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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

November 30: It's now the turn of the defence to sum up in the trial, and it was Jon Woodgate's QC setting out the case (or lack of it) today. David Fish said that Woodgate had lied to the police out of loyalty to his friends when questioned over the attack. Mr Fish pointed out that there was no forensic evidence linking Woodgate to the assault: ""No blood found on him or his clothing, no injuries." Michael Duberry may have been acquitted in the original trial, but he's very much in the forefront of comment in Hull. Mr Fish said that there was no corroboration of any of Duberry's evidence, and that he had presented the police with "a tissue of lies". Mr Fish concluded by saying that whoever was responsible for the attack on Sarfraz Najeib should be punished, but stated: "What we say is that the evidence simply isn't there, when looked at carefully and analysed, to find [Woodgate] guilty." Woodgate, Lee Bowyer, Neale Caveney and Paul Clifford all deny charges of GBH with intent and affray. The summing up continues on Monday.

November 30: Former Leeds youth keeper Chad Harpur has signed for Millwall until the end of the season. He will be the third-choice keeper at The New Den, so should get a regular run-out for the reserves, and the chance to warm the bench if there are injuries or if he impresses Millwall boss Mark McGhee.

November 30: Robbie Fowler was paraded at a press conference at Elland Road today, and he reckons that his new club can win the title this year. He said: "It's a new chapter of my career and is one I'm looking forward to - I'm excited about it but not nervous. I needed a new challenge, and Leeds United is as good a club as any in Europe at the moment." His new team-mate Olivier Dacourt would do well to pay attention to him, since the French star once again dropped heavy hints that he could be on his way to Juve soon if Leeds fail to win anything this season. Fowler made his debut for Liverpool at Fulham - and scored - and is hoping for a repeat performance for Leeds. Like most of the first team, Fowler has been signed up on a 5-year contract and although he's not contractually guaranteed a place in the starting line-up, you can bet that he extracted a promise from DOL that he'd not be benched unless he was injured or on totally hopeless form. How much did we pay for him in the end? The clubs have agreed not to disclose the actual fee, but it seems it could be quite a bit less than the figure of £11 million mentioned generally - and it's certainly well short of the £12 million we offered for his services when the money from JFH was burning a hole in our pockets.

November 29: In Hull today, Nicholas Campbell QC continued his closing address for the prosecution. He told the jury to take care when considering the evidence of Michael Duberry - one of the prosecution's own witnesses. He said that the jury should consider his motives in giving the evidence he did, and that he had been shown to have "lied and lied and lied" when initially questioned about the events of that night, but must now be considered a "witness of truth". Mr Campbell said: "When push came to shove he couldn't tell lies any more. He had to tell it how it was." He then turned to the performance of Lee Bowyer: he told the jury that Bowyer had given a "remarkable performance" in the witness box, but that what he had done was attempt to "pull the wool over your eyes". Mr Campbell cast doubt on Bowyer's suggestion that he had been attacked while walking over to meet Jon Woodgate and Woodgate's friends. Mr Campbell continued: "He hadn't been whacked but he had been involved in a degree of violence that night and he had been the perpetrator of that violence." Bowyer and Woodgate are charged with GBH with intent and affray, along with Neale Caveney and Paul Clifford. All men deny the charges.

November 29: Minor game news: remember that you can see the youngsters take on Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup on Friday night with a 7pm kick-off for just three quid. Maybe we can sneak Robbie Fowler out there as an over-age player? The reserve game that was due to be played away to Bradford on December 17 has been postponed - because it clashes with their Christmas Carol service - and they need the money from the collections to be able to afford to buy a few more turkeys for the team :-)

November 29: Transfer ins, outs, going nowheres. Will the next swoop be for Brett Emerton? Or will we go in with an offer for Forest's Jermaine Jenas - bidding a bit more cash and a bit less Stephen McPhail this time. Although Paul Hart needs some experience at the City Ground, the wage cost and susceptibility to injury of the young Irish international rules out a swap move. On the exit side, the Dacourt rumours are out stalking the land again. Juventus still seem to want Patrick Vieira - and if rumours in North London are to be believed, Arsenal will be forced to cash in on the talented Frenchman this summer or face losing him on a Bosman a year later. But if they can't wait - and dangle enough dosh under our noses - then the opportunity to take a £12 million profit on our very own talented Frenchman might be too tempting for the board to resist - if and only if the manager feels that we've got enough fit midfield cover (see below for why we haven't). And going nowhere is Paul Robinson: after Monsieur Barthez's latest comic performance at Highbury, Alex Ferguson might try to persuade the Old Trafford board to let him buy one more player before he goes, and Robinson would be high on anyone's shopping list after last year's performances in the Champions League. But Peter Ridsdale is adamant that the young keeper is going nowhere. He said: "It does not matter who comes in for him or how much money they offer us, we are not going to sell the best young goalkeeper in Britain. He is always going to be a Leeds United player. He is very much part of our plans and it would certainly send out the wrong signals if we decided to let him go." But he wants first team chances, and is unlikely to get them this season as long as Nigel Martyn stays fit. But reading the runes, it isn't hard to see the two swapping positions in the pecking order at the start of next season and Robinson being set up by Sven Goran Erickson as the new England number one. Making a rare visit to reality, the transfer news item brings you the tidings that Brian Deane has left Boro for an undisclosed sum and moved on to become Dave Beasant's big hope of dragging Leicester out of the relegation mire. And finally Esther, Caleb Folan has finished his loan spell with Rushden, and has now moved a bit closer to home to spend a month with Hull City.

November 29: News about the injuries from last night is not, on the whole, good. Stephen McPhail has a scar down his leg from his groin to his ankle after Jokanovic's unpunished tackle had him carried off the field. McPhail's ankle is also injured, and Eirik Bakke has sustained knee ligament damage: both players are expected to be out until after Christmas. Dominic Matteo has an achilles problem, and Alan Smith - who has only recently returned from injury himself - has a slight ankle knock. Smith and Matteo are both doubts for Sunday - so surely they will be held in reserve if at all possible to ensure they're free for the Grasshopper home leg next Thursday.

November 29: DOL sees Robbie Fowler as the final piece in the puzzle for Leeds to finally gain some silverware. The manager said: "Hopefully - if he rediscovers the form he showed around a year to eighteen months ago - then we will have bought another quality player to add to those we already have here. The prospect of Fowler playing for us excites me. Over time, if we can train him and fit him in to our way of playing then he is somebody who can score a lot of goals for us."

November 29: Rumours late last night/early this morning are rife that another signing may be in the offing, and it could be Brett Emerton. If Eirik Bakke and Stephen McPhail's injuries are serious - and with Lee Bowyer's hamstring problem continuing, midfield cover is what we need and Emerton could be just the man to provide it.

November 28: The prosecution began its closing arguments today and said that the jury should not be guided by feelings of sympathy for the victim or the defendants. Nicholas Campbell QC said: "The defendants will pay if, and only if, you are sure the defendant whose case you are considering is guilty of the offence." He went on: "Sympathy for Mr Najeib, understandable though it is, cannot assist you in that task." He described Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer as "remarkable young men" - who would lose a great deal, as would their employers, if they were found guilty. Bowyer, Woodgate, Neale Caveney and Paul Clifford have pleaded not guilty to charges of GBH with intent and affray. With further arguments from the prosecution, plus closing arguments from the defence counsel for each man, and the the judge's final direction, it's likely that it will be next weekend at the earliest before the jury are asked to retire to consider their verdict.

November 28: Fowler should be signing tomorrow after agreeing personal terms believed to be around £35,000 a week and completing the first part of his medical. Formalities will be completed Thursday, and a press conference held on Friday - he should be in the squad with number 27 on his back for Sunday's visit to Fulham.

November 28: Not the result we wanted tonight - but more worrying still were the injuries to Bakke, Matteo and McPhail. The game was very much like the league game a few weeks back - but a couple of lapses in concentration by the defence when we only had 10 active men on the pitch let them in - and Robbie Keane's failure to convert another 1-on-1 with the keeper, and another tumble in the box not getting a penalty sealed our fate. No complaints over the result: they chased and closed us down, and took their chances; we didn't have enough variation to open them up often enough, and when we did, we didn't capitalise.

November 28: Robbie Fowler's move to Leeds has hit a slight hitch, with the medical check needing to be completed first, never mind sorting out personal terms, so he's unlikely to be unveiled tonight (but you never know). This delay might, of course, give former boss Graeme Souness the chance to come in with an offer to take him to Blackburn - a move that was ruled out when Liverpool were asking £15 million.

November 27: Harpal Singh got on the scoresheet for Bury again tonight, scoring their equaliser at home to Lincoln in the FA Cup 1st Round replay. Unfortunately, there were no more goals in open play and the home side went out 3-2 on penalties.

November 27: The trial today focused on the behaviour of Leeds' club solicitor Peter McCormick. Michael Duberry earlier said that McCormick had told him to stick to his original evidence and lie to the police. McCormick denied this, telling the jury that what he had told Duberry was that he could be prosecuted if he lied to the police. McCormick said that to have done otherwise would have been "the end of my career and of my freedom as well". McCormick said that he had asked Duberry on several occasions if he wished to change his statement, but the footballer said he did not. McCormick represented Duberry until it became clear that Leeds players were likely to be charged, and McCormick would face a conflict of interest. The trial of Lee Bowyer, Jon Woodgate, Neale Caveney and Paul Clifford continues tomorrow.

