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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

April 30: Sounds like Valencia have got a case of the Major Buckley's: several of their players have had "regenerative" vitamin injections - apparently vitamins - ahead of Wednesday's game. John Carew is one of the recipients - be interesting to look at his fitness (and his cell count?) during the game....

April 30: DOL is afraid - it's official! Of failure that is.... "If I fail, then I fail. But I fear that. That's the biggest thing that would hurt me more than anything else." But is he happy? Despite all the hassle this season with injuries, the court case and with his father's recent health problems, it sounds like it. "I've come through it and now we're so close to reaching the Champions League final, which would be a hell of an achievement after what has happened this season."

April 30: UEFA have selected everyone's favorite slaphead Pierluigi Collina to take charge of Wednesday night's game. At the risk of tempting fate, I'll say that the experienced Italian is a good choice - he referees sensibly, takes no nonsense from the theatrical tendency and has always been even-handed when I've seen him.

April 30: Press in "stirring it up" shock! Not those paragons of virtue from the English red-tops (who, let's face it, have a credibility rating of zero after voting Sheringham in as player of the year) but their comrades-in-typewriters on the Spanish press who tried to persuade Mark Viduka to be photographed with a Real Madrid shirt ahead of last Saturday's game. He said: "I love Leeds, it would have to be a hell of a good deal to get me out of here because I really enjoy the club. It would be very difficult to find the atmosphere we have here at Elland Road." The agent-inspired talk hasn't died down, but since the agents in question are neither connected with Viduka nor the clubs he is alleged to be going to, this batch of rumours at least can be discounted.

April 30: Rio thought that his season was over when he hit the deck in the Chelsea goalmouth on Saturday. He feared a spinal injury after he fell while challenging for a header. He said: "I landed awkwardly and I just couldn't feel my right leg properly and the right side of my body." Fortunately it cleared up enough to allow him to continue the game and there appears to be no lasting damage.

April 30: The win on Saturday ensured that Leeds will at least play in the UEFA Cup next season. Tonight's defeat of Ipswich at Charlton also means that Leeds are that bit closer to an automatic Champions League place next season - we still need Liverpool to slip up, but if we win all three games we'll be clear of Ipswich.

April 30: Valencia defender Miroslav Djukic apparently knows better than Bill Shankly when it comes to football. Wednesday's game will, it seems, be "a war" and "a matter of life and death". There should be a great atmosphere at Elland Road for the biggest game for the club in ages, and Djukic isn't putting Leeds down like several members of the Deportivo team did before their visit. He said: "We know they will be tough. They are the sort of side that if they have a good day, they can score a hatful against you."

April 29: DOL has been talking our chances down all season - is he going to change now? "We're not in the last four just to make the numbers up," he says. But he does add: "The advantage will be with Valencia." The "naive young manager" approach that drove everyone to the point of distraction has been replaced with a more balanced and realistic approach these days. He said: "We want to get to the final. And if we get in it, we want to win it because we have the hunger to do it and because we may never get the chance again." Dominic Matteo said more or less the same thing: "The lads are desperate for silverware.... We'd love to finish in the top three of the Premiership again, but to win something with the bunch of lads we've got would be tremendous." Back to the manager, reflecting on our opponents: "I was really excited by them when I watched the Champions League last season." And our chances? "I think Valencia, the way they were playing then, would have beaten any other side. They are very well organised and, like us, they work hard and play as a team. I think the scores between us will be very close." As for Eddie Gray, the assistant manager has seen more European action than most and isn't sure who he would like to meet if we do manage to get past the Spanish team. "It would be good to play Bayern Munich in the final to get one back over them," he said. On the other hand: "I'd like us to play Real Madrid. It was always Don Revie's ambition that the club could emulate them." Jabba says: I'd be happy to be facing either of them, because getting past Valencia is going to be a massive achievement.

April 29: Euro round-up. Bayern drew level on points with Schalke at the top of the Bundesliga by winning at home to Freiburg while Schalke were drawing at bottom of the table Bochum. Real Madrid drew at home to Osasuna, while next week's opponents Valencia had a 1-0 win at home to Valladolid - picking up 5 bookings in the process.

April 29: All of a sudden everyone wants to stay at Elland Road. Nige has pledged his future to the club after all the transfer rumours connecting him with Fulham and Liverpool. "I have no intention of going anywhere because I'm at an age where I want to win things - and that can happen at Leeds." He added: "I have another three years left on my contract and if the club want me to stay, I will." And Mark Viduka is also anxious to make it clear that he'd like nothing more to stay and that any talk of him leaving is totally preposterous. Maybe the reception that JFH got reminded him that it's better to be seen being dragged unwillingly away rather than open your mouth and invite a bid.

April 28: A great win in a niggly game against Chelsea today - Leeds dominated possession and made the best chances, but there was always the possibility that Chelsea would sneak a goal - and we had the post to thank after Zola's 25 yard shot left Nige grasping at air. A deserved win and good goals from both Keane and Viduka - the Pieman's decisive strike must be in line for a Goal of the Month award. Just a shame that Arsenal managed to sneak a winner at Derby and that McAllister scored - yet again - for Liverpool to help them beat Cov, otherwise we could be going in to next week's game at Highbury with a chance of going second.

April 28: DOL is hoping to keep Mark Viduka - but only if he wants to stay. With all the transfer speculation surrounding the Aussie striker, the manager said: "I would never keep anybody who wants to leave but Mark is happy here. I've told him not to get uptight - it means he is doing well. We're always going to have people wanting our players but it's no problem, it is the price of success."

April 28: There'll be a BIG welcome for Valencia when they fly in on Monday. Sponsors Strongbow have rented a field from a farmer near Leeds Bradford Airport, and the visitors will see a massive Leeds logo with the slogan "Welcome to Leeds - there's only one United in Europe" in Spanish and English.

April 26: Leeds are just outside the Champions League spots and Man U are bottom in the BBC's Pie-Eating league. Looking at pies sold against attendances, the Funny Old Game bit of the BBC web site shows Everton topping the league, but despite the efforts and example of our star striker, Leeds are trailing behind City and Villa in 4th.

April 26: Do you remember when Leeds and Valencia last met? Well neither do I cos I was one year old at the time. But there's a quick write-up of the two ties in the Fairs Cup on the UEFA web site.

April 26: The one millionth fan will pass through the turnstiles this season sometime tomorrow morning. We've had 978,777 people so far this season - 623,849 in the league for a league average of 38990 (slightly behind last year) and overall 37645 (slightly ahead of last year). Tomorrow's game is a sell-out, as is next week's Champions League semi-final game (touts are asking over £100 for a ticket) which should pull the averages up a bit, and with a local derby against Bradford and what could be a hugely important match against Leicester on the last day of the season to come, we could be close to a post-all-seater record.

April 26: Leeds physio Dave Hancock has raised over £25,000 for charity for his performance in the London Marathon on Sunday. St Gemma's Hospice and the cystic fibrosis unit at Seacroft are to be the beneficiaries of sponsorship raised from the players (many of whom owe him a lot this season) and doubled by Peter Ridsdale (who is equally indebted for the rehabilitation of Batts and H).

April 26: Jon Woodgate played for half an hour and Stephen McPhail for 15 minutes in last night's 2-1 defeat by Villa for the reserves. Wesley Boyle was the Leeds scorer.

April 26: Today's potential buyer of Mark Viduka is.... Real Madrid! Madrid may be in debt to truly heroic proportions, but that doesn't stop them from realising that you need to buy from a position of strength, and £20 million for a new centre forward must seem like a bargain in their eyes. No more (new) rumours on the "buy" front though - and a lot must depend on whether we manage to make it into the Champions League again, with the guaranteed income from one or two league stages dwarfing anything that could be made in the UEFA Cup.

April 25: Gary Kelly and Ian Harte completed the full 90 minutes for the Republic in their World Cup qualifier against Andorra. Andorra actually took the lead, but the home side came back to win 3-1. Robbie Keane stayed on the bench for the entire game, with Mick McCarthy unwilling to run the risk of the striker picking up a booking and a ban from the all-important game against Portugal later in the year. In the same group tonight JFH opened the scoring with an 18-yard free kick for Holland against Cyprus. Barca's Marc Overmars added another, his team-mate Patrick Kluivert made it 3, and Man U's record signing Ruud van Nistelrooy came on as a late sub for JFH and wrapped the game up with the final goal in the 82nd minute.

