Weds 27th of February 2013. From Right in the Gary Kelly’s Leeds United need to `Do a Swansea’  (This is a superb article and well worth a read). In the 1999-2000 season Swansea City gained promotion from the fourth tier, Bradford City meanwhile survived to fight another day in the premier league with a famous goal from Leeds old Boy David Wetherall. Look at how the tables have turned. With a glaring 78% of ball possession in Sundays league cup final Swansea boasted the likes of Michu, Nathan Dyer, Jon De Guzman on the playing staff and a Manager in Michael Laudrup who himself won the European cup twice as a player, once with Barcelona.. Bradford? They conceded 5 and had a single shot on target from warhorse Gary Jones. Now some might say Bradford were merely carrying out a West Yorkshire tradition of losing the ability to play football on Wembley’s hallowed turf out of respect for our capitulations versus Watford, Aston Villa and even South Yorkshire’s finest Doncaster.. But the truth is they are eons away from the premier league, and 5-0 flattered them. But this tale should not only give us all a good old laugh as Leeds fans, it should also give us hope. In short investments can increase in value as well as go down.. Swansea look the premier league fixture now dont they? They have a `brand’ of stylish football, no matter who it seems has occupied the manager’s chair since Martinez’ departure to Wigan. Bradford? Well they look every inch the basement dwellers. Potless and hopeless. But as the opening paragraphs tell us, this isnt the case. Given the right backing to Bradford and a number of poor commercial decisions by Swansea in a few seasons that could be reversed. And this truism remains for Leeds too. It was heartbreaking to see Man City turn us over at the Etihad, but the key now is that we do finally have an opportunity to start making progress. In the 8 years of so of Ken Bates ownership (direct/indirect whatever) we failed to attract key investors – why? Well look at how painful it was for GFH to buy us, it tells its own story. But that hurdle is well and truly cleared now. Yes Ken Bates trampled on goodwill like a whole field of Grand National runners, and yes he cost us 5,000-8,000 fans a game with exorbitant ticket prices, and the sort of petty school playground abuse few can stomach. Oh and yes he cost us nearly £13m if reports are to be believed. On building projects that have made little difference to the largely decrepit Elland Road and circa £3m on a court case with Melvyn Levi. But those damages are not permanent. But positively a number of facts present themselves here. The key one being that Leeds managed to get 25,000 bodies through the door for a mid week fixture against Blackpool when ticket prices dropped was critical. It shows that there is still interest in Leeds for the team, and thats the tip of the iceberg. What if that was a Saturday match? Versus a premier league side, or a local rival? In theory you could consider opening up the top tier of the East stand and getting near to 40,000 bods in the ground. The cash that generates in the food tills, the superstore.. Never mind that the likely repeat business, well it plugs up very quickly the holes Bates poisonous tenure smashed in our club. We can only look at those 8 years as lost. Falling into administration, losing focus on football and spending beyond our means on infrastructure that would seem of little apparent benefit to a 2nd or 3rd tier side with falling attendances. Just imagine what £13m of transfer fees would have brought us? I daresay the likelihood of Premier League football, and the guaranteed £90m-£100m that would bring. Utter madness then that it was flouted. Which leads on to the `how’ of it all. GFH have ben accused of late of trying to flip their Leeds United Investment, an accusation they strongly refute. Why would they? With the aforementioned £100m on offer for a premier league berth, why take £8m or £9m cash now? As recent interviews have pointed out their first and prime duty is to their own backers and investors, in Leeds they saw an opportunity to generate returns on an investment, but job one was surely to extricate Bates. Personalities aside for 8 years no one would invest in Leeds seriously, prior to that it was a different story. In 2005 & 2007 the 2 occasions when it was last up for grabs, there were other potential investors. In 2005 Leeds were about to go into Administration, but Bates trumped those waiting in the wings who were no doubt waiting to buy Leeds on the cheap, Sebastian Sainsbury was the other name in the frame (allegedly) in 2007 at least 3 other serious offers were on the table, so Bates’ claim that `no one else would stump up the money’ are fantasy. Leeds have always been a good investment. All sorts of figures have been quoted for the purchase £21m-£44M?… the former figure looks about right, if one considers the debt burden at Leeds created by Kens building projects, and the dent he placed in the cashflow to fund them, but the upside? Well it’s surely worth it. And like Swansea an initial burst of investment in the playing squad, and with Leeds a financial restructure to release the `natural’ cashflow back into the system is critical too. In their interview with the YEP, the set questions seem to have a `stuck record’ quality to them certainly in relation to the answers, the most common response being that they are an investment bank and that it is their model to seek investment partners. That’s what all banks do, they go to the market for capital, invest it, and try to make an additional return on it – interest on your current account doesnt grow on trees – your money is being used – hate to break it to you! They also haven’t discounted selling a majority stake – as long as it’s to someone they believe really can back the club properly with the right level of resources, as GFH pointed out last week, they would remain as shareholders in the investment, so why sell it to someone who would wreck said investment or who simply wouldn’t bring anything to the table that they already could? Rest assured their decisions will be business ones, and feel positive fellow Leeds fans that offers are most likely being made now that Leeds have people at the helm who want to make money. They way they do that is to focus on the core strengths of Leeds. A big fanbase, a one club city, and the money that a promotion would bring. They want all of us back at Elland Road every other Saturday watching good football ideally in the premier league. They don’t want a Cardiff or a Leicester situation where money is thrown indiscriminately at players and promotion still doesnt happen, they want to fix the financial machine behind Leeds, to ensure that its turnover is reflected in its cashflow, and then that only a sensible amount of investment is needed annually (within Uefa fair play rules) to keep the club on a sound footing. That sounds good to me. If that backing comes from Steve Parkin, Peter Wilkinson or anyone else then to be honest we should all be fairly ambivalent about that. Adam Pearson has counted himself out yesterday (for the moment) and while his connections to Leeds make him a rather obvious candidate to work with the new owners it may be that the time isnt right for him. What we dont want is a series of Oligarchs turning up at our door a la QPR or Portsmouth, but worse than that we dont want a Coventry style purchase by a group who appear hell bent on a profit at all costs. They are a team purchased by an investment vehicle, but that seems to have gone badly wrong, the difference at Leeds though is the continued levels of interest from external investors. Our fanbase is as big as many of the premier league sides both at home and overseas, moreso than a Coventry City, a Wigan, or dare I say for now a Swansea. Which takes us full circle. If a team as relatively small as Swansea can rebuild their stadium, turn a tiny cashflow into one suitable to sensibly reinvest, and then grasp those premier league riches the job is achievable too for Leeds, and eminently more sensible. Have faith fellow supporters, and Bradford, your day in the sun will come again too. Well done for getting to Wembley, you did better than us! We might run out of games this season as looks likely but for the first time in a long time the hope we all seem to hang on to might soon be justified.

AdamPearson

Pearson – a perfect fit for Leeds but sadly not yet

Tues Feb 26th.Pearson not for Leeds…yet  Adam Pearson ha distanced himself from a takeover of Leeds United owing to his rugby league commitment. Pearson, the 49-year-old owner of Super League side Hull, has been widely linked in recent weeks with a move back to the club he used to serve as a director, having admitted he was keen on a return to football and that Leeds interested him. With the Championship side’s owners GFH Capital – who completed their purchase of the club on December 21 last year – saying they are open to investment from the right partners, Pearson was thought to be someone who was looking to get involved. But despite strong reports to the contrary, Pearson insists he is remaining at the KC Stadium. He said: It’s a funny one because Hull FC is mine. I own the club, it’s my baby and I want to grow and develop it. “Football is my business and I’ll always get rumours and connections in football as that’s my industry. “Leeds is a club that I live close to and I’ve worked there before, so I understand how big a club it is, but at this minute in time, it’s not for me. My focus is completely on Hull FC and my other business interests. “There’ll be no movement to Elland Road in the near future. This is my complete focus and so I’d like to squash those rumours once and for all.  “I’ve not made a single comment in the press about it and all my focus and financial backing is on this club.”Pearson took over at Hull in the summer of 2011 and has been robust in trying to establish the Black and Whites as one of the game’s powerbrokers. The signings of big names such as England forward Gareth Ellis have backed up his ambition but, with silverware yet to arrive, he concedes he still has work to do. Pearson said: “I’m incredibly passionate about the club. Watching the team and the commitment and effort they put in, and the supporters are so passionate about the club, you can’t help but reach those levels of passion yourself. “Certainly I won’t be leaving FC until there’s some silverware and we’re established as a top Super League club. I want to win something and try to get into that top four.“There are some really strong clubs who all want to do the same thing, with some good owners and some good coaches. “We’ll just keep battling away but it won’t be a lack of effort or a lack of commitment if we don’t reach those goals. We are going to be going all out to make sure we succeed here.” Pearson gave an interview last month in which he said: “I will definitely get back into football. I would like to go in with a consortium with a club that has huge potential. The one that stands out is Leeds United.”Just days later, GFH Capital said they turned down a bid from a consortium, of which some believed Pearson to be a member, to buy a controlling interest in the club.

MoriosnvBburn

Morison tussles for the ball v Rovers

Sat 23rd of Feb. Blackburn Rovers 0 Leeds United 0Whites rue wasted chance at Rovers – YEP.  01 Kenny 02 Peltier  04 Lees 15 Warnock 07 Green 11 Varney 18 Tonge 19 Norris 25 Byram  09 Morison  44 McCormack Unused  Substitutes:12 Ashdown  05 Pearce 14 White 17 Brown 30 Hall 21 Diouf 22 Habibou (Att – 18,467 (3,500 LUFC)NEIL Warnock kept faith with an unchanged line-up as Leeds United looked to give their season another shot in the arm at Blackburn Rovers. United had most of the play at Ewood Park but were left to rue missed chances on another frustrating afternoon. United’s first-half dominance extended into the second period and Ross McCormack wasted a glaring chance to open the scoring when Colin Kazim-Richards was caught in possession. Steve Morison fed the ball to McCormack who found himself with only Jake Kean to beat but he took a touch before dragging a shot wide of the goalkeeper’s right-hand post. Rovers struggled to shake off their nerves and a weak backpass from Grant Hanley threatened to allow McCormack in again in the 50th minute but Lee Peltier almost gifted the hosts the opening goal 10 minutes later. The defender mis-kicked a backpass to Danny Murphy whose through ball put Jordan Rhodes clear. The striker hit the side-netting with a low strike from 18 yards, letting Leeds off the hook. But United continued to do most of the pressing and Sam Byram nodded Michael Tonge’s corner wide as another chance presented itself with 20 minutes to play. Hanley, meanwhile, narrowly avoided turning a McCormack cross into his own net while Bentley fired a half-chance high into the crowd. Luke Varney had a late opportunity to snatch victory but scuffed a close-range shot into the hands of a relieved Kean and Kenny’s low save denied Rhodes at the death. Reflecting on the clash, Michael Appleton admitted that a win for either side would have been “harsh”. “When I walked into the football club nobody had any thoughts whatsoever about getting into the play-offs. “I think a lot of the damage was done before I arrived but, saying that, there’s 13 games to go. “The message to the players after the game was you just need to keep knocking on the door. If you keep knocking on the door and asking questions hopefully someone will slip up, and generally someone does.”   “It could have gone either way. I thought it was two sides going hammer and tongs with each other,” he told the club’s official website. “I thought it was a good game to be involved in, but I think Neil would have thought it a little harsh had we got the winner, and I’d have thought it was harsh if they had got the winner.”As usual Neil Warnock saw something  the opposing manage failed to see. : “You don’t tend to come away to Blackburn, end up 0-0 and be as disappointed as we are,” he said. “I don’t know how we’ve not won the game really. I never thought they were going to score, even at the death when they had a couple of corners.“I thought we were super at the back, did well in midfield – you’ve just got to take your chances.“When I’ve looked at the chances – Lee (Peltier) should have scored when he mishit it into the goalie, Ross McCormack should have scored, Luke Varney should have scored.“It’s a start because we asked them to give a performance like they did on Wednesday night against Blackpool – they were super against Blackpool.“Away from home, in a couple of games we’ve been diabolical but this side’s only played together two games on the trot and if I’d had this side from the start of the season we’d be a lot higher.Warnock remains on the lookout for attacking reinforcements in the loan market but no deals are close to being completed. He then went on to praise the efforts of forward trio Varney, McCormack and Steve Morison. We probably need nother striker/winger type to give us that little bit but I don’t think I can fault anything,” said Warnock. Away from home you’ve got to start with the front lads and we’ve not had front lads who’ve worked like that this season.“Varney’s come back and hit a good vein, Morison works his socks off and Ross is doing the best he can.“He’s working harder than he’s ever done. He’s disappointed he didn’t score that opportunity that Morison set up for him.” “I just take one game at a time,”he added. “If we’d lost on Wednesday and lost today I’d have been in Cornwall on Monday.”When I walked into the football club nobody had any thoughts whatsoever about getting into the play-offs,” he said. “I think a lot of the damage was done before I arrived but, saying that, there’s 13 games to go.“The message to the players after the game was you just need to keep knocking on the door.“If you keep knocking on the door and asking questions hopefully someone will slip up, and generally someone does.“There’s still a lot of games to go and if we’re still in and around it with six or seven games to go, that’s the time to really start putting the pressure on.”Sorry Colin that’s a crock of shit and I’m not having it.You have been saying from the word go that you would get us promoted. You are in charge more than a year. You have brought in more than 20 players. It’s your team. We have won away three times all season and just because you have secured 4 points from the last six you think we have turned a corner. I doubt it, but we’ll see. Don’t ring any estate agents in Cornwall just yet ,Colin.

Sat 23rd. Cost of Leeds buyout = £21M – YEP. Gulf Finance House, the parent company of Leeds United owner GFH Capital, has announced a profit of around £6.5m for 2012. The Bahraini investment bank made 10.03m US Dollars in the past 12 months, up from 0.38m US dollars in 2011. Gulf Finance House is technically the ultimate owner of Leeds, having authorised executives of GFH Capital to lead the takeover of the Championship club last year. Both the bank and GFH Capital have faced intense scrutiny of their accounts and financial outlook prior to and since the purchase of United from Ken Bates on December 21. Gulf Finance House’s latest balance sheet shows that around £21m was spent on the “acquisition of subsidiary”, a possible indication of the true cost of buying out ex-Leeds owner Ken Bates. The subsidiary concerned is described as “held for sale”, a term which often indicates a plan to sell the asset in the near future.

Sat Jan 23rd. Leeds United: Long fight just beginning to capture hearts and minds of fans – Phil Hay YEP. On Wednesday, GFH Capital channeled a sum in excess of £1m into Leeds United. This, the company said, was to “stabilise the club’s financial position.” Or to put it another way, plug a hole in the accounts. When the Football League introduces the full remit of Financial Fair Play, that solution to cash shortages will have its limits. Next season, owners of Championship clubs can invest a maximum of £6m, falling to £5m in 2013-14 and £3m the following year. The Football League will wave a transfer embargo at anyone who breaches those boundaries. So Leeds United need to raise their income and stem the haemorrhage of money outlined by their last set of financial results. The club have a high turnover by Championship standards – over £30m – and a modest wage bill in percentage terms but player sales subsidised an operating loss of £3.3m in 2011-12. Judging by Wednesday’s cash injection, GFH Capital is now meeting the shortfall. Only the firm can say how long it can afford to keep doing so. Certain millstones are too heavy to shift: the annual rent paid for Elland Road and Thorp Arch – unless GFH Capital follows through with pre-takeover hints that it would buy one or both properties – and the commitment to using income from next season’s season tickets to pay for the contentious redevelopment of Elland Road’s East Stand. Savings elsewhere should be possible, not least among £5.2m of “unknown” administrative expenses. But Leeds in their present state cannot thrive. If cash from GFH Capital is needed to stabilise United, rather than take them forward, the club must either stand still or find another way. The immediate answer? Ask the empty seats at Elland Road; the same seats that Leeds were too often willing to leave flapping in the wind so long as their break-even attendance was met. In the mind’s eye, the path to pots of gold ends at the door of the Premier League and high-end sponsors – take a look at Manchester City’s sponsors for the definition of high-end – but neither will help GFH Capital in the interim. Additional investment aside, the company can only look to a woefully under-nurtured support to raise United’s revenue. As Wednesday night showed, it already has. The promotion of cut-price tickets at Elland Road was so long overdue as to be laughable. Like the introduction of half-season tickets in a ground which sits half-empty, you can only guess why no-one bothered before. Clubs can name their price for a premium product when supply outstrips demand. Any fool knows that a Championship team who are struggling to suck 20,000 into a 38,000-capacity stadium would benefit from self-promotion. The figures on Wednesday were thus: a crowd increased by 4,000 on this season’s average for league games and 6,000 higher than the attendance seen at United’s defeat to Cardiff City. There were ample reasons not to bother with their meeting with Blackpool and many would have used them had usual category prices demanded that adults pay £30-plus. Instead, the atmosphere was enhanced. Ken Bates always argued against these promotions on the basis that money lost through reductions was rarely recouped by increased sales and other income and the financial workings of all this is not irrelevant. But the absence of these schemes in each and every season since United’s relegation from the Premier League has been criminal. Breaking even is fine until the day you wake up to find that the accounts are in the red and supporters who said they would walk away were not making idle threats. It is sobering to imagine how many would-be fans have been lost to the past 10 years; kids who were never hooked and never will be. This has been the worst time to shun pro-activity, a period in which there has been saturation coverage of professional football. How many impressionable youngsters will have watched televised coverage of Leeds United’s FA Cup tie at Manchester City and decided that the team in white were worth following? How many would rather sample the Etihad? I live near a young City fan, Yorkshire-born and bred. When he saw me last Sunday, he asked: “Do you have to watch that every week?” Touché. But the experience of attending Elland Road, which many had on Wednesday, should engender a different attitude and a firmer sense of loyalty. Leeds are a club who, for many years, have reaped what they’ve sown. In one respect, Bates is right. Selling tickets at £15 for adults and £5 for juniors 23 times a season is unfeasible. Nor is it fair on season-ticket holders. When GFH Capital comes to sell season tickets, it might find that prices are only part of the battle. No less influential will be clarity over Neil Warnock’s position, the company’s plan for replacing him as manager and the credibility of its promises for a first summer in charge. Much as it sought to deal with media inquiries this week, including questions from this newspaper, the answers were nowhere near candid enough. To its credit, the company seems to have grasped the severity of one of United’s many shortcomings and shown some understanding of the fact that properly exploiting a fan base is not the same as fleecing it. This is a long fight but it had to start somewhere. Cracking article. How many of have kids interested in supporting Leeds but suffocated by Bates’ hostile anti-supporters measures over the past eight years. 

