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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


April 30: Harry Kewell was cleared by UEFA of the sending off against Galatasaray and will receive no further punishment. Of course they won't be doing anything to deal with Popescu's cheating or the fact that the red card blew what small chance we had of winning the game....

April 30: With Ian Harte and Lee Bowyer suspended, Stephen McPhail injured and Jon Woodgate losing form it was a strange formation at Hillsborough this afternoon - but the result was in no doubt within 40 seconds of the kick-off. The Owls were a little unlucky not to equalise before half-time but a couple of brilliantly taken goals by Harry Kewell and Michael Bridges made it a comfortable win and moved us back above Chelsea into 4th place.

April 30: Celtic have apparently asked DOL to name his price to manage the Glasgow club. Peter Ridsdale was adamant that no contact had been made: "There has been no interest from Celtic, and I presume that if there was they would have the courtesy to contact me."

April 29: ...was my birthday, so I've been away for a couple of days...

April 27: Lee Bowyer may face a club fine in addition to the £4,000 FA fine imposed by the disciplinary panel. DOL noted that some of the bookings were a bit harsh but made it clear that Bowyer had to apply more self-control.

April 27: Mark Viduka and Erland Hanstveit are the latest two random names to come out of the transfer rumour hat. Expect more to follow...

April 27: UEFA will be taking no action over the alleged coin-throwing incident in the Galatasaray game. Peter Ridsdale's threat to ban anyone identified as throwing anything remains, but the ref did not mention it in the report, and no evidence of Galatasaray players actually being struck was found. Meanwhile UEFA will today review the tape of Harry Kewell's sending off and decide what - if any - action to take.

April 26: Lee Bowyer got off lightly at today's hearing - he was fined £4,000 and will be banned from Sunday's game at Hillsborough after collecting 14 yellow cards domestically this season. He'll have to watch out next year though - another 10+ card season could see him getting a much more serious ban.

April 26: Alan Maybury is a surprise call-up to the Ireland squad for tonight's game against Greece. Maybury has made it no further than the bench this season and benefits from the numerous pull-outs from this evening's friendly.

April 26: Brentford fans raised £1000 in a collection for the families of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight during their recent game against Burnley.

April 25: A real no news day. We're still looking at the Norwegian duo from Brann and Gary Kelly and Jon Woodgate are both likely to be fit for Sunday's game at Hillsborough. Lee Bowyer will be making an early trip to Sheffield tomorrow as he appears before an FA disciplinary panel to explain to them how he's been victimised by crap referees all season and that's why he's got 14 bookings.

April 24: Stephen McPhail, Gary Kelly and Ian Harte have all pulled out of Wednesday's friendly for the Republic against Greece with a variety of injuries. For once, these might be genuine: Kelly has missed two games and Harte has been subbed and will now miss the next 3 with suspension, so there wouldn't have been any advantage to Leeds in withdrawing him, while McPhail has looked a shadow of the player whose promise lit up the start of the season.

April 24: With the impending arrival of Ruud van Nistelrooy at Old Trafford, rumours linking Leeds (and numerous other clubs) with the other strikers from over the Pennines are intensifying. Andy Cole is now our target - but we may still be interested in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the rumour mill had it last week.

April 24: It looks like long-term injury victim Robert Molenaar will have one last chance to prove his fitness, as Leeds look set to extend his contract by 12 months when it expires this summer.

April 23: A penalty miss from Ian Harte and a game of four quarters rather than two halves saw Leeds fail to take advantage of Chelsea's slip and falling 2 points behind Arsenal. In theory, that's the last of the really difficult games, and it was nice to score two goals. But our old friend David Elleray and his assistants managed to book 4 Leeds players and only Alan Shearer after much provocation on the Newcastle front - the usual balance we've come to expect from the Harrow schoolmaster.

April 22: Michael Duberry might be on for a surprise start tomorrow with Jon Woodgate battling to recover from a leg injury. Despite his obvious fatigue and poor recent performances, Stephen McPhail will continue in midfield when he really needs a rest.

