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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

September 30: Reports in today's papers say that the club's major shareholders are getting restive and are putting pressure on John McKenzie and Allan Leighton to "make a decision" on Peter Reid's fate sooner rather than later. The bookies now have Reid as odds-on favorite to be the next Premiership boss for the axe - but in Reid's favour will be the simple fact that it would cost Leeds a substantial sum to pay off his contract if the club chooses to pull the plug early - and it would not reflect well on the board's own ability to select the right man for the job if Reid were dismissed after such a short period of time.

September 30: Arsene Wenger is said to be considering recalling loan players Jermaine Pennant and Moritz Volz as Arsenal's injury crisis continues to deepen. And with the FA almost certain to take action against a number of Arsenal players after the incidents at Old Trafford the other week, Wenger might soon be down to the bare bones of the squad with some crucial games coming up. Pennant has certainly been a success at Leeds, despite the poor results the team has produced, and Peter Reid is understood to want to extend the player's loan beyond the agreed two months. But Pennant's good performances for Leeds will almost certainly increase the likelihood that Wenger will want him back and available to Arsenal's Championship push sooner rather than later.

September 30: Norman Hunter was at Goodison on Sunday, and he was very downbeat about the team's propects for the rest of the season. He said: "If we perform like that there is no way we can avoid being in the relegation fight at the end of the season." And he sided with most fans and other former players when he insisted the manager should not shoulder the blame: "It really upsets me when I see players wearing the Leeds shirt performing like that. It should be a case of 'over my dead body' but what really hurts is that Everton didn't even have to work hard for the win. That Leeds performance was the worst I've seen in the Premiership." Hunter reckons that Reid needs to bring in Lucas Radebe and David Batty for their experience - but appreciates that both players will need careful handling if they are not to aggravate injuries and miss a substantial chunk of the season." Ian Snodin, who played for both Leeds and Everton, was also critical of what he saw. In today's YEP he said: "I couldn't even begin to describe that performance... I feel so sorry for the fans and the manager." Snodin said that it was time for the players to stand up and be counted and to make the effort for the manager and supporters: "Even if they're not good enough they have to give 110 per cent because there were players at Everton standing around and ambling about." And he backed his former Everton team-mate to pull Leeds around: "There's no doubt that Peter Reid is the best man for Leeds United, but I don't know where he goes now."

September 30: Leeds skipper Dominic Matteo placed the responsibility for the Goodison disaster firmly at the feet of his fellow players. Matteo said: "We all know our jobs. If anyone is to blame for what's happened so far this season then it's the players. We all know the manager has set us up properly. He's been brilliant.... I'd seen that he'd taken responsibility after Sunday's game, but that isn't right. It's down to the players to take the blame." And Matteo says that attitudes will have to change if Leeds are to avoid a season-long struggle in the drop-zone: "It's going to be a battle and the sooner we start thinking that the better."

September 30: Danny Milosevic has been released from his contract at Leeds. The Australian keeper never made it beyond the bench and will now consider offers from a variety of clubs, including Sheffield Wednesday as was previously noted, but also Crewe - who looked set to take him for a second loan period earlier this season. We wish him all the best for the future.

September 30: Generally positive news from the Leeds diaspora in tonight's games. John Sheridan struck from the spot again to give Oldham the lead in their local derby with Stockport - the Latics going on to win 2-0. Darren Huckerby continued his recent run of good form when he opened the scoring for Norwich early in the second half against Reading. He also had another strike disallowed for offside, and although Reading pulled a goal back, Nigel Worthington's Canaries went on to win 2-1. Veteran striker Bob Taylor scored just before half-time for Cheltenham at Scunthorpe to pull the scoreline back to 2-1 to the home side. But things didn't go too well in the second half, with Scunthorpe going on to win 5-2. Andy Gray levelled for Bradford at home to Derby with a diving header on the hour mark, but it was ultimately in vain as Lee Morris scored his second of the game for the visitors to take the points.

September 30: The reserves were in action again tonight, and there were goals aplenty at Wakefield - the game finishing all square at 3-3. Cyril Chapuis opened the scoring inside the first minute, but the Wolves side - that included several experienced players - pulled a goal back through Hassan Kachloul and then went 2-1 up. A 25-yard strike from Michael Bridges levelled the scores just before half-time, and Nick Barmby made it 3-2 in the second half. Scott Carson conceded a penalty after bringing down Dean Sturridge - the Wolves player scoring from the spot. Only a draw in the end, but on the positive side Michael Duberry came through another 90 minutes, Michael Bridges played another half as he is eased back into competitive games, and Cyril Chapuis showed a bit more sharpness than he displayed against Swindon as he starts to come to terms with the way Leeds play. Didier Domi picked up an injury in the first half and had to be substituted after barely 20 minutes, but Frazer Richardson came through the game unscathed and must have a chance of a first team slot with the supposedly first-choice defence playing so badly at the moment.

September 29: While the men's side were being dismantled by Everton yesterday, Leeds Ladies were doing the same thing to the Watson and Co's female counterparts at Garforth. Lucy Ward with a brace, Sue Smith with another and an own goal from Everton completed a precise mirror of the result at Goodison Park. The Ladies are now third in the table (as opposed to third bottom) and have won five in a row. Maybe Peter Reid should have a quiet chat with Julie Chipchase to find out what her secret is!

September 29: The Carling Cup tie against Manchester United has been picked for Sky's coverage and is provisionally scheduled for Wednesday October 29, with the kick-off now set for 8:00pm - 15 minutes later than it would be if the cameras weren't there. It will be interesting to see how both sides handle the ticket allocation for this game, given that they've already agreed for mutually reduced away ticket allocation for the league games between the sides this year. I can't see Leeds doing it at a tenner a ticket, that's for sure!

September 29: Sheffield Wednesday boss Chris Turner is looking to solve his goalkeeping crisis by taking on Leeds' third-choice keeper Danny Milosevic on a loan spell. Kevin Pressman, Ola Tidman and Chris Stringer are all injured at the moment, so Turner is in desperate need of a replacement, and now that Milosevic knows he's not even rated ahead of Scott Carson at Leeds, I'm sure he'll be keen to finally get some first-team football under his belt.

September 29: The senior Academy side had another win at the weekend - Sheffield Wednesday were beaten 1-0 at Thorp Arch on Saturday. Unfortunately the juniors continued their poor run, the U-17 side going down 1-2 to Manchester City at home.

September 29: Peter Lorimer reckons that it would be "unfair" to blame Peter Reid for yesterday's poor showing at Goodison Park. Lorimer said: "You cannot blame Peter Reid because the situation he inherited was very grim and he's had to bob and weave and bring in all these loan players, basically take what's available." Which you accept up to a point - and you can't avoid the fact that Reid has had most of the summer to work with many of the players we saw yesterday, and if the loan players aren't ready to integrate into the side, they shouldn't be selected. Meanwhile Nigel Martyn said that he thought Leeds had the potential to recover - but that they could not afford another similar slip. Leeds' former keeper said: "I gave Paul Robinson a hug at the end, he let in four but he saved 20. He is going to find it hard but they have to dig in and find the strength to pull themselves out of trouble. They have got that belief in the squad, but it is getting the 11 out on the pitch to produce it on the day."

September 28: Make no mistake - we were very lucky today. 4-0 was a scoreline that flattered Leeds in the extreme - seven or eight would not have been unreasonable in the circumstances. The defence floundered all day - Roque Junior had a nightmare of a game, Dom Matteo did his best but is clearly not yet fully fit (again), and Gary Kelly must be wondering what he has done to deserve this fate. The midfield were equally clueless throughout the game - quite how Jody Morris escaped the half-time cull is beyond me. Mark Viduka created our best chances on his own - but we were already out of the game before Nigel Martyn was asked to make a save. It's hard to see where Peter Reid should start when it comes to fixing the problems inherent in today's performance - and with Blackburn, ManU (twice), Liverpool and Arsenal coming up in the next month, the prospect of a season-long relegation battle is now a reality.

September 28: Manager Peter Reid didn't even start to defend his side after today's debacle. He said: "There was no passing, no tackling from anyone in my side, there was no desire to work, or play - and Everton had all that. If you go back to Leicester where we did not compete and they battered us, teams have seen how to play against us. They will be saying that Leeds have not got the stomach to win a battle." And he said that a new low had been reached: "It is difficult as a manager to keep criticising, you try to be constructive, but there was nothing constructive there and I would not be honest if I said otherwise." And with some fans already calling for Reid's head, the manager sympathised with those of us who had travelled over to Merseyside to watch such a limp performance: "I feel sorry for the Leeds fans, they deserve better than that... I do not want supporters to accept what went on out there, because I cannot accept it. It was lucky it was not more than four." And worryingly, he seemed to have no concrete ideas on what he has to do to turn things around: "There will be changes, but I cannot keep hammering people in training. I am doing that now and it is not very enjoyable. I do not know what to say. All I ask is for them to go out on the pitch and earn the right to play, it is not too much to ask for is it?" Reid is right in what he says - but ultimately the buck does stop with him and when the third Everton goal went in the big screen at Goodison showed a very pensive Prof McKenzie in the directors' box: how long before the chairman becomes unnerved and feels forced to make changes?

September 28: Not that we've had much to cheer, that's the last game in September so it's time to get those votes in for the September Player of the Month Poll. Vote here or drop me an email.

September 27: Manager Peter Reid told his side that they should use their win over Swindon as a springboard to good league form. Reid reckons that his players are more than capable of winning matches, but said: "I don't think we've got the points on the board that we've deserved so far. But the only way to get them is to go out and play and that's what we've got to do at Goodison tomorrow." Reid is obviously a little bit torn about returning to the ground where he enjoyed a great playing career, but he's definitely looking for the points tomorrow: "I'd love to get a 1-0," he said. "But we've got to start doing it - and Goodison is as good a place to start as any."

September 27: At Goodison tomorrow Nigel Martyn will face off against Paul Robinson - the man who stole his gloves at Elland Road. Robbo was picked ahead of Nige last summer by Terry Venables and remained first choice under Peter Reid. Martyn said he had been very happy at Leeds, but noted: "At one stage, when Paul Robinson looked like moving on from Leeds, I thought I might have the chance there, but when that collapsed I suppose the writing was on the wall because the club couldn't keep the two of us." Martyn reckons that Robbo has a great future ahead of him and thinks a lot of his successor: "We worked together closely and I think we pushed each other which was a good thing. People used to talk about rivalry, but we're big mates who encouraged each other."

September 27: John Sheridan scored his third spot kick of the season to open the scoring for Oldham at home to Luton this afternoon - the Latics went on to record a 3-0 win. Darren Huckerby also struck from the spot - his second goal in two games of a loan spell at Norwich. Huckerby's spot kick equalised an earlier strike for Palace, but Nigel Worthington's side took all three points with a last minute winner from Malky Mackay. JFH continued to respond to the threat to his place from Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu with the only goal of the game as Chelsea struggled to beat Villa 1-0 and keep up the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the table. James Milner scored in the last minute of Swindon's game with Peterborough - doubling the lead given to the home side by Sam Parkin just 5 minutes earlier. Swindon move up to second in the table, and Milner has just one more match to go before his loan spell ends. Finally, Gareth Evans made the news for the wrong reasons - conceding a penalty early on to Notts County, but Blackpool came back to win 2-1.

