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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


July 31: Dennis Wise was seen in close conversation with Benito Carbone after the Alan Ball memorial game. Was it just a quick hello - or was Dennis giving him the directions to Thorp Arch???

July 30: Frazer Richardson is hoping that he will recover in time to be fit for the start of the season after going off against Burnley. He said: "It shouldn't be too bad. I'm not sure exactly what it is yet, but I had an X-ray on Monday. It actually started a week ago, and I was struggling before the game on Saturday, but thought we'd give it a go." Given the shortage of players it's not surprising he was tried - but equally if there was any doubt as to the consequences, surely a player shortage for the start of the season should be more of a worry than what sort of a team can be wheeled out for a friendly.

July 29: Ken Bates launched a stream of abuse at fans who were demanding he quit the club, saying that it was a vendetta against him personally. He said: "What a few fans are trying to do is cause trouble. They wouldn't give a s*** if Vladimir Putin bought the club as long as it was successful... Do you think Man City fans give a f*** whether the former Thailand Prime Minister should be in jail for corruption or whatever? Of course they bloody don't. Do you think West Ham or Manchester United fans care whether Tevez is owned by this Iranian? The critics don't know what they're talking about." And he went on: "Some Leeds fans say, 'F*** off back to Chelsea and take that little **** Wise with you'. But you always get that. It's like the National Front. You'll never stamp them out." And he has reiterated his separation from Astor: "I don't know who the owners of Astor are. We borrowed money from them. I don't know who the owners of f**ing Barclays Bank are. And Yorkshire Radio is an independent company. It's not owned by Leeds United." Okay...now remind me again what KPMG said about your connection with Astor Ken? You were connected until last December - but now you aren't and have no idea who they are? Could we be forgiven for expressing a teensy hint of doubt at that statement?

July 28: David Healy has opened his account for his new employers with a goal for Fulham against South China.

July 28: As KPMG distribute their notes on the CVA and sale process to all creditors, there's one number that jumps out and hits you in the face: 855000. That's the number of your very own pounds sterling that KPMG have charged the club for their services over these last couple of months. It's not clear if that includes any rebate for failing to be able to count votes properly, or wasted time and postage as new facts dropped out of the sky at the last moment, but that sounds like a couple of half-decent League One players to me. Given that Uncle Ken has been so keen on cutting costs everywhere else, couldn't we have got a decent deal on this from a local firm (maybe one with an abacus who knows what one and one make)???

July 28: Leeds lost 2-0 at Turf Moor to a Burnley side that a couple of years ago we'd have slaughtered. Jermaine Beckford caused them quite a few problems, but Tresor Kandol further enhanced his reputation as Mister Sitter in front of a surprisingly large crowd (the hosts were so surprised to see so many Leeds fans they ran out of tickets). Frazer Richardson and Eddie Lewis limped off and could miss what's left of the preseason as a result.

July 27: The Guardian rounds up a large number of questions that have been bugging many of us here. Of course it's all academic now, as the haze of time and the intransigence of the relevant parties will ensure that the veil remains drawn over the what and the how of the last few months (though I think we all know the why). In the end, Cuddly Ken's repeated assertions that everything was going to be fine by this summer have been shown to either be blatant lies or the utterances of someone who didn't have a clue as to the financial state of the company. So I guess we should sympathise with all those connected with Ken, because I find it hard to believe he's a liar so we can only conclude that old age and infirmity have blunted his mental edge and that a further decline cannot be too far away.

July 27: The Football League board will finally convene to look at the state of play at Elland Road and determine whether the new Bates entity will finally be allocated the Golden Ticket and be allowed to play in the tasty chocolate wonderland formerly known as Division 3.

July 24: Yet another fans protest has sprung up - this time online here. Will it achieve anything other than prompting a rant in the programme from our beloved leader? Unlikely but they can hope (as can we all...).

July 23: Fans today hit out at the way the club's official website and Yorkshire Radio (prop K Bates) have claimed that the flowers, shirts and banners being deposited at Billy's statue somehow support the current owners. Many of the messages attached to the flowers and banners make it clear that Bates' presence at Elland Road is not a welcome one and that his recent handling of the club is not something with which many people wish to be associated.

July 23: Jonathan Douglas and Jermaine Beckford were both dismissed tonight as Leeds concluded their pre-season tour of Germany with a 2-1 defeat at Energie Cottbus. The hosts scored twice in two minutes in the first half before Tresor Kandol pulled a goal back just after the break. Douglas and Beckford were shown red cards for dissent, much to the consternation of the Leeds bench, and at one point it appeared as if the game would be abandoned when the Leeds squad gathered on the touchline for a conference after the second dismissal.

