's dismissal, Howson was brought on from the bench and made an instant impact. The midfielder linked up with Luciano Becchio on the edge of the box, and carefully curled the ball into the right-hand corner. The goal sent the Elland Road crowd wild and moments later Leeds took the lead thanks to another departed hero Jermaine Beckford.
These four memories are probably rather general and would be the same for most Leeds fans. There are plenty of memories of Jonny's time at the club that many won't forget, but his departure is made worse by the current state of affairs at Elland Road. In every performance for the club Howson gave his all for the cause. He wasn't a world beater, far from it, and this season has probably been his least influential.
Despite this, I have no doubt Howson will go on to be a success in the Premier League, and hey if Ken ever leaves someone may bring him back to the club. So in three-and-a-half years time Jonny could be strutting his stuff in a white shirt again....if only.
All the best Jonny, good luck for the future.