November 27: Spend now, ask questions later. Rather than wait for a few months until he comes a bit closer to a Bosman free, it would seem that we've gone in and bought Robbie Fowler. The man who can't make it into the Liverpool side has been bought for around £11 million according to reports tonight. So is it Kewell or Viduka that we can expect to see in Serie A real soon then? Fowler will be yet another ineligible player for the UEFA cup, so no doubt he'll be the weekend player and the second choice men (Keane and Smith?) will have their run then. Can't say I'm over the moon.... Earlier today, O'Leary was quoted on the official website saying that the Fowler move was "total rubbish". Sounds familiar....? This will take O'Leary's spending to one striker's leg short of £100 million: some return on that investment in the shape of a trophy by the end of the season is no longer a nice-to-have - it's essential.

November 27: Smithy has apologised for the incident that led to his fifth red card on Sunday. Having been told by O'Leary that he needed to calm down a bit and then getting himself dismissed, Smith was worried. He said: "I don't want to play for anyone else. The last thing I want to do is put my Leeds career in jeopardy." Smith sounded genuinely upset about the incident. He said: "I know that I let a few people down getting sent off, but I'm just trying my best. I would like to apologise to all the lads and everyone else I let down. I didn't mean it." O'Leary described suggestions that Smith was about to be replaced by Robbie Fowler as "total rubbish".

November 27: So it's okay to stamp on people according to the FA. They'll be taking no action against Emerson Thome for an off-the-ball stamp on Alan Smith in the game against Sunderland. But it's not okay to elbow people in the ribs. And a ref can miss a stamping and also miss a push in the face and still not get demoted for his poor performance. Neale Barry and Graham Barber will not be kicked downstairs by referees' chief Philip Don, despite their total failure to get themselves into a position to spot blatant foul play by non-Leeds players. Persecuted? Moi?

November 26: Paul Clifford was on the stand in Hull today, and he firmly denied that Jon Woodgate had anything to do with the attack on Sarfraz Najeib. He said that there had been a confrontation between two groups outside the Majestyk, and there had been a chase, after which Jon Woodgate's group had left the area. He told the jury: "We were all concerned really because we were there and I was worried we would get involved because it was in Leeds and Jonathan Woodgate was with us. That was all I was bothered about, getting dragged into something we had nothing to do with." Clifford said that fellow accused Neale Caveney and Woodgate on the corner of Mill Hill, and he had been nearby, but he had not seen Lee Bowyer outside the night club at any time. All men deny the charges of GBH with intent and affray.

November 26: Differing reactions from our two disappointed Aussies. Mark Viduka was quoted as saying he would consider quitting international football - but Harry Kewell wants to captain his country to the World Cup finals. Viduka said: "I don't know if I'm going to get back up, it's exhausting." He pointed the finger at the ridiculous route of play-off matches that has kept them out of three World Cups in a row. "We have such an unfair route to qualify. I mean, they've Uruguay lost about 10 games in their group and we've lost one but we're out." True - but Uruguay were facing the likes of Brazil and Argentina - not a bunch of tiny Pacific islands whose population would comfortably fit inside Elland Road. Although I've not always agreed with the way that Soccer Australia have "requested" the services of our players, it's good to hear Kewell's determination to prove himself on the biggest stage in the world. They'll be back in the UK in time for the Chelsea game, but DOL is doubtful whether or not he'll make use of them. He said: "I've done that journey and you feel absolutely wacked afterwards so they won't be in any fit state to be considered for the cup tie against Chelsea."

November 26: The Robbie Fowler rumour resurfaced yesterday - but £15 million for the unsettled touchline-sniffer seems a bit OTT, if he can't command a place in the Scouse starting line-up ahead of Emile "watch out for that blade of grass" Heskey. With Corrado Grabi set to move to Serie A, Blackburn might find themselves with a pile of cash instead of a striker, but are thought to be reluctant to splash it all on the one player. The Italian press reports renewed interest in Harry Kewell - but the quoted figure of 28 million needs to be GBP not USD if they want to prise him away from Elland Road.

November 26: Yesterday's dismissal means that Alan Smith will now be suspended for the Blackburn and Leicester games for sure, and either the delayed visit of Everton or the Worthington Cup 5th Round game if we beat Chelsea. Seth Johnson's yellow - although his first for Leeds - takes his season total to 5, so earns him a one-match ban and also rules him out of the visit to Ewood Park. With the possibility that the Chelsea game could reignite a feud or two, DOL may choose to rest Eirik Bakke or Danny Mills who are both one match short of a suspension. Seth Johnson is also ineligible for the Worthington Cup ties, having played for Derby in the competition earlier this season. Neale Barry's failure to red card Lee Hendrie could have serious consequences for his future as a top flight ref. He's already been relegated once this season and unless he can adequately explain his decision to keep Hendrie on the pitch to the satisfaction of the authorities, he will be back in the Nationwide League for another spell. Lee Hendrie was less than happy with Danny Mills rather theatrical reaction to being pushed in the face. Hendrie said: "I did raise my hands, but it was handbags. Luckily enough the linesman has seen what's gone on and maybe he Mills should have got the booking because the way he reacted was absolutely unbelievable. Fellow pros should always look after each other." That's right Lee, just like your team-mate looked after Smithy maybe?

November 25: Post-match blah has DOL unsurprisingly unhappy with Alan Smith, and John Gregory characteristically honest about Lee Hendrie. O'Leary said: "I would be embarrassed if I had to say what I needed to say. I will leave it to you." Gregory said that the decision to dismiss Smith was right, but said that he had taken Hendrie off when the ref failed to dismiss him. "He raised his hands and it looked to me like he shoved Danny Mills in the face. It was silly and petty, so I took him off before he got sent off." Speaking about the contact between Smith and Alpay, he said: "Whether it catches the player in the chest or a knee cap you cannot throw an elbow at somebody," but didn't say anything about the "hit by a sniper" reaction of his defender (though the same could be said of Danny Mills' reaction to Hendrie's shove in the face).

November 25: Euro round-up time. Grasshopper shared a goalless draw with FC Zurich in Switzerland and slipped back to 6th place, while leaders Basle won at Lugano.

In France, leaders Lens drew 1-1 with L'Estac but saw their cushion at the top shrink as second and third placed sides Lyon and Lille both won. For Nantes the season gets worse and worse: they threw away a 1-0 lead at home to PSG with the visitors down to ten men and allowed PSG only their second away win of the season.

In Italy, leaders Chievo benefited from lowly Perugia's poor discipline, scoring two goals while the visitors played with just 9 men. Neighbours Verona failed to capitalise on last week's win over the leaders when they were reduced to 10 men while a goal up at Torino: the home side then scored 5 unanswered goals in the second half. All the top sides won this weekend, so there's very little change at the top, the most significant result being Lazio's 1-0 win over Juve which saw the Rome side move ahead of their visitors.

The gap closed at the top of La Liga with Deportivo's surprise 4-1 defeat at Real Mallorca. Second-placed Alaves went down 1-0 at Villareal, but Real Betis closed up in third thanks to two own goals by hosts Osasuna. Barca had a surprising reverse at the Nou Camp: visitors Bilbao won 2-1 with 10 men and join Barca on 23 points - and just one point ahead of Real Madrid, whose 3-0 win at Rayo Vallecano marked another return to normality. Valencia could have gone top - but a 2-0 defeat at second bottom Real Sociedad leaves them in fifth.

Bayer Leverkusen continued unbeaten at the top of the Bundesliga - and their 4-1 victory over Hamburg while Bayern could only draw at home to Nurnberg extended their lead to 4 points. Borussia Dortmund's 3-0 win over Kaiserslauten secured their 3rd place position by points as well as goal difference. In the relegation 6-pointer, Cologne won 2-1 at St Pauli to cut the home side 4 points adrift.

Finally in Holland, a van Hoojidonk hat-trick put Feyenoord on top with Ajax losing 3-1 for the second time in a row. Vitesse beat Roda 2-0, but Heerenveen lost the chance to go second, as they could only manage a goalless draw with FC Twente.

November 25: Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka will have next summer to rest and recuperate after Australia failed to hold on to their 1-0 first-leg lead in Montevideo today. They had some decent chances to get a vital away goal, but after conceding an early goal to the home side they went two down in the second half and let in a third right at the end. On the positive side for Leeds, it looks like both players have come through the game without any injuries - hopefully FIFA will see sense for the next tournament and allow the winners of the Oceania group to qualify through a slightly more direct route.

November 25: Alan Smith's day got off to a great start as he scored the first goal of the game after less than 20 minutes. Robbie Keane had a couple of good chances that he again failed to make the most of. Then Smithy lashed out with his elbow when he was being held by Alpay, and the Turkish player went down holding his face: Smithy was red-carded and Villa equalised a couple of minutes later. Early in the second half, Lee Hendrie raised his hands against Danny Mills and only got a yellow card - but John Gregory subbed him immediately. Alan Wright was also a bit lucky to stay on with a very late and OTT challenge that left him in pain, but Leeds held out - and nearly won it with a Rio header in stoppage time.

