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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

December 29: Michael Bridges will be suspended for the FA Cup tie against Manchester City after yesterday's booking. There has been no movement yet by the FA on rescinding the hopelessly misguided bookings that Lee Bowyer and Lucas Radebe received against the cheats from Leicester, so it looks like both will miss the Villa game - but hopes are rising that David Batty could be back for that game.

December 29: Harry Kewell has been named Oceania Player of the Year in a sports writers poll ahead of Mark Viduka - despite all the negative reaction to the recent club vs country conflict.

December 29: Leeds have confirmed that the games against Coventry on March 4 and Bradford on Match 11 have both been put back by a day to allow for recovery after the UEFA Cup games against Roma.

December 28: A different referee (that is one who applied the laws consistently) might have made a difference to the number of players left on the pitch (Ljungberg's 3 dives, Overmars' elbow on Kelly, Vieira's two-footed jump at Harte spring to mind) but it wouldn't have made any difference to the final result. We were tired, we failed to control the midfield and gave them too much space up front while not creating enough chances ourselves. Time for a rest and a regroup - a new century beckons, and there's lots of silverware to be claimed.

December 28: Highbury was evacuated due to a bomb scare before the game. With the way we played we'd have been better if the game hadn't gone ahead.

December 28: Leeds accounts show that we received £3 million in the end for George Graham from Spurs - looks like an excellent bit of business - we get the cash and O'Leary and Spurs get the manager they deserve!

December 27: Darren Huckerby joins the list of hobbling wounded and is doubtful for tomorrow's game at Highbury - this would mean a start for new boy Jason Wilcox in a crucial game - Leeds' 9th in 31 days.

December 26: Leeds once again proved that they won't be found lacking for fighting spirit, coming from behind to beat Leicester 2-1 at Elland Road. That's us halfway through the campaign now - and it sees us 12 points and 3 places higher than we were at a similar point last year. Can we keep it up? If we beat Arsenal on Tuesday, we'll be 11 points clear of them and a Champions League slot will begin to look a probability rather than a possibility. But let's wait until those chickens hatch or else they might just come home to roost.

December 26: Stephen McPhail has had his contract upgraded now that he's a regular in the first team - he's now been put on approximately £12,000 a week.

December 26: Maybe the New Year will bring us some new transfer targets, but for now we're linked yet again with Oliver Bierhof from AC Milan. He'd cost us £7 million - which for a player who has scored 20 goals in a year in Serie A seems a good buy - and might now be willing to fit into Leeds' wages structure.

December 25: A very Merry Christmas to all my readers - watch out for more new features coming to the site over the festive season and into the new year.

December 23: Leeds are being linked with Peterborough's Simon Davies and Matthew Etherington. The players - aged 18 and 20 - have been allegedly been attracting the attention of Manchester United and a bid from Spurs has already been rejected. However good they are I'd question the wisdom of meeting Posh's valuation of £2 million apiece.

December 23: Patrick Vieira will return after his suspension against Leeds on December 28 - it's a shame that Alan Smith isn't playing since he'd soon have the Frenchman wound up and seeing red again. Have to leave that job to Harry Kewell I guess...

December 23: Peter Ridsdale is laying it on thick with DOL for Christmas, saying that he could see O'Leary being referred to in the same breath as Shankly, Revie and Ferguson. Meanwhile he again pointed out the club's ongoing ambitions and the policy on trying to retain players who want to be part of the club but being happy to let players go if their commitment was in doubt.

December 23: Former Leeds left back Nigel Worthington has resigned as manager of Blackpool after trying for several years to take the club further on a shoestring budget. They played well against Arsenal last week, holding the Gunners for a long time before going down 2-1 in the FA Cup.

December 22: Alan Smith is likely to be available for the Villa game on January 3, but David Batty is still undergoing treatment for his calf injury and isn't sure when he'll return. On the positive side, Martin Hiden played the full game for the reserves last night, and that fixture also saw the re-emergence of Lee Matthews and Tommy Knarvik from long-term injuries.

December 21: The reserves went down 3-2 to Bradford tonight after leading 2-0. By all accounts, our centre-back pairing of Danny Hay and Michael Duberry did not set the world on fire, but it was another useful outing for Jason Wilcox who needs to get to full match fitness.

