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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


May 31: It looks like the first team will play Div 1 nearly-men Preston at Deepdale on August 7 as part of the first team's warm-up programme. The reserves will face Scunthorpe on August 5 and Bill Fotherby's Harrogate Town on August 13.

May 31: A third Leeds player in a week made his international debut last night - Olivier Dacourt came on for France as a late substitute in the first of the Confederations Cup games last night.

May 30: In what is looking like a concerted PR effort, John Charles is the latest Leeds legend to be wheeled out to make positive noises about the prospect of a move away from Elland Road. The Gentle Giant said: "Elland Road is the home of Leeds United Football Club, I was brought up there as a young lad and of course it would be a very sad day if the club decided it had to move. But a lot of the grounds I used to play on in my time have gone now and it is a part of the modern game that fans want the best facilities." He added: "Everything is changing in the game and if the chairman and board decide that a move away from Elland Road is the best thing possible then I think we should back them. They have done a good job with the club and whether they stay or go I am sure they will make the right decision."

May 30: Other vaguely Leeds-related transfer rumours: Fulham have still not concluded the deal for one-time Leeds target John Arne Riise of Monaco, and might still lose out on yet another big deal. Elsewhere, it looks like Cosmin Contra will be going to AC Milan instead of Leeds or Real Madrid.

May 30: Two months ago, Real Madrid appeared to be interested in Vidooks. One month ago Vicente del Bosque said that Viduka had been disappointing and now no longer interested the club. So this month of course, it looks like they're interested again - but now they're talking about a fee of around £17 million - and it's believed that DOL would want at least £5 million more to part with the striker. Rio Ferdinand certainly wants Marko to stay - he said: "It's vital that we keep the squad together. Mark has come in and he's done really well this season, but he's his own man. I don't know if he'll stay but if we want to make progress, Liverpool have shown the importance of keeping your best players. If you do that, then you can improve each season."

May 30: Leeds have decided not to appeal against Lee Bowyer's 3-match ban from UEFA games - despite the fact that the midfielder claims that he landed on the chest of the Valencia player by accident. UEFA have suggested that his ban could be extended - but the biased and evidently corrupt hierarchy are taking no action against the clearer elbow thrown by Mehmet Scholl of Bayern Munich in their semi-final against Real Madrid. It comes as no surprise to any long-time Leeds fan to see such anti-Leeds bias from European football's governing body - we've seen it all before. Just because we're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get us.

May 30: It's now looking as if Leeds will not be pursuing a deal with any of the NSL clubs in Australia - they'll just concentrate on improving the merchandising side of things while the league is reorganised Down Under. Financially-strapped Norwegian side Brann are more or less asking to be bought - or for someone to put their hands in their pockets to take a stake and give them some cash - and Leeds are being targeted by a third party (probably an agent, which probably means Rune Hauge). Leeds took a long look at Thorstein Helstad and Azar Karadas earlier this year, but nothing came of it and the pair are still being touted around Europe to drag in some much-needed income for the club from a transfer.

May 29: David Batty's added his twopennorth to the great "New Ground" debate. "I am all for tradition but I would love to play in front of 50,000 fans at a new ground every week - the bigger the better for me. That West Stand is a bit tatty and when you have family come to watch games it is not the best facility. I can imagine it could be better for the fans as well." Well, I agree that the West Stand is tatty and I'd love to see us play in front of 50,000+ (which would be nearly double the average crowd that saw us win the Championship less than 10 years ago). But why can't we just redevelop the West Stand - the space appears to be there, and the council should consider the impact on businesses and pubs in Holbeck and Beeston when looking at planning position for such a move. Batts added: "I do think it is time, in those terms, to move on. It is just that Elland Road is the home of Leeds United and it will be very tough for us to leave. But you have to accept that times do change in football." Current opinion on my website poll says 72% want to redevelop Elland Road, and 24% want to move.

May 29: David Batty reckons that DOL could be seen as Leeds all-time greatest manager. "There is no reason really why he cannot make himself into a legend at Leeds United like Don Revie did. He has worked with the chairman to get everything in place and now it is down to the players." The "veteran" midfielder added: "He would be thinking along the same lines as the players, knowing we have not won anything yet and if he does want to be successful then he would like to have a couple of trophies under his belt before he moves on, if that is what he wants." Move on? Not in the short term if Peter Ridsdale has his way. The chairman said: "David is going nowhere. We had a long chat last week about the rumours....it's nice to be linked with other jobs." But PR insisted: "He will see out the 5 years of his contract."

May 29: Robbie Keane and Gary Kelly are doubtful for the Republic's vital clash with Portugal at Lansdowne Road on Saturday. Both the Leeds players have ankle injuries, but Mick McCarthy will be hoping that both players are fit, particularly since Niall Quinn, Gary Breen and Kenny Cunningham are also facing late tests.

May 29: Michael Bridges is aiming to be back in the squad in time for the pre-season tour to Sweden, and will be coming back from his holidays early in order to get some pre-season work in with physio Dave Hancock. The striker said: "Last season taught me that football is full of ups and downs and all I want to do now is work hard and be ready to report back with the rest of the lads." Villa, Boro and Newcastle are all being linked with Bridges, but he sounds like he's keen to stay - and it's hard to see us making a move for Everton's Francis Jeffers if Bridges stays.

May 28: Former Leeds man Mike Whitlow had an extremely peripheral role in today's Division 1 Play-off Final in Cardiff. He came on as an injury-time sub for Bolton, when they were already 2-0 up and failed to touch the ball in the remaining 2 minutes - but Bolton still managed to squeeze in one final goal to beat Preston 3-0 and return to the Premier League.

May 28: Danny Mills has been included in the England squad that will fly out to La Manga tomorrow for a break before the Greece game. Wes Brown failed a fitness test - but Mills remains an outsider for a starting place.

May 28: Last season's bargain signing Dominic Matteo reckons that Leeds should dip into the transfer war chest to bring West Ham's Frank Lampard to Elland Road. Matteo said: "Frank is a good attacking midfielder who scores goals, so if we did happen to sign him it would be a good addition to the squad." Leeds are still reportedly balking at West Ham's price tag - but the Hammers' board are probably thinking that if we'll pay £18 million for a defender then going to a bit over £10 million for a goalscoring midfielder should be a no-brain decision.

May 27: Internazionale and Barcelona are both interested in taking on David O'Leary as manager. And the rest of them. And like the rest of them, they can take a running jump - DOL is going nowhere (unless someone comes in with an offer that would be a new world record for compensation for a manager and manage to persuade O'Leary that they're a better prospect for his long-term career than Leeds).

May 27: Considering it's now the end of the season, there's precious little new transfer gossip flying around. This weekend's press just rehashes the old names of Cosmin Contra (surely Madrid-bound), Brett Emerton (maybe heading to Scousepool) and also Seth Johnson (but Derby aren't keen to sell). And Villa and Boro have joined Newcastle in the chase for Michael Bridges.

May 27: Smithy was understandably pleased to win his first cap on Friday night. "I loved it out there, it was nice to play in my senior debut and I really enjoyed it. It is a great honour to play for your country and to get 45 minutes was really nice," he said. He was disappointed that he didn't score when he had the chance late on: "I tried for safety with the side-foot when I should have blasted it but hopefully they are chances I will put away in the future for England."

