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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

July 31: Alan Maybury is concerned that there won't be a place for him in the squad now that he has finally recovered from a broken leg. It's not surprising he's concerned, since Gary Kelly and Danny Mills are clearly ahead of him - but Matt Jones can also play in that position and there's no clear route for him to go forward while he stays at Elland Road.

July 31: The long-delayed game against Blyth Spartans was played yesterday, with Paul Robinson the only player with first team experience. Craig Farrell and Simon Johnson scored either side of the break for a 2-0 win. Some of the more fringe players might have played but for the fact that quite a few of them could be needed at Blackburn on Wednesday with 9 first-teamers under treatment, and at 7 of them unlikely to be fit before the weekend and the last friendly against Huddersfield.

July 31: Peter Ridsdale made it clear that Leeds were not interested in selling Harry Kewell to anyone at any price. Speaking on Radio 5 this morning, he said: "One of the things we are trying to engender at Leeds is that if you grow the talent through your youth system there is a certain amount of loyalty and belonging. I am in the game of making sure that we build this club for the long term, because that's when the supporters and the shareholders get the benefits." "We're not a selling club," he added, mentioning that Harry Kewell wasn't for sale. With Barca the latest high-profile, high-spending clubs linked to Kewell, Ridsdale pointed out that Kewell had been at Elland Road for 5 years and was prepared to sign a contract to keep himself there for a further 5. Ridsdale also ruled out the possibility of strengthening the squad before Thursday's deadline for the Champions League Qualifier. DOL said: "We do need at least three more players, and we know who they are. But it's a case of being patient and I will bring in a player only when it's right for the club. I am not going to waste the club's money on just anybody." And Harry Kewell is not, apparently, for sale.

July 30: Olivier Dacourt insists that he's calmed down a lot these days, and dismisses his start at Everton - where he was booked nine times in nine games - as an aberration caused by his lack of understanding of the English game. DOL rates him highly (just as well after spending all that cash!) and gave him the captain's armband for the Forest game: "It was a pleasant surprise and a good sign that I have settled in at the club," said Dacourt.

July 30: Former Leeds front-man Noel Whelan has joined the exodus from Coventry City. Chairman Brian Richardson confirmed that Whelan had gone, after he was linked in press speculation to a £2.5 million move to Middlesbrough.

July 30: Weekend transfer speculation: Kewell to Barcelona to fill the left-sided gap left by Luis Figo. Leeds are linked with an 18-year-old Norwegian striker, Trand Ludvigsen of Bodo Glint. Sounds very Hobbit...

July 30: DOL went on record today describing the transfer spiral being fuelled by the larger clubs in Italy and Spain as "obscene". He also had a dig at certain players' (and agents') willingness to ignore contracts, saying that players might as well be signed on a week-by-week basis. "We're still nowhere near in the class of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool in terms of actual figures," he added. "Our wage bill, compared to those, is modest. This is why I think we do so brilliantly."

July 30: Harry Kewell has suffered an achilles injury and is almost definitely out of the first Champions League qualifier on Wednesday week. Also missing will be Jason Wilcox, who hasn't regained full fitness after knee surgery. To make matters worse, Eirik Bakke picked up a knock in yesterday's game against Nottingham Forest, and Mark Viduka was missing after having to skip nearly a week's training after being injured in a game in Sweden. Such are the problems faced by the squad at the moment that DOL reveaied: "At one stage I was thinking of trying to call the game off but I decided against it because Forest had been so good in arranging it in the first place." With a midweek game against Blackburn and next weekend's visit to Huddersfield, there's not much time left for DOL to get his first choice eleven gelling before the visit of 1860 Munich, who are already playing competitive football.

July 29: As you may notice, the web site is in a state of transition at the moment as the "new look" takes over. Hopefully I've not killed anything in the editing, but I'm hoping to complete the conversion very shortly....

July 29: A Leeds side without Kewell, Viduka, Bridges, Woodgate and Radebe strolled to a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in front of a crowd of 11,020. Leeds went ahead through a 20-yarder from Lee Bowyer after 24 minutes, but Gary Jones equalised almost immediately after a mistake by Michael Duberry. Ian Harte rifled a 20-yard free kick past Dave Beasant just before half time after Darren Huckerby was brought down, and that ended the scoring. Jamie McMaster and Danny Hay both came on (even though McMaster hasn't even been given a squad number), but Olivier Dacourt was the star of the show, having yet another good performance in the middle of the park.

July 29: The U-16s lost to Manchester City on penalties in the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. City went on to lose to Turkey in the final.

July 28: DOL watched 1860 Munich grind out a 1-1 draw against Kaiserslauten in the German League Cup yesterday. New signing Mario Basler equalised for Munich in a tough game that will hopefully have revealed a few clues for DOL to break them down at Elland Road on Wednesday week.

July 28: Vinnie Jones could be on the point of making a return to the world of football. Burnley boss Stan Tennent is hoping his good friend will join the Clarets for a trial next week, with a view to playing on a week by week contract for the rest of the season. As Leeds discovered 10 years ago, Vinnie is the right man to get you promotion - but whether or not he still has the appetite for it at the age of 35 and with his Hollywood career taking off must be open to question (sorry Vinnie - don't beat me up!).

