Weds June 29th. Taken from Yorkshire Radio’s interview with Leeds United owner Ken Bates today…(don’t expect the hard questions a real fan would ask !)‘Mr Chairman’ speaks to Ben Fry about Kasper Schmeichel’s move to Leicester City, transfer goings on behind the scenes, fixture scheduling, suing the police, Shaun Harvey’s incredible rise (not his pay packet), the new away ticket system and Christmas. Ben Fry: Chairman, we’ll start with Kasper Schmeichel. His move to Leicester was completed this week. Do you feel it’s a good move for the club? Ken Bates: Yes, it is a good move for the club. When we talked to Schmeichel’s agent, he made it quite clear he didn’t really want to sign an extended contract, which means we would lose him next summer and he said he thought he was worthy of Premiership football, which was a matter of debate as far as I was concerned. In the circumstances, we considered the matter and decided there’s no point in keeping a player who is just using us as a stepping stone to moving on. Furthermore, the indications of his salary requirements were, in my opinion, unrealistic and we thought he had a mixed season anyway, a bit like curate’s egg; good in parts, bad in parts. So we thought it was better to move on, take a good profit, which of course goes into Simon’s fighting fund, and look around elsewhere. We have already signed one goalkeeper, of course, but we’re looking for another one to ensure we’re covered in depth and that process is ongoing. So we wish Schmeichel luck but we don’t see him as any great loss. BF: The goalkeeper you mentioned, Paul Rachubka is the first signing of the summer. Are you close to making any more before the players come back for pre-season? KB: Well, dealing with Rack-ub-cha, he had played over 200 games for Blackpool’s first team and of course, Simon signed him so he knows him, so he’s very confident having got him here. Other transfers; it’s a bit like buses. None come along, then two or three come along at once. All around the country, the players are now reporting back to training and the agents have had their holiday so perhaps we can start getting some bits of stuff done. It’s really difficult to do business when players are not around because we insist on meeting the players before we agree to sign them. After all the agent isn’t going to pull on the No5 shirt on August 6, so we need to meet the player and get a feeling of his attitude and get a look at his fitness etc etc. So that’s really why we have not made any apparent signings so far. Another thing is a lot of clubs can’t decide what to do with some of their players and of course there is the pressure of the Premiership. If you can go to a Premiership club, you’re not going to go… it’s very rare that you’ll go to a Championship club. So we have been patient. There are two or three players that have slipped through our fingers but, again, they’ve gone to Premiership clubs, which we can’t really complain about. I can assure all the fans, there’s an awful lot of work going on behind the scenes. BF: Now the players are back in training on Thursday, have you spoken to Simon? Is it going to be work, work, work? KB: Well I speak to Simon three times a day. In fact in all aspects of club affairs, I either made or took 62 phone calls yesterday. The last one was at 7.30pm last night, the first one was at 8.10am, so yes, an awful lot of activity is going on and Simon is all geared up and so are the players. Some of them have already come back. Lloyd Sam for example has been having treatment throughout the summer because of his niggling injury. So we’re determined to get off to a good start. BF: Now the fixture schedule looks a little bit more complete now there has been a few more changes. Do you think this is a little bit closer to the finished article or have we got more changes to come?KB: In my eyes, the fixture list is what you see and the only other changes inevitably is the TV because the TV companies obviously want to see how the season is panning out and that’s why they choose their TV games in blocks and that’s why unfortunately sometimes there is an inconvenience to the fans but there’s nothing we can do about it because the Football League have got this contractual obligation with the TV companies who give us the money therefore we have to be messed around. What we do try to do, we try to minimise the inconvenience as far as possible with games being moved but then again you see we have already got one moved and that’s the Bradford City game which was brought forward to Tuesday from the Wednesday. But it’s a big derby, it should be a good, exciting game. We have already sold over 6,000 tickets which is good for a game which is not taking place for six or seven weeks. We just have to live with it but I can assure the fans we try to a) get the decisions as soon as possible and b) to try get them moved either earlier or later rather than switching the day. But Leeds United are a popular club with the TV companies, that’s why we’re under more pressure than most. BF: Now some games have been moved at police request. Whilst we’re talking about the police, there’s details in the Yorkshire Evening Post of a dispute between the West Yorkshire Constabulary and Leeds United. Can you shed any light on this? KB: Well first of all, we are in dispute with the police over police costs and our lawyers have advised us to say nothing and we have complied with that advice. Unfortunately, some idiot little journalist wrote a story which wasn’t accurate and put it on the website. We have had it removed since then with an apology from the YEP for the damage that has been done. But I thought the reaction of the Deputy Chief Constable David Crompton… I thought it was a bit unfortunate. I think the problem is, in true reflection, he would probably regret what he said, which I don’t intend to expand on or reply to. I simply say this matter will be decided in the courts and not in the pages of the YEP. BF: Now last week it was announced that Leeds chief exec Shaun Harvey has joined the Football League board. Is it important that a club the size of Leeds has some representation on the board? KB: Well it’ll be a good chance for Shaun to make sure everybody gets fined 15 points except us, for example. That’s one small example of one advantage that could take place. But more seriously, it is important. It’s a compliment and a recognition of the ability of Shaun Harvey that he has been elected to represent the Championship on the Football League board and he’ll do a good job. It also gives us a voice, if you like, in the corridors of power because we are a big club and sometimes decisions that the Football League make are all in favour of the small clubs which is something that isn’t altogether fair. But Shaun will do a good job. I’m sure he will strengthen the board and it’ll be to the benefit of football that he is there. BF: And next up, a new away ticket procedure has been announced for the 2011/12 campaign. Is this another effort from the club to try and smooth the way for fans to get the tickets for the games that they want? KB: Well, I think that we always listen to fans’ comments and we’re always trying to improve the service. Of course, it’s not always possible to do what fans want because it’s not always realistic. Sometimes we’re having disputes over the way tickets are allocated for play-off finals and that sort of thing. And I sometimes say to the complainant, “well what would you do?” The system they want is basically, “give me my ticket and bugger everybody else,” which isn’t quite the balanced proposal we’re looking for. But there is a point being made that tickets are going to be in scarce supply this year and therefore we should do them on a loyalty basis. The more people that support and go away to the less-popular games, if you like, should be given priority when the big games come up or when there’s a shortage of tickets. I think that’s very fair. And Katies Holmes, our indefatigable ticket office manager, worked with Mark Broadley of our IT department to make sure a new computerised system – don’t ask the details, I’m too old for that – which hopefully will be fairer for the majority of fans. BF: Now finally for today, whilst we’re sat here enjoying some June sunshine, the club is already planning for Christmas. Is Christmas an important time for the club’s off-field activities with the Pavilion and the conference facilities? KB: Well, the thing is, it’s important for the club that off-field activities are throughout the season and throughout the year but obviously at Christmas, for obvious reasons, it is peak time and the club has to book their events at the Pavilion and Nicky Chapman suite and venues, just the same as anybody else. So we have to make the decisions early, which we have done. So we now know when the Member’s Party will be, when the Carol Concert will be and we even know when the End of Season Party will be, as well as others in the pipeline. It’s important because others can put it in their diary and plan accordingly.

