Hmmm, I thought yesterday was too good to be true. After a brief spell of good
news further problems for the Whites. Danny Mills has said in a newspaper
that DOL must improve his man management skills. It's no more than I, and many
others have been saying since the dreadful book and the Lee Bowyer transfer saga.
But it is a shock to see Mills come out and say what Lee Bowyer must have
been thinking. Is Mills angling for a move away from Leeds with his new found
international status? Although I agree with Mills' sentiment I must say he is
one of four players whose behaviour over the last season I would have thought
precluded any criticsm, by them, of the club. (The others are Bowyer, Smith and Woodgate -
at least the last two appear contrite for letting the fans down with their unecessary
suspensions last season). Mills' kick at Bellamy ranks amongst the most
stupid actions ever seen on a Premiership pitch. It is a shame because, like
Bowyer he has blossomed over the last three seasons and developed into an exciting
player and a fans' favourite. Why is it players who are adored by the fans appear
to treat them so badly?
Sadly for Leeds United's reputation the above comments by Mills led to TalkSport Radio (www.talksport.net) having an one hour discussion about Leeds' current predicament and the seeming unrest in the camp. It lead to many calls from Leeds fans the vast majority of whom were in favour of David O'Leary being sacked. Peter Ridsdale came in for less crticism from the callers but I feel that as a past Personnel Director of Burtons he should have been able to assist DOL with man management skills. But in fact his own seem to be less than they should be i.e. he's comments about not signing Lee Bowyer if he'd known what he knew now; about Harry Kewell signing a new contract before Christmas or going on the transfer list; saying that four players will have to be sold in the summer before the season had even ended; saying that Dacourt can
go for £15 million, again before the season had ended. O'Leary is not totally
to blame. Peter Ridsdale has to take a fair share.
The thing that depresses about all this is that at the end of the day when
the managers and players have finished slagging each other off, and have been
transfered or sacked, the only real losers are the fans and the good name of
the club. All the other so-called "professionals" will be able to walk away
from whatever mess they create or perpetuate and into jobs with mind-boggling
salaries! You and I on the other hand will pay ever greater ticket prices to
see the club we love being used by super-salaried careerists who don't give
a damn about the shirt, the club or the fans. Sad.
Wed, 29th May
Today has been a relatively good day for Leeds because it appears that two important players are staying. Most importantly the future of Rio Ferdinand does not lie at Old Trafford. Peter Ridsdale has made it clear over the past days that Rio is not a player that he will sell. That hasn't stopped the hacks pouring out stories of lucrative deals and secret faxes. So today, Man Utd and Leeds Utd were united in taking the unusual step of issuing a joint statement quashing any rumours about Rio. It reads as follows:
"No deal has been struck between the clubs and contrary to the story... Manchester United wish to point out that they have not made an illegal approach by forwarding a contract to Rio Ferdinand in Japan or a list of houses in Cheshire for his perusal... Leeds United are taking legal advice regarding the totally false allegation that £4m remains outstanding from Rio Ferdinand's transfer from West Ham. Leeds paid West Ham £12m
on signing the player and the balance of the fee was paid in full... on the
first anniversary of Rio's recruitment, last November.
After the Jaap Stam revelations and Liverpool's recent guilty verdict you can understand why Man Utd are keen to be seen to be free of any illegal action. Particularly as Peter Ridsdale has already made dark hints about legal action against an unnamed Premiership club that he feels has enticed Lee Bowyer into refusing the latest offer. Looks like Rio is safe, for the moment.
Another pleasant surprise came from the Ollie Dacourt saga. It seems
he may be staying - although Peter Ridsdale did say clearly before the end
of last season that he could go for £15 million. Despite that revelation Ollie
has maintained that he does not want to leave. He's turned down Lazio and it
seemed Juve was his next choice! But here's what his agent Bruno Satin had
"I've heard nothing at all regarding an offer from Juventus. Olly
turned down an offer from Lazio. He didn't want to go there. He is happy at
Leeds. He is at a big club, he likes where he lives and he has great team-mates.
Olly has always given his best to the club and it would be unfair of anyone
to say anything to the contrary. For the moment he is staying at Leeds and
so there is nothing more to say."
Lets hope Peter Ridsdale (or the PLC) relent and come out and say they want Ollie to stay! I am appalled at the thought of a Leeds midield permanently deprived of the class and running of both Ollie and Lee Bowyer next season!
Tuesday 28th May
Robbie Keane is reported to have hit Niall Quinn at the Irish Training Camp. We've only just heard about it because it happened on the day that King Roy slung his teddy out of the pram. Given that the big man donated all his testamonial money to charity it is a bit like hitting Santa Claus! Shame on you Robbie!
Will Lee Bowyer still be wearing a white shirt next season? It seems that Peter Ridsdale has not given up on keeping Lee at Leeds. He must be heartened that there have been no bids for Lee. As a big Bowyer fan I'd be delighted if he stayed at the club. Visitors to this site know that I blame O'Leary and Ridsdale for what they said about him in the aftermath of the courtcase as being the cause for him wanting to leave.
