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October 31: Celtic, Feyenoord, Lyon and Lille are added to our list of possible UEFA Cup opponents after tonight's Champions League games. Lyon and Lille might be good ones to get - Buzz fly to Lyon and Lille is just a short hop over the channel, and we can get rid of any spare francs from this trip ahead of Euro-day!
October 31: In Leeds Crown Court today, ex-Leeds player Gareth Evans was facing charges of ABH for assaulting a man outside a pub in Rothwell on February 23. The landlord told the court that he had to break up a fight involving Evans, Andrew Ratcliffe and Simon Fletcher. A man fitting Ratcliffe's description had earlier been ejected from the pub. Ratcliffe and Evans are alleged to have assaulted Fletcher in a brief fight which was an argument over a parking space or a former girlfriend of Evans (depending on which party is telling the story), and the victim needed hospital treatment. The case continues.
October 31: A student today told the court in Hull that she was sickened at the assault suffered by Sarfraz Najeib last January. Amelie Williams said that she had seen five men attacking a man who appeared to be unconscious. She saw one of the men kick the victim in the head. She was walking away from the attack with her boyfriend when she heard some running behind her and she was knocked to the ground by a man who stopped and helped her get up. She later identified him as Jonathan Woodgate - and said that she thought he was the same man who had kicked the victim in the head. From video footage and identity parades she failed to pick out Paul Clifford, Neale Caveney or Lee Bowyer as being involved in the incidents. All men deny the charges of GBH with intent and affray in the trial which continues tomorrow.
October 31: Iran shook off the rustiness of their last two games to beat United Arab Emirates 3-0 in the second leg of their play-off, and will now face Ireland in the final eliminator for a World Cup place. Gary Kelly, Ian Harte and Robbie Keane were all named in Ireland's squad for next month's games.
October 31: Tomorrow is a bank holiday in France, so there won't be much open in Troyes - not that it sounds like a major tourist place anyway. Let's hope that a local bar-owner or two decides that the potential income from a bunch of Leeds fans outweighs any possible problems. Failing that I guess we'll just have to have a drink or two in the hotel bar.
October 31: Rio Ferdinand has not travelled out to Troyes for tomorrow's game - he's got a hamstring injury and might even be a doubt for Sunday's game against Spurs. Eirik Bakke is also carrying an injury, and with Bowyer and Woodgate having to stay in the UK for the trial and Seth Johnson ineligible, it's likely that Michael Duberry will play at centreback - or we'll see Danny Mills shifting over with Gary Kelly returning at right back. If Bakke is unfit, then at least we have midfield cover with Stephen McPhail and Jason Wilcox - but we need to be tight and at full strength to ensure we make it through to the next round. Olivier Dacourt says that we need to take them seriously: "They are a very hard team to play, they have a good manager who is very, very clever." Dacourt had praise for their forwards including first leg goalscorer Patrice Loko and Samuel Boutal, whose performance at Elland Road received a massive ovation from the home fans.
October 31: Andy Ritchie became the latest ex-Leeds man in management to leave his club today after a reorganisation at Oldham resulted in him being offered a "promotion" that he didn't want. Strange considering that he'd taken the club to the top of the league, and although they'd slipped back to eighth recently were still doing okay - in fact the news came the day after they'd beaten Tranmere in the LDV Trophy.
30: Quick Euro-round-up: Arsenal's abysmal away form
continued in the Champions League with a 3-1 defeat at Schalke -
not helped by Luzhny's first half dismissal - but they're already
through so won't care. Liverpool beat Dortmund 2-0 at Anfield to
clinch a place in the next phase. Boavista lost to Dinamo Kiev but
still go through, leaving Dortmund to join us in the UEFA Cup.
Nantes' 1-0 home win over Lazio puts them through and kicks Lazio
right out of European competition for the year: Galatsaray progress
to the next round and PSV will drop into the UEFA Cup. Real Madrid
lost in Moscow to Lokomotiv - but are joined by Roma in the next
round and leave us wondering if they'll remember to turn on the
heating if we end up drawn against Loko again. With Panathanikos
also qualifying from Arsenal's group, the other UEFA Cup place goes
to Real Mallorca - so maybe we can get a bit of sun rather than
snow in the next round.
October 30: Court case round-up from yesterday and today: A barman yesterday identified Jon Woodgate as one of Sarfraz Najeib's attackers in the assault last January. He said: "I saw him step back and then jump with both of his legs in the air." He also identified Lee Bowyer as being part of the attack, but admitted that he had been wrong when he originally claimed that Bowyer had bitten the student. "That particular incident became muddled in my head. I can only apologise," he said. In court today, another bar worker told the court how she saw a group of five or six Asians chased by three white men. A brawl started between the two groups, and two more white men appeared from round the corner and joined in. She saw one of the white men bite Sarfraz Najeib: "It was as if he was trying to rip off his cheek or something. It was horrible." The other Asian men ran away, leaving Sarfraz Najeib on the floor, being kicked and punched. She said: "They were kicking him about the head and body, mainly the head. He was just lying there still, not moving." A fellow worker later picked out Paul Clifford as the man who bit the victim, and he also identified Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate as the two men who turned up after the brawl had started. All of the defendants deny charges of affray and GBH with intent. The case continues.
October 30: It's not just the players doing well out of our good European run - Peter Ridsdale netted a massive pay rise of £230,000 overall on his previous year's package. Interesting really: the company made a loss (due mainly to transfer dealings), the share price is - for want of a better term - languishing - and the chairman picks up a bonus. Not that I begrudge him the money: he seems to be doing a pretty good job in steering the club in the right direction, DOL never wants for transfer funds and the whole organisation is improving both on and off the field. And for the man in charge of a multi-million pound turnover operation to get paid considerably less than 20-odd of his workforce is equally anomalous - but this is a football club - it's not a real company.
October 30: Lee Bowyer will need surgery on his nose after catching it on Nicky Butt's elbow in the incident that got Bowyer a yellow card (yes - I thought that it was usually the other way round when that sort of thing happened but there you go). He's unavailable for the Troyes game due to the court case, but it's hoped he'll be fit in time for the visit of Spurs on Sunday.
October 30: Seth Johnson played his first game in a Leeds shirt last night for the reserves against Everton - and he scored the only goal as we won 1-0. He's looking forward to making his debut for the first team - particularly in Europe, but he'll have to rely on his team-mates to get past Troyes on Thursday and then past the next opponents before Christmas, since he's only eligible for the 4th Round onwards. He said: "I will be going out there and giving my support to the lads, I am sure we can go to France and do the business. I can't say I am someone who enjoys watching games but the mood is confident amongst the lads and I am sure they will be okay."
October 30: Well it looks like we've got a bit lucky: France have named their squad for the friendly with Australia and it includes both Barthez and Silvestre from Man U plus no less than 4 players from Arsenal - Vierra, Henry, Wiltord and Pires - plus Petit and Desailly from Chelsea, but not Olly! Although international recognition would be massively deserved, it's quite nice to not have him travelling round the world and back at this stage of the season.
October 29: Brett Emerton (via his agent - surprise, surprise) has said that he may look to quit Feyenoord if they fail to progress to the next stage of the Champions League. That will be decided this week - and Newcastle, Arsenal and Liverpool were mentioned as possible targets. Not Leeds though - maybe all those rumours weren't true after all!
