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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


August 31: It's the final of the Masters tournament at the London Arena on Sunday - so if you happen to be Daaarn Saaarf like me, get yourself along to Docklands (go on - I have to do it every day for work and it's not that bad) and cheer on the old boys.

August 31: DOL and other English managers want the authorities to be less beastly to their charges and to lose the Golden Goal concept. O'Leary reckons that players should have a chance to wipe out yellow cards acquired early in a tournament by going through a few games without picking up another card - so that teams that have a good run in the tournament don't suddenly find themselves short of several vital members of the squad in the final stages. And the overall opinion at the 'Elite Coaches Forum' (funny - I don't recall needing much training on that great game on the BBC micro...just kept on trading narcotics, electronics and running from the police as soon as I got a decent laser) was that the Golden Goal just leads to sides closing up and being afraid to push for the winner because they don't want to concede the deciding goal. Next week: turkeys vote against Christmas shock.

August 31: Not much happening on the club front in the build-up to this weekend's crucial World Cup qualifiers. The deadline for Euro-transfers and squad registration is about to expire, and there's no sign of Leeds adding to the current squad. On the other hand, maybe the fact that Liverpool appear to have signed two new keepers - Dudzek from Feyenoord and Chris Kirkland from Cov - should at least mean they stop sniffing around Paul Robinson for a while.

August 30: Batts is continuing to promote his recently-released autobiography - which I'm currently about halfway through, and it's well worth picking up if you're a fan of the player or the team.

August 30: It seems that David Seaman is out of favour with the opposition even if Erickson will continue to pick him. Germany's Sepp Maier - one of the all-time greats - reckons that Seaman is past his best, and that his performances at both international and club level have been short of the standards he was setting a couple of years ago. Of course, this could just be a ploy by those cunning foreigners to undermine the confidence of a few key players. We have heard from the German camp this week that David Beckham isn't as fast a runner as his German counterpart - but if you can split the defence with a 50-yard pass, do you need to be able to charge around like a madman?

August 30: The club have announced details of the official trip to Maritimo. Basically it's for people with more time and money than sense, costing over 450 quid for a flight plus two nights in a 3 star hotel. And the match ticket is on top of that. And there's a 50 quid single supplement. Having said that, for once I don't think I could arrange flights and hotel for less than half the price of the official trip - with the remoteness of the location and time of year it seems to be a bit on the pricy side. Having said that, the good folks at Independent Travel are doing a day trip from Leeds for just over £250, so that might be worth a look.

August 30: Hurray! More Sunday/late starting games, and it's all thanks to those lovely people at Sky. The December visit to Fulham and the home game against Leicester have both been selected for the PPV treatment, and so will kick off at 1400 on the Sunday instead of 1500 on the Saturday. And the West Ham game on New Years Day has been shifted back to a 2000 kick-off for Sky, no doubt inspired by Saturday's thrilling game at Upton Park.

August 29: Rio is looking forward to Saturday's big match against Germany, dubbing it "the biggest match of my career". He sees it as the "acid test" for coach Erickson's remodelled England side and knows what the rewards are: "Win this game and we can go on and qualify for the World Cup." Lose it, and it's play-off time with bitten nails, frayed nerves - and the possibility of a Leeds player picking up an injury at international level at a vital time of the season. Don't get me wrong - I want England to qualify, but it's more important to me that Leeds finally deliver some silverware this year, and in order to do that the squad needs to stay fresh and fit.

August 29: Jason Wilcox is back in training following a chest infection which kept him out of the picture for the last week or so. He's hoping to be ready to join Lucas Radebe for the reserves' next outing, with The Chief saying that he just needs one more run for the second string before declaring himself fit for the first team again.

August 29: It looks like Lee Bowyer and Danny Mills are in the clear - for now - over their apparent comments to the match officials at Highbury. The FA have confirmed that both players will be banned for the Bolton game, and they have been asked to write to the FA explaining their actions and comments - so they could still be in trouble when the FA reviews their explanations/apologies.

August 28: Leeds reserves drew 1-1 with Liverpool at Bootham Crescent this evening. Craig Farrell netted after less than a minute to give Leeds the advantage. A mistake by Michael Duberry gave Liverpool an equaliser just before the half hour - and a further mistake from Lucas Radebe almost gifted them the lead (but it's good to see The Chief close to a comeback all the same). Jon Woodgate also got a 90-minute run out, but even with 3 centrebacks, Danny Milosevic had a busy night of it. Harpal Singh nearly won it for Leeds in injury time, but Arphexad pulled off a great save to keep the scores level.

August 28: Mark Viduka has shouldered at least part of the blame for Leeds' failing to pick up the maximum points on Saturday. He said: "I should have put that header away in the first half and I was disappointed not to do so. We were expected to get three points here and we have not done that. Had I scored with that header then maybe we could have come away with that win." Possibly true - but it would have been outrageously unfair on a West Ham side that battled well for the whole game - a point was the least they deserved.

August 28: Peter Ridsdale has brushed off Adam Crozier's call to directly involve himself in the resolution of the escalating problems between Leeds and Arsenal. The chairman said: "I have obviously spoken to our manager David O'Leary about the Arsenal game and he will reinforce to our players the way we expect them to behave. But it will serve no purpose to treat the Arsenal fixture different to any other." Too right mate - we should go for their throats no matter what the opposition ;-)

August 28: Season ticket holders can take up their allocation for the home leg of the UEFA Cup tie for £12. Tickets go on sale to Striker Card members on September 7 - it's unlikely that there will be that many left for general sale beyond that.

August 27: With ref Graham Poll going on the record this weekend to say that he thought that cheats should be sent off for diving, DOL had a none-too-subtle dig at Ashley Cole, whose histrionics have managed to produce three red cards for opponents so far this season. The manager said: "The one big thing we all have to address is to cut out the cheating. They have good young players at Arsenal but I have watched a video of our match last week and players are falling too easily. That does not help referees at all." DOL pointedly drew attention to the way that ex-Arsenal left-back Nigel Winterburn managed to get straight back on his feet after being caught by a far more serious contact than many of those seen at Highbury. DOL said: "It is a pity his successor in the Arsenal side doesn't behave the same way." Poll - who many Leeds fans will remember is the man who sent off Gary Kelly and Alfi Haaland at Stamford Bridge while ignoring similar play by Chelsea a few years back - reckons that things will settle down a couple of weeks into the season as players get back into the groove.

August 27: Ian Harte's ankle injury looks a lot less serious than was originally feared. Mick McCarthy is hopeful that Harte will be back for the Holland qualifier at the weekend. Which should mean he'll be fit to face Bolton the following week - and it looks like we'll need to be at full strength, since Sam Allardyce's side - relegation favorites in most people's books - made it three wins out of three tonight. They absorbed a lot of pressure from Liverpool at the Reebok, and it was a mistake by Westerveld that gave Bolton the win - but take nothing away from them: they are the first team since the Premiership began to get promoted and win their first three games. Let's hope that's as far as their run goes!

August 27: Nigel Martyn, Rio Ferdinand and Danny Mills have all been named in Sven Goran Erickson's squad to face Germany next Saturday. England will also play Albania at St James' Park on Wednesday week. Only Rio is likely to start, with David Seaman apparently still preferred to Nige in goal.

August 26: Sunday night means it's Euro Round-Up! A surprise start in Spain for Real Madrid - the Spanish champions were beaten by an early goal from Angulo at the Mestalla by our chums from Valencia, and that nice Mr Figo got his marching orders for a second yellow card in the final minute. Two goals from Patrick Kluivert saw Barca to the three points at Seville. Deportivo - who are in Manchester United's Champions League group - started well with a 4-0 victory over Valladolid. The other 'highlight' of the opening round of La Liga was probably Malaga's 3-2 win over Real Betis in which they managed to get seven different players booked but nobody was sent off. In Holland, 10-man Ajax won at Feyenoord, but PSV's long winning streak came to an end as they went down 3-1 at Willem II. Serie A kicked off this weekend, with Juve and Internazionale both scoring four goals. It was a poor day for both Roma and Lazio: champions Roma held 1-1 by nearly-relegated Verona, and Lazio held 1-1 at home by newly promoted Piacenza. It was cup weekend in Germany, where 1860 Munich scored ten unanswered goals against Wuerzburg, and in France champions Nantes continue to have a miserable season: their 1-0 reverse at Guingamp leaves them with just one point from five games. Lens drew 1-1 with Lille this afternoon to climb back to the top of the table, one point clear of Lyon after 5 games.

