August 2003 Archive
Saturday, 30th August, 2003
He appeals to us!
Roque in Appeal Worry
First, the good news: Roque has passed his medical and agreed personal terms at Elland Road, with a work permit approval being the missing piece of the jigsaw before he can begin his Leeds United career.
The initial application for the 26-year-old was turned down by the Department of Employment, as Junior has not played in the required 75% of international matches over the past year. This will probably come as an unwelcome surprise for most Leeds United fans. It is not because Roque Junior has fallen out of favour with the national team, however, after having been part of the World Cup winning Brazil team just 13 months ago, the former Palmeiras defender was injured whilst playing in last season's Champions League final for AC Milan against Juventus. In overtime, Roque Junior slipped on the Old Trafford turf and injured a groin. Although he couldn't run much, he had to stay on the field because Milan had used all its substitutions. Because of that injury, he missed all of Brazil's official FIFA 'A' games in the pointless Concacaf Gold Cup over the summer.
Nil desperandum: Leeds United remain confident that the Department of Employment, will accept the reasons behind Roque's absence from the Brazilian national team. To "aid" the cause Leeds United manager Peter Reid will attend a work permit hearing in Sheffield on Monday.
If all goes well Zoumana Camara will have as a central defensive partner a World Cup and Champions League winner! Now that's a quality player - and unbelievably he's free and The Arse, Scum, Scouse and Chelski haven't tried to hijack the deal!!
Thursday, 28th August, 2003
Prof Weaves His Financial Magic
Leeds United are to make a rights issue during October in order to raise £10 million. It will be the first of a much needed capital injection to control the debts which were around £78 million in the last acounts.
Existing shareholders will be offered the right to buy more shares. However, the rights issue will only take place if the whole issue is underwritten. This means if the existing shareholders do not buy the new shares, then the City institutions, who act as underwriters, will take up the shares and Leeds will still get the £10 million. However, underwriting is an expensive guarantee and the club could lose a large percentage of the money raised to the underwriters. Hopefully, the Prof has persuaded the Sheik Al-Khalifa to underwrite the issue aT no cost.
The new board, under Prof John Mackenzie, have been working on this rights issue in order to send a message to the fans that the fire sale of players is now over. This will be a break for all of us from the persistent rumours that still surround the future of some players such as Bridges and Robinson, who only last weekend was the subject of a rumoured bid from Spurs. As usual it turned out to be media crap but it was a worring episode for Leeds fans who have seen such rumours become fact over the past 12 months.
Thursday, 28th August, 2003
The Italian Job(s)
Paul Okon, Leeds' Australian midfielder, could be on the move before Sunday's transfer deadline.
Okon was named on the reserves' team sheet for Wednesday night's game against Sunderland at Belle Vue, Wakefield, but did not play.
He dropped out during the day and is away talking to Italian Serie B club Vicenza. A regular under Venables, Okon was dropped by Reid immediately upon taking the helm last season.
Frank Farina, the Soccerpoos deeply interfering and arrogant coach, told Okon last week that he should leave Leeds because he had to be playing first-team football to stay in the national side. Okon is not the first Leeds player to be told this by "Fart-ina". However, given that Italian Serie B football is about to go on strike, the move may not get Okon the regular football he is seeking!
On the subject of Italian football and Leeds players The Sun is today, trotting out the old story about Inter Milan wanting to pay Leeds £8,000,000 for Viduka as a replacement for Herman Crespo! The rag is still also banging on about Spurs and a move for Robinson, despite the fact that Spurs denied the story three days ago! They also claim an "exclusive" on the Roque Junior story, when Leeds first showed an interest in the player back in January! As Reid has followed up on previous manager's interest in several players it didn't take a rocket scientist to work out that he would have a look at Roque Junior! I can't believe people still buy daily newspapers for their football content!
Other news: It will come as a surprise to Leeds fans to learn that the loan deal has allowed Danny Mills to make his Middlesborough debut against Leeds this Saturday! Sounds like the lawyers need a rocket up their arse. Someone took their eye of the ball... or bald head to be precise. The whole affair took a surreal twist yesterday when Mills' agent claimed that Danny wouldn't be playing against Leeds Utd on Saturday but just Peter Reid! Presumably Mills will spend most of the afternoon in the Leeds technical area marking Reid? Methinks that Lamine is going to enjoy his afternoon on the left wing in that case!
That crucible of football journalism, the East Anglian Daily Times is claiming that Leeds and Leicester are in a chase for Ipswich Town striker Marcus Bent. They claim Reid has been, "monitoring Bent for some time." You read it here first... er... second!
Wednesday, 27th August, 2003
Shearer: "Now Woodentop's missed his fecking penalty!
CATASTROPHE FOR NEWCASTLE UNITED
Newcastle United's Toon Army was in tears last night as they crashed out of the Champions League after losing on penalties to Partizan Belgrade. Partizan had controlled the game at St James' Park and won 1-0 after 90 minutes and then extra time to take the tie to penalties.
May I just say, "HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!"
Nah! Stop it! The fun is in the detail. The Barcodes missed their first three penalties! HA! HA! HA! Ssssh! Wait for it.. Shearer missed the first one!
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
Yep, a legend in his own backyard, Alan Shearer who has claimed Premiership goal scoring records by taking every penalty in sight for the last ten years (including several dubious ones at Elland Road) bottled it.
