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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post


July 29: Jermaine Beckford returned to the side, and new signing Robert Snodgrass made his debut - but that couldn't help Leeds break down a tough Darlington defence. Leeds lined up with a team that must be close to Gary McAllister's favoured starting XI and only made two replacements as the first "real" game draws closer. Leeds were wearing new yellow away shirts with sponsorship from netflights.com - and for one match only resurrected the famous sock tags, which will now be signed and auctioned to raise money for the Arthur Wharton Foundation.

July 29: Former Leeds striker Robbie Keane has quit Spurs for a big money move to Anfield as Rafa Benitez searches for a winning combination up front. Keane has been given the number 7 shirt made famous by the likes of Keegan, Dalglish (and Kewell, but the less said about that the better) and inevitably has revealed that he supported the red half of Merseyside as a youngster.

July 29: Kick-off against Stockport over the Christmas break has been shifted: it now starts at noon rather than 3pm. That makes it a round half-dozen changes since the fixtures were first published - you'd think that the police could ujust about cope figuring out where the danger was at the time of publication rather than after everyone has bought their train and bus tickets.

July 27: Quick transfer round-up as I gradually catch up with things. Paul Robinson completed his unsurprising exit from Spurs with a 3.5m move to Blackburn. Scott Carson cost West Brom 250K less for a fine chance to re-establish his reputation, because - let's be honest - coming remotely close to keeping a clean sheet for the Baggies next season won't be easy, and warming the bench at Liverpool won't do anything for his stalled international career. Michael "sick note" Bridges will spend the season at Carlisle on loan from Hull, while inbound at Hull is one-time Leeds loanee Tony Warner from Fulham on a free. Warren Feeney will be trying his luck with a loan spell north of the border with Dundee United barely a year after signing for Cardiff. Jermaine Wright has joined Blackpool after his contract at Southampton came to an end.

July 27: Tresor Kandol returned from his virus to notch up 45 minutes of match practice with the reserves at Harrogate, but that didn't stop the second string slipping to a 3-0 defeat to Neil Aspin's side. The reserves face Pegasus Juniors of Hereford on Wednesday night.

July 27: Jermaine Beckford's recent absence from the first team in the pre-season games is just down to a niggling injury - it's not that he's being kept wrapped in cotton wool so we can sell him, honest - says boss Gary McAllister. It looks like Marcus Haber hasn't done enough to win himself a deal - but Luciano Becchio could be about to put pen to paper.

July 26: A goal in each half saw Leeds through to a comfortable victory over Barnet on Saturday. Andy Robinson opened the scoring for Leeds with a strike from the edge of the box 10 minutes before half-time. Jonny Howson doubled the lead 5 minutes after the interval with a shot that found the top corner after the defence left him in too much space. Fabian Delph was impressive on his return from international duty, and Luciano Becchio had just over an hour to stake his claim to a permanent move and might have done enough to convince Gary McAllister to take the chance.

July 24: Anthony Elding has completed his switch to Crewe for 'an undisclosed fee' after less than a year with the club. Elding's card had clearly been marked by Gary McAllister - and with more signings up front promised, as well as the two triallists Haber and Becchio, there was unlikely to be even a regular bench-warming place available for him this season.

July 24: 20-year-old Scottish striker Robert Snodgrass has joined Leeds on a 3-year contract from Livingstone. The player struck 10 time in the league last year and said: "This move is a dream come true. There were a few other clubs from the south that were interested, but this is a club of big stature. Over the years a lot of Scots have done well here, and I want to try and get to the next level now."

July 23: The reserves didn't cover themselves in much glory on Tuesday night, losing 1-0 at Farsley Celtic. Exit-bound players like Ian Westlake, Curtis Weston and Seb Carole helped create a few chances but nobody took them and the hosts grabbed the honours with a goal 20 minutes from the end. The reserves next match sees them face Harrogate Town this Saturday.

