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Leeds United News from The Sporting Life    Yorkshire Evening Post

December 31: Experienced ex-Tyke Neil Redfearn has been recruited to coach the Academy side. Redfearn is currently assistant manager at York - but obviously views the role at Leeds as a step up from his current position.

December 31: Remember a few years back when a couple of Leeds players were charged with assault and affray? Remember how the FA couldn't wait to be seen to be doing something by saying that they wouldn't be selected for England because obviously we can't have any possible questions raised over the integrity and general righteousness of anybody remotely connected to the national squad? Well I'm sure it will come as no surprise whatsoever to discover that the FA have decided that Steven Gerrard's appearance before the beak on similar charges means that he should be told that he too will not be considered for the squad for any internationals until the outcome of the case has been determined. Oh, no... hold on a minute. What they actually said was that his position with England was not in question and they'd review the situation if he was convicted. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for innocent-until-proven-guilty, and have no more evidence that Gerrard committed a crime than the CPS did when they reviewed hundreds of witness statements and decided that the best way of proving that Lee Bowyer attacked somebody was to use the only witness who placed him at the scene while tactfully ignoring the fact that the teethmarks he was said to be applying to the victim came from somebody else's mouth. But if the rule is that being charged with a serious crime means that you don't get selected then that's what should happen - with no proviso that exempts you if you're an important and regular member of the squad who happens to play for Liverpool. Nice to see that, despite any other changes in the governance and organisation of the national game, two-faced hypocrisy lives on in Soho Square.

December 31: Wishing everyone out there the very best of luck, health and happiness for 2009. Here's hoping that Simon Grayson brings us promotion, Ken Bates offers us all cheap tickets for life, and that Robinho and Ronaldo agitate for a move away from the grimy and horrible city of Manchester to the beautiful and pleasant land of Yorkshire on loan for the remainder of the season (I'll be happy with any one of these three coming true - I'm not greedy!

December 28: Simon Grayson today demonstrated that he possessed the single most vital characteristic that any football manager can own: a bit of good luck. Fielding a side barely changed since Gary McAllister's departure, the team's defensive frailties were exposed early on, and Stockport could have already gone in front on at least one occasion before they went ahead after just three minutes. But buoyed by the return from injury of Jermaine Beckford, Leeds came back into the game and equalised through a scrambled effort from Becchio before the break. Becchio and Beckford both had good chances which were well-saved or just missed, but the home side also came close to regaining the advantage. Becchio helped create the goal that put Leeds in front on 73 minutes - closing down the home keeper who then mis-kicked the ball to Fabian Delph who trapped the ball and cracked it straight back into the net from a distance. Malcolm Christie came on as a sub for the tiring Beckford just past the hour, and showed that he may still be a little rusty but he's clearly a class above this league, and he sealed the match with a good shot from the edge of the box with 5 minutes to go. So, we're still a bit detached from the playoffs and indeed an automatic spot, but in two games under Grayson we've held the leaders and beaten a team that is above us and in competition for those valuable places - without necessarily playing better football than we have for the last two months - and seen two strikers come back from injury in the space of a week. If Simon Grayson's luck continues in this vein then we can look forward to an interesting (and enjoyable) New Year.

December 26: Robert Snodgrass snatched an equaliser in injury time to give Leeds a just-about deserved point at home to leaders Leicester. Matt Fryatt gave the Foxes their lead halfway through the first half, and given recent form and Gary McAllister's luck it would have been unsurprising if Luciano Becchio's rattling of the woodwork had been the closest we came to scoring, but with a new manager to impress, Leeds kept chasing an equaliser and Snodgrass's finish from Jonny Howson's pass capped a satisfying Boxing Day performance for the fans who had stayed. It's a sad reflection of our current plight that - at the start of the seaon - Leicester would have regarded this as a point gained and us as two dropped, whereas on current form we'd have to say we're happy with the draw and the Foxes disappointed on their failure to extend their lead at the top of the table. Still, the Great Fightback continues.... Onward!