October 29: Post-match stuff part 2. Dermot Gallagher has been dropped to the lower divisions becaUse he failed to send off Robbie Keane for raising his hands against David Beckham on Saturday. If that's the official line, he should probably be relegated to the Conference for not sending off Beckham for the scything challenge from behind that provoked the retaliation. Or the swallow dive when he went past Ian Harte having kicked the ball into touch. I thought he got it about right on Saturday - it was a bad challenge by Becks and a stupid reaction by Robbie, but a yellow card apiece kept the game balanced as a contest. I always thought it was the ref's duty to interpret the law, not blindly apply it. Former FIFA ref Roger Milford agrees - he said: "I was surprised that Keane didn't go, and Beckham was very lucky too." And he doesn't think that dropping a ref down a league or two will make any difference: "Referees are being taken out of the firing line, but who's to say they won't make the same mistakes in the Nationwide League?"
October 29: Post-match stuff part 1. DOL has said that Alex Ferguson's tactics are all wrong this year. "Playing one man up front doesn't suit them," he said. Well, their defence hasn't had the most solid start to the season, but maybe he'll be re-evaluating that advice at the end of the season (but I hope not).
28: Euro round-up time...and in France next week's
opponents Troyes crashed 2-0 at newly-promoted Montpellier. Lille
and Lens both won, leaving the position at the top unchanged, and
Nantes finally started doing something about avoiding being
relegated after winning the title by picking up all the points at
October 28: Transfer rumour of the weekend: Leeds to buy Spurs defender Ledley King. He's a pretty good player - but do we really need another defender right now??? Having said that, with Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate obviously unable to make Euro aways at the moment, and with Seth Johnson not yet eligible, we could be struggling to make a full squad for some of these games due to injuries (Bridges, Radebe) and international duty in November.
October 28: Old boy round-up. Jamie Forrester netted twice for Northampton yesterday, but they could only manage a 3-3 draw at Cambridge. JFH bagged Chelsea's equaliser at Derby this afternoon, and is now the league's top scorer. Tony Hackworth opened the scoring for Notts County after just 3 minutes when they visited Bournemouth, but Warren Feeney's goal 68 minutes later made it 4-2 to the home side, and it stayed that way to full time.
October 28: Post-match reaction from DOL and Alex Ferguson was pretty uniform. Both managers thought that Robbie Keane was very lucky not to get red-carded for his push on David Beckham, with the Leeds manager particularly upset with his player. O'Leary said: "I had a right go at him afterwards because I feel if you raise your hands you are leaving yourself open to the referee. If that had happened in Europe I think he would definitely have taken a walk." Ferguson didn't play the matter up much: "I don't think Robbie Keane is that type of player but he should have gone." The managers didn't agree on the outcome, with O'Leary adamant that his team had deserved a victory. He said: "If I've got to be super critical of my players, they have got to learn because when we got the goal we sat back and invited trouble. This is what we have to learn. We scored at the right time and should have kept playing, but we kind of got deeper in the box and tried to hold on." He added: "It's not a bad thing to come away from Man United, and everyone knows what I think of this club, and be disappointed with a draw." Ferguson thought that his team played the better football, but that Leeds had performed well on the counter-attack. He said: "The first half was a really good performance by us." Ferguson had praise for Nigel Martyn: "It was a great save, a fantastic save from Ruud van Nistelrooy's header."
October 27: Had to get off the train and head straight into work after I got back today, so I'll just say "D'oh!" So near but yet so far! Leeds absorbed the pressure brilliantly, could have scored more goals (Keane and Viduka both very wasteful) but ultimately were hugely indebted to Nige for a spectacular parry in injury time to hold onto the point. More news tomorrow.
October 26: The team is all aquiver in anticipation of tomorrow's game, and Ian Harte is hoping to finally be on the winning side. He said: "The plan will be to keep a clean sheet and try and nick a goal. This is the game we all look forward to playing in. Bolton went there and picked up a surprise win, so maybe we are catching Manchester United at a bad time." Eirik Bakke was also upbeat - he said: "We are confident that we have the players and the quality in the squad to compete and it would be wonderful if we could win this game for the supporters." But his Norwegian team-mate Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer is the man he rates as the best finisher in the league, and he's hoping that Man U's supersub stays on the bench. When Brian Flynn scored the winner at OT 20 years ago, it was the sixth time in eleven years that Leeds had managed to come back from Lancashire with all the points - but we've not managed it since.
October 26: News for tomorrow's game - Mark Viduka is a doubt after picking up a hand injury in training, and Andy Cole is a doubt for the opposition (though I'd sooner have him against us than van Nistelrooy), and Roy Keane might make a return after a 3-match ban for his altercation with Alan Shearer and a knee injury. Eirik Bakke is keeping his fingers crossed: "We're still at the top of the table and unbeaten in the league, and hopefully that will continue after tomorrow's game." The big question is what role new signing Seth Johnson will play - and will Batts have a role on the bench or on the field after getting over his flu?
October 26: One week into the wetter weather and already we've got some effects on the fixture list - but at least it's only a reserve game. Monday night sees the reserves game with Everton switched from Bootham Crescent to Elland Road because the York ground is suffering from the rain.
October 25: DOL has bowed to the inevitable and accepted that Australia will be calling up his players for their friendly against France. Referring to FIFA's request to the two sides to minimise the drain on any one club, O'Leary said: "We won't be pushing for that. It would be a pointless exercise. We've just held our hands up and accepted that we'll be losing players for this fixture."
October 25: The window cleaner who testified that he had seen Jon Woodgate lash out at a group of other men today admitted that he had failed to mention this to police when he first made his statement about the attack. Cross-examined by counsel for Woodgate, Andrew Clarke said that he had been nervous when giving his statement and had not realised that he had not mentioned Woodgate, but restated his earlier evidence. Mr Clarke, who has said that he is a Leeds United fan, said that he had no idea if Lee Bowyer was among the other men involved.
October 25: Sad to say it, but it looks like Lucas Radebe's career might be coming to a close. He's not made a competitive appearance since a very brief comeback at the end of March, and looks unlikely to figure this year. His knees would seem to be shot - and with age starting to count against him, he must be keeping his fingers crossed that he can regain some sort of match fitness in time to take part in next year's World Cup. He said: "I want to be right when I come back this time. I have got to let the knee injury settle for a month and then start building it up so I can get back into proper training. It's hard because I love playing but I know I have got to forget about football for now."
October 24: Two witnesses in the trial today said they had seen Jon Woodgate involved in the attack on Sarfraz Najeib in Leeds in January 2000. A window cleaner who was taking a break at the time told the jury that two groups of men were involved in a street brawl, throwing "wild punches", but he added: "It was silly really because they were not contacting with each other." A man he identified as Woodgate attempted to kick out at the other group but missed and fell over in the brawl, which involved a group of four or five Asian men and four or five white men. Another witness - a taxi driver - told the jury that he had seen a man with a swollen and bruised face staggering around, and when he saw a newspaper photo of Woodgate a week later he recognised him. Another taxi driver told the court of how he found the victim in the road after the attack. He said: "He was finding it difficult to breathe. There was blood all around the face and on the pavement." Woodgate is charged in connection with the assault along with Lee Bowyer, Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, and all the men deny the charges.
October 24: Mark Viduka has spoken out in support of Soccer Australia and coach Frank Farina in their fight to be allowed to field a team of their choice for the friendlies ahead of the vital WC play-offs next month. He said: "It's difficult for Frank. Every time we play a game at home we have a 24 hour flight and then we have to let our bodies adjust." The hitman added: "It's difficult, but it's not an unrealistic request this time." All of which is entirely reasonable, but once again a lack of co-ordination between FIFA, UEFA and the national teams could deprive several clubs (of which we're one of the more prominent) of key players for over a month at a vital part of the season. If FIFA persist with the same qualifying competition setup for the next World Cup, we'll see the same problems all over again - but with Harry Kewell at Juve and Viduka at Lazio I've no doubt that the governing body would step in a lot earlier to ensure that neither club nor country would be unduly inconvenienced.
