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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


June 28: According to some Fulham sources (or maybe it's his agent), Dennis Wise is sniffing around their out-of-contract strike Thomasz Radzinski as he seeks to rebuild his team on a shoestring ahead of the start of pre-season training next week.

June 27: LibDem MP Phil Willis teamed up with Labour's George Mudie and Colin Burgon to urge paymaster-general Dawn Primarolo to sic the HMRC attack dogs on Leeds. Although they will no doubt have many fans in their constituencies, the MPs are acting on behalf of creditors in their seat who have approached them to highlight the poor offer made as part of the CVA.

June 26: Preston are interested in signing former Leeds skipper Kevin Nicholls. Now that his beloved Luton have also been relegated it's unlikely that he will want to return, but there has been little interest, and given his reported lack of enthusiasm for the fight at Leeds that's not surprising.

June 26: HMRC have confirmed that they will definitely take action to try to recover the money owed by Leeds United. It seems that after the failures of Cambridge, Leicester and a number of other clubs sailing close to the wind, the government and its agencies have decided that the Football League has been given enough time to put its own house in order and has failed. So a court challenge to the CVA could see the FL's beloved rule that its players, agents and managers must have their already bulging pockets laden with 100% of their due debts even if the other creditors of a bust club get sod all. Part of the taxman's challenge will likely focus on the detail rather than the principle though, with questions remaining over the whole issue of "connected creditors" and the surprising late change to the list of creditors which saw the debt of "Mark Taylor and Co" (prop M Taylor, Leeds director) increased and Yorkshire Radio (directors include M Taylor and K Bates, Leeds chairman) materialise out of the ether without any explanation being offered. Taylor's comment perfectly summed up how Leeds have been run of late: "There was no point billing because I knew I wouldn't have got paid."

June 26: Not that TV money counts for much in the third division, but Sky have totally snubbed Leeds as the first batch of televised fixtures for the new season is unveiled. With the likes of Hull and Barnsley getting coverage, maybe Sky are making a pragmatic call and waiting to see if there's a team of players available to televise....

June 21: Alan Thompson's agent has said that the player would be interested in returning to Elland Road on a permanent basis after spending a large chunk of last season on loan (albeit injured) with Leeds. Thompson is now 33 and won't have many top-flight offers with his Celtic deal at an end, and his injury problems have almost certainly contributed to his willingness to take a cut in pay and division to return to Leeds - but let's not be too critical: after all, many people thought Gordon Strachan was opting for an easy last couple of years before retirement when Wilko picked him to head the Division 2 promotion push and look what happened there. Thompson's agent Tony McGill said: "The thing that matters most to Alan is enjoying his football. He was very happy at Leeds, and there's a chance he could go back there. It's early days but I've had a meeting with them and we'll see where it takes us. Obviously they can't pay him what he was on because they're a League One club, and if this was about money then Alan wouldn't be going to Leeds. But he's thought about that, and it's more important that he finds a club where he's happy."

June 20: It's not just Leeds and Boston who are suffering financially this summer: Scarborough FC has been wound up with a £2.5m debt after 128 years of existence. The local council refused to lift a covenant banning the sale of their ground for redevelopment as housing, so they've finally thrown in the (beach) towel.

June 19: The pre-season friendly at York will now kick off at 7.45pm on Friday July 13 rather than the Saturday after it was noted that would clash with a big day of horseracing at York's racecourse. The trip to Huddersfield has been put back by a day on police advice: it will now take place on Tuesday March 25.

June 18: Would-be club-buyer Simon Franks of Redbus says that the club urgently needs a cash injection, but the terms of the CVA will almost certainly work against such a move. Franks' bid was rejected along with all the other non-Bates offers, and he said: "Leeds need investment and fresh blood now, not in six months time, and we were offering that to the administrators. The Redbus Group had tens of millions of pounds ready to invest and I mean ready to use straight away, not somewhere down the line. But I'm not portraying the CVA meeting as a straight choice between Mr Bates and Redbus; there were three or four other wholly credible bids put forward by different groups, completely unconnected to us. They were all backed by proof of funds." He went on: "We're considering a legal challenge but I'm anxious not to cause the club unnecessary problems this summer. I know there is a lot of work to do before next season, and people need time and freedom to do it."

