Sunday May 29th 2011. How did they do for us. Marks out of 10  Here are my marks out of 10 for the players that had the honour of representing LUFC in 2010/11. You may agree with some. You may disagree with others. Love to hear your comments and I’ll gladly include them. 01. Kasper Schmeichel. Age 24 (37 Lge apps 3 Cup apps)  The 23 year old 6 ft. 1 inch Dane became our first signing of the season. He chose United ahead of a host of clubs. His lack of clean sheets was more attributable to the four United players in front of him rather than his own displays. That said as the season progressed, the more his weakness on crosses prevailed. His mistake on the last day of the season v QPR was replicated in other games. Stiff competition is needed for him in the summer. Score 6.5/10. 02. Paul Connolly Age 27. (30 Lgue Apps 4 Cup apps) The former Derby player signed a three year contract last summer. An average defender who did little to solidify our defence and his one shot on goal during the whole campaign summed up his attacking prowess. Score 4 /10.  03 Paddy Kisnorbo. Age 30 (0 apps (1 Sub) Lgue and 0 Cup)  04 Alex Bruce. Age 26. (21 Apps Lgue 1 goal and 4 Cup apps) The former Ipswich Town player arrived for a fee of around £250,000 from Ipswich Town. A whole hearted, tough tackling central defender who paid dearly for his defensive display against Preston (4-6 loss in Sept) but ultimately lost his place after the 0-4 reversal to a rampant Cardiff in October. Andy O’Brien was the resident defender for United’s next fixture, away to Scunthorpe. Sometimes guilty of at least one mistake in a game he excelled at the Emirates, but may be useful along side a real quality centre half. 5.5/10  05 Neil Collins. Age 27 (21 apps Lgue and cup) Leeds made a profit on his sale to Sheffield United in the January transfer window. His performance in a 2-5 defeat at Barnsley (along side a defence of  Naylor, Bessone, and Connolly) when he scored an OG in front of 7,000 away Leeds fans made up Grayson’s mind. He made 11 appearances in League One for Leeds but struggled (but not in isolation) in the United rear guard in the Championship. Score 4/10.  06 Richard Naylor. Age 33. (29 Lge apps 2 goals) (3 Cup apps) A local lad who did as much as anyone to help United out of league One. Much maligned, but as good (or no worse than) any of United’s defence. He was part of the disastrous 2-5 defeat at Barnsley, but marked Shane Long (of Reading) and Danny Graham (of Watford) , two of the division’s highest scorers out of the game. Simon Grayson drafted him back in for the Reading match (when he needed a leader) on Good Friday and he played in Leeds’ last four matches of the season where they conceded just one goal. He was released by United after the QPR match. Score 6/10. 07 Max Gradel. The guy who nearly cost Leeds promotion on the last day of last season has played like a man possessed all year. Gradel was suspended for United’s first four matches, and his Championship form with Leeds was a slow burner. The first of his 17 goals didn’t come until October 31st at Scunthorpe.  His 17 goal contribution came from mostly out wide but he was equally at home up front. Gradel didn’t just score goals. He paralysed defences with his trickery and netted against the division’s top sides, QPR (3), Notts Forest (2) Norwich City (1) Burnley (1) Leicester City (1). Many thought Leeds would struggle for goals without Jermaine Beckford. Mad Maxie Gradel didn’t. One of United’s main problems this season is how  to keep hold of him. Score 9/10  08. Neil KilkennyAge 25. 29 Lgue apps (8Sub) 2 goals 5 Cup apps. Simon Grayson was the third Leeds manager Neil Kilkenny has played under and United rebuffed a bid from Doncaster last year. When he can control games, like he did at QPR in May he can be very good, but too often the games pass him by. He will be free to leave on a Bosman in June and Bates has announced that he doesn’t expect him to stay. This is another mistake by Ken Bates, who should have given him a decent contract long before Christmas, and then sold him for £600,000 in the close season. Score 06/10. 09 Billy PaynterAge 27 8 Lgue (14 Sub) 1 goal 1 Cup App. Billy Paynter scored 29 times for Swindon Town last season but never ever looked like filling Jermaine Beckford’s boots, let alone his jersey. He signed a three year contract last Summer but surely won’t see past one season. A big lad, his injury in Slovakia meant he missed pre-season and there after he was always playing catch up. One goal in twenty two starts is just not good enough. Not a Championship player and definitely not one who can play under pressure for a side like Leeds United. Score 2/10. 10 Luciano Becchio. Age 27. 34 Lgue apps (7 Sub) 19 goals (3 Cup 1 goal). He became our leading striker with the departure of Jermaine Beckford and boy he didn’t disappoint. A class act, who takes the knocks but time and time again all season the Argentina player delivered. If he had been fit in another three or four games Leeds would have been playing the in the play-offs. No doubt ! Score 9/10 11. Lloyd Sam. Age 26 7 Lgue (11 sub) 2 goals Cups 1 (1 sub) 1 goal. Sam joined on a free from Charlton and started 42 games for Charlton last season. He made a decent start to his Leeds campaign by scoring 2 goals (v Forest and Millwall) in his first 3 starts. Injury and a loss of form hampered his whole season, but lightening pace is his biggest asset and may play a bigger part next season. Score 5/1012. Shane Higgs. Age 33. 6 Lgue apps 1 Cup. It was thought by many that Higgs was unlucky to start the season as number 2. He started 6 matches and kept 2 clean sheets but he was the custodian that allowed Preston score 6 at Elland Road and Barnsley put 5 past him at Oakwell. In those games he was responsible for at least 4 of the goals. Simon Grayson was correct to release him in May. Score 4/10.  13. Mike GrellaAge 24. (1 sub v Derby Co) When Ross McCormack arrived it certainly signalled the end of his time at  Elland Road and his attitude when on loan was certainly questionable and was duly released by United in May. His most telling contribution to Leeds was his 2 goals against Kettering Town in last season’s FA Cup replay which ultimately set up our superb Old Trafford encounter. Not enough games to justify a  Score. 14. Jonny Howson. Age 23.  46 Lgue apps 10 goals (4 Cup apps 1 goal). The only Leeds player to have started every league game in the season gone by and his 10 goals from midfield was a brilliant contribution. His best  role is undoubtedly in the hole behind the strikers. United still haven’t figured out his best role in the team, which is in the hole behind the striker, and sometimes he can become anonymous in games. But for sheer consistency and the ability to drag United into games, he deserves this high score. Score 9/10. 16. Bradley Johnson Age 24. 40 Lgue apps (5 Sub) 5 goals (4 Cup apps 1 goal) It was a season of two halves for Johnson. In the first half of the season he was inconsistent but he still chipped in with valuable strikes, notably 1 v Swansea City and the winner v Sheff United. Johnsion is a bit like Marmite for Leeds fans. They either love him or hate him, with most ion the former group. They are wrong. His athleticism and aerial prowess came into its own from Christmas onwards. Grasyon rates him highly and it was poor from Leeds to let his contract run down when he was just looking for parity with some of United’s top players. The player walks free and Leeds arguably lose a player around the £2M bracket. Score 7/10.  17 Amdy Faye. Age 34. 6 Lgue apps. Larry gave him a short term contract and he made his debut in a 1-2 defeat at Ipswich Town back in early October. When he played Leeds won three and lost three. His job was to help sweep up in front of the defence. Leeds conceded 9 goals during his 6 games. His legs were gone and ultimately his best days were behind him. Score 3/10  17  Jake Livermore Age 21 4 Lgue Apps (1 Sub) Livermore arrived in  April and came on as sub in his debut v Notts Forest. He promised a lot with his physical appearance and many of felt he could protect the defence in a David Batty style role. In the end he cost Leeds victory at Derby by  needlessly giving the ball away when United were comfortable at 1-0 up and was substituted at home to Reading before he saw red. He was anonymous in our next match at C Palace where we ultimately lost our play-off chances.  Another one of Larry’s gambles that failed to turn up trumps. Score 3/10. 18 Sanchez Watt Age 20 9 Lgue apps (13 sub ) 1 goal (3 Cup apps 1 sub 1 goal) He started the first four games of the season along side Becchio in matches against Derby, Forest, Millwall and Leicester City. He never really performed consistently and certainly is not a finisher. He gets into great positions but has no poise in front of goal, which is unusual for an Arsenal player Not worth a punt for a third loan spell.  Score 4/10. 19 Ben Parker Age 23. 1 Lgue (1 sub) 1 Cup (1 sub). Another injury plagued season for the United left back. His notable contribution was the foul on Walcott which earned Arsenal an undeserved draw against Leeds in the FA Cup at the Emirates. Not enough games to register a score. Left back is a real problem area for Leeds and can United count on a player who spends more time with Harvey Sharman than Simon Grayson. 20. Eric Lichaj Age 22. 16 Lgue apps. The USA international came in from Aston Villa  on an emergency loan and made his debut away v Bristol City in a 2-0 win. He was originally brought in to cover for the injury to regular right full Paul Connolly but played in the last 16 games of the season, including 6 matches at left full. His raiding down the right flank gave United extra options that they didn’t have with Connolly, and hopefully we can nab him again for next season. Score 7/10 21. Federico Bessone. Age 26. 8 Lgue apps. (2 Cup) Bessone arrived on a free transfer from Swansea City. He started all of Leeds first 7 games but ended his career with a dismal display in a 2-5 defeat at Barnsley when he was taken off at half time for impersonating a footballer.  He seems to have recovered his confidence in a decent loan spell at Charlton but has to go. Score 1/10. 22 Andrew HughesAge 33. 5 Lgue apps (5 Sub lge) (3 sub apps Cup) A wholehearted player who made up for his lack of ability with total commitment. He was also the first player to sign for United knowing that they started 15 points down in League One. He considered it an honour to wear the white shirt, spilled blood to wear it and made his last appearance for Leeds coming on as sub in the cup at Arsenal. He joined Scunthorpe in the January window but could certainly have done a better job at left back than George McCartney. Score 5/10. 22. David Gonzalez. Age 28. He came in on loan from Man City but never got a game. 23 Robert Snodgrass Age 23 34 Lgue apps (3) subs and 6 goals 2 Cup apps (1goal) Robert Snodgrass was injured in pre-season and didn’t start his first game of the campaign until October 2nd at Ipswich Town. Typically he netted for Leeds that day as a striker. His skill and poise on the ball gives Leeds an option that very few others possess and he produced brilliant finishes at Coventry City, Bristol City, Leicester City, Hull and Cardiff. He failed to score at home and a lack of pre-season and a niggling injury prematurely ended his season. another player who we have trouble holding on to. Score 8/10 25. Barry Bannan.Age 21  3 Lgue apps (4 sub) He came in on loan in March and was surprisingly selected for his full debut at Sheff United, a game that Leeds needed battlers and a physical presence to earn any points. Bannan’s skilful game was more suited to the next match at home to Forest where he played well in a 4-1. He was poor at Derby and was ultimately confined to small substitute roles. He was the wrong player brought in by Leeds at that time. Score 4/10. 26. Leigh Bromby Age 31 9 Lgue apps (2 Sub cup apps) Bromby gained a regular place at the start of March in a 5-2 home win over Scunthorpe and held his place at the centre of defence for the next 7 games. United kept just one clean sheet during that period until he lost his place at home to Reading with the return of captain, Richard Naylor for the run in. Score 4/10.  27 David Somma Age 26. 12 Lge starts (17 Sub apps) 11 goals 1 Cup start (2 sub) 1 goal. Somma leapt into Leeds hearts when he came on as sub against Millwall on August 21st with 12 minutes to go and promptly put two goals past the Lions. He scored again in his next game a CC match against Leicester City, and can be pleased with his contribution of 11 league goals during the campaign, a number being scored after coming on as sub. Leeds quickly put him on a 3 year contract and in November he made his international debut for South Africa. Somma has a bigger part to play next season and is undoubtedly the best finisher at the club. Score 8/10 29. George McCartney Age 30. 32 lgue apps 0 goals. McCartney came in on loan from Sunderland and made his debut at left back against Preston NE on September 28th in a 4-6 defeat. Amazingly he went on to play 31 more appearances that season for Leeds. Apparently our cup success against Arsenal was used to pay his Premiership wages at Leeds, thought to be above £20K per week. Ken Bates fell out with him before the QPR match after McCartney attributed to his lack (and other players) lack of form during the run in. These are Uncle Ken’s comments in his usual less than subtle tone : “It’s a rubbish excuse. I don’t think fatigue contributes to his contribution, which I haven’t been impressed with. As I understand it, he’s been fined for turning up late in training. Perhaps if he turned up on time and showed a bit more commitment, he wouldn’t feel tired.” Quite simply one of Simon Grayson’s greatest flaws in management at Leeds was giving McCartney a shirt. Constantly poor. Score 2/10 30. Jason Brown Age 29. 3 Lge apps. He came in and did a job. Not a great keeper by any stretch of the imagination. Score 4/10. 32 Aidy White Age 19. 2 Sub apps League. He didn’t really feature at Elland Road but did very well when he went out on loan to Oldham Athletic where he played 24 games and scored 4 goals. One for the future. 33 Ramon Nunez Age 25 2 Lgue sub appearances. Nunez could rightly argue that he never got a chance at Leeds last season. He came on as a late sub against Cardiff City when United were getting hammered. To his credit he took his loan opportunity at Scunthorpe where in a struggling team he scored a very decent 3 goals from 8 starts. Simon Grayson promised him an opportunity to impress in Leeds pre-season for 2011/12 season. 36 Tom Lees Leeds Age 19. He played no part for Leeds in season 2010/11 but the central defender won promotion in League Two with Bury where he started 45 matches and scored 4 goals. Simon Grayson has promised him his chance for next season, and maybe just maybe the kid will take it.Oh and am I the only one who thinks that he could double as Prince Harry ?  40 Andy O’Brien Age 32. 30 Lgue apps (2 goals) 2 Cup apps. He signed for Leeds ahead of Cardiff City who made him the same offer and made his debut in a 4-1 win at Scunthorpe. The facts are clear. He didn’t steady the ship as Leeds conceded 4 goals in their next 2 games against Coventry and Hull City. What disguised O’Brien’s contribution was United’s purple patch in front of goal where they took points in 12 games since he joined. United still conceded 16 goals during that period, but because of the points registering on the board the defence was ignored. A superb Snodgrass goal at Cardiff made no difference as Bellamy and Choppra could have drove a bus through Leeds central defence to make it 2-1. The bad days didn’t go away as Leeds chopped and changed central defender but O’Brien still remained. Six goals were conceded at home to Portsmouth (including 2 O’Brien OGs) and Barnsly. O’Brien was no better than what we had only his timing was good. His best days are certainly behind him. Score 4/10 44 Ross McCormack Age 24 6 Lgue starts (16 sub apps) 2 gls. McCormack may justifiably argue that he rarely got a chance to shine even when he was knocking in goals regularly for the reserves. At the death he received his chance and played well against Burnley and QPR when he netted in both. Next season after a full pre-season he may do a lot better. Score for promise more than performance. 5/10. Others No 20 Jason Crowe played no part and was relased in January. He received criticism from Simon Grayson for refusing to go out on loan and had his contract was terminated in January by mutual consent. Simon Grayson. From what we know of the chairman that he works under, United are well down the pecking order when it comes to high wages in the Championship, and Grayson had to scout out free transfers. Even Scunthorpe United who held up the division made an offer of £600k for Conor Salmon (before he ultimately signed for Wigan), a fee that Grayson would be expected to secure the services of two or three players. That said, for a team newly promoted, Leeds were in the play off positions right up until the death. Grayson will be the first to admit that his signings this year rarely improved the side. Connolly, Bruce, Paynter, McCormack, Sam and O’Brien are definitely in the “can do better category”. Loan signings Watt, Bannan, Livermore, and McCartney were well off the mark. Perhaps Schmeichel and Lichaj are the only two to have done well. Grayson panicked somewhat in the final games of the season often making wholesale changes throughout the side as he tried desperately to resurrect the form which saw them in second spot at one stage. Then defence was catastrophic. Our attack for most of the season was formidable. Snodgrass, Howson, Gradel and Becchio all performed extremely well. Many would argue that for the resources he had, 7th position was a very good season. Leeds defeated the Championship winners home and away, and only lost three matches from eighteen against the top six sides. I believe that season 2010/11 was an opportunity lost but it would be churlish of me to give Larry any less that 7/10. Ken Bates. Miserable, arrogant, dislikable, and downright ignorant. That’s our chairman. The man who sold the club to himslef. For the opportunity missed and the lack of backing for the manager (especially in January) allied to his constant knife twisting against the( LUSC and) genuine Leeds fans but ultimately for his continuous self backclapping 1/10 is more than generous but ultimately desrving for at least making George McCartney go away.  Now take your 30 pieces of silver, sell the club to someone who will invest properly into the biggest one city club in the world and piss off back to Monte Carlo.

