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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


June 30: Michael Ricketts has finally removed himself from the Elland Road wage bill, signing a two-year deal with newly-promoted Southend. What's the betting he scores against us?

June 28: John Carver has confirmed that he will stay at Leeds for next season - it seems his initial denial of an interest in the Carlisle job wobbled a bit but in the end he's staying put. Carver said: "This is the right decision. After one season in the Championship, I know what it takes to achieve promotion and I am delighted to be honouring my contract at Leeds."

June 28: Sheffield United have had their approach for Rob Hulse knocked back by Kevin Blackwell. Neil Warnock told the Yorkshire Post: "I have spoken to Kevin Blackwell and he knows my valuation of the player. We made an offer but Kevin's value is a lot higher than that. We are still interested but things are on hold."

June 28: The Wolves home game is the latest to be added to Sky's television schedule: it will now be played a day later on Sunday 10 September with a 1315 KO.

June 27: The visit of Sunderland to Elland Road has been moved on police advice: it will now take place on the Wednesday night - 13 September - rather than the Tuesday to ensure the police have sufficient manpower available to cover the other games taking place in the area during that week. The trip to Palace has been pushed back to the Sunday lunchtime with a noon kick-off for Sky to televise.

June 27: The reserves will be in action at Limerick in Ireland on Tuesday 18 July with a 7:30 start. The hosts hope to have Munster's Heineken Cup on display at the game, and will also be hoping that plenty of Leeds fans attend and drink lots of cups of Heineken.

June 27: Cyril Chapuis - whose Leeds career stretched to one start (against Swindon in the League Cup), two sub appearances (ManU, Bolton) and a hat-trick in the John Beck testimonial at Cambridge - is to be one of the first in a no-doubt long queue of French players invited to try their luck at Ibrox now that Paul Le Guen is in charge. Chapuis has ambled round a variety of clubs in France since his unsuccessful loan spell at Elland Road and is looking to kick-start his career with Le Guen, who was his boss in his early days at Rennes.

June 27: Today's random transfer rumours and repeats. Rob Hulse is definitely going to Bramall Lane, honest. Kev wants Ipswich's Darren Currie, but Ipswich boss Jim Magilton says that the player remains part of his plans. So having been rebuffed there, Kev's next stop is Norwich where winger Paul McVeigh is targeted to be come on board and start the season against his current team-mates. Next stop Kings Lynn, then Peterborough, Boston, Lincoln and finally Skegness Town as Kev's caravan holiday and player-search comes to an end with us picking up the winner of a Soccer Idol competition at Butlins.

June 26: Teddy Lucic's World Cup ended a little bit before the rest of his team-mates - he was dismissed for a second - rather dubious - yellow card against Germany as Sweden went out 2-0 to the hosts. Despite facing 10 men for much of the second half, Mark Viduka and his Australian colleagues couldn't break down Italy's defence, and a very doubtful penalty in the last minute of injury time was all Totti needed to seal the Italians' passage to the quarter-finals.

June 26: Teddy Lucic's World Cup ended a little bit before the rest of his team-mates - he was dismissed for a second - rather dubious - yellow card against Germany as Sweden went out 2-0 to the hosts. Despite facing 10 men for much of the second half, Mark Viduka and his Australian colleagues couldn't break down Italy's defence, and a very doubtful penalty in the last minute of injury time was all Totti needed to seal the Italians' passage to the quarter-finals. Harry Kewell missed the game suffering from an attack of gout.

June 26: One-time Leeds youth player Craig Farrell has joined York City after spells with Carlisle and Exeter.

June 26: Danny Pugh's switch to Preston has been confirmed. Pugh becomes Paul Simpson's first signing at Deepdale after refusing an offer of a contract extension at Leeds. Because of his age, Leeds are entitled to a fee and the clubs have agreed a set of staged payments that could see Leeds getting up to a quarter of a million for the former ManU player.

