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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

November 30: Time to get those votes in for whichever Leeds player you think has been our star man in all of those stellar performances we've seen this month. Vote here.

November 30: Leeds skipper Dominic Matteo says that the takeover talk that is making the headlines won't distract the team from focusing on the important job to be done on the park. He said: "It's just business as usual for the footballers. But we hope somebody does come in to help the club and I hope it gets sorted out soon. As players, all we can do is try our best to put things right on the pitch. Of course, we are all playing for our jobs. If the club gets into trouble obviously there is a chance we will not get paid." And he was pleased that the team had finally managed to deliver a result with the 0-1 win at Charlton: "We wanted the points and we wanted to show people that we are not a bad side."

November 30: Sheikh Abdul bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa says that he's only a broker in the deal to buy the club out of trouble. He told Bahrain paper Al-Ayam that it was nonsense to suggest he was about to take the club over himself, but added that he was acting as a broker between the club and several investors from the region. He said: "I have close ties with club president John McKenzie, who updates me with the financial situation at the club. Anything more than that is just complete nonsense... Negotiations with various parties in the Gulf region are still undergoing and I feel happy to be the main broker in this respect." And he concluded: "All in all, I am hopeful in bringing out a positive outcome in the next 10 days to come." I'm sure I'd be a bit happier if it was the Sheikh putting his money in - the last thing we want is to be subject to the whim of some faceless financier. Remind me again what our current position is...

November 30: Once again the rumours resurface that Newcastle United are set to make a chancers bid for Michael Bridges in January. Bridges hasn't yet signed an extension to his contract, and has yet to demonstrate that he has regained the form and fitness that prompted DOL to bid for him in the first place, but Alan Shearer is understood to be a big fan and a bid of £1 million in cash in January may prove to be as irresistible to Leeds as it is undervalued and opportunist by Toon.

November 29: Although nobody officially connected with the club could comment - and indeed are obliged not to by Stock Exchange refs - the rumours that have been doing the rounds for a week that we are about to be taken over by a Bahraini Sheikh gained some momentum. Abdul bin Mubarak Al Khalifa of Bahrain - a 40-year-old long-term Leeds fan is said to be a key mover in a consortium of Middle East investors who are ready to takeover the club within the next week. They will be putting about £20 million into the club in the short term to buy out existing shareholders, clear some short-term debt and make some money available for player retention and acquisition in January. Former Leeds and Forest star Frank Gray - who knows the Sheikh - spoke to Radio 5 tonight, and explained that the Sheikh had followed the club for many years and was a big fan, but couldn't confirm that there was any truth in the rumours. The Prof is said to have made a call to set the deal in motion last week - we'll see what happens in the next few days.

November 29: FIFA chief Sepp Blatter stuck his nose into two bits of Leeds-related stuff this weekend. Speaking at Soccerex in Dubai, he said that FIFA were considering making binding rules for its member associations requiring them to impose point penalties on clubs which entered administration. He pointed to the example of Kaiserslautern, who were docked three points in the Bundesliga after a summer of financial trouble. He also questioned the validity of Manchester United's results since Rio's failure to attend a drugs test, pointing out that Ferdinand should not be playing for the team in the circumstances. It would be nice if we got three points added as a result, but this retrospective application of a rule change would be stretching things, even if we're applying the boot to ManU. Incidentally, it's clear they're playing a very cute game - stretching every step of the process as far as they possibly can to ensure that the FA don't issue a ban so long that it would keep Ferdinand out of Euro 2004.

November 29: Can't say I expected much from this game: Charlton were on form and would want revenge for last season's hammering. But the impact of Eddie Gray on the squad was evident from the start: a high tempo game, closing down the opposition and defending from the front rather than around our penalty area. Ian Harte wasted several crossing and dead ball opportunities, but Mark iduka was clearly up for this game, and with James Milner ripping the opposition to pieces down the left wing we managed to keep Charlton on the back foot for much of the game. We scored far too early, and with just a one goal lead the nerves were evident in the stands, but on the pitch the defence and midfield - superbly run by Batty - were solid and secure. A goalmouth scramble left us thankful for the first piece of luck we've had all season, and despite Mark Halsey's attempt to punish every decent tackle by a Leeds player and ignore every shirt tug and hack by Parker and co, we somehow held on. Brilliant atmosphere in the Leeds end throughout the game and a superb performance on the field. My prediction that we'd hit Christmas on single figures is blown, and even though all our nearest rivals also won today, the performance rather than the result must give us a glimmer of hope of avoiding the drop.

November 29: Eddie Gray wasn't totally surprised with the result at The Valley today. After the match, he said: "I'm especially pleased with our attitude. There has been a lack of confidence running through the club and hopefully this victory will give the players a lot more belief and we can start to climb the table. The ability is there. The players just need to have belief in each other." Gray added: "We have a long way to go before we can consider ourselves a good side but I'm extremely pleased how it went for us today." Alan Curbishley - in his 400th game in charge of Charlton - gave credit where it was due. He said: "They defended for their lives, got behind the ball, stifled us and then broke at us. We were chasing the game once they scored and in the end we were trying so many things to get out of jail but it has been a bad day for us." And he pointed out how tight things are in the top flight: "I don't think anyone at Charlton Athletic has got carried away with what we have achieved in recent weeks. Leeds have demonstrated today just how tough a league the Premiership is."

November 29: Darren Huckerby scored the only goal of the game for Norwich in their 1-0 win over Crewe as they kept up the chase of West Brom at the top of Division 1. Lower down the same league, Andy Gray squared the game at 2-2 as Bradford came back from a 0-2 deficit at home to Millwall in this evening's game before Michael Branch grabbed a 90th minute winner for Bryan Robson's new charges. In Scotland, Derek Lilley scored from the spot for Livingston at home to Dundee - who entered administration last week. But there's hope for everyone, and Dundee came back with an equaliser to share the points.

November 28: Neil Warnock has said that he's interested in taking Darren Huckerby to Sheffield United. Huckerby is currently on loan at Norwich, and Nigel Worthington is interested in signing him but has limited funds available, and it's looking increasingly likely that Huckerby will return to Man City at the end of his loan spell before seeking a new club during the transfer window.

November 28: Gordon Strachan has finally broken his silence to insist that he has no intention of leaving Southampton. Speaking to the Saints' official website, he said: "I am a very happy man here I am happy in the job and I will not walk out on this club to join anyone else. There is not a problem with money or transfer funds or the relationship with the chairman, which is as good as any in the league." Not that we could afford his wages or any compensation fee in the circumstances...

November 28: Yet another Leeds player is due to appear in court after the Met today revealed that Vinnie Jones is being charged in connection with an "air rage" incident. Former Leeds and Wimbledon hard man Jones was charged with being drunk on an aircraft, using threatening, abusive or insulting words to a member of the crew and common assault on a male passenger on a Virgin Atlantic flight to Japan at the start of June. He is due to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates Court next Friday.

November 27: The Daily Mirror suggests today that, far from being prepared to see him stay on for another year, Eddie Gray has fallen out with David Batty. The paper suggests that Gray had a half-time bust-up with Batty and does not have the support of several senior players in the side. Well, if some of the overpaid underachievers that have been pulling on the white shirt for the last couple of years don't like what he's doing, that probably means that Eddie has got it absolutely right. Of course, this is a Mirror story, so hand me that sackful of salt...

November 27: Loan striker Lamine Sakho could be out for up to a month after cracking a rib in last Saturday's defeat by Bolton. Although he hadn't seemed unduly hurt during the game, a scan earlier this week showed the problem. Alan Smith and Dom Matteo will be available for Saturday after being suspended last week, and Gary Kelly is expected to be over the back problem that knocked him out of the Bolton game at the last minute.

November 27: Some of Wilko's Warriors from the sides that won the Division 2 and Division 1 titles have been passing comment on the current situation at Leeds. Chris Kamara is clearly upset at the prospect of seeing more of Leeds in his professional capacity as Sky's expert Nationwide League summariser. He said: "I had been feeling quite encouraged about Leeds in the past week or so because the reports seemed to be suggesting that the club were going to be able to restructure the debt. So this comes as a big kick in the teeth and the thought of going into administration is quite frightening. I just hope the reports about the Sheikh coming in to save the club are true." Tony Dorigo says that the prospect of administration and forced sales is too horrible to consider and adds: "Leeds United have become something of a laughing stock in recent months and that really hurts me. It is only a couple of years since Leeds were competing in the Champions League." Chris Whyte - who was just the sort of solid defender we are desperate for at the moment - said he felt sorry for the Leeds fans: "A club of the size and stature of Leeds United should not be in this position. This has come as a real shock."

November 27: Eddie Gray said that the current crisis at the club was tough - but didn't compare to the situation he faced at Spotland in the mid-1980s when he managed Rochdale. He said: "To give you some idea, my wife used to wash the kit at Rochdale, which underlines the gulf between the top and bottom, but then it's always been like that in the game. There was many a week when I was at Rochdale that the players used to have to wait for the directors to go around and scrape their wages together." Gray said that everyone was working hard to get out of the slump, despite the fact that the players are relatively well-cushioned from any financial hardship now. He said: "The position we're in hurts everybody at the club, not just me, but the players, directors and supporters... I'm just trying to work with the players, get their spirits up and hopefully get a result."

November 26: Eddie Gray has opened the door to David Batty getting a further year on his contract if things work out. The manager insisted that his decision to replace Batts on Saturday was a tactical one to provide a more attacking formation, and added: "Batts has looked fitter than I have seen him for a while. He knows if you can't run you can't play, so he has trained hard this season to get back into the side. Other managers had their opinions that he wasn't fit enough to play, and at that time they were probably right, but this is an opportunity for everyone to impress - from the youngest professionals to the most senior staff."

November 26: Millwall assistant boss Ray Wilkins fanned the flames suggesting that Michael Duberry might link up with Wilkins and former Chelsea teammate Dennis Wise at the New Den. With the financial vultures circling Leeds already, Wilkins told the Millwall website that a transfer move wasn't out of the question. "Leeds are a club that are needing financial help as well, so I think that was one that someone took a bit of a flier on and obviously we would like to improve the squad. The squad is one that is improving internally, but if we can bring in some players of quality like Michael, then that would be very nice." How desperate have we become that we need help with our finances from Millwall?

November 26: Is this the end? It certainly seems like we're a step closer to the abyss today. The share price plunged (well, relatively) from 3.5p to 2.5p as the club issued an announcement to the Stock Exchange this morning stating that negotiations with the club's creditors had stalled. With bondholders and player mortgagees accounting for the majority of the club's debt, the board have been trying to get the payments rescheduled to take some pressure off the club, and then have a rights issue which would enable Allan Leighton and his ARM consortium to pump in £4.4 million of short-term funding with a view to a full takeover in the medium term. None of that will happen now, and the Leeds board have made it clear to their creditors that they are actively considering the nuclear option of administration. The board have said that they are hopeful of resuming negotiations and attaining an agreement, and would continue with their attempts to cut costs in the meantime.

What would administration mean for the club? If we manage to come through it and stay in the Premier League, we're probably safe - although the FAPL does reserve the right to expel member clubs for gross financial mismanagement. But if we are relegated (and let's face it - the bookies have us odds-on for a good reason) then we'd face a 10-point deduction unless we were out of administration at the start of the Nationwide season, and with the inevitable need to sell anyone vaguely useful - Smithy, Robbo, Viduka, Milner spring to mind - there's no way the rump of players left would survive in Division 1 with that sort of handicap.

Football finance expert Bill Gerrard has a few words of comfort for the fans: "My belief, and it's a very strong belief, is that there will always be a Leeds United football club." He went on: "But I don't believe Leeds United plc will survive for very much longer. We will then see Leeds United FC put up for sale by an administrator and, I hope, the next set of owners are able to show a degree of financial astuteness and an understanding of football far superior to the owners in the last few years."

November 26: John Charles was inducted into the BBC Hall of Fame at their annual Sports Awards dinner. Current boss - and Leeds legend in his own right - Eddie Gray presented the award to Charles at the dinner. A programme about the awards will go out on BBC2 in the north (so should be viewable for anyone with a Sky box) next Monday at 2230.

November 26: In an official statement to the Stock Exchange today, the club revealed that talks with the bondholders and other major creditors had "failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion". As a result, the interim cash injection via a rights issue from Allan Leighton and his ARM Holdings Group Ltd consortium will not now happen before Christmas. The club are trying to make arrangements to make savings and provide guarantees of working capital to get through the next three months, but the statement concludes: "...the Directors may be forced to seek the protection of an administration order." The end is nigh - get the collecting buckets out for Saturday.

November 25: Eddie Gray will be asking Michael Bridges to show some improved fitness in tonight's reserve game against Blackburn. Bridges will play at Belle Vue after being left out of the squad for the Bolton game, with caretaker boss Gray citing his lack of sharpness and match fitness. Also due to appear are Didier Domi, Nick Barmby and Cyril Chapuis who all came off the bench in Saturday's defeat. Jamie McMaster and Simon Johnson are named in the line-up, but recently returned loanees Matt Kilgallon and Stephen McPhail are not included.

