This is the Leeds United Louth Branch website edited by Gerry Cunningham – Always Leeds always loyal.  The same committee was returned for another year at our AGM in Peadars last night . “The town has a new sheriff” says Cellino.

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Friday Aug 1st. No time for transfer games – The Scratching Shed Wednesday saw Tom Lees leave Elland Road for Hillsborough and while this wasn’t the greatest of disappointments after what had been a pretty poor 2013/14 for the Thorp Arch academy graduate, it did leave Leeds United’s already weak defence looking in desperate need of reinforcement.For a few hours, that need looked like it would be addressed by highly-rated Chesterfield centre-back Liam Cooper for whom Leeds United immediately placed an offer. After the first was deemed to be below Chesterfield’s valuation of their star youngster, another bid was made by Leeds and was again rejected.It’s unclear as to what the difference between Leeds United’s offer and Chesterfield’s valuation is, but after the second bid was rejected The Whites took the unusual step of issuing a statement via Twitter announcing that their interest in the player had ended and they wouldn’t be increasing their bid.The tweet has been interpreted by many as a negotiating tactic designed to unsettle the player and try to force through a transfer at something closer to Leeds United’s valuation than Chesterfield’s and if that is indeed the case (and it works), it stops looking like the work of a stroppy child who didn’t win and has taken his ball home, but instead, a clever piece of PR that’s saved the club money.The only trouble with such tactics is they delay progress and Leeds United don’t have a great deal of time remaining to assemble the squad for this campaign. Our inexperienced manager is already facing criticism following some poor pre-season results and he desperately needs the reinforcements. His cause isn’t being helped by the club’s failure to get players in quickly so he can work with them before the season gets underway and start formulating a game-plan for what is likely to be a team consisting of mostly new arrivals who’ve no experience playing together or in the English Championship.While this may sound like the ramblings of a fan frustrated by the slow pace the transfer window invariably moves at, a fact belied by the flashy 24/7 Sky Sports News coverage which makes us believe everything is going to happen in the very next minute (or just after the adverts), my concern is that we’re going to waste the first half dozen games blooding players and by the time we find any sort of rhythm and understanding, we’ll already be playing catch-up and face an uphill battle. Before you know it, another season has been lost to a poor transfer window and we’re counting the minutes until August all over again.If we’ve identified a target good enough to improve our defence and the statement from the club was a bluff, can we really afford to be wasting time playing such games? Even if that’s not the case and we’ve genuinely been put off by the price-tag Chesterfield have placed on Cooper and won’t be returning to the negotiating table, we have to make haste in finding someone else because the transfer of Tom Lees starts to look very short-sighted with so little cover in defence and no signing lined up to replace him.We have just one friendly and eight days to get our squad in place before the new season kicks off at Millwall and at this moment in time, I don’t see a squad stronger than the one we ended last season with – and Jose Mourinho couldn’t have done much with that so it hardly seems fair to expect better from David Hockaday!That said, if we can land Hall and push through the other stalled deals for Viviani and Benedicic, we may still be missing a couple of important players – the “icing on the cake” if you will – but at least we’d have in place a new core we can build around because adding a bit of flair from a solitary winger or a striker doesn’t fundamentally change the make-up of a squad, but when we’re still waiting to sign another half dozen first team players at this stage of the summer, we’re cutting things a little too close to the wire. Excellent pieceFriday August 1st. Leeds United the original MG, 14-15 preview 2: managers, coaches and scouts, subtitled “we will always have Swindon Town U21’s away Dave”. – Lee Chapman’s sofa. As the rest of football see’s it.Sandwiched between owners and players in most football clubs are managers/coaches and scouts, but we are no normal football club.What should we do about Dave? Do we fester on the absurdity of his appointment? Maybe sit back and await the inevitable Cellino trigger-happy moment? Perhaps we should discover reserves of tolerance not seen at Elland Road since the 1970’s and root for the man to be here for 15 years or should we be more realistic than that and concern ourselves with the calibre of his successor? Frankly none of the above truly apply with Dave Hockaday (although the first and fourth suggestions are the most realistic), no the appropriate emotion is of pity, with added hope he is put out of his misery soon.

The record from Forest Green Rovers is there for all to see, managing a club with money to burn for 4 seasons and yet somehow conjuring up two reasons of relegation fear and two of mid-table mediocrity, ending with 4 months hounded out for stubbornness (which of course at Leeds is Cellino’s job these days). We need not speculate for more than a nano-second as to what stimulated Massimo to give Hockaday and sidekick Lewis jobs, they were cheap and pliable. Whilst the former just gives the players more excuses to look down their noses at “Comedy Dave” it is the latter than will do for him in the end. Nothing is more lethal to a coach in football than to be known as the conduit of the owner. What might be accepted in the lower reaches of SerieA is unacceptable in England all the way down to Conference North. It is bad enough that you don’t influence the squad you have to pick from but to be also out-ranked on tactics and team selection is something else.

Obviously some of the support will cling to the notion that Hockaday is in control of football matters, ignoring the clear public statements from Cellino stating otherwise “I am the manager”. The best way to show the balance of power is to compare the respective influences of signings, those we can suggest Hockaday had impute in and those he clearly hasn’t. Starting with the latter and including the two loans awaiting final clearance, we have Silvestre, Berardi, Bianchi, Doukara, Viviani and Benedicic all of which I can guarantee Hockaday had never heard of before June 19th. Now for the list of players he had an influence on, just Taylor a goalie with years of bench sitting experience! 1 signing out of 7 hardly suggests the hand of Hock is shaping the squad and frankly even if the other 4-5 players Cellino has witted on about over the last week arrive the number of those likely to be British could be counted on the finger tip of a finger. Salerno isn’t on a contract just to talk Cellino out of impulsive decisions, he is there to mould the squad in Massimo’s vision. What does it say when we play a L1 team on the Saturday and by Monday we have bid £400k for their centre-back based on what Salerno thinks? It says Hockaday is irrelevant even for English League based players.

The same lack of influence on outgoings is clear. Forget McCormack, it is the Zaliukas and the Kenny’s of this world that indicate just how minion Hockaday is in the scheme of things. Whilst the former leaving hardly caused a ripple maybe, just maybe, the Hock would have seen what Ally McCoist sees in him for the forthcoming season. The Paddy Kenny situation really pushes home the point. Our goalkeeping options as we speak are a young Italian keeper with 3 league games behind him last season, an experienced English keeper who has played 4 games in 5 seasons (and less than 100 in 15 seasons) and a kid whose only league game was the second half of the infamous Blackpool debacle! Now Halifax’s finest curry-house brawler is not everyone’s cup of tea, with his inability to come for crosses but any coach worth his salt would want to take a football view on Kenny not have his hands tied by Cellino having an attitude! Lees going on a free, bet that isn’t a footballing decision.

Some might suggest that this pre-season Hockaday has shown a willingness to test the kids, with Killock, Cook, Walters, Taylor C and Dawson all seeing some action. Well in the real world Redfearn would have influenced that, Hockaday gets credit for at least giving it a go. What happens when Carbone, Cellino’s houseguest, suggests that a member of his development squad is ready remains to be seen but my suspicion is if Benito says “put this lad in the first team squad” he goes in the first team squad.

Of course Hockaday and sidekick are not the only coaches and scouts on the books. In no particular order we have Salerno, Dowling, Carbone, Redfearn, Gibbs, Sullivan and various related bit-part staff. Again the lack of genuine influence here puts Hockaday’s limited ability under more pressure. Maybe he liked Naylor and understood what he contributed to the set-up back at Thorp Arch, well that was taken out of his hands. The truth here is Dave and Junior are isolated, sandwiched between the Italian boardroom and the remains of previous proper managers (even the rubbish ones). No matter how intelligently you try and understand the “owner-manager” structure enforced on Elland Road this summer everyone will place responsibility at the door of the “head-coach” before they look at “the President”.

So what am I expecting off Hockaday this season? Well two seemingly conflicting things. If Cellino M and Cellino E’s public statements are anything to go on we have employed another Kevin Blackwell for the next couple of seasons. However in reality when by October we are in the bottom 5 then we can expect the Cagliari experience to kick in and Dave can take his unique brand of laughs to some other club. Who then succeeds Hockaday will be interesting, alas it won’t be anyone who can tell Cellino to butt out of football issues.

I do not see the point of any manager/head-coach employed under present circumstances being either cheered and supported or booed and sackings asked for. For as long as the job is to implement Cellino’s erratic will it matters only at the margins who the person is. We won’t be going up under this megalomania run system and relegation can be avoided at least for one season. Having said that I would if I was in control remove Hockaday immediately for one simple reason. The task of giving even the most deluded (or cynical) Leeds supporter belief in a return to the promised land of the Premier League is part of the job, if the vast majority of the thinking support don’t even believe you could get us out of Conference North then you might as well go and let Cellino line up the next 5 occupants of the role over the next 2 seasons.

Still all Leeds United “managers/head-coach” practitioners go into the history books, Hockaday has pre-season wins against an Italian pub team, a West Leeds suburb and Swindon Town U21’s to fall back on. It is to be hoped for the sake of his place in history he adds at least 1 League win and the scalp of mighty Accrington Stanley to that record before the inevitable accrues.

As an after-thought I add this: on occasions over the last 12 seasons I have found myself leaving grounds after victories but feeling rotten. Inevitability this feeling is caused by a realisation that the incumbent of what we used to call a “manager” would be getting benefit for the win despite, as in the cases of Blackwell and Warnock, them contributing nothing to the cause other than filling our squad with dross. With Hockaday, no matter how limited his tenure, I do not intend to allow this syndrome to fester, wins will be embraced and enjoyed, mainly because I’m not expecting too many this season (under any manager/head-coach) and see no point in wasting those precious moments. MG.

Friday August 1st. Pearce new Leeds captain Jason Pearce will captain Leeds United against Dundee United tomorrow and is in line to lead the club into the new season, head coach David Hockaday confirmed last night. Centre-back Pearce is primed to take the armband at Elland Road, six months after former manager Brian McDermott narrowly overlooked him for the role. McDermott considered awarding the captaincy to Pearce after previous incumbent, Rodolph Austin, unexpectedly stepped aside in January. Ross McCormack was eventually named as Austin’s replacement but the Scotland international left Leeds for Fulham in an £11million deal last month and Pearce has been the leading candidate to succeed him throughout pre-season. The former Portsmouth defender, who joined United in a £500,000 in 2012, and has been a regular presence in the club’s defence for the past two seasons. He is also one of only two senior central defenders remaining at Elland Road after United allowed Tom Lees to complete a move to Sheffield Wednesday yesterday. Hockaday said: “At the moment the captain has been Jason Pearce and if I have the same bunch of players at the start of the season then it’s going to be Pearce. “He leads by example, he’s comfortable with the armband and nobody can say anything other than he gives 100 per cent.” Leeds are in the final throes of their preparation for the new Championship term and will contest their last friendly of the summer at home to Dundee United tomorrow afternoon. The match was the only home fixture scheduled by Leeds for pre-season and Hockaday admitted that he would have looked for a second game in front of the Elland Road crowd had his appointment at head coach come earlier than June 19. United’s squad trained at the stadium yesterday and are planning to hold regular sessions there in the coming weeks. Hockaday, who will be in charge of a home match for the first time this weekend, said: “If I’d had more time (to organise games) then I’d have liked to have had two fixtures at home. As it was, I wanted the best British opposition I could get and Dundee United represent that. “The more comfortable we feel at our own ground the better so we trained there yesterday, we’ll train there next Thursday and the Thursday after that. If I have my way, we’ll keep in training there until the groundsman kicks us off – just so we get used to the environment.” Dundee United finished fourth in the Scottish Premier League last season and are a club with an established reputation for producing homegrown players. The club sold midfielder Ryan Gauld to Sporting Lisbon in a high-profile deal worth around £3m this summer and recently concluded a deal with Hull City for left-back Andy Robertson. Another of their leading talents, centre-back John Souttar, will miss tomorrow’s match through injury. Hockaday said: “We’ll get good football and good play from them. It’ll be our toughest challenge to date.” Leeds will be without Aidan White, who is likely to be out for another three weeks with an ankle injury, while Noel Hunt is continuing to recover from a pulled hamstring. Striker Lewis Walters, meanwhile, is facing up to three months on the sidelines with surgery planned on his knee cartilage problem. “We’re hoping he’ll be back in two or three months, rather than the eight or nine which was maybe the worst case scenario,” Hockaday said.  Jackie McNamara believes Elland Road and Leeds United will be the perfect way for Dundee United to round off their pre-season preparations. The Tangerines will head for Yorkshire today (Friday) and Jackie feels Saturday’s friendly will provide the ideal test for his players. “I’m lucky enough to have played there twice, once for Wolves and once in a testimonial when I was at Celtic,” he said. “It’s a great stadium and Leeds are a strong Championship team who’ll give us a good test. “Their fans will turn up in numbers and we should take a few — it’ll be good for the players to be playing in that kind of atmosphere.”

Thursday 31st of July. Chesterfield chairman counters Leeds claims Spireites chief executive Chris Turner says he is disappointed at claims made by Leeds United that the club’s valuation of Liam Cooper is too high. Leeds head coach Dave Hockaday insisted that they had ended their interest in Cooper after having two offers turned down, adding that Chesterfield “want too much” for the 22-year-old central defender. But Turner believes that the club’s asking price is fair for a player of Cooper’s ability and potential. He said: Liam is an outstanding young player who has blossomed under the guidance of Paul Cook and his coaching staff. “Young left-footed centre-backs with the ability Liam has are something of a rarity in the game and we quoted a fee that reflected that. We are not prepared to let one of our key players leave for a cut-price fee and I am disappointed to hear Dave Hockaday say that the fee we quoted was too high”

Thursday July 31st. Are things beginning o take shape at United – J Taylor E-Football While not a great deal has changed over the past week in terms of squad building, the mood seems to have improved significantly at Elland Road and it can’t all be down to a 2-1 win at Swindon Town. Sure, winning a football match does wonders for morale, and all the signs from that game point to a squad that’s beginning to understand each other, find some rhythm and become a ‘team’. But that’s what pre-season is all about isn’t it. And, without being disrespectful, it was Swindon not Real Madrid, and we needed a penalty to win; but nevertheless the win seems to have been just the tonic, especially for Dave Hockaday. New players have come in and unlike years gone by, these lads are not familiar names belonging to players with CV’s as long as an M62 traffic jam. They are complete mysteries, delivering both excitement and nervousness in equal measure. The fear of the unknown blended with the baseless assumption that former Italian U21’s must have something about them. It still remains to be seen of course, but they were never likely to turn up and set the place alight immediately. The reality was that they might show glimpses of ability such as a nice touch here and there, some clever movement or the odd piece of skill. Exactly the sort of things that Bianchi & Doukara displayed at Swindon, and the effect was immediate. All it takes is a glimpse of decent football and the fans can get excited; remembering what good football actually looks like from Leeds United, so starved of it were we for most of last season. We can also get excited that these players are young, fit and happy to be at Leeds; all ingredients that when combined with some actual ability make for a potent recipe for good times to come at Elland Road. In terms of who else is coming in, things have dragged on with Viviani, whom there is no doubt is a talent. Then there’s the growing story about AC Milan’s young hotshot Benedicic being on the verge of joining the ranks. Neither has quite made it over the line though. What these situations point to, including the more transparent negotiations for the young Chesterfield defender Cooper, is that Cellino isn’t an easy man to do business with; but in a good way. The back and forth suggests that Massimo will only accept things on his own terms, terms that are for the best of Leeds United.   The official Viviani story was that he did a U-turn after watching the poor display at Mansfield. However, the fact that his representatives were rather keen to carry on discussions after Cellino had publically said the deal was dead suggests it might not have been the case. Milan finally agreed to (after initially refusing) the loan of Benedicic, with the player going so far as to publicly state how excited he is to be joining Leeds and breaking into the first team, only for the deal to seemingly stall because (apparently) there is a disagreement as to whether an option to eventually sign the player is to be included in the deal. Again, this points to Cellino having a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude to player recruitment; something that is actually rather reassuring. Sense tells you that these deals will probably be done and that it’s all just posturing and financial chessboxing. It’s also encouraging in the sense that, if these players were not of significant value to their clubs then they wouldn’t care. They’d just loan them out and forget about it. We’re obviously talking about players that their parent clubs maintain an interest in. Assuming that either or both players do join Leeds United then suddenly we could be faced with something that hasn’t been seen at Elland Road for a good while. We could actually have a wealth of creative midfielders! Barring the rare glimpse of thrust from Luke Murphy, we were completely bereft of them last season and now could potentially have up to five (including the ‘back in from the cold’ starlet Chris Dawson). What about the other positions? Tom Lees has joined Sheffield Wednesday and most Leeds fans recognise it as the right move for both parties. But in turn this has further weakened the weakest part of the team. Surely this means that Cooper is expected to join us, but who else is lined up? We’re still crying out for a commanding centre-back to partner the capable Jason Pearce. Surely Salerno has something up his sleeve here? It’s far too obvious a problem for it to be missed. Then there’s the gaping hole where McCormack once was. Unless Dave Hockaday is planning to implement a Catalan style total-football whereby everyone is a striker, we still need someone to replace the 20+ goals that Ross brought. The Nile Ranger story has resurfaced again and this is hardly an exciting development. He scored the odd goal for the Magpies and looked decent enough at Championship level, but the last thing Leeds United need is another attention seeking bad-boy who cannot help but get his collar felt every few weeks for some sort of misdemeanour. Again, Salerno MUST have something up his sleeve here, but who could it be?
There’s a chap called Robert Aquafresca that’s been mentioned, or ‘Robbie Freshwater’ if you take the Aston Villa approach of translation (Antonio Luna = Tony Moon). Or, more familiar for some, the available Danny Graham has been linked; a player with undoubted quality but with an unfortunate knack of being unable to score a goal when anyone’s watching. Could Elland Road be the place for him to re-discover how to hit the back of the net in front of a crowd? Is he the answer to what we need? Could be… Back to the broader point though and the mood of the club seems to be improving as the days roll on. Is it that fans are slowly warming to Dave Hockaday? Of course the proof is entirely in the pudding where this is concerned and it’s safe to say that the fate of the current coach rests entirely on the first five games of the season. Play well and get three points at Millwall and suddenly the support Hockaday will receive will be like a tidal wave, carrying him and the team along. But play badly and lose and it will instead feel like a hurricane at his door. The negative momentum of successive losses will make it very difficult for Cellino not to scratch his itchy trigger-finger and put the coach out of his increasing misery. Whatever happens though, Cellino needs to be applauded for his approach and the way he’s gone about business so far. The club feels stable and ubiquitous in its vision. We have money to spend (if we ever actually spend it) and we’re being heavily linked with talents from some of Europe’s top teams. When was the last time we could say that? Let’s hope that we continue to improve against Dundee and the well of positivity can only grow. The value of a win against Millwall to the club as a whole cannot be overestimated. Three points would be nice too. Replies – Poppa1951 No honey moon period for the Hock – the most positive fans are waiting for him to fail and the rest of us want him out now. He looks like Richard Dunne when he fought Mohammad Ali – completely out of his depth. Reply Anonymous Great artical, there is a greater sense of positivity around the place at the moment, the way Doukara and Bianchi played at Swindon means we should finish in the top half this season. The defensive issue though is a massive problem, need a Chris Fairclough type defender to steady, and calm the back four. Here’s hoping! MOT Reply Anonymous What about a Norwegian viking as centre-back to partner Jason Pearce? Brede Hangeland available on free transfer from Fulham. National team captain with lots of experience from Premiere League. Like to se a norseman playing for us again. Reply Anonymous Some decent points here but a lot of fiction also.However Cellino’s Leeds have so far this season beaten an amateur team 16-0, had a now show v Romanian 11, lost 2-0 badly to League Two Mansfield Town, and won with the aid of two penalties against a Swindon Town side whose average age was 20 years of age. We know little of most of the signings excpt for Youtube clips and Wilkipedia snippets. Watford tried the same recipe with more well known Italian players of higher profiles and higher costs and didn’t even make the play offs this year. Cellino is a good negotiator. He is also as stubborn as a mule. I have two problems with Cellino so far. 1. Hockaday. A man whose previous tenure in charge only served to lower Forest Green Rvs in the Conference year after year until he got the boot. His number one choice was Eamonn Dolan (again possibly a dubious choice) but he resfused to pay 500K compensation. What does that say about his most important appointment or employee ? Number 2. The 9M net we received for McCormack (after Cardiff got their cut) has still not had any dent put into it after all these weeks to replace a 28 league goal player. Hunt, Doukara, Smith, Poleon will not score that amount between them. There is just over one week to Championship kick off and we have no striker, another central defender gone and we are short of width and pace. All of a sudden Hockaday wants us to play a passing game even though a lot of his new arrivals have yet to arrive. Admirable but also naiive. Cellino has Hockaday as a fallguy. He does well and Cellino claims the plaudits. But if as is likely he fails Cellino will dismiss him as quick as he has dismissed so many others from Elland Road and blame the coach. I will be surprised if he is still there by Halloween, but Cellino is the man we should hold responsible if he fails to make it. T Currie. Anonymous 1 The amount of negativity still amongst fans makes me sick, it seems fans want everything to go wrong, and because of this wish it will probably go wrong. For me I am looking forward to seeing the likes of Doukara and Bianchi rip teams apart, bring on Millwall! Asim. Reply Anonymous T Currie, it was 2 penalties to draw with Chesterfield. One Pen and an outfield goal beat Swindon. One thing that is showing up is that Rudy seems to be a shit hot penalty taker so this part of McCormacks absence seems to be covered ! As for the 9 Mil from Mac, if you have read Cellino’s comments he has this put aside to buy Elland Road back in Nov. He also says there’s a 15 Mil budget to buy players. I think he will dip into it if he sees the need but at the end of the day,splashing around millions does not guarantee success. Cardiff sold Mac for 200 K. Bargains are there to be picked up and the owner is an astute guy who is passionate about our club. How long since we had one of those? Personally Im looking forward to the ride…
China white Reply Anonymous T Currie – fiction or opinion?
So many Leeds fans want Hockaday to fail and the team to fail just so they can say “i told you so” to each other. It’s pathetic and they are not real fans. Reply Anonymous On the contrary I want him to succeed. Regarding buying back ER, Cellino said that he would buy back Thorp Arch within four days of taking over the club…..not close it. So you can take a lot of what he says like a pinch of salt. The 15M budget is to buy players and also pay their wages. McCormack was not part of the plan to be sold, but like it or not we won something like two games last season without his goals. For a talent that big to be lost, you have to dig deep to replace him., and quickly. Regarding Doukara, I look forward to watching him but his goal scoring record is poor. With Catania 0 goals in 13 matches and when he dropped a division 6 in 20. Hardly Ross McCormack stats. Simon Grayson bought McCormack for circa 350K but it took him a few seasons to hit the ground running. We are already nearly 11 seasons outside the top division. I don’t doubt Cellino’s astuteness or his passion, although I would have reservations the way he treats people, e But stubbornness can outweigh both of these. At this point in time we look ill equipped to take on Millwall away let alone a Championship campaign without a serious influx of real talent. Players don’t simply get off the bus and gell as a team. It takes time and patience or good leadership and that is without having to learn a foreign language. Our whole pre-season has stuttered and started. We are very quick to sell players…but unbelievably slow to replace them, and Hockaday needs a quick start to the Championship to get everyone on side. This is not negativity but reality from what has happened to date. I genuinely hope he proves me wrong. T Currie Poppa1951 Tony Currie is spot on – could do with him in the team!


Leeds gone south to SW

Thursday 31st of July. “An absolute disgrace” Leeds fans react to Tom Leeds from HITC Sport. Leeds United fans have had a mixed reaction to Tom Lees‘ departure to Sheffield Wednesday today, but most feel they should have got more money for him. Tom Lees’ departure to Sheffield Wednesday has caused a mixed reaction from Leeds United supporters. The 23-year-old defender was confirmed as a Wednesday player today after he passed a medical this morning and Leeds fans seemed divided on the transfer. The main issue is not that he is leaving, but the fact that he is has been allowed to move away from Elland Road on a free transfer, with most Whites fans feeling that they could have got some money for the young defender. Lees has a good CV for a player of his age – with England youth caps and a large number of Championship appearances – and it comes as some surprise that he did not command a fee. Indeed, even Wednesday boss, Stuart Gray, appeared a little shocked that he had been able to pick up Lees for nothing. He said, when revealing that Lees was set to be announced today: “A contract is agreed and the terms have been agreed.” “We are getting a fantastic player on a free transfer and it is now just subject to a medical.” (It turns out that SW paid up the last two years of Lees contract at Leeds). Leeds do not particularly need the money after Ross McCormack’s move to Fulham earlier this summer landed them an £11 million windfall, but there is still a sense that the Owls have managed to get Lees below market value. The current market is notably inflated and many lower-division players have moved for big money this season and, whilst Lees was never likely to command too high a fee, it does seem a bit of anomoly when compared to the prices paid for some of his peers. In a good example of this fact, the man Leeds have lined up to replace their departing defender, Liam Cooper, is commanding a £1 million fee after only playing League Two football last season. Lees was, however, one of the club’s top earners and they will be grateful to get his contract off the wage bill – especially as he was unlikely to be a regular first-team starter in the upcoming campaign. It is because of this that the move has created mixed reviews, with some wanting more money for the 23-year-old and with others simply glad to see the back of a defender whose development has plateaued in recent seasons. The best tweets on Lees’ departure can be seen below. James Varley : Disappointing to see Lees go. I reckon he’ll flourish at #swfc. This one could come back to haunt #lufc. Chris Ryder Lees lasted so long at #lufc because of his academy connection. Anyone who watched at all last year cannot possibly say he was good enough. Colin@Cas77 For me, it’s ridiculous letting Tom Lees go to #SWFC Ever present for #lufc last 3 seasons. No transfer fee & no replacement. O.C.R Stop making excuses for Lees (Warnock killed his confidence). He was not good enough for a promotion-seeking club. #lufc. Al Fandango I’m a little gutted to lose Lees. Still young enough to learn with the right coaching. Good luck to him #LUFC David Wilkinson Not sure what to make of Tom Lees’ departure from #LUFC especially on a free. Think he has potential just needed a more settled environment David Caird Tom Lees will probably go on to be one of the best centre backs in league now, you watch… #lufc #mot #swfc Becky HMN Extremely disappointed at the ‘sale’ of Tom Lees. He may not have had the best of seasons, but he’s young and had a very bright future #lufc Jason Poutzand Selling Tom Lees for free is an absolute disgrace. #lufc Welsh White Fee or free who cares? Lees had potential, his confidence was destroyed by Warnock from which he never recovered. All the best smiler #lufc Thomas Wilson Can’t believe Lees is going on a free, surely worth a fee with 2 years left on his contract #lufc

July 31st. Right in the Gary Kellys – Replacements needed as Lees leaves Tom Lees is on his way out of Leeds United, a move which I’m sure many are meeting with indifference, some relieved and some confused. Once heralded as one of the most promising players at this club; Lees even got capped at Under-21 level in a major tournament which most people seem to forget, is just one step down from the full International squad. Everyone has their opinion on Lees and what has gone wrong in the last year and a bit but my honest opinion is he’s been no worse than the rest of our team at times. However, that is not shying away from the fact that Lees’ progression has stalled and stuttered over time so much so that a move away from Elland Road was always a possibility this summer. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily a good thing for the club but for Tom, you can help but feel it’s a chance for him to get his career back on track, as he indeed stated on his departure, saying it was ‘an honour’ to play for the club he has played for since he was eight and supported. Tom Lees’ Leeds career can be summed up by simply looking at the clubs fortunes, promising the first season but struggled from them onwards. Breaking through during our first season back in the Championship, Lees made a great impression, seemingly benefitting from his previous loan moves to Accrington and Bury, the latter where he tasted promotion success and was voted their player of the season. Whilst the Whites were hardly impressive defensively in the first season (or any season in fact) Lees stood out as a young developing defender who read the game well and won a lot of arial balls. As defenders came and went, Lees was still there. It would be interesting to count how many central defenders Lees has played with in his time at Leeds, my guess is it would be a fair few. All the best defences work in partnerships and this will have no doubt hampered Lees but I think the main reason why he has been let go is Jason Pearce’s much improved second season. Lees and Pearce were Brian McDermott’s first choice for the vast majority of last season giving them plenty of time to play together but despite this, the clean sheets still didn’t come and again we were on the end of some humiliating hammerings. Obviously these were not all Lees fault but with Pearce gaining more plaudits than critics, someone had to be held accountable, many had chosen Lees. Whether it was his at times dozy positioning or his aimless passing, Lees was beginning to cop some flak. The long balls are something which can be stemmed back to the Neil Warnock era. He outlined his plans in the opening days of his reign as United’s boss by saying “Becchio will not lose a header” so we all kind of knew his plans… Nonetheless, when Lees has the ball at his feet what did you want him to do with little or no movement in midfield? Pass the ball sideways to Pearce for him to then pass it him back? All our movement last season came from McCormack drifting into the channels which Lees often tried to find and obviously Matt Smith’s head, unfortunately though Lees isn’t John Terry, capable of passing out with both feet long or short. My humble opinion is he was criticised for passing it sideways then for going long, dammed if he did and dammed if he didn’t. Lees did pick up bad habits there is no getting away from that but he also must have suffered from a sharp lack of confidence, especially after that Ipswich game where Tom saw red and was then the target of an astonishing torrent of abuse from Warnock. What fee we received (if any) has not been confirmed but now with just over a week to go until the new season, Leeds not only need a new striker, they now need a defender. Whatever you think of Lees, selling a first team regular last season to another Championship club is a questionable move, especially when the man replacing him, Scott Wootton, barely had one good game last season. In fairness to both the player and club, they seemed to part on good terms but it still leaves Leeds desperately short in defence. Rather amusingly, Leeds then declared interest, bid and then ended their interest in Liam Cooper within 24 hours. There’s no question about it, we need new players and rather quickly. Some will point to an improved performance against Swindon; others will say these are games we should be winning! Whilst other teams are testing their squads out against Premier League and tough foreign opposition, Leeds have been struggling against the lower leagues but giving some Sunday league Italian team a kick around. The Dundee game will resemble an improvement but I wouldn’t say much, especially as a lot of the Scottish Premier League teams would certainly struggle to get out of the Championship. Finally, I’ll leave it with the thought that this summer, two of our longest serving players in McCormack and Lees have now left Elland Road, McCormack certainly citing changes around the club as a major reason for wanting to leave, perhaps Lees just wanted to go to a club in which he was wanted, something he wasn’t getting at Leeds. Nevertheless, with the transfer confirmed, Tom Lees moves on with our best wishes and hope that he makes every success out of his career. Daniel Howard

