I'm not online 100% of the time (and even if I were, my bosses would take a dim view of me spending time updating the web pages in real time), so for the absolute latest news, check out the "professional" links.
September 30: Chelsea retained their unbeaten start to the season thanks to yet another goal from JFH. Elsewhere in Europe our UEFA Cup opponents Troyes came from 0-2 down at home after just 5 minutes to draw 2-2 with Sochaux, and slip to 10th as a result. Lyon cemented their place at the top of the French league with a 4-0 win over Rennes. They're equal on points with Man U's Champions League opponents Lille (1-1 at Sedan) and Auxerre (1-1 at Lens). In Italy, champions Roma look to be hitting their stride at last: they beat former top dogs Juve 2-0 - despite being down to 10 men with Batistuta red carded with 15 minutes left. With Inter winning, Milan losing and newly-promoted Chievo also winning, that leaves Inter on top of the pile after 5 games. Lazio aren't doing much better despite parting company with their coach: they could only manage a goalless draw at home to Parma today. In Spain a "full-blooded" clash between Celta Vigo and Deportivo finished 2-2 on goals and 6-3 to Celta on cards. Remarkably nobody was sent off. There were no fewer than 11 bookings - but no goals at the Mestalla when Alaves came calling, and although Barca now appear to be in the groove (2-0 at Real Sociedad) a 2-2 home draw leaves Real Madrid with just 5 points from 5 games. Villareal and Real Betis top the table after both won 1-0. In Germany, Kaiserlauten's 100% record came crashing down at Wolfsburg on Saturday. Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich both scored 4 goals to narrow the gap at the top of the table, and rumoured Leeds transfer target Sebastian Deisler was on target for Hertha Berlin as they beat Cologne 3-0. In Holland, PSV's disastrous start continued as they went down 0-2 at home to Vitesse Arnhem - who move into second place behind Ajax, 4-1 winners against Groningen.
September 30: Nigel Martyn, Danny Mills and Rio Ferdinand have all been named in the England squad to play Greece next weekend, while Paul Robinson is called into the U21 side.
September 30: The Leeds Ladies came from behind to draw 1-1 at Sunderland today with a goal from Sammy Britton on 75 minutes equalising the home sides opener.
September 30: I can't believe we played so badly and won! After a first half when Leeds looked only marginally more clued up than in the game in Madeira, Ipswich dominated and deserved their 1-0 lead (and were unlucky not to have scored more). Robbie Keane and Mark Viduka were demonstrating that they'd forgotten how to finish (Keane) and what the offside law was (Pieman). And the second half wasn't that much better until Keane finally realised that aiming over the goalie rather than at his legs would be a good idea when he broke through for the umpteenth time onto a Kewell pass. Then poor old Mark Venus scored an OG for the second year in succession as he tried to keep Kewell's cross away from Mark Viduka. The get out of jail free card has been played: we've really got to start putting it together better than this. Still, we're back on top of the pile tonight and halfway towards gathering enough points to avoid relegation.
September 29: A few words about our opponents in the UEFA Cup. Troyes was only formed as a club in 1986 - although there have been two previous Troyes-based football teams. They're known as L'Estac (L'Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne), and are the successors to l'Association Sportive Troyes - Sainte Savine (ASTS: 1900 - 1970) and Troyes Aube Football (TAF: 1970 - 1979). They climbed up through the lower divisions at a steady rate and reached the top flight in 1999. They've finished 14th and 7th and are 9th this season with 3 wins, 1 draw and 4 defeats. The Stade de l'Aube holds 18,231, and their record attendance is 17,756 for the game against Marseilles at the end of last season.
September 29: Spurs' total capitulation at White Hart Lane today gave Man U the chance to go ahead of us on goal difference today. At half-time it was 3-0 to Spurs - 30 minutes into the second half Man U were ahead and scored another late on to make it 5-3 and join Leeds on 14 points at the top. Arsenal's ten men (Keown off for two yellows) beat Derby at Pride Park to go top. Ex-player news: Mark Tinkler scored Hartlepool's first as they came from behind to beat Carlisle 3-1 at home.
September 29: Robbie Keane is looking forward to the trip to Portman Road tomorrow - but he knows there's work to do with Alan Smith due to return shortly. "Mark and I are getting better with every game. The facts don't lie we have not scored the amount of goals that we should have, but hopefully now we can just kick on and really start to spark." DOL meanwhile is hoping that Viduka can kickstart his season with a few goals - but he's happy that the big Aussie is doing his bit as a team player. On Thursday night: "He was here, there and everywhere - a real team player. That's because Mark has the desire to do well again this season, both for the team and for himself." DOL still thinks there's some mileage in the current starting partnership: "The partnership with Robbie is there - it's just that we haven't been firing on all cylinders across the front line." We'll see just how much he believes that when Smithy is back and fit.
September 29: The Leeds 3-wheeler - to be driven by the worst player in training each week and due to be auctioned off for charity at the end of the season - has been smashed up. It was apparently being stored in a garage when it was found with the panels and glass smashed this week.
September 29: Mark Viduka - who's not exactly setting the world alight with his marksmanship this season - reckons we should all get behind Harry Kewell as he goes through a bit of a barren patch. He said: "Harry's a great player and he came up with the goods, which you expect." He added: "Football is full of ups and downs. I'm just happy he's scored three beautiful goals. They will give him a lot more confidence." Vidooks pointed out that Harry had a long lay-off due to injury and was just feeling his way back. Viduka also pointed out that our growing reputation makes teams more likely to come looking for a draw: "We've a bit of a reputation and we're top of the league, so when teams come they sit back."
September 28: News on Michael Bridges' injury just seems to get worse and worse. He'll be visiting a top American surgeon for a determination on what to do next - go for an op or persist with a treatment programme to sort out the knee injury he picked up in the reserves when he was making his comeback from the ankle injury that he got in Turkey last year. However, if an op is called for it will almost certainly rule him out of the rest of the season, and with Kewell and Viduka away on international duty next month, the burden - to score and to stay fit - will weigh heavily on Alan Smith and Robbie Keane.
September 28: Transfer randomness time. We're interested in Bodo Glimt's 18-year-old Norwegian front man Trond Fredrik Ludvigsen. He's a U-21 player and has several other big clubs keeping an eye on him. Meanwhile in a surprising move, both Robbie Fowler and Ray Parlour followed Kieron Dyer's lead and pledged their future and indeed undying loyalty to their clubs - such is the effect that Leeds' transfer interest has on players. (that's enough transfer speculation for now - Ed).
September 28: Sol Campbell will definitely miss next week's final World Cup Qualifier with Greece, and David Seaman misses this weekend's game against Derby for Arsenal and is a doubt for next week. All of which could be good news for Nigel Martyn and Danny Mills: Martyn is the obvious choice in place of (or ahead of!) Seaman, and a reshuffled England defence might find room for Mills in place of the inept Neville sisters - though SGE will no doubt want Danny to keep his attacking instincts under control and focus on keeping a clean sheet.
September 28: Lee Bowyer and Alan Smith are now clear of their Euro-suspensions for the next round - and both could also be in line for a return to first team action on Sunday. Bowyer is certain to return to the midfield, but will it be the recently-recovered Olivier Dacourt, goalscoring hero Eirik Bakke or star man in the last two games David Batty who is rested. Smith is travelling down to Tractorland hoping to be fit enough to get a game after being out since the Arsenal game in August. Captain Rio Ferdinand was quietly confident about Sunday's game. Ipswich have had a long trip to make this week, but the win in Moscow will have done their confidence no end of good after last week's drubbing at Old Trafford. Rio said: "They are a good team but hopefully we can go there and get a good result like we did last season." He added: "We will go there looking for the three points and if we don't get them then we will be happy with the draw." On the Ipswich side, Martijn Reuser is out with a thigh injury, and Titus Bramble is doubtful with an achilles problem.