For Leeds fans it gets better. Forget Dyer's second penalty miss (another late night Kieron?).
Who should step up for the "Toon's" (why do they glorify their inability to pronounce the Queen's English?) third penalty? None other than former Leeds Utd favourite Jonathan Woodgate. Leeds fans will remember this erstwhile Leeds player as one who ditched the club that had brought him up for the past ten years in less than 12 hours, back in January, for the possibility of a Premeirship title and Champions League football. Well, well-known pugilist and jaw-breakee Jonathan found out tonight that you get in life what you work for and jumping ship doesn't work! Woodentop stepped up to take the third penalty and tapped a soft one to the goalies' left side. No more than a back pass. Cheers Woody, HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
There's more but who cares! Newcastle and their incredibly irritating fans are out of the CL.
Regular readers may wonder why am I even more bitter than usual in my condemnation? After the 2-2 draw with the Barcodes last week I had the misfortune to read several Newcastle websites and one was particularly obnoxious about "Dirty Leeds" and went on about the "thugs" of Leeds and even went as far back as Don Revie. Apart from being factually incorrect this particularly jaundiced view of football over the last thirty years just pissed me off. "Thuggery", this from the team that plays "face-stomping" Bowyer, "common assault" Bellamy, and, of course, "it was only afffray" Woodgate. Along with all great sides in the 60s and 70s the Revie team was physical as well as skillful, however, at least the general public was safe from the team members when they walked the streets. Newcastle players have minders, not to protect them from the public but to protect the public from them!!
No Champions League has just left a gaping £15,000,000 hole in their budget for this season. Did you notice that Robson said he'd wait until Jan and qualification for the 2nd Round before he'd sign someone? He hasn't the money now and he won't have any in January! First signs of the "Leeds effect" are already showing. The Newcastle fan who phoned 606 this evening and said, "We need to sign someone before the deadline," is in for a disappointment. What are you going to use for money?
Second sign of the "Leeds Effect" or the "Robbie Keane Syndrome", players out of the Champions' League are no longer happy being squad players. They agitate to leave, leaving the squad without cover of the same quality as the incumbent player. Lua Lua has already said,"I feel as if I'm being held back at this club and I don't see myself getting a chance with the top strikers we have." You see, they have a squad for the CL but only the few games provided by the EUFA Cup!
Also, Newcastle won't look such a tempting offer for Michael Bridges if Robson tries to steal another Leeds player, this time to cover the injury to the gobby Craig Bellamy who has a recurrent knee injury despite early reports that a kindly surgeon had wired his jaw shut for the good of makind.
Good night Rat-boy, Woodentop, Sir Robby Bobson and most of all Freddy "All Geordies want to play for Newcastle" Shepherd. Sleep tight, pleasant dreams...
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
Comment on the above story or come up with a better caption for the photo above - let us know
Wednesday, 27th August, 2003
Tonight's games: Leeds Utd Reserves went down 2 - 3 at home to Sunderland Reserves. Martin Woods and James Milner brought us back from 0-3 down after 65 minutes. Aaron Lennon nearly equalised for the young reserve side. The 16-year-old picked the ball up inside his own half and then embarked on a mazy 50-yard run that saw him skip past four defenders before drawing the keeper and slipping his shot past him. Sadly the ball went inches wide of the target.
Premiership results: Man Utd contributed to Wolves' desperate start to the season by beating them 1-0 at Old Trafford. The Scum will be pleased to have made it three wins out of three games; unbelievably, that is the first time in 18 years that they have done that - Lord, help us! It wasn't all good news for Manchester United, van Nistleroy failed to score and so failed to beat John Aldridges' 15-year record of scoring in ten consecutive top-division league games. Plus Wolves who have been carpeted 4-0 and 5-1 by Charlton and Blackburn gave The Scum a run for their money; Henri Camara in particular guilty of not taking three good chances. Leeds were linked with Camara before Woles signed him; he looked a fast livewire but probably needs as many chances as Robbie Keane to score.
More bad news for Man U; Arsenal go top of the Premiership by beating David O'Leary's Villa 2-0 at Highbury. Henri takes his tally to four already for the season! Campbell scored as well, but Campbell now starts his ban for being dismissed and we will see if the Arsenal squad can survive his absence.
The Liverpool nightmare continues! Tonight Spurs got a point in a 0-0 draw at Anfield. Houllier, already under pressure from Scouse ingrates, cannot get a goal from "Dirty Harry" Kewell. The cocky Scouse fans who said Kewell would provide the goals to give them the title have found out the truth that this site has said all along - Kewell will miss more than he scores, will miss half the games through injury, and he's simply not a winner. Liverpool have gone 270 minutes without a goal from open play; the only goal from a penalty that had to be taken twice before Owen could get that right; and so England's strike force and the Aussie git can't score a goal to save Houllier's job! It should be noted that that was the first clean sheet for the Spurs defence in SIXTEEN games. Heh! Heh! Sometimes God makes it so easy to believe in Him!
The final round of Champions' League qualifiers took place tonight. Congratulations to both Celtic and Rangers who got through. The Gers did particularly well away from home, especially given their their annual habit of choking and failing to qualify at this point. Barry Ferguson, skipper of Rangers and former Leeds Utd transfer target (when we had money), probably played his last game for Rangers tonight. Everton has submitted a club record bid for him (a mere £6,000,000) and Blackburn and former Rangers' manager Graeme Scouseness... sorry, Souness is keen to spend some of the Dunn/Duff transfer money on the The Huns Thug. If either get their way Alan Smith and Jody Morris can rest easy about having the worst disciplinery record in Premiership this season!
