Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

O’Donnell: Christopher (Chris)

1989-1991 (Player Details)

Centre Half

Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne: 26-05-1968

Debut: v Hull City (h) (Substitute): 10-02-1990

5’9” 12st (1989)

O’Donnell started with Ipswich Town as a trainee before turning professional in June 1985. He made his debut for "The Tractor Boys" in a 3-2 home win over Plymouth Argyle in the Full Members' Cup First Round on 165th September 1986. His final game at Portman Road was in a 0-3 away loss to Nottingham Forest in the F.A. Cup on 17th January 1989. He had a spell on loan with Northampton Town in January 1988, making one League appearance. When he left on a free transfer to Leeds United in July of 1989 he had made ten starts and four substitute League appearances and had also started seven and came off the bench three times in the F.A. Cup, while at Portman Road. He could hardly have made a more disrupted start to life at Elland Road as an extract from a Leeds United programme related. Headed "O'Donnell Returns:" It continued, "His comeback was launched tentatively via just a few lengths of the local Swimming Pool but United defender Chris O'Donell was almost on cloud nine. For it meant that he was able at last to start to put the heartbreak of missing the first two months of the season behind him after his summer move from Ipswich Town. Twenty-one year old Chris, paraded as one of the "Magnificent Seven" newcomers, was unfortunate enough to contract Glandular Fever, and although not as bad a bout as long suffering Glyn Snodin, he has been forced to kick his heels. The likeable Geordie said "I was doing all right pre-season, but about a week before the start of the season I started to feel weak and tired and was told there was nothing to do but just rest and take vitamin tablets. " It was very disappointing particularly with Leeds having got off to such a good start and could not have been worse timed. "The longest period I had been out before was four weeks with damaged knee ligaments and I was only fourteen at that time. "I went back to Newcastle to stay with my Mum and Dad but all I could do was a bit of reading and watch television. But now I feel ready to start again and have been given the go ahead to do some swimming and a bit of jogging. It will be like starting pre-season all over again, but at least I am back involved. "United physio Alan Sutton said "I do not anticipate any problems but this sort of thing is hard on a lad coming to a new club who is keen to impress. Now Chris has set his sights on adding eventually to his fifteen Football League appearances - fourteen with Ipswich and one on loan to Northampton Town." His only first-team action at Elland Road came as a seventy-fourth minute substitute for Jim Beglin in February 1990. A later reference in the Leeds United programme added a further disappointment in his Leeds career. It was headed "O'Donnell's mixed emotions" and continued, "Defender Chris O'Donnell was on cloud nine after becoming the last of the so named "Magnificent Seven" summer signing to make his first team debut for United against Hul City. But sadly he came down with a bump when an hamstring injury suffered in the reserves against Coventry City denied him the chance of playing against his former club Ipswich Town last Saturday. O'Donnell said "the call-up against Hull came up out of the blue. I knew I was in the squad but expected to watch the match and then saw my name down as substitute. "I did not have time to be nervous as I did not know I was to be involved until two o'clock. I have been centre-back regularly in the reserves and when I went on in the second half set in between Chris Fairclough and Peter Haddock and felt OK. O'Donnell thought that signalled the end of a nightmare time when he was side-lined from the start of the season with glandular fever. It took him three months to recover and a rehabilitation programme of two-and-a-half before he came back into the reserves. "I played four matches in the reserves at Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers at home, and at Huddersfield Town and Liverpool and felt I was starting to get my match sharpness. I felt I was totally over the glandular fever with no tiredness symptoms and I was looking to earning my money and repaying the gaffer for standing by me. But then came the hamstring injury which ended the hopes of a return to Portman Road where he made fourteen league appearances in five seasons. O'Donnell groaned, " It is something I could have and the morning after I felt right down in the dumps but you have to keep your head up. In all my time at Ipswich the most I missed was a month with a rib injury. I was desperate to play there and try and prove a point. Things went wrong for me there although I do not want to go into the reasons" In two seasons at Elland Road, he had to be content almost exclusively in reserve team football, playing more than half of the Central League fixtures, which was understandable as Leeds had a choice of many central defenders at the time. So it came as no surprise when he moved on a free transfer to the champions of the Fourth Division in 1989-90, Exeter City, in August 1991 then managed by former Leeds United and England stalwart, Terry Cooper who had led the club to the afore mentioned promotion. He went straight into the Grecians' first team and made his debut in a 3-6 opening day of the season defeat by West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on 17th August 1991. He retained his place in the side for the following game, but was then overlooked again, especially after City changed managers with the appointment of Alan Ball. He left Exeter, when his contract was cancelled by mutual consent in October 1991. So after experiencing just two League games, he returned to his native North East and signed for Football Conference side, Gateshead.

League 0/10