Leadbitter Appreciation Thread

#1
Thought we should show a bit of love for the departing club captain... led the team in my two favourite seasons of following Boro since the mid-00s. Model professional who always gave everything, even when his legs weren't quite there in the past couple of years. Smacks a class penner too. 

Does he go down as a club legend? Yes or no, and why? 

Message to the fans below for anyone who hasn't seen it:
I couldn’t leave Middlesbrough Football Club without saying my heartfelt thanks to everyone for what has been such a wonderful and memorable part of my career.
When I joined in 2012 I could never have dreamt of having a such a good relationship with the fans, and the welcome you gave me and your support over the years has been amazing.
I can’t thank Tony Mowbray enough for signing me in the first place,  Aitor and Leo for what they brought to the club and achieved, and Steve Agnew, who was absolutely fantastic to work with. 
It’s impossible to mention everyone by name, but from the fans to the boardroom, and from the staff around the club to the many team-mates I’ve been with in the dressing room, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for making the last six-and-a-half years so memorable.
Captaining the promotion winning side in 2015/16 was undoubtedly the high point, and even now I can’t express how proud I am to say that, especially when you think back to Monday 25th May 2015 and the horrible low feeling of emptiness after losing to Norwich at Wembley in the Play-Off final. 
The Premier League season didn’t go how any of us would have wanted, I felt particularly helpless during the time of my injury. To have worked so hard along with team mates to help this club get back to the Premier League, and to fail was tough to take.
Relegation was hard to take, as was losing in the Play-Off semi-finals last season, and I can’t deny that this season has been tough for me personally, but I always set myself high standards and continued to work hard everyday. But I will leave here with nothing but  happy memories from a club that I have enjoyed being a part of.  
A new challenge is now awaiting for me, I could not live with the regret of turning down this opportunity at Sunderland Football Club and I’d like to thank Steve Gibson and Neil Bausor for their support in making his happen. 
Thank you one and all for the memories. You have a great football club with some special people working there.
It’s been a privilege.
Grant
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#2
Best captain since Southgate.

Happy he gets the chance to go back home and more than likely end his career at a club he's supported since boyhood.
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#3
He certainly divided opinion on this forum. But I’ll say again what I said then. If you don’t understand what Grant does for the team then you don’t fully understand football
Great captain for the club for the full 7 days a week and not just 90mins on a Saturday

Good luck to whatever your next challenge is
Some Men Just want to watch the World Burn
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#4
Great captain for a number of years, give it 100% every time he stepped onto the pitch and he had a lot more quality than people gave him credit for especially on this forum.

I wish him all the best and I think he'll be an excellent signing for Sunderland.
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#5
Agree with the comments above. Always gave 100% and forced others around him to give more too. Good luck Grant.
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#6
I am genuinely staggered when people are critical of Grant as he always gave of his all when representing our team. Good luck to the fella , I know I would have the Grant of 5 years ago over the current shower in midfield

Interesting that he doesn't have a single word in there about Pulis !
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#7
Indeed thank you Grant for your drive and effort over the years you were with us and I often felt that he was stifled somewhat due to the way we play.
TMIGOTS......so far!!!
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#8
Decent Championship level midfielder and that's about it.  His captaincy is overstated in my opinion.  We had a few serious issues in his time here where his leadership seemed to count for nothing - the collapse under Mowbray and the crap start to the following season, the issues under Karanka in the promotion season and the issues within the squad in the Premier League.  That last one I'd be less critical of because he wasn't playing much and it's difficult to be a leader in those circumstances but the others he was in the thick of.  I'd also say that as a player he's contributed next to nothing for a few seasons now.

That being said, he was a decent player earlier in his spell here.  He clearly gave a crap about things and that's more than be said for a number of players we've had.  He was a central figure in the play off final season and the promotion winning season.  We've spent more money on players who were less useful to us.  That freekick he scored against Huddersfield was an absolute beaut as well.  I'm glad he has the chance to go back to Sunderland, I remember a conversation a year or two ago when I said I'd be willing to give him a free transfer for what he's done for us and it seems that's what is happening.  I can't quite wish Sunderland well but I'll wish him well.
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#9
(29-01-2019, 01:49 PM)Changing Times Wrote: Decent Championship level midfielder and that's about it.  His captaincy is overstated in my opinion.  We had a few serious issues in his time here where his leadership seemed to count for nothing - the collapse under Mowbray and the crap start to the following season, the issues under Karanka in the promotion season and the issues within the squad in the Premier League.  That last one I'd be less critical of because he wasn't playing much and it's difficult to be a leader in those circumstances but the others he was in the thick of.  I'd also say that as a player he's contributed next to nothing for a few seasons now.

That being said, he was a decent player earlier in his spell here.  He clearly gave a crap about things and that's more than be said for a number of players we've had.  He was a central figure in the play off final season and the promotion winning season.  We've spent more money on players who were less useful to us.  That freekick he scored against Huddersfield was an absolute beaut as well.  I'm glad he has the chance to go back to Sunderland, I remember a conversation a year or two ago when I said I'd be willing to give him a free transfer for what he's done for us and it seems that's what is happening.  I can't quite wish Sunderland well but I'll wish him well.

While I agree to a point, I always thought Leadbitter was more of a 'team captain' than a 'club captain'. He isn't great in interviews, and never seemed to be happy to be front and centre for any off-field team events or media stuff. In that sense, Friend is probably a better fit for that role than Grant ever was.
On the pitch, however, I think Leadbitter really excels as a captain, purely in terms of leading by example and giving people a bollocking when they need it, and the qualities you've mentioned in the second bold bit.

We won't miss him as a player, which is sad but true. Injuries and age have meant he would never be the player he was in the Karanka era, which I think is fair to say was the peak of his powers. But I don't know who else we have that will take that sort of leadership role on the pitch.
Everybody round my house for a parmo.
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#10
Not a club legend, exceeded expectations for sure it's no knock on him he fell short in the past 3 years he did the best with his talent he could. He had an exceptional engine on him under Karanka, some will always think he blocked Forshaw's path into the team because he was such a mainstay but for me Forshaw wasn't all that either every season after the playoff final he just seemed to slow an extra yard.

He'll be remembered for a reliable penalty, a good engine and a disciplined role in a promotion team not so sure he'll go down as a club legend he falls short for me he always lacked that extra bit whether it was more goals from open play or maybe taking a decent corner they'll count against him.

Fair play to him for the first 4 years he was a solid Championship footballer who exceeded most peoples expectations when we signed him but I don't think we'll be eulogising him in 10 years.
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