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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


May 31: It looks like Nigel Martyn will start tonight's friendly against the Ukraine, but will be named as England's number two behind David Seaman when the squad is announced later.

May 31: Peter Ridsdale attempted to scotch rumours that a £12 million deal for Rio Ferdinand was imminent - but intriguingly indicated that a deal for a player "of his stature" was on the cards. Rumours linking Leeds with Ferdinand have circulated for some time, and with the arrival of Brian Kidd, the Matt Jansen talk is regaining some ground too.

May 31: Atletico Madrid have - informally - announced that JFH will be returning to Premiership football with Chelsea. A fee of £12.6 million has been mentioned, but the deal awaits formal ratification by the clubs

May 30: It looks like Eirik Bakke's reward for a long, hard season will not be a well-earned rest. He has been selected for the full Norwegian squad for Euro 2000. They've got a friendly lined up against Italy on Saturday before they head off to the finals, so Bakke will be hoping to take the chance to impress there.

May 30: Stephen McPhail made his full international debut at Lansdowne Road tonight as Ireland were beaten 2-1 at home by Scotland in a pre-World Cup friendly. McPhail didn't have a great performance, but was appearing in an essentially experimental team which was missing many of the key players.

May 29: Torstein Helstad from Norwegian side Brann Bergen is the latest player to be linked with Leeds. DOL could look to dive in to pluck the Norwegian League's 2nd top scorer for as much as £3 million.

May 29: Danny Mills scored tonight as the England U-21 side had an easy victory over Turkey in Slovakia. There was no place for Paul Robinson, with Nicky Weaver continuing in goal for Howard Wilkinson's side. Since Slovakia managed to draw with Italy, that should mean that a victory over the hosts on Thursday will give England a place in the final if Italy don' trounce Turkey. Or something like that - this is FIFA/UEFA's most bizarrely organised competition yet, and coming after the Champions League/UEFA Cup confusions of this year, that's saying something!

May 28: Ugo Ehiogu is indicating that he doesn't want to see out his contract at Aston Villa - and that could rekindle Leeds' interest in the 27-year-old defender. Leeds would be willing to offer money plus Michael Duberry to land the Londoner, but Man U and several other clubs are sure to be interested in his services.

May 28: Not many updates today cos I've been associating with the enemy. To be more exact, I've been best man at the wedding of two West Ham fans. Congratulations and every happiness to Andy and Katharine.

May 27: The Leeds Youth Team took part in a 7-a-side competition out in Singapore yesterday. They won their 4 group games, scoring 7 and conceding none, but went out in the quarter-finals on penalties. Among those appearing were Harpal Singh, Simon Johnson, Fraser Richardson, Gareth Evans and Damien Lynch.

May 27: Brian Kidd will formally take charge of the youth setup as of Tuesday. Obviously, the current Leeds academy is a great success, producing players like Alan Smith, Jon Woodgate and Stephen McPhail, as well as developing the talent of Harry Kewell, but Kidd should bring some valuable insights and a different viewpoint from the similar success that he managed to build with Manchester United's junior sides.

May 27: Lee Bowyer will go under the knife next week in an attempt to cure the hernia problem that has been niggling away at him all season.

May 27: Stephen McPhail has been picked by Mick McCarthy for the Ireland squad to face Scotland in a friendly at Lansdowne Road on May 29.

May 26: Former Leeds United chief executive Bill Fotherby today revealed his choice of president for his new club Harrogate Town. Leslie Silver will take the largely honorific role of president, and a couple of Bill Fotherby's friends will take senior roles at the Wetherby Road club as they try to gain sponsorship and escape the Unibond League.

May 26: Mark Bosnich has said he won't be available for the Olympic tournament - which raises a few interesting questions, since Harry Kewell was banned by FIFA after he tried to miss the last Olympic-related game after picking up an injury in the League.

May 26: Bradford have bid £2 million for David Hopkin. The midfielder has struggled to hold down a place for Leeds, and would do well in the Bradford line-up, but will DOL be prepared to let him go when we're really looking to strengthen the squad, and is the money sufficient? Meanwhile it looks like Bradford will play in Europe next season as they take a place in teh InterToto Cup. The first game is to be played on July 1 - and if Leeds - 33/1 outsiders for the Champions League - don't progress as hoped in that competition, they could end up facing Bradford in the UEFA Cup.