Thurs 27th of May 2011. Rest in Peace Don. The Don died 25 years ago today in Edinburgh at the age of only 61 after suffering a long illness with motor neurone disease. God bless him.

Thursday 27th of May. Johnson and Kilkenny to move on.Leeds United today confirmed that it expects midfielder Bradley Johnson to exercise his right to move to another club this summer. Johnson was offered another contract by the Whites but his agent has told the club that the player is keeping his options open after receiving other offers, two of which are from Premier League teams. Simon Grayson told the club’s website: “It’s disappointing that it looks like Bradley won’t be resigning. We felt we made the player a suitable offer.” Leeds United midfielder Neil Kilkenny intends to sort out his club future after the Socceroos’ friendlies against New Zealand and Serbia next month.  He won’t be accepting the offer put to him by Leeds and  will most likely sign for a Championship club. ilkenny has been present at Gold Coast United training the last couple of days – in preparation for Australia’s upcoming games in Adelaide and Melbourne – with his deal at English npower Championship side Leeds expiring at the end of June. But Kilkenny was quick to deny suggestions he was set to return to the A-League. “I’m concentrating on European football,” he said. “I want to play at the highest level and that’s in Europe. “There’s been a lot of talk about my future for the last six or seven months. I’m just trying to focus on my football and my chances for Australia. When I get back to England I’ll sort out my future then. “I’m here to play for Australia and I want to concentrate on that as much as possible.” Kilkenny is experiencing a Socceroo renaissance of sorts with coach Holger Osieck taking a liking to the dynamic 25-year-old, who came off the bench four times in January’s Asian Cup campaign.It is a welcome change of fortunes at international level for Kilkenny after falling out of favour with former boss Pim Verbeek. “Unfortunately certain circumstances were at the head of that but there’s new management and hopefully I’ll get a little run in the team,” he said. “(Osieck is) very good. He picks players on merit and now all the players know what they have to do – perform for our clubs, or when we come away with the Socceroos we’ll find that we’re not in the squad. “When I meet up with the squad I’ll have to impress as much as possible to try and get a bit of game time.” Bates talks about saving money and yet here are two players who could have been offered a decent wage (before Christmas) and if they were surplus to requirements, a decent fee would be received by the football club. Ridiculous !