April 22: Leeds fans who travelled to Istanbul and ended up being held in cells at Istanbul airport are being refused a refund by Surrey-based President Travel. The company say that the hotels are refusing to return money to them, and it is being treated as last-minute cancellation by the Leeds supporters - even though they had not been given any advice not to travel.

April 22: Michael Bridges is vowing to make it to 20 goals this season in the 5 games remaining. Bridges has scored 17 so far this season, but hasn't netted since he got a pair against Bradford in early March, and has missed a couple of important sitters since.

April 22: Gary Kelly is still a doubt for tomorrow's game, but since Danny Mills acquitted himself well against Galatasaray we shouldn't be too worried there. Ian Harte will miss the 3 games after this one for his red card against Arsenal. For Newcastle, Ferguson, Ketsbaia and Robinson are all doubtful - but Alan Shearer should be around to try to continue his goal-scoring streak against Leeds.

April 22: Georghe Popescu has demanded that David O'Leary apologises for calling him a cheat. He said that he clutched his hands to his face to protect himself in case Harry Kewell accidentally stood on him (so why did he spend so long rolling around on the floor?) and said he was amazed to see the ref sending Kewell off and tried to persuade him not to (obviously didn't try too hard though).

April 21: Peter Ridsdale has made it clear that whoever was guilty of throwing an object at Hakan Sukur will be banned for life from Elland Road. It's not yet clear precisely what Galatasaray are doing about the numerous objects that were thrown onto the pitch at the Ali Sami Yen stadium, but I've no doubt that UEFA will deal with both incidents in a totally even-handed manner (not!).

April 21: Harry Kewell is looking a short-odds favorite to clinch the Young Player of the Year award. He's on the list with Lee Bowyer, Michael Bridges, Stephen Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Joe Cole. Harry is also listed for the Player of the Year, but there he faces stiff competition from Roy Keane and Kevin Phillips.

April 21: Those ever-so-friendly Galatasaray fans are at it again. According to reports in the Turkish Sabah newspaper, GS fans sliced off the ear of a fan of rivals Fenerbahce.

April 21: John Arne Riise - Monaco's Norwegian midfielder - has indicated that he would be prepared to consider a move to Leeds. We've been tracking him for some time, and a bid of £6 million would probably secure his services.

April 21: DOL has made it clear that Leeds will appeal against Harry Kewell's dismissal last night: they'll be sending video evidence to UEFA which clearly shows that no contact was made with Popescu.

April 21: A fan in the crowd had a heart attack during the game last night and died later in hospital.

April 21: 14 people have been charged with public order offences after incidents before the game last night. There was a fairly big crowd outside the Waggon and Horses in Holbeck when we passed it on the way in, and the police were going round mob-handed and in full riot gear - which was probably a bit OTT, but what the hell were the idiots around the Bremner statue doing throwing bottles and coins at the mounted police? Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be a Leeds fan.

April 21: A disappointing result last night, but over the two legs Galatasaray deserved to go through. We conceded some very soft goals, but at least we managed to score a couple ourselves and break our 6-game run of defeats. But UEFA need to take a look at Popescu's actions that resulted in Harry Kewell being red-carded: the TV replay is pretty clear in showing that no contact was made and he should take no part in the final. Good luck to Arsenal - they shouldn't have too many problems with disposing of Galatasaray in the final.

April 20: Galatasaray trained at Elland Road for an hour last night, flanked by their 10-strong special protection squad. The Galatasaray board snubbed Leeds by turning down an invitation to dinner - but manager Fatih Terim, who has provided generally sensible, honourable and well-balanced comments to date, once again expressed his sadness at the deaths, and made it clear that he was happy with the security arrangements and did not see any cause for concern over the game.

April 19: The tributes surrounding the Billy Bremner statue at Elland Road were removed today ahead of the game tomorrow night. The families of the dead men will be given the opportunity to keep whatever they want from the pile of mementoes, and the rest will be kept by the Supporters Club until a final decision is made on what to do with all of it.