May 26: Leeds have got almost 4000 advance orders for the new kit - and are expecting 5000-10000 people to turn up on the night of June 2 when the kit goes on sale at Elland Road. I guess I'll just have to be at the end of the line for the new shirts and pick them up when I get back from Ireland.

May 25: Former Leeds midfielder Steve Hodge was on the winning side tonight as Nottingham Forest won the Midland Masters 7-a-side competition against a variety of veterans from Villa, Brum, Cov etc. Leeds will play in the Yorkshire round at Sheffield Arena on July 12 alongside Bradford City and both Sheffield Clubs. Leeds could almost field a Sheffield Wednesday side with Mel Sterland, Glynn Snodin Nigel Worthington, John Pearson and Imre Varadi taking part. Chris Kamara will be taking a break from his Sky commentary duties to participate, and the line-up of former Leeds players is completed by some of Brendan Ormsby, Ronnie Sinclair, John Stiles, Brian Flynn, Carl Shutt, Andy Williams, Ian Snodin, Neil Aspin, Andy Ritchie, Gary Williams, John Mclelland, Bobby Davison, Chris Whyte, Micky Adams and Peter Haddock.

May 25: Peter Ridsdale has poured scorn and cold water on this morning's press speculation linking Leeds with a £20 million move for Kevin Phillips of Sunderland. In other speculation, Leeds have again been linked with expensive flop Chris Sutton, whose Chelsea career will almost certainly come to an end if JFH turns up at Stamford Bridge.

May 25: Martin Hiden will be returning to Austria after SV Salzburg had a bid of £500,000 accepted. He only made a single appearance this season, in the away defeat at Old Trafford, but has had a terrible time with injuries and was finally getting back to full fitness.

May 24: Jason Wilcox is looking forward to a short break after a successful op to remove a piece of floating cartilage in his knee. Kevin Keegan has made it clear he would have been an automatic choice for Euro 2000 if fit, so he's got a lot to prove and a serious target of the World Cup squad when he returns next year.

May 24: Leeds' operations director David Spencer is reported to be disappointed that only 22,000 season tickets have been sold to date, despite the club's offer on price freezes and the excellent on-field performances. Speaking as a bond-holder, and after 10 years of holding a season ticket for Elland Road, all I can say is that with so many games moved from Saturday, it's just not cost-effective for me to have one: I might make 12-15 games per year at Elland Road, but at 25 quid a shot, that's less than I'd be paying for my season ticket. Then there's the small matter of travelling costs....last season with Europe included, I spent something like £2,000 following the team in total, so if David Spencer wants to question my loyalty, he can start by checking out how well the good people at GNER trains know me....

May 24: The Youth Team get a trip to Singapore this weekend, taking on teams from Leicester City, Coventry City, Scotland and Japan over a short tournament. Harpul Singh, Fraser Richardson, Gareth Evans and Simon Johnston are the most prominent names involved. Russel Howarth and Paul Reid from York and Carlisle respectively will be linking up with the team for this tournament.

May 23: It's looking likely that Gary McAllister will have one last stab at the really big time with a move to Liverpool on a one year contract, with an option of a second year. McAllister is out of contract at Coventry and will be taking the chance of another stab at European football at the age of 35.

May 23: Matthew Jones played on through the pain of his shin splints in Wales' 3-0 defeat to Brazil tonight. Wales were captained by former Leeds man Gary Speed and were in no way disgraced by the defeat to the world's top-ranked team.

May 23: Chelsea are being strongly linked with a move for JFH. It's thought he'd be keen to finalise a move to London after the Spanish Cup Final at the weekend, since things are so much more expensive down here and he'd have difficulty spending the huge bags of cash he needs to receive to play.

May 23: The men accused of the murder of Kevin Speight and Chris Loftus appeared in court in Istanbul today. An official from the British Embassy and legal representatives of the dead men's families were present to see a large ground chant their support of the alleged murderers. "We're proud of you!" they yelled as the local police did nothing to control them.