December 21: Peter Ridsdale specifically denied that Leeds were interested in Matt Jansen - although this morning's papers were full of it.

December 21: Soccer Australia have postponed the next round of the Kewell War by rather sensibly deciding not to select him for a pre-Olympic tournament next year.

December 21: Frank LeBoeuf has apologised to Harry for that stamp on Sunday, and will hope that ref Jeff Winter's report is not too critical of him: he's already facing a 2-match ban for the red card and could see that considerably extended in the light of his petulant behaviour on the day.

December 20: Leeds could be picking up another player from Blackburn to keep Jason Wilcox company. It was rumoured that Matt Janzen was going to sign at the end of last week - and with Rangers out of the bidding, Leeds could be in for the unsettled player who cost Brian Kidd £4.1 million last year.

December 20: David Batty and Alan Smith are unlikely to be fit in time for the Leicester game on Boxing Day - and could also struggle for the visit to Arsenal on December 28.

December 20: Lee Bowyer's booking yesterday means that - unless Graham Barber overturns his decisions of last Wednesday - both Bowyer and Radebe will miss Leeds' game against Villa on January 3.

December 19: Well done to Gianluca Vialli for once again providing an honest assessment of the game - and for his sensible take on LeBoeuf's dismissal. Strangely for a manager, he came out and agreed that the Frenchman needed to go, and sensibly stated that any further disciplinary action would be taken behind closed doors by the club.

December 19: Transfer news - and this time it's a Leeds player being linked with a move out instead of vice-versa. Alfi Haaland - who must despair of ever stepping out for the first team again - has been linked with a move to Bolton, who are looking to strengthen their side in a promotion push.

December 19: I turned up traditionally, fashionably and luckily late and missed Lee Bowyer's booking. And Chelsea's domination of the first half left me worrying that the Sky jinx was going to get us again. But Stephen McPhail's first goal for the club got us on the way, Jason Wilcox made an impressive debut and Frank "World Cup Winner" LeBoeuf helped seal Chelsea's fate with a stupid hack at Harry to earn a second yellow card. McPhail's second was the icing on the cake - we're back on top of the league, and although Sunderland, Man U and Arsenal remain in close pursuit, this was always going to be one of the crucial games.

December 18: A good day for the old boys today, with Clyde Wijnhard again on target as Huddersfield beat Grimsby, and David Wetherall getting Bradford's second in their victory over Newcastle. Meanwhile Brian Deane bagged Boro's winner against Judas Graham's mob at the Riverside.

December 17: Most of the first team turned up on the children's ward at St. James' Hospital yesterday to spread a little Christmas cheer. One of the patients gave Lucas Radebe a red card to match the one that Graham Barber had given him the night before.

December 17: David Batty is almost certainly out of Sunday's game at Chelsea - with Alan Smith also in doubt. New signing Jason Wilcox could start, leaving Harry Kewell with the opportunity to partner Michael Bridges, and Matthew Jones or Alfi Haaland staking strong claims to a place to solidify the midfield in what will be a very important game.

December 17: Peter Ridsdale has been elected to the FA Executive Board, where he will sit alongside Arsenal's David Dein, Ken Bates from Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday's Dave Richards.

December 17: Jason Wilcox joined Leeds from Blackburn today for £3 million. He's played quite a bit at left-back for Blackburn recently, so maybe he's there as cover for Harte. He's also not a bad crosser of the ball, so maybe DOL is also looking to use him on the left wing - and give Harry a more roaming role either alongside or just behind Michael Bridges. Stephen McPhail could be the most immediate short-term casualty of this signing after a run of not totally impressive performances on the left/centre of midfield.

December 16: Graham Barber is to be asked to review the TV evidence of Radebe's dismissal last night. The pictures clearly show that no contact was made, so we've got a pretty strong case. While he's at it he could take a look at Lee Bowyer's booking and explain how a perfectly timed challenge that won the ball merits a yellow card. Lucas will miss the Villa game at the start of the new year if the sending off stands.