November 24: Old boys round-up. Warren Feeney scored the opener for Bournemouth as they visited Chesterfield today, but ended up on the losing side after the hosts came back to score twice. Mark Ford was the second Darlo player dismissed in the first half, and the scoreline of 7-1 to home side Scunthorpe reflected their two man advantage. Richard Jobson also got himself on the scoresheet for Rochdale as they took a 2-0 lead over Lincoln City but the visitors got a late equaliser to take their share. In the battle of the new managers, Terry Yorath well and truly got the better of Carlton Palmer as Sheffield Wednesday hammered Stockport 5-0 at Hillsborough. And speaking of managers, Gordon Strachan finally saw his Saints team get a home win, as Marian Pahars gave them the points against Charlton at St Marys, and there was also success for Nigel Worthington's Canaries moved into the automatic promotion spot with a 2-1 win over Barnsley.

November 24: Leeds have been linked with Spurs latest star centreback, Ledley King. King was clearly the better defender when he faced old team-mate Sol Campbell for Arsenal's visit to the Lane, and he would be a useful addition to any squad. But whether £10 million plus on another centre half constitutes a sensible use of our money is another matter entirely.

November 23: The PFA players' strike - which could have seriously affected the games next weekend - has been cancelled, after a long-term agreement as to the funding of the players' union was agreed between the PFA and representatives of the clubs earlier today. The deal gives the PFA over £50 million in total over the next 3 years and hopefully will avoid the need for such a painful period of negotiation next time round.

November 23: Quick round-up from the trial over the last couple of days. The defence expert witness stated that blood on Lee Bowyer's jacket could easily have come from one of several different sources. The court was told that the bloodstains - which appeared to be from Shahzad Najeib - could have got there either by Lee Bowyer falling down and coming into contact with blood on the ground, or by transfer from someone who had themselves picked up the blood. Only small amounts of blood were found on the jacket, and Lee Bowyer's counsel, Desmond de Silva QC, said that there was evidence that both Bowyer and Shahzad Najeib had fallen to the ground in Boar Lane, and that Shahzad had grazed his leg in doing so. Nicholas Campbell QC, for the prosecution, accused Lee Bowyer was trying to mislead the court with his repeated assertions that he had not been involved in the attack. Mr Campbell accused Bowyer of manipulating the evidence by suggesting that he had been wearing a different pair of shoes to those that Bowyer had handed to the police, and in denying that he had entered Mill Hill. Bowyer refuted the prosecution's allegations and continues to deny the charges of GBH with intent and affray. Also charged, and also denying the charges, are Jon Woodgate, Neale Caveney and Paul Clifford. The trial resumes on Monday.

November 23: One in, one out: Seth Johnson will be free to return to the side on Sunday - but Robbie Keane suffered a hand injury against Grasshopper and is struggling to be fit. Paul Merson is on his way back from injury andmight be fit enough to take some part for the visitors, but Mark Delaney and Mustapha Hadji are both doubts with leg injuries.

November 23: Transfer rubbish time: Kieron Dyer says that a move away from Newcastle is ludicrous - but then he goes on to tip the Magpies for a top six finish, so it's clear that his tenuous grip on reality has been stretched beyond breaking point. Muzzy Izzet's "spokesman" says that the midfielder is not uninterested in a move to Leeds - and that enquiries have been made by the club - but the staggeringly ambitious midfielder wants to move to Villa.

November 23: Alan Smith sounded pretty happy with the result last night - and think it augurs well for the second leg. He said: "We dug in in the second half and got a vital result. We've got to be confident for the next game, they're a good side but we should beat anyone at Elland Road."

November 23: The Australian team were subject to a volley of abuse when they arrived in Montevideo yesterday. The players were jostled, spat at and allegedly punched at the airport, leading to an apology from a Uruguayan official, who spoke of the passion the locals had for the game. Provided the behaviour doesn't continue when the whistle blows on Sunday morning, the Australians should be in a good position to build on their one goal advantage from the first leg.

November 23: I'm back and we won - just! On a freezing night with the rain sheeting down, the team muddled through and showed good spirit in fighting back, despite the cold night and the puddles of standing water on the pitch. A cracking free kick from Ian Harte - who was otherwise pretty anonymous, a penalty save by Nigel Martyn and a goalmouth stab home from Smithy - not much missing from another enjoyable Euro-trip, and with a 2-1 lead going into the home leg, it looks like we can stick "European train and plane timetable" onto our Christmas list, knowing that we'll need it in February. More news updates shortly.

November 21: Lee Bowyer dressed up for the jury today, to show them what he was wearing on the night of the attack on Sarfraz Najeib - and to demonstrate that he doesn't normally wear socks! The prosecution allege that he was wearing shoes with a side buckle but the defence insists that the light image on the blurred CCTV footage is Bowyer's foot - not metal. Bowyer admitted that images from the CCTV appeared to show him hug Neale Caveney - another of the accused men - outside a pub after the attack took place. Caveney's blood was found on Bowyer's jacket, and the defence state that this was how it came to be there. Bowyer and Caveney are charged with GBH with intent and affray along with Jon Woodgate and Paul Clifford. All men deny the charges.

November 21: Gordon Taylor doesn't come across as the next Arthur Scargill, but he seems intent on leading his members in a futile - and probably illegal - strike against the deal the authorities are offering the PFA. The players union - one of only two in the world funded in part by the employers - reckons that they should have a percentage of the money coming into the game from TV and seem intent on striking in support of the claim. Whether it's wise to do that at a time when the top players are getting more and more money is another question that Taylor chooses to ignore: sure the PFA does a great job in looking after older and injured players, many of whom never earned in a year what David Beckham and Roy Keane make in a week. So why exactly can't these over-paid players dig a fraction deeper and offer their union a small percentage of their own money? The PFA are saying they will force the abandonment of the FAPL programme for the weekend of December 1/2 - which means the Fulham game for Leeds.

November 21: After last night's disappointing Champions League results (well, okay, I did snigger a bit when Bayern equalised) Arsenal's bad run in Europe continued with a 2-0 defeat at Deportivo tonight. Roy Makaay and Diego Tristan scored, in what I would call an embarassing result if we hadn't ended up doing exactly the same at the Riazor last year. In fact, we have the chance to catch up with Arsenal's unenviable record in Europe tomorrow night: Arsenal have now lost 6 away matches in a row: Troyes, Maritimo, Valencia, Deportivo and Real Madrid make 5 - let's hope Grasshopper doesn't equalise that particular contest. Elsewhere, Real Madrid scored three of the five goals seen in Prague, while Panathanaikos and Porto shared a goalless draw. Juve's match with Bayer Leverkusen fell to the fog. In 1971, Leeds had a tie with Juve abandoned after 51 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch - the misty conditions meant that tonight's game never even started.

November 21: As the countdown to Australia's return match with Uruguay ticks away, it seems that the Socceroos were doing a bit of premature celebrating - and Harry missed out. The team had a reception at a Melbourne casino in the evening, but Harry was refused entry because he'd forgotten his pass and the security guard didn't recognise him. Meanwhile at home, Jacob Burns is continuing to recover from his recent reserve game knock, and hopes to be a part of the Australian World Cup squad when he's fit. He said: "I hope the lads will make it through to the finals and then there will be the incentive for me to make it to Japan and South Korea." The second play-off game is live on Sky on Sunday morning - so if you're not en route to the Villa game it might be worth a quick watch. Burns is realistic about his chances, but bearing in mind the current injury crisis, he's probably feeling doubly frustrated that he can't play some part in the first team due to his injury. He said: "We have got a talented squad here and if we can keep on winning and keep getting the results then there is a big chance that we can win something. I want to be a part of that."

November 21: Players in "making the best of the situation" shock. Robbie Keane is talking up his partnership with the returning Alan Smith as a good chance for the two of them. He said: "This is a great opportunity for both of us to show that we can play well together. Last week was a tough one for me and it showed at Sunderland but we had to lose a League game some time. It is now up to us to start off on another good run to prove our critics wrong." And Jason Wilcox made it clear he wants to take advantage of the fact that Seth Johnson is ineligible and Harry Kewell is on the other side of the world. "It has been very frustrating for me not to play regularly in the first team. Every player wants to play every week and I am no different. However, that is out of my hands. There is not a lot that I can do apart from keep plugging away and do my best in training and in the reserves." And what's more he wants to stay and win something - but it's clear that the manager currently regards him as a makeweight. Those of us who saw the team perform so poorly in Sunderland last weekend must wonder just what Wilcox has to do to convince O'Leary to let him have that opportunity.

November 21: Leeds flew out to Switzerland today with the whole squad hoping to stay a bit more focused and on-the-ball than they've managed on the two previous trips. Danny Mills said: "We've had one or two disappointing results away from home in Europe so we have go to try to put that right. We know we have not been playing as well as we can but we are still in the UEFA Cup and if we keep plugging away hopefully we can pick up some silver for the club this season." With no Bowyer, Woodgate, Johnson, Viduka and Kewell, it's unlikely that Leeds will manage to fill all the substitute slots - but let's keep our fingers crossed that we don't actually need to use them. In fact, looking at who's available, I think we've only got 4 subs: Wilcox or McPhail will replace Seth Johnson in midfield, leaving the other on the bench with Robbo, Kelly and Doobs - so unless DOL decides it's time for Jamie McMaster and Shane C-S to gain some experience of Euro-bench-warming, that's our lot.