April 19: Lucas Radebe is looking increasingly unlikely to be fit for tomorrow's game - and since a solid defensive performance is an absolute essential, this is not good news.

April 19: Galatasaray are due to fly in to the country today - but they haven't told Leeds when or where they'll be turning up, so nobody from the club can meet or help them. Won't stop them complaining about it though....

April 19: So now it's £10 million for Solskjaer. Must admit there are several other reserves who would be much worse value: I wouldn't be at all unhappy to see him play for us.

April 18: Lee Bowyer will appear before the FA Disciplinary Committee sometime during the next fortnight after reaching 14 bookings for the season. They'd do well to look at the tape of some of those "offences": Sunday's booking was for a reason known only to the ref, and several others have been borderline or cases of him being booked for being Lee Bowyer.

April 18: Christopher Loftus was buried this afternoon after a service at Leeds Parish Church. Once again, Peter Ridsdale and the Earl of Harewood will be representing Leeds Unite, along with Gary Kelly for the players and David Spencer and Adam Pearson from the commercial side of the club.

April 18: Galatasaray are looking to bring their own bodyguards with them - and according to some reports in the Turkish press they are trying to persuade the British police to allow them to carry firearms. The club also announced that they would be wearing black armbands and would respect the minute's silence before the game.

April 17: West Yorkshire Police have issued a reminder to Galatasaray fans that they should not travel to Leeds for the return leg. The police will have a heavy presence on the streets to avoid trouble, but it's still likely that there will be some people determined to turn up to support their team - and o doubt a few on both sides who might like to cause a little bit of trouble.

April 17: Stat time: the last manager to lose 4-0 was Howard Wilkinson - and that brought him the sack. The last manager to oversee a run of 4 games without a goal was Billy Bremner - and that brought him the sack. DOL is safe for now, but needs to show some more imagination and somehow find us a bit more steel in the midfield and depth overall if we are to hope to challenge for honours next year.

April 17: Olivier Dacourt, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler....the latest transfer speculation list goes on, and even JFH is allegedly talking to us again. He's done well in Spain (but he'll want to forget last weekend where he missed a penalty and was red-carded) but Atletico are 4 points and 2 places away from safety and will almost certainly go down. DOL is apparently sitting down with Dacourt and we're on the point of agreeing terms, and Harry Redknapp is resigned to losing Rio - but might want players as well as money in return. Fowler is very well-paid at Leeds, and the cost of the 3 of them would probably be not much short of £30 million plus £120-150 grand a week: not at all cheap!

April 17: Lucas Radebe is desperately trying to get fit again for the Galatasaray game after damaging his knee ligaments while training on Thursday. The defence missed his leadership badly on Sunday and everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that Lucas recovers quickly.

April 17: Kevin Speight was buried this morning in a service at Farsley that was attended by Peter Ridsdale, DOL, Nigel Martyn and other club representatives. Gary Kelly will replace Nigel Martyn for Chris Loftus' funeral tomorrow. Apparently DOL didn't want any players to attend, worrying that it might distract them from the preparations for Thursday - but Nigel Martyn lead a deputation of senior players to insist that at least one of the team should be there.

April 16: Yet another classy piece of cheating and sly violence by Dennis Bergkamp played no small part in today's capitulation, but we can't blame cheating foreigners when Harry Kewell also went into a near-fatal collapse when brushed by Lee Dixon's raised arm. Meanwhile Petit would probably have been booked for a dive - but that would have presented ref Steve Dunn with a dilemma, since he was having to book him for a bad challenge seconds later and didn't want to send him off. Eirik Bakke escaped without a caution for a jump into Martin Keown, and for much of the first half, Steve Dunn lost control of a game which should have been 9-a-side after an hour. Harry Kewell's first pass when clean through on goal (reluctant to use his right foot to shoot?) also gave us a strong contender for miss of the season from Alan Smith. We looked absolutely exhausted, so DOL's reluctance to bring on David Hopkin or Darren Huckerby as a sub is all the more puzzling. Oh well - we're still hanging on to a UEFA Cup place....