June 24: 19-year-old keeper Mark Wilberforce has effectively been given a last chance to impress the management at Leeds: he's been given a 3-month contract, starting on July 1 and he'll have to convince Kevin Blackwell that he's got a future at the club after coming through the youth team ranks and into the reserves over the last few years.

June 23: Head coach John Carver has apparently indicated that he will remain at Leeds for the final year of his contract, despite speculation linking him with the vacant manager's chair at Carlisle.

June 23: Danny Pugh is on the point of becoming a Preston player. The clubs have now agreed a fee for the left-sided midfielder and he was due to take a medical at Deepdale today. New PNE boss Paul Simpson said: "He is a player I have always liked so I wasted no time in making my interest known. I am absolutely delighted we have got him. He is at a great age, with plenty of football in him and he's of very good pedigree with his grounding at Manchester United. He has a lot of quality and a great left foot and can play in either position on the left side." Scott Carson is also likely to be on the move: his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday last season was instrumental in helping them stay up and Owls boss Paul Sturrock is trying to persuade Liverpool (and the player) to make the switch permanently.

June 23: Leeds' early-season trip to Hillsborough has been moved already: the game will now take place on Sunday 27 August with a 1315 KO to be televised on Sky.

June 23: Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka helped drag the Aussies into the knock-out stages of the World Cup with a pretty impressive set of performances last night. Viduka was massive (no, really...) up front, holding the ball up brilliantly and creating many chances giving away the free kick that had seen Croatia take an early lead. Kewell came close on a couple of occasions, and eventually scrambled home an equaliser that might have been close to offside but given that Graham Poll had missed awarding them a penalty considerably more blatant than the one he did blow for, and that he also failed to wave the red card when he dished out a second yellow to Croatia's Simunic then that was the least the Socceroos deserved. Poll later wrote himself into World Cup history by awarding a third yellow to Simunic as the final whistle went, this time realising that the player's name was already down and belatedly sending him off.

June 22: The fixtures for next season were released today - and Kevin Blackwell will face a stern examination of his team's promotion credentials in the first couple of months. Norwich, Palace, Wolves, Sunderland, Birmingham and West Brom all feature before the end of September, and a strong start will be necessary if the fans (and players and most importantly chairman) are to think that automatic promotion is a real possibility. On the positive side, we finish at Derby and it would be nice to hand Billy Davies his catchphrase on a giant poster so that he can once again eat his words (assuming of course that his board haven't already taken a view on the sort of job that he has done by then).

June 22: Kevin Blackwell has set his sights on Brighton's young French midfielder Sebastien Carole as he looks to strengthen the squad for a serious promotion push. Leeds have yet to agree terms with the Seagulls, but the player is expected to be ready to join the squad when it returns for pre-season training next month and could take a medical as early as this weekend.

June 22: Manager Kevin Blackwell took a deep breath and pinched himself, but he's pronounced himself happy with a tough 2 months to start the new season. He said: "It's a good start for us against Norwich, and to be fair I think both sides are going to be contenders for promotion next season. The first two months are going to be a tough test and we've got some big games in there, but other teams will be looking at it and realising that they have to play Leeds United. We're never an easy game."

June 21: The Carling Cup draw was made today and Leeds have been drawn at home to Chester City in the 1st round of the Carling Cup. The tie will be played in the week of August 21 and will be decided on the night. Leeds have faced Chester twice before in this competition: a surprising 0-3 defeat at Sealand Road in 1974 and an aggregate win in 1983 after losing the first leg 0-1 at Elland Road.

June 21: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's agent is once again earning his corn, touting his out-of-contract player around every available club. This time Humphry Nijman reckons that Celtic could be the place to try - after all if John Hartson can do it.... Nijman indicated that it was just paper talk at the moment though: "I spoke to Jimmy about the possibility when I first heard of it and he would be very interested. He said they are a great club and would be charmed to play for them. It is now up to Celtic but we are willing to listen."

June 20: Harry Kewell will not face further disciplinary action following comments he is said to have made to the ref after the Socceroos' defeat by Brazil. Apparently ref Markus Merk gave an "inconsistent account" of the incident.

