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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

August 31: Paul Robinson conceded a goal for the England U-21 side, but watched as the strikers scored 6 in a convincing win at the Riverside for Howard Wilkinson's team tonight.

August 31: Kevin Keegan was apparently keen to get Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate into the squad for the game against France - particularly after all the recent injuries. However the FA were adamant that their doctrine of guilty until proven innocent must continue to apply and the pair's international ban will remain in place.

August 31: It's looking likely that Leeds will send a group of fans to Istanbul for the Besiktas game - but it will be a small well-controlled group of no more than 200. Peter Ridsdale is hoping that the Turkish authorities will refuse entry to any fans trying to travel independently (so how much will the official trip send us into debt by Peter?) so as to ensure good order for the game.

August 31: Kevin Evans has joined Cardiff on a permanent basis after being told that there was no future for him at Elland Road. Meanwhile, Jacob Burns' signing is confirmed: he'll pick up the number 25 shirt for this season.

August 30: Rivaldo reckons that Leeds will be just the first in a line of clubs that Barcelona will beat on the road to some serious silverware this year. As well as the World and European Footballer of the Year, we'll be facing our old chums "Diving" Marc Overmars and "Superwhinger" Emmanuel Petit - an acquaintance I'm sure several of the team are looking forward to renewing.

August 30: Matthew Jones will miss Wales' upcoming visit to Minsk for a World Cup qualifier against Belarus. The shin splints injury that kept him out at the start of the season (but allowed him to play against Munich and Boro) are still troubling him, and his head wound is still not fully healed after getting gashed at the weekend.

August 30: Once again the club have come up with an outstandingly cheap trip to the Barca game - not! With a day trip priced at £235 plus the cost of the match ticket, they are charging pretty much one hundred quid more than what a flight with EasyJet/Go/Buzz would cost - for that you could have 3 nights in a decent hotel in the centre of Barcelona! Their two-night package comes in at £385, staying in a 4-star hotel, and once again throws the contrast between the good value to be had for the home games and the rip-off prices of the away packages into sharp relief.

August 30: We seem to be back in May again. Hertha Berlin's Iranian striker Ali Daei is still not happy at the club, and there is once again talk of him coming to Leeds. Daei is not a bad striker with some experience, and might be useful to plug a hole while Harry Kewell recovers and Mark Viduka is in Australia. However, with Michael Bridges and Alan Smith available as first choice, Darren Huckerby as back-up, and Tony Hackworth and Lee Matthews as "young and untested", it would be hard to justify spending much money on a 31-year-old for temporary cover. DOL was on record saying there would be "no panic buys" with just a day to got to the Champions League transfer deadline - let's hope he sticks to his guns.

August 29: If Leeds or Villa don't make it through to the Worthington Cup semi-finals, the clash at Villa Park will now take place on Wednesday 24 January. The original date clashed with the CL qualifier in Munich, and the provisional rearranged date clashed with the game in Istanbul.

August 29: DOL has gone on record advising Leeds fans not to travel to Istanbul for the Besiktas game. Peter Ridsdale has promised to consult the families of the two murdered men as well as the English and Turkish authorities before formally announcing the club's decision, so DOL is speaking in a personal capacity here, but after last year's reception it wouldn't be surprising to see the team fly in and out on the same day and for the club to set up free screenings to minimise the number of fans tempted to travel.

August 29: Lucas Radebe will now miss South Africa's game against Congo at the weekend. Lucas started on the bench against Boro to rest a knee injury, but when Jon Woodgate picked up an injury, Lucas had to come on and aggravated the injury. Hopefully he'll be fit soon - but it's hard to see him starting against Manchester City on Tuesday if he's not fit enough to play on Sunday.

August 29: Jason Wilcox is back in training and could be fit for the Manchester City game one week today - but the Barcelona game the following week is a more realistic target. Dominic Matteo is also regaining fitness, but whether he'll be close to full match sharpness by the start of the CL games is open to question. Stephen McPhail is also close to coming back, but Jon Woodgate and Eirik Bakke are still in doubt for the visit of City with ankle problems.

August 29: Alan Smith's reward for his 5-goal start to the season is a call-up to the full England squad for the friendly against France after Emile Heskey dropped out and Andy Cole and Kevin Phillips were declared as injury doubts. On hearing of the call-up, DOL said: "He won't let Kevin Keegan down", and once again made it clear that he still thinks that Smith's future is in the balance and could turn out either way, depending on the player's attitude and ability to focus himself.

August 29: It's Tuesday so the Riise deal must be off. Riise reiterated his earlier statements that he liked Monaco and wouldn't move to just any club, but he'd love to come to Leeds. Then Monaco said he wasn't for sale at any price, so the deal is off. More on this tomorrow, I'm sure....

August 28: Leeds Ladies continued their good start to the season by beating promoted side Newcastle Town 6-1 at the weekend. Their next match is going to be a crucial one as they face fellow promotion hopefuls Garswood Saints next Sunday.

August 28: Apparently FIFA have now written to the participating countries, suggesting that they don't field over-age players in the Olympic soccer tournament. The countries don't have to comply - but clubs such as Leeds are obviously hoping they do. Some reports are now saying that Mark Viduka's loyalties have switched from playing for his country in his home town to appearing for Leeds in the Champions League - even though this does contradict everything the player had said to date.

August 28: Leeds have made a slightly improved offer to Monaco for John Arne Riise - but the money is only on the table until the Champions League transfer deadline of next Thursday. If Riise isn't a Leeds player before then, he'll have to wait until at least next season - but equally we'll be up the creek for strengthening the squad.

August 28: If you want to watch all 3 Champions League games at Elland Road, you'll have to fork out £65 for adults and £45 for concessions for a very reasonably-priced package. If you want to chance it and only go for one or two games, individual tickets will be on sale from September 11 priced at £25 for the Milan and Barca games and £20 for the Besiktas game. But you're advised to book early and take the package - cos there won't be many individual tickets left!

August 28: DOL was tight-lipped about what he actually said to Olivier Dacourt in what was described as an "animated" on-pitch discussion at the end of the Boro game. However he did say: "We can get Olivier to play better. Some things he does well for France, but we're here in the Premier League. It's his second Premiership game and the game here is so different. It'll take some time." Any way you read it, Dacourt has had an exceptional start to his Leeds career, and if he continues to be such a dominating presence in the middle of the pitch, our chances for success this season will be greatly enhanced.

August 27: On SportLive today (strangely timestamped some 3 hours after Rangers were completely ripped to pieces by Celtic), there's a piece by someone calling themselves "Andy McInnes" (sounds very Scottish) slagging off Mark Viduka for his claims (denied by the player) that he only played at 70% in the SPL. Two words, Mr McInnes: Rod Wallace. The bitter tone of McInnes' article would rather suggest that his sympathies lie on the blue side of Glasgow, and after today's game they need a lot of sympathy. "Sure he scored 27 goals...but so have many others" says McInnes: case proven! Either way, although it would be stupid to claim that the FA Carling Premiership is the best league in Europe, it's clearly an order of magnitude more competitive than the SPL and Viduka's remarks are borne out by looking at the performance of players in both leagues.

August 27: Not much news today to be quite honest. Eirik Bakke and Jon Woodgate are both carrying ankle injuries as a result of the Boro game, but hopefully neither are serious. And Leeds "hope" to sign at least one player prior to the CL transfer deadline on Friday. But it probably won't be Rio Ferdinand.