Sun 24th. Leeds to be sold again next week” –Castles (Taken from To Ell and Back) Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castle’s reckons the club will be sold again next week to a consortium consisting of former whites’ director Adam Pearson and Saudi Arab investors. Castles writes today “THE Leeds United manager Neil Warnock could soon find himself working for a third set of owners in one season. The Championship club are close to being taken over for the second time in a little over two months after a round of negotiations between the current owners, Gulf Finance House, and a consortium fronted by the former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson. According to sources, a Share Purchase Agreement was drawn up between the two parties last week in preparation for a scheduled completion meeting.”Castles believes Leeds could be under new ownership again as early as next week! However I understand GFH Capital, Leeds current new owners have described the story as “100% incorrect” and are consulting their lawyers. It has not been an easy nine weeks or so for GFH since they seized control of the club from Ken Bates. Although two of their directors Salem Patel and David Haigh went on a fans charm-offensive largely instigated on twitter, cracks soon appeared. The decision to retain Bates as Chairman and appoint him as honorary President was heavily criticised by many supporters who campaigned for Bates to sell the club. Questions were also raised as to whether or not GFH had the funds to move the club forward as our moves in the January transfer market were largely funded by the sale of Luciano Becchio to Norwich. I honestly feel that GFH both under-estimated the size of the task and the collective anxiety of the fans, who’s expectations demand a return to the Premiership. I think Adam Pearson, who has publicly spoken about wanting to invest in Leeds would be welcomed by many, myself included as he is a proven winner and experienced football man not a grey suited banker working between Beeston and Bahrain looking utterly ridiculous draped in bright white scarves! If GFH do “flip”and make themselves a nice little earner, it would be one in the eye for Bates too!

Morincbts

Morison celebrates in front of the Kop

Weds 20th of Feb. Leeds 2-0 Blackpool. 01 Kenny, 02 Peltier Norris (Pearce – 90′ ) 25 Byram 09 Morison 44 McCormack Unused Subs : 12 Ashdown, 14 White 30 Hall 21 Diouf 22 Habibou. Ref: Boyeson Att: 25,532.Report from Vital Leeds.   Second half goals from David Norris and Steve Morison relieved some of the growing pressure on Leeds boss Neil Warnock.Leeds made a good start and Luke Varney should have given them the lead inside ten minutes when he headed straight at Michael Gilks with the goal at his mercy. Ross McCormack also went close in the opening half hour, he was also denied by Gilks. Matt Phillips looked the most dangerous in the final third for Blackpool and he hit a shot straight into the arms of Paddy Kennyin the Leeds goal. Highly rated Tom Ince also went close for the visitors, as he saw one shot hit the side netting. Paul Green shot wide for Leeds as they searched for an opening goal in the first half. The game was becoming end to end and Ince saw another effort go straight at Kenny. Varney saw another effort miss the target after great work from Steve Morison as the sides went in at the break goalless. David Norris opened the scoring for Leeds just before the hour when he fired home from the edge of the area. Leeds doubled their lead soon afterwards whenSteve Morison scored his first goal for the club on his home debut. Norris came close to scoring his second of the evening when being set up by Varney but this time he saw his shot go just wide. At the other end, Kenny again denied Ince with a good save. Ince continued to look dangerous, and after a good run, he teed up Alex Baptiste but he fired over. Blackpool missed a great chance to get into the game late on when Baptiste headed wide when unmarked inside the Leeds area. It was to prove the last chance of the evening as Leeds moved back into the top half of the table in ninth place Neil Warnock to LUTV :“I couldn’t have asked anymore. The last three games we should have won them all. We wanted to play but we get criticised. I don’t think there was a star tonight. They were all good, but I asked them to gamble. I thought Peltier was that good he played with a fag in. Two fabulous saves from Paddy also. I said to him coming out last tonight “I need a clean sheet from you Paddy”. To be fair that first save how he got to that…. That’s all they had though but if one had gone in the crowd might have got nervous. I know we have not been brilliant but we should be 9 points better off, we really should. I don’t think there was a weakness tonight. Young Sam was nervous at the start but he came through especially in the second half. But when you have genuine players like Green and Norris and all the others. If I’m not here next year we have a great bunch of lads to continue. There is no dead wood here like when I arrived. It’s a great atmosphere now. We are not going to give up. I think Morison was horrible to play against tonight. He gives me something which I hadn’t got. I didn’t even know he scored tonight until after the game. We have great games coming up, Blackburn and Millwall next Saturday at home. When the fans are like that it’s great. With this group of players we can get that consistency. We have a difficult group of games but we’ll give it a real go. Good win by Leeds and it’s nice to be saying positive things for a change. Norris and Tonge did well (first half) and it’s great to see Morison get his first goal for the Whites. The reduced tickets and family incentives for half term probably put an extra 8,000 fans on the gate. Well done ! Now for the realistic side. It all counts for nothing unless they go on a run and that includes the match at Blackburn Rvs. 

Weds 20th of February 2013.Q & A with GFH from Yorkshire Post.In response to a request for an interview with GFH Capital’s David Haigh and Salem Patel, the YEP was asked to submit written questions about their plans for leeds united. Here are their replies:
Q: In the press release of 25th. of September 25, 2012, GFH spoke about how they were going to “lead and arrange” the takeover. Many took that to mean you were working in tandem with other investors. Did that change? And if it did, was there a time when you had second thoughts about continuing with the purchase?
A: It did not change. We are an Investment Bank and our model is to bring investors to investments.
Q: Where is your funding coming from? Are suggestions that you have a wealthy backer inaccurate and was that ever the case at any stage of takeover negotiations?
A: The acquisition of the club and injections of working capital have come from GFH Capital’s own resources and that of several of its clients.
Q: Is it correct, as reported on Saturday, that you are willing to consider offers of investment for a 30 per cent stake in Leeds United?
A: We are an Investment Bank and as discussed at our first meeting, we are seeking strategic investors.
Q: What are your reasons for looking to sell 30 per cent of the club?
A: As above, we are an Investment Bank and as discussed at our first meeting, we bring investors to investments. This has never been any secret.
Q: If investment on that scale is not found, do you have the resources to take the Leeds United forward regardless or will it leave the club under significant financial pressure?
A: No, it won’t. While we have the funds to take the club forward without the need for additional investors, we are of the belief that building a strong consortium of strategic investors will better serve and protect, and build our great club.
Q: Are you open to or actively seeking offers to buy either a majority stake or a 100% shareholding in Leeds United?
A: We are not open to or actively looking to sell 100%. We consider the club to have very good potential and wish to benefit when that potential is realised.
Q: Can you confirm whether an offer for a majority stake in Leeds United (as confirmed on the club’s website) remains on the table? Or has it been rejected?
A: It has been rejected.
Q: What investment has GFH Capital made in Leeds United so far?
A: The figures are confidential.
Q: When we spoke on December 21 after the press conference to confirm the takeover, you mentioned that cash flow was a worry. How will you be able to rectify that in the short and long-term?
A: Cashflow is an issue at most football clubs, simply due to the nature of the
Q: How has the day-to-day running of Leeds changed since December 21 and what further changes do you envisage over the coming months?
A: For most members of staff there has been no change yet, but we are slowly trying to impose a more corporate structure on the club. We are also still continuing with our review and, as a result, there may be further changes in the future.
Q: Have there been many surprises in the two months since taking over? And if so, what were they?
A: Not really surprises as such, but this is a unique industry. I suppose the biggest surprise, and given the fact we attended a number matches before taking over it shouldn’t be, is the level of support and how deeply people care about the club. This has been apparent both with the fans – the show of support at the Etihad was amazing – and with the staff, the majority of whom are here because of the club and are fans themselves.
Q: You said in an interview with the Guardian that building projects at Elland Road have negatively affected the club’s financial state? Is that the case and do you feel that those building projects were a mistake?
A: We don’t feel they were a mistake as such, but we would not have chosen to undertaken them at the time that they were done. That said, the club now has a stadium that is ready for Premier League football.
Q: Were you aware of the exact burden and cost of those building projects prior to your takeover i.e. once due diligence was complete?
A: Yes. The due diligence process gave us a clear view.
Q: Much has been made of the financial position of Gulf Finance House (GFH Capital’s parent company). You’ve said before that you’re a different company with different balance sheets but clearly you’re 100 per cent owned by Gulf Finance House so if the bank encounters severe problems then so would you. Can you outline Gulf Finance House’s financial position as you understand it and explain why recent years seem to have been a challenge for the company?
A: You need to wait until Thursday/Friday when q4 financials (Gulf Finance House’s results for the last quarter of 2012) are published for a better picture. Like any bank in the world, GFH has suffered due to the global financial crisis, but we think GFH has done better than a lot of others in trying to recover from that.
Q: Eight weeks on from the takeover, can you outline GFH Capital’s motivation for investing in Leeds United?
A: It’s the same as what was said on the day of the takeover – this is a great club with relatively little debt and huge potential.
Q: Are you speaking to Neil Warnock about what is going to happen with regards to the manager’s job? In Saturday’s Guardian, you spoke of wanting a younger man to come in and that suggested a change is on the way.
A: We speak to Neil regularly and as you know his contract expires at the end of this season.Questions compiled by Phil Hay

Feb 19th.The stats don’t lie. Leeds United’s league record under Warnock: (appointed February 18, 2012): (played 44, won 16, drawn 10, lost 18)United’s League position when he took over: 11th place – played 31, won 13, drawn 6, lost 12. United’s league position now: 12th place – played 31, won 12, drawn 6, lost 13. Home record under Warnock (league) – played 22, won 11, drawn 3, lost 8. Away record under Warnock (league) – played 22, won 5, drawn 7, lost 10. High points: Capital One Cup victories over visiting top-flight sides Everton and Southampton and an FA Cup fourth-round triumph over Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road. Win triple against high-flying duo Crystal Palace and Leicester City allied to a derby success at Huddersfield in late autumn/early December. Low points: 7-3 and 6-1 home hammerings against Nottingham Forest and Watford. Six-match winless streak away from home and return of just three league wins on the road this term. 4-0 FA Cup loss at Manchester City.

Feb 19th. Warnock a year at Elland Road- YEP. February 18 marked the first anniversary of Neil Warnock’s fraught time in charge of Leeds United. You would probably have struggled to find a more inauspicious occasion. Don’t expect for one minute that anything resembling a celebration – even in the loosest sense of the word – will have taken place at United’s Thorp Arch training ground among Warnock and his staff. Or for that matter among United’s multitude of the punch-drunk supporters, who suffered another blow to the solar plexus after witnessing the tortuous FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City in a TV shocker on Sunday afternoon. The milestone was truly a cursory one. While in an ideal world, Warnock would have been envisaging his side preparing for a definitive business end of the season which would hopefully culminate in a record eighth promotion to guild his hitherto impressive managerial career on his first anniversary, the reality has proved starkly different. And how. For the third time in the space of five weeks – and for the second successive away game – the 64-year-old was subjected to chants of “Warnock, time to go” during Sunday’s wretched 4-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium – with the former Sheffield United and QPR chief admitting for the first time after the game he was prepared to leave United before his planned exit in May if owners GFH Capital felt it was in the club’s best interests. It’s all a far cry from 12 months ago when Warnock breezed through the doors at Elland Road with a fair bit of fanfare. Just as Whites legend Gordon Strachan did when he arrived at Middlesbrough in October 2009, only to step down just under a year later. In Warnock, here was the no-nonsense manager to whip United into organisational shape and collectively get them to‘man up, sort out the flakiest of defences and bring some spirit back into a demoralised and fractious dressing room which was laid bare in the final weeks of the Simon Grayson era. In those areas, perhaps Warnock’s biggest success has been in uniting a playing camp that palpably lacked spirit a year ago. But while the effort has been there, the quality has by and large been negligible, with the Achilles heel of a leaky back four, which has bedevilled United since their return to the second tier, also stubbornly refusing to be repaired. Ahead of taking his place in the stand for the home derby with Doncaster Rovers after being appointed on the morning of February 18 last year, Warnock will have looked at the Championship table and seen the sight of United in 11th place with 45 points after 31 games. It won’t be lost on many supporters that is almost a mirror image of where Leeds find themselves now, albeit one place lower and three points worse off in 12th spot – eight points behind the team in the final play-off position in Middlesbrough and interestingly only the same amount in front of the side currently third-from-bottom, in Barnsley. Just as with last season, United remain marooned in the Championship never-never land, one of number of clubs with grand designs on recovering what they see as their rightful place in the top-flight, but without a firm and coherent strategy to achieve that which resonates with fans. United have stood still and failed to move on during a static 12 months. In mitigation, Warnock has regularly voiced his frustrations at the behind-the-scenes situation at United – a common theme of a forgettable campaign, where the only light that has been provided has come courtesy of both domestic cups.But despite mounting a defence of his time at the club, insisting after Sunday’s game that he ‘deserved a medal’ given what has gone on away from the pitch, you sense he is passing the point of no return with many Whites supporters, with the vast majority of the 6,100 fans who headed across the M62 to the Etihad delivering their own withering verdict in song. A saying goes that if you lose your away supporters, your hardcore fans who follow their team week-in and week-out, you are in big trouble.  And whatever your take on whether Whites supporters have been within their rights to call for Warnock’s head or not, United’s faithful, as the song says, ‘do what they want’ and say what they want as Warnock is unfortunately finding out for his sake, with his time at Leeds becoming a sad postscript to a largely distinguished managerial career. Offering his own take on Warnock’s arduous first year in charge, former Whites captain Brendan Ormsby said: Neil has so much experience at these levels in football and when he took over, I thought that he was probably one of the best men we could get at that moment as Neil knows the divisions inside out and the players he needs. “But looking at it, I think he hasn’t set things on fire here really, apart from two decent cup runs. But cup runs are always just a bonus for clubs like us, the league is the bread and butter and what you are judged on.“The games against Chelsea, Southampton and Everton were all well and good. But the fans will be looking at the league and thinking: ‘Where the hell are we?’ Quite simply, the team is nowhere near good enough for the Premier League and that was proved on Sunday.“I do not think some of the players that Neil has brought in have been good enough and some of them are below the level we need to get out of this league. “I have previously thought there wasn’t that much difference between the Premier League and the Championship. But you could really see there was at Manchester City. “On the pitch, although it is not nice to say, we were totally outclassed and outplayed.“You could see the difference between the two teams in terms of the two levels they are playing at and when it got to 2-0, I thought it was going to be a cricket score.“In terms of the criticism of Neil, I actually had earphones as I was working, but I was told the Leeds fans were singing: ‘You’re nothing special, we get beat every week’ and I know the supporters were also having another go at Neil after doing so at Middlesbrough. “That’s the way it goes, I’m afraid.”

Sun Feb 17th. Some things we know now that we didn’t know before the weekend by GC

It seems “likely that somewhere between £14M and £23M was the real fee paid by GFH for LUFC from Bates with more arriving based on Leeds being “successful”.

GFH are“seeking strategic investors” for the club having bought LUFC with “their own cash plus cash from “institutional investors and “smaller strategic investors”.

Before the takeover, GFH put in £2M as working capital and not the £4M mooted.

The now well known cash flow problem with Leeds is because of “almost £13M spent on building projects financed by selling things forward”by Ken Bates.

Bates mortgaged season-ticket money to Ticketus for this season and next, receiving £5m up front to pay for refurbishing work in the East Stand. Bates also sold the catering rights for five years, Leeds receiving £2m plus a profit share from Compass catering, and as recently as October the club borrowed £1.5m at 7% interest from the club’s sponsor, Enterprise Insurance.

GFH would prefer to “sell 30% to reduce their exposure” and not a complete sell out. They turned down a 100% offer from a Yorkshire consortium already.

GFH don’t want to make “a small term profit” for fear of missing what they perceive to be between“£150M and £200M if the club makes it to the Premier League”.

Ken Bates has “been paid in full”for his share of Leeds United.

Warnock will be replaced by young manager whether that is immediately or at the end of the season”.

 GFH have already “sounded out Nigel Adkins” for the Leeds job and he is said to “relish the prospect”of managing Leeds.

1.The majority of Leeds fans want Warnock to go now and the majority of Leeds fans would like to have Nigel Adkins as manager.

2. One year (tomorrow) after Warnock took over, Leeds United are in worse condition than when he arrived having gained less points, scored less goals and conceded more goals. Although the manager doesn’t see it that way : “I came at a difficult time, but given what has gone on behind the scenes over the past 12 months I think I deserve a medal, if I’m honest.”

 Warnock sees the writing on the wall for his time at Leeds admitting after the defeat to Man City : My contract ends in the summer and there’s no way I want to stay in the Championship next year. (Re sacking) It’s their prerogative. I have spoken to them at great length. If they think it will help them then I’m not against it. I think whatever is best for Leeds United really. If I’m a bit too long in the tooth then so be it”.

14. If Warnock doesn’t step down, it will get ugly with the fans. He is not immune to the abuse : “I don’t deserve that (abuse) after the year I have had, but I am unlucky to have been at three clubs with three takeovers,” (in reference to previous spells with Crystal Palace and QPR) “I understand their feelings and the noise they make shows what sort of club it is. If we go up, the owners know I won’t be here and the further away we get (from promotion) the club will be looking to see what they’re going to do and, if I can, I will help them.”

15. In real terms are Leeds United not already in a better position off the field ? There is interest in buying the club from GFH, whether it be a Yorkshire or Middle East purchase or investment. We know that already. One has to believe that it will be easier dealing with GFH regarding a takeover than Ken Bates and it shouldn’t take a portracted seven months to do it. With the right manager at the helm and the right investment in tandem, surely 2013/14 can be our year ! 