April 25: I've always liked Alfi Haaland's attitude - and his responses in a web chat session today underline why. He was swamped with questions from moaning Man U fans and responded in typically robust fashion. When told by one such participant: "You're always so negative and critical about United - are you envious of not playing for them?" Alfi replied: "I've played for the real United... Leeds United!"

April 25: David Rocastle's 9-year-old son will lead out the Arsenal team in the FA Cup Final in Cardiff on May 12. The club have also invited Rocky's widow and two daughters as their guests for the final.

April 25: UEFA have finally developed a backbone! Galatasaray have been told that they will not be allowed to play any UEFA ties at home until they have cleaned up their act and sorted out their stadium. The Ali Sami Yen has always been an intimidating place to visit - but the fact that it's been physical assaults on players and opposition fans as well as the atmosphere have finally prompted UEFA to act. They said: "Insufficient protection was offered to the players and officials when accessing or leaving the field of play, as well as at the exit from the dressing room area." It added: "The stadium was considerably overcrowded and even gangways and stairways were occupied by spectators." They've obviously not visited most of the older grounds in the Premiership then. The ban will almost certainly be overturned on appeal, when another UEFA sub-committee will rule that the first lot had no right to impose the ban in the first place. Cynical? Moi?

April 25: Up, down, flying around - that's what's happened to the European expectations of the powers that be at Elland Road this season. From "we're budgeting on not qualifying" to "a CL place is almost a necessity" we're now on the middle ground - a place in the CL is nice, but the UEFA Cup wouldn't be a terrible thing. Peter Ridsdale said: "To get into the UEFA Cup next season would be an absolutely outstanding achievement when you consider that when we went to Maine Road in January we were 14th." But maybe the lighter load of the UEFA Cup may be a benefit for Leeds both in that competition and in the league next season: "If our team is as a good as I think it is getting then it may well mean that if we are in the UEFA Cup next season then we may well be in a better position to challenge on more fronts and hopefully get a trophy."

April 25: Jon Woodgate is due to be in action for the reserves at Bootham Crescent tonight in his first game for 3 months.

April 25: In a move that should finally squash speculation about Robbie Keane's future at Leeds, Peter Ridsdale announced that the transfer was now permanent and that funds were in place to pay for the young Irishman - but payment would be staged over a three year period, meaning that Leeds shouldn't be under pressure to sell anyone else to finance the deal in full this summer.

April 24: Valencia look set to have a full squad to choose from for next week's game at Elland Road (where are my tickets O great Ticket Office dudes?). Argentine winger Kily Gonzalez, Romanian striker Adrian Ilie and Chelsea's French cast-off Didier Deschamps ("a water carrier" if I remember Cantona's remark correctly) are all set to be fit after carrying injuries over recent weeks.

April 24: Random transferisms. If we want Kieron Dyer - as much press speculation has indicated - then it will cost us big time. Newcastle have turned down a bid of £15 million from Manchester United. Interesting that they should be looking to sign a right-sided midfielder - have the Beckhams been seen checking villas around Rome recently? Meanwhile, alleged Leeds target Francis Jeffers is set to join former Everton stalwart Peter Reid at Sunderland having failed to sign a contract extension at Goodison. The fee of £8 million plus would shatter Sunderland's existing top price, paid for Emerson Thome, and his wage demands will have more than a few Black Cats purring at the possibility of a matching pay rise. And the bung-taking former Leeds manager whose name temporarily escapes me but who is apparently on the dole at the moment is being spoken of as a possible replacement for Dick Advocaat as Rangers' summer clear-out looks set to go all the way to the top.

April 24: International blah: Ian Harte and Gary Kelly are named in the starting line-up for the Republic's qualifier against Andorra in Dublin. Robbie Keane is on the bench and will probably stay there unless the part-timers manager to stop the expected goal glut from materialising.

April 24: A creditable reaction from Joe Cole today after Saturday's clash with David Batty. He insisted that there had been some contact, but that he thought it had been accidental. He added: "David Batty is not the sort of player who would do anything intentionally - in midfield you are going to get tackles flying about and he is probably unlucky." Cole also admits that his own reaction might have resulted in a 10-a-side game. "Things happen in the heat of the game and, looking back on it now, if I hadn't reacted I wouldn't have got a silly booking but the red mist just came down."

April 24: Media mogul and Milan boss Silvio Berlusconi is the latest Italian club owner to consider a move for Mark Viduka. Vidooks has been linked with Roma and Lazio, and with Berlusconi desperate to restore Milan's fortunes, a large pile of cash for the transfer fee and a wage deal that could treble his current package would not be out of the question. Peter Ridsdale of course says that the big striker is not for sale at any price. Even so, David Batty's words don't inspire any confidence that a decision has been taken that will leave Leeds up by £14 million but down by one important player. Batts said: "It would be a big blow if Mark left us, because he has become a very important member of the squad. I hope Mark stays because he is a great player, but it is his personal decision and only he knows what is best for him."

April 24: There's still no confirmation about how many tickets Valencia will be giving us for the away leg, but they're doing their best to ensure a full house. Top-price tickets at the Mestalla will be £35 with the cheap seats going for £11.

April 24: Warren Feeney scored yet another goal for Bournemouth last night as they beat Wycombe 2-0 to keep up the chase for a play-off place - although they still need one of the 4 teams above them to slip up.

April 23: What was I saying 20 hours ago? Barca have finally done the deed and given Llorenc Serra Ferrer the order of the boot for his dismal season at the Nou Camp.

April 23: They just can't take being outdone can they? We build the biggest cantilever stand in Europe - so they build a bigger one. We spend £18 million on a player - so they spend £19 million. Yep, our old friends from over the Pennines have finally got round to signing PSV's Ruud van Nistelrooy, and the bookies have installed him as 8-1 to be next season's top scorer in the Premier League. Bear in mind his past fragility before you take those odds - you don't get "with a run" on these bets!

April 23: Graham Poll has agreed to look at the video of the clash that landed David Batty with a red card on Saturday. Depending on which angle you view it from, you might think there was no contact or that the contact was minimal. Certainly Cole wouldn't have made it back onto his feet so quickly if there had been full intentional contact, and we can only hope that the ref decides that there was no intent and rescinds the red card to free up Batts for the last three league games of the season. Of course, if he misses those he will be that bit fresher for the Champions League games....

April 23: If you're finding that tickets for the last few games of the season are hard to come by, you could always go to watch the reserves! They visit Villa on Wednesday night followed by what could be two attractive games at Bootham Crescent against Liverpool and Sunderland on May 3 and May 10. The season finishes in a rush for the second string with visits to Blackburn on May 14 and finally at Valley Parade on May 16.

April 23: Euro round-up. Our Champions League semi-final opponents Valencia drew 0-0 at Real Oviedo, with Pellegrino dismissed for two bookable offences. Real Madrid won 3-2 at Real Zaragoza and Liverpool's UEFA Cup Final opponents CD Alaves slumped 1-2 at home to Malaga after their amazing 9-2 aggregate win over Kaiserslauten. Barcelona had three players dismissed as they tumbled 3-1 to Osasuna. Real Madrid now have an 11 point lead over Depor - who also lost, with Valencia a further 4 points back in third and Barca trailing Real Madrid by a massive 17 points. Nou Coach at the Nou Camp soon maybe??? In Germany, Bayern won 2-0 at former Euro-giants but now relegation candidates Eintracht Frankfurt, but they remain 2 points behind Schalke who won at home to Hertha Berlin.

April 22: Not much in the transfer rumour box this weekend. Martin Kerr's switch from Falkirk is apparently progressing, and Leeds were also linked with Barnsley beanpole centreback Jon Parkin.

April 22: Setting the record straight department. Peter Ridsdale said that DOL was in fact Leeds' first choice when GG left, and the Martin O'Neill was only approached after DOL had turned the job down. And in view of the continuing success of his young manager, the chairman has issued another "hands-off" warning to other clubs. O'Leary's contract is binding and will ensure he is well-rewarded, and there would be no question of him being given permission to talk to other clubs.

