LUFCXmasWishing all our members a happy new year. 44 Points from a possible 138 in 2014. 12 defeats from 24, and 2 wins from 16 with 3 managerial changes. Roll on 2015 !






Weds 31st Redfearn to “freshen up squad” NEIL REDFEARN insisted that Leeds United would react to their deteriorating season with a clutch of new signings next month after the club ended 2014 with another limp defeat at Derby County. Redfearn said he and Leeds owner Massimo Cellino were ready to adopt “short-termism” and look for quick solutions to the problems which have placed United in trouble near the foot of the Championship table. A 2-0 loss at the iPro Stadium left Leeds with just one point separating them from the bottom three, the consequence of a campaign in which their squad have lost 12 times and taken two wins from their last 16 games. Leeds were beaten by an own goal from Alex Mowatt shortly before half-time and a Jake Buxton header two minutes into the second half. The club are close to signing striker Leonardo Pavoletti on loan from Sassuolo and have lined up a deal to take Slovenian midfielder Rene Krhin on a temporary basis from Inter Milan. United are also understood to have expressed an interest in Andrey Galabinov, a Bulgarian striker who is on the books of Italian Serie B club Livorno. Redfearn called for positivity after Tuesday night’s defeat, but conceded that the need for new players was obvious, saying: “Perhaps there’s got to be a bit of short-termism here. “The boys who are here have been fantastic but they need some help. They need other players to come in, freshen us up and give us a bit of experience. But I’ve had this conversation with Massimo. We’re well aware of it.” Asked if he was confident of securing players with prior experience of the Championship, United’s head coach said: “I’m hoping so – or players who give us that sort of quality. We need that depth, that competition and real game-changers on the bench. At the moment it’s not the case.” On the latest setback, Redfearn said: “In the first half we were quite measured and organised but the goal just before half-time put a different slant on things. “At 1-0 we were still in with a chance. But the second goal killed it.”

Weds Dec 31st Umbers joins board at ER Financier Andrew Umbers – one of the men who helped to arrange the sale of Leeds United by Ken Bates to Gulf Finance House in 2012 – has joined the board at Elland Road. Umbers’ appointment as a club director increases the size of Leeds’ board to seven and follows on from the arrival of Matt Child as United’s chief operating officer last month. Umbers came to prominence in Leeds two years ago when, as director of Eurofin Capital, he advised Bates on the sale of his stake in United to GFH. Speaking at the time, Umber said the 100 per cent takeover by the Bahraini investment bank would create “the right legacy to build on the prudent stewardship of Ken Bates.” Eurofin was employed by Bates to find a buyer for his shares and both the firm and Umbers remained involved at Elland Road during GFH’s 16 months as owner, a period in which the bank sought to sell a majority shareholding. Current owner Massimo Cellino bought a 75 per cent stake from the bank in April of this year and Umbers has acted as an advisor for much of the Italian’s time in charge of Leeds. Cellino has now sanctioned his appointment to the Elland Road board, giving Umbers a remit which will see him focus on the financial side of United’s operations. Umbers joins a list of directors which already included Cellino, the Italian’s two sons – Edoardo and Ercole – and Daniel Arty, Cellino’s American financial advisor. All five represent Eleonora Sport Limited, the company Cellino used to buy Leeds from GFH. GFH, which still controls a 25 per cent stake in United, has two directors at Elland Road. Salem Patel has been on the board since the bank’s takeover in December 2012 while Jinesh Patel, CEO of Dubai-based GFH Capital, was named as a director in July. Tues Dec 30th. Derby County 2-0 Leeds United Report from YP DECEMBER was advertised as a hard month for Leeds United and when it came it was worse than that. ne point from five games is the chronic record which ends 2014 and leaves the club with the horrible feeling that trouble waits on the horizon. The highlight of a trying winter is still a 2-0 win over Derby County in late November but Leeds were unable to repeat that result at Pride Park. A 2-0 loss, handed to Derby by a second own goal in as many fixtures, said everything about the way United’s season is going. The match was not a rout, even though Derby forced the pace from the start, but it developed into a procession and Leeds’ knack of conspiring to take nothing from contests like this is edging them towards the Championship’s bottom three. A gap of one point is a thin rope to cling to with January almost here. Alex Mowatt’s own goal four minutes before the interval was a harsh concession at the end of a half which gave no hint of a break in the deadlock until the ball flew against the midfielder’s shins and flew in off the underside of United’s crossbar. It staggered Leeds and, as with Liam Cooper’s bizarre error which set Wigan Athletic on the way to a precious Boxing Day win at Elland Road, Derby’s evening was made by that lucky break. Two minutes into the second half, their victory was sealed by a more woeful effort from Jake Buxton who angled an unforgivably free header into the top corner of Marco Silvestri’s net. This Leeds team do not often recover from deficits and they made no pretence of doing so here. The final whistle rounded off a calendar year which United will not mind forgetting quickly; a year of chaotic takeovers, managerial changes, excessive defeats and limited visible progress. Far from dwelling on it, they have graver things to think about in the weeks ahead. Games against Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town now look pivotal, falling either side of Massimo Cellino’s appeal against his disqualification as the club’s owner. Yesterday’s match was not only Leeds’ last of 2014 but their last before the start of the transfer window. The club visit Sunderland in the FA Cup on Sunday but their biggest game before a trip to Bolton on January 10 will be played in next month’s market. United are optimistic that a deal will be reached to sign ~Leonardo Pavoletti on a half-season loan from Sassuolo shortly after the FIFA window opens. The striker was at Elland Road for Friday’s loss to Wigan and has not turned tail as Federico Viviani did after a pre-season defeat at Mansfield in July. Leeds also expect to bring in Slovenian Rene Krhin, a central midfielder at Inter Milan who is 24 and making no real headway at the San Siro. Italian sources, meanwhile, claim United have shown an interest in Andrey Galabinov, a Bulgarian forward who plays in Serie B with Livorno. At 6’4″, he has similar attributes to Pavoletti. The projection at present is another influx from abroad, in spite of Leeds’ January transfer embargo and despite Redfearn’s call for an injection of Championship experience. Derby have bundles of that and Steve McClaren’s side succeeded in teasing a laboured win out of a wet and shivering contest. Neil Redfearn dropped Billy Sharp and Michael Tonge from his side, though others could have followed suit after United’s flat defeat to Wigan. Souleymane Doukara and Rudy Austin took their places, while injury accounted for Jason Pearce and a virus limited Adryan to a place on the bench. There was none of the surety which flowed through Redfearn’s line-up when they turned Derby over at Elland Road last month. There was even less after Stephen Warnock injured his ankle in a second-minute challenge on Cyrus Christie and signalled immediately for the physio. Gaetano Berardi stepped in and, unsurprisingly in the circumstances, Derby made most of the running. For the best part of 20 minutes, Redfearn’s players were pinned in as Jordan Ibe attacked one wing and Christie pushed up the other. United’s defensive inadequacies became common knowledge weeks ago but they held in the face of steady pressure, denying County much to feed on. An early Will Hughes shot hit a defender before reaching Marco Silvestri and Ibe’s low cross deflected safely into the goalkeeper’s hands. Chris Martin had more to go at in the 18th minute when Silvestri’s weak punch put Leeds under pressure but other players massed on the goalline and saw off the striker’s stabbed finish. It was no more of a let-off than United’s first chance two minutes later, an effort from Mirco Antenucci which sailed wide of Lee Grant’s left-hand post. Most of the first half followed the same pattern: Derby pressing a loaded box and struggling to cut through the congestion. United’s midfield struggled to put their foot on the ball on another evening which questioned the suitability of the diamond but occasional spells of possession encouraged them to think that there were ways into County’s backline. Cook produced the biggest moment of concern for McClaren, tearing over 40 yards and reaching the edge of the box before Buxton nicked the ball from his feet. By then, Ibe had resorted to diving over Tommaso Bianchi’s feet in an attempt to win a penalty, a tackle referee Keith Stroud ignored. The game was attritional rather than a spectacle and Redfearn had no complaint with that. For 41 minutes he had no arguments with his defence either and Leeds’ organised resistance was Derby’s main problem. Twice before the interval, Cooper – the unfortunate villain of Leeds’ defeat to Wigan – arrived in time to hook dangerous crosses away from his goal and maintain parity. But three minutes before the break, Derby scored in the only way that looked likely. Hughes found a patch of space and wriggled towards the byline, producing a cross which struck Cooper’s heel, bounced against the legs of the covering Mowatt and flew into the net with the help of the crossbar. Silvestri’s diving save from Richard Keogh prevented a second concession in stoppage-time but the Italian could not intervene two minutes into the second half when Jeff Hendrick’s free-kick caught Doukara sleeping and Buxton nodded the ball into the top corner. There was still a little shouting left to do but with that goal the game was done and Derby were free to cruise on autopilot. On the subject of what 2015 will bring Leeds, all bets are off.

Leslie Silver

Leslie Silver who passed away recently

Tues Dec 30th. Former Leeds chairman passes away Former Leeds United chairman Leslie Silver has died. Mr Silver was in charge of the club when the won the league title in 1992. The club’s official Twitter account tweeted a message saying: “We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing away of former chairman Leslie Silver today. Our thoughts are with his family & friends.” He joined the board of Leeds United in 1981, becoming chairman in 1983, a post he held until 1996. During his time as chairman of Leeds United, the club won promotion from the Second to the First Division – now known as the Premier League – and won the top-flight league title in 1992. As well as being the club’s chairman he served as chancellor of Leeds Beckett University. A building on the campus is named after him.

Monday Dec 29th Whites are on cusp of becoming ‘third rate’ – Gray IT wasn’t good for Leeds at home to Wigan on Friday. We put a lot of pressure on them but once again the failings were in the final third defensively and the final third attacking wise. We just never performed and we still look like conceding goals. The first goal is obviously an error but it’s unfortunate and I think the boy Liam Cooper got himself caught in two minds as to what he was going to do with the ball. I don’t know whether his first intention was to chest it back to the goalkeeper or try and knock it away but it was an unfortunate goal to lose and it just gave Wigan a lift. And the disappointing thing was that we had a lot of the ball and a lot of the play but it’s just that quality in the last third of the pitch that is just lacking. We had a couple of good chances – Mirco Antenucci had a good chance and Sam Byram should have scored but they (Wigan) always looked a threat on the break, especially through James McClean. And I think they exposed us there because our biggest attacking threat basically still came from the two full-backs. But with them bombing on, McClean was making good use of the space down the flanks and all they were doing was knocking long balls down the flanks, hence the first goal came through it. It was a threat all game for us and that’s why I still feel like we could do with a bit of width. It’s all right the full-backs getting forward but the first priority for defenders is to defend and I thought we left our centre-backs exposed to McClean’s pace. All they were doing was whipping the ball where the full-backs would have been and McClean was getting on to nearly every ball with his pace. That was our downfall and they basically won the game through him being an outlet for them all the time. The second goal was poor marking again but once again McClean ran in behind people and I thought he played very well. The disappointing thing for us is that’s consecutive home games where we have lost to teams who were starting the game behind us in the league. And there’s no doubt that we have got to be looking over our shoulders. It’s okay playing pretty football but it’s results that count and we still look like conceding goals. It’s worrying and that was only Wigan’s second win in 17 or 18 games. They’ve been on a horrid run and for Malkay Mackay I think that’s his first win with Wigan. It’s disappointing and we have got a tough game coming up against Derby on Tuesday. They got back on track at the weekend and they will be going into the game looking for revenge for the 2-0 defeat at Elland Road. That will be a tough game and our away form has not been that good but what we’ve got to take into the game is the performance against Derby at home. We’ve got to go into the game with the confidence and the knowledge that we have beaten them and we’ve got to think we are capable of doing it again. But it will be a tough call as we have not got a good record at Derby and if we get anything out of that game I think we’ll have done well. I don’t think we will go down this season but we’ve got to start getting results. The away form hasn’t been good so we were going into the game on Friday thinking it’s a great opportunity to pick three points up and climb the table. Instead of that we’ve been knocked down a couple of places but getting rid of Neil Redfearn is not the answer, not at all. I think Neil was very brave at the weekend making the substitutions he did, trying to change the game by bringing the strikers on. And I thought it was working in the second half, and I think Rodolph Austin has got to play as he gives us that power and strength in the midfield area. He goes around people, he’s got physical power and he’s up and down the pitch and so I think he will come into the fold. It will be interesting to see what Neil does at Derby and I think he will make a few changes. I think he’ll look at it and think ‘well it wasn’t good enough at the weekend.’ It never is when you are getting beat two nothing at home. I don’t think Wigan were a better team than us and, in fact, I think Wigan were a pretty average side. But they’ve still come away with a 2-0 victory.


David Haigh still in jail in the Middle East

Sat Dec 27th. Jailed ex-Leeds chief David Haigh says he is a ‘victim of homophobia’ Former Leeds United managing director David Haigh has accused Gulf Finance House (GFH), who remain co-owners of the Championship club, of homophobic discrimination, suggesting that their attitude towards him is a contributory factor to his ongoing imprisonment in Dubai. In making this incendiary claim via family and friends, Haigh, 37, who is gay, will bring fresh attention to the subject of homophobia in football, especially with co-owners of a club implicated. GFH own 25 per cent of Leeds. In correspondence seen by The Mail on Sunday, Haigh alleges that his anti-homophobia campaigning while Leeds managing director was discouraged by GFH. He worked with gay rights charity Stonewall and with former Leeds midfielder Robbie Rogers, after the player came out, to promote Rogers’ ‘Beyond It’ campaign. Haigh (right) has told friends his work in this area caused ‘extreme offence to those in Bahrain and Dubai at GFH’, and alleges they tried to prevent him using the Leeds programme to publicise these causes. Against their wishes, he went ahead anyway. Haigh is currently in a Dubai prison cell, where he has been held since May, accused but not charged of stealing around £4million from GFH, his former employers. Under local laws, GFH as accusers are influential in whether proceedings continue or not. Haigh claims he is entirely innocent, and in a formal defence document filed in the past week, claims he was owed the money he allegedly stole in unpaid wages, expenses and commissions. The document makes a variety of allegations about GFH running their subsidiary office in Dubai, where Haigh was based, as a means of avoiding regulators scrutinising GFH business in the parent company’s home country, Bahrain. On Friday evening a series of tweets were made to MPs and other influential figures by a friend of Haigh, Matthew Sephton, a Conservative party councillor from Cheshire and long-time gay rights campaigner. These tweets claimed Haigh was ‘in jail without charge or trial, probably because he’s gay’. It is understood Haigh knew his friend would do this, and in supporting the move Haigh has effectively outed himself in public for the first time. Haigh has made no secret to friends and close acquaintances about being gay. But he has never been openly gay and at times has taken steps to prevent it becoming widely known. Sources say this was partly because he feared discrimination, and partly because GFH businesses adhere to Sharia law, which deems certain homosexual acts illegal. A spokesman for Haigh said: David has never made any secret to his friends and associates of his sexuality. ‘Naturally he has preferred to keep his personal life private, although he was always a determined campaigner on equality issues throughout his time at Leeds United. ‘It is understandable that, after he has been held in jail for more than seven months without any charge against him, his friends are speaking out on an issue which they believe may have contributed to his incarceration.’ A GFH spokesman responded: We don’t know if David is gay and hence how could we treat him differently? He has been given golden opportunities (by GFH), trusted to lead our Dubai office and was then given the great opportunity at Leeds. This is enough proof of how decent the company was with him, but unfortunately he betrayed the trust.’ The spokesman added that Haigh has been promising his defence for months but ‘as yet seems to only have time to create multiple stories trying to divert attention from his fraud’. The spokesman also denied GFH’s Dubai office had been controlled by Bahrain.


Krhin – The Slovenian Inter Milan defensive midfieler has been linked with a move to ER

Dec 27th. Leeds prepare move for Inter Milan midfielder Filed Under  Inter Milan, krhin, leeds Leeds United are interested in a January move for Slovenian midfielder Rene Krhin, according to HITC. Krhin is a target for Leeds United The 24-year-old currently plies his trade for Serie A giants Inter Milan, however he has only amassed four appearances for the club this season. Krhin, who operates as a central defensive midfielder could add an element of robustness and grit to a Leeds United midfield that is very youthful, with Leeds boss Neil Redfearn utilising 17-year-old Lewis Cook in the holding midfield position. The 6ft 2 midfielder has made over 16 appearances for the Slovenia national side, and he was also a prevalent figure in the under-19 and under-21 setups. Krhin spent a spell at Bologna from 2010 to 2014 where he accumulated 59 appearances, scoring one goal, before returning to Inter Milan in 2014. A move for Krhin would have to be in the form of a loan deal, as a result of the transfer embargo Leeds United were hit with by the Football League, due to breaching Financial Fairplay Rules. Meanwhile, Leeds United are set to complete a deal for Sassuolo striker Leonardo Pavoletti as early as next week, as reported on FLW. Leeds United lie worryingly near the relegation zone in the Sky Bet Championship, and currently sit in 20th position in the division, having accumulated 24 points from 23 league games

Sat Dec 27th Pavoletti about to join Leeds Leeds United transfer target Leonardo Pavoletti was reportedly a guest during their loss to Wigan.Leonardo Pavoletti reportedly visited Leeds United with a view to a January switch to the club. The striker is said to have been a guest of the club and watched the side’s Championship clash on Boxing Day as well as having a tour of Thorp Arch. reports: “Pavoletti spent a day visiting Cellino’s club, he attended the match at Elland Road against Wigan and then visited the clubs’ training facilities. “The Sassuolo striker returned to Italy since he’s expected back with his team on December 28th. But Leeds is serious about acquiring him.” The striker has been out of favour with the Serie A side, but scored 24 goals on loan at Serie B team Varese last season. Torino, Palermo, and Cesena are all interested in beating Leeds to his signature, but his visit to England is a major step in the right direction for Leeds. They attempted to sign him in the summer but were unsuccessful, but his Serie A stint has not gone as planned since. Leeds are only able to bring him in on loan due to their transfer embargo, but this may help sway Pavoletti, for he can switch countries safe in the knowledge he is not locked into the commitment if it does not work out. While the result, a 2-0 loss which left Leeds in 20th, may not have excited him – the attendance of 28,000 is double Sassuolo’s 14,000 gate, and he can’t have failed to be impressed by the passion of the fans he has the chance to play for until the end of the season.

Dec 26th. Latics boss Malky Mackay - ‘I’m more delighted for our fans who have travelled here on Boxing Day and paid the money that they have paid, for a journey which isn’t always the best’ ‘I’m delighted that they`ve seen a performance and a result. ‘I’m also delighted for our players, because so far since I’ve been here they’ve been beaten by fine margins and they absolutely deserved a win for the amount of effort they put in.’ ‘The players always put their utmost into matches, but the difference today was correct decision making. That’s what winning games in this league is all about, if we make those correct decisions consistently from now on, then we’ll be in good shape.’ ‘The first goal was great work from James because he gave the guy almost a five yard head start and then beat him by five yards. He made his own luck their and if the defender doesn’t put it into his own net then we had Don Cowie arriving in the box. ‘The second goal is as good a goal as I’ve seen in a while. I’ve looked back at it and there are 10 passes that work the ball patiently and culminated in James’ strike. There were about six players involved in it, as good team goal as I`ve seen in a long time.’ ‘We had a look at their shape and saw the way they played, so we decided to go with a 3-5-2. ‘We wanted to hurt them in certain areas and the formation change worked. Leeds changed their formation two or three times throughout the match and I thought we handled that very well. ‘I thought we defended very well, especially considering they brought in three physical players to try and challenge us in the box. ‘We withstood 15 minutes of pressure at the start of both halves, we knew that was going to happen having looked at how they play. We knew that if we were compact and disciplined we would come away from Elland Road with all three points. ‘On top of that we countered well, James McClean caused them problems all afternoon. His pace was exceptional, but also the amount of work he put in right to the last minute.’ Dec 26th Redfearn blames costly own goal Redfearn thought his Leeds side were unlucky to lose to Wigan in a real six-pointer at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship. Neil Redfearn thought his Leeds side were unlucky to lose to Wigan in a real six-pointer at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship. Leeds dominated the majority of the clash at Elland Road, Billy Sharp’s effort that hit the bar the closest they came to scoring. The home side fell behind to an own goal from Liam Cooper in the first half before James McClean secured a 2-0 win near the end. I thought we got in front of goal enough, we had enough of the general play, and we made all the running,” said Redfearn. “The first goal is a mistake, and how many times have we said that after being in a good position? “Obviously that gives Wigan a bit of impetus and something to defend, and to be fair they defended well. “I think had we got it back to 1-1 we would have gone on to win the game. “Their second goal is disappointing, you’ve still got to keep an eye on the back door. “They get down the sides of us too easily, and it puts a false reflection on what actually happened.” Redfearn also insisted he had no problem with Sharp’s reaction to being substituted, heading straight down the tunnel rather than taking his place on the bench. “I’ve done it myself – I was far worse than Billy when I played, I was a nightmare,” Redfearn added. “He wants to play, and I understand that. “But for me looking at it from this side, it’s important he understands it’s a team game and sometimes you need to change it around to chase it. “We just wanted to freshen it up, put a different perspective on it. “I’ll speak to him about it, but I haven’t got a problem with it.”

Dec 26th Leeds 0-2 Wigan Leeds United: Silvestri, Byram, Bellusci, Cooper, Warnock, Tonge, Bianchi (Morison, 45), Mowatt (Austin, 45), Cook, Sharp (Doukara, 71 ), Antenucci. Subs: Pearce, Berardi, Taylor, Montenegro Leeds United are owed a merry Christmas but Liam Cooper’s own goal made December 26 a show without Punch again. The club have not won a Boxing Day game for five years and they will rue yesterday’s defeat as the season turns for home. The ground at Elland Road is already laid for a scrap but Leeds had the opportunity face up to the threat of relegation with a big head-start. Their loss to Wigan Athletic was unflattering in its manner – invited by Cooper’s bizarre mistake 10 minutes into the match – but what mattered more was the state of the club who took three points away from Yorkshire. Wigan were second bottom in the Championship prior to Boxing Day and seven points adrift of Leeds. United went in search of proper protection but finished up with other sides breathing down their neck at the wrong end of the league. The view in their dressing room is that this is not yet a relegation battle but it looks and feels like something similar. For Wigan, yesterday’s game was everything they needed – a huge favour given to a team with no form or momentum at all. Leeds ran Malky Mackay’s players hard and fast from the start but Cooper killed the impetus by chesting the ball into his own net at the end of Wigan’s first attack. The game was decided there and then. There were moments of promise for Leeds but the best of them followed the same sort of theme. Billy Sharp beat Scott Carson with a looping header in the first half and was denied by the frame of Wigan’s goal, and Mirco Antenucci saw a deflection deny him a near-certain equaliser early in the second half. United were better after the interval – more cutting, purposeful and devoid of luck – but could not reduce the cost of a shot in the foot. Their season has seen a few of those. James McClean, a cut above everyone yesterday, sealed Leeds’ defeat seven minutes from time with a blistering volley but Wigan had already come through the worst when the ball hit the net for a second time. The changes made by Redfearn yesterday were more pronounced than the changes for last weekend’s game at Nottingham Forest, despite the belief that his usual formula is better suited to matches at home. Adryan attended Elland Road but did not make the squad as Redfearn chose to rest him. Lewis Cook took on the role of number 10 and his shift upfield made way for Michael Tonge, handed a league start for the first time since United’s 4-1 loss at Watford in August. In a squad without limitless depth, the 31-year-old is as close to a spare holding midfielder as Redfearn can find. The pressure on Leeds’ head coach to get his team right was tangible against a Wigan side who were without a win in eight and a fighting to get away from the Championship’s plughole. Redfearn argued beforehand – with justification – that the sum of the individual parts at Wigan was greater than their woeful league position but the division had them in 23rd ahead of kick-off. Mackay’s bench said most about Wigan’s failure to click this season, featuring Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman and Emmerson Boyce; players who in better times would have been guaranteed picks. Redfearn’s full-backs tried to play on the visitors’ vulnerability by taking the initiative and positioning themselves halfway up the pitch. Sam Byram provided the initial push on the right-hand side, linking comfortably with Cook and hemming Wigan in. Alex Mowatt whipped an early shot over the crossbar as pressure on Andy Taylor yielded a succession of cut-backs into Wigan’s box. By the 10th minute, Byram had taken two heavy fouls as Wigan fought to pin him down. Redfearn looked satisfied regardless at that stage but Cooper changed the tone of the afternoon but throwing Wigan the gift of a bizarre own goal. James McClean’s pace took him away from Giuseppe Bellusci on the left wing and he attacked United’s box with a swerving cross. Cooper arrived with no pressure on him, met the ball with his chest and bundled it into his net. There was no attempt by him to share the blame with anyone. The concession rattled Redfearn’s players and drew the sting out of a respectable Boxing Day crowd. It’s an irony that in a hard and strained season, attendances at Elland Road are holding up well. Stephen Warnock’s volley in the 18th minute was a hopeful hit which climbed into the crowd but Billy Sharp was inches away from equalising on the half hour. The striker, whose penalty earned Leeds’ 1-1 draw at Forest, met Mirco Antenucci’s delivery with a floating header which beat Carson but came back off the face of the crossbar. Cooper attempted to bury the rebound but took a boot in the mouth for his trouble. It was the only moment before half-time when Leeds were able to get at their former goalkeeper. A half-chance fell to Tommaso Bianchi but his hurried shot drifted a couple of yards wide and Sharp’s volley from the corner of the box did not require Carson to touch it. Marco Silvestri kept United in the game before half-time when he met Marc-Antoine Fortune’s effort with his legs. Redfearn’s view of the first half was telegraphed to the stadium by the changes that followed it. Bianchi and Alex Mowatt made way and Rodolph Austin and Steve Morison took to the field, giving Leeds a more heavyweight look. Morison’s height alone gave Wigan more to think about than they had before the interval and Austin’s running was badly needed. Wigan wobbled for the first time eight minutes into the second half as Antenucci appeared to have levelled when Cook slalomed into the box and picked him out. The striker’s awkward finish clipped a heel and beat the post with Carson a mile from the ball. The keeper’s fingertips then kept out Bellusci’s 30-yard attempt as Wigan fought to get out of their area. They were promising minutes but the minutes ticked on. With 20 to go, Redfearn substituted Sharp and the striker showed his annoyance by kicking a bottle into the dug-out and walking straight down the tunnel. Carson then flicked a Morison header over his bar and watched Byram drive the resulting corner over it from point-blank range. Closer and closer but no cigar, and no Christmas cheer once McClean took Don Cowie’s pass on 83 minutes and smashed a finish past a helpless Silvestri. Yes it could have been different if we had scored first, but we didn’t. We were predictable and poor. Yet again problems at the centre of defence and Silvestri keeps flapping at crosses. Ex Derry City winger, James McClean looked like Lionel Messi on the wing as he tormented us from the word go. We have weaknesess in almost every area as we move closer to the trap door and Derby County must be rubbing their hands at the thoughts of improving their goal difference on Tuesday in the live Sky encounter where we have lost on the last six visits. One last point, it seems pointless in signing the Italian Matt Smith (Pavoletti) unless we get some serious width into the team.

