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20 Crewe 41 -18 44

21 Northampton 39 -1 42
22 Brighton 39 -20 36
23 Hereford 39 -29 33
24 Cheltenham 40 -37 31


June 2002 Archive

Sunday 30th June 2002
I had a day or two off to recover from the shock of DOL's departure but our Leeds Utd forum has been particularly busy as you might have expected. They're a friendly bunch so if you want to join in just click the link.
Today is an important day. There is the slight matter of the World Cup final in Yokohama. To be honest after such an interesting World Cup I am surprised to find myself disinterested in the final. I will watch it but the events at Elland Road have overshadowed the last three days and the knowledge that the future of my club is being decided in some London Boardroom fills me with excitment and dread in equal measure.
Since Thursday some things have emerged which are worthy of comment. I heard today that Ridsdale was ordered to fire O'Leary by the money-men backing the club, because he "was not a team player". DOL has never appeared to be a team player so why this should give rise to his demise now still begs a question or two. Not least of which is, is the Chairman Peter Ridsdale running the club or not? Is he just a front man now for institutional investors? Many fans will think that a boring subject but the answer will have profound effects on the club. Ridsdale is a Leeds fan, the money-men, who knows? A satisfactory return on their investment does not necessarily mean silverware in the club trophy room, more like silver in their pockets! Though I am told the Directors are all Leeds fans so perhaps I'm worring unduly.
Today the Board of Leeds United plc will be meeting to discuss a six man candidate list for the vacancy. That number suggests O'Leary was incorrect when he said he thought the club had already appointed his successor. Apparently they did have four in mind and two more people have quickly applied for the job. They are of sufficient stature to warrant considering by the Board. That is a good sign, that someone wants the job. Four years ago I got the feeling that if Martin O'Neill didn't take the job we had no one interested, it was an all or nothing situation. Today we have a choice. That doesn't mean we'll make the right one though! So who are the four/six?
I think the Board's list will include Martin O'Neill, Guus Hiddink, Alan Curbishley and possibly Graeme Souness, Steve McLaren or Mick McCarthy.
Who applied for the job? Peter Taylor could well be one, his confidence restored after the Leicester debacle, by promotion at Brighton. Who else? Terry Venables - I mentioned him on the day DOL was sacked because he seemed to be overlooked by the bookies. I was not convinced he was interested but Peter Ridsdale has confirmed he is on the list. Speaking to the News of the World, Ridsdale said,
"I have always been an admirer of Terry Venables as a coach and he is on my list."
PR would not have announced that if the Board had yet to make an approach to him to see if he was interested, so I think we can presume "El Tel" put himself forward. I didn't think his recent managerial forays showed a serious attitude to full-time management but maybe he enjoyed his Middlesbrough stint more than we thought. At his age maybe Venables is looking for one last hurrah in English club management before he retires. It would be understandable as the ex-England manager has never enjoyed League success here to match his achievements managing in Europe. Maybe he feels he still has something to prove in League management. There is no doubt Terry could do the job but I'm worried if he'll stick with the job long term. He doesn't need the money so when the going gets tough he may well jack it all in. 18 months from now we could be going through all this again. So, although a good candidate I think there are many questions about him which mean he is far from the favourite.
I wouldn't be adverse to a foreign manager this time. It's worked for Liverpool and Arsenal and there is no reason to suspect that it couldn't work at Elland Road. The only foreign manager mentioned so far is the current South Korean manager, ex-manager of PSV, Guus Hiddink. The Dutchman has enjoyed European success with PSV and we need an experienced manager this time who can get the PLC it's European paydays. But it is thought he'll go back to PSV but I have seen reports where he says he does not know what he will do after the World Cup. So I think after South Korea's success at the WC he must remain firmly in with a chance if he is interested. He should be on the shortlist.
Alan Curbishley - I was a bit dismissive of Alan when he was first mentioned. But the odds on him taking over have shortened. Alan runs a tight ship at Charlton on a limited budget. Charlton pushed us hard in both games last season. He speaks to the press in a well mannered, measured way which will no doubt go some way to impressing the Board. He hasn't written a book as far as I know! There is nothing special about the way Charlton play but who knows what the man is capable of with a squad worth £197m. I'm not sure Danny Mills will welcome his old manager to Elland Road, I don't think they parted on good terms. Curbishly has experience and has proved himself capable in both the Premiership and the First Division. But against him is the fact he has no European experience. Plus Charlton, quite understandably have issued hands off warning to Leeds. There is no chance they will voluntarily allow Leeds to talk to their manager. It a Leicester/O'Neill situation all over again.
