I'm not online 100% of the time (and even if I were, my bosses would take a dim view of me spending time updating the web pages in real time), so for the absolute latest news, check out the "professional" links.
October 31: The Prof will be appearing on tomorrow's Football Focus on BBC1, so if you're not on the way to the game, see what he has to say for himself. Today he's quoted as saying that he needs to get the wage bill trimmed - and that the club will find it difficult to sign new players without first selling. The chairman said: "Players will only leave Leeds if they want to or unless the manager thinks a player is not appropriate to his needs. If that happens then we will try and put all that money back into purchasing new players." But he wants any new players to be on incentivised contracts - just like manager Peter Reid and new chief exec Trevor Birch. "The reality is there are a number of senior players whose contracts end in the summer and that's stage one of any restructuring, although that's not to say any particular player won't have his contract renewed." He pointed out that most of the players had signed deals during Peter Ridsdale's "living the dream" period and that the PFA would strongly resist any attempt at renegotiation unless the club was under imminent threat of bankruptcy or administration. "The reality is, all you can do is begin to renegotiate contracts as they come up for renewal," he said. He wants more players to move to incentivised contracts in the future, though at the moment the only player that applies to is Leeds' only full signing during the summer, midfielder Jody Morris. "I think players are pretty realistic at the present time. Obviously they don't want their salaries to go down, but everybody recognises football is about change. There's much more realism around now than there was previously."
October 31: Jermaine Pennant said he's looking forward to facing his best mate Ashley Cole on Saturday - but warned his Arsenal team-mate not to expect any favours. Pennant said: "We know each other very, very well - but you have got no friends on the football field. I am sure that after the final whistle we will be mates again. I am just hoping to play well." Pennant is hopeful that the side will turn the corner soon: "We have been playing well but feel a few decisions have gone against us. Sooner or later we will get the results we deserve."
October 31: Brian Deane has ended his spell at Leicester City with a free transfer switch to First Division hopefuls West Ham. Deane has been at Leicester for two seasons after signing from Boro, but hasn't commanded a regular place in the starting line-up this time round. Leicester boss Micky said: "It is a good opportunity for Brian and I didn't want to stand in his way after the fine service he has given us."
October 31: The chairman set the financial record straight on a few matters today, and explained a few facts behind the controversial HP schemes under which players had been purchased by the previous regime. When Viduka was purchased from Celtic, the financing was provided by a specialist company run by former Man City player Ray Ranson, and the club still owes a substantial amount of money to that company. McKenzie said: "Two or three years ago the club entered into this scheme and that was at a time when values were going up - it was a bit like a hire-purchase scheme. If he was sold today for £10m, we would only derive about £3m of that ourselves. The rest of the money would have to go into paying off that lease. That's not a lot of money." But McKenzie said that the player's agent had insisted he was committed to continuing to play for Leeds - we'll see how that commitment is reflected in January.
October 31: Peter Reid has had a meeting with new refs' boss Keith Hackett after Leeds suffered a string of poor decisions going against them. Reid is doing exactly what Gary Megson did for West Brom last season - and look where it got them! But he says that his meetings with the former ref from Sheffield have been far more productive and useful than anything he had done with previous incumbent Philip Don. Reid said: "I appreciate referees and assistants referees have difficult jobs, but I find some of their decisions recently have been easy, ones that have gone wrong. Crucial decisions have gone against us." He went on: "I feel if you can sit down and have these chats then it can only be for the good of the game." We await with interest what difference that little chat will make to the decisions and balance of the men in black.
October 31: Former Leeds full-back Gareth Evans has had his short-term contract at Blackpool extended for the rest of the season, with an option to extend for a further season if things work out. He's been at Bloomfield Road since the summer, training with the side as he tried to regain his fitness after a long spell out with injury. He showed his versatility in the Coca-Cola Cup earlier this week when he spent over an hour between the sticks after Blackpool's regular keeper was dismissed against Palace and he found himself having to pick the ball out of the net three times, once when another Leeds old boy Simon Grayson had brought down a Palace player to concede a penalty.
October 31: David Batty returns to the Leeds side after being rested from the Carling Cup game midweek, and Jermaine Pennant is also back after sitting on the sidelines to avoid being cuptied. The back injury that kept Mark Viduka out of the ManU game should not be enough to stop him playing tomorrow, but skipper Dom Matteo remains a serious doubt. For the Gunners, Martin Keown and Patrick Viera are the big names missing through injury - the FA bans for the Old Trafford incidents don't kick in for a fortnight.
October 30: The reserves were a goal up through Andrew Keogh inside 10 minutes in tonight's game against Bolton, but were pegged back to level terms by half time. Martin Woods scored from the spot in the second half, and Simon Johnson added a 25-yard cracker to secure the win.
October 30: After the incident on Tuesday night when Alan Smith threw a plastic bottle back into the crowd, the club have issued the following statement. Leeds United would like to take this opportunity to remind all fans that throwing any projectile onto the playing area, however apparently harmless, is not acceptable and where offenders are identified they will be dealt with severely. So that's told us then - I'd never have realised unless they'd mentioned it!
October 30: Rangers chairman John McClelland (no relation) said that his club could easily have ended up in the same financial boat as Leeds unless they had taken the drastic action they did a couple of years ago. If only he'd given Peter Ridsdale a call a couple of years back! McClelland said: "The fact is we changed our strategy at this football club before it became dangerous for our health. Football clubs chase dreams sometimes, but we changed in time and now we need three years of patience." I think that Leeds fans might just need a few more years' patience than that before the finances are back on a strong footing!
October 30: Roque Junior will be off to South America in a couple of weeks time after being called into Brazil's squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. They face Peru in Lima on November 16, and then entertain Uruguay three days later. That period is a designated international slot, so it's not unexpected and he should have time to get back to England for the weekend in order to be in contention for a place against Bolton at Elland Road.
October 30: Salomon Olembe and Zoumana Camara are the success stories of Peter Reid's loan signings so far. Camara has played pretty solidly at the back all season, but Olembe is now siezing his chance to shine in the last few games as a makeshift left back - and then in midfield in the Carling Cup. With the January transfer window approaching, he's gone on record to say that he'd love to see the club take up their option to sign him permanently. He said: "I would love to stay here and I hope Leeds take up the option as the supporters have been great to me." He recognises that all of the loan signings need to improve and get the hang of the English game better, but backs the manager to the hilt: "Peter Reid has been fantastic with us and everyone at the club is 100 percent behind him."
October 30: Alan Smith was the latest player to come out in public and tell us how great a job Peter Reid was doing. And he sounded a warning to the board, who seem to be making noises about Reid's tenure again: "I just hope someone who is in charge of the club looks at it realistically, that we've a manager who knows how to scrap and fight, and as a player he did that. If you take heart from the performances we've put out, it shows how much the lads are behind the gaffer. He can't do much more for us and I don't think we can do much more as a team." And Smith sounded a realistic but positive note for the important league games that are coming: "We've got to survive first and foremost and with the performances and commitment we've shown in the last few games, we know we can do that."
October 29: Alan Smith once again finds himself at the centre of controversy after he allegedly threw a bottle back into the stands hitting someone on the head after the bottle had been thrown on the pitch towards the end of extra time. The FA are understood to have requested more information on the incident, although it's accepted Smith did not deliberately aim the bottle at anybody. If the FA consults its archives it will find a precedent for dealing with this situation by doing nothing, just as they did when Fabien Barthez kicked a bottle into the crowd at Elland Road a couple of years ago. And we all know how even-handed and consistent the FA can be when it comes to the treatment of Leeds players and Manchester United players, don't we? Alan Smith later issued a statement through the club saying: "I am sorry if I have offended any Leeds fans. I have spoken to the family of the young lady concerned to make sure that she is alright and I have apologised. The family and I believe that this is the end of the matter. I only hope that this will not damage the special relationship I have with the Leeds United fans."
October 29: Peter Reid hasn't quite gone so far as to start stroking rabbits' feet and planting a batch of clover in the Elland Road penalty areas in an attempt to find a few four-leafers, but he sounded even more incredulous at his team's bad luck after last night's game. "It was a great game, but we are just not getting the rub of the green. I saw the penalty incident, when Cyril seemed to get dragged down. It was a decent shout, only for them to then go up the other end and score." It was more than a decent shout Peter - it was a candidate for WWF throw of the year! Reid went on: "My players have done tremendously well, but they must be scratching their heads wondering when they are going to get a break because things just aren't going for us. Surely things must even themselves out and when they do, we are going to get some great decisions being given for us. " Fergie was happy with the way his makeshift team had come back into the game after going a goal down. He said: "I couldn't envisage us winning the game at half-time. We were very indisciplined in the first half and that encouraged Leeds. But in fairness they responded to it and started playing once they felt they had a chance. They could have been two or three up at half-time, but once they did score we started to play. "
October 29: The Prof says that one of the ways we can best climb out of debt is by maximising the use of the ground. Elland Road hasn't staged a Rugby League Test for six years, and the Yorkshire-based Challenge Cup semis now tend to go to the McAlpine rather than come to a much bigger venue in Leeds. McKenzie said: "Elland Road is probably only fully utilised about 30 days and year, and the use of the ground is one option we are exploring. Other clubs have done it successfully." He also suggested that some more use could be made of the Academy facilities - built at great expense in recent years and which have been cut back of late. Why not go the whole hog and use the ground for car boot sales every other week - they're massively popular and draw people to muddy fields across the country - why not get them into Elland Road and then make some more money off them on the catering side. And you never know, we might be able to persuade some poor unsuspecting member of the public to buy one of those Leeds United employees who are drawing big wages for not playing first team football. Cheap as chips!
October 29: Seth Johnson resorted to the L-word today as he spoke to the official website in the aftermath of yet another defeat. "They had one goal against us offside, and we should have had a penalty," he said. "It's just a bit unfortunate, we're not playing too badly so we have to take some good points out of the game and get ourselves up for Saturday." Johnson praised the work-rate of the rest of the team, and stressed that the positive attitude that the players had brought to the last couple of games needed to continue if they wanted to help Peter Reid avoid the axe. Johnson said: "There' a lot of stuff going on off the pitch, so it's important for us to keep going on it, and we have to keep working hard for the manager because everyone wants him to stay."
