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January 31: Leeds are giving a trial to Patrick Kisnorbo from Australian side South Melbourne. The youngster is a sweeper and is rated as one of the best young players to emerge in recent years. There's a big Leeds connection here, because his agent is Bernie Mandic who already represents Harry Kewell.
January 31: Jon Woodgate and Seth Johnson's injuries from last night could keep them out of Sunday's clash with Liverpool - but Harry Kewell looks certain to start. For Liverpool, Michael Owen returns - which is not good news - and there could be some role (as comedy relief?) for Santa-look-alike new signing Abel Xavier.
January 31: Peter Ridsdale - who has some experience of these things - has suggested that England should not take any fans to Turkey for the away game in the Euro 2004 qualifiers. He pointed out that Leeds did receive a decent welcome from Besiktas, but from a safety point of view it would be best if no England supporters travelled to this one. He said: "I think it's an environment that is potentially very dangerous, I think it would be provocative."
January 31: As if we didn't have enough problems, the FA have decided that Mark Viduka - for his "elbow" on Martin Keown (flailing arm that was thrown out as monkeyboy pulled and tripped him) - and Alan Smith - for his "body check" on Le Saux (accidental collision seconds after Le Saux had gone unpunished for the sort of two-footed knee-high assault that got Bergkamp a red card last weekend) - will face a charge of misconduct and possible 3 match bans as a result. Also charged are Patrick Vieira (elbow that JFH made into a 5-course banquet) and JFH himself (leading with the elbow against Saints). Both Leeds players have requested personal hearings to put their side of the case, but if recent form is anything to go by this will be a complete waste of time, since the order has come down from on high to ignore all video evidence to the contrary and ban Leeds players if they dare to actually win the ball in a fair challenge.
January 31: Eddie Gray made no attempt to find an excuse for last night's poor performance at Stamford Bridge. "We never created enough chances. Their goalkeeper wasn't called into action until the 60th minute and we didn't put them under enough pressure." Like most of us, he's now very focused on Sunday's encounter with Liverpool at Elland Road. "If we can beat Liverpool it puts us right back into the hunt again. I wouldn't say it's a must-win game, but it puts a lot of significance into the game now."
January 30: DOL was looking like a panda after sinus surgery had left him with two black eyes, and so he skipped the press conference and left that to Eddie Gray. Probably just as well cos he's got a lot of serious thinking to do between now and Sunday lunchtime. Lord Eddie said that Leeds were disappointed by the result, and noted: "The early goal gave them a lift and knocked us down a bit." He played down the anger that Leeds fans and players had displayed at Dalla Bona's blatant cheating to score the second goal: "That sort of thing happens in football and we have no real complaint about it," he said.
January 30: We started today where we left off a week and a half ago - with a barely clueful performance and not looking remotely likely to score. Sure, Chelsea's second was helped by a blatant arm from goalscorer Dalla Bona - but all that would have done is reduced the margin to one goal rather than two. We seldom looked like scoring, and when DOL made the only substitution he had any choice in (Seth and Woody having gone off with injuries) he replaced Robbie Fowler - no doubt because it was clear to all of us watching that he was trying harder than any of his team-mates and putting in more effort on his own than the whole midfield put together. Batty and Bowyer were hugely disappointing in midfield, and we let Chelsea close us down, rattle us and make the most of a diabolical pitch.
January 29: Injury updates for tomorrow: all three of Harry Kewell, Robbie Keane and Olivier Dacourt travelled and could play some part. For Chelsea JFH looks set to return, but Eidur Gudjohnsen's wife is due to give birth any day now and so he might be absent. William Gallas is also a doubt after picking up a knee injury in the warm-up on Saturday, but Mario Stanic is back after a suspension.
January 29: DOL has appealed to both sets of supporters to keep a cool head tomorrow night and to avoid the scenes recently seen in Cardiff and at Highbury. He said: "When you've a crowd of 40,000 people or more like at Highbury, what can you do when there is only one fan throwing something? You have to hope the fans show more control." Of course we will David - provided that Mr Le Saux breaks the habit of a lifetime and does the same.
January 29: Danny Granville was sent off for his new club Crystal Palace tonight as they went down 1-3 at home to Coventry. Elsewhere Noel Whelan scored again for Boro as they ran out 1-0 winners against Sunderland - and the chants of "Reid out" appear to be growing in volume. Jamie Forrester was also on target from the penalty spot again - scoring two in five minutes as Northampton won 0-3 at Notts County. Mark Tinkler scored the first of Hartlepool's goals as they went ahead, then 1-2 down before finally coming back to beat Scunthorpe 3-2 at home.
January 29: Michael Bridges has started upping his training a little, and can now look to get some walking and cycling under his belt as he struggles to regain some fitness and restart his career. "It's just been a struggle, a nightmare," he said. He's had calls of support from Alan Shearer and Jamie Redknapp - who have both been under the care of the same surgeon who operated on Bridges' knee. There's no point in rushing a comeback: the last thing we want is to get him playing in reserve games this season if he picks up another injury as a result. However, it should be possible for him to be ready for the start of next season - and that's when DOL starts to face some interesting selection problems.
January 28: Team news ahead of Wednesday's game: JFH and Gudjohnsen are doubts (but both are expected to play) for Chelsea after Gudjohnsen missed the cup clash at the weekend and JFH looked not totally fit when he was subbed with a quarter of an hour to go. For Leeds, Harry Kewell and Robbie Keane are close to being ready to start, but Olivier Dacourt might still be a bit too far off to make it back ahead of the Liverpool game on Sunday.
January 28: Leeds have apparently been putting an interesting little video together to be used as a possible mitigation should Danny Mills or Lee Bowyer be found guilty when they're up before the FA in Sheffield next week. The tape will focus on the challenges that gave rise to the second yellow cards that both men received - both, strangely enough, involving Ashley Cole - and will show that although their reactions to the red card were not particularly good, they had a very valid reason to be unhappy. Of course, the FA might not nibble on that one, having already let Craig Bellamy off a red card for elbowing the same player. Did anyone find it genuinely (i.e. in the non-Alanis sense) ironic that Bellamy of all people was dismissed as a result of the over-reaction of another player?
January 28: Mike Harland from Knaresborough has snapped up the Leeds United crest that was rescued from the West Stand redevelopment. He paid £2,250 for it - all going to Macmillan Cancer Relief - and promptly handed it back to the football club. When the new ground is up and running, the sign will take up a prominent place in the museum which the club intend to build. Could be a moneyspinner too - plenty of people would love to be pictured in front of that sign, like so many of the greats from the Revie days.
January 28: On the day that it was announced that a bunch of fans who were assaulted by the police while at a semi-final in Manchester would be receiving compensation for their injuries, Roy Schofield said that he will be making an official complaint over the injuries he received while trying to climb aboard the coach at Cardiff. Among other pieces of evidence, he's got a video tape from Sky that appears to show the assault. He said: "I just want the police to realise that football fans have civil rights. Officers can't just attack fans and assume they are hooligans."
January 28: Mark Viduka faces an anxious wait this week as the FA finally get round to deciding whether or not there is enough evidence to charge him with elbowing Martin Keown. Speaking of the simian centreback - how come he got away with throwing a corner flag into the crowd at Elland Road when Jamie Carragher gets sent off for lobbing a coin.
27: The Dutch league has restarted after the winter
break - and PSV are straight into winning ways with a 3-1 win over
NAC and move into second place, but they've played more games than
both first-placed Ajax (0-1 winners at Den Bosch) and third-placed
Feyenoord (drew 2-2 at Utrecht). Our friends from Heerenveen look
to be well-placed for another season of euro-soccer: their 1-4 win
at Sparta leaves them in 4th place with a great goal
January 27: Darren Huckerby scored for Man City tonight as they beat Ipswich 4-1 in the Cup. They've been drawn against Newcastle in the next round - expect a 5-all draw!
January 27: It will be interesting to see how the press reacts to today's game at Highbury, which saw three players dismissed. Of course, the fact that the three don't play for Leeds, and that it was that paragon of virtue Dennis Bergkamp doing a two-footed jump at an opposition player rather than Danny Mills will probably result in it getting a 1-paragraph mention in among the snooker results instead of the 60-point screamer headlines that would be the case if it was a Leeds player. Am I getting paranoid in my old age?
January 27: Apparently George Graham is interested in taking the vacant Villa job. I guess that's all of an hour less travelling for him than Leeds was, but he'll probably require Deadly Doug Ellis to provide him with a private helicopter to drag him away from his beloved London.
January 27: Lucas Radebe is beginning to consider what we've all feared for some time: "I don't know if I'll ever play in the Premiership again," he said. He's still only 32 - but it's nearly a year since he played for the first team and he's had several setbacks in his recovery. However you don't overcome the obstacles he has by being a quitter: "I won't give in until the medics say I have to walk away," he said.