Weds June 29th. 2011 Roll call please ! Phil Hay : Leeds United will begin training on Thursday with the skeleton of a Championship team.The headcount performed by manager Simon Grayson on the first morning of pre-season should remind him of the work required to make United’s squad serious competitors in a cut-throat league.Without any immediate deals to supplement the signing of Paul Rachubka, a solitary goalkeeper and a small scattering of midfielders will emphasise the need for a marked increase in the appearance of new players at Elland Road. Grayson himself could not claim to have the necessary strength or depth of squad to mix easily in a division as competitive as the Championship.United’s boss dealt with a shortage of senior professionals during the days of pre-season in 2010, taking only 17 to a friendly at Bury midway through July, and most of his business this summer will take place in the five weeks leading up to the start of the Championship term. His chairman, Ken Bates, recently promised an “explosion” of activity after two slow months which have created a tangible sense of nervousness and dissatisfaction among the club’s support.Rachubka became United’s first and, to date, only signing of the summer when he left Blackpool on Thursday and accepted a two-year deal at Elland Road, but confirmation of Kasper Schmeichel’s transfer to Leicester City will leave Rachubka as the only experienced keeper at Thorp Arch tomorrow. Despite his protestations to the contrary, the 30-year-old might start the new season as United’s second-choice behind another alternative, as yet to be signed.Grayson said recently that substantial changes to his collection of players were not planned but the potential of his strongest line-up next season is wholly dependent on the acquisitions made between now and August 6.Neil Kilkenny’s long-awaited departure from Leeds was finally confirmed when the midfielder agreed terms with divisional rivals Bristol City, and Bradley Johnson is expected to complete a free transfer to Premier League new boys Norwich City later this week. Johnson was reported to have undergone a medical at Carrow Road last month and he will become a free agent on Friday morning, in time for the start of Norwich’s pre-season programme.Without that pair, Grayson’s midfielders number six, including three wingers and Adam Clayton, who finished last season on loan at League One club MK Dons. Transfer-listed Federico Bessone will appear at Thorp Arch with the rest of United’s squad having failed to arrange a move elsewhere, but a new and trusted left-back is among the additions sought by Grayson. George McCartney, whose loan from Sunderland ended in May amid controversy and outspoken criticism of him by Bates, will not be returning to Elland Road.Grayson is equally intent on revising the centre of his defence, an area of constant changes and problems last season. United’s former player, Jonathan Woodgate, is a serious target, though his representative declined to comment on the prospect of a return to Elland Road when contacted by the YEP. Woodgate is unattached after ending an injury-ravaged spell at Tottenham Hotspur.Grayson has no fewer than five central defenders to work with already, including a fit and rejuvenated Patrick Kisnorbo and the emerging Tom Lees, but the concession of 70 league goals during the 2010-11 term and his remarks in the aftermath of Leicester’s bid for Schmeichel suggested that a heavily-changed backline is planned before the forthcoming Championship season begins. “When you concede the number of goals we did,” said Grayson, “it’s obviously an area where one or two players are vulnerable.”Bates responded to murmuring about the delay in new signings arriving at Elland Road by urging the club’s support to “sit tight” and expect developments in the early stages of July, but a feeling of concern is palpable in the city after a period in which departures have heavily outnumbered arrivals. YEP columnist Eddie Gray stressed the importance of an influx of players, saying: “I feel we’re at the stage where new signings need to start coming through the door. “If I was Simon Grayson, I’d be wanting to make some major progress in the very near future.”chmeichel’s sale to Leicester has raised in the region of £1m, money which Bates stated would be available for Grayson to spend. Having learned last week that United expect to post a profit of around £3m at the end of the current financial year, their supporters are seeking a level of investment high enough to allow Leeds to acquire the play-off position which eluded them by three points in May. Numerous letters sent to the YEP over the summer, and phone calls received, have expressed anxiety about whether United will have the players required to improve on last season’s seventh-placed finish.Transfers across the Championship have been sporadic but Leeds so far have been one of the most inactive clubs. Leicester preceded the signing of Schmeichel by purchasing left-back Lee Peltier from Huddersfield Town and followed it with a further deal for midfielder Neil Danns, formerly of Crystal Palace. Craig Mackail-Smith is expected to become their next capture after Peterborough United accepted an offer for a striker who scored 30 goals in League One last term. West Ham United and Ipswich Town have also made significant signings, and Hull City are expected to complete three deals this week, including one for Leicester centre-back Jack Hobbs. Grayson, meanwhile, is still to show his hand with Leeds’ first friendly a fortnight away and rumours of firm interest from West Ham in winger Max Gradel intensifying rapidly.For the record, the current United squad is: Goalkeeper: Rachubka. Defenders: Connolly, O’Brien, Bruce, Bromby, Kisnorbo, Lees, Parker, Bessone, White. Midfielders: Howson, Gradel, Snodgrass, Clayton, Sam, Nunez. Strikers: Becchio, Somma, Paynter, McCormack, Grella. As it stands out first eleven looks like this : 1. Rachubka, 2. Connolly, 3. Parker, 4.Kisnorbo, 5. O’Brien, 6.Bruce, 7. Howson, 8. McCormack, 9. Gradel, 10. Beccchio and 11. Snodgrass.

Weds June 29th. Is Dudek better than Scmeichel ? First it was Torsten Frings, now it’s Jersey Dudek. I’m not saying it’s not true but are we going forward signing a guy nearly twice as old as our last keeper who wasn’t the best when he was 28 let alone 38. Of course he dpes tick Ken Bates’ number one priority, FREE.  This one is from the Yorkshire Post : By Phil Hay. Leeds United have added former Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek to their list of viable options to replace departed first-choice Kasper Schmeichel. Dudek is the latest player to catch the interest of Simon Grayson as United’s manager considers how best to follow up the controversial sale of Schmeichel to Leicester City. Schmeichel’s move to the Walkers Stadium – a deal which Grayson said was negotiated at his instigation – left the goalkeeping jersey at Elland Road vacant, and Dudek is among the group of alternatives being seriously considered by Leeds. The Pole is a fringe member of the squad at Real Madrid but plans to leave the Bernabeu this summer with no prospect of regular first-team appearances for the Spanish club. udek has entered the twilight of his career and turned 38 in March but he is thought to have received contact from Aston Villa since the end of last season. Grayson has also identified him as a player worth considering after the swift exit of Schmeichel from Leeds. United signed one keeper last week, bringing Paul Rachubka to Elland Road from Blackpool, but Grayson is working to recruit another with Leeds’ first pre-season friendly due to take place two weeks today. Dudek is best remember in England for his six-year spell with Liverpool, a period which peaked with his match-winning performance in the 2005 Champions League final. Madrid took him to Spain two years later but Dudek was never likely to be anything more than cover behind the immovable Iker Casillas. He appeared in only one La Liga fixture last season and recently admitted that he was looking for a fresh start, though his preferred option is a switch to another Spanish club. Dudek said: “My priority is to not change the country but I have an offer from Spain, Turkey and England. What is clear is that wherever I go, I have to play. “Although I have been happy at Real Madrid and I consider it my home, it’s now time to play again.” United have been linked with a raft of keepers since agreeing to the sale of Schmeichel. The club are long-term admirers of Huddersfield Town’s Alex Smithies but Town made it clear that they would resist any effort to take the 21-year-old from the Galpharm Stadium during the close season. Lee Grant and Fraser Forster are other possibilities, while United were credited with an interest in Iain Turner and Tomasz Kuszczak, the former Manchester United player, over the weekend.

