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July 31: Harpal Singh will spend a three-month loan spell back at Bury. The Shakers confirmed the deal today, and manager Andy Preece said: "Harpal has great skill and pace and he did very well for me when he was here last time. I'm delighted he has agreed to return and I hope we can sort something out so he stays for the season." Bury are gradually restructuring after sailing very close to the financial edge-of-the-world, so Preece is unlikely to be able to pick up any players with fees attached, and short-term loans - that don't tie the club to a longer salary commitment - will continue to be favoured until things get back on an even keel.
July 31: Well, I did say yesterday that Danny Milosevic must know something about transfer movements at Leeds that we didn't. Late news today says that Nigel Martyn will agree to a £500,000 move to Stamford Bridge, knowing that he'll be Carlo Cudicini's deputy, after Peter Reid indicated that Milosevic and Scott Carson would be his first choices to back-up Paul Robinson. Of course, getting another one of the higher earners off the wage bill might also have something to do with it, and maybe this is Reid taking the risk that Robbo will now stay, and not suffer from too serious a loss of form or injury. Or maybe this is the chairman telling Reid that if he wants to sign any more players, the wage bill needs to go down first. It will be a shame to see Martyn go: he's done brilliantly for Leeds and has never been anything less than professional in his attitude, despite seeing his England chances go up in smoke as he spent last season on the bench. I hope he stays, but wish him all the best if he chooses to move on.
July 31: Michael Bridges and Dominic Matteo are hopeful of playing some part in tomorrow night's friendly at the Kingston Communications Stadium. Both have been building up their fitness and should be ready to take at least some part in the game. Lucas Radebe is still not fully over his knee op - and will be kept in cotton wool anyway as Reid tries to get as much of a season out of him as possible. Facing Leeds will be old boy Jamie Forrester - much travelled but still only 28 and settling in nicely at Hull after arriving at the start of the year.
July 31: Alan Smith was in the papers today saying that he never wanted to leave Leeds. In FourFourTwo, he says that he'd stay even if Leeds were relegated and if such a move damaged his England career. He said: "I think it's easy for people to walk away when you've been relegated, but it takes a better type of person to stay and say we're all going to stick together and make sure the club gets back to where it belongs." And at the back end of last season, he knew what he had to focus on: "I think England is important on a personal level, but I think the priority - both for the club and me personally - was to stay in the Premiership. It would have been disastrous if we had gone down." If we had another 10 players who had shown that sort of commitment and attitude last season, I'm pretty certain we'd be looking to another season in Europe rather than a potentially tense and dour struggle to get into the top half of the table.
July 30: Harpal Singh willl be playing in a trial game with Bury tomorrow night. He was there on loan for a spell in 2000-01 and went down a storm with the Gigg Lane faithful but has struggled to make an impression at Leeds or indeed on his other loans at Bristol City and Bradford in 2002. If he impresses Shakers boss Andy Preece then a permanent move could be on the cards. Leeds would probably let him go on a free or for a nominal fee just to get another player off the wage bill. Meanwhile Danny Milosevic is having second thoughts about his planned loan to Crewe - seems he thinks it might be worth his while staying at Leeds for the moment. Maybe he knows something about an impending departure that we don't?
July 30: Peter Reid has decided to release Brazilian winger Rodrigo after just over a week and a half with the club, with the Brazilian failing to do enough to convince the manager he is worth a contract. But it's positive news for the French pair Joel Sammi and Sebastian Rostoe. Reid said: "Sammi is a decent centre-half and I think he could do all right. He's only 18-years-old and he looks the part." Sammi is an amateur in France, so wouldn't cost Leeds anything to pick up (though I'm sure a donation of some sort to his club would be welcome and polite in the circumstances). But Rostoe is under contract with Cannes - although the lack of money in French football generally should mean a smallish six figure sum would be sufficient to secure his signature.
July 30: Clyde Wijnhard is having a trial with Grimsby Town as he seeks to secure a club for the new season. Wijnhard was released by Oldham - a club in a relatively bigger financial hole than Leeds - in the summer after an initially impressive start with the club stuttered a bit with injury problems. Wijnhard spent 1998-99 with Leeds, where he worked hard but didn't bag enough goals for an attacking player. A subsequent spell at Huddersfield was seriously interrupted by a nasty car crash, and he found himself unable to force his way back into the team on his return to fitness.
July 30: Peter Reid is adamant he will continue to count on Mark Viduka's presence as he plans for the new season. Reid admitted he'd had a disagreement with Viduka at a training session this week: "Words were said. But disagreements are part and parcel of a manager's job. You just get on with it." In this morning's papers, "a source close to the dressing room" said that Viduka felt "badly let-down" that Reid had mentioned the fact that the player was considering leaving as the manager read the riot act in the dressing room at Burnley. Expect a "Don't force me to leave" story to appear in the press before the weekend.
July 29: The reserve side - which included many players with first team experience - drew at Bradford Park Avenue last night. Leeds were twice behind, but goals from Harpal Singh and Simon Johnson squared the match at 2-2. New reserve team coach Steve Agnew praised his side's performance, but said the result wasn't important: "Fitness levels are the most important thing at this stage. We created more chances in the second half and should have scored more goals." Frazer Richardson, Matthew Kilgallon, Paul Okon, Jamie McMaster and Stephen McPhail were the other players with first team experience, with up-and-coming youngsters Scott Carson, Henry McStay and Paul Keegan also playing the full 90 minutes.
July 29: Alan Kaye - the referee who brought shame and dishonour on the whole profession by applying common sense in last week's friendly at York - has been charged by the FA for "less than proficiently applying the laws of the game." Kaye decided to advise Peter Reid to replace Mark Viduka rather than face his dismissal early on in the game, understanding rather better than the FA what the point of friendly matches is. But because he chose not to issue a red card and get Viduka a 3-match ban at the start of the season (yet another one of the FA's strange rules says that when you get sent off in a reserve game or a friendly, the ban can't be served by missing reserve and friendly games) Kaye now finds himself on the wrong end of the FA's big stick. Which goes to show why the FA have managed to make such a dog's breakfast of running the game in this country from the Wembley fiasco to their total failure to institute the necessary reforms to the game's structure needed to ensure that the national team has a chance of winning something. Petty officialdom gone mad: let's hope that Mark Palios - the new man in charge adds "blind addiction to the rulebook" to his list of things that need rooting out at Soho Square.
July 29: New boy Jody Morris is looking forward to the chance of playing alongside David Batty at Leeds, and said that Batts was a player he looked up to as he came through Chelsea's ranks. Morris said: "The more I play with him, the more it will help my game. I remember a couple of games with Newcastle when I was at Chelsea and he was some opponent. I would much rather have him in my team than against us. I had not seen him for a while because he didn't play much last season but in training he has been quality."
July 29: Humberside police were in court today to persuade magistrates that a total ban on alcohol sales in the Hull area was necessary to maintain order when Leeds fans arrive for the friendly at the Kingston Communications stadium on Friday. Chief Superintendent Paul Cheeseman said: "Our sources suggest about 400 to 500 from each side are the core who are looking to cause problems. We have intelligence that suggests they are looking to arrange a violent confrontation and they don't intend to isolate that to the ground." At least this time the internet is in the clear - previously local police have accused fans of using message boards to organise fights. This time, the police say: "It's the presence of licensed premises that plays the strategic part... Hooligans select licensed premises to make and arrange confrontations [using mobile phones]." Local landlords are up in arms about the proposed ban, and suggest that the game be called off if it represents such a threat to law and order. But the police - and Hull - are adamant the game will go ahead, but it's clear something must be seriously rattling them to use such high-profile tactics.
July 29: Mark Viduka's agent continues to fan the flames of speculation around his client's future at Elland Road. Andrea D'Amico said: "I'm trying to find an option which is good for both the club and player... I hope we can announce something soon. Mark is a top player and it's important that he's playing at a top club next season." Well since our good friend Mr D'Amico started talking to people last May and there's still no sign of anyone wanting to make a firm offer for the big centre-forward, I'd suggest to Mark that he finds a more effective agent if he really does want to leave Leeds. Of course, Viduka will not want to be forced into making a transfer request when he has further talks on his future at Leeds: to do so would require him to forego any loyalty payments and other monies due from the balance of his contract should Leeds sell him "against his will". The Prof once again reiterated the club's position: "We have absolutely no wish to sell Mark Viduka. There have been no offers of any type for him and we are naturally keen for him to stay. He was superb under Peter Reid last season and we want him to take us forward this season." Who could afford the fee and the wages at the moment - and who might be on the market for such a player? Only Chelsea spring to mind over here, and although Lyon in France could offer Champions League football, it's highly unlikely they could come up with a financial package remotely close to his current deal, let alone improving on it. So maybe the "solution" suggested will be a one-year loan somewhere with an option to buy, but of course that then takes Viduka closer to the end of his contract and lowers his value to Leeds. Peter Lorimer is unequivocal that Leeds should let him go unless he's prepared to commit to the club: "We all know Mark can be moody and, while it's disappointing that he has said he wants to go, the simple truth is that you cannot keep players who are not happy. Keeping players against their will can lead to disruption and that's the last thing that Leeds United need at this moment in time." Viduka's goals were the only thing that kept us up last season, and until we know that Michael Bridges can give us a season's football, we simply cannot afford to surrender to the player (or his agent) on this - the alternative is relegation and that's something that would destroy the club in its current state. Fingers crossed that Peter Reid and the Prof have been working on their poker faces for the next set of negotiations.
July 28: Just when we finally think things have finally turned the corner, we find ourselves facing another brick wall. Peter Reid revealed that he had discussed Mark Viduka's future with the player - but was quick to stress that no formal transfer request had been received. It seems that Viduka - who was fairly happy to stay with the club at the end of last season - has been less than impressed with developments during the summer, and the release of the full-year financial results will not fill anyone associated with the club with any confidence. On the positive side, if Viduka does decide he wants to leave Leeds are in a position of considerably more strength than they were with Harry Kewell: as well as being the top earner at the club, Viduka has three years of his current contract outstanding so a fire sale to the lowest bidder will not be necessary.
