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January 31: Post-match reaction: DOL was faint in his praise for Robbie Keane after tonight's win. "He scored a fine goal but perhaps he should have scored in the first half. I was a bit disappointed with the front two but the bottom line is we got the three points." Both Keane and Viduka missed/allowed Hedman to save fairly simple shots in the first half, and we could easily have gone in leading by two or three. Gordon Strachan was a bit more positive: "It was a special goal from a special player. You can't coach something like that." DOL must be suffering from an ear infection, since he clearly didn't hear the crowd booing the team off at half-time: "The crowd have stayed with us even though we have lost a few games. To get a crowd of 36,000 against Coventry is fantastic." Jon Woodgate was missing from the squad because of a heel injury rather than anything to do with the trial.
January 31: There was no sign of Jon Woodgate but Lee Bowyer started tonight's game against Coventry after another day in court. A largely uninspiring first half ended goalless, with David Batty the most influential in midfield and Keane and Viduka both having decent chances. Ian Harte's free-kick was tipped over by Magnus Hedman, and Leeds were denied a penalty for handball (it may have been ball to hand to be fair) as they had more of the play in the 2nd half, but Cov defended well, as they had done at Highfield Road. Finally Robbie Keane broke the deadlock with an overhead kick after Viduka's shot was cleared off the line with 20 minutes to go. Ref Rob Harris didn't do much to enhance his standing with Coventry beating Leeds 5-4 on the booking count.
January 31: Harry Kewell is 50/50 for tomorrow night's reserve game against Manchester United. Having seen the surgeon, he's been given the all clear, but might not chance it in a real game straight away. There's a fortnight to go before the Anderlecht game so there's still a chance he could get some match practice in ahead of the vital CL tie.
January 30: I really do think that DOL is a manager who can take the club on to great things, but I sometimes wonder who do his PR. With the less-than-great form of late, he's got a few domestic concerns: "One thing I have to do is to reassure my family because they hear things and worry. I just tell them that the worst thing that can happen is that daddy will get the sack." From a fan's point of view, the worst thing that can happen is that the team get relegated - but I can see his point. He added: "We are going through a blip at the moment but it would be much more worrying if we weren't confident that the product we have is a good one. It would be much different if I looked at our squad and didn't believe that we have an outstanding bunch of players."
January 30: Officials from the South African FA are due to meet up with Peter Ridsdale and DOL after tomorrow night's game against Cov to discuss Lucas Radebe's future. The compromise deal is expected to make Lucas available for World Cup qualifiers only - and even then maybe not the games against the weakest opposition - and leave him in place as captain of both Leeds and SA. General Manager Dennis Mumble said: "It isn't true that Lucas has retired. He wants to carry on in a limited way and has told us that. He is staying as captain of the national team." Unfortunately, their next qualifier clashes with one of the CL games in March so expect further conflicts shortly.
January 30: Good news/bad news on the injury front. Good news: Anderlecht's first choice keeper, Filip de Wilde, has broken a bone in his foot and could be out for a few weeks. Bad news: Gary Kelly's hernia looks like it could need an op, which will keep him out for over a month. He'll almost certainly miss the Cov game and go under the knife sometime this week.
January 30: Paul Robinson is the target of more than just covetous eyes if the transfer rumours are to be believed (go on - give it a go and trust them for once!). Barcelona are once again mentioned in connection with the young keeper, and after Sander Westerveld's less than confident performance on Saturday, Liverpool are also taking their place in the queue for Robbo's services. But he's not going anywhere. Yet...
January 30: If yesterday's court proceedings are anything to go by, Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate would need jet packs if they were to get back from Hull in time for kick-off against Cov. Legal arguments finished after 4, and with the pair needing to talk to their legal team they'd be left with just over two hours to get back to Leeds, eat, relax and warm up. Fortunately Olivier Dacourt and Lucas Radebe are not exactly second-string replacements....
January 29: Eirik Bakke reckons that Harry Kewell might surprise us all with a swift return to the side. It's unlikely he'll be back on Wednesday, but the Norwegian is hoping to see Harry reappear in time to play in the forthcoming CL games..
January 29: I'll have two of whatever Rio's on! The world's most expensive defender is still hopeful that we can qualify for the UEFA Cup provided we get back into the habit of winning. Rio said: "There is still a lot of points to play for, so we've got a chance of finishing in a UEFA Cup place if we can put a run of results together, starting now!"
January 29: DOL continues to try to out-whinge Fergie with reasons for why we're having a below par season. Last week it was all the lawyers clogging up the training ground and today it's the doctors that are at fault. "McPhail, Kewell and Wilcox were our problems that we didn't handle in the summer. We've rectified that with the new medical team." Next week, why architects are evil agents of other teams who are conspiring against us and how the unfriendly nature of so many modern buildings is putting the players in the wrong frame of mind.
January 29: Lucas Radebe is due back in Leeds today and DOL will be looking at his fitness after this weekend's game and his flight back and will be making the call as to whether or not to have him start the Coventry game on Wednesday. Rio will be available (unless he does his other knee in watching DOL on tonight's Question of Sport), so Radebe's presence will probably hinge on DOL's judgement of Jon Woodgate's state of mind after Wednesday's court proceedings.
January 29: Lee Bowyer is not going to be heading back to London or anywhere else, Peter Ridsdale said today, branding as 'absolute nonsense' reports in some of today's papers linking Bowyer with a move back to the capital. Of course that pre-supposes he's cleared of the charges in the trial which started at Hull Crown Court today. The first week is likely to be taken up with legal argument, with the trial scheduled to take up to six weeks.
January 28: Lucas Radebe maintains that he's still the captain of South Africa and would like to play for them again. "Leeds need me for some important matches but, on the other hand, my ambition has always been to represent South Africa at next year's World Cup finals," he said. But he noted his importance to Leeds and the schedule of big club games coming up. He added: "At the age of 31, it is unfair to expect my body to cope with inter-continental shuttling that will not give me rest." So where does this leave us? No further on I guess - but whatever talks there might be need to happen fast, since the next batch of World Cup qualifiers are coming up at the end of February.
January 28: Gerard Houillier has continued his whinging about Lee Bowyer's elbow on McAllister. Maybe he's not seen the video yet: the evidence isn't conclusive either way, and with the real trial set to start tomorrow, the doctrine of innocent until proven guilty is one he'd do well to remember.
