Sun July 31st 2011 Leeds win over Magpies papers over the cracks. Leeds United defeated Newcastle 3-2 in their final warm up game before taking on Southampton next Saturday. I am pleased that Paynter scored to boost his confidence but ……There is a cancer sucking the life out of Leeds United and it’s called KEN BATES. You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. What type of gombeens does that ancient Smurf take us for ? Schmeichel was to be replaced by a “better goalkeeper”. What happened next was inept and shambolic as Leeds were linked with every goalkeepr south of the Ecuator. There is no doubting that David Stockdale of Fulham was the number one choice. Leeds had everything in their favour. The lad was from Leeds. His wife was from Leeds and desperately home sick for Yorkshire. This was one that they couldn’t f##k up. Guess what. They did. The lad signed on loan with Ipswich for a year. That’s the same town that is just one hour from London (not home sick Leeds) that now has Lee Bowyer and David Stockdale playing for it. Absolutely shambolic. Ipswich have shown something that Leeds haven’t portrayed since that dinasour Bates got involved with the club. It’s called ambition. Micheal Choppra saw it, and Bowyer and Stockdale among others saw it too. Now back to goalkeepers for a minute. Westwood, Smithies, Dudek and Lonergan were all linked. Leeds failed initially to land Lonergan because he was on a better wage at a League One side than a promotion chasing Leeds United side. They eventually had to back track and yield to Lonergan’s “excessive by Leeds standards” wage demands. United were £1.2M in the black from the Schmichel deal plus his wages of approximately £12K to £14K per week. Would this money be used to land Sammy Clingan of Coventry City or maybe long term target and Leeds fan Michael Johnson ? The latter is no fool and chose Leicester City ahead of Leeds United because he saw that his former boss was chasing automatic promotion. Leeds with Brown, Rachubka, and Lonergan signed thus far were hardly going to scare the shit out of Ladbrokes. The bookies have actually sent Leeds out to 18/1, that’s higher than Brighton and Southampton, two sides just promoted from League One. Bates claimed that “three of our targets signed for Premiership sides showing the calibre of player we are looking for”. Stockdale and Johnson didn’t Papa Smurf. They chose Championship sides. Simon Grayson is far from innocent in all of this as he toes the party line and dances to every Bates tune. The bile is rising in every Leeds fan’s stomach. Even Kevin Blackwell who hadn’t a bean to play with when United were relegated from the Premiership, attracted some decent players and got them in quickly. We are now just one week away from the start of the campaign and we are a far worse side that finished in 7th last season. Lichaj, Schmeichel, Kilkenny, Higgs and Johnson have been replaced with Brown,Rrachubka and Lonergan. Our performances in pre-season  have been what we would have expected from a club going backwards….very poor. Two out of our top three strikers, Becchio and Somma are sidelined through injury. Our two best players Snodgrass and Gradel are linked every day to moves away from Elland Road. Could you really blame either of them if they decided to jump ship ? Grayson is no fool but he is either in denial or is conifdent of getting two world beaters in midfield, from Bates’ latest tirade.Alan  Smith was linked but Leeds were never going to pay even a portion of his wages because Leeds lack ambition. Montgomery or Quinn, both from Sheff United  may or may not come to Leeds but are they any better than we already have ? Grayson will blame the excuse of injuries if United don’t get off to a good start. He has no right if he does. I have never been as disgusted with the way the club is being run as I am now. Would it be better for Leeds if Newcastle were to put a few past United tomorrow ? Like I said at the beginning, there is a cancer sucking the life out of Leeds United and it’s called KEN BATES.

July 31st 2011. Leeds 3-2 Newcastle Take from Vital Leeds Leeds completed their pre season campaign with a 3-2 win over Newcastle United at Elland Road. 
The home side took the lead three times through Patrick Kisnorbo, Lloyd Sam and a winner five minutes  From time by Billy Paynter. Leeds boss Simon Grayson was boosted by the return to the side of Andy O`Brien and Robert Snodgrass for the final pre season friendly of the summer. O`Brien hadn`t featured yet in pre season and Snodgrass hadn`t played since the Motherwell game through injury. Andy Lonergan started in goal ahead of Paul Rachubka and made his first senior appearance in a Leeds shirt. Trialists Alexandre Mendy and Boldiszar Bodor were named amongst the substitutes. There was no place in the Newcastle squad for former Leeds favourite Alan Smith. Leeds took the lead early on when Fraser Forster dropped the ball and Patrick Kisnorbo was on hand to tap in. The home side had started brightly, and were unlucky not to double their lead when Gradel saw his header ruled out for offside  following a free kick. Newcastle had to wait until twenty minutes in before going close. Joey Barton fired a ball across the middle and Demba Ba just failed to get on the end of it. Gradel was causing the Newcastle defence problems and he saw a fierce shot tipped over the bar. Newcastle equalised when Steven Taylor fired in at the far post when he found himself unmarked following a corner in the final ten  mminutes of the half. The half finished with Leeds claiming for a penalty after the ball struck the arm of Steven Taylor but the referee waved away the appeals. John Howson had the first chance of the second half when he fired just wide. Howson went close once again when his shot was deflected wide for a corner. From the corner, Leigh Bromby headed just wide of the target. Leeds made three changes on the hour with Lloyd Sam, Boldiszar Bodor and Tom Lees replacing Patrick Kisnorbo, Robert Snodgrass and Ben Parker. Ameobi had a rare chance for Newcastle but his weak shot was easy for Lonergan. Another three changes quickly followed for Leeds with Billy Paynter, Ramon Nunez and Alexandre Mendy coming on for Ross McCormack, Adam Clayton and Max Gradel. Leeds were soon back in the lead when Lloyd Sam nipped in to beat Forster at his near post after winning the ball out wide. Andy Lonergan then made a great save to deny Joey Barton an almost certain equaliser from a point blank header. Newcastle were soon on level terms when Vuckic played a one/two with Ba before firing past Lonergan. Billy Paynter did himself the world of good when he scored his first goal of pre season, to put Leeds ahead for a third time with just five minutes remaining. A good win for Leeds, has they now get themselves ready for their first game of the new championship season at Southampton next Saturday. Team 
Lonergan, Connolly, Kisnorbo (Lees 59), O`Brien (Bromby 46), Parker (Bodor 59), Snodgrass (Sam 59), Howson, Clayton (Nunez 66), Brown, Gradel (Mendy 66), McCormack (Paynter 66) Subs Rachubka, White, Newcastle Forster, Cabaye, Williamson, Barton, Simpson (Dummett 79), Gosling (Vuckic 65), Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 65. Subs Krul. Att 20,500

Thursday July 21st. Louth Branch chairman speaks out : Excellent article by big Dom in the YEP and frankly, Gerry, SG is either Lying or Incompetent, Lying ; by saying his first choice targets (Premier league class) players are still out there for him to get at his price or incompetent in that he has been unable to manage his squad improvements to ANY extent over the summer, either way, I have had enough of his treatment of Leeds fans, PS naming “Mendy” as “A Trialist”, what the f**k does Grayson take me for !! and to think we don’t need strengthening up front with Becchio and Somma out, Hello Simon, Paynter and McCormack are shite !!! Greg