Sat Dec 20th. Notts Forest 1-1 Leeds United Leeds United: Silvestri, Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock; Bianchi, Cook, Mowatt; Antenucci (Doukara 84), Adryan (Morison 66), Sharp (Tonge 77). Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Berardi, Del Fabro, Montenegro. Referee: R East (Wiltshire). Attendance: 22,664 (1,850 Leeds supporters). BILLY SHARP’S second goal of the season ensured Leeds United secured a welcome point on their travels at the City Ground, ending a run of three successive Championship defeats on the road. Sharp, taking the field against a side who he played for on loan throughout the 2012-13 campaign, fired home from the spot nine minutes after the interval after Sam Byram was felled by Danny Fox to cancel out Matty Fryatt’s opener moments before the break. It ensured Leeds took something tangible home from an away game for the first time since drawing 1-1 at Norwich on October 21, although they were indebted to two big pieces of fortune during proceedings in the East Midlands. Both revolved around goalscorer Fryatt, denied by a linesman’s flag on 21 minutes and shortly after the hour mark, with replays seeming to show that both efforts should have been given. Both decisions provided plenty of talking points following the final whistle – with the officials booed off by disgruntled home fans, but Neil Redfearn will be far more concerned lauding a hard-earned point after seeing his side come from behind. Marco Silvestri showed his mettle on occasions to make some important saves, with Lewis Cook also adding to his reputation with another accomplished performance, with Leeds grafting hard to claim a deserved point. Much pre-match conjecture centred on whether Redfearn would elect to ring the changes after last weekend’s lame performance against Fulham. But in the event, the United head coach, accompanied by assistant Steve Thompson in the technical area for the first time, made just one change, with Sharp handed his first start since September 16 in place of Souleymane Doukara, demoted to the bench. Steve Morison was named as one of United’s replacements, with Giuseppe Bellusci and Rudy Austin remaining sidelined with injury. Forest surprisingly dropped 12-goal top-scorer Britt Assombalonga to the bench, with Fryatt taking his place in a starting line-up which also contained former Whites loan players Dexter Blackstock and Eric Lichaj.   After some aberations in their recent away games at Ipswich and Blackburn, the onus was firmly on Leeds keeping their discipline and above all, cutting out unneccessary errors, which they managed to do for virtually all of the first period before fatally blotting their copybook again shortly before the interval.   It provided Forest, who turned in a pretty low-key performance for the vast majority of the first period, with an early Christmas present, with the beneficiary being Fryatt on 45 minutes. The former Hull City striker, stationed near the far post, converted from close range after Michael Mancienne was left unchallenged in the box following a corner on the right, with the Forest captain’s header falling invitingly into his path.   It was another rank-bad concession from Leeds, who had their moments in the first half, particularly early on, playing a 4-3-3 system, with Sharp and Mirco Antenucci supporting Adryan, operating in a central role. Forest, fielding a 3-5-2 system, with Michail Antonio and Jack Hunt operating as wingbacks and Mancienne playing in a holding midfield role, struggled for rhythm for much of the first period, with Leeds producing the more accomplished football.   An early chance saw Tommaso Bianchi supply Sam Byram on the right and his cut-back was latched onto by Alex Mowatt, whose shot was deflected just off target. Then on 15 minutes, a very presentable chance fall Leeds’ way with Karl Darlow blocking Antenucci’s shot, with the rebound falling into the path of Jason Pearce, but he ballooned the loose ball off target in wasteful fashion. Leeds were indebted to an offside flag seven minutes later, when Fryatt diverted Antonio’s cross into the net, only for any impending celebrations to soon be cut short.   The first booking then arrived when Mancienne felled Adryan before Byram was also handed a caution for bringing down Antonio.   Play began somewhat more fragmented for much of the rest of the half, with Forest forced into making a change on 41 minutes when Blackstock, struggling with a knee problem, saw his evening cut short with Assombalonga coming onto replace him. Then came the decisive moment of the half when Fryatt tucked away a gift-wrapped opener – his fifth goal of the campaign for the Reds. Forced to do things the hard way on their travels again, Leeds were assigned with another examination of character for seemingly the umpeenth time this term. But redemption was at hand with a leveller arriving on 54 minutes from the penalty spot. A raking pass from Mowatt saw the Forest rearguard on the back foot with Antenucci latching onto the throughball before supplying Byram, who showed nifty footwork inside the box ahead of being bundled over by Fox, with referee East pointing to the spot. Sharp assumed responsibilities and blasted the ball home emphatically to put United on terms. Rattled they may have been, but Forest soon poured forward in a bid to regain the initiative with Hunt meekly firing a lame volley at Silvestri with plenty of the goal to aim at with Leeds’ defence opened up. Another scare arrived shortly before the hour mark when Antonio’s long-ranger was tipped over one-handed by Silvestri before a linesman’s flag again came to the Whites rescue. Again, the unfortunate party as far as Forest were concerned was Fryatt, with the hosts, once again, left to rue their luck. Fryatt latched onto Mancienne’s finish to fire the ball home, with replays showing the striker was level and therefore onside. Video evidence drew a cascade of boos from Forest’s irate supporters, complete with a Chorus of You Don’t Know You’re Doing in the direction of the officials. United also rubbed salt into the wounds for Forest fans when a telling break led by Lewis Cook ended with the teeanger picking out Sharp, whose angled volley was blocked in the nick of time, although not exactly convincingly by Darlow at his near post. But by and large, the pressure was applied by the hosts, with Silvestri scrambling across goal to block Robert Tesche’s effort before producing an acrobatic save to deny Henri Lansbury, whose curler seemed destined for the net. An Antonio header was then blocked as Forest continued to carve out opportunities with Leeds increasingly in retreat. Three minutes from the end, sub Doukara saw a low shot beaten away by Darlow while at the other end, Forest failed to conjure a winner, with the closest they managed coming when Assombalonga headed wide just before the final whistle.


The “Italian Matt Smith “

Saturday Dec 12th. Redfearn’s expecting new arrivals Neil Redfearn is confident that Leeds United will sign new players next month, with the club optimistic about their chances of securing a deal for Sassuolo striker Leonardo Pavoletti. Redfearn said he and owner Massimo Cellino had held talks about their plans for the January window and discussed ways of working around the transfer embargo imposed on the club at the start of this week. Leeds will be banned from paying transfer or loans fees next month – their punishment for breaking Financial Fair Play regulations – but loopholes in the Football League’s rules should allow them to sign players for a maximum of £600,000 a year in salary costs. Pavoletti, 26, would fit into that bracket and is on United’s radar again after the club failed with an attempt to recruit him before the end of the summer window. Leeds were in talks with Sassuolo – a club from whom they signed midfielder Tommaso Bianchi in July – on the night of September 1 but could not agree the terms of a move. United sporting director Nicola Salerno said he was hopeful of reaching a deal with Sassuolo next month but admitted that the transfer would depend on the forward’s willingness to move to England. Salerno told Italian media: I’ve liked this player for years and he has been considered by Leeds already in the past. “I get along well with him and the president (Cellino) and I have a good relationship with Sassuolo. “We could close a deal without any problems. It depends on the guy because I don’t know what he wants to do.” Pavoletti has spent most of his career in Italy’s Serie B but he scored his first top-flight goal in a game between Sassuolo and Palermo last weekend. Palermo are also said to be interested in the 6’2” forward. An imposing striker is one of United’s priorities in January, along with an experienced central midfielder. A total of three Championship clubs were hit with embargoes for breaching FFP rules – Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers, along with Leeds – but the restrictions do not prevent signings altogether. Head coach Redfearn said: “We’ve still got the facility to bring some signings in. “There’s an embargo but we’ve identified areas that we need to strengthen. “I spoke to Massimo about the potential players we could get so we’re well aware of all that. It’s being dealt with.”

Sat Dec 12th Leeds United: Sackings, debts, appeals, fall-outs – another crazy year at United Don Warters, the YEP’s long-time football correspondent once said: “Everything that happens in football happens at Leeds United,”. Everything that happens in football happened at United in 2014. JANUARY The new year begins with defeat to Blackburn but salvation is at hand with the Sport Capital takeover. The buy-out is nailed on, a sure thing. Brian McDermott wants players – even moreso after a bruising FA Cup exit at Rochdale – and he gets them: Jimmy Kebe and Cameron Stewart on loan. United owner Gulf Finance House refuses to add Ashley Barnes to the squad, deeming him a worse player than Luke Varney. The deals pay off as Leeds are beaten 6-0 at Sheffield Wednesday the following weekend. GFH toy with the idea of sacking McDermott but are more concerned about selling the club. Another defeat to Leicester City follows (watched by a certain Massimo Cellino) and within days, the members of the Sport Capital consortium lose patience with each other. Their takeover is off and the club is Cellino’s if he wants it, though certain people want to see the colour of his money before passing any authority to him. His attempt to place Gianluca Festa on the bench for a 1-1 draw at home to Ipswich is as warmly received by McDermott as Festa’s impromptu appearances at Thorp Arch. But on January 31, Cellino agrees a 75 per cent buy-out and takes the club under his wing. McDermott is sacked, acting chief executive Paul Hunt is sacked and club captain Ross McCormack – the subject of a bid from Cardiff – is refused an audience with Cellino after driving to Elland Road to ask what is going on. The Italian is rather more spooked by the fans who show up at the stadium to point out the error of his ways; or, as Cellino puts it, “kick my a**e” and chase his taxi around the ground. As the bell chimes midnight on ‘Mad Friday’, control of the first team lies with Festa. FEBRUARY By 3pm on February 1, Cellino and Festa have sensibly retreated into the background. Nigel Gibbs and Neil Redfearn take charge of the squad and United annihilate Huddersfield Town 5-1. Talks aimed at re-instating McDermott are in progress and he sweeps back into Thorp Arch 48 hours later for a packed, 53-minute press conference. Nonetheless, Cellino and GFH sign off his takeover on February 7, meaning the club will be his if the Football League approves him. Leeds need his money. No-one is paying any bills and Enterprise Insurance, the club’s shirt sponsor, serve United with a winding-up petition over a loan of £1.5m. On the footballing side, poor old Andrea Tabanelli spends a week in England, only to find that his loan from Cagliari on transfer deadline day – a Cellino signing – wasn’t registered properly. Leeds subsequently take Jack Butland and Connor Wickham on loan but are 12th in the Championship by the end of the month. MARCH Cellino has become a fixture at United’s matches, pictured away at Middlesbrough and at Queens Park Rangers on March 1. He and McDermott are talking but McDermott suspects his time is up. On March 18, however, Cellino is convicted of tax evasion by a court in Cagliari. The Football League checks its Owners and Directors Test and decides to block the 57-year-old’s takeover. Cellino immediately appeals. United are up the creek financially and those at the top start passing the buck. The installation of a 3G artificial pitch at Thorp Arch grinds to a halt as the money dries up and worse still, staff and player wages go unpaid as Cellino refuses to fund a club he might not be able to buy. As a ‘source’ tells the Daily Mail: “GFH are refusing to put in any more money and Cellino has told them to **** off.” APRIL Crucial moments as Cellino’s appeal is heard. A date is set for announcing the verdict – Friday, April 4 at 5pm – but the Football League decides that 3pm on Saturday might be better, 45 minutes after the end of Leeds’ 1-0 defeat at Wigan. When the verdict comes, Cellino wins. In a statement the League says this was “never about individual personalities” and qualifies that by suggesting it will revisit Cellino’s fit-and-proper status at a later date. Cellino gets to work quickly, paying off an overdue tax bill and settling a few scores. David Haigh, Leeds’ managing director (or “the devil” as Cellino calls him), resigns in the knowledge that his relationship with the Italian is cooked. Before long, the two sides are making allegations about spy cameras in the boardroom and the use of class A drugs at Elland Road. McDermott waits for a no-holds-barred meeting with Cellino which never comes and mentally, United’s boss is already packing his bags. Cellino officially buys Leeds on April 7 and United take a pasting at Watford the following night. The play-offs and the season are long gone. MAY McDermott signs off with a 1-1 draw against Derby. Leeds finish 15th in the table. He and Cellino both attend the end-of-season awards ceremony but barely speak. Soon after, United’s training ground at Thorp Arch is closed for the summer and a huge redundancy process starts at Elland Road. Club secretary Ali Royston is suspended over nobody-is-quite-sure-what (she’s back at Thorp Arch now) and Under-16s coach Leigh Bromby is allowed to move on. Under-18s coach Richard Naylor is also put on notice of redundancy. Meanwhile, Leeds release 13 players including Michael Brown and El-Hadji Diouf. No arguments there. A bolt from the blue comes from the Middle East as GFH invites David Haigh to Dubai to discuss a job offer, only to have him arrested for alleged financial misconduct. But McDermott is the priority – United’s manager in name alone by then. He and the club are communicating via terse emails, and Cellino – in his infamous “where’s Brian?” speech – accuses McDermott of going absent without leave. The former Reading boss is actually with his terminally ill mother in Berkshire. There is only one conceivable outcome and on May 30, Cellino agrees to pay McDermott off. Mutual consent on this occasion means very much that. JUNE Cellino – who is preparing to sell Cagliari to actual buyers, the Giulini family – wants McDermott’s assistant, Nigel Gibbs, to involve himself in the new coaching team. Gibbs says he would rather move on and is subsequently made to sit through daily 9-to-5 shifts at Elland Road. United’s players are recalled from their holidays early for one-to-one meetings with the club’s president. There’s doubt over Ross McCormack’s future and more again when Fulham bid £5m for him. By now, Cellino has ideas in place for his next head coach. He likes Reading’s Eamonn Dolan but Reading want more than £500,000 for their academy boss so Cellino works Wikipedia hard by naming David Hockaday as McDermott’s successor, with Junior Lewis as his number two. Pre-season training starts on June 26. JULY Leeds go to Italy for a pre-season tour. They rattle 16 unanswered goals past a village side, FC Gherdeina, and then play a game amongst themselves later in the week after their Romanian opponents fail to show up. Leeds blame the Romanians and the Romanians blame them. McCormack hasn’t travelled and his transfer to Fulham is well down the line. He moves to Craven Cottage on July 8 for a massive fee of £10.75m. It all ends very bitterly but as with a lot of deals, both sides do pretty well out of it. As McCormack goes, the influx starts. Cellino signs Marco Silvestri, Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara in the space of a few days. Swiss defender Jonathan Rossini is primed to join but promptly proves in training that all is not right with him. Hockaday, meanwhile, is having a hard time winning over the crowd. Leeds lose 2-0 at Mansfield in a pre-season friendly, a match watched by Roma midfielder and prospective new signing Federico Viviani. “Bad,” say Viviani’s advisors when asked about the performance. He is never seen again. AUGUST In a Sunday afternoon meeting, Cellino reads the riot act to Hockaday after a pre-season win over Dundee United. Not good enough, his owner says. Nor is the league form. United started the season with a limp defeat at Millwall, after which the club sign Billy Sharp, Giuseppe Bellusci and Liam Cooper. Bellusci and Cellino came to blows over wages earlier in the summer but after the collapse of talks with another centre-back, Frederik Sorensen, the owner lets bygones be bygones. Sharp scores on his debut to take the scalp of Middlesbrough but Hockaday is under permanent threat and Cellino effectively sacks him after a 4-1 defeat to Watford. The following day, Cellino relents and gives him another chance – a League Cup tie at Bradford City which United promptly lose. On August 28, Hockaday departs. Neil Redfearn takes caretaker charge and more signings arrive – Mirco Antenucci, Dario Del Fabro, Brian Montenegro and the much-fancied Adryan. In the final hours of the window, Matt Smith and Dominic Poleon are sold – much to the annoyance of Twitter users who stayed up for a last-minute treat. SEPTEMBER Leeds accrue 10 points from four games under Redfearn but Cellino opts to appoint Slovenian Darko Milanic as head coach. Milanic is so keen on the job that he buys his way out of his contract at Sturm Graz (at a cost of £200,000, apparently). Sturm buy him a plane ticket home from England just in case. His first match ends with a bit of a beating at Brentford but in its own way, September has been a quiet month – apart from the sacking of consultant Graham Bean over a fixture rearrangement, and apart from Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey telling the Soccerex conference in Manchester that Cellino’s status as fit-and-proper might soon receive a bullet in the post. The Italian’s tax conviction is still “a cloud” over the club and the sport, Harvey claims, before adding that Leeds would be given “a reasonable period of time to organise its affairs” if Cellino was disqualified as owner. Every cloud. OCTOBER Bad times for Milanic as he goes six games without a win. Bad times for Giuseppe Bellusci who is accused of aiming racial slurs at Norwich’s Cameron Jerome. A 1-1 draw at Norwich makes Cellino think that Milanic might not be the man for him and he fires the Slovenian after a 2-1 defeat to Wolves on October 25, saying he has a “losing mentality”. Thirty-two days Milanic got, fewer than Brian Clough. Cellino is full of contrition and asks Redfearn to quit his post as academy boss and take the first team on – initially for the same money but eventually for a pay rise after Redfearn fights his corner. Milanic insists he is on gardening leave, meaning Leeds effectively have four managers (or head coaches) on the payroll. “In six games I made a big step forward,” Milanic says. “Cellino says I’m a loser? He should look at my CV.” NOVEMBER After a 3-1 loss at Cardiff on November 1 (where Redfearn officially signs his contract as head coach), Leeds get the show on the road with a draw against Charlton and a win over Blackpool. But Cellino looks exhausted. His promise to buy back Elland Road before the end of November isn’t going to be met and he and GFH – United’s minority shareholder with a 25 per cent stake – are arguing bitterly over the restructuring of debt. Redfearn’s side get mugged away at Blackburn but turn over league leaders Derby County brilliantly at Elland Road. Noel Hunt leaves on loan and (naturally) scores on his debut for Ipswich. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Football League is preparing to disqualify Cellino over his tax conviction. His eccentric Italian lawyer, Giovanni Cocco, makes private submissions to the League before the end of the month. DECEMBER December 1. Cellino is banned by the Football League and told to resign as a director within 28 days. December 2. Cellino announces that he will appeal. He and GFH, he says, have agreed a capital injection of £23.5m and Cellino seems altogether more interested than that. A few days later, annual losses of £23m are revealed for the 2013-14 financial year and the League confirms that United will face a transfer embargo in January; albeit an embargo riddled with holes. There’s better news for Redfearn who, after eight weeks of waiting, gets an assistant boss with the appointment of Steve Thompson. United stared out Huddersfield for so long that Huddersfield found themselves waiving compensation. But back-to-back defeats to Ipswich and Fulham left Leeds 19th in the Championship ahead of tonight’s visit to Forest – after which Cellino will leave for Christmas in Miami. And they all lived happily ever after.

Thurs Dec 12th. Leeds unlikely to get full fee for Macca Only if Fulham get promoted will Leeds receive the full fee owed for Ross McCormack, according to a report. The £11 million fee agreed between Fulham and Leeds for Ross McCormack’s transfer created national headlines, with many criticising the amount settled on for the Scotsman. The striker has scored only four goals since his summer move, and recent speculation he could be offered around to Premier League clubs has been denied by Fulham. A fresh report this Thursday has however suggested Fulham are unlikely to have to pay Leeds the full amount in any case. The Mail write that: “Some of the fee to Leeds was based on them gaining promotion.” They are vague about the exact amount, but even under five per cent of the fee would be a substantial six-figure sum. Despite Fulham beating Leeds 1-0 at the weekend, the west London side sit in 14th in the Championship. They are 10 points off the play-offs and 14 off automatic promotion. In a league as unpredictable as the Championship nothing is insurmountable at this stage, but some bookies offer odds as long as 16/1 on their promotion. Right now for Leeds, missing out on any financial windfall owed is a blow, no matter how small. Recent accounts published have them £20 million in debt, landing a transfer embargo from the Football League. To make matters worse, a £23.5 million investment has been shelved until the situation regarding Massimo Cellino’s ownership disqualification has been resolved. Cellino had said originally he wanted to use the funds from McCormack’s transfer to go towards buying back Elland Road, and while Fulham gaining promotion was always likely to be a bonus part of the fee, at this point it’s hardly looking like cash in the bank.


Steve Thompson delighted to be at Leeds – England’s “biggest sleeping giant”

Thrs Dec 12th. Thompson delighted to be at Leeds. New assistant head coach Steve Thompson says joining Neil Redfearn’s backroom staff presents him with a “fantastic opportunity”. Thompson left his role as first-team coach at Huddersfield Town to assist Redfearn, who he has known for over 30 years having started their careers together at Bolton Wanderers. The former Leicester, Burnley and Rotherham midfielder is now raring to get going, starting with Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest, after overseeing training on Thursday morning. “It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Thompson said. “Leeds sells itself and when the manager wants you, it’s a great opportunity. “You want to work for a manager that wants you and at a club like Leeds United. I can’t wait to get started. “I’ve been down to the training ground today and I’m really looking forward to it, there are some good players out there.” On Redfearn, Thompson added: “We were young apprentices at Bolton Wanderers, we made our debuts together. “I signed schoolboy forms at Bolton and Redders came in. He’d been at Forest. “We just hit it off straight away. There was us two, Warren Joyce, Simon Woods and Stevie Saunders so there was a good group coming through. “I was the best man at his wedding and we’ve kept in touch ever since through football and being mates. “You can always see his desire and passion for the game. He commands respect. He wants the best out of the players. Having had chance to watch the players for the first time in training, Thompson says he has been impressed by the squad and believes there is a good blend of youth and experience. “Everyone mentions about the young lads at Leeds but there are some good experienced ones here that can help the young lads as well,” he said. “Hopefully it’s a good combination, they just want a little bit of settlement. “Hopefully now we can get a settled ship and get the team playing how we want to play. “It’s going to be a squad game, we’ve got to make sure all of the squad are up to fitness levels and ready to play 90 minutes.”


Redfearn finally gets his man

Thurs Dec 12th. Thompson becomes number two to Redfearn Leeds United are delighted to confirm the appointment of Steve Thompson as the club’s new assistant head coach. Steve joins Neil Redfearn’s backroom staff with immediate effect after signing a contract until the end of the season, with the option of a further year. He arrives at Elland Road from Huddersfield Town, where he held the position of first-team coach under Chris Powell after initially assisting Mark Robins earlier this season. Steve will be assisting on all first team matters, with his first game in the United dug-out coming away to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Steve and Neil have known each other for over 30 years, having both started their professional careers together at Bolton Wanderers back in 1982. The 50-year-old brings a wealth of experience having made over 650 senior appearances in a 20-year playing career before beginning his coaching career in 2005 with Blackpool as Head of the Youth Department. He then worked as first-team coach under former United boss Simon Grayson, helping the Seasiders secure Championship promotion, before becoming assistant boss to Ian Holloway following Grayson’s move to Elland Road in 2008. Steve is credited as playing a key role in Blackpool’s promotion to the Premier League in 2010, where he assisted Holloway throughout their season in the top-flight. Redfearn said: “Steve comes with vast experience – a lot of experience in the Championship. He got promoted out of this division with Blackpool so he knows how to get out of it. “From my point of view, and definitely from the players’ point of view, it’s another experienced pair of eyes and ears to help and work through the week. “We can start concentrating on more specific areas of the side now. It’s important. “He’s very bright and bubbly, he knows the game. He works the way I like. “He understands about having to deal with the ball and play, he’s been brought up like that and was like that as a player. “He’ll go straight down the same line of thinking. The message will be the same. It’s come at the right time and will just give everybody a lift.” Thurs Dec 12th 2014 Leeds chase Pavoletti Salerno confirms club will agree sale to Leeds, decision down to player. Leeds united sporting director Salerno has told the Italian media that Leonardo Pavoletti joining the club is now up the player. The Sassuolo forward has in the past few weeks been linked with a move to Leeds and the club also tried to sign him in the summer transfer window but a deal couldn’t be made. TMW have reported on comments Salerno made to Sky Italia in which said that he has a good working relationship with the president of Sassuolo and also the club so closing the deal will not be a problem. He went to say it is now the decision of Pavoletti to whether he wants to join Leeds in the New Year but at the moment he doesn’t know what he wants. With the president and with the Sassuolo we have a good relationship, we could close without any problems. It depends on the guy, because we do not understand what he wants to do. “said Salerno on the current situation with Pavoletti. We reported earlier in the week that Pavoletti has probably played his last game for the Serie A side ahead of leaving the club in January. The Italian has struggled to hold down a place in Sassuolo’s starting eleven this season which has alerted Leeds United. The player thought he would be involved more this season after his successful loan spell with Varese and due to this his agent said he will sit down with the club in January to discuss his future. Leeds are aware of his situation and will look to take advantage of this in the New Year.

