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Were They Fit to Wear the Shirt - The C's - First XI

Fede Bessone was the latest player to join the Hall of Shame of the worst players to play for Leeds in the 20+ years that Stephen Clark has been watching the club. This week it's the turn of the C's and the first collection looks at 11 players who played for the club before the relegation to League One.

We have moved on to the third letter of the alphabet in this retrospective look back at the great and (not so) I have had the (mis)fortune of watching play for this great club. There have been 22 players whose surnames start with the letter C and so it makes sense to look at 11 each week. The first batch has a slightly Gallic air, with three Frenchmen, one of whom needs no introduction and whose departure is still seen as a turning point not only in the history of our club, but more markedly in that of the Scum over the Pennines. First up though is one of those players who if you blinked at the wrong time, you might have missed at Elland Road.


Let's go back to the summer of 2004, that heady time when Kevin Blackwell turned up at pre-season training to find just Gary Kelly there to join him. One of the players he brought in to make him feel less lonely was a local boy looking to resurrect a career which had started brightly.

Cleckheaton lad Cadamarteri had sprung to attention at Everton at the start of the 1997/98 season. A famous goal against Liverpool in a Merseyside derby saw him touted as a future international, but that would be the highlight of his career at Goodison Park. He was involved in an incident which saw him found guilty of assault, a conviction which to all intents and purposes ended his Everton career.

A loan spell at Bradford City turned into a permanent deal in 2002, but he failed to live up to expectations, leaving Valley Parade after a contract dispute. As a free agent he was ideal for cash-strapped Leeds needs, but could not force his way into the team and he made a loan substitute appearance at home to Swindon in the 2nd round of the League Cup, replacing Julian Joachim.

He has moved around since leaving us with spells at Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town (twice) and a relatively succesful spell in Scotland at Dundee United where he won a Scottish Cup.

Currently at Carlisle United, Cadamateri is a classic example of someone wasting a promising career.


As Leeds careered down the table towards relegation from the Premiership in 2004, Eddie Gray sought help to shore up his defence. With Michael Bridges unable to regain the form shown before his injury and with Mark Viduka and Alan Smith ahead of him in the pecking order, a swap deal with Newcastle saw Bridges return to his native North East with centre back Stephen Caldwell heading to Elland Road.

His impact didn't shore up the back line but saw Leeds at least show a flicker of life in their scrap against the drop. He debuted in a 4-1 home win against Wolves, and by the time he scored the winner at Blackburn it looked as if Leeds could pull off an incredible escape. The wheels though fell off at the death and his last appearance saw the Whites condemned to the drop, after a 4-1 drubbing at Bolton.

Since then he has played at Burnley, Wigan and Birmingham as well as representing Scotland as has his younger brother Gary. Caldwell was last seen at Elland Road leading Birmingham in their FA Cup 3rd round tie.


Caldwell in effect replaced another loanee, with his introduction to the side coming at the expense of Frenchman Camara. The centre-back was a drifter with Leeds the 7th club he had been at in 7 years. As part of the raft of loan signings brought in by Peter Reid with the assistance of Willy Mckay, Camara started on the opening day in a 2-2 draw against Newcastle. He scored in the win at Middlesbrough later that month. Having Roque Junior alongside him at the heart of the defence can have done nothing for his confidence as Leeds began to ship goals by the shedload.

Once Peter Reid was dismissed following the 6-1 thrashing at Portsmouth, Eddie Gray used him once in a 2-0 home defeat at Bolton. Critical of the club's financial position he told French sports newspaper L'Equipe:

"Financially and sport-wise the club is at the bottom of the abyss,""This is the first time I've witnessed such a

situation. If I'd known I would not have come, it's very depressing,"

I was going to say that at least he was being paid handsomely to get himself through his depression, however that was not the case with the players having to defer their wages as the club financially imploded.