July 28: The tabloids have already picked their hate figure for next season - and it's Leeds' new signing Jody Morris. Leading the charge against Morris was the Mirror, home of injudicious legal reporting and former residence of Burnley fan and chief government spinner Alistair Campbell. They reckon he was lucky to escape without a red card for his challenge on Glen Little yesterday - although they didn't mention that the Burnley players who subsequently threw a punch and grabbed Alan Smith by the throat (even though neither of them were involved in the tackle in question) would have received a similar sanction if the ref had been applying the letter of the law. Morris tried to play down the challenge: "I'm not quite fit or sharp at the moment and I just mistimed the tackle a little bit. It's one of these things that happen in football."
July 28: Alan Smith was just about the only player to escape unscathed from Peter Reid's criticism of the side after a disappointing start to the pre-season games. Reid said: "You protect your players, but you also like to see the desire and the passion and we didn't have that today." Still - I guess it was better than losing 6-1 at Morecambe like Wolves did! Reid continued: "The players have to take responsibility. Our fans were terrific, but what they saw wasn't good enough." He praised Burnley for their attitude and desire, and gave credit to the team and manager Stan Ternent for their team's display. Reid finished with a warning for the players: "The players have to decide whether they want to play for Leeds United, otherwise it's a case of see you later."
July 28: Danny Milosevic will start the season at Crewe as Dario Gradi tries to keep first-choice stopper Clayton Ince on his toes. Gradi said: "Danny is finding it hard to get a game at Leeds but he will get a game here." Let's keep our fingers crossed for Danny that this loan spell gives him lots of useful experience - and not just another bizarrely-sustained injury after 5 minutes on the pitch.
July 28: The oh-so-brittle Harry Kewell is threatening to quit international football because the investigation into his possible use of an unregistered agent in his move to Liverpool started off with allegations Down Under. Officially-registered FIFA agents in Australia complained that Bernie Mandic - and not the registered agent Nikola Mandic - was the one running the Anfield deal, and that was against FIFA regs. Now Kewell complains that these agents - whom he says are controlled by Soccer Australia - are just trying to "big-note themselves". Kewell went on: "If Soccer Australia can't protect their own players from this sort of garbage, then why should I bother?" This is the player who, when he was at Leeds, was professing undying loyalty to the cause and was happy to travel round the world and back for walk-in-the-park friendlies or pointlessly-easy qualifiers - despite both himself and Leeds coming under fire from the national authorities at various times. Now some independent agents complain that the rules they are forced to play by haven't been followed, and now that he's a big-time Liverpool player the toys are out of the pram and the dummy is well and truly spat.
July 28: Lee Bowyer came in for some hefty abuse from the stands yesterday - most noticeably when he stepped up to take a penalty in the shoot-out against Chelsea in the tournament in Malaysia. The forty-odd thousand fans jeered him all the way as he walked from the centre circle and scored from the spot: obviously his reputation remains less than spotless, whatever verdict the courts might return. Jon Woodgate also came in for some stick, but as in the UK it seems the fans out there see Woody ashaving stood up, taken his punishment and made efforts to reform and improve himself, but for Bowyer it looks like the mud is going to stick for some time to come.
July 28: Leeds were watching Wrexham defender Craig Morgan in a game on the Isle of Man at the weekend. Adrian Heath was the man asked by Peter Reid to take a look at the 18-year-old, who has shown his versatility and ability by breaking into the team and holding down a place last season. Meanwhile Peter Reid denied weekend reports that Leeds were closing in on a move for Burnley winger Glen Little. Reid said: "Glen Little is a good player but he is not one I am looking at at this stage."
July 27: Leeds went down 4-2 at Turf Moor in today's friendly match against Burnley. Starting with something that you would say was very close to the best available team, Leeds started slowly and conceded a soft goal to Richard Chaplow early on. Mark Viduka tapped the ball home from inside the six-yard box to equalise on the quarter-hour, but another bout of poor defending gave Burnley the lead again barely 3 minutes later. Alan Smith equalised on the half-hour, latching on to a good through ball from Jason Wilcox, and that wrapped up the scoring for the first half. As in the York game there were a few flashpoints, with Viduka, Batty, Camara and Morris all involved in over-zealous/reckless challenges that got the home side's backs up. With 10 minutes of the second half gone, David Batty pulled back Robbie Blake inside the box, and the same player placed the penalty past Robinson. Peter Reid made a batch of changes on the hour, but that didn't make for much improvement, and when Michael Duberry stuck out his arm to block the ball inside the box, Burnley had another penalty, this time taken by Ian Moore to make it 4-2. Another unimpressive result from a pre-season game, but it's the simple mistakes that are more worrying than the scorelines. Let's hope another week or two of training and playing together starts to eliminate some of the more basic errors and gives Peter Reid something solid to work on.
July 27: A fortnight ahead of facing his former club in the Dublin tournament, David O'Leary has been spouting off yet again about his time at Leeds - this time telling us how fiscally prudent he had been. In yesterday's Sun, O'Leary pointed out that it was Ridsdale who had told him to go out and spend money, and that - in the case of Frank Lampard - he had wanted to sign him but refused to go above £7 million, and Chelsea eventually paid £11 million. O'Leary said: "I told Ridsdale we had not got a bad team if we didn't buy anyone else that summer. I was not going to spend for the sake of it." Which doesn't quite explain Seth Johnson, Robbie Keane and Robbie Fowler - but I'm sure he's got a great explanation for all of those signings as well.
July 27: Julian Gray could be on his way to The Valley. After Palace refused permission for Leeds to play the out-of-contract winger while he was on trial, Gray was allowed to turn out for Charlton in their 1-2 win over Peterborough in yesterday's friendly win at London Road. Leeds refused to meet Palace's valuation - believed to be around £500,000 - for the player, and it's understood that Charlton will be similarly reluctant to pay much more than half that amount.
July 27: Paul Robinson dismissed speculation on his future at Elland Road, and insisted he was going to stay and help drag Leeds back up the pecking order. After much summer-time transfer talk linked him to Old Trafford, Highbury and finally Villa Park, no offers have materialised and with Arsenal signing an experienced keeper yesterday, it looks like his top-level opportunities have gone in the Premier League, so now he realises he's going to have to scrap for his place at Leeds if he is to have a chance of playing for England in Euro 2004. Robinson said: "The speculation can continue as far as I`m concerned. But Leeds have brought me through and I think I owe it to the club and the fans to do my best for Leeds."
27: With the InterToto Cup swelling to its magnificent
climax of six semi-finals and three finals, and with most normal
folks thinking about ambling off to the beach, we find ourselves
contemplating the start of another league season across Europe.
Obviously there's not quite as much Leeds-interest in Europe this
time round - but I'll still be keeping an eye on who's doing what,
and highlighting the results of the big games each weekend.
July 26: Peter Reid will be taking a strong squad to Turf Moor tomorrow, with the 19-man squad all having first-team experience for Leeds, plus Jody Morris and Zoumana Camara. Morris is expected to start in midfield, while Camara - just back from France - will be on the bench. Neither the two French triallists nor Brazilian Rodrigo are in the squad, although they did play a full part in yesterday's training match against Hartlepool.
July 26: Alf-Inge Haaland has said that he is to give up football at the relatively tender age of 30, according to a Norwegian paper. Alfi was a popular figure at Leeds, but after an X-rated challenge from Roy Keane aggravated an existing knee injury towards the end of the 2000-01 season, he has barely managed to play 90 minutes for City. After one last try to regain his fitness this summer, he has finally decided to give up the struggle and hang up his boots, reaching a financial settlement with City that will give him a decent pay-out from the remainder of his contract. Haaland said: "This is the best thing for both parties. It wouldn't be much fun sitting in the fitness room for the next two years."
July 26: Brazilian triallist Rodrigo told the offical website that it was his dream to play in the Premiership - and he felt he had some unfinished business after a knee ligament injury forced him out of Everton before he'd had the chance to make any sort of impression. Back in Brazil he had been starting to build a reputation, bagging a decent quantity of goals from his midfield position with Botafogo, and he had hoped that his move to Everton would further enhance his reputation. And he's confident that his abilities will shine through if he is given the chance to show them. He said: "I have been out of action for a long time because of a major injury, but after training with Leeds for the past week I have been feeling healthy again. I am not trying to impress anybody at this stage, I am just looking to prove that I am healthy and I think people who know me know my qualities. I don't need to prove anything to anyone."
July 26: Paolo Di Canio has hit back at the press reports which say he is pricing himself out of extending his stay in English football. He said: "It's unfortunate, but yet again I feel as if I have to respond to speculation and rumours about me which certain journalists have got completely wrong. The articles to which I refer appeared in the press on Thursday stating that I turned down the chance to sign for Leeds United by demanding extortionate wages. This story is entirely untrue. It is true however, that a number of English clubs and other teams from around Europe have approached my agent but talks are currently ongoing." So that's cleared that up then: it's not that we can't afford his wage demands - w e must just think he's no good!
July 26: Peter Reid said he was more than happy with Leeds' pre-season games despite missing out on the tournament in Basle. Reid said: "The Bristol game was excellent from our point of view because it was a good exercise, a good fitness game, and the lads got the chance of a run out." And he went on: "York was a good one as well. We managed to give all the lads a chance, but full credit to York for the way they played. They showed a great attitude and caused us a lot of problems. It is a bit different from going to Switzerland and these games do have their benefits." And in a possibly not totally unsubtle dig at our former manager, he finished sayingL: "They're certainly better than going to Finland or Sweden and winning 8-0."
July 25: Yes that's right folks, the mighty Monkey Hangers were destroyed in a behind-closed-doors training game at Thorp Arch this afternoon. Leeds ran out 4-3 winners as they showed the huge gulf in class between the Premier League and the lower divisions. Some of the above might be true...
