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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


June 30: Stephen Crainey says that he's finally able to look forward with confidence after joining up with the first team squad for pre-season training fully recovered from the injury and operation which have dogged him for the last year. Crainey said: "This is the best it's felt and fingers crossed the operation worked that this is me going to have an injury free season. I missed a lot of the season when I was out so it will take a bit longer for me to get to the same level that some of them are at, but as long as I am joining in and they're pulling me along I will get there in the end. It's not enjoyable when you're doing the hard running, but after you feel really good because your fitness is in the bag, after that the games come thick and fast." Crainey will face competition for his place from new signing Dan Harding - and Danny Pugh can also play at left back, so hopefully the competition for places will keep them all on their toes.

June 30: Kevin Blackwell took his courage in both hands and spoke positively about the prospects for the forthcoming season. After the enforced changes last summer, Blackwell has had some control over the transfer situation this time round. Blackwell said: "There is a better feel about the place now. It is amazing what difference a year makes. We are looking in good shape squad-wise and we've been able to go and talk to good players this summer. Last year it was like panning for gold at times looking to build a squad, but there's an air of normality about the place now and that's nice to say." The manager was relieved to have succeeded in acquiring a couple of his main targets in Steve Stone and Eddie Lewis: "The two lads who've come in over the past week will bring experience and quality to the squad. We haven't had natural wide men and Steve and Eddie are just what we need. They've both got good brains."

June 29: The club today confirmed the signing of Steve Stone on a free from Pompey. The experienced right-sided winger/midfielder won 9 England caps and is Kevin Blackwell's fifth signing of the summer. Harry Redknapp - his former boss at Fratton Park - had tried to persuade him to come to help drag the Saints back into the Premier League, but Stone decided that Kevin Blackwell's side had a bit more going for it (or maybe we just paid him more dosh).

June 29: The home game against Crystal Palace has been put back from a nice Bank Holiday Monday afternoon to the following night on police advice. The game is scheduled for Tuesday 30 August with a 7:45pm start but the club warned supporters that it could be moved again if players are called up for the U-21 game that week. Like that's going to be a problem for Kevin Blackwell's side - now if it was a veterans' tournament that would be another thing entirely...

June 29: Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell was extremely pleased to have pulled off the signing of Steve Stone. He said: "As soon as Steve became available we were in for him as were a number of other clubs and that's why it took a while to get the deal done. For the first time I can now play with two natural wide men. It's been an area where we have struggled, Aaron Lennon gave us a bit of balance on the right towards the end of last season but we haven't had an ideal fit on both flanks. With him and Eddie on opposite side I believe we can really get the ball forward to our strikers now and it will be good to have two out and out wingers in the squad again." So that probably means the midfield/front of the team will be: Gregan, Derry, Stone, Lewis, Healy and Hulse. Neil Sullivan picks himself if fit, Dan Harding hasn't been bought to warm the bench, and so the only real questions left seem to surround the right-back slot (Kelly or Richardson) and what central defensive partnership Blackwell will favour.

June 29: Leeds Magistrates Court today declined to pass sentence on 19 men convicted of various public order offences at the home game against Cardiff last season. The magistrates referred the case to a higher court where the judge has wider sentencing powers - a clear indication that the convicted men might receive something a bit stronger than a fine and a community punishment order. The case will be back in court sometime in August.

June 29: Former ManU, Newcastle and Leicester winger Keith Gillespie has joined up with Kevin Blackwell's squad to train and try to win himself a contract. The Northern Ireland international is at Thorp Arch and will take part in the pre-season training sessions to allow Kevin Blackwell a chance to assess his prospects. Blackwell said: "He has good qualities and experience. We'll be having a chat."

June 28: Leeds have been drawn at home to Oldham Athletic in the first round of the Carling Cup. The game will be played on Tuesday 23 August. This is the fourth time we've been drawn against Oldham in the League Cup - and only the last meeting, in 1990-91, saw us come out on top, courtesy of goals from Gary Speed and Lee Chapman. Our last meeting with Oldham was in the FA Cup in 1995 when David White, Carlton Palmer and Phil Masinga netted to give Leeds a 3-2 win at Elland Road.

June 28: Kevin Blackwell has indicated that he could look to get John Oster back at Elland Road if a move for Pompey midfielder Steve Stone fails to come off. Oster was sent back to Sunderland - and then sacked by the Black Cats - after a "breach of club discipline" at the Leeds team Christmas party followed hot on the heels of a night in the cells after being involved in a scuffle in Durham. Blackwell said: "I am hopeful of there being a signing this week - there is a player that two clubs are in for, but I am hoping that when anyone sees all this (the training ground) they realise Leeds are turning the corner. Once Eddie Lewis saw the training ground, the deal was more or less done." As expected, Hungarian midfielder Zsolt Baranyos joined the club on trial in pre-season training yesterday - along with a keeper from Zimbabwe, no doubt as additional cover for Ian Bennett if Neil Sullivan fails to recover from his op before the season gets underway. Blackwell said: "We will bring the footballs out towards the end of this week when we will get a proper chance to have a look at both the trialists. They will be here for a week and a half."

June 28: Leeds chairman Ken Bates says that the club is not for sale, condemning rumours that have apparently been circulating (obviously not that widely otherwise you'd have seen them here, on WACCOE, in the YEP...). Bates hit out at the troublemakers behind the rumours: "These people do not know the damage they are causing. Just when we have got people at the club in the right positions, both on and off the field, and smiles are back on faces after three years in the doldrums, attempts are being made to destabilise us." He went on: "I want to make it perfectly clear that Leeds United's owners have neither received an offer, nor would they encourage one. Quite simply the club is not for sale." Speaking on the official website, Bates remains upbeat about this season's prospects both on and off the field: "Corporate sales have just exceeded those of the whole of last year, Sky are showing a big interest in our early season games, the manager will have a squad which is the envy of the Coca-Cola Championship and we'll be roared on by all those great fans. It's a recipe for the return of Premiership football to Elland Road."

June 28: Kevin Blackwell has told Julian Joachim that he has another chance to prove himself at the club after no acceptable offers materialised for the striker's services in the break. Blackwell said: "I am very happy to keep Julian here. You have got to have backup and the reason I let him go out on loan last season was really because we were looking after our finances. It was a financial situation but Julian did well on loan and scored a few goals, and to have him in the squad is great because you need a little bit of depth when the season is underway and injuries and suspensions come along. But if an offer comes along that I feel is right for Leeds United and the player, then we will consider every option." Still doesn't explain why you bought Ian Moore Kev. Joachim is happy to try to break into the team - but is adamant that regular football is his priority and he will move to get it: "It's important to me to be playing week in and week out and if that isn't going to be the case here I will look elsewhere. But I still have the opportunity to get myself involved and the gaffer is more than happy for me to be here but he knows I want to be playing. I have to consider things and do what is right for myself. I am not ruling myself out of being involved during the season, I am not going to give up, I am going to fight for my place and it will be brilliant if that happens."