April 15: Phew! Thank you Sheffield Wednesday! Their victory over Chelsea today means that we go into the game with Arsenal tomorrow still in 3rd place.

April 15: Peter Ridsdale has appealed for Leeds fans not to over-react to any further provocation from Galatasaray, and has said that he thinks the club and the players are on trial at the moment, despite the fact that they've done nothing wrong. Meanwhile Galatasaray continue to ignore UEFA's pleas for calm and quiet: they're now saying that because the West Yorkshire Police aren't sure they can guarantee the safety of the Galatasaray fans (whose behaviour Galatasaray cannot guarantee) in these rather tense circumstances then England should be ruled out of the running for World Cup 2006. Bobby Charlton has dismissed this as nonsense and said that he thought that both the club and fans of Leeds had behaved impeccably throughout this sad affair.

April 15: A 29-year-old Turkish man was stabbed to death in Istanbul yesterday after an argument arising from the Galatasaray - Besiktas league game, which the victim and his killer had been watching on TV. No doubt the same people who have been emailing me for the last week or so will be getting in touch to tell me that they saw the dead man burning a Turkish flag, so his death is completely justified.

April 15: It is thought that there could still be up to 1000 Galatasaray fans present for the game on Thursday - and UEFA have asked Leeds to keep the away fans area free so that any who do turn up can be safely segregated.

April 15: Galatasaray indicated they may appeal against the fan ban, arguing that it contravenes European law. Presumably they'll also be taking their own police to court, since they illegally detained several Leeds fans at Istanbul airport for several hours before the first leg.

April 14: Leeds United today launched their own travel brochure. Set up in conjunction with DNATA Travel - part of the Emirates Group - the brochure features luxury hotels and destinations around the world for the 'discerning traveller'.

April 14: Clyde Wijnhard regained his scoring touch tonight as Huddersfield beat promotion favourites Charlton 1-0 at the Valley.

April 14: Ali Umit Demir, Ozkan Balci, Suleyman Aydin and Suleyman Gokhan Guven have been formally charged with murder by the authorities in Turkey, and could face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty. 14 other people have been charged with an offence of assault in which a death occurred, and could face 2-5 years inside if convicted.

April 14: Leeds are interested in bringing in Norwegians Erlend Hanstveit and Azer Karadas - a left back and a striker - from Brann Bergen shortly. DOL will look at them again and make a call soon.

April 14: Each Arsenal player will present a bunch of flowers to a Leeds player, to be passed on to the fans at Elland Road, before the start of Sunday's game. It's a bit of a strange gesture before such a big game, but Arsenal are doing their best to show the depth of feeling that the two murders have caused.

April 14: UEFA have decided that next week's game will go ahead at Elland Road, but with only 70-odd VIP guests present. Leeds will be checking for Turkish fans who have travelled independently, and will attempt to segregate any who do turn up. They also appealed for both clubs and press to consider what they say and print, and try to do more to calm the situation down.

April 13: Latest indications are that Lennart Johannsen will give the go-ahead for a small number of Turkish fans to attend the 2nd leg when the decision is announced at lunchtime tomorrow.

April 13: Kevin Speight's widow has appealed to the fans of Galatasaray to stay away from the return leg next week. She also made a point of saying that Kevin would have been appalled by racist attacks on members of the Turkish community that have allegedly taken place in retaliation for the murders. Kevin will be buried in Leeds on Monday.

April 13: The Turkish sports minister today made an official apology for the death of the two Leeds fans in Istanbul last week. It was also revealed that the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce had raised $100,000 for the families of Kevin Speight and Christopher Lucas. Meanwhile, Galatasaray and the Turkish FA continued to wind up Leeds by suggesting that the return leg be played behind closed doors - because, in England, "fans were too close to the pitch and technical area". This is getting ridiculous....