September 28: The draw for the next round of the UEFA Cup has brought us up against the team that pipped Newcastle in the InterToto earlier this year. Troyes of France (it's in the Champagne region, so a nice follow on to Madeira) are the next opponents, with the home leg scheduled for October 18, and the return leg in France a fortnight later. We've only played a French side once before in a competitive game - and if we can have a repeat of the performance in Monte Carlo that saw Tony Yeboah coming home with a hat-trick we'll be well-pleased. Of course we did lose the home leg of that tie... Troyes came through 6-2 on aggregate against Slovakian side Ruzomberok - they lost the away leg 1-0 last night, but with a 5-1 advantage probably weren't pressing too hard. They are currently mid-table in the French league and clearly are no pushovers as their performance against Newcastle bore out. Rangers' reward is a trip to Dynamo Moscow, Ipswich face Helsingborg and Chelsea - sponsored by Emirates Airlines - may find their fans getting some strange looks if they wear their colours to the away leg against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
September 28: Post-match reaction to the game last night: Maritimo coach Nelo Vingada said: "I think Leeds need to play much better if they are to win the UEFA Cup." And he added: "I felt we were the better team in the first half, and it was only mistakes which let us down." Just like our mistakes let us down in the first leg then. DOL said: "That was a very good performance. We let ourselves down last week, but we rectified it this week by playing a good patient game and scoring some good goals."
September 27: In the end, tonight's performance was pretty straightforward: the earlyish goal from Robbie Keane settled the nerves and the follow-up from Harry Kewell before half-time (two headers in one season!) more or less put the seal on it. When Eirik Bakke made it 3-0 with 20 minutes to go, both teams more or less decided that was it (apart from a few off the ball tussles between Danny Mills and Kenedy). It's now nearly 2 a.m. so I guess that's all the news I've got time for this morning.
September 27: The Leeds United racing car was unveiled at halftime at Elland Road tonight. Leeds are ending their name to an entry in the Premier 1 Grand Prix series - a competition that will start next year with 20 or so identical single seaters taking part with link-ups with major sporting clubs around Europe.
September 27: Ian Harte and Robbie Keane have been called into the Ireland squad to play Cyprus in Dublin next weekend. Gary Kelly is suspended after picking up a red card in the previous international.
September 26: DOL (and the rest of us) know that tomorrow's game is a "must-win" if he wants to keep the whole season on track, and he urged the players and fans to be patient during the game. He said: "The lads know they let themselves down last week. But they're only human beings, although human beings can honestly play just as badly twice." But he didn't put the defeat down solely to a poor performance by The Whites: "They were no mugs. It wasn't just a case of us turning up because they set out to play a certain way and it worked."
September 26: It's looking less and less likely that Lucas Radebe will find a regular place in the Leeds defence this season - and a recent scan has shown that his knees are just not up to the demands of regular first team football at present. Meanwhile Michael Bridges has suffered yet another setback in his year-long fight to be fit. He's now not expected to be fit until the New Year - which could be a bit of a blow to the club when Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell are away on international duty. With Gerard Houillier giving Robbie Fowler another public earbashing today, maybe we'll be looking over the Pennines for a new recruit to provide the cover we need. Ray Parlour is another name mentioned as a possible target: a right-sided midfielder who can score, but who isn't an automatic choice at Highbury. Maybe he's too stale and needs a challenge - but he's never been the most popular player with Leeds fans (insofaras we like any of them) and it would be quite a gamble to go for someone who can't get into one of our main rivals' first team. On the more positive side, Olivier Dacourt is now back in training, though he remains a doubt for tomorrow's game.
September 26: Brian Flynn became the second ex-Leeds player to leave a managerial role in two days yesterday when he parted company with Wrexham. Flynn had planned to leave at the end of the season after 12 years with the club and some memorable FA Cup scalps under his belt, but Friday's 5-0 hammering by Tranmere sealed his fate, with the side having just one win in Division 2 so far this season. At the other end of the table, the ex-Leeds contingent are doing considerably better: Andy Ritchie's Oldham - featuring the skills of John Sheridan - are the division's top scorers and sit in second place behind Mickey Adams' Brighton side. With Southampton firmly propping up the Premier League, it could well be that the popular and successful Adams is asked to move along the South Coast to see if he can turn around a side that has lost some of its better known players and which looks like a racing certainty for relegation this year.
September 25: Some surprising results in the Champions League tonight: Manchester United found - as we did last year - that Deportivo in the Riazor are a difficult proposition. An early Paul Scholes goal was wiped out by two very late scores to give the home side victory. Rosenborg held Juve 1-1 with a late penalty equalising a goal that had more than a suspicion of handball, Barcelona's early lead was overturned as Bayer Leverkusen continued their great start to the season with a 2-1 home win. Fehnerbahce were beaten 0-1 at home by Lyon, Sparta Prague hammered Rotterdam 4-0 and Bayern beat Spartak 3-1 in Moscow.
September 25: Midas Soccer reports that Leeds had tied up a deal with Glaxo SmithKline for naming rights to the new stadium - probably for Lucozade (but you never know - it might have been for Beechams Powders :-) but that the deal was subsequently broken and that Peter Ridsdale was considering legal action as a result.
September 25: There are - incredibly enough - still tickets left for Thursday's vital game against Maritimo. With the club mooting a move to a stadium with over 10,000 more seats, it would be interesting to hear what other steps they could take to fill it: by losing the first leg - and so making a real game of it - and charging just £12 for tickets, you'd have thought that there wouldn't have been a problem in getting the ground filled - but it seems that the part-timers are staying away for this one. Tickets for the Worthington Cup game at Leicester on October 9 are also on sale now.
September 25: Rumoured and immediately denied today: Leeds were supposed to be lining up bids for PSV's Mark van Bommel and Sebastian Deisler of Hertha Berlin - but the suggestions were almost immediately quashed by the club today. Deisler has a get-out clause in his contract at just £5 million - but if he became available, Leeds could face some stern opposition for his signature, but the Dutchman would be expected to fetch over £10 million as a regular in the national side with a growing reputation.
September 25: Harry Kewell's dispute with the Australian promoter of some of the Socceroos' friendlies has been resolved - according to some reports, but doubts remain according to others. The MD of the company has agreed to apologise for suggesting that Kewell had demanded a massive appearance fee to play in a friendly against Manchester United 2 years ago. With the friendly against France and the two World Cup qualifiers (probably against Uruguay) Leeds will lose Kewell and Viduka for the trip to Sunderland and the visit of Aston Villa in the middle of November.
September 24: Post-match reaction volume 2. Eirik Bakke is over the moon to have come through a full match and to have scored: "That was my first full game of the season and it means a great deal to me to get that under my belt, although I know that I did tire in the second half." He's not suffered any ill-effects, so it looks like he'll be free to join David Batty (and Olivier Dacourt, injury permitting) in the middle of the park on Thursday. Meanwhile DOL took the opportunity to point out just how threadbare our resources are again. With Alan Smith and Michael Bridges still out up front, and Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka due to be heading off to play for Australia in a month or so, and Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer facing their retrial next month, things could be looking even worse soon. The manager said: "We know we are going to be short of players even before we take injuries into account." He added: "But we don't have the kind of luxuries other teams have, and I don't know when either of them [Smith or Bridges] will be back."
September 24: Leeds' delayed (by the WTC attack) financial results for the year were published today, and they don't paint too bad a picture for the plc. Turnover was up a massive 65% on the back of the Champions League run, and operating profit up to £10.1 million. Overall though, the club ran at a loss due to the massive expense of signing Rio Ferdinand and Mark Viduka, although a bond issue has been agreed with institutional investors to securitise the club's cashflow over a 25-year period and release up to £60 million to clear any debts and help continue to improve the squad. Although last season's massive cash benefit from the Champions League will be felt in this year's figures, there was no assumption made that the revenue would be forthcoming, so the club doesn't find itself short of money right now. But the chairman pointed out: "Rejoining the Champions League at the earliest opportunity, which is now achievable with a top-four league position, and participating therein on a regular basis, is our top priority." And so say all of us.
September 24: Maritimo rested a large number of their first team players yesterday, so it's hard to read anything into their 2-0 defeat by Uniao Leiria - and midfielder Dinda lined himself up for a further rest by picking up his second yellow card of the game just on the hour.