November 25: Much as I love the bloke as a Leeds legend, Eddie Gray's managerial pronouncements have had a bit too much of the bleeding obvious about them, and unlike Reid he's not been prepared to come out and point the finger at specific failings in players. This last bit might be seen as a good thing by the players - but does nothing to hide the problems from the fans who can use their own eyes to judge what's going on. He said: "If you don't defend you're going to concede and we aren't doing it well enough. It affects us in other areas because you have to track midfield players and the front men can stop defenders coming into the game." And he went on: "It's an all over thing. You can't point fingers at individuals. It's a team thing and the only way we will pick points up is by pulling together as a unit." Gray did say that it was the players' responsibility to stand up and be counted, and that they did not have the luxury of feeling sorry for themselves. And Gray's solution for the future? "We've just got to keep working away to make sure we pick points up." Our next three games are against clubs in the top five - and however much we want to say we're bigger and better than Charlton and Fulham, on current form they're in a different class. Much as I hate to sound like the club's resident pessimist, I have a nasty feeling that we could be eating our Christmas dinners with the Points column still in single figures.

November 25: Alan Smith has been charged with "improper conduct" by the FA for throwing a plastic bottle back into the crowd at the Man U League Cup game a month ago. Smith will be requesting a personal hearing - but it looks like a three-match ban will be coming his way because he rather stupidly wasn't wearing a Manchester United shirt at the time of the offence. The crusty old hypocrites at Soho Square were quite happy to let Fabien Barthez get away without facing any FA charge a couple of years ago when he threw a projectile into the Leeds end, but that was clearly a totally different case to this. Smithy was bloody stupid to do what he did, but nobody was seriously hurt, nobody is pressing charges or demanding compensation and Smith has apologised and missed an England game already as a result. The FA might as well ban him for life and relegate us to the Northern Premier League and be done with - it will save a lot of time and trouble on everyone's part and enable us to start rebuilding the club sooner and from a firmer basis.

November 25: Brian Deane opened the scoring for West Ham as they tried to grab a win for new boss Alan Pardew, but they failed again as Wimbledon pulled the goal back to send the Hammers away from Milton Keynes with just a point. At Carrow Road, Gary McAllister equalised from the spot to share the points with Nigel Worthington as Coventry drew 1-1 with Norwich.

November 25: The reserves went down 1-3 at home to Blackburn tonight. Michael Bridges scored for Leeds - but more importantly managed to play the whole game with no ill-effects, and there were 90-minute stints for Nick Barmby, Jamie McMaster, Didier Domi and Simon Johnson among others. Cyril Chapuis got just over a half - and after a reasonable performance on Saturday it will be interesting to see if he gets the nod over Bridges again this weekend.

November 25: Nigel Martyn has said that he would be ready to return to the England squad if needed after Everton boss David Moyes praised his contribution to the Toffees this season. Martyn said: "If I'm ever needed by England I'm only too willing and it's nice to hear your manager has said these things, but my first priority is doing well at Everton." Since moving from Leeds on a nominal transfer, he has done wonders in establishing some stability at the back, and although results as a whole haven't been going for them, they've kept a few clean sheets and the whole defence has benefited from Martyn's experience. Speaking to the BBC Sport website, Martyn said: "It is all about getting consistency and then maintaining it. It's going very well and I'd never turn down the chance to play for England, but first things first and that's Everton."

November 24: Michael Duberry is being linked with a loan move to Millwall according to some reports today. Duberry has missed the first part of the season after fracturing his jaw in the pre-season game against Villa, but has come back into the side for the defeats by Pompey and Bolton. It's unlikely that Millwall could afford to pay his full wages or much of a transfer fee - and it will be a measure of how desperate Leeds have become if the manager feels compelled to lose the player due to financial worries.

November 24: Roque Junior could be out of action for some time after picking up an achilles injury while out on World Cup duty with Brazil. He will be given a scan on Monday before any firm date can be set for his return.

November 24: Despite the fact that the man himself has yet to come out and kill off all speculation, BBC Radio Solent reported today that it was unlikely that the ginger one would be leaving the South Coast, and that nobody from Leeds had been in contact (though whether that last bit was just to shut Rupert Lowe up is anybody's guess). But "friends" of the Saints manager say that he's happy managing Southampton and intends to stay - to see out the remaining 6 months of his contract at least.

November 24: The junior Academy side pulled off a win at the weekend with a 0-2 victory at Wolves with goals from Gardner and Morris. Less success in the Midlands for Leeds Ladies, who followed up last weekend's disappointing defeat by Everton with a 1-1 draw at Villa - Tania Panesar netting Leeds equaliser in the second half, but the team then failed to convert a number of good chances to win the game. The Ladies face bottom club Tranmere at Garforth next Sunday with the usual 2pm kick-off.

November 24: Lucas Radebe thinks that Gordon Strachan could be the man to turn Leeds around. He says: "He has shown he is a good manager at Southampton and I'm sure the fans would be delighted to see him, especially with us in this situation. He will come with a passion to see us doing well and as someone who has played for Leeds, he will understand the club and the fans." The Chief said that he couldn't believe what was happening at Elland Road at the moment:"I've never been in a situation like this at this club. It's not only the team - there's everything else going on as well. It's really disturbing."

November 23: A Leeds "official" is quoted in today's Sunday Mirror saying: "It is absolute garbage to suggest Leeds have met and held discussions with Gordon Strachan with a view to him taking over as manager." Saints chairman Rupert Lowe has switched positions from saying how much he appreciated Trevor Birch's phone call denying any truth in the rumours early on to more or less openly accusing Leeds of tapping up Strachan. And intriguingly, the "official" adds: "The situation at Elland Road is simple, Eddie Gray has taken over as the caretaker-manager for at least three months and may continue beyond that period. We have not met or discussed the position with any manager in or out of work. At the moment there are other pressing matters to deal with at the club. We do not envisage anything happening this side of Christmas."

November 23: Speaking on Sky Sports today, Derby boss George Burley accused Mark Viduka of having a poor attitude to the game. "Viduka must take a look at himself. You've got to give 100 per cent. You can't be looking for excuses, like finance and arguments with managers. Players get paid a lot and have got to make sure that in every game they give it their all." And for 65 grand a week, that's a whole lot of all that Viduka owes us. If he wants a move then that's fine by me: his goals have done Leeds an awful lot of good in the past, and if he wants to ensure a continued high profile in European football we shouldn't stand in his way. But if he wants to leave the club amicably, we are entitled to his utmost efforts to keep the club up over the next couple of months, and if he thinks he is doing his future prospects any good at all by publicly falling out with the manager then he is clearly well-matched with his equally self-deluding agent.

November 23: Robbie Keane's late winner for Spurs today will have done DOL's survival prospects at Aston Villa no good at all. Villa are just three points ahead of us and have not been delivering the sort of performances that keep a side in the top flight, and Deadly Doug's (lack of) patience is well known. But even if O'Leary manages to fend off the predations of his hands-on chairman, he could face a longer-term threat from abroad. Venezuelan billionaire Gustavo Cisneros has been linked with a takeover at Villa Park, and after recent suggestions that O'Leary might return to take the vacant Leeds job, a statement was issued which read: "In light of recent speculation regarding the loyalty of current manager David O'Leary towards Aston Villa FC, it is advisable when the acquisition of a controlling interest in the club comes to fruition that ultimately alternate leadership and management teams shall be installed." Of course the Leeds job may still be vacant at that point, but it's hard to see O'Leary returning as long as Allan Leighton has any say in the matter: welcoming back the man he was instrumental in sacking at huge cost to the club would not look like the actions of savvy financial decision maker.

November 23: No change at the top of Serie A: Juve strolled to a 0-2 win at Modena with David Trezeguet and Pavel Nedved scoring either side of half time yesterday. Roma trail Juve by two points after winning 0-4 at Bologna with all the goals scored before 50 minutes were on the clock. Two Shevchenko goals in five minutes got the points for Milan at Chievo, and they now lead arch-rivals Internazionale by five points despite Inter recording a 6-0 win - with six different scorers - against Reggina. Wish I'd stayed watching Eurosport this afternoon - Lazio's game against Perugia didn't seem to have much to offer after half an hour, but Stankovic scored for Lazio just before half-time, and the second half saw a further three goals and four dismissals. Lazio came out with the right end of a 3-1 scoreline in both cases.

The hand-the-title-on-a-plate-to-Madrid circus fired up in La Liga this weekend. The Galacticos struggled to a 2-1 win against third bottom side Albacete, Beckham and Zidane scoring for Madrid, but Deportivo La Coruna surrendered top spot on goal difference to Madrid as they could only manage a goalless draw at Real Betis. Meanwhile Valencia had to work to save a point at Murcia, coming away with a 2-2 draw, which was bad luck for Espanyol: the bottom side had picked up a last-minute 1-0 win with ten men against Sevilla and would have moved above Murcia if they hadn't held out against Valencia.

Not much change at the top of the Bundesliga this weekend. Stuttgart needed two late goals from Meissner to secure a 3-1 win over Hannover 96 and maintain a two-point lead at the top. Werder Bremen had an Ailton hat-trick to thank for their 3-0 win over Bochum, which allowed them to overtake Bayer Leverkusen who drew 2-2 at Dortmund, but after being 2-0 down and a man down must regard a point as a moral victory. Roy Makaay was on the scoresheet for Bayern yet again, this time picking up the only goal of the Munich derby against 1860, but the champions remain six points off the pace.Unanswered goals from Giuly and Fernando Morientes maintained AS Monaco's three-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 against Lens. Ref Gilles Veissiere was the key man for second-placed Lyon on Friday: he awarded them a 90th-minute penalty to secure a 1-0 win over Strasbourg on Friday. Marseille are three points further back in third after a 0-2 win at Lille courtesy of Drogba and Mido.

Wesley Sneijder scored an important goal at the Amsterdam Arena for the second time in a week - this time equalising for Ajax against Heerenveen, before the home side added two more to secure the points and increase their lead to four points. AZ slipped to third with a 1-5 hammering by Roda JC, with all bar one of the goals coming in the second half. PSV jumped into second spot with a come-from-behind win at NEC: 2-0 down and on the ropes, they pulled a goal back in the first half before Mateja Kezman struck twice in five minutes to snatch the points with 10 minutes to go. Feyenoord had an unsurprising 3-0 win at home to second-bottom Vitesse and are now just a point behind AZ.

Anderlecht continue to lead the Jupiler league by six points after an easy 0-2 win at second-bottom Mons on Friday. A brace from Emile Mpenza helped Standard Liege maintain their chase in second spot with a 3-0 win over Westerlo, and Genk scored four times in just over thirty second-half minutes to see off St-Truidense. Charleroi proved there's hope for all bottom teams out there with a 0-2 win over Lokeren to move out of the drop zone (admittedly against a team which they overtook as a result of the win, but just shows it's possible!).

A surprise result in the Gambrinus Liga saw champions Sparta Prague further lose their grip on the title with a 4-2 defeat at Jablonec. They're now in third spot behind Slavia - who lost themselves at Budejovice - and tomorrow could see Banik Ostrava taking an 8 point lead at the top if they win at home to Opava.

November 22: Saints chairman Rupert Lowe has complained that Gordon Strachan is being deliberately unsettled in his position at Elland Road with all the pieces appearing the press today. Lowe said: "This is another scurrilous little piece appearing in various newspapers and there's nothing in it. I guess the process of softening a manager up for a move is to suggest that all is not well in our camp but I can assure you that is not the case." Lowe insisted that he enjoyed a good personal and professional relationship with Strachan - and he pointed out the relative attractions of the two clubs: "They're bottom of the table, they have a caretaker manager in charge, they lost again today and they have large debts and need to do something quite radical to change their current situation." Strachan refused to comment at all on the rumours in the post-match press conference - but he does have a history of sticking to the subject of the game in hand. I guess we'll have to wait and see what transpires on Monday.

November 22: There's a good piece in today's Telegraph in which Eddie Gray talks about the club's prospects and his position as manager. He points out that the only thing he can focus on right now is just trying to squeeze points out of every possible game, and even if he is passed over for the permanent post he will continue to follow the club: "Whether I leave or not, I will still feel part of Leeds United. I will still go to games. I grew up here, a lot of my pals I played with still live in the area, and I still see them, people like Peter Lorimer, Norman Hunter, Paul Madeley and Paul Reaney." And he became the latest in a long line to talk up the support the team has received this season. He said: "The fans have a bit of a siege mentality - 'We Are Leeds'. It is about pride in the club and the city. The noise at Elland Road despite losing games has been fantastic and the travelling support has been tremendous. Leeds fans have a tradition of sticking by the club through thick and thin." Worthwhile read of the full piece if you've got the time.

