I'm not online 100% of the time (and even if I were, my bosses would take a dim view of me spending time updating the web pages in real time), so for the absolute latest news, check out the "professional" links.
March 31: Seems as if Lucas Radebe is now a big doubt for Wednesday's game with Deportivo (see - I told you we shouldn't have rushed him back) after he went off with yet another knee injury - ligaments this time - this afternoon. Olivier Dacourt's should injury is a lot less serious and he should be fit for Wednesday. DOL had some harsh words for Smithy after his dismissal. "I'm disappointed, very much so. Believe you me, I've had a little word with him," he said. DOL has done a lot to encourage Smithy to keep his temper in check, and it's understandable that he should be disappointed - but I'd advise him to check the video of both bookings before dumping on Smithy too much.
March 31: Brief thoughts on a couple of incidents in the game having seen them on MOTD. Phillips was probably right to feel a bit aggrieved that he didn't at least get Rio penalised for obstruction just before Leeds' first goal - but how he escaped without being red-carded for what he was saying to the officials is a mystery. Smithy's goal was a result of poor defending, a distracted Sunderland side, a good corner from Ian Harte and a totally unmarked header back across goal from Harry Kewell. Smithy's dismissal came as the result of two grade A pieces of acting and cruddy refereeing. First McCann (who had earlier elbowed Dacourt in the neck) took at least two hacks at Smithy in the corner, before going down like he'd been shot when Smithy fell over as a result of the Sunderland man's fouls. Then Smith did lash out at Carteron when he was on the ground - but the slo-mo clearly shows the Sunderland player reacting to a kick that never made contact. Surely one for the FA's video board to consider....yeah fat chance. Viduka's goal at the end was another case of Sunderland going to sleep: a quick free kick found Keane, and the young Irishman turned the defence inside out before sliding the ball through to Viduka for the second. Kewell and Bowyer also missed good chances, and the highlight was probably the shot of all those Sunderland fans streaming for the exit almost the second Viduka's shot hit the back of the net :-)
March 31: There are rumours going around that Leeds Sporting will look to get the West Stand redevelopment started this summer. The development plans have already been laid before the council, and would cost something of the order of £15 million. Capacity wouldn't be increased - and the West Stand is already the most expensive side of the ground so it's hard to see any extra income from match tickets, but the extension of the banqueting and hospitality facilities would certainly get some more money coming through the tills.
March 31: Old boys round-up: David Wetherall did his best to give his side some respectability as they head back to Division 1, but even when Robert Molenaar was tripped to give Bradford a penalty and a two goal lead, they couldn't hold on and slipped back to 2-2 against Newcastle. Derek Lilley scored Dundee United's second goal as they triumphed over Rangers to give Celtic the chance to win the title by Easter. Finally, Warren Feeney came off the bench and scored a goal for Bournemouth, bagging the Cherries' third in the 87th minute as they won 3-0 at Swansea.
March 31: Lucas Radebe returned to the starting line-up today, with Gary Kelly remaining on the bench as Danny Mills deservedly kept his place. It was fairly even early on, but Leeds produced some pressure and Alan Smith put them ahead on 33 minutes after a Harte corner was headed back across the face of goal. Olivier Dacourt was carried off with a neck brace after just 8 minutes, and was replaced by Eirik Bakke who was known to be well short of match fitness himself. Alan Smith picked up two rather stupid bookings in the 2nd half to earn himself a red card and the team some late pressure from Sunderland, but an injury-time goal for Mark Viduka sealed the points and made it 20 for the season for the pieman.
March 31: Ian Harte has indirectly apologised to Marcus Stewart for the incident that saw the Ipswich striker red-carded at Portman Road earlier this season. Ipswich's Irish international Matt Holland mentioned the incident to Harte during this week's pair of World Cup qualifiers. Harte was adamant that Stewart had caught him, but agreed that he had over-reacted a bit. Holland wasn't the only one raising Harte's recent reactions. Holland added: "Roy Keane gave him a bit of a verbal dig about the Barthez incident as well. He is starting to get a bit of a reputation about it and it is something he is going to have to cut out of his game."
March 31: Reports in some papers today said that Leeds would have to sell several players in order to fund the acquisition of Robbie Keane and clear some short-term debt. Leeds will owe the instalments on several big-money transfers, and there is some concern that if Leeds fail to qualify for the Champions League next year then some sales will be inevitable. Maybe we'll have to take a huge bundle of lire from Roma for Vidooks if we want to stay solvent - although this is the opposite of what Peter Ridsdale has been saying all this time.
March 31: Sad news today: David Rocastle has lost his battle against cancer. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in February and has died at the age of 33. Rocastle was bought by Wilko after a successful career at Arsenal, and expected to be the man who would replace Gordon Strachan. As it was, Strachan continued for a lot longer than was expected and Rocky never really won a regular place in the squad and moved on to Manchester City after 18 months at Elland Road. He moved on to Chelsea and had loan spells at Norwich and Hull as well as playing in Malaysia. His career highlights included 2 League Championships with Arsenal and a League Cup win, as well as 14 full caps for England. There was a one-minute silence as a mark of respect at Highbury (impeccably observed by the Spurs fans) and at Stamford Bridge, but none at Sunderland, although Leeds did wear black armbands. Expect a similar gesture at Elland Road on Wednesday (UEFA permitting) or next Saturday at the Southampton game. He leaves a wife and three children, who have our deepest sympathies for losing David so young.
March 30: Leeds United fans are the most stylish in the country - and that's official! The Burtons League of Style placed Leeds fans at the top of the heap thanks to their extensive spending on clothes. Obviously we need to spend on a more extensive wardrobe to make sure we're appropriately attired for our travels around Europe :-)
March 30: Niall Quinn will miss tomorrow's game - the target man has been suffering with a back problem but remains hopeful of a return this season after some yoga therapy. However, with Don Hutchison set to partner Kevin Phillips, Sunderland's strike force is not to be lightly dismissed. On the Leeds side, Dominic Matteo remains the biggest doubt of the regulars after his injury on international duty. DOL will probably prefer to play Danny Mills alongside Rio at centreback rather than rushing Lucas Radebe back with the Deportivo game coming up next week.
March 30: Batts is anticipating more than a little bit of personalised stick from what is expected to be a record crowd. "I expect to get stick up there because I played for Newcastle and hope I get some because players always respond well to that. Players like it when opposition crowds have a go at them because it's a compliment and you tend to do better when the rival crowd is on your back." Batts remains well and truly over the moon that he's back in the side, even though he reckons it will be next season before he's back to full match fitness. "Literally it has been a nightmare two years and I'm just grateful to be out there playing again now. It's only been three months but it's so good to be back. I'm enjoying every single game," he said. Rumours of his impending retirement dogged his recuperation, but they helped him in his long march back to the first team. "The rumours did spur me on but I wanted to do it for myself and as soon as I saw the light at the end of the tunnel I became more and more hopeful."
March 30: Falkirk's young midfielder Mark Kerr will come down for a week's trial with the club next week as his move from the Scottish club would appear to be back on again. He was due to have a trial earlier in the month, but an injury - and the apparent reluctance of Leeds to agree a valuation with Falkirk - resulted in that being cancelled.
March 30: The defence counsel finished their presentations today, and the judged commenced his summing up in court in Hull today. Mr Justice Poole stressed, as had the prosecution, that there was no question of there being any racist motive to the attack. He further stressed that the jury should disregard any speculation about other investigations or charges, "nor by any supposed activities of the newspapers, Panorama or Mr Imran Khan [lawyer known for his involvement in the Stephen Lawrence case] or any other peripheral figure." He also stressed that the jury may consider that the attack had been to some extent provoked by the actions of Mr Najeib and his party, but "you must not be deflected from what you have to consider by any conclusion, if you reach it, that Sarfraz Najeib should not have done those things." Earlier, counsel for Neale Caveney had pointed out that none of the witnesses to the assault had identified Caveney, even though there had been 15 video id parades involving Caveney. Caveney had admitted to being in Mill Hill and witnessing the attack, but had not been able to identify the assailants. Caveney's counsel stressed that the jury may believe that Caveney was not telling the truth in that, but that lies on their own did not indicate that Caveney himself was guilty of any assault, and the jury should consider that he might have lied to protect his friends rather than himself. Claire Montgomery QC, counsel for Michael Duberry stressed that her client would be facing accusations of being a "grass", whether or not he was convicted of a conspiracy charge. She dismissed claims that Duberry had not implicated Lee Bowyer out of a desire to take Jon Woodgate's place in the side while remaining in the club's good books. "Did he strike you as a sly, spiteful man who would trim his evidence to please his football club, a man so calculating he would destroy Jonathan Woodgate just because Leeds United asked him to?" she asked. "You may think he has at least and at last had the courage to speak out and in doing so has shown the prosecution case is misconceived." The trial will continue on Monday.
March 30: Shares in Leeds Sporting moved up today as the company published its half-year figures. Turnover was up a massive 67% to £41 million, and profits after transfers had nearly trebled at £6.2 million. Obviously, the European run contributed a large part of that increase - the Champions League money accounting for £4.8 million out of a total TV take of £15.9 million.
March 29: Team news for Saturday: Sunderland's international winger Kevin Kilbane is doubtful after straining his back while lifting his luggage from the airport conveyor on his return from Barcelona. Gavin McCann is due back for the "Black Cats" after being forced to pull out of the England squad with a knee injury.
