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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

November 30: In one final farcical throw of the dice today, Terry Venables has come out and said that David Batty's exclusion from the side came about after he studied videos of his performances last season and took the managerial decision that he could no longer cut the mustard at the top level. It's a shame he didn't take a look at the showreel for a few other players I could name whose contributions this season have varied between patchy and non-existent but who continue to defy logic by their selection. Even if this was his decision - which he is within his rights to make - what does this say about the internal communications at the club that had the board telling all and sundry that Batts was ruled out on medical grounds? I'm not quite convinced yet that we need a new football manager, but now I'm 100% certain that - with the possible exception of the now very efficient ticket office - just about anybody in the club's operational and executive management structures could safely be sacked and replaced by a few randomly selected fruitbats to no noticeable ill effect.

November 30: Sunday's game for Leeds Ladies at home to Fulham has been cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch.

November 30: Leeds really do know how to get the message across, don't they? After yesterday's clearly equivocal backing for Terry Venables from the chairman, the club issued a statement that basically says "It wasn't meant to sound that way honest" and follow it up with an equally half-hearted vote of confidence in the manager. We apparently have a full-time communications director and Max Clifford's services at our disposal: can someone please explain to me why such experienced (and no doubt well-rewarded) individuals can make such a pig's ear out of a simple task? Unless the task itself is not simple - putting out two mutually contradictory stories at the same time maybe? But this is footy not politics and we're from Yorkshire. Figure out what - if anything - it is we want to say. Say it. Then shut it. Bloody simple really but it would seem it's beyond us right now.

November 30: Teddy Lucic and James Milner are available to El Tel for tomorrow's game after being excluded from the UEFA Cup tie on Thursday. Danny Mills is a possible returner after his ankle problem, but it's unlikely we'll see any of the other injured players come back.

November 30: Old boys round-up from today's games. Mark Tinkler scored Hartlepool's second after just 15 minutes as the leaders beat Kidderminster 2-1 at home. JFH scored in the last minute to wrap up Chelsea's 3-0 win at home to Wilko's Sunderland.

November 30: Doobs is backing Leeds to turn it round and start climbing back up the table "We haven't had the run of the ball at the moment so hopefully we can build on Thursday's result and get a bit of momentum going into the New Year," he said. "We've been sticking together. We've stayed together as a unit all through it and the result in Malaga showed that. Things went our way a little bit more - other results haven't gone our way and it just showed what we can do."

November 30: Batts is considering legal action against the club following yesterday's statements in the AGM. His agent Hayden Evans called into question just about every point raised by the club yesterday - and it's hard to believe that Leeds United have provoked such a reaction from a player who is Leeds through and through. Hayden Evans said: "The word retirement was apparently used. It's unfortunate that the public domain of an AGM and immediately thereafter other media channels were used to convey this message so David Batty would like to use the same public arena to ask the following questions. One, when were the club intending to afford him the courtesy of advising him of this enforced retirement? Two, who are the medical advisors and independent specialists? Three, where are the medical records to confirm a persistent knee problem? Four, has an insurance claim been submitted by the club to support their claims of David Batty's inability to continue? Five, if the club are enforcing retirement are they intending to settle his contract? Six, if further independent medical opinion disputes their belief, will David Batty be selected to play for Leeds United? Seven, why have they chosen to ignore David Batty's request for a chance to prove his undoubted ability particularly in the light of recent performances? If we were more sceptical we would suspect the David Batty issue has been used as a smokescreen to avoid answering more fundamental problems at the club." Ouch.

November 30: In an interview in The Age today, Mark Viduka hints at yet another dressing room divide - between Harry Kewell and the rest of the team - for both Australia and at Elland Road. Vidooks is said to be unimpressed with the way Kewell's agent Bernie Mandic has been manoeuvring his client to take up the Socceroos' captaincy from Paul Okon, and said: "I have been here at Leeds for two years and he hasn't spoken much to me. He hasn't said much to Paul Okon lately, either. I don't know why he's like that." Viduka rubbished the stories about a dressing room bust-up between himself and Danny Mills: "I was with Danny all day yesterday. Words were said between everyone after the game against Sheffield United because we were all upset but it was over and done there. Danny is a nice guy and whatever is said after a game stays there."

November 29: David Batty does not have a Premier League future according to Peter Ridsdale at today's AGM. The chairman said that Terry Venables had echoed the view of DOL that Batts' knees were no longer up to the job. "When David Batty signed following his medical we took the view then that he could play. He played quite a lot of games for us and but for the state of his knees from the wear and tear of many years of playing football, clearly we believe he would still be playing.

November 29: Peter Ridsdale is stepping down from his positions at the top level of the FA so that he could "[spend] more of my time in the daily management of the company." With my cynical head on, why exactly is this? Have we sacked or redeployed the people whose duties he will be assuming? Or is this a tacit admission that he has not been giving the role the attention it deserves - and if that is the case how do we know that further problems won't slip under his radar and come back to bite us? I'm not on a witch-hunt here, but with every announcement coming out of the club, I grow less and less confident that the basic operational management and control functions which are taken for granted in normal companies just do not seem to operate at Leeds United. The share price finished up a quarter of a penny on the day at 4.5p - a penny up on it's worst level last week, but still at only 40% of its value at the start of the year and a quarter of the issue price. Don't even think about asking for a decent dividend....

November 29: The AGM of the plc was held today - and Peter Ridsdale was re-elected as chairman with the sort of backing that communist dictators, tyrants and despots have literally killed for. With the backing of the investment houses who account for the vast majority of the shareholding this was never in much doubt - although he did come in for some criticism from individual supporters/shareholders at the meeting (but obviously not those dedicated folks who were still out in Malaga - was this meeting arranged to deliberately exclude the biggest fans, or was it just a case of rampant pessimism by the club, assuming that we'd never make it to the 3rd round of the UEFA Cup?). Ridsdale said: "Leeds United have made real strides over the recent past." Which is true - although some of those have not necessarily been in the direction we desire but let's let that pass for now. He went on: "Despite the realignment of the transfer market this squad remains one of the most valuable in the Premier League and, as has been demonstrated in the past, we will sell as well as buy to ensure the best financial return for shareholders." So our transfer policy's primary aim is to ensure the best return for shareholders. Arguably, we could do that by playing well and winning lots of stuff, so this aim isn't necessarily mutually exclusive with building a winning team. And - somewhat puzzlingly - he mentioned that the youth policy was being "re-established" with the upgrade of Thorp Arch. What has happened to the policy in the last couple of years that knocked it from generating talents like Alan Smith and Jon Woodgate? Returning to this season's abysmal results, he said: "The current performance of the team, despite an acute injury crisis, is clearly not acceptable given both our expectations, and the investment that we have made. Everyone involved is aware of what we need to do and you can be assured that we will do everything possible to correct this position."

November 29: Olivier Dacourt is almost certain to be on his way when the transfer window opens - according to his agent Bruno Satin (who must be heartily tired of taking his client's CV around Europe by now). Satin says that Leeds have agreed to let the Frenchman leave if they receive an offer and he's now waiting for a response from the various clubs who had expressed an interest. Juve had been mentioned with Dacourt seen as a replacement for Edgar Davids, but Davids has not moved and now it's more likely to be Roma. What Satin seems to be ignoring is the fact that just about nobody in Italian football has a red cent to spare on new players right now. This summer's transfer moves were largely exchanges or part of a large chain that ultimately saw very little money change hands.

November 29: After last night's game finished, the local police kept the Leeds fans behind for nearly 30 minutes. This was excessive in the extreme given the lack of aggro shown between both sets of supporters before and during the game, but it seems that they were once again hyped up into believing that Leeds fans are incapable of being trusted not to cause problems. After a long wait in which the two clumps of Leeds fans at either corner of the ground had stood, chanted and generally cheered each other on, a few people tried to convince the police to let us out. This was met by unprovoked violence from the police, who immediately whipped out there batons and set about the nearest Leeds fans - even if they just happened to be the ones who had been sitting at the front anyway rather than those who were aiming to get out. Needless to say the police violence provoked a reaction from a few of the travelling fans and for a moment it looked like it might get really out of hand, but they then seemed to shrug their shoulders and stood back to let the Leeds fans out. But it didn't end there - on the way to the gates outside the ground, the police, in full riot gear, instituted more unprovoked assaults on innocent Leeds fans, and once outside the stadium they also attacked fans who were trying to get taxis back to their hotels or back into the city as they tried to herd everybody onto buses back to the airport. There were British police spotters out there with the Spanish police, and we're left with one of three conclusions. Perhaps there was a breakdown in communication and understanding between the spotters and their Spanish counterparts; maybe it was just that the local police were up for some aggro and wanted to force a reaction from the Leeds fans. Or maybe they had been told to expect "misbehaviour" from us by the British police. I'd like to believe the first of those is the answer - and although we've seen a bit of over-zealous herding from the police in Valencia, we didn't see anything like that sort of reaction in 4 visits to Spain in the Champions League campaign. Sadly I'm most inclined to believe the latter: from the brief chats we had with police and locals in the Ukraine and Florence, it seems that the image that is being fed to local police forces is the old "p*ssed up barbarians on the rampage" one that we left behind some time ago. In a couple of individual cases that label is justified - but on the whole we've become accustomed to trouble-free trips both abroad and in England, and the one surefire way of winding the clock back to the violent days of the past is to wade in with batons flying and brains switched off. Leeds United and the British police need to have a long hard talk about this before the next round (assuming we make it) and the police need to understand that they have plenty of powers to stop "undesirables" travelling if they want to use them, and that Leeds will not sell tickets to people who are known troublemakers. A pennorth of prevention or a pound of cure - and speaking as a Yorkshireman I know what I'd rather have.