August 26: Leeds remained in second place in the league after this afternoon's games. Both Villa - Man U and Newcastle - Sunderland ended 1-1 - Man U getting an own goal equaliser deep into stoppage time. For Newcastle, former Leeds midfielder Gary Speed hobbled off just before half-time with a hamstring injury.

August 26: Leeds Ladies managed a 3-3 draw after holding a 3-1 lead at Tranmere this afternoon, with Tranmere's equaliser coming in the 92nd minute.

August 26: Eirik Bakke's injury has ruled him out of the Norway game next week, but that leaves him free to focus on getting fit for the Bolton game in a fortnight. He said: "It is particularly disappointing because I had just recovered from injury and I was enjoying pre-season." His injury came in the last couple of minutes of the Arsenal game as he over-stretched for a tackle, and with both Danny Mills and Lee Bowyer banned for at least the Bolton game, it's important that Bakke is fit - to provide cover at the very least, but without Mills and Bowyer a starting place looks a certainty if he can make it.

August 25: Around the grounds with the old boys today: JFH became the first player to score in a real game at St Mary's as Chelsea went on to beat Saints 2-0. Everton's win over goal-less and point-less Boro was enough to take them to the top of the pile, pushing Leeds into second on goals scored. Paul Hart's Nottingham Forest finally broke the ex-Leeds defender's duck as Forest's new manager with a 4-2 win over Palace. Warren Feeney started Bournemouth's comeback from 2-0 down at Cardiff with a penalty - a further Bournemouth goal sealed a draw for the Cherries. A cracking free kick from veteran John Sheridan started Andy Ritchie's Oldham on their way to a 2-0 win at Swindon. In the (minor compared to tomorrow's clash) north-east derby, Mark Tinkler opened the scoring for Hartlepool, but he ended up on the losing side as Darlo came back with a pair.

August 25: Ian Harte's clash with Paolo di Canio left him with nine stitches in his ankle - and rules him out of next week's vital World Cup qualifier when Ireland face Holland in Dublin. With Lucas Radebe, Paul Robinson and Michael Bridges still not fit enough to take part, with Eirik Bakke, Alan Smith and now Harte picking up injuries in the first three games of the year and with Nigel Martyn clearly not 100%, it looks like our old friend the Injury Crisis is about to be inflicted upon us just as our European campaign gets underway.

August 25: Having seen the TV replays, I think I was being unfair on Nige - he failed to collect the ball because Todorov jumped into him, ignoring the ball. If Todorov had shown just a little bit more vertical movement and less horizontal, I'm sure Paul Durkin would have let the goal stand. DOL had a couple of things to say about the poor finishing - Vidooks had a free header that he failed to get on target and Robbie Keane had at least two chances to test out Hislop that troubled the crowd more than the keeper. The manager said:"Mark missed chances but that's what forwards do. It's best to judge him over the course of the season because I am sure he will make up for it. As for Robbie, I let him know that his performance was not good enough." Quite a long way from the praise-dump on Keane after he bagged a pile of pre-season goals. But DOL agreed with the rest of us that a draw was a fair result - and if they'd sneaked a goal to grab all three points we wouldn't have had much to complain about.

August 25: If you'd have offered me 7 points from the first three games I'd have been over the moon. But the goalless draw today seems so much of an anti-climax after Tuesday's win. West Ham had the ball in our net, but ref Paul Durkin ruled it out - from the other end of the ground it looked like Nige had spilled it fair and square but I'll wait to see the TV replays first. Nige actually looked as if he was still troubled by his groin injury when he kicked the ball, and by the end most of the players - Kewell in particular - looked dead on their feet. Surprising appearance for Alan Maybury and withdrawal of Olly Dacourt who was one of our more effective players. But overall, our passing and finishing was terrible and Trevor Sinclair's continual threat down the West Ham right merited the Man of the Match award.

August 25: FA head honcho Adam Crozier has suggested that Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale sits down with his Arsenal counterpart David Dein to try to put an end to the escalating temperature in each successive game between the two clubs. Crozier said: "The Arsenal Leeds game has developed an edge that isn't entirely desirable. It is something the two clubs have to do a little bit of work on to get together and try to sort it out."

August 24: Totally non-football, but a big hello to all my fellow Yorkies out there - after 33 years we've finally managed to win the Cricket County Championship again, thanks to some great captaincy from David Byas and an immense contribution from Darren Lehmann plus all the 'second string' bowlers who have done so much to help the cause when Gough, Sidebottom, Hoggard and Silverwood have been injured/called up for England. Yorkshire Champions - well done lads - let's keep the performances up and celebrate with a victory over Surrey at the Oval to really rub it in.

August 24: Dom Matteo has been called up for Scotland's vital World Cup Qualifier against Croatia and Belgium next weekend.

August 24: Season tickets are sold out at Leeds! With over 26000 tickets sold, Leeds have called a halt to season ticket sales to give casual fans a chance to get to the game. Operations Director David Spencer said: "We do not want to create a closed shop here at Leeds United. We understand that many fans cannot or do not have a season ticket and it is important that we give them the opportunity to purchased match-day tickets on a one-by-one basis." Just as well for me in my new part-time guise :-) Maybe they could convince me to take up a ticket at the new stadium if there was a decent standing section - or at least somewhere where the atmosphere of the old Kop - or better still the pens on the Lowfields - can come close to being recreated.

August 24: Danny Mills and Lee Bowyer now look certain to be dumped on by the FA for revealing a set of home truths to the clueless officials at Highbury on Tuesday. Ho hum....maybe we can arrange it so that their additional 2-match bans will be served while we are playing some of the smaller teams - though I'm sure the FA will do everything in its power to make sure they are missing for Man U and/or Liverpool. Also missing tomorrow will probably be Eirik Bakke who picked up an ankle injury in the rearguard action against Arsenal in midweek. For West Ham, Paul Kitson and Freddy Kanoute look unlikely to participate after failing to recover from injuries.

August 24: No Smithy tomorrow - or for England against Germany and possibly missing the notloB game as well. Which could mean that his next match will be in Madeira - that's right folks, we're heading back to Funchal to see the good people who hosted us 3 years ago, back to the time when Peter Ridsdale came and joined us in the away end and explained that GG was going to crawl off to Spurs. Let's hope that particular bit isn't repeated - and let's also hope that we don't need penalties to decide it this time. It's a shame really - I was sort of hoping that we'd get Torpedo Moscow to complete a hat-trick of the Moscow teams, but it could have been worse: we could have been heading towards Tel Aviv once the group draws were made - not too happy about visiting war zones, so maybe that would have resulted in another enjoyable trip to Heerenveen instead :-) Elsewhere, Ipswich get Torpedo, Rangers visit Russian side Makhachkala, Hibs have a difficult job at AEK Athens, Chelsea face Levski Sofia, Kilmarnock face the Norwegian outfit Vikings, and Villa go to NK Varteks in Croatia. Maybe we'll end up somewhere in the range of cheap flights for the next round, but since I can't afford to take a full week off to give me a real cheap flight to Madeira it looks like I'll have to swallow my pride and go with the club.

