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August 31: John Sheridan was on target yet again for Oldham this week, opening the scoring from the spot against Rushden at Boundary Park - but Oldham still needed an injury-time winner to snatch the points with a 3-2 win. Bob Taylor has found a new lease of life in the lower divisions. He was released by West Brom and has joined Cheltenham and yesterday he set up their first against Orient with a curling free kick and then added two more himself as his side went on to take the points in a 1-4 win. Harry Kewell finally found some form - playing mainly on the left surprisingly enough - for Liverpool, scoring the third of their unanswered three against Everton at Goodison. And despite Roman's millions, JFH is still getting a run out for Chelsea and it was his spot kick that equalised for the second time against Blackburn. Will Hasselbaink still get the nod ahead of Hernan Crespo and the dangerous Adrian Mutu? Hard to say - but the arrival of all these high-profile names certainly seems to have roused JFH back into something like his previous form.
August 31: Mark Viduka seemed less than fully overjoyed that Leeds had turned down Inter's ridiculous offer to take him on loan when interviewed on The Premiership last night, but nevertheless now looks likely to be staying at Leeds at least until January. He said: "It is so good because Leeds is my team. I've a three-year contract and hopefully I'm definitely staying. In football, though, you have to consider everything, but I was never just going to go somewhere for the sake of going." And maybe the fact that we've not started out too badly had something to do with it. He added: "Everyone was thinking Leeds were going to struggle this year but I feel things are looking up. I honestly believe that."
August 31: There can be virtually nobody left at Olympique Marseille after this weekend. Not content with loaning us Lamine Sakho, Leeds have now completed the loan signings of Salomon Olembe and Cyril Chapuis from the French club. Olembe's signing was expected - although it was understood to have been delayed due to issues surrounding his medical - but Chapuis was entirely out of the blue. Olembe is a 22-year-old Camerounian international with 54 caps to his name already and operates in midfield, while Chapuis is an attacker - although his record of 4 goals in 33 games last season doesn't make him sound to sharp. Olembe was part of Cameroun's African Nations Cup winning side in 2002, and was also part of the Nantes side that won the French Cup in 1999 and 2000, and the Ligue 1 title in 2001. Chapuis is 24 and started his career with Niort, moving on to Stade Rennes and then joining Marseille in January 2002.
August 31: Paul Robinson is the only current Leeds player named in Sven's squad for the Euro 2004 qualifiers coming up next week. Danny Mills and Rio Ferdinand are named at the back, but there's no place for Alan Smith despite his great start to the season. There are no Leeds players at all named in the U21 squad for their games against Macedonia and Portugal.
August 31: Spain and Italy kicked off their League seasons this weekend, so the Sunday Euro Round-up becomes even longer and more boring than ever before!
August 30: Boro boss Steve McClaren thinks that Peter Reid is the man for the job to bring the good times back to Elland Road. He said: "Peter has shown over the last four or five months he is the man for the job. He has terrific experience in management. He had seven fantastic years at Sunderland. He's a manager I've always admired because his teams play with the right attitude. We know we're in for a tough game this weekend." McClaren also talked up the prospects of his new loan signing: "Danny is an experienced player and a fantastic signing for us. He has a great attitude and I'm absolutely delighted to have signed him for a year." He went on: "His appearance will add spice to the game. We had two great battles with Leeds United last season and I am looking forward to the match at the Riverside stadium."
August 30: Leeds have agreed terms with Everton to take Nigel Martyn to Goodison Park. The fee is £250,000, and the Toffees will now have to discuss personal terms with the keeper - who could be persuaded by the fact that an injury to Richard Wright could let him get straight back into first team football. Steve Simonsen deputised for the injured Wright today and wasn't entirely blameless as Liverpool won the Merseyside derby 0-3 - so Martyn's skills and experience could be put to immediate use. Peter Reid said: "We are very close with Everton. He's in the last year of his deal and he has been a fantastic servant to this club. We've got young goalkeepers - that's one of the reasons for letting him go. But the other is as a thank you for being so patient. He is a top professional and deserves a first team place somewhere."
August 30: The bizarre logic that the UK government applies to footballers has denied Roque Junior a work permit. Although the player has now passed a medical and agreed terms with Leeds, the transfer cannot be finalised until after an appeal hearing on Monday when Leeds will try to make the jobsworths see that a player who is a World Cup winner and who won the Champions League with Milan back in May is the sort of player who will be an asset to the game in England and who can do a much better job than anyone else available at the moment. Because he picked up an injury in the CL Final, he missed the numerous matches Brazil played during the summer - so he is now regarded as not a regular international and Leeds must persuade the authorities to grant the player an exception to the formal rules.
August 30: We nearly blew it - and barely deserved it on the balance of play - but in the end we came from behind to record an excellent win at the Riverside. Jermaine Pennant is turning out to be a great choice by Reidy: it was his run and through ball that sent Lamine Sakho away for the first goal of the game - and his Leeds career, it was Pennant who took the corner that found Zoumana Camara's head for the equaliser - another first goal for the club - and finally it was his long ball from the halfway line that put the pressure on Andy Davies that led to the young Boro defender falling over and allowing Mark Viduka to execute a brilliant chip over Schwarzer to net his 50th league goal in his 100th league start for the club. Great performance too from Camara - he's really coming into his own, and Smithy was once again the busiest player on the pitch. Don't get me started on ref Neale Barry and his clueless linos, and I'll tell you about the Cleveland Police tomorrow...
August 30: Peter Reid said that he was worried that the players had forgotten how to win before they stole the game at the Riverside today. Reid said: "It was a great football match. There was a lot of great play, a lot of dull action and a lot of mistakes, but we got the breaks." He went on: "It says a lot about the character of the side when you can see two quick goals like we did at a difficult place to come. Boro put us under a lot of pressure, but we kept on going and the players are really pleased." Reid praised the overall performance of Boro's 18-year-old defender Andy Davies whose late slip let in Mark Viduka for the winner. And Davies' boss Steve McClaren echoed Reid's view: "He is devastated and blaming himself, but these things happen. He is only 18 and if you saw him at Leicester he produced an unbelievable performance, while today against Viduka and Smithy - one of the best partnerships in the Premier League - he played well above his tender years." McClaren wasn't far off the mark when he praised his players' performances, and said that he couldn't understand how they could play so well and lose. "The performance was good as we have improved in every department, but when you look at the result it is with disbelief that we have come away without a win."
August 29: Didier Domi has reassured Peter Reid that he is committed to Leeds and will not repeat the mid-season walk-out he did on Newcastle. Despite being consigned to the reserves midweek when Ian Harte was selected at left back against Southampton, Domi isn't downhearted. He said: "I've told him I will work hard to get in the side and I am happy at Leeds." And he's confident that the corner will be turned soon. He said: "Although we haven't won a game yet, we have been improving so maybe our first win will come at Middlesbrough. We should be higher in the table than 13th with the players we have."
August 29: Leeds have received enquiries from another Premiership club (believed to be Pompey) about the possibility of taking Ian Harte on loan for a season. And it's not just English clubs that are interested - on the official website today Leeds admitted that they had also received enquiries from a Serie A club and other European sides. The statement said that Harte was "considering his options" - which would rather imply that the decision to stay and fight for his place against Didier Domi and Dom Matteo rests with the player, but that Peter Reid does not feel that keeping the left-back is a priority. His performance against Southampton wasn't exactly stellar, and his free kicks - once potent weapons - came nowhere near troubling Paul Jones, but he has shown some improvement over last season and has got to be worth giving another chance to if Kevin Blackwell can improve the player's fitness. The transfer deadline has been extended to 1700 on Monday so we'll have an answer very soon. Meanwhile the word on Paul Okon is that he has been formally released by Leeds to Vicenza if they can reach agreement with the player on his personal terms. Realistically he has little hope of getting back into the first team at Leeds, so the best thing he can do for his international future is go somewhere - anywhere - where he will be playing regular first team football, and this appears to be the only offer on the table right now.
August 29: At Dewsbury Magistrates' Court today Seth Johnson pleaded guilty to driving at 135mph on the M62 while over the drink-drive limit. Johnson was twice over the limit when stopped by police in his Porsche 911 and appeared to be racing a Mini Cooper at speeds of over 100mph. Johnson pulled over straight away when the police caught up with him and told the arresting officers "I know I've been stupid." He escaped without a prison sentence - but because he had previous motoring convictions he has been banned for 2 years, fined £1500 and sentenced to 100 hours of community service. 100 hours! That's more than we've had out of him in the last 2 years! Peter Reid has told the player to get on with his football and learn from his mistake. He said: "As a footballer he has let himself down and he has let the club down. He has been dealt with by me, he has accepted it and now let's get on with it."
August 29: Jermaine Pennant is concerned that his Arsenal team-mates may have fired up Boro to produce a much-improved performance on Saturday. Boro were ripped to shreds in the first half by an Arsenal team that has always had the ability to make most teams look leaden-footed and clueless, but Pennant is worried that Leeds may now suffer a backlash. He said: "I can imagine they'll still be smarting after the drubbing they were given by Arsenal, so they're going to be psyched up for this. They're not going to want four going past them again. It's going to be a very interesting game."
August 29: There's only the small matter of a work permit standing between Leeds United and Roque Junior after the player - and clubs - agreed terms on how to pay his wages over his year-long loan at Elland Road. The final details won't be sorted until next week so he'll only be at the Riverside as a spectator, but at least that will give him 3 weeks in which he can get to know his new team-mates and Peter Reid can work out how to fit him into the current line-up. Salomon Olembe is undergoing a final batch of medical tests (just what are they worried about - is he another Asa Harford?) and he too will miss out on playing at Boro, but in both cases the club don't anticipate any problems arising at this late stage.
August 29: Leeds have dismissed out of hand a bid from Internazionale to take Mark Viduka on loan for a year. Flush with the cash from selling Hernan Crespo to Chelsea, Leeds rightly viewed with contempt an offer to take the club's top scorer away for 12 months essentially for free. Chairman John McKenzie said: "Peter Reid did receive a ridiculous offer of a loan from Inter Milan, but I just turned it down. I made it very clear I would only sell Mark if he wanted to go and it would also be at an exceptional price." Peter Reid added: "If I was a betting man he'll be a Leeds player on Tuesday morning. We won't be selling him unless something very dramatic happens." But our good friend Andrea D'Amico, Viduka's agent, insisted he would continue to work on a transfer for his client before the transfer window closes on Monday evening. He said: "If there is any possibility to do a deal, even in the last few hours, then I will not stop working."
August 29: Lucas Radebe and Didier Domi should be in contention for tomorrow's game at the Riverside, but the midfield duo of Jody Morris and Seth Johnson are currently Peter Reid's biggest worries. Morris was subbed late on against Southampton after jarring his knee, and Johnson is clearly not fully right after his op, suffering swelling on his knee after games. Dominic Matteo, Frazer Richardson and Ian Harte - who also ended Tuesday's game with injuries - are included in the squad and should be fit enough for consideration. For the home side, Danny Mills will make his first appearance and Gaizka Mendieta will make his home debut. Chris Riggott and Colin Cooper are doubtful, leaving the Boro defence with potentially even bigger holes than those opened by Arsenal last week.
August 29: There's an interview with new signing Zoumana Camara in today's YEP which is well worth a read. In it, he says he's enjoying life at Leeds and he's settling in well - helped by the presence of Lamine Sakho and Didier Domi. And he says that there's a good mood in the camp - and that the players are bonding well: "There's a lot of confidence among the players and a win will only help that. The positive thing is that we can go further and build on our first three games. We're certainly not worried." He also had some praise for the fans - and it was noticeable on Tuesday night that the absence of 6,000 people actually resulted in the 34,000 who were there making more noise. He said: "The support is unbelievable. There's no barriers here and that makes for a great atmosphere."
