been lined up as Rio's replacement! Stam is unsurprisingly saying he's staying
at Lazio and is not interested in playing for Leeds. I don't think Leeds
are actively seeking a replacement for Rio; because even if he goes we have
Radebe back for next season. With Matteo, Woodgate, Mills and Duberry also
available for just 2 central berths, barring a bad run of injuries we have
to get by in the short to medium term. Also, if Rio is sold we need to reduce
the squad size anyway. There is no room for six central defenders in a 22
man squad, so he is unlikely to be "replaced". So I think we can safely ignore
any rumours connecting Leeds with any central defenders. I also doubt that,
the bad publicity certain members of the Leeds squad have brought to the
club recently, Peter Ridsdale would consider signing a player with a drugs
mark hanging over him. Finally, he's just too damn ugly to play for us..
The World Cup is over for us and you'll have read thousands of words already, so I won't add anymore to them. For me anyway, Leeds United have always been more important than the success of the national team. While I wait for the World Cup semi-finals to continue to fill the void between Premiership seasons I thought I'd turn to the current rumours surrounding the Leeds squad.
I think it's good news that Matteo
has signed a two year contract extension, he has proved as much a success since his move from Liverpool as Seth Johnson has proved a disappointment. Harte
's performances in the WC and at the end of last season mean we need cover for the left back slot.
Other than that news, it seems to be nothing but ill winds blowing across Elland Road. All Leeds fans are still waiting to see which four squad members are going to go but so far Ridsdale and O'Leary have not put anyone up for sale. I cannot believe they are stupid enough to let other managers decide who is going by sitting back and waiting to see for whom they receive bids!
There is already uncertainty hanging over the squad and new stories are literally breaking every day. So who are the four? Will there be more? Will it become like wildfire and will we see 8-9 departures? It could happen.
expressed his concern over O'Leary's man-management prior
to the World Cup. He was clearly upset over DOL's words in his damned Sunday
People column. Now, after several very competent performances against top-class
opposition on a world stage he has a much higher profile than he did when
we signed him for £4m from Charllton. Many think he will be first choice
England right-back ahead of Gary Neville. Yesterday, it was said Arsenal
are preparing a £7m bid for Mills
. This could be wishful thinking. £7m
is a derisory amount for the current England right-back, with Champions League
and so you
have to doubt the autenticity of the story. But if another club thinks Mills
is unhappy why overbid? They will know that PR and DOL went public (how unusual!)
about LU not being prepared to keep any player who is unhappy. I guess that
statement was made before either one understood the full capacity for the
other to piss
off key players with stupid public utterances!
Which, of course, brings us to Lee Bowyer
, who's said he wants to leave solely because of Peter Ridsdale. He doesn't think the Leeds board want him based on the public pontifications of Ridsdale. I agree with him, and so do most Leeds fans. So Lee's just a memory. Trouble is no one wants to sign him yet. He's definitely one to count as leaving but we may have him at the start of next season. The worst of all worlds. A lame duck player who wants away and no cash from the sale to buy a replacement! Not good.
The Republic of Ireland team provides two, possibily three candidates for transfer. Ian Harte
didn't have a good season or World Cup and Leeds have reportedly received bids for him already. His uncle Gary Kelly
a better World Cup and teams like Sundrland and Bolton are said to be interested.
Bolton's Sam Alladyce has stated publically that our valuation of Kelly at £4m is too steep. Kelly cost us nothing and gave us ten good years. We should sell him for, say, £2m
to enable him to choose the team of his choice. I think the club owes a good
servant that much?
And what of Robbie Keane
? Seen by many as surplus to requirements
because of the return of Bridges and the fact we have five strikers, he is
with Sunderland for £7million. Again the size of the fee is ridiculous. But what was said about the public utterances of DOL and PR re Danny Mills also applies here. Everyone thinks there are bargains to be had at Elland Road. Leeds have never been clever in the transfer market. We have always been a "selling club" but
despite that we have never pulled in the big money for sales. Look at the
prices we received for Cantona, and the rest of the Championship team. Plus
a star of the World Cup will not look good in the eyes of players around
Europe, many of whom we are supposedly trying to attract to Elland Road.
applies to the rumours of Rio's departure too). So will Keane go? I think
the club doesn't know yet. I think they are waiting to see who else goes
(Mills, Rio, Bowyer, Dacourt etc) in case they don't need to sell him. I
we need five strikers and I think DOL has persuaded PR of that idea too,
providing the club debt is cut in other ways.