August 23: Fingers on the refresh button, windows open for Buzz, Go, Ryanair and Easyjet tomorrow morning. It's UEFA Cup draw time - let's hope we get a decent (but easy) draw within reach of a nice cheap flight :-)

August 23: In the old days, we used to enjoy sitting down at matches (well, for about 5 seconds before jumping up for a massive Mexican wave). Now it's compulsory and the club will take away the season ticket of anyone who does not comply with the ground regulations. Man U were on the receiving end of these regs last year and now it's our turn. Two people - out of several hundred - were singled out and ejected from the Kop last weekend, and although they may be given a second chance, Operations Director David Spencer makes it clear that the club have a duty to enforce the ground regulations - but they would only go for persistent offenders. He said: "We want to work with the supporters not against them. We don't want confrontations with fans and we don't expect people to remain seated at times of high excitement." With my old reactionary head on again, I'd like to see a similar zero-tolerance policy against all those people who can't get through a game without at least three visits to the food stand and a similar number to the toilet and who never seem able to wait to halftime.

August 23: UEFA decided that the "supporters of the year" were not the thousands of Leeds fans who vastly outnumbered the fans of every other club as we travelled around last year without a single problem - instead they decided that the Liverpool and Alaves fans who attended the UEFA Cup Final were the top fans. It's a welcome rehabilitation in the eyes of the authorities for English fans in general, but Liverpool in particular who were demonised across the continent after Heysel. UEFA named Raul as "best striker" in the Handballing Cheats subcategory of the awards. Gaizka Mendieta was best midfielder, and Stefan Effenberg took the overall award, narrowly pipping former Leeds man Gary McAllister.

August 23: It looks like Lee Bowyer and Danny Mills will be in trouble with the FA following their "remarks" to match referee Jeff Winter and fourth official Andy D'Urso on Tuesday. Bowyer apparently swore at Winter (entirely reasonable, since the ref was dismissing him after he totally failed to make contact with Arsenal's cheating left back Ashley Cole), and Mills had words in the tunnel with D'Urso after being sent off for gently rolling the ball (note to Guardian sports writers: "booting" implies a force considerably more powerful than that applied by Mills) the ball at the injury-feigning liar Cole as he rolled on the ground in apparent agony after coming off second best when he attempted to foul Mills. Let's hope the even-handed and sensible officials at the FA deal with this at the same breakneck speed with which they have managed to apply to Martin Keown's attempt to injure two Leeds players last season (4 months+ and still no substantive progress) - after all, we all know that it's a far more serious offence to question a referee's judgement than it is to elbow someone in the head.

August 23: Saturday's game at West Ham now looks almost certain to go ahead: Newham council are happy with the work that has been done on the new stand, and although the safety certificate will only be issued on Friday afternoon, it is thought to be a formality.

August 23: Lucas Radebe came through a friendly for the reserves against Selby Town last night, but Danny Hay's injury nightmare continues. Lucas managed to play for the whole game, but Hay was withdrawn after barely 20 minutes, and some serious thought needs to be given to his recuperation if he is to have a future at the club. The Chief will be wrapped in cotton wool over the season, minimising his training and maximising his recovery time to ensure that the club - and his country - have his services for as long as possible, but every injury seems to take longer to heal, and it can't be many more seasons before he has to contemplate hanging up his boots.

August 23: Knew I should have hung on to my season ticket this year (even though the club do pretty well out of me with an away season ticket for me and the wife plus all the cup games plus the Euro aways plus a good few home league games). It seems that the Big Vote will only be among existing season ticket holders - so if you've got a vote, make sure it counts whichever way you use it.

August 22: David Batty's autobiography is out today - he was on Radio 5 Live this afternoon plugging it a bit. If he was dictator for a day, he'd make it the law that thieves should lose a digit every time they get nicked. And he's in deep awe of multiple World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty. Deeper and more interesting revelations (including the much-trailed anti-Wilko rants) in the book - available now from Amazon (it should be anyway - they told me they've shipped my copy).

August 22: Transfer non-rumour of the day: Leeds to sign Patrick Vieira - in David O'Leary's dreams! "I work for a very good set of people at Leeds and if Patrick ever became available then I'd really get down on my knees and beg to try and sign him. I don't think there is anyone better than him really." High praise indeed - but justified as far as I'm concerned. I think Dacourt and Bowyer are great players and had a fantastic season last year, but if I was forced to choose between them and Vieira in my side, the Arsenal man would get the nod.

August 22: DOL was understandably delighted about last night's result. He said: "It's a fantastic three points, I am not a cautious person but I would have taken a draw before the game." The manager initially refused to talk to the press after the game, but finally relented on condition that a certain Mr Jeff Winter was not mentioned. He said: "I would love to give my opinions on the refereeing decisions but I tend to get into trouble if I talk about referees. I personally did not think it was a dirty game." Obviously not reading from the same page as former ref Clive Thomas then. The Welshman - who is pretty much the standard rent-a-quote whenever two teams engage in handbag-sessions, said that the game was "a disgrace to football" and called for the public flogging of the managers and players (or something along those lines). However he did make it clear that there was another problem in the game: "I admit the referee lost control and was a poor referee, but he had no chance whatsoever to control that game." His solution? "If you can't control a game he should come off the field with the ball in his hand."

August 22: David Batty was cautious - two wins don't make a championship - and he made it clear what the team's aspirations were. "There's been a lot of talk about the potential of Leeds for some time now and it's time we started to win some honours. Realistically, though, we need to be aiming for the top three - it's going to be tough."

August 22: Well we knew we couldn't possibly have won that game last night fairly, could we? Apparently Ian Harte took his free kick too quickly, and the referee should have blown his whistle to restart play to allow Arsenal a fair chance to defend the kick. Well, I'll allow that - normally - that's what most refs would do, but I've got to say that this was just about the only sensible decision Winter made all night. If Arsenal don't want us to take a quick free kick just outside their penalty area, all they have to do is not commit the fouls...

August 21: Injury aftermath: Smithy was replaced by Batts not just to strengthen the midfield - he had an ankle injury as well. Eirik Bakke didn't have that great a game - and his hamstring problems will need to be overcome so he can cover for Bowyer during his ban and the court case. And Rio has also got an ankle knock. About par for the course for a visit to Thug Central - it's amazing the team got away without needing to visit the dentist this time.

August 21: Dirty Leeds or dodgy ref? Well, I didn't have the benefit of the slo-mo, so I'd have to say 50-50. Arsenal players to nobody's great surprise fell over whenever a Piccadilly Line train rumbled in to Gillespie Road tube station. Leeds players found their shirts mysteriously coming out of their shorts (but there can't have been an Arsenal hand involved cos that nice ref would have seen it and booked them). Most disappointed with Danny Mills' dismissal - at least Bowyer won a fair challenge when he picked up his second yellow: to get sent off for kicking the ball against the diving Cole was plain stupid when it was clear to everyone else in the ground that the ref was doing everything in his power to ensure a home win. Providing him with an excuse was daft. Add to that Lee Bowyer clearly stating his opinions of Jeff Winter to the official's face and you've got the recipe for an extended ban. As it is, Danny Mills will just face a one-match ban for his 2 yellows, but Jeff Winter will remarkably be allowed to continue to referee at the top level, despite clearly lacking the ability to control the game. Ho hum, two games, two wins: now let's look for 3 from 3 on Saturday.

August 21: West Ham are not yet certain that Saturday's game will go ahead. Tomorrow's visit of Chelsea has been postponed to allow work on the new stand to finish, and the safety certificate is not due to be granted until Thursday. Just as well I've not got far to travel - there's plenty of folks will need to get their GNER tickets cancelled in very short order if the game is pulled.

August 21: The club are investigating the incidents at the game on Saturday where there were some disturbances in the crowd - particularly in the Revie Stand. Over-zealous stewarding (Sheffield United now provide the stewards for Elland Road) with people being told to sit down even when they clearly wouldn't be able to see the pitch, and at least one long-standing season ticket holder ejected and banned from the ground.

