Date: 19th July 2013 at 12:30am
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We are hearing that Jorge Manuel Vasconcelos Leitão has today retired from football.

We were first greeted by his presence on a pre season tour of Scotland as one of Paul Taylor’s usual imports and in true Walsall fashion many expected him to disappear into the wilderness without making a mark…how wrong could we be. He scored two goals against Raith in his first game and A.Trialist was substituted at half time to keep the scouting eyes away from him.

The transfer fee of £150,000 we paid Feirense days later, raised eyebrows amongst us all – given the last time we paid that kind of money was in 1979 for Alan Buckley. Five and half years later and Jorge was priceless to the Saddlers faithful and all the money in the world could not prize him away from Walsall.

In his first season Jorge scored 18 goals in all competitions and he was named Player Of The Season with a massive 65% of votes cast and was also named in the Division Two`s players Team Of The Year.

In his second year Jorge found it difficult to take the step up to the Championship and often found himself out of favour with Ray Graydon but still managed to score a handful of goals. In January, Colin Lee took over and in his first game Jorge scored two wonder goals to knock out Premiership outfit Charlton and more importantly in May he scored at Brammall Lane that secured our safety in the second tier of English football.

In his third full season he formed his formidable partnership with Junior and scored 12 goals which helped us to achieve our highest league finish for decades.

Many will agree that Jorge wasn’t given electric pace or amazing skills but what you got from Jorge was commitment and a man who wore his heart on his sleeve – something that you don’t get today with the modern footballer!

There are so many memories of Jorge that I will take to my grave with me; his goals that knocked out Charlton at The Valley, his goal which guaranteed our Championship safety at Brammall Lane, his man handling of Swansea’s keeper that was allowed to stand and his goal against Cambridge from the halfway line but the most lasting memory of Jorge was his last home game against Blackpool.

For 90 minutes the Walsall faithful sang his name and applauded every touch which brought Jorge to tears. He was still chasing lost causes when he finally broke down and many Saddlers will be man enough to admit that they filled up too. Jorge was homesick and no one would begrudge him a move to Beira Mar, back to his homeland.

It was an emotional farewell to a man we called one of our own.

In 258 games for Walsall he scored 71 goals.

Jorge Leitao enjoy your retirement, you deserve it!

From everyone at Vital Walsall we wish him a happy retirement and one day we will roll out the red carpet for his return.

A true Walsall legend