September 27: Leeds have been drawn at home to Manchester United in the next round of the Carling Cup. Leeds have played the Old Trafford side three times in the League Cup - losing each fixture. In 1990-91, Leeds lost 1-2 at Old Trafford and then 0-1 at home in the two-legged semi-final, and in 1991-92 a 1-3 defeat at Elland Road in Round 5 spelled the end of Leeds' hopes in that competition, although it did enable Leeds to focus on the league and ultimately pip Man U to the title. Other highlights of the draw see Blackburn at home to Liverpool, Spurs to play West Ham at White Hart Lane and there's a midlands derby between Villa Leicester. The ties will take place on October 28 and 29.

September 26: The reserves managed a win over Birmingham City at Wakefield last night - coming from behind to win 2-1. Brum's Argentine striker Luciano Figueroa was the cause of many problems for Leeds, and he opened the scoring in the first half. Simon Johnson pulled one back for Leeds with a 20-yard strike just before half-time, and then snatched the winner with five minutes to go. Michael Duberry played the full 90 minutes as his comeback from a fractured cheekbone continues.

September 26: Peter Ridsdale's attempts to tie up the takeover at Barnsley have still not come to fruition despite the apparent agreement between all parties to complete the transaction. At this rate it could be November before the deal is done - and current owner Peter Doyle upped the ante last weekend in his programme notes, stating that other buyers were ready to step in if Ridsdale's deal falls through. Funds are in place, with former sponsor Patrick Cryne ready to pay Ridsdale for the property associated with the club and make funds available for transfers, but with so many creditors the administration is taking a bit longer than expected. Although the club can't increase the size of the playing staff until things are sorted out, they are improving things off the park with the arrival of former Leeds keeper John Lukic on the coaching staff.

September 26: Parlez-vous francais? If you can do it fluently and can get yourself to Thorp Arch next Thursday lunchtime, drop me a line. LeedsLeedsLeeds are doing an interview with Salomon Olembe and would like someone who can speak English, French and footy to help them get some useful and illuminating words from our new midfielder.

September 26: Dom Matteo is set to be back in contention for Sunday's trip to Everton after recovering from his latest knee problem. He'll probably come in at left back, but the big question as always for Peter Reid will be what to do in the middle of the park. David Batty came through two hours of football on Wednesday night - but might not be quite ready yet for a full Premiership game, Seth Johnson is over his throat problem and is almost certain to return, and Jody Morris is also ready to get back into the side after being rested midweek. Up front Michael Bridges probably did enough to merit a bench place, and Aaron Lennon's performance over the whole game must also give him a chance of making the final 16. Gary Kelly had stitches in his head after an accidental clash with Swindon's Sam Parkin and should be okay to play.

September 26: Michael Bridges was over the moon to be able to take the field again in Wednesday night's game. He said: "We had a good laugh in the dressing room beforehand where the lads said welcome back - again. Obviously it has been frustrating but the reception I got was just fantastic and I cannot thank [the fans] enough for that." And he dropped a strong hint to the manager that he was ready for more - despite playing for twice as long as expected against Swindon: "Whether I'm ready for Sunday or not is up to Peter Reid, he picks the team but all I can say is I feel great."

September 26: The club issued an apology to fans who missed much of the first half of the Swindon game after a surprisingly large number of people turned up wanting to buy tickets at the last minute. Even with prices of just a tenner for adults and a fiver for kids, nobody expected much more than 20-24,000 fans to turn up - so when the final attendance of 29,000+ was announced it was a bit of a shock. Chairmain John McKenzie said: "The fans of this club sometimes amaze me. For so many to turn out for what might be considered a low-profile fixture says much about their commitment. The trouble was that up to 3,500 people turned up after 6.30 seeking tickets, many of them wanting to pay at the gate... I am truly sorry that a small percentage of people were caught up in the snarl and they have my unreserved apology." He pointed out that pre-booking tickets would avoid that problem in future, but didn't mention that those people left outside for the first half were lucky - they didn't miss anything remotely resembling good football from Leeds in that time.

September 25: Swindon boss Andy King was disappointed - but very happy with his side's performance after last night's Carling Cup defeat at Elland Road. After leading 2-0 with fifteen minutes to go, he was understandably down that his team didn't hang on to the lead. He said: "We should have won and we deserved to win. I have told my players that I have not been prouder of any team I have been involved with." And he raked over another painful memory for Leeds fans, harking back to the days of two-legged League Cup ties: "I once came here with Mansfield nine years ago when we were in the third division and we won 1-0 on the night before then holding Leeds to a goalless draw at our place in the second leg. If you looked at the stats from those games it would tell you Leeds had 45 chances while we had one as we just held out in defence. But this time we outplayed Leeds. We are walking away from this game and the better team has lost on penalties." And you can't dispute his point: we were dreadful in the first half, and although the players were obviously subjected to a trademark Peter Reid half-time pep talk, Leeds were still failing to make the most of possession and adopting the frankly bewildering tactic of lumping long diagonal balls into the box, which Swindon inevitably cleared.

Peter Reid described the game as entertaining, so at least he's not lost his sense of humour. Reid said :"We were chasing the game. We've conceded more goals and too many silly free-kicks, which is a bit of a concern, but we showed great character to come back." And he concurred with his good friend Andy King that Lady Luck was not smiling on Swindon last night: "We are fortunate to go through, because shoot-outs are nerve wracking, but those are the rules and we are in the hat for the next round - that's the most important thing." The draw for the next round will take place on Sky on Saturday afternoon.

September 25: Paul Robinson said that his header last night was no fluke - and however many times you watch the replay you've got to admit he took it brilliantly. Lucas Radebe said that he thought a fan had run on the pitch when he caught sight of Robbo's run and jump for the ball. But Robinson said: "In training the goalkeepers practice defending corners. There are five or six of us and sometimes we do a bit of finishing against each other, so maybe that came in handy." He went on: "Scoring a goal was unbelievable and it will stay with me for the rest of my life... When I scored I didn't know what to do. I thought I'd run to the corner like everyone else does then all the lads jumped on me."

September 25: Gary Kelly has formally announced his retirement from international football. He won the last of his 52 caps under Mick McCarthy, and hasn't been involved in new manager Brian Kerr's sides so far - and with Steve Finnan and Stephen Carr both seemingly preferred to him for Ireland, he has decided to walk away from the representative game at the tender age of 29. He appeared in Jack Charlton's 1994 World Cup side, and Charlton went on to describe him as the best right back in the game at the time. He also appeared in the 2002 World Cup - although he played mainly in midfield after an injury to Jason McAteer left Mick McCarthy short of experience. It will be interesting to see if an injury crisis or the prospect of a place in the Euro 2004 squad might tempt him back.

September 25: A very inexperienced Reserves side will take on Birmingham City at Wakefield tonight. With many of the reserve regulars in last night's squad, Steve Agnew will be looking for youthful enthusiasm to carry the side through, although Nick Barmby should get a game and Michael Duberry will be hoping to commence his comeback from a fractured cheekbone sustained against Villa in the Dublin tournament at the start of August.

September 24: Peter Reid said he was pleased to be able to give some of the second-line players a run out in tonight's cup tie against Swindon. "The reserve league is an excellent league, but certainly the cut and thrust even though it's a cup game against Swindon will still be a really competitive game. Some of the lads who are going to play haven't been involved in the first team so it's a real opportunity for them to show what they've got." The manager made it clear he wanted to win the tie - but equally he understood that he had to give the squad players a chance to shine in the first team at some point: "If you don't give people a chance sometimes heads can go down. If you pick a team with fresh faces they may do well and you never know they could stay in the side."

September 24: That's an experience I don't want to have again soon. Watched a Leeds side totally at sea in the first half. Batts sadly short of pace at this level - maybe he needs these games to regain his sharpness, but after 18 months on the sidelines it might be a little bit too late. Kelly carried off injured - resulting in Lucas coming on to play right-back: will The Chief now be fit enough to play on Sunday. Chapuis: anonymous for much of his time on the pitch - didn't convince me he deserves a bench place yet. Wilcox: no improvement on the dire performances of pre-season. Harte: passed the ball into touch more often than to a Leeds player, dreadful set-pieces - but at least he was there to snatch the first Leeds goal (from one of the few corners not actually taken by him we score - interesting...). On the positive side, we did see something unique and wonderful - the first open-play goal by a Leeds keeper - and what a header it was. Robbo's injury-time equaliser was brilliantly taken from Bridges' cross and sent the whole stadium wild. Michael Bridges returned to huge applause, and Aaron Lennon caused them many problems with his pace. Roque Junior looked more solid in defence and did well coming forward as the game wore on and we got more desperate. But a win is a win: so what if we struggle through against ten men from two divisions below us on penalties? If we win the pot at the end of the season, that's all that will go down in the history books.

September 23: Michael Bridges played down gossip connecting him to a move to boyhood heroes Newcastle United. He finally turned out for the reserves last week and could appear on the bench against Swindon tomorrow night. With less than a year to go on his contract, Leeds will be keen for him to put pen to paper on a new deal to ensure some return on their investment rather than lose him for nothing next summer. Bridges said: "I would be delighted to get a new contract.... It has been at the back of my mind and I've just wanted to get back playing and training every day. Now, I'm finally back I want to stay here because Leeds have stuck by me through all my injury problems and I feel that I owe them that loyalty.

September 23: Peter Reid was talking up Roque Junior's performance against Brum and is insistent that we'll see some top quality performances from the Brazilian World Cup star during his loan spell. Reid said: "Even though he was a little bit unlucky, getting sent off for two bookings - and the referee has made his decisions - I thought Roque was fantastic. He showed against Dugarry and Forssell that he is quality and just why he plays for Brazil. He was terrific. I think he is a really good player." The improvement from Monday to Saturday in both Roque Junior - and the rest of the defence - was astounding: a couple more step changes in performance like that from the whole side and we'll be challenging for a UEFA place. Of course, that presupposes we keep on making those changes and they take us in the right direction...

September 23: Peter Reid is hinting at a variety of changes for tomorrow's game, and the return to the starting line-up of David Batty is one of them. With Jermaine Pennant held back at Arsenal's request, Batty will take on a holding role in midfield and Jason Wilcox or Aaron Lennon will play on the wing, and Cyril Chapuis is also likely to get a game ahead of Mark Viduka. Reid is taking the game seriously despite fielding a "weakened" team, and the elimination of Fulham and Birmingham (ironically with a missed penalty) tonight should serve as a warning to any top flight manager who sees the competition as a chance to rest the big names and blood the youngsters. Reid says he's in the competition to win it - and it's not just for the pot of cash that comes with a good cup run: "We all like money but when you are involved in professional sport you've pride and you want your team to win things. The rewards that come with it financially are great, but the most important thing is winning a pot or a medal - without a doubt."

September 23: Leeds and Manchester United have agreed to reciprocally reduce the number of tickets to be made available to away fans in the two league games between the clubs this year. There were significant incidents around Elland Road when the Old Trafford side visited last season, and the aim is to make the games easier to police by reducing the numbers of visiting fans in both cases. A joint statement from the clubs reads:

Manchester United's ticket allocation for their game against Leeds United at Elland Road on October 18 has been reduced to 1,600.