August 20: What sort of side will Arsenal be fielding tomorrow? Dennis Bergkamp's two goals against Boro were a reminder to Arsene Wenger that he's still a contender, but Francis Jeffers will also be looking for a start. Giovanni van Bronckhorst only came on as a sub on Saturday - he is likely to figure from the off at Highbury, where Sol Campbell will be making his first full appearance as an Arsenal player. Let's hope that whoever is out there refereeing takes a less lenient view on Cole and Ljungberg should they produce their usual theatrics, or that he turns an equally blind eye to Smithy's match-long wind-ups of Adams and Grimandi. And no doubt Mr Pires will be packing an extra brick in his handbag in case he encounters DOL in the tunnel...

August 20: Alan Smith's goal against Saints has been picked out by all and sundry as the goal of the weekend - for his fantastic turn as much as the finish - and Lee Bowyer compared his swivelling twist with Johann Cruyff. "I was going in or the rebound but I should have known better. I know he was disappointed to be sub, but when he came on he did brilliantly and really lifted the team." He was happy with the result - if not the performance for Saturday's game. He said: "We struggled because we did not take our chances early on when we had a good spell. However, once we scored we knew we would win." Smithy was delighted with the win as much as his goal. He said: "I am so disappointed when I don't play, it means so much for me to play for Leeds United and all I want to do is score goals. I love Leeds United and if I was not playing then I would be on the terraces pulling my hair out like the fans will have been." So will our very own Johann Cruyff have done enough to merit a start against Arsenal tomorrow night? Wait and see...

August 20: Ex-Leeds round-up from the weekend: Darlo's Mark Ford scored from the spot as they beat Kidderminster 2-0, and Derek Lilley was also on target for Dundee United as they just about held on to beat Dunfermline 3-2 at Tannadice.

August 20: The Leeds Ladies were faced with a daunting task against Arsenal at Bracken Edge yesterday, and although they took the lead and held Arsenal to 2-2 into the second half, they couldn't match the superior experience and skill of what is clearly the best women's football team in the country and ended up on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline.

August 19: Sorry folks - not much news today! Just as well really, cos I've now switched over to my new hardware at home and my ISP (Demon) was royally up the creek for 5 hours this evening. Team news for the Arsenal game tomorrow.

August 19: Euro round-up time. Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund made it 4 wins in a row - and still no goals conceded - as they beat Hansa Rostock 2-0. Bayern also managed to win and move up to 4th, while last year's UCL opponents 1860 got their first win of tha campaign at Bremen. Lens continue to top the pile in France with a 1-0 win over Metz; defending champions Nantes had better get their skates on - 3 defeats in 4 matches leaves them looking more like relegation contenders than champions. In Holland, Feyenoord demolished our firendly opponents Sparta Rotterdam 5-0 and take an early lead in the table with Ajax and PSV only managing to draw.

August 18: Still no news on Batts' injury, but DOL has said how happy he was with Alan Smith's performance. He said: "Alan always livens things up and he scored a wonderful goal. They came to nullify us. But Manchester United often win with late goals in games. They grind people down and that's what we have to do.". The defence - well, the keeper anyway - came in for a bit of praise too. "Nigel Martyn made a vital save in the second half," - thanks to Rio's mistake that left Rosler clean through. But it could have been more: "If Kewell had not been hacked down I think he would have scored too."

August 18: A 40-year-old man has been arrested by police in connection with the threats made against Peter Ridsdale. The Abingdon man was interviewed under caution but has not yet been charged with any offence.

August 18: It took a long time coming, but Leeds finally managed to secure all three points against Saints this afternoon with a goal from Lee Bowyer on 67 minutes and a cracker from Alan Smith - on as sub for Robbie Keane - on 81. Ian Harte and Harry Kewell also came close, and it was Kewell who was brought down in injury time to cap Southampton's day with a red card for a professional foul by Lundekvam. Elsewhere, 10-man Arsenal built on the one goal advantage they had when Ray Parlour was dismissed to make it 4-0 at the Riverside, with Ehiogu also seeing red late on for breathing on Ashley Cole - we'll have to make sure he's got his stabilisers on in midweek otherwise we'll suffer similarly should a sudden gust of wind breeze across the pitch at Highbury. Michael Owen's brace for Liverpool sandwiched an equalising penalty for West Ham's Paolo Di Canio at Anfield, but the Hammers couldn't score again. And a big WOW for Bolton - 5-0 winners at Leicester. Flash in the pan for relegation candidates? Or a good indicator of their form for the rest of the season? Time will tell...

August 18: DOL made it clear that he stills sees a future at the club for Lucas Radebe, despite his continuing injuries and the fact that he's lost the captaincy to Rio. The manager said: "I have assured him that he has a key role to play here at Leeds United but I would also say that he has got a knee problem that has got to be handled.... It is a question of pacing him and looking after him so that you can get the best out of him on a Saturday."

August 18: Mark Viduka is intent on playing for the Socceroos in the friendlies and in their World Cup play-off game later this year. It will mean he misses up to 8 games, but we've known for a while this was likely, and his comments today just serve to confirm what had already been made clear. Viduka said: "I'm playing for Australia in the next World Cup qualifiers. I don't know if they are happy about it, but I'm playing. I love playing for Australia."

August 18: DOL had a lot of praise for Jon Woodgate who seems to have sorted himself out after his slump in form last year during the trial. Woody seems to have taken a leaf out of Lee Bowyer's book and put the off-field problems to the back of his mind after DOL told the defender that he was in danger of slipping out of contention for a squad place. O'Leary said: "All I have done is have a word with him at the start of pre-season. I told him he was falling behind the rest of the lads and dropping down the pecking order." But Woody has done well in the pre-season games and is now back close to his best. "I have the highest regard for Woody. He has got all the talent it takes to play for his country for a long time to come. He is more than good enough to play for England as soon as he is able to do so." The manager added: "If he doesn't go on to play for England then it will be a waste of his talent and an under-achievement." Or a matter for the courts...

August 17: Totally bogus transfer rumour of the week time. With Robbie Fowler and Phil Thompson sulking at opposite ends of the training ground, the gossip is that Liverpool will offload him rather than face a two year hissy fit up to the end of his contract. And they'd might be interested in swapping him for Harry Kewell. Yeah, right. Maybe if Gerrard and Redknapp came as part of the deal we should consider it.

August 17: With Rio just about ready, and only Michael Bridges injured up front, DOL should have a few interesting decisions to make tomorrow. Most of the team will pick itself. Martyn, Ferdinand, Matteo, Harte, Batty, Dacourt, Bowyer, Kewell and Viduka look dead certs to start. But has Danny Mills done enough to retain his place at right back? And will it be Smithy or Keane up front? My money would probably just go on Mills ahead of Kelly, and Smith to start but Keane to appear from the bench on the hour. Either way, let's hope we kick off the campaign with a bang. Nigel Martyn hopes we do - but he's not dismissing the threat from the Saints. He said: "People may expect us to beat Southampton easily but I can assure you that you do not get any easy games in the Premiership these days and they are going to come to Leeds hoping to make a good start to the season." And Saturday is just the start. He added: "It is important now that we win the game against Southampton and then go to Arsenal and get something out of that game too, that is going to be a really tough one for us."

August 17: Upbeat messages from the chairman and manager at the start of the new season. DOL wants to see some silverware and a return to the Champions League at the end of the season. He said: "People are saying it should be easier for us in the league this season because we are not in the Champions League but I don't agree with that. There are a lot of games in the UEFA Cup if we do well and lots of travel involved and that can take it out of you. We have done well in Europe, reaching two semi-finals in the last two seasons, but now we want to win something and that is what we will be out to do." Meanwhile the chairman thinks that we have a genuine chance of the title. "To my mind anyone who describes competing with them for the title as a hopeless cause is talking nonsense," he said. This year there might be more of a chance, because Ridsdale sees Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea - as well as Leeds - as having the ammunition to bring down the champions. He said: "It is no use just having two teams up there because even if someone does manage to beat United home and away we need them to lose more than two matches."