October 24: Since we seem to be very short of news today, I guess I'll just have to mention Arsenal: congratulations on qualifying for the 2nd stage of the Champions League at the 98th attempt lads. In the league, JFH scored again for Chelsea, but West Ham scored twice early on and hung on to win - to leave us as the only unbeaten team in the PL (until Saturday at least, says a pessimist), and Villa's win over Charlton lifts them to 3rd place. Liverpool drew with Boavista to preserve their chances of a place in the next phase - but could equally end up dumped into the UEFA Cup if results don't go their way. Terry Yorath has done his chances of a permanent stab at the Wednesday job a power of good by leading them to a second win that sees them start to climb out of the relegation zone, but Gordon Strachan's new charges showed him what he's up against as they blew a two goal lead at 2-0 and then again at 3-1 to allow fellow strugglers Ipswich to draw 3-3 and deny the Saints their first win at St Marys.
October 23: Very quick Euro-round-up. ManU are through to the next phase of the CL with a 3-0 home win tonight, but Celtic could be almost totally eliminated if next week's results go against them: their former striker Harald Brattbak scored twice for Rosenborg with no reply, and Celtic are left needing some sort of result at home to Juve to continue in Europe. And Darren Huckerby scored twice for Man City against Grimsby (obviously not in anything remotely European).
October 23: Well, we may have had 7 internationals in the side - but that didn't stop the reserves going down 2-0 at home to Bolton tonight - with both goals scored by Rod Wallace. David Batty played - hopefully having shaken off the flu or whatever, and Smithy was captain for the night. But a defence that included Gary Kelly, Michael Duberry and his best mate Jon Woodgate never came close to pinning Bolton down. Let's keep our fingers crossed we don't have an injury crisis in the first team before Saturday!
October 23: Michael Duberry was on the stand for a second day in Hull today. He told the court that he was still "good friends" with Jon Woodgate, despite the rather unfavourable impression his evidence had given in the original trial. He admitted to lying to the police at first, in an attempt to keep his friend out of trouble. He told the court: "I tried my best to say things that would not be damaging to Woody, but I got in deeper and deeper. It got to the stage where the truth was the only thing that was going to help myself. But it was damaging to Woody and that's what I didn't want." Cross-examined by Woodgate's defence lawyer, Duberry denied inventing his story to save himself from prison. He repeated his claims from the original trial that the club solicitor Peter McCormick had advised him to stick to his original story, even when Duberry revealed it was untrue. Counsel for Paul Clifford - who Woodgate said had bitten someone according to Duberry - questioned Duberry about the truthfulness and motives behind his statements. All four defendants have pleaded not guilty, and the trial - which is expected to take almost as long as the original - continues.
October 23: Well, it looks like Paul Durkin has made a sensible and measured response to Sunday's game. First up, he's made it clear that he realises he made a mistake with Le Saux's foul on Danny Mills. An FA spokesman said: "Referee Paul Durkin would also like to make clear his own disappointment at misinterpreting the serious nature of the challenge by Graeme Le Saux on Danny Mills for which the former was cautioned." In his report, he obviously had to mention the banishment of DOL from the bench for the second half, but the FA have decided that no further punishment is warranted after reading the ref's report. It's a shame Mr Durkin didn't realise his mistake at the time - but it's good to see he's big enough to admit to an honest mistake.
October 23: The Socceroos squad for the World Cup play-offs and the friendly against France has been announce. Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell are - of course - included, but there's no place for Danny Milosevic or Jacob Burns - but Leeds target Brett Emerton is included in the 22-man squad. Ta to Pat for the info. The game against France is on November 11, with the first play-off game (at the MCG) a week later and the return leg on November 25 in South America. At the very least, this will mean that Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka miss the trip to Sunderland, the first leg of the next round of the UEFA Cup (if we make it), the visit of Villa and what probably the Worthington Cup tie against Chelsea. If the WC games go back a further week, that would also mean the players missing the trip to Fulham - and although there would then be a 2 week gap between the France friendly and the play-off, coach Frank Farina wouldn't want his team to return home in the meantime. He said: "It'll be up to FIFA to explain it. The players will definitely not be leaving camp before the end of the second match." Which is fair enough I guess. But if Leeds find themselves without Viduka and Kewell - plus Harte, Kelly, McPhail and Keane for Ireland's play-off, we must be allowed to postpone any affected club games. FIFA will consider the South American teams' request for a postponement next week - expect fireworks if they say yes! In a remarkable and almost unprecedented outbreak of common sense, FIFA have asked France and Australia to restrict themselves to picking just one player between them from any club for the friendly after petitioning by a number of Premier League clubs. It's only a 'strong recommendation' from FIFA, and will be interesting to see just how both national sides comply with it.
October 23: The reserves face Bolton at Bootham Crescent tonight, and a few first teamers may be used to enable them to sharpen up their match fitness ahead of Saturday's visit to Old Trafford. Alan Smith is the main focus - working his way back from injury - but Gary Kelly, Jason Wilcox and Stephen McPhail are also likely to play, with Jon Woodgate and Michael Duberry - subject to their return from court in Hull in time.
October 22: The trial resumed in Hull today with Michael Duberry giving evidence. Duberry faced charges of conspiracy during the initial trial, but was cleared shortly after he gave evidence in which he made it clear that he had been less than truthful with the police. In court today he told the jury that Jon Woodgate had told him that the group he was with had been involved in a fight, and that his friend Paul Clifford had bitten someone. Duberry said that he had seen Woodgate and Clifford returning to the Majestyk after he had just left the club himself. Duberry had seen Woodgate's friend James Hewison - who is not charged with any offence - on the ground in City Square. Clifford and Woodgate are charged along with Neale Caveney and Lee Bowyer with affray and grievous bodily harm with intent. All have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
October 22: Well, we've captured Seth Johnson but it's just about certain that Sebastian Deisler will be a Bayern player next season, and River Plate youngster Andres d'Alessandro seems less keen on a move to England and would prefer to play for Barcelona (and, let's face it, who wouldn't?). He said: "They are a serious club, with great players. For me, it would be an honour to play for Barcelona."
October 22: Gordon Strachan was confirmed as Southampton's new manager this afternoon. Good luck Gordie - you're going to need it!
October 22: Graeme Le Saux will not receive any further punishment for his terrible tackle on Danny Mills in yesterday's game. Ref Paul Durkin saw the incident during the game - although without the benefit of a slow-motion replay - and made the call that the tackle merited a yellow card, and the FA's video review panel is only empowered to look at incidents the ref missed - or at revoking red cards given in error. David O'Leary has no such defence though, and must explain himself to the FA after being sent from the dugout. With a bit of luck the panel judging O'Leary will have a slightly more realistic sense of proportion than Durkin. DOL said: "I'm not proud of myself, but I hope Paul Durkin, who is a decent referee, when he sees what happened will realise why I was so angry. We get so many wishy-washy cards handed out at times, but for the good of the game the players and the supporters, these are the tackles you want referees to make decisions on and punish people on, not for somebody falling over their handbag." Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri referred to the tackle as "a normal English tackle between two English players" - but as his teamsheet shows, that's a fairly limited area of knowledge for the Blues boss. However Danny Mills backed the FA's rules and came out firmly against trial by TV. Mills received a phone call from Graeme Le Saux today in which the Chelsea player apologised for the tackle and both players have agreed to put the incident behind them. Mills said: "He was good enough to say that I didn't make a big deal of it on the day, I didn't come after him or doing anything untoward to him during the game. I think we both realised that it's one of those things that happens." Mills believes that Le Saux was lucky to escape a red card - and had the positions been reversed he's sure that he would have been spending the second half in the dressing room.
