Michael Bridges - Leeds United fans memories of a class act

He was the Leeds United striker who looked very much a natural born Premier League finisher during his first season with the club.

Sunday, 29th November 2020, 11:30 am
Michael Bridges celebrates scoring against Leicester City at Elland Road on Boxing Day in 1999. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
Michael Bridges celebrates scoring against Leicester City at Elland Road on Boxing Day in 1999. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Michael Bridges looked an England player in waiting throughout the 1999/2000 season with Leeds United after joining the club for a then club record fee of £5 million from Sunderland.

A stunning treble in just his second start for United - in a 3-0 victory at Southampton - emphatically announced Bridges’ arrival with that haul reaching a far from unlucky 13 by Boxing Day.

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Michael Bridges celebrates scoring against Bradford City at Valley Parade in March 2000 with Stephen McPhail. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Several goals were noteworthy ones including the winner in a 3-2 home win over Newcastle in October 1999, who he would later join on loan, with doubles also coming in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Goodison Park and a 3-0 UEFA Cup victory at Lokomotiv Moscow as United scented European silverware en route to bowing out in the semi-finals.

Four goals in his final five games of his maiden season at Leeds took his tally to an impressive 21 in all competitions.

Then, it started. The injury hell, with the date of October 18, 2000, just 11 games into the famous 2000-01 season when United truly took off, one that Bridges will never forget.

A serious achilles injury sustained in a Champions League clash with Besiktas ensured he was not seen in competitive action for almost two years – his next appearance coming in a UEFA Cup tie against Metalurg Zaporizhia on September in 2002. He would only make nine more appearances in the following four seasons of his Leeds United career.

Your YEP has asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of the striker's short lived but productive time with the Whites.

Responses included:

Baz Walker - "I remember travelling six plus hours to Southampton, for me not to see any of his hat-trick goals due to being sat behind a post. Great player massive shame injury cut his Leeds career short."

Bryan Jones - "Winning goal away at Sunderland who he'd signed from. Never seen a ground empty so quick."

Jackie Heslop - "Loved this lad. Was brilliant. Such a shame about his injuries."

Geoff Quade - "Saw that hat-trick at The Dell. Bloody brilliant. He'd have had a glittering career bar injury."

Don Wilson - "Just an absolute class player. Would have been a Leeds United legend if not for injury. Great, great player."

John Slevin - "Bridges was a class act whose career was ruined by injuries."

Dennis Randall - "An absolute bargain of a buy but such a shame about the injuries.He could have been one of the Premier League strikers to have played the game."

Mark Jackson - "He seemed to often find the back of a net from half chances, scored a couple of decent volleys from the edge of the box to lob the keeper. Always liked him as a player."

Steven Pattinson - "Could have been one of the best sadly injuries stopped him."

Robert Parkinson - "What a player. My mate from Prudhoe, who is a Sunderland supporter was absolutely gutted when we signed Michael."

Robert J. Green - "Great memories of his play and class."

Ken Richardson - "A really good player for us. I was there the night he went off injured in a European match , was so sad for him as you could tell it was a bad injury."

Ty Willetts - "Unbelievable skill, shame about the injuries though."

Frank Preston - "Hat-trick at Southampton away evening game early season. Great player shame about the injuries."

Nick Connor - "Watford away into top corner which sent us top of the Premier League."

Mick Scott - "Class player great finisher would be in double figures already this season. As for last season would of bagged 30 with his eyes shut."

John Lambton - "Mickey Bridges would have been a Leeds legend if not for injuries."

David Sellers - "He loved shooting from outside the box and scored a few screamers."

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