Popular front-man excited to serve The Saddlers once more at summer tournament...SADDLERS’ supporters are in for a treat later this summer at the Club Legends Cup when Jorge Leitao, Pedro Matias and Zigor Aranalde all return to these shores to turn out for the club.
For popular Portuguese front-man, Leitao, it will be a first return since his emotional farewell at the turn of 2006.
Having joined the club in a £150,000 deal from SC Farense in the summer of 2000, Leitao went on to chalk up a total of 262 appearances for the club, helping us secure promotion via the play-offs at the end of his first season, in which he was top scorer and crowned Player of the Season, and then playing his part as we maintained our status in the second-tier of English football for a record-breaking three consecutive seasons.
During that time Leitao’s determination, non-stop effort and eye for a goal marked him out as a popular figure amongst The Saddlers’ faithful.
“I can’t wait to represent the club again,” beamed the 40 year-old. “I enjoyed my time at Walsall so much, and to get the opportunity to come back to England to play in this tournament is fantastic for me.
“It’s going to be really special and I can’t wait, to be honest. The fans were always amazing towards me and gave me so much support, I am looking forward to thanking them.
“I must warn them, though, that I’m 40 years old now so my performance on the pitch may not be as they remember!
“I stopped playing regularly a couple of years ago, but was invited by the President of my club, FC Arouca, to stay on as assistant manager.
“The club has had some success in recent years and I am enjoying my first steps into the coaching side of the game. I’m taking my first level degree here in Portugal and have to have four levels to become a manager here.
“I still love the game and want to stay involved in it for as long as I can as a coach or manager.”
Despite leaving Banks’s Stadium eight and-a-half years ago, Leitao still keeps up-to-date with all the latest news.
“I have the App downloaded on my mobile phone which gives me all the latest news and results,” he continued. “I am also friends with a lot of Walsall supporters on Facebook and Twitter, so I know exactly what’s going on at the club!”
After leaving The Saddlers, with 71 goals to his name, Leitao returned to his homeland with Beira-Mar before rejoining his former club, CD Farense.
In 2009 he linked up with FC Arouca and has helped them achieve success both as a player and assistant manager as they have climbed into the Portuguese top-flight for the first time in their history.
Ray Graydon will be in charge of the Walsall team at the Club Legends Cup, which takes place at the LG Arena in Birmingham on Saturday, July 12th.
Tickets are on sale for the event priced at £10 for adults and £2 for under-16s (plus booking fees) and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling 0844-338 8000.
All money raised from the day goes to Midlands blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia - www.cureleukaemia.co.uk
Prior to the Club Legends Cup will be the FootieBugs Little Legends Cup featuring six regional kids teams and a Ladies Legends match between two top Midlands sides.
Away from the football there will be a host of fun activities around concourse areas of the LG Arena making it a great day out for the whole family.
So, why not come along and have a great day out whilst supporting The Saddlers!
See Saddlers Wall for a Gallery of images from Leitao's Saddlers' career...