January 28: DOL explained his decision to give Nigel Martyn his place back in yesterday's line-up. Looks like he agrees with me in giving Nige the edge on organising his defence. But the Cornishman can't afford to be complacent: "But now I know and Nigel knows that if he slips up in any way this lad will be breathing down his neck."
January 27: South Africa won their World Cup qualifier 1-0 against Burkina Faso to maintain an excellent start to their campaign. Lucas Radebe's formal announcement of his retirement from international football has been postponed, with indications being that a compromise may be reached between the player, his country and Leeds.
January 27: "We should have had a definite penalty," said DOL. Couldn't agree more David. But Keano, Viduka and Matteo all had good chances to put the result beyond doubt before Andy D'Urso failed to see Gary McAllister's trip on Lee Bowyer. Gerard Houillier reckoned that Bowyer was lucky to be on the pitch after his elbow caught McAllister in the face in the first half. Maybe - but the Liverpool manager neglected to mention that McAllister's late hack on Ian Harte - when he was already on a yellow card - should equally have seen Liverpool reduced to 10 men.
January 27: In a game in which Leeds dominated the possession and had one clear penalty turned down, Liverpool ran out winners with two very late goals. Just when it looked like the game was heading for a replay, Robbie Fowler hit the post and Nick Barmby was first to the rebound to smash the ball home. In the 4th minute of injury time, Fowler somehow kept the ball in play on the far touchline, crossed for Barmby and his pullback was hammered home by Emile Heskey. Hugely disappointing result, the prospect of European football next season receding into the distance and without that carrot, the big worry must be whether or not we can hang on to the likes of Harry Kewell.
January 26: Gary McAllister - currently 36 years old - is on the point of signing a deal to keep him at Liverpool for another year. When he signed on a Bosman last summer, he was viewed as cover for injuries, but has found himself appearing quite regularly and making a favourable impression on the fans and on Gerard Houillier.
January 26: Peter Ridsdale has reiterated his stance on the Leeds players standing trial next week: if they are convicted of the most serious offence with which they are charged - GBH with intent - then they will be sacked (which might mean sold, because you can't see the PLC sanctioning the cancellation of the contracts of players whose joint value must be close to £20 million). Both Bowyer and Woodgate have maintained their innocence throughout and the club remain firmly behind them until their guilt is proved in court. What will happen if they're found guilty of a lesser charge remains open to question...
January 26: Eirik Bakke is another doubt for tomorrow's game. If the Norwegian drops out, David Batty is available as a readymade replacement for the midfield - though whether he's up to playing a full 90 minutes remains open to question. The remaining big question for DOL will be whether or not to restore Nigel Martyn to the starting line-up: Paul Robinson once again made some excellent saves at Villa, but he doesn't yet command his defence in the same way as Nige, and with the chopping and changing likely to continue at the back, that could be a deciding factor. For the visitors, Steven Gerrard's groin injury may keep him out, but Markus Babbel's flu should be cleared for him to start.
January 26: Alan Smith has made it clear that he's intending to fight for his place in the starting line-up. "There's no self-doubt. I rate myself among the top strikers in the country. I'm fighting for a place with somebody in Robbie who has joined the club for £12 million and a £6 million international in Mark." Smith accepts that it's difficult to guarantee someone a place, pointing to tomorrow's visitors who have Fowler and Owen on the bench. Smith is setting himself a big target: "This is my club and my only ambition is to be the best striker who has ever played for Leeds United."
January 25: Former Leeds player and One Decent ManU Player Dennis Irwin may leave Old Trafford after 10 years. His contract expires at the end of the season, and he's keen to continue doing what he enjoys doing - playing football - and would consider dropping down a division to do that.
January 25: Lucas Radebe's international career may not be about to end after all: faced with the blank statement that he would retire to be able to prolong his career and commit to Leeds, the SA authorities seem keen to come up with some sort of compromise that will enable them to call on the services of one of their best and certainly their most experienced player through to the next World Cup.
January 25: What is going on at Monaco? It seems like half of their team wants to leave. Defender Martin Djetou confirmed that he'd been the subject of offers from Leeds, Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid and....Fulham. And it must have been all of a week since we last heard from John Arne Riise, so expect his mother to resurface with fresh rumours in the next couple of days.
January 25: Dominic Matteo is a doubt for this weekend's cup game against his old teammates after going off injured at half-time last night. He's not exactly been setting the world on fire, but at the moment we're a bit pushed on the left with Ian Harte, Jason Wilcox and Jacob Burns being out of favour, in indifferent form and inexperienced respectively.
January 25: Peter Ridsdale is to meet our new big-money shareholder Andreas Dracopoulos. It turns out that the Greek shipping boss has been a long-time long-distance Leeds fan, and he's been invited to Elland Road for the Derby and Anderlecht games in the next few weeks.
January 24: That was a bit of a nailbiter! A soft goal gifted to Paul Merson early on was cancelled out by a well-taken effort by Lee Bowyer. After a few pings on the Leeds woodwork and some decent saves from Robbo, Robbie Keane was hauled down in the Villa box and Ian Harte stepped up to score the resultant pen. Villa did manage to hit the woodwork again but somehow we held out. Bakke and Wilcox were pants, Woody made 3 great tackles, but MOTM was Lee Bowyer by a country mile.
January 24: Stephen McPhail is due to start low-impact training in the next few days, but it will be touch and go as to whether he makes it back this season. Harry Kewell is running in training but will need monitoring closely to make sure his injury doesn't react. He might be back sooner than the 4 weeks that was first thought, but DOL won't let him be rushed.
January 24: We love these Scottish defenders, don't we. Arbroath's 18-year-old Andy Webster is the latest target of our scouts, with the Scottish club confirming that both Leeds and Liverpool have recently had a scout watching the youngster.
January 24: DOL thinks Rio has great leadership qualities: "Rio is true quality and there is no question he will be a fantastic player for this club and for England for many years to come." DOL also reckons that Rio will captain Leeds and England in the next few years. For 18 million I'd expect nowt short of Prime Ministerial qualities never mind club captain!
January 24: Player news for tonight: it now looks like both Gary Kelly and Rio will make it back for tonight's game - which should make DOL's selection job a bit easier even if it will almost certainly result in the unfortunate Danny Mills being the one to miss out.
