Derby County have confirmed, via an official statement, that a man found to be acting suspiciously outside the club’s training centre on Thursday morning was in fact a member of Leeds United’s footballing staff.
The two clubs are due to take each other in a crucial Championship fixture on Friday night at Elland Road. Marcelo Bielsa’s side are currently top of the table with 51 points, though only eight points separate them from Frank Lampard’s side in the final play-off spot of sixth.
And, astonishingly, as detailed by Derby themselves in a club statement, the Rams were forced to call the local authorities on Thursday morning, when they found a suspicious individual sniffing around their training ground.
They explain: “Derby County Football Club can confirm that officers from the Derbyshire Constabulary were called to the Derby County Training Centre at around 11:20am on Thursday 10th January 2019 following reports of a man acting suspiciously outside the premises.
“It has since been confirmed to Derby County that the individual concerned is an employee of the footballing staff at Leeds United Football Club.
“The club is now in discussion with Leeds United club officials in relation to this incident.
“At this time no further comment will be made.”
In an early contender for story of the year, it has earned comparisons with the infamous tales of Don Revie, a Leeds United legend, who used to send assistants off to compile dossiers for their upcoming opponents.
As of yet, the identity of this intruder remains unknown, as do the ramifications of the incident ahead of Friday night’s mammoth fixture.