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March 2005 Archive

Yabba Dabba Duberry!!
2nd March 2005 :: by Chris Hudson

Latest announcement from the Bates Motel, sorry, Elland Road, is that Leeds and Stoke have reached agreement over the transfer of Michael Duberry. This will be a permanent move to the Potters where Duberry enjoined some success on a loan spell earlier this season. Between 15th October 2004 and 5th Jan 2005 he started 15 League matches for Stoke, compared to just 53 League starts for Leeds over a five and a half year period. Duberry must have been exhausted and glad of a return to Leeds United where he resumed his "resting" career by appearing for 20 minutes in the FA Cup tie against Birmingham City before being substituted - though by then he had already given away the first goal.

Michael Duberry

Unhappy time for all

Despite playing in a curious manner somewhere between 'Bambi on ice' and a 'bull in a china shop', Bambi.. I mean Duberry, has been in demand and he nearly completed a move to Wolves pre-season before Blackwell baulked at paying £18,000 a week towards his Wolves wages (a la Robbie Fowler, Danny Mills, and Mark Viduka etc). Therein lay the problem with Duberry, he was on Ridsdale negotiated wages; the idiot Chairman gave a reserve defender a £24,000 per week contract which lasted longer than the mismanaged company did!

Understandably from a personal viewpoint, Duberry has resisted moves elsewhere where he could actually fulfill his job description, by playing professional football, in favour of Leeds United's reserves and riches beyond the dreams of most Leeds fans. His only other claim to fame was a starring role as a prosecution witness against Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate, two players the club were spending £3,000,000 on defending at the same time! Neither event endeared him to sections of the Elland Road crowd.

No Leeds fans will be sorry to see him go though I doubt there is any ill-will towards Michael. He was an over-priced, bad buy, by O'Leary (from Chelski for £4,500,00); a mistake compounded by Ridsdale's ridiculous contract renewal at an outlandish wage level. Stoke City however, were happy with Duberry and have given him a 30 month contract. Though no wages have been revealed I cannot see Ken Bates paying the wages of a player at another club, and so Duberry will have taken a huge drop in income. He had little choice really: with only 16 months left on his Leeds contract, Duberry would have been nearly 31 and looking for a new club with barely 80 games under his belt in the previous 8 years if he waited for it to expire. However, he got a free transfer to Stoke so he will do nicely with a healthy signing-on fee.

So as Duberry leaves Elland Road for the last time it closes another painful chapter from the Ridsdale-era and frees up considerable funds for Kevin Blackwell to think about a permanent move for Rob Hulse. According to Blackwell's own figures that only leaves eighteen more players to go!

Here's Duberry's Leeds United record 09/07/1999-02/03/2005:
League Played 53 (4 sub) Goals 4;
FA Cup Played 4 (2 sub);
League Cup Played 0 (4 sub);
Europe Played 9 (1 sub)
Total 66 (11 subs) = 77 appearances and 4 goals.

Comment on Duberry's behaviour on our forum - all welcome!

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Erudite Lucas!
2nd March 2005 :: by Autolycus

The Sky Sports News channel is currently running a feature on footballers' favourite books.

Whilst the British contingent waxed lyrical about the likes of "The Godfather" (I agree with you, a damn good read Mr Curbishley) perhaps the surprise of the bunch came from Leeds United veteran defender Lucas Radebe who admitted his favourite book was... "Silas Marner" by George Elliot! Good luck Lucas, now where did I put my copy of "Shogun"?

Other surprises came from Martin Jols and Gary Mabbutt, tune into Sky 408 for more details.

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Blackwell Manager of the Month Runner-Up
3rd March 2005 :: by Querpo

Kevin Blackwell was runner-up in February's Manager of the Month award for the Championship! Well done Kevin! Kevin beat off the challenge of Mick McCarthy of Sunderland and Alan Pardew of West Ham. Incredibly the winner was Tony Pullis of Stoke City! Stoke City! Yep, the purchasers of Michael Duberry! How can the buyer of Duberry win Manager of the Month! Make the most Tony, it'll be your last one!

Other winners were: League Two, Brian Horton of Macclesfield Town and League One, Andy King of Swindon Town. Congratulations to both of them.

