Nov 30th. The Gary Speed suite. Leeds United are to name a suite in their new East Stand in memory of former title-winning midfielder Gary Speed, who died on Sunday. The Welshman, who was found dead at his home at the age of 42, was part of the Leeds side that won the old First Division championship in 1992. The Gary Speed suite will be officially named before Saturday’s clash with Millwall at Elland Road. It will be open for the first time when the Whites take on Barnsley. The former Wales boss began his career at Leeds as a trainee in 1988 before going on to make 312 appearances, scoring 57 goals. He left United for Everton in July 1996 before going on to play for Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United, where he had a brief spell as manager. Leeds have also confirmed that their players will wear black armbands during the weekend Championship encounter. There will also be a minute’s applause before kick-off

Nov 30th. Ken Bates on YR transcript. Ben Fry: Chairman, we’ll come onto the Forest game shortly but let’s start with the tragic news with Gary Speed’s death at the weekend. It seemed to shock not just Leeds United fans but the footballing world on Sunday. What was your reaction to the news? Ken Bates: Simply totally stunned. I was actually just about to speak to Simon, he was at the ground, and as I was speaking to Simon I said “hang on, Simon”, he was obviously puzzled and I said “I’ve just heard Gary Speed is dead”, “what do you mean? What are you talking about… Gary Speed’s dead?” he said. “It’s just come over the radio.” We just agreed to end the conversation because he was obviously upset because he was his best mate. They both signed as kids for Leeds on the same day. And after that of course, it was front page news. Articles about him on Monday and Tuesday were in all the national press and quite amazing. I have to be fair, I didn’t know Gary Speed. He was before my time and it was only later he came through doing the jobs at Sheffield United as a manager then obviously the miraculous turnaround he produced in the Wales job. Let’s face it, very little, very few players and very little options, it was tremendous for a small country like Wales in the international circuit. So, he was laughing and joking on TV… anyway… all this has been written before but it is just puzzlement. None of the obvious suspects that everyone hears about… this, that and the other with players or managers these days. There wasn’t anything, he wasn’t in that league. So, it’s interesting that wasn’t just the clubs where he played that paid tribute to him, it was clubs all over the country, which was tremendous. BF: We often talk about the legends at this club who played for the Revie team but would it be fair to say he was a modern legend with what he did with Howard Wilkinson’s team? KB: Well yes. I was reading a summary of Howard’s team when they won promotion. No doubt he was a vital part of it. Anyway, I’ll leave you to give more details about the arrangements for Saturday but suffice to say that we have discussed it at management level and in the new East Stand extension we have a suite which is called the Whites Suite and we’re renaming it with immediate effect The Gary Speed Suite. We think it’s the best, permanent way of recognising a very unusual man and unusual character and tremendous player. BF: And on Saturday for fans who are coming to the Millwall game, there will be a minute’s applause and both managers will be laying wreaths ahead of the game as well as a chance to see some of his finest moments in a Leeds United shirt. Of course, more details to follow on LeedsUnited.com. Chairman, since the news on Sunday there has been a huge outpouring of emotion. The tributes from Leeds United fans and in particular next to the Billy Bremner statue, it has been very moving hasn’t it? KB: It has indeed. I have been wondering how we can possibly leave them there for the Saturday game but that will have to be checked out with the police and safety people but I’ve been speaking to Shaun about that this morning. The photographs in the newspapers of course, Billy Bremner’s statue is awash, almost swamped and submerged by tributes. We’ll have to try think of some way that we can leave them there for a few days, including Saturday. I’ll finish talking with Shaun after I do this interview. BF: Obviously you mentioned how upset Simon was and how close he was with Gary Speed. Not easy for anybody linked with the club to go an play a game last night. The result in the end was fitting and was dedicated to Gary Speed. KB: Well it was absolutely tremendous. Let’s face it, we were rubbish on Saturday. The fans were disappointed and rightly so but once again they bounced back with tremendous style and to beat Notts Forest who are yet another of the big spenders in this division so comprehensively was very satisfying and well done to all the players and well done to all the fans. Their particular, I thought unique, tribute of chanting his name for 11 minutes and on the 11th minute, bang, in goes the first goal. So we are consolidating our position now in the play-off places. Now we have to concentrate and make sure we’re definitely there and start chasing West Ham who are nine points ahead of us. BF: You mentioned West Ham, nine points ahead, and Southampton, 11 points ahead. They seem to be creating a bit of a gap now, is that a worry at all? KB: It’s always a worry. You always worry if you’re not first or second. There’s still a lot of games to go yet. Both West Ham and Southampton have to come to Elland Road so that’s knocking three points off the deficit in our hands, the rest we’ll have to leave to each other. BF: And again, we’ve touched on the Millwall game already. The next opponents, another early kick-off. I suppose, again, football will almost take second place on Saturday and it will be hard for anyone to focus on the three points up for grabs. KB: I think I have to take issue with you there. We’re playing this game on Saturday to win and particularly to beat Millwall which will consolidate our position in the play-offs. I think that’s the best way we can pay tribute to Gary Speed – by winning. Again, doing it, if you like, for him. It’s also doing it for the existing team and for the fans.

Nov 29th Notts Forest 0-4 Leeds. 21 McCarthy, 02 Connolly, 03 Kisnorbo, 22 Lees, 28 White, 08 Brown, 14 Howson, 15 Clayton, 16 Pugh, 10 Becchio (44 McCormack on 75 mins), 23 Snodgrass (20 Nunez) – Unused Substitutes : 24 Taylor, 26 Bromby,  38 Keogh, Att – 23,577 (3,957 LUFC).  Simon Grayson rested McCormack and Sam and went with 4-5-1 with Luciano Becchio leading the line, Howson playing behind him and Michael Brown back in front of the back four. 3,597 Leeds fans constantly sang the name of Gary Speed, and in the 11th minute for 11 minutes the crescendo of noise for the former Leeds number 11 was a fitting tribute to a wonderful player and decent human being. United reacted to the away support and thoroughly dominated the first half. How fitting that our left footed winger, Snodgrass,  scored the first on 20 minutes following a super tackle by Adam Clayton. Jonny Howson made it two right on half time with a terrific half volley from outside the area. In truth Leeds could have been five or six up at half time with Howson, Snodgrass and Becchio all having good chances to score. Leeds continued in similar vein in the second half and Luciano Becchio who lead the lime immaculately converted a Michael Brown cross on 50 minutes. “3-0 to Gary Speed” echoed all around the City Ground which was emptied of many of the home support. Seventeen minutes later Adam Clayton fired home to make it 4-0. Andy Reid saw red for a second bookable offence when he brought down the flying machine, Aidy White with just a few minutes remaining. United in truth demolished a poor Forest side. Simon Grayson should have learned tonight that we must go with 4-5-1 against Millwall on Saturday. Becchio lead the line superbly. owson played as the point man in the midfield of five getting forward at will. Brown and Clayton were disciplined in the middle and Aidy White was superb ion the left wing. Leeds were never under any pressure and I still have grave reservations regarding Connolly and Kisnorbo. It was good to get four goals on the plus column with a clean sheet at last. Lastly a fitting tribute from Leeds United players and fans to a much loved former player…..Gary Speed. 

Nov 28th. It emerged that Bristol City offered to take And O’Brien on the same terms for the remaining year and a half of his contract. O’Brien is alleged to have refused the move. We have as yet to hear O’Brien’s side of the story, but the longer he remains silent the worse it seems to appear for him. Elsewhere, Maxi Gradel scored his first goal for St Etienne whilst acknowledging that he has found it hard to settle in the more tactical French football.

Nov 29th. The family members of Gary Speed on Monday expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support they have received following the tragic death of the Wales football manager. Speed, 42, was found dead at his home in Cheshire on Sunday, with police sources confirming the former Newcastle, Everton, Leeds and Bolton midfielder hanged himself in his garage. His wife found him there shortly after 0700 on Sunday morning.

Nov 27th 2011. RIP Gary Speed 1969-2011 Perhaps this puts all things into perspective. We all get hot under collar about football but when a  42 year old man who was a great star at Leeds, and who seemingly was on the crest of great things at Wales, dies in such tragic circumstances, we all stop to think about what really is important. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary’s family at this difficult time. Gary was part of that superb midfield quartet of Strachan, McAllister, Batty that brought the last League Championship to Leeds in 1991-92. We marvelled at his superb strikes at the Dell and his brilliant spring in the air as he ghosted in from the left time and time again. He broke into the United first team at the age of 17 and helped the club climb back into the pinnacle of English football,  before clinching the league two years later. Gary Speed made 312 appearances for Leeds between 1988 and 1996 scoring 57 times. He went on to make the most Premiership appearances ever  for any outfield player. He played for Everton, Newcastle, Bolton, and Sheffield United and seemed to have found his perfect job as manager of the Wales national team. I had the pleasure of seeing him play and score at Elland Road. RIP Gary who joins Billy Bremner and John Charles in the United Heaven 11. Thanks for the memories – Louth Branch LUSC Nov 27th 2011.

