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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


June 30: "We have another week off now but we are all raring to go and I can't wait to get back into training." That's what Alan Smith has to say, and after last season's success it's hardly surprising he's looking forward to it. As for the difficult start - with a visit to Highbury 4 days into the new season, he says: "It's a great test for us against one of the best teams in the country and I can't wait." He's not the only one - I've had my break and now I'm counting the days to the pre-season friendlies.

June 30: After opening in a flurry of publicity a year ago, Lee Chapman and Leslie Ash's Leeds branch of Teatro has been closed. No doubt the old dot com fallout hasn't helped matters, with many of the high-tech and financial service organisations that operate in Leeds cutting back and their highly-paid employees targetted by the club having to tighten the purse strings, but there was no warning that the club was having trouble. Leeds Sporting holds a 25% stake in the Leeds branch of Teatro.

June 30: According to Peter Ridsdale, fans are warming to the idea of a move away from Elland Road. Well, if by warming you mean getting hot under the collar and blazing furious, I think I can safely say I agree with him. And apparently fans living outside of Leeds are more in favour than those who live in the city. Well, speaking as an exile I'm firmly against - and have yet to meet anybody who doesn't think that a scheme redeveloping the current ground wouldn't be preferable. I guess I just move in the wrong circles, or maybe those lucky enough to get to speak to the chairman on a regular basis don't want to get his back up by disagreeing. Or maybe there is a massively sound financial reason for the move. Whatever - all we appear to be seeing from the club right now is statement after statement trying to give the impression that any move would be good without any sound logical, logistical or financial reason in favour. Come on Peter - why not just nip up the M621 to IKEA and pick up a flat-packed Billy football stand extension - you know it makes sense!

June 29: Following a run of bad results, Howard Wilkinson has stepped down as coach of the England U-21 side - but will remain as FA Technical Director. Wilko has suffered somewhat from one crop of players (Rio, Smith, Lampard, Cole, Cole to name but a few) graduating to the full squad, but they've not yet been replaced by players of the same ability - but when the U-21s lost to Greece and had two players dismissed, the writing was on the wall.

June 29: Leeds are being connected (again) with Feyenoord's young Australian midfielder Brett Emerton. Which is sort of strange, cos (a) he'd only be a bench player in the current side, (b) he's Australian - and we're already a bit long on Antipodeans and don't want to find an even bigger hole in the team whenever they have an international, and (c) he doesn't fit in with the "more than Robbie but less than Rio" price range stated by Peter Ridsdale. The chairman also said that we hadn't expressed an interest in Kieron Dyer since he was at Ipswich. So that's another possible off the list then...

June 29: Leeds' pre-season friendly against Sparta Rotterdam has been brought back by 24 hours and will now take place on Friday August 10. Hope you hadn't booked your flights....

June 28: Bruno Ribeiro - brought to Elland Road by GG along with Jimmy - has had his contract paid up by Sheffield United. He never really got on with Neil Warnock and after playing rarely was loaned back to a Portugese side last season.

June 28: Looking at the implications and timing of the Socceroos' World Cup play-off game doesn't make great reading for any Leeds fan. The games will be played on November 25 and December 9, so at the very least Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell will miss 2 league games and both legs of the UEFA Cup 3rd Round. But that's the price you pay I guess - and with a bit of luck we won't be so totally decimated with injured players that their absence will mean we're reduced to leaving gaps on the subs bench as we had to do last season. Of more concern is the fact that - with all the travelling and with a possible warm-up game in the pipeline - the pair could be away for as long as 6 weeks. And then there's the opposition: we all need to be cheering for Uruguay when they play their game in hand, because they'll need to win it to overtake Colombia - and with FIFA cancelling the Copa America after a senior official was kidnapped by revolutionaries, that's the last place you want to be sending £50 million of Leeds talent.

June 28: The new away shirt goes on sale tomorrow night, so if you're really really stuck for something to do on a Friday night, get yourself down to Elland Road to enjoy the festivities for the grand launch. The first 50 people to purchase the new blue top will get a voucher entitling them to a free home shirt when the design is changed at the end of next season. Personally, I'd rather be down the pub...

June 27: Senior bods on the commercial side have just been spending a couple of days Down Under as Leeds launch themselves as a sporting brand and look to kick off a whole bunch of commercial opportunities at a convention in Australia. This is nowt to do with the putative link-up with an NSL club - it's just about building the brand and generating a new source of licensing income for the plc, and apparently was very successful.

June 27: We're all keeping our fingers crossed for South Africa this weekend: they face Burkina Faso in a World Cup qualifier and a single point will see them qualify. If they lose, they may be forced to call on the not-totally-fit Lucas Radebe for their final game against Malawi when Lucas needs to be gently easing his way back into pre-season training.