This follows a decision of the local council's Safety Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the police and Leeds United and is in response to serious public disorder that took place when the two teams met at Elland Road last season.

Similarly the two clubs have agreed that Leeds United's allocation of tickets for the game at Old Trafford in February will also be reduced, to 1,900. This step has been taken to reduce the likelihood of serious disorder as experienced at the corresponding game last season.

Both clubs point out that the decisions were taken reluctantly and are mindful that law-abiding supporters who follow their team away will be disappointed. But it is felt this is the best way to try to avoid further disorder and to preserve public safety. If this season's games between the two clubs pass off peacefully both clubs and the relevant safety authorities will consider increasing the away ticket allocations next season.

September 23: Old friends and old foes were united in condemning ref Dermot Gallagher's call to give Brum a retake on Saturday after Paul Robinson's excellent save. Glory Days keeper Gary Sprake said: articlebody: Old friends and old foes were united in condemning ref Dermot Gallagher's call to give Brum a retake on Saturday after Paul Robinson's excellent save. Glory Days keeper Gary Sprake said: "I couldn't believe what I was watching. Paul pulled off a tremendous save - it was probably one of the best he has made - and then the kick was ordered to be re-taken. Why? He was only a foot off his line. It was just a slight margin and it's something that every keeper does at a penalty. What are goalkeepers supposed to do? Dive backwards?" And Jim Montgomer - the Sunderland keeper whose heroics were one of the main factors in Sunderland's shock FA Cup win over Leeds in 1973 was equally vociferous: "Penalties are all about chance and I just feel so sorry for Paul Robinson. Common sense should be applied because it's just plain stupid."

September 22: Peter Reid said that he was a lot happier with the players after Saturday's game, but appreciated just how down the fans were after the last two games. Reid said: "I was happy with the players. They worked hard and played some good football." His contention that we were any better than Brum is a little bit upbeat, but we'll let that pass. But he's put his finger on the poor finishing that cost us the game way more than the officials' incompetence. "We had one great chance and, at this level, when you're on top in a game you have to stick them in." Coach Kevin Blackwell was far less circumspect than Reid about the refereeing. He said: "There were 35,000 people at Elland Road on Saturday and they all left talking about the decisions that were made. Is that what football's coming to? It's all about the referee and the officials. Until we get to the point where the game isn't recognised for what the officials do, then football won't go any further." It's arguable whether that will do us any favours with the refs, but he'll find few people to disagree with his comments. He echoed many of the points I made after the game: "There was a collective amount of poor decisions, not just the penalty. There was a blatant push on Roque Junior as the ball got played in before the penalty... People talk about jobs, but decisions like that can cost people their jobs."

September 22: The U-17 Academy side went down to their second successive defeat at the weekend with a 1-2 reverse against Manchester United. Leeds went in front on the hour through Kevin Smith but were soon pegged back and conceded a late penalty which was duly converted.

September 22: Loan players James Milner and Jerel Ifil for Swindon and Jermaine Pennant for Leeds will not be allowed to play in Wednesday night's Carling Cup clash by their "real" clubs. Arsenal and Watford want to keep the players away from being cup-tied in case they need to be involved for their main clubs later in the competiton, and Leeds are obviously not happy to have James Milner playing in an away shirt at Elland Road. Swindon striker Sam Parkin dismissed the Leeds game as "irrelevant" - pointing out that maintaining their good start in the league was far more important than the Carling Cup. Sammy Igoe returns to contention for Swindon after suspension, while for Leeds, Dom Matteo is unlikely to be risked yet, and despite the chance of an upset it's thought likely Peter Reid will give some of the second string players - Didier Domi, Cyril Chapuis and Aaron Lennon among them - the chance to show what they can do in a competitive match. The Upper East Stand will be closed for this game, and there are still plenty of tickets on sale at a tenner apiece or a fiver for concessions. Swindon have sold about 2000 of their 2400 allocation, but it would be very surprising if the crowd was much above 20,000 after Leeds' poor start to the season and considering the relatively low profile of the opposition.

September 21: Darren Huckerby scored the first goal of his loan period for Norwich yesterday, squaring the game at 1-1 at the Britannia Ground halfway through the second half as Nigel Worthington's Canaries held on for a point against Stoke. Warren Feeney scored twice in two minutes for Bournemouth as they came from behind in the second half to beat Rushden 2-1. Carlton Palmer-less Stockport were a goal up at home to Blackpool before Simon Grayson equalised for the visitors, who then went on to a 1-3 victory. Mark Tinkler equalised for Hartlepool at the end of the first half Griffin Park, but Brentford struck back for a 2-1 win. JFH scored the second of Chelsea's five in their rout of Wolves at Molineux. Finally James Milner had a less than wonderful game at Barnsley, wasting a couple of good chances as Swindon drew 1-1.

September 21: Robbie Savage expressed some sympathy for Paul Robinson today, despite scoring the retaken penalty at Elland Road yesterday. Savage said: "The linesman said Robbo moved. To be fair it was a great save and you have got to feel sorry for the keeper in that situation. There will have been penalties up and down the country and a keeper will have moved, yet the goal will stand so I think he has been unlucky." Indeed - as we saw today at Old Trafford where Jens Lehmann was at least a yard off his line when van Nistelrooy took an injury-time penalty. Ref Steve Bennett - who had been the model of blind law-application to that point declined to stir up further controversy by requiring a retake. Sky's stuido guest was Brum manager Steve Bruce, and his expression could best be described as "sheepish" when Richard Keys suggested that Paul Robinson - who actually had one foot behind the goal-line at the time of yesterday's kick - might reasonably claim he had been hard-done-by in the light of what Lehmann was allowed to do.

September 21: Stuttgart put their midweek Ibrox disappointment behind them to record a 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund and take over at the top of the Bundesliga. Former leaders Bayer Leverkusen shared the points and six goals with Bayern Munich. Bayern were 1-2 down when Ze Roberto was red-carded in the second half, but they came back to lead 3-2 before conceding a goal to Basturk with 10 minutes remaining. Werder Bremen are third after a 2-1 win over 1860 Munich, and Kaiserslautern are finally moving into gear with a 1-3 win over fellow strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt.

Parma joined the big four at the top of Serie A this weekend with a 2-3 win over Lazio in Rome. Juve and Roma shared a 2-2 draw at the delle Alpi, Zebina getting a late late goal for the visitors after Juve had twice gone in front through Chivu in the first half. Inter could only manage a goalless draw with Sampdoria and Milan let Perugia equalise after Gattuso had given them a 0-1 lead. Entertainment game of the weekend was Brescia versus Reggina - eight goals shared evenly between the two teams - ah those defensive Italians!

Deportivo La Coruna hold the only 100% record after 4 weeks of La Liga. They only needed 10 men for much of the game to beat newly-promoted (and no doubt soon to be relegated) Albacete - goals from Naybet, Luque and Pandiani taking the points in the Riazor. Second place is shared between Real Madrid - 1-3 winners in La Rosaleda tonight with goals from Ronaldo, Guti and Beckham - and Valencia, who also scored three goals in the last quarter of the game at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday night to beat Atletico Madrid 0-3.

Ligue 1 leaders Marseille slipped up this weekend - going down 1-0 to a third-minute goal at Nantes who pull themselves to within two points of their visitors as a result. Leading the table by a point after this round of games is AS Monaco, Giuly striking fifteen minutes from time to seal a 1-2 win at Montpelier. Nice, Lens and Sochaux are the chasers along with Nantes - and they all recorded wins over the weekend. PSG beat second-bottom En Avant Guingamp 0-2 despite playing with 10 men for an hour after Boskovic was dismissed in the first half. There was a red card apiece in the clash between bottom side Le Mans and champions Lyon, a goal near either end of the game for Elber giving Lyon a 0-2 win.

In Belgium the Jupiler League is now in round six, and we find Anderlecht with a 100% record sitting on top of the pile - their 5-1 win over Westerlo this weekend reflecting their dominance of the league so far. Their nearest rivals trail by seven points already - Club Brugge, St Truidense, Genk and Lierse are the chasing pack who need to get their act together soon or see the league turn into a procession.

Big shock in the Eredivisie this weekend: NAC Breda beat Ajax 4-2, allowing PSV to go top with a 1-3 win at Feyenoord with a couple of goals from Mateja Kezman and another from shirt-labellers' dream Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink taking the points back to Eindhoven.

Banik Ostrava are going great guns at the top of the Gambrinus Liga - their 1-2 win at Slavia last Monday gave them a 4-point lead ahead of this week's games, so they could be in an even better position by tomorrow night if they can beat second-placed Boby Brno. Teplice beat Liberec 2-1 in the battle between third and fourth, and Sparta Prague creep up the table with a 3-1 win over Synot today - all the goals coming in 8 second-half minutes. Slavia lost for the second week in a row - an unimpressive 1-0 defeat to second-bottom Marila Pribram.

September 21: Just noticed another bit of Euro-news with a Leeds old boy in action. Clyde Wijnhard scored twice this weekend for his new side Beira Mar in their 4-1 win over Pacos Ferreira in the Portuguese top division.

September 20: Peter Reid looks set to give the players who failed to deliver on Monday night a chance to redeem themselves this afternoon. Partly forced by injuries, Reid will persist with the same 11, with just Salomon Olembe coming in for the flu-ridden Seth Johnson, and Ian Harte set to replace Didier Domi, whose permanent vacation from the left-back slot caused many of the problems at the Walker Stadium. Reid said: "Sometimes you have got to give people a chance. We all make mistakes and although Monday night was one huge mistake as far as we were concerned, the players need the opportunity to rectify things."

September 20: Dermot Gallagher's amazing run as Leeds' lucky charm came to an end in a big way today, and he and his linesman will not be on anyone's Christmas Card list after their performance today. I'll get to them in a minute, but first of all the serious business: the team. This was, it's true, an order of magnitude better performance than Monday's debacle. Roque Junior and Zoumana Camara looked to have established some sort of communication, Ian Harte and Gary Kelly held position well and Robbo was speaking to his defence at long last. Unfortunately the midfield failed again: Morris and Olembe ran around to little effect: the odd impressive long pass from the Camerounian not diverting attention from the fact that neither he nor Morris were linking the play. Lamine Sakho and Jermaine Pennant were isolated on the wings, but Sakho proved more eager to drop back to pick the ball up for himself. Smith and Viduka received sporadic service up front - Smith having the best chance of the game in the second half when a Viduka knock-down landed at his feet: the turn was brilliant, the shot sadly went straight at Taylor. So that's it - no chances made equals little hope of a win, and to blame the incompetence of the officials for our failure to score is not fair. Of course, there's plenty to blame them for without that. Roque Junior's first card was harsh to say the least - it looked like a good challenge that won the ball and certainly didn't merit a booking early on. Olembe's tackle did warrant a card - but the ball should have been dead at that point to allow Ian Harte to take a free kick and Robbie Savage to receive a yellow card for the long-haired thug's straight-arm on Sakho. Alan Smith was brought down cynically on the edge of the box - not clean through on goal but in a good position. Result: free kick, no card. Jermaine Pennant put what could have been a great cross in from the byline. Birmingham defender blocks the ball with both hands. Result: free kick, no card. Roque Junior is backed into by Forsell as they hoof the ball long: no free kick. Even when the game's turning point was reached, Gallagher screwed up. Either Roque Junior deliberately brought the Brum player down or he didn't. If he did, he was clearly the last man and should have received a straight red, not the second yellow which was dished out. And as for where the offence took place, let's just say that it didn't entirely occur inside the 18-yard area. A great penalty save by Robbo was ruled out for minimal movement by the keeper, but the ref lets the scored retake stand despite the presence of two Birmingham players encroaching in the area. Meanwhile nothing is done about the presence - 20 yards on the pitch, never mind just outside the technical area - of Brum coach Steve Bruce prior to the penalty. The booking of Camara for dissent when he complained that Dugarry's acrobatic plunge over a limb that Ian Harte clearly didn't realise he had was the icing on the cake. Once again the b*****ds in the black ruined what was at the time a closely-fought game of football. A goalless draw was the right result for this match - neither side had the skill or guile to create a goalscoring opportunity, and for Leeds that's probably more worrying than the inevitably abysmal standard of the whistleblower.