June 28: The first changes to the fixture list were announced today, one expected, one bizarre, one that seems pointless. The Millwall game on the opening day will now kick-off on Sunday at 1215 to be shown live on Sky - that's some strange match choice by the TV folks (though it wouldn't have been too surprising to see the match shifted on police advice anyway, so maybe they're taking advantage of that). No surprises to see the home game against Hull on New Year's Eve will now start at noon to avoid the possibility of alcohol-fuelled trouble against a club from a city that has always seemed to have a problem with all things Leeds. Finally, the home game against Derby has been shifted to the Wednesday night - September 28 - from the Tuesday on police advice but to no obvious benefit.

June 28: Finally got round to putting up a few thoughts on the season just gone from some regular correspondents. Take a look here and tell me your thoughts - what are our prospects for next season realistically? Drop me an email and I promise to get them up online before Christmas, honest.

June 27: Weekend tabloid tales have Eirik Bakke set to join Brum for a shade under £1.5 million - having missed out on old boy Lee Bowyer after a backlash from the fans, the Blues want to take a chance on the talented but injury-prone Norwegian. The man Kevin Blackwell reckons is close to signing is Steve Stone according to reports - Pompey's former Forest and Villa midfielder being available on a free. Finally some real transfer news: former Leeds youth team player Tom Newey has been released by Cambridge United after their relegation from the league and has agreed a one-year deal with Grimsby.

June 27: The first team squad returned for pre-season training today, meeting manager Kevin Blackwell at Thorp Arch and hoping that they've managed to hit the fitness goals he set for them as "homework" at the end of the season. A couple of the long-term injured (Bakke, Crainey) and just plain unfit (Ricketts) have been back for a fortnight, but Blackwell has made it clear to all of the players that they have to show that they have reached the required level of general fitness if they want to feature in his first team plans. He said: "It's been seven weeks and they know that they have to come in already at a certain level and have been given certain standards to reach. If they don't reach them they will be given double training and it's only when we decide that the tests will be retaken. So it's no good them coming in and failing the test one day then busting a gut to get to the mark the next day, they will have to train for four or five days and then we'll let them take the test again."

June 25: Lucas Radebe received an honorary degree from Cape Town University on Friday. The Master of Social Sciences degree recognises his off-field charitable activities at home and abroad. The citation read: "Radebe's football talent was the vehicle that propelled him into a position of prominence, allowing him to express his personality off the pitch to fight racism in sport and to promote literacy for children and adults alike." The man himself said: "It's incredible. It's a great honour. I've never dreamt as a footballer I would receive a Master's degree. My mum wanted me to be a doctor before going into football so now when I go back home she'll be much happier!"

June 25: Kevin Blackwell says that the club is closing in on his next transfer target. Speaking after the successful completion of the Eddie Lewis deal, the manager said: "The chances of bringing in the second player that I referred to earlier in the week have gone out a bit further. We're still negotiating, but I will know a lot more maybe next week."

June 25: Eddie Lewis says that it was the chance of playing in the Premier League again that convinced him to join Kevin Blackwell's Leeds United side. At 31 time isn't on his side and although there was talk of some current Premier League interest in his services, it was Kevin Blackwell's persuasive powers that did the trick. Lewis said: "Deep down you always hope one or two options come through and I am over the moon that the Leeds option ended up working out. Obviously being in the Championship you want to get into the Premier League and that was another option open to me, but taking all things into account and what Leeds are trying to do and where they are hopefully going, they ran away with it for me. I can see the ambition here. Anytime a player is in the championship they want to be part of a group of players that is looking to get promoted and win things and obviously the size of the club and the fact that financially things appear to be sorted out now makes it a fantastic club going forward."

June 24: The Ticket Office has made it clear that fans should not try to book individual match tickets for games next season, even though the fixture list has now been announced. It's understood that tickets will go on sale for games up to Christmas, with tickets for the second half of the season being released probably in December - although they will confirm that and allocation priority sometime in the next fortnight. In the meantime, hold on to your cheques and application letters. Meanwhile it's been announced that the home game against Palace - lined up for August Bank Holiday Monday - will be rescheduled due to the likely impact of U21 international call-ups.

June 24: The reserves will be playing back in Leeds next season, abandoning the practise of recent years which has seen them play in York and Wakefield. They won't be using Elland Road, but South Leeds Stadium is set to be the venue for the reserve team games, subject to approval by the authorities. Admission to reserve games remains free to season ticket holders and Members Club card holders.

June 24: Simon Johnson has parted company with Leeds, signing on with David Hodgson's Darlington side for the new season. Johnson has agreed a two-year deal. Hodgson said: "Simon is a young talented striker and has good experience of league football and will be a key member of our squad for the new campaign. We've been trailing him for sometime and I'm delighted that he's decided to join Darlington." Johnson has made one league start for Leeds in each of the last three seasons, with other appearances giving him a total of 12 with no goals. He had loan spells with Sunderland, Doncaster and Barnsley last season and had been thought likely to join the Tykes for the new campaign.

June 23: With full pre-season training set to commence on Monday, Kevin Blackwell is on the point of capturing a new signing who could fill the troublesome left-midfield slot. Preston's 31-year-old American player Eddie Lewis is coming to the end of his contract at Deepdale and is said to have already completed a medical at Thorp Arch, ready to formally join the club when his Preston contract expires at the end of the month.

June 23: The fixtures for the new season were released at 1000 today. Leeds open with the visit of Millwall on August 6, followed by a trip to Cardiff on the Tuesday night. So that's all the fans arrested and off the streets for the rest of the season then. Significant away dates include the first league visit to Hull's KC Stadium on April 1, a trip to Hillsborough on September 13 and our annual capitulation at Bramall Lane on April 17. The season ends with a trip to Deepdale on April 30. At the risk of premature pessimism, Ken Bates could very well look to the club's position after the Derby game at the end of September to pass judgement on Kevin Blackwell's future. By that stage we'll have played 11 games, including matches against pre-season promotion favorites Wolves, Norwich and Palace, teams favoured by the bookies to finish well below us like Brighton, Watford, Cardiff and Millwall, and teams we need to beat to get that edge in mid-table such as Ipswich, Derby, Luton and QPR. If we're in a play-off/automatic promotion place, then the manager should be secure to the end of the season. Below the play-off places but above halfway will buy him time (probably to Christmas) to build some momentum, but if his team - and it will be HIS team by then, not some bunch of cast-offs and hand-me-downs - are in the bottom half then it wouldn't take Nostradamus to predict the consequences.