June 27: On the same day that Olivier Dacourt signed an extension to his existing 4-year deal, Jason Wilcox has gone from being a dead cert Manchester City player to being a dyed-in-the-wool White with no chance of moving in the space of a day. Early reports linked the winger with a move to Kevin Keegan's team as they try to climb back into the Premier League, but Peter Ridsdale later dismissed such talk as "nonsense".

June 27: Sky have announced their first batch of TV games for the season. Leeds midweek visit to Arsenal will be televised, as will the trips to Portman Road, Old Trafford and Anfield. All those games remain on their original days, but the games against the big two are set to kick off in the morning/at midday since they fall on a Saturday. The only Leeds fixture to move to another date for Sky is the home game against Chelsea, which moves back to the Sunday. There are still 3 empty slots in December which Leeds could conceivably be screened in, but a decision on those games will be made nearer the time.

June 26: Peter Ridsdale's wife, Sophie, has donated a signed Leeds shirt, signed by 14 members of last season's squad, to raise money for a medical charity. All proceeds from this auction will go to Merlin (Medical Emergency Relief International) who provide health care in crises around the world.

June 26: Suggestions of Internazionale coming in with an offer for Mark Viduka are untrue, according to their president Massimo Moratti. He said that the quotes attributed to him in the Marca newspaper were made up: "The sentences I would have said, well, they are false, there in nothing true there." Elsewhere, Lee Sharpe looks set to be similarly static now that Portsmouth have a new boss. Graham Rix had been keen on signing the former Leeds winger when Rix was caretaking at Fratton Park, and Bradford are keen to unload Sharpe to reduce their wage bill. But Harry Redknapp's views on Sharpe are not known - so he may have to remain on the books at Valley Parade. Bradford are keener to retain the services of Robert Molenaar, who impressed Jim Jeffries as they struggled in vain against relegation last season.

June 26: It looks like Neil Aspin's league playing days are over - but a career in management could be on the cards. No doubt helped by an energetic and impressive performance in the Yorkshire Masters tournament, he has been appointed player-coach at Harrogate Town, where he'll link up with Wilko's mad former sidekick Mick Hennigan who becomes Director of Football and Vice-President In Charge Of Screaming From The Touchline.

June 26: Peter Ridsdale has reassured supporters worried about DOL's future with the club after tabloid reports of a yet to be shown Channel 4 programme indicated that he was fed up and ready to walk away from Elland Road. The chairman said: "I had dinner with David last week, he has never been happier and is raring to go." We hope that's go as in get on with it....

June 25: With the team formally due back for pre-season training a fortnight today, it's looking pretty positive on the injury front. After last year's disasters, it would seem that just about everyone - including long-term absentees Michael Bridges and Michael Duberry - will be fit for the restart, and Paul Robinson thinks that his hand is recovering from the op ahead of schedule. On the negative side, we'll almost certainly be without Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell towards the back end of October after the Socceroos' convincing 6-1 aggregate win over New Zealand earned them a play-off against the fifth side in the South American group for qualification to WC2002.

June 25: The club will be sending out letters to shareholders, season ticket holders and supporters clubs to gauge reaction to a possible stadium move. When LUFC held a poll on their website, the result was diametrically opposed to the poll I held on mine: my readers were pretty much 3:1 in favour of redeveloping Elland Road, but the official site - in line with many pro-move statements by those connected with the club at the time - came out 2:1 in favour of moving. Maybe Tony Blair will be getting a few tips from PR as to how to run the euro referendum. Ooh! Biting political satire as well as footy news...

June 25: Vidooks and Olly are on the point of agreeing new deals, according to the club. Peter Ridsdale flew out to meet up with Viduka when he was holidaying in Croatia to get his agreement to a one-year extension to his contract to keep him on the books after his current four-year term runs out.

June 25: So we're not about to sign an Argentinian after all. Peter Ridsdale said: "We can't send a scout anywhere without people assuming we are buying a whole team. We are making no moves for anybody in Argentina."

June 24: Our infallible manager (rumours of a switch into the upcoming vacancy in the Vatican are being played down) has once again hit out at those fans in the crowd who booed the team earlier in the year. This time he's apparently saying this in an interview in an interview to be screened on Channel 4. He does have a point but, as we've noted before, his main complaints during the season were that the crowd got on the team's back when it was losing at home. Which is not strictly true: the crowd got on the team's back when they produced displays - like the Man City game - so spineless it had us all reaching for jellyfish similes. There will always be a few folks who want to jeer rather than cheer, but for the rest of us, DOL would do well to remember the difference berween cause and effect.