Tues 16th of Dec. Whites still able to sign new players LEEDS United will still be able to make signings in the January transfer window, despite being hit with a transfer ban yesterday by the Football League. Leeds were one of three Championship clubs punished after breaching the Football League’s financial fair play (FFP) rules, along with Blackburn Rovers and this Saturday’s hosts Nottingham Forest.The League announced that the three clubs all incurred financial losses more than the £8million permitted during last season. Under the transfer embargoes, the three clubs will be prohibited from signing any new players – either on a permanent or loan deal – unless they have 24 or fewer “established players”, described as players aged 21 or over that have made at least five starts for the club. But as Leeds have fewer than 24 established players they will still be able to sign players in certain circumstances, namely if the costs of a player being signed are less than £600,000 per annum. Leeds will not be permitted to pay transfer fees or compensation fees for professional players, nor will they be permitted to pay a loan fee to another club. For incoming players, clubs can only pay agents’ fees as a benefit in kind to the player in question (as long as they do not exceed the £600,000 employee costs limit). But in line with existing regulations, Leeds will be able to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency basis. Where clubs have 24 established players, they will be permitted to trade on a ‘one out, one in’ basis but only if the employee costs of the player coming in to the club are no more than whichever is the lower amount of – 75 per cent of the equivalent costs of the player going out, or a maximum of £600,000 per annum (or pro-rata if signed on shorter contract). Leeds will have 20 players who fall into the ‘established players’ category if Noel Hunt and Scott Wootton return from their loan spells. The other 18 are Mirco Antenucci, Rodolph Austin, Giuseppe Bellusci, Gaetano Berardi, Tommaso Bianchi, Liam Cooper, Souleymane Doukara, Steve Morison, Luke Murphy, David Norris, Jason Pearce, Billy Sharp, Marco Silvestri, Casper Sloth, Zac Thompson, Michael Tonge, Aidy White and Stephen Warnock. The clubs will have their embargoes lifted at the end of the season if they can demonstrate they have stayed within the maximum permitted losses of £6million – £3million losses plus £3million covered by shareholder investment – for the current season. In other news, former Leeds United assistant Nigel Gibbs has joined Millwall as first team coach to Ian Holloway. Gibbs – Brian McDermott’s right-hand man – most recently held the position of assistant manager but left during the summer following a fall out with owner Massimo Cellino. Tuesday Dec 16th How embargo affects Leeds Restrictions: Not allowed to pay transfer fees/ compensation fees for incoming players. Not allowed to pay a loan fee to another club. Cannot pay wages to a new player of more than £600,000 per annum. Cannot have more than 24 ‘established players.’ Restraints apply from January 1, 2015 for the remainder of the current campaign. The crucial BIT: ‘Established players’ are players aged 21 or over that have made at least five starting appearances for the club. 
United only have 20 of these players, not 24. Room to manoeuvre: Allowed to bring in four more ‘established players’ (club currently has 20 included those players loaned out). Permitted to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency basis. Opportunity to have embargo lifted at the end of the season by demonstrating club has stayed within the maximum permitted deviation of £6m (£3m operating loss plus £3m shareholder investment) for the 2014-15 season. Tuesday Dec 16th. Transfer embargo placed on Leeds An initial analysis of Financial Fair Play submissions from the current 24 Championship clubs has indicated that three clubs – Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest – have failed to meet the Fair Play Requirement under the division’s Financial Fair Play rules.  Consequently, all three will be subject to an ‘FFP embargo’ under Football League regulations from January 1, 2015 for the remainder of the current campaign.   The Football League is currently in discussions with a number of other clubs over their FFP submissions and will confirm any further FFP embargoes, if any, in due course. It will also now consider submissions from the three clubs promoted to the Premier League and the three clubs relegated to League 1 at the end of the 2013/14 season.   Blackburn, Leeds and Forest all exceeded the maximum permitted deviation of £8m – consisting of a maximum adjusted operating loss of £3m plus a further maximum of £5m of shareholder investment – during the 2013/14 playing season. Each club will have the opportunity to have its FFP embargo lifted at the end of the season by demonstrating that it has stayed within the maximum permitted deviation of £6m (£3m operating loss plus £3m shareholder investment) for the 2014/15 season.  The Football League has also confirmed the way in which FFP embargoes will operate for clubs placed under this sanction.  Clubs will be prohibited from registering any new professional players (permanent contract or loan) unless they have: •    24 or fewer established players (players aged 21 or over that have made at least 5 starting appearances for the club).   Where clubs have fewer than 24 established players, they will only be permitted to sign players in the following circumstances (with the player in question being added to the club’s list of established players regardless of his age or previous playing experience): •    Where the employee costs of a player being signed are less than £600,000 per annum (or pro-rata if signed on a shorter contract). Where clubs have 24 established players, they will be permitted to trade on a ‘one out, one in’ basis but only if the employee costs of the player coming in to the club are no more than whichever is the lower amount of: •    75% of the equivalent costs of the player going out. •    Or a maximum of £600,000 per annum (or pro-rata if signed on shorter contract)   In addition: •    Clubs under an FFP embargo will be permitted to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency basis (in line with existing regulations). •    Clubs under an FFP embargo will not be permitted to pay transfer fees or compensation fees for professional players. •    Clubs under an FFP embargo will not be permitted to pay a loan fee to another club, they may only pay the player’s wage (or a contribution towards it). •    For incoming players, clubs can only pay Agents’ Fees as a benefit in kind to the player in question (as long as they do not exceed the £600,000 employee costs limit).


Leeds v Fulham

Saturday 11th of December The managers’ reactions : Kit Symons said “Confidence is a huge thing in football, especially with strikers more than anyone,”. “Hugo is really enjoying his football, he’s a lovely lad, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he needs to be happy and loved. He’s all that at Fulham and we are loving him scoring the goals for us.” Leeds have a great homerecord under (manager) Neil (Redfearn), (we) knew it would be a tough game and I’m delighted with the result,” Symons said after watching his side keep a first clean sheet in two months.It was very important after getting battered 5-0 by Watford. It was important we tightened up, that was exactly what we did and we were excellent. “Leeds have a fantastic home record, we knew it would be difficult. The Watford defeat hurt and I’m glad it did because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It was Leeds’ second loss in a row, rendering their fine 2-0 win over Derby a fortnight ago a distant memory. And while defeat was Neil Redfearn’s first at Elland Road as manager, the ongoing situation with soon-to-be-banned owner Massimo Cellino means a dark mood lingers over the club. I’m disappointed with the result and for the first time today, at home, we lacked that conviction and that devil,” he said. “I thought our passing was a little bit tatty and we left ourselves open on the counter-attack. “We got ourselves to that stage where we had some momentum at home but I thought we looked tentative in and around the box; the final pass didn’t quite happen and when it did we didn’t have someone in the box.” Whatever headway you make, when you do get a blip it magnifies the defeat. But we have made it better and are playing better,”


Adryan should have scored with an easy header. If United had gone ahead against a side that conceded 5 against Watford it would have been a different outcome for the home side


McCormack chases a ball into the Leeds fans and gets a decent reaction

Sat Dec 11th. Leeds 0-1 Fulham Silvestri, Byram, Cooper, Pearce, Warnock (Berardi 89), Mowatt, Cook, Bianchi, Adryan (Dawson 76), Antenucci, Doukara (Sharp 60). Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Tonge, Sloth, Del Fabro. Referee: Scott Duncan. Attendance: 27,264. AN afternoon of frustration saw Leeds United suffer their first home defeat of Neil Redfearn’s reign as full-time head coach as Fulham claimed a pre-Christmas bonus. A poor game was settled on the hour mark when Hugo Rodallega tucked away his ninth goal of the season to hand Fulham just their third away success of the campaign. Leeds, whose best moment arrived just before the half hour when Alex Mowatt’s header struck the woodwork, produced a low-key performance to slump to their second consecutive defeat with Redfearn’s side too close to the relegation zone for comfort. Too often, Leeds lacked the requisite quality in the final third, with their main attacking players having an off-day, which slowly but surely boosted the confidence of a Fulham side, who were dismantled in their previous league match eight days earlier by Watford. A rank-bad day at the office descended even further just before the end when captain Stephen Warnock left the fray with a hamstring injury. The final whistle was the cue for boos from many home fans in the 27,264 crowd following an abject afternoon. Fulham’s skipper for the day was Ross McCormack, making his first return to Elland Road since his £11m transfer in the summer and while the Scot had a largely quiet afternoon, victory belonged to him and his Fulham side. Despite the severity of last weekend’s 4-1 loss at Portman Road, Redfearn elected to name the same side who started that afternoon in Suffolk, with Giuseppe Bellusci, whose partner gave birth to a baby daughter this week, again sidelined with a hamstring strain. Casper Sloth gained a place on the bench, as a reward for his midweek performance for the development side, while a late change saw Chris Dawson step in for Rudy Austin. Fulham made three changes from the side who were humiliated 5-0 at home to the Hornets. last time out with Gabor Kiraly, Shaun Hutchinson and Emerson Hyndman all starting, with former England midfielder Scott Parker missing from the Cottagers’ line-up. With a truly abysmal goals against record on the road so far in the Championship, with their tally of 27 goals against representing the worst in the entire Football League, Fulham arrived at Elland Road with a reputation for giving. But while they suffered a scare or two in the first half, the pressure they had to withstand was sporadic, with Leeds failing to hit the heights of their peerless home performance against Derby last time out. On too many occasions, Leeds gave the ball away far too cheaply, although at the other end, Marco Silvestri was not troubled at all, with McCormack – who received boos from home fans whenever he touched the ball – not bringing too much to the table. Leeds’ most threatening moment arrived just before the half-hour when Sam Byram sent over an inviting cross, which was latched onto by Mowatt, whose thumping header struck the bar and then hit the back of keeper Gabor Kiraly before the ball was cleared. Kiraly, in for the suspended Marcus Bettinelli, also denied Byram just before half-time, gathering his rising shot at his near post at the second attempt. Byram also produced one of the hosts other’ more decent moments, early in proceedings, with a neat passage of play saw Adryan display silky skills in midfield before finding Mowatt, whose lovely reverse pass found the United right-back, whose low shot whistled just wide. It was a half in which Fulham rarely threatened, although they grow into proceedings after a tentative start, with the fact that Leeds kept a clean sheet representing the main bonus given the previous week’s defensive aberrations at Ipswich. While United could reflect on having the better of it at the interval, equally they will have not needed telling twice that they needed to produce some sustained pressure against a side whose back four have succumbed on numerous occasions this term. A break early on in the second period hinted at an opener with Warnock manufacturing space down the left before sending over a cross which found Adryan, whose overhead kick flew wide with the playmaker unable to get a clean connection. At the start of the second half, Seko Fofana, one of the Cottagers’ brighter performers, did force Silvestri into a save of sort when he held his low shot in routine fashion. But with their first clear-cut chance, Fulham did not prove so wasteful on the hour. Leeds momentarily switched off from a throw-in down their left, with Lasse Vigen Christensen finding time and space to pick out Rodallega, who steered the ball home from close range. Straightaway, Billy Sharp was thrown on for the ineffective Souleymane Doukara, but despite plenty of possession, they struggled to find a path through, to the increased frustration of the agitated home support. With something to cling onto, Fulham defended in numbers to protect Kiraly. Adryan’s shot from twenty yards was comfortably saved by the visiting keeper, who then pressurized the same player following a great cross from Sharp, with Adyran failing in his attempts to send a header past Kiraly. It was increasingly looking like one of those days for Leeds, with Fulham looking the more threatening. Rodallega missed a golden chance to wrap things up with Leeds stranded with bodies upfield, when he fired wide with the goal at his mercy following Christensen’s pass. With few attacking options on the bench and increasingly bereft of conviction going forward, the net result was the game petering out for Leeds, with their performance a worrying one ahead of the festive programme. A bad day was made even worse late on when Warnock exited the fray with a hamstring injury.


Cellino’s Leeds may still be able to add to the squad n January and boy do they need to add to the squad

Friday Dec 10th Loopholes may allow Leeds to do deals – Phil Hay YP Leeds United will be hit by a transfer embargo – but it may not be an outright ban on signing players during the upcoming January transfer window. Nothing at Leeds United is ever black or white. Massimo Cellino is proof of that. Will he sidestep his Football League ban or will this disqualification stick? Is he here for the foreseeable or is the club on the road to another sale? Next month’s transfer embargo is equally devoid of clarity. It’s coming – without question it’s coming – but the belief at Elland Road is that the January window will not be an entirely closed shop. It will not be a free market either but the scope for new signings could exist, in a certain fashion and at a certain price. There’s a caveat to any conjecture about squad-building, forward planning or future objectives: the glaring possibility that Cellino will not escape the corner he is in. Earlier this week he made it clear that he is prepared to resign from United’s board while he fights his disqualification. The £23.5m injection he and Gulf Finance House announced as recently as last Thursday has been suspended pending the outcome of Cellino’s appeal. Leeds cannot carry on regardless, presuming the net will untangle itself. All the same, the club are speaking about transfers and thinking about the January window. They won’t be free to deal as they please next month but there’s a heavy suggestion that the embargoes handed down by the Football League will be laced with loopholes. In effect, Leeds expect to be able to make a small handful of signings. That the club are destined for an embargo is not in dispute. The Football League is yet to determine which sides are in breach of its Financial Fair Play rules but United’s accounts show a loss of almost £23m last season, a figure far in excess of the FFP limit. No amount of clever accounting would fudge the issue and Leeds have not even tried. Part of the reason why 15 new players came to Elland Road in the summer window was because Cellino expected to have his hands tied in January, if not exactly in the way they are now. The grey area which Leeds might seek to exploit is complicated. They anticipate that in tandem with an embargo, the Football League will soften the impact by allowing clubs to maintain a squad of a certain size. The players who count towards a set quota will not include any under the age of 21 or any who have made a small number of appearances this season (five, for the sake of argument). As big as the squad at Elland Road is, there are numerous professionals who fall into one or both of those categories. The club would almost certainly be prevented from paying fees for any signings but they suspect that the League will permit the arrival of players whose individual wage packages costs the club no more than £600,000 pro rata (around £300,000 at the midway point of the season). That sum equates to more than £10,000 a week. Cellino is not in the habit of paying high wages. The contracts he gives out tend to be incentivised – sweetened with goal bonuses and other add-ons. Over the past month he and his sporting director, Nicola Salerno, have spent some time looking at the transfer market, despite the knowledge that an embargo is coming. The Football League was asked by the YEP to explain how tightly its embargoes will be enforced and to clarify any loopholes or exemptions. A spokesman said the “specific embargo arrangements” would be outlined to clubs once the League confirmed which of the 24 were in breach of FFP rules. It remains to be seen whether the uncertainty surrounding Cellino leaves any real appetite for immediate investment in players but the club are being linked again with Leonardo Pavoletti, the Sassuolo striker who almost joined the club in the last hour of the summer transfer window. Pavoletti is 6’2” and a variation on the forwards Leeds already have. United did not fight hard to keep Matt Smith at Elland Road but despite Cellino’s concerns about Smith’s agility and versatility, he suspected that Leeds might miss his height. United have a tall forward in Steve Morison but coach after coach is declining to play him. Mirco Antenucci, Souleymane Doukara and Billy Sharp have different strengths but much the same build. In the context of United’s meek away form, variety is what they lack. There is real promise in the squad at Elland Road, some natural ball-players and a healthy mentality, but the club lack bite away from their own stadium. Tommaso Bianchi embodies that problem – in his element at Elland Road, more passive and fragile elsewhere. Neil Redfearn has harder midfielders in Rudy Austin and Michael Tonge but you sense they are not the options he wants. Jamaica international Austin is out of contract next summer and has not been offered a new deal and Championship rivals Brighton and Hove Albion are being credited with an interest in him again. For United’s squad to evolve properly it needs the right tweaks at the right times. Leeds have the numbers to cope with a quiet January but the club are not in a position – in the Championship or otherwise – where they can afford to stand still; not when their away record shows five points from 10 matches and everyone from the owner down knows the jigsaw is incomplete. It feels churlish to think about new signings when so much is hazy and an embargo awaits but the plea is the same as every other day of the week – that in the midst of everything else, the football does not get entirely forgotten.

Friday Dec 10th. Thompson getting closer to be number two Much ado about Steve Thompson, pictured far right, the first-team coach at Huddersfield Town who has been waiting for more than a month to up sticks and join Leeds United. He and Neil Redfearn are former Bolton team-mates and close friends – Thompson was best man at Redfearn’s wedding – and Redfearn, inset, singled him out as his preferred assistant as soon as Massimo Cellino named him as head coach on November 1. Since then people on both sides of West Yorkshire have been waiting for the appointment to happen and wondering why, six weeks on, the arrival of Thompson at Elland Road has become so protracted. At the outset Huddersfield asked for compensation for Thompson. Leeds refused to pay, believing that he was largely surplus to requirements. Thompson was named as Huddersfield’s assistant by Mark Robins in June but Robins survived for only one game this season and Town are now in the hands of Chris Powell. Powell’s number two is Alex Dyer. As time went on Huddersfield’s demands dropped and then gave way altogether. As Powell admitted at his weekly press conference on Thursday, Huddersfield’s board are now willing to allow Thompson to leave for nothing and told Leeds that more than a week ago. Meanwhile, up at Thorp Arch, Redfearn said he was still waiting for a deal to fall into place. It made for a weird and unfathomable impasse but the YEP understands that later in the day Redfearn and Massimo Cellino discussed Thompson’s situation again and agreed to get the appointment finalised. Leeds have been drawing up a contract in readiness for the 50-year-old to sign. A straightforward job made strangely difficult but perhaps Redfearn finally has his man. Dec 10th Sky Bet There is irony aplenty in the list of potential winners of Sky Bet’s ‘transfer fund’ – a raffle which will award £250,000 to one lucky Football League club to spend in the January transfer window. Leeds United have two supporters amongst the 10 competing for the cash on their club’s behalf. A Nottingham Forest fan is also included. No matter the fact that both sides are heading for a transfer embargo and look likely to be prevented from doing much business next month. Other Championship teams in with a shout might be better placed to use the money. Wigan Athletic, Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City, Fulham and Watford were also selected at random for the shortlist. The draw takes place at Wembley this Tuesday. In a press release, Sky’s Jim White was quoted as saying: “You can only imagine how the chairman, manager and players of the winning club are going to react when they hear the news.” That rather depends on the outcome.


Cellino stepping down

Thurs Dec 12th Cellino “I’ll be stepping down” – Phil Hay YP Massimo Cellino has told Leeds United’s board that he will comply with a Football League directive ordering him to quit as a director within 28 days to prevent the club from incurring sanctions during his appeal against disqualification. United’s Italian owner is preparing to challenge a Football League ruling which banned him from running the club until March of next year and plans to submit an appeal in the coming days but he admitted last night that he would relinquish his seat on the board in the meantime amid the risk of further punishment. Cellino was disqualified by the League on December 1 after the governing body announced that he was in breach of its Owners and Directors Test due to a tax conviction imposed on him by an Italian court in March. The ban runs to March 18, 2015 – the date on which his conviction is spent under UK law – but the 58-year-old will fight the ruling, arguing that Italy’s judicial system considers him innocent until his tax case passes through two stages of appeal. Cellino was given 14 days to submit a formal challenge to his Football League ban but the organisation also ordered him to resign as a United director within 28 days – two weeks on Monday – regardless of whether an appeal was pending. Cellino’s representatives are believed to have asked the League for delay his disqualification until the matter is settled but Cellino said he had informed United’s other directors of his intention to quit during a board meeting at Elland Road on Tuesday. Failure to comply with the League’s instructions could lead to a range of penalties against Cellino and the club. Cellino said: “I’m prepared to resign if it’s what I have to do. I said to the other directors that I don’t want to bring any problems on the club so if I have to resign in 28 days and then wait to finish my appeal, I will. “I’m fighting this and we think we will win so after the appeal I will be back. But I don’t want to give the League a reason to punish the club. So if I have to go then I’ll go.” In its announcement banning Cellino, the League said it would attempt to ensure that his appeal was heard inside the 28-day window but receipt of his challenge on Monday would leave just a fortnight for the Professional Conduct Committee to rule on his disqualification. Cellino is United’s president and the main representative of Eleonora Sport Limited, the company which bought Leeds from Gulf Finance House in April. It is not clear who responsibility for day-to-day operations at Elland Road would pass to in his absence. Tuesday’s board meeting was attended by GFH representatives Jinesh Patel and Salem Patel – both of whom are directors of Leeds – following the recent agreement reached between the bank and Cellino. The board was due to ratify a £23.5m cash injection and a restructuring of United’s debt on Tuesday but neither GFH nor Cellino has confirmed whether the deal was signed off as planned. The YEP understands that the investment could be suspended until the outcome of Cellino’s appeal is known.

Thursday Dec 12th Redfearn to stick by Ipswich side Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn is set to stand by the players responsible for a heavy defeat to Ipswich Town when Fulham come to Elland Road on Saturday. Redfearn dismissed the option of sweeping changes in response to last weekend’s 4-1 loss at Portman Road as doubt continued to hang over the fitness of Giuseppe Bellusci. The Italian defender missed the trip to Ipswich with a hamstring strain and Redfearn will assess his condition during training tomorrow before deciding whether to consider him for Saturday’s game. A change which sees Bellusci replace Jason Pearce in the centre of Leeds’ defence could be the only alteration for the Championship clash with Fulham. United’s defeat at second-placed Ipswich followed on from an impressive 2-0 win over league leaders Derby County and extended the club’s poor run of away form. But speaking at his pre-match press conference today, Redfearn said: We’ve been playing well at home and I’m mindful of that. Sometimes you can make things worse by trying to make them better. “Saturday was a game we got beat in heavily but the previous week we had a great result. We kept a clean sheet against a top side so sometimes you have to say it’s a bad day at the office and move on. “We’ve got a confidence about us (at home) and the game we play fits the majority of the players. It suits us. I’m trying to get us into a league position where we can relax and play out football but the signs are good. They’re still good.” Redfearn said Bellusci’s training schedule had been limited this week in an effort to prevent any aggravation of his injury before Saturday’s match.He’s had a week of rehab and we’ll monitor him again tomorrow,” Redfearn said. We’ve been careful with because it’s more important that he’s fit for the game, rather than what he does through the week in training. “I don’t think it’s a bad strain. There is a tear but not a bad one. If he can get through everything tomorrow then we’ll consider him.” Fulham were thrashed 5-0 by Watford in their previous match and the dismissal of goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli in that match will see second-choice Gabor Kiraly play at Elland Road on Saturday. The club have struggled since their relegation from the Premier League and are one point behind Leeds in the table, 10 short of the play-offs. “Fulham are on an upward trend,” Redfearn insisted. I’d have thought they’ll be saying something similar to us – they’re on a good run, last week was a blip.” This weekend’s clash will also see the return of striker Ross McCormack for the first time since he left United for Fulham in a £10.75m deal. McCormack scored 29 times for Leeds last season, finishing as the Championship’s top scorer, but he has struck only five times for Fulham. Mirco Antenucci is leading the way at Elland Road this term, with eight goals to his name. Redfearn said: “He (McCormack) did great for Leeds, there’s no two ways about that. His goal total was unbelievable and his ability to finish – it goes without saying that he’s a proven goalscorer. “But Antenucci’s probably one of the hottest strikers in the Championship. His finishing’s been different class. He’s hot property at the moment.”

Thursday Dec 12th Redfearn still without a number two Leeds United have been going through managers this season like underwear. First Brian McDermott went in the summer. Then it was the turn of the inexperienced Dave Hockaday, a doomed appointment from day one. Slovenian Darko Milanic did not last much longer, employing Neil Redfearn permanently after a previously impressive caretaker role. The former youth coach is popular among the fans, even if there is a belief that he is not entirely the first choice appointment of Massimo Cellino. At the moment Redfearn is currently working without an assistant. Junior Brown left when Hockaday was sacked and Novica Nikcevic departed when Milanic got the boot. It is believed that Redfearn has a preferred choice in Huddersfield first-team coach Steve Thompson, a former team-mate at Bolton Wanderers. But to date, despite Redfearn holding the role since November 1st, no assistant has been appointed at Elland Road. Today, during the press conference ahead of the weekend tie with Fulham, he addressed the ongoing assistant manager situation – insisting he has to be patient: “I’ve got to be patient. It’s important that it’s done the right way. It does take time. I’m getting on with it. I have great staff here but the ideal scenario would be to get an extra body in.” Leeds fans will certainly be hoping that an extra pair of hands joins the crew in the foreseeable future.


McCormack’s move hasn’t been the dream move so far for him nor Fulham


Antenucci a player with an impressive Serie B record in Italy has hit a rich vein of form in Yorkshire