November 29: Terry Venables saw some positive signs in last night's result in Malaga. "We're trying to reach something and I do think things are coming together. The boys that played out there played very well and, previously, a lot of them haven't been playing together in the team." He went on: "We defended from the front, made a lot of chances in the first half, and when we had to defend at the end we defended very well." He went on: "I think Malaga are very strong and we have to be satisfied with the result. We did go for it - we didn't sit back. I felt we deserved a goal without a doubt, but sometimes you hope it goes in and it doesn't happen for you." Captain for the night Gary Kelly said that the team had pulled together to help dig the manager out of a hole. "That just shows that the lads are looking out for the gaffer - because we know he's under a bit of pressure - so hopefully that will help a little bit."

November 28: No news updates today - I'm out in Malaga for the game. Here's hoping it's a good one!

November 27: Clyde Wijnhard scored the opener for Oldham tonight - but they had to struggle against non-league Burton in the FA Cup replay tonight. Wijnhard put the visitors in front early in the second half but after an equaliser for Burton took it into extra time, and the home side nearly won it with another goal 20 minutes into extra time. Unfortunately they conceded a late equaliser and Oldham went through on penalties - one more FA Cup dream blown out.

November 27: El Tel is giving some serious thought to quitting! Or at least that's what he's hinting at as he tries to strengthen his bargaining position with the board in the light of Peter Ridsdale's hints tha up to 6 players will need to be sold before he can buy again. "If I feel I am not doing good enough and it's not helping anyone, you've got to have a look at the situation because stubborn is not a strength in my book." That's obvious from the way you stubbornly refused to pick Batts Terry. Errr.. hold on a minute.... "When I've had time I've done well wherever I've gone. Now it doesn't look like I'm getting time. The pressure is on very, very, very early and that's been a shock." Venables also pointed out that the ongoing war between PR and DOL was not helping matters. Leeds will be looking to improve on their recent poor record in Spain (defeats to Valencia, Madrid, Depor and Barca in the last 4 trips) and Venables knows it won't be easy: "In truth, it's been a bad few days and, considering that, the mood is quite good and up. We're a group of guys who are very disappointed with the results and we want to get out there and do something about it. Whatever the challenge is we've got to face it and hit it head-on - and that's what we intend to do." Malaga are evens to win tomorrow night - with Leeds 21/10 on to take the honours. It's hard to believe this is the bookies opinion of the same side that went to the Champions League semis just two years ago, but nobody could dispute that the betting shops know what they're talking about.

November 26: Batts today said that he still though he had something to contribute to the Leeds cause and was hoping to be given a chance in a couple of weeks when he was over his injury. "Maybe I could make a difference to Leeds or maybe I couldn't, but most people get annoyed because I haven't been given a chance to prove it either way," he said. He said that he had no issues with the manager and that TV had always been straight with him, but added: "In an ideal world it would be class if he came along and said I was in the team, but I don't know how bad it is going to get before I'm given that chance." Unless that performance on Sunday has finally broken TV's resolve, I can't see how much worse the midfield could possibly perform without Batts getting a look-in.

November 26: Mark Viduka and Danny Mills are the notable absentees from the squad that will fly out to Malaga in the morning. Mills turned his ankle on his return to training last week and Vidooks came off injured on Sunday at White Hart Lane. Ian Harte returns to the squad after recovering from a calf injury, and Michael Bridges is also named. After getting through the whole game against Sunderland reserves last night, Paul Okon comes into the squad and with Teddy Lucic cup-tied and Dom Matteo and Lucas Radebe both injured, has a good chance of starting out in defence - or maybe in midfield following the ineffective displays by McPhail and Burns on Sunday. James Milner is also ruled out because he's still too young to play according to UEFA'a rules. Best chance for success on Thursday - assuming they're all fit - would be something like: Robbo - Kelly, Woody, Doobs, Harte - Bowyer, Bakke, Okon, Wilcox - Kewell, Smith. Maybe give Kilgallon a go for Doobs, and bring Bridges on for Kewell or Wilcox later on if we want to have a go at them. Robbie Fowler and Seth Johnson are still not fit enough to take part, despite an hour apiece for the stiffs last night. For Malaga, star Uruguayan striker Dario Silva is out after sustaining a rib injury in their game against Alaves at the weekend and midfielder Gerardo is suspended.

November 26: Peter Ridsdale has denied rumours that he is about to cut and run from Leeds. With Adam Crozier's departure from the FA there is a big hole at the top - but Ridsdale has insisted he has no intentions of applying for the post - pointing out that he would hardly have agreed to sit in the selection commitee for the job if he was going for it himself.

November 25: Robbie Fowler's comeback continues - and he scored the goal that gave Leeds the lead against Sunderland in the reserve game at Durham tonight. Stanislav Varga equalised for the Black Cats to leave the game all square at 1-1. Fowler played for just over an hour - and there was further good news for Seth Johnson who looks like he's finally over the worst and a bit of match practice away from making it back into the first team squad.

November 25: DOL says that he's "aggrieved" that he is being blamed for Leeds' current predicament. He said: "I feel very upset that the team I worked so hard to build is where it is. I don't take any joy from that because I still live in Leeds and the fans there still treat me fantastically well like they always did." Hmmmm.... a little bit of a gloss applied there but I guess we'll allow it for now...

November 25: Alan Smith will now miss the Bolton game through suspension after picking up his 5th domestic booking of the season at White Hart Lane yesterday. Unfortunately, Leeds will not be able to appeal against the braindead decision by Steve Bennett since he only dished out a yellow card and not a red when Smith won the ball and shook off a shirt pull and hack from Steffen Freund. If Freund had punched Smithy in the face then I'm sure the Kent official would have found a way of punishing the striker for getting in the way of the German's fist.

November 25: Nick Barmby will be out at least until Christmas - but it could have been much worse. He has damaged - but not snapped - his achilles tendon after catching his studs in the turf during the warm-up yesterday. Such injuries can lead to a year out of the game, so I guess it's another small mercy for which we should give thanks.

November 24: Euro round-up time starts in Spain this week. Malaga were at home to Alaves yesterday and maintained their 9th place in the league with a goalless draw in front of just 11000 spectators. There were no goals either when leaders Real Sociedad visited Rayo Vallecano - but Mallorca failed to take advantage, needing a Walter Pandiani goal to come back from a goal down and take a home point against Villareal. Two first-half goals from Mista saw Valencia close up in third place with a 2-0 win over Valladolid, but the big match of the weekend was the visit of Real Madrid to the Nou Camp. Former Barca favorite Luis Figo finally made an appearance in a white shirt at his old stamping ground and was carded early on and then pelted with missiles from the crowd to such an extent that the ref was forced to take the teams off for 15 minutes. That was the only real action though as the teams played out a goalless draw to maintain their mediocre starts to the season.

Serie A also had a big game this week: Milan were the home side in the San Siro and took the honours against Inter with an early Serginho goal. Milan top the table and Inter slip to 4th after Juve needed a late equaliser to draw at home to Bologna, while Lazio climbed to 3rd with a convincing 4-0 win over Modena. Chievo held on to 5th spot with 10 men and a 1-0 win over Empoli.

The Bundesliga looks like it could be more or less all over by the time the winter break comes round. Bayern are 6 points clear at the top after scoring twice in the opening quarter of an hour at Kaiserslautern - the one-time high flyers now have just one win all season and are 9 points off safety at the foot of the table. Werder Bremen's 0-1 win at Hertha Berlin takes them to second, and Stuttgart's 3-0 win at home to Hannover 96 enabled them to leapfrog Dortmund who went down 2-0 at Wolfsburg.

Nice missed out on their chance to pull out a bigger lead at the top in France after they could only manage a goalless draw at home to bottom side Rennes (wonder if Julien Escude is fit yet and wants to play in Leeds?). However Nice did extend their lead slightly since second-placed Lyon went down 2-1 at midtable Lille, and Lyon are joined on 26 points by Marseille courtesy of a 1-0 home win over Lens. Troyes edged out of trouble with a 2-0 win at the Stade de l'Aube against Sedan - a win that took L'Estac ahead of Le Havre and Montpelier in their relegation dogfight.

Club Brugge are now 7 points clear at the top of the Jupiler League thanks to a 3-0 win at home to third-placed Lierse while second-placed Lokeren were turned over 2-0 at Anderlecht on Friday night. Mechelen are second from bottom, and having held fourth-placed Genk goalless for 15 minutes then let the floodgates open: 4 goals by half-time and 5 after, with a hat-trick for Vandenburgh and a double hat-trick for Sonck saw them home to a 9-0 win. Bottom side Charleroi took the lead at home to Germinal - but a Quansah hat-trick gave the visitors the impetus they needed to go on to a crushing 1-6 victory.