January 23: Despite the recent slump, Peter Ridsdale is convinced that Leeds have a bright future and that things will look up. "Obviously the current league position is disappointing, but we'll carry on working in the direction we have for some time. We believe we've been doing the right thing and if that's the case I'm sure it will turn into points on the field." The chairman added: "It's only a few weeks ago that we were all over there in Lazio looking at a win and talking about Leeds in very positive terms. You don't suddenly change overnight to being a bad side." Coming soon: chairman gives manager "vote of confidence".
January 23: DOL's latest reason for the inconsistent performances this season is the upcoming trial and the disruption that has been caused by police and solicitor interviews over the last year. "We have had so many people going off from training to police stations to be interviewed. Players have missed training here, there and everywhere. Solicitors have been coming to the training ground so often we have had to make a separate office to accommodate all the people." Meanwhile, it's expected that DOL will make arrangements for Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer to train in the evenings for the duration of the trial to keep them match-fit: he'll then decide closer to each game whether or not they're mentally ready to play. Arrangements for the players during the trial at Hull Crown Court are not being revealed for security reasons.
January 23: With Lucas Radebe on international duty, Rio still doubtful with TV knee (scan due tomorrow morning) and Gary Kelly's groin strain not fully sorted, DOL's team selection tomorrow should be interesting. Add to that the fact that Jon Woodgate has a touch of flu and things could be a bit threadbare. The obvious thing to do would be for Ian Harte to return at left back, allowing Dominic Matteo to play at centreback and Danny Mills at right back. Danny Hay is also more or less fit, so he could be available or on the bench as cover. For Villa, it looks like our nemesis of recent years, Gareth Southgate, will be missing, but Ian Taylor is due to return and new £9 million signing Juan Pablo Angel will make his home debut.
January 23: Eirik Bakke had his house broken into early last Saturday morning. A gang of 4 masked men smashed a window and had made off with some loudspeakers when he disturbed them. The sound of Bakke's neighbour David Hopkin yawning and the sight of his carrot top scared the men off. Okay, maybe that's not quite true - but Hopkin did phone the police when he heard the disturbance.
January 23: In a statement to the Stock Exchange, Leeds Sporting confirmed that one Andreas C. Dracopoulos - believed to be (a) rich, (b) Greek and (c) something to do with shipping - has increased his interest in the club to 3%. Apparently he thinks the shares are a bargain at their current price, but obviously he'll be keen to know just how much TV Rio plans to watch in order to safeguard his investment.
January 22: Aberdeen boss Ebbe Skovdahl confirmed that Leeds had a scout watching his side play at a training camp in Spain during their mid-season break. The Dons played a couple of games against Leeds' erstwhile Champions League opponents 1860 Munich, and the focus of Leeds' attention is believed to be 18-year-old defender Kevin McNaughton.
January 22: Lucas Radebe's international career will end after he gains his 62nd cap at the weekend. Neither the player, his agent nor his international coach were pointing the finger at Leeds (which makes a change in these circumstances). Their concerns were mainly directed at the inability of FIFA and the Confederation of African Football to co-ordinate their calendars: most of the top African players don't play on the continent, and so a synchronised calendar would enable them to minimise the travelling and disruption that they have to go through to represent their country. Radebe's dodgy knee was also a consideration: continual international travel and reduced training time are thought to be one of the causes of The Chief's failure to shake off this persistent injury.
January 22: Well, we've had salad cream, Game Boy and other dodgy causes of footballing injury in the past, but Rio has set a new standard: he was missing on Saturday because he was watching too much television. With a bug early in the week, he found himself sitting in front of the box - but spent too long with his legs in a dodgy position, so he's damaged a tendon in his knee. He remains a doubt for Wednesday's game at Villa.
January 21: Lucas Radebe is due to fly out to South Africa tonight ahead of next weekend's World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso - so that also rules him out of the midweek league game at Villa. It's looking increasingly likely that this may be his last appearance for his country, after further discussions between the player, DOL and Peter Ridsdale yesterday. Lucas said: "I obviously realise the importance of my commitment to the club and he [PR] appreciates how hard a decision it is for me to withdraw from my international duties. What I would like to do now is to have the opportunity to meet with Danny Jordaan and SAFA and inform him and them personally of my decision."
January 21: Jack Charlton is convinced that DOL has spent £18 million on a misfit. That's the tabloid summary of Big Jack's thoughts on Rio, but Charlton's main problem is that he sees the concept of the "ball-playing" centre-half as anathema. In his playing days he never had to do a huge amount with the ball - just lay it up to Billy or out wide to TC, and since his managerial success for Ireland was rather built on the 'hoof it up front' strategy, that's sort of understandable. However, the game has changed a lot since then, and at the very top level you can't afford to throw possession away like that. DOL's response, in a nutshell was that the club is now attracting the best players and that he's taken the club to another level, and that Rio's talent, commitment and attitude are just what he needs at Leeds if we're going to aspire to be the "second best club in the country".
January 21: Mark Viduka topped the poll in the Oceania Player of the Year voting announced today. The vote by southern hemisphere reporters gave Viduka 118 votes, beating Harry Kewell into second place with 104.
January 20: With the exception of Gary Speed, most of the ex-Leeds boys had a miserable day today. Gordon Strachan was on the receiving end of a mooning by a fan expressing his unhappiness as Cov crashed at home to Everton, and Matt Jones was dismissed for a second yellow card, but Leicester held out for a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal.
January 20: The players were locked in the dressing room for a 60-minute inquest after the game by DOL today. Afterwards he said: "Last season we were a free-flowing, exciting side and the players were able to express themselves. But now it's all about the simple way, from A to B, because the players are afraid of making mistakes. Last season, when we lost the ball during matches, we then worked hard to get it back, but now the fear factor has crept into our game." Fear? Of success or failure? The consequences for someone on a five year 20 grand a week contract failing should be negligible. And if they're afraid of succeeding they shouldn't be playing top flight footy. Do I sound p***ed off? Sorry - but I'm still fuming 6 hours after the final whistle. DOL added: "When you are dealing with young people and things go against them then the confidence can drift away very quickly. From day one when I first took over things have only gone one way and now they are being asked questions of themselves which they are struggling to find the answers to." They're not the only ones being questioned David.
January 20: A truly abysmal display by Leeds at Elland Road today saw the side fall to its 5th home defeat of this league campaign: the last time we lost more than that at home in a season was in the disastrous 95-96 campaign, which left us in 13th place and prepared the way for Wilko's departure. Danny Mills was hard done by for the penalty and tried, Keane was pure class and Smith ran his socks off when he came on. Lucas Radebe had one of his worst games for the club and excepting the odd flash from Lee Bowyer, the midfield failed to make the most of the ball. Newcastle were under-strength but well-organised and motivated and thoroughly deserved to take the 3 points.