Weds Dec 10th. McCormack set for Leeds return so who got the best deal ?The chaotic accounts drawn up by Leeds United for the last financial year will be softened to an extent by money drawn from the transfer market shortly after the year’s end. A loss of £23m in the 2013-14 accountancy period did not include cash accrued from the sale of Ross McCormack or Matt Smith, and for an injection of over £11m Leeds must be grateful. It equates to almost half of the club’s annual turnover. A few months on from those transfers to Fulham, the debate can be had about which club struck the better deal. The strikers were United’s top scorers last season – McCormack with 29 goals, Smith with 13 – but Fulham travel to Elland Road this weekend with no great return to show for their investment. There are two ways of judging the transfers – how badly Leeds have missed the pair, McCormack in particular, and how greatly Fulham have benefitted from paying £10.75m for the Scot and another £600,000 for Smith. They were over-the-odds fees, certainly in the case of McCormack, and signings made by a doomed manager in Felix Magath. Where Fulham are concerned, their impact is self-evident. The club sent Smith on loan to Bristol City last month after less than 45 minutes of first-team football and a red card on his debut. McCormack has five goals to his name and only four of in the Championship. This time last season he was four short of 20. For Magath, the impression made by his squad as a whole was fatally poor. Fulham sacked him midway through September, a time when the club were bottom of the league. The German voiced concerns about McCormack’s fitness when the striker signed from Leeds in July – a problem exacerbated by an unhappy summer in which McCormack fell out with United owner Massimo Cellino and missed most of pre-season prior to his transfer – but the forward has suffered from positional issues to. McCormack thrived at the tip of United’s attack and was most content as an out-and-out striker. At Craven Cottage he has reverted to something resembling the number 10 role which former Leeds boss Brian McDermott asked of him without success. McCormack occupied that position through gritted teeth but was more effective and potent further up the field. At present, for Fulham, he has more assists than goals. The squad at Elland Road changed so drastically over the summer that it would be simplistic to argue that Leeds are worse off without McCormack, but certain statistics suggest as much. The club have 10 points fewer than they did after 20 games last season. They are also eight goals down. On average United produced more chances and more shots on target with the 28-year-old in their line-up. Those were always likely to be side-effects of selling the Championship’s top scorer. Where Smith was concerned, Leeds had no substitute for a player of his size. Cellino was perfectly willing to sanction his departure on transfer deadline day but if Leeds can find loopholes in their inevitable transfer embargo next month, the Italian will look for a forward in a similar mould – strong, imposing and blessed with the height which United as a team lack. As compensation for McCormack, United signed Mirco Antenucci, a striker who scored his eighth goal of the season away at Ipswich last weekend. He and McCormack are comparable in many respects: possessing the same physique and pace, happiest playing off the shoulder and adept at sniffing for chances inside the box. McCormack’s game would still suit United’s style, just as Antenucci’s does. The contrast in their contributions this season points again to the consequences of their differing roles. Antenucci has claimed more goals than McCormack and produced more shots on target, more efforts inside the box. McCormack is threatening from a longer range and his creation of chances is far in excess of Antenucci’s. It suggests that while the Italian is being used in his natural position, McCormack has been taken out of his. It remains to be seen whether Fulham give McCormack greater prominence at Elland Road on Saturday. It was said during the summer that McCormack’s value would never exceed the near-£11m that Fulham were offering to pay for him. With Antenucci, whose transfer from Ternana is reported to have cost Leeds £1m, head coach Neil Redfearn sees ample room for improvement, even in a striker who turned 30 in September. “I think he’s got better as the season’s gone on,” Redfearn said. “He impressed me right from the beginning but I still think he could play one or two different positions and open his mind to other things. “He’s got so much going for him and his touch and awareness are unbelievable. Stick him in front of goal and he’ll finish. His understanding of that role has got better and better.” That was McCormack’s talent last season: the knack of producing goals whenever Leeds needed them. By the end of the club’s 46th league game there was a remarkable statistic showing that United won only three matches in which the Scot failed to score. Cellino, nonetheless, claimed his tally of 29 was an anomaly. In Cellino’s view, McCormack’s entire career showed him to be a 15-goal-a-year player. The two men parted on bad terms in July, disagreeing bitterly over the reasons for his transfer, and McCormack will be back at Elland Road for the first time this weekend. He has politely turned down interview requests, choosing to keep a low profile, but he will not go unnoticed on Saturday. “You’re worth what someone is willing to pay for you,” he said after joining Fulham. Leeds might still feel that the bargain was theirs. THIS SEASON’S STATS – Mirco Antenucci v Ross McCormack Cost in the summer: Antenucci £1m, McCormack £10.75m League games played: Antenucci 17, McCormack 19 Goals: Antenucci 8, McCormack 4. Assists: Antenucci 1, McCormack 7 Chances created: Antenucci 13, McCormack 39 Shots on goal: Antenucci 55, McCormack 52 Shots on target: Antenucci 21, McCormack 20 Shots inside the box: Antenucci 37, McCormack 16 Shots outside the box: Antenucci 18, McCormack 36 Weds Dec 12th Whites left to pay the price for GFH tenure The accounts from GFH’s time as owners of Leeds United don’t make for pretty reading. Phil Hay takes a closer look at the figures. The picture painted by Leeds United’s latest financial figures and the impression it gives of Gulf Finance House is not at all unexpected: heavy losses, falling income and rising shareholder debt. Leeds were sliding in that direction when they published their accounts for the 2012-13 year and preliminary results for the following 12 months show another downturn in the club’s financial position. United lost £9.5m in 2012-13 and saw their turnover fall to £28.5m. According to documents seen by the YEP, Leeds expect to record losses of just under £23m for the 2013-14 year after their revenue dropped to £25.3m and their wage bill climbed to more than £22m. The figures shown to the YEP are draft accounts and have yet to be signed off by either to auditors or United’s owner, Massimo Cellino, but a version was sent to the Football League last week in line with Financial Fair Play requirements. They confirm that Leeds are in breach of FFP rules limiting clubs in the Championship to a maximum annual loss of £8m. A breach carries the punishment of a transfer embargo in the January window and Cellino has been anticipating that penalty for several months. The 58-year-old Italian, who bought Leeds in April and is currently fighting an attempt by the Football League to disqualify him as owner of the club, was majority shareholder at Elland Road for fewer than three of the 12 months covered by the 2013-14 accounts. GFH Capital, the Dubai-based arm of GFH, ran United for most of that period, though according to the draft accounts, a restructuring of its stake in the club left Leeds without a majority shareholder during the second half of 2013. In the year to June 30, 2014, United’s income dropped across the board. Their gate receipts fell by more than £1m to £8.5m and cash generated by broadcasting fees and the sale of merchandise also decreased. Their remaining commercial revenue amounted to £6.6m, down from more than £8m in the previous 12 months. The club’s operating loss climbed to £17.89m, an increase of around £5m, and the wage bill equated to 89 per cent of turnover. Reducing the cost of wages was one of Cellino’s priorities when he inherited what he called “a big mess” from GFH. Last week Cellino claimed that he and the Bahraini bank had agreed to restructure United’s debt and inject capital of £23.5m into the club, a deal which was due to be ratified at a board meeting at Elland Road yesterday. That figure is fractionally higher than Leeds’ annual loss. Other parts of the accounts show where portions of the money went. The results confirm that a loan of £1.5m given to the club by shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance in 2012 was paid back in February of this year. Cellino was acting as de facto owner of United at that time, funding the club prior to the completion of his 75 per cent buy-out. The lease of Leeds’ Elland Road stadium and Thorp Arch training ground cost £1.94m a year as of June 30 and increased again last month. The combined rent will clear £2m for the first time next year. Cellino failed to meet a promise to buy back Elland Road for £16m before the start of December but the expensive lease explains why Leeds are continuously anxious to free themselves of that burden. More intriguing than those matters are the biggest liabilities laid out in the draft accounts and the money owed to the club’s shareholders, including both GFH and Cellino. The accounts state that during 2013-14, Eleonora Sport Limited – the UK firm used by Cellino to purchase Leeds – loaned £8.42m to the club. Cellino himself made a personal loan of close to £1.3m and a company in Milan with connections to his family, Eleonora Immobiliaire, lent United a further £2.5m. Leeds have not commented on the figures but sources close to Cellino say the money does not represent any of the £11m fee which he agreed to pay GFH for a stake in Leeds. They deny that his buy-out was in any way financed using debt incurred by the club. According to those close to him, the loans were used to pay debt and bills before and after his takeover on April 7. They claim the loans do not bear interest and could be converted into shares at a later date. The accounts name United’s ultimate owner as Trust Sporting 2006, a Cellino family trust which is based in Italy and sits above Eleonora Sport in the ownership structure of Leeds. Under GFH United’s ultimate owner was LUFC Holding Limited, an off-shore company set up in the Cayman Islands. Shortly after buying Leeds, Cellino admitted that he planned to create a structure of companies based solely in the Italy and the UK. United’s draft accounts say Trust Sporting 2006 holds an “88.3 per cent interest in Leeds United Football Club Limited” – significantly more than the 75 per cent which Eleonora Sport bought from GFH in April. Sources close to Cellino insist the split between Eleonora Sport and the bank is still 75-25, describing the accounts as a “snapshot” at a time of restructuring. United staged a rights issue on June 27, three days before the end of the last financial year. GFH Capital, meanwhile, is owed a staggering sum of £20.91m by Leeds. Much of that debt was assigned to the company from other creditors, including Brendale Holdings and Berrydale Seventh Sport Holdings. Those firms – both of which belong to GFH Capital – were owed £11.27m and £2m respectively. In the 2013-14 financial year, the interest earned on those loans came to more than £1.5m. GFH Capital was also assigned £1.7m owed to Envest Limited, a company controlled by former Leeds chairman Salah Nooruddin and a minority shareholder at Elland Road. GFH was asked by the YEP to explain how the debt owed to it had reached such a high level and what the money borrowed by Leeds had been spent on. It was also asked to clarify whether the figure of £20.91m was included in, or in addition to, the £24m of short and long-term debt which Cellino agreed to service when he bought United eight months ago. The bank did not respond. Over the weekend, however, a GFH spokesperson told the Mail on Sunday: “As a result of the poor financial situation which they inherited at the club, GFH extended funding of around £20m of cash between July 2012 to November 2013 to keep the club solvent, acquire new players, give new contracts to existing players, pay down existing debt and meet other day-to-day liabilities as they fell due when the club’s revenues were insufficient to do this.” A further sum of £3.4m claimed by GFH for “invoices” is in dispute, the accounts say. UNITED’S FORTHCOMING 2013-14 ACCOUNTS – THE KEY FIGURES Turnover: £25.29m (down from £28.56m in 2012-13) Loss before tax: £20.35m (up from £9.44m) Loss after tax: £22.93m (up from £9.55m) Operating loss: £17.89m (up from £12.11m) Gate receipts: £8.56m (down from £9.72m) Commercial revenue: £6.68m (down from £8.08m) Loans owed to Gulf Finance House: £20.91m Loans owed to Massimo Cellino and connected companies: £12.24m Invoices claimed by GFH but disputed by Leeds: £3.4m Mon Dec 10th. Leeds have been drawn away at Sunderland in the third round of the FA Cup Dec 6th. The managers have their say Mick McCarthy: “That was as good as we have played all season for a number of reasons. “We went 1-0 down and had to recover against a team who are playing well. We scored four goals and our all-round performance was very good. “The goal just after half-time (Ipswich’s fourth) was the crucial one. “You are always on red alert as you don’t want to concede, but I actually got a bit cold in the last five minutes. It was nice not to be biting my nails at the end for a change.” A dismal week for Leeds, which saw owner Massimo Cellino asked to step down by the Football League after breaching its owners’ and directors’ test, got worse on the pitch. They were hit by goals either side of half-time and offered little in a dismal second-half performance which saw Ipswich comfortably stride to an impressive three points. Leeds boss Neil Redfearn refused to use matters off the pitch as a reason for his side’s poor showing. When asked about Cellino, Redfearn said: “That would be an excuse. We have had all week to prepare and whatever happens (with Cellino) is for the powers that be at Leeds United.“After such a great performance against Derby last week (winning 2-0), it is disappointing to come back down to earth with a bump. “Our performances were gradually picking up week-on-week, but today was an off day. “Ipswich are a good side, they are second in the table for a reason. We started brightly with a well-taken goal but we took our foot off the pedal for whatever reason. “You can’t come to places like Ipswich Town and give sides a leg-up – but that’s what we did.”


Leeds fans dejected after defeat

Sec 6th. Ipswich 4-1 Leeds (Report from Phil Hay YP) Leeds United: Silvestri; Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock; Bianchi, Cook; Doukara (Austin 51), Adryan (Sharp 53), Mowatt; Antenucci. Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Berardi, Tonge, Dawson, Del Fabro. Referee: M Dean (Wirral). Attendance: 21,489 (1,835 Leeds fans). A DEFENSIVE horror show saw Leeds United capitulate in sorry fashion in Suffolk as they were dismantled 4-1 by their high-flying hosts Ipswich Town. After being afforded the considerable fillip of an early lead in the fourth minute, thanks to Mirco Antenucci’s eighth goal of the season, it was downhill all the way for Neil Redfearn’s troops, who were punished for a woeful performance at the back. Ipswich dined out at their expense time after time, none moreso than striker Daryl Murphy, who notched his 12th and 13th goals of an impressive campaign. The match programme alluded to the former Sunderland forward being in the form of his footballing life and it was hard to argue, although he was given a helping hand by a meek defensive showing from Leeds. David McGoldrick also got on the scoresheet from the spot for Ipswich, who turned around a 1-0 deficit to lead 3-1 at the break and Christophe Berra added a fourth three minutes into the second half to providing the gloss. Redfearn has often admitted that this season will be a case of one step forward, one back for Leeds and plenty of evidence was provided of that at Portman Road, with his side, so defensively sound against Derby last weekend, exactly the opposite a week on. At times, it was truly alarming stuff with Marco Silvestri offered no protection whatsoever for large parts of the afternoon, with 1,835 Leeds supporters forced to suffer amid bitter cold. Both sides kept changes to a minimum after both enjoyed their Saturday afternoons immensely seven days ago. Jason Pearce, a week after being dropped to the bench, earned a reprieve with Giuseppe Bellusci out with a hamstring strain with the centre half lining up alongside Liam Cooper, but with Stephen Warnock retaining the captain’s armband. Town, with just one defeat in 15 games and with a chance of going top if they prevailed and Derby slipped up at home to Brighton, also made just one change from the side who triumphed 1-0 thanks to Noel Hunt’s last-gasp strike at Charlton, with Berra returning from suspension and Jonathan Parr dropping to the bench. Leeds followers who made the journey to Suffolk soon made their feelings known about the decision by the Football League to disqualify Massimo Cellino for failing their Owners and Directors’ Test in no uncertain terms with voicing their backing for the Italian. After their side’s early opener from Antenucci, they were given precious else positive to shout about on the pitch. The liveliest of halves began with Murphy seeing his deflected shot comfortably held by Silvestri before play proceeded to move up to the other end of the pitch, with Leeds stunning the Tractor Boys by taking the lead just four minutes in. Town were left exposed down the right hand side of their defence, with Warnock profiting from indecision between home captain Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith before delivering an inviting cross which was tucked away from close in by Antenucci – ahead of the inquests beginning in the Ipswich defence. It represented the dream start for United at a venue which has not proved a particularly happy one over the years. The early signs were encouraging ones for the visitors, but in a clear sign of things to come, Leeds blotted their copybook at the back, with the charge-sheet containing several more entries before the interval. Ipswich manufactured space down the right on 12 minutes with Chambers’ high cross dispatched clinically by the head of Murphy, who pulled away expertly from Pearce with his effort giving Silvestri no chance. It was the portent of worse to come, although not before Antenucci fired a chance over the top, yet while Leeds possessed a semblance of threat going forward, it was a different matter at the other end. A lack of defensive cohesion and organisation was exploited by two proven Championship operators in Murphy and McGoldrick, who had too much nous and power for a rearguard who looked dishevelled and beaten up by the interval. Only a last-ditch block from Pearce denied Murphy in front of goal after the Irishman was afforded far too much space to attack Stephen Hunt’s floated corner. Antenucci, trying his best at the other end, then headed at Bartosz Bialkowski, before Warnock, so consistent this term, suffered a rare aberration to hand Ipswich a gift-wrapped second from the spot on 26 minutes. Mike Dean showed no hesitation in awarding a penalty after Warnock went through the back of Paul Anderson with the clumsiest of challenges. It was an opportunity that McGoldrick was never likely to pass up and the striker – who netted in both matches against Leeds last term – continued his impressive statistics against United by effortlessly sending Silvestri the wrong way for his sixth goal of the campaign. Sadly, it got worse for Leeds and Murphy should really have made it 3-1 soon after, but bundled the ball wide from close range after Hunt headed Chambers’ centre into his path, with Leeds again showing a dereliction of duty at the back. McGoldrick, clearly showing the Leeds infallability, then fired a couple of efforts off target before the hosts grabbed a killer third moments before the interval. Leeds were undressed down the left, with Murphy left clear on goal and he fired the ball under the legs of Silvestri to fire his second and Ipswich’s third. It left Leeds with plenty to ponder at the interval, but the early pattern of proceedings on the restart followed the first, with the visitors’ meek defensive showing continuing. Murphy, having an absolute field day won an early header, but no-one could get the final touch in front of goal before Town wrapped it up on 48 minutes. More poor defending allowed Smith a free header following Hunt’s corner, with Berra gettiing the final touch close to the line. With the game now in the bag for Ipswich, the only question was whether Leeds could stem the tide and prevent further concessions, with the action at the other end non-existant, with the visitors wholly demoralised. The main question for the hosts was whether Murphy can clinch his hat-trick and he went mighty close after latching onto McGoldrick’s cross, with Leeds again all at sea, but his powerful hooked volley was beaten away at the near post by Silvestri. Play proceeded to peter out, with the outcome clear and defined and Town saving their energies for future battles, with Leeds not threatening Bialkowski in the home goal. An awful afternoon, all told. This was a shocking performance by the Whites. Not one Leeds player emerges with any credit. It all started brightly, when Antenucci put us ahead after just five minutes. Leeds conceded a very harsh penalty for the second game in succession, but Warnock gave the referee a chance to make a decision and he did so. After that it was a defensive horror show. The midfield went missing and Doukara was little or no addition to Antenucci. All the hard work has of the Derby game has been undone and we have to be much more cagey on the road, we miss a Michael Brown type player in the middle. A lot of work still to be done.

Friday 12th of December Jack Peat, Editor of The London Economic There’s nothing quite like the wrath of a disgruntled Leeds United fan.  Involuntarily tied to a club that has been perpetually targeted by the media, the rozzers and by any other fan in the country that doesn’t carry the burden of the white rose on their chest, they are the oppressed, persecuted and maltreated victims of a game that has seldom been fair to them.  There’s not enough Tetley’s Cask in the world to appease the bereaved heart of a Leodensian, the by-product of a system that is cruel to its core. Safe to say I don’t hold much compassion for Leeds United, nor do I have much regard for the stream of comments left on a recent TLE article discussing Massimo Cellino, entertaining though they may be. “Biggin, I work in a Hospital in Leeds in the Neurosurgery department and I’m happy to offer you a free frontal lobotomy. After reading the garbage above I can only draw the conclusion that you are mentally ill / have some physiological disorder in your cerebellum. As drastic as this might sound I think you’ll be a better person after the procedure.” But in this instance, I do sympathise with the protesters. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to pick apart the areas in which I disagree with Mr Biggin, because the general theme of ‘shady’ businessmen running football clubs at the expense of the fans is a valid point, but I do wish to bring to light a few areas which I believe may have been overlooked.  Of course, we must make concessions for the fact that us south of Watford Gap Services – I was born and bred in south Leeds – know little or nothing about the strife of those ‘up north’, but here’s a go. First to the state of Leeds United as a business entity.  Suffice to say that the club has endured financial hardship since the infamous Ridsdale era which was compounded by Ken Bates who would fail any real means test of a chairman at the first hurdle, i.e, he had no interest in the interests.  So Cellino was here to pick up the pieces and poured his own money into the club and crucially into the team, signing more players in one summer than in the previous five years.  His commitment has won over the terraces at Elland Road, leading to two petitions signed by more than 15,000 fans calling on the Football League to “act in the best interests of Leeds United Football Club” and allow the club’s Italian owner to remain in post. The Leeds United Supporters’ Petition released this statement: “Since purchasing the club six months ago, Massimo Cellino has turned around Leeds United’s precarious financial position. Under his control, the club’s debt and operating expense have reduced. For the first time since the turn of the century, Leeds United’s finances seem to be under control. Massimo Cellino has invested a lot of money in Leeds United – initially through his purchase and then through subsequent investment. In all probability, if you force him out now, Leeds United would, again, be facing administration. Forcing Cellino out of Leeds United is not in the best interests of one of your member football clubs and would in fact, be very damaging indeed.” Financially, Leeds United has been leaking money.  The costs of previous haphazard ownership has left Massimo in the compromising position of having to pay endless streams of bills and costs just to position the club on firm footing, but unlike previous owners, he’s actually here to tackle them and sort them out.  As ex-Leeds United legend Peter Lorimer said in the Yorkshire Evening Post, “the sad truth at the moment is that a lot of his cash is being burned on resolving problems he inherited”, which are often the parts of football ownership that go unmentioned.  Replacing Cellino puts the club back at square one, and despite the obvious potential of Leeds United as a football club, the financial state it currently finds itself in makes it a hazardous (at best) investment prospect. But my biggest grievance with the Football Leagues’ move to disqualify Cellino is that the Football League, like FIFA and several other governing bodies around the world, is inept at best and corrupt at worst.  The fit and proper test of football ownership isn’t fit and proper in itself. As Fat Lad (brilliant) points out in our previous post, “the real irony is the legislation they are using to attempt to derail and destabilise the club is the very same legislation which is intended to protect clubs.”  Surely that should be at least a consideration when the organisation moves to oust a chairman that clearly has so much to offer a club that, let’s be honest, we all miss in the top tier. Fundamentally, as Guy Mowbray pointed out, a chairman is either fit and proper to run a club or he isn’t.  “The steps that the League wishes the club to take – to remove Mr Cellino only to re-appoint him in three months’ time – will be destabilising for the club, its supporters and sponsors and cannot be in the best interests of any party,” a Leeds United statement read, and I wholeheartedly agree.  If anyone was to bring some semblance of calm to a stormy situation it should be the Football League, but in this instance they’ve done more to disrupt the fit and proper running of the club as they have enforced it. Dec 12th Tomasso proud to be at Leeds United Midfielder Tommaso Bianchi has spoken of his pride at being at the club ahead of his side’s trip to Ipswich this Saturday (3pm). The Italian has made 20 appearances so far this season – only missing the opening day at Millwall – and says he is enjoying life at Leeds United. “I’m enjoying it here,” said Bianchi. I feel really good. “This is a great team and a great club with amazing fans. I work hard with my team-mates in training. “I’m proud to be here and play at Elland Road.” Following his summer move from Sassuolo the midfielder has adapted well to English football and he says confidence is high following last weekend’s win over league leaders Derby County. “We are a young team with young players,” said the Italian. “We have the time to improve but for me we are in a good way. “And now, after the last match, we have more confidence and we will improve. “The football is very different here. For me the level is very high. “It is more physical and the players are very good in all the teams. There is not one team better than the others, they are all the same level.” The 26-year-old was one of 15 new arrivals prior to the start of the 2014/15 season and he is impressed with United’s squad. “We have very good players here,” added Tommaso. “They improve every day in training and you can watch that in the matches. “Mowatt, Cookie and Sam are getting better after every game. It was difficult at the start of the season with all the new players and the young players. But now I think we are in a good way. “The competition is good for the team. “We have a lot of good players that maybe don’t play in the games but are working hard in training and that is good for the team.” United now head to Ipswich looking for a change in fortunes on away soil but the midfielder says the Derby victory will be a confidence boost. “We needed this match for the confidence,” he said. Derby are a great team and they are first in the league. We played well with more confidence and I hope we do the same at the weekend. “We need to improve away from home. “It can be difficult to play away in the league. I think that we played well at Blackburn but we did some mistakes. “We controlled the game and I think we can do that on Saturday.” Tues Dec 2nd Cellino and the key questions facing the Football League – YEP Uncharted territory” is how everyone describes the incendiary situation facing Leeds United and Massimo Cellino. The Football League’s Owners and Directors Test has existed in its current form for several years but rarely have the rules produced a stand-off as complex or unclear. In disqualifying Cellino from owning Leeds, the governing body has ordered the Italian to stand down from the club’s board within 28 days – by December 29 – but its five-page explanation left pertinent issues unaddressed. Here the YEP looks at the key questions facing the Football League: Does the Football League expect Eleonora Sport Ltd to sell its shares in Leeds United? Leeds United were bought in April from Gulf Finance House by Eleonora Sport Ltd. The company holds a 75 per cent shareholding in Leeds and has two directors – Cellino and his American financial advisor, Daniel Arty. Cellino says Eleonora Sport represents his family and that Leeds are owned by them, rather than him personally. While the League is insistent that the 58-year-old must resign as a club director and divorce himself from Elland Road, will it expect or order Eleonora Sport to relinquish its majority stake or actively seeks a buyer in the period while Cellino is disqualified? Given that Italian’s ban ends on March 18, 2015, does the League have the right to set a fixed timescale for a change of ownership? Birmingham City’s owner, Carsen Yeung, was jailed by a court in Hong Kong eight months ago but City are still controlled by Birmingham International Holdings, the company used by Yeung to purchase the club in 2009. Would the League allow a scenario where a minority shareholder at Leeds – GFH, for example – takes on a majority stake in the interim and returns it to Cellino in March? Or does it genuinely expect Cellino to sell up and walk away? Who does the Football League expect to run Leeds United in Cellino’s absence? Leeds have effectively been given a month to prepare for Cellino’s resignation. Even if he appeals and his appeal is pending, the Football League stated yesterday that Cellino’s ban would come into force at the end of a 28-day window. All it added by way of a caveat was that it would look to have any appeal heard before those 28 days are up. Cellino is United’s president and was named as their managing director in the Share Purchase Agreement he and GFH signed in February. He has no chief executive and the rest of the board at Elland Road has precious little experience of managing a football club. Moreover, the funding for United’s many costs, debts and liabilities has come solely from Eleonora Sport since Cellino bought out GFH on April 7. But he is now under pressure to set-up a management structure in which he has absolutely no influence. How does the League propose that the vacuum will be filled – not least because its rules specifically forbid shadow directors? Is the Football League aware of other parties who wish to buy Leeds United? There is always talk of potential investment at Leeds. Red Bull are the rumour of choice at the moment but there have been others in the past 12 months. Together Leeds, a consortium led by Mike Farnan, tried and failed to buy the club before Cellino’s takeover went through. Shortly before the Italian completed his buy-out, a Malaysian party was strongly rumoured to be trying in beating him to the punch. Members of Cellino’s inner circle believed then – and still believe now – that the Malaysians were pointed in GFH’s direction by Shaun Harvey, the Football League’s chief executive and United’s formerly CEO. Prior to yesterday’s announcement, had the League been made aware of any new or existing groups who want to buy Leeds from Cellino? Or has Cellino been disqualified without any prospect of a quick change of ownership? And if the League is not expecting a rapid sale, what it the purpose of the ban – other than to ensure the enforcement of its rules? Did the Football League take advice about the potential impact of its decision on Leeds United before voting to ban Cellino? Leeds said in a statement yesterday that barring Cellino for a period of four months would be “destabilising for the club, its supporters and sponsors.” Before voting to disqualify Cellino, did the Football League seek to establish the possible consequences of disqualifying the Italian as owner? Did it investigate the club’s financial position or the likely impact should Cellino and Eleonora Sport stop providing funding in the weeks to come? And can the League categorically say that it is safeguarding United by removing Cellino from Elland Road? Does the Football League believe that its Owners and Directors Test is fit for purpose? Cellino has owned and financed Leeds for seven months. Even before his buy-out went through, he was acting as United’s de facto owner – paying bills, providing capital, meeting costs that GFH was no longer prepared to meet. The League tried and failed to block his takeover in April, losing its case after Cellino appealed to the Professional Conduct Committee, and the Owners and Directors Test is now banning Cellino have first allowed him to plough millions of pounds into the club. Not only that, his period has owner has seen widespread redundancies and changes to personnel at Elland Road, the sale of certain players and the arrival of many more. Leeds are a very different outfit these days. Does the League accept that its test has caused unsatisfactory uncertainty and what will it do to avoid this situation again?

Mon Dec 1st. Everyone awaiting Cellino’s next move The Football League want United’s controversial owner out of Elland Road but as Phil Hay reports, Cellino still has options open to him. No line in the sand and no closure. Not yet, despite the Football League’s latest ruling against Massimo Cellino. As it did at the start, the governing body wants him gone from Leeds United and English football but Cellino has some wriggle-room left. Today’s announcement, disqualifying him from owning Leeds and banning him from exerting any financial or operational control at Elland Road, is not definitive. Cellino has 14 days to appeal, as he did successfully when the League blocked his takeover in March, and 28 days before his ban takes effect. Even then, the conviction for tax evasion threatening his ownership will be spent in less than five months’ time. The League’s written rationale for barring the Italian as an owner and director states clearly that the disqualification runs until March 18, 2015 – a year on from the date when a court in Cagliari found Cellino guilty of failing to pay VAT on a private yacht. That verdict, which Cellino is currently appealing, would previously have been spent after five years but a recent change to UK law means any conviction carrying the penalty of a fine is now considered spent after just 12 months. The judge who found the 58-year-old guilty, Dr Sandra Lepore, imposed a fine of around £500,000. Cellino faces further allegations of wrongdoing in Italy and other court cases involving him are pending but in respect of the specific case which the League used against him today, United’s owner is essentially facing a four-month ban. What that means for the club in practice is hard to predict. As one of Cellino’s legal advisors said far back in the summer, this is “totally uncharted territory – a situation we’ve never seen before.” The League’s ruling disqualifies Cellino not only from acting as owner or a director of Leeds but from acting as a “relevant person” at Elland Road. The governing body will forbid him from taking or influencing day-to-day managerial decisions or from bankrolling the club as he has since his buy-out on April 7. Leeds, according to Cellino, were losing around £1million a month when he first purchased a 75 per cent stake from Gulf Finance House. He has wrestled with their finances ever since and on Saturday, after a rousing 2-0 win over Derby County, he told the BBC that he had arranged to inject another £20m of his family’s money into United to improve the club’s liquidity. The liabilities at Elland Road are substantial and Cellino faces a pressing payment of £6m owed to GFH before December 14. It is the final installment of the £11m fee he and the Bahraini bank negotiated when his takeover was first arranged in February. Prior to today’s announcement from League, that bill was due to land at a time when the relationship between Cellino and GFH had grown increasingly delicate and frosty. The League’s move to banish him from Leeds puts that £6m sum in a stark and very different light. Cellino has little choice but to pay or embark down a risky legal road. The Share Purchase Agreement drawn up between him and GFH expressly states that if Eleanora Sport Limited – the firm which Cellino used to buy Leeds – fails to meet any financial obligation within 30 days of it being owed, GFH has the right to repurchase Eleanora’s stake in United for the token sum of £1. At present, GFH is bearing none of the cost of running Leeds or resolving the club’s debts, though Cellino was in Bahrain for talks with the bank yesterday and believes GFH, as a minority shareholder, is suddenly ready to invest £5m into United. One of the biggest questions posed by the Football League’s attempt to ban Cellino is how the club will secure capital injections without him in the thick of the action. It is also unclear who would take control of top-level decision-making in his absence. Cellino’s two sons are on the board at Elland Road but to all intents and purposes he is the club’s managing director and he has never employed a chief executive. It is abundantly clear that Cellino operates a one-man show in which authority is neither shared nor delegated. The Football League’s rules do not allow individuals disqualified as owners and directors from acting as “shadow directors” and controlling a club in the background. In theory, a ban on Cellino running Leeds is a ban on anyone connected to him doing the same – family members, business associates or other people acting on his behalf. At no stage in its written judgement does the Football League state in layman’s terms that Cellino is required to sell his shareholding or give a timescale for doing so. It is merely implied. Sources close to him ridicule the idea of Cellino negotiating a sale of Leeds in the months before his tax conviction is spent. They see no sense or plausibility in the idea that he should auction his stake in February, only to find that he qualifies as an owner again in March. This might become a game of nerve, unless Cellino decides that he’s tired of fighting. He is yet to indicate whether he will appeal against his dramatic disqualification. According to the League, any appeal can be made on two grounds: firstly, that the League is wrong to say that he is the subject of a disqualifying condition, and secondly that “there are compelling reasons why (the conviction issued by the Cagliari court) should not lead to disqualification.” The League’s written explanation shed a little more light on the conviction imposed on Cellino in Cagliari in March. It revealed that the written judgement from Dr Lepore was actually published on July 28 and the League secured a copy through Italy’s Court of Appeal. Cellino’s Italian lawyer, Professor Giovanni Cocco, submitted comments on the judgement to the League on November 19 and November 21, and the League’s board met last Thursday to decide whether Cellino was in breach of its Owners and Directors Test. The League says it chief executive – ex-Leeds CEO Shaun Harvey – did not take part in a “unanimous” vote due to “an interest as a former director and employee of LUFC.” Cellino is required to quit as owner and director of Leeds within 28 days regardless of how long an appeal takes. The League promised that it would attempt to have an appeal heard before those 28 days elapse. To that end, it should not be long before Leeds discover if the League’s decision is a cast-iron case. Cellino has at this juncture three options: to try and ride out a short ban, to fight and overturn the ruling against him or to give up and sell Leeds. Cellino said tonight that a sale is “not happening, not a chance.” On the contrary, he continues to insist that a £20m cash injection is about to go into the club – £15m from Eleonora Sport, £5m from GFH. He is due back in Leeds from Bahrain tomorrow and will review the League’s verdict with his lawyers before deciding whether to contest it. Failing that, he is presently minded to swallow his punishment and try to get himself through to March 18, arguing that he is a representative of Eleonora Sport and not United’s ultimate owner. His message tonight? This isn’t over. You can be sure of that.