August 17: Former Leeds defender Peter Swan has signed for non-league Ossett Town. He'll be working as player-coach at Ossett having retired from the professional game in November, when a knee injury forced him to quit York City. Another former player is finding history repeating itself: when Phil Masinga signed for Leeds there were problems with his work permit. Now, with 50-odd caps for his country and having played regularly in the Italian league, he finds that the Department of Employment reckon he's not qualified to come and help out former team-mate Gordon Strachan at Coventry. Meanwhile Brian Deane is rumoured to be close to the exit door at Boro as Steve Mclaren starts to rebuild the team in his own image. Deane is now 33 and has been increasingly facing life on the bench at the Riverside, so maybe the time has come for him to drop down a division (before he does it with Boro :-).

August 16: Michael Duberry is determined to stay at Leeds and fight for his place, despite the persistent rumours linking him with Spurs (who have just had a bid for Saints defender Dean Richards rejected) and talk of possible loan moves. "The injury is fine now. I am all healed up and raring to go. My target was to get back fit, but now I am I won't settle for second best." He's realistic though: "There is going to be competition for places this season - it's going to be hard, but every big club and good club has this. I feel if I play well and like I was doing before I got injured then there's no reason why I shouldn't be playing in the first team." Well, you've got to admire his bottle and wish him good luck - after everything else that's gone on this last 12 months, it's good to see him taking such a positive attitude and showing commitment to the club - let's hope the fans at the games show the same commitment to him.

August 16: Martin O'Neill wishes that Mark Viduka were still at Celtic. He said: "I must say that I've never doubted for a second that Viduka is a brilliant individual talent." But there was no keeping the big striker at Parkhead: "For his own reasons he chose to leave the football club and nothing would convince him to stay." Vidooks himself is looking forward to the new campaign and wants to make a big impact to pay back the faith that DOL and PR have shown in him. "Last season I wasn't settled. I had the work permit problems, and then for a while I was living in a hotel waiting to move into my house. It all really hampered me and I never got going until after the Olympics." He's now settled down a bit: "It helps that I've committed my future to Leeds and I'm delighted to have done so. There was a lot of talk about me going here and there, but I'm more than happy to be at Leeds. They were always my first choice. The club were sensational towards me, and as I said last year it would have had to have taken some unbelievable offer to have prised me out of Leeds." Which is great news - but don't for a minute think we won't have the same performance again next season when every Italian and Spanish club you care to name will be linked with the Aussie after another 20+ goal season.

August 16: Damien Lynch's travels continue as he looks for a new club - he's turned out for Bradford in a reserve game after a spell with Paul Hart at Forest. With David Wetherall, Gunnar Halle and Robert Molenaar already at Valley Parade (sorry...the Bradford and Bingley and Alliance and Leicester and Cheltenham and Gloucester Stadium), Lynch could find himself very much at home in the defence if Jim Jeffries decides to take him on for a longer stretch.

August 16: Peter Ridsdale has promised not to raid the transfer kitty to pay for the new stadium, preferring to look for some sponsorship from a (non-sports) company to fill the coffers. I guess it makes a lot of sense to avoid sports companies - if we were playing in the Nike Stadium and switched our shirt deal to Puma or Adidas, it might be a less commercially attractive proposition and bring in less money. Still, we need to be careful who we hook up with - business spend on advertising and sponsorship is heading rapidly south as a global slowdown bites harder, so we need to make sure that the money is guaranteed, and from a top flight organisation: what would we feel like if we'd been doing this two years earlier and ended up playing in the boo.com stadium? Most of the local businesses seem to think it is a done deal anyway, with the owner of the famous United Fisheries deciding that it's time to sell up and call it a day. Let's hope Leeds find room for a decent chippy at the new ground - we don't all want to be forced to eat processed crud from McWimpy King or BeefHarvesters. Local residents - some of whom moved in to be close to the ground are also resigned to the reality of the move, although you've got to question the sanity of the one who told the YEP: "What we don't want is something which brings lots of noisy children and young people to the area". Errr...and the football ground did what precisely???

August 15: Gary Kelly, Ian Harte and Robbie Keane all started for Ireland tonight in their 2-2 draw with Croatia. No goals or major blunders for the Leeds lads - and manager Mick McCarthy was impressed by the performance of Keane and Palace's Clinton Morrison. Stephen McPhail also continued to build on his return to fitness with a substitute appearance, replacing Harte on the hour. Ireland were 2-0 up through Damien Duff and Morrison before allowing Croatia back into the game with 10 minutes to go and then conceding an injury-time penalty when Man U's John O'Shea handled in the area (though Croatia had a dead cert penalty turned down earlier when keeper Alan Kelly brought down Kovac.

August 15: Nigel Martyn was beaten twice in a minute in the first half as Holland ran out 2-0 winners at White Hart Lane tonight. Nige had little chance with the first - a 35 yard 70 mph screamer from van Gobbel as the defence kept on backing off and giving him space. The second goal was scored by van Nistelrooy, latching on to the ball as Nige parried another rocket from outside the area: maybe he could have done something about that, but it was a well taken chance. Nige did make a couple of good stops, but the Dutch were a class apart from most of the English players on show with van Nistelrooy and Zenden impressing. The second half saw JFH come on - and immediately cause problems for the defence as David James and Martin Keown clattered into each other, with the keeper carried off and the elbowing stamping thug from Highbury also forced off as a result. Danny Mills and Alan Smith came on in the second half - Smithy had a particularly bright 20 minute spell, setting up some good chances for Owen, and Mills produced some good tackles and crosses while playing in an unfamiliar right midfield slot. Also nice to see was the reception for drug cheat Edgar Davids. Coming on in the second half, the crowd booed the Dutchman's every touch.

August 15: Lucas Radebe has lost the captaincy of South Africa to Charlton's Shaun Bartlett. The Chief's ongoing injury problems and commitment to Leeds have meant that he's missed so many games for SA over the last year or so, that coach Carlos Querioz has had to make a tough decision and pass on the armband to a player who is more likely to be available for the majority of games.

August 15: Letters are due to be sent out in the next day or so the season ticket holders, shareholders and Striker Card holders detailing plans to move to a 50-acre site at the former power station at Skelton Grange. The site isn't that much bigger than the existing plot at Elland Road, but the opportunity to put the whole site together from scratch should result in much better use of space, better parking and access - as well as the increased capacity. Do we want to move? Whether you do or don't, this is the chance to make your voice heard, so vote early and vote often :-) Peter Ridsdale indicated that there will be a garden of remembrance made up of turf from Elland Road for those whose ashes have been scattered on the pitch, and that approach roads would be named after Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight - the fans who were murdered in Istanbul last year. The chairman said: "I believe we are very close to building a world class team here and it's now time to deliver a stadium in which they can play. It would take Leeds to the next level and we would be capable of competing with the Manchester Uniteds of this world and the best teams in Europe." He indicated that there would be a tram link, rail connections, park and ride facilities and a large number of car parking places. But it isn't set in stone. He said: "If the majority now come back and say 'we are not moving whether you like it or not', then so be it because they are the people I work for." I'm sure the shareholders may have something to say about that, but I'd like to believe he means it.

August 15: Gordon Banks - who knows a few things about goalkeeping - reckons that David Seaman's time as England keeper should come to an end and that Nige should now take over. He said: "David has been a superb keeper for club and country but there comes a time when you lose the flexibility. Nigel is only a few years younger but he would be my choice." Wise words mate - let's hope Sven is listening.

August 15: Oldham boss - and former Leeds star - Andy Ritchie will be taking a look at a couple of Leeds' younger players who didn't quite make the grade at Elland Road. Tony Lennon (no games) and Shepherd (a solitary appearance against Arsenal 5 years ago) are due to turn out for Oldham in a practice match against Huddersfield tomorrow.