October 21: Ireland's opponents in their World Cup qualifier next month will either be the United Arab Emirates - or Iran, who surprisingly lost 3-1 to Bahrain, handing Saudi Arabia qualification to the finals. Whichever way things turn out, Gary Kelly, Ian Harte, Stephen McPhail and Robbie Keane face a long trip into a potentially volatile area for the two-legged tie - but there shouldn't be any real security or crowd problems wherever they play: the real problem would be if they were stranded due to flying restrictions should the conflict escalate while they were out there.
21: It's the end of the weekend and time to look at
what's happening in Europe rather than thinking about going back to
work tomorrow. In Holland Ajax sit on top of the pile with games
and points to spare ahead of Vitesse Arnhem, who beat NAC 1-0
yesterday. Feyenoord are third after a 3-1 win at AZ with Leeds
target Brett Emerton on the scoresheet for the visitors. PSV had a
thumping 4-0 home win over De Graafschap but are only in 7th place
after a poor start to the season.
October 21: Southampton have sacked coach Stuart Gray (well, we expected to see either Glenn Roeder or Gray heading for the door after Saturday's relegation six-pointer at Upton Park). And who is being mentioned in connection with the vacancy? Yep, it's the wee ginger bloke, no doubt refreshed after a couple of weeks off after struggling against the inevitable for several years at Coventry. Saints have yet to win a home match at their new St Marys stadium, and the words "poisoned" and "chalice" spring to mind when you think about the manager's position there. Chairman Rupert Lowe has already spoken to Strachan, and has announced that both Gray and his assistant Mick Wadsworth will be leaving - and the fact that there's a press conference organised for tomorrow afternoon might just hint that this was something that had been planned in advance.
October 21: A 0-0 draw at home against a decent side is not a terrible thing - and although we made some decent chances and had the ball cleared off the line twice, there's no complaints about the result, since Nige had to make two equally important stops. However I hope the ref and the FA look again at Graeme Le Saux's disgraceful challenge on Danny Mills. The two-footed lunge was only punished by a yellow card - although David O'Leary did find himself on the receiving end of a red card from ref Paul Durkin for complaining about the challenge in the tunnel at half-time.
October 21: Random rumour of the day: Mark Viduka to Roma (again) according to those pillars of rumour-free reporting at the News of the World - and his replacement at Leeds will be Robbie Fowler, who became the latest in what could be a long line of players to pick up a hat-trick against Leicester yesterday.
October 20: Bolton's surprise come-from-behind win at Old Trafford this afternoon leaves us in second place in the league tonight after Arsenal also failed to win at home against Blackburn. Villa's defeat by Everton means that only ourselves and Chelsea remain undefeated in the league - here's hoping that we're the ones left standing at 6 o'clock tomorrow.
October 20: Leeds management in "rubbishing other players" shock. The normally reticent David O'Leary poked fun at the Chelsea players who did not want to travel to Israel last week, and suggested that they might be too scared to come to Leeds. He said: "I hope they think Leeds is safe enough for them. I hope they don't think it is unsafe, apart from on the football pitch." One of the six - Albert Ferrer - said: "I'm not a coward - I have my family to consider." Meanwhile, Peter Ridsdale's comments that Seth Johnson's arrival was a sign that Leeds "have moved on from the Wetheralls and Molenaars of this world" has angered Bradford's ex-Leeds pair. David Wetherall said: "I cannot believe that the chairman of Leeds United can be so insulting. I feel deeply hurt and saddened by it." He added: "Rob and I have been lucky enough to receive a good reception from Leeds fans since we left," - which is true enough, but you can see PR's point, even if he made a total hash of getting the right impression out. I was surprised when we let them go - but we ended up with Rio Ferdinand and Dom Matteo at centreback, with Michael Duberry, Jon Woodgate and Lucas Radebe as back-up - which, with no disrespect to either of the players - shows how far we've come. Both Wetherall and Molenaar will continue to get a great reception from the Leeds end - Wetherall in particular for his long service, loyalty and goal against Man U :-) Molenaar in turn said: "I am surprised that someone who represents a club like Leeds and the FA can make a statement like this." The big Dutchman added: "Comments like this do hurt, but I've tried to brush them aside. The fans are still very good to us both and we always get a special welcome."
October 20: Michael Duberry's agent now says that he would consider an offer that gave him first team football in the Premier League. Although no clubs have contacted Leeds about the centre-back's availability - and Leeds are unlikely to let him go until the future of Jon Woodgate is sorted out - there are plenty of clubs in the bottom half of the division who would benefit from his presence - and who also realise that paying out a decent transfer fee is what you have to do if you want to avoid losing a very large pile of money by getting yourselves relegated. Southampton, West Ham and Leicester - you know where to find us!
October 20: Former Leeds all-rounder Terry Yorath finds himself in charge of Sheffield Wednesday for the moment after Peter Shreeves resigned. His charges managed a 2-1 win today - a week too late for the old manager - and it could be quite a contest to see who gets the job: Nigel Worthington's Canaries moved into 2nd place in the Division on Friday night, so he's a possible, if Yorath does well for the next week or so, he'd have to be considered, and Chris Waddle has also been mentioned in conjunction with the job.
October 19: At the trial today, a witness described how she had seen Lee Bowyer and Jon Woodgate "casually jogging along" towards the railway station after leaving the Majestyk nightclub. She also saw Lee Bowyer, who brushed past her while jogging at the front of the group. She had earlier seen Woodgate's group being cautioned as to their behaviour by a doorman while in another pub. All four defendants deny the charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Sarfraz Najeib in January 2000. The trial was adjourned for the weekend.
October 19: It's Leeds against the Chelsea Chickens on Sunday, and it will be interesting to see just how the travellers interact with the stay-at-homes when the game kicks off. With a 2-0 away defeat, they'll have something to prove, and no doubt JFH would like to get a goal or two against us, but Rio will look to keep him in his pocket - and Mark Viduka might like to make a point or two as well. Vidooks gave his rival striker credit: "Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is a great centre forward but the boys will be desperate to do well against him. We are not scared of anybody."
October 19: The game at the Stadium of Light has been put back to the Sunday (hurray! good job I've not booked my train tickets yet!) in order to give both Leeds and Sunderland the chance to field teams a little bit closer to full strength. Gary Kelly, Ian Harte, Stephen McPhail, Robbie Keane, Kevin Kilbane and Niall Quinn are all likely to be in Mick McCarthy's squad for the World Cup play-offs - the second of which is on the Thursday night.
October 19: Seth Johnson can't wait to get into the action with Leeds - and DOL will face an interesting selection poser on Sunday when he tries to fit his new signing into the side. Will we see Ian Harte relegated to the bench? Or will Eirik Bakke be the one to sit on the sidelines with Johnson playing more of a midfield role? Most likely Seth will be on the bench, alongside Alan Smith - who looked a bit short of match fitness last night but is easing himself back and will be keen to have a go at the Blues. Johnson said: "When I found out that Derby had accepted the bid I couldn't wait to get up here." He's done well at Crewe and Derby - and catching the eye in a team that is not one of the glamour sides is an achievement, but he knows he's still got a lot to do. He added: "This is a massive step up for me, but this club is going places and it's brilliant to be part of it. I am an ambitious player. I want to play at the highest level in Europe and internationally and I want to be back in the England squad soon." For Chelsea, Marcel Desailly still has his mysterious tooth-induced achilles problem and Eidur Gudjohnsen has a touch of flu, but the other players who failed to travel to Israel will return to the squad.