Sun 17th of Feb Warnock hits back at abuse.Under-fire Leeds boss Neil Warnock has revealed he would walk away if the club wished tomake a change. However, Warnock is adamant he doesn’t deserve the amount of abuse he has been getting from the Whites fans this season after a testing spell in charge at Elland Road. Manchester City rarely had to leave second gear to beat their lacklustre Championship opponents 4-0 in the FA Cup fifth round, with Sergio Aguero’s double complemented by goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez. Having failed to claim a league point since their fourth-round win over Tottenham three weeks ago, this was another dismal day out for Leeds who find themselves the subject of a second confusing takeover bid of the season. Warnock is coming under increasing pressure from the fans to quit having failed to mastermind a promotion challenge and cries of‘Warnock – time to go’were the printable catcalls aimed at him from the away end. His contract is up at the end of the season and he has told owners GFH Capital he will not be staying on next season while he claimed he would leave earlier if he was asked. “I don’t deserve that (abuse) after the year I have had but I am unlucky to have been at three clubs with three takeovers,” he said, referencing previous spells with Crystal Palace and QPR. “I understand their feelings and the noise they make shows what sort of club it is.”If we go up, the owners know I won’t be here and the further away we get (from promotion) the club will be looking to see what they’re going to do and, if I can, I will help them.”Warnock took over at Elland Road a year ago on Monday and after a passionate start where he engaged with the supporters and got them onside, he now accepts the writing is on the wall as far as his pursuit of a record eighth promotion goes. “I’m living away from home for one last year at promotion,” he said. I’m sure the club will be sensible and in a couple of years they will be back in the big time. “It’s their prerogative (if they want to sack him), if they think it will help, I’m not against it. Whatever is best for Leeds United. But with what’s gone on over the last 12 months I think I deserve a medal.”

Man CityPen

City had far too much fire power for Whites

17 Feb 2013 FA Cup run ends in Manchester MAN CITY 4 (Yaya Toure 5, Aguero 15, 74, Tevez 52), LEEDS 0  Ashdown, Byram, Peltier, Lees, Warnock, White, Brown (Norris 46), Austin (Tonge 77), Varney, Diouf, McCormack (Morison 46). Subs: Kenny, Pearce, Hall, Habibou.Referee: M Clattenburg Report from LUFC website. LeedsUnited manager Neil Warnock went into the FA Cup fifth round match having made four changes to the team that started at Middlesbrough in midweek. Paddy Kenny was replaced by Jamie Ashdown, as with previous cup matches, midfield duo Rudy Austin and Aidy White were handed starts with David Norris dropping to the bench and the injured Paul Green not making the trip. Steve Morison also made way for El-Hadji Diouf in the minute mark the United goal was under threat again when Aleksandar Kolarov’s free-kick was turned just wide by Matija Nastastic. City continued their dominance in the match and Yaya Toure almost got his second of the game when he shot from distance but Ashdown pulled off a great save to tip over. Just before the half-time interval United had their first attempt on target when Ross McCormack struck a free-kick goalwards which Costel Pantilimon saved. Warnock made two changes at the break, bringing Norris and Morison on for Michael Brown and McCormack. It didn’t take City long to get back into the swing of things and in the 52nd minute Aguero showed great skill to work his way through the Leeds defence to tee up Tevez with an easy finish. The third goal effectively ended the tie as a contest and United were playing for pride during the final 30 minutes. United substitute Norris tried his luck from distance but the shot went well over the City goal. The United goal lived a charmed life in the 65th minute when Ashdown pulled off a great save to deny Yaya Toure, then City replacement Jack Rodwell headed the ball against the bar. It was United’s turn to have an opportunity on 70 minutes when White crossed for Luke Varney but his header went over Pantilimon’s crossbar. And City made it 4-0 in the 74th minute when Aguero beat the off-side trap to latch onto a David Silva cross to finish. With five minutes remaining some lapse United defending allowed City substitute Edin Dzeko to have a strike at goal, but Ashdown was up to the challenge and saved his effort. Dzeko’s effort proved to be the last meaningful action of the game as United exited the FA Cup. Warnock interview with YR: “It’s not a penalty. It kills us at 2-0 They can relax and enjoy it. I thought we did well to hang on in there after it. Lees, Byram, White were in awe of the surroundings. I have never seen a penalty as simple as that. We came out and we had a go. Varney and White did really well today. They are such a good team. A £34M player comes off and a £34M player comes  on. We didn’t even pay that for the club did we ? Changes were due to were we are in the league. Brownie came off because he couldn’t play a game today and another 50 minutes on Wednesday. I think out of the winners our fans showed why they want to be here. They were fantastic. I know I’m going to get a bit of stick but I hope the fans get behind us and leave me alone for three weeks. We have got to try and get a win. We have turned the club around in 12 months and leave it for the new guy if I’m not here. (Are you staying on ? ) “yes definitely

Feb 13th. Adkins to replace Warnock – YEP. AXED Southampton boss Nigel Adkins has been lined up to replace under-fire Leeds United manager Neil Warnock, it was reported today. Leeds face Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth-round clash with Warnock’s future in doubt. Angry Leeds fans changed “Warnock out” after Tuesday night’s defeat at Middlesbrough. Today there were reports that Leeds’s new owner, the Dubai-based private equity group GFH Capital has moved to bring in a new man. They are said to have sounded out Adkins, who left Southampton despite taking the club into the Premier League. He has already turned down a job with Huddersfield Town in the Championship. But he is said to relish the prospect of running a big-name club like Leeds, either in the close season or sooner if Warnock is sacked. GFH Capital has itself been the subject of a new proposed takeover. • Follow the Leeds-Man City game live, with complete match data and stats, on our new FREE apps.

Sat 16th. Phil Hay: “Warnock is on his way out of Leeds United, it’s just a matter of how and when”Neil Warnock lives to contest another game but it is only a matter of time. He knows it and Leeds United know it. When it comes, expect the decision to be mutual and amicable; a parting of ways between a club and a manager who see no other way. Promotion was the alternative and the figures no longer add up. If United scramble into the play-offs, they will threaten club and Championship records by getting there. More sober calculation says Leeds are destined for something in the bracket of 60 to 65 points, the division’s middle ground. In this instance, it is grounds for divorce. GFH Capital, United’s owner, finds itself in a delicate position at a time when its authority is fragile. The firm’s management of this situation will say much about its conviction and its understanding of English football. Mathematically, Leeds will stay within reach of the play-offs until some time in April but mathematics matter less than gut instinct. It would be wrong to pull the carpet from under Warnock with undue haste. It would be more unforgivable to dangle him indefinitely and ask him to soak up worsening dissent. Tuesday’s defeat at the Riverside and the rancour it produced must have sharpened Warnock’s perception of how this might end. He has the crowd on his back and no feasible way of fighting them off. He can offer blind hope after the results in Wolverhampton and Middlesbrough but few around him are buying that this will be a messy and distasteful execution if GFH Capital confuses decent timing with nervous indecision. Whatever the prevailing view of Warnock, he has not earned that. It is for his sake rather than the club’s that United’s board cannot delay much longer. Prolonging Warnock’s employment barely precludes them from planning behind closed doors or mapping out next season, and they have months on their side. But the failure to make anything of critical games at Wolves and Middlesbrough has made a pronouncement on his position necessary. This is not a coach with three years on his contract. It is a coach whose tenure will go no further than May. That might matter less if he and United’s crowd were engaging in a long and affectionate goodbye like Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest but their relationship is fraught and spiteful. At the very least, it would be wise for GFH Capital to state that his role now is to hold the reins while Leeds find a successor. He and representatives of United’s owner were due to meet today, though it is not clear whether the family bereavement which led director David Haigh to postpone Monday night’s fans’ forum also led to the cancellation of their discussions with Warnock. It is known that Haigh attended Thorp Arch yesterday. As and when they speak, they owe him some honesty about how they see the future and intend to deal with him. They are likely to find that his enthusiasm for another season in the Championship is strangely in tune with those supporters who want him to leave. Warnock confessed as much when he said last weekend that he was not really happy living on my own with my family 300 miles away”. Certain things would make that arrangement worthwhile – promotion for one and a third chance to mix it in the Premier League for another – but he does not need work for work’s sake. You might ask if that has been one of the problems. His reign when it ends will go down as an experiment which never got going at any stage, despite attracting huge majorities in various opinion polls a year ago. Leeds back then were not lumbered with a clone of Dennis Wise; when Warnock came to Elland Road, most supporters got the manager they asked for. On the question of who they want next, there is a prevalent suggestion: one of English football’s more eligible bachelors, the recently sacked Nigel Adkins. The 47-year-old has the looks and mannerisms of a sixth-form college lecturer but Leeds will find few out-of-work coaches with ticks in more boxes: the ability to work skilfully within his budget, a track record of competence at three levels of the pyramid – the Premier League included – and confidence which exceeds his profile. At Southampton, he also showed himself to be a tactful operator in circumstances which required diplomacy. He was backed with serious money by the board at St Mary’s but monitored, too, by a single-minded and eccentric chairman in Nicola Cortese, the man who sacked him without warning last month. The local newspaper, the Daily Echo, has been banned from St Mary’s for longer than its journalists can remember and the club are involved in a bitter and public legal dispute with Matt Le Tissier. A coach there earns his money. But in amongst all that, Adkins amassed a record of 67 wins from 124 games. He and Leeds have the makings of a neat fit. He is unattached which might suit a club whose shares are seemingly for sale again, but Adkins is in need of a job himself with a club befitting his growing profile. Some close to Adkins doubt whether another Premier League team will come calling, and the upper half of the Championship is short of clubs with managers on their last legs. More notably, he demonstrated at Southampton the ability to implement a vision and pursue it over a prolonged period. One of the problems for Warnock was that this season was win or bust. From the outset, he risked the scenario of fading into mid-table and finding that his stated reasons for being here no longer applied. It contributed to the growth of impatience at Elland Road, impatience which is reaching an intolerable level. There are times when the job looks impossible, so intense is the disillusionment created by nine seasons in the Football League. It would help for Leeds to appoint a manager with the remit to win promotion but win it in his own time. That applies to Adkins or whoever else who GFH Capital choose to turn to. But the point about Adkins is that he is available and approachable. The call should go out to him. And if it does, you suspect it will be made with Warnock’s blessing.

Feb 16th. Cashflow shortfall at LeedsMany Leeds United fans have become disillusioned with GFH Capital since they took over the club, not seeing the progress they hoped for. The new owners set out a defence of their actions in an in depth interview with leading football journalist David Conn. They admit that the club currently has a cashflow shortfall, in part because Ken Bates spent £13m on building projects funded by selling forward. They would like to sell off 30 per cent of the club, which points to some of the pressures they are facing, although evidently they paid less for the club than speculation suggested at the time. There are still foreign investors who are attracted by the prestige and potential returns from owning a club that could get promoted to the Premier League. Whether there are many left have the funds at their disposal to achieve that goal is open to question.

Sat 16th of Feb. Crock of gold remains a mirage for Leeds United – The Guardian- Davie Conn- from an interview with GFH.(Good article and compulsory reading for all LUFC fans)When Neil Warnock, above, leaves Leeds United, the Championship club’s owners say they want to appoint a young manager. Warnock’s current contract ends in the summer. Leeds United‘s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Manchester City on Sunday recalls the titanic meeting at the same stage in 1977, when Leeds, still a power in English football, beat City 1-0, watched by 47,000 fans at Elland Road. City approach this game with renewed questions being posed over Roberto Mancini following last week’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton but Leeds supporters would swap their situation greedily for the luxury of agonising about being second in the Premier League. After almost eight largely depressing years under Ken Bates’ control the Leeds hard core at a half-empty Elland Road hoped the takeover by GFH Capital, based in Dubai, owned in Bahrain, would be their version of City’s Sheikh Mansour: multimillion-pound deliverance by a Middle East benefactor. Instead, eight weeks on, that optimism has crumpled for many into further disillusionment. Responding to the revelation by BBC Radio Leeds last week that they had turned down an offer from local businessmen – still unnamed – to buy a majority stake, GFH issued a statement professing they were “thrilled” with their January transfer window and “delighted with the progress made”. For most Leeds supporters the transfer window’s loudest statement was the exit of their leading scorer, Luciano Becchio, following Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass, in recent years, to Norwich City. Middling in the Championship, with play-off hopes faint as the manager, Neil Warnock, conceded on Friday, just over 19,000 watched the 1-0 home defeat by the leaders Cardiff City last week. Leeds lost again on Tuesday, 1-0 at Middlesbrough. In the same statement GFH acknowledged: “We continue to seek strategic investors,” an admission understood in West Yorkshire to mean the investment bank does not have sufficient money itself. David Haigh, the GFH Capital deputy chief executive, in England for Leeds business and the City match, and Salem Patel, the parent company GFH’s chief investment officer speaking from the Gulf by telephone, accepted, in an in-depth interview with the Guardian, that they do not have Mansour-level backing. However they deny, as is widely believed by fans, that they began the long and arduous negotiations with Bates last summer representing a mega-rich backer who then pulled out. The money we paid to buy the club and to provide it with working capital since has come from us, our institutional investors and some smaller strategic investors,” Patel said. “There was never a single, hugely wealthy person with us. And we paid for the club with cash; we did not borrow money to buy it.”Both men emphasised that, although Bates remains chairman until June, they have paid him in full. They stick to the confidentiality agreed when concluding the deal on 21 December, refusing to divulge how much they paid – it was less than the £44m mooted then; figures from £14m to £23m are cited around Leeds, with more to pay if Leeds are successful. “It is absolutely, categorically incorrect that we owe Ken Bates money,” Haigh said. “He is staying on as the chairman until June because that was the agreement we made.”Their pitch to Leeds fans disillusioned because of that continued association and the lack of big money and evident change is partly to ask for patience. Patel and Haigh point to significant investment already made, say they are still reviewing the club’s operations and do have planned improvements and that it will take time to revitalise the once mighty Leeds who have never recovered from the calamitous, over-borrowed financial collapse of 2001. Even before they concluded their takeover, GFH put £2m in as working capital; Haigh says they have put substantial money in twice since, in November and on 21 December, and they say the club will need further support until the end of next season. Patel declines to confirm the £4m figure doing the rounds of the Leeds grapevine as the cash needed now but does say that the club is short because Bates mortgaged season-ticket money to Ticketus for this season and next, receiving £5m up front to pay for refurbishing work in the East Stand. Bates also sold the catering rights for five years, Leeds receiving £2m plus a profit share from Compass catering, and as recently as October the club borrowed £1.5m at 7% interest from the club’s sponsor, Enterprise Insurance.“There is a cashflow shortfall,” Patel says. “This is largely because more than £13m has been spent on building projects, financed by selling things forward. We are supporting the club and will continue to but, once this is worked through, we can see a business which can operate without significant input from the owners.” They argue they never promised to spend millions on transfers and envisage a more gradual rebuilding based on bringing through a fair crop of youth but they nevertheless believe their transfer window was sound. Becchio was not sold, as Leeds’ best players have mostly been in recent years, but swapped for Steve Morison, whom Warnock wanted. Stephen Warnock arrived from Aston Villa while the loans of Ryan Hall and Michael Tonge were converted to signings. Sam Byram, a 19-year-old bright light this season, signed an improved contract and El-Hadji Diouf extended his. “A lot of people have criticised us for not spending money in January but we are supporting the club,”says Patel.“We wanted to reward and retain our best players and our goal is to build the club slowly but surely.”Rather than be judged a crushing disappointment after eight weeks the men from Bahrain say they consider this a period of transition. Bates’ presence as chairman will end in June. Warnock’s contract is also up at the end of the season. Whether Neil goes immediately then or not, when Neil goes we will look to appoint a young manager who will particularly work to build the young players into great players for the club,”Patel says. “We understand that many fans are disillusioned and we want to engage with their concerns; their loyalty is amazing to us. One complaint is high prices, so we have introduced cheaper deals” – the “Leeds for Less” £15 adult and £5 children’s tickets for the forthcoming Blackpool and Peterborough matches – “which we hope the fans will take up.” They are still seeking investment and would prefer to sell 30% to reduce their exposure, which rather signals how tight are the means with which they hope Leeds can be cheered up. Patel says they will consider selling a majority stake but any buyer will have to have the funds to bring success. Otherwise we become a minority shareholder in an investment not going anywhere,” Patel explains. “We do not wish to make a short-term profit to miss out on the £150m-£200m which could be made if the club wins promotion to the Premier League.” There it is: the crock of gold which has drawn overseas buyers into Championship clubs. Tomorrow Leeds United’s fans will see what all the vast money has done for their former rivals at the top of football, Manchester City. And they will grapple with the message that, even after their own club’s takeover with money from the Gulf, there is still no fast lane back. So there you have it. Bates mortgaged everything apart from the kitchen sink to inflate his “buyout” and we seem  to have been landed with  one of the very few Middle East consortiums that have sweet **** all cash. 

Sat Feb 16th. From : “The game’s gone crazy”The Yorkshire Post Abandons Warnock After Leeds Defeat At Middlesbrough – It’s not the best way to go into a game at the Etihad is it? Warnock, a dead man walking since…well October in my book…has at least been propped up by the pall bearing fans, who have been carrying the corpse of the once great club for years now and so are used to shouldering a dead weight, Bates who would back anybody who didn’t spend too much money, Lorimer who licks the ankles of any friend of the Chairman, and the Yorkshire Post, no doubt because Neil is always good for a page and a half of impassioned copy. The fans turned a few weeks back; Bates no longer cares as the window has closed and it is somebody else’s money anyway; Lorimer is probably too busy fetching sticks for Haigh and Patel to notice that Neil is offering him a Bonio; and the local rag knows that fans are becoming bored with Warnock’s illiterate rantings. So poor Neil is now friendless. He has blamed the referees. He has blamed bad luck. He has blamed the protracted take over. He has blamed Becchio. He has blamed school boy errors by a school boy aged defender. He has blamed red cards given and red cards not shown. He has blamed transfer targets for not wanting to join Leeds and blamed rival clubs for being unwilling to give their players away for peanut shells. Give him more time and he will blame Global Warming, Romanian abattoirs, the European Union, the bankers and Gordon Brown. But how much more time does he have? Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Post has now called for his head and pushed the case for Adkins, a man who may not be available if Leeds delay. So defeat against Man City could be Warnock’s last hoo-ha. From a personal point of view, it would be a shame to see him go but it seems as if we are now in the final throes of Mad Neil’s fitful reign. Hay wants to see a dignified parting; I would much rather see blood and phlegm on the dressing rooms walls. If Neil has failed, it can’t be his fault can it? So let’s hope he spews the shit!

