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May 2005 Archive

Leeds Suffer from Ricketts
19th May 2005 :: by Autolycus

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has confirmed that loan player Michael Ricketts will be returning to Elland Road. Michael continued his abysmal scoring form by failing to net in 11 appearances for Stoke after his loan from Leeds in February 2005.

Kevin Blackwell's gamble failed to come off and now KB has to off-load Ricketts to free up wages for another squad player. Blackwell is doubtless disppointed with the outcome of Ricketts' time at Leeds (unlike that of Duberry's loan period). Michael was Kevin's first big signing for Leeds and an ex-England International and everyone thought he would overcome a dip in form that had seen him lose his place in the Middlesbrough Premiership team. Doubtless Michael is as disappointed as anyone but now he has to sort his career out, unless he wants to sit out a season as a highly-paid Leeds United reserve team fixture alongside Seth Johnson and Eirik Bakke.

With the dramatic emergence of the potent Rob Hulse and the presence of the less potent but equally expensive David Healy, Michael's Leeds days are over - let's hope his agent realises it for the player's sake as well as ours.

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The English Footballers' Disease
19th May 2005 :: by Jan-Eirik

Julian Joachim has been identitfied as surplus to requirements by Kevin Blackwell as evidenced by his finishing the season on loan at Walsall. It is now reported that his agent has given Walsall assurances that they will get to speak to him first if he can settle with Leeds. This seems to be the same old story. Highly paid Leeds player who has singularly failed to do the job he is paid for (score goals in a Leeds Utd shirt), seeks settlement/pay-off so he can immediately go and play another club. Remember the shameful dealings with Barmby last summer? Joachim, it seems, is only willing to play elsewhere if we pay up his contract or we pay his wages whilst at another club (like Fowler, Mills etc). What is this sick culture pervading football, that rewards failure, handsomely? No doubt we will face similar demands from Michael Rickett's agent. I trust Ken Bates will fight this aggressively. Not just for Leeds Utd fans, but to end a twisted, perverse view of life that sees professional footballers rewarded like film stars for kicking a ball about - badly, ineffectively and unentertainingly, in most cases.

I think to combat this, players signed as a striker should have their wages tied to goals scored - excluding penalties! Win bonuses should make up a minimum of 35% of all players wages too. Similarly goalies and defenders should have rewards tied to goals conceded. Midfielders can take a share of the bonuses earned, or not, by both both strikers and defenders. Promotion and relegation bonuses and penalties should also play a part. Players need to remember the fans are paying to watch them win. In a spineless season like our 2003-04 relegation season we consistently got meaningless words of intent in the media from the squad before a game, followed by some terrible display in which they looked like they never played football together before! More effective would have been the knowledge that their lucrative contracts were worth much less minus win bonuses, minus scoring bonuses, less relegation penalties and with a contract worth automatically 75% less in a season following relegation! The last part means clubs aren't forced to sell players for peanuts when relegated thus enabling the player to continue on in the Premiership as if nothing had happend in his life. No, the players are then stuck with their contracted clubs. Hence Alan Smith may say "I'm not a Division 1 player" but he had a contract that said he was!

Why should players be protected from the consequences of their own ineptitude or laziness? Man U did nobody any favours when they paid Rio Ferdinand £3.2m for sitting on his terminally, stupid butt for 8 months because he forgot to pee in a cup. Why should the Man U fans go into their factories for night shifts or work overtime just to pay a fool £70,000 a week to play music, shop for clothes and go clubbing?

Agents and players won't wear these changes? Well Bates has already told one agent to get lost. And if other Chairman and clubs had the bottle (well done, Simon Jordan of Crystal Palace) a united front would so defeat the non-British, carpetbagging, average players and their Israeli-registered FIFA agents and the equally guilty, greedy British players and their agents. Note the term "their agents". That's right players - your agent, you pay him the £750,000 he's charging you. If you don't want to pay him what he thinks he's worth then use the FREE agency services provided by the Professional Footballers' Association. If YOU wanna go private YOU pick up the tab. More power to Ken Bates elbow! Let's see who else has any balls in the Boardroom (Delia Smith excluded, obviously!). Time to get the agents' noses out of the trough and off to the slaughterhouse with them!

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Ridsdale to return to Elland Road?
18th May 2005 :: by Badalemente

Peter Satan Ridsdale has taken over day-to-day running of Cardiff City. If the Cardiff fans weren't such violent thugs I would feel sorry for them. As it is, perhaps they deserve each other! When Ridsdale leads them into administration, (they are £30m in debt), football fans all over the lower leagues will breathe a sigh of relief and gratitude that Ridsdale has spared their towns any more violent invasions by the Bluebirds fans. Frankly with Ridsdale's record at United he doesn't need the £30m start Hammam has given him to run the club into the ground!

As a Leeds fan I feel outraged that such an incompetent fool has managed to blag himself another job - IN FOOTBALL too. Incredible. Simply unbelievable. (See "Inmate Runs the Asylum") What has happened to the investigation by the SFO and West Yorkshire police into Ridsdale that was reported by The Sunday Times? Not that that would stop Hammam, who, it was reported at the time, equally incredibly, employed a convicted football thug at Cardiff City at the time of the notorious riot by Cardiff fans during the FA Cup fiasco several years ago.

I just hope Ridsdale doesn't expect to attend the Elland Road game against Leeds in the Directors' box. The 12 arrests yesterday attest to the ill-feeling surrounding this fixture following the unseemly events at the aforementioned FA Cup fixture at Cardiff. Neither 'Dreamer' Ridsdale nor Sam "the Goader" Hammam are welcome at Elland Road as their past behaviour represents the unacceptable face of football management. 'Publicity Pete' is now just bad PR.