March 29: With a vacancy at Southampton, it's not surprising that former Leeds and Saints player Mickey Adams has been connected with a move. Adams has done an excellent job just along the coast at Brighton in the last two years, but his chief executive Martin Perry expects him to stay. Perry said: "Micky is on a long-term contract, which still has two years to run. It was a long-term commitment by the club to allow him that time to build the team. That was by mutual agreement." After experiencing board-room backing that could best be described as second to all in his two previous managerial roles, Adams will probably be grateful for such a vote of confidence, but the chance to take over a Premier League side in sound financial shape and due to move to a brand new stadium next season could be a very big incentive to move.
March 29: Rio Ferdinand spoke of his concerns after the incident that left Ashley Cole with a cut on his head in the Albania game last night. "When I went over to join in the celebrations after Andy Cole's goal there were rocks, bottles and cigarette lighters coming out of the sky at us," he said. "It was frightening. Ashley was hit on the head but the injury could have been so much worse if the object had been a bit lower and hit him in the eye." FIFA will wait for the referee's report before taking any action.
March 29: Trial update: Desmond de Silva, representing Lee Bowyer, has been putting the case for the defence for his client today. The gist of his message is that Bowyer had been drawn into the case by false statements given by Jonathan Woodgate and his friends and that, other than the presence of a small amount of Shazad Najeib's blood on his coat - which could have got there in a number of ways - there was no forensic or identification evidence which placed Bowyer at the scene of the attack. "You have to be very careful what one defendant says about another in their absence," he said. "You don't have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to know that people in trouble sometimes try to shift blame to others. The Middlesbrough boys were putting Lee Bowyer forward, putting him in the frame. Whether Mr Woodgate owed a greater loyalty to his Middlesbrough friends than he owed to his team-mate Lee Bowyer is a matter for you." Mr de Silva said that Bowyer left the club after the rest of the group, and had been intending to return to the lap-dancing bar that they had been to earlier in the evening. Mr de Silva also pointed out Tony Hackworth's involvement, drawing the jury's attention to the similarity of a description of a man who was seen attacking Shazad. Hackworth was acquitted of the assault on Sarfraz Najeib earlier in the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence, but Mr de Silva pointed out that Hackworth had lied in his statements to the police, and at one point had helped Lee Bowyer get into the back of two-door car: if Hackworth had been involved in a fight with Shazad it would have been very easy for the blood found on Bowyer's jacket to have been transferred then. The remaining defendants deny all the charges against them, and the defence summing up will continue tomorrow.
March 29: Lucas Radebe is back in training and is hopeful of being in contention for Saturday's game, but Dominic Matteo's injury - picked up while playing for Scotland - and Eirik Bakke's thigh strain look likely to rule them out.
March 29: The Nige rumours continue. Would Leeds want to sell him to another Premiership team (thus ruling out Fulham and Liverpool who are both said to be looking to find a better keeper)? If not, then maybe Celtic would be the place for him to finish his career. Although there wouldn't be quite the same level of challenge as at Leeds, the prospect of playing for a winning side and having the chance to still play in Europe would be a definite attraction to the 35-year-old.
March 28: Peter Ridsdale issued a "hands off" warning to clubs thinking of slapping in a bid for top scorer Mark Viduka. "Mark has already said he wants to stay at Leeds and all the stories that are coming out are just pure speculation. As far as I'm concerned, Real Madrid or anyone else interested in Mark Viduka can look elsewhere and stop wasting my time in listening to these stories."
March 28: Trial update: in the third day of his closing speech, prosecution QC Nicholas Campbell said that the appearance and disappearance of Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer that their testimony seemed to indicate was "like something from the X-Files". Specifically, Mr Campbell accused Lee Bowyer of lying to police since his arrest and producing an "impressive performance" in the witness box. "You may believe that he is a fine footballer who gives a fine performance on the field," said Mr Campbell. "But that's what we believe he was doing in this courtroom - putting in another performance. We submit it was an impressive performance." The defence started its closing submissions, with Desmond de Silva - counsel for Lee Bowyer - saying "You have heard speculation, you have heard guesswork, you have heard ... unfair inferences." He added :"In any fair-minded view of the evidence and any proper analysis of it, there is but one verdict that you can bring in relation to Lee Bowyer and that is one of not guilty." Jon Woodgate's QC, David Sumner pointed at the inconsistencies in the identification evidence submitted by the Crown. "There is something that doesn't quite hold together here...the total mis-identification is something that simply cannot be overlooked," he said. The trial continues tomorrow.
March 28: Danny Hay has been named in New Zealand's squad for the forthcoming batch of World Cup qualifiers. He'll be away from the club for 3-4 games in the middle of April.
March 28: Ray Wallace has moved on to pastures new. He's signed up to non-league Witton Albion - probably best known to Leeds fans for being the club that supplied us with Mike Whitlow.
March 28: Rio appeared for England in Albania tonight as the national side squeaked a 3-1 win. Rio didn't exactly cover himself in glory when he failed to cover Albania's late goal, and when Albania should have been allowed an equaliser in injury time Gary Neville was hugely glad that the linesman flagged for offside. England went down the other end for Andy Cole to make it safe in the 96th minute. Elsewhere Dominic Matteo limped out of Scotland's 4-0 win over San Marino and is now doubtful for Saturday, and Ian Harte bagged another penalty for the Republic as they beat Andorra 3-0 in Barcelona. It was another blank day for Robbie Keane, and boss Mick McCarthy said: "He's just got to keep working hard. I still think he's a marvellously talented player but every striker has spells when it either goes for you or it doesn't."
March 28: Summer transfer randomness: club secretary Ian Silvester indicated that there would be some movement during the summer, but that the main deal would be to tie up Robbie Keane's move, and suggestions that Alaves' Romanian full back Cosmin Contra was on the shopping list were completely unfounded.
March 28: Peter Ridsdale is looking to get the Aussie deal done and dusted before the next campaign kicks off. The aim of linking up with a partner side down under is well advanced, and this will be couple by a merchandising deal that will put Leeds-branded goods in stores across the country, "Our aim is to tie up an agreement before next season and I am confident this will be the case," said the chairman.
March 28: The reserves beat Newcastle 4-1 last at Bootham Crescent last night. Jason Wilcox, Harpul Singh, Simon Johnson and an og were the scorers for Leeds, in a game which also saw Stephen McPhail complete an hour on the pitch. No return for Michael Bridges yet though - the club are very sensibly not rushing to bring him back. If you want to catch any of the remaining games this season, get your notebooks out now, cos everything has moved. Bradford away is now April 5, Sheff Wed home is April 19 and Liverpool home has moved back to May 2. The other home games are Boro on April 10 and the Mackems on May 8.
March 27: Trial update: prosecution QC Nicholas Campbell today told the court that Lee Bowyer should be found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm even if he didn't touch the victim. He argued that if Bowyer had restrained Sarfraz Najeib's brother from going to help the student as he was being attacked, then that would be sufficient for the jury to return a guilty verdict. Mr Campbell also referred to the evidence of window cleaner Andrew Clarke, who had claimed to have seen Jon Woodgate attack Najeib, although he had earlier told police that he hadn't seen the footballer attack the student. Mr Clarke had also told the jury that he did not see Lee Bowyer. Mr Clarke described himself as a Leeds fan, and said that he had no reason to lie but felt that he had to tell the truth even though he and his family had been intimidated as a result. The case continues tomorrow.
March 27: Peter Ridsdale has praised Socceroos' boss Frank Farina for not calling up any of Leeds' trio of Australian internationals for the World Cup qualifiers in April. The players would end up missing games against Southampton and Liverpool around the Aussies' clash with Tonga on April 9. PR said: "They have been very co-operative and I can only offer my sincere thanks to Soccer Australia. It shows how far we have come in building the relationship and the players will obviously be available in the close season."
March 27: Transfer rumour of the day: Rangers' almost permanently crocked young Scottish star Barry Ferguson is the latest player being linked with Leeds. Rangers, although not quite in Real Madrid's league, the costs of their foreign legion have been quite substantial and with Celtic running away with everything north of the border this year, they'll need still more money to rebuild the squad in the summer. But do we need another right-sided/central midfielder right now? Realistically, the price tag of £12-14 million would probably be a bit much for Leeds and the Rangers board would have to put up with a lot of discontent from the fans if they were to sell the man who has been made captain and who is a big favorite at Ibrox.
March 27: Leeds' quartet of internationals are all set to appear again tomorrow night. Dominic Matteo should be fit enough to continue for Scotland against San Marino, and Gary Kelly and Ian Harte are set to turn out against similarly undemanding opposition as the Republic face Andorra. Rio's possible culpability for Finland's goal shouldn't rule him out of England's game against Albania, but Nigel Martyn will remain on the bench unless David Seaman's back gives out again.
March 26: Trial update: the prosecution started their closing speech today. Nicholas Campbell QC told the jury that Jamie Hewison had been involved in an altercation with Sarfraz Najeib, and that - having been struck by Hewison - Najeib struck back. "That punch by Sarfraz Najeib changed everything. If he had not done it, it's likely nothing would have happened to his group." Mr Campbell added: "We submit that this was the trigger that ignited this incident. Sarfraz was struck first. He perhaps foolishly struck back. That blow was the signal for James Hewison's group to mete out punishment." He went on to say that the four accused men had consistently lied to the police and the court since that day to cover up their involvement in the incident. All four deny the charges against them. The trial continues tomorrow.