Sat 16thPhil Hay: “Warnock is on his way out of Leeds United, it’s just a matter of how and when” Neil Warnock lives to contest another game but it is only a matter of time. He knows it and Leeds United know it. When it comes, expect the decision to be mutual and amicable; a parting of ways between a club and a manager who see no other way. Promotion was the alternative and the figures no longer add up. If United scramble into the play-offs, they will threaten club and Championship records by getting there. More sober calculation says Leeds are destined for something in the bracket of 60 to 65 points, the division’s middle ground. In this instance, it is grounds for divorce. GFH Capital, United’s owner, finds itself in a delicate position at a time when its authority is fragile. The firm’s management of this situation will say much about its conviction and its understanding of English football. Mathematically, Leeds will stay within reach of the play-offs until some time in April but mathematics matter less than gut instinct. It would be wrong to pull the carpet from under Warnock with undue haste. It would be more unforgivable to dangle him indefinitely and ask him to soak up worsening dissent. Tuesday’s defeat at the Riverside and the rancour it produced must have sharpened Warnock’s perception of how this might end. He has the crowd on his back and no feasible way of fighting them off. He can offer blind hope after the results in Wolverhampton and Middlesbrough but few around him are buying that this will be a messy and distasteful execution if GFH Capital confuses decent timing with nervous indecision. Whatever the prevailing view of Warnock, he has not earned that. It is for his sake rather than the club’s that United’s board cannot delay much longer. Prolonging Warnock’s employment barely precludes them from planning behind closed doors or mapping out next season, and they have months on their side. But the failure to make anything of critical games at Wolves and Middlesbrough has made a pronouncement on his position necessary. This is not a coach with three years on his contract. It is a coach whose tenure will go no further than May. That might matter less if he and United’s crowd were engaging in a long and affectionate goodbye like Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest but their relationship is fraught and spiteful. At the very least, it would be wise for GFH Capital to state that his role now is to hold the reins while Leeds find a successor. He and representatives of United’s owner were due to meet today, though it is not clear whether the family bereavement which led director David Haigh to postpone Monday night’s fans’ forum also led to the cancellation of their discussions with Warnock. It is known that Haigh attended Thorp Arch yesterday. As and when they speak, they owe him some honesty about how they see the future and intend to deal with him. They are likely to find that his enthusiasm for another season in the Championship is strangely in tune with those supporters who want him to leave. Warnock confessed as much when he said last weekend that he was “not really happy living on my own with my family 300 miles away”. Certain things would make that arrangement worthwhile – promotion for one and a third chance to mix it in the Premier League for another – but he does not need work for work’s sake. You might ask if that has been one of the problems. His reign when it ends will go down as an experiment which never got going at any stage, despite attracting huge majorities in various opinion polls a year ago. Leeds back then were not lumbered with a clone of Dennis Wise; when Warnock came to Elland Road, most supporters got the manager they asked for. On the question of who they want next, there is a prevalent suggestion: one of English football’s more eligible bachelors, the recently sacked Nigel Adkins. The 47-year-old has the looks and mannerisms of a sixth-form college lecturer but Leeds will find few out-of-work coaches with ticks in more boxes: the ability to work skilfully within his budget, a track record of competence at three levels of the pyramid – the Premier League included – and confidence which exceeds his profile. At Southampton, he also showed himself to be a tactful operator in circumstances which required diplomacy. He was backed with serious money by the board at St Mary’s but monitored, too, by a single-minded and eccentric chairman in Nicola Cortese, the man who sacked him without warning last month. The local newspaper, the Daily Echo, has been banned from St Mary’s for longer than its journalists can remember and the club are involved in a bitter and public legal dispute with Matt Le Tissier. A coach there earns his money. But in amongst all that, Adkins amassed a record of 67 wins from 124 games. He and Leeds have the makings of a neat fit. He is unattached which might suit a club whose shares are seemingly for sale again, but Adkins is in need of a job himself with a club befitting his growing profile. Some close to Adkins doubt whether another Premier League team will come calling, and the upper half of the Championship is short of clubs with managers on their last legs. More notably, he demonstrated at Southampton the ability to implement a vision and pursue it over a prolonged period. One of the problems for Warnock was that this season was win or bust. From the outset, he risked the scenario of fading into mid-table and finding that his stated reasons for being here no longer applied. It contributed to the growth of impatience at Elland Road, impatience which is reaching an intolerable level. There are times when the job looks impossible, so intense is the disillusionment created by nine seasons in the Football League. It would help for Leeds to appoint a manager with the remit to win promotion but win it in his own time. That applies to Adkins or whoever else who GFH Capital choose to turn to. But the point about Adkins is that he is available and approachable. The call should go out to him. And if it does, you suspect it will be made with Warnock’s blessing.

Feb 16thCashflow shortfall at Leeds Many Leeds United fans have become disillusioned with GFH Capital since they took over the club, not seeing the progress they hoped for. The new owners set out a defence of their actions in an in depth interview with leading football journalist David Conn. They admit that the club currently has a cashflow shortfall, in part because Ken Bates spent £13m on building projects funded by selling forward. They would like to sell off 30 per cent of the club, which points to some of the pressures they are facing, although evidently they paid less for the club than speculation suggested at the time. There are still foreign investors who are attracted by the prestige and potential returns from owning a club that could get promoted to the Premier League. Whether there are many left have the funds at their disposal to achieve that goal is open to question.

Sat 16th of Feb. Crock of gold remains a mirage for Leeds United – The Guardian- Davie Conn- from an interview with GFH. (Good article and compulsory reading for all LUFC fans) When Neil Warnock, above, leaves Leeds United, the Championship club’s owners say they want to appoint a young manager. Warnock’s current contract ends in the summer. Leeds United‘s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Manchester City on Sunday recalls the titanic meeting at the same stage in 1977, when Leeds, still a power in English football, beat City 1-0, watched by 47,000 fans at Elland Road. City approach this game with renewed questions being posed over Roberto Mancini following last week’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton but Leeds supporters would swap their situation greedily for the luxury of agonising about being second in the Premier League. After almost eight largely depressing years under Ken Bates’ control the Leeds hard core at a half-empty Elland Road hoped the takeover by GFH Capital, based in Dubai, owned in Bahrain, would be their version of City’s Sheikh Mansour: multimillion-pound deliverance by a Middle East benefactor. Instead, eight weeks on, that optimism has crumpled for many into further disillusionment. Responding to the revelation by BBC Radio Leeds last week that they had turned down an offer from local businessmen – still unnamed – to buy a majority stake, GFH issued a statement professing they were “thrilled” with their January transfer window and “delighted with the progress made”. For most Leeds supporters the transfer window’s loudest statement was the exit of their leading scorer, Luciano Becchio, following Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass, in recent years, to Norwich City. Middling in the Championship, with play-off hopes faint as the manager, Neil Warnock, conceded on Friday, just over 19,000 watched the 1-0 home defeat by the leaders Cardiff City last week. Leeds lost again on Tuesday, 1-0 at Middlesbrough. In the same statement GFH acknowledged: “We continue to seek strategic investors,” an admission understood in West Yorkshire to mean the investment bank does not have sufficient money itself. David Haigh, the GFH Capital deputy chief executive, in England for Leeds business and the City match, and Salem Patel, the parent company GFH’s chief investment officer speaking from the Gulf by telephone, accepted, in an in-depth interview with the Guardian, that they do not have Mansour-level backing. However they deny, as is widely believed by fans, that they began the long and arduous negotiations with Bates last summer representing a mega-rich backer who then pulled out. “The money we paid to buy the club and to provide it with working capital since has come from us, our institutional investors and some smaller strategic investors,” Patel said. “There was never a single, hugely wealthy person with us. And we paid for the club with cash; we did not borrow money to buy it.” Both men emphasised that, although Bates remains chairman until June, they have paid him in full. They stick to the confidentiality agreed when concluding the deal on 21 December, refusing to divulge how much they paid – it was less than the £44m mooted then; figures from £14m to £23m are cited around Leeds, with more to pay if Leeds are successful. “It is absolutely, categorically incorrect that we owe Ken Bates money,” Haigh said. “He is staying on as the chairman until June because that was the agreement we made.”Their pitch to Leeds fans disillusioned because of that continued association and the lack of big money and evident change is partly to ask for patience. Patel and Haigh point to significant investment already made, say they are still reviewing the club’s operations and do have planned improvements and that it will take time to revitalise the once mighty Leeds who have never recovered from the calamitous, over-borrowed financial collapse of 2001. Even before they concluded their takeover, GFH put £2m in as working capital; Haigh says they have put substantial money in twice since, in November and on 21 December, and they say the club will need further support until the end of next season. Patel declines to confirm the £4m figure doing the rounds of the Leeds grapevine as the cash needed now but does say that the club is short because Bates mortgaged season-ticket money to Ticketus for this season and next, receiving £5m up front to pay for refurbishing work in the East Stand. Bates also sold the catering rights for five years, Leeds receiving £2m plus a profit share from Compass catering, and as recently as October the club borrowed £1.5m at 7% interest from the club’s sponsor, Enterprise Insurance.“There is a cashflow shortfall,” Patel says. “This is largely because more than £13m has been spent on building projects, financed by selling things forward. We are supporting the club and will continue to but, once this is worked through, we can see a business which can operate without significant input from the owners.” They argue they never promised to spend millions on transfers and envisage a more gradual rebuilding based on bringing through a fair crop of youth but they nevertheless believe their transfer window was sound. Becchio was not sold, as Leeds’ best players have mostly been in recent years, but swapped for Steve Morison, whom Warnock wanted. Stephen Warnock arrived from Aston Villa while the loans of Ryan Hall and Michael Tonge were converted to signings. Sam Byram, a 19-year-old bright light this season, signed an improved contract and El-Hadji Diouf extended his. “A lot of people have criticised us for not spending money in January but we are supporting the club,” says Patel. “We wanted to reward and retain our best players and our goal is to build the club slowly but surely.” Rather than be judged a crushing disappointment after eight weeks the men from Bahrain say they consider this a period of transition. Bates’ presence as chairman will end in June. Warnock’s contract is also up at the end of the season. “Whether Neil goes immediately then or not, when Neil goes we will look to appoint a young manager who will particularly work to build the young players into great players for the club,” Patel says. “We understand that many fans are disillusioned and we want to engage with their concerns; their loyalty is amazing to us. One complaint is high prices, so we have introduced cheaper deals” – the “Leeds for Less” £15 adult and £5 children’s tickets for the forthcoming Blackpool and Peterborough matches – “which we hope the fans will take up.” They are still seeking investment and would prefer to sell 30% to reduce their exposure, which rather signals how tight are the means with which they hope Leeds can be cheered up. Patel says they will consider selling a majority stake but any buyer will have to have the funds to bring success. “Otherwise we become a minority shareholder in an investment not going anywhere,” Patel explains. “We do not wish to make a short-term profit to miss out on the £150m-£200m which could be made if the club wins promotion to the Premier League.” There it is: the crock of gold which has drawn overseas buyers into Championship clubs. Tomorrow Leeds United’s fans will see what all the vast money has done for their former rivals at the top of football, Manchester City. And they will grapple with the message that, even after their own club’s takeover with money from the Gulf, there is still no fast lane back. So there you have it. Bates mortgaged everything apart from the kitchen sink to inflate his “buyout” and we seem  to have been landed with  one of the very few Middle East consortiums that have sweet **** all cash.

Sat Feb 16th. From : “The game’s gone crazy”The Yorkshire Post Abandons Warnock After Leeds Defeat At Middlesbrough - It’s not the best way to go into a game at the Etihad is it? Warnock, a dead man walking since…well October in my book…has at least been propped up by the pall bearing fans, who have been carrying the corpse of the once great club for years now and so are used to shouldering a dead weight, Bates who would back anybody who didn’t spend too much money, Lorimer who licks the ankles of any friend of the Chairman, and the Yorkshire Post, no doubt because Neil is always good for a page and a half of impassioned copy. The fans turned a few weeks back; Bates no longer cares as the window has closed and it is somebody else’s money anyway; Lorimer is probably too busy fetching sticks for Haigh and Patel to notice that Neil is offering him a Bonio; and the local rag knows that fans are becoming bored with Warnock’s illiterate rantings. So poor Neil is now friendless. He has blamed the referees. He has blamed bad luck. He has blamed the protracted take over. He has blamed Becchio. He has blamed school boy errors by a school boy aged defender. He has blamed red cards given and red cards not shown. He has blamed transfer targets for not wanting to join Leeds and blamed rival clubs for being unwilling to give their players away for peanut shells. Give him more time and he will blame Global Warming, Romanian abattoirs, the European Union, the bankers and Gordon Brown. But how much more time does he have? Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Post has now called for his head and pushed the case for Adkins, a man who may not be available if Leeds delay. So defeat against Man City could be Warnock’s last hoo-ha. From a personal point of view, it would be a shame to see him go but it seems as if we are now in the final throes of Mad Neil’s fitful reign. Hay wants to see a dignified parting; I would much rather see blood and phlegm on the dressing rooms walls. If Neil has failed, it can’t be his fault can it? So let’s hope he spews the shit!

Sat 16th of Feb. Robbie Rogers “coms out” and then “retires” from football. ‘I Am A Free Man’ – Former Leeds Midfielder Robbie Rogers Comes Out As Gay, Retires From Football. By way of a personal blog post, former Leeds midfielder and USA international Robbie Rogers, 25, has come out as gay while announcing that he is retiring from football with immediate effect to spend the next chapter of his life “discovering himself.” Rogers was released by Leeds in January after returning from a loan spell at Stevenage and has made the decision to come out after keeping his sexuality a secret for so long and step away from the game so as to begin the process of redefinition. Said Rogers: “I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football. “For the past 25 years I have been afraid, afraid to show who I really was because of fear. Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay.“Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. “Now my secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.”The full blog post is available to read here. Having learned of his decision, PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle told Rogers that he’d have the organisation’s“full respect and support” whatever he chose to do next. Nice touch.

Thurs 14th. Diouf kept quite over racist abuse. MILLWALL captain Danny Shittu has revealed he spoke to Leeds forward El-Hadji Diouf straight after the match between the two sides in November and that the Senegalese did not mention any racist abuse to him. TV footage shown by Sky Sports News as part of an investigation into racism in the game showed Diouf seemingly being abused by Lions supporters. The film also appeared to show the player alerting the referee, Mark Halsey, and making stewards aware of his allegations – although Millwall insisted no complaint of racist abuse was made by the player at the time. Shittu said he spoke to Diouf and even gave him a lift home after the match and the former Liverpool player did not suggest to his opponent that he had been abused during the game. The Millwall captain said: “I asked him because there was word flying around that it could have happened. I spoke to him and he said there wasn’t really anything that happened.“I spoke to him after the game and I haven’t spoken to him since, I will be talking to him over the next couple of days. “He was fine when I spoke to him after the game, I actually gave him a lift home in my car. I think that is the character that Diouf is, he tries to not let stuff like that bother him.”Nigeria international Shittu issued a statement via the club’s website earlier in the week saying he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the footage but he is fully in support of the work Millwall are doing to stamp out the issues. “There were a lot of things on the TV that were happening on the pitch that I didn’t see happening during the game,” he said. “It was something that was unfortunate to see and I know the club is working hard to stop it happening. I watched it like everyone else, obviously anybody would be disappointed by what was shown.“As captain of this club it was disappointing, I have been here a while now and I’ve seen the hard work everyone does to eradicate it in football and at this club as well.“It is just the minority that is doing these things, it is something that happens everywhere, I’m sure it happens at other clubs and it happens outside of football as well. It is about trying to get it stopped completely.”AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off after being racially abused during a friendly match last month and, although Shittu admits he would not know how to react to such abuse, he praised the stance taken by the Ghana international. He said: “When you’re out on the pitch there are a lot of things you have got to deal with. It doesn’t make me feel vulnerable but it just makes you more aware of what is going on and there is no place for this in football. “Maybe I wouldn’t say the word ‘fortunate’ but it is something I haven’t had to deal with myself in my career and to be fair I don’t know how I would react to it if I was playing in a game and something like that was going on. For him to have done that – I give him a lot of respect because I know people who would have reacted in a worse way. To just walk off the pitch when something is hard to take, then all respect for that.”

Thurs 14th. Lorimer: Don’t judge new Leeds owners just yet .LEEDS legend Peter Lorimer has urged fans to be patient with the club’s new middle-Eastern owners, amid speculation of another takeover. Lorimer, writing in his Yorkshire Evening Post column, says: “For a long time I listened to supporters telling me they wanted a change of ownership at Leeds United and wanted Ken Bates out. “Well those fans got their wish eight weeks ago when GFH Capital bought the club. Yet now I hear United’s new owners coming in for stick as people make assumptions about what they’re doing and what they’re planning for the months ahead.“They’ve been in charge at Elland Road for eight weeks. You can’t seriously tell me that a period of less than two months in the middle of the Championship season is a fair period of time on which to judge a takeover.”Lorimer adds: “There are always questions to be answered when it comes to the running of a major football club but there’s a need for patience and understanding too.”Lorimer is backing the new directors’ fans’ forum on Monday. He says: “You could hardly accuse them of ducking the public and the event’s an opportunity for anyone who attends to raise what they think are the key issues. By the end of the meeting I’m sure we’ll have a clearer idea of what GFH Capital’s vision is.“But it’s wrong, for example, to say that nothing’s happened so far. In January we signed six players and tied Sam Byram to a new contract. And while Luciano Becchio was sold, it’s increasingly clear from what Neil Warnock is saying that Becchio was better off out of here. He wanted to leave, of that there’s no doubt.“There’s a certain expectation level at Elland Road and over time the new board are going to have to live up to it but when I look at January and hear the grumbling that’s followed it, I’m at a loss to know what everyone thought would happen.” “What a asshole, in his latest rant in the YEP he tells us we are wrong to judge GFH so soon, pointing out particularly to the Fans forum that they were to start next Monday night, saying that this is how an open club works and that many fans questions on takeovers, finance, budgets etc. could be answered then. Minutes after YEP release Lorimers latest rant the club on the official website come out and cancel the new forum indefinitely amid rumours of investment and take overs. He is an absolute arsehole” – Greg Tipping.