April 13: Rubbing salt into the wound department. UEFA have charged Leeds with failing to control their players during the game. Apparently any team which gets more than 3 bookings is automatically charged. Hopefully the disciplinary panel on April 27 will look at the video of the bookings and rescind most of them, since quite a few of the "fouls" made no contact with the diving Galatasaray players, and the ref was suckered - or intimidated - into making the wrong decision.

April 12: Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler could be targets for DOL this summer. It would cost us in excess of £20 million to capture the pair, and I can't see us matching Macca's current £60 grand a week at Real Madrid, but they would fit in very well with what we've got at the moment: the big question is do we have the finance and the willingness to spend that sort of money to ensure that this time next season we're on a roll of victories rather than a roll of defeats?.

April 12: Stephen McPhail, Gary Kelly and Ian Harte have all been selected by Ireland for a friendly against Greece on April 26. International recognition is nice, but the last thing we need at this point is more games.

April 12: Peter Ridsdale revealed that several of the team received death threats while in their hotel rooms in Istanbul, despite requesting the hotel staff not to put any calls through to the rooms. He said: "Normally you can laugh that sort of thing off but on this occasion it was anything but funny."

April 12: Gary Speed and Gary McAllister both scored the first goal in their matches in London tonight, but both ended up on the losing side as West Ham came back to beat Newcastle 2-1 and Chelsea kept up their excellent run to defeat Coventry 2-1 and move up into 4th place - ahead of Arsenal and perilously close to us. Meanwhile Rod Wallace bagged yet another goal for Rangers as they moved another step closer to wrapping up the Scottish title with a 2-1 win over Hearts.

April 12: A Tony Hackworth penalty gave the reserves a 1-1 draw with Everton last night. Alan Smith and Matthew Jones both had decent games, and Alan Maybury, Michael Duberry and David Hopkin all picked up yellow cards.

April 12: UEFA have postponed making a decision about the return leg until Friday - though it looks fairly certain that they won't be moving the game to a neutral venue.

April 11: It is being strongly suggested that despite their initial promises, UEFA will not back Leeds' request to ban Galatasaray fans from the return leg next week. A final decision will be announced at lunchtime tomorrow. Although the Galatasaray president was fairly conciliatory when interviewed today, other officials associated with the club continued to try to place the blame for the violence on Leeds fans, saying they had "achieved their aim" with the outbreak of trouble. Meanwhile Peter Ridsdale is said to be considering action against one particular newspaper which appeared to make the outrageous allegation that the game only went ahead in Istanbul for financial reasons from which he stood to gain personally.

April 11: Leeds Sporting's turnover was up 65% to nearly £30 million, and operating profit up by 89% to £6.4 million - but money in the bank is no use if we're not going to spend it to strengthen the squad to get in a real challenge for honours. The share price closed at 22.5p - above recent lows but well off last month's peak.

April 11: Tommy Knarvik has said that he'd like to leave the club in the summer, since he can't see himself getting any chances to break into the first team. He'd like to stay in England but has been in touch with a couple of Norwegian clubs.

April 10: One good thing coming from this weekend has been the respect shown for the two dead men in the silences held at football grounds all around the country. The Villa fans observed the silence impeccably, and reports from many other games in all divisions make it clear that the same happened at most grounds. Brentford will be making a collection for the families of the dead men at their next game. Leeds remain in close contact with the families and will - if the families are happy with it - be letting us know what they will be organising in memory of Kevin and Chris.

April 10: John Giles in his latest column that Leeds are faltering now because of the lack of strength in depth - something I've been saying for some time now. We've missed Batts, and could face another difficult year next year if we end up in the UEFA Cup again (though the Champions League will be no cakewalk). What he doesn't add is the question of why - if the players are so tired - have Michael Duberry, Danny Mills and Darren Huckerby seen so little of the action? And David Hopkin and Alfi Haaland might not be the most creative duo in the world but have a decent work rate and can tackle and bite in, which is something that's been missing in several games lately.