Cellino not going to be railroaded out of the club he loves

Mon Dec 1st Cellino will not consider selling Leeds despite FL ban – YP MASSIMO CELLINO insisted today that he would not consider selling his majority stake in Leeds United, despite the Football League’s dramatic decision to ban him as an owner and director of the club. The Italian’s reign at Elland Road appears to be under severe threat after the Football League announced today that Cellino had been disqualified from running United due to a breach of its Owners and Directors Test. The League barred Cellino on the grounds of a tax conviction imposed on him by a court in Cagliari in March, declaring that the written judgement from that case proved his offence could “reasonably be considered to be dishonest.” The governing body had previously tried and failed to use that conviction to block Cellino’s 75 per cent buy-out of Leeds in March. Its bid to prevent the original takeover was rejected on appeal by an independent QC, Tim Kerr. Kerr stated that the absence of a full written verdict from the judge in Cagliari meant he could not declare Cellino’s offence dishonest. The League subsequently secured a copy of the judgement, however, and its board voted unanimously to ban Cellino at a meeting last week. A statement issued by the League today said Cellino was now subject to a disqualifying condition.” The 58-year-old has 14 days to lodge an appeal to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) but League rules give him just 28 days to resign as a director of Leeds and cut his ties with the Championship club. Cellino’s disqualifying condition, however, only runs until March 18, 2015 – the date on which his tax conviction will be declared spent under UK law. Cellino – United’s president – said he was yet to decide whether to challenge the ruling but confirmed that he would step away from the club for the next four months if the League’s decision stood. “The club is not for sale,” Cellino said. “We are not selling the club, not because of this. This doesn’t change anything.“Massimo Cellino does not own Leeds. My family company owns Leeds. It is my family’s money which bought the club, not my money. “I don’t know if I’ll appeal. I need to speak with my lawyers and look through all the papers to see what the League has said about me. What is their problem? We pay our bills, we do things right. Nobody was paying anything here when I bought the club. What did the League do about that? “If my family company asks me to step back for two or three months then I’ll step back. If that has to happen then I’ll do it. But we won’t be selling the club.” Cellino bought Leeds through a company called Eleanora Sport Limited, buying 75 per cent of the club from previous owner Gulf Finance House (GFH). The former Cagliari president is currently in Bahrain for talks with GFH, the Bahraini bank which continues to owns around 10 per cent of United and manages a 25 per cent stake. Cellino said he was in the process of arranging an investment of £20million in Leeds and would inject that money regardless of the League’s announcement today. His relationship with GFH has been fractious in recent weeks but he claimed that the bank had agreed to contribute £5m of the £20m investment. He said the rest of the funds, £15m, would come from Eleanora Sport. “I would not be investing capital if I was about to leave,” he said. “I’m trying to sort out the problems that were left behind. “The League wants me gone, I don’t know why, but I’ve said before – come and look through the books at Leeds. We are not dishonest people.”

Massimo Cellino gallery

Is Harvey in his line of fire ?

Monday Dec 1st. The controversies of Cellino by Leon Wobschall –YP THE FOOTBALL League’s annoucement that Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has failed its Owners’ and Directors’ Test is the latest controversy surrounding the Italian businessman. The league decided to act in the wake of receiving new detailed evidence from an Italian court who convicted him of tax evasion on his yacht Nelie in March, with the governing body electing to disqualify him for owning the club in the light of the fresh developments. Cellino has courted controversy during his time in charge of both Leeds and Serie A side Cagliari, with today’s news representing another twist with the future of the Elland Road club again plunged into doubt. Here we take a look at the controversies surrounding United’s president and owner in a chronological timeline. THE CONTROVERSIES OF CELLINO Massimo Cellino. Born: July 28, 1956. Age: 58. 1992: Purchases Serie A side Cagliari and sacks 35 managers in the next 21 years at the club. 1996: Given a suspended 14-month sentence after being convicted of deceiving the EU and Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of £7.5m. 2001: 15-month suspended sentence for false accounting at Cagliari. 2013: Arrested as part of an investigation into whether public money was improperly used to finance building part of Cagliari’s stadium. February 2014: Leeds United announce that Cellino has agreed a 75 per cent buy-out of the club, subject to Football League approval. March 2014: A court in Sardinia finds Cellino guilty of illegally evading import duty. Ordered to pay a €600,000 (£500,000) fine after being convicted of failing to pay €388,500 in tax on Nelie, a yacht seized by Italian police and customs officials in June 2013. Football League vote unanimously to block Cellino’s takeover of Leeds and disqualify him from owning the club after failing their owners and directors test. April 2014: Cellino wins his appeal to an independent QC against the league decision, with his Eleonora Sports company completing the purchase of a 75 per cent stake in Leeds from Gulf Finance House Capital. June 2014: Cellino agrees to sell Cagliari to Italian company Fluorsid for an undisclosed fee. October 2014: Cellino’s court trial in Sardinia for tax evasion for allegedly failing to pay import duty of around £75,000 on a second yacht, Lucky 23, is delayed after the judge decided to step down due to a conflict of interest. December 2014: The Football League announce that Cellino has again been disqualified from owning the club after they received detailed evidence from the Italian court that convicted him of tax evasion on his yacht Nelie. Mon Dec 1st. League decision to ban Cellino “is not in the interest of any party” Leeds UNITED insist the Football League’s decision to disqualify owner Massimo Cellino and ask him to step down from the club as an owner and director is “not in the interests of any party” following today’s dramatic development. The news comes after the League ruled that the 58-year-old is not fit to continue as the club’s owner and president after receiving detailed evidence from the Italian court that convicted him of tax evasion. Earlier, Cellino successfully appealed against the League’s decision to block his takeover of Leeds in April. The League’s board of directors agreed unanimously at a meeting last week, after finally receiving the Italian judge’s written report on Cellino’s conviction for failing to pay tax on his yacht Nellie, that Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the Test”. The League confirmed that Cellino is entitled to appeal within 14 days to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). Under UK law, Cellino’s conviction will be spent in four months’ time in March. In a statement, Leeds United say the removal of Cellino as owner/director is “de-stabilising for the club, it’s supporters and sponsors.” The full statement reads: “We have today received a notice from the Football League disqualifying Mr Cellino from being a director of Leeds United Football Club until 18 March 2015.“The club is in the process of taking legal advice on the reasoning of the decision. In the interim, the club notes that nothing has changed since the decision of the Football League’s Professional Conduct Committee in April 2014.“The steps that the League wishes the club to take – to remove Mr Cellino only to re-appoint him in three months’ time – will be destabilising for the club, its supporters and sponsors and cannot be in the best interests of any party.” Former league chief executive and ex-Leeds CEO and director Shaun Harvey did not take part in the league vote or debate after admitting a conflict of interest. A statement from the Football League read: “The Board of Directors of The Football League has, once again, considered the position of Leeds United President, Massimo Cellino, under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test. “Previously (March 2014), the Board had ruled that Mr. Cellino was subject to a disqualifying condition after he was found guilty of an offence under Italian tax legislation relating to the non-payment of import duties on a boat (which resulted in him being fined €600,000). In April 2014, this decision was successfully appealed by Mr. Cellino at a hearing of the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) chaired by an independent QC (sitting alone). “In reaching his verdict, Tim Kerr QC concluded that: “Mr Cellino has satisfied me that on the facts before me, what he was convicted of was not conduct which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.” Before going on to state that: “if the reasoned ruling of the court in Cagliari discloses that the conduct of Mr Cellino was such that it would reasonably be considered to be dishonest, he would become subject to a Disqualifying Condition.”“At its meeting last week, the Board considered the reasoned Judgment of the Italian Court against Mr. Cellino, having successfully applied to the Italian Courts for its full disclosure. The Board considered detailed legal advice and agreed unanimously (with the exception of its Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, who did not take part in the debate or vote having declared an interest) that Mr. Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the Test.“Mr. Cellino is entitled to appeal the Board’s decision to the PCC within 14 days. As the Judgment of the Italian Court has not been published in Italy, The Football League will not make any of its contents public.“Additionally, the Board concluded that it was appropriate to ask an independent Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC) to consider whether Mr. Cellino and/or Leeds United breached League regulations relating to the timely disclosure of relevant information. The matter will be heard by an FDC in due course.”


With Shaun Harvey at the helm at the FL you can’t help feel that this is all becoming personal for him

Mon Dec 1st. Club’s response We have today received a notice from the Football League disqualifying Mr Cellino from being a director of Leeds United Football Club until 18 March 2015. The club is in the process of taking legal advice on the reasoning of the decision. In the interim, the club notes that nothing has changed since the decision of the Football League’s Professional Conduct Committee in April 2014. The steps that the League wishes the club to take – to remove Mr Cellino only to re-appoint him in three months’ time –  will be destabilising for the club, its supporters and sponsors and cannot be in the best interests of any party. Monday Dec 1st. Football league ban Cellino as Director of Leeds The Board of Directors of The Football League has, once again, considered the position of Leeds United president Massimo Cellino under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Previously (March 2014), the Board had ruled that Mr Cellino was subject to a disqualifying condition after he was found guilty of an offence under Italian tax legislation relating to the non-payment of import duties on a boat (which resulted in him being fined 600,000 euros). In April 2014, this decision was successfully appealed by Mr Cellino at a hearing of the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) chaired by an independent QC (sitting alone). In reaching his verdict, Tim Kerr QC concluded that: “Mr Cellino has satisfied me that on the facts before me, what he was convicted of was not conduct which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.” Before going on to state that: “if the reasoned ruling of the court in Cagliari discloses that the conduct of Mr Cellino was such that it would reasonably be considered to be dishonest, he would become subject to a Disqualifying Condition.” At its meeting last week, the board considered the reasoned judgement of the Italian Court against Mr Cellino, having successfully applied to the Italian Courts for its full disclosure. The Board considered detailed legal advice and agreed unanimously (with the exception of its chief executive, Shaun Harvey, who did not take part in the debate or vote having declared an interest*) that Mr Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the test. Mr Cellino is entitled to appeal the board’s decision to the PCC within 14 days. As the judgement of the Italian Court has not been published in Italy, The Football League will not make any of its contents public. Additionally, the board concluded that it was appropriate to ask an independent Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC) to consider whether Mr Cellino and/or Leeds United breached League regulations relating to the timely disclosure of relevant information. The matter will be heard by an FDC in due course. * Shaun Harvey was chief executive and a director of Leeds United between 2004 and 2013.


Mirco starting to show what a special talent he is


Redfearn’s young Leeds team out passed and out fought Derby

Mon Dec 1st. “Five wins, two draws and two defeats. It doesn’t stack up bad.” – Redfearn Neil Redfearn said Leeds United’s line-up was starting to pick itself following a classy victory over league leaders Derby County which he hopes will launch a winning run. “It’s going in the right direction for us. “We’re trying to build a side and we’re trying to settle things down because the club’s gone through a spell of inconsistency with a lot of changes but if you look at this side it’s basically been the same side for the last two or three games. “The more the lads play together the more they’ll get used to each other and the more they’ll understand our system. The more they’ll be able to rely on it when we’re out of possession and the more they’ll feed off it when we’re in possession. The team’s young and the average age is about 23. Sometimes you get mistakes with young teams and young players and they’re still getting used to each other but as a group they’re learning.” Why he dropped captain Pearce ? Redfearn made only one change to his team after a 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers seven days earlier, replacing captain Jason Pearce with Giuseppe Bellusci in the centre of defence. “It was just about balance. I wanted a right-footer on the right and a left-footer on the left. We got the benefit of that. I spoke to Jason through the week and obviously he was disappointed but he’s a good pro and he’s trained right. He was right behind the boys and he knows he’ll get his chance again.” Mirco’s a great player,” Redfearn said. “He’s got this touch and awareness around the box and he gives you energy.“He runs the channels, he gets in behind people and nothing’s a lost cause with him. “We defended better from the front and Adryan and Souleymane (Doukara) really put themselves about. It made it easier for the lads in midfield and at the back.” United’s victory put five points between them and the Championship’s relegation places and moved the club up towards the top half of the table. “The run’s not bad. It stands up well. “I’ve had nine games in charge, five wins, two draws and two defeats. It doesn’t stack up bad.”


New captain, Warnock and Mowatt both impressed against the Rams

Mon Dec 1st. Cook and Mowatt in terrific Leeds show – Eddie Gray SATURDAY was just a terrific performance from Leeds United; far and away the best of the season so far. I know we have played well in periods of games before, but have not done it for the 90 minutes previously. When you think of the calibre of team we played against and how we passed the ball around, it was great stuff. We played with a bit more vibrancy and passed the ball around a bit quicker and got the ball forward. Sometimes, before, we were having the ball 20 yards inside opponents’ half and then it was going back to our goalkeeper. Now, we are looking to go forward and lot of the credit for that goes to Neil and the young players he has introduced. With Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook; yes they will make mistakes. But they look to get forward all the time. I do think the likes of especially Mirco Antenucci are really benefiting from that. I thought the whole team were terrific. Defensively, we looked very solid and the captain, Stephen Warnock, had a great game while the two young players in midfield were also fantastic when you think of the quality of players they were playing against. You look at Derby’s midfield, but the likes of Will Hughes weren’t really in the game. All credit to Cook and Mowatt for their performance and Antenucci was terrific too. He is having a good season and I was impressed as soon as I saw him for Leeds. It’s his movement and goals and he also looks very confident and is quick and sharp around the box. He was very unlucky not to score a hat-trick against Derby. What we showed was the benefit of getting players to that dead-ball line and cutting balls back across the face of the box and away from defenders. Both goals came from that; the first with a good ball back from Mowatt to pick out Antenucci, who netted with a great finish. It was a similar fashion and goal for the second, with the cross this time from Stephen Warnock on the left side. The shot ended up in the same corner away to the goalkeeper’s left. We scored two terrific goals and while Derby are a good side, they didn’t look exceptional on Saturday. Steve McClaren’s comments suggested he was very disappointed in how his side performed. When that comes from a manager whose side are top of the league and have scored more goals than anybody in this league, it reflects well on our team. It has got to give us great confidence to push on, but after playing the top-of-the-league side, we now play the side who are second top in Ipswich and it won’t be easy. You could not really criticise anyone on Saturday. The only player who was not involved in was probably our goalkeeper, who had nothing to do. I was actually talking before the game about the team selection. Neil picks the side and made the right decisions. The result proved that. Before the game, I would have played Rudy Austin and maybe given one of the young boys a rest, especially given who we were playing against and how strong they were in the middle of the park. But Neil made his call and played the two young boys in midfield and I thought they were outstanding. The centre-backs also played well – a right-sided and a left-sided centre-back and I think that will have been in Neil’s thinking to bring in Giuseppe Bellusci for Jason Pearce to provide balance. Obviously, a few players left the club to go out on loan last week and it made sense for them. More importantly, it makes things a little bit easier for Neil because he will want to work with the group who he sees as important to him; his 20 players or whatever and a few young boys. If you get lots of experienced players who are not getting involved, it can turn a bit, not sour, but be a case of: ‘What are you doing here training with the younger boys?’. If you get a squad of 18 to 20 players with a nice mixture of youth and experience where they are all fighting for places, that’s what you want. You feel for those who are just hanging about and not really involved. It is better for them to move on and go further their careers elsewhere.   Mon Dec 1st. Antenucci:  “We”re as good as any” in the Championship MIRCO Antenucci sank Championship leaders Derby County with a fine brace at Elland Road and then backed Leeds United to match up to the top sides in the division, saying: “We’re as good as any.”The 30-year-old striker produced his sixth and seventh goals of the season as United secured a welcome league win on Saturday and ended their long wait for a victory over Derby. Leeds had taken two points from 12 previous meetings with County, a winless run stretching back to 2005, but Antenucci’s finishes on 43 and 50 minutes made the most of a strong performance from Neil Redfearn’s side. He dedicated his goals to his newly-born daughter Camilla, who was among a crowd of more than 26,000, and talked up United’s prospects in their division after an impressive result. “The match was perfect for us,” Antenucci said. We needed to win. “It was difficult against the first-placed team but we played good. We are growing match after match and I think we’re as good as any team in the Championship. There’s little difference. “I’m happy with two goals for the first time in England and it gives me great satisfaction. It was extra-special because my daughter was in the stadium. “The best thing in my life is my family and daughter and but in football, this was a special match against one of the best teams in the Championship. It’s a fantastic moment for me. Antenucci was a late arrival at Elland Road during the summer transfer window, moving from Italian club Ternana seven days before FIFA’s September 1 deadline, and his seven league goals have come from 16 appearances. His performance on Saturday drew praise from both Redfearn and Derby manager Steve McClaren and Antenucci agreed that the display was the best of his short time at Elland Road. “I think so, yes,” he said. “When I score and we win the match it’s perfect. When I score and we lose, it’s not. When we win I’m happy. It’s important for strikers to score but it’s more important to win.” Leeds are eight points behind the Championship play-offs after Saturday’s success. Antenucci said: “We need to continue to win because one win and two losses is no good for us.”


McClaren – It was more about what Derby didn’t do than how good Leeds were from the Wally with the Brolly

Sat Nov 29th. McClaren’s reaction to defeat STEVE McClaren said his Derby County side would not have scored had they played until midnight against Leeds United on Saturday.Derby, looking for a fourth consecutive win, lost for a third time in six league games when they crashed 2-0 at Elland Road. They still managed to hang onto top spot in the Championship but McClaren knew his team delivered a below-par performance. We were below our best and when you are that, you can get beaten,” said the head coach. Mirco Antenucci struck either side of half time to give Leeds only their second victory in 11 matches. “Leeds had somebody in Antenucci who did something we couldn’t do – put the ball in the net,” said McClaren. We had chances. I’ve seen them again, and on another day we could have scored three or four but I think we could have played to midnight and not scored. “It was one of those days, summed up by Cyrus Christie not getting a penalty and Kwame Thomas, and I don’t blame him, but he had a good chance to score. “We went for it in the last 20 minutes and created so many opportunities that we could actually have won the game. “If we would have got one goal back it would have been very interesting.” The Christie “penalty” incident came just after the hour”.The right back ran at the heart of the Leeds defence and was halted by Liam Cooper. The foul looked to have been committed inside the area but referee Mick Russell awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. “It looked a penalty, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t given but there were one or two strange decisions,” said McClaren. Thomas’ chance arrived 10 minutes from the end of his debut. The 19-year-old striker, who replaced Johnny Russell, was set up by Craig Bryson but skied his shot from 10 yards. “It wasn’t our day,” added McClaren. If you aren’t going to score, you’re never going to win and then we didn’t dig in hard enough and defend well enough to get a clean sheet. “We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. “In the end, you get what you deserve if you are not 100 per cent right. “It wasn’t a good day at the office.” The victory was a first for Leeds against Derby in 13 attempts stretching back to 2005. McClaren was not surprised by Leeds’ performance. “I said to the players before the game ‘if you are below your best, this team can hurt you’, and that is what happened,” he said.Some of the players were five or 10 per cent below their best. “Leeds got about us, frustrated us, got in their tackles and got inside our heads a little bit. “Coming to a place like Elland Road, against a good Leeds team, you have got to be at your best or you get punished.” Sat Nov 29th. Neil Redfearn to Eddie Gray post match reaction on LUTV :” I thought we were excellent. They are a top side. I thought it was a great game. Two sides trying to get it down and play football. Elland Road’s an intimidating place when it’s like this. Stephen Warnock (I think he is having a great season). A vastly experienced pro, a leader. And he is leading. Antenucci. He has that touch, quick feet, gets a yard and great touch and I thought the two finishes where out of the top draw. It’s part of the progression. I thought we were playing well. I thought we didn’t get what we deserved against Charton, we got what we deserved against Blackpool, and didn’t get what we deserved against Blackburn and the more we play the more we will improve. (mowatt and Cook) They are getting better and better. They are getting more experienced. We are trying to build a team and we go to Ipswich with confidence but we’ll not get carried away. They are enjoying their football”.