November 20: In the trial today, Lee Bowyer told the jury that he was tipsy - but not drunk - on the night of the assault on Sarfraz Najeib. He said that his bruised face and grazed knuckles were sustained in a fall as he jogged around the city centre looking for Jon Woodgate. He denied being involved in the attack on Sarfraz Najeib, and said that he had been "whacked or kicked" after he had fallen to the ground by an unknown assailant. The prosecution allege that Bowyer was one of the group who chased Najeib from the Majestyk to Mill Hill, but Bowyer insisted he had never entered Mill Hill, saying that he had found Woodgate and a group of men coming round the corner from near that road and did not go down there himself. He knew that he wasn't drunk though, because "drunk is when you can't walk and can't see" according to the midfielder. Bowyer is charged with GBH with intent and affray, along with Woodgate, Neale Caveney and Paul Clifford. All men deny the charges.

November 20: Mark Tinkler scored his 5th goal of the season for Hartlepool tonight as they enjoyed a convincing home win over Halifax. Harpal Singh scored Bury's second goal as they came from behind to take a 2-1 lead against Bristol City - but a late goal from the visitors squared the game.

November 20: Transfer rubbish time: Brett Emerton is happy playing for Feyenoord and chasing the Dutch championship and the UEFA Cup, and isn't intent on joining Leeds after all. And we are or aren't interested (still) in Muzzy Izzet. Like we need another left-sided midfielder at the moment....

November 20: There's no pressure on DOL to win anything, according to chairman Peter Ridsdale. "All you can do is to carry on doing the things that are right, having the right manager and backing him in the transfer market and carry on having the right players." He added: "We have had two European semi-finals and I think the danger is that people could take for granted how well we have done and start putting even more pressure on the manager and players." But not the board, whose money has been so freely spent, obviously. The manager is now pointing the finger of responsibility squarely at the players. He said: "I don't think we can do anything more for the players than we already do for them. From the way they are looked after to the way they train. It has all got to come from within them now." He's aiming to emulate Fergie's achievements at Old Trafford and win the same sort of silverware that the ever-cheerful Scotsman has picked up over the last 10 years. As for the short term, he said: "We are vulnerable in the UEFA Cup because we have so many players out together. If we had all of those available then we'd expect Grasshoppers to be tough, but we'd expect to come through."

November 20: Graham Barber will not be rescinding Robbie Keane's booking for "diving" in the Sunderland area. The ref has refused to review the tackle - maybe he'd have been happier if the sliding challenge had broken Robbie's leg. Emerson Thome will be waiting to hear from the FA to see if they want to take a look at the videotape of him stamping on Alan Smith in the first half - another incident that escaped Barber on Sunday.

November 20: Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka are an inch closer to qualifying for the World Cup after this morning's 1-0 victory for the Socceroos in Melbourne. Harry was instrumental in the goal - making a break down the left and crossing into the box where Paul Agostino found himself pulled back: Kevin Muscat hammered the penalty straight and the Uruguayan keeper dived right. Will it be enough to take into the second leg in Montevideo on Sunday morning? Maybe - but it will be a close run thing.

November 20: Don't have too much turkey on Christmas Day: you've now got to get out of bed three hours earlier thanks to the police, who have decreed that the game against Bolton should kick off at midday instead of 3pm.

November 19: DOL denied he was related to Viv Nicholson, but he seems intent on following her "Spend, Spend, Spend" strategy. After lashing out £86 million since he took over, he still thinks the squad isn't as strong as it needs to be and will want to see the club cheque book again real soon if the right players become available. He said: "I've heard experts saying we have a marvellous squad, but I'm the manager here, and I'll admit we need a big squad to compete with the Manchester Uniteds, Liverpools and Arsenals." Sounds like he's suffering from double vision there, cos I only noticed the one of each. He did promise to spend the money "wisely", but in all honesty he's got to do something with the players he's currently got: maybe the league title might be a bit beyond us just yet but there are three cups that could be won this season for a team that really wanted to. We don't want to be second to Liverpool, but a bit of focus could easily see us lifting some silverware by the end of the season - but from a financial point of view it might almost be better to concentrate on qualifying for the Champions League again rather than needing to buy a new cabinet for the trophy room.

November 19: TV quickie: Thursday's game is on Channel 5 in the UK. And if you're not doing anything tomorrow morning, Sky have got coverage of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka in the first leg of Australia's World Cup play-off with Uruguay. Vidooks is expecting all sorts of problems from the opposition - who Australia beat when the sides last met four years ago. Viduka said: "I'm sure they will try all sorts of sneaky and shifty tactics but I'm not worried. If it means we get free-kicks, then so much the better. I don't expect it will be anything I haven't seen before."

November 19: Lee Bowyer's hamstring injury looks like it's worse than originally feared, and could rule him out until the New Year. It's not helping matters that he has to be in the courtroom all day when he really needs to be on the physio's bench or in the gym working on his injury.

November 18: Round Europe in a flash. Switzerland: Grasshopper won 4-2 at bottom club Lausanne and move up to 5th, but they remain 7 points adrift of leaders Basle.

In Spain, Roy Makaay prepared to take on the notoriously stable Arsenal defence with a hat-trick against Real Sociedad for leaders La Coruna. The Real Madrid machine is finally getting itself into gear - two goals from Morientes at the Bernabeu secured a 2-1 win over Sevilla. Valencia and Barcelona fought out goalless draws with Tenerife and Las Palmas respectively, allowing Alaves to claim second spot with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.

In Italy the march of Chievo was finally stopped by local rivals Hellas Verona: in a match which included two penalties, an own goal and a dismissal, Verona came from behind to win 3-2. Chievo remain on top, because Internazionale could only draw with 4th-placed Roma. Parma held 3rd-placed Juve to 1-1 with 10 men for half an hour, but goals by Del Piero and Trezeguet helped the Old Lady close in on Inter.

Bayer Leverkusen took over at the top of the Bundesliga: while Bayern conceded the only goal of the game from the spot at Werder Bremen, the new leaders won 2-1 in Cologne - but only after the home side had been reduced to 10 men and taken the lead. Kaiserslauten's 5-1 hammering of bottom club St Pauli did enough for their goal difference to move them into third place, ahead of Dortmund who also picked up 3 points with a victory over 1860 Munich.

Leaders Lens beat 2nd bottom club Sedan 1-0, giving champions Nantes the chance to finally climb off the base of the league: they didn't take it, losing 2-0 at Rennes. Lyon won 3-0 at Lorient to move into 2nd place, with Auxerre's 2-1 win at home to Lille enabling them to move above their visitors into 3rd place. L'Estac won 3-2 in Bordeaux with 2 goals from Nicolas Gousse and one from Patrice Loko - that takes them into 6th place and looking good for a return to Europe next season.

In Holland, leaders Ajax were beaten 3-1 at home by 5th-placed NAC, while Feyenoord - with a game in hand on the leaders - moved into second with a 3-2 victory over 4th-placed Vitesse. Our friends from Heerenveen are sitting very nicely in 3rd place after a 3-0 victory over Sparta.

November 18: The FA are apparently powerless to rescind bookings given in error, but DOL wants Graham Barber to come out and admit his mistake(s) today. "The penalty incident was a disgrace. The referee has to make an instant decision, but I thought it was a penalty and the Sunderland people thought the same." Peter Reid did indeed agree that he had expected to see a penalty for the tackle by Bernt Haas on Robbie Keane. However the FA might be taking a look at a first half incident which saw Emerson Thome - who miraculously avoided a booking despite fouling Alan Smith and Robbie Keane half a dozen times in the first half alone - appear to stamp on Smith's leg. Barber and his linesman missed the incident, so it could be looked at by the FA video review panel. Meanwhile O'Leary was complaining that the squad was too small to cover the injuries and absences. Which would wash if we hadn't known for a long time about the Australian play-offs - and the injury to just one player - Lee Bowyer - should not be enough to completely disrupt the midfield in the way that it did. The fact remains that O'Leary clearly thought that he had his best side out there and did nothing to change it, even when we were two goals down with less than 15 minutes to go and facing a UEFA Cup away game on Thursday. This wasn't as bad as the clueless blundering we saw at Maritimo or the headless chicken display at Troyes, but we're still second in the league and it's probably best to write off this game as just one of those matches where nothing goes right.

November 18: That was worth 4.5 hours each way in the car! An abysmal performance by the ref was accompanied by an almost equally disjointed display by the team as Leeds slumped to their first league defeat of the season. Robbie Keane hit the ball straight at Thomas Sorensen when clean through on goal in the first half but the Black Cats' defence was being pierced at will, so that didn't seem to matter. Meanwhile the foul count continued to mount - 18 by the home side at half-time - but not a single card had been produced for persistent foul play or some outright dangerous tackles. At the start of the second, Sunderland came out with a bit more resolve, and although the ref missed a blatant shove on Dom Matteo in the build-up, it was Nigel Martyn's failure to hold on to a shot that (again) led to the first goal. No complaints about the second: Niall Quinn climbed well and produced a superbly controlled knock-down for Kevin Phillips, and the man who could do nothing right for England last week produced a crashing 25-yard shot that Martyn could do nothing about. Although Leeds continued to dominate possession, the final ball was never there - and when we did get into the box and Robbie Keane had to jump to avoid having his legs snapped by a scything challenge, the ref decided that he'd dived and booked him: that's twice this season that Keane has suffered for the same thing. If it was the "light-footed" Ian Harte or Harry Kewell you could understand it! So having booked Keane for (what the ref thought was) trying to gain an unfair advantage, how will Mr Barber explain his failure to flash the yellow at Lilian Laslandes, who twice used his hands to steer the ball in the right direction? I'd be interested to sit in on the review of this match when the officials are called to account.

