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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

October 31: Andy Gray bagged a brace in 5 minutes for Burnley last night as they strolled to a 0-2 win at Luton. The visitors finished with 10 men, and the win takes them to 3rd in the table.

October 29: Jamie Forrester scored again at the weekend, getting the only goal of the game for Lincoln as they beat Swindon 0-1, giving himself clear air at the top of the scoring charts with 12 goals this season, and taking Lincoln to the top of League 2.

October 29: Dennis Wise was understandably happy with a win to mark the start of his reign as manager - but he pinpointed something that many Leeds fans have long commented on: the size and shape of the squad. He picked out goalscorer Robbie Blake, saying: "We have spoken to Robbie and I want him to lose some weight. He has just a couple of extra pounds on, as everyone can see, and I want him to lose them. There are a couple of them who need to come down on the poundage but I've only mentioned Robbie because he scored that goal." After concentrating on defending in training, Wise was also pleased with the clean sheet: "We've been leaking goals in the last few weeks and there were some tired legs out there. The whole team needs a lot of work but we are taking it a bit at a time. They were two lovely goals and I was chuffed to bits with the way we performed and defended. I don't want to knock anyone but we have a defensive system that we want them to follow."

October 28: Leeds have reached an agreed settlement with Chelsea over claims that the London side tapped up three youth team players. Chelsea have not admitted liability but have agreed to examine how they recruit youngsters: it's unclear if any money has changed hands but knowing Ken Bates' attitude to his former club and bank statement, it's hard to see any other reason for Leeds dropping the formal complaint to the authorities. The Premier League and FA say that they now consider the matter closed.

October 27: Dennis Wise has made his first signing already - and it's a little bit of a surprise in that it's a goalkeeper. Reading's ex-Arsenal trainee Graham Stack played for Wise at Millwall, and Wise obviously thinks that Neil Sullivan and Tony Warner need some more competition to keep them on their toes.

October 27: Dennis Wise is getting stuck into the task of dragging Leeds back up the table, and after a week of serious training - punctuated by the defeat by Southend on Tuesday night - Wise is ready to make some changes to the starting lineup ahead of Saturday's match against the same opposition. Wise said: "Watching Tuesday's game was useful because it gives you a few ideas. It helped looking at how Southend set up and how they played. It was good to be here to see how our own players performed and how they are feeling." He went on: "We took a lot on board and had a chat with them on Wednesday. They are low on confidence, but we have to get them up. There's no problems in the dressing room, it's just confidence. Maybe a few things need to be adjusted and maybe some have slightly lost their way." So the big question is - will he now drop Paul Butler after relieving him of the armband? And who will get the nod at the perennial sore spot of left back?

October 26: Rob Bayly has signed a two-year deal after making his first-team debut on Tuesday night. The 18-year-old midfielder is an Ireland Youth international and says he is delighted to be working with Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet. He said: "We have brought in a new manager who will no doubt have some new ideas and I am very much looking forward to working for two such great former players as Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet. It was great to make my debut the other night. Although the result went against us, it was the next step up on the ladder for me and now I've had a taste I am eager to try and force my way into the team on a more regular basis."

October 26: One of the persistent rumours coming out of the Leeds camp was the unpopularity with the team of captain Paul Butler (never mind his ponderous pace). The first decision made by new boss Dennis Wise was to pass the captain's armband on to Kevin Nicholls with Shaun Derry as vice-captain. Given the susceptibility to injury and suspension of both players, maybe a vice-vice captain is in order too? Wise said: "I felt it was important to make a younger up-and-coming player the captain. He's got experience of being a captain. He's aggressive, which is what I like. He's a leader... He's got a bit of bite about him and that's what I want from him."Wise went on: "[the players are] a very talented bunch. I'm quite bewildered by the position there in, because there's so much talent here. They look very sharp. I've said to them 'you shouldn't be in this position'." And Wise is aiming to restore a bit of the "old Leeds": "I want a bit of nastiness and togetherness."

October 24: Leeds legend Eddie Gray urged the fans to get behind new boss Dennis Wise after some fans got a head start on the manager-slating with sly and not-so-sly digs at the former Chelsea player. Gray said: "The fans want a bit of success - regardless of who it is. I think they will just be happy to see the team start winning again." And he went on: "Dennis is a colourful character, a bit like the chairman Ken Bates - he's no shrinking violet. He played for Chelsea and there is a bit of history between Chelsea and Leeds but if he comes here now, the supporters will look at it differently. He will do the job his way and hopefully he will succeed if he comes in." Hear hear! Whatever Wise has done as a non-Leeds person in the past he's now in the hot seat at Leeds and deserves a fair crack of the whip (and boy does that whip need some cracking...).