January 26: Leeds old boy Noel Whelan continued his recent run of good form with a late goal against Manchester United as Boro knocked them out of the FA Cup. He also had a hand in the second goal - scored by Andy Campbell with just a couple of minutes to go. At Stamford Bridge, JFH scored a cracker from outside the box as Chelsea went a goal up against West Ham - although they conceded a late equaliser. In other FA Cup games, the upset of the day was at The Valley, where Walsall beat Charlton 1-2, with their keeper saving a penalty into the bargain. At Oldham, Warren Feeney scored one of five goals in thirteen minutes as Bournemouth drew 3-3 with their hosts.
January 26: The heavy rain over the last couple of days has taken its toll: the Ladies' game at Borehamwood tomorrow has been cancelled. It's now due to be played next weekend - which is a bit unfortunate, since we'll be at the other end of the country for the Liverpool game.
January 25: Eirik Bakke is also getting close to a comeback. Bakke injured his ankle at Bolton on Boxing Day and has now started some light training, so is hopeful that he will be able to return to first team action in a couple of weeks or so.
January 25: The date has been set for the next round of the Youth Cup: the youngsters will face Spurs at Elland Road on February 6 at 7pm.
January 25: The Leeds United Football Club sign that was fixed to the wall of the West Stand for many years and which features in so many photos of the greats from the Revie years is now for sale. Rescued from a dump after it was removed to make way for the Banqueting Suite development, it will be sold to the highest bidder with the money going to the Macmillan Cancer Relief charity. Sotherby's reckon it's worth at least £4,000 - and Leeds have offered £500 to get it back, but the current owner will let it go for £2000 or higher. Contact Peter Foster on +44 7973 269797 if you have the money and want a totally unique souvenir of the club.
January 25: It's like deja vu all over again. European football is so important to the club that we'll be entering the InterToto Cup next year if we miss out on direct qualification again. Peter Ridsdale said: "We need to be in Europe each year. Whether that is the UEFA Cup or the Champions League, we simply have to be in Europe." DOL was not at all keen last year and he's unlikely to be a fan again, although the chairman pointed out: "With a wage bill that we have got and with the investment that we have made, [the club] has to be in Europe." At this point of the season, it looks like we won't need that route, but this time last year direct qualification was looking a long shot, and anyway - a nice little pre-season amble around a couple of European grounds makes a great way to get the season underway.
January 25: Peter McCormick will be investigated by the Law Society after the events surrounding the trial in Hull. Two complaints have been made - one by the National Civil Rights Movement, and the other by the solicitors who represented Jon Woodgate.
January 25: England have been drawn with Turkey, Macedonia, Slovakia and Liechtenstein in the qualifiers for Euro 2004. The games will take place between September 2002 and October 2003. Maybe Bowyer, Smith, Woody and Mills will be allowed to play by then.
January 25: England have added games against Paraguay (Anfield, April 17), South Korea (May 21), Cameroon (in Kobe, May 26) as warm-ups for the World Cup. Will we see Jon Woodgate or Lee Bowyer in them? Well that depends on just how many excuses the FA can come up with to not select them. Woody is playing better than just about any English centreback other than Rio at the moment - but not unreasonably won't be picked until he has completed his community service. As for Bowyer, Adam Crozier says he's available but: "that's different from being selected". The FA will probably take the most serious view they can take without making it so obvious that they're on a witch hunt when Bowyer appears before the disciplinary panel charged with catching Gary McAllister with his elbow (let's see just how much intent they can impute into a waved arm) and on telling the officials just how much they had been conned by Ashley Cole's cheating at Highbury (what's the betting that the cheating incidents are never examined just in case they find themselves having to make a tough decision there too). The draw for Euro 2004 takes place in Porto tomorrow - here's hoping we don't get the Germans yet again!
January 24: West Yorkshire Police have received more than 80 calls offering information in the hunt for the person who sent threatening letters to David O'Leary. Several callers have named possible suspects, and the police are said to be very happy with the response to the publicity that the case has received.
January 24: The reserves beat Manchester City 3-4 at Hyde United's ground tonight. Comeback kids Robbie Keane and Olivier Dacourt both netted for a strong Leeds side that included Paul Robinson, Michael Duberry, Ian Harte and Stephen McPhail - as well as Kewell, Keane and Dacourt. The other two Leeds goals were scored by youngster Caleb Folan.
January 24: Ian Harte thinks that Liverpool did everyone a favour with their victory over Man U on Tuesday and that the title will go to the team with the most "bottle". He added: "It's going to be tight, but if we can keep our challenge going then we'll see which teams have the bottle when it comes to the crunch." That's the "royal we" unless your form improves Ian :-)
January 24: Quick clarification of the kick-off time for Sunday - after a flurry of emails and phone calls, it now seems that the Ladies' game at Borehamwood against Arsenal will start at 1400. There should be half a dozen of us meeting outside the ground at 1230 and aiming to find a hostelry in which we can watch the first half of the Arsenal-Liverpool FA Cup tie before the Ladies' game starts.
January 24: The chairman repeated his claims that we are not in the business of selling our best players - and pointed to offers for at least three of them (it's a semi-open secret that Olivier Dacourt and Mark Viduka were being very actively considered by Italian clubs) that have been turned down. Since PR then pointed out that Leeds had turned down an offer for Rio considerably in excess of what was paid for him, I guess that makes the trio. After the JFH experience, he knows that sometimes you just can't hang on to the players, and from a few observations of the players and their agents, you can't help feeling that there are a couple of the first team squad who might just find the prospect of genuine Italian cuisine too tasty to turn down come summer. PR doesn't want to lose any players, but is clear that they will be sold if they make it clear they don't want to stay, but hopes the atmosphere and success at the club will keep the team together: "We are building something special and I would like other clubs to want every one of our squad because that means we have the right squad of players."
January 24: The reserves are in action against Manchester City tonight - and Olivier Dacourt could be making his playing comeback alongside Robbie Keane and Harry Kewell. It's nearly 2 months since he last turned out for the first team, and his return to the midfield could give Leeds' challenge for the UEFA Cup and Premiership a very timely boost. Jacob Burns could also play for the first time in a while after recovering from a knee injury.
January 24: Our beloved chairman has barely been able to contain himself this week. His pronouncements today are focused on the national side - and how it would benefit England to take David Batty to the World Cup. He said: "The way David Batty is playing at the moment I would think that with his experience Sven could do much worse than to take him to Japan and the World Cup." Hmmm...difficult one this. Although Batts has recently hit a decent vein of form, he did look off the pace earlier in the season, and despite his experience you can't help thinking that there are other options which need to be tried first. Maybe if we have a rash of late-season injuries to the likes of Steven Gerrard then Batts might be considered - but realistically, for all PR's championing of his cause, it looks a very very long shot. Batts still has a decent future at Elland Road though: "We want players who want to play for Leeds, who want to be a part of what we are doing here. David Batty fits into that mould."
January 23: Lucas Radebe isn't too hopeful that his fellow South Africans can lift the Nations Cup - and a 0-0 opening draw with Burkina Faso underlined his concerns. "Nigeria and Cameroon are very strong, but my outside tip is Senegal who have improved a lot recently," he said.
January 23: JFH was the victim of a great injustice at White Hart Lane tonight. Mark Halsey showed him a straight red card for raising his arms in an incident in the Spurs area - but the TV replays show that the mistake that the ref made was understandable since the dark-skinned blue-shirted arm of Mario Melchiot did the damage - coming from directly behind JFH. Expect Jimmy to have the card rescinded on appeal, but Melchiot - who got himself a yellow just minutes later - can expect a ban. Spurs won 5-1 on the night to take a 6-3 aggregate victory. Let's hope Chelsea are similarly inept when we visit next Wednesday night.
January 23: It was revealed today that David O'Leary received a batch of threatening letters over the last year, saying that his wife could come to "serious harm" if he did not take certain actions related to the football club. There were a total of seven letters posted in Doncaster, Lincoln and Nottingham and the police are continuing to try to identify who sent them but as yet have not made any major progress.
January 23: The thoughts of chairman Pete part 2. Apparently Mr Ridsdale was shocked at the treatment the club received after the trial finished. He said: "I think the public criticism of the club since the trial has been very disappointing. A lot of people, who did not hear all of the facts like the jury did, had reached a different conclusion in their own minds and they now seem to want to take their personal view of the outcome out on me or the club." He pointed to all the community work that the club had done - which seems to have gone unnoticed and unmentioned by those intent on dragging the team down. He also revealed that the news that both players were being awarded extended contracts provoked a further storm of poison pen letters - although there wasn't much he could do about it unless he wanted to see both men - valuable assets to the plc - leave on Bosmans at the end of next season. Contract negotiations are still underway, but it is expected that both will sign extensions that notionally keep them at Leeds for another 4-5 years.
January 23: Derek Lilley bagged a hat-trick for Dundee United last night as they romped to a 1-4 victory over bottom club St Johnstone in the SPL.