September 20: Peter Reid gave the stock "I'd better say nothing otherwise I'll be in trouble" response used by managers who have suffered poor and biased refereeing performances. And now that I've seen the slo-mo of both the "foul" by Roque that led to the penalty, the "movement" by Robinson that caused the retake, and the encroachment by the Brum players during the retake, I think it's probably wise that he keeps his counsel. Reid said: "It's no use browbeating them, they have made their decisions and we've got to get on with it. But it's always difficult because the more managers comment on these things, the more pressure the officials are put under and I would rather keep my feelings to myself."

September 19: Former chairman Peter Ridsdale is to remain a major shareholder at Elland Road despite taking charge at Oakwell. He told the Yorkshire Post: "I believe in the future of the club." The Football League and FA are aware of Ridsdale's holding, but it would only be a real issue if he took his total holding to over 10%. Like most shareholders in Leeds United, he is sitting on a significant loss on his shareholding: thecurrent share price is about one third what it was when he took out the stake.

September 19: Carlton Palmer has been sacked as manager of Second Division Stockport County after the club made a poor start to the season. When he took over at Edgeley Park nearly two years ago, the club was in disarray and dropped out of Division 1 with a terrible sequence of results, although Palmer and the board realised what was going to happen early on and budgeted for it. With a full season to show what he could do last year, results didn't improve, and the club now sit close to the bottom of the table with just six points from eight games. Stockport chief exec Niels de Vos told the club's website: "He has pulled together a talented young side of real potential. Carlton has presided over a very difficult period at Stockport and in many ways can look back with pride on what he has achieved... We believe a new management style is required to build on his achievements and to turn potential into regular winning performances."

September 19: Dominic Matteo and Lucas Radebe are both out of tomorrow's game, Matteo with the ankle injury which rules him out of the Leicester match and Radebe with a further aggravation of his long-term knee problem. Seth Johnson went down with flu yesterday and is also a doubt, so it looks as if the defence will be the same as the one that started the Leicester game, and David Batty and Salomon Olembe are in contention to claim a starting place in midfield. Reid said that Batty still had a role to play, despite not figuring even as a sub in the last couple of games. "David is chomping at the bit to play. When I need to shore things up he's ideal for that role and if I need to play him I'll have no hesitation." Shame he hesitated for the 70 minutes of the game on Monday in which it was clear just how ineffective the midfield and defence were playing.

September 18: Leeds Ladies ran out 2-1 winners at home to Doncaster Belles in last night's match. Two goals from former Belle Alex Culvin either side of a deflected Doncaster goal gave Leeds the points to take them above the visitors in the league with a game in hand.

September 18: There's an interview here in today's YEP with Kevin Blackwell in which he asks for patience from the fans as the management try to turn the club around. "This is a two to three-year job so we must all hang in there. The fans have got a major role to play. They came with trepidation to the Newcastle game but they sang their hearts out and I can tell you now that all the lads commented on that very thing in the dressing room at half-time." He says that the crowd's readiness to get on the players' backs had an adverse effect on the team in the last campaign - but he's trying to get the players to not be afraid of making a mistake. "What I tell them is that everybody will accept a positive mistake, but I don't want a negative mistake." Worth reading the whole thing - he comes across as a sensible bloke. And he finishes saying: "Look, I'm ambitious and I want success. It may just take a little time, that's all." Let's all remember that when we have the odd bad result.

September 18: Michael Bridges said that his return to full training and the reserves was the light at the end of the tunnel after his long run of injury problems. He's hoping that he'll get back to the sort of form that bagged over 20 goals in his first season. "It would be nice if I could do that again. I feel really good and really sharp." And as much as we could do with another option up front, we need to be sure he really is fit before bringing him back this time.

September 18: Dominic Matteo is unlikely to be fit in time for the weekend's game against Birmingham, and - long-term absentees Michael Bridges, Michael Duberry and Eirik Bakke aside - have no other injury worries for the game. Kenny Cunningham is struggling to get over a groin injury for the Blues, and Steve Bruce may be tempted to risk talismanic striker Christophe Dugarry who has just about recovered from a knee op. In the absence of Dugarry, Mikael Forsell looked very sharp in last week's draw with Fulham. The ref will be our old chum Dermot Gallagher - maybe his presence can turn things round from Monday's slump for us.

September 17: Noel Whelan sealed the three points for Millwall last night, scoring in the final minute for his new club as they beat Wimbledon 2-0 in the league.

September 17: Alan Smith apologised to the Leeds fans who witnessed Monday's disaster at the Walker Stadium. He described the performance as the worst he'd ever been a part of at Leeds. "It was amazing that the fans were still backing us when we were three goals down. We certainly wouldn't get away with a performance like that at Elland Road. Their support has been magnificent and they deserve better than what we gave them on Monday." Smith said that nobody was making any excuses, and all that he - or the rest of the team - could do was to promise there would be no repeat of that sort of performance. "We have to be better against Birmingham on Saturday and put on a show."

September 17: Swindon boss Andy King said that he's hoping to be able to extend James Milner's loan period at the Wiltshire club. King said: "The boy is a terrific talent and everyone has been able to see the skills he has and I have no doubt he will go on to perform in the Premiership." King added that Leeds boss Peter Reid had only agreed to loan the player out for one month - but he'd be asking for an extension anyway. The player himself wouldn't be unhappy to stay a bit longer at Swindon if it meant first team football. Milner said: "The main aim is to get into the Leeds team - but if the gaffer there doesnt think I'm ready then I'm more than happy to stay."

September 17: Didier Domi says that Roque Junior will produce much better performances for Leeds than he did on his disastrous debut at Leicester. He said: "It will come together for Roque because it's easy to see that he's a great player, but it will take time." Domi pointed out how little time the squad had spent together ahead of Monday's game: "It can be difficult for a defence to come together like that. But I don't want to make any excuses for the performance. We're all good players and even though Roque has just been here for one training session, we all felt good before the game. We should have been better but, on the night, it just didn't work out for us." I'm sure that both Domi and Roque Junior will play better than they did in that defeat - but I've always been a bit dubious about the whole concept of a Brazilian defender: their defensive tactics usually seem to be "Oh - we've conceded a goal - lob the ball up to Ronaldo again", and unfortunately we seem to have missed out on picking up a crucial part of that tactical jigsaw, so our latest signing will need to adapt his game to the team around him.

September 17: Unless he appeals against his dismissal in the Deva Stadium last night, Ian Harte will be suspended for the league games against Blackburn, Man U and Liverpool. Alternatively, his prospects of a loan to a Division 1 side - being talked up again as more of the loan signings start to force their way into the side - must also be put on hold until after he has served his ban.

September 16: Peter Reid was at least honest in defeat last night. "I think I might have picked the wrong team," he said. And he went on: "In the end, I was happy with 4-0 because it could have been a lot worse. They were better than us in every part of the field. You always have to earn the right to play and we didn't do that." He gave Micky Adams' side plenty of credit for wanting to compete and working well as a team - and he made no excuses about the number of new players or the language differences in the defence. Reid said: "Harry Redknapp has four different nationalities in his defence at Portsmouth and they don't seem to be struggling with language... Micky Adams had a lot of new players too and it's just an excuse to blame it on that and I don't like making excuses." Reid knows that he will have to make some radical changes to the team's motivation and tactical awareness soon - after Brum and Everton, we face Blackburn, ManU, Liverpool and Arsenal in quick succession in the league, and any minor dip in form in the next fortnight could have turned into a flaming relegation dive by the start of November.

September 16: The Leeds Ladies side are in action tomorrow night - and it will be a big match at Wheatley Park in Garforth since it's local rivals Doncaster Belles who are visiting. Wednesday's game kicks off at 7:30 pm, so if you're in the area why not pop along to see some committed and united players appearing in Leeds shirts - after Monday night it should be a welcome change. Meanwhile the Ladies side have a new sponsor: a Ripon-based insurance company, Ingham and Co will sponsor the team's shirts for the next two years. The extra money should allow manager Julie Chipchase to build on the team's good start to the season and help Leeds continue to compete at the highest level.

September 16: Michael Bridges played the first half of tonight's reserves game against Liverpool at Chester and gave himself and everyone else a boost with a goal on his return. Liverpool dominated the game but Leeds took the lead when Bridges chipped the Reds' keeper and saw the ball just cross the line before Traore got his clearance in. Danny Murphy scored from the spot to equalise just into the second half after youngster Simon Walton brought down a Liverpool player. Ian Harte did his diminishing first team prospects no good at all when he was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Anthony Le Tallec that will almost certainly bring him a three match ban. Salomon Olembe, Cyril Chapuis, Nick Barmby, Jamie McMaster and Simon Johnson all appeared for Leeds with the numbers made up by the usual youngsters, against a Liverpool side that had Diao and Cheyrou with first team experience in addition to Murphy and Traore.

September 16: Jermaine Pennant dismissed last night's performance as "Just one of those days", and vowed that Leeds would bounce back and not fall apart under pressure again. He said: "Obviously, we didn't expect to lose 4-0, but I'm sure it's one of those things. Now all we want to do is put it behind us and work towards Saturday. We're all disappointed. We've just got to pick ourselves up and we'll bounce back against Birmingham." Pennant was one of the few players to cop for any praise at all from Reid last night, and says he's happy at Leeds and hopes to stay on a bit longer. Didier Domi held up his hands for a less-than-perfect performance, but he too is looking forward rather than dwelling on the defeat: "We had four games which were very good and then I come in for a 4-0 defeat - that's life!" He went on: "I will look at my own performance, but I will keep going and keep working at it. As a team we will keep working and try to put it right against Birmingham on Saturday. It's good to have another game so soon."

September 15: Dominic Matteo has been ruled out of tonight's game against Leicester after picking up an ankle injury in training yesterday. It looks like ligament damage and could rule him out for at least three weeks - let's hope he's back by the time the big games come round in October!

September 15: The U-19 side got their first win of the season at the weekend - Andy Keogh scoring the only goal of the game in their win over Manchester City. By contrast the U-17 side - who had generally been doing better than their older counterparts so far this season - conceded for the first time, losing 3-0 at Everton.

September 15: James Milner got a fantastic reception from the fans at the County Ground this weekend as he made his home debut for Swindon against Wrexham. Veteran keeper Andy Dibble was the only thing that came between him and a goal, but he made it clear that he'd received great support from the team. Milner said: "It is nice to hear your name being chanted and it really helps your confidence. The crowd are really passionate here and it?s certainly a lot more competitive than reserve team football."