July 28: Peter Lorimer has come out in favour of the highly-paid stars of the Premiership. In his day, wages of a few hundred quid a week were the norm - one hundred times less than certain players seem to feel is their right today. But Lorimer said: "The clubs would not be paying that kind of money if they weren't making money themselves." "We played long and hard back then, but none of the players ever finished the game having earned enough money to settle down on. But then we were luckier than the players before us. Look at John Charles, a great friend of mine and a true legend of the game, who joined Juventus and was picking up less than £20 per week." Charles is a strange example, since he was hugely well-paid by the standards of the 1950s, but when compared to the money that vastly inferior players like Keane and Beckham expect, he was on a pittance.

July 28: Tony Yeboah has settled the dispute with the German tax authorities that threatened to go to court next month. Yeboah has paid the tax the Germans think he owes as a result of a move from Frankfurt a few years back, and the case is now closed.

July 28: 12 months on and Leeds and JFH seem to be attempting to heal a few wounds. DOL said: "Chelsea have paid an awful lot of money but they have got themselves a top quality striker." JFH, speaking in a press conference yesterday made it clear that he enjoyed his time at Leeds, felt he got on well with the players and the fans, but thought that the club (i.e. the board and DOL) made it clear that they wanted him to go when he slapped in his wage demands. Of course, the club line is that they wanted to keep him, but his wage demands were hopelessly out of line. Either way, JFH is looking forward to returning to Elland Road to play - but he can be guaranteed a warm reception from the fans that used to cheer him on.

July 28: Alan Smith will be hoping to get a good run out tomorrow at the City Ground as he continues to press his claim for a place in the attack. With Jason Wilcox injured at the moment, Harry Kewell will return to the left wing, leaving two places up front to be taken by Mark Viduka, Michael Bridges and Smith. After a season of playing through the pain of an ankle injury, Smith has returned witha vengeance with 4 goals on the pre-season tour and is keeping his fingers crossed that a first-team place will come his way. On the opposite side, Andy Gray will be keen to impress against his former club. Gray drifted steadily downwards after a good performance for Leeds in the 1996 Coca-Cola Cup Final, and was on the point of being released by Forest, but has now worked his way back into the side. Forest will not be fielding manager David Platt who has recently appeared in a couple of friendlies: Platt is keen to ensure his first team develop a pattern for the coming season and does not see himself as part of that pattern.

July 27: Hmmm...puzzling. Despite earlier announcements, Sky are now saying that they will be the ones to screen the home game against Munich on August 9 on Sky Digital. The return game has been confirmed as August 23, with no decision yet made about the live TV broadcast.

July 27: The U-16s were due to take on Manchester City in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup semi-finals tonight after beating Brondby 5-3 on penalties.

July 27: The reserve/youth side have picked up some silverware before the season has even begun! Last weekend they first beat Home Farm 1-0 with a goal from Caleb Folan, but went behind in the final as Chad Harpur made a mistake in goal after 9 minutes. Jamie McMaster squared things after 73 minutes, and McMaster then produced the cross in extra time that fell to Craig Farrell for a simple goal. Team captain Damien Lynch lifted the Mike Long Memorial Cup, which is named after a long-serving player, manager and committee man of the host side, Mervue United.

July 27: Peter Ridsdale was trying to sound positive about the prospect of signing another player before the start of the season. It's unlikely that we'll have signed anyone before Saturday's friendly at Forest, but "I would expect there will be further transfer activity by the time we kick off the Premiership".

July 27: Vinnie Jones got a massive reception in Leicester Square last night as he appeared at the premiere of "Gone in 60 Seconds" in which he has a small part (ooo-er!) and which stars Nicolas Cage. He's also working on a comedy script about an up and coming boxer, and has been working with Brad Pitt on Snatch, the sequel to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

July 26: David Hopkin likened his new manager Chris Hutchings to DOL. So, he's already looking forward to a future with Bradford's reserves then....:-) Bradford went down 0-1 in St Petersburg in their InterToto semi-final, and must now win the home leg by 2 clear goals to set up a final against Villa or Celta Vigo.

July 26: Peter Ridsdale made it clear that the club would not let the concept of a wage structure get in the way of securing the right players for the club. With Harry Kewell talking about extending his contract, it is significant that PR made it clear that we "would pay the market rate". But there's still a limit - and we won't be getting into a bidding war: if the only reason a player joins a club is to get the most money possible, it's unlikely to be in the long-term interests of the club to sign him.

July 26: Final details of the TV situation for the Munich home game: live on OnDigital, highlights later that night on ITV. Still no decision on the away leg.

July 26: Jason Wilcox had some minor surgery to his knee earlier this week after his early return from the Sweden tour. He's still got hopes of being fit for the start of the season, but with Ian Harte, Harry Kewell and Stephen McPhail we're not exactly short of left-sided talent.