May 22: Harry Kewell's problems with the Australian national side continue. Although the manager wasn't intending to pick hom for the friendly against Paraguay, Kewell has made it clear he won't play in any games organised by the International Entertainment Corporation after they stated that players (implicitly him) were looking for large appearance fees for the game against Manchester United that they arranged last year.

May 22: Brian Kidd's appointment to take charge of Leeds' youth set-up is expected to be confirmed by the end of the week now that the major glitches stopping the Oldham link have been ironed out.

May 22: Michael Bridges has had to pull out of the Euro U-21 championships due to his persistent groin injury, and Jason Wilcox caused Kevin Keegan more problems on the left hand side of the field by picking up a knee injury in the squad sessions and withdrawing from the Euro 2000 preparations. Bridges and Wilcox will be replaced by Blackburn's Matt Jansen and Villa's Gareth Barry respectively. Meanwhile Matthew Jones is still battling to prove his fitness before Wales' game with Brazil tomorrow night.

May 21: It's Sunday so there must be transfer talk going round. Well - not that much actually. Frank Lampard is revived as a target, with £8 million being seen by West Ham as adequate compensation (who are they trying to kid...), and Moroccan defender Nourredine Naybet - but given DOL's stated preference for UK or North European players, he would be a surprising target.

May 20: Regulars at Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight's locals have clubbed together to create a memorial banner to be hung in the Revie Stand bar area at Elland Road. The banner has the Leeds crest, the nicknames of the two dead men, and is signed by most of the players and management, as well as their family and friends.

May 20: Peter Ridsdale has confirmed that the link-up with Oldham will go ahead, but with some aspects put on hold. The Football League will be changing the regulations to allow clubs to share facilities at the youth level, but Leeds will not now be taking an equity stake in the club.

May 20: Now that Manchester City have been promoted, they are apparently keen to renew their interest in signing Alfi Haaland. Alfi has been called up to the training squad for Norway's Euro 2000 preparations, and would undoubtedly be looking to get himself into a regular first team place to make sure he can be seen by the national coach and return as a regular international.

May 19: In a recent survey, Leeds fans ranked third from bottom in their ability to explain the offside rule. After Ray Tinkler and the 1975 European Cup Final, you'd think we'd be experts on it, but only Southampton and Derby fans did worse than the Leeds fans polled.

May 19: Factoid time: if Villa win tomorrow, we will have been knocked out of each cup this season by the eventual winners.

May 19: Transfer link of the day: Sol Campbell for £13 million from Spurs since West Ham say they won't sell Rio Ferdinand. Meanwhile Robbie Fowler has apparently put the mockers on a move away from Anfield, making it clear that he was happy there and that Gerard Houillier had supported him "110 percent". So expect him to move by Tuesday then....

May 19: Jon Newsome - who scored one of the crucial goals at Bramall Lane when we won the Championship - has been forced to retire from football with a long-term injury. Newsome looked like a solid centreback, but a season being played out of position at right back did little for his confidence and he was sold to Norwich. He ended up at Sheffield Wednesday, where a knee injury finally cut short his career.

May 19: Yet another victim of the out-of-control Galatasaray fans was sadly revealed today. A 2-year-old girl was shot and killed and ten other people were injured as "joyful" fans let off guns around Istanbul after the game. How much more proof do UEFA need before they ban these people?

May 18: Peter Ridsdale said that he would shortly be announcing what the club intended to do as a fundraiser for the families of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight: a testimonial match has been proposed, and maybe a "real" UEFA Cup final between Leeds and Lens would be a good idea, particularly since the clubs are now linked by Olivier Dacourt.