January 22: DOL has been immortalised - in cheese! A Wakefield cheesemaker ("blessed are the cheesemakers...") has created the O'Leary cheese in tribute to the great man. Apparently it's a traditional sort of cheese, with whisky added for extra bite: strange - I thought they'd have done it with Guinness!
January 22: The thoughts of chairman Pete have been well and truly delivered to the masses today. First up, he's told us that we've got to relax and "enjoy the ride" during the season as the team chase some silverware. He's worried that the criticism from the stands will unsettle the poor sensitive young manager and backs them to bring home the bacon. And in fairness he does have a point: after tonight's victory for Liverpool at OT we're just 2 points off Man U with a game in hand, and if Arsenal, Newcastle and us won the games in hand we'd be equally close to Arsenal, just a point behind Newcastle and ahead of the Lancashire lot. Mr Ridsdale pointed to the way in which the squad had been strengthened over the last couple of years, spending a net £60 million on new players in that time. He revealed that every player who was on O'Leary's wish list and had become available had been signed - but the search goes on: "I have always said that buying and selling is part of normal football practice and any club which tells you that it has stopped, starts to go backwards in my opinion." He pointed to the rash of injuries and suspensions that the team was suffering, and how good a fully fit Leeds would look - "We have never had an opportunity to have a real run at playing our strongest team. I think our objective has got to be to get people back on the field, play our strongest team, see how good we are and hopefully stay in the top four until the end of the season" - (although that misses the point IMHO: it's by doing more than just survive these sorts of problems that we'll show we've taken a step forward). Meanwhile the coaching side of things has been improved as well with the arrival of Brian Kidd.
January 22: The Youth team went through to the next round of the FA Youth Cup on penalties as they won at the Riverside tonight. They'll face the winners of the Spurs and Bolton tie - with a bit of luck it will be Spurs so we'll get a chance to see them down here again.
January 22: Martin Keown will face no charges for picking up the corner flag and throwing it into the crowd on Sunday. It was apparently "an accident". No doubt it could happen to anyone.
January 21: With all the negative press surrounding Leeds at the moment, here's a positive one from my guestbook. In an attempt to raise funds for one of the poorest footballing nations on earth, every league club was contacted to ask for something to auction to raise funds - and Leeds topped the generosity stakes by sending in a shirt signed by the whole first team. It will be up for auction soon so keep an eye on HREF(the website,http://www.ballsforbhutan.co.uk") - and if you see anything that any of your misguided friends who support other teams might be interested in, then tell them too!
January 21: Robbie Keane and Harry Kewell are likely to be given a chance to improve their fitness in the reserve game on Thursday night. The duo - who were bench-warmers yesterday - haven't played this year and will need to be a bit closer to match fitness before being risked as starters (unless the injury and suspension situation gets any worse).
January 21: Leeds have refused to comment on what sounds like agent-induced speculation that Parma's Argentinian international midfielder Matias Almeyda would be coming to Leeds on loan for the rest of the season. Although another midfielder would certainly come in handy right now, it seems a bit of a strange choice - a relatively unknown South American player from a struggling Italian side - when we're looking to challenge for the title. Now if we pick up some of the talent on show in the African Nations Cup that's another matter entirely...
January 21: To nobody's great surprise, the FA have said that they will take a look at the video of the Keown/Viduka incident. Hopefully they'll also look at the incident that left Viduka on the floor five minutes before Keown did his dying swan act - but realistically they'll probably break all speed records and come up with a 10 match ban for Viduka - and retrospectively nullify all his goals this season - by Friday lunchtime.
January 21: Sky have picked the Sunderland home game for televising - so it moves back from the Saturday at 3 to Sunday at 4. Hurray for Sky!
January 21: Leeds Ladies had another excellent result at Bracken Edge yesterday - winning 5-0 against Sunderland in the league. But remember - it's a tough one next Sunday when they visit Arsenal at Borehamwood in the Cup - so get along and give them a cheer since the "boys" team has managed to extract itself from the FA Cup and so has a weekend off.
20: Round Europe at high speed cos it's late and I'm a
bit tired after driving up and back today. Quite a few of the
leagues are still shut down for the winter break - but the next
couple of weekends sees activity resume in most of them.
January 20: West Brom old boy Jeff Astle died last night at the age of 59. He was a pretty decent striker in his day - scoring in every round of their cup run in 1968 - but will be best remembered by Leeds fans for his controversial offside goal at Elland Road that idiot ref Tinkler allowed to stand and thus denied Leeds the title in 1971.
January 20: Both managers had praise for Mark Halsey's handling of the game. DOL said: "It was a game which was refereed rightly, especially as there were a lot of people waiting to pounce." Wenger agreed: "He had a good game. He tried to calm things down and in my opinion he did that well." O'Leary reckoned that a point each was the right result: "I don't think either team deserved to win what was a scrappy contest, particularly in the first half." Wenger was also reasonably content with the point: "In fairness this was a difficult game and Manchester United have still to come here later this season so we will have to see what they do."
January 20: Post-match reaction from the game. Martin Keown wants the video panel to look at his clash with Mark Viduka. Fair enough - provided it's the same people who looked at his clash with Vidooks and Bowyer last season and ruled that elbowing and stamping merits only a fine and at most a one match band rather than the mandatory three game suspension then I'd have no complaints. "Whether it was deliberate or not I do not know, but it is ironic that it is the same player, the same team that I got my punishment against last season." That's not irony Martin (unless we're talking in the Alanis Morrissette sense here) - that's historical inevitability. Keown said: "I am not the type to complain." Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha clunk. Has anyone seen my head?
January 20: Good Things from today's game (1): Mark Halsey's pretty decent showing under a lot of scrutiny. He kept the lid on a couple of incidents that could have boiled over, showed common sense with the cards, and - even though he missed what looked to be a handball in the Arsenal area near the end - produced the best display by any English ref I've seen all season. So expect him to be reprimanded by the FA and other refs for missing Viduka's "elbow" on Keown - I've not seen the replays yet but we were pretty close to the incident in the game, and it looked to me like Keown was dragging Vidooks back to stop him getting into a good position and - like Smithy before him - he waved his arms at Keown to try to get free. Good Things (2): Keane and Kewell now considered fit enough to warm the bench. Good Things (3): 4 points off Arsenal in a season is a decent haul by any stretch of the imagination. Good Things (4): Rio is back - and what a difference it made. Less Good Things (1): the FA will almost certainly interpret Viduka's clash with Keown as a deliberate and violent assault and will do their best to find ways to dock points from Leeds, if not publicly execute Vidooks. Less Good Things (2): what's wrong with us? Can't we hold on to a lead? Less Good Things (3): what was the point in having Kewell on the bench if he wasn't fit enough to have 10 minutes at the end running at the senile and decrepit Lee Dixon? You don't get more points for winning a game without subs David!
January 20: DOL has threatened to transfer list players who fail to control themselves during games following recent red cards for Alan Smith and Danny Mills. Which he won't do of course - unless he's prepared to see opposition managers giving their players instructions on which Leeds players they need to niggle and wind up every game.
January 19: In another Night Of Shame For British Football (copyright the hypocritical tabloids) there was another outbreak of crowd violence at a football match tonight. It occurred at Pittodrie when visiting Rangers fans pelted Aberdeen's Robbie Winters with coins as he tried to take a corner. Several missed, and after a brief delay he tried to take it again and was hit on the back of the head. In an astounding display of common sense unlikely to be repeated south of the border, the ref immediately took both sides off the field and kept them there for 20 minutes while police reinforcements were called and the crowd warned to calm down. How different from another recent game where players and fans were pelted with coins from the start.... Mike McCurry deserves piles of praise for his sensible actions - and Andy D'Urso should be made to watch the replays of the coins coming down and hitting the Aberdeen player twenty times or until it dawns on him just what could have happened thanks to his inaction at Ninian Park. The problem at Pittodrie was not a Scottish one though - it seems that the disturbances were probably caused by English fans travelling to the very extremities of the mainland according to the Aberdeen chief executive.
January 19: Old boys in action today: Noel Whelan scored Boro's goal as they drew 1-1 with Bolton. Lee Sharpe scored the first goal of the game for Bradford at Barnsley: the home side came back to be 3-1 up but two late goals for Ashley Ward left honours even at full time. Jamie Forrester scored two goals in two minutes for struggling Northampton at promotion-chasing Bristol City - the visitors hung on to win 3-1. Warren Feeney got a late consolation for Bournemouth as they lost 2-3 at home to Huddersfield. Mark Ford scored for Darlo as they drew 2-2 at home with Southend. John Sheridan scored from the spot as Oldham beat Wrexham 3-1. And north of the border, Alan Maybury saw red in the first half for Hearts as they went on to lose 2-0 at Livingston.