Thurs 31st of July Leeds thanks fans, Cellino and Hockaday. Tom Lees left Leeds United with a warm message for the club and owner Massimo Cellino after ending a 15-year stay at Elland Road by joining Sheffield Wednesday. Lees said his involvement with the team he supported as a youngster had been “an honour” and thanked Cellino and head coach David Hockaday for clearing the way for a move to Hillsborough. The England Under-21 international signed a three-year deal with Wednesday this morning, quitting Leeds after more than a decade at Elland Road. Lees first signed for United as an eight year old and progressed through their youth-team system before turning professional in 2009. He made 135 appearances in the club’s senior side and was the longest-serving player in the current squad at Elland Road. But his form dipped last season and with the centre-back unlikely to be used regularly this term, Leeds allowed him to depart for Sheffield. Lees had failed to feature in either of their recent friendlies against Chesterfield and Swindon Town. The 23-year-old told the YEP: “I’d just like to thank the president and the manager for the way they’ve dealt with me over the past few weeks, specifically in relation to this transfer. “I’ve been at the club since I was eight and it was an honour to wear the shirt of the club I supported as a boy. “However, I felt now was the right time to move on. I wish the club, the players and the fans all the best going forward.” United said they had received an undisclosed fee for Lees, though Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray claimed last night that the defender was moving to Hillsborough on a free transfer. Wednesday, however, have since confirmed that a fee was paid as part of the deal. The South Yorkshire club are understood to have met the cost of paying up the final two years of Lees’ contract at United. Hockaday admitted that Lees’ desire for a “fresh start” had become apparent during discussions between the pair, saying: “It was very obvious to him and to me that it was the right time for him to move on. “He feels like he needs a fresh start and his body language betrayed that to me at times. But he’s been good as gold and I genuinely wish him all the best.” United planned to sign Chesterfield’s Liam Cooper as Lees’ replacement but their interest stalled after Chesterfield rejected an offer of £475,000. Hockaday said: “Every player has his price and they want too much for him so we walked away from it. It’s dead.”
Thursday 31st of July .Latest updates. Leeds have been training at Elland Road today, and it looks like the dugouts have been switched back. Some papers are Dugoutsreporting that Nile Ranger has been offered a contract but Leeds have denied this and said it won’t be happening. Lewis Walters will going for a knee operation and is likely to be out for two to three months. Yet more evidence that we need a striker. With just over a week to go to kick off we haven’t replaced McCormack, are down another central defender and need someone who can cross a ball to Smith up front. That’s not counting the strength in depth so badly needed and including Benedicic and Viviani arriving what looks to be next week.
Thurs 31st of July Latest on Viviani and Benedicic. Paperwork seems to be holding up the Viviani transfer whilst Benedicic is supposed to go through next week if both Milan and Leeds can agree on the loan terms. Leeds want a buy out clause. The Italians don’t.
Thursday 21sy Lees signs for Owls.  Sheffield Wednesday have signed central defender Tom Lees from Leeds United for an undisclosed fee. The 23-year-old has penned a three-year contract at Hillsborough.  Lees is primarily a centre half who has also slotted into the right back berth when required. Warwick-born, Lees moved to Yorkshire as a youngster and makes the short hop from Elland Road to S6. He turned professional with the Whites in 2009 and gained vital loan experience initially with Accrington Stanley and then Bury. Lees scooped the Shakers’ Players’ Player of the Year award in their promotion-winning season of 2010/11 before returning to Leeds to become a first team regular. Having already earned international recognition with England at Under-16 level, Lees was called up to the Under-21s in 2012 under then-manager Stuart Pearce. Domestically, he has made a total of 207 senior appearances through his career so far. Lees said: “We’ve been in talks and I’ve been hoping everything was OK and I’m delighted to have put pen to paper. “You never know with any deal until it’s signed, of course, and I couldn’t be happier.  “This is a massive football club steeped in top-flight history for most of its existence and I can’t wait to get started. “I’ve spoken to plenty of players who have played for Sheffield Wednesday and they can’t speak highly enough of the place. “Obviously, that has a big bearing on your decision and it’s great that so many people in the game speak so well of this club.”. At least now we have some comfort in the fact that Leeds have received an “Undisclosed fee” which is in contrary to what manager Stuart Gray had claimed. How much ? We don’t know.Hockaday on Lees: “He feels like he needs a fresh start and his body language betrayed that to me at times. But he’s been good as gold.”
Thursday 31st of July. Happy birthday to Sniffer. Allan Clarke is 68 today. Not one of our better managers, but our best ever finisher ! Legend !
Thursday 31st of July Lees to have medical at SW  Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray says only a medical stands between Leeds United defender Tom Lees making the move across Yorkshire. Lees was present at the Owls pre-season friendly against Newcastle United on Wednesday night after the player had agreed terms with the South Yorkshire club and Gray is hoping to announce his signing today. Speaking to Radio Sheffield, Stuart Gray said, “A contract is agreed and the terms have been agreed. “We are getting a fantastic player on a free transfer and it is now just subject to a medical. “He`s played a lot of games for Leeds; he`s a young man at 23, so I don`t think there will be a problem with the medical so we are hoping to announce it on Thursday.”  One would have expected Leeds would have attained a fee north of £1M for an England under 21 International. Even allowing for the savings on Lees wages United have tried to replace him for £500K Cooper. Purely on market value how can a 23 year old England U21 International be worth less than a 22 year old League One debutant ? Former Leeds player Andy Couzens tweeted as follows : “I guess he has waved all his money he would of been owed by Leeds he would be on good money so it equals it self out”. If Lees was on circa £14K per week with Leeds, his replacement will be surely be on a minimum of £10K per week, (depending on the quality) plus the fee it takes to bring the player in. There seems to be a movement of the old guard going on but one wouldn’t assume that Lees would not be one of the more difficult players to deal with in the dressing room, unless he himself saw no future at Leeds.  After all the Hock said he “was Leeds through and through”. It looks like the real winners here are Sheff Wds.
Weds July 30th. Glenavon 0 Leeds United 5  A Chris Dawson hat-trick helped Leeds United ease to victory over Glenavon at Mourneview Park on Wednesday night. The result, however was never an issue for the Lurgan Blues as this 125th anniversary game saw a packed house for the glamour game. The biggest cheer of the night came when Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer David Healy came on and the former Leeds striker went close to hitting the back of the net. The game, a sell-out, was enjoyed by both sets of fans and for Leeds their only game on Irish soil was to prove a beneficial trip. The visitors made a bright start with Matt Dawson having a shot brilliantly turned over the bar by James McGrath and Matt Smith was next on target with a firm header but again McGrath was behind HealyvLeeds. Glenavon broke well to carve out their own chances with Guy Bates getting clear and pulling the ball back for David Rainey was Killock did well to clear. It was no surprise Dawson would be the man to open the scoring, the striker drilled a shot hard and low into the far corner after an attempted clearance by Kilmartin fell into his path. Glenavon hit back with Mulvenna slipping the ball through to David Rainey but his angled shot flew inches wide. Northern Ireland legend David Healy came off the bench on 23 minutes to a rousing reception from both sets of fans and within minutes he almost grabbed a goal with a free kick that beat the wall but stuck in the keeper’s hands. With just two minutes gone in the second half Dawson added number two but Healy almost pulled a goal back with a snapshot from the edge of the box which was blocked. Just after the hour mark Dawson was given the chance to grab his hat-trick after Marshall brought down Smith and he made no mistake blasting the spot kick into the roof of the net. Leeds went on to add two more through Eoghan Stokes and Matt Stokes, but forget the final score, this was still a great night for Glenavon. Anton and Oisin Watters, Liz and Pat Quinn and Terry McQuiad represented the Louth Branch. Terry’s report : “Dawson a bit light weight. Poleon caused Glenavan a lot of trouble. Smith scored but missed three. Mowatt started well but then faded. Beradi played one half and done okay along with Charlie Taylor. Fat Boy was in goals. Nice ground “. Anton Watters: “Good win tonight. Dawson and Poleon very impressive. Beradi at right back also played well. Healy got man of match as expected. McDaid sent off in MC game v Mexico. Should have stayed in Lurgan”. The 34-year-old Healy showed he still posed a goal threat and almost capped a great night for the Lurgan Blues with a goal. However, the Northern Ireland international record goal scorer said his appearance in a Glenavon shirt was a one-off. He said: “I enjoyed the game, but it was a one-off. “I was only too pleased to help Glenavon and Gary Hamilton out for their anniversary game. “Gary has done a fantastic job and it was great to see a packed house for this very special game. It was nice for me too that it was against my former club where I really enjoyed my time at Elland Road.”
Weds 30th of July. United end interest in Cooper. Leeds United and Chesterfield are at an impasse over the proposed transfer of Liam Cooper to Elland Road after Chesterfield rejected an offer of almost £500,000. United claimed to have ended their interest in 22-year-old Cooper tonight with the two sides in stalemate and Chesterfield standing firm over their valuation of the defender. Leeds have had two bids turned down, the second worth £475,000, and Chesterfield’s board are believed to be holding out a fee of around £1m for the centre-back. United are unwilling to raise their offer further, saying in a statement: “The club will not be progressing this matter further and any interest in the player has now ended.” Cooper, who played against Leeds in a friendly at the Proact Stadium last weekend, is understood to be pushing for a move and United’s failure to agree a price with Chesterfield could tempt him to submit a formal transfer request. The former Hull City centre-back was identified as a potential signing during Saturday’s 2-2 draw between the sides. He was recommended by Nicola Salerno, an advisor of Leeds owner Massimo Cellino. Cellino has been abroad for most of the past fortnight and was not present at the friendly but United opened negotiations with Chesterfield on the strength of Salerno’s appraisal. Cooper began his career at Hull and made a handful of appearances for the Humberside club before joining Chesterfield in January 2013. He was a fixture in the Chesterfield side who won the League Two title last season. But while Cooper’s switch to Leeds is in doubt, Tom Lees’ departure from Elland Road looks ever more likely with Sheffield Wednesday on the verge of signing the England Under-21 international. Lees has been on the books at United since the age of eight and has made more senior appearances for the club than any other member of the current squad but he is out of favour and ready to move on after two difficult seasons. He played no part in Saturday’s draw with Chesterfield or in Tuesday’s friendly at Swindon Town and was also omitted from the squad sent to Northern Ireland for a clash with Glenavon last night. The defender’s contract at Elland Road runs for another two years but Cellino is ready to sanction his exit and Lees held successful talks with Wednesday today. His partner appeared to confirm the transfer on Twitter, saying they were “excited to see what SWFC has in store”, and Lees was present at tonight’s friendly between Wednesday and Newcastle United. One can fairly argue that Tom Lees hasn’t moved on to the platform of a defender that his initial potential showed. In contrast one can also argue that Paul McGrath in his field day couldn’t have shored up our defence during the past couple of seasons. I have no doubt that Cellino will negotiate a deal for Cooper.
 Weds 30th ofJuly. I’ve Changed My Mind About Leeds United’s Hockaday says @sporcoleeds – Sabotage Tmes. I’ve Changed My Mind About Leeds United’s Hockaday says @sporcoleeds Like the majority of Leeds United fans, my reaction to the appointment of Hock & Junior was a toxic mix of surprise, dismay, venom and a large helping of outrage that our new, ambitious, charismatic Italian owner had employed a non-league coach. My LUFC related Tweets and articles since the appointment have been as critical and anti as any. My breakfast this morning is a humongous slice of humble pie, tinged with a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that Hock may, indeed, have a plan and if he gets the full complement of muscle, pace and goals to execute it, he may succeed, against all the odds and most of our expectations. Humble pie is not usually on my menu, however, if Hock, who was employed to coach, not produce sound bites, that is Cellino’s job, works out I will be delighted to feast on it every day. My opinion could end up as the biggest backtracking since the Italian tanks in WW2 [with apologies to our Italian and related friends]. Most Leeds fans were astonished that an owner with the ambitions of our president would choose a virtual unknown and appeared to appoint him after one meeting that was likely to have been a Cellino diatribe rather than a meeting of minds. The look of horror on Massimo’s face when it was pointed out that Gary McAllister was actually not employed by a football club made it look like Hock was a mistake. The lack of any good reason to support the decision strengthened our resolve that Hock was the wrong man for the Mighty Whites who of course deserve a Jose or a Pep, not a Dave! On a whim last night I decided to take my lad to Swindon to see how bad it really is for us. Giving a debut to my beautiful “You can buy a b**** for one night but you don’t buy the love, my friend” t-shirt featuring the smoking outline of Cellino’s head we fought the traffic and arrived at the less than salubrious street next to the ground looking for parking. As we drove slowly down the road and half way through a three point turn a rotund, dirty looking, blonde with black roots, with large breasts best described as homely shot me a come hither look, crooked her finger and shouted “Would you like to park on my drive here my lovely” and proceeded to move her bins to enable us to get the car on. I reversed in, thanked her profusely and hoped the glint in her lazy eye didn’t mean she was expecting me to do anything with her back doors after being so accommodating with her front. The County Ground Swindon makes Elland Road look like The Emirates, the only glamorous part of the place being a badly painted picture of Glenn Hoddle and his magnificent thighs in a “through the ages” mural on the side of the main stand which looks like it was painted by the local primary school. We took our seat with another thousand or so Leeds United supporters, stood to greet the players and continued standing throughout a turgid first half memorable only for the virtually continuous singing of the full catalogue of songs including one for the Hock and what sounds like a brilliant one for Silvestri including a line about shagging. If anyone knows the full lyrics, please let me know. A tactical masterclass by our dynamic management duo after Morison’s non stellar performance as a wide man at Chesterfield was to put him there again. There were however green shoots of recovery and indications that the management had been working hard on the new system and that the players were beginning to adapt. The ole’s were at full volume as the Leeds United passes built up, short, precise, ineffective and mostly in our own half, the players are under strict instructions never to knock it longer than Junior’s neck and you can see Pearce & Wootton’s brains telling them “don’t lump it” every time they get the ball. The new coaches appear to have the ability to get their new charges going, to me there seemed to be a half time epiphany, either the players were promised a go on Nora as an incentive for an improved second half performance or Hock & Junior gave a Churchillian team talk and finally rammed the message home and the players listened and responded. Suddenly there was a new energy from back to front, illustrated by a lung bursting run by Doukara resulting in him being fouled as he entered the box, Rudy emphatically scoring the resulting penalty. Salerno’s buys so far look excellent, his reputation as a top class recruiter proven. Bianchi is neat and tidy, a proper footballer, Doukara looks direct and dangerous. We are desperate for an injection of pace, goals and quality but Leeds United are now a passing side, patient and hopefully hoofball is dead. There are a lot of exciting additions linked, Massimo says five more recruits, and we may well be pleasantly surprised come the Millwall game. It was evident that Hock & Junior are proper football men and have designed a system to play proper football, the squad requires some tough nuts, fantasy, rapidity and goals but the structure appears to be in place, maybe, just maybe the second half last night in inauspicious surroundings was the dawn of a new era. After so many years of pain, Leeds fans collectively poo pooed the appointment of Hock & Junior, maybe we were wrong to pre-judge, he may be the right man and Cellino may be a football genius after all. I haven’t but I’ll glady listen to anybody who tries to convince me otherwise and always print their opinions on this forum. Based on one game against less than half of Swindon’s first team whose the average age was just 20 I’ll need a lot more convincing. Oh and there is the small matter of most of our goals in the last two games coming via Rudy Austin and the penalty spot.
Weds 30th of July Lees to SW and Cooper to Leeds. Tom Lees is closing in on a move to Sheffield Wednesday with Leeds United looking to replace him with Chesterfield defender Liam Cooper. Leeds have been in talks with Chesterfield about signing Cooper since playing the League One side in a friendly last Saturday and they are believed to be willing to pay close to £500,000 for the 22-year-old. The former Hull City centre-back was identified as a potential signing during Saturday’s 2-2 draw by Nicola Salerno, an advisor of Leeds owner Massimo Cellino. Cellino has been abroad for most of the past fortnight and was not LiamCooperpresent at the Proact Stadium but United opened negotiations with Chesterfield on the strength of Salerno’s recommendation. Chesterfield chief executive Chris Turner confirmed that an offer from Leeds had been rejected, saying: “We’ve turned down an initial bid which was below our valuation of Liam and we now await a response from Leeds. “I’m not surprised that there has been interest in Liam because he’s a quality player.” The YEP understands that Leeds have returned with an improved bid of around £475,000 this afternoon. Cooper began his career at Hull and made a handful of appearances before joining Chesterfield in January 2013. He was a fixture in the Chesterfield side who won the League Two title last season. United are unlikely to go above the £500,000 mark but a deal for Cooper would hasten Lees’ departure from Elland Road after an approach from Sheffield Wednesday for the England Under-21 international. Lees has been on the books at United since the age of eight and has made more senior appearances for the club than any other member of the current squad but he is out of favour and increasingly keen to move on after two difficult seasons. He played no part in Saturday’s draw with Chesterfield or in last night’s friendly at Swindon Town and was also omitted from the squad sent to Northern Ireland for a clash with Glenavon this evening. The defender has two years left on the four-year deal he signed in 2012 but Cellino is understood to be ready to sanction his exit. Wednesday’s dealings in the transfer market have been complicated, however, by a delay in Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov’s takeover at Hillsborough. It is thought that Lees has already penned a three year deal at Wednesday.
Tuesday 29th of July. Benedicic deal nears completion – Phil Hay. Talks between Leeds United and AC Milan over a loan deal for Zan Benedicic will intensify in the coming days with the midfielder set to fly home early from Milan’s pre-season tour of the USA. Benedicic is understood to be leaving Milan’s camp in America tonight and appears set on securing a season-long move to Elland Road before the Championship season starts on August 9. The 18-year-old’s agent, Amir Ruznic, confirmed to the YEP that Milan and Leeds were involved in negotiations over a deal to bring Benedicic to England, saying: “The clubs are talking. He is (coming) back from the States and I hope to have news in the next few days.” Leeds originally approached Milan about Benedicic earlier in the summer but were told that Filippo Inzaghi, the Italian’s club coach, was unwilling to release him. The attacking midfielder was taken to the United States with the rest of Inzaghi’s squad but is returning to Italy ahead of schedule with Milan now willing to release him on a temporary basis. Reports in the Slovenian media, however, say the Serie A side are resisting an attempt by Leeds to secure the option of signing Benedicic permanently next summer. The transfer is one of two which Leeds have been pushing to finalise in the past 48 hours. Owner Massimo Cellino told the YEP yesterday that a deal to take 22-year-old playmaker Federico Viviani on loan from Roma was complete after a fractious weekend in which the 58-year-old Italian appeared to have called the move off. But Viviani’s camp – all of whom are back in Rome after spending time in England last week – have since revealed that they are still awaiting all the paperwork needed to make his year-long move official.
Tuesday July 29th.Swindon 1-2 Leeds United United: Taylor, Byram (Berardi 46), Pearce, Wootton, Warnock, Murphy, Tonge, Bianchi (Cook 80), Austin, Morison, Doukara (Smith 87). Subs. Silvestri, Lees, Berardi, Mowatt, Dawson. Referee: Simon Hooper. Att: 3,769 (Leeds 961) Report from Official LUFC United head coach made four changes to his starting 11 for the trip to Swindon Town on Tuesday evening. The changes saw Stuart Taylor, Michael Tonge, Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara come in from the start. The friendly match also saw the return of Alex Mowatt to the first team as he took his place on the United substitutes bench. United started the game well and dominated the opening 15 minutes of the game. Doukara looked dangerous going forward from the first minute of the match and was prevented an early goal by fast thinking from the Swindon goalkeeper who was quick off his line. United were close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute when Tonge and Stephen Warnock both had good chances in front of goal. But United were rewarded for their great start on the quarter hour mark when Steve Morison opened the scoring. A great passing move involving Sam Byram, Bianchi and Doukara led to Morison having a tap-in right in the heart of the penalty area. United continued to dominate after going ahead and Doukara went close to getting his first Leeds goal. The powerful striker made a 30-yard run down the left-hand side and once he arrived in the box he shot for goal, only for the ball to smash against Wes Foderingham’s post. The home looked threatening on the break and caught United napping twice before the 30-minute mark. Firstly a great cross from Swindon full-back Nathan Byrne gave United problems but the ball was cleared by Jason Pearce, then a mix-up involving Warnock and Taylor invited Nathan Thompson in but the defender’s volley went just wide of the mark. The home side piled on the pressure and in the 31st minute they equalised from a corner. Yaser Kasim floated the dead ball into the box for Joshua Lelan to head the ball back into the danger zone, where Michael Smith was waiting to finish with a clever volley. United had the chance to regain the lead towards the end of an entertaining first half. A good passing move involving Byram once again opened up the home side. The United full-back pulled the ball back for Doukara who looked certain to score but his shot was deflected behind for a corner. The resulting Luke Murphy corner was met by Pearce but his header hit the base of the post and rebounded away from danger. United had the perfect start the second half when Doukara was brought down in the area by the Swindon keeper after a fantastic through ball from Bianchi. Just like on Saturday at Chesterfield Rudy Austin stepped up and smashed the ball into the back of the net to give United the lead for the second time in the game. After regaining the lead United looked comfortable in possession of the ball and prior to the hour Bianchi sent a shot just inches wide after great forward play from Doukara. With the majority of the football being played in the home side’s half of the pitch United were showing their dominance. The away side continued to create space and gaps for the forward players to operate in but the only thing missing was the killer touch in the final third. This was a much improved performance from United but they were almost made to pay for not finishing Swindon off when Nathan Thompson headed a deflection straight into Taylor’s hands in the dying minutes. Good to see United claim a win even if it was against a side whose average age was just 20. The negative was the chances we missed. The better teams we face will punish us for this. A free header at a corner to concede is never good, but we still lack that killer finisher up front.
Mark Cooper On the result…
I thought we did alright. In spells we had a lot of possession, we need to work on being more potent and making the most of possession. Let’s not forget, we’re playing against a good Championship team and we did alright. We dominated a lot of the ball and you could see the effect Hockaday’s had on them (Leeds). They gave us the respect of closing us down for the whole game. It was a tight game and it could have gone either way”.
Tuesdy July 29th Who is Zan Benedicic ?  This is the player who is close to joining United on loan. He is currently in the States with AC Milan but is due back tonight. Leeds are said to be haggling over a buy out clause in the loan deal. Milan just want it to be a straight loan. We still need that elusive striker.  Zan Benedicic  was born in 1995 in Kranj, age 18 (Slovenia) and is an attacking midfielder full of fantasy “who can be as good as ZanBenedicconsidered as a new Leeds player”.He will arrive on loan from AC Milan. With the team coached by Filippo Inzaghi Benedicic in the USA for the Guinnes Cup. He himself confirms: “We are waiting all the documents and the last confirmations, then I will sign. I am one step away to becoming a Leeds player“. How do you consider this opportunity? “Very good to me. They wanted me intensely and I always liked English football”. What’s your personal purpose at Leeds? “To achieve a place in the starting eleven” Not bad for a player not yet 19 years old. A great talent, by the way. Emanuele Giulianelli. One of his goals on You tube goal (copy into browser)


Leeds new away strip

Tuesday 29th of July. Cellino’s son asks fans to get behind the Hock. LEEDS UNITED board member Edoardo Cellino is urging fans to get behind head coach David Hockaday – while hinting that the club will not shy away from making a change if results do not work out.  Hockaday leads out United in a pre-season friendly at his former club Swindon Town tonight (7.45pm kick-off) and despite sections of the club’s fanbase greeting his appointment last month with some specticism, Cellino jnr wants supporters to give him a fair chance. Hockaday admits that Leeds very much remain a work in progress with 11 days to go to the start of the Championship season, with United owner Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno working on several deals to bolster the squad. Cellino has revealed that the protracted loan transfer of highly-rated Roma midfielder Federico Viviani to Leeds has now finally been completed, with the move awaiting official confirmation. AC Milan midfielder Zan Benedicic, 18, also understood to be close to signing for the club – and several more could follow ahead of the start of the season to boost the numbers available to Hockaday. In a video interview for the Yorkshire Evening Post website, Cellino jnr, appointed to the board in May along with his father – United president and owner Massimo – and his brother Ercole, said: “I think David is somebody who knows football and likes football and I think David Hockaday is the right guy. “If it is not going to be him, then someone else. But I am saying ‘let’s give a chance’ to David Hockaday and let’s see. “I like him, he’s a nice man and I talk to him. I hope and I am pretty sure he is going to do a great job for Leeds United. “I think the first thing we have to do is be a lot stronger. We are a young team and need to fight to get back to where we belong. “Leeds fans are great people. Every time I go to the football game, they come up to me and I talk with them. “Some of them are happy, some of them I do not understand them. I just want the season to start, so we can see what are the problems and what are not.” He added: “I cannot wait to start because everything is changing and I just want to see them playing in the Championship and maybe next season in the Premier League – I hope so. “I want to see the coach playing with a Championship team and not like a League One team. “In my opinion, I am really excited for this season because it is going to be different to the last one. I love living here, I love Leeds and I want to see the team start playing real football. Hopefully it will be a good season. “I like what my dad is doing and I believe in him and I will always support him.” Meanwhile, reigning young player of the year Alex Mowatt will travel with United’s squad to Swindon tonight and Hockaday is delighted to have the 19-year-old in his plans for the game against the Robins, who he played for in the eighties. He said: “Alex came through fine on Saturday. He’s lost a couple of weeks training with the first team, but he looks bright, sharp and a good footballer and will travel with the squad.” Steve Morison, barracked by sections of the travelling support at Chesterfield, is also part of the squad, with Hockaday adamant that no United player could be accused of not trying at the weekend. Morison was subjected to some chants of ‘you’re too s**t to play for Leeds’, although many fans shouted down the song and urged fans to support the team. Hockaday said: “Everybody who wore the shirt tried their socks off. Nobody with any justification could say anybody didn’t try.“A few of the boys, when they got tired, made mistakes and we corrected that. It’s about getting your head down and rolling your sleeves up. You crack on. “There’s a great team spirit and all the players are determined to put in a shift for Leeds United and that’s all I can ask. “Steve is one of 18 I will be taking to Swindon.” Monday July 28th. Breaking News . Viviani has finally signed on loan for Leeds subject to international clearance with a view to a permanent deal from Roma.

Rotherham United v Preston North End - Sky Bet League One Play Off Semi Final: Second Leg

Agard wants to come to Leeds but Leeds don’t seem to fancy Agard

Monday July 29th Agard set for talks with Leeds. Kieran Agard, 24, has recently turned down the offer of a contract at the New York Stadium and has set his sights on joining Rotherham’s Championship rivals Leeds United and talks are set to get underway. Agard continued his goalscoring form in the recent 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest in pre-season on Wednesday and was watched by Leeds owner Massimo Cellino in the 3-1 play-off semi-final win over Preston last season. Agard was also watched on a number of occasions last season by Leeds United scouts at the NYS. If Agard did join he would be the clubs 6th summer signing following the arrivals of Souleymane Doukara, Tommaso Bianchi, Marco Silvestri, Stuart Taylor and Gaetano Berardi

Sunday July 28th. Are we ready for Millwall in two weeks ? Phil Hockaday said he would be playing the strongest side available to him in the match yesterday against Chesterfield to ascertain his starting 11 against the Lions in less than a fortnight, a game where it needed two penalties to rescue a draw against a League One side. Are we in good shape for this encounter at a ground where our record is anything but steady? We have lost 13 players and if you want to include young professionals it’s actually 18 first team professionals at the club and five players (Marco Silvestri, Gaetano Berardi, Souleymane Doukara and Tommaso Bianch)(including a has been goalkeeper (Taylor) have come in. Cellino has driven a bus through the club stopping the rot in expenses and using his Cagliari experience to implement a European culture at Elland Road and Thorp Arch. Many people have lost their jobs and whether one agrees with his way of doing things or not, he is the only show in town right now. As fans we care about only one thing, how the team is doing on the pitch. A manager being hounded out when he was at his dying mother’s bedside, the closing of Thorp Arch, players bringing in sandwiches and having to wash their own kit, Revie ambassadors being made redundant, low paid staff being made redundant, contracted players completely exiled etc etc. We don’t like the bad publicity that a lot of this brings on our beloved Leeds United but have no wish to replicate the sins of the past, ie Bates and GFH. The eccentric Italian comes with a new broom but with his way of doing things. That said we won’t tolerate being lied to and being lead as fools. So far this summer our club is being used as a feeder club for Seria A or B Italian teams. What has been promised to date has not been delivered. I have no desire to go through a season like last season but our preparations thus far are worse because our squad is thinner and the player that was responsible for all but two of our wins last season is gone and has not been replaced. Remember, it’s only a tremendous piece of business selling your best asset for well above the market value if you use that money wisely to invest elsewhere. Burnley lost Charlie Austin, but is Hockaday another Dyche ? Hockaday is merely a puppet whose strings are being pulled by Cellino. We all know this. So far we have won 16-0 against an amateur 11, missed the next game because the opposition didn’t bother to show up, lost 2-0 badly to Mansfield Town from League Two and the side that we think will face Millwall drew 2-2 at Chesterfield with our 17K per week striker (Morrison) booed at alomost every touch by our away support. Worried ? I am pertrified going into this Championship. We have no pace in our team, no width, a defence leaking like a bucket, no 20 goal striker and the play maker that Cellino desires (Viviani) either doesn’t want to come or wants a lote mor money than Cellino is prepared to pay.. Hockaday is a huge gamble. Personally, I think it was a crazy appointment and one that says more about Cellino than what Leeds United actually deserves. But at least give the man the tools for the job. We need a number of quality English speaking players to arrive who can fill in the blanks or we will be heading for another season of misery, and that’s the last thing any of us want, only this time who will put the ball in the net ? Massimo, the ball is in your court and you are running out of time before the fans at Elland Road see the charade for what it really is. Dip into the wallet and bring in the quality that our club deserves or else you will find that Morrison won’t be the only ‘M’ booed at Elland Road. Sunday July 28th. Another fringe Serie A player linkedSky Sports understands Leeds United are closing in on the signing of AC Milan youngster Zan Benedicic. United have already recruited four players from the Italian leagues this summer in the shape of Marco Silvestri, Gaetano Berardi, Souleymane Doukara and Tommaso Bianchi and Benedicic could be the next one to arrive at Elland Road. Benedicic has yet to make his senior debut for Milan, but is a regular in their Under-19 side. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder is also a Slovenia Under-21 international and he is highly-rated at the San Siro. Milan are happy to loan out Benedicic so that he can gain some valuable first-team experience and Leeds are thought to be at the front of the queue to bring in the Slovenian.

Sunday July 28th. Viviani advisors try to revive deal – Phil Hay YP. Federico Viviani’s advisors will hold a last round of talks with Leeds United tomorrow in an attempt to salvage his move to Elland Road. Representatives of the Roma midfielder plan to speak to the Championship club again in the next 24 hours, despite United owner Massimo Cellino calling off the transfer over the weekend. Cellino told the YEP that Viviani was “out” after three days of discussions in Leeds last week failed to secure an agreement over his season-long loan from Serie A. The 22-year-old flew home to Rome yesterday believing a transfer to Elland Road was still a possibility, with Nicola Salerno – Cellino’s right-hand man – promising to continue negotiations tomorrow. Viviani’s camp indicated that the Italy Under-21 international wanted to use the weekend to make a final decision over his future with a number of Italian clubs interested in signing him, but Cellino said: “I’ve already decided. He is out.” Giovanni Ferro, one of Viviani’s representatives, said he was “surprised” by Cellino’s comments, saying: “When we left, Mr Salerno told us that we could have more contact.”  Asked if he thought the deal was dead, Ferro said: “I’ll talk with director Salerno again (tomorrow).” Viviani’s temporary switch from Roma appeared to be a formality in the early stages of this week after he travelled to England to tie up his move. He watched Leeds lose 2-0 at Mansfield Town on Tuesday night and was expected to sign before yesterday’s friendly at Chesterfield but his camp opted to return to Italy with his contract unsigned on Friday night. Viviani is a highly-rated prospect who has captained Roma’s youth team and was recently called up by Italy to a pre-World Cup training camp. He has three years left on his contract at Roma having signed a five-year deal in 2012. With his transfer in serious doubt, United’s search for new players is becoming increasingly urgent with the Championship season less than two weeks away. The club claimed a late 2-2 draw at Chesterfield, with Rodolph Austin scoring twice from the penalty spot. Speaking afterwards, head coach David Hockaday said: “We’re still looking to strengthen and it’s pretty obvious that we need to. The Championship’s a tough, uncompromising league.” 

