19/09/2011

Jorge Leitão Interview

Taking time out from his busy family life and footballing schedule Walsall Legend Jorge Leitão shares his thoughts about his time at the club, his current status and his favourite moment as a Saddler.
Taking time out from his busy family life and footballing schedule Walsall Legend Jorge Leitão shares his thoughts about his time at the club, his current status and his favourite moment as a Saddler.

You joined Walsall from CD Feirense for £150,000 in July 2000, after an impressive trial period, how much did you know about the English lower leagues and more specifically Walsall Football Club?

JL - To be honest, the first time I heard about Walsall was when my agent asked me if I wanted to go on trial at Walsall, and I said yes, because I always loved to watch the Premiership games back in Portugal, but only Premiership games, that's why I didn't know much about the lower division.

What were your first impressions of then manager, Ray Graydon?

JL - My first impressions, was that he was really demanding, very professional.

At the time you were studying for a Degree in Sports Science, was it an easy decision to stop your studies and begin life in another country?

JL - It wasn't an easy decision, but like I said before, I always loved to watch the Premiership games back here, so I couldn't refuse this offer, knowing that I wasn't going to play in the Premiership, but I knew that in England, no matter what division you play, the games are really exciting and with lots of people watching.

You became an instant fan favourite thanks to your hard working 'Never Say Die' style of play, were you surprised by how quickly the supporters took to you?

JL - I was really surprised, couldn't believe all the support. So, I just have to thank all the supporters, because they were amazing, and really helped me to settle in. And was always a joy playing for the Saddlers.

In your first season you were Top Scorer, Player of the Season and also helped the club achieve promotion via the Play-Offs, could you have imagined a better start?

JL - No, not in my first year, but like I said, the supporters really helped me and the team, to never give up. It was my best season as a footballer. And I thank you all for that.

In 2002/2003 you and Junior had an impressive partnership, producing over 30 goals between you and helping the club to it's best position since the 1950's, what made your partnership so good, and were you disappointed when he left for Derby County at the end of the season?

JL - One thing is that we speak the same language, and off course I was disappointed to lose him to Derby, because he was a really good player. He's playing in Brazil now, we still keep in touch.

After four and a half years with Walsall you decided it was time to return to Portugal, and subsequently signed a pre-contract agreement with SC Beira-Mar, how did you come to the decision it was time to go?

JL - I was missing home, and Beira-Mar was in a really good position to get promotion to the Premier here in Portugal, so i wanted to play in the Premier, and i took that chance. And we got promoted and became champions at the end of the season.

During your final appearance for The Saddlers, the fans sang passionate tributes to you for nearly thirty minutes and cheered your every touch of the ball, did you ever expect such an emotional send off?

JL - No, I got really emotional when I saw everyone cheering, applauding, I start to cry, because I spent my best years as a footballer Playing for Walsall F.C. I will never forget that moment.

Do you still look out for Walsall's results, and what do you think of the current squad? We could certainly do with your goal scoring ability at the moment.

JL - I watch all the results every week, last season was difficult, but they managed to stay up, and I hope that this year is gonna be better. And just hope that they will start to find the back of the net.

You're now plying your trade for FC Arouca in the Portuguese second tier, did you ever expect to still be playing aged 37? From what we've seen, you've got a few seasons left yet!

JL - I'm still feeling good, I just missed two games last year, and I'm going to try the same this season. Still don't know if this is gonna be my last season....hope not!!!!!

And finally... Do you have any favourite moments/memories from your time at Walsall Football Club?

JL - It's difficult to pick just one moment, i had so good moments and memories. The game at Millennium Stadium when we got promoted, when we won at Charlton...just to name a few.

Thank you for answering our questions, I'm sure my fellow Walsall supporters will be delighted to hear from you.

JL - Just wanna say thanks to all Walsall supporters for everything. I couldn't have made it without you all. All the best for this season - Jorge Leitão

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