Tues June 28th 2011. Kasper becomes a Fox. KASPER SCHMEICHEL says the nature of his departure from Leeds United has made him mentally stronger. The keeper, first choice at Elland Road last term, completed his switch to Leicester City yesterday for an undisclosed seven-figure fee, signing a three-year deal with Sven Goran-Eriksson’s outfit after successfully undergoing a medical. Having completed the outgoing transfer, United, who snapped up Blackpool keeper Paul Rachubka last week, will press ahead with plans to bring in another stopper, with Huddersfield’s Alex Smithies and Manchester United’s Polish-born custodian Tomas Kuszczak understood to be high on their shopping list. Schmeichel’s departure capped a dramatic week-long chain of events which started when the stunned 24-year-old discovered United had agreed a deal with Leicester, despite the stopper having 12 months left on his Elland Road contract and being keen to remain. But Schmeichel insists he has no hard feelings after moving down the M1, despite United telling him he wouldn’t be first-choice in the 2011-12 campaign and revealing they planned to bring in two new keepers. Schmeichel, who has joined in-demand midfielder Neil Danns and Huddersfield full-back Lee Peltier at the Walkers Stadium, said: “It’s another stepping stone to learning about the game and how it works. It makes you mentally stronger and stands you in good stead as your career progresses. “I didn’t see it coming, but that is football and you can’t take anything for granted in football. That is one thing I have learned. “It’s in the past now and I wish Leeds all the best. I hope the last day of this season we can be celebrating promotion.” Meanwhile, Schmeichel admits he is considering whether to continue with his Twitter account after he posted a video on it on Sunday after a hacker had posted on his behalf falsely saying he was staying at United. He said: “I am not sure about Twitter. I am at a crossroads now about what happened on Sunday. I am not sure whether to keep it open. Any tweets will be coming through video from now on.” Schmeichel links up again with Eriksson, having worked with the Swede during his time at both Premier League Manchester City and League Two outfit Notts County. The Foxes further demonstrated their intent to return to the top-flight next term by having a bid accepted by Peterborough United for free-scoring striker Craig Mackail-Smith, courted by a host of clubs, yesterday, and Schmeichel insists he can’t wait to start the campaign at the ambitious Foxes. He added: “When I first heard Leicester were interested, it came from Sven. I thought it sounded very interesting. “It was a case of mulling over what went on and having patience. I am delighted to be here now. “It is great and I am buzzing to be here now. I just can’t wait to get started.“There is a great aura about the club at the moment. It really wants to make a push for the Premier League, where everyone wants to be. “I definitely feel this is a club where I can achieve my ambitions. Every player is ambitious and we all want to play at the highest level otherwise what’s the point? “This is a great opportunity to come here and achieve what I want to achieve.”

Tues June 28th. Police set record straight with Norman. West Yorkshire Police today hit back at Leeds United who are suing the force amid a row over policing costs. Leeds United claim they have been overcharged thousands of pounds for policing home games. As previously reported, the club has issued a writ against Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison demanding a re-assessment of policing costs since the start of the 2009 season. They claim the club should not have been charged for the costs of policing land not owned by the club. Leeds United want cash back with interest from the police if the force has charged the club more than the direct cost of deploying officers. West Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable David Crompton said today: “We are disappointed that it has been asserted publicly that the force has made a profit out of the policing arrangements at Elland Road – in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. “For an average game at Elland Road, West Yorkshire Police deploy staff inside the ground, immediately outside to deal with crowd dispersal and traffic and also in Leeds city centre in case of trouble from unruly fans. “On average this means that West Yorkshire Police use 100 staff per game, however LUFC only contribute towards 40 of them. For a high risk game such as the ones against Millwall and Cardiff, the total number of staff rises to well over 300 and LUFC only pay for 120 of them. In cash terms, this represents an underpayment of between £20,000 and in excess of £100,000 per game, therefore it is LUFC which is being supported at the expense of the taxpayer. “West Yorkshire Police has carefully considered the potential to reduce the amount of staff we deploy at these games, however, this has to be balanced against the unfortunate fact that over several years a hardcore of Leeds fans have attracted more banning orders for hooliganism than almost any football club in the country, and we cannot ignore this fact when determining the best way to police games safely. “We note that Leeds United Football Club looks almost identical to the company that went into administration in May 2007 whilst owing the taxpayer £80,000. This money has never been repaid nor has there been any offer to do so. As a result West Yorkshire Police has been compelled to require LUFC to pay in advance for policing each game in order to avoid the risk of further losses. “Finally, the police, together with other public services, have to make unprecedented savings in forthcoming years. It may now be time to ask whether it is right for police officers continue to be regularly drawn to Elland Road from their local beats at taxpayers’ expense, thereby subsidising the multi million pound football industry?”

Tues June 28th 2011. Gradel next to go ? West Ham have reportedly made an offer for Leeds United winger Max Gradel. The Hammers are believed to head the queue of clubs, including Premiership new boys Swansea City, interested in signing the Ivory Coast international. Gradel scored 18 goals for United last season which earned him their player of the season award. The 23-year-old’s contract runs out next summer and the Yorkshire club could be prepared to cash in on the attacker. West Ham recently signed Kevin Nolan from Newcastle United and are looking to strengthen their squad as they look to mount a promotion challenge in the Championship next season.

Posted Sun June 25th. Thursday to Sunday new round up. Ken Bates has told Kasper Schmeichel that if he doesn’t go to Leicester City he will rot in United’s reserve. Oh pardon me, we don’t have a reserve side so he will just rot. Meanwhile United have signed Blackpool’s released an unwanted goalkeeper, Paul Rachubka. Rachubka’s career has taken him to Huddersfield Town, Peterborough United and latterly Blackpool, where he played under Grayson for two years. His competitive appearances number more than 250 but Blackpool opted to release him this summer with his contract set to expire. Rachubka is the first addition to Leeds squad since the conclusion of the 2010-11 term and Grayson has hinted at further deals to come in the days before the start of pre-season training next Thursday. The United boss, who allowed 34-year-old keeper Shane Higgs to leave Elland Road in May, said: “I worked with Paul at Blackpool and I’ve known him for a few years.  “He’s a good, experienced goalkeeper to bring in to challenge within the squad.”The posts on Blackpool’s blogs don’t exactly  proclaim that United have signed a superstar. Elsewhere, Neil Kilkenny hasn’t exactly achieved a major career advancement by signing for Bristol City, who look as if they will lose their star striker, Nicky Maynard. Ken Bates, not content with banning a granny from Elland Road, is to sue the Yorkshire police for overcharging Leeds United for policing around the areas not owned by Leeds United. Simon Grayson expects “one or two arrivals” over the next couple of weeks as players return from their holidays. United have been linked with a move for various goalkeepers, predominantly, Smithies of Huddersfield Town and Man United’s Kuszczak.