May 26: The high spot of Lee Bowyer's season was winning the Player of the Year awards from both supporters and team-mates. Speaking about the problems he faced during the trial, he made it clear that he managed to switch focus back to football when he walked out onto the pitch. "Nothing ever will take my mind off the job while I'm playing. Nothing. Nothing ever." It's unfortunate for England that the FA's intransigence has kept him out of the side, and seen the likes of Joe Cole and Steven Gerrard get in the side when the best midfielder in England has been left out of the squad. But he's not given up hope. He said: "I will play for England, but not at the moment."

May 25: You can lay your hands on a shirt signed by the whole team and help out a good cause at the same time. 8-year-old Alice Maddocks is suffering from a bone marrow disease, and desperately needs a transplant. The shirt - plus a rugby ball signed by members of the England RL World Cup squad and donated by Darren Fleary - will be auctioned off to raise money for her trust fund. To bid for either the shirt or the ball, call Marea Stephenson - a friend of the family - on 01924 480884 Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm before Saturday June 2.

May 25: Transfer randomness: Newcastle renew their interest in Bridges (what - really???), and Sol Campbell could be on his way to Leeds at a reported salary of £80,000 a week. Puh-lease....how far do they think our budgets and our imaginations will stretch??

May 25: The first chunk of pre-season games has been announced. Once again, Leeds will be travelling to Scandinavia with 3 games in Sweden. The team will play on July 26, 28 and 31 against Jonkoping Sodra, Kungsbacka and Gais, with a further game lined up to be played probably at Tolka Park in Dublin against a Dublin Select XI on August 3.

May 25: Warren Feeney has yet to complete his move to Bournemouth - and will be hoping that the knee injury that has just forced him out of the U-21 internationals against Bulgaria and the Czech Republic will not put the mockers on his much-trailed move to Dean Court, where he had such a successful loan spell at the end of last season.

May 25: Danny Mills cost Leeds about half a million tonight - he made his England debut at Pride Park, coming on for the final half hour of the game against Mexico. Nige and Rio played in the first half, and Smithy won his first cap, playing for the whole of the second half and setting up a couple of good chances - but missing probably the best of the night. England won 4-0 and none of the Leeds players picked up an injury, so they're in with a decent chance of at least a squad place for the qualifier against Greece next week.

May 24: The bloke who streaked across the pitch at the end of Saturday's game has been fined £300 plus £60 costs. 30-year-old Russell Brook did the streak as a dare, and was lucky not to pick up the maximum penalty, which could have included a 3-year ban from football grounds. Another man was fined £400 for running onto the pitch to celebrate with Ian Harte when the Irishman scored for Leeds.

May 24: There's still nobody outside the club with a good word for the ground move. Leeds Supporters Club chief Ray Fell is not totally in favour, and is keen to get Peter Ridsdale to address the LUSC AGM to clarify the club's real opinion on the way forward (there is a school of thought that says that the talk and rumours are just there to drive down the price of the land around Elland Road, thus allowing the club to save some money acquiring the extra space it needs before redeveloping the existing complex). Leeds legend Allan Clarke hopes it never happens "in my lifetime". He added: "It would be like giving up on the long and illustrious history of our great club. It is disappointing because I always gave Leeds United credit for the fact that they were proud to remember their history."

May 24: UEFA have announced the dates for next season's UEFA Cup. In short, they are: Round 1 - 13/9, 27/9; Round 2 - 18/10, 1/11; Round 3 - 22/11, 6/12; Round 4 - 21/2, 28/2; QF - 14/3, 21/3; SF - 4/4, 11/4; Final: 8/5. Other than the final, the games are all on Thursday, so the PL games after the UEFA games will move back to Sunday (which means that planning anything remotely in advance will be impossible). After 2 successive semi-final appearances, Leeds will surely be seeded for the first draw, which takes place on August 24.

May 24: The new away kit will be launched on June 29 - make sure you get your order in now, because demand is sure to be high, and if past experience is any guide, Leeds will hopelessly mis-estimate the demand. I expect to see the shirts on sale in London sometime around Christmas if I'm lucky.

May 24: Transfer lies and rumours for the day. Barca want Olly - but Peter Ridsdale has issued a firm "hands off" warning to the Catalan side, despite the fact that Leeds could probably double the money they paid for him just a year ago. Carbone likes Yorkshire, his family are settled - so a move to Leeds would suit him fine, since there's no way his salary can be accommodated in Bradford's budget for next year. Carbone is a talented player - but what would he bring us over and above what we've already got? Sorry mate - maybe Blackburn would be worth a shot - they're not too far away. Gareth Evans is being linked with a move away - Hull are the latest team mentioned. It's quite a comedown for the youngster who appeared in the Champions League qualifier in August. Finally, long-time target Mark Kerr remains keen to join Leeds but is a bit concerned that things are taking their time to get agreed.

May 23: DOL is looking to strengthen the squad but appreciates that we don't have the buying - or pulling - power of Man U, Arsenal and Liverpool. "I wanted to put it on the map and make people aware of Leeds United and for them to see that we are a positive, attacking side who play attractive football. That will always be my philosophy and I think in general that is what I have succeeded in doing." He added: "They are looking, really, for international players whereas I am trying to find players who are silver and then turn them into gold. We are after a good young player who we can make better and they are going for the finished article." If he can find a few more unfinished articles like Olivier Dacourt, Mark Viduka and Robbie Keane, I'm sure we'll all be happy.

May 23: Peter Ridsdale says: "I've been surprised how many people have welcomed the opportunity for a new stadium - there are far more people saying it's very exciting, although obviously there are some who think Elland Road is a special place and should always remain so." Yeah - right. And the fact that the survey on the official site shows a similar opinion is just one of those strange things - nobody I've spoken to has voiced a positive opinion about a move from Elland Road, but 60-odd percent of the survey numbers on the official site want to move.

May 23: £13 million for Frank Lampard? Those West Ham boys are having a laarrfff - surely? That's about 3 times what we should even consider paying for a man I'm reliably informed is known as "Fat Frank" (remember Strandli!) and who all of the West Ham fans I've spoken to would be happy to see leave. Michael Carrick...now that's another story.

May 22: Top news for Danny Mills - he's been called into the England squad for the Mexico game after Sven Goran Erickson had doubts about Wes Brown's fitness. It's a great reward for Mills, who has been a versatile and enthusiastic player all season and has become a firm favorite with the fans. Tord Grip mentioned him as a possible earlier this year, but when nothing came of it immediately, it seemed that he wasn't going to get a chance: now he's got a great opportunity to prove what he can do at the very top level.

May 22: Just a couple of months after the very limited plans for the redevelopment of Elland Road were published - new executive boxes, improved banqueting facilities and a new ticket office but no more capacity - Leeds have revealed that they are now starting a consultation exercise and feasibility study to see what can be done to improve the 'match-day facilities'. This could be either a redevelopment of Elland Road - or a move to a new site. We've got a ground next to a motorway - with a rail line going past if they ever feel the need to do away with the R2 buses - and although the match-day traffic has been getting a bit heavy recently, there's a large amount of space nearby to extend or improve the ground if the will and the money are there. The obvious location would be somewhere just off the A1-M1 link road - well away from any existing developments (and a real pain to get to unless you happen to be driving, so reducing the chance of a quick pint before the match - unless you get it in the club-run bars). A move away from Elland Road would be not at all popular with the fans, and the return of the suggestion that "naming rights" of the ground may be used to fund the improvements is hard to credit: the official name of the ground may be changed to be "John Smiths Smooth Elland Road", but to the fans, the old name will always stick.