August 26: Leeds are among several clubs asking FIFA to reconsider the inclusion of over-age players in the Olympic tournament. For Leeds, this means Mark Viduka: it would be nice if we could have him available for Barcelona, but he clearly wants to play in his home town: better to give in gracefully now rather than face the long-running acrimony that we've had with Harry Kewell.

August 26: Gary Speed scored the first of Newcastle's two goals as they beat Spurs at St. James Park.

August 26: After the successful opening of Lee Chapman's Teatro bar and restaurant in Leeds, another one of the promotion squad is getting in on the action. "roc" on Boar Lane opens next weekend, backed by one-time footballer and current film star Vinnie Jones, and is aiming to bring New York lounge bar style to Leeds.

August 26: The question marks over the Besiktas game drew further comment today, with Leeds legend Peter Lorimer having his say. "I personally feel that supporters from both Leeds and Beskitas should not be allowed to travel. There is still a lot of tension and fans have not forgotten what happened in Istanbul. The last thing we want is more trouble from the fans in either Turkey or Elland Road with the world watching. At the end of the day it is up to the clubs to decide but I hope they take the sensible option." At the moment though, it looks like both clubs are keen to press ahead with the tie and allow away fans. The fact that the first game is in Leeds should be of benefit: if we host the Turkish fans in a slightly calmer atmosphere than that which prevailed for Galatasaray's visit, the prospects of trouble in Istanbul should recede. If there is any trouble, of course, that's another thing entirely...

August 26: Phew! Edge of the seat stuff! A 20-yard screamer from Lee Bowyer and an Alan Smith heel on an Olivier Dacourt shot gave Leeds an early lead, which Smith, Viduka and Bowyer could have doubled by half-time. A late goal by Phil Stamp after lots of pressure from Boro gave us a few jitters towards the end of the game, but Leeds held on to make it four wins in four games. More worrying was the early departure of Jon Woodgate and Eirik Bakke, and the head injury suffered by Matthew Jones, but we've now got a decent break before the next game against Manchester City.

August 26: Both Peter Ridsdale and the management of Besiktas are keen to host away fans for the Champions League games despite concerns over possible violence between the fans. The management are making all the right noises - this now needs backing up with action from the clubs, the national and local governments and UEFA to make sure that the games go ahead without incident.

August 26: Mark Viduka today denied that he'd ever played at 70%. The comments allegedly came from an interview given by DOL, but Viduka pointed to his Player of the Year trophy from north of the border as proof that he gave his all. "I never had a conversation remotely like this with David O'Leary, not at all. I don't know where these comments are supposed to have come from but I certainly didn't say anything like that."

August 25: Peter Lorimer is impressed with what DOL and the team have achieved in less than two years. In today's YEP he said: "David's achievements, along with those of his coaching staff who work with him as a team, have been phenomenal in such a short time. You watch the lads training and they are all very happy together, which is testimony to the spirit which has been built."

August 25: Tony Hackworth grabbed a hat-trick for the reserves against Blackburn last night, with Jamie McMaster also on target as Leeds ran out 4-0 winners. Robert Molenaar and Alan Maybury both completed 90 minutes as their comeback from injury now only needs a first team game to make it complete.

August 25: Eirik Bakke is still doubtful for tomorrow's game at league leaders Middlesbrough, for whom Alan Boksic undergoes a late fitness test. Leeds haven't won up there for ages (1989 with goals from Carl Shutt and Chris Fairclough), and Boro are slight favourites at 6/4 with Leeds at 13/8. The game will be aired free at Elland Road at the Nike Roadshow, which will be celebrating the release of the new yellow away strip. There was a caveat in last week's programme that this kit may just have a lifetime of this season - so think carefully before you splash out!

August 25: Speaking of Galatasaray, our old friends beat Real Madrid 2-1 in a scrappy European Super Cup final in Monaco tonight. Jardel scored a golden goal after two penalties had left the scores level at full time.

August 25: Well there's a big shock. Arsenal get Sparta Prague and an almost unknown Ukrainian team. Man U get three teams that have most definitely seen better days (PSV, Dinamo Kiev and Anderlecht). And Leeds get Barcelona and AC Milan. And a return to Istanbul. In fairness, the seeding was fair on us and it does appear that we were just genuinely unlucky in pulling two of the strongest teams around. As for the return visit to Istanbul - well, in normal circumstances there's no love lost between Galatasaray and Besiktas, so the big questions are (a) will our fans lump all Turks together as murdering Galatasaray scum, (b) will the Besiktas fans decide that we're all mates together in a big anti-Gala hug, and (c) will either club issue any tickets to away fans. UEFA have asked for a round table meeting to go over security details for the tie with Besiktas. Some sections of the media, both international and Turkish have characterised Besiktas' fans as even more violent than Galatasaray's - but that is strenuously denied by Besiktas boss Serdar Bilgili. "We will welcome Leeds fans as our guests. I really hope that they can stand side by side watching the match in a spirit of togetherness," he said. UEFA chief Lennart Johannson - the man who compared the actions of England fans in Brussels unfavourably with the behaviour of the murdered men in Istanbul - wants to go to both games as an observer: I'm sure we'll give him an entirely appropriate welcome, and invite him to explain the remarks of his General Secretary, Gerhard Aigner, to the families of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight in person. He can then go on record as to which of the two murdered men Aigner was referring to when he said " of them was a trouble-maker" in June. DOL reckons that it will be "a miracle" if we get past the first phase - and I'm inclined to agree: this time he's not just playing down the team's inexperience and lack of depth - he means it! If we don't make it, there's always the UEFA Cup - and all those games moved back to Sunday as a result...

August 25: To nobody's great surprise, Harry Kewell has had to pull out of the Olympic team. It's an immense disappointment both for the player and the fans, but his achilles problem is not clearing up fast enough, and coach Raul Blanco needs to get the squad together. For once our old enemy Basil Scarsella didn't try to point the finger of blame at Leeds. In fact, he was quite conciliatory, making it clear that Leeds weren't at fault and noting that Harry hadn't played for Leeds so far this season.

August 24: It's rather convenient that Peter Ridsdale is in Monaco for the draw - because that might give him the chance to resurrect the transfer of John Arne Riise. With the prospect of a large pile of cash from the league stages, maybe the clubs can meet halfway on their different valuations. "Nothing is dead. There are possibilities," said Ridsdale when questioned about the move.

August 24: Not that they needed it as incentive, but the squad were apparently on £15,000 a man to get through to the Champions League proper. Now Alan Smith has his sights set on playing against Juventus - because he wants to swap shirts with his hero Alessandro del Piero, a player he's admired for many years.

August 24: Leeds are seeded in the third ranking group of teams for tomorrow's draw for the Champions League league stages. This means that they could return to Istanbul to face either Galatasaray (ranked in the second group) or Besiktas (in the fourth group). Teams won't be drawn with teams from the same country at this stage, so expect a nicely complicated draw tomorrow. The full set of groupings are: Pot One: Real Madrid (holders), Juventus, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Lazio, MANCHESTER UNITED, Monaco, Valencia. Pot Two: Spartak Moscow, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Lyonnais, AC Milan, Deportivo la Coruna, ARSENAL, PSV Eindhoven, Galatasaray. Pot Three: Dynamo Kiev, Rosenborg, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiakos Piraeus, Panathinaikos, LEEDS, Sparta Prague, RANGERS. Pot Four: Sporting Lisbon, SV Hamburg, Anderlecht, Besiktas, Sturm Graz, Heerenveen, Helsingborgs, Shakhtar Donetsk. Leeds and Galatasaray would have been in the third group together but for Internazionale's surprising defeat by Rosenborg. Peter Ridsdale arrived in Monaco for the draw and made a point of shaking hands with Gala president Frank Suren: like many of us, he's hoping that the bad feeling and bitterness between both clubs and fans can be put behind us.