July 26: The Yoof team start their FA Premier Academy League campaign Daaarn Sarf this year. While the senior squad is up at Boro on August 26, they'll be at Arsenal - might be worth popping along to watch for those of us in Laaarndon. The U-17s play Spurs on the same day. It will be interesting to see who plays in these games and how they do - last year, the U-19s weren't particularly successful, but most of them were a year younger than the opposition: now that they're the same age it will be interesting to see how they do.

July 26: No great surprises in the squad numbers announced today. Everyone has the same number as last season, apart from: 4 Olivier Dacourt 9 Mark Viduka 29 Kevin Evans 31 Gareth Evans 32 Simon Watson 33 Wesley Boyle 34 Kevin Dixon 36 Warren Feeney 37 Damien Lynch 38 Tony Hackworth 39 Alan Martin 40 Alan Cawley 41 Jason Lanns 42 Tony Lennon 43 Harpal Singh

July 25: Harry Kewell's father is in town to talk to the club about further extending Harry's deal. In theory, it should be quite easy since Kewell is obviously settled in Yorkshire and with the prospect of European football looking secure for the next few years, he would have plenty of challenges. But then there's the money issue. On a day when Luis Figo switched clubs for thirty-odd million, and is looking forward to a long-term contract giving him a reported £3.75 million a year, Harry and his father must quite rightly ask Leeds what they can do for him financially. Unless the bubble in Italian and Spanish football bursts, I think we'll have to reconcile ourselves to losing him sometime in the next two years - but if we can get him to agree to an extension we'll get a little bit more back when he goes.

July 25: Mark Viduka is looking forward to the new season and relishing the chance of having to compete for a starting place. "There's competition for places amongst the strikers, but that's vital and it gets everybody at the best and all wanting to play. I had a good tally at Celtic last season and my job is to score goals, so hopefully I can fend off the competition," he said.

July 25: Jason Wilcox saw a specialist today to take another look at his knee. He's not played a full game since his op in May and although it doesn't appear to be serious, we only have to look at David Batty to see what a niggling injury can do.

July 25: Tickets for the CL Qualifier game go on sale to season ticket holders from tomorrow, and on general sale from Wednesday August 2. As last season, prices are sensible - £15 for adults, £10 concessions and a family package (2 adults, 2 kids) for £40. The home game will be screened live on OnDigital but the date and channel for the away leg could still change.

July 24: It's finally clear that the Champions League qualifiers will be on the Wednesday nights after the Germans sorted out their TV rights.

July 24: Leeds completed a 100% record on their tour of Sweden tonight with a 5-1 win over Jonkoping Sodra. Michael Bridges and Alan Smith got a pair of goals apiece, and Lee Bowyer completed the Leeds scoring. Smith has scored in all three games so far, but Jason Wilcox has yet to play, raising fears that he is not yet over his knee injury.

July 24: I learned a valuable lesson about reading the press today when I found out that it was Alan BRAZIL not Alan SMITH who made the comments below. Apparently Brazil is the Mouth-in-Chief at where Smiffy has his website and their publishing process confused things a little...

July 24: Alan Smith learned a valuable lesson about dealing with the press yesterday, when his remarks about Gazza were interpreted in two completely different ways. "Over the last few years, Paul Gascoigne has had so many problems, both on the pitch and off it, that he hasn't really been able to enjoy a clear run in the teams he has played for," said Smith, meaning "He's an injury-prone liability" or "If he gets his head clear he could still be a danger on the park." Coming from a 19-year-old with his own injury and temperament issues, Smith could well do with having a long chat with Gazza and figuring out what he can do to avoid the problems that have kept Gascoigne from achieving all he might.

July 24: Peter Ridsdale was typically ambivalent when asked about Michael Duberry's future - which is inevitably called into question with Leeds being linked with numerous other central defenders. PR said: "We have had enquiries from two clubs, but he is part of a squad that is three short of what we want. If a player might feel he would prefer to go where he is guaranteed first-team football, we would consider offers once we had found a replacement."

July 23: Rio Ferdinand has apparently stunned West Ham's management by asking for a transfer. Leeds are just one of many clubs that have been linked with the 21-year-old, and although Harry Redknapp is violently opposed to a sale, if he is forced to bow to the inevitable, he'll expect over £10 million in compensation. Would it be worth paying? Probably not to be quite honest - if we were getting Sol Campbell, then that's a reasonable fee but Ferdinand hasn't delivered as much on his undoubted promise so far and needs to show more progress before we smash our transfer record to acquire him.

July 23: DOL reckons that this year's Premiership will be a five horse race. Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are all in with a shout of the title, but Man U remain favorites and he obviously doesn't rule Leeds out of it. "To be totally realistic, if we can establish ourselves in the top three English clubs, do well in the cups and the Champions League, it will be fantastic," he said. He also cast doubt over the chances of Alex Ferguson really retiring in two years: DOL hopes Fergie will stay on a bit longer so that Leeds have a chance to catch up with Man U and - in O'Leary's words, "kick some butt."