Leeds tributes to Gary Speed An emotional Howard Wilkinson called Gary Speed “a star in the true sense” following the shock news of the former Leeds United player’s death. Wilkinson led Leeds to the old First Division title in 1992, the final season before the Premier League began, and Speed was an integral member of the side. Wilkinson told BBC Radio Five Live: “The players I worked with represented all colours of the rainbow in terms of character but in Gary’s case he was a star in the true sense. For him – at 42 – to leave us is such a tragic loss. “He had a life of success to look forward to I’m sure.’ “It’s unbelievable, I’m still struggling to get my head around it. I’ve known Gary since 1988 when I joined Leeds and I’ve rarely come across a better balanced, lovely, genuine person. “He was a terrific player – not as gifted as some but he made the most of everything he had – worst of all for me I knew his parents, in particular his dad, his lovely wife and family – I just find it very very difficult to come to terms with it. “I cannot start to try and understand what his family are going through at this time. “We’re not born footballers and like everyone else they had a talent and that became their job, but basically they are born people and subject to all the stress and strains and the good things that happen to one in life.” A Leeds United spokesman said: “We are stunned to learn this news. The club expresses its deepest sadness. Gary was very well thought-of throughout the game. He was a very likeable and popular man. It’s very difficult find words to describe how we’re all feeling right now.” Tony Dorigo, who played alongside Speed in the team which won the 1992 title, said on Twitter: “I’m completely shocked and saddened. A great guy and a better team-mate you couldn’t wish for. Speedo, RIP mate.” Leeds manager Simon Grayson, who was an apprentice with Speed at the Elland Road club, has expressed his shock at the loss of “a true friend”. Grayson and Speed signed schoolboy forms on the same day and the current Leeds boss told the club website: “It is an unbelievably sad day. “Speedo was a true friend and a very, very popular man. “Our sympathies are with Louise, his children, his dad, and all his family. “We signed on the same day and played in the youth and reserve teams together. “We also did all our coaching badges together. He was a good friend and this is a very sad day”.

Other tributes to Gary Speed : Ex-Wales boss Mark Hughes: “I’m devastated. He was a privilege to work alongside and call a friend. My thoughts are with his family.” Manchester United striker Michael Owen: “Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I’m numb”. Speed’s former Leeds United boss Howard Wilkinson: “He had so much to offer as a person and as a sportsman. I just find it unbelievable. I cannot start to understand what his family are going through.” Former Wales teammate Dean Saunders: “I just can’t believe it. I spoke to him last week. We roomed together all of our careers with Wales. I just can’t get my head around it. It’s incredible.”Dan Walker of BBC’s Football Focus: “Staggered by the news of Gary Speed’s death. Was with him for much of yesterday. I genuinely cannot believe it. Thoughts with his family.”Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville: “It’s absolutely devastating. My career and his crossed many times, I played against him many times. Everyone that I know that knew him couldn’t say enough good things about him. We think of football as being important, but it’s not really. “ Hayley McQueen of Sky Sports News: “Just come off air with a huge lump in my throat having broken the news about the death of Gary Speed, in shock at such terribly tragic news.” Real Madrid midfielder and former Liverpool star Xabi Alonso: “RIP Gary Speed. My first PL game was against him, he showed me in that game what British football is about.” Former Northern Ireland international and Sky Sports pundit Iain Dowie: “I was with Gary a couple of weeks ago, our two sons played football against each other and he looked exactly the same as when he played. He was a proper man’s man, it’s staggering, one so young. The world has lost a great footballer and potentially a great football manager.” Former Wales teammates Robbie Savage: “He was upbeat on phone yesterday we were laughing together, talking football and dancing he was a great teammate and a great friend.” The pictures of Shay Given today in tears and saying a little prayer (they were close friends at Newcastle) before the Villa v Swansea match, poignantly in Wales, summed up how many people were feeling. RIP Gary. 

Nov 26th. 2011 Leeds United 1-2 Barnsley. 21 McCarthy, 02 Connolly, 03 Kisnorbo, 28 White YC, 11 Sam (Nunez 57)14 Howson  YC, 15 Clayton, 10 Becchio (Keogh 68) 23 Snodgrass, 44 McCormack YC (Pugh 74) Unused Subs : 24 Taylor, 26 Bromby. Att – 25,900 Report from BBC – Barnsley won at Elland Road for the first time since 1990 with one of their best performances of the season to add to Leeds’ troubles at home. The visitors went ahead when Jim O’Brien squared for Ricardo Vaz Te, whose scuffed shot looped in. It was 2-0 when Jacob Butterfield’s strike was pushed by Alex McCarthy into the path of Craig Davies, who finished. Leeds’ Ross McCormack fired in a 25-yard free-kick, but Barnsley hung on despite David Perkins’ second booking. Robert Snodgrass had an early run and shot for Leeds, but that was the sum of his side’s early chances in spite of their possession. Buoyed by riding the early storm, Barnsley settled into things and their passing – particularly from the outstanding Butterfield – was impressive. Captain Butterfield ghosted into the box unmarked and should have done better with a free header, while at the other end, Aidy White was booked for taking a dive over the flailing leg of O’Brien in the box. The same two players were then heavily involved in Vaz Te’s 27th-minute goal, although it was another Leeds player taking a tumble this time. Lloyd Sam slipped as he tracked a Bobby Hassell throw, allowing O’Brien to get in behind White and square for the waiting Vaz Te to score beyond McCarthy. The keeper then made an error that allowed Barnsley to double their lead two minutes before the break. Even though McCarthy got his body behind Butterfield’s shot, he could only shovel it into the path of the on-rushing Davies, who made no mistake. Leeds looked to up the ante after the break and Snodgrass hit the post with a curling effort that had Luke Steele beaten. When McCormack slammed home an excellent free-kick with 35 minutes left, after a foul on Luciano Becchio, the atmosphere grew. United boss Simon Grayson threw on the lively Ramon Nunez in a bid to capitalise on the momentum, but some resolute defending from the Tykes allowed them to stabilise and, when McCormack was withdrawn, they had ridden out the worst of the pressure. They could then have restored their two-goal cushion had debutant Nile Ranger got on the end of O’Brien’s fizzing cross-shot, while McCarthy was fortunate to see White on hand to clear after he shelled another shot from distance, this time from Matt Done. Perkins was then sent off, but goalkeeper Steele ensured his dismissal was not costly when he saved in added time from Nunez who really should have made it 2-2. Simon Grayson : ‘When you look at our previous results, winning the last two away from home, then we want to build on recent games. ‘We started well but without any real opportunities. They slowed the play down, we allowed Barnsley time on the ball and they have players who can hit you on the counter-attack. ‘We normally have movement and opportunities at home, but here, even when we scored the goal, we didn’t work their keeper or back four enough. ‘We can play a lot better than that.’ As one of the three members of the Louth branch in attendance  I have to say I don’t agree with Larry’s assessment of the game. Leeds started slowly and let Barnsley set the tempo from the word go. Barnsley bossed the midfield and United lacked a leader to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. United were better in the second half and had chances to get a draw out of the match but that would have been harsh on Barnsley who had a game plan and stuck to it. Becchio started up front with McCormack and I thought Larry was wrong to take him off. Reading loanee, McCarthy was poor for the second goal but it’s unfair to be too harsh on the lad when he kept us in the game at Burnley. United are poor in a number of key areas. Paddy Kisnorbo is simply not up to it. His distribution is poor and his pace is non existent. Right full, Connolly is absolutely no use to Snodgrass on the right wing and Lloyd Sam is like a fish out of water on the left wing. Why left footed Snodgrass and right footed Sam don’t start on the opposite flanks or at least switch over from time to time is a mystery to me. Clayton was poor today, and Howson who was much better in the second half perhaps needs a ball winner beside him. It’s a worrying time for Leeds fans just now even though we still remain in 5th position. Whilst two away wins in a row are commendable, we have taken just two points  from recent home games versus Coventry City, Blackpool, Cardiff City and Barnsley. Notts Forest are up next on Tuesday night, but Grayson is a man under pressure and doesn’t fill one with confidence tactically right now. Has Bates backed the manager with finance ? Can Bates trust the manager financially to bring in the right players ? Is he getting the best out of the players available to him ? The chairman who sold our best player on transfer deadline day  has altered his position on the team management in recent weeks. Promotion he maintains is a must this season. We look miles away from West Ham and Southampton currently. Yet we went to Upton Park and were the better side. It takes strong players to play at Elland Road when the crowd (as they are entitled to) can get on players backs. Our inconsistent form and performances are worrying and the manager is struggling to find his best eleven. O’Dea will come back in at Forest for Kisnorbo but that is only partly an answer for some of the round pegs in square holes. Pugh will also start instead of  Lloyd Sam.  The Championship is so up and down this season that if any side were to go on a winning spree of five or six games, it would put them in the automatic promotion positions.  Somehow the next few weeks may define where our season is going and who will be at the helm during this period ? Barnsley boss Keith Hill was struggling to contain his delight after his troops upset Leeds United at Elland Road.  “It’s definitely one of my highlights,” said the former RochdaleDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif manager. “To come to Elland Road and win in the manner that we did; it’s up there. It was great to celebrate with the players and the supporters and it was a special moment for the fans.” The closest the home side went to levelling was when Ramon Nunez forced Luke Steele into an injury-time save after David Perkins had been sent off for a second yellow card. “It was about keeping the ball and not allowing the home supporters to get behind Leeds the way we know we can,” Hill said of his side’s game-plan. “We kept the ball excellently and that allowed us to defend the way we did. It was about retaining the ball and diffusing the atmosphere. You can come here, go gung ho and make it attack, attack, attack. We defended by keeping the ball.”