January 19: For some reason everyone is talking about the fouls and cards we're likely to see tomorrow. Couldn't be anything to do with the 2 red cards that Leeds picked up at Highbury - or the seven yellows for Arsenal in this game last year could it? DOL hopes to see the football do the talking tomorrow. "I want our football to show people that we are a good side. It has saddened me that other events have overshadowed the football in the last two games between us." He added: "I think if the match is refereed in the proper manner and if common sense prevails, then we will have a good game involving two good sides there who play good attacking football." Since tomorrow's ref is Mark Halsey, who we've had a couple of quibbles with (e.g. Keane's card for "diving" at Charlton), rather than one of the "I-must-be-great-cos-I'm-booking-everyone" tendency I think there's a decent chance of a sensible game. Of course that could rather depend on Bergkamp/Bowyer, Batty/Parlour, Mills/Pires managing to keep the lid on their own feelings which have been stretched somewhat in the past.
January 19: Barcelona are reported to be interested in picking up Harry Kewell in the summer. With Real reportedly just needing to dot the i's and cross the t's on Vieira's contract, Barca will need a big-name signing to subdue their fans who have seen their main rivals go from strength to strength and top the table after a poor start while the Catalans remain a few points off the pace.
January 19: Nigel Martyn says that tomorrow's game is "massive" and the Leeds really need to win it. "Arsenal will want to beat us to go back to the top of the table, but we cannot afford to let them get too far ahead of us so the importance of a win is obvious." It was a close game at Highbury what with the two dismissals, and Martyn thinks tomorrow will be equally tight, although Leeds' missing players are starting to be noticed: "It's not the ideal situation and we can do without suspensions, but the games have still to be played and we are going to have to cope, starting with the game this weekend."
January 19: Peter Ridsdale revealed today that DOL nearly left last season after the 3-1 home defeat by Newcastle. His public pronoucements at the time did show a classic case of toys-out-of-pram, whingeing that the crowd had no right to jeer the no-effort performance that his team had just produced. DOL asked if the club still wanted him before having a meeting with the chairman. Ridsdale pointed out: "Since that meeting we've had a very impressive 12 months, losing something like five Premiership games, qualifying for the UEFA Cup and getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League."
January 18: Team news for Sunday: Smithy is out with a ban, Rio is possibly back - so that would leave Doobs on the bench, presumably with Dom Matteo at left back if Ian Harte remains out of favour (though I'd have thought a free kick specialist would be an advantage in a Leeds/Arsenal game). Maybe Seth Johnson or the returning Robbie Fowler will take the dead ball kicks. For the visitors Richard Wright makes a return in goal following Stuart Taylor's injury and Wright's recovery. Kanu and Lauren are on African Nations Cup duty, but Cole, Parlour and van Bronckhorst are back from suspension. Which could mean that Dennis Bergkamp will start up front alongside Thierry Henry, and Oleg Luzhny will continue at rightback with Lee Dixon just edging his way back onto the subs bench after a long injury lay-off.
January 18: Noted expert football analyst Kieron Dyer says that Leeds are not a great side - "especially now they have got a few injuries." The same might also be said about West Germany without Muller and Beckenbauer, Holland without Cruyff and Neeskens - or Newcastle without Shearer and his friendly refs. Consequently he now wants to stay at St James Park where "Something exciting is happening at Newcastle and I want to be part of that." Until Man U come in with a bid, of course...
January 18: Nottingham Forest have indicated that they would consider bids for their wonderkid Jermaine Jenas - and Leeds and Newcastle are front-runners for his signature. Apparently they've already dismissed a multi-million pound offer - and although they are in financial difficulties it would take over £5 million to prise him away from the City Ground.
January 18: The FA of Wales has charged Cardiff City with misconduct following the FA Cup tie at Ninian Park two weeks ago. They have also written to Sam Hammam about his conduct at the tie. For their part, the FA have warned Leeds about the conduct of their fans after they were seen throwing things at the tie (but the fact that it was clear that this was generally returning things that had been thrown at them probably left the FA unable to find a way to find yet another way to punish Leeds this time). Cardiff have until Monday week to formally respond before they face a disciplinary commission - and although they won't be thrown out of the competition they could be forced to play subsequent ties away from Ninian Park.
January 17: 15 people were in court in Cardiff today in connection with the violence at Ninian Park around the FA Cup tie and also in other recent games. A former Cardiff player - Dai Thomas - pleaded guilty to offences of threatening behaviour after the court showed video footage of him throwing an advertising hoarding over the fence at the Leeds fans.
January 17: Rio Ferdinand is hopeful that he might make it back in time for the game against Arsenal - over a week earlier than expected. Let's hope he doesn't over-strain himself, because although we need him back it's more important that we have him available for the rest of the season rather than just one game.
January 17: No surprises from the tribunal at York - Smithy's red card in Cardiff stands - so he now faces a 5 match ban and will miss the games with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Boro and Charlton as a result. After the hearing, Peter Ridsdale said: "It was a fair hearing, but they have not changed the decision." Still, I guess that means he should be fresh for the European games. It also means it's unlikely he'll be selected for England for the friendly against Holland, and the FA will do their best to ensure that Lee Bowyer is similarly banned when he comes up before the tribunal at the start of February. Since they've ignored the evidence of their own eyes and that of the player who was supposedly fouled in the Smith case, there's probably no chance for Bowyer to compete against the word of Saint McAllister (who hacked Ian Harte in one of the worst challenges we saw all season in the same game) and one of the infallible refs, who - we learn - are thinking of taking slander action against managers and players who speak out against them. I wonder if the players will be allowed to do the same - so that Robbie Fowler and Robbie Keane might reasonably take action against the referees who accused them of cheating by booking them for diving when the TV evidence clearly shows contact being made.
January 16: Transfer randomness (first cuckoo of spring to follow). Juve are interested in making a move for the rejuvenated Jon Woodgate - although they're also being linked with any other half-decent CB around - whether or not they're available. At least he's signing up on a new contract so he'd cost them a fair bit if he went, but I guess we're better off keeping him having taken all the pain in the trial.
January 16: DOL is hoping that the season will turn around once all the players return in a few weeks and after the next few difficult games are out of the way. "I'm hoping for the kind of second half of the season we had last time, though we do have a lot of players out, hopefully our luck will start to change now it's been a real injury hoodoo of late."
January 16: Mark Viduka says: Robbie Fowler is the greatest thing since sliced bread - and the best finisher he has ever played with. "Robbie and I are doing very well up front and we are scoring a lot of goals. It is great to play alongside him because he is definitely one of the best strikers in England and he is probably the best finisher that I have ever played alongside." He reckons that pairs of strikers win championships - and that he and Fowler are a pair that will continue to mine a rich seam of goals. "I feel very confident that Robbie and I will continue to do that the more we play with each other."
January 16: Alan Smith's appeal against the red card he received at Cardiff will be heard by the FA's video committee in York on Thursday. Meanwhile Craig Bellamy is trying to appeal against his card for diving on Saturday. Apparently when he jumped up and went running to the ref he was actually appealing for a corner and not a penalty. In a surprising display of honesty Bellamy said that it was a fair tackle and he was just doing what he always does: "I'm going to try to claim it - I moan non-stop anyway, so I'm going to try to claim for anything." Well, at least we all agree on that!
January 15: Leeds' tame ref Steve Lodge has hit out at those who accuse the current Leeds side of being a bunch of thugs. Mr Lodge has been working with the team over the last season to help them understand how the refs are thinking and what they need to do to stay out of trouble. "There's no doubt that Leeds have had things a bit rough in the past month or two. It has been difficult for the club as a whole with so much going on off the pitch. However, I don't think they've been that bad in their behaviour. Leeds are no worse than any other club." As well as advising the squad in general, he's spoken to a few of the players individually about curbing themselves on the pitch: "I spoke to Alan Smith the other day. He is a lovely lad off the field, but he has certainly got a reputation on it - there's no doubt about that. But I'm sure Alan will come through it."
January 15: Leeds reserves gained a good win at Liverpool tonight, with a penalty from Harpal Singh and a goal from Jamie McMaster taking Leeds to a 0-2 lead before Liverpool pulled a late goal back. With the home side fielding Chris Kirkland in goal and several squad players like Vignal, Wright, Heggem, Biscan - and Gary McAllister as well as new signing Milan Baros, the Leeds team had much less experience - only Paul Robinson and Stephen McPhail having made first team appearances. Leeds went in front when Harpal Singh was brought down inside the area, and made some other good chances throughout the second half. Surely it's only a matter of time before the likes of Singh - and Frazer Richardson and Jamie McMaster - are given at least a few minutes for the first team.
January 15: Since we don't have any first team plans for the weekend after next thanks to the debacle at Cardiff, you could do a lot worse than go along and support the Leeds Ladies. They'll be playing Arsenal in the next round of the cup after beating Newcastle 2-4 in extra time at the weekend having been 2-1 down with just 5 minutes to go. Arsenal usually play at Borehamwood - so if you're in the area go along and give the Ladies a cheer - they might need it, since Arsenal are one of the best teams in the country. Win or lose you're still likely to see more clued-up refereeing than we've had over the last couple of weeks. The Ladies are also in action in the league next weekend - facing Sunderland at home (Bracken Edge) with kick-off at 1400, so if you're in Leeds why not catch the first half of that one before heading down to Elland Road for the "youth team"?