Thursday 21st of July 2011. Matteo speaks out. Our ex captain, Dominic Matteo lead by inspiration on the pitch. Now he says what every Leeds fan has been thinking with his article from the YEP today : Writing this column during the past two months has been my equivalent of Groundhog Day: a different week but the same old complaint. Every Thursday I look for the chance to talk about next season with anticipation and optimism, and every Thursday I find myself talking about Leeds United’s lack of signings. It’s July 21 and here we are again, devoid of any inspiration from Elland Road. Transfers take time and I never expected Leeds to finish last season on May 7 and complete five deals within 24 hours. But would Simon Grayson have been happy if you’d told him then that two-thirds of the way through July, he’d have signed one midfielder and a goalkeeper who might well be second choice? Would he heck. He’d have laughed you out the door. However his squad shapes up in two-and-a-half weeks’ time, nobody could convince me that the current situation was part of the grand plan at Elland Road. I simply don’t believe that Leeds expected their business to be taking place so late in the day or so urgently. It worries me to see the club under pressure at this stage of the summer. If you spend any time in Leeds, you can see the effect that the absence of real progress is having on the supporters. The dissatisfaction is oozing. Some of the people I speak to are pessimistic and others are angry. It’s not the way the city should be. They see a squad that is arguably weaker than it was in May and a division that is definitely going to be stronger. The feeling amongst everyone – and Grayson included, to go by his comments – was that the squad needed to improve. Michael Brown fits the bill in that respect but so much more is required. I really can’t feel confident about the club’s prospects at the moment. The sad realisation is that the average Leicester City fan will be far more enthusiastic about the new season than the average Leeds supporter. I’m not saying that I’m totally convinced by all of Leicester’s new players or that every one has been good value for money, but the Foxes look like a club with fierce ambition and a real chance of going up. If it all goes wrong for them, the more honest fans will still say that Leicester had a go and gave themselves an opportunity. Should Leeds struggle, you’d be more inclined to ask if their season was always going to go that way. It’s been difficult to see much in the way of vision this summer. In reality, we’d all hoped to be discussing four or five quality signings by now and arguing over what we think is Simon’s strongest line-up. Those conversations fill the hours in a pub when the Championship’s on holiday and pre-season friendlies are all supporters have to fight their withdrawal symptoms. I’m not even sure that Grayson could tell you what his team will be on August 6. It’s completely dependent on who comes through the door between now and then. It’s so late in the summer that I can only assume a number of his first-choice targets have not materialised. Brown is a midfielder who I’m sure Simon was interested in from the outset but claiming that his preferred signings are all still out there is probably wishful thinking. Sought-after professionals who’ve been made available don’t usually find themselves waiting for offers a fortnight before the season begins. My guess would be that, in certain cases, the players he’s looked at have chosen to go elsewhere or decided to stay put. In others, I’d guess that he wasn’t able to afford their fee or their salaries. I can’t comment on the exact wage structure at Elland Road but it’s clear that many teams in the Championship are able to compete with Leeds when it comes to finance. And as much as Leeds are a hugely-attractive club, money often wins the day. It’s naïve to think that they’re the only sizeable draw in the division at present. I know from reading comments from Ken Bates and Shaun Harvey that the board at Elland Road are always wary of inviting another financial collapse. I understand why. I was captain of Leeds when we were relegated from the Premiership and nothing explains the stupidity of excessive spending better than that. But if you were being honest about the outcome of last season, you’d say that Leeds lacked that little bit of class in certain areas to get themselves over the line. That little bit of class was what they should have been looking for this summer and, to be quite honest, if you want quality then you have to pay for it. It’s one thing walking away from players who are trying it on and taking the micky. Some lads simply aren’t worth the money they’re asking for. But class does cost and to compete in the Championship, you really need it. If finding players of that ilk means stretching the budget then Leeds should think about doing it and doing it quickly. Otherwise I can’t say I’ll be optimistic about where this season is heading.

Weds 20th of July. Championship news updated. Cardiff have agreed a fee of around £500K for Kenny Miller, a player who would have been ideal for Leeds. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaik has taken up a coaching job at Notts Forest under Steve McClaren. The Daily Mail Mail has reported that Max Gradel has handed in a transfer request.

Weds 13th. £200 quid a week not the full reason for Bowyer. Leeds United manager has admitted that the club came close to luring former player Lee Bowyer back to Elland Road. Bowyer was out of contract in the summer after coming to the end of his contract at Birmingham City. Grayson admits that talks took place between the club and Bowyer, speaking on the official website , Grayson said, “I spoke to Lee Bowyer about coming, but he went to Ipswich for family reasons and geographical reasons because it`s only an hour from London.” Bowyer was signed by Howard Wilkinson in 1996 and went on to make over 200 appearances for Leeds in a seven-year stint. And I believe in wee green men coming down from the moon every night and there really is a crock of gold at the end of every rainbow and not a  crock of shit coming out of Elland Road. 

Weds 13th. Paynter and McCormack – “you’re having a laugh”. Leeds United could start the season without Luciano Becchio and Davide Somma, two of their main strikers. Argentine Becchio may need an operation on a ruptured tendon while South African Somma will be out for six to nine months with a cruciate injury. Manager Simon Grayson told the club website: “We’re just weighing things up with Luc now and whether or not he needs an operation. “We’ll know more over the next few days in terms of which way we will go.” Becchio, 27, scored 20 goals last season but missed the end of the campaign with a hamstring problem. “We let things settle down over the summer after the injury last season and he did some light training when we came back, but he’s got a ruptured tendon and we have to consider things now,” the Leeds manager said. Continue reading the main story It’ll take a couple of weeks for the swelling to come down then he’ll have the operation to put it back in place Simon Grayson on Davide Somma’s injury  Grayson is already facing up to the prospect of missing Somma for the majority of the season after the South Africa international picked up a serious knee injury in pre-season training. “We’re obviously hugely disappointed Dave’s sustained this injury,” the manager said. “You could say six to nine months to recover from something like this. It’ll take a couple of weeks for the swelling to come down then he’ll have the operation to put it back in place”. Simon get serious. We need extra striking options immediately. Somma is a huge loss as an impact sub, who time after time rescued games for LUFC, but Becchio is irreplaceable. He really stepped up to the plate when Beckford left. To think that Billy “one goal” Paynter will fill that gap is mad. “Andy O’Brien still has his side strain as well, hopefully we won’t be too long without him but it’s a delicate muscle. “He’ll be touch and go, but hopefully could be back early next week in terms of light training. “It’s been frustrating for all of them. Andy has worked hard over pre-season, Dave’s was innocuous, and Luciano had the injury at the back end of last season and has done some work with us.” Grayson banned his players from using Twitter this week after Somma revealed details about his injury on the social networking website.

Weds July 13th. Mystery man revealed. Noël Alexandre Mendy (born 14 December 1983 in Paris) is a French footballer who plays as a Winger and can play as a Forward or Attacking Central Midfielder. He played formerly for FK Mladá Boleslav and helped them win the Czech Republic Football Cup in 2011. Born in Paris. Mendy started his career at French club FC Versailles. Before trying his career in the Czech 1st Division in 2003 when he moved to FK Marila Příbram. The first club he played for in the Gambrinus Liga was FK Marila Příbram where he scored 16 league goals in 57 appearances before moving to FK Siad Most. In 2007 he joined FK Mladá Boleslav on loan. Mendy made his European debut for Boleslaw against Palermo. In 2007, Mendy scored for Boleslav in the group stages of the UEFA Cup against Villareal CF and IF Elfsborg, However they failed to qualify past the group stage after losing to AEK Athens and Fiorentina.  Despite only netting one goal in 24 league appearances, his move to FK Mladá Boleslav was made permanent in 2008. During the 2010-11 season, Mendy played all 30 league games for FK Mladá Boleslav scoring 6 goals as he helped them finish in 5th place in the Gambrinus Liga and also win the Czech Republic Football Cup after beating SK Sigma Olomouc on penalties, the Cup win also saw Boleslav qualify for the UEFA Europa League for the following season.[10] After his contract with FK Mladá Boleslav expired in June 2011, Mendy sought pastures new and became a free agent. He has found the back of the net 50 times in 136 appearances in the Gambrinus Liga. On 19th July 2011 he played as an unnamed trialist on the right wing for Leeds United in a friendly game at Rochdale (this appearance is currently pure, but fairly educated, speculation as there is no confirmation from Alexandre or Leeds United).