Both sides shake hands at the start


Cellino and Mini Me

Sat Nov 29th. Leeds 2 (Antenucci 43, 50), DERBY 0 UnitedSilvestri, Byram, Cooper, Bellusci, Warnock, Cook, Bianchi (Austin 68), Mowatt, Adryan (Tonge 90+4), Antenucci, Doukara. Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, Pearce, Tonge, Dawson, Sharp. Referee:  M Russell. Booked: Bianchi, Doukara, Cooper, Bellusci (United), Christie, Mascarell, Martin, Russell, Shotton (Derby) Att: 26,028. Report from YEP TWO clinical finishes from Mirco Antenucci enabled Leeds United to impressively take the scalp of Championship leaders Derby County with their most eye-catching victory of the season to date.The Italian fired a brace in the space of seven minutes either side of half-time as United secured their long-awaited first win in 13 matches against bogey side Derby in uplifting fashion. n what represented a true test of character after last weekend’s great give-away at Blackburn, United stepped up to the plate superbly to fire a reality check to Steve McLaren’s disappointing Rams. In the process, Leeds secured their first triumph over their East Midlands rivals since September 2005, when a Rob Hulse treble saw them down the Rams 3-1 at Elland Road. While match-winner Antenucci couldn’t quite emulate the feats of Hulse in taking home the match-ball, it wasn’t for the want of trying. His finish two minutes before the break from Alex Mowatt’s cut-back was deadly as was his instinctive finish on fifty minutes after being supplied by the excellent Stephen Warnock – which took his tally for the season to seven. It was a noteworthy afternoon all around for United, who recorded just their second victory in 11 games and first clean sheet in nine matches – to the delight of the vast majority of the 26,028 in attendance. Neil Redfearn made one change from the side who lined up at Ewood Park seven days ago, but it was a considerable one with Giuseppe Bellusci restored to the heart of the United back four, with the fall guy being captain Jason Pearce, demoted to the substitute’s bench. Warnock took the skipper’s armband in Pearce’s absence, with Derby also making just one change from the team who beat Watford last weekend, with fit-again Lee Grant replacing former United loanee Jack Butland, who has returned to parent club Stoke City. A minute’s applause ahead of kick-off was held in memory of Blake Cairns, the younger brother of United reserve goalkeeper Alex, who was tragically killed in a car accident earlier this month. A competitive half which saw five players booked – Liam Cooper, Tommaso Bianchi and Souleymane Doukara for Leeds and Derby’s Cyrus Christie and Omar Mascarell – and several others given a talking-to by referee Mick Russell produced few substantive opportunities. But it was Leeds who made the most of the clear-cut chance that came their way two minutes before the break, with Antenucci finishing with aplomb after the Rams’ defence was undressed. Derby’s record in the past decade against Leeds has been a truly staggering one, with the East Midlands outfit boasting an unbeaten 12-match sequence against their Yorkshire rivals, with that run yielding 11 victories. The Rams were also entitled to head to Elland Road with a certain swagger, given their status as league leaders and run of three consecutive victories, with Steve McLaren’s men having won six of their previous seven matches on the road. But free-flowing attacking play was in short supply with dangerman Jordan Ibe largely kept in check by Leeds and while some of their defending at times was a touch desperate, they managed to get the job done and keep the visitors out. An early moment of danger saw Rams’ top-scorer Chris Martin, with 12 goals to his name already this season, almost presented with a chance in front of goal following Will Hughes’ pass, but his touch was heavy and the ball cleared. At the other end, Ibe had to be alert to clear the danger with Sam Byram threatening down the right and while a decent spell of mini-pressure brought United a handful of corners, they came to nothing. A lovely turn from Adryan in midfield did bring the crowd to their feet until he was felled by Mascarell before Grant punched clear just ahead of the lurking Doukara after the hosts pushed forward. The first booking then arrived on 14 minutes after Bianchi was cautioned for bringing down Johnny Russell and soon after, Cyrus Christie incurred the wrath of Russell after a late challenge on Warnock. Bellusci then showed his mettle to clear in the nick of time to deny Russell before Richard Keogh showed his defensive nous to block Antenucci’s pile-driver. Doukara and Cooper were then cautioned in quick succession for fouls on Hughes with play becoming somewhat spasmodic, with neither keeper having anything worthwhile to do. Mowatt, who grew into proceedings as the half went on, did eventually give Grant something meaningful to do with his 20-yarder turned away by the former Sheffield Wednesday custodian before alert defending from Warnock denied Russell after good play from Ibe. Leeds proceeded to finish the half with assertion with Doukara dragging a shot wide after latching onto Lewis Cook’s header and not too long after, the hosts were in front. Great work by Mowatt on the left saw him pull the ball back invitingly to Antenucci, who took aim and steered home a precision shot past the clutches of Grant, with Russell playing a good advantage in the build-up following a clear handball from Hughes. The challenge for United ahead of the second half was to kick on after a major transfusion of confidence provided by Antenucci’s goal and the hosts were able to hail another major contribution from the Italian five minutes in. Quality play down the left saw Warnock in the space and his cross was seized upon by Antenucci in the box and he then composed himself in front of goal before firing a shot past Grant from ten yards out – with his aim once again unerring. A further indication of it not being Derby’s day arrived a few minutes after when play was brought back after Martin stupidly tripped Mowatt, halting the progress of Russell, who was momentarily free down the right. That was further reinforced when the Rams were handed a very presentable free-kick opportunity after Cooper was penalised for fouling Christie as he homed in on goal after a meandering run. Crucially, despite the indiscretion, Russell deemed it not worthy of a second yellow card, with the United defender a tad fortunate. To add to the Rams’ pains, Mascarell’s meek free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall, another moment symptomatic of the visitors’ ordinary afternoon. Russell then incensed home fans for a late foul on Adryan, which was the prelude to a booking. McLaren soon played his hand by making a triple substitution with Simon Dawkins, Craig Bryson and Kwame Thomas all thrown into the fray. But it was United who continued to have the upper hand, with Antenucci, clearly scenting his first hat-trick in English football, testing the reactions of Grant with a stinging low shot which was turned away. United soon made their first change with Rudy Austin coming on for Bianchi, given a generous reaction from home fans. It was another replacement, Dawkins, who was afforded the next sight of goal, as he stretched to get a decisive touch to Craig Forsyth’s low cross on the left, but he could not get a telling connection, to the relief of Leeds. Man-of-the-moment Antenucci soon saw a well-struck effort whistle just wide as the hosts sought to put the game to bed. Increasingly desperate, Derby poured bodies forward in the last ten minutes, with heroic defending from Warnock blocking Bryson’s cut-back, only for the loose ball to fall to fellow sub Thomas, with the goal at his mercy, but he blasted wastefully over. Brilliant team performance. Derby created little. A clean sheet and in truth 2-0 flattered the Rams. Slowly Redfearn seems to be building something special here. If we can cut out the errors like we did today who knows ? Five of the Ardee Louth men witnessed our performance of the season and no doubt enjoyed a good night. Friday 28th of November GFH and Haigh should leave Leeds out of their bitter row – Hay YEP Gulf finance house and David Haigh should leave Leeds United out of their very public squabble says YEP chief football writer Phil Hay. Leeds United’s accounts for the 2013-14 season go to the Football League next week. They might actually be in the mail by now, ready for Monday’s deadline. Analysis of 12 months in the hands of Gulf Finance House will demand a long drink and a comfy seat. Compiling them must have required Valium. Business accounts are notorious for their lack of specific detail but given that the events of the last financial year fall squarely on GFH’s head, these figures might be more explicit than most. How much we see and when we see it depends on the club – Companies House don’t publish the accounts until the end of March – but at some stage the books will open. If the numbers and the financial management exonerates GFH then we’ll take it back. We had them all wrong. They used to tell us that we had them all wrong, the Bahraini bank and David Haigh, but ordinary people take as they find. It’s hard to shake the impression of desperate men fighting over scraps of dignity when GFH and Haigh squabble as pathetically as they did last week. The exchange between them was amusing, puerile stuff. Last Tuesday, the website of GFH Capital – GFH’s private equity firm – began re-directing Internet users towards pages it would rather not be associated with. By Friday, its Twitter account was tweeting personal contact details of senior GFH staff and other choice messages referencing to Leeds United. The website is still active but the Twitter account has gone. Enough fun for a few days. GFH blamed “associates” of Haigh, who is under arrest in Dubai and facing allegations of fraud made against him by the bank. Haigh did not deny involvement but, in a long-winded response, accused GFH of hacking his own online accounts. This is how it went at the start of the year when Leeds were for sale and GFH and Haigh were desperately trying to tie Massimo Cellino’s money down: claim, blame, counter-blame, bulls***. A world of accusations where no-one was culpable and everyone else had more to answer for. Tired of it? I’d say we were. The deflection was tiring. The flimsy PR was tiring. Among the points of interest in the 2013-14 accounts will be the amount of cash spent by Leeds on media agencies in that period, at a time when the club had a very capable press office. Tens of thousands of pounds, according to some. In a recent court hearing in Dubai – part of the ongoing dispute between GFH and Haigh – the judge, Justice Sir David Steel, stated that Haigh continues to spend around $10,000 a month on “PR/Media”. Old habits, dying hard. Haigh’s latest statement, issued on Monday, ran to 1,315 words. Some of them are longer than Lord of the Rings. GFH is just as active when the subject of his arrest arises. It’s their prerogative but they are crossing a line in pretending that this is somehow Leeds United’s business; that Leeds United are at the centre of the argument. The truth is more brutal. The club want nothing to do with either of them. The club’s owner wants nothing to do with either of them. Cellino is in with GFH, a partner of sorts, but he would prefer to see them gone from Elland Road. Given the chance he would end GFH’s time as minority shareholder tomorrow. What GFH wants from Leeds beyond money and a profitable return is unfathomable. When it negotiated its Share Purchase Agreement with Cellino, the bank demanded specific shareholder rights: a corporate box on level four of Elland Road’s East Stand, two seats in the Lord Harwood Suite, two executive seats at away matches and parking spaces for both of its directors. Except it never uses any of that. It never comes near the green rectangle. Perhaps they don’t fancy the welcome they would get in Leeds. Or perhaps they are that disinterested. Haigh made a fascinating comment in Monday’s statement. “GFH have no place in Leeds United and having been the one that (brought) them, I can only apologise to you,” he said, for the benefit of the club’s support. “I feel at least in part at fault for the shambles they created and the mess they left behind.”Diminished responsibility, in other words, for a company he represented without knowing its true colours. A company he worked for at a senior level from December 2007 to April 2014. A company he was ready to discuss employment with again when GFH Capital invited him out to Dubai in May, only to have him arrested. It’s a poor attempt to play to a crowd who already hold the pre-Cellino regime in total contempt. Haigh’s situation in Dubai is intolerable. There’s no morality in a legal system which detains someone without charge for six months. The only caveat to that is that he does have the right to bail. It’s simply been set at the exorbitant cost of £3.5m and Haigh appears to have no-one rich enough or supportive enough to offer surety. Without seeing the intricate details of the allegations against him or sitting through detailed court sessions in Dubai, all you can hope is that justice prevails. But there are two separate processes here: one, a legal case between GFH and Haigh over alleged financial irregularities. And the second, an attempt to apportion blame for all that went on at Elland Road during the 16 months when GFH had its way with the club. On Monday, Haigh accused Hisham Alrayes – GFH’s chief executive and an ex-Leeds director – of instructing private investigators to remove data from computers in the Elland Road offices of former chairman Ken Bates, former chief executive Shaun Harvey, former technical director Gwyn Williams and former manager Neil Warnock. “This was carried out without permission or knowledge of the staff or those who were targeted,” Haigh said. The claim is extraordinary but it is also vague. When exactly did this happen and how did it happen? What information did the investigators remove? When did Haigh learn of this and were Bates, Harvey, Williams or Warnock told of the raid? And if not, why not? It brings to mind so much of what was said from January onwards: scratch beneath the surface and the substance is light. The accounts will expose more than any of the bitching. We’re being asked to pick sides and if any of it made any material difference to Leeds United then we might. But this isn’t football. Football is the games that GFH doesn’t want to watch. It’s the away crowd of almost 7,000 at Blackburn which neither they nor Haigh has ever been part of. It’s what’s happening on the ground and on Cellino’s difficult watch. Quite whose interests are being served by this bitter dispute is hard to say but it’s easy enough to work out whose interests aren’t. So fight amongst yourselves, do what you have to but leave the club out of it. And give us peace. Weds 26th of Nov Hunt set to move to Tractor Boys Ipswich Town are poised to sign Leeds United striker Noel Hunt on loan, the YEP understands. The Portman Road club – currently fourth in the Championship – have made an approach to take Hunt before the emergency loan deadline and expect to tie up the transfer tomorrow morning. Ipswich will take Hunt until the start of January with a view to a permanent move. Leeds have already agreed to send fellow forward Nicky Ajose to League One Crewe Alexandra for the rest of 2014 and Hunt looks likely to follow him out of Elland Road. The former Republic of Ireland international, 31, has been a peripheral figure at Leeds all season and has not played for the first team since the opening week in August. His two-year contract is into its final 12 months and will expire next summer. He is yet to score a competitive goal for Leeds. Hunt is working to finalise his transfer ahead of tomorrow’s 5pm deadline.


Ajose – signed by Hockaday on a three year contract. Need I say anymore ?

Weds 26th of Nov Ajose moves to Crewe on loan and Wooton joins Rotherham on loanCrewe Alexandra have completed the signing of Leeds United’s Nicky Ajose on an emergency loan. The out-of-favour forward has to moved to Gresty Road until January 5. Ajose was made available by United head coach Neil Redfearn just four months after joining Leeds in a £150,000 transfer from Peterborough United. The 23-year-old – a target of former United boss David Hockaday – signed a three-year contract in August but drifted away from the first-team picture after only a handful of appearances. Crewe are bottom of League One after taking just 15 points their first 18 matches and they were targeting new strikers before the emergency loan window closes tomorrow having averaged less than a goal a game. Wooton has joined Rotherham on loan also. That’s three out in the window for Redfearn. Weds 26th Nov. Players unable to make an impact – YP Phil Hay casts his eye over the players who he thinks could leave Leeds United by the end of the loan transfer market. The players who could leave: Noel Hunt“A beautiful guy,” Massimo Cellino calls him but a player who would seem to have no future at Leeds. Hasn’t played since the first week of the season. Luke Murphy – A £1m signing whose impact at Elland Road failed to match the price tag. Looks highly unlikely to figure under Neil Redfearn. David Norris – Easy to forget that the midfielder’s still here. Norris – a Neil Warnock signing – has been anonymous for a year and a half. Nicky Ajose – Brought in by David Hockaday and took up a three-year contract as recently as August. Hasn’t had a look in for three months. Scott Wootton – Made a couple of league starts earlier in the term but has consistently struggled to nail down a place following his transfer from Manchester United. Zac Thompson - United have persevered with Thompson, a youngster they took from Everton’s academy but the versatile defender is a long way from the first team now.


Silvestri didn’t learn from his Cardiff blunder

Sat Nov 22nd. Redfearn on the penalty that cost all three points Neil Redfearn tore into Luke Varney after Leeds United‘s loss to Blackburn, accusing him of diving to win the decisive penalty. Substitute Varney went down inside the box late in the game, and referee Kevin Wright adjudged Sam Byram had fouled him. Redfearn disagreed, telling Leeds United TV: “It was a poor decision. At the time, it looked like a dive and I have seen the DVD and it’s not good for football.”It’s not a penalty. I don’t like berating officials and referees because it’s a difficult job, but it’s such a poor decision and it affects the game. “The decision should have been a free kick to us and a booking to Varney for simulation.” Varney, who had just nine touches when he came on in Rovers’ 2-1 win, has previous. It came while playing for Leeds, when his former boss at Blackpool, Ian Holloway rowed with him on the pitch and later in the press for what he perceived a dive against his Crystal Palace side two seasons ago. He told ITV: “I thought I saw Luke Varney foul Johnnie Williams from behind, a blatant yellow card.” Two minutes later Varney dived and got given a yellow card, and he should have been off “Varney didn’t have to dive, but in the first half he got fouled – but no free-kick. I don’t condone that (diving) though.” Redfearn on closing out games We deserved to win and I don’t think Blackburn deserved anything. We gave them the first goal and the second was never a penalty. Referees have to get these things right. You look at the supporters and the way they got behind us and the way they enjoyed what happened. It was only that last little bit that has let everything down. “But that was the most important bit. And we have got to get across the line, if we are to be successful and win things and get back in the Premier League, which we do. These things are happen. “I won’t give them chance to get down and they are not allowed to get down because at the end of the day, they are in a privileged position and have got to pick themselves up and battle and fight and play good football against Derby and go and get a good result and that’s what we have got to do. Redfearn on the mix up for the first goal I was very concerned about the mix-up for the first goal. It happened at Cardiff. Silvestri was to blame for the mix up. “He’s coming out and he should clear it. He’s got to learn.”


Varney’s despicable dive wins Blacburn a penalty and three points

Sat Nov 22nd Blackburn Rvs 2-1 Leeds United Silvestri; Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock; Cook (Sharp 89), Bianchi (Bellusci 76); Mowatt, Adryan, Doukara; Antenucci. Substitutes not used: S Taylor, Berardi, Austin, Tonge, Dawson.Attendance: 21,432 (6,839 Leeds fans). Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire). Report from YP.A HOTLY-disputed late penalty from two-goal Jordan Rhodes saw Leeds United go down in thoroughly dispiriting and crushing fashion against ten-man Blackburn Rovers. The Scottish international, who had cancelled out Souleymane Doukara’s first-half opener with a comedy leveller on 71 minutes, was on hand to send Marco Silvestri the wrong way from the penalty spot two minutes from time after Sam Byram was controversially adjudged by referee Kevin Wright to have tripped former Leeds striker Varney, who had come on as a substitute. All this coming after Rovers had been reduced to ten men six minutes earlier after ex-United junior Tom Cairney was dismissed, picking up his second booking after a late challenge on Liam Cooper. It truly was the giveaway of the season. A game in which Leeds looked full value for three welcome points for seventy minutes was turned on its head with awful defending presenting Rovers with a gift leveller. Silvestri made a comedy clearance when racing out of goal to clear the danger, bundling into Cooper to present Rhodes with an open goal he couldn’t miss. Rhodes then provided the decisive contribution a few minutes from time and how Leeds will kick themselves for throwing away the game in criminal fashion as the huge travelling support suffered dismay in this corner of Lancashire for the second time in 12 minutes. A wall of noise greeted United – whose players were wearing black armbands in memory of reserve goalkeeper Alex Cairns’ younger brother Blake – who tragically died in a car accident in Doncaster last Saturday – approaching the kick-off, with the massive away following packing out the Darwen End and clearly in good voice. United, unchanged from the side who started against Blackpool and helped instigate a first win in nine matches, grew into proceedings after a quiet opening to construct a meaningful and proficient half of football, which in its own way was every bit as impressive as the goal-laden showing in the first 45 minutes against the Seasiders. The half saw Leeds isolate the threats of home dangermen Rudy Gestede, with an eye-catching ten goals so far this term, and Rhodes, whose inclusion in the side was the only change from the team who lined up at Brighton ahead of the international break. At the other end, the visitors gathered steam as the half progressed to deliver an excellent away performance in the first period, with the hosts’ only potent outlet being down the left where Ben Marshall caused a fair few problems. Blackburn’s tempo was decent early on, but Leeds managed to get the whip hand, with a incisive interchange between ex-Rovers full-back Stephen Warnock and Adryan down the left ending in the latter looking like being through on goal for a split-second, but loan keeper Jason Steele raced out to gather, albeit at the second attempt, to thwart the Brazilian play-maker. Marshall then came to the party for the first time, running sixty yards after Leeds were caught upfield before firing off beam. A more pertinent moment arrived 17 minutes in when Marshall dropped his shoulder and gave Sam Byram the slip down the left before sending over a dangerous cross with United failed to clear with the ball falling to Cairney, whose curler clipped the top of the bar with Marco Silvestri beaten. United regathered their composure and started the pass the ball around brightly with plenty of intent and movement, without creating the clear-cut chance they were seeking to manufacture. Marshall was again afforded space down the left and needed no second invitation to cut inside before seeing his well-struck shot parried by Silvestri and soon after, Adryan received a caution for a handball offence. The attacking midfielder then produced a more accomplished moment and it took a top-drawer save from Steele, sent off playing for parent club Middlesbrough at Elland Road almost exactly 12 months to the day, to deny him a first goal for United. Lovely play saw Alex Mowatt tee up Adryan, who unleashed a quality curler which was seemingly destined for the top corner and a picture-book opener, only for Steele to pull off a fantastic one-handed parry to claw away the attempt. But soon after, Steele was picking the ball out of the net with Adryan this time playing a key role in the build-up. Panic set in following his corner on the left, which wasn’t cleared and Doukara seized on the commotion to fire in an angled shot from the edge of the eight-yard box, which went in off the far post, with Steele unsighted due to several home defenders being in front of him. The goal was the cue to pandemonium among the 6,839 visiting contingent, whose day out was starting to become even more enriching Jason Pearce then bundled a header wide with Rovers again caught a little short from an Adryan corner before an unmarked Gestede headed over after Marshall’s free-kick, ahead of a linesman’s flag halting proceedings. Away punters were soon reflecting on an impressive half with the shrill of the half-time whistle and Leeds had the first sniff on the resumption with Lewis Cook firing at Steele after a probing move moments into the second period. Quite clearly, the questions were all Blackburn’s with Leeds good value for their lead, with Neil Redfearn no doubt cajoling them to carry on where they left off. The home fans were increasingly becoming frustrated and it took some initiative from Grant Hanley, who attempted to charge forward, to get them going, with it taking some excellent defending from Warnock to repel the danger. It was the prelude to a meaningful spell from Rovers, finally giving the home fans something to feed off, but Leeds, to their credit, coped well enough and maintained their discipline with Mowatt firing wide in a salvo at the other end, attacking their massed ranks in the Darwen End. But United momentarily switched off just before the hour with Gestede winning a header following a free-kick on the left to nod the ball in the direction of the hitherto anonymous Rhodes, whose fierce shot at the near post was beaten away by SIlvestri in the sort of moment the ex-Huddersfield marksman has been renowned for throughout his career. Despite more possession for the hosts, Leeds were intent to break in numbers once the opportunity arose, although a pattern had been set as such with Rovers seeing a lot more of the ball – but without significantly hurting the visitors. Rovers threw Jordan Tunnicliffe into the fray for Lee Williamson on 65 minutes and two minutes later, top-scorer Gestede were presented with a good opportunity after being picked out by Rhodes, but his volley when well placed lacked direction and flew wide. Given their inability to piece together a polished ninety minutes for most of this season, it represented a test for Leeds. In the final analysis, they were found wanting with Rovers – and more particularly Rhodes – presented with an early Christmas gift he could scarcely believe on 71 minutes. Rhodes chased a throughball with Cooper with Silvestri racing out of goal to seemingly clear the danger, but the Italian keeper fatally showed hesitancy in a real comedy moment and bundled the Leeds defender instead of putting the ball into orbit. The beneficiary was Rhodes, who simply couldn’t believe his luck when presented with an open goal and he almost apologetically tapped in his sixth goal of the season and first at Ewood since September 13. It was a moment to compete with the second-half comedy concession at Cardiff, with Rovers suddenly having their tails up. Hanley saw his header go over before ex-United striker Varney was thrown on for Gestede, the cue for some unflattering songs from the Leeds contingent. Varney immediately set about making a nuisance of himself and soon flicked a header wide before Cooper showed his mettle to make a key clearance before Pearce produced another timely block following good play from Marshall as Rovers upped the ante. Moments later, play switched to the other end with Leeds producing a piercing move with Adryan sending Mirco Antenucci clear and he saw his low shot cannon off the outside of the post. Leeds, who were looking increasing panicky at times in the second period, were then handed a boost eight minutes from time when Cairney was dismissed, with the away fans soon letting out a rousing chant of ‘Attack, attack.’ There was another goal in the game, but unfortunately, it went the way of Blackburn, with Byram adjudged to have sent Varney tumbling after seeming to stick out a leg, with the replay indicating it was a soft award with contact looking minimal. Rhodes kept his composure to send Steele the wrong way, with it somehow being Rovers day, on another afternoon when Leeds game management let them down badly.United were in complete control and completed double hari kari. Silvestri should be dropped for the next game for repeating the cardinal sin of not clearing absolutely everything withing range from the through ball. He did it against Cardiff and he repeated it against Blackburn ……both 2-1 defeats. Byram got suckered into a needless challenge on the pathetic Varney and is experienced enough to know better. From the plus point of view, we look more like a team and Adryan is starting to show the ability we believed he had. On te negative side we must learn how to close out games. It doesn’t get any easier, with bogeymen Derby County visiting Elland Road next week. United have one solitary point from the last eleven meetings between the two sides. Hopefully the five Ardee men in attendance can improve on that.


Benedicic – His time at ER to date has been hampered by injuries

Nov 19th. Benedicic underoes knee surgery LEEDS United midfielder Zan Benedicic has undergone surgery on a knee injury and will return to England to begin his rehabilitation next week.Benedicic – on loan at Leeds from AC Milan – travelled to Belgium for a specialist operation on damaged meniscus, his agent confirmed. The 19-year-old has been nursing the injury for almost two months and is unlikely to be fit until the second half of the season. United signed him on a year-long loan from Milan in August but the Slovenian youngster has played only twice since moving to Elland Road. His agent, Amir Ruznic, said: “It’s not serious but I don’t know how long he’ll be out. I think he’ll be back in Leeds next week.” Benedicic’s career has been affected by previous knee injuries and United boss Neil Redfearn said: He’s been between surgeons for a while. It was important to make sure he got the right treatment. “He’s had knee injuries before and he’s only young so he needed to get the right care.” Weds Nov 19th More players leaving, few arriving LEEDS United will prioritise outgoing loans over new signings in the last week of the emergency window, head coach Neil Redfearn revealed last night. Redfearn is focusing on moving surplus players on from Thorp Arch and said he had sidelined a number from first-team training sessions in an attempt to “stop my message getting diluted.” The Football League’s loan window closes at 5pm a week tomorrow and Leeds have not negotiated a single move in or out of their squad since the market opened in early September. The club’s Italian owner, Massimo Cellino, is resistant to the idea of short-term signings but Redfearn admitted before the international break that he was looking for additions to his squad and “a bit of help” for a young group of players. United’s new head coach hinted that arrivals were possible before next week’s deadline but, he reiterated the importance of finding alternative clubs for players with no prospect of featuring in his line-up this season. Noel Hunt, David Norris and Luke Murphy are among the names who Leeds are likely to listen to offers for, and forward Nicky Ajose – a summer recruit from Peterborough United – could also be given the chance to move on, despite signing a three-year contract less than four months ago. Redfearn said: I’d say that moves out are more likely than moves in. “I’ve spoken to Massimo and we’ve got a couple of good ideas (for new signings) but whether they’ll happen now or at a later date, I’m not sure. We don’t have too much time. “I’d like to give the young players here a bit of help and the right support, but at the same time we need to move a few lads on. “It’s nothing personal and I’m not being difficult with anyone but there are players here who aren’t going to play any football. “That’s not good for them, it’s not good for anyone and we’ll try to help them if offers come in. “We’ve had a few enquiries and I’ve already started thinning down the main training group, setting up two different groups – just to stop my message getting diluted. In fairness to the lads who aren’t playing, it’s hard for them to feel properly involved and it’s easier to get my message through to those who are. “The core of the squad is good. I’m pretty happy with it. But we do have a lot of bodies at Thorp Arch and it’s been like that for too long now.” Hunt and Ajose were fielded in an Under-21 game against Sunderland at Thorp Arch yesterday and scored the goals in a 3-2 defeat. Defenders Scott Wootton and Zac Thompson also started. United have used in excess of 30 different players in 17 Championship matches this season but Redfearn said new signings would still be welcome before the loan window shuts. “It’s about getting the squad right,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t have numbers here or that we don’t have experienced players – it’s just that some of those players need a change of scene or a fresh start. I think they realise that themselves. “The fact that we’ve got a big squad doesn’t mean that we don’t need extra players. In certain areas we’re looking for different ones.” Leeds are close to confirming a travelling support of 6,900 for Saturday’s game at Blackburn Rovers – the biggest away attendance in the Championship this season. United set the last season’s record at the same venue, taking 6,716 fans to Ewood Park. Nov 18th. Leeds footbller pays tribute to his borther after death in car crash Leeds United goalkeeper Alex Cairns has paid tribute to his younger brother who was killed in a car crash in South Yorkshire. Blake Cairns, 16, was one of five teenagers killed in a two-car collision at Conisbrough on Saturday. The footballer took to social networking website Twitter yesterday and thanked the public for their support following the crash. He said: Would like to thank you all. “ We love him we always will love him words can’t describe what he means to this family. “Love you Baby bro.” Leeds United Football Club’s Academy earlier tweeted: “Our thoughts are with Alex Cairns and his family at this difficult time. “Sending strength and love from the LUFC family. A tragedy for all.” Danum Academy headteacher Rebecca Staples paid tribute to each of those who died. She said: “Blake was great fun. “He had a huge network of friends and was a very sporty boy. He represented the school in football teams. “He had a real presence; a lovely cheeky boy who had great relationships with staff”


Kalvin Phillips – Another huge talent from the Thorp Arch production line ?

Tues 18th of Nov Phillips next from the Thorp Arch conveyor belt NEIL REDFEARN says that Leeds United teenage midfielder Kalvin Phillips is ‘knocking on the door’ for first-team involvement following a string of impressive academy performances. The 18-year-old, who signed his first professional deal in the summer, has excelled in recent weeks for the under-21s and scored two stunning strikes in last Monday’s 3-3 draw at Nottingham Forest in the Professional Development League 2 Under-21s League. Phillips almost made the first-team match-day squad for the trip to Cardiff City on November 1 and many are tipping him to force his way into first-team contention alongside fellow academy products Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Sam Byram very shortly. The form of former Wortley FC junior and United Under-18 captain Phillips is being duly noted by Redfearn, who has consistently stated that he will have no fears in further blooding more academy players in the near future if they continue to impress. Head coach Redfearn, whose side return to action at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, said: “To be fair, Kalvin is in a good vein of form and is playing well and scoring goals from midfield. He is definitely one who is knocking on the door. “The good thing that is happening is that the young ones are providing healthy competition. I think to be fair to the seniors in the squad, they have embraced it. “They know the kids are decent and whatever kids have been in and around the squad, they have been accepted. “I think that is a really good trait for the seniors to have as they know they have got to compete now. “If that raises the bar, then great. “What you find with kids is that they come in and are infectious. They want to train and play and compete. It is good in that way.” Young United teenage striker Eoghan Stokes followed up his strike against Malta with two more goals for the Republic of Ireland U19s in their 4-1 win over Gibraltar in Wexford. (look at some cracking goals he scored as follows : ) 

Nov 18th. Why it’s taking so long to hir an assistant NEIL REDFEARN insists he is remaining relaxed over the length of time it is taking to bring in an assistant to help him run first-team matters at Leeds United. The United head coach, who signed a 12-month rolling deal earlier this month, has already spoken to club president Massimo Cellino about his preferred choice for his number two.The name being strongly linked with a move to United is Huddersfield Town joint first-team coach Steve Thompson, a team-mate of Redfearn’s at Bolton Wanderers in the early eighties. Thompson, 50, shares first-team coaching duties at Town with Steve Eyre, and has been tipped for a reunion with Redfearn ever since he was named as Leeds’ third permanent head coach of the season on November 1. Thompson arrived at Huddersfield in June to assist then manager Mark Robins, having spent ten years coaching at Blackpool before leaving the Seasiders in February. For his part, Redfearn is conscious that bringing in new staff can take time and says the past week’s training schedule at Thorp Arch had been already planned previously and did account for there not being a new number two in place. Redfearn and the club’s existing coaching staff planned all aspects of training and will continue to do so prior to an appointment. On the assistant head-coach issue, Redfearn said: “I have left it with the club and I know the guy that I want. “The club have been in talks with him and it is in their hands. “We have just had to get on with this week. We had planned this week out anyway between us and there’s enough of us (here) to work it through to make it right. It has not been a problem. “But obviously, the club want to get it resolved as well, which is good.” On whether an appointment will be made ahead of United’s return from action after the current international break at Blackburn Rovers next Saturday, Redfearn added: “Hopefully. But I know sometimes this things take time. “The club want to do it right, which is the right thing and the club are sorting it out.”