He returned to his parent club St Ettienne where he at last found some stability, staying for four years before moving on to PSG. He remains at the most glamorous club in France, finding himself in a very different financial situation and looking forward to the arrival of David Beckham. I doubt he is very depressed now.


So from a Frenchman who was depressed at Leeds to one who sent a whole generation of Leeds fans into mental turmoil. Eric Cantona's time at Elland Road was fleeting, but for those of us who saw it, it was a beautiful experience, but on that turned ugly at the end.

For the FIFA and Football Manager generation who can tell you the career stats of reserve players in Ligue 1, the very idea that we didn't really know a lot about the most mecurial talent in French football is difficult to believe. Most people had never heard of him before he turned up for a trial at Sheffield Wednesday, banned from the game in France for a succesion of disciplinary misdemeanours.

Two freak incidents changed his career. A cold snap saw him only able to play for the Owls in a 6 a side exhibition match at the Sheffield Arena and Trevor Francis was unwilling to take a punt on Cantona without seeing him play on grass.

Over at Elland Road Leeds were in a bit of a crisis. Lee Chapman had broken his wrist and Leeds were short of goals as they locked horns with Manchester United at the top of the 1st Division. Howard Wilkinson had no time to take a look at Cantona and took the plunge to take him on loan until the end of the season.

He scored just three goals in that first season, and his hand in our title triumph may have been overplayed in terms of his contribution on the pitch. What he did though was lift the fans, giving the side a certain je ne sais quoi that they had not seen before. He became a cult hero.

On the pitch his finest moments came at the start of the following season. A hat-trick in the Charity Shield against Liverpool saw him become the focus of attention, followed up with another treble against Spurs in a 5-0 win which is as close as I have witnessed live to the famous 7-0 drubbing of Southampton in 1972.

However being in the spotlight was to be his downfall. He saw himself as a superstar in Sgt Wilko's band of brothers. Wanting to be the focal point of the team didn't it well with a manager for whom the collective was far more important than the individual. As Leeds crashed out of Europe, Cantona signed off with a consolation goal against Rangers. Within days he was off, sold in arguably the sale of the century and transformed the fortunes of our most hated rivals.


Best known for his appearances on Countdown and widely regarded as the brainiest footballer around, Clarke Carlisle arrived at Elland Road as a recovering alcoholic.

SIgned from QPR in the summer of 2004, Carlisle had been an England U21 international before a succession of personal problems saw him battle his demons at the Sporting Chance clinic before returning to his northern routes by signing for Leeds on a free transfer.

He made his Elland Road debut against Huddersfield Town in the 1st round of the League Cup and he became a fixture in the side, scoring on his home league debut in a 3-0 win over Coventry City. Unfortunately he damaged ankle ligaments in a 1-0 defeat at Rotherham which put him out of the side for a month, with Matthew Kilgallon taking his place.

A red card at Coventry when he was handed his place back in the team further damaged his reputation and he was allowed to leave at the end of the season. He was sold to Watford for £100K and was part of the side that beat Leeds in the play-off final in Cardiff the following season.

Since then he has had spells at Luton, Burnley and York before landing himself a deal under Aidy Boothroyd, his manager at Watford. However it is his off the field activities which he is more renowened, and he has built himself a career as a pundit as well as becoming the chairman of the PFA.


His actual playing career at Elland Road was only a small one, but his contribution to the club cannot be underestimated. The third of a crop of England internationals to play for the Whites, Carson followed in the footsteps of Nigel Martyn and Paul Robinson to represent the Three Lions. However it was done away from Elland Road with his sale to Liverpool in 2004 effectively helping to bank roll the club following the trauma of relegation.

I only saw him make one appearance live, as a substitute against Middlesbrough in January 2004, coming on following a sending off for Robinson. The subsequent suspension meant that his first start for the club would come at Old Trafford against Manchester United. He performed admirably as Leeds showed real passion in the first match following the death of John Charles to earn a precious point in our last league fixture at Old Trafford.