September 24: Chairman Peter Ridsdale is the latest in a long line of club bosses to speak out over the possibility of a strike by players in November. The PFA are unhappy that they are being offered a smaller slice of a larger cake: with a new and even larger TV deal generating still more revenue for the clubs, the PFA have apparently been offered less money than they received under the previous TV deal. Although the subs are only £75 a year - even for Premiership players - and chief executive Gordon Taylor pulls in a 6-figure salary, the PFA reckon they need the money to further the more worthy side of their work: in addition to acting as advocates for overpaid prima donnas both in public and with the club, they do provide educational advice and funding for players who drop out of the game before they've made it, and they also provide funds and medical assistance to former players whose careers didn't necessarily take them to the very top, or who retired just a few years ago, having not had the chance to share in the benefits of the massive pile of cash that Sky has injected into the game. Responding to a threat to not play in front of cameras, Ridsdale said: "I would remind everybody that their income is derived from television in the first place." He's unhappy that the dirty laundry is being washed in public too. He added: "The issue will only be resolved by people getting round a table and talking about it." Bolton's PFA rep Dean Holdsworth put their side of the case: "What we need to make clear is that the money that we are asking for is not going into footballers' pockets. It's paving the way to look after the overall majority of players, especially in the lower divisions." The issue is going to a ballot soon, and initial runours indicate that the majority of players - even in the very top clubs - support the union.
September 23: Sunday night = Euro round-up time. Let's start in Germany, where Kaiserslauten's 100% record remains intact with a 4-1 win over Hertha Berlin. That's seven wins out of seven - and equals Bayern's record - but the record holders also won and move up into second place thanks to their win over Energie Cottbus being enough to overtake Bayer Leverkusen, who remain unbeaten but could only draw 1-1 with Borussia Dortmund. Juve dropped their first points of the campaign in Serie A, and champions Roma finally recorded their first victory with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina. Real Madrid finally remembered who they were in Spain - their 5-1 hammering of Espanyol getting their season underway somewhat belatedly, but Deportivo La Coruna got back to winning ways at the top with a 3-2 triumph over Alaves. Portugal's top two - Porto and Boavista - both won 3-0, but I'm still waiting to hear what the result was from Maritimo's game.
September 23: Post-match reaction from this afternoon's game: DOL showed that he has been watching the same game as the rest of us, when he noted that two-goal hero Harry Kewell "wasn't playing particularly well" - and indeed it looked like Jason Wilcox was about to come on for him - before he scored. The manager pointed out that the return of key players made a difference (it certainly did for poor old David Batty - at least he had some company in midfield!): "Bakke and Bowyer certainly made a difference. I keep hearing people say that I have this marvellous squad and those same people jumping on my back when I say that it is not the case. But I think I know my squad and I know what I need and that's more players to help strengthen things." Yeah, yeah, and I could do with a massive payrise and some more interesting work but it ain't going to happen. The Derby management thought that the result flattered the home side, but they weren't too downhearted. Colin Todd said: "We are a young side and for long periods in the game we gave a good account of ourselves." He added: "The difference between the two sides was that little bit of class that Leeds have, while for ourselves there is no magic formula."
September 23: Former Leeds centreback Noel Blake has stepped down as manager of the league's bottom club Exeter City "by mutual consent". Blake has been at Exeter for 7 years as player and - for the last 20 months - manager, but with just one win this season and a 4-0 defeat on Saturday it wasn't exactly a major surprise. The Exeter chairman Ivor Doble said: "Noel has achieved much already in his professional life and, clearly, will achieve much more in the years ahead. Everyone at Exeter City is very sad at Noel's departure and we wish him and his family all happiness and success for the future."
September 23: So who are these three mystery signings lined up by Peter Ridsdale then? DOL certainly doesn't seem to know - "Three players? That's news to me," he said. Uninformed speculation at the weekend mentions Saints' Marian Pahars, while some previously unheard of Scottish bloke - St Johnstone's Keigan Parker - is also mentioned. As is just about anyone with two working legs. But we've got Bakke back now, so who needs goalscoring rightsided midfielders!
September 23: A good solid three points at Elland Road sent Leeds back to the top of the pile this afternoon. After a shaky start that saw a Rio Ferdinand own-goal disallowed for offside, Eirik Bakke was given a free header to give Leeds the lead in the 8th minute. After dominating much of the first half, Leeds found that Jim Smith's half-time talk had given the visitors renewed vigour. and for much of the second half found themselves closed down quickly and forced to defend well. After 70-odd minutes in which his main contributions had been about as effective as his performance on Thursday night, Harry Kewell found himself with a bit of space on the left edge of the box and curled in a goal via both posts. Five minutes later a real rarity: Kewell scored again, this time getting his head in front of Mark Viduka to meet a Lee Bowyer cross. Lee Bowyer was denied twice by good saves from Andy Oakes, and Robbie Keane's failure to find the back of the net from good positions was down to 50% good goalkeeping and 50% poor finishing. Still, 3 points in the bag, no injuries after the game - must be good news ahead of Thursday's vital return game with Maritimo.
September 22: Great surprises of our time volume 4. Opposition player sent off in dubious circumstances against Arsenal. Yep, in the week after JFH had his red card for an "elbow" on Keown reduced to a yellow, Bolton had Ricardo Gardner sent off after a dubious ruling by the linesman that Dennis Bergkamp had been pulled back. Arsenal went a goal up, but Rod Wallace set up a late equaliser for the ten men of Bolton, and they stay top of the league as a result. Elsewhere Danny Granville scored one of Manchester City's 6 goals at Hillsborough - Wednesday only managed two in reply - and Mark Ford scored the last of Darlo's four unanswered goals against bottom club Exeter.
September 21: So the day after a poor result, the chairman reveals that we are pursuing up to three targets. Having denied the Robbie Fowler rumours yesterday, Peter Ridsdale indicated that plans were progressing to bring some players to Elland Road. Realistically, the only thing holding up the announcement is medical: Kieron Dyer's recovery will almost certainly herald his signing for Leeds despite his protestations of loyalty to St James Park. And Dean Richards' move from Southampton to Spurs today might also result in Saints renewing their interest in Michael Duberry - thus depositing a little bit more cash in DOL's transfer kitty.
September 21: DOL is a bit worried by the team's performance against Maritimo - but reckons it will serve as a useful kick up the backside to some players who thought they only needed to turn up to win. And it will also have the useful benefit of encouraging the ticket sales for the home leg at Elland Road next week. He said: "We can do a lot better than that result and the performance worried me. We are a better team than Maritimo but we have to prove it in the second leg."
September 21: Injury news ahead of Sunday's game: Eirik Bakke is closer to a comeback, but Olivier Dacourt will miss the game with the hamstring problem sustained against Charlton. Lee Bowyer returns from European suspension, but his fellow suspendee Alan Smith remains a doubt with an ankle knock.
September 21: Harry Kewell has demanded an apology from one of the sponsors of the Socceroos' forthcoming friendly against France after a director made disparaging remarks about him on Australian TV. Harry has made it clear he won't appear in the game unless he gets a public apology - which rather presupposes that he'd be picked, and on current form that would be a bit of a stretch!
September 20: A hugely disappointing display by Leeds in Madeira tonight piles the pressure on the side for the return leg in one week's time. After a first half freak goal where a free kick from Bruno drifted over the defence and inside an unsighted Nigel Martyn's post, Leeds should have mounted more of a challenge, but it wasn't until the last ten minutes that Leeds came close to troubling the keeper. Robbie Keane had the best chance - but took far too long over a lay off from David Batty and was closed down. Harry Kewell and Gary Kelly would both be contemplating a weekend playing for the reserves if we didn't have such dire injury problems: they were both abysmal. Kelly's passes found touch more than they found a team-mate, and Kewell's ability to get past a player and then wait so he can try to beat the same man again were totally infuriating. Maritimo were pretty solid under pressure - although the cracks did start to appear towards the end, but that was no different from the side that won by a similar margin at the same place three years ago. Ho hum....back to the league: a home win against Derby is now vital to regain momentum and confidence ahead of next Thursday's game.
September 20: Eirik Bakke is definitely out of tonight's clash with Maritimo, so it's looking likely that midfield regulars David Batty and Harry Kewell will be joined by Stephen McPhail and Gary Kelly. The manager now finds himself in the unaccustomed position of being the favorites in a European tie. He said: "We'll need to produce two professional displays. We'll be expected to dominate in Leeds in the second leg and we'll probably have a lot of possession, but hopefully we can score some goals tonight and make it easier for ourselves."
September 20: Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks has echoed DOL's sentiments about the UEFA Cup - but he sees it developing in a different way. While the Leeds manager favours a change to mirror the league structure of the Champions League, Sheepshanks would prefer it to enshrine the knockout nature of cup competitions. He said: "It needs its own image and perhaps it could be promoted much more effectively as the best knockout cup in the world and made very distinct from the Champions League."