January 14: Injuries - we got 'em and the manager is getting more frustrated. "You can't keep going all of the time like this. You expect to get a few injuries, but we seem to be losing players all of the time." His real worry is Champions League qualification: "It's hurting us badly. The boys who are in the side have done fantastic to keep us in the hunt, but we need some of our big name players back for these big games."
January 14: It's looking like we'll be a bit light for the Arsenal game yet, but just when the suspensions start to bite it's hoped that we'll have a few of the injury list back. Rio, Harry Kewell and Robbie Keane are all hopeful for the visit to Stamford Bridge at the end of the month. Which is just as well since Alan Smith's 5th booking of the season means he'll miss at least that game, and Danny Mills' 4-match ban will start then too. Olivier Dacourt should be back in time for the UEFA Cup tie with PSV.
January 13: Old boy round-up. Lee Sharpe made the most of his chances against his one-time loan club Pompey yesterday with a goal just on the hour mark, and the back-from-injury Gunnar Halle added another in the 89th minute to give Bradford a 3-1 win. Terry Yorath's Owls bought the manager and board a bit more time with a 1-0 win over Crewe, but Nigel Worthington's Canaries were well-beaten by 10-man Man City at Maine Road today, losing 3-1. Paul Hart has got a bit of stability back at Forest - a goalless draw at home to Barnsley - but Carlton Palmer's Stockport County look well and truly doomed, and sales of two of their best players last week more or less confirms they've surrendered already.
13: Sunday night means it's take a quick amble around
Europe night to see what's happening.
January 13: The FA and FAW are set to seriously penalise Cardiff after last week's disturbances - although the authorities are denying that there is any overall increase in violent incidents despite what has been seen over the last couple of weeks. "It's been a bad week and a dispiriting week, and we are not complacent. But we still have fewer arrests than we had five years ago and many fewer than we had 10 years ago."
January 13: The FA continue to drag out Lee Bowyer's punishment for being cleared of all charges, with chief exec Adam Crozier saying that his international future is still in the balance - as is that of fellow Leeds man Jon Woodgate. Crozier said: "We clearly have to think about the future and we'll do that over the next two or three weeks. Clearly there is a need for any of our decisions to be consistent." Although they may have a case for considering what to do about Woodgate - and with John Terry another possible international player also likely to be banned while he awaits trial - why on earth should there be any question over the availability of Lee Bowyer. After being forced to miss several crucial games for Leeds, and denied the opportunity to establish himself for England, Bowyer was acquitted by the 12 members of the jury and any question of an England ban should have ended there.
January 13: Oh yes....Smiffy's yellow card takes him to five for the season - so he'll miss a further game in addition to any ban that he receives from his (hopefully soon to be rescinded) red card against Cardiff.
January 13: DOL has condemned Danny Mills' dismissal and said that ref Graham Barber was spot on in dismissing him. Mills will be fined 2 weeks wages and will miss 4 games for his second dismissal of the year - and still faces a hearing with the FA at the start of February over the Arsenal incident. O'Leary said: "I am getting worried about the suspensions, and now we have got a right-back who is going to be out for a few games, someone you would want playing in your team. It is no good having him miss games for stupidity like that. In a game of football you don't want that." Leeds will also be fined £25,000 for having more than 5 different players booked. Which is a bit rich since Woodgate and Duberry were both carded for making fair challenges against the seldom-vertical Bellamy and the pacy but occasionallly unstable Dyer, Viduka was carded for his reaction to (a) being denied a blatant penalty for a foul by Dabizas and (b) turning round when the defender head-butted him. Jason Wilcox went into the book for failing to control his anger with the linesman when he only just avoided serious injury from a Dyer challenge. The papers today are saying that Bellamy was unlucky to be booked for his "dive" - which, if all he'd done was go down, then get up and get on with the game as Arsenal's van Bronckhorst did the other week would be reasonable. Unlike the Arsenal player, he turned and screamed at the ref. Like the unfortunate Gunner he was carded. The fact that Barber then failed to card him for a deliberate handball when he tried to score later on, or for his flailing arms in another incident remains a mystery. Either way, I think that Peter Ridsdale should forward any invoice the FA might send us for a fine to Tring for Mr Barber's attention. For the second week in a row I find myself furious at the abysmal and inconsistent refereeing - but having absolutely no complaints over the result. I'm hankering for the Good Old Days when I could at least muster up some excuse that blamed the ref for our lack of points....
January 12: With Robbie Fowler ruled out due to a family bereavement on top of all of our other absentees, it was never going to be easy. But when Smiffy scored when half the Leeds fans were still struggling up 20 flights of stairs to their seats we had a bit of hope. Newcastle never sat back and gave us the luxury of a second goal, and Doobs couldn't do much to stop their equaliser pinging in off his head just before half time. A bit of a lucky bounce let Dyer in and Nige had no chance to stop the Toon Army taking the lead, and Danny Mills then played the Muppet card by taking a swing at the diving cheat Bellamy (not seen the replay yet so I don't know how culpable Mills is - but Bellamy spent more time on his backside than his feet this afternoon so it's easy to see that Mills might have been a bit frustrated). Then a late goal for the aforementioned gamesmanship expert when Leeds were pressing for an equaliser. 4 of the last 6 Premiership defeats have been to Newcastle - they have a bit of an Indian Sign over us at the moment - but in all honesty deserved the points today. Ref Graham Barber was picky in the extreme - and failed to book Newcastle players on three occasions for offences that got Leeds players booked. Bellamy did to Doobs what had cost the defender a yellow card, Viduka was booked for being headbutted by Dabizas, and Wilcox found himself in the book after complaining violently to the linesman that Dyer's late challenge should have been punished. But the fact is, even if we'd had Mr Collina today we wouldn't have won and that's all there is to it.
January 11: Us lot might be struggling to get tickets but schoolgirl Julie Hoole will be well-sorted for the PSV away tie after winning a top prize at an education awards ceremony. Seth Johnson guested at the ceremony, and was very happy to be able to link up with the community so soon after his arrival from Derby. He said: "It's very important for us as players to give something back to the community and I've really enjoyed myself. These kids have worked really hard and just seeing the look on their faces as they come up for their awards makes it worthwhile."
January 11: Lee Sharpe - back in favour at Bradford now that Jim Jeffries has gone - could find himself facing the team he nearly signed for tomorrow. Pompey are the visitors to Valley Parade, and Sharpe will be hoping to show them just what they could have had if they had taken up the option to sign him. Robert Molneaar is injured, but Gunnar Halle could return for the Bantams.
January 11: Mark Viduka is expecting a hot reception tomorrow after his clashes with Nikos Dabizas at Elland Road required the Newcastle defender needing serious medical treatment. He said: "I don't really care what Bobby Robson says, he's got his own opinions and he's welcome to them. I might get a few boos and jeers from the Newcastle fans, but I don't mind. I'm used to it by now." He thinks that we've learned our lessons from Newcastle's win at Elland Road and can do a bit better at their place."Newcastle did well at Elland Road, but I think it was a case that we let them play rather than they were brilliant. Gary Speed is likely to be back to face his former club after an injur-enforced break. Nigel Martyn - who must be near England retirement himself - recognises the danger posed by the on-form Alan Shearer - but he's hoping that the defence will now sort themselves out enough as they had seemed to be doing before the Cardiff game. He said: "Even the best need to go back to basics sometimes. In a way I think it was getting too easy for us. We had been very tight at the back and we should have continued to play like that, but I think we rested a little bit on our laurels."
January 11: Kevin Dixon finally got a game for Barnsley reserves after a long period off with injury - and promptly got himself sent off after coming on as a sub in the second half.
January 11: Danny Mills told Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer to ignore the boo boys and go full ahead to gain England places ahead of the World Cup. Mills said: "Lee and Jon are going to get a lot of stick from opposing crowds. Unfortunately there are thousands of fans at an away game and, while it is not quite hatred towards them, it is not nice." He went on: "We want as many Leeds players as possible to be in that England squad for the Holland away match and the game against Italy, especially with it being at Elland Road."
January 11: A further 8 people were arrested today after South Wales Police had viewed further tapes from Sunday's game - and still more arrests are expected. There was some furore in the press when it emerged that Sam Hammam's minder is a convicted football hooligan who was banned from all football grounds until a couple of months ago. The arrested men have been charged with a variety of offences involving public order, anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
January 10: Seth Johnson is hoping to improve on his goal-scoring record - and he wants to start at Newcastle, where he's already scored a decent goal! "That goal came at the start of last season and it was the last one I ever scored. I would love to score more goals, that is definitely something that I would love to improve in my game," he said. After recovering from his dead leg he's back in the squad for the game on Saturday and will almost certainly play. And he's hoping that he's the first of many players who will be leaving the physio's room and heading back to the pitch: "Sitting in the treatment room you can see so many of the other lads in there and it's unbelievable to see the talent we have unavailable at the moment. Dave Hancock can't even go to first team games now because he has to stay and try to get people fit."