June 24: UEFA are having their customary effect on the fixture list already. As well as the visits to Charlton and Ipswich moving back to the Sundays (16/30 September) to allow for the UEFA Cup game on the previous Thursday, the Everton midweek game between the two has moved back by a day to September 19 to give Leeds a bit of a breather between games. The Sky effect will be felt in full early next week as they announce the games they will be televising.

June 24: I guess we're getting a bit of a taste of our own medicine with Mark Viduka at the moment. The pie-munching one is apparently one of Internazionale's top targets at the moment, and - just as we did with Rio - the bid is edging up almost daily and no doubt the wage packets are similarly on the increase. Even so, the club are hoping to hang on to the Aussie hitman - if only to keep up strong competition for a starting place with so many talented strikers at the club.

June 24: Bit of a quiet weekend really. Leeds are being persistently linked with defenders - Daniel van Buyten of Standard Liege and Belgium and Boca Juniors' 19-year-old Argentinian Nicolas Burdisso are the latest names to be mentioned. There's a good few weeks before the pre-season training gets underway, so there's plenty of time to find someone who will make a difference...with Jon Woodgate's future still clouded by the court case, Lucas Radebe's continuing knee problems, plus the fact that Dom Matteo and Danny Mills aren't really centre-backs by choice (though that may change) it would seem likely that we'd be looking for someone in that position, particularly in the light of rumours linking Michael Duberry with a return to London - linking up with Glenn Hoddle at Spurs.

June 22: Leeds will play a friendly against The Netherlands' oldest club - Sparta Rotterdam - on August 11. Time to get out those European train and plane timetables again....

June 22: Peter Ridsdale confirmed that a possible tie-up with an Australian club might still be on - but with the NSL undergoing fairly significant upheavals Leeds weren't going to commit to a team that wasn't in the top league when the dust has settled. He said: "I think it was announced which teams would be in the league 10 days ago but there are some appeals going on so when that is sorted out it is likely we will go back down the road of trying to form links with one of two clubs we have shortlisted."

June 22: Informed gossip from a reader of your own personal scandal sheet says that PR reckons that we're lined up to pay "more than for Keane but less than for Ferdinand" for one of the two players that DOL wants - and that the other one is unlikely to become available. If you get any gossip - transfer or otherwise - that's Leeds related, drop me a mail and I'll share it with the world.

June 21: Transfer gossip time! Vidooks should be staying at the club and PR is talking about offering him improved money and a one-year additional extension after 3 European clubs came in with offers over £20 million - over 3 times what we paid for him. Frank Lampard was never on DOL's wanted list according to the chairman (so presumably the talk about only being prepared to bid under £10 million was just to wind up West Ham). Seth Johnson and Lucas Neill are also definitely not on DOL's list. And some sources in Europe are linking Leeds with a move for Club Bruges' Congolese defender Nzelo Lembi for a sub-£5 million amount - but this looks to be similar to last week's rumours of a move for Marc Libbra, with the selling club talking it up to push up the price and flush out a buyer. And finally on the purchase front, talk of a move for Internazionale's Javier Zanetti continues to emerge. As for departures - well, with Newcastle now facing a game in the InterToto in 3 weeks, Bobby Robson is said to be ready to snap up Coventry's Craig Bellamy thus decreasing the likelihood of a move for Michael Bridges.

June 21: Contrary to earlier rumours, the first match of the season is in fact at home to Southampton, with visits to Arsenal midweek and West Ham the following Saturday. The obvious highlights (or lowlights) will be Man U - away on October 27, home on March 30, and Liverpool at Anfield on October 13 and at home on February 2.

June 20: Keep your eye on the Sky and BBC websites tomorrow (Thursday) morning - the fixture lists are released at 10 o'clock (although Sky will not be calling their live matches for the first half of the season until the weekend, so don't make your travel plans yet). What with World Cup qualifiers early on and the end of the season brought back to accommodate WC2002, this looks like being a very busy season with a whole bunch of midweek games, and a strong squad will be needed to survive and challenge on multiple fronts.

June 20: Former player news: Noel Whelan looks set to be shown the door at the Riverside - new coach Steve Maclaren doesn't see him fitting into his side (no doubt he's intending to build his team around Brian Deane). Huddersfield's Clyde Wijnhard has started on his way back to playing after his horrific car crash last year. He's due to have a couple of intensive weeks getting some fitness back and hopes to be around to help Huddersfield back into Division 1 after their final day relegation trauma last season.

June 20: Is the Leeds-Oldham link-up back on? Some reports today suggest that there will be a high-level meeting to discuss how Leeds can fund and benefit from Oldham's youth academy, whenever the Football League manage to wake up enough of their executive from their afternoon naps to form a quorum and allow the arrangement to begin.