July 22: After the cancellation of the game in Dresden, the club quickly arranged a friendly against Czech side Slovan Liberec. Leeds started well but failed to take advantage of a couple of good opportunities before the hosts grabbed the only goal of the game just past the hour. Tresor Kandol missed a sitter, served on a silver platter by a Seb Carole cross and Leon Constantine also failed to put away a rebound. Akloul Mouloud was given a run out to see how he fitted in at centreback, and the game was watched by a decent contingent of Leeds fans who called on their years of experience of these things to switch their travel plans at the last minute to get to the game - and for once the club did something useful, with a coach sorted for a bunch of the faithful who would otherwise have been marooned in Dresden.

July 21: According to the official website, the poor, starving players now completely understand why they've not been paid. A statement from the squad said: "Shaun Harvey spoke to the players on Tuesday morning to explain the situation to us. We understand it a lot better now and and we're hoping the club, PFA, and the Football League can resolve the situation. At the moment we are in Germany and are preparing for the season in a professional manner. We're hoping the situation can be resolved by the time we return next week." So it's the PFA and the FL that are responsible for signing salary cheques at Elland Road now? Fascinating... and there was me thinking that it was down to the company to pay its employees.

July 21: There's an ongoing campaign backed by the Supporters Trust to get fans to place blue, white and yellow flowers at Billy's statue at Elland Road to show that the fans want a club to support next season. Well, it might be a useful stunt to keep the situation in the local news, but it's hardly likely to make the FL or Bates suddenly see sense, is it? Sorry - I'm such an old cynic...

July 20: Ken Bates says it's not his fault that the players aren't being paid. Apparently this is down to the players' agreement to take a wage deferral under the CVA, and the subsequent failure to exit the CVA as a consequence of the Football League's failure to transfer the golden share. So it's the FL's fault for failing to jump to Ken's tune, the players' fault for being so stupid as to sign a financial agreement with Bates without checking that he'd not got his fingers crossed, and some other unnamed party's fault for the club being in administration in the first place. Now I wonder who could possibly be responsible for that situation...

July 19: So the latest on the off-field stuff is that the Football League are still taking legal advice, HMRC are pressing ahead with their court challenge, and someone has finally unearthed what looks like a genuine piece of law-breaking by the chairman (but that is of course for the courts to confirm). Basically because Bates (and Mark Taylor) were directors of a company called Leeds United Football Club (which subsequently was renamed to "Romans Heavies") which became insolvent, they are forbidden from being directors of a similarly-named company without approval from the Insolvency Service. Such approval has not been applied for, so technically Uncle Ken cannot be a director of Leeds United Football Club 2007. But I'm sure it will be okay. Meanwhile there's a question over whether anyone was allowed to sell season tickets - and more to the point whether Bates' new company is entitled to the revenue from the sale without the granting of the Football League's golden share. It ges murkier and murkier...

July 19: Saturday's friendly against Dynamo Dresden has been cancelled on police advice. The police are concerned that a large number of "fans" will turn up looking for trouble and they aren't sure if they will have the manpower to cope.

July 19: After generously agreeing to take a wage deferral - and subsequently voting for Ken's bid in the initial creditors' meeting - the players have been rewarded by the club by not being paid for June. So if you do see a bloke in a white shirt hawking the Big Issue around Thorp Arch (or Germany), take pity on the poor souls.

July 18: Leeds have added a final pre-season friendly to the list with a visit to local side Guisely on Monday 6 August. Guiseley play in the UniBond League: no doubt we're assessing the type of opposition we're likely to be facing if the current farce drags on much longer.

July 18: If I remember rightly, the last time we played in Berlin it was against TSV at the start of that famous and fatal Champions League run. Well tonight saw a slightly different outcome - although the massive travelling support remained strong and vocal. Dennis Wise fielded more or less the strongest side he could, with the starting XI containing most of the familiar names from the squad. Both sides created openings early on but it was the hosts who opened the scoring just before the break, and then added a second just before the end of the match. Tom Elliott looked set to follow Simon Walton's pre-season example but just escaped a dismissal after some over-enthusiastic tackling.