September 15: Boro chairman Steve Gibson says that his club are keen to make on-loan Danny Mills a full Boro player. Gibson said: "The long-term objective is to keep Danny. We would have liked him permanently and we talked to Leeds about that but the deadline was looming and there was no time to complete the deal." It's not clear yet whether Gibson will look to cement the deal in time for the next transfer window in January or whether he will wait until Mill's loan period comes to an end in summer. Whatever happens, only a rapid change in financial fortune and the departure of Peter Reid will see Mills playing for Leeds again.

September 15: A dire performance by Leeds at the Walker Stadium tonight left us thinking that we were back to the dog days of Venables. 4-0 to Leicester didn't flatter them - we made maybe two clear chances in the whole game, Smithy's close control let him down when he had worked some space in the box, and a cross from Pennant that came close to finding a Leeds head. Otherwise nowt. While Walker commanded his box, Robbo looked uncertain and lacking in confidence, but given what was playing in front of him that's hardly surprising. Leicester hit the bar and required three excellent saves from Robbo in addition to the four goals. Where did we go wrong? Well Domi decided not to play at left back, thus pulling the defence to pieces on several occasions, Roque Junior looked like a player who has just been introduced to his team-mates - hopelessly out of sync with the rest of the team, and Johnson and Morris were just anonymous in midfield. Felt a bit sorry for Sakho and Pennant who were starved of the ball, and Smith and Viduka really do need to do more to come back and help the midfield if they're not getting possession. Olembe looked good on his debut, and Lennon's pace and trickery nearly worked us a couple of openings - but many more performances like this against teams that are going to be in the bottom half of the table could turn the season into another relegation dogfight at Elland Road.

September 14: Micky Adams will face some serious decision-making tomorrow afternoon when he tries to figure out what team to field against Leeds. Already without the suspended Les Ferdinand, Alan Rogers and Ricardo Scimeca, Adams will also be forced to pick a team missing Frank Sinclair, Callum Davidson and Matt Elliott through injury. Keith Gillespie is another doubt after the winger picked up an ankle knock in the game against Armenia, but John Curtis and Steve Howey are more likely to be selected if they come through fitness tests on their hamstring injuries. No indication from Elland Road yet, although the big question mark is in defence: is Roque Junior ready to start a game, and is Lucas Radebe fit. Assuming the answers are no and yes, then a starting line-up of Robinson, Kelly, Camara, Radebe, Matteo, Johnson, Morris, Pennant, Sakho, Smith and Viduka looks to be favorite, with a bench of five from Carson, Roque Junior, Olembe, Batty, Lennon, Domi, Wilcox and Harte.

September 14: If you've been used to listening to the games on RealAudio over the net when you couldn't make it, then you're going to have to pay for the privilege from tomorrow. Leeds will be charging about three quid a month (which - let's face it - isn't a fortune) for access to live match commentary, goals and other features. A few years back they tried this - and rapidly backed away in the face of complaints from around the world and the generally appalling quality and reliability of the feed. With more people able to get a broadband connection, and with audio feeds in general improved out of sight from where we were back then, I think that on balance this is a reasonable thing for the club to do. There will always be some resistance when you start charging for a service that was previously free - but that service costs the club money to provide, and in the current climate it's not reasonable to expect the club to subsidise such a service. And although I'm sure there will be the odd case of hardship, if you want the service but you're not prepared to pay the club the equivalent of one match ticket per season, then the club is probably quite right to ignore your wishes. You can always join in the matchday chat on IRC: undernet channel #leeds from kick-off to final whistle will be full of people talking randomly about all sorts of stuff and frequently has one or more people able to provide move-by-move updates from the radio commentary or direct from the game.

September 14: After two rounds of Serie A there's no surprise at the five clubs with 100% records: Roma, Lazio, Juve, Milan and Inter. This weekend, Roma had an easy win - 5-0 at home to Brecia, but all the other four sides faced much tougher opposition. Juve were a little bit lucky to get a 1-2 win over Chievo in the Bentegodi - David Trezeguet doing a superb Mark Viduka impression: out of the game for 50 minutes then pouncing on a defensive slip to produce a brilliant finish for his 50th goal in 78 Serie A games. Bologna were disappointed to let Filippo Inzaghi score a late winner for Milan in the San Siro after Nervo had equalised an early goal from Shevchenko. Inter needed a first-half own-goal to beat their hosts, newly-promoted Siena, and Lazio had a scare when Bazzani halved their 0-2 lead with 20 minutes to go at Sampdoria.

Deportivo La Coruna hold the only 100% record in La Liga after three games: Walter Pandiani and Diego Tristan inevitably providing the goals in their 1-2 win at Sevilla. Real Madrid are in second with a vastly improved goal difference after some brilliantly worked goals in their 7-2 hammering of Valladolid: a hat-trick for Raul, two for Ronaldo and one each for Zidane and Figo (that English bloke didn't score any). Barca and Valencia are third and fourth, equal on points with Madrid after two tough games this weekend: Valencia just got past Malaga with a 1-0 win the Mestalla, while Albacete gave Barcelona a surprisingly tough run for their money, going down 1-2 in tonight's televised game.

Bayer Leverkusen are the early leaders of the Bundesliga. After five games they are a point clear of Stuttgart, and they too have a point on Dortmund, Bremen and the two Munich teams. This weekend the leaders struggled to beat bottom side Hamburg - a Juan goal the only difference between the two sides. Stuttgart shared a goalless draw with Schalke'04, and a second-half own-goal from Ismael gave Dortmund the better side of a 2-1 win over Bremen. Kaiserslautern - with a three point deduction pinning them down at the bottom - finally got some points on the board in a 2-2 draw at home to Freiburg, but they needed Georgi Hristov to equalise twice to get that point. Finally there's the small matter of Bayern Munich: 1-2 up at Wolfsburg with five minutes to go, but losing 3-2 by the time the final whistle was blown.

Marseille moved clear at the top of Ligue 1 in France with a 5-0 thrashing of newly-promoted Le Mans - Fulham's Steve Marlet and ex-Ajax star Mido were among the scorers. Monaco missed out on the chance to stay with Marseille's pace when they let a 0-1 lead slip at third-placed Lille, both sides probably quite happy with a draw in the circumstances.

Ajax maintained their 100% record and ended that of leaders RKC Waalwijk with a convincing 4-1 win on Saturday. PSV had a straightforward 2-1 win at home over Utrecht to move into second place, but Feyenoord dropped yet more points with a 2-2 draw at 10-man AZ Alkmaar.

Sparta Prague's preparations to face the Billionaire Blues in the Champions League this week took a knock with a 2-0 defeat at Slovan Liberec. Second and third placed Brno and Teplice could only manage draws at Plzen and Sigma Olomouc, so Slavia will try to take close the gap when they play current leaders Banik Ostrava tomorrow.

September 13: Aaron Lennon appears to be turning into the worst-kept best-kept secret in the Premier League. Peter Reid was talking him up today, praising his pace and attacking skills. "He has a gift where he can go by people and he has a football brain as well," said Reid. He continues: "Physically, people still raise their eyebrows because Aaron looks a bit of a schoolboy and it would be difficult for him to start a game and last the 90 minutes... But when he gets the ball at his feet he will tend to change people's minds because he does look sharp." Lennon will continue to get his little cameo roles according to the manager - but realistically he needs to be a bit older and stronger before he's considered for a starting role at Leeds.

September 13: Nigel Martyn didn't start today's game for Everton - Richard Wright was deemed fit enough for the Toffees. However, that assessment didn't stand up to much scutiny, and Nige came on as an early sub to play his first competitive game in over a year. Unfortunately there wasn't a lot he could do to help Everton in their game against Newcastle: playing against 10 men after Laurent Robert was dismissed for a second bookable offence, the home side gave away two penalties and had a man sent off themselves. Shearer scored both spot kicks with aplomb, but Newcastle allowed Everton to equalise twice - the second goal coming late on from yet another spot kick, this time by Duncan Ferguson. Harry Kewell scored Liverpool's third in their 1-3 win at Blackburn, the Reds helped by Lucas Neill's two-footed challenge that would have been judged as "a little bit harsh" if Steven Gerrard had committed it, but which merited a straight red when done by the Blackburn player. JFH was also on the scoresheet for Chelsea - sealing their 4-2 win over Spurs but once again it was Adrian Mutu whose finishing really stood out for the Blues, with two brilliantly-timed runs and clinical finishing: I'm not looking forward to our defence having to cope with him in December. Stephen McPhail's good run at Forest continues - he made a goal for international colleague Andy Reid in their 3-1 win over Sheffield United.

September 12: According to last night's YEP, Leeds are employing the ProZone video system which uses an array of cameras to track each player and monitor their performance during the games.Coach Kevin Blackwell says: "You can pick out individual players or the team as a whole and look at certain aspects of the performance. It's a great educational tool and we can sit down and discuss what we see either as a group or individually." Apparently the system shows that Jermaine Pennant covered over 13km on the pitch in the Boro game, and that Jody Morris touched the ball more often than the rest of the team. Apparently the shortest measurable incident in the game was the time taken between Alan Smith breathing on a Boro player and the ref producing his card, and Mark Viduka covered the biggest area of pitch at any one time, although the system developers reckon that might be a glitch and muttered something about buffer overflows and size errors. At least some of the above is true.

September 12: The Prof has said that he's reasonably confident that Peter Reid will be able to make permanent the transfers of the loan players he's brought in if they meet his expectations on the field. McKenzie pointed out that a decision on whether or not to proceed with the purchases needs to be made by January - although the money will not need to be found until the summer, and will then be paid in the usual instalments to the selling clubs. He said: "It will then be down to me to try and find the money required.The club has stabilised in recent months so now we have to be able to build for the future." Of course, if a couple of them work out and if Michael Bridges returns to fitness then maybe we'll see a certain striker depart, wiping out a large chunk of wages and bringing in some capital that will allow us to take on 3 players and still come out ahead of the game.

September 12: Michael Duberry is back in training after fracturing a cheekbone on the pre-season tour of Ireland. It will be a couple of weeks before he is ready for a reserve game, and realistically it will be the end of October before he is in contention for a first team game, but with the arrival of Roque Junior and the form of Zoumana Camara he will be struggling to make the first team. Michael Bridges is also close to a return - he is being considered for a run in the reserve game against Liverpool.

September 12: Didn't notice it earlier in the week, but I see Darren Huckerby has moved to Norwich on loan from Manchester City. He doesn't figure in Kevin Keegan's plans at the moment, and his move to Forest fell through when they failed to win promotion last season. He's shown himself to be very effective in Division 1 and should do well for Nigel Worthington's side. Nigel Martyn is likely to make his debut for Everton in their game against Newcastle at the weekend. Toffees manager David Moyes says that he's expecting Nige to give his current batch of keepers stiff competition for the starting place. Moyes said: 'All the top teams have good competition for their keeper's place, the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. I felt we needed to do the same and put more competition on Richard Wright." He also thinks that Nige might be able to do enough to win a recall to the England squad - when the likes of Ian Walker are called up you know Sven is getting a bit desperate - and even though he's 37 he can't be ruled out for Euro 2004. Moyes said: "If Nigel got into the side I don't think there is any doubt the England manager would consider him... Football changes very quickly. Players lose form or get injured, so you never know."