How would you react if Ridsdale came back to Elland Road next season?.

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Silly Lunt!
26th May 2005 :: by Querpo

Blackwell has apparently met right-sided midfielder and Crewe skipper, Kenny Lunt for discussions over a move to Elland Road this summer. Kenny has had eight seasons under Dario Gradi at The Alex. After the permanent move for Rob Hulse and with no other players looking like being off-loaded, Blackwell is strapped for cash as usual. Unfortunately, it is believed that Kevin thinks Kenny is available on a free transfer. However, Dario is no mug and extended Kenny's contract last summer by a year. That means a fee is involved and that will illustrate just how keen Blackwell is to sign Lunt. Or not!

Expect Blackwell to step up moves to persuade Ipswich's free agent Tommy Miller to come to Elland Road instead. There's just a small matter of beating off the interest of Sunderland in the same player. Mind you, Sunderland seem to be linked with just about every available player at the moment so there may undeed be smoke and no fire in that story.

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Dignified Departure Signals Gordon's Return!
27th May 2005 :: by Chris Hudson

The news that Martin O'Neill had stepped down as manager of Celtic was swamped by the pre-match razzamatazz of the Champions League Final in Instabul. (Congratualtions to Liverpool on a brilliant victory - Harry Kewell go to hell). Martin O'Neill, the best manager Leeds United never had, has given up the management of Celtic in order to support his lovely wife Geraldine in her battle against cancer which has sadly returned after remission. This juxtaposition of events reminds us of the nonsense famously spouted by Bill Shankly - sorry Bill, but football is just a game even if you come back from 0-3 down in the Eurpoean Cup Final; a single second in the life of your family is infinitely more valuable. So I'm sure football fans of all persuasions will wish them both, and their daughters, well in their personal battle. There are a couple of Leeds connections to the story. Leeds Utd fans will remember the struggle that took place between Leeds United and Leicester City over MON. Eventually David O'Leary got the job as MON was a man of his word and wouldn't break his Leicester contract despite wanting the Leeds job. Indeed it was the changes to his contract brought about by the missed opportunity to manage Leeds Utd that enabled Celtic to capture him a couple of years later, avoiding the earlier public tug-of-war. MON was a Celtic supporter as a kid and he has served his club well in the last five years.

Upon whom have the Celtic Board placed the mantle of responsibilty for the well-being of the O'Neill legacy at Celtic Park? None other than our very own Gordon Strachan, the well-known, flame-haired, Scot of green and white sympathies. However, he's of the Edinburgh green persuasion, not Glasgow! Actually he's a Hibee - a Hibs fan - but being fond of the Scum, for whom he was outstanding for many years, didn't stop him winning the last ever Division One Championship as inspirational captain of Howard Wilikson's Leeds United, so I reckon Glasgow Rangers are in for an eventful few years. Gordon has signed a 12 month rolling contract with Celtic which begins after Martin O'Neill's emotional goodbye to the Celtic faifthful at this Saturday's Scottish FA Cup Final (on Sky at 2pm) and on the Sunday at his spiritual home, Paradise (Celtic Park to the unbelievers) at Jackie McNamara's testimonial game. Although Martin said, at his press conference announcing his resignation, that he hopes to return to management eventually, it won't be with the club he loves, Celtic. As he was careful to say, that "torch has been passed on" to Gordon Strachan.

Will MON ever manage Leeds Utd as once seemed inevitable? Very doubtful. As both a Leeds United and Celtic fan I could wish for nothing better. He's now way too good for Leeds United even if we returned to the Premiership, a pale shadow of our former presence. My money is on him being the successor to Arsene Wenger or perhaps even at Old Trafford ("Flame-Grilled McTrafford" as it will be known soon). But given the difference in the Boards of Directors at the 'Big Two' clubs I would think my money would be on a gent such as Martin O'Neill liking the "old school" management style of Arsenal FC rather than the new "good ol' boy" stylings of the Manchester Red Sox Soccerball Club.

Either way whoever gets MON will get a real gem and a gentleman. Best of luck to him and Geraldine as they face, together, an uncertain future. And of course, good luck to former Leeds United favourite Gordon Strachan, once tipped for the poisoned chalice of the Leeds United manager's job. Lucky escape there Gordon :-)

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Bates: "Derisory"
26th May 2005 :: by Querpo

Ken Bates has confirmed that Leeds Utd have received two bids for Fraser Richardson from Sunderland, which he described as "derisory". The bids, thought to be £250K and £300K, undervalue a young player with Premiership experience that featured 42 times for Leeds United during the 2004-05 season.

Selling Rotherham-born Richardson makes no sense when Blackwell says he wants experienced players! He is both young AND experienced. With Gary Kelly nearing the end of his career how much will we have to fork out for a right-back next summer to replace him if Frazer is sold now? Can you see us getting a player of such promise for just £250K? Well, maybe we can buy him back from the Black Cats when they inevitably crash out of the Premiership at the end of next season! To be fair to Ken Bates, he went on to admit that they are NOT actively seeks bids for the player, so if it is Sunderland doing all the running they'll need to run a damn sight faster to catch Frazer.

It hard to see what Frazer gains from the move; his signing is only as cover and at this stage of his development he needs the ball at his feet on the pitch, not the bench under his arse in Sunderland reserve games.

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