Mick McCarthy - out of the picture I reckon. His agent has reported no contact with Leeds and Mick has just signed a new 2 year contract with the Irish FA.
Who else was on the Board's list? Maybe and internal candididate such as Brian Kidd or even Eddie Gray, but I don't think the Board will go for continuity on this occasion. Both are good assistant but neither have the experience of being a successful manager in their own right. Though I would not want to see Eddie Gray leave the club..
Steve McLaren has also been mentioned but Middlesborough have made confident noises about keeping him. Souness is being suggested by some sources, won the Worthington Cup with limited resources and built a team full of some exciting players. But he seems settled at Blackburn and would he enjoy the pressures of Elland Road after his medical history? Moreover, like Venables he has a history of moving from club to club every couple of years, I don't think he'd offer longevity or stability. Just to liven up the forum postings - what are the odds on David Batty retiring and taking over the reins? I've been saving the best to last. The fans' favourite is undoubtedly Martin O'Neill. Surprisngly there seems to be no resentment from Leeds fans that MON turned us down four years ago. On the surface the chances of signing the fans favourite seemed to be zero a couple of days ago. Since then Celtic have issued a statement saying they expect Martin to see out his remaining year on his contract. Celtic player Petrov has said publically that MON should not join an "inferior" Leeds. MON has taken a financial stake in Celtic too, worth approx £2m. MON is well known to be a Celtic fan and as such is currently fulfilling his childhood dream! So why have I the feeling this is not a closed case?
Well MON refused to be drawn on the issue on BBC where he is working as a WC pundit. He covered it with a joke:
"The amazing news is that Celtic put my name forward for the job,"
was all O'Neill would say, when being ribbed by Ian Wright and Alan Hansen. When connected to previous jobs MON has gone public denying he is interested. He even issued legal proceedings against one newspaper that claimed his representatives had met with another club! Law graduate O'Neill doesn't mess around with the press. And yet so far there has been silence from MON. He could be waiting for a disclosure of official Leeds interest before turning it down. MON would not want to be seen to be jumping the gun denying interest in the job and then face an announcement from Leeds that they were never going to offer it to him in the first place! But MON could have avoided that at any time over the last three days by saying,
"I am happy at Celtic and do not want to leave for another club."
That would be easy to say and unequivocal wouldn't it? But he hasn't said that. Here's what he said at Heathrow before flying to Japan,
"I have one year left on my contract with Celtic. Other than that, there is nothing to say."
So what may make MON think twice about his dream job with the Hoops? Well, he's achieved a treble and retained the Championship, apart from Champions League what else is there for him to prove in Scotland. We know it's a two horse race and he's destroyed Rangers in the League for 2 years. What else can he prove? But more worryingly for a relatively young manager, where does Celtic (and his) future lie? The other teams in the Scottish Premier League have all resigned! 2 years from now the Old Firm may have to play each other 36 times a year! Or more realistically, other even smaller Scottish clubs like Alloa, Berwick and Brechin will be served up for the Old Firm to hammer on a weekly basis. Where's the challenge for a thinker like MON? What is the future for Celtic?
MON left Norwich after a row over transfer funds with the Chairman. Given the publicised position of Ridsdale and the Board regarding selling four players this summer will that not put off O'Neill? No. Ridsdale has said that money is available for the new manager! (Must have hidden some under the bed from O'Leary?) Celtic have so far spent £1m this close season on David Fernandez from Livingston, and O'Neill is known to be frustrated by the lack of transfer funds at Celtic.
Martin O'Neill played and managed in English football. That is his life and Celtic will be a brief and happy sojourn for him but it can never be as fulfilling as coming back to England to manage a club with the power to challenge Arsenal and Wenger, Man United and Ferguson, and Liverpool and Houllier. Celtic are a bigger club than Leeds in terms of Stadium and therefore fan base but unfortunately for the Hoops it all comes down to TV money. We have it and Celtic don't and ultimately that is their undoing. Even if MON doesn't come to Leeds his days at Celtic are numbered. But I think MON remains the favourite, despite his shareholding in Celtic. Leeds will buy that out and offer him a five year contract worth over £10m. Celtic will try to get him to sign a three extension worth £9m according to reports, but with the uncertainty over the future of the Scottish League I cannot see MON wanting to tie himself to such a contract without a let-out clause for him to take another job.
Martin O'Neill is the toughest candidate to get, but isn't that because he's also the best?
Is Martin O'Neill "The Man?" or will PR surprise and disappoint us all with El Tel? Who do YOU think? Will Ridsdale bring in El Tel for one year until Martin O'Neill can join us next season? Finally, reports are surfacing that Lazio are interested in David O'Leary! Of course David led Leeds to a memorable victory over Sven Goran Erickson's Lazio in Rome. Ironically. DOL could have a job before Leeds find a successor for the Irishman.