July 23: JFH's return to English football was sweet and sour. He scored for Chelsea in their friendly against Kingstonian, but was then forced to limp off with a foot injury.

July 22: David Wetherall was shoved in the back to give Bradford a penalty - which they missed, but they didn't need it as they beat RKC Waalwijk 1-0 to go through to an InterToto Cup semi-final against Zenit of St Petersburg. Aston Villa are still there, and despite being on the point of relegation last season, City now find themselves just 4 games away from the UEFA Cup.

July 22: I know the opposition isn't the greatest in the world, but it's nice to see Mark Viduka starting off with a hat-trick. Ian Harte got a couple of penalties as Leeds ran out 7-1 winners against Lysekils in Sweden.

July 21: Leeds Labour councillors yesterday voted to retain the Leeds shares and executive box that the council hold at Elland Road. The 16-seat box is available free for councillors to use for any game, and would bring in £30,000 if sold back to the club or sub-let - and that money could be spent on improving leisure facilities for the whole of the city rather than as a freebie for the council - but the Labour group voted down a motion by the Tories and Lib Dems, opting to hang on their perk.

July 21: Charlton could be looking to boost their defence by coming in for Michael Duberry - or even look to take back Danny Mills. Leeds would expect to at least recoup their spending on the two - which would mean Charlton would have to break their transfer records to get either of them. Maybe it's just the weekend tittle-tattle starting early...

July 21: At long last Mark Viduka has been granted his work permit and should be free to appear in tomorrow's game against Lysekils in Sweden. Harry Kewell (calf), Jason Wilcox (knee op) and Eirik Bakke (Euro 2000) are doubtful for the game, which should see DOL again try out as many players and formations as possible to get a feel for what is working well.

July 21: Looks like we've picked up just where we left off last season, with UEFA finding just about the hardest possible opposition for us in the Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round. 1860 Munich finished 4th in the Bundesliga last season, and both clubs' chairmen have been trying to outdo each other in their insistence that the other team must be seen as the favorite. They've not got many famous names, but Erik Mykland of Norway and Thomas Hassler of Germany are no mugs. Peter Ridsdale said: "It is this type of opposition we will face week-in week-out if we progress to the Champions League, so given the standard of 1860 we are starting one game early." His opposite number chimed in with: "They have a young, dynamic team for which we have a great deal of respect."

July 21: Peter Ridsdale was joined by Bradford's Geoffrey Robinson in warning that attempts by the FA to dock points for bad behaviour on the pitch was unprecedented and could very well be challenged in the courts. With European places and relegation at stake, any hint of partiality or unfair treatment could leave the FA facing punitive fines and legal bills. Unlike Spurs, Leeds made no attempt to avoid the fine imposed on them after an 18-man brawl at Elland Road earlier this year, and Ridsdale feels that monetary punishments remain the best way to deal with such problems.

July 20: Leeds sign Keegan! Paul Keegan that is, a 16-year-old from Gary Kelly's former club, Home Farm. Keegan is described as the next Roy Keane (hopefully for his footballing ability rather than his belief that he's worth 50 grand a week) and has been tempted to the club by the reputation of the youth setup and the good reputation of Leeds' new youth chief Brian Kidd.

July 20: Peter Ridsdale has denied that Leeds have made an offer for Joos Valgaeren, insisting that stories connecting the club with the Belgian centreback are press - or agent - fabrications. Meanwhile the arrival at Villa Park of Turkish centreback Alpay from Fehnerbahce must point to an exit for Ugo Ehiogu or Gareth Southgate, both of whom are keen to leave, and both of whom have been previously linked with a move to Elland Road.

July 20: Leeds were ranked 11th of the 16 seeded teams in the draw for the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League. It means they'll miss Inter, Galatasaray, Rangers and Valencia among others - but a visit to Istanbul could be on the cards if Besiktas get through.

July 19: Tickets for Everton and Man City at home go on sale to Striker members on Friday, and on general sale on July 31 and August 14 respectively. Throughout the season, tickets will be on sale 21 days in advance for home games - but for aways it looks like the "apply now for the whole season" rule is in force again: this was extremely unpopular last year and meant that people found it easier to cherry-pick the games they wanted to see well in advance, and those who went to more games but didn't - or couldn't - predict 3-6 months in advance what games they could get to and which ones they'd miss (not easy with the UEFA Cup moving every other game around) lost out.

July 19: That well-known soccer fan, Tiger Woods, has signed a Leeds shirt to be auctioned by the club for the families of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight. Contact Julie Craven at the club on 0113 226 6217 for more information.

July 19: If you're over in Ireland at the weekend, get yourself over to Galway. The youth/reserve team - including Tony Hackworth, Harpul Singh, Lee Matthews - will be playing Home Farm on Saturday at 4:30, and if they win will face Mervue United (the organisers) or Salthill Devon, another local league side.

July 19: Leeds' Operations Director David Spencer said today that the club will announce detailed plans and partners for the Arena development at Elland Road sometime in the next month after discussions with the council, who have already awarded outline planning permission for the work.