Nov 18th - Redfearn – Leeds can still make top six NEIL REDFEARN insists he is not discounting Leeds United’s prospects of propelling themselves firmly into top-six contention in the Championship – despite an indifferent start to the current campaign. Leeds resume after the international break with a tough-looking clash at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, with the club having recorded back-to-back league wins just once since mid-April. United lie in 15th spot in the Championship and remain a work in progress with almost three-and-a-half months of the season gone, just four points above the bottom three and eight points off the play-off pace. But head coach Redfearn is not writing off their hopes of making a bid for the play-offs if his side can gel together on a consistent basis in the weeks and months ahead. Given a close-season which saw 15 players come in and a host of others depart during a frenetic summer transfer window, the smart money was on some form of transitional period being on the cards in the opening months of the season, moreso with Leeds having so far had three permanent head coaches. Redfearn is aiming to buck the trend by providing some stability and consistent results and hopefully build some on-pitch momentum in the process. Despite Leeds’ stop-start season, they will be backed by a travelling army of around 6,000 fans in Saturday’s Roses clash at Ewood Park, representing the biggest Championship away support of any club in the division so far this term. Redfearn is hoping to reward their faith and while he accepts that getting Leeds within sight of the top six is a considerable task, he sees reasons to hope. Redfearn, who believes his side have been energised by the zestful performances of the likes of Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Sam Byram heading into the international break, said: “It could be two forward and one back and one of those sort of seasons. “But there’s no reason why if we can’t get a settled side and things going that we can’t go on and get ourselves in there. “We have got to find our way and our feet and the way that is right for us and drive on. “If you look at the last couple of games, the pleasing thing is that it was basically the same side that played against Charlton and Blackpool. “I could see improvement in the Charlton game and then the Blackpool one. “If we can get ourselves in the position where the consistent is the majority and the variable is the minority, then we can pick up and start maybe being more consistent and understanding each other’s game and developing.”


Jim Storrie (pic’d two from left of The Don) who sadly passed away

Thursday 13th of November Death at 74 of striker who cost Don Revie’s Leeds United £15,000 Eddie Gray has paid tribute to Leeds United striker Jim Storrie, who has died at the age of 74 following a short illness. The centre-forward, a member of the United side who took the field against Liverpool in the 1965 FA Cup final at Wembley, has been described by Gray as a ‘great goalscorer’ and ‘real character’, with the Scot scoring 67 goals in 156 games for United.On the news of the passing of Storrie, two-times top-scorer for Leeds after joining for £15,650 from Airdrieonians in June 1962, Gray said: “It is very sad to hear. “Jim was a great goalscorer for Leeds in the old second division and scored a lot of goals to get us promoted and played in the ‘65 FA Cup final as well. “Jim definitely played his part in the rise of Leeds and scored some vital goals. The likes of him and Ian Lawson, Alan Peacock and Albert Johanneson all made contributions and there was obviously Bobby (Collins) as well. “He was a good lad, and a real character. On the pitch, he was a hard worker and a good pro. “He wasn’t that big, but he was good in the air. A few Scottish players have been like that in the past such as Denis Law and Jimmy Millar, who was also never big, but great in the air and could leap. Jim was one of those and put himself about.” In his debut season of 1962-63, Storrie was Leeds’ leading marksman, netting an impressive 25 goals in 38 Division Two games, with his haul including a hat-trick in the 3-0 triumph over Cardiff at Elland Road on April 27, 1963. Leeds went onto lift the second division title the following campaign and in the club’s first season back in the top-flight in 1964-65, Storrie led the goalscoring charts for a second time after netting 16 goals in 37 appearances. That season ended in a Wembley appearance and United narrowly missing out on the first division championship on goal difference, with the cup final a fateful one for Storrie, who was injured in the showpiece and failed to hit the heights again with Leeds. Storrie netted 67 goals in 156 games in all competitions for Leeds before being returning to his native Scotland to Aberdeen, who signed him for £13,500 in February 1967. He later played for Rotherham United, Portsmouth, St Mirren and Havant and Waterlooville, with managing St Johnstone and coaching at Airdrie during the seventies before he retired from football. Gray also has fond memories of Storrie as a character with the wily Scot once handing him a lesson he did not forget and one he has recounted over the years during a cross-country run during their days at team-mates at Leeds in the early sixties under Don Revie. Gray said: “Jim once caught me once with an old Scottish trick. “We were doing a cross-country run and I was leading and it was twenty points for the winner and if you were running together, you would get twenty points each. “But five yards from the line, Jim sprinted away from me!”

Thurs 13th of November – Leeds huge away support continues LEEDS UNITED will be backed by the largest travelling away support in the Championship so far this season when they visit Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday week. For the second year in succession, United will be roared on by a massive contingent in the Darwen End after 6,800 travelled across the Pennines for the fixture in East Lancashire last November. United have already sold approximately 5,700 tickets for the Roses clash next weekend. So far this season, the largest visiting support for a Championship game arrived last Saturday when Rotherham United took 4,650 fans for the South Yorkshire derby to face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Middlesbrough, who earlier today announced that they have sold out of their entire allocation of 4,800 tickets for their clash at Wigan Athletic on November 22, have now eclipsed those sales figure as have United. Leeds current average travelling support in the Championship of 2,032 in the 2014-15 season is currently second only to Wolves (2,113). But with visits to the likes of Blackburn, Derby, Nottingham Forest and Bolton coming up in the next few months and with healthy allocations expected to be snapped up, Leeds are likely to be topping that particular chart shortly. Weds Nov 12th. Winding up order dismissed on agreed terms LEEDS UNITED have released a brief statement saying that a winding-up petition from solicitors Ford & Warren has been dismissed on agreed terms. The development comes five days after Ford & Warren launched proceedings in the High Court over unpaid costs relating to a case involving ex-Leeds chairman Ken Bates and one-time United director Melvyn Levi. According to the statement, Mr Levi and Leeds United Football Club Limited are ‘working towards resolving their remaining differences’. It is revealed last week that Ford & Warren were claiming fees in the region of £150,000 and the case was due to be heard on January 13. The claim involved a case in which Levi and one of his business partners, Robert Weston, were accused by Bates of dishonest dealings. That allegation was struck out in court, leading Ford and Warren to seek costs from United. Bates sold Leeds to Gulf Finance House in 2012 and control of the club passed to Massimo Cellino when he bought a 75 per cent stake from GFH in April. Speaking last week, Nick Collins, a senior partner at Ford and Warren, told the BBC: “This is not a dispute with Mr Cellino. This is something he has inherited from the previous ownership of the club. “We bear no ill will towards Mr Cellino and we wish him well. I genuinely hope we can resolve this amicably but we must do what is necessary to protect our clients’ position.”The legal action drew an angry response from United who said they wanted the petition withdrawn and an apology made, otherwise they would go to court to get it dismissed. In a statement issued late week, the club said: “The club has today (Friday November 7) received a winding-up petition from solicitors’ firm Ford & Warren acting on behalf of their client Mr. Melvyn Levi. “We have been advised by legal counsel that the publication of the winding-up order to the media within seven days of its service is illegal and amounts to an abuse of process and a contempt of court. “This activity was designed for the sole purpose of putting undue pressure on the football club. “Our lawyers are demanding that the petition be immediately withdrawn, and a full apology made else we will ask the court to dismiss the petition on Monday morning.”


40 year old Noel Whelan likes what he sees

Tues Nov 10th. Kids look set to surpass kids of 93 – Noel Whelan Set to graduate: Noel Whelan sees similarities between today’s academy products and the days when he was rising up the ranks. Leon Wobschall reports. For THE vast majority of the baby-faced Leeds United line-up who famously beat bitter foes Manchester United in both legs of the FA Youth Cup final, those heady Spring days of May, 1993 represented the zenith of their footballing careers. It was their Lancastrian rivals who were beaten, but ultimately unbowed. Glory nights lay ahead for Paul Scholes, David Beckham and the Neville brothers, who suffered in silence while scores of ecstatic Yorkshire folk celebrated in front of an Elland Road crowd of over 31,000. The night was May 13, 1993 with Leeds triumphing 2-1 in their second leg with the Red Devils to secure the sweetest of 4-1 aggregate wins. Yet while the cream of the Old Trafford crop became household names, only one home player from that Thursday night, Noel Whelan, was to dine out at the top-flight table throughout the bulk of his club career. Approaching his 40th birthday, Leeds lad Whelan, who found the net in the first leg of the ’93 triumph at Old Trafford, now keeps a watching eye in his role as a radio summariser and fan on the Whites’ new generation, who are currently strutting their stuff at Elland Road. It is inescapable for Whelan, when seeing Academy products Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram on parade in the white of Leeds United, not to harken back to his own time. Whelan’s coltish swagger and strong belief in his own abilities persuaded Howard Wilkinson to hand him a first-team debut at Sheffield United six days before he lined up at Old Trafford for the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final. He now sees that same sense of assuredness and self-confidence in Messrs Cook and Mowatt and likes what he sees. They are young players who are not here to make up the numbers, but aim to make things happen complete with the innate sense that they belong in the man’s world of Football League combat. Whelan said: Howard Wilkinson used to say to me: ‘It doesn’t matter how young you are; if you are good enough, you are old enough.’ Simple as. “And once you have had that taste of the first team, you don’t want to lose it again and want to have it every single week.“We had a very competitive first-team side back then when you look at the midfield and forward players we had… it was Premier League outfit with good names in there. “Sometimes you must have that arrogance, determination and doggedness about you to keep your place. “I know I had that and had to fight through many a time on the training field against some of the players on show. “I was about showing that I was here for the long-term and am not going anywhere. “It is about saying: ‘This is my spot’. That determination only comes from yourself, only you can instil that into you and is the foundation you must have to be a player in that team and to cement your position. “I was disappointed at such a young age when I was sitting on the bench, even though Tony Yeboah was there in front of me. “That is how much it hurt me as this was my team and I had worked hard for two or three years to get my chance and I wanted to take it and play at Elland Road for my team. “The young Leeds lads now look like they have that ‘something’. “They have great temperaments and old heads on young shoulders and they play the game properly and trust the manager and the manager trusts them. “It is a good relationship that they have all got between each other and that is key.”Almost resembling a doting father, Neil Redfearn was gushing in his praise of ‘his’ Academy kids in extolling the virtues of Cook, Mowatt and Byram, who all walked the walk on what could have been pressurised circumstances in Saturday’s game with Blackpool. His reference that a number of home- grown talents were establishing themselves at roughly the same time, along the likes of Manchester United’s famed class of ’92, was a bold one, but it carried weight and you knew what he was getting at. Perhaps the last time that happened at Leeds was in the late 90s when the likes of Jonathan Woodgate and Paul Robinson were given their heads in the first team alongside Harry Kewell, with the trio all part of the side who helped United lift the FA Youth Cup at Crystal Palace’s expense in May, 1997. All three went on to prove themselves to be special players for Leeds, even though the golden times they had at Elland Road were cut short and curtailed by circumstance. Whelan sees quality in abundance in Leeds’ current crop and just as with legions of supporters, his fervent wish is that they can blossom for a good few years in West Yorkshire and not elsewhere. If it is under the command of Redfearn, who has shown himself not to be scared to blood young talent and has an inherent duty of care to players whom he has nurtured from their formative days at the club, then all the better. Whelan continued: “It is fantastic to see young lads at Leeds coming through the ranks. “It is good to see the system bringing these young players through because it is massively important, not just for Leeds. “For football as a whole, it shows that the system does work and the hard work that Neil Redfearn and the Academy coaching staff have put in on the training field is paying off. “It is a massive encouragement for a player if you feel you belong in the team and have the trust of the manager. “And that’s what these three players in Cook, Mowatt and Bryam have got and why we are seeing the best of them. “(Chris) Dawson is also on the verge and, from what I am hearing, he could soon be starting and getting a few minutes on the pitch as well.” Whelan added: “For me, Sam could be one of the best full-backs in the country from what I have seen. “I don’t think he is fully match-fit yet, but the signs against Charlton and Blackpool have been absolutely encouraging and show what a first-class full-back he can actually be. “He is so dangerous going forward and can do his job defensively and is comfortable on the ball and doesn’t give it away cheaply and that’s what I like about him. He is a football player and tries to use the ball and that is testament to Neil in the work he has done. “Lewis Cook is a bit like a David Batty for me and you need that type of person in your team. “He is comfortable on the ball and composed and starts things off from the back four and his weight of passing is fantastic. “That goes for Alex and you can see the confidence and trust that the manager is showing in him by the performances and goals he has been scoring. “The three also know each other’s game and that is a massive part of having a successful team in knowing how your team-mates play and their strengths. “It is not something you plan, but what comes natural to these players. “They know each other’s game and some of the play from back to front is a joy to watch. “The first 45 minutes on Saturday was the best they have played since Huddersfield Town and I think they are getting back to that under Neil.“We are seeing the work that has been put in on the training ground coming through under him.”

Sat Nov 8th. Redfearn’s joy after Leeds win. LEEDS UNITED head coach Neil Redfearn hailed his side’s majestic first-half showing as the Whites claimed their first win in nine games in a 3-1 win over struggling Blackpool. Goals in a relentless attacking performance in the first half from Liam Cooper – his first for the club – Souleymane Doukara, who netted a sublime team goal, and Mirco Antenucci saw the hosts 3-0 up at the interval. Sub Nile Ranger pulled one back in a low-key first-half, but it was Leeds’ day as they claimed a vital three points. “I thought we were excellent in the first half, some of the movement and the passing was different class,” Redfearn said. “That was as good as I’ve seen them play. It could have been anything. It wasn’t just the pressure, it was good football culminating in three goals. “The second half was a damp squib, but the result was the main thing and that came off the back of a good first half. “It was a good, important win and I thought we earned it. We never gave Blackpool a chance to settle, the start was excellent and for the first 10 minutes we were like a whirlwind.” Leeds’ second and third goals arrived via some quick, one-touch passing, with Doukara’s goal – a length-of-the-field team move – a particular highlight. “We have got footballers and there is no point in us lumping it up the pitch,” Redfearn said of the attitude he is trying to impart on his players. “We have to pass it and play and the more they do that, the more they will pick results up. We scored a fantastic goal.” Blackpool may be ten points adrift of safety, but Lee Clark drew solace from a more presentable second-half following the first period when they were never at the races. The Geordie said: “When you’re three goals down at half-time, it’s hard for any players, but to give the players credit we were better in the second half. “We got them in at half-time, got them regrouped and they did things better. It was too little, too late, but we did the dirty side of the game better, we competed and didn’t allow Leeds to dictate the pace of the game. “We had allowed them to find space in behind us, getting shots and crosses in; we were having to make saves from the first minute. “My assessment is we need some consistency, know-how and to build a little run of points whether that’s draws, wins; we can’t be playing well one day and not the next. “There are lots of points there, Bolton have shown that and that’s what we need to do.” 


Copper celebrates his first Leeds goal

Sat Nov 7th Leeds United 3-1 Blackpool Silvestri, Byram, Cooper, Pearce, Warnock, Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi (Tonge 70), Adryan (Austin 64), Doukara, Antenucci (Sharp 89). Unused substitutes: S Taylor, Berardi, Del Fabro, Dawson. Referee: S Attwell (Nuneaton). LEEDS UNITED secured their first win in nine matches with a barnstorming first-half performance accounting for rock-bottom Blackpool.  Three goals in an excellent first 45 minutes, including a first in United colours for defender Liam Cooper and a lovely strike from Souleymane Doukara after a flowing move spanning virtually the length of the field, helped clinch three much-needed points against the Seasiders. United, whose third goal arrived just before the interval from Mirco Antenucci, failed to kick on after the restart, with a 75th-minute goal from sub Nile Ranger making from a finale which was far more anxious than it should have been. The low-key second half will represent a concern for Neil Redfearn, but securing a much-needed victory was the main business of the day with heading into the international break with their winless streak still intact representing an unpalatable prospect. In the final analysis, Leeds claimed their first win in nine matches and while it was ultimately not the perfect afternoon that it looked likely to be at half-time, the three points was gratefully received by the majority of the 23,846 Elland Road crowd. United, vibrant from the first whistle in a relentless first half in which their attacking intent was sustained, made a mockery of their recent winless streak in impressive fashion. United head coach Neil Redfearn, pleased by much of his side’s attacking play against Charlton, if not aspects of his side’s defending, made just one change to his starting line-up in an pected move.


Doukara celebrates possible Leeds best goal of the season to date


New dad Antenucci enjoys Leeds third goal

Captain Jason Pearce returned in the heart of the back four, with Giuseppe Bellusci sitting out the game due to a one-match ban, while Billy Sharp and Rudy Austin took their place on the bench after recovering from injuries. Ahead of the game, Redfearn implored Leeds to be brave and open up the visitors, who went into the match with a horror record of their one win in the past year on the road in all competitons. Leeds adhered to his advice to the letter in a powerhouse first half and while the Seasiders displayed plenty of evidence as to just why they look nailed on for the drop this term, it was the hosts’ excellent efforts which were worthy of the greater mention. Three goals arrived in the opening 45 minutes with the scoreline in no way flattering Leeds, who produced their best footballing show since Huddersfield Town were dissected back on September 20. Particularly down Blackpool’s left, United enjoyed a beano with the likes of Sam Byram, Adryan, Antenucci and Doukara all coming to the party, with plenty of others not far behind. United pinned Blackpool back for virtually the entire half with the tone set in the second munute when Doukara cleverly slipped in Antenucci, whose saw from a narrow angle was blocked by Joe Lewis. Generating a fair head of steam, Leeds continued their attacking assault with Blackpool palpably struggling to man the barricades. Adryan nodded a Byram crossshot wide of goal before the pressure told with United taking the lead from an unlikely source. A corner was not cleared by the Seasiders and the ball broke to Cooper, who showed instincts of a striker to tee himself up and lash home an emphatic 20-yarder past the stationary Lewis in a goal of considerable quality for a centre-back. Blackpool’s poor start was then in danger of turning into a truly wretched one with an incisive pass from Tommaso Bianchi slipping in Antenucci, whose effort flew into the side-netting when the Italian was well placed in front of goal. Blackpool’s opening had clearly been too much for Lee Clark, who made a tactical change on 17 minutes when Andre Blackman, on trial with United in the summer, made way for former Spurs and Portsmouth midfielder Jamie O’Hara, who came on for his debut. It failed to alter the pattern of proceedings with Doukara firing wide after good play from Lewis Cook and Adryan. A rare semblance of threat at the other end resulted in Byram making a telling clearance after Leeds were briefly unhinged with Andrea Orlandi firing over a dangerous cross on the right. The game soon reverted to type with the lively Doukara seeing a shot blocked before a stunning second doubled the hosts’ money on 31 minutes. A rapid counter was started by Byram and with Blackpool stranded with bodies upfield, Leeds went for the jugular. A lovely exchange in midfield resulted in Adryan surging clear and the Brazilian playmaker ran deep into Blackpool territory before providing a perceptive pass to the supporting Doukara, who calmly beat the advancing Lewis with a pinpoint finish for a team goal of the highest order. It was a moment to savour for home supporters who have endured more of the bad than good in regards to their club in recent times and soon after a chant of “There’s only one Neil Redfearn’ piped up, with it all very resemblent of the Huddersfield game. The seal on a top-notch half arrived on 42 minutes when Antenucci, whose partner had a baby in the week, got in on the goalscoring act. Telling play down the left saw Alex Mowatt set up Doukara, whose pull-back was half-cleared by Charles Dunne, with the lurking Antenucci, close to the edge of the box, composing himself before firing home past Lewis with the aid of a deflection. The half-time whistle was the cue for more applause from the home faithful who had been energised by Leeds’ performance with the hosts, given their thoroughly disappointing run passing their character and aptitude test with flying colours. With the game all but in the bag barring a spectacular implosion, the second half was all about Leeds boasting their morale and goal difference in the process, but in the event, play became scrappy with the hosts failing to hit the heights of their sublime first period. Blackpool, for their part, showed a little more endeavour, but scant quality. A long-ranger from David Perkins which flashed wide represented a semi-dangerous moment, while at the other end, Leeds failed to recreate the rhythm of their fine opening 45 minutes. As time went on, it started to become a little disconcerting, but with Pool bringing little to the table, attacking-wise, it did not represent too much to worry. That said, it became more of an issue for Leeds – whose lost Bianchi to injury in the 70th minute, with the Italian schemer hobbling off after being hurt in a challenge – when the visitors pulled one back with fifteen minutes to go. Jacob Murphy’s corner was attacked by interval substitute Nile Ranger, with the lumbering striker, linked with Leeds in the summer, heading in unchallenged. The goal appeared to wake up Leeds, who straightaway went close to a fourth. The ball found its way to Antenucci down the left and he cut inside before firing a low shot which was spilled by Lewis, with sub Austin attempting to convert the rebound, only for the visiting rearguard to block his efforts, with both he and Seasiders defender Peter Clarke getting injured in the process. With Leeds largely losing their way in the second period, the relief was palpable when a fierce low shot from Ishmael Miller flew inches wide instead of nestling in the net. Leeds then failed to make the game safe when Doukara looked well placed to convert with the goal beckoning after being supplied by Austin, but he could not finish off with the ball spinning away and the chance gone. A good first half performance especially from the Whites in front of the travelling Louth branch. 

Sat Nov 10th Cellino expects January transfer embargo – Hay YEP Leeds United remain at risk of a transfer embargo in January despite major changes to the rules governing Financial Fair Play (FFP) in the Sky Bet Championship. The Football League has agreed to introduce more flexible regulations at the start of the 2016-17 season but the governing body will enforce existing rules as planned at the turn of the year. FFP effectively came into force last season, a campaign in which Championship clubs were permitted to lose a maximum of £8million. All 24 teams are due to submit financial accounts for the 2013-14 term to the Football League by December 1 and those found to be in breach of the guidelines will be hit with a transfer embargo when the forthcoming January window opens. Leeds and their owner, Massimo Cellino, expect to receive an embargo as punishment for debts and losses built up at Elland Road by Gulf Finance House, the Bahraini bank which ran Leeds for 16 months between December 2012 and April of this year. United were losing around £1m a month when Cellino bought a majority stake in April and having signed 15 new players during the summer transfer window, he believes his hands will be tied in January. Speaking this week Cellino told the YEP: “That’s something I got from other people. It’s not my fault, it’s the balance sheet from last year. “We took on a bad situation financially and I covered that but we are facing an embargo.” The Italian is understood to be investigating whether the number of players under the age of 21 in his squad and the tally of senior professionals who have made no first-team appearances this season would give him scope to bring signings in, regardless of a Football League embargo. At a meeting in Derby on Thursday, Championship clubs agreed that the current rules on FFP – rules which limit sides to a loss of just £6m this season – would remain in place until the end of the 2015-16 campaign. The new regulations for the 2016-17 campaign will permit clubs to lose up to £15m over a three-year period without explaining how that loss is to be funded. In addition, Championship sides can make further losses up to a maximum of £39m but will be ordered to provide proof of their boards’ ability to cover the shortfall, along with financial information for the following two seasons. A Football League statement read: “The existing Championship FFP framework will remain in place for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Any sanctions for accounts relating to the 2013-14 season will continue to take effect as intended.” 


Mowatt brace v Charlton

Sat Nov 8th Leeds 2 (Mowatt 49, 67), CHARLTON 2 (Gudmundsson 62, 81 pen). United: Silvestri, Byram, Bellusci, Cooper, Warnock, Cook, Mowatt, Bianchi (Montenegro (90+1), Adryan (Sloth 73), Doukara, Antenucci. Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, C Taylor, Tonge, Dawson. Referee: G Salisbury. Att: 18,698. Booked: Bianchi, Bellusci (United), Buyens, Cousins (Charlton) The visit of Charlton saw Neil Redfearn take charge of his first game at Elland Road since being appointed as the club’s new head coach and he made three changes from the defeat at Cardiff. Liam Cooper replaced the suspended Jason Pearce in defence, Sam Byram came in for Gaetano Berardi at right back, while Adryan returned from injury in place of Steve Morison. Stephen Warnock took the captain’s armband in Pearce’s absence. United made an encouraging start and had the first sight of goal with just four minutes on the clock as the outstretched leg of Souleymane Doukara diverted a low, first-time cross from Tommaso Bianchi wide of Stephen Henderson’s post. Mirco Antenucci then saw his strike deflected into Henderson’s arms as the hosts mounted some early pressure on the Charlton goal. Charlton did threaten through George Tucudean, flicking Callum Harriot’s left-wing cross wide as Bob Peeters’ side began to see more of the ball without causing too much concern to the United backline during an evenly-matched opening 20 minutes. That was until the 28th minute as Warnock was forced into action on his own goalline, hacking clear to deny Charlton an opener after Johnnie Jackson’s corner was almost turned in by Andre Bikey. Alex Mowatt’s ferocious left-footed strike was deflected over from range at the opposite end, before Antenucci darted into the area and fired into the side-netting as proceedings started to open up. The Italian striker then drove forward before drilling a low effort well wide shortly before referee Graham Salisbury signalled for half-time after a goalless opening 45 minutes. United returned from the break full of intent and duly broke the deadlock on 49 minutes through Alex Mowatt’s second goal in the space of two games. After some neat interplay down the left involving Adryan and Stephen Warnock, the 19-year-old midfielder gathered the ball right on the edge of the area, brought it under control and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed strike beyond Henderson and into the top corner as Elland Road rose to its feet. Harriot blazed an effort high, wide and into the South Stand but the goal had given United a bit of momentum and an injection of confidence, with Mirco Antenucci dancing his way through the Charlton defence before skewing his effort wide. But Redfearn’s side were stunned on 62 minutes as Johann Berg Gudmundsson managed to squeeze the ball past Silvestri at his near post to draw the visitors level. United immediately looked to regain their lead, though, with Doukara and Adryan both having shots blocked in front of goal before Mowatt added a stunning second. Again from outside the area, the homegrown midfielder demonstrated pin-point accuracy and a deadly eye for goal to make it three from his last two as he curled another spectacular strike beyond the helpless Henderson. Redfearn’s men were buoyed and Antenucci twice came close to making it three, dragging a low effort into Henderson’s arms before knocking Doukara’s cross wide. But Charlton again hit back through Gudmundsson’s second of the evening on 81 minutes, this time from the penalty spot, after Giuseppe Bellusci was adjudged to have shoved his man over as a corner came in. having used all their substitutions, an injury to Rhoys Wiggins meant Charlton were forced to enter the closing stages with 10 men as the home crowd urged United forward. Byram hooked a cross towards the six-yard box and had Henderson back-pedalling to tip behind for a corner from underneath his crossbar, while Antenucci fired through a crowded area and into the Charlton keeper’s arms as the game entered five minutes of stoppage time. Brian Montenegro stepped off the bench to replace Bianchi and Lewis Cook drilled a low strike wide, but that proved to be the final meaningful action as the spoils were shared. A mistake by Silvestri and another howler by Bellusci denied United their first win in eight games. Bellusci is an accident waiting to happen and in a game Leeds were in no danger of drawing against 10 men, he conceded a needless penalty. Redfearn has a chance of using Cooper with Pearce on Saturday versus Blackpool and a spell on the bench for the ‘Warrior’ might teach him the error of his ways….or maybe not.