Saturday 26th of July Cheterfield 2-2 Leeds United Leeds United Report from Phil Hay YP : Silvestri, Byram, Wootton, Pearce, Warnock (Berardi 75), Murphy (Norris 69), Cook (Tonge 69), Austin, Morison, Smith (Doukara 46), White (Bianchi 65). Subs (not used): S Taylor, Lees, Dawson. Two Rodolph Austin penalties earned Leeds United a draw from their visit to League Two champions Chesterfield. Austin converted from the spot twice in the second half to cancel out a brace from Sam Morsy and spare United from another defeat to lower league opposition. Morsy produced two finishes in the space of 12 minutes to turn the game on its head after Austin opened the scoring at the start of the second period. But Austin’s calm finish on 86 minutes ensured the honour was shared at the end of a week in which Leeds were beaten 2-0 at Mansfield Town. United’s head coach, David Hockaday increased the significance of today’s friendly by stating beforehand that the team he chose would be his team for Millwall on August 9, at least barring the arrival of new players before then. Leeds had hoped to have Federico Viviani signed on loan from Roma in time for their trip to Chesterfield but the move appeared to have collapsed on Saturday morning and Hockaday was left to work with his existing squad. He took a slightly unexpected approach at the Proact Stadium, fielding only one of the club’s five new recruits. Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri started but Tommaso Bianchi, Souleymane Doukara, Gaetano Berardi sat on the bench, alongside replacement keeper Stuart Taylor. Hockaday employed what seemed to be a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Austin in front of the defence and Matt Smith alone up front and United were short of natural width again. Chesterfield offered most of the threat in the opening stages. Eoin Doyle bundled an early chance wide from close range and Silvestri pulled off an excellent save to deny Sam Morsy with his legs after Chesterfield cut through United’s midfield. The Italian keeper was well placed again moments later to push away Doyle’s rising effort with both hands. The inventive Gary Roberts promptly produced a 50-yard lob which landed on the roof of Silvestri’s net and Leeds struggled to create openings in return. Austin’s mishit effort midway through the half posed no problem for Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee. Only occasionally did Leeds get in behind the home defence and Murphy should have done better with a weak header beneath an Aidy White cross shortly before half-time. Smith was replaced by Doukara at the break having picked up a back injury in a heavy challenge and United were ahead within two minutes of the restart. Jimmy Ryan dived into a tackle on Luke Murphy inside the box and Austin converted a calm penalty, sliding the ball to Lee’s right, but Chesterfield responded on 55 minutes when Morsy fired home from an unmarked position on the edge of the box. And Morsy put the hosts in front on 67 minutes, turning and shooting past Silvestri after substitute Armand Gnanduillet nodded a header to him inside the box. But Leeds continued to press and Austin forced a draw with another penalty four minutes from time after Daniel Jones felled Sam Byram.

Weds 23rd of July Phil Hay tweets . #lufcCellino’s away on holiday but he’s now getting involved in the negotiations with Viviani’s advisors. Viviani’s camp were not at all impressed by last night’s game but as it stands, the move to Leeds is still on. #lufcViviani and Leeds are still talking at the moment. Will update on that when we get some news. #lufc. Weds 23rd of July. Errors cost us – The Hock. David Hockaday  blamed  individual errors and insisted Leeds United were showing definite signs of improvement, despite a 2-0 defeat to Mansfield Town last night. Leeds suffered their first loss of pre-season after a  from Mansfield’s Liam Hearn in the final 20 minutes took advantage of bad mistakes from Steve Morison and Zac Thompson. Hearn struck from the penalty spot in the 70th minute after Morison’s mis-hit back-pass forced goalkeeper Marco Silvestri to bring down one of Mansfield’s four trialists, and he scored again in the closing stages after Thompson lost his footing as he chased a through ball. The loss to a League Two side came less than three weeks before the start of the new Championship season and United’s first league game away to Millwall. A number of new signings are likely to arrive at Elland Road before then, however, and midfielder Federico Viviani, who watched the mtch  at Field Mill yesterday, is expected to complete his loan move from Roma later this afternoon. The 22-year-old travelled to Leeds from Italy yesterday to finalise a season-long transfer. Hockaday, who promised to field his strongest starting line-up during this Saturday’s friendly at Chesterfield, said: “I was happy for a lot of  the game. “Mansfield set up to stop us playing and showed us respect but I couldn’t see them scoring unless we made mistakes – and we did make mistakes. We also got in some great positions and  created chances that we should have been burying. “The two goals were from individual errors and we can eradicate that. I’m not saying we ripped the seat off Mansfield but we were dominant, we were comfortable and we should have come away with 0-0 minimum. The thing that disappointed me is that we got into a lot of  good positions but didn’t find that final pass or put the ball in the net. With better quality, that would have been a comfortable victory for us. “I’m not saying results aren’t important because I’m a competitive man and I want to win games but there’s more to pre-season games than results. I’m seeing an improvement in our performances.” Leeds lost striker Noel Hunt and Lewis Walters to injury in the early stages of last night’s match. United are still to fully diagnose the damage but Hockaday said both players were likely to be missing “for a few weeks.”

Tuesday 22nd of July MANSFIELD 2 (Hearn 71, 83), Leeds United  0.  United: First 60 Minutes: S Taylor, Byram, Pearce, Wootton, Warnock, Austin, Murphy, White, Hunt (Bianchi 15), Walters (Poleon 25), Smith. Sub. Berardi. Final 30 Minutes: Silvestri, Thompson, Lees, Killock, C Taylor, Bianchi, Tonge, Cook, Norris, Morison, Doukara. Referee: Gary Sutton. Att: 3,493 (Leeds 923) Report from YP – When David Hockaday says that nothing in his planning for Leeds United’s season is “etched in stone”, he genuinely means it. The club’s head coach is working on shifting sands at Elland Road, waiting for the ground around him to settle. Leeds are three games into their pre-season programme but still in the realms of fitness exercises and yet to fully break the back of the transfer market. Hockaday’s tactics and formations, like those used in a fairly painful friendly at Mansfield Town last night, are being used in the knowledge that five or six more players could join his squad before the football matters. One of those, Federico Viviani, is in the final throes of agreeing a season-long loan from Roma and should officially join United later today. The 22-year-old travelled to Field Mill yesterday with his transfer pending, a spectator at a game which was never a spectacle, and the list of other potential signings continues to evolve too – Andy Delort, a goalscorer who displayed a prolific streak in the French second division last season, the latest to be credibly linked with Leeds. Viviani is renowned as a playmaker with sharp technical ability and a dangerous free-kick. Delort is a through-and-through striker whose record with Tours in 2013-14 shows 24 goals from 36 matches. Both are the sort of footballers – on reputation at any rate – who Leeds could do with as the Championship term draws nearer. Two late goals from Jason Pearce and Matt Smith saw off Guiseley over the weekend, on an afternoon when chances generally eluded Leeds, and a Mansfield team with four unnamed trialists in their squad provided more ambitious resistance on a warm and pleasant evening. Hockaday’s players are fit enough and drilled enough but by his own admission, creativity needs to show itself soon. That is Viviani’s strength, according to those who have watched him in Italy. Last night’s friendly – settled in Mansfield’s favour by a second-half brace from Liam Hearn – was a role-reversal from Saturday’s win over Guiseley: the team used for the final 30 minutes at Nethermoor penned in for a full hour against Mansfield as the push towards full appearances continued. Chesterfield away this weekend is likely to see several players break 90 minutes and might also give the first indication of how Hockaday sees his current team at its best. Chesterfield and Swindon (next Tuesday) will give me a real good picture,” Hockaday said after United’s 2-0 victory over Guiseley. “I’m not saying Mansfield won’t but the nearer you get to the start of the season, the closer I’ll get to my starting line-up.” Viviani’s first chance to find his feet should come at Chesterfield and Gaetano Berardi was given his debut last night, four days after signing on a two-year deal from Sampdoria. The right-back attended Guiseley without playing and Hockaday named him on the bench at Mansfield but declined to use him again after his original plan was broken up by early injuries to Noel Hunt and Lewis Walters. Hunt has found himself in the thick of recent interviews given by United owner Massimo Cellino, left in no doubt that he is part of the furniture at Elland Road despite a difficult first season here. Cellino talked last week of Hunt blossoming again, about the possibility of him becoming prolific, but the striker was bothered by a tight hamstring from an early stage at Field Mill and conceded defeat in his attempt to run it off after 16 minutes. A similar strain was at the root of some of Hunt’s problems last season and Leeds will diagnose the severity of his latest injury today. Nine minutes later, the situation got worse. Walters was injured off the ball, pulling up in a similar fashion to Hunt, and despite asking to stay on the pitch, he was promptly removed when he headed a half-chance wide and crumpled to the floor in a heap. Those two unexpected losses brought Tommaso Bianchi and Dominic Poleon into a game which was already going nowhere. The first half passed without a chance of note for 41 minutes, with Leeds trapped in a narrow system. Rudy Austin drove one free-kick into the crowd and Simon Heslop did likewise at the other end, clearing Stuart Taylor’s crossbar by the height of the stand behind it. Taylor made only one save, from a curling cross which his defence left for him. Fergus Bell eventually produced a better stab at goal with a 41st-minute shot which bounced a yard wide and Alex Fisher wasted an opportunity to steer the ball into an empty net a minute later when Taylor found himself exposed 12 yards in front of his line. Leeds rallied briefly after that and Bianchi should have scored when he met Sam Byram’s cut-back with a loose finish beyond a post. The pace of the game rose noticeably after half-time and Mansfield’s trialist keeper denied Matt Smith with his legs after Luke Murphy slotted the ball through a hole in the home defence. Murphy began to see possession just as his shift ended but Hockaday stuck to his strategy and introduced 10 substitutes on the hour. They fell behind 10 minutes later as another game which looked destined to finish goalless produced a breakthrough late on. Steve Morison sold Marco Silvestri short with a horrible back-pass which committed the keeper to a challenge on one of Mansfield’s trialists. Silvestri took the players legs and Hearn stepped up to take the penalty, slotting it to the keeper’s right and winning the match at a stroke.For good measure, Hearn scored again seven minutes from time as United’s defence made a mess of a simple through-ball and allowed him to stab the ball past a helpless Silvestri. An absent Cellino will digest the feedback with interest. A very worrying performance against a League two side featuring four trialists. Fitness will only get you so far. We need quality and quality costs money which we have thanks to £10.75M less 15% coming in. We can’t gamble all in Serie B players or bottom tier Serie A players. The season is a few weeks away and we are counting on Smith, Doukara, Hunt, Poleon, and Morrison to score our goals. There is not 20 goals in that lot combined. Cellino needs to get his finger out. I fear for the Hock when he comes out with statements after a 2-0 defeat to Mansfield like : “we were the only team looking to play and score” and “I’m not saying results are not important but I’m seeing an improvement in our performances”. Early days I suppose. Tuesday July 22nd. Healy to line out against former team. David Healy will play for Glenavon next Wednesday night in their 125th anniversary match against Leeds United at Mourneview Park. It is a fantastic coup for the Lurgan Blues to have one of Northern Ireland’s greatest players line out in a Glenavon shirt. David, who played for Leeds during his career in England, will be a massive attraction to the already eagerly awaited game. It is fantastic to have David Healy play for us,” said manager Gary Hamilton. “He is a football hero to many Northern Ireland fans and it just adds to what will be a brilliant occasion. “Having played for Leeds I am sure the fans who come to the game will also show their appreciation to him and for us it is great to see David play his first game for an Irish League club in the colours of Glenavon.” 

Tuesday July 22nd. Gamberini to choose between Chievo and Leeds. According to reports in Italy, Napoli defender Alessandro Gamberini will soon make a decision on his future with it looking like he is surplus to requirements at the Serie A club. Leeds United are one of those clubs that are monitoring the situation with the 32 year old. TMW have reported on claims in the Italian press that Gamberini will be looking for a new club after failing to impress manager Rafa Benitez and a decision on his future is likely to be made today. The former Liverpool boss arrived at Napoli last summer but Gamberini wasn’t put of the Spaniard’s plans and he was shipped out to fellow Serie A side Genoa on loan. Leeds have become aware of the situation of the central defender and have now made moves on the player. However they will face competition to land the former Italian international with Cheivo Verona also interested in the player. Gamberini comes will a lot of experience after playing in Serie A for most of career. He spent seven seasons playing for Fiorentina making over 200 league appearances and eventually became their captain in 2011. In 2012 he got a move to Napoli but he has been frozen out in the past year after the arrival of Benitez. Gamberini has represented Italy on eight occasions since making his debut in 2007. Again it seems that Leeds are looking to Italy to bring in player despite sporting director Nicola Salerno saying he wants a British core within the squad. Yesterday they were linked with another Italian defender in Fabrizio Grillo who has just been released by Siena last week after the Serie B side went bankrupt. Monday July 21st Leeds close to signing Viviani Leeds United have opened talks with Federico Viviani after negotiating a deal to sign the midfielder from Roma. United are attempting to agree personal terms with Viviani and make the 22-year-old their sixth signing of the summer. Finalising the details of Viviani’s contract appears to be the only remaining obstacle to a transfer after Roma granted him permission to speak to United. The former Italy Under-21 international has interest from other clubs in his homeland but is on the verge of a move to Elland Road this afternoon. Sources close to the player indicated last week that any move to Leeds was likely to be on loan with a view to a permanent deal but Roma have been open to the option of selling Viviani. Leeds took their tally of new signings to five on Friday by landing right-back Gaetano Berardi on a two-year deal from Sampdoria. Federico Viviani (born 24 March 1992) is an Italian Viviani1footballer who plays at Roma. He plays as a defensive midfielder. He is a current Italy U21 international. He is the son of Mauro Viviani, a former football player of Lazio in the 1980s. Viviani is also known as a free-kick specialist.[2] Viviani started his career at A.S. Roma. He was given his first team debut by Roma coach Luis Enrique in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League play-off round against Slovan Bratislava in August 2011. On 12 December 2011, at age 19, he made his debut in Serie A in the 1-1 draw against Juventus, in which he started. He played 9 games in all competitions his first season, mostly coming on as a substitute. On 22 March 2012, Viviani Captained the Roma Primavera side which won the Tim Cup (Coppa Italia) after a 2-1 aggregate win against Juventus’ in a two legged final.[3] After coming through the youth system, Viviani signed a 5-year contract in May 2012.[4] On the 21st of July 2014, Roma confirmed that they had let the player discus terms with English Championship side Leeds United, after Leeds made an inquiry about the player four days previously.[5] The player was also left out of the Roma squad for their pre-season tour.[6]He was loaned to Padova for the 2012-13 season where he scored two goals in 22 matches. He made his debut with the August 18 game against Atalanta. On September 25, Viviani scored his first goals of his career, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win against Empoli. On July 2, 2013, Viviani joined Pescara on loan, again in Serie B. He made his debut September 14 in the next away game Viviani3against Varese. On January 2014, Viviani was recalled by AS Roma as part of the transfer deal which saw Gianluca Caprari join Pescara, on the same day Viviani was loaned back out, this time to Serie B side Latina. On February 28, Viviani scored his first goal for Latina in a 3-0 victory against his old side Padova. On 26 revealed that his future would depend on Roma’s plans for the player under manager Rudi García.[7]In July 2014, Viviani joined Leeds United on a one season loan with a view to a permanent move. He is due to make his debut in August versus Millwall. Viviani played for the Azzurrini at 2011 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship elite qualification. In 2011–12 season, he received a call-up from Italy national under-20 football team for the first round of Four Nations Tournament, which the fixture of the “tournament” would be spread over the year.[8] He was made captain of the Italy national under-20 football team by manager Luigi Di Biagio. On 25 April 2012 he made his debut with the Italy U-21, in a friendly match won 4–1 against Scotland. In November 2013, Viviani scored a freekick in a 3-0 victory against the Northern Ireland U21′s.[9] On 10–12 March 2014 was called up to a training squad for the senior Italy national football team by the then Manager Cesare Prandelli, the training squad was organized in order to see some of the younger players ahead of the 2014 World Cup in June 2014.[10 Career – 2014 Roma – Apps (0 Goals) 2012-13 Padova loan 22 Apps (2 Goals) 2013-14 Pescara loan 6 Apps (2 Goals) 2014 Latina loan 17 Apps (3 Goals) National Team ; 2011 Italy U 19 7 Apps (2 Goals) 2011-2012 Italy U20  7 Apps (1 Goal) 2012 Italy U 21 10 Apps (3 Goals) Mon July 21st. Hockaday happy with friendly victory The value for money at Nethermoor was in the seats beside Massimo Cellino. For 60 minutes in intimate surroundings, Leeds United’s owner gave a riotous running commentary to the sound of hysterical laughter and the smell of cigarette smoke. Even Cellino’s animation ran out of steam as a stereotypical friendly between Leeds and Guiseley ground towards full-time but he was roused before the end by goals from Jason Pearce and Matt Smith. This was not football as he dreams of it but pre-season rarely is – and few owners of United go looking for it at a non-league ground in West Yorkshire. His predecessors were not inclined to attend matches with such a low profile. At stages of last season it seemed hard enough dragging representatives of Gulf Finance House to games of much greater importance. As he rocked and rolled at the back of Nethermoor’s main stand, you wondered how Cellino’s heart would put up with 46 league fixtures a season and all the stress surrounding them when a simple TomassoBianchifriendly caused such fervour and anxious chain-smoking. Saturday’s friendly was a simple contest – tight and rusty, as games so often are this far out from the season – and while Cellino fizzed, Leeds kept their powder dry. The Lions are four levels below United in the English pyramid but they were fit, disciplined and organised enough to keep the game goalless for 85 minutes. Pearce eventually cracked them with a header from six yards and Smith put the result beyond doubt as referee Adrian Holmes prepared to blow up in injury-time. In previous summers, Leeds have used non-league opponents – Guiseley, Farsley, York City and others – to start their pre-season schedules and in a sense, Saturday’s friendly was their first. Guiseley are a Conference North side but a world away still from the village team beaten 16-0 by Hockaday’s squad in Italy or the Leeds-on-Leeds practice match arranged after Romanian club Viitorul Constanta pulled out of a scheduled game eight days ago. “Guiseley are Conference standard, a good footballing team,” said Hockaday, who along with his players was taken by Cellino for lunch at an Italian restaurant in Leeds before kick-off. “The game served its purpose because what I wanted was to dominate possession, keep a clean sheet and win the game. “What we do with the ball is what we need to work on now but the basic culture of the team is different. “We want to try and keep the ball but in the final third we need to get better. “If we’d done that, we could have run out very comfortable winners. But winning isn’t the be-all and end-all of pre-season games. At the moment it’s about match fitness and coming through unscathed.” Hockaday understands the scepticism caused by his appointment at Elland Road and has ridden through it without flinching but his promise of patient football – a promise made at his first press conference – was in evidence at Nethermoor. That United’s football felt heavy and underwhelming did not change the fact that it was devoid of the anti-Christ which has come to be known as ‘hoofball’ in Leeds.  There is, all the same, plenty left for the club and Hockaday to iron out. Eleven players completed an hour against Guiseley including three of United’s foreign signings. Hockaday started and persisted with a diamond midfield, the formation which failed Brian McDermott last season. Tom Lees took the armband from the outset and Pearce captained Leeds for the final half-hour. There was no Dominic Poleon – sent instead to Garforth Town with the Under-21s – but 17-year-old Lewis Cook played from the start and stuck his head above others around him. How much should anyone read into any of that? “Absolutely nothing,” Hockaday said. “We’re having a look at lots of formations and combinations – people playing with different people to see if the chemistry’s right. “We had Lees as captain in the first half and Pearce as captain in the second but we’ll give the captaincy to other people now and then see what’s what. “In pre-season, every place has to be up for grabs. You can’t just say ‘on the back of last season, that’s your position.’ “Everyone is fighting for the jersey and fighting for it is the easy bit. The hard bit is keeping it.” It is during the traditional jostling for position that pre-season usually throws up a surprise. There is money already on Cook providing it. The teenager’s talent is an open secret at Thorp Arch – broadcast further afield by his role in England’s European Under-17 Championship-winning squad – but United’s support will look for him now, the next academy story. Used as the hindmost point of the diamond on Saturday, his strengths were obvious: intelligence and energy in front of the defence and feet which can trap a ball like glue. Cellino is said to have singled out Cook’s ability already Hockaday did not try to shield the midfielder afterwards. “I think highly of him,” Hockaday said. “Very highly.” Twenty yards behind Cook, Marco Silvestri’s 60 minutes in goal amounted to a quiet hour in which he tipped a Danny Forrest shot over his bar but did little else. Jake Lawlor should have opened the scoring early in the second half but dinked the ball around Silvestri’s right-hand post and the match lost its way at each end of the pitch. In the last half-hour, Guiseley lost their way too. Leeds were annexing the home penalty area in the minutes before they finally scored. Width in Hockaday’s team came predominantly from left-back Charlie Taylor and his cross created the first meaningful chance which Steve Morison headed into the side-netting after 13 minutes. Morison was paired up front with Souleymane Doukara, a French recruit with the physique of Carlton Cole but more mobility about him. There were flickers of vision and movement from Doukara but quiet periods too. “He’s only trained for a day-and-a-half and it’s obvious that he isn’t match fit yet,” Hockaday said. “We wanted to start him and make it hard for him.” Tommaso Bianchi, the midfielder brought to Leeds from Sassuolo two weeks ago, had much the same experience: involved in patches but passed out of the game in others. His shot on the half-hour – tipped away brilliantly by keeper Steve Drench – was as close as Leeds came to a goal until the final five minutes. Hockaday withdrew his entire starting line-up around the hour and fresh legs took hold of the match. Pearce was first to score on 85 minutes when Dench midjusged Aidan White’s corner and allowed the defender to head into an empty net, and Smith struck from point-blank in injury-time when Sam Byram rose above the combative standard to pick him out with a clever delivery. “It’s a good foundation,” Hockaday said. “I’m happy with that.”


Lewis Cook may get his chance this year for Whites

Sun July 20th. Star of show v Guiseley young Lewis Cook. TEENAGER Lewis Cook marked himself out as Leeds United’s next academy success story as coach David Hockaday hinted that the 17-year-old will be in the thick of the forthcoming season. Cook caught the eye with a consummate display in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Guiseley, leading Hockaday to admit that he is ready to blood the midfielder and other United youngsters when the Championship season starts next month. Hockaday fielded Cook in his starting line-up at Nethermoor and the England youth international produced the pick of the performances in a tight and competitive pre-season friendly. Cook’s reputation has grown in the past six months on account of his involvement in the England squad who won the European Under-17 Championship in May, and he was taken on United’s tour of Italy earlier this month. He was one of three young professionals used by Hockaday at Nethermoor, with centre-back Ross Killock completing an hour and striker Lewis Walters featuring for the final 30 minutes. Hockaday said: “If you chopped Lewis’ head off and put an older head on his shoulders, you wouldn’t be surprised. “From what I’ve seen, he along with one or two others have a very good chance here. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with a lot of the younger players and I’ve got a history of giving young players a chance. If they’re good enough, they’ll get their opportunity.” Cook, who is under contract at Elland Road for the next two years, played as the defensive tip of an experienced midfield diamond containing Michael Tonge, David Norris and new signing Tommaso Bianchi. Hockaday gave two other foreign recruits – goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and forward Souleymane Doukara – an hour on the pitch at Nethermoor, and goals from Jason Pearce and Matt Smith snatched a late victory. Watched by owner Massimo Cellino, United struggled to get on top of Guiseley and appeared to be heading for a goalless draw with the Conference North side until Pearce converted a free header five minutes from time. Smith’s tap-in completed a 2-0 win in injury-time. Hockaday conceded that the club’s new signings would need time and patience to settle in, saying: “They’ve got to acclimatise to the English culture, the language, the tempo of the games and what we’re looking for. “Some of them will fly early doors and some might need a bit of time to walk before they run and fly so we’ll have to be patient. We need them to be ready for Millwall on August 9.” Gaetano Berardi – the Swiss right-back signed by United from Sampdoria on Friday night – was eligible to play at Guiseley but only took part in the half-time warm-up with a view to making his debut at Mansfield Town tomorrow. “He came in on Friday and trained for the first time so he wasn’t ready,” Hockaday said. “If we’d needed him in the last few minutes then we could have thrown him on.” Leeds are continuing to pursue the signature of 22-year-old midfielder Federico Viviani from Roma but Hockaday confirmed that trialist Andre Blackman will not be joining United. Left-back Blackman began training with Leeds last month and travelled on their tour of Italy but he was not present at Thorp Arch last week. “We had a look at him but it’s not right,” Hockaday said. “We wish him well and we move on.”   Sun July 20th. United miss out on Swede. Leeds United have missed out on Swedish international Robin Quaison after he joined Italian Serie A side Palermo. The 20-year-old midfielder chose newly promoted Palermo after being recommended by new Leeds sporting director Nicola Salerno before his arrival at Elland Road. Salerno was then keen to bring Quaison to Leeds but he has missed out after he signed a three-year deal with Palermo. Quaison has made his name with Swedish side AIK and his form saw him called up by the Swedish national side, scoring two goals in four appearances. Leeds were amongst a number of clubs to miss out on Quaison with Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam and Premier League Queens Park Rangers amongst the other clubs interested. Saturday July 19th. Guiseley 0-2 Leeds United (Pearce 86, Smith 90).  United: First 60 minutes: Silvestri, Thompson, Lees, Killock, C Taylor, Cook, Tonge, Bianchi, Norris, Morison, Doukara. Last 30 minutes: S Taylor, Byram, Wootton, Pearce, Warnock, Austin, Murphy, White, Hunt, Walters, Smith. Referee: Adrian Holmes Att: 2,200 (Sell Out) United made the short journey to Conference North side Guiseley for their first friendly on English soil. United head coach David Hockaday opted to play two Leeds XIs for the match, with the first playing 60 minutes and the second completing the final half hour. There were starts for new signings Marco Silvestri, Souleymane Doukara and Tommaso Bianchi along with United youngster Lewis Cook in the centre of midfield. There was a return to action for Scott Wootton in the second eleven and United’s first signing of the summer Stuart Taylor was between the posts. United started the game well and dictated the pace and tempo of the match. The first chance of the afternoon fell to United’s loan signing Doukara, the forward used his strength to create the opening but his shot went wide of the mark. Just minutes later the striker was in the thick of the action again but Charlie Taylor’s cross was cut-out superbly before the ball could reach Doukara. United continued to dominate and on 13 minutes Steve Morison went close to opening the scoring when he sent a header just wide of the right-hand post. The chances kept coming United’s way and Bianchi went close when his curling effort from outside the box was palmed wide by Steve Drench in the Guiseley goal. Throughout the first half United youngster Lewis Cook showed his qualities that helped England’s Under-17s win the European Championship in the summer, when his quick feet opened up an opportunity for him. Unfortunately his strike from distance went just over the bar. With 10 minutes of the first half remaining the best chance fell to Michael Tonge following a scramble in the Guiseley penalty area. The ball fell to Tonge but his shot went inches over the bar. The home side threatened twice during the first half and both times through Danny Forrest. The striker went close with a shot that went just over the bar and a great tackle from Zac Thompson thwarted him just before the break. The home side began the second half well and went close to opening the scoring when Jake Lawlor sent a shot just wide of the upright. Prior to David Hockaday making the changes on the hour mark Doukara threatened once again but his shot was charged down well and blocked. United’s second XI of the afternoon were rarely threatened throughout but Forrest did send a shot just wide after the hour. Matt Smith and Lewis Walters were United’s strike partnership for the final 30 minutes and both went close during the final quarter of the game. Walters turned and shot for goal but his strike went just wide of the mark. Smith used his strength to create the space but his shot was saved well by Drench. United piled on the pressure during the final minutes and with just four minutes of the match remaining Jason Pearce headed home an Aidy White corner to give his side the lead. And in the final minute of the game Smith turned a Sam Byram cross passed Drench to give United the friendly victory by two goals. Guiseley were captained by ex Leeds player Ben Parker, and also had ex Leeds player Gavin Rothery in their team. This is how Phil Hay of the YP saw the match


Cellino and the Dealmaker


Leeds fans a Guisley

Guiseley 0-2 Leeds – P Hay YP  An animated Massimo Cellino watched from the stands as Leeds United claimed a 2-0 win over non-league Guiseley at Nethermoor. United’s Italian owner joined a crowd of 2,200 for a tight and even contest which played out in wet and humid conditions and was settled by late goals from Jason Pearce and Matt Smith. Cellino had taken his players and staff out for lunch in Leeds prior to their first domestic friendly of the summer and Pearce and Smith delivered a victory in return after a long spell in which Guiseley frustrated United. Head coach David Hockaday stretched the legs of his starting line-up by playing them for an hour, using new signings Marco Silvestri, Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara from the outset. Gaetano Berardi’s move from Sampdoria yesterday evening was processed too late Pfor the Swiss right-back to play but he travelled with the squad to Nethermoor and could make his debut at Mansfield Town on Tuesday, the first of United’s friendlies against Football League opposition. Guiseley are four rungs below Leeds in the English pyramid but this afternoon’s match was still the most competitive staged by the Championship club so far following a 16-0 rout of an amateur side in Italy last week and the cancellation of a planned meeting with Romanian side Vittorul Constanta. Guiseley’s team included two familiar names – ex-Leeds left-back Ben Parker and Gavin Rothery, once a promising member of United’s academy at Thorp Arch – and the non-league side made a tight contest of the first half. Leeds saw only two clear chances, with Steve Morison heading a Charlie Taylor cross into the side-netting and Bianchi forcing an excellent, one-handed save from Steve Drench with a curling shot from outside the box. Danny Forrest could have scored at the other end, however, and his rising shot forced Silvestri to tip the ball over with his fingertips. Jake Lawlor should have opened the scoring for Guiseley at the start of the second period but dinked the ball wide of an exposed goal and Silvestri stood up well to claim a rising effort from Rothery. Doukara saw a rare chance deflected shortly before Hockaday introduced a different line-up for the last 30 minutes and Leeds were denied a penalty when Aidy White’s cross struck the arm of Ryan Toulson Lewis Walters almost snatched the opening goal when his strike on the turn on 74 minutes was beaten away by Drench but the keeper’s failure to read a corner from White on 85 minutes left Pearce with the task of heading into an empty net. And Smith sealed the victory five minutes later when he ran in to covert Sam Byram’s cross from point-blank range. Looks like we have a long way to go to improve. The plus point is that the opposition showed up.



Sat July 19th United keen on Antenucci Leeds are keen on Ternana striker Mirco Antenucci who scored 19 goals in Serie B. The cost of doing a deal for the 29 year old is prohibitive but Salerno is very keen on the player who would help fill the gap left by Ross mcCormack. United have ended negotiations with Catania defender Giuseppe Bellusci after failing to agree personal terms. Reports earlier this week said the deal was in doubt despite the two clubs agreeing a deal for the 20-year-old defender and Leeds sporting director Nicola Salerno says the deal is now dead for the former Italy under-21 international. Salerno told Itasportpress, “We have discontinued the negotiations with Catania for defender Bellusci, finding no economic agreement.” Sat 19th of July Hockaday confident gamble on foreign players will pay off  David Hockaday says he is optimistic that Leeds United’s increasingly continental squad will blend together in time for the start of the season with the club continuing to look to the Italian market for new signings. United’s head coach admitted that the influx of players from abroad was “a gamble” but said the attitude of United’s foreign recruits was encouraging him to believe that they will integrate quickly in readiness for the club’s first Championship game on August 9. Hockaday’s squad was strengthened by the arrival of two Italian players – goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi – and French forward Souleymane Doukara during the club’s pre-season tour of Italy, and United owner Massimo Cellino is close to securing fresh arrivals from the continent. Sampdoria right-back Gaetano Berardi flew into England on Thursday to tie up a permanent transfer to Elland Road. The Switzerland international has been at the centre of talks between Leeds and Sampdoria all week and is on the verge of becoming United’s fifth summer signing after training at Thorp Arch yesterday. Leeds have also made a firm approach for Roma midfielder Federico Viviani, a 22-year-old who won 10 caps with Italy’s Under-21s. A deal with United would most likely see Viviani join them on loan but he has offers from a number of Serie A sides and is still weighing up his options. Goalkeeper Stuart Taylor is the only domestic recruit signed by United since Cellino bought the club in April and the 58-year-old indicated on Thursday that he was likely to pursue more targets from abroad. Silvestri, Bianchi and Doukara have been training with the club’s squad at Thorp Arch this week ahead of today’s friendly at Guiseley and asked how he expected the foreign arrivals to gel, Hockaday said: “Time will tell. “It’s unproven and that’s the excitement and the gamble of football. You can go and get any player – and the higher up they are the less of a gamble they are – but nothing’s ever etched in stone. The chemistry can be right at one club but not at another. “What we want are honest, hard-working lads with quality and these lads have certainly got that. The main priority is that they’re hungry to play for Leeds United.” Cellino revealed on Thursday that Leeds have a transfer budget of £15m – a figure which is like to cover wages and other costs, on top of fees paid for players – but Hockaday said the club’s transfer policy was not about budgets, it’s about hungry players.”  “Thankfully, I’m not going to get involved in (budgets),” Hockaday said. “I’m a coach, I identify positions where I feel we need strengthening, I talk to the president and we come up with names together. “We then look into it and if it’s two ‘yeses’, we move on it. It’s not about budgets, it’s about hungry players. “What we’re getting quite a lot is situations where the first thing people want to talk about is money. But we don’t want people who just want to come and earn money. We want people who will come and play well and earn their money. I’m sure that’s what the supporters would want.” The friendly at Guiseley later (3pm) will be United’s first serious pre-season game after a 16-0 rout of a local amateur side in Italy was followed the cancellation of a scheduled match against Romanian side Viitorul Constanta. Today’s’ visit to Nethermoor is a sell-out. Hockaday said: “A number of players have laid claim to the shirt and it’s up to them to keep it but we’re still in pre-season so a lot could happen.”