June 23: Kevin Blackwell hailed the signing of Eddie Lewis, saying it sorted out one of his longest-running team selection problems. "Eddie will be the left winger that we have really been crying out for since I've been here. Even when we were in the Premier League we had James Milner playing there when he's really more a naturalised right sided player. Now for the first time in a long time we have got a naturalised winger that will allow me to bring David Healy alongside Rob Hulse which I have been desperate to do since he arrived." Blackwell pointed to Lewis's contribution as a key factor in Preston's run to the play-off finals last season: "He was arguably one of Preston's main players last season and he showed his tenacity by playing every game of the play-offs just three weeks after he had an appendicitis operation when it normally takes six weeks... The intelligence he has and the quality of his left foot will give us a new dimension to our play."

June 23: Leeds coach Steve Agnew has left the club, taking up the job of assistant manager at Hartlepool. Kevin Blackwell said that the ease with which his coaches had found other jobs - Adie Boothroyd stepping up to the Watford manager's job last season - was an indication of how well-regarded his off-field team was. With pre-season training about to start, Blackwell said: "I will be bringing another coach in and I have two or three people in mind."

June 23: The club today confirmed the date of the Celtic friendly - althougj kick-off time has yet to be determined. Kevin Blackwell said: "This is a great fixture for us and it shows that Leeds United are held in high esteem. I am sure we will be taking a massive following with us and they will go and enjoy what could be a fascinating game. We had a good win last pre-season against Hibernian and hopefully we can do the same at Celtic. It will be a good test for us and we will give Celtic a good game."

June 22: The final hole in the pre-season schedule looks set to be filled with a trip to see Wee Gordie and his new charges at Parkhead. The game is expected to take place on Sunday 24 July - although the fact that the Glasgow side will be involved in a Champions League qualifier the following week could still result in the game being called off: you can't see them wanting to play any sort of a match on the Sunday if they have to hop on a plane to travel to the far corner of a former Soviet republic for a game on the Tuesday.

June 22: Random transfer gossip from the tabs. Leeds are NOT interested in Sean Thornton according to Kevin Blackwell. Tommy Miller is due to blow Leeds out and join Sunderland now that he is back from his honeymoon according to his father (who also happens to be his agent). Olivier Dacourt could join the exodus from cash-strapped Roma, becoming the latest well-paid free transfer into Sam Allardyce's band of happy Wanderers at the Reebok. Lee Bowyer is a target for DOL at Villa ("Oh no he's not" say Villa), but the midfielder is still worried about the reception he'd get in Birmingham after threats from fans canned his move to St Andrews.

June 22: New signing Dan Harding says that he used to follow the fortunes of Leeds when he was a youngster. "When I lived in Germany they showed quite a lot of Leeds games on telly and in a strange way I kind of ended up supporting them because it was the only football I really got to see out there. My dad took me to a game in Leeds when we played Wolves in the FA Cup because he supports Wolves, and they lost 1-0 with Don Goodman scoring for Wolves in what was a big shock at the time and it's still a game I never forget." He went on: "I have to admit I have been a closet Leeds fan. Obviously I didn't shout about it when I was playing for Brighton and it's kind of strange now that this move has happened."

June 22: The final hole in the pre-season schedule looks set to be filled with a trip to see Wee Gordie and his new charges at Parkhead. The game is expected to take place on Sunday 24 July - although the fact that the Glasgow side will be involved in a Champions League qualifier the following week could still result in the game being called off: you can't see them wanting to play any sort of a match on the Sunday if they have to hop on a plane to travel to the far corner of a former Soviet republic for a game on the Tuesday.

June 22: Random transfer gossip from the tabs. Leeds are NOT interested in Sean Thornton according to Kevin Blackwell. Tommy Miller is due to blow Leeds out and join Sunderland now that he is back from his honeymoon according to his father (who also happens to be his agent). Olivier Dacourt could join the exodus from cash-strapped Roma, becoming the latest well-paid free transfer into Sam Allardyce's band of happy Wanderers at the Reebok. Lee Bowyer is a target for DOL at Villa ("Oh no he's not" say Villa), but the midfielder is still worried about the reception he'd get in Birmingham after threats from fans canned his move to St Andrews.

June 22: New signing Dan Harding says that he used to follow the fortunes of Leeds when he was a youngster. "When I lived in Germany they showed quite a lot of Leeds games on telly and in a strange way I kind of ended up supporting them because it was the only football I really got to see out there. My dad took me to a game in Leeds when we played Wolves in the FA Cup because he supports Wolves, and they lost 1-0 with Don Goodman scoring for Wolves in what was a big shock at the time and it's still a game I never forget." He went on: "I have to admit I have been a closet Leeds fan. Obviously I didn't shout about it when I was playing for Brighton and it's kind of strange now that this move has happened."

June 20: With Kevin Blackwell saying that the club are on the point of signing two new players, Lee Clark is said to be the next arrival due to sign on at Elland Road. Blackwell is hoping to complete the majority of his transfer dealings by the time the players return for pre-season training next week, but he wasn't revealing anything about the identity of the would-be new recruits: "We have a policy where we don't talk about people until we actually sign them. We managed to keep things quiet about Dan Harding and Ian Bennett and it's a policy that works for us. When they're signed and sealed we'll let everyone know." He went on: "We're after players that will make the difference. We were a midtable team last season and we now need a few key additions to help us strengthen in the areas we fell short in last season." So we're going to be playing Clark and Craig Short (another putative target) on the left wing then?

June 20: Matthew Kilgallon says that he's raring to get started on the new season. He says he wants to build on his performances last season and stake a claim as first-choice at the heart of the defence: "The previous year I had been out on loan with West Ham and only played a handful of games for us, and that can lead to a few doubts in your mind, but last season I managed to do what I always wanted to do and that's play for this club... I feel I am in a position to really kick on next season and hopefully it can be a landmark season for me personally and the club."