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Hart-less Barnsley! Leeds Bound?
4th March 2005 :: by Badalemente

Paul Hart has relinquished his post as manager of League One club Barnsley FC, "by mutual consent". There is quite a Leeds Utd background to this story. Paul Hart, a former Leeds centre-back (1978-1983) and later on successful youth team coach at Elland Road under Howard Wilkinson, joined Barnsley exactly one year ago to the day. He was the appointee of financial numpty and former Leeds Utd plc Chairman, Peter Ridsdale, and as Barnsley had had the sense to ditch Ridsdale it was probably only a matter of time before Hart was replaced. Former Leeds Utd striker and Oldham Athletic boss Andy Ritchie will taker over in temporary charge.

Whilst at Barnsley Hart oversaw 51 games, winning 14, drawing 18 and losing 19 and he leaves them mid-table with 44 points from 35 games. Hart took Simon Johnson from Leeds on a season-long loan only last week; he also signed Stephen McPhail from Leeds in the summer. Former O'Leary Leeds signing Jacob Burns also played under Hart at Barnsley although his signing pre-dated Hart and was Ridsdale inspired.

Paul Hart's tutelage at the Leeds United Thorpe Arch Academy provided the cream of the crop that later on David O'Leary so succesfully harvested. Hart produced FA Youth Cup successes in 1993 and 1997. Paul has had little success as a manager in his own right and the question arises will Ken Bates attempt to draw him back to a revitalised Thorpe Arch academy? Leeds need to produce their own players over the next decade and we need more Woodgates, Kewells and Smiths and less Singhs, McMasters and Winters. Bringing back Paul Hart could be the best move Ken Bates could make this year.

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Marlon King: "I would like Leeds to get into the play-offs and go up"
4th March 2005 :: by Jan-Eirik

Kevin Blackwell used his last loan option of the season to sign 24 year-old Jamaican international striker Marlon King from Nottingham Forest. Although the new partnership of Healy and Hulse is working beyond his wildest expectations Blackwell presently finds himself without striking cover. With the misfiring Ricketts and youngster Simon Johnson loaned out for the rest of the season and Deane and Joachim injured, Blackwell had to move fast and Marlon King fitted the bill but not just as emergency cover.
"A striker gives you another option sometimes, we're in with a chance of pushing into the play-offs and I might as well go for it," Blackwell told www.leedsutd.com

Marlon is currently out of favour at Forest since Megson assumed control and so was readily available and like Rob Hulse he has already proved he can score at this level, previously netting 47 goals for Gillingham in only 116 games, a strike rate of over 40%

Marlon was equally as positive about the move as Blackwell had been. He told www.leedsutd.com,

"When I learnt Kevin Blackwell wanted me at Leeds I did not hesitate. It's a massive club and one which should be in the Premiership. When I get my chance I hope to make the most of it and get some goals."

Sounds like the Reggae Boy is not looking to warm the bench and enjoy the sights at Elland Road. But we've heard some fine words from Leeds players over the last few seasons and we know that actions are really what matter. Given the recent sensational scoring debuts by Rob Hulse and Shaun Derry, Marlon King has a lot to match up to if given the chance against Millwall on Sunday. Nevertheless, we wish him well during his stay with us at Elland Road and hopefully both his career and our season will take-off together. Who knows, given that Blackwell has acknowledged there will be another 17 departures by the summer Marlon may just be playing for a permanent place! No wonder he told www.leedsutd.com

"I would like Leeds to get into the play-offs and go up. I'd like to be a part of that if it does happen..."

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Siesta Time for Hairy Cruel
4th March 2005 :: by Great Beast 666

When I first heard of the rumour that Athletico Madrid were after signing whiny ex-Leeds Utd winger Harry Kewell my first reaction was, "Why?" Actually, that was pretty much my second and third reaction too. Harry Kewell has been struck down by the curse of ineptitude and injury that has infected all the O'Leary-Ridsdale-era Leeds players that engineered moves and abandoned the sinking ship.