Sat 19th of July Real business of  pre-season starts now – Andy Ritchie  IT’S been a month since David Hockaday was appointed head coach at Leeds and I saw they beat some team 16-0 in first game in charge! I was thinking ‘that’s probably not what you would have wanted’ and then the other team didn’t turn up! He wouldn’t have been too pleased about that but when things like that happen you have got to think on your feet and I know that they played two Leeds sides against each other. And he probably might have done that anyway behind closed doors at some stage before the season starts. I think he’ll be looking for a couple of harder challenges now before the season starts and I know they go to Guiseley on Saturday before travelling to Mansfield Town on Tuesday. They are two local teams really and they’ll get a hard game against Guiseley because everybody wants to beat Leeds United – it was the same when we used to play Farsley in a pre-season friendly when I was at Leeds. Guiseley will be right up for it so he will get a tough game and he will be able to see a few players as I’m sure he’ll make a few substitutions and have a change around. And Mansfield will be up for it because it’s a barometer for them, as well as it is for Leeds. It’s never an easy game when you are playing a team like Mansfield. You’ve got to get your attitude right and you’ve got to go out there and want to impose yourself on them. I’m sure that’s what he will be wanting from the players. I hear Hockaday was training them three times a day during their pre-season camp in Italy and when you look at the teams that have done well, they are always fit. That’s the starting point and the next thing he’ll be looking for is the work ethic because you can’t do anything without that. You can be as fit as you want, but if you haven’t got the work ethic and you don’t want to run back and you don’t want to cover people – you don’t want to work as a team and as a unit – then really your fitness counts for nothing. You have got to have the desire to go with that and that work ethic is what Hockaday will be looking for in everything because he wants them to be ‘a team’ and that’s what the fans want and what they deserve. I think that’s all they desire sometimes the Leeds fans and I think you can get away with getting beat if you put the work in. I think the real first acid test for Hockaday will be the Mansfield game and then I know they are playing Swindon Town and Dundee United before the season starts. They will be even tougher tests as they will be two good sides to play against. They are the sort of teams you want to play closer to the start of the season because you want to be playing good teams and Swindon and Dundee will play good sides because you will want to be at virtual maximum capacity then. But you don’t want to burn yourself out, obviously, and you want to have something left in the tank for the first Championship game which is going be a tough one! Playing away at Millwall, I could think of better starts as you are not only playing the 11 on the pitch but you are playing the partisan crowd who will be there. It’s a very, very partisan atmosphere as I well know having played there and managed, too. That’s going to be a real tough test for them that first game. Now we’ll just wait and see who else comes in to the side as I read that Massimo Cellino is talking about up to another six recruits. But from my point of view I hope that there’s maybe one or two players that are maybe from over here and that they are not all foreign imports as I think that can sometimes cause a problem. I’m sure that Dave will have his input into those and that’s what he needs. He knows what the deficiencies are and where he needs to strengthen so I’m sure there will be good players that come in. But it’s about them getting gelled isn’t it? It’s about getting them together for that first game of the season

Sat 19th of July. United finalise Berardi signing – LUFC official website. Leeds United have completed the signing of Switzerland international defender Gaetano Berardi for an undisclosed fee from Serie A side Sampdoria, subject to international clearance. The 25-year-old, who can play at right and left-back, arrives at Elland Road having signed a two-year deal with the club. The defender started his career with Italian side Brescia, where he made more than 100 appearances. During his time with the Italian side he won promotion when Brescia won the 2010 Serie B Play-Offs. In January 2012 he moved to Sampdoria and once again helped his club secure promotion to Serie B through a successful Play-Offs campaign. The defender also has international caps to his name after playing for the Switzerland Under-20s, Under-21s and he made his full senior international debut in August 2011. The defender is United’s fifth signing of the summer following the arrival of goalkeeping duo Marco Silvestri and Stuart Taylor, midfielder Tommaso Bianchi and striker Souleymane Doukara.


Berardi completes move eventually

Friday 18th. More news. The new sheriff in town has announced that Nile Ranger will not be joining Leeds United (thank God) and that he closed the canteen for a couple of days to teach the players a valuable lesson. He claims to have a 15M budget for players outside of the 10.75M received for McCormack. Lets’ hope he starts spending it then. The McCormack money he alleges will be used towards repurchasing Elland Road. He has enquired of the council for land near Elland Road to build a new training ground, no doubt playing hard ball for a better deal to buy Thorp Arch.

Friday 18th Berardi completes move to Leeds. Gaetano Berardi has completes his move to Leeds United by signing a two year contract with the option of a third year. According to Cellino he is a “7/10 player, mostly good not often outstanding but very reliable who can play midfield or left back or right back”. Italian journalist, Ema Giuilanelli say : “This boy is excellent”. 
Friday 18th of July Leeds United join Bournemouth in chase to sign Max Gradel – Football world Leeds United have joined AFC Bournemouth in the raceMadMax to sign Saint-Ettiene winger Max Gradel, according to FLW sources. Leeds and Bournemouth are targetting Gradel. The Yorkshire club are targetting a move for the former Leeds winger, and are ready to battle AFC Bournemouth for his signature. The 26-year-old left Elland Road for French side Saint-Etienne in 2011 for an undisclosed fee. Gradel, who has a year left on his contract with Saint-Etienne, came close to joining West Ham United in January. The Elland Road outfit are eager to add some depth and pace to their midfield and see Gradel as an ideal addition to the squad. Dave Hockaday’s side have already signed four players, following the signings of Tommaso Bianchi, Marco Silvestri, Stuart Taylor and Souleymane Doukara.
Friday 18th of July “The town has a new sheriff says Cellino” Phil Hay. Leeds United’s colourful owner Massimo Cellino talks to Phil Hay about his first 101 days in charge of the Elland Road club. This is Leeds and in the words of Massimo Cellino, it’s his town now. Leeds United’s owner is buying a house in the north of the city and his wife intends to move in from Miami. His daughter has chosen to leave university in New York to continue her studies in the north of England. “The town has a new sheriff,” Cellino says, and in the case of Leeds United he’s right. It is months and years since the city’s only professional football club was run with the authority the Italian exerts. Cellino’s way has shed tears and jobs, deconstructing the business he bought in April, but this way is his and his alone. And so, 101 days on from his takeover, Cellino thinks he can see “light coming from the sky.” The relief is understandable. Of all the cost-cutting carried out through the summer, no saving mattered more than the deal reached in the past few weeks with Gulf Finance House, the Bahraini bank who sold Leeds to Cellino shortly before the end of last season. On top of a purchase price of £11m, Cellino agreed to service a debt of £24m built up during GFH’s time as majority shareholder at Elland Road. Much of the money was owed to GFH itself or associates of the bank. Cellino took issue with that debt when the state of the club became clear and his message to the bank’s officials was simple – either compromise or prepare for a fight. Under the terms of a new agreement between them, GFH is understood to be willing to wipe out half of the debt immediately and take repayment of the remaining money if and when Leeds are promoted to the Premier League. It effectively frees United and Cellino of scheduled lump sums originally due to be paid by December 2017, one as high as £6.5m. GFH remains as a minority shareholder with Cellino’s blessing, a potential point of conflict resolved for now. “We’ve fixed the past with GFH,” Cellino says. “They understand now that their 25 per cent is worth something and they understand too that they have to do something here. “I told them: ‘I don’t want to fight with you but are we partners or not?’ They’ve realised that we’re partners. I’ll take my money, they take theirs, we start again. I’m very happy. “With GFH I was ready to fight them but they didn’t want to fight because they’re happy with my work. We found a way to get peace and we’ll work for Leeds. There’s no issue.” They said at Cagliari, the Serie A club which Cellino owned for 22 years, that he always got his way in the end. Or more truthfully, he always followed his own mind. Leeds have seen the same attitude and the same single-mindedness. Cellino was briefly rattled by the reaction to his attempt to sack former manager Brian McDermott in January – “supporters wanted to kick my arse but we were going down and I wanted to shake the place up” – but he has rarely allowed himself to be swayed since: dismissing staff, temporarily closing United’s training ground, appointing the little-known David Hockaday as head coach (an appointment made in the face of fierce scepticism) and looking to the continent for most of his signings. In all it amounts to major procedural change at a club where Cellino felt change was essential. At the time of his buy-out, he says Leeds were costing £125,000 a day to run, of which £70,000 was essentially losses. A reduced wage bill and substantial cuts are starting to reign the expenditure in. “This club is going to have more quiet time and less problems now,” Cellino says. “And the people who used to rip the club off, they’re going to stop. I’ll protect the club from everyone – including myself. “For the first time in 12 years, this club wants to go to the Premier League but it doesn’t need to go to the Premier League. That’s my message. We might have to suffer a little bit but in my life I never saw anything good or important without hard work. “We have to work hard and face pain to get to the Premier League but we don’t need to go there to pay wages or debts. We’re not plagued with that desperation. The debts are paid, or they’re going to be paid.” Over the weeks, Cellino has counted his victories. In only one situation has he been forced to concede defeat – the sale of club captain Ross McCormack – and even then he succeeded in pulling in a huge sum from Fulham. Cellino says the fee for McCormack was £10.75m and will be put towards the repurchase of Elland Road, rather than new players for a Championship season which starts on August 9. “We already had our budget for players,” he says. “We had a £15m budget to buy players and we’re doing that. The money from Ross is not for that. It’s for Elland Road. McCormack’s money, we mustn’t waste. If we buy a few players more because I suddenly feel rich then I can’t buy the stadium anymore. No – we buy the stadium. I’ll buy players anyway.” Cellino maintains that McCormack was an asset he wanted to keep. At the very least, he wanted to avoid selling him to another Championship club – “15 goals a season to one of our competitors.” “I’m still p***ed off about McCormack,” Cellino says. “If I was working just for Massimo Cellino, believe me, I would not have sold for one billion pounds. “For a while I was keeping him for my satisfaction, to show him I was stronger than him. Then someone asked me ‘are you not selling him for the good of Leeds or just to show that you’re stronger than him?’ I had to do what was right for Leeds. So I told Fulham ‘okay, you say £10m, I say £11m.’ And we sold.” The fee raised from McCormack’s departure, minus 15 per cent owed to Cardiff through a sell-on clause, equates to around two thirds of the cost of repurchasing Elland Road. The buy-back clause which Leeds hold over the stadium – and which increases annually – currently stands at £16m. Cellino says he will exercise the clause by November, via a mortgage if a bank will lend to him or in straight cash if not. “If we have a mortgage, instead of paying £1.6m a year in rent we pay £600,000 on the mortgage,” he says. “But there is no bank in Leeds that will give us a mortgage. What’s the risk? If we’re paying £1.6m in rent, how can we not afford £600,000 a year? “The money we have we might need to renovate the stadium, to make a new stand, to clean it up or do something else nice. But by November, we’ll buy the stadium. If we have to pay cash then we will. The money is there. And I won’t go to the city of Manchester for a mortgage. I won’t give them the money. I’d prefer to pay cash. Because I’m Leeds, Leeds, Leeds.” His commitment to owning Elland Road is not shared with Thorp Arch, United’s training ground near Wetherby. Cellino says he has spoken to the local council in Leeds about two or three different pieces of land which could house a new complex in future.He is rumoured to be looking at an area on Kirkstall Road, a stone’s throw from Elland Road. On one hand, he wants the players closer to home. On the other, he wants to free the club of the £600,000 rent United pay each year to use Thorp Arch. To sit with Cellino is to watch a man juggling countless balls. He has advisors around him – financier Andrew Umbers and Graham Bean, formerly of the FA but no chief executive or managing director. Besides core business matters, he is in the thick of United’s transfer dealings and keenly aware of Hockaday’s day-to-day work. He went to Italy last week to watch the second game of United’s pre-season tour – a game which was cancelled at short notice – and has sharp, personal views on each of head coach Hockaday’s first team players. “I didn’t buy a big club here,” Cellino says. “I bought the biggest club in England. You understand? This club has been 12 years in the s**t but I have this chance to do something good. I’m going to die but I’m going to do something good as well. You know how many people have come here asking to buy this club in the last 40 days? Four. Big companies. I told them I wouldn’t sell for 100 billion. They said ‘for 1 billion, you will.’“I tried to explain to them, what is going to change if I sell for one billion? I don’t have time to drink a glass of water so if I have one billion, so what? One kilo of caviar, 100 kilos of caviar…I’ll work for my soul and the satisfaction of bringing this club back. How much is that worth? There’s no price.”
Friday 18th of July Sampdoria’s Berardi on brink of sealing move – P Hay Sampdoria right-back Gaetano Berardi is on the brink of sealing a move to Leeds United after linking up with the club’s squad at Thorp Arch. Berardi – a 25-year-old Swiss international – is understood to have taken part in a training session today ahead of his proposed move from Serie A. United have been working to finalise his sale from Sampdoria for the past week and he flew into England yesterday as his transfer edged towards completion. Reports in Italy say Berardi will sign on a two-year deal with the option of a third year when his initial contract expires in 2016. He is poised to become Leeds’ fifth new addition this summer, following Stuart Taylor, Marco Silvestri, Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara to Elland Road. Speaking about Berardi yesterday, United owner Massimo Cellino said: “He’s a good guy. “I’m offering less money than Sampdoria, he’s playing in Serie A and played 150 times in Serie A, and he’s a national team player but he’s wants to come. “The agent of Berardi is a good friend of mine. He (Berardi) said he wanted to go to Cellino in England. I said ‘how much do you want?’ and offered less. If you’re good, you’ll get a bonus. You have to show me that you want to come here, not for money. “When you sign players, you can always raise the wage. You can never lower the wage. So if you trust yourself then trust me. I’m not going to take advantage.” United, however, appear to have backed away from the option of adding English left-back Andre


Cellino saying he will bring in “double figure” quantity of signings

Gaetano Berardi (born 21 August 1988- Age 25 and 5 feet 10) is an ItalianSwiss footballer. He currently plays for Italy Serie A club Sampdoria as a right-back. He is a Switzerland international. Berardi started his career at Swiss club Lugano‘s youth team. In the summer of 2005, he was signed by Serie B side Brescia. Berardi made his professional debut on 30 June 2007, in a winning away game against Pescara (1–3). In his first season, Berardi made 10 appearances in all competitions under the management of Serse Cosmi. The 2008/09 season Berardi was used in 26 Serie B games. Before finally becoming a first team regular in Giuseppe Iachini team during the 2009/10 season, Brescia earned promotion to Serie A after beating Torino in the Serie B playoff’s. Berardi made his Serie A debut on 12 September 2010 in a 3-2 victory against Palermo. Berardi made 26 starts for Brescia in Serie A however Brescia were relegated at the end of the season. On 12 January 2012, Berardi linked up with is former Brescia manager Giuseppe Iachini who signed him for Sampdoria. He made his debut in a 2-1 victory against Padova on the 14 January. At the end of the 2011/12 season, Berardi gained his second promotion to Serie A after winning the Serie B playoff’s beating A.S. Varese 1910 4-2 on aggregate in the 2 legged playoff final. The following season in Serie A, despite stiff competition from Italian international Lorenzo De Silvestri, Berardi made 21 appearances in Serie A during the 2012/13 season. However, with Sampdoria appointing Siniša Mihajlovic in charge in November 2013, Berardi lost his place in the team and only made 5 Serie A appearances during the 2013/14 season. Berardi debuted for the Switzerland U21 football team against Greece U21 on 19 November 2008. Gaetano Berardi play his first match for Switzerland against Liechtenstein on 10 August 2011. Career : 2006–2011 Brescia 105 (0) Goals, 2012– Sampdoria 35 (0) Goals 2013/15 Sampdoria 5 (0) Honours : Sampdoria Serie B Playoff Winners 2011/12 (Promoted) Brescia Serie B Playoff Winners 2009/10(Promoted). International Career –2008–2011 20 Caps (0) Goals 2011 Full Caps 1 (0) Blackman to their squad full-time. Blackman – a former Arsenal trainee who was with non-league Maidenhead United last season – joined Leeds on trial in June and feature in their pre-season tour of Italy, used in a more attacking role by head coach David Hockaday. But the 23-year-old did not attend Thorp Arch for training yesterday or today and looks unlikely to land a contract.

Friday July 18th. Cellino pledge on Leeds squad – P Hay Massimo Cellino has revealed that Leeds United’s summer signings were likely to run into double figures as he waited on the completion of a deal for Sampdoria’s Gaetano Berardi. In a lengthy interview with the YEP, the United owner said he planned to bring another “five or six” new players to Elland Road on top of the four already signed by the Championship club. His comments pointed to a major overhaul of the squad at Leeds and a sweeping response to the club’s mediocre performance in the Championship last season, a season in which they finished 15th. United have already signed goalkeepers Marco Silvestri and Stuart Taylor, midfielder Tommaso Bianchi and forward Souleymane Doukara, and Cellino confirmed that an offer for Sampdoria’s Berardi was virtually in place. The right-back, a Switzerland international, has been made available by Sampdoria and Carlo Osti, the Serie A club’s sporting director, appeared to indicate that a deal was done on Wednesday night, saying: “Berardi will go to Leeds.” Cellino said: “Berardi I haven’t signed yet but I hope to. He’s a good guy. “I’m offering less money than Sampdoria, he’s playing in Serie A and played 150 times in Serie A, and he’s a national team player but he’s wants to come. me. I’m not going to take advantage.” United have opted against the option of taking Brazilian defender Rodrigo Ely from AC Milan. Ely is moving on loan to Serie B side Avellino but Leeds are continue to chase Federico Viviani, Roma’s 22-year-old midfielder. Viviani’s agent told the YEP earlier this week that Viviani had a spate of offers from Serie A clubs to consider but Nicola Salerno, the former Cagliari sporting director who has joined Cellino at Leeds, was quoted tonight as saying: “We have good chances to take Viviani but the deal isn’t done yet”. Leeds have just three weeks to finalise their senior squad for the opening game of the Championship term, away to Millwall, but Cellino said: “We’ll sign another five or six. We need that. I don’t want to say names because you test your luck. “We’ve got more than 50 games next season and we need players, good players. We were missing that last season.” Cellino has made just one addition from the English league – keeper Taylor on a free transfer from Reading – and he said his current lack of knowledge about English players and the cost of signing domestic talent was likely to see further arrivals from abroad. “I’m just starting in British football,” he said. “I try to understand the best players over here but I don’t know much about them because you need time to watch games. “I love British players but if a forward scores 26 goals in France, he costs me four million euros. Here, they ask me for £9m. “At Cagliari we looked at players from France, Sweden, Germany, Argentina and Brazil but most of them I didn’t think were right to play in the Championship. Because here the players are like Vikings. They’re going to kill the other guy! So I need to decide which players have the right skills but are also strong enough to play in England. This is high-level, physical football.”
Friday 17th of July Cellino to keep Smith and bring in extra striker to “help Morison and Hunt” – YP Millwall’s chances of signing Matt Smith from Leeds United appeared to weaken last night as United owner Massimo Cellino played down the possibility of the striker leaving Elland Road. Cellino described Smith as a “nice player” who was “growing” at Leeds amid reports from London indicating that Millwall are ready to move on from their pursuit of the 25-year-old. Millwall had an initial offer for Smith rejected by Cellino last month and United are believed to have given the Bermondsey club, who they play on the first day of the new season, no encouragement over the past few weeks. Leeds are already working to compensate for the loss of Ross McCormack, the 29-goal striker who recently moved to Fulham in an £11million transfer, and a deal to sell Smith would cost the club a forward who scored 13 times last season. The former Oldham Athletic played has only one year left on his contract but Cellino said he would be staying with United next season along with the experienced pair of Steve Morison and Noel Hunt. Cellino said: “Smith is growing, he’s a nice player and I think he wants to stay. “A new forward is coming to help (Steve) Morison, (Noel) Hunt and Smith.”
Weds 16th of July. Leeds chase Roma player. Leeds United have been in contact with Roma about a potential move for midfielder Federico Viviani, the player’s agent has confirmed. Viviani, who has 10 Italy Under 21 caps to his name, has been heavily linked to the West Yorkshire club amid an influx of summer arrivals from Italian football. The 22-year-old had loan spells in Serie B with Pescara and Latina during the last campaign and is expected to depart the Stadio Olimpico after making just nine first-team appearances in all competitions since his 2011 debut. However, agent Giovanni Ferro confirmed that Leeds would face competition from a number of top-flight Italian sides for his signature. We are speaking with Leeds United but the player has a lot of interest from Italian Serie A clubs,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “We’ll take a decision in the near future.” Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, midfielder Tommaso Bianchi and striker Souleymane Doukara have already completed moves to Elland Road from Italian clubs, with further additions expected in time for the start of the new Championship season. Former Arsenal stopper Stuart Taylor has also penned a deal with the Whites, while controversial former Newcastle forward Nile Ranger is understood to have been offered the chance to go on trial this summer. eanwhile, Sampdoria full-back Gaetano Berardi is reported to be nearing a switch as president Massimo Cellino continues his rebuilding of the club. David Hockaday’s men have just returned from a two-week pre-season training camp in northern Italy and are set to play their first friendly on home soil away to local side Guiseley on June 19. Weds July 16th. LUSC Officials support Haigh. Prominent members of the Leeds United Supporters Club have sent a message of support to David Haigh, the former United managing director who has been under arrest in Dubai for two months. Chairman Ray Fell and three other senior figures at the Supporters Club – Phil Beeton, Dave Gaertner and Chris Hall – said Haigh’s imprisonment over allegations of fraud had left them “upset, dismayed and angry at the treatment apparently afforded to you.”Haigh was detained in Dubai on May 18 and has been held without charge for the past nine weeks following claims by GFH Capital, United’s former owner, that he embezzled almost £3m during his time as the company’s deputy chief executive. The 36-year-old denies any wrongdoing but remains in jail after a court set the cost of bail at close to £4m. Haigh’s global assets were frozen last month as prosecutors in Dubai investigated the matter. GFH Capital has launched a civil case against him in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Court but no criminal charges have yet been brought. Haigh was a key figure behind GFH Capital’s takeover of Leeds in 2012 and he worked as the club’s managing director until April of this year, leaving his post after Massimo Cellino’s buy-out of Leeds. He held the position of deputy chief executive at GFH Capital until February. Haigh attended a Supporters Club meeting shortly before resigning from his post at Elland Road and in a letter to him, the four LUSC officials said:The ongoing reports of your detention leave your friends within LUSC upset, dismayed and angry at the treatment apparently afforded to you. “Whilst we are in no position to comment on the accusations levelled at you (or not!) to be detained for so long with, apparently, no charges being levelled seems to be totally at odds with what we are accustomed to as UK citizens. “We continue to hope that you are given the earliest possible opportunity to present your case to the appropriate authorities to enable not only justice to be done, but seen to be done. Whilst not representing LUSC as an organisation, we the undersigned officials would like to offer our individual support to you in your current plight, and assure you that our thoughts are with you.” GFH Capital accuses Haigh of creating false invoices and arranging payment of money to bank accounts unconnected to the firms charging for services. Speaking to the BBC last month, GFH Capital senior executive office Jinesh Patel said: “We had no intention of having anybody incarcerated or having him in a condition that is going to have him in an uncomfortable position. “Our plan and our aim is to get recovery of the assets that have been fraudulently taken from GFH Capital. The fact that the Dubai authorities are doing their job very, very well and are undertaking due process is out of our hands. We can’t control that process.” Haigh’s supporters say he is innocent and being denied access to funds and information needed to defend himself properly. It was reported last week that two publishers, including one in the UK, are looking to approach Haigh with book deals. Tues July 16th. Leeds are targeting Hudson – HITC. Mark Hudson, 32, has been at Cardiff City since 2009 and has amassed 141 appearances during his time at the Bluebirds, also scoring 11 goals. Leeds have switched their attention to Hudson after deciding not to sign Sassuolo defender Jonathan Rossini. Hudson has signed a new deal with the Welsh club to keep him there until 2015, however he could find playing time hard to get under Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. Leeds sporting director Nicola Salerno has said he wants to implement a British core into the Yorkshire club, and bringing in Hudson would certainly fill that criteria.
Tues July 15th Other current links. Phil Hay has tweeted the following : Journalists in Italy confirming that Leeds have enquired about AC Milan’s Rodrigo Ely and Zan Benedicic. Gone no further yet. Seems certain now that Giuseppe Bellusci won’t join #lufc. Terms agreed with Catania but Leeds are unwilling to meet his wage demands. Another player who Leeds are keeping an eye on is Sebastian Eriksson of Cagliari. Currently injured though
Tues July 15th. Leeds chase Sebastian Eriksson. Sebastion Eriksson (born 31 January 1989 – Age 25 and 6 feet 1) is a Swedish footballer who plays for Cagliari in Serie A as a midfielder. He is currently in contract talks with Leeds United and is heavily rumoured to be joining the Yorkshire side as well as several other Cagliari Calcio players..[1] While at IFK Göteborg, he earned five international caps for Sweden, starting with a 1–0 friendly away win against Oman on 20 January 2010. He played two more friendlies in a tour of southern Africa in January 2011, and his last two appearances at the Cyprus International Tournament in February of that year.[2] 2007–2012 IFK Göteborg 81 apps (5) gls,2011–2012 Cagliari (loan) 1 app (0). International Career Sweden – 2008-2010 16 Caps (0) Gls Full Caps – Sweden – 5 (0)


Nile Ranger looking for contract with Leeds (bad news everywhere he has been)

Tues July 15th Ranger to get chance with Leeds. Leeds United are ready to offer Nile Ranger the chance to train with the club, Sky Sports understands. The 23-year-old is currently a free agent after leaving Swindon Town at the end of last season, mainly due to disciplinary problems and off-field issues. The former Newcastle United striker has been dogged by controversy throughout his career after making his professional debut five years ago. But Sky sources have been told that Leeds head coach Dave Hockaday and his assistant Junior Lewis are ready to take a look a Ranger in the coming weeks with a view to possibly signing him. Ranger, who is a former England youth international, scored seven times in 19 appearances for Swindon last season. So we are going to give a clown who wasn’t good enough for Swindown Town the chance to replace a guy who scored 28 league goals last season. Interesting !


Berardi in action with Roma

Tues July 15th. Berardi to become signing number five. Leeds set to make Gaetano Berardi their fifth signing of the summer, claim reports Leeds United’s attempts to rebuild their squad this summer have continued apace, with the Elland Road club expected to make Sampdoria full-back Gaetano Berardi their fifth signing of the summer, according to Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Evening Post. The Yorkshire club are hoping to improve on their performance last year, which saw them finish in mid-table. New head coach Dave Hockaday has been handed a series of new talents plucked from the contact book of new sporting director Nicolas Salerno, a close confidant of owner Massimo Cellino. Cellino sold Italian Serie A side Cagliari this summer to take charge of Leeds. Berardi would be expected to join the likes of Sam Byram, Charlie Taylor and Stephen Warnock as options at full-back. Byram was initially considered a huge prospect after a breakout season, but injuries hampered him last year. eeds’s pre-season descended into farce at the weekend as their Romanian opposition failed to turn up for a scheduled match. Two Leeds sides played each other instead for the entertainment of the fans that had travelled to Val Gardena to watch them. 

