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Harry Kewell has issued an open letter to Leeds United fans in a bid to quell the criticism he has faced following his move to Galatasaray.
The Australia international has angered many supporters of the Elland Road club with his decision to join the Turkish giants.
Two Leeds fans, Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, were stabbed to death prior to their Uefa Cup semi-final meeting with Galatasaray in Istanbul eight years ago.
Kewell was a Whites player at the time and featured in both legs of the match, receiving a red card for a late challenge in the return fixture in West Yorkshire.
The forward, who was released by Liverpool this summer, insists that he still has strong feelings for Leeds, and that he chose his new number at Galatasaray as a mark of respect for his former club.
The letter sent to Sky Sports reads: "My love and respect for Leeds United FC and what the club has done for me will never change, no matter what anyone says about me and whatever their motives are. My sense of sorrow and sympathy for the families and friends of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight will always be with me.
"I chose the No.19 shirt when I signed for Galatasaray as a sign of respect for Leeds because that was the number I got when I first became a regular member of the Leeds United FC starting XI. I felt that it might be a way to demonstrate that I had not forgotten where it all started and I was hoping that in a small way it would help the healing process of the tragedy that occurred on the 5th of April 2000.
"For me, sport should first and foremost be about the love of your game. But equally important is the respect for not only your team-mates but all those who you compete against. For this reason I have always objected to any form of discrimination in any sport and football in particular, as that is the sport that is the most near and dear to me.
"To blame the Galatasaray club for the tragedy in Istanbul is simply wrong and discriminatory. This is a club founded in 1905 that has a proud history of striving for sporting excellence and it should be given the same respect as any other football club.
"I respect everyone's right to have their own opinion on whatever they like, but that does not make their opinion right. No one has to agree with my views or my choices, but I think it's only fair and reasonable to allow me and my family to enjoy the same democratic rights as expected by those that have been attacking me over the last few days."
Firstly i always thought Harry Kewell was a good servant for us, however I think, along with other supporters that Harry has made the wrong decision. After his desision to join Liverpool for £5 million, when other clubs had offered more including Arsenal for £8-9 million. Harry and his agent pocketed over £2 million out of that deal due to some clause in his contract. You would have thought that he would, not even try and make amends but just not rub salt into our wounds. Cheers HK
Posted 22:40 9th July 2008
We`re not all bitter and twisted Leeds fans, HK did what he thought was best as a footballer. I was quite shocked when i first heard of the move but its just another football team. He hasnt done it to insult us, hes done it to do what he does best......Play Football. Weve had loads of players go to clubs i dont like, mainly Man U with Cantona and Smithy etc, but life and football go on. This is all in the past, im sick of ppl looking back, the last 7-8 years have been shear crap for us, goin from money troubles to relegation to points deductions to administration and to another relegation. All im bothered about is Leeds United and the start of our new campaign, with Macca and a good squad to get us moving back where we belong. My views will defo not satisfy a lot of ppl but im an untwisted happy Leeds fan who is happy to still have a Leeds United to support.
Posted 17:44 8th July 2008
As a Leeds fan its hard to read all the comments from Man U fans about the matter not having anything to do with Galatasary supporters. You must have thought it had something to do with the phsycotic fans because if i remember correctly you brought a sign to Elland Road reading "ISTANBUL REDS" mmm i wonder what was ment by that. If Kewell was a nice and caring as everyone on this forum makes out, he No1 would have left ensuring that the club could possibly get a bit of money for him rather then mess us about and let his agent cop off with most of it, No2 just tell the fans where your going to be playing next season, but instead he kept us guessing when Kewell turned up for Leeds Utd with his hair dyed red, Liverpool fans will know what i mean because it wasnt hard for Fernando Torres to let the fans know where he was going to be playing next season with "you'll never walk alone" inside the captains arm band. If kewell wanted to play abroad what is wrong with Roma!! Good riddence Kewell, C'mon Super Leeds!!!!! Cheers
Posted 10:10 8th July 2008
first off Harry Kewell hasn't done this for the money he was offered £10,000 more a week at pompey but wanted 2 play abroad so he hasn't done it for the money. Secondly what happened was tragic but it was 2 random turks killing 2 innocent brits and no matter who you are u r saddened 2 hear this but the turks wernt gala fans. i think leeds fans should leave Kewell alone and let him get on with trying to get his career back on track after injuries. i say good luck to him and i hope United meet gala in the champs league nxt yr. CJ
Posted 15:07 7th July 2008
This is typical of leeds fans, most bitter fans around. There is no problem for Juventus buying Xavi Alonso from liverpool after heysel!!!! It is terrible what happened to those two leeds fans however it had nothing to do with football.
Posted 15:06 7th July 2008
Would you Leeds fans stop feeling sorry for yourselves and move on. Was Harry Kewell supposed to put the Leeds fans feelings first ahead of his own and his family? Leeds fans have a bad enough name in England and have no right to point the finger. Harry Kewell was an excellent servent for Leeds so why don't you remember that instead of being bitter every time a player leaves your club to better himself!
Posted 14:34 7th July 2008
No respect! Not only did he leave Leeds high and dry in times of crisis but now he is rubbing salt in the wounds. Just goes to show what a footballer will do for money. It's about time players wages were capped! Let's bring football back to what was the beautiful game.
Posted 14:28 7th July 2008
For all the fine words HK says, or should I say his agent has wrote for him, there is one reason and one reason only that he has chosen to join Galatasaray, MONEY. Its the second time he has done the dirty on the Leeds United fans Continue to look after yourself Mr Kewell I'm sure you really need the cash !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted 12:25 7th July 2008
Its time to move on. It was 8 years ago and, yes it was an absolute tragedy, but the underlying current here seems to be that anyone with anyconnection to Leeds can never sign for Galatasaray and that is only looking backwards. Many football clubs have suffered tragedy's and its always looking forwards that helps the healing process.
Posted 12:23 7th July 2008
Why do Leeds United fans think the footballing world revolves round them, this is none of your buisness, Kewell does not play for you and hasn't played for you for a long time! It was the same with the points deductions as in this situation, you think you are the most important club that demands to have attention constantly! If I were Kewell I wouldn't have even commented back to the fans, your getting like you chairman, over-opinionated and stick your nose into were it don't belong!
Posted 12:13 7th July 2008
Leeds fans need to get a grip of the situation. Kewell obviously saw Portsmouth as a step down from Liverpool. With Galatasary he will have opportunities to win trophies and play eruropean football every season. Most importantly he will play every week. How dare the Leeds fans criticise his decision. Not so long ago a minutes silence was held at Old Trafford in commemeroation of the Munich air disaster. The Leeds fans thought it was hilarious to chant and throw paper aeroplanes on the pitch. Not so funny now is it?
Posted 12:05 7th July 2008
In response to S Spicer, no i do not and would not ever go on holiday to Turkey. What their fans did was unforgivable and hopefully it will never happen to West Ham, although you would have to actually get into Europe first. Also how come the Turkish clubs and also the Italian clubs are never pulled up for the behaviour of their fans whereas if English clubs put a foot wrong we get done. As for Kewell he can go where he wants but then don't issue a statement saying how much he loves Leeds when he'll be playing for the enemy. Next we'll be getting a letter from Alan Smith!
Posted 11:51 7th July 2008
So I assume no Leeds fans ever go on holiday to Turkey. Good grief. Hopefully Harry actually spends more time on the pitch rather than the treatment table.
Posted 11:27 7th July 2008
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