June 20: With all the activity on the transfer market at present, Leeds have been conspicuous by their absence from any deals of any note. Peter Ridsdale today revealed that the money is in place to fund two major transfers - and that these were the only two players DOL had asked to be brought in. Ridsdale said: "We already have a fantastic squad - one that is capable of making a serious assault on both the Premiership title and the UEFA Cup next season." I've got to agree with that and what he added: "It would not be a disaster if we began the new campaign without a single new face."

June 19: Rio is no longer the most expensive defender in the world - Lilian Thuram's move from Parma to Juventus (he decided to avoid Old Trafford after talking to his team-mates) has come in at the bargain price of £22 million. I would say that there's no way a defender can be worth that much - but I'm sure I said the same before Rio turned up and added the solidity to the defence that helped us get to the Champions' League semis and earned us a small fortune.

June 19: Time to check that wallet - it looks like Olly's agent is playing a tough game with the management at Elland Road - negotiations over his (one-year-old) contract appear to have stalled with the Frenchman wanting a bigger piece of pie after Leeds rescued his career from semi-obscurity at Lens and gave him the stage on which to show what he can do. But it's whatever you can get away with these days I guess....

June 19: If the leaked fixture list is correct (and the official release date is Thursday), Leeds will be at home to Boro on the first day of next season.

June 19: Trevor Sinclair has apparently asked for a transfer request at Upton Park - and would like to join his old mate Rio Ferdinand at Leeds. Glenn Roeder is not keen to sell, and with the money from Rio and Lampard in the bank, West Ham should not be under financial pressure to do so, but DOL was allegedly very keen on the versatile 28-year-old last summer, so maybe there's a hint of reality in this rumour. West Ham have, of course, turned down the request.

June 19: Fulham look set to miss out on yet another transfer target who has been also linked with Leeds: John Arne Riise is now having talks with Liverpool after skipping a medical at Craven Cottage and is believed to have agreed personal terms, leaving the clubs to hammer out a fee. That's Riise and Koller they've lost - maybe Mr Al Fayed's purse has a bottom after all, or maybe the players are just being convinced that, for all their money, they're still a small club who are not likely to be challenging for a European place. Another former Leeds target Thorsten Helstad could finally be on the move from Brann, with Sunderland, Ipswich and Anderlecht all interested.

June 19: Tony Hackworth, Alan Maybury, Wes Boyle and Gareth Evans will all remain at Elland Road for another year at least. Hackworth, Maybury and Boyle have all faced injury problems (as well as Hackworth's court appearance), so the club is clearly trying to show a little bit of fairness to them - giving them one more chance to prove they are worth a place in the squad, or to show enough of what they can do in the reserves to attract a buyer. Hackworth has been linked with a move - denied - to Northampton, and Evans has been connected with several Yorkshire clubs.

June 18: Alan Smith will just miss the first two games of next season's UEFA Cup campaign after the UEFA disciplinary committee reduced his ban by one game for the red card he received in the Mestalla.

June 18: Transfer lies and rumours from the weekend: Chelsea to come in for Paul Robinson (just jetting out for a fortnight's holiday today so plenty of chances to hype up the bid while he's away and can't knock it back), Jason Wilcox will fight for his place at Elland Road rather than move, Seth Johnson from Derby (again). Looks like the hacks' imagination has taken a holiday, never mind the players!

June 17: Looks like we could be running into our friends from Valencia again next season: Barcelona needed a Rivaldo hat-trick, completed in the last minute of the last game of the season at the Nou Camp to clinch 4th place on goal difference ahead of Valencia: Barca are in the Champions League qualifying round and Valencia will be in the UEFA Cup. Real Madrid, Deportivo and Mallorca are the other three teams in the Champions League - but those places were already certain. In Italy, Roma sealed the Serie A title on the last day of the season with a 3-1 win over Parma.

June 17: Peter Lorimer's team of Leeds veterans ran out winners in tonight's Yorkshire Masters at the Sheffield Arena. Carl Shutt was top scorer for the tournament with Tony Dorigo and Neil Aspin in the next two places. Even Arthur Graham managed a couple - and didn't look in bad shape for a 48-year-old. Mel Sterland, Imre Varadi and John Sheridan appeared for Sheffield Wednesday, and Tony Agana turned out for Sheffield United. Leeds beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-2 in the final after losing to the Owls and beating Barnsley and Sheffield United in the group. Leeds will now take part in the UK Final at London Arena on September 2.