Tues July 15th. The Italian view of Leeds three new signigs – Phil Hay Leeds United’s players arrived back from their tour of Italy yesterday talking positively about the intensity of their training camp but the football played during two weeks in the Dolomites did little to showcase the true ability of the new faces who flew home with them. A record-breaking rout of a local amateur team and an 11-a-side match arranged at short notice after opponents from Romania failed to show up were games on which nothing could be gauged beyond the fitness of United’s squad but five domestic friendlies between now and August 2 will shed light on the foreign signings made in the past fortnight. The club’s pool of senior professionals was three heavier on the flight home than it had been when they travelled from Manchester to Verona on June 30, increased by players whose profiles have grown immeasurably in Yorkshire since they finalised transfers to Elland Road. United made English goalkeeper Stuart Taylor their first signing of the summer but Marco Silvestri, Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara are better examples of how United’s approach the transfer market has changed. That approach is driven by Massimo Cellino and unashamedly so. The recruits are players he has either previously taken to Cagliari – as in the case of goalkeeper Silvestri – or found reason to admire during his years as a club owner in the Italian leagues. All three met his requirements and accepted an invitation to play in England for the first time. United’s five home-based friendlies, starting at Guiseley on Saturday, should demonstrate how well they are likely to meet the requirements of the English game. Doukara is the youngest of the three at 22 – a versatile forward who was born in Paris but played professionally in Italy alone. Rovigo and Vibonese, two small, lower-league sides, were his first clubs but he joined Catania in 2012 at a time when the Sicilian team held a place in Serie A. Catania blooded him cautiously without ever cutting him loose. His time on the pitch in the 2012-13 season amounted to 270 minutes or thereabouts – the equivalent of three full appearances – and Juve Stabia, a Serie B club, took him on loan in September 2013. Doukara played 17 times and scored six goals but Juve Stabia were rapidly relegated with 19 points. Renato Maisani, assistant editor of in Italy, said Doukara was more comfortable as a winger than a centre-forward and at his best as one of the wide attackers in a front three. He described Doukara as “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” and said the youngster appeared to have found his level during his loan at Juve Stabia. “When I watch him during friendlies or training he seems to be a very good player but during official matches he struggles,” Maisani said. “Perhaps because he is young. “Last season on loan at Juve Stabia, especially when the team was virtually relegated, he coped very well. This maybe confirms that he suffered from pressure (at Catania). Serie B is surely more suited to his talent. “But in England he could make a good impression because English football is closer to his abilities. He is physically strong but he’s also quick. He misses too many chances but I think he can improve, especially his killer instinct.” There is a common theme between Doukara, Silvestri, Bianchi and others who Cellino has identified as potential signings. The majority are, or were, Serie A players with no real or immediate prospects at their Italian clubs. Silvestri is a well-regarded keeper, a former Italy Under-21 international, who signed for Cagliari on loan from Chievo while Cellino ran Cagliari last season. Aged 23 and 6’3″ tall, he was permanently trapped behind other, more experienced options at Chievo and completed loans at Padova and Reggiana before coming to Cellino’s attention. Silvestri was, in Cellino’s mind, a must-have player this summer and a preferred replacement for Paddy Kenny, United’s first choice for the past two years but a keeper who is out on the cold and missed the club’s pre-season tour. Silvestri’s transfer was set in motion in the early stages of June and the fee paid to Chievo last week is thought to have been in the region of £400,000. Vincenzo Sardu, a Sardinian-based reporter, predicted that Silvestri would thrive over the course of a four-year contract at Leeds, a deal which will take him beyond his 27th birthday. “Silvestri is a great goalkeeper,” Sardu said. “He needs time and patience and but has good technical qualities. “He’s courageous, he’s got good reactions and has quite discreet but explosive power. Of course he’s very young and he must have time to grow but I think in Championship he’ll get by quite well.” Bianchi’s experience, while largely gained in Serie B, is in a different league to that of Doukara and Silvestri. Between Piacenza, Modena and Sassuolo – the club who Leeds signed him from on a four-year deal – he amassed almost 200 appearances. Bianchi became an Italian Under-21 international against Wales in 2009, named in a squad which also included Mario Balotelli and Federico Macheda, though he failed to sustain his international involvement for long. United’s head coach, David Hockaday, portrayed Bianchi as an attacking midfielder, saying he could “play on the left, on the right, in the number 10 role and he can score goals.” Journalist Emanuele Giulianelli, who has watched Bianchi for several years, said the lifelong Inter Milan fan was taken on by Sassuolo in 2011 at a time when the club were showing themselves to be a “very ambitious side in Serie B.” “When Sassuolo gained promotion to Serie A, the central midfield was made up of Francesco Magnanelli and Tommaso Bianchi,” Giulianelli said. “Of the two midfielders, Bianchi had more quality. Despite of his young age, he always showed good personality and last season he played as a real leader for Modena in Serie B, scoring three goals in 38 appearances and getting to the play-offs for promotion. “The fact that Cellino decided to buy him and sign him to a long contract shows how much he believes in Tommaso. He’s a silent leader in midfield with all the features to be a key man. He likes to play in an offensive team and he has enough quality to be very suited to English football.” Leeds expected to complete a fourth foreign signing last week but a deal to take defender Jonathan Rossini on loan from Sassuolo collapsed over the weekend amid concerns about the Swiss centre-back’s fitness and suggestions that he was reluctant to leave Italy. Cellino claimed Rossini “didn’t have the right attitude to join Leeds” and Rossini gave his own explanation in a statement, saying: “With deep regret I am unable to accept a transfer to this prestigious club, of which I would be honoured to be a part. “The reasons are strictly personal and do not relate to contractual issues nor approval of the destination.”
Tues 15th July Leeds miss out on Andrea Petagna. Leeds United target Andrea Petagna has opted for a move to Lazio, according to reports in Italy. AC Milan’s Petagna had been identified as a potential replacement for Ross McCormack, after the striker left to join Fulham last week, but is set to stay in Italy. The 19-year-old, who has played twice for Milan’s first-team in his burgeoning career so far, is expected to complete a move to Lazio later today. Tues 15th July Leeds will not rush in to signings. David Hockaday insists that Leeds United will not be tempted to rush into transfers after receiving an influx of money for Ross McCormack.McCormack left the club for Fulham for a fee of £11 million, but the Whites are determined to ensure that they identify the correct targets before spending any of the income raised from the sale. I’ve said before that Leeds had some good players here last season and a number of them have gone including Ross,” Hockaday explained. From my point of view, if we need to replace them we will replace them and we’ll do that as quickly as we can, but we won’t panic and we won’t do anything silly. “We might have to show patience in some positions and some things might move quicker than others but it’s one of those things where if there’s a gap to fill we’ll fill it properly and professionally, but if needs patience we’ll show patience.” Leeds have already bought in four players so far this summer, but are widely expected to add even more new additions to the squad before the transfer-window concludes. Tues July 15th. Rossini “regret” about not joining Leeds. Swiss international Jonathan Rossini has expressed his deep regret after not joining Leeds United. The Sassuolo defender looked set to complete a move to Elland Road at the weekend after spending three days training with the squad in Italy but Leeds pulled the plug on the deal with owner Massimo Cellino saying he didn`t feel Rossini showed enough desire to win a deal.  Rossini has come out and thanked the club for giving him the chance. Rossini told, , ‘I feel the need to thank Leeds United and the figures of president Cellino and sporting director Nicola Salerno for the proposal and for the hospitality received in the retreat in recent days.’ ‘With deep regret I am unable to accept a transfer to this prestigious club of which I would be honoured to be a part.’ ‘The reasons are strictly personal and do not relate to contractual issues nor approval of the destination.’ ‘I sincerely wish Leeds good luck with the hope that our paths will cross again in the future.` Leeds let him go realising how unfit he was when he turned up. Any idiot would have known this having studied his playing time over this past two seasons.
  Sunday July 14th Smith thanks the fans. -United striker Matt Smith says that the clubs supporters are an “absolute credit to themselves and the club.” Around 200 supporters made the trip for Sunday evening’s scheduled match with Viitorul Constanta, only for the Romanian side not to turn up. United played a Leeds XI versus a Leeds XI match for the supporters and Matt tweeted after the game his appreciation for the club’s travelling fans. “Gutted about tonight. Safe trip home to all the travelling fans. An absolute credit to yourselves and the club. Unbelievable support as per,” tweeted the striker. He also mentioned how the last two weeks in Italy have gone. “Well, that was a tough 2 weeks! Wow. Mentally and physically the hardest training camp of my life, but getting fitter and stronger. Now, home.” Noel Hunt Tweets : “Whats that I see!Light at the end of the preseason tour tunnel! Hardest 2 weeks on my football life but its all good!”


Audstin slots home penalty


Bianchi in action

Sunday July 14th. Romanians no-show for friendly in Italy. United’s friendly match with Viitorul Constanta was called off due to the Romanian side failing to show up. The two sides were due to meet at Mulin De Coi for a scheduled match on Sunday at 5pm local time. But United acted quickly and decided to play a Leeds XI against a Leeds XI. One United selection wore the white home kit while the opposing XI wore the gold away strip. This was for fitness reasons but mainly for the travelling United supporters that turned up to watch the friendly contest Leeds XI: Whites: Silvestri, Byram, Pearce, Killock, C Taylor, Murphy, Bianchi, Norris, Cook, Smith, Walters. Leeds XI: Blue/Gold: S Taylor (Cairns), Thompson, Lees, Skelton (Blackman – trialist), Warnock, Tonge, Austin, White, Hunt, Morison, Poleon (Dawson). David Hockaday’s men played three 20 mintues games and it was the Leeds XI in blue and gold take took the spoils. The whites took an early lead when Matt Smith opened the scoring but the golds were levelled when Steve Morison turned home a cross. Then after Noel Hunt was fouled in the box Rudy Austin put his side ahead, for Hunt to then turn goalscorer when he headed home a Zac Thompson cross with just minutes remaining. During the game United’s new signing Souleymane Doukara was put through his paces by the club’s fitness and conditioning coach.


Rossinino won’t be signing

Sunday July 14th. Leeds turn down chance to sign Rossini. The club can confirm that Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini has left United’s training base in Italy as the club have opted not to sign him. The defender trained with United for three days in Italy and after talks with Rossini the club have allowed him to return to his parent club Sassuolo. United owner Massimo Cellino said: “We want special players at Leeds United. Rossini didn’t show enough during the three days he trained with the rest of the team. “After speaking to him it is clear that he didn’t have the right attitude to join Leeds, so we have allowed him to leave.”


Doukara signs on loan with a view to a permanent deal

Sat 12th. Striker signs on loan – LUFC official website. Catania striker Souleymane Doukara has joined the club on loan for the 2014/15 season, with a view to a permanent deal at the end of the campaign. The France born Senegalese forward spent last season on loan at Juve Stabia in Serie B making 20 appearances, scoring six goals in the process. Doukara, who can also operate as a winger, has experience in Italy’s top league with his parent club which came during the 2012/13 season. The 22-year-old striker is United’s fourth new arrival of the summer and head coach David Hockaday said: “I’d like to welcome Souleymane to Leeds United. “He is a big, powerful and fast player with a hunger to succeed. He is exactly what we need at the club.” – Scroll down further for full career details on the player.


Baianchi with his new Leeds shirt

Sat 12th Bianchi signs –  LUFC website Leeds United have completed the signing of Italian midfielder Tommaso Bianchi for an undisclosed fee from Serie A side Sassuolo, subject to international clearance. The 25-year-old, who is a former Italy Under-21, arrives at Elland Road having signed a four year deal with the club. During his time with Sassuolo the midfielder achieved promotion to Serie A after the side won Serie B at the end of the 2013-14 season.  Bianchi’s former clubs also include Piacenza and Modena, he also appeared for the Italy Under-19s and Under-20s. The midfielder is United’s third signing of the summer following the arrival of goalkeeping duo Marco Silvestri and Stuart Taylor. United head coach David Hockaday said: “Tommaso can play on the left, on the right, in the number 10 role and he can score goals. “In the last three seasons he has been involved in teams pushing for promotion. He was twice been beaten in the Play-Offs but more importantly he won automatic promotion into Serie A. So the last three seasons have been positive for Tommaso. “He is hungry, young and he is everything that we are about. He has a great technic and he is another player that we delighted to welcome to Elland Road.” The 2014/15 Home Shirt that new signing Tommaso Bianchi will wear when the season kicks off on Saturday 9 August  is on sale now! Get yours today from the Elland Road Superstore or click here to shop online! For full career details on Tomasso Bianchi scroll further down.

Sat July 12th. Leeds chase AC Milan player. Leeds United are preparing a move for AC Milan striker Andrea Petagna. according to Leeds Vital Football. Leeds are targeting Petagna. The 19-year-old has come through the Milan youth system, and has represented Italy all the way up to Under-19 level. Petagna’s Andrea-Petagna-Sampdoria-300x180agent Giuseppe Riso told Calcio News: ‘I know Leeds president Cellino is interested. ‘There’s interest from Cesena technical director Rino Foschi and for us that is a source of pride. But, as mentioned, his future may not even be in Italy.” The striker signed a five-year-deal with the Serie A club last summer, however was shipped out on loan to fellow Serie A club Sampdoria. The San Siro club are prepared to let Petagna go out on loan to acquire some first-team experience, and Leeds United are interested in a deal for him

Sunday July 13th. No bid for Hogan – LUFC Official website. The club would like to confirm that no approach has been made for Rochdale’s Scott Hogan. Recently the media have reported that a bid from United made been rejected by the League One club but there is no truth in these rumours. The club will make no further comment on this matter. Saturday July 12th. Rochdale reject offer for Scott Hogan. Rochdale according to Sky Sports have rejected an offer from Leeds United for their striker Scott Hogan. Hogan would have played and scored against us in the cup last season. Another cheap option of replacing Ross McCormack. Wolves had an offer of 1M rejected for the striker last season. We still have Hunt, Morrison, Poleon, Smith, and Doukara and not one of them what you would call prolific.


Hogan scoring for Preston

Scott Andrew Hogan (born 13 April 1992) is a footballer who plays for Rochdale as a Striker or as a Winger. Born in Salford, and aged 22, Hogan began his career as a student at Salford College, playing in their Football Academy first team, before moving onto Rochdale‘s youth academy, and was promoted to first team in 2010, but was released without making a first-team appearance May 2011.[2] Following his release from Rochdale, he joined Stockport Sports, but after only a month at the club, Hogan signed with F.C. Halifax Town in August 2011,[3] and made his senior debut on 28 August, against Boston United. He left Halifax in December, and signed with Stocksbridge. A year later, Hogan had a trial at Barnsley.[4] In October 2012, he joined Ashton United. On 9 March 2013, Hogan signed a non-contract deal with Hyde.[5] He made his Hyde debut three days later, against Luton Town, and scored his first goal on 16 March, against Dartford. Hogan finished the season with 11 appearances, scoring three times. He was also linked to a move to Birmingham City,[6] but nothing came of it. On 9 May 2013, Hogan returned to Rochdale, signing a two-year deal.[2] He made his debut on 3 August 2013, scoring the first of a 3–0 home win against Hartlepool United.[7] Hogan scored a goal in Rochdale‘s shock 2–0 FA Cup victory against Leeds United on 4 January 2014.[8] On 8 February 2014 he scored a hat-trick against AFC Wimbledon.[9] On 1 March 2014 he scored a second hat-trick in three weeks against Oxford United.[10] During the 2013/14 season, Hogan scored 19 goals in all competitions with Rochdale earning promotion to League 1 after finishing 3rd in League 2.[11] His form also saw him voted in to League 2‘s PFA Team of the Year for his performances during the season. His club honours : League 2 Promotion with Rochdale (3rd Place finish) and League 2 PFA Team of the Year 2013/14 Season. Career : 2010 Rochdale 0 (0) 2010–2011 Woodley Sports 27 (21) Goals. 2011 FC Halifax Town 5 (0) 2011 →Mossley (loan) 4 (1) 2011–2012 Stocksbridge 16 (7) 2012–2013 Ashton United 8 (1) 2013 Hyde 11 (3) 2013– Rochdale 32 (17) Goals.


Salerno and Haigh at a game last season

The New Arrivals :Nicola Salerno (The Deal Maker)( Matera, August 3, 1956 ) is an Italian Sporting Director. His last role until June 2014 was working as Sporting Director at Serie A side Cagliari Calcio. Son of Senator Carmelo Francesco Salerno , former president of Matera , he started his football career in Serie C2 as sporting director from 1983-1984 until 1985-1986. He later worked as sports director and market manager at Ravenna, the Licata, with whom he landed in Serie B in the season 1988-1989, and then at Trieste, where he remained from 1989 to 1993. After serving an initial disqualification as sports director of Messina from 1997 to 2002. Salerno was touted as one of the architects of the revival of the Giallorossi climbed in a few years from the the National Amateur Championship to Serie B. In 2002-2003 , after new leadership at Messina, Salerno left to join to Catania, also in Serie B. The following season he moved to Serie A side Cagliari Calcio where he started his working relationship with the then Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino,[1] a club which won the championship of Serie B 2003-2004, where he remained until 2006. After a period of a season as sporting director Foggia in Serie C1 from 2006 to 2007, where the Apulian side earned promotion to Serie B in the last minute of the playoff final against Avellino. alerno then went back to Cagliari from 2007 to 2008, with Salerno being dismissed by Cagliari Calcio in February 2008. On 12 October 2009 he became the sports director of U.S. Salernitana 1919; after his resignation on 11 February 2011 subsequent to the start of the new owners at the helm of the club. After the summer of 2011, after the experience with U.S. Salernitana 1919, after having being in touching distance of a return to Serie B and lost the play-off final against Hellas Verona. Salerno made a brief return to Messina (who had fallen to Series D), where he served as the technical advisor In November 2011 he was appointed as the new sporting director of Grosseto in Serie B. In the summer of 2012 he was appointed sporting director of Catania where he prepared to compete in Serie A 2012-2013, returning to the top flight again after the experiencing Serie A with Cagliari. On July 5, 2013 returned for the third time to Cagliari Calcio after five years away, becoming the first head of the technical team and the business of football. After owner Massimo Cellino sold the club in June 2014, to concentrate on the ownership of Leeds United, Salerno left Cagliari Calcio in June 2014. In June 2014, Salerno turned down the role of Sporting Director at Serie A side Palermo.[1][2] On On 11 July, owner Massimo Cellino revealed Salerno would be joining Leeds on a 2 year deal



Friday 18th.  Souleymane Doukara (born 29 September 1991 in Meudon) Age 22 and 6 fee 2 Inch is a French footballer of Senegalese heritage who plays for Championship club Leeds United on loan from Serie B side Catania. Place of Birth – Meudon, France. Position – Striker/winger. He is a Striker but can also play as a Winger. He started his professional career during the 2008–09 season, playing for Rovigo Calcio in the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione.[1] He played 7 games that season, without scoring goals. His club participated in the 2009–10 Serie D season, and Doukara had his first chance to play as a regular starter;[1] at the end of the championship he had made 36 appearances. Ahead of the 2011-12 Lega Pro season, Doukara was transferred to Seconda Divisione club Vibonese, in which he played 37 out of 42 league matched, scoring 13 goals. After impressing scouts in the Italian fourth tier, Doukara officially signed with Serie A outfit, Calcio Catania. He made his Serie A debut on 16 September 2012, playing against Fiorentina.[citation needed] The player has primarily served as a back-up to Argentine international, Gonzalo Bergessio, though he has made 12 Serie A appearances in his maiden top flight season. Additionally, the player has made 2 Coppa Italia appearances this season in Catania’s quarter-final run. Doukara failed to score for Stadio Massimino outfit in his debut season at the club. On the last day of the transfer window on 2


Rossini has played very little first team football over the past two years

September 2013, Doukara joined Serie B side Juve Stabia on loan, he scored 6 goals in Serie B in 20 games during the 2013/14 season. However his 6 goals weren’t enough to keep Juve Stabia in the division as they were relegated, finishing in 24th place. On 11 July 2014 it was confirmed by Leeds United Owner Massimo Cellino that the club would sign Doukara on a years long loan with the option to sign Doukara on a permanent deal.[2] Born in Meudon, France, Doukara declared himself to play for Senegal. Doukara plays as a striker, but due to his strengths of pace, power and dribbling ability, he also often plays as a winger. History – 2008–2011 Rovigo 75 (11) Goals. 2011-12 Vibonese 37 (13) Goals. 2012 Catania 13 (0) Goals 2013–2014 Juve Stabia (loan) 20 (6) Goals 2014/15 Leeds.

Jonathan Rossini[3] (born 5 April 1989- Aged 25 and born in Giabisco in Switzerland ) is a Swiss footballer who plays as a centre back for Leeds United in the Championship on loan from Serie A side Sassuolo. He is a Switzerland international. Rossini started his career at AC Bellinzona near his birthplace. In summer 2005, aged 16, the minimum age for an international transfer within European Economic Area (Switzerland signed a special agreement with EU),[4] he moved to Italian side U.C. Sampdoria.[3] He moved on loan to Italy Lega Pro Prima Divisione team Legnano. In January 2009 he was transferred on loan to Cittadella in Italy’s Serie B. In summer 2009, he was acquired by Udinese Calcio in co-ownership from Sampdoria for €500,000, as part of Fernando Tissone‘s deal (€3 million)[5] and subsequently loaned to Sassuolo for the 2009–2010 season, along with Sampdoria team-mate, Gianluigi Bianco.[6] In June 2010, along with Tissone, the co-ownership deal with Udinese were extended, and Rossini was loaned back to Sampdoria,[7] however, he has still to make his first appearance for them. On 3 January 2011, he was loaned again to Sassuolo for the rest of the 2010–11 season. Where he played 18 games in Serie B.[8] Rossini returned to Sampdoria for the 2011/12 season under manager Giuseppe Iachini, he made his Sampdoria debut on 19 November 2011 against Reggina, where Rossini helped earn Sampdoria promotion to Serie A after they won the Serie B playoff’s. After promotion to Serie A, under new manager Ciro Ferrara, Rossini was first choice centreback alongside Captain Daniele Gastaldello at the heart of the defence, his first game in Serie A came against AC Milan on 26 August 2012. After the arrival of new manager Delio Rossi, Rossini lost his place in the team after Angelo Palombo returned from Inter Milan and played him in a Centre Defence position at Rossini’s expense. In total he made 25 appearances in Serie A during the 2012/13 season. n 20 June 2013 Sampdoria bought 100% ownership rights for Rossini for €1.5 million from Udinese, but sold to newly promoted to Serie A side Sassuolo for the same price.[9] n 1 July 2013, Rossini joined newly promoted Serie A side Sassuolo in another co-ownership deal[10] and appeared six league matches for the first part of the 2013–14 season. Sassuolo signed centre backs Lorenzo Ariaudo and Paolo Cannavaro during the 2014 January transfer window. He was loaned out the fellow Serie A club Parma for the remainder of the season on 22 January 2014.[11][12] Rossini mainly found himself used as backup in Central defence to Italian International Gabriel Paletta and Club Captain Alessandro Lucarelli. Parma finished the season in 6th place and qualified for Europe, however due to Parma being ineligible to qualify for Europe, Torino F.C. were given their place in the Europa League. On 20 June 2014, Sampdoria announced that Sassuolo had signed the players full ownership rights. On 11 July 2014, Leeds United’s President Massimo Cellino confirmed that the club will sign Rossini on a year long loan with the option to make the move permanent.[13] Rossini debuted for the Switzerland U21 football team on 19 November 2008, against Greece U21. The match ended in 1–1 draw.[14] He made his competitive U21 debut in a winning game against Armenia U21 on 5 June 2009, the opening match of 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification.[15] He scored a goal in the return leg.[16] On 3 March 2010, Rossini made his senior debut in a friendly game for the Swiss National Team against Uruguay as a starter. He was replaced by Steve von Bergen at half time. The game finished 3-1 to Uruguay, with goals from Luis Suarez, Diego Forland and Edison Cavani, Switzerland‘s goal coming from Gokhan Inler. Voted in 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Team Of The Tournament (Playing for Switzerland U21‘s) Sampdoria Serie B Playoff Winners 2011/12 (Promoted). History – 2008–2013 Sampdoria 59 (0) 2008–2009 →Legnano (loan) 17 (0) 2009 → Cittadella (loan) 10 (0) goals, 2009 Udinese 0 (0), 2009-2010 → Sassuolo (loan) 33 (2) 2011 → Sassuolo (loan) 18 (0) 2013– Sassuolo 6 (0) 2014 → Parma (loan) 2 (0) 2014-15 Leeds. International 2008–2011 Switzerland U21 23 (1) 2010– Switzerland. Tommaso Bianchi (born 1 November 1988 (age 25 and 5 feet 11) in Piombino Italy ) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Championship side Leeds United. He is a former Italy Under 21 international. After starting his career at Follonica, his hometown team.[citation needed] The following year he arrived in the youth team of Piacenza with whom he made his debut in Serie B, on 19 March 2006 against Ternana. On 29 August 2009 scored the first two goals in a 3-2 defeat to Lecce. On 1 February 2010, he joined Chievo on loan, with the option to buy half of his ownership at the end of the deal, however he failed to play a single game for Chievo and returned to Piacenza. In the first match after returning to Piacenza, the second round of the Italian Cup Biacnhi2against Virtus Lanciano, he scored the 4th goal in a 5-3 victory. At the end of the season, he’d made 37 appearances in the league, 2 in the play-off and 2 in the Italian Cup with 4 goals in the league and 1 in the Italian Cup, making him the most picked player, along with Mario Cassano in the season, however the season ended with Piacenza being relegated to Lega Pro Prima Divisione. Playing the next season as a starter in the cup matches against Pontedera and Empoli. On 31 August, the last day before the end of the transfer window, he was sold in co-ownership to Sassuolo. Making his debut with on September in a 2-0 win against the Citadella. After a season as a starter, with 29 league appearances, on 20 June 2012, his ownership was made permanent at Sassuolo. His first goal came on 15 December 2012, in a 3-1 win away to Calcio Padova. On 18 May 2013, Sassuolo won promotion from Serie B which saw them reach an extraordinary feat in that this would be the first time that Sassuolo were in the top tier of Italian football Serie A in the team led by Eusebio Di Francesco. In the last market day he went on loan to Modena, returning to Serie B. He made his debut with the canaries on 8 September in a 2-0 win over the Citadella. He scored his first goal with gialloblù on October 19 in the 3-0 home win against Reggina. Bianchi impressed and finished the season with 38 appearances and 3 goals in the league and 3 appearances in the playoffs, Modena finished the season in the playoff’s in 5th, after beating Spezia 1-0 in the prelimary round of the Serie B playoff’s, Bianchi’s side were eliminated in the semi-finals by eventual playoff winners A.C. Cesena after losing 2-1 on aggregate in two legs of the semi finals of the Serie B promotion playoff’s. On 8 July 2014, Bianchi started training with Leeds United ahead of a proposed three-year deal with the option of an additional year.[1][2] Bianchi has played with the Italian national Under-19′s and six appearances with the ‘ Under-20. On 4 September 2009, he played his only game for the Under-21 team coached by Pierluigi Casiraghi, playing as a starter in the Wales-Italy (2-1) qualifier for 2011 European Championship. During the game Bianchi played with future Italy internationals Mario Balotelli and Andrea Ranocchia.[3] Sassuolo Serie B Winners 2012/13 (Promoted) History – 2005–2011 Piacenza 81 (6) 2010 →Chievo (loan) 0 (0) 2011–2014 Sassuolo 59 (4) 2013–2014 → Modena (loan) 41 (3) 2014-15 Leeds United.
Marco Silvestri (born 2 March 1991 age 23 and 6 feet 3 inches ) is an Italian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Championship club Leeds United. He is a former Italy Under 21 international. Born in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, the Province of Reggio Emilia, Emilia–Romagna, Silvestri started his career at Emilia club Modena. He was the third keeper behind Enrico Alfonso and Antonio Narciso in 2009–10 season. In August 2010 Silvestri was signed by Serie A club Chievo in temporary deal, with option to purchase half of the registration rights.[1] He was the third keeper of the team, behind Stefano Sorrentino and Lorenzo Squizzi. Silvestri also became the first choice keeper at the “spring” under-20 team. In June 2011 Chievo excised the option to sign Silvestri in co-ownership deal, for MarcoSilvestri3€300,000.[2][3] Silvestri returned to Reggio Emilia for Reggiana in July to replace the left of Niccolò Manfredini.[4] However Silvestri became the backup of Niccolò Bellucci since round 12. After the winter break Silvestri re-affirmed as first choice. In June 2012 Chievo signed Silvestri outright for another €150,000.[5] In July 2012 he left for Padova. The club failed to renew the loan of fellow U21 internationals Mattia Perin. Silvestri wore no.1 shirt for Padova in new season and would compete with ex-internationals Ivan Pelizzoli who acted as second-choice last season. However on the last day of the transfer window, Pelizzoli rejoined Perin in Pescara and Luca Anania, who became second choice in the same club, left for Padova. In 30 January 2014, Silvestri signed for Cagliari on loan, including the option for Cagliari to acquire half his ownership rights at the end of the season, the move saw Cagliari first choice Goalkeeper Michael Agazzi join Chievo on a permanent deal.[6] Silverstri was given the number 1 shirt. He made his debut for the club in the Serie A match against Parma on 27 April, coming into the side for Vlada Avramov, keeping a clean sheet on his debut in a 1-0 win. On 6 May, Silvestri started the match against S.S.C. Napoli, a game in which Silvestri was given a straight red card in a 3-0 loss after fouling Goran Pandev. After returning from suspension he returned for the final match of the season in a 3-0 loss against Juventus. On 27 June, Silvestri’s agent Francesco Romano, revealed that Silvestri was in talks over a move to English club Leeds United, owned by former Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino.[7][8] On 8 July 2014, Silvestri signed a four-year contract with English Championship club Leeds United along with fellow Italian Tommaso Bianchi.[9] Silvestri’s first appearance for Leeds came on 11 July in Leeds first pre season game, which resulted in a 16-0 victory against Italian side FC Gherdeina.[10] Silvestri started his national career in 2008 goalkeeper training camp[11] Silvestri received his first cap in December 2009 from Francesco Rocca for Italy U20 team, a feeder team of U21.[12] He played that match, the round 3 of 2009–10 Four Nations Tournament, replacing Antonio Piccolo in the second half. He also played the last round (round 6) in that tournament. Silvestri played twice (out of 6 games) in 2010–11 edition. In June 2011, he was picked for the Italy Under 21′s team by Ciro Ferrara to 2011 Toulon Tournament as the backup of Sergio Viotti. Silvestri only played once in the bronze match. After the tournament he did not receive any call-up for the qualification nor Viotti. History – 2010–2014 Chievo 1 (0) 2011–2012 →Reggiana (loan) 27 (0) 2012–2013 → Padova (loan) 25 (0) 2014 → Cagliari (loan) 3 (0) 2014– Leeds United
Friday 18th. Richard Naylor let go Leeds United Under-18s coach Richard Naylor has been made redundant and left the club with immediate effect, the YEP understands. The former Leeds captain – a member of United’s League One promotion winning squad in 2010 and a well respected figure at Thorp Arch – is one of a growing number of casualties among the club’s coaching staff. Naylor took charge of United’s Under-18 squad in 2012, shortly after announcing his retirement, and managed them to the league title in his first year in charge. He remained in control of the same age group last season but has left his post as part of a wide round of redundancies at Leeds. Naylor is believed to have been informed of United’s decision earlier today. Under-16s coach Leigh Bromby – another ex-Leeds player – has also lost his job, while first-team goalkeeping coach Andy Leaning is attempting to negotiate a settlement with United after being told that he is surplus to requirements. Benito Carbone – brought to Leeds by owner Massimo Cellino in April – has taken charge of the club’s Under-21 development squad while long-standing academy boss Neil Redfearn is still part of the set-up at Thorp Arch. Leigh Bromby also will not have his contract renewed as under 16 coach.
Friday 8th of July. Adam Pope Interview with Maximo Cellino in Italian Training camp. Adam Pope is the BBC Leeds Reporter in the know and like Phil Hay very much up to speed with events surrounding Leeds United. He interviewed Cellino in Italy and tweeted as follows : #lufc Cellino says players will stop over together before each game to avoid distraction. He also says he’d ” love to have a new Leeds bus”. #lufc Cellino says maybe 1 of current squad will go:”I don’t want one single player who lives outside of Leeds. No way. That’s mandatory.”  #lufc Cellino confirms ex Cagliari sporting director Nicola Salerno will work full time:”He’s a special man. He knows players like no one else.” #lufc Cellino:”The most important things must be done now because when the season starts you become too emotionally involved with results.” #lufc Cellino has told the Italian signings they “must learn English & be proud to play for Leeds as I am the face of the Italian players.” #lufc Cellino:”To make a strong team for now I want players who’ve played Serie A & who want to come & play for Leeds & not for the money.” #lufc Cellino says he will “know better the British players for the future” but now he is signing a few players who he knows from Italy. #lufc owner Massimo Cellino on new Italian signings “They’re coming because they accept my c… … via · 24m #lufc Cellino:”We must buy back ER. Leeds people are normal people, simple people like me. We like to touch our property, our proudness.”· 24m #lufc Cellino on McCormack: “He was our best player & I was said to sell him. He felt like some other club’s player & wanted to go.” AdamPope#lufc  Cellino talked about wanting to see the McCormack money show a return by helping buy back Elland Road “so it is worth something” #lufc Cellino says the money for McCormack was not budgeted for. The player investment was already secured separately. #lufc Cellino on McCormack:”I felt disrespected. I could not change his mind. I tried to make the best advantage for Leeds.” #lufc Cellino says the working capital excludes the money from McCormack sale. #lufc Cellino :”I remain 75% in charge and GFHC are happy that their share is now worth something. We now have £20m-£30m working capital.” #lufc Cellino :”I can tell you I have done a deal with GFHC to sign in a few days time which sorts out the historic debt. We are all happy.” #lufc Cellino:”I tell you the club is in a very good financial situation. There is no more debt anymore …. Just daily expenses.” #lufc Cellino:”We will be signing players not just for now but the future. The way I work is to plan 10 yrs ahead. I might not live longer!” CellinoItaly#lufc Cellino says :”I am 24-7 solving the problems of the last few years. I have solved most of them.” #lufc Cellino says it will be mandatory for the players to live in Leeds area. #lufc Cellino mentioned that a deal may be done for Swiss international defender Gaetano Berardi but the fee is being haggled over.· #lufc Cellino spoke glowingly about Marco Silvestri and how all the players arriving are not doing so for the money.· #lufc Also spoke with Nicola Salerno who confirmed what @PhilHayYEP wrote about Rossini & Doukara. #lufc Cellino confirmed ground would not be renamed by any commercial sponsor. He says it’ll remain Elland Rd because the name is special. #lufc Cellino says he has done a deal with GFHC who remain 25% partners but which has helped release cash to buy Elland Road back. #lufc Cellino says the club is now debt free with £20m working capital plus the unbudgeted income from the McCormack sale. #lufc Cellino says he wants to keep striker Matt Smith who he says will only improve. Big admirer of Smith.· #lufc Just spoken to Massimo Cellino who confirms the club will sign Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini (pic’d left at the training camp) & French striker Soulemayne Doukara. #lufc Haigh remains in custody since May, without charge, on allegations by ex employer GFH Capital of fraud & embezzlement of around £3m.
Friday 11th of July. Hockaday on transfers. United head coach David Hockaday is hopeful of new faces being added to the squad now that club President Massimo Cellino has arrived at United’s training base in Italy. United