Cellino delaying the repurchase of ER

Tuesday November 11th. Cellino admits Elland Road purchase on hold Leeds United president Massimo Cellino has admitted that his planned purchase of Elland Road is on hold, claiming a dispute between him and former owner Gulf Finance House is making the £16m buy-back “too dangerous”. A promise to reclaim ownership of United’s stadium before the end of this month wasone of Cellino’s key promises when he took over the club in April but that target is unlikely to be met due to what he called “a problem with my partners.” The 58-year-old bought a 75 per cent stake in Leeds from GFH but allowed the Bahraini bank to retain a minority shareholding and effectively control the remaining 25 per cent. Cellino’s initial buy-out saw him take on almost £25m of debt but his deal with GFH was renegotiated in July, with the ban agreeing to waive half of that sum and delay repayment of any debt until United were promoted to the Premier League. But in an interview with the YEP, Cellino revealed that the new deal remained unsigned, despite his belief that the terms of his arrangement with GFH were in place and finalised two months ago. The Italian described the repurchase of Elland Road at a cost of £16m as a “a big risk” while debts owed to GFH were still under discussion and said he would not proceed with the buy-back until the matter was resolved. United, who sold Elland Road for £8m amid heavy financial pressure in 2004, currently lease the stadium for £1.6m a year but have the right to repurchase the ground for a set fee at any time before November 2029. Cellino had previously promised that the club would regain ownership of Elland Road before the rent and buy-back cost increased this month, but speaking tonight United’s president said: The situation is more complicated. “With my partners (GFH), I was trying to get along and do a deal with them but we didn’t get to the solution. We cannot buy the stadium before we solve that problem. “If we invest all this money without having solved the problem, it’s a big risk. We would be investing in the stadium while this situation is unstable. “I thought two months ago we found a solution. I was happy. But for the last two months I’ve been trying to fix everything and I haven’t fixed it yet. I can’t take any more of it. There’s no respect for me. “I came here to save this club, not to rush into something that could hurt the club. So not buying the stadium now is protecting the club. Because of legal issues I can’t say much more but buying the stadium today is giving a chance to someone else to hurt the club more. I cannot allow that.” GFH, which bought Leeds in December 2012 but sold the club again less than 16 months later, no longer has any influence on day-to-day operations at Elland Road and is not thought to be injecting funds, despite having two representatives – Salem Patel and Salah Nooruddin – named as directors of the club. The value of its stake in Leeds, however, would be likely to increase in value with Elland Road back under United’s control. Cellino inherited a club who were losing more than £1m a month and agreed to pay around £11m for his 75 per cent shareholding, on top of the debt owed to GFH. The former Cagliari president planned to use the fee raised from the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham in July to help buy the ground, alongside a mortgage of £7.5m. Cellino said all applications by the club for bank loans had been turned down. In an interview with the YEP in July, Cellino claimed he had enough money to finance the buy-back regardless of his ability to borrow funds. And speaking ahead of United’s game against Charlton Athletic, Cellino said: “We can buy the stadium. We are financially strong enough to buy the stadium. “It’s not because of the price – the price is fixed and we can save nearly £2m a year in rent. It’s stupid not to buy the stadium but if I do that in the situation we’re in, it would be a big mistake. “We can still buy it in six months’ time, one month’s time, three months’ time. It doesn’t change much. But my first wish here was to buy the stadium back. Renting our stadium is embarrassing and against my mentality.” Asked if he thought United’s supporters would be disappointed by his failure to deliver the buy-back this month, Cellino said: “I’m disappointed. I’m more disappointed than them. “I don’t need to show anything to people but it would hurt us more to buy it today. It’s dangerous for the club, not dangerous for me. “We have to clean up something from the past or it’s going to be poison. Nobody else is worrying about that but I’m worrying about this club. I’ve invested a lot of money, I want to invest more, and the best investment I could do is buying the stadium. So I’m disappointed. Nobody is more disappointed than me.” In a statement, GFH Capital – the private equity arm of GFH which bought Leeds on the bank’s behalf in 2012 – denied Cellino’s claims, saying: “There is no truth to these comments. “GFHC sold the club to Massimo Cellino under specific terms which he is now trying to renegotiate. Further, he was seeking financing from GFHC to purchase the club, which GFHC was willing to consider. “However, we wanted Mr Cellino to show commitment to his obligations under the sale agreement since he has only paid part, not all, of his obligations. “Further, GFHC agreed to the sale of Ross McCormack on that basis that Mr Cellino would proceed with buying the stadium. GFHC is surprised that this has yet to happen.”

Tues 4th of November Redfearn will place his trust in youngsters – YEP Age no barrier: New Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn will look to his academy products to boost the first team squad. Leon Wobschall reports. When the going gets tough, it is time to revert to type and go with what you know, which is usually battle-hardened experience when it comes to British football. So the theory goes and so Hansen thought. But there are exceptions to every rule. In the attritional environment that is the Championship, when the games can come thick and fast and the relentless action can represent a mental as well a physical assault course to negotiate, apprenticeships for young footballers can also equate to a hard school of footballing knocks. It would be easy to sideline them. But it is a charge Neil Redfearn will not be guilty of. Those fresh-faced talents who prosper, in the long term, are not just those who are technically proficient, but have something about them as well. And in that respect, Redfearn believes Leeds United are well stocked. As the saying goes: If you are good enough, you are young enough’ and despite Leeds heading into tonight’s clash with Charlton on the back of a dispiriting seven-match run without a win bonus, Redfearn insists that keeping the kids out of the firing line is not an option as far as he is concerned. Leeds ended Saturday’s game at Cardiff with four Academy products on the pitch, aged 21, 20, 19 and 17 respectively, with enhanced exposure – not less – for the club’s thriving batch of youngsters something that he continue not to shy away from. He said: “I think the shining light so far this season have been the young players who have come in and done well. “Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook have come in and Chris Dawson came in and did well off the bench on Saturday. Sam Byram is back in contention and Charlie Taylor is around it as well. “They are our players and they are going to be in and around our first team, hopefully for years to come. We have good players in the under-21s and good players underneath that. “To be honest, looking back at the games we have had, it is the younger players that have dealt with things as well as anybody else. “Alex Mowatt for me was the best player on the pitch on Saturday from both sides. He took his goal really well and his touch and awareness in that midfield area and he was combative. “They are good players, whatever age they are and you have to put them in. “So the future looks good. But the initial task is to try and get us up and running now. We have lost our way a little bit for whatever reason and on a bit of a bad run – seven games without a win.” Redfearn’s commitment to youth and the long-term vitality of United is refreshing and has to be lauded. But equally, the Yorkshireman is conscious that in the here and now, results must start to arrive in an autumn harvest which has dried up since three derby points against Huddersfield Town on September 20. Redfearn acknowledges a little bit of confidence has, understandably, been eroded. But he is also secure in the knowledge that this same group of players produced comfortably Leeds’ best spell of the season under his watch between August 28 and September 20. They have it in their locker to hit the heights again is his steadfast belief. A bit of extra time on the training ground to reinforce his message would have been handy this week, he is the first to admit. But that must wait until the international break, with Redfearn very much having to deal in the short term, with a game against Charlton and rest and recovery and a limited window of preparation for a weekend match with Blackpool providing a crowded itinerary. On the notion of confidence being knocked a little, he said: “Perhaps a little bit. “I think it comes with the fact that prior to Saturday, we’d gone six games without a win and then that bit of doubt creeps in. But it is my job to get them back to where they need to be. “It might take the international break to get everything embedded. But we can’t look past these next two games because we have two real opportunities to pick up six points and that is the way we have got to look at it. “There were some plusses out of Saturday’s game. But I don’t like getting beaten; that’s the bottom line. “Leeds United supporters do not like getting beaten and the football club has got to get in that mindset. “I don’t think there is much in any game which comes up in the Championship. “You are going to get the odd game which one side gets really on top and runs away with it. But it doesn’t happen that often. “It is fine margins we have to overcome and develop and make sure we are the right side of the result. “I am not a real man for stats, but 53 per cent possession in a game we lost 3-1 means there is not a lot wrong. “But there is something missing as the most important stat is Cardiff 3 Leeds 1. It is something we have got to get right; but they had 14 shots and we had 10 and they had five shots on target; we had four. There wasn’t much in it. “But it is what we do with that possession. “We have got to be a little bit more positive and brave on the ball and get in and around the box quicker and the opposition have got to feel threatened. “We have proved in the caretaker spell I had that we are capable of winning and putting back to back wins together. “So we can do it. But it is finding that happy medium and middle ground where we are consistent enough to start picking results up.”


Serious mix up for Cardiff’s third goal

Sun Nov 2nd. Lowdown on Red Bull link with Leeds United – Simon Austin  Not for the first time, there’s been confusion surrounding recent events at Elland Road. As fans and players were preparing for Neil Redfearn’s bow as permanent manager at Cardiff on Saturday, a story was published on the Daily Mail website that took everyone, including me, by surprise. It claimed that owner Massimo Cellino was in talks with Red Bull about selling the club. Wow. It was bylined John Edwards, (long-standing Mail reporter) initially, before being changed to David Kent (website journalist) in the afternoon. I’m not quite sure why. I made some initial inquiries with an insider at the club and was told the story of a takeover was ‘horseshit’. Phil Hay, the excellent Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent, spoke to Cellino and was told a slight variation – that it was ‘bullshit’. Yet further inquiries revealed that Cellino HAD been involved in preliminary talks with a representative of the global drinks giant. Apparently the Italian is NOT interested in selling a club he has already put so much money and effort into (frankly I’d have been amazed if he was). But I was told he IS interested in bringing additional finance to Elland Road. This could, apparently, even involve Red Bull taking a stake in the club – potentially by buying GFH’s 25% stake (although this would obviously be the Bahraini bank’s choice) as well as some of Cellino’s shareholding. It was emphasised that talks were at a very early stage and that all of these possible outcomes were hypotheticals. The Italian does have the money to continue to bankroll the club, but has always been clear he doesn’t like ‘throwing money from the window’. He has lofty ambitions for Leeds – some of which are being thwarted at the moment – so any additional finance would come in very useful. We know that he wants to buy back Elland Road, but has found it difficult to get a mortgage to help do this. And we know that he wants to build a new training centre. I finally got a call from Cellino late last night, and he was very angry about the Mail story. This was mainly because he said he has absolutely no intention of selling the club and felt the story had undermined him in the eyes of the fans. Yet he admitted he HAS been talking to someone purporting to be a representative of Red Bull (this purporting bit was a little confusing). This could potentially lead to the global giant investing in a new training centre for the club. Cellino has never made any secret of his dislike for the current Thorp Arch training ground – too expensive, too far from his office at Elland Road and, in any case, an unlucky venue. There have also been talks about possible investment in the stadium, although Cellino was at pains to point out that he would never allow the famous ground to be renamed. He was also furious that the story of the Red Bull talks had been leaked to a newspaper. ‘Who is the mole?’ ‘Who is trying to hurt me?’ he shouted, asking the question to the heavens really. Apparently Red Bull are also averse to news of their affairs and negotiations being leaked and were unhappy when this was done during preliminary takeover talks with the club last year, before Cellino was even on the scene. So there are serious talks going on. That much isn’t horseshit or bullshit or any other kind of shit. And who knows exactly where these talks will lead? Probably not even Cellino himself at this stage. Possibly with the Austrian drinks company taking a stake in Leeds; possibly with them investing in the stadium and training ground; or possibly with nothing at all. Whatever the case, there’s barely ever a quiet day at Leeds United.

Sat Nov 1st. Cardiff City 2-1 Leeds United Report from YP. Cardiff City denied Neil Redfearn a result on his bow as Leeds United head coach as Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi (Byram 85), Bellusci, Pearce, Warnock, Bianchi (Sloth 76), Cook, Mowatt, Doukara, Antenucci, Morison (Dawson 69). Subs (not used): S Taylor, Cooper, Tonge, Montenegro. United’s poor record in the Welsh capital continued. Redfearn’s appointment as first-team boss was confirmed by Leeds little over an hour before kick-off but three second-half goals condemned United to a 3-1 defeat. Leeds have not won away in Cardiff since 1984 and they struggled to create chances against an organised City side. Bruno Manga and Federico Macheda gave Cardiff a commanding advantage and Alex Mowatt’s 78th-minute reply failed to inspire a fightback. Kenwyne Jones sealed the points late on to leave United without a victory in seven matches. Cardiff controlled most of the match and forced the first save through a Peter Whittingham free-kick. Jason Pearce earned his fifth booking of the season and a one-match ban by clipping Adam Le Fondre’s heels on 10 minutes but Marco Silvestri met Whittingham’s curling effort with a tidy stop. Leeds took until the 20th minute to fashion a chance of their own as Tommaso Bianchi played Stephen Warnock down the left wing with a lovely pass from midfield. he left-back picked out Steve Morison 10 yards from goal but the striker’s header sailed over the crossbar without worrying goalkeeper David Marshall. Le Fondre then nodded a Whittingham corner into the crowd from a yard out as United’s defence struggled to keep him close while Marshall got down to stop a low effort from Souleymane Doukara. iuseppe Bellusci’s timely blocked then prevented Macheda from opening the scoring on the half hour and Le Fondre wasted a good headed opportunity shortly before the end of a goalless first half. The balance of the match rarely changed and Cardiff threatened early in the second half with a volley from Whittingham cleared Silvestri’s goal but the contest eventually opened up as the hour approached. City made the breakthrough on 60 minutes when Sean Morrison met Craig Noone’s long ball with a header across goal which an unmarked Manga nodded inside Silvestri’s left-hand post. And the hosts made the game safe seven minutes last as Macheda beat Silvestri with a shot which struck the leg of Peace and looped over Silvestri. Mowatt pulled a goal back when he collected Doukara’s pass, create space for himself and beat Marshall with a fine finish, but substitute Jones killed United’s impetus on 83 minutes by rolling the ball into an empty net after Silvestri and Bellusci collided with each other. Redfearn on Leeds : “I spoke to Massimo and we talked about things going forward, which was a key point for me. “I asked if he sees me as the future and he said he does, which is great for me. “I have been here six years in total and have put in a lot of hard work. There is the caveat that I can go back to the academy if it does not work out, but I am very proud.” Of his side’s performance, he added: “It was not a dazzling performance but for an hour it was a good away performance. We limited them and we countered well. “But that period after half-time was where the damage was done. We gave ourselves a chance pulling one back, and I thought we might get something, but you cannot legislate for their third.”


Redfearn believes he will get time in the job

Sat Nov 2nd. Redfearn has figting chance – Hay YP Massimo Cellino knew little of David Hockaday and Darko Milanic when he employed them. That can’t be said of his relationship with Neil Redfearn. Phil Hay reports. Five hours in a hotel with David Hockaday. It sounds like a programme on Living TV. Those were the circumstances in which he and Massimo Cellino made their acquaintance and sized each other up. Cellino was no more familiar with Darko Milanic until they met in Leeds one Sunday night. He knew Milanic’s record but not the man, which begs the question of how the Slovenian entered the running for the head coach’s job at Leeds United. “A mate of Nicola Salerno’s,” is how someone at Elland Road described him, and that description fits. It was United’s sporting director, rather than Cellino, who sat with Milanic at his first press conference. Effusive though he was at the outset, Cellino lumped on men he had no relationship with. Their character he learned about on the job. Hockaday soon looked out of his depth and unsuited to the pressure. Milanic struck Cellino as a nervous coach who nullified teams instead of annihilating them. It was not what he wanted and not what he paid for, even though the warnings were out there. Coaches don’t survive long under Cellino. That much is true. But the reason for the death-toll cannot be so simple as an in-built taste for sacking people. Where is the pleasure in going through the employment process ad nauseam and forking out compensation every time? Cellino must find it as tiresome and wasteful as the rest of us. Neil Redfearn might have come closer to the truth when he discussed Cellino on Thursday. “He knows what he wants,” Redfearn said. Which suggests that the trick is reading his mind. There is undeniably a limited pool of coaches in this world who could work with Cellino. Even those who think they can don’t know how they’ll fare until the job is theirs. The long list of Cagliari bosses during Cellino’s time as president of the club tells a story of its own: a spate of former Cagliari players and countless other men who jumped into bed with Cellino for the first time. The ex-pros he held in high esteem but the owner-player dynamic is nowhere near as intense or essential as the relationship between an owner and a coach. As a whole, many of Cellino’s choices were unprepared for the heat. “Cellino understands football,” Roberto Donadoni said after his dismissal in 2011, “but at times he can be extremely cruel.” Nobody thought to warn him. So on a personal level, Neil Redfearn is different. Different to Hockaday and Milanic and different to so many of the names – high-profile or otherwise – who fell on Cellino’s sword in Italy. Between them, he and Cellino have been close enough to know what they are getting from this partnership. Redfearn has coached the first team to Cellino’s satisfaction and seems to have found the gumption to handle his boss. It could go wrong, they might fall out, but there should not be a situation in 32 days’ time where Cellino – or Redfearn for that matter – throws up his hands, looks to the sky and shouts ‘who the f*** is this guy?’ Redfearn has been in harm’s way since Cellino’s takeover in April. Make no mistake about that. He was asked by Cellino for guidance about the first-team squad in the summer (at a time when Brian McDermott was waiting for a settlement) and he’s worked as the manager of an academy which had its expenditure and productivity closely reviewed. Amid dismissals aplenty, never once was his job under threat. Even on Wednesday, when he and Cellino were trying to thrash out a contract and confirm his appointment as head coach, Redfearn stood his ground and made explicit demands. Cellino has a preference for incentivised deals. Hockaday drew a modest salary but stood to earn around £500,000 if Leeds won promotion under him. There are players at Thorp Arch who command typical Championship wages but benefit from hefty goal bonuses. Cellino did not intend to hike up Redfearn’s pay but Redfearn wanted a contract which reflected his new position. And in the end, he got it. In exchange for the money and the prestige of the post, Cellino is entitled to expect something in return. It is not solely a matter of results with him. He was complimentary about a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday last month but annoyed by the same result at Norwich, mainly because Leeds saw so little of the ball. A club like this needs standards, but standards pitched at the right level. You forget now that this season was never about promotion. Next season, Cellino promised. Yet the impulsive vibe at Elland Road makes it feel like now-or-never, which is not how even Cellino sees it. Perhaps he is wary of relegation, the one thing he cannot possibly countenance. Or perhaps he is just reactionary; a man who thinks like supporters do. Passion is easy to admire but the main players at Leeds need to occupy the middle ground. That’s where Redfearn is: a fan as a boy and head coach now. As Andy Ritchie said yesterday, Redfearn’s success depends on more than talent. It’s reliant on trust – something Cellino and Donadoni lost – and primarily Cellino’s ability to trust in Redfearn’s integrity and intentions. To trust that coaches aren’t playing Stephen Warnock to spite him or holding back Adryan to make a mockery of his transfer policy. And to trust that everyone wants the same thing. Promotion, ultimately. But here and now some calm, cohesion and progression would do. ******* Sat Nov 2nd. Repurchase of stadium – Hay YP. All quiet on the Elland Road front as the deadline set by Massimo Cellino for buying Leeds United’s stadium draws near. That deadline is his own, rather than a contractual stipulation. United have the right to repurchase their rented ground for a set fee at any time before November 2029 so the buy-back provision is not at stake in the way that it was with Thorp Arch five years ago. Cellino, nonetheless, wanted to exercise the clause this month, to free Leeds from the cost of leasing Elland Road and the increase in recent they face each year. The figures are always worth repeating: £1.6m for the lease, rising by three per cent every November. As recently as the middle October, Cellino was insistent about the need to push the repurchase through before the rent climbs again. No-one has ever revealed precisely when the lease is due to go up but Elland Road was sold by Gerald Krasner’s (left) board on November 12, 2004. That date is 11 days away, falling in the next international break.At the moment, very little is being said about the state of play. A source close to Cellino described the situation as “challenging” but intimated that Cellino still intended to pull the repurchase off. A meeting with Jacob Adler, the property developer who bought the stadium in 2004, was planned for this week with time ticking on. Cellino claimed a few months ago that he had enough money to cover the £16m buy-back fee one way or another but his preferred method of repurchasing the ground was by marrying the fee raised from Ross McCormack’s (right) sale to Fulham (£10.75m minus 15 per cent paid to Cardiff City via a sell-on clause) with a bank loan – a mortgage – of around £7.5m. As this column noted a few weeks ago, Leeds are a borrowing risk after many years of financial instability. People who work for Cellino say his ability to acquire a mortgage has been compromised further by suggestions that the Football League will attempt to ban him as owner of United on the basis of his recent tax conviction in Italy. That situation, like the repurchase of Elland Road itself, is muted at present. We await news.


At last a sensible appointment by Cellino

Fri Nov 1stt Redfearn handed 12 month deal – Phil Hay YP Leeds United have confirmed the appointment of new head coach Neil Redfearn on a 12-month rolling contract. Redfearn put pen to paper ahead of today’s match at Cardiff City, accepting a deal which gives him the option of a second year as first-team boss or a return to his job as academy manager. The 49-year-old replaces Darko Milanic and becomes Leeds’ third permanent head coach this season. Milanic was sacked after 32 days and six games in charge last weekend – just a month after Leeds dispensed with the services of David Hockaday. Redfearn took 10 points from four matches as caretaker in the interim but has now landed the post full time. The former Barnsley player has been with United since 2009 when he joined the club as Under-18s coach. He took full control of the academy two years ago following the departure of Chris Sulley. Speaking after the team’s 3-1 defeat to Cardiff on Saturday, Redfearn said: “I’m very proud, it’s the club I supported as a boy. “It’s got a lot of tradition.” Sun 27th of Oct A stark reminder of how Cellino works – Hay Darko Milanic had his family with him at Elland Road yesterday – the first time any of them had ventured to Leeds – and they were in the vicinity when word of his sacking spread. It was left to Nicola Salerno, Leeds United’s sporting director, to deliver the news on behalf of Massimo Cellino and it was clear in that instant why Milanic came to England without his nearest and dearest in tow. Here one day, gone the next; a club where the survival rate of head coaches is at epidemic proportions. Football is a ruthless game and those who work in it know the risks but regardless of Milanic’s compatibility with Leeds, Cellino’s treatment of him has been horribly harsh. Milanic gave up a job at Sturm Graz to come here – bought his way out of a contract, no less – and he was hacked down in no time, on the one afternoon when his family chose to attend a game. They might never forget their experience of the hours they spent at Elland Road. Few others will lament Milanic’s dismissal but largely because they learned nothing about him, and the little he demonstrated in 32 days did not inspire a groundswell of confidence. No wins in six, three points from 18 and perplexing spells of indecision underwhelmed the Slovenian’s audience but the clue with Milanic was in his background. Cellino could see at the start that Milanic knew nothing about United’s squad and less still about the Championship. Four weeks was no time for a proper education, however annoyed Cellino felt with his initial performance. It seemed from the outset that Milanic was feeling his way into the job, which is not to say that better results lay ahead. In his six games as head coach he was prone to leaving his players to sweat as pressure built and unwilling to trust in the ability of his squad to take the opposition to the cleaners. Yesterday’s loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a previous defeat at Rotherham United found Milanic sitting on his hands with Leeds a goal up and badly in need of another. Cellino said he first decided to sack the 46-year-old after last week’s 1-1 draw at Norwich City, a game in which United held back cautiously either side of Souleymane Doukara’s equaliser. If that was Milanic’s natural tack – and those who watched him coach in Europe said he generally swayed towards defensive tactics – then his tenure was always going to misfire. The word ‘negative’ had started to stick by full-time yesterday. If, on the other hand, he is an adventurous man at heart then he will wish on reflection that he’d released the hounds immediately. Time is no longer a commodity at Leeds. The first three months of this season have shown us that. Impatience rules and the impatience is Cellino’s. As Milanic flies home to relative obscurity, attention turns again to United’s owner and the line between eccentricity and irresponsibility. It was reckless on Cellino’s part to install David Hockaday as head coach in June and then shoot him after six games in charge. It is incredibly inept to have sourced a replacement who survived for the same number of games and half the number of days. Cellino is turning now to an alternative he disregarded last month, the club’s academy boss Neil Redfearn. It contradicts the evidence of the past 12 weeks to hope that he knows what he’s doing. Three points from six games,” an irate Cellino said yesterday night as he confirmed Milanic’s exit. “That is relegation (form).” It certainly is. But the slide in that direction is not simply a by-product of the sport on the pitch, mediocre though much of it has been. The sea-changes, the meddling, the impulsiveness, the volatility; all of it has contributed to a season which cannot get going. Every day is another drama. Fifteen new players came to Leeds in the summer. All of them have dealt with three different coaches – Redfearn included – and three different personalities in as many months. Some who played under Hockaday were banished by Milanic. Some who played under Milanic might now be sidelined by Redfearn. Brought in from Italy, South America and Paraguay, anyone who felt far away from home to begin with doubtless will feel further away now. The scenario at Leeds is not a crisis, it’s an inevitability. And the only obvious solution is the delegation of authority and trust by the man at the top. Cellino likes to be all things to all men, the ultimate worker. He has no chief executive and no desire for a chief executive. He sees the job of a chief executive as a duplication of his own and he prefers not to weaken his control. He spends countless hours working on complicated transfer deals – Adryan’s loan from Flamengo a prime example – but shows nothing like the same reverence towards coaches. Players are beautiful, head coaches are not. It’s as if he thinks that footballers have skill far beyond his own but coaching he could handle. Coaching he could handle if only he didn’t have so much else to worry about. The fact that Cellino has Redfearn to fall back on might be his saving grace. In all his time as owner of Leeds, Cellino has shown few people more respect than he has United’s academy boss. He likes Redfearn and rates him, and Redfearn, to his credit, is willing to speak his mind when he and Cellino talk. Those who know Redfearn are adamant that in his four games as caretaker, he picked the line-up he wanted to pick and dropped players as he saw fit. The squad had nothing against Milanic when the Slovenian beat the 49-year-old to the job full-time but they were largely supportive of the idea of Redfearn keeping the job. As a group, they can be trusted to play for him now. Cellino and Redfearn sat together during yesetrday’s defeat to Wolves, a sure sign with hindsight that Milanic was on thin ice. Redfearn kept his distance from the first team during Milanic’s reign and would not have been present at Elland Road without an invitation. The crowd chanted for Redfearn as Wolves wore Leeds down and Milanic was duly fired around 6pm after a conversation between Cellino and Salerno. These are increasingly delicate days for Cellino. His money and commitment have earned him legitimate popularity in Leeds but the next few months have the potential to get messy: a season on the edge, the repurchase of Elland Road unconfirmed, the shadow of the Football League continuing to hover and Giuseppe Bellusci facing allegations of racism. It is genuinely time for some reassuring news. As for Milanic, he leaves with the same mystique he brought with him in the first place. Who was he and what did he really have to offer long-term? How much of this was his fault? “Everyone has pressure,” Milanic said on his first day in the job. “This is not new to me.” Welcome to Leeds, Darko. And farewell.