November 17: Liverpool were pegged back to a 1-1 draw at Blackburn today when Matt Jansen equalised a Michael Owen goal - but Liverpool go top on goals scored. With draws for Arsenal and Villa Leeds remain in second place. In Division 1, Darren Huckerby scored the opener at Fratton Park but Man City went on to lose 2-1. One of the many players linked with Leeds - Forest's Jermaine Jenas - opened the scoring for Paul Hart's side at home to Preston but the visitors equalised and that's the way it stayed. Gary Speed pulled a goal back for Newcastle when they were two goals down at Fulham but the home side scored again to continue the Geordies abysmal record in the capital. Warren Feeney was booked after 8 minutes and in the bath about 30 minutes early as Bournemouth beat Worksop in the cup.

November 17: Injury news for tomorrow: Lee Bowyer for Leeds and Jody Craddock for Sunderland are definitely out - but Niall Quinn looks to be fit enough to start. Seth Johnson has recovered from his back injury, and will probably get the nod ahead of Stephen McPhail and Dominic Matteo could be asked to play despite not being fully fit after his knee op - but with Jon Woodgate and Michael Duberry in reserve (and with Woodgate ineligible for Thursday's game) maybe it would be better for Dom to take a bit more of a rest. O'Leary was pleased to be have Johnson at his disposal. The manager said: "Having Seth in the squad is a bonus in that he is like three or four players rolled into one because he can play in so many positions. It's the same as when I bought Dominic Matteo and Eirik Bakke. You have an idea as to where you want to play them, but you know they can play in a variety of positions."

November 16: So is the Chief ready to retire or close to a comeback? He could face a choice between club and country: take his time over his comeback and miss out on the World Cup, or rush it in an effort to be ready and possibly do long-term damage to his fitness and chances of playing for Leeds again. He said: "At the moment I am not thinking about the World Cup at all. I want to continue my training and then I can think about playing a game in the reserves. Once I have done that, I can start thinking about Leeds and, if all is well, I can maybe look at the World Cup." He pointed out that he has been to a World Cup with South Africa, so it wasn't as if he would be losing a once-in-a-career chance, and it's plain he'd like to keep going for a little longer. He said: "I want to be able to go out at Elland Road again in two season's time and still enjoy the atmosphere. If that means missing games for South Africa then I will do that." He was a bit more conciliatory than DOL when it came to apportioning blame for the injury. He said: "You have to look at the situation from both sides. When a person suffers an injury like mine then you are going to ask what caused it. I would not say that playing for South Africa was the cause of the knee injury but I would say that it was a contributory factor toward it." He's done so much for Leeds and I'd love to see him back in a white shirt for one last time, but only if he's fully fit and a better player than the available options - and at the moment DOL would still be right to favour Dom and Rio even if Lucas was match-fit.

November 16: What is it about Dutch players and drugs? Our old chum Jaap Stam tested positive for nandrolone in Italy where he now plays for Lazio, and has been banned as a result - joining Frank de Boer and Edgar Davids on the list of drug cheats. The Italian authorities have got particularly sensitive about drugs in sport as a result of numerous allegations around drug use in cycling, with Marco Pantani the highest profile victim of what sometimes seems to be a bit of a witchhunt.

November 16: Jon Woodgate was in the witness box for a second day today, and told the court that he had seen a 'big free-for-all' in which a student was injured, but failed to do anything to help. He explained that he had fallen and hurt his ankle as he went over to see what the disturbance was and he was more concerned about the state of the ankle. Nicholas Campbell QC, for the prosecution alleged that Woodgate sustained his ankle injury in an assault on Sarfraz Najeib. He said: "You in particular were seen to take that running jump and stamp on the body of Sarfraz Najeib as he lay there defenceless and unconscious." Woodgate told the jury that he had seen an Asian man on the floor, but denied seeing anyone bend down to bite him. Woodgate told the court that he then walked back up Mill Hill where he met Michael Duberry, and they tried to return to the Majestyk but were refused entry. Woodgate is charged along with Lee Bowyer and two other men with GBH with intent and affray. All men deny the charges.

November 16: The club splashed out a bit in an effort to get Leeds' three Irish players back for Sunday's game. A private jet was chartered to fly Ian Harte, Gary Kelly and Robbie Keane back from Tehran, with the result that they were back in Yorkshire by midnight and will hopefully be that bit more rested and ready on Sunday afternoon.

November 16: I know he's only a fringe player, but it's a bit depressing to read about another injury: Jacob Burns strained his knee in the reserve game against Boro and is now due to gave a scan to check how much damage has been done.

November 15: Carlton Palmer scored on his home debut tonight as his Stockport County side held on to beat high-flying Norwich - managed by another ex-Leeds man, Nigel Worthington - 2-1, despite being reduced to 10 men for the last 20 minutes.

November 15: The trial of Ali Umit Demir and four others in Turkey has been postponed at the request of the prosecution to allow them to prepare a final written statement. Demir has been held in prison for some time and will remain their until the trial ends. The men are charged with the murder of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight in April last year, when Leeds visited Istanbul for the UEFA Cup semi-final against Galatasary.

November 15: Ade Akinbiyi may have broken his scoring duck at Leicester, but boss Dave Bassett is looking for other alternatives to his lanky striker, and he thinks he may have hit on the perfect option in former Leeds number nine Brian Deane. Deano is out of favour at Boro after Steve Mclaren took over, and Bassett hopes that he can be on board in time for the Foxes' visit to Old Trafford at the weekend.

November 15: Despite earlier statements to the contrary, it seems that Michael Duberry and Jon Woodgate are no longer friends. In court today, Woodgate said that he no longer regarded Duberry as a friend, "Because he said in court I had done something that I had not done." He maintained his story from the initial trial that he believed Duberry had lied to save himself from prison. Woodgate told the court that he was not 'steaming drunk' and had twice intervened during the evening to prevent trouble between one of his friends and other men. On leaving the Majestyk, he said he had seen "a punch or a push or something between some Asians and Jamie [Hewison]." He then set off running to see what was going on, and went over on his ankle shortly after being passed by Lee Bowyer. Woodgate said that he had accepted a lift back to Michael Duberry's house in the central defender's Range Rover. While at Duberry's house, Woodgate admitted that he had taken a phone call from Michael Bridges, who told him that someone had been badly hurt in the scuffle. Woodgate admitted that he had stated in the first trial that he could not remember receiving the call, but on reflection had remembered some of the details after giving evidence. Woodgate is charged with GBH with intent and affray along with Lee Bowyer and two of Woodgate's friends - Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney. All men deny the charges.

November 15: Michael Bridges' long road to fitness restarts today. He's gone under knife in the US with Dr Richard Shearman, who has done similar work on Alan Shearer and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Even if things work out perfectly, he's not going to be playing any first team games this season, and the most we can hope to see is for him to get in a few reserve team games in April or May before using the summer to do some final preparation for the new season. Bridges will remain in Colorado for a few days to let the operation settle and in case any complications develop.

November 15: World Cup round-up: Brazil came through in the end, beating Venezuela in their final group match to ensure they go through to the finals - which means that Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and their team-mates will be facing Uruguay in the play-offs. In the second leg of their play-off today, Ireland survived a very late scare - conceding a goal in second half injury time - to qualify for the finals with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Iran. Robbie Keane and Ian Harte started the game, and Keane had a hand in most of Ireland's best chances. It looks like the Iranian coach had been keeping a keen eye on the Premier League too, since many of their attacks focused on the frequently vacant hole where a left back is normally expected to be. Either way, it's a good result for the Republic - their third time in the finals, but their first qualification since USA '94.

November 15: The reserves went down 1-0 to Boro last night with a goal from Dean Windass the difference between the two sides. Stephen McPhail played the whole game, and with doubts over Lee Bowyer and Seth Johnson - and with Harry Kewell absent - he must be hoping for a chance from the manager on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, Smithy is looking forward to starting alongside Robbie Keane, but isn't sure how it will turn out. He said: "Robbie and I have not played much together and I am not making any predictions on how we will do. We will just go out there and do our best and see what happens." Smithy is hoping to make the headlines for half of what he did last season at the Stadium of Light. He said: "I scored at Sunderland last season but then went and got sent off later in the game. I'd settle for just scoring a goal this weekend."

November 14: Lee Bowyer today told the court that he was assaulted in the course of events on the night Sarfraz Najeib was attacked. Bowyer said that he had left the club after Jon Woodgate and his friends and had been given directions by a doorman as he tried to find them. In an interview with police, he said that he had just caught up with Woodgate as they approached a "load of people fighting" when he was hit or kicked. He said: "I remember taking a whack and can't remember anything after that until I was walking back to the club." Speaking of the fight that he saw, he added: "Jonathan looked as if he didn't want anything to do with it. I went past him to see what was happening. That's when I fell over and took a whack." Woodgate said that he had seen "something going on with some Asian lads" but did not know what it was - he went off to see what was happening because he was "just being nosey". He denied he had anything to do with the assault, saying that he wasn't close enough to the fight to have been involved. Woodgate and Bowyer are charged with GBH with intent and affray, along with Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney. All men deny the charges.