March 26: The reserves play Newcastle tomorrow night and Michael Bridges could join Stephen McPhail in being the latest of our long-term wounded to make a comeback. With Newcastle's interest in Bridges still reported to be strong, he might be keen to play to impress his prospective employers - but there's no sense in forcing him to put his achilles in danger by playing on a wet and slippy surface for the reserves when he's spent 5 months on the treatment table.
March 26: Eirik Bakke is hoping that he can be back in the squad for the Sunderland game after pulling a thigh muscle and missing out on the Charlton game and on the chance to represent Norway in the latest batch of World Cup qualifiers. Apparently his muscle went after he gave the ball a particularly good whack at goal. Just goes to show you should place it rather than power it...
March 26: Something that slipped past me at the weekend: Lee Matthews scored again for Bristol City, coming on as a sub and scoring 3 minutes later. Looks like he could end up as a firm favorite down there if he goes on like this. Warren Feeney made his debut for Bournemouth, coming on for a grand total of 1 minute as they beat Bury 1-0.
March 26: To nobody's great surprise, UEFA flip-flopped away from their comments of this weekend to say that there was no chance of Deportivo being thrown out of the CL because of the fake passports issue. Which is fair enough, cos if we got a bye to the next round the world and its wife would be queuing up to denounce our achievements should we reach the final or even win it.
March 26: Good weekend for the Spanish sides remaining in the CL. Deportivo beat Barca 3-2 at the Nou Camp, Real squeezed past Santander 1-0 at the Bernabeu with Raul scoring a legal goal and Valencia's win at Las Palmas moves them into third place.
March 25: Must be a quiet weekend if the best transfer rumour we can muster is that we're still interested in Thorstein Helstad of Brann. He was apparently watched by Leeds again in yesterday's World Cup qualifier when turning out for Norway. Whoops, hold on - here's another one now. After this last week - and judging by the reported reaction and relationship between Michael Duberry and everyone else associated with Leeds - rumours surrounding his departure are inevitable, and first out of the blocks is talk of a trip back to London (surprise surprise) and it's Fulham that are the team in question.
March 25: The Deportivo passport irregularities scandal could be getting interesting. A UEFA official said: "We are monitoring this situation very closely. Normally an issue dealing with false documents is a matter for FIFA and the domestic leagues. But we will be looking at these findings very closely and if the allegations are as serious as we think they are, we will take appropriate action. At this stage, I have to leave our options open. But we cannot rule out the possibility of dismissing the club from the tournament." If that were to happen, Leeds would get an automatic bye to the semi-finals. Realistically, the most that will happen is that Deportivo will get a slap on the wrist, a fine and a warning. AC Milan's Nelson Dida was found out with a false passport earlier this season, but Milan were allowed to stay in - although UEFA may decide that the fact that there are 4 players involved and that the clubs have had plenty of notice to address the issue may merit a more serious punishment.
March 25: 34 years old and still banging them in - two goals for Bob Taylor this afternoon as West Brom lead relegation favorites Tranmere 2-1 with 5 minutes to go.
March 24: Triumph, disaster and boredom for Leeds players in action in today's internationals. Nige was left on the bench in favour of porn star Seaman - at least he was favoured ahead of David James. Rio played and must bear some responsibility for Finland's goal - but had a pretty solid game. Dominic Matteo nearly marked his Scottish debut with a win against Belgium, but an injury time equaliser gave 10-man Belgium a share of the points at Hampden. Ian Harte netted from the spot for the Republic, and Gary Kelly scored a rare goal from 20 yards out as the Irish ran out easy winners, 4-0 in Cyprus.
March 23: David Spencer's call to fans without tickets not to travel to La Coruna has been reiterated. Leeds are insistent that only tickets bought through the club will be valid, and that any travel company offering packages will not have official tickets, and you will not be allowed into the home areas of the ground. Tickets for the final go on sale on UEFA's web site on Monday if you're feeling lucky. Each team will receive an allocation of 24,000 tickets, with 11,000 sold via UEFA. Quite how they'll manage the segregation there is anybody's guess.
March 23: Tony Hackworth's transfer to Notts County may still go ahead in the summer if a few details can be agreed between the player and his would-be employers. Chief executive Peter Storrie said: "Obviously he cannot join us now until July, because the deadline has passed, but that does not mean we won't be talking to him in the near future about trying to sort something out."
March 23: Olivier Dacourt is in line for a game for France's A team tonight and is hoping that he can make the jump into the full squad, helped by the high visibility of his performances for Leeds. "It's clear that Roger Lemerre will count on the group that won the Euro 2000, but I know that I'm valuable to them. I'm in a great club who is going to keep growing."
March 23: Right, we're past the deadline now so the summer transfer speculation can begin in earnest. Barry Ferguson from Rangers for £8 million is the latest one. Makes you wonder where the money is supposed to be coming from.
March 22: Trial update. Michael Duberry was in the witness box for a third day today. Under cross-examination, he denied that he had returned to Mill Hill to check if the coast was clear for Jon Woodgate. Duberry told the jury he booked taxis for Mr Woodgate and his friends to return to the Marriott Hotel and that he did not subsequently leave his house. A window cleaner said that he saw a black 4WD vehicle, similar to that driven by Duberry, pull up at the top of Mill Hill. Duberry admitted that he had lied to the police of his own volition when he made his initial statement. He said: "I didn't want to go there and say anything to get Woody in any more trouble and I wanted to separate myself from the whole incident." Yesterday he had stated that Leeds' solicitor Peter McCormick had encouraged him not to change his statement when he later felt the need to give the police a different version of that evening's events. Duberry said: "I did maintain my lies on advice from McCormick." However Duberry maintained that the reasons given for some of those involved changing their clothes at his house - that Jamie Hewison had been sick on them - were true and were not concocted to provide a reason for disposing of clothes that might have provided some forensic evidence of the attack. One of the barristers hinted at the fact that he was still lying, and that the fact that he was prepared to testify against Woodgate but not implicate Bowyer might be related to the fact that Bowyer was playing well, Woodgate was not and that Duberry had spoken to DOL for advice before giving evidence. Duberry denied this, saying: "I would look like an idiot to stand up here saying stuff that would damage Woody and on the other hand protect Bow." The trial continues tomorrow.
22: Dominic Matteo is in line to make his full debut
for Scotland on Saturday, despite picking up a minor strain in
training. Frazer Richardson had a good game for the England U-18s
at White Hart Lane tonight,
March 22: The club have issued an official denial that the new away shirt will be black: the numerous black Strongbow shirts seen around the town are just promotional shirts for the brewers. Of course they didn't say what colour the new shirts will be, but as long as they're not the West Brom-a-like abomination that was the Green and Blue Stripey Shirt of the late 1990s, that's fine by me.
March 22: The date of the Chelsea game - which was up in the air with the uncertainty over whether Leeds would be involved in the Champions League semi-final - has been fixed for April 28. The game will be live on Sky with a noon kick-off.
March 22: Deportivo have increased the number of tickets to be made available to Leeds for the game in Spain. Reports indicate that there will be around 1700 tickets available through Elland Road, but people really really really shouldn't try to travel without tickets because this time there will not be any space at the ground - honest!
March 22: Deadline day, and here's the latest. Lee Matthews' move to Bristol City is confirmed, Warren Feeney has gone to Bournemouth - on a free or on loan to the end of the season depending on who you ask, and Tony Hackworth has turned down the chance of a move to Notts County for £100,000 (wouldn't you? Lazio one week, Rochdale the next...). Hackworth, Gareth Evans and Kevin Dixon are all out of contract in the summer and could be released unless they convince the management they are finally going to make a breakthrough in order to make way for players like Jamie McMaster, Paul Keegan and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff who are all looking to move up to the reserves on a regular basis next season. Meanwhile there's a variation on the Viduka rumours: instead of Roma, it's now AC or Inter Milan, with a figure in excess of £17 million being mentioned for the club's top scorer. A profit of over £10 million in 12 months isn't a bad prospect, but do we really want to lose Vidooks even with Keane, Smith, Bridges and Kewell vying for the striking positions? Former Leeds player Paul Shepherd has joined Luton Town. Shepherd was released by Leeds 18 months ago after just one game for the first team, and moved up to play for Ayr United in Scotland.
March 21: Here's a change for the better. Rio reckons that he needed to move out of London to further his career! "I'm out of London, out of all the bright lights, away from a few distractions. And I've had time to settle down and sort myself out on the pitch and off the pitch as well." Those of you who read the article in the Evening Standard a couple of weeks ago which was a guide to which footy stars drink in which London bars will remember that Rio was mentioned as a regular in just about all of them. The defender added: "The whole coaching staff and players at Leeds have been brilliant for me. They've made it easy. David O'Leary has got a great staff around him." Judging by the way the teams were lining up in training, Rio could find himself alongside Sol Campbell at the centre of England's defence at the weekend. David Seaman has been able to do some training, so the question over whether or not Nige gets the nod remains.
March 21: Lazio's Pavel Nedved has been handed a 3-match ban from European games for the horrendous foul he committed on Alan Maybury in injury time of the game at Elland Road. The foul on Maybury was followed by a minor foul by a Leeds player that gave Mihajlovic his chance to equalise, but the ref failed to see the knee-high studs-first lunge by Nedved. Fortunately, Maybury has now recovered and the UEFA panel have taken a strong line on what could have been a career-ending challenge.