Not much change in Holland this week: 0-3 wins for Ajax and PSV at Heerenveen and RBC respectively kept them in first and second place. Feyenoord slipped up at improving RKC Waalwijk, going down 1-0 and trailing Ajax and PSV by 7 and 4 points respectively.

Grasshoppers and Basle continue their dominance in Switzerland: 3-0 wins against Delemont and Thun see them stay a point apart at the top with Basle 13 points clear of FC Wil 1900. Grasshoppers go to Basle in the title decider next Sunday afternoon.

The Gambrinus Liga sees Sparta back to winning ways - their 1-2 win at Slovan Liberec yesterday getting them back on the front foot. Slavia play at home to Jablonec tomorrow and will need a win to keep the pressure up on their Prague neighbours.

Hapoel Tel-Aviv are back on winning form with a 1-2 win at Ironi Rishon Lezion yesterday, but it's a cup weekend in the Ukraine so no more tales of woe from Zaporizhya this week.

November 24: Downbeat comments from both chairman and manager before and after today's disaster. Peter Ridsdale has started to hint that maybe there will come a point when Venables will be judged on the team's performance: "Results are what determine my job and his job. Football managers are all about results and you don't have to tell anybody that losing five out of seven home games is not acceptable. We have got to get it right sooner rather than later, but that's for all of us at the football club." He went on: "Terry's come in and clearly it's been disappointing so far. What we've got to do now is make sure the squad, which is very strong anyway, starts to perform on the playing field." The manager understands the situation and is starting to get a little bit worried that he'll run out of time before his team turn the corner. He said: "I don't worry I might not be given enough time but I am concerned. If worrying helped I would be doing it all the time, but I am concerned about things and everyone involved has got to be strong and try to work through it." Venables accepts the chairman - and the fans and shareholders - are rightly worried, and said: "It is fair to say no-one is accepting the results but they are there and they have got to be dealt with. I have worked with the players and I haven't got any complaints. I don't think anyone is lacking any drive."

November 24: It is traditional for the losing side to moan about the ref and far be it from me to break that tradition. I'm absolutely fuming about the clueless tactics that gave them the run of the midfield for the first half and about the lack of any sort of defence on the left side of the park. But the performance of Mr Bennett this afternoon would have left much to be desired if it had been given by a blind man with a recently bulging bank account and his wife and family held hostage until the final whistle. He managed to book 7 Leeds players and 3 Spurs players when a vaguely competent individual might have dished out two reds to the home side and maybe 3 yellows to Leeds. Smith and Bowyer were booked for being Smith and Bowyer, Keane and Carr both dived in the area and weren't punished, Ziege and Poyet went in two-footed and stamping and escaped with yellows, Kewell was carded for winning the ball and the blatant hack on Smithy by Bunjevcevic might not have directly prevented a goal, but there was at most one Spurs defender between the Leeds striker and a clear shot on goal when he had his legs taken two yards from the referee. The FA will hold an inquiry automatically as a result of the booking count - and that can only be a good thing because even they can't fail to act on such a substandard display by the match official. Sad thing is, even if the ref had a clue we'd still have lost because El Tel - and most of the players - didn't have the first idea how to unlock the Spurs defence. Bakke in a centreback threesome? McPhail and Burns in front of Wilcox? Viduka on the bench? This was reminiscent of the 1996 Coca-Cola Cup Final when most Leeds fans at the game knew we had no chance as soon as they published the team sheets. What next - a repeat of the infamous "4 centreback defence" that Wilko tried at Maine Road in that 4-0 surrender? Great support from the Leeds end though and barely a single chant of "Venables Out". But for how much longer?

November 24: DOL says that Leeds' current problems are not of his making. Peter Ridsdale have slammed the Irishman's achievements and pointed the finger squarely at O'Leary's underachievements. But DOL pointed out that he'd raised the gates, improved the squad - and that Ridsdale could have refused to sign the cheques at any point. He went on: "I have no argument with Terry and I take no satisfaction from seeing Leeds struggle now. I still live in the area. I bump into the fans all the time and regularly see some of the players. I am satisfied I left them with a top-four squad - nobody was complaining about that when Terry came in and they said they could win the title or after he'd posted victories in the first two games."

November 23: Late action for two old boys today: Jamie Forrester popped up in the 89th minute to score Northampton's third goal at home to Port Value as they won 3-0, and JFH got the faintest of touches on a 90th minute strike for Chelsea as they came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Bolton with ten men.

November 23: El Tel is asking Smithy and Harry to put their pens where their mouths are and sign new contracts. Although Alan Smith's deal still has some time to run, Harry Kewell's deal expires in 18 months and Leeds could see him walk on a Bosman. Kewell has been pretty positive in his statements about his future - but his agent has always done a good job in talking up his client's prospects for a big money move abroad. Venables said: "Obviously things haven't gone very well lately, but it's a good sign they still want to be involved. "As far as I'm concerned they are the sort of quality players we need to take Leeds back to the top again." He pointed out that Peter Ridsdale was the key man when it came to signing deals - although he had made his position known to the chairman and wanted to see them signed up as soon as possible for a long run. Venables also praised Alan Smith - for the way in which he is a role model to the youngsters coming through the Youth team. "You've got young boys coming through now that look up to him as someone who's made it through the ranks just like them. We've had four or five boys now who have come into the team and been involved - not just on the coach or on the bench but actually in the side. I think a young lad like James Milner is spurred on by that, and by what Alan has achieved."

November 23: Gareth Evans is back in training for Huddersfield. Since he left Leeds he has been plagued by injury and has missed the whole season following knee surgery.

November 22: TV is intent on hanging on in at Elland Road and wants to take the club forward to prove a few points. He said: "I am here at a time when I think Leeds must remain tight, stay bold in our decision making and, if I get the time, then I will turn it around. I have been brought up in such a way that I will not be bullied by things like supporters having a go at me. The main thing that concerns me at the moment is the players, the coaching staff, the board, and I would like the supporters to come along with us and join in. That is obvious, I would like them to be on our side, but whichever way they decide to go I will continue with what I am doing." Got to admit that - although I'm still not convinced by some of his team selections, I am warming to the bloke characterised as the Cockney Crook. He might not be perfect, but he talks a consistent line, doesn't lash out at his team or the fans and comes across as a reasonable bloke. He adds: "I have come here to do a job and I would hope the normal people of Leeds would understand that and give me their support. You would expect a fair chance and if I am given that fair chance then I am confident."

November 22: Paul Robinson was he latest player wheeled out by the Leeds hierarchy to back El Tel. He said that the players were worried with the way the results were going but weren't panicking and were pulling together. And he didn't advocate change at the top: "We have to give the manager time to put his own stamp on it. Terry Venables is the right man for the job, but he's a new manager and only came in a few weeks before the start of the season. All the players respect him and in time he will get it right."

November 22: Leeds are in talks with AIK Solna to make Teddy Lucic's move to Elland Road a permanent one. Lucic is pleased with the progress he has made since his arrival in Yorkshire - but spoke about the different level he found himself playing at: "The pace is tremendously high in the matches, and after 75 minutes my legs sometimes feel really heavy." He also seems to get hurt quite easily - but he's a long way to go before he turns into an Okon or a Johnson :-)

November 22: Danny Mills has returned to training after his absence through family problems - and could miss out on Sunday after turning his ankle. Lee Bowyer returns from suspension and Ian Harte from a calf injury, but Eirik Bakke and Michael Duberry are both doubts with ankle problems. Jon Woodgate was forced to miss the midweek England get-together to rest his groin problem and should be fit for the game at White Hart Lane.

November 21: More transfer rumours and rubbish. Man City are *not* interested in Lee Bowyer according to Kev. All this interest in Smiffy is making Leeds a bit twitchy, so he'll be offered a "name your price" deal, now that he's halfway through his current deal and could easily double his pay packet. Harry Kewell will also be offered new terms in a desperate bid to either keep him at the club or get some value out of a transfer: with 18 months of his current deal to run, he could walk away from Elland Road and leave Leeds with nothing to show for it, so signing him up to an extension now - or selling him in January - is the only sensible course of action the plc can take. Meanwhile the on-off saga of Olly's Big Money Move to Italy has woken up from a brief nap to grumble at us again: now it's Juve and Roma - or maybe Inter - that want to spend some money on the French star in January. Providing it's not Lazio, cos they can't pay their bills...

November 21: Craig Farrell has made his loan move to Carlisle permanent. He's done well in his brief stint at Brunton Park with 6 goals in 10 games, and moves on what is initially a free but could be worth up to £50,000 to Leeds depending on his appearances and progress.

November 20: Gary Speed scored the opener for Wales as they continued their excellent start to the Euro 2004 qualifying campaign with a 0-2 win in Azerbaijan. Stephen McPhail also played tonight in Ireland's goalless friendly in Greece. JFH scored for Holland in their 1-3 win in Germany.