Nov 24th 2011 In and Outs. Leeds have sent goalkeeper Paul Rachubka and defender Alex Bruce out on loan deals to npower League One clubs. The 30-year-old Rachubka has joined Tranmere while Bruce, 27, has moved to in-form Huddersfield. The pair are due to return to Elland Road in January. Rachubka lasted just 45 minutes in his last appearance for the Whites before being substituted after several errors handed Blackpool a 3-0 half-time lead in their recent 5-0 defeat. But manager Simon Grayson has backed the move, telling Leeds’ official website: “The move to Tranmere is an ideal opportunity for Paul to get away from the limelight here and play some games, and hopefully get back to what he does best.” Meanwhile Maik TaylorDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif has agreed a deal at Elland Road after impressing GraysonDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif in training in recent weeks. The 40-year-old Northern IrelandDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif international had been without a club since leaving Birmingham at the end of last season and Grayson is happy to have brought in Taylor’s experience. He told the club’s official website: “Maik is an experienced goalkeeper who has been without a club since the summer. “He’s been training with us for a couple of weeks now and he’s a good addition for us.”We’ve obviously been looking at the goalkeeping situation and with the loan window closing now you have to make sure you’re covered. It’s good to have Maik as part of the squad.”Taylor, who has made almost 600 career appearances and last featured for his country in October, will provide back up for on-loan Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthyDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif while Andy LonerganDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif continues his rehabilitation after fracturing a finger at Doncaster in October. I have to say I’m disappointed that Bruce has left. He would play well and then  make an error that was fatal. The move to the Terriers is decent and pave the way to a new deal.

Nov 20th. Leeds manager Simon Grayson says Andy O’Brien refused to play in the win over Burnley and will never appear for the club again. O’Brien has made just three npower Championship appearances this season and has been targeted by the Leeds boo-boys but Grayson previously claimed he would not consider allowing the defender to leave on loan.  Grayson said the defender told him on Friday he did not want to play against the Clarets. “It came as a shock, especially after I have backed him publicly and privately over the last few weeks,” Grayson said. “He won’t play for this football club again as long as I am here.”We will decide internally what happens now and make a statement next week. O’Brien, 32, has made three Championship appearances for Leeds this season, returning to the side in the win over Leicester on 6 November. Speaking after Leeds’ 2-1 victory over the Clarets, Grayson said: “Andy came to me on Friday and said that he no longer wanted to play for this football club. “I said I needed him to and I thought he played well. “As manager, I have the right in the early parts of the season to take players out of the team and bring others in. “I have said that Andy had trained well and did enough to get back into the team against Leicester. “I don’t want to say too much about the circumstances just now but we will decide internally what happens now and make a statement next week.” It’s just over a year since O’Brien was heralded by many as our defensive saviour. I’ve never rated the guy and would happily drive him down to Upton Park. He’s no Carlos Tevez but has acted just as foolishly. Silly boy! That’s Billy Paynter and O’Brien both gone in the same month. Thank you Santa !  I don’t know what has happened here but I’d like to see Bruce get a place in the squad and see if he can take his chance if and when he gets it. p.s.Saint Nic, if you could make it a hat-trick for me. Please take Connolly away also. Then I really would believe in the Tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and that all Man United fans come from Salford.

Nov 20th. What they had to say after game. Robert Snodgrass said that they realised they needed to put on a show for the travelling fans and his two goals sent the Leeds fans home happy. Speaking on BBC1 after the game, Snodgrass said, “We did it here last year and to be honest with you, we are getting used to going behind and then we start to play. The manager will be pulling his hair out; we should be doing that in the first half. It was in our mind what happened last season, we knew we had to come out and put a show on for the fans.” The win moves Leeds back into the play off places in fifth placeSpeaking on Yorkshire Radio, Grayson said : “There were 4,000 Leeds fans that we were kicking to in the second half, but ultimately the players knew what they needed to do. The fans were very positive to the team, in that we kept going and it`s a special place to play because again at half time you could hear the fans cheering and chanting and obviously it motivates the team.”  You wouldn`t mind coming hear every week when you get the result.” Burnley boss Eddie Howe insisted his side were unfortunate to be defeated in the 2-1 loss against Leeds United.  “I thought for the majority of the game, if not the full 90 minutes, we were excellent,” said Howe, who lost leading scorer Charlie Austin to a dislocated shoulder. “We looked good going forward and we tested their keeper regularly. Leeds are a good side so we were pleased with that. Lee Grant only had one save to make yet he is having to pick the ball out of the back of the net. (Sorry Eddie but he saved a McCormack free kick and then saved outside the box a McCormack shot with his hands – one and one is two) “There are a lot of positives to take but individual mistakes have cost us  again.”Now is the time to show strength of character because it is a difficult run that we are on. I still believe in this group of players. “It was a massive blow losing Charlie Austin. He said he felt it pop straight away so it is a big blow for us. “Sam Vokes has come in and been welcomed into the group and I thought he did well.” Leeds continue to take a large following to all their away games this season and they have now won four of their last five games on the road.

Nov 20th  Burnley 1-2 Leeds United. Taken from the BBC. 21 McCarthy, 02 Connolly, 03 Kisnorbo, 28 White, 48 O’Dea (YC)  (Lees 82)11 Sam, 14 Howson, 15 Clayton, 23 Snodgrass, 38 Keogh (Becchio 59) 44 McCormack (Nunez 59) Unused Substitutes : 30 Cairns, 08 Brown. Att – 17,026 (almost 4,000 Leeds fans) Leeds winger Robert Snodgrass’s late double prevented Burnley paying a winning tribute to club legend Jimmy Adamson at an emotional Turf Moor. Jay Rodriguez headed home a 10th-minute opener on a day Burnley held a minute’s applause for former skipper Adamson, who died earlier this month. But Snodgrass slid home Lloyd Sam’s cross on 76 minutes to equalise. And on 89 minutes, he chested the ball down at the back post to fire home a winner and send Leeds fifth. Those two strikes spoiled what had looked like being a fitting farewell for Adamson, who spent his entire 486-game playing career at Turf Moor. Before kick-off, supporters and a host of famous faces had paid tribute to the ex-Leeds boss, who died aged 82 on 8 November.The pre-kick-off applause soon rang out again when Eddie Howe’s side took a deserved early lead. Kieran Trippier, on-loan from Premier League leaders Manchester City, delivered a swinging ball into the Leeds area and Rodriguez planted home his header from eight yards. Leeds struggled to find their rhythm in the first half, though the visitors felt Burnley should have been reduced to 10 men shortly after the half-hour mark. Home keeper Lee Grant handled outside of his area after charging out to meet a long ball and would certainly have been given a red card had referee Scott Mathieson spotted the offence. Rodriguez and Keith Treacy could have extended Burnley’s lead seconds before the break to underline their dominance, Rodriguez shooting straight at McCarthy when through and the keeper then saving a low 25-yard strike from Treacy. The one dark moment of Burnley’s otherwise encouraging first half came as striker Charlie Austin needed oxygen when he was stretchered off with a dislocated shoulder. The Clarets continued to dominate after the interval with Treacy’s long-range strike clipping the top of the Leeds woodwork. However, their inability to kill off Leeds cost them as Snodgrass pounced twice in the last 14 minutes to record the Elland Road club’s seventh win in the last eight meetings between the sides . They say it’s the sign of a good team when they play badly and win. United were very much second best in all areas bar one this afternoon, and it’s that final one that counts…..goals. Leeds should have had better point returns this season (from games versus Middlesbro, Cardiff, Coventry, Birmingham and Ipswich Town). Even today, they should have been playing against ten men from the 17th minute. United rode their luck all afternoon, when only McCarthy (looks like a superb keeper in the making) Aidy White (gets better with every game) and Snodgrass for his two well executed goals, the second of which was sensational. It was a difficult afternoon for Snodgrass who was up against two men all afternoon. He plays in front of Connolly who does no overlapping what so ever, and gives him no options. McCormack seems to be playing deeper and deeper, and Keogh today portrayed nothing of his selfless running. He looked like a player who had overindulged in Ireland’s qualification celebrations. I felt Sam and Keogh should have been withdrawn but Larry called it right. Becchio when he came on started to win headers and hold the ball up, and both Sam and Nunez provided superb crosses for the goals. I’ll be happier when Lees is back at centre half. He is a better defender than both O’Dea and Kisnorbo. It is worrying that O’Dea is still slightly concussed after three weeks. Lees is quick and scores goals. With O’Brien going his merry way, United will be in the hunt for another centre half and hopefully a right full. Connolly was at fault for the goal but the delivery of the cross was inch perfect for the Claret number nine. Howson and Clayton will have better days. Sam left large chunks of the left wing open when he continually came inside.  Leeds are very difficult to beat and hang in there right until the end of games. The Leeds fans were almost as subdued as the team today (apart from the second half) when it must have been full fries all around. We wont always get out of jail with a win in these circumstances but it’s good to have two wins on the bounce from the Walker Stadium and Turf Moor, grounds were most sides will struggle this season. United have a better points tally  now against the same stage last season and now lie in 5th position. Elsewhere, Southampton hammered Brighton (that’s just 7pts from last 33 for Gus) , WHU came from behind to defeat Coventry City, Hull won again on the road, as did M’bro but Cardiff lost at Forest and Birmingham could only draw at home to Peterboro. On Sunday, Jermaine Beckford set Leicester on their way to a convincing 3-0 win over Palace. New manager syndrome will make them a force especially with the quality they possess in all areas, except maybe goals.  