March 21: Trial update: Michael Duberry today told Hull Crown Court that he had originally gone along with Jon Woodgate's version of events, but when he decided to tell police the truth, solicitor Peter McCormick - a Leeds director, in charge of club discipline - had told him to "stick to his story". Jonathan Woodgate's QC questioned Duberry's motives in changing his story in court. David Sumners put it to Duberry that he was behind Woodgate in the pecking order at Leeds and would benefit if Woodgate went to jail. It was also suggested that, if Duberry made himself unpopular at the club or with the fans, he could move on to a new club and pick up a sizeable portion of the transfer fee. Duberry denied such a motive. He said: "I'm going back to try to get into the first team at Leeds - financial considerations are the last thing on my mind. I'm in court." Duberry said that he had told Woodgate that he was going to give evidence against him shortly before he took the stand on Tuesday. Sumners further said that Duberry had told Woodgate outside the courtroom that it would mean up to 20 months in prison (for Duberry) and "he wasn't going to do it". Duberry admitted that he might have said that. The trial continues tomorrow.
March 21: David Spencer is out in Spain to persuade Deportivo to offer a few more tickets for the away leg - which is why the away trip packages aren't on offer yet. Season ticket holders have until the end of Thursday to take up their seats for the home leg: Striker Card holders have the next call and a ballot will be held if any remain after that.
March 21: Tomorrow is deadline day and there's a batch of random rumours doing the rounds. Warren Feeney and Kevin Dixon are possible departures: Feeney has been on trial at Bournemouth and Dixon could join the ex-Leeds colony at Bradford. Michael Ball in, Michael Bridges, Jason Wilcox and Ian Harte out - just a rehash of old rumours or a grain of truth? Stay tuned and find out!
March 21: Alan Smith has signed an improved deal with the club that will keep him at Leeds for a further 5 years and uprate his current pay deal. He's supposed to be getting up to £20,000 a week over the contract period, which will bring him in line with some of the top players and recognises the progress he's made this year.
March 21: Alan Maybury has been given a one year extension to his contract, which was due to expire in the summer. Maybury has been a fringe player over the last couple of years but has been dogged by injury and is being rewarded for his persistence and not just for one good performance for the first team against Lazio.
March 20: The reserves beat Manchester United's reserves 2-0 with goals from Tony Hackworth and Jacob Burns. As expected, Stephen McPhail got a run out, completing the first half. After this afternoon's evidence in court, it's not totally surprising that Jon Woodgate didn't make an appearance.
March 20: Heading for the exit department. JFH today had a go at Chelsea's youth policy, thinks that they are going nowhere (unlike certain strikers no doubt) and thinks he was unlucky to have signed for them. The poor little lambkin said: "When we train my team-mates are constantly saying those stupid things. They say 'Hey, Jimmy, do you know where we were last season without you? Now you are here and we are trying not to get relegated'." Is that the sound of chickens entering their roost???
March 20: Four of Deportivo's players could be in trouble for registering under false EU passports. Helder, Emerson, Songo'o and Duscher are all under investigation - but only Emerson is a regular so they shouldn't be affected that much.
March 20: Chelsea, Everton, Leicester, West Ham, Coventry, Villa and Leeds have been joined by Newcastle in applying for the one InterToto Cup place that the FA has requested from UEFA for next season. Hopefully we won't need the place, but it's a useful get-out if we end up in 6th or 7th place...
March 20: Trial update. Two lots of evidence today. First up was Neale Caveney, who said that he hadn't given Lee Bowyer a "victory hug" after an attack on a student in Leeds. Caveney said that he had stood and watched a group of men fighting in Mill Hill after running after a group of men and looking for Jamie Hewison. He said that video footage which appeared to show him hugging Lee Bowyer could have been him stopping Bowyer from going down Mill Hill towards the scuffle, and that the sample of his blood on Bowyer's jacket had probably come from a wart on his thumb which was bleeding. Later on in court, Michael Duberry - who is accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice - said that Woodgate had said he had been involved in a fight with a group of Asians and that Paul Clifford had "bitten one of the lads". Duberry had told the court that Woodgate was his best friend and said: "Only last night I decided to make the decision to take the stand. It's not been easy at all." Clifford had denied biting anybody in court yesterday, and all the men deny the charges of assault and affray. Duberry said that Woodgate had told him what had happened after they met in Leeds city centre. "I asked him where he had been and he said they had just had a fight with some Asians. He was walking and talking at the same time. I didn't ask him who was involved, that was the only thing that came out." Duberry drove Woodgate and his friends back to Duberry's house. While they were there, Michael Bridges phoned up and spoke to Woodgate. Woodgate then said: "Apparently he's half dead." Clifford then said to Woodgate: "You're not getting involved, you're nothing to do with this." Duberry is the last of the defendants to give evidence, and the trial continues tomorrow.
March 20: Raul received an award for being the most popular sportsman in Spain. Appropriately enough for the talented cheat, it was a sculpture of a hand!
March 20: The reserves face Manchester United at Bootham Crescent tonight, and there could be a run out for Stephen McPhail as he continues his long climb back to full fitness. Jon Woodgate may also be playing if he gets back from the trial in time.
March 20: Transfer blah? Kevin McNaughton, Aberdeen's young defender is the latest target named, but Dons boss Ebbe Skovdahl isn't keen on selling and feels the youngster needs to spend more time at Pittodrie before moving on to Anfield or Elland Road.
March 20: Sydney Olympic are being linked with AS Monaco in what could be a serious move or could be an attempt to force Leeds' hand and maybe come up with a little bit more money for a controlling stake in the Australian side. There's been little news from down under in the last couple of weeks - maybe things will get underway in the break between matches.
March 20: Brian Kidd is giving up his job helping Wilko with the England U21s to concentrate on his duties as head coach at Leeds. He's enjoyed his time with the international squad, but: "For me the immediate future is all about Leeds United and what we are trying to achieve at Elland Road." It's amazing that a job that didn't exist 2 months ago requires so much of his energies. DOL and Eddie Gray will no doubt be spending their newly free time coming up with the world's greatest set of strategies and we'll soon be signing up a load of brilliant but cheap players that they've been able to go and see now that Brian's doing all that extra stuff as head coach.
March 19: Trial update. Looks like it's the turn of Jonathan Woodgate's friends to give evidence. Paul Clifford was accused of biting Sarfraz Najeib today. However he told the court: "I would not bite anyone, I am not an animal." A dental expert had testified that there was "no doubt" that Clifford's teeth had caused one of the wounds on the victim's face. Clifford said that he had restrained Jamie Hewison who was involved in some trouble outside the Majestyk, but when the group ran away from the club he was unable to keep up because he was suffering pain from a new pair of shoes. Clifford testified that he got to the top of Mill Hill and stood with Woodgate and Caveney, while a fight took place further down the road. He added that he did not see Lee Bowyer at all in Mill Hill. All the defendants deny the charges, and the trial will continue tomorrow.
March 19: Charlton's John Robinson spouted a spectacularly pot-like set of garbage at Leeds' black kettle performance on Saturday. "Put this lot in a boxing ring and they would be able to look after themselves," he said. By which I presume he means they managed to raise their arms to fend off most of the punches he threw but wasn't punished for. In fairness to Robinson, he did add: "In general Leeds were hard but played fairly - and all good teams have to have some grit."
March 19: David Seaman remains a doubt for the two qualifiers in the next few days, but Nige's two bungles in recent games may have relegated him behind David James (who has hardly been the most confident or safe pair of hands in Villa's games either). Nige once again paid tribute to the form of Paul Robinson in the face of recent rumours that Robbo is to be next season's number one for Leeds. "The club hold Paul in very high regard. They have changed his contract on a couple of occasions as a reward for doing well and I think they are looking to him as the natural choice to be number one outright when I retire." However, he made it clear that there was no animosity between them: "But in all honesty he needs to be playing first team football to make it right to the top and that doesn't do me any favours! The fact that myself and Paul are battling for the same position means that there could be some tension between us, as I would imagine there is at some other clubs. But it's not like that with us. We get on very well with each other and it's nice that we do." Rumours of Robbo's finger being dislocated in Nige's car door are wide of the mark then... :-)
March 19: Newcastle appear to still be considering a bid for Michael Bridges, with a figure of £7 million being mentioned. Now it's true that is more than we paid for him, and he has been out for most of the season, but that's about half what a club that wants to be challenging us should be offering us for a 20-goals-a-season player. Leeds and a whole host of others are keeping an eye on Ajax's Romanian defender Christian Chivu. And finally, Leeds' attempt to sign Mark Kerr is unlikely to go any further, with Falkirk's valuation reputedly twice what Leeds are prepared to offer.
March 19: Robbo has picked up a - hopefully minor - injury that will keep him out of Friday's U-21 qualifier. He's dislocated a finger, and must rest as must Eirik Bakke, withdrawing from Norway's squad after picking up a thigh strain.
March 18: Details of Lee Matthews' move are being cleared up. Apparently, he's still formally on loan at Bristol City, but they will be looking to make the move permanent next week for an initial payment of £70,000, with a further £30,000 dependent on appearances.
March 18: There may be an FA inquiry into the on-field incidents at yesterday's game. They'll be waiting for the report from Mr Wilkes, but I'd be equally interested in what the referee assessor had to say about his control (or lack of it) during the first half. With 5 bookings for Leeds, and two incidents that merited a red card (according to Charlton) there may be some work for the video panel to do. They can't look at issues the ref allegedly saw and ignored, so that rules out all of the assaults on Harry Kewell and the fact that he chose not to book Johannson for a dive after deciding that he didn't deserve a penalty.