July 25: Michael Bridges is still not quite ready to play in a friendly, so will miss the Burnley game - but he might get his chance against Hull as Peter Reid said that the player was driving him mad pushing for a game. But Reid said that after his recent injury troubles, he felt the need to err on the side of caution for the player's sake. Reid said: "I'm looking to get him on for a full game - and he will get a chance in pre-season - but at the moment I'm just trying to keep him relaxed in training. He's come back really well and he has been flying in everything he does, but at the same time you have to rein players in a bit because they can do too much too soon." Dom Matteo is also on the road to recovery and is likely to see some action soon. As for David Batty, Reid is happy with the progress he's making (many folks at the Bristol game told me he was the best Leeds player on the pitch) but it sounds like Reid remains to be fully convinced and he is refusing to build up the hopes of the player or the fans. Reid said: "He played again for nearly an hour against York and was a bit stiff but he is improving. If I can get games out of him for the club it will be a massive bonus. It's good to see him on the football pitch."
July 25: Leeds reserve-team wing back Tom Newey, who was released by the club in the summer, has signed a two-year deal with Leyton Orient after convincing manager Paul Brush of his ability and commitment - despite ducking out of an earlier deal to grab a trial at QPR. Newey never quite made it at the very top level for Leeds, but has attracted considerable interest from some of the lower division clubs, including Darlo and Cambridge where he had successful loan spells.
July 24: The Youth team out in Northern Ireland will return home empty-handed this year. After qualifying from their group for the quarter-final stages, they drew 1-1 with Preston but lost the resultant penalty shoot-out 1-4.
July 24: Peter Reid expressed his relief that ref Alan Kaye acted sensibly in last night's clash with York. After the ref had asked Reid to replace Viduka rather than give him a red card - and a 3-match ban for the start of the season - Reid said: "I think the players got a little bit frustrated because York worked that hard and we couldn't get our passing going, but we've got to give York credit for that."
July 24: Harry Kewell could be back in training by next week after sustaining an ankle injury in last weekend's friendly with Crewe. Gerard Houllier is happy that Kewell isn't more seriously injured - he said: "I imagine that at the end of the week, the beginning of next week, he should be able to join in training. There was no fracture, not even the rupture of ligaments that we had feared. It was just a strain thing." Houllier had better get used to it - while not as injury-prone as Michael Bridges, Harry hasn't been the most resilient of players over the last couple of years, and £3 million a year will start to look very poor value for money if he's spending weeks at a time in the treatment room.
July 24: Peter Reid has admitted that the chances of signing Palace midfielder Julian Gray appear to be on the wane. Although he is at the end of his contract with Palace, the "young players exemption" bit of the Bosman ruling means that Palace are still due a fee, and that's where the sticking point is. The Eagles want at least the £500,000 they paid Arsenal for the player three years ago, but Leeds are unlikely to wamt to go that high. Reid said: "I think we might be struggling on that one, it looks as if it won't go through. The clubs are negotiating and if you can't come to an agreement you can't blame anyone. They have a valuation of the player and we have ours."
July 24: Peter Reid has appointed another of his team from Sunderland as reserve team coach. Steve Agnew was a midfielder in his playing days, and will be looking to use the stiffs' games to bring through new talent and ensure that first team players have competition for their places. He said: "It is a fantastic opportunity and it's something that I always wanted to do. The gaffer's given me the opportunity to work at a fantastic club with great facilities, so it's something that I just can't wait to get my teeth into."
July 24: John Charles is said to be disappointed that Leeds City Council has declined to host a touring exhibition that looks at his life and career. The man judged by Juventus fans to be the greatest ever foreigner to play for The Old Lady still lives in the Leeds area, and his wife Glenda said: "He's extremely upset and obviously it's very disappointing for him. He came here as a boy of 14 and although he travelled to different clubs around the country and played in Italy he's always had a home in Leeds. While he is proud of coming from Swansea and regards Wales as his true home, many people say he is Leeds." The interactive multimedia exhibition will tour Wales, the FA museum at Preston and might even make the trip to Turin. But Leeds Council can't find the room in all of its many museums, galleries and public spaces to temporarily host a tribute to a great player and a great man whose name has been deeply entwined with the City and the club for 50 years.
July 23: The ref told Peter Reid to substitute Mark Viduka in tonight's friendly match against York at Bootham Crescent. After a 12th-minute tackle on Andrew Jordan left the York defender needing lengthy treatment, Viduka was replaced to avoid a confrontation with the angry York players - and a possible 3-match ban if he'd been formally red-carded. Our Brazilian triallist Rodrigo came on in his place and played for an hour or so, but there were no goals until just into the second half when Eirik Bakke chested the ball home from a Harte corner. The lead lasted just 2 minutes - Christian Fox scoring from the spot after Danny Mills brought down York's Stephen Capper. Peter Reid gave Joel Sammi the whole game to show what he can do, and fellow French triallist Sebastian Rostoe also got half an hour. Nigel Martyn and Danny Milosevic shared the keeping duties, and there was also another decent run out for David Batty. Still no sign of Dominic Matteo, Lucas Radebe or Michael Bridges though: maybe the game at Burnley on Sunday might see them make their first appearances of the pre-season.
July 23: Police are expecting a large crowd - and possibly pre-arranged aggro - at next Friday's friendly at the Kingston Communications Stadium in Hull. Police leave has been cancelled, and more than 100 pubs in the area have received letters from the police requesting that they close between noon and kick-off next Friday. Needless to say most of the landlords concerned aren't too happy about this. A spokesman for the landlords said: "Pubs need to be responsible and protect themselves - whether that includes getting door staff, only letting in locals or closing the curtains." The letter from the police said that "reliable" information had been received that "serious disorder is likely to take place between rival groups in the city and surrounding area." This is what they say as a matter of course - and if there's no trouble then they'll claim it was down to their brilliant policing. And if a minor ruck starts between a few people who are in a pub serving beer - even if they've no connection with the footy - the police will shrug their shoulders and say "I told you so." If they've got such reliable information about pre-planned violence, why don't they just go and pick up the suspects on conspiracy-to-commit charges right now?
July 23: Peter Reid has firmly denied he has any intention of bringing Paolo Di Canio to Elland Rpad. He confirmed that he had made initial contact with Di Canio's agent some time ago but it had gone no further. Reid declined to say whether it was the Italian's reputation, form and fitness or wage demands which had convinced him to step back.
July 23: Peter Reid said that Nigel Martyn and Paul Robinson would be "fighting for the [number one] shirt" for the forthcoming season. Although Robinson kept Martyn out of the picture throughout the last campaign, the extra experience and ability to command his area that Martyn offers could weigh in his favour this time around. Robinson's aborted move to Villa - and the perception that he was angling for a move anyway - must have some impact on Reid's choice, although Robbo has since discussed his position and clarified the situation with the management at Leeds. And with Scott Carson and Danny Milosevic also available, Reid has an embarrassment of riches available between the sticks. Carson and Robbo played at Ashton Gate - it is expected that Martyn and Milosevic will take the field tonight. But as to who gets the nod on August 17, that's anyone's guess right now.
July 22: Adrian Heath spent Saturday watching Hibs against Preston North End, with Leeds linked to a move for Preston's 23-year-old Jamaican striker Riccardo Fuller. Fuller has just come back from a serious cruciate injury, but hit 11 goals in 20 games last season and is highly rated by the Preston fans. Great - all we need, another injury-prone striker. Preston chairman Derek Shaw said that Fuller figured centrally in Craig Brown's plans, and any club wanting to pick him up would have to offer them "a large sum" to secure his release. So maybe if we sell Michael Bridges to Newcastle for £2 million then spend the same amount on Fuller, we'll end up with less money (after agents' fees etc) than we started out with, and an equally injury-prone player who is less proven at the top level. Sounds like a typical Leeds deal - let's make it happen!
July 22: Leeds are on the trail of free agent Paolo di Canio - or at least that's what his agent is telling us. Di Canio's skills are undisputed, but his attitude and fitness were questioned on several occasions last season, and for all his talents it's hard to see how he would fit into the current squad. Matteo Roggi - the Italian's agent - said that a couple of clubs were talking to him: Leeds and the Italian giants Siena. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but what is it that Leeds can see in a 34-year-old player with a slightly chequered past that none of the other Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga, Eredivisie etc., etc. clubs can't?
July 22: Peter Reid revealed today that he intended to let James Milner develop his talents a bit further away from the spotlight over the next season. Despite becoming the youngest Premiership goalscorer last Christmas, his initial promise didn't quite materialise into a regular place in the side, and Reid thinks the player needs to build himself up a bit to add some strength to his undoubted ball skills. Reid played down comparisons to Wayne Rooney, and said: "He's going to take a year or two but he will be one of those players I can put on for half an hour and he will be influential in games. I think when you're the youngest player ever to score in the Premier League it tells you there's something there, but he needs time to develop." And he added: "I think if we raise our expectations too high the boy could struggle. Certainly though, he's a fantastic prospect."
July 22: Zoumana Camara has been confirmed as a Leeds player for next season. He has signed on a one-year loan deal from RC Lens after the French club accepted Leeds' offer to take him off their wage bill for a year. Camara said: "I have been in Leeds since Friday, I visited the facilities and the Elland Road stadium is fantastic. I also spoke a lot to coach Peter Reid. I think I will be in the first-team otherwise I would not have come here." He's particularly looking forward to taking on Alan Shearer in the season opener: so are we - after 9 goals against Leeds (admittedly including dodgy penalties and blatant fouls by the Barcodes' striker) it would be nice to finally find a defender who can keep him quiet. Of course that just leaves us with the problem of Bellamy, Dyer, Jenas... Camara will now return to France to finalise details of his move over to England, so is unlikely to play in Wednesday night's friendly at York.
July 22: Jody Morris is looking to the future and will put the past behind him as he settles into his new role at Elland Road. In an interview in the YEP, he said: "I've had a nightmare summer. I'd shaken Premiership managers' hands on deals. I've spoken to quite a few of them, but a couple of things fell through and I was left in limbo at the end. It got to the stage where I didn't know where I was going. Everyone was going back to training, and I didn't want to wait any longer." He was on the point of going to Cardiff when Leeds came in - and he says he didn't think twice about accepting Peter Reid's offer. "I didn't want to talk about money or anything - I just wanted to get up here and sign."