Friday November 18th. Rachubka out and Taylor in ? Leeds United were looking to finalise a deal with Northern Ireland international goalkeeper Maik Taylor today. Manager Simon Grayson revealed that moves were afoot to tie the 40-year-old to a permanent contract at Elland Road, with Paul Rachubka all but certain to leave on loan ahead of next week’s emergency deadline. Taylor has trained with Leeds all week and played in a reserve-team friendly against Chelsea on Tuesday, and the former Birmingham City and Fulham player – out of contract and available on a free transfer – is set to be added to Grayson’s squad, possibly in time for tomorrow’s match at Burnley. United’s present first-choice keeper is Alex McCarthy, brought in from Reading on a 28-day loan before the international break, but with Andy Lonergan expected to return from injury next month, the arrival of Taylor would allow beleaguered Rachubka to seek new pastures. He has been ruled out of Grayson’s plans since his horror show in United’s 5-0 defeat by Blackpool. On the prospect of signing Taylor, Grayson said: “It might be something that suits both parties in the short-term deal, to give us cover and put Maik in the shop window, or maybe even a longer-term deal until the end of the season. “Alex McCarthy will eventually go back to Reading and it might still be difficult to have Paul in or around my 16. Maik’s trained all week and we’re going to speak to him and see what comes of it. “He’s experienced and nothing’s going to faze him. He’s played at the highest level and he’s kept himself very fit.”Grayson also confirmed that the club plan to send Rachubka out on a temporary basis, saying: “It would be good for him to get out on loan, but what I will say is that he’s trained extremely hard since the Blackpool game and he’s looking to get back playing football quickly.”

Nov 17th. Bates turns turns up heat on Grayson but who turns up heat on Bates – us the “Morons” ???  Copied transcript from “The Square Ball” : Taken from Yorkshire Radio’s interview with Leeds United owner Ken Bates today…‘Mr Chairman’ tells Ben Fry about his meeting with Simon Grayson in Monaco this week, although he won’t tell us about any plans for January because the Leeds United only do their business in private and not newspapers. He has praise for Aidy White and looks ahead to Saturday’s fixture against the very well-run Burnley. He’s happy that the rugby league is at Elland Road on Sunday and that the new Whites Lounge will be open in the East Stand too. There’s the usual Howard’s plug and Christmas stuff before he moans about other stuff in the world of football… but he’s happy for Cameroon players…Ben Fry: Chairman, international break coming towards an end, has it given you time to reflect on the campaign so far because after this it all rushes towards the end of the season. Ken Bates: Yes, well in fact, Simon flew out to see me. We had a day together on Monday to do exactly that; reflect on the campaign so far and talk about the next 30 games which are very important to us, plus the FA Cup tie in January. Yes we have, it was a very constructive meeting. In depth, I suppose, frank and meaningful discussion onto the various good high and low points of the season so far. It was very valuable indeed and I think that we must get promotion this year and maybe be a little more tougher on certain playing matters. It has given us time to reflect and it has been very constructive. BF: Is it important that you can have frank discussions with the manager and that you have that relationship? KB: Oh yeah, I think it is because if you don’t, you’ve got no chance of success at all. I know there has been a few grumbles and grunts about Simon recently but the fact of the matter is, he’s our longest serving manager since David O’Leary, he’s the first person to win anything i.e promotion back to the Championship since Howard Wilkinson, his result ratio is he has won 53 per cent of all the competitive games he has been in charge, which is very good. BF: Did the subject of January come up? Is that going to be important for the club? KB: I’ve already said, Ben, that we’re not going to discuss anymore details. You know very well that our interviews are lifted by the newspapers. We don’t talk about business affairs through the press. BF: OK, let’s talk about one of the players who has been flourishing during the international break. Aidy White scored his first goal for the Under-21s. Irelandhave just qualified for Euro 2012. Do you think he might have a shout at being involved? KB: Well I’ve no idea because I don’t know very much about the Irish team but I’m delighted for Aidy. It’s no more than he deceives. He has been brilliant since Simon brought him in. Another homegrown boy making it and playing for his country and getting his first goal from his left-back position I think is brilliant. I wish him well. While we’re on it, we should congratulate Ireland as well for qualifying for the first time in God knows how many years to go into the finals. BF: Now let’s bring it back to playing matters and the next game is Burnleyon Saturday. Early kick-off, I suppose it does give the whites a chance to get three points in the bag and put some pressure on those above. KB: Well if our three points are in the bag, we’re in the top six and it’s up to the other clubs to push us down. We won there 3-2 last year. It’s a game that is winnable and of course they all are but it would be nice to do it again but without conceding two goals. BF: Would it be fair to say Burnleyseem to be in a transition after their Premier League adventure? They seem to have gone very heavily for youth this season. KB: Well I remember discussing the club’s affairs with the Burnley chairman when we played them last year and they were determined not to make the mistake of other clubs. You know, they’ve gone up, got promotion, they got quite a few million but they were determined that they were not going to come down and waste it all. They have taken a very conservative attitude and from a financial point of view, I think they have got it just right. I know of course fans just want to spend, spend, spend but the important thing is the club is well managed. They’ve had that attitude and it’s stood them in good stead. BF: Now whilst the first team will be in action at lunchtime in Burnley, Elland Road will be busy on Saturday night, hosting and international final between Englandand Australiain the Four Nations. You must be pleased the stadium is going to be involved in such a prestigious game? KB: Well we all stood up and cheered when England won because otherwise it was going to be Australia versus New Zealand and I think they would have been busing in the ducks to make up the numbers. But I gather they have sold nearly 30,000 tickets already, so that’s great. It’s great for England, it’s great for rugby league and of course it’s great for Leeds city because it’s another form of tourism income. People will be coming in from all over the country and spending money in Leeds and of course we’re hoping they’re going to spend a bit of it at Elland Road. So yes, we’re very pleased to stage it and we hope that we will be doing the World Club Championship as well in the spring. BF: And of course, talking about the stadium, the Whites Lounge will be open. Another East Stand facility opening for the Barnsleygame. It seems to be moving on at a pace now. KB: Well it’s another step in the right direction. Another box ticked, another milestone passed. I think the fans are now beginning to see and get a better idea of what the East Stand is going to look like when it’s finished. All credit to Caddicks for doing a good job and doing the final stages of the contract. Hopefully it will be completely open for the Millwall game. BF: Now last week we mentioned a new website for Howard’s – howards-restaurant.com – but this week we found out that Howard’s has been receiving some great reviews on TripAdvisor. In fact, it is ranked 13th out of 357 restaurants in Leeds. I suppose the message is getting out there now, isn’t it? KB: Yes, I mean the thing is, they have not tried any gimmicks. It has simply been based on great quality food with a great ambiance and any new place takes time to catch on. The chefs and the staff are now getting the credit for what is really a good service, a good restaurant and a great venue to be. I’m a bit bothered we’re only 13th though. We’ll have to see what we can go do about the other 12. But seriously, 13th out of 257 is fantastic and congratulations to everybody involved. BF: And of course more reviews on TripAdvisor and if you would like to book for Howard’s, 01133676032. KB: (interrupts) And I heard from Norber Pinchler (Catering Director) last night that in fact the Beaujolais Evening is going well. As of last night they had just six seats left. So that will be another great, successful evening. BF: Now let’s move on then and talk about Christmas. It is fast upon us now and a chance for fans to save with the Double Discount night at Elland Road. That is 5-9 on Thursday, saving 20 per cent. An important benefit for member’s and season ticket holders and giving them a chance to save some cash before Christmas. KB: Yes, that’s a great initiative again by Dan Jeffries, our Merchandising Controller. It is a reward, something extra, for all season ticket holders and members and I hope they take advantage because the stuff at Elland Road Store is good quality, it’s pretty competitively priced as well. With the advantage of the Double Discount, good things will happen. We’ll have an early boost for our sales and the members can get some Christmas shopping out of the way. BF: So it is 20 per cent Double Discount then for Members and season ticket holders and LeedsUnited mastercard holders as well. 5-9 online and in the store on Thursday night. All the details on the website. Let’s finish with one international story. The Barcelonapresident Sandro Rossell is talking about wanting top leagues around Europecut to 16 teams, including the Premier League, with the idea of being able to play more Champions League games, even on a Saturday. Is there any legs at all in this idea? KB: I don’t think so. It’s not new. Soon after the Premier League was started, David Dein came up with this idea of a Super League – a super Champions League – which would be independent of UEFA in fact and the idea was that certain clubs, surprise, surprise, including Arsenal would be guaranteed their place for five years and other clubs would have to struggle to fill in the gaps. Killed it off in no uncertain terms. We told him quite bluntly that it wasn’t for the good of football, it was for the selfish advantage of Arsenal and a few other clubs and we wouldn’t tolerate it. There’s a very easy way to stop it. When we do the Premier League fixture list, we can’t stop you breaking away but we’ll make sure that you’re playing away in the Premiership at the same time as you’re supposed to be playing in the Champions League. So you’d either have turn your reserve side out in the Premiership or your reserve team out in the Champions League. Or we may chuck them out altogether. It died a death because at the end of the day European Champions League football is the icing on the cake but fans really want to see Liverpool beat Manchester United and Arsenal beat Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur beat Everton. That’s the bread and butter of English football. Local rivalries, tribalism, which football is. It’s very tribal and nothing will replace it. As we’ve seen already in some of the early stages of the Champions League, the gates aren’t any good any way. I mean, how attractive is Genk on a Tuesday night. So I think that is a dead duck. BF: People often talk about trying to reduce the number of teams in the Premier League. Do you think 20 is the right number though? KB: Well there’s nothing wrong with 22 but that was the sort of concession that was granted to the Football Association. Originally, the idea was it was going to be the FA Premier League, independent of the rest of football and that horse didn’t run either. But no, there’s nothing wrong with 20. I mean this thing about tiredness and that. If you reduce the number of games and give blank Saturdays, what happens? All that happens is the Premiership clubs rush off to the other end of the world to play money-making international friendlies. It’s hypocrisy to say they play too much football. One thing I would agree, is cut down the number of internationals and these meaningless bloody friendlies are a disgrace. Tuesday’s was a perfect example. Sweden… under 49,000 people there in that magnificent stadium. Why? Because it didn’t have any meaning and Capello had already indicated he was going to make wholesale changes from his team on Saturday so what’s the point in going? These things are money-spinning operations which are going sadly wrong. I’m delighted to see the Cameroon players went on strike and wouldn’t play for their country because they hadn’t been paid for the last two international games. You have to wonder where the money has gone in West Africa don’t you?