Sunday June 26th. Other Championship updates. As Coventry City announce plans to unveil a statue of their greatest manager/chairman, 82 year old Jimmy Hill, Birmingam City’s new manager Chris Hughton admits that Scott Dann, Roger Johnson and Ben Foster are all likely to depart St Andrews. Millwall manager, Kenny Jackett has signed a 12 month rolling contract at the New Den. Down at Forest, Steve McClaren was hoping to nab Andy Reid. 

Friday June 24th. Signing number 1. Paul Rachubka has vowed to establish himself as Leeds United’s first-choice goalkeeper after becoming the club’s maiden summer signing. Rachubka completed a free transfer from Blackpool yesterday evening, signing a two-year deal at Elland Road, and he declared himself “ready to compete” for a regular starting place under manager Simon Grayson next season. The 30-year-old – a former Manchester United trainee – has filled one of two vacant goalkeeping berths in Leeds’ squad, and he will see another signing arrive at Elland Road before the start of the season with United attempting to sell Kasper Schmeichel. His move from Blackpool, where he had reached the end of his contract, was negotiated by Leeds prior to the club accepting an offer from Leicester City for Schmeichel, but Rachubka rejected the suggestion that he was joining Leeds to act as cover behind Schmeichel’s future replacement. Rachubka said: “He (Grayson) told me I’ll be coming in to compete. “There’ll be another goalkeeper coming in but I want to prove myself and I’m ready to compete. I’m so enthusiastic about being here and I want to prove myself at a top-class club. I enjoy pressure and I can’t wait to get started.” Rachubka’s career has taken him to Huddersfield Town, Peterborough United and latterly Blackpool, where he played under Grayson for two years. His competitive appearances number more than 250 but Blackpool opted to release him this summer with his contract set to expire. Rachubka is the first addition to Leeds squad since the conclusion of the 2010-11 term and Grayson has hinted at further deals to come in the days before the start of pre-season training next Thursday. The United boss, who allowed 34-year-old keeper Shane Higgs to leave Elland Road in May, said: “I worked with Paul at Blackpool and I’ve known him for a few years.  “He’s a good, experienced goalkeeper to bring in to challenge within the squad.”

Weds June 22nd. Championship round up. Notts Forest are to rival Leicester City with a £4M bid for Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard.Chris Hughton has replaced Alex McCleish as the new Birmingham City manager. He may have a harder job getting the Blues promoted than the star studded squad he had at Newcastle. He has already lost Sebastian Larsson to Sunderland and has installed NI international, Sammy Clingon as captain.  Leicester have completed the signing of Huddersfield Town right full, Lee Peltier for an undisclosed sum. Ipswich Town’s teenage striking sensation, Connor Wickham has been the subject of an £8M bid from Sunderland. Ipswich Town have purchased Nathan Ellington from Watford already as his replacement. Sean Dyche has steeped up from the Reserves to be Malky Makay’s replacement at Watford. Richard Naylor looks to have agreed a move to Doncaster Rvs. Sam Allardyce had the following to say about his plans at WHU : “It’s very difficult to change around a club that has been relegated but even more so if you lose 50% of your players because that means you have to bring another 10 or 12 in and you’ve got a bunch of strangers that you have to mould into a team. I’ve taken a risk by losing my Premier League status, which I’d built up over 10 years,” he said. “I don’t want to spend too long in the Championship. Without sounding too arrogant, my experience and expertise as a manager is trying to bring clubs together and get a team spirit and togetherness, to get back into the Premier League at the first time of asking. 

Weds June 22nd. Elland Road round up. Another days news from the mad house that is Leeds United. United have been linked with moves for several goalkeepers to replace the unwanted Kasper. Alex Smithies of Huddersfield Town has become the latest name. Smithies’ contract with Huddersfield runs until 2013 but Town’s recent defeat in the League One play-off final has left them vulnerable to sensible offers for the young keeper. United stand to raise in excess of £1million if Schmeichel accepts a transfer to Leicester, and Grayson will channel a portion of his summer transfer budget into recruiting a suitable replacement for the Dane. Smithies is a product of Huddersfield’s academy and has amassed more than 100 appearances for the club since making his full debut in a 4-0 defeat to Leeds at Elland Road in December 2007. The youngster has been capped by England at under-19 level and several Premier League sides have monitored him since his emergence as a senior player three-and-a-half years ago. Burnley’s Lee Grant is another alternative being considered by Grayson, and a name that has popped up but looks well beyond United’s means is Tomasz Kuszczak, and Westwood name has not gone away. One thing for sure, if Simon Grayson doesn’t sign a a better keeper than he had in Schmeichel, it will be a big ask of supporters to forgive a leakier defence than last season. According to well informed reports emanating in Newcastle, a deal for Alan Smith returning to Leeds looks more likely now than at any other time. Newcastle will agree to pay half of Smith’s £60,000 weekly wage, and United are hoping that for a return to Yorkshire that Smith will drop another £15,000 weekly with United paying the balance. Leeds and Grayson need a coup, and don’t be surprised if Smith is that player and made captain. Season tickets will slump if Snodgrass, now valued at £8M by Leeds and Maxie Gradel join Kilkenny, Johnson and now Scmeichel out the door. On a more positive footing, Leeds United have signed Republic of Ireland youth international goalkeeper Eric Grimes from Ringmahon Rangers. The 16-year-old joins from County Cork club Ringmahon Rangers and will up take his place on the club’s scholarship scheme later  the summer. He is highly-rated and has played for his country at all age groups up to U16 and United manager Simon Grayson said: “Eric is good player with good potential and he is definitely one for the future. “This is an area we needed to strengthen in the younger age groups and Eric has a great opportunity to develop within the club’s Academy system”.

Tues June 21st. reports  that Leeds United’s mystery goalkeeping target is former Blackpool player Paul Rachubka. Elland Road boss Simon Grayson revealed earlier on Tuesday that a deal had been agreed with an unnamed shot-stopper last week, subject to a medical. The news came in the wake of Monday’s surprise decision to accept a bid from Championship rivals Leicester City for Kasper Schmeichel. Grayson has said that the Schmeichel deal represents good business for the club, but he is also reshaping his squad in order to challenge for promotion to the Premier League. And it is understood that Rachubka, who is available on a free transfer, has been identified as one of the men to improve the former top-flight club’s squad. The 30-year-old played just three matches for Blackpool last season, including the FA Cup defeat at Southampton and Premier League losses to Sunderland and Everton, conceding nine goals in the process.

Tues June 21st. Smith, Bowyer and Woody have all spoken to Leeds. Listen to Richard Sutcliffe of YEP talking to Talk Sport.  Bowyer wants to stay in Premiership, Woodly slightly more of a chance but Smudger is more likely than the other two to join Leeds.