May 22: Lampard: will we/won't we? Peter Ridsdale says we'll put in a bid, but: "Leeds United will not be making an offer in double figures for Frank Lampard." Yep, just like £15 million was our final bid for Rio. The chairman added: "David O'Leary has given me a shopping list of names he wants to bring to the club and I will be working through the summer in a bid to get them for him. These things can sometimes take weeks to negotiate, then within a few hours are sorted out." Yep - a few hours after you up your bid Peter...

May 22: Harry and Sheree have announced that their new baby boy (9lb 4oz) will be call Taylor J Roderick. Well, it beats something like Daaaannnniiii or similar stuck keyboard names :-) And is that "J" as in Homer "J" Simpson???

May 22: Paul Robinson's hand op has been brought forward so he'll miss England's U-21 games over the next week while he recovers. Best to get these things out of the way early - we saw what delaying an op did to Harry Kewell's season last year. Stephen McPhail is also due to go under the knife - the achilles tendon that didn't get operated on earlier this year is the culprit this time. Both players should be back in time for pre-season training at the start of July.

May 22: Alan Smith thought that he'd blown his chances of playing for England when he was dismissed in the Mestalla. The young striker said: "You're no good to anyone when you can't play because of suspension and missing out with England was one of the things that flashed through my mind when I was sent off in Spain. Everyone knows I'm an aggressive player - that is how I play the game and how Leeds play it too - but a player is no good to anyone if he is not on the pitch and especially at international level you cannot afford to have players sent off." Now write that out 100 times and learn it off by heart Alan.

May 22: Leeds ran out of fingers last weekend - the crowd figure was actually 800 higher than reported, so the average home league gate for the season was actually 39016. This is the 4th highest average of all time - 138 behind last season's average, but nearly 500 behind the all-time record of 39472, achieved in 1970-71. Including all games, the average was 37755 per game - which is an all time record, beating last season's record-setting average of 37579.

May 21: Danny Mills - who has been one of the major success stories of the season - wasn't downhearted by Leeds' failure to requalify for the Champions League. "It is terrific that we got this close. People were talking about finishing in the bottom half of the table or even relegation. I think that just shows what a great team spirit we have got." The team had more or less expected Liverpool to win at the Valley, and so weren't too surprised by the result. Looking forward, he said: "Our aim now is to win something and hopefully we will come back next year and have a good go at the Premiership. We know we can go anywhere in Europe now and beat anyone. We just need to bring that form into the league."

May 21: Mark Viduka has reiterated his intentions to stay at Elland Road. Having said at the start of the weekend that it would take a "very special offer" to prise him away from Elland Road, he backed that up today with more words designed to soothe the concerns of Leeds fans everywhere. "I love playing for Leeds United and I will be back here next season to make a bid for some silverware," he said. "It has been a great campaign for us ... and I am sure we will be back again next season." New Italian PM and AC Milan supremo Silvio Berlusconi has apparently made Viduka one of his top targets, with a £20 million plus offer - an offer which Leeds will strenuously resist.

May 21: DOL thinks that Sven Goran Erickson has made a good decision in bringing Alan Smith into the England setup. He said: "I think he is ready to play for England and can handle all the pressure that comes with it. The bigger the stage the better Alan seems to enjoy it." Smithy himself is pretty laid back about it all: "My main aim for years to come is to do well for Leeds. Obviously it would be nice to get your first England cap, it is something you always dream about, but I am really concentrating on my Leeds career."

May 21: Unhinged? You be the judge. According to a programme on Radio 5 tonight, Bryan Robson likes attending big criminal trials - with serial killers being his particular interest. No wonder he's been distracted from the football coaching...

May 21: Roy Aitken returned to his old stamping ground of Pittodrie at the weekend for the game between Aberdeen and Dundee United. Leeds are apparently interested in United's Scottish U-21 keeper Paul Gallagher and the Dons' Phil McGuire.

May 21: Harry Redknapp said that Frank Lampard junior will be on his way from Upton Park sometime in the next week with Villa the latest club linked - but only offering £7 million. There have been several offers for the midfielder, and one of them will be accepted - maybe he's one of the two "quality players" that DOL says he wants to add to the squad this summer. The manager said: "We have proved that since January but what we must learn from this season is that we can't start playing halfway through because it leaves us with too much to do."

May 20: Euro round-up time. Real Madrid found themselves in yet another stormy game, with 9 bookings in their 1-0 away win at Rayo Vallecano. A Tristan hat-trick gave Deportivo a 3-2 away win against Real Oviedo, and a 90th minute penalty did the trick for Valencia against Bilbao in the Mestalla. With 3 games to go, Real have a 6 point lead over Depor, who in turn are 5 points clear of Valencia. The Champions League finalists have to watch out though - Mallorca are now level on points with them and Barca are only 3 points further back. Barca scraped a 1-0 win at Alaves on Saturday with an Overmars goal in the first half - Leeds and Madrid transfer target was dismissed for a second bookable offence 5 minutes from time. In Italy, convincing wins for Roma, Juve and Lazio kept things as they were at the top - with 3 games to go, Roma are 5 points clear of Lazio with Juve a further point back in 3rd. In Turkey, Fehnerbahce remain 3 points clear of Galatasaray with just one game left.

May 20: Derek Lilley rounded off a pretty good season with Dundee United's second goal at Aberdeen - they won 2-1 but the fact that Lilley was their top scorer with a total of 6 goals shows why the club only just missed out on relegation.

May 20: Despite being ruled out by injuries for the last couple of games for Leeds, Robbie Keane is expected to be fit to take part in Ireland's World Cup qualifiers against Portugal and Estonia on June 2 and June 6.

May 20: Alan Smith has been named in the England squad for the friendly against Mexico at Pride Park next Friday - despite his recent red card in Valencia. Tord Grip said: "If you don't make mistakes when you are young, when are you going to make mistakes? He's good when he's playing aggressively. He's that kind of player." Nigel Martyn and Rio Ferdinand are also in the squad for the game.

May 19: Bayern Munich - the ManU of the Bundesliga. 90th minute, Schalke are 5-3 up, Bayern 1-0 down and the title is Schalke's. 5 minutes of injury time later, Bayern equalise - the point is enough to grab the championship. Not like any other team that play in red (ManU don't leave it to the last game of the season).

May 19: Despite his disciplinary problems, Alan Smith is tipped to win a call-up to the full England side for next week's friendly against Mexico - and today's two goals will certainly help his cause. Andy Cole is suspended, and Sven Goran Erickson must decide whether to go with the 18-goal Leeds hitman or pick some of Liverpool's on-form strike force of Fowler, Owen and Heskey.

May 19: Well, a 3-1 home win is not a bad way to finish off the season but in the end the 4 goals scored in the second half by Liverpool at Charlton decided the ultimate outcome and condemned Leeds to the UEFA Cup for next season. Elsewhere Willem Korsten got two goals as Spurs beat a couldn't-care-less Man U at White Hart Lane, and JFH scored Chelsea's winner at Maine Road won him the Golden Boot. Finally the unsettled Gary Speed got his marching orders at St James Park for a handbags session as Newcastle dismantled a lacklustre Aston Villa.

May 19: Speaking before today's game, Peter Ridsdale said that it wasn't the end of the world if Leeds failed to qualify for the Chapions League. "There is an argument for saying that being in the UEFA Cup gives you a better chance of winning the Premier League. It is less intense as a competition in terms of the week-in week-out demands you are subjected to in the Champions League, yet it gives you an equally good chance to test your skills against some of the top teams on the continent." And hopefully we'll have a less injury-ridden season too. The chairman added: "When I look back on our first half of this season, it is clear that our league performances suffered because everybody was talking about our Champions League matches. Okay, we suffered with horrendous injury problems then, as well, but it really is difficult to mount a title challenge while you are also striving to succeed in Europe's top club competition." So next season it's full steam ahead for the Premier League title.