News from last week – Bates the clown ! Leeds chairman Ken Bates has turned up the heat on manager Simon Grayson by insisting the club’s current position of seventh in the Championship is not good enough.BatesDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif has also confirmed “heart-searching” discussions have been taking place among Elland Road staff this week in a bid to propel the Whites up the table. United headed into the international break on the back of a 1-0 victory at Leicester City,Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif the win coming on the back of a horrific 5-0 home defeat to Blackpool.Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif Leeds are out of the play-off spots only on goal difference and while Bates was pleased to see United bounce back from the lackpool loss he wants more from GraysonDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif and the players.Bates told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Well you have got to commend it, but you also have got to do soul-searching on why we have lost the games we’ve lost and why have we drawn the games we’ve drawn. “And, without being too critical, the fact of the matter is we have lost games rather than been beaten. We have given away the points rather than them being earned by the opposition and that’s something that we’ve had too much of and it’s got to stop.”There are discussions going on this week, heart-searching in the backroom to decide what we can do to improve the situation because we should be higher than we are.” What a gobshite Bates is. He doesn’t spend any money and expects Leeds to be in top two. This is the man who let Dennis Wise relegate our club into League on with 30 games left in the Championship when he took over. He’ll probably bring in Jody Morris or Kerry Dixon to replace Grayson. Gobshite ! Here is the full propaganda from Yorkshire TV, his mouthpiece station. Thanks to “The Square Ball” for transcript.  Meanwhile, United captain, Jon Howson  is close to committing his future to the Whites and snub prospective moves from Bolton and Wigan. Talks about a new contract appear to be going well. 