July 17: Dennis Wise has been fined again by the FA for his outburst at Southend last season, when the ref bottled a clear penalty call in stoppage time that would have turned a draw into a win and possibly made a lot of difference to everything that has happened since. Wise was also "warned as to his future conduct". Oooh - I bet he's scared about that...

July 16: KPMG are apparently promising to give details of the competing bids to creditors in a week's time. Is it just me that's confused by this: surely taking this action BEFORE selling the club to Uncle Ken would have been the right thing to do...

July 14: Former loanee Raul Bravo has moved on from Real Madrid to join Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus. Bravo has been a fringe player at Madrid but has still clocked up 14 caps for the national side.

July 14: There were no goals at Friday night's friendly at York - but at least the on-field action gave the fans a brief respite from scanning the financial pages for indications as to whether the club will continue to exist. Conditions were dreadful - York is traditionally one of those places that becomes submerged at the first hint of rain, and although it's not seen the sort of problems faced by Sheffield and Hull, the pitch was more than a little soggy. Alan Thompson and Eddie Lewis showed some decent touches, but there wasn't much to set the pulse racing.

July 14: Dennis Wise has got a few familiar names plus a whole bunch of youngsters in the squad for the German pre-season tour. Tore-Andre Flo is injured so will stay behind to see if he can get some fitness and earn a contract, but Alan Thompson,Matt Heath and Rui Marques are all there and looking for new deals, while triallists David Prutton, Leon Constantine and Curtis Weston are joined by keepers from Watford and Chelsea - Scott Loach and Nick Hamman - since the alternative would appear to be asking David Harvey if he wants to come out of retirement. Jonny Howson, Tom Elliott, RobBayly, Ben Parker and Fabian Delph are the familiar names from the youngsters, with Frazer Richardson, Jonathan Douglas, Tresor Kandol, Jermaine Beckford, Seb Carole and Ian Westlake making up the numbers.

July 13: David Healy is set to leave for arond £1.5 million, with his destination unsurprisingly Craven Cottage where he will link up with his former NI boss Lawrie Sanchez. Meanwhile Robbie Blake is heading back to Turf Moor for considerably less: £250K up front with more depending on appearances and success.

July 12: So, the day after KPMG announce the result of the bidding frenzy, the Football League leap into action to announce that.... they need a bit of time to think about it. If fairness to them (and that's not something you'll hear me offer the people who run the game that often), they've received sod all information from KPMG or Bates, and must give serious thought to whether the new owners are "fit and proper" people to run a football club given what has happened to previous clubs who have had the benefit of their experience. Assuming of course that Ken really will be the owner and not some obscure offshore corporation, which would undoubtedly fail to even get to the starting line for such a test...

July 12: Danny Ward, Ben Gordon and Danny Rose have all decided that the Leeds Youth team is no place to be at the moment, and that alternatives would further their young careers a little faster. The three highly-rated youngsters will at least attract some compensation when they get picked up by other clubs, and in the circumstances you can't blame them for wanting to leave the uncertainty and infighting at ER behind.

July 12: The club issued a statement in response to the Football League's failure to immediately rubber stamp the transfer of the golden share to Ken Bates' new entity. The statement says: "The club are concerned that any issues the League board may have with the conduct of the administration process by KPMG should not affect the decision making process as to the return of our share in the League and are seeking assurances from them on this point. The club, as well as KPMG, have been asked to provide additional information, the last of these requests was received at 10am on Thursday morning. These have been answered in full to support our application for the transfer of the share. The club remain confident that any further questions that the League may have in this regard will be answered in full by return." What? You mean that there's even the slightest doubt that those highly paid accountants didn't generate enough documentation or deliver the result that was in the best interest of the creditors (whoever they might have been)? The statement adds: "While the League confirmed a club can start the season in administration, the reality is that KPMG have not got the funding to give the League the assurances required to allow the club to start the season, so while it is allowed in the regulations, it is practically unachievable. The only way, therefore, for the club to start the season is for the share to be transferred. Leeds United 2007 Ltd is not in administration and owns all the assets of the club other than the shares required to allow us to play professional football. It is these shares that require transferring to bring all matters to a satisfactory conclusion and allow the club to concentrate on football again." And in that last bit maybe hangs the concern: will the FL say that the absence of a completed CVA means that the club is effectively still in administration and as such subject to a 10 point deduction? Time will tell...