Of course, the final proof for unbelievers that there is a God, Newcastle United's excellent home result against Partizan Belgrade. ;-)
Leeds in for AC Milan Brazilian Defender
Peter Reid has today confirmed that negotiations are advanced to bring Brazilian World Cup Winning Central defender Roque Junior to Elland Road.
The deal, as is becoming the norm, is for a one-year loan. AC Milan seem happy for the deal to be done. The player and his agent are travelling to Leeds to try and settle a deal before the transfer deadline. The only potential hiccup is the £40,000 per week wages, though all seem hopeful a compromise is possible.
Reid revealed that one of the reasons for letting Mills go to was to free up his wages, which are also £40,000 per week. In hindsight, given the cover we have at right-back and the problems we have in the centre of defence, a swop of Mills for Roque Junior just for a season makes some sense. Of course, Peter Reid is having to wheel and deal like no Leeds Utd manager before him; clearly he is having to make sacrifices to balance the squad. Even Venables spoke about the imbalance in the squad a year ago. Reid is trying to balance the squad and increase the numbers whilst spending no money. Not an easy task. But at least Peter Reid is bringing in some exciting and interesting players and hopefully the crowds will begin to return to Elland Road.
Another exit from Elland Road: Republic of Ireland international left-sided midfielder Stephen McPhail has joined Nottingham Forest on a three-month loan. The move reunites McPhail with Paul Hart who looked after him as a 15-year trainee at ER during Hart's time in charge of the Academy.
McPhail's appearances were limited by injury under O'Leary and at the end he fell out of favour with the Irishman. Venables didn't seem to rate him either. With international midfielder Salomon Olembe due to sign tomorrow after completing the second part of his medical today, it looks like Reid is again trying to balance the wage bill by a "one-in, one-out" policy.
McPhail's signing has given Hart's Forest an immediate boost; they have blasted Gary McAllister's Coventry 1-3 away from home! Looks like at least Forest are happy with the deal!
Tuesday, 26th August, 2003
Leeds Draw 0-0 with Southampton at Elland Road. Oh Hum! Lamine Sakho had a headed goal disallowed after five minutes. Only 34,000 turned up to Elland Road to see the game.
Monday 25th August, 2003
Disappointingly, Danny Mills has chosen the selfish option to go on a season's long loan to Middlesbrough and completed his move to the on Sunday. He was paraded in front the Teeside club fans prior to their 0-4 stuffing by Arsenal!
Like Nick Barmby, the 26-year-old right-back was left out of United's last two squads and was told by Peter Reid that he would have to work his way back into his first team plans.
Barmby, who played for the reserves and has already got back to the first-team squad, Mills questioned Reid's decision on his official website, but said he would stay to fight for his place. The veracity of that statement obviously ranks alongside the Fowler, "I'm staying because I've unfinished business," classic.
The public criticism of Peter Reid seemed to make up the manager's mind and Leeds accepted loan bids from both Middlesbrough and Birmingham City, which were put to the player. Mills has decided to link up again with former England coach Steve McClaren at the Riverside Stadium.
It is rumoured that Leeds will pay £10,000 a week of Mills' wages. But the loan deal will save £1.5 million in wages over the year. However, Mills will not feature against United when the two sides meet next weekend. It would be a little churlish of the man to score agains us if we're still paying his wages!
After the failure to keep Kewell, the fallout with Viduka and now the loss of an England defender, we are getting a little worried over whether Peter Reid has lost his much vaunted man-management skills. What do YOU think, join our forum and have YOUR say.
25th August, 2003
We await the judgment of Salomon
Salomon Olembe: The Chase Is On!
Espanyol are planning a last-ditch effort to sign Marseille's Cameroon midfield ace Salomon Olembe in the face of a surprising challenge from Leeds United.
Olympique Marseille are ready to offload Olembe, who has grown frustrated with his left-back defensive role on the French Riviera.
The Barcelona-based Espanyol were thought to be strong favourites to sign the versatile African, but Leeds reportedly came in with an attractive offer late last week. (Nevertheless, presumably, it is still Leeds UNITED to whom they are referring?)
With the loan of Danny Mills to Middlesbrough confirmed on Sunday (see above), Leeds boss Peter Reid has space in his squad for an extra player, and more importanlty an extra £1.5 million in his wages war chest!
The offer from Leeds Utd is said to be a tempting one and Marseille are ready to do business, however, Espanyol coach Javier Clemente is a huge admirer of Olembe and is looking for his board to trump our offer. That shouldn't be too much of a problem given our financial constraints. I reckon a couple of "Only Fools and Horses" DVDs and a slightly used collection of "Razzle" should swing the deal Espanyol's way!
21st August, 2003
Blue or a Blue?
Will he stay or will he go?
The rumour mills are working overtime on Danny Mills' situation at Leeds United. According to different, usually reliable sources (obviously, we've discounted The Sun)
The last three stories make little sense. Reid isn't so flush with defenders that he can permanently off-load a current England defender, however poor his current form and no matter how many on-loan defenders he has, because in a year's time when they all go back to their clubs we'll still be in financial straits and Reid will have no money to buy a current England defender. Mills can also play central defence and I'd bet an off-form Mills is better than an in-form Cuellar. Danny remains a popular figure with Leeds supporters and the Chairman will think long and hard about any deal that takes another cult player away from Elland Road.