To comment on these transfer rumours click here
So far we have four or five departures but sadly more are rumoured. Plus there is a simple case of mathematics that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else. PR said we need to shed 4 peripheral squad members, as 26 is too many. All the newspapers have been banging on about these FOUR players. But the sad truth is that it isn't just four that are going but more like six or seven. Why? Because O'Leary has also made it public that he wants to sign two or three players! That makes a squad of 28-29 which must be cut to 22. Hence six or seven players must be cut! This will be an unpleasant long drawn out process as O'Leary seems to drag his feet before signing players. So I can see 3-4 players being sold, several purchased and then 2-3 more being sold. Now if you think that theory is bad news, there is a worse scenario. The above figures were based on the fact that Leeds could sell four players it wanted to sell to reduce the squad size. They would not be replaced. But what if Leeds have to sell players it didn't want to sell or plan on selling? Like Bowyer, Mills, Keane and Ferdinand? Yep, it's a whole new ball game! We would have to sign replacements and sign the extra players that O'Leary wanted. Then we need to get rid of the surplus to leave 22 squad members. That could mean as many TEN current squad members being sold and six or seven being signed!
DOL and PR have never shown any alacrity when it comes to transfer dealings so I pale at the thought of them trying to complete seventeen transfers in two months!
Back to the players - who else is going? The biggest name has to be Rio
. He's had a great World Cup, with Ronaldo
saying he was contained by Rio in the England Brasil game! Earlier this week Leeds fans breathed a big sigh of relief when it was revealed that Rio's contract contains a clause preventing his transfer to another Premiership team. Jubilation for Leeds, misery for the Scum Now we just have the high rolling Spanish or Italian clubs to worry about, or so we thought. But today in his Sunday People column David O'Leary has put a knife in the heart of every Leeds fan
his comments. It's bad enough when the manager says that your best player
and one of the World's best can leave the club if he wants to but to Man
Oh DOL was good enough to stipulate that the price would have to be over £30m.
Is it me or are there certain aspects of this Rio situation that are very
wrong? Lets see:
- Once again our manager is conducting relationships with players in public BEFORE speaking to the player
- O'Leary says
the price must be over £30million. That is cheap for a World Class player
by todays value. We'll get more than that from Europe. As a shareholder
in LU I don't
want the manager valuing players, that's why the PLC has Directors who
are accountable for their stewardship of the Company's assets to the shareholders
- Why this assumption
that it will be Man Utd who'll bid £30m? What does O'Leary know that we
do not? Was the joint statement from the clubs before the World Cup just
a lie? A sham? If so, someone must resign over it. It is unacceptable to
lie to the fans. But a joint lie to the City, by two PLC's - that's probably
bordering on illegal behaviour.
- As manager of Leeds Utd, David O'Leary must start to show some respect for the club and its history. In particular the young(-ish) Irish manager must learn that one does not endear oneself to the Leeds fans by lauding Man Utd and telling our players that a move to Man Utd is a step up career-wise. O'Leary seems to forget he is a manger not a player these days. He must remember which side of the fence he is on. Rio's career prospects are nothing to do with O'Leary outside of Elland Road.
- Selling to
the Scum - Surely O'Leary and Risdle can remember the Cantona sale and
repercussions for Leeds fans. Moreover, Ridsdale must remeber when his
predessors pissed away the Revie inheritence in 1977 when they sold Joe
Jordan and Gordon McQueen to Man Utd. The transfer fees (approx £350,00
each) seemed good financial business to the greedy Leeds Directors but
removed the heart of the team and let England know that we were a selling
team once again and that the Great Don was well and truly gone.