Adkins popular

Weds 13th of Feb 2013. Taken from Fear and Loathing LS11Warnock: Five Key Reasons Why He Should Make an Early Trip Back to Cornwall Last night at The Riverside was on the surface, just another routine, miserable Leeds United away trip – the like of which we have become so accustomed to ever since the team’s last 3 point haul, way back on December 1st in Huddersfield. But in the stands, there was a different atmosphere; that same familiar air or resignation remained as the game headed toward it’s seemingly inevitable conclusion, but the exasperation or downright anger expressed in the closing moments of other games gave way to a sense of “enough is enough”; that any lingering benefit of the doubt had been extinguished, that bridges had been been burned and that Neil Warnock’s tenure in the eyes of supporters had past the point of no return. Last night wasn’t the first time this season that the manager left the pitch to chants of “Warnock, time to go!”, but you sensed this time it was really significant, that any aspersions about the dissent leveled at Oakwell being of the ‘knee jerk’ variety would not hold up again. 1-0 The fact is, Leeds were not actuallythat awful (relatively speaking, at least) against Middlesbrough, they were in the game throughout and could’ve conceivably taken or point, maybe even all three on another evening. The problem appeared to be the mindset of the team; having let 2 points slip at the weekend, they were offered the opportunity to redeem themselves in their biggest game of the season; they were facing a Middlesbrough side shot of confidence on the back of five straight defeats and haunted by an inability to beat Leeds at The Riverside (10 games, no wins) – so a golden opportunity to close the gap to the current incumbents of the final play-off place to just 2 points. Ahead of the game, Warnock bullishly claimed: “We’ve 16 games left and we’ll be giving it a bloody good go! So did Leeds have a “bloody good go?” I think not. The first half was fairly forgettable with McCormack’s miss the only real incident of note, but like at Molineux, Leeds held the edge over their nervy hosts. Come the start of the second though and Boro started on the front foot and Leeds never really responded. Despite having attacking options on the bench, Warnock chose to persevere with the wholly ineffective wide pairing of Green and Varney. The entire traveling support could see his plans were not working, they appreciated the pressing need to push for a win and yet Warnock as the half progressed seemed increasingly happy to try and secure a point. 5 points adrift of the play-offs with games slipping by and the key intention was to ensure to gap didn’t grow further. Falling numbers That’s not by any description, “giving it a bloody good go”and the Leeds fans knew that; as frustrations grew with every passing minute of inaction, dissent became audible: “Warnock, make a change!” resounded from the away end – the response, a sarcastic clap; patronising those who’d paid money and taken time out to spend a freezing cold evening watching their team Within 10 minutes, the hosts scored the winning goal that’d been long on the cards – the 2000 fans who traveled – compare that with the 3000+ and 4200+ who attended the last two Boro games, despite TV coverage – vindicated. Warnock was then forced to respond, littering the pitch with fresh legs – it was too late for the game and now also you sense, for him. It’s been a gradual process, but over recent months five key areas of concern have emerged regarding Warnock’s tenure, and combined they make for a compelling case for his dismissal: 1: DETERIORATING RELATIONS Upon taking the reigns at the club, Warnock’s initial weapon of choice was the charm offensive; he breezed into Elland Road, full of high spirits and continued references to the size of the club and the amazing support it commanded, almost to the point of parody. But it had the desired effect of initially lifting the mood and then in affording him the patience necessary as last season limped to its conclusion. The sarcastic clapping gesture last night was the final act in a series of deeds that have succeeded in draining every last ounce of goodwill that remained. In recent times he repeatedly criticised the attitudes of supporters, branding them as the type who always see the glass as “being half empty, as opposed to half full”, while refusing to acknowledge any role his brand of football and the results achieved have influenced views, not to mention how the 7 years that preceded his arrival have shaped the mentality. It appears at first, his mission was to transform the mood, now he’s choosing to adopt it in an effort to deflect blame from himself. Club and supporters have been at loggerheads for years, it now appears that the manager too has become part of the PR problem. 2: THE BLAME CULTURE As alluded to above, Warnock loathes to accept any responsibility for the current state of affairs. Notwithstanding the digs at supporters (and the local press) for their role in creating such negativity around the club, any other target, valid or not, is still considered ‘fair game’; officials are a trusted favourite and have been implicated a few times, most memorably, the referee at Barnsley became the scapegoat for the defeat on the basis of overlooking a ‘red card’ decision that everyone else in the stadium also seemed to miss. Prior to the closure of the transfer window, the takeover also provided a comfort blanket with which to shut out the nasty verbal brick bats that were showering in the direction of the manager. “Judge me at the end of January” was Warnock’s pledge – well, the window closed with a declaration that he now had the squad he wish he’d started the season with… a single point from three games have followed. Oh but hang on a minute, last week a new statement… “Judge me at the end of the season”. Nobody appears to be listening any more. 3: TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUALS This has already been touched upon before in this blog, but in the weeks that’ve since passed, it’s only become more relevant as a point. While every manager appears to have his favourites, Warnock does so more explicitly and shamelessly than pretty much any of his contemporaries. Again, last night was a case in point: “You can’t miss chances like we did and expect to win a game. We had a couple of great chances and you just have to put them away. It’s been the same story in the last few games. Ross Barkley had one against Cardiff, the keeper at Wolves pulled off a great save to deny Luke Varney a certain goal on Saturday, and Ross McCormack had a great one at Middlesbrough. If Ross scores that, we go on to the win game. They’d gone five without a win and if we get the goal you go on and win the game because their heads drop.”Not flavour of the month… Like Becchio so often before him, McCormack was scapegoated last night, while Ross Barkley took stick following the Cardiff game. Contrast that to the remarks about Varney – who was also publicly praised ahead of the Middlesbrough game – when the keeper instead credited with a“great save”. It’s a reoccurring theme where certain players brought to the club by Warnock appear to be looked upon more favourably than everyone else. Byram and Lees for example, arguably the best two players left at the club have faced public criticism, shouldering the burden for defeats, but never a bad word has been spoken about Kenny, Brown, Peltier or Varney, despite countless opportunities to do so. Whether any splits in the camp exist is purely speculative, but such actions cannot help. 4: SIGNINGS Warnock’s summer purchases have proved to be a mixed bag; there have been some successes (Kenny, Ashdown, Green and recently Peltier have proved their worth) and others who it may be harsh to judge yet (Austin, Pearce and Norris) to counterbalance the likes of Andy Gray, Luke Varney and Adam Drury – but in his defence, the squad at that time was being assembled under very difficult circumstances. Answers on a postcard… However, the concerns emerged once Warnock was afforded a greater degree of freedom to bring in the players he really did want: Tate, Thomas and Barkley (inexplicably in this case) were all loans that flopped miserably; Michael Tonge fared better but was then brought in on a permanent deal and has barely figure; Ryan Hall “a promising (25 year old) youngster” who’s proving to be anything but…that leaves us with the final day deals to bring in Warnock, Morison and Habibou – the jury must remain out on that trio only a couple of games in, but what’s preceded them doesn’t bode well. 5: COMMITMENT A two-edged sword, as GFH-C are equally as culpable here. Warnock’s future should’ve been resolved on the day the takeover was announced, but wasn’t, and if we are to believe everything that’s been said (or not said) publicly, not talks have subsequently taken place to resolve the issue. As Warnock is so unafraid to speak out publicly about grievances, you’d feel that if he had any hunger to see the job through for another season, he would’ve made noises in the press about wanting to commit; the only noises emanating from his camp are those of a man going through the motions who’s simply happy now to collect a few final contributions toward his retirement fund. Any talk of next season is rendered incidental by his statements. With the season all but over now – an 8 point gap is formidable enough an obstacle before even taking into consideration the other four clubs in the way – it is surely imperative to start planning now for August? That requires the man who’ll be leading the team out to be at the helm, not one who is going through the motions. At least worth asking the question? Reaction today certainly appears to support the theory. A number of polls across twitter and most notably on WACCOE have shown a split of around 98% – 2% in favour of change. Realistically, Nigel Adkins would be a coup for a Championship loitering Leeds United at any time, to allow him to inevitably move on to another club without even sounding him out at a time when the owners claim to have been inundated with “investment proposals” smacks of short-sightedness on their part. Every day that passes by without action is another lost opportunity. Time to replace ‘Yesterday’s Man’ with tomorrow’s(Super article)

Weds 13th. Leeds United Tweets : Ross McCormack@Rossmccormack44 For what it’s worth I agree with the gaffer. I cost the team 3 points last night. However I’m sure ill win us more than I’ll lose us b4 may”Phil HayYEP on Twitter.  Seen enough football to know that this season is breathing its last. Time for GFH Capital to clarify what the future holds #lufc This is a very dangerous road that Warnock is going down. He already accused Becchio of causing the defeat at Barnsley when his head “was turned” (even though all 11 players were shite) and now he’s going to piss off our top scorer from last season. Have a look in the mirror, Colin, for the real problem. I don’t want to see it turn nasty against the man because he has won numerous promotions and is doing his best. That said this constant blaming someone else is creating a rod for his own back. We did miss chances but Boro dominated the second half.  Just walk away now and save all this hassle and you will avoid unnecessary aggro. You did your best but football has moved on and you simply weren’t up to it. End of.

Weds 13th. Warnock wants more players. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he will be looking to bring in a player on loan in the next seven days after allowing Ross Barkley to return to Everton. Barkley is returning to Goodison Park after his month`s loan at Elland Road came to an end after the game at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night and Warnock says he need to strengthening the squad in the loan market in a different position. Speaking after the game at Middlesbrough, Warnock said, “We need someone in a different position. If I can bring somebody in during this next week because we need players in different areas to improve the squad.” Warnock is desperate to bring in a winger after missing out on both Birmingham City winger Chris Burke and West Brom winger Jerome Thomas in the January transfer window. Leeds missed out on Burke after they failed to agree on the asking price for the player who is out of contract at the end of the season. Warnock could make another move for Thomas. The winger enjoyed a successful loan spell at Leeds before the New Year, making seven appearances. Thomas looked ready to fight for a place at the Hawthorns in the second half of the season but came close to signing for fellow championship side Blackburn Rovers on transfer deadline day before the deal fell through. The 29-year-old could be available for a loan again having not featured for West Brom yet this month. How many players has this man signed on two to three year contracts that the the next manager will not want? Can this man be trusted with more players ? Are these players needed to warm the bench with his other January outlays : Hall and Tonge ?

Disastrous performance

Weds 13th Embattled Warnock vows to fight on – but Leeds fans say go – By Phil Hay NEIL WARNOCk vowed to fight on in search of an increasingly unlikely play-off place after a 1-0 Championship loss at Middlesbrough last night provoked fresh protests against him. Leeds United’s season suffered another set-back as a Curtis Main header cast Leeds eight points adrift of the Championship’s top six with 15 games to play. Leeds had several chances to settle a cagey but open clash but Main’s 81st-minute header – enough to earn Boro their first ever win over United at the Riverside – led to more chants of ‘Warnock, time to go’ from the travelling crowd. The 64-year-old also faced criticism for refusing to make substitutions before Main produced his decisive goal but he brushed off the abuse after the final whistle, saying: “Leeds fans have suffered for a long time so it’s the natural thing.“If we’d taken our opportunities then they’d have been chanting our names but that’s what you get in football. “We’ve got to be positive and it is difficult. The glass is always half empty in Leeds and it needs to be half full. We’ve got to try and win our next three or four games and go gung-ho.“You can only do your best as a manager and I think we’ve had a good season. We’ve got the makings of a good team. But we’ve had three open goals in three games, missed them and all hell’s let loose.” Warnock, who confirmed that midfielder Ross Barkley’s loan from Everton would not be extended, said: “Unless I actually run on the pitch and put the chances in, I don’t know what I can do. “We should have won the last three games and been right in there but we’ve got one. It’s bewildering.” Fans Responses: Colin says “…….and I think we’ve had a good season.” In what way exactly? This time last season – with Grayson recently sacked – we’d won more and lost less, scored more and conceded less and had more points. Look at the figures, like the pundits always tell us the table doesn’t lie.
Last Season: P31 W13 D6 L12 F49 A46 Pts45
This Season: P31 W12 D6 L13 F41 A48 Pts42
Nowadays, the highlight of our season is being ‘giantkillers’ beating the likes of Southampton – not good enough. The excuses have all been used up, it’s time to go Neil.
 Fans Responses We are RUBBISH Neil just admit it. We have just got enough games left to avoid relegatation. And i thought Grayson was bad ?. We are going to struggel over the next 15 games,but we should get the points we need to survive. Just as well we will win the FA cup. Time to go Neil,you have made your money. Now its time for a change. Fans Responses do the leeds rugby get more fans than the leeds football team,as u are down to 18k nowaday,sheff wed had another great gate on saturday 26,000 at hillsborough they also top the league table with the biggest support to say there have been near bottom all season,swfc have avg 24,500 this season so far, Also sheff utd top the league table for gates in league 1 with a avg of 18,500,LEEDS WITH ONLY ONE TEAM THERE ARE AVG ONLY 20,000 GOOD JOB THEYS 0NE TEAM THERE AS WITH 2 TEAMS AS WITH 2 TEAMS U WOULD BE DOWN TO 10K SHOCKING FANBASE Leeds. Fans Responses : Right enough is enough warlock has to go! We’re as near to relegation as the playoffs we’ve lost more games than we’ve won..have a negative goal difference…play some awful football…I fact our only tactic is to stop them playing which is fair enough as one of the things you have to do to win a football match..but when we have possession we are completely hopeless! It’s horrible to watch hence lowering crowds and were in a worse position than when he took over! I can’t honestly think of one reason for him to stay! Glass half empty indeed…it’s nearly empty! Please do the right thing Neil and go! Atkins is free! What better time to get someone in and get things in order for next season….see the light gfh please! Fans Responses : The club needs a new manager fast. If Warnock had any self esteem he would resign and let the next manager prepare for next season. He has had a year now and we areno better than when he took over. He has wheeled and dealed and by his own admission he has the players that he wants but they are incapable of creating chances even against the poorest opposition. 22 points behing the leaders and 12 points above the bottom is not half full Warnock! Fans Responses : another season over already, our away form is terrible. Oh well there is always next season if your a leeds fan thats what we’ve been saying for years!!! we need Colin to go now (& get Adkin in & start agin from August. ) he will probably go after Sunday if we lose heavily!!

Tues 12th of Feb. Main breaks Boro’s bad run and prompts United fans’ backlash – YEP. M’bro 1-0 Leeds Utd Leeds United: Kenny; Byram, Lees, Peltier, Warnock; Green (Diouf 84), Norris (Austin 84) , Brown (Habibou 89), Varney; McCormack, Morison. Unused substitutes: Ashdown, Pearce, White, Tonge.: The festival of Lent gets underway today with Leeds United in grave danger of giving up on their Championship play-off crusade following a crushing defeat on Teesside. A looping header from young striker Curtis Main nine minutes from time earned Boro their first Riverside victory in 11 attempts against the Whites, whose travelling supporters rounded on manager Neil Warnock following the late setback. It proved an eventful evening for Main, dismissed for his second caution of the game for deliberate handball six minutes after his match-winning strike. But Boro were not to be denied as they recorded their first win against United on Teesside since August 1992, with the ecstatic reaction of the home supporters at the final whistle in marked contrast to the rancour in the away end, with many Whites fans entering in a chorus of “Warnock, Warnock – time to go”.While Tony Mowbray’s beleaguered Boro – who went into the game on their worst run of results in 13 years – deserved plaudits for an enterprising second-half display which yielded its reward after a low-key first period, United were left to reflect on a spasmodic performance. Dominant in the first half, the visitors – inexplicably – retreated into their shells on the restart, with Warnock’s charges failing to breathe new life into his side. To rub further salt into United’s wounds, it was one of Mowbray’s substitutes, Ishmael Miller, who played a decisive role in Main’s winner after delivering an inch-perfect cross. Both Warnock and counterpart Mowbray have been the subject of some withering criticism from supporters at stages this winter, with the Boro boss going into the game feeling the chill more. A dispiriting five-match losing streak had seen natives become increasingly restless on Teesside, mindful of Boro’s damaging New Year slump last year from automatic promotion contenders to scratching around for a play-off spot, which ultimately eluded them. Style points have also been raised, with Mowbray’s patient, probing ‘tikka-takka’ brand increasingly currying little favour with Teessiders seeking a bit more substance and end product. In contrast, a lack of artistic merit shown by his side has topped the chargesheet laid at the door of boss Warnock by some Whites fans and how the veteran manager will have hankered for a replication of their sunshine display at the Riverside last March, which yielded a polished 2-0 win and his first as Elland Road chief. Despite Boro firing the first salvo with captain Rhys Williams hitting a downward volley wide following Grant Leadbitter’s pinpoint delivery, United soon acclimatised themselves amid surroundings which have brought out the best in them in recent seasons. David Norris saw a well-struck effort fly just wide before the former Ipswich man tested the reactions of Jason Steele with a curled shot following a neat move with Ross McCormack at its fulcrum. Boro lacked attacking teeth and nous and got small change out of United’s rearguard in the first half, with the home fans’ disquiet – fresh from a poor weekend home reverse to another Yorkshire side in Barnsley – soon obvious. After knocking on the door, United spurned a great chance to hammer it down close to the half-hour mark with Steele – who made a couple of gaffes in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Tykes – presenting McCormack with a gift-wrapped opportunity. A slip when coming out to collect a long ball let in the Scot, who briefly had a clear sight of goal, but his decision to steady himself before taking aim proved costly, with the backtracking Jonathan Woodgate blocking his effort on the line to deny his former club. While not quite as dominant as during an outstanding opening half in the fixture last season, United were nevertheless in charge, although on the stroke of half-time, they were handed a warning when Boro carved out their most dangerous moment. A fine defence-splitting pass from Josh McEachran put Faris Haroun in the clear, but instead of rounding the onrushing Paddy Kenny, the Belgian elected to hit a first-time shot, which was blocked by the visiting goalkeeper. Perhaps emboldened by that moment, Boro started the second period with more purpose. An improvised close-range effort from Main was blocked before Kenny and Tom Lees collided into each other following a ball into the box before the loose ball was cleared. Paul Green just failed to get the finishing touch to a dangerous free-kick from McCormack after ghosting in before a break forward ended in Luke Varney firing over – with the moments of threat somewhat in isolation for Leeds. Leadbitter then curled a free-kick wide before almost breaking the deadlock on 72 minutes. His rasping low shot was parried by Kenny and after Stephen Warnock’s fine last-ditch challenge prevented Williams tucking in the rebound, the ball eventually found its way to McEachran, whose header was saved. Steve Morison then headed straight at Steele before Main fared better at the other end to send the hosts into raptures. Warnock threw on El-Hadji Diouf and Rudy Austin six minutes from time, but it was a third replacement, Habib Habibou, who went closest to salvaging a leveller with his first touch, with his point-blank header tipped over in the 89th minute