November 22: When Leeds were last relegated, the possibility of survival remained a real one until the very end. This season, there is a distinct danger that our survival chances will be nothing but mathematical before the Christmas decorations come down. Sure, we're a couple of wins away from the borders of midtable mediocrity - but I can't see where those wins would come from. We're a third of the way through the season and have eight points - can we get seven wins and twelve draws from the remaining games this season? Not on current form, that's for sure. Two defensive lapses today gifted the goals to Bolton and once again the midfield couldn't create enough real chances for the front men. Lamine Sakho got into a couple of good positions, James Milner ran tirelessly, and Jaaskelainen made a couple of good stops from Viduka. Eddie Gray couldn't create a sticking plaster big enough to patch up the year-long slump - and I can't see how anyone else can make a difference. The only way we are staying up is if our mysterious backer from Bahrain forks out on an Abramovich scale and does it now: a new manager and funds to spend on players in January

November 22: Eddie Gray was disappointed with the performance that his players turned in today, and made no bones about the fact that it was relegation form. But he couldn't shed any direct light on the managerial situation - although his demeanour did rather suggest that he might not be in charge for much longer. He said: "If somebody else comes in next week then all well and good, but whoever comes in, it's going to be a hard task. You look at the league table, you see the position off the field and you look at what you've got to work with and it's going to be difficult." Sam Allardyce was hugely pleased with the way his team performed in holding onto their lead: "We've kept three clean sheets in a row now - winning two games and drawing one - and that's important. I've always said that beating Leeds today was more important than beating the likes of Manchester United because it is vital you take points off the teams below you."

November 22: Derek Lilley equalised for Livingston at Motherwell just before half-time - ending the scoring with honours even at 1-1. Former Leeds youngster Nathan Lowndes celebrated his first start of the season with Plymouth's second goal in their 2-0 win over Hartlepool. Veteran striker Bob Taylor scored a goal in each half has Cheltenham came back from a goal down to beat Carlisle 2-1. Warren Feeney gave Bournemouth hope of a point with an equaliser 15 minutes from time at Stockport - but it was to no avail as Stuart Barlow grabbed a late winner for the home side. Finally, not an ex-Leeds player as such, but Eddie Gray's son Stuart had a slightly better day than his father - scoring the second of Rushden's four unanswered goals against Colchester.

November 21: Former Leeds and Scotland captain Gary McAllister says that Gordon Strachan is the man who can revive Leeds' fortunes - but he's not convinced that Leeds have the monetary muscle to rip the ginger one away from the Saints. Speaking on the BBC website, McAllister said: "Gordon is a man who inspires and he would fit the bill perfectly at Leeds." He went on: "In the present climate it is a very tough job to go and take on and I would be surprised to see him leave Southampton." And in a not-touting-for-an-assistants-job-at-all, he adds: "He had a big influence on me as a 25-year-old player and he still has a big influence on me now as a manager."

November 21: Eddie Gray says that Jody Morris has told him he can ride the terrace abuse that will no doubt be coming his way, and wants to play in this weekend's game against Bolton. Morris was in court facing serious charges earlier this week, but is maintaining his innocence and wants to make that clear in his actions. Gray said: "Jody knows what could be in store for him. He understands there is every likelihood of a reaction towards him from opposition fans... All I know is Jody wants to play. We had a lengthy chat about it after training. At the end of it he told me all he wants to do is get out there and concentrate on his football."

November 21: Rumours today suggest that Joel Sammi could end up at Old Trafford! Trialled by Leeds and Bolton, with no deals confirmed, it seems that Sammi had a trial for Man U earlier this week and is on the point of signing a permanent deal.

November 21: Bolton boss - and personal friend of Peter Reid - Sam Allardyce says that Peter Reid was dealt a tough hand by Leeds United. He said: "It was a very difficult task to keep them up last season but he did. Then he lost top players... It takes a long time to get your players to play as a team. Unfortunately Peter couldn't pinch the results and the time to get those players to gel. Being bottom of the division at Bolton is not as big a problem as being bottom of the division at Leeds." As part of the LMA, Allardyce will be negotiating with Leeds to ensure Reid is fully paid his contractual dues - but he doesn't see too much of a problem there: "I am sure Leeds will stick to the contract and honour it. That's what Peter wants so he can move on with his life."

November 20: Alan Smith says that he's now ready to get back to the football and is looking to get his England career back on track. Speaking in The Sun today, he said: "It has been a difficult week but I'm relieved it's over. It cost me a place in the England squad which was very important to me - and I hope it hasn't damaged my chances of going to the European Championship finals." And the striker paid tribute to the support he had received from the England coach: "Mr Eriksson has been very good about it all and assured me I'm still in his thoughts."

November 20: There's a combination of youth and experience in the reserve side to face Manchester United at Altrincham tonight. Jason Wilcox, Didier Domi and Michael Bridges join young hopefuls Simon Johnson, Aaron Lennon, Jamie McMaster and Paul Keegan, with French loanee Cyril Chapuis also named in the line-up.

November 20: Stephen McPhail's hopes of a permanent move to the City Ground have taken a knock with the end of his loan spell coming up. Forest boss Paul Hart says that he cannot afford to take on any more players unless the club's league position improves. He said: "I don't expect anything to happen because the chairman has said there is no money for players until we push up the table." McPhail has enjoyed his spell with Forest, making regular appearances for Paul Hart's side and doing enough to earn a slot in the Ireland side earlier this week. But he's over the Nationwide League age limit for long-term loanees, so must return to Leeds now that his three months is up. McPhail said: "I love being here and the players and staff have made me feel really welcome... I would love to stay at the club and have made that clear."

November 20: Mark Viduka is being chased by Valencia and Boro according to the latest rumours. But either move is unlikely without a sweetener from Leeds: Valencia are offering a generous package but won't meet his salary, and Boro only want to take him on loan up to the end of the season.

November 20: Eddie Gray says he won't be worrying about the lack of a coaching qualification in the next three months - he's just going to concentrate on picking up the points while he's in charge. If it looks likely that he is going to be a longer-term choice for the manager's job, he should have no problem picking up the necessary bit of paper in the time available. He said: "At least I know I can do the caretaker job for the time being and I'll be caretaker until somebody tells me otherwise... I will just get on with the job. It is up to the club to decide what they want to do."

November 20: Harpal Singh is due to go under the knife after suffering a dislocated shoulder while on loan at Bury. Leeds had agreed that Singh could spend the rest of the season at Gigg Lane, but he's going to need a fairly major bit of surgery on his shoulder and is expected to be out for up to three months. Bury boss Andy Preece said: "It's a big blow for him and a big blow for us. He's obviously gutted because he wanted to get a full season under his belt, but at least he will be back well before the end of the season."

November 20: They're dropping like flies! Neil Warnock committed himself to Sheffield United today, telling their official website: "There has been no approach from Leeds and I've not given it a thought. I've been here four years changing this club around and we have made great strides - the carrot is in sight. Everyone knows Sheffield United are my club and my aim is to get us into the Premiership. I'm enjoying every minute of it - I'm staying." Gordon Strachan continues to be the main man as far as the bookies are concerned, with the Wee Man expected to tell Saints that he wants to be allowed to talk to Leeds about the job after this weekend's match against Chelsea.

November 20: Finally a patch or two of blue sky on the horizon: Lucas Radebe should be back in contention for a first team spot in the next week or two after being out for nearly two months with knee problems. He'll need a couple of reserve games first, but his experience could be very useful as the new management tries to pull the team out of a slump. And with so many of our problems this season coming from weak performances by the midfield, the fact that Eirik Bakke has started running again after his knee op must come as good news. We probably won't see him in the first team until February, but again he's the sort of experienced player who could do a lot to steady the ship and get Leeds back on course.

November 20: Aaron Lennon put Leeds 0-1 up against Man U reserves in tonight's match at Altrincham, but the home side fought back, scoring twice in quick succession to register a 2-1 win.

November 19: Caretaker boss Eddie Gray has been given special dispensation to manage the club by the Premier League after it emerged that he did not possess the necessary formal qualifications. As of this season, all FAPL managers must either hold a UEFA Pro coaching licence, or be in possession of a management diploma awarded if the manager has already been doing the job for 10 years. Gray has been told he must pick up the UEFA licence within three months if he is to continue in the job.

November 19: As the Leeds board returns from various holidays and business trips around the world, stories in the press today say that they are ready to make a formal approach to Southampton for the services of Gordon Strachan. Saints are likely to want upwards of half a million in compensation - although this could be limited by the relatively short amount of time left on Strachan's contract. However, funds to be made available by Allan Leighton's consortium - essentially Sheikh Abdul Mubarrak Al-Khalifa - should cover this and make some transfer money available to the incoming boss. Strachan is rapidly becoming odds-on favorite with some bookies now closing their books to new bets in a surefire indication that they think that a deal is imminent.

November 19: The CPS have dropped the case against Alan Smith after admitting there was no chance of them winning any sort of case against him. Neil Franklin - CPS head honcho in West Yorkshire - said: "Area lawyers decided there was insufficient evidence to prove a realistic prospect of securing a conviction in respect of any potential Public Order Act or assault charges." So now we just sit back and wait for the FA to ignore the Barthez precedent and throw the book at him.

November 19: There will have to be a few changes to the team for Saturday's game against Bolton, starting with the enforced absence through suspension of Dominic Matteo and Alan Smith. Eddie Gray is thought to believe that Michael Bridges is still not really fit enough to last a full 90 minutes (anyone who has seen him so far this season would probably agree), so it looks like it will be Lamine Sakho partnering Mark Viduka up front. At the back it will be a straight swap with Camara replacing Matteo, and a similar swap is likely in midfield with David Batty coming in for Roque Junior - who won't be back from World Cup duty with Brazil until Friday night. Gray also indicated that he would not let Matt Kilgallon extend his loan spell at West Ham, given the injury problems that Leeds were facing. He said: "I definitely want him back here because he is a young central defender who has shown a lot of promise. We are a bit thin on the ground at this club for central defenders at the moment." For Bolton, Youri Djorkaeff is set to return from injury after palying a half in a friendly last weekend.

November 19: Jody Morris appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court today, charged along with Kristofer Dickie with raping a 20-year-old woman on October 6. Both men were granted bail and are set to appear in the Crown Court on December 17. The football club later issued a statement which read: "Leeds United AFC is aware that Jody Morris has been charged with an offence and bailed by Leeds Magistrates' Court this morning. The Club had a meeting with Jody Morris and his solicitor immediately after court. The player has reconfirmed his denial of the allegation. The Club has considered carefully the employment position and has taken legal advice. In English law there is a presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty. In these circumstances and as a responsible employer, the Club feels that the proper course of action is to allow the player to resume his duties pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings. The Club will continue to monitor the situation closely."

November 19: Robbie Keane struck twice to seal a 3-0 win for Ireland last night in their friendly against Canada last night. Ian Harte also made an appearance, coming on as a half-time sub and Stephen McPhail got 20 minutes at the end of the game. In tonight's Euro 2004 qualifiers, Gary Speed captained Wales as they tried to qualify for their first finals in living memory, but they conceded a first half goal to Russia and failed to make the most of the chances they created to fall at the final hurdle. Raul Bravo again made it to the bench for Spain, but stayed there as they enjoyed a fairly easy win in Norway to qualify for the finals in Portugal.

November 18: You know that we're in trouble when the likes of Bradford City are holding up Leeds as an example of somewhere worse off than themselves. Chairman Gordon Gibb is currently searching for a manager to succeed Nicky Law, and he says that Bradford are a better bet for any manager looking for a new job. He told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus: "I think there are more positive angles to our job that at Leeds at the moment. I think there are more positive proposition from a challenge point of view."

November 18: Gordon Strachan is now 2-1 clear favorite with William Hill to be the next Leeds manager after a flood of support for the former Leeds skipper. George Graham has also been the sibject of some support (maybe by Leeds fans planning on buying a one-way plane ticket to somewhere nice and warm should Georgie get the job). However Saints chairman Rupert Lowe has once again poured scorn on suggestions in the press that Strachan had been given permission to talk to Leeds. Lowe said: "Gordon is under contract here. It is just a lot of speculation, and why would Gordon want to leave a club that is ninth in the table and solvent for an insolvent club at the bottom?" Which was my point of last week: nobody in a moderately secure position now could possibly want to come to Leeds - but the rumours continue to do the rounds that Strachan is less than fully happy with his board, and with his contract barely 6 months away from completion the speculation will continue.