September 12: Peter Reid will pass the buck to his player on Monday night when he allows Roque Junior to decide whether or not he's ready to start for Leeds in the Walker Stadium. The player is back in the country today after a couple of tough World Cup qualifiers and a long flight, so Reid says the coaching staff will take a look at him at the weekend. Reid said: "We'll have a chat with him - through someone who speaks Portuguese obviously - and see how he feels... Sometimes you get a feel when you talk to players or see players and I'm sure if he fancies playing it's going to be difficult to stop him."

September 12: Peter Reid says that his success in signing such a talented bunch of players on loan has given him a real problem - he's not sure who to pick anymore! "Selection headaches are a difficult part of the job, but it's a part you enjoy because it means you've got the players in to select from. We've had a good time with the deals we've done and I've been really pleased, not only with the players who've come in, but how they've settled in." Once the likes of Salomon Olembe and Roque Junior have trained with the side a couple of times, and when Didier Domi is up to full match fitness it will be extremely interesting to see what call Reid will make on the teamsheet.

September 12: The YEP has a competition in tonight's paper to win tickets for the Birmingham game next Saturday. Three pairs of tickets are on offer to anyone who can tell them who the manager of Birmingham City is (apparently they're desperate to know so they don't get embarrassed at the post-match press conference). Send your answers to: United v Birmingham Competition, Sportsdesk, Yorkshire Evening Post, Wellington Street, Leeds LS1 1RF along with your name, address and daytime phone number by next Tuesday.

September 11: New signing Roque Junior played the full 90 minutes in Brazil's World Cup 2006 qualifier against Ecuador yesterday after appearing in the win over Colombia at the weekend. He's hopefully on his way back to Elland Road, and although he's not due to turn up until late Friday, he could still play some part in Monday night's game at Leicester. Salomon Olembe is back from linking up with the Cameroun squad and is also likely to make the squad for Leeds' first game in the Walker Stadium.

September 11: Peter Reid reckons that Leeds have got a fantastic dressing room at the moment (oo-er!). The atmosphere and team spirit brought about by the departure of certain players, the arrival of new blood like Lamine Sakho and Jermaine Pennant, and the promotion of youngsters like Aaron Lennon has given the club a real lift according to the manager. He's particularly happy with the way that the new boys are bringing more pace to the side. Reid said: "We had lost [the pace] when Harry went and that's what I was looking for, and then you have got someone like Lennon to come in and he really has got pace. If I can keep putting him on in cameo roles, he will cause defenders problems because he's hard to defend against when he comes at you with pace." And Reid wants to build on the Boro result: "Overall, as a team, I think we can get better... This is something we can build on and we can start going on a run and winning football matches."

September 11: Alan Smith could be featured in a new British movie to be called "The Penalty King". Although Smithy is not yet confirmed as taking part, the producers believe they are well on the way to securing his services and they are now looking for fans to invest in the movie by sponsoring a line or a page of the script. If the movie does make money, they'll get a return on their investment - and you might even end up on screen alongside Smithy as an extra. Don't think this one will be headlining Ain't It Cool News...

September 11: In an interview on the official website, in which he is described as being a "former United midfielder", left back Tony Dorigo says that he's glad he doesn't have to face Aaron Lennon today. He said: "He was tremendous [in the Boro game] and by the size of him I wouldn't like to face him. The trickery and the speed he's got makes him exceptional." You can see the full interview on the offical site.

September 10: New signing Cyril Chapuis says that he's happy to be over in England - and at Leeds in particular. He played in last night's reserve game against Man U and had a pretty steady first game alongside his new team-mates. He said: "It's my first game and it was a bit hard, but things will improve." Kevin Blackwell praised the effort of the team as a whole in a match which pitted two teams of relatively young and inexperienced players against each other. Blackwell was happy with the result - he said: "It was the cream of Man United's youngsters... but I was very proud of our boys and the way they went about their job."

September 10: Leicester boss Micky Adams is already without three players through suspension on Monday night - and he's got several more playing in internationals tonight so he's hoping his thin squad won't be further trimmed by injury. Les Ferdinand was already banned after picking up a red card - but now it seems he needs a knee op and will be out for over a month. Riccardo Scimeca and Alan Rogers are also suspended, and John Curtis is carrying a calf injury and is a doubt for the game. Only problem is that when we play teams in this sort of crisis situation, either we relax or they raise their game and we end up with something less than three points. Maybe Peter Reid's approach will change that...

September 10: The reserves game at home to Bolton - which isn't due to be played until March - has been moved. It was due to take place on March 9, but it will now kick off a week earlier (unless it gets moved again which is quite likely).

September 10: Gary Speed now holds 76 caps - a record for a Welsh outfield player - after appearing in Wales' 1-1 draw with Finland tonight. He helped set up Simon Davies' goal that secured a Euro 2004 play-off place for the Principality. No sign of anyone vaguely Leeds-related at Old Trafford as England struggled to break down Liechtenstein, ultimately winning 2-0 and ensuring that a draw in Istanbul next month will be enough to win the group. Elsewhere Teddy Lucic appeared for Sweden in their 0-2 win in Poland and Olivier Dacourt scored France's second goal in their 0-2 win over Slovenia.

September 09: Peter Ridsdale is looking to strengthen the board and management team at Oakwell, and it's former Leeds media and corporate affairs director David Walker who is being mentioned as a leading candidate for appointment to the Barnsley board. It was initially thought that the football management team would be discarded once Ridsdale took over - but with the team off to a surprisingly good start it will be hard for Ridsdale to drop them in favour of his preferred candidate, believed to be Leeds legend Eddie Gray.

September 09: If you think you know your stuff on your favorite team - and the rest of the footballing world - then you can enter a national quiz to show off your knowledge and win prizes including signed shirts and FA Cup Final tickets. There will be seven rounds, and you can enter any time up to September 15. You can become one of 92 Club Champions - or you can go all the way and win the 2004 Nationwide FootballMind Cup. Take a look at their website here.

September 09: Michael Bridges will not be risked in tonight's game against Man U at Wakefield. The striker will have another week of full training before Peter Reid lets him try his luck in a competitive match. Cyril Chapuis will start though, playing alongside Simon Johnson up front. Didier Domi gets another chance to improve his fitness and Scott Carson will be between the sticks - does this mean he'll get the bench-warming nod over Danny Milosevic on Monday? The game at Belle Vue kicks off at 7pm, admission is four quid for adults and a measly quid for kids - get yourself along to see the stars of tomorrow today! Coach Steve Agnew says: "It's been really encouraging. They're young lads and they see it as a challenge. They've applied themselves well and the work ethic has been great."

September 09: After all of his agitation (via his agent) for a move, Mark Viduka moved to rebuild a few bridges today, praising the performance of Peter Reid's loan signings. He said :"All of them have made an impact, from Papus, to Jermaine to Sakho. The new signings are good enough to fill anybody's shoes and they're proving that with the way they're playing. The way they've fitted in has been a massive encouragement to me." And Jermaine Pennant comes in for some particular praise: "Jermaine has been absolutely outstanding on the right-hand side during the last couple of games... It's great when you've got that quality coming down the right-hand side and getting some crosses in."

September 09: Stephen McPhail's performance in his two games for Forest has already had some impact: he was selected by Brian Kerr for tonight's friendly with Turkey at Lansdowne Road after slipping out of international contention while at Leeds. He said that it had been frustrating to see the likes of Jon Woodgate and Harry Kewell - team-mates from the Leeds Youth team - move on and up while he had been dogged by injury. McPhail said: "I don't mind admitting I've been jealous, the frustration of it all has been awful. But I believe I still have an international future, like Jon and Harry." He must have been given either a positive steer on Forest's financial position - or been told by Leeds he can leave for free if he can set up a deal - because he adds: "I want to make a good impression on Paul [Hart] again and turning this move into something more permanent before Christmas is certainly on the cards if I do well." Well, he only came on as a late sub in tonight's game - but it's a start and at least shows that he's in Brian Kerr's thoughts. Ian Harte played all but injury time for the Republic, as they took a 1-0 lead but ended up needing Richard Dunne's injury-time strike to equalise and preserve Brian Kerr's unbeaten record.

September 09: In the reserves game at Belle Vue tonight, Leeds drew 2-2 with Man U - and Aaron Lennon was once again the star of the show. A 30-yard run and cross set up the first goal for Didier Domi after just 10 minutes, but ManU had equalised and then taken the lead with a Quinton Fortune goal and a penalty before half time. Leeds had some decent chances in the second half but failed to take advantage until the first minute of injury time when Lennon more or less engineered a final chance, and set up Henry McStay for a knockdown to Simon Johnson to secure a share of the points.

September 08: There's another Fan Census online - this time they want to know if you think various aspects of supporting your football represent good value for money or not. Take the survey here.

September 08: The Under-17 Academy side made it three wins out of three with a 0-1 win at Crewe at the weekend. Kevin Smith scored the only goal of the game for the youngsters in the first half. The U-19 side recorded their first point of the campaign with a 1-1 home draw with Everton on Friday. Martin Woods scored Leeds' goal and hit the bar with a free-kick.

September 08: Leeds Ladies moved into 5th place in the league with a 0-2 win at Birmingham at the weekend. Leeds' keeper Andrea Worral conceded a penalty in the first half, but saved the shot and then saw her team-mates clear a ball off the line. But in the second half Leeds took control of the game and England international Sue Smith scored both goals to secure the points. Next weekend Leeds are at home - at Garforth's ground - to Bristol City in the first round of the League Cup.

September 08: Seth Johnson told the offical website that he wants to continue the midfield partnership with Jody Morris that has got the club off to a sound start this season. But with David Batty getting back to full fitness and Didier Domi and Salomon Olembe waiting in the wings, he knows it's not a foregone conclusion. Johnson said: "Long passing is a big part of my game and Jody is really good with his short passing, excellent on the ball, has great feet and is good in tight areas, so we can mix it up together. I think it's a partnership where we complement each other quite well, and long may it continue... We're not off to a bad start so we just have to try and stay there."

September 08: Leeds reserves face Manchester United tomorrow night - and the big question for that game surrounds the possible appearance of Michael Bridges, nearly 6 weeks after the last time he pulled on a Leeds shirt in the pre-season game against Hull. After undergoing a strenuous physio programme, Peter Reid reckons he's close to being ready to play in a real game, but the player, manager and fans all want to make sure the right balance is struck between allowing Bridges to regain that final yard or two of pace and overall match fitness with the desire to avoid yet another painful breakdown like he suffered against Malaga last December. New signings Salomon Olembe and Cyril Chapuis will also be considered for a run in the game.