Poleon scores

currently have a number of potential transfer targets – including Tommaso Bianchi and Jonathan Rossini – training with the squad out in Italy and the head coach is hopeful of deals being concluded sooner rather than later. “I have identified with the President the positions that we need to strengthen the team,” said the head coach. We know we need to strengthen, we finished 15th last year and we have lost a lot of players. “But that has allowed me to bring in the young players to give them a chance to spread their wings. The President is here now but we have been talking everyday. “Hopefully there


Ealters heads home

will be more action now. In regards to potential outgoings at United David insists that all players remain in his thoughts but also says he will be looking to add quality to it. “As far as I am concerned everybody here is a Leeds United player with at least one more year remaining on their contracts,” explained Hockaday. “If we can add to what we have got and it improves the quality and the team spirit then we will have a chance.” Friday

12 th of July. Sabella brings a slice of grit to the World cup final. Made in Leeds. Well, not really. But in the make-up of the AlexSabella1coach inspiring Argentina’s dream and Brazil’s worst nightmare is a sliver of worldliness gained at Leeds United. The hair is wispy and grey these days and the boyish features have gone – no longer the “good-looking lad” Allan Clarke recalls – but Alejandro ‘Alex’ Sabella is recognisable still. With no dog in the fight of tomorrow’s World Cup final, some in Yorkshire will see him as a reason to align themselves with Argentina. It is a tenuous link as links go. Sabella passed through Elland Road quickly and quietly, a silky midfielder who some of United’s supporters can just about remember. Brian Flynn, a team-mate of his at the time, thinks Sabella would be a household name in Leeds had he hung around long enough for his reputation to spread. The relationship was far more fleeting. He was good enough to be a Leeds legend,” Flynn says. “I really mean that. His technical skills, his balance and his running were – as far as I saw – exceptional. He had a magnificent left foot and a pretty complete game. Over four or five years he’d have grown into a star.” Born in Buenos Aires in 1954, Sabella was 7,000 miles from home in Yorkshire. Sheffield United were first to sign him, bringing him to England from River Plate during a transfer saga which became apocryphal over the years. The story went that Sheffield United wanted Diego Maradona but fell £40,000 short of his valuation (the true figure was far higher). Sabella carried a more affordable price and was signed in 1978. He made people sit up at Bramall Lane – “above our level in all honesty,” as one of the club’s other players once put it – but could not negate the mediocrity around him. His move to Leeds in 1980 was as much down to him as it was United’s manager, Jimmy Adamson. Sunderland bid £600,000 for Sabella but were offering him a career in the second division. In a higher league, Leeds suited him better – and Yorkshire had become a happy home, for the 25-year-old at least. Yorkshire’s a hospitable place and he was settled here,” Flynn recalls. You didn’t get the sense of someone who was homesick or out of his comfort zone. He was very quiet, unassuming, but he’d get in for work early and do his thing without ever moaning. I’d say he was pretty content.” The recurring theme among those who played with Sabella is that they liked him immensely. “He’d done extremely well at Sheffield United,” Eddie Gray says. “The impression we had was that he’d been a bit of a hero down there. “At the time there was a South American guy, Danny Bergara, who was bringing players like Alex across to England. He was a long way from home but the bigger problem for him was the football we played at the time. The style we adopted wasn’t made for a lad with Alex’s ability.” In their own way, AlexSabellaLeeds were as stagnant as Sheffield United. Adamson was sacked within months of signing Sabella and with Clarke appointed as his replacement, United danced with relegation constantly. In an infertile environment for cultured feet, Sabella played 26 times and scored twice before leaving for Estudiantes and his native Argentina for £120,000. “We were struggling in the league,” Flynn says. It’s that old story – in difficult times, you do what needs to be done. “This isn’t a criticism of the manager (Clarke) but with him it was completely different to Jimmy Adamson. We became more defensive and our tactics were all about getting results – which in fairness was the right policy. For a time it worked. But someone like Alex wasn’t going to fit into that. When you’re in relegation battles, sublime skill tends to get lost.” Clarke remembers the situation differently. “I wanted to keep Alex,” he says. “He was a quality player, quite a special talent, and I think he was okay in England. He couldn’t speak a word of English when he came here but he taught himself the lingo at Sheffield United and that probably tells a story about how much he wanted things to work out. “But he came to me one day and told me that his wife wasn’t settled. She was finding it tough. And I thought straight away about a lesson I learned under our old manager, Don Revie – if you don’t have a happy wife, you don’t have a happy player. So I looked to get him back to Argentina and we did a deal with Estudiantes. That’s how football goes.” Sabella left in January 1982 and few, if any, of his former Leeds team-mates have had contact with him since. Flynn attempted to meet up with him in London recently but found that Sabella’s job as Argentina coach had predictably packed his diary. “He’s got a bit on his plate these days,” Flynn joked. If Argentina beat Germany at the Maracana tomorrow night – an ambush in the back yard of their wounded Brazilian neighbours – he will have a World Cup on his CV too. In all honestly, I never saw him becoming a manager,” Flynn says. “I’m not entirely sure why but maybe I wondered if he was too talented to put up with coaching. “When you’ve got the ability he had, football comes easily. Getting 20-odd players together and creating a team who win game after game is a different ball-game altogether. “Even Maradona discovered that when he coached Argentina but Alex has risen to it. I’ll be quietly rooting for him tomorrow.”
Friday 11th of July. Leeds close to being debt free – Cellino Massimo Cellino says he has reached a deal with former Leeds United owner and current shareholder Gulf Finance House which will rid the club of all debts owed to the bank and its associates. In an interview with the BBC, Cellino said he and GFH would sign an agreement in the next few days settling the millions of pounds owed by Leeds since his takeover of the club in April. Cellino’s purchase of a 75 per cent stake in United cost the Italian businessman £11m in cash but he also agreed to inherit and repay £24m of short and long-term debt. ome £10.5m was due to be repaid by the turn of this year with the remaining £13.5m owed in staggered payments by December 2017. Cellino acquired majority control of Leeds at a time


Smith scores

when the club were losing more than £1m a month but he has introduced heavy cost-cutting measures at Elland Road in his short time as owner, including heavy redundancies among United’s staff. As part of the latest agreement, GFH will continue to hold a 10 per cent shareholding in United with club chairman Salah Nooruddin and Bahrain’s International Investment Bank (IIB) retaining the remaining 15 per cent. Nooruddin and Salem Patel are both on the board at Elland Road as representatives of GFH. Cellino told the BBC: “I can tell you I have done a deal with GFH to sign in a few days’ time which sorts out the historic debt. We are all happy. “I remain 75 per cent in charge and GFH are happy that their share is now worth something.” Cellino, who said that United now had £20m of working capital available and would push ahead with plans to buy back Elland Road from the stadium’s private owners, has been fighting financial problems from the day of his takeover on April 7. A formal redundancy process was launched in May and numerous staff have left the club, including members of United’s backroom team. The YEP revealed yesterday that goalkeeping coach Andy Leaning has lost his job and is in the process of settling a rolling contract. Under-16s coach Leigh Bromby is also understood to be leaving his position at Thorp Arch after the club opted not to renew his deal. Leeds, however, are in the process of making a stream of additions to their first-team squad with the new season four weeks away. The club have already finalised the signings of goalkeepers Stuart Taylor and Marco Silvestri and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi. Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini trained with United at their pre-season camp in northern Italy today ahead of a move from Italian side Sassuolo, and Catania forward Souleymane Doukara is expected to line up with the squad tomorrow with his transfer also pending. Friday 8th. The Hock happy with “the attitude”. United got their pre-season schedule underway on Thursday evening with a 16 goal victory against FC Gherdiena. United’s head coach David Hockaday, who was in charge of the team for the first time, says the attitude shown by the players was the thing that impressed him the most. United were ruthless from start to finish against the local side and the head coach was pleased with what he saw from his side. “The game was part of our pre-season training programme and now we have added match fitness to it,” said United’s head coach. “Most of the players had 45 minutes and we haven’t got any injuries from the game that I know of. “There were one or two little niggles but nothing that will stop them training. The thing that I was really impressed with was the attitude of the players. “It can sometimes be difficult playing against a team that we dominated like we did but the players kept on going and going. “They all did some running afterwards as well because we need to be the fittest team in the league, that is the aim. “They tried to put into practise all the things that we have been working on recently. There is still lots to work on but overall the attitude was spot on.” United may have won the game with 16 unanswered goals but David insists that there was a number of positives to take from the game. “It was the first game, the scoreline doesn’t really mean anything,” said Hockaday. “We kept a cleansheet and we kept the ball well. “There was a good intensity to our passing at times and we got lots of balls in the box. There were some great finishes. “I just think that the general attitude of the team was great, and I will keep on stressing that, we looked like a team. There was a camaraderie there. “The result was nice for the confidence but it is early days. All the lads got 45 minutes and they will be back in training on Friday.”

Thurs 7th of July Leeds thump local side in Italy. UNITED 16 (Smith (6), Hunt (3), Morison (2), Poleon (2), Walters, Norris, Murphy), GHERDEINA 0 UNITED: First Half: Silvestri, Byram, Killock, Pearce (C), C Taylor, Austin, Norris, White, Hunt, Morison, Walters. UNITED: Second Half: S Taylor/Cairns, Thompson, Lees, Skelton, Warnock (C), Cook, Tonge, Murphy, Dawson (Blackman, trialist) Smith, Poleon. United began the pre-season schedule with a comprehensive 16-0 win against local side FC Gherdeina. United dominated the match from start to finish and throughout the game not one of United’s goalkeepers was called into the action by the local side. Striker Noel Hunt opened the scoring for United in the 19th minute when he headed home an Aidy White corner. United were further ahead just one minute later when Hunt was again the scorer, this time heading a David Norris cross into the back of the net. In the 27th minute Sam Byram ventured forward and was brought down in the penalty area. Up stepped Hunt to fire home his hat-trick goal. Just two minutes later United got their fourth when Steve Morison, who spent last season on loan at Millwall, played the ball into an empty net following good work from Hunt. Lewis Walters made his first appearance for the first team and marked it with a great headed goal and Morison got his second of the game just minutes later. Norris, who was impressive in midfield completed the first half goalscoring rout with a clever finish at the near post. Head coach David Hockaday made wholesale changes for the second half but it didn’t change the flow of the game. United continued to pile the pressure on the local side and Matt Smith scored three headed goals to make the score 10-0 before the hour mark. In the 67th minute Luke Murphy scored the goal of the evening, when he picked the ball up on left hand side of the pitch, he cut inside and sent a superb curling effort into the top corner. Smith may have got his hat-trick but that didn’t stop the big striker get his fourth when he latched onto a Dominic Poleon knock-down. The striker kept his cool and finished calmly past the Gherdeina keeper. With 12 minutes of the game remaining Poleon got himself on the scoresheet twice with two neat finishes either side of a further goal from Smith. The evening’s scoring was completed by Smith, who secured his double hat-trick with a scooped finish over the keeper who went to ground. With 16 unanswered goals United will be hoping for a sterner test when they face Viitorul Constata on Sunday. The opposition was so poor that Silvestri played the last few minutes in goal for them.
Thursday 7th of July. Rothetham striker invites Leeds to bid for him – P Hay YP. Forward Kieran Agard has invited Leeds United to bid for his signature by turning down the offer of a long-term contract at Rotherham United.  Agard, who was watched by Leeds owner Massimo Cellino towards the end of last season, has rejected the chance to commit his future to Rotherham after recent talks about an improved deal. The 24-year-old, who was Rotherham’s top scorer last season with 26 goals, is tied to the South Yorkshire side for another 12 months after the Millers exercised an option to extend a contract which was due to expireKieranAgard at the end of June. Agard is training with Steve Evans’ squad in preparation for the new Championship term and Evans has stressed throughout the summer that his leading players will not be sold but Agard’s reluctance to take up Rotherham’s lengthy contract offer has alerted other Championship clubs. Agard’s agent, Lee Payne of Full Contact, said: “We can confirm that Kieran has rejected Rotherham’s offer of a contract extension.” Leeds took a keen interest in Agard towards the end of last season, scouting him several times as Rotherham closed in on promotion from League One. Cellino attended the second leg of their play-off semi-final victory over Preston North End – a match in which Agard scored – but United have focused their recent attention on tying down a series of European transfer targets. The club made Reading goalkeeper Stuart Taylor their first summer signing last week but have since taken fellow keeper Marco Silvestri on a four-year deal from Chievo. Sassuolo midfielder Tommaso Bianchi, a former Italy Under-21 international, has agreed a three-year contract at Elland Road and United are close to securing the signatures of Sassuolo defender Jonathan Rossini and Catania’s French forward, Souleymane Doukara. United are also being heavily linked with Daniele Cacia, a striker at Verona, and Catania defender Giuseppe Bellusci. Nicola Salerno – Cagliari’s director of football during the latter stages of Cellino time as owner of the Sardinian club – has been present at United’s pre-season training camp in Italy this week and is actively working on incoming deals.
Thurs 10th. Millwall target Matt Smith. LEEDS United striker Matt Smith has emerged as a major target for Millwall after the Bermondsey club failed with an initial bid for him. Millwall are understood to have submitted an offer for Smith late last month after including the 25-year-old forward on their list of targets for the summer transfer window. Millwall’s board had planned to discuss Smith’s availability with Leeds at the Football League’s AGM in Portugal on June 5 but Leeds were unrepresented at the gathering after owner Massimo Cellino pulled out of the trip at short notice. A formal bid is believed to have been made for the ex-MATT SMITH CELEBRATES SCORING LEEDS EQUALISEROldham Athletic striker before United’s squad returned for pre-season training on June 26 and Millwall are expected to present Leeds with an improved offer in the hope of securing Smith’s signature before the two clubs meet at the New Den on the first day of the new Championship season. Smith has 12 months left on his contract at Elland Road but is yet to negotiate an extension with Leeds, despite finishing the 2013-14 term as the club’s second highest scorer with 13 goals. Millwall are confident of forcing through the transfer but Smith would command a sizeable six-figure fee and United have already seen their forward line depleted this week by the sale of 29-goal captain Ross McCormack to Fulham for £11m. Cellino said McCormack’s departure – a sale which the Italian claimed was against his wishes – would force Leeds to recruit another striker, and the club are close to finalising a deal for 22-year-old Catania player Souleymane Doukara. United aim to seal the signing of 6’1” Doukara before the end of this week but Millwall’s approach for Smith was rejected out of hand last month and United are not hought to have encouraged a second approach. Smith, who joined Leeds from Oldham a year ago, spoke about his future in March, saying: “I’ve really enjoyed my time here and if anyone gets offered a long-term contract at a club like Leeds, they’d be overjoyed. “The thought has crossed my mind and I’d like to put in the performances which might warrant looking into that.” Smith is on tour with United’s first-team squad in Italy and is due to play in a friendly against local side Gherdeina tonight, Leeds’ first game of the summer. The club have announced their final pre-season match and their only home friendly, with Dundee United due at Elland Road on Saturday,
Thurs 10th of July . Goalkeeping coach sacked. Leeds United goalkeeping coach Andy Leaning has left the club in another change to the backroom staff at Elland Road. Leaning – a former York City and Sheffield United keeper – is understood to be in the process of arranging a settlement with Leeds after losing a job he first took up back in 2012. The 51-year-old came to Leeds to assist Neil Redfearn after Redfearn was given caretaker control of United’s squad following the sacking of ex-manager Simon Grayson. Leaning remained with the club during Neil Warnock’s reign as boss and was retained by Brian McDermott last season but Leeds have deemed him surplus to requirements ahead of the new season. United took academy goalkeeping coach Neil Sullivan on their pre-season tour of Italy and Sullivan has been working with new signings Marco Silvestri and Stuart Taylor and youngster Alex Cairns ahead of two friendlies on the continent. Paddy Kenny, meanwhile, is continuing to train at Thorp Arch with his exit from Leeds increasingly likely after the arrival of Silvestri and Taylor in the past week

Weds 9th of July. Undisclosed fee agreed for Silvestri – LUFC Official website Leeds United have completed the signing of Italian goalkeeper Marco Silvestri for an undisclosed fee from Chievo, subject to international clearance. The 23-year-old arrives at Elland Road havingmarco-silvestri-signs_rtd0jk9fh09b1ap5kyipgxmft signed a four year deal with the club. Silvestri, who is a former Italy Under-20 and Under-21, started his career at Modena in Serie B and in 2010 he made the step-up to Serie A with Cheivo. While at the Serie A side the goalkeeper had loan spells at Reggiana, Padova and most recently at Cagliari this past season. The goalkeeper is United’s second signing of the summer after fellow keeper Stuart Taylor put pen-to-paper last week. United head coach David Hockaday said: Everybody in Italy believes that Marco is destined for very big things. We are delighted to welcome him to Leeds. “He has been training with us for a week now and he has impressed everybody. Not only with his quality on the park but with his general manner off it as well. “So are we delighted to welcome a very good person and footballer to Leeds United.”


Centre half Ross Kilcock signs on for another season continuing Cellino’s policy of harvesting youngsters

Weds 9th of July Kilcock signs new deal- LUFC official website United defender Ross Killock has extended his stay at the club by signing a new one-year contract. The promising 19-year-old centre-back is yet to make a competitive appearance for the club but has had two successful loan spells at Alfreton and Chester. The defender’s most recent loan spell at Chester saw him make 17 appearances and score two goals and Ross is certain the time away playing games helped him extend his stay at United. I’m delighted to have signed again,” said Ross. It gives me another year to try and kick on and have a chance to break into the team. “I think that my loan spell at Chester last year was invaluable really in terms of the experience that I gained and that will put me in good stead for this season. “The next 12 months are massive. You are normally looking at around three years to break into the team and if you don’t it could be the end for you. “It is a big year for me personally and I’ll need to stay injury free so that I can kick on and get a chance.”


Seven young lads signed their first professional contracts at Leeds. How many will break through and make it Benito?

Weds 9th of July. Seven youngsters sign professional terms – LUFC Official websiteThe club are proud to announce that seven scholars have all passed through the Leeds United Academy system, some from the age of eight years old, and have signed their first professional contracts. The seven are Dan Atkinson, Luke Booker, Lewie Coyle, Tyler Denton, Jake Skelton, Kalvin Phillips and Alex Purver. Along with Afolabi Coker signing an extension to his deal and new recruit Robbie McDaid also on board from July 1, it is exciting times for the Professional Development group, all of which will look to catch the eye of new head coach Dave Hockaday. Dan Atkinson said: “It feels brilliant. It is what every young boy wants to be when they are younger, a professional footballer.” Lewie Coyle said: “It’s brilliant. This is what I have dreamed off since I was a boy. It feels great to be here with all the lads and I’m looking forward to the season ahead now.”

Weds July 9th. Leeds close to deal with Italian striker and Swiss international – HITC Sport Leeds United are reportedly close to reaching an agreement for both Daniele Cacia and Jonathan Rossini.According to Calcio News 24, Leeds United are close to reaching an agreement with Daniele Cacia and Jonathan Rossini with the latter reportedly signing as soon as today. The report states: ”Leeds United are ready to do shopping in the Italian league. ”Cellino wants to revive the Yorkshire club and has headed straight for Sassuolo to land Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini. ”According to what has been learned exclusively by our [Calcio News 24’s] editorial team, he will sign the contract on Wednesday.  ”Daniele Cacia is going to say yes to Leeds United, six months later [of initial talks]. A deal remained alive after it had reached an agreement in January.” The Serie A duo, on paper, look to be potentially useful acquisitions for the Yorkshire club as they look to prove that connections and knowledge of a different league can be instrumental in a promotion bid.  Cacia, who turns 31 in August, is a player that has proven to be prolific in the Italian lower divisions but, for whatever reason, has failed to really make the step up to Serie A despite a couple relatively big money moves to the Italian top flight. In the 2012/2013 season, Cacia was instrumental in Verona‘s promotion to the Italian top flight after finishing the season as Serie B’s top goalscorer with an impressive 24 goals. However, upon promotion, Verona signed legendary striker Luca Toni who ultimately replaced Cacia in the starting XI. Rossini, however, is a player with his best years ahead of him despite an unfortunate run of seasons which has seen him fall off the radar. The 25-year-old has plenty Serie A experience, despite his age, and has even been capped by the Switzerland national side. Massimo Cellino, if he signs Rossini for Leeds, will hope that new head coach Dave Hockaday can be the man to inspire the former Swiss international into the form that saw him selected in the first place.

July 9th. McCormack response to BBC. McCormack, the Championship’s leading scorer last season with 28 goals, told BBC Radio Leeds that he had been “hung out to dry” and that the club was no longer the Leeds United I fell in love with”. He wrote on his official Instagram account: New start. Thanks for the good wishes. Devastated to leave Leeds under a cloud after four thoroughly enjoyable years. Will always be a fan.” The £11million deal makes McCormack the second most expensive Scottish-born player in history. Everton paid Wigan £13million for Glasgow-born Republic of Ireland international .


One has to give Cellino credit in negotiating a hell of a fee in 11M for McCormack but the fans will want a significant chunk reinvested in quality players and not a quantity of Italian players

Weds 9th of July Uneasy union which finished in divorce Huge Return: United owner Massimo Cellino insisted he did not need to sell Ross McCormack, but it the end it made sense for all parties. Phil Hay reports. At close to £11million, Ross McCormack’s transfer to Fulham has broken a few records. He is, for now, the most expensive Scotland international in history and the subject of the largest fee ever exchanged between two English clubs outside the Premier League. Cardiff City stand to receive 15 per cent of the money paid to Leeds United – a valuable legacy of McCormack’s move from Cardiff to Elland Road in 2010 – but the sell-on clause will not alter the view that Leeds have eked out every penny of their captain’s worth. In financial terms, this piece of business is staggeringly good; a deal which came in over the odds. Where football is concerned, the void in United’s squad is as big as the fee and Massimo Cellino knows it. The last time he spoke publicly about McCormack, Cellino talked of the striker “playing for three players” last season and carrying a club who would have been relegated without him. Other owners of Leeds have been in the Italian’s shoes before – rich on the proceeds of a player sold but compelled now to compensate for the talent lost. Cellino has had time to ponder his next move. For the past few weeks the only obstacle to McCormack’s departure was the Italian’s propensity for calling the shots. Like so many transfers out of Elland Road, Fulham’s interest in McCormack and the Scot’s mutual interest in joining them went beyond the point of no return a while ago, specifically when a transfer request arrived from McCormack’s camp last month. Around that time, Cellino described his reluctance to sell McCormack as “a matter of principle not money” but through the latter stages of the summer they spoke privately and repeatedly about the possibility of him moving on. Cellino wanted to keep him, or so McCormack was told, but would sanction any move which was priced correctly and clearly in the 27-year-old’s interests. Fulham’s valuation fulfilled one half of Cellino’s bargain – a top price if not an obvious destination. McCormack’s own attitude was never much of a secret. He felt sceptical about Cellino’s strategy at Leeds and the cutbacks made by the club’s president since his takeover on April 7. That concern lingered from as far back as January when, with Cellino in the process of attempting to sack Brian McDermott and offers arriving for McCormack at the same time, the Scot felt the urge to drive to Elland Road and ask directly about his own future. For all Cellino’s resistance then, the subject was bound to resurface this summer. McCormack’s expressions of commitment to Leeds, particularly in the past few months, were tempered by caveats relating to the club’s ambition and direction. In short, the message was that he’d prefer to stay if staying made sense. His tally of 29 goals last season was unrivalled by any forward in the Championship but Leeds finished behind 14 other teams. I don’t want another year like that,” he said. “It’s no good being done and dusted by April.” At the start of May, shortly before McCormack won the YEP’s player-of-the-year award and most of the club’s annual prizes, he reflected on Cellino’s admission that promotion in the season ahead – in theory, McCormack’s fifth at Leeds – was a feint expectation. “If the quotes from him are right and he’s said he doesn’t expect promotion next year, that’s not something us as players want to hear or hang around for,” McCormack admitted. “At the end of the day, you want to go up and be part of a promotion here.” McCormack was part of very little during the final days of his career at Leeds. He reported for training as planned on June 26 but underwent a medical with Fulham soon after, in anticipation of a move to London. The expectation at the beginning of last week was that he would join Fulham in a matter of days and McCormack was absent from the Leeds squad which flew to Italy for a pre-season camp and two friendlies, the first of which will be played tomorrow night. He travelled to Thorp Arch yesterday to tie up loose ends but he did not train there while the rest of United’s senior players were abroad. All sides of this deal have been waiting for the nod, a nod which came from Cellino late on Monday night. The ponderables are numerous and debatable. Does McCormack have any more 30-goal seasons in him? Was Fulham’s offer above the line where the money mattered more than his finishing touch? Cellino’s bargaining has saved him from any accusation that McCormack was being sold on the on the cheap but he cannot downplay the striker’s form. Up until the last fortnight for the 2013-14 term, McCormack scored more league goals than the rest of United’s players combined. Only three of the club’s wins were registered without the help of McCormack scoring. Leeds possess a squad in desperate need of improvement and restoration but at the point where McCormack signed a four-year contract with Fulham, United’s new signings numbered one – goalkeeper Stuart Taylor. At the unveiling of new head coach David Hockaday on June 19, Cellino said he would only sell McCormack to “Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid.” He didn’t need the money, he claimed, and every offer for McCormack was coming from the Championship. It was pointed out to Cellino that previous owners of Leeds had failed in the past to keep similar promises. “I’m not like the others,” Cellino replied. It turns out that he is, or at least in the respect that McCormack has gone. Where Cellino can show himself to be different is by making sure that the gaping hole left by McCormack – and other weaknesses in the squad besides – are addressed with the talent £11m can buy.

Weds July 9th. Leeds United considering move for Souleymane Doukara? – Sportsmole Leeds United are reportedly considering a move for Catania striker Souleymane Doukara. Catania striker Souleymane Doukara has reportedly become a target for Leeds United. The Championship club saw star player Ross McCormack depart Elland Road earlier this week in an £11m move to Fulham, but the Yorkshire outfit are already looking at a number of replacements. According to the Yorkshire Evening Post and reports in Italy, Doukara has emerged as a likely arrival at the club, with a deal for the 22-year-old said to be nearing completion. Doukara scored six goals in 21 appearances during a loan spell with Juve Stabia last season. They are still left with four first team strikers in Matt Smith, Dominic Poleon, Noel Hunt and Steve Morison, back after his year on loan with Millwall, but will need to find a new McCormack if they are to challenge in the Championship next season. Simply without McCormack’s goals United would have been relegated last term so they need to find a 20-plus goal-scorer to supplement what they have at the club.Every other area of the team also needs some improvement and it will be interesting to see if Cellino chooses to spend the McCormack money or whether Leeds will continue to be looking in the bargain basement

Tuesday 8th of July Leeds complete signings two and three – Phil Hay YP Leeds United have completed the signing of goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi (pictured on left with the Hock), owner Massimo Cellino confirmed today. Silvestri has joined United on a four-year deal from Italian club Chievo, the second senior keeper to move to Leeds in the past sev en days. The Elland Road club made Stuart Taylor their first signing of the summer last week, taking him on a free transfer from Reading, and confirmation of Silvestri’s arrival looks set to spell the end of BianchiPaddy Kenny’s time at Leeds. Kenny, whose contract expires next summer, has been left behind at Thorp Arch while United’s squad complete a pre-season tour of Italy and he is likely to move on before the Championship season begins on August 9. Silvestri and Taylor are both training in Italy and should feature in Thursday’s friendly against amateur side FC Gherdeina. Silvestri, 23, has been out of favour at Chievo and finished last season on loan at Cagliari, the Italian club which Cellino owned until last month. Bianchi, meanwhile, has agreed a three-year deal with Leeds, with the option of a further 12 months. He could also figure against Gherdeina. The central midfielder, 25, is a former Italian Under-21 international who has been at Sassuolo since 2011 and spent time on loan at Modena last term. Cellino said: It is done and they are signed. We have other players coming.” Nicola Salerna (the dealmaker and ex Cagliai sporting director) has joined Leeds on a two year deal and links up straight away with the squad in Italy. He will be a busy man over the next few weeks as Leeds look to replenish their squad and replace their leading goalscorer. 

Tuesday 8th of July Cellino defends McCormack sale – Phil Hay YP Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has defended the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham, saying he was “disrespected” by the Scotland international and forced into a deal. McCormack left Leeds for Craven Cottage this morning after Cellino agreed a multi-million pound deal for the 27-year-old late last night. The sale of United’s club captain – a transfer which is understood to have cost Fulham around £11m – went through less than two weeks after Cellino vowed to keep the striker at Elland Road, saying his future was amatter of principle not money.” McCormack, who scored 29 goals for Leeds last season, had three years left on his contract with United but his departure was widely expected after he submitted a transfer request and missed the club’s pre-season tour to Italy. Cellino – the Italian businessman who bought Leeds in April – told the YEP that McCormack had been absent from United’s tour without permission, despite recent claims that the forward was given additional time off for stress-related reasons. Cellino said: “I like to be in control of situations but it felt like he wasn’t my player. I was disrespected, he was aggressive with me. “He didn’t turn up for the tour and all the time he wanted to go from here. It wasn’t in my mind to sell McCormack, it wasn’t my plan, but I had no choice. “He’s a bloody good player and I’m not going to pretend that he isn’t but he didn’t respect me and it wasn’t possible to keep him.” McCormack, who has signed a four year deal with Fulham, is yet to speak at length about his departure but was quoted on Twitter as saying that Leeds were “no longer the Leeds United I fell in love with.” The club has undergone major internal change since Cellino completed his buy-out of United on April 7. Asked if the money raised through the sale of McCormack would be reinvested in the squad, Cellino said: The players we’re going to buy, we were buying anyway. So we need another forward now. “We needed a team, not just one or two players like we had last season, and we’ll sign the same people because it wasn’t the plan to sell McCormack and use the money for transfers. In my head he was staying but things happen.” Cellino revealed that Leeds have completed the signing of goalkeeper Marco Silvestri on a four-year deal from Chievo and finalised the arrival of midfielder Tommaso Bianchi, a former Italian Under-21 international who is joining from Sassuolo on a three-year deal. Cellino also confirmed that he is in talks with Swiss-born centre-back Jonathan Rossini, another Sassuolo player.


McCormack was “disrespectful” toward Cellino so the Italian claims – The Scot claims The Italian was in no hurry to get promotion


Tuesday 8th of July. McCormack seals Fulham switch – LUFC Official site (Eventually) Striker Ross McCormack has completed his transfer to Fulham for an undisclosed fee. The Scotland international was the Championship’s top goalscorer last season with 28 league goals and he has signed a four year deal, with an option of a further year with the London side. It is with regret that this decision was reached but the player no longer wanted play for Leeds United. McCormack made a total of 158 appearances for the club and scored 58 goals for United. The club would like to wish Ross all the best for the future. As you can see from the wording. Massimo Cellino scripted it very carefully. It will be very interesting to hear Ross McCormack’s version of events. 

Tuesday 8th of July. McCormack seals Fulham switch – LUFC Official site (Eventually) Striker Ross McCormack has completed his transfer to Fulham for an undisclosed fee. The Scotland international was the Championship’s top goalscorer last season with 28 league goals and he has signed a four year deal, with an option of a further year with the London side. It is with regret that this decision was reached but the player no longer wanted play for Leeds United. McCormack made a total of 158 appearances for the club and scored 58 goals for United. The club would like to wish Ross all the best for the future. As you can see from the wording. Massimo Cellino scripted it very carefully. It will be very interesting to hear Ross McCormack’s version of events. 