June 18: Kevin Blackwell says he's happy to have tied up the signing of Brum keeper Ian Bennett. Blackwell said: "From what I understand there were a couple of other clubs interested, as well as the offer of a new deal by Birmingham, and it speaks volumes that he's decided to come here... He's a good keeper and he's keen to do well and make an impression at Leeds." Blackwell insists he's not signed a bench-warmer: "Benno has come here because he wants to push for first team football. I give no one any guarantees but it's good because he provides us with competition for Sully. When Sully came here last year it was down to him to work his way in there and I don't think anyone can dispute how well he did. We know all about Sully and how good he is, but he will miss the first few games of pre-season and Benno will have that chance to show people what he can do. It'll be down to him."

June 18: Kevin Blackwell says that he was disappointed to lose Aaron Lennon to Spurs, but was resigned to the youngster's departure. He said: "I resent losing any good players. The situation was we had to offer Aaron the chance to go and that's what we did. The other situation was that his contract was about to expire in a year and the contract he was on was huge. So once again I've inherited someone else's problems in that respect. It means I've got a big hole to fill but hopefully I'll get someone in to replace Aaron."

June 18: Leeds Ladies boss Mel Vauvelle will be taking part in the Cancer Research "Race for life" on Wednesday 8 July and is looking for sponsors. It's all in a good cause, and it would be great to see Leeds fans from all over the world getting behind her. If you've got a credit or debit card, you can sponsor her online here.

June 17: Press reports are saying that Leeds fans are planning a protest against the sale of Aaron Lennon to Spurs. The Leeds United Supporters Group are the ones being quoted as being behind the protest - but nobody seems to know who they are. It's not the official Supporters Club - for once their spokesman seemed to reflect the view of the majority of Leeds fans when he said: "Whilst there is an air of disappointment that Lennon is going, there are certainly no demonstrations planned. It is our view that it is the manager's job to manage the team and the feeling I get is that Ken Bates and everybody at the club is working for the good of the team." The Supporters Trust now seems to have backed away from saying anything - never mind anything controversial. Sounds like we're getting into a Life of Brian "Splitters!" scenario. The player himself put a bit of a curious spin on things, claiming he never asked to leave Leeds and was hoping the club managed to win promotion this time round. Which is strange given Kevin Blackwell's remarks and Lennon's widely circulated refusal to sign any sort of contract extension - but I guess it's probably true that he never actually put in a formal transfer request. Lennon said: "Every week I'll be shouting for Leeds. I hope they can get back into the Premiership next season. I think they've got every chance. The gaffer has built up a good squad of players." Got to admit I think he's making a mistake and that a further season at Elland Road in which he established himself and proved himself week-in, week-out would be far more beneficial to his career than a season warming the bench - if he's lucky - at White Hart Lane and trotting out for the odd League Cup game. Still, we wish him all the best at his new club and hope that he can turn his undoubted potential into real star quality.

June 17: Renewal forms for the Away Season Ticket are hitting the doormats this week. The tickets will only be on offer to people who hold home season tickets and must be renewed by July 4, when a limited number will be offered to home ST holders if there are any of the limited places remaining. The club are talking up the number of people who have renewed their home season tickets - believed to be just over 10,000 so far - despite the concerns that fans would walk away because of the price rises. There also appears to have been a not insignificant rush to join the new membership scheme - thirty quid for...well...not a lot other than the ability to buy away tickets - and that's a testament to the loyalty of the supporters. Either way, it looks like home attendances will be further down next season, and unless we make a couple of attractive signings over the next couple of months and follow it up with a good start to the new campaign, expect crowds to be dipping below the 25K mark by October.

June 17: The jury in the Gary Lineker/Harry Kewell libel case was discharged yesterday after failing to agree on the very first point of the case: whether or not Lineker's article defamed Kewell. Kewell's team have yet to decide what to do next, saying that they'll spend some time discussing it with the player before asking for a retrial - although Lineker fully expects to be back in court some time soon. One impact the case has had though is to stir FIFA into action. Apparently they were very interested to find that Bernie Mandic seems to have been representing Kewell and acting as his agent despite not holding a FIFA registration. No doubt they'll find a way to blame it all on LUFC and hit us with a fine or a points deduction.

June 17: Ian Bennett today became Kevin Blackwell's latest signing, joing the club as cover for Neil Sullivan. The 33-year-old keeper was third-choice at Brum last season, and no doubt thinks that second-choice at a second division side is better than third choice in the top flight. Having said that, Neil Sullivan has gone under the knife to sort out a shoulder problem and it will be touch and go whether he'll have any sort of pre-season, so maybe the manager is ensuring we have an experienced pair of hands in place should Sully fail to recover in time. Kevin Blackwell says that he's nowhere near finished in the transfer market: "We're still looking at three of four players we might bring in. But I'm not going to go talking about who I would or wouldn't like to bring in or what areas I need to strengthen." Meanwhile Zsolt Baranyos reckons that he could be one of those to join up soon. The 29-year-old Hungarian had a trial at Elland Road last year and now that he is out of contract with Sopron he's hoping to earn a deal for next season. Speaking to the Hungarian press, he said: "I've already been on trial at Leeds last year when I played twice and scored a goal with my head in the first game. We've kept in touch and now it's 99 percent certain they will sign me. I'm flying to Leeds on June 27 to have a medical. I'm going to train for a week then I'll have the chance to shoot. The tests will be tough, but hopefully I'll meet the requirements and get a contract."

June 16: Incredibly enough, it seems that the club actually made a profit last season - but only because of the player sales. Just five months after Ken Bates took over, the club reported that they are on course for a £5 million profit - although current projections for next season (before any more sales) are for a greater loss, with the continuing burden of high wages and lower TV money dragging the club back down to earth. Bates said: "When I first arrived at Leeds it was on life support machine but it is now in intensive care." Bates is making no rash promises about a return to the top flight - and if we did manage it next time around, the ridiculous deal struck by the Krasner consortium with the bondholders would see us barely gain any financial benefit. The chairman says: "There are seven clubs which could make it back and we will be one of the seven."

June 16: Kevin Blackwell said that he fully expected to lose Aaron Lennon this summer - or even sooner. Blackwell said: "We are disappointed to lose any player of quality, but such was the money offered and the contract he was on that a move became inevitable. He only had a year left on his current deal and I became resigned to Aaron leaving before the end of last season. Spurs first made their interest known quite a while ago and the player knew that. He wanted to play in the Premiership and this gives him the opportunity to do that." Dan Harding has arrived from Brighton, but as yet we've only got rumours and rejections from top flight players when it comes to inbound signings. Blackwell said: "I have irons in the fire but if nothing happens before the start of the season then at least we have options in that position. We turned a bid down for Frazer because we are not willing to give away our young players." Or at least, not for peanuts.