January 19: Lucas Radebe looks to be on the point of quitting international football. The latest club v country row is just one of many occasions on which he's been forced to choose between the team that pays his wages week-in, week-out and which gave him his big chance at the top level, and the national side that he is immensely proud to lead. His agent said: "He hates to let anyone down and whenever there is a national call up which results in a clash of fixtures, one team has to do without him. Lucas wants to go on playing as long as possible and while nothing is certain in life, I think he feels this decision will possibly give him the best chance. Lucas wants to inform SAFA personally about this decision, but I believe he has already spoken to national team coach Carlos Queiroz." DOL hasn't exactly been backward in making his view known. He recently said: "He has to decide whether he wants to be captain of this club and play against Liverpool next week and in the other games, or go with South Africa and play. He signed a new contract recently to say that his priority is Leeds. We have to see if he is going to be true to his word."
January 19: The outcome of the Aussie Beauty Contest may soon be known, and Queensland outfit Brisbane Strikers are mentioned as possible winners. With a good development program in place and as the main team in the area, they're well-placed to act as Leeds' feeder club, but Leeds might decide that a Sydney-based side would be a better bet.
January 19: Bass may soon decide whether or not they'll be continuing their sponsorship of the FAPL via the Carling gnat's *!$@ brand. Anheuser Busch are keen to leap in and win the deal for Budweiser. The names may change, but the beer quality will stay the same....
January 19: Leeds are making another effort to make Elland Road a "family friendly" place. The club will be setting up a hotline to enable fans to report incidents and will be encouraging fans to watch their language during the game. They tried something similar a couple of years ago: the announcer would say something like "Welcome to Elland Road, and please mind your language - this is a happy family ground," and we'd all reply "*#!@ off!" Well, it was funny if you were there (and a bit younger than I am now... :-)
January 19: Peter Ridsdale has said that - if DOL thinks they'll be in the right frame of mind - he has no problem with Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate playing for the club during their trial, which is expected to last up to six weeks and is due to start on Monday week. "It is entirely up to the manager, but if selected there is no reason why they could not play. Of course they will not be training with the rest of the squad, but they will be able to maintain their fitness levels in the evenings."
January 19: There's a good article in today's Times in which David Batty talks about his recovery and future at Elland Road. The article is written by Rick Broadbent, who recently published Looking for Eric, an excellent set of interviews with Leeds greats from John Charles through to Harry Kewell, and is well worth a read.
January 19: Gary Kelly will have a testimonial game next year after chalking up 10 years and over 300 games at Elland Road. The date and opposition are as yet undecided, but Kelly's popularity and longevity (ha! he's only 26!) should draw a decent crowd. If he steers clear of injury, he could still challenge Jack Charlton and Billy Bremner's record for career appearances - but there's a long way to go yet!
January 19: Rio has recovered from his midweek stomach bug so looks likely to continue alongside Lucas Radebe for tomorrow's game against Newcastle.
January 18: Despite Leeds' best efforts, it looks like Lucas Radebe will miss the FA Cup tie against Liverpool so that he can lead out South Africa against Burkina Faso in a World Cup Qualifier. The Chief will be available for other games, but the SAFA reckon he's essential for this game, so we're just going to have to bow to the inevitable and re-organise the team appropriately.
January 18: Stephen Glass and Gary Speed have been added toi Carl Cort, Alan Shearer and Rob Lee on the injury list for Newcastle ahead of Saturday's game. No excuses for DOL if we can't beat a side decimated by injuries like this...
January 18: Lee Matthews could be poised by the exit door. The young striker has never quite managed to break into the first team after a promising couple of years in the the Youth side, and is now interesting Lennie Lawrence at Grimsby. Matthews is in line for a free move, and Grimsby couldn't really afford to find any cash for him. "He is a young boy and a big lad. He would be more of a back up to Livingstone with his physical presence," said Lawrence.
January 17: Peter Ridsdale reckons that Leeds can afford to miss out on a European place for next season - from a financial point of view, anyway. "Obviously there is never a good time not to be in Europe, but if there was a season when that loss of revenue could be covered then it is next season." The money from the new ITV and Sky contract will make an impressive cushion - but everyone will get a slice, so to stay ahead of the game - and keep the players - a European place is still highly desirable.
January 17: Rio Ferdinand has been forced to miss training with a stomach bug: he's still hopeful of making the side on Saturday but Jon Woodgate could easily fill in if Rio misses out.
January 17: Tonight's reserve game against Blackburn - to be played at Morecambe - has been postponed due to a frozen pitch. The reserves are due to be in action next Tuesday when they'll be at home to Boro.
January 17: Alfi Haaland has spoken to DOL and Eddie Gray to explain the comments that appeared in the press on Saturday morning and probably did more than any team talk to motivate the side against Manchester City. Haaland said: "I was really upset with the way some of the things came out and I've spoken to David and to Eddie Gray to set the record straight." The remarks had been taken out of context, and Alfi added: "I had tried to give a balanced view on how I saw the situation at Leeds and I was determined to be fair....I have got great respect for what David has done at Leeds and it was never my intention to have a go at him."
January 17: The South African FA appear to have missed the point a bit: they're talking about offering Lucas Radebe cash incentives to appear in their World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso. Now if they could persuade the FA (and more pertinently, SkySports) to shift the cup tie against Liverpool to a non-clashing date, they'd be addressing the real issue.
January 17: Next Wednesday's game with Villa is definitely on, with Birmingham being told to re-arrange their Worthington Cup semi-final with Manchester City so that the West Midlands police don't have to contend with both Villa and Brum at home on the same night.
January 17: "Can you see a time when cars will be made from cheese?" That's what interviewer Jon Wilde wanted to know from Vinnie Jones in a chat to promote Vinnie's new movie, Snatch. In what can only be described as an inadvisable move, Wilde asked Vinnie if he was bisexual. Looks like Vinnie's learned his lesson after the nose-biting incident in Dublin though: after a couple more totally random questions, Vinnie threatened the journo with a right-hander, but walked out before delivering on the promise.