July 19: Leeds strolled to a 5-3 win over Panos Ljungskile in Sweden tonight. Darren Huckerby, Lee Bowyer, Ian Harte, Matthew Jones, Alan Smith got Leeds goals as DOL gave a run out to most of the squad.

July 19: JC Roda have accepted bids of £3.5 million for Joos Valgaeren from both Celtic and Leeds, and it's now up to the player and his agent to decide what they want to do next - so it's a question of weighing up the prospect of Champions League and FA Premier League football as a fringe/rotation player against a guaranteed place in a UEFA Cup/SPL team. And the money of course...

July 19: DOL spoke today about the impressive start that Alan Smith has made to the pre-season. Even though he must be thought of as 4th-choice striker behind Bridges, Viduka and Kewell, Smith has come back after his operation refreshed and determined to make an impression. He said: "This is a big season for him and I know he will respond. I will be astonished if, three years from now, he is not established as one of the country's top strikers."

July 19: Leeds are still keeping an eye on Dundee's Scottish U-21 centreback Lee Wilkie and had someone keep an eye on him in a friendly earlier this week. Wilkie is under contract to the Dens Park side until 2002, and was watched several times last season.

July 18: Former Leeds striker Tony Yeboah will face charges of tax evasion in a German court next month. Yeboah failed to pay tax on a payment of £600,000 from Eintracht Frankfurt seven years ago. Yeboah is now with SV Hamburg, and claims the problem arose because he didn't have a good understanding of German, so was confused by the contract. Remind me again what accountants and solicitors are for...

July 18: 22 players flew out to Sweden today for the pre-season tour. The squad was: Martyn, Robinson, Mills, Kelly, Molenaar, Duberry, Hay, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Evans, Dacourt, Jones, Bowyer, Bakke, McPhail, Kewell, Wilcox, Viduka, Bridges, Huckerby, Smith. DOL said something along the lines of "We have a squad of 19 and we're looking for 3 more players". Realistically, I guess that's the 22 above minus Evans, Hay and Molenaar and points out once again that a centreback should be top of the acquisition list.

July 18: Mark Viduka's work permit has still not been granted. The Department of Employment were supposed to make a decision today, but it has been deferred until later in the week.

July 17: Hasselbaink to sign for Norwich! Actually it's JFH's brother Carlos who will be having a trial with Bryan Hamilton's side this week to determine if a permanent move would work out.

July 17: As expected, the weekend meeting of the FA elected Peter Ridsdale to the International Committee. I think that means that one of his duties will be to find someone with no notable managerial successes and plenty of personality quirks to succeed Kevin Keegan when the permed one finally steps down as England coach. Form an orderly queue please...

July 17: The daily dose of transfer gossip rehashes a few well-known names (Parlour, Geremi) but adds Joos Valgaeren to the list. The 24-year-old Belgian centreback plays for Roda JC and has also been linked with Celtic. I think I'll put together a "Top 10" list at the start of the season, listing who we've been linked with during the summer and how much money we'd have had to spend to get them all...

July 17: Socceroos coach Frank Farina spoke out in support of Leeds' attempt to gain a work permit for Mark Viduka. "If Mark was good enough to play in Scotland last season it stands to reason he should be allowed to play for Leeds in the Premier League," he said. He also revealed that Leeds had acted to reassure Soccer Australia that Viduka would be available for all the Socceroo's key World Cup qualifiers. I can see that one word being the cause of numerous problems over the next 18 months....

July 17: Peter Ridsdale squashed weekend reports that DOL is in negotiations to improve and extend his contract. He made it clear that all he'd done was to reiterate his desire to keep O'Leary at the club for a very long time, and that the terms of the contract - which still has four years to run - were not about to be changed. Which still leaves DOL on less money than successful figures such as Bryan Robson....

July 17: Next season's reserve games will be played at York City's Bootham Crescent ground in order to preserve the newly-laid pitch at Elland Road.

July 17: David Hopkin played for 25 minutes in Bradford's 2-0 InterToto win over RKC Waalwijk yesterday. David Wetherall and Lee Sharpe also lent their European experience to a Bradford side that could very well progress to the UEFA Cup if they keep this form up.

July 16: Lucas Radebe's international retirement could be a step closer today as he revealed that South Africa's failure to get the World Cup for 2006 means that the major incentive for the continual globe-trotting for international games has gone. It's a good thing for Leeds, but a great shame for SA if it's true - he remains one of the star players and a key figure in the side.

July 15: Nigel Martyn, Stephen McPhail and Harry Kewell are joined on the "improved contract" conveyor belt by none other than manager David O'Leary. Peter Ridsdale today made it clear (as he did last summer) that he wanted DOL to become the longest-serving manager in the country - specifically he wants him to beat Alex Ferguson's tenure at Manchester United (currently 14 years and rising). Needless to say, a small(!) payrise might also be in the offing....

July 15: Yet another Leeds "target" - Villa's Lee Hendrie - walked away unharmed from a car crash today near Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham. Hendrie apparently wants away from Villa Park and could be a useful addition to the squad if he came - we'd just better make sure he doesn't try to drive the team bus.