June 16: Birmingham City fans are intent on scuppering the club's move to sign Lee Bowyer. They've organised a petition saying they don't want him at the club because of his troubled past. Club owner David Sullivan told the official website: "It looks like we are now going to lose out on a terrific player due to a small minority of fans. I am absolutely gutted. English midfielders with his ability are so hard to find."

June 15: Aaron Lennon today became the latest in a long line of promising prospects to depart Elland Road when he sealed a £1 million move to Spurs. Lennon has been the subject of much speculation for some time, and it's widely believed the player himself was keen to move on - despite having little prospect of first team football at White Hart Lane with several more experienced players ahead of him. You never know - we might get lucky and persuade them to loan him back to us to gain more experience next season...

June 15: Some news of former Leeds youngsters making a move as the football world stirs and gets ready for the pre-season training camps. Stuart Edwards has been invited to train with Swansea after being released by Leeds. Swans boss Kenny Jackett had a look at him in a couple of reserve games at the back end of last season and has offered him the chance to earn a contract if he can show he's fit enough and good enough. Dominic Krief has moved to the wrong side of the Pennines after a spell at Harrogate Town. The 21-year-old midfielder played in almost every game for Harrogate last season and has signed up with Southport for the forthcoming season.

June 15: After his recent problems, you'd think that maybe Jermaine Pennant would have spent the summer quietly at home, getting fit and ready to reward Birmingham's faith in him. Instead, he's been out on the lash in Greece and found himself flattened by a bloke he insulted when he tried to chat up the bloke's girlfriend. Pennant apparently asked the girl what she was doing with "that muppet" and was rather surprised when the muppet in question took offence and laid him out with a single punch.

June 15: Since I've not yet had time to tally the votes in the end-of-season poll, you've still got a few days to get your selections in. I'll count up and publish the results at the weekend.

June 14: Chairman Ken Bates today hit out at the "silly money" wage demands he was seeing from Premier League players who were looking for a berth in a Championship side. Speaking in today's Yorkshire Post, Bates said: "An awful lot of Premiership players are getting silly money, their expectations are too high and they are going to be in for a real shock this summer. Players cannot adapt to the big drop. I know of three players who have been asking for £12,000 a week when the average wage in the Championship this season is going to be around £3-4,000." And speculation is open as to just who he was referring to when he said: "We have also had one player, who will not even be fit for the start of the season, asking for £12,000 a week for a two-year deal and his agent wanted another £75,000. Well, I hope he enjoys his career as a hod carrier."

June 14: The first of Kevin Blackwell's players are already back at Thorp Arch as the team prepares for the new season. Long-term injury victims are the first to return, including ill-fated left-back Stephen Crainey. The majority of the squad are due back in a fortnight for a set of gruelling fitness tests - and woe betide anybody who hasn't hit the targets set by Blackwell at the end of last season.

June 14: Lee Bowyer could be on his way to Birmingham. After his much-publicised bust-up with Kieron Dyer and with yet another court case coming on top of his ban, it seems the Magpies are keen to get rid as soon as possible. Brum chairman David Gold said: "Lee Bowyer's record speaks for itself." Well, that's true for a start. Gold went on: "We know that Steve Bruce is special in getting the best out of players with his man-management skills. He has shown that on so many occasions." The sticking point will be Bowyer's wages: the player faces a choice of staying put on a huge pay packet or moving for considerably less (but still twenty times what most folks on the terraces hope to earn in a year).

June 14: Danny Cadamarteri has returned to Bradford City after spending most of last season doing very little for Sheffield United. The player started the season with Leeds, but it soon became clear he didn't figure in Kevin Blackwell's plans, and looked set to be left in limbo by his wage demands: seems like he's seen sense and decided to go somewhere he can get a game rather than taking the money and warming the bench at Bramall Lane.

June 14: The jury in the Harry Kewell/Gary Lineker case are set to be sent out to consider their verdict tomorrow after counsel gave their closing speeches today. Kewell's counsel said :"I suggest that Mr Lineker is not only confused about what went on in this transfer deal, but confused about the rules of the game of journalism." They reiterate the garbage claim that Bernie Mandic received £2 million for other work for Leeds in Australia and was nothing to do with the transfer. Well, all I can say to that is that Mandic should consider a second career as a secret agent nevermind a football agent, because that £2 million doesn't seem to have bought Leeds any noticeable benefit in Australia or back home. Kewell's side argue that the article defamed him by painting him as either a willing participant in an effort to screw Leeds out of money they could ill afford, or as an innocent dupe who allowed himself to be fleeced of money that could have gone to him in the transfer deal. It would seem that they're arguing that Kewell was so happy with the deal he got from Liverpool that he wasn't bothered about the odd couple of million getting diverted to his agent. And they expect us to believe this! If the jury buy this story, then expect the foreman to emerge from the courtroom and ask if those weapons of mass destruction have turned up in Iraq while they were in court.

June 13: Lee Clark was on the point of signing a 1-year deal with Leeds, according to the weekend papers. The veteran midfielder has been released by Fulham and was in talks with the club today. But it now seems that the deal is off due to his excessive wage demands. Speaking to the YEP, Kevin Blackwell's assistant Sam Ellis said: "It looks unlikely anything will happen. Players coming out of the Premiership have to understand that until they are realistic in their demands, they won't be coming down to the Championship."

June 13: Rob Hulse says he wants to earn his third promotion in four years when he leads the line at Elland Road next season. Hulse's goals helped Crewe and West Brom to promotions to Division 1 (as it then was) and the Premiership respectively, and speaking to the offiical website today, he said he wanted to repeat the experience with Leeds: "There's no secret to it as such, it's about hitting a level of consistency. We showed last season that on our day we can beat anyone when we're firing on all cylinders and that's what it boils down to, we have to keep doing it. The importance of being consistent can't be underestimated. We were up there and in with a shout at one stage, but it just sort of petered off towards the end of the season. It was probably just a bit too much for everyone in the end and it finished in a damp squib, but we always said we were building for next season.

June 13: In court today Gary Lineker took the stand and told of his frustration at the "murky" nature of the transfer of Harry Kewell from Leeds to Liverpool. Lineker insisted he was not trying to blacken Harry Kewell himself, but was just using the deal, with payments going in just about every direction except between the two clubs, as an example of what was wrong with the current transfer system. Lineker said: "It's the sort of deal which doesn't do the image of the game any good whatsoever - a sport which is very much part of my life and I care about, coming out of it yet again badly over a transfer which was murky, I'm afraid." At the end of his evidence, Lineker was asked if he was being sued by Leeds, Liverpool or Bernie Mandic as a result of the article: he replied in the negative - it seems that only poor old Harry is so sensitive on the subject. Tomorrow will see closing speeches and directions to the jury - looks like we could have a verdict soon.