June 16: "Money can't buy" the spirit at Leeds, according to Aussie ace Harry Kewell. He's making some very positive noises about the side, so there's some hope that he'll stay for another year at least. "A lot of other clubs are buying big at the moment but we've already got some great young talent at Leeds. The basis of a terrific team is already in place." He added: "Sure, you can always benefit from the arrival of more players but most of the team we've got have come up through the system together and have the sort of spirit you can't really buy." But we need to win some silverware soon - and when we do: "Once we've had a taste of real success this team will go a long way."

June 16: At long last, some official recognition for one of the all-time greats of the game, who has been ignored by the authorities while the pygmies who have followed him have been rewarded. Yep, John Charles has finally been awarded a gong - a CBE - in the latest Honours List published today. Now I am, of course, firmly committed to a true egalitarian society and think that such a title is a throwback etc., etc., but if there are awards to be dished out, they should be dished out to our boys. Shame it wasn't a knighthood - but I guess you have to be English or associated with the Prime Minister's son's favorite team to get one of those. The Gentle Giant was surprised to hear about the honour. "It's wonderful, but it came as a complete shock," he said. "I mean, I've been finished a long time now. It's unbelievable. I've no idea why I've got it now." Charles has recently been fighting cancer, and looks to be on the road to recovery.

June 15: Leeds' traitorous former centre half Gordon McQueen will be leaving his position of first team coach at Middlesborough. He's been at the club for 7 years in a coaching capacity, but new boss Steve Mclaren wants to bring in his own coaching team.

June 15: Football teams from various bookstores in the Leeds and Harrogate area are to compete against each other for the right to be the first to stage a signing for Eddie Gray's forthcoming autobiography. The book is due to be published a month or so before Christmas (hint to any partners reading this - ideal present for the Leeds fan in your life) and will cover the 30-odd years that he has spent with Leeds. Let's hope we get the full dirt on his sacking too - time to settle a few scores with the old board maybe...:-)

June 15: Reports today said that the new squad numbers had been issued - with Rio moving to number 15 - but the club will not be formally announcing them until a lot closer to the pre-season games when most of the arrivals and departures will have been sealed. Rio will clearly be one of the starting centrebacks, but it's hard to see DOL changing club captain Lucas Radebe's number, and any move to apparently downgrade Jon Woodgate before the retrial will not go down well.

June 15: Tony Hackworth could be the latest player to exit the club with Huddersfield Town mentioned as a possible loan destination. After a year in which he appeared at the Nou Camp and then at Hull Crown Court (where he was discharged by the judge), it's clear that his opportunities for first team games at Leeds are severely limited, so any move that gets him a regular start will be a good thing. In other transfer news, Leeds have denied that they are interested in Toulouse's Marc Libbra despite what the French club had been saying yesterday. With Lampard and Jeffers gone, Dyer and Ferguson staying put and Real Madrid hoovering up most of our alleged foreign targets we're running out of players to buy. Or at least, we're running out of the ones that all the tabloid gossip linked us with, so maybe we'll now see the ones that DOL wants turning up.

June 15: Today - according to my stats - is the birthday of Ivan Sharpe. Sharpe played just one game for Leeds United, sixty-odd for Leeds City plus numerous other clubs before taking up journalism on his retirement. He also wrote a book in the 1950s - "40 years in Football" - which I found in a second hand bookshop last week - well worth a read if you manage to lay your hands on a copy: there's a chapter on the dissolution of Leeds City, plus quite a bit on Herbert Chapman (obviously more on his Huddersfield and Arsenal time), plus mentions of Willis Edwards, Major Frank Buckley, Russell Wainscoat and four Kings - and Kaiser Wilhelm as well! Can't quite see such a literary tour de force being produced by the players of today :-)

June 14: A whole bunch of youngsters have been released by the club today - players who have not quite made the grade and who need to move on to let the latest batch of young players come through. Simon Watson, Damien Lynch, Kevin Dixon and Chad Harpur have all been deemed surplus to requirements, although a couple of lower division clubs may pick them up as free agents if they're lucky.

June 14: Today's dump of transfer randomness. Internazionale have transfer-listed Zanetti - but the midfielder has already expressed a desire to play for Real Madrid, so not much hope there. Toulouse have indicated that Leeds have joined Hibs in competition for the signature of 28-year-old striker Marc Libbra who was on loan with Hibs towards the end of last season. Toulouse are desperate for cash and the fee could be as little as £500,000 - but deadline day is a week and a half away in France, so a rapid move is essential. Frank Lampard has been confirmed as a Chelsea player, and one-time Leeds transfer target (according to the tabloids) is either on the point of signing for Arsenal for around £10 million or has resigned himself to another season at Everton before taking a Bosman next year. Late indications are that the former is true.