November 14: Former Leeds player Terry Yorath has been confirmed as the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday after taking on the job as a caretaker when Peter Shreeves left a few weeks ago. Yorath was previously manager of Swansea, Wales and Bradford, so has plenty of experience to bring to the job.

November 14: Injury news for the weekend: Seth Johnson and Dom Matteo are hoping to be fit, despite earlier doubts and Matteo's op. Lee Bowyer is either close to fitness or a month or so away, depending on who you listen to. And Smithy should now be fit enough to start against the Mackems. Just as well really - we've got nobody else to use!

November 14: DOL reckons that it's important we keep up the pressure at the top throughout this month. He says: "If we are still there or thereabouts at the end of this month we will be in with a chance." He still favours Manchester United for the title, but is hopeful that we can push them hard. He said: "It is still very, very early days and the medals are not handed out until May."

November 14: Long-time transfer target Brett Emerton wants to come to Leeds, but Feyenoord won't let him - according to some reports today. After talking to Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, he's ready to head for the Venice of the North and pull on the famous white shirt, but Feyenoord are not at all keen to sell, and his valuation has gone up from £6 million in the summer to more than double that now (shades of Kieron Dyer). He said: "There is no doubt joining Leeds would be an attractive proposition for me. They are a club I would definitely like to go to because they seem to have such strong connections with Australia." The groves of eucalyptus trees and herds of rampaging koalas have always been a popular tourist attraction, drawing thousands to LS11 for many years - let's hope that the move to the far less scenic environs of Sewage Works Stadium doesn't put young Brett off.

November 14: The visits of Manchester United and Liverpool to Elland Road have both been chosen by Sky for broadcast. As a result, the Man U game will now kick off at midday on March 30 instead of 1130 as previously advertised, and the Liverpool game will be on PPV, kicking off at 1400 on Sunday February 3 instead of being a nice and normal Saturday afternoon game. That means that - at the moment - we're scheduled to play just 50% of our league games on a Saturday this season - and four of those have been/will be early kick-offs.

November 14: Michael Duberry, Jason Wilcox and Stephen McPhail are the main first-teamers expected to see some action at Boro tonight as the reserves have their first fixture since the 4-0 drubbing by Blackburn.

November 13: Eddie Gray spoke for many Leeds fans when he said he thinks it's time we started winning something - for the players as well as the fans. He pointed out that a certain other team have hung on to their best players: "Manchester United have kept all their players because they have won trophies and we need to do the same." Looking back on the team he grew up with, he said: "It's always difficult to compare different eras but there's a lot of similarities between the teams because both started out with a young side." But he did point out: "The only difference is that we won things and that's what the present team has got to do." There's a question and answer session from the great man online at the BBC's website here.

November 13: Trial update: the court heard that Jon Woodgate refused to go on an identity parade after initially agreeing to take part in a line-up. He originally agreed with the police that it would be a good idea, since he believed any witnesses would realise that he was not at the scene, but after the publicity surrounding the case, subsequently declined on the grounds that possible witnesses might be influenced by what they had heard or seen in the news, and would have no problems picking him out. Lee Bowyer also declined, his solicitor stating: "Due to extensive media coverage ensuing his arrest, no identification procedure could or would be fair. Accordingly he is not prepared to consent to any." The trial continues.

November 13: Peter Ridsdale has cancelled a planned trip to New York to discuss the sale of naming rights to the new stadium in the wake of this week's air crash on Queens. Next Monday he's due to be at the launch of a new video - "Peter Ridsdale - My Leeds United" - at the club store at Elland Road, where he will be signing copies, healing the sick (well, handing out Tunes to people with a bad throat), walking on water (unless they fix the plumbing) and feeding the masses (courtesy of fish and breadcakes from United Fisheries over the road). At least part of this is true...

November 13: Come on you lot - get yourselves over to the land of gnomes and chocolate! The poor people in the ticket office are in danger of being buried in a pile of unwanted tickets for the Grasshoppers away leg, so if you want to go I suggest you call them now. Though since they're charging over £200 for a day trip (courtesy of Sleazyjet and a hire car, I'm shelling out just over a ton including the match ticket) and over £300 if you want one night in a three star hotel as well as the travel and ticket, they're hardly the bargain of the century.

November 13: Bury have been given permission to play Harpal Singh in their FA Cup 1st round tie with Lincoln City at the weekend. Singh has settled in well at Gigg Lane - and it was his set piece efforts that gave rise to both of the Shakers' goals at the weekend. Bury manager Andy Preece has been impressed with the youngster and will be hoping to further extend his loan spell.

November 13: The day after Rio was named as Player of the Month, he finds himself named alongside Harry Kewell and 48 other players in the European Footballer of the Year award. Facing competition from the likes of Luis Figo and Rivaldo, it's great that they've been nominated, but realistically you can't see the prize going to a Premier League player this year.

November 12: Trial update: Lee Bowyer was back in the court-room today, as the prosecution produced evidence that a bloodstain on Bowyer's jacket must have come from Shahzad Najeib - brother of the victim of the attack. Expert witness Mark Bates said that there were two stains - one on the inside of the cuff, and one on the back. The bloodstain on the cuff was a "billion to one" match with Shahzad, and he added: "In my opinion these two bloodstains were made by a surface stained with that blood coming into direct contact with the jacket." The bloodstain on the back of the jacket matched that of Neale Caveney, who is also on trial. Mr Bates re-affirmed his view that the blood came from direct contact when questioned by prosecuting counsel, who pointed out that the defence would say that the blood got there indirectly, from the ground or from contact with someone else. No bloodstains were found on any of the clothing recovered from Jon Woodgate. Woodgate, Bowyer and Caveney, along with Paul Clifford, are charged with GBH with intent and affray. All of the accused deny the charges.

November 12: Tubby Tomas Brolin has had a dig at the old guard at Leeds in an interview today. He said: "I was put on ice and I promise that it was not due to football qualities." That's right Tomas - it was due to the fact that you reminded us of a beached whale. He added: "A side should be selected on merits and not out from who is friends or relatives with the directors." Yep, I remember that game well: Mrs Fotherby on the wing, Grandma Gilman at right back, and the bloke who fixed George Graham's Jag playing as a libero. Speaking to Swedish sports paper Sportbladet, he said: "I still meet people who think I stopped due to the injury. That was not the case: I came back to the football after that." First time I've heard playing for Crystal Palace described as football (and who would do it for fun????).

November 12: Ian Harte is more worried about the flight to Tehran than the game or the possible reception that Ireland will get when they arrive. He said: "I'm not the best flyer but once we get going I'll settle down and I'll be all right." With an ever so slight dig in the direction of Dennis Bergkamp, he said: "Travelling is a big part of the job now and although there are more players than you would think who do not fancy flying at all, it's there to be done these days with European matches all over the place for clubs like Leeds." Niall Quinn picked up a few knocks in the Iran game and is a doubt for the return game in Tehran - and possibly for Leeds' visit to Sunderland on Sunday.

November 12: The Ladies beat Brighton 1-0 at the weekend and continue to impress in their first season in the top flight. The win lifts them into the top 5, and although they're still a bit behind Arsenal and Doncaster Belles - and obviously way behind the lower division, but fully professional, pace-setters Fulham - Leeds are building a reputation as a well-organised side with good backing and could go far. The U-17s and the U-19s both faced next week's senior opposition at the weekend and both games ended in a draw: the older lads shared a goalless draw, and it was a goal apiece for the U-17s as the Mackems came down to Thorp Arch.

November 12: Rio Ferdinand has been named Barclaycard Player of the Month for October. With the club continuing on an unbeaten run in the league, Rio has made some goal-saving tackles, and his overall performances mean that he's now considered the first choice centre back for the national side: it's not "Will he play?", it's "Who will we play alongside him?".

November 12: Nigel Martyn was not to blame for Sweden's goal on Saturday, according to manager Sven Goran Erickson. The ball did take a deflection, and the wall badly failed to do its job. The manager said: "How can you blame the goalkeeper when the wall let him down? When a keeper constructs a wall in front of him he's entitled to think it will do its job. When the ball is struck at the players in the wall they have to remain on their toes, not jump in the air as they did." Rumours that Mr Erickson has enquired as to the availability and fitness of Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence were firmly denied.

November 11: David Wetherall looked set to leave Bradford - with Southampton (linked with him when he left Leeds) mentioned but with Maine Road the more likely destination, but it seems that he's failed a medical - although City have not ruled out renewing their interest should his condition improve.

November 11: Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka came through today's friendly with France unscathed. The match was played in torrential rain, with Australia taking the lead through Rangers' Craig Moore, but David Trezeguet equalised for France.

November 10: Gary Kelly was left on the bench, but Ian Harte and Robbie Keane both start in tonight's World Cup qualifier for Ireland against Iran at Lansdowne Road. Ian Harte scored from the spot at the end of the first half after Jason McAteer was brought down in the area. Robbie Keane bagged one early in the second half from a McAteer free kick to give Ireland a decent lead for the second leg on Thursday.