June 12: The Leeds Ladies side - despite being cut adrift financially by the club - are looking for new coaches for next season. Any Level 2 or higher coach interested in working with the youth teams should contact them by email with a brief CV. They're a dedicated, talented, hard-working team - wonder if Kevin Blackwell has considered switching his allegiance?

June 12: Last season, the club very sensibly decided that nobody in their right mind would want to buy a video of the relegation season. This year, somebody has clearly been taking hopeful pills because tomorrow sees the release of the season review on DVD. Every goal from every game, with the thoughts of Paul Butler and an exclusive set of Easter Eggs featuring Kevin Blackwell slagging off every player under the age of 21. They've also included the goals from last season making this a real must-buy item, out just in time for Fathers Day too! Sod it, I'll probably pay the money just to have Deano's foursome from the QPR game for posterity.

June 11: A capacity crowd at Durban's Kings Park Stadium paid tribute to Lucas Radebe in his testimonial game tonight. For what it's worth, the South Africa Invitation XI beat the Lucas Radebe All Stars by 3-2. Before the game, former Bafana Bafana coach Jomo Sono said that Radebe should be assured of a prominent place in the national game and not just cast aside like many former players. Sono said: "I hope somewhere down the line the people in charge of football will make sure that he has a position in our football because you can't expect people like him to vanish." A gala dinner the night before the game also raised money for Radebe's testimonial charities, with a memorabilia auction bringing in over R100,000.

June 11: Former Leeds youth player Kevin Cronin has been released by Bohemians in Ireland after playing a peripheral role for the club since joining them back in March. The 20-year-old defender made just one appearance from the bench in that time and will be free to find another club from the end of the month.

June 11: Tim Cahill has told Everton boss David Moyes that he should make Stanley Park neighbours Liverpool an offer for Harry Kewell. Despite seeming to achieve some sort of rapprochement with Reds boss Rafa Benitez at the end of the season, Kewell is widely expected to leave Anfield in the summer. Cahill - in contrast to Kewell - has played a major part in Everton's success since his transfer from Millwall, and he told Moyes that his Socceroos team-mate would be a great signing: "I want to make it quite clear that Harry has nothing to prove to anyone and if Liverpool don't want him then we'll have him." Cahill defended Kewell's poor form, pointing to the injury problems that have dogged him since the end of his time at Leeds: "The kid is a great footballer and everyone knows that. What he has done in the game speaks for itself. But sometimes things don't happen for you and I think Harry just needs a bit of a break and he'll definitely come back with flying colours... I think H just needs to enjoy his summer and come back next year fit."

June 11: Former Leeds striker Alan Curtis has been found another job by Swansea City, less than a month after being sacked as head of youth development. Curtis, who had three spells with the Swans after joining the club aged 17, will now head up a team of former players doing matchday hospitality. Speaking to the South Wales Evening Post, chairman Huw Jenkins said: "We wanted to make sure we retained his services in some capacity. We hope to work with him for many years to come."

June 10: Harry Kewell's manager Bernie Mandic rubbished suggestions that he had manipulated Harry Kewell for personal gain during his transfer from Leeds to Liverpool. Mandic claimed that claims that he personally gained from the transfer were put around by the Leeds board who felt that they needed to secure a bigger headline figure to keep investors and creditors happy. Interestingly, Mandic claims that the money he was paid from the transfer was settlement for work he had done on Leeds' behalf in Australia, which was designed to build links with teams over there and feed good players into the Leeds Academy. Given the signal success of this enterprise, that explains about a fiver's worth of his two million quid bill - wonder how he feels he can justify the rest? Presumably he was on another Ridsdale special "payment by non-results" contract.

June 10: 15 people have been charged with offences surrounding the disorder that took place after Cardiff's visit to Leeds last season. Those charged will be up in front of Leeds Magistrates on Monday, with the police saying they've found all bar 8 of the 42 people they wanted to question. Speaking to a few people who were in the middle of this when it happened, I'd be interested to know if any of the people charged were present at the incident in uniform and riding horses: the attitude of the police towards innocent Leeds fans who were just trying to get out of the ground that day was frankly disgraceful, but we know what sort of reception to expect should anyone suggest they be held to account for their behaviour.

June 10: Leeds have again been linked with Brum keeper Ian Bennett. The 34-year-old has spoken to both Leeds and Sheffield United, but is unsure whether or not to move or to stay as second or third choice at St Andrews. Realistically he'll be in the same position at Leeds, with Neil Sullivan rather more secure in his position than some other squad members, so if he really does want first team football then you'd have to say he'll have a better chance of getting it at Bramall Lane. Bennett said: "The thing is, I've had enough of reserve football or sitting on the bench. I can't see Maik Taylor coming out of the team, and Nico Vaesen was preferred to me more often than not last season. It's a difficult one because on the other hand I don't want to be going into the First Division and competing for a place either. So would I be just as better off staying at Birmingham and going out on loan?"

June 09: Ian Harte scored from the spot just after the interval to finally give Ireland the lead against the Faroe Islands last night. The former Leeds left-back made it two goals in two games with his penalty, and Ireland went on to record a non-too-convincing 0-2 win. James Milner saw his spot-kick saved last night as England's U-20 side went out of the Toulon tournament. England were held scoreless by holders France through normal time, and Milner then saw France keeper Steve Mandana save his kick to help take France into the final against Portugal.

June 09: Brighton chairman Dick Knight says he'll be banging on the doors of Shaun Harvey and Ken Bates at the Football League conference this week to try to get a fee sorted for Dan Harding. Knight indicated that Leeds had yet to make an offer, although they had spoken and he'd made it clear what his valuation of the player was. He added: "That figure is confidential between us and Leeds but it is substantial. We have had Dan Harding since he was 14, he has played nearly 80 games for our first team, he played more games than anyone else last season and he was a regular member of the England under-21 squad." And Knight pointed out that he'd been through a similar situation before: "I'm quite happy to take our case to a Football League tribunal because we have done it before. I did it when we got £1.2 million for Gareth Barry, who never played a single game for the club."

June 09: Not that it's any of his business, but Dario Gradi today told Seth Johnson he should stay put at Elland Road and see out the remainder of his contract. No doubt unhappy to find his own players on the end of some interest from Leeds, Gradi said he wasn't interested in getting his former player back on loan, but added: "I would advise him to stay at Leeds and get the money he is due on his contract." Cheers mate - remind us to make a helpful comment in your direction some time.