Tuesday 8th of July. McCormack fee breaks transfer record – Phil Hay YP   At close to £11million, Ross McCormack’s transfer to Fulham has broken a few records. He is, for now, the most expensive Scotland international in history and the subject of the largest fee ever exchanged between two English clubs outside the Premier League.  Cardiff City stand to receive 15 per cent of the money paid to Leeds United – a valuable legacy of McCormack’s move from Cardiff to Elland Road in 2010 – but the sell-on clause will not alter the view that Leeds have eked out every penny of their captain’s worth. In financial terms, this piece of business is staggeringly good; a deal which came in over the odds. Where football is concerned, the void in United’s squad is as big as the fee and Massimo Cellino knows it. The last time he spoke publicly about McCormack, Cellino talked of the striker “playing for three players” last season and carrying a club who would have been relegated without him. Other owners of Leeds have been in the Italian’s shoes before – rich on the proceeds of a player sold but compelled now to compensate for the talent lost. Cellino has had time to ponder his next move. For the past few weeks the only obstacle to McCormack’s departure was the Italian’s propensity for calling the shots. Like so many transfers out of Elland Road, Fulham’s interest in McCormack and the Scot’s mutual interest in joining them went beyond the point of no return a while ago, specifically when a transfer request arrived from McCormack’s camp last month. Around that time, Cellino described his reluctance to sell McCormack as “a matter of principle not money” but through the latter stages of the summer they spoke privately and repeatedly about the possibility of him moving on. Cellino wanted to keep him, or so McCormack was told, but would sanction any move which was priced correctly and clearly in the 27-year-old’s interests. Fulham’s valuation fulfilled one half of Cellino’s bargain – a top price if not an obvious destination. McCormack’s own attitude was never much of a secret. He felt sceptical about Cellino’s strategy at Leeds and the cutbacks made by the club’s president since his takeover on April 7. That concern lingered from as far back as January when, with Cellino in the process of attempting to sack Brian McDermott and offers arriving for McCormack at the same time, the Scot felt the urge to drive to Elland Road and ask directly about his own future. For all Cellino’s resistance then, the subject was bound to resurface again this summer. McCormack’s expressions of commitment to Leeds, particularly in the past few months, were tempered by caveats relating to the club’s ambition and direction. In short, the message was that he’d prefer to stay if staying made sense. His tally of 29 goals last season was unrivalled by any forward in the Championship but Leeds finished behind 14 other teams. “I don’t want another year like that,” he said. “It’s no good being done and dusted by April.”

At the start of May, shortly before McCormack won the YEP’s player-of-the-year award and most of the club’s annual prizes, he reflected on Cellino’s admission that promotion in the season ahead – in theory, McCormack’s fifth at Leeds – was a feint expectation.

If the quotes from him are right and he’s said he doesn’t expect promotion next year, that’s not something us as players want to hear or hang around for,” McCormack admitted. At the end of the day, you want to go up and be part of a promotion here.” McCormack was part of very little during the final days of his career at Leeds. He reported for training as planned on June 26 but underwent a medical with Fulham soon after, in anticipation of a move to London. The expectation at the beginning of last week was that he would join Fulham in a matter of days and McCormack was absent from the Leeds squad which flew to Italy for a pre-season camp and two friendlies, the first of which will be played on Thursday night. He travelled to Thorp Arch this morning to tie up loose ends but he did not train there while the rest of United’s senior players were abroad. All sides of this deal have been waiting for the nod, a nod which came from Cellino late last night. The ponderables are numerous and debatable. Does McCormack have any more 30-goal seasons in him? Was Fulham’s offer above the line where the money mattered more than his finishing touch? Cellino’s bargaining has saved him from any accusation that McCormack was being sold on the on the cheap but he cannot downplay the striker’s form. Up until the last fortnight for the 2013-14 term, McCormack scored more league goals than the rest of United’s players combined. Only three of the club’s wins were registered without the help of McCormack scoring. Leeds possess a squad in desperate need of improvement and restoration but at the point where McCormack put his name to a four-year contract with Fulham, United’s new signings numbered one – goalkeeper Stuart Taylor. At the unveiling of new head coach David Hockaday on June 19, Cellino said he would only sell McCormack to “Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid.” He didn’t need the money, he claimed, and every offer for McCormack was coming from the Championship. It was pointed out to Cellino that previous owners of Leeds had failed in the past to keep similar promises. “I’m not like the others,” Cellino replied. It turns out that he is, or at least in the respect that McCormack has gone. Where Cellino can show himself to be different is by making sure that the gaping hole left by McCormack – and other weaknesses in the playing squad besides – are addressed with the talent £11m can buy.

Tuesday 8th of July. McCormack signs for Fulham – Fulham Official website. Fulham Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Ross McCormack from Leeds United for an undisclosed fee. The Scotland international, last season’s top scorer in the Championship, has penned a four-year deal with the Whites, with the option of a further 12 months, potentially keeping him at the Club until the summer of 2019. McCormack started his career at Rangers, before spells at Motherwell and Cardiff City prior to his switch to Leeds in 2010. Capped 11 times by Scotland, the Glasgow-born striker has scored twice for his country. He becomes Fulham’s fifth summer signing following the captures of Tim Hoogland, Adam Taggart, Kay Voser and Shaun Hutchinson. The fee is widely reported as 11M but Cardiff City have a sell on clause of 15%. Not bad for a player that was bought for 350K by Simon Grayson, but only if every pound is reinvested in quality players. The following are tweets from some of his fellow professionals at Leeds sorry to see him leave : Matt Smith : “The Magician! Last season was an absolute pleasure mate. All the best in your new challenge”.  – Luke Murphy : “Would like to wish all the best for the future. By far the best player I’ve played with”.

Monday 7th of July 2104. More friendlies announced. United can now confirm that we will play Swindon Town on Tuesday July 29 (7.45pm) at the County Ground in a pre-season friendly. The last time United visited Swindon in January 2010 the home side ran out 3-0 winners, with former United striker Billy Paynter netting twice. The match will be United’s third confirmed friendly on English soil after returning from Italy, with Guiseley and Chesterfield first up. Tickets arrangements for the game away to Swindon will follow in due course. Confirmed Friendly Fixtures FC Gherdeina – Thursday July 10 (Italy) FC Viitorul Constanta – Sunday July 13 (Italy) Guiseley – Saturday July 19 (A) Chesterfield – July 26 (A) Swindon Town – July 29 (A) Glenavon – July 30 (A) The squad been taking part in triple training sessions on most days while out in Italy as preparation continues for our two games overseas against FC Gherdeina (July 10) and FC Viitorul Constanta (July 13).

Monday July 7th. Honorary doctorate bestowed on Eddie. United legend and club ambassador Eddie Gray is to be honoured by Leeds Met by receiving an honorary doctorate in Sports Science. As well as Eddie chart-toppers Rudimental and Coronation Street Producer Stuart EddieGrayDegreeBlackburn are among the well-known names to be awarded honorary degrees at Leeds Metropolitan University’s summer graduations. The Graduation ceremonies and celebrations will take place from Monday 21 to Friday 25 July at the University’s Headingley Campus. United legend, Eddie Gray MBE, was both player and manager at the club, and had an illustrious 20-year career there. He made 561 appearances and scored 68 goals from his position as winger and was never booked in his entire playing career. Eddie said: “When I left Glasgow over 50 years ago I left without taking any exams at school so to end up getting an award like this is tremendous. There are a lot of people to thank for all their help and support over the years. “It’s nice to be recognised in the City of Leeds, somewhere I’ve played all my football and to get an honour like this for doing something I love doing. It feels good.” “It’s fantastic to be recognised so long after hanging up my boots, having been inducted into both the Scottish and English football hall of fames recently and many years ago going down to Buckingham Palace with the family to receive my MBE from the Queen. When you get a bit older you appreciate things like this even more. “I come from a housing estate in Glasgow and leaving there all that time ago, you’re never sure how your career is going to go but I’ve been fortunate to play with some wonderful players in a successful team. The City of Leeds and the football club have been tremendous to me over the years and to receive this prestigious honour from Leeds Met is fantastic” Leeds Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: “We are delighted to recognise such a wide variety of individuals who have made a significant contribution to their field and are each an inspiration to our students and graduates. This summer’s awards are varied, with key people from a range of backgrounds including business, arts, law, sport and the music and entertainment industry. We are very much looking forward to welcoming them to our Headingley Campus to celebrate with us as we recognise the achievements of our graduating students”


Monday 7th of July Byram eyes return to life in Leeds fast lane – YP SAM BYRAM is seeking to go back to the future as he attempts to get his Leeds United career back in the fast lane. The right-back, who lit up 2012-13 after bursting onto the scene, suffered the proverbial reality check in a frustrating injury-hit 2013-14 campaign – and is determined to write a more positive chapter again. A nagging and persistent hip injury bedevilled Byram’s progress last term when he was restricted to just 17 Championship starts, all this after a peerless year at the club that saw him sweep the board at the club’s end-of-season awards evening at the end of 2012-13. Byram, who turns 21 in September, is firmly looking forwards and sees no reason why he cannot get back to the heights of that memorable first season throughout the forthcoming campaign. Byram said: “Last year was tough with injuries and stuff. But I am hoping to get back where I was when I first broke through into the side. “I want to push IceBathByramandCoItalySamandCoon and have a really good year and work my way back regularly into the team if I can and improve. Last season was tough to take. But you kind of just have to take it on the chin and learn from it. It was tough mentally too, but the players and staff try and keep your spirits up so you are not too down on yourself. I am just really looking forward to this year and kicking on again.” Byram is currently being put through his paces with his team-mates, about to start their second week’s training at the club’s training camp in Santa Cristina region of Val Gardena, with United’s first work-out on the pitch coming on Thursday tea-time when they take on local Italian side FC Gherdeina. The work amid the alpine splendour in northern Italy has been hard graft, but enjoyable according to Byram, when United building up a core fitness to serve them well throughout the long course of a nine-month campaign along with building a collective team togetherness to stand them in good stead from late summer to mid spring. Byram added: “Last season was tough overall. Watching from the sidelines, in the first half of the season we started really well and looked solid and hard to beat. We were in amongst it and it was all going well. “But I am not sure what happened after that, really. We just seemed to go downhill. Now the new owner and manager is in place and things are falling together nicely, hopefully we can put last season behind us. “You can tell straight away that he (Hockaday) is big on discipline and wants us to work hard and build a real togetherness in the team, which is a big thing in a successful team. “I really like the sound of his ideas and how he wants us to work. It sounds good. “Hard work but enjoyable is probably the best way to put it.” United continue to be linked with a number of Italian-based players, most notably Chievo Verona’s former Italian under-21 goalkeeper Marco Silvestri along with Catania defender Guiseppe Bellusci and Modena striker Tommaso Bianchi, as they seek a recruitment boost after a quiet close-season so far. Head coach Dave Hockaday is running the rule over former Arsenal and Spurs trainee Andre Blackman, who ended last season at non-league Maidenhead United, during the pre-season camp in Italy, with Leyton Orient midfielder Romaine Vincelot another domestic-based player linked with the club.

Monday 7th of July HITC Sport – United reject 10M offer from Fulham for Macca – Leeds United have rejected a £10 million bid for Ross McCormack from Fulham, as Felix Magath’s men step-up their interest in Leeds’ star-player. According to Simon Austin, a journalist who was recently in contact with Massimo Cellino, he has it on ‘good authority’ that Leeds are determined to keep hold of McCormack and even rebuffed Fulham’s eight-figure offer. McCormack has recently been put on extended leave by the club, at his own request, after he was due to join up with the rest of the Leeds squad in pre-season training in Italy this week. Last season’s Championship top-scorer had previously spoken of his desire to guide Leeds back to the Premier League, but appears to have had his head turned by interest from other clubs this summer, and handed in a transfer request earlier this month. In reaction to that Leeds announced that they were no longer in a position where they needed to sell their best players and the rejection of this current offer proves the statement to be true. Leeds have rejected a eight-figure offer from Fulham for their star player. McCormack is still expected to leave the Yorkshire club this summer, though, with Fulham in the driving seat to secure his signature. Newcastle United and Norwich City have also been strongly linked previously and may still rekindle their interest – although the hefty price-tag Leeds have put on him has proved a stumbling block so far. It was widely accepted that £10 million would be enough to prise him away from Elland Road, but that now appears an insufficient fee for Leeds’ demands. If any club were to pay more than that amount to secure the 27-year-old it would have to be considered a huge risk, considering he has no Premier League experience in his career to date. Fulham, though, are understood to be desperate to land the signing of McCormack and he tops their transfer wishlist for the summer, following their relegation from the Premier League last season, meaning a repeat bid could be made. The former Cardiff City man notched 28 Championship goals last campaign for the Whites and if he does get a move the hope is that he can match or better that tally again this year

Sat July 7th. Wonder kid Swan returns to Leeds – Adam Pope Twitter According to Adam Pope, the sports broadcaster for BBC Leeds, former Leeds United wonderkid George Swan is back at the club following his release from Manchester City and is looking to impress in hope of a new deal. In 2009, the father of George Swan defended his son’s decision to move to Manchester City by saying a ‘coaching decline’ at the Yorkshire club was stalling his son’s career. ”In George’s case, his decision to leave was entirely down to feeling his career was not developing,” said Peter Swan. ”The next two years are vital and will probably make or break whether he has a professional career in the game. ”The straw that broke the camel’s back came one night at home about six or seven months ago. I was in the other room but overheard George talking to his mum in the kitchen. ”He basically said ‘Mum, I am not happy at the Academy and don’t feel to be learning anything’. I went into the kitchen and asked him what was going on. ‘He hadn’t wanted to tell me because I played for Leeds and know many of the     GeorgeSwanpeople involved at Thorp Arch. But having signed at the age of nine when it was a Premier League set-up, George felt it had declined. He feels the coaching is not what it was and that there has been too much staff turnover.” The sharp change in fortunes at Leeds United looks to have been the main reason in the youngster’s reason to the leave the club he supports, but obviously has no reservations returning at the age of 19. ”My boy was in tears when he left Leeds,” added Peter Swan on his son’s feelings towards the club. ”He even said on the day he signed for City that he still wanted to play for Leeds one day.’ The talented teenager has had a mixed time at City though and it is niggling injuries that seem to have been the instrumental factor in his inability to make it at the highest level so far. In January 2013, however, City ran a special video profile on the youngster, who at the time was City’s under-18s captain, as a player to watch out for in the future, so he must still have a promising pedigree despite his release.


White eyes a fresh start again !!

Sat July 7th. White eyes fresh start with Leeds YP FIRED-UP Aidy White admits he is desperate to re-establish himself as a Leeds United regular in 2014-15 after two seasons blighted by frustration. The Leeds lad has suffered fluctuating fortunes over the past two campaigns under first Neil Warnock and then Brian McDermott, not exactly helped by some bouts of injury and is eager to make the most of proving himself to a new face at the helm in Dave Hockaday. White, who turns 23 in October, is mindful that he can no longer be bracketed in the category of young hopeful and that he needs to take the next definitive step in his career, namely fully establishing himself at first-team level. Back in 2012-13, the new year arrival of Stephen Warnock represented a challenge to overcome for White and in the first half of last season, he found himself on the fringes under McDermott ahead of a brief rehabilitative loan stint at Sheffield United with Nigel Clough, who had been strongly linked with a move for him when he was manager at Derby County. An ankle injury ended his spell at Bramall Lane early and once he got himself fit again in the final months of last season at Elland Road, Leeds-born White mainly had to settle for action from the bench in a difficult spell both for himself and his boyhood club. But a new season yields genuine new hope for White, who has now entered the final 12 months of the three-year deal he signed in the summer of 2012 and is keen to make a statement – knowing full well about the importance of having a fine pre-season to give himself the best chance. More especially with a left-back rival in Charlie Taylor eager to prove his own point back at Leeds and a senior man in Warnock still around, even if his future appears uncertain. White, who made his Whites debut at the age of 16 back in August 2008, said: I want to play here. “I have been here for however long and really want to pin down a place this season. “I have had a few years of being young if you like. “Yes I am still quite young, but quite experienced for my age and it’s now time to put potential to one side and prove it. “It’s been a strange few years. A couple of years ago, I was playing every week and thought I was flying and the last two seasons have been a bit stop-start, so I am looking forward to a new start under a new head coach and showing what I can really do. “It’s time to show as an individual what you can do to the manager. “Everyone will get a bit of game-time here and there in the friendlies and I am looking forward to the season starting and knuckling down and getting a spot week in week out and that’s my aim for the season. I am confident I can do that. “I thought I did well last season. But in the end, I wasn’t playing and needed games and went out on loan and did quite well, but got injured and was out for a couple of months – and when I did come back into the team, it was more off the bench.” White admits that in an ideal world that left-back is where he will feature in 2014-15, although he is equally astute enough to know that his versatility can also work for him – and is happy to fill in wherever to the benefit of the team. He added: “I don’t know what formation the manager will play. I want to be playing, but feel left-back is my best position. “But I can also play on the wing or in the hole and am quite comfortable playing where he wants me to.” Hard work has been the order of the day in the early stages of the Hockaday regime, both at the end of last week at Thorp Arch and over in northern Italy amid the Alpine air of Santa Cristini in the mountainous Val Gardena region. That will continue and White believes the hard yards will yield rewards when it really matters, when the first whistle is blown for the forthcoming campaign in August. He said: “The manager wants everyone to do well and get the best out of the players and they have all responded to him well and all working their backsides off. “It’s been tough, but as the season starts, I am sure we will get all the benefits out of it.” “He wants to install hard work into everybody.”

Satutday 7th of July. Cagliaria transfer plans might see Leeds miss out on targets – HITC Sport Leeds United could miss out on targets Danilo Avelar and Raffaele Di Gennaro after reports in Italy indicate they could be Cagliari players next season. According to EuropaCalcio, Leeds United may miss out on two targets as Cagliari look to keep Avelar and sign Raffaele Di Gennaro from Inter Milan. The report states: ”Regarding the [options on] left wing, Avelar is wanted by Leeds since there were rumours of a possible transfer to England, but could eventually remain [at Cagliari].” On Raffaele Di Gennaro, it added: ”For the exit, Simone Colombi is not clear whether it will be the first or second, given that Vlada Avramov has not yet received any calls for renewal. Two possible scenarios: the club decides to renew the trust still focusing on him or the club focuses on one of Di Gennaro (Inter Milan) and Skorupski (Rome).” The links with Raffaele Di Gennaro stem from when negotiations to bring Nicola Salerno over to the club began around two-weeks ago, amid speculation that he may join Palermo in a similar role to their management. Nevertheless, the links to the Italian goalkeeper seemed to have quietened down in Italy and now it looks likely that Cagliari, Cellino’s old club, could go in for him. Leeds United, who have just signed experienced goalkeeper Stuart Taylor on a short-term contract, are reportedly close to signing goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, which would shore-up their goalkeeper problems and leave no need for Di Gennaro. Avelar, who had been thought to be on Leeds’ list, also looks increasingly unlikely, especially if the Sardinia-based club look to keep him. However, Cellino, Salerno and Hockaday will no doubt have other irons in the fire.

Saturday July 5th. Delay in deal for former under 21 star – HITC Sport. Leeds United are attempting to bring in Catania defender Giuseppe Bellusci. Leeds United are in the midst of a busy summer as owner Massimo Cellini is hopeful of using his Italian connections to bring in a number of new players. The latest star to be linked with the club is Catania’s impressive centre-back Giuseppe Bellusci, a former Italian U21 international. According to Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Leeds United and Catania have reached an agreement for the player, however, the proposed deal has since hit a temporary snag. It has been reported that the 24-year-old’s current injury and economic request has temporarily interrupted negotiations, though the Yorkshire club are still keen to sign Bellusci and talks will resume over the next few days. Standing at 6ft 1inch, the dominant centre-back has been highly thought of over the past few years and his performances for Catania had bigger clubs taking notice. He has made just one shy of 100 appearances for Italian outfit since joining in 2009, and he became one of the club’s most decorated players in history after helping them to a club record 56 points in Italy’s top flight during the 2012/13 season. Following their recent relegation from Serie A, however, Bellusci has been widely tipped to leave and Leeds United stand to benefit greatly. With The Whites’ expected to sell Ross McCormack over the next couple of week, owner Massimo Cellino could use the money from the sale as well as his Italian connections to fund a number of transfers such as Giuseppe Bellusci to considerably strengthen the squad in more important areas.

IcebathPoleonandCoIcebathMorisonandCoFriday July 4th. Players ice themselves down in Italy. With the absence of traditional ice baths at United’s training base the management staff had to use the natural resources provided. Strength and conditioning coach Matt Pears said: “Recovery is key during intense training periods. Cold water emersion helps reduce inflammation in the body. “During training players pick up small micro tremors and the cold water acts to decrease the inflammation. When the players exit the water they will have a rush of blood delivering oxygen to the muscle groups that need replenishing. “The water temperature is six degrees where as a normal ice bath is between eight and 11 degrees.” See above the photo gallery taken on Friday afternoon.

MarcoCrimiMirkoAntencucciFriday July 4th. Salerna hunts down Italian players for Cellino – Tutto Mercato.  Nicola Salerna, very much Cellino’s right hand man is continuing to scour Italy for talent and value. “Tutto Mercato” the Italian football paper is reporting that Leeds are very much in the hunt for a number of Italian players, with two players all but signed, goalkeeper Silvestri and midfielder Bianchi. The deal maker has taking a shine to 24-year-old midfielder, Marco Crimi, who turned out for Serie B side Crimi last term. Crimi is a former U21 Italian international who won 13 caps between 2011 and 2013, also representing Italy U21 at the European Championship in Israel. Also on Salerno’s is is 29-year-old striker Matteo Mancosu, under contract to Serie B outfit, Trapani, where he enjoyed a prolific time. Trapani were promoted to Serie B in 2012/13. Meanwhile, Leeds continue to hold an interest in Mirco Antencuui of Ternana, and striker Leonardo Pavoletti of Sassuolo. It should be fun this next few weeks. Check out Pavoletti’s finishing on Youtube (He looks the real deal)

Friday July 4th. Rudy joins up with squad in Italy. United midfielder Rudy Austin has now joined up with the rest of the United squad in Italy.IceBathTongeandRudy Rudy travelled over to Santa Cristina on Thursday afternoon and joined his United team-mates at their training base. The midfielder was put through his paces in the evening by the club’s strength and conditioning coach and joined in with full training on Friday morning. United head coach David Hockaday said: We are delighted that Rudy has joined us. He wasn’t able to travel with us but we have now managed to get him over. He got a great welcome from the players and the staff because he is a very popular and important member of our playing staff. “He is now here and has trained and it is as if he has never been away.” 

Friday July 4th of July. United chase Catania striker From HITC Leeeds United have shown a strong interest in Italian striker Mirko Antenucci.Following Massimo Cellino’s long drawn-out takeover of Leeds United, the club have been linked with a number of players plying their trade Italy. The latest player to be linked with the Elland Road outfit comes in the shape of 29-year-old striker Mirko Antenucci, though likely as a Ross McCormack replacement rather than a potential strike partner. The current Catania star has played for as many as nine clubs over his career, with the last side being Serie A side Ternana who acquired his services on loan for the 2013/14 season. It was his time at Ternana where Antenucci posted his best season to date, notching 19 goals in 40 appearances for the club. Since returning to Catania, the 5ft 10inch player’s future as been put in doubt following his parent club’s relegation from Serie A and Leeds United may be willing to profit. According to respected Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Leeds United have made Antenucci their new striker target and the Whites’ reputation as a prestigious club could help land the €1.4 million-rated star.Whilst a new striker at Leeds would certainly be an exciting addition, one can only assume he would be seen as a replacement for Scottish international Ross McCormack. Leeds United said interested in 31-goal Italian striker The 27-year-old has been heavily linked with an exit from club as recent reports suggest that the Player of the Year has handed in a transfer request in a bid to push through a move to Championship rivals Fulham. The Londoners have reportedly bid £7 million for the striker, a hefty sum big enough to significantly improve Leeds United’s first-team squad if owner Massimo Cellino can use his contacts in the Italian market wisely.

Friday July 4th. It’s disappointing that Ross wants to go but it’s better happening now – Peter Lorimer. Looking at the situation with Ross McCormack and the speculation on his future, I have thought all the time that he will move on from Leeds United. Ross is 27 now and this might represent his one and only chance to get into the Premier League. Hopefully, we can get there in the next few years, but realistically he will be wanting to play in the Premier League off the back of the good season last year and there’s a bit of interest in him. This could be his one chance to go and prove to himself he can be a Premier League player. At the end of the day, everyone will want to play in the top league; we at Leeds have to realise that situation. We probably realise it more than anyone as we have had four or five players over the past few years in similar situations. Only one, in my opinion, has really made it and that is Robert Snodgrass. Others have gone and not really made it in terms of becoming regular top-flight players. Obviously, much of the talk is of Ross going to Fulham, with them being in the same division as us. But it’s the old story as those relegated clubs with the parachute payments means it’s a little bit unfair on the other sides competing for promotion and they have a massive financial head-start on the other teams. The top and bottom of it is that our club is in a rebuilding phase and it will take a bit of time to get things right. Fans have to be patient, although obviously the sale of one of your better players will make many supporters disappointed. I fully understand their frustration. But unfortunately, players come and go and obviously Ross had a very good season for us last year. If the club do feel it’s time for him to move on, it’s better, in my opinion, for him to move now before the season starts. It’s better for it to happen now, so that everyone knows exactly what his position is as it’s only five weeks to the start of the season. It’s not a nice thing to go into a season with the future of a key player uncertain as there can then be a bit of unrest about. If it’s his decision he wants to go, then regrettably, we will have to accept it. If Ross goes, I wish him all the best. The one thing that will be disappointing is he has made himself a bit of a crowd favourite with fans, many of whom will be disappointed. But at the end of the day, in every case that I know of it has been the player’s decision at Leeds that he wanted to go. I have not seen any of the leading players who left the club in the past few years say it was the club that forced them to go, as far as I know. It’s been a case of the player wanting to go into the Premier League. Fulham might not be in the Premier League, but are a team coming down who have Premier League finances behind them. Ross had an outstanding season last year and off the back of that is wanted by teams because teams are always looking for someone who can score goals. In previous years, he wasn’t as prolific. Obviously, it will be hard to replace a goalscorer like Ross. But I am sure the club will be looking to others to come in to compensate for those goals that Ross scores if he goes. In terms of bringing players in, Leeds have been stuck a little bit with the transfer embargo situation which has held things up. But I am sure there are plans for players lined up to come in. Any money coming in for Ross would help that situation, obviously. And it’s never good policy to announce as a club that you have players lined up as other teams will then go for them. As far as the existing squad is concerned, the main thing now is getting fit for the new season. They are out in Italy working hard by the sounds of it and they should come back with a fit squad for the start of the new season.

Reports from Inside Futball suggest that United are close to completing a deal for 25-year-old midfielder, Tomas Bianchi who plays his football with Moderna in Serie B. He is to arrive on a three year contract along with Silvestri, as Cellino begins the Italian invasion at Elland Road.

Friday July 4th. Jake to seize chance. Young defender Jake Skelton is looking to seize the opportunity of training with the first team in Italy with both hands. Jake has been at the Leeds United Academy since he joined the Under-JakeSkelton10’s side and has experience of playing of the Under-18s and United’s Development Squad in recent years. The 18-year-old was only told that he was to become part of the first team when he returned for pre-season training and he admits to being nervous buts says he is going to give it his all. “I was very surprised to get the call,” said Jake. “But I went back into training last Thursday and Neil Redfearn told me that I was training with the first team. I was a bit surprised as it came out of nowhere. “In these two weeks away I’m just going to try and be myself. I was nervous when I was first told but I think that nerves are good to be honest. “It shows that you’re ready for it. It shows that you are ready to give your all, and that’s what I’m going to do.” Jake is joined by some of his fellow United youngsters out in Italy and he is now looking to follow in the footsteps of Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt who have made the step-up in recent seasons. “There is obviously Chris Dawson, Lewis Walter and Lewis Cook that are out here as well so that is good,” explained the youngster. ” I can relate to Alex and Sam who have been in my shoes before so that gives me inspiration to take this opportunity with both hands. “I’ll just try and best and give it my all if given the chance.” 

Friday July 4th. Leeds close in on Silvestri as their number one keeper – Leo Wobscholl YP.  LEEDS UNITED are targeting a successful move for former Italian U21 goalkeeper Marco Silvestri – and could land him for a bargain fee of £450,000. The 23-year-old, who impressed during a loan spell in the second half of last season at Cagliari during the final months of Massimo Cellino’s tenure at the Serie A club, is down the pecking order at parent club Chievo Verona and is set to move onto pastures new with his deal expiring next summer. The former Italian under-21 custodian, who started his career at Modena, is expected to be second or third choice at Chievo in 2014-15 and is known to want regular football. ilvestri’s agent Francesco Romano revealed recently that his client has been speaking to United, seeking to press ahead with some more inward transfer activity following the lifting of the club’s transfer embargo. The club yesterday signed another goalkeeper in Stuart Taylor, who is likely to be back-up to a first-choice keeper next term. Romford-born Taylor has joined United on a one-year deal after parting company with Reading. espite only featuring four times for the Royals in his two years in Berkshire, with his last appearance coming back on March 30, 2013, the 33-year-old insists his intention is not to come to Elland Road to warm the bench. Taylor is currently working with United’s first team squad at their pre-season training camp in Santa Cristini and is eager to get a head-start in the race to become the club’s new number one, while acknowledging that he is likely to face strong competition with the arrival of another keeper ahead of the season. Taylor, who has become United’s first summer signing, said: “After speaking to the head coach, it was obvious I have been brought in to bring a bit of experience. “I’ve been around a long time and I know the game and if I can help the younger lads around me that’s great. “But obviously if I’m called upon to play I know I can do a job. I’m looking forward to it. “If I can be the number one that’s great, that is what everyone wants to be. No one is going to say that they don’t want to play. “If you ask any footballer, they all want to be the first choice in their position and I’m no different. “A number one is possibly coming in, but we will go from there. It is all about challenging for places and having competition for places. “I’ll obviously be working as hard as possible to get the shirt and if I can I’ll be happy.” Paddy Kenny, number one for Leeds in the first half of last season, is expected to move to pastures new later this summer, with the 36-year-old surplus to requirements and unlikely to play again for the club. The Halifax-born stopper, one of the highest earners at the club having arrived from QPR two summers ago, has a year left on his United deal, but the club are keen for him to move him on to get him off the wage bill. The club have totally rubbished national stories suggesting that his exit could be down to Cellino’s aversion to the number 17, considered his unlucky number with former Republic of Ireland international Kenny’s birthday being May 17.

Thurs July 3rd Agent defends Kenny. The agent of Leeds United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has rubbished reports that he is being kicked out of Elland Road because he was born on the 17th, a number that owner Massimo Cellino believes is unlucky. The eccentric Italian owner believes the number 17 is unlucky and he retired both the shirt number as well as removing every number 17 seat from the Cagliari stadium, where he was previously in charge, and replacing it with 16B. Kenny hasn`t travelled with the Leeds squad on their two week training camp in Italy this PADDY KENNY LEEDS UTD©VARLEY PICTURE AGENCYweek despite having a year remaining on his current deal at Elland Road. The 36-year-old has also been questioned over his weight after pictures last week looked like the shot stopper had piled on the pounds during his summer break but his agent Paul Masterton says the reports are nonsense. ‘I’ve no idea where this number 17 stuff came from, but it’s complete nonsense as far as we’re concerned.  ‘We’re more bothered about the picture to be honest. It’s been massively doctored. Paddy is the same weight now as he was five years ago. ‘I was playing golf with him last week and unless he’s put four stones on since then somebody somewhere is being mischievous to say the least.’ Kenny has been a regular in the side since his arrival from Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2012. In his first season, he played every championship game and he was an ever-present last season until being forced out through injury in early February. Despite returning to full fitness before the end of the season, Kenny couldn`t dislodge on loan goalkeeper Jack Butland from the side, something Kenny is believed to have been unhappy about. Despite ridiculing the number 17 rumours, it does seem like the veteran goalkeepers time at Elland Road is likely to end this summer. Leeds have signed Stuart Taylor today and they are looking to bring in another goalkeeper before the start of the season.