Weds 25th of May 2011. This is the list of Players out of contract. Premier LeagueArsenal Manuel Almunia, Aston Villa , Brad Friedel , Isaiah Osbourne Robert Pires Nigel Reo-Coker Moustapha Salifou John Carew. Birmingham Colin Doyle, Maik Taylor,  Stephen Carr (now offered a 1 year contract) , Martin Jiranek , David Murphy, Stuart Parnaby, Lee Bowyer, Sebastian Larsson, James McFadden Kevin Phillips Blackburn Benjani Mwaruwari, Blackpool Matthew Gilks , Mark Halstead , Richard Kingson, Paul Rachubka , Stephen Crainey, Neal Eardley, Rob Edwards, Ian Evatt , David Carney , Jason Euell , Malaury Martin, Keith Southern, David Vaughan, Billy Clarke, Brett Ormerod Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Bolton Adam Bogdan, Jlloyd Samuel , Gretar Steinsson , Tamir Cohen , Ricardo Gardner, Joey O’Brien, Mustapha Riga, Robbie Blake, Johan Elmander, ChelseaHenrique Hilario, Jose Bosingwa, EvertonIain Turner, Seamus Coleman, Victor Anichebe Fulham Neil Etheridg, Matthew Briggs, John Pantsil, Zoltan Gera , Danny Murphy, Eddie Johnson Diomansy Kamara, LiverpoolSotirios Kyrgiakos, Manchester City Shaleum Logan, Patrick Vieira Manchester United  Edwin van der Sar – RETIRING Gary Neville – RETIRING, Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen Newcastle Sol Campbell , Kazenga LuaLua .Stoke Carlo Nash, Thomas Sorensen, Abdoulaye Faye, Rory Delap, Ricardo Fuller, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Sunderland John Mensah, David Meyler, Boudewijn Zenden. Tottenham Carlo Cudicini, William Gallas, Jonathan Woodgate. West Brom Dean Kiely – RETIRING Marek Cech, Abdoulaye Meite, Giles Barnes, Simon Cox. West HamRobert Green , Daniel Gabbidon, Lars Jacobsen, Jonathan Specto, Matthew Upson, Kieron Dyer, Zavon Hines
Victor Obinna. Wigan Mike Pollitt, Stephen Caldwel, Piscu, Daniel De Ridder.
Wolves Marcus Hahnemann, Jody Craddock, David Jones Championship Barnsley Martin Devaney, Andy Gray, Matt Hill, Garry O’Connor, David Preece. Bristol City Louis Carey, Lee Johnson, Ivan Sproule, Stephen Henderson, John Akinde
Pat Hoban, Jimmy Keohane, Joe Edwards, Danny Ball, Burnley Wade Elliott, Chris McCann. Steven Thompson, Kevin McDonald, Remco van der Schaaf. Cardiff Jay Bothroyd, Chris Burke. Adam Matthews, Gavin Rae. CoventryNathan Cameron, Lee Carsley, Jordan Clarke, Aron Gunnarsson, Danny Ireland, Marlon King, Michael McIndoe, Stephen O’Halloran, Isaac Osbourne Kieren Westwood, Connor Grogan, Shaun Jeffers, Michael Quirke, Crystal PalaceNeil Danns
Claude Davis, Steffen Iversen, Stuart O’Keefe, Kieran Djilali, DerbyMichael Boulding, Saul Deeney, Chris Porter. DoncasterSteve Brooke, James Chambers, Paul Keegan, Dennis Souza,Neill Sullivan, Wayne Thomas, Ryan Burge, Byron Webster. Sam Hird, HullMatt Duke Craig Fagan.Richard Garcia, Mark Oxley, Nolberto Solano, Kevin Kilbane, Anthony Gardner Will Atkinson, IpswichTroy Brown, Tom Eastman, Colin Healy, Conor Hourihane, Arran Lee-Barrett, Gareth McAuley, Brian Murphy, David Norris, Alan Quinn, Kevin Lisbie, Pablo Counago. Leeds Shane Higgs, Bradley Johnson, Neil Kilkenny, Patrick Kisnorbo, Richard Naylo, Zac Thompson, Will Hatfield. LeicesterRicardo, Aleksandar Tunchev. Middlesbrough Julio Arca Danny Coyne, Willo Flood, Andrew Taylor. Millwall Danny Schofield, Marc Laird, Andy Frampton John Sullivan. NorwichJens Berthel Askou, Matthew Gill, Josh Dawkin, Sam Habergham Matthew Ball. Notts Forest Dele Adebola, Julian Bennett, Robert Earnshaw, Guy Moussi Zannetos Mytides, Nialle Rodney, Nathan Tyson. Portsmouth Michael Brown. Nadir Ciftci
Darryl Flahavan, Hermann Hreidarsson, Richard Hughes, David Nugent, Danny Webber, Peter Gregory, Tom Kilbey. Preston Andreas Arestidou, Chris Brown, Wayne Brown, Darren Carter Jamie Douglas, Billy Jones, Barry Nicholson, Neal Trotman. QPRRadek Cerny, Pascal Chimbonda Heidar Helguson, Peter Ramage, Martin Rowlands, Danny Shittu, Georgios Tofas, Gavin Mahon. Reading Brynjar Gunnarsson, Ivar Ingimarsson, Hal Robson-Kanu. Scunthorpe United David Mirfin, Joe Murphy, Eddie Nolan, Sam Slocombe, Josh Wright, Paris Cowan-Hall, Ian Morris Sheffield United Ryan France, Rob Kozluk, Swansea Ferrie Bodde, Thomas Butler, Dorus De Vries, Yves Ma-Kalambay, Darren Pratley, Angel Rangel, Albert Serran, Cederic Van der Gun Gorka Pintado, Watford Dale Bennett, Don Cowie, Matt Whichelow, Nathan Ellington, Rob Kiernan, Matt Sadler.

Who would we take ? 

Aston Villa  Brad Friedel  Nigel Reo-Coker (decent holding midfielder for Ch’ship) Birmingham  Stephen Carr (better right full than what we have) James McFadden (good player) Kevin Phillips (knows where the goals are and pay him per game he plays)
Keith Southern (hope not – but this is a club where Grayson knows many of the players) Bolton Tamir Cohen (decent defender) Everton Seamus Coleman ( I can’t believe Everton don’t have him on a long contract) Fulham Zoltan Gera (not a bad addition but we are heavy in strikers) Danny Murphy (good player and just what we need) Stoke  Ricardo Fuller (good striker at our level) Sunderland John Mensah (raw but do a job at centre half) Tottenham William Gallas (yes) Jonathan Woodgate (yes if fit) West Brom  Simon Cox (good striker and a lot better than the other idiot we got from Swindon T) West Ham Robert Green (won’r be available for long) Daniel Gabbidon (better centre half than we have at present) Matthew Upson (wont be availalable for long)
 Stephen Caldwell (must be neary your age by now) 

 Cardiff  Jay Bothroyd (take him in an instant) Chris Burke (decent winger but not as good as Sno s or Max Coventry  Lee Carsley (if only he were three years younger)
Kieren Westwood (decent keeper) Doncaster James Chambers Paul Keegan (can feck off back to Bohs) Ipswich David Norris (decent player) Leeds Bradley Johnson (joke we couldn’t give him a decent contract and then sell) Patrick Kisnorbo (needs to be kept if fit) Richard Naylor (was better than the others but best years behind him) 
Julio Arca (decent left back that we are missing – and can keep Luciano company Notts Forest  Rbert Earnshaw (still a decent player and I’d take him) 
Michael Brown (dirty b####d and a Leeds fan……maybe just maybe)Monday 