May 18: DOL feels that he's let the fans and the chairman down by failing to make it to Milan next week. "The Leeds fans are fantastic and nobody loves them and wants to provide success for them more than I do. I believe the true Leeds fans are fantastic, there is no better in the country." Presumably excluding those who had the temerity to boo some of the half-hearted performances that saw home defeats to Ipswich, Man City and Newcastle. He added: "I was desperately disappointed not to have made the Champions League final for them.... It would have also been nice to do it for Peter Ridsdale. He is without doubt the best chairman in the business. I could not ask for better because he has backed me all the way from the very start and together with those fans he deserves success."

May 18: Matthew Jones is looking forward to playing in tomorrow's game - but he won't be celebrating if a Leicester win rules Leeds out of the Champions League. "Coming back and playing at Elland Road means everything to me. I was there for six years, I started my life there as a footballer and I built a home there. I never thought I would ever leave the club. I felt Leeds was the place I was meant to be. I do feel excited but I also feel very frightened about the prospect of returning. I cannot imagine how it will feel playing for another club against my mates. It is going to be tough for me. I am in love with the club, after all it is where my heart was for a long time." Leicester have a pretty good record against Leeds over the last few years, and Jones wants that to continue for a while, but he has been following the fortunes of his former team-mates closely. "In fact I've been to quite a few games this season, including a few of the Champions League matches, and I've been impressed with the way they have been playing. We know we have to be on top form to beat them." And if he manages to get a goal? "I've thought about scoring against them and rather like Rio Ferdinand when he went back to West Ham I don't think I'd be able to celebrate."

May 18: Harry Kewell's fianceé Sheree Murphy gave birth to the couple's first child - a baby boy - tonight. The couple are due to marry later this year. Selfish hat on: with a bit of luck this means he won't be up all night tonight and will be available for the match tomorrow.

May 18: Robbie Keane is no better than 50/50 for tomorrow's game - the injury he picked up when tackled by Tony Adams at Highbury is taking its time to clear up so it looks like it will be Smith and Viduka up front again. For Leicester, Matt Elliot and Muzzy Izzet are long-term injuries (so no chants of "I rather be a..." thankfully) but Gary Rowett is due to return after a leg injury.

May 18: Terry Venables looks set to quit Boro to become a full-time talking head on what will no doubt be a typically abysmal ITV football team as MOTD comes to an end this weekend. And who's on the cards to replace him? None other than Brian Kidd - the Leeds first team coach. Kidd was less than successful when given a large pot of cash with a struggling club at Blackburn - and despite the positive effect he's had at Leeds, it's hard to see how he would do better in a very similar situation at the Riverside.

May 17: Paul Robinson is set to have a minor operation on his hand to repair the finger he dislocated earlier this season. He'll probably wait until after the England U-21 qualifiers to cement his place in the international set-up, but he'll have plenty of time to recover before pre-season training gets underway in July. Fulham remain interested in picking up either of Leeds' keepers, but DOL is determined to hang on to both players plus Ian Harte - another persistent transfer target - according to reports today. The manager said: "I understand they both want to play first team football but they are happy here at Leeds United and I have no doubts that Paul Robinson will be goalkeeper at this club for the next 15 to 20 years long after Nigel Martyn has gone. I need healthy competition for places and that is what I have got. There is no way I will allow either of these players to leave and Ian Harte is going nowhere." DOL is looking to strengthen the squad - and you don't do that by letting your top players leave!

May 17: It looks like Cosmin Contra will almost certainly be playing in all-white next year - but it's more likely to be Real Madrid than Leeds. His agent was seen in talks with Real Madrid at the UEFA Cup Final, and they'd have no problems meeting the £7 million buy-out clause in his contract with Alaves.

May 17: Leeds have announced a partnership with two of Scandinavia's biggest sports retailers - Alligator and Sportsmania - to co-ordinate a better retail presence in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark and to manage the distribution of internet sales out there. Leeds have historically had a large following over the North Sea, and the club clearly want to cultivate that link, with an eye on increasing merchandising sales and also improving the likelihood that talented youngsters from the area will follow Eirik Bakke's example and choose Leeds to further their footballing careers.

May 17: Olivier Dacourt has finally been recognised by his country - he's been called up for the Confederations Cup games that will be a dry run for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea which starts at the end of this month and runs into June.

May 17: Lucas Radebe played the full 90 minutes in last night's reserve team game against Bradford to strengthen his chances of at least making the bench for the Leicester game. He said: "I will be back next season. There is only one game left and I do not know if it is worth risking it. However, if I am needed I will be there." Tony Hackworth scored both goals in the 2-0 win, but Wes Boyle was red carded for a lunge at Lewis Emmanuel (wasn't he in Open All Hours?) on the hour, and Tom Newey also got his marching orders for a second bookable offence 5 minutes from the end. Damien Lynch picked up a knock and barely lasted a quarter of an hour, so his chances of played for the Republic's U-21 side look marginal at best.

May 16: David Wetherall did Leeds and Bradford a massive favour on the last day of last season when he scored the goal against Liverpool that kept Bradford in the Premiership and handed the Champions League slot to Leeds. Can we get a similar final day bonus from the Mervyn Day and Glynn Snodin - the Leeds old boys on the coaching team at Charlton? Wethers thinks not. "Leeds will beat Leicester on Saturday I don't think there's much doubt about that," he said. "The big question is what will happen in London. Charlton won't be an easy place to go and they won't make things easy for Liverpool. It really is touch and go, but I just can't see Liverpool allowing it to slip away again on the last day of the season." Let's hope he's wrong!

May 16: Worrying thought: Leicester are on a run of 11 away defeats. We're on a great run of home form. Where did that packet of anti-pessimism tablets go?

May 16: Transfer speculation: Sander Westerveld's performance tonight will surely encourage Gerard Houllier to consider a move for another keeper, so may rejoin the race to persuade Nigel Martyn to leave Elland Road - Fulham and Celtic being the other main runners. Vidooks to Milan as part of a swap deal (Shevchenko and Helveg might be a good deal but ex-Rangers star Gattuso is also mentioned). Leeds and ManU playing tug-of-war over Feyenoord's Brett Emerton - so what else is new? Leeds and Fulham are in the hunt for AS Monaco's centre back Philippe Christanval. Portsmouth look set to make Lee Sharpe's move from Bradford permanent, and Bournemouth are hoping to tie up Warren Feeney's future by the end of the week. David Batty is looking for a one-year extension to his contract that would keep him at Leeds until he is 35, and his two-time former team mate Gary Speed is starting to worry about his old age and retirement as Newcastle haven't yet indicated whether or not they'd be looking to keep him at St James' Park beyond the end of his contract which runs out next summer.

May 16: Tonight's UEFA Cup Final was without doubt one of the best games I've seen for a long time, and both Liverpool and Alaves deserve a lot of credit for producing such an open game - even though both sides' defence left something to be desired. There was a bit of Leeds past, present and possible future involved. Past: Gary McAllister, man of the match, free kick leading to the first goal, a penalty scored for the third, the pass that set up Fowler for the fourth and the free kick that was cruelly headed into the Alaves goal by one of their defenders just 3 minutes from the end of extra time. Present: well, that extra half hour of a tough game might just make a difference when they face Charlton on Saturday - on the other hand, the euphoria of winning two Cup Finals in a week might just be a boost. Future: Alaves' Romanian right back Cosmin Contra started out looking nothing special, but the way he turned the Liverpool defence inside out and produced some superb crosses made me think again - maybe he would be a useful addition to the Leeds squad.