August 28: Leeds are monitoring Ipswich striker Marcus Bent with a view to making a late move before the transfer window closes at the weekend. Leicester are also interested - so if Ipswich are hoping for a bidding war they'll be disappointed. Joe Royle is understood to be under some pressure to reduce the wage bill after expected transfers out of the club failed to materialise, and finances have remained precarious since the club's relegation from the Premier League. Does this say something about the prospects around Mark Viduka's likely departure - and what about Michael Bridges' fitness prospects? Bridges has not even managed a run out for the reserves since he appeared in the pre-season friendly at Hull, so he's presumably a minimum of 6 weeks away from a first team appearance - and if Viduka were to leave that would leave us with a front two of Smith and Sakho with presumably just Nick Barmby as backup.
August 28: Danny Mills says that it will be a surreal experience facing his former colleagues at the Riverside on Saturday. He's now watched Boro play two games and score no goals - but at least their game against Leicester saw them keep a clean sheet after they shipped four to a rampant Arsenal side on Sunday. In the Yorkshire Post he said: "Everything now points to me playing in a Middlesbrough shirt for the first time against Leeds United. While this seems an almost surreal situation to be in, if it is to be then so be it." And it's clear what his motivation will be: "At least I will have the chance to show Peter Reid what he will be missing out on, at least for this season anyway."
August 28: Paul Okon was missing from last night's reserve match against Sunderland after pulling out of the game late on. It is believed that he has flown out to Italy where Serie B side Vicenza are said to be interested in bringing the Socceroos skipper back for a further stint in Italian football. Okon had a successful if injury-ridden spell with Fiorentina (who are now defunct) and Lazio, but his time in English football has been less productive after an initially good start at Boro. Offloaded for a loan spell at Watford, he was picked up by El Tel last summer but never found favour among the Leeds fans, who picked him out as the worst performer in a team whose performance slumped last year.
August 28: Today's Daily Telegraph reports that the Prof is engaging in discussions with the club's main shareholders as the board plans a rights issue of approximately £10 million around the time of the full year results in October. The Prof has always said that such a strategy was a possibility once the club's basic financial position had been stabilised enough to restore investor confidence and increase the likelihood that the rights issue would be fully taken up. The numerous departures have not brought in much cash once agents' fees and the huge payoffs to previous managers have been taken into consideration, but the wage bill has been substantially reduced, and the club could even make a small operating profit next year if things go well. If the Prof is successful in his discussions with the shareholders, it could substantially reduce the cost of the rights issue by removing - or reducing - the need for a large underwriting operation.
August 28: AC Milan director Ariedo Braida says that the Roque Junior deal is as good as done with the clubs agreeing the contract details for a one-year loan. He said: "Roque Junior is in England. He will have just to undergo usual medical checks, and I think that tomorrow he will officially be a Leeds player."
August 27: Matthew Kilgallon revealed that his sudden move down the M1 came as a complete surprise. He said: "I didn't know anything about it until Wednesday. Glenn Roeder had been talking to Peter Reid, they sorted it out and I thought it would be a good move for me." He's already settled in at Upton Park, is getting on well with the players and understands the reasons behind the move: "Leeds felt it'd be good for me to come and get some experience under my belt and, if I do well here, we'll see what happens when I get back to Elland Road." And he's pretty upbeat about his temporary teammates' chances for this season: "The way they've started off this season, I can see them shooting straight back up and that's got to be the target." Let's hope that the sudden departure of Roeder from the Boleyn Ground doesn't leave him sidelined when the new manager is selected.
August 27: Peter Reid took a positive view on last night's game despite the absence of goals and Leeds' continued failure to pick up three points. Reid said: "If we had taken our pre-season form into this season then you would see a worried manager, but I am pleased the way the players are playing." Demonstrating a sound grasp of mathematics and the rules of the game, Reid went on to state: "No goals against means you don't lose," and added: "If you keep doing that then you are going to win football matches."
August 27: With Chelsea making a late move to pick up Neil Sullivan as cover for Carlo Cudicini, Spurs were today said to be preparing abid to take Paul Robinson to White Hart Lane. Although Kasey Keller is their number one at the moment, the arrival of Robinson would certainly change that,although whether it would meet with the player's ambitions is uncertain: he took a bit of a knockback in the summer when expected offers from Arsenal and ManU never materialised and it's hard to see Spurs as being a step forward in his career (other than placing him in London and thus easier to watch for the lazier sportswriters whose opinion matters so much).
August 27: Danny Mills will be playing for Boro on Saturday after all - although his agent insists he'll be playing against Peter Reid rather than his former team-mates. Neil Featherby said: "Danny was not expected to play against Leeds, but he wants to play...Danny is relishing the chance to prove a point to Peter Reid after what happened." Steve McClaren said: "I don't think there's anything to stop him playing against Leeds. We've signed the loan deal and it's up to us and the player to decide."
August 27: Stephen McPhail was upbeat about joining Forest and linking up once again with Paul Hart. McPhail said: "I'm a great admirer of Paul because he has been brilliant with me and has always kept in touch." He went on: "The last two years have been very frustrating because I got injured and then wasn't able to get back into the team. So this is really a chance for me to prove myself... I'm just looking forward to getting back playing." And he's also hoping to regain his international place: "I missed the Ireland squad for the first time under Brian Kerr recently and it has got to improve my chances of getting back into it if I am playing regular football."
August 27: Jody Morris and Ian Harte are both carrying knee injuries after the draw against Southampton and are doubts for Saturday's trip to the Riverside. Jody Morris picked up his knock in a tough tackle that left him hobbling - didn't see quite how Harte got his injury, although he too made one good block tackle that stood out simply because it was just about the only one he won the ball in. If Salomon Olembe's transfer goes through, he will almost certainly go straight into the squad as injuries and Leeds' keenness to loan out anyone outside the core squad starts to bite after just three games.
August 27: Jon Woodgate was hoping to be able to help his new team-mates replicate the achievements that Leeds managed in the Champions League three years ago. Although he played in the league stages, Woodgate missed out on the knockout stages as he lost confidence and form as the Hull trial progressed. But he said: "You might as well get knocked out in the first round if you don't win it." Well, he got part of his wish tonight as Newcastle went out on penalties after losing 0-1 at home to Partizan Belgrade. Newcastle's penalties were typical of many English clubs in Europe - and Woody himself had a soft spot kick saved.
August 27: Still no confirmation about the state of the Olembe deal: he was in Leeds having his medical today so unless his agent has had the gazumpers on the blower and dragged him off over the M62 his year-long loan deal should be confirmed by tomorrow if we want him to play at the weekend. Meanwhile we're also tracking Milan's Brazilian World Cup winner Roque Junior. He played against us in the 1-1 draw in the San Siro in the Champions League season and Peter Reid confirmed that Leeds were looking to do a deal: "He's a player that we're in for but I don't want to say very much until things develop further. We're in negotiations and obviously things need to be tied up quickly because we're running out of time with regard to the transfer window." The main sticking point is thought to be his wages: currently forty grand a week at Milan, which would have been chickenfeed in the old days, but under the new regime there's no way the Prof will want to direct that sort of money straight into the pockets of just one player.
August 27: The reserves went down 2-3 at home to Sunderland tonight. Nigel Martyn was between the sticks and Didier Domi, Nick Barmby and Jamie McMaster lent some experience to the outfield but it was a very young Leeds side on show at Wakefield including a 15-year-old - Simon Walton - on the bench. Leeds' summer transfer target Colin Healey opened the scoring just past the half hour, and despite some good play from Aaron Lennon and Simon Johnson, Steve Agnew's side were three down on 65 minutes. Martin Woods - who made the trip to Dublin with the senior side - got a goal back for Leeds and James Milner netted in the last minute after intercepting a poor backpass. On the positive side, Domi's appearance and the fact that he completed 90 minutes must put him in the frame for a start on Saturday, and we are continuing to bring some good youngsters through: Aaron Lennon seems to be getting more confident with every game and in many ways it's a very good thing for the likes of Lennon and Milner to be coming up against more experienced players at this level: it should make their transition to the first team much smoother.
August 26: One of the more ridiculous rumours doing the rounds today says that Mark Viduka is being lined up by Internazionale chief Massimo Moratto as a replacement for Hernan Crespo. With Christian Vieri slagging off the club as they fall victim to the Chelsea money machine, with the fans getting increasingly restive and with the Crespo cash burning a hole in his pocket, Moratti has to buy someone soon - but it's hard to see Viduka being the big name they need to fill the gaps left by Ronaldo and Crespo.
August 26: Mark Viduka was not totally impressed with the service he received at the weekend and he insists that the midfielders need to perform if the team are going to pick up points. He said on the official site: "We have some good players in midfield who can get hold of the ball but they didn't do that. We were just looking for the long ball up front with not much support." True - but if I remember Saturday's game at all, one of our forwards saw what was going on and started dropping deeper to pick up the ball, and one just hung around on the halfway line...
August 26: Stephen McPhail is the latest Leeds player to be shuffled out on loan and off the wage bill. He's gone to Forest on a 3-month loan where Paul Hart will be hoping to see something of the skills and talent that won him international honours applied to Forest's struggle to get out of Division 1. He's played only sporadically for the first team since the 1999-2000 season and is seem by many as a bit too lightweight to make it in the high-speed forceful arena that is a Premier League midfield.
August 26: Olympique Marseille's Cameroun international midfielder Salomon Olembe is at Elland Road and is undergoing a medical before signing a similar deal to Lamine Sakho and Zoumana Camara - a one year loan with an option to purchase for around £3 million if things work out. His agent Willie McKay said that Peter Reid had been very keen to get his client on board: "Peter Reid is a big fan of him and phoned him personally to try and persuade him to come to Leeds." But it looks like our latest batch of imports might have been the clinching factor. McKay said: "Lamine Sakho and Zoumana Camara have told him all about English football and Leeds and he appears keen to follow them there." The player has been capped 56 times for his country, and if the medical doesn't show up any problems he's likely to go into the squad for Saturday's game at Boro.
August 26: Peter Reid will ask Spurs ref Steve Dunn to re-examine the video of Saturday's game and reconsider Dominic Matteo's yellow card. The free kick and booking led directly to Spurs' winning goal, but Reid said: "Matteo was not happy as he came off because he got the ball. I would like to get the booking rescinded and will be asking the referee to look at it again. They are in danger of making this a non-contact sport and that is pathetic."
August 26: No goals between Leeds and Saints at Elland Road tonight, but not an unentertaining game. Leeds were clearly under orders to shoot on sight, with the ball and surface slightly greasy after a spot of rain, and although Paul Jones did make a couple of decent saves he was never tested enough. Lamine Sakho looked to have opened his account for Leeds with a header less than 5 minutes into the game, but somebody somewhere was apparently offside (no doubt the replays will make a nonsense of my scepticism, but it looked like a good goal from the Kop). Smithy was once again very lively, and Jermaine Pennant also looked confident and was a constant source of trouble to the Saints defence. Lucas Radebe failed a late fitness test, so Ian Harte came back in to the defence and although he initially defended well, he faded badly and was being beaten at will towards the end of the game. Batts came on for Jody Morris after the combative youngster had wrenched his knee in a tough challenge, and Frazer Richardson replaced Ian Harte. Richardson looks to be a bit one-footed but looked to be doing well both defensively and going forward in the short time he was on the pitch - but he caught his studs in the grass in injury time and had to be helped back down the tunnel once the final whistle was blown. This is really another 2 points dropped, and we're not really getting much momentum up here - but having said that it was a solid enough performance, a great atmosphere from the sparse crowd and gave us a few signs of improvements to come. Now let's get that first win of the season at the Riverside...