July 23: A crowd of over three thousand saw Leeds draw 1-1 with Shelbourne as the Ireland tour drew to a close. Debutant Luciano Becchio had some good chances to put Leeds in front before the home side took advantage of a goalkeeping blunder by Alan Martin to go ahead halfway through the first period. Goalscorer Anthony Flood was subsequently stretchered off after a heavy challenge from Rui Marques, and a few niggles developed that saw players from both sides in the book. Skipper for the day Paul Huntington made it all square with a header just before half-time, and despite the inevitable change of personnel, no more goals were scored.

July 22: Young striker Tomi Ameobi has been allowed to leave the club. The young striker joins Doncaster Rovers for an appearance-related fee after just one start for Leeds last season. Gary McAllister said: "Opportunities would have been limited for Tomi this season. I am looking to strengthen in terms of strikers and we have some young players coming through in that area as well." So watch this space...

July 22: Gary McAllister will be able to use the Shelbourne match to give Luciano Becchio a match after the Argentinian's international clearance came through. Becchio struggled to make any real impact at Barcelona and Real Mallorca before bagging better than a goal a game with Merida in Segunda Division B (Spanish3rd Division which at least sounds like a 3rd Division and not some jumped-up stupid name designed to disguise the true depth like 'League One').

July 20: Sporting the new blue away shirts, Leeds slumped to a two goal first-half deficit in Bray today - but bounced back to steal the honours in the end. After a bright enough start, David Lucas had no chance to stop Daryl Robson's shot from the edge of the area. A (vaguely) familiar face - former Leeds youth player Alan Cawley - set up Bray's second goal just past the half-hour mark. Gary McAllister obviously had something to say to his team at half-time, with skipper Rui Marques pulling a goal back after 10 minutes and Marcus Haber equalising halfway through the second period. With just over five minutes left Jonny Howson popped up to grab the victory with a well-taken strike.

July 20: Jay Bothroyd is wondering whether his agent's ploy to use an offer from Leeds as a bargaining chip at Wolves or a stalking horse to shake some other bidders from the trees will work: Wolves have accepted Leeds' offer and left him out of their pre-season games, so it looks like they're happy/resigned to losing him. But will anyone else want to make a better offer than the undoubted pay cut that Ken Bates will have authorised for the one-time Blackburn and Charlton man? Tresor Kandol is back in training as he recovers from a virus, but won't be flying out to join the squad in Ireland. Fabian Delph will be back with the club this week after England were eliminated from the UEFA U-19 tournament, despite finishing with a 3-0 win over Greece. Anthony Elding is being linked with a move to Carlisle - or Crewe or any other club beginning with a C as things get more and more desperate.

July 16: A goal in each half for Jermaine Beckford saw Leeds run out 0-2 winners over Galway in tonight's friendly at Terryland Park. Beckford had one effort ruled out for offside before latching on to a pass from Andy Robinson to open the scoring halfway through the first half. He added to that almost straight after the halftime break with a good run and finish. Paul Telfer started the game at the centre of the defence in his first run out for the club, and Gary McAllister made a mass switch just past the hour mark to give Marcus Haber his debut.

July 15: Former Coventry, Southampton and Celtic defender Paul Telfer has joined the squad for the tour of Ireland. 36-year-old Telfer spent last season at Bournemouth before their own financial meltdown saw him move on. I guess a bit of experience might help, but even in the third division, someone who turns 37 in October might just struggle to keep up with the pace...

July 14: There were a few notable absentees as the first team squad flew out to Ireland to play three pre-season games on Monday morning. Anthony Elding, Seb Carole, Curtis Weston and Ian Westlake are all looking for a move of their own volition or because Gary McAllister has made it clear they have little chance of a regular place. Tresor Kandol is absent with a virus, while Neil Kilkenny is away with Australia and Fabian Delph with England's U-19 squad. One additional squad member is Groningen's Canadian U-20 international striker Marcus Haber who will be hoping to impress the manager and win a contract.