November 20: The FA have written to a few players reminding them of their responsibilities but will take no further action following the fracas at the end of the Boro game last month. So that's cleared that up then: it's perfectly okay to spit at your opponents and falsely accuse them of racism as far as the FA are concerned. That's the same FA that is reportedly nearly bankrupt as a result of some hopelessly grandiose schemes draining its finances and putting at risk the new national centre in Staffordshire and the revamp of Wembley. If you would like to make any comments on their latest hare-brained decision, please write to: The FA, Soho Square, Cloud Cuckooland.

November 20: Big sighs of relief all round for Leeds fans who are going out to see the team in Spain next week. The deadline passed on Tuesday for Malaga to confirm the date and time of the game with no word from the Spanish club. And with many Leeds fans already booked on flights based on a Thursday game, the prospect of Malaga requesting a Tuesday match would have thrown many of us into a spin. As it was, that was almost certainly a non-starter with Leeds playing on Sunday afternoon at Spurs. The game will kick-off quite late - 2200 local time - which means that a few folks who were planning on getting a late Easyjet flight back after the game (there's one at 0030) might just have to sneak away early if they are to make the plane.

November 20: Harry Kewell and Stephen McPhail have come out in support of El Tel's management, and shouldering the blame as a squad for the poor results so far. Kewell said: "He's a great motivator - probably the best in the game. It's hard for a new manager to come in and change the way you're playing but the boys are trying really hard and I think you will see it come through." McPhail said: "The players are behind the manager and believe in what he is doing. When the results are not going well it is always down to the players - I don't think the manager can take any blame for what happens on the pitch because he picks the 11 he thinks are the best and we've got to go out and represent him and the fans." Couldn't agree more with that last bit - so let's see someone other than Smithy out there looking like they feel they should be earning their 20 grand a week.

November 20: Alan Smith is the transfer target of ManU (no hope - he's said he'd never play for them) and Inter (more worrying with a £20 million fee being dangled in front of the plc). Inter head honcho Massimo Moratti had Leeds watched in Florence with a view to reinstating their interest in Harry Kewell - but Alan Smith's 4 goals caught their eye and they are now said to be preparing a double swoop for Smith and Ryan Giggs. Meanwhile Robbie Fowler is back in training - but is preparing for a move to Old Trafford for just £5 million according to some reports today. With Kewell and Viduka also reportedly looking to move on/be moved out by the club we'll have gone from having 6 strikers to just 2 in the space of 4 months if this all goes through.

November 19: Robbie Fowler was omitted from the reserve side that faced Manchester City at Belle Vue tonight, still not ready for a sustained comeback after three months of the season. Although none of the players who missed Sunday through injury returned, it wasn't a weak team, including Nigel Martyn and Michael Duberry, and Michael Bridges was once again in the starting line-up as he got ready for his chance to play for the first team again. Leeds were demolished by a blast from the past - a Darren Huckerby hat-trick the feature of City's 0-5 win. Paul Okon picked up an injury and had to leave the fray at halftime, and although Bridges also looked to have damaged his groin he managed to play the full 90 minutes.

November 19: It's two and a half years since we mourned the death of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight, and today we find ourselves faced with the murder of another devoted Leeds fan - although there's currently no suspicion that his murder was football-related. A 23-year-old Norwegian, Egil Braaten, was stabbed as he returned home from the cinema in Oslo. His memory will be honoured by the many Norwegian Leeds fans in the pub in which they gather to watch Leeds games before Sunday's match against Spurs. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

November 19: Lee Bowyer has been linked with a move to Manchester City when his contract expires in the summer. This would hardly be the move upwards he has said he wants - despite Leeds' current poor performances - but it might be the best he can get in the circumstances. There are even rumours today that he could be gone in the January transfer window, never mind by the summer.

November 19: There's no point in the crowd chanting for David Batty to make an appearance now. Club physio Dave Hancock said: "David has a chronic patella tendon problem that will keep him out for some weeks." So he's crocked again - maybe one final bridge too far for Batts: it would be nice to say that by the time he's fit we won't need him, but based on what we've seen so far this season we're unlikely to have toughened up the midfield sufficiently for that to be more than a pipe dream.

November 19: After seeing Craig Farrell score six goals in ten games during his loan spell, Carlisle boss Roddy Collins says he's keen to sign the Leeds youngster permanently. Farrell also seems happy with the setup - but it's still open to question whether returning to Leeds will offer him more opportunities to take his career forward. He said: "I'm very pleased - things are going really well for me. I'm very happy here: I'm enjoying myself and I'd like to stay on."

November 19: Peter Ridsdale gave El Tel a genuine vote of confidence today, rubbishing the suggestion that he had been given just 10 games to turn the team around. Ridsdale's future with the club is also secure - he is understood to have the backing of most of the institutional investors when he stands for re-election as chairman at the AGM in just over a fortnight's time. Commenting on the TV rumours, Ridsdale said: "These reports are all fabrications and fairy stories - I have not set any kind of time scale or anything like that." He went on: "To suggest that I would say Terry's got this long or that long is absolute rubbish. I can't understand where these stories are coming from that are saying this, but they certainly aren't coming from me." Maybe you should ask publicity guru Max Clifford to find out where these stories are coming from then Peter? Unless of course they are coming from a "source close to the board"?

November 19: Jamie McMaster has moved to Coventry City on loan for a month. McMaster has made two substitute appearances for Leeds this season, and has long been regarded as a good prospect. Sky Blues manager Gary McAllister said: "He... has bags of potential. He has played first-team football this season, so he definitely has Premier League ability, but this loan will really give him a good opportunity to prove himself."

November 19: Nick Barmby will be appearing at the Albion Street store in Leeds on Thursday from 1730 to 1830 to sign any Christmas gifts you might like to purchase from the official store.

November 18: Brian Kidd is on the shortlist to take on a coaching role for England following the departure of Steve Mclaren. There are quite a few Leeds fans around who would be very happy to see him take on such a position full-time and let Eddie Gray get some of the passing and moving style back into the squad's static approach - but it's not likely to be a full-time role. The appointment will be made ahead of the friendly with Australia in February (could be an interesting confrontation between Danny Mills and Vidooks or Woody and Kewell if recent on-pitch disagreements are anything to go by). Meanwhile, Woody and DMIFB are both out of the England squad for this week's training get together after Woody came out of Sunday's game with further injury problems and Mills continues to be away for personal reasons. Lee Bowyer missed the Bolton game through suspension - but has a knee injury anyway so was ruled out of the training sessions.

November 18: Leeds Ladies hammered Silsden - 3 divisions below them - 17-0 in the County Cup at the weekend, despite missing 4 internationals who were involved in England's 1-0 defeat in France.

November 18: Peter Lorimer has backed El Tel to turn things around at Leeds despite the current bleak outlook. "Terry looked to be turning the corner after a few good results, including the UEFA Cup win against Hapoel Tel-Aviv last week," he said. "But he was missing 10 internationals against Bolton and had to field a weakened side. These things happen when you are down there. He has not become a bad coach overnight. He needs time and patience to do the job." And he pointed out the financial problems at the club - but added: "I am sure he has plans when the transfer window opens in January to strengthen the squad. He will want players out and one or two in. He has to be given that chance and fans must be patient to see what he does after January."

November 17: We're back to square one according to El Tel. "We worked hard enough and there were plus points in that after going a goal down we twice quickly came back. But their third goal was the one that hurt us because there was not much time left after that, and although we looked dangerous at times, in the end the defensive side of our game wasn't good enough." But he's not holding an inquest straight away: "There's not a lot to say to the players at the moment because everyone is down and really disappointed and naturally so. It's not really constructive to talk about things at this time." In the programme, Peter Ridsdale had written a few words of encouragement for the fans after recent poor performances at home: "We all share your frustration if things aren't going well. This was especially the case in the recent Worthington Cup defeat at Sheffield United. But we need your understanding and support. We will get it right." The jeers and catcalls at the final whistle seem to show that with 5 home defeats already this season, the crowd don't think that there's much time left to do that.

November 17: In Serie A, Juve are back on top after a convincing win against local rivals Torino. They scored two goals in each half, and head former leaders Inter by a point after they drew 2-2 at Roma. Inter had been in front for one minute but goals from Montella and Batistuta had left the home side in pole position with just a minute to spare. A dubious corner for the visitors led to a last-minute goal from Okan, leaving Roma coach Capello threatening to quit Serie A unless the refereeing standard improved. Two pens from Andrea Pirlo kept Milan in third spot, a point back on their city rivals.

Real Sociedad remain top of the pile in Spain, thanks to a goalless draw in the Bernabeu. Mallorca's come-from-behind win at Racing Santander puts them clear in second following Valencia's shock 1-0 defeat at lowly Osasuna. Real Betis came back from a goal down to beat and climb above Celta Vigo tonight, and Deportivo joined Real Madrid, Real Betis and Celta Vigo on 17 points - 5 off the lead - with two goals in the last ten minutes to see off Barca at the Riazor. Our UEFA Cup opponents Malaga shared a goalless draw at Valladolid - but that leaves them in 8th place, just a point behind Madrid and Depor.