August 24: Nigel Martyn is the only Leeds player selected in Kevin Keegan's England squad - but David Seaman is still in there too. Sure the pony-tailed one's time is now up? Eirik Bakke is in the Norwegian squad for their qualifier against Armenia in Oslo.

August 24: Alan Smith and Paul Robinson were the only two Leeds players named in Howard Wilkinson's U-21 squad for the first England game of the season when the squad was announced yesterday.

August 24: Leeds target Lee Wilkie scored his first goal for Dundee last night as the Scottish club beat Montrose 3-0 in the CIS Cup.

August 24: DOL is absolutely over the moon with tonight's result. "This result is better than the one against Roma in last season's UEFA Cup when we held them to a goalless draw on their patch. In fact, I would go so far as to say that, given the circumstances in which we went into this tie, this was the best performance from my players during my time in charge." The good feeling was spoilt a little by a spat over hand-shaking - or rather the lack of it - between the managers. DOL pointed out that Werner Lorant had failed to shake his hand at the end of the game, implying he was a bad loser - but Lorant said that he'd done that because DOL had done exactly the same thing at Elland Road. Handbags at dawn, film at 11.

August 23: History repeating itself: Leeds broke a season-long lack of away wins at Southampton a few years ago. Part of that side was Gordon Strachan - whose Coventry side had a similar winless run last year, and tonight they broke that streak at The Dell.

August 23: Michael Duberry has definitely improved on last season's performances as a player and is now looking forward to mixing it at the top level. Speaking after the game in Munich, he said: "We've had injuries and suspensions but we're building a great squad and we've shown we can compete with some of the best sides in Europe. It's going to be hard for us but we're up for the challenge."

August 23: Alfi Haaland scored for Manchester City in their 4-2 win over Sunderland tonight - but his contribution was rather overshadowed by Paulo Wanchope's hat-trick as Peter Reid's old club hammered his current one.

August 23: Lessons learned from Istanbul: none. Respect shown to the memory of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight: none. That's right, the idiot tendency were in action today, chanting "Heil Hitler" and performing Nazi salutes in the beer gardens of Munich. Hopefully the club and the authorities will make it very difficult for these people to get to any Leeds games, home or away, again.

August 23: DOL's initial impression of Mark Viduka was that he was a lazy player - but Viduka reckons that Scottish football only needed 70% of his ability. "He could have stayed at Celtic and earned more money than he is getting down here, that is what I liked about him. He wanted to get out of Celtic because he felt the league up there was poor." Tonight's performance carried on from Saturday's impression that Viduka was still short of fitness (that's half the problem of only playing at 70%) but gave a good account of himself and proved a handful for the Munich defence.

August 23: Lucas Radebe will be required by South Africa for their World Cup qualifier against Congo on September 3. Radebe will then face a dash back to Leeds to make it for the game against Manchester City, as injuries and Olympic call-ups will still be a problem for the team.

August 23: Rod Wallace scored as Rangers went through to the Champions League group stage with a 3-0 win on the night, and 6-0 on aggregate.

August 23: The Olympic Stadium - this time in Munich rather than Rome - was once again the venue for a superb performance by Nigel Martyn, although he was helped by the woodwork and Jon Woodgate at the end of each half as Thomas Hassler nearly bagged a pair of free kicks. As it was, Alan Smith's excellent performance at the other end of the field resulted in his fourth goal in three games after a defensive mix-up at the start of the second half, and from then on, life was never easy, but at least more relaxed. Full credit too to referee Larsen of Denmark, who managed to run the game well and never had to reach for a card despite the competitive nature of the game.

August 23: Leeds have had an offer of £250,000 accepted for Parramatta defender Jacob Burns. The young Australian is one of the reserves for the Olympic tournament - although he's allegedly told coach Raul Blanco that he doesn't want to play - and will be the 6th Australian at the club. Burns is due to get married at the weekend and will join up with the squad next week.

August 22: As many of you will have found out by now, it's impossible to see the game tomorrow unless (a) you're in Munich or (b) you have a Sky Digital dish. It won't be on in any of the pubs for those of us stuck with Cable to go and see because the company that bought the rights is totally clueless. A spokeswoman for u>direct said today it was new to the sports field and currently did not have the technology for commercial broadcasts, which differs to the set-up for domestic transmissions. SO WHAT THE HELL DID THEY BUY THE LEEDS RIGHTS FOR THEN? M>ORONS!

August 22: Harry Kewell has been given until Friday to declare his fitness for the Olympics by Olyroo coach Raul Blanco. With an achilles op still a possibility, Blanco will be looking to make a final decision as to the shape of the squad well in advance of the practice games, so it's not an unreasonable request, even though the games are over three weeks away.

August 22: Matt Jones might be asked to do a midfield marking job against Munich tomorrow - even though he's nowhere near fully fit. The only way that DOL can put out an experienced team is to play 6 or 7 defenders - and although hanging on to the 2-1 lead is a priority, a totally defensive approach will make conceding a single goal a racing certainty and leaving it very difficult to change round. Whatever happens, there will at least be an experienced ref for the 2nd leg: Bo Claus Larsen of Denmark will officiate after the nightmare performance of Cypriot Costas Kapitanis made a mockery of the first game.

August 22: Mark Hughes was extremely complimentary about Alan Smith after this weekend's game. Wales manager Hughes said he sees something of himself of Leeds' young striker. "Alan is a lively lad. He always wants the ball and he's got a bit of an edge to him, which is no bad thing. You've got to be able to look after yourself," said Hughes.

August 21: Leeds United Ladies kicked off their new season with a 2-1 win at Ilkeston Town at the weekend with goals from Lucy Ward, top scorer for the last 3 years, and Karen Skilcom.

August 21: Mark Viduka is looking forward to playing in the Olympic Stadium in Munich on Wednesday - before playing in the Olympic Stadium in his home town of Sydney. He admits to being short of match fitness at the moment - and that showed on Saturday. "But once I start feeling strong and I'm able to do what my mind wants me to do then everything should be great," the striker said. The Leeds midfield will have a strange look - with only Lee Bowyer available of the regulars. Leeds can't afford to get over-run in the middle of the park, so I wouldn't be surprised to see DOL start with a 5-3-2 formation, with Danny Mills or Michael Duberry the extra centreback, Huckerby and Gareth Evans making up the midfield numbers if Matthew Jones isn't over his shin splints. As it is, that would leave one of the strikers on the bench plus Robert Molenaar, Alan Maybury, Jamie McMaster and Wesley Boyle making up the sub numbers: any more injuries and I'll be packing my boots on the way to the games!

August 21: John Arne Riise is apparently no longer for sale according to Peter Ridsdale. He said that Leeds wouldn't have a problem with the fee, but Monaco no longer wished to sell the player.