October 19: Quick bit of post-match reaction to last night's game. DOL as rather unhappy with Leeds' inability to put the tie out of reach of the visitors. He said: "I was really impressed with us up until we scored the fourth, but when they went down to 10 men we stopped playing." Of course, this is the man who was complaining last week that the team put in too much effort when comfortably ahead at Leicester. Despite the gift of two away goals, O'Leary is still confident that Leeds can progress: "I'm hopeful we will still go through - although you know what football is like." Troyes coach Alain "Reggie" Perrin wasn't totally downhearted at conceding four goals - "all" they need to do is win the home leg 2-0 and they're through. "Our second goal could be important. That's given us a little bit of hope for the second leg, particularly as we showed a lot of fight when we played with 10 men - maybe I should play with 10 in Troyes!"
October 18: It's late and I'm not happy. Just got back from what should have been a cakewalk, and seen Leeds lulled into a false sense of security by a side that would be pretty good if they could defend. With a 4-1 lead and 40 minutes playing against 10 men, you'd expect another goal - not for the entire midfield to switch off and the strikers to waste chance after chance. By letting them score two away goals, we've certainly kept the tie alive, but I suspect the home dressing room will need redecorating after DOL's post-match chat with the team. The Troyes number 8 - Samuel Boutal - might be getting on a bit (he's 31) but he is clearly a classy player and it would be interesting to see if he was available as cover for our midfield. He certainly made a good impression on the crowd at Elland Road tonight - it's not often you see one of the opposition getting applauded off by the whole crowd when he is subbed.
October 18: Seth Johnson completed his signing at half-time on the pitch at Elland Road tonight. He should be getting squad number 20 for this season. Meanwhile Olivier Dacourt insisted he was staying put - despite rumours linking him with all and sundry - and Michael Duberry has no intention of looking for a move, despite being linked once again with Saints.
October 17: Drop whatever you're doing and watch the highlights of tonight's Champions League tie between ManU and Depor at Old Trafford. Well, actually it probably won't matter if you miss it, cos you'll be seeing the highlights on the "What happens next?" round in A Question of Sport very soon. Two superb defensive mix-ups between Brown and Barthez gifted the visitors two goals, and with a great header from Tristan, Deportivo ran out 3-2 winners. Andy Cole missed a couple of sitters as well - but ManU are still on course to make it to the next phase. Elsewhere Celtic crashed 3-0 at Porto and slip to 3rd place with Juve topping the table with a 1-0 victory over Rosenborg. Sparta Prague qualified for the next round with a 2-0 win over Feyenoord, and there was an impressive win for Bayern - 5-1 at home to Spartak Moscow.
October 17: The trial continued in Hull today with the brother of the victim taking the stand. Shahzad Najeib was also assaulted in the attack that left his brother unconscious, but denied that he had taunted anybody to provoke the attack. There was an exchange of words with some apparently drunk men outside the club, and under cross examination, he agreed that his initial identification of Woodgate as one of those men was incorrect. Woodgate's counsel David Fish questioned him, and Shahzad agreed that he "wouldn't know Jonathan Woodgate from Jimmy Greaves." He was punched and kicked as he ran to help his brother, who was being assaulted by several men. He told the court that he had been seriously affected by the assault: "I suffer from anxiety and I feel as though I have been psychologically scarred for life."
October 17: Team captain Rio Ferdinand thinks it's about time Leeds converted their "promising" tag into silverware. He said: "I certainly don't want to be sitting here three years down the line and we've not won anything." With the team now gelling well under DOL, this season could prove a crucial one for the long-term success of the club. Win something and the players will stay and new ones will come: fail again and maybe we might start finding it hard to hang on to a couple of key individuals. Rio added: "The older players want to win something before it's too late, while the younger ones want to win something at the start of their careers to lead on to good things. But the bottom line is: we want to win something. We don't want to finish our careers with nothing."
October 17: The Seth Johnson formalities should be completed tomorrow after the Derby player travelled up to Leeds for a medical - and Peter Ridsdale indicated that the spending was not yet over. The chairman said: "We won't just stop here because we have signed one player. We will never stop looking for players because we want to build a squad here at Leeds United which can compete for honours." Fortunately Derby's financial problems made life easier for Leeds, knowing that they needed to make a sale - and a left-sided defender/midfielder will come in very handy in November when Harry Kewell, Stephen McPhail and Ian Harte are all likely to be tied up on World Cup duty as the play-offs take place. All we need to do now is make sure we hang on to the rest of the squad - with the persistent rumour that Olivier Dacourt will be off to Juve at the end of this season probably the most worrying: with David Batty realistically having another 1-2 seasons left, we'll need Olly to take on more of a ball-winning role in the middle of the park - never mind his creative skills.
October 17: Former Leeds left-back and current Norwich boss Nigel Worthington is being mentioned in connection with the recent vacancy at Sheffield Wednesday. With Peter Shreeves walking away after a home defeat by Preston, there's a big opportunity for a club that is not so much a sleeping giant - more a sort of comatose troll. After a shaky start to his managerial career with Blackpool, Worthington has done well with the Canaries, and must seriously consider an offer from the Owls, where he spent over ten years as a player.
October 17: Not much real news today, so let's just get the ticket stuff out of the way. Tomorrow night and Sunday are now officially sell-outs, and the usual iniquitous policy will apply to the Troyes away leg: basically, if you're travelling independently you need to have been to a large number of last season's CL games to qualify - but tickets are freely available with the vastly over-priced travel packages from the club. It's funny - I'm sure the clubs were in favour of anti-touting laws.... By contrast, the League Cup tie with Chelsea in November is priced to sell, with tickets on sale at £15 and family concessions available.
October 16: Quick round-up of tonight's Euro results. A UEFA Cup tie in Moscow saw two of our previous UC opponents meeting, with AS Roma coming away 1-0 winners over Lokomotiv. Memories of last season: Real Madrid beat Anderlecht 2-0 in Belgium to become the first side to qualify for the next phase of the UCL, and Liverpool recorded an excellent 2-1 win in Kiev. Arsenal's Richard Wright had to save a penalty to ensure the home side won by the same margin against Panathanaikos, and Nantes continued their excellent UCL form with a goalless draw against Galatasaray in the Ali Sami Yen. It was a good night for the German sides, with Schalke hammering Real Mallorca 4-0 and Dortmund beating Boavista 2-1, and finally Lazio continued to put something like their best form together to defeat PSV 2-1 at home.
October 16: We're strong favorites - and no value - with the bookies for Thursday's game. Leeds are 1/3 to win, with Troyes at 7/1 and the draw offering the most chance of a decent profit at 3/1 - assuming Leeds play the first leg of this tie as badly as they did in the previous round.
October 16: Ha! Knew that would do it! All I had to do was casually dismiss all transfer talk and we'd do the business. Seth Johnson will be in Leeds for a medical tomorrow and to confirm personal terms after the Derby board agreed a fee of £7 million, rising to £9 million for the left-sided midfielder/wingback. It certainly raises interesting questions as to the future of Jason Wilcox - but there's no question he'll be a useful addition to the side. Seth ART MAURICE Johnson (!) was born in Birmingham on 12 March 1979. He spent 3 years at Crewe, making just over 100 appearances and scoring just 7 goals. He moved to Derby for £3 million just over two years ago and scored just two goals in 73 appearances in his first two seasons at Pride Park. As well as easing some short-term financial problems it looks like Colin Todd has been offered some recompense for losing Johnson: he's signed up Pierre Ducrocq from PSG, and done Leeds a favour by taking Luciano Zavagno from Troyes ahead of Thursday's game.