December 16: For the 18th time this season, DOL has hit out at the organisation of the UEFA Cup - complaining that its sole purpose seems to be to ensure that the "big" clubs have the best possible chance of winning a trophy. With the dubious draw practices - and the seeding which is contrary to the rules stated on UEFA's web site - you can sympathise, but like the "They're only babies, they'll win nothing" line, this one is beginning to drag on a bit.

December 16: David Batty is looking doubtful for Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge after going off last night in the defeat at Leicester with a recurrence of his calf injury. This will be a major blow since he is definitely the Player of the Season to date, and Leeds look like a different side whenever he's around.

December 15: Leeds' youth team have been drawn at home to Colchester in the next round of the Times-sponsored FA Youth Cup - to be played on January 20.

December 15: Emile Heskey is a cheat and Graham Barber is on the take. That's the only possible explanation of tonight's events. Heskey's two dives got two yellow cards for Lucas Radebe, and Barber's selective blindness worked heavily in Leicester's favour. We might not have done enough to win - but we certainly didn't deserve to lose like this.

December 15: Leeds have a chance to avenge last year's UEFA Cup defeat by AS Roma in March - and if they get past that then Udinese or Slavia Prague should provide one of the easier passages to the next round.

December 14: Tomorrow we'll be looking to see if Emile Heskey is likely to be worth the money - assuming he's not already destined for Liverpool. Heskey is apparently not keen to come to Leeds after being the target of alleged racial abuse at a game a couple of years ago. The fact that the abuse was more related to and inspired by his use of elbows on our defenders and the astounding - almost Ginola-like - inability of such a big man to stay on his feet under the mildest of challenges has been conveniently swept under the carpet, but he would no doubt become a firm favorite at Elland Road if he were to make the move and score a few goals...

December 14: As expected, the Man City game has been put back to Sunday 9 January, KO at 1400 GMT and will be shown live on ITV.

December 14: Leeds will face one of the three Italian clubs left in the UEFA Cup - Juventus, Parma or Roma - or AS Monaco. The draw is made tomorrow lunchtime, and I wouldn't mind a trip back to the Principality - but after the experiences I had there when we beat them 3-0 a couple of years ago I think I'll be travelling under my own steam rather than with the club.

December 13: Eirik Bakke has made it clear that - for the moment - he's happy to be a squad player, and will be quite happy if he's on the bench on Wednesday. He realises the importance of David Batty to the side - but obviously doesn't want to end up in the same dead end that Alfi Haaland currently finds himself.

December 13: Port Vale chairman Bill Bell has slammed Peter Ridsdale for not reducing ticket prices for Sunday's game - which is a bit rich considering it was Vale that insisted on Leeds charging two thirds more for a ticket for that game than was charged for the UEFA Cup game against Spartak 3 days earlier. Someone needs to sit down and explain the laws of supply and demand to Mr Bell.

December 13: Leeds will be hoping to field a side including David Batty in Wednesday's Worthington Cup game at Leicester. Batty has missed the last two games with a calf injury, and will be looking to help the side chase yet another piece of silverware at Filbert Street.

December 12: Leeds will face Manchester City at Maine Road in the 4th round of the FA Cup after today's victory over Port Vale. The tie should be played on January 8 (but might be moved for TV).

December 12: Well there's a surprise. Despite being top of the Premier League and having beaten two teams who have dropped out of the Champions League, Leeds will not be seeded for the next round of the UEFA Cup. Arsenal miss out on the seeding as well, so Leeds will end up facing one of the following eight seeded teams: Parma, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Monaco, Roma, Deportivo La Coruna and Slavia Prague.

December 11: David Batty is still doubtful for tomorrow's game, but is hoping to be coming off the course of steroids that he's been on since picking up a heart problem after a rib injury 12 months ago. He'll almost certainly be fit for Wednesday's Worthington Cup game against Leicester - which will be live on Sky Sports 2.

December 11: Brian Deane bagged a goal for Boro in this afternoon's FA Cup game but Wrexham came back to win 2-1. Meanwhile Lee Sharpe was more successful - on target for Bradford after coming on as sub and scoring against Crewe, and Noel Whelan got the first for Coventry as they went through at Norwich. Leeds U19 side managed to beat Boro's youngsters 2-1 in the Alliance League.