September 19: Leeds slipped back to second in the league tonight thanks to Bolton gaining a point against Blackburn. Bolton went ahead thanks to new signing - and Leeds old boy - Rod Wallace, but Blackburn pulled it back to 1-1 and Bolton once again lead the division on goal difference.
September 19: You can tell we're back in the UEFA Cup - the management of our opponents can't wait to get a dig in and try to put Leeds down. Maritimo president Carlos Pereira reckons that his team are stronger - and Leeds weaker - than when the sides met three years ago. Looking at United's squad, it's hard to see any sense in at least one side of that argument, and midfielder Zeca showed that - at least some of - the players are living on the same planet as the rest of us, pointing out: "Last season they reached the Champions League semi-finals." The general message coming across is that they'll be looking to try to score a goal or two at home and mark very tightly over both legs to try to retain control of the game. Coach Nelo Vingada was pretty clear about his strategy: "If we don't concede any goals we have a chance of going into the penalty shootout." For Leeds, DOL sounded fairly upbeat about Leeds' prospects: "But it is not about them, it is about us and what we do on the night. If we go out there and play well then we will win the tie." I always thought it took two teams to make a tie - let's hope his confidence in this rather patched up midfield and Hobson's Choice front two pay off.
September 19: That manager of ours has been a chatty fellow today. He's been telling the press that he has been motivated to succeed at Leeds just to prove George Graham wrong. He said: "He felt it wasn't going to happen at Leeds, that they were top eight at best. So when I got the job it was down to me then to prove him wrong." Graham believed he was going to a team with a better squad and better prospects at Spurs - how wrong he was! Another indication of the differences between the two was shown when DOL made it clear that, although there were other factors, there was no way he could have taken a job with GG at Spurs because of his long association with and loyalty to Arsenal.
September 19: It's like deja vu all over again. DOL has been telling the world how bad the UEFA Cup is and why it needs to be changed. He said: "If UEFA want to give this cup some standing they have to give it the same facelift they gave the European Cup. They need to make it a league system and give teams an incentive to win it." Coming soon: why it's wrong that Champions League losers are allowed into the UEFA Cup.
September 19: The game against Leicester in the Worthington Cup will now take place on October 9 after Leeds made representations that it gave their international players too little chance to rest after the weekend's games and because of the heavy schedule around that time with league and UEFA Cup fixtures piling up.
September 18: Nige thinks defenders are great shock! The keeper is obviously happy when we only concede one goal in five games and he paid tribute to the defence today. "They have been tremendous, stopping everyone coming through. If anything I am down to just one shot per game and if I manage to save that then we are okay." And he pointed out the strength in depth in the squad: "We have even got great players in the reserves or on the bench waiting to come in if needed. Defensively, we are as strong as anybody in the country."
September 18: Olivier Dacourt is out of the Maritimo game on Thursday night. After being kicked up in the air by the Charlton players he's damaged a hamstring and is also doubtful for the game against Derby on Sunday. With Lee Bowyer suspended and Eirik Bakke also an injury doubt, the midfield looks like being somewhat makeshift in Madeira. Let's just hope that David Batty stays injury free or we really could be stretched. A midfield of Kewell, McPhail, Batty and Kelly looks likely - unless DOL plays Harry up front and benches Robbie Keane, in which case Jason Wilcox would come into the side.
September 17: Matthew Jones scored his first senior goal for Leicester tonight as they faced Boro at home - but he ended up on the losing side as two late goals from Ince and Greening took the points back up north.
September 17: DOL is very happy that we're starting the season so well - "Last year, our form started to pick up from January, from 13th place. You don't expect to qualify for the Champions League starting in 13th place in January." But he's still looking to get in more talent, and sees Arsenal as a big threat: We know we've gone down there and beaten them, but I don't think they'll be far away this year. We're probably fourth, squad-wise." Well, fourth will get a Champions League qualifier place this season...
September 17: The Worthington Cup game at Leicester will be televised on PPV on Monday October 8 - making it 9 games in a row that Leeds will be shown on live TV. Must be something of a record. Let's just hope that none of our internationals gets too tired or injured playing in the weekend beforehand - although the Worthington Cup is not the most prestigious pot around, it's still silverware that is worth competing for and we should do our best to put out a team to win it, or at the very least gain a bit of revenge over Leicester for the last two cup visits to Filbert Street. Also news of the Everton game: it's most likely to be played on Wednesday 19 December, but if we're beaten by Leicester in the Worthington Cup, the game will be played on the previous Wednesday.
September 17: The U-19 side beat Everton 2-0 at the weekend, but the U-17s could only manage a 0-0 draw against the same opposition.
September 16: Euro round-up time. Starting in North London, where the man whose wage packet has to be carried to his car by two champion powerlifters was at the centre of attention at White Hart Lane. First up JFH scored Chelsea's first, then he was involved in an accidental clash of heads with Bunjecevic that left the Spurs player in hospital with a possible fractured cheekbone, and then he appeared to catch his studs in the turf as he burst through into the box: the ref decided that JFH had gone to ground due to Ledley King's intervention and the Hasselbaink scored from the spot. Across the water now, first to Italy. Juve retain their 100% record at the top, despite being two goals down after 20 minutes to newly promoted Chievo - an 83rd minute penalty from Salas finally tipping the balance in the home side's direction. The nightmarish start for the Roman sides continues - champions AS Roma losing 2-0 at Piacenza and Lazio held 0-0 at home by Torino. By contrast, both Milan sides won and now sit behind Juve in second and third. In Spain there was more misery for Real Madrid - a 1-3 reversal at Real Betis leaves them with just one point from their opening three games, and the only consolation being that Barca are in similar poor form. The Catalan side could only draw 0-0 at Osasuna yesterday. This evening Valencia scraped a 1-0 win in the Mestalla against Las Palmas - aided by the fact that the visitors finished with just 9 men. The last 100% record in Spain went as Deportivo La Coruna lost 1-2 at home to Bilbao. In Portugal, Maritimo did their confidence - and goal difference - a power of good with a 5-0 home win over Alverca, but Boavista continue to lead the league. In Germany, Kaiserlauten's excellent start to the season continued with a 2-0 win over Nurnberg maintaining their 100% record, but European Champions Bayern Munich look to be back in form: it may have taken 89 minutes, but one goal was enough to beat Freiburg and move them ahead of Dortmund into third place. Bayer Leverkusen remain second with a 3-1 home victory over St Pauli. Finally in Holland, PSV slipped up again, losing 2-0 to Breda, but there were no mistakes from league leaders Feyenoord as they beat VBV De Graafschap 2-0 at home.
September 16: Postmatch reaction: DOL is happy with the result and the league position given that "we're not firing on all cylinders". He was less happy about Robbie Keane's booking for an alleged dive: TV replays (which have the angle the ref can't see) showed that Dean Kiely had made contact with the Irishman, and DOL will be looking for Mike Halsey to rescind the booking. Alan Curbishley spoke for many when he said: "Taking the bad defending away, I thought we gave a good account of ourselves." True - Charlton did look lively enough up front, but defence and attack must come together if you want the points. The Charlton boss thinks that they were a bit unlucky with Stuart's red card. He said: "I thought the reaction of the player that got caught Harte possibly affected it. It changed the whole game for us. Graham thinks he caught him on the foot and is obviously very disappointed with it all."
September 16: Meanwhile in South London....the game should have been decided by half time with Leeds a goal to the good and facing 10 men after Graham Stuart's two-footed challenge on Ian Harte had produced a red card that was sufficiently clear cut that left the home fans shaking their heads rather than shouting at the ref. But Leeds kept on giving Charlton too much time and space, and it took a superb pair of saves from Nige to maintain the advantage. Danny Mills settled the nerves with a long-range strike in the second half, and the only disappointing part of the afternoon was that we didn't add any more: plenty of possession and lots of good positions ultimately wasted or saved well by the under-siege Dean Kiely. Still, three points is three points and - however early in the season it may be - it's still nice to be top of the league.
September 16: The Leeds Ladies team beat Barry Town 3-0 at Bracken Edge this lunchtime - their first win in the top flight.
