Kevin Blackwell made Stephen his first cash signing after a summer in which the 10 players that preceded
him had all been free transfers.
The full-back joined Leeds on what was initially a loan deal on Friday 6th August, possibly the shortest
loan spell ever, before his move from Southampton was made permanent for £200,000 the following Monday.
Possessing a good temperament combined with passing ability and a powerful shot make Crainey an excellent
addition to the squad
With Celtic as a youngster, he had broken into the first-team in 2001-02 and went on to play 13 times
for the Glasgow giants but his chances were restricted in the next year’s campaign when Celtic reached the UEFA Cup
final due to strained knee ligaments.
Further frustration followed with boss Martin O’Neill preferring three centre backs while Crainey’s
talents are more suited to the role of an orthodox left back in a back four.
As a Scottish international who has also picked up five caps for the under 21 side the thought of sitting
on the bench did not appeal. An ill fated move to Southampton followed in the Christmas transfer window.
Signed by ex-United star Gordon Strachan, Stephen saw his chances of holding down a first team place
evaporate when Strachan promptly decided to quit his post at St Mary's and another Scot, Paul Sturrock was brought in.
Towards the end of last season he picked up a groin strain that was deemed sufficiently serious to
require surgery at the start of the summer, but that went well and he arrived at Elland Road fully fit.
He made his full debut in the 0-0 draw with Wolves at Molineux on August 14th 2004.
He is currently out with a groin injury and may require an operation which could put him out of action
for the rest of the season.