August 15: More evidence of the good team spirit at Elland Road: the first team have clubbed together to buy a Reliant Robin, and whoever is rated as least impressive in training sessions will have to leave their Ferrari/Jag/whatever at the training ground and drive the 3-wheeler all week. Everyone who drives it will autograph it, and the car will be auctioned off for charity at the end of the season. The current driver is Jon Woodgate - he'll be turning up at Elland Road in his hot new motor at the weekend.

August 14: With Danny Milosevic's chances looking limited for another year at least, there are rumours that a move could be on the cards (he'd probably hit work permit problems if he doesn't get regular first team football anyway). Portsmouth could be interested, trading on their Aussie links from the El Tel days.

August 14: Eirik Bakke and Lucas Radebe are back in light training as they struggle to be fit for the start of the new campaign. Bakke, with a hamstring problem, and Radebe with yet another knee injury, are still very doubtful for the Southampton game as a result of the knocks picked up in pre-season games and training sessions. Rio is a bit more positive, having come through Friday's game in Rotterdam with no adverse reaction.

August 14: Paul Robinson is likely to be on the bench but after last season's first team experience will be wanting a bit more than that soon. He said: "After having the taste of first team football last season I wanted to hit the ground running this pre-season and really make a push for the senior side." He says he's not normally very patient - but he knows just how big a task he faces if he wants to be a regular starter at Elland Road. "It's not as if the man in front of me is any old keeper, it is Nigel Martyn who is the best goalkeeper in the country. I have to dislodge the best keeper in England if I want to play for Leeds."

August 14: Neil Aspin is hoping that a few of the folks who came to watch the Leeds reserve team beat his Harrogate Town side might come back to Wetherby Road again. Town only get 200-odd spectators for an average game, and want to do better both on and off the field. Aspin said: "We do have big ambitions here at Harrogate. The chairman, Bill Fotherby, is very ambitious. He wants us to progress but for us to do that we do need to get the bigger crowds coming through." And therein lies the problem. As much as we love Aspin for his whole-hearted performances for Leeds in the dark days of the 1980s, we also remember those great Euro-transfer jaunts of Fotherby, the infamous "house" story and all the other commercial and organisational screw-ups that made Leeds look like rank amateurs when Fotherby was in charge.

August 14: A man who is understood to have been involved in the hate mail sent to Peter Ridsdale today walked in to a police station in Abingdon in Oxfordshire. He will be visiting Leeds on Saturday to see the Saints game - and to meet officers at Holbeck police station to discuss his involvement. He has not yet been arrested.

August 13: Simon Johnson, Michael Duberry and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (hereafter known as SC-S to save my keyboard) were all on target at Wetherby Road tonight as a Leeds XI beat Harrogate Town 3-1. Town - run by former Leeds MD Bill Fotherby and managed by ex-Leeds player Neil Aspin - gave the reserves a good run for their money before finally succumbing to a side that also included Jason Wilcox. Paul Robinson came through unscathed, so he should be clear to start on the bench on Saturday.

August 13: Leeds are handing the names of three supporters to the police in connection with the threats made against Peter Ridsdale. It is believed that the handwriting on the threats is a close match for that on - rather more good-humoured - postcards sent to the club from Valencia and La Coruna at the back end of last season and the club believe they know the identity of the senders. That would rather indicate that the people responsible do have some sort of association with the club, so all I can suggest is that if any of you out there have any evidence or knowledge of who is responsible for these threats, let the club or the police know as soon as possible - we might not want to leave Elland Road but we certainly don't want these muppets to be associated with our club.

August 13: Finally catching up with the rest of the weekend's news after having to work on Sunday - I see that JFH got himself sent off in a friendly in Italy on Saturday and could now receive a 2-3 match ban in the league if the Italian authorities request it from the FA once they've reviewed the case.

August 13: A Leeds XI - the reserves and youth team basically - ran out 2-1 winners at Goole Town at the weekend, and another Leeds XI will take on Harrogate Town tonight. Again it is expected that the Leeds players will be mainly drawn from the reserves, but expect a couple of the squad players to get a run out. Paul Robinson may make his first appearance of the season as he struggles to be ready in time for the start of the new season. Speaking of struggling, Eirik Bakke - who has looked pretty impressive in the pre-season games - is in doubt for the Saints game after picking up a hamstring injury.

August 12: I guess it must be time for the old Euro-round-up to creak into gear again. In Germany, Canadian-Welsh-English wunderkind Owen Hargreaves got himself booked as Bayern Munich drew 1-1 at Bayer Leverkusen. After 3 games, Borussia Dortmund head the Bundesliga, which is propped up by our opponents from the Champions League last year, 1860 Munich. It's a trend continued in France, where AS Monaco - remember that Yeboah hat-trick? - are rock bottom, with Olivier Dacourt's former club Lens on top of the pile.

August 12: Wolves boss Dave Jones is close to clinching the signing of former Leeds defender/midfielder Carlton Palmer. The gangly one has been out of favour with Gordon Strachan for some time now, and should prove a useful addition as Wolves continue their perennial struggle to climb out of Division 1. The deal could be concluded by next weekend - but that would mean that Palmer's first game would be against his old club, so some strategic delay might be in order to avoid the inevitable goal/red card combination that usually follows in such circumstances.

August 12: The main story today is that Peter Ridsdale has been on the receiving end of hate mail from purported Leeds fans, ostensibly over the ground move. Both the chairman and his family have been threatened in the letters, and the West Yorkshire Police are involved in trying to trace their source. David O'Leary has made it clear that his chairman has his full backing. He said: "If it reaches a stage where for the sake of his family he has to walk away, then Leeds would not only need to find a new chairman they would have to find a new boss too." As you all know, I'm not exactly 100% in favour of leaving Elland Road, and I'd like to see just where the money is coming from - and who will benefit from the sale of the old ground - before I make my mind up, but this is totally out of order. Ridsdale has been an excellent chairman of the club and has done much to enhance and improve the popularity of the team beyond the hard core of supporters: ask just about any other football fan out there, and almost without exception they'd trade any of their directors for Ridsdale. Of course, there is always the possibility that the letters have been sent by someone who supports another club and is anxious to spread discontent in the Leeds management...

August 11: Just heard from my spy at the ground from midweek, and it seems that Leeds Ladies did what the men haven't been able to do for some time: they beat Man U 5-0 in a pre-season friendly at Bracken Edge. Leeds will play another game in the build-up to their first season in the top flight on Sunday, facing Oldham at Bracken Edge. The kick-off is at 2:30, so go along and give them your support instead of staying in and watching the Charity Shield on the box.

August 11: Rio managed to play the whole game in Rotterdam last night, so he's in with a half chance of playing in the opener at home to Southampton next week. DOL said: "I am delighted he has come through this game. Again, it was a good work-out for him." Despite his apparent return to fitness, he'll still skip next week's England friendly with Holland. Rio said: "I was a bit wary of playing that long to be honest. I was not sure how my hamstring would react."

August 11: The ever-so-fast-moving FA have granted Martin Keown a personal hearing so he can explain his elbowing and stamping on Mark Viduka and Lee Bowyer. But the streamlined high speed procedure means that his appeal won't be heard until next month, so he will be free to repeat his behaviour on Tuesday week when leeds visit Highbury (unless we get a ref who understands the difference between common assault and a fair tackle of course).

August 10: After Stephen McPhail's announcement that he was fit and raring to go and wanting to get a place in the starting line-up Gary Kelly has said pretty much the same thing. He's shown good form in the pre-season games, he's fit and he's looking forward to the season. He said:""I'm flying at the moment. I don't think I could be playing any better." But he realises that DOL doesn't have an easy call to make. He added: "People are playing well both up front and in defence and the right-back position is well covered with Danny Mills playing well. I understand the boss can only play 11 people but it is not easy when you are not one of them."

August 10: Another big-scoring friendly for Leeds tonight. Sparta Rotterdam are not quite Ajax or PSV, but they provided Leeds with some decent opposition but eventually crumbled to a 6-1 defeat. Robbie Keane opened the scoring in the first minute and made it 3-0 before the half hour mark, adding to Viduka's goal. Sparta got a goal back just before the break, but a free kick from Ian Harte made it 4-1 after 5 minutes of the second half, and further goals from Eirik Bakke and Alan Smith sealed a comprehensive victory.