Other websites are saying Leeds have supposedly applied financial pressure
on Lee by saying that he must pay back the club the £850,000 in legal expenses
that the club paid on his behalf. This is only fair. But I cannot see how it
pressurises Lee. He didn't ask for a transfer so he'll get 10% of the transfer
fee which will be more than enough to pay back the club.
Although Sven says that Beckham will play against Sweden, the injury-prone Kieron Dyer is not certain to stay with the squad. This weekend is decision time. It seems certain that Alan Smith will get the replacement call from Sven. Possibly as a reward for his outstanding showing at the U21 competion last week. It would also be a reward for the way he has curbed his temper in the latter part of the season. And a reward for being prepared to play anywhere for Leeds. He would not have been selected as a striker but after playing as an attacking right-sided midfielder he will be an adequate replacement for Dyer. Not as good as Dyer in that position, Smith would still give the team a physical dimension and determination that served Leeds so well against the cream of Europe in our Champions League Cup run. Alan is reported as having delayed his holiday plans - I bet he has! It would be tremendous to have 5 of the 23 squad from Leeds.
With all the news surrounding Lee Bowyer the only player found guilty in "the trial" has been quietly forgotten about since he dropped another clanger by breaking his jaw during "horseplay". Blackburn haven't forgotten about him though, nor have they been put off by his "baggage" or his seeming inability to behave himself. Leeds have turned down a £12,000,000
bid for Jonathan Woodgate. It would have been interesting to see what
Woodgate did once he was in the hands of a hard-man like Souness. The phrase "fly right" springs
to mind. So it remains to be seen who Peter Ridsdale had in mind when he said
we would sell three or four players in the summer.
Ollie Dacourt is probably one of them but it is reported that he turned down a move to Lazio. Probably because of their notoriously racist fans? Leeds may have a change of mind about selling Dacourt since the surprise announcement from Bowyer.
Having announced a pre-season tour yesterday of the Far East another match closer to home was announced today. On August 7th the Whites will travel to Ibrox to take on Rangers. This should provide stiffer pre-season opposition than the usual one against Harrogate Town. In case you missed the news, Leeds aren't playing Harrogate this pre-season which has cause ex Leeds Director, Bill Fortherby, now with Town to have a fit of peek. Apparently other smaller Yorkshire clubs were complaining about the effect it was having on their leagues with Harrogate getting a big pay day every summer. Hard to credit isn't it? Let's hope we have more success against Rangers than our last Scottish opposition! As Celtic have
always been my "second" club I look forward to the Whites stuffing the Huns!
Lee Bowyer has been put on the transfer list after turning down the offer of
a five-year contract to stay at Elland Road until 2007 for reasons detailed
to be 'a career move'. The 25-year-old midfielder has been in talks with the
club since December but has rejected the final offer from Leeds believed to
be in the region of £2million a year.
Speculation that the £15million rated United star would leave this summer has
been running for weeks and Leeds Chairman Peter Ridsdale has now announced the
club will listen to offers for the midfielder, with Liverpool and Arsenal hot
favourites in the media to snap him up.
"Leeds United today annouce that Lee Bowyer has made the decision
to turn down a new five-year contract. Lee's accountant David Geiss has informed
us that the terms of the contract are not the issue but that Lee has made the
career decision to move on. With Lee having one year remaining on his current
agreement, the club has no alternative but to place him on the transfer list
with immediate effect. This initiative has been taken with great reluctance.
Given the contract offered by the club, which would have elevated Lee to the
elite of the highest paid players at Leeds United, and given the support the
club has shown Lee during the past turbulent 30 months, we are disappointed
to have this reached this juncture. We are surprised that this is the outcome
after months of what appeared to be positive talks."
Peter Ridsdale's much vaunted five year plan is in tatters. His manager, DOL has lost the magic touch he had in the first three years. His ill-timed book with the comments about the trial didn't help keep Lee Bowyer. Whereas Wegner and Fegie are criticsed for defending the indefensible behaviour of some of their players, we had a Chairman and Manager that couldn't defend a player found innocent by a jury. They have a lot to learn. Starting with keeping their mouth shut.
It looks like Lee Bowyer will leave for one of our fiercest rivals
Liverpool or Arsenal. Man Utd are reported to be bidding £25 million for Rio! A world record! With Lee going to "further his career", how will other Leeds players feel about staying? Maybe Rio fancies playing for Man Utd and winning trophies?
Mark Viduka was reported yesterday as saying that he "would have stayed if he'd known Celtic would be so successful" - Come and get me Martin O'Neill! Perhaps we're lucky Celtic is strapped for cash!
Harry Kewell has cancelled his wedding to sort out his footballing future. Sounds ominous doesn't it? HK is not a happy bunny.