May 23rd 2011.  The season review Season Part 2. January to May. The first game of 2011 ended with Becchio bagging an in jury time equaliser against Middlesbro at Elland Road. This was two points dropped but no points were gained the following Tuesday at Cardiff when once again the centre of defence was hopelessly exposed to allow Choppra and Bellamy walz through and  score too easily. Leeds defied the odds four days later when they almost knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup at our first visit to the Emirates. On January 15th Leeds wiped the floor with Scunthorpe. Leeds were in 5th position, just two points behind Swansea in 2nd and five points behind leaders QPR. A Bradley Johnson stunner wasn’t enough to defeat Arsenal in the FA Cup replay but pride was certainly retained. Away to Portsmouth, Leeds came from behind twice to grab a draw. Becchio and Somma were the goalscorers but Leeds couldn’t grab a winner with 27 minutes still left to play. January gave United just 4 points from a possible 12. January saw Leeds say farewell to Jason Crowe and Neil Collins (where a profit on the sale to Sheff Utd was secured), but everyone wished the popular Andy Hughes well as he signed for Scunthorpe. Surprisingly United didn’t add to their squad, except for the signing of cover goalkeeper, David Gonzalez. Many felt that a holding midfielder and centre half was badly needed. Instead Leeds announced that McCartney would be staying until the end of the season., with the money for his wages coming frm the FA Cup run. This didn’t exactly set the pulse racing. On Feb 1st United came from 2 goals down to rescue a draw at Hull City with Snodgrass and Somma scoring. Despite finishing the stronger a Leeds winner could not be scored. Turning draws into wins was becoming more and more elusive. Davide Somma scored the only goal of the game against Coventry on February 5th with the Kop end reserving special attention for the returning Gary McSheffrey. Robert Snodgrass was outstanding away to Bristol City. Both he and Max Gradel scored in a decent 2-0 win at Ashton Gate. Two clean sheets in a row was encouraging, but Becchio and Somma goals could only earn us a draw at home to in form Norwich in front of 36,1010 fans. The table read as follows : QPR 61pts, Notts Forest 56 pts, Swansea City 56pts, Cardiff 55pts, Leeds 53pts and Leicester 51pts. Leeds were twice ahead against Barnsley at Elland Road but allowed Trippier to equalise with just eight minutes left on the clock. Once again our defending was shambolic and one point from six was not what the doctor ordered from two fixtures with lowly Barnsley. Worse was to follow in Wales when Leeds were outclassed by Swansea City in a  3-0 defeat. If Somma had scored just before half time with a point blank header against the bar, it may have been different. United finished February in 6th position, 8 points behind Swansea in 2nd and 2 points ahead of Leicester in 7th. March began with Leeds wiping the floor with Doncaster 5-2. The in form Maxie grabbed a brace. On Tuesday March 8th Billy Paynter at last registered a goal, the winner in a 2-1 win at Preston NE. Would it be like the proverbial bus with a number of goals coming along ? Unfortunately the 27,432 who turned up to our next game at home to Ipswich Town went home very disappointed. Paynter started up front with Leeds playing the 4-5-1 formation but Leeds failed to put away their chances. One point won in two fixtures against a poor to ordinary Ipswich Town was certainly not promotion form. March which started so well was to finish disappointingly, as Sheffield United outfought and outplayed Leeds at Bramall Lane in an easy 2-0 win for the Blades. The goals came from Lichaj OG on 54 minutes and 74 minutes from Riise. Bannon starting in midfield was a surprise choice, given that physical battlers were needed most. The table read as follows : QPR 76pts, Norwich City 67pts, Swansea City 66pts, Cardiff City 63pts, Leeds 61pts, Notts Forest 60pts, Reading 57pts, Burnley 57pts. Leeds firmly had the play offs in their own hands and still a chance of catching second placed Norwich if they were to go on a winning spree. April started oh so well for United. Forest, our main competitors for a play off position were put to the sword. Billy”Job Done” Davis’ side started the better, but when they went down to ten men, Leeds were ruthless with their three best players year to date all netting, Becchio, Howson, and Maxie Gradel (2). Leeds stayed in 5th.  Elsewhere, Norwich were always going to hammer the worst side in the division, Scunthorpe and formless Derby were never going to stop Cardiff city. The bonus was that Preston did to Swansea what they failed to do to Leeds. Forest fell out of the play off spots, Burnley lost again, and Millwall attempted to  make it  three teams fresh  from League One in the promotion hunt. In form Reading sneaked under the radar into the top six. Our demons from the past, Millwall deservedly knocked us to one side in a 3-2 win, in front of their loyal fans bedecked in Turkish shirts and Turkish flags. United announced mixed news on the financial front in their latest set of yearly figures. The figures for the year ending June 30, 2010 revealed an overall profit of £2.072m – thanks chiefly to money from the sale of Fabian Delph to Aston Villa and several Academy stars. But the club also announced an operating loss of £670,000 for the last financial year – which the club says is due to the price of success following promotion to the Championship. Many fans were disappointed that the squad wasn’t strengthened in January. Would it cost us in the run in ? Max Gradel again came to our rescue the following Tuesday when he netted on 58 minutes at Derby. The lead lasted two minutes as on loan signing Livermore gave the ball away and Ward fired home. Derby who hadn’t won a game since Santa was a child had their tails up, and two minutes the Rams netted their winner. Leeds were still in 6th place, just one point ahead of Forest, but 5th place was now elusive as Reading moved five points clear and with more than double the goal difference. Watford needed to be defeated at Elland Road in their next fixture. Becchio gave Leeds the lead with 18 minutes to go, but shocking defending especially involving McCartney and Bannan saw United 2-1 down with 4 minutes to go. A Deeney OG on 88 minutes made it 2-2. The crowd roared when 5 minutes was put up, but Snodgrass’s shot which was handled by a Watford defender when goal bound was ignored by the referee. Amazingly it was still in Leeds own hands, as they were still 2 points ahead of 7th placed Notts Forest. Good Friday saw the Leicester goalkeeper hand Forest all three points with a terrible mistake. They went into 6th. It was the first time United had fallen out of the top six since November. On Good Friday at 19:45 Leeds had to defeat the in form Reading who had won their last 8 games on the bounce. Naylor was recalled to the centre of defence and he kept top scorer Shane Long quiet all night. Leeds dominated the second half but couldn’t get the ball past man of the match, goalkeeper McCarthy. It was now out of Leeds hands and Forest were in the driving seat on goal difference with three matches to go. Monday 25th of April saw Leeds looking for favours from Bristol City who were at home to Notts Forest. In the end no favours were given as Forest won 3-2 and it mattered little anyway as P3.7alace beat Leeds 1-0 at Selhurst Park. An early Sky kick off the following Saturday gave Leeds the chance of going level with Forest, but they needed a hatful of goals to really put pressure on. United played well but a sole McCormack goal didn’t reflect their dominance. Scunthorpe capitulated at Forest by 5-1, and Leeds needed snookers going into the last game of the season. Palace were hammered by Forest 3-0 and United defeated the newly crowned Champions 2-1 in a lifeless and meaningless game, with goal from McCormack and Gradel. The table read : QPR 88 pts, Norwich City 84Pts, Swansea City 80pts, Cardiff City 80pts, Notts Forest 75pts, and in 7th Leeds United on 72pts. It mattered little to Leeds fans that Blackpool got promoted to the Premiership on less points than Leeds United.  The truth is that Leeds second half of the season was poor, and April in particular was fatal. Since the beginning of 2011, Leeds took just 31 points from a possible 63 points, with 8 wins, 7 draws and 6 defeats. We were great to watch for the neutral with goals flowing in at both ends, scoring a huge 81 but conceding 70goals. Norwich on the other hand scored more goals (83 scored) but let in just 58. That’s 22 goals less than Leeds United and they came up from League One at the same time. So what happened Leeds ? Call it the Newcastle syndrome were United were expected to outscore every team, and for the first half of the season we certainly did. But round two begins after Christmas, and teams play you again and pretty soon catch on to the weakness that you have. Crystal Palace finished 20th in the Championship and yet they conceded less goals than Leeds United. Andy O’Brien (yet another free transfer) was heralded as our defensive saviour. He partnered Bruce, Bromby, and Naylor at different times, and we used Collins, Lichaj, Parker, Hughes, Connolly, Bradley Johnson, Bessone (pic’d left), McCartney and White at different times in our defence. Before he arrived we conceded 1.84 goals per game and after he arrived it was a little better at 1.40 goals per game. But stats can tell you anything. For instance when Naylor played centre half our goals conceded ratio was lower again. But if you analyse the 12 defenders above how many would get their place in the top six sides in the Championship ? I contend very few and if so maybe in a squad format. I have left out Scmeichel but he too had a poor run in for Leeds. April was a disaster for Leeds. We took just 8 points from a possible 21 and Reading and Notts Forest found form. If you are to get promoted you can’t possibly afford to  lose at Palace, Derby and Millwall and you really must defeat Watford and Reading at home. Becchio our top scorer was injured in April and Paynter failed to fill his boots, whilst Simon Grayson failed to give McCormack his chance sooner than the the last two matches of the season. We placed our faith in an inexperienced midfielder Livermore and brought in Bannan whose ability added little to the skilful players we already possessed in those particular areas. Crucially we didn’t add to our defensive options in January when other sides were busier in the transfer market. Gonzalez was hardly going to play centre half and McCartney was hardly going to turn into a top class left back. Lets look at the sides that went up.We already know all about QPR who spent profusely at the start of the season and still added the likes of Hulse and Tommy Smith, whilst simultaneously paying the top wages in the Championship, thanks to their billionaire’s financing. The canny Neil Warnock made sure the spine of his side was right, and he picked the perfect holding player in midfield, Shaun Derry. Yes you’ve guessed it the same Shaun Derrry of whom Dennis Wise discarded as not good enough for a relegation threatened Leeds United four years ago.Let’s look at Norwich City a side that Ken Bates has said is extremely well run. They brought in John Ruddy a goalkeeper from Everton (fee = £500K – he played all 46 games), a decent left back in Andrew Crofs (fee = £300K) he played 44 games, Elliot Ward a decent Centre half who was out of contract, he played 39 games, David Fox midfielder £250K – he played 30 games, Leon Barnet  centre half out of contract so free, he played 25 games, Simeon Jackson for £400K to rise to £600K and to £1.2 if promotion secured within 3 years, he played 20 games and promotion was secured, Andrew Surman £1.2M – part of package based on promotion in 3 years, he played 19 games, Henri Lansbury a quality loanee from Arsenal, and Marc Tierney a full back for £250K. Total Cost = £3.7Million. Brynn Gunn left the shrewd Paul Lambert an early Christmas prsent when he signed Grant Holt for £400K in August 2009. The bulky striker went on to score 50 plus goals as they won back to promotions. Throw in Wesly Hoolahan, Russel Martin, Chris Martin and Simon Lappin and you have the ingredients of a decent side. Leeds on the other hand gambled almost exclusively on the free transfers and Simon Grayson was guilty of more misses than hits with these signings. The neutral heralded Leeds games as the ones to watch, because most of the goals in the championship were scored in Leeds United games. United scored a fantastic 81 goals but conceded a massive 70 goals. One doesn’t have to correspond with the other. Crystal Palace who finished 20th in the Championship conceded less goals than Leeds United. Yet, Norwich scored more goals than Leeds (83) but they also conceded 22 less. If Leeds United had conceded just seven  goals less in games like Portsmouth (twice) Watford, Barnsley, and Hull City (twice) and Millwall and turned those draws into wins (and the Millwall game to a draw), they would have been promoted automatically on 85 points. Is Paul Lambert a better manager than Simion Grayson or was he backed better by his own board, or was he more astute in the transfer market ? Is  it wiser to spend circa £350k on a key defender rather than give Billy Paynter a three year contract .Given that scenario was Reading’s Brian McDermott the best manager in the Championship with perhaps fewer resources albeit with a more settled side ?Of course Leicester, Bristol City, Hull, and Burnley spent a lot more than United in transfer fees and wages and most of their season ended in early April. Cardiff and Forest who both failed in the play offs have high wages to lose. But for the Cardiffs and |Bristol Citys there are also the Readings of this world who arguably have had less expenditure on wages and even transfers  than Leeds and they have a £50 million game to look forward to. We could have won promotion this year if the defence had been ruthlessly confronted and even £1M in January wisely spent. Grayson and  Snodin must learn quickly from their mistakes. It was by no means a bad campaign, just one that could have been managed better, and by that I don’t mean solely Simon Grayson. The football club was sold to Ken Bates from …….Ken Bates. There can be no more hiding behind offshore companies in the Bahamas. Leeds fans have a target to vent their anger at next season and they won’t be shy in coming forward. Attendances were higher than every other side in the division. Revenue is up including a money spinning FA Cup encounter.  It’s time to step up to the plate, and Bates can start by putting Bradley Johnson on a decent wage instead of spending £1M plus on a replacement, and by backing Simon Grayson financially if he believes that he is the man to take United back to the Premiership. If not Ken, it’s time to put your tin hat on for the abuse you will receive, or better still sell the club to someone who really does have Leeds United’s interests at heart. No more has beens and dodgy trialists please ! More to come over the weekend on players ratings out of 10, and just who is available out there looking for a club. 