August 21: Our old friend Mr Graham Poll was back on top form tonight, sending off Gary McAllister on his full Liverpool debut, and following that up with reds for Vieira and Hamann and then blowing for time before the two minutes indicated by the 4th official were up. Folks with long memories will recall the game against Chelsea a few years ago when Poll managed a similar feat, with Gary Kelly and Alfie Haaland getting their marching orders.

August 21: Alfie Haaland was so embarrassed by the team's performance on Saturday, that he forked out for petrol for a minibus-load of Man City fans he ran into at a service station on the way back from London.

August 20: Contract news: according to reports today, DOL has a clause in his contract which legally binds him to the club and guaranteed that he will not walk out should another job be offered to him. The deal was clearly struck with Arsenal and Man U in mind, and will no doubt allow severance under certain terms, but you can bet that DOL will not be losing out financially as a result. Meanwhile, it's rumoured that just £15 million is the barrier level in Harry Kewell's contract: any club wanting to talk to him must offer at least that amount, and Kewell will be entitled to speak to any club that does. Seems a bit on the low side if you ask me...

August 20: Paul Gascoigne may not have done much to help Everton on Saturday, but it certainly looks like he's done a lot of other teams a favour. His late challenge on Eirik Bakke (which miraculously went unpunished) has left the young Norwegian in the treatment room. Fortunately (?) he's banned from the Munich game on Wednesday, so there's no impact there, but he could also end up missing the Boro game and Norway's World Cup qualifier the following week if he doesn't make it back in time.

August 20: DOL believes that his team need to produce the best result of his managerial career to win on Wednesday and reach the next phase of the Champions League. With a squad decimated by injuries, and a slender one-goal lead, it will be a tough challenge, and DOL would rank this win even higher than last season's victory over AS Roma - and in terms of significance for the club, he could well be right.

August 20: Mark Viduka - whose scoring record for Celtic was more or less three goals every four games - has set himself a scoring target at Elland Road - but he's not telling anyone else what it is! "You only end up with egg on your face if you don't achieve it," he said.

August 20: DOL claims that he's finally got Alan Smith's temper under control and his aggression channelled. "I'm moulding him," said the manager. "I had a chat with him pre-season on a few issues, in particular about the edge in his game." O'Leary continued: "I believe in the long run he will be a good player because he has all the attributes...I thought he was outstanding."

August 20: It was a bit of a mixed day for the old boys yesterday: JFH fell over a blade of grass and won a penalty, as Chelsea went on to be more convincing winners over West Ham. David Hopkin, David Wetherall and Lee Sharpe must have been knocked out with surprise as Emile Heskey managed to stay on his feet in the box and score the only goal of the game. Alfi Haaland also found himself on the wrong end of the result as Man City collapsed 0-4 against Charlton, and Rod Wallace bagged the last of Rangers' 4 against Dunfermline at Ibrox.

August 19: A good start to the season with a scrappy game, and Alan Smith wasn't the star just because of his two goals. Debutants Ferguson and Gazza couldn't ignite Everton, and Leeds deserved to take all three points, but Everton were a bit unlucky to fail to score. Still, it's a boost for Wednesday night...

August 19: Well, the season's really here now and I'm heading up to Leeds. Let's hope we've got 14 fit players for the game, cos I think we'll need them!

August 18: Gulp! Not good news at all department. DOL - and the man himself - are still being cagy about just when Harry Kewell will be back and ready to play. "About three weeks down the line we will be able to see whether Harry is improving or will need an op," said DOL. "If he does need an operation then he will come back perfect, but it won't be until after Christmas." Pass the Valium....

August 18: All three Leeds players have been named in Australia's final squad for the Olympics. Danny Milosevic is expected to be allowed to travel out early to join the Australian camp at the start of their get-together, but Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka will stay in Leeds until at least the Boro game, and might even be around for the Man City game, before flying out for a friendly against South Africa on September 7.

August 18: Peter Ridsdale said that he'd sealed DOL's agreement to signing an extended agreement over "a few bottles of champagne", and he was happy that the manager had commited himself to the club for the long-term, particularly since the next couple of years could see both Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger leave their current positions, and DOL has been mentioned as a favorite for both.

August 18: Jon Woodgate could make a surprise early comeback for tomorrow's game as his ligament injury is healing faster than expected. Mark Viduka will probably make his league debut, despite his lack of match fitness. Reports from Goodison indicate that Duncan Ferguson probably won't start, leaving Elland Road's comedy hate figure - Mark Hughes - to figure up front alongside Joe Max Moore. Olivier Dacourt is looking to renew his acquaintance with Everton, and will be hoping for a card-free game, but said: "I know that my game is aggressive and competitive and that will not change. I have been brought into Leeds United to perform a job for David O'Leary and I will do that to the best of my ability in the only way I know how. But if I have to take a yellow card I will take a yellow card. Referees want to do their jobs well and so do I." Leeds are 4/6 to win, but a red card for any player is available at 11/2: last year's game would indicate that to be a sound investment.

August 17: New sponsors Strongbow are looking to do a favour to all those poor souls who get dragged around town on Saturday rather than going to the game. They're seeking permission from Leeds City Council to erect a mini-grandstand of three tiers of seats in front of Granada's Commercial Street premises so that fans can keep an eye on the teletext and see the goals and results coming through.

August 17: Leeds are still interested in Dominic Matteo despite the injury, and Peter Ridsdale will be looking to negotiate a staged payment of the fee and make sure Matteo is a Leeds player before the European transfer deadline at the end of August. He might not be fit for the first games, but if he's signed up now he'll be available for the later ones.

August 17: Thanks to the stupid red card that he earned against Everton at Elland Road at the back end of last season, Michael Duberry will miss Saturday's game due to suspension. So we'll probably see Lucas Radebe partnered by Danny Mills at centreback, since Jon Woodgate is still injured - unless DOL considers Robert Molenaar ready for what would be a very popular return to first team football. Whoever gets selected will be in for a good time: they'll be facing Duncan Ferguson who finally sorted his problems out with his agent or Newcastle depending on what you read, and rejoined Everton for £3.75 million. Let's hope he doesn't start repaying that until after Saturday.

August 17: The game against Munich next week will now kick off at 7:30 instead of 7:45. It should be available free on ARD or ZDF to those with an analogue satellite dish, but will still be priced at 8 quid to those people lucky (!) enough to have Digital MurdochVision.

August 17: Excellent news on the contract front: Harry Kewell has agreed a new deal that will (in theory) keep him at Elland Road until 2004. No salary numbers have been quoted yet, but I think you can safely assume he'll be the highest paid player at the club, and there will be a very high figure named as the minimum another club would have to pay to buy him out of his contract. Kewell thinks the squad can actually win something this year: "If we don't this season then I think we will look at it as failure. But we all feel we can do something this season. We need it to spur us on and if we do, then it will be perfect." He also points out, having finished 5th, 4th and 3rd over the last three years, there's an obvious progression (pessimistic Jabba says: the way it's looking this season, I'd be happy with 4th and unsurprised by 5th). Kewell's injury is still troubling him, and his aim of being back in time for the Olympics could start looking a bit tight and the cut-off date for naming the squads might force the Olyroo coach to make a tough decision.

August 16: Dundee's Lee Wilkie will not be appearing for Leeds in the short term anyway, as he is currently serving a ban. He could return shortly and revive interest in the £1 million deal.