June 14: Former Leeds man and large-arsed goal king Tony Yeboah has threatened to quit the game (though at 34 he's not got many more years left anyway). After being fined over £100,000 for not paying his taxes in Germany earlier this year, his lawyer has now presented him with a bill for nearly three times that amount. "If I have to go to court again because of this story, I'll quit," he said.

June 14: As part of Sky's attempt to get anything vaguely football-related into the gaping holes of its summer schedules, they are once again running a Football Masters tournament, and once again Leeds will be playing in the Yorkshire group - which is to be played at Sheffield Arena on Sunday. Get yourself down there to cheer on Leeds heroes of days gone by such as Ian Snodin, Glynn Snodin, Tony Dorigo, Carl Shutt, Arthur Graham, Noel Blake, Brendan Ormsby, John Pemberton, Neil Aspin, and Phil Hughes. At least we're getting to the point where some of our veterans are from the Division 1 days (which is not to slight the band of heroes who represented us last year but we'll be hoping for a better result this time round).

June 14: A combined operation by West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Police has seen 7 people arrested in connection with incidents at Elland Road after the game between Leeds and Manchester United on March 3. Three of the arrested men were from Manchester, three from West Yorkshire and one from North Wales. Inspector Melvyn Stubbs said: "I want to send out a clear message to anyone attending Elland Road intent on causing trouble that the police will not tolerate this kind of action and will take action to combat it."

June 14: Leeds have a team out in the States this week to study how new stadia are funded over there - following up on a meeting that looked at stadium construction, attended by the likes of Barca, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Fulham, in London last week. Operations Director David Spencer sees it as a convenient way around the controversy that would blow up should the club try to rename Elland Road. He said: "One of the advantages with moving to a new site would be the opportunity for stadium sponsorship through naming rights, like Bolton's Reebok or Stoke's Britannia. That is something we feel would only be possible, however, if we moved away because it would be very difficult to find a stadium sponsor for Elland Road." I'm sure he's got a whole boatload of other reasons for wanting to move from the existing site, but they've not been as well articulated at the moment.

June 13: Letting it slip department. A Leeds city councillor was being questioned about the possibility of a real landmark skyscraper being constructed in central Leeds. She said it was highly unlikely - Leeds town centre was not the sort of place to site such a tall building and anyway, they were looking to build a business centre and world class football stadium on the outskirts of town.....whoops! James' frontman Tim Booth is the latest Leeds fan to be wheeled out in favour of a move in what is increasingly looking like a co-ordinated campaign to beat down the average fan's resistance to relocation. He said: "They would have the chance to build a purpose-built stadium with all modern facilities. To be honest I think it is a bit of a hotch-potch as it stands at the moment and a new ground would be great." Rumours that Peter Ridsdale will be running the pro-euro campaign for Tony Blair have been strongly denied, but the possibilities of a major sale of frozen water to residents of Northern Canada are being actively investigated.

June 13: Seth Johnson is going nowhere according to sources at Derby. He's in line for an improved contract and will not be leaving Pride Park just yet. And where will Fat Frank Lampard end up? Villa seem to be in play, having matched Chelsea's £11 million, but there's not that sort of money in the sideboard at Elland Road right now, so PR will have to come up with a piece of creative accounting or persuade DOL to sell someone sharpish if we are to land the portly one. Other reports link Canadian striker Tomasz Radzinski to Elland Road but they appear to be just hot air - what do we need another striker for at the moment?

June 12: Kieron Dyer has half-dispelled the rumours kicked off in the tabloids this morning as he tried to make it clear that he was committed to Newcastle. He'd been quoted as saying that he would not be happy unless the club showed a bit of ambition and signed 4 or 5 top class players - and the much publicised interest of both Leeds and Manchester United can't be too far from his (or his agent's) mind. But later on today he issued a statement that said: "I am proud to say I am totally committed to Newcastle United Football Club, and especially to Bobby Robson, who has been an inspiration not just to me but to everybody at this club. I have three years left on my Newcastle contract and I intend to spend them helping the club win the trophies it so richly deserves." So expect a move by the end of the week then...

June 12: Michael Duberry is expecting to fight for a place in the defence next season, but he's happy to finally be fit enough to be in contention. He said: "There's a lot of competition for places, but you expect that at a big club like Leeds. We have five or six top class defenders, but I expect that and it's up to me to prove I'm worth my place." There has been a concerted effort by the club (or maybe it just appears that way) to make it clear that Duberry's standing at Leeds will not be affected by the things he said in the collapsed court case, with DOL and Peter Ridsdale making it clear he is still part of their plans and Jon Woodgate appearing alongside him in the commentary box for the Leicester game in May.