July 15: Sunderland's Darren Williams - with whom Leeds have been linked several times this summer - has put in a written transfer request. Peter Reid wants to keep the England U-21 defender/midfielder but Leeds, Leicester and others are said to be interested. If he goes, the fee is expected to be of the order of £3 million.

July 15: Rio Ferdinand - in pre-season training with West Ham - made it clear that he hasn't spoken to Leeds and would be happy to stay at West Ham for as long as they want him (translation: for as long as they are prepared to pay him what he thinks he's worth...).

July 15: UEFA's seeding committee have allegedly decided that Leeds will be one of the 16 seeded teams for next week's Champions League qualifying round draw. Let's hope that they really mean it this time, since we've been pratted around on seeding before by UEFA - but avoiding the Milan clubs and last year's finalists Valencia would be a definite boost! And avoiding Galatasaray - who also look certain to be seeded - is also no bad thing at this stage.

July 15: William Hill's odds on the manager most likely to receive his P45 this season once again had DOL as the outsider of the bunch at 10-1 alongside Alex Ferguson.

July 15: David Hopkin is looking forward to resuming European battle with Bradford against RKC Waalwijk in the Intertoto Cup tomorrow - provided he can get himself fit in time. After just 5 days back in training, he's feeling the pace but the former Leeds man will be aiming to help his teammates rise to the challenge and maybe even make it through to the UEFA Cup itself.

July 14: After the hubbub of recent days, a really quiet one! The players have completed their first week back with no new injuries reported and will be looking forward to flying out to Sweden next week. No doubt the rags will be full of a final dose of transfer speculation tomorrow - the continued absence of offers for Southgate, and our interest or otherwise in Geremi, Parlour, Redknapp, Ferdinand, (add your favorite rumour here) filling up a few column inches.

July 13: Tony Dorigo, released by Derby at the end of last season, has been picked up by Stoke City for the coming year.

July 13: Peter Ridsdale responded to the hooligan issues raised in the House of Commons today, pointing out that few clubs take the same hardline position adopted by Leeds, who insist on banning orders on anyone convicted in connection with their games. Other clubs sweep the problem under the carpet by taking a more lenient - some would say ignorant - line on the subject, but those same clubs will no doubt use the stats published today to justify further restrictions on our numbers and movement at away games this season while doing nothing to deal with the problems caused by their own supporters.

July 13: Leeds didn't do too well in the Masters game in Sheffield last night. They drew the first 2 games 2-2, then went down 3-2 to Bradford. Peter Lorimer ended up managing the side after Chris Kamara, who was scheduled to take that role, ended up with too many on-pitch playing and off-pitch interviewing commitments. The tournament was won by Sheffield Wednesday, who ran out winners on penalties against Sheffield United.

July 13: Stephen McPhail has signed an improved 5-year deal, reflecting his position as a regular first-teamer rather than the squad member position that was anticipated last summer. Meanwhile Harry Kewell and Nigel Martyn could both be in the frame for improved and lengthened terms as Leeds try to lock in the players who are seen as key to the club's future.

July 12: Random transfer dept: Leeds are apparently keen on signing Real Madrid's winger/midfielder Geremi (yeah, right), and Gary Speed is being targetted by Walter Smith for a return to Everton.

July 12: According to a report by an MP, Leeds have more fans than any other club subject to a banning order - with nearly one sixth of the 400-odd total being associated with the club. Leeds have certainly had hooligan problems in the past - but maybe the numbers reflect more the attitude of different police forces and the willingness of the clubs to root out any problems and confront them rather than sweeping them under the carpet.

July 12: Alan Hill is to leave Leeds' Academy and move to Leicester to take charge of the Foxes' youth setup. Under Hill, players like Jon Woodgate and Alan Smith have come to the fore, and Leicester are hoping he can repeat the trick there.

July 12: Management blah department: PR reckons we can make a go of it in every competition this season and might have a chance of the Championship. Earth to Ridsdale: we were short of players last season and although Viduka and Dacourt are undoubtedly better players than Hopkin and Haaland, we're still 2-3 players short of challenging on all fronts. He also had a bit of a dig at the Football League's pace of change as red tape continues to tie up Leeds' attempt to link up with Oldham and other clubs. Ridsdale has also named Newcastle as his "dark horse" pick for the season ahead - Bobby Robson turned them around last year, and with a clear run at a new season he should be looking for an improvement on last year.

July 12: Tickets are now on sale for the friendlies against Blackburn, Huddersfield and Forest - but you'll need an away card if you want to buy one!

July 12: Our old friend Basil Scarsella of Soccer Australia is already trying to wind us up over Mark Viduka. Not content with dragging Harry Kewell away from serious games against useful opposition for the people who pay his wages in the Champions League/UEFA Cup in September, he's now indicating that he wants Viduka released in October for a series of friendlies in the United Arab Emirates. Viduka's work permit should be sorted one way or another by Tuesday of next week, so he'll (hopefully) be free to travel to Scandinavia for the pre-season tour.