August 10: Alan Smith, Danny Mills and Nigel Martyn are all in Sven Goran Erickson's squad for the friendly against Holland at White Hart Lane next week. There's no place for David Seaman - Richard Wright is picked ahead of his new Arsenal teammate - but that might be because Erickson has decided to keep the keeper rested and clear of injury ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifier against Germany next month.

August 10: The Great Leeds Injury Crisis of 2001-02. Part 1 of 40. Rio's inability to train leaves him short of match fitness and a doubt for the start of the season. Michael Bridges is still not back to full fitness and won't be ready for a month. Paul Robinson's hand is not yet 100%. And now we have Lucas Radebe left behind as the squad travel out to Holland after picking up a knee injury in training. Looks like Lucas could - literally - be on his last legs. At least we've still got four players in Mills, Matteo, Duberry and Woodgate who can play well at the centre of the defence.

August 09: Stephen McPhail has declared himself fit and raring to go for the new season - but he's under no illusions that he'll walk back into the side, despite being DOL's blue-eyed boy. He said: "Of course I know it is going to be tough with people like David Batty and Olivier Dacourt standing in my way but I am willing to bide my time, work hard, and hopefully when I get that one chance then I will be able to stay in the side. Last year is now well behind me, it was a nightmare season to put it bluntly. I have just blanked it out of my mind and now want to start again." And for the team? "Leeds United should be prepared for a big season and I really want to be a part of that."

August 09: Lucas Radebe could be on his way back to Sweden next week to appear for South Africa in a friendly international in Stockholm. In other international news, four of the five Leeds players called up for training squad for the Republic's friendly against Croatia have been retained in the final squad: only Alan Maybury misses out as Gary Kelly, Ian Harte, Stephen McPhail and Robbie Keane made the final 24. Keane's pre-season form must have improved his chances of a run out after an indifferent end to last season. Finally, the lack of news on the England U-21 front might be good news for Alan Smith: he's not been picked for the U-21 friendly, so must be seen as having a good chance of playing at White Hart Lane, although Erickson's need to experiment and figure out the team due to face Germany next month may lead to the young striker's involvement being brief, since he's still got a suspension to serve in full internationals.

August 09: Huddersfield boss Lou Macari was sufficiently impressed with Gareth Evans in the friendly against Bradford that he's signed him up. Evans leaves Leeds on a free, having made a total of two substitute appearances last season against 1860 Munich and Manchester City.

August 09: It's looking more likely that Rio might miss England's friendly at White Hart Lane next week, and maybe even the Southampton game at the start of the season - his hamstring is still playing up, and his lack of opportunity to train means that he's short of fitness - but at least the rest of our centrebacks are fit and on form. DOL said: "You cannot take any chances with hamstring injuries. If we risk playing Rio before he is absolutely ready, there is a very real danger he will pull the hamstring and be sidelined for six weeks."

August 09: From the BBC: "Violence flared before the match in Istanbul between Turkey's Galatasaray and Bulgarian visitors Levski Sofia." How many more times do Galatasaray have to be involved in off-pitch disturbances before UEFA finally do something?

August 08: Smithy reckons that Harry Kewell's return will prove crucial to the team's success this year. Speaking after last night's game he said: "I think when Harry is back he does make a lot of difference to us, he gives us great ballance down the left. There is no doubting he is a world class player and one we cannot do without." The young striker is pleased with the way the pre-season games are going and is looking forward to getting some real games under his belt. He said: "I am pleased that the lads are looking sharp and staying clear of injuries. I was a bit disappointed to have missed a couple of chances but in the end it was a good workout."

August 08: Alan Maybury opened the scoring in the first half for Leeds at Bootham Crescent tonight after being put through by Robbie Keane. A 15-minute spell in the second half saw a goal for Jacob Burns and two for Keane, who nearly made it a hat-trick on the stroke of full time.

August 08: Eirik Bakke is named in Norway's squad for their upcoming friendly in Turkey next week, but there's no place for Olivier Dacourt in France's squad.

August 08: The Doobs to Spurs rumours are doing the rounds again with a fee of £3 million mentioned, but Leeds are saying that there is no plan to sell the defender (well, not at that price anyway - who do they think we are???). On the way in (or not as the case may be) is a 16-year-old who plays for Lyn Oslo - the club we totally gubbed in Europe in 1969 - but Christian Onstad says he's not ready to think about a move away from Norway yet and wants to establish himself out of the spotlight first.

August 08: A Leeds XI - comprising mainly of players who stayed on the bench or were not in the squad for the Preston game - will take on York City at Bootham Crescent tonight. Most of the key first team players will be rested ahead of Friday's visit to Sparta Rotterdam.

August 08: Gareth Evans - who was turning out for Leeds against 1860 Munich this time last year - played for Huddersfield Town in a friendly against Bradford last night. With Shane Cansdell-Sherriff now looking to step up and give Ian Harte some competition at left back and with competition for midfield places intense, it's hard to see what Evans can do to progress at Leeds, so a long-term loan or outright transfer may be what he needs to progress his career.

August 08: Damien Lynch could be on the point of finding himself a new club. After being released by Leeds, he's linked up with former youth team boss Paul Hart at cash-strapped Nottingham Forest. Forest have had to transfer list their entire squad and are looking to cut the number of players and size of the wage bill after failing to regain their place in the top flight, and a free agent with a bit of talent might be just what they need as the new manager tries to reorganise the team and get them climbing back up the ladder.

August 08: PNE boss David Moyes had praise for Leeds after last night's resounding victory. "You only need to look at their pace, their strength, their workrate and their general talent to realise why you do want to play these teams. I think Leeds look as if they've got the same group of players who are another season wiser, they've got a little bit more experience. I think now they'll be hoping that with the squad they've got they can make a real challenge."

August 07: Yet another pre-season win for Leeds tonight - Harry Kewell starred as Leeds beat Preston 5-0 at Deepdale. Kewell scored one, as did Lee Bowyer, Mark Viduka, Ian Harte and Olivier Dacourt in a game that Leeds always dominated even though Preston managed to keep the score at 1-0 until just after the break.

August 07: Strange bedfellows department. David Batty has been on the receiving end of criticism from both Alex Ferguson and Vinnie Jones. Fergie was quite complimentary - he said: "Howard's biggest success without question was winning the championship. I don't know how he managed to win it at Leeds United that season with the players he had." He added: "You can't do that without good management and good leadership and that was an amazing, amazing achievement by Howard." Meanwhile Vinnie threatened to come round with his showbiz chums and trample on Batty's prize-winning dahlias. "He is bang out of order. Wilkinson was a great manager," said the former Leeds midfielder. Vinnie reckons that Batts is just trying to shift a few books - and he'd do very well to come close to shifting as many as Vinnie's surprisingly good autobiography did when it was published in 1998. "Wilko saw what a great player Batty was and now he's been slaughtered. I don't remember there being trouble between them - if there was, David never said anything to me and I was his room-mate for years."

August 07: Not much change on the squad numbers announced today. In fact, the only difference on last year is that Shane Cansdell- Sherriff gets a number - 35 - after doing well in the reserves and youth team last year.

August 06: Eirik Bakke may play against Preston tomorrow night following a minor injury that kept him out of the game in Dublin, but Rio may continue to be rested to make sure he's in absolutely top shape for the start of the season on Saturday week.

August 06: 12 days to go to the start of the season, and DOL is hoping for a good one. The manager said: "I hope this will be the season when we see some silverware, but only time will tell. We don't have the horrendous injury problems that we had last season and that is a huge bonus." Long may it continue - the departure of Kewell and Viduka for Australia's WC2002 qualifier will be a huge blow, but if Bridges, Keane, Smith and Wilcox stay fit and on form, we should be in a much better position to cope than we did with all the injury and Olympic absences last year.