Not much change at the top of the Bundesliga: Bayern Munich's 1-0 win over Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund's similar victory at home to 1860 Munich preserve the order and 5-point gap at the top. Werder Bremen found themselves 1-3 down at home to bottom club Kaiserslauten before a second half torrent of goals gave them a 5-3 victory and moved them into third place.

Leaders Nice looked set for a goalless draw at Auxerre - not a bad result in itself - when late substitutes Adekanmi Olufade and Sammy Traore scored twice in the last five minutes to give them a very creditable victory. Lyon kept up the pressure on the leaders with a 4-2 win at home to Girondins Bordeaux last night. A goalless draw would seem to be points dropped for Marseille and a point gained for Troyes - but it was enough to help Marseille into third place thanks to PSG blowing a 1-2 lead to go down 3-2 at Lens. Unfortunately for Troyes, both Le Havre and Montpelier - the teams directly above them - also had goalless draws this weekend so they failed to climb any closer to the edge of the relegation zone.

In the Eredivisie, things got a bit closer at the top thanks to Feyenoord's 1-2 win at PSV: that brings them within a point of their hosts, but Ajax's 6-0 win at NEC Nijmegen took them to the top of the pile as well as bringing their goal difference almost in line with PSV's. Heerenveen started a climb back to respectability with a 1-2 win at Vitesse.

Club Brugge are 4 points clear with a game in hand at the top of the Jupiler after their routine 4-0 win at home to 5th-placed Genk. The race is on for second place though - Lierse came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Mons, allowing Lokeren to take over second place on goals scored after they beat Charleroi 4-1 at home. St Truidense could move above both of them if they win their midweek game at home to Excelsior Mouscron.

Grasshoppers and Basle both drew in this week's round of games in Switzerland - so the Zurich side still head the table by a point, with a massive gap between the side that kept Liverpool out of the next stage of the Champions League and the rest.

Shock of the weekend in the Gambrinus Liga was Sparta's 0-1 defeat at home to Zlin. Slavia closed the gap with their 1-0 win at home to Olomouc, while Slovan Liberec and Teplice kept up the chase on the top two with wins themselves.

Hapoel Tel-Aviv (you remember, the ones who complained about Smithy being a dirty player) were down to 9 men after just 18 minutes today, and visitors Maccabi Haifa were down to 10 men but two goals to the good by then. Hapoel scored again but failed to equalize.

November 17: Back to the old ways after two half-decent games. We lost at home to a side that has managed two wins all season and was on the bottom of the table. And we did it by conceding 3 goals in the last 10 minutes. Bloody brilliant. The crowd chanted for David Batty and Eddie Gray when we were 1-2 down, and although that briefly abated when Vidooks, Smith and Kewell combined to equalise, the boos and jeers rang round the ground by the final whistle. The UEFA Cup looks like being our lifeline this season - but El Tel will need the team to apply some serious focus before next Sunday's trip to Spurs.

November 17: El Tel will be allowed to spend during the transfer window in January, and the latest addition to the list of target is Auxerre's Senegalese World Cup star Khalilou Fadiga. However Fadiga is a left-sided player, and with Kewell, McPhail and Wilcox - as well as the permanently-under-treatment Seth Johnson - also tilting that way, it's questionable how this would improve the current squad given the limited cash available (unless one of those players is about to be offloaded). Ferdinand Coly and Gabriel Milito are the other two usual suspects wheeled out in this batch of transfer rumours - but the big question is who will be offloaded to fund these arrivals.

November 17: Sam Allardyce is keen for his players to keep an eye on in-form striker Alan Smith ahead of this afternoon's game. "If there's nothing in the game and a chance comes his way, he's going to turn it for you. Harry Kewell's playing well too and this is one of the reasons why they have turned the corner in terms of results." Bolton have only managed two wins so far this season, and Allardyce went on: "Their players have started to score goals again and that's something we need to start doing." He's not setting his sights too high: "If we can get a draw, like we did when we drew 0-0 there last year, that would be an outstanding result for us. Anything on top of that would be a major bonus."

November 16: Brian Deane was given his marching orders this afternoon after just quarter of an hour at Millwall with Leicester already 0-2 up. Millwall came back to draw 2-2.

November 16: David Hopkin has finally called time on his playing career after struggling with injuries for some time at Greenock Morton.

November 15: Mark Viduka will be back in the Leeds squad after missing out on the Hapoel game for the birth of his first child. Danny Mills is also likely to return - hopefully able to put his family health problems (the *real* reason behind his absence, not the rumoured bust-up with Vidooks) out of his mind for 90 minutes. Teddy Lucic will be back after missing the UEFA game because he was cup-tied - quite what formation the defence takes is up in the air with Dom Matteo and Lucas Radebe out for a while and Jon Woodgate borderline with his groin injury. Still, Matthew Kilgallon looked pretty solid last night, and Doobs kept it simple and used the big boot rather than play himself into trouble, so either of those two shouldn't cause us much concern if they play on Sunday. For Bolton, Ricardo Gardner misses out through suspension, and Paul Warhurst, Gareth Farrelly and Leeds old boy Mike Whitlow are also injury doubts.

November 15: Lucas Radebe will be out for some time after going off injured in the Artemio Franchi last night. Radebe was looking a bit the worse for wear when he landed awkwardly an hour into the game and was forced to make his way off the field in considerable pain. El Tel said: "It looks like he's torn his groin. We haven't had the scan yet and it may be ruptured." Venables was full of praise for The Chief: "I don't think I've come across an amazing guy like him. He's a champion, as a sportsman and as a person. There he is on the floor on Thursday night and I can't get his attention because he knows I'm trying to get him off and he's saying 'give me five minutes and I'll be alright'." Matthew Kilgallon made an assured debut, but with Dom Matteo also out long-term and Jon Woodgate suffering with a groin strain, we're once again facing a defensive crisis. Still, Rio's out for three weeks himself so who's to say it would have made any difference if he's stayed at Elland Road.

November 15: Some details have emerged about Rio's transfer and what the real payments are. It seems that the basic amount involved is £26 million - but the remaining £4 million or so will not be paid unless ManU win the treble (League, FA Cup, Champions League) TWICE in the next five years. There are smaller payments allocated for lesser success - but the deal was driven by Leeds' need to show a headline amount of £30 million to appease the fans. It's still looking like good business with Rio's injury problems and the under-performance of the rest of the Old Trafford squad though - as I said at the time, they needed 4 or 5 players, not just 1 this summer.

November 15: Smithy was over the moon at his four-goal haul last night. He said: "It drives me on playing for this team because it's something I've always wanted to do - I'm living a lot of peoples' dreams." He was pleased with the team's performance as a whole and had particular praise for Harry Kewell: "Overall we dug in and worked hard. We were positive and killed the game off... Harry Kewell was unbelievable for the second two goals. We knew there would be spaces to counter attack and that's what we did." El Tel gave measured praise to Smithy's performance: "Alan's a good young player and he delivered a powerful performance. He's still got things to learn and he knows that, but he's a good listener and you can try and implement different things."

November 15: Back in England after a few delays and the good word is that we're at Malaga in the next round. Oh, and Smithy is a hero but Kewell's not bad either. And Matthew Kilgallon could be Woody's younger brother.

November 15: Leeds old-boy Derek Lilley scored twice as many goals for Dundee United as he did in his entire Leeds career the other night - his two goals being the difference between United and Livingston and earning them a place in the semi-final against Celtic north of the border.

November 13: No news updates today on account of me being in Pisa and Florence. Fingers crossed for a good game!

November 12: Ex-Leeds youngster Warren Feeney scored the only goal of the game for Bournemouth in injury time as they beat Leyton Orient in tonight's LDV Trophy match.

November 12: More and more squad worries for El Tel ahead of the trip to Florence. Mark Viduka will stay behind after becoming a father for the first time and Danny Mills' "personal reasons" persist so he won't be travelling with the squad. Teddy Lucic is cup-tied and Dom Matteo has a long-term injury so unless Jon Woodgate recovers from a groin strain we're likely to see Michael Duberry and Lucas Radebe at the back together, with Ian Harte and Gary Kelly at full-back. Midfield is less of a problem - although Olivier Dacourt is also a serious doubt with a groin problem - and up front we'll be hoping that Alan Smith is over his knee problem so that he can partner Harry Kewell or Michael Bridges.

November 12: We've really got a grand bunch of fans haven't we? After barely three months in charge, El Tel has been on the receiving end of angry letters from the fans - but ever the diplomat, he played it down. "I don't call it hate mail. I call it mail that is not supportive!" He went on: "The supporters have every right to their opinions, but they have to realise that climbing on our players' backs only helps the opposition. We are all in this together and I am confident we will come through it with our heads held high." Got to say that although I disagree with some of his tactics and selections, he does put on a great public face and is prepared to justify and stand by his decisions rather than stomping off in a huff and rubbishing anyone who dares to question his judgement like some recent Leeds managers I could mention.