October 24: Leeds and Swindon finally confirmed today that Dennis Wise would be taking over the reins at Elland Road. The 39-year-old (Aargh! He's younger than me! You know you're getting old when you're older than your team's manager!) former England and Chelsea midfielder joins the club with assistant Gus Poyet and goalkeeping coach Andrew Beasley. Ken Bates said: "After much deliberation the unanimous choice was Dennis Wise and his assistant Gus Poyet." That would be unanimous as in "1 board member, 1 vote - and that board member is....". Bates went on: "I am aware that he may not be everybody's cup of tea but this is not a popularity contest. It is a question of the right man to resolve a serious situation."

October 24: Caretaker boss David Geddis reshuffled the team after Saturday's horror show at Luton but the resulting formation delivered nothing more than an almost 2-1 dominance in possession while losing 1-3 on the slightly more important measure of goals. Rob Bayley made his debut as a second-half sub, but the game was decided in 3 first-half minutes when Stephen Crainey conceded a penalty and Matt Kilgallon gave the ball away to gift the visitors a 0-2 lead. Dennis Wise has a lot of work to do if he is to stand a chance of reversing the scoreline for the weekend.

October 24: Nick Barmby scored a consolation goal for Hull as they went down 2-1 at Watford. It was a better night for former Leeds trainee Caleb Folan: after seeing Chesterfield come back from conceding a goal to West Ham inside 5 minutes, Folan calmly took his chance to seal a famous win for the Saltergate side with just three minutes left on the clock.

October 23: Nearly two years ago, Ken Bates took over and everyone expected him to kick out Kevin Blackwell and bring in Dennis Wise. Everyone was up in arms - not that people thought Blackwell was the saviour but anyone would be better than Wise. 22 months on - what's changed? I guess we're even more desperate - and although the light at the end of the financial tunnel is visible, the football side of things is in freefall. In fairness to Wise he's made a decent fist of managing Swindon after their relegation last season and despite a favourable draw, taking Millwall to the FA Cup Final and thus into Europe is not the worst achievement we'll see on a prospective manager's CV. And it looks like he'll be bringing assistant Gus Poyet with him: whatever you may think about Wise's footballing abilities, Poyet was nobody's mug on the park. Compensation will cost Leeds a year's salary for each of the two and Swindon have granted Leeds permission to open discussions.

October 23: Peter Ridsdale has been installed as chairman of Cardiff City courtesy of a couple of hedge funds - those financial risk-taking tools for the rich which either make large piles of money for their staff and investors or go hideously tits-up and end up needing a press-gang bail-out organised by the financial authorities. In an intriguing mirror of the opacity that surrounds the actual ownership of Leeds, Ridsdale refused to reveal who exactly was backing the deal which will see Cardiff move to a new out-of-town stadium and clear the debt that forced them into a massive sell-off barely a year ago. Not surprising really: in such a reputation-centric community, would you want to be identified as the bloke who thought Ridsdale was an appropriate person to be responsible for investing more than a quid on a lottery ticket given what's gone before? Interestingly enough, the bloke who brokered the deal is former Football League chairman Keith Harris: please form an orderly queue for jokes about dummies and the mental stability of people who talk to small green birds (what? not that Keith Harris? too bad...). Ridsdale thanked the previous chairman, saying: "Sam [Hammam] gave me the opportunity to get back into football and restore a reputation that had more recently taken a severe knock. I will never forget that. I am also now acutely aware of the tremendous responsibility that I now inherit."

October 23: Make your mind up guys! A couple of hours after Leeds and Swindon announced that Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet had permission to speak to Uncle Ken, Swindon say that actually Leeds haven't agreed compensation so all talks are off. For the moment....

October 23: John Carver has bowed to the inevitable and parted company with the club. After four defeats on the bounce he had accepted he had no chance of being made up from caretaker manager, and with the imminent arrival of a new team he has resigned. A club statement thanked him for his hard work as assistant and caretaker manager over the last 15 months. David Geddis will now take charge of the team for tomorrow's game at home to Southend in what could be one of the shortest ever stints as a caretaker manager.

October 23: Leeds and Swindon have settled their differences over compensation for Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet and talks are back on. Meanwhile Swindon have bowed to the inevitable and have already named a caretaker manager to pick up where Wise and Poyet left off even though no formal deal for Wise to join Leeds has been announced.