May 16: Peter Ridsdale decided to spend some of his Press Popularity Points today by accusing the nation's sports writers of being eunuchs. Speaking at last night's end-of-season dinner and awards ceremony, he made it clear that he thought the gentlemen of the press should have taken a leaf out of the Leeds fans' book and given the Player of the Year award to Lee Bowyer. The chairman said: "I can't believe there is any more fitting winner than Lee Bowyer and if the football writers had any balls he would have been the Footballer of the Year." Bowyer was also nominated as Player of the Year by the rest of the squad, ahead of Alan Smith and Olivier Dacourt.

May 16: Paul Robinson is the only Leeds player named in the England U-21 squad for the friendly against Mexico at the end of this month and the European U-21 qualifier against Greece in early June. Stephen McPhail and Damien Lynch are in the Republic's U-21 squad for European qualifiers against Portugal and Estonia in early June, and Gary Kelly, Ian Harte and Robbie Keane are named in the senior squad for World Cup qualifiers against the same sides. Shaun Allaway has been named for the England U-17 squad that will face Italy in June.

May 16: Former Leeds captain Mark Aizlewood is being investigated by the Commission for Racial Equality as a result of remarks he made in half-time comments of the FAW Cup Final at the weekend.

May 15: Michael Bridges sounds extremely relieved to be back on the football field after the season from hell. "I was told that I would not play again for 12 months but I am back within seven so I am delighted. I have to give so much credit to the physio department here at the club, they have worked wonders for me. There was no way they would get me back into the first team but I was determined to get two or three games in the reserves, even if it was just 30 minutes here and there just so that next season I am ready." He has been the subject of much transfer speculation of late, but says that he's not looking for a move just yet. "What you read in the papers is just rumour and you can take or leave what you want. I have not played football since October and for people to talk about me as a £10m player is nice, however, I take it with a pinch of salt. I am happy at Leeds."

May 15: Peter Ridsdale has come out firmly against the proposals from UEFA boss Lennart Johannson to limit the Champions League to just the national champions again. The perception is that the two league stages don't generate enough excitement - although the TV money is most welcome. PR said: "Limiting the tournament to just the champions would make a mockery of the competition Too many major sides would miss out on playing in the premier club competition and they would not accept that. I can't see it happening. I think if the qualification was cut to just the champions of each country then many clubs would leave UEFA in protest." Johannson was expressing a "personal" opinion according to a UEFA spokesman - but with the structure of both the Champions League and the UEFA Cup up for review, don't be surprised to see some reform of both competitions, with the most likely outcome being two league-based competitions to maximise the TV money and minimise the chance of the big teams being eliminated early from both competitions.

May 15: Rio Ferdinand is keen to get his old mate Frank Lampard on board at Elland Road. Lampard was allegedly in Leeds earlier this week and is unlikely to take any part in West Ham's last game of the season on Saturday. Rio said: "It's good for us to get in quality players and Frank definitely fits into that category. We've done well over the past few months, but there is always room for improvement and I'm sure the manager will try and strengthen the squad during the summer. Frank would certainly strengthen any squad."

May 15: Stuart McCall and Andy Myers have been fined the maximum possible - two weeks wages - by Bradford City for their brawl just before half-time at Elland Road on Sunday.

May 15: Oldham boss - and former Leeds favorite - Andy Ritchie is still hoping that the proposal to set up an academy in conjunction with Leeds will get off the ground despite the continued delays and discussions by the authorities. Ritchie said: "We're still waiting to get that off the ground. Things at Leeds, both on and off the pitch, haven't helped this season but we hope to make headway in the close season."

May 15: Arsenal drew 0-0 with Newcastle tonight to seal 2nd place in the league and a guaranteed Champions League place.

May 15: The Sunday Mirror - but not its editor - will face contempt charges over an article that appeared in the paper that caused the abandonment of the trial of Jon Woodgate, Lee Bowyer and two other men earlier this year.

May 15: Lucas Radebe returns to full training this week and has an outside hope of taking some part in the final game of the season at home to Leicester on Saturday - though with the importance of the game I can't see DOL changing much in the starting line-up unless a last minute injury forces his hand.

May 15: The reserves drew 2-2 with Blackburn last night with the goals coming from Shane Cansdell-Sheriff and Stephen McPhail. Michael Bridges played the entire second half and there were also appearances by quite a few of the first team squad, including Paul Robinson, Gary Kelly, Jon Woodgate and Jason Wilcox.

May 15: Harry Kewell's agent has said that any talk of his player leaving Leeds is 'codswallop'. He said: "If that was to happen Harry would be the first person to know and I would be the second." Surely the other way round Bernie?

May 14: Random Rumour Round-up time. Southgate and Hendrie in with Hendrie replacing Kewell - who is on his way to Liverpool (or abroad with Leeds "forcefully" being seen to oppose the move), with Robbie Fowler going in the other direction, Michael Bridges moving out as a result of this and other issues (well he has bought that posh place in Newcastle according to many unconfirmed and unattributed sources), Kieron Dyer coming in the other direction and Mark Viduka being used as filling for the "chicken" balti pies at Elland Road for the first few games of next season. And Leeds will also pick up assorted Aussies, like Feyenoord's Brett Emerton plus however many decent players Brisbane have.

May 14: Socceroo coach Frank Farina has left Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell out of the Confederation Cup squad to give both players a chance to rest after a long season (for Viduka) and due to the imminent arrival of his first child (for Kewell).

May 14: Almost as soon as the season ends, Peter Ridsdale will be flying out to Australia where he is expected to meet up with his counterpart from the Brisbane Strikers to seal the terms of Leeds' involvement with the NSL club.

May 14: Unsurprisingly, Stephen McPhail was over the moon to be back for a decent spell on the pitch after a long lay-off with injuries. "I am delighted to be back, it was great just to get out and play part of the game. The fans have kept me going at times this season with the letters they have sent me while I have been out and it was very pleasing to get such a good reception when I came on." He knows it's going to be a struggle to win a regular place though: "This is a hard team to get into, when you miss a few games it means you are struggling to get back in because they have been doing so well recently. The players who are out of the side at the moment know what sort of squad we have and it's quite frightening."

May 14: DOL is a happy man: after the game this afternoon he said: "I was delighted with the attitude shown by the players and the football we played and this was a great way to bounce back after our semi-final defeat in the Champions League to Valencia." And with the carrot of CL football again dangling temptingly in front of the club, he's hoping that Lady Luck will actually remember who we are again. "We've now given ourselves a chance of being in the competition again next season, one in which we've not had an ounce of luck, so it would be lovely to get a crumb next Saturday."

May 14: Stuart McCall and Andy Myers will not be punished by Bradford, despite a fight that had to be broken up be Leeds players and which left McCall with a bloodied face just before half-time at Elland Road. McCall later claimed he'd been caught by Mark Viduka's elbow, and manager Jim Jeffries said that they had patched up their differences during the interval. "It was just a bit of passion and frustration which spilled over at the end of what was a nightmare first half," he said. "We weren't getting it together on the pitch and there were so many things happening, which eventually boiled over."