October 29: In a development that would sound incredible and barely believable if it had come from the Tory leadership plotters, it was indicated today that the Prof would be having further talks with Peter Reid about the manager's future if Leeds fail to get a result on Saturday. Less than a month after McKenzie publicly backed the manager, the team's performances have improved out of all recognition compared to what we saw against Leicester and Everton. But it seems that certain members of a board who are not totally unconnected with the band of morons responsible for the club's current dire situation seem to think that we should have acquired more points against, among others, the current and previous Champions and the recent UEFA/FA/League Cup winners. It's true that Leeds could actually be bottom by Monday night if Arsenal take the 3 points and Leicester manage a win over off-form Blackburn at the Walker Stadium. But with the likes of Pompey, Bolton, Charlton and Fulham coming up (and the small matter of Chelsea too), these are the games that Reid should have his management judged against. A new man will not be able to make any significant impact on how the team is playing before Christmas, so realistically if we've not gathered the ten or eleven points that should take us at least some way out of the drop zone before Santa sets off on his annual sleigh ride, then it might be time for the Prof to have a "friendly chat" with Reid. But until then, the best thing the board can do to help the team succeed is to very publicly express their faith in the manager, his backroom staff and players, stem their leaks, shut their mouths and then get their overpaid backsides out onto the street to start rustling up that refinancing package which seems to have gone astray.
October 29: The FA's ponderous legal machinery finally issued some smoke on the Rio affair today when they announced that he would be charged with misconduct under rule E26 - which skilfully leaves it open for them to decide whether he missed the drugs test by accident or design. A verdict of intent would see him banned for two years - but if the FA decide it is accidental they may "let him off" with a shorter ban of a month or two. FIFA are paying close attention to how the FA handle this - and any punishment handed down by the FA could draw further sanction at the international level if the world body think that the FA have been unduly lenient.
October 29: JFH opened the scoring for Chelsea tonight in their Carling Cup clash with Notts County. Despite the millions at their disposal, Chelsea struggled throughout the game and it took two goals in the last five minutes to finally win the game 4-2. Meanwhile Harry Kewell also managed to get his boot on the end of a great cross from Diouf as Liverpool beat Blackburn 3-4. Interesting too to see that Kewell has lost none of his old talent for failing to finish one-on-ones: put through with just the keeper to beat he used his left foot to shank a wild shot high and wide.
October 28: So the figures are finally out and do they make depressing reading. Last year saw Leeds set a record for a British football club with a full-year pre-tax loss of £49.5 million - up £15.6 million on last year. Total debt now stands at £77 million - which is more or less unchanged, despite these figures containing major instalments of the transfer fees for most of the big name players we unloaded. Turnover last year was down - to a large extent as a result of massively reduced broadcast fees from televised games - and gate receipts were also lower as last season saw the crowds start to thin out, a shortened Euro run and only one domestic cup tie at home. Worse still, wages accounted for 88% of turnover - most analysts believe that anything above 50% is dangerously high. Allan Leighton and members of the plc board are injecting a little over £4 million of their own money, and it was confirmed that Trevor Birch will take over as Chief Executive from November 1, allowing John McKenzie to slightly reduce his involvement in the detailed running of the club as he continues as non-executive chairman - finally bringing Leeds back into line with normal corporate standards after Peter Ridsdale combined the jobs over 4 years ago. Financial analysts described the results as "disastrous" and football finance expert Bill Gerrard said that in any other business, such results would be a cue for bankruptcy proceedings.
October 28: David Batty will miss tonight's game against ManU in order to ensure he is fit and ready for Saturday's crucial League clash with Arsenal. Batts was the star of the show against ManU in the league, but Reid said: "We've got three big games in a week and I want to make sure Batts is available against Arsenal. I've had a chat with him and both he and I are comfortable with that decision."
October 28: Peter Reid backed Mark Viduka to end his goal drought and restore the fans' faith in the big striker. He's had several barren patches since his arrival from Celtic, but his goals last season were vital in the fight against relegation. Now he's gone nearly two months without a goal and we're desperate for him to get back on scoring form. Reid said: "The only way forward for him is to keep working hard and keep playing because he's too good a striker. Fortunately for me he went on a run last year and scored goals. He is that type of striker and hopefully it will come again sooner rather than later." The manager also had words of praise for Alan Smith after he broke his own drought with Saturday's equaliser. Reid said: "I have talked about him getting in the box more. Against Blackburn he missed chances. Now I don't mind that - although obviously I do because I want him to score - but it shows he is getting in there."
October 28: Two goals from Roque Junior weren't enough to save Leeds in tonight's Carling Cup tie with Manchester United. After giving Leeds a 1-0 advantage, the Brazilian snatched an equalizer in extra time before Leeds finally succumbed to ManU's second string. Decent performances all round - even Ian Harte and Roque Junior weren't caught out more than a couple of times in defence, and Alan Smith was tireless up front. Lamine Sakho was a bit disappointing, but Salomon Olembe was having another good game before being forced out with a knock. So, no Carling Cup for us this year, but another steady performance to build on and give us hope that Reidy is turning it around.
October 28: With tonight's game out of the way, it's time once again to get your votes in for the October Player of the Month vote. Not exactly the most sparkling set of results we've ever produced - but performances have been getting better and there's at least one player I can think of who might deserve a few of your votes.
October 27: The U-17 side returned to form at the weekend with a 1-0 win over Crewe at Thorp Arch at the weekend, with Steve McKeown scoring for Leeds.
October 27: Alex Ferguson will field a "weakened" Manchester United side in tomorrow night's game, which will be shown live on Sky. Tim Howard will be rested, and it's likely that Roy Keane and Paul Scholes will also be on the sidelines. Nicky Butt, Diego Forlan and new signings David Bellion and Eric Djemba-Djemba will all play. Fergie said: "It will be a mix of that and the first-team squad, which is exactly the way we have always approached it." There could even be a first team start for teenager Chris Eagles - the latest "new David Beckham". For Leeds, Michael Bridges' injury that ruled him out of the Anfield game will almost certainly keep him out of consideration, Arsenal don't want Jermaine Pennant cup-tied and Dom Matteo picked up a knock at the weekend that Peter Reid might prefer to see rested, using Michael Duberry or Roque Junior at centreback instead.
October 27: Jermaine Pennant claimed that Jeff Winter's controversial decision to over-rule his linesman and award a goal for Danny Murphy's free kick at Anfield cost Leeds the game. Pennant said: "At 1-1 that was a massive decision to give them the goal. If the linesman's put his flag up for offside then the referee's got to turn around and agree with his decision. It should not be his right to go over there and say no. The linesman's seen three players offside so his decision should have stood but instead he gave the goal and it has cost us the game." Pennant said that the players' hearts sank when that goal was awarded. He added: "It's hard because we're playing so well but we're not getting rewarded. The last three games we've played now we should have got more out of. We just have to go out there in the next game and give our best shot again."
October 27: Leeds' financial results for the last financial year will be published at 0700 tomorrow - and they are not expected to make for pretty reading. Leeds are expected to reveal a record loss for a football club, with few of the Prof's cutbacks, sales and cashflow improvements having had any time to make an impact on the bottom line by the cut-off date for the accounts. Former Chelsea supremo Trevor Birch is likely to be unveiled as Leeds' first independent chief executive for 4 years - concentrating on the day-to-day management and operation and football side of the club, while allowing the Prof to focus his energies on the continued financial restructuring and long-term future. There may be a limited cash injection from the board, but the key factor will be if the chairman can persuade the bondholders - mainly hard-nosed pension funds and insurance companies - to accept a modified repayment schedule which will reduce the short-term burden on Leeds' cashflow, but will benefit the investors in that it will improve the likelihood of Leeds staying out of administration and thus being able to complete repayments over a longer term.
October 27: Peter Reid pledged to turn recent good performances into actual results - starting with tomorrow's game against Manchester United in the Carling Cup. Reid said: "You try and win any cup competition but, when it's Man United at home, it's a plum draw. You're pitting your wits against the best - even though Alex might make changes. Whatever team he puts out will be difficult to beat." He went on: "It's a massive game, certainly it's a game we're desperate to win for the supporters. They have been great." But not so great that all the tickets have been snapped up: there are still plenty available and they will be on sale until tomorrow afternoon.
October 26: In today's Sunday Mirror, James Milner says that he shouldn't be compared with Wayne Rooney. Milner said: "People keep comparing me to Wayne Rooney because we are the same age. But I am not the same build as Wayne, hopefully playing against stronger players will help me." Absolutely right mate - and you've not been hyped way beyond your ability and neither have you been sent off for some petulant and stupid fouls, and long may that continue. If anything, it's Rooney who should be looking for guidance, and maybe he needs a long chat with Alan Smith. It's taken five or six years from when Smith first burst onto the scene, scoring goals and upsetting defences, but it's looking like Smithy has finally got his head around what it takes to be a Premier League footballer. Let's hope I've not put the mockers on him now...
October 26: Leeds boss Peter Reid says that the team is heading in the right direction - despite losing the last two games. He takes comfort from the overall performances against Man U and Liverpool, but noted: "We just lost a bit of our discipline when that second goal went in, which you should not do, but there were understandably circumstances." He went on: "These displays are a step in the right direction. Earlier performances had driven me bonkers, but I do not think we have got what we deserved since then. We are not getting any luck, but it will change."
26: Round Europe in a flash - starting with Spain.
Deportivo La Coruna took over at the top of La Liga yesterday with
a 2-1 win over former leaders Valencia in the Riazor. Real Madrid's
3-1 win over Santander in the Bernabeu keeps up the pressure on the
top two. Darko Kovacevic got Real Sociedad back into winning ways
with the only goal of the game against Osasuna. Saviola, Ronaldinho
and Cocu struck for Barca in their 1-3 win at Mallorca, despite
finishing with 10 men after Gabri picked up two yellow cards in
quick succession at the end of the game.
October 25: Jeff Winter's dreadful performance was the highlight of the game today - almost up to Dermot Gallagher's level as he determined the result of today's game. Leeds had weathered early Liverpool pressure to come back from a Michael Owen goal and only good keeping by Dudek against Viduka had kept the home side on terms. But then a dubious free kick awarded for a handball offence he could not possibly have seen was followed by him over-ruling the linesman with two Liverpool players blatantly offside and distracting Paul Robinson as the kick drifted in. Meanwhile Batts was penalised for knee-high feet but nearly had his head taken off by Diouf's boot, Gerrard went two-footed over the ball against Olembe but we didn't even get a free kick, and their defenders had carte blanche to pull, push and jump on Smith and Viduka without fear of retribution from the ref. It's clearly ridiculous to suggest he was bribed, so rank incompetence must be our conclusion. Sinama-Pongolle did well to get a shot in as the game ebbed away, but Zoumana Camara will think he should have done more to stop him and Robbo shouldn't have let the ball inside his near post. On balance we can't complain about losing because they took their chances better than we took ours, but Winter's blatant bias throughout this game left a very sour taste in the mouth.