- I'm outraged that O'Leary has said that he wont stand in his way if he wants to leave for Man Utd! Leeds will never compete with Man Utd if we don't defend our best players from the depredations of the Scum and Ferguson. "HANDS
OFF", is the message a manager sends to his biggest rival who is chasing his best plarer, not, "Oh,
that's a good move, I cannot stand in your way!". Idiot. That's what a contract is for, to prevent this happening. O'Leary has no right to say it is a beneficial career move to go to Man Utd and that he won't stand in his way. Ridsdale should discipline him for saying it. How many potential Leeds transfer targets will see Leeds as a mere stepping stone to Old Trafford, Highbury or Anfield?
To comment on O'Leary's behaviour click here
Surely that's it for transfers I can hear you say. Well maybe not. Kewell seems unhappy recently. The World Cup has deflected attentions of the Press away from those players who are not performing there. But that doesn't mean the Italians have forgotten Viduka or Dacourt. Though I think it is clear from statements made that Dacourt
is the most likely to be sold, even though he seems like he doesn't want to go. Viduka
, who knows?
seem to be interested in Michael Duberry
, who again seems happy to stay. If Rio takes up O'Leary's invitation to Old Trafford we could see his Leeds career revamped, teaming up with a rejuvenated Lucas Radebe
. If Rio stays then I think Duberry is a cert for leaving on the Tartan Express. Celtic are one of the clubs mentioned in releation to Ian Harte
too. Celtic are an attractive destination as they are in the Champions League again (and for several seasons to come it would seem).
, like Matteo
has signed a new contract. At the moment little signs of commitment to the club like this are very much appreciated.
is a favourite for a move this summer. For all the use O'Leary makes of him he may as well go. Kewell
would actually have to play atrociously before DOL would give Wilcox a few starts ahead of him.
A fourth Irishman could also be on the move. Stephen McPhail
, a midfielder highly regarded by everyone except DOL it seems, will be sold off this summer. Doubtless for a bargain price. Equally as doubtless, he will be a star for the Irish Republic team in Euro 2004. Sad.
Thursday 13th June 2002
Our Premiership fixtures for 2002-2003 have been released. Click on the link for full details. We have a relatively easy start against promoted opposition in games 1 and 2. September sees games against Newcastle, Man U and Arsenal! The latter 2 games are at Elland Road so there's a chance to get some points off the major opposition early on. The Xmas holiday games are not too inspring with games against Southampton, Brum and Sunderland. The highlight is the 28 Dec game against Chelsea - not much Xmas spirit there! So click the link to see the fixtures and start planning now!
Wed, 12th June 2002
Well, what a World Cup this is turning out to be! It is nice to have a few Leeds players involved this time too. Plus there's been a ton of transfer speculation over the last two weeks. Lets take a round-up of the news Leeds-wise (say in best New York accent).
Argentina - no Leeds involvement, just like to say "Sod off you arrogant
Argy bastards, we won't miss you or cry for you!" Looks like the Hand of God was sticking up two fingers this time :)
France - big surprise, but they were too complacent. To go out of the WC without scoring a goal when your side includes the season's top scorers in the Premiership, Bundesliga and Serie A is hardly believable! From a Leeds perspective lets hope the national humiliation affects the psyche of players like Bartez, Theirry, Petit and Desailley next season in the Premiership.
England - it's great that they've qualified and beaten Argentina. I was actually cheering Beckham during the game. The guy is becoming far too likable for a Man Utd player. Leeds fans won't know where they're at soon :)
What about the Leeds players?
Fowler - big disappointment not to see him so far. I thought he might have had a game against Nigeria, especially as he has a good record for scoring as an England sub. Is he still suffering from the hip injury?
Millsy - I think he's played very well so far. He's definitely kept his temper in check, which makes me wonder why the hell he had so much difficulty doing so last season in a Leeds shirt? I think the media went over the top in blaming him solely for the Swedish goal in the first game. Cole made a much worse blunder later in the game and unlike Mills didn't manage to correct it, pure luck prevented him receiving the negative comments of the hacks. (Oh, and being an Arsenal rather than a Leeds player). The Swedish goal went very close to Seaman and Rio was standing far too far away from the scorer, a trait that was evident in his play in European game last season.