- Danny is seeking clear-the-air talks with Peter Reid today.
- The Gruaniad says that Reid is so affronted by Mills website attack that the sooner he leaves the better for all concerned.
- Birmingham City boss is wanting to take Danny on a season long loan, however, wages would be a problem. Nah, that's OK Brucie, we'll pay his wages AND let him play for The Bum, er... Brum. Steve Bruce is confusing desperate with dumb.
- Now Keegan is seeking to STEAL him for £2 million. After his petty larceny with Fowler the robber baron is getting cocky. No doubt he'll expect Leeds to pay half his wages for four years. (Actually this crap is from The Sun)
Leeds have loaned out Matthew Kilgallon to West Ham United for three months. Matthew Kilgallon is a promising 19-year old centre-half but will be used as cover by West Ham. Presumably this means Leeds are close to signing Carlos Cuellar a promising 21-year old centre-half, on loan from Numancia. However, according to the Spanish daily newspaper Marca, Cueller has made a big impression on the Leeds coaching staff and expects to become a permanent signing for Leeds. Cueller told Marca,
"They have said that I did very well and that they were happy with my work."
Making a permanent signing without seeing him play in a game seems risky and at odds with the new strategy used so successfully in the close season by Prof McKenzie. Of course, it may be that Numancia will only do a deal based on a permanent signing. Almost 22 years old Cuellar is young enough to become a good player and maybe Reid is prepared to "gamble", ouch, I mean take a chance on him.
Wed, 20th August, 2003
Leeds United have issued a statement to the Stock Exchange following press reports that the club is 'courting' Sheik Al-Khalifa with a view to an investment being made in the club.
"Leeds United plc notes today's press speculation regarding Sheik Al-Khalifa.
Seems like we're back to looking for a Russian to get us out of the mire! Although I don't think the statement is telling the whole truth. For example, although no proposals have been made it was unlikely any would be made at a first, fact-finding meeting. Proposals would surely come at a later meeting, but the statement doesn't say if there will be one, but it doesn't say "there won't be a future meeting" either. So don't give up on this unlikely knight in shining armour - or Arab in flowing robes!!
He has been a lifelong Leeds United fan, known to many previous Managers and Directors of the club. He has attended Elland Road on a regular basis over the past 25 years and was invited to the Directors' Box on Sunday as a guest of Leeds United.
As with all Leeds United fans, Sheik Al-Khalifa is concerned regarding Leeds United's financial position and took the opportunity of his visit to discuss this, but no proposals have been made."
Leeds fans had interests on both sides of last night's international between Autralia and ROI. The Irish ran out 2-1 victors thanks in no small measure to substitute Ian Harte. Meanwhile Mark Viduka's scoring exploits continued with his first international goal in five and a half years and only his third for the Socceroos. Vidooks goal was a bit of a classic as he controlled a cross on his thigh and then volleyed it with his right foot into the roof of the net. It was Harte's free-kick that was spot on for John O'Shea to head the Irish level, and then after intercepting a pass inside his own area hit a 50-yard cross-field pass that was finished off by Clinton Morrison for the winning goal! Leeds midfielder Paul Okon skippered the Aussies but cannot get a game for Leeds since Venables' departure. This confuses Socceroos manager, Frank Farina, who said after the game,
"Paul showed tonight what qualities he does have. In the role he plays in our team, maybe I'm looking through different glasses, but I thought he was superb.
Farina has already gone on record saying that Okon should leave Leeds. But as he also said that about Viduka and Kewell it's nothing new. Ian's performance will give Peter Reid something to ponder before Saturday's visit to Spurs. Spurs meanwhile had some bad news from the game when Robbie Keane sustained an ankle ligament injury that will keep hm out of the game against Leeds.
"He did everything asked of him, he's the anchor in the middle of the park, no problems whatsoever."
Surprise, surprise Kewell dropped out of the squad before the game with a calf injury, or was it pay back for the lack of support from the Australian FA for his dodgy move to Liverpool conducted by Bernie "Bad Haircut" Mandic, who was not authorised to conduct the transfer? This is the same Kewell who traipsed all over the World and missed vital Leeds games and injury treatments to play for the Socceroos against any old crap! He also said, prior to his transfer, that nothing would stop him playing in every Socceroos, friendly or not, against big or tiny opposition. Nothing except a diplomatic calf injury we presume.
Also on the "no surprise list" was the Woodgate pull-out from the England squad. I've no doubt he is injured. He spent so long injured (or unable to cope with the pressure) during his time at Leeds that he made relatively few appearances. He has already been out injured for the Barcodes last season. He was just like Seth Johnson, Fowler and Kewell, always injured. Well, along with Keane's wages their 110,000 GBP a week in wasted wagesare now being paid by other mugs.
Leeds had further interest in last night's internationals. Today Arsenal's Jermaine Pennant, a 20 year-old midfielder joined Leeds United on a two-month loan. However, last night he was sent off for throwing a punch whilst playing for England U-21! While Peter Reid said,"You always need quality players and getting Jermaine in will be a big bonus for us", his England boss David Platt said,"He... must be more professional." Mixed feelings at the moment, but I would expect Pennant to respond to the incident and make sure he keeps his nose clean whilst at Elland Road. Pennant was sent home from an U-21s' camp after breaking a curfew before the clash with Turkey and we've had enough of off the field antics thank-you very much! Jeramine cannot play in Cup matches for Leeds, just the Premier League games where he will wear the No 11 shirt.