October 25: Peter Ridsdale's consortium has finally managed to complete the deal to take over Barnsley. A deal was signed at half past five this morning after extended negotiations on the contract details. Ridsdale said: "I am delighted that we have reached an agreement to save our club. I would like to pay tribute in particular to Patrick Cryne, who has been instrumental in ensuring this club has been saved. His investment and support have been fundamental to this successful outcome." Despite the club's on-field success this season, first team coach Ronnie Glavin has been relieved of his duties - it will be interesting to see who he intends to parachute in to take over that role given his previous success at appointing managers.
October 25: Peter Reid just about held onto his temper after the game today, but pointed the finger at Jeff Winter's decision to allow Danny Murphy's free-kick goal to stand with three Liverpool players flagged offside. Reid said: "I have not had a word with the referee - it is not worth a £10,000 fine these days. But the sooner Jeff Winter goes off to Superstars permanently the better from our point of view." Winter is appearing in the revived TV multi-sport contest, and it seems he's lost track of his football rule book as a result. Winter told the press after the game: "My colleague correctly indicated that there were three players in an offside position. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred when the flag goes up you hit the whistle and give the offside. But I felt from my position - where I have a totally different view from the linesman looking across the pitch - that the ball was going to go into the net anyway." But maybe it wouldn't have if Robinson hadn't been distracted by the three offside players Jeff. He dug himself a further pit, saying: "Those three players had not interfered with play. I went across and consulted with my colleague, asked his opinion, told him mine - and we have agreed the goal should stand." Time to agree with Cloughie on this one: if a player isn't interfering with play, what's he doing on the pitch. Reid said: "We work very hard at getting out quickly at defensive free-kicks to leave attackers offside in the box. We practise it for hours, and the players did exactly what they were told to do. But all their hard work has been punished by that decision. The linesman did his job too, but the referee said no." And Gerard Houllier concurred: "I can understand Peter Reid's view on that second goal; I would have been disappointed myself. But it was a turning point, and it certainly helped us."
October 25: Gary Speed scored Newcastle's first and set up their third as Newcastle continued their good run of recent form with a 3-0 win at home to Pompey. JFH pounced on a mistake by David Seaman to score the only goal of the game as Chelsea went top at home to Man City. Warren Feeney equalised for Bournemouth on the stroke of half-time to get them back on leve terms with Oldham, in a game that finished 1-1. Noel Whelan opened the scoring for Millwall at Burnley but the home side equalised shortly after Whelan's second-half opener. Harpal Singh set up the second and then scored Bury's third as they came from behind to win 1-3 at Darlo.
October 24: Leeds have been keeping a close eye on Crewe's young right-back David Wright. On the day that Danny Mills said that he couldn't see how he could return to Leeds while Peter Reid remained at the helm, Leeds are reported to be ready to put in a bid for the 23-year-old, who has already spent a day training with Leeds last August. Of course, there's still the money issue to consider. As for Mills, he was quoted as saying: "He was quite happy to see me go out on loan to another Premiership club, so obviously he feels I'm not good enough for his team. I don't fit into his plans at all and I don't think that will change." Unless, of course, Reid is removed by the board - a rumour which has failed to go away despite the Prof's backing the other week.
October 24: Will Peter Reid institute any changes in the starting line-up for tomorrow's game? Roque Junior was on the bench for ManU, and after conceding just one goal against ManU and Blackburn, the defence looks solid enough to not need meddling with. Reid pointed out one major reason for the defensive improvement: "One of the reasons we have done well defensively has been because of David Batty. A back four needs protection, and he has done that with the way he plays in front of them. But Camara and Matteo have also looked solid, while Salomon has done a good job at left-back." He may be tempted to make a switch up front though, with the combination of Alan Smith and Mark Viduka not currently producing the required number of chances - never mind goals. Michael Bridges looks to be fully fit now, and if ever there was a time to give him his head, it must be at Anfield. Lucas Radebe's achilles problem continues to keep him out, and Jason Wilcox and Nick Barmby are also unlikely to even be considered for the bench with injuries of their own. For the Reds, Michael Owen is the biggest doubt, but he will be given until the last possible minute to prove his fitness. Youngsters Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle could figure up front as Gerard Houllier struggles to pull the Anfield slide out of a three-match losing streak.
October 24: Jody Morris has taken a 10 day leave of absence from the club after further discussions with his solicitor and the PFA. Leeds issued a statement saying: "Jody Morris has agreed to take a 10-day leave of absence. It is emphasised that this agreement should not be interpreted as any admission of wrongdoing by the player." It's understood that the papers on the case are being passed to the Crown Prosecution Service today.
October 24: Harry Kewell will find out for real tomorrow whether the majority of Leeds fans think he is a money-grabbing traitor or a much-missed hero. After his controversial departure in the summer he says that he's not had any problems around Leeds, but at the game things may be a bit different. He said he was sorry to see the problems that his old club were going through: "It does make me sad to see where they are in the table. I still have great friends at the club. But they are all grown men and they know they've got to fight their way out of it. It is not my problem now."
October 23: There will be a Carling Cup Fans' Forum, run in part by the BBC, next Monday night at the Walkabout Bar in Cookridge Street. Craig Short and Paul Jewell will join Gordon McQueen and another Leeds-related guest in a debate about the Carling Cup, LUFC and football in general. Setting it in a bar, and having invited McQueen - the one-time ultimate hate/traitor figure for Leeds before the likes of Cantona, Hasselbaink and Ferdinand slithered away - they're obviously taking some precautions in that the audience will be an "invited" bunch of 150 fans (where's my RSVP guys?).
October 23: The Prof says that the club has learned a valuable lesson from the Harry Kewell transfer fiasco - and he's not prepared to see the situation repeated. With the club getting barely £3 million from the sale of a top name player like Kewell, and with the player and his agent pocketing almost the same amount of money, McKenzie is clear on what course of action will be taken in future. He said: "If a player is not prepared to sign a long-term commitment to the club 18 months before the end of their contract, then you have to look seriously as to whether they go then." It will be interesting to see whether other clubs put that view into practice: Michael Owen is just about coming up to that point on his deal, and with Liverpool still not making the breakthrough at the very highest level, his continued presence at the club is in some doubt.
October 23: The Carling Cup tie with Manchester United has been made all-ticket - after a fashion. No tickets will be sold after 3pm on Tuesday, so there's no chance of opposition fans coming over for the day and picking up match tickets in the Leeds end. However tickets remain on general sale to anybody who can get past a fairly lenient screening procedure, so don't be surprised to see a repeat of Saturday's game, where a number of "Leeds" fans were silent while the rest of us screamed abuse at Ronaldo's blatant dives.
October 23: With two and a half years remaining on his contract, club captain Dominic Matteo today told the YEP that he'd be happy to see out his playing career at Elland Road. Matteo is only 29 and is easily our best centreback. He said: "My life is Leeds. I love the club and if I can spend the rest of my career here I will. It means so much to me." It was a bit of a gamble when DOL signed the player - he was injured at the time - and he has suffered from a couple of recurring problems since then, but there's no question he was one of the former manager's most successful - and best-value - purchases. Although he's looking forward to facing his old club on Saturday, he knows it won't be an easy game for Leeds: "Liverpool don't lose many games at home. They're pretty strong at the back and they have plenty of quality... But we gave Manchester United a good game on Saturday and it's important that we build on our last two performances."
October 22: Jody Morris was arrested again this morning by West Yorkshire Police in connection with a serious incident that took place a couple of years ago. The incident came to light while police were investigating a "separate matter". A 26-year-old man was also arrested in connection with this new incident. Morris was released on police bail after being questioned by officers at Chapeltown Police Station. Leeds initially suspended Morris for a fortnight after he was arrested in connection with the A58 rape incident - a period which is about to run out but which is expected to be extended by the club, particularly in the light of this second arrest. The club would not issue any further comment on the pending cases.
October 22: Rumours and counter-rumours surrounded Mark Viduka's future today, with L'Equipe saying that a loan move to PSG would happen during the January transfer window - the sticking point being the division of responsibility between Leeds and PSG for meeting his salary. But our good friend Andrea D'Amico attempted to quash any suggestion that his client was ready for a move. "Mark is very happy at Leeds and he wants to try and do his best for the supporters who have been so good to him. There has not been contact from any club and we do not expect to have any." So going on previous form from Viduka's agent, that probably means that a deal has been signed and will be publicised next week when Leeds release the full-year financial results.
October 22: Michael Bridges reckons that Leeds can do enough to continue Liverpool's recent poor run on Sunday - but he's keeping his fingers crossed that the immutable law of the Ex does not apply to Harry Kewell. "Players always seem to score against their old team but hopefully we'll keep him quiet and he will have an off day." Bridges added: "It was sad to see him go, but come Saturday he won't be a friend there'll be no favours. The lads have played against him so we know what he can do, which is a bit of a plus." Never mind Kewell - a certain M. Owen is likely to be back in the side for the first time since picking up a leg injury just before England's Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey.
October 21: 19-year-old Paul Keegan is going out on a month's loan to Scunthorpe. Although he's been given a squad number this season, he has yet to break into the first team squad, although he has been a regular for the reserves. Speaking of Scunthorpe, Kevin Sharp scored their third goal as they had an easy win at struggling Carlisle tonight.
October 21: The reserves are looking to bounce back from last week's defeat by Newcastle with a fixture against Man City at Wakefield tonight. Michael Bridges and Aaron Lennon are included in the side, as is Michael Duberry - who must surely be close to making it back into the first team squad. French striker Cyril Chapuis will be given another chance to show what he can do, and Nick Barmby also gets a run despite this weekend's stories linking him with a move away from Leeds.
October 21: After last weekend's "sell-out" against ManU it seems that there's less enthusiasm for the Carling Cup game next week. About 33,000 tickets have been sold so far, but the Ticket Office seem pretty bullish about the chances of getting closer to capacity before next week's game. Although we lost at the weekend, surely there was enough in the performance of the team to drag out a few occasional supporters to see Leeds with a decent chance of beating what is likely to be a weakened ManU side, coming in the middle of the Champions League games?
October 21: There's a competition in tonight's YEP offering a pair of tickets for the Arsenal game on Saturday week. All you need to do is tell them who Arsenal's manager is on a postcard, with your name, address and daytime telephone number and get it sent to CIS/Arsenal Competition, Sportsdesk, Yorkshire Evening Post, Wellington Street, Leeds LS1 1RF by next Tuesday.