August 16: DOL was described as "the hottest managerial property in the game" by Peter Ridsdale earlier, and is due to sign his improved six-year deal before the weekend (or maybe even on field before the Everton game). The deal will reputedly earn DOL up to £10 million if Leeds consistently qualify for the Champions League over the next 6 seasons. Apart from anything else, this should help guarantee the retention of Lucas Radebe: he had a clause inserted into his contract that entitles him to leave Elland Road if DOL goes.

August 16: We could be the first team to see just how far from retirement Paul Gascoigne is: chances are pretty good that the rotund one could grace Elland Road on Saturday - and with the Leeds squad looking increasingly threadbare, he could find himself with an easier comeback than he could have hoped for. That said, Lee Bowyer, Eirik Bakke and Olivier Dacourt are sure to give him a warm welcome....

August 16: Peter Ridsdale laughed off the reports of a link with El-Hadrioui - even though the Moroccan's club stated that Leeds had been in touch. It's always hard to tell whether he's serious: PR has spent so much of the summer denying links with numerous players - including Mark Viduka and Dominic Matteo - so I guess it's another case of wait and see.

August 16: were today advertising a slightly soiled left back, going cheap. Yep, Matteo's medical showed up a knee injury that could keep him out for 2 months. Back to the drawing board (or at least the negotiating table to talk about the fee again). He could still prove to be a good buy - remember Asa Hartford! Matteo may now be viewed as a borderline player by Houillier, but several Liverpool fans reckon he had a very good season last year and he could still fit in well with DOL's plans. Peter Ridsdale mentioned that Matteo wouldn't be our last signing - so who's next on the agenda? Maybe it's time to resurrect the John Arne Riise bid...I mean - it is 3 days since it was made clear it was completely out of the question!

August 15: Leeds were one of only four clubs - Villa, Sunderland and Man U being the others - which had a wage bill of 50% or less of the club's total turnover last season. Only 11 other clubs came inside the 66% ratio that accountants Deloitte Touche reckon is a sensible and sustainable level: these included Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Newcastle and Derby from the top flight. At the bottom end of the scale, and relying very much on the largesse of the owners, are Darlington (181%), Brentford (161%) and Fulham (128%).

August 15: Matteo...or someone else? Reports tonight indicate that Leeds are the only club to have contacted AZ 67 Alkmaar about their Moroccan left-sided wing back Abdelkrim El-Hadrioui and that a fee of £3 million had been suggested. Celtic, Ipswich and Ajax have all been connected with the player, but it's unlikely he'll move before this weekend, when Alkmaar face Feyenoord, giving the clubs a final chance to have another look and make up their minds.

August 15: Leeds' reserve game with Manchester City will now take place on September 21 instead of September 19 as originally scheduled.

August 15: Kevin Evans has gone down to Cardiff City to train with them with a view to a loan move to gain first team experience. He spent some time at Swansea last season, and with Sam Hamman taking charge at Cardiff, could be on hand to see big changes at the club.

August 15: Australia have been drawn in the same group as Nigeria and Italy for the Olympic football tournament. Honduras make up the group, which will play its games on September 13, 16 and 19. It's a tough draw, and, from a purely selfish Leeds-centric point of view, could be regarded as a good one if we get Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka back earlier than expected. However, the Australian side is a strong one, and with players of that calibre available, it will take a very good side to beat them. Meanwhile, the full national side is likely to take on Scotland at Hampden Park on November 15.

August 15: DOL confirmed the interest in Matteo tonight, with a fee of £4.75 million being mentioned for the left back/centre back. Seems a bit much for a player who has been edged out at Liverpool, but if his arrival means that Michael Duberry will depart for a similar amount, then I guess it's slightly better than standing still (but we said the same about the Wetherall/Duberry situation last year).

August 14: Matthew Jones is hoping to be fit in time for next week's game with 1860 Munich. With both Eirik Bakke and Olivier Dacourt suspended, it would be a massive boost to get the young Welshman back to play on the right side of midfield in such a crucial game.

August 14: Lee Bowyer, Jon Woodgate and Tony Hackworth were committed for trial on charges of GBH with intent and affray today. Woodgate and Michael Duberry were additionally charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Also charged with GBH with intent, affray and conspiracy are Neal Caveney and Paul Clifford of Middlesbrough. There will be a plea and directions hearing on September 25 at Leeds Crown Court, and all were released on bail.

August 14: What was essentially the reserve team beat Harrogate Town 1-0 at the weekend with a goal from Tony Hackworth. Robert Molenaar, Danny Mills and Darren Huckerby and Eirik Bakke were the first-teamers on duty in the last game before the season gets underway.

August 14: Weekend round-up: Alfi was dreadful for Man City as they went down 4-1 to Stockport and Joe Royle was warned to sub him or lose him and Clyde Wijnhard failed to take his chances as Huddersfield went down 2-1 at home to Watford.

August 14: Rumours this morning linked Leeds with a move for Liverpool's Dominic Matteo after failing to capture Rio Ferdinand to provide cover at the back. Peter Ridsdale pointedly said that the club had not made a bid for Matteo, but hoped to have a new signing available for the Everton game on Saturday.

August 13: Tomorrow is a big day for Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer - a date for the crown court trial is expected to be set and it could be March - or even after the end of the season - before the case finally reaches court. Although it's important that due process is followed, neither the victim nor the accused is being well-served by the fact that it could be nearly 18 months from the assault before the facts of the case and the statements from those involved get set out before a jury.

August 13: Reports today say that DOL has insisted on Harry Kewell, Matt Jones and Stephen McPhail changing their boots after all suffered achilles injuries while wearing the same footwear. Kewell is contracted to wear the Adidas boots, and the company sound understandably miffed: they've pointed out that they do work with the clubs and players to make sure that each man has the best fit and balance possible, and that they stay injury-free.

August 13: In today's Charity Shield, JFH showed he'd lost none of his old skills. He scored a goal, took a couple of dives and managed to wind up Roy Keane enough to provoke a terrible tackle from behind (on Gus Poyet, not Jimmy) that gave a red card to the Man United captain. Needless to say, Alex Ferguson seemed convinced that it wasn't really Keane's fault for planting his studs in the Chelsea player's calf - it's nice to see that some things never change.

August 13: Weekend transfer guff: Leeds have given up on John Arne Riise, after Monaco refused to budge on their inflated price, and he might now go to Arsenal. And Southampton are the latest side to express an interest in Michael Duberry (who, of course, is not going anywhere until we have a replacement who most definitely won't be Rio Ferdinand - probably).

August 13: Despite Peter Ridsdale's earlier denials, it now looks as if DOL will sign a new six-year contract that will take him to the top of the Premier League pay scale. If the team achieves the targets that Leeds are setting, DOL could earn up to £10 million according to some reports. "The chairman opened negotiations during the week to extend my contract for another two years," he said. "He asked me about get-out clauses, but I don't want the George Graham scenario where he had a transfer fee built into his terms. If you sign for six years, it is a proper commitment," he added.

August 11: Leeds will take Dundee's Lee Wilkie on a week-long trial to get a better look at him and see if DOL is prepared to open the wallet for a permanent move.

August 11: This morning's press reports stating that Rio Ferdinand is definitely on the way have been knocked back by the club. Peter Ridsdale says he's not spoken to the West Ham chairman in a month, and a Rio move is not on the cards. However Ferdinand and his advisers were due meet the West Ham management today to talk about his future.