October 16: Old boys still going strong department: Bob Taylor was on the scoresheet twice tonight for West Brom as they beat Stockport 2-1 at Edgeley Park.
October 16: The trial continued at Hull today, with evidence from Sarfraz Najeib, the victim of the assault. He said that he saw a group of men messing about outside the Majestyk night club, and one of them had hit him from behind. Najeib then punched one of the men in the head before running off to the place where he and his friends had parked their car, but he believed that he had been tripped from behind. He said: "I think I hit my head on the wall and I was unconscious after that. I do not recall anything after that." The jury was told by the prosecution that Woodgate and Bowyer told "untruths" to the police when they were first questioned about the incident. The case continues.
October 16: Paul Hart has had a pretty good start as manager of Forest, bringing on some very good young players whil living with the knowledge that just about any of them could be sold to make ends meet and get the wage bill down after David Platt left the club with an expensive legacy. Hart has now made his first signing - although it's not cost him anything: he's picked up former Leeds lad Damien Lynch, who has signed up for Forest to the end of this season, and will be hoping to get a solid injury-free season under his belt.
October 16: More fixture movements: the Chelsea game will (unsurprisingly) be televised by ITV Sport on Wednesday 28 November with a KO at 1945. The game in Troyes will now kick off at 2015 CET and should be available in the UK on Channel 5.
October 15: Jamie McMaster scored an 88th minute goal for the reserves tonight to record an away win against Newcastle.
October 15: The jury were sworn in today at the retrial of Jon Woodgate, Lee Bowyer, Neale Caveney and Paul Clifford at Hull Crown Court today. After over a week of legal argument, the case got underway with the judge instructing the jury to try to put out of their minds anything they may have read or heard about the original case. He said: "One matter you may have read or seen or heard that is inaccurate is a description of the events in this case as a racist attack. There is simply no evidence that the attack was racially motivated. The prosecution and the defence and myself are all agreed that there is no evidence and will be no evidence of racial motivation. The simple issue for your determination is who did it." Nicholas Campbell QC opened the prosecution case, outlining the Crown's version of what took place that evening. Intriguingly, as well as stating what are fairly plain facts and evidence, he added: "Undoubtedly what took place was further fuelled by the loyalties that exist between team-mates and the loyalty that exists between old friends. You may conclude that the loyalty that exists between old friends became more important than the loyalties between team-mates." No doubt he will try to show what he meant by that as the trial goes on. Michael Duberry and Tony Hackworth who were charged with offences in connection with the incident were cleared in the original trial.
October 15: Rio Ferdinand unveiled a new business venture - a bar called Sutra in Leeds city centre in which he is an investor - at the weekend, with the predictable support from his teammates. Also present was Kieron Dyer who spent Saturday lunchtime at Anfield, watching Leeds play. Presumably just to see his mates Rio and Woody play - nowt to do with any possible transfer plans, honest. Let's hope it's a bit more of a success than Lee Chapman's Teatro operation in Leeds.
October 15: Transfer rumours: Parlour, Johnson, Izzet. Nuff said.
October 15: Alan Smith is due for a run out for the reserves in tonight's game with Newcastle to gauge his fitness level ahead of Thursday's UEFA Cup tie with Troyes. A couple of other first-teamers who were benched on Saturday are also likely to play, but it's unlikely that any of them will start Thursday's game. The UEFA game will be shown on Sky Sports Extra, so no joy for anyone with cable there then. Just as well I'll be at the game :-)
October 14: Not Leeds-related as such, but a quick update on the condition of Gerard Houllier. After suffering chest pains at half-time during Saturday's game he had heart surgery and is now said to be 'comfortable' in the intensive care unit at Broad Green hospital on Merseyside. Houllier has always struck me as one of the more affable and honest managers in the game, and we all hope he enjoys a fully and speedy recovery.
14: Euro round-up time. Troyes will be in a confident
mood ahead of Thursday's game: they won 3-1 at Auxerre in what must
be described as a major upset and now lie in seventh place in the
league. Lille bagged a last minute winner against Nantes (who seem
to be having the sort of post-Championship hangover season we had
in 1992-93) to go top, and a Moreira hat-trick took Lens into
second place. Marseille finally crawled out of the relegation zone
with a 2-0 win at Metz in which a certain M. Leboeuf received his
October 14: Old boy news from the weekend: JFH got one of Chelsea's two goals that saw off Leicester. Harpal Singh got on the scoresheet for Bury, scoring an equaliser against Cambridge. Unfortunately the Shakers conceded two more to go down 3-1. In another Division 2 game, Jamie Forrester scored the first and last of Northampton's four goals - Tranmere only managing one in reply. One division further south Mark Tinkler scored Hartlepool's first against York: his team-mates added two more and York failed to trouble the scoreboard operator.
October 13: Post-match reaction to today's draw from DOL: I'm gutted that we haven't won the game. I was expecting three points the way the game was panning out. It was just a lack of concentration for the goal." He added: "What we showed out there is that we have moved on as a side. And we are potentially a very good side indeed." He also wished his opponent and friend Gerard Houllier all the best after the Liverpool manager was taken to hospital at half time with chest pains.
October 13: While we were drawing at Anfield, another draw was taking place: the 4th round of the Worthington Cup was made at lunchtime, and Leeds have been drawn at home to Chelsea. Grimsby's prize for beating Liverpool at Anfield is a trip to Old Trafford or Highbury, and Bobby Robson's Newcastle face his old club Ipswich. The other ties are Villa vs Sheff Wed, Fulham vs Spurs, Blackburn vs Man City, Bolton vs Saints, and Watford vs Charlton. The ties will be played in the week commencing November 26.
October 13: A 1-1 draw at Anfield is not to be sniffed at: I know it's not as good as last year, and that we were a goal up and probably had enough chances to win it, but we remain unbeaten and top of the league - even if our margin has been cut slightly - after visits to two of our main rivals. If we can say the same after the next two league games, I'll be a very happy man indeed.
October 13: DOL reckons his young Leeds side still have some growing up to do. "They are still immature and can do daft things on the pitch, like charging around when six goals up at Leicester, instead of letting the ball do the work." Oh well, at least he's not telling us all how his young babies can't possibly win anything anymore....
October 12: Doobs was very happy to finally get back onto the pitch after the last year's injury and court problems - and the support from the fans was much appreciated. He said: "I really just wanted to get back to playing football again but the special thing was the reception I got from the fans and the players when I came on. That was great." He didn't mention anything about the certain someone in the crowd who was so pleased to see him he got ejected for trying to give him a big snog on the pitch but I'm sure he appreciated that too :-)
October 12: Misc injury news (volume 4). Dominic Matteo and David Batty have both been declared to be fit for the game - but it's still not certain they'll play. The same goes for Alan Smith: a bench start is more likely, particularly since Keane and Viduka scored 4 between them on Tuesday. Remember Danny Hay? Well, he's back in training after more surgery, but is still a long way from a regular reserve game, never mind attempting to climb a very steep hill to make it into contention for the first team.
October 12: Alan Maybury's move to Hearts has gone through for a fee of around £100,000. Hearts chief Craig Levein was delighted - and surprised - with his capture. He said: "Never in a million years did I think we would get him. When I found out he was available I was impressed to say the least. He is a player who has been capped twice and I think he will do a right good job." Harpal Singh has had his loan to Bury extended by a further month: they'd be interested in buying the youngster but funds are very tight at Gigg Lane at the moment.