October 21: French loan star Zoumanna Camara says he's just happy to be back playing regular first team football after a year-long injury nightmare. On the official website, He says: "I was lucky to get this chance to play in the Premiership, I like it in the Premiership and I like it here." He's enjoying playing alongside club captain Dom Matteo: "Dom is very strong and solid, and he has got the experience in English football so he can help me with that, I can learn from him. It is easier with players like Dom or Lucas Radebe because they know the English game well. Players like Roque and I come from Europe and it's a case of adjusting." Hmmmm... from what we've seen so far, Roque has a bit more adjusting to do than Camara!
October 21: For the second week in a row, the reserves came up against a fairly experienced set of opponents and were found wanting - although Leeds were by no means inexperienced themselves, with Didier Domi, Michael Duberry and Nick Barmby playing the full 90 minutes. Michael Bridges was also on the park for all bar the last 10 minutes of the match, and Aaron Lennon, Simon Johnson and Frazer Richardson also got the full 90. Shaun Allaway was between the sticks after Scott Carson pulled out with an illness at the least minute, and he was picking the ball out of the net after not much more than five minutes had elapsed. Another goal halfway through the first half, and a further strike by City's Jon Macken left the visitors three goals to the good before half-time. Michael Bridges got on the end of a pass from Cyril Chapuis to pull a goal back just before the break, but that was the end of the scoring.
October 20: Reports in some quarters yesterday said that Nick Barmby and Peter Reid had agreed that the player would be allowed to look for another club with a view to a move during January's transfer window. Since being subbed at half-time in Reid's first match in charge - at Anfield incidentally - Barmby has made just two substitute appearances and hasn't even made the bench this season and clearly does not figure in Peter Reid's plans.
October 20: Peter Reid's side came in for praise from a most unexpected quarter today - ManU's full back and Leeds-fan hater Gary Neville. He said: "Without being patronising, I think they have too many quality players to go down - the likes of Pennant, Smith, Viduka and the lad who played on the left, Milner." He picked out Milner for special praise after facing the youngster for most of the game. "It looks like he is going to play for Leeds for many years to come. He will become tougher with experience and will build up his body strength. He is quick, skilful and young. I am sure he will be guided along the way well at Leeds." Tomorrow's news from the Bizarro Universe will feature an interview in which Brian Clough admits he took the wrong approach as Leeds manager, Gordon Taylor comes across as an honest broker in the Riogate affair and a referee explains that we've been right all along and there is a conspiracy against us.
October 20: Leeds and Arsenal agreed terms for Jermaine Pennant to extend his stay at Elland Road by a month. Pennant has gone down well at Elland Road and both the player and Peter Reid were keen for him to continue his loan spell, but Arsenal's impending player shortage was thought likely to see him recalled to Highbury. Pennant said: "I've had a great time here, they've shown me a wonderful time and the fans have been great, staff and the players have made me very welcome and I feel a part of things here." This afternoon Arsenal confirmed that Pennant would be staying on in a statement on their offical website, which stated: "It has been confirmed today that Jermaine Pennant's loan spell has been extended by an additional month at Leeds United FC. We wish Jermaine continued success during his time at Elland Road." It's not yet clear if Pennant will play against his Highbury team-mates in the game at Elland Road on Saturday week.
October 20: Both Academy sides went down to defeat at the weekend, with the U-19's losing 1-3 to Boro after conceding a penalty - and losing keeper Will Coyles to an injury - at the very start of the game. With Scott Carson on the bench at Elland Road, defender Henry McStay came on as a replacement keeper. The U-17 side lost 0-1 at home to Everton.
October 20: The financial results for the last financial year are expected to be released in a week's time - and stories in the press today indicate a general belief that there will be no clear sign of any serious improvement in the club's financial position by the June/July end of the financial year. The Prof has pointed out that he's only been in charge for 3 months of the last year and was no doubt working overtime to get all of the bad news into these figures, allowing him a clear run at this year and giving him ample opportunity to show how he's turned the club around. Part of that turn-round could involve the recruitment of Chelsea's ousted chief exec Trevor Birch to take some of the day-to-day management burden off the Prof. Birch was dropped by Chelsea's new owners in favour of ManU's Peter Kenyon, but he has a good reputation as a hands-on manager who understands the football side of things but who also understands how to balance the books under pressure. Birch is currently on vacation, but talks are said to be ongoing. Speaking about the current - and future - situation at the club, the Prof said: "I see myself as having three roles. One is to make the business break even in terms of turnover so we are not losing money hand over fist all the time. The second is to restructure the debt, rather like a mortgage with a honeymoon period or payments over a longer period or in a different way, and third, to persuade people to bring some more money into the club." He can't give too much away at the moment under Stock Exchange rules that forbid comment in the lead-up to the publication of results. He indicated that the details of the pay-offs to the former directors and managers would be revealed in the results, and McKenzie said that their contracts had to be honoured unless it could be shown that there was an abuse of process or power. "I think whether a director has succeeded or not is a very arbitrary question: did Peter Ridsdale succeed for a long period of his tenure? I think the answer has to be yes. It was maybe things changed right towards the end. But there are contracts and unless they have abused their position of power then I think you have to honour them."
October 19: A real non-story on the transfer side of things today. AS Monaco's Croatian striker Dada Prso has revealed how he was approached by Leeds during the summer. With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, he's dropping hints that it would be better for Monaco to sell him once the transfer window reopens - but there's no way Leeds will be spending money on new players in January unless (a) there are some significant sales and (b) the current batch of loanees are all determined to be not good enough. Although (a) is possible, we've seen enough from Zoumana Camara to know we'd like to hang onto him, and Salomon Olembe also looks like one to keep, so if we're going to spend money there's not much chance of it going on a random Ligue 1 player like Prso.
October 19: Paul Robinson appeared as a guest on Sky Sports today and revealed not a whole lot about anything. Speaking about the rumours that were doing the rounds during the summer about his imminent departure from Leeds, he said: "There was a lot of speculation, but I've been at Leeds for a long time, I've got a lot of friends there and it's close to my heart." So that's not "No" then... And talking about DOL dropping him as soon as Nige was fit again, he said: "I was disappointed to be taken out of the team after such a long run in it, but looking back it was probably good for me. I've done all right now."
19: After a short absence, the Sunday night Euro
round-up returns and we start in Serie A. Juve and Milan have
pretty much identical records at the top of the table, with just 2
points dropped from 6 games. This weekend a Pirlo strike gave Milan
the win at home to Lazio, while Juve cruised into a 0-3 lead at
bottom side Ancona on Saturday before allowing the home side to
pull two goals back. More significantly on Saturday, Brescia held a
2-0 lead over Internazionale before the visitors scraped a draw
through Cruz and a Christian Vieri penalty three minutes from time.
They may have saved a point - but it wasn't enough to save their
coach's skin: Hector Cuper was sacked on Sunday and Alberto
Zaccheroni has been brought in as a replacement. AS Roma's 2-0 win
over Parma keeps them in touch with the top two and puts some
distance between themselves and their fourth-placed opponents.
October 18: Peter Reid will take a full Leeds squad to Cambridge on November 11/12 for John Taylor's testimonial at the Abbey Stadium. It's a designated international slot, so Robbo will probably be missing but otherwise Leeds should field a full squad for the first half against the Us first team, with some of the youngsters coming on at half-time to face some Cambridge players from a few years back. Tickets will cost £15 for seats, £12 for standing.
October 18: Nearly but not quite. After one of the most creditable performances of the season, Leeds finally stumbled with 10 minutes to go to concede a careless goal to Manchester United in a tight game. Leeds started well early on, with Jermaine Pennant making some good runs down the right wing and David Batty dominant in midfield (are you watching Venables?). From my viewpoint in the Kop it looked as if the visitors deserved two penalties in the first half - but over-theatrical falls from van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo failed to convince Graham Poll, with Ronaldo picking up a yellow card for his over-eager attempt to let gravity do its work. Leeds didn't create enough chances to deserve a win - but had just about done enough to nick a point when Lamine Sakho lost the ball too easily when bringing it out of defence: five seconds later Robbo was hammering the ball upfield in disgust after Keane had been given far too much time to place the ball and score. Pennant spent quite a bit of time and effort waving to the crowd as he was subbed and then again after the final whistle - it looked like goodbye, which is a shame. Smithy tried hard throughout the game, but both he and Viduka were not well-served up front - although equally neither player did enough to make space and offer options when we did get the ball. James Milner was an able replacement for Jody Morris, but Seth Johnson was disappointing today, giving the ball away far too easily throughout the game. No complaints with the defence: Camara and Matteo is definitely the best combination at centreback, and the donkey-faced Dutchman didn't get much of a look-in. Disappointing to lose the game, but this was no humiliation - the team played well, the Leeds fans were behind the team all the way and there was no obvious trouble from the handful of ManU fans dotted around the ground (did you spot any? I think I was sitting next to one).
October 18: Peter Reid praised his side for their hard work - but said he was disappointed Leeds had failed to hold on for a draw. "Well we worked hard and really frustrated them, though in the first 15 minutes we were having real problems with Scholes dropping into the hole and we had to drop Alan Smith a bit deeper and move David Batty across." He was unhappy with the way Leeds conceded the goal - but had praise for the visitors: "United are a great side and they keep going by playing football and they are very difficult to play against, but my players gave everything... It was bad to lose goals in areas like that, but once you lose the ball they don't give you time to readjust and we paid the penalty."
October 18: Warren Feeney scored the only goal of the game to give Bournemouth the lead against high-flying Brighton today - but failed to complete the half after being knocked out when he caught a ball square in the face. Derek Lilley scored a goal in each half to give Livingston a 0-2 win at Hibs.
October 17: Jacob Burns has signed a short-term deal at Oakwell after a successful spell training with the Tykes. Burns was released during the summer after three seasons at Leeds, and has been around Europe looking for a new club. He said: "It is a wonderful opportunity to stay in Yorkshire at a good ambitious club."
October 17: Alex Ferguson said that he'd not given a second thought to selecting drug-test-avoider Rio Ferdinand for tomorrow's game. The FA have still not charged the former Leeds defender following his entirely innocent and accidental lapse of memory, but after talks this week he will almost certainly face a stiff fine and even a ban when the FA make their minds up exactly what his offence is. Ferguson said: "We're not going to say anything until the FA make their mark. As far as the match is concerned, I don't think there is any question about Rio. He had to go there last year." And Ferguson hopes the action will remain on the pitch: "We've had really competitive matches, but nothing has got out of hand, which is great credit to both sets of players. There has been some fantastic games." Meanwhile Peter Reid is looking forward to a tough battle and reckons that the revitalised David Batty can play a big part in the outcome. "The prospect of Batty against Keane is a mouth-watering one, it is what this fixture is all about, but to be honest I doubt they will see that much of each other with the way both of them will be deployed. They sit in front of the defence and they provide a valuable shield." He went on: "I have spoken to David about it. He will have a major role to play against Manchester United because they do not play with a rigid 4-4-2. His job will be to track the deep running of Paul Scholes."