August 25: Peter Reid praised his players for their attitude and work-rate at White Hart Lane - but insisted that the side needed more quality on the ball and had to improve the passing and ball retention. He said: "That would be my only criticism because I was delighted with the effort and attitude of the players. They worked hard and gave everything for the shirt. We do need to improve and if we can do that we'll win football matches." With a little bit more positivity than the rest of us who saw the game, he added: "We gave it away too cheaply on numerous occasions and you can't do that at places like Tottenham. We had them squeezed in their half, but they broke and it was an unstoppable drive. Goals change games if we'd have gone in one-up they would have been more anxious." Never mind "places like Tottenham" - places like Highbury, Anfield, Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge would have seen us hammered with that sort of performance! And as for the "unstoppable drive", I suppose getting one of the midfielders to actually stand in front of Taricco or tackle him before he got within shooting range would be asking a bit much. Come on Reidy - we were impressed with your honesty when you took over: don't go all El Tel on us and start telling the press how well we played and how unlucky we were when we've conceded two goals due to a failure to apply the basics of defending.
August 25: Jermaine Pennant paid tribute to his new team-mates and said that he already feels like he's been at the club for a long time. "The day I got here all the players made me feel really welcome, the manager and Kevin Blackwell too, and I think I've fitted in well." And he's hoping to see the side bounce back from Saturday's defeat with a win at home to Southampton tomorrow night. He said: "It's still early in the season, we've only played two games and we've still got 36 left, but everyone wants to win it tomorrow night - for the manager and for the fans." He glossed over the incident at White Hart Lane that left him with blood coming from his face - even though none of the travelling fans were surprised to see that it was Mauricio Taricco being allowed to wave his elbows around without punishment. Pennant said: "I saw the linesman there and thought he would have seen something, but he didn't flag so I had some treatment and just had to get on with it."
August 25: The Under-17 side managed to record a victory at the weekend - winning 0-2 at Charlton. But the main U-19 Academy side - missing the likes of James Milner, Aaron Lennon and Scott Carson - were less successful, going down 3-0 against the same opponents.
August 25: Peter Reid reckons that Alan Smith's two-goal start to the season underlines his case for a recall to the national side. Smith slipped down the pecking order after picking up a red card against Macedonia at St Marys last season, but Reid said: "Sven Goran Eriksson was at White Hart Lane and watched him on Saturday and if Alan keeps up this level of performance, Sven need look no further for a partner for Michael Owen in the up-coming Euro 2004 qualifiers." Reid pointed out that Smith's poor return last year was at least in part down to the fact that he spent most of the season playing out of position. "We had a chat before the season started and I said to him he would be playing in his proper role. I told him that I wanted him to be more positive and look for goals and his response could not have been any better."
August 25: Danny Mills isn't letting his feud with Peter Reid lie. Less than a week ahead of the game at the Riverside, it's unclear whether Mills will want to play in the match - or indeed if Leeds or the league are prepared to countenance a club paying part of the wages of an opposition player. Mills is still clearly upset about the circumstances around his "forced" departure from Elland Road. He said: "Within two months I have gone from starting a European Championshion qualifier for England to be completely omitted from the first-team squad. Read into that what you will." The only thing I read into it Danny is an appalling loss of form! He said that Reid had assured him that the club didn't intend selling him when the players reported back for pre-season training. Mills said: "I was delighted to hear that. But now I am wondering whether the manager was completely straight with me." Once again, all us on the outside can go on is what we've seen with our own eyes - and that was a player who just didn't seem to be interested in making an effort in successive pre-season games. At the time we charitably put that down to lack of fitness or a bit of an injury - but the way that Mills leapt at the chance to slag off the manager and the speed with which alternative arrangements were put in place does rather suggest a willingness on both sides to engineer an exit.
August 25: Dominic Matteo and Lucas Radebe are both struggling to be fit for tomorrow night's game. Radebe's knee is sore and Peter Reid might not want to risk playing him in two games in such a short period of time, and Dom Matteo has a swollen ankle. Jermaine Pennant is thought likely to supplant Jason Wilcox on the right side of midfield, but otherwise it's likely that the only changes will be injury-enforced. For Saints, keeper Antti Miemi misses out with a knee injury, and both Chris Marsden and new signing Fitz Hall are also unlikely to be ready to play tomorrow. Peter Reid will be hoping his star striker at Sunderland doesn't maintain his scoring form. Reid said: "Kevin Phillips is one of those strikers who can get all kinds of goals. His partnership with James Beattie looks like a potent force."
August 24: David O'Leary has hit out at what he sees as press trouble-making after being linked with a move for Alan Smith recently. He said: "I think it is a really good point that if there is unrest there or someone could be moving I think I will be drawn into it and I think that is what has happened in the case of Alan Smith. I think someone had peddled a story either to unsettle Alan or to use me in it." But he did add that he admired Smithy as a player and said: "I hope that I will be able eventually to bring in players of his quality to Aston Villa."
August 24: Danny Mills was wheeled out at the Riverside today - and was probably extremely glad not to be on the pitch. Mills and Gaizka Mendieta waved to a sparsely populated stadium and then sat back and watched what they're up against as Boro fell apart to some brilliant attacking play from Arsenal to lose 0-4.
August 24: Bayer Leverkusen dropped their first points of the season with a 1-0 reversal at Bochum, and that allowed Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart to move ahead of them with wins of their own - Bremen registering a particularly impressive 4-1 home win over Schalke 04. Stuttgart's 2-0 win at home to Kaiserslautern keeps their visitors pointless after four games and they are the only thing standing between newly-promoted Hamburg and Frankfurt and their erstwhile competitors in the lower division.
August 24: Espanyol are said to be preparing a last-minute ploy to snatch Leeds transfer target Salomon Olembe from Marseille. After the arrival of Didier Domi, Lamine Sakho and possibly one of the two French triallists as well, Leeds seem to be sewing up the French export market at the moment, but Espanyol boss Javier Clemente is hopeful that he can persuade Olembe to switch to a mid-table La Liga side rather than coming to a club where turmoil rules and uncertainty is the only certainty. One week to go before the transfer window shuts - I hope Reidy knows the banks are closed tomorrow in case we need to write a cheque sharpish.
August 23: This morning's papers were all of the opinion that Danny Mills has made his mind up, and a move to Middlesbrough is on the cards. Mills will move there on a 12-month loan with Leeds paying ten grand a week - a third of his total wages but a net saving to the club of £1.5 million per year. He won't be registered in time for Boro's game against Leicester on Tuesday, and although he would in theory be registered in time for the visit of Leeds to the Riverside on Saturday, Leeds are not prepared to pay the wages of a player who will play against them - so it looks as if Mills will have until mid-September to get acquainted with his new team-mates on the training ground before playing in a competitive match.
August 23: The Japanese press today reported that Peter Reid had made a move to sign Shimizu S-Pulse midfielder Alex - but the player had decided to stay in Japan for the remainder of the domestic season. He said: "It would have been nice to have heard about this a bit earlier but what can you do?" Oh well, back to the signing-a-Japanese-player-to-cash-in-on-the-market drawing board...
August 23: After a positive start at White Hart Lane which saw Alan Smith drive home a 20 yard shot to give Leeds the advantage after just 5 minutes, the team failed to overcome a well-organised Spurs side and once again a couple of poor defensive mistakes let our opponents in to grab the three points. Taricco was given acres of space and as much time as he needed just before the break to strike a long-range shot that Paul Robinson probably should have done better on, and after Dom Matteo gave away a free kick well out on the flank (earning a booking into the bargain), the dangerous Freddie Kanoute bicycle-kicked home the winner with 20 minutes to go. Leeds really failed to gel as a team: Alan Smith had to drop deep to pick up the ball, Lamine Sakho's main view of the ball was to watch it sail over his head, and Mark Viduka and Jason Wilcox gave each other stiff competition for the "least contribution to the game" award. On the positive side, Aaron Lennon succeeded James Milner as the youngest player to appear in the Premiership and showed he had as little fear of first team defenders as he has done in the rserves and Youth games. One final word for the ref, Steve Dunn. 49 + 3 = 52. If the clock shows 1649 when the 90 are up and you say that there will be a minimum of 3 minutes of injury time then you shouldn't be blowing your whistle when the clock shows 1651. Not that the extra minute would have made much of a difference to our chances - but it did reflect another inconsistent performance from the officials which seldom provides the assistance and momentum we need when the team is not doing well. Ho hum, time to put this one behind us and focus on the Saints on Tuesday.
August 23: Peter Reid admitted that his side had been beaten by two great strikes from Mauricio Taricco and Freddie Kanoute at White Hart Lane this afternoon. Reid said: "Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up. They were two fantastic strikes and I can't argue with the result. Those were the difference between the two teams." But Reid said he was pleased with the performance of the side, and that Leeds had defended well under pressure (true, but why were they under so much pressure from a fairly mediocre side in the first place?). Reid added: "Alan Smith was impressive again. I was ever so pleased with him - he is getting better and better. But Mark Viduka looked a bit weary. That's why we took him off." Glenn Hoddle spoke something nearer the truth about the game when he said: "We responded to them and totally dominated. I think we could have come in winning by several goals." Well, okay that last bit was stretching it a bit because you need to have a few more strikes on target rather than just knocking the ball across the park and then back to the keeper if you want to claim that sort of thing. And he wasn't that wrong when he said: "It was certainly worth it because apart from the goal that Leeds scored I don't think they made any other chances." And that's what Reid is going to have to work on - and do it quickly because the games against Southampton and Boro will need to yield some points if the season isn't going to stall at the very start.
August 23: Noel Whelan cropped up in the goals for the second week in a row - this time with a last-minute equaliser for Millwall after they looked set to lose 0-1 to Crewe at the New Den.
August 22: Peter Reid has his eyes on yet another transfer target as the summer window gets into its last week - and guess what? It's another France-based player! Cameroun international Solomon Olembe is a team-mate of Lamine Sakho at Olympique Marseille and is similarly disaffected: he has been playing at left back, prefers to play in midfield but doesn't figure in the coach's current plans. Peter Reid confirmed that Olembe had been watched and that a move was possible, and also said that a final decision on Carlos Cuellar would be made next week.
August 22: Club captain Dominic Matteo paid tribute to the team spirit that had seen Leeds through against Newcastle - and called for more of the same throughout the season. He said: "If we do it week in week out, we'll improve and get better. We don't have the biggest squad, but if we play like that every week we'll do okay." He also paid specific tribute to Lamine Sakho and Zoumana Camara, saying how well they'd integrated into the side after barely having the chance to train with their new team-mates. He went on: "It's so important that we get on together off the field and work hard for each other on it."
August 22: Leeds Ladies start their season at Bromley on Sunday with a match against cup finalists Charlton. Leeds new manager Julie Chipchase said: "I am very pleased with how pre-season has gone... It is up to the players who play on Sunday to perform and keep their shirts, knowing we have quality players not only on the bench but players who haven't made it into the squad for this game." Leeds Ladies went through their pre-season programme with just a single defeat - 2-1 against the Spanish champions - including a 4-0 win over Manchester United. If only the men could reproduce that form...