July 21: Peter Reid's interest in all things French seems to be increasing: Leeds were today linked with a loan move for RC Lens' central defender Zoumana Camara. He has a single cap for France, and after an impressive start for St Etienne moved on to Internazionale where he barely got a look in (just like Robbie Keane in fact!). But he's had more clubs than hot dinners, with a loan spell at Empoli, returning to France via Bastia and finally ending up at Lens via Marseille. But if he's over his injury problems he could be worth a punt on a year-long loan: this seems to be the favoured strategy at the moment with funds to purchase players in short supply.
July 21: Aaron Lennon has score four goals in two games as Leeds United's Youth team got their campaign to defend the Milk Cup off to a successful start in Northern Ireland at the weekend. Lennon scored the only goal of the game against County Tyrone on Saturday, and bagged a hat-trick today against Toulouse. A draw against River Plate will now ensure they progress to the quarter finals.
July 21: Peter Reid thinks he's picked up a good player in Jody Morris - despite his occasional off-field problems. Reid said: "Jody is a good footballer. He's a feisty little lad when the ball is around. He thinks he's got a point to prove and I like hungry players." And Reid shouldered the responsibility for ensuring he doesn't end up being yet another embarrassing front page town-centre story. He said: "He's had a couple of off the field problems, but I'm quietly confident. He's got a maturity about him and it's up to me to guide him down the right path."
July 20: Peter Reid spoke about yesterday's game at Ashton Gate, saying: "The biggest plus was having David Batty back. Everyone knows what a good player he is, if he'll forgive me saying, in his twilight years." Reid went on to say: "His attitude has always been terrific but it is still early days in his fight for fitness." And after a pretty decent performance by the two French triallists, Reid added: "I want to add to the squad. We've signed Jody Morris and I still want to bring in two or three more."
July 20: Danny Mills, fresh from signing a contract extension that ties him to Leeds for five years, says that he is ready to take up the challenge and fight to ensure that he is the first choice right back at the club. With Gary Kelly many people's choice as Player of the Season last year - for his attitude and the way he buckled down and improved his form - Mills remains uncertain as to whether or not Peter Reid will pick him ahead of Kelly. But he's not going to let that worry him - Mills said: "As far as I am concerned I signed a new contract up here. I'm quite happy to be here and I am looking forward to next season. I've no plans to go anywhere and I want to do the best I can for Leeds - and that is it."
July 20: Professor John McKenzie told the Sunday Times today that his family had told him to walk away from the job in the aftermath of the Harry Kewell transfer debacle. With criticism coming from many ill-informed quarters, McKenzie's wife and family told him he should let someone else take the pain. McKenzie said: "I don't like the profile but I have committed myself to something and I have to see it through. I never thought of resigning because it's too premature. I have to give things a fair crack of the whip. I actually feel quite passionate about the situation. Our huge fan base has been let down. I don't expect to be given accolades, in fact I expect the opposite. But it's difficult to turn your back on." In the end, as we know all too well from the last couple of years, actions speak louder than words. The Prof faces a difficult task getting the finances back in order, and it's a bit much to give him stick for decisions he's essentially being forced into taking as he tries to unwind the precarious position the previous administration have left behind and brings some hope for the future. The time to judge his actions is not now, or even in three months, but at the end of next season - although anything less than a healthier balance sheet and continuation of Premier League football cannot be tolerated either by the banks or the support.
July 19: Gareth Evans has failed in his attempt to pick up a berth at York City. He was released by manager Paul Brass yesterday, citing his lack of fitness (a bit harsh at the start of pre-season training, but there you go). Evans made just two appearances for Leeds, coming off the bench against TSV 1860 Munich in the Champions League qualifier in August 2000, and then again against Manchester City a couple of weeks later. He has since been at Huddersfield Town, but was released last season.
July 19: The first game of the pre-season preparations ended up not troubling the scorers as Leeds were held 0-0 by Bristol City at Ashton Gate. Peter Reid made use of 18 players, including both of the French triallists, Joel Sammi and Sebastian Rostoe. David Batty started the game and played for an hour, and only Frazer Richardson, Michael Duberry, Matthew Kilgallon and Nick Barmby completed the full 90 minutes. Scott Carson and Paul Keegan - who both impressed for the youth and reserves last season - both got the chance to show what they could do, as did fringe squad players Harpal Singh and Jamie McMaster - who must surely now be in an achieve-or-leave position. There weren't that many chances for either side, but Michael Duberry found himself in the spotlight when an underhit backpass nearly let in the hosts after just 5 minutes. The next game for the first team is at York on Wednesday night.
July 19: Harry Kewell hasn't even managed 90 minutes for a new club and already he's heading for the treatment room. He took a knock on his ankle in their friendly against Crewe - the same one he knocked in Switzerland in their training session - and now has to have a scan to see how serious it is and how long he is likely to be missing. Shame....
July 19: Gary Kelly and Seth Johnson were both showing the positive side of Leeds United's image last week when they appeared in a golf tournament in County Louth to raise funds for the Drogheda Cancer Support Centre. As well as hosting the event, Kelly showed the generous side of his nature when he bought his young caddy a brand new driver after the event, and Seth Johnson matched Kelly's generosity with a bid for Damien Duff's boots in a charity auction after the event: the money went to a good cause and the boots went to Johnson's caddy. Nice to see our players doing something positive with their spare time and showing Leeds players in a decent light in the press.
July 18: Jody Morris completed his medical today to become Leeds' first signing under Peter Reid. He's joined on a 2-year deal, believed to be worth around £10,000 a week, after spending the last 7 years of his career at Chelsea. Morris said: "I am delighted to be joining Leeds United. It's a great move for me. Obviously, everyone is aware that Leeds United are trying to rebuild for the future and I hope I can play my part. I am looking forward to doing so". He was good friends with Michael Duberry at Chelsea, and Doobs is confident Morris can do a good job for Leeds: "He's a quality player at a quality club and the combination will do well. Everyone will welcome him here and it's more competition for places." Duberry added: "Jody will relish that competition and the chance to play in the Premiership again which is all he's ever wanted to do."
July 18: Nigel Martyn has said that he has no interest in a move to Stamford Bridge, despite the newly-enriched club's apparent interest in him. With new signing Jurgen Macho injured already, Claudio Ranieri wants some competition for his number one, Carlo Cudicini. But with Leeds adamant that Martyn is not for sale, Chelsea offering a paltry £500,000 and Martyn faced with the certainty that he'd start as the second choice at Stamford Bridge, the bid was never that likely to succeed. Martyn's agent said: "If Nigel is number one goalkeeper he will stay at Leeds for the rest of his career, he really wants to play first-team football and that's why he's working so hard at the moment to make sure he does." But Peter Reid said that he didn't expect the player to leave: "I've had a word with Nigel, who is more than happy to stay here. He's going nowhere, take it from me."
July 18: Leeds have picked up yet another young foreign player on trial - this time Austrian midfielder Ernest Gund. Gund plays with a side that narrowly failed to win promotion last year, and despite domestic offers, he would like to play in the Premiership and was offered a trial by Charlton before opting for Leeds. He's likely to train with the squad next week and might appear in the game at York. Speaking of friendlies and triallists, it seems that Palace refused permission for Julian Gray to play for Leeds until he's formally signed - hence his absence tomorrow.
July 17: Jody Morris - the England U-21 international released by Chelsea at the end of last season - looks set to be Peter Reid's first signing. Morris had been talking with Harry Redknapp at Pompey, and had already undergone most of a medical at Cardiff before pulling out at the last minute to head up the M1 to Leeds. The combative midfielder had fallen out of favour with Claudio Ranieri. We've only ever signed 3 players directly from Chelsea: let's hope he turns out to be more like Tony Dorigo than Danny Granville or Michael Duberry.
July 17: Tom Newey must be counting his good fortune that Leyton Orient boss Paul Brish doesn't hold a grudge. After turning the O's down for a trial at QPR that came to nothing, Newey is back at Brisbane Road hoping to impress the manager enough to offer him a contract. He's due to play in a friendly against Welling tonight - this could be his last chance to secure a league berth so let's hope he's sensible enough and good enough to take it.
July 17: The Youth team fly out to Belfast tomorrow to appear once again in the Milk Cup tournament. Last season they went all the way to the final where they hammered Panathanaikos of Greece, who had earlier put out Man U's youngsters. This year they will face County Tyrone, Toulouse and River Plate over the next few days, and Andy Ritchie was looking forward to the trip. He told the official website: "It will give the lads an insight into how the game is played in different countries. The French game has been well lauded in recent years and they do have strong sides at this level, so that will be an interesting and difficult game for the boys against Toulouse. They can't wait to play these games and I am sure we can give a very good account of ourselves, maybe even win it again."
July 17: Despite repeated denials by everyone on the Leeds side of things, rumours again reach us of Newcastle preparing a bid to take Michael Bridges to St James Park. Alan Shearer is understood to be a great admirer of the young striker, and Bridges would welcome a chance to return to his native north-east. But just how much will they be prepared to offer for a 20-goals-a-season striker with bags of potential - but a dreadful injury record. £2 million is the amount mentioned in most of the rumours - and that subject to a stringent medical. I guess we'll find out just how strapped for cash Leeds are should that bid - or anything less than three or four times that amount - materialise.
July 17: It looks like Leeds will be taking the following players down to Bristol for this weekend's friendly: Robinson, Carson, Richardson, Kelly, Duberry, Kilgallon, Singh, McMaster, Barmby, Keegan, Batty, Wilcox, Viduka, Smith, Simon Johnson, Milner plus the two French triallists Joel Sammi and Sebastian Rostoe. So that's no Mills, McPhail and Harte (only just back after an extra week's break because of the internationals), Nige (maybe Reid is saving him for later games), Julian Gray (will he be off having a pre-signing medical?), and no sign of the still-recovering Radebe, Matteo, Bridges and Seth Johnson. But David Batty is there so it looks like he's being given the opportunity to prove his fitness from the start: let's keep our fingers crossed that he's still got enough in the engine to give us one last season.