November 18: Glory Days hero Mick Jones reckons that Eddie Gray should take a leaf out of Don Revie's and David O'Leary's book and give the youngsters a chance to shine. O'Leary sealed his bid to become Leeds manager by giving a serious first team run to the likes of Jon Woodgate, Stephen McPhail, Alan Smith and Harry Kewell, and with an appointment before Saturday now looking increasingly unlikely, Jones says that Gray will have nothing to lose by using the youngsters. He said: "The side I played in contained eight who came through the youth policy, with just three players bought in, and yes, I know times have changed since then. But I think there are a few players not playing with the passion and pride that is needed in situations like this, especially in defence. When times are hard you have to show that passion for the shirt and give 120% and if you've got 11 players doing that then that's half the battle."

November 18: The always accurate and always Leeds-loving Daily Mirror suggests that the board will not offer a contract extension to David Batty in the summer as if this is some big shock and a slap in the face for the player. Well duh! Batts has always said he wanted to retire at this age, and even though he's made a big difference to the team when he's played this season, he's continued to be troubled by injuries and has been clear that it his motivation has been to play football as long as he could, but go out at the top and avoid any temptation of going in for coaching or management (which given his known dislike of training is hardly surprising). The Leeds board are hardly in the position to award contracts to players who would continue to require a large salary even if their chances of playing a full season were limited, so it's just common sense (not that we'd expect much of that from the Mirror).

November 18: Jody Morris was re-arrested by West Yorkshire Police today, and has been charged with rape in connection with an incident that is alleged to have happened in the early hours of October 7. A 26-year-old man from London has been similarly charged. Another man - understood to be Jermaine Pennant - was also questioned but has been released on bail without charge. Morris and the other man are expected to appear at Leeds Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

November 17: French defender Joel Sammi - who spent a month with Leeds during the summer - is now on trial at Bolton. Sammi appeared in the Leeds team photo for this season, but was never given a squad number and despite turning in some respectable performances in the pre-season games, Leeds failed to sign him up.

November 17: Former chairman Peter Ridsdale says that he's hoping that he can help Barnsley win promotion to Division 1 this season - but he doesn't want to be facing Leeds when they go up. He said: "Our overwhelming ambition now is First Division football next season, but if we are promoted I hope we will not be playing Leeds United. I want them to stay in the Premiership."

November 17: Eddie Gray has obviously been doing his Christmas shopping early - he's been infected with the Slade virus! "We must all look to the future now," he said. On a slightly more serious note, he says that Mark Viduka will return to the line-up in place of the suspended Alan Smith, and adds: "We are adrift at the foot of the table but the players realise they have to fight for the club's survival at the highest level. They know the performance in the 6-1 defeat at Portsmouth was unacceptable and they'll be doing their utmost to make sure it isn't repeated this season. Personal pride has a lot to do with it."

November 17: Former Chelsea and Watford manager Gianluca Vialli is the latest to add his name to the long list of managers denying that they have any intention of coming to Leeds. His agent said: "The suggestion that he will be Leeds manager is absolute nonsense." In other news, a leading medium tells me that Herbert Chapman has also dismissed suggestions that he should come out of "retirement" to manage Leeds. "He's got better things to do with his time these days," she said.

November 17: The U-17 side recorded a 1-0 win over Boro at the weekend to move into second spot in their group courtesy of an Ian Morris strike. Leeds Ladies conceded two goals in the second half of their game at Everton to allow their hosts to leapfrog them into third spot in the league.

November 17: Man City boss Kevin Keegan has said that Darren Huckerby can leave the club in the transfer window - if the price is right. Huckerby has never quite made the grade at the very top level but has been extremely effective in Division 1, where he is currently helping Norwich challenge for promotion. Keegan said: "Apparently his wife and kids like the area and he is enjoying the club. Now it is up to Norwich and they know what the deal - there are other clubs which are interested." With Anelka, Wanchope and Fowler all favoured ahead of him by Keegan, it's clear that he won't get much of a look-in over the 18 months that remain on his contract, so it's in his best interest to move on, but he'll almost certainly have to take a pay cut wherever he ends up if he wants a regular game.

November 17: The chairman of the Football League has told a government inquiry group that the latest TV contracts will only serve to widen the gap between the rich and poor clubs. Leeds currently have the huge advantage of Premier League status, where TV money remains pretty good even for the teams in the bottom half of the table who appear far less frequently than the favoured four. But a drop to the Nationwide would hammer revenues from broadcasting, as Sir Brian Mawhinney pointed out. He said: "The wording of the new TV deal will lead to richer clubs becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. The money gap across football will increase rather than decrease." One possible bright light for the lower division clubs is the current European investigation into the possible abuse of monopoly positions on the sale of TV rights: it looks like they are set to declare the latest deal in which Sky get all of the live rights illegal. The Premier League is fighting back, declaring that the deal is to the benefit of the game as a whole, and is dangling a carrot of an improved financial donation to the Nationwide League clubs if the Sky deal is allowed to proceed. Not that we should be bothered about the TV rights position for Nationwide clubs, because we are - of course - staying up!

November 16: Red-top rumours today suggest that Leeds are about to make an official approach to Southampton for the services of Gordon Strachan. But Saints chairman Rupert Lowe has stressed that he intends to hang on to his manager, repeating his point from last week: "Gordon Strachan is under contract so there is nothing to say and we do not comment on speculation."

November 16: Paul Robinson played the second half of England's 2-3 defeat by Denmark at Old Trafford. He nearly made a very early appearance after David James cleaned out a Danish player just outside the box but escaped with a yellow card. Robbo made some excellent saves as England's second string defence let the visitors get into some excellent positions, before blotting his copybook by spilling a powerful strike into the path of Jon Dahl Tomasson to gift Denmark the winner.

November 16: Today's Sunday Mirror says that Alan Smith will be sold to Liverpool when the transfer window opens as Leeds try to raise some cash to go towards the much-needed financial restructuring of the club. Newcastle and ManU are also said to be interested, but Smithy remains committed to Elland Road.

November 16: Leeds' new Chief Executive Trevor Birch faces another tough week as he prepares to do the City rounds with FD Neil Robson to try to persuade the major shareholders and bondholders to accept a refinancing package that would guarantee Leeds' survival and maybe even trigger the release of some funds to acquire a player or two to help the team retain Premier League status. Allan Leighton has reportedly been playing hardball with key creditors, making it clear to them that the alternative to the proposed refinancing package could be bankruptcy and a total loss to the creditors - so now it looks like Birch and Robson are getting to do the "good cop" routine and talk the money men into opening their wallets.

November 16: The good folks from the Football Fans Census want your input on their latest survey. They'd like to know who you see as the club's biggest rivals, why and what inter-club rivalry means to you. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete their surveys and the info is put to good use, so why not click over there now.

November 16: Stu Sprake is putting together a biography of Leeds and Wales star keeper Gary Sprake and would like a bit of help. He says: "Some ex team mates have been of great help - others have told me where to shove my pen. Can you ask the good folk out there to share their memories - they can be as libellous as they like - the responsibility is mine." I'm sure there's quite a few of you out there with favorite stories and memories of the man on and off the field, so why not drop Stu a line and help him out.

November 15: Alan Smith's agent said that his client was extremely upset to be missing out on a chance to set down a marker for a place in the Euro 2004 squad. Alex Black said: "I spoke to Alan and unsurprisingly he has a mixture of emotions. First and foremost, he is bitterly disappointed at missing out on a chance to play for England. He has been out of the squad for a while - 13 months now - and he saw this as an excellent opportunity to get himself back in the frame for the European Championships." Meanwhile the England players issued a statement through the PFA in which they expressed their disappointment in the way that the FA had handled this and the Rio drugs test situation, and called for absolute clarity in the future on the rules for eligibility for the England squad.

November 15: Gary Speed captained Wales in an excellent team performance as they gained a goalless draw in Moscow this afternoon - now they need any sort of win at the Millenium Stadium next week to qualify for Euro 2004. Quite a few league games cancelled today - and the only Division 1 game saw Nigel Worthington's managerial qualifications take a bit of a knock as Norwich slumped to their first home defeat of the season, losing 1-2 to Watford. Warren Feeney's goalscoring run continued - but it was just a consolation for Bournemouth as they went down 1-2 at home to Peterborough. Another consolation goal for Jamie Forrester too - he scored in the last minute for Hull but not before Huddersfield had bagged three in the McAlpine Stadium. Jason Blunt equalised for Tamworth at Forest Green, but again ended up on the losing side as the home team came back with a second goal.

November 14: Just hours after he arrived at the team hotel to join the England squad for this weekend's friendly, Alan Smith was sent home on the instructions of the FA. It seems that they now think that anyone arrested or under investigation by the police should not turn out for England. That didn't stop Nicky Butt winning three caps last summer after he had been arrested on suspicion of being involved in an assault, but we all know that it's one rule for Leeds and one rule for everyone else. The England players are reportedly furious with the FA, and Sven wanted Smith to stay with the squad even if he couldn't be considered for the game, saying: "I am sad for Alan, I know he has already apologised for what has happened. Once the case is concluded, I have told Alan that this will not affect his chances of future selection with England." But the FA stamped their feet and had their way on the issue. The FA - or at least one part of it - did know that Smith was being interviewed by the police and that an arrest was a possibility, but that does not seem to have been communicated to the selection committee, and they are now conducting an internal inquiry into the matter. I can save them the bother: the problem arose because you're a bunch of useless old hypocrites - resign now and let somebody with half a brain take over.

November 14: Jermaine Pennant has had his loan deal with Leeds extended for a further four weeks, taking him up to the Christmas period. After an initial good start, his form has tailed off a bit and I can't believe the Gunners were too impressed with what he did against them at Elland Road a couple of weeks ago. But he's still young, and under Eddie Gray he might just be able to start delivering on his undoubted talent.

November 14: Peter Reid came in for some praise from a most unlikely quarter today - Brazilian centreback Roque Junior. Although the Milan loanee has not exactly impressed us with his defensive displays so far, he's still in the Brazilian squad and his experience around the world must make his opinion count for something. He said: "If some of the guys think Reid gives players a hard time, I don't see the problem. I worked with Felipe Scolari who won the World Cup, Carlo Ancelotti who won the Champions League with Milan and Wanderley Luxemburgo who was also Brazil coach. So I know what tough is. I do not care what the media say about Reid but I do care about what I see with my own eyes on the training pitch - and Reid's work methods are among the best I have ever seen. I just wish there were more coaches with vision and imagination like him."

November 14: Leeds skipper Dominic Matteo will appear on tomorrow's Football Focus on BBC1 talking about the departure of Peter Reid. Dom reiterates his belief that the players let Reid down and says: "We know our performances aren't good enough. At the end of the day we can't get any worse." And he's confident that the team can turn things around and that Eddie Gray can help. He said: "We have to get some wins now because we are bottom and it's not pretty. I think the Leeds fans deserve better because they have been absolutely brilliant this year."

November 14: Old Big Head reckons that Leeds should go for Paul Hart as their new boss - and has a swipe at the club for failing to have the new man in place before getting rid of Peter Reid. Speaking in today's Sun, Clough said: "He is now a solid and reliable manager - as he's proved at Forest for two years. And if Leeds are to be saved from relegation this season I believe he is equipped to pull it off. Why? Well, firstly, because he's done it once at Forest."

November 14: Nigel Worthington has been busy ruling himself out of the Leeds job. Now doing pretty well with limited resources at Norwich City, Worthington said: "There has been no call from Leeds. I am not looking for any calls from Leeds, I'm very happy. Why leave a club that is two quid in debt and go to a club that is 80 million in debt?" Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe says that talk of Gordon Strachan moving to Leeds is nonsense - despite a strong move in the betting market in favour of the Championship-winning former Leeds captain. Lowe said that Leeds chief exec Trevor Birch had called him to deny there was anything behind the latest batch of press reports: "Trevor rang me up as some joker wrote a piece about it and the journalist certainly didn't take the trouble to contact me and I was grateful for him to take the time to ring me up."

November 13: David O'Leary has been the subject of a big gamble in the race for the Elland Road hot seat. The former Leeds manager is said to have fallen out with Deadly Doug Ellis with the perception that the Villa chairman has not fully backed O'Leary since his appointment in the summer. With Peter Ridsdale now gone the main personality obstacle to O'Leary's return has been removed, but the financial side may prove to be an insurmountable problem - finding a couple of million to buy out his contract at Villa might just be a little bit beyond the board at the moment. O'Leary has been backed from 66/1 down to 10/1, with William Hill noting that the last time this happened to such a long-odds bet was just before the appointment of Wilko at Sunderland last season. Paul Hart remains the clear favorite with the bookies, but the odds on Eddie Gray and Neil Warnock are pretty short.

November 13: Peter Ridsdale came the closest he ever has to admitting responsibility for Leeds' current dire financial situation. Speaking on BBC2 last night he said: "Mistakes were made, but I don't regret the ambition we had and the pursuit of that ambition." He went on: "Did we make mistakes? Yes, of course we did. Did we probably invest too much? I think time would suggest we invested too much as well." But remarkably he insists that he would not change a single thing! "Looking back, I know we were probably over-ambitious, we overstretched, we went that transfer too far and that in itself causes problems." He seems to be focusing on the transfer situation: "People shouldn't be pointing a finger if you not only recoup the cash but you also do a good job in the transfer market." But that rather glosses over the biggest issue which crucified the club: the bond and how the proceeds were spent, and over-inflated, under-incentivised contracts for players. And no, he's not offered to return all or part of the huge pay-off it took to get him to walk away from the train wreck he had created last year - what do you expect - miracles?