Tues July 19th 2011. Rochdale 0-1 Leeds Utd. Rachubka, (Cairns 82), Connolly (L Turner 46), Bruce (Bromby 46), Lees, Parker (Samuel 46), Mendy (Clayton 46), Brown (N Turner 69), Howson (Osbourne 61) Gradel (White 61), McCormack (Nunez 46), Paynter. Att 3,935. The buzz felt at Spotland last night owed itself to a man without a name but the catalyst of Leeds United’s win over Rochdale required no formal introduction. The away contingent in a crowd of 3,935 warmed to a trialist who Leeds and their manager steadfastly refused to identify, before full-time or after it. His short and worthwhile appearance caused much intrigue but it was one of Simon Grayson’s more proven squad members who conjured a third successive pre-season victory. Max Gradel’s goals peaked at 18 last season and his first of the summer, created from very little as tends to be his way, put Rochdale to the sword in a friendly sense. On the assumption that interest from West Ham United and Fulham comes to nothing, it is Gradel rather than a mystery trialist who Grayson would count on to force the pace of Leeds’ next Championship term. His clinical finish from the edge of the box was the isolated highlight of a wet but willing first half, though even he could not claim to have interested United’s crowd of supporters in the way that his anonymous team-mate did. Leeds saw genuine merit in hiding the player’s identity, though it would require a leap of faith on the back of a single friendly for Grayson to find room in his squad for the winger. Less surprising would be a second appearance at Sheffield Wednesday, where Leeds play next this weekend. His name might be forthcoming by then. Grayson’s need for new players grows more pressing by the day and the bad news last week was the serious knee injury sustained by Davide Somma. Yesterday, strong rumours began to indicate that Luciano Becchio would join him in missing the start of the Championship season, bothered still by a pulled hamstring. Neither player was expected to play last night and neither player did. The omission of Patrick Kisnorbo and Robert Snodgrass and Lloyd Sam, on the other hand, caused far greater surprise. The light relief for Grayson, with Andy O’Brien and Federico Bessone missing for the third game in a row, was the inclusion in his squad of Jlloyd Samuel, the former Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers defender. Samuel is a recognised left-back and, on the basis of his presence at Rochdale, a clear option to fill a problematic position in United’s line-up. Grayson is presently faced with the choice of the injury-prone Ben Parker or two players in Bessone and Aidan White in whom he has shown limited faith. One other trialist, Isaiah Osbourne, was also included in a squad of 20. Osbourne left Villa Park in May and, at the age of 23, has 46 Premier League and Football League appearances to his name. How much value Grayson places on a defensive midfielder with those credentials remains to be seen. The fact that the unnamed trialist was the only one of the three to start – and the only one who Grayson sought to guard closely – gave the impression that he was also the player of most interest. The dark-skinned winger, apparently of French origin, completed 45 minutes on the right side of midfield and finished with pass marks, showing enough pace for the away crowd to chant ‘sign him up’ and crackle whenever he touched the ball. The pressure to impress was not exclusive to him. Parker’s searching run forward in the third minute created the game’s initial chance, dragged wide from 18 yards by Ross McCormack, and McCormack’s anticipation of a pass from Grayson’s trialist gave him a second invitation to beat Matt Duke nine minutes later. Duke stood up to the ball and turned it wide. Rochdale’s first attack appeared to have yielded a goal after Andrew Tutte dispossessed Parker but his cross caught Chris O’Grady offside before the striker could direct a shot beyond Paul Rachubka. Rachubka’s fingertips were called upon shortly after to deny Tutte from 25 yards. O’Grady’s evening lasted for only 19 minutes, ended by injury, and heavy rain began to stifle an enthusiastic start. But Gradel’s low effort which Duke controlled safely in the wet was the precursor to a goal from the winger on the half-hour. Neal Trotman put Rochdale’s defence under needless pressure with a stray clearance to the feet of Billy Paynter, and Gradel’s sweetly-struck shot caught Duke unsighted and flew inside his left-hand post. Rachubka protected that lead late in the first half by meeting Tutte’s strike at full stretch. The start of the second half presented Samuel with his chance and Rochdale did not seek to ruin his appearance. Osbourne followed on the hour, replacing Jonathan Howson and joining Michael Brown in the centre of midfield. Leeds exerted what dominance their was, and Tom Lees’ header from Gradel’s corner came within a yard of sneaking inside Duke’s far post. Jason Kennedy’s wild reply lacked the accuracy it needed to stay inside the stadium. Twice Lewis Turner went close, denied on the second occasion by a desperate block in front of Duke, but the rendition of every Leeds chant under the sun was indicative of the friendly’s slowing pace on a chilly night in Greater Manchester.

Sunday July 18th. Transfer speculation. Iain Turner, (one of the many keepers United are supposed to be interested in signing) is now on trial at Bradford after Preston have failed to offer the keeper a contract due to the stalling Andy Lonergan. Lonergan was left out for the run in last season with a view to being moved on in the summer due to his high salary. Leeds and Everton have agreed a fee for the stopper who has not appeared in any pre-season games for the Whites. He has failed to agree terms with Leeds as he went over to the Yorkshire club two weeks ago. No agreement has been forthcoming with Everton and it appears that Lonergan’s demands maybe stalling any agreement. Preston were looking to offload Lonergan and bring Turner in after he left Everton. Due to Lonergan stalling Preston are now stuck with only one senior keeper with the possibility that Turner may look elsewhere including Bradford where he is currently on trial. Sanchez Watt has been linked to a 3rd loan spell at Elland Road. Speaking after United’s two game mini tour of Scotland where Leeds took on Falkirk and also SPL side Motherwell, Grayson said: “I thought the new lads slotted in well. Paul Rachubka made some good saves and looked very calm and Brown looked good in the middle of the park.”

Sat July 17th 2011. Motherwell 1 Leeds United 2 Rachubka (Cairns 85), Connolly (L Turner 74), Kisnorbo (Lees 66), Howson (N Turner 66), Bromby (Bruce 46), White (Parker 46), Clayton (Gradel 46), Brown (Thompson 52) Paaynter (Nunez 62) Sam (Snodgrass 46) McCormack, Att 4798 (1913 Leeds).  Honduran midfielder Ramon Nunez scored an excellent winning goal at Motherwell after Alex Bruce had equalised an opener from Jamie Murphy. Ross McCormack, playing against one of his former clubs, was the only Leeds player to complete 90 minutes but he had a penalty saved before Murphy’s goal. Grayson started with a 4-3-3 line-up, with Paul Rachubka in goal, a back four of Paul Connolly, Leigh Bromby, Patrick Kisnorbo and Aidan White, a midfield comprising Michael Brown, Adam Clayton and Jonny Howson and forwards McCormack, Billy Paynter and Lloyd Sam. Motherwell had won all three of their pre-season games – against Morton, Dumbarton and Partick – and were just one week away from their first SPL game of the season but United were well worth their win in a competitively-contested friendly. Murphy opened the scoring in the 39th minute, after giving White the slip. Grayson made four changes at half-time and used six more substitutes during the second half. The equaliser arrived when home keeper Darren Randolph dropped Max Gradel’s corner at the feet of Bruce, who accepted the gift to score. Nunez then combined well with Gradel to show excellent footwork and a cool finish for the decider.

Sat July 16th 2011. No more Tweating. Leeds United have banned their players from using social networking sites after Davide Somma revealed on Friday that he faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines through his twitter account. The message was quickly removed but not before eagle-eyed fans had seen the details. Leeds boss Simon Grayson said that the club were disappointed in the way the news had come out. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio after the Motherwell win, Grayson revealed that the club had now banned players from using the sites, when he said, “I am hugely disappointed in the manner that it as come out.  “The club have a policy with any social networking sites from leaking any sort of information and it shouldn`t have come out in that manner. “From now on all players will be banned from that network, it`s caused too many problems for other clubs and their players.  “If anyone is caught using it there will be major implications.” Grayson did reveal in the same interview that Somma is facing a lengthy lay off after it was confirmed on Saturday morning that it was his cruciate ligament.

Sat July 16th 2011. Cruel blow for Somma. DAVIDE SOMMA is facing a lengthy lay-off after the Leeds United striker revealed he had torn his cruciate ligament. The South African international underwent a scan earlier this week after being unable to join up with his team-mates on United’s mini-tour of Scotland due to an injury sustained in training. Last night, Somma announced the results of the scan to his followers on the social networking site, Twitter: “Got scan back. Torn my ACL, am going to be out for five to six months.” However, following that announcement, manager Simon Grayson moved to clarify the situation and revealed that the injury may not be as serious as the distraught Somma first feared. The United chief told the Yorkshire Post: “Contrary to what has been said on Twitter, it (the injury) is not confirmed and the time-scale could also be very misleading. “We will know more about Davide’s injury and the scan results over the next few days, at which time I will be in a better position to comment on the full diagnosis.” The news that Somma is now facing a likely extended lay-off is a big blow for Leeds with the striker having enjoyed an impressive first season at Elland Road. Despite largely being used from the bench, the 25-year-old netted 12 goals as Grayson’s side just missed out on a place in the Championship play-offs. With Luciano Becchio also having not travelled to Scotland as the Argentinian continues his rehab from surgery on the hamstring that underwent surgery last April, Leeds are likely to turn to Ross McCormack and Billy Paynter today when they take on Motherwell in a friendly. Meanwhile, United have confirmed that the planned moving of away fans at Elland Road this season will be delayed by at least two weeks. Hull City and Middlesbrough are the first two visitors in the Championship and their supporters were expected to be housed in the West Stand. However, with Leeds still waiting for a safety certificate and the re-building work on the East Stand also not due to be finished in time for the kick-off, the club have announced that the previous arrangements that saw away supporters seated in the South East corner and half of the South Stand will remain in place for the visit of Boro and the Tigers on August 13 and 16 respectively. A club spokesman said: “The club is awaiting approval from the Safety Team with regards to the new visiting fans arrangements in the West Stand. Losing Somma is a huge blow. He was our talisman from the bench last season. United can’t afford to lose Gradel and still need another striker. However it still does mean that we need to keep Billy Paynter despite Sheff United allegedly suggesting they would not be interested in a swop deal. 