August 22: Despite being despatched for a fourth loan spell away from the club, Harpal Singh still hopes to make a future at Elland Road. He said: "I can't pretend that I wasn't disappointed when he told me that I wasn't likely to feature in the first few months of the season. Obviously I was hoping to be given a chance, especially with the departure of Harry Kewell and other players over the summer." And he went on: "I had a chat with the manager during pre-season and he told me I wasn't in his immediate plans. But he also made it clear to me that it doesn't mean the end of my Leeds career or anything like that." It would be a very positive message from Leeds if Singh were to become the first British-born Asian player to appear in the top flight, but you can't help feel that if we've not managed to find him a temporary berth at a Division 1 club at the age of 21, then his chances of a Premier League place must be limited.
August 22: Spurs received late clearance for their new signing Mbulelo Mabizela today, and he is expected to go straight into the side for tomorrow's game. Mabizela impressed Glenn Hoddle when playing for Orlando Pirates in Spurs' pre-season tour of South Africa, and Lucas Radebe has been similarly impressed with what he's seen. Radebe said: "I've watched him in a few matches and he's a talented defender. He's going to be one of the best ever to come out of the country." Stephen Carr is expected to be fit for tomorrow's game, and Bobby Zamora should also be back from injury to partner Helder Postiga up front in the absence of injured Leeds old boy Robbie Keane. There are a few other doubts for Spurs (inevitably including Darren Anderton), but for Leeds it's pretty much all clear. Dom Matteo is almost 100% likely to play after picking up an ankle knock against Newcastle, and Lamine Sakho and Didier Domi are also in the clear. Jermaine Pennant comes straight into the side and is likely to replace Jason Wilcox on the right side of midfield, and he will no doubt receive the same warm welcome Spurs fans extend to anyone remotely connected with Arsenal. Pennant is looking forward to some regular first-team football. He said: "I'd always known Leeds are a good team, all through the years, and there's a great spirit. That's why I wanted to come. They've made me feel really welcome and are a great bunch of lads." Whether or not Peter Reid is just trying to prove a point to Danny Mills is unclear, but Nick Barmby is recalled to the squad after a good performance for the reserves in midweek - but he's unlikely to get further than the bench.
August 21: Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar is confident that he's done enough to secure a permanent move to Leeds, he told Marca today. "They have said that I did very well in training and that they were happy with my work." He revealed that Leeds had watched him when Terry Venables was still in charge, but this was a chance for the new management to take a look and make their own minds up. He went on: "When they told me to go I was a little bit surprised, but I am very excited to have the chance and it is a real challenge for me." And his boss back home also seemed to think that a deal was imminent. Numancia's sporting director Maximo Hernandez said: "There is an initial agreement that has to be made concrete, but... I don't think there should be any problems."
August 21: Matthew Kilgallon will be spending the next three months at Upton Park after Leeds agreed a loan deal with West Ham for the up-and-coming young defender. Kilgallon made his first team debut in Florence against Hapoel Tel Aviv last season, and his first league appearance was against West Ham last February. Glenn Roeder has had his squad forcibly trimmed during the summer due to financial constraints (sound familiar?) and followed that up by falling out with Sebastian Schemmel who took himself off to Pompey last week. So Roeder is understandably happy to add to his squad. He said: "We have had our eye on Matthew for a number of games and and have watched a number of Leeds' pre-season matches where he figured. We are sure that when he is called upon he will be able to play First Division football."
August 21: Seth Johnson was arrested last night and was charged with drink driving, speeding and racing on the highway after being interviewed by police today. Johnson was arrested on the M62 near Bradford shortly after midnight, and was bailed to appear at Dewsbury Magistrates Court on August 29. A 23-year-old from York has also been summonsed in connection with the same incident. The club confirmed Johnson's arrest, and in a brief statement, Peter Reid said: "The matter will be dealt with internally." Like how about inserting a rocket up the pillock's backside? How many more times do we have to see hugely well-paid footballers (a) over the limit during the season and (b) too stupid to use a tiny fraction of their thirty grand a week to pay for a permanent chauffeur or at the very least a taxi or limo for the night. It will be interesting and informative to see if Reid chooses to pick Johnson for Saturday's game in light of the charges: he had a pretty good game against Newcastle and with resources so thin on the ground Reid might not have the luxury of taking a stand against the player's behaviour.
August 21: Leeds have accepted two offers from Premiership clubs - believed to be Birmingham and Boro - to take Danny Mills on loan for the remainder of the season. Blues manager Steve Bruce said: "I've spoken to his manager Peter Reid, and I can't say any more until I've spoken to him again. But I can say he's somebody we're interested in." Reid insisted that Mills was not being forced out of the club - although sources indicate that Reid was furious with Mills' decision to go public and complain about being dropped and that even a fulsome apology from the player would not be enough to get him back into the team again. But Reid said his decision was based purely on what he'd seen from Mills on the pitch in the pre-season games, and that he wasn't questioning his attitude in training as Mills had suggested: "In training he has been smashing but in the games in pre-season I have not seen him. I would be an idiot if I thought a player wasn't playing well and played him in the team." He went on to leave the door vaguely ajar for the future: "If he stays I will see what he's like in games, I will have a look at Danny and I'm sure he will improve but I can't pick him on what I have seen recently in football matches." If Mills makes the move to the Riverside - believed to be the favorite of the two options - then he could find himself facing his old team-mates immediately as Leeds will be there on Saturday week for a league game.
August 21: Mark Viduka says that he's trying to ignore speculation on his future and just focus on playing for Leeds. And it sounds like he's making an attempt to seem conciliatory towards the club and the manager - maybe his agent has come back to tell him that there are no buyers out there at his price and wage expectations? Viduka told the official web site: "Peter Reid has said that I still have a future at the club and our ruck is over and forgotten now." But it's not all positive - the striker added: "I'm happy that he has said that but I'm not prepared to talk about what it means in terms of my future at Leeds." So that's all crystal clear then.
August 20: As well as losing Robbie Keane for the weekend, it's looking like Spurs will be missing another player: they were thought to be ready to complete a deal for Santos star midfielder Diego - but the player's father now says that Spurs have underbid and are out of the running. On the less positive side, Gaizka Mendieta - who was the key player for Valencia as Leeds were beaten in the Champions League semi-finals in 2000-01 - has agreed a season-long loan deal that takes him to Boro from Lazio, with an option to purchase at the end of the loan spell. Here's hoping he's forgotten all the things he did that took us apart in the Mestalla.
August 20: Peter Reid says that he doesn't want fans to place an undue burden on loan signing Lamine Sakho by labelling him the "new Harry Kewell" when he's barely played an hour in competitive matches for the club. Reid thinks Sakho will need time to settle down, saying: "It's unfair to start making such comparisons. The boy did well on Sunday and if I am honest I think he has done better than I ever imagined he would." Reid finished by saying: "There is more to come from him and I can't wait to see it."
August 20: Despite his agent's comments yesterday, today's papers all seem to agree that Danny Mills has irreversibly alienated boss Peter Reid with his comments. Mills said that he felt that he had been unfairly picked on and was being forced out of the club, and Reid is understood to be ready to stand firm and offload the right-back for what he sees as a blatant challenge to his right to manage the team as he wants. Whether or not there's anyone out there with the money to buy out a recently-signed 5-year deal that gives Mills £2 million a year is another question, and there was talk today of Leeds doing a deal similar to that which offloaded Robbie Fowler and offering to pay 50% of his base pay if he can agree a deal with another club. At the moment it seems that Birmingham are leading the field, with the possibility of a year-long loan deal for the defender. It would be unfortunate to see Mills leave Leeds in such circumstances, but at the moment there's no question he's second choice behind Gary Kelly, and with Frazer Richardson coming through the ranks we should be okay for cover in that position, so if this turns out to be another small step to getting the club back on an even keel then I guess we have to accept it.
August 20: While Danny Mills was throwing his toys out of his pram over being dropped, Nick Barmby has come out and said that he'll be buckling down and doing his best to work his way back into Peter Reid's squad for the rest of the season. He said: "From a personal point of view, it was disappointing not to be involved. I'm a Leeds player and I signed for four years - I enjoy being at the club tremendously." Barmby went on: "I have been in this position at other clubs but have come back and trained hard and tried hard in the reserves. I would never want to leave Leeds." Barmby did well for the reserves against West Brom earlier in the week, and whatever his personal thoughts on the matter it's nice to see we've got at least one player who is capable of taking the rough with the smooth and acting in a professional manner.
August 20: Dominic Matteo's return to the side could last just one game as the club captain battles to be fit for this weekend's trip to Spurs. Matteo tweaked an ankle injury he had picked up in the pre-season in Sunday's game with Newcastle, but stayed on until the end as Leeds held out for a deserved draw. He's still hoping to be fit for Saturday after some tough physio sessions, but on the positive side Ian Harte had a decent game for Ireland last night and would be available, as would Didier Domi so at least we're not totally bereft of cover. For Spurs, Robbie Keane is out and Steve Carr is also a doubt after sustaining a hamstring injury.
August 20: Crystal Palace's desire to cash in on Julian Gray may backfire on them as he has now gone on trial with Hannover 96 in the Bundesliga. Palace were holding out for a sizeable fee for the 23-year-old when he had trials at Leeds and Charlton, but neither club was prepared to fork out or agree personal terms with the player, and if he moves abroad then the Eagles will not be entitled to claim a transfer fee on te out-of-contract player.
August 20: Leeds and Swindon have agreed ticket prices for the Carling Cup game - just a tenner for adults and a fiver for concessions. The game on September 24 will be a long way short of a sell-out: the top deck of the East Stand will be closed, and Swindon will be given the whole of the South Stand, with both clubs hoping that the visitors will bring a sizeable following, attracted by the prospects of an upset and the cheap ticket prices.
August 20: Are we going to get our very own sugar daddy a la Chelsea? Although there has been talk over the last year or so about getting further funds from shipping magnate Andreas Dracopoulos, nothing has materialised on that front. Now we've turned our attention to the world of oil in the shape of Sheik Abdul bin Mubarak Al Khalifa who was introduced to Leeds' board at the game on Sunday. The Sheik is based in the UAE and has previously been said to be interested in a football investment - but he's no fool with his money, and will need to be shown clear evidence of prospects for improvement on the field and solid financial control off the park before he parts with any cash. Later in the day - after recent performances and speculation had seen the share price rise from 3p at the weekend to 3.38p on relatively high-volume trading at today's close, the board issued a statement in which they pointed out that the Sheik was a fan of Leeds who had attended many games over the last 25 years, and although the club's finances were discussed when he met the directors, no proposals had been made.
August 20: Jermaine Pennant has completed his loan deal from Arsenal, and will be with Leeds through to October 19. Arsenal have requested that he is not used in the Carling Cup games, so we'll have to face the mighty Swindon without him.
August 20: Danny Mills and Paul Robinson both saw some action for England in tonight's friendly with Croatia at Portman Road. Robbo came on for the second half after David James had produced one of his better performances and kept a clean sheet in the first period. Robbo did concede a goal, but it wasn't one that could be laid at his door - more the fault of a shaky England defence that did its best to offer the visitors as many chances as possible. Mills came on for the last 10 minutes to replace Phil Neville.