Tues June 21st. More links than a bicycle chain. Whilst Simon Grayson has one keeper coming in “subject to a medical”, it will probably be more of a Jason Brown or Burnley’s Lee Grant rather than Kieren Westwood, but he admits that “we will be looking for another as well”. Sky Sports report that Leeds may agree a swap deal with Sheff United with Nick Montgomery, the Blades enforcer coming to his home city club, and the “prolific” Billy Paynter heading for South Yorkshire. This may not be the kind of deal Leeds fans are looking for but it may be a step, albeit a small one in the right direction. Leeds  have been linked with an audacious move for former German international midfielder Torsten Frings. The 34-year-old is currently a free agent after leaving Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen, who recently elected not to offer him a new deal, andreports suggest Leeds are in discussions to bring him to Elland Road. With Leeds in the market for an enforcer in the middle of the park, tough-tackling Frings, who won 79 caps for Germany and appeared in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup finals, would represent an attractive option. While largely being defensively-minded he is also able to operate across the midfield. Money is likely to be a major issue with Frings – who won a Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich in 2004-05 – understood to have been one of Bremen’s top earners. Meanwhile, several Championships clubs are understood to be in the hunt to sign former United midfielder Lee Bowyer, who has been linked with a possible return to Elland Road. Bowyer, 34, who recently got married, is currently assessing his options with several interested parties keen on signing the Londoner, who started 24 Premiership games for Birmingham City last term and was also part of the side which claimed a historic Carling Cup final success over Arsenal at Wembley in February. Despite an impressive second half of last term, when his performances were labelled as “terrific” by ex-Blues boss Alex McLeish, Bowyer was shown the door following City’s last-day relegation. This was despite being tipped to stay at St Andrews in the closing weeks of the season, with an offer of a new one-year deal seemingly on the table

Tues June 21st. MP blasts Bates. From Yorkshire Post. The Government has vowed to crack down on rules governing football club ownership following the row over Ken Bates’s takeover at Leeds, unless the game’s bosses open up takeover deals. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson warned the coalition was ready to tighten legislation over who could buy clubs following six years of confusion over the ownership of Leeds United and a handful of other league clubs in the past few seasons. Conservative Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe), who sits on the backbench Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which is investigating football ownership, told MPs: “The case of Leeds United should compel the Government to press for greater clarity from the football authorities on the administration of the rules of club ownership.” He added: “The business failure of Leeds United was a source of great distress to fans, cost millions of pounds in unpaid tax and left local businesses out of pocket.” Mr Collins questioned how it could be right for a football club to be sold between offshore business ventures “without anyone knowing how much was paid, where the money came from and … even who was selling the club”. He said such situations left the sport’s bosses unable to carry out their “fit and proper person” test into whether a potential buyer was suitable to run a club. “Fans have a right to know who owns their club. It’s incredible the FA and Football League maintained a situation where they didn’t actually know who the ultimate owners were,” said Mr Collins. “This is the least football fans should expect. I have no objection to overseas investors bringing their money into English football, but we do have a right to know where that money comes from and who the ultimate owners of a club are.” He said the English game should be cleaned up before critics condemned football’s world governing body Fifa, currently embroiled in an alleged bribes scandal over the hosting of two world cups. Mr Collins said: “As we are critical of the way in which Fifa has tried to enforce its own code of ethics and its own inquiries … I don’t believe we can truly have a voice of authority on all these issues around the world, as we should do as one of the world’s great football countries, until we truly resolve all these issues domestically.” He also called for a review of the circumstances leading to ex-Chelsea chairman Ken Bates’ takeover of Leeds, confirmed last month. But Mr Collins told MPs rumours had circulated in the game that Bates was the real owner since his appointment as chairman of the Elland Road club in 2005. Mr Collins added: “There can be few people in football who privately do not believe that Ken Bates has effectively been in control of the club for most of the last six years.”Speaking during a short Westminster Hall debate today on the Leeds saga and the football ownership row, the sports minister warned: “The Government does not want to run football or micro-manage its future. “All sports, including football, are best run by the sport’s governing bodies. But they have to prove they are strong, effective, independent, transparent and, crucially, accountable organisations. “I see the Government’s role as one which challenges the Football Association and the organisations that run the leagues to make sure the game and its governance arrangements are capable of responding to the challenges and opportunities faced by football. I do not particularly want to legislate, but football should be in no doubt whatsoever that if it does not react to what the Government lays out after the Select Committee report, we are prepared to legislate if necessary.” Mr Robertson believed historic clubs and their loyal supporters should be protected from short-term business deals that could jeopardise a club’s existence. He said: “Football clubs are not simply businesses. They are part and parcel of the community. I refer to them as ‘businesses with a social conscience’. “So I do not think it is unrealistic for supporters to have higher corporate expectations of the owners of a club than they do of some local businesses.” Mr Robertson denied he was “having a go at football”, but added: “Supporters of every club have a right to know with certainty the person or people who own their football club. “The football authorities need to work with their clubs to make full disclosure a priority, to make sure appropriate inquiries and due diligence as to the identity and circumstances of potential buyers are always carried out. “They need to do that before they allow ownership to change hands.” The story of Leeds’ financial collapse and dramatic on-field implosion from the top of the Premier League into English football’s third tier has highlighted the problem around unclear club ownership and murky deals.

June 21th. Grayson hits back on Kasper.“It’s been something we’ve been looking at in that I’m trying to improve the back four or five of last year,” he told Yorkshire Radio. When you concede the number of goals that we did, it’s obviously an area where one or two players are vulnerable and we need to change it around slightly.” Grayson was aware Leeds could command a fee now, with Schemeicel entitled to leave on a free transfer when his contract expires next summer. Simon Grayson Quotes of the week. But the Denmark Under-21 international claimed that when he spoke to the club they had not looked for him to extend his contract and no offer of a new deal was ever put to him. “There’s good options for goalkeepers and defenders out there so this was a footballing decision first and foremost,” Grayson added. “But obviously in this day and age, with the Bosman ruling it quickens decisions up for you. We’ll see where it goes. “When Kasper goes we have other alternatives that will make us better and keep progressing us. Those are the decisions you make at times and that’s the decision we’ve taken at this moment in time. “I’ve spoken to him to explain my decision. If no bid had come, it wouldn’t have changed the position that we were looking for another goalkeeper and it would be highlighted even more. It’s always an area I’ve been looking to strengthen.”

Mon June 20th. Two matches switched. Leeds first game of the season at Southampton has been put back until 17:20 to facilitate the live showing on BBC1. We may be willing to sell a lot of our players but the name Leeds United sells. Sky Sports are showing our Carling Cup 1st round tie vs Bradford city live @ 19:45 on Tuesday, August 9th. 

Mon June 20th. Kasper unhappy with sale.Kasper Scmeichel released the following statement : “At the end of the season Leeds United and I both made a commitment to honour the last year of my contract and try to win promotion with Leeds United.
Therefore it is with great disappointment that I have learned that Leeds United have accepted an offer from Leicester. I want to put on record that I have never asked to leave the Leeds United, nor did I reject an offer for a new contract, since one was never put to me. I was enjoying being a Leeds United player and was looking forward to winning promotion this season with the club. I have spoken to the manager Simon Grayson and he has made it clear to me, that, in spite of having played well for him, this is something he believes is a good deal for Leeds United. I have been put in a very difficult situation and will spend some time considering my options for my future”.
It certainly seems that Schmeichel was run out the door, and Bates wants more money to spend on his precious East Stand and new hotel. Whilst I think Schmeichel is weak on crosses, he is a good shot stopper. The likes of Brown from Blackburn would be a step backwards, but he ticks all of the chairman’s boxes : free and lower waged than Schmeichel. Cynical ? With five years of Ken Bates,  I have every reason to be. 