October 17: There's been a flurry of righteous indignation flying across the Pennines today as some folks in Leeds took offence at comments on the official ManU website in which a couple of their fans had the temerity to speak the truth. Basically they said they were a bit worried about trips to Elland Road because of the threats, posturing and violence - but they admitted that Leeds' visits to Old Trafford were no different and said that they liked the atmosphere in the ground when you had two sets of fans who positively hated each other and encouraged their fellow Reds to heap abuse on Leeds fans tomorrow. Well, LUFC, the YEP and rent-a-quote Leeds fans all got on their high horses and the article was removed from the official site. Leeds secretary Ian Silvester said: "It was disappointing to read something like that, given the historical background to the fixture. We hope everything passes off without incident, but comments like that don't help. The clubs have always had a good relationship and we wouldn't want this to destroy that. I hope it won't." Far be it from me to agree with a ManU fan about anything but I read the article before it was taken down yesterday, and found myself in sympathy with most of it (albeit with the colours reversed!). Having opposition you have a serious grudge against helps stimulate the atmosphere, and I'm all in favour of random abuse of the opposition fans and players (up to a point not including racism/Munich chants) - it's what football has always been about and if the clubs want to stamp it out then they might as well play the games on the training pitches and show them exclusively on Sky.
October 16: Leeds skipper Dominic Matteo told the fans that a win on Saturday matters as much to the players as it does to the fans. Matteo said: "When we beat them last year it was massive. At Liverpool it was the same - this is the biggest game... There's the same sort of rivalry and both sets of players know what it means to the fans." And he sounded a warning to players and fans alike: "You have to lift your game because if you don't you get turned over, as simple as that." And with most of the loanees new to the English game, they could have a bit of a shock in store on Saturday - but Matteo said: "If they don't know now, they'll realise within five minutes of the kick-off." Mark Viduka looks set to shake off his hamstring problem and will be hoping to continue his good record against ManU, and Jermaine Pennant is over a mild stomach problem and looks set to play in what could be his last game for Leeds. Rio will be available for Fergie's selection since it looks like the FA will not be banning him just yet. Good. Gives us a chance to chant a few random accusations and lies at him for a laugh. Altogether now: "Rio takes it up the nose..."
October 16: Leeds Ladies found themselves 3-0 down with 20 minutes to play at Doncaster last night - but still emerged with a point. After a poor first-half performance, subs Claire Scanlan, Tania Panesar and Nicole Emmanuel all played a big part in Leeds' late late show. Scanlan shot from just inside the box to pull a goal back on 72 minutes, Lucy Ward headed home a Sue Smith cross to make it 3-2 with 5 minutes to go, and then in injury time, Nicole Emmanuel ran onto a through ball to complete a great comeback.
October 15: Leeds coach Kevin Blackwell says that the team is finally coming to terms with the fact that Leeds have slipped from the recent highs and fallen behind quite a few clubs in the Premier League. He said: "We have got to recognise that we have got to be a hard-working side and once we recognise that we can move forward. We have moved down a notch and are amongst the teams that have to work a little bit harder for the luck." And he's under no illusion that the job of bringing the club back up to previous levels of success will be easy or quick: "To change people's mindset takes time and so does integrating the foreigners into the pace of the game." Saturday will provide a stern test of that integration and of the mindset and attitude of those loaned players - the season starts here!
October 15: James Milner is hoping to get a chance to resume his first-team career against ManU at the weekend, and reckons that his experience at Swindon has done him a lot of good. "I played six games with a great bunch of lads and we didn't lose a game and I learnt a lot while I was there playing in their league environment, in the second division, and you get more experience that way than with the reserves." After getting just five minutes in last season's defeat at Old Trafford, he's keeping his fingers crossed for greater involvement this time: "It's obviously the big one, there's great rivalry there and coming from Leeds I know all about it. It's always the first fixture you look for when they are announced, but to be involved in any game for Leeds is great."
October 15: The Prof will be nothing short of a superman if he can turn around the financial fortunes of the club, according to a financial analyst today. Despite the chairman's success in trimming the operating costs at the club and bringing in some funds from player sales, analyst Stan Lock of Brewin Dolphin Securities doesn't expect to see much immediate progress when the annual accounts are finally published later this month. "It doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out these accounts are going to be awful. I hope he puts absolutely everything, including the kitchen sink, into these accounts and gets all the bad news out of the way in one fell swoop," he said. Like Bill Gerrard, Lock identifies the bond issued a couple of years ago as the key cause of Leeds' problems. Under Peter Ridsdale (and Allan Leighton) the club pulled in £60 million, with interest and capital payments backed by future ticket sales. But the previous regime spent the money on short-term funding - player wages and inflated purchases - and Leeds must now commit a sizeable chunk of revenue to service the bond, and with gates falling there will be less money in the pot for other purposes. Lock said: "Because of the bond I don't know where Leeds can go. I can't see any good news. The club has wonderful, loyal supporters who support them through thick and thin. Yet the team is down at the bottom of the table and it remains touch and go whether the manager is going to be around long term." He continues: "It appears to me as if Professor McKenzie has his hands tied. His track record is a good one, but this is real test for him."
October 15: Peter Reid says that Leeds could be on the receiving end of a Manchester United backlash if Fergie manages to direct their anger over Riogate and the current spat with the FA over their clash with Arsenal. Reid says: "Knowing Alex, they'll just get on with it on Saturday. They're always at their best when they have their backs against the wall - a bit similar to ourselves really." Despite the poor performances and league position, Reid isn't downhearted: "I've said a lot about Leicester and Everton, but if you look at our other performances I think we've done fairly well. We've played some good stuff but I don't think we've had the rub of the green." Let's hope we get plenty of rub on Saturday!
October 14: Leeds and Arsenal will get together to discuss whether Jermaine Pennant's loan spell can be extended later this week. If the clubs do decide to allow Pennant to stay for a further month or two, it's almost certain that Arsenal will refuse him permission to play in the game at Elland Road between the two clubs in November. Arsenal are preparing their final response to the FA concerning the incident at Old Trafford earlier this season, and any significant suspensions will almost certainly prompt Pennant's recall after Saturday's match.
October 14: Mark Viduka has strained a hamstring in training, and is a doubt for this weekend's clash with Manchester United. Roque Junior returns from suspension, but Jody Morris is also obviously unavailable and Ian Harte's ban for his reserve team red card continues. At least if Viduka does fail to come through, Michael Bridges looks just about ready to start a game - and he's just the sort of pacy player who could add some on-field issues to Rio Ferdinand's plentiful off-field problems.
October 14: Aaron Lennon will not be allowed to sign a contract with Leeds United for another 18 months, thanks to a recent change in FA regulations. Although the rules last season allowed James Milner and Wayne Rooney to sign professional forms on their 17th birthdays, the new youngest-player-in-the-Premiership will not be allowed to sign a full professional contract until his 18th birthday. Leeds secretary Ian Silvester is confident that Lennon will sign a deal whose terms have already been agreed. He said: "He would have signed it next April but under new regulations set down by The Premier League he cannot now sign until he is 18."
October 14: Peter Reid picked up the Book of the Bleeding Obvious today, and talking about this weekend's game was quoted as saying: "It's a big game. We've got a tough run of fixtures." But he pointed out that the big games against ManU, Liverpool and Arsenal were the sort of games players and managers looked forward to. He needs the team to build on the performance against Blackburn - even if the results may be hard to come by. Reid said: "The lads are looking sharp in training which is pleasing. They're working hard and we'll put in a good week at Thorp Arch to get ready for the Man United game."
October 14: It's been going on since the summer, but it looks as if Peter Ridsdale's takeover of Barnsley will finally complete in the next week or so (yes, I know we've heard that before). Ridsdale said that the final details would be resolved by October 24, and added: "We have shaken hands on the deal and everyone is happy that the deal can be completed within the timeframe. There is nothing major that remains outstanding and only a couple of minor issues that have to be finished before completion."
October 14: Jamie Forrester followed up his league goal at the weekend with another strike for Hull in tonight's LDV Cup game at Darlo. Hull went on to win 1-3 after Forrester had doubled the visitors' lead just before half-time. Former Leeds youth prospect Nathan Lowndes scored at the end of both halves as Plymouth disposed of Bristol City with a 4-0 win at Home Park. Mark Jackson equalised for Scunthorpe at Glanford Park after visitors Shrewsbury had taken the lead, with the home side going on to win 2-1.
October 13: Jason Wilcox has been banned for two reserve games as a result of his red card against Boro last week. For some reason that's not totally clear (I think it's because it was primarily for dissent rather than violent conduct, unlike Ian Harte for his red card against Liverpool) this ban only applies to reserve games, so he would be available for the first team.
October 13: Leeds Ladies had a convincing 7-0 win over Everton in yesterday's Premier League Cup clash at Wheatley Park. Stacey Daniels scored four, Lucy Ward bagged a brace and Alex Culvin scored from the spot, with six of the goals coming in the second half. It gets a bit more difficult from here on - Leeds are drawn at home to cup holders and league champions Fulham in the quarter-finals, with the game to be played on Sunday 2 November.
October 13: Ticket Office manager Doug Smith says that Leeds have taken every step possible to stop tickets for this weekend's league clash with Manchester United falling into the hands of away fans. He said: "Tickets went on sale to Striker Members before going on general sale and we have been extra vigilant as to who we sell tickets to." But really, the blame for any trouble will lie with the Leeds fans who amazingly have failed to purchase all the tickets for the home areas when they had the chance to do so. The ManU fans who missed out on the ballot for their allocation of 1,600 are doing exactly what I've done on a number of occasions in the past in similar circumstances. They'll get away without any trouble provided they are sensible enough to look happy when Michael Bridges completes his double hat-trick, and not to cheer when Ruud van Nistelrooy wins a consolation penalty in the 98th minute after being on the receiving end of a particularly tough and dangerous stare from Dom Matteo.