May 18: Leeds have been warned that Harry Kewell will almost certainly be wanted by Australia to play in the Olympic soccer tournament at the end of September - right when Leeds will hopefully be in the middle of a Champions League campaign and trying to make a good start in the Premier League. It is plainly ridiculous that the Olympic tournament should include professional footballers whatever the age limit, particularly with the proliferation of U-21 and full international tournaments already on the fixture list. Sorry Australia, but we should make Harry available for real footy and kick the Olympic games into touch. Leeds are also thinking about pulling their players out of the European U-21 tournament, particularly after the last two days' events in Copenhagen have once again shown Turkish fans (and, let's be honest, some English fans too) in an unfavourable light, and questions have been raised about the ability of the police to keep order when England and Turkey meet on Monday 29 May. However, Peter Ridsdale did say: "If the English Football Association believe that the Under-21 team is safe and secure we will accept that."

May 18: The Rio Ferdinand rumours are the latest to bubble to the top of the pile. Leeds have long been linked with the West Ham centreback, and the wild speculation on the fee has varied from £15 million down to £7 million with one or two players (David Hopkin and Michael Duberry?) possibly going in the other direction.

May 18: Matthew Jones will grit his teeth and try to ignore the painful shin splints that have been troubling him recently in order to play for Wales against Brazil at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff next week. In other injury news, David Batty wil have very little time off this summer as he works through a structured programme to finally regain his fitness and his first team place - which will be under serious threat from Olivier Dacourt.

May 18: JFH may have a new home soon: Atletico are in talks with Valencia about a move for the greedy hitman for something in the region of £16 million.

May 18: Lucas Radebe was not in the South African squad named yesterday for a tour of the US and Europe later this month. He's apparently down to undergo an op - and hopefully to get a well-earned rest. The tour will include a game against those suddenly-popular international stars of Malta - who will also play England and Germany this year. I'm sure it's nothing to do with the fact that one of the top men in the Maltese FA is on the 2006 World Cup bid committee...

May 17: Famous fans department: never mind Colin Montgomery and Stefan Edberg, it seems that Paolo Di Canio is a closet Leeds fan. He's quoted today as saying: "They are a fantastic side and the rest of Europe had better watch out...I would not be at all surprised to see them go all the way to the Champions League final, so if you are Barcelona, Lazio or Juventus you had better be aware that Leeds United are around."

May 17: Today's transfer rumours have us talking to Don Hutchison, the West Ham chairman saying that Rio Ferdinand is going nowhere and Mark Viduka's agent hitting out at the rumours surrounding his player ("Black pot: meet Mr Kettle").

May 17: Tony Dorigo has been released by Derby and will be looking for another club for next season. He's been in and out of the Derby side and hasn't done that badly but is clearly not part of their long-term plans.

May 17: Details of the FA ticket charge have emerged. Apparently a Leeds "employee" sold 10 tickets - at face value - to a third party, who subsequently allowed them to be illegally resold. The employee in question will not receive any more tickets, and it is unlikely the FA will take punitive action against the club.

May 17: A pre-season tour to Sweden, with games on July 19, 22 and 24 will start the warm-up for next season. Back home, the first team will be facing Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield and Harrogate Town, with what will probably be a mainly second string squad taking on Blyth Spartans, Emley and Oldham in the run-up to the start of the season. The Champions League qualifier is now being given as 8/9 and 22/23 August.

May 17: Mike Whitlow was red-carded at Portman Road in the play-off semi-final as Ipswich came back with a 90th minute equaliser and ended up winning 5-3 after extra time, with Robbie Elliott joining Whitlow in the dressing room before the end of the game.

May 17: After all the expected off-field problems, Galatasaray went on to take the UEFA Cup on penalties in Copenhagen tonight, and I've got to say that the team deserved the win. Now it's up to UEFA to develop a backbone and make sure that for at least one season their home games are played behind closed doors and their fans are banned from the away games: Galatasaray fans have been responsible for at least 6 widely reported stabbings in incidents connected to their games since Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight were killed and whatever the club might try to do, it's clear that they cannot control their fans. It would seem vindictive to ban the club from European competitions (as happened to all English teams in the 1980s), so the only solution is to take the problem of controlling their fans out of their hands.

May 16: It's now likely that the Champions League play-off games will be on August 9 and 16, but Leeds will not know who their opponents are until August 2 when the previous round is played.