July 11: Arsenal's midfield thug Ray Parlour is the latest player to be linked with Leeds. Arsenal's close-season foreign influx has started to raise more than a few questions about the one-time England man's chance to gain a regular place in the Highbury squad.

July 11: The South African Olympic coach Ephraim Mashaba has confirmed that Lucas Radebe will not be picked as an over-age player for South Africa for the Sydney Olympics. The news will be a welcome relief to Leeds who will probably lose Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka for nearly 3 weeks in September, while the South Africans sensibly just use the U-23 squad.

July 11: Darren Williams of Sunderland is rumoured to be on the move, but Leeds is very much an outside chance for his destination. Williams is a versatile defender, and Ipswich have also expressed an interest, but Williams is looking for a guarantee of first team football, so he'll be unlikely to be keen on a move to Elland Road.

July 11: Dave Swift and Alan Sutton have been joined by Tim Williamson from Spurs and Mark Nile from Boro in the physio department, and Bryan "Pop" Robson joins as assistant academy director from Sunderland.

July 11: Another quiet day at the office. Leeds have reiterated the view that Mark Viduka's work permit should be a formality on appeal since Australia have only played four "real" competitive games in the last two years, and as the top scorer and Player of the Year in Scotland, he is clearly of the right standard.

July 10: Peter Ridsdale has acquired yet another high office - he's agreed to act as vice-chairman of the supporters club. It's a bit of a strange position for the chairman of a football club to be in, but reflects the close relationship between the football club and the supporters club (some might say too close at times...).

July 10: As expected, Mark Viduka's work permit has been turned down by the Department of Employment. Despite the fact that numerous games that Australia have played have used a team deliberately excluding European-based players, all the bureaucrats can do is count the total number of "internationals" and the number of games for which Viduka has been selected. The appeal should be sorted by the end of the week, but Viduka is banned from even training with the squad in the meantime.

July 09: Weekend transfer speculation links us with Jason Euell of Wimbledon (again). Euell is rated at £4 million but would probably struggle to find a place in the squad, never mind the first team at Elland Road.

July 09: Harry Kewell is set to break the hearts of more than a few of his female fans by getting spliced to long-time girlfriend, Emmerdale actress Sheree Murphy according to tabloid reports today. The ceremony won't be taking place until next summer though - let's hope the arrangements don't get too distracting for Harry as we push for honours at the back-end of the year!

July 09: The - real - youngsters had a success over in Ireland over yesterday. The U-14s beat Manchester City 1-0 to take the FILA Foyle Cup at Derry's Brandywell ground and the U-12s won the plate final 4-2 on penalties after drawing 1-1 with Tranmere.

July 09: It's looking like Mark Viduka's work permit could be rejected as the jobsworths stick to the letter of the law and just count the number of international matches he's played in. Leeds would appeal - and it's likely he would be able to train and play with the club while the appeal is pending.

July 09: David Hopkin was away on holiday, so missed his new club's big game today. Bradford beat FK Atlantas 4-1 to go through to the next round of the InterToto Cup 7-2 on aggregate.

July 08: Police have now identified 18 of the 29 men whose photos were published in the YEP on Thursday. Three men have been arrested - including one who was wanted in connection with an armed robbery that took place on the same night as the Leeds - Galatasaray game.

July 08: The Rio rumours surfaced again today - with a fee of £10 million - or cash plus Michael Duberry or Danny Mills - mentioned. Both Harry Redknapp and Peter Ridsdale denied there was any truth in the gossip - but talk of a £25,000 a week contract was spread across most of today's papers and news services.

July 07: Slow news day today: David Hopkin's move to Bradford is confirmed, and Peter Ridsdale has defended the club's summer signing 'spree', with only 2 arrivals and 3 departures. Fair enough - we are improving the quality of the squad, but it was depth that got us last year, and so far there isn't a quantative change there. PR did say that maybe we might pick up the third of our four transfer targets in the near future though....

July 06: West Yorkshire police are starting to search for 29 people who were involved in various incidents surrounding the Galatasaray home game in April. CCTV pictures and TV news pictures have been used to pick out the 29 men, whose pictures were published today on the front page of the YEP (but aren't available on the web). Some may be innocent and clear themselves, but with the videotape available, the police have pretty compelling evidence against most of them.

July 06: David Batty's agent, Hayden Evans, revealed that Batts has started work writing his autobiography in an interview in tonight's YEP. He also confirms that GG's attitude and intransigence were what drove Tony Yeboah away from Leeds when he was quite happy to stay here and play out the rest of his career. As it was Yeboah went back to Germany and was top scorer at his club 3 years in a row...

July 06: Late news: some reports are saying that David Hopkin agreed terms and became Bradford's record signing earlier this evening.

July 06: Lucas Radebe was not at all happy that Germany have been awarded the 2006 World Cup. He said: "This is a shattering blow for South Africa. The decision is not just a setback for our nation, but the whole of Africa. The thought that I will not be able to lead my country in South Africa is heartbreaking. The people of South Africa are football-mad. Their passion for the game is on a par with the likes of Italy, France and England." So - looks like his retirement plans are on ice....