December 23: Simon Grayson was named as the new manager of Leeds United - but not without some controversy and dispute. According to Leeds, the club asked Blackpool for permission to speak to him, were turned down and left it at that. Blackpool then went public with Leeds' approach, and Grayson - having asked for and been refused the opportunity to discuss the position with Leeds - tendered his resignation. Blackpool say they refused to accept this, but nevertheless, Grayson was unveiled as the new Leeds boss by lunchtime. Blackpool are reporting Leeds to the League over the whole thing, but I'm sure that there will be absolutely no evidence of impropriety on Leeds' part given how professionally the club has been run by the current regime.

December 23: Lucas Radebe was admitted to hospital over the weekend after collapsing at the gym in South Africa. He has received treatment for a heart condition and has now been allowed home to recuperate, but it won't be long before he's back on the treadmill promoting the 2010 World Cup. According to his agent, The Chief still harbours ambitions to return to Elland Road in some capacity in the future - although after losing his wife to cancer earlier this year and this latest hurdle, I'm sure Leeds fans would forgive him if he decided that any further contribution to Leeds' success would be purely as a fan (though that's stressful enough as it is!).

December 22: Steve Staunton has followed Gary McAllister out of the door. Given that a large part of the team's recent failures have been down to poor defending, and Staunton was nominally tasked with organising that side of things then this is hardly surprising. The club has indicated they want someone in place before the Leicester game on Boxing Day - better get their skates on then...

December 22: The bookies stopped taking bets on Simon Grayson being installed as the next Leeds boss - with a press conference expected at 1600 today to announce the appointment. Unfortunately Blackpool have rebuffed Leeds' request to talk to their manager, so Uncle Ken will have to wave a larger cheque under their noses - or pursue someone who doesn't have an employer ready to block the move. Grayson would be an interesting choice: his time as a player at Leeds saw him overshadowed by bigger names in the defence as Wilko's side won the title, but after he moved on he always looked pretty solid in 5 seasons at Leicester and 2 at Villa. His tenure at Blackpool has certainly exceeded expectations, and he turned round a team threatened with relegation from Division 1 into playoff winners in just over a season, and followed that up with doing enough to survive in the Championship last year, continuing that form into this season. The big question is how well he would do when offered a bigger budget at a bigger club with higher expectations. The bigger question is will we get the chance to find out the answer.

December 21: It's no great surprise that - barely a week after Shaun Harvey demanded that the players take responsibility for the results and not allow the manager to carry the can - Gary McAllister has been sacked by the club. The statement came up with the usual garbage: "The club would like to place on record its thanks for the loyal service given to Leeds United by Gary since joining the club as manager in January 2008, and wish him every success in the future. The club will make no further comment on a replacement until we are in a position to make an appointment, which we are committed to doing as quickly as possible." So, Gus Poyet - the brains of our former management team - or Adie Boothroyd, sacked by Watford for failing to make a silk purse after they'd sold off everything remotely resembling a sow's ear? Or maybe someone completely unconnected with the club. Paul Ince and Roy Keane are free, although their selection would probably make the furore surrounding the appointment of Dennis Wise look like a vicarage garden party.

December 20: A fifth successive defeat, the 708th different defensive combination of the season, and still Gary McAllister seems none the wiser as to how to motivate and organise his team to defend set pieces and win games. The last 2 months have seen us plummet from second place and one set of good results away from the top down to 9th spot and a 15 point deficit on the leaders. Sean O'Hanlon and Aaron Wilbraham put the hosts 2-0 up - both through corners - in 17 minutes. Leeds started the second half brightly and Rob Snodgrass scored on 49 minutes to give the travelling fans hope. But that hope was snuffed out barely 5 minutes later when poor marking left Wilbraham barely challenged to head home his second ad seal the match. After the game, Gary McAllister said: "I feel I am letting the fans down. The city of Leeds deserves better. We'll keep working, I'll continue to work hard with the players to put things right. That's my job." I loved Macca as a player and think he has the ability to build a stylish passing team that could go a long way. But results are what count more than anything else - and the question must be how long Ken Bates allows this type of form to continue before deciding that any sort of change must be an improvement on what we're getting at the moment.