We have reduced admission prices for the Carling Cup 2nd Round game against Swindon Town. Ticket prices for the match are as follows:
Sensibly both clubs have agreed the prices hoping it will lead to a healthy attendance on Wednesday, September 24.
- £10 (adults),
- £5 (concessions)
- £25 (family ticket - two adults and two under 16s)
Swindon spokesman Chris Tanner said,
"It has been some time since our fans have seen their team take on Premiership opposition.
It's nice to see some praise coming our way for a financial decision, it's been a long time since that happened!
"Hopefully these prices will encourage fans to make the trip to Leeds and give the team their backing."
Tony Norris, spokesman for the Swindon Town Supporters' Trust, said: "I think the prices are more than reasonable
"You would struggle to get into a Second Division match for £10, never mind a Premiership ground.
"I'm sure part of it is that the visit of Swindon might not be seen as a particularly big draw in Leeds.
"From this end, though, I'm sure it will encourage our fans to make the trip and hopefully lead to a good following at Elland Road.
"The Carling Cup is not seen by all the Premiership clubs as the biggest competition. But I'm sure the tie has added spice because there is no way Peter Reid is going to want Andy King getting one over on him."
Tickets are already on sale to season ticket holders until the 27th Aug
29th Aug - 2nd Sept tickets available to striker Members.
3rd Sept - tickets go on general sale. Swindon supporters will be located in the South stand.
Lets hope this is the start of a nice Cup run, the club need the money and a confident display with a few goals against lower opposition will do everyone's confidence some good, especially the fans!
Leeds are considering suing the Norwegian FA for playing Eirik Bakke in three mathces during the summer despite Leeds' medical staff saying he was not fit to play. Now with the season underway Bakke, we learn, could be sidelined for SIX months due to patella tendonitis. He will be seeing a specialist, meanwhile Leeds intend to claim up to 1 million GBP in compensation.
I fully support the action, not just as a Leeds fan but because I object to the continuing encroachment of FIFA and EUFA into the national games territory. The life blood of football is the national leagues not the international summer festivals. It is time a club took on an FA and gave it bloody nose. Let's hope the club hire some lawyers with cojones!
Tuesday 19th August, 2003
Que? Monkey Heid?
With the transfer deadline looming Leeds took yet another continental player on trial today. Regalling in the impressive name of Carlos Javier Cuellar Jimenez or Carlos Cuellar to his mates, he is a 21-year Madrid-born defender. He is currently on the books of Spanish 2nd Division side Numancia, who finished mid-table last season. Despite his youth Carlos played in 39 Liga and 2 Cup games last season and managed to score three goals. Numancia's record in the games in which Carlos played was Won 10, Drew 15 and Lost 14. Ermm..
So far, depite our obvious need for central defensive cover, there has been no official word on why this lucky Spaniard is being given the chance to play in the Premiership. Clearly someone must know something as the stats of Numancio's last season do not make impressive reading. But stats can be misleading. Sakho's stats for last season were unimpressive but clearly belied a creative and exciting talent.
It's his 22nd Birthday on 23rd August and we can guess what the lad wants for his birthday! For those of you who like stats his height is 189cm (6ft 4inches -ish in real money) and 84 kilos (13 stones plus - so he's no Viduka!)
Peter Reid's O'learycide continued today as the last of DOL's backroom staff got the unceremonious chop. Andie Ritchie, youth team manager will now have more time to spend with his family from today! Andy was an Elland Road favourite in the late 80's despite his Man Utd past. I saw him play for Scarborough where he was equally popular a decade later. He left them to return to Oldham where he again was a fans favourite. It'll be a double blow for Andy as Oldham Athletic went into Administration today and have just one month to find £1.25 million or go out of business. It never rains but it pours, Andy?
Monday, 18th,August, 2003
Mills: I could have played better
Mills: I'm being forced out!
Danny Mills wants manager Peter Reid to explain his decision to leave him out of Sunday's 2-2 draw with Newcastle. The defender, who has just been called up to Sven's latest England squad for the friendly with Croatia, is understandably unhappy at being axed for the club's opening Premiership match. Reid didn't even put him on the bench which clearly seems to be a punishment. Mills says Peter Reid is wrong to question his attitude.
"Within two months I've gone from starting a European Championship qualifying game for England to being completely omitted from the Leeds first team squad, so read into that what you will," Mills told his personal website.
"I find it a slur on my character that the manager has questioned my training and, in his opinion, I have not performed in matches or training.
"If I'm honest, I could have played better against Burnley and Shelbourne, but every player who featured in those games would probably say the same.
"Yet to suggest that my training is not up to standard I find very difficult to take."
"I would love the chance to help put Leeds back to where the club belongs - at the top end of the table, challenging for European places," he said.
"This is a club I am proud to be at and I have no intention of leaving, despite the fact that it feels like I am being forced out.
"I assure all the fans that I am here for the fight. I have proved people wrong in the past and I will do it again."
Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of Mills' omission it is a little disappointing to see more dirty laundry being washed in public so soon after the Viduka debacle of ten days ago. As a first team regular Mills deserved to be told face to face why he was being left out. Providing the player understood the reasons they should have remained confidential, on both sides. I don't like this management/player dialogue that goes on via the media. This is the third occasion recently that we have witnessed this behaviour. Prior to this and Viduka we had the unedifying spectacle of Robinson and Prof. McKenzie talking to each other via the media. We have still to see the fallout from that scenario. We may find that Robinson will not renew his contract next year.
I saw Mills play vs York City pre-season. He came on in the second-half of what was a dire team performance (weren't they all pre-season?). I remember little of his contribution during the game but what sticks in my mind is the rapport, during the extended pre-match warm-up, between Danny and the Leeds' fans. The warmth was clearly a two way thing and good to see. It would be a shame to drive away a player who so clearly wants to be a Leeds player.
But Danny is one of the highest earners at a club in serious financial trouble, he must perform because the club cannot afford him not to do so. Danny has gone off the boil, like Lee Bowyer did after Xmas 2001. The sight of a bullet-headed Mills charging down the right wing with the ball is one of memory rather than recent experience! Can you remember he excellent linking with Smith on the right-wing versus Newcastle during last season's 2-0 win at St James Park? It was a magnificent display and tellingly it was before the family tragedy that befell Danny and his wife in November.
Danny hasn't been the same player since, it could be a coincidence, many players lose form (e.g. Bowyer) but the loss of a child has profound effects that the rest of us can only imagine in our darkest moments. Perhaps we need to cut Danny some slack, accept that maybe he isn't the same player. I'm sure Peter Reid is aware of all this and he is certainly touted as a man-manager par excellence. Maybe Peter has decided that professionally he is better pusing Mills to make him respond and play once again to his full potential, rather than sympathise and wait for Danny to pull himself out of his malaise.
Tough love is a difficult prescription to write and an even harder one to swallow. We have to hope that Peter and Danny begin to reach a mutual understanding rather than a bitter stand-off. Talk to each other guys, not the media.. please?
Recent rumours have placed Mills on his way out of Elland Road particularly to shell-shocked Wolves who were trounced 5-1 in their opening game. However, today, Wolves Chef Executive Jez Moxey confirmed Wolves were once interested in Mills, but lost interest.
"It is completely untrue that we are going for Danny Mills," the club's chief executive Jez Moxey told the Express and Star.
"He has not been offered to us by Leeds. He is someone we spoke about two months ago, but that's as far as it went."
WBA Reserves 1 Leeds Utd Reserves 2
Steve Agnew, new Reserve team coach, saw his charges get off to a winning start against The Baggies. Here's the squad: Martyn, Krief, Richardson, Kilgallon, McDaid, Milner, McPhail, Barmby, McMaster, Simon Johnson, Lennon. Subs: Shields, Allaway, Constable, Woods, Armstrong.
Simon Johnson scored a 30 yard curler and Barmby got the second. Barmby (also left out against Newcastle) perhaps showing the correct way to answer a manager who leaves you out of the side. Danny are you watching?
Smith gains two million pounds in a day! Toon twats!
Following Alan Smith's unequivocal rejection of any move to another club (including O'Leary's sad Villa) the only people on the planet that believe he's going somewhere are Geordies! These are the same fans who believe that they'll get Bridges for £300,000 (cos he's a Geordie and Barcodes Chairman, Freddy Shepherd says "all Geordie's want to play for Newcastle" - numpty). Here's a tip Freddy, Michael Bridges is not a Mr Woodgate. He's grateful to a club that stood by him and wants to repay the club rather than abandon the club for personal glory and enrichment, so take your smug attitude, insulting bids and shove up your black 'n' white arsehole and go back to insulting Newcastle women and ripping off your shirt buying fans. Amazing what idiots will say to undercover newspaper reporters isn't it? He makes Ridsdale look a paradigm of propriety.
Anyway before the Sunday game their websites were quoting £10m bids for Smudger. After the game the same websites are saying "Sir Bobby is believed to be willing to pay £12M for the Leeds United striker". Talk about inflation! Well Prof McKenzie was absolutely clear about Smith's future - he's not for sale even for £20m! So the acquisitive "Toon Army" look like having to hold their breath for quite a while before acquiring yet another Leeds player. Tell ya what, let's wait and see whether the Barcodes make the 2nd phase of the Champions League before spending the money?
Fact of the day: did you know if nearly 50 years, that's fifty years, since Newcastle United won a domestic honour? No wonder Sir Bobby's the manager, he the only Geordie old enough to remember them winning owt! Cheer up Freddy, must be all those fecking Geordies wanting to play for you? To be fair they did win the Fairs Cup (once) a mere thirty-four years ago. So they have every right to consider themselves footballing giants and look down on Leeds Utd, winners of every major domestic trophy during the same period. C'mon, no sniggering at the back there..
Chelski sinks "Dirty Harry"
Liverpool 1 Chelski 2
The Russian revolution arrived at Anfield on Sunday and the Kings were koppled! Harry Kewell makes his home League debut with lots of dangerous running and absolutely no effect on the result as usual. (Scouse fans ought to get used to this. He didn't miss a sitter and get injured or get a pout on after being fouled and score a wonder goal, so it wasn't a typical performance).
Noticeable was the referee giving Owen the chance to re-take a missed penalty for no reason. St Michael of the Owen of England looks like he's getting the sympathy of referees for "being crap but inexplicably England's first choice striker". But slightly more understandable than the fact that lump-of-wood impersonator Emil Heskey also gets picked. It's a shame that England's opponents don't understand that they're meant to let these two comedians score just because they play for the "mighty Liverpool".