May 14: Euro round-up. The entirely un-fixed Bundesliga is now set to be won by Bayern after they scored in the last minute to beat Kaiserslauten 2-1 while Schalke were conceding a final-minute goal to go down 0-1 to Stuttgart. Valencia had a post-Leeds slump, losing Ayala to a red card at half-time - but they were already 2-0 down at Malaga, and Valdes completed his hat-trick for the home side before full-time. Liverpool's UEFA Cup opponents Alaves went down 2-1 at Depor on Friday in a game that saw 9 bookings, 1 red card and 3 penalties. Real Madrid once again slipped up, drawing 2-2 with Espanol at the Bernabeu after being 2-0 up and having Hierro sent off - they are now 6 points clear of Depor. The top 3 all won in Italy, so AS Roma stay 5 points clear of the pack. North of the border, Derek Lilley got a crucial late goal on Saturday to give Dundee United 3 points and keeps them in the SPL barring a goalscoring miracle by St Mirren.

May 13: 5-1 at half-time and the Bradford players having a stand-up fight in the middle of the park. It doesn't get much better than this!

May 13: There was a happy event for Danny Mills this week as the stork delivered a baby girl to the Mills house. He said: "It makes you a lot more laid back about football and that there are more important things in life - children and your family. But having said that we are still bitterly disappointed to have lost on Tuesday, although at the end of the day there's nothing we can do now." He's hoping his old team-mates at Charlton can do Leeds a favour by taking at least a point from Liverpool on the last day of the season, and would like another chance in the Champions League. He said: "Everybody wants to play on it. It's arguably the biggest in the world, and we want to play in the massive stadiums again next season. It's a big thrill and we want to be back."

May 13: Peter Ridsdale seems a bit ambivalent about possible qualification for the Champions League next year. He hinted that after two years of unexpected over-achievement in Europe, it might be helpful for Leeds to be able to take a bit of a step back, regroup and produce a plan that is a bit more than emergency firefighting. "If we get into the Champions League, it would be very good but we've recognised the dip in playing in it week in, week out as well as domestically - as Chelsea found - and what we need to do is consolidate our strengths and, if we do get back into the Champions League, we are then equipped to cope in both competitions." In what seems to be a recurring theme in interviews with the manager and directors of late, PR made it clear that although the manager would be supported in buying players he wanted, there wasn't a pile of cash specifically allocated for players: "If you give managers a number, they have a tendency to spend it," the chairman said.

May 11: An overseas club - possibly Leeds - has made an offer of A$4 million to take a 51% stake in Brisbane Strikers. Leeds have long been linked with a move down under, and this could be the club they have finally chosen - and are expected to formally reveal at an Australian media fair later this month.

May 11: Notts County boss Jocky Scott is looking to revive their attempts to bring in Leeds' youngster Tony Hackworth. With at least 4 others ahead of him in the pecking order, Hackworth has little chance of progress at Leeds, and now the court case is out of the way, he should think about getting his career back in gear at another club.

May 11: To even less surprise, UEFA have slipped back into their old slothful ways when it comes to dealing with offences seen on video. After surprising the world with their rapid reaction to Lee Bowyer's contact with Sanchez in the first leg of the semi-final, they are now twiddling their thumbs rather than taking action against Bayern Munich midfielder Mehmet Scholl, despite clear TV evidence showing his elbow in the face of Real Madrid's Michel Salgado. One rule for one team, another rule for Leeds - but we've known about UEFA's bias and corruption for many, many years so we can hardly be surprised by their latest (in)actions.

May 11: To no great surprise, Alan Smith has been fined the maximum possible by the club - two weeks wages or £30,000 - for being dismissed in the Valencia game on Tuesday night.

May 11: The reserves goals last night came from Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (again) and Wes Boyle - set up by Michael Bridges who made it on to the park for the last 30 minutes. The win for Leeds denied Sunderland the reserve team title - Everton stay top and win the northern section this year.

May 10: The famous Leeds United emblem which appeared on so many photos of the ground (until the West Stand banqueting suite went up in the early 1990s) was dumped in a skip, and was only saved from the landfill by a sharp-eyed worker. It's now in the hands of Leeds man Peter Foster. Club director David Spencer has offered him £500 to buy it back, but he's intending to split the proceeds between two charities and has had offers of four times that amount from other bidders. If you fancy the ultimate adornment for any house you could contact him on +44 7973 269797.

May 10: We'll definitely have the chance to watch one vital game on the last day of the season - Charlton against Liverpool will be screened live on Sky, with Leeds hoping the London side take at least one point from a team that will have just played two cup finals in a week. If Leeds win this weekend to stay on course for third place, the Leeds - Leicester clash will also be screened - if we slip up then Ipswich fans will have the chance to see if their side can sneak in ahead of both Leeds and Liverpool by winning at Derby.

May 10: The reserves beat Sunderland's second string 2-0 at Bootham Crescent tonight. More details later.

May 10: DOL has made it clear to Alan Smith that his future hangs on getting his temperament under control. "He let himself down badly on Tuesday," said O'Leary. "He is a wonderful player, a wonderful lad and very mild mannered off the pitch, but he can't take out his frustration in going out of the Champions League by getting himself sent off." Clearly frustrated with the young striker's red card on Tuesday, he made it clear that he needs to sort himself out: "It's all got to come from him. He's got to start paying us back."

May 10: With the departure of Harry Redknapp and Frank Lampard Senior from West Ham, the future of Lampard's imaginatively-named son is in question. His agent reckons there's not much chance of him playing for the club again after the way his uncle and father left the club (what - agent in player wants to move story shock?), and Leeds have been mentioned in connection with him before. Do we want him linking up with his old chum Rio? I'm not sure - I've been more impressed with what I've seen him do for the England U-21s than what he's managed in the Premiership, and if we were to make another smash and grab raid in the East End I'd sooner see us bag Michael Carrick. Needless to say, West Ham are making all the right "hands off" noises at this stage, which probably means they want a couple of million more.

May 10: Michael Bridges is due to play in tonight's reserve game against Sunderland. He'll probably only make it for 45 minutes, but it's a great boost for the striker, coming at the end of a disappointing and injury-destroyed season.

May 10: Leeds Ladies gained a 5-0 win at Wolves at the weekend to seal the title and promotion to the top division of women's football. They'll be up against the top teams, like Arsenal, Doncaster and Fulham and will find it a lot harded next year, but that's the only way they'll improve, and with a bit of luck and good management could get themselves into a challenging position over the next few years.

May 09: The FA could be moving almost as fast as UEFA - they've asked for footage of Martin Keown's two possibly illegal challenges on Leeds players in Saturday's game so they can review it with a view to action against the Arsenal defender. Would Keown also be banned from playing for England while under investigation? No? Thought not...so what's different about an on-field assault leading to an FA hearing and an off-field...oh don't bother asking...

May 09: Peter Ridsdale makes no excuses about the outcome of last night's game. "We can whinge and complain about the first goal but no, in the end we were outplayed on the night. This is part of our learning experience. To reach the semi-finals is a very good performance at our stage of building and I am delighted to have got that far." The question is - how much more learning is needed and how much will be "learnt" by acquiring other players? The chairman said: "It's down to David on whether he wants to go out and strengthen the squad." The deep pockets strategy could be tested by a Liverpool win at the Valley on Saturday week.

May 09: The ball-and-man challenge that Tony Adams inflicted on Robbie Keane may have brought the young Irishman's season to a premature close. Keane is suffering from an ankle injury and so it looks like we could be asking from one final effort from Smith (though not the sort that has guaranteed him a ban from the CL Qualifiers or the first round of the UEFA Cup next year) and Pieman (before he wanders off to munch on Spanish or Italian pies next season) in the last two league games.