August 19: Andy Ritchie has been sacked as Academy Director by Leeds after less than a year and a half in the job. Ritchie was one of David O'Leary's last appointments, but was thought to be doing a good job with the youngsters as James Milner, Aaron Lennon, Paul Keegan and Scott Carson all came through the system. Peter Reid has yet to name a successor to Ritchie, who many of us remember from his days as a battling striker for the club in Division 2. Wherever he goes next it's unlikely to be back to his former club Oldham who today became the latest in an increasingly long line of teams to enter administration.
August 19: We've acquired yet another young foreign player on trial with a view to a loan or permanent move - but this time it's a Spaniard rather than another Frenchman. Carlos Cuellar is a 21-year-old central defender, currently with Spanish Division 2 club Numancia. In the Spanish press today, Numancia's director of sport said: "This is the result of conversations we have been maintaining for a while and the club has decided he should travel to England to spend a few days with Leeds." Sounds like they're in pretty poor financial straits though, and they're hoping this will bring in some money to help them out (so why are they loaning the player to us then?). Club president Jose Isla said: "Cuellar's transfer could be one of the most important deals in the history of the club and would be very important for the future of the team."
August 19: Jermaine Pennant's loan deal will not be sealed until Thursday or Friday since the player is on international duty with the England U-21 squad. He won't need to complete a medical for the two-month deal though, so things should be finalised in pretty short order when he gets out of the England camp.
August 19: Poor Lee Bowyer was disappointed with the reception he received from Leeds fans on Sunday. Well maybe he should have helped Leeds out by finding a new team last summer, or having decided to stay actually applied himself a bit for the few games he played last season - surely that was the least the fans' loyalty to the player deserved? But Bowyer said: I can't let it bother me. But I got a good reception from the Newcastle fans when I played against Bayern Munich. Hopefully it will be the same at the weekend if I'm selected against Manchester United. Whatever happens it's out of my hands."
August 19: Danny Mills' agent says that he expects his client to have clear-the-air talks with boss Peter Reid. Mills was dropped at the weekend, with Reid saying that he wanted fit players who were fully committed to the team to be playing for Leeds. And although Reid didn't go so far as to say "Danny Mills is unfit and unmotivated" the right back took offence and hit back on his personal website. Now Mills' agent Neil Featherby says that he hopes they can resolve their differences. Featherby said: "Danny is very professional in his outlook and has never had a problem with criticism, but he will react if he feels the criticism is unjust... His football means a lot to him. He loves the club and is desperate to do well and to be in the first team. I am sure Danny will have a meeting with Peter and I'm hopeful it can be resolved. In fact, I'm sure it can be." And he further insisted that his client was in peak condition: "He is as fit as any footballer and a number of top athletes I have worked with over the years."
August 19: Jermaine Pennant will have something to talk about with at least one of his new colleagues-to-be at Elland Road when he joins later this week. Playing for England's U-21 side tonight and with his side already trailing 0-2, Pennant took a swing at a Croatian player and received his marching orders just past the hour mark. In the friendly at Lansdowne Road between Ireland and Australia, Mark Viduka opened the scoring just into the second half, but Ireland ran out 2-1 winners with Ian Harte picking up his 50th cap for the Republic involved in both of the Irish goals. Paul Okon also appeared for Australia, but Harry Kewell - whose round-the-world exploits to play in meaningless internationals when he was a Leeds player meant he missed numerous Leeds games and failed to recover as quickly as he could from his injuries - failed to appear for Australia: now that he's a Liverpool player his ankles are ultra-delicate and must not be risked at international level unless there is a major crisis. On a sad but positive note, former Leeds striker Robbie Keane went off with a suspected ankle ligament injury just before half-time. Which means he'll miss Saturday's game at White Hart Lane - hurray!
August 19: Eirik Bakke could be out for as long as six months after being diagnosed with patella tendonitis. Bakke will fly out to the USA to see surgeon Richard Steadman - well known for his work with numerous footballers including Michael Bridges - to see if he can provide a faster (or maybe a more permanent) solution. Leeds are considering whether to seek compensation from the Norwegian FA who played him in three games this summer despite Leeds providing medical evidence that he needed the rest. Peter Reid said: "It's disappointing for us and Eirik, but the problem now needs sorting out. I don't know how long he will be out for, but it's a big, big blow to us."
August 18: There's a new biography of the great John Charles due out in the shops soon. And for all of my lucky readers there is the chance not only to get a signed copy for the cover price of £18.99 (plus postage) but also to buy through a good friend of John's and mine in order to ensure that John and his wife Glenda receive a bigger cut of the proceeds than they would from a sale at Amazon or another bookshop. John was undoubtedly the most skilful player ever to grace Leeds' ranks and is regularly named as the greatest foreigner ever to appear in Serie A - I'm sure the book will be an informative and interesting read for all Leeds fans, or indeed any football fans out there. Get in touch with Graham Thirkill (firstname.lastname@example.org) now and get your order in today!
August 18: The stiffs start their season with a game at West Brom tonight. Nigel Martyn is expected to be in goal with the usual bunch of mainly youth team players, supplemented by the more experienced Stephen McPhail and Jamie McMaster.
August 18: Lamine Sakho has all the attributes to grow into as big a fans' favorite as the previous owner of the number 10 shirt, according to Lucas Radebe. "I don't think you can directly compare him with Harry because he's got to be his own person," he said. "The big plus is that he's willing to work hard - not just for himself, but for the team as well. He even excites me when I'm stood at the back. It's great to see the skill that he's got and it's great to give the ball to a player like that." Radebe pointed to the excellent reception Sakho received from the fans in Dublin, which was echoed yesterday when he was replaced by Didier Domi on the hour. "He's a great lad. He wants to do well and he wants to be at Leeds." We couldn't ask for much more right now.
August 18: With Jermaine Pennant set to sign for Leeds this week, Peter Reid confirmed that he was looking for more pace from his players, but Pennant has much more to offer than just pace: after a loan spell at Watford he returned to Arsenal last season and hammered Southampton at Highbury just before the Cup Final. Reid said: "I hope we can get Jermaine on loan because it would be a big boost."
August 18: If you picked up a programme yesterday, there was a face familiar to many of us smiling out of the back page - LUSC Treasurer Phil Beeton, who was seen personally autographing a few copies in his usual pre-match position behind the counter in the programme hut. This was a part of new sponsor Whyte and Mackay's programme to highlight devoted fans of the club. If you think you are a big enough fan to deserve featuring - or know of someone who does - write in and tell them about it. No electronic address I'm afraid, so you'll have to use snailmail: Whyte and Mackay Leeds Advert, 15 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, EH10 6TB.
August 18: Former Leeds player Gareth Evans has landed a one-month contract with Blackpool after training with the side for a week or so. His agent managed to persuade Seasiders boss Steve McMahon to give him a chance after being released by Huddersfield in the summer. He made just two substitute appearances for Leeds - against 1860 Munich in the Champions League qualifier in 2000-01, and against Manchester City a couple of weeks later. His time at Huddersfield has been disrupted by injury - so much so that he didn't play a game at all last season - but we wish him well in his efforts to get his career back on track.
August 18: Danny Mills is clearly an unhappy puppy. On his website (and hopefully to his face) he has asked Peter Reid to explain why he was dropped from the squad for Sunday's game. "Within two months I've gone from starting a European Championship qualifying game for England to being completely omitted from the Leeds first team squad, so read into that what you will. I find it a slur on my character that the manager has questioned my training and, in his opinion, I have not performed in matches or training." He admits that his match performances weren't up for scratch and is right to suggest that he wasn't alone in failing to live up to expectations. But anyone who saw the games in Dublin will be scratching their heads at his claim that his fitness is at a "very high level". He also points to the fact that Sven has picked him for the England squad, but if he believes that's out of anything more than necessity and loyalty he needs to take a serious reality check. Mills had a brilliant World Cup just over 12 months ago, but since then his performances have steadily deteriorated, both defensively and as an attacking force. Maybe some of that is down to the poor coaching he's received under David O'Leary and Terry Venables, but all he needs to do is watch a tape of himself playing for Leeds or England in 2001/02 and follow that with almost any game from last season or the pre-season games and if he can be honest with himself he'll see what Reid has seen. He still has the chance to get his game back together and press for an England place for Euro 2004, and I'd love to see him do it for club and country. But self-delusion is not a good starting point. Despite all of this, Mills has said he's happy to stay at Leeds and doesn't want to leave: "I assure all the fans that I am here for the fight. I have proved people wrong in the past and I will do it again."
August 18: Nick Barmby did his best to show Peter Reid a positive attitude in tonight's reserve game against West Brom. After Simon Johnson had got Leeds off to an excellent start with a 30-yard curler, Barmby found the net from inside the box on the quarter-hour. Leeds continued to dominate the first half, but found themselves just one goal ahead by half-time after Frazer Richardson was adjudged to have taken the man and not the ball. Leeds continued to play well, fielding a young team and impressing reserves boss Steve Agnew when faced with some experienced opposition from the home side. Maybe things are starting to turn the corner!
August 18: The Carling Cup Round 2 game against Swindon has been confirmed as taking place at Elland Road on Wednesday 24 September, kicking off at 7:45PM.
August 17: The Prof announced today that Leeds will be taking Arsenal's Jermaine Pennant on loan for two months, subject to a medical on Monday. The Prof said: "We are delighted Jermaine is joining Peter Reid's team... although no commitment has been made with Arsenal it opens up the possibility of a permanent move later on." After a £2 million move from Notts County, Pennant has found it hard to get a first team place with the likes of Pires, Bergkamp, Ljungberg and Wiltord on the scene - and his arrival should do a lot to bolster competition for places in the side.
August 17: Just seven days ago, we weren't able to muster up enough spirit to kill off an Eircom League side who outfought and outbattled us for 90 minutes. Today, and it's back to the old Leeds in so many different ways. The atmosphere at Elland Road was superb and for much of the match the players reminded us of what they can do. Hard to say what got the biggest cheer of the day: Alan Smith's strike to give us the lead after Bernard's mistake, Lamine Sakho's departure - a standing ovation for the debutant, or the return of David Batty for the last few minutes. Batts did enough in that time to suggest he can at least carry off a sub's role in the Premier League this season, and with Seth Johnson and Jody Morris also snapping away in midfield we have the makings of a team that could be quite tough to beat on the ground. Dominic Matteo and Lucas Radebe did look like players who were not fully fit, and it's a shame that highlights will probably show The Chief giving away a penalty and then presenting the ball to Shearer for the winner, but won't show his excellent work rate and a couple of brilliant tackles and clearances. Lamine Sakho's league debut was a highlight: not many people will have heard of him before today but you can bet that the Premier League managers will be briefing their defences to keep a tight rein on the stylish Frenchman. The only downside really was the performance of Jason Wilcox - too slow to get back into position, too many rash challenges and lucky not to pick up a second yellow card - and Mark Viduka, whose lack of match fitness was once again all too obvious. Vidooks got us the goal that brought us back into the game, but as has been the case at the start of each one of his seasons at Leeds, he looked laboured and barely able to last 70 minutes, never mind 90. When Sakho was substituted with half an hour to go, Leeds' best attacking threat went and we once again found ourselves under pressure at the back, defending too deep and ultimately paid the price. But as I said ahead of this game, I'd be over the moon with a draw and it's a measure of how well we played over the 90 minutes that I feel more than a little bit disappointed with the single point rather than three.
August 17: Bobby Robson came out with a bucketload of sympathy for his poor hard done to midfielder Lee Bowyer after he got a less than friendly reception from the Leeds fans today. Robson said: "It was a tough game for Bowyer. We knew he would get that sort of treatment. It was sad in a way, but that's the way it will be I guess." He went on: "But with the service he gave them here and the popular player he was, have they forgotten that?" Of course we haven't you old fool - it's just how fans react when a player departs in acrimonious circumstances. Remember what your player said last week about the way Newcastle fans always used to treat him when he came to St James Park as a Leeds player?
