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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

June 30: Bradford are rumoured to have made a further attempt to field an ex-Leeds XI by upping their bid for David Hopkin. Hopkin, who can't expect to see much action with Olivier Dacourt and Eirik Bakke ahead of him in the pecking order for right/central midfield, was the subject of a £1 million bid earlier this summer, and that is said to have been doubled.

June 30: Peter Ridsdale made it clear that Leeds were not going in for Rio Ferdinand and flatly denied that they had made a third bid for the highly-rated West Ham centreback. With Ferdinand out of the picture, that narrows the field down a bit if you assume we're in the market for a central defender: Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu's intentions to leave Villa Park are well known, and then there are the numerous foreigners who we're permanently being linked with - hopefully it will all be sorted next week, since they really do need to be in place for the pre-season training.

June 29: Ex-player news: Noel Blake has gone on a buying spree. He's now manager of Exeter and today picked up 10 players for the next season - mainly on free transfers of course! Terry Yorath - who was released as first team coach by Bradford - has once again linked up with Paul Jewell, down the road at Hillsborough. And former Sheff Wed and Leeds man Nigel Worthington will be returning to team management as number two to Bryan Hamilton at Norwich after an unsuccessful spell at Blackpool was ended earlier last season. Finally, Jamie Forrester has moved again - this time to Northampton.

June 29: The squad had better make the most of next week - it's their last week off before pre-season training commences on Monday July 10. Nigel Martyn and Eirik Bakke get an extra week off to recover from Euro 2000, but the whole squad will fly out to Scandinavia for their first practice games in Sweden and Finland.

June 29: The season's not even started and we've got our first injury: Shaun Alloway - the young keeper signed from Reading last year - has broken his other wrist and will be out for a couple of months while he recovers. Sounds like he needs a few pints of milk to improve his calcium levels and strengthen his bones.

June 28: If sales figures are anything to go by, the club are on for a bumper year. 18,000 new Nike shirts and 24,500 season tickets have been sold so far - and the away shirts will bring in yet more cash to line the coffers when they are released in the next couple of months.

June 28: Harry Kewell has been officially cleared (again) by UEFA after Popescu's cheating in the semi-final 2nd leg got him sent off last year. Harry received the red card for completely failing to touch the Romanian, and faced a 3-match ban. The ban was rescinded soon after the game, but when UEFA realised that banning Kewell would almost inevitably mean taking some sort of action against the con-merchant from Galatasaray they backed off, enabling the former Spurs fraudster to play in the final.

June 27: A couple from Garforth have taken their devotion one step too far. They've named their new son after Harry Kewell, but instead of "Harold", they've chosen "Kewell"!

June 27: DOL has apparently asked the groundsman to make a bit more use of the grass at Elland Road and widen the pitch to 68 metres. GG narrowed it as our defence struggled to cover the full width of the pitch in that great season of 0-0 draws, and we've done well away from home on wide pitches - but we do tend to play quite a different game away from Elland Road, so I'm not sure that follows.

June 27: Transfer speculation department: Ugo Ehiogu has said he doesn't want to move to Sunderland - he's looking for somewhere with a chance of European football. However, Villa's valuation of £12 million is completely ridiculous - he's 27 and not even a regular in the England squad. He's not bad - and a bid of £4-5 million might not be out of the question. Roma have reiterated their interest in Lucas Radebe - but without a world class replacement (which Ehiogu is not) we'd be stupid to let our captain go. Mark Viduka's impending arrival has once again set off the wagging tongues connecting Man City with Alan Smith, and Celtic with Darren Huckerby - both players who would be lucky to get a start, but whose presence in the squad is absolutely essential if we are to mount a serious challenge next year.

June 27: Transfer fact department: Mark Viduka will become a Leeds player on Friday for a fee of £6 million - subject to a medical exam and work permit (he's not played in the required percentage of Australia's games over the last 2 years). He'll be taking over the vacant number 9 shirt vacated by JFH - hopefully he'll be as successful on the pitch and less of a pain off it.