September 08: Tickets turned up today for the Leicester game - and everyone who receives a ticket direct from the club will receive a message from Doug Smith of the Ticket Office warning fans to be on their best behaviour for the game at the Walker Stadium. The message reads: "Leeds United is proud of its record over recent seasons in eliminating racism from our supporter base. On occasion the club has been criticised for the behaviour of its supporters at this fixture, in particular for racist chanting. Such behaviour has nothing to do with being a Leeds United supporter and is not tolerated by the club." The note goes on to give hotline numbers to call or text if you hear or see any racist incident and states that any supporter behaving "in a racist manner" will be banned and the police informed. Fine words - but although Leeds have always had a policy of banning people who are arrested/convicted of anything in connection with a game (and getting slated in the press when the annual "Thug League Table" comes out for having so many people banned rather than ignoring the problem like certain other clubs), how many people do they think this is going to affect? In a crowd it's hard to pinpoint who's saying what, and the police and stewards are usually very reluctant to pick out individuals. We'll see what happens next Monday.

September 08: Harry Kewell scored the winner for the Socceroos as they beat Jamaica 2-1 at the Majedski Stadium in Reading on Sunday. Paul Okon and Mark Viduka also featured in the friendly. On the Soccer Australia website, the following words appear: "Kewell was to make no mistake, racing onto a superb ball from Okon that split three defenders, running 20 metres before calmly hitting his shot with the outside of his left foot past Ricketts." For anyone who watched Leeds last season, at least one part of that is very hard to believe, and as for the "calm finish" bit - a couple more of those in the last two years would have seen Champions League football returning to Elland Road. Ho hum, it's a funny old game...

September 07: So how come we've suddenly managed to set up all of these loan deals with French-based players then? Today's People newspaper claims to have found the man who has set up numerous loan deals - including 5 to Leeds. Willie McKay is a Scot based in Monaco, and he reckons that the loan deals he has brokered are the future of the game. He said: "I have to laugh when I hear people saying there are too many loans going on. If there weren't then some clubs would struggle just to get a decent team out." And McKay insists that it's not just his percentage that drives him. He says: "I'm delighted when I see Zouma Camara and Lamine Sakho score for him. I was as chuffed as Peter [Reid] himself."

September 07: In today's Sunday Mail in Scotland, Dominic Matteo hit back at the criticism he had received for retiring from the international scene. After just six caps, Matteo announced that he had to give up international football simply because he needed to allow his knees the chance to recover from the demands of the domestic season. He said: "Leeds pay my wages and they have to come first." And he also revealed just what he'd gone through in order to find a cure. He visited a German specialist whose suggestions seem a trifle unorthodox. "He tried everything. I had goose liver, calf's liver and juices from a turkey's head injected into me. The bottom line was that something had to go and I decided to give up playing for my country." I suppose we could ridicule the whole concept, but since we did have Major Frank Buckley and his monkey gland treatment back in the early 1950s I suppose we're not in a position to mock.

September 07: James Milner played the full 90 minutes of Swindon's 2-2 draw with Brighton today. He set up the opener for Sam Parkin, and took most of the corners and several free kicks and almost got a winner late on - sounds like he was central to a lot of the action. He sounded happy with his game - he said: "I enjoyed it to be honest. It was a quick game and we were playing one of the top teams in the league." He's still got a bit of settling down to do - he told the Swindon website: "I think it will take me at least one more match to get adjusted to the league."

September 06: Peter Reid laughed off suggestions that he had gone stale at Sunderland - although he did agree that seven and a half years was possibly too long to spend in charge at one club. In today's Sun he says: "I enjoyed some great times up at Sunderland, none better than when we finished in seventh place in the Premiership... I had a good innings there and I will always look back on that spell with a great deal of affection." And he said that he realised that his time was coming to an end when the fans' disaffection with him escalated: "Even I could take the hint when a few of them threw cans of lager over me." With his batteries recharged after his break from the game, he's now relishing the challenges and opportunities at Leeds. "Despite all the money problems, I still have the kind of options here that I didn't have at Sunderland."

September 06: Ian Harte came off the bench to replace the injured John O'Shea in the first half for the Republic of Ireland in their disappointing 1-1 home draw with Russia tonight - a result that means that Brian Kerr's side are no longer in control of their own destiny when it comes to qualifying for Euro 2004, although their final qualifier is away in Switzerland, and a win there should at least seal a play-off place. Gary Speed was in action for Wales, though this will have been one of his less memorable appearances as they were trounced 4-0 by Italy in the San Siro. Olivier Dacourt replaced Patrick Vieira at the Stade de France with 20 minutes to go as the home side hammered Cyprus 5-0. JFH watched from the bench as Holland beat Austria 3-1 in Rotterdam - Martin Hiden was in defence for the visitors. Paul Robinson's bench-warming was the nearest that any Leeds player got to England action as Sven's men came from behind to beat Macedonia 1-2. And while we're on that game, a bit of credit please to David Beckham for leading the team over to applaud the supporters who were out there despite the FA's insistence that England fans should avoid the game: many of those out there had already booked flights and accommodation well before the FA decided not to take up their ticket allocation. Without any offer of compensation to the fans whose hard-earned cash had already been spent on following their team, what on earth did the FA expect was going to happen - did they think the fans would just shrug their shoulders and say "Ho hum, that's two hundred quid down the drain but if the FA don't want us there then that's just fine"? The answer of course is that's exactly what they expected, but what more do you expect from people who travel first class and free around the world courtesy of the money that we put through the turnstiles or pay to them via Sky? If ever they feel like retiring, they're so far out of touch with reality I'm sure they'll be able to find a job as High Court judges.

September 06: Tom Newey scored a consolation goal for Leyton Orient today as they went down 2-1 at Torquay. Both sides had a player dismissed in the first half, and Orient had another man red-carded in the second half, and Newey's 86th minute strike was just a late wake-up call to the Torquay players who had been sitting on their two goal lead. Kevin Sharp was also on the mark today, equalising from the spot on the stroke of half-time in the Lincolnshire derby between Scunthorpe and Boston. That game finished all square at 1-1.

September 05: With the managerial vacancy at West Ham still not filled, the speculation surrounding Glenn Roeder's successor continues to mount - and it's Leeds old boy Paul Hart who is one of the favorites. Hart has shown he can produce good footballing sides on a shoestring budget at Forest, and although his connections with Forest date back to his playing days, West Ham do have more potential and better players, although failure to get straight back into the top flight would almost certainly see the departure of the likes of Jermaine Defoe and Michael Carrick, so if someone is going to build on what's there at the moment they need to do it now. Wonder if he'd try to take Stephen McPhail with him if he moved to the Boleyn Ground?

September 05: Bob Taylor was on target for Cheltenham Town yet again tonight as they came from behind to beat Northampton 4-3 at Whaddon Road. That's three goals in two games for the ex-Leeds and West Brom striker - looks like Division 3 is beginning to realise that a player who has been hitting the net in the top two divisions for the past ten years doesn't lose his eye for goal no matter how old he is.

September 05: Jermaine Pennant set up the opening goal of the game for the England U-21 side in Macedonia tonight. It was his free kick that was headed home by Sheffield United's Phil Jagielka before a goalkeeping aberration by Chris Kirkland gifted the home side a second-half equaliser for a surprising share of the points. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed that David James - no stranger to goalkeeping aberrations himself - doesn't emulate Kirkland in tomorrow's senior match.

September 05: James Milner said today that he was looking forward to getting some games for Swindon that would develop him as a player - but manager Andy King warned the fans not to expect miracles from the Leeds youngster. Milner said: "I know Swindon are a decent team and play good football... The idea is to get some first team games under my belt and it's a step up from the reserves at Leeds." And he's not short of ambition - he added: "I then want to go back to Leeds secure a first team place and ultimately go on to the full England side." Andy King is focusing on tomorrow's match against Brighton. He said: "I don't want it becoming the Milner show." King revealed that he was surprised to find that the player was available when he contacted his friend Peter Reid. King said: "James wasn't on my target list as such because I didn't think he'd be available. I threw a question at Peter Reid and didn't get the answer I was expecting - a yes."

September 05: Seth Johnson has obviously not had any confidence knocked out of him after his recent run-in with the law. He told the offical website today that he thought that Peter Reid's recent transfer acquisitions could give the club the chance to push for a European place next season. He said: "When you look at the squad now it's actually quite big again, it means everyone has to be on their toes and working hard for their place, which is how it should be." And he pointed out what the first few games of the season had done to everyone's expectations. He added: "At the start of the season we were being tipped by the so called experts to be relegated, I don't think that's going to happen now. I think our aim has got to be the top half of the table at the very least, especially with the squad we have now."

September 04: Mark Viduka has been included in the Socceroo squad for their friendly with Jamaica at Reading's Madejski Stadium on Sunday. The game is just a friendly, so the players don't have to be released but Leeds have agreed to allow Viduka to play, as have Liverpool with Harry Kewell. Frank Farina said: "Mark is in a rich vein of form, scoring for us against the Republic of Ireland and then the winner last weekend, so it augurs well for us for Sunday's game." Paul Okon - now confirmed as a Vicenza player - is also included in the squad.

September 04: Peter Ridsdale has finally tied up a deal that should see him take control of Barnsley after lengthy talks yesterday. The former Leeds chairman has acquired both the club and the holding company, which owns the ground, the Academy and associated land. Ridsdale will maintain control of the club, but will sell the holding company on to Patrick Cryne, owner of iSoft - a former sponsor of the club. Ridsdale will take up a senior management post initially, while the details of the takeover are sorted and all the various creditors and interested parties squared off. Current owner Peter Doyle told the club's official website: "The deal is excellent news for the club, its supporters, players and staff. It will mean that the club can move forward and develop the exciting start that has been made to the new season." Ridsdale admitted to making mistakes at Leeds, but said that on balance he thought he'd done a good job at Elland Road. He said: "I accept that we made mistakes, but I now believe the opportunity to learn from those mistakes and build on the success should give Barnsley a real opportunity to thrive in the future." And he obviously wants to make a point to certain people - notably our new chairman - that he's not as green as he's been painted. He said: "I care passionately about football and I care passionately about proving wrong a number of people who have short memories about my abilities in football management, and certainly in terms of the boardroom."

September 04: Leeds first visit to the City of Manchester Stadium has been put back by 53 hours thanks to our good friends at Sky Sports. So we now get the chance to drive back over the Pennines in the middle of the night on Monday 22nd December after the game was put back from the Saturday afternoon in order for the game to appear on Sky's Monday Night Football slot.

September 04: In today's YEP, Nigel Martyn says that he's sorry that he hasn't been able to say goodbye to the Leeds fans at a game after agreeing to move to Everton at the weekend. He said: "The Leeds supporters have always been brilliant with me and I want to thank them... I got a call after Saturday's match telling me about Everton so I haven't been able to thank the fans at a game." He says that he's had a great time at Leeds and is looking forward to coming back to Elland Road with his new club - but he needed to move on. "This is a fresh challenge. It's been a bit frustrating and this is probably what I needed. I didn't want to finish my career on the bench."

September 04: Roque Junior has barely had time to drop his bag in a hotel room at Leeds before having to jet out to South America for two internationals in Colombia at the weekend and then at home to Ecuador on Tuesday. He'll be back in Leeds by Thursday, giving Reid the weekend to pair him with Zoumana Camara and get the two players used to each other ahead of the visit to the Walker Stadium on Monday week. Reid said: "I'll be checking on his games in South America, and I will be looking to play him or to be involved at some stage against Leicester." But fellow defender and club captain Dom Matteo doesn't see the Brazilian star having too many problems: "Players like him can usually slot into any team very easily, I don't think he'll find it any trouble." Ian Harte is also away on international duty, as are Paul Robinson, Jermaine Pennant (with the England U-21 squad), and Salomon Olembe, with Mark Viduka probably spending longer than all of them travelling as he is forced to go down the M1 and M4 to get to Reading.