November 12: It's reported today that Tomas Repka refused to come out for the second half on Sunday after being pulled all over the place by the Leeds attack. He apparently never wants to play for West Ham again. That's funny - after his first half display on Sunday there's quite a few West Ham fans who share that sentiment, and had been applauding Roeder for his decision to pull the hapless defender off at the break.

November 11: Stephen McPhail and Michael Bridges played the entire game tonight as the reserves beat Bradford 1-3. Nigel Martyn and Michael Duberry also played the whole game, and Paul Okon also got an hour on the pitch - maybe we'll actually see him in the first team squad by Christmas. James Milner also played the full 90 minutes following his debut appearance on Sunday. McPhail and Bridges (with two) scored for Leeds.

November 11: Leeds will face Gillingham at Elland Road in the third round of the FA Youth Cup. The game will be played on Tuesday 3 December with a 1900 KO.

November 11: Danny Milosevic doesn't have much luck when it comes to loan spells: last time he went on loan he got injured at Wolves and came back in short order. This time round he landed awkwardly when playing for Plymouth against Oldham (at least he got out on the pitch this time) and has returned to Leeds for treatement. If he recovers in time, he could be back at Home Park for their FA Cup tie at the weekend.

November 11: In the ongoing orchestrated campaign from the Elland Road hierarchy against David Batty, the latest piece of spin is that Batts is such a loner and doesn't care for the club or anyone other than himself that he didn't even want to get involved with the up and coming players at Elland Road. Venables said: "I can understand how people feel when results are not going well, but I believe he cannot get around the field enough at this stage of his career to play in the Premier League. I offered him a chance to coach the youngsters and he didn't want to do that. I felt it might have been helpful for all of us. Tomorrow: how David Batty has secretly joined Al-Qaeda.

November 10: Euro round-up time, and we find that Hapoel Tel-Aviv will come into the second leg on Thursday on a positive note - they managed a 0-2 win at Hapoel Beer-Sheva. Over in the Ukraine, Metalurg Zaporizhya were on the end of a 0-5 hammering by Arsenal Kyiv.

There was a round of Serie A games midweek in which all three leading contenders won (though Inter's 3-4 win at Empoli was probably closer than they'd have liked). But only Juve managed a win this weekend - and that was a 2-1 victory at Milan's expense this afternoon. Inter slipped up 1-2 at home to Udinese yesterday, despite taking a third minute lead through Christian Vieri, cutting their lead to just a point ahead of Juve who lead Milan by two in turn. Chievo are having another great start to the season and sit in 4th place - ahead of giants Lazio and Roma - following their 4-1 win over Atalanta.

Real Sociedad drew 1-1 at home to Deportivo La Coruna yesterday but second-placed Valencia needed to come from behind to maintain the gap at the top, drawing 1-1 with Real Betis in the Mestalla. Mallorca continue their excellent run - two goals from Walter Pandiani helping them to a 3-1 win over Alaves to go level on points with Valencia. Real Madrid needed a last-minute Figo strike to overcome Rayo Vallecano 2-3 and Barca also left it pretty late before scoring the only goal of the match from the spot against 10-man Villareal. Tie of the weekend was tonight's TV game between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao: an Urzaiz completed his hat-trick for the visitors with 8 minutes left and must have thought that was enough to win the game, but Mari completed a hat-trick of his own in the final minute to leave the match all square at 3-3.

Big game weekend in the Bundesliga, and just to keep things boring over there, Bayern came back from a goal down to beat nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in a match that saw two Dortmund players dismissed. Bayern now lead Dortmund by 5 points, with 3 teams 1 point further back. Heading that pack of three is Stuttgart who had Ganea's hat-trick - all scored in the last fifteen minutes - to thank for their 3-2 win at home to Bochum.

November 10: El Tel was happy that the good play he's seen in previous games finally translated into a result today. "The crosses were particularly good and we did all sorts of damage. We did earn that lead at half-time. That was us out there today and we made it hard for them to get back." Looking forward he's positive but realistic: "Hopefully this win can take us forward, but we know we have still got a lot of work to do." Glenn Roeder insists he's not leaving Upton Park - but with no home wins this season and ManU arriving next, the positive attitude his side displayed in their second half comeback might not be enough. "I don't live in fear... Those things are out of all managers' hands," he said. "When you are in the bottom five you are in the spotlight, but I am not fearful of tomorrow. I am sure the board will talk to me as and when they are ready to."

November 10: Leeds Ladies are out of the Premier League Cup after this afternoon's 3-0 defeat by Arsenal at St Albans. Leeds started off badly, conceding a Sammy Britton own goal after 7 minutes and were 2-0 down before 20 minutes were up.

November 10: At halftime today we were cruising - playing the ball around well and dominating the game and deserving most of the 4-1 lead we carried into the break. Quite what El Tel said to the team during the interval is unknown - but whatever it was let's hope he doesn't say it again! We let them get right back into it in the second half, and although it was good to see 16-year-old James Milner make his debut, surely you don't want to be bringing on an inexperienced youngster when you're desperate to hold on to a lead in the closing minutes of a tight game. Milner had a couple of good touches but gave the ball away in a move that nearly ended with an equaliser. After I've slated Kewell and Vidooks for underperforming and Barmby for being anonymous and not touching the ball, they come up with four goals between them - great stuff, keep it up guys and you might come close to justifying your wage packets. Playing a genuine left-winger who can tackle as well as get forward did wonders for Ian Harte, with Wilcox's defensive skills giving our off-form left-back a bit more space and time in which to operate. Ref Steve Dunn might as well have been replaced by Clive Dunn: 8 bookings in the game and only maybe 3 justified, but he bottled out of issuing a second yellow to Schemmel in the closing minutes for what was one of the most blatant fouls of the game. Still, we've got a win and all is now right with the world. Venables in!

November 10: Random factoid department. The last time Leeds were 15th or lower in the league was when the team was in a state after the departure of Wilko. It took GG the best part of a season to stabilise things after that - surely Venables deserves half as long?

November 10: Man City must be a bit miffed. After winning the last ever Manchester derby to be played at Maine Road (with a rather below-par performance from R** F******** for the visitors) they find themselves shoved off the back pages by Mark Bosnich's nasal ingestions and stories about the prospects for El Tel's future. Former Leeds chairman Bill Fotherby (who made some rather sound financial and transfer decisions of his own I recall) gets in on the act by having a dig at Peter Ridsdale for being so free with the money to DOL. But he's not calling time on TV yet: "[Ridsdale] was wrong to let O'Leary spend &#a613;90million before booting him out. O'Leary spent fortunes, and Venables has not seen a penny. He was a brave man taking the job, and it is far too early to make a judgment on him." And Leeds old-boy Peter Lorimer also has sympathy for Venables: "Terry did not get the job until just before the start of the season," he said. "In terms of the financial situation and the mood in the dressing room, I feel David left the place in a mess to be honest. He went on about what a great buy Rio Ferdinand was, but what about the money he paid for Michael Duberry and Seth Johnson? Also, you have to question the commitment level of some of the high earners." Which echoes the thoughts of most of us. I don't think TV should be given the boot if we fail to win today - but equally I think that we need to see clear signs of an improvement before we let him spend what meagre resources we do have in January: if we're not on the up by Christmas then it's time to get those letters off to Santa asking for a new man in charge. Maybe Sven would like a crack at it?

November 09: Another goal for Gary McAllister this afternoon - but no joy as he saw his Coventry side reduced to 10 men in the first half and then concede a late own goal to lose 3-1 at Burnley. Mark Tinkler equalised for Hartlepool at Exeter and emerged on the winning side when 'Pool scored again to take the match 1-2.

November 09: The Chelsea away game has been brought forward to Tuesday 28 January from the Wednesday night. It is still due to be screened live on Sky and will remain on the Tuesday even if either club is involved in an FA Cup 4th Round game on the previous Sunday. The game at Old Trafford has been picked by Sky as well (what a surprise) and will kick off at 1230 (wow - a whole 30 minutes later than normal) on Saturday 1 March. If Leeds are still in the UEFA Cup, the game moves back by 24 hours and will still be televised.

November 09: Dom Matteo has suffered ligament damage as he recuperates from his op and will fly out to see a specialist in Germany next week. Unfortunately this looks like keeping him out of the side for a further 3 months - so Lucas Radebe's fitness will probably undergo a serious examination in a crucial period for the club. He had been expected to have an outside chance of playing at Upton Park tomorrow, and said: "I'm devastated not to be playing because it's been a tough few weeks for the team and, like the rest of the injured players, I'm desperate to be out there helping us get results. The physios and medical staff have worked round the clock to aid my recovery, but it just isn't happening at the moment so we've decided the best thing for me to do is to see another specialist."

November 09: As if all the other problems besetting the club weren't enough at the moment, we now find that Alan Smith is set for talks with Peter Ridsdale. Originally this was supposed to be about his disciplinary problems and the support the club was offering him but it seems that the future of the striker - and the chairman and manager - will be discussed as Smith is worried over what would happen to his England chances if his beloved hometown club continued to fail to shine.