Thursday 27th June 2002

Who will succeed David O'Leary?

While we fans try to digest the shock news of O'Leary's departure, hopefully the Board of Leeds United plc have firm ideas to whom they are going to approach and offer the job. Notice there has been no comment from the Board along the lines of "we'll advertise the job and see who applies". It suggests they are positive in the sense they have candidates they are going to approach rather than wait to be approached. David O'Leary has suggested that he thinks the Board already have his successor in mind. Judas Graham has said exactly the same thing today. But who is it? If the Board think they have the successor then the man must be out of contract. Why? If he was in a job the Board would have had to ask his current club for permission to speak to him (a la O'Neill/Leicester fiasco of 4 years ago - was it really that long ago?). Such an approach would have leaked out before now. So presuming he is out of work or his contract is expiring very soon who could it be?
Peter Taylor is out of work. Don't laugh or you may regret it!
Guuss Hiddink's contract has finished after a very succesful World Cup with South Korea. He has had European success with PSV. He has to be a prime candidate - although he was strongly linked with PSV again. But he may relish the fresh challange of the Premiership with a club that has the resources to challange for the title. There aren't many of those clubs in the Premiership and they all have settled managers except Leeds. He is my favourite given that O'Neill is in situ at Celtic and unlikely to move.
Much is being made of Mick McCarthy following successful World Cup. His strong handling of Roy Keane will appeal to a Board fed up of the off the field antics of Bowyer, Woodgate etc. He knows several of the players well from the Irish squad, and he seems to be able to get the best out of Robbie Keane. Mick is a Yorkshireman and Leeds will appeal to him and his family. But as a loyal guy he has just signed a 2 year contract with the FAI and so probably is out of the picture. He was the early bookies' favourite and apparently DOL said he thought it was McCarthy who was already set-up to move into the job.
Many Leeds fans have a soft spot for Eddie Gray and his odds have shortened from 20-1 to 12-1. He is loyal and Leeds through and through. Older Leeds fans remember the young side Eddie built in the 80's that was broken up by an impatient Board and Eddie sacked. Most don't think he had a fair crack of the whip - is it time for Eddie to get a second bite?
Brian Kidd is of course available, has great releationship with the current squad. Trouble is his appointment would be seen by the fans in the same mold as the Americans would see the appointment of Osama bin Laden as Head of the CIA! Plus he failed at Blackburn. Peter Taylor's failure at Leicester almost certainly excludes him also from the race.
Bryan Robson has been mentioned. It is easy to forget that he got Middlesborough to Wembly twice. But I don't think his last season with Venables has done him any favours and his football wasn't particularly attractive. The Board know they must have attractive football if they want to fill the new 50000 seater stadium. South Korea's attractive attacking football would keep Elland Road full and win friends around the country?
What about Terry Venables? His pedigree is there for European football at the highest level. His recent appointments suggest he isn't taking management very seriously at the moment but maybe Leeds would be the challenge he needs to get serious again? He commands respect as a coach and has no history for or against Leeds United. His reputaion would attract top players to Elland Road and prevent the departure of others. His media contracts have hampered attempts by other clubs to sign him, and given O'Leary's prediliction for the media I suspect the Board will not want our new manager to be a Media star!
Most of the other contenders are in jobs and the confidence of DOL that his successor is already in place means they should be excluded. Who are they? Strachan (crowd favourite, spends a lot of money, managed to relegate Coventry!), Troussier (er...hmmm), Paul Hart (great with young kids, many Leeds stars are from his era in charge under Wilko, they would welcome him back; lacks big time experience), Martin O'Neill (please God, this time!), George Burley (seriously!), Curbishley (his talent for relative success on a budget and experience may well prove irresistable to a Board looking to cut costs). Oh and Cantona is 100-1 (NOOOOOOO!) Who do you think will succeed O'Leary? Tell us now! Thursday 27th June 2002
David O'Leary Leaves Leeds!
The man has gone, "by mutual consent" according to first reports. Read into that what you will. I cannot be a hypocrite and say I'm sorry to see him go as I have disagreed with much that he has done over the last season. But I am greatly concerned as to why he should go now. Have Leeds agreed to sell Rio? Will Peter Ridsdale go too? What of Brian Kidd and the backroom staff? What about all the players who signed contract extensions, some as recently as last week? Will they stay or will they go. Will there be wholesale changes to the squad? Who will be the next manager? have we got someone lined up? Where is DOl to go? Do you think he has an alternative position already set-up? Will we go for Martin O'Neill? It has to be said that today is not a good time to be a Leeds fan..
Rio Ferdinand is reported as "shocked" and "disappointed" at the sacking. Jack Charlton is reported to be "very unhappy" Is O'Leary leaving a good or bad thing? Will his time at Leeds have a lasting positive effect or has he just cost up loadsamoney for no silverware? To leave message click here. **UPDATE** It seems Leeds Utd have sacked him for what he said in Sky interview about the Leeds Board not selling Rio Ferdinand and the other star players. Ironic, DOL is sacked for the one thing he's done or said recently that all the fans would support! If it is true he was sacked for that then Peter Ridsdale and the Board are very wrong. They should have disciplined him for things written and said earlier. But they ignored all those things and now do this! Incredible.. **UPDATE** 1355hrs Sky News Reporter, Bryn Law says Leeds Board have just contacted him to make it clear that O'Leary was sacked and the reason was the playing record and lack of success on the pitch. Wed, 26th June 2002
I've just read a lengthy piece about Leeds United on the Guardian Unlimited website. Overall I think it is a fair and interesting piece of prose and well worth a read. Some may find the article slightly too "PC". others may think that the article written by a fellow Leeds fan who happens to be Black quite thought provoking. Either way it is interesting to read something new and informative about the club that doesn't revolve around the court case or transfers of players. So give yourelf a break, open up your mind and enjoy a quiet five-minute read by clicking here. It's almost as good as my stuff :-)
Wed, 26th June 2002
Most Leeds fans will be delighted to see Turkey beaten by Brasil in the World Cup semi-finals today.. Now their team and their bastard fans can f*** off back to the cesspit on the Bosphorus. If you have to ask why the venom against Turkey then you ain't no Leeds fan. Despite the lack of concrete actions on the domestic transfer front some interesting things have been happening. The response from the public and pro-Leeds media such as websites like this and www.teamtalk.net (good editorial from Bomber) have led to David O'Leary publically asking the money men behind Leeds United plc not to sell Rio, and specifically not to sell him to Man Utd. This goes a long way to dispelling the impression created by his Sunday People column that he was a Man Utd infilitrator working to create a Rio-Man Utd move! Hopefully the Board will listen to him, Rio will take great comfort from the words (DOL said "I love him" - presumably platonically!), and just as importantly, the rest of the squad will shelve plans to jump ship if they feel their Captain is staying the five year course with The Whites. It is important to the club, the fans and the players that some stability is created and that people inside the club stop rocking the boat. This is a start, well done David, now please keep quiet until you announce we have signed Ronaldo!!