June 27: Sky will be showing at least 5 Leeds games in the first half of the season. The Manchester United (A) and Liverpool (H) games are both scheduled to take place on the original dates, but kicking off at 11:30. Bradford (A), Chelsea (A) and Arsenal (H) all move back to the Sunday.

June 26: Bernie Mandic's latest pronouncements on the Viduka transfer seem to indicate that his client has verbally agreed personal terms with Leeds - but as we all know, that's not worth the paper it's printed on. Peter Ridsdale returns from holiday next week when the deal will finally be sorted. Or not.

June 25: Mark Viduka and his agent can't keep themselves out of the news. Wishful thinking says that Viduka wants to come to Elland Road because we're a high-profile team and in the Champions League. Hard cash - and his agent's percentage of that cash - might just direct him elsewhere. Rumours that Viduka is considering following Mike Tyson's alleged example and making a more physical point with Bernie Mandic are, of course, total invention :-)

June 25: The Carl Cort rumours resurfaced this weekend, with Leeds allegedly fighting off Newcastle for his signature. When these rumours first circulated early last season, it seemed a good idea, but his form fell away last year and his performance against Leeds at Elland Road was abysmal. Maybe he needs that new challenge...

June 25: Disastrous transfer speculation part 18. At the start of Euro 2000 we were linked with a Czech defender - and they proceeded to get pounded. Now we're linked with Yugoslav centreback Zoran Mirkovic again - on the day they are beaten 6-1 by the Dutch!

June 24: More incredible talk from the buffoons at the top of UEFA. This latest piece of disgusting froth comes from General Secretary Gerhard Aigner, who seems to have rewritten history. When speaking about the violence that has followed English and Turkish clubs and national sides around since the murders in Istanbul he said: "...we deeply regret what happened in Istanbul. But we know that one of them was a trouble-maker...". Safe in the knowledge that dead men can't sue for libel, this pathetic bureaucrat is not brave enough to actually state whether it was Chris Loftus or Kevin Speight because, as the British police have stated, they had no reason to suspect either man. If Aigner is so convinced of his facts, maybe he'd like to take a trip to Leeds and knock on the door of the bereaved family in question and explain to them just where he gets his information from. This moron should be booted out of office now - his double standards and duplicity would be far better served as a genuine politician rather than playing at politics in his safe little empire.

June 24: Celtic might want to take offside king Darren Huckerby off our hands for £4 million or so. Although he didn't have the greatest season for us last year, he's exactly the sort of player we at least need to have in the squad if we're going to challenge - we need to keep him, just like we needed to keep Alfi Haaland. He's not going to get first team football every week, but there will be plenty of chances to play in a 60-game season.

June 23: Former Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson will NOT be helping out Kevin Keegan with the coaching and tactics, according to reports today which contradict earlier indications. There would appear to be a bit of a top-level falling out going on between Keegan and the FA hierarchy - it will all end in tears!

June 22: Alan Smith is the target of Joe Royle's current club - not his former team, Oldham. Royle is keen to bring the youngster to Maine Road, and will dangle the temptation of a regular first team place - which Smith will find hard to achieve at Elland Road with Michael Bridges, Harry Kewell and possibly Mark Viduka ahead of him. Of course, he will get European football at Elland Road, and all it takes is an injury and a sale to put him in the front line again....

June 22: It looks like the murderers of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight will literally get away with murder. All bar one of the defendants has been released on bail and had the murder charges dropped - but remain charged with participating in a fight which led to murder, and assaulting the dead. The court appears to have accepted the fact that some of the supporters were drunk and offensive as acceptable provocation for the killings - but surely it's up to the defence to show that Chris and Kevin specifically did something to "invite" the assault: by that logic, I could kill a random Turk, and then claim that I was provoked by the actions of someone completely different. The case was adjourned to August 1.

June 22: Stories in Italy and over here are indicating DOL might be aiming to pick up a couple of Balkan bargains from Serie A, with Yugoslav centreback Zoran Mirkovic the initial target, but also aiming for several others of the Slovenian and Yugoslavian players who have impressed so much in the last 2 weeks.