But having said that Rio has had a magnificent World Cup. The pundits
are running out of superlatives to describe him and he has saved England more
than once. The only thing to distract from the pleasure of hearing these plaudits
is the nagging doubt as to whether or not he will be a Leeds player in the 2002-2003
season! The Man Utd £25-30 million rumour has been replaced by a Milan £40 million
rumour today! Full marks to Rio for declaring that he is happy and commited to
Leeds, minus several million marks to Peter Ridsdale who insists on saying
all bids will go before the Board. Even DOL said on TV that the PLC would decide
Rio's future if a big bid came in for him. DOL said that as manager he did not
want to sell his best players. Interesting that Peter Ridsdale, perceived by
the general public as a "nice guy" in football politics is rapidly becoming the
bete noir for Leeds Utd fans.
Martyn - it's sad that he's had no game so far. I think he deserved a game in the WC and I don't think Seaman's game has been faultless. Though I hasten to add that the ex-Leeds goalie hasn't played badly enough to deserve being removed. Seaman played well in the Argentina game, so I forgive him keeping Nigel out.
Ireland have been having a great World Cup too, and Leeds players have
played their part. But before that I'd like to say "Well done", to fellow Yorkshireman Mick McCarthy. Mick has always had a low media profile and probably hasn't received the respect he deserves for the excellent job he did in qualifying from a tough group to get to the WC in the first place. Judas Floyd Moneybanks and the Dutch will testify to that! He also gained the admiration of every Leeds fan for sending home Man
Utd Captain Roy "Nasty O'Nasty" Keane after he thought he should run the team! He also deserves praise for sticking to his guns while every Irishman under the sun, including their Prime Minister, tried to get Roy Keane back to Japan. But Roy Keane has an ego so big that even the PM couldn't get him back. Good job he stayed home. The Oirish have been painting Japan green since the Germany result with Leeds' very own Robbie Keane scoring the 93rd minute, well deserved equaliser.
Robbie Keane A good WC so far. Scoring goals gets you remembered! But
I can't help but think he'll be one of the Leeds palyers sacrificed by the PLC
in the summer. All this goal scoring will be enhancing his value no end! There
was talk of a £10m bid from Man City for him a few weeks ago. I think his stock
has risen a bit since then!
Gary Kelly Again I think Gary has done his future prospects some good with his showing at the World Cup. To be fair to him the guy had very little chance to show what he could do at Leeds last season. I fear he is another summer casualty. Bolton and Sunderland are said to be competing at around the 3-3.5 million mark for his services.
Ian Harte After the success of the 200-2001 season, Ian had a poor one
for Leeds. This WC has seen him subbed twice in games where frankly he didn't
look sharp or that involved. Rumours persist of moves to Italy and even Celtic.
Ian won't have endeared himself to Leeds fans when he spoke of the Celtic prospect
as a "dream move". He covered himslf by saying he would like to play for The
Bhoys at some stage in his career. Doesn't anyone want to play out their career
Today was one of mixed feelings for Lucas Radebe. The former Leeds Captain and current Captain of Bafana Bafana scored in the 2-3 defeat to Spain in the last group match. Raul scored the third Spanish goal by outjumping Lucas. Lucas was then substituted after sustaining a head injury. But despite his efforts South Africa went out of the 2002 WC because ten man Paraguay managed to beat Slovenia 3-1 and so went through ahead of SA on goals scored. Until five minutes from time it seemed that Lucas would lead Bafana Bafana into the knock-out stages. So ends the WC career of Lucas Radebe but it looks like he has fully recovered from the long term injury that deprived us of him last season. It'll be interesting to see what sort of partnersip he forms with Rio. If Woodgate manages to avoid chopping his own leg off or getting arrested for international gun running it will make for an interesting competition for the two centre-back slots next season. Though personally, I'd play 3-5-2 using three centre-halves and sell Kelly and Harte as we won't need full backs! (Mills - he can play centre-half as can Matteo, - we need subs!).