October 13: Leeds reserves went down to a 3-1 defeat to a strong Newcastle side at Kingston Park tonight. James Milner played his first game for Leeds since returning for Swindon, but otherwise there was only Frazer Richardson and Simon Johnson with first-team experience in a young side, facing a Newcastle side containing Dabizas, McClen, Chopra, Cort and Lua Lua. Dabizas was lucky not to be dismissed in the first half when he used his hands to stop the ball in a Leeds attack, but the ref leniently showed him a yellow. Lua Lua opened the scoring on the half hour mark with a 30-yarder, but Martin Woods finished off a great run from James Milner with an equaliser 10 minutes later. Michael Chopra restored the home side's advantage when he beat the offside trap 3 minutes after the break. Rob Constable became the latest in an increasingly long line of Leeds players to pick up a reserve team red card when he collected a second yellow card with the second half barely five minutes old. Carl Cort finished the scoring with 25 minutes to go, smashing in a long pass from just inside the box.
October 12: Today's Sunday Mirror reports that there could be serious crowd trouble in the upcoming games between Leeds and ManU at Elland Road. The drop off in support at home has seen tickets for the clash going on open sale - not just to Striker Card holders - for the first time in years, and there are fears that a large number have been snapped up by touts and ManU fans as they try to get around the ticket allocation cut agreed by the two clubs. Tickets for the Carling Cup game are now on sale to Striker Card holders - with each member allowed to buy up to 8 tickets now that season ticket holders have had the opportunity to request their seats. Tickets for the cup game are due to go on general sale next week - but that may be put off if it looks likely that a similar segregation problem will arise there.
October 12: Today's News of the World has Roque Junior saying that he'd quite like to stay on at Leeds after his loan period expires - but that he had not realised just how bad the financial and organisational situation was at the club until he arrived. The Brazilian said: "With Leeds it's the same - love at first sight. I love the country and the city. I wake up happy and enjoy going to the club - even with everything else that has been happening." And although he's acknowledging a couple of mistakes in his performances so far, he doesn't want to be seen as the scapegoat for the team's poor form, but he also knows that he can't save the club on his own. "I don't want to be seen as the saviour of Leeds. I'm not able to turn things around on my own and we need to pull together. This is a difficult time at the club, but I want to pay back the manager and fans for being with us."
October 12: The Leeds United version of the Club Football game is now out at long last - so if you think you can do a better job at organising the side than Peter Reid, take a look at the CodeMasters Website.
October 12: It seems that Harry Kewell's departure wasn't the only one organised by an illegal agent this summer. Nigel Martyn's agent Phil Graham apparently failed to renew his FIFA agent license at the end of last season, so Leeds and Everton should not have dealt with him in the transfer and could face fines from FIFA if it is found they did.
October 11: Alan Smith today said that England should let the football do the talking when they play Turkey in the Inonu stadium tonight. With the worries about violent confrontations between rival fans pushed off the front page by Riogate this week, there's been precious little focus on the game itself. Smith said: "There's been a lot of build-up to the game, but hopefully England will let their football do the talking. It will be a difficult game, but they can play good football and the right result will make sure we qualify for Euro 2004." Smith said that playing in European club competitions should have prepared the backbone of the team for what to expect in Istanbul: "They know what to expect so it shouldn't worry them. It's all about us getting a result and qualifying for the championships. I'll be cheering for them along with the rest of the country."
October 11: The U-17 side inflicted the first defeat of the season on Liverpool's Academy team in Kirkby today. The youngsters haven't had the best of form of late, but they turned it on in style, cruising to a 0-3 lead by half time and going on to win 0-4.
October 11: Quite a few Leeds old boys and current players in action in tonight's Euro 2004 games - though not many of them had much to cheer about. There was obviously no Rio for England, and Paul Robinson and Danny Mills were also left on the sidelines as Sven's men held on for a goalless draw in Istanbul. Ian Harte and Robbie Keane were in action for Ireland tonight - but they couldn't do enough toqualify for the final phases of Euro 2004, slumping to a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland in Basle. Gary Speed played the full game for Wales as they lost 2-3 to Serbia-Montenegro. Oliver Dacourt was also back in the French side for their 3-0 home win over Israel. Teddy Lucic was subbed at half-time as Sweden went down to a surprise 0-1 home defeat to Latvia. Finally Martin Hiden played for Austria, picking up a yellow card in their 2-3 home defeat to the Czech Republic.
October 10: Former Leeds midfielder Jacob Burns is training with Barnsley in an attempt to find himself a new club. Burns has not yet found a berth since being released by Leeds in the summer - although he did have trials with Perugia in Italy and Feyenoord in Holland. Barnsley are currently banned from signing new players until the Ridsdale takeover is complete and the league is satisfied that they are solvent again, bit first team coach Ronnie Owen was hopeful for Burns' prospects at Oakwell: "We have had Jacob Burns in with us for a couple of days and he has looked an excellent player. To be fair he is a different class in training."
October 10: James Milner and Matthew Kilgallon played in last night's U-20 match between England the Czech Republic. Kilgallon had a solid game at the back, looking confident in the air and solid on the ground. He's been warming the bench at West Ham since his loan move to Upton Park but looked sharp during the game - I still can't quite understand why we loaned him out when the back line has been so stretched. Milner played on the left side of midfield and set up the first goal, before being subbed with 30 minutes to go.
October 09: A few facts that I'd had muttered to me are now in the public domain courtesy of this morning's Sun, so here we go. Jody Morris was in the Townhouse in Leeds on Monday night with Jermaine Pennant and Seth Johnson - who are understood to have been questioned and released without charge by the police - and another man who has been released on police bail, named as Kristofer Dickie. The alleged victim of the assault had also been in the Townhouse and had accepted a lift home in a car with Morris and Dickie. DS Howard Crowther appealed for the occupants of a taxi which is believed to have driven past the A58 layby at around 0130 on Tuesday morning to get in touch. He said: "The driver and occupants could be material witnesses to whatever happened. We need them to get in touch." Callers are asked to ring 0845 6060606 and ask for the Chapeltown incident room." The club released a statement this afternoon in which it said that Jody Morris had been interviewed by the club with his solicitor present and had been suspended for 14 days, pending an internal investigation.
October 09: Peter Reid says that Michael Bridges is still a month away from full fitness, despite his excellent performances on his return to the side over the last couple of weeks. Reid said: "Michael is a great player to have in the squad, but we need to keep nursing him through. It will be a month or so before he is 100% fit." It's a huge shame that the talented striker has been out for so long - and that despite the best efforts of physios, player and management he wasn't able to get up to full fitness during the summer - and doubly so when you consider Michael Owen's withdrawal from the England squad for Saturday's big game: Bridges is a far more accomplished all-round player than Heskey, Rooney, Vassell and Beattie, and if he retains his fitness and form throughout the season I can't see how he can fail to be in contention as a regular starter - never mind squad member - alongside Owen for a long time to come.
October 09: Young keeper Scott Carson can't believe his luck in getting a call-up to the England U21 squad at the age of just 18 - and reckons it's Peter Reid he has to thank for his surprise elevation. Carson said: "The Leeds secretary came up to me after Saturday's game and said 'congratulations'. I said 'what for?' and he told me I was with the under-21s. I was straight on the phone to my mum!" Carson will be lucky to get on the field on Friday, since it's a full international rather than a friendly, but he's happy just to be in the squad. "To wear the England badge has been my dream since I started playing football," he said. "I know I've got four years ahead of me at this level. That has given me confidence for the future."
October 09: Alan Smith and Kevin Blackwell both did their best to talk up the contribution the fans have made to the club this season. Smith said: "They support Leeds and whoever is playing in the shirt. All through the years when we struggled they were there. In the 80s they were there and they were then when we did well. The fans are still coming now and all you can do is ask that they continue to get behind the team and the manager the way they have been." And head coach Kevin Blackwell added: "The fans have once again been absolutely first class towards the lads. They really gave us the lift we needed and they screamed us home." Let's hope we've got plenty to cheer about in the next four games.
October 09: Lucas Radebe has hinted that he'd like to go back home to South Africa when his contract expires in the summer. "I'm looking to go back to where I started to say my final goodbye to football. It would be good to wear the gold and black of Kaizer Chiefs for one more time." He's still looking for possibly one more season with Leeds before going back home, and indicated that there have been some talks about him getting another year on his contract: "I'm in the last season of my contract and we have had some talks about a new deal. I hope that everything would be settled very soon as I have had a good time at Leeds and my family have settled quite well here."
October 08: Jody Morris and another man - not believed to be a footballer - have been released on police bail pending further enquiries into an alleged sexual assault on a 20-year-old woman in Leeds on Monday night. Morris and the other man were arrested yesterday and held overnight at different police stations, while police cordoned off a layby on the A58 near Collingham and undertook a detailed search of the area. Speculation was flying around for most of last night and this morning as to the identity of the Leeds players involved - and when the YEP published Morris's name on their website, confirming the most reliable leaks I'd heard, their website took a massive hit - crashing under the load as thousands of people went to see who had been named after picking up hints elsewhere. A statement from West Yorkshire Police read: "The two men being questioned in connection with an alleged serious sexual assault on a 20-year-old woman in Leeds have now been released on police bail pending forensic and other inquiries. Inquiries into the incident are continuing but we do not anticipate issuing any further updates in the near future. We would take this opportunity to remind the media about their responsibilities under the contempt of court act." Rough translation of that last sentence: we realise how badly we screwed up with all the leaks and allegations flying around in the Bowyer/Woodgate assault case and we're determined not to make the same mistake here.
October 08: Danny Milosevic is still looking for a long-term home for his talents - but it won't be at Hull City. Tigers boss Peter Taylor told the Hull Daily Mail that he had no intention of signing the Aussie keeper, despite the number of rumours doing the rounds. Taylor said: "I did enquire about him when Alan Fettis was injured but I managed to get Michel Kuipers in and I haven't done anything since. I'm happy with the two keepers I've got here and both Fettis and Musselwhite know that."
October 08: If you're running Internet Explorer on Windows, why not take a look at Team Toolbars - and tell your non-Leeds supporting friends too! Customise your browser with this great little utility that will give you up-to-date news and human-researched links to the best websites for all the Premier League teams. It's completely unofficial, so don't expect to be bugged into buying club-branded products from toilet paper to credit cards - just plug it into your browser and have quick and easy access to the best websites and news sources for your club.
October 07: The YEP has some tickets on offer for the Man U league game on Saturday week. For the first time in years, this game is not a sell-out, but you can pick up some tickets for free if you know who is the current manager of Manchester United. Just slap the answer on a postcard and send it to CIS/Man United Competition, Sportsdesk, Yorkshire Evening Post, Wellington Street, Leeds LS1 1RF by next Tuesday.