June 20: Norwich boss Nigel Worthington has been making enquiries about the availability of Rob Hulse. Worthington tried to buy the striker from West Brom 3 years ago, and said: "Linking him with Rob Earnshaw would be a nice pairing if we could make it happen. We have made an enquiry to Leeds and that is where we are at."

June 19: Harry Kewell has found himself in hot water with FIFA after remarks made to the ref at the end of Australia's defeat by Brazil. FIFA communications director Markus Siegler said: "Fifa have opened disciplinary procedures against Harry Kewell. It was reported in the referee's report that he insulted the referee several times." The merry whistleblower was well-known pedant Markus Merk, and his free-kick count of 25 to Brazil and only 9 to Australia was a little unrepresentative of what most people thought they were watching. But after the game Kewell retracted what he had told the ref earlier: "You're frustrated, you're losing the game, every referee puts up with it. I mean, it's part and parcel of the game. He knows there's no harm meant by it. You go out there and play so well against the world champions and you come off losing, whereas you think you should have come off with something. He understands that, that's the way it is. It was a hard match to referee, and he did a good job."

June 18: So what's been happening with our old boys/current players in the latest batch of games then? Well, another clean sheet for Robbo and Rio - mainly thanks to the unstinting efforts of John Terry as England staggered past Trinidad and Tobago. Aaron Lennon's appearance from the bench was more or less as expected: not great with the crosses but drawing cards and free kicks from tired opponents with his pace and attacking attitude. Teddy Lucic picking up a card but solid at the back for another Sweden shutout, with a late Ljungberg goal giving them the win over Paraguay. Rui Marques coming on as a late sub for 10-man Angola in their creditable goalless draw with Mexico. Eddie Lewis dropped for the USA in their bad-tempered 1-1 draw with Italy. Mark Viduka nearly managed to lob Dida, but Harry Kewell missed an open goal from close range as Brazil beat Australia 2-0.

June 14: Paul Jewell may be out in Germany commentating on the World Cup, but he's left word back with the Wigan hierarchy that they should get their act together and sign Leeds old boy James Milner. Milner is unsure of his position at Newcastle, and although DOL is keen to bring Milner back to Villa Park after a successful loan spell last season, Doug Ellis has no intention of loosening the purse strings.

June 14: With money from the sale of Cameron Jerome burning a hole in their pockets, Cardiff have earmarked a chunk to pay for the substantial Stephen McPhail to improve their midfield and pie sales. McPhail has 10 international caps and is out of contract at Barnsley from July 1.

June 13: Leeds have confirmed their "away days" for the pre-season with the announcement that the team will once again travel to Norway, playing FK Sarpsborg on July 13 and FK Ulf Sandnes of Stavanger on July 17, both games kicking off at 1830 local time.

June 13: Stephen McPhail has refused Barnsley's offer of a new contract despite the fact that he helped them to promotion last season. McPhail is thought to be in talks with Hull, but the fact that Tigers boss Peter Taylor is set to join Crystal Palace could throw that up into the air.

June 12: I've resisted going into the nth degree on random and pointless transfer scuttlebutt, but here's a quick round-up of the non-stories so far. Matthew Kilgallon is going to Sheffield United. Oh no he isn't. The fee is 4 million quid. But we're not selling. Hulse to Bramall Lane as well, Reading winger Glen Little to arrive. Danny Pugh talking to Derby. Healy to be sold (to whoever will pay) to finance any new signings that Kev mught want to make. Andy Reid to arrive on loan from Spurs. Arsenal's Ryan Smith - who was on loan at Leicester last season - to arrive if we can beat off the Foxes for his signature. Think that's about it for now - happy?