November 13: John Barnwell of the League Managers Association has hit out at Leeds' dismissal of Peter Reid - and expects to be back at the club with lawyers in tow to sort out a financial settlement for Peter Reid similar to the golden "sod-offs" (can't really call them goodbyes) paid to DOL and El Tel. Barnwell said: "Peter was brought in to salvage what was left of the wreckage, knowing that there was very little money there, but what he found was far worse than he had been told." And in a nudge towards Trevor Birch, he agrees with one of my points from last night: "The appointment procedure is flawed and you have to ask who is making the appointments, and you still see the same people there."

November 13: It never rains but it pours. Alan Smith has been arrested in connection with the incident at the end of the ManU game when he picked up a plastic bottle that had been thrown onto the pitch and lobbed in back into the crowd where it struck a female fan. The injured fan did not express any desire to press charges at the time, but West Yorkshire Police do things their own sweet way. It took them about a month to arrest "a 31-year-old man" after Fabien Barthez kicked a bottle into the crowd at Elland Road, but not much seemed to come of that, so maybe they'll drop the case when they realise that the defence will be able to produce 35,000 witnesses who will swear blind that Smithy didn't throw the bottle and any TV pictures indicating anything different have clearly been doctored by a ManU fan.

November 13: Speaking from a holiday in Dubai, DOL told the Villa official website that he had no intention of leaving the club to return to Leeds, despite intensive press speculation on the subject today. He said: "I have a three-year deal at Aston Villa and I hope I'm here for a lot longer than that. If the board came to me tomorrow and asked me to sign a longer deal, I'd sign it." Of course you would David - that would just ensure you get another inflated pay-off when you get the boot! And he added: "I want to make it clear that David O'Leary is not a man to throw his dummy out of the pram over money. I have a great relationship with the chairman and nothing has changed from my arrival in May." Now where have we heard that last bit before?

November 13: Today's YEP has an interview with new Chief Exec Trevor Birch that is long and quite enlightening. He talks about his origins in the game as a reserve teamer at Anfield, and also on the situation yhe's inherited at Leeds and where he sees things going. Interestingly, he says: "Leeds will never be a leading club again unless it's got a state-of-the-art stadium in which there are 5,000-plus seats of a 45,000-50,000 capacity taken by corporate hospitality. Otherwise you cannot generate the revenue." He goes on: "Here at Leeds, the new stadium is when the good times are going to return. It's a priority but it has to form part of an overall solution. The number one priority at the moment is surviving in the Premiership. You can't think of anything else this season other than survival, because the ramifications of failing to achieve that are too horrible to contemplate. And yes, administration would figure very highly in those ramifications." Definitely worth taking the time to read the whole thing to get a better understanding of the new man in charge.

November 13: Alan Smith joins Paul Robinson in Sven's squad for this weekend's friendly with Denmark at Old Trafford. The squad is a little bit experimental - but should be more so. There's almost no point in playing the likes of Beckham and Owen in these friendlies - far better to give the possibles a good long run to see what they can do rather than watching the probables/absolute certainties go through the motions.

November 13: Mark Viduka denied that he had been late for training and said that he had just been used by Peter Reid as a convenient scapegoat for Leeds' poor form. Speaking to The Australian, he said: "Reid first dropped me from the team because someone had told him I was late for training but that wasn't the case. In fact I turned up early, 90 minutes before the scheduled start to get treatment from the club physio for a lower back problem... I told one of Reid's assistants beforehand, but that message was never passed on." And Viduka made conciliatory noises towards the club: "To tell you the truth, I'm happy at Leeds. I first joined the club for the sole purpose to help the club win trophies.,, I'm just as disappointed as the next guy with the way things started under Peter Reid this season. But the season is still early and deep down I know we're good enough to get out of the cellar." That doesn't really square with the way his agent was hawking him around Europe this season, with what must have been the player's tacit if not explicit approval. But the big bet that the board and new manager will have to make is whether or not Leeds can survive without Viduka's goals. Selling the player wouldn't bring in much cash - but it would take three million a year out of the expense column, but that would be chickenfeed compared to the negative impact of relegation.

November 12: A variety of reports in today's papers said that Eddie Gray was set to let Mark Viduka get away without paying the two weeks' wages fine imposed by Peter Reid. But it now seems that, although Gray has brought the striker back into the fold, the fines will stand. Viduka played the first half of last night's testimonial at Cambridge and is expected to be fit and back in the squad for the visit of Bolton on Saturday week.

November 12: Goalkeeping coach Steve Sutton says that Eddie Gray could get the job on a permanent basis - but added that, at the moment, nobody at the club had any idea how long Gray would be in charge as caretaker. Sutton said: "Eddie has a vast knowledge of the game and the club. He is Mr Leeds and will demand better performances - but we have demanded that the whole season. Eddie had a great rapport with the players when he was here the last time and has seen some of the boys right the way through. And, hopefully, will be able to get some decent results."

November 12: Danny Mills has poured cold water on the suggestion that Peter Reid's departure from Elland Road might mean an early return from the Riverside for him. But he did say once again that he didn't see his Leeds career as necessarily over. "As far as I'm concerned I've signed a loan deal with Middlesborough for the season and unless I'm mistaken, it means just that. That does not mean that I have turned my back on Leeds." Speaking on his personal website, he added: "Good luck to Eddie Gray and I really do hope that things can quickly turn around for the better and they can start going forward again."

November 12: Just how terminal is the situation at Elland Road? Leaving aside the dream scenario of a Russian/Arabian/Greek billionaire rushing to the rescue and waving a magic wand a la Chelsea, what sort of future does the club face on and off the pitch? In the short term, it's clear that relegation must be avoided at all costs: if we go down it's hard to see how we would stay out of administration, and with the Nationwide 10-12 point penalty operational next season, a drop to Division 1 would almost certainly be followed by relegation to Division 2 the following season. Although administration would give the plc the chance to effectively write off a huge proportion of the debt (creditors and bond-holders would probably receive not much more than 10p in the pound), we would be certain to lose our best players for not very much money, despite the protestations of loyalty and love of the club from the likes of Robbo, Smithy and Milner.

Gates would be down to around the low twenty thousand mark for home games, and we'd get the full-on RoboCop reception at tiny away grounds since the couple of thousand regular travellers would keep turning up and any local nutters would leap at the chance of some real aggro with a big club like Leeds (witness Scunthorpe last year). We would effectively be in the same position Sheffield Wednesday are now - and who can see them making a charge up the league in the near future?

So let's assume we manage to avoid relegation - what then? The financial situation will start to improve in the summer as several players on fat contracts reach the end of their deals at Leeds and will need to either renegotiate radically lower-paid deals with performance bonuses or move on - either way, the club gains a significant improvement in cashflow. We'll no longer be paying off the managerial and board-level incompetents who are responsible for the club's downfall after this season, and supplementary payments to the Robbies Keane and Fowler will also drop off in the near future. But the big fat debt will remain - even allowing for a restructuring - and the need to repay some of the capital can only be fed by the sale of players who aren't already mortgaged and who are on decent contracts at the club. So we spend a couple or three years selling off our better home-grown talent and hope to hold onto enough solid journeymen to finish 17th or higher. Finally we can once again start grinding our way back up the table and into contention for the odd UEFA or InterToto Cup place - by about 2008-09.

So I finally get on to the manager's job, and I'm reminded of the lines from the Hitch Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy in which Douglas Adams points out that, given the amount of false-promising, brown-nosing and outright lying needed to succeed in politics that under no circumstances should anyone capable of getting themselves elected be allowed to wield the power of the position in question. The job of Leeds United manager has been described as a "no-lose scenario" by some people, and to a certain extent I'd agree: if you come in and somehow avoid relegation then you're a hero, but if we go down then nobody will blame you that much given the state the club is in - although you will then probably find yourself on the dole and out of pocket at the end of the season as administration or bankruptcy ensues. And that's my point: if you've currently got a job in which you're moderately secure and haven't been walking around with a bag over your head for the last 18 months then you must either be absolutely bloody certifiable or have the long-shot gambling instincts of Peter Ridsdale to want to walk out of your current role and take your chances at Leeds. Step forward Paul Hart, Gordon Strachan, Nigel Worthington, Neil Warnock and Paul Sturrock - then step back again realising you should be thankful for what you've got. So that leaves us with the opportunity to take on managers who don't have jobs or who are unstable in their current roles. Do we really want Glenn Hoddle's man management skills, George Graham's inability to live outside the M25 or Bryan Robson - who needed Terry Venables' help to keep Boro up? Gary McAllister is looking a bit insecure at Cov - but it's hard to see how a large section of Leeds fans would wear that appointment given their somewhat negative perception of his departure from the club.

So who does that leave? Would Chris Kamara exchange his nice warm seat on the sofa at Sky for the red hot seat at Elland Road? Maybe - and he'd certainly have the fans on his side after his brief but committed spell at the club in the early nineties. But it's hard to see how any the club can look much further than the man they've appointed as caretaker. Eddie Gray is Leeds through and through, it seems he's still respected by the players and will never want for support from the stands. His managerial record isn't brilliant - although he was hard done by when the Leeds board sacked him after failing to provide any funds to bring in a couple of half-decent experienced players to supplement the talented crop of youngsters he had developed. If we go down under Eddie we'll go down playing good football and fielding players who have pride in the shirt - and his insight and experience of the current squad's strengths and weaknesses will give him an advantage over anyone coming in from outside at this stage of the season that might just be enough to stop the rot and keep us afloat long enough to secure the club's future.

Given the track record of several members of the current board, the best thing that Trevor Birch can do is close his ears to their suggestions and hints on their favorites for the role. Pick Eddie and back him to the hilt Mr Birch - you know it's the only sensible choice.

November 12: Despite rumours doing the rounds that Paul Hart has already had talks at Elland Road, the Forest manager denied all knowledge of any contact from Leeds. Hart said: "The speculation is none of my doing and I honestly don't feel the need to be forever reacting to situations beyond my control. It may be seen by some people as flattering to be linked with other clubs but it can also have a nuisance element to it. All I can say is that I have never been more committed to my job with Nottingham Forest and all that concerns me is our game against Wigan a week on Saturday."

November 12: Jon Woodgate may have moved on to Newcastle - but he says his heart goes out to Leeds fans over the problems at the club. He said: "I love Leeds through and through. I was there from the age of 13 to 23. I wish them all the luck in the world and I'm just praying to god that they don't go down because I would be absolutely distraught." He had plenty of praise for the caretaker manager: "He brought me through the youth team. We won the FA Youth Cup under him, the reserve league under him; he brought me into the first team. He's like a mentor to me... Eddie's first class and a lovely bloke as well. I reckon he would keep them up without a doubt. He's a brilliant man, a fantastic manager and will have the players' respect from day one."

November 11: Leeds captain Dom Matteo said that the players were all "gutted" about Peter Reid's departure and that they felt they had let the manager down. In an interview on LUTV he says: "I think the gaffer has been picking the right team but we've not performed. It's us to blame really and I feel sorry for him." And he adds: "I'm gutted for him and wish him all the best and good luck in whatever he does." As to the future, he welcomed the involvement of Eddie Gray: "Eddie's come in and will give us a lift and, hopefully, the fans can get behind us and we can get some results We are not too far behind people, a couple of wins will put us right back in it, but it's up to us to stop talking about it and do it."

November 11: Plymouth boss Paul Sturrock was just one of many managers playing down the media hysteria that has been connecting just about anybody still breathing with the now-vacant Leeds job. Sturrock said: "It's pure media speculation. I've got a job of work to get on with...I'm not prepared to discuss or surmise. At the end of the day, it just upsets everyone." Neil Warnock said that nobody from Leeds had been in touch with him: "I spoke to my chairman last night and he told me he had heard nothing. It is all speculation and you can't do anything about that can you?" Derek Dooley - his chairman at Sheffield United - agreed that no contact had been made, but added: "Reluctantly I would let him go. I'm hoping that's not going to come. Neil would be a hard act to follow and I dread thinking what's going to happen and who we're going to get after that." Meanwhile Paul Hart also insisted that he knew nothing about any move by Leeds to offer him the job. He said: "There has been no contact whatsoever... I'm manager of Nottingham Forest as far as I know and I can only talk about Forest." His chairman, Nigel Doughty said: "I think I speak for everyone connected with the club in saying I would very much like Paul and his backroom team to stay on at the City Ground and continue the excellent job they have done in the last two-and-a-half years." New Leeds chief exec Trevor Birch insists there is no timetable for making a new appointment (cf last night's hints that the new boss would be installed by the Bolton game - have they been rebuffed already?). Birch said: "The important thing for Leeds is to appoint the right person however long that takes." Paul Hart remains the odds-on favorite with the bookies, with Eddie Gray and Neil Warnock at comparatively long odds against.