What formation should we play next season? If we stick with 4-4-2 who are your first choice centre-backs?
David O'Leary has also been active this World Cup on the BBC. I must say that whilst he has been more fun than Martin O'Neill, who is about as much fun as an undertaker, there is a definite difference between the quality of the observations of the two men. I have been a little disappointed with the depth of DOL's observations. Martin O'Neill seems to be the bigger thinker of the two and I cannot help but think that if he had come to Leeds instead of remaining at Leicester we would have had some silverware by now. Of course MON had a long managerial apprenticeship at Wycombe, Norwich and Leicester and learnt under the ruddy-faced, master self-publicist, (and good manager) Brian Clough - who you will recall was another missed opportunity by Leeds United Football Club! (What could he do in 44 days!). Whereas David O'Leary is in his first job. So there is logically bound to be a difference between the level of success one would expect between the two managers given the same level of resources. But can Leeds Utd PLC afford to continue to pay for David O'Leary's learning curve? Having listened to both men I think DOL should quit writing books and newspaper columns that simply rile his players (calm down Danny!) and focus more on learning and improving his craft. He can spend his spare time telling people what he thinks about football matters when he's proficient at this work and has won something like, say, Martin O'Neill. If he does that he'll have more intelligent things to say and will not have to fill his column inches with unsettling opinions about his star players. DOL listen to MON and shut up!
Am I being unfair to David? Would Martin O'Neill have brought on the youngsters as did David? Is MON's success at Celtic over-hyped, because they are a massive fish in a tiny pool?
Let us all know what you think about David O'Leary, now..
Despite what I have just written, I did blame DOL's book "Leeds Utd On Trial" for being a contributory factor in Lee Bowyer wanting to leave the club. Recently Lee has set the record straight saying that he had no problem with the manager (amongst others). So for that inference I apologise to DOL as I was clearly wrong. Though I still see it as a negative practice writing books about players who are still playing under you. There is very little to gain and much to lose. So what has upset Lee if it's not David O'Leary? In a word - "Ridsdale".
Frankly few Leeds fans will be surprised. Like David O'Leary, Peter Ridsdale
has developed a worrying penchant for saying everthing that is on his mind in
public. Plus after the court case most Leeds fans felt we had been through enough.
But Ridsdale made statements designed to appease critics of the club at the expense of the feelings of the players and fans. Most fans believed this to be a mistake.
The vocal critics were not even football fans and they were not silenced by his
actions or words. Why should they be? They were merely using the court case as
a cover for their hobby horse, their racist agenda. Nothing Leeds Utd or Peter
Ridsdale did, short of sacking £30 milion worth of corporate assets would have satisfied those people. The Board could never do that, the PLC shareholders would have taken them to court for failing to protect the value of the assets of the shareholders. So Ridsdale tried other actions and words which everyone but him could see would fail to appease these paid professional ethnic minority "spokesmen".
He fined Lee Bowyer double the maximum fine allowed by the agreement with the PFA and said I would not sign Lee Bowyer if I had known then what I know now. Then he is surprised when Lee says he doesn't want to play for the Board. Who can blame him? Of course, Peter Ridsdale was reported saying that Kewell would go on the transfer list if he hadn't signed a new contract by Xmas. Why did he say that in public? Only Kewell's agent neeeded to know that.
What do you think of Peter Ridsdale's performance over the last season. For
many Lee Bowyer was a major figure at Elland Road. Will the fans turn on Peter
Ridsdale next season if Bowyer is absent? Will Elland Road see chants of "Ridsdale OUT!",
unthinkable only twelve months before? DOL has said - in public, of course, that
if PR goes he'll go. Is it time the PLC Board cleared out PR and DOL before the
situation becomes impossible? Who would replace O'Leary? Should we draft in MON?
Would he sign for us? What do you think will happen next season? Will it be swept
under the carpet or will the situation become an embarrassing, public, running