July 17: Harry Kewell's agent...errr...manager Bernie Mandic accused Leeds of failing to do their job and of being the party in breach of FIFA regulations by doing business with him. He said: "They have utilised the services of an unlicensed agent, while Liverpool were above board. The fact that Leeds are now uncomfortable about using an unlicensed FIFA agent - gee golly. They are big boys. They can read and get onto the internet." It turns out though that it was a complaint by licensed FIFA agents based in Australia that set off the investigation, and Leeds have wisely ignored the latest claims by Mandic and are refusing to be drawn into a war of words.
July 17: From a Lyon-dwelling correspondent on Edmilson, our would-be loan signing from the French champions. "He might have been in the Brazilian team which won the World Cup, but he spent most of last season in Lyon on the bench, and rightly so. He's an over-confident central defender, who tends to give the ball away in the penalty area while trying to do something flashy. Coach Paul Le Guen wants to get rid of him, but he wants to fight for his place in the team." So admirable spirit but likely to screw up - put him alongside Michael Duberry and we'll be permanent cheering encouragement and appreciation for the effort and screaming at the screw-ups for the full 90 minutes. Not sure my vocal cords can stand that!
July 16: Michael Bridges spoke today of his main hope for the next season: no injuries and as many goals as possible. But he also thinks that the club has a chance of getting back into Europe after missing out for the first time since 1997-98. He said: "My aim has to be to get through the full season and get a few goals and get Leeds back into Europe again." And he's also hopeful of getting a new contract despite the club's much-publicised financial problems. Of all the players in the squad, Bridges is the one who deserves our greatest support throughout the next season: he's battled gamely against a couple of horrendous injuries since he first jarred his knee in the Inonu nearly 3 years ago, and his performances in the brief appearances he made last season showed that plenty of his original skill and creativity remain despite his long lay-off
July 16: He's at it again - that fun-loving japer Andrea D'Amico whose adventures we have been following with interest throughout the summer. Mark Viduka's so-called agent has thus far failed to pique the interest of any of the top Italian, Spanish or German clubs in his attempts to hawk his client around Europe, so now his attention has switched to France where he has been talking to champions Lyon. He said: "I am still talking to interested clubs. Maybe the price will not be so high because I have seen what has happened with the Harry Kewell deal where the transfer fee was not very much." Errr....that's because Kewell was only a year away from a Bosman, Andrea. He went on: "I do not know because I am not the chairman of Leeds United but I do think that this is the right time for important clubs to buy Mark. This is the moment they have been waiting for." In next week's instalment, we visit Belgium, Norway, Latvia and Nuneaton as D'Amico grows increasingly concerned that he won't be copping for any commission this summer.
July 16: Harry Kewell played his first game for Liverpool tonight, coming on as a second half sub in their 1-3 friendly win at Cologne in Germany. Kewell showed some decent touches, but played mainly on the right side of midfield - nowhere near his favoured striking role.
July 16: There's a good interview in today's YEP in which Dominic Matteo says how much he's looking forward to next season. He's hoping to be clear of injury after his end-of-season knee op and reckons that we can move forward and get back into Europe this time round. He said: "A club like Leeds needs to be in Europe. It's an important thing for us. We have to improve our home form and if we do that we won't be far away."
July 16: So Leeds tell us that they're going to try to conduct future transfer business on the QT in order to avoid things like the Kewell and Kleberson fiascos. In other news, we hear via the official website and any number of other sources that Peter Reid would like to bring Brazilian World Cup star Edmilson to Elland Road, maybe on a year's loan. Hmmmm...exchanging Champions League football at a club where he's on a long contract for a tough season helping to rebuild Leeds' league status and scrapping for FA and Worthington Cup honours. Wonder how long he'll spend thinking about that one? Anyhoo, he's a bloody central defender - not that he wouldn't come in handy - but it's midfielders we're desperate for.
July 15: The transfer of Olivier Dacourt to AS Roma has finally and formally been put to bed today as FIFA ratified the deal, after the world governing body confirmed that the transfer ban had been lifted from the Italian side.
July 15: The FA confirmed today that documentation relating to the transfer of Harry Kewell to Liverpool had been passed on to FIFA following suggestions that a non-registered agent had been involved in the dealings between Leeds and Liverpool. FIFA regulations insist that only approved and registered agents may act on behalf of players and clubs, and it seems that Bernie Mandic is not such a person - although he claims that his brother is. Mandic (B) said that the deal was negotiated by his brother Nikola - despite Bernie's name appearing on much of the correspondence between their company MaxSports and the club (and of course never being out of the press: hands up who has heard of Nikola Mandic before now?). Bernie says that he is just Harry Kewell's commerical manager, and added: "If people want to make an issue of this, then fantastic. Considering some of the most corrupt deals that have ever been conducted have involved licensed FIFA agents, then I find this latest episode quite hilarious."
July 15: Leeds have sold their entire huge allocation of 250 tickets for this Saturday's first pre-season friendly at Ashton Gate. Tickets will be on general sale to away fans on the day, and although a large crowd is anticipated, there shouldn't be too many problems if you just happen to be in the area and want to attend.
July 15: If you happen to be female and under 16, you could have the chance of playing for Leeds United. Oh well, that's me ruled out then... Trials will be taking place at Fearnville Sports Centre for the Leeds Ladies youth teams (you can't really call it the Young Ladies team without conjuring up images of croquet on the lawn, cucumber sandwiches and getting smashed on Pimms). Meanwhile the senior side have now got their fixture list finalised for both the season itself and the preparation. They will open with a very tough home game on Sunday August 17 against champions Fulham - although that may be postponed if Fulham have to play their European tie that weekend. Prior to that, they will be playing at Thorp Arch against Man City on July 27, and at their home ground - Garforth Town - on August 7 and August 12 against Stockport and Newcastle respectively. In between that they'll travel to Sunderland on August 3 and Sheffield Wednesday on August 10 - get along and give them a cheer if you're in the area.
July 15: Brian Kidd is in negotiation with Wolves to fill the vacant slot as Dave Jones' number 2 at Molineux according to press reports today. With Irwin and Ince continuing their swansong in old gold, Kidd is likely to have some support from the players, and Wolves are keen to get a new man in place before much more of the pre-season work goes by.
July 15: With Julian Gray and Brazilian Rodrigo both apparently impressing Peter Reid in the last few days, it seems that the Leeds manager is also taking a look at a couple of young French players. Joel Sammi - a centreback - and Sebastian Rostoe - a midfielder - are currently with lower league sides in France, and will be hoping to do enough by the end of next week to convince Reid that they merit a chance at the Premier League.
July 14: Not only are we interested in signing Kleberson from Brazil's Athletico Paranaense, now it seems we're also interested in the 26-year-old winger Rodrigo who had a loan spell at Everton last season before an injury sidelined him. Late-breaking news says that ManU might leap in to hijack the Kleberson move: with Juan Veron apparently ready to be sold to Chelski another midfielder will come in handy at OT. The Prof and Peter Reid had both talked up the player's skills, and McKenzie added: "I know our supporters have had a difficult time this summer and they deserve something to smile about. Me and Peter [Reid] are putting all our efforts into bringing in new players before the season starts."
July 14: Leeds will continue to take a look at Julian Gray with a view to signing him permanently - and it's now likely that he'll train with the team until at least next weekend when the first of the pre-season friendlies at Bristol City takes place. Peter Reid said: "Julian has done very well but we do not want to put any pressure on him. We are looking at what he can do and so far we have been very impressed." Reid is said to be searching specifically for midfielders and the odd defender as well: if Danny Mills is loaned out for a season to get his wages off our books as has been rumoured then we will have very little cover at the back.
July 14: Leeds chairman Professor John McKenzie today denied reports that the board had considered taking the club into administration. Fuelled by last week's desperation sale of Harry Kewell and the low price the board were prepared to accept for Paul Robinson, there is continued speculation as to the real health of the club's balance sheet. I guess we'll see when it's published in the next few weeks. McKenzie told the Yorkshire Post: "We are not, and never have, contemplated the idea of putting Leeds into administration. Indeed we are working hard to secure the future of the football club and are making great strides."
July 13: Peter Reid is trying to pick up not one but two foreign stars according to today's oh-so-reliable press. We're back in for Kleberson after he has failed to tie up a move to another Premiership side and maybe we can put a bit of pressure on his club this time because Atletico Paranaense are in almost as much financial hot water as we are! Second up, the Far East connection is again being mentioned with Hidetoshi Nakata of Parma again on the agenda - but only as a one-year loan. Parma will want more money for the player than Leeds could afford to spend outright, but in the absence of any other offers, the chance to get his wages off their books might be tempting, with the prospect that a successful season at Leeds will prompt somebody to get out their chequebook next summer.
July 13: Harry Kewell and his agent were stomping their little feet and throwing all manner of toys out of their prams again as they complained that Leeds had been reluctant to pay for the player's insurance policy. It was in Kewell's contract that Leeds were responsible for insuring him, but the new policy was due to start on July 1 and with Kewell clearly intending to leave, Leeds were balking at having to shell out yet more cash to insure somebody who was going to be playing for another club next season. Leeds eventually paid up - but surely they'll have a similar clause in that policy to the one that just about every householder or car driver has which will allow them to claim back a proportional refund should you no longer own the insured asset. But then again, past experience has shown Leeds to be singularly lacking in their ability to get any sort of appropriate or sensible legalese included in any piece of paper signed by a club official, so I guess that's another £28,000 we'll never see again.
July 13: According to Bernie Mandic, ManU are about to go into a bit of a slump, and that's one of the reasons why Harry Kewell said he'd prefer to sign for Liverpool. "It happened to Liverpool from the mid-1980s onwards, when they started to splutter and the success started to drop off," he said. "Since 1990 they haven't won a title." I wonder if Mandic is prepared to back his prediction by using some of his totally-legal-and-entirely-honestly-acquired gains? Even with the backing of Alex Ferguson's horsey mates from Ireland, you can't buck the market - so why not get on the phone to your broker and start shorting MUFC stock Bernie? It's a dead cert as I'm sure you told your client and you'd have no problems risking your cash in the same way you've advised him to risk dead-ending his career with a move to Anfield!