December 10: Lucas Radebe revealed he could be in line to win a small wager this season: he's had his regular bet with physio Dave Swift that he will score 3 goals in a season - and he's now two thirds of the way there. He says he's saving the 3rd for the UEFA Cup Final - I hope he means this year's!

December 10: Spartak have had one final dig at Leeds, complaining again about the cancelled game in Moscow. Well maybe they should have thought about that when they turned the undersoil heating off a week before the game. The draw for the next round and the quarter-finals takes place next Wednesday 15 December.

December 09: We won! We won! We gave them enough chances and relied on Nige to save us at least 3 times, but Lucas Radebe's 3rd ever goal for the club 5 minutes from the end of the game saw us into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. I love these late winners! We could end up facing JFH in the next round, since he scored again for Atletico as they went through 5-3 on aggregate against Wolfsburg. The remaining 14 teams are: Borussia Dortmund, Udinese, Celta Vigo, Galatasary, Mallorca, Monaco, Lens, Arsenal, Roma, Deportivo La Coruna, Parma, Juventus, Werder Bremen and Slavia Prague. What's the betting that we get the eastern European team again - time to dust off the Czech book :-)

December 09: Tickets for the Port Vale game are moving very slowly (surprise surprise) with only 10000 sold so far. Maybe the Port Vale directors should have listened to Peter Ridsdale when he recommended continuing the £12 ticket price.

December 08: David Batty did train on Monday, but DOL reckons he's definitely not playing tomorrow night. This might be a bit of kidology, and although we need him back I'd sooner see him back for the season rather than for one game. There's a story in the YEP which holds the opposite view - so it sounds like it's a close-run thing.

December 07: If there was a UEFA prize for big-mouthed BS then Spartak would win hands down - the verbals have restarted in preparation for Thursday's game. Stephen McPhail should be fit, and with Lucas Radebe back to mark their returning top scorer, we can only hope to wipe the sneers off their faces. Preferably with a last minute dodgy penalty so they can complain about it for the next month.

December 07: Kevin Keegan has mentioned Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate as players he sees playing a big part in England's future. So get off the fence and get Lee picked for a game then Kev! When you're reduced to calling up Paul Ince ahead of such an accomplished and talented young player it doesn't say much about your faith in their ability.

December 07: Ref Paul Alcock has said that he's seen nothing in the TV replays to make him change his mind about the hotly contested penalty he awarded on Sunday. He made the point that, with Kewell in full flight, Carbonari's attempted challenge was always risky - and with Harry heading away from goal, pointless.

December 06: Spartak Moscow warmed up for Thursday with a 5-1 victory in a friendly over Telford tonight. Let's hope that's them all scored out for the real game...

December 06: To Geoff Horsfield, add Hakan Sukor (disappointing for Galatsaray in this year's Champions League) or Matt Jansen - out of favour at Blackburn since Tony Parkes took over. Neither sound like the solution to our problems - we need to look some more.

December 06: Jim Smith's carping about Harry Kewell's tumble for yesterday's pen might have some grounding in reality - but the one question he's not asking is why was Horacio Carbonari so stupid as to slide in and give Harry a chance to go to ground in the first place. DOL meanwhile has backed the player and insisted that Carbonari clipped H's trailing leg.

December 05: That money must be burning a hole in DOL's pockets - and Geoff Horsfield's performance against Spurs in midweek has put his name in the frame. Not a bad choice, but we do need some depth to the team - and the sooner the better.

December 05: Another one! We deserved the three points, and Alan Smith's disallowed goal looked perfectly okay to us - so a dubiously-awarded pen in the 92nd minute was nowt more than justice. Good performances generally - but Huckerby was disappointing and Lucas and Woody looked solid restored at the centre of the defence. Full marks for Harte too - he blasted the pen straight, which was probably a good idea since he's placed the last couple in the corner.

December 04: Old boy news: Clyde Wijnhard scored the only goal for Huddersfield against QPR, and Tony Yeboah did the same for Hamburg against Eintracht Frankfurt to take their teams to the top of their respective divisions.

