Lee Bowyer makes Leeds United prediction and reflects on Elland Road 'goosebumps' as relegated Charlton Athletic boss salutes Whites
LEE BOWYER predicted Leeds United to be mid-table in next season's Premier League and admitted being back at Elland Road gave him goosebumps before Charlton Athletic's sad relegation on Wednesday night.
Bowyer was a firm fans' favourite during six and a half years at Leeds between July 1996 and November 2003 with the midfielder part of the side that challenged for the Premier League title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.
With Bowyer having been sold to West Ham United, Leeds were eventually relegated from the top flight in 2004 but 16 years later United are finally back in the big time and the Whites signed off their season as Championship champions with Wednesday's 4-0 blitz of Bowyer's Charlton at Elland Road.
A glorious evening for Leeds saw them handed the Championship winners' trophy but Bowyer cut a naturally dejected figure on the sidelines of the ground he used to star at as the defeat condemned the Addicks to the drop to League One.
Social media featured plenty of messages for support for Bowyer and even during the lows of the realisation of relegation, Bowyer found time to reflect on his affinity with the Whites.
Informed of the feeling that many Whites fans wanted Charlton to stay up so that Bowyer could celebrate too, the former Whites ace said: "I appreciate that.
"That's nice of Leeds fans to be saying things like that.
"They are good people, great people up here.
"I will always have that relationship with the fans and the football club.
"Every time I come back I get treated with respect and everybody looks after me when I am here.
"Everyone is so polite and it's good to have good memories of places.
"Walking on the pitch today before the game started gave me goosebumps, just remembering, I remember when I was in this part of the pitch and I scored against this side and that part of the pitch and I scored against that side.
"I will always have good memories and the fans have been great.
"Even when they came to Charlton earlier in the season they were good to me so I really appreciate their kind words."
Asked if he thought a Leeds side under head coach Marcelo Bielsa would be okay in the Premier League, Bowyer said: "Yeah I do.
"I think they will be okay, I think they will be around in mid table.
"I think they are going to surprise a lot of teams because, like I have said before, their work ethic and their energy is unreal and teams can't sustain it.
"You have just seen what they have just done to us, I know you are talking about going into a different level altogether playing in the Premier League but they are very good, very very good and I am sure they will strengthen the squad as well.
"You have got good people behind the scenes, the owner, the owner is a good man so I think you will be fine."
Reflecting on Charlton's drop to League One, Bowyer admitted: "I'm not happy, we're relegated
"I just said to the players, it ain't because of tonight's game.
"We should have been safe before we even came here tonight but we wasn't and I'm disappointed obviously.
"Getting relegated is never a nice thing to have so I'm not in a good place at the moment."
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Thank you Laura Collins