November 09: TV has been told that the wallet will be unlocked for him when the transfer window opens in January. As well as Ferdinand Coly, Darren Anderton, Brett Emerton and Kleberson have been mentioned as possible acquisitions, so at least TV does seem to realise that the midfield is where we need to focus our improvements. "The club has said they will do everything they can to help me acquire players at that stage, so we've got to get prepared for that," he said. "I would like to keep the squad as it is, although there may be one or two who want to leave, but if I can add two or three players then I'll be happy." Anyone want to open a book on who those one or two are?

November 09: Young Aussie defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff has joined Rochdale on a month's loan - possibly to be extended - to get some real first team experience. He made his debut this afternoon in the 2-0 defeat at Oxford this afternoon.

November 08: Eddie Gray revealed that he wasn't working too well with DOL at the back end of last year - but he didn't have any complaints about that. "David was obviously doing things his way and he should have done them his way because he was manager at the club. For whatever reason, it did not work out. Over the last three or four years the club has taken an upward turn and all credit to David for that." He thinks that the current squad aren't performing at their peak at the moment (really?) and backs El Tel to pull Leeds out of the current slump. "I think the players have always got to look at themselves. Players have got to have a great desire to play the game and want to win, and I've said that to them... I think Terry's seen it all before and I think he knows what he wants. "He's a footballing man and I think he'll turn it round here."

November 08: Leeds are looking to get some bodies in when the transfer window opens in January: Gabriel Milito - rated as the best defender in the domestic game in Argentina - has been tracked by the club for a while, and Ferdinand Coly (just give him the number 29 shirt and we're sorted) is refusing to sign a new contract at Lens and is reportedly looking for a move to England.

November 07: Brief news round-up on account of me being in work for 16 hours today. Leeds have threatened to ban for life anyone identified as one of the seat-throwers from last night. Whether South Yorkshire plod will take similar action against their officers who attacked Leeds fans without provocation is another matter. Meanwhile El Tel continues to believe he is secure in his position but both Venables - and Peter Ridsdale - will only be prepared to put up with the personal abuse for so long. Still - three league wins and progression to the next round of the UEFA Cup will have everyone all smiles again and it will all be forgotten!

November 06: After the final whistle at Bramall Lane a few hundred Sheff U fans invaded the pitch and celebrated their win in front of the Leeds end. Sad to say quite a few of the Leeds contingent responded by ripping up seats and throwing them down onto the taunting Blades. Mounted police drove the home fans back to their stands, and the South Yorkshire force kept the away fans back for some time afterwards - but that just gave them the chance to get together to call for the head of both manager and chairman. Is it really that bad? I thought that TV would improve things for us - but the sad thing is we seem to have got worse since last season - not in defence where the high-profile departure of Rio Ferdinand got so many folks agitated - but in the middle of the park where we have exactly the same resources (+Barmby) as last term. The service to the front players - and their finishing - hasn't been great, but the lack of a solid foundation in the middle of the park is killing us - and yet there doesn't seem to be any coherent response or move to improve or change that from the manager's seat. We shouldn't take a short-term view and judge the manager on the last 3 results - but neither can we afford to allow him infinite time to get the team playing and winning his way. In 16 competitive games under his control we have won just 6 and scored 17 goals - and 6 of those came in the first two matches against Man City and West Brom. If we continue with that sort of success ratio, then Venables will have to go - but the Big Question is how far the board are prepared to let this go on before finding their hand forced - or will we turn the corner and find ourselves happy with manager and team, seeing them challenge for the FA Cup and a European place in spring? Time will tell...

November 06: Not an awful lot you can say to this. After Tranmere and Leicester in the last few seasons, once again we've blown a late lead in the League Cup against opposition we should be trouncing. The players and the manager need to look to themselves and ask themselves what they are doing wrong and what they can do to put it right. The talent is there - but is the determination? Positives? The return of Jason Wilcox to the side - he was pretty effective on the wing by all accounts. Other than the obvious, the main negative for me was the reluctance of TV to throw in a few youngsters for this game: where were McMaster, Richardson, the much-trumpeted Milner, Singh and co. Or even Nigel Martyn and Gary Kelly rather than Robbo and Mills? But having decided to field a full first team because we needed to win this cup as what now looks like our best chance of Europe next year and then to go and blow it really is too much. Pack a big bag when you come down for the West Ham game Terry - unless you can sort things out in the next 3 days, you might not need to travel back up to Leeds on Monday.

November 06: News for the weekend - and it now looks as if Glenn Roeder will be able to call Trevor Sinclair back into his squad despite the midfielder undergoing surgery for a fracture cheekbone after their game against Liverpool. He's still in pain and will need to wear a mask but such are the problems of the Upton Park outfit at the moment that Roeder might have to ask him to take the chance and play. After tonight's defeat at home to Oldham, Roeder and TV are both under massive pressure for a win - and defeat could be the final straw for the loser.

November 06: El Tel says he's standing firm on the David Batty issue. Following the midfielder's comments at the weekend, the manager said: "He's trying to put the record straight and I don't have a problem with that. I just thought, looking at him and the games, that he wouldn't be involved." He went on: "I know how popular he is at this club, but sometimes all good things come to an end. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen. I took a decision and time will tell if I am right."

November 06: There could be yet another loan spell lined up for Harpal Singh. After his successful spell at Bury and brief stay down at Bristol last season, Singh is now being hunted for a month's stay at Bradford to see what he can do for their first team.

November 05: Blades boss Neil Warnock had a few words of sympathy for El Tel after hearing the fans chant for David Batty and DOL on Sunday. "I know what fans are like. It's like that everywhere. It would be like that at Manchester United if they had the same sort of results." Warnock went on: "I'm afraid the expectations of fans nowadays far exceed realisation. I think reality has to come into it, but they are not in the real world at times, but that's life and supporters." He also believes that Leeds are a good side, and it's only a matter of time before we rediscover our form: "They are having a little bit of a blip, but when you have players like they have then it's only a matter of time... They will have a good period in the next few weeks - I just hope it doesn't start on Wednesday night."

November 05: Former Leeds scoring ace Bobby Davison warned the current team not to be complacent about tomorrow night's game. "Along with Portsmouth, Sheffield United are the best side I've seen outside of the Premiership," he said. He pointed out ex-Bradford star Stuart McCall as their key player, but thinks that Leeds' pace (has he seen Viduka sprint?) will be the key factor at Bramall Lane. Davison played briefly for the Blades as well as having a long stint with Leeds, but he's a long-time Leeds fan and will be hoping for an away win tomorrow.

November 05: Danny Milosevic has signed on a month's loan with Plymouth Argyle as injury cover for the Pilgrims. Meanwhile talk of a similar move to Forest for Michael Bridges have been rubbished by Leeds - not surprisingly given the lack of bite up front we've seen recently.

November 05: Mick McCarthy today parted company with the Republic of Ireland "in the best interests of the team". With the Roy Keane furore fanned by a variety of Irish press sources with a grudge against the Yorkshireman, the poor start to the qualifying campaign for Euro 2004 gave them enough ammo, and after six years he's finally decided he's had enough. And his replacement? Well, it won't be our naive young ex-manager according to the man himself: "I would love to manage my country one day but if the Football Association of Ireland were to approach me now I would have to decline," he said. He has more immediate ambitions: "I want to get back into mainstream, day-to-day football management and I would really like to be involved in that again first." You never know David, there could be a vacancy at Elland Road soon if current form continues!

November 05: In a move probably designed to help out Channel 5 but guaranteed to annoy people on a tight travel schedule, the game in Florence will now kick off at 1700 CET (1600 GMT) - two and a half hours earlier than previously advised. Guess that means we either get to spend more time in Florence after the game celebrating - or alternatively get the chance to hop on an early train for a long night out back in Pisa if the local carabinieri prove unfriendly.

November 04: Lee Bowyer is reported to be on the point of making a decision about his future. Well duh - he is allowed to talk to other clubs from January after all. He's still not signed for Leeds on improved terms of around 40 grand a week and said: "Only a handful of people know all the ins and outs of why I haven't signed so far, but that does not mean I'm not going to sign. I like it here and I'm planning to have a meeting and decide over the next few months." Still sounds like he's on his way to me - though of the top teams I can only see Chelsea as being a side that would be improved by his presence - and they're flat broke so won't want to take on another massive drain on the wage pot.

November 04: It's not looking good on the fitness front again. With the tricky trip to Bramall Lane just two days away, Teddy Lucic, Alan Alan Smith and Eirik Bakke all picked up injuries against Everton - adding to Olivier Dacourt's knock from the Hapoel game and the longer-term injuries to Fowler, Johnson and Dom Matteo. Lucas Radebe also played through the pain of a knee injury on Sunday. Our ever-perceptive manager said: "We're in the wars a bit and it doesn't look too good for Wednesday."

November 04: Lucas Radebe has said that his team-mates were embarrassed by their recent poor form. He said: "The players feel bad and embarrassed and very disappointed. It's up to us now and we have to look at ourselves. It's not working and I can't put my finger on why. We have to work harder because we're not working hard enough." He's obviously been watching the same game as us, because he said: "We didn't create any chances and we looked disjointed. We were in a hurry to get a result and get a goal and things just can't happen like that."