Dacourt said he didn't want to leave Leeds. PR immediately said that he was available for £15
million. Great support from your employer! When the Italian transfer window
opens he'll be off and who can blame him? If he stays a lot of Bowyer's responsibility
will fall on his shoulders. The expectations on the fans will be too much for
There seems to be wide agreement that Ian Harte, Gary Kelly and Robbie Keane will
be on their way after the World Cup. Paul Robinson has played well for
the U-21, will he be happy to stay in the reserves until Martyn is a geriatric.
Especially if he seems the first team breaking up around him? His performances
will atract a bid this summer without a doubt. And it probably will be
a European club. Can you see him turning down a move to a Serie A club
to play in the Reserve side of a club that may finish eight next season?
Martyn accept playing reserve football. Probably not. Goodbye Nige or Robbo.
People wrote off Duberry weeks ago. Guess he may stay if Rio
moves - after all we are a selling club now. Ridsdale admitted it weeks
I'm too depressed to continue but you get the picture. So where does
fit in with the five year plan? It doesn't. It's all gone to hell because
the club mishandled the one truly world class player Leeds had.
Paul Robinson and Alan Smith were in England Under-21 action
last night as they beat Switzerland 2-1 in their first European Championship
game. Ê Alan Smith, playing on the left side of midfield, was voted man of
the match by Channel 5 viewers. Clearly Channel 5 viewers have high IQs! Perhaps
higher than Sven and Tord! Paul Robinson again showed why he is so important
to the future of Leeds as he made a series of impressive saves throughout the
game, including a stunning double save late on, firstly from Ricardo Cabanas
and then from Elvir Melunovic.
Shame Smithy didn't get a goal as a reward for a fine display. Paul's display
must worry Leeds fans - in that how much longer can we expect him to play second
fiddle to Nigel? DOL's policy of never using substitutes unless a Leeds player
actually expires on the pitch means PR's first appearance of the season was
in Gary Kelly's testamonial. Surely Paul deserved a run-out at the end of the
season? It's not as if there was a risk of a bad performance from the lad.
Anyway, on the whole a very positive night for Leeds and England fans. DOL
OK I know it's quiet on the football front now the season has ended but some "professional" writers on the Internet have been gazing into their crystal balls and seeing only their own drunken reflection! But it hasn't stopped them writing stories...
The most believable nonsense is that Keegan and Man City have moved for Keane. Where that falls down is that Man City with their well known financial problems are unlikely to have £12m to spend on a striker. And as Risdale wants to sell four players to raise cash he is not going to start by discounting a player who may become a hot property if he puts on a good display at the World Cup!
If that's the best story then the rest must be appalling rubbish and yes you'd be correct. Liverpool websites are saying that their club is staying in contact with Kewell's agent. This is despite what Kewell himself has said about staying with Leeds and that when he leaves he wants to play in Italy or Spain. Sorry you Reds but the Mersey wasn't in Catalunya the last time I looked. Also with £70-£132m (depending on source) to find for a new Anfield, 300 yards from the old one, are they going to have £20-25m for Kewell? I think not and Risdale would have to be bonkers to accept less. Any number of overseas teams will pay that inflated figure for him.
Lee still hasn't signed so the "journos" have begun the usual stories that are complete nonsense that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all have been "alerted" by this failure to sign yet. They ignore the fact that most of these clubs publically stated that they would not sign Lee becos fo the fallout over the court case. The story continues to run in the media becos Peter Risdale foolishly opened his mouth in public to say he would be sold if he didn't sign. We all knew that but saying it has fuelled the story. Now he's gone and said it about Kewell - same result and more unsettling stories for Leeds fans and the player himself. Peter - be quiet, you're not helping!
The drivel continues on the Internet with a couple of sites even saying Keegan is after signing Fowler. Oh, for God's sake, it's this sort of nonsense that annoys the punters, the clubs, the managers and the players themselves. DOL would resign rather than let his one success story of last season leave the club. And which sparkling football club is courting our England international striker? Man City of course! Presumably getting the transfer money from the end of the same rainbow they are using to fund the Keane transfer!
Enough of that nonsense. Of course poor old Duberry is being paraded around and sold off to all and sundry like some old tart who cannot drum up business on a street corner anymore. Once again why should Leeds sell him for £2 million as is often quoted? That isn't going to help the £14 million we lost in the last six months. Clearly Leeds will want £4-5 million like we paid for him. Once you insert that little fact into the "exclusives", or stories being "leaked" to websites that should know better, the story crumbles. The oft quoted suitors for Duberry cannot afford that sort of money - so out goes Everton, Bolton and Blackburn Rovers. Who's left? No one. So is Dubberry on the verge of being sold? No. Why not? There is no one who can aafford him. Another Interent non-story again.
Let's hope next week is better. The shame is tomorrow we'll buy Sunday Papers with all this nonsense splashed accross their back pages by lazy journalists who won't get off their backsides but just trawl the Net for any old crap.
"O'Leary to manage Ireland in World Cup. McCarthy Sack Shock!" anyone?
Next season's 2002/2003 fixtures will be made public on 13th June.