August 11: Oh great. After screwing us around over the home leg, it now seems the away leg rights have been acquired by u>directsports - the same outfit that have controversially bought the rights to England's World Cup qualifier in Finland - and will be screened on a pay-per-view basis. So how are those of us whose cable companies have not yet woken up to the digital revolution actually get to see this one then (okay, I know, I could fly out there and watch it live...)?

August 11: UEFA are now hinting that, since the ref couldn't even manage to file a report properly, he will be invited to explain his handling of the game to a commitee, and almost certainly won't be in charge for the return leg on Wednesday week.

August 11: How crap was that ref? He's now said that - despite TV evidence to the contrary - he dismissed Eirik Bakke with a single red card - for a 3 match ban - rather than a second yellow. As anyone who saw the game can see, Bakke was unlucky even to get the second yellow - either way, UEFA's 4th official should be able to confirm what really happened.

August 10: Out? Paul Robinson is apparently a target for Leicester again, looking for a replacement for the departed Peggy Arphexad. In? Rumours once again link Leeds with Dundee's £2 million rated Lee Wilkie.

August 10: Oh no - here we go again....Frank Farina may want his Aussie stars for an entire month - in March! Australia's World Cup qualifying games against the mighty Pacific island teams will definitely need the abilities of Kewell and Viduka, and depending on the timing of the Confederation Cup, could very well rob Leeds of its best players at a crucial time of the year.

August 10: DOL has added his voice to the criticism of last night's ref - while trying to avoid overstepping the mark for UEFA. "All three sendings off were a joke," he said. DOL now faces the prospect of picking Jamie McMaster, Gareth Evans, Damien Lynch or other youngsters for the return leg.

August 10: Lucas Radebe was extremely unimpressed by the refereeing in last night's game. He said: "The referee was unbelievable. He spoiled the game. It was a good game until he sent all the players off." Meanwhile Ned Zelic will appeal against his red card for a foul on Ian Harte, claiming he never made contact with the player - a fact apparently borne out by TV replays. It's not the first time Harte has apparently crumpled when nowhere near an opposition player, and I hope he was genuinely caught - or at least stumbled - since we can't afford to have players build up reputations as cheats in this day and age.

August 09: Rod Wallace managed his first goal of the season as Ranger went into a commanding 3-0 lead in the Champions League qualifier away in Denmark.

August 09: Peter Ridsdale wants us to sit down and shut up for the coming season. He thinks that we're a danger to safety in all of those grounds by standing up - this from the man who claims to have been a fan for 40 odd years: he must have had his memory selectively wiped by Executive Box syndrome! Standing up is the only way for many people to see the game that they have paid 20-odd quid to see. Until the clubs can guarantee a good line of sight for all seats, it should be perfectly within the rights of any fan to stand up and get a better view. And if being stood up is a safety problem, how do they think the grounds will be evacuated in the event of a problem?

August 09: To summarise: good goal from Smith, stupid tackle from Zelic that barely touched Harte, possible bit of over-acting from Dacourt resulting in a card, pen from Harte from what might have been an outside-the-box position, pillock of a ref for Bakke, eye off the ball for a late goal. 2-1 to Leeds, but with Bakke and Dacourt suspended and the continuing injury problems and the away goal, a drop down to the UEFA Cup must look like a distinct possibility...

August 09: £56,000 a week in Madrid - or a bit less in England? That's the dilemma facing transfer-listed Steve McManaman, and with his attacking prowess he's got to be a possible target for DOL. But he's not that interested in coming back to England, and could we even come within shouting distance of his current package?

August 09: On my death list today: Cypriot refs who have no idea how to apply the laws of the game, Sky who made sure that pubs didn't show the game, Cable London who are a complete bunch of wasters who have totally failed to get their act together and provide me with Sky Digital, and London Underground, who somehow manage to have a train traffic jam at Arnos Grove at 9 o'clock in the evening. Morons all!

August 09: Nigel Martyn reckons that - despite the prolonged absence of David Batty - the club can still succeed this year, and that Olivier Dacourt is an excellent replacement for the 31-year-old midfielder. "It's a lot easier when you know you've got somebody like David sitting in the holding role and who can retain the ball for us. But now we've got Oli. He has played all the friendly games and he has done tremendously well for us."

August 08: If you haven't done so already, (or even if you have - do it again!) check out Graham's excellent set of Leeds United stickers - great designs and all very reasonably priced.

August 08: In today's YEP and elsewhere, Sheree Murphy is saying she was misquoted and taken out of context. She's signed a contract to stay in Emmerdale to 2001 and she and Harry are very happy in Yorkshire. "Everywhere you go, people want to come up to Harry and shake his hand. It's the same for all the Leeds players. But it's no problem for us, no hassle. They are really nice people and want to meet him," she said. And unlike certain other famous partners I could refer to, she's happy to let Harry develop his career as he wants: "What he decides with his career is his decision - I have no say in that - and it's the same with my career," she added.

August 08: Latest scare for tomorrow is Lucas Radebe who failed to train today after coming down with a virus. Even so, he's hoping to play, which could leave the team looking like: Martyn; Kelly, Radebe, Duberry, Harte; Bowyer, Bakke, Dacourt, Evans; Viduka, Bridges. Yep, Gareth Evans - the 19-year-old from Rothwell - could be making his first team debut in a crucial European game. Well, if DOL thinks he's good enough, that should be good enough for the rest of us.

August 08: The season's not started, and DOL has already had a vote of confidence from chairman Peter Ridsdale, who pronounced himself happy with the team's progress and said that he wasn't placing any pressure on DOL to succeed. Hmmm...time to shorten those odds on the managerial sack race Mr. Ladbroke.. Even so, DOL made it clear that he wanted to improve the end results this season: "There are managers with big reputations who have never won anything. I don't want to be one of those, nor do I want to be remembered for the medals I won as a player. I want to manage a side that wins trophies." Let's hope that, if nothing else this season, we won't see the return of "I'm just a naive young manager...".

August 08: Munich have brought pretty much a full squad to Elland Road - and that now includes first choice keeper Daniel Hoffman. Hoffman was injured on Saturday in a friendly, but is now with the squad and has a good chance of playing. Their coach sounds like a bit of a Sgt Wilko - pre-season training camps working on fitness alone and pounding out 18 miles running a day! But take a look at the results: compared to Leeds' injury crisis, they've got it easy - but we can't use that as a get-out if we lose: we've had all summer to strengthen the squad further, and if we're short of cover in crucial places, that's our problem. Peter Ridsdale reiterated the board's support for the transfer activities of their managers, restressing the point he made at the time of GG's departure that the board had never failed to back any purchase requested by the manager.

August 08: For once, the powers that be in football have not taken the opportunity to dump on the head of LUFC. FIFA have made it clear that Leeds' 3 Australian players will not have to report to the Soccer Australia training camp until 9 days before the start of the tournament - September 4 - rather than August 20 as the Australians had requested. Since that allows them to play (if fit) against Munich in the second leg and Boro away on August 26, Leeds could look to gain a few brownie points by letting them fly out on August 28, since the next game is at home to Man City on September 5, one day after the deadline. It would appear that we're a bit unlucky to have such patriotic players - Munich's pair of Aussies will not be taking part in the Olympic tournament, citing the packed club schedule as sufficient reason. Hopefully Munich's Aussies will be taking care not to do too much damage to their country's star players over the next two games even if they're not going themselves.