June 22: Roma are willing to pay Leeds the handsome sum of £6 million for the services of Lucas Radebe next season. Presumably they just want to borrow him for 3 months at that price....

June 21: The fixture list is out tomorrow. Early leaks have our first game at home to Everton on August 19. Other significant dates are Man U (A) on 21/10, (H) on 3/3, Liverpool (H) on 4/11, (A) 14/4, and Arsenal (H) 25/11, (A) 5/5, with the season finishing up with a home game against Leicester. Of course the European competitions and TV will probably shift most of those dates, so don't plan your life around them yet...

June 21: So Mark Viduka's agent - the ever reliable Bernie Mandic - has said that Viduka knows nothing about a move to Leeds (rather confusing given earlier quotations attributed to the Oz striker. David Hopkin could be in line to link up with Alfi Haaland and sign for Man City (Jabba says let's sign Gilles de Bilde from Sheff Wed as a replacement - in a decent side he could be a real asset). And Alan Smith may or may not be going to Oldham on loan. Quite what he'll gain with first team experience in Division Two is not yet clear...

June 20: Nigel Martyn was called into the England side at the last minute today and had a bit of a mixed game. He made a couple of good saves early on before being beaten by a mishit cross, but with England leading 2-1, the defence failed to take one of three opportunities to clear the ball, and when the Romanian cross came in, Nige could only produce a weak punch to the edge of the area where - to nobody's great surprise - an unmarked Romanian found the space and time to volley them level. His misery was complete just before full-time when he had to pick the ball out of the back of the net from a penalty after another poor clearance had been converted into attack and left the exposed Phil Neville feeling forced to lunge in on Moldovan as he cut into the area. Ho hum, there's always next time....

June 20: UEFA: Universally Egregious F*$@ing A*%=s. Lennart Johannsen says that England should be banned after the trouble in Brussels. "We mustn't forget what happened in Istanbul," he says. Just to remind him, as I recall: two Leeds fans are stabbed by a crowd of Turkish men in Istanbul, a Fehnerbahce fan is stabbed by a Galatasaray fan in Istanbul, a 2-year-old girl is killed by a stray bullet from "celebrating" Galatasaray fans in Istanbul. And when Turkish fans go on the rampage in Brussels last night it's just a "joyful party" and "high spirits". Since many of the fans causing last night's trouble were local, it would clearly cause a few problems trying to find somewhere to deport them to, so there was obviously no point in rounding up all the ringleaders and a few hundred other innocent bystanders for good measure like they did when the English idiots did exactly the same thing.

June 20: Transfer news part 2: Paul Reid from Carlisle may or may not be coming to Leeds. The Carlisle board want the fee of £1.5 million for the 18-year-old up front - but Leeds are keen to make it a structured deal, depending on appearances.

June 20: The Viduka saga may be at an end by the end of the week. Leeds finally faxed an acceptable offer - in the range of £6-£7 million - to Parkhead. Unfortunately, Viduka is taking a break in Japan, and Peter Ridsdale left on holiday today - so getting personal terms finalised may take a little longer. He's had a few off-field problems, and whether we really need another star player who will be forced to fly 15 laps of the world for pointless tournaments by Soccer Australia must be a serious question, but his record of 29 goals last year - even in the SPL - must be viewed with some respect.

June 19: The pre-pre-season training started today for 8 players at Elland Road. Long-term injuries and the desire to make an impact next season have seen Robert Molenaar joined by Wesley Boyle, Warren Feeney, Damien Lynch, Danny Hay, Kevin Evans, Danny Milosevic and Simon Watson for a few serious sessions to ensure that they're ready to take a full part in the real pre-season work which starts in less than a month.

June 17: Despite yet more violence between English and Turkish fans in Belgium, Peter Ridsdale has backed Manchester United's plan to play Galatasaray in a pre-season tournament in Munich next month. Ridsdale also denied that Leeds had bid for Nick Barmby or Steffen Iversen.

June 17: Strong rumours this weekend that we've finally signed Mark Viduka. No doubt DOL and Martin O'Neill will have had the chance to sort out some of the details while both have been working for the BBC on Euro 2000. The fee will be something in the region of £7 million. The money will probably be used by O'Neill in an attempt to capture Neil Lennon from Leicester City.