May 16: Harry Kewell was named as Player of the Year last night, and also won the Goal of the Season award for his strike against Sheffield Wednesday. Nigel Martyn's heroic performance at the Stadio Olimpico won him the "Memorable Moment" award, and the Young Player of the Year was Eirik Bakke.

May 16: Leeds will look for a legal loophole to continue with their plans for an Academy setup with Oldham after the Football League rejected the original proposals. Leeds have a legal opinion that it is withing the regulations and will look to fight the League's decision.

May 16: Leeds Sporting plc have acquired a 25% stake in Lee Chapman's Teatro restaurant in the city which is due to open next month.

May 16: Leeds and Ipswich are both being investigated after tickets for England games at Wembley were found on sale on the black market after they had originally been allocated to the clubs.

May 15: Gary Kelly will undergo a hernia operation this week to finally clear up yet another niggling injury and make sure he's fully fit for the start of the next campaign.

May 15: Just so you can make sure your holidays are sorted, the Champions League qualifiers next year should take place on the 10/11 August, with the return leg on 24/25 August.

May 15: As expected, Nigel Martyn and Jason Wilcox were named in Kevin Keegan's England squad for the friendlies leading up to Euro'2000. 6 players will be cut from the initial squad on June 1 for the final selection.

May 15: Olivier Dacourt was confirmed as a Leeds player today. He signed a 5-year contract, and became Leeds' most expensive ever player with Lens receiving £7.2 million. Peter Ridsdale said that more big names were on the way, and that the bank manager had blanched at some of the names he was trying to attract: "One prediction I can give you before next season starts is that that transfer fee will probably be broken yet again." According to his agent, Dacourt had been impressed by what DOL had to say and his attitude, and that was one of the deciding factors in his choice of Leeds as his destination.

May 14: Tony Hackworth made his debut over in Norway for Sogndal. The team won 6-0 but he failed to get on the score sheet.

May 14: DOL stretched a metaphor to breaking point as he expressed his delight with the Champions League spot: "The last six weeks we've been like a ship that has got three quarters of the way across the ocean and then the engine has gone, but we managed to limp into port. We ran out of steam."

May 14: DOL has said that he thinks Arsenal are in a different class to Galatsaray and should win Wednesday's confrontation with the Turkish team. He also revealed that UEFA had tried bargaining with Leeds over Harry Kewell's ban - suggesting that we accept a one-game ban instead of the full 3-match period. Since he didn't commit a foul in the first place, UEFA's intransigence could end up in court.

May 14: Full-time all round the country - and David Wetherall (and, of course, the 11 on the field at Upton Park) have ensured that we will be in the Champions League qualifying game next season.

May 14: Today's random transfer speculation: Fowler in for £12 million, Smith out to Man City for £5 million. Or maybe not. All the news that's fit to make up coming soon....

May 14: It's half-time and we're in the Champions League - but that could change very quickly! A goal from David Wetherall put Bradford 1-0 up against Liverpool - which could make them safe and give us 3rd place. Elsewhere Mike Whitlow's Bolton had a disappointing day, drawing 2-2 at home to Ipswich after being 2-0 up. Gary Speed and Brian Deane also netted in the first half of their games today.

May 13: Championship-winner Carl Shutt appeared at Wembley today for Kettering in the FA Trophy final, but he went home with a loser's medal as they went down 3-2 to Kingstonian.

May 13: Lucas Radebe is battling to be fit for tomorrow's game and now rates his chances of appearing as better than even. West Ham have their own ongoing injury problems, with Frank Lampard, Shaka Hislop, Stuart Pearce and Neil Ruddock all hoping for a fitter season next time.

May 12: Paul Robinson, Danny Mills and Michael Bridges have all been named in the England U-21 squad for the U-21 Championship to be held in Slovakia this summer. Alan Smith will be given a chance to rest his troublesome ankle injury and will look to resume his progress next year.

May 11: Apparently Harry Kewell will hear whether or not he is to be banned for the next 3 European games after the UEFA Cup final. A UEFA source indicated that this was mainly in order to stop Galatasaray appealing against the wholly justified dismissal of their player - which could result in him being available for the final while the appeal was being held.