Thurs July 3rd. Hockaday justifying the hype of Pearce – YP JASON PEARCE heard good reports about the coaching credentials of Dave Hockaday before he arrived at Elland Road – and those words are ringing true. The Leeds United centre-half is being put through his paces with his team-mates at a two-week training camp at Santa Cristina in the Val Gardena region of northern Italy – with a new face at the helm in head coach Hockaday. The former Forest Green boss may be far from a household name, but Pearce says he received a positive ‘heads-up’ on the 56-year-old from a former team-mate who worked with him at Watford. And he hasn’t been left disappointed. Pearce said: It’s been good. The gaffer has come in and rejuvenated the lads and I think it’s going to be a fresh start for everyone. “I knew of him (Hockaday) to be fair. I spoke to one of my mates who plays for another team and he let me know what he was like and said he was a brilliant coach and the best he has trained with. That was a positive sign for me. “But whoever came in, you give them a chance to show what they can do and he has had a positive reaction on the boys and hopefully that will continue. “The training has been tough, so we should be a very fit team, which will be good, for the start of the Championship season.” The case for United’s defence was distinctly underwhelming in 2013-14, with Pearce, after a pretty average first season in West Yorkshire, representing the shining light in many respects. But the 26-year-old insists he took limited satisfaction out of his personal upturn, with his only concern being that Leeds develop a resilient streak in front of their own goal after some horror concessions last term – with sorting the defence a declared big target area for Hockaday. He added: “Every season I just try and do my best. Last season, I did MARTYN WAGHORN SCORES WIGANS FIRST GOALHockadaynewkitlaunchokay, but we conceded a lot of goals which I wasn’t pleased about and neither were the other defenders. “It was a difficult season and we massively underachieved for a club of this size. We should be doing better. “We have started from the basics with the new gaffer. He said we have got to get the basics right and we must go again next season. What I do know is we will be a fit team and tough to play against and we’ll see what happens. “The lads who are in the defence are mainly young boys. I am probably one of the oldest in the back four at 26 and that is still quite young. We all want to improve and get better and with the young lads we have got with their ability, I think we can forge quite a strong back four. “I am sure other players will also come in to provide competition and that can only help us. “The fans expect us to be extremely tough to play against and everybody coming off the pitch having given everything they can. That’s what they expect as a minimum. “We need to get that from 1 to 11 from the subs coming on as well and then who knows what can happen. Look at Burnley last year. They had a tight-knit squad and didn’t use many players and got promoted and were brilliant. They are a team you want to emulate.” After a torrid second-half of last season, on and off the pitch, Leeds fans are craving stability this time around, with most sensible enough to appreciate that improvement is likely to come at a gradual pace in 2014-15. But while patience will be a virtue, Pearce feels Leeds might surprise a few people if they get their summer recruitment right. He said: “It might take the club a few years to get where it wants to be. But at least it’s going in the right direction now. “The fans have been patient. You have to take everything into perspective in terms of what is going on and the lads are doing their best. But we need reinforcements to make us a better team and hopefully we will get that and have a good go.”

Thursday July 3rd. From HIT Sport – Five signings that should give Leeds fans confidence in Cellino We take a look at five players Massimo Cellino has signed in the past that should give Leeds United fans confidence in his ability to scout out and attract the right player. The new Leeds United supremo to some people seems eccentric and egotistical with regards to how he is running the club. Nevertheless, he has proven on numerous occasions in the past that he does have a keen eye for a player, and that he can attract big named stars too. We take a look at five players that during his time at Cagliari has seen him do just that.

Davide Astori – AC Milan to Cagliari

One of the current stars of the Cagliari team, Davide Astori, was signed from AC Milan in 2008 for a relatively sizable fee despite only having experience in the lower Italian divisions on loan. Nevertheless, the defender hit the ground running and became one of the clubs star men, attracting interest from the likes of Spartak Moscow and Tottenham Hotspur. In that time, he has also earned international recognition and won seven caps for Italy under Cesare Prandelli.

Federico Marchetti – AlbionoLeffe to Cagliari

The Italian international was snapped up by Cellino’s Cagliari in 2008 from Serie B side AlbinoLeffe after they missed out on promotion to Lecce. A small amount was swapped for the Serie B best goalkeeper award winning as he was promptly loaned back to his former club, indicating Cellino’s shrewdness in the transfer market. During his first season in Serie A, the young goalkeeper caught the imagination of all the supporters. He went on to make his debut for Italy in 2009 after being named by Gianluigi Buffon as his favourite Italian young goalkeeper. He moved to Lazio in 2011 after president Claudio Lotito activated the keepers €5.2 million release clause.

David Suazo – Olimpia to Cagliari

One of the most impressive signings by Cellino, from a Cagliari point-of-view, is David Suazo from Olimpia in 1999. The Honduran who, at that point, had just broken into the Honduras national side was brought over from his home nation to play with Cagliari in Serie A. In eight seasons with the club, he made nearly 276 appearances scoring 102 goals in all competitions. He also went on to win the Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year award in one of his final years at Cagliari. He later moved to Serie A giants Internazionale for a deal worth €14 million and went on to play a big part in their title win in the 2007-2008 season.

Patrick M’Boma – Gamba Osaka to Cagliari

The name Patrick M’Boma is synonymous with the rise of Cameroonian football in the late 90s and early 00s, but Cellino can take a lot of the credit for his development after snapping him up from the J. League in 1998. The two time African Nations Cup winner played 40 Serie A games during his time with Cagliari and scored a respectable 15 goals along the way. The striker, who was well renowned for his hammer shot, went on to win the African Footballer of the Year and the BBC African Footballer of the Year awards during his time at Cagliari and later went on to play in the Premier League with Sunderland in 2002.

Gianfranco Zola – Chelsea to Cagliari

Massimo Cellino, in 2003, pulled off perhaps his most impressive signing and arguably one of his most important during his time with the club. Zola, who is regarded as a Chelsea legend, agreed to join up with Cagliari a week before Roman Abramovich acquired Chelsea. At the time, there were rumours that the Russian billionaire even offered to buy Cagliari from Cellino in order to get the experienced striker to return to Stamford Bridge, however, it wasn’t to be. Zola went on to play a huge part in Cagliari’s return to the top flight and subsequent consolidation the next year before retiring in 2005 with a record of 22-goals in 74 games.

Thurs 3rd. Leeds release Statement re McCormack and other “best players”. Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino and the club would like to respond to recent media speculation regarding Ross McCormack. We would like to reiterate our desire to keep Ross McCormack at Leeds United. This desire includes keeping all of our best players as we look to build a stronger and successful squad for the 2014/15 Championship season. Leeds United may not be the richest club in the Championship, but we do not need to sell our best players in order to run the club IPSWICH V LEEDS 24/08/2013successfully.

Thurs 3rd of July. Ross calls time on life at Leeds – Leo Wobschall YP ROSS MCcormack’S time at Leeds United is set to end on an acromonious note amid a deterioration in his relationship with owner Massimo Cellino. The Whites captain, subject of a second bid from Fulham – who are hoping to finalise a deal to sign him shortly – is believed to have submitted a transfer request on June 20, the day after Dave Hockaday was appointed as head coach. It is thought that McCormack’s decision was not directly related to the former Forest Green manager’s appointment. Leeds rate McCormack in the £10m bracket, although they may have to settle on a compromised figure of below that, with Fulham unlikely to pay that amount, with £8m likely to be a more realistic figure. Speculation over the forward’s future intensified after he did not travel out to northern Italy for United’s two-week training camp in Santa Cristina on Monday, despite tweeting at the start of last week that he was planning to be with his team-mates in Italy. Relations are believed to have grown increasingly strained between McCormack and Cellino since, with the United president last night reportedly saying: “I’ve already spent too long dealing with one player. I have a team to look after.” Back at Hockaday’s unveiling on June 19, comments from Cellino did not hint at any difficulties in his relationship with McCormack, as he attempted to clarify the club’s position by stating he would only sell him if a ‘big’ team in the top-flight came coming, while describing him as a ‘beautiful player.’ This came after Fulham saw a £5m bid for the Scot turned down, with Cellino stating: “If he gets an offer from a big team in the Premier League, then we should give a chance to the guy to go, to face a new level. “But the teams who have asked for McCormack are from the Championship (Fulham). “So I think that for once I can do something big. “I am not selling McCormack.“He signed a (four-year) contract here and I will engage myself to keep him here. “He is a beautiful player.” Despite the knock-back, the Cottagers have maintained their interest in the forward amid speculation they were lining up an improved bid. McCormack was also the subject of a failed bid from West Ham in January, when he was also linked with former club Cardiff City. Newcastle United are another who have been credited with an interest in McCormack, although they scotched talk of a bid back in early June with the striker’s future having been under the microscope throughout the current calendar year. McCormack only signed a new four-year deal at United last autumn and while he expressed his desire to realise his Premier League dreams with the club at the time, the fraught and testing situation at the club this year appears to have prompted a rethink. McCormack, who topped the Championship scoring charts with 28 goals in a prolific 2013-14 campaign, also turns 28 next month with the prolific Glaswegian effectively forced to weigh up his feelings for Leeds with his realistic hopes of playing top-flight football in the near future. Speaking at the end of last season, McCormack, pictured far right, said: “There’s no point in me sitting here saying that I don’t want to play in the Premier League, because I do. I want to play there as soon as possible, but in my head there’s a lot to take into consideration.”

Thurs 3rd of July. Kenny to be axed over DOB  – This is a crazy report which has been taken up by all the Meia outlets. This is from The Guardian – The increasingly bizarre world of Leeds United has taken another turn for the strange after it emerged that Massimo Cellino, their maverick new owner, has such a dislike of the number 17 it has turned him against one of the club’s key players who was born on that date. Cellino is so suspicious of the number 17 that he had the seats at his former club, Cagliari, taken out and replaced with 16B. Now he has instructed the new Leeds head coach, Dave Hockaday, not to select Paddy Kenny after discovering that the goalkeeper’s birthday is on 17 May and concluding that he is bad luck for the Championship club. Kenny, the second-highest earner at Leeds on 10,000 a week, has been left at home while the other players embark on a pre-season trip to Italy and he will not play for the club again. Cellino, who also has a fear of purple, has separate issues about Kenny allegedly being overweight but is said to have reacted emotionally when he found out the 36-year-old goalkeeper had a connection with the number 17. The Italian’s superstition about that number is so strong he has told Hockaday it must not form part of the squad list next season. Michael Brown previously wore 17 for Leeds but was released at the end of the season. The issue goes back to Cellino’s time in Italian football when he says there was only one occasion in 20 years that Cagliari won or drew a game on the 17th of a month. In a recent interview, he remembered that victory and put it down to him asking the club’s supporters to wear the dreaded purple to the game. “The whole stadium was purple on the 17th. We won because I think that bad luck is like algebra: minus and minus is positive. Purple and 17 … they became positive and we won. That’s the only time.”  Cellino completed his takeover of Leeds in April but only after an appeal against the Football League’s decision to try to block him entry on the grounds he had a previous conviction for fraud. Since then, he has sacked Brian McDermott and unexpectedly brought in Hockaday, who had been out of work for eight months after leaving his previous club, Forest Green, on the back of a run of seven defeats in eight games. Leeds are now embarking on a cost-cutting process that has seen the canteen at their training ground closed down, meaning the players have to take packed lunches or send out for sandwiches. The players are also being made to pay to have their kits washed. Hockaday will not have control of transfer business and Cellino intends to flood the squad with free signings and cheap Italian imports. Stuart Taylor, who left Reading at the end of the season, has joined Leeds to take over from Kenny.

Thursday 3rd of July. Taylor becomes 1st official signing – LUFC Official website. The club have completed the stuart-taylor_orrvoteaeb3s15b693xvzo8z2signing of former Reading goalkeeper Stuart Taylor and he becomes United’s first signing of the summer. The experienced goalkeeper has signed a one-year contract with the club. He brings a wealth of experience to the club as has a league title, and FA Cup and two Charity Shield victories to his name from his time at Arsenal. Taylor’s final appearances for Reading came during March of the Royal’s Premier League campaign in 2012/13 when he faced, amongst others, Manchester United and his former side Arsenal. The 33-year-old travelled to Italy with the first team on Monday and has joined the rest of the squad for pre-season training. United head coach David Hockaday said: “I’m absolutely delighted to get Stuart Taylor here. He comes highly recommended by everybody. He has lots of experience and is a great professional. “He will be perfect for our dressing room because we have a very young team. So I’d like to give Stuart a big welcome to Leeds United.”

Weds 2nd.Taylor agrees one year deal with Leeds.  Leeds have reportedly agreed a one year deal with 33-year-old former former Man City and Arsenal back up keeper, Stuart Taylor who has played all of 72 games in the past 10 years. United are anxious to get Paddy Kenny off the wage bill. Kenny has a further year left on his contract and his thought to be on £15K per week. Kenny didn’t make it to Italy, nor did Stephen Warnock, another high earner that Leeds are anxious to lose.  (see pic below of Stuart Taylor training in Italy).

Weds July 2nd. Who we have lost and who will be released ? (updated) Leeds have lost the following from last year’s squad so far : 1.Jamie Ashdown, 2. Michael Brown, 3. El-Hadji Diouf, 4. Adam Drury,5.  Paul Green, 6. Danny Pugh, 7. Luke Varney, 8. Cameron Stewart, 9.  Gylfi Ayribi,10.  Lee Peltier, 11. Marius Zaliukas, 12. Simon Lenighan, and the two Turner  twins make 14. McCormack, Warnock and Kenny will become 17 players. Others like Norris and Tonge may yet go. If we average each contact @ £500K per year (that’s a minimum saving) the club has paired back £8.5M in wages at the very least. Peltier, Zaliukas, Stewart etc may have had severence payments, but McCormack will pull in between £8M and £10M in a transfer fee. There is circa £15M to £18M pulled back there in a clean slate before Cellino starts his new campaign. Throw in McDermott’s wages of £750K and the loan signings of Premiership players like Kebe and Wickham and you go higher again. However, as Stewart won’t comment on his release “on advice from his lawyers”  (source Leo Wobschall’s Twitter page) one hopes that Cellino hasn’t taken any short cuts in culling unwanted and surplus players from the squad. Hmmmm. What about the over paid and mis-firing Noel Hunt allegedly on 25K per week ? You can see where he has come from, but many of us have already lost all of our 40′s outside the Premiership and don’t want to be losing our 50′s as well. The embargo has now been lifted. We are about to sell off our crown jewell in McCormack but if Cellino wants to put bums on seats, I expect to see ambition matched with value and entertainment on the park at LS 11. Otherwise he will be another Bates in disguise and the answer to our worst nightmares.


Weds July 2nd. Italian friendlies confirmed and M’bro game live on Sky The club can now confirm that while the first team are on pre-season duty in Italy Ultanthey will play two friendly matches. The first of the two games will be against local side FC Gherdeina on Thursday July 10 and then United will face-off against FC Viitorul Constanta on Sunday July 13. Romanian side FC Viitorul Constanta currently play in Liga 1 in Romania after gaining promotion to the top division in 2009-10 season after only being established in 2009. Both matches will be played at Mulin De Coi in Val Gardena and will kick off at 5.30pm. Admission for the game against FC Gherdeina is free and supporters are able to pay on the gate for the game against FC Viitorul Constanta, price to be confirmed. Meanwhile Our first home league match of the season against Middlesbrough will now kick off at 12.15pm. The game on Saturday August 16 was originally set for a 3pm kick off but the clash will now be screened live on Sky Sports. Our home match with Middlesbrough last season saw United run out 2-1 winners with the goals coming from Ross McCormack and Jason Pearce attended by the Louth Branch.The occasion will be will be remembered for Oisin Watters making his debut in a “Onesey”.

Weds July 2nd. Transfer request handed in ?  Sky Sports has reported that Ross McCormack has handed in a transfer request, but the player has not confirmed this on his Twitter page. It has been widely reported that he was unhappy with the club’s lack of ambition in the transfer market and the recent appointment of Dave Hockaday as manager certainly would not have helped matters. By forcing his hand Cellino would deny the player between 5% and 7% of the transfer fee as part of the move.

Weds July 2nd. Leeds chase striker. According to Live Sicilia, Leeds United are in ‘pole position’ to land long-term target Leonardo PavolettiPavoletti despite fresh interest from Palermo as they look to replace Kyle Lafferty after his move to Norwich. The report states: ‘’Leonardo Pavoletti, the hottest property being pursued by the Palermo leadership. The striker, who has returned to Sassuolo after an excellent stint at Varese, would willingly accept a transfer to Palermo, basically to fill the slot freed by the sale of Kyle Lafferty, sold to Norwich. ‘’Ceravolo is also having to work intensely on this deal because of the strong interest from teams in Germany and England, with Leeds, under Cellino and Nicola Salerno, in pole position.’’ The 25-year-old Italian, who played just three times last season for his parent club, is expected leave this summer on a permanent deal after failing to make an impact for the Serie A side. Whilst at Varese last season the Italian striker made a huge impact in Ser Serie B and netted an impressive 20 goals in 33 games despite the loan club finishing in 18th position and in the relegation play-off. In fact, the impressive goal tally the impressive goal tally left him the third best striker in the division on paper, behind Mancosu and Tavano. If Leeds do sign Pavotti despite his failings thus far in the top flight, he should be considered a good signing and a coup considering the teams that are in for him. Nevertheless. it is likely the 25-year-old-striker’s movements will be under the microscope in Italy until he makes a decision over his future.

Weds 2nd of July. Show me you are better than you looked – Hockaday. DAVID HOCKADAY has challenged Leeds United’s underachievers from last season to play their way firmly into his plans for 2014-15.  United are currently being put through their paces at a training camp in the Santa Cristina region of Val Gardena, situated in the Dolomites mountain range of northern Italy, where the emphasis is not solely on hard work but also developing team togetherness to serve them well over the course of the coming campaign after a fraught 2013-14. For head coach Hockaday it offers invaluable time to ingratiate himself fully with his players and establish his working methods with them and alongside assessing the physical levels of fitness, he is just as anxious to get to know more about the mentalities as well. Hockaday, who says every player will get 90 minutes of football under their belts in two matches against local opposition, said: “The break gives me a pre-season-training_1aaw8nvywj7mw1icfmbocomq8xchance to assess the players because everything is wiped clean. “These lads, the vast majority, are desperate to play for Leeds United and they are all going to be given a chance. “Italy is going to give me a great chance to know every individual and get inside their heads. As the key to coaching players is me finding out what makes them tick. “It’s them finding out about me and me finding out about them and finding a way to work forward together. “We need to be a team in every sense of the word and we obviously haven’t been that for a while. So we need to make sure we are all bonding out there. “I am very hopeful a number of guys are going to step forward and that I am going to say,‘ Wow, actually you are maybe better than you looked last season’. “It’s a chance to get fit, get the tactics laid down and to bond and get the team looking right and for me to assess the squad.” Five young players have been promoted to the first-team squad for the trip, with the surprise name among them being teenage central defender Jake Skelton, who hails from New Farnley. Skelton, 18, who first came to the club’s attention as a nine-year-old and has worked his way up through their junior ranks since, admits the call-up represented a surprise, but an extremely pleasant one. The promising centre-back was promoted to train with the first-team squad at Thorp Arch on Thursday, a welcome bonus following a 2013-14 campaign which saw him recuperate from a broken leg suffered at the end of the previous season before making an impact towards the end of the year. The likes of Tom Lees, Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram have all propelled themselves to first-team prominence after appearing for the academy and that remains Skelton’s ultimate aim. He said: “They have shown that when you get a chance, you have just got to take it and hopefully this is my chance and I can take it with both hands. “I didn’t play much football last year. But the year before, I had a good, strong year as a first-team scholar. “When we started on Thursday, it was very much a surprise, but a nice one. “Neil Redfearn came inside as well and said: ‘You are going to be training with the first team’. I am a bit nervous, but I think nerves are good to be honest.”  Also included in the 20-man squad with Skelton were fellow rookies Lewis Walters, Lewis Cook and Chris Dawson.

Wednesday 2nd  of July Marius Zaliukas leaves Leeds with Kenny and Warnock expected to follow. Marius Zaliukas has had his Zaliukascontract terminated by mutual consent by Leeds one season early. Zaliukas played 15 games for Leeds put never recovered after that nightmare performance at Hillsborough when United shipped six goals, as Cellino efficiently eradicates the Brian McDermott signings from last season. Few will mourn the Lithuanian’s departure after an initial promising start he just couldn’t perform to the standard desirable of a top defender required by Leeds standards. He is set to sign for Glasgow Rangers today after linking up with the Ibrox club for training. The former Hearts captain  now 30-year-old and  one of several senior players expected to leave United in the coming days and weeks. The futures of the likes of Paddy Kenny and Stephen Warnock also appeared in doubt. Lithuanian centre-half Zaliukas almost joined the Gers last summer and trained with the club, only for a deal to break down following his release from Hearts. After mulling over the offer, he elected not to sign a contract after mulling over the contract, with the stopper linking up with United in the autumn, signing an 18-month deal at Elland Road. But it looks to be a case of second time lucky for Gers chief Ally McCoist.

Tues 1st of July. July 1st. “Lies, lies, lies will tear us apart” from Teamtalk – Leeds FanZoner Steve Turner believes Ross McCormack is right to want out of Elland Road after a startling lack of ambition in recent months. “Keeping McCormack is a matter of principle, not money” announced Cellino, confidently. It was enough to temporarily placate the fans, who were worrying about the possibility of a Championship campaign without the player that had just single-handedly kept them in the division. To those fans, McCormack was an asset for more than just his goals. He ‘got it’, and thrived on the pressure that came with playing for Leeds, a feat many before him struggled with. The thought of losing him to a Premier League club was hard to take. While few would deny that he had earned the right to play at the highest level, it hurt to imagine him in the colours of another team. Cellino appeared to share the same view. “If a Premier League team comes we have to give him the chance but I pledge to keep him here.” A few days later, it was revealed that fellow Championship rivals Fulham were in talks with McCormack over a move to Craven Cottage, and the backlash began. “McContract” snarled some, a midst other, less repeatable insults. They were met with a telling silence from both player and club. The dismal truth is, he’s right to leave. Back in May, McCormack publicly challenged Cellino to show some ambition, stating that it was “up to the owner to show his hand now, and let everyone see what his plans for next season are, because if the quotes from him are right and he’s said he doesn’t expect promotion next year, that’s not something us as players want to hear or hang around for.” Two months, and no new signings later, Cellino brought in the practically unheard of Dave Hockaday to coach the team, and the camel’s back broke. Ross McCormack wanted to take Leeds to the Premier League. His commitment was unquestionable, but after giving the club another season of his precious career, one in which he gave everything he had to give, his reward was for the club to demonstrate the most shattering display of ambition possible. At this point, it appears he has decided to draw the line. Every player that has anything about them harbours ambitions of playing at the highest level possible, in McCormack’s case, that level is undeniably the Premier League. Perhaps then, it speaks volumes that he sees that the quickest route tofulfilling that dream is with a team in the same division, on the same points, with the same level playing field, as Leeds. With the signing of McCormack, Fulham will have shown more ambition than Leeds did in the entirety of his time with the club. The move to Craven Cottage is no ‘side-step’, Leeds are a club stagnating in a division that becomes harder to escape from with every wasted season, while Fulham have their eye on an instant return to the Premier League. The pledge by Cellino to keep McCormack was a bold one to make, though Leeds fans are beginning to find that behind the promises is a catastrophic lack of action. Broken promises results in broken trust, which sees unease and a lack of confidence spread through the club like a virus. Cellino recently compared Leeds to a Ferrari; it’s as well that he never commented on its condition, as they’re in need of a serious amount of work. Once the initial hurt has subsided, McCormack will leave Leeds with the blessing of most fans. He’ll move on to Fulham knowing that he gave everything he could to restore this clapped out Ferrari to its former glory. Unfortunately, it was just too much of a scrapheap to salvage. Some of the replies : leedsls27 (Leeds United): Don’t you think, sensibly, that the only approach open to the club was to sort the mess the club is in off the pitch, to try and regain some sort of financial control, clear the decks, and start again from a position of relative stability? Apart from the fact the club has been under a transfer embargo since the end of last season preventing any income transfers, and of course the small matter of the transfer window being closed, what would have been the point in signing half a dozen players to keep Ross happy only to find you couldn’t shift the ones that were already in place? That would have been financial suicide. Everyone will have their view on Hockaday, personally I think it’s a huge gamble, but I’m not prepared to completely and disrespectfully dismiss him, as both you and, presumably, RM have done, until he has had a chance to work with the team that develops over the coming weeks and see what he’s got to offer when the action starts. It might be a complete disaster but it could also just work and I defy anyone to be able to call it either way at this juncture. It also has to be taken into account that RM has ruthlessly manipulated his standing with the fans, and the need for the club to avoid complete anarchy off the pitch by keeping him as their recognised “star” player, to force through two lucrative contract renegotiations in the last three years but has now walked away from the relationship he held with the fans, and the captaincy of the biggest club he will ever play for, less than a year after becoming the highest paid player at the club where he was, by his own recent admission, “very happy and completely settled at” only to ignore the holy grail of the Premier League and join another Championship club who happened to be in the fortunate position to cross his palm with even more silver than we have. Poor old Ross. doulton16 (Leeds United): This article is far too negative and I challenge its assumptions. MC is taking all of the steps needed to establish a firm base to launch a bid to the PL without breaking the club again. He has been painfully honest, but I think his dedicated eccentricity is a perfect for a broken LUFC. This season is about establishing a new first team with a wage bill to match our commercial revenues and not getting relegated : It is not about promotion at any price and like it or not if we get a £10m bid for a player like McCormack we must accept it. I think MC will be just the person this club needs to raise itself from the ashes, so stop morning and start supporting. sunman (Leeds United): I think that Ross is being short sighted here. If you look at the outgoing transfer dealings, all the golden oldies have been released. That means an overall younger squad, with a fitness coach proven to be one of the best coaches, note, not manager, and an academy of youngsters ready to step up to the challenge. He should stay as the senior striker and captain for at least one more season to see where this new journey goes too. Just my thoughts and opinion. MOT

Tuesday July 1st. Leeds arrive in Italy. United’s first team squad have now arrived at the training facility in Santa

pre-season-training_10c7qckruuqp113ylwmp14we6vpre-season-training_1dn5jtmr3u71u1p2m5ukk21son (2)pre-season-training_1dn5jtmr3u71u1p2m5ukk21son (2)Cristina that will be their base for the next two weeks. A total of 20 players made the trip to Italy on Monday morning, but they travelled without club captain Ross McCormack. The United striker only took part in some of Thursday’s training and missed Friday’s session and has missed the trip. Another notable absentee was Rudy Austin, although the club and player are hoping he will be able to join the group in the coming days. Also missing from the trip are injured duo Alex Mowatt and Scott Wootton. Paddy Kenny and Marius Zaliukas also remained at Thorp Arch. Included in the travelling group are youngsters Lewis Cook, Jake Skelton, Chris Dawson and Lewis Walters. Also included in the travelling group was trialist defender Andre Blackman.Full Travelling Squad : 1. Alex Cairns 2. Sam Byram 3.  Jason Pearce 4.  Tom Lees 5.  Charlie Taylor 6.  Stephen Warnock 7.  Ross Killock 8.  Aidy White 9.  Jake Skelton 10.  Luke Murphy 11.  Michael Tonge 12.  David Norris (Ishe still with us ?) 13.  Zac Thompson 14.  Lewis Cook 15. Chris Dawson 16.  Noel Hunt 17.  Dominic Poleon 18.  Steve Morison (are you having a laugh ?)19.  Matt Smith 20.  Lewis Walters. Not a squad good enough to stay in the Championship let alone compete for the Premiership. We will need every red cent of the near 10M and more we get from McCormack and others to reinvest in quality Leeds United players.

Tuesday July 1st. McCormack edges closer in move to Fulham and Stewart signs for Ipswich Town FULHAM are leading the race to sign Leeds United captain Ross McCormack and could finalise a deal to sign the Scottish international this week. The United captain did not travel out to northern Italy with his team-mates for the start of United’s two-week training camp in Santa Cristini yesterday, prompting renewed speculation over his future, with Fulham expected to win the race to sign him. Both the Cottagers and United are not commenting on speculation suggesting that the 27-year-old – top-scorer in the Championship last season with 28 goals – is poised to join, but it is understood a deal, rumoured to be worth around £10m, is close to being finalised. Fulham saw a £5m offer for McCormack turned down by Leeds in the middle of last month, but have maintained their interest in the Scottish international and were fully expected to increase their bid with boss Felix Magath keen toadd some proven Championship experience to his squad. United owner Massimo Cellino insisted that the club would only sell McCormack if a ‘big team’ in the top-flight came calling, but he and McCormack are believed to have held a face-to-face meeting last week in which the Scot expressed a desire to leave Elland Road. Norwich City are also known admirers of McCormack, who has also been linked with Derby County this summer, with the striker also linked with several other clubs including Newcastle United and West Ham this calendar year. The Hammers saw a bid for the frontman turned down towards the end of the January transfer window, while the Magpies were forced to deny talk they had tabled an offer earlier this summer after Cellino stated the club had rejected a bid from the north-east club. News that McCormack is set to join a growing list of leading United players in recent seasons to head elsewhere, with the likes of Jonny Howson, Luciano Becchio, Robert Snodgrass and Jermaine Beckford having all left since the club returned to the second tier, would represent a further blow to Whites fans. Meanwhile, McCormack’s strike partner last season, Matt Smith, admits he would be devastated if the Scot left the club, with the big targetman rating his colleague as the best player in the Championship. Speaking at the club’s kit launch on Saturday, he said:I don’t think there is anyone more desperate for me than him to stay. As a fellow strike partner, he’s nothing but an absolute pleasure to play up front with. “For me, he’s the best player in the division and an absolute magician to play up front with. So I would be devastated if he was to leave as I’d love to have another season with him because I think we are a good foil for each other. “It’s the traditional big-man, little-man combo. The more we got used to each other, the more rewards we got out of it. We got something like 42 goals between each other and 15 or 16 assists between us. It worked well. “Ross is a very experienced Champonship footballer who has been at this level for a number of years now and is very established. As well as that, we were very close friends away from the   pitch as well and I think that’s a massive help. “He didn’t necessarily put an arm around me, but was brilliant for me and I was always be grateful for that, with it being my first season at this level.” United also flew out to the continent for training yesterday minus goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, who is expected to also leave for pastures new later this summer. Kenny, who has stayed behind in West Yorkshire, has a year left on his United deal and will consider his options fully in the coming weeks before deciding upon his next move. Meanwhile, sources close to the club have suggested that Cameron Stewart will not be joining United, who say the player has declared himself as a free agent after his deal expired at Hull City yesterday – with no full contract awaiting him at Leeds. The player signed a three year contract with Ipswich Town. Released White Paul Green signed a two year contract with CamStewartPCRotherham and Luke Varney a one year deal with Blackburn The club have confirmed that a total of 20 players made the trip to Italy on Monday morning, with the other significant absences alongside McCormack and Kenny, former skipper Rudy Austin and defender Marius Zaliukas. Due to administrative issues, the Jamaican international has not yet joined up with his team-mates in Santa Cristini but is expected to do so in the coming days. Also missing from the trip are injured duo Alex Mowatt and Scott Wootton who will be working on their rehabilitation back at Leeds. Included in the travelling group were youngsters Lewis Cook, Jake Skelton, Chris Dawson and Lewis Walters. Hull have signed Scotland international Robert Snodgrass from Norwich. The clubs agreed a fee for the 26-year-old former Leeds United winger on Thursday, understood to be a one-off payment of £7million, and personal terms have now been settled on the winger’s switch to the KC Stadium. It is the second major signing of the close season for the Tigers, after last week’s £8m capture of Jake Livermore.