March 18: Euro-news: Deportivo went down 0-2 at Las Palmas last night to put them further off the pace, 5 points behind Real who lost 1-0 at Real Mallorca. Valencia lost 3-2 at Celta Vigo this afternoon in a game that saw ten players booked and one sent off (did Mr Wilkes take a day trip out there after Saturday at the Valley?), and sit 2 points behind Deportivo. Bayern beat 1860 2-0 and now lead Bayer Leverkeusen by 3 points at the top of the Bundesliga. Stuttgart - Leeds' European Champions Cup opponents from 9 years ago - are just one place off the bottom.
March 18: The England squad was named today, and Rio and Nige are both in it, but since they were the two villains of the piece for Charlton's goal yesterday - witnessed live by Sven Goran Erickson - the chances of them starting have been somewhat diminished.
March 18: Eddie Gray's role at Elland Road is not in doubt according to mumblings from the club today. It is stressed that his role of assistant manager is in no way diminished by the recent move of Brian Kidd to coach the first team.
March 18: Transfer white noise for the weekend. Wilcox to Ipswich? Hmmm... Nige to Liverpool - yawn, heard it before. Or to Fulham who could be looking for someone a bit better than Maik Taylor when they get into the Premiership. With Robbo set to be named as first choice keeper for next season, a move for Nige is looking more and more likely.
March 17: Both DOL and Alan Curbishley were of the same opinion: the ref lost it bigtime. Curbishley thought Viduka should have gone for an elbow on Parker (not seen the slo-mo but it seemed to us that he went up and won the ball with his head fairly), and Danny Mills also for a foul on Parker (that resulted in the drop ball). Curbishley chose not to mention the kick in the nether regions that dropped Viduka in the area, or the two scything challenges on Harry that gave us a net gain of one throw-in and one yellow card for the victim. DOL said: "When the two managers were able to get hold of them at half-time you were able to see the difference. There was nothing in the second-half. There were some strange bookings and some strange decisions."
March 17: Two records from today's game - one objective and one subjective. Objective: Viduka's goal was the second fastest in the Premiership, timed on 11 seconds. Subjective: the ref was the worst ref we've had for a long time (and that's against some stiff competition) and the fact that he probably let us get away without a penalty in the 93rd minute was recompense for at least 3 of the bogus bookings he inflicted on us, and the penalty denied for a foul on Vidooks and for the non-booking of three Charlton players for fouls mainly on Harry and for his failure to send off John Robinson for a blatant punch after an incident that was resolved with two bookings for Leeds players and a drop ball (not a free kick!) and....
March 17: UEFA rules entitle the visiting team to 5% of the ground capacity, and both Leeds and Arsenal could be looking to the ruling body to enforce this regulation to get a halfway decent allocation from Deportivo and Valencia. Leeds would be entitled to about 1500 tickets, but Deportivo have only offered 850.
March 17: DOL is looking no further than the quarter-finals and isn't considering the possibility of facing Arsenal in the semis. "My ambition now is just to get into the next round, then we'll take it from there. I don't want to go down the road of thinking about playing Arsenal," he said. He's not under any illusion about the difficulty of the task ahead either. "Deportivo will be tough. They beat Real Madrid to the title last season and they are a quality side. They may not have the name of Real, just as we haven't the name of Manchester United or Arsenal, but we're two emerging teams who both work hard." Deportivo are third favorites, behind Real Madrid and Arsenal. Leeds are 12-1: only Galatasaray are at longer odds to take the Cup.
March 17: Mark Viduka is not for sale according to Peter Ridsdale. "Mark signed from Celtic on a five-year contract last year. I've spoken to Mark and he tells me wants to stay," said the chairman.
March 17: A dream start for Lee Matthews at Bristol City last night. The young striker stroked home a last minute penalty to give his side a 2-1 victory in his first game.
March 16: Random team news for tomorrow: err... not much. Rio should return after being rested midweek, Lucas Radebe is borderline and will probably be rested to give his knee a chance to heal properly. The big question will, as always, be a question of who's playing up front. No obvious clues from my office window this afternoon when I saw the team bus turn up at the 4 Seasons in Canary Wharf, so we'll just have to wait for 2 p.m. tomorrow. For Charlton, Dean Kiely is still injured, so Sasa Ilic continues in goal, Andy Hunt is over his injury but will probably not play a part. Matt Svensson returns after a one match ban, and Mark Kinsella also returns after a hamstring injury.
March 16: Robbo has been called up for the U21 squad for the match against Finland at Oakwell next Friday.
March 16: Early indications are that Deportivo could be offering just 850 tickets to the game - rather than the 4000 or so that Peter Ridsdale wants and that we could easily use.
March 16: Peter Ridsdale was happy about the draw. Speaking in Switzerland this afternoon he said: "We are always optimistic and we definitely believe we have a chance to go through even though Deportivo is a massive obstacle to get past. We knew that we would most likely be up against a Spanish opponent and I don't think there is very much difference between Valencia and Deportivo."
March 16: We shouldn't really smile at others' misfortunes but it's hard not to smirk at the poetic justice behind GG's departure from Spurs. 5 years ago, he lurked in the background with his mates from Caspian who had just taken over at Leeds, leaping in when they found an excuse to push Wilko out, and now he finds himself pushed out a couple of weeks after new owners turn up at White Hart Lane. And why was he pushed out? For leaking private meetings to those same chums in the press he used to spread exactly the same rumours of boardroom stinginess that he did at Leeds. Revenge is a dish best served cold...
March 16: As is rather widely publicised by now, Leeds will face Deportivo La Coruna in the quarter-finals. The Spanish champions will be no pushovers - and it's not easy to get out to the top left corner of Spain, and there won't be many tickets available (ground capacity is 35600 and the stand setup doesn't make it easy to give a sizeable chunk to the visiting supporters. We're at home on April 4, away on April 17, and if we get through we'll face Valencia or Arsenal in the semis, playing at home on May 1 or 2 and away on May 8 or 9.
March 16: The performances by Leeds, Man U and Arsenal in reaching the Champions League quarter-finals, plus Liverpool's win tonight putting them in the UEFA Cup semi-finals now seems likely to be enough to give England an extra place in the Champions League qualifying round from 2002-03. England would join Spain and Italy with 4 teams, displacing Germany who move back to 3 after this year's good results are added on to the achievements of Leeds, Arsenal and Man U in last year's competitions.
March 15: Leeds have appointed Stuart Ogg (any relation to Nanny???) as international brand manager. With a Leeds shop due to open in Hong Kong and talk of Leeds linking up with an Australian club, he'll be looking to promote the side and bring in fans and money via an internationalised version of the official website.
March 15: Gary Kelly revealed that some of the Leeds squad were actually looking forward to a rematch against Galatasaray."A few of the boys wanted to go over there because they're still not happy about some of the things that happened, and the result. As for me personally, I'm delighted we've been kept away from Galatasaray, though you never know we might meet them in the final." Or the semis - the draw for both rounds will be made tomorrow lunchtime.
March 15: UEFA have a disciplinary hearing lined up for next Wednesday when they will review the off-field violence in Paris involving Galatasaray's notorious fans, and might also take a look at the videotape to see what, if any, gesture was made at the crowd or Robbo by Sinisa Mihajlovic after Lazio's late equaliser. Mihajlovic was in trouble earlier this season for making racist remarks to Patrick Vieira and could be in big trouble if found guilty of a second offence this season.
March 15: UEFA have said that they'll not be taking any action to avoid clashes of travelling fans for the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. With Arsenal guaranteed to face a Spanish team and Leeds and Man U having 2 chances in 3 of picking Spanish opposition, we could see the three sets of fans competing for the same flights and hotel places to make it out to the away leg on April 17/18. Ditto we could see the arrival of three lots of Spanish fans in the UK for the first legs on April 3/4 - but UEFA is insistent that the dates and venues will stand, whatever the draw.
March 15: Eirik Bakke is in Norway's squad to face Poland and Belarus in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers despite his indifferent form this season. Dominic Matteo has been named for Scotland's qualifiers against San Marino and Belgium.
March 15: Leeds have confirmed that there will be a new away kit launched next season, but to honour the promise that each kit will have at least a 2-year lifespan (and to allow for the fact that the - probably - blue kit will still leave Leeds with kit clashes) the yellow strip will remain as the third choice, and will remain on sale at a reduced price (translation: we've got a whole pile of them left and this is the only way to get rid).
March 15: There doesn't seem to be any lasting damage to Alan Maybury's knee, and he was fairly sanguine about the foul that caused it. "These things happen so I don't hold any grudges. It's been a long time since I played in the first team, I've had a lot of injuries and lost my way a bit. The manager gave me a chance against Lazio and I thought I did okay." Against an admittedly under-strength Lazio side, he did more than okay - in the second half his performance in the midfield and excellent crosses showed that he's obviously got something in him, but will this one performance persuade DOL to renew his contract in the summer?
March 15: Lee Matthews has moved on - but to Bristol City instead of Grimsby. Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Danny Wilson came in with a late bid of £150,000 to pick up the young striker after he'd had a successful trial at Grimsby that looked like leading to a move. Meanwhile Warren Feeney is having a trial down at Bournemouth. The young forward is now 20 and, like Matthews, doesn't look like he'll make the breakthrough to the first team, so is probably in line to be released in the close season anyway. Speaking of trials, Mark Kerr picked up an injury and so the Falkirk player's trial has been postponed for now.