April 10: Julian Joachim reckons that Michael Bridges will break his poor recent run soon. He revealed that he'd been working on moves in training similar to the one that got him the winner yesterday, but also said that although he didn't think he'd fouled Gary Kelly, he wouldn't have been at all surprised if the referee had given it.

April 10: Turkish prosecutors have charged 4 men with the murder of Kevin Speight and Christopher Lucas, and another man with a lesser offence in connection with the murders. Officials in Turkey indicated that the trial will start towards the end of next week.

April 10: UEFA have deferred a decision on whether or not to allow Galatasaray fans to attend the return leg until Wednesday.

April 09: More expressions of sympathy from Leeds fans and others. Jan de Bree is a PSV fan who has been a friend of ours for a while - see what he's set up here. The Benelux Supporters Club have set up a book of condolences here.

April 09: A below-par performance and a disputed goal left Leeds in third place - the lowest position since early September - as Liverpool beat Spurs 2-0 at Anfield. We just can't seem to score at the moment, with Michael Bridges blasting over the bar from six yards out. Gary Kelly had more of an excuse for the slip that let Julian Joachim in for the goal - since the replay clearly showed that the Villa player had pushed him over. As it is we're just looking too tired and need to make the most of this week to rest, rethink and regain confidence.

April 09: Sources close to Leeds and UEFA are indicating that Galatasaray's desire to shift the return leg to a neutral venue could be part of a calculated plan put into place immediately after the killings on Wednesday. The option of a one-off game at a neutral venue was dismissed out of hand by the Turkish club, who wanted to ensure that the first game went ahead in the intimidating atmosphere of the Ali Sami Yen stadium less than 24 hours after the murders. Meanwhile 18 people have now been arrested in connection with the murders, and as more information emerges it is becoming clear that there was a high degree of organisation in the assaults.

April 08: Leeds police have indicated that the slurs on the reputations of the two murder victims published by several Turkish newspapers - that they had criminal records and appeared on a Scotland Yard blacklist - were not true.

April 08: The family of Christopher Loftus have appealed to Leeds fans not to take any form of retaliation for his murder, and asked the media to leave them to mourn Chris in private.

April 08: Peter Ridsdale has stated that Turkish fans will not be welcome at Elland Road for the return leg, and has requested Galatasaray not to distribute the tickets issued to them. He's been backed by UEFA who cited the recent Dortmund/Feyenoord clash as precedent, where tickets weren't issued to away fans in the interests of public safety. I'd like to see them come to Elland Road and realise that football in England has moved on from the Dark Ages, that fans don't need to be caged or policed with brutality and to question why they need that back home in Turkey. And see their side lose 3-0 of course....

April 08: Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim has attempted to explain why his team didn't wear black armbands or observe a minute's silence on Thursday. He said that discussions with UEFA had concluded that if they did have a silence and the Turkish crowd failed to respect it, it would only heighten tensions. Which is a perfectly reasonable explanation for that - but doesn't serve to explain why they didn't wear armbands.

April 07: After the violence in Istanbul, the Galatasaray board are threatening to win the bare-faced cheek of the century award by requesting that the return leg is played at a neutral venue instead of Elland Road. They are apparently worried that the safety of their fans cannot be guaranteed. So no doubt they will also be requesting a similar switch of all their European home games for the foreseeable future...

April 07: A Turkish man, identified as Ali Umit Demir has reportedly confessed to one of the murders on Wednesday night. Several other people are helping Istanbul police with their enquiries.

April 07: Peter Ridsdale has made it clear that he disagrees with UEFA's decision to allow Turkish fans to travel to Elland Road for the return leg. Galatasaray have sold their 1600 allocation to season ticket holders, but already reports are coming in that quite a few of those have cancelled their flights. West Yorkshire Police are convinced they will be able to keep the situation calm, but are continuing to review the situation.

April 07: Dale Crawford, an 18-year-old from the Youth Team, has moved to Oldham on a trial basis with a view to making a permanent switch.

April 06: Turkish police are speaking to 5 people - and are looking for 2 others - in connection with last night's murders. The Turkish authorities are clearly looking to ensure that the culprits are rapidly brought to justice.