June 16: DOL will be able to cast his eyes over transfer target Carsten Jancker tomorrow as he will be watching the game and summarising for the BBC.

June 15: Transfer target of the day: Nick Barmby from Everton. We were linked with him when he was at Boro, but it's not quite clear where he'd fit in - he was never particularly right-sided, and we don't really need another small bloke up front. He'd be a good addition to the squad though...

June 15: Shock horror headlines in the tabloids today. The people that brought you "The Villa" and "Greece Uncovered" reacted with predictable outrage to the news that several 20-ish-year-old lads drank a lot of beer, went a bit OTT and generally had a good time on holiday. But the real scandal is that they didn't watch the England game on Monday night? Who are these threats to our national image? Jon Woodgate, Michael Duberry, Kieron Dyer, Jason Euell, Rio Ferdinand and Jody Morris. It's a sorry state of affairs that a bunch of young lads can't get away from it all for a break from relentless media intrusion after 10 months of high-pressure football. Considering the furore surrounding people taking a couple of pictures of an over-privileged 18-year-old playing sports at school, a vaguely sensible and mature democracy would seriously censure a newspaper for jumping on these young footballers - so there's no chance of it happening in Britain then....

June 15: Peter Ridsdale was naturally happy with the TV deal agreed yesterday. Not surprising really, since the club will be considerably better off from the ITV money and will no doubt be one of the favorites for considerable PPV coverage. I guess the rest of us can look forward to another season of shifting fixture dates and higher travelling costs cos we can't book anything remotely in advance. At least next year's FA Cup will be back to some semblance of normality, with the 3rd round in January - and replays scheduled for the Tuesday or Wednesday immediately after the game.

June 14: The very latest transfer rumour also mentions a move away from Leeds: Michael Duberry is tipped to be on Martin O'Neill's wanted list at Celtic - but Leeds would want to recoup their investment in a player who hasn't had much of an opportunity to justify his £5 million price tag.

June 14: Alan Smith is now off crutches after his ankle op and will spend a few days in Florida taking a holiday and doing some light work so that he can get back to full fitness by the start of pre-season training in mid-July.

June 14: Peter Ridsdale's promise of "big signings" hasn't been fulfilled yet - but there's still a month to go. Meanwhile we're being linked with a move to pick up Carlisle's highly-rated 18-year-old centre-back, Paul Reid, who toured Singapore with the youth team earlier this month. On the way out could be David Hopkin who is rumoured to be a possible for joining the growing ex-Leeds colony at Bradford.

June 13: A good night for Eirik Bakke - getting the nod to start in Norway's Euro 2000 game against Spain, and enjoying a decent game as they ran out 1-0 winners.

June 13: Ian Harte has signed an extended and improved deal aiming to keep him at Elland Road for another 5 years and putting him in the top bracket of earners at the club.

June 13: After 3 years of varied success, Alfi Haaland has moved to Premiership new boys Manchester City for £2.8 million, signing a 5-year deal. Although he couldn't have expected a place in the starting line-up Alfi was exactly the sort of squad player we need to retain if we are going to mount a serious challenge for honours over a 55-60 game season, and it's a shame to see him go.

June 12: Nigel Martyn was probably lucky to be on the bench as David Seaman had little chance to do anything about the 3 goals that condemned England to defeat in Euro 2000 tonight.

June 12: So has Alfi gone or hasn't he? Some news reports are saying that he's already signed for Man City for £2.5 million - others say it will happen soon.... Meanwhile Mark Viduka has said how excited he would be at the prospect of playing alongside Harry Kewell - if he signs from Celtic of course...

June 12: Stephen McPhail scored directly from a corner as Ireland beat South Africa in the US Cup. The USA won the competition with a 3-0 victory over Mexico.

June 11: The incredibly flip-flopping Harry Kewell Olympic saga continues: Kewell now says that he will play for the Olyroos if selected for the September tournament, even though that will clash with the much higher profile and more prestigious Champions League games. Big fish meet small pond....