March 15: Trial update: a forensic scientist said that there was an equal chance of Lee Bowyer picking up blood from actual contact with Shazad Najeib or from contact with someone or something that had come into contact with him. Shazad was also injured in the attack, had been bleeding and like Bowyer, he too had fallen on the ground before he got to Mill Hill. The scientist said: "The jacket could have become blood-stained if Bowyer fell into drops that had fallen to the ground." The case continues tomorrow.
March 15: David Hopkin has moved back to Crystal Palace from Bradford for £1.5 million - some 4 years after he left to join Leeds.
March 15: Real Madrid have succeeded in their appeal to have the fine on Raul lifted. Because the incident happened during the map and the ref is alleged to have seen it, UEFA are powerless to administer a punishment according to their own rules.
March 14: 3-3 in a meaningless match that turned out to be quite entertaining. With Alan Maybury, Tony Hackworth, Jacob Burns and Jason Wilcox all being given a go, and with the quality of the players Lazio left at home, both sides had something to prove. A draw was the least Leeds deserved, and Alan Maybury was doubly unlucky to be called for a foul on Nedved (who faked an injury to make it look like he'd been fouled) and then be carried off in some pain after a series of excellent contributions through the 2nd half. The draw is on Friday - could it be a return to Spain or back to Munich?
March 14: Vinnie Jones is being mentioned as a possible buyer for Brentford. "I am definitely interested in buying them. I like the club and it's location. I know Ron and know the club is up for sale."
March 14: Dino Zoff reckons Leeds are a strong team and nobody should be surprised by what they achieve. "I'm not surprised they have qualified from this group ahead of us, because I saw them play in Rome when they beat us 1-0 and was very impressed and have been impressed since then." In other Italian coach news, Alberto Zaccheroni has been fired by AC Milan after failing to qualify for the quarter-finals.
March 14: Trial update: the prosecution accused Lee Bowyer of telling a pack of lies to police and the court. Bowyer said that he had jumbled his testimony because he "was not very good with words." He explained differences in the statements he gave to police and his court evidence by saying that listening to the evidence had brought things back to him and helped jog his memory."
March 14: Alan Smith and Nigel Martyn could be rested tonight because, as DOL pointed out, "Our priority is to do well at Charlton on Saturday because we want to be back in this competition next season." Eirik Bakke may also be rested to make sure he avoids a booking.
March 13: Tonight's results in the Champions League make a return to Spain a better than even chance. Valencia's victory over Panathanaikos means that they head their group with Man U - 3-0 winners over Sturm Graz - in 2nd. Deportivo's 1-1 draw in Milan takes them through as group winners, with Galatasaray in 2nd - assuming that UEFA takes no further action against the club and its out-of-control fans who caused the game to be stopped and the players taken off as they went down 2-0 in Paris.
March 13: Jason Wilcox has no intention of moving - even though he's currently been forced down the pecking order at Elland Road. He said: "I am happy at Leeds and have three years left on my contract, Leeds are a huge club and I want to be part of its success. If you are out of the side because someone else is playing well then you are happy that he is helping the team and you have to be patient and make the most of your chance when it comes along."
March 13: Hopefully Mark Viduka is a player of slightly more integrity than JFH. Having been signed on a decent contract and given worldwide exposure, his value has rocketed and the interest being expressed from abroad - and particularly Roma - has increased. Viduka said: "At the moment Roma are the best team in Italy and the Italian League is probably one of the best in the world, but I am very happy at Leeds. I admit it is an ambition to play in Italy or Spain. I've always liked the football played in those countries, and who knows what the future holds." He added: "In football anything is possible and things can change on a daily basis. It depends on circumstances." And how much he feels he can resist the massive wage offers that will no doubt be dangled under his nose by Italian clubs and agents....
March 13: Lennie Lawrence is keen to take on Lee Matthews after the young striker completed a trial at Grimsby. Lawrence said: "He will be a good long term investment for us and won't come outside our wage scale so we are keen to take him." There's no money available, but for a youngster with just a handful of appearances who has never broken through into the first team, a free transfer is all Leeds could realistically expect.
March 13: Well, we anticipated Lazio wouldn't be at full strength, but they've gone a bundle on playing the second team. Staying back in Rome, you'll find Dino Baggio, Gottardi, Nesta, Simeone, Peruzzi, Inzaghi, Veron and Favalli. So no excuses for us tomorrow...
March 13: The Chelsea game, scheduled for April 28, will be televised on Sky. If Leeds make it through to the Champions League semi-finals, the game will take place on the Saturday at 11:30, but if Leeds go out in the quarters the game will be put back to Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. (my birthday incidentally).
March 13: Trial update - and no sniggering at the back. Lee Bowyer was asked to change into the trousers he had been wearing on the night of the attack in court - since this would be needed to help determine the validity of evidence relating to what shoes he was wearing. However, the case had to be twice adjourned to allow Bowyer to change into and out of the trousers when it emerged that he wasn't wearing any underwear. Vague commentary: would they have asked a woman to change clothes in public? Back in court, Bowyer denied being involved in any confrontation that evening, and further refuted suggestions that CCTV footage of a man chasing another towards Mill Hill was him.
March 13: Elland Road will host a friendly in March next year - and for some of the opposition it will be a case of "not there again!" since the opponents are to be Italy. Let's hope England take a leaf out of Leeds' book when it comes to performances against Italian opposition (and that Leeds continue that good run tomorrow night!)
March 13: Gary Kelly, Robbie Keane and Ian Harte have all been named in the Republic's squad to play their next two World Cup qualifiers against Cyprus and Andorra (tough opponents!).
March 12: Trial update. Lee Bowyer denied being in Mill Hill where the attack on Sarfraz Najeib took place. He had been in the Majestyk, but went outside after being told that Jonathan Woodgate had gone out after one of Woodgate's friends had been asked to leave. Bowyer had jogged in the direction that Woodgate's party had gone, but he fell over and somehow took a whack on the side of the head when he tried to get up. He subsequently saw Woodgate coming out of Mill Hill, and then saw some of Woodgate's party come jogging out of the same road. The trial continues tomorrow.
March 12: Random transfer rumours have Jason Wilcox moving in two separate directions. He's either going to Everton with Michael Bridges and Danny Mills in exchange for Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball. Or he's going to Leicester to help them sort out their problems on the left side of midfield (since Steve Guppy is apparently not rated by Peter Taylor). Danny Mills and Paul Robinson are going to Leicester too. Or not. And if Bridges is going to Everton how will he go to Newcastle in part-exchange for Kieron Dyer who is definitely coming to Leeds. Or maybe that's just Dyer's agent spreading rumours as his client gets involved in talks to extend his existing contract. As more and more clubs find their seasons over while others desperately charge for promotion and European places, all this transfer talk is going to reach fever pitch leading up to deadline later this month.
March 12: Lucas Radebe is still waiting for the diagnosis from the scan on his injured knee. The worst of the swelling has now subsided, but he's got to be rated as doubtful for Wednesday's game with nothing riding on it and with Danny Mills available after suspension.
March 12: Lazio lost 2-0 to Bologna at the weekend and could be looking to field an under-strength (relatively!) team on Wednesday night ahead of their important Serie A game against Juve next weekend.
March 12: The club's commercial director, Adam Pearson, has quit to take over as chairman and chief executive of that slumbering giant Hull City.
March 11: Speaking of Scotland and strikers, I've just seen old boy Derek Lilley have the sort of luck that great strikers somehow manage to avoid. Playing for Dundee United against Rangers, he did everything right, got into good positions, produced a couple of very good shots and one excellent header - but somehow Rangers cleared all of his efforts. Still, he'll be smiling tonight since his team did manage a goal and kept Rangers out at the other end to make it to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. Maybe the man who scored a grand total of one goal for Leeds can really make a name for himself with a Cup Final winner north of the border.
March 11: Leeds will be giving a week's trial to Falkirk's 19-year-old striker Martin Kerr. Like we need another striker with Viduka, Keane, Bridges, Smith and Kewell right now...
March 11: Gary McAllister's international retirement may still continue: he's told Craig Brown that he would be prepared to return to play for his country, but only in an emergency. Brown is still keen to see him back though. The Scotland coach said: "He doesn't want to alter his stance of only coming back in emergencies, but I still have a glimmer of hope he might come back. I'd want him in the squad without question, because he'd give us another option. Ultimately, though, I respect what he's saying."
March 10: Real Madrid are intending to appeal against the UEFA-imposed ban on Raul for his hand-assisted goal in last week's game. They feel it is a stain on his character - but at least one Spanish paper has drawn a direct parallel between it and Maradona's famous goal against England. For Raul's sake, I hope that any similarities between his career and Maradona's end there!
March 09: Rio visited a youth project in Chapeltown yesterday to offer help and advice to talented youngsters looking to break through into top flight sides. "I know how frustrating it can be trying to achieve their goals and I am only too happy to help when I can," said Rio.
March 09: Link-up city: The Oldham connection is a step closer after a meeting of Division 2 chairmen today gave it the thumbs up, and the Aussie link-up is apparently still alive, despite earlier reports that the candidate clubs were keen to retain too much control for Leeds' liking.
March 09: Alan Cawley played for Sheffield Wednesday's reserve side against Manchester United in midweek, and could be in line for a move to Hillsborough. In other Yoof news, Jamie McMaster and Frazer Richardson have been named in the U18 England squad to face Poland at White Hart Lane on March 22. Any Laaarndon folks up for a visit???