Anyway, the game was settled ironically, in that most Liverpool of fashions by a late winner. The irony was all the heavier because it was Chelski that got it, curtesy of former Leeds Utd striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. As usual the Fourth Estate got it's nose out of the gutter and naked breasts just long enough to get it all wrong. Whilst all the press were fawning over Kewell (who's now a media darling because he wears the Red of Liverpool rather than the hated white shirt) and the Chelski new boys they forgot about the finshing of Jimmy. I haven't forgiven him for ditching Leeds just like Kewell did but as I've predicted Chelski for the title I was happy for the first time in four years to see him score. I even cheered when Veron scored despite his Scum ancestry, though it did feel a little odd :-)
Swindon next on the Chopping Block!
Our Carling Cup, second round game against Swindon will take place at Elland Road on Wednesday 24th September with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Smith: "O'Leary says he loves me!"
Friday 15th August
O'Leary Snatches Smith!!
According to unconfirmed newspaper reports, former Leeds manager David O'Leary has made an offer Leeds can't refuse for "want-to-stay" striker Alan Smith. As usual O'Dreary has got it wrong, it's "want-away" Aussie striker Viduka who is apparently looking for a new home.
More details when we have them though we suspect this is a nonsense story. Alan Smith, lifelong Leeds fan said recently he wouldn't leave the club even if they are relegated! What can O'Dreary offer him at Villa? O'Dreary seems to under the impression that all his former players love him (see quotes about Robinson last month), and want to re-join him. But Smith, who seems unmotivated by money (but Ridsdale gave him a £40K a week deal anyway), is living his dream - playing for the club he supported as a kid (though unlike Kewell he didn't fuck another club to do it). In light of that and the fact he is already financially secure for life, why would he want to play for Midlands no-hopers Villa and their prickly control-freak Chairman and rent-a-quote manager?
Will Smithy go? Do we need him? Should we sell him? Is O'Leary crackers? Are British newspapers talking bollocks as usual?!? Click here to have your say
Better news is that Nigel Martyn has turned down the filthy lucre held under his nose by Russian squillionaire, Roman Chelski! So Robinson is going to have to shape up and there will be competition for at least one place this season. It's nice having two England keepers on the books when Man Utd are still having to put up with nightmare displays from Barthez, his latest comedy performance came during last night's 3-1 defeat away at Stoke!.
Who would you put in as Leeds number one keeper this season? Click here to have your say
Early reports yesterday that Leeds were capitalising on the appointment of Kevin Blackwell, by returning to his old club, Sheffield Utd, and signing two of their stars were strongly rebuffed by an angry Neil Warnock. Also the figure of £6 million was mentioned for the pair, Michael Brown and Phil Jagielka. As anyone, including Warnock, knows that means Leeds are not in the running. We couldn't raise £750,000 for Julian Gray!
We have, however, completed the signing of the exotically named Frenchman Lamine Sakho. The striker is a crowd pleaser (or so we are told), and despite the results over in Dublin he impressed Peter Reid (and many Leeds fans) with his contributions. As is the norm we have signed him on loan with a view to a permanent deal next summer providing he doesn't prove to be a Fowler or a Seth Johnson. The ex-Marsailles striker has been cleared to make his Leeds debut against Newcastle United on Sunday. I was worried by reports that he only scored 6 goals in 29 appearances last season. However, it turns out that he suffered a "Venables", ie like Smithy he was played out of position by the manager all season and that was a cause for him wanting to find a new club. He will wear the 10 shirt this season, after it has been fumigated, having been last worn by that well-known Aussie louse, "Dirty Harry" Cruel.
Speaking of squad numbers Domi has opted for the number 29, previously insulted by the presence of glory-chasing, money-grabbing, self-publicist Rio Ferdinand's name on its back. Ferdinand further insulted the shirt by pretending to be Captain of the club whilst wearing it.
Colin Healy yesterday opted to join Sunderland after seemingly being headed for Leeds. But it seems no deal was offered as the out of contract Celtic player has opted for life in Division 1. It could have been because at 23 years of age we would have had to pay some hard cash for him!
Reid hasn't been slow to find an alternative in the shape of Serbia & Montenegro midfielder Goran Trobok. Trobok, aged 29, played the second half of Serbia's friendly clash with England at Leicester in June and is available on loan from Partizan Belgrade. See, no money to change hands, so it must be true!
Is it only me that finds it worring that we're still looking for so many players this close to the start of the season? At this rate half the players on the pitch against the Barcodes on Sunday will be playing their first game together! It seems as though Ian Harte will be one of them. Despite Redknapp admitting Portsmouth's interest in Ian the idea we might want a fee for him seemed to put him off! Given that Smith could be sold to Villa (unlikely), Viduka could be sold to.. well anybody really (likely) and Bridges is still not fit, we'll need his free-kick goals! (Though not his penalty kicks - he seems to be going off the boil since the World Cup miss).
To end on a postive note Peter Reid is mimicking O'Leary's early days, by singing the praises of the youngsters. In particular striker Aaron Lennon (who may get more games than we thought if Viduka leaves) has come in for praise.
"This pre-season we haven't had it in the side where someone's gone past people, but Aaron Lennon has shown that he can do that.
If Lennon scores against Newcastle on Sunday he would break the youngest goal-scorer record of Leeds' own James Milner by an enormous 234 days! Ah, dream on!!