October 11: Thanks to everyone who voted in the new ground preferences poll. Top of the list was the fact that we wanted affordable ticket prices, with the ability to raise capacity coming next in our priorities. More of you thought it was important to have good access by public transport than private, and the ability to make some noise - through safe terracing and good acoustic design - ranked surprisingly highly.
October 11: Hearts coach Craig Levein is confident that the Jambos will complete the signing of Alan Maybury - subject to a medical - tomorrow, in time for their SPL game against St Johnstone this weekend. Maybury has made 18 appearances for Leeds and hasn't yet got a first team goal to his name. He's not quite up to Premier League standards in England, and he's also had a bit of an injury nightmare: when he appeared for Leeds against Lazio in March it was his first game in 3 years.
October 11: We must be close to signing someone: Peter Ridsdale has said that nowt is happening on the transfer front! "If it's not a player in Argentina it's somewhere else, we are now being linked with players on a world-wide basis but I can assure you there is absolutely nothing happening." But like most of us, he believes that most of that gossip is driven by the clubs and the players' agents in a bid to drum up interest and bid up the price.
October 11: Team news for Saturday. David Batty was ill rather than injured on Tuesday, and it's hoped he'll be well enough to play on Saturday but might not be risked. Dom Matteo is still carrying an injury and with Jon Woodgate in good form at the moment, he could keep his place alongside Rio. DOL seems far happier with Woodgate's form this time round and has tipped him for international recognition and a long career with Ferdinand for both Leeds and England. For Liverpool, Gerard Houllier is hoping to have Stephane Henchoz (achilles) and Robbie Fowler (chest infection) back for the game. Steven Gerrard is suspended, and Michael Owen has just resumed training and is not expected to take part.
October 11: The manager has been talking up the achievements of Robbie Keane after Tuesday's hat-trick - it seems that this is "praise month" at Elland Road! "Robbie has a terrible habit of putting the ball in the net. Even in training all he seems to do is score goals." But DOL did sound a slight note of caution: "He does drive me mad at times because I am on to him about simplicity - don't take too many touches - I want him to have one touch and then bang, let the keeper fetch it out of the net." Keane himself is still on cloud nine. He said: "I am very happy. It doesn't matter how I score them - I was just delighted to finally get a hat-trick." And Keano is looking forward to competition in the goalscoring charts from Mark Viduka. He said: "I was delighted for Mark when he scored against Leicester. He is a quality player and he has worked really hard for the team. He has got his goal now so hopefully he can go on from here and bag a few more."
October 10: Former Leeds keeper Glan Letheran is out of a job tonight, victim of a massive cost-cutting exercise at Swansea. Letheran played just two first team games for Leeds in the mid 1970s, and has been goalkeeping coach at the Vetch, but the club are in financial difficulties and sacked seven players and several other members of the management and admin team as they struggle to stay afloat.
October 10: Very quick round-up of tonight's news. Darren Huckerby blasted four goals for Man City against Birmingham in the Worthington Cup. Altogether now: "Francis out!" Kevin "Lard Lad" Pressman saved three penalties as the Owls beat the Eagles 3-1 on spot kicks after a 2-2 draw after extra time. And Derby don't look to be any better for losing Jim Smith: they went down 5-2 to Fulham. The draw for the next round of the cup is on Saturday while we're playing at Anfield. In tonight's Champions League games, wins for Celtic and Man U put them on top of their groups - Porto drawing with Juve and Lille with Deportivo - and there were wins for Bayer Leverkusen, Sparta Prague and Barca, while Bayern were held 2-2 at Feyenoord.
October 10: Ireland's two-leg play-off against an as yet unknown Asian side remains in doubt with the continued conflict in Afghanistan. The FAI are concerned both with the travelling and the location - likely candidates for the opposition are Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran. Leeds are equally worried about the safety of their players, although the FAI do fully insure their squad but Leeds secretary Ian Silvester said: "For us, it's not a question of insurance, it's a question of the safety of Mick [McCarthy], his players and officials, fans and journalists who could be asked to fly to an area which is - at best - dangerous." Silvester wants the players to be given a personal choice on whether to travel.
October 10: The away leg of the UEFA Cup game has been put back from a kick-off at 1800 CET to 2045 CET In order to allow more drinking/travelling time before the game - but screwing up the chances of anyone getting back to hotels in Paris, where many of the travelling support (including the official tours) are booked in. Good job I'm sorted with two nights in Troyes then, innit!
October 10: It's "Let's link everyone to Leeds" week again and the target of the day is Hertha Berlin's Sebastian Deisler. His agent appears to be doing an excellent job in talking up the midfielder's prospects, and it now seems that Leeds, Bayern and AC Milan will be slugging it out for the player. He can leave for £6 million, but it will be interesting to see whether he plumps for the lure of the European Champions, the wallet-busting lire of Berlusconi's team or the promise and youth of an up and coming outfit.
October 10: Post-match reaction from DOL was naturally upbeat. He said: "We were very positive, passed the ball well and played the way I want us to play. I was delighted for Mark Viduka, he deserved his goal for all his hard work. I was also very pleased for Robbie Keane, Eirik Bakke and Woody." Leicester meanwhile have appointed a new manager: the experienced Dave Bassett will need all of his accumulated knowledge to help them avoid the drop, and he'll be joined by Mickey Adams - the former Leeds defender who has done so well at Brighton. Wouldn't be surprised if there was some element in the deal that gave the job to Adams at some point in the future, while drawing on Bassett's experience for the here and now.
October 09: Gary McAllister broke the deadlock from the spot in extra time at Anfield tonight after Grimsby had kept Liverpool goalless throughout normal time. Let's hope the extra effort left them a little bit more tired for Saturday lunchtime. Grimsby got an equaliser in the second period of extra time with a goal from Marlon Broomes and then Phil Jevons got the winner with just 40 seconds of extra time left to eliminate the holders.
October 09: Wow! 6-0 at Filbert Street and that has certainly laid a few ghosts to rest. A hat-trick from Robbie Keane nailed the suggestions about his poor form, and a fantastic curler from Mark Viduka broke his long streak without a goal.
October 09: DOL has made it clear he intends to go for the Worthington Cup and will be picking a team to go out and win the tie tonight. He said: "Our priority is to be back in the Champions League, but if we can do that with a Worthington Cup under our belt then that will be great. With the Worthington Cup you also qualify for Europe earlier than usual," - which hopefully will have no bearing on the pressure on the side at the end of the season, cos that would mean we've no hope of getting into the Champions League! DOL was hoping for a change of luck: "It hasn't been the greatest ground for us. But it's a cup competition and who knows what can happen!"
October 09: Mark Viduka hasn't scored for a while but is hoping to break that run tonight. He pointed out that he didn't manage to get on the score sheet until his return from the Olympics last season. He said: "It's only a matter of time before the goals come. It's not as if I've been missing many chances." True - he's spent much of the season ambling back from offside positions (okay, okay, maybe most of the Ipswich game anyway).
October 09: Transfer rumours of the day. We've made an offer of £7 million for Seth Johnson, and we're looking at a French midfielder - Johan Micoud - who is currently at Parma. David O'Leary enjoyed his time in Argentina - but he wasn't really looking at players, honest. "I didn't intentionally go down just to see players. I went down to see the national team. It was a long way to go but I hope to do it again because I thought they were wonderful people." But he might be interested in non-British players, despite his previously stated opposition. He said: "Who can you get in England? There's nobody for sale and if there is then the price is unbelievable." But he knows he's not alone in looking to raid the Argentinian league - he pointed out that many Serie A clubs pick up young Argentinians regularly and for big bucks. But he did add: "I certainly saw some good players when I was there."