January 16: Peter Ridsdale confirmed that things had gone well in Australia in his recent visit. Leeds officials talked to five clubs, one of which will be chosen to receive an investment of around £2 million in exchange for a close link and first refusal on players coming through the Youth setup Down Under. Frank Farina agreed that Soccer Australia had now resolved most of the issues over player release with the club, and neither side expected any further problems.
January 16: The Youth team triumphed over Southampton in the FA Youth Cup at Elland Road tonight and will now face the winners of a tie between Villa and Barnsley in the next round.
January 16: DOL has seen the light! "It's very difficult to change formations in mid season as you have to put a lot of work into it for it to pay-off." Specifically, he thinks that he'll have 4-5 front men (Viduka, Keane, Smith, Bridges, Kewell) competing for 2 places in the starting line-up, which is no bad thing if they're happy and the rotation works. At the moment, Michael Bridges would probably have a decent chance of forcing his way back into the side if he was fit - but if the incumbents start finding the net more regularly, it's unlikely we could hang on to all of them.
January 15: Peter Ridsdale is warning of tidal waves, firestorms and the Four Horsemen riding out if FIFA and UEFA don't get their act together and come up with a common front on the EU's proposed changes to the transfer rules. FIFA have left a loophole half a mile wide in their proposals that more or less let's a player say "I disagree with the coach's tactics" and walk away from a club on 3 months' notice - a move that would make it almost impossible for a coach to drop a player who'd had a couple of bad games without finding himself looking for a permanent replacement. Ridsdale steered the talk towards the problems that FIFA's proposals would create for small clubs and the run-of-the-mill players. "Under the proposed new rules, if the clubs feel they are not performing or if they have a short notice period, they will find themselves on the dole within months." The chairman added: "If you look at the fact that youth development is the cornerstone of many clubs' survival, this will kill those small clubs - and those clubs are very much part of their own community. I think it's potentially a disaster for the sport in general."
January 15: With Nigel Martyn inching back to fitness, Paul Robinson may find himself back in the reserves after an amazing 3 months that has seen him collect the Carling Young Player and overall Player of the Month awards and has pushed him into contention for a place in the England squad for the friendly against Spain at the end of next month. Robinson still has his feet on the ground though. "At the start of it I felt I'd have been lucky to have played as many reserve games as I did last season, which wasn't many because of our European form." He added: "I've been surprised at how this season has gone for me."
January 15: DOL made an early entry in the "Stating the Bleeding Obvious 2001" competition. "It looks like we'll have to win this season's Champions' League to be in there next season." However there is a silver lining: "...but if we are not in it it might just put us in a good position to show what we can do in the league." Or at least remove a major excuse for failure.... Meanwhile, in remarks that would be a credit to Alex Ferguson, he lined up plenty of reasons as to why life as a coach who's allowed to spend £60 million is just so awful. "Since pre-season it has been, as a coach, the most unenjoyable campaign," he said. "Take last week. You have no midweek game and you want to use the time for proper coaching and trying one or two things out. We lose Mark Viduka with flu and Robbie Keane with a knee injury and they don't train all week. We have just not been able to gel the team down." Yep, it's all Brylcreem's fault... :-)
January 15: Aussie/transfer news. Leeds remain linked with Brett Emerton, who is currently at Feyenoord. The yound midfielder has also been connected with Boro, where former Aussie coach Venables is now in charge and where he'd probably have more first team chances. Meanwhile the indefatigable agents of John Arne Riise now say that he's not going to be in England for talks with Premiership clubs.
January 15: Harry Kewell is still expected to return in 2-3 weeks - in plenty of time for the Champions League games. There had been fears that Harry would miss up to 3 months more after picking up a knock on the scar tissue from his op.
January 14: Peter Ridsdale may look to defy the Football League and set up a joint youth organisation with Oldham. With talk of starting similar ventures in Australia and Scotland, he's obviously looking to the future, but he'd also like some English players coming through. Ridsdale said: "Clubs like Oldham do not have the access to cash we could inject into their academies With the right development of players from an early age, hopefully, we can get more English players into the Premiership."
January 14: Peter Ridsdale reiterated his support for new England boss Sven Goran Erickson. His personal choice had initially been for Bobby Robson to work in tandem with Peter Taylor, but once Newcastle declared Robson unavailable, Erickson "was the best candidate available." Some papers today carried stories of a rift in the FA team that picked the Swede, but Ridsdale firmly denied this. In Erickson's absence, Lazio won 4-3 at Udinese and are now 4th in Serie A.
January 14: Lucas Radebe will be asking South Africa to let him miss the World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso to enable him to play the FA Cup game against Liverpool. DOL is obviously hopeful that they'll let him go, restating his opinion that club should take priority over country.
January 14: The trial of the men accused of killing Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight is due to resume in Istanbul next week. Lawyers for the dead men are claiming that TV footage shows no sign of broken windows and no sign of any flags: the defence are saying that the accused were provoked by drunken Leeds fans smashing windows and insulting the Turkish flag. However, unless they've got some good forensic evidence, it will probably prove difficult to make a definite case against the Ali Umit Demir - the main suspect identified in the murders so far.
January 13: Both Joe Royle and DOL agreed that Man City were unlucky to lose 4-0, but Royle didn't excuse his players for the defeat. "It's quite symptomatic of our season that the first goal we gave them came with no danger." DOL was over the moon with Robbie Keane's performance after he'd not been able to train all week due to an injury. "At 20 he can only get better. The whole product we have here is so talented that when it does get going it won't be bad at all."
January 13: Today's batch of old boy news: a goal (with the head, of course) for Gary Speed as Newcastle beat Coventry. Simon Grayson looks to be entering the twilight zone: after a fairly successful time with Leicester, Villa and Blackburn after being a bit-part player at Leeds, he's now moved on to Stockport County.
January 13: Well, that told Alfi. In fairness to City, they always looked like equalising Bakke's 1st half goal, but when Bowyer's deflected shot found the back of the net, the City heads dropped and their fans headed for the exit. Two late goals for Robbie Keane rounded off a great day out: the first away league win since Boro in August and a useful three points gained. Oh, and just to show I don't only complain when we lose, the referee had a terrible first half, failing to book City players for fouls worse than those committed by Leeds. Then he switched allegiances around half time, and finally gave up getting the book out at all. Useless.
January 13: Alfi Haaland had a go at Leeds for their underachievement this year (obviously the key mistake was selling the Norwegian). "Leeds have been a big disappointment this season... Leeds haven't lived up to David O'Leary's billing as a top three team wholl be challenging for the title soon." The City skipper focused on DOL, saying: "He can't hide behind all those little phrases of his any more - he has to produce the goods." Haaland reckons that signing Rio was a mistake, but did go on to say: "They have tremendous players and I'm sure they'll go on a great run soon."