October 22: Caretaker boss John Carver says that things need to change in a big way at Elland Road if the club are to avoid "doing a Forest". After 4 defeats in a row, Carver has admitted he has no hope of getting the job permanently. He said: "When I saw the opportunity, I thought it was a great opportunity. But [the problem] goes deeper than that. If you look at our results towards the end of last season, there is something that has not been right there, and that's carried on this season. There needs to be a new influx of players at this football club; fresh legs, youth, experience, and it needs looking at." Bit of a strange comment given that he's not exactly a fresh face who didn't know what was going on last year. Bet he wishes he'd taken that Carlisle job now...

October 22: Rio Ferdinand struck the second of ManU's unanswered goals at OT - with his foot! - to seal a win over Liverpool that takes the Red Menace to the top of the table. Jamie Forrester scored his third hat-trick of the season for Lincoln as they romped to a 7-1 win over Rochdale. Simon Johnson came off the bench to give Darlo the lead over Barnet with a close range 15 minutes from the end: the home side went on to win 2-0.

October 21: I'm not going to say anything about new lows. I'll just relay one thought that I've had and a few others have mentioned in this last week. What if Kevin Blackwell was actually a bloody good coach? What if he was the only thing holding back the slump and porous defence that we've seen since he was given the boot? Poetic justice for us Blackwell-outers I guess....

October 21: We may be awful at football, but Leeds are top of the league table when it comes to fans with banning orders. 115 Leeds fans have banning orders against them - 5 ahead of Portsmouth - but we're way down the arrests league - a surprisingly low total of 76 Leeds fans nicked compared to 169 Spurs fans and 147 ManU fans. So are we the biggest bunch of thugs around? Of course not - it's just symptomatic of the Robocop policing we've been on the end of since relegation combined with the highly confrontational attitude of the stewards at Elland Road and certain members of staff at the club who seem to delight in provoking incidents and then exercising their immense powers to control the leisure activities of your average Leeds fan.

October 19: Matthew Kilgallon's ban has been reduced to just a single match - Saturday's trip to Luton - after his appeal against the possible 3-match ban for Tuesday night's red card was partially successful. Shaun Derry picked up his fifth yellow of the season, so under the totting-up rules misses next week's Carling Cup visit of Southend.

October 19: 17-year-old keeper Jonny Lund has been signed up as a professional at Elland Road. After 9 years coming through the ranks of the youth team, the Leeds-born youngster now finds himself a regular in the reserves and is surely just a slight knock to Neil Sullivan or Tony Warner away from making the first team bench.

October 18: Leeds will be appealing against Matthew Kilgallon's red card from last night's defeat by Leciester. Kilgallon was dismissed after clashing with Elvis Hammond on the edge of the box - but John Carver said: "I watched it several times and we will definitely appeal. When you see it on the DVD, both players go for the ball, both put their arms up, and both fall together." The appeal will be heard by the FA on Thursday - if it fails then the defender will face a three-match ban starting with the trip to Luton at the weekend.

October 18: So depending on who you listen to today, Gary McAllister has been interviewed and is a serious candidate for the job. And Graeme Souness has been the subject of a huge amount of speculation and some serious cash at the bookies: he's now 2nd favorite behind Dennis Wise (Please please please no). And Curbishley is definitely not coming (according to someone who spoke to Ken Bates' doctor's milkman's second cousin's dog.

October 16: Leeds have taken Middlesbrough youngster Adam Johnson on loan for a month as John Carver struggles to come up with a winning formula for tonight's game against Leicester. Carver said: "I saw a lot of him at Boro and followed his progress as a player. He's made a few senior appearances and has some experience. He is a young lad, a left-sided player and I am looking forward to working with him again."

October 16: So it's come to this: tactical advice from Michael Duberry. The former Leeds defender said that Leeds needed to start "kicking" if they were to avoid being drawn into a relegation battle. The Stoke captain said: "You get sucked into a dogfight, and no-one wants to be in a dogfight at that sort of time. It's a very similar team to the team that got to the play-off final. I've got friends in there, I know people in the changing room and there are some big characters. Hopefully they'll get themselves out of it because I wouldn't want to see them in that situation." And although Duberry still has some affection for Leeds, he was happy to rub the 0-4 win in to the faces of a few people: "For most of the game I was getting a lot of stick so to shut the crowd up in that way was brilliant. People have their opinions, and there are a few incidents that have formed people's opinions of me at this football club. It only inspires me anyway and they're the ones with egg on their faces because we've come away with a nice victory."