Friday July 15th 2011. Leeds United have enquired about the availability of Coventry City captain Sammy Clingan. The Whites are keen to bolster their midfield numbers following the summer departures of Neil Kilkenny and Bradley Johnson, although they have brought in experienced schemer Michael Brown. The Northern Ireland international began his career with Wolves before going on to play for Chesterfield, Nottingham Forest and Norwich before joining the Ricoh Arena outfit. The 27-year-old has one year left on his Sky Blues deal and Coventry might be willing to broker a deal this summer rather than lose his services for free at the end of the campaign. Leeds United’s assistant manager Glynn Snodin knows all about Clingan’s ability having assisted Northern Ireland head coach Nigel Worthington in the summer of 2007

Thursday July 14th 2011. Hammers move for Max.  (From YEP)Leeds United have rejected a £2.5million offer from West Ham United for Max Gradel. The Elland Road club turned down the bid earlier this week as the fight to sign their talented winger intensified. West Ham’s approach for Gradel came on Monday, proposing a fee of more than £2million which included several add-ons. Leeds have not commented on the offer but the club are understood to have rejected it swiftly, a response which they hope will dampen West Ham’s interest. United manager Simon Grayson intends to retain Gradel for the forthcoming Championship season but the 23-year-old has only 12 months remaining on his contract and is also on the radar of Premier League sides Fulham and Wigan Athletic. Gradel cost Leeds £200,000 from Leicester City in January of 2010 but his value rose dramatically during his first full season at Elland Road. The Ivory Coast international scored 18 goals last term and swept the board at United’s annual awards ceremony. His contract with Leeds expires next June, however, and he looks increasingly unlikely to agree an extension to that deal. West Ham are looking to exploit Gradel’s contractual situation but Leeds refused to succumb to the bid which arrived from Upton Park this week. West Ham are now considering whether to test Leeds’ resolve by increasing their offer to around the £3million mark, a figure which sources in London believe would tempt the Yorkshire side to negotiate a deal. Gradel is presently on tour with the rest of United’s first-team players in Scotland and he featured in last night’s friendly against Falkirk. Grayson stated last week that he expected Gradel and Robert Snodgrass – the target of a recent offer from Norwich City – to be part of his squad for the start of the season, saying: “I’m envisaging that both players will be here.”

Weds July 13th. 2011. United defeat Falkirk juniors. Falkirk 0-2 Leeds United. (From YEP) United: Rachubka (Cairns 63), Connolly (Bromby 46), Kisnorbo (Lees 63), Lees (Bruce 46), Parker (White 46), Snodgrass (Thompson 63), Clayton (N Turner 63), Brown (Howson 46), Sam (L Turner 63), Paynter (Gradel 46), Nunez (McCormack 46). Referee: Craig Charleston. Attendance: 2,065 (772 Leeds). Drawing entertainment from the earliest pre-season friendlies requires imagination on the part of the spectators in attendance. A small number passed the opening 90 seconds of last night’s game between Leeds United and Falkirk by aiming insults at an absent Alan Smith. The midfielder is persona non grata among an undefined number of United’s supporters but, on the evidence of the club’s first appearance of the summer, Leeds cannot afford to be so choosy. Their manager, Simon Grayson, might argue otherwise but the honest view of his resources in Falkirk was that he is a handful of players short of a convincing Championship team and a further handful short of a fully-loaded squad. It should not come as a newsflash to the thousands in Leeds who have followed the close-season with a degree of nervousness. Whether Smith will be part of the answer to many quiet prayers is, as yet, unconfirmed – one bookmaker shortened odds on his return to a significantly slim price on Tuesday – but the purpose of United’s friendlies in Scotland, predominantly fitness exercises for players who turned out yesterday for the first time since May 7, is in keeping with the state of Grayson’s existing squad. More recruitment will be necessary before he can turn his mind to settling his defence, establishing his midfield and bringing together the pieces in front of him. For all the inactivity at Elland Road, the strands of an agreeable line-up remain, lacking still a sense of completion. Grayson was treated to an easy victory over Falkirk, though his attitude at this time of the year is never to bother with results that are not spectacularly good or depressingly bad. An own goal conceded late in the first half helped Leeds put their hosts in their place during a game which often proceeded at a canter. With time against him and the summer receding, Grayson sought encouragement from his existing players last night and found it in certain quarters. Ramon Nunez – the hitherto untested Honduran international – showed the quickest feet in a rusty first half and teased a break in the deadlock before his shift ended at the interval. Robert Snodgrass extended United’s lead in the 57th minute, leaving no doubt about the outcome and ensuring a satisfactory start to a critical period of preparation. It is a bonus for Grayson that in nine-and-a-half weeks of English transfers, Snodgrass has not been among them. Grayson’s philosophy in previous pre-seasons guaranteed that he would throw his entire squad at yesterday’s fixture, but a glut of injuries narrowed his choice of players. Davide Somma sat at home with a knee injury while his colleagues prepared themselves, and Luciano Becchio and Andy O’Brien gave in to injuries on the morning of the game. They were minor inconveniences, the like of which Grayson would find more unhelpful in three weeks’ time. All three are known quantities in his mind but last night’s friendly was a chance to gently blood Michael Brown and Paul Rachubka, the only signings confirmed by Leeds in the past two months. Significant too were the 63 minutes negotiated by Patrick Kisnorbo, signed four days earlier to a two-year contract in spite of his protracted recovery from a mangled Achilles tendon. Minus his distinctive headband, Falkirk failed to stretch him at all. Rachubka, as the only senior goalkeeper taken north by Grayson, was one of six players asked to complete more than an hour in Falkirk. His save after 12 minutes, diving to smother Kallum Higginbotham’s scuffed shot, was an easy starter for an experienced professional but Rachubka looked less comfortable beneath the header from Stephen Kingsley that looped beyond his far post 12 minutes later and the volley from Ally Graham which struck his crossbar before half-time. In response, Leeds were largely speculative. Nunez cleared Falkirk’s bar with a swing of his right foot and a Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick sank into the side-netting. Billy Paynter’s failure to meet a curling cross wasted the best delivery produced by Snodgrass from the right wing. On account of his first season at Leeds, Paynter’s need for goals might be more pronounced than any other player at Elland Road but an early finish eluded him when he broke clear and pulled the ball wide of Michael McGovern’s net. Lloyd Sam outwitted Falkirk’s keeper two minutes later but saw Rhys Bennett arrive to lash his toe-poke away from a vacant goalline. In those moments, the game found some welcome rhythm. Graham shook Rachubka’s bar in the absence of a marker and Nunez forced the opening goal in the 36th minute when he tempted Tam Scobbie to stretch out a leg and stab the ball into his own net. Grayson retired five players at half-time, sparing Brown and Nunez among others, and the addition of Jonathan Howson to the centre of his midfield brought energy with it. Snodgrass converted an unmarked header when he met Sam’s cross in the 57th minute and Sam ought to have done likewise after Snodgrass returned the favour. His tame attempt fell kindly into McGovern’s hands and the keeper was helped soon after by a foot on his goalline as Leigh Bromby worked the ball towards the corner of Falkirk’s net. Grayson could find little fault to pick, and the limp which briefly forced Max Gradel from the pitch created short-lived concern nine minutes from time. His manager can only hope that West Ham United do not force a more permanent exit.