Wed, 26th June 2002
The press are still pumping out the rumours. The silly talk of £7m bids from Sunderland for the in-form Robbie Keane has been replaced by the more serious suggestion that Middlesborough are prepared to meet the "valuation" of £12m. Boro certainly could do with a striker who can score, but who says Keane is "for sale". DOL has said he doesn't want to sell his stars - surely that must include Robbie? And £12m, the price we paid for him? Surely the only player to score against Oliver Kahn in the World Cup is worth a bit more than we paid for him? Fowler cost £11m and did not play a full game let alone score. So what price Robbie? I've made it clear before the we need five strikers for next season, so if Keane is to be prised away from us it should cost a damn sight more than £12m. It should be possible to get the £15m the Board require from the sale of Keane alone. But as Bowyer is valued at £15m surely there is no need to sell Keane, or Dacourt for that matter?

Wed, 26th June 2002

Talking of crazy rumours, some people who should know better are saying that Jaap Stam has 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 Lucas 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 enough cover 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, after 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 question mark hanging over him. Finally, he's just too damn ugly to play for us..

Monday 24th June 2002

Sky TV have announced their televised games for the pre-Xmas period. The Whites appear four times; predictably the home clashes against Arsenal and Man Utd, plus the away matches against Spurs and Bolton. We missed out on an earlier screening of the lads away match at The Hawthorns in August when WBA refused to move the game to Monday evening. A disappointment but they have a difficult start to their first Premiership season so I can't say I blame them. Hmmm, the management putting their club before money! Whatever next! Sky TV and the EUFA ties have caused some changes to the fixtures list - click here to see the updated list. Please be aware that more changes will occur when the Sky TV Premiership Plus matches are announced; also if we get past the first EUFA round then subsequent Saturday matches will be moved to the following Sunday.

Sunday 23rd June 2002

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.
Danny Mills 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 experience 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 had 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 linked today 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 selling 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. (That comment 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 first (Mills, Rio, Bowyer, Dacourt etc) in case they don't need to sell him. I am convinced 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 with 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 Utd!!! 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 its dread 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?
Celtic 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).
Eirik Bakke, like Matteo has signed a new contract. At the moment little signs of commitment to the club like this are very much appreciated.
Jason Wilcox 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 at Leeds?

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 sore?


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