Ben Fry: We’ll start with Sunday’s win against Leicester. What a fantastic three points on the road and important going into the international break. Ken Bates: Yes, well after the debacle against Blackpool – I can’t call it anything other than that – it was important we bounced back. I thought the team gave a very professional performance. Three points were thoroughly deserved and of course, despite all of our travails over the last few weeks, we’re still 7th. Those fans who have been thinking that we should have spent more money in the summer have to look at Leicester as an example of where spending money on it’s own doesn’t work. They were probably the biggest spenders in the Championship during the summer, even bringing in an internationally renowned manager, although I’m not quite sure what he’s renowned for. Big wages, big expenditure and below us. It’s significant also that Bristol City another fellow big spending club are also struggling. Notts Forest haven’t been backward in spending money either this season and again, they’re struggling. So it’s more a question of how you spend your money rather than how much. But to get back to the Leicester game, it’s very important. Clean sheet also very important and now they’ve given us a fortnight which we’re into, to consider our position, consider what we’ve achieved to date but more importantly where we failed to date and how we can put that right. There is after all only one third of the season gone. We have 30 games to go, 90 points to play for and we’re determined to do well.BF: You mentioned to 30 games to go. For the last few weeks we’ve been saying that the division is very tight but all of a sudden it seems to have opened up and there does seem to be a clearer picture. Would you say that’s fair? KB: Oh yes, it’s beginning to but on the other hand don’t forget we win against Leicester and we jumped four places from 11th to seventh and another three points you’re in the play-offs and more importantly you are challenging for second and third place. It’s still tight although it is beginning, I agree with you, to spread out now. BF: You mentioned the response after the Leicester game. After disappointing results, Simon and the team seem to be able to come back from that. It’s a trait which you’ve got to commend isn’t it because there was a lot of soul searching after what happened against Blackpool. KB: Well you have got to commend it but you also have got to do soul searching on why have we lost the games we’ve lost and why have we drawn the games we’ve drawn? And, without being too critical, the fact of the matter is we have lost games rather than been beaten. We have given away the points rather than them being earned by the opposition and that’s something that we’ve had too much of and it’s got to stop. There are discussions going on this week, heart-searching in the backroom to decide what we can do to improve the situation because we should be higher than we are. BF: After the Blackpool game, Simon moved quickly to bring in a keeper. Was it difficult to try and get somebody in at such short notice? KB: Well it was actually. We rang over 40 clubs. in the end we did have a number of selections but clubs are reluctant to let out players unless there’s something in it for them and not just financially. They want to keep their options open. They want this and want that. And we had another keeper lined up but the manager was being his usual dithering self -not our manager, their manager I hasten to add. We moved quickly for the boy from Reading. He’s 6ft 4in, Under-21 international. Fans can probably remember when he played for Reading against us last year and we should have won the game three or four nil and he kept us out. So hopefully he’s now going to do that for us.  BF: On Sunday, Paddy Kisnorbo and Andy O’Brien were reunited at the back. Some experience after the youth and exuberance of Darren O’Dea and Tom Lees. They proved a point almost after a shaky start for both earlier on. KB: Well yes. Neither of them were fit during the summer or at the end of last season they were coming back and they have taken a little time to settle in. But it’s nice that we’ve got those two and Tom Lees back  from suspension and O’Dea is making good progress. Of course, we’re very worried the concussion he picked up, which of course undetected gave Blackpool (TSB – He means Cardiff) their first goal. BF: Now it’s another international break. I know you have been critical of the breaks in the past. Do you feel this one has actually come at a decent time because we are into the slog of the season now and the players have been playing Tuesday-Saturday the last few weeks. KB: On the other hand, Ben, this is the third international break and it’s still only November. It does break up the consistency of the season. It breaks up the routine and it’s not a break for quite a few of the players because of course they are on international duty so their routine gets disrupted. They have to make their way to airports if they are playing overseas and drive to different countries, meet a load of new team-mates, go through the procedure, get back, report back on Thursday, and play on Saturday. So it’s a distraction and it’s an annoyance that’s not going to help. BF: Whilst we’re talking about about annoyance, FIFA, of course the big talking point in the last 24 hours has related to the England team wanting to put a poppy on their shirt for the game against Spain on Saturday. FIFA have said ‘no’. What are your thoughts on this? KB: Oh.. I’d have put the poppies on and play. BF: Do you think it would have been right to send a message because it seems a very emotive subject for a lot of people? KB: Well the fact of the matter is, even the Germans have said they have no objection to it because in actual fact, if you think about it, it’s a tribute to many hundreds of thousands of men who lost their lives in the trenches. OK, nearly 100 years ago, but that’s got nothing to do with it. They were just ordinary people who gave their lives for the country. Unfortunately, sometimes needlessly, sometimes unnecessarily but they are the backbone of this country and the French, they fought there as well. It’s a Flanders poppy and when you think for the mess, the muck, the slime, the sleaze, that FIFA are in up to their neck, to have the temerity to act as arbiters for such a thing as a Flanders poppy fills me with nothing but contempt. If I were David Bernstein, chairman of the FA, those poppies would be worn on my shirt this weekend and to hell with FIFA. BF: Let’s bring it back to Leeds United then and a couple of bits of club news. A new website launched this week for Howard’s Restaurant. A chance to showcase what the restaurant’s all about. KB: Yeah well, as we know, more and more people these days do their shopping online or get their information online and up until now, you could only get details of Howard’s via the commercial site. Now of course we’ve got one direct so people can click on and go straight to Howards and see how good it is and see all the great comments that are being made about it and it’s a worthy extension to our public relations so our people know good Howard’s is. BF: And if you’d like to have a look at the site the address is www.howards-restuarant.com and of course you can book the old fashioned way by phone as well 01133676032. Festive season nearly upon us and the annual carol concert on the way on December 19th. Do you see this as an important part of the Leeds United calendar? KB: Oh yes, that was a the first thing that we introduced when we joined in 2005. It’s great fun, it’s a great family fun, great members fun, and of course we’ve got Susannah’s reindeer coming down as usual including the babies. I know the staff have been busy planning already because when I rang up recently I interrupted a meeting about a discussion on the logistics of it. It will be a great time. All members are welcome, all their kids are welcome, all the usual mince pies, hot sausage rolls, mince pies, mulled wine, soft drinks and of course this year with the much-enlarged Pavilion being available it means we can take far more people than we did previously. So it starts on December 3 don’t forget with a members’ Christmas party and goes on throughout the month. Certainly the carol concert on the 19th will be the highlight of our enjoyment and celebrations.

Sunday 6th of November 2011. Leeds are in 7th position heading into the International break. The reaction to Leeds defeat to Blackpool was over the top, and the reaction to beating the pre-season favourites should be equally as measured. On Wednesday, United were given a hiding against a decent side. Anyone who watched the highlights would be aware that the first few minutes of the match  Snodgrass constantly took  Crainey (former Leeds left full) to the cleaners and Kisnorbo will wonder how he had two glaring misses two yards from goal. Rachubka in goal had a nightmare, being at fault for the first three goals and helped get our best defender sent off into the bargain. Two nil down with ten men normally means game over and that’s what happened. You can sit back and hold on to that or you can have a go. Leeds were 3-0 down at half time and dominated the first 15 minutes after the interval. Blackpool scored again on the break and then it was a matter of keeping the score down. Holloway praised the Leeds fans for staying with the team. If people thought we would get three points from Blackpool and Leicester, many would have thought that the win would have arrived at the Blackpool game. Football is no science. It’s unpredictable. It is not nice to blame players for defeats and managers nearly always carry the can. Rachubka was fortunate to hold on to his place after the Coventry game and was equally culpable for the cross against Birmingham City which lead to the goal. Let’s look at some unpredictable score lines this season : Man United 1-6 Man City, Man United 8-2 Arsenal, Leeds 0-5 Blackpool, and Bolton 5-0 Stoke City, April FA Cup S-F Stoke City 5-0 Bolton W. Will Man United finish in the top three this season and will Stoke City finish ahead of Bolton ? I would say emphatically yes, irrespective of the odd freak result. Let’s look at some of the Championship scores this season : Blackpool 5-0 Bristol City, West Ham 4-0 Blackpool, Peterboro 7-1 Ipswich. There are many, many more. Instead of giving Leeds the plaudits for winning at Leicester City some will ask “Well how come they couldn’t do that against Blackpool “ ? That is a totally unreasonable argument, especially allowing for circumstances of losing a player and having a goalkeeper substituted for tactical reasons. For those who constantly call for Simon Grayson’s head, I ask just two questions. Under Ken Bates who do you think will replace him and (a) do a better job with meagre resources and (b) work for the most dictatorial and disliked chairman in English football ? Some say Gus Poyet. Brighton have won one game in their last 10 league games and despite having the luxury of spending £2.5M on one player (Craig Makal-Smith) are actually below Leeds in the table. West Ham have a host of players on Premiership wages and lie just six points ahead of United. Notts Forest, Leicester City, Derby County, Hull City, Burnley and Ipswich all spent more than Leeds but that divine right means little when all lie below United in the table. The Championship is hugely unpredictable and will probably remain that way all season. Almost any side can beat any other team on their day. Am I happy with all of Simon Grayson’s decisions ? Absolutely not. Am I happy with all of his signings ? Absolutely not. Am I happy with all of tactics ? Absolutely not. Would I have played Andy O’Brien today ? Absolutely not. O’Brien played well today and Leeds won. However, in the balance I think Larry is doing a decent job and until someone comes in with a barrel full of money to displace the current chairman, and thus choose their own man at the helm, few others will in my view fare better than SG. So let’s get behind him as almost all of the travelling 3,300 travelling fans at Leicester did today by constantly chanting his name.

Sunday 6th of November 2011. Leicester City 0-1 Leeds United 21 McCarthy, 02 Connolly (YC) 03 Kisnorbo, 05 O’Brien (Bromby 75) 28 White, 14 Howson, 15 Clayton, 16 Pugh, 23 Snodgrass (YC) 38 Keogh (Becchio 76) 44 McCormack (Brown 86) Unused Subs Cairns and Sam. Report taken from YEP : Adam Clayton’s second-half wonder strike helped Leeds banish the memories of their midweek defeat to Blackpool and give managerless Leicester another headache heading into the international break. Leeds conceded five at home for just the second time in their history in losing to the Seasiders on Wednesday and would have probably taken a morale-boosting 0-0 draw here were it to have been offered to them before kick-off. But when they became the first of the sides to take a tepid game by the scruff of its neck with Clayton’s 25-yard curler with 69 minutes gone, a maximum-point haul was a reality and their notoriously fragile defence held out to secure a first win over Leicester in nine attempts. They were rarely tested by Leicester, though, who did not force debutant goalkeeper Alex McCarthy into a meaningful save all afternoon. A consequence of that was a second loss in three games for caretaker managers Jon Rudkin and Mike Stowell and, although the club were today remaining tight-lipped over an approach for Hull’s Nigel Pearson, a permanent successor to Sven-Goran Eriksson will surely be in place by the time City face Crystal Palace in a fortnight’s time. Paul Rachubka, whose three calamitous moments underpinned Leeds’ midweek nightmare, was dropped in one of just two changes made by manager Simon Grayson, while Rudkin and Stowell stuck with the side that beat Burnley on Tuesday. McCarthy, who joined from Reading on Friday, could not have wished for an easier debut in truth, and that was the case from the first whistle, with his only real involvement early on being witness to a Steve Howard half-volley looping over his bar. At the other end, Leeds’ strike pair of Andy Keogh and Ross McCormack both succeeded in turning and getting in behind the Leicester defence, but hesitated and were quickly shut down when a run at goal would have been the better option. McCarthy then turned a cute Andy King cross-shot over his bar, before McCormack wasted the first genuine opening of the game when he drilled over from 12 yards after an Aidy White cross fell to him with 18 minutes gone. The Scot’s failure to score what would have been an 11th of the season did not signal the start of an open period, though, and the game remained tight and was played largely in the midfield. When opportunities did come, Leicester’s Paul Gallagher and Leeds’ Danny Pugh dragged them wide. White was nearly caught out in the first-half injury time when he was robbed by Neil Danns on halfway but, much like Keogh and McCormack before him, Danns could not make the best of the space ahead of him and was crowed out by Jonny Howson. The pedestrian nature of the game continued into the second half, and a half-hearted scoop from Danns that landed on the top of McCarthy’s net was the closest either side went in the opening 15 minutes. It was going to take something special to break the deadlock and Clayton’s strike was just that. Leeds worked the ball wide to Pugh and, after his scuffed cross was cleared, Clayton curled the loose ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel from 25 yards, giving the former United stopper no chance as he found the top right-hand corner. Leicester immediately sent on £3million striker Jermaine Beckford, who scored 85 goals in 132 starts during a four-year spell at Leeds, but even his arrival could not help fashion a chance for the home side who left the field to a chorus of boos. Simon Grayson : “ On the back of at thumping we showed immense character today. We were really resilliant and  had the character, desire and attitude. It was an easy decision to keep with same team because they have done well for me in  10 odd games or so. (Re defence)  O’Brien was outstanding as he’s had very little football  as was Paddy . We played very well as a team. McCarthy did everything that he needed to do  but he  didn’t have to make a save  and was  very comfortable.  They brought on Jermaine and we still kept them quiet all the time being comfortable.  I’m very pleased tonight. It was vital to get a result heading into the international break. We owed the fans today and we have given them a performance . We think we are capable of getting these performances and when people write us off, we like to get a reaction from the players and they have done today”.