"It might be a big bonus for us that we can use him in a cameo role, because against Villa he went past J Lloyd Samuel, who is rapid.
"You have to be careful with young players because the Premiership is very physical, but we can use him when games stretch out in the last 15-20 minutes."
Who will the the Leeds youngster who stars for the first team this season? Lennon, Kilgallon, Keegan, or Milner? Click here to let us know your choice
Healy, "This is much better than Sunderland"
Monday 11th August
Happy birthday to Nigel Martyn who is 37 today! Despite the increasing years he is increasingly in demand! Everton manager David Moyes has joined Chelsea in the race for Nigel Martyn's signature. Everton are looking to step in whilst Chelski's eyes are elsewhere, focused on the signings of Joe Cole, Veron and Mutu.
However, Moyes is only looking for a loan signing whilst first choice keeper Wright is injured. This may be the solution that Leeds and Nige prefer. It gets Nige's wages off the books but he will be available to recall should Robbo go off the boil or get injured. The added bonus is regular first-team football for Nige and another crack at the England squad. Nige wouldn't have to move his family South if he moved to Everton.
But after the loan period is up? Leeds wouldn't get £500K for him as he would be allowed to make his own deal after Xmas as he is in the last year of his contract.
Today's papers are full of headlines such as "Angry Reid Ready To Wield The Axe", "Reid: I Won't Stand For It" and "Leeds set for Reid shake-up". Perhaps understandable after the dreadful Dublin tournament but haven't we seen this all before? PR seems to loose his temper regularly but the only result I've seen is to disaffect Mark Viduka and leave the club toothless in attack. Perhaps Peter should play his cards a little closer to his chest and forget the public chest thumping for awhile. His present behaviour and its predictable results are little too reminiscent of a recently departed Irish big-mouth who also lost the dressing room because of it. Perhaps the song should be changed to "Shut-Up Peter Reid"?
Leeds have taken yet another trialist on board this week. The 23 year-old Parkhead reject Colin Healy is under scrutiny but only has a Reserves game against Harrogate to show his worth. The other problem is the age, 23, which means Celtic will want something for his services. Julian Gray all over again. So don't hold your breath. Healy was wanted by Sunderland but the clubs couldn't agree the compensation, exactly as happened between Leeds and Crystal Palace.
With the new season looming what can Peter Reid to dash the belief that is beginning to seep into the bones of Leeds supporters that this season we may not escape the drop? Apologise to Mark Viduka for starters. Viduka was pathetic for wanting away, just like all the other treacherous bastards that have jumped ship in the last 12 months. But Reid was wrong to lose control and blurt it out as he did. Reid must be man enough to apologise and Viduka man enough to accept it and stay.
Do you agree? Have your say on our website forum. Click here
Domi thinks, "This is much better than Newcastle"
It was an unhappy weekend for Leeds and football in general. The kick-off of the 2003-04 Nationwide League season was marred by the death from lung cancer of Ray Hartford, former Blackburn manager, aged only 58, and the death of young Jimmy Davis in a car accident in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was a 21 year Man Utd and England U-20 international who was about to begin a season on loan to Watford. Understandably Watford's fixture was cancelled at short notice.
After such tragedy everything has an air of "so-what?" about it for a while, but for the living life, and football, goes on.
In the Dublin tournament Leeds drew 2-2 with Villa and lost on penalties. It will irritate most Leeds fans to watch the decimated squad lose to O'Leary's new team. He's just splashed 2.25m on a new keeper and we couldn't find £750,000 for Julian Gray. Despite protestations that it was all Ridsdale's fault, Leeds fans place a fair chunk of the blame on DOL's shoulders.
Peter Reid will be worried by the injured picked up by Michael Duberry. A fractured cheekbone means he's out for 8 weeks. Duberry has featured in all Leeds' pre-season games. I saw him at York and it is clear that he's not a crowd favourite and has a tendancy to drop clangers, however, with Radebe and Matteo returning from injury, Reid has turned to Duberry knowing he'd be needed at the start of the season. Now, thanks to Angel's boot the Leeds central defence looks to be in crisis.
Leeds 0 Shelbourne 2. Leeds complete their pre-season without a win. Reports suggest that the Shels also had a good goal ruled out. Effectively we let in five goals this weekend, and scored only two (Harte, Barmby), neither of which was from a striker. With Viduka skulking/sulking back in Leeds and "Dirty Harry" auditioning for the role of "Queen of the Kop", the goals have dried up but the defence is every bit as leaky as it was during the latter days of last season. This is relegation form! Admittedly Domi, Camara and Morris have only had two weeks to play together owing to the club being unable to dip into the transfer market earlier because of "Dirty Harry" lying about trying to make up his mind about staying at Leeds.
Reid and McKenzie have husbanded the meagre transfer funds available to the manager admirably so far. Domi, Camara and Morris all signed on loans and frees. However, this weekend's results, performances and injuries clearly show that the depleted squad needs new blood. The worry though isn't just who exactly is available to sign but that there is no time for them to fit in with the team before the season kicks-off.
This is the second close-season in a row that has been shambolic, and last season it showed in the results, so we can expect more of the same presumably?
Please join our regulars in the forum section and have your say on these and other concerns at Leeds Utd as the new season approaches. Do you think Woodgate and Bowyer are looking forward to next Sunday as an easy three pointer?
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