Sun May 15th 2011. Leeds season in numbers (The figures take into account both league and cup games. (Vital Leeds Sun May 15th 2011.) 1 Number of shots on goal by Paul Connolly (and it was on target) during the season in 34 appearances. 2 Mike Grella did not make another Leeds appearance after the second game of the season. He made both his appearances coming off the bench against Derby County on the opening day and Lincoln City in the Carling Cup. 3 Number of goalkeepers used by Leeds during the season, Kasper Schmeichel (40), Shane Higgs (7) and Jason Brown (4) all played during the season. 4 Number of red cards received by Leeds during the season. Alex Bruce, Robert Snodgrass, Bradley Johnson and Billy Paynter all received their marching orders. Sheffield United received the most with twelve. Middlesbrough and Cardiff City received the least with one each. 5 Leeds highest score of the season, when they beat Doncaster 5-2 at Elland Road in March. 6 Goals conceded by Leeds against Preston North End at Elland Road in September. Leeds let slip a 4-1 lead before losing 6-4, the only time they have conceded six goals at home in their history. 7 Number of players to score their first goal in a Leeds shirt. Davide Somma, Lloyd Sam, Andy O`Brien, Ross McCormack, Sanchez Watt, Billy Paynter and Alex Bruce all got their first goals. 8 Number of times Bradley Johnson hit the woodwork, the most by any Leeds player. Keith Treacy at Preston North End had the most, hitting the woodwork an incredible 15 times. 9 Number of assists to goals by Luciano Becchio, the most by any Leeds player. 10 Number of goals in the clash between Leeds and Preston at Elland Road in September when Preston won 6-4. 11 Number of clean sheets Leeds kept during the season. Only once did they keep back-to-back clean sheets. They achieved this back in September with a 0-0 draw at Doncaster followed by a 1-0 home win over Sheffield United. QPR kept the most with 25. 12 Number of games unbeaten by Leeds between October and January. Cardiff City were the last and first team to beat them during the run. 13 Number of yellow cards received by Bradley Johnson during the season, the most by any Leeds player. 14 Number of different players to score for Leeds this season. Luciano Becchio (20), Max Gradel (18), Davide Somma (12), John Howson (11), Robert Snodgrass (7), Bradley Johnson (6), Lloyd Sam (3), Neil Kilkenny, Andy O`Brien and Ross McCormack (2), Richard Naylor, Sanchez Watt, Billy Paynter and Alex Bruce (1) all found the net for Leeds. 15 Number of games Leeds drew in the Championship. Only three teams drew more games. Reading and Hull City (17) and Queens Park Rangers (16) were the teams. 16 Leeds scored in 16 consecutive games in all competitions, the most by any side in the Championship. 19 Aidy White was the youngest player to feature for Leeds last season whilst Richard Naylor (34) was the oldest. 20 Number of goals scored by leading goalscorer Luciano Becchio, his best season in three seasons at the club. 21 Leeds sold out 21 of their 23 away games last season, with only Swansea 2,944 and Crystal Palace 5,300 failing to sell out. 23 Out of twenty-three away games, Leeds were the opponents of the home sides highest gate of the season on fourteen occasions. 27 Number of times that Leeds hit the woodwork during the season. Only Coventry City (32) and Preston North End (30) had more. 33 Number of players used by Leeds during the season. Preston used the most with 41 whilst Burnley used the least with 29. 34 Leeds conceded 34 goals at Elland Road in the Championship. Only four teams conceded more at home, Preston and Sheffield United (36), Ipswich Town (37) and Scunthorpe (40) all conceding  more. 42 Leeds scored in 42 of their 50 games in all competitions last season. Only Doncaster away (0-0), Cardiff home (0-4), Reading away (0-0), Swansea away (0-0), Ipswich home (0-0), Sheffield United away (0-2), Reading home (0-0) and Crystal Palace away (0-1) managed to stop Leeds scoring. 46 John Howson was the only Leeds player to start all 46 Championship games. The first player in a Leeds shirt to do this since Neil Sullivan did it during the 2004/05 season. Only fifteen players achieved the feat in the Championship. 47 Number of shots off target by Bradley Johnson, the most by any Leeds player. 48 Leicester City scored the most home goals in the Championship. Leeds were joint second with Norwich City on 47. 50 John Howson made the most appearances overall during the season. 65 Number of shots on target by Max Gradel during the season, the most by any Leeds player. 70 Number of goals conceded by Leeds in the Championship. Only seven teams conceded more. Derby County, Leicester City and Watford (71), Preston and Sheffield United (79), Doncaster (81) and Scunthorpe (87) all conceded more. 72 The total amount of points gained by Leeds during the season, finishing in seventh place. They finished three points behind Nottingham Forest (75) in the final play off place. 79 Luciano Becchio committed the most fouls by any Leeds player during the season. Only two players committed more, Grant Holt -Norwich City (103) and Marvin Elliott – Bristol City (85). 81 Number of goals scored by Leeds in the Championship. Only Norwich City scored more with 83. 86 Leeds received the most yellow cards in the Championship. 105 Number of shots on goal by Max Gradel during the season, the most by any Leeds player. 274 Number of shots off target by Leeds during the season. 334 Number of shots Leeds had on target during the season, the most by any Championship club. 554 Leeds committed the most fouls in the Championship during the season. 608 Number of shots on goal by Leeds during the season, only Norwich City (626) and Coventry City (614) had more. 6,732 Number of Leeds fans in the away end at Barnsley for a Championship game back in September. The highest away following by any team in the Championship. 9,037 Number of Leeds fans in the away end at Arsenal for the FA Cup Third Round tie in January. 20,747 Leeds had their lowest home Championship crowd of the season against Cardiff in October. 27,299 Leeds had the highest home average attendance in the Championship this season. Derby County had the second highest average with 25,892. Scunthorpe United had the lowest average with 5,547. 33,622 The highest gate in the Championship this season was at Elland Road to see Leeds beat Sheffield United 1-0

Tues May 10th. Larry on the future. (Yorkshire Post) Amid the delirious celebrations of the Queens Park Rangers contingent in W12 on Saturday, Leeds United boss Simon Grayson – sheltered away from the carnival with just a handful of journalists – turned his thoughts clearly to next season. Having handed his players a pat on the back for their efforts during a campaign which went agonisingly close to being extended, he was just as quick to draw a line under the Championship season that was 2010-11 and start hatching a plan to ensure the Whites go one better next term. Needing a final-day miracle for his side to enter the play-offs, Grayson’s planning for 2011-12 began in earnest last week when he formulated in his own mind who he wants to keep and release from his out-of-contract players, with the future of some contracted players also coming under the microscope. After a season that was good, but not great, expectations will be white-hot next term, although for United’s pragmatic boss, it’s a case of plus ca change. Players will come and go, although Grayson has insisted that the club won’t break the bank in their pursuit of success, with this season’s exploits suggesting that the addition (and retention) of a few choice recruits, particularly in the spine of the team, will go a long way towards United ending their eight-year exile from the top-flight this time next year, with a fair wind. Lavishly splashing out the lolly won’t be on the menu for United, mindful the last thing in the world they want is to get their fingers burned as badly as pre-season promotion favourites Middlesbrough – whose current players wage budget is equal to the combined bill of champions QPR and third-placed Cardiff City – have done following a season of failure with a summer of en masse cost-cutting on the cards. It remains to be seen whether others will follow the example of Boro this close season, although Grayson remains confident that the pulling power of United, backed up by a second campaign of noteworthy progression under his leadership, will speak for itself in his recruitment drive with the United boss comfortable the whole package that is Leeds United will prove a massively attractive one for prospective new arrivals. On his summer recruitment plans, Grayson said: “We’ve never found it difficult in the past because of the size of the club and the facilities. And it’s a club that’s moving forward. “I get agents all the time wanting their players to play for our football club. It’s a big football club, attendances have been something like 28,000 this year and in terms of the size of the fanbase, we’re probably one of the top five or six in the country, never mind in the Championship. “But people who come into our football club in the future will come on our terms and not just for the money because we’re not one of the biggest payers. But we’ve got the attraction of a football club that’s moving forward and got a fantastic fanbase. “We probably need a little bit more experience. There’s been times this year where we’ve probably shoot ourselves in the foot – 4-1 up against Preston and losing 6-4 for instance and losing by five at Barnsley when we were comfortable. “But we’ve a nucleus of a really good squad who are hungry and work ever so hard for each other. They’ve got a unique quality as well in that they want to get better. “I know what I need to get and hopefully over the next few weeks, we’ll achieve that. “With the Bosman ruling now, we’ve got one or two players who may leave of their own accord, while there will be new players who leave because we aren’t offering them new contracts. “But that happens at all football clubs. You lose some good players, some bad players. But we’ll bring some good players in on frees and hopefully not too many bad ones.” It’s one of the oldest cliches in football that the second tier is the hardest division to get out of and a first glance at its potential make-up for next season reinforces that theory. With the likes of West Ham potentially coming down and ambitious promoted south coast duo Brighton and Southampton eyeing a second season ‘bounce’ and mindful of what has gone on at Norwich City and to a lesser extent Leeds – not to mention moneyed clubs such as Hull City, Burnley and Leicester City – the safe cash is on it being another ultra-intense battle for honours with countless runners and riders. While Leeds have raised the bar following their seventh-placed finish – which confounded most of the pundits and supporters who would pretty much to a man have taken a season of consolidation before a ball was kicked in August – and appetites have been whetted, Grayson has scoffed at talk that his side will be favourites next year. According to him, that mantle will belong to those who drop into the Championship, with the blow of relegation massively cushioned by a hefty eight-figure parachute payment of £48m over four years for clubs who bow out of the Premier League, with Hull and Burnley among other beneficiaries of that decision which was taken last May – with the pair due a cool £16m as part of their ‘second season’ payment. On the subject of favourites, Grayson said: “There will probably be eight or nine teams. Whoever comes down from the Premiership have got to be favourites because of the parachute payments they get. “Then you look at the likes of Middlesbrough, who have underachieved and then there’s all those teams who won’t go up in the play-offs and there’s others such as Leicester City, who are spending a fortune. “So there will be some big teams in it, but we’ll give it a go and hopefully do better than this year. “Just because teams might have some decent budgets doesn’t mean to say they will have the same sort of spirit or the desire to get back up, or they might leave. “We’ve got a great spirit about our group that wants to improve and that can go a long way. “There will be pressure. But there always is at this football club because of the size of it and its demands. It’s a great football club to play for. “If you don’t work under pressure, you might as well not be a manager.”

