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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

May 25: No complaints from the manager or the 40-odd thousand Leeds fans at Wembley today as Doncaster Rovers deserved their 1-0 victory with a performance that saw Leeds outplayed in pretty much every department. Donny could have been a goal up inside 10 minutes and further ahead by half-time, but Casper Ankergren did well to keep Leeds in the game. The keeper stood no chance just after the break when James Hayter was left unmarked to head home a corner, and although Leeds piled forward to try to repeat their late heroics of the previous two play-off games, Rovers stood firmed and deservedly won promotion. So it's back to the drawing board for Leeds: let's hope that the chairman's itchy firing finger doesn't view this as too much of a failure by Gary McAllister since the last thing we need is yet another change of direction.

May 22: Swansea midfielder Andy Robinson has put his faith in Leeds' ability to gain promotion by abandoning his title-winning colleagues and agreeing to sign a 3-year deal with Leeds. Robinson's contract runs out on June 30 and after Swansea made him a final offer earlier this week he decided to take a leap of faith to join what we all hope will be a Championship-winning campaign next season.

May 22: Doncaster Rovers won't be selling any more tickets over the counter - and if you have an LS or BD postcode you can also forget about getting any via the post. Tickets will only be sold to people already on their database, and they've had to turn a large crowd of Leeds fans away from the ticket office as Whites fans try any means available to get to see the game on Sunday. Doncaster have done well to sell a large part of their allocation given their much smaller fan base, but have offered to return 5-6,000 tickets to the FA for Leeds to use. However the FA are insisting on keeping the initial segregation and separation of fans within the stadium so it looks like those seats will be empty.

May 21: Wednesday saw the inevitable free-for-all at Elland Road as tickets went on general sale to members and season ticket holders, with the lucky few able to buy an extra 3 tickets per membership. Folks started turning up on Tuesday evening and by breakfast time on Wednesday the club were telling fans that there was no point in coming down to join the queue since there wouldn't be any tickets left after the estimated 7000 fans who were already there had been served. There were a few reports of folks trying to push in but things were generally pretty orderly early on until many more people started to arrive at 6 in the morning and the club and police generally failed to do anything to manage the crowd. Several people were crushed and had to be pulled out, and dehydration also took its toll on quite a few people. Did the club learn nothing from the previous play-off final fiasco?

May 20: Rui Marques has surprisingly extended his contract by 2 years ahead of the weekend's play-off final. Although he seems to have fallen behind Huntington and Michalik in Gary McAllister's mind, there was apparently quite a bit of Championship interest in his services, but the manager is happy that the player has committed himself to the club and saved him a search for a new centreback.

May 19: Tuesday is the last day for Members to grab their guaranteed play-off final tickets (or for any Season Ticket holders who missed their window). Wednesday will no doubt be the day of big queues as ST holders and Members get to buy up to 3 extra tickets from 0900 that day. Will there be any tickets left beyond that? Unlikely - you'll have a better chance masquerading as a Donny fan and going in their end for the game (not that I could possibly advocate such a dangerous and probably illegal course of action...)

May 15: Gary McAllister's team turned the tables on Carlisle tonight with a superb performance that overcame the 1-2 first leg deficit to qualify for the play-off final at Wembley on May 25. Once again Dougie Freedman was the key man - although rather than scoring this time he set up Jonny Howson on 10 minutes and again in injury time to do just enough to take Leeds through. The midfield was far better organised than in the first leg, and Leeds dominated possession and chances on the stats board, and although Carlisle's strikers created a couple of chances of their own, home keeper Kieren Westwood was the busier of the two custodians and once again performed well to keep his team in the tie. With just a minute of injury time added, it looked like we were going to have to suffer at least another 30 minutes of nailbiting as 90 minutes ticked off the clock. Howson and Freedman had other ideas, and the youngster's shot from the edge of the box skidded just past Westwood's hand and into the net sending the Leeds end wild. Wembley here we come!

May 14: The bookies still have us as marginal favorites to win the match on Thursday night - 23/20 as opposed to 9/5 for Carlisle and 23/10 the draw. But by how much? Carlisle are now 1/2 to make the final versus Leeds at 6/4. Shortest odds for the score are a 0-1 Leeds win or a 1-1 draw at 11-2: if you fancy a more pro-Leeds punt then 0-2 or 1-2 are on offer at 8/1 and 9/1. An early goal could make all the difference - and if you need some additional interest to the match, why not take a punt on Kilkenny or Douglas as first scorer at 14/1 and 12/1 respectively?

May 13: Matt Heath's permanent departure has been confirmed with the news that his 2-month loan spell at Colchester was enough to impress boss Geraint Williams, so the 27-year-old defender will make the move to Layer Road permanent as the U's attempt to bounce right back into the Championship next season.

May 11: Deep breaths all round and fingers crossed because here come the playoffs! Our erstwhile play-off conquerors Watford today showed just how much of a knife-edge these things sit on as they had a decent goal disallowed, then saw Nicky Barmby score as Hull recorded a 0-2 win. With Carlisle on the crest of a slump, the bookies have Leeds at 8/11 to win the tie and 1/2 to get through to the final and 8/5 overall to win promotion. But there's no room for over-confidence: a win on Monday night is essential and after that we'll see where we end up.

May 11: Peter Ridsdale is at it again, harping on at how he gets so much stick over Leeds' continuing plight. This time he's waffling about things that he "hears" amusing him. Don't listen to those voices Peter, particularly when they tell you to start fires or wear a dress. On second thoughts... His specific word: "It amuses me when I hear that I was someone responsible for Leeds' 15-point deduction. Five years after I left and with successive managements in between, it's somehow apparently still my fault. I cannot believe that. Some people want to drive you out of the business because you've made mistakes instead of allowing you to learn from them." Yes of course you're allowed to make mistakes. But there are mistakes and ****MISTAKES****. And after nearly destroying a club the size of Leeds, taking Barnsley from crisis to crisis and then cropping up at Cardiff just as Sam Hamman was engineering a departure that has left the Welsh side struggling with legal and financial problems, it's clear that his capacity for self-delusion continues unabated. The only reason any club owner would want to retain his services in any capacity is if they want a patsy whose eyes are already wool-covered and so won't notice just how screwed the club is until it's too late.

May 11: Alan Sheehan's red card means that he will miss both Carlisle games so Bradley Johnson could continue in his place. Up front, Gary McAllister is hoping that Jermaine Beckford will be fit enough to start: Macca reckons he's clear on his starting 11 and has even sent returned loanees Matt Heath and Ian Westlake off on holiday, telling them that he'll make do with the squad he has been using over the last few weeks.

May 01: Like Norway in the 1970s Eurovisions, Leeds have been awarded a grand total of zero points by the tribunal. Although the independent panel did highlight a variety of inconsistencies and lack of clarity in the Football League's decision, it decided to allow the deduction to stand, so it's time to cancel those mid-May holidays and book your play-off tickets.

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