January 10: Nigel Martyn, Danny Mills and Jason Wilcox spoke out today about how they had feared serious injury as a result of the crowd's actions on Sunday. Martyn said: "There were coins, sweets, lighters and bottles all thrown onto the field and it was a bit dangerous. My only fear was getting something in the eye and threatening my career." Danny Mills said: "The worrying thing for me was when the fans came on the pitch at the end of the game because anything could happen. A few of the players were approached - including Batts and Vidukes - and some people were hostile toward them and that could have turned nasty." As it was, Lee Bowyer had to be protected by one of Leeds' own security men after a total failure by the South Wales Police and Cardiff stewards to do their jobs. Jason Wilcox said: "When the fans come on like that it is very dangerous for the players. Luckily our players got off without serious injury." But still the FA are considering charging Leeds too. Maybe we weren't totally angelic - but if Leeds are charged then the whole library, never mind the book, must be thrown at City.
January 10: The FA could actually look to charge Leeds over the behaviour of their fans at Ninian Park on Sunday. Apparently we didn't do the Christian thing by turning the other cheek for two hours, and when we started throwing things back at the people who had thrown things at us we transgressed their Utopian laws. Well la-di-f***ing-da - what the hell do they expect. Maybe it should be mandatory for Adam Crozier to stand in the away end of Ninian Park for a month - then we'll see how fast things happen.
January 09: Old boys goals tonight: 2 - including a cracking 30-yard free kick - for JFH as Chelsea beat Spurs 2-1 at home in the first leg of the Worthington Cup semis. Lee Matthews opened the scoring for Bristol City as they beat local rivals Rovers 3-0 in the semi of the LDV Vans Trophy. Liverpool missed the chance to move up to second place (or go top if they'd won 6-0) when they went down 2-0 at Southampton - with one superb og from John Arne Riise adding to the earlier penalty by Beattie.
January 09: Those McManaman rumours are back and they're working overtime. Real Madrid have accepted a bid of £7 million for the floppy-haired winger, who is keen to get back to first team football and rejoin his old mate Robbie Fowler. Or Madrid have said that there's no way he'll be allowed to leave while they're still involved in the Champions League.
January 09: Dom Matteo and Seth Johnson have both come through their first training session as they come back from injury and the current crisis at Elland Road could see both men return to the starting line-up straight away on Saturday. With Rio out and clear problems on the left side of midfield, it's easy to see that they'd both be in with Alan Smith the fit player dropping to the bench.
January 09: Robbie Fowler has said that confidence is the key to his regained form since he joined Leeds. He said: "Strikers rely on confidence and that's what I've got at the moment." He's got his eyes on a World Cup chance - and knows he's got a bit of work to do to re-establish himself, but he knows that it's something he had to do even though it meant leaving the club he been with since he was 10. He said: "I wanted to do well there but the way circumstances went I felt the time was right for a change."
January 09: DOL's involvement with cardiac medicine continues. After his father's recent heart problems he has taken a leading role in promoting heart charities, and will be opening the new coronary care unit at Jimmy's next week. He said: "I'm delighted to help officially open this new cardiology unit in Leeds and I have nothing but praise for all those people involved in it." The new wards will offer over 50 beds and have been jointly funded by the NHS and local charities.
January 09: Roy Schofield accused police of setting him up and said he was terrified when he was attacked by a police dog and a baton-wielding officer on Sunday. "While I was on the floor an officer came up and started hitting me repeatedly with a baton while his dog bit me," he said. He's well known to many Leeds fans around the country - and around the world - and he has received many messages of support. He's currently taking legal advice on what action he should take next.
January 09: Four men have been charged by South Wales Police after Sunday's clashes in Cardiff. The men will be charged with various public order offences when they appear in front of Cardiff Magistrates Court next week.
January 08: The reserves drew 2-2 with a strong Villa side at Bootham Crescent tonight. Villa included first-teamers Gareth Barry, Mustapha Hadji, Mark Delaney and Hassan Kachloul - and were trailing 2-1 before pulling a goal back late on.
January 08: Sam Hammam has said that he will no longer take his little walks around the pitch - a decision he's arrived at independently and not through media pressure. It has also become clear that he has been warned not to do it at least twice by the football authorities in the last year or so - when the FA come to examine the events of Sunday, his disregard of such warnings will do him no favours whatsoever.
January 08: South Wales police have got 10 men looking over 100 hours of video tape - and think they will be able to identify 25 specific people that they want to arrest in connection with the violence on Sunday. DCI Graham Lloyd says: "Throwing a bottle is absolute criminality. This is the sort of we wish to detect and those are the individuals we wish to put before a court." If the reports I've had over what happened at Ninian Park are anything to go by, there'll be ever so slightly more than 25 people to pick up for that. He's also looking at the conduct of the Cardiff fans in the Bristol City game where visiting fans were pelted with rocks and bottles.
January 08: Rio Ferdinand looks likely to miss three weeks thanks to the appalling late challenge by Gavin Gordon on Sunday. Initial scans reveal some ankle damage, but it's not as serious as was initially thought but he could still miss the Newcastle and Arsenal games but may be back for the visit to Chelsea. Dom Matteo and Seth Johnson may be available for Saturday's trip to St James' Park. Eirik Bakke has resumed running as he recovers from his ankle injury but is still 2-3 weeks away from a comeback.
January 08: Sam Hammam has claimed that he has received authorisation from "the highest authority in football" to walk around the pitch - although he says it's not appropriate to actually say who that is. Funny - I didn't realise Jimmy Hill was allowed to rule on this sort of thing.
January 08: Roy Schofield has said that he will be taking legal action against South Wales Police after being attacked by a police dog and beaten with a baton as he tried to board a coach at Cardiff. He was talking to a couple of friends near the coaches when: "I hesitated for a few seconds and a police officer came across. Suddenly he snapped for some reason and started swearing. "As I tried to get away I stumbled and slipped and was repeatedly struck. My hip is black and blue and I have bruising on my back. My coat is ripped in two places by the dog." There is some video footage of the attack, so it will be interesting to see what happens here.
January 08: Peter Ridsdale revealed that he has received over 1000 hate-mail letters since the trial in Hull ended last month. He has promised to reply to all of the letters, because he sees it as important to make it clear to the people who have written in what the real facts are. "There are about 10 per cent which are really bad, and tell me what I should be doing with myself and what they would like to do to me. I have not called in the police however."
January 08: The home games against Arsenal, Liverpool and Man U are already sold out (unsurprisingly) and most of the away games are getting close to being fully sold - so if you don't have a home or away season ticket get your applications in for any games you want to attend before the end of the season real soon.
January 08: Leeds' plans to use Jon Woodgate and Lee Bowyer as a very salutary example of the problems of alcohol consumption have hit a problem. Brewers Bulmers - makers of Strongbow fizzy apple juice - want to talk with the club over whether or not that would reflect badly on their brand. Frankly I'd have thought that Mule and Breezers came in for more bad publicity than the shirt sponsors when it comes to the court case.
January 08: Terry Yorath is doubly in the news today. First up, in his role as Sheffield Wednesday manager his future seems to be in some doubt. A couple of fans groups have told the board to back him or sack him: he had a good start as caretaker and then as permanent manager, but the results have been poor recently and he's not being given any money for new players. "I hope I'll last the season but it's all about instant football now," he said. The Owls face Blackburn in the first leg of the Worthington Cup semi-final tonight, and a visit to Wembley would certainly help the club's finances - but with this year being the last they'll receive parachute payments from the PL, the situation looks bleak. Despite the situation he still had time to comment on the events down at Ninian Park, having played for Leeds and managed Cardiff in the past. He said that Sam Hammam's actions were outrageous. "As managers we are not allowed six feet away from the dug-out, so for him to walk around in that atmosphere was wrong." He's complimentary about Mad Sam's commitment and investment in the club, but he thinks the chairman needs to be careful about what he says and does. "He can preach to them that he doesn't want a club supported by hooligans, because he's a leader. And he can be a fine leader."
January 08: York appears to have thawed out - so tonight's reserve game against Villa is on. Robbo will be in goal, and Stephen McPhail will get a run out as will Harpal Singh who has been on the first team bench recently.
January 08: Noel Blake has lost his job for the second time this season after a new manager was appointed at Notts County and he was dismissed as coach. He parted company with Exeter after 6 years as player and manager in September.
January 07: If any of you were there yesterday and want to make a private comment about what you saw to the club, can you drop me an email and I'll pass on any information that you can give me in confidence.
January 07: Rio could be out for up to a month with the ankle ligament damage sustained in the challenge by Gavin Gordon yesterday.
