Michael Bridges reveals brutal truth around his Leeds United exit
Michael Bridges has revealed he did not want to leave Leeds United before joining Newcastle United on loan in 2004.
Bridges, 41, arrived in West Yorkshire in 1999 after the Whites paid £5million to Sunderland for his services and netted a hat-trick in just his second game for Leeds.
However, while things started brightly, Bridges suffered badly in his five years at Elland Road with just 76 appearances and 21 goals to his name.
And it was because of injuries why Bridges wasn’t keen on leaving Leeds in 2004 when a loan opportunity at boyhood club Newcastle became available.
The financial crisis at Elland Road had ripped through the Whites squad, and then manager Eddie Gray advised Bridges to leave after informing him a new deal would not be on the table.
Even then, Bridges wanted to repay Leeds, but suggested his hand was forced as he saw out the remainder of his Leeds contract at St James’ Park.
He said: “The opportunity (to join Newcastle) came up when Eddie Gray was the manager; we were losing players left, right and centre because of the financial stuff that was going on behind the scenes.
"The place was going to ruin, and I remember Eddie saying: 'Look son, there's not going to be another contract here for you here’.
"'Bobby Robson has rang up and said he would like to take you on loan for the remainder of the season. Would you be interested'?
"I said: 'Eddie, I still want to repay the club for what they've done to me for me while I've been injured.
"He said: 'I appreciate that, but there's nothing here.'
"So, that being the case, I thought there was no better place for me to go and no better manager for me to play under."