September 15: Lee Bowyer is looking forward to revisiting his old haunt tomorrow as Leeds face Charlton. He made all the right noises about the club that developed him as a youngster: "If we do not show them the right levels of respect tomorrow then they will beat us, there is no question. In the past they have got some good results and we cannot underestimate them." And he expects another good reception from the fans for whom he performed for three years: "I got some very good support from the home fans when I went down to Charlton last year and we also got a good result so it was a good day all round for me really."
September 15: Old boys round-up from the weekend. First up I see Rod Wallace signed with Bolton last week after parting company with Rangers at the end of his contract in the summer. He didn't make it into the side today as Bolton's good start to the season came down to earth with a bump as they lost 0-1 at home to Southampton. Brian Deane scored Boro's first of two as they finally gained their first points of the season: West Ham's inability to reply leaves them at the foot of the table as a result. Warren Feeney scored from the spot for Bournemouth as they scraped a 3-2 win over Bury with a last minute winner - with Harpal Singh making his league debut for the visitors. Mark Ford scored the first goal of the game for Darlo at Torquay, but the hosts came back to win 2-1.
September 15: DOL and refs part 17. With Danny Mills and Lee Bowyer due up in front of the FA, the manager has made it clear that he does not condone bad language and abuse of officials, but: "There's foul language and then there's stuff said in the heat of the moment, with circumstances involved in front of a passionate crowd, and that's where commonsense needs to come into play." He made it clear that Leeds would use video evidence to highlight the behaviour of Ashley Cole which gave rise to both red cards, indicating that the reaction of the Leeds players, while not totally excusable, was at least partly understandable. As to what the punishment would be, the manager spoke for us all when he said: "I just hope we have the people who covered the Keown hearing and then we will be OK."
September 15: DOL reckons that English refs could do with taking a leaf out of the book of the scariest ref in the world. The slap-headed bulging-eyed Italian Pierluigi Collina. Collina reffed the first leg of the Champions League semi for Leeds last year, and as in the Olympic Stadium for the England - Germany game, controlled the game well without ever having to light up the sky in a blaze of yellow cards. O'Leary said: "That man is a fantastic referee. I know him and I've spoken to him and he has told me the hardest thing not to do is book people. Now I watched Jeff Winter during Charlton's game with Fulham and there were many incidents where he just spoke to people, yet in our game with Arsenal he was giving yellow cards out."
September 15: If it's the Worthington Cup it must be Leicester! Today's 3rd Round draw saw Leeds drawn to face the Foxes at Filbert Street for the third time in four years. The tie is due to take place on Wednesday 10 October.
September 14: A Premiership club faces the possibility of losing some of its most important players to play in a friendly on the other side of the world. Not a continental tournament or an important qualifier - a friendly. The club protests to FIFA, saying that they should not be forced to release players for a friendly match when there are important games to be played both in European competition and domestically. What does FIFA do? (a) Back the club or (b) tell the club that it must release its players and it will be fined if it doesn't. If you said (b) then you have a fine grasp of history and remember what has happened to Leeds over the last two years. If you said (a) you're a little bit more up to date - I mean, it wouldn't do to try to ruin a club's chances of getting through to the next stage of the Champions League by forcing them to play games without key players available. I mean, it can't have anything to do that the club in question this year was a member of the G-12 (or 14 or however many it is now) and happens to be based in a North London suburb and that the club in question last year was some upstart club that kept on awkwardly winning games they shouldn't have and happened to be based in the north of England. That would be an absurd assertion - bias at FIFA - unthinkable! Yep, after Wenger's concerted whinge about France's friendly against the Socceroos, FIFA appear to be siding with Arsenal over the release of their French players. No doubt they will rule that Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka will also not be required for this game real soon.
September 14: Danny Mills and Lee Bowyer have been formally charged with misconduct by the FA following their comments to match officials at the Arsenal game. If found guilty, they could face a 3 match ban. It will be interesting to see if the FA regards verbal abuse of match officials more seriously than it regards physical violence - like elbowing people in the face for example - or falling over clutching your face as if you've been punched by Mike Tyson when someone's shoulder catches you in the chest, like a certain North London based centreback I could mention.
September 14: Leeds old boy Martin Hiden - currently back in his home country with Austria Vienna - is apparently a target of Glenn Hoddle's Spurs. He never game the impression that he was in the same class as Lucas Radebe or Rio Ferdinand, but he did a good solid job for Leeds under George Graham until the turf at Old Trafford wrecked his knee and kept him out for the best part of a season.
September 14: Arsenal's high-board artiste and occasional left back Ashley Cole has been upset by accusations that he has cheated to get opponents sent off. "I was a bit disappointed at what David O'Leary said about me. I don't know why he did. I'm not a diver and always play to the rules." Having had a quick glance through the Rules of the Game, I've yet to see the bit that tells players to jump up and go charging towards the ref when they stumble over a blade of grass at the Riverside. But he continues: "I was on the floor when the ball was kicked at me, how could I have dived?" Errr...how did you get there in the first place Ashley? "I'm absolutely amazed by what's been said and the criticism. It upsets me." A year ago it was Ian Harte getting the same stick for making the most of anything that came near him - all that we're seeing here is a remarkable example of the press being consistent in their treatment of two similar cases. Grow up and stand up and you'll be amazed at how the criticism vanishes mate.
September 14: Charlton team news part 2. Smithy is now unlikely to play - it's just too much of a risk that we can't afford to take with the current fragile nature of our forward line.
September 14: Well, I'm encouraging you lot in London to join me in cheering on the Leeds Ladies next week - but this week there's another Leeds team to be supported in the capital. At 10:30 on Sunday morning, the email list team - the Leeds Lards - will be taking on a team from the Charlton list on Charlton Park. Come and cheer us on - or drop me an email and bring your boots and join us - the more the merrier! Our playing standard is variable to unknown - the Lards have made it to the semis or quarters in each of the six years of Euronet/Worldnet - but the early kick-off and long distance from Leeds means that the team for this game will be a collection of veterans coming out of retirement (me), a few regulars and the obligatory couple of ringers (my St Mirren supporting chum from work). KO is carefully timed to allow us to grab a decent bit of lunch and a pint ahead of the other Charlton - Leeds game that's taking place on Sunday.
September 13: Weekend player news in a nutshell: Smithy looks like he'll be fit (but may be on the bench so as not to overstretch him), Woody is back to full fitness but he too is unlikely to get ahead of Rio and Dom at the back, but Eirik Bakke is struggling to make it in time. Charlton have injury problems of their own with Luke Young the latest addition to the queue outside the physio rooms at the Valley. So we've got no excuses if we don't capture all 3 points!
September 13: Leeds Ladies player Siobhan Hagerty-Crosse talks to Phil Rostron in an article in today's YEP that's well worth reading. With very little reward, here's one Leeds United team whose commitment should justify much more support - make sure you get out and cheer them on when they next play in your area!
September 13: The attorney general has been given permission to bring contempt of court proceedings against Mirror Group Newspapers as a result of the Sunday Mirror article which resulted in the abandonment of the trial of Lee Bowyer, Jon Woodgate and others earlier this year. No action will be taken against the paper's editor Colin Myler - who resigned as a result - but MGN could face a substantial fine if found guilty.
September 13: It's been confirmed that fans travelling on the official trip will receive refunds from the club - and the clubs will be compensated by UEFA - as a result of this week's postponements. However UEFA have said they won't do anything for fans themselves - so if you went under your own steam, you'll be relying on the generosity of the clubs for compensation.
September 13: Next week's reserve game against Manchester United at Bootham Crescent is the latest fixture likely to be postponed: with Leeds due out in Madeira for the rescheduled game next Thursday, the reserve game will almost certainly be called off.
September 12: Gary Kelly and Rio had been looking forward to the first of hopefully many ties in this season's UEFA Cup. Kelly said: "It's nice we're getting recognised for what we've done in Europe, but it's time to start producing. But we believe we can win every game. If we can keep a clean sheet, we have the quality of Kewell, Viduka and Keane to get us goals." And Rio would quite like to be the first Leeds captain to lay his hands on some Euro-silverware in 30 years. He said: "It is just nice for us to be involved and of course it would be extra nice for me to be the first skipper in a while to lift a trophy."