January 07: Smithy will be appealing against his red card - and will be helped by Andy Legg. He said: "At the end of the day I've caused the foul because I've held him. I was aware of his pace and I didn't want him to turn me and run me. I was tight to him and holding him, and to be fair to him he was just trying to shrug me off. I don't think there was any malice or intent involved. It's just he was trying to get rid of me, and unfortunately he's caught me and cut my mouth." Legg said that the Leeds players had initially accused him of cheating - although they backed off when they saw blood coming from his mouth. "I'd be willing to help the lad if necessary - of course I would. I would say exactly what I'm saying here because I think I'm an honest player."
January 07: Sam Hammam's behaviour over the last 24 hours has been more and more bizarre. From inciting the Cardiff fans behind the goal, he moved on to forcibly eject a BBC reporter who insisted he answer the question he'd been asked and stole the reporter's minidisk recorder - which was subsequently returned without the recording. Another BBC reporter - a Cardiff fan - was also ejected from the ground when he requested the return of the tape. Hammam has said that the club are prepared to play behind closed doors as the full enormity of the problem started to come home to him - and with complaints from Bristol City and Port Vale over the treatement inflicted on their fans also coming to light, the FA could wield a very big stick indeed. A spokesman for Cardiff City Supporters Club unsurprisingly pronounced himself happy with the police's handling of the situation. He said: "Going in to snatch out trouble-making fans in the terraces can lead to further problems between police and supporters. I am sure that those caught on CCTV will be arrested." Well since they only arrested four people on the day, it looks like his good chums from the South Wales Police are going to have a very busy time, identifying, tracing and arresting the 500-odd idiots who were intent on trouble - trouble which could have been avoided if a decent police and stewarding presence had prevented the pitch invasion in the first place.
January 07: Both ref Andy D'Urso and one of his linesmen were hit by objects thrown from the crowd at Cardiff yesterday, and the FA and FAW have announced a joint inquiry into the events at Ninian Park. As is normally the case, the FA will wait for D'Urso's report before deciding what to do next. Certainly on the agenda will be the attacks by Cardiff fans on David Batty, Mark Viduka and Lee Bowyer after the final whistle.
January 07: Peter Ridsdale praised the fans for their failure to rise to the bait of several hundred screaming thugs from Cardiff yesterday (though he may not have quite used those words). "As far as I am concerned the Leeds fans were magnificent. They should be complimented for the way they behaved." Numerous phone calls, text messages and emails have been bandied around detailing some of what happened. Last night's 6-0-6 was inundated with calls from Leeds fans giving more or less live reports of the problems. One official from the Leeds United Supporters Club was attacked by a policeman as he tried to board his coach and needed hospital treatment. A spokesman for the police promised to thoroughly investigate any complaint, but said that it was satisfied with its handling of the crowd. "We are extremely pleased with today's policing operations which has been very successful," a statement from Chief Superintendent Jeff Cooksley read. Hello? Cooksley? We may be a bunch of thick Yorkies but this isn't the Miners Strike all over again! Sometimes you wonder why people don't seem to have much respect for PC Plod anymore - then pillocks like this come along and show you.
06: Sunday night is once again Euro round-up time with
several leagues resuming around Europe - although the current
freeze accounted for several games in France.
January 06: The bulging-eyed Pierluigi Collina has been voted top ref in the world for the fourth time, a country mile ahead of second-placed Anders Frisk and Kim Milton Nielsen. The highest-placed Brit was Scotland's Hugh Dallas in sixth place, but it comes as a massive surprise to all of us who watch the game regularly to see none of the Premier League refs figuring in the top ten. Not.
January 06: Sam Hammam - who was behind the goal inciting the Cardiff supporters when their second goal was scored - has said that the display at Ninian Park was "an example of what could happen if we ever became a Premiership team." Since that example involves pelting players and fans with bottles and coins while the local constabulary stands idly by hoping for a reaction from the visitors that can be punished, the majority of the Premiership sides are no doubt very happy that Cardiff are a long long way away from that target. If Leeds supporters had behaved as the Cardiff lot did today we would be looking at vilification in the press and a long period of behind-closed-doors home games. No doubt the FA will let them off with a perfunctory slap on the wrist and a meaningless and minimal fine. Or maybe I'll be proved totally and happily wrong and they'll sling the book at them.
January 06: In the past DOL has criticised Alan Smith for his dismissals, but today it was the decision that came under fire from the manager. "I thought it was very harsh. I think there's an agenda with Alan Smith. The referees show no benefit of the doubt with him, they jump on him straight away." He's hoping that the FA take a look at both the red card and the numerous instances of objects being thrown onto the pitch by Cardiff fans. Ian Harte was nearly hit by a bottle in the first minute, and since the ref himself needed treatment after being hit, it will be in his report. He's unhappy to be out of the cup, but reiterated that his focus for this year was to get back into the Champions League.
January 06: A disgraceful display by ref Andy D'Urso saw two terrible late challenges by Cardiff's Gavin Gordon go unpunished. The first resulted in Rio hobbling off the pitch - "I thought I'd broken my leg but it just looks like serious ankle ligament damage" - and the second left fellow centreback Jon Woodgate in a crumpled heap. Meanwhile Alan Smith's attempts to get Andy Legg to let go of his shirt resulted in a red card. On the footballing side of things, Mark Viduka opened the scoring with a thunderous shot from 20 yards after a Spencer Prior mistake, but Cardiff equalised through a well-taken free kick and an abysmal wall (cheers Batts!). After holding out for nearly all of the second half, a corner was probably going past the post when Batts (again) tried to knock the ball clear, but only succeeded in finding Scott Young (it would have been a real achievement to find him if D'Urso had done his job because he'd have been in the dressing room) - the Cardiff defender hammered the ball home, Ian Harte wasted a couple more free kicks and the game was over. Well, we really can concentrate on the league now.
January 06: Peter Ridsdale has said that talks with big-name sponsors will take place over the next month or so as the drive to find someone with a big enough wedge to sponsor the new stadium goes on. With the global economic downturn and recent off-field events, the chances of finding someone to stump up the cash have reduced somewhat, although the chairman insists that this is just a short-term problem. "I admit that what has happened hasn't helped, but I would be surprised if it has had a negative impact on the long-term future of the club, which is what this deal will be all about."
January 06: The Saints season ticket holder who tried to attack Lee Bowyer after he scored at the end of the game at St Mary's has had his season ticket confiscated by the club, and has been fined £50 by magistrates. Warren Jones was also ordered to pay £55 costs after he pleaded guilty to the simple offence of entering the playing area.
January 06: Cardiff striker Robert Earnshaw disagrees with chairman Sam Hammam over today's game. He reckons that the home side have a good chance of causing an upset, and is looking forward to testing himself against £18 million man Rio Ferdinand. "They've got multi-million pound players, but they're only human when all's said and done and can be beaten."
January 05: Police have warned Leeds fans to behave themselves when they go down to Cardiff tomorrow. There will be the usual bunch of spotters from WYP down there, but surely it's the home fans they should be concentrating on? Cardiff's Soul Crew are throwbacks to an earlier form of life and there have been problems with many games involving the Bluebirds over the last few years - most notably (and unsurprisingly) with Millwall, but also with Hull, Crewe, Port Vale, Stoke and others. Maybe we should arrange for them to play a friendly with Galatasaray sometime and let the rest of us concentrate on the football.
January 05: DOL has reiterated his plea from previous years for a winter break in the Premiership. "It need not be as long as a month, just a fortnight to give everybody a little breather and give people a chance to get over the tough Christmas period when players have had a lot of games." Of course that then means the season doesn't finish until 2 weeks later which means there's even less time between the end of the season and the start of the Euro or World Cup tournaments and even less of a break there. "The way the fixtures are going we are getting four games in a week over the festive period and players pick up knocks so it would give everybody the chance for a breather and a chance to freshen up. That is what I would like to see."
January 05: Our least-favorite Frenchman may make a brief return to the world of real football from the land of acting, pie-eating and beach football he now occupies. The pot-bellied Eric Cantona is being tempted to make an appearance for Melbourne Knights in a game against local rivals South Melbourne next month. The Knights are looking for a big name to bring people in to one game - and hope to hook them for more. Melbourne is about as far from OT as you can get - so no doubt there will be plenty of ManU fans around to boost ticket sales for one game at least, and I'm sure a few of the OzLeeds crew would also like to shout some "encouragement" at our old chum :-)
January 05: Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but I didn't see any strident calls in the press today to ban John Terry from playing for Chelsea after he was charged with assault last night. I mean, it wouldn't be like the Grub Street Mob to apply double standards would it? And allegedly punching a female receptionist in the face is clearly a lesser offence than being seen in the company of someone who committed an assault, so it's entirely understandable why such calls haven't been heard from MPs and journalists across the land.