October 07: Peter Reid has made it clear to the Prof that any repeat of last week's public "consultations" on his future will see him leave Elland Road. The backing that Reid received from the fans - combined with the show of support from players and fans and, not least, the three points gained at the weekend have left Reid in a position of strength. Speaking to The Sun, Reid said that he had reached "an understanding" with the chairman. But he added: "I have impressed upon him that in future, club business must be conducted in private, not done in public." The Prof has clearly been discomfited by the press scrutiny of the club over the last week. He said: "The events of the [weekend] have once again suggested a tension that simply isn't there. It was a great result on Saturday and Peter Reid is the manager of Leeds United. He is fully committed to the cause and there are no problems between the two of us."
October 07: Rio Ferdinand failed to give a sample when approached by FA drugs testers at ManU's training ground a fortnight ago. The player finally gave the testers a sample some two days later, and indicated that it had slipped his mind because he had been busy because he was due to move house that same day. Giving a drugs sample must be more complicated than I had previously realised! FA (and UEFA and FIFA) regulations state that any player who fails to give a sample when requested will be treated as if he had failed the test, and it now transpires that the main reason for Sven delaying naming his squad for the Turkey game was because an internal debate was going on at the FA over whether or not to drop Rio from the squad as a result of his "failed" test. The fact that he did give a sample later on should have no bearing on the outcome - 36 hours is plenty of time to take masking agents or other steps to avoid detection of illicit substances, and that's the reason why the drugs testers operate a no-notice policy. I'm not for a moment suggesting that Rio has been taking any sort of illegal substance, but with doping in football on the rise, it's important that our highest-profile players are seen as unimpeachable on that front. The maximum penalty for a doping offence is a two-year ban from all competitions, but in the circumstances a lesser penalty should probably be applied - maybe a ban from domestic football until, say, the end of October :-)
October 07: Two men were arrested today in connection with an alleged sexual assault on a 20-year-old woman. Although the police have not released their identities - or indeed confirmed that anyone connected with the club was involved, Leeds issued a statement saying: "Leeds United Football Club have been advised by West Yorkshire police of an ongoing investigation, and in line with club policy full cooperation has been extended to the police. Any further comment cannot or will not be made by the club until the police investigation has been concluded and the club informed of that conclusion."
October 07: Massimo Maccarone bagged a hat-trick for hosts Middlesbrough in the reserve game at the Riverside tonight - but it wasn't enough to prevent Steve Agnew's reserve side pulling out all the stops to record a great win. Leeds were a goal down after less than five minutes, but Aaron Lennon got behind the defence and sent in a cross that was diverted in for an equaliser by a Boro defender. Five minutes later, another deflection - this time off Michael Duberry - put Boro back in front, and halfway through the first half Maccarone completed his hat-trick to make it 3-1. Jason Wilcox was sent off before the break after taking out a Boro defender and then giving the linesman some verbals, but Leeds got back into the game in the second half when Michael Bridges scored from the spot after Boro old boy Nick Barmby was brought down. Frazer Richardson equalised for Leeds with a shot from distance with ten minutes to go, and with seven minutes remaining sub Dominique Krief knocked the ball in after the Boro keeper had spilled a shot from Jamie McMaster.
October 07: Shaun Allaway comes in to the Reserve side to face Boro tonight with Scott Carson away on international duty. Michael Duberry will continue his attempt to build up his match fitness, and Michael Bridges will also be looking to improve his match fitness, despite playing for half an hour on Saturday, and Didier Domi and Lucas Radebe are also set to come back from injury with a run out for the stiffs at the Riverside.
October 07: Season ticket holders have until Thursday to reserve their seats for the Carling Cup tie against ManU. Prices are twenty quid for adults, a tenner for concessions and fifty quid for a family package. It's not clear how many tickets will be given to the Old Trafford outfit in the light of the agreement between the clubs to reduce the ticket allocations for the league game. Tickets will then be on sale to Striker Members until next Tuesday before going on general sale from next Wednesday.
October 06: Scott Carson was called up for the England U-21 squad to take on Turkey at the back end of this week. Carson has been capped at youth levels but it looks like his reputation has grown beyond the bounds of Leeds Reserves, and with qualification for the finals now impossible, David Platt is shuffling the pack a bit and bringing in some younger players, while dropping some of the older generation who will not be eligible for the next batch of qualifiers. The senior squad will now not be named until tomorrow to allow Michael Owen every chance to declare himself fit for Saturday - Paul Robinson will be in that squad, but only as understudy to David James.
October 06: Jermaine Pennant remains unsure as to whether he will be spending a further month at Elland Road, or returning to Highbury after facing Manchester United on Saturday week. Pennant's two-month loan period expires on October 20, and with Arsenal due at Elland Road on November 1 and facing a possible batch of suspensions if the FA come down on them for the Old Trafford incidents, then it seems likely that they will want the talented winger back. But Pennant said: "The two clubs are talking about extending my stay. I'd be happy to stay and I'll find out after the Man U game."
October 06: Ian Harte is on his way to Nottingham Forest on loan according to some papers. But Leeds currently deny any such move is on the cards - and it's hard to see how he would fit in at the club when his current pay packet would probably be more than half of their first team put together are on. And if Leeds agree to fund the majority of his wages while he's on loan at the City Ground, it would indicate just how desperate Leeds are to scrimp and save cash wherever they can if the fifty grand or so that they would save from a three-month loan will make a difference to the club's finances.
October 06: Peter Reid has not fallen out with John McKenzie - or at least that's what some papers and the club are saying today. Even before Reid missed the press conference after Saturday's victory over Blackburn, there was talk that he'd be on his way because he felt that last week's public display of "support" from the board had shown scant respect for himself and his team. But Reid has been deliberately avoiding the limelight after the excess of publicity last week and says he has no intention of walking away (he'd lose a sizeable payoff for a start!). The Prof is heading out of the country on business this week (will he come back with a sugar-daddy sponsor? I doubt it) but before he left he also moved to quash speculation that the relationship between himself and Reid was anything but cordial.
October 06: The U-19 side beat Forest 3-0 at the weekend - Martin Wood was among the scorers for the senior Academy side as they continued their run of good form. But the U-17 side are in an equal and opposite run of defeats at the moment, and this continued with a 3-2 defeat at Blackburn.
October 06: Peter Reid and his players all had a bit more to say today about the weekend's win over Blackburn. The manager said: "It was a great performance. I was proud of my players and the way they performed...I have to say I thought David Batty was outstanding in midfield. He worked well with Jody Morris and that set us up for the win." And he pointed out something that has been missing from the last few games: "We created plenty of chances too which is something I was pleased about." Jermaine Pennant was pleased with his personal performance: "It was probably the best I've played. It's nice to give something back to Leeds because I can only thank them for what they have done for me." But Pennant stressed it had been a good team display: "You could see in the game we were passionate and everybody was working well as a team. That's when you know the spirit is there." Finally goalscoring hero Seth Johnson also thought that Saturday's game constituted his best performance as a Leeds player. Johnson said: "I've never scored two before. When the second one went in it was a great feeling. I had another chance with a header in the second half. I don't know what I'd have done if that had gone in. I think I would have taken the ball home there and then!" Johnson also showed a good deal more positive thinking than you'll find in the average fan-in-the-street, saying: "Manchester United are next up and that's a massive game. If we show the same commitment who knows what might happen."
October 05: Alan Smith joined the long line of players praising boss Peter Reid, and said that the team's effort against Blackburn showed that the rest of the players were right behind the manager as well. "We know that when we go out we need to put on a performance for the manager as well as ourselves and the fans, and that's what we did. It was a wholehearted performance, with the fans getting behind the team and the manager, and we wanted three points for him as much as anybody." And Smith pointed to the - barely acknowledged - chants for Peter Reid that echoed around the ground yesterday. "The fans also showed what they think of the gaffer. They appreciate the situation we have been in and they're not stupid. They know it's going to be a struggle and a battle."
October 05: Leeds Ladies slipped down to fourth in the table today after Birmingham brought their five-match winning run to an end with a goalless draw at Wheatley Park. Meanwhile Arsenal were romping to a 7-0 victory over Doncaster Belles to leapfrog Leeds into third spot.
October 05: Euro round-ups will resume in a couple of weeks - 'fraid I've just been a fraction too busy these last two weeks to spend the time collating the facts and writing up the news.
October 04: Leeds are interested in signing up a Colombian striker - according to his agent anyway. Edwin Congo has been at Levante in Spain since the summer and his agent obviously wants to jump on the Leeds loans bandwagon - he claims the club president doesn't like the player and says: "My client would have a team where he could play in, and Levante would have a very good transfer for themselves."
October 04: Peter Reid will start the long drag back up the table today - knowing that his side face a very tough month ahead. With ManU and Arsenal coming to Elland Road, and a visit to Anfield on the cards the team will find every possible flaw examined and you can bet that the behind-the-scenes whisperers will use everything in their power to further destabilise the manager. But Reid isn't going to be distracted: "Yes, they are massive games and they are tough games, but we should be focused every time we go out on the park, no matter who our opponents are." And he stressed that there was no room for division in the club: "We're all in this together and we have to work together to get where we want to be. It's not the team and me. I'm the manager and I have to take responsibility for what happens on the field."
October 04: After a month's long and painful wait, we've finally got another league win to celebrate. Two well-taken goals by Seth Johnson secured the points for Leeds before half-time - even though the last few minutes were somewhat nail-biting after the defence let Blackburn back into the game with a soft goal. So what made the difference today? Well, Salomon Olembe's performance as a makeshift left-back has to be applauded: he held his position well, produced a couple of good overlapping runs when the opportunity presented itself and generally gave us the sort of solid display we've been praying for in that position for a couple of years. Dom Matteo's return to the centre of defence can't go unremarked: playing your best centreback at centreback is a bit of an innovation tactically, but it seemed to work! Zoumana Camara looked far more confident playing alongside Matteo than he has when accompanied by Roque Junior. But by far the most significant contribution to the result today came from number 23. David Batty, restored to the midfield after nearly two years out, produced the sort of form that left us all misty-eyed and nostalgic. Here was a player who was organising the team around him, making good tackles, closing down space and linking defence and attack. His steady presence meant that we could afford the pinball-style play of Jody Morris, chasing every ball and every player without much thought for formation or position, and most crucially the presence of David Batty in the middle of the park enabled Seth Johnson to get into some good forward positions and score the goals. Batts even made a few good forward runs of his own - linking up well with Michael Bridges and pulling the ball back for Smithy. That brings me to the one downside of today's game. Alan Smith may be Leeds through and through, but I think he needs to relax and be a little less frantic about winning from time to time. Three times today he got himself into good positions, needing only an accurate shot to beat Brad Friedel - and three times he failed to get on the scoresheet. If Smithy wants to help the club and himself, he needs to be converting these chances more often, and to do that he needs to be a little bit more clinical and cool-headed when presented with goalscoring opportunities. But who cares - we won! Three points in the bag and zooming up the table despite wins for several other clubs in the bottom half. The revival starts here!