Weds 13th. Poleon goes on loan and we have no winger. Leeds striker Dominic Poleon has joined Sheffield United on loan until the end of the season.The 19-year-old academy graduate, who recently agreed a new contract at Elland Road, has made seven appearances for the Whites this season, scoring one goal. He is the leading scorer for Leeds’ Under-21 side this campaign, having netted six times. Earlier this season, he spent time on loan with the Blades’ League One rivals Bury, where he scored twice in eight matches. Poleon is looking forward to helping Danny Wilson’s side in their bid to earn promotion to the Championship, with the club currently fifth in the table, five points away from the automatic promotion places. “It’s another chance to get some experience and play some first-team football,” said Poleon. “Sheffield United are near the top and I want to help them kick on to promotion.” Wilson admitted he had enquired about Poleon’s services in the January transfer window and is pleased to have finally landed his target. “He is young, raw and unpredictable, but he is quick and offers pace defenders won’t like to defend against,” he told the club’s official website. “He can offer us a lot both in terms of starting games and also as an impact substitution from the bench. We need that extra striker and if we are to be successful, we need as many strikers available as possible.” We are short of wingers and impact players. . He did well when he played and couldn’t get a game. Let’s face it he can hardly be any worse than some of the hallions he is playing.  Unley returns to Everton. ROSS BARKLEY has returned to Everton after his loan deal at Elland Road came to an end this week. The midfielder wasn’t involved in the squad at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, and he has now returned to Goodison Park. “I spoke to David Moyes at Everton,” Warnock told the club website. “He wants him to play and I couldn’t guarantee him that. He’s done well, he’s a smashing player, but he needs to play games and I can’t guarantee that.” He joined Leeds on January 11 and made four appearances.Possibly the best midfielder we had, played out of position (on the right) and couldn’t win a place in the middle before the muppets who have played in the last two games. Unbelievable !

Feb 13thHealy in trouble. Former Leeds United striker David Healy has been accused of assault, it was revealed in court today. The 33-year-old, who scored 34 goals for Northern Ireland, did attend Laganside Magistrates’ Court for his first appearance this morning. (Feb 13) He is accused of assaulting James Geroid Crossan on May 26 last year. Healy’s defence solicitor Richard McConkey requested a two week adjournment for the case. Healy, from Castleview Terrace, Killyleagh in Co Down, currently plays for League One side Bury. In 2008, he was awarded an MBE for services to football and the community – the same year he scored 13 goals in the qualifying competition for the 2008 European Championship – the highest total in the competition’s history. Healy has also played for Fulham, Sunderland and Rangers and Preston North End. District Judge Ken Nixon said the case would be listed again in two weeks time.

Tues Feb 12th. M’bro1-0 Leeds.Our first ever defeat at the Riverside.Taxi for Warnock !

GFH celebrate in the Executive Boxes

Tue Feb 12th. Right in the Gary Kellys –Leeds United – Saviours need not apply “ He’s not the messiah – he’s a very naughty boy”. I thought the above quote from Life of Brian was very appropriate given Sundays impromptu bid by that old chestnut the `Yorkshire Consortium’ to buy Leeds from GFH. GFH have made a tough decision to invest in football, and there seemed more than an element of mischief about this bid, inasmuch as it was leaked (probably deliberately) and stirred up sections of the support. As investments go, the purchase of a football club is a challenging one. high risk.. high yield as a finance man might put it. Leeds United are of course no different. When GFH purchased Leeds for an estimated £52m from Ken Bates, what did they actually buy? The players and employees contracts, some associated businesses (we think?) such as Yorkshire Radio, the rights to retain sponsorship money, and the `goodwill’ of the brand. Leeds don’t own their ground, or training ground, it exists (like a lot of businesses) on a balance sheet. Its revenue, cash, and potential. GFH are an investment bank, not a private individual, whilst they would of course like to make a profit they do so for slightly different reasons to say Roman Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour. They do so as their investors want a return on their money, a private owner – let’s say like Ken Bates wants to either turn a profit based on the judgements he makes for his own gain short term, or is even prepared to make losses with a view to the long term. A Bank has shareholders and investors as sources of capital, and needs to show those parties that it is using their money wisely. Some investors will be prepared to take a risk for higher yield, some want a firmer footing for their money. Leeds represent almost all risk Why? Well put simply the outgoings of the club aren’t matched by returns in its current state, namely in the second tier. Promotion is a must, but to do that you need to put in even more money and probably accrue even more losses at least short term. GFH need to prove to their current investors that this investment is a good one, if the current set of investors dont like it – its their right not to invest in it – the nett effect – GFH find those who are prepared to do so. As a club Leeds make a small profit compared to revenues lets take £317K vs turnover of £31m last year for example for Leeds United football club itself, the holdings company even made a loss. GFH’s challenge is twofold. As a bank they need to :- a.) Attract the right partners to back this investment, parties who are prepared to take that risk. b.) Use their money effectively to try and make that investment profitable via a promotion campaign. Oh I forgot.. Thirdly, they need to do so within the Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations. In short pumping vast amounts of cash into a failing business model will no longer be acceptable.. Sunday evening’s news of an offer to buy a controlling stake in Leeds United from a `Yorkshire Consortium’ should then come as no surprise. GFH have not been shy with the fact that they are seeking strategic investors. That will alert those with money to an opportunity to invest of course, and those with a bit more ambition to chance their arm yet further. Wouldn’t GFH be tempted to cash in as a bank? Say if £60m were offered for the club an £8m profit might be music to their ears? Well no it wouldn’t. `Flipping’ the investment isnt going to be an option, losing the upside is a higher risk still. Get the £90m on offer for one failed season in the premier league, and the deal more than pays for itself, with cash left over for your investors. Three seasons? Well the numbers speak for themselves. GFH had the faith and the wherewithal to take on a club, with a strong reputation, but a cashflow problem, falling gates, and a disaffected fanbase. They also had to deal with the machinations of supremely litigious Ken Bates. This is an investment they knew would be hard to turn round, but with an incredible upside. Take Wigan to the top flight and you might get gates of 18,000 a week, take Leeds up? You get global recognition and marketing, gates of 35,000> this is the land of Milk and honey people.. Those types of revenue are self perpetuating if managed right, and a bank simply has to do it properly. The message from the clubs owners in the wake of the latest bid was clear, they want investors not to sell the club. To some this might be more of the same, Ken Bates was not averse to trash talking `time wasters’ or famously `Sheikh Rub-A Dubs’ – Awkward..! who didnt represent long term partners, but brought little to the table himself. GFH already have investment partners, they say they’re looking for new ones too. There seemed to be a clamour of excitement last week when Adam Pearson expressed an interest in becoming involved at Leeds, and further excitement still when said consortium made their offerBut why? Realistically private individuals unless they possess the kind of ridiculous wealth only seen in the Gulf, China, Japan or the US, simply cannot make the necessary investment needed to pull clear of the championship and sustain that investment in the top flight. Just look at QPR… insensible management has a cost. When Warnock left them they struggled to adjust and made poor investments in their squad, with a seeming strategy akin to a drunken Lottery winner when it came to wages. GFH have invested in Leeds United, and probably sensibly so – just who did we miss out on in the transfer window? George Boyd? Chris Burke? But we did get Steve Morison, Ryan Hall, Michael Tonge, Stephen Warnock.. All this with a manager on board with only 4 months left to prove himself. Burke will be available for free in the summer, if he wanted to join us he could do so then? Meantime the £700k put aside for him could go towards a more lucrative wage deal for him in the summer – fair? It’s incredible to think that less than two months ago GFH bought Leeds and already people are clamouring for a new `saviour’ we are owned now by a bank, looking for money in the investment markets to spend on Leeds United. Who have connections to the Gulf, India, China and beyond, and who have a duty to act transparently and profitably. Ken Bates is nowhere to be seen, in our programme notes, as amusing as they were, and does anyone really think that we would have got Morison in a swap deal or Habibou if he had still been around… We could have expected Andy Gray and Davide Somma to have started against Wolves last week. The time has come to surely stop looking for saviours and to start backing the team. Just how long is `long enough’? I’ll start the bidding and see how we do in the summer in terms of our managerial appointment and the squad they build. We’ve cut away a good chunk of deadwood from our squad, and hav e players with a decent value and sensible contracts attached to them too. Only one want away remained, Becchio, and he – went away. Byram, Diouf, McCormack, Morison, Lees, Pearce, Peltier, Kenny, Ashdown, even Luke Varney! Will all attract a fee if bid for. For once we are in control of players contracts, and have got rid of most of the players we didn’t want. There is progress being made. Keep the faith, things will surely get better. Super article.

Tues 12th of Feb. Warnock on M’bro, his squad and promotion. He said: “I don’t fear anything like what happened last season. This is the best side I have had since coming to Leeds and the character is very different to the team that struggled during the final few weeks (of 2011-12).“The only person I wish was still here is Robert Snodgrass. If we had him, we’d be in the top four at least with the players that would be around him. “Funnily enough, it was against Boro last season when Snod had one of his better games. We were excellent that day in winning 2-0. It was definitely one of our better performances since I came to the club and one we want to repeat this season.” The Riverside Stadium has been infinitely kind to United, with Boro also representing opponents per se who have been benign over the years for Warnock, who has consistently dined out at their expense. From dumping Boro out of the play-offs back in 1990-91 when his Notts County side blazed a trail with back-to-back promotions to the top-flight to a last-gasp 2-1 Premiership victory while at Sheffield United in 2006-07 thanks to a screamer from Phil Jagielka, Warnock has largely prospered against the Teessiders – with one defeat in 10 matches against them while managing four different clubs speaking for itself. If Warnock could cherry-pick opponents this evening, you suspect that Boro would not far away from the top of the list, given the dual factors of his and United’s Indian sign over them, more especially at the Riverside and the Teessiders current malaise – with the north-easterners on their worst results sequence for 13 years. Throw in leaking seven goals in successive losses to two relegation-threatened sides in Barnsley and Ipswich Town and it’s clear all is not well on Teesside. Warnock added: “Boro are on a poor run. Most teams have a hiccup in a season, especially after Christmas. “It is such a long season and there isn’t really a break, so that can make a team stumble.“I don’t think there is a key in terms of how you approach a game against a team in poor form. Middlesbrough will be like Wolves were on Saturday and determined to get out of a slump.” So much for Boro’s travails, with the onus now on United to cash in and relight their play-off fires in the process. A repeat of last March’s victory in the early spring sunshine at the Riverside most definitely would not go amiss against a wounded animal in Tony Mowbray’s Teessiders, who were also licking their wounds after a 2-1 reverse at Elland Road just before Christmas. Warnock, who feels his side are getting ever closer to securing their first victory on the road in two-and-a-half months – cruelly denied them at the death, courtesy of Danny Batth’s late strike in the 2-2 draw at Wolves – said: “We have shown that little bit more over recent weeks to suggest things can click into place. “For us, the Cup has probably helped us as it has distracted us from the league and just how punishing it can be. We have also been able to take that form into the league. “Birmingham away stands out, as winning the Cup replay helped us turn our season round after what happened at Barnsley. “For me, we have turned our season around after the mess that was Barnsley. Mind, Barnsley’s form since then – which includes a win at Middlesbrough over the weekend – shows that the result of ours wasn’t as bad as it seemed at the time. “Having said that, if I’d had the team I have now at Barnsley then we wouldn’t have lost like we did. I am certain of that.” A collective closing of ranks occurred among United players amid a barrage of criticism in the wake of the Oakwell shocker on January 12, with one of those handed an immediate chance following that wretched loss – in Luke Varney – busy answering a few doubters after a low-key start to his Whites career. The summer signing has hit two goals in his past four matches, with no-one more pleased at his upturn than Warnock, whose pleasure at his impressive strike at Molineux on Saturday was matched by his delight in seeing newcomers Steve Morison and Stephen Warnock get a much-needed ninety minutes in.  On Varney, Warnock said: “I’m pleased for him, he’s really tried hard. “He just went off his game for a while and I think the crowd got to him a little bit early on, but now it’s almost like they love him and it’s bringing the best out of him. The chants about his name and everything; it’s positive. “I think that the two new lads are also fitting in well. The longer the game went on against Wolves, Stephen Warnock grew into the game. “Steve Morison was tired, we left him on but it will do him well to get a full game. “We looked solid at the back, and creative in midfield so I was pleased on Saturday.”

Tues Feb 12thMillwall Scumbags v Diouf. THE Football Association has contacted Leeds to ask for El-Hadji Diouf’s version of events as part of an investigation into footage which showed the striker being racially abused during a match at Millwall in November. Millwall have also reopened an investigation into the incident, saying they are “appalled” by footage shown on Sky Sports News on Monday night.The film appeared to show the Senegal international alerting the referee, Mark Halsey, and making stewards aware of his allegations but Millwall insisted no complaint of racist abuse was made by the player at the time. The FA is now investigating the footage – and not just the incident with Diouf. It is understood Leeds have provided the governing body with the Senegal striker’s version of what happened. An FA statement said: “We were concerned by the video footage and we have requested a copy for our full consideration. “We will work with all the relevant authorities including the police to investigate fully.” The FA also urged anyone“subject to or witness to racial abuse” to report it. Football League chairman Greg Clarke and FA independent board member Heather Rabbatts have both stressed the need for players to be given the support to report incidents of racist abuse. Clarke admitted something in the game may be “terribly wrong” if black players felt unable to do so. Just google Diou v Millwall on youtube. Absolutely sickening shower of scumbags “!

Mon 12th of Feb. Warnock  considers Barkley loan  extension among other targets.  and Leeds manager Neil Warnock is considering whether to extend Ross Barkley’s loan move from Everton. The midfielder has made four appearances since arriving at Elland Road on 11 January but is due to return to Merseyside following Leeds’ clash with Middlesbroughhttp:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gifon Tuesday. Warnock has revealed he is pursuing a number of other loan targets and will make a decision on Barkley once he has concluded his other business. “I’m going to talk to Ross himself and David Moyes,” Warnock told the official Leeds website. “He wasn’t in the starting line-up on Saturday so I’m going to have a chat with them. “I’m sure we’ll decide over the next 24 hours. He has done well, he is a good young lad and he is going to be a top player one day. “We’ll have to wait and see, not just on Ross but on our targets as well that we are trying to bring in. We are still trying to get a wide player. “That’s why I had the conversation with David when I knew that he wouldn’t be starting against Wolves and we agreed to talk on Tuesday morning.” Barkley didn’t make the bench for the M’boro game so it looks like the lad is going back to Everton. 

Mon Feb 11th. GFH “reject” takeover bid. We are aware of growing speculation regarding new investment at Leeds United. As can be expected with a club as fantastic as Leeds United, since our acquisition we have received several offers to invest in the club alongside us. The most recent offer was for a majority stake and has not been accepted. Although we continue to seek strategic investors, we will only bring on board those who we feel can make a positive contribution to the sustainable success of Leeds United. It has now been a little over seven weeks since GFH Capital completed our acquisition of this great football club and we are delighted with the progress made since the Press Conference on December 21. Firstly, it is important to reiterate how thrilled we are to be here working with a great team of people at the club and a superb set of supporters – a lot of whom we met at the Christmas party. On the pitch, we were thrilled to bring in quality players such as Steve Morison, Michael Tonge, Stephen Warnock and Ryan Hall. They, along with our extended contracts for El Hadji Diouf and Sam Byram, are great additions to the squad and will provide a great boost as we head further into the second half of the season. There is also the FA Cup 5th Round tie against Manchester City to come and we know you are all as excited about that as us. Off the pitch, we have made significant investment of working capital that was crucial to keeping the club running. We have created official Leeds United Twitter and Facebook pages to allow you, the fans, to follow the latest club news from inside Elland Road. Through dialogue with fans, we knew it was important that you had official accounts to follow and that we had an official voice allowing us to interact with you. In the short time that they have been running we have amassed nearly 30,000 followers on Twitter, an incredible number which we will continue to build on through innovative and interesting content. We would like to thank you for your support of @LUFC and hope you enjoy following it. Another point raised by countless Leeds United fans that contacted us during the takeover was the importance of half-season tickets. That coupled with our desire to bring fans back to Elland Road led to the introduction of those tickets before Christmas. Fan interaction is key, which is why we are excited to be holding our first fans forum on February 18 at Elland Road to give you the chance to put your questions to us. For more details and tickets please see here. In our short but incredibly exciting time here we have also met with numerous local politicians and councillors to get to understand their views and opinions. We see this as a crucial part of ensuring that the local Leeds community is moving forward together, united in its goal to produce the very best for the club. On top of producing the best results on the pitch, it is our aim to expand and strengthen the Leeds United brand both here in Leeds and across the globe with the thousands of fans that follow the club from abroad. As always we welcome your views via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook, and we will continue to take those on board to help build this club back and take it to where we believe it should be. Marching on Together! GFH Capital

Mon July 11th. WBA chase Byram and Warnock has his side for the “trenches”. West Bromwich Albion have joined the growing group of Premier League clubs monitoring Leeds United defender Sam Byram. The 19-year-old was watched by West Brom manager Steve Clarke and assistant Keith Downing during Saturday’s 2-2 draw between Leeds and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. Byram is emerging as a possible summer target for Albion with the West Midlands club in the market for a new right-back and interested in taking United’s talented academy product to The Hawthorns. Interest in Byram has been increasing throughout his first season as a senior professional at Elland Road and Leeds negotiated an extension to his contract last month amid suggestions that Everton were intent on signing the teenager. Byram is protected by a contract that runs until June 2016 but he is likely to attract further attention when the summer arrives, despite a slight dip in his form recently. The highly-rated right-back lacked his usual confidence during an eventful  clash at Molineux but he appeared to have forced a vital win when he drew Bakary Sako into conceding a penalty which Ross McCormack converted 12 minutes from time, giving United a 2-1 lead. Wolves manager Dean Saunders implied that Byram had fooled referee Roger East and one of his assistants into penalising Sako, saying: “I couldn’t believe the linesman gave it. It’s outrageous. “He (Byram) is running alongside Sako, realises the ball’s getting away from him so threw his body across Sako.” But Warnock defended his young full-back’s actions, insisting: “I think it depends which camp you’re in.”McCormack’s careful finish from the spot put Leeds on course for a priceless victory and only their fourth away win of but they were stung in the second minute of injury-time when Danny Batth equalised with a close-range header. Warnock made four changes to his team, handing debuts to striker Steve Morison and left-back Stephen Warnock and bringing Paul Green and David Norris back into his line-up, and he spoke highly of United’s performance despite admitting that their late concession had delivered another heavy blow to their chances of promotion. “Away from home, the new lads did well,” Warnock said. “We made a few changes and Morison gave us something we’ve not had before. “Stephen Warnock played well as did the other two lads, Norris and Green. I was pleased with everything apart from the goals. “The frustration is that we’ve played Cardiff City and Wolves in our last two games and got one point out of those games. But I’m ever so pleased with how we’ve played. I’m pleased with how we’ve played since the Barnsley debacle last month. “I’ve got the team I want together now and I can’t fault anyone. This is the team I’d like going into the trenches with me if we were going to war. You know what I’m like. “I was disappointed with the goals but you ask everyone to give their all and they did. That’s what I love about the rather than the Premier League. You’ve got honest, genuine people who want to play. “They might not be great at times but they’re honest and genuine and that’s what football’s all about. The Premier League lacks that sometimes.” Forward El-Hadji Diouf was rested on Saturday along with midfielder Rodolph Austin whose late return from international duty on Friday afternoon saw him omitted from Warnock’s squad completely. Both players are expected to return to contention for the league match at Middlesbrough.