July 12: After a week back training, Leeds played their first friendly of the new season at York on Friday night. It was very much a game of two halves - with Gary McAllister replacing all his players at the break, and as always with these games, the result doesn't count for much. For the record, Leeds went in front through Jermaine Beckford early on but conceded a scrappy equaliser just before half-time - and that was the end of the scoring.

July 08: Leeds unveiled the latest new signing as pre-season training gets into full swing - and with no disrespect intended, it's hardly one to set pulses racing. Nigerian striker Enoch Showunmi has signed a two-year deal after being released by Bristol City this summer, and issued Standard Quote Number 3: "I'm delighted to be [at Leeds]. You only have to look at this club with its history and its fanbase to see how big it is." Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday fans have told me not to expect much of an improvement his not outstanding goals-to-games ratio and can't see how he'd be an improvement on what we've got. Unless, of course, what we've got is destined to be un-got in the near future...

July 07: The second string's pre-season "tour" heads to the West Country at the end of July: fixtures have been announced at Hereford's Pegasus Juniors on July 31, followed by a trip to Newport County on August 2.

July 07: Harry Kewell's acceptance of a two-year contract with Galatasaray has come in for some understandable criticism from Leeds fans and the player (or his advisers) have now tried to pour oil on very troubled waters. The 29-year-old Australian leaves Liverpool on a free after spending most of his 5 years at Anfield on the treatment table, miraculously picking up a Champions League winners medal along the way despite making the most negligible contribution in the history of the competition. At first he seemed oblivious to the inevitable furore, saying: "I know that that fans are passionate about sport and I love that. I can't wait to get more of it." After receiving a few harsh reminders that it was some of those fans who were responsible for the murder of two Leeds supporters, he has issued an open letter to Leeds fans, saying that he's asked for the number 19 shirt "out of respect" for Leeds since that was the number he carried when he broke into the squad at Elland Road. "My love and respect for Leeds United and what the club has done for me will never change. My sense of sorrow and sympathy for the families and friends of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight will always be with me." And he added: "To blame the Galatasaray club for the tragedy in Istanbul is simply wrong and discriminatory." Nobody's blaming the club Harry - just the fans who you'll be saluting when you take the field. So for reference, remember that the done thing is for a new Galatasaray player to run to the centre circle, take off their shirt, throw it on the ground and plaster it with as many different bodily excretions as are available to show your devotion and respect for your new club and its supporters, then do a lap of the ground offering a few internationally-recognised hand signals to the crowd - and the more noise they make, the more they like you, so don't be put off if the volume goes up a bit.

July 06: The opponents for the home friendly on August 2 have been changed from Sporting Lokeren to fellow Belgians FCV Dender after the original opponents looked set to face visa problems for several members of their squad.

July 02: Striker Leon Constantine has gone on a free to Northampton. The 30-year-old striker scored twice in 7 appearances since arriving from Port Vale last summer but has not figured in Gary McAllister's plans for the future.

July 02: Winger Sebastian Carole has been allowed to go to French side Le Havre for a trial spell. Looks like Gary Mac is getting the summer clearout off to a flying start.

July 02: The tour match at Shelbourne will now take place a day earlier than originally planned - on Wednesday July 23 rather than Thursday July 24, bringing the Ireland tour to an end a day earlier and giving the squad a little bit more of a breather before the subsequent friendly at Barnet on Saturday 26.

July 01: The squad return to training on Friday of this week as Gary McAllister prepares the team for an unencumbered crack at promotion. With the first friendly being played just one week later at York the manager will be expecting to see the results of some solid work on each player's summer training programme pretty quickly - the "head off to Catterick Camp and hit the assault course until you're knackered" approach is a thing of the past.

July 01: Alan Sheehan has turned down an offer of an extension with Leicester to sign a three-year deal at Elland Road. The left-back was a great success during his loan spell - despite a stupid red card against Yeovil knocking him out of the play-off games. He said: "Ever since I came to Leeds I knew I didn't want to be [at Leicester]. The fans are great here and it's a great club with so much to offer.... I just feel Leeds is on the up again."

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