November 11: Mark Viduka was back in the Leeds squad for tonight's trip to the Abbey Stadium for John Taylor's Testimonial game. Caretaker boss Eddie Gray is rebuilding bridges with the player who has been alienated not just from Peter Reid but also from other members of the playing and coaching staff after his recent displays of petulance. But Gray said: "He's a major player in our squad, a great goalscorer and a smashing player. His problems here have been well-documented in the last few weeks, so I will have a chat to Mark. But I'm fully expecting him to be lining up against Bolton."

November 11: A whole host of former Leeds players lined up to back Eddie Gray as the man to take Leeds through this crisis period. In today's YEP, Mick Jones says: "I see him and the other lads quite a lot and I know exactly what Leeds means to him. The crowd do too and they'll be right behind him straight away... I hope he can do it and I know the rest of the lads from my era are hoping the same thing as well." Peter Lorimer is another fan: "Let's not under-estimate what Eddie's achieved. You only have to look back two-and-a-half years to when Leeds were playing the best football at Elland Road since my day." Lorimer points out what many Leeds fans believe - that DOL's introduction of Brian Kidd as head coach was the beginning of the club's downfall (on the field at least!). Finally Mel Sterland said that Gray's knowledge of what had been going on at the club would help him: "He's not coming in with his eyes closed which is important because we need to hit the ground running straight away."

November 11: Eddie Gray fulfilled Peter Reid's promise to John Taylor at the Abbey Stadium tonight, fielding a first choice Leeds XI for the first half of Taylor's testimonial match. Seth Johnson opened the scoring for Leeds, and when the reserves came out in the second period, Lamine Sakho added to the Leeds tally and Cyril Chapuis chipped in with a hat-trick. Cambridge grabbed a few goals themselves in the closing stages, the match finishing up at 5-3 to Leeds.

November 11: Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray says that he can't really see much logic behind Leeds' decision to sack Peter Reid - even allowing for the 6-1 defeat at Fratton Park. Gray points the finger at the players, and notes that although the likes of Smithy are giving 100% to the club all the time, certain other players have failed the club and themselves. Gray says: "Even if you don't like the manager, you should still be honest and play for the club and the fans and Viduka has hardly knocked his pan this season. His antics just leave a bad taste in the mouth." And so say all of us...

November 11: Peter Reid said that he'd enjoyed his time managing Leeds - despite how it turned out, and he thanked the fans for their magnificent support. Reid said: "Words fail me when I talk about the fans. They've been fantastic with me and they've been right behind the team. The supporters have been brilliant all along. In 30 years I've never seen support like I did at the Arsenal game a couple of weeks ago. The fans at Leeds are fantastic."

November 10: Reports late on Sunday night suggest that Peter Reid will be sacked by the board on Monday morning at the direction of Allan Leighton. Leighton is understood to have arranged some fresh financing for the club courtesy of a wealthy individual from a Gulf state - but the money will only be forthcoming if a new manager is in place. Gordon Strachan and Paul Hart are inevitably the front-runners being mentioned in the press.

November 10: Peter Reid had more praise for the fans but was incredulous at his players after Saturday's catastrophic result continued a run that is getting near to breaking a few records. Reid said: "It embarrasses me how good the fans are and I'm not giving you any bull here. I genuinely feel for them because they've been tremendous to me and quite frankly we've not done a tap for them. I sense the players don't even realise the desperate situation we are in. Words fail me - I've never known a worse 45 minutes in football as a manager or a player." Based on 3 points for a win, the current run of three points from eight games has been done before - the dog days of Wilko's reign at the end of 1995-96 saw one spell of 9 games bring just 4 points. The first 10 games of 1981-82 saw Allan Clarke's side win two and draw two - and we all know what happened after that! The disastrous 1946-47 season remains the benchmark against which all other failures are judged when a run of 17 games saw us gain just 2 points, although 1926-27 also had a very poor run which ended in relegation. As for the game in question, we've lost by five-goal margins in the past (notably 2-7 at Stoke just before Christmas 1986) and there are a couple of occasions when we've conceded six, but you've got to go back to 9 September 1959 at Old Trafford for the last time we were beaten by a greater margin in the league. The statistical omens are not good - but we're still not that far adrift and have some good players. All we need is for them to start playing to their abilities and we'll be in the clear. Ah...the pills have kicked in!

November 10: Pompey manager Harry Redknapp said that Peter Reid can't be expected to bring any sort of success to Leeds as long as senior players fail to justify their huge wages. Redknapp said: "Surely Mark Viduka should get out there and play in times of crisis. I don't know what is behind it all but it is obvious Leeds need their best players. Peter can only work with what he's got. Leeds have lost their best players - lots of them. I think it is something that could happen to other clubs if they take too many risks with money. Leeds have got to be careful they don't do a Sheffield Wednesday and go right down the divisions. It is a long way back." And former Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson was also clear that the right thing to do now would be to plan long-term and back Reid in the short term. On Sky Sports News, Wilko said: "It is very important that there is stability at a time like this in a football club. It is very important that the manager knows what is happening for the next three months, the next six months. I have heard nothing in the last week that has told me the club has a strategy, what that strategy is and whether that includes Peter. Leeds' problems will not be put right overnight. Certainly what happens on the pitch in the next two or three weeks, if all goes well, that is not going to solve the problems either."

November 10: It seems we nearly got through all of the day with no firm announcement on the future of Peter Reid - but the axe finally fell late on Monday. The club issued a statement as follows: "Following a meeting today between Trevor Birch, the Chief Executive and Peter Reid, it has been mutually agreed that Peter steps down as First Team Manager with immediate effect. While the board acknowledges that Peter did a sterling job for the club towards the end of last season in keeping United in the FA Premier League, it believes it must not allow this season to reach a point beyond which the Club?s Premiership status comes under serious threat. The recent run of results has clearly been unacceptable. The board therefore concluded that it has a duty to act now. With effect from tomorrow morning, Eddie Gray will take over the duties of the First Team Manager on a caretaker basis, assisted by Kevin Blackwell, the Chief Coach. The process of identifying a longer term First Team Manager is underway and the board has a clear view of the credentials required of any candidate. Notwithstanding current financial constraints, United is determined to return to its place as one of the top clubs in England and is looking to appoint a new First Team Manager who will reflect this determination." It's a shame to see Reid go, but given the weight of press speculation and the nature of the collapse on Saturday it's hardly surprising. I think he had a bloody impossible job and did it with great humour and dignity, and wish him well for the future.

November 10: At the Supporters Club meeting this summer, Eddie Gray was careful to back the management team - but made it clear he had thought that he could still offer something to the club and seemed a bit hurt that he'd not been given the opportunity to show what he could do when Terry Venables was dismissed last season. Well now he's got his chance to turn things around, and he had this to say: "I never hesitated, I've been at the club for a long time, it's only as a caretaker but we'll see how we go." Asked if he thought that Leeds were doomed to relegation anyway, he said: "I don't think it is a lost cause - but it is a difficult task. People only have to look at the league table and the finances of the club to realise that - it was not an easy job for Peter Reid. But it is a big club with a big fan base - and there is potential, especially with the crowds the club can attract. I will try to instil a lot of confidence in the players and I hope they will respond to that. If you start to win a few games it begins to pick people up." Gray also reveailed that he wanted to try to get Mark Viduka and Danny Mills back on board - although Leeds might not be able to easily recall Mills from his season-long loan at Boro. Gray said: "I have no problems handling Mark. He is definitely an important member of the first-team squad." Eddie's first match of his second stint in charge will be at the Abbey Stadium in Cambridge tomorrow night for the John Taylor Testimonial.

November 10: Harpal Singh will continue on loan at Bury until the end of the season. He's already appeared in all bar one of their games this season and will be available for all games for Shakers' boss Andy Preece.

November 10: With all the quality news management that has come to epitomise Leeds United Football Club, the paeans of praise to caretaker boss Eddie Gray had barely finished being sung from the top of the East Stand when the whispers started coming from the sieve-like boardroom as to who the club "really" wanted in charge. The Prof has headed off on a long-arranged family holiday and won't be back for a fortnight, so it looks like the final decision will be taken by new chief exec Trevor Birch and our old friend, Allan "Teflon" Leighton. There's all the speculation doing the rounds that the usual bunch of failures (Hoddle, Robson), old boys (Hart, Strachan, Adams, McAllister - and even George Graham for G*d's sake!) and interesting outsiders (Paul Sturrock of Plymouth) might be given the job. The question they need to ask all the candidates is "What can a manager do to incentivise a team for whom the carrot of bulging wage packets means that even the stick of being associated with a relegated team and accused of personal failure seems to have no impact on the players?" And also "How do you feel about being permanently undermined by half-hearted backing from the board?" is also likely to be another crucial interview question - but one which I somehow doubt will be asked. The smart money says Hart, whose time at Forest has been characterised by the development of several good young players, but no trophies, no promotion and a poor run of recent form must be considered on the negative side of the balance for the former Leeds centreback. A decision is apparently due before the Bolton game - but if the board's prevarication over the appointments of O'Leary and Venables - and indeed the sacking of Venables and Reid - is anything to go by, that could be wishful thinking.

November 10: Both of the Academy sides lost at the weekend: the U-19s went down 1-2 against Huddersfield, Leeds' goal coming through Damian Reeves, while the U-17 side slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Forest.

November 09: Yesterday's bookings make it five for the season for Alan Smith and Dominic Matteo - so that's a one-match ban for our two best players which should keep them out of the Bolton game. Seth Johnson, David Batty and Salomon Olembe are all just one card away from bans as well - if we don't watch out we could lose a quarter of our first choice eleven for a single game.

November 09: David O'Leary has insisted that he's not the one responsible for Leeds' current problems. Although he was coaching the side when the foundations of our current problems were being laid, he says that it was down to the board who allowed him to spend the cash. In today's Star, he says: "It was silly management of the money that was just frightening and that had nothing to do with me. I didn't give the contracts out there, I didn't spend the money. I was told I had money to spend and I told the board who I wanted." Although he does admit some culpability: "Maybe it was wrong that I let others handle the business side of things. I should have had some input."

November 09: Since he's not featured in a league match since August, it's not surprising to learn that Jason Wilcox is apparently set to leave the club - if he can find someone to take him on. He's not on the hugely-inflated wage level of some players, but any opportunity to reduce the club's outgoings will be welcomed, and with 32-year-old Wilcox not figuring in Peter Reid's plans, an exit looks certain. Where will he go? It's unlikely that he'll find a berth in the top flight, but I'm sure there will be a Division 1 side chasing promotion who will be able to give him the chance to show that he's still got something to offer. A 'club spokesman' said: "Jason is not in the manager's plans. He will have to look elsewhere for regular football."

November 09: Leeds Ladies twice found themselves in front against Premier League Cup favorites Fulham, and with just over 10 minutes to go were leading 2-1. Unfortunately they failed to hang on to their advantage, conceding an equaliser on 80 minutes and then a winner for Fulham deep into stoppage time from England midfielder Rachel McArthur.

November 09: Top of the table in Spain is Deportivo La Coruna who were behind to a Nihat goal in the Riazor on Saturday, but Walter Pandiani popped up to score the winner two minutes from the end after an own goal had brought them level. Valencia are now back in second spot after a 1-2 defeat by Racing Santander in the Mestalla tonight. The Galacticos of Real Madrid (whether that term covers Raul Bravo is not clear, but it's still amazing to think that he's in the same squad as Beckham, Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo) had a major wake-up call tonight, losing at Sevilla 4-1. Dario Silva (remember him from Malaga?) added to a Helguera own goal to make it 2-0 inside 7 minutes, and although Ronaldo pulled a goal back at the start of the second half, Madrid couldn't get any closer.

Juve moved clear of Milan at the top of Serie A - but it was a close-run thing. Losing 0-1 to Udinese with 12 minutes to go, Juve came back through Di Vaio, Miccoli and Trezeguet to win 4-1 and open up a two point gap as Milan could only draw 0-0 at Parma. Roma won their local derby against Lazio 2-0, with the goals coming late there as well - Mancini and Emerson scoring in the last 10 minutes. Roma move ahead of Milan on goal difference as a result of their win today.

Stuttgart maintained their lead in the Bundesliga this weekend with a 0-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. It was a good day for the B's: Bayer Leverkusen had Berbatov, Babic and Bierofka on the scoresheet in their 3-1 win over Schalke 04, Bremen maintained their third place spot with a 1-5 thrashing of Hannover 96 and Bayern Munich had a 4-1 win to leapfrog visitors Dortmund into fourth spot.