October 04: Harry Kewell opened the scoring for Liverpool today in their lunchtime clash with Arsenal - but he ended up on the losing side after Robert Pires scored a second-half winner following a Hyppia own-goal. Mark Tinkler got Hartlepool off to a good start with a tenth-minute goal at Bournemouth, but the Cherries equalised and then Warren Feeney made it 2-1 with just 10 minutes to go. A late Gavin Strachan goal squared the game to send both of the ex-Leeds players home with a point. Robbie Keane is back to full fitness after picking up an injury while playing for Ireland, and he emphasised that today with Spurs' third goal in a 3-0 win over Everton. Andy Gray scored for Bradford for the second game in succession, giving them a 1-2 lead at Reading before the managerless home team equalised and grabbed a share of the spoils. John Sheridan was on target from the spot for Oldham yet again, scoring the final goal of the game in their 2-2 draw with Peterborough at London Road. Finally Jamie Forrester scored Hull's fifth goal in injury time against his former club Northampton as Peter Taylor's side romped to a 1-5 victory.
October 04: Peter Reid decided he'd been in the press enough this week, so he sent out Kevin Blackwell to talk about today's game. It's not clear (yeah right!) if the manager agrees with what his number two had to say, but I'm sure quite a few fans will concur when Blackwell said: "The whole club has not been handled the right way and we've been on the back pages for the wrong reasons. It's been strange for Peter this week. Everyone knows he is a bubbly character but he's been a lot quieter. We wanted to give the gaffer the right platform and, any decision he makes, he does so from a position of strength." There have been rumours doing the rounds that Reid was considering walking away anyway after the way that he has been treated, or that he has agreed to stay on until the tough games in October are out of the way so that his successor wouldn't have to face such a daunting start. But Blackwell said that the manager had stated his intention to stay on: "Peter's a fighter and he has said he won't quit." Blackwell passed on a message from the manager, saying: "Reidy has told me to say how proud he was of the players and what a great performance they put in for the pressure they were under. The stress on the players was immense going into this game." And Reid received further backing from Blackburn boss Graeme Souness: "The nature of this business is that when it's going well you stand up and enjoy it and when it's not going well you have to stick your chin out and take the blows. He will do that. That's not a problem to him."
October 03: Peter Reid brushed off the speculation and gossip of the past week as he returned to work and set his mind on breaking the goal-free and point-free run from the last three league games. "I've come into a difficult job. I knew that when I took it and I'm just getting on with it." he said. He's talked down the suggestions of a rift between himself and the chairman, but added: "I think some of our business has been dealt with in public which I would have preferred it hadn't been, but it's not been a problem to me." He had praise once again for the Leeds fans, with this week's high-profile support from various supporters' organisations augmenting the solid backing he's received from the terraces throughout the campaign. And although he's not turning on the pressure too much, he makes it clear that the onus is on the players to sort it out: "Like anyone they don't like getting beat and putting in poor performances and the only way to answer back is on the football pitch and that's what we will be trying to do. We need a few good results and certainly it will be great if we can get one against Blackburn. It will put a smile back on everybody's face."
October 03: Leeds United Ladies will be looking to make it six wins on the bounce on Sunday afternoon when they take on Birmingham at Wheatley Park, Garforth. Leeds are now third in the table after their good run of results and manager Julie Chipchase says: "We go into the game with a lot of confidence having won our last 5 games and producing some good football." The game kicks off at 1400 - so why not get along to give them some support and enjoy watching a team wearing Leeds shirts playing good football and winning games.
October 03: Take a wander over to the Football Fans Census and let them know your thoughts in their latest survey. They're asking if England fans should travel to Turkey for the final Euro 2004 qualifier next weekend - I'm sure there's a few of you out there with an opinion or two on the subject so why not fill in the survey today.
October 03: Roque Junior and Ian Harte are suspended for red cards received against Brum and in the reserves game with Liverpool respectively, and with Didier Domi also an injury doubt, the big question for Peter Reid tomorrow will surround the left-back slot. Michael Duberry and Lucas Radebe shuld both be fit enough to be considered for the game, so it looks like the defence will be Gary Kelly, Dom Matteo plus two from Zoumana Camara, Doobs and The Chief. Aaron Lennon could start his first Premiership game and James Milner will also be in contention for a bench place at least after returning from a successful loan spell at Swindon. For Blackburn, Markus Babbel and Lucas Neill are injured, but Lorenzo Amoruso has recovered from a knee injury sustained in training. Oh, and the ref is..... Uriah Rennie.
October 02: The club issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning in which they confirmed that Peter Reid was continuing as manager of Leeds United. The crucial bit said: "Obviously everybody connected with Leeds United is concerned about the club's position in the Premier League table and the board has spent some considerable time considering all aspects of the situation. Our conclusion is that Peter Reid should remain as the team manager to lead the team's recovery performance." The Prof is trying to persuade investors to take up a rights issue, so it's understandable that such a statement needed to be made in the light of the feverish press speculation after the poor start to the season. The chairman said: "We checked with fans, players and shareholders and having done that we came to the conclusion that Peter should remain as team manager. Anybody who knows me knows that I don't go in for time scales. My position is that we have got to get this team up the table and we want Peter to help us do that." McKenzie said that he had phoned Reid this morning to tell him to get on with the job. This is the right decision - for the moment. The board cannot lose their nerve if the next month doesn't bring us any points: realistically we'd never expect much from games against Liverpool, Arsenal or ManU anyway (we might hope but never expect!) so if we come away with nothing, the board cannot use that as a justification to change their minds. Peter Reid now needs to get the team organised and focused on the job in hand. If we're still in this situation by Christmas and there's no sign of improvement, then maybe the board would be right to seek a replacement before the transfer window opens. But that's something I'm hoping won't happen - let's all get behind Reidy and the team and continue to provide them with the incredible support that we've seen home and away from the very start of the season.
October 02: Michael Duberry has said how happy he is to be coming back into contention for a first team place after a freak collision in the pre-season friendly in Dublin left him with a fractured cheekbone. He told the official website: "It's been a frustrating start for me personally, and to get a bad injury they way I did a week before the season just about sums up my time at Leeds, stop and start. It was disappointing to get injured, especially as I was looking for a good run this season. I am back now after two games and I feel good." And although he's not been regarded as our greatest defensive asset in the past, Roque Junior's form must give him hope of a recall to the side if the coaching staff think he's fit enough to complete 90 minutes at the top level. He said: "The time is right now for me, I can step in for people who haven't been performing ahead of me. If I come in I will stake my claim. I want to be out there doing my bit if given a chance."
October 02: With all the talk of manager-sacking, it's nice to hear of one chairman who recognises that the manager can only do so much. The president of Brazilian outfit Ceara was incensed that his squad have failed to win promotion - so he's sacking all 25 players. He said: "My only regret I didn't lose enough weight to be able to go on the pitch and score the goals these players didn't score."
October 01: Swindon boss Andy King thinks that James Milner will be straight into the team on Saturday after returning from his loan spell. King said: "I can't praise the lad enough. His attitude and work ethic has been superb. The biggest compliment I can give him is that Peter Reid is thinking about him for the weekend." King praised Milner's efforts on and off the pitch during his month away from Elland Road, and said: "His contribution in the short time he's been with us has been outstanding."
October 01: Forest boss and one-time Leeds player and coach Paul Hart is again being linked with a switch to Leeds as speculation over Peter Reid's future continues. Hart did not deny rumours of a switch from the City Ground - merely saying that he had "nothing to say" about the stories. Hart was thought to be favorite to take over at Leeds in the summer, but after Peter Reid kept the team up, the Prof and the board (i.e. Allan Leighton) agreed to give Reid the permanent post. Hart still has nearly three years to run on his contract at Forest and it wouldn't be cheap to buy him out - and once again this could prove to be the stumbling block for Leeds.
October 01: Michael Bridges is coming back into first team contention after a long injury lay-off - and he must wonder what's happened to the team since he last had a regular place in the side. After the Everton game, Bridges said: "As a team and as individuals we are the only people who can pull ourselves out of this slump at the moment." And he added his name to those backing Peter Reid, and followed captain Dom Matteo in praising the travelling support: "The fans were fantastic at Everton, second half they never shut up. You do feel for them because they travel a long way and we're not just doing it for ourselves or the manager, you've got to think of the fans."
October 01: After Allan Leighton took time out from his busy schedule managing ninety seven different companies to speak to chairman John McKenzie this morning, the Prof hightailed it back to Leeds to have a long chat with Peter Reid this afternoon. No formal announcement on Reid's future was made today - although the Prof might be taking the time tonight to prepare a statement for release to the Stock Exchange prior to the opening of trading tomorrow morning. If Reid is to be sacked, two big questions present themselves. First, who is out there who is available and willing to come to Leeds who could do a better job? We cannot afford to follow Peter Ridsdale's disastrous performance in sacking David O'Leary without having a successor poised to sign a contract. Secondly, what does this say about the board's judgement - not just the Prof but most particularly Allan Leighton who seems to be the man taking all the significant decisions, and who was on the board when Peter Ridsdale was running amok with the chequebook but who has somehow managed to evade all responsibility and blame for the way the club's future was mortgaged and the funds squandered? To change manager at this point in the season is sheer madness: Reid has not got off to a great start this year, but the financial meltdown at the club has left him with little alternative but to pursue the course he has taken. The next month won't be much easier, with hidings from ManU, Liverpool and Arsenal no doubt coming our way unless the defence and midfield suddenly remember how to play the game. But to try to take on a fourth different manager in eighteen months would be an exercise in futility that would make no difference to Leeds' chances of staying up.
October 01: Former Leeds left-back Nigel Worthington has picked up the manager of the month award in Division 1. Four wins and a draw in five games took the Canaries to fourth place in the table: the slump starts at the weekend as the curse kicks in!
October 01: James Milner signed off his loan spell at Swindon with a goal in the 8th minute of tonight's game against Luton. Both sides were reduced to 10 men in the second half, and Swindon ended up needing a late goal to square the game at 2-2. Gary McAllister was also on target - scoring the first of Coventry's two goals in their 2-0 home win over Crewe.