Sun Feb 10thFrom “To Ell and Back “. Another day…another takeover? Leeds to slip back into Yorkshire ownership? Just two and a half months after seizing control of the club, BBC Leeds report that a Yorkshire Consortium will try and buy a controlling stake in the Elland Road club of 51% with a phased full takeover planned.  GFH Capital took over on December 21st last year after a prolonged eight month buy-out saga from existing chairman Ken Bates for a reported £52m, however despite a initial warm reception many fans have cottoned on to fears and media reports that allege GFH do not have the finances to push Leeds back towards the Premiership. On taking over the club, Director Salem Patel announced the club would not be spending “crazy money” in the transfer market. This morning Mr Patel tweeted an article from the Economist about big spending in the January transfer-window being both difficult and over. January at Elland Road saw a mixed-bag of fortune, Leeds completed the transfers of Ryan HallMichael Tonge on permanent deals and Ross Barklay arrived on loan. However in a dramatic last day Leeds lost Luciano Becchio to Norwich, the departure of our top scorer was slightly compounded by the arrival of Steve Morison in the other direction, veteran defender Stephen Warnock and another striker Habib Habibou on loan. Cynics argue this is an indicator that little has changed since the days of Bates, Leeds losing their prized assets and picking up cheaper replacements. The future of manager Neil Warnock is another cause for uncertainty, with the 64 year old due to retire in the summer. The comments of former Leeds Commercial Director, Hull and Derby chairman Adam Pearson midweek caused a bit of a stir when he spoke of his eagerness to return to the game and named Leeds as a club. Pearson presently the Hull RL chairman said “I will definitely get back into football. I would like to go in with a consortium with a club that has huge potential. “The one that stands out is Leeds.”So far GFH have remained silent at the speculation. Although they have denied during the buy-out process from Bates they were not interested in“flipping” the club eg: making a fast buck, it is understood they hope to bring potential investors on board. I honestly feel both Patel and his colleague David Haigh,who went to great lengths to tell us about his humble Beeston roots prior to becoming a Tory-supporting, high-flying, Dubai-based lawyer have endured a difficult two-months at the helm and have at times looked like startled rabbits in the headlights as the task of reviving one of Europe’s sleeping giants becomes apparent. There will be those Elland Roadsters who will welcome another takeover bid due to the increased dissatisfaction over GFH’s plans. With the ink barely dry on the Bates takeover, surely it would not take another eight-months of pouring over the books? At the end of the day Messers Patel and Haigh are businessmen over football fans and if a good deal landed on the table for the Islamic investment bank they represent they would surely take it? However it would be interesting to see how Bates would react to the prospect of them making a tidy profit in just a few months? Maybe the decision to retain his services as Chairman will backfire for them?

Sat Feb 9th.  Wolves 2-2 Leeds. Kenny, Byram, Lees, Peltier, Warnock, Brown, Norris, Green, Varney, Morison, McCormack (Barkley 90) Subs not used: Ashdown, White, Pearce, Tonge, Hall, Habibou.  Leeds United missed a great chance to close the gap on the play-off places after conceding a last minute equaliser at Wolverhampton Wanderers.A dour game was brought to life in the second half when Lee Peltier put through his own goal to give Wolves the lead. Leeds were level just past the hour when Ross McCormack teed up Luke Varney, who made it two goals in three games. McCormack then gave Leeds the lead from the penalty spot after Sam Byram had been brought down in the area. Leeds looked like they weregoing to clinch three crucial points until Danny Batth headed home in the second minute of injury time. The draw moves Leeds up a place to eleventh, five points(6 really when you count goal difference) off sixth placed Middlesbrough. Leeds travel to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night in a must win game. The plus points : Morison lead the line really well and looks a decent addition when he gets fit. Warnock did okay at left back and Varney had a good game. Now for a reality check. When many so called top sides in a very poor league were all dropping points, this was two points thrown away against a side who are on a woeful run. We are closer to Barnsley in 22nd (8 points)  than we are to C Palace in 5th (10 points). Another silly mistake by Kenny trying to time waste by letting the ball go out for a corner when he touched it himself. It’s not M’bro we should be worrying about, it’s the sides in and around us who are all going on a run (B’burn, Brighton etc). Personally, I believe we are not good enough and our manager lives in fantasy land with his prehistoric tactics.Our points tally thus far is below last year and we have conceded more goals. Also, no other side in the Championship has thrown away more points than Leeds  from leading positions, with most coming in the last ten minutes. Play offs my arse ! Good job Colin (not) ! A bit harsh ? I call it a reality check. Wolves manager Dean Saunders: If you can’t defend goal-kicks, long throws and free-kicks then you will concede goals and I have got to do something about it. “Three managers have got the sack because the team have been conceding goals and I won’t be the fourth. “I have been trying for three weeks to get things done but have not been able to get anyone in that we can afford. It is a necessity now. “Obviously we haven’t won for a long time but it is coming because that is the best we have played.” Leeds manager Neil Warnock: “The frustration for me is that we have just played Cardiff City and Wolves and we should have had six points and I have got one out of both games. “I want to get into the play-offs and I am disappointed that we are not in the play-offs and games are running out. “I want to go up. I think I am more frustrated than anybody. “It is all right for the players; they are all young and they can play for years to come.” There are just three problems with that ridiculous statement, Colin. It’s your team. You are the manager….and you said that you were doing a fantastic job as the best man for the job.

Sat Feb 9th 2013. Leeds United’s owners eight to keep their counsel on future of Warnock – Hay. Neil Warnock’s contractual position is slightly unusual. Managers are generally fired long before the end of their contracts or bought out of them by other clubs. It is rare – though, as David Moyes is demonstrating, not unique – for a deal to run as low as Warnock’s has. Moyes and Everton are involved in a high-stakes stand-off in which Moyes holds the cards. Everton would like to keep him – of course they would – but Moyes is asking awkward questions about ambition and future intentions. His contract expires in the summer and he is starting to wonder if another year at Goodison Park would be worth his while. The situation at Leeds United is more benign. That the club’s owners have not sought to initiate contract talks with Warnock nor Warnock asked for contract talks with them tells you everything you need to know about where this is heading. “Judge me on this season,”was Warnock’s message on Thursday and you suspect that Leeds United will. His deal ends in June. The scenario of a manager with a dwindling contract was an inevitability when Warnock agreed terms 12 months ago. He had no intention of bedding in for years, hence why the deal he signed was 18 months long. A clause allowing him to walk away freely before the end of May, 2012 was included because, at the age of 63, Warnock was precious about a year which might be his last in management. He did not want to trade it for a mid-table finish. As it happens, a mid-table finish might be all he has to show for a full season at Elland Road. The play-offs tease and flutter their eye-lids but Leeds are worse off now than they were when the board at Leeds sacked Simon Grayson with 28 games played and 42 points gained. It is, as Warnock said himself, a long shot to promotion. And in those circumstances, what is there to say about his future? Had Leeds cut through the Championship as Queens Park Rangers did in 2010, Warnock and United’s directors would have been round the table before Christmas. He would have had GFH Capital nailing him to the floor once the takeover documents were signed. You do not play games with successful managers and Everton must be sweating about theirs. But nor do you dive in to reward a record which, all complications of the job considered, falls a long way short of special. Warnock’s comments on Thursday went far enough to imply that if Leeds fall short of promotion or do not at least qualify for the Championship’s play-offs, he does not expect another chance. “My future will be decided on the football field. All I can do is get promotion.” In fairness to him, he has barely changed his tune. When he took the job in February of last year, he talked about being a one-season wonder. Beyond that, he spoke about retirement. At no stage has he swerved the original brief or attempted to buy more time. Unsatisfying though it will be for him if this season peters out, he seems willing to let this period of his career run its course and be judged accordingly. He is, in any case, the manager of a club where bigger pictures are being drawn. Leeds have been under new ownership for seven short weeks but even their owners, new to the job as they are, might not dictate the club’s outlook alone. When GFH Capital bought United in December, their employees spoke about finding “strategic investors” – wealthy backers to you and me – at the earliest opportunity. It is apparent that the Dubai-based firm has been pursuing such investors in the weeks since its buy-out and, according to two sources spoken to by the YEP this week, is currently offering shares in United in return for a cash injection. The company’s director, Salem Patel, made that intention plain when he spoke on December 21, saying GFH Capital would“bring the right people on board – whether that’s management, shareholders or investors” while stressing the firm’s intention to retain a stake in United. A new chairman is due to be appointed in the summer, replacing Ken Bates after eight-and-a-half years, and the structure of senior management at Elland Road could look very different if new shareholders arrive. From the highest level down, Leeds are a club in transition. There is a train of thought which says the lack of clarity over Warnock’s future and GFH Capital’s plans for him is a problem for the club. On the contrary, United’s owners are better keeping their thoughts to themselves. Extending Warnock’s deal at this juncture would be illogical and unnecessary, in part because Warnock is not even asking for it. But to give the impression that the 64-year-old will be thanked and sent on his way in the summer would undermine him and what is left of the season. A vote of no confidence creates a lame duck. As it is, the club have the best of both worlds – a manager who is willing to risk his neck on the next 17 games and the freedom to do as they please in May without being compromised by the cost of severing contracts held by their coaching staff. It might be that when the summer comes Warnock is still their man but what sense is there in drawing that conclusion now? There will come a point where the conversation is unavoidable. Until then, Leeds have a season to settle.

Habibou on debut

Sat Feb 9th 2013. Habibou keen for his feet to do talking – Phil Hay. Leeds United’s experimental signings split easily into two categories withno significant grey area. In one group are those who blossomed impressively: Jermaine Beckford, Luciano Becchio and to a lesser extent Davide Somma. In the other are deals which amounted to nothing: Filipe da Costa, Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Sorsa and more.There are diamonds hiding in the rough of world football but chunks of broken glass too. It is down to Habib Habibou, United’s latest recruit, to decide how he is remembered by the club’s crowd: as a remarkable find or a waste of money. Unheralded in Leeds before he surfaced as a potential target last month, his transfer on loan from Belgium’s SV Zulte Waregem was another adventure for a striker whose life and career have taken him to two different continents, four different countries and five different clubs.When he signed for Leeds last week, his reputation in these parts was patchy. The internet defined him as a tall, powerful footballer whose Kodak moment involved a confrontation with a duck and a subsequent run-in with animal rights campaigners. But his background is that of an African-born and deeply religious man who moved to Paris at a young age and gained his footballing education at Paris Saint-Germain and France’s Clairefontaine academy. “Growing up in Paris, he played with his friends in the street, learning tricks and so on,” says Gary Niblock, an online blogger and an expert in Belgian football. “He describes himself as a street footballer which is a little strange for a player who had his education at PSG and the renowned Clairefontaine academy.But that’s how he sees himself.“The potential is there and he’s a natural talent; good in the air with a powerful shot. He runs the channels and he’s very strong as you can see that from his build. But consistency is lacking.”Habibou made his debut for Leeds as a second-half substitute in last weekend’s defeat to Cardiff City, two days after completing his transfer an hour-and-a-half before the January deadline. The 25-year-old made hard work of touching the ball and left the crowd at Elland Road none the wiser about his suitability for the Championship but he has two-and-a-half months to convince Leeds that the option they negotiated to buy him in the summer is worth taking up. Habibou is recognised as a centre-forward but his formative years and his earliest taste of senior football at Charleroi saw him used in the main as a left winger – “a very dangerous player,” as Niblock recalls: “He had an eye for goal and caused problems.”He completed loans at AFC Tubize, another Belgian side, and Romanian powerhouse Steaua Bucharest, whose coach described him as the “new Adebayor”. Intrigued by Habibou potential, Zulte Waregem signed him in 2010. Since then, Zulte Waregem and their current coach Francky Dury have found much to admire in his ability and were anxious not to lose him last month, so much so that they handed Habibou an extended contract before he left for Elland Road. His parent club have covered their back one way and the other, ready to sell to Leeds in a few months’ time but more than happy to take Habibou back if United withdraw their interest. Dury argued strongly that Habibou should remain in Belgium until the end of the season and, as he put it, get games under his belt, score a lot of goals and improve his CV. “His coach didn’t want him to move, though partly for selfish reasons,” Niblock says. “Zulte Waregem are second in the table(Belgium’s Pro League) which is a major surprise. They’re going for the Champions League qualifying spots. But he also had a hamstring injury earlier in the season and came back a little too early. Dury said it would be better for him to recover properly from injury. He’s often had his career interrupted by injury.”The earliest parts of Habibou’s career with Zulte Waregem were dominated by a groin strain which required surgery. The forward refused to have an operation for as long as the threat of relegation hung over the club but the cost of his decision was a spell of more than six months in the treatment room. There were other moments of difficulty too, none more bizarre than his treatment of a duck which appeared on the pitch during a 1-1 draw with KSC Lokeren. While other players watched from a distance, Habibou grabbed the bird by one wing and threw it over the advertising hoardings, leaving it dazed but apparently unharmed. His actions drew a pointed response from Global Action in the Interests of Animals, an animal rights group founded in Belgium.“I heard the commentator say that GAIA will not be happy and he is correct. What the footballer did is not on.” Habibou apologised and, after scoring twice in a victory over Sint-Truiden the following weekend, celebrated with a Donald Duck flag brought into the ground by Zulte Waregem’s supporters. “There was a lot written and said about me but I let my feet do the talking,” Habibou said. It was clear for some time that Habibou hoped to let his feet talk in England. He had trials with Brighton and West Ham in 2011 and linked up with QPR before joining Leeds for several days’ training at the beginning of last month. “He came over for a trial a few weeks back and I liked what I saw,” said United manager Neil Warnock. “Financially it’s not a lot of money so it’s a no-lose situation for us. He’s a big target man and it gives us another option. Unlike many of United’s previous leftfield recruits, Leeds have not committed heavily to Habibou’s potential. He was given 19 games to prove himself – 20 if Leeds progress any further in the FA Cup – and United are not obliged to sign him permanently. He did, however, give Warnock the additional forward he was looking for in January. In all, Habibou has scored 20 goals in 57 appearances for Zulte Waregem and six in 13 games this season.  “I wouldn’t say he’s a world-beater but he’s not a bad playersaid Niblock. He’s just not someone who consistently lit up the Belgian leagues. Perhaps that’s why Leeds have taken him on loan. It’s not a guarantee.”

Tuesday February 5th. Concerns at “The old Peacock”. Fears have been voiced about possible late night noise nuisance problems at one of the best known pubs in Leeds. Fears have been voiced about possible late night noise nuisance problems at one of the best known pubs in Leeds. Bosses at the Old Peacock, opposite Leeds United’s Elland Road ground, have submitted an application to the city council for a revised premises licence. The pub’s owner, brewing giant Greene King, asked for permission to sell alcohol in the outside area at the back. Greene King’s application also requested the removal of two existing licence conditions. One of them bans customers from the pub’s beer garden after 11pm. The other condition prevents external loudspeakers being used at the Peacock. Greene King’s application will be considered by a Leeds City Council licensing commitee next Monday (Feb 11). However, the firm’s original proposals have been opposed by the council’s environmental protection team. A letter from senior environmental health officer Vanessa Holroyd outlining its concerns has been made public ahead of next week’s meeting. In it, she notes that homes on Heath Crescent and Heath Grove are just 40 metres away from the Peacock. Mrs Holroyd says “there is potential for noise nuisance from the proposed external bar servery”.She goes on: “Removal of [the conditions] would allow loud music to be played outside on Sunday to Wednesday to midnight and on Thursday to Saturday to 0100 hours the following day. This would cause significant noise and sleep disturbance to those nearby residents.” Greene King yesterday told the Yorkshire Evening Post it had moved to address the council’s concerns. A spokeswoman for the firm said: “We are planning to invest a considerable sum refurbishing the Old Peacock and made an application to support this work. “We have since amended our application in response to points raised by the council and hope this compromise will resolve the situation, allowing us to improve the pub for the benefit of our customers.” The Old Peacock opened in the 1960s, replacing an older pub of the same name whose history can be traced back to the 1840s. A popular Saturday afternoon drinking haunt for football fans, it was taken over by the Leeds United Supporters’ Club (LUSC) in 2007. It flourished on matchdays but struggled for trade through the week and LUSC called time on its spell in charge in June last year. The pub then had a couple of months out of action before reopening in August, with Suffolk-based Greene King saying it hoped to attract more family custom on non-matchdays.