June 09: Grimsby Town have signed John Lukic! However, it's the veteran keeper's son of the same name who will be trying to get into Grimsby's first team next season. The 19-year-old was third-choice at Forest last year, and said: "I'm pleased to sign for Grimsby and just want to be playing in the first team... My ambition is to have a half decent career and enjoy playing. It would be nice to follow in my dads footsteps."

June 09: Lucas Radebe will get a big send-off from the stars and fans of African football at the weekend when he returns to his native country to play in a testimonial match in Durban on Saturday night. A South African Invitation XI will play the Lucas Radebe All-Stars, with The Chief playing a half for each side. He'll be joined by former Leeds colleague Phil Masinga, plus well-known (to English fans) names such as Mark Fish, Peter Ndlovu, Shaun Bartlett and Quinton Fortune, with proceeds going to his testimonial charities.

June 08: Brighton boss Mark McGhee today lost all grip on reality when he suggested that Leeds should pay a fee of around £2 million for Dan Harding. He seems to be taking as his baseline moves of better, more experienced players to Premier League clubs, saying: "I think he's worth a lot of money. He played more games than any other player last season, even with the circumstances surrounding whether he would sign his contract. He didn't always play well last year but he did at the end. If you compare him with other under-21 players who have moved on, like Davenport, Prutton and even the boy Dawson, who went for four million, he has got to be worth £1.5-2 million." At least he still has some idea of which planet he's living on though: "We won't get that from Leeds but if it ends up going to a tribunal then all the circumstances have to be taken into account. He has been at the club a long time, he's an England under-21 player and a lad with enormous potential and a big future."

June 08: Despite some apparent interest from newly-promoted Sunderland, it seems that Leeds aren't out of the chase for Ipswich's out-of-contract midfielder Tommy Miller. It's still possible he could renew his deal at Portman Road, but a meeting between Kevin Blackwell and Miller's agent (who also happens to be his father) has renewed hope at Elland Road that the player could still join. Speaking to the YEP, Blackwell said: "We're in with a big shout. We'll know what he's thinking when he returns to England. It seems that it's now between ourselves, Sunderland and Ipswich... Ultimately it's in his hands now but I'm hopeful that something will happen."

June 08: Noel Whelan will be playing his football in England next season after being released by Aberdeen at the end of the last campaign. The 30-year-old striker has signed up for my local side - Boston United in Division 2. Speaking to the Pilgrims' official website, Boston boss Steve Evans said: "[The signings] will give us much greater options within a squad that will be among the smallest in League Two. I have tracked the performances of Noel Whelan over a large part of last season and watched him myself produce some outstanding performances. I worked hard to persuade him to join us and it would be fair to say the boy had a number of teams in the Coca-Cola League who wanted his services. His is big, strong and a very clever striker that I know our fans will take to." Whelan was said to enjoy the social side of life a bit too much while at Leeds and never quite delivered on the promise he showed as a youth team player, but he has managed to keep up a respectable strike rate over the years despite finding himself used as a bit-part player at many of his clubs.

June 08: And I thought it was us Poms who were supposed to whinge. Harry Kewell today told the High Court that he was "shocked" when he saw an article by Gary Lineker in which it was suggested that the behaviour of the player and his representatives was disreputable in attempting to wring every last penny they could out of his transfer from Leeds to Liverpool, exploiting their knowledge of the financial situation Leeds were in. Kewell said: "I saw the article and I was shocked. I was amazed by what he said... I couldn't believe he wrote something like that." Well all I can say to that is that Kewell must have been going around blind and deaf at the time, since that was the opinion being expressed on the terraces, in print, on the web and over the air by just about anyone with an interest in the game at the time, and there was little Lineker's article said that hadn't been said before. Gary Lineker and the Telegraph are defending the action, citing that it was fair comment and an honest expression of opinion.

June 08: Today's Express suggests that Paul Hart is wanted by Ken Bates to come back to Leeds to run the Academy. Many of the more successful youngsters from the last few years were developed under Hart, and although he's had mixed results as a manager at Forest and Barnsley, nobody doubts his ability to bring on young players - and that's what Leeds need most right now.

June 08: Lee Bowyer has been charged with a public order offence in connection with his on-field scuffle with Kieron Dyer. The Northumbria Police indicated that no action would be taken against Dyer. Bowyer's lawyer indicated that they would be looking to have the charges struck off as a matter of urgency. Steve Barker said: "I've spoken with the player, his agent and the PFA and as a result of this discussion, it's our intention to have the decision to prosecute him reviewed judicially in the High Court." Leaving aside Bowyer's past legal problems and tendency to accumulate cards, I've got to say this is a very slippy slope. Bowyer took a swing at a colleague, and no lasting damage was done to anybody: he's been punished by the club and the FA, and the matter needs to end there. If the courts do decide that the charge should be allowed to proceed, then a whole phalanx of lawyers will be beating a path to the doors of countless players who have been on the wrong end of on-field incidents: I'm sure that Alfi Haaland will be watching this case with great interest given Roy Keane's admission of a deliberate and cowardly assault on him - a case which is far more worthy of police and court time than this ridiculous sideshow at Newcastle.

June 08: The following info has been sent to us from Svend of LUSCOS regarding the forthcoming pre-season tour of Norway. Keep an eye on their website for an English guide to the tour shortly. Tickets for the Leeds vs Stavanger IF (Saturday) CAN be bought at www.ticnet.no (choose the british flag in the top right corner for english version). ALTHOUGH: The whole L-section is reserved for you english lot, so you can keep together and start the singing (I will be joining or even starting chants myself if needed). The L-section is closed for sale at the website and can only be bought by calling 0047 90553308 or emailing ekeland _at_ hesbynett.no - this is the guy who is responsible for the whole match, it's not an black market seller or something. Tickets for the the Leeds vs FK Haugesund game (Wednesday) is now also on sale at www.ticnet.no - at this match there are no sections to buy at, the tickets are not numbered, it's simply an access to the stadium and choose you own place (although we will probably try and get the Leeds-supporters to stay together somewhere). There will be a party/gathering in Haugesund after the game as well, but I have no info on that at the moment. As mentioned earlier, there is a party at both Friday and Saturday night in Stavanger. The Friday night is open, no cover charge and no list. This is ment as a "get together" where norwegian and english Leeds-supporters can meet up and have a beer or ten. BOTH PARTIES to be held at the nightclub "Halv Toll", which have been hired for the occasion. The Saturday night party will have a cover charge of 100,- NOK (about 8 pounds) per person, and you must "register" to the list (the place only take about 700 people so if you want to be sure getting in, let us know). The guys in Stavanger tells me that the Leeds-players (most of them at least), and some staff will appear, and they will also get some other surprises for you. They may even get some ex-players to join in, there will be music, fun, drinks and possibly even some easy free food. To "sign up" for the parties, drop me an email at svend _at_ anders.tc with the name of everyone coming. I'll forward the final list to the nightclub-owner and it will be checked at the entrance. Payment of 100 NOK for the Saturday party upon arrival. When there's no match, party or training to watch, Leeds-fans are invited to get together at Beverly (Hills Fun Pub), where there's an excelent place to have a beer outside in a beatiful sunny day in Norway (or inside if it is raining). There will also be a "Leeds-menu" so that you can get some food between the training sessions. At night, this is also a popular place to go for everyone, it's actually THE place in Europe that sells most beer per sq.feet.