May 11: Peter Ridsdale will meet Gerhard Aigner of UEFA in an effort to resolve once and for all the issues surrounding the UEFA Cup semi-final second leg and try to make sure that Harry Kewell's dismissal for (not) stamping on Popescu is overturned.

May 11: The Mark Viduka rumours resurrected themselves today. Viduka - who has the same agent as Harry Kewell - could be a great asset to Leeds: he's big, strong and can score. The 24-year-old scored 27 goals for Celtic in Scotland last year - but will that translate into Premier League success? £7 million should secure his services. Also apparently about to sign "for a Premier League club in Yorkshire" according to an alleged "friend" is Matt Jansen of Blackburn. With Sheffield Wednesday down, Bradford nearly gone and Middlesborough not generally thought of as part of God's Own County, that leaves us.

May 10: Tommy Knarvik has had his contract cancelled and will return to Norway to continue his career. Joining him over there is Tony Hackworth, who will spend some time on loan at Eirik Bakke's former club, Sogndal.

May 10: Peter Ridsdale indicated that Leeds could play a benefit match against one of Europe's top sides with proceeds going to the families of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight. No firm date or opposition are confirmed yet.

May 10: The reserves beat Newcastle 4-1 last night with 2 goals each from Alan Smith and Darren Huckerby. Matthew Jones had to be replaced after 27 minutes, which could put his chances of appearing for Wales against Brazil in some doubt.

May 09: Olivier Dacourt has said that he's very close to signing for Leeds for a reported £7 million (though some reports put the figure at £2 million more). He said: "I always said I wanted to play in England again and things are moving in that direction." Late reports on Tuesday indicated that the deal could be tied up shortly after the final game of the season after he was seen in Leeds on Monday for a medical and to sort out personal details with the club.

May 09: Leeds legend John Charles will be honoured by the Leeds Metropolitan University on June 7 when he will be awarded an honorary degree at Leeds Civic Hall.

May 09: Early rumours are that Atletico might loan JFH to Valencia for a season or so until they return to the the top division in Spain, but Bryan Robson and George Graham are both interested in spending £10-15 million on the goal-grabbing-greedy-guts to augment their currently toothless strike forces at Boro and Spurs.

May 09: The Italian paper Corriere dello Sport reported that Juve had restated their interest in Jon Woodgate and would look to move for him in the summer, though that might be affected by the upcoming court case. Peter Ridsdale denied any official contact and said "If they want to call me they know where to find me."

May 09: Lucas Radebe's injury is not looking that great and he could miss out on Sunday's game against West Ham. After last night's screw-up, let's hope DOL goes with Alfi Haaland alongside Jon Woodgate instead of Michael Duberry so we've got a vague chance of finishing with 11 men.

May 09: Last night's crowd took the overall total for the season to 1,014,633 from 27 games - that's only the eighth time that we've hit that mark, and it also gives us our highest ever average home attendance of 37,579. Looking at League games only, attendances have been 743,942, with an average of 39,154 - the 3rd best ever behind 1970-71 and 1971-72.

May 08: David Batty opened this weekend's Open Day at the Leeds RSPCA shelter. He said: "The work that they do here is absolutely fantastic. Nobody should mistreat animals and it is a terrible shame when it happens."

May 08: Brian Kidd's arrival at Elland Road may depend on the outcome of the FA/Premier League/Football League inquiry into Leeds' arrangement for a joint Academy set-up at Oldham.

May 08: Michael Duberry and 2 Everton players were dismissed as Andy D'Urso made a late bid for the top of the referees charts. A first half goal from Michael Bridges was cancelled out by Nick Barmby, and the remaining tiny hope of 2nd place vanished. 3 points from West Ham on Sunday brings us a shot at the Champions League: with Liverpool facing Bradford, anything less will probably see us in the UEFA Cup again.

May 07: Liverpool's failure to beat Southampton at Anfield has slightly improved Leeds' chances of making it in to the Champions League play-offs. They are now level on points (but with a better goal difference) and have just one game left to play. A win for Leeds on Monday night will mean that a draw at West Ham will be enough to qualify for the CL. Liverpool will play Bradford City in their last game: it's not a guaranteed 3 points by any stretch of the imagination, but a victory against the blue half of Anfield will certainly ease a few nerves.