July 06: Rumours in this half of the planet are suggesting Leeds may be interested in 19-year-old Perth Glory midfielder Ivan Ergic - but gossip from Oz indicates that Leeds have not expressed an interest, and Ergic knows nothing about the deal.

July 06: Ex-player news: Mark Ford has joined Darlington and Paul Beesley has moved from Blackpool to Chester on a free.

July 06: Leeds and Bradford have agreed a fee of £2.5 million for David Hopkin - so now it's down to whether or not the player can agree personal terms to join the ever-expanding Leeds colony down there.

July 05: Peter Ridsdale could be in line for an FA promotion - adding a position on the International Committee to his portfolio of jobs if things go his way at an FA conference in Torquay this weekend. Meanwhile he has reiterated his intention to improve the club's image on and off the field, stressing once again the education and support provided to young players and the things that were being done to encourage good behaviour among the fans. Hope he's not disappointed in either case...

July 05: Hands off time part 2: Alan Smith is going nowhere according to the player and according to Peter Ridsdale. Smith will face a battle for a place up front, but is raring to go after an apparently successful op that has fixed the niggling injuries that held up his development last season.

July 05: Hands off time: Paul Robinson is apparently a target of Leicester City, who have lost Pegguy Arphexad on a Bosman - probably to Liverpool. Robinson remains second choice at Elland Road - but sits behind Nigel Martyn, and must realistically wonder if he is ever going to see a decent spell of first team action. Danny Milosevic and to a lesser extent Shaun Alloway would provide reasonable cover, but we'd be better off loaning Robinson to a lower division club to get real first team experience rather than letting him go.

July 05: South Africa's pole position for WC 2006 could cause Leeds a few problems, since the chance of leading his side in a home World Cup would almost certainly lead Lucas Radebe to put off the international retirement he'd been hinting at. He'd be 35 by the time the competition comes round, but is head and shoulders above any current candidates at centreback and would have a good chance of still being in the team by then. So I guess that implies at least another two years when January/February is a Lucas-free zone as he'll want to be playing in the African Nations Cup. He's now well on the road to recovery after a minor op at the end of last season.

July 05: Villa appear to be pricing Ugo Ehiogu out of the market with a valuation of nearly £10 million. Peter Ridsdale has said that he'd like to make sure the next signing or two would be sorted before pre-season training - and that might be Villa's unsettled England international Gareth Southgate, and/or the England U-21 midfielder Lee Hendrie, who feels that John Gregory isn't giving him a decent opportunity at Villa Park.

July 05: The David Hopkin seesaw is now balanced in favour of Bradford, who have now admitted that they are in talks with Leeds over the Scottish midfielder. The clubs are still well apart on the valuation, but if the difference is split, Bradford might be able to start talking to Hoppo to agree personal terms.

July 04: In advertising, image is everything, and professionals control who their image is associated with to ensure that the public learns to strongly identify a face with a set of values. So I guess it's quite nice that DOL sees promotion of public transport as being a Good Thing - he's fronting a campaign for cheap all-day bus tickets for the First Leeds bus company. I'm sure he'd turn down Ferrari if they approached him.... :-)

July 04: Brian Kidd has drafted in Andy Welch from the FA and Jimmy Hagen from Sunderland to lead the youth scouting operation at Elland Road. Kidd is also moving coach Steve Beaglehole's brother, Andrew, to Oldham to run the scouts over there - although Oldham firmly deny any formal involvement by Leeds (as they must continue to do to keep the rulebook jobsworths in St. Annes happy).

July 04: The Leeds squad for the Yorkshire Masters tournament at Sheffield Arena on July 12 has been finalised. Leeds will field Ronnie Sinclair, the Snodin brothers, Chris Whyte, Brendan Ormsby (who won't have good memories of matches in Sheffield...), Brian Flynn, Ian Baird, John Mclelland, Gary Williams, Bobby Davison and Chris Kamara. Appearing for other teams are former Leeds players Tony Agana, John Pemberton (Sheffield United), Mel Sterland, Imre Varadi, John Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), John Hendrie and Carl Shutt (Bradford City). If you're doing nothing next Wednesday get out there and cheer them on!

July 03: John Gregory confirmed that Villa have been talking to David O'Leary - but he would not say who they spoke about nor which way the moves would be.

July 03: More pre-season fitness problems: Lucas Radebe will not be fit enough to turn out for South Africa's World Cup qualifier next Sunday. He's had an ankle op and is recovering well, but won't be fit enough to play a competitive match. Let's hope he has a very solid pre-season because we'll need him fit and raring to go for the Champions League qualifier in early August.

July 03: All of a sudden, David Hopkin is having to beat off a horde of admirers! Everton are the latest to be mentioned. They're considering a move for the midfielder as cover for the want-away Nick Barmby.

July 02: Mark Viduka has passed his medical and is now just waiting for work permit clearance to come through. Since he was a regular at Celtic, it shouldn't be too much of a problem even though he doesn't pass the formal international qualifications, and it should take less than two weeks to sort out.

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