April 22: Willem Korsten almost did his former club a favour, scoring Spurs' equaliser against Liverpool at Anfield. But Gary McAllister (from the spot) ensured that his current club are keeping up with one of his previous clubs in the chase for a Champions League spot.

April 21: Elsewhere today the most noteworthy action for ex-Leeds players was probably at Old Trafford, where Alfi Haaland found himself on the wrong end of an horrendous challenge from Roy Keane. There is a bit of history between the two - with Keane's foul on Haaland at Elland Road getting him another red card and a long-term injury a few years back, but Keane can have no complaints that David Elleray sent him off for the 4th time. Jamie Forrester scored Northampton's second as they beat Colchester 2-0, but their hopes of a play-off place are long gone, and Warren Feeney teamed up with West Ham's Jermaine Defoe for Bournemouth to stage a comeback at Peterborough, with each of the youngsters netting in a 2-1 away win. Feeney must have done enough to win himself a contract at Dean Court now!

April 21: DOL's reaction to Batty's red card was more or less the same as mine - he felt that the ref had got it hopelessly wrong. "The other player should have been booked. The video shows Batty didn't make any contact. David Batty says he didn't make any contact... Joe Cole went down, and got up straight away as well." DOL also spoke to Graham Poll - but it's highly unlikely that Poll will change his decision, so Batts could be missing for the last three league games of the season.

April 21: Having seen the slo-mo replay on MOTD, I'll modify my opinion slightly about Batty's dismissal - but not much. Batts did make some contact with Cole - but not enough to warrant a red card - and quite how Cole escaped punishment for his retaliation is a mystery. For all his talent, young Mr Cole is developing a rather nasty, whinging and cheating side to his game - witness the three (unbooked of course) dives in the course of today's game. Maybe he's been told to expect a bid from Fergie in the summer and is getting some practice in...

April 21: Despite the best efforts of our old friend Mr Poll to even the odds, Leeds ran out worthy winners at Upton Park today. An early goal from Robbie Keane, followed by a second by Rio/finished off by Keane had got Leeds into a fairly invincible position, but almost immediately Mr Poll decided to help out the home side by dismissing David Batty for a challenge that was definitely not the worst thing seen in the match - and choosing to ignore a push in the face on Batts by Joe Cole after the "foul". Despite such blatant one-sided homer decisions, Leeds easily held on to pick up a deserved 3 points and continued the excellent league run.

April 20: Rio is turning into a country boy after less than a year! "I now live out in the sticks and it's a lot more peaceful. Although I've been back to London about five or six times since I left, I don't really miss city life." Hmmm...sounds like quite a change if that Evening Standard article is to be believed - Rio seemed to be a regular in every other bar in the capital! He should get a better reception from the cockney barrow boys than some other departures from the Boleyn: "I'm sure the fans know I always gave 110% while I was there, but you never know how they will react. I'm a bit worried about it." He's not going to get too bogged down in that though. "It will still be good to back. It's going to be a special, emotional day. I still love the club because I will always appreciate what they did for me in the past. But there will be no room for sentiment and there will be no favours. I will be playing for Leeds and I'll be giving my all to make sure we win the game."

April 20: Teddy Sheringham is the Footballer of the Year according to English sports writers, with David Beckham second and Patrick Vieira third. Presumably they were also banned from voting for the top scorer in the Champions League in their wisdom... Alan Smith is one of those nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award - but expect that to go to Steven Gerrard who appears to be everybody's favorite at the moment.

April 20: I'm not the only one who thinks that Bowyer deserves an England call-up - apparently Sven-Goran Erickson agrees. He spent a day at Leeds' Thorpe Arch training complex earlier this week and told DOL that he rated the midfielder highly. "He wants to give him a go as soon as possible and I think Lee will excel on the international stage. He will get even better when he goes on to play for England, and he will get that chance because Sven will pick him." As and when the FA adopt the widely-held belief in innocence until the courts prove otherwise...

April 20: Alan Smith is missing from tomorrow's game, suspended due to the red card he received at Sunderland. Robbie Keane will drop in to replace him, but the team should be otherwise unchanged. Rio Ferdinand returns to Upton Park for the first time since his record-shattering move and will hope to be on the winning side in this fixture for the second time this season - but that means Leeds this time round. Gary Kelly could be on the verge of making it back into the squad - and has been added to Mick McCarthy's squad for next week's WC qualifier against Andorra - despite initial reports saying that his ankle injury would keep him out for 2-3 weeks. Stuart Pearce's suspension continues for the Hammers but ginger-top Hayden Foxe should be back from international duty.

April 20: The reserves ran out 2-0 winners at "home" (i.e. at Bootham Crescent) to Sheffield Wednesday last night. Shane Cansdell-Sheriff scored the first five minutes from the start, and Tony Hackworth added the second 5 minutes from the end. With the first team squad continuing to be hit by injuries, it's no surprise that no first teamers appeared - Jacob Burns and Alan Maybury being the nearest to "regulars" in the line-up.

April 20: Looks like Lee Bowyer will need to get his shooting boots on if he wants to get that Golden Boot award. Ivan Helguera's goal for Real Madrid against Galatasaray put him level with Bowyer on 6, and Raul's pair puts him onto 7 (but surely UEFA should knock off that handball goal he scored against Leeds). If there was any justice, Raul's 7 would be challenged by Alan Smith's 7 - but two of Smithy's goals game in the qualifying games against Munich so don't count.

April 19: So how much would the players and the club get if we were to win the Champions League? Lots of numbers have been waved around, but it looks like the squad are on something of the order of £100,000 - 120,000 a man for the win, but that's incremental and the club is in line to pick up well over £10 million for the run, and the commercial possibilities for European Champions are obviously much wider (and should kick in bonus clauses from sponsors if the Leeds contract negotiators knew what they were doing). It's a lot of money - but transfer and wage costs will swallow it up quickly, and PR needs to stay on top of it if Leeds United isn't to follow the dot.coms down the financial tubes.

April 19: Stephen McPhail and Jon Woodgate were due to miss tonight's reserve team clash with the Owls to concentrate on getting their fitness up to the required level as soon as possible. Neither has an injury, and the coaching staff are still hopeful they can take some part in the remaining games this season - unlike Michael Bridges who remains on the sidelines.

April 19: Another crucial goal for Gary McAllister tonight. He scored the only goal of the tie from the spot just on half time to send Liverpool through to the UEFA Cup Final in Dortmund next month. With Barca struggling in the league, expect management changes shortly...

April 19: Leeds are moving in for Sol Campbell! Yeah right. Campbell is out of contract at the end of the season, so would be available on a Bosman free, and although it would be nice to have the two England centrebacks playing together at club level, it would probably blast away the wage structure. He'll stay at Spurs - if they pay him enough loyalty money to overcome the lack of trophies and European games - or more likely move to Man U or Italy. Peter Ridsdale once again said that - with the exception of Robbie Keane - no plans had been finalised for the summer.

April 19: Robbie Keane and Ian Harte are in Ireland's squad for next week's World Cup qualifier against Andorra in Dublin. There's still no full international recognition for Olivier Dacourt though, despite his excellent form for Leeds.

April 19: Semi-final ticket details have been confirmed. Season Ticket holders have until Monday to apply for their seats, then Striker Card holders have until next Thursday. For the away leg, Valencia will give us at least 1500 - hopefully more - with priority once again going to those who have been to 4 or more Euro away games this season. The Mestella holds nearly 50000, so with a bit of luck we should be on for 3000-4000, but the demand will be much much higher.

April 19: More praise for Alan Smith - this time from Tord Grip, who says the young Leeds striker is on the brink of an England call-up for the friendly against Mexico (he's still serving a ban for "full" internationals). But wasn't it Grip that said the same about Danny Mills a couple of months back...?

April 18: Harry Kewell reckons he's only 80-85% fit at the moment and is targetting the Champions League Final as the game in which he will show he is back to his best. Anyone who has seen him flag after 60-70 minutes of each of the recent games would agree with the first bit, but there's a degree of chickens and unlaid-egg-counting about the second part of that. He said: "I am getting stronger and stronger. It's just a matter of getting that last 10 minutes' worth of energy. But after all the problems this season, I'm just happy to be playing again and getting a run in the side."