June 18: Ken Bates' sidekick Mark Taylor accused Phil Willis of making "cowardly smears" after the Harrogate and Knaresborough MP put forward a Commons Early Day Motion critical of the way in which Bates' manoeuvres had put Leeds into administration. MPs will meet with Treasury ministers and officials to discuss HMRC's actions and what could be done to further investigate the financial shenanigans at Elland Road. Bates has consistently denied that he has any current connection with the three offshore companies who hold the majority of the club's debt and as such effectively control the club's future. Taylor said that it was only Bates' intervention and takeover in 2005 and subsequent introduction of investment from those companies which had kept the club out of administration to date. Taylor said: "Let me make it clear, without that investment the people of the city of Leeds would not have a football club in Division One or anywhere else. The club would have ceased to exist." Taylor also defended KPMG's instant sale of the club to "new Leeds" fronted by himself and Bates, saying that it was money from Forward Sports Fund (whose representative on earth happens to be one K Bates) that had kept the club going over the last month. Willis responded to criticism that he was making accusations under Parliamentary Privilege that he would not make in public, saying that he was acting on behalf of constituents who would lose out under Bates' penny-in-the-pound proposal to buy the club and exit the CVA.

June 17: West Yorkshire Police have told the club that they will be expecting up-front payment for services in the future - otherwise they will not attend matches. As a result of Ken Bates' penny-in-the-pound coup, Old Bill (i.e. the West Yorkshire Council Tax payers) was left 80K out of pocket and have made it clear that they will not allow that sort of problem to recur.

June 15: One-time Leeds defender Mark Jackson has returned to the city - but will be playing for newly-promoted Farsley Celtic. The 29-year-old joins Lee Sinnott's side after an 18-month stint with Rochdale.

June 14: Leeds will start the League One campaign with a trip to Tranmere on August 11. The first home game sees Southend at Elland Road a week later, and a trip to Forest will kick off the Bank Holiday weekend with a nice overtime bonus for our friends in the police. No chance of a Bank Holiday trip to the south coast though - Bournemouth in particular has been made a little bit difficult to get to, being on a Tuesday night in November. The season finishes with a trip to Yeovil on April 26 followed by the triumphant parading of the League One trophy and promotion celebrations at home to Gillingham on May 3.

June 14: Leeds United Ladies manager Julie Chipchase has stepped down after 4 years in the hot seat. Work and personal commitments have made it harder for her to give the job the time it needs, and after taking the team to 5th in the league a cup final against Arsenal, she leaves the team in an excellent position to move forward.

June 14: It will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the case to hear that Ali Umit Demir - who admitted to the murders of Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight - has had his sentence cut to just 6 years and 8 months. The court apparently decided this on the basis that more than one person was involved in the attack and as a result it was impossible to know who had dealt the fatal blows (which is just about reasonable if all of the people involved are sentenced), and that the victims had "provoked" the attack, once again attempting to give credence to the lie that Chris and Kevin were not just innocent victims. However, if that's the way that Turkish justice works, condoning murder of one person due to the alleged - insulting but non-violent - actions of another, I'm sure they won't mind if I stroll into Taksim Square with a submachine gun and mow down as many people as I can see. After all, if hearing that someone has "insulted" a piece of cloth or paper is justification for the murder of two people, the fact that the state appears to sanction those two murders must surely be such a grave provocation that I'd be sent away with a fat cheque and a medal for acting in such a public-spirited manner. Another man who was given a 3-month sentence at the original trial - Suleyman Gokhan Guven - has had a 10-year sentence imposed. Treble that and we'd be talking about getting into the realms of reasonable punishment.

June 13: Hot on the heels of selling out to new investors at Hull, former Leeds director Adam Pearson says he has no intention of investing in Leeds; he's retaining a seat on the Hull board where at least he has a hope of having his advice and suggestions listened to.

June 13: Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Phil Willis has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons asking the police to investigate the Leeds CVA. Willis implies that the numerous offshore firms involved are connected to Bates and that the whole setup should be investigated for money laundering by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the Serious Fraud Office. The club insist nothing has been done that's out of line, and invited Willis to repeat his comments away from the protection of parliamentary privilege.

June 13: Leeds were drawn away at Macclesfield in the first round of the Carling Cup in this morning's draw.

June 12: http://kenbates.org.uk is online and available for those of you who would like to express your undying love and support for our beloved chairman, andto remove your tongue from your cheek and stick it where The Everlasting Leader thinks it belongs. Just the right side of ridiculous to be believable - nice one.

June 12: Youth Team player Ben Gordon has turned down a professional contract offer from Leeds and is understood to be on his way to Chelsea instead. Leeds will be entitled to a fee for the young defender - and could expect a seven-figure sum if the Taiwo/Woods payout is anything to go by.

June 11: Leeds' second string will play in the Pontins League East next season - rather than the Central division which has been their haunt since the first team were relegated from the Premier League. This division will see Leeds come up against both Sheffield teams, York, Hartlepool, Darlo, Barnsley, Hull, Grimsby, Lincoln, Rotherham and Scunthorpe.

June 11: The countdown to the new season begins in earnest this week: the draw for the 1st round of the Carling Cup takes place on Wednesday, and Football League fixtures will be released the following day, so we'll be able to dig out the maps and hotel guides as we figure out how on earth to get to Yeovil (or some equally far-flung destination like Doncaster) for a midweek away game in November.