June 12: So we've now had 4 days of World Cup saturation coverage and on the whole it's been pretty good for former Leeds players. Rio and Robbo were obviously involved in Saturday's sub-par performance, but hey - they kept a clean sheet between them to that's good enough. Also on the right end of a defensive duck egg was Teddy Lucic: not good enough for Leeds but good enough to play for his country, although the Swedish strikers had less to cheer as they failed to score against 10-man Trinidad and Tobago. This afternoon, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka (along with the almost-signed Brett Emerton) nearly saw their dreams blown away by Japan, but two goals from Tim Cahill and a third from John Aloisi in the last 10 minutes of the game converted a 0-1 defeat to a 3-1 win. Less happy was Eddie Lewis, with the USA on the wrong end of a 3-0 dismantling by the Czech Republic.

June 08: Nigel Martyn has been forced to call time on his career due to a persistent ankle injury. Martyn has been out of the Everton side since picking up an injury in January, and although David Moyes had been keen to offer the veteran a further year on his contract, a scan has shown that his recovery is not going as well as hoped. Martyn said: "I've loved every minute of my time at Everton and have a lot to be thankful for. I had a follow-up CT scan to see if the crack in the bone had healed but it clearly showed no healing. It means I will have to have another operation to pin the bones back together... It was a decision based on being able to live a normal sort of life afterwards - that was the primary concern because it is a nasty bone to have a problem in." Martyn made 100 appearances for Everton after Leeds - in many people's view mistakenly - released him and kept Paul Robinson to co-ordinate seemingly random set of defenders brought in by Peter Reid's loan deals, leading to the inevitable relegation. Martyn made 273 appearances for Leeds after Howard Wilkinson brought him in from Palace as the first million-pound keeper in the country. It's a matter of debate as to whether he was better than David Harvey (or even Gary Sprake), but he's certainly up there with the all-time greats and we wish him all the best for his recovery and whatever new life he makes for himself outside the game.

June 08: Lee Bowyer has signed for West Ham for a second time. The midfielder left Leeds for a nominal fee in January 2003 and had an undistinguished 6 months at the Boleyn Ground, making 11 appearances and failing to score before departing for Newcastle. After various bust-ups with team-mates and continued visits to the courtroom for a variety of reasons, Bowyer's exit from Newcastle is not a surprise. He said: "I am desperate to do well for West Ham. I loved my time at Newcastle but this is my club. I didn't play well last time. I had a bad ankle injury. I see this as unfinished business."

June 06: Are you any good at footy? Will you be near Wetherby at the weekend? Are you female? If you can answer yes to these three questions then get yourself along to Wetherby Ings (next to the pool) for 0930 on Saturday and get a trial for Leeds United Ladies. Trials are from 10am to noon, with age groups U8, U10, U12, U14, U16 looking for new players.

June 06: Jermaine Wright has had his contract at Elland Road cancelled by mutual consent. After being one of Kevin Blackwell's first choices in his first season, Wright fell out of favour and has been on loan at Millwall and Southampton for most of the season.

June 05: John Sheridan has appointed one of his former Leeds team-mate as his new assistant manager at Oldham. Tommy Wright played alongside Shez in the 1980s, and has had two stints as an Oldham player, as well as spells with Bradford, Leicester and Boro among others.

June 04: Mark Viduka missed from the spot in Australia's friendly against Holland today - but his shot hit bar, post and keeper before spilling to Tim Cahill to square the match at 1-1. Viduka has also indicated that the World Cup could mark the end of his international career: with the Asian Cup next season requiring a round-the-world trip every month or more, and with a young family back in England, the former Leeds striker says that he will be giving a lot of thought to what he will do once the current tournament is over.

June 03: Harry Kewell surprised his coaches with an 85-minute run out against Dutch amateur side VV Kloetinge as Australia ramp up to the World Cup. Kewell scored two of the Socceroos' goals in an 8-1 romp - but will probably be rested for the friendly against the Dutch national side on Sunday.