He made one further appearance that season on the final day against Chelsea, Paul Robinson having already been sold to Tottenham Hotspur. He was expected to be first choice keeper in the Championship, but Kevin Blackwell felt him to be to inexperienced and brought in Neil Sullivan. Leeds did want to keep him, but with money tight he was sold to Liverpool in January 2005.

From their it has been a roller coaster ride. The following summer he had a Champions League medal in his pocket and a place in the World Cup squad, but his horrendous mistake against Croatia in the vital Euro 2008 qualifying defeat saw his career take a backward step.

Now at Bursaspor in Turkey, Carson is out of the spotlight but will always be remembered by Leeds fans for the way he confidently first appeared in it, defying the Scum at Old Trafford.


Lee Chapman joined Leeds in January 1990 in a move which holds parallells with the recent transfer of Luciano Becchio. He replaced fans favourite Ian Baird, who Howard Wilkinson had lost faith in, and had to work hard to win the supporters over. Although he made an instant impact with goals on his debut, it took Chapman a while to win the fans over, eventually showing that he was superb in doing what he was brought in to do, score goals.

Scorer of the goal that won us the 2nd division title, top scorer in the league in our first season back in the top flight, Championship winner there is little more to be said about Chapman. Chapman didn't score great goals, but was a great goalscorer. There are not many of the 55 goals I saw him score in the flesh that were long range screamers, but he had that happy knack of being in the right place at the right time.

He was similar to Becchio in the way he performed outside the penalty area where he had the tendency to look clumsy and laboured. Inside the area he was dynamite, headers and tap in's his stock in trade.

He moved on after four seasons, finishing top scorer again even as his star waned. A short spell at Portsmouth was followed by a move to West Ham, returning to Leeds on loan from Ipswich in 1996. On his 2nd debut he managed to set up a goal for Tomas Brolin before being harshly sent off for an elbow. He played his last game for Leeds in a 5-0 drubbing at Anfield, woefully out of place in a game which had quickened immeasurably in his 3 years away from Elland Road. It was a sad way to remember him. So don't do it, instead recall his towering header at Bournemouth that took us up, or his flying header at Sheffield Wednesday which announced to the nation that Leeds could win the title. And think about him when Steve Morison is not being Luciano Becchio. If he his half as succesful as Chapman we will have a decent striker on our hands.


From a striker who scored loads of goals to one who never looked like scoring. Cyril Chapuis was another of Peter Reid's magnificent seven summer signings who summarily failed to deliver. Chapuis was another signing from French football, a fringe player at Marseilles after starting at Niort, a club where Lee Chapman had a short spell.

Chapuis never really got a look in. A substitute appearance against Manchester United in the League Cup was his first appearance and he only made one more, again as a sub in a 2-0 home defeat to BOlton. That was Eddie Gray's first game in charge and as he moved away from the foreign players to the homegrown talent, Chapuis time at Elland Road was over before it really began.


Leeds United's defence of their First Divison title was not a succesful one, the first season in the Premiership turning into a slog as amazing home form was contrasted by horrendous away form, with not a single away win all season. So when the clubs youngsters made the Youth Cup Final against Manchester United, the fans were desperate for some sort of success.

One of the players who was part of that succesful team, who beat Giggs, Scholes, Butt, Beckham et al in the final was Andy Couzens. By the time he was 25 his professional career was over. For a while though it looked as if he was going to make it, enjoying a spell as a first team regular under George Graham.

It would be 1995 before he would make it to the first team, and he was a regular substitute towards the end of the 94/95 season. Along with Mark Ford he would make the occasional apperance in the starting line up as Howard WIlkinson's reign came to a close.

After Wilko was sacked in September 1996, Couzens got George Graham's reign as Leeds boss off to a flier, scoring inside the first minute of his first game in charge at Coventry. It was a false dawn though for both club and player, Leeds lost the match 2-1 and Couzens would soon be out of the team.