July 13: Lucas Radebe rejoins the squad tomorrow after recovering from an op on his famously dodgy knee during the summer. Basically they've just cleaned up some of the crud swimming around inside the knee as he prepares for what will probably be his final campaign at the top level. Peter Reid was happy to have The Chief back. He said: "His attitude as a player has been fantastic and he's working ever so hard and he will start full pre-season training next week."
July 13: The Prof has said that he's convinced that the team will not be relegated - and is offering to slap £100 down to face off the first Leeds fan prepared to bet against him. If he chooses to take his money to the bookies he will see that Leeds are currently priced at 6/1 to go down next season. Leicester are odds-on favorites with Wolves evens. Bolton, Pompey, Brum, Charlton, Fulham and Southampton are rated as more likely drop-zone monkies, with David O'Leary's new Villa side rated marginally more secure than Leeds at 8/1. If you're hoping for a miracle get a quid on Arsenal and ManU to be relegated at 2000/1 apiece: you never know your luck - the FAPL might find they've broken some obscure rule as they try to wangle their way into a European super league and leave you 4 million quid better off!
July 12: Leeds are set to bid for Palace's want-away winger Julian Gray, with the fee likely to be around £500,000. Although Gray is at the end of his contract, the "developing young player" clause of the Bosman ruling entitles Palace to some money for the player, and they will be hoping to recoup what they paid Arsenal three years ago. As for Gray, like Kewell he appears to have burnt his bridges before his departure. Palace boss Steve Kember says: "What Julian Gray does now is down to him and his agent. What would happen is that it would go to a tribunal and the club wish to sign him they would make us an offer."
July 12: Neither side seems prepared to let the controversy around Harry Kewell's move to Liverpool lie, with Mandic, Kewell, Liverpool and the Prof all still accusing each other of misrepresentation - or outright lying. McKenzie continues to maintain that Liverpool went back on their verbal offer of £7 million for the player, but Mandic has waved around the letter authorising his company to find a buyer at £5 million and confirming payment of the controversial £2 million "money for old rope" fee to the agent. But mere paperwork seldom tells the full story, and Mandic has been less forthcoming about emails and letters in which he told Leeds that Kewell was withdrawing from the move unless he got his way and maintained that another contract was never formally offered to Kewell. But once again, the Prof has pointed out that no board in the land would accept a contract clause offering the player's agent 50% of any agreed transfer fee, so there was little point in offering Kewell a formal contract that his agent would instantly tell him to reject.
July 12: Former Leeds commercial director Adam Pearson - who is now in charge at Hull - has warned that the club seriously considered whether or not to go ahead with friendlies against Leeds and Boro in the new Kingston Stadium because of possible crowd violence. They've decided to press ahead anyway and go for it with some high-profile clubs. Pearson said: "They are games everyone wants to play in and everyone wants to watch. Obviously, we're hoping for big crowds which will increase any financial return."
July 12: The manager said he was over the moon with the likely return to the side of Michael Bridges. Faced with an established and successful strike force in Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips while at Sunderland, Reid opted reluctantly to release Bridges when Leeds came calling, and now he's happy that the player he rated so highly at Sunderland could be available to him for the new season. Reid said: "He's only a young lad who hasn't had played a lot of games, but once he's fully fit I think we'll see a very hungry Michael Bridges and that can only be good for Leeds United." Reid has already spoken to the player to follow up the stories that have appeared in the press linking him with a move to Newcastle, and was happy that Bridges indicated he had no intention of going anywhere.
July 12: It was claimed that Robbie Fowler was issuing a writ against Leeds to claim monies owed to the player who was sold to Man City in January. Leeds are still paying part of Fowler's wages to enable City to pay him within their current salary bands, and the club later denied that there was any money owing to Fowler and neither had any writ been received by the club. This was later confirmed in a statement released by the club after talks with Fowler's agent.
July 11: After Bernie Mandic had yet another rant against Leeds, and Rick Parry - Liverpool's chiefexec again denied making a £7 million bid, Leeds have decided to end all possibility of misinterpretation by publishing the letters exchanged between the club and Bernie Mandic. Parry had said: "We did not make a £7m bid... Any inference to the contrary is without foundation. There is no mystery, there is nothing untoward." While it's true that no written bid for £7 million was made, it is understood that such an offer was made over the phone by Liverpool's representatives at the back end of last week - only for it to be withdrawn and superseded by the lower bid that eventually went through. The letters - published on Leeds' official website - support the Prof's side of the story, while also opening up yet another aspect of Peter Ridsdale's chairmanship to question. The letter from Mandic reads: "I would like to confirm our position regarding your player Harry Kewell. We are prepared to extend Harry's contract by two years, subject to Maxsport being entitled to transfer the player to a club of his choice at any time during the term of his new contract. Maxsport AG would be entitled to 50 per cent of any transfer fee, subject to Leeds United receiving no less than £2m. The major reason for our fee being so high is due to the extensive work undertaken by our Australian subsidiary Sports Corp. International over the past three years and with the authority of the previous chairman Peter Ridsdale. To date we have received no compensation whatsoever for this work." So what exactly did Ridsdale commission these people to do - and why did it cost so much? Was it in connection with the abortive takeover attempts for a couple of Australian clubs? It's hard to see how any work on hawking such a talented player around a few big clubs could possibly generate such a huge fee.
July 11: Leeds insisted today that Roma's bid to buy Olivier Dacourt was still not formally complete, and would not be so until the first of the payments is made in the next week or so. Despite FIFA's investigation of a disputed previous deal, it is expected that the deal will go through - but all of the money is earmarked for the financial backers who set up the structured deal that brought Dacourt to the club for Â£7.2 million three years ago - so that's no more money for poor old Peter Reid despite losing yet another talented player from the squad.
July 11: Peter Reid has come down firmly behind his chairman in the recent transfer row. Speaking about the Kewell transfer, Reid said: "As manager I was delighted because it matched the offers made by other clubs and we thought we were getting decent value because he only had a year remaining on his contract." But obviously Leeds are now getting a lot less cash than was initially offered, but Reid continued: "I do not hold my chairman responsible for any of that. I've been in football a long time - a hell of a lot longer than some people who have been saying a lot about this deal - and I've not met a straighter person in the game than John McKenzie. I think the chairman has conducted himself with remarkable restraint throughout this whole thing, because he must be spitting feathers about some of things that have been said."
July 11: With just 20,000 season tickets renewed so far, the Prof was talking up the number of fans who are willing to inflict another season of Leeds' football upon themselves. McKenzie said: "They believe in us and I believe in Leeds United." And I believe in the Great Green Arkleseizure Prof, but it's a bit strange when about 1 in 4 of the people I talk to are telling me they're letting their season tickets lapse. Or maybe this is another example of Ridsdale Demographics - last seen on the fan poll on leaving Elland Road for a new ground where everyone bar people quoted on the offical site showed a 3 or 4 to 1 majority against a move, but the chairman's "Ask the Fans" initiative produced a majority in favour. McKenzie says that he thinks he can still do enough to turn the club around off the field: "It's not going to be easy, it will take us a little while. But I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could turn it round and that's why the shareholders brought me in. I'll do my best, I'm not going to say it's 100 per cent because then it wouldn't be a difficult task." It will be difficult, but he deserves our suport in the meantime because - like it or not - he's the best chairman we could possibly hope for given the circumstances the club finds itself in.
July 10: It was announced tonight that AS Roma's bid to complete the purchase of Olivier Dacourt had finally gone through, with Leeds receiving £3.5 million from the Italian club. There was doubt up to the last minute if the deal would be done, with FIFA blocking Roma's bid to sign Chivu after it emerged they had failed to pay in full for another player they acquired from a Peruvian club. But now the deal's done, and ironically it looks like we'll get more cash for Olly than we did for Kewell. The money will be paid to Leeds in four instalments - so it's not going to make an immediate and massive dent in the debt or addition to the transfer purse, but every little helps.
July 10: Ian Baird - a Leeds legend from the Division 2 days for those of you who weren't around to see him - has joined GM Conference side Stevenage Borough as a coach. Borough Manager Graham Westley said: "He will bring valuable coaching skills to the squad to supplement the excellent talent already working with the team." Baird had two spells at Leeds, scoring 57 goals in nearly 200 games and also figured prominently in Leeds' promotion from Division 2 in 1989-90 when he scored vital goals for Middlesborough on the last day of the season to ruin Newcastle's promotion hopes and ensure that his former employers would be promoted whether or not we'd won at Bournemouth.
July 10: It seems that the money we're due to get from Liverpool for Harry Kewell might not be available for Peter Reid to use on player acquisitions after all as the funds are already earmarked to keep the banks happy and pay off some immediate bills. In the continuation of the Harry saga, the player came out today claiming that Leeds never offered him a new contract - although it emerged that his agent had insisted that any extension would be contingent on 50% of any transfer fee going straight to the player and his agent - a clause which they knew the board would never agree to include. He finally remembered who had been paying his wages for all this time, saying: "The fans there were always great to me. It's been a shame the way it has panned out." But still no "thanks for all the support and great times" from a player who has always been seen as distant and not "one of the boys" by the regulars in the stands.