August 08: DOL today revealed that he doesn't expect to have the services of David Batty until next season. Despite some hopes that he might be back by Christmas, DOL pointed out that the majority of last season's success was gained without Batts (though I'd point out that lack of midfield solidity was one of the main reasons we slipped back), and he wasn't going to use his absence as an excuse for a poor performance on Wednesday night or at any other point in the season.

August 07: So just how injured is Harry Kewell? In an interview tonight he said he now hoped to be back for the start of the season. "Those predicting I face the prospect of surgery and will be out of action for months are totally misinformed," he said. "I normally recover very well from knocks and niggles and I don't see why it should be any different on this occasion," he added. Well, I hope he's right, but I also hope he doesn't jeopardise his long-term future by rushing back from his injury too soon: nasty things, achilles problems...

August 07: So according to Harry Redknapp, we've no chance of buying Rio cos we're an English club, and he'd never sell to an English club. Not that Rio would want to come to Leeds, notwithstanding his friendship with Jon Woodgate, not when Barca and others might want him. But since that's the same argument we're using with Harry Kewell, I guess it would be hypocritical to complain...

August 07: Harry Kewell is aiming to regain his fitness in time to play for Australia in the Olympic tournament in September. Even though he's unlikely to be fit enough to play a full game much before the end of the month, he's still hoping to play a leading part in the hosts' progress through the competition. Danny Milosevic - the Aussies' reserve keeper - will also be going out with Kewell and Mark Viduka.

August 07: The TSV 1860 Munich were due to fly in to Leeds today ahead of Wednesday's game. Their first-choice keeper Daniel Hoffman is ruled out after getting injured at the weekend, but otherwise their team of experienced and well-travelled - if not necessarily top-flight - internationals should be fit for the game. Leeds meanwhile could be giving a first-team debut to Gareth Evans, who has figured prominently on the left side of midfield during the pre-season games. With Wilcox, Kewell and McPhail all injured, DOL will have to decide whether to risk the youngster, go for the experience of Darren Huckerby, play Ian Harte in midfield and Danny Mills at left back, or go with a 3-man midfield of Dacourt, Bowyer and Bakke and use what's left of the defence in a 5-man formation. More idle speculation tomorrow...

August 07: Well at least it's not Posh Spice department: Harry Kewell's fianceé was quoted in an interview as saying that she'd love it if Harry moved down south - to Arsenal or "even better, Chelsea". Sheree Murphy was born in Islington, and is apparently an Arsenal fan. She has a bit of a whinge about life in the north, and how Harry gets lots of attention when she's out with Harry, but seems to be of the opinion that "only Hollywood stars" get the same in the south. Well, speaking as a London resident for 12+ years, I think I've got to disabuse her of that notion. True, there are more "celebs" down here, but they get the same - if not worse - attention from both press and public. And as for any other English club having the money or status to tempt Harry, the idea is a total non-starter.

August 07: The "reserves" went down 3-1 to Oldham this afternoon - only Darren Huckerby and Paul Robinson of the regular squad played. Leeds' goal was scored early on by Tony Hackworth against a full-strength Latics side, and Paul Robinson saved a second half penalty.

August 06: Martin O'Neill is reported to be the latest manager interested in relieving Leeds of Michael Duberry's services - but like most of the other interested parties, Celtic don't seem to be prepared to at least cover Leeds' original purchase price, with the Glasgow side apparently only willing to shell out £3 million for his services. With Jon Woodgate out injured, the start of the season could be Duberry's big chance to get himself established in the side (assuming we don't sign Rio Ferdinand by then of course...

August 06: It's been a week or so since the Rio rumours were last squashed, so it's time to get them out again. Both Barca and Leeds are keen to pick him up in a cash plus player deal, but neither have yet seen any sign of encouragement from West Ham, and Ferdinand continues to put out the "I'm flattered but I'm staying" line which any sensible pro who doesn't want the home crowd on his back would do.

August 06: The injury crisis at Elland Road isn't going to improve much in the short term. DOL reckons that Jason Wilcox, Harry Kewell and Jon Woodgate might not be back for a month, and that both Matthew Jones and Stephen McPhail won't be fit much sooner. It will certainly be a challenging start to the season...

August 06: Despite his injuries and lack of match practice, Mark Viduka was glad to make it onto the park for yesterday's game at Huddersfield. He said: "It was great to finally play a game in England. There is a good team here. They are a good bunch of lads and we can do some damage." DOL meanwhile is happy that his newest signing is showing a return to fitness ahead of next week's vital Champions League qualifier against 1860 Munich. DOL has been impressed by his attitude both in making the move to Leeds and in training since he joined. "They loved him at Celtic and he liked them, and yet he still joined us for less money. That showed real ambition."

August 06: Lazio are the latest club said to be interested in Harry Kewell. Lazio president, Sergio Cragnotti said: "Kewell is an exciting talent and I think the best in the Premiership. We will be looking at him this season and deciding for ourselves." Although Peter Ridsdale and DOL have both made it clear time and again that he is not for sale, a world record fee of £40 million has been mentioned - and that might just be too much to turn down.

August 05: While 1860 Munich were losing their latest pre-season friendly 3-2 to Spanish side Real Oviedo, Leeds were strolling out to a relatively easy win over Huddersfield Town at the McAlpine Stadium. Another free kick from Ian Harte got Leeds underway after less than 10 minutes, but Town were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after another piece of Duberry clumsiness on 27 minutes. Lee Bowyer doubled the lead with 5 minutes to go to half time and Leeds cruised after that. Mark Viduka and Michael Bridges started up front, and were replaced by Darren Huckerby and Alan Smith later in the game. Olivier Dacourt had another excellent game, and on the positive side for Huddersfield, former Leeds striker Clyde Wijnhard had a bright game - although he failed to take any of the chances he created.

August 05: According to some press reports today, Joonas Kolkka wasn't the only PSV player under the DOL microscope last week. 29-year-old Ukrainian centreback Yuri Nikiforov could also be of interest as cover for Radebe and Woodgate, and 23-year-old Mark van Bommel is also gaining a big reputation and is said to be of interest to Leeds as well as several other leading European clubs.

August 04: Leeds have been linked with 25-year-old Finnish international Joonas Kolkka after DOL watched PSV take on Sheffield Wednesday in a pre-season friendly. Kolkka can play on either wing - so he could fill in for the injured Jason Wilcox or Harry Kewell, or provide some much-needed width on the right (unless Darren Huckerby has managed to convince the boss that he's fit enough and committed enough to merit a place in the starting eleven) and with a couple of years remaining on his contract with PSV, should be available for £3 million or so.

August 04: Michael Bridges is looking forward to teaming up with Mark Viduka, and reckons that he and the Aussie front man can turn into a formidable partnership. "He looks really good in training. He's impressed everyone with his skill. He's a big target man with quick feet and will take some of the weight off me up front. He's done it at Celtic, scoring bags of goals, and there's no reason why he can't do it at Leeds."

August 04: Soccer Australia are asking clubs to release players for the Olympic football tournament on 20 August - nearly 3 weeks before the first game! Since that's after we've played just one game in the league and still won't have played the 2nd leg against Munich, it's hard to see Leeds letting Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell go for a total of over 6 weeks. As it is, Kewell could be facing up to quite a long lay-off as his injury is taking some time to heal.

August 04: Jon Woodgate and Lucas Radebe hope to be in action at Huddersfield tomorrow, but the reserves will probably field a very similar line-up at Oldham on Sunday to that which lost at Wakefield last night.