May 07: The final day of the Division 1 program was a mixed one for Leeds old boys. Bob Taylor grabbed the goal that ensured West Brom's survival, at Ewood Park Simon Grayson was on the losing end of a 4-1 scoreline, but Richard Jobson and Danny Granville were both over the (blue) moon as Man City clinched promotion, and it was deep depression for Clyde Wijnhard as Huddersfield dropped out of the play-off positions on the last day of the season as they lost at Fulham.

May 07: Former star striker Lee Chapman will be opening his new restaurant and members bar Teatro at the Quays on Concordia Street in Leeds on June 14. Chapman and wife Leslie Ash have been looking to expand their interests after the success of their Teatro restaurant in Soho.

May 07: UEFA have once again showed that they really don't have a clue with another bizarre set of decision reversals. First up, they've reversed last week's decision to clear Harry Kewell after his red card caused by Popescu's cheating. They've now informed the club that video evidence can't be accepted and only the Executive Committee can remove Kewell's automatic ban. Meanwhile they've also told us that the charge of failing to control the fans outside Elland Road has been lifted. But the coin-throwing incident inside the stadium will now be looked into even though it was not reported by the referee or UEFA observer and video evidence would indicate that the coin missed Suker (who hit the ground in feigned agony anyway). Peter Ridsdale has asked for an urgent meeting with UEFA supremo Lennart Johannsen to finally resolve these problems.

May 07: Alan Smith admitted he'd been disappointed with his form this season. "I've been brought down to earth and I know I haven't been playing well, although I'm an honest lad and I'll keep trying my hardest." He has been carrying a niggling ankle injury all year, and if he opts for surgery to cure it he could end up missing the European U-21 championship in Slovakia this summer. In the end it will be the advice from the club doctors and how Smith feels in himself: obviously we'd want him to be fully fit for next season, but the experience he would gain in a major tournament could go a long way to improving his game.

May 07: Rumours circulating last night linked Brian Kidd with a move to Elland Road to take charge of the Youth team and all of the Academy set-up. Kidd is widely credited with the organisation of the Manchester United youth organisation that produced David Beckham, Paul Scholes and others.

May 06: 2 goals from Gary McAllister condemned Sheffield Wednesday's chances of Premiership survival to the realms of mathematical unlikelihood, and at Highbury Thierry Henry made sure that Leeds will at least qualify for the UEFA Cup next season by scoring the goals that ended Chelsea's chances of finishing higher than 5th.

May 05: Lucas Radebe is rated 50-50 for Monday night's game at home to Everton, and Nigel Martyn is carrying a slight injury but looks on course to complete a 100% appearance record this season. Meanwhile it's rumoured that Kevin Keegan may have finally seen the light and will be picking Nige as his first choice keeper for Euro 2000.

May 05: Peter Ridsdale has poured cold water on the first rumour of the weekend that links Juventus - or possibly Roma or Milan - with a £10 million move for Jon Woodgate. He's not for sale at any (sane) price at the moment, despite his off-field problems and recent loss of form.

May 05: A very young line-up of the reserves went down 2-0 away at Manchester United last night. Only Paul Robinson and Alan Maybury had 1st team experience, so it wasn't a bad result. Maybury was subbed during the game after sustaining an injury which was revealed to be a fractured fibula after X-rays - but he should be ready to train by the start of the pre-season.

May 04: The club shop will open at midnight on June 2 so that people can buy the new Nike/Strongbow Leeds kit as soon as it is made available.

May 04: Transfer talk part 19: Kenny Miller of Hibs has been watched a couple of times and Leeds are coming close to matching Hibs' valuation of £2.5 million for the Scottish U-21 midfielder. Peter Ridsdale poured more cold water on the Carsten Janker rumours (but, interestingly enough, not the Jardel or Ali Daei rumours). Ali Daei said that he'd not been in contact with any clubs yet and that he was aiming to make sure Hertha Berlin qualified for next year's Champions League.