July 09: So Harry Kewell finally gets his desire to play for his boyhood team, but in doing so has guaranteed a chant of "One Greedy B*****d" from the whole ground on his return to Elland Road. With Leeds in receipt of an offer of £7 million from another club (probably Man U), Kewell made it clear that the only place he wanted to go was Liverpool. And when they came in with a ridiculous offer of £5 million that was bad enough, but then it seems that the player and his advisers reckoned that around £2 million of that was due to go to them for their part in organising this bargain basement price. So Leeds end up with £3 million in the bank for a player who was being valued at five or six times that amount a year ago. Further twists in the saga see Bernie Mandic tell the press that Leeds at no stage offered Kewell the £48,000 a week contract that has been much-mentioned over the last month or so - but if we're to take Kewell's position that he didn't actually ask for a transfer as a guide, that probably means that the club sat the player and his lawyers in front of a 30-page document ready for it to be signed in triplicate only to discover that Harry would only affix his signature using the "lucky" pen he took his GCSE English with and that just happened to be back in Australia. The Prof sounded furious in an interview tonight, but Mandic was equally vehement that neither he nor his client had done anything wrong (although he's still not addressed the rather vexatious question of the 6 months of talks, visits to the Liverpool training ground while ostensibly trying to help Leeds stave off relegation). Meanwhile in the Australian TV interview recorded before he had permission to speak to Liverpool, Kewell revealed that he was going and nothing would change his mind, that he thought he'd have a chance of winning the title at Anfield, and that he was motivated by the belief that he could be the best player in the world. Memo to Harry: you broke your contract by talking to Liverpool, you do have more chance of the title at Anfield than you did at Leeds - but realistically you've gone 30-odd miles too far up the East Lancs Road if that's what you're after, and if you wanted to prove you were the best player in the world you'd be fighting for your place at the Bernabeu, San Siro or delle Alpi and not walking into the side at Anfield week-in, week-out. And if you wanted to stay in England for your family's sake, you've taken the soft way out, preferring an easy life of continued nearly-dom rather than be challenged by the tougher attitude of a winner like Alex Ferguson, or the even bigger challenge of helping the team and fans who gave you the platform to build your reputation back up to the top table. Leeds of course come out of this looking even bigger patsies than usual: Blackburn manage to talk Brum into shelling out more for the limited David Dunn than we got for a player of Kewell's calibre, and even then we find ourselves tied up in legal knots - probably based on a contract agreed under the previous regime - that hammers our fragile finances still further. Nobody wins: Mandic comes out looking like a typical money-grabbing agent, Leeds lose one of the best players in the team for a pittance, and Kewell cruises up the M62 to earn £3 million a year and never achieve the heights his skills promised. And I'm just about to send back those season ticket forms - I must be mad!
July 09: Leeds chairman Prof John McKenzie released a statement clarifying the circumstances surrounding Harry Kewell's transfer. He agreed with Kewell's agent that he had signed a note from the plc board authorising Mandic to attempt to broker a deal for Kewell's services, and that Liverpool had initially informally agreed a deal to buy the player for £7 million - of which £2 million would go to the player as a signing-on bonus. But the chairman revealed that Mandic had replied almost immediately saying: "Harry has instructed me to break off all negotiations, effective immediately. He is no longer for sale and all previous undertakings are cancelled." The Prof said: "Instead, they made a condition of not doing a Bosman that we pay £2m to Kewell's representatives, and Liverpool then reduced the fee to £5m. What happened to the remaining £2m only Liverpool or Harry Kewell could tell you." And he went on: "I am outraged that having threatened to walk away for nothing in 2004, they now seek to suggest that it is our fault that my plc board felt the need to settle for such a small sum." What I'd like to know his how on earth anyone can justify such a huge fee to "broker" such a move: there's more corruption and unjustified backhanders and pocket-greasing going on in the transfer market than setting up an arms deal to the Middle East - and the sooner the FA (or given the hopelessly inadequate support they've given to their compliance department UEFA, FIFA or the EU) take a close look at the conflicts of interest and double-dealing encouraged by the effectively unpoliced market and particularly the agents, then we'll continue to see more abuses like this. Bosman is a classic example of hard cases making bad law: the player in question was offered reduced terms and told to sign up or have his registration withheld, and the EU rightly declared this illegal - but the total lack of any sort of control on the market that we have as a result of that ruling now means that any sort of contract is not worth the paper it is written on, and that rich clubs can flout the few rules that do exist with impunity. Liverpool were fined a paltry £10,000 for illegally approaching Christian Ziege a couple of years ago: how about a real punishment - points deducted or a ban on conducting any more transfer business for 18 months - to make the rules bite?
July 09: So now that Harry's gone, who is next on the departure list? Not Mark Viduka if the Prof has anything to do with it. On Sky Sports tonight, the chairman said: "I have made it quite clear he is not for sale... I spoke to Mark Viduka myself at some length and we both agreed that his future was with Leeds United. I've had that reinforced in several conversations with his professional advisors in Australia during the summer period." Of course that's not stopped Andrea D'Amico charging off around Europe like Bill Fotherby on acid trying to drum up some interest in his client. The Prof said: "I would be a fool to say if a player asks to go that we don't consider that very seriously and what the reason for it is but, as far as the club is concerned, we want to keep that team as it is together. We want to add players to that team and we want now to try as a club, as a manager and as a set of fans to try and put the really very unsatisfactory unpleasant situation behind us." And he's hoping to release some funds to Peter Reid's attempts at putting a new team together: "We have to try and rebuild and, frankly, I think that this crisis as I see it will probably bring all of us together again."
July 08: Paul Okon has said that he wants a move away from Leeds - if he can't hold down a regular place next season. After playing just one game under Peter Reid, Okon found himself out in the cold and a little bit scapegoated for the team's poor midfield showing. The Socceroo captain said: "The whole thing, the sacking of Terry and the fact that I didn't play much football towards the end of the season was very disappointing for me. I certainly don't think Terry Venables deserved to be treated like that." And he's hinting that he'd jump at the chance to return to Serie A - where it's rumoured that newly-promoted Ancona are interested - to restart his career. "At the moment I have a contract for the next two years so I will be turning up for pre-season with Leeds United but as we all know the game has changed today, you can be with one club one day and with another the next day."
July 08: Harry Kewell's move to Anfield has suffered from a slight hitch, and could lead to much more serious repercussions for the player and Liverpool. Kewell is claiming that he hasn't asked for a move, and as such should be eligible to receive a loyalty bonus - believed to be around £1 million - from Leeds for the early termination of his contract. However, in the Australian TV interview - which is still to be aired - he admitted that he had been in talks with the club for "over six months". Although this is not technically asking for a move, it almost certainly puts him in breach of contract and leaves Leeds with the moral if not legal high ground when it comes to resisting his attempts at blackmailing the cash-strapped board into lining the pockets of a player who is set to earn £3 million a year from his playing contract alone. More seriously still, it's hard to see how Kewell's words can't prompt an FA investigation, since Liverpool would be flagrantly violating the regulations on contacting a player without the approval of the board of the player's current club. Kewell had already said goodbye to his team-mates and added: "I'm not going to change my mind and hopefully they don't change theirs." The best thing for all concerned would be for Kewell to admit he has no right to any further payment from Leeds and for Liverpool - and all other clubs - to be reminded of the current regulations: it was always likely that Kewell would leave Leeds at the end of his current deal, and the financial disasters that befell Elland Road meant that an earlier sale was on the cards, so there's not much point in making a song and dance about illegal contacts if it plunges the club into a deeper financial crisis.
July 08: The majority of the first team squad return to training tomorrow with many of the players knowing they've got one month to show Peter Reid they merit a first team start. Danny Mills, Stephen McPhail and Ian Harte - who were all involved in the ridiculously late set of Euro 2004 qualifiers - are excused for a further week, and Seth Johnson, Dom Matteo, Nigel Martyn and Michael Bridges are already back working on their general fitness, but the real work for the squad starts tomorrow, leading up to the first public friendly against Bristol City on Saturday week. David Batty returns for the final season of his contract and will be looking to prove he is fit enough to stake a claim to a place in the squad, and the likes of Matthew Kilgallon, Frazer Richardson, James Milner and Harpal Singh will be trying to show they can make the step up to the top level. One thing is for sure: new coach Kevin Blackwell will be making certain that the poor levels of general fitness that had become the norm under Brian Kidd do not continue under the new regime. Although a return to the Wilko forced-march days is unlikely, the players will be set stringent personal fitness targets and will be reminded that the very least they can do as professional footballers is to show they are capable of playing at full pace for three hours a week.
July 07: Harry Kewell has pre-recorded an interview with an Australian TV station in which he refers to a possible move from Leeds, and says of his destination: "I have been speaking to them for over six months and everything seems just right for me to go there." Bernie Mandic says that the interview will not be shown until the contractual details are in place, and Leeds have yet to formally agree terms with the club in question - but the interview is due to be aired tomorrow morning and Kewell is expected to be unveiled wearing the number 7 shirt at Anfield, finally joining the club he supported as a boy. If he does go, he deserves our best wishes and thanks for what he's done for us over the years. Here's hoping he's more like Dalglish than Smicer in the famous shirt - but not against us!
July 07: If Peter Reid does get some funds from the Kewell sale, then Julian Gray looks set to be the first target. The left-sided midfielder/winger is expected to join Leeds for pre-season training on Wednesday, with Palace likely to get a not-too-huge sum for the Arsenal cast-off who joined the Eagles for £500,000 three years ago. Gray looks to be a decent prospect if not the finished article, and is clearly a class or two down from the sort of players we are losing, but he's solid enough and has enough pace to trouble defences at the top level: in fact he scored against ours and against Liverpool during Palace's cup run last year.
July 07: With the sort of decisive uncertainty that Harry Kewell would be proud of, Tom Newey has still not found himself a club for the next season. He was offered a deal with Leyton Orient, and looked set for a move to Brisbane Road after turning down Darlo's offer. But he's walked away from that deal for the chance of a trial at QPR: O's manager Paul Brush said: "I'm amazed that in the current financial climate he could turn down a tremendous two-year contract for a week's trial at QPR just because it's a higher division."
July 06: Danny Mills will not be leaving Elland Road this summer, according to his agent Neil Featherby. In today's Daily Star he says: "Danny is very much a Leeds player and will be for some time to come." Mills recently signed an extension to his contract, and is tied to Leeds for 3-4 more years - but any sort of bid at the right price would tempt the Leeds hierarchy into parting with pretty much any of the team bar Alan Smith so let's not close this book just yet.
July 05: Liverpool have formally opened talks on a deal to take Harry Kewell to Anfield, according to today's Times. Gerard Houllier is desperate to bring in a new wide player after failing to sign Damien Duff - but that's the sort of news that Kewell will not be keen to hear after he's spent so long trying to convince the Leeds fans and management that he's a striker and not a winger. But if the Anfield management can convince Kewell that this season's failure to qualify for the Champions League is just a blip then maybe the prospect of £60,000 a week and a cut of the £7,000,000 fee will dull his pain at the prospect.