June 02: Danny Pugh said that he had to move on if he wanted a regular starting place after Kevin Blackwell made it clear he would be a bit-part player at Elland Road. Pugh said: "My decision came down to football, and it was one that I had to make. Leeds offered me a new contract but the last year has been frustrating and another two seasons on the bench wouldn't have done me any favours... The easy option would have been to sit still, but I want to play football and that's what it came down to. It's better off for me to be with a club where I'm involved regularly." He added: "I worked hard in training and fought for my place but the fact is we reached the Play-off final. I don't think I can say that the gaffer was wrong not to pick me. There are no hard feelings and I'd have loved to have stayed at Leeds. The two years I had here were worth every minute... The fans were brilliant with me. I had a little bit of doubt in my mind about how I'd be received because of the Manchester United connection, but it wasn't an issue. I'm leaving with a lot of good memories."

June 01: One-time Leeds loanee and this season's Championship top scorer Marlon King once again finds himself cast as the bad boy after being kicked out of Jamaica's squad to face England on Saturday. The Jamaican FA say that King refused to apologise after breaking a curfew, but King insisted that the time had been set without his knowledge. He said: "We went out at 2200 BST because there was no previous curfew but we came back only to find that we had been locked out of our rooms. If there is a rule and everyone knows about it then we do not have a problem with obeying it." And he went on to slate the rest of the organisation: "There were a catalogue of things that were happening in the camp. We lost 4-1 to Ghana and the preparations for that game were not right... I spoke to the president on Wednesday and he said wanted to meet with his delegation and let me know what was happening and I am waiting for them to get back to me. It's disappointing, especially after such a great season with Watford, but as for now, I am going to kick back and wait and see what happens. If the opportunity comes up again to play for Jamaica, I'd grab it with both hands."

June 01: Ian Harte is apparently desperate to come back to the UK, despite his Spanish club Levante being just a win in their final game of the season away from guaranteed promotion. He said: "I've spoken to the president and he has told me I can go at the end of the season. I've still another four weeks of football in Spain to get through first... But even if we do go up, I've set my mind on coming back. I really want to move." Hey - I know a club that is a bit short of left backs! Danny Mills has been told he can leave Manchester City after falling out with Stuart Pearce. He said: "I'm disappointed the way things have turned out. I don't think the manager liked me asking questions or making suggestions. I will see what offers are on the table, but if nothing materialises I will stay and fight for my place." Finally - and more worryingly - Matthew Kilgallon is said to be a prime transfer target for Neil Warnock as he tries to ensure Sheffield United don't find themselves chasing Sunderland's record for earliest confirmed relegation.

June 01: Rob Hulse has avoided the surgeon's knife in his bid to shake off the injury that left him playing through the pain for much of last season. Kevin Blackwell said: "He'll be okay for the moment. It's something that's been going on for a while and he'll be fine to play on. The injury isn't chronic and the doctor doesn't see the need to operate until that becomes the case."

June 01: The first team have added games at Hartlepool and Forest on July 22 and 29 respectively to the pre-season agenda. The reserves will face Dorchester on July 13, Darlo on July 20, Harrogate on July 27 and they will make an initial trip to their new home of York on August 1. An overseas trip will also be announced, with Sweden again a likely candidate for the warm-up games in theweek of July 12.

June 01: Leeds legend John Sheridan has been announced as the new boss at Oldham following the departure of current Leeds player Ian Moore's dad Ronnie. Oldham MD Simon Corney said that Moore's sacking was partially driven by the finances - and the fact that fans weren't buying season tickets. He said: "There is no doubt he had some unbelievable injury problems last season. Furthermore, we asked for stablility and he had succeeded on that issue. But John Sheridan has always had a good rapport with the fans, and likes to play entertaining football. I hope our decision will go a long way to boosting season ticket sales, and help towards the revenue that will always be needed to continue to take our club forward."

June 01: Australia coach Guus Hiddinck said that Harry Kewell was unlikely to be ready to take much part in their World Cup group games. He said: "He will not be at peak fitness, he cannot go full out for 90 minutes in the three games." This is news? Assistant coach Graham Arnold said: "Harry's running about 85 to 90 percent now and he's only a day or two days off being back in full training." Make the most of it guys - 85 to 90 percent is more than his clubs have had from him in the last 4 years.

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