The machinations of, self-confessed Liverpool fan, Kewell and his "advisors" to bring him to Liverpool FC are a well documented scandal that blackens his name and that of Liverpool FC to this day. But hey, that's what you get when you deal with denizens of a country founded on criminal diaspora. We've learnt our lesson and Kewell is learning his - there is a saying that no good comes from wrongful intent and Kewell's predicament is a paradigm. He was a local hero at Leeds. Contrast with the present day where, as a reward for all his hard scheming, he was forced into a toe-curling apology to the fans of the club he supports because he has played so badly. (Didn't notice him offering a refund of his wages though?) That's when he makes it onto the pitch, of course. Leaving aside his absences so he can represent the Frank Farina All-Stars against the Pacific Islanders of Umboto's Womens' Third Team Reserves in an Olympic Pre-Qualifying Round, his medical problems at Leeds were well-documented too. He only avoided the nickname "Sicknote" because we already had Michael Bridges and Seth Johnson vying for it. I noticed he manfully struggled back from long-term injury (over the cold winter months) just in time for the Leverkusen Champions League match and Carling Cup Final - no doubt he'll suffer a relapse until the next high profile game. I hope he enjoyed his first cup final experience, I'm sure it was a memorable delight for the Liverpool fan within him, may it live long in his memory especially his own particularly valuable contribution... [... tumbleweed rolls past]

The ineffectual Cruel has played just 74 games since his flight from Elland Road, by his own admission most of them poorly. His goal tally is an appalling 12 and this is why Rafa Benitez is ready to listen to offers for Cruel. Rafa wants his own reliable men not Houllier's 'come-day-go-day' cast-off. Kewell, who could at best be described as 'mercurial' but is more usually described as a 'lazy bastard', (especially by the left-back being overrun behind him), is not the prolific scorer you need when your other strikers are going down with season-long injuries. Liverpool only today found out that Mellor is out for the season. At Leeds his record was 63 goals in 242 games = 26%, but at Scallyville it is a lowly 16.2% You know, it's almost like he was, well, cursed? If he feels cursed perhaps he ought to go into group therapy to resolve this feeling, with say, Lee 'Pale Shadow' Bowyer, 'Hopalong' Woodgate, fellow fan-apologist Rio Weirdinand, fellow Aussie sick-meister Mark Viduka, Alan 'Bench-Warmer' Shit, Robbie 'Tubby' Fowler, Danny 'I like it at Man City, no, I really do' Mills, and Jason 'One-Knee' Wilcox. There are so many to choose from, his fellow cursees are legion. And there is no cure...

We don't give a toss about Kewell or his future, but what will concern Leeds fans is the question, was there a sell-on clause in the sale to the Scousers? Answer? Don't think so, do you? A sell-on clause reduces the worth of the player to the purchaser, it would mean a smaller sign-on fee for Cruel. Can't see Cruel's "agent" Bandit Mandic allowing that one to get through can you? When Cruel moves to Athletico Madrid, Leeds Utd will get exactly what we got when Woodgate moved to Real Madrid... shafted.

Have Your Say on the antipodean mercenary, Hairy Cruel or his "agent" Bernard (oh, no I'm not an agent, oh, yes you are) Mandic.

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Ex-Leeds Loanee Joins Rotherham
1st March 2005 :: by Badalemente

Rotherham United completed the loan signing of Southampton's attacking midfielder, Leandre Griffit, today. Leandre was on loan to Leeds United from 6/1/2005 to 11/2/2005 but made just one substitute appearance in the 0-2 defeat to Derby at Pride Park. He replaced Joachim after 65 minutes. Rotherham curently prop up the Championship table and are 11 points behind second-bottom Forest.

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Backroom Change At Leeds
9th March 2005 :: by Querpo

DAVID Thomson, the commercial manager a Leeds United is leaving us to take up the posiition of commercial director at Celtic. Shouldn't be much of a surprise as Thomson is a seson ticket-holder at Parkhead!

"People speak about dream jobs and this is undoubtedly mine," Thomson said to The Scotsman.

There is no word on a replacement but no doubt Ken Bates will have already got someone in mind from his Chelsea days. Preferably a Leeds United season-ticket holder this time?