In France, Monaco continue at the top of the table after a late goal from Dado Prso gave them a 0-1 win at AC Ajaccio, while Lyon hammered Olympique Marseille 1-4 to move clear of their hosts in second spot. PSG had a 0-1 win at Nantes to keep up the chase in fourth.

Ajax maintained their lead in the Eredivisie with a 1-4 win at Den Haag - scoring two goals in the last half hour after they had been reduced to ten men by the dismissal of Heitinga. AZ moved back into second spot, three points off the leaders with a 1-2 win at NAC Breda, jumping over PSV who could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to RBC.

In Belgium, Anderlecht slumped to their first defeat of the season - and how! They went down 1-4 at home to second-placed Standard Liege - but still lead their visitors by 6 points. Genk slipped back in third spot after they drew 1-1 at Gent on Friday night.

Banik Ostrava nearly managed to all but wrap up the title in the Czech Republic when they held a 0-1 lead at Sparta Prague into the last 15 minutes. But they conceded a late equaliser, so stay 6 points clear of their hosts at the top of the table. Slavia Prague can close the gap on Sparta if they win at Slovan Liberec tomorrow.

November 08: Peter Reid's managerial reign looks set to end on a new low. The bookies have got him at 1/8 to be the next Premier League manager to get the chop and are already taking bets on his successor. After today's performance those odds look generous in the extreme. To pick one specific fault in today's performance would be hard, but let's just say "the midfield". For about 20 minutes in the first half, Seth Johnson and Jermaine Pennant were involved in the play, Roque came to the aid of the defence and we vaguely looked like we were in the game. Conceding a goal bang on half time was bad - but the collapse in the second half was terrible to behold. Morris might as well have stayed on leave for all the impact he made, Roque went walkabout and Johnson was suddenly invisible. The defence were under constant pressure and although Pompey might never play as well again this season, they made chances, moved off the ball well and took the opportunities they had created. By contrast, Smithy's goal from Johnson's pass was one of maybe two viable scoring chances for Leeds in the entire game, with the long hoof forward the only tactic in obvious use. Do I think it's time for Reid to go? Well, I think I've moved from the "No" camp to the "Maybe" tent - but can we afford to pay him off, do we have someone lined up to take over who can do a better job, and most importantly have we got someone who can motivate these players to perform at the levels we know they can? Only if we can answer yes to all of those questions should the board consider getting rid: giving him the boot now and leaving Leeds without a manager at this time of crisis would be a decision of Ridsdale-scale idiocy.

November 08: Brian Deane scored twice for his new employers at West Ham, helping them to a 3-0 lead at home to West Brom. But then disaster struck for the Hammers - reduced to 10 men when Jermain Defoe got his marching orders again, they were pegged back to a 3-2 lead when Deane scored again, unfortunately making it 3-3 as he sliced the ball into his own net. Worse was to come for the Hammers when the Baggies completed a great comeback with a Lee Hughes goal to win 3-4. In Scotland, Derek Lilley scored from the spot to give Livingston the lead on their way to a 2-0 win over Partick.

November 08: Peter Reid said he would "soldier on" after Leeds slumped to a seventh defeat in eight games this afternoon. He said: "At the age of 47 I'm not going to start resigning now." He pointed the finger firmly at the players: "That second half was the worst 45 minutes of my managerial career and the players don't deserve to pick up their wage packets after that performance... I'm certainly not happy about the lack of desire." Harry Redknapp had some sympathy for his counterpart: "What a turn-around. We've had a great day but I have every sympathy for Peter Reid. He can only work with what he's got and maybe he's stuck with a few players who are not earning the money they are getting."

November 07: Peter Reid says that he's reluctantly using young stars James Milner and Aaron Lennon as the team struggles in the lower reaches of the table. Reod said: "They are both good players but sometimes it is a bit unfair to put that much responsibility on lads at that age... Ideally, you would want to get them into a side that is playing really well and winning games - but circumstances dictate otherwise at the moment." Reid pointed to the spell that Milner had at Swindon as being particularly helpful, both from the way it gave him real first team experience, but also for the fact that it got him away from the spotlight and off-field distractions at Elland Road. Reid said that Milner had put himself in contention for a starting spot - but Aaron Lennon would have to wait a little before he became a regular starter, simply because he's just too young to be playing 90 minutes of top flight football every week.

November 07: The date of Leeds' FA Youth Cup tie against Ipswich has been set for Monday December 1 at Elland Road. The game kicks off at 7pm, and will be decided on the night by extra time and penalties if necessary.

November 07: Our opponents have an injury problem or two ahead of tomorrow's game. Chelsea's Alexei Smertin (bought as a favour to one of Abramovich's chums and immediately loaned to Pompey) has yet to recover from a knee op, while Amdy Faye faces a long lay-off with torn knee ligaments. West Ham escapee Sebastien Schemmel looks likely to be recalled to the defence after being dropped for their trip to Old Trafford last week. Finally there could be an interesting confrontation in midfield with David Batty set to face his one-time Blackburn team-mate Tim Sherwood.

November 07: Young full-back Frazer Richardson is the latest youngster to leave Leeds for a loan spell in the lower divisions. He's gone back to Stoke City - where he had a loan stint last season - for a month-long spell. He said: "It's great to be back at such a great club and I'm really looking forward to this month here. It only really happened in the last 24 hours but I had no hesitation in signing. I really enjoyed my time here last season and I hope I can play as well this time around." He'll be in contention for Stoke's visit to Cardiff this weekend. So we've now got Harpal Singh at Bury (loan spell nearly up but likely to be extended to the end of the season), Matt Kilgallon at West Ham (could be extended to the end of the year), Shaun Allaway at Walsall, Stephen McPhail at Forest, Paul Keegan at Sc***horpe and Danny Mills at Boro, and still no word on who Sheffield United are supposed to be getting in exchange for their early release of coach Kevin Blackwell. Would the last player to leave please turn out the lights...

November 07: Mel Sterland is considering selling his Division 1 and Division 2 winners medals after a serious health problem caused him to fall into financial difficulties. In today's YEP he says: "If I decide to sell them I would rather them to go to genuine Leeds United fans who will appreciate them for what they are. " Contact Paul Dews at the YEP by email or on +44 113 2433701 x 1261 for more information.

November 07: With rumours doing the rounds that Liverpool are on the point of snapping up "Crown Jewel" Alan Smith, the man himself has denied that he would ever entertain the thought of a move. In today's YEP he says: "When the window re-opens in January, I will still be a Leeds player. I'm a Leeds lad and a Leeds player and I want to keep this club in the Premiership. That's all I'm bothered about." But that's not going to stop the Grub Street gossipmongers from spreading more lies about Smithy's future. Smith praised the fans for the backing they have been giving the team this year, and is hoping that the players can offer the travelling support a win tomorrow. "They show the character that this club is all about and it's too easy to under-estimate their value. Everything that revolves around the club, revolves around them. They've not had silverware for years, but they just carry on. They're brilliant."

November 07: Mark Viduka will not be involved in tomorrow's game at Fratton Park after yet another training ground bust-up with manager Peter Reid. Reid said: "Mark Viduka was dropped from the squad following a training ground incident." Sounds like that's another 65 grand of wages we won't be paying for this week. David Batty has also stayed back in Yorkshire after failing to recover from a rib injury.

November 06: Michael Duberry is back in contention for first team football after his injury-enforced lay-off - and he has hit out at the doom-mongers and nay-sayers who are already writing off Leeds' season. He said: "We've got to stick together. The position is poor and we shouldn't be there." And with the attitude that has endeared him to many Leeds fans, he adds that we should be telling our critics: "The rest of the world can go stuff it where the sun don't shine." And he pointed out that Leeds are rapidly becoming a standing joke among fans, and that the players needed to get out there and justify their much-publicised pay packets: "We've got to earn the x-amount we get each week and we've got to do better. It isn't going to be easy, but what is easy?"

November 06: Pompey defender Arjan de Zeeuw says that the visit of Leeds to Fratton Park is a bigger game for the club than facing Manchester United at Old Trafford. The experienced Dutch defender notes that Pompey have faded after a flying start and need a win to avoid running into the sort of pressure now affecting Leeds. He said: "We need to make sure we steer clear of trouble because if we do not soon start picking up points we will be overtaken."

November 06: Jody Morris has hit the ground running after being out of action for nearly a month due to the circumstances around his recent arrest. He's spent his time keeping fit and Peter Reid is very happy to see him return ready to play. Reid told the official website: "He has got plenty of energy and I thought the last game he played for us against Blackburn Rovers he played particularly well in that game. I haven't picked the team yet, but if I thought Jody could get through the full 90 minutes I would have no hesitation in playing him." Dom Matteo is also set to return to the defence, although his past record of returning early from injuries and being forced back onto the sidelines does not bode well. But he's our best centreback, and the other defenders definitely play better when he's around, so if he's fit he will play. David Batty and Salomon Olembe are carrying slight knocks, but both are expected to be fit to start on Saturday.

November 05: Peter Reid has been picked out as the key person behind Sunderland's dreadful financial results. Although they're not quite in as much debt as Leeds, the Black Cats lost £20 million last season as they dropped out of the Premiership and have total debts of £36 million. Chairman Bryan Sanderson said that Reid's £18 million spending spree had added "little or no value" to the squad - but accepted that his decision to employ Wilko in an effort to stave off relegation had also been a blunder.

November 05: Mark Viduka will be available for Saturday's visit to Fratton Park after a meeting with Peter Reid in which his fine of one week's wages was confirmed. Reid said: "I would rather the outcome of our meeting remained private. Mark is available for Saturday and all I'm concerned about is working towards the Portsmouth match and picking up three much-needed points." Rumours continue to surround the big striker's future, and with Chelsea reputedly ready to splash out on Valencia's Roberto Ayala, rumours are suggesting that the Spanish club could make a move for Viduka with the money they make from that deal.

November 05: Leeds Ladies take on Fulham at Wheatley Park, Garforth this weekend in the quarter-finals of the Women's FA Cup. Fulham have been pretty much invincible in the league and cup over the past three years, but have reverted to being semi-pro now after carrying all before them as full professionals last season. The tie kicks off at 2pm on Sunday - so for once it doesn't clash with the men's game - so get on over there and get behind the team for one of the biggest games of the season.

November 05: After spending much of his loan spell at West Ham firmly anchored to the subs bench, Matthew Kilgallon finally got the chance of a first team outing in last week's Carling Cup defeat at Spurs. New boss Alan Pardew liked what he saw, and he will be trying to keep the young defender at Upton Park beyond his initial three-month loan spell. Pardew said: "Matthew's very quick, he's got some nice attributes and he proved against Tottenham that centre-back is his best position. He's just lacking experience and I'd like to keep him to the end of the year, but that's up to Leeds." I'd like to think he could make a contribution to solving Leeds' defensive frailties - but that's down to Peter Reid's judgement and maybe he feels that bringing a young defender into a relegation battle is not the best way to develop him and improve his confidence.

November 04: Salomon Olembe's switch to left back has made him the top-rated Leeds player for October, according to the Opta Stats. He's been growing in confidence despite playing in a constantly changing back line and facing some tough opponents, and was rated as the second top tackler behind David Batty, and number one on tackles won. Meanwhile Nigel Martyn was ranked number one at Everton with a 100% catch/punch success rate - and even without the stats to prove it, many Everton fans are rating Nige as the best value for money signing at Goodison for many a year.

November 04: The stiffs are playing at Belle Vue tonight, taking on DOL's second string. Nick Barmby and Didier Domi provide the experience, with Frazer Richardson, Aaron Lennon and Simon Johnson the most familiar names in a young-looking side.

November 04: Legendary Leeds right back Mel Sterland says that Mark Viduka was "bang out of order" with his poor timekeeping and reaction to being dropped at the weekend. Sterland said: In a normal job people get sacked for turning up late. Reidy will probably fine him and I think that's right. He calls the shots and he's been let down." Sterland said that the fans deserved better treatment from the highly-paid Aussie striker: "No-one is bigger than the club and I think the fans know that and they appreciate the stand that Reidy has taken. All they want is to see Mark Viduka playing well and giving it his all."

November 04: The YEP are offering the chance to win a couple of tickets to the vital relegation 6-pointer against Bolton in a fortnight. All you have to do is tell them where Bolton play their home games, sticking the answer on a postcard and sending it to Bolton Ticket Competition, Sportsdesk, Yorkshire Evening Post, Wellington Street, Leeds LS1 1RF along with your name, address and daytime phone number by next Tuesday.

November 04: There have been a few questions asked about Alan Smith's goal on Saturday - like "Was it really his goal?" Smithy made a move towards the ball but some angles hinted he made no contact and that the goal should in fact be credited to Aaron Lennon, making him the new youngest-ever Premiership scorer, ahead of James Milner. But Smithy has said he made contact, and the Premier League Dodgy Goals Review Commission (or whatever they're really called) says they have no plans to rule on this one, so it looks like Aaron is going to have to wait and try again to break Milner's record.