Sat November 5th 2011 Manchester United’s Tomasz Kuszczak has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson blocked a loan move to Leeds United this week. Kuszczak is out of the first-team picture at Old Trafford, and Leeds were looking for a new number one this week after Paul Rachubka’s poor display against Blackpool saw him replaced at half-time.Leeds made an approach ,according to Kuszczak, Ferguson blocked the move.  He instead claims that possible deals to Doncaster and Sheffield United are the only moves United will sanction. “My loan to Leeds was not possible because Alex Ferguson has blocked it,” he told Onet. “I could only go to Sheffield United, or to Doncaster.”

Friday November 4th 011. Reading’s England Under-21 international goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has joined Leeds on an emergency 28-day loan. The 21-year-old has featured just once for Brian McDermott’s side this season and has found his route to the first team blocked by Australian international Adam Federici. McDermott told Reading’s official club website: “Leeds have come in, they asked to take Alex on loan and I feel I need to do the right thing by him, playing four games in the Championship is in the best interests of the club and Alex in both the short and long term.”  McCarthy praised McDermott for giving him the opportunity, adding: “The main thing is going there to play games, I’ve been sitting on the bench behind Feds (Adam Federici) and so this will be a very good thing for me.  “I’ve got great respect for Brian, he could easily have said no to this and said he wants me on the bench, but he knows what is best for me. I know what’s best for me as well and so we agreed I could go on loan to Leeds.  “I’ve only played the one Carling Cup game and some reserves games this season, so this will be good for me, I can come back and put more pressure on Feds, the next step for me is playing again at Reading.”

 Thursday November 3rd. The Sabotage Times (a different view) Whilst unable to sleep last night following Leeds United’s systematic mauling by 14th placed Blackpool, several thoughts inevitably hover in your mind. A few years ago there is no doubt I would have been utterly mortified at this result, it would have invaded my very being, sandpapered my nerve endings and I would have been muttering ‘Why? Why? Why?’ to myself until the light began to peep through the curtains.  Today, I am able to take a step back and consider whether this is truly an epoch-defining moment. What can we learn from this? Was it really as bad as it looks? In the cold light of day, as your head clears from a troubled sleep, it is clear, that, yes, it really was as bad as it looks. But at least we can look at some pretty huge contributing factors. Let’s get one thing straight right from the off. I have been watching football live, at grounds, since 1978. In between times I have also watched an unhealthy amount of football on television, and digested match reports and news items about various games in various countries throughout the world for 33 years, probably more. In all this time, I have never known a goalkeeper to be subbed for ‘tactical’ reasons. It may have happened, and maybe someone can put me straight, but last night I saw this for the first time ever, and nobody at Elland Road, save maybe those in Tangerine, could have argued with it. I don’t wish this to become a witch hunt against our unfortunate reserve goalie Paul Rachubka. He’s been hunted and found, so we should just leave him alone with his thoughts, but let’s just say we now know what the silent ‘c’ in his surname stands for, and let’s just conclude that I have never known anything like the catalogue of errors that he has cack-handedly committed over the last five games; an abject lesson in how not to grasp the nettle. Certainly it is undeniable that the first three goals last night were directly attributable to Rachubka’s basic handling errors, and had those not occurred Leeds may have found their way into a game they had sluggishly negotiated in the first ten minutes. The sending off of Tom Lees in an incident that lead to Blackpool’s penalty for the second goal is another example of a generous subsidy gifted to Blackpool. Whilst Elland Road recoiled in unified horror at Rachubka’s tragic juggling of a routine dolly catch, Blackpool striker Lua Lua rammed the loose ball goalwards where it struck Lees on an outstretched arm. Now, I can just about understand the referee’s decision to award a penalty (on the linesman’s advice I might add) as Lees had prevented a certain goal, however, I can’t see a justification for sending Lees off when it was clearly not intentional, and from three yards there was very little he could do about it. I suspect he was just being kind, but he also stated with sage perception that good clubs run on energy generated by everyone involved; the fans, the players, the board . The loss of Lees affected Leeds at a time when their heads were already spinning. He is the fifth Leeds player this season to see red, and somehow, being a man down seems to adversely affect Leeds more than any other team. Even going back to previous years, when we have ten men it looks like we actually have six, conversely, when the opposition have ten men it looks like they have twelve, such is their rejuvenated spirit in the face of affliction. Having said that, Manchester United lost 6-1 having gone down to ten men, so clearly we can take some meagre solace from that, but the reality is that when Plan A goes out of the window there is rarely a Plan B.  Amidst the self-destructive atrocity of last night it should be noted that Blackpool were evidently an accomplished team. Even at 0-0 they controlled the game without doing anything spectacular. They played simple pass and move football, with men finding space, they had pattern, conviction and energy. Everything that Leeds lacked, and following on from the frighteningly inept first half performance against Cardiff on Sunday it was indisputable that nothing had been learnt from that experience. Such has been the frequency of these lapses in Leeds collective vigour, and such is our inordinately manifest requirement for a natural leader on the pitch, that most Leeds fans who watch the team regularly would admit to themselves in a quiet moment, that a night like this was never far away. Bearing that in mind the reaction of the fans at 5-0 was the one uplifting factor from the sorrowful proceedings. It shouldn’t take a 5-0 defeat at home to trigger the root emotions of a typical Leeds fan, but that sums up the level of draining discontent that currently surrounds the club. The berating of Rachubka was mercifully brief, as the majority had the gumption to realise there was little to be gained from that. The collective spirit shown by the fans in the last ten minutes demonstrated that Leeds are never more passionate than when brutally wounded. Impaled and exposed, the heartfelt defiance was there for all to see, drawing appreciative applause from the visiting keeper when the final whistle brought an end to the harrowing spectacle. The fans support was also praised by Blackpool manager Ian Holloway who in typically circumspect fashion was honest enough to conclude that “…things went our way tonight…” He noted that Leeds could have scored in the first ten minutes with the game at 0-0 and things could have been a lot different. I suspect he was just being kind, but he also stated with sage perception that good clubs run on energy generated by everyone involved; the fans, the players, the board. Whether he was referring to his own club or to Leeds I am not sure. But certainly it can be applied to both in terms of what has carried one a long way and what is glaringly absent from the other. The one tangible hope we can take from last night is that Simon Grayson made the brave decision to publically criticise one of his own. Whilst Rachubka obviously operates in a more exposed position, the need to replace him was beyond rational discussion, and in an area where Grayson has perhaps shown misguided loyalty to certain players, it was refreshing to see him act as he did, and to hear him categorically lay the blame post-match. What he does from this point is a bigger question. Rachubka’s hopeless display should not change the focus from our obvious ineptitude in other areas. Can this be turned around? Is the answer somewhere within the camp? How quickly can the steadying triumvirate of Lonergan, O’Dea and Lees be re-established? Is this the watershed moment that Leeds fans have been waiting for? This is a testing time for Grayson and certainly he needs to find the answers. Other recent stories you might like:The Curious Case Of Leeds United’s Vanishing Midfield. More usually biased ravings about Leeds United from our editor and his mates Leeds United Should Have Kept Gussy What if Clough and Cantona had never left Leeds?  Blog Replies. 1:47 pm, 3-Nov-2011Leo Even if it is a water shed, just like Preston at home and Barnsley awau last season, it doesn’t escape the fact that Ken Bates has failed to invest in the team this season and the chickens are coming home to roost. The only thing that could come out of this is Ken Bates losing patience with Simon Grayson, sacking him and then finding another manager who will have to work on a shoe-string budget. Bates will be lucky to find someone of quality who’d prepared to do that. So forget Martin O’Neill, Strachan, or anyone of that ilk. We’ll end up with some random ex-chelsea player as a rookie manageer like Eddie Newton, or Jody Morris!!! 1:50 pm, 3-Nov-2011Paul  Nothing will change whilst Bates owns the club 1:51 pm, 3-Nov-2011Rex I’ve always read your comments with caution, thinking that you were a bit of a plonker, writing OTT nonsense, just to get a reaction. However, If you lie awake at night worring about the team (like I do) then you’ll do for me. Heaven knows where we go from here. Something is missing within the setup of the club and I’m afraid I’m coming around to the viewpoint that The Chairman is the rotten apple in the barrell.