April 06: The game was a bit of an anti-climax, and in a poor first-half performance Leeds conceded two goals from a right wing cross (where was Gary Kelly for the 10th time this season?) and then gave away a second easy goal after 43 minutes from a free kick awarded for a fair challenge on a Galatasaray player. 4 Leeds players were booked, three of them for challenges that made no contact with a Turkish player. Harry Kewell was booked for diving - but where was the consistency? At least 4 Galatasaray players performed more blatant dives than the one that produced a card for Harry. Michael Bridges missed a sitter, and Harry Kewell and Stephen McPhail also blew good chances to pick up an away goal.

April 06: Bremner statueA black armband was placed on the statue of Billy Bremner at Elland Road today. The players wore black armbands for the game tonight, and to give great credit to an honourable club, Arsenal held a minute's silence before their game against Lens tonight. Galatasaray by contrast, tried to make out that the murderers had nothing to do with the club, failed to wear armbands and failed to offer a minute's silence as a mark of respect. Meanwhile fans that did arrive in Turkey found themselves held in cells for over three hours in direct contravention of the European Convention of Human Rights - from a country that wants to play a fuller part in the European Union.

April 06: A second Leeds fan has died as a result of last night's fighting in Istanbul. The two fans have been named as Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, both from Leeds. The game goes ahead, but Leeds have cancelled the official flight from Leeds/Bradford Airport, and have encouraged independent travellers to stay at home. West Yorkshire Police spotters, who were out there to keep an eye on potential trouble-causers have asked the fans out there to stay calm, and have indicated that the situation was not well-managed by the Turkish police and would have probably been contained and handled better if it had occurred in England.

April 05: 2330. It's been confirmed that one Leeds fan was killed, another is seriously injured, and quite a few more have minor injuries after serious fighting in the town centre. Details of what started it are very sketchy at the moment, but a massive intervention by the local police appears to have been helpful in parts - getting the injured to hospital quickly - but also appears to have been the cause of quite a few of the injuries. Peter Ridsdale has been down to the main hospital and has spoken to the dead man's brother. The teams and UEFA will be meeting early tomorrow to determine if the game should go ahead given the circumstances. Our condolences go out to the victim's family and friends.

April 05: Talk about sad! Leeds' ticket allocation for next year's game at Middlesbrough could be cut - because the fans who went this year refused to sit down when requested. Boro whined that their safety certificate requires fans to be seated during the game: has the person who awarded that certificated (or the Boro administrator who agreed to it) ever been to a football game? Man U have similarly had their allocation at the Riverside cut to just 1187 for next year's game. What next? Being banned for cheering for the away team?

April 05: Reports are just coming in that a Leeds fan was stabbed to death and 5 or 6 others injured in clashes in Istanbul tonight.

April 05: The Leeds team got a surprisingly low-key welcome, with polite applause at Istanbul airport and an interested crowd watching their training session on the pitch tonight. Apparently Galatasaray were unhappy with the way they were treated in London when they visited Chelsea earlier this season and want to make sure that visitors don't have any such grounds for complaint when they come to Turkey.

April 05: Tomorrow's game kicks off at 7:30 BST, and will be screened live on Channel 5 with coverage starting at 7:00. Michael Bridges should be back, and will probably operate as a lone striker, supported by Harry Kewell in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Only 340 travel package deals have been sold by the club - and no more than 1000 Leeds fans are expected to be there as cost and lack of holidays start to take their toll.

April 05: The Galatasaray president had a right royal rant at Leeds, warning the players to "behave themselves" for tomorrow night's game, and pointedly referring to Harry Kewell's "dive" against Derby. No doubt the ref will find himself in the best hotel room in Istanbul while the Leeds team find themselves in the broom cupboard with 200 fans on constant abuse duty outside. Hopefully they'll ignore the wind-up and do a Chelsea on the Turkish club.