May 09: So the "great adventure" finally comes to an end. The late banning of Lee Bowyer for a foul on Sanchez in the first leg didn't help matters, but with a couple of stand-out exceptions (Dacourt in particular) the team didn't play as well as we know they can. Full credit to Valencia for winning the match - we may point to yet another handball goal and suspicions about offside, but the simple fact is that they closed us down, restricted our chances and took their own over two legs. They made it to the final last year, they've done the same again this time round: they're clearly no mugs and however disappointed we may be, it's been a fantastic achievement to get this far. Now we've got to take the faint chance that JFH gave us by scoring twice to peg back Liverpool last night: if we win at home to Bradford and Leicester we can hope that Charlton manage to take advantage of Liverpool's punishing schedule and get something out of that game.

May 06: Euro round-up. Tuesday's opponents Valencia squeaked a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad, despite their hosts being reduced to 10 men for an hour of the game. Zahovic and Aimar scored for the visitors. Another shock defeat for Real Madrid, hammered 3-0 and losing Roberto Carlos thanks to two yellow cards in 2 minutes at Celta Vigo. Depor came from behind to draw 1-1 with Rayo Vallecano, so things close up at the top of La Liga slightly, but Madrid still have a commanding lead. Liverpool's UEFA Cup Final opponents Alaves once again found their shooting boots to record a 5-1 win over Racing Santander. In Germany Bayern got a late winner to keep up the pressure on Schalke, but the leaders won at home to Wolfsburg and remain on top on goal difference.

May 06: Good news for Leeds players involved in the last games in Division 1 today. David Hopkin had the most prominent role - punching the ball out on the edge of his own area, but with the ref unsighted he got away with it. Palace immediately went up the other end and scored the only goal of the game to stay in Division 1. And Lee Sharpe's loan move to Pompey has turned out okay as they also managed to stay up with a 3-0 win at home to Barnsley.

May 06: The team are flying out to Valencia on Sunday, having stayed in London overnight. Don't know if one of the management team will be equipped with a radio in the dugout on Tuesday night, but if Liverpool look like beating Chelsea while we're playing Valencia, the last Champions League place from the league will be gone and we'll have to throw the kitchen sink at Valencia in order to get to the final to stand a chance of returning next year. But we should be doing that anyway...

May 06: Silly season transfer speculation department. Bids of over £20 million apiece from Lazio/Roma/Milan for Rio and Vidooks, Liverpool to buy Bridges (what - in exchange for Heskey or Owen maybe?) Leeds to buy anyone under the age of 40 who's scored a goal in the last year... And Real Madrid say they really really don't want to buy Viduka. Better start swotting up on phrases like "Two chicken balti pies with mushy peas" Marko... John Carew, Norwegian gangly dude with Tuesday's opponents Valencia has said that he'd like to play for Leeds - just not yet. Fair enough John, score an OG or two at the Mestalla and we'll see if we can find a place for you.

May 05: DOL was not at all happy with Martin Keown's actions in today's game and wants the FA to take a look at the video evidence of clashes with Lee Bowyer and Mark Viduka. Viduka claimed that Keown had elbowed him in the face - and had a split lip to back up his allegations. DOL said: "Some things have happened today that should have been dealt with and weren't. I hope the FA deal with them." He went on: "The referee could have dealt with one or two situations better but I still don't think it was a spiteful game." Arsene Wenger wasn't too worried: "It was a tough game. Leeds have a very physical player up front in Viduka, who protects the ball well and that sometimes provokes physical challenges. Maybe Martin was sometimes a bit nervous and reacted. But Viduka is a difficult player to play against." He played down talk of a vendetta between the two clubs after a spate of cards in the last few encounters. "Maybe it was sometimes over-commitment or too many physical challenges but there's no bad feeling on my side towards Leeds." DOL was happy to admit that his former club deserved their win: "The best team by far won in the end. We have quite a few young players out there and maybe some of them had an eye on Tuesday night, but I'd still hate to use that as an excuse."

May 05: A poor showing by Leeds today - we only looked in it for the 15 minutes after we scored. Sure, a better referee would have red-carded Cole, Adams, Keown - and Viduka - today but based on the effort put in by Leeds we got exactly what we deserved. The absence of David Batty in the middle of the park was crucial, the return of Stephen McPhail welcome but uneventful, and why Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka were exposed to a full 90 minutes in a tough game was surprising. Arsenal have secured a Champions League spot for next year, and with Michael Owen grabbing a hat-trick for Liverpool, it's looking more likely that we'll have to settle for a UEFA Cup place.

May 05: If my Spanish is up to scratch (okay, it isn't) then the Valencia game looks like being a record crowd in the Mestalla with over 53000 fans crammed in. If you've not got a ticket - forget it and watch it on Canal+ seems to be the message!

May 04: Former Leeds gangly dude Carlton Palmer has been banned for two years and sentenced to 200 hours of community service after being found guilty of drink-driving and associated charges from an incident last November.

May 04: Arsenal preview: Batts is suspended, Rio's back makes him a slight doubt - but otherwise the changes are likely to be driven by the need to rest players ahead of Tuesday. Lauren and Kanu are on international duty, which could mean a recall for Dennis Bergkamp. DOL is clear where his priorities lie: "I told the players this morning I am proud of them for clinching a place in next season's UEFA Cup. The money men might not like it, but we're delighted by it, and if we are in that competition next year I think we will do very well in it."

May 04: DOL has been voted Manager of the Month for the second successive month. Since we won every game in the Premiership and advanced to the Champions League semi-finals, it's not hard to see why. Let's hope the Carling Curse stays away - we did beat Liverpool immediately after the last one, so with a bit of luck it will be laid to rest. Gary McAllister's performances for Liverpool have been vital to their continued success, and he deservedly picks up the Player of the Month award.

May 04: Transfer randomness: Barry Ferguson from Rangers for £10 million according to some of the Scottish tabloids today. Take large pinch of salt, stare boggle-eyed at price and remember what DOL says: "I won't have 'fancy dans' at the club. That is not my style and it is not what I have set out to do here." Ferguson is not a 'fancy dan' by any stretch of the imagination - he's a good, solid midfielder, but at that price???? The likely price of Kieron Dyer - and the fact that Man U could easily outbid us - will probably rule him out of the summer shopping list.

May 04: Journos - the same the world over (part 18). The less sensible wing of the Spanish press said that Valencia were lucky to come out of Elland Road alive, and compared Leeds to the Anglo-Saxon warriors of the Dark Ages. Leeds "reminded me of those poor Englishmen who invented football 15 centuries ago when they cut off a Viking's head, put it in a bag and started to kick it around, as awkward and primitive as that," said one well-informed critic. Well, if Senor Ruiz wants to meet us in a bar in Valencia to discuss his views, I'm sure he'll find us all enlightened and cheery souls. But if he could tape his ears to his skull and have a shave I'm sure it will ensure that he doesn't really get our backs up by taking an uneven bounce....:-)

May 04: The reserves drew 1-1 with Liverpool at Bootham Crescent last night with Leeds' goal coming from Shane Cansdell-Sherriff. Jon Woodgate and Stephen McPhail played a half each and could be on the bench - or even starting - tomorrow, depending on just how far DOL goes in his promise to rest some of the team.