April 18: Scott Sellars' time at Huddersfield is at an end - and it looks like he'll be playing out the twilight of his career in Denmark. Sellars looked to be such a promising talent in his first spell at Leeds, and although he's not been unsuccessful with Newcastle and Blackburn, you can't help feeling he could have done so much more with a bit more luck and a bit more application.

April 18: Lawyers for Ali Umit Demir - the main suspect in the murders of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight - say that video footage of the trouble will show that he was not involved. Demir had previously admitted to police that he was involved in the violence. Apparently examination of all the video footage found no evidence of Leeds fans defiling the Turkish flag - which several of the defendants had claimed was the reason for the Galatasaray fans' armed attack on the travelling Leeds supporters. The defence was also asking for the accused men to be pardoned as part of a general amnesty on prisoners currently underway in Turkey, but the court threw out that request in view of the serious nature of the crimes and the stage that the proceedings had reached.

April 18: Ian Harte is going nowhere according to chairman Peter Ridsdale. He refuted the persistent rumour doing the rounds that the left back and dead ball specialist would be on his way to Internazionale as part of the Robbie Keane deal.

April 18: And then there was one. After waving off the Gooners last night, tonight we bid a fond farewell to Manchester United as Bayern went through to the semis with a 2-1 win in Munich to add to their 1-0 victory at Old Trafford. Real Madrid hammered Galatasaray 3-0 in the Bernabeu, so if we can get past Valencia we'll either get the chance to right the wrongs of 26 years ago or we'll be keeping our fingers crossed that the ref and linesman understand that minor rule about scoring goals with your fist. And I guess it guarantees that there will be no question about which game gets shown on ITV! We'll certainly have to watch our step against Valencia - they are a very good defensive side, and it would be a miracle if we could take anything like a 3-0 lead to Spain for the second leg and the odds must surely be on a repeat of last year's final.

April 18: Everyone's happy after last night's win - and one man in particular has come in for praise from all quarters - Alan Smith! Norman Hunter liked his defensive qualities! Hunter said: "He made a sliding tackle in his own penalty area just before the end that made me break out in a sweat. Just the slightest mis-timing and they would have had a second penalty but he pulled it off brilliantly. I thought he was really terrific." Dominic Matteo was equally praiseful of the young striker: "He's been outstanding all season and tonight his work rate was just unbelievable. He deserves a lot of credit." And finally, the manager: "Alan Smith was without a doubt the man of the match. He was incredible. He trod every bit of grass, he was unbelievable."

April 18: Eirik Bakke has been selected for Norway's squad for the friendly against Bulgaria in Oslo next week. Also included are former Leeds man Alfi Haaland and apparent Leeds target Thorsten Helstad.

April 17: DOL was not so much over the moon - more somewhere in the next galaxy along after tonight's aggregate win. "We knocked out a very good side and rode our luck tonight but it is about time we enjoyed a bit of good fortune after all we have endured this season," he said. As for the next round? "Now the adventure continues as we face Valencia. I wouldn't have minded who we faced but I know they are an exceptional side who were only beaten by a world-class side in last year's final." On the other side, Depor coach Javier Irureta had no complaints about his players or the overall outcome. The Spanish champions' boss said: "Leeds are a very good side and the fact that they have gone 11 games unbeaten in the (English) premiership shows how well they are playing. It is even possible that they could win the tournament. I wish them the best of luck in the next round and hope they continue their good run." From the Leeds team, David Batty sounded very relieved. "It was a bit of an anti-climax," he said. "To be fair we got battered. But if you keep giving the ball away against a great team, you are bound to suffer."

April 17: Leeds were hit by an early goal at the Riazor tonight with Djalminha netting from the spot after Harry Kewell pushed Roy Makaay in the area. Leeds held out under an onslaught up to half time, but Alan Smith shot into the side netting when he might have pulled the ball back for Mark Viduka to tap in. In the second half Deportivo scored again from one of many dubious free kicks awarded by the Italian referee, but Leeds held on - with a little bit of help from the woodwork, which saved Leeds 3 times. John Carew scored the only goal of the game in Valencia to put Arsenal out on away goals, so it's time to get those flights to Alicante booked now!

April 17: Lee Bowyer remains in line for the Golden Boot award for the most goals in this year's UCL with his 6 strikes putting him joint top of the current list, with only Paul Scholes and Mario Jardel remaining in the competition to extend their tallies. It's a shame that the qualifiers don't count - because Alan Smith's 2 goals there plus the other 5 he's scored would put him clear of the pack. In an aw-shucks comment that would do many Oscar-winners proud, Bowyer said: "I have to credit the rest of the lads, and the manager and coaching staff. Along with the fantastic fans, my team-mates and management staff have been there." He added: "I honestly believe this has been my best season as a player. It has been my most consistent spell since coming to Leeds."

April 17: Good day/bad day for former Leeds players at White Hart Lane tonight. Willem Korsten took an early bath for two bookable offences, but JFH bagged his 18th league goal of the season. Another Leeds old-boy - Ian Baird - also had a bad time last week, breaking his leg while playing in a Rymans League game for Farnborough. Baird was at Elland Road for two periods during the 1980s and was a popular - and fiery - player who got some useful goals in the Division 2 days.

April 17: Gary Kelly didn't travel to Spain yesterday due to an ankle injury aggravated at the weekend. So once again DOL will have a non-full substitutes bench. Might as well stick a spare keeper on there! At least Lee Bowyer can travel to this away game after the collapse of the court case last week.

April 16: Much-maligned former Leeds skipper Gary McAllister produced an excellent injury-time free kick to give Liverpool a not entirely deserved victory at Goodison tonight. Liverpool are 3 points behind Leeds with a game in hand and had a player sent off for the second successive game. Kevin Evans scored a late late equaliser for Cardiff as they came back to peg back leaders Chesterfield and maintain their own position in the play-off places.

April 16: Peter Ridsdale is prepared once again to dedicate any Euro-windfall to improving the squad if Leeds qualify for a further year in one of the cups. Obviously money will be needed to fully fund the acquisition of Robbie Keane, but there should still be enough money to pay for one or maybe even two more players, but one or two of the current batch could be swapped out.

April 16: The team were due to fly out today getting ready to face a Deportivo team that will be going all out in attack tomorrow night. Uruguayan international Walter Pandiani - who was only a sub at Elland Road - is likely to start alongside Roy Makaay up front, and they'll be looking to repeat their 4-goal feat against PSG. Meanwhile Alan Smith may be left out of the starting line-up for Leeds in a bid to ensure he doesn't pick up a booking and rule himself out of the semi. DOL is less able to rest David Batty and Olivier Dacourt who are in a similar position, as are Eirik Bakke and Dominic Matteo.

April 15: Euro round-up. A late winner for Fernando gave Deportivo a win against Osasuna yesterday. Arsenal's opponents Valencia went down 1-2 at home to UEFA Cup semi-finalists Alaves, and Spain's other UEFA Cup survivors Barcelona scored 3 goals in the last 15 minutes to come back for a 4-4 draw at the Nou Camp with Real Zaragoza. Real Madrid march on at the top of La Liga with a 4-0 win over Villareal to remain 8 points clear at the top. In Germany, Man U's opponents Bayern Munich were knocked off the top, losing 1-3 at home to Schalke who move ahead of Munich thanks to a hat-trick from Ebbe Sand. Finally, Galatsasary added a 2-0 win yesterday to a midweek 5-3 win to draw level on points with Fehnerbahce at the top of the Brinci Lig, with the leaders due to play on Sunday evening.

April 15: There was a goal for Derek Lilley at Hampden this afternoon, and he was hacked in the box for a clear penalty in the Scottish Cup semi. But the penalty went unawarded and Celtic scored three times, so Lilley's 7th goal of the season went ultimately unrewarded.

April 15: "I've had enough," says David O'Leary. Of solicitors and meetings and off-field distractions that is. Facing another 6 months of uncertainty as a result of the retrial, DOL said: "Tuesday was a real downer because of what happened the previous day. I came to the training ground and I was here, there and everywhere after that talking to various people." He added: "Now I've got to think about going through it all again. The football has been easy compared to everything else."