July 11: To the astonishment of all concerned, KPMG eventually announced that Ken Bates had submitted the winning bid for the club - although the Football League have yet to confirm that they will allow the "golden share" to be passed on to Bates' new entity, and without that there will be no football. It seems that the announcement was delayed for so long because KPMG had to invent an entirely new branch of mathematics and junk several commonly-held arithmetical theories in order to show that Bates' bid was the best for the creditors: in doing so, they accidentally invalidated several rather fundamental laws of physics, which caused the Universe to break and - more importantly - their calculators to stop working. Fortunately, someone had the old version of the Universe backed up on punch cards, and they found that by simply shuffling a couple and accidentally leaving another one in the box, they managed to restore the old Universe, modified in such a subtle way that it is now possible for any given number to be greater than any other number - "depending on how you look at it", and as a result Bates' bid was immediately recognised as being the winner.

July 10: Still no confirmation about bids despite KPMG's self-imposed deadline sliding past today. It's believed that there are two bids - Bates and Morris/Franks which are unconditional, and a third which could yield more for the creditors but is conditional on the Football League agreeing to waive the "pay the players first" rule. More tomorrow. Maybe.

July 09: As anticipated, the two Simons have teamed up to submit a joint bid to snatch the club from Ken Bates' clutches. Simon Franks told BBC Radio Leeds: "The risks are huge and that's why so few people have bid. [Simon Morris and I] had a very frank conversation and I told him my reservations that we knew we were utterly committed to the club going forward and I wanted to hear that from him. And I have to say he is utterly committed to getting Leeds United back into top flight football." Bates said that he expected his bid to succeed: "Our bid is the original deal that was done in the meeting of creditors when we placed the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) on 1 June. We have amended it twice to try to meet the Inland Revenue's objections and now we have withdrawn the conditionality of it, so it's now unconditional. We believe in fact our offer is valid. Therefore it should be the only one to be accepted." Franks added that he was disgusted with the way KPMG had handled the bidding process: "I'm furious. This is utterly prejudicial. We have to reduce our bids because of the 'known unknowns'. Mr Bates doesn't have to. We don't know what we are bidding for." Adam Pearson is also thought to have tabled a bid - but we'll need to wait for KPMG to get their act together before we hear the result. So, see you next month then...

July 07: A couple of weeks ago, former Leeds commercial director Adam Pearson said that the fact that he'd sold out at Hull didn't mean he was intending to make a bid for Leeds. Sunday's papers report that he has tempted local internet gazillionaire Peter Wilkinson to step out of the shadow of permanent rumour and make a bid for the club. Meanwhile the two Simons might team up to table a "superbid" but that could founder on which one of them gets to wear the underpants and who has first go in the phone booth. More by Monday I'm sure....

July 07: A very unfamiliar Leeds line-up beat Shelbourne 0-2 at Tolka Park with a goal in each half on Saturday. Robbie Blake scored the opener on the half-hour, and former Saint David Prutton doubled the score with 15 minutes remaining. From the "old guard", Rui Marques, Eddie Lewis, Seb Carole, Ian Westlake, Blake, Frazer Richardson, Matt Heath, Alan Thompson, Jonathan Douglas and Tresor Kandol all got a half, with youngsters Tom Elliott, Rob Bayly, and Jonny Howson also figuring. Triallists included Prutton, former Derby defender Paul Boertien, Port Vale's Leon Constantine and veteran ex-Owl Graham Coughlan. Gus Poyet was delighted with the result, saying: "The lads did fantastic. Everyone showed they wanted to be part of the team, and it was very important to have a look at the players. We said to the players 'you have 45 minutes each so you can give it a good 45' and that's what they did. It was an excellent ending to a perfect first week of pre-season training. We also have to say thanks to everyone here. It was like playing at home with the support we had."

July 06: As with last year, tickets for away games will go on sale in several tranches, so you can't fire and forget your application for the whole season (unless of course you're an away season ticket holder). From July 9 you'll be able to buy tickets for games up to Bournemouth away at the start of November. From October 15 you can apply for the next batch which runs up to the trip to Northampton at the start of February, and from January 7 you can apply for all the remaining games - from Doncaster through to Yeovil. Sheesh - don't those venues just drip with history and resonance...

July 06: As expected, the court decided that the hearing to contest the CVA would be held in a couple of months time: a week has been set aside at the start of September. However there was a strong suggestion that some heads should be knocked together and that it would be for the best if the court's time was taken up with something more useful. So it's over to KPMG...