September 12: The team was already airborne when UEFA announced that all the European games tonight and tomorrow will not now be played. Despite teams and fans already being in place for many of the fixtures and despite the fact that they allowed last night's games to go ahead, UEFA have moved the games back a week - and Peter Ridsdale will be looking to offer fans on the official trip a refund (or discount on the next trip) and to help fans who travelled independently claim something back from UEFA. The chairman - like most of us - understood the reasons for the postponements. He said: "We recognise that what happened in the United States has ramifications for the whole of the western world." The ramifications for the fixture list are that the Everton game is now postponed to an indefinite date, but there'll be no need to change anything next weekend since Leeds were already due to play on Sunday, facing Derby at home on PPV.
September 11: The team are due to fly out to Madeira tomorrow for Thursday's game - although there may be some question over any flights following today's atrocity in New York: in the UK, Tony Blair announced that flights would continue if security was guaranteed. It looks like my colleagues in New York were very lucky - working in offices around the WTC they were evacuated ahead of the second impact. Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families of all those involved. UEFA held a one minute silence at the start of tonight's Champions League games and has said it will review the games due to take place later in the week.
September 11: Biter bit department: Ashley Cole was red-carded after just 10 minutes as Arsenal lost their first Champions League game 1-0 to Real Mallorca, and Top Bloke of the Week award goes to Danish ref Knud Fisker, whose performance should be studied in detail by Mr Winter and his colleagues before they next take charge of an Arsenal game and who had the audacity to book an Arsenal player for diving. Wonder if Mr Wenger's slight eye problem allowed him to see that? Liverpool went behind to a second minute goal from Boavista, but came back with a Michael Owen goal just before the half hour. There were no more goals and that's got to be viewed as a poor result at Anfield for the Reds. It was a bad night for the Roman clubs with Roma going down 1-2 at home to Real Madrid and Lazio losing 1-0 to the remarkably-still-unbanned-by-UEFA Galatasaray. Surprise of the night was Nantes - out of form in the French league - who beat PSV 4-1. In the handful of UEFA Cup games tonight, the pick of the results was Troyes' 6-1 win over MSK Ruzomberok after qualifying via the InterToto.
September 11: Smithy reckons that we can win the UEFA Cup this year after coming so close to a pot in the last two years. "We have picked up crucial experience in Europe over the last two years, particularly from the Champions League," he said. "Over two legs we fancy our chances against anyone." Well, let's hope we can get to the point where Smithy can get involved: both he and Lee Bowyer will miss both legs through suspension, and Eirik Bakke remains a fitness doubt, but you would hope that the current squad would be enough to beat Maritimo without recourse to penalties this time. Smithy is hopeful that he will be fit for the weekend though. He said: "The injury is coming along quite well now and hopefully I am looking at being fit enough to come back against Charlton next Sunday."
September 11: Elsie Revie has backed the move to a new stadium, although it's clear that she does have some reservations because "both my husband's ashes and Billy Bremner's are scattered at Elland Road." But she did point out: "Don was a very progressive man so I'm sure he would have approved of the move to a wonderful new stadium." And no Gypsy Curse to be exorcised either.
September 10: Little-known Maritimo fact: Wolves striker from the early 1970s John Richards ended his career with the Portugese side.
September 10: Woohoo! Those of us who are stuck with cable TV and can't afford to take 3 days off work to get to Madeira will now be able to see the away leg live on Channel 5 on Thursday night. Kick-off is at 2145 BST, so I guess it means finding a pub with a friendly landlord for a lock-in or getting home in time to see the game from the comfort of your own armchair.
September 10: One-time dead cert to manage Leeds Gordon Strachan has parted company with Coventry "by mutual consent". After a couple of years when his on-field efforts almost singlehandedly kept them up, he couldn't pull of the same trick indefinitely as manager, and after relegation last year and a poor start this season (not helped by the departure of Hartson, Bellamy, Hadji and now Chris Kirkland) he's finally taken the advice of the fans who have been baying for blood for some time now. Despite his lack of success as a manager to date, there will be plenty of chairmen who would consider his attitude and experience an asset, and - if he wants to - he shouldn't find it too hard to get himself a new club job - but with the imminent vacancy in the role of national team coach north of the border coming up, he might feel that that's the ring into which his hat should be thrown.
September 10: Player movements - fact and fiction. Fact: Harpal Singh has gone on a month's loan to Burnley to get some real first team experience. He's now 20, but hasn't yet managed to make the final breakthrough into the first team squad at Elland Road despite doing well in the reserves. Fiction: Olly is going nowhere according to Peter Ridsdale, despite the rumours linking him with a move to Juve at the end of last week. With the Euro transfer window now closed, it's highly unlikely that there will be any major moves until it gets closer to the next window. Fictions: Michael Carrick is not leaving Upton Park for Leeds (well, not yet), Steve McManaman remains happy to keep challenging for a place in the hyper-talented, mega-expensive Real Madrid midfield and won't be coming back to England to ply his trade at Elland Road, and Kieron Dyer remains crocked. However, the chairman has made it clear that there is still some money in the pot should DOL wish to spend it, and that we shouldn't be too surprised to see the cheque book come out before the end of the year. The manager made it clear that he still thinks we're a few bodies short of a real squad - particularly after Saturday's poor showing and lack of options on the bench. He said: "We know that we need players in certain areas and we will try to get them. If we do we will become a better team and a better squad, but we have to be patient and make sure that we get the right ones." And realistically, that means midfielders - we've got plenty of defenders, and as DOL himself said: "I have to wait for Michael Bridges and Alan Smith to be fit. What is the point of me getting people in now for that position and then both Bridges and Smith come back? What do I do with them then?" Errr...flog one for a profit?
September 10: Leeds Ladies managed another draw against a Merseyside team this week - following up their 3-3 with Tranmere they drew 0-0 against Everton on Sunday. They now face Barry Town on Sunday at noon (no doubt to that all potential supporters can scarper in time to see the Charlton game on the box so get yourself down to Bracken Edge if you're not at the Valley) and on Sunday week face Fulham's Ladies side in the League Cup. Fulham are run on pretty much a fully professional basis and are demolishing the opposition in the Southern Division as they charge up to the top flight. They hammered Millwall 12-0 in the League Cup preliminary round this weekend - I guess we should try to turn up to cheer Leeds on and see if they can beat the odds when they come down in a fortnight. Meanwhile. Both the U-17s and U-19s did what their senior counterparts failed to do, running out 3-1 winners against Bolton.
September 09: Time for our regular amble around the continent. Starting in Portugal, our UEFA Cup opponents Maritimo won 1-0 at Bellenenses yesterday - that's 2 wins and 2 defeats in the campaign so far. Roma and Lazio both drew their games yesterday, but Juve made it two wins from two with goals from Del Piero and Trezeguet beating Atalanta 2-0. In Spain, Real Madrid's poor start to the season continues - their 1-1 draw against Malaga falling well short of expectations. Deportivo won again to head the table, and Real Mallorca also picked up 3 points ahead of their Champions League tie with Arsenal next week. Barca dominated possession but rode their luck to produce an equaliser against Rayo Vallecano in the Nou Camp - and then had the woodwork to thank as a late attack from the visitors produced a shot which hit both posts before bouncing into the arms of their grateful keeper. PSV returned to winning ways in Holland with a 3-0 win over Fortuna Sittard, but Feyenoord top the pile after a similar win over NEC Nijmegen. In Germany Kaiserslauten retained the lead and their 100% record with a 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen, but second-placed Borussia Dortmund failed to make it 5 wins out of 5 as Bayern beat them 2-0 at home to move up into 4th place.
September 09: Peter Ridsdale has reiterated earlier pleas to fans at Elland Road to remain seated during the game or face the possibility of sections of the ground being closed by safety officers. The chairman said: "Elland Road has been adapted for spectators to be seated, so put simply, it is not safe for spectators to stand throughout the match." He went on to say: "This is because seated stadiums do not have crowd control barriers. The potential therefore exists for crowd surging. Obviously, a surge in a seated area can cause serious injury - particularly so in upper seating areas." Well duh! So let's say there's a panic in the crowd because someone starts a fight. Or there's a bomb threat. Or one of the food stands catches fire and the stand needs to be evacuated. All of those things could cause a surge and serious injury. I guess that the assumption is that such things aren't going to happen that often, but people will stand up for every game. So maybe he would consider putting a safe standing area into the design for the new stadium, so that those of us who have always been happy to stand and make a bit of noise to support the team have the opportunity to do so without inconveniencing those people who would prefer to watch the game from their seats.