April 15: In the build-up to Tuesday's game in Spain, DOL is still sounding cautious. "The players and I know that Deportivo have nothing to lose now. Remember what they did to PSG, they could do that to us if we are not careful. We could still get beaten, Deportivo can score plenty of goals." With words that could turn out to be boastful hot air or a sign of justified confidence, Deportivo's midfielder Emerson reckons they can win. "Scoring four goals and putting Leeds out will be easy. We will be playing as the home side and we are much better than Leeds. I think we have as much chance of progressing as we had before the first leg," he said. Emerson was their best player in the home leg, and it's true they can score goals - but their defence does look shaky and I hope it's not tempting fate too much to say that I think we can score out there - which would leave them needing 5.

April 15: Peter Ridsdale reckons that Man U's time at the top might be coming to an end. "Clubs dominate for about a decade. Man United won the first of their championships under Sir Alex in 1993. Somebody else's turn is coming," he said. So who is going to threaten them? His team of the season and the coming threat is Liverpool: "Look at their success this season. They've already won the Worthington Cup, they're in the FA Cup final, they still look as if they are going to finish in the top four in the league and they could be in the UEFA Cup final. That's an outstanding performance." Despite what had been said earlier in the week about the club planning on finishing no higher than 10th, Ridsdale admitted that the wage bill was growing and that European games were essential if the club was to balance the books. "We have geared ourselves to European football. If we don't have that, we'll have to take the appropriate action, which means cuts."

April 14: Man U are champions again after they had a slightly lucky win at home to Coventry at lunchtime before one of the home bankers of the day failed to pay off as Arsenal lost 0-3 at home to Boro. Ipswich got themselves a penalty at home against Newcastle - and another goal for Marcus Stewart - to slip back ahead of us and retake third place. Elsewhere Bob Taylor picked up an equaliser for the Baggies at Burnley.

April 14: The weekend's transfer rumours start here. Jason Wilcox has been a peripheral figure this year (though we've needed him in the last couple of games as Harry is looking half-dead after 70 minutes) and could be on the way. Our old friends Leicester (who also want Danny Mills, Paul Robinson, Michael Bridges if the tabloids are to be believed) are said to be the destination for the left winger. Peter Taylor's side are a bit short in that area - and their main left-sided player is Steve Guppy, who is known not to be on Taylor's list of favorite players. Wilcox would probably net Leeds a profit, with the money going to pay for Robbie Keane or Cosmin Contra or Kieron Dyer or...

April 13: Batts reckons that Steven Gerrard was unlucky to be sent off this lunchtime. Gerrard's late tackle on Batty left the Leeds man on the floor, but he's not one to spend an age rolling around in mock agony and tried to persuade referee Wiley that the foul wasn't that serious. Batty said: "He clipped me - I'm not the sort of player to go down for nothing - but I went straight over to the referee." DOL was, of course, over the moon at Leeds' 7th win in 8 away games in the league. "I thought we were excellent. We wanted to come and win here and we deserved it - we could have scored a couple more goals in the second half. Liverpool got their momentum up and we conceded a soft goal - but we saw that out and I thought we were always a threat on the break." Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier was less happy, but did admit: "Leeds were the better side and deserved to win." Liverpool have the sort of fixture pile-up that plagued Leeds in the early 1970s, but he wasn't blaming that for the defeat. "We didn't play well today. We were sometimes slow and out-of-sorts in the first half. We started slowly and paid for it. It's just a shame because that's not the game where we should have done that."

April 13: DOL bemoaned the club's lack of spending power when compared to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. He wants to spend again in the summer, and didn't sound totally happy that he has had to sell players to pick up the likes of Viduka and Keane. Maybe the club could do something by changing their stadium development plans to allow for a few more seats. Surely it would be better to raise the capacity to 48,000 or so and have a couple of thousand empty seats for the likes of Coventry and Southampton but have those extra 8,000 bodies for the big European and league games. I know that gate money doesn't fund the clubs anymore, but 8K extra bodies in, say, 15 games a season at a minimum of £25 a head equates to an extra gate income of £3 million a year - plus whatever extras those people would buy when they were at the ground.

April 13: DOL said that Liverpool were favorites for third place ahead of this morning's game. After the game the bookies disagree with that point of view. A superb dominant performance in the first half with an early goal from Rio and a second from Bowyer sent us into the interval in good spirits. Liverpool came out a lot brighter and when Gerrard arrived late and unmarked to pull a goal back things looked as if they were in the balance for a while, but Leeds had taken control again before Gerrard picked up a second yellow for a foul on Batty. The ref's decisions during the match were a bit bizarre, with Liverpool getting loads of free kicks but most of the cards. And we were treated to the bizarre sight of Heskey staying on his feet but that's because it was a genuine foul - if it had been a fair challenge he'd no doubt have hit the deck in seconds flat. A late disallowed goal by Vidooks would have made the result a fairer reflection of the play.

April 12: Lee Chapman had some positive things to say about Leeds today. "David is moulding a great side at Leeds and they do things the right way," he said. But remembering the controversial 4-5 defeat at Elland Road 10 years ago, where he had a perfectly valid equaliser ruled out for allowing his head to be punched by Mike Hooper, he added: "And it would be terrific if Leeds could come away from Anfield with the points tomorrow - it would certainly go some way to easing the memory of 10 years ago for me."

April 12: There are still 6 league games to go, but Lee Bowyer has already wrapped up the Supporters Club Player of the Year award. Smithy headed the field in early season voting, but Bowyer now has an unbeatable lead after his excellent performances throughout this season. You'll be able to vote for the even more prestigious Player of the Year - and a whole bunch of other things - in the end of season poll, coming soon!

April 12: Mark Viduka is hoping that tomorrow's six-pointer at Anfield will come out in our favour. "We are quietly confident that we can do the business over there. When you are playing the likes of Liverpool you have to be on top of your game and it doesn't matter what has happened in the past." At least we've managed to win at Anfield more recently than we have at Old Trafford! Vidooks was also less than complimentary about their recent style of football - but since they've won the Worthington Cup, got to the final of the FA Cup and are one game away from the final of the UEFA Cup they're obviously doing something right, and the striker's comments will probably be pinned to the dressing room wall at Anfield in lieu of a team talk tomorrow morning.

April 12: DOL revealed today that Jon Woodgate's "heel injury" was non-existent and was just a cover story invented to excuse him from the pressure of turning out for the first team during the trial. Quite how advisable peddling a blatant lie like that was while the player was appearing in the dock every day is open to question, but it does mean that he is now more or less ready to step into the side should DOL need to use him - but it's nearly 3 months since he played for the first team. Michael Duberry's future at Leeds was not in question either, according to the manager. "I've read some very interesting articles, but there's no fears within this club about Michael Duberry. He is thought of very highly and there was never a doubt it was ever going to be any other way."

April 12: Warren Feeney has been a big hit at Dean Court since his loan move just before the transfer deadline, and Cherries boss Sean O'Driscoll is looking to make the move permanent. He could even find himself battling for a place in Division 1 if Bournemouth manage to squeeze their way into the play-offs in the next few weeks!

April 12: Uh-oh! DOL has been named Manager of the Month for March after Leeds' excellent unbeaten run in the league. Let's hope the traditional curse of that award doesn't carry over into tomorrow's game.

April 12: Sunday Mirror editor Colin Myler has left his post as a result of the continuing furore surrounding the publication of the interview with Sarfraz Najeib's father last weekend. The paper could still face a substantial fine for contempt of court should the authorities choose to proceed with a prosecution.

April 11: Leeds' wage bill went up by 50% last season, but with the income from TV and European matches bringing more money into the club, this remains at a sustainable level for the club if the income streams continue (i.e. if we continue to do well in Europe). Chelsea are now the highest average payers, ahead of Manchester United, and Sunderland face the highest increase as a result of their climb up the table and acquisition of new talent for Peter Reid.