July 06: You wouldn't expect much help from the Football League so it's no surprise that they've said that Leeds must have proof of funding for the season in place by August 1 - so "get things sorted before it goes to court and we find a legal precedent blowing our cosy 'football creditors first' deal out of the water" would appear to be their take on things. Leeds Council are "concerned" and will be talking to all parties to attempt to help resolve a situation which doesn't reflect well on their "Come to Leeds it's a successful dynamic city" message. And good old Ken is of course threatening legal action and significant extra-perambulator toy projection if he doesn't get his way and be allowed to "buy" the club (I always thought real money had to change hands for that term to apply but then I'm old-fashioned). KPMG have set a deadline of 5pm Monday for bids to be received with proof of funding by the following day - but any bidders won't be allowed full access to the books, thus ensuring that the playing field is as level as Yeovil's pitch (where we will hopefully be celebrating promotion in 9 months or so).

July 05: Simon Franks of Redbus Group - whose bid to take over the club never got to a vote last time around - accused Ken Bates of "playing with the emotions" of Leeds fans by claiming that any challenge to his bid would be the end for the club. Franks said: "We have put in an offer of considerably more than the 8p bid by Bates. We are the only UK group bidding for Leeds for its football abilities. Unlike other bidders', ours is not a property deal. We believe that Leeds is a top 10 team and its rightful place is in the Premiership." He went on: "Leeds will survive, whatever happens here. Bates is trying to protect his interests but it's an unfair tactic to say it faces liquidation. Hr shouldn't play with the emotions of the fans."

July 05: Kevin Nicholls move to Preston was confirmed today for an undisclosed fee. PNE boss Paul Simpson said: "He's a leader, he gets his foot in, and he can get goals." Yes Paul, but only as long as he has the stomach for a fight. If you find yourself mid-table after a dozen games, start looking for another player.

July 04: Rick Passmoor takes over as the manager of Leeds United Ladies, and will be assisted by Leanne Hall - a former keeper for the club. They will play next season's home games at Tadcaster Albion's ground and a season ticket wil only cost you twenty five quid. Sounds like the bargain of the summer, and your money will be much safer with them than with the men's club.

July 04: The club issued a statement after HMRC's challenge to the CVA was announced. They said that they "remain confident of a positive outcome and that it will be able to start the 2007/08 season." They also finally cleared up the ST money issue: "The club can confirm that Season Ticket receipts are being kept in a separate bank account and Leeds United 2007 Ltd, who have sold the tickets for the forthcoming season, will ensure that the money is kept safe so it can be returned to supporters if we cannot start the season." Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Phil Willis said: "Mr Bates has seriously underestimated the anxiety felt by creditors, particularly the Inland Revenue, to what has been a derisory offer for a club with huge potential. I was anxious that the procedures which have been used to acquire the club should have been looked at and now they will."

July 03: Ken Bates has found that his bluff has been called and has increased his offer from 1p in the point to 8p in the pound to be allowed to buy Leeds out of administration. HMRC - and some other creditors - continue to be less than impressed, and a challenge to the deal is almost certain. Bates is offering an additional 30p if the club are promoted back to the top flight in the next 10 years. Bates describes the offer as unconditional - but says it depends on no challenge being made to the CVA, and ominously warns that a challenge will result in the club's liquidation.

July 03: The Leeds United Supporters Trust and Leeds United Supporters Club are jointly seeking reassurance for their members and for all season ticket holders with regard to the measures in place to safeguard fans season ticket money in the event of any challenges to the CVA or any other financial difficulties at the football club. A spokesman for the trust said: "We feel that the relevant parties need to come forward and clarify for the fans what safeguards are in place concerning the season ticket money. Fans are already backing the club financially and we believe that it is their right to know that the money that has been handed over is safe". There have been some comments that the money is being kept safe in a ring-fenced account, but other people believe that the money is being raided to keep the club going at the moment. Ken Bates was questioned about this on Radio Leeds and said that he had no idead and that KPMG were handling it. KPMG insisted that "new Leeds" were the people in receipt of ST money and that it was nothing to do with them.

July 03: As expected, HMRC have decided to challenge the CVA and Ken Bates. They made the challenge an hour before the final deadline, and a hearing will now take place on Friday to determine the way forward. Commenting on the challenge afterwards, former chairman Gerald Krasner said that the "application lodged challenging the vote on grounds of material irregularity". He believes that the courts will not try to force the issue, and that a resolution will be left to KPMG if at all possible.

July 01: Former Leeds reserve keeper Mark Wilberforce has been picked up by newly-promoted Farsley Celtic after Scarborough's disappearance left him clubless.

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