January 05: Not too many surprises in today's FA Cup games: Liverpool, Newcastle and Arsenal all came through unscathed against Brum, Palace and Watford respectively, but the Baggies came from behind to beat Sunderland 1-2 at the Stadium of Light, and only Carlo Cudicini's heroics kept Chelsea in the game as they hung on for a 0-0 draw at Norwich. Will we be upset tomorrow? DOL hopes not, but knows it can happen to anyone: "It has happened to the best of managers and I am only just starting out on my managerial career. I have tasted it as a player and it was not very good, I have yet to experience it as a manager but hopefully it is not this Sunday."
January 05: Michael Bridges spoke of his determination to make it back into the side, despite the fact that he was told at one point that he'd never play again. Bridges damaged his ankle in the game in Besiktas early last season and although he came close to a comeback towards the end of last term, he broke down again. Now he's looking forward to next season and challenging for a place alongside Alan Smith, Robbie Fowler, Mark Viduka (if he's still here) and Robbie Keane. He said: "So far I've been a one season wonder. I`m not setting any deadlines: when I'm ready, I'm ready, but I'll be trying to get back in the team, even though I've got a battle on my hands.
January 05: Harry Kewell's continuing back injury is proving a puzzler for the doctors at Elland Road. The Aussie star has been resting and getting fairly intensive treatment, but it shows no signs of clearing up. DOL has no idea when he'll return to first team action: "He's just got to rest it up and we can't imagine how long he'll be out for."
January 04: There are apparently still some tickets available for Sunday's clash with Cardiff if you can make it to the ticket office tomorrow (I applied but didn't get any - what gives?). The Euro tickets are also going on sale now: the PSV home game will be on sale to season ticket holders to January 30, then Striker Card holders for a week. Any left will be on general sale from February 7. Away tickets will initially be offered to anyone who has been to seven Euro aways this season and last season - or to anyone desperate enough to cough up two to three times what they could pay for the same trip by going with the official travel club. Other home game ticket news shows Arsenal and Man U as sell-outs, but tickets for most of the other games are still available.
January 04: Norman Hunter - who played at Cardiff in the tie that Leeds won in 1972 on the way to the FA Cup Final - has warned the current team against complacency when they visit Ninian Park. "I can speak from experience because I was in a team that went down at Colchester. We were top of the First Division, as it was then, we were thinking we could just walk it and we got knocked out 3-2." Leeds are on top of the Premier League, on the back of three straight wins and have not conceded a goal in any of those games - and the team will almost certainly be unchanged, since none of the injury-hit players look likely to recover in time to play on Sunday. DOL has warned the players about the danger of not taking the game seriously: "This is going to be a very difficult tie for us. Cardiff have got nothing to lose. It's their cup final and they are going to have their passionate fans right behind them." John Charles - who played for Cardiff towards the end of his career - will be going down to watch the game, and he too cautioned Leeds against the possibility of an upset. But the great man said: "It's a young team but a team studded with internationals, with a lot of recent experience of the world's greatest competitive arenas in European football. I cannot see that team buckling at Ninian Park."
January 04: DOL is backing a healthy eating and exercise campaign run by the Leeds-based National Heart Research Fund. The manager's father, Christy, has suffered from heart problems in the past, and needed urgent surgery towards the end of last year. DOL said: "This campaign is crucial for raising awareness. Adopting a well-balanced diet can become an enjoyable way of life and enables both young and old to participate in a variety of activities that stimulate health and happiness." Too true mate - so how about starting with the catering department at Elland Road and getting them to promote some decent alternatives to the artery-hardening fodder purveyed in the snack bars at the ground?
January 03: Danny Mills isn't going to change his style of play - even though he's just short of another ban and has yet to face the FA over the comments he made to Andy D'Urso after being sent off at Highbury. "That robust style that has got me where I am and I'm just going to keep doing that," he said. He does appreciate that his reputation is causing him the odd problem: "Against West Ham I tripped Trevor Sinclair, first foul that I've made and I'm straight in the book. There were a lot worse tackles."
January 03: An inscribed silver salver and photos stolen from the car of Captain John Hackett have still not been returned, and the pilot whose quick-thinking saved the Leeds team at Stansted airport 3 years ago has appealed for their return. "The salver has little value to anyone other than myself and I would dearly love to have it back." It was stolen from his car while he was actually in Leeds some time ago, but it hasn't come to light and he has appealed for its return, no questions asked.
January 03: Andy Ritchie has returned to Elland Road after a couple of months away from the game following his departure from Oldham last year. He will take on the position of Director of the Leeds Youth Academy - a post created for and then vacated by Brian Kidd as he moved up to handle the first team coaching. Ritchie was a great servant of the club on the pitch, and had been doing pretty well off it too, with Oldham looking well set for promotion and developing a thriving youth set-up that would have been linked with Leeds but for the intransigence of the FA and Football League high-ups.
January 03: Sam Hammam has put £10 million of his own money into Cardiff City - but still reckons that they will be well-beaten on Sunday. "We will lose to Leeds, but they will face an intense atmosphere and it is all about the bigger picture," he said. That bigger picture includes a move to another stadium and getting the Bluebirds into the Premier League, where he believes their only real competition will be Manchester United. He also thinks that the rugby fans in the Principality will be swept out of the way if Cardiff were to qualify for the Champions League. DOL has sounded a slight note of caution over the tie though. He said: "We don't want to go there very vulnerable and we've had an awful lot of injuries." He added: "So many factors can affect FA Cup ties, including form and referees, and it all helps towards the great tradition of the FA Cup. It's that possibility of giant-killing that excites players managers and supporters up and down the country."
January 03: The FA have not yet made a decision on Jon Woodgate's international future, despite what was reported in some papers today. Sven Goran Erickson is believed to have had a long chat with Peter Ridsdale after Tuesday's game, and a debut for Lee Bowyer in the match against Holland looks a racing certainty. However, Woodgate may have to wait a little longer and won't be picked until he has at least served his community service - but a return to the England side for the game against Italy at Elland Road is a distinct possibility.
January 02: The boss had a good deal of praise for centreback Jon Woodgate after his solid displays for the team since his comeback. "He still has a laugh, but he seems more serious, not only with his training, but in the dressing room. He seems to be concentrating a lot better." And the manager thinks he could go a long way: "If he keeps doing all those things then he has the ability to be as good as anybody, even as good as Rio, but it's all down to him." Last night's game was a good one for England hopefuls on both sides, with Sven Goran Erickson seeing a superb display at right back by Danny Mills, solid performances from Rio, Woodgate, Bowyer and Martyn, a great goal from Robbie Fowler and a hard-working stint from Alan Smith - but it's probably David James who did most to advance his cause at the top level, making several superb saves from Viduka, Smith and Fowler, and being left hopelessly exposed by his defence for all three goals.
January 02: Both David O'Leary and Peter Ridsdale have made it clear that there is no rift between them, and there is no chance of the manager moving over the Pennines in the summer to take up the reins at Old Trafford when Alex Ferguson steps down. DOL said: "Some people have made it look as if I have been begging to go to Old Trafford. David O'Leary has never begged for anything in his life. This is not me ruling myself out of the United job, because I have never ruled myself in." He pointed out his record of loyalty to Arsenal as a player, and stated that he wants to stay at Leeds. "I am looking forward to taking the team into Europe next season. That is my future." The club issued a statement before last night's game stamping out all speculation on O'Leary's future. It said: "We have experienced too many occasions recently in which journalists have made no attempt to confirm their most basic facts before writing stories that seriously smear the two of us and Leeds United." The statement stressed the effort that both men had put into building up Leeds so far, and that they were intent on finishing the job. "It is our joint wish that we all work together to achieve the glory we will have deserved and yet some people seem intent on doing anything to deny us. We will not be distracted from our course."
January 02: Mark Viduka reckons that Leeds now have a great chance of staying at the top of the league after last night's 3-0 victory over West Ham. He said: "To be top of the league going into the New Year is something we didn't expect at the start of the season. But if we keep playing as consistently as we have so far then we've got a great chance of staying there." DOL was understandably more circumspect, but indulged in a bit of self-mockery when he said the team was far from the "finished article". "I'm delighted to be top but I want to get to March and be in the shake up with 10 games to go - and then you never know what can happen." In fact, he ran through just about every DOL cliche in the book - if you were marking your O'Leary Bingo Card up during his post-match interview, you'd have been shouting "House!" every 30 seconds. "We've got a ridiculous amount of injuries and we've got to start getting a bit of luck now," he said.
January 01: Great result tonight: two superb crosses from Smiffy and DMIFB made the goals for Vidooks, and Fowler's chip was perfection. And we sat back and rested the players a bit towards the end of the game without giving too much away. Top result, top spot!
January 01: Eirik Bakke now looks likely to miss a large part of the next month's programme after his Boxing Day knock against Bolton. The Norwegian has injured his ankle and faces up to 6 weeks on the sidelines as he attempts to recuperate.
|2008:||October, September, August, July, May, April, March|
|2007:||August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2006:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2005:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2004:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2003:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2002:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2001:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2000:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|1999:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|