September 03: Not for the first time, Leeds are having problems with the replica kit. When the new shirts were launched last week, many people who had pre-ordered them well in advance were told they would have to wait, and at the big meet-the-players event at Elland Road, quite a few folks went home with their heroes unmet due to the large number of people present. And now it seems that some of the people who did go home with a nice new Leeds shirt are finding that they are not exactly maintaining full structural integrity - Nike say that it's just one batch, but this isn't the first time that this has happened to Leeds, and you've got to wonder at what sort of QC measures are in place that let an entire batch of faulty shirts out to the shops. Maybe they should subcontract the production to the dodgy pirate outfits in the Far East - at least if you're just paying a fiver for a shirt you don't have the same expectations of quality you do as when you're asked to fork out forty quid.

September 03: Stephen McPhail has now played two full games for Forest - and that first game must have been a bit of a culture shock for him, since it was the first time since May 2000 that he'd played all 90 minutes of a league game and ended up on the winning side. He seems to be enjoying his time down at the City Ground though, glad no doubt that he has the chance of first team football again. And as for the future? "You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, so I have to do my best here to impress and if it turns out that they want to take me on permanently then I will be delighted with that, but it's obviously down to Leeds and what they want to do." Paul Hart would like to sign him up permanently, but finances at Forest are seriously constrained, and only a very strong possibility of promotion is likely to loosen the purse strings. Hart said: "He's a tremendous player, a great passer and I don't need any convincing."

September 03: James Milner has been loaned out to our Carling Cup opponents Swindon Town for one month. In the attacking midfield position he plays in, Peter Reid clearly feels that he's got enough senior cover right now and he's already said that he would only make light use of the player while he improves his physique, so a month spent in Division 2 with Reid's mate Andy King will certainly help to hone his sharpness and give him such much-needed match practice. He won't be allowed to play against us in the cup tie at Elland Road, but should have the chance to shine in Division 2 just as he did when he first came into the Leeds side last Christmas. Reid said: "James is still very much part of my first team plans, but we have let him go out on loan to give him some league experience and develop him further."

September 03: Peter Reid said that Michael Bridges' new diet and training programme looked to be having the desired effect as the striker once again tries to get himself back into the first team after a long injury lay-off. Reid said: "He's worked really hard for two weeks and his running looks terrific, so he then joined us on Monday for full training which is a massive boost for all concerned. Because of the international break he's now another two weeks to get himself ready, so we will have a look at him in training and go from there."

September 03: Leeds are set to demand compensation from the Norwegian FA of around £100,000 after losing Eirik Bakke to tendinitis. The midfielder was struggling with injury for much of last season, and Leeds' medical staff insisted that he needed to rest during the summer. Unfortunately, the Norwegian FA thought they knew better and picked Bakke for their international games during the break, and as a result Bakke will be out for several months after aggravating his knee injury. Bakke said: "It is frustrating when I can't go out there and help the lads but I hope that I can help them mentally and keep their spirits lifted while I'm on the treatment table... I'll be cheering them on from the sidelines and hope to be back on the pitch for club and country as soon as possible." Of course, he might find that getting back into the Leeds first team is easier said than done: if Jermaine Pennant is still around and with the likes of Lamine Sakho in the side, and the improved form and fitness of Seth Johnson then Bakke might just find that he is no longer regarded as first choice by Peter Reid.

September 03: Leeds reserve team beat Blackburn 1-2 at Christie Park, Morecambe tonight. Blackburn were giving a debut to new signing Dino Baggio, and had some experienced first-teamers in their side. With the exception of Didier Domi, the Leeds reserve side was the usual bunch of youngsters, with Jamie McMaster and Simon Johnson the "experienced" ones. Jamie Winter scored the winner, but Simon Walton was dismissed for a professional foul, and Blackburn also lost a player to two yellow cards and saw Grabbi miss a penalty when the draw was there for the taking. Scott Carson was between the sticks, and he is now favorite to take over on the first team bench from Nigel Martyn.

September 02: The squad numbers to be worn by the latest batch of loan signings were announced today. Roque Junior takes the number 12 shirt worn by Nick Barmby last season before his promotion to number 7. Cyril Chapuis takes over the number 15 shirt vacated by Nigel Martyn, and although I didn't see a formal announcement that Paul Okon's move to Vicenza was signed and sealed, the fact that Salomon Olembe has been given the number 24 shirt does rather indicate that the Aussie skipper's time at Elland Road is at an end.

September 02: Nigel Martyn has taken a very positive attitude to his move to Everton, and insists that he'll be pushing hard to persuade David Moyes that he should be the first choice keeper at Goodison. He said: "I hope my arrival here will help Richard. As I know from having Paul Robinson challenging me, it pushed me for those years and he felt the benefit of me pushing him." He went on: "There are other goalkeepers here who are very capable and we'll all be pushing each other to make that starting place our own." Martyn said how much he'd enjoyed his time at Leeds - despite the disappointment of losing his place to Robinson last season. Leeds visit Everton in less than a month: it will be interesting to see if he's managed to gain his place in the starting line-up by then, but whatever happens he'll be guaranteed a warm reception from both Leeds fans and players whenever and wherever we encounter him again. Club captain Dominic Matteo said: "All the lads wish Nigel luck. He's a quality player and a great bloke. It's been tremendous working with him and he's done well for Leeds over the years."

September 02: The chairman revealed today that the club had turned down offers for the three top names at the club - Mark Viduka, Alan Smith and Paul Robinson - as time ran out on the transfer window. Prof Mckenzie refused to reveal which clubs had made bids, although it's understood that several European sides made inquiries about Viduka, and Spurs were interested in taking on Robbo after losing Neil Sullivan to Chelsea and seeing Kasey Keller make a less than confident start to the season. The Prof said: "The situation is now such that we're not going to lose what you would call our star players unless they express a desire to leave and we receive an exceptional offer... We've said thanks, but no thanks." Peter Reid said that he was glad that the transfer window was now closed, so he could get off his mobile phone and back onto the training ground. He was very happy with the loan talent that he had brought on board. He said: "I'd like to be buying players but the job dictates that we can't do that at this moment in time. I'm not moaning because I'm happy with what we've done during the transfer window. We've brought in good players who will improve themselves and the quality of the team. By doing what we've done, it gives us a chance and that's what it's all about."

September 02: It looks like Cyril Chapuis was even more in demand than we thought! Newcastle were sniffing around him at the back end of last season, and after Marseille made it clear that he had little prospect of getting a game at Stade Velodrome, he chose England as his preferred destination and wasn't short of interested clubs. Helped by the presence of Lamine Sakho, Didier Domi and Zoumana Camara, he chose Leeds ahead of Portsmouth, Southampton, Bolton, Everton and Spurs. He said: "I am delighted, in England everything is simpler than in France. There is a wonderful atmosphere in the stadiums here." One transfer that didn't happen was the acquisition of David Wright from Crewe. Dario Gradi revealed that Wright had spent a couple of days training with Leeds, and that Peter Reid had been interested in picking him up - but not interested enough to make a move before deadline day with all the other activity that was going on. Gradi said: "David has been playing like a Premier League defender this season. In fact he has been immaculate and I don't think I've ever seen anyone go past him. If I was at a Premier League club, I would certainly take him because he is a good player and will only get better." As for the other possible signings, it would seem that nothing happened with Sebastian Rostoe or Carlos Cuellar - although I'm hearing conflicting stories about whether or not we've actually done a deal on Joel Sammi.

September 02: Reports today suggest that a consortium involving Peter Ridsdale is about to take over at Oakwell. Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard that story this summer but this time it seems like PR and Tykes fan Patrick Cryne are on the point of buying out current owner Peter Doyle - or more significantly assuming responsibility for the liabilities of the club, which are understood to exceed £5 million. Doyle said that a meeting with interested parties would take place tomorrow afternoon, and that the takeover would finally get the club out of administration. Doyle claims to have cut the club's running costs and stabilised the finances since he took over at the turn of the year, but many supporters remained hostile as he sought to find a long-term buyer for the club. It's not known if the Oakwell boardroom has a fish tank, but that's unlikely to prove the sticking point of the deal.

September 01: Is Michael Bridges destined to be the Mick Jones of the 2000's? In 1974, the big centre-forward picked up a knee injury that never quite healed. He got to the point of playing for the reserves but had a couple of relapses, more treatment and eventually had to throw in the towel after nearly two years of struggling at the age of 30. Well Michael Bridges is a little younger, but the parallels are worrying. Bridges was out for nearly two years after picking up an injury at Besiktas, and had just worked his way back into the team as a starter when he broke down against Malaga last December. Further medical work and physiotherapy got him ready for the pre-season games, but after appearing at Hull at the start of August, he's not made a single appearance in any of the friendlies or for the reserves. He's supposed to be back in full training today and has been on a special diet and gym programme, and no date has been set for his first team return - but this must be the last chance of recovery for the talented striker.

September 01: The Under 17 Academy side continued their form of last week with a 2-0 win against Millwall at Thorp Arch at the weekend. But the Under 19 side were less lucky - failing to score any points for the second week running as they went down 0-2 to Millwall's U19s.

September 01: Nigel Martyn has agreed personal terms with Everton after Leeds agreed to let the Goodison outfit speak to the veteran keeper. With Robbo staying, and more than adequate backup from Danny Milosevic and Scott Carson, Peter Reid was happy to allow Martyn to move on in order to get first team football. Richard Wright missed the weekend game against Liverpool and if he fails to recover then Nige could find himself back in Premiership action against Newcastle almost immediately.

September 01: Leeds old boy - and famously the last Leeds player to score a winner at Old Trafford - Brian Flynn has picked up another award for his cupboard. He's managing Swansea at the moment, and after netting 12 points from 5 games he finds them topping Division 3 and has been named as the Manager of the Month for August. Now for the slump...

September 01: Peter Reid was over the moon to get his full complement of new signings on board today. Roque Junior's appeal to get a work permit was successful, and Reid said: "He is a World Cup winner and a European Champions League winner and he is a big boost for the squad. He can play left-back or left centre-half, but is another quality player at the club." And of Cyril Chapuis - a transfer target of Newcastle not so long ago - Reid said: "It gives me another option up front which I didn't have. His hold-up play is excellent, he is strong and the change of coach at Marseille has given us the opportunity to get him." Ian Harte isn't going anywhere though: Reid had agreed a year-long loan deal with Harry Redknapp that would have seen the player move to Pompey, but because they have already made two loan signings from English clubs (Smertin - the player Chelsea signed and immediately offloaded - and Jason Roberts of West Brom) they are not allowed a third under current regulations, so Harte's move was put off.

September 01: Team captain Dominic Matteo pointed to the great team spirit at the club and said that was one of the main reasons Leeds triumphed at the weekend. He said: "At 2-1 you think 'oh no, here we go again', but we stuck at it. Maybe we deserved a bit of luck because we haven't had a lot over the past few years." And he did himself plenty of favours with the fans at the end of Saturday's game when he shepherded the whole team to the away end to thank the travelling support. He said: "It was great to see them celebrating at the end."

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