June 08: Time to mobilise the Leeds vote just as we did (unsuccessfully in the end) for the Coca-Cola cash. This time it's to persuade the good people at Sky that John Charles should be crowned the greatest footballer of all time. There's some stiff competition from the likes of Pele, Cruyff and Puskas, but if we all vote here we might just be able to swing it.

June 07: Leeds have made their first serious transfer move of the summer (I'm not counting the long-trailed confirmation of Rob Hulse's signature). Brighton's England U-21 left-back Dan Harding agreed personal terms with Leeds after declining to sign a contract extension for the South Coast side. Since Harding is under 22, Brighton will get a fee, to be determined by a tribunal unless the clubs agree suitable compensation. Seagulls boss Mark McGhee wasn't impressed with the way Harding has treated the club: "Most of what we are hearing is through the newspapers and second and third hand. I totally understand his motivation. He wants to earn more money but I think he should have treated us a bit better." So that looks like the end of any serious move for Michael Gray then....

June 07: To the great surprise of nobody, the friendly at Barnsley on July 30 will now kick off at noon rather than 3pm on police advice. Last time we played a pre-season friendly there, we saw some trouble in the town as El Tel made his debut as Leeds manager in England.

June 07: New almost-signing (it's official as of July 1) Dan Harding said that Kevin Blackwell was instrumental in him moving to Leeds. After passing a medical at Thorp Arch on Monday, Harding said: "I am delighted to be joining such a big club as Leeds United. I have been at Brighton since I was 14 years old and felt the time was right for me to move on to further my career. The club and its size sold itself to me with Kevin Blackwell playing a major part in persuading me that Leeds was the club for me over the other opportunities that potentially were available."

June 07: Harry Kewell is suing Gary Lineker and the Telegraph over comments the former England striker made about Kewell's departure from Elland Road. Kewell reckons that the article portrayed him as a willing participant in an attempt to screw as much cash as possible out of Leeds United, knowing that the incompetence of Peter Ridsdale and other negotiators from the Leeds board had left the club over a barrel. The Telegraph will be defending the article on the grounds that it is fair comment. One of the interesting points to emerge in the suit is Kewell's contention that the millions paid to Bernie Mandic as part of the deal are fair and reasonable on the grounds that he'd not been paid for what he'd done in the past three years. Duh? Which either suggests that Leeds were up the creek even earlier than we first believed, or Kewell and Mandic had come to an arrangement in which it made no financial sense for the agent to keep the player happy and settled at Leeds. Or something else entirely...we should hear more when the case hits the High Court later this week.

June 06: David Weir looks set to stay at Everton for another season, so Kevin Blackwell will have to look elsewhere for another aging defender to sign. Weir said: "We've just had a great season and I hope all of the guys who helped us finish in fourth place are around next season to enjoy it... I'm happy to stay and sign a one-year deal instead of two because I know I'll need to keep working hard and playing well to earn another one next year. I don't want to sign for two then put my feet up."

June 06: Ian Harte returned to the international stage with a trademark free kick goal for Ireland at the weekend, with Robbie Keane adding a second. Unfortunately, the Irish failed to hold their two-goal lead over Israel and ended up with just a draw, and look set to lose Keane to a shoulder injury from their next match against the Faroe Islands. Gylfi Einarsson played for Iceland in their 2-3 home defeat by Hungary and now cannot qualify for WC 2006. David Healy gave Nothern Ireland a surprise lead against Germany in a friendly at Windsor Park when he stroked home an early penalty. But to nobody's great surprise, the visitors took control and went on to a 1-4 win.

June 03: I'm off on a long weekend jolly to play a little football badly and drink a lot rather well. Normal service will resume sometime on Monday.

June 02: Lucas Radebe is putting his immediate plans for a testimonial and coaching badges on hold after his wife Fezi was diagnosed with bowel cancer. The player was due back home in South Africa to attend the launch of his testimonial year down there, but he's obviously chosen to stay in Leeds with his family. In a video message to the launch today, he said: "As you know cancer is a serious illness, so her doctors are not taking any chances and I am confident she is receiving the best possible treatment. This is the reason why I am not there with you today. I am sure you understand that at a difficult time like this she needs my support.Fezi's illness also means that we will have to postpone some of the events surrounding the testimonial match. I will fly out on June 9 for a gala dinner in Durban, and the testimonial match will go ahead as scheduled on June 11. I will then return to England the next day to be with Fezi and my family. The rest of the events will be postponed until later in the year. They will not be cancelled and I will honour my commitments once I am able to leave Fezi for a longer period of time." Radebe also announced that he would be setting up a trust in his wife's name to provide funding to impoverished South African hospitals which sometimes struggle to provide the expensive but effective treatments for the disease. Our thoughts are with Lucas and his family and we wish Fezi the best of luck in her treatment.

June 02: Assistant manager Sam Ellis has had his contract extended with the club for a further season.

June 01: Ian Harte could be bound for a third relegation in three seasons: newly-promoted West Ham are said to be enquiring into the possibility of picking up the former Leeds left-back after his Spanish team Levante suffered a catastrophic loss of form and found themselves relegated from the top flight.

June 01: Matthew Kilgallon today explained that the team were 100% united in their aims for next season: at the end-of-term debriefing, Kevin Blackwell asked them all what they wanted next season and all they could come up with was one word: "promotion". Kilgallon said: "The meeting was supposed to go on for an hour but it ended up being just ten minutes because it's clear we all want the same thing. The gaffer was happy with how we all responded. I think it shows that we're all ambitious and next season we will be giving it our best shot. We've seen the likes of Sunderland and Wigan celebrating success with their fans and that's what we want to experience next." Err....okay, but HOW EXACTLY do you intend to achieve this aim? I'd like to retire and look after the garden - but it ain't going to happen anytime soon...

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