April 11: Stephen Gerrard and Vladimir Smicer are both doubtful for Friday morning's game at Anfield. Houillier will be wanting to keep his young England star wrapped up in cotton wool with a trip across Stanley Park on Monday and the visit of Barca to Anfield next Thursday looming large on the horizon. Stephane Henchoz hopes to be back, Hamann looks set for a return to the starting line-up after being on the bench last night but Barmby also looks likely to miss out.

April 11: DOL wants some protection for those poor innocents in a wicked world - football managers. "At the moment, even if a manager signs a four or five-year contract, he still usually only gets a year's money if he is sacked. Whereas if a player signs a contract it is honoured in full." Maybe the managers should use the same agents as the players then David? The fact that Man U pay their players a huge amount more than Alex Ferguson gets still sends my brain into a tailspin. DOL believes such a deal would engender a new sense of loyalty in the managers. "At the moment I think some managers feel they can walk out because they know if they get the sack, their contract won't be settled in full anyway," he said. If you see a softly-spoken Irishman walking around Leeds wearing rose-tinted glasses, please point him in the direction of the nearest policeman before someone takes advantage of this loveable idealist.

April 11: Robbie Keane, Gary Kelly and Ian Harte are all in the Republic's squad for their World Cup qualifier against Andorra in Dublin on April 25.

April 11: The reserves drew 0-0 with Boro at Bootham Crescent last night - although Brian Deane had a goal ruled out for offside for the visitors. Stephen McPhail managed a full 90 minutes and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff continued his progress in the reserves - helped by the continuing dearth of fit centrebacks. Wesley Boyle also managed a full 90 minutes - which might go some way to help him find a new club if, as seems likely, he is one of the players released in the summer. McPhail is still hoping to make a comeback this season and could travel to Spain with the squad next week, although he's probably not ready yet to make it to the bench.

April 11: Breaking news this evening of a tragedy at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Lucas Radebe's old club, Kaizer Chiefs were playing in a game there when there was a crowd stampede, apparently caused by late arrivals trying to get into the stadium. The emergency services were then delayed getting to the ground by the crowds and traffic outside (I know it's a bit previous, but why on earth weren't there enough of them there already?) and the police are currently saying that over 40 people are thought to have lost their lives.

April 11: The Socceroos smashed their own goalscoring record today as they beat American Samoa 31-0 with Archie Thompson scored 14 of them and the Samoan goalie was voted man of the match. It's all well and good giving everyone a chance to qualify for the World Cup Finals, but this sort of thing does nobody any good. Time to think about seeding or a second-tier competition maybe?

April 10: Jon Woodgate may not be able to play again this season. He's not really recovered from the heel injury that he picked up earlier this year, and despite the lack of defensive cover, DOL may have to struggle along with the limited (27 million's worth of limited) combos of Danny Mills, Rio and Dom Matteo.

April 10: That highly effective body with a rapidly changing membership, the League Managers' Association has rapped Peter Ridsdale over his criticism of Glenda's rapid switch from Saints to Spurs. LMA boss John Barnwell (remember all of his successful teams?) said: "It's inappropriate of other chairmen to make such comments unless they've seen the contract of the manager concerned. There may be things in it which allow him to act like he has." Referring to Leeds' keenness to sign up Martin O'Neill, Barnwell became the latest person to claim some responsibility for Leeds' recent success. Because the LMA made it clear that O'Neill would not be supported if he quit Leicester, Barnwell reckons: "Leeds owe us a lot for that because they appointed David O'Leary and the rest is history."

April 10: Ipswich's 1-1 draw with Liverpool this evening puts us back down into 4th, with the same points and goals scored as the Tractor Boys but having conceded one goal more. Liverpool are now 3 points behind us with two games in hand and a better goal difference - so a win on Friday is vital if we are to stay ahead of them at the end of the season.

April 10: One possible transfer has been put on hold for a while: 1860 Munich's Martin Stranzl has picked up a serious knee ligament injury and will be out for half a year, so a move for him in the summer looks very unlikely. Falkirk's Mark Kerr is due back at Thorpe Arch for a third spell as Leeds try to convince the young midfielder that Elland rather than Portman Road is the street where he should be plying his trade.

April 10: Olivier Dacourt may be called in by the FA to explain his remarks about the Vieira incident. He said today that his remarks had been a joke, and that they had been taken literally rather than in the context and spirit they had been made. "I also joked that Patrick should send me the cheque for his lost wages and any fine. I am sorry that a joke on French television has been taken so literally in England. But I don't want my reputation tarnishing by this."

April 10: There's a story that Granada TV are considering making a "factual drama" about the assault and trial. They've previously made films about Hillsborough and the Stephen Lawrence murder. I seem to recall Granada taking a 10% stake in Liverpool a couple of years ago - I hope that there won't be any awkward conflicts of interest as a result of the programme and the atmosphere it may help create or perpetuate around Leeds United.

April 10: Trial update. The four remaining accused men will face a retrial in Hull on the remaining charges on October 8. The judge has referred the Sunday Mirror article to the Attorney General for possible contempt proceedings. The Sunday Mirror are having an internal inquiry to determine why their editorial and legal procedures failed to stop the publication of the story that halted the trial at the weekend. The Najeib family had been given a written undertaking that the article wouldn't be published until after the trial, and even us total amateurs on the net have a sufficiently clear understanding of contempt of court to realise that there are some things you just shouldn't publish. They have apologised profusely, but could still face serious sanctions if found guilty of contempt.

April 09: Leeds United issued an official statement on the case. They said: "We are not in any position to comment at present." Next week: sun rises in east shock. Movie at 11.

April 09: Solicitors for the two men murdered in Turkey last April have appealed for eye witnesses to the stabbings in Istanbul to come forward. Please contact Paul Burnley or Sarah Taylor of Evershields solicitors in respect of Christopher Loftus on 0113 2430391 or Philip Howell of John Howe and Company solicitors in respect of Kevin Speight on 0113 2363936.

April 09: Euro round-up. Defeat for Depor and dismissal for Djalminha - 2-1 at Real Zaragoza. Real Madrid won 1-0 at Las Palmas and Valencia won 4-1 at Rayo Vallecano. Barca managed a last-minute equaliser to come back from 3-0 down to draw 4-4 at Villareal. Depor now trail Real by 8 points, with Valencia 2 points behind them in third and Barca 2 points further back in 4th in La Liga. Yimpas Yozgatspor shocked Galatasaray with 2 goals in the first 2 minutes, going on to win 4-2 but Fehnerbahce failed to take advantage, slipping up 2-1 at Denizlispor to remain 6 points clear of GS but having played a game more. In Germany, Bayern managed a 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund, and are now just a point clear of Schalke at the top of the Bundesliga, but Bayern's game was a remarkable feat of endurance for the ref who managed to send off Effenberg and Lizarizu for Bayern, Evanilson for Dortmund and book 10 (that's ten, t-e-n) players from Bayern and 2 from Dortmund. Bet he needed a new pencil after all that!

April 09: Tempting fate department. Ticket applications for the Champions League semi-final are being accepted by the club now because there won't be much time to process the applications after next Tuesday if we qualify. Season ticket holders have until April 23, Striker Card holders April 26 and 27, and general sale will be after that (but postal applications must be received by April 26).

April 09: The Socceroos broke a World Cup record at the weekend as they beat Tonga 22-0 in a qualifier - shattering Iran's record for a victory over Guam in a previous qualifier. What would the score have been if Vidooks and Harry had been called up for this vital game? Gordon Strachan will no doubt be happy that his Aussie striker John Aloisi was on form, with 6 of the goals.

April 09: What with everything else going on, there's not much time for the rest...Olivier Dacourt admitted on French TV that he lied to the FA when he wrote to them to plead mitigation for Patrick Vieira, whose assaults on Dacourt and Bakke went unnoticed by the ref in the encounter between the teams earlier this season.