November 04: The Reserves went down to the only goal of the game at Wakefield tonight. Villa's Stefan Moore scored halfway through the first half, crashing home a volley from the edge of the area to beat Scott Carson and condemn Steve Agnew's boys to another defeat.

November 03: Peter Reid praised the backing that he and the team received from the fans on Saturday. Speaking at the Supporters Club Dinner at the weekend, Reid said that the players & management had to repay that backing. "Hands on heart, I cannot believe the passion this club generates through its supporters. That is the biggest single reason we will turn it round - make no mistake about that." Reid insisted that the players would do their best to respond for the remainder of the season. "It was a very humbling experience, getting stuffed 4-1 and receiving that magnificent reception. It wouldn't happen anywhere else." At the same function, the chairman said that he would resign if "the City" forced the sale of Player of the Year Alan Smith. He said: "Your Player of the Year personifies Leeds United. I have told the City - and I mean this - that I would go before Alan goes."

November 03: Former Leeds striker Phil Masinga will be working alongside Lucas Radebe in South Africa's bid for the 2010 World Cup. After being a key part of SA's on-field success over recent years, Masinga is now working with The Chief and the likes of Roger Milla and George Weah in the efforts to bring WC2010 to South Africa. Masinga thinks they have a good chance of winning, saying: "We proved to the world we can host big events with the Rugby World Cup, the African Cup of Nations and the Cricket World Cup. With the Nations Cup we only had a few months' notice after Zimbabwe pulled out, and we managed to prepare a good tournament."

November 03: The Youth Team have drawn Ipswich at home in the third round of the Pepsi FA Youth Cup. James Milner and Aaron Lennon should be available for the side - if the management decides that it's not better keeping them fresh for the Premiership. A date has yet to be confirmed, but the FA's deadline for completion of Round 3 is December 6.

November 03: Luis Boa Morte was red-carded towards the end of yesterday's clash with Liverpool for an outrageous challenge on Pongolle. As a result he has a three-match ban, which will include the Cottagers' visit to Elland Road on December 14.

November 03: Jody Morris will return to training tomorrow after the club completed disciplinary proceedings against him. Morris was arrested - but has yet to be charged or formally released from bail - in connection with an alleged sexual assault in Leeds last month, and was further questioned about an incident from some time ago. The player was suspended for an initial 14-day period after the arrest, and took a further 10 day leave of absence in agreement with the club. A statement from Leeds United said: "Disciplinary proceedings against Jody Morris were concluded this morning in accordance with the procedures set out in his contract of employment. It should be noted that these proceedings did not relate to matters forming the subject of the on-going police investigation. Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against the player, the details of which remain confidential between employer and employee."

November 03: Chris Waddle used his newspaper column today to set down in writing what most Leeds fans have been saying all season. The former England international and world-class mullet owner said: "Over the past three months, it looks to me as though he has let himself down and - even more unforgivably - he has let down his club at a time when they have needed him most... His body language on the pitch suggests he is lacking the desire, enthusiasm and commitment to help Leeds out of the biggest crisis in their history." Viduka has been fined two weeks wages after this weekend's tantrum - £130,000 - but Waddle points out that even if Leeds do manage to find a buyer for him in January, Reid needs the player to deliver on the pitch for the next eight weeks rather than rot in the reserves as he richly deserves.

November 02: Leicester City faced Blackburn at the Walker Stadium today, and after 75 minutes in which they hadn't had a single shot - never mind one on target - they took advantage of two defensive lapses to score twice in quick succession to move off the bottom of the table - and leave us in P20 on goal difference. It's not as bad as it seems, and a couple of wins would soon see us moving towards the middle of the table, but now we're down there the pressure will be turned up on Peter Reid, and next weekend's visit to Pompey becomes even bigger than it was before. The only way is up!

November 02: The Under-19 side were in action this weekend, and ended up victorious with a 2-0 win over Newcastle. Justin Bowler and Nicky Gray were Leeds' scorers in a close game at Thorp Arch.

November 02: There was a round of midweek games in Spain that saw all the top three drop points: Deportivo followed up their great win over Valencia with defeat at home to Mallorca, Real Madrid were held goalless at Zaragoza, and Valencia drew 2-2 in the Mestalla with Celta Vigo. Deportivo failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity to re-state their title credentials yesterday when they could only manage a goalless draw at second-bottom Murcia. Real Madrid moved to the top of the pile with a 3-0 win over Bilbao last night. Valencia needed a three goal margin to overtake Madrid at the top of the pile today - and they did it in style, 0-5 winners at Real Mallorca with Fernando Nino's first minute dismissal for the home side going some way to explain the scoreline.

Serie A had a huge game this weekend - Juve's visit to the San Siro to see if they could put any daylight between themselves and Milan at the top of the table. Despite dominating an occasionally bad-tempered first half, Juve found themselves a goal down to ex-Newcastle striker Jon-Dahl Tomasson but struck back with a glorious volley from Marco di Vaio in the closing minutes of the game. The match also marked Paolo Maldini overtaking Franco Baresi at the top of Milan's all-time appearance chart - when the veteran finally does give up, it's likely that his number three shirt will be retired with him. AS Roma trail the top two by two points after their 2-0 win over Reggina today, and Parma had to come from 1-0 and 2-1 down to beat Brescia 2-3 and stay in the hunt in 4th spot.

Bayern Munich may be enjoying a good run in the Champions League, but their Bundesliga form is less than stellar - 2-0 losers at Schalke '04 yesterday after Linke was dismissed on the half hour, and now six points adrift of leaders Stuttgart in fifth place. Stuttgart's 4-1 win at home to SC Freiburg was somewhat helped when their visitors were reduced to 10 men on the hour with the scores level at 1-1. Bayer Leverkusen slipped to second spot with their goalless draw at Kaiserslautern, and Werder Bremen now trail them by just a point after scoring all four of the goals in a 3=1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. The bottom of the Bundesliga closely resembles the Premier League at the moment - just three points separate Hamburg in 13th spot from Hansa Rostock at the foot of the table, so it's still all to play for.

AS Monaco re-opened a gap at the top yesterday with a 4-2 win at home to bottom club Le Mans - not that it was a cakewalk with Le Mans 1-2 in front after Fernando Morientes had opened the scoring for the home side. Lyon had a fairly easy time of it: 2-0 up when visitors Nice were reduced to 10 men after 30 minutes, they went on to win 5-0. In third spot, Olympique Marseille lost by just a single goal at Bordeaux - Darcheville scoring just on half-time - despite having two men dismissed.

The top three all won in Belgium this weekend - Anderlecht's win over 4th-placed Excelsior Mouscron on Friday night means that they maintain their 8 point lead over Genk, 3-1 winners at home to Antwerp yesterday. Standard Liege trail Genk by a point after their 4-0 thrashing of Beveren, but entertainment game of the weekend was at Mons, where the home side were just edged out 3-4 by St-Truidense with three goals coming in the last 5 minutes.

Ajax took a clear lead at the top of the Eredivisie this weekend, but their erstwhile joint leaders AZ didn't make it easy for them, leading twice before finally succumbing 3-2 in Amsterdam courtesy of a last-minute red card and penalty in favour of the home side. PSV won 1-3 at Newcastle's UEFA Cup victims NAC Breda to take over second spot. Other highlights this weekend were Feyenoord's spectacularly successful attempt at shooting themselves in the foot: 0-3 up at half-time at Groningen, they ended up drawing 3-3. Finally bottom club FC Zwolle showed there's hope for us all, recording their first win of the season - 1-0 ver FC Twente.

Banik Ostrava's 2-1 win over Sigma Olomouc yesterday continued to underline the leaders' dominance in the Gambrinus Liga - despite conceding a third-minute goal to the third-placed outfit. FC Zlin grabbed a surprise win over Sparta Prague yesterday, in an indication of how poorly the long-time top dogs have been playing this season. Teplice failed to take advantage of Sparta and Olomouc going down - losing themselves 2-0 at lowly Plzen, while our friend at Viktoria Zizkov finally got another three points on the board with a 1-0 win over Marila Pribram.

November 01: Why is it that whenever Arsenal come to Leeds they shake off any past hints of poor form and play like worldbeaters? Considering how much possession and play Leeds had in the first half, it was barely credible that we should go in three goals down. Barely credible except for two things: like the rest of the season, we didn't create enough actual chances - you know, shots on goal requiring a good save; and secondly you DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES play a high line and the offside trap against Thierry Henry. Suicide - three times we lost the ball in an attacking position and three times Paul Robinson was picking it out of his net seconds later. The second half was actually worse than the first from a Leeds point of view, even though Alan Smith finished off a neat move to score a consolation goal. Although they only managed one goal at the start of the half, only poor finishing from Edu and Aliadiere and Ray Parlour's backside kept them down to just the one as they created a succession of chances. On the positive side, the crowd were 100% behind the team and manager and made a fantastic amount of noise through the second half in particular. The team performance was not at all bad despite the scoreline, and the players never let their heads drop. If they carry that attitude into the next three games against Pompey, Bolton and Charlton then we'll soon have some points on the board and relegation worries will be banished.

November 01: Mark Viduka was dropped for today's game despite apparently being fit. Peter Reid would not elaborate on why, beyond saying it was for disciplinary reasons which would stay within the club, but it is understood that Viduka has been regularly late for training and was late turning up for today's game - not the attitude I would suggest of someone who is as keen to play for Leeds as his agent insists.

November 01: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reckons Leeds got off lightly today. "We could have scored some more goals, especially in the last 10 minutes when we had many chances, but overall it is a good trip and a good result for us." He added that Thierry Henry didn't need to switch to top gear in the game - which I hope we never see if today's lightning-fast performance was anything to go by. Wenger said: "I think he played at a pace where he didn't have to dig deep physically. He was not under pressure to defend much and he waited for the good opportunities to go forward." Peter Reid didn't have much to say about the game, but praised his players for keeping going and not collapsing in the second half - but he too focused on the Arsenal striker's performance. "Henry is one you have got to get close to and stop him at source. Once he is into his stride and running at you it is you it is 'good night, God bless. He is either going to play a killer ball, have a shot at goal or go past your defenders and certainly we didn't cater for them well enough."

November 01: Robbie Fowler finally got himself on the scoresheet for Manchester City today, opening the scoring after just 4 minutes as they had a surprisingly easy 0-2 win at Southampton. Do we get 33% of his goals credited to us since we're paying a third of his wages? Rod Wallace was the first name on the scoresheet at Ipswich as Gillingham enacted the Curse of the Manager of the Month, scoring in the 90th minute to take the game 3-4. Warren Feeney's recent good run of form continues - his 72nd minute equaliser gave Bournemouth a share of the points at Tranmere, but Andy Gray's opener for Bradford at Wimbledon was to no avail as the MK Dons came back to a 2-1 win in this evening's game. On a less positive note, John Sheridan was sent off for Oldham just before half-time, joined in the dressing room by the Plymouth player with whom he was having a slight disagreement. When the dust settled the game finished 2-2. Danny Mills was also the centre of much debate tonight after he won a dubious free kick for Boro, and appeared to pick a fight with a Wolves player as the game at the Riverside ambled along to a goalless draw. When the other Wolves players moved to intervene, Boro took the free kick and snatched the lead with a good finish from Gaizka Mendieta with the Wolves defence out of position. That knocked the fight out of Wolves, and a further strike from Juninho sealed the points, but Dave Jones was all but accusing Mills of cheating in his post-match comments.

November 01: In this morning's Sun, Mark Viduka states the bleeding obvious and does the general belief that he's on his way no harm when he harps on about the way the financial situation at the club is affecting dressing room morale. Viduka says: "Every day there is something negative in the newspapers or on TV about the club's financial position and, of course, the instability is unsettling. It makes it difficult to keep up team spirit and to focus fully on the job we need to do as players to get ourselves out of trouble." He accepts that the team is in the drop zone because it isn't performing, and points to the occasional spot of bad luck and the influx of new players. But the Aussie striker tries to sound positive. He says: "It's way too early for people to say we'll go down. There's a lot of football to be played this season and we've got to remain positive, stick together and make things happen for ourselves."

November 01: Paul Keegan is hoping that his loan spell at Scunthorpe will lead to his career developing when he returns to Leeds. After seeing James Milner return from his month at Swindon and come straight into the first team, Keegan wants to follow Milner's example. Speaking in today's YEP, he said: "He's come back with more experience and that's obviously helped him out in terms of his chances with Leeds. I've been wanting to go out on loan for a while now and it's great to get that chance with Scunthorpe." Keegan said that Leeds old boys Kevin Sharp and Mark Jackson had given him some useful advice after their experience with the club - but it's not just the exiles: "All the lads here have been brilliant. It's been great to work with someone like Peter Beagrie who's been there and done it all."

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