October 08: Rod Wallace seems to be doing pretty well for Bolton - he scored the only goal of the game for them in tonight's 1-0 Worthington Cup win over Nottingham Forest to take them through to the 4th round.
October 08: Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer look set to make a dash from the court-room - where legal arguments continue - to Filbert Street to play tomorrow night. Alan Smith is getting closer to full fitness and may start on the bench. Otherwise the big question will be what sort of strength side DOL will put out when there are so many big games coming up - Anfield, Old Trafford, Chelsea and Spurs at home plus the UEFA Cup tie with Troyes. The Worthington Cup remains a pot that's worthwhile winning, but maybe this will be the chance to give the likes of Michael Duberry, Woodgate, McPhail, Wilcox - and even a youngster like Shane Cansdell-Sherriff - a chance to show what they can do. Although DOL doesn't set much store by the cup, we do have a record to maintain - and the players are keen to do that. Rio pointed out: "We are unbeaten in domestic football and we want to keep that record intact."
October 08: Good news from the USA: Michael Bridges will not need an op after all! Joint specialist Richard Steadman took a peek at Bridges' troublesome knee and made the call - which might now give the striker a chance of getting himself back into contention before the end of the season - but he's still got a very long way to go.
October 08: The Ladies suffered a predictable defeat at the hands of Fulham in the League Cup yesterday: the 8-0 scoreline sadly reflecting the gulf between the (pretty much) fulltime professionals of Fulham and Leeds' part-timers. Fulham will inevitably be promoted to the top flight next season, and it will be interesting to see whether Arsenal (who were in Europe, qualifying for the final stages of the European Cup) or Donny can make an impression on them next season. The U-19s and U-17s were also in action against Sheffield Wednesday. The younger side drew 2-2, but the older team ran out 3-2 winners.
October 07: Not much league action around Europe this weekend with the internationals, but in Spain Real Betis top the pile after winning 1-0 at home to Alaves. Two goals from Fran were enough for Deportivo to beat Barca 2-1 at the Riazor, leaving the visitors in second place, but Real Madrid's fortunes might finally be on the turn with a 2-0 win over Atletico Bilbao giving them only their second victory of the season.
October 07: With the final pieces in the World Cup qualifying jigsaw falling into place, Harry Kewell has reiterated his intentions to appear for Australia. He explained in an interview that the Australian games were important to him - but that the long distances took their toll. He said: "It's not really hard to juggle, it's just that once you travel a fair distance it takes you a bit longer to recover from the games." But he insisted that the distance would not prove an obstacle for the World Cup play-offs next month.
October 07: Nigel Martyn has said that he wants to hang on to the number one jersey for England's World Cup campaign in Japan and Korea next year. He still doesn't look quite as comfortable at international level as he does for Leeds, but he has made no more mistakes than David Seaman - and has made some crucial stops when needed. Martin Keown had praise for the Leeds keeper. He said: "He has proved for Leeds he is an outstanding goalkeeper. There is no reason why he can't keep reproducing that form for his country." But there's no getting away from the little slips he has made - and certain voices (notably on the BBC commentary) seem intent on talking the mistakes up and the successes down. Let's see who Sven Goran Erickson listens to (or maybe he'll just trust his own eyes).
October 07: Quiet news day (part 1). The best transfer rumours the press can come up with this weekend are that Sunderland want to sign Olivier Dacourt (ha-ha-ha-thud...whoops there goes my head) and that we're going to make a bid to relieve Derby's debt problems by signing Seth Johnson.
October 06: Ian Harte scored in the second minute of Ireland's qualifier against Cyprus at Lansdowne Road. With Gary Kelly suspended, Harte was the only starter from Leeds. Stephen McPhail came on at the end of the second half, but Robbie Keane was rested to make sure he didn't pick up a yellow card to find himself ruled out of the play-off match to come. The Republic went on to win 4-0.
October 06: Nigel Martyn was beaten twice by Greece in this afternoon's World Cup qualifier - not that he could do much about either of them. He did make several crucial saves though, so when David Beckham floated in a superb free kick in injury time, the 2-2 draw was enough to send England straight through to the World Cup Final. Rio didn't look in particularly great form, and appeared to lose his man a couple of times, but did pull off a couple of excellent challenges.
October 05: DOL is back in the country today with a bit of a tan and maybe one or two players in mind after his brief trip to South America to see if he could unearth some cheap talent to strengthen the side - but don't hold your breath waiting for a bid to materialise just yet.
October 05: If you're a season ticket holder and haven't reserved your seat for the Troyes game, you're too late - you'll have to take your chances with the rest of the Striker Card holders on Monday and Tuesday, with sales ahead of the numbers shifted for the Maritimo tie. General sales will start on Wednesday of next week, and - as with the previous round - tickets are available at the bargain price of £12.
October 05: Caleb Folan - one of the up and coming youngsters at Elland Road - has been loaned to Stevenage Borough for a month to give him a chance of first team experience.
October 05: Mark van Bommel of PSV has said that if he comes to England he'd only do it if it was to play for Man U. Obviously we didn't dangle a big enough cheque under his nose.
October 04: The reserves were in action against Villa last night. With no game at the weekend, several first-teamers turned out for the reserves, including Jon Woodgate, Stepgen McPhail, Jason Wilcox and Michael Duberry. Craig Farrell opened the scoring for Leeds, and the game was sealed by an own goal by the Villa keeper, carrying the ball across his own line to make it 2-0.
October 03: Nigel Martyn looks set to play at Old Trafford on Saturday after David Seaman declared himself unfit for the crucial World Cup Qualifier against Greece. Rio has declared himself fit to take the field, despite picking up yet another knock against Ipswich.
October 03: The retrial of Jon Woodgate, Lee Bowyer and others got underway at Hull Crown Court today. It's expected that the initial legal submissions could take as long as a fortnight, and coverage of what happens there will be very closely guarded to ensure that we don't have a repeat of the fiasco that ended the initial trial.
October 03: Transfer rubbish (volume 17). Wayne Bridge of Southampton is not a target, despite what some of the press are saying. Chairman Rupert Lowe made it clear that he had a good relationship with Peter Ridsdale (slight dig at the Spurs board here over the Dean Richards affair) and that there was no truth in the rumour. Leeds refused to confirm that they were interested in Forest's youngster Jermaine Jenas. Forest said they'd not received any offers - but the whole squad are listed in a bid to cut costs, so if he's any good maybe we should put in a derisory bid to try to get him on board on the cheap. And a man reported to look like DOL (if DOL had been involved in a particularly nasty car accident and found himself needing serious plastic surgery) has been seen lurking around Argentina and sniffing after the young River Plate midfielder Andres d'Alessandro. Or not, as the case may be.
October 03: Willem Korsten has been forced to retire from the professional (and pretty much any level) game as a result of a hip injury that has left him on the periphery of the Spurs squad since he opted to join GG at White Hart Lane rather than stay at Elland Road when his loan finished.
October 02: Dom Matteo has pulled out of Scotland's squad for the final (and pretty much hopeless) qualifier against Latvia at the weekend. He picked up another knock at Ipswich and will take the opportunity to rest the injury ahead of what will be a very busy and important month.
October 02: DOL has said that the youth system at Leeds isn't feeding players through into the first team like it did before. Maybe it's a coincidence, but the fact that the man who did so much to bring on the last batch of talent is now managing Forest instead of coaching at Leeds might have something to do with it.