April 05: No sooner have Leeds announced the Oldham deal than the Football League are stomping around saying they're going to have to investigate it and it should be stopped. Peter Ridsdale rightly pointed out that Liverpool have had a similar informal arrangement with Crewe for some time, and Man U have formal tie-ups with Antwerp in Belgium and informal ties to other UK and foreign teams, so there shouldn't be any problems with this deal.

April 04: Harry Kewell could face an exotic close season, with a trip to Tahiti lined up as Australia play a qualifier for the Confederations Cup, and manager Frank Farina is hoping to have his star player available.

April 04: The Oldham link has been confirmed. Leeds will pay half of Oldham's costs in setting up an Academy, and will pay about £200,000 a year towards its running. Leeds will have first, third, fifth, etc. pick of players coming out of the system, and will benefit from the extended 'reach' that the Oldham base will give them: Premiership clubs are currently only allowed to sign players living within 90 minutes of the club, so this puts all of Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales into range.

April 04: Michael Duberry and Tony Hackworth were remanded on unconditional bail at Leeds Magistrates Court today after being recently charged in connection with the alleged assault on Sarfraz Najeib earlier this year.

April 03: Rumours today indicated that Leeds might be interested - and at an advanced stage of talks - in taking a stake in Oldham Athletic. Leeds would take a 9.9% stake in the Latics - which is allowed under FA regulations, the teams would share Leeds' Youth Academy facilities, and Leeds would have an opportunity to farm out players for first team experience, and get first choice of the best young players picked up Oldham's scouts. Oldham's current manager is an old Elland Road favorite - Andy Ritchie. He indicated that a press conference due at lunchtime tomorrow might fill in some more details.

April 03: Haven't we been here before? Rod Wallace is saying that he's not yet ready to sit down for contract talks with the Rangers management. Wallace, who has a further year to run on his existing deal, has scored 17 goals this season - and 44 in 100-odd games since he moved from Leeds at the start of last season. Maybe he'd like to come back for another spell in Yorkshire? It wouldn't be the most forward-looking step we've ever made but he'd provide decent cover up front....

April 03: Leeds will be inviting 19-year-old Norwegian left back Erlend Hanstveit for a trial with the club. The SK Brann player has been watched several times and could provide useful cover in that area of the park, but with Ian Harte on fine form he'll struggle to make the starting line-up if he does come permanently.

April 03: Galatasaray warmed up for Thursday's game with a 0-0 draw that leaves them just (!) 6 points clear at the top of the Turkish League. However rumours are circulating that they are up to $40 million in debt - although the club admits to a much smaller deficit. If they win the UEFA Cup, a bill in the Turkish parliament could result in them receiving a bonus of $9 million from the taxpayer!

April 03: DOL held his hands up and shouldered at least part of the blame for Saturday's performance against Chelsea. He admitted that things they ahd tried in training had not paid off - but there was also a hint that the big mistake was in not considering the possibility that we might make a European semi-final and still be challenging for the league: the lack of depth in the squad, particularly up front, is starting to become a problem. Money is available to strengthen the squad, but the carrot of Champions League football next season would be a real draw to the top stars.

April 02: Derek Lilley scored the only goal of the game yesterday as Oxford dragged themselves fractionally clear of the relegation zone with a win against Bournemouth.

April 02: Mike Whitlow led Bolton to a draw over 2 hours against Villa in the FA Cup semi at Wembley, but saw his team go out 4-1 on penalties as David James saved two.

April 02: Leeds have once again been linked with Olivier Dacourt. The Lens midfielder is looking for a higher-profile club and could very well come back to England. A bit of midfield creativity wouldn't go astray - but we'd still need a striker to finish off the chances.

April 01: Disaster. Tragedy. Heartbreaking. All of these words should be reserved for something far more serious than a game of football, so I won't use them here. Chelsea did to us exactly what we did to them at Stamford Bridge - sit back, soak up the early pressure, ride their luck and then take the one real chance that they created. With all the other results going against us today we've got to watch our step otherwise we might even find ourselves missing out on a UEFA Cup place!

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