Thursday November 3rd. Louth Chairman has his say. I am sure you have seen all the reviews, these were just some of the comments on the “Scratchingshed” website this morning. You know where I stand with Grayson, so there are no surprises there. Blackpool were out of the traps first and on top before any keeper mistakes, I watched all 5 goals closely and yes there are keeper errors but you look at them again and study the defending leading up to all of the goals and it is poor. That was Grayson’s team picked and prepared by him for the game, That was his goalkeeper signed and trusted by him. Yet Grayson only blames Rachubka for the defeat, he sees no blame attached to himself. I use to think when Grayson made these mistakes after joining us that he was young and would learn, He has not learned, His signings are poor, his tactics are poor and his judgment is poor. It’s not enough for me that he is a Leeds fan, sorry, I will not be fooled by sentiment. The current team he has is not by choice, the signings he wanted did not materialize and last year’s Loaners (Lees, White, Clayton etc.) were forced on him, He is a Bates yes man and will stay in the job for that reason and the fact that he is a Leeds fan helps Bate’s case. I absolutely do not agree in the idea that because Bates is chairman that therefore it does n’t matter who the manager is. Last nites result was no freak, those of us who are not blinkered could see that coming, Our defence has been not crap but pure shit since Grayson took charge nearly 3 years ago, more than enough time for any manager to fix the issue but yet still excuses are made for Grayson. 5:0 at home and some would say I am being hard ! my arse, We are Leeds and should be better than that. You don’t go into hospital with cancer looking round you to see who might be worse off or how else others are doing, you just want the best for yourself, so I don’t agree with looking at how other teams done or past results to try to justify the unjustifiable !  Rant over, I had to wait until now to make any comment to allow the anger of last nite recede. Regards, Greg. The following are the blogs copied by Greg – All are in the original format so message is emphasised more than presentation portrayed. The Blogs. 2. Posted by bremners barmy army on November 3rd, 2011, 02:59 A freak once in a lifetime result? Numerous times under Grayson we have lost games due to our inability to keep the ball out our net. Our goals against last year was terrible as was the last half of our promotion season. When will people realise that although Graysom is a local lad it isnt a guarentee of success however much the romantic in us would like him “one of us” to be. Graysons choices in the transfer market have been woeful on the whole and his defensive coaching shit. How many more POINTS will be thrown down the drain by his acquisitions and his ineptitude as a coach + his tactical naivity. Grayson the times up while we still have time to turn our season round and take that laser sighted goon Bates with you. We want our club back! MOT 3.Posted by WhiteDubai on November 3rd, 2011, 03:11 I have seen this coming and I do not agree to not call for the managers head. The manager is ultimately for the teams performance and he is responsible for the players he fields. I have seen this coming for a long time, we were in an excellent position in the table 82nd9 at the beginning of january. We all expected the manager to strengthen the team but nothing happened. We just missed out of playoffs in the final days of the season and we all understood that the team needs to be strengthened to get us promoted. The manager and the chairman did nothing, we lost more players than we brought in. We can come with all kind of excuses but the fact remains, we do not have a strong enough team to get us promoted. All the excuses for not getting players in are just that: poor excuses. We have among the best attandance in the Championship, our ticket prices are the 5th highest in the country; why can’t we get a stronger team? Why do we still have to rely on loan players? Norwich have surpassed us on all levels without the same fan (funding) base we have. Obviously the manager can’t convince the chairman that he needs more money to spend. Or else the two of them should declare that this will not be the case and they are happy with our present position as a mid-table Championship team. Personally I am not. MOT  4. Posted by dave on November 3rd, 2011, 05:44 I think bates is just treading water until the end of this season when he wont have to pay back any of the creditors millions of pounds anymore if we would have been promoted. as for grayson i think by and large he has done a great job with very small resources no matter how big the club is. the fact that we have to rely on freebie goalkeepers whilst the money for schmeichel miraculously disappeared has come back to haunt us. at the end of the day you get what you pay for and the fact bates didnt want to spend a little of that money to make sure we had two descent keepers has cost us at least 5 points all the space of three weeks since longergen got injured. we are we are because thats where we reserve to be. the thrashing to blackpool just emphasises my point even more o Posted by tim on ovember 3rd, 2011, 06:34 You have hit the nail right on the head. Bates never wanted to get promotion this year as you said it will cost him millions of his so called profits. He will push like hell next year for promotion ( and I say he will do it next year with out Grayson) § Posted by number1inyorkshire on November 3rd, 2011, 07:54  we ,myself and others have been saying this for a while .the embarrassment payments from admin are stopping us going up FACT .. he might aswell keep raking in the money then next year all that stuff runs out. 5. Posted by Ls10 on November 3rd, 2011, 06:33 What do you mean nobody saw that clown keepers performance coming? A traffic cone would have done better than him. He’s been at fault for every goal he’s conceded, if i and the rest of n12 can see this why couldn’t grayson? Persisting with him was wrong as was playing oh dear with blurred vision-Yes the keeper is shocking but the buck stops with the managers incompetence 6. Posted by Peter on ovember 3rd, 2011, 06:53 it was a bit shocking, something we have all seen coming for a while, but come on, lets not go overboard. were leeds fans were used to not doing things the easy way 7. Posted by Kev on November 3rd, 2011, 07:11 Shocking result,shocking performance Leeds had 24% persession to Blackpools 76%. this at elland road,I totally blame Grayson not a freak result it’s been coming and it’s time for him to go not once in 3 seasons has managed to get any kind of a defence together, 8. Posted by PETE on November 3rd, 2011, 07:21 Leeds boss Simon Grayson says he still has faith in Paul Rachubka after the goalkeeper was taken off at half-time in the 5-0 defeat against Blackpool. if Larry plays him again he needs sacking END OF !!!! 9. Posted by Cheesy Fingers on November 3rd, 2011, 07:24 I’ve been a staunch Grayson fan and have always backed him when others lost faith. But how long can LUFC march on with no defensive capability? The wing backs are playing out of their skins but centrally we are pony! Yes Kisnorbo commits to the header but he’s as quick as me Gran and I’m not even going to mention the flappy @rsed, butter fingered sideshow that is Rachubka! For me, people should stop shouting for Bates’ head and lean into Grayson!! 10. Posted by Ken Bates on November 3rd, 2011, 07:41 Dear Morons, Thanks for calling for the manager’s head. I’d especially like to thank Cheesy Fingers and WhiteDubai for specifically trying to deflect criticism away from me. Keep arguing amongst yourself and blaming Simon. I hate the bastard for having the temerity for asking me to pay Max Gradel more than £8.50 per week. There’s a recession on! Anyway, the Autumn/Winter catalogue is out now, so make sure you buy some overpriced tat. Yours, Kenny B 11. Posted by number1inyorkshire on November 3rd, 2011, 07:49 to be fair i said on a post earlier that in a team with more money rachubka would be 3rd choice it seems he is not that good … that said subbing him for cairns at that point didn’t serve a purpose either Because cairns was on when we got beat 5-0 and rachubka got a public humiliation which is never if rarely done in football .. that was bad management .. I WILL BET WE GET LOAN KEEPER IN TODAY AND RACHUBKA WILL NEVER PLAY AGAIN .. Although this can,t be placed at the door of bates he is still a ####. please some one tell me what happened !!!tNovember 2nd 2011