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Bates: "Change the Manager?"
9th March 2005 :: by Autolycus

Chairman Ken Bates has been questioned by The Sun regarding the manager's position at Leeds United. It was prompted by Sunday's game between Leeds and Millwall that ended in a 1-1 draw. Millwall are managed by former Chelsea Captain Dennis Wise with whom Bates has always had a close relationship. Indeed almost the first incorrect assumption drawn by the media when Bates took over was that Wise would be moved into the manager's chair at Elland Road. Ken was quick to praise his former Captain,
"I believe Dennis, of whom I'm very fond, will one day become a top manager."
But what of his chances of replacing the increasingly popular Kevin Blackwell? Ken was equally as emphatic about Kevin as he had been about Dennis Wise. He told The Sun,
"But I already have in place a manager in Kevin Blackwell who is doing a fantastic job.
And just in case there was a journalist out there still prepared to try and drive a wedge between Bates and Blackwell, he continued,
"Change the manager? No chance. It just won't happen."
I guess some journalist somewhere will read that as a vote of confidence. Standby for headline - "Blackwell gets dreaded vote of confidence from Cuddly Ken"!

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Aye, Aye Cap'n
10th March 2005 :: by Chris Hudson

If you wondered why the club shop is selling off the dud Diadora shirts for just a tenner, well now you know why. In a throwback to the 1970's Leeds United have signed a new five-year kit deal with old friends Admiral. The two parties invented branded football kits back in 1973. Indeed, Admiral sponsored Leeds United when we won the last ever First Division Championship title back in 1991-92. Harking back to that and other eras will be part of the deal as Admiral will also release a range of retro Leeds Utd shirts. The Sporting Life quotes Tony Hutchinson, chief executive of the plc which owns Admiral as saying,
"We are delighted to once again associate Admiral with one of the most famous football clubs in the world. Leeds United and Admiral pioneered the replica market in the early 1970s, and this new agreement will significantly enhance Admiral's visibility both nationally and internationally, and bring substantial benefits to both parties."
Let's hope so as many Leeds fans and especially parents are getting totally naffed off with the constant changing of club sponsors, kit manufacturers and players which will mean we have had nine new strips in just three seasons. At this rate it'll not only be the club that is nearly bankrupt!! No wonder attendances are down this season, the fans are trying to save up to buy all the new kits!!

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Inmate Running The Asylum
25th March 2005 :: by Badalemente

Incredible, somebody else has given Peter Satan Ridsdale a job in football! No, like you my first thought was he'd be selling either the hotdogs or scarves and souvenirs outside the ground. However, almost unbelievably, a club has actually employed Ridsdale in a financial consultancy role! Nope, it doesn't mean he's collecting the money on the turnstiles - that was my second though too!

This club says:

"There is a need to restructure our existing financial arrangements at the same time as completing the project to move to a new purpose-built stadium. To assist in the above, we are delighted to announce that Mr Peter Ridsdale has agreed to join us ... to review all aspects of our current position and to make recommendations regarding our future structure and financing arrangements."

We thought this was all a fantasy until we found out the club was Cardiff and the jackass employing "Carless Hands" Ridsdale was that Lebanese numpty, Sam Hammam. Suddenly it all began to make sense. Hammam, whose dream it was to make Cardiff a Premiership club employs the world's most famous dreamer, Ridsdale. As Hammam has taken the club in five years from being £1.5m in debt to collosal debts of £30m we have to say Ridsdale is certainly on the same wavelength as the Cardiff chairman! After the outrageous behaviour of Hammam at the notorious FA Cup tie in Cardiff between Leeds Utd and the Welsh scum we can only say. "you deserve each other, may your relationship be long and fraught with difficulties and disaster - no one deserves Ridsdale more!"

We will be running a poll to see which will come first for Cardiff, relegation from the Championship or bankruptcy - almost too close to call now isn't it? Odd how the Serious Fraud Office investigation into Ridsdale's destruction of Leeds United plc [Bastard! - Ed. (and former shareholder)], announced in the Sunday Times, hasn't put off Hammam from employing him - what does that say about Hammam and his football business? Mind you As Hammam has employed a convicted football hooligan in the past to accompany him around the ground on match days should one be surprised by anything the distasteful little man does?

Any sympathy for Cardiff? or were you one of the Leeds Utd. fans showered with coins, and lighters, confronted by a howling mob inside the stadium or simply attacked by South Wales Police dogs whilst getting on your coach? (www.leedsutd365.co.uk passim).

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