December 06: One goal up, one goal down, one manager out? Yet more tinkering with the starting lineup (only partly injury-enforced) did nothing to sort out the defensive frailties of the squad at Tranmere. After some decent play by Leeds, Enoch Showunmi finished from inside the box to put the visitors in front after 11 minutes but not much more than 5 minutes later, David Lucas flapped at a free-kick and Tranmere were back on terms. Ian Moore sadly repeated his feat from last season - this time with an impressive-looking goal from distance, and although Luciano Becchio had the ball in the net again for Leeds, the ref was right to rule the goal invalid after Becchio manhandled the Tranmere defender in the process. We're dropping away from the automatic promotion spots and starting to fall into the pack chasing the playoffs: this cannot continue and the manager needs to take decisive action to improve his coaching and playing staff before the board makes the inevitable call. A home failure against the mid-table mediocrity of Colchester will probably be enough to see Gary McAllister receive his marching orders as an early Christmas/birthday present.

December 04: Former Leeds striker (and occasional target of terrace joviality) Ian Moore believes that Leeds should be in the mix for promotion. Speaking ahead of Saturday's clash between Tranmere and his former employers, Moore said: "They've got a good squad and money to spend in January. It's a good set-up and they'll be in the shake-up at the end of the season." Moore has already confirmed the Immutable Law of the Ex with a goal on his debut at Elland Road last season. He said: "It was a superb debut for me, I couldn't have asked for a bigger game and I was delighted to get a goal. I think I need to apologise a little bit to the Leeds fans for overdoing my celebrations. It was a debut goal for me at the club I started my career with and sometimes you do get a bit carried away when you score." Let's hope he's not saying the same thing on Saturday night...

December 03: To the great surprise of nobody, Andy Robinson's enforced departure in the second half of the Histon game will be extended for a month or so as it was confirmed he has a hamstring injury. Jermaine Beckford is similarly afflicted and this type of injury (and apparent tailing off of fitness levels overall) must call into question how the squad are drilled and managed during the course of the season. Certainly things looked great early on when the players were still fresh and keen from the pre-season warmup games, but with winter coming and real games piling up, a professional and measured approach to maintaining fitness levels and avoiding injury is essential if any hope of a playoff place - never mind automatic promotion - is to be retained beyond the end of January.

December 01: Promising young left-back Aidan White has inked a deal to stay at Elland Road to 2012. After making his first-team debut in the Carling Cup against Palace, he's picked up several more appearances already this season. White said: "I'm delighted to sign. Things have happened really quickly and hopefully I can go on from here." Gary McAllister said: "We're really pleased. Aidy is another young player who is learning his trade with the academy who has a great future ahead of him. He got his opportunity earlier in the season and he did well. We're pleased with his development and the progress he is making. It's great to see so many young players coming through the ranks from the academy here, and it's a real credit to the club and is good for the future."

December 01: Gary McAllister tried to shrug off the gloom and ridicule after the defeat by Histon by announcing that he was the man to lead the club back into the Championship (or, showing my age and insistence on names reflecting reality, "Division 2" - which until barely 18 months ago was the lowest the club had ever been). The manager said: "I feel as if I'm the guy that can get this club into the Championship." Although he hinted that there may have been rumblings of unhappiness from the boardroom, saying: "I think I've started pushing this club in the right direction, but that decision's not mine is it?" McAllister defended his players' effort against the non-leaguers, but admitted: "It'll go down in folklore as one of the biggest upsets - we are a third division team and today at times we looked like a third division team."

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