June 12: Will Leeds attempt to match Chelsea's bid of £11 million to snatch Frank Lampard away to a better life in the North? Peter Ridsdale appears to be frantically not ruling it out: "I am on record as saying that we do not anticipate making a bid in double figures for the player. But you never say never, do you?" Errr....well...that depends on how deep your pockets are and just how much you want to convince the other side that you won't meet their hopelessly unrealistic valuation.

June 12: Warren Feeney's move to Bournemouth has been finalised. He never made an appearance for the first team despite a good goalscoring record for the reserves and we wish him well with his new club.

June 11: International round-up: Lucas Radebe may get a head start on the pre-season training this summer as South Africa face World Cup qualifiers against Burkina Faso and Malawi in July. The squad are due to return for training on July 8 or 9 - slap bang in the middle of the two games. Let's hope Lucas is really fit by then, because the last thing we want is for him to pick up an injury that keeps him out for the start of the season. Frank Farina may also choose not to select Harry Kewell or Mark Viduka for the Socceroos' vital World Cup play-off games later on this month: both players haven't trained for a month and are unlikely to be sufficiently fit to play in such an important game without risking injury. However, he's quite keen to have a full strength squad. The coach said: "With the Cup results, they will be as excited as everyone else will and possibly it will prompt them to play in the qualifying games." But he was realistic enough to know that it wasn't a shoo-in: "They've not trained for four weeks so although you might get a body, what state would it be in?"

June 11: Leeds have previewed the new away kit, which will be formally launched at Elland Road on Friday June 29 with an evening of fun events. As expected, it's blue - but a deeper blue than the previous Lazio-clone shirt. Let's hope it's more of a success than the infamous blue Admiral shirt that we never managed to win in when we wore it as Champions in 1992-93.

June 11: The reserves will continue to play at York City's Bootham Crescent next season after this year's successful sojourn.

June 11: Injury news: Nige has had a small op on his knee after returning from international duty in Greece. It was only a small op which was aimed at cleaning up some of the debris in the knee joint that has accumulated over Nige's career, and he is expected to return with the rest of the squad for pre-season training in July. Leeds denied that Michael Bridges' knee injury was as bad as was reported at the weekend: he does have a knee twinge but is expected to be back for the pre-season games.

June 11: Chelsea have agreed a fee of £11 million for Frank Lampard with West Ham. The young midfielder is currently on holiday and would need to agree personal terms with the club, but it looks as if the chances of him coming to Leeds are approaching zero. We probably don't need him as an immediate replacement for Olivier Dacourt though - the midfielder's agent has stated that there was "no question of him wanting to leave Leeds," but he was keen to see his salary reviewed and "brought into line for a player of his standing." Whatever that means....

June 10: Sven Goran Erickson has apparently reiterated his desire to pick Lee Bowyer for the England side - with the left side of midfield being the obvious slot for the Leeds star to fill. SGE also has high hopes for Alan Smith, who "will have a very good future," according to the England coach. But playing where? David Batty sees Smiffy as using his "engine" and aggression to fill an attacking midfield role in the future. With so many other forwards at the club at present it might just prove to be a smart move for DOL to see just where the young striker's best position is.

June 10: Michael Bridges isn't as close to recovery as we'd originally thought - he's now done his knee in just as he was on the point of recovering from his long-term ankle problem. This was mainly covered by the News of the World, so get onto your salt merchant for the requisite sackful, but the word is that he could be out until Christmas. Maybe we should take Newcastle's money now!

June 10: I've finally figured out what day it is - and I've finally got round to collating the answers from the End of Season Poll. In a nutshell, Bowyer is the Player of the Year, Danny Mills is most improved, Smithy's goal against Lazio in Rome and his lob against Anderlecht were rated as the best two Leeds goals, and the best performances were Anderlecht away and Depor at home. Unsurprisingly, the home defeat by Man City was rated as the worst performance, and Man U have been restored to their rightful place at the top of the "who do we hate" list. Full results are here.

June 09: Random stat time: 71% of the respondents in my "Should we stay or go" poll thought we should look to redevelop Elland Road - only 24% thought we should move to a new ground. So what will the club decide on? Time will tell....

June 09: Transfer randomness (part 18). Leicester disclaim any interest in signing Jason Wilcox, the Dyer on/off rumours continue and Leeds' interest in Internazionale's Argentinian right back Javier Zanetti is being talked up (along with the desperate-to-replace-Lee-Dixon Arsenal). Will we/won't we/do we need to bearing in mind Danny Mills' form? Who can say....?