April 09: Trial update time. The jury was discharged this afternoon before being given a chance to reach a verdict on the GBH and affray charges - and it's all thanks to the Sunday Mirror. Yesterday's edition had an interview with Sarfraz Najeib's father in which the possible racist angle on the attack was raised, despite the judge and the CPS playing it down. The Najeib family agree that they did give the interview, but say that they had a written undertaking from the paper not to publish until after the verdicts had been returned in the case. Unfortunately, some of the jurors read the article, and the judge had no alternative but to discharge the jury, feeling that the article had given rise to the possibility of serious prejudice to the jury's deliberations. The trial was into its 9th week, with 38 days of evidence and summary and appearances from 60 eye witnesses and forensic experts at a total cost of over £8 million. The prosecution will be pressing for a retrial, but the judge and the Attorney General must decide if and when such a trial can take place, considering the impact of the publicity surrounding this trial (and its sudden end) and how that will affect the chances of selecting a jury that will not be adversely influenced for a re-trial. This is the worst possible outcome for all concerned. Sarfraz Najeib and his family will quite rightly want to see the guilty party or parties brought to justice. And if any of the four remaining accused men had nothing to do with the assault, they can feel justifiably angry that a cloud will remain hanging over them for many more months. In Lee Bowyer's case, he would almost certainly find himself in the English national side - and with a good chance of a place in next year's World Cup Finals - but for the FA's continued policy of treating an accusation as an indicator of guilt. And then there's the small matter of the cost: hopefully the Sunday Mirror's editor will be appearing before the judge tomorrow with his cheque book and a large supply of zeroes.

April 08: You may have seen in the press this week a story about how you can use your PC's spare cycles to do some analysis on chunks of data that will help fight cancer - basically the same sort of massively parallel effort that and SETI@home have pioneered over the last few years. The anti-cancer effort is being run by United Devices: unlike the other distributed projects, only Windows PCs are supported. A team has been set up in memory of David Rocastle - it's called 'David Rocastle Remembered', so if you do download the screensaver, why not join this team and pool your results for Rocky.

April 08: Last week Peter Ridsdale was dismissing talk of the possibility of Leeds reach the CL final - this week Eirik Bakke reckons we can do it. In a Norwegian paper this weekend he is quoted as saying: "We will try to win the European Cup and finish in third place in the league." I think the former could well be easier than the latter.... PR meanwhile feels that the club has been through the grinder over the last year or so, but is much better off for it. The chairman said: "I've never known such a sense of belonging at this club. There are no arguments between any of us, just a single focus on achieving from top to bottom."

April 08: Transfer round-up: well, nowt really. The Contra rumours continue - and with Leicester and Everton and others still interested in Danny Mills, the sale of Mills might well fund the acquisition of Contra - but it would be a shame to see such a whole-hearted player like Mills leave, and he might be needed as central defensive cover unless we make yet another acquisition in the close season. Frank Lampard has moved to play down talk of a move away from Upton Park, saying "I am a West Ham player and just want to concentrate on making sure we're still in the Premiership next season." Wasn't that what Rio was saying a few months ago???

April 07: Glenn Hoddle's move continues to upset the hierarchy at Elland Road. In his programme notes today, Peter Ridsdale made it clear that he agreed with DOL's earlier comments about the rights and wrongs of contract-breaking. "Without wishing to appear naive, I feel that any manager who believes contracts are only to be honoured by one party isn't worth employing in the first place. Managers can be very quick to ask to be paid up if a club dismisses them, but are quick to ignore their side of the contract if a better offer comes up." In sympathy for today's visitors, he added: "Whatever the rights and wrongs of this specific case, I believe that Southampton can feel let down by their ex-manager."

April 07: Goals elsewhere for JFH as Chelsea scored a bagful of late goals to beat Derby 4-0. Mark Tinkler was also on the scoresheet for Hartlepool as they lost 2-1 at Southend.

April 07: Leeds should have had an early penalty as David Batty was brought down by Dean Richards as he broke into the area but ref Jeff Winter was having none of it. Harry Kewell scored his first goal of the season on 10 minutes - and should have scored another later on, but there were no more goals before the interval. Robbie Keane extended the lead in the second half, with Leeds dominating but failing to really stretch the lead, and their was a brief scare in the 88th minute when Saints had the ball in the net but the flag was up for offside.

April 07: Mark Viduka won the March Player of the Month poll by a country mile with Lee Bowyer 2nd and Smiffy 3rd.

April 07: Lucas Radebe has refused to rule out the possibility of playing again this season. Radebe had a knee ligament op earlier this week and was thought to be unlikely to be available before next season and said: "I am obviously very disappointed at the timing of the injury. The league run in and the Champions League games are critical to the club, but the boys have showed the strength in depth the gaffer has worked hard to build. I am always positive and I would like to think I have an even chance of being available before the season is over."

April 07: Leeds have admitted that they have been keeping an eye on 1860 Munich defender Martin Stranzl. The 20-year-old has been capped 4 times by his country, and is a highly-rated and versatile player - and he'll cost an awful lot less than several of the other folks we're being linked with.

April 07: Newspapers this weekend (well, the Sun anyway) say that Leeds are lining up a bid to bring Frank Lampard to Elland Road. A bid of around £10 million is being mentioned - but how that fits in with last week's "Leeds running out of cash" story is hard to see.

April 06: Michael Duberry will not be dumped by the club according to reports today. "Michael is highly regarded and will receive all the support he needs," a spokesman said. There have been over a hundred letters backing him for his decision to tell the truth in the trial. The reaction of Woodgate to Duberry's acquittal would seem to indicate that there is no deep resentment between the pair, so the way should be clear for him to come back into the side. Whether he is considered ahead of Radebe, Ferdinand, Mills and Matteo once he regains full fitness is another matter, and might still prompt a move away from Elland Road.

April 06: Jason Dodd and Kevin Davies are in line for a recall to the Saints' starting line-up tomorrow, and Lee Bowyer's pal Hassan Kachloul might be stopped from renewing his friendly rivalry with the Leeds midfielder by a calf injury. Robbie Keane is, of course, available again after missing the Deportivo game due to being cup-tied, but DOL has been keen to keep the same formation together where possible, and Smiffy's performance on Wednesday night was definitely enough to keep him in the side. Caretaker manager Stuart Gray will be keen to improve on the poor away form of Southampton, and they will definitely want to bounce back from the 0-3 home drubbing by Ipswich on Monday. Leeds should be good enough to beat them - but that's what we said when we visited the Dell after an excellent result at Lazio earlier in the season.

April 06: Trial update: the jury failed to reach a verdict today and so will re-convene on Monday morning to continue their deliberations. They had earlier returned to ask the judge about when a specific witness statement had been taken relative to the attack, and specifically whether it had come before or after press coverage of the affair. Mr Justice Poole told the jury that the statement had been taken on the day of the attack - nearly a week before there was any coverage in the press.

April 05: Milan next month is a "dream too far" for Peter Ridsdale. "It has been fantastic for us to get this far, with every prospect of reaching the semi-finals when the odds have been highly stacked against us throughout," the chairman said. He added: "But realistically, getting to the final in Milan next month is probably a dream too far. However, there is such a fantastic spirit in the camp, you wouldn't put anything past them."

April 05: Tonight's reserve game against Bradford is off due to a waterlogged pitch.

April 05: Trial update: the jury have returned verdicts on the charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. And all 4 defendants (Duberry, Woodgate, Caveney, Clifford) have been acquitted of the charge in question. Duberry gave Jon Woodgate a hug as he left the dock. Through his legal team, Duberry declined to comment immediately but his counsel said: "You will forgive us if we don't say anything more but, given the nature of this case, I will have a lot more to say at the end of the trial." More verdicts tomorrow (hopefully) as the jury consider the meat of the case.

April 05: Over-the-moon/Sick-as-a-parrot department. DOL has a new candidate for "best night of my Leeds career" after this match. He said: "The main thing was not to concede and to get anything after that, so 3-0 is tremendous." He added: "I never thought we would get this far in the competition and I don't think the rest of Europe did either, so I hope the adventure continues." Deportivo coach Javier Irureta was obviously less overjoyed. "You have to say its going to be difficult to qualify for the semi-final. But once we get back to Riazor there's always hope, especially as we managed pull back a three-goal deficit against PSG."

April 05: Leeds' odds for the CL have been slashed to 4/1 from 12/1 after last night's result. Real remain favorites at 5/2, with Bayern slightly longer at 3/1. Man U go out to 9/1 after losing at home to the Germans, with Arsenal shortening to 8/1 after their win against Valencia. Valencia remain favoured to succeed in that tie at 6/1 with Galatasaray at 12/1 and Deportivo now the rank outsiders at 25/1.