August 17: Peter Reid finally had some reason to praise his players after today's battling draw with Newcastle. He said: "The players gave me everything they had. I cannot fault any of them." But he pointed out that he'd not held out much hope for this fixture earlier in the week: "I have to admit I was worried until yesterday - then there was a real spark in training which I hadn't sensed before. That gave me a lot of confidence and they took it into the game." Alan Smith was well-satisfied with the team's performance: "Credit to Newcastle for keeping battling, but we played well and a lot of people have underestimated us this season. We proved a point." Bobby Robson to broke the overall happy mood - despite the fact that Newcastle must have been doubting they'd leave with a point after being a goal behind with ten minutes to go. Robson said: "I think Peter was happy when the final whistle went, but I wasn't. It was that sort of game."
August 17: Danny Mills - dropped from the squad for today's game - is being connected with a move to newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves were hammered 5-1 at Ewood Park yesterday and have long been seen as one of the favorites for the drop, but the big question will surround Mills' desire to take his chances with such a team when his England place is already in jeopardy or will he stay at Elland Road and try to fight his way back into the team after having his attitude questioned by Peter Reid. Two weeks before the transfer window shuts and counting...
August 17: Starting in the Bundesliga, we find last season's patsies Bayer Leverkusen the only team with a 100% record after three games: their 4-0 demolition of Hannover 96 yesterday taking them 2 points clear of the usual suspects: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen and VfB Stuttgart. Early season laggards are Kaiserslautern, Cologne and newly-promoted Eintracht Frankfurt who have all yet to win a point.
August 16: Leeds have been drawn at home to Swindon Town in Round 2 of the Carling Cup (League/Milk/Rumbelows/Coca-Cola/Worthington as was). The tie will be played on the 23rd or 24th of September. Leeds are unbeaten at Elland Road against Swindon, and although we've never faced them in the League Cup before, we have been drawn against them four times in the FA Cup, losing the first in 1922 but winning the subsequent three ties in 1970 (0-2), 1971 (4-0) and 1987 (1-2). The last time we played them in the league was on the final day of the 1993-94 season when a last-minute strike made it 0-5 to Leeds and racked up a century of league goals conceded for Swindon.
August 16: Jody Morris says that the team needs the fans to really get behind the team this season to give the players that extra push. In the YEP he said: "The supporters are great. They showed that in Dublin last weekend. It was a great turnout and they certainly outnumbered the Villa supporters." And he's making fairly confident noises about the game itself: "We're relishing going up against one of the big guns so early on... If everyone pulls together in the right direction we'll do okay." Meanwhile ex-Leeds right back and current Radio Aire summariser Mel Sterland is keeping his fingers crossed that Leeds can break one run and keep another one going. Newcastle have won on each of their last three visits to Elland Road, scoring ten and conceding just four in reply - clearly they are our bogey team at home. But the last time Leeds lost on the opening day of the season was when the club finally managed to gain promotion from Division 2 in 1989-90: that game was the 5-2 defeat at St James Park, and Sterland remembered that day saying: "It was joke defending from us. We were absolutely shocking. It gave us a real kick and we went on a good run from there. It was a slow start to the season, but we went on to get promoted so things didn't work out that bad." I'm sure we'd all welcome a season like 1989-90 again - undefeated at home until April and dominating the opposition home and away as Wilko's side stormed back into the First Division. Finally old boy Gary Speed - now a key player in Newcastle's midfield - said: "The fact they've done poorly in pre-season doesn't mean a lot. Knowing Peter Reid as I do, I'm sure it won't have any effect whatsoever." I really hope he's right: having seen some of the pre-season performances, my earlier lack of concern over our prospects of relegation has been ratcheted up into a state of half-blind panic by the disconnected, uncommitted performances on the pitch and the continued whispering campaign by players' agents and press connections off it. And looking at the fixture list there's no doubt that a poor start in the first three or four games could turn into an unstoppable tumble down the table as we face Everton, Blackburn, Man U, Liverpool and Arsenal in succession.
August 16: Danny Mills and Nick Barmby are not in the 17-man squad named for tomorrow's game. It's believed that they are the main victims of Reid's cull because of poor attitudes and performances on the training pitch and in the pre-season games. Aaron Lennon finds himself included and with the chance of making his senior debut after a good performance in Dublin, but anyone who was at Tolka Park last weekend would be gobsmacked to see Jason Wilcox's name within a country mile of the squad sheet. Maybe he's exhibited a sufficiently positive attitude in training to counteract performances in Dublin that could be called "dire" if you were feeling exceptionally generous - but if he makes the side on Sunday would somebody please stick a horse-size dose of something performance-enhancing into his pre-match meal. Reid said that Mark Viduka would start unless his ankle problem recurred: "Viduka's trained well this week and his attitude has been great. It's good to have him involved and I've been pleased with his efforts." A big question-mark remains over the left-back slot: Ian Harte missed last year's defeat but the pasting he took in the game in 2001 clearly damaged his confidence and although he's produced the odd performance somewhere near his former standards, Dyer, Jenas and Solano would relish another chance to run at him. The final question over the squad is one of fitness and cohesion: Lucas Radebe, Jody Morris, David Batty, Seth Johnson and Dominic Matteo haven't taken the fullest part in all of the pre-season games, and Zoumana Camara, Didier Domi and Lamine Sakho are all recent arrivals (as is Morris) who will not yet be fully acquainted with their team-mates and vice-versa. If all this sounds like me being pessimistic, you're right. I'll be ecstatic with a goalless draw tomorrow, and will happily take all the "told-you-so" on offer if the optimists out there prove me wrong. For Newcastle, Bobby Robson is missing fringe players Darren Ambrose and Hugo Viana, but has pretty much a full-strength squad. Jon Woodgate is almost certain to start - but Lee Bowyer will face more competition for his place in the middle of the park.
August 16: Danny Mills may have been dropped by Peter Reid - but he's still in the England squad for the friendly against Croatia. Paul Robinson is also included - but faces competition from man-in-possession David James and fit-again Chris Kirkland, but there's no place for Alan Smith yet. Maybe Sven is getting a bit confused in his old age, but he was there in Dublin last Saturday and has obviously decided not to believe the evidence of his own eyes. Leeds old boys Rio Ferdinand and Jon Woodgate also get the call.
August 16: By 3:15 today it seemed as if the only people scoring goals were former Leeds players. Andy Gray opened the scoring for Bradford at Cardiff - they went on to win 0-2. In the same minute, John Sheridan scored from the spot for Oldham against Sheffield Wednesday - another of his former clubs. That one finished 2-2 with Shefki Kuqi scoring both goals for the Owls and then getting his marching orders. Noel Whelan helped history come a bit closer: his goal for Millwall at Sunderland meant that the home side are now just one game away from equalling Darwen's record of 18 successive league defeats. Derek Lilley scored the only goal of the game for his new club Livingston just a few minutes after coming on as a sub against Motherwell. On the less positive side, Gary McAllister could only hit the post with a spot-kick, condemning the Coventry vs Walsall game to a goalless draw.
August 15: The usual pre-season malicious rubbish is turning up in the press, with today's made-up story suggesting that Alan Smith was on the point of a move to Villa to work with DOL for around £8.5 million. Leaving aside the fact that O'Leary took plenty of opportunities while at Leeds to run the player down, it's hard to see how an unproven Villa side would offer Smith any chance of advancement and ignores the fact that both Leeds and Smith don't want the move. The Prof said: "I can tell you here and now there's not a chance in a million he is going - I'd say not a chance in 20 million. There's absolutely no way Alan Smith is leaving this club. He will be there in September, as he always is, playing for this club." And later Smith went on the record saying: "As far as I am concerned it is complete rubbish. I can only repeat what I said recently, that I am a Leeds United player and proud to be so. I was born in Leeds and I have no intention of leaving the club. This is where I want to play my football." Now why can't Mark Viduka do that?
August 15: Peter Reid has once again pointed to failings in the players' attitude to the game as the main reason we've played so badly in the pre-season. Reid said: "Anyone can play badly, the supporters know that. There's nothing wrong with players working, having a good attitude and being difficult to beat - but we haven't been. If they show me the right attitude and desire they'll be in the team. If they don't show me that, I don't care who they are, they will be out." So the big question for Reid on Sunday morning will be: "Do I pick my best striker even though he's made it clear his heart and head are not fully concentrated on his future at Elland Road?" Tune in on Sunday to find out!
August 15: Seth Johnson - whose Leeds career to date has been one of pain, suffering and physiotherapy - says that he will play through the pain and do what he can despite his lack of match fitness. He said: "I've got a few problems because of the operations. It swells up after games but as long as I keep ice on it and keep it under control it should be okay." He's been an all too regular guest of the physio and the surgeons but has missed out on the match preparation: "I still need games and I'll keep working hard. I wasn't fully fit in Dublin, but I've had a full week's training under my belt." And he went on: "We need 11 men who are going to work hard for each other out on the pitch... We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to start working again."
August 14: Leeds have failed in their attempt to land the out of contract Celtic midfielder Colin Healy. He has decided to take his chances with Sunderland instead - pretty poor state of affairs when we find we have insufficient money or kudos to attract somebody to us rather than the Mackems. But at least we do have a new triallist to report -
August 14: Transfer rubbish in the press today says that Leeds are looking to pick up Michael Brown and Phil Jagielka from Sheffield. But all talk of such a move must be put on ice until Peter Reid has raised some funds by selling one or more of his current squad. Given that Vidooks now seems happy, or at least not likely to move this week, such a move is a non-starter. Meanwhile we have still not heard which Leeds player will be spending a season at Bramall Lane as part of the deal that brought coach Kevin Blackwell to Elland Road.
August 14: Today the news was brought to you courtesy of an internet cafe in Prague and no thanks to the keyboard. If some words appear more mangled than usual, please blame the Czech alphabet.
August 13: The reserves won their pre-season warm-up game at Wetherby Road against Harrogate Town tonight, with a fairly straightforward 1-4 victory. There was a strong first-team presence in the Leeds side, with Ian Harte, David Batty, Danny Mills and Didier Domi all appearing. Others with experience for the seniors were Jamie McMaster, Simon Johnson, Stephen McPhail, Paul Okon, Matthew Kilgallon and Frazer Richardson. More updates when I get them...
August 13: Peter Reid thinks that the precocious talents of Aaron Lennon could be the next to appear on the big stage at Elland Road. The 16-year-old has impressed for the reserves, for England and did well out in Dublin at the weekend. Reid told the official website: "This pre-season we haven't had it in the side where someone's gone past people, but Aaron Lennon at 16 has showed that he can do that." But Reid sounded a note of caution - as drew a parallel to the position of James Milner: "You have to be careful with young players because the Premier League is very physical, but we can use him when games stretch out in the last 15-20 minutes."
August 13: Update on last night's win at Harrogate: Leeds' goals came from Didier Domi - operating as a wide player rather than in a defensive role - but that was equalised early in the second half by Town's Glen Naylor. Jamie McMaster restored the lead with 20 minutes to go, and Stephen McPhail and Matthew Kilgallon completed the scoring just on full-time. A crowd of over two and a half thousand saw David Batty complete the full 90 minutes, and Seth Johnson get another half of football under his belt as he returns to fitness.