August 06: Leeds are doing their best to steer clear of the row brewing between David Batty and Howard Wilkinson. Wilko has threatened legal action, saying: "I particularly resent and completely deny allegations made regarding alleged comments made about Billy Bremner's management." It's not as if Batts accused Wilko of saying anything really nasty about Billy: his record as a player stands for itself, but as a manager Bremner never came close to achieving the same heights, and when you look at some of the players the club released during Bremner's reign, you have to question his ability to pick out and nurture talent.

August 05: If you're making travel plans for the Southampton game on Saturday week, be aware that you may find your favorite parking spot or short cut blocked. In order to minimise the hassle for local residents and improve the traffic flow, there will be some new measures and restrictions in place this season around the ground following consultations with the police and the council. A cynic writes: they're just softening us up for the move....

August 05: With Lucas Radebe no longer captain at Elland Road, the question being asked is will he continue to captain his country? With the World Cup just around the corner, coach Carlos Querioz stated that the decision as to who would captain the side had not yet been made. Lucas has been captaining the national side (when fit and for the most important games rather than every single game due to his commitments to Leeds) for 4 years now, and obviously would like to go out on a high next summer, but his continuing injury problems must raise a question in the mind of the coach as to whether or not he should ask The Chief to step aside sooner rather than later.

August 05: David Batty could be in trouble from both the FA and the courts following the publication of remarks in his autobiography. The FA and League Managers Association are apparently unimpressed with Batty's candour in the book, but surely nobody who has watched the game can believe that Wilko was a happy and cheerful bloke who skips gaily into the dressing room telling his team to go out and play beautiful football? Wilko did a lot of good for Leeds, but I can't say that what Batts said sounded libellous. Wilko appears to be more narked over Batts allegation that he didn't think much of Billy Bremner, and that's where the courts might get involved.

August 05: A Leeds XI drew with Scunthorpe at Glanford Park this afternoon. The squad, comprised mainly of reserves and youngsters and with only Jon Woodgate and Michael Duberry from the first team squad, had a good workout, and Iron's boss Brian Laws was happy that his team had acquitted themselves well ahead of the Nationwide league kick-off next weekend.

August 04: Tomorrow's News of the World apparently carries some serialisation from David Batty's autobiography - a large part of which was written during his extensive recuperation from the heart/leg problems of 1999/2000. The main thing that the media has picked up on is his attack on former manager Howard Wilkinson. Batts said: "He was the authoritarian, do-it-my-way-or-not-at-all type and I just could not respond to that. I felt like he was crushing my spirit." And Batts, as we all know, has such a delicate and fragile spirit. Wilko is described as "boring, authoritarian, unimaginative and inflexible" and that eventually gave rise to Batty asking for a move. The book is due to be published at the start of next month according to Amazon - time to get your order in now I think!

August 04: There's a good piece on Michael Duberry in today's Guardian. Doobs looks back on the court case and its aftermath and looks forward to the forthcoming season. He says: "All that is on my mind is getting fit and hopefully winning my place back. Watching from the sidelines last season the standard set by Rio and Dom was really high. I want to be challenging them again. This is a great club and, no matter what has happened, I want to be part of it. I really do." Read the rest of the article here.

August 04: DOL was impressed with last night's performance in Dublin - particularly by 4-goal hero Robbie Keane. He said: "Robbie has been flying in training. He was outstanding and it's a bit special to score those goals in front of a Dublin crowd." With improved fitness and obviously improved confidence, it should serve him well for the new season. The manager added: "Competition for places has increased his edge as he is now in contention with Mark Viduka and Alan Smith for a place in the team." Notice that he didn't mention Michael Bridges there - accidental omission or revealing slip? Despite the lack of new signings he is confident that Leeds can challenge for a couple of honours this season with one proviso: "We are confident that if our players stay fit we will be able to compete." And he had praise for Peter Ridsdale's off-pitch efforts this summer: "We managed to hold on to all of our players. That's down to our chairman Peter Ridsdale....the chairman did really well in persuading everyone to stay."

August 03: Two more goals in the second half for Robbie Keane plus a consolation goal for Dublin City made it 6-1 to Leeds at Tolka Park this evening. Jon Woodgate returned from injury to play half an hour, and former Leeds junior and Westlife star Nicky Byrne made an appearance for the hosts in the second half.

August 03: Half-time in Dublin and Leeds are doing well. Two goals from Robbie Keane and one each from Lee Bowyer and Ian Harte have made it 4-0 at the break.

August 03: Rio is understandably delighted to have been chosen as captain by DOL. He said: "I will wear the armband with pride that's for sure." He added: "I never envisaged me being captain of a club so soon or even at all, but I take it with both arms because to be captain of this club is something I am very proud of, and my family will be as well." Rio will miss out on tonight's game in Dublin due to a hamstring strain.

August 02: Leeds play in Dublin tomorrow night against Dublin City at Tolka Park, and will have a strong-ish squad out, despite a couple of continuing injury doubts in Matteo, Bowyer and Kelly.

August 02: Leeds have five players named in a massive squad of 39 for Ireland's friendly against Croatia later this month. Gary Kelly, Ian Harte, Robbie Keane, Alan Maybury and Stephen McPhail all have a chance of making the final 22 when the squad is announced, but any part they play might be limited with the season due to start just a couple of days after the international.

August 02: In recognition of the fact that he's unlikely to make it through a full season, Lucas Radebe has relinquished the captain's armband in favour of Rio Ferdinand after 4 years as skipper. DOL said: "It's no reflection on Lucas Radebe, who has done a brilliant job. He's a fantastic man to have around the place and is a great ambassador for club and country, and he will continue to be so for many years. I just felt that Rio's game improved when he did the job with Lucas out." I thought he did pretty well - if not showed his best form - when playing alongside Lucas, but that's just me. But nobody realistically expects Lucas to complete an injury-free season, so it's a sensible and pragmatic step.

August 02: Never one to miss a trend, Peter Ridsdale has embarked on a major new acquisition programme that has seen the arrival of eleven new faces at Elland Road. Unfortunately, they're all tropical fish and unlikely to be of much use on the pitch. He said: "Apparently fish bring you good luck. Whenever you do business with people from the Far East they have a fish tank in the office." Needless to say the fish are in Leeds' colours!

August 02: Gary Speed scored Newcastle's first goal as the Magpies beat 1860 Munich 3-1 on the night - 6-3 on aggregate - in the InterToto Cup. They now face French side Troyes in the final and the chance of a place in the UEFA Cup. Villa are through to one of the other InterToto finals (there are three of them) after a 1-0 home win over Rennes sent them through on away goals with the aggregate score 2-2.

August 01: Various representatives from the club met with the council yesterday to "discuss" (a cynic says: "rubber-stamp") the decision on a new ground. The old power station at Skelton Grange looks to be the frontrunner, with land near the A1/M1 link road at Garforth also a runner. Peter Ridsdale has said that he hopes to get outline plans and options out to supporters by the end of next week. Maybe then it will start to clarify just what we're going to be asked to take in terms of extra travelling and inconvenience and maybe hint as to who - if anyone - will be benefitting from any rise in land values arising from the siting of a new stadium.

August 01: Australia have not named any Leeds players (or pretty much anyone from Europe) in their squad for a friendly against Japan this month. Knowing that the national squad will be making a major call on players later this year, Frank Farina decided not to try to force clubs to release players for a friendly just before the start of most European football seasons.

August 01: Eddie Gray is happy with the way that the pre-season tour of Sweden went. The minor knocks that kept a couple of players out of the final game are nothing serious, and the assistant manager thought that the team had achieved a lot in a week. He said: "During the week we've been here we've done a lot of hard work in training. The tour was not just about playing the matches and the lads have been training twice a day and increased their fitness levels."

August 01: Today is Yorkshire Day - greetings to all of my fellow Yorkies out there, whether you're in exile or happily living in the Ridings.

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