March 09: Alan Smith is being lined up for a contract extension well ahead of the end of his current one. Smith will get an extra £100,000 a year over the next four years, and there's no question that he wants to stay with the club he's supported all his life. He was due to sign an extension earlier in the season, but the negotiations are still underway, although there's no doubt he'll sign on for an extended period.
March 09: Bloody hell! UEFA get their act together shock! Raul will be fined and will be banned from their final group game for his unsporting behaviour in scoring a goal with his hand in Tuesday's game. UEFA have taken into account his good disciplinary record, but feel they can't overlook such behaviour. And they're also going to investigate the booking/suspension procedure after the blatant attempts of Luis Figo and Claude Makalele to pick up bookings to miss the next game.
March 08: The Real Madrid player Pedro Munitis added to the Raul controversy by making it clear he thought Raul's behaviour was okay. "Football is for smart people, if you don't actually hurt your opponent, everything you can get away with seems good to me." Several newspapers in Spain have been considerably less favourable towards Raul's behaviour, with some of them describing the player as a disgrace for his lack of sportsmanship.
March 08: We've all had the "I've been a fan longer than you" argument with people. But we'd all lose it if we had it with Elsie Holliday. She celebrated her 100th birthday the other day, and was visited by Peter Lorimer and John Mclelland bearing gifts from the club. She started watching games at the age of 16 - before Leeds United had been formed - and remembers the greats of the 1920s and 1930s like Tom Jennings and Charlie Keetley as well as more recent heroes.
March 08: Leeds and Bradford drew 2-2 in a practice match at Thorp Arch this afternoon. Leeds played a few of the first team fringe players and some of those who hadn't played on Tuesday, while Bradford fielded a couple of trialists as Jim Jeffries starts preparing to win the Division 1 title next season.
March 08: Transfer randomness: Vidooks to AS Roma (again) for an ever-increasing pile of cash. The more he scores the bigger the pile gets, but they've not yet realised that they're going to need to persuade Leeds to let their club chefs have the secret recipe for the famous Chicken Balti Pies if they are to hope to keep the striker happy - and that would cost far more than a mere goalscorer. Jason Blunt - a graduate of the Youth Team who made 5 appearances for Leeds in 1996 - has returned to the UK and linked up with Scarborough.
March 08: The defence case finally got underway in the trial at Hull today, with Jonathan Woodgate on the stand. Woodgate said that he had not kicked student Sarfraz Najeib: he'd chased after a group of people out of "curiosity" but had slipped and injured his ankle. One of his friends - who is not charged in connection with the assault - was drunk and had been thrown out of the Majestyk after a confrontation in the club. Woodgate did admit lying to the police about his movements after the game. He had said that he had gone to Michael Duberry's house to play computer games but he admitted today that they went back there because he was too embarrassed to take his drunken friend back to his hotel. When asked why he had lied, he said: "Because I didn't tell the police about any of my friends."
March 08: Olivier Dacourt had a go at the standard of refereeing we've seen this season, and it's not just sour grapes after the last two match-changing performances by the officials. "I don't want to say refs are biased towards the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid but it is easier sometimes for the big teams when they play smaller teams." One simple answer to that Olly: win those games and we'll be the big team in future.
March 08: Luis Figo is the latest Real player who could be in line for a UEFA investigation and fine. His attempts to harvest a booking by continual dissent, delaying the taking of free kicks and diving were noticed by most people who watched the game, and that could include UEFA's 4th official. If he mentions it, the sulkiest player in the world could be in line for a fine.
March 08: Marcus Stewart has added his worthwhile and informed opinion to the Ian Harte debate. "I saw Saturday's incident and there's no doubt that Barthez caught Harte but he jumped in the air like he was on a trampoline," the Ipswich striker said. "It was definitely a foul, as it was with me," he added. So what does it matter what Harte's reaction was? Both Stewart and Barthez committed fouls that should have resulted in red cards: if Stewart wants to avoid one in future he should not kick other players or he should move to Old Trafford. Harte's response to Fergie's comments echoed some of what DOL said earlier this week. Harte said: "I think he's confused himself. It seems obvious to me he's just looking after his players." Now let's close the book on this one shall we?
March 07: JFH scored for Chelsea tonight as they finally broke their duck away from home with a win at West Ham tonight.
March 07: Comic Relief kidnappers made off with Ellie the Elephant from Elland Road yesterday and will be going round pubs and clubs collecting money for its return. Call me an old killjoy, but they can have a fiver from me if they burn the bloody thing... more if they do it in the centre circle at halftime in the Chelsea game!
March 07: With the Leeds Sporting share price marginally off the floor, but still only two thirds of its value 6 months ago, Leeds City Council is being urged to sell off the shares in the club it accepted as payment for the ground by the Lib Dems in opposition. Nice to see they've got such faith in the club's continued success - I wonder if the thousands of fans who just might be voting in local elections in May will remember their opinions on this subject when it comes to polling day?
March 07: Rio was happy with the team's performance last night, but he's hoping to avoid Madrid in the rest of the competition. "I still wouldn't fancy meeting them again later in the tournament if we were to progress beyond the quarter-finals. They are one of the best, if not the best, team in the world."
March 07: Nige is the man to be keeping the goals out for England according to someone who should know. Gordon Banks today said: "Nigel Martyn, I think, just about has the agility, being three or four years younger than Dave [Seaman]- so he's still got the ability to perform and the experience." David James is dismissed as too unreliable, Seaman is just that bit too old, and Richard Wright is not experienced enough yet but - "He could turn out to be a gem for us, but you have got to give him time in the Premiership for us to judge him."
March 07: Lucas Radebe is under orders to rest for the next day or so and there are worries that he might have done some damage to his knee cartilege. With a free weekend, followed by the 'dead' game against Lazio at Elland Road (which we'd obviously like to win) and the return to fitness of Jon Woodgate, there's no point in rushing him back: let's make sure he's there for the league game at Charlton and the CL quarter-finals rather than overdo it just to get him out next Wednesday.
March 07: The judge in the Hull trial today directed the jury to find Tony Hackworth not guilty of all charges and awarded him costs. After submissions in court, the judge declared: "As you will remember there is no evidence of identification of Mr Hackworth at the scene. I have therefore decided that the purported identification is not satisfactory. It's therefore my duty to direct you to acquit him." Hackworth's lawyer was understandably pleased, and said: "Over the past 12 months he has shouldered this burden with great poise and dignity. It has been an immense burden for him and he has shouldered it well. I hope now he can get on with his life." The trial continues.
March 07: Raul may face a fine from UEFA for his handball goal last night. They can't suspend him, but they can take action for his unsportsmanlike conduct. He allegedly admitted his offence to the ref last night, but today was quoted as saying that the ball didn't hit his hand.
March 06: Positive news on Lucas: it seems the injury isn't as bad as had been feared, but he might still miss the final group game against Lazio as a precaution. He seemed to catch his studs in the ground and over-bend his right knee when he stretched for a clearance in the box and had to be stretchered off.
March 06: Well, if you consider that Smithy's goal was offside then I guess that balances out Raul's punched equaliser. And it looks like Figo's goal hit the dent in the pitch that Nige had made for his goal kicks - hopefully we'll benefit from one of those some day. Raul later admitted his handball to the ref, and DOL was slightly mollified by the fact that the ref had the decency to come into the Leeds dressing room to apologise for his mistake in not spotting it. "There aren't many refs that would have done that," said DOL. It's not reported whether his linesman apologised to Real for missing Smithy's offside. This was a strong performance by Leeds, but Madrid are a great team - they even managed to get both of the players booked to ensure they just miss the final group match and so are clear for the quarter-finals. Neither Eirik Bakke nor Smithy picked up a card, so they're still on the suspension knife-edge for the rest of the competition.
March 06: "We were disappointed: there were three officials out there and none of them saw it," said Nige. "We were in there at half-time shaking our heads and wondering what we'd done wrong," he added. "We gave a great account of ourselves and we were unlucky not to come away with something."
March 06: Fantastic start at the Bernabeu but it soon turned sour. Smithy's opener was cancelled out a minute later with a goal that Raul may have handled (not seen the TV replays yet) and then 5 minutes before half-time, a cross from Figo hit a divot and bounced at a right angle past Nige to take them into the break a goal to the good. Leeds attacked well at the start of the second half and Mark Viduka got a well-deserved equaliser in the 54th minute. Once again Leeds lead didn't last that long: 5 minutes later, Real's first corner of the 2nd half was headed home by Raul. One worrying thing was the injury to Lucas Radebe which resulted in him being carried off: hopefully he'll be back by the time the quarter-finals come round if not sooner.
March 06: Leeds' talks with Sydney Olympic are on-off at the moment according their club president, who revealed that they are also talking to a couple of Dutch clubs. Leeds want a controlling share, but the present owners are reluctant to cede control.
March 06: Gary Kelly is only likely to be on the bench tonight having not yet regained full match fitness after his hernia operation. Eirik Bakke is an obvious replacement for Lee Bowyer and Alan Smith for Robbie Keane, so the outstanding question is over the arrangement of full backs and whether Harry Kewell will start as a result. Nigel Martyn sat out training last night, so will Paul Robinson start if Nige is slightly crocked and in view of his bungle on Saturday? Nearly time for kick-off...
March 06: In a move that will surprise absolutely nobody, the FA will not be taking any action against Fabien Barthez for his stamp on Ian Harte on Saturday. Because Graham Barber dealt with the incident during the game, the FA's video panel can't re-examine the offence. Neither will Barber be reporting the players or Steve Mclaren who surrounded and harangued the official when he awarded the penalty for the assault.