September 08: To the surprise of absolutely nobody, DOL was unhappy and Sam Allardyce rather pleased with today's result. Focusing on a foul on Harry Kewell deep into stoppage time, the Leeds manager said: "The TV people have shown me the replay and it was a penalty, but the referee has made his decision." However, he was happy enough to have got through the first four games of the season with 8 points in the bag. Sam Allardyce saw ref Steve Bennett's decision slightly differently. He said: "If it was in the box and it was a foul then we are a bit fortunate to get away with it, but we didn't think it was a foul. It was a good challenge." He also picked out Jaaskelainen's save from the out-of-sorts Robbie Keane just a minute before the 90 minute mark as a key point in the game. "He was one-on-one with Robbie, stood up, didn't do anything rash and pulled off a tremendous reflex save to get down with his left hand and smother what was a good shot." With 10 points from 4 games, Bolton are 30 points short of the relegation avoidance target that most people have in mind for them. If they keep up such well-organised and disciplined displays, then maybe people's expectations will be set a little higher for the rest of the season and everybody will have to get back to the bookies to change their bets on who will be back in Division 1 next year.
September 08: Norway's team doctor hit back at DOL's claims that Norway had exacerbated Eirik Bakke's injury problems this week. Lars Engebretsen said: "I was contacted by Leeds in the middle of the week and I was told that I was undoubtedly the worst national team doctor they have to deal with." But he insisted: "Bakke was injured when he got here and injured when he left. But he received treatment from us which actually made him better." Well, he played today, so he obviously wasn't in such a terrible state after all.
September 08: A disappointing result this afternoon - but Mike Whitlow reminded us why we liked him when he played for us as he saved Bolton on several occasions. Elsewhere JFH scored from the spot to equalise for Chelsea against Arsenal, but was handed a red card for an elbow on Martin Keown. Keown was yellow carded for his part in the incident, but the FA will probably rescind that and give him a gold star on Monday morning. Everton's defeat at Old Trafford means we go above them, but Man U's win puts them ahead of us on goal difference, so we stay in third.
September 08: More stadium stuff (unsurprisingly). DOL is happy with the decision (not surprising since a leaked comment that he'd walk away was one of the more hysterical (in the non-funny sense) reasons the club lined up in favour of the move. He said: "If you drive down to Elland Road when there is no match on, to go through the main gates, you realise just how old that ground and that stand in particular is. If you go to any other club in the Premier League, whether it be Middlesbrough, Sunderland or Southampton they have all got fantastic, modern grounds where people enjoy watching and playing football." And if you go to any of those grounds when there is a match on, you'll see nowhere near the atmosphere you get at Elland Road. ER is nowhere near the hemmed-in dumps of Roker or Ayresome - but what the heck, it's a moot point now. He said: "In a way I think we forgot about Elland Road and when you look elsewhere in the Premier League I would say that ours is now the worst in the country." He doesn't remember what he saw at Highbury a fortnight ago then. And how about The Valley, Portman Road, Goodison, Ewood? Not exactly the most modern and wonderful facilities. Ho hum...
September 08: With a global recession apparently just around the corner, Peter Ridsdale will be taking the begging bowl...err..I mean strong case for sponsoring the stadium of a high-profile, high-achieving Premier League team around some of the biggest businesses around. The chairman said: "I want to build this stadium for nothing - and I'd be disappointed if there were not some left to throw into David's transfer pot." So that means he's after something of the order of £50-70 million, assuming the land and new stadium costs £40-60 million and we get £20 million or so for selling the current ground and land to the council or to a developer. That's a lot of dosh - and if it won't be sports, tobacco or drink related maybe we can persuade Lurpak to extend their sponsorship of the East Stand - or maybe we can take the case to their arch-rivals? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Stadium!
September 08: Ian Harte revealed that he doesn't practice his free-kicks in an interview today. He said: "When it comes to practising free kicks, I'm rubbish. When it comes to the game, they go in for me, so I don't complain." Interestingly, he also referred to the Ipswich game last year - one of those that got DOL's back up because the fans dared to jeer a sub-par performance by the home side. But Harte said: "The fans had a right to have a go, they paid their money. But we're a year older and wiser now."
September 07: The manager is keeping his fingers crossed that Lee Bowyer and Danny Mills will not suffer any further punishment for their alleged remarks to match officials at Highbury. The players and club have responded in writing to an FA request for information, but the manager pointed out: "It gives you hope when you see Martin Keown given a one-game suspension for an elbow incident. I was quite surprised by that verdict....That makes it interesting should you have to go down and appear before the FA." "Interesting" is right David - particularly when the penalty for violent conduct is a 3-match ban, and the FA had issued an earlier edict saying that the disciplinary committee would be applying punishments rigorously and to the full extent of the laws.
September 07: Hubris afore the fall department. Olly thinks that we can make it to the Champions League for next year, and that "Games like Bolton are ones we have to win." Realistically, we have to win pretty much all of our home games, no matter who the opposition. Dacourt makes it clear that the result is the most important thing at this stage: "I definitely think we can play much better, but the most important thing is that we've got the points. In six or nine months time it won't matter if we've played well, just how many points we have. Last year we lost 21 points and that stopped us from making it to the Champions League." The Bolton game is winnable even with our injury and suspension problems - but let's not kid ourselves that they - or any other opposition - will be a pushover. We're now a lot more respected and feared after 3 good league seasons and 2 solid years in Europe, so we're more likely to face a team that comes for a point, and part of the learning process for the team is to understand how to be patient and wait for the one opportunity to grab the points while staying solid at the back. We've gone through the barnstorming go-for-the-throat approach, but you can't sustain that for 90 minutes, and the challenge for this season is to show that we can unlock defences that have come determined to hang on to a point.
September 07: Injury crisis part 17. Michael Bridges is up to 2 months short of making a first team comeback, rather than the couple of weeks we originally understood after suffering a setback in his recovery. Let's hope he's recovered by the time we lose Vidooks and Harry to the Socceroos' attempt to qualify for the World Cup. Realistically that could be a bit of a stretch target - DOL reckons that he'll be looking to get a reserve game in by the end of October. The manager said: "It's very much like the situation we had with Harry Kewell last season. We have to be careful with Michael. He's young and has a lot of mileage left in the tank and you have to respect that."
September 07: Well, my Mum always told me I was special and unique - and although the poll results don't exactly show me in a minority of one, I am starting to feel like a bit of a brontosaurus, watching all those small scurrying furry things and thinking that it's been a bit nippy lately. 88% of the votes cast said that they would like the team to be wonderfully successful, the manager to stay and money to be available for the best players - oh and by the way we'll have to move for that to happen, leaving just 12% who opted to return to the lower reaches of the league with the pathetic excuse for a squad that has been assembled in the filthy hole that currently passes for a stadium in LS11. Or something like that anyway. About half of the ballot papers were returned, so in fairness that gives the board more of a majority and mandate than several western democracies I could mention. It's happening, we might as well accept it and support the move and make our voices heard so that the new stadium isn't just another plastic fantastic design-by-numbers shed like the Stadium of Light and Pride Park.
September 06: It's The Great Count day in Leeds tomorrow - and we're talking Elland Road not Sesame Street here. With shareholders (who outnumber season ticket holders) having an equal vote in the advisory poll, and with so many commercial plans riding on the back of this, it's hard to see anything other than a yes vote announced at the press conference planned for tomorrow. Even as we speak, low-loaders with JCBs on their backs are queuing up onto the M1 as they wait to get the work underway at Skelton Grange. The flag will be dropped tomorrow, a further Soviet-era public consultation and planning enquiry will take place and the politburo...errr I mean board and council planners will unveil plans for a new stadium to spring up from the sewage works for the start of the 2004 season. So make the most of these next couple of years at Elland Road, with the friendly local pubs serving decent beer at a reasonable price, of United Fisheries, and of that charge down from the car at the top of Beeston Hill when you've got 5 minutes to get from up there to the top of the East Stand before kick-off. Elland Road: home of football in Leeds from 1904 to 2004. RIP.
