Orta pens emotional tribute as Douglas leaves Leeds for Blackburn loan

Date published: Friday 16th October 2020 12:19 - Samuel Bannister

Blackburn Rovers have confirmed the signing of Barry Douglas on a season-long loan from Leeds United.

Douglas was a member of the Leeds squad that won promotion to the Premier League last season, but injury problems restricted him to just 15 Championship appearances.

The season before – his first at Elland Road after joining from Wolves, with whom he had also won promotion – he played 27 times.

While the main transfer window has closed, Premier League and EFL clubs can still do business until 5pm on October 16th. Leeds and Blackburn have taken advantage of that to complete Douglas’ move – with Rovers beating Watford to his signature.

The 31-year-old made a total of 44 appearances for Leeds across his two seasons with the club. Now, he will look to build up more continuity in the Championship.

While he did not feature heavily for Leeds last season, he has made an impression on senior officials at the club. Director of Football Victor Orta released a heartfelt message upon confirmation of Douglas’ exit.

“Dear Barry,” he wrote. “You are the first permanent member of our promotion winning side to leave us and therefore I felt I should write this open letter to express my thanks, but also to ensure the supporters know just how big your impact has been.

“You are clearly a top player and anyone who understands the game can see your quality. Unfortunately things have just not fallen for you in the way they should have done during your time at Leeds United, which can happen in football.

“A lot of people credit Marcelo [Bielsa] with changing the culture of Leeds United since he arrived, but you also arrived during the summer of 2018 and I know a lot of people also believe that your arrival at the club sparked a change in the dressing room too.

“You are a positive influence. I have seen first-hand how you have taken the younger players in the squad under your wing and given them important advice and it is clear to everybody that you are very popular amongst the senior players at the club.

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“The same can be said for the staff too, you have a close relationship with Chris [Beasley, kit manager] and the kit staff, the medical team, Izzy and the chefs and everyone else at Thorp Arch.

“I also know that on the night we got promoted you took our own Digital Wilson aside to let him know that the work he does has helped to build the spirit in the dressing room, which I know meant a lot to him and his team.

“Our head of communications always feeds back to me when players have gone above and beyond in the community and he has constantly informed me how much you have done for the people in this city. You care and you are a good person.


Orta picks favourite Douglas moments

“Your best moment on the field in my opinion was the cross you made for Bill [Luke Ayling] to equalise against Millwall in March 2019, whilst carrying a painful knee injury. We went on to win the game and it was one of the best atmospheres I have felt at Elland Road.

“Off the field, and on a personal note, the moment you impressed me the most was in one of my darkest moments, after the game with Derby County in the play-offs.

“The dressing room was filled with people crying and emotional, shaken and all fearing for the future – and then you burst into the room and you shouted, ‘We keep going and we do it next year’.

“For some reason, as soon as you said that the room seemed to lift, and the following season we achieved our goal.

“I understand why you are leaving. You are a proper professional and you want to play and I respect that greatly. You leave us as a champion on the pitch and I hope now people understand that you are a champion off the field too.

“Thank you for everything Barry. I wish you, Debbie, Kaidyn and your soon to be new addition all the luck in the world for the future.

“P.S. You still owe me a free kick.”


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