June 11: DOL is over in Belgium to cast an eye over some of the players he might want to get on board. Some rumours mention centreback Martin Laursen of Denmark - well, they went down 0-3 to France, so that's probably crossed him off the list...

June 10: Well, I'm back, refreshed and raring to go - and grimace as I see how full my inbox has got in 7 days away. What happened while I was away? Well, not much really. The "Leeds 4" appeared before the courts and the case was adjourned until August 14. One of the defendants had the charges against him dropped after he agreed to be bound over to keep the peace. Alfi still hasn't gone to Man City - though they're interested. Viduka hasn't turned up at Elland Road - although we're still interested. The new shirt has been flying out of the door at all the club shops (and elsewhere), with Harry Kewell the most favoured name on the back - but Olivier Dacourt running him close. Batts had his op - and his agent reckons it could be Christmas before he takes the field again. Stephen McPhail didn't set the world alight in a weakened Ireland side as they played a few friendlies - and was subbed as a precaution in the last game. Gareth Southgate has slapped in a transfer request at Villa - and we've got to be thereabouts when it comes to picking him up (but not to take penalties, obviously....). Right - back to the inbox....

June 03: Jabba's Leeds News takes a break for a few days as I sort a few things out at home (like changing jobs, setting up a new machine and taking a couple of days off). Birthdays, share price, debuts and headlines will continue to be updated automatically, so keep an eye on that - otherwise, rejoin me for Euro 2000!

June 02: Lee Hendrie has come back from the England U21 team's efforts in Slovakia and has been talking about his future and a possible move from Villa Park. And - of course - Leeds are one of the main teams being mentioned for his next move.

June 02: Mark Hughes expressed his confidence in Matthew Jones. "He's got a little bit of character about him that I like, I like a lot. Long-term he is the sort of player that the higher he goes the better he performs." Referring to Jones' battle with Rivaldo against Brazil, he continued: "Maybe people thought that it was a risk putting him up against the best player in the world, but I didn't think so at all, not for a moment." Jones will now face further challenges - from Luis Figo among others - as Portugal get some British experience in a friendly with Wales ahead of their Euro 2000 group game with England.

June 02: Wilko's England U-21 side went down 2-0 to Slovakia last night and questions are now being asked about his management and the team's organisation after recent defeats in the finals were a disappointing end to an undefeated run under Peter Taylor in the qualifiers.

June 02: David Batty's long and sorry comeback suffered yet another setback. He'll be having an Achilles op shortly and might miss the start of the season as a result. With his rib/heart problem and long-term calf injury, it's just as well that we've managed to recruit Olivier Dacourt.

June 02: Kevin Keegan has said that Nigel Martyn is only a whisker away from being England's first choice keeper - but he won't start a single game of Euro 2000 unless David Seaman picks up an injury.

June 01: Leeds' former Scottish sub hitman Derek Lilley found himself facing a real bullet in Florida yesterday. The Oxford striker was held up by a gunman in Orlando while he was out there on holiday, and was shaken but unhurt by the incident.

June 01: Leeds' good Irish connections have produced another outstanding young prospect. U-15 international Robbie Shields has signed a 5-year deal with Leeds after having a trial with many English clubs and selecting Leeds as his favorite. Shields comes from the same club that produced Robbie Keane, and is one of the most highly-rated players in Ireland. Leeds have also offered a full-time contract to Kevin Larvin from Hull. Larvin is a striker and has played for England U-15 - let's hope he fulfils his potential at a higher level.

June 01: Olivier Dacourt was unveiled at Elland Road today, and Leeds' new signing said how happy he was to be at Leeds, back in England and playing in the Champions League. When pressed on his disciplinary record he pointed to the fact that he only picked up 4 cards in 40-odd games last season, and that the 9 cards he picked up from English refs when he played for Everton was a bit of an aberration.

June 01: The JFH deal looks set to go through for Chelsea in the next day or so. With the signing-on fee and the £40,000 a week pay packet, JFH will be netting the £3 million a year numbers that Leeds refused to pay.

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