August 04: The away kit launch will be a bit special this year: "Nike Football Fever 2000" comes to Elland Road with a "fun" day on August 26, with the shop open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and a free live beamback of the Boro game in the afternoon.

August 03: Steve Bruce will be looking to field his strongest possible team - including former Leeds man Cly Wijnhard - against United on Saturday. Leeds will need a serious warm-up game and will hope to play the majority of the players who are due to turn out against Munich against the Division 1 outfit.

August 03: Strong rumours in London suggest that Alan Curbishley is ready to equal Charlton's record fee to sign Michael Duberry for nearly £4 million. DOL has said he won't let Doobs go until a replacement is found. I like Doobs - I think he's a great bloke. But I could do the cheerleading in Europe and get sent off for a stupid foul against Everton, so he could well be on his way back down the M1.

August 03: Michael Bridges reckons that Ian Harte could rival David Beckham - on the field anyway. Harte's hat-trick of free-kicks has cemented his reputation as a brilliant striker of the dead ball, andall of us hope he will continue to do the same throughout the season. All he has to do now is act a bit more petulantly, get a few sly and vicious digs in at the opposition and marry a tone-deaf pop star and he's well on the way...

August 03: Unrelated news item numer 2. David Swift, the Leeds physio for the past few years, has parted company with the club "by mutual consent" and is replaced by former Blackburn physio, Dave Hancock. Swift can't possibly have stopped the 7 players on the list picking upsilly early season strains, so I'm sure it's nowt to do with that.

August 03: Rumours were circulating today that Harry Kewell will need an achilles op and will miss at least the first month of the season. Although that is strenously denied by the club, he will struggle to make it for the Everton game in just over 2 weeks time.

August 03: The "reserves" were beaten 2-0 by Unibond League side Emley at Belle Vue tonight - the first defeat for any of the teams in the pre-season build-up.

August 02: Looks like the ex-Leeds crew at Bradford will have to wait another year to polish their Euro experience. Only Gunnar Halle and David Hopkin were in the side as Bradford hung on for nearly 70 minutes before conceding 3 goals. Villa also went out, losing 1-2 at home to Celta Vigo. Two names to look out for in Europe this year: Benni McCarthy, Celta's South African striker scored a couple of goals and looked very good, and Mr Schoch of Switzerland refereed the game with all the common sense of a cuckoo clock (sorry, national stereotype just slipped out there). If we get this idiot in a Euro game this year, be afraid - be very afraid: he doesn't know a fair challenge from a foul, or a dive from a shove in the back, and he'd completely lost it in the first 15 minutes. By the final whistle, he'd booked 11 players and sent 3 off. No doubt he'll be in line to referee a big final real soon.

August 02: Good news for Leeds, bad news for Paul Robinson. Nigel Martyn has agreed terms for an extension to his contract that will keep him at the club until 2004 when he will be 38, and he should be signing on the dotted line tomorrow morning. Nige had two years left to run on his existing deal, but with this signing, that means that pretty much the entire first team squad are on long-term deals, so anybody who wants to come in and try to poach one of our key players will find themselves paying a high price. Paul Robinson will bide his time for his big chance - but how much longer will he wait in the shadows...?

August 02: A free-kick hat-trick from Ian Harte sealed a 3-2 win over Blackburn at Ewood Park tonight. Eirik Bakke managed to complete the game, but Stephen McPhail's return as a sub was short-lived, as he himself was replaced by Gareth Evans after 30 minutes on the park. Michael Bridges also completed the full 90 minutes (shock!), but there was no place for Mark Viduka, who now has just 90 minutes at Huddersfield on Saturday to get himself into contention for the Munich game next Wednesday.

August 02: The all-yellow away strip, seen in action at Forest on Saturday, will go on sale on August 26 - after we've already played at Munich and Boro. Last time we had a European trip to Germany, delayed release of a new strip and all that, I seem to recall we had a rather dodgy season....

August 02: Leeds' "reserve" team will take on Emley at Wakefield Wildcats' Belle Vue ground tomorrow night. The team is likely to be similar to the one which played against Blyth at the weekend, with Roy Aitken unlikely to have many experienced players available due to the continuing injury crisis.

August 02: Peter Ridsdale today said that he didn't know where all the John Arne Riise talk has come from. Leeds expressed an interest and told Monaco what they were prepared to pay earlier this summer, but there has been no more talk and no contract has been agreed. Either the player and his mother have been jumping the gun, or they're trying to make things happen sooner rather than later.

August 01: A lawyer for Ali Umit Demir has alleged that the man that his client stabbed is still alive, and so he should not be charged with the murder of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight. Up to 20 others are involved in the court case, which has once again been adjourned, with further testimony that the murderers were "provoked" by some Leeds fans abusing the Turkish flag - although nobody has yet had the temerity to suggest that either of the murder victims was anything more than an innocent bystander (no doubt that will happen later).

August 01: With the arrival of Noel Whelan - and possibly Joseph-Desire Job - at the Riverside, Brian Deane could find himself surplus to requirements. And, as most Leeds players do these days, that must mean a move to Bradford. Geoffrey Richmond said a striker with another Premiership club boasting top-flight experience is currently being tracked as City aim to improve on last year's performance by finishing 4th from bottom instead of 3rd from bottom this year.

August 01: Physio Dave Swift is hopeful that most of Leeds' injury worries will be resolved by the weekend, with everyone bar Harry Kewell and Jason Wilcox coming through training sessions and feeling that their pains are going away. Just as well: 1 week to go to Munich, and we're still not clear on what DOL will go with as a starting line-up.

August 01: Schadenfreude department: Willem Korsten will have to undergo surgery on a hip problem after initial problems with an Achilles injury held his Spurs debut back and subsequently dogged his time at White Hart Lane. I'm sure he'd have gone through the same at Elland Road, but I'm afraid I can't help but say "Ha!" and smirk after his GG-inspired double-dealing has resulted in a curtailed career.

August 01: Well, I've been down at Olympia at the Great British Beer Festival this afternoon, with beermeister Guy, AdieT, Simon, Steve and a whole bunch of nice beers. Hearty recommendations to Harviestoun's Kelpie, Abbeydale's Moonshine, and kudos to the judges for seeing fit to nominate a mild - Moorhouse's Black Cat - for the Beer of the Year category: an excellent choice. While I was imbibing, it seems that the signing of John Arne Riise has been on, off, on and off again. We've apparently agreed personal terms with Riise and his agent (and his mother!) but the fee for the 19-year-old has proved to be a sticking point. Leeds agreed to pay £4 million to Monaco, but the French club now want more than 50% extra. Riise is a midfielder/defender, and is currently 2 years into a 7 year deal with French Champions AS Monaco. He's quite close to Eirik Bakke and seems quite enthusiastic about the deal - but paying the same for a promising teenager as we're paying for 20-odd year-old experienced folks seems a bit unbalanced, and I'd be surprised if we met Monaco's £6.5 million valuation.

August 01: Harry Kewell could be signed up for a new £25,000 a week contract before the Munich game next Wednesday. Peter Ridsdale and DOL are so determined to keep their star at Elland Road that they are prepared to offer him an increase of nearly 50% on the deal he signed 12 months ago, and to keep him as long as they can. In truth, I can't see money being the issue: the real question is how long before Harry feels the need to challenge himself against the best players in the world on a weekly basis - and that means Italy or Spain.

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