Tuesday July 12th 2011. Stronger than last season ? There’s no doubt that as it stands we are weaker now than when we finished the season some two months ago. A reserve team keeper, (Rachubka) and  34 year old hard man (Brown) have come in so far for Schmeichel, Higgs, Naylor, Kilkenny and Johnson. Adam Clayton and Tom Lees may get an opportunity to shine, and Paddy Kisnorbo  is a welcome return. Aidy White and Ben Parker may also get their chance. Our transfer kitty of circa £2M has hardly had its purse strings loosened let alone opened. We shouldn’t feel surprised because this has always been the way of the Bates/Grayson partnership. David Stockdale most probably will arrive from Fulham but who amongst us really knows if he is a better addition than Schmeichel. If he comes it will be by default because he certainly wasn’t Grayson’s first choice and probably not even his second choice. Even the most optimistic Leeds fan couldn’t argue that at 34 years of age, Michael Brown will fix our midfield problems. The lad’s better days are behind him and he hasn’t kicked a ball since Christmas. Billy Paynter is not going to work for Leeds United and Danny Wilson needs him, a player who has scored 30 plus goals for him itwo seasons ago. More importantly, Paynter is a League one player. Grayson knows it and Wilson knows it. It’s time to put the lad and we fans out of our misery. Leeds are not going to spend buckets of money, but Montogomery who is 30 in October may be a safer option of an enforcer than Brown. If I was Grayson I would move heaven and earth for Alan Smith. If Smith comes, Montgomery doesn’t and vice versa. There is talk of 25 year old Stephen Quinn arriving. He’s a decent player but we have loads of options (Sam, Snodgrass, Gradel) out wide and a fee of £650,000 could be better spent elsewhere even if Paynter was thrown in as a make weight. Eric Lichaj was our most successful loan signing last season and he’s everything that Paul Connolly isn’t. Grayson is working hard on his return. Sanchez Watt’s name hasn’t been mentioned but he didn’t really cut the mustard last season and in my view he doesn’t deserve another season. Other clubs have been much more active than Leeds this summer and we have been left behind by other Championship sides who have picked up the better players leaving Leeds to nibble at the crumbs once again.  This is because of our absurd wage structure and our insistence of paying no fees for players. One last thing. The elephant in the room is still our defence, and even with Paddy Kisnorbo, Aidy White, Ben Parker and a new keeper do we really think it has been fixed. I don’t and at 16/1 the bookies agree with me.

Tuesday July 12th 2011. Two more to come in and one to go out ? Leeds United signed former Sheffield United midfielder player Michael Brown last night but Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate will not be returning to Elland Road. Brown, now 34, was a free agent after being released by Portsmouth this summer and has signed a one-year deal. The deal was completed when Bowyer, also 34, closed the door on Leeds by joining Ipswich Town from Birmingham City. Defender Woodgate, meanwhile, has agreed a pay-as-you-play deal with Stoke City following his release by Tottenham Hotspur. Both players – who were involved in court controversy together during their first spells with Leeds a decade ago – had been subject of interest from manager Simon Grayson this summer. He is also looking at the possibility of bringing another former crowd favourite Alan Smith ‘home’ from Newcastle but his wages have been a major issue. Brown’s arrival, however, is set to be the first of a string of a new signings at Elland Road with Grayson also keen on Sheffield United midfielders Stephen Quinn (below right) and Nick Montgomery (above left). Grayson wants Quinn to replace Bradley Johnson, who rejected a new deal this summer before joining Norwich City. He has also enquired about Montgomery and is willing to offer striker Billy Paynter in part-exchange in both deals Commenting on Brown’s signing last night, Grayson said: “He is a player I have long been interested in and I’m glad we’ve been able to sort things out for him to come here. He has experience and know-how, and he has played at the highest level. He fits the bill in terms of the quality of player I was looking to bring in and he will be a great addition to the squad.” Brown, who started his career at Manchester City, has played for Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Tottenham since leaving Yorkshire eight years ago. He spent four years at Sheffield United and was sold to Tottenham for £5m in the months after the club’s 2003 play-off final defeat to Wolves. Quinn and Montgomery are among the highest earners at Bramall Lane and their sales would help the Blades stay in control of finances following relegation to League One. Swansea City, Derby County, and Reading are also chasing Quinn who is under contract with the Blades until the end of next season and is valued at £650,000. Although Leeds are unlikely to pay that amount, the offer of Paynter in part-exchange could help bring about a deal. Paynter, 27 tomorrow, worked under Blades manager Danny Wilson at former club Swindon where his goals helped the club reach the League One play-off final. But he has struggled since joining Leeds last summer and scored only one goal in 22 appearances. Wilson is desperate for a new striker after selling Darius Henderson to Millwall and Jamie Ward to Derby County. With striker Jordan Slew still discussing his future amid interest from Fulham and Welsh international Ched Evans poised to move on, the need for replacements will intensify between now and the start of the season. Montgomery is also a target for newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers, who are managed by Neil Warnock, and a move to the Premier League would be hard to resist. Warnock failed in a bid to land Montgomery last season and his latest move has been hindered by uncertainty off the field at Loftus Road. Leeds defender Patrick Kisnorbo has ended uncertainty over his future by signing a new two-year deal at Elland Road. The Australian international spent 14 months on the sidelines with an Achilles injury before returning to action as a substitute on the final day of last season. Grayson said: “He’s had a tough time but we know what he is all about and what he brings to the team. He is a very important member of our squad. The deal shows the commitment of both the club and Paddy and it’s great to have him back with everyone after being out for so long.” Meanwhile, Alan Quinn – the older brother of Leeds’s target Stephen – is set to join Doncaster Rovers in the next few days after being released by Ipswich Town. Quinn, who has played for both Sheffield clubs, is keen to return to Yorkshire and has been invited to train with Doncaster Rovers by manager Sean O’Driscoll. Rovers finally completed the signing yesterday of former Leeds captain Richard Naylor.

Tuesday July 12th 2011. Stockdale to arrive ? The door has been opened for Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale to head to a Championship club on loan, with Leeds United at the front of the queue for his services. Premiership new-boys Swansea saw a move for the 25-year-old rejected at the weekend, with Stockdale open to a switch to the Liberty Stadium. But Cottagers chief Martin Jol has ruled out lending Stockdale – who has previously been called up to the full England national team – to a rival top-flight club because he can’t insert a recall clause into the deal. The chances of Stockdale moving to a second-tier club have increased with Jol snapping up Hungarian keeper Csaba Somogyi as number two to Mark Schwarzer. Jol said: “There are quite a few parties interested. He’s a good young keeper, but lacks experience which he will hopefully he will get. “I would prefer to loan him out to a Championship club because we can include a 24-hour recall clause.” 

Monday July 11th. Signing number 2 and another freebie but no Woody return. Leeds United have signed former Sheffield United midfielder Michael Brown following his release by Portsmouth. But Leeds have lost out to Stoke City to the free transfer signing of central defender Jonathan Woodgate. Brown, now 34, has signed a one year deal and is set to make his debut in tomorrow night’s friendly against Falkirk. Manager Simon Grayson said: “We’re delighted to finalise things with Michael. He is a player that I have long been interested in and I’m glad we’ve been able to sort things out for him to come here. He has experience and know-how, and he has played at the highest level. He fits the bill in terms of the quality of player I was looking to bring in and he will be a great addition to the squad. He met up with the lads when we arrived in Scotland and we’ve been able to conclude things quickly so he can start training with us here.” Woodgate joins the Potters after his contract at Tottenham expired and has signed a one-year deal. The 31-year-old former England international started out at Leeds before having spells with Newcastle, Real Madrid and Middlesbrough in a career blighted by injury. Speaking from the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria, manager Tony Pulis said: “The lad is a top-class player and it’s been well documented that he has had his injury troubles, but we believe that if his fitness is managed properly, he will play games for us. “We know that other Premier League clubs were keen on signing Jonathan, so we are delighted he has chosen us. It’s a chance we are taking, but one we were keen to take because of the stature and quality of the player.” He added: “We’ve effectively taken him on a pay-as-you-play deal which just shows how desperate the lad is to get his career back on the right track.” Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes added: “There is no doubt that we have acquired a player with outstanding quality and experience but he is one who has clearly struggled with injuries over the past two years. “However, sometimes a fresh start can trigger a change of fortunes. Jonathan has been working very hard throughout the summer on his fitness so he is desperate to make the most of this opportunity and to play in the Premier League.” Woodgate made just four first-team appearances over the last two seasons at Tottenham due to a groin problem. Yet again we have paid no money for a “key” signing. If we were to sign a 34 year old why not have gone for Lee Bowyer. Brown is a dirty so and so. But as it stands the side that finished last season in 7th is weaker than the side that will start season 2011/12. Of that there can be no doubt and Brown will spend more times suspended in the stands rather than on the pitch. Do we take it from this signing that Smudger isn’t coming and where is the £1M from Schmeichel’s transfer kitty plus the original budget gone ? More Tesco yellow pack signings !!!