August 13: Pompey boss Harry Redknapp says that a move for Ian Harte could be on the cards as he tries to complete a squad to keep his newly-promoted side in the top flight. He's also been linked with a move for one-time Leeds target Juan Pablo Sorin, but knows that there's not that much money available to spend at Fratton Park, and that could put the mockers on the move before it even starts. Redknapp said: "I do like Ian Harte but at the moment I don't know if anything is going to happen there... I have not yet spoken to Leeds or even to Peter Reid... but I would imagine [Harte] is on decent money at the club and they would want a fee for him."
August 12: The reserves play at Wetherby Road tonight against Harrogate Town - if you turn up you'll probably see a better game from the Leeds point of view than the one we're likely to witness on Sunday, so get yourself down there for the 7:45 kick-off.
August 12: The chairman has told manager Peter Reid that he will be allowed to spend all the money he can raise from player sales if he wants to restructure the squad before the transfer deadline. Prof McKenzie said: "This is not a case of me telling him to sell players to pay off debts but it is me telling him he can come to us, if he wants to, with a list of players to sell and that all of the money he raises can then be spent by him on new talent. It gives Peter the opportunity to restructure the squad because I know he has been frustrated with the way things have been going in pre-season." This offer is not necessarily as generous as it looks: in the current climate and based on the current batch of players, there's only Mark Viduka who would command any sort of fee unless Reid were to think the unthinkable and dispose of Alan Smith. It's still possible that we might manage to actually buy a player rather than pick up free transfers and loan players before the deadline - but don't hold your breath.
August 12: With a move to Chelsea off the cards due to his reluctance to move south and the passing of the Champions League transfer deadline, what does the future hold for Nigel Martyn? With no takers for Paul Robinson's services it looks like he faces another season on the bench at Leeds unless someone steps in to pick him up at the last minute. And that someone could be Everton manager David Moyes. Richard Wright has been plagued with injuries - and although he played a blinder against us at Goodison last season, Martyn would still probably get the call ahead of Wright, and Moyes said: "He's certainly a goalkeeper I admire and I think he could do us a job."
August 12: Peter Ridsdale was watching Barnsley beat Colchester on the opening day of the season - despite failing to win the takeover battle for the club during the summer. The new owner has only a limited amount of time to finalise the deal, and if Sean Lewis fails to conclude a satisfactory agreement with the club's various creditors the Oakwell fans could find their club on the auction block again. It's understood that Ridsdale and the boss of a former sponsor of the Tykes are waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces if things fall apart, but they are only interested if they can purchase the club outright rather than working in partnership with the current management.
August 12: Lamine Sakho has signed up for a year at Elland Road with a view to making it a permanent deal - should he meet our expectations and Leeds have the £3 million necessary to prise him away from Marseille next summer. Sakho's agent said: "After his problems at Marseille, this is a good chance for him to show what he can again do. He is a very good player and he has played with the best." Peter Reid said: "I've been impressed with the French lad and he's done really well. He's quick and has an eye for goal." Sakho has fallen out of favour with Olympique Marseille coach Alain Perrin, scoring 10 times in just 42 appearances since his arrival from RC Lens in January 2001.
August 11: Didier Domi has tried to clear up the circumstances surrounding his departure from Newcastle. Rumours at the time suggested a bust-up with Bobby Robson and disagreements over the training regime at the club - with Domi alleged to have said he would never play at St James Park again (bit of a problem come January maybe!). But Domi knocked the suggestions down as press speculation. He said: "I've been crazy about some of the things I've heard said and written. There was no problems with Bobby Robson and the fans. One day something happened in the papers and that was it, but I have no problems with Newcastle." He went on to say that he was looking forward to playing for England again, preferring the more raucous atmosphere at the games, compared to the more sedate attitude taken by the French fans.
August 11: Peter Reid said that he was looking to make two senior signings this week in order to bolster a squad that has failed to record a single victory in the pre-season games. The youngsters have looked better than the seniors, but Reid said: "The young lads that went on against Shelbourne, Woods, Lennon and Milner should only be playing cameo roles and we're asking them to do mens jobs and that shows we are thin on the ground." Lamine Sakho must surely have done enough at the weekend to merit a contract, and Leeds are expected to take Colin Healy on, now that the player has been released by Celtic, although Sunderland are also in the hunt for the midfielder but are even more strapped for cash than us.
August 10: Peter Reid refused to deflect any criticism from the team after their abysmal performance against Shelbourne today. Playing against a team who are on a fraction of the money that lines the Leeds' squad's pockets, they were shown up for commitment, fitness and vision in the 3rd-place play-off game. Reid said: "When I look at us when we concede a goal heads go down instead of getting a reaction, against Villa we fought back and showed a lot of character but today it just looked as if it was too hot out there and the attitude wasn't right." He pointed out that a few players were missing from the squad who might be back in the reckoning for Newcastle, but that the team on the park should have had enough ability to win the game. Reid added: "The players did not do themselves justice and the crowd justice because there were a lot of fans here who paid good money to be here."
August 10: Shelbourne won the 3rd-place play-off match against Leeds this afternoon in a game that was hugely disappointing for the several thousand Leeds fans in the ground. Although Lamine Salho again created chances early on, the midfield were never at the races in the first half, and after Stephen McPhail had headed an early chance wide, Leeds found themselves on the back foot after conceding two goals that owed much to Shelbourne doing the basics well and even more down to some truly appalling defending. Nigel Martyn produced a stunning save to keep the score at 2-0, and the linesman did the same when he ruled another Shelbourne effort out for offside. I'll write up a proper match report later, but if this is the best effort Leeds can summon for the season then we're doomed.
August 10: Michael Duberry will be out for 2 months after his face connected with the boot of Juan Pablo Angel in yesterday's game. It's another big blow for Peter Reid, but credit to Doobs for staying out with the side and doing his usual excellent PR job. Despite an obviously painful fraction of the cheekbone, he did his best to chat to the fans along the touchline, signed autographs and conducted a rousing chorus of "When I was just a little boy..." from the crowd. We may sometimes question what he's delivered on the pitch, but I don't think you could ever fault the big man's commitment.
August 09: Leeds skipper Dominic Matteo is looking forward to facing old boss David O'Leary in Dublin today - and reckons that the game against Villa this afternoon will provide a much clearer indication of how Leeds will perform during the coming season. He said: "It will be a big test for us, but just because it's David O'Leary I don't think there'll be any problems. David was good to me and I'm sure a lot of the other lads will say the same... We need a couple of results to get things right ahead of the Newcastle match. It's important we do get something out of this game."
August 09: I'm in Dublin for the games this weekend (only just made it after very unseasonal fog completely screwed up flights in and out of Dublin airport) so news updates will be a little bit more thin on the ground than normal. Normal service will resume Monday night.
August 09: Leeds went down in a penalty shoot-out with Villa in the delayed semi-final match in Dublin today. Lamine Sakho looked every bit like a man trying to win a place in the starting line-up with a sparkling display up front that won him a standing ovation when he was subbed late on. Alan Smith withstood huge provocation from David O'Leary's Villa side, Alpay doing his best to try to wind Smith up into a reaction - but this time to no avail. Overall the team probably produced its best performance of the pre-season games, although too many of the players still look short of fitness: Lucas Radebe's first match back since his op started earlier than expected after losing Doobs to a stray boot from Angel, Dom Matteo completed most of the game but looked a little uncertain about his knee, and Seth Johnson still wasn't quite ready for 90 minutes - but looked good from what we saw. Two soft goals conceded and we looked to be heading for defeat, but a brilliant run by Aaron Lennon gave Barmby one of his trademarked "did-nowt-else-but-scored" performances and then Ian Harte improved on his earlier dire free kick by curling one into the top corner deep into injury time. Penalties - well, the less said the better. Goals for McMaster and Mills, missed target for Harte, stubbed toe for McPhail. Moderately hopeful all round, not least for the likes of Milner and Lennon who both looked good. And sign up Sakho. Now!
August 08: For the 9th successive football season - and the 18th PL season - the Leeds United Predictions League is once again open for business. Test your judgement on the team's results - and just how many people will turn up to watch! If you've signed up before, just go straight to the predictions page, and if you're a novice then register first here.
August 08: With Mark Viduka injured and apparently wanting to get away from Elland Road, Peter Reid is stepping up his search for a replacement. Olympique Marseille's Senegalese striker Lamine Sekho is coming to Leeds for a trial after being listed by the French club - and he could even join up with the team in Dublin this weekend. The 26-year-old is surplus to requirements at Marseille after the arrival of Mido from Ajax this summer, and Marseille have confirmed that an English club had expressed some interest. Corsican side Bastia are also interested, but the player is thought to favour a move to the Premier League, and Marseille might be persuaded to fund part of his wages for the season if Leeds can set up another loan-with-purchase-option deal. However, his strike rate isn't exactly earth-shattering - he managed one goal every six games for Marseille last term, and if we were to lose Viduka then that's not the sort of statistic that would make him an automatic choice as a replacement.
August 08: Well-known fantasist and occasional agent Andrea D'Amico's latest pronouncement has his client Mark Viduka linked with a move to Premiership big-spenders Chelsea. He told the BBC Sport website: "We are waiting - I am in contact with most of the important clubs in Europe about Mark. I can say Chelsea is one of the clubs we are in contact with, but for now the most important thing is to close a deal before we talk about it." Now there's a good idea! In fact, it will be a good indicator of when a real move for Viduka is about to happen when he finally utters those two little words: "No comment."
August 08: Former Leeds star Gary Speed has signed a one-year extension to his contract at St James Park, which will tie him to the club until the end of next season. Speed has been there for 5 years and his performances in central midfield have been an important part of their success. Speed said: "You get the normal speculation in the summer and it's rather unsettling but I never wanted to leave... There's a lot of competition all over the park, that's what we need in a Champions League campaign and domestically as well."
August 07: Those of you with long memories will just about recall the high-pressure, fast-paced passing game that Leeds played under DOL when Eddie Gray was coaching the side. Well, even though the new manager removed Eddie from the coaching staff, it seems that the new head coach wants to bring back a similar style of play. In yesterday's YEP, Kevin Blackwell said: "We want to get back to the things that Leeds were good at two years ago. That was a high tempo game and a good work rate. We think that's the best game to adopt to get the most out of the players that are here at the club." He went on to point out how Leeds' failure to play at a higher pace had proved costly, particularly when sides came to Elland Road and killed the game. He reckons it will take two years to completely reform the way the team works, but in the meantime said: "We'll have had 22 days in which we've worked with the players...That's long enough to make a start and get certain ideas into their heads, but you're not going to turn things round in 22 days."
August 07: Socceroos boss Frank Farina has told Paul Okon that he must leave Leeds if he isn't a first-team regular. Okon is the national team captain, and has been selected alongside Mark Viduka to play in a friendly against Ireland in Dublin on August 19, but Farina is adamant that Okon will need to either force his way into the team or move on. Farina said: "I've always maintained that I pick players who are playing. Paul obviously wants to play, and if he is not going to be playing at Leeds United, he's got to look at moving. It's as simple as that."
August 07: David Batty's fear of flying will keep him out of the Dublin tournament at the weekend. In the past he has used ferries and trains to avoid having to fly, but Peter Reid's call is that it's better for him to get some rest and continue to work on his fitness over here rather than face an extended journey by sea. Lucas Radebe is likely to make his first appearance of the season, and youngsters Aaron Lennon and Martin Woods could get a run out against the Shels or St Pats in the game on Sunday. Seth Johnson also misses the trip with an injury. We'll be flying out on Friday evening, so if anyone is in Terminal 1 at Heathrow and sees three 30-something blokes talking footy and making a bee-line for a purely medicinal bit of thirst-quenching at the bar it could well be us.