January 12: Leeds have joined up with the Premiership Lotter-e to give you an online chance to win £20,000. A percentage of the stake goes to the clubs, and is then distributed through local community schemes. Check it out at here.
January 12: Transfer talk: long-time target Kieron Dyer is now reported to be of interest to Alex Ferguson with a fee in the region of £9-10 million mentioned. It would be interesting to see where he would fit in - Fergie could make Beckham play more centrally to accommodate Dyer, or maybe play his new signing at right wing back, placing a road block in the career of the less gaffe-prone and slightly less ugly Neville sister. Meanwhile John Arne Riise's agents couldn't make it through an entire month without getting their client in the news, so they're allegedly coming over next week to talk to a number of Premiership clubs.
January 12: Leeds could turn into the bloated giant of English football if all this feeder club talk comes to fruition. Although the link with Oldham has been temporarily thwarted by the Football League, moves to add an Australian club continue to gather pace, and now rumours from north of the border say that Leeds could link up with Airdrie if Steve Archibald manages to take control at Broomfield.
January 12: Lee Bowyer returns from suspension and will presumably start in tomorrow's game at Maine Road, but Harry Kewell looks to remain an absentee. Presumably DOL will continue with Mark Viduka and Robbie Keane as starters, so the big selection questions will range around which centrebacks get the nod, which of Bakke, Batts and Wilcox drops to the bench to accommodate Lee Bowyer (can't see Olly not starting) and whether Gary Kelly is fit enough and DOL is happy enough for him to regain his place from Danny Mills (late indications are that Kelly's groin injury is still a problem). In a nutshell, it's anybody's guess. Alfi is now a dyed-in-the-wool Blue, and will be well up for it, with Darren Huckerby equally eager to score against his old club and show DOL what a difference it can make if your manager shows some confidence in you - but he may have to wait, since the ankle injury that resulted in him being subbed last week has not fully cleared up. Danny Granville has started figuring in the City line-up in recent weeks after a loan spell at Norwich and should start. The "unpredictable" Paolo Wanchope returns from injury, but Gerard Wiekens is unlikely to pass a fitness test.
January 11: Alan Smith is not unduly bothered by the current goal drought that both he and the team are going through. "All strikers go through lean spells every now and again and I'm not too worried by that," he said. But he did rather pointedly add: "Ideally we need goals from other sections of the team as well." Note to Olivier Dacourt: the goal is that rectangular thing with the net behind it: the really big square thing is THE STAND.
January 11: Paul Robinson will be smiling today: former Lazio coach Roberto Mancini revealed just how highly Sven Goran Erickson rates the young keeper. Robinson's performance in the 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico particularly impressed the new England coach, and with David Seaman and Nigel Martyn still injured, and Nicky Weaver leaking dodgy goals all over the place, Robinson could be in line for a rapid promotion to the senior squad. Mancini was quoted as saying: "His handling was brilliant, he read crosses well and looked to be very safe with shots. When we were told how young he was, we could hardly believe it."
January 11: Those Aussies are trying to chase us to the altar. Both Perth-based Western Lightning and Sydney Olympic look to be in the frame for a link-up with Leeds. Meanwhile, Peter Ridsdale had a clear-the-air session with Socceroos' coach Frank Farina and Soccer Australia's Tony Labbozzetta. Ridsdale pointed out that Leeds didn't want to stand in the way of players representing their country for legitimate FIFA qualifiers, pointing out the number of times we'd been with out skipper Lucas Radebe. "There will be times when Leeds should take precedence and times when Australia should be the priority for players. In the past we've thought we had priorities which overrode certain matches Australia were playing. But we have no desire to stop players representing their countries." Ridsdale also hinted that it might not just be the club taking these decisions, but refrained from pointing the finger at any of the players.
January 10: Leeds fielded quite a strong reserve side to face Boro at Billingham's ground tonight, but to no avail. Although it was good to see Nigel Martyn and Danny Hay continue their comeback from injury, a team that included Jon Woodgate, Ian Harte, Jason Wilcox and Jacob Burns went down 4-1. Young Irish winger Alan Moore got a hat-trick, and to add insult to injury, Brian Deane completed the scoring for the home side.
January 10: Rio Ferdinand is looking forward to the days when an alien braineater takes charge of the England squad. Well, not quite - he's happy that Erickson can take full charge of England sooner rather than later. "He could come from Mars, I'm not bothered as long as we win the World Cup or European Championship." Erickson might be tempted to check out the form of Leeds' young stars at the weekend, but Liverpool - Villa looks a more likely bet: Fowler, Owen, Heskey, Merson, Southgate and Barry could all make an appearance and give the Swede a chance to learn a bit more about English football and start to silence his critics in the press.
January 10: Ian Harte has had a clear-the-air meeting with Peter Ridsdale after being dropped in favour of Dominic Matteo in recent games. The chairman said: "The loss of his first team place upset him greatly and he reached the point where he felt a meeting leading to assurances about his future at Leeds was necessary." Harte now seems happier, but will have to impress the manager if he wants his place back.
January 10: Peter Ridsdale and commercial director Adam Pearson have completed their initial talks with Australian companies to get Leeds-branded merchandise on sale down under and there's hope that a few deals will be signed shortly: it's important that we continue to expand off the pitch to fund player acquisitions and salaries, and although it would take a miracle for us to catch up with Manchester United in that area, we can certainly steal a march on most of the rest of the Premiership and take advantage of the presence of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Jacob Burns and Danny Milosevic. The club remain keen to develop links that will lead to young players following Kewell around the world and have been to the West and East Coast in talks that could lead to Leeds taking a stake in an NSL team.
January 10: Michael Duberry is on the road to recovery. He's now off crutches and walking but is still some way from training, never mind playing and will shortly be in the dock in the Bowyer/Woody trial. He's been trying to see the positive side of it: "I've celebrated my first Christmas with my family for years, although of course I miss playing." It will be next season before we see him in the team again, and with Rio, Lucas and Woody ahead of him in the pecking order. Of course, the trial could change that a bit....