June 09: David Batty has hit out at Bruno Satin - Olivier Dacourt's agent - over claims that the Frenchman wanted to renegotiate his deal at Elland Road. Batts said: "A lot of it's got to do with Olly's agent. To be honest, I think it's a little bit naughty that the agent's asking for new terms when Olly's only a year into a five-year contract. I don't like to see it but maybe that's the way football's changed over the last few years."

June 08: I'm back! Here's a quick round-up of what happened while I was on holiday (not much from what I can see). Smiffy made his World Cup debut in the last few minutes of the Greek game, Rio did brilliantly (one minor slip aside) and for some reason P0rn Star Seaman continues to be preferred to Nige between the sticks. Gary Kelly and Ian Harte appeared in both of Ireland's games - Harte's 2 miskicks both leading to Irish goals in the Estonian game, but Robbie Keane was subbed in the Portugal game and failed to appear against Estonia. Eirik Bakke also appeared for Norway in their game against Ukraine. Dom Matteo faces a rest - but no op - to cure his problem knee and hopes to be back in time for pre-season training. Meanwhile, the Dublin game has been confirmed as being on for August 3 at Tolka Park, and the first team will also face Preston on August 7. The reserves will line up against York City, Harrogate Town and Selby Town on August 8, 13 and 22. Transfer randomness: we're not buying Dyer, we're interested in Michael Ball and Seth Johnson (still), Jason Wilcox is the latest in a long string of Leeds players to be linked with Leicester, and Olivier Dacourt's agent will be seeing just how deep our pockets are as interest in his client grows from clubs in Spain and Italy. Normal news service resumes tomorrow when I get through a week's emails.

June 01: It's been confirmed that Gary Kelly will be getting a testimonial match at the end of next season after 10 years on the first team. It's true that the whole testimonial concept has changed rather a lot from the days when they used to ensure a long-serving player was set up for retirement, these days they still do have some purpose - rewarding the loyalty of a player who could have trousered several hefty signing-on fees by moving from club to club. Speaking of which, Gary Speed has signed an extension to his contract with Newcastle that looks like it could keep him at St James Park more or less to retirement.

June 01: In another surprise encounter between a rather dark pot and a distinctly non-pale kettle, Ian Harte has questioned why Luis Figo finds it necessary to fall over every time someone tackles him. Harte faces the Portugese star in Dublin tomorrow, having already played against him twice for Leeds and once for the Republic this year. "It is the one aspect of his play which I dislike so much, it's so annoying to see players diving about the place. And he doesn't need to resort to tactics like that because his football speaks for itself," said the always upright left back. "If I get a tackle in early, hopefully it will quieten him down for the afternoon," he added. Irish manager Mick McCarthy is hoping that Robbie Keane can get back into the goalscoring habit at international level. He said: "Everybody knows how highly I rate Robbie, but every striker goes through lean spells and I'm sure this one hasn't effected his confidence. If I know him he'll work even harder to come back on the goal-standard."

June 01: Rio's obviously had a whisper in Batts' ear, because the midfielder came out strongly in favour of Leeds picking up Rio's pal Frank Lampard from West Ham. Batty said: "I would love to see him here. As far as I am concerned, the more players the better. We did very well last season but we have to build on that in order to move on. We can't stand still and signing someone like Frank would definitely be a step in the right direction." Yeah - how about someone like Frank but with a slightly thinner waist and more talent? Sorry - but if Chelsea are looking to pay £6.5 million to get Petit back in London from Barca, then Lampard can be worth no more than £4 million if there's any proportionality in the world.

June 01: A month after the event, the FA are finally getting round to looking at Martin Keown's elbow on Mark Viduka and his stamp on Lee Bowyer. An FA spokesman said: "The video has been sent to the FA advisory panel and is currently being looked at by the committee. We are now waiting for the results to come back and that should be quite soon." So we'll probably hear about it by Christmas. If it had been the other way round you can bet that Bowyer would have been banned immediately "just in case" he turned out to be guilty, but as always the FA makes no attempt to hide who its favorites are.

June 01: Dominic Matteo is our latest injury worry. With Paul Robinson and Stephen McPhail already under the knife, Matteo is having a knee injury that he picked up in the Leicester game examined and we're all keeping our fingers crossed that it is not so serious that he'll be out for the start of the new season.

June 01: Olivier Dacourt played for a France team that was surprisingly beaten 1-0 by Australia in the Confederations Cup game last night. The Socceroos were without Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka - and the game proved a nightmare for Chelsea's Frank Leboeuf: the Frenchman missed a sitter, gave away the free kick that lead to the goal and finished the game a little bit earlier than his team-mates as a second yellow card won him a red one and a 3-match ban.

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