March 06: Damien Lynch is in need of an operation and so his possible move to Swindon is on ice.
March 06: Fergie has hit out at Ian Harte and Lucas Radebe in the aftermath of Saturday's game. Harte "is known" for his diving said Fergie. Much as I hate to admit it, there is a degree of truth in this: from what has been seen in the past he has appeared to make slightly more of some contacts than would seem justified by the impact. And as for Lucas's point that Man U get an easy time from the ref? "For us to get a penalty we need either a certificate from the Pope or a letter from the Queen," he said, neglecting to mention what that big bundle of paper was for that he left Buck House with when he was knighted :-)
March 05: Trial news: two of Jonathan Woodgate's friends today told the court that they had witnessed the assault on Sarfraz Najeib from a distance and had told Woodgate not to get involved. Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney both deny attacking the student, with Clifford saying that he couldn't chase the students because he had blisters from his new shoes. Caveney said: "I was watching the group to see what was going on. We didn't know if it was our friends. I did not attack anyone." The trial continues tomorrow.
March 05: Apparently the squad had to disinfect their boots and shoes on arrival at the airport as a result of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. Just as well this weekend's game didn't take place on the ploughed field that passes for a football pitch in Salford otherwise they'd have had to go through full body decontamination and spent a week in quarantine.
March 05: February Player of the Month results show Lee Bowyer being the man who's impressed us most over those games - the first player to win 2 months this season. Alan Smith and Mark Viduka ran each other close for second place with Smithy edging it.
March 05: Leeds flew out to Madrid today, taking Stephen McPhail (who isn't ready to play yet) and Gary Kelly (who nearly is and might be chanced in the absence of the suspended Danny Mills). Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer are once again otherwise engaged for the away game, while Robbie Keane is unavailable. Eirik Bakke and Alan Smith are likely to be on the team and will hopefully both pick up late bookings, miss the Lazio game and be available for the later stages of the competition. Roberto Carlos is away on international duty and Ivan Helguera is suspended for the European champions. The question is just what have we learned since Real took us apart at Elland Road nearly 4 months ago? Find out tomorrow night - coverage on OnDigital if you can find somewhere that isn't full of Gooners.
March 05: Peter Ridsdale confirmed that the club were looking at possible sponsorship of various facilities and developments in the stadium, but: "It will always be known as Elland Road as far as I am concerned. Whether or not it has somebody else's name attached depends on the sort of money people are looking at. I will remind everybody who thinks we shouldn't look into naming rights that every club needs funds to compete at the top level." Absolutely right there mate - if sponsors think they're getting some benefit out of this sort of thing then let's have their money. However, PR did point out that he's still in touch with the rest of us: "If and when we ever get down to naming rights, it will only be if the money is right and I believe it's right for the supporters."
March 05: Smithy should be up there in the full England squad, not wasting his time in the U21s according to DOL. "You won't get a great deal out of him by picking him for the Under-21s anymore. His learning is over at that level, nothing more can be achieved by picking him. He needs to continue his learning curve at a higher level."
March 05: Lucas Radebe has joined the ever-growing band of people prepared to question why so many refereeing decisions seem to favour Manchester United. Now it's true that they're a good side and that to a certain extent you make your own luck, but just looking at the offside count of 14-1 against Leeds on Saturday and seeing just how bad some of those decisions were is enough to make the point. Lucas said: "They have built up a reputation, they are bigger than referees and officials find that hard to deal with. I believed Ian Harte should score because he is a brilliant penalty taker but it was a good save from a quality keeper. But Barthez should have been sent off, it was a deliberate foul off the ball and he got away with it."
March 05: Looks like the English league isn't the only one where dodgy refereeing decisions seem to favour a certain team. Tomorrow's opponents Real Madrid benefited from the ref disallowing a late Rivaldo goal that would have seen Barca come from behind twice to win 2-3.
March 05: Spent all day yesterday on the Great White Telephone hence the lack of news. In fact, not much happened. DOL was reported as having another go at the ref's poor decisions, Barry Ferguson was mentioned as a possible transfer target, while Danny Mills (Leicester, but why would we want to lose such a useful squad player) and Lee Matthews (Tranmere, not Grimsby) were the outbound connections. Finally, an old story about the possibility of renaming Elland Road to get some money from a sponsor was doing the rounds - though a more likely option would be for the West Stand to be rebuilt with some form of commercial option.
March 03: Okay - I've now seen the slo-mo replay of most of the game, and I pronounce thusly. Barthez should have walked for his stamp on Harte, but Harte - not for the first time - appeared to make quite a bit of the contact. The winner was indeed a winner - there was no offside. The same linesman earlier called Smithy offside when he was level - time for a refresher course from the FA I think. And finally, I was most surprised - and pleased - with what the BBC chose to show on MOTD. After last week's bizarre editing that seemed to show that Spurs were unlucky to lose and had as much of the play as we did, I'd been expecting to see a series of highlights in which Leeds had one attack and Man U ten, but they actually showed a balanced picture - amazing!
March 03: "We wuz robbed" is broadly what DOL said after the game. Speaking about the disallowed goal at the end of the game he said: "I don't know how he can justify it." He added: "It's a shocking decision really. We should have won here today." However he didn't exempt his own players from criticism. "We gifted them a goal. We gifted possession, there were errors all the way through and Nigel should have held on to it." And he had praise for the opposition too: "I thought their back four was excellent. They have showed why they are the champions." And for once I find myself agreeing with Fergie who reckoned that the ref was weak and that Barthez should have walked.
March 03: I've not seen the replays yet, so I'll hold back on the referee-criticising for now. BUT I'm not at all clear how he could only book Barthez for the foul on Harte - surely it's either a red card and a penalty for violent conduct or nothing at all? Harte should probably not have been asked to take the penalty after that - but it was a good save by the man who shouldn't have been on the pitch. Rio shouldn't have let Sheringham get the shot in for their goal, but Nige was the main scapegoat with his inability to hang on to the ball, and at least one of the other defenders should have been there ahead of Luke Chadwick. Superb play by Danny Mills to make the cross for Bowyer's flick and Viduka's finish for the equaliser, and then there was the winner for Leeds. Heard the replay of this on Radio Aire and it sounded like John Bradley had exploded - the rest of us in the ground were furious with the massively late flag from the linesman that said that Viduka was offside when Wes Brown put the ball into his own net. Still, we showed a lot of class, dominated the game and stood up well under pressure to come back after going a goal down against one of the best teams in Europe and this is another good point to add to the tally in the race for European football next year.
March 02: Brian Kidd has been made head coach of the first team by DOL. He was brought in to set up the Youth Academy - a job which is now seen as done to the extent that it no longer needs his daily input. Eddie Gray remains as Assistant Manager, and DOL sees this as an opportunity to step back and take a more strategic view, thinking about tactics, the opposition and transfers.
March 02: Has DOL been reading my plans for this weekend? "I know it's only three points, but it's a special three points. It being a Saturday morning kick-off, there would be nothing better from my perspective than to send people away in the mood for a drink, watch the rugby on television and look forward to a good night out, all because we have beaten Manchester United." Well, I'm hoping to get back to London in time to see the Rhinos beat the Broncos live at Charlton, but if we win in the morning, I won't be at all upset to find myself sitting with a beer and watching it on TV. DOL added: "My goal is to beat Manchester United because they are the best. I want to do it for myself and for the fans for whom this match is everything."
March 02: Leeds are launching LUTV on the official website. They'll be doing pre- and post-match interviews and chat - but won't be broadcasting any games on the web just yet. It's initially free - but no doubt that's a situation that may change next season.
March 02: Lucas Radebe is hoping Leeds will be able to end their 6-match run of failing to beat Man U tomorrow - and defence will be the key. "I watched their demolition of Arsenal, who were clearly not good enough at the back," said the Leeds skipper. "We all know how important this game is for us, and I think we are due a win, if only to send out a message and show them we are back." With 10 games to go, every league point is vital and home games are where we've been slipping up too much: let's hope for a good solid performance tomorrow.
March 02: Harry Kewell is seen as being as close as he'll get to full fitness this season and is a likely starter in tomorrow's game, but Gary Kelly hasn't quite recovered from the hernia op yet so he'll not be risked: with Danny Mills suspended for the visit to Madrid next week it's hoped that the Irishman will be available by then.
March 02: UEFA have said there will be no problem with next week's round of games taking place - the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease should not be the cause of any games being postponed. I guess the rugby lot are viewed as being that bit more agricultural in origin, hence the postponement of Wales - Ireland at the weekend, but us footy fans are all townies.
March 02: Looks like the reserves will get an end-of-term seaside holiday: the match against Blackburn that was postponed from January will now take place in Morecambe on May 14.
March 01: Peter Ridsdale was feeling very self-satisfied with Rio's performance for England last night. PR said: "Rio demonstrated again last night why we paid £18m for him. He looked his usual self-assured self and, for me, the fact that he goes about his business so quietly means he is an outstanding player."
March 01: Trial update: none of the shoes handed in by the defendants that they say they were wearing on the night of the assault match the imprints on the victim's body. However, it was submitted that the video shots of the players entering the Majestyk would seem to indicate that they were wearing different shoes that night. The case continues...
March 01: Lee Matthews has apparently been released by the club and is now at Grimsby on a week's trial to try to get a permanent move. Matthews never quite made the transition from the youth team, but he's a big-hearted strong lad with a decent eye for goal who might succeed in the lower divisions a la Jamie Forrester.