Mon June 20th 2011. Scmeichel offer accepted. Leeds have accepted an offer thought to be circa £1M from Leicester City for keeper Kasper Schmeichel. Simon Grayson said : “We feel this is the right deal for the club. We spoke to Kasper’s agent at the end of the season about a contract extension and it was apparent it was going to be difficult to agree a deal. Given the fact that he has one year remaining on his contact we feel this is in the best interests of Leeds United“. United have been linked with a move for Keiren Westwood whose contract has expired at Coventry City but who is close to moving to Sunderland. Leeds have now lost both of their keepers from last season, Schmeichel and Higgs. Schmeichel aged 24 came for nothing and Ken Bates will be happy with the £1M profit. Other links to United that don’t appear to be going away are Bowyer, Smith and Woodgate. Pressure will now mount on Leeds manager and board for high profile arrivals.

 Sun June 19th 2011. Betting for Championship 2010/11- Bar One. 7/1 Favs West Ham, 8/1 Birmingham and Leicester City, 10/1 M’bro and Notts Forest, 14/1 Reading, Cardiff City and Blackpool, 16/1 Ipswich Town, Leeds Utd, Brighton and Southampton, 18/1 Burnley, 20/1 Hull City, 25/1 Bristol City, Millwall and Watford, 33/1 Derby County and Portsmouth, 40/1 Coventry City and Peterborough, 66/1 C Palace, Barnsley and Doncaster Rvs. The bookies aren’t renowned for getting things wrong. WHU and Big Sam are probably justifiable favourites after buying a guy for £4M (Kevin Nolan – a player who scored more league goals than Wayne Rooney last season in the Premiership)and giving him a £25K or £50K (depending on which article you read) per week contract for five years. Rating Leeds United’s chances the same as Brighton or Southampton is curious.  Gus Poyet is earning a brilliant reputation as a coach but he has already lost one of his best players to Norwich City, midfielder, Elliott Bennett. One quarter of the odds dictates promotion directly as 1st or 2nd or through the play offs, although Leeds can be backed @ 5/1 for promotion currently. This time last season M’bro were extremely hot favourites @ 11/2 to win the Championship. They never ever counted and Gordan Strachan was gone before Christmas. QPR were sixth down the list @ 12/1 and they lead from the start and couldn’t be caught. Norwich and Swansea City were 20/1 to win the Championship or 5/1 to go up automatically) We all know what happened next. The favourites rarely win the Championship and more often than not sides well down the backing list tend to go up. 

Let’s take a look at 2008/09 and the surprises that were in store then.Q.P.R. to Win the Championship: 13/2 (sportingbet)   To be Promoted: 7/4 (William Hill)   Reading  To Win the Championship: 9/1 (skybet)  To be Promoted: 11/4 (William Hill)  Crystal Palace  To Win the Championship: 14/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 9/2 (skybet) Wolverhampton Wanderers  To Win the  Championship: 14/1 (William Hill)  To be Promoted: 9/2 (Ladbrokes) Derby County  To Win the Championship: 14/1 (Stan James)  To be Promoted: 9/2 (William Hill)  Sheffield United  To Win the Championship: 16/1 (skybet)  To be Promoted: 5/1 (skybet)  Charlton Athletic  To Win the Championship: 20/1 (skybet)  To be Promoted: 6/1 (skybet)  To be Relegated: 18/1 (Paddy Power) Ipswich Town  To Win the Championship: 20/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 13/2 (Paddy Power) Watford  To Win the Championship: 20/1 (bet365)  To be Promoted: 6/1 (bet365) Cardiff City  To Win the Championship: 25/1 (skybet)  To be Promoted: 8/1 (skybet)  To be Relegated: 14/1 (bet365)  Bristol City  To Win the Championship: 25/1 (William Hill)  To be Promoted: 9/1 (William Hill) Norwich City  To Win the Championship: 33/1 (Stan James)  To be Promoted: 10/1 (skybet)  To be Relegated: 7/1 (888sport) Nottingham Forest  To Win the Championship: 33/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 10/1 (William Hill)  Swansea City  To Win the Championship: 40/1 (William Hill)  To be Promoted: 14/1 (William Hill) Southampton  To Win the Championship: 40/1 (William Hill)  To be Promoted: 14/1 (William Hill)  To be Relegated: 11/2 Paddy Power Coventry City  To Win the Championship: 40/1 (Boylesports)  To be Promoted: 12/1 (totesport)  Sheffield Wednesday  To Win the Championship: 40/1 (William Hill)  To be Promoted: 16/1 (bet365)  Preston North End  To Win the Championship: 40/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 14/1 (skybet)  Plymouth Argyle  To Win the Championship: 50/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 20/1 (skybet) Burnley  To Win the Championship: 66/1 (Boylesports)  To be Promoted: 22/1 (bet365)  To be Relegated: 9/2 (888sport) Doncaster Rovers  To Win the Championship: 66/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 25/1 (bet365)  Barnsley  To Win the Championship: 100/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 33/1 (William Hill)  Blackpool   To Win the Championship: 100/1 (Paddy Power)  To be Promoted: 50/1 (bet365)  To be Relegated: 7/4 (skybet). As it happens Wolves @ 14/1 won the Championship by 13 points ahead of Birmingham City who were fancied to do well and were 15/8 to go up automatically. However, Burnley were 9/2 to be relegated to the third tier and rank outsiders @ 22/1 to be promoted to the Premiership, but Owen Coyle’s men made the Premiership. Norwich, Southampton and Charlton were all fancied to do well. Guess what, all three were relegated at combined odds of 756/1. Funny ol’ game, eh ?

Sat June 18th 2011. Is it Fate ? Leeds first home game for 2011/12 will be versus M’bro and our last home game will be against Leicester City. So what ! The last time this happened was 22 years ago….and yes you’ve guessed it, we were promoted under Sgt Wilko. In fact the visit of Leicester City comes 22 years to the day that Chappy scored the winner at Bournmouth. 