December 04: Peter Ridsdale told the plc's annual meeting that they were aiming to start work on the £80 million project to develop a sports and exhibition arena and hotel at the ground in the summer. There has been much talk about it - and some local opposition - but outline planning consent has been given and the plans are now with the council. He also indicated that the end of the bond scheme could boost ticket revenue by up to £800,000 - he's obviously not spoken to many of the bondholders: just about everyone I've spoken to with a bond is unlikely to renew. Still, if they can find replacements for 5000 season ticket holders, good luck to them.

December 03: Leeds' scheduled reserve team game with Man U next week has been put back due to the fixture congestion that the first team are facing at the moment. A new date will be announced shortly.

December 03: After City questions about directors' commitment and belief in the club, Peter Ridsdale today bought 10000 shares in Leeds Sporting, and other directors are likely to follow suit. Ridsdale pointed out that for a variety of reasons it had not been possible for the other members of the board to acquire shares over the last couple of months, but now that the departure of slimeball Graham's mate Chris Akers (not that I would judge anyone by the company they keep) and Jeremy Fenn are sealed, it is expected that all of the board will be acquiring a stake in the plc - which should do something to indicate to City analysts that they believe the company has a bright future.

December 03: Batts is looking doubtful for Sunday's game at Derby, and Michael Bridges will also need some serious treatment ahead of what could be an important league game. Lucas Radebe will be back, but if Bridges is out we could be seeing Harry Kewell pushed further forward alongside Alan Smith and with a 4-man midfield. Meanwhile Derby boss Jim Smith will appear before the FA after accusing Mike Reed of being biased in favour of Man United. Rumours that the FA are simultaneously investigating Reed for not being biased enough would I'm sure be strenuously denied...

December 02: Mark Jackson has gone to Norwich on loan with a view to a permanent move. He's not really got much of a hope of making it in the current squad and spent some time at Huddersfield last year in a similar deal.

December 02: Leeds took the lead against Spartak in Sofia tonight, but without David Batty to control the middle of the park, they always looked vulnerable. Two goals either side of half time gave Moscow the win they deserved, but with Harry Kewell's early tap-in from a dodgy backpass, Leeds have an away goal that might prove crucial next Thursday.

December 01: There's a strong incentive for Leeds to go for it against Leicester in the Worthington Cup game in a fortnight - a home quarter-final against a very useful-looking Fulham side beckons after they dismissed Slimeball Graham's Norf Laarndon XI at Craven Cottage tonight.

December 01: "Bakke to Wimbledon" said the headline. But it's Eirik's father, Svein, who will be joining Egil Olsen's coaching staff. Phew - they had me going for a moment!

December 01: Former Leeds skipper Gary McAllister has turned down an approach to go and play in the USA and earn a shedload of money into the bargain. This may come as a surprise to the boo-boys at Elland Road who labelled him a greedy money-grabbing Judas when he moved after the board wouldn't renegotiate his deal to put him on a par with some of the other signings who were arguably nowhere near as good as he is. He's playing well for Cov, and although his contract is up at the end of the year, may stay for a little while longer to help Gordon Strachan keep the Sky Blue team in the Premier League.

December 01: According to a survey out today, Leeds United are the 20th in the world on turnover. No doubt the figures are helped by the JFH transfer, and the Spanish and Italian Leagues will be agreeing massive new TV deals, but Leeds' turnover of £28.3 million ranks them 20th, behind Man U (obviously first with nearly £90 million), and also trail Newcastle, Villa, Arsenal, Liverpool and Rangers among others. The big question is can we keep it up, and can we overtake them - because money talks, and if we want to be in with shout in five years time, we'll need more than a great youth policy.

December 01: Just before his clubmates run out in Bulgaria, David Hopkin will go under the surgeons knife for a hernia op that could keep him out for up to a month. He's been a borderline squad member anyway, so we shouldn't miss him too much - but with the fixture pile-up getting worse, we're going to need all the players we can find.

December 01: More pitch worries - this time in Sofia! Levski Sofia's ground does not have undersoil heating and recent temperatures have been as low as -6, but it should be closer to zero for the day of the match if the forecasters are right.

December 01: The Sunderland game scheduled for January 22 has been put back to Sunday for Sky TV. Cheers guys - that's another one I won't be able to make.... These Sky people must have shares in Extra Time.

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