April 05: It was one year ago today that Kevin Speight and Chris Loftus were brutally murdered by a 'fan' of Galatasaray in Istanbul. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of both men on this painful anniversary.

April 04: Fantastic result, great performance by the team and excellent chant from the crowd: "3-0 to the weakest team...". Superb FK by Harte, good cross by Harte/header by Smiffy for the second, slightly lucky deflection of the ball but a good header by Rio for the third. We came very close on at least 6 occasions, but another spilled shot by Nige nearly let them in at the end - though he redeemed himself two minutes later when a total absence of defenders who wanted to tackle gave Depor a free shot in the area. They have come back from 3-0 deficits before, and if we can pull off an - almost - similar revival against Stuttgart....

April 04: Peter Ridsdale will tomorrow unveil a plaque in memory of Kevin Speight and Chris Loftus, who were murdered in Turkey just over a year ago.

April 04: Trial update: the jury are out considering their verdict. The judge has told them to consider each person separately and that they should try to reach a unanimous verdict if at all possible. The jury returned once during the day to get a clarification of one of the charges and the relevant legal definitions, but failed to reach any decision by 5 p.m. and so was sent home for the night.

April 04: Warren Feeney is doing an excellent job in persuading Bournemouth to keep him on. He scored a late winner in last night's 4-3 win over struggling Oxford - the second in two games!

April 03: Not a good results for our least favorite team tonight. Man U lost 0-1 at home to Bayern, Paulo Sergio scoring a late goal after coming off the bench. However Galatasaray stunned Real Madrid by coming back from 0-2 down at the Ali Sami Yen to win 3-2. Madrid had scored through Helguera and Makalele, but GS came back to score through a penalty from Umit Davala, followed by goals from Hasan Sas and Jardel - who also had a late header disallowed. Away goals may prove crucial in both ties when the the second legs are played in two weeks time.

April 03: Trial update. The jury were sent out to consider their verdict, but were then sent home by the judge to return on Wednesday morning, having failed to reach a verdict. The judge had earlier asked them to consider if it was possible that the defendants had not taken part in the attack, and that it might have been carried out. "Was it possible that there was another group of people? If so what happened to them, where did they come from, where did they go to? These are legitimate questions." He also directed them not to rely exclusively on the CCTV videotapes that they took into the jury room with them. The issues could not be resolved simply by reference to the tapes.

April 03: After the shock at the weekend, the tributes for David Rocastle have been pouring in. Lee Chapman was at Leeds when Rocastle joined. He said: "It's a terrible tragedy. I feel for his wife and three children." He added: "He was a strong character on the pitch and in the dressing room. Away from the club he was a wonderful person to be around. He had a wonderful career, but I thought he had the potential to be one of the greats who might have played 70 or 80 times for England." DOL shared Rocky's birthday (May 2), and he was equally saddened. "David was a lovely fellow. You couldn't have met a nicer man - he was one of football's true gentlemen."

April 03: Lucas Radebe could be out for the rest of the season as a result of the knee ligament damage sustained against Sunderland at the weekend. Dominic Matteo has less than a 50:50 chance of playing, Alan Smith is borderline but has a better chance of playing (and might start on the bench). Obviously Lee Bowyer's likely participation may have been decided in Hull by the time kick-off comes round. So we're probably looking at a team lining up: Martyn, Kelly, Mills, Ferdinand, Harte, Batty, Dacourt, Bowyer (or Bakke), Wilcox, Kewell, Viduka.

April 03: Mark Viduka could have been wearing a Deportivo shirt if things had worked out a little differently. Last summer, he was approached by Deportivo and was seriously considering an offer from the team that had just won La Liga. "Obviously I was very flattered by Deportivo's approach, especially because they had only just become Spanish champions. But Leeds were the keener of the two, and I'm glad I came."

April 03: Deportivo's Dutch striker Roy Makaay reckons that Deportivo need to take a leaf out of Real Madrid's book at Elland Road tomorrow night. "We have to copy the way Real played. They got their win by playing football and trying to create chances. Leeds are bound to come at us at straight from the kick-off. If we can survive the early pressure then we've got to start playing football and attack." Which is pretty much what they've done in La Liga over the last few years - scoring plenty of goals, but being a bit leaky at the back (witness their performance at PSG earlier this season where they came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3). In addition to their missing Brazilian midfielders, there are slight doubts over defensive pair Helder and Enrique Romero. But the man to watch remains Brazilian star Djalminha, who is an attacking midfielder and Spanish international Victor - who can score a decent goal!

April 02: Trial update. We're now in the eighth week of the trial, and the judge spent Monday continuing his summing up. He mainly concerned himself with directing the jury's attention to the witness identification evidence presented in the case. He warned the jury that the witnesses might have been mistaken, and that the media speculation about the incident between the assault and the police taking the statements could have affected the witnesses' accounts. The trial continues on Tuesday.

April 02: Deportivo have injury problems of their own ahead of Wednesday's game. Midfielders Mauro Silva and Donato are both carrying injuries and were not expected to travel out. Cesar Sampaio - one of several South Americans (and one of the few not under passport suspicion) with the Spanish side - went under the knife to sort out an achilles problem last week, and it would be a major surprise if he was involved in either game. Goal-scoring midfielder Victor is happy to be facing Leeds, who he considers to be the weakest side remaining in the competition (in fairness, he's probably right) but he does give credit where credit is due. "We were very pleased when we found out that Leeds were our next opponents, although we should not forget that they have already put out Barcelona, and qualified with Real Madrid. They deserve credit for that."

April 02: DOL would sooner be facing the Germans on Wednesday night! He said: "I would not have chosen to be drawn against Deportivo, I would rather have taken Bayern Munich - in my opinion the Spanish League is the best in Europe. Deportivo won it last year and they are in second place this time." Is he hopeful? Well, yes a bit, but the inevitable downplaying of Leeds' prospects kicks in: "Make no mistake if we come through this tie against Deportivo over the two legs it will be an unbelievable achievement."

April 02: Leeds slipped back to 4th place this evening without kicking a ball as Marcus Stewart bagged a hat-trick for Ipswich at the Dell. Let's hope the Saints are similarly accommodating on Saturday at Elland Road.

April 02: Smithy picked up a calf strain on Saturday and had to spend yesterday afternoon having physio on it at the training ground in a bid to be fit for Wednesday. He's still a doubt, and with no Robbie Keane we could really do with him to be available. At least he'll be available for the six-pointer at Anfield on Good Friday: his suspension for the red card at the weekend doesn't come into effect until Saturday April 14, so he'll miss the visit to West Ham on April 21. In a case of the black pot chatting to the kettle, Ian Harte accused Patrice Carteron of diving when Smithy swung his boot at the Hovel of Darkness. The replays bear this out but there's sod all chance of the FA throwing the book (or even a very thin pamphlet) at Sunderland's cheating Frenchman.

April 02: Yet Another Alliance Department. This time, we're apparently interested in getting into bed with FC Utrecht of Holland to give some of Leeds' young players experience of playing first team football (and experience of somewhere other than England), with Utrecht being given first option on their services if Leeds haven't got a place for them. It's the latest in a long line of possible alliances - Oldham, Airdrie, Sydney - that have yet to be properly consummated (that's enough bedroom metaphors - Ed).

April 01: In the week that former England boss Glenn Hoddle walked away from his contract with Southampton, DOL made it clear that he thinks that both clubs and managers should be forced to honour their contracts. He said: "My long-term contract with Leeds has no such release agreement. I don't like them, they aren't right. How can a club plan ahead if the manager is waiting for a better offer?"

April 01: European round-up: Deportivo had an impressive 4-2 victory over Villareal, Luis Figo scored for Real to keep them clear at the top as they won 1-0 against Numancia, and Valencia looked to be thinking more about Arsenal than Espanol, losing 1-0 and effectively giving up the chase for the title. Bayern lost 3-2 at home to Werder Bremen ahead of their tie with Manchester United and our old friends Galatasaray beat Besiktas 2-0 at home.

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