May 03: What do these bloody foreigners who are running the England team know about football? Well, quite a lot I hope! Tord Grip was once again a visitor to Elland Road last night and was impressed with what he saw. "The continental game is very different to the English one and it is great that the likes of Alan Smith and Lee Bowyer are getting used to that so early in their careers," said Grip. Such a nice man. And what of the future? "I think Leeds will do very well in Valencia. They have had a far harder run than any of the other teams and have got past some of the biggest clubs in Europe to get to the semi-finals. I believe Leeds will reach the final, and I suspect it will be Bayern Munich against them."

May 03: David Batty has played his last league game of the season due to suspension, so Eirik Bakke should be in on Saturday. With Robbie Keane not available for Europe, he must surely start to give Viduka or Smith a rest, and Harry Kewell's lack of match fitness could let in Jason Wilcox. Not that we'll be doing anything other than going out to win the game of course.... Wilcox, McPhail and Woodgate are in line for a run in the reserves against Liverpool tonight - quite how much of a part they take may indicate what they'll be asked to do at the weekend. Arsenal, of course, will be thinking about their own upcoming big game and if a couple of the players were less than full-blooded in the tackle because they were thinking about next weekend's FA Cup Final they could be forgiven.

May 03: Doing down the opposition department. Or talking down the transfer fee.... After last night's comparative failure (well, he didn't actually score a goal), Real Madrid are apparently no longer interested in Mark Viduka. Coach Vicente del Bosque was not at all impressed with his performance against Valencia, and said: "I remembered when he played against us in the Santiago Bernabeu, he was almost a perfect striker. But since then, I think he has become worse and worse as the season has gone on." If we end up in a Madrid - Leeds final, I hope someone photocopies that quote and sticks it on the inside of Vidook's locker - and prints a spare copy for the striker to give to del Bosque when he's bagged a hat-trick against the Spanish side.

May 03: Smithy remains happy to stay at Leeds forever and a day. Peter Ridsdale noted that Smithy had pointed to the badge on his shirt and said "I play for this, not for cash," when the talk was of a new contract. It's an attitude the chairman appreciates and encourages. "My whole reason for existing in this business is to restore the glory of Leeds United," he said. The chairman has probably sweated it a bit this season with the Rio signing and when the club slipped to 12th in January, but he's back the manager all the way. "When you've been on a journey like ours, coming from 12th in the League to sitting in the top three and getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League when nobody gave us a hope in hell, it really means something. My whole life is consumed by whether Leeds do well or not." And with the big games and big results, he is - of course - delighted: "Smithy's second goal against Anderlecht - that chip - said we were starting to have the experience and skills that gave us a chance in the Champions League. As a fan, moments like that and matches like that are wonderful. It takes me back to the Don Revie days. I feel privileged to be the chairman and to be there in these great grounds."

May 03: DOL is reasonably happy with the result last night. "I know on our day we can score an away goal and it's amazing how an away goal can change everything. If I was in Valencia now I would be thinking this was a good result, but I would be concerned about losing an away goal to us." Hector Cuper was unsurprisingly happy to come away from Elland Road on level terms. "The [Leeds] defence was well organised but we had to take care of people like Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell. They created a couple of chances that were dangerous but so did we."

May 02: Tight game, fair result, excellent refereeing. Valencia settled quickest and created some early openings, but Leeds were dominating the possession and had the best chances before half-time. Bowyer and Smith both had good chances, and only the woodwork, a header off the line and a suspiciously behind-the-line scramble by the keeper stopped Leeds scoring. Valencia finished strongly though, and we all had a collective coronary when a downward header looped off the ground and towards goal in the third minute of injury time. Honours even and full credit to ref Pierluigi Collina, who did his best to keep the game moving, only used his cards when reason hadn't worked and kept both sides calm. The two cautions he did issue do mean that both Baraja and Carbone will miss next week's return leg - the game is in the balance and it may be very significant that we managed to keep a clean sheet. There were also places on the bench for Jon Woodgate and Stephen McPhail as they continue their comeback from injury (or "injury" in the case of Woody). More post-game round-up tomorrow when I've had a bit of sleep....

May 02: Leeds have followed Arsenal and Manchester United in launching a Chinese language website. www.lufc.com.hk will try to cover local angles as well as offering the same batch of interviews and info on the main site, but with specific content for the region. Japanese and Malay sites are expected to follow.

May 02: Falkirk's youngster Mark Kerr - who has been linked with moves to Leeds and Ipswich - will be staying put unless someone ponies up the dough according to Falkirk manager Alex Totten. He said: "Mark is contracted to June 2002 and even if he was out of contract he couldn't leave for free because of his age. We are actually trying to get him tied up on a longer deal."

May 01: Kieron Dyer looks to be heading back to full fitness after a second leg op (and after his car crash last week) - and with possible swapee Michael Bridges also returning to training, the chances of a player exchange during the summer have increased slightly - but with Moneybags United also in the hunt we'll need a bit of luck in persuading the talented winger to move to the one true United.

May 01: We are the weakest link - according to Ian Harte - but we've got no intention of saying goodbye just yet. The left-back said: "If you take into account the proven quality of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Valencia, they have greater experience at the top level of European competition than we have." DOL is hoping to progress further, but in preparing for a soft landing said: "Even if we went out to Valencia, we can still hold our heads high and say we went the furthest of all the premier league sides"

May 01: Tomorrow night's game is a total sell out - although as always the capacity of the ground is reduced to just 36,000 for UEFA games. Peter Ridsdale said that the club had been inundated with callers trying to get a ticket for the match. "There are so many disappointed people," the chairman said. "Their reaction when they realise that they have no chance of getting into Elland Road shows how much this game means to so many people." But when he says: "It is a game we could probably have sold three times over, and that is not surprising when you consider that it is our highest profile match for more than a quarter of a century," you've got to ever so slightly question why there are no plans to extend the ground's capacity: we might not make it to a Euro-semi every year, but if we're planning for continued success it must make sense to add a few thousand more seats.

May 01: Leeds dropped to fourth in the league tonight as yet another Gary McAllister goal helped Liverpool to a 2-0 win against relegated Bradford. They've used up their games in hand, bagged the points and sit on a healthy goal difference. Meanwhile there was a massive shock in the Bernabeu as a goal from Giovane Elber gave Bayern a 1-0 win to take into next week's second leg.

May 01: Olivier Dacourt has stirred up the opposition a bit by branding them "old men". He said: "Valencia's players must be 35 on average, while our average age is 23. When I joined Leeds last summer, I couldn't believe I was one of the oldest." Alan Smith was a bit more down-to-earth, insisting that the key thing in tomorrow's game was to keep a clean sheet. The young striker said: "Valencia are a great side and it will be a tough couple of games." Recalling the quarter-final clash with Depor, he said: "It would have been totally different going to Spain if they had scored at Elland Road."

May 01: After playing two games a week for an entire 8 months, Mark Viduka is absolutely knackered, so it's no surprise that he's pulled out of Australia's Confederation Cup games at the end of June. However, following the agreement between Leeds and the Australian FA, he will be playing in their crucial World Cup qualifiers in June - which should provide him with an incentive to keep fit and be ready to take maximum advantage of the pre-season games to sharpen up. Harry Kewell's presence may depend on his fitness - and his fiancee, but there should be no problem with the availability of Jacob Burns and Danny Milosevic.

May 01: If you want to right the wrongs of the recent Player of the Year decisions, you can vote for some deserving causes in the ITV Player of the Year Poll. They're running a phone poll - 12p a vote - with Bowyer on 0901 470 1011 and Rio on 0901 470 1006.

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