November 10: Carlton Palmer's new team - Stockport County - got on the scoresheet for the first time in over 8 hours today, but even then it was an own goal by the opposition that gave them the lead at Watford with 10 minutes to go. Palmer wasn't playing and his team just failed to hang on, conceding a late equaliser to leave the final score at 1-1. Nigel Worthington's Canaries were left with their wings clipped at Carrow Road when Bradford City hammered them 4-1 - if Norwich had won they would have been top. Terry Yorath's good start as caretaker at Sheffield Wednesday stuttered a bit as they could only manage a goalless draw with Grimsby, who had the better of the game by all accounts. Yorath must wait to see if he is confirmed in the position "permanently" (insofar as that term ever applies to a manager's job).

November 10: Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka are both named in the Socceroos' starting line-up for tomorrow's friendly against France. The game will now go ahead after a late agreement between Soccer Australia and the players over the split of the expected financial bonanza should the Aussies qualify.

November 10: Nige and Rio both played for the full 90 minutes of England's 1-1 draw in the friendly with Sweden at Old Trafford this afternoon. England took the lead through a dubious penalty, but a free-kick from Sweden late in the first half was too strong for Nige to hold, and the Swedes reached the ball faster than any of the England defenders. Danny Mills came on for half an hour in the second half and impressed with his overlapping runs down the right. Alan Smith didn't appear - which is probably just as well, since we dare not chance him picking up an injury in the next month.

November 10: There's going to be a Viking invasion of North Yorkshire next week when Lyn from Norway will spend some of their time in England at Leeds' training ground at Thorp Arch. One of their young players - Kristian Onstad - has attracted the attention of several English clubs and will be very much in the shop window as the team spend a fortnight over here.

November 09: Lee Bowyer wasn't in court in Hull today: the jury were told that the judge had excused him to allow him to have an operation to sort out his broken nose, sustained in the ManU game the other week. Jurors were warned that he might not look too pretty when he returned to court next week, and those with weak stomachs would be allowed to bring their own paper bags into court. Part of this is true.

November 09: Leeds are building a new state-of-the-art fitness centre at the training complex at Thorp Arch to be ready for next season. The centre will include medical treatment and rehab facilities, as well as all the latest fitness training and measuring equipment. After the rash of injuries we've suffered over the last two years, the words "stable door" and "bolting horse" spring to mind for some strange and unaccountable reason.

November 09: The South African FA have knocked back DOL's allegations that Lucas Radebe was effectively forced to play for his country through injuries. Danny Jordaan said: "The records will show that Lucas played once during qualifying for both the World Cup and African Nations Cup. We should not be blamed for Lucas's problems when the fact is he sustained those injuries while playing for Leeds." Radebe is back in training but realises that he will face strong competition for a place, with Rio Ferdinand and Dom Matteo in possession, and Jon Woodgate and Michael Duberry both close to recapturing form and fitness.

November 09: Leeds will face old enemies Liverpool in the cup - the FA Youth Cup that is - with the tie to be played at Elland Road on Friday 30 November. KO at 7 p.m., so there's plenty of time to get down to support the youngsters and have a good long session in the boozer afterwards.

November 09: Players think it's good to play for their country shock. Harry says: "We have always had a good atmosphere within the team and I have really enjoyed it. It's a great pleasure and I have always said it's a great honour to play for my country." Marko the Croat adds: "The fans [in Melbourne] just love getting behind the Australian team." And both Nige and DMIFB reckon that they've got the best chance they're likely to get to stake their international claims. Mills said: "It's nice to be doing well for Leeds and our position at the top of the table can't do my international chances any harm."

November 08: The defence called a dentist of their own today in the trial. Professor David Whittaker said that, although it was possible that the bite mark on Sarfraz Najeib's face had come from Paul Clifford, there was "reasonable doubt" that Clifford's teeth had caused the injury. He said: "I can't eliminate the owner of these teeth - Mr Clifford - from having produced that injury. But I am well down from being certain that he did." The trial continues tomorrow.

November 08: DOL chose today to launch an attack on the South African FA for the way they continued to call up Lucas Radebe when an independent doctor said he needed the rest to save his knee. As previously documented here, Radebe's career seems to be all but over, with the vague hope that he might manage to play enough to get into contention for a place in SA's World Cup squad. DOL said: "Two years ago we sent a medical report to South Africa about his knee but he kept getting called up. Lucas was in a Catch 22 situation: he loves playing for his country and he wanted to play all the games." DOL said that one of the reasons he bought Rio was because of his fears for Radebe's future - but he also bought Duberry, presumably for the same reason. And although you can sort of sympathise with the club manager's point of view - expressed at a point when he's about to lose the majority of his players to international friendlies and World Cup play-offs - Radebe's knee problems were widely discussed a long time ago: maybe his condition has deteriorated markedly in the last two years, but the talk in the pubs and stands was focussed on just how much service we could expect from him for some time. Meanwhile, the club seems to have decided that - unlike Australia (or Ghana - remember the Yeboah fiasco), South Africa will no longer be examined as a source of players due to the problems. O'Leary said: "I'd love a few more footballers like Lucas. But until the South African Football Association get their act together my chairman won't take any."

November 08: Friday is the last day you can apply for tickets for the Grasshopper away game - so get your applications in because there should be plenty of tickets to go round. With all of the cheap Easyjet seats now sold out for departures to Zurich vaguely close to the tie, it might be worth taking them up on a cheapo trip into Geneva - you can still get a return from Luton on Thursday morning for £22 out, with the flight back early Friday for £49 if you want to keep me company in the bars and clubs of Zurich all night before piling onto the first train back to Geneva in the morning. Not desperate for the company, honest....

November 07: Trial update: it was back to the dental evidence in court today, with forensic dentist Dr Geoffrey Craig making it clear that he was convinced that the bite mark on Sarfraz Najeib's face must have come from Paul Clifford's teeth. He said that the distinctive shape of the marks would be found in no more than 1 in 200,000 people, and added: "In the context of those suspects I was asked to examine - absolute certainty," although he did admit the possibility that someone else with a similar dental pattern could have inflicted the injury. Clifford is charged with GBH with intent and affray along with Neale Caveney, Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer. All of the accused deny the charges.

November 07: Eddie Gray's autobiography - Marching on Together is now on sale from Amazon and all good booksellers. Not had a chance to read it yet (I'm after a signed copy if I can get hold of one) but it covers all of the club's recent history with the ups and downs from Lord Eddie's playing days, through his spell in management and up to the present day.

November 07: FIFA boss Sepp Blatter today made it clear that anyone who dives in order to win a free kick or penalty, or who feigns injury to get another player into trouble will automatically be dismissed in next year's World Cup. Which is all fine and good until you remember that the refs who will be applying the law out there (Pierluigi Collina aside) are the same idiots we whinge about week in week out: remember Robbie Keane's booking at Charlton for diving, when TV replays clearly show his heel being clipped by Dean Kiely, unseen by the ref. In such an important tournament, how the powers that be propose to deal with such an event and the massive impact it would have has yet to be announced.

November 07: The Aussie pay row rumbles on: Mark Viduka made it clear that he wanted to turn out for his country but felt that there were several people - not the players - who stood to do very well out of it if Australia qualified for the World Cup, and Vidooks said that the players thought they deserved a fair cut. "A lot of the time the people who are in charge are more concerned about themselves. Let's put it this way, if we don't make it, they're not going to get anything." But Socceroo skipper Paul Okon sounded a more conciliatory note. He said: "I don't anticipate that there will be a strike or that there will be no game on Sunday. I honestly think an agreement will be made."

November 07: Sven Goran Eriksson has never made much of a secret of his desire to be able to pick certain Leeds players, and he made it clear again today. Time would appear to be running out for players to force their way into the team and gain international experience, but he said: "It's more than six months away so it's a little bit dangerous to say I'm going to pick that one or that one, a lot can happen in six months." He went on: "Then we have some players I have never picked - Woodgate, Bowyer, Dyer - but I've never had the chance to pick them."

November 07: The reserves didn't do much to press their case with DOL last night as they went down 4-0 to Blackburn. A left-sided axis of Burns, McPhail and Wilcox provided the experience, but you'd hope that some of these players would be doing something to convince the manager to give them a chance with the injury crisis and international duty draining our first choice players.

November 07: They just won't let it lie. The next batch of Sky TV fixtures is out, and we're on twice in January: the visit of Arsenal for what will surely be a quiet and friendly game will now take place on the Sunday (in the normal 1600 slot, not the 1400 PPV slot), and they've decided to televise our midweek visit to Chelsea (no doubt impressed with the scintillating 0-0 draw at Elland Road) so that game moves back by all of 15 minutes: it now kicks off at 2000 - not 1945 - on January 30.

November 06: Robbie Keane is desperate to help Ireland qualify for the World Cup Finals, but knows that Iran won't be a pushover - he only has to ask Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka about the side that kept Australia out of the last tournament. Keane said; "These are two big games and the biggest in my career so far. To get to the World Cup is something I have always dreamed of and, please god, hopefully it will come true." You sometimes forget how young he is after his time at Wolves plus his spells with Cov and Inter. "I was back in Dublin at my mam's house at the time - good memories. It was exciting times. I'll never forget Ray Houghton's lob against Italy. Everyone down the street was celebrating." One boost for Ireland is that the Iranian authorities have said that it will be okay for their visitors' female fans to attend the game. Apparently they've decided it's okay to relax the rule because very few of the visiting women will understand Farsi, so they're not likely to be offended by the chants of the home supporters.