October 14: There are, as the song goes, a few ups and downs to be had on the road through life as a Leeds fans. But today's game surely marked a new low. This was a game that we had laughingly described as a relegation 6-pointer against perennial strugglers Stoke, with the added comedy value of a defence marshalled by Michael Duberry. Well they came away with a clean sheet, we've got the worst goal difference in the division and nobody is laughing anymore. One seasoned veteran of many previous highs and lows noted that the fact that the Kop chanted "You're not fit to referee" at the bloke in black after he'd given Leeds a penalty spoke volumes about the total lack of optimism with which the season and indeed the future in general is viewed by the average fan. John Carver held his hands up honestly and said that he'd probably blown any chance of a permanent stab at the job. No comment yet from the players: the only hands-up they've done of late is that of abject surrender.

October 12: Michael Ricketts has been given the heave-ho by Southend after failing to get back to any sort of fitness (now there's a surprise). Ricketts picked up an injury in the pre-season and has only made two appearances with not even an hour in total on the pitch, and the patience of the management at Southend has finally expired so his 3-year deal didn't even make it 3 months into the season.

October 12: Greek trialist Georgios Koltzsos has been released by the club after John Carver decided he was no better than any of the current squad (now that's what I call faint praise). Koltzsos had played in the 6-4 reserves defeat at Barnsley where he had looked pretty lively but obviously not lively enough for Carver.

October 12: Alan Wright says he wants to make his move from Sheffield United a permanent one. The veteran fullback said: "It's been frustrating for me over the last year to eighteen months. I think it is time for me to move away from Sheffield. We will have to see what happens over the next month."

October 11: The reserves came out losers of tonight's clash with Barnsley at Oakwell - with the scoreline an amazing 6-4 to the home side. Barnsley sprinted to a 3-0 lead in the first half before Richard Cresswell showed that he's on his way back from his long injury lay-off with a brace to bring it back to 3-2. Barnsley scored again but Ian Moore pulled another goal back before the break to make it 4-3 at half-time and Cresswell completed his hat-trick at the start of the second half to make it all square. Most of the second period was mundane by comparison to the first - but things lit up again at the end with Barnsley grabbing two late goals to seal the win. Frazer Richardson also continued his injury comeback in the game, getting a full half under his belt: looks like John Carver might be about to demonstrate that one of the most important attributes of a football manager is good luck and good timing.

October 11: David Healy continued to build on his international reputation with the only goal of the game as Northern Ireland beat Latvia at Windsor Park. Healy got free of his marker and slipped the ball past the keeper just past the half-hour mark. Warren Feeney also made a brief appearance as Healy's replacement as time ran down. It was a less happy night for Paul Robinson: after keeping England in the game with some great saves early on, he was beaten by a header just past the hour. The former Leeds keeper then saw the pitch and Gary Neville conspire against him - Neville's less-than-perfect backpass hitting a divot, jumping over Robinson's foot and ending up in the net.

October 10: Veteran Sheffield United defender Alan Wright has been signed on a one-month loan as cover for Stephen Crainey and goes straight into the squad for the Stoke game. Caretaker boss John Carver said: "Alan comes with a wealth of experience as he has made only 500 appearances mostly in the Premier League. He's got good energy and he will attack and go forward but primarily he is a defender."

October 10: David Wetherall has signed a two-year extension to his contract that will keep him at Bradford into his 40th year. Wetherall's current deal was due to expire at the end of next season, and the extension will allow him to choose whether to switch into a full-time coaching role or keep on going as a player.

October 09: John Carver is looking forward to the Stoke game at the weekend as he attempts to put the disaster at The Hawthorns behind him. Although he doesn't have the full squad available due to international calls, he was putting the players through their paces at Thorp Arch today and said: "We did a lot of bad things after [the penalty miss] and I've studied the video and drawn my own conclusions. We are playing more attacking, but we need to be more resolute and need to be tighter. Last season we were strong and tight at the back and we have to get back that, but at the same time it's about getting the balance right. It's something that goes from front to back and with the three players away it's more difficult to do it." Wow! Sounds like he's actually prepared to decide that mistakes had been made which needed rectifying. That's an improvement on the last couple of years!

October 09: John Carver says that Chairman Ken has given him the go-ahead to pick up a loan signing if he thinks the team needs it. He said: "Obviously if someone becomes available, the chairman's given me carte blanche to take a look and say 'yes, we can sign him' or 'no we don't want him'. If we want to go where we want to go we need a squad and we need everyone to be part of this club."

October 05: Some 14 years after leaving, Kevin Sharp is back in Leeds. The Canadian-born left-back has signed for Guiseley of the UniBond Premier Division having been released by Shrewsbury in the summer.

October 05: With first team opportunities not coming his way despite the injury crisis that has hit the squad, Jermaine Beckford has been loaned out to Carlisle United for an initial period of a month. Carlisle have just lost their star striker Karl Hawley to a rib injury that will keep him out for at least 4 weeks so it looks like Beckford has a decent chance of getting first team experience.