Tues May 10th. Johnson “would like to stay”. Out of contract Leeds United midfielder Bradley Johnson admits he would like to remain at Elland Road. The 24 year old was placed on the transfer list in November after negotiations between Leeds and Johnson broke down. Despite being placed on the transfer list, Johnson continued to be a regular in the Leeds line up. Now that the season is over, Johnson is hoping that a deal can be reached between the two parties. Speaking in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Johnson said, “We said we`d wait until the end of the season and now it`s here, so hopefully we`ll be in talks during the week. “I`d like to stay. I love the club; but it`s taken this long to agree something and obviously other clubs are interested, so it`s up in the air. “It`s every kid`s dream to play in the Premiership and if I get the opportunity, it`s going to be a hard decision for me because I love the club (Leeds) and I want to be here.” Johnson missed just one Championship game during the season and that was through suspension after his sending off against Barnsley. He was also subjected to booing from the Elland Road crowd after a couple of lacklustre performances following the announcement of him being placed on the transfer list. Rather than allowing his head to drop, Johnson reacted well and became a consistent performer over the rest of the season in his more preferred role in the centre of midfield. The midfielder recently won the fans vote for the goal of the season for his thunderous strike against Arsenal in the FA Cup. Johnson was a regular in the League One promotion side and he now wants to stay at Leeds and help lead them back to the Premier League, “I`ve been here three years and it`s been the best time of my career. I`ve enjoyed my football and living in Leeds and everything about Leeds. “Getting them promoted from League One was my aim and getting them out of the Championship is my ambition now and I want to make history at this club and be in the team that does it,” he continued. Johnson joined Leeds in January 2008 from Northampton and he`s gone on to make 140 appearances during his time at Elland Road.

Tues May 10th. Colin on Leeds. For QPR fans it will go down, I guess, as one of those “JFK moments”, as in, “where were you when you heard?” I was in the tunnel at Loftus Road just around midday on Saturday. I rushed into the dressing room to tell the players, who were busy getting changed. The relief was unbelievable. They were all jumping up and down and hugging each other, half of them were in tears. I didn’t realise just how much the threat of having points deducted, and losing our promotion, had affected the players until then. It was an amazing scene. I think everyone will remember it for the rest of their lives. I know we had a game to play, but it seemed irrelevant. Nevertheless, I had to settle them down. I had a chat, thanked them all for what they had done in the season, and told them we had got what we deserved. Then I said: “We also have a game, if we go into it with the wrong attitude you might get injured. I don’t want anyone injured for next season.” Then we went into the referee’s room to exchange team sheets. It’s fair to say we and Leeds are not the best of buddies, as relations between clubs go, so it was funny when Richard Naylor, their captain, said “we’ll give you a guard of honour”, and I replied, “you won’t be spitting on the floor in front of us, will you?” We all laughed, including the ref, Mark Clattenburg. His presence was another reason for being pleased at going up, next season we’ll have top refs like Mark every week. Neil Warnock insists Leeds United have the potential to follow his own side’s promotion and end their own Premiership exile this time next year at the end of the 2011-12 campaign While United’s 2-1 victory at Loftus Road was ultimately meaningless in their play-off quest – with the miracle swing they sought not arriving with Nottingham Forest cruising to a 3-0 victory in South London at Crystal Palace – it was noteworthy in that the visitors become the first and only side to record a winning double over the Hoops, who have returned to the top-flight after a 15-year absence. It ensured United ended the campaign one place shy of a play-off spot in seventh, with the club well placed to go the whole hog next season under Simon Grayson, according to the 62-year-old. He said: “They have got a great manager in Simon (Grayson) and I’ve got a lot of time for Ken (Bates). He’s got his critics, but I don’t think they will be far away next year. “They have done remarkably well in the past two years. Going up last year and almost getting in the play-offs this year. “Simon will have learnt from it and it’s no (mean) achievement to have beaten us twice. But I’m not bothered as long as we’ve gone up!”     

Tues May 10th. Leeds fined. An Independent Regulatory Commission today (Tuesday) found Leeds United FC guilty of improper conduct. The charge related to an incident during the Football League Championship match between Leeds United and Burnley on 30 April 2011. Leeds admitted the charge of failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative and/or violent behaviour. Leeds United were severely warned as to their future conduct and fined £12,500. Burnley FC also admitted their charge relating to the same incident and were fined £5,000.

Tues May 10th 2011. Nice piece on Ramon Nunez from a Scunny perspective. In what will be bad news for all Iron fans no doubt – Scunny’s on-loan attacking maestro Ramon Nunez is unlikely to player for the Iron again: and will remain at Leeds United for another year. This is after the West Yorkshire Championship club elected to extend the Honduran’s contract with them for another 12 months. This will no doubt be significantly down to his very successful loan spell with the Iron: which has seen him drive himself straight into many Iron fans’ hearts permanently. The on-loan playmaker has played 8 games for Scunny since signing in late March – and has scored 3 goals: notably the screamer against Pompey, and the key strikes away to Coventry & Crystal Palace. And having been so integral for the Iron offensively, it’s no surprise that many Iron fans have been praying that they’d be signing the Honduran. But with Alan Knill having admitted that his wages would be a problem – and here’s the confirmation. Simon Grayson’s Leeds United originally signed Ramon in January – and no doubt swayed significantly by his successful loan spell in North Lincolnshire, have exercised their option of extending his option by a further year. And much in the path of Jermaine Beckford – the Iron fans will no doubt be ironically laughing, as they will be expecting the extremely talented Honduran to now hit it off in West Yorkshire. The finishing school that is Scunthorpe United appears to have had another success, that others will reap the benefits of. And owing to his contract extension at Leeds, the chance of him ever playing for the Iron’s claret and blue are slim – but there’ll be plenty of Iron fans clinging to slim hope. Indeed – who knows, Leeds might waste his talent once more and we could be the recipients of another fantastic loan spell from the Honduran. Simon Grayson made no small fact of his success in North Lincolnshire as a reason for extension, when announcing Nunez’s longer stay at Leeds. We signed Ramon in January until the end of the season, but with an option for another year. ‘He is a talented player, and proved that by doing well at Scunthorpe so we have decided to extend that option. ‘Ramon will come back in the summer with an opportunity to make an impression here.’ So then, it appears the Iron’s love affair with Ramon Nunez is over after all then. But what’s that line from Casablanca – ‘We won’t be apart: we just won’t be together’ And it’s definitely be great while its lasted. Thank you Ramon. We’ll miss you. As I said. Nice piece!

Mon May 9th. Johnson and Kilkenny. Leeds manager Simon Grayson is keen to sort out a new deal this week for midfielder Bradley Johnson. Johnson, out of contract in the summer, was expected to leave the club in January after turning down a final offer of a new three-year deal in November and was subsequently linked with moves to Wigan, Stoke and Bolton. But the London-born 24-year-old has continued to improve, playing a key role this season for Grayson, who is hoping to keep hold of the talented left-footer. Grayson said: “We will sit down with him and his representatives after the weekend and see where we are. He got offered a contract at Christmas time, which he turned down and players are entitled to do that because of the Bosman rule. “We will see where are, but if he leaves and other players leave in the same way, we will thank them for what they have done for the club and we will move on. “I’d like to keep him. He’s done well and can get better. He knows what he needs to do, but we are working within a budget in this club.” Neil Kilkenny has also had a deal offered to min. The Aussie is out of contract and can walk away free. In my view this was exceptionally badly handled by United. Johnson in particular bears no similarity to the the player we had last August. He has made great improvements to his game and as such should have been rewarded. Not knowing which division Leeds would be playing in is a kop out as provisional contracts could have been arranged. Now they may lose a valuable player for nothing. The jury is still out on Kilkenny but he may do a job in 15 games a season.

Mon May 9th 2011. New contracts for Paddy and Ramon. Leeds United manager Simon Grayson has confirmed the club will be taking up an option to extend Ramon Nunez’s stay. The 25-year-old resigned a six month contract in January with a further year’s option and after impressing on loan at Scunthorpe will be returning to Elland Road. Grayson “Ramon will come back in the summer with an opportunity to make an impression. We signed Ramon in January until the end of the season but with an option for another year. He is a talented boy and he has proved that by doing well at Scunthorpe so we’ve decided to exercise that option”. Leeds United have offered Patrick Kisnorbo a short-term deal and give the defender a fair opportunity to earn another long-term contract at Elland Road. Manager Simon Grayson revealed today that he expects to keep his out-of-contract centre-back at Leeds next term, but the club will delay any serious offer until they have assessed Kisnorbo’s fitness in pre-season training. Kisnorbo – United’s player of the year in 2010 – could make his first appearance for 13 months against Queens Park Rangers tomorrow, completing his painstaking recovery from the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered in March of last year. The Australian international is close to the end of his two-year deal at Leeds and could become a free agent at the start of July, but Grayson intends for Kisnorbo to be part of his squad in pre-season and hopes to be able to offer more substantial terms with a clear summer behind him. Grayson said: “He’ll have all of pre-season with us and we’ll have things in place to make sure there’s a contract ready for him. “He wants to stay, I want to keep him here, but as a football club we’ve got to make sure we cover ourselves. There’s no point in giving Paddy a two, three or five-year contract without him proving that he’s 100 per cent fit. “He understands that and he’ll have five or six weeks in pre-season to get match-fit. I would think that (Leeds will offer him a short-term deal) to cover our backs and his back. He only needs to prove his fitness.” 

