Date:Saturday June 12 2010
Leon Britton insists that he didn't leave Swansea City for the money, after he joined Sheffield United this week on a free transfer.
The move came as quite a surprise to everyone as Wigan Athletic looked favourites to land the midfielder as he'd moving up a division and working again with former colleague Roberto Martinez.
Instead, he's turned down a number of Premiership offers to stay in the Championship with the Blades.
Britton told the Evening Post:
'I know people are going to talk about money, but there were other offers on the table which would have meant more money for me.
'It's not just about money. You've got to make sure the deal is right for you of course, but I decided that Sheffield United was the right move for me.
'I've made the toughest decision of my football career in agreeing to join Sheffield United. It was widely reported that I had offers from Premier League clubs and it was true that there were offers from clubs at that level.
'I've made no secret of the fact that I have ambitions to play at the highest level but, without mentioning the clubs by name, I felt that the opportunities were not right for me at this time.
'I also had a number of Championship offers and after much deliberation opted for Sheffield United.
'Looking at my own performances last season, I felt that I needed a new challenge. I met with (United boss) Kevin Blackwell and listened to his aspirations for next season.
'He sold the club to me and reassured me about their title ambitions and the squad he is assembling.
'When you add in an average crowd of more than 25,000, there's no doubt in my mind that I'm joining a huge club who have every chance of becoming a Premier League side as early as 2011.'
Britton said he was happy to be joining Sheffield United but also sad to be leaving Swansea City after such a long spell with the club.
'As happy as I am to be joining Sheffield United, I am also very sad to be leaving Swansea City after eight magnificent years,'
'Swansea gave me my chance in League two back in 2002 and thanks to them I've become the player I am today.
'I have worked under some great managers in Brian Flynn, Kenny Jackett, Roberto Martinez and Paulo Sousa and they have all had positive effects on my career. I hope Kevin Blackwell can now do the same. I would like to thank everyone at Swansea for the way they took me to their hearts.
'I would also like to thank my team-mates, who have been a pleasure to work with and every Swansea City fan who has come to support me over the seasons and made my time at the club so enjoyable.'
'I hope this decision will prove to be a positive one for me. Every footballer has to make difficult decisions during their career and leaving Swansea has been very difficult for me.
'I look forward to returning to the Liberty next season and hope I receive a positive reception. I don't know what the reception will be like — I won't until the moment I step out onto the pitch.
'I hope it will be good but in football you never know.'
Britton rejected to start new contract talks last year and ever since then his Swansea City future has been in doubt. It became inevitable by the end of the season that he'd be moving on.
'There has been a lot of speculation about my future since as early as January as I was in the final year of my contract and there had been interest from a couple of clubs about taking me on loan,'
'I was keen to put my contract talks on hold until the summer to allow me to concentrate fully on my football with Swansea and on trying to achieve what we all hoped for, which was promotion to the Premier League.
'Unfortunately that didn't happen and that meant I was always going to be faced with a tough decision about my future at such an important stage of my career.
'Who knows what might happen in the future — ideally both Swansea and Sheffield United will reach the Premier League.'
What are your thoughts on Leon Britton and his move to Sheffield United? Have you lost all respect for him for leaving or do you still fully support him for his service to the club?
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Date:Saturday June 12 2010
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