October 05: The club policy of patch-em-up-and-play-em was once again demonstrated with the news that Steve Stone won't be having the operation that doctors deemed necessary to sort out his hernia: instead he'll play on through the pain and risking more serious and long-term problems in order to avoid missing a large chunk of the season recuperating from the op.

October 05: Kevin Blackwell has surged up the odds table for the vacant managerial role at Norwich and is now second favorite. Many Norwich fans are aghast at the prospect of Blackwell effectively continuing the work of Nigel Worthington, although it would be interesting to see what he could do without having to operate in the same financially-hamstrung way that marked his time at Elland Road.

October 04: We may need to start invoking the powers of our own favorite deities, because Glenn Hoddle has shot up the charts at the bookies as speculation continues over the vacant manager's chair at Elland Road. However the club say that neither Hoddle nor Curbishley nor Ranieri have been approached. A statement today said: "The club can categorically state that we have not spoken to any manager or potential manager, or their agents, licensed or unlicensed, directly or indirectly, since the departure of Kevin Blackwell. The club will making no further comment at this stage."

October 04: Kevin Nicholls has been forced to undergo an operation to sort out his knee and will now be out until around Christmas. The midfielder had made his debut sooner than expected after suffering an injury during the pre-season, but his bad luck continued as he broke down at West Brom and has ended up with surgery on his ligament as well as the inevitable cartilage clean-up. John Carver said: "Kevin has had an operation on his knee and we are all bitterly disappointed for the lad. He has worked very, very hard to get himself fit after his first injury, and he has now been hit by another freak. He's a strong character and he's very determined at what he does - he's proven that already with the way he came back from his first injury - and we can't wait to have him back again. Understandably he's very down, but he'll get our full support and he will be back playing with us sooner rather than later."

October 04: There was a definite first-team flavour for the stiffs last night as Richard Cresswell played for over an hour of the Reserves' 2-1 win over Shrewsbury last night, and Robbie Blake scored one of the goals and made the other. Also getting a run out were Rui Marques, Ian Westlake and Jermaine Beckford. We also had a young chap by the name of Cartman playing for us - but I'm assured it's not *that* one.

October 04: Performances in September have hardly been inspiring - Kevin Blackwell would still have a job if they had - but that doesn't mean we can duck the inevitable: the Player of the Month poll wants your votes now!

October 02: Kevin Nicholls could be back on the sidelines for a long spell after picking up what looks like a ligament injury on Saturday. Caretaker John Carver said: "We think it might be his medial ligament. He's had a problem and that's why he missed the start of the season. We'll get him in, assess the damage and see what the situation is. He looks like he could be out for a few weeks. I feel for him because he's worked so hard to get himself into contention." Meanwhile Gary Kelly came away from the Hawthorns with nothing more than heavy bruising so should be back in contention for the Stoke game.

October 02: Alan Curbishley insisted that he had not been offered the manager's job at Elland Road. "I'm flattered by the interest but I'm not available for work for another fortnight," he said. So that's clear as mud then: the kit lady can start sewing "AC" labels now I guess...

October 01: So how many men does it take to score 4 goals against Leeds? Just the ten if you're West Brom. Shambolic defending, a missed penalty and a total failure to take advantage of an hour's worth of an extra man means the honeymoon is well and truly over for John Carver. He said: "There has been a honeymoon period for me but this result has been a wake-up call because there are things we need to work on." Like getting penalties on target for a start, eh Mr Healy?

October 01: Gary Kelly's half-time substitution was prompted by fears that he has broken a metatarsal bone. To make matters worse, Kevin Nicholls broke down again with suspected ligament problems - he really is taking his role as the New Steve Stone seriously. John Carver said: "Gary will go for X-rays but we think it is a broken metatarsal. As far as Kevin is concerned, the grass was long and he has caught his bladed boots in the grass. Once the rain came down, there were six or so players who were slipping all over the place."

October 01: Gary Speed opened the scoring for Bolton yesterday as they recorded a surprise 2-0 win over Liverpool. Jermaine Wright's deflected shot gave Saints the lead at home to QPR, but the revitalised visitors came back to snatch the points 1-2. Rob Hulse scored the opener for Sheffield United in their 2-1 win over Boro. Andy Gray scored twice in today's 1-4 Championship victory for Burnley at Norwich, and more or less sealed Nigel Worthington's fate in the process: Delia and co finally decided to part company with the former Leeds left-back after six years in charge at Carrow Road. Former Leeds trainee Caleb Folan scored Chesterfield's opener at Brighton, but then picked up a second yellow in the last couple of minutes, but still saw his team take the points.

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