January 09: Sven Goran Erickson's resignation as Lazio coach today could prove to be mixed news for Leeds fans. Obviously, there will be some disruption at the Italian club, which could serve Leeds well in the Champions League - or the new man could turn the club around. After their performances against his side, the Leeds youngsters must be hoping for a chance to play in Erickson's England squad, but that could mean tired players playing more games and picking up injuries for the national side. And finally, press speculation is linking Arsene Wenger with the vacancy (although Dino Zoff could take charge in the sort term). And if Wenger leaves Arsenal (he has, of course, laughed off all such speculation), many Arsenal fans think that his successor is the man in charge at Elland Road. Still, if DOL were to go, maybe he'd buy Rio for £25 million from us - cheap at the price! :-)
January 09: Nigel Martyn is still a couple of weeks shy of full fitness, despite returning to the bench for the first team. The groin injury he picked up last year continues to affect his kicking and it's the sort of injury that could just go again if he extends it too much too soon (ooo-er!). Paul Robinson continues to perform well in his absence, but with some crucial England games coming up over the next few months, Martyn will be keen to return and prove his fitness.
January 09: Latest stop on the Damien Lynch Grand Tour would seem to be Swindon. After two days on trial there last week manager Andy King is keen to have Lynch back for a longer loan spell, a game for the reserves and maybe more.
January 08: It turns out that Gary Kelly was missing on Saturday because he'd picked up a knock in training last week and DOL didn't want him to aggravate the injury. Kelly had been a real ever-present, appearing in all the games and not having been substituted or sent off once.
January 08: Lucas Radebe may find himself with another club vs country conflict at the end of the month: Leeds' clash with Liverpool in the FA cup is on the same day as South Africa's next World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso. The opposition shouldn't prove too demanding, but this would be the second time in a very short period that Lucas would miss a game that is nonetheless important to his national team. Lucas has confirmed that he's finally signed the contract that should keep him at Elland Road for the rest of his playing career - and maybe even beyond. The Chief said: "I am very happy to stay at the club I have made some very good friends here and there are plenty of good players around me."
January 08: The 4th round game against Liverpool won't be shifted by much: Sky have elected to show it at noon on Saturday 27. However the game that was due to take place on Easter Saturday has been brought forward to Good Friday, with an 11:30 kick-off at Anfield. Cheers Sky - another two early starts from London are much appreciated. Sky are also showing Gillingham vs Chelsea on the Sunday, with ITV picking up West Ham at Old Trafford.
January 07: This afternoon's drawn game between Villa and Newcastle should now mean that Nol Solano will be available for the Leeds game, but Kieron Dyer should still miss out. Or is it the other way round....sorry - it's late and my head is starting to spin.
January 07: Leeds Ladies went down to a heroic defeat against their Arsenal counterparts at Borehamwood this afternoon. The final score in the Women's FA Cup 4th round tie was 5-3 to Arsenal, semi-finalists last season.
January 07: Well, it's not the easiest draw in the world, but at least we've got Liverpool at home. Expect the game to be moved from Saturday 27 January to the Sunday or Monday night, as it would appear to be the plum tie of the round. Good omen: the only time we've ever beaten Liverpool in the cup was in the 4th round in 1972, where 2 goals from Allan Clarke beat them at Elland Road en route to beating Arsenal in the final.
January 07: DOL said that the team seemed to be "burdened by expectancy" - it's not clear whether he means that they've all eaten too much over Christmas and move like they're 6 months pregnant or if he means that the pressure of beating lower division sides is one that we've still not come to terms with. "For two-and-a-half years its all been one-way, but now we're in a dip and people are questioning this team. People believe they should live up to those expectations and to do that we've got to stand up and be counted."
January 06: Goals and disappointment for two old boys today. Darren Huckerby scored again but went off with an injury as Manchester City outdid Birmingham at Maine Road, and Bob Taylor scored for the Baggies when they were 3-0 down at Derby: Lee Hughes made it 3-2, but Derby ran out winners. On a brighter note, David Hopkin is closer to a comeback having played in a friendly for Bradford after a long lay-off.
January 06: Leeds Sporting have come up with a new, hopefully "non-contentious" development plan for the stadium. The main thrust of the plan is to improve the West Stand - the oldest bit of the stadium, and a new two-storey ticket office. The main focus will be to improve the banqueting and conference facilities, but the club are trying to get across the message that this is not to cater for "the prawn sandwich" brigade, but is rather looking at improving the usage of the facilities during the week. The scheme will cost about £15 million and the club are hoping to get the development completed in the summer.
January 06: There was a clear win for Olivier Dacourt in December's Player of the Month poll. With not much to cheer about, he beat Mark Viduka and Alan Smith by a country mile.
January 06: No sign at all of Gary Kelly in the squad, and Danny Mills given the chance to restate his claims for a starting place today. An early goal from Mark Viduka settled the nerves a bit and Leeds looked to dominate the first half, and went in for the break 1-0 up. The 2nd half was a lot closer as Barnsley chased an equaliser, but it never came and Leeds were through to the 4th round.
January 06: Harry Kewell could be out for a couple more weeks as he fails to respond to treatment on his ankle/calf problems. DOL thinks that his return was a bit of a false dawn, and with Harry's overall lack of fitness he's not really ready to play week in week out and needs a bit longer to fully recover, so we might not see him until the end of the month.
January 05: Harry Kewell is a doubt for tomorrow's game having failed to fully recover from the injury he picked up against Newcastle. Eirik Bakke returns after suspension and will probably replace the suspended Lee Bowyer. For Barnsley, Robin van der Laan and Darren Barnard are long-term doubts, but Mitch Ward should return. Leeds are 1-5 on to win the tie tomorrow and will be hoping to repeat the 4-0 hammering that Barnsley got the last time they came to Elland Road in the cup.
January 05: Leeds look set to expand Down Under by increasing their merchandising presence to take advantage of the large number of Antipodean players and their growing popularity. They might also follow Rangers' example and take a stake in an Australian club: Rangers have taken a stake in a club who now wear their kit and carry substantial advertising for the Glasgow club. With a new club currently being set up in Perth, this might be the chance for Leeds to get in on the ground floor of an expanding market.
January 04: There won't be an on-pitch reunion for former Blackburn team-mates Jason Wilcox and Stuart Ripley on Saturday. Ripley is currently on loan at Barnsley, but Southampton have refused the Tykes permission to play him - and thus cup-tie him - in the 3rd round tie.
January 04: The game at Everton that was cancelled over the festive season has been provisionally rescheduled for February 7 with an 8 p.m. kick-off, subject to the teams not being involved in FA Cup 4th round replays.