Sat June 18th 2011. Grayson considering Woody and Smudger. From Yorkshire Post – SIMON GRAYSON has confirmed Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate are on Leeds United’s transfer radar this summer. However, the United manager has also stressed that other targets are his priority right now with a couple of prospective deals being “a long way down the line”. Leeds had an encouraging return to the Championship last season and only missed out on a place in the play-offs by three points. In an attempt to improve on that seventh-place finish, Grayson wants to strengthen in several key areas – most notably left-back, central defence and in goal, where Kasper Schmeichel is the only player on the books following the release of Shane Higgs. The impending departure on a free transfer of Bradley Johnson, who is destined for Norwich City, and Hull City target Neil Kilkenny also mean the midfield will have to be bolstered. Newcastle’s Smith and Woodgate, who earlier this week was released by Spurs, have been linked with a possible return to Elland Road for several months. Asked if there had been any direct contact, Grayson told the Yorkshire Post: “I have had conversations, though not necessarily with the players themselves. That is how it is in football. “If anything, it has more been agents ringing me, or people claiming to represent them. There are plenty asking the question and we have to consider it because when good players become available you have to be interested. “But you have to look at the other side too – finances, injuries and things like that. Like any signing, you have to make sure all the ingredients are right. “Jonathan has not played too much football and Alan missed quite a bit of last season. If you had a fit Jonathan Woodgate and a fit Alan Smith then you would have a host of clubs queueing up for them in the Premier League. “The one thing we have got going for us is that they know the club and our ambition. That could help us if we go down that line but there as a long way to go before we even start considering it. “We are interested in good players but that doesn’t mean those two will necessarily be signing for us. I have got many irons in the fire. “I am a long way down the line with those other players at this moment in time.” Leeds are yet to add to their squad this summer despite being linked with a host of names, including Sheffield United’s Nick Montgomery (pic’d left), Neil Danns, of Crystal Palace, and Blackpool midfielder Keith Southern (below right).Tentative talks are understood to have taken place with Coventry City’s out-of-contract goalkeeper Keiren Westwood but sources in the North East have indicated he will sign for Sunderland. On the search for new faces, Grayson, who last summer made 11 signings, said: “The transfer market has been pretty quiet, that is the case for most clubs. But we do have irons in the fire and one or two deals are close. “We have plenty of targets and are speaking to agents and players all the time. It is a waiting game at the moment. Players are trying to get the best deals, while clubs are trying to do the same.Eventually, somewhere down the line, you reach an agreement and sign a player. It is not as if we are missing out on targets because not too many clubs are doing any business. “But I would expect over the next 10 days or so that the market will start hotting up. We still have a bit of work to do. We could have gone out and got half-a-dozen players in the first week of the summer but they wouldn’t have been better than what we have already got. “We have to be patient. I have also been looking closely at what players have been released by other clubs, who might be available for fees, and who is possibly available in the loan market. “There are a lot of factors to consider and that is why most clubs don’t do anything really until they get back for pre-season.” Grayson, speaking at yesterday’s launch of npower’s ‘Search for a Broadcaster’ competition at Beeston Primary School, added: “I won’t put a number on the players I want to bring in. But it won’t be as many as last summer and nowhere near double figures. Then, we needed wholesale changes after winning promotion.Meanwhile according to Planet Swans, Swansea are considering a £1.5M move for Max Gradel. They must be thinking of buying three of his toes for that money. Fulham, WHU and Paris St Germain are all thought to be monitoring the Ivorian also. RegardingNeil Danns both Celtic and Rangers are chasing the player (pic’d below) with his agent suggesting the lure of Champions League Football at Ibrox likely to win the day. His former team mate Anthony Stokes had this to say about the player : “I’m not surprised ourselves and Rangers are both looking at Neil and have been linked with trying to sign him. “He is a guy who could be a big success in the SPL. I can only judge him on the time I spent with him at Palace and he was excellent for us back then. “Obviously I’m biased, but if I get the chance to speak to Neil I’d tell him to join me at Celtic. “He’d be a great addition to our squad if we could get him.”

Friday June 17th. Fixtures out and tough start for Whites. Leeds will have to go to Southampton for their fist fixture of 2011/12 and will follow that up with home games against  Hull City and M’bro, two sides that they failed to defeat at Elland road last season. It doesn’t get any easier with United travelling to West Ham and Ipswich for their last two matches in August. Last year Champions, QPR came out of the traps flying and Simon Grayson would want to start quickly to get his reinforcements in for the start of the season and make sure they have no Tuesday blues. United won just one league fixture on a Tuesday all season. Leeds end the campaign with tough fixtures away to both Blackpool and Cardiff with their final game at home to Sven’s Leicetser City. If both sides aren’t in the shape up during that final day will they be in the manager’s dugout ?

Thurs June 16th. Leeds target signs for Portsmouth. Portsmouth have agreed a deal to sign former Ipswich captain David Norris on a free transfer. Norris was a player allegedly hig on Simon Grayson’s list of additions, and he ticked Ken bates’ chief box – FREE. The 30-year-old midfielder will become Pompey’s first signing since the club was bought by Convers Sports Initiatives earlier this month. Norris had turned down the offer of a new two-year deal at Portman Road. Pompey boss Steve Cotterill told BBC Radio Solent: “David has stayed patient while we waited for the takeover and I’m delighted to have finally got him.” He added: “We missed out on three or four free transfers while we waited for the takeover to be finalised, but David really wanted to come here.” Norris, who scored 11 goals last season, cost Ipswich £2m when they bought him from Plymouth in January 2008. “He brings good leadership qualities,” added Cotterill. “He’s been captain of Ipswich, which is a fantastic club, and he also brings goals with him. He’s a top lad and we’re really looking forward to working with him.” Cotterill has found himself unable to add any permanent signings in recent months, due to the ongoing uncertainty over the club’s off-field future. “It’s just nice to sign a player”, he added. “It’s been unbelievably difficult over the last 12 months, so to sign a player of David’s quality is a real bonus. I’m sure he’ll go down well with the Pompey fans.

Thursday June 16th. News Update. Neil Kilkenny has shown limited ambition by confirming his desire to sign for Hull City. This points to two things. 1. He obviously will get a higher weekly wage and presumably a two to three year contract and 2. he may believe that Hull City are a better bet for promotion than Leeds United. Tottenham fan blogs are suggesting that Jon Woodgate will sign for Leeds United when he is released by Spurs. Meanwhile good news may be on the horizon as ex Swindon Town manager, Danny Wilson now in charge of Sheff United in League One is thought to be considering a move for Billy Paynter. Paynter scored 31 goals in the season before last for Wilson’s side and the move may entail a player swop sending Nick Montomery the other way. Most Leeds fans are of the view that Paynter won’t cut the mustard for the Whites and a move may be in the best interest of both player and club. Kevin Nolan has signed a 5 year contract with WHU thought to be for a fee of £4M. This is an impressive signing and outlines the intent at Upton Park for the Hammers to climb straight back up. Nolan scored 17 goals for the Magpies when they were promoted from the Championship two seasons ago. Crystal Palace are said to be talking to Robert Earnshaw who is on a Bosman from Forest. Meanwhile Leeds will entertain Bradford City in the CC in early August.

Weds June 15th 2011. Progress or Regress. The season is over a month old, and no movement in transfer circles at Elland Road except for our players moving through the exit door. The Championship is coming alive and this Friday will see the release of the Championship fixtures for the season. Notts Forest have signaled their intent with the sacking of Billy Davies and the arrival of Steve McClaren on a three year contract. Cardiff City are courting the big guns following the departure of David Jones, with Alan Shearer turning down the opportunity of managing the Welsh side. Big Sam, now at West Ham intends on a swift return to the Premiership and the signing of Kevin Nolan is certainly a step in the right direction. Down at Elland Road our miser of a chairman is more worried about installing a museum in as little space as possible in our soon to be  repainted East Stand complete with the prawn sandwich  brigade in the 20 new executive boxes. Even Ipswich Town have signed the sometimes decent Michael Choppra. The only news Leeds fans have gained so far is the dreaming of our reserve central defender of playing more games at Windsor Park than Elland Road, now that he’ll never set foot in the Aviva. How we do over the next three months will determine just how serious Leeds United are about promotion in season 2011/12. No longer can we cast our net along the ocean of Championship free transfers or Premiership cast offs. Simon Grayson’s stock as a manager has risen with speculation linking him with a move to Aston Villa. Grayson needs to step up to the plate regarding our transfer policy, and use his new found status accordingly.  If he is to dance to Ken Bates’ tune then Leeds United will finish nowhere next season. Last season we went for quantity over quality. It’s better to add three or four quality players rather than six or seven mediocre ones. Leeds United need to invest a minimum of £3M net to be serious contenders. It’s all very well having wage caps and none of us want to go back to the bad old days. Leeds need to take a leaf out of newly promoted Norwich City’s book and bring in quality, and Simon Grayson needs to exercise better judgement in his recruitment. Last season’s bargain basement collection of O’Brien, Bessone, Paynter, and Connolly did little to enhance a newly promoted League One side with Premiership aspirations. We won’t even touch on the loan signings of  McCartney, Livermore and Bannan.