A particularly poor performance in a League Cup tie live on Sky against Aston Villa was a painful memory, his every error jeered by the crowd. It would be his last start for the club and he was shipped out to Carlisle United.

Two season's at Brunton Park were followed by a year at Blackpool before he dropped out of the game all together, Couzens now is a fitness instructor at Hollins Hall hotel in Baildon, close to his home town of Shipley.


The next of this week's bunch was in action at Elland Road this week, however his performance was so ineffective I didn't even realise he was on the pitch until the second half. It was pretty similar during his time at Leeds United as Stephen Crainey is another of those horror left backs whose careers have seemingly died whilst wearing the White shirt.

Part of the not so succesful influx of talent brought in during the summer of 2004, Crainey joined the club initially on loan from Celtic before making the deal permanent shortly afterwards. Slow, often out of position and offering little going forward, he was quickly singled out for criticism form the crowd, very possibly because we actually paid cash for him, which was as much of a rarity 9 years ago as it is today. He picked up an injury and featured little in his first season.

The following season saw Dan Harding brought in but when Blackwell discovered he was useless as well, Crainey was given another chance. He played 30 times in the season when Leeds made the play-offs but got himself sent-off int he 2nd leg of the semi-final at Preston and missed out on the final.

He started the follwing season, but following the sacking of Blackwell, he lost his place as Dennis Wise looked to bring his own men in. Crainey moved onto Blackpool at the end of the season. Incredibly he blossomed there and was often used as an example of how players bought by Blackwell prospered away from Leeds. He has been a fixture at Bloomfield Road for 6 season, helping the Tangerines to win promotion to the Premier League, and actually doing quite well in the top flight.


Along with Crainey, Richard Cresswell missed out on the play-off final in Cardiff as he too was sent off in the semi-final win at Preston. .It removed an attacking option from the bench against Watford, but his signing had created as many issues as it solved.

With Rob Hulse, David Healey and Robbie Blake already vying for places in the starting line up, the addition of Cresswell was a strange one. A life long Leeds fan, he had burst onto the scene at York City, earning a nmove to the Premiership with Sheffield Wednesday. His career stalled in the top flight and after a fruitless spell at Leicester he rediscovered his touch at Preston, scoring 23 goals the season before joining Leeds as Preston lost in the play-off final.

Leeds paid over £1M for his services and it looked like being a sound investment when he netted two against Rotherham in the League Cup in just his second start. Unfortunately he picked up a knee injury which kept him out for several weeks. By the time he returned Kevin Blackwell had an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal and struggled to knit them together into a potent force.

Cresswell was expected to come to the fore the following season following the departure of Rob Hulse to Sheffield United but another injury put paid to that as he was out for months. He came back towards the tail end of the campaign, scoring a vital winner in a tense affair against fellow strugglers Luton Town, and another crucial winner against Burnley in the penultimate home game of the season.

His last goal came on the fateful afternoon against Ipswich Town, opening the scoring in a must win game for the Whites. Unfortunately Ipswich's late equalizer sent Leeds down into League One and into administration.

He didn't hang about, moving on to Stoke City his contract obviously too big for Leeds to be able to pay. Currently at Sheffield United, Cresswell is still plying his trade and has moved onto the coaching staff.

So there are plenty of strong candidates to win this weeks section, but that is totally down to you, the readers. Pleas take a second to vote in the poll below and we would love it if you could contribute any memories you have in the comments section below. It only takes a moment to register and you can then comment about any of the articles you find on the site. Alternatively you can let us know your thoughts via Twitter @TIAT_LUFC or tell me how much you love/hate the piece @clarkyboy72. All comments are welcome but I would prefer them to be of the quality of a Lee Chapman, rather than a Cyril Chapuis!

Related: Were they fit to wear the shirt A

Were they fit to wear the shirt B - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

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