September 06: Injury news for Leeds for Saturday: Dom Matteo and Rio Ferdinand both suffered no ill effects from the internationals, but Eirik Bakke's travelling has done his injury no good (he had to go at the insistence of the Norwegian FA's team doctors). DOL is not best pleased. He said: "We told the Norwegians before Bakke went that he wasn't fit, but they insisted he went and the trip has made the injury even worse." He went on: "If he'd have stayed behind he'd have had a chance of playing on Saturday. That's why I'm disgusted." Nigel Martyn is looking like he'll be fit, but Alan Smith remains a doubt after picking up a knee injury against Arsenal. With Michael Bridges still short of a comeback, that leaves DOL with a likely pairing of Mark Viduka and Robbie Keane up front.
September 06: Bolton boss Sam Allardyce played down his side's chances of a win on Saturday (well, he would wouldn't he) and made it clear that he'd be happy with a point: "Our players will not be going there other than for a draw and if we get that and maintain our run that would be fantastic." That's the spirit mate - play the percentage game. But let's not have Sam pulling the wool over our eyes: for all their lack of star names, they play as a well-organised team and we've shown our lack of patience against those sort of tactics before. Former Leeds left back Mike Whitlow has been with Bolton for some time now and is looking forward to returning to Elland Road, where he started his league career under Howard Wilkinson. He said: "Leeds will always have a special place in my heart." Remember that when you're about to clear the ball off the line Mike ;-)
September 06: Bobby Davison - who had a spell in charge of Guiseley and more recently appeared in Leeds' side at the National Finals of the Masters Football competition - has applied for the vacant managerial position at Halifax.
September 05: It's looking as if we'll be okay for keepers on Saturday - with both Paul Robinson and Nigel Martyn looking to be over their long-term/short-term problems, and Ian Harte is also seemingly on the road to recovery, but Norway's medical team seem to think that Eirik Bakke is nowhere near being ready to play. Which could be a bit of a problem since he's lined up to replace the suspended Lee Bowyer on Saturday, but with Stephen McPhail, Jason Wilcox and Alan Maybury all capable of stepping into the midfield, we should be able to shuffle the pack enough to cope.
September 05: The Maritimo game will now kick off even later than previously advertised - at 2145 BST, thus ensuring that anyone without Sky Digital will only see the first half. Cheers guys.
September 05: A 2-0 win for England against Albania tonight once again showed the mystical powers of Ashley Cole, as he hacked down an attacker inside the area and escaped without conceding a penalty. Rio didn't have much to do, but the Albanians acquitted themselves well and were no pushovers. For Scotland, Dom Matteo was fit enough to play, but a 0-2 defeat in Belgium means that they have only a mathematical chance of making the play-offs. Wales blew a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 in Norway with Ryan Giggs getting his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card five minutes from time.
September 04: Well, we've not played many games so far, but Olivier Dacourt has clearly impressed a lot of folks: he wins this month's Player of the Month poll by long chalk from Dom Matteo and Alan Smith.
September 04: The reserves went down 1-2 against Manchester City tonight. Leeds' goal came from Alan Maybury just into the second half, but United could not beat a hard-working City side despite the presence of Paul Robinson, Gary Kelly, Lucas Radebe, Michael Duberry, Stephen McPhail and Jason Wilcox. Doobs and McPhail also picked up bookings - which count towards first team bans, so not a great result on that front either. At least the first teamers came through the game with no noticeable injuries.
September 04: Martin Keown has been fined £10,000 and banned for one game for his elbow on Mark Viduka in last season's ill-tempered clash at Highbury. Charges relating to his stamp on Lee Bowyer were "not proven" so no further action will be taken. After taking nearly 5 months to deal with this case, the FA are expected to rule on any extra bans for Danny Mills and Lee Bowyer either on Friday or early next week - less than two weeks after the incidents in question.
September 04: Trebly bad news from the international scene today. First up, Dom Matteo has a swollen ankle and is a doubt for Scotland's game against Belgium (and consequently the Bolton game too). Secondly, Nigel Martyn has injured an ankle in a training session with the England squad and has returned to Leeds for treatment. Let's hope he's sorted, because Paul Robinson isn't fit enough yet which would leave us with the untried Danny Milosevic in goal (though in fairness to the lad, we were saying more or less the same about Robbo last year). The final bit of bad news is that we must pray for the fitness of The Ponytail, because with Nige gone, David James out as a result of his collision with Keown in the Holland friendly, Robbo's injury and Richard Wright in the squad but lacking experience, England go into tomorrow night's vital World Cup qualifier against Albania with Ian Walker recalled to the squad as cover for David Seaman.
September 04: Peter Ridsdale patted himself on the back today for being part of the commitee that picked Sven Goran Erickson to manage England. Despite continued sniping from that ultra- successful ex-manager John Barnwell at the League Managers' Association, Ridsdale is very happy with the transformation in results and attitude since the Swede took over. Ridsdale said: "If you compare England's situation to when Sven took over, then the turnaround is remarkable and speaks volumes for his ability as a manager."
September 04: There will be a whole pile of first team talent on show at Bootham Crescent tonight as players continue their comeback from injury or look to get to full match fitness. Robbo will be trying to keep a clean sheet against Manchester City tonight, and Gary Kelly - who is a racing certainty to fill the gap left by Danny Mills' suspension - will also appear. Lucas Radebe and Michael Duberry - who will both be in contention for a first team return with injury queries over Matteo and Harte - will also look to get a full game in. Let's hope we don't pick up too many more injuries, because with Eirik Bakke a doubt to be able to fill Lee Bowyer's place and Alan Smith and Ian Harte also on the treatment bench, DOL could rapidly find himself facing Hobson's Choice on the selection front.
September 03: I think the news fairy must still be in hiding after that win over Germany. The best I can muster at the moment is a denial of a transfer rumour - Peter Ridsdale indicating that weekend rumours of a Sunderland move for Eirik Bakke were well wide of the mark. He said: "I'm not aware of their interest in Eirik Bakke and I don't know where the story has come from." Come on Peter - it's the fevered imagination of a tabloid journo with a deadline!
September 03: The U-19's beat Bristol City 5-0 at the weekend with Jamie McMaster getting a pair. It can't be too long before we see this lad breaking through into the first team squad - he seems to have the talent and application to make the final breakthrough that has just proved one step too far for so many young hopefuls. Will he be a Harry Kewell or a Damien Lynch? Keep watching to find out.
September 02: With all the internationals this weekend there's not much Euro-news to cover, so we'll just take a look at what the old boys are doing. Mark Ford scored from the spot for Darlo at Lincoln - Paul Pettinger (who used to be in the Leeds Youth/reserve teams) had to pick the ball out of the net, but the game ended at 1-1...and that's all I can dig out right now.
September 02: Leeds may have won the Yorkshire Masters back in June, but - deprived of some of their youngest and best players in Tony Dorigo, Scott Sellars and John Pemberton - they were very much the whipping boys in the National Final at the London Arena tonight. David Rennie, Bobby Davison and Gary Williams came into the side in place of the missing trio, but the writing was on the wall when Hearts beat Leeds 6-2 (Davison and Carl Shutt for Leeds), and Leeds then lost 4-1 to Liverpool (Shutty again with a screamer) to be eliminated from the tournament. Maybe next year - a few more of our Championship squad will become eligible/available and we'll see Peter Lorimer's boys take it one step further.
September 02: Dom Matteo played a central role for Scotland in yesterday's game, starting out in defence and switching later to midfield as Scotland tried to break the deadlock. They failed to do so, and the 0-0 draw with Croatia means that they really need to beat Belgium in midweek if they are to have any hope of qualifying direct for the World Cup Finals.
September 02: Robbie Keane, Ian Harte and Gary Kelly appeared for Ireland in their 1-0 win over Holland at Lansdowne Road yesterday. Ian Harte reckons that Marc Overmars over-reacted to get Gary Kelly sent off. Kelly had been booked for a challenge on the former Arsenal player in the first half, and when he challenged the winger again in the second half, Overmars hit the deck and Kelly took an early bath. Harte suffered a knock early on that aggravated his existing sore ankle and he had to return to Leeds straight after the game to resume treatment and make sure he will be fit for the Bolton game.
September 01: Just done a 15-hour day, missed the England game, missed the Ireland game, missed just about everything really. So the hugely brief news is: Gary Kelly got himself sent off as Ireland did their chances of qualifying for the World Cup Finals a power of good with a 1-0 home win over Holland. And England just managed to squeak past Germany - winning 5-1 in Munich with Rio playing in the centre of defence and Michael Owen getting a hat-trick. Normal service will resume tomorrow.