June 11: The chairmen of all 72 Football League clubs (so I guess that includes our Ken) have voted unanimously to close the loophole that allowed Leeds and Boston to make a late call on going into administration, thus avoiding carrying a 10-point penalty into next season. Now the cut-off point is the fourth Thursday in March: if your club manages to stave off administration to that point, the 10 point deduction will either be taken off the club's total if it looks like they are going to stay up, or held over to next season if they are relegated. FL chairman Lord Mawhinney said: "I am delighted that clubs have backed their board so strongly on this issue. The changes we have made today enable the League's 'Sporting Sanctions' regulations to remain true to their original aim." And of course it's nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that HMRC, backed by government irritation at the lack of progress within the game, are said to be on the point of challenging the FL rule that insists that all football creditors are paid in full no matter what is on offer to other creditors.

June 09: Mark Viduka has decided that it's time to move on - just not very far. As he reaches the end of his contract at Boro, he has decided to take up an offer to play for Sam Allardyce at Newcastle. Danny Cadamarteri was released by Leicester - and picked up by Andy Ritchie at Huddersfield. That's bad news for Ian Moore, with Ritchie deciding that the Terriers are no longer interested in pursuing the first of Leeds' rejects this summer.

June 07: Ken Bates says that the club went into administration purely because of HMRC. He said: "The Inland Revenue acted extremely unreasonably. Over the last two-and-a-half years Leeds have paid between £15m and £20m to the Revenue, but our cash flow dried up and we asked for a holiday. The Revenue said no and put foward the petition to wind up the club. I'm sorry small creditors have lost money, but that is totally down to the Revenue. We were happy to pay everyone over a period of time. The fault for Leeds United creditors should be place fairly and squarely at the Revenue's door." But Leeds had already agreed an instalment payment plan with HMRC to cover previously unpaid debts and it was defaulting on that that was the issue: this is not a "One strike and you're out" call. And the money was not a generous donation by the club - it was VAT collected from the paying public which is supposed to be passed straight on to the taxman, and income and corporation tax which we all dislike paying but have no choice in the matter. Quite how this position equates with Bates' claims that we'd be more or less debt-free by this summer is also puzzling, particularly given the windfall from Chelsea's poaching of our youngsters. But in the world of Ken Bates, the accusing finger points, the facts are irrelevant and the next target chosen.

June 06: Former Leeds youngster Martin Woods has used Rotherham's relegation to activate a free transfer clause and has been snapped up by local rivals Doncaster Rovers after their promotion to League One. Former loanee Danny Graham will also be lining up against us next season after making a permanent switch from Boro to Carlisle.

June 05: Dennis Wise will not be able to formally sign or sell any new players until July after the Football League confirmed they were happy with the terms of the CVA - but equally noted that since it would not be legally formalised for 28 days, any transfer activity would have to wait. In reality, the fact of Ken Bates' apparent success should allow Dennis Wise to discuss and agree in principle with players and agents, so hopefully his squad-building won't be impacted and pre-season training will start with a full set of players on July 2.

June 04: Belated updates from earlier this week. The Grand Recount of votes from Friday's meeting saw Uncle Ken win 75.2% - which is enough to get him past the first winning post. So now it's down to the Football League to approve the CVA and exit - assuming, of course that that the losing bidders don't opt to litigate.

June 01: The administrators have written to all the creditors ahead of the CVA, telling them that although there are 5 bids competing for their votes, people might as well accept the fact that Ken Bates will win because the entirely-completely-and-utterly-not-connected-with-Ken Astor company holds enough debt to block any other bid, and they have told KPMG that they wil l only accept Bates' bid even if the other interested parties offer them more cash than the chairman has put on the table. Now why would any sensible organisation do that? The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that either there is some linkage, or they have been promised a big pot of jam tomorrow by the Bates bid. Given that the administrators assure us that there is no connection with Bates, I wonder if anyone can enlighten us on the nature and flavour of the jam?

June 01: Former Leeds left-back Nigel Worthington has taken over as Northern Ireland team manager after Lawrie Sanchez made Fulham his full-time role and Leicester rewarded Worthington's short but successful caretakership by appointing Martin Allen as their new manager.

June 01: Seth Johnson has been told that he won't be needed by Derby as they prepare to return to the top flight. Johnson's contract came to an end this summer and the Rams have come to the conclusion that his injuries and inconsistent form just aren't up to Premiership standard.

June 01: Ken Bates won the initial vote at today's meeting - but the count was so close (Bates apparently won 0.02% more than the 75% threshold he needed to achieve) and the meeting so acrimonious that the administrators decided it would be best to have a full recount with the results published on Monday morning. There have been hints from some of the other bidders that a legal challenge could be in the offing if the administrators accept a seemingly lower-value bid from Bates when apparently better options for the creditors are on the table.

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