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Leeds setback opened door for top-flight dream

LEEDS United legend Billy Bremner crushed the hopes of a 19-year-old Terry Phelan when he released him in 1986.

Bremner thought Phelan, who joined Leeds aged 15, was too small to make the grade at full-back. "I would have loved to have stayed at Leeds and seen out my career there, but I can't grumble," Phelan said.

"It was a great time. I learned the game there. I met some amazing people and the fans were probably one of the best sets of fans in the world."

Ex-Leeds star Terry Yorath invited Phelan to join Swansea, and the Irish player eagerly accepted.

"I said to myself, 'I'm giving myself a year and I want to be playing in the top league'.

"So I worked my socks off for a year and Bobby Gould -- who I met only the other week in New Zealand, because his son is working here -- he ended up buying me for £90,000 and bringing me to Wimbledon."

Irish Independent