January 04: The Villa away game might be shifted after the unexpected success of Birmingham in the Worthington Cup leaves them due to play the home leg of the semi-final on the same night as Leeds are due to play at Villa. Obviously one of us could shift or Brum could swap the home and away legs with Ipswich, so don't book those train tickets yet!
January 04: John Pearson and Ian Baird will be teaming up with David Batty's agent Hayden Evans to pick up new clients, help negotiate deals and no doubt terrify chairmen into agreeing the most favourable terms possible. I remember one of those player profiles that used to appear in the programme asking the question "What was your most terrifying experience?" and the answer being "Playing 5-a-side against Ian Baird", so with Batts once again out on the field it looks like Evans had a good idea where to get an enforcer and - in Pearson - a lookout tower :-)
January 04: Peter Ridsdale played out a line and scattered some bait on the water by saying that Ian Harte was not for sale. "David O'Leary wants him to stay and compete with Dominic Matteo for the left-back spot," apparently. So that's about £5 million to secure his services then....
January 04: The Chief is looking to avoid picking up another big chunk of Air Miles next week by avoiding South Africa's African Nations Cup qualifier. They're due to play Mauritius on January 14 - the day after the visit to Maine Road - and it would be a major shock if Mauritius could get any sort of result against SA, so Lucas's absence will hopefully be okayed by the South African FA. Meanwhile it seems that Lucas and agent Gary Blumberg have agreed terms with the club to keep the captain at Elland Road for a further 4 years. A testimonial year - and possibly a match against the South African national side - will be granted to one of the club's all-time bargain buys (thanks to Sgt Wilko).
January 04: Alan Smith has promised to dig in and fight for his place after being dropped in favour of Robbie Keane last week. Smith had a tremendous start to the season, but the goals have dried up as the season has progressed, and the arrival of Keane and the return to fitness of Harry Kewell have combined to make up DOL's mind and leave Smithy on the bench. "Being left out disappointed me, I'm no different to any other player." Looking ahead to the return of Michael Bridges, he added: "We all know that anyone not performing well enough will be dropped, but I am determined to get my head down and start working hard again to win back my place." It's just the attitude we need, and when more of the team are back to full fitness it will have to be an accepted fact that no player will be appearing in every game.
January 03: Lucas Radebe is desperate for Leeds to have have a good cup run this year, not just because it's nearly 30 years since Leeds last won a knock-out competition but because it provides European football for next year. "We're desperate to get into Europe again, but time is running out. We're still hoping we can go on a run and climb the League quickly, but you have to be realistic about our chances of making it into the top four now."
January 03: Anderlecht's coach Aime Anthuenis is attracting the attention of Las Palmas in Spain and sounded rather half-hearted when he claimed he wanted to stay: he could earn a lot more money in La Liga than he currently makes in Belgium, but while Anderlecht remain in the CL, he's got a nice high-profile position that might attract an even bigger club.
January 03: Leeds Ladies take on Arsenal at Borehamwood on Sunday in the 4th round of the Women's FA Cup. The game kicks off at 2:00 p.m. so if you're not going to be wandering round the DIY sheds why not go along and support the team? Although the Leeds Ladies have had a good start to the season, Arsenal are a strong side and made it to the semis last year before going out to Doncaster Belles.
January 03: Solano and Dyer both received their marching orders at White Hart Lane last night, so they should both be ruled out of the game at Elland Road on January 20.
January 02: Spurs' victory over Newcastle tonight pushes us back down to 14th place: if we win the games in hand we could climb to the dizzying heights of 8th - or even 7th if Chelsea don't win their spare game. That sounds a lot better than 14th, but it's all based on the supposition that we're going to start a long run of wins, which I'd like to think was not just my optimism kicking in...
January 02: Nigel Worthington was confirmed as the manager of Norwich City today. Leeds' former left-back has been in charge since Bryan Hamilton resigned at the start of December, and has managed 2 wins, 2 draws and just 1 defeat since taking over.
January 02: Tony Yeboah was convicted of tax evasion in Germany and fined £130,000 today. Charges of aiding and abetting were dropped, but the club in question - Eintracht Frankfurt - face charges relating to this and other cases later this month.
January 02: Alan Maybury and Harpal Singh scored for the reserves as they beat Liverpool 2-1 at Knowsley Road tonight.
January 02: David Batty has played down talk that his heart is continuing to trouble him. He still has to occasionally take medication to keep the inflammation down, but the most important thing right now is to rebuild his overall fitness so he can get back to playing two games a week with no ill-effects. "I have put my trust in the specialists and I am happy with what they are saying to me."
January 02: With the manager searching around for the best centreback combination, it's rumoured that a couple of clubs - headed by Chelsea - are sniffing around for a hint that Lucas Radebe might be available. With the extension to his contract not yet signed (but agreed in principle), The Chief would be a prize to tempt many of the managers in the top flight, and with Ian Harte also in the departure lounge and Jon Woodgate due to be out of action with the forthcoming court case, we could end the season with a back line radically different from the one we started with.
January 02: DOL is searching around for a confidence-boosting result after the disappointing set of games over the festive season. "It is only the winning of games which breeds the confidence to take you on," he said. "We started brightly enough, but what we need in games is to get the head start of the first goal." The fans have had their expectations raised over the last couple of years, and this season's slip-ups have not gone down well, but the manager can sympathise with that view. "We should be doing better. I know that. The players know that. There's not much more can be said."
January 02: The reserves play Liverpool at Knowsley Road tonight - maybe DOL will use the opportunity to give some of the players who've not been performing too well recently a bit of a drop kick :-) Nigel Martyn will be looking to get some match fitness, and Danny Hay returns from injury. Ian Harte will have the chance to convince DOL he deserves a start again, as will Danny Mills - but otherwise it will be a team full of youngsters.
January 01: Both DOL and Terry Venables agreed on one thing after the game - that the penalty that brought Leeds level was a bit dubious. But Venables ignored the possession and shot statistics to claim that his side deserved to win, despite the fact that they seldom came close to threatening the Leeds goal. Having said that, Mark Schwarzer wasn't exactly overstretched today.
January 01: Very disappointing result today: with the dominance that the team enjoyed in the first half, to concede a goal on the break (square defence again) was a sickener. A couple of possible pens were turned down by our good friend Mr Elleray, but with 9 men behind the ball, we just couldn't break down Boro.