Sunday July 10th. A dripfeed of bullshit ! Leeds pre-season trading has been an absolute joke to date. This week United would want to bring in some serious quality for fans to be in any way appeased. So far the following have departed :  1. Naylor, 2. Higgs, 3. Kilkenny, 4. Johnson, and 5. Schmeichel. Ken Bates has said that departing goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel “is no great loss”. The big Dane in contrast has handled himself with dignity, a word unfamiliar to Grandpa Smurf. United tried to sign Andy Lonergan for £250,000 but Leeds two bob “wage structure” failed to land a keeper who conceded more goals than Kasper Scmeichel. Other names to be linked with United : Jersy Dudek,  David Stockdale (pic’d left), Iain Turner ( right) and Westwood. A better keeper than Schmeichel is unlikely to be landed on a free or on loan for less wages. The fans are kept in the dark like mushrooms as Bates offers gems of comfort like “three players we missed have joined Premiership teams. That’s the kind of players we are trying to attract”. Meanwhile that world class defender Bessone is to “get another chance” and Billy “one goal” Paynter is “very much in the manger’s plans”. So far we have landed a keeper that was surplus to requirements for Blackpool Reserves, Paul Rachubka. No offence to the lad but he’s unlikely to either keep clean sheets or put bums on seats. Not a whisper from Bates about season ticket sales as the drip feed continues. Lee Bowyer is coming back. No he’s not, he’s gone to Ipswich along with Micheal Choppra. That’s ambition. Jon Woodgate is coming back on a pay per game basis. No he’s not. He’s going to Stoke City. What about taking a chance on You Tube’s Owen Hargreaves ? Oh we can’t do that because Sven has him down at Leicester along side his £8M central defence of St ledger and Mills, and don’t forget David Nugent . Yes but only Leicester are spending big ! Not right. Minnows Brighton have signed the class Craig Makail Smith for £2.5M.  Yes bloody Brighton ! Broke Portsmouth have spent £1M on Greg Halford. Southampton have had £3M turned down for Nicky Maynard who looks like he’s about to join Sven’s revolution at the Crisp stadium. Still, whilst waiting for Maynard to make up his mind, the Saints purchased 23 year old former England under 21 international, Jack Cork from Chelsea on a four year contract.   I think the reader is seeing a pattern develop. Can anyone remember Ken Bates paying £1M for any player since he took the helm ??????My memory stretches to circa £600K for David Healy. United are trying hard to get in Eric Lichaj who played 16 times for United last season and was one of Grayson’s rare successes. Naturally new manager, Alex McCleish wants to assess his players at Villa before letting any go on loan, even if is to the once mighty Leeds United. Oh but we have two new players (well almost new players) in the fit again Paddy Kisnorbo and the fit again Ben Parker. I’m attempting to avoid the names of Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel, just in case they may be be playing Premiership or Bundesliga football before the end of August. Let me think, we are bringing in four new players. I wonder will Grandpa Smurf count Lichaj and Rachubka as half the quartet. In the Leeds, Leeds magazine, June/July edition, Simon Grayson said : “The one big disappointment last Summer was that I never got the player I really needed to hold it all together. I’ve known we really needed a defensive midfielder right from last season. We never really replaced Michael Doyle, ultimately because there really wasn’t anybody out there we could get (ie pay peanuts as wages and free). It wasn’t even as if we went in for a player in that mould but lost him to another club. There just wasn’t anyone who fitted exactly. Some could have been the captain type but been absolutely useless on the ball . We needed to get a special type of player to do that role”. Any one for Alan Smith Simon ?????? I must say I found that quote absolutely amazing. If he couldn’t replace Michael Doyle who he obviously rated so highly, why didn’t he buy him. Let’s look at the players Simon Grayson brought in last season either on loans or on contracts. They were : 1. Kasper Schmeichel, 2. Paul Connolly, 3. Federico Bessone, 4. Lloyd Sam, 5. Adam Clayton, 6. Alex Bruce, 7. Ross McCormack, 8. George McCartney, 9. Amdy Faye, 10. Jason Brown, 11. Ramon Nunez, 12. Andy O’Brien, 13. Billy Paynter, 14. Sanchez Watt, 15. Billy Paynter, 16. Barry Bannan, 17. Jake Livermore and 18. David Gonzalez. Without being cruel maybe at a push three of them out of eighteen  did a job for us !!! I’d love to think Grandpa Smurf was being prudent with Leeds money (not bloody his) and waiting for a certain quality to arrive. Then I thought of Paul Rachubka, cheap and uninspiring. Next week will determine how serious United are about launching a serious Championship assault or has Grayson become totally Bates’ poodle – and Leeds go for cheap, poor, and dull. But as a fair guy I think it only fair that I let Simon Grayson or Bates ventriloquist have the last word because we really need a lift and for Grayson to raise his game with quality signings : “We’re a long way down the line with a couple of deals. I’d like to think that we’ll have a couple of new players, if not more, for the Scotland trip. Like all the fans, we want something to be happening. Ideally I’d like to have all my players in place for the middle of next week but it doesn’t always happen like that.”

Sunday July 10th. Have we at last landed Kasper’s replacement ? Leeds have been linked with the arrival of one of two keepers. Fulham’s David Stockdale “is set to join a Championship club on loan in the next few days”. Fulham boss Martin Jol is keen to get the 25-year-old game time elsewhere rather being stuck warming the bench at Cottage Road. Stockdale is behind Mark Schwarzer in the pecking order and the arrival of Hungarian keeper Csaba Somogyi has cleared him to move on. Swansea have been linked with the Leeds-born shotstopper, but Jol refuses to loan him to another Premier League club as he cannot include a 24-hour recall clause in the deal. The Cottagers goalkeeping coach Hans Segers revealed: “There is quite a few clubs interested and I can see something happening in the next few days. I’m waiting for confirmation from one of the clubs.” According to Sky Sports Swansea City have had a £3M bid for Stockdale turned down. Swansea have now  reached an agreement to sign goalkeeper Jose Moreira from Benfica for an undisclosed fee, subject to a medical. Having seemingly lost out on Andy Lonergan, Leeds prolonged search for Kasper Schmeichel’s replacement ironically may invole the club Longergan is bound for. Everton’s Scottish goalkeeper Iain Turner is the next name alongside Lonergan, Kieron Westwood, David Stockdale and Jerzy Dudek to be linked with a move to Elland Road. Having arrived at Everton eight years ago from Stirling Albion, Turner has made just four starts for the Toffeeman and spent most of his time at Goodison out-on loan to no less than eight clubs – the last one ironically being Preston North End earlier this year where he kept a certain Andy Lonergan out of the side for fourteen games. Turner has rejected a new deal at Goodison and the 27 year old is now a free agent. Yet again, it will be signing of potential rather than proven quality – if it goes through, other clubs including Hull City are reportedly interested.

Sunday July 10th. Paddy signs on. Leeds United have confirmed that Australian defender Patrick Kisnorbo has signed a new two-year contract. The 30-year-old mustered just 10 minutes of Championship action last season after needing 14 months to recover from an Achilles injury. However, Kisnorbo is fully fit and expected to play a full part in pre-season training before competing for a spot in manager Simon Grayson’s first team. Grayson is delighted to resolve Kisnorbo’s future as the former Leicester City man is a firm fans’ favourite after greatly impressing in his debut season as Leeds won promotion from League One. “We’re delighted to get things finalised with Paddy,” Grayson told the club’s official website. “He’s had a tough time, but we know what he is all about and what he brings to the team. He is a very important member of our squad. “The deal shows the commitment of both the club and Paddy and it’s great to have him back with everyone after being out for so long.” Perthaps closer to the truth is the fact that United knew that C Palace were sniffing around Paddy and  the last thing they needed was Paddy to walk away after Kilkenny and Johnson left on Bosmans and Schmeichel was shown the £1M pound door.

Thursday July 7th 2011. I have it on good authority that the three Premiership players that we missed out (to whom our trustworthy chairman was referring to ) on were Carlos Tevez, Charlie Adams and John O’Shea. Andy Lonergan passed a medical but Leeds United failed to agree terms with a player who seems to have been on a better wage at relegated Preston than Leeds were prepared to offer as alleged Premiership contenders. Are Leeds United taking the piss or what ? Poor Andy Lonergan wasn’t happy with free Yorkshire pies and £500 quid a week. Ungrateful so and so ! United were allegedly moving on for Fulham’s second stopper,  Stockdale on a season long loan and may pay him the full £800 quid a week. meanwhile Leicester had a £4.5M plus offer accepted from Reading for Matt  (rising to £5.5M)Mills and the player signed up for the Foxes. He will partner new £1.5M Sean St Ledger at the centre of their defence and in front of £1M plus goalkeeping signing  Kasper Schmeichel.  Meanwhile broke  Portsmouth bought Greg Halford for £1M from Wolves. Is Bates taking the piss or what ? Seeing as Bates didn’t rate Schmeichel we can draw from that inference that O’Brien and Bruce are obviously better players than Mills and St Ledger in Bates’ mind.