Monday May 9th 2011. The clear out has begun. Leeds United have confirmed the departure of club captain Richard Naylor. The 34-year-old’s contract expires in June and Simon Grayson has confirmed he will be allowed to move on. He has made 76 appearances for the club since intially signing on loan from Ipswich Town in January 2009 before making the move permanent at the end of that month. Simon Grayson told the official club website: “I’d like to thank Richard for everything he has done during the two and a half years with us. He’s been a great captain for the club both on and off the field and I can’t speak highly enough of him and what he has done. There was no one prouder than Richard last May when we won promotion back to the Championship and he has played a big, big role in the turnaround of this football club. “Unfortunately, we’re not in a position where I can offer Richard regular football now and allowing him to move on will give him the best possible opportunity elsewhere. “I think I speak on behalf of everyone connected with the club – the staff, the players, and the fans – when I wish him all the best for the future.” Also leaving Leeds with Naylor is veteran keeper Higgs, who joined on a free transfer from Cheltenham Town in 2009. Higgs was signed a cover for Casper Ankergren and he made 29 appearances during his two years with the West Yorkshire club.”He did well for us last season and has provided good competition for us this season,” Grayson continued. “Shane is at an age where he needs to be playing regularly and we can’t offer him regular football.”

The Season review. Part 1 A look back on season 2010/11 August to December United used 33 players during the 2010/11 campaign. The early signings were:Kasper Schmeichel (out of contract with Notts Co)  Billy Painter (out of contract) from Swindon Town, followed by Paul Connolly (out of contract) with Derby, Federico Bessone (out of contract) with Swansea City, Neil Collins for £450,000 from Preston, Lloyd Sam (out of contract) with Charlton, and Alec Bruce for £250,000 from Ipswich Town. Ramon Nunez a Honduran arrived via the USA and young Adam Clayton was secured for £100,000 from Man City  and Sanchez Watt arrived for a second loan spell from Arsenal. Promotion on the cheap was mooted by some fans as a net figure of circa £800,000 was spent by United on 10 arrivals. The emphasis was firmly on players out of contract. Links to Billy Sharpe, Gary Hooper, James McArthur, Tommy Spurr, Nick Montgomery, Jay Simpson and John Eustace (who passed a medical but changed his mind) all proved off the mark. Jermaine Beckford was the one key player who departed on a Bosman and swiftly signed a four year contract with Everton. Loanees McSheffrey and perhaps surprisingly Doyle from Coventry were not pursued. Michalik, Robinson, Sheehan, Crowe, Kandol and Ankergren were all deemed surplus to requirements. The pre-season went well in Slovakia apart from an injury to Billy Painter and Robert Snodgrass meaning both would play no part in the first few months of the season. The betting for the Championship was as follows : 11/2 Favs M’bro. 8/1 Notts Forest. 10/1 Burnley. 12/1 Reading. 12/1 QPR. 16/1 Sheff United. 16/1 Bristol City. 16/1 Ipswich Town. 16/1 Leicester City. 16/1 Norwich City. 18/1 Hull City. 18/1 Leeds United. 20/1 Portsmouth. 20/1 Swansea City. 20/1 Cardiff City. 28/1 Derby County. 33/1 Millwall. 40/1 Preston. 50/1 C Palace. 50/1 Doncaster Rvs. 66/1 Barnsley. 80/1 Watford and 150/1 Scunthorpe. August commenced with a live 1-2 defeat to Derby County with impressive performances from Commins and Hulse. Both would not finish the campaign as Celtic and QPR came a calling. Becchio scored the first of his 19 league goals for United and partnered Watt up front against Derby. A few days later Leeds clinically took care of Lincoln in the CC by 4-0. An impressive 1-1 draw was achieved away to Forest with Sam netting the equalizer for Leeds. Millwall were put to the sword a week later with Davide Somma netting a brace after coming on as sub with 15 minutes to go. A 1-2 CC defeat to Leicester was more of an inconvenience than a problem as Leeds finished August impressively with 1-0 win at Watford courtesy of a Richard Naylor header. United  finished August in 6th with QPR, Cardiff and Ipswich Town all on 10 points. Millwall and Burnley were narrowly behind. On August 24th 24 year old striker, Ross McCormack arrived for a fee in the region of £350,000 from Cardiff City In early September player number 11 arrived. Another freebie, Amdy Faye a 33 year old Senegalese journey man.  On September 11th, United defeated Swansea City 2-1 with goals from Bradley Johnson and Luciano Becchio. The warning signs regarding our suspect defence became reality when 7,000 travelling Leeds fans witnessed a 2-5 defeat to Barnsley. The defence on that occasion was Higgs, Connolly, Bessone, Collins and Naylor. The left back (Bessone) in particular took huge criticism for his performance. It was his last league performace for Leeds that season.  A better performance by Leeds was achieved live on Sky at Doncaster, but a couple of Somma misses meant a stalemate ensued. Andy Hughes performed well at left back, and an 83rd minute goal by Bradley Johnson ensured Leeds beat Sheff United 1-0 in a Yorkshire derby. George McCartney joined on loan from Sheff United and made his debut v Preston NE. His debut came in probably our best and worst performance of the season and all in the same game. Becchio, Bruce and Somma (2) ensured United were 4-1 up after 39 minutes. By 90 minuted we were 4-6 down. Our defence that day was Higgs, Hughes, McCartney, Bruce and Collins. Leeds finished September in 10th position some 9 points off leaders QPR. Cardiff and Norwich lay in 2nd and 3rd positions. October began with a 1-2 defeat at Ipswich not helped by the sending off of  Alec Bruce. On loan keeper Brown replaced the injured Higgs on 62 minutes. Mid October saw Leeds defeat pre-season favourites M’bro 2-1 at the Riverside with goals from Somma and Becchio. A Few days later Leicester played United off the park in 1-2 defeat at Elland Road. It didn’t get any  better six days later when a rampant Cardiff hammered Leeds 4-0 at Elland Road. Our team that day was : 01 Schmeichel, 02 Connolly, 04 Bruce, 05 Collins, 29 McCartney, 14 Howson, 16 Johnson (Gradel 63), 17 Faye (Clayton 81), 10 Becchio, 23 Snodgrass, 27 Somma (Nunez 54).Four days later Andy O’Brien  arrived on loan from Bolton. Leeds finished October with a 4-1 demolition of Scunthorpe at Glanford  Park, courtesy of a Jon Howson hat-trick. Leeds finished the month in 12th position, some 12 points behind leaders Cardiff, 10 points behind QPR. Swansea, Coventry, Norwich and Reading came in next. Notts Forest were one point behind Leeds in 13th. On November 6th Leeds beat a revengeful Gary McSheffrey’s Coventry City 3-2 with goals from Howson, Snodgrass and Gradel (pen). The defence was still leaking but a win was a win. Leeds were in 8th position after 15 games. Davide Somma was rewarded with a three year contract, his reward for effortlessly moving from League 2 football (with Lincoln) to Championship football with Leeds United. Two points were thrown away a few days later with 10 man Hull earning a late draw (2-2) with a Bradley Johnson OG on 82 minutes. The Louth Branch were present on Saturday, November 13th when Luciano Becchio scored an 18th minute second half hat-trick shortly after coming on as sub. A Max Gradel goal was cancelled out on 65 minutes at Carrow Road. Reading battered Leeds in a 0-0 draw at the Madjeski and Leeds finished the month in 7th some 12 points behind leaders QPR. Cardiff, Swansea, Derby, Coventry and Burnley were next. Norwich and Forest were two points behind Leeds. Two Becchio goals in the last nine minutes turned defeat into a victory against C Palace on December 4th. It got better a week later when United came back from 2-0 at half time to win 3-2 at Turf Moor, courtesy of an 85 minute Howson winner. Three wins from three were secured with a Max Gradel double against leaders QPR in a superb 2-0 win at Elland Road. A week before Christmas Becchio signed a three year contract with the Whites. The Argentine was in the form of his life. A leaky defence had not gone away. Leeds threw away a 2-0 lead (with gaols from the in form Gradel and Snodgrass to draw 2-2 away to with Leicester . The Foxes scored both goals in the last 18 minutes at the walker stadium. On Dec 28th, Leeds lead Portsmouth 3-1 with 28 minutes remaining. Two ridiculous Andy O’Brien OGs including one on the 93rd minute gifted a dead and buried Pompey a point. Leeds finished the old year in 4th on 40 points. QPR were 1st on 47 points. Cardiff, Swansea and Leeds were all on 40 points. Norwich were on 39 points, Reading were on 34 points and Forest were on 30 points. Part two to follow.