June 14th. Leeds prospect joins Barca. Leeds United prospect Elliott Kebbie has turned down a scholarship at Elland Road for a possible move to Barcelona. The 16-year-old spent eight years at United’s academy but has moved to Spain and is believed to have already appeared for a Barcelona youth team. In a statement on the club website, Leeds said they retained the right to ask for compensation should Kebbie continue to pursue his career in Spain. The Halifax-born winger was also being tracked by Manchester United. There were reports last year the Reds had agreed a £1m compensation package with Leeds to sign the teenager but the Championship club’s chairman Ken Bates subsequently said Kebbie had decided to stay at Elland Road. In 2006 Leeds were awarded £5m in compensation after Tom Taiwo and Michael Woods were signed by Chelsea. And in 2009 Everton had to pay Leeds £600,000, which could rise to £1.5m, after signing United’s then England youth captain Luke Garbutt.  At the time Bates said so-called big clubs were treating young players “like horsemeat”. “It’s like horse-racing – you sign 10, you keep one and dump the other nine,” he told the Leeds website.  “Some clubs are doing it with kids and it’s not fair. It destroys their lives, it destroys their confidence, and in some cases it destroys their careers.”

June 2011 Summary to date. Leeds United have been linked with a move for 30 year old ex favourite, Alan Smith. Smudger has one year left on his £60,000 weekly wage contract but will be released by Newcastle. The move may divide some Leeds fans with the usual idiots unable to see past his move to Man United, inspite of the fact that Man United were the only club willing to pay his full transfer fee up front. Leeds would be unlikely to pay him much more than £10,000 per week as they will no doubt stick to their strict wage discipline. The only factor for Simon Grayson should be regarding his fitness. Bradley Johnsonwas thought to be completing a medical for for Norwich City and the Canaries had a £3.5M offer for Robert Snodgrass rejected. Simon Grayson’s name was proving popular in bookmakers’ lists as a surprise replacement for Gerard Houlier at Aston Villa. Leeds allowed Mike Grella pursue a move to New York Cosmos. Grella scored 5 goals in 42 appearances for United whilst making only 9 starts. Latest players to be linked with a move to Elland Road : David Norris (midfielder with Ipswich), George Friend (defender with Doncaster Rvs), Barry Douglas (defender with Dundee United), Tom Naylor (defender with Mansfiled Town) and Jack Cork (defender with Chelsea – bids of around £700,000 to be accepted with Southampton and Burnley involved).  United are to have a week long training camp in Scotland during July and have lined up fixtures versus Motherwell and Falkirk and their sprinkler system and Elland Road pitch is to receive a much needed makeover.

Here is an in depth interview with Ken Bates on Yorkshire Radio’s. Thom Kirwin asks the questions : Lots of speculation already doing the rounds. Alan Smith returning to Leeds is a story that’s resurfaced – can we read anything into this or is it just absolute nonsense?  Ken Bates: I think that first of all, it depends whether the manager wants him or not, which is his decision, not mine. Having said that, I know that Alan Smith returning to Elland Road would be a very popular move. But we have to be careful because in the last few seasons, Alan has had a poor injury record. One thing we can’t afford to do is sign somebody who then turns out to be unfit to play. The fact is we have at least eight more matches to play in the Championship than they do in the Premiership. And the other problem of course and you remember Stone that we signed from Portsmouth and he hardly kicked a bloody ball for us and it cost a lot of money to pay him off. The other thing of course is Alan Smith’s wages. He has been at Manchester United and he has been at Newcastle so his wages are probably in the stratosphere. They will be well over the seven-figure region so I suspect if he did join us he would have to knock a nought off it and probably half it. But that’s unlikely to suit him or his agent. But, on the other hand, nothing is certain and nothing is uncertain. I can confirm we are certainly continuing our quest for the right players and if he is fit Alan would certainly be a good addition to our squad but that would need further investigation and consideration by Simon. As far as other targets are concerned, has anything progressed in the last seven days? Are the club any closer to concluding a signing?  KB: Well, negotiations have gone on. We’ve missed two players that we wanted but it’s very encouraging that they have both signed for Premiership clubs, which at least illustrates the quality of the player we are looking for. It’s no good taking some two-bob, average Championship player from a Championship club and bringing in dross. We want players who are better and have got more to offer and strengthen the club over and above what we did last year. It’s still a difficult time because most players are still on holiday as are agents, some of the agents are shadow boxing. I think you won’t find much serious activity until towards the end of the month and getting into July but it does not mean we are not working hard behind the scenes. But as I have always said, I don’t do my business through the media, even if it’s our own media. But if anything happens, you’ll hear it first right here on Yorkshire Radio. TK: The club did confirm last week there had been some interest in some of their players. Have any of these offers been seriously considered?  KB: Hahaha… yeah, and they have been told to put them where the sun doesn’t shine. I’m not surprised we’re getting offers and enquiries for some of our players, we have got a good team. In fact, I was just working out in advance of you phoning me that I think we have got six current internationals in the team. Max Grella, sorry David Somma played again for South Africa, Max Gradel got his first game for the Ivory Coast, we of course have Sndograss and McCormack in the Scottish team, Jonny Howson, Schmeichel got his Danish call-up although whether he actually played or not I don’t know off hand. But it indicates the quality of the squad we have got. I think we’re fairly happy with our strikers, they did after all score more goals than I think any other club in the Championship (wrong Ken, Norwich did, and we do need another striker when Paynter hopefully departs). It’s the defence and the midfield we have got to look at. We didn’t renew the contracts or our interest in Kilkenny or Johnson because I think we need better. And they are the areas we are concentrating on the immediate future. TK: With some of the players that have been linked with moves away, are there any plans to open contract talks with any of them about new deals?  KB: You’ll hear about it when we do it. I can’t say any more than that, Thom. TK: Elsewhere, just away from transfers, the pre-season tour to Scotland is not confirmed yet but plans are place to play a couple of games north of the border against Motherwell and Falkirk.  KB: Yeah, I think it is nearly done now. We sent Dusty Miller up this week to inspect the training and dormitory facilities to make sure they are ok. I understand they came back and the report was positive so it looks like it will be subject to contracts. They had to get permission from the Scottish FA to play friendly games against foreign clubs because we are, in football terms, a foreign club as far as Scotland is concerned. But subject to that being approved, I see no reason why we shouldn’t get the approval then it will be Falkirk and Motherwell as well as Newcastle, Sheffield Wednesday and Rochdale. TK: As you mentioned earlier, Max Gradel got his first international cap at the weekend. It has just capped off a wonderful season for him that, hasn’t it?  KB: It has indeed, yeah. He has come on very well in the last 12 months and I thinks we’re all very pleased for him. He’s still a young man and hopefully he has a great future in front of him, hopefully at Elland Road.