Weds July 6th 2011. Taken from Bates’ mouthpiece of a radio station : BF: Now let’s move on and talk transfers. Plenty of speculation still around linking all-sorts of names with Leeds. I know you are not going to comment specifically, but is there plenty of irons in the fire at the moment?  KB: It’s silly obviously. The reason why we never talk about players that we intend to buy or want to buy, and I’ve never understood why clubs do that, is of course all you are doing is alerting the competition. So, if we are in for Billy Bloggs and we state it, then everybody else will think ‘well Leeds are in for Billy Bloggs, must be alright so we’ll look at him’. Before you know where you are, you’ve got competition. It’s stupid to do it. It’s stupid to talk about our commercial operations because you are alerting the opposition or the competition. I can confirmed, we are in serious discussions with a number of players. We hope to sign about four before the season starts. We would have liked to have signed them by now but as I have been saying over the last month, most of the players have been on holiday and their agents are on holiday and in some cases, the other club don’t know what to do with them or haven’t made their mind up yet. What I can say, is that there are three players that we went for and failed to get them because they have signed for Premiership clubs. Now, that a) indicates the quality of player we are trying to get and b) you can’t blame the players because if you are offered the chance of playing in the Premiership against the Championship the you are going to take the Premiership, which is just what Leeds want anyway.BF: And also, rumours the other way with plenty of interest in some of the big-name players already at the club. Do you have a message… KB: (interrupts) Nobody is leaving Leeds United. And we’ve only had one offer and we said no. There are rumours, you read them in the newspapers, exactly what I was talking about a little while ago with this club is going to offer X for Y and somebody else is going to offer Z for somebody else. It’s all newspaper talk. Half of these are put in by the agents trying to stimulate interest. But I can assure fans, the members, that we have no intention of selling any of our top players unless the offer is so ridiculous that it will enable Simon to strengthen his team in other ways but I can assure you, well I don’t want to go into the details, but I can assure you that our aim this year is to get into the Premiership and not to be a breeding club for others. It’ll be difficult this year. There’s lots of clubs and some provincial clubs who are spending big money because they want to break into the big time and of course we have got some big clubs who have come down and have got parachute payments for the next three years. We intend to try and be up there with them.

Tues July 5th. Championship Updates. Leicester City continued their assault on the Championship by nabbing striker, David Nugent from Portsmouth. Robert Earnshaw looks . like returning to Cardiff from Forest. Tues July 5th. Who is Andy Lonergan ? Leeds United are being strongly linked with a move for Preston North End custodian Andrew Lonergan – to fill their vacant no.1 goalkeeping berth. The Whites are understood to have enquired about the availability of the 27-year-old and according to sources in the north-west, a move across the Pennines for Lonergan could happen shortly. Preston are seeking a fee for Lonergan, who has a couple of years left on his Deepdale deal and is thought to be one of the highest earners at the club with boss Phil Brown keen to trim the wage bill following relegation to League One. Brown wants to bring former loan keeper and free agent Iain Turner – who made 17 appearances for the club last term – back to Preston, although any move is thought to depend on selling Lonergan first. Ex-England Under-21 stopper Lonergan – who made his North End debut aged just 16 and started 29 Championship games in 2010-11 – has also attracted interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Coventry City. So who is he ? He made his Preston debut managed by David Moyes as a 16-year-old in a League Cup tie away at Coventry City. With his progress being closely monitored by the goalkeeping coach, Peter Williams, he was sent out on loan to rivals Blackpool and Darlington. With David Moyes leaving to join Everton and Craig Brown entering the managerial fray at Deepdale, Lonergan remained optimistic about his future at the club; indeed, he was promoted to the first-team squad for the final stage of the 2002–03 season as an understudy to Scotland international Jonathan Gould. With Gould out injured for a period of the following season, Lonergan snapped up his goalkeeping gloves and stood between the sticks for the first time in the league against West Brom, two years after his debut. Gould fell out of favour soon after, and Lonergan remained as the first choice until the end of that season.  On the 2 October 2004 Lonergan scored a goal from his own penalty area in the 39th minute against Leicester City to equalise, after his long kick bounced over Leicester goalkeeper Kevin Pressman. The game ended in a 1–1 draw . He remained at Deepdale for the 2004–05 season under the watchful eye of new manager Billy Davies, and played a part in 65% of the season before he ruptured his cruciate ligaments before a game against Ipswich Town, due to Lonergan’s injury, Carlo Nash was signed as a replacement by Billy Davies from Middlesbrough to shore up the goalkeeping crisis. After a long spell out injured with the injury it took Lonergan over two years to gain back his place. Nash kept his place for the 2005–06 term and kept a club record of over 30 clean sheets. Lonergan himself was injured in training early in 2005, and only returned to action with a loan spell to get himself match fit in late 2005 at Wycombe Wanderers, only to become injured once again due to a screw holding his ligament in place snapping. In November 2006, Lonergan joined Swindon Town on a one-month loan contract to gain first-team football. He returned early, however, after he wasn’t given the football he desired. He returned to the Preston bench until January 2007, when Nash’s unprofessional attitude meant a recall to the first team for Lonergan in an FA Cup Fourth Round tie at Crystal Palace in which he impressed with a clean sheet in a 2–0 victory for Preston. Lonergan won Preston’s 2008/09 player of the year award. After Preston North End club captain Paul McKenna was sold to Nottingham Forest in August 2009, Lonergan was made a vice-captain to new club captain, Callum Davidson. Lonergan’s first match which he started as captain was at Deepdale, where he led Preston North End out to win 2–0 against Swansea City on 12 September 2009. Manager Alan Irvine claimed that he believed Lonergan was good enough to play for England. He had a fine season during the 2009-10 season establishing himself as one of the top goalkeepers in The Championship and winning Preston’s player of the year award. During the last few games of the season Preston managed to overcome an insuperior goal difference to playoff rivals Cardiff City by beating them 6-0, with Lonergan also saving a penalty in the same game which in the end proved vital on goal difference for the final table result to overtake Cardiff and reach the playoffs. Lonergan played a big part in helping Preston reach the playoff Semi-finals during the 2009/10 season but lost over two legs to Sheffield United. During the summer Premier League club West Brom had 3 seperate bids rejected for Lonergan, with Preston manager Darren Ferguson claiming he valued Lonergan at £20 million and that he didn’t want to sell him. Lonergan was the goalkeeper for Preston during the 2010-11 season as they were relegated to League 1 making 29 league starts, in September 2010 Lonergan was charged for making obscene gestures to fierce-rivals Burnley’s supporters during Preston’s 4-3 loss. Lonergan was fined for the incident and warned of his future conduct. In the same month Lonergan also played in one of the games of the season in Prestons 6-4 win against Leeds United, with Preston coming back to win the game after being 4-1 down. He was linked with moves to Man City and Wigan Athletic in the January transfer window. Lonergan claimed in January that he was the most overworked goalkeeper in The Championship However during the last quarter of the season under new manager Phil Brown, Lonergan was displaced by Everton loan goalkeeper Iain Turner. After relegation from The Championship Lonergan was linked with moves to Aston Villa, Cardiff City and Everton. Manager Phil Brown revealed he needed to sell Lonergan to re-sign loan goalkeeper Iain Turner due to lack of funds. Lonergan is a former English U-21 International] He also played for England in the Under 20′s World CupHe is also eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland national team due to his Irish grandparents] In May 2010, Lonergan revealed he would welcome a call up to the Republic of Ireland national team after he had initially refused an enquiry to be called up to the Irish squad. He has played over 200 league games for the Lilywhites. United, who have already brought in Paul Rachubka on a free transfer, have targeted bringing in a first-choice keeper as a priority area following the sale of last season’s no.1 Kasper Schmeichel to Leicester City. They have already been linked with several players, including ex-Liverpool Champions League winner Jerzy Dudek, along with highly-rated Huddersfield Town keeper Alex Smithies and Burnley’s Lee Grant. Plus points for Lonergan are as follows : 1 highly rated by decent managers including David Moyes, Billy Davies, and Darren ferguson turned down three offers from WBA for his services. Negative Points = he let in a shit load of goals last season and lost his place, and is he better than Kasper Schmeichel ?