November 06: Three further injury updates that don't make great reading: Lee Bowyer will be out for 3-4 weeks with the hamstring injury he picked up against Spurs, and Seth Johnson has now pulled out of the England U-21 play-offs against Holland with a back injury. And Dom Matteo has actually gone under the knife to sort his knee out and could be away for three weeks. Just at the point when the games start getting a bit easier and we have the opportunity of putting a good run together, I'm afraid we appear to be not much further on from last season's threadbare squad.

November 06: Carlton Palmer has been named as the manager of Stockport County. Palmer was playing at Sheffield Wednesday, and has never managed a team before - he'll have his work cut out at Edgeley Park! Palmer will be assisted by the experienced Kevin Richardson, and Colin Murphy as Director of Football.

November 06: That's par for the course department. Soccer Australia finally persuade the clubs to let their players go out for a friendly - then they have a falling out with the players over match fees. The players apparently want more than Soccer Australia are prepared to pay, and a whole battery of appeals to national pride are being lined up for the recalcitrant few.

November 05: Trial time: the court was today told about the arrests of the four accused men. Lee Bowyer handed over a jacket he is said to have worn on the night of the assault, which appeared to have a bloodstain on it. Jon Woodgate handed over a pair of shoes that he claimed to have worn that night but which the Crown alleges he did not. Neale Caveney told police: "I know about it. I've been expecting you," when they came to arrest him, and Paul Clifford is alleged to have said: "I've been wanting to get this sorted out." The case continues tomorrow.

November 05: Vinnie Jones might be making a brief return to the football field. He's going to be playing as a guest for Carlisle as they play Shelbourne in a friendly in Dublin next week. He's a friend of Carlisle boss Roddy Collins, and if he proves his fitness and is up for it, could be signed up through to the end of the season to help them to win promotion.

November 05: Liverpool old boy Tommy Smith thinks it could be a two horse race for the title - and he's tipping Leeds and Liverpool as the two nags to back. He said: "Leeds didn't play well on Sunday, but they still beat Tottenham and if you look at that result then they've got a chance." And the nostalgic and sentimental old chap thinks that's might be a good thing. He said: "It will come down to Leeds and Liverpool, just like in the good old days and not like today with all those pansies about."

November 05: Tickets for the home game against Grasshopper will continue in the 'reasonably priced' vein: £12 each or £30 for a family package. Season ticket holders have until next Monday to claim their seat.

November 05: Four Leeds players were named in the England squad for next week's friendly against Sweden. With David Seaman injured and Richard Wright doing his best to knock himself out of the reckoning, Nigel Martyn is a cert to play. In front of him, Rio Ferdinand's partner will probably be Martin Keown since Sol Campbell is working on his injury rather than take the field at White Hart Lane and face some serious stick in a fortnight. Danny Mills certainly deserves the nod at RB ahead of Gary Neville, and hopefully Alan Smith will see no more than the bench: with Kewell and Viduka away, the last thing we want is our barely fit-again striker picking up an injury in a friendly. Speaking of fit strikers, Michael Bridges is no closer to a return, with another trip to the States to work on his knee and at best a hope that he will be ready to get a few practice/reserve matches in by the end of the season. And keeping with injuries, Dom Matteo will now seek treatment for his knee problem: he's played through it but not really got over it and this two week break could do him the power of good.

November 05: Post-match blah from the players: Rio was happy with the win, but thought that we deserved it more than cousin Les's outfit. He said: "We deserved the victory because we had chances before they scored. We should have gone in ahead at half-time couple of goals to the good and had to work hard in the end." And with Liverpool in particular gaining ground, it's good to get the full three points: "We had drawn our last few games and to be honest it has been disappointing because on our day we were good enough to win them." Seth Johnson's yellow card now leaves him one game away from a suspension, after picking up three bookings at Derby. He said: "It does have an effect on my game a bit because the last thing I want now is to miss out on a few games with a ban. It would be a nightmare to get in the team and then be suspended." With competition keen on the right and centre of midfield, Johnson will be hoping that Harry Kewell's absence gives him a chance to play on the left. He said: "I obviously want to be a regular first team player here at Leeds. I knew when I came to the club that I wouldn't be able to walk straight into the team and I've got to fight for my place....With the quality we have here at Leeds I know that I am not assured of my place even if I go out there and play really well."

November 04: Euro round-up time. First a quick look over our shoulders to France, where Patrice Loko wasn't troubled by any bobbles today and scored the only goal of the game against PSG and go above the visitors. Nantes made it two wins out of two, but remain bottom of the division, while in somewhat loftier places, third-placed Lyon beat second-placed Lille 4-2, allowing leaders Lens to slightly extend their lead with a goalless draw at home to Bordeaux.

Our next UEFA Cup opponents Grasshopper are firmly in midtable in Switzerland - placed seventh - 9 points off the lead - before this weekend's games. Today they beat third-placed Servette 3-0 at home to move above Young Boys and into 6th place. Basle currently top the pile there.

In Spain, all eyes were on the Bernabeu tonight, and Real Madrid took the points from Barca, finally clinching the game deep into stoppage time with a goal from Barca old boy Luis Figo making it 2-0. La Coruna hammered Osasuna 5-1 to stay top with Valencia taking advantage of slips by Barca and Celta Vigo (4-2 and two men off at Las Palmas) to move into second spot by beating bottom club Rayo Vallecano at the Mestalla.

Ronaldo's comeback for Internazionale lasted barely quarter of an hour - but at least his side beat Lecce 2-0 to close the gap on Chievo at the top: the leaders could only manage a goalless draw at Venezia in a game that saw 11 bookings. Lazio finally shook off their recent poor form, with a Hernan Crespo hat-trick making up the majority of their five unanswered goals at Brescia.

In Germany it seems to be developing into a two-horse race: Bayern lead Bayer Leverkusen by a point, with Kaiserslauten (beaten by Bayer this weekend) and Dortmund battling it out for 3rd place.

Finally, the increasingly strange situation in Holland continues, with the top two teams - Ajax and Vitesse - both drawing this week, while the next two - Feyenoord and Heerenveen - both lost, with PSV also losing.

November 04: Old boys round-up: Darren Huckerby was once again on target for Man City as they beat Gillingham 4-1 at Maine Road, and David Hopkin scared the home side into letting a goal in, but Walsall still drew 2-2 with Palace. Warren Feeney again did the business for Bournemouth, scoring their first as they beat Colchester 2-1 away from home. And finally I see that Kevin Sharp left Wigan at the end of his contract last week and has joined Wrexham.

November 04: Post-match reaction from Glenn Hoddle was to get behind his keeper, despite Sullivan's two mistakes leading to goals for Leeds today. Hoddle said: "Mistakes happen in football. No one means to make them, and Neil has been excellent for us this season. He is a world-class goalkeeper." DOL reckons that Leeds deserved the win - particularly on chances in the first half when both Robbie Keane and Lee Bowyer came very close to opening the scoring. He said: "I thought there was only one team that was going to win it, even though it's a great three points to go top against a difficult side."

November 04: Vidooks and Harry fly off to join up with the Socceroos on Tuesday - and it clearly can't come soon enough for Robbie Keane. He's looking less and less pleased every time DOL takes him off - TV pictures today showed him knocking the manager away and mouthing a rather rude word as he left the pitch. It's a difficult one for O'Leary, because someone has to come off if he wants to make a tactical change, and despite the fact that neither of the Aussies have been playing remotely close to the sort of form we've seen in the past, it's hard to argue with the fact that they keep on getting the goals. All Keano can do is buckle down and convince the manager by hitting the back of the net on a regular basis.

November 04: A lucky 3 points - with a goal that went in off Neil Sullivan's back after hitting the post and a defensive cock-up - but at the end of the season the points count for just as much as those we'd gain from all-out domination. For the moment, we're back on top of the league after Villa's slip yesterday, 5 points clear of ManU and 4 ahead of Arsenal who surprisingly lost at home to Charlton today.

November 04: Glenn Hoddle piled a little bit of pressure in the direction of DOL before today's game, praising the Leeds players and the strength of the squad, but making it clear that he thought that some silverware was now essential for O'Leary to justify his spending. Hoddle said: "David has always said they are not ready to win the championship, but I think this year maybe they are. That adds a little bit of pressure but they have started the season exceedingly well, and we know we face a tough game."

November 04: Quick confirmation that our success in the UEFA Cup now shifts the Blackburn and Villa games back to the Sunday, and means that we will only have had three Saturday home games between the start of the season and the turn of the year.

November 03: Back from a great trip to an absolutely wonderful little town (do they really need so many medieval churches and patisseries though?) that was nearly spoiled by the football. Abysmal performance by Leeds on the night but take nowt away from our hosts - they weren't flattered by the scoreline. And in the next round we're at Grasshopper Zurich - not the same FC Zurich that we faced in the run to the 1975 European Cup Final - away on November 22 and home on December 6. Finally, injury doubts for tomorrow's game at Spurs include Rio (hamstring still), Kewell (calf, after being subbed in Troyes) and Bowyer (nose job). Looks like we could get our first look at Seth Johnson in the painfully early midday kick-off. Normal news service resumes tomorrow when I get through the email backlog.

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