November 03: Inter stay on top of Serie A with a 0-2 win at Como that was harder than the scoreline suggests: the hosts held out for nearly an hour before succumbing to goals from Christian Vieri and Alvaro Recoba. Milan got back on track with a 2-0 win over Reggina thanks to goals from Filippo Inzaghi and Rivaldo, and third placed Juve also won with a struggle - Alessandro del Piero's header being the difference between the champions and hosts Modena. Roma were expecting an easier afternoon than they got when Perugia came calling: after seeing Antonioli dismissed in the first half, Roma conceded two goals before the half-time whistle but 5 second half minutes saw goals from Panucci and Totti square the match.

Depor and Real Madrid shared a goalless draw at a half-submerged Riazor on Saturday - they remain in 6th and 7th place respectively. Real Sociedad's excellent start to the season continued with a 0-1 win at Villareal, but Valencia are sitting on their shoulder following a 1-0 win over Espanyol. Barca needed a late equaliser from Navarro to take a point from Racing Santander - Barca are 8th in the table and just one point ahead of Santander.

In the Bundesliga, Werder Bremen continue to do favours for Borussia Dortmund: after rolling over for them last week, they found some form in time to beat Bayern 2-0, allowing Dortmund to close the gap at the top to 2 points after they thought they'd dropped points with a 1-1 draw at Hamburg. Bremen are in 4th - equal on points with 1860 Munich and trailing Dortmund by just 1.

Big surprises in France this weekend: leaders Auxerre allowed Lens to come back from a goal down and win 3-1, but they remain top after PSG came back from a goal down at Sedan but then let their under-performing hosts score twice in the second half. Nice could have taken their chance to go top if they had won at Lyon, but needed a last minute goal from Abardonado to secure a share of the points, so Marseille took advantage with a 2-0 win over Sochaux to join PSG and Nice on 23 points - just 1 behind the leaders.

PSV could only manage a goalless draw at Twente Enschede on Saturday, so Ajax's 3-0 win over Willem II this afternoon put them 2 points clear of the Eindhoven side. Feyenoord's 0-2 win at bottom club Groningen keeps them in contention but they still trail PSV by 4 points. In a worrying turn of events, Heerenveen seem to be putting a bit of a run together: after an abysmal start to the season they are starting to get back in touch with safety after winning their second game in a row - De Graafschap remain just one place off the bottom after the 3-1 win.

Club Brugge continue to top the Jupiler League, despite leaving it to the last minute before grabbing an own-goal winner at Mons. Second-placed Lokeren could only manage a 1-1 draw at Excelsior Mouscron and now trail Brugge by 4 points. Turn-round of the weekend was undoubtedly at Antwerp today when the hosts let Germinal get into a 0-3 lead after less than half an hour, only to run out 5-3 winners by the final whistle.

Grasshoppers came from a goal down to beat Lucerne 3-2, but with Basle also overturning a 1-2 deficit to beat FC Zurich 5-3 on Friday, there's no change at the top in Switzerland. Steaming up into 3rd place comes FC Wil 1900 - 11-3 victors at home to St Gallen, whose fans must have thought they were in for quite a good afternoon when they took a 3rd minute lead.

Sparta Prague, Slavia Prague and Slovan Liberec all play tomorrow in the Gambrinus Liga, so not much to report in the Czech Republic. Teplice's 3-0 win over Jablonec and Banik Ostrava's 4-0 victory at home to Hradec Kralove moves them temporarily ahead of Liberec - but their home game against third-bottom Zlin should guarantee them three points.

Our current UEFA Cup opponents face Maccabi Petah Tikva tomorrow night, while poor domestic form continues to dog previous opponents Metalurg Zaporizhya who went down 2-1 at Metalist Kharkiv despite being a goal up inside 5 minutes.

November 03: El Tel bemoaned Leeds' bad luck following the team's sixth defeat of the season. "Things are not running for us. People will look at the facts and our position in the league which is not good... it's just that we are not quite getting the results." He said that the players were very down after the result: "It's the first time I have seen them so bad, but I would expect that. That's how I want it to be because they know results should be better. To lift them, that's my job at the moment. That's the job for all of us." In theory, the visit to Bramall Lane on Wednesday should be a formality - but the team's recent poor form make it imperative that Leeds come away with a win - and the injury list means it's won't be a cakewalk. The next league game at lowly West Ham is followed by the evenly-balanced return leg with Hapoel Tel-Aviv: in three games' time, our season could be finished and TV could be contemplating a return to TV. Or we could bounce back, win all three and push on with renewed vigour and vitality. We keep hearing from the players how much they're enjoying working with Venables - now it's down to them to show just how keen they are on continuing that relationship.

November 03: Leeds Ladies recorded an excellent 2-3 win at Charlton this afternoon. With two early goals from Sue Smith and Michelle Walsh, Leeds surprised their hosts, and although Charlton pulled a goal back before half-time, Stacey Daniel's goal quarter of an hour before the end proved decisive.

November 03: Lee Bowyer's fifth yellow card of the season - picked up for a stupid challenge in injury time - lands him with a suspension which rules him out of the Bolton game in a fortnight. Alan Smith misses next week's West Ham game also suspended but now carrying an ankle injury, and Teddy Lucic was forced off at half-time with an injured hip.

November 03: Whoops! There goes another three points. Despite a heroic display by Robbo a lacklustre Leeds side never did enough to seriously trouble Richard Wright, and it seems that we'll need to have a whip-round to buy the team a new telly, because theirs must have broken if they didn't see Rooney's goal against Arsenal and realise what a threat the young lad could be.

November 03: David Batty revealed to today's Sunday Mirror that he had been told by El Tel that he was surplus to requirements almost as soon as the Cheerful Cockney arrived at Elland Road. "He pulled me in and told me I could leave. People don't know that," said Batty. "He wanted me to go out on loan or leave but I've got another 18 months left on my contract and I have every intention of staying and seeing it out... I love playing at Elland Road in front of our fans. I don't want to go to another club."

November 02: Old boys news today sees three old boys bagging a pair - with varying results. Jamie Forrester was on the scoresheet yet again - a first half double helping Northampton overturn the form book and beat Luton 3-0. Gary McAllister scored in each half as Coventry came from a goal down to beat Rotherham 2-1. Less good news for Andy Gray - he scored in open play and then from the spot in the final minute of the match, but that wasn't enough for Bradford as they went down 3-2 at Brighton - which must go down as a bit of a shock since the hosts had lost the previous 12 games.

November 02: Lucas Radebe says that we shouldn't write off Leeds' chances of making it into the Champions League just yet. "We believe we can still make it into the four. Terry Venables has brought in some fantastic new ideas and his influence has been massive. Everyone here believes in him and what he's doing. I know the results haven't gone well, but sometimes these things take time. There's no reason at all why we cannot finish in the top four again and that's our aim." Smithy is looking for the team to build on Thursday's performance and get the league season underway: "We showed a real togetherness on Thursday and we knew it was important that the fans got behind us. The manager has got his own ideas and it's frustrating that results haven't gone how everyone wants, but if we all stick together we can go on and build bigger and better things."

November 02: El Tel knows we're in for a tough one tomorrow, and reckons we'll need to be on top form to take the three points: "David Moyes has taken stock and is doing well there - but we've got a good spirit and we're looking to build." And he's not putting any faith in Leeds' long unbeaten home record against the Toffees: "Stats like that don't mean an awful lot. All it does is make you more determined to alter a sequence."

November 01: Peter Lorimer will be signing copies of his autobiography - the imaginatively titled "Leeds and Scotland Hero" - at WH Smiths in the White Rose Centre from 1430 tomorrow.

November 01: After limping off last night, Olly is doubtful for Sunday's game with a groin strain. Lee Bowyer should be over the flu, and Teddy Lucic will want to build on his good start at Boro by returning to the first team against Everton. Dom Matteo remains sidelined after his op - it's now looking like it will be the West Ham game which will be the earliest opportunity for him to play again. Thomas Gravesen faces a late fitness test for the game, and David Weir returns from suspension for the visitors. Lee Carsley's goal at West Ham might be enough to persuade David Moyes to give him a start, but wonderkid Wayne Rooney will start the match on the bench.

November 01: Jamie McMaster has signed a 2-year extension to his contract which will keep him at Elland Road until 2005. He made his debut at Blackburn in the league, and has been part of the England youth team set-up. 16-year-old James Milner - who was told by UEFA that he was too young to participate in last night's game - has been given squad number 38 as El Tel looks to bring through some of the younger players - maybe with an eye on next week's Worthington Cup tie at Bramall Lane.

November 01: Harry Kewell thinks that last night's win could kickstart the season for Leeds. "It has been a bit hard but we are finding our feet now. A league win is long overdue, so hopefully it will come against Everton and this victory against Tel Aviv will kick-start our season. He was happy that he had finally been the one to break the deadlock against Tel-Aviv: "We felt the ball was never going to finish up in the net. "It was almost as if the goals had shrunk, but it was a really good team performance."

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