August 07: Lee Bowyer was relieved to get his first home game out of the way, and happy that he didn't come in for any undue stick from the fans at St James Park. In the Evening Chronicle, he said: "I didn't know how the fans would take to me and I cannot thank them enough for the support they gave me. I used to get terrible stick here when I was a Leeds United player and this makes the reception I got on Tuesday night even better. " But he's still got a bit of a concern that his first competitive game for his new club will come at Elland Road on August 17. He said: "I could have done with that coming a bit later in the season."
August 07: Former Leeds one-game-wonder Paul Shepherd has pitched up at Leigh RMI, where he has been taken on after an impressive performance in a trial match. Shepherd was released by Scarborough in the summer.
August 07: Is this the beginning of the end? Or just another accidental knock at an inconvenient moment? Mark Viduka will not be travelling to Dublin with the squad tomorrow after complaining of a sore ankle. Peter Reid said he was "disappointed" to not have the player available for what would have been his first attempt at picking the team that is likely to start against Newcastle for the Villa game on Saturday.
August 06: French champions Lyon say that they are still interested in picking up Mark Viduka - but that's only after a move for Emile Heskey came to nothing. However there's got to be a question about their ability to pay: they wanted Heskey on loan and are talking about a player swap as part of the deal for Viduka. Chairman Jean-Michel Aulas said: "A swap deal with Edmilson was proposed, but Edmilson is not very keen to go to Leeds for the moment. Indeed we can propose another one of our players."
August 06: Leeds chairman Prof John McKenzie pronounced himself pleased with the club's transfer acquisitions this summer - off the pitch at least. On the official website he clearly thinks we're a bit thick, saying: "I suppose fans probably feel when we take people on loan it is not such a good deal because we haven't spent any money." Prof! Wake up - we're Yorkies! Getting summat for nowt is our ultimate aim in life! He points out that we've got an exclusive option to buy Domi and Camara for a fixed price any time during the next 12 months, so if they turn out to be even better than expected we have ourselves a bargain, but if they don't measure up we've not made a capital loss on their transfer value. The Prof then switches into Python's-Meaning-of-Life-Hospital-sketch mode: "Putting the three together I think it's probably a set of fairly good business moves which could give us three very strong players. Clubs are looking more carefully at the way in which they use their capital and applying business techniques that in other industries you would apply all the time. In that sense I think the business is moving forward in the football context. What the special deals put in place to secure the services of Domi and Camara have done as well is to free up funds for Peter Reid to continue his search in the transfer market." And here in the corner is the machine that goes "Ping!"
August 06: The reserves drew 3-3 with Kettering at Rockingham Road tonight in an occasionally entertaining game that looked lost with 15 minutes to go. Leeds had Shaun Allaway between the sticks, and of the players we think we recognised, there was Henry McStay and Matthew Kilgallon doing their Woodgate impersonations at centreback. Stephen McPhail captained the side, James Milner played mainly down the right with Simon Johnson up front. Defensively we looked solid most of the time, but a bit susceptible to the diagonal ball, and although Leeds had the best of the early play, Kettering took the lead from a goalmouth scramble following a corner in the first half. Poor communication and a lucky ricochet let the home side in for their second on the other side of half-time, and Allaway was hammering the ground in frustration when his defence tried to pass the ball out of trouble, but only succeeded in giving the ball away to a Kettering striker and it was 3-0. At this point, I was giving serious consideration to getting a head start on the other 1500 people there (about 50% Leeds fans) and making tracks before the final whistle. But then James Milner atoned for an earlier John Pearson style blast over the bar from six yards, when he pulled a goal back for Leeds. Confusion between the Kettering keeper and his defender let the ball run free to Milner to pull a second goal back just three minutes later, and with almost the final kick of the game, Milner produced a great shot from the edge of the area to level the scores. Simon Johnson was a bit disappointing up front - using his pace well but generally in the pocket of the defenders and far too easily wound-up: he was lucky not to be booked for one challenge, and was subbed close to the end after another confrontation with the opposition.
August 06: Paul Robinson's girlfriend has just given birth to their first child. The baby girl, who has yet to be named, weighed 9lb 4oz. Congrats to both happy parents - let's hope Robbo's performances on the field don't suffer from lack of sleep.
August 05: Peter Reid has expressed his dismay over the fact that Eirik Bakke will not be available to start the season. He is said to be upset that the Norwegian FA played the midfielder in two internationals in the summer when he needed to be rested to allow his knees to recover. Reid said: "Our priority is to try and get Eirik fit. If there are any dealings with the Norwegian FA they will remain private and confidential." Other than publicly griping about them of course...
August 05: The reserves/youngsters will be in action at Kettering Town's Rockingham Road ground tomorrow night, with a kick-off of 7:45. Well worth a trip to see: there should be a few well-known faces on show from the Leeds side, and Kettering's current keeper is Leeds' FA Youth Cup winner Paul Pettinger. And if you need another reason to attend, the beer in the bar at the ground was excellent when we were last there.
August 05: Noel Whelan - out of favour with Steve Mclaren and beset by injuries over the last couple of years - has joined Millwall on a one-year deal. Whelan has spent three years at the Riverside after arriving from Coventry, but only managed 10 goals in 72 appearances.
August 04: Eirik Bakke could be out until November with a knee injury. He told Norwegian paper VG that he had what doctors called "jumper's knee" and would be out for the start of Leeds' Premiership campaign as well as missing Norway's Euro 2004 qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Luxembourg.
August 04: Didier Domi will meet with Peter Reid and club officials today to discuss terms for his transfer from PSG. If he agrees personal terms, a medical is scheduled to take place later this afternoon and the former Newcastle player will start training with the squad this week and should be ready to make his first appearance for Leeds against Villa in Dublin next weekend.
August 04: Andrea D'Amico continues to believe that a queue of top clubs are poised in the wings, ready to start flashing the cash for his client, Mark Viduka. But things aren't quite finalised yet - "If Mark leaves Leeds, it will only be for an important club in Europe, but it would be better to talk about which club after the event. At the moment the market is difficult, but if the right deal comes up it is possible Mark will leave." Rough translation: "All the clubs I've mentioned previously looked at me as if I was mad and then publicly denied all involvement when I suggested they sign him for the £10 million Leeds will want for him so I'm not mentioning any club names from now on." And in the rather multi-visaged style of all agents, he says that Viduka was assuming he would be at Leeds for the new season and was doing his bit and wouldn't be handing in a transfer request: "At the moment he is with Leeds, training and preparing for the new season - that is all that should be said." From what I've heard of the pre-season friendlies so far, the last thing on Viduka's mind is playing for Leeds again, and there's no way he'd risk losing a huge pile of cash by actually asking for a transfer (until he gets really desperate of course).
August 04: Eirik Bakke was spotted driving in Norway last night, and now faces police questioning over the incident. Bakke received a two-year ban for a variety of driving offences in the UK, and seems blissfully unaware that the ban also applies to his Norwegian licence. However it seems he may just escape further punishment on this, since it transpires that, acting on a lawyer's advice, someone in a local police station had advised him it was okay to continue to drive in Norway since no request had been received from the UK to formally ban him.
August 04: Didier Domi will sign for Leeds on a year's loan tomorrow, subject to satisfactory results from the medical he was due to be taking this evening. Domi signed for Newcastle in 1998 for £4 million and left for the same amount in 2001 - Leeds will pay half that price if they decide to take up an option on the player at the end of the season.
August 03: While we're still watching pre-season friendlies, the league campaigns got underway in Germany and France this weekend.
August 03: Leeds old boy and current Leicester boss Mickey Adams has sympathised with the plight of Peter Reid as Leeds continue to slump in the pre-season games. Adams said: "It's unfair some managers like Peter Reid are coming under severe pressure before the Premiership season has even kicked off. Managers can do without this, and if it continues I can see some clubs playing their pre-season games behind closed doors so no-one knows what is going on." Adams saw his new signing Les Ferdinand escape dismissal despite apparently throwing the ball at the ref in their latest friendly and clearly feels that both he and Reid could be in the same boat when the season gets underway.
August 02: After all the police warnings ahead of the game, there was some minor trouble in Hull last night. The main problems centred around the railway station, where police stopped about 80 Leeds fans who were behaving in an "unruly" manner and forcibly took them back to Leeds on a bus. There were 9 arrests - 5 from Leeds and 4 from Hull - as a few minor scuffles broke out around a couple of pubs and on the way to the ground. It will be interesting to see what happens tonight when the Rhinos face Hull - after all the problems of the Cup semi-final earlier this year things could be a little fraught in Hull for the second night in a row.
August 02: Peter Reid admitted that his side's performances in the warm-up games this year had been "a bit frustrating". He went on to say that he knows the team needs a bit of a boost from outside, saying: "I am hoping for a couple more new faces because when we start I don't want any sob stories against Newcastle." As for the apparently imminent departure of Nigel Martyn, Reid said: "There has been communication between the clubs and we're still talking. Last night, though, I thought he looked sharp and agile."
August 02: Leeds have obviously got a cross-marketing agreement lined up with Eurostar, as it became clear today that the club have made serious enquiries about the availability of yet another French player. This time it's Didier Domi, once of Newcastle, now of PSG - a left back. Domi was due to join Brum earlier this year, but nothing came of that and now Reid is interested, but it's hard to see Leeds meeting the French club's £3 million valuation.
August 02: The reserves/youth team showed the seniors how to do it today when they beat Chesterfield 1-2 at Saltergate. Stephen McPhail and Paul Okon were the only two players with any amount of experience, but Leeds' scorers were Jamie McMaster and Simon Johnson who have got first team experience. Johnson finished off a one-on-one chance with the Chesterfield keeper halfway through the first period, and McMaster curled one into the top corner on 35 minutes, before Leeds allowed the home side back into it in the second half with a goal from Allott.
August 01: The squad numbers for the new season were announced today, and the only thing that could have been counted as a major surprise was trailed yesterday. Paul Robinson takes over as number 1, while Nigel Martyn has been assigned the 15 shirt and Scott Carson gets a squad number for the first time, taking on number 40. Jody Morris and Zoumana Camara get 4 and 6 respectively, with Nicky Barmby coming down from number 12 to take 7. Otherwise it's as you were from last season: 10 and 11 remain vacant for our top-quality new signings who will emerge in the next 30 days.
August 01: Leeds went down to yet another pre-season defeat when they lost 2-0 at Hull City tonight. Leeds set off at a pedestrian pace and once again were caught out at the back when Michael Duberry was beaten for pace by Ben Burgess on the quarter hour. Jason Wilcox was subbed early on after picking up a booking, but it wasn't for the first time this season that a notionally strong Leeds side failed to make an impression on their hosts. Stephen McPhail, Danny Mills and Michael Bridges replaced Batty, Harte and Viduka on the hour but still Leeds couldn't work a breakthrough. With less than 10 minutes to go, Duberry was again outwitted by the Hull attack - Danny Allsopp working enough space to smash a shot past Nigel Martyn and seal the win for the home team. Yes, we know. Pre-season friendlies don't count for much. But so far we've managed two draws and three goals against lower division opposition. This does not augur well for the new season - and my season ticket came through this morning. Wonder if it's too late to change my mind...
|2007:||August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2006:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2005:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2004:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2003:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2002:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2001:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|2000:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|
|1999:||December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January|