July 05: Barcelona's desperate interest in signing Mark Viduka (as claimed by Viduka's agent) would appear to have petered out because - among other things - they've already got more than their quota of non-European Union players on their books. Barca VP Sandro Rosell said: "I cannot see a move taking place unless Leeds are interested in taking one of our a non- EU players in a swap deal, which I don't think is likely."
July 04: Peter Ridsdale has stepped back from taking control at Boundary Park after holding talks with the club over the last week. Oldham are continuing to leak cash - £100,000 a month - and several players are threatening to exercise their right to walk away if the club fail to find the money to pay them again this month. If the players do walk, that could leave the club with no assets and in serious danger of being wound up in just over a week's time.
July 04: The English - and European - transfer markets could be about to be shaken up by the new owner at Chelsea. European Champions AC Milan said they had turned down a bid of 50 million euros for Alessandro Nesta by "an English club" - and with the belt-tightening that's happening everywhere else, only a club with a new billionaire owner could possibly stretch to that sort of bid. It seems that Roman Abramovich is happy to use some of his vast wealth to help Claudio Ranieri make the necessary purchases to push Chelsea up to the very top level - which could be good news for Leeds as Harry Kewell is reported to be warming to the possibility of a move to Stamford Bridge, with the Arsenal and Liverpool offers both stumbling on his demand of £70,000 a week, more even than Michael Owen and Thierry Henry are on. However, the £17 million price tag on Damien Duff looks to have closed off that particular avenue for Liverpool, so they might now be prepared to go a little bit further on salary to clinch the signing of Kewell. Other rumours suggest that Danny Mills could be close to the exit door, although a move to Chelsea must now be less likely since they now have the resources to go for real top-tier talent rather than those who are merely very good. Instead a move to St James Park is being "encouraged" by Leeds according to press reports (would that be by the same director said to be hawking Harry Kewell around every boardroom in the country?). Despite the signing of Jon Woodgate, Newcastle still need to beef up their defence, and the prospect of a Champions League campaign for Mills would do his chances of making the England starting line-up the power of good with Euro 2004 coming up. As for Leeds, it would be a shame if Mills left, but Gary Kelly did produce some excellent form last season and it's touch and go as to whether he or Mills would be first choice to start at right back next season, with the fact that Kelly in midfield is a marginally better option for the team than Mills at centreback possibly shading the choice in Mills' fabour at the moment.
July 03: Apparently the game at Ashton Gate on July 19 kicks off at midday. Leeds ticket office will only have about 200 tickets for sale initially - although the away end holds 4000 and tickets will be on sale on the day. Cheers to John for the info.
July 03: Welcome back to the increasingly-detached-from-reality world of Andrea D'Amico. You may recall how AC Milan and Barcelona could barely contain themselves with joy at the news that they had all but signed Mark Viduka and must now be devastated to learn there is competition for the striker's signature. Now it's Bayern Munich and AS Roma that have been added to the list, but the agent is trying to leave himself a get-out by indicating that all of the clubs either have other immediate targets or need to sell before they buy. He said: "We are working very hard to find a good option for the player and at the right moment we can have a meeting with Leeds and we can go on or not with the deal." What's wrong with staying at Leeds and honouring his contract - other than the fact that there's nowt in it for the agent?
July 03: The trip to Goodison Park on Saturday 27 September has been moved back to the Sunday on police advice. The game will still kick off at 3 pm.
July 03: Derek Lilley has been picked up by SPL team Livingston after being released at the end of his contract by Dundee United. The 29-year-old scored just one goal in his time at Leeds - although that was a vital winner at Oakwell - and arrived at Tannadice in December 2000 after a season and a half at Oxford. Livingston general manager Jim Leishman said that he'd tried to capture Lilley when he returned to Scotland, and that he hoped the incentive of an option to extend the one-year contract would give Lilley the motivation to do well for the club. Leishman said: "We are obviously pleased to have him at Almondvale. I am sure he will be a useful addition to the squad as there is no doubt he is a quality striker."
July 02: Leeds have lined up another friendly match to fit into the pre-season gaps. The first team are due at Ashton Gate to face Bristol City on Saturday 19 July with a 3 p.m. kick-off. Our last visit there was in the Coca-Cola Cup in 1997 when we nearly managed to blow a 3-1 first-leg lead, losing 1-2 with JFH scoring our goal after 8 minutes. Nigel Martyn, Gary Kelly and Lucas Radebe are the only members of that squad still with the club - although Harry Kewell did play in the first leg at Elland Road.
July 02: It was confirmed today that the season opener at home to Newcastle will be on Sky's PPV on Sunday August 17, kicking off at 2:00 pm. The game at Anfield on October 25 will now kick off at 12:30 pm.
July 02: Tom Newey - who has been released by Leeds but rejected an offer from Darlo where he had been on loan - could be moving to the Far East - End of London that is. Leyton Orient have offered the left-back a contract, and he is due to decide on the move this week. O's manager Paul Brush said: "He's fast and skilful and he has impressed me both when we played Darlington and in videos I've seen of him... We're very hopeful he'll like what we've offered him and want to sign for us."
July 02: Ahhh...Bill Fotherby. Remember those great days as he strode across Europe, promising us Skuhravy and the like and returning with Brolin. Well he's now doing the same for his current side - Harrogate Town - and his latest promise will raise a few eyebrows. He's saying that David Batty's agent Hayden Evans has indicated that the veteran midfielder would be willing to move to Wetherby Road at the end of his career. Batts has always said that he wanted a clean break when he finished in the top flight - management or a career in the lower divisions doesn't appeal. But with 12 months left on his Leeds contract, it would now seem to be a possibility that he'll join his former Blackburn team-mate Mark Atkins to help Fotherby's side further their dreams of Conference football. Of course as a Premier League hard-man, his shins will be the target of every has-been, never-was and almost-made-it in the semi-pro/amateur leagues which can't be an attractive prospect for him, but maybe he's looking for an outlet for his energy and skills as he retires from the professional game.
July 02: So we're now well into July ("Harry's future will be decided by the end of June," said his agent) and we're still none the wiser as to what his plans are. Barca - under new president Joan Laporta - are said to be interested, but they're being connected with every half-decent player on the continent. And despite Laporta's promises, they're a bit strapped for cash so any purchases will depend on getting Patrick Kluivert and his excessive salary off their books. But Chelsea would be an interesting prospect: with their new Russian billionaire owner (who can hardly be less despotic and secretive than Ken Bates let's face it) they could find themselves with a bit of money available to improve the team and finally justify their great stadium and massive wage bill by making some progress in the Champions League. Alternatively, some stories have Harry Kewell as being ready to appear in a red shirt at Anfield on Monday morning. Your mileage may vary...
July 01: With the cancellation of the Geneva tournament leaving a big hole in the pre-season schedule, another friendly has been arranged at York City's Bootham Crescent on Wednesday 23 July, with a 7:45PM kick-off. Outside of wartime, the only time Leeds have played York in a competitive fixture was in the 1987-88 season when the Minstermen surprised Leeds at Elland Road by holding out for a 1-1 draw in the first leg of a league cup tie, but the return at Bootham Crescent was rather more decisive - Leeds running out 0-4 victors with John Sheridan scoring twice.
July 01: Although it wasn't formally announced as expected today, Leeds' first game of the season - at home to Newcastle - is understood to be the one selected for Sky's first Sunday PPV offering of the season. The source of this information isn't Sky nor have the clubs confirmed it yet, but the FA of Wales leaked the news and complained that this would compromise their efforts to prepare for their crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Serbia. Leeds don't currently have any Welsh internationals in the squad, but old boy Gary Speed and Craig Bellamy are two important Newcastle players who would be missing. As it is, Mark Hughes might find himself forced to do without Bellamy's services anyway: the combative striker has been charged on three counts in connection with an incident that took place in Cardiff towards the end of March. On the day that Lee Bowyer completed his medical and sorted out the formalities to join Newcastle, it was confirmed that the charges included an element of racially aggravated behaviour. Bellamy will be back before the beak on July 10 when more details should become available, but with the Magpies now employing Bellamy, Dyer, Bowyer, Woodgate and Bernard, Bobby Robson looks like he could be in danger of losing half his team to one beered-up incident in the town centre next season.
July 01: As was mentioned last week, it looks like Leeds could be trying to rustle up some commercial interest in the club in the Far East by adopting an Oriental bias in the transfer policy. Li Tie had a decent loan spell at Everton, but they've not yet tied up a long-term deal and he's understood to be of interest to Leeds. And Japanese midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata - currently a bit-part player at Parma - is also understood to be involved in exploratory talks with the club. Although there are now several Japanese players plying their trade overseas, it could still bring a massive commercial benefit to the club if we could sign Nakata, and he'd certainly improve on some of our current midfield squad players, if not the starting line-up. But I seem to recall another dodgy haircut foreign did-well-in-the-World-Cup signing from Parma that didn't exactly set the world alight at Leeds - and although the days of Brolin are now long gone and poorly remembered, that's an experience none of us want to repeat.
July 01: Claims in the press this morning hinted that the completion of Olivier Dacourt's move to AS Roma might be held up by lack of cash on the Italian end. Although Leeds have agreed to a reduced fee, it's believed they want full payment up front, which could make life difficult for Roma: like most Serie A clubs, there has been a substantial belt-tightening over the last couple of years. But maybe it's not that bad and the Prof will be receiving a call tomorrow telling him the cheque's in the post.
July 01: Peter Reid issued a warning to Barcelona that Mark Viduka is not for sale after agent Andrea D'Amico claimed to have a deal ready and waiting to be signed. Reid said today: "I've spoken to my contact in Spain and asked him to inform Joan Laporta that Mark Viduka is not for sale and is going nowhere." Reid is back at Thorp Arch ready for the new season, along with Nigel Martyn and Seth Johnson - two early birds hoping to improve their fitness and get a head start on the rest of the players who are due back for pre-season training a week tomorrow.
|2008:||December, November, 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|
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|2003:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
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|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|