May 7th. Six points from six v Champions little consolation. QPR 1-2 Leeds United . 01 Schmeichel, 02 Connolly, 06 Naylor (Kisnorbo 79) 20 Lichaj, 40 O’Brien, 07 Gradel (Watt 85) 08 Kilkenny, 14 Howson, 16 Johnson, 09 Paynter (Somma 65) 44 McCormack, Unused Substitutes : 12 Higgs,  04 Bruce, 17 Livermore. Leeds United gate crashed the Loftus Road promotion party – but QPR were finally able to celebrate their promotion to the Barclays Premier League this afternoon. Neil Warnock’s team got their hands on the npower Championship trophy, a week after they clinched it, following the Football Association’s announcement that they would not be docked points over the Alejandro Faurlin affair. The club were found guilty of two of the seven charges facing them surrounding the alleged third-party ownership of the Argentine midfielder. But fears of potential 15-point penalty were not realised, leaving the way clear for a belated promotion party which could not even be spoiled by a final-day defeat against Leeds. The FA have been heavily criticised for not hearing the case until the final week of the season and then delaying the verdict, leaving the club sweating on the outcome long after they had secured promotion. Yet somehow, their timing was impeccable as an hour before kick-off, the news from Wembley filtered through and suddenly Loftus Road was rocking. It is not often a club with a recent history as calamitous at that of Leeds becomes merely a sideshow – after all, they know a thing or two about having points deducted themselves. The Yorkshire side had in fact travelled south still harbouring slim hopes of a play-off place. That looked even more unlikely after just 27 seconds, however, as a QPR team no longer playing under a cloud cut through their defence straight from the first whistle. Akos Buzsaky burst forward and played in Tommy Smith, whose shot was saved by Kasper Schmeichel but fell to the feet of Heidar Helguson for a simple tap-in. Faurlin, who has admirably gone on to play a pivotal role in Rangers’ promotion despite the furore surrounding him, almost made headlines for the right reasons with a fierce 20-yard drive but Schmeichel palmed his effort away. Even referee Mark Clattenburg looked like he was in no mood to spoil the party, turning a blind eye when last-man Matt Connolly tripped Billy Paynter with the striker about to charge through on goal. But after 38 minutes Leeds found an equaliser when Max Gradel beat home goalkeeper Radek Cerny to a hopeful long ball and dinked it into the net. Rangers skipper Adel Taarabt was a conspicuous absentee from the starting line-up, but the mercurial midfielder made his entrance to huge acclaim 10 minutes into the second half. Schmeichel then pulled off a fine save to keep out a Smith header on the hour mark. But Leeds edged in front in the 68th minute when Ross McCormack’s shot deflected off Kaspars Gorkss and left Cerny wrong-footed as it floated into the net. McCormack also shaved a post while Rangers went closest to an equaliser when Smith was once again denied by Schmeichel. Warnock’s response was to throw centre-half and cult hero Danny Shittu into the attack. It was a tactic unlikely to reap too many rewards in the Premier League next year, but at least they will be there. Nice to see paddy Kisnorbo back on the field in a United shirt. Boy you were sorely misses !

May 6th. Surprise surprise Bates buys Leeds from guess who ? Bates ! KEN BATES last night moved to draw a line under the often controversial ownership saga surrounding Leeds United by revealing that the Premier League has already approved his buy-out. The United chairman is now the majority shareholder at Elland Road after he bought the near 73 per cent stakeholding of off-shore company Forward Sports Fund (FSF). His purchase – for an undisclosed sum – of FSF’s shares through a company called Outro, which the 79-year-old wholly owns, means supporters now know who is in charge of the Yorkshire club. Previously, fans had been in the dark over the identity of the club’s ultimate owners due to FSF being a company that is registered in the Caribbean island of Nevis and whose shareholders are anonymous. This had led to questions being asked by a number of bodies, most notably the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of MPs who, in recent months, have been investigating how English football is run. Last month, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore also joined the debate by stipulating that the owners would have to be revealed if Leeds won promotion this season. Barring a truly bizarre set of results on the final day of the Championship campaign on Saturday, that will not happen with Simon Grayson’s side set to kick-off 2011-12 still in the Championship. Despite that, Leeds officials have already spoken to the Premier League about Bates’s buy-out. The United chairman told the Yorkshire Post: “There had been a lot of nonsense said and written about Leeds United lately, both in the media and by some of the MPs sitting on the Select Committee. “Because of that, FSF turned round and said, ‘We don’t need this any more, we want out’. So, negotiations took place and the deal was done. “Further to that, last Thursday Shaun (Harvey, chief executive) and I went to down to the Premier League to tell them what we were proposing to do. “They said it ticked all the boxes and rubber-stamped everything. They said that if we had got promotion this season then there wouldn’t have been any problems. “The Football League were already satisfied (with the ownership structure when FSF were in control), while we knew we complied with FA rules. So now this alleged problem is solved and we can look forward.” On the timing of this week’s announcement about the buy-out, Bates added: “We chose to wait until after the Select Inquiry had completed their questions. “In my opinion, it has been a very poor quality Select Committee. They were supposed to be looking into the governance of football but, instead, they have focused on Leeds United’s ownership, why Fabio Capello was given a new contract, Lord Triesman and the World Cup 2018 bid. “There were no questions about the problems affecting football. Nothing has been said about grassroots football or County football, which I found very strange. Instead, they have just concentrated on the Premier League and FA.” With Leeds three points adrift of Nottingham Forest in the final play-off place and having an inferior goal difference, attention at Elland Road has turned to player recruitment in the summer.

 Bates puts McCartney in his box.One player, however, who seems unlikely to be joining on a permanent basis is George McCartney, the loanee defender from Sunderland who earlier this week claimed that several players were “out on their feet after playing so much this season”. Among those unimpressed by McCartney’s claim is Bates, who said: “I see he has rather unwisely been giving an interview in which he says the players are tired, (and that) a sense of ‘jadedness’ among certain players has proved telling. “Well, I don’t quite understand what he means by that because when we play QPR we will have played 50 games. “I don’t understand what he means by players being ‘out on their feet’ after playing so much this season. It certainly doesn’t apply to him. As far as I can see, he has only played twice in the last six games. “So I don’t think fatigue can contribute to his contribution, which I haven’t been particularly impressed with.”On the Sunderland left-back who has made 32 appearances during two loan spells with Leeds this season, Bates added: “As I understand it, he has been fined more than once for turning up late in training. “So, perhaps if he turned up on time and showed a bit more commitment then he wouldn’t feel quite so tired. I think it’s a rubbish excuse for him and anybody else who wants to swing that one.” McCartney joined Leeds on an initial 93-day loan in September before returning to the Stadium of Light in December. The former Northern Ireland international rejoined United the following month. It’s not often that I agree with Bates but he is spot on here !

May 5th 2011. Tom Lees to get his chance. LEEDS UNITED will push Tom Lees towards a competitive debut for the club next season after revealing that interest in the young defender is growing on the back of his outstanding year at Bury. United have received a number of enquiries about Lees’ availability following his contribution to Bury’s promotion from League Two this season. The 20-year-old has played a central role in Bury’s top-three finish, and the club were bidding to snatch the title from Chesterfield during the last round of fixtures this afternoon. Lees worked with United’s first-team squad during their last two pre-season campaigns but manager Simon Grayson opted to send him out on loan for the second time last summer, following on from a previous spell at Accrington Stanley. His 49 outings with Bury have pushed him to within five games of his 100th senior appearance, and Lees could be given the chance to make his competitive debut for Leeds in the Championship next term. Grayson said: “We felt that going out on loan again would benefit him as a footballer and as a person. “He’s had a great year, he’s scored goals and he’s been part of a successful team. We’ve monitored him and had him watched a lot. “He’ll come back to us, play in our pre-season games, and if he’s good enough to play in the Championship then we’ll have no problem with him doing that. If we think he’s going to be a little bit short then he’ll go out on loan again. But there are plenty of clubs who would like to take him. I’ve had clubs ringing me up already about his availability. For such a young kid to have nearly 100 appearances under his belt is great experience.” United, meanwhile, have pleaded guilty to a Football Association charge of failing to control their players during last weekend’s 1-0 win over Burnley. The club, who were fined £7,500 for a similar offence earlier in the season, have requested a personal hearing

Monday May2nd 2011. Cardiff City 0-3 M’bro and Portsmouth 0-1 Norwich City. Congratulations to Norwich City on back to back promotions. Whilst all around them were losing their nerve, Norwich clinched automatic promotion with a fine 1-0 win at Portsmouth. Cardiff City with the high wages of the likes of Bellamy, Boothroyd, McCormack and McNaughton pi***d on their chips and gave the initiative to the Canaries who played three hours later at Portsmouth and won courtesy of a Simeone Jackson header late in the second half. It looks more or less certain that Cardiff City, Swansea, Reading and N Forest will make up the quartet in the play offs. Portsmouth, Burnley and M’bro all came down but none have ven made the play offs.

Monday May 2nd. Naylor doesn’t want the season to end …..but the rest of us do. Richard Naylor is wishing the season could go on a few more months after finally getting back in the starting line up at Elland Road. The Leeds skipper has missed a large chunk of the season through injury and only recently returned to side in the game with Reading, his first game since October. Since his return, Leeds have conceded just one goal in his three games and he feels that his partnership with Andy O`Brien was beginning to gel. Speaking after the 1-0 win over Burnley at the weekend, Naylor said, ‘In the last couple of home games we’ve been very tight at the back. ‘It’s been nice for me to be back in the side and make a little bit of a difference in that respect. ‘The partnership with Andy O’Brien has worked well and who knows, maybe if I’d played a little earlier with Andy, it might have been different. ‘It’s been frustrating, but there are a lot of good centre-backs at the club. I wish the season was a couple of months longer because I feel like I’ve only just started.’Leeds have used a number of different combinations in the centre of defence this season, with Leigh Bromby, Neil Collins, Richard Naylor, Andy O`Brien and Alex Bruce all having an opportunity to cement a place in the side. Leeds have had to do without last seasons Player of the Year Patrick Kisnorbo for the entire season through injury. Unfortunately, for a team chasing a promotion place for most of the season, Leeds have one of the leakiest defences in the Championship, having conceded sixty-nine goals, with only the bottom four sides in the division having conceded more. Leeds boss Simon Grayson sold Neil Collins during the January transfer window and both Richard Naylor and Patrick Kisnorbo are out of contract in the summer.