Tues July 5th 2011. Everyone wants to see the Whites. Leeds United have been handed another three televised dates next season. The club’s visit to West Ham United has been moved from Saturday, August 20 to Sunday, August 21 (kick off1.15pm) to allow for a live broadcast. And their match at Doncaster Rovers will now take place on Friday, October 14, starting at 7.45pm. United clash at Brighton – already moved to Friday, September 23 for safety reasons – will also be shown live by Sky Sports.

Monday July 4th. Grayson expects no more exits. Simon Grayson has insisted that he expects Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel to be on Leeds United’s books when the new season starts on August 6. United’s manager played down fears of either winger departing Elland Road in the coming five weeks, saying Snodgrass and Gradel were central to his plans for the forthcoming npower Championship term. Leeds turned down a bid for Snodgrass from promoted Norwich City last month and Gradel is on the radar of West Ham United and Fulham after scoring 18 times in the Championship last season. Snodgrass has two more years on his contract at Elland Road while Gradel’s deal expires in 12 months’ time. The pair are among the more valuable and highly-rated members of United’s squad and asked if he was confident of retaining them, Grayson said: “Definitely. All our work will be done around the players we’ve got. “Obviously if somebody offers money that you think is too good to turn down then we’d go out and replace them. “It’s not like any money that comes in will be left in the bank – we’ll be going out to spend it straight away. “But I’m envisaging that both players and every other player at the club will still be here at the start of the season.”

Monday July 4th 2011. Other Championships getting stronger. Leicester City’s spending shows no sign of halting as they added the quality of Sean St Ledger of Ireland and fornerly Preston NE. Unlike Leeds do the Foxes put him on a five year contract which will bring him to 31 unless he secures a bigger move after winning Leicester promotion. Even Brighton have added the quality of Craig Makail-Smith. Paul Jewell praised his chairman for his backing as Lee Bowyer is about to join Michael Choppra in Norfolk. Leeds continue to cross their fingers for “the right players to arrive” while Norman Bates “won’t break the bank” for new arrivals or his precious wage structure which resembles top of League One more than top of Championship.

Monday July 4th. Larry confirms Dudek interest. Leeds United manager Simon Grayson has confirmed former Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek is an option to move to Elland Road. Grayson recently signed Paul Rachubka on a free transfer from Blackpool, but remains keen to increase his goalkeeping options following the sale of Kasper Schmeichel to Leicester City. Veteran shot-stopper Dudek has been linked with a move to the Championship club after his contract at Real Madrid expired. Dudek is on Grayson’s transfer radar, but the Whites boss acknowledged there are other options as he tries to improve his squad  “The big thing about this club is that it’s well known and things get thrown at you all the time,” said Grayson. “He’s on a list of players in that position who are available and might be a proposition. He’s one of half-a-dozen who are on the radar.”We’ve got two or three really good options and we’re just waiting to make the right decision in terms of the player’s ability and the finance package to go with it all.” Dudek spent six seasons with Liverpool before leaving for Real in 2007 and the Pole spent four years at the Santiago Bernabeu providing the back-up to Iker Casillas.

Sat July 2nd. Daily Mail has Becchio next to exit sage left. Swansea City are said to be about to test Leeds resolve by offering £3M for the Argentine. You can almost feel the euphoria lifting through Grandpa smurf as he does the maths. Hmm, he arrived on a trial. He is 27 now and we can get £3M for him. The trouble with that scenario is as follows : We let Beckford go, but only after he helped secure us promotion, and Bates probably thought he wouldn’t make it in the Premiership anayway. He did by scoring 10 goals in his first season including efforts home and away v Chelsea and a goal at Anfield in the Mersyside derby. But both Leeds and Beckford were winners. United need Becchio and Gradel even more because they are the two that scored over 40 goals in the Championship last season. There is a cancer sucking the life  out of Leeds United and that’s Ken Bates. Where did the Fabian Delph £8M go ? Where did the £5M go when we lost three kids to Chelsea and Everton ? United can’t expect to attract top quality players  and expect fans to watch the usual array of  free transfers. The name Leeds United and Thorp Arch training facilities won’t clinch the deal when our competitors with more ambition will secure the deals by paying five or six grand per week more than Leeds. If we were allegedly paying £18,000 per week for McCartney, why not do the same for Smudger. Bring him and make him captain and go for Bowyer  also.Unless real quality arrives in the next week fans will vote with their feet and not renew season tickets and the better players like Howson, Snodgrass and Gradel may seriously consider moving to a side with real promotion plans and of course bigger wages.

Sat July 2nd. Sky Sports has Paddy on the possible move. Skysports.com reports that Crystal Palace are lining up a move for free agent defender Patrick Kisnorbo. The Australian stopper is out of contract this summer after his Leeds United deal expired. Kisnorbo missed virtually the whole of last season as he recovered from the Achilles injury sustained in March 2010. The popular defender featured off the bench in Leeds’ 2-1 win over QPR on the last day of the season, but that was his only appearance. Leeds were keen to see Kisnorbo in pre-season training before deciding whether to extend his Elland Road stay. However, they are not the only interested club, with rivals Crystal Palace now keen on luring the no-nonsense man to Selhurst Park.

Sat 2nd of July 2011. Schmeichel bears no grudge and Johnson happy to be a Canary. He said: “There is no animosity on my part. I enjoyed my time there and wish them all the best for the future. I have no bad feelings towards Leeds. “The fans were amazing and I hope, for their sake especially, that they get what they deserve”. Having completed a switch to the ambitious Foxes, Schmeichel is now looking forward to working under former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson. He added: “Sven is a great manager, and I love working for him. He creates a great environment.”Very diplomatic and mature talk from the Dane after Bates had said that “he was no great loss”. Let’s hope Grandpa Smurf allows Grayson the funds to replace Schmeichel, Johnson, Kilkenny, Naylor and Higgs, to name but a few. Bradley Johnson who joined Norwich City on a free transfer had the following to say : “Paul Lambert has done a fantastic job since he arrived at Norwich and that was one of the main factors in me signing with the club.I am over the moon really to get the chance to play in the Premier League with a big club like Norwich City and under a great manager who I have a lot of respect for. “Norwich have already got some good players there and I have had some great battles with some of them over the past couple of years in my time with Leeds.“They proved they were a good team by getting back-to-back promotions, and another deciding factor was to join a team that enjoys playing football and is hungry and has got that desire to succeed. “I cannot wait to join up with the squad and meet everyone, get training and get a good pre-season under my belt.” Johnson, born in Hackney, started his career in East Anglia as a trainee at Cambridge, before joining Northampton in 2005, and transferred to Elland Road three seasons later. The midfielder made more than 100 appearances for Leeds, scoring 17 goals including a long-range strike in last season’s FA Cup replay against Arsenal. After Leeds missed out on promotion, finishing seventh in the Championship, Johnson is relishing his first taste of top-flight action with the Canaries. “I have dreamed of playing in the Premier League since I was younger and I feel I have done a lot of hard work to get there, coming up from the Ryman League now all the way to getting a chance in the Premier League, I just can’t wait to get started,” he said. “Bradley’s a strong midfielder and will come in and give everybody here a hand,” said the Norwich manager.

Thurs. June 30th 2011 The boys are back in town. As United’s old squad tackle a new pre-season, pounding the outskirts of Thorp Arch, other clubs continue to strengthen their starting elevens. Hull City needed a centre back and bought the quality Jack Hobbs (ex Liverpool Reserve team captain) for £800,000 from Leicester City.  Coventry City brought in Joe Murphy to replace Westwood in goal at the Ricoh. A busy Hull City brought in 36 year old Dele Adebola from Notts Forest. West Ham and QPR were both allowed to talk to Blackpool’s DJ Campbell after meeting his £1.25M buy out clause. Birmingham signed striker Adam Rooney from Inverness after netting 20 plus goals in the SPL. Meanwhile, the Birmingham City owner, Carson Yeung  was facing money laundering charges in his native Hong Kong. Leeds were said to be offering Robert Snodgrass a new improved long term contract, whilst talk of Gradel going and Smith not coming prevailed. But it’s all going to be okay according to our trustworthy chairman, Ken Bates and he wouldn’t lie to us. Pinnochio !!!!!!