May 03: A brief palpitation in tonight's game, but to nobody's great surprise, Leeds ran out fairly easy winners and moved back into 3rd place as Liverpool slipped up at home to Leicester. Our Champions League chances are now back in our own hands with two games to go, so if we don't make it we've only got ourselves to blame.

May 03: Peter Ridsdale has ruled out the possibility of JFH rejoining. He indicated that Leeds had declined to take out an option on JFH should he leave Atletico, and with relegation all but definite, that will happen this summer.

May 03: Hertha Berlin's Iranian striker Ali Daei joins Carsten Janker and Jardel as our latest apparent transfer targets. Daei has fallen out of favour at the German club recently but has scored quite a few goals and looked pretty decent in their Champions League games.

May 03: Lee Matthews has returned from his loan spell at Gillingham with yet another injury. This is yet another in a long line of setbacks that the youngster has received and it must pose a question over his future.

May 02: A couple of Leeds fans were arrested and charged after minor damage was caused to a tram in Sheffield yesterday as they tried to get off between stops. More problems occurred as rival Wednesday and Sheffield United fans clashed in what was apparently a pre-arranged fight.

May 02: DOL vowed again to try to keep Harry Kewell, whose recent award recognition and yet another top-notch goal on Sunday must have cranked up his valuation again. He'll be earning good money at Leeds - but £25,000 a week is small change compared with what might be on offer from Juve, Inter or Lazio, and the prospect of a place in the Champions League will no doubt be dangled as a carrot. But he knows that at Leeds he's an integral part of a side that has grown together and hopefully that will be enough to keep him at Elland Road for at least another year.

May 02: For the Watford game tomorrow night Danny Mills should continue at left-back with Ian Harte now out for the rest of the season. Jon Woodgate's back makes him a continued doubt, so Michael Duberry should continue at centreback, and Stephen McPhail's hamstring has kept him out of training. The big question will be whether or not David Hopkin retains his place ahead of Lee Bowyer now that Bowyer is free of suspension. Hopkin took his goal well on Sunday and generally performed reasonably, but did make a couple of unforced errors - but Lee Bowyer has been carrying a persistent injury all season and could well be given a chance to rest before the final two (ostensibly harder) games against Everton and West Ham.

May 02: David Batty is finally off the steroids that he's been taking for the last 18 months for a heart problem - and it's emerging that the drugs may have contributed in no small way to his delayed comeback. One side-effect of the drugs is to reduce the resistance to infection and artificially reduce inflammation, leading to Batty over-stretching or training too hard and bringing about another set-back. Next season's pre-season training is now his target, and he will be looking to be fit and stronger than ever for next year's campaign.

May 02: Former Leeds hero Vinnie Jones reckons he could be the man to save Wimbledon. He's even told them that he'd be prepared to take a pay cut - to £200,000 a year - to try to keep them up or bring them back to the Premier League. Wimbledon are reportedly unimpressed, and have also been linked with a return for former boss Joe Kinnear or one-time striker, occasional TV presenter and sometime Nigerian roving ambassador John Fashanu.

May 02: With Ian Harte due to miss the next two games with a suspension, it has been decided that he should have an operation now and also miss the West Ham game so that he'll have a longer recovery time before next year's pre-season games.

May 01: Harry Kewell has been hung - in the National Portrait Gallery! He was photographed along with several other prominent Australians by Polly Borland for an exhibition that runs through to September.

May 01: Celtic made it clear that their alleged approach to DOL was merely an attempt to get him to play in an upcoming testimonial and not an illegal approach to get him to manage their side.

May 01: DOL today made it clear that - although he was proud of what the side had achieved - a UEFA Cup place for next season would be viewed in many quarters as a let-down. A Champions League place is still an outside possibility, but it does need Arsenal or Liverpool to slip up and Leeds to make the most of the three remaining fixtures against Watford, Everton and West Ham.

May 01: Harry Kewell came third in the PFA Player of the Year Award last night behind Roy Keane and Kevin Philips, but did manage to walk off with the Young Player of the Year Award, ahead of Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane. Nigel Martyn, Ian Harte and - perhaps most surprisingly - Gary Kelly were named alongside Kewell in the PFA team of the year.

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