Sinking like a stone

Sunday Feb 3rd 2013. Where now after the transfer window ? I watched yesterday’s game live on Al Jezeera TV. It was game 29 of a disappointing season to date. Okay we have had some decent cup wins, both League Cup and FA Cup, but it’s the bread and butter that matters to most Leeds fans. Yes we had chances and yes we probably should have won the game against Cardiff City. The thing is “we didn’t” and one could argue quite successfully that from the six straight home league wins we gained before the league leaders came to town, perhaps two at most were won on merit. Fair play to Cardiff, they grind out results and have that winning arrogance that comes from hanging in there. Colin said last season he doesn’t need the best players to win, because he fancies himself tactically against any manager in the league. I have failed to see that in most games. Cardiff City have two tower block central defenders, excellent in the air but completely immobile on the ground. You beat them by getting your strikers to pull them wide. Play incisive passes inside, balls on the deck and runners from midfield, just like the mighty P’boro did at Cardiff earlier in the season. Colin plays players out of position and we don’t see the best of them. Barkley is a central midfielder and probably the best one at the club. Why split up the Green and Byram partnership on the right that did so well against Spurs ? Austin and Brown have no creativity with the former looking like an average League of Ireland plodder at best. The manager“couldn’t wait to have Tonge back at the football club” and yet fails to play him, and Hall who we purchased from Southend looks like a reserve team player at best. The player could argue however, that he hasn’t been tried long enough and he is one of the few out and out wingers at the club. Domic Poleon scored against Notts Forest and showed much promise and was banished to Bury before being recalled to our Reserve side. So how are we doing ? Colin has brought in circa twenty players to the football club since he arrived. It’s undoubtedly his team now, and he celebrates one year in charge in a matter of days. He claimed he was very happy with the January transfer window when Leeds brought in six players :  Michael Tonge – Stoke City (permanently), Ryan Hall – Southend United (permanently) Steve Morison – Norwich City (permanently) Stephen Warnock – Aston Villa ) Permanently, Mohamadou Habibou (loan for rest of season) – SV Zulte Wagerem and Ross Barkley (short term loan) – Everton. He also claimed he could have purchased highly rated winger, Chris Burke from Birmingham, but he was unwilling to meet the Birmingham price of circa £750K. This could be a fatal mistake because Leeds lack width. Steve Morison can score goals but he craves service especially from wide areas. Many people thought that when Ken Bates “stepped down” as owner, the crowds would flock back to Elland Road. Barely 19,000 turned up at Elland Road yesterday to watch the runaway leaders. Is this because fans are punch drunk from nearly 10 years of Premiership exile ? Is it because the fans think we should have a better team on the park or is it because of the quality of football that is served up at Elland Road is not worth the admission money ? It may well be all three reasons, but I believe that it’s more relating to the latter. I have never seen Leeds United play such boring football since the Allan Clarke side of the 1980s. Even yesterday, in the second half despite having two small forwards, (Diouf and McCormack) I cringed as long ball after long ball was whacked up the field to our two starving forwards. This was despite Leeds playing okay in the first half without resorting to these tactics. I like to call it “Austerity football”. For God’s sake, I see more creativity from my six year old than we get from Austin and Brown. By all means play one of them, (Brown) but when we have a powerful midfielder like Barkley wasted on the right surely a manager that has achieved seven promotions can see that ? I have to say I find it very difficult to even attempt attending a game for the rest of this season unless we see some real change from our manager. Yes he was messed about at the start of the season re signings etc, but some of the players he has given that white shirt to ever since defy belief. So what about GFH ? I really don’t know. Have they funds ? I suspect they actually do, although not the unlimited resources that appear to be at the hands of Leicester City. I believe that they decided to back the manager in this window to a limited extent, more or less writing off this season. Leeds have underachieved this season and Colin is like the Emperor with no clothes on trying to convince the rest of us what a wonderful job he has done. I’m sorry Colin, I couldn’t give a monkies about all the other promotions you achieved. This is Leeds United, the biggest club you have ever managed. After 29 games we have a miserable 41 points with an unbelievable minus six of a goal difference. Even Bolton in 20th have only minus two. “We are still only six points off sixth position”. I hear him say. If we keep playing to the same methods we will still be “six points of sixth position” on April 27th and Colin will have drove into the moonlight on his Massey Ferguson searching for  Devon.

Barkley – good player but played out of position

Sat Feb 3rd 2013. LEEDS 0, CARDIFF 1 (Campbell 64)  Kenny, Byram, Peltier, Lees, White, Barkley, Brown, Austin, Varney, Diouf (Habibou 73), McCormack. Subs: Pearce, Green, Ashdown, Warnock, Norris, Tonge. Referee: M Dean. Att: 19,236 (446 CardiffUnited manager Neil Warnock made two changes to the side which beat Tottenham in the FA Cup last weekend – Paddy Kenny and Ross Barkley returning to the starting line-up – and new signings Stephen Warnock and Habib Habibou were named among the subs. Fellow new recruit Steve Morison was sidelined through injury. Cardiff arrived as the runaway leaders in the division, but it was United who started brightly and Luke Varney lifted an early shot over the bar. Cardiff also had to defend well when Ross McCormack threatened down the left. United dominated the opening 20 minutes in terms of possession and looked a real threat. Mark Hudson did well to clear one Sam Byram cross and the visitors were on the back foot. A free-kick was also deflected wide for a corner. Shortly after the half-hour Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall pulled off a terrific block when he denied Ross Barkley with his legs after a great header from Byram. Barkley also screwed a shot wide after Rodolph Austin had a shot deflected into the path of his fellow midfielder. Moments before half-time, Cardiff threatened for the first time but Craig Bellamy was adjudged to have moved into an offside position as he collected Tommy Smith’s knock-down before slipping the ball home. The second half was preceeded by an impromptu team-talk on the pitch from the United boss as his players waited on the Cardiff side to emerge. United again started well and after the hosts failed to clear their lines Michael Brown sent a shot wide. The visitors started to look lively too and had a little spell of pressure of their own as the game started to open up more. When United threatened, Varney had a shot blocked, but it was the visitors who snatched the lead after Bellamy pounced on a mistake from Byram and Frazier Campbell was able to stroke the ball home. Despite enjoying the better of the game, United were suddenly looking to come back, and Austin had a shot blocked. With 17 minutes remaining, Habib Habibou was introduced for his debut in place of Diouf, and United came within a whisker of grabbing an equaliser on 80 minutes when Marshall made a terrific point-blank save to deny Tom Lees. There were also claims for a handball as Cardiff hacked the ball clear. United were really pushing for a leveller and were putting Cardiff under pressure, but the visitors were dogged in their resistance. An additional three minutes gave United hope of salvaging a more than deserved point from the game, but for all the pressure and endeavour, there was to be no way back. Colin to LUTV post match : “Paddy’s not a shot to save to make.  Young Sam’s gotta learn from the mistake.. The ref had a great game but Hudson has handled it. It’s definite hand to ball and even in the last minute we should have had one. All their staff knew it was a pen. I thought it was a great advert. They are a good side running away but I thought we should have won. Sam went to bits when he made his mistake but he’s got to learn from that and come out of it. Morison trained yesterday and today. A game like this I didn’t want to push him and Warnocky. I thought we didn’t miss them and if we had have taken our chances we could have won it. We are still only 6 points away. The two centre halves (Peltier and Lees) didn’t deserve to lose today. I thought they were absolutely fantastic”

Sat Feb 2nd 2013. Warnock delighted with his wheeler-dealing – Phil HayHe called it a vital month and by the closure of the January transfer window, Neil Warnock sounded bullish. There was no wild investment and nothing in the way of sensational signings but after ending the window with deals for Steve Morison, Stephen Warnock and Habib Habibou, Leeds United’s manager argued that the club had done “very, very well.”The 64-year-old cut a relaxed figure yesterday as he analysed a month which saw six players join Leeds, a prolific striker depart and countless surplus professionals take up offers elsewhere. There were frustrations for him, not least United’s failure to talk Birmingham City into selling Chris Burke and the offer from Blackburn Rovers which prevented United from getting involved in negotiations with ex-loanee Jerome Thomas, but Neil Warnock voiced few complaints. In trading United’s top scorer, Luciano Becchio, for Morison and a fee of £200,000 from Norwich City, Warnock signed a striker who he claimed had been his “first-choice target” even before Becchio submitted a transfer request and made plain his desire to leave. Stephen Warnock, he said, is an England international and as good a left-back as Leeds could have expected to sign in January. The less familiar Habibou – a tall and imposing African striker, brought in on loan from the Belgian leagues – was “back-up” and a “no-lose” option; a forward who United have an option to buy in the summer. “It’s given us a lot more balance to the team,” said the United boss. I think we’ve come out of the window very, very well. “With the swap dea“l in particular, we lacked a bit of pace up front and Morison’s got that. “We’ve got pace now and a bit more power. He’s a player I’ve always rated very highly and I think it’s a great deal. But then I’m biased. “He was top of my list and my main man, even before everything happened with Becchio. “I didn’t expect Becchio to go there (to Norwich) but that situation sorted itself out and I don’t want players here who don’t want to be here.“With Stephen Warnock, it’s not long ago that he played for his country and I’m not going to get a better player than that. It’s nice to get lads who want to come and play for you. Both of them made it clear how keen they were and that does help.“Habib’s comes in until the end of the season. He came over for a trial a couple of weeks back and I liked what I saw. Financially it’s not a lot of money so it’s a no-lose situation for us. “He’s a big target man and it gives us another option. To get Morison in like we did and then bring another lad in as back-up can only help the squad.“We’re still on the look-out for a wide player but it’s not like we can’t get anybody in. The loan window’s opening soon (on February 8)and we could actually have somebody signed before next Saturday so it’s not really affected us. It’s just disappointing not to have everyone I wanted.”Morison is no stranger to Leeds having played his part in the fiercely-competitive relationship between United and Millwall during two seasons at the New Den. His move to Norwich and the Premier League in 2011 offered him greater exposure still, and Leeds inquired about him some time before Becchio made a move for the door at Elland Road. Most of Stephen Warnock’s career has played out in the Premier League and was full of promise until his dwindling involvement at Aston Villa and the club’s desperation to remove him from their wage bill left him training with Villa’s youth-team squad. Aged 31, he agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with Leeds on Thursday, committing himself to Elland Road until June 2015. By comparison, Habibou is an entirely unknown quantity. Born in the Central African Republic, the 25-year-old cut his teeth at Paris Saint-Germain before moving across Europe to play for clubs in Romania and Belgium. Leeds have paid a loan fee to sign him from SV Zulte Waregem until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal, following up an initial interest which saw them invite the six foot four inch forward to Thorp Arch for a trial early last month. The deal remains subject to international clearance and Habibou was not expected to feature in today’s game against Cardiff City at Elland Road but Neil Warnock’s hope is that the three additions – and particularly those of Morison and Stephen Warnock – will enhance United’s prospects of qualifying for the Championship play-offs by redressing their miserable away record. “I’m concerned with getting a team together which has all the qualities to play away from home and win games, as well as at home,” Neil Warnock said. “I think we’ve gone towards that now. These are good acquisitions.“When you look at all the signings we’ve made this season, we’re still in the process of blending everyone in but we’ve already beaten three Premier League sides in the cups and played well against another one, and we’re above the teams who got relegated last season.“It’s quite an achievement but we don’t want to rest on that. Everyone knows how important it is to me that we try and get up there in the table. We don’t want to drift.“I’ve not brought Morison and (Stephen) Warnock in with any other thought (than promotion) and we’ve still got that intention. “But it’s a difficult month ahead of us, probably the toughest group of fixtures coming up, and we needed strengthening. We’ve done that in the right areas.”

Sat Feb 2nd.  Owners true to their word as GFH keep ‘crazy money’ promise – By Phil Hay Another January gone and a first month of ownership under GFH Capital. So what have we learnt? and how did it go? Those who hoped for a high-octane transfer window were underwhelmed. Those who deduced that the buy-out of Leeds United would not change the landscape of Elland Road dramatically were taken by realism, not pessimism. In the finest traditions of January, Luciano Becchio downed tools and left and six new players arrived, four of them on permanent contracts and two on loan. It was the precursor to an 18-game sprint which will either take United to the Premier League or consign them to a 10th successive season beneath that division. Here are five things that January taught us: GFH Capital is not SheikH Mansour: And in its defence the company never claimed to be. But here’s a comparison anyway. When the Sheikh bought Manchester City, the club broke the British transfer record a few hours later by signing Robinho from under the nose of Roman Abramovich. More money than sense, perhaps, but it did not take long for the wealth of Abu Dhabi to wear the Premier League down. Representatives of GFH Capital promised not to spend “crazy money” last month and proved as good as their word, limiting investment in transfer fees to Michael Tonge and Ryan Hall. The £200,000 gained from Becchio’s sale might just about have covered those. In all, the transfer window was more productive than previous Januaries but it arrived in the aftermath of the announcement that Leeds made an operating loss of £3.3m in the last financial year. It might be that GFH Capital is keeping its powder dry but the bigger picture is difficult to see. Leeds continue to look like a club who are feeling the pinch of cash-flow pressures. Loyalty whispers, money talks: By today’s standards, Becchio’s transfer request barely constitutes an act of disloyalty. Yes, he could have hung around and won promotion with Leeds. And yes, he might get found out in the Premier League. But that’s what they said about Bradley Johnson 18 months ago. Becchio is 29 and four-and-a-half years into a career in England’s lower leagues. If a move to one of Europe’s elite sides was ever his ambition then it should be clear enough that the boat has sailed. Why shouldn’t money motivate him? It would be nice to think that Becchio struggled to tear himself away from Elland Road but the Argentinian is like the next man – the head of a young family, alive to opportunities and in no way adverse to a better bank balance. Such is life and such is football. Good luck to a good servant. Norwich City have Leeds United’s number: Both their direct line and an understanding of how to work the Elland Road club. Speak to people at Leeds and they’ll argue that Steve Morison plus £200,000 was the better side of the deal for Becchio but, once again, Norwich had their way. City’s modus operandi is perfectly transparent: search around the Football League and find players with room for improvement and price tags befitting a club with a turnover of £75m. In short, they’ll be back sniffing around Elland Road when the time and the available options are right. You could say that Leeds have done well out of Norwich – up to £2m for Jonathan Howson, up to £3m for Robert Snodgrass and Morison plus £200k for Becchio – but only if you want a veritable kicking up and down Lowfields Road. The fringe element were taking over Thorp Arch: United’s outgoing transfers this month: Danny Pugh, Andy Gray, Ramon Nunez, Paul Rachubka, Patrick Kisnorbo, Paul Connolly and Robbie Rogers. When you consider that Pugh alone earns more than £10,000 a week, the drain on United’s wage bill caused by players with no possible chance of appearing regularly for the first team is easy to appreciate. Some in that list might have offered more in the Championship but there are others whose recruitment makes you rub your eyes. Robbie Rogers goes down as a weird experiment and the offer to Nunez of a deal until 2015 (with the option of an extra season)showed that punting on imports with no real pedigree in hard, competitive leagues is asking for trouble; a needle-in-a-haystack policy of recruitment. Re-engagement of United’s supporters is more than a six-day war: Half-season tickets, reduced prices and an official Twitter account were GFH Capital’s first steps towards public harmony but the battle for hearts and minds is not that superficial. Crowds have been falling in line with rising apathy and the half-season ticket promotion shifted only 350 – a drop in the ocean of empty seats. The attendance against Bristol City on January 19 was the lowest league crowd on a Saturday afternoon for longer than most people at Elland Road can remember and the fatigue of eight-and-a-half seasons in the Football League is patently taking hold. Stemming the flow is critical – for United’s financial health if nothing else.

Sat Feb 2ndWarnock not giving up on signing new winger – By Phil Hay Neil Warnock hopes to sign a new winger in the emergency loan market after seeing Leeds priced out of a January deal for Birmingham City’s Chris Burke.Warnock revealed that Leeds made approaches for both Burke and ex-United loanee Jerome Thomas on deadline day but claimed the cost of signing either player had forced him to withdraw. Burke was expected to leave Birmingham as part of a planned fire-sale at St Andrews but the Scotland international was still on the club’s books yesterday morning after several Championship sides failed to meet his valuation. Nottingham Forest fell short with a £500,000 bid and Warnock said Leeds had themselves made City a “substantial” offer, a proposal which also fell short of Burke’s asking price. Birmingham were believed to be holding out for a sum in excess of £750,000. Their financial crisis easing with the £4million sale of goalkeeper Jack Butland to Stoke City. Warnock said: “We missed out on Burke because we wouldn’t pay what they wanted. We thought it was too much for a lad who’s out of contract in the summer. We offered a substantial amount and it wasn’t enough for them to accept. I thought we made a realistic offer and Forest did the same but once Birmingham sold Butland there wasn’t the need to sell anyone else. That’s their decision.” West Bromwich Albion’s Thomas was another winger who Warnock pursued on Thursday afternoon having marked him down as a target on the back of his prior loan at Elland Road. The United boss admitted defeat, however, after Blackburn Rovers stepped in with a lucrative offer, though Thomas’ proposed move to Ewood Park failed to materialise before the 11pm deadline. Warnock said: “I spoke to him but he was going to Blackburn Rovers for a fantastic deal. They were paying £600,000 for him and even with the wages, I don’t think Leeds should be paying that sort of money out at the moment. We’ve got to be a bit realistic and try and get a target over the next few weeks. “We’re still on the look out for a wide man and we’ve already got one or two ideas. It’s just being able to get them out of their clubs. But it’s not the end of the world. We’ve got players who can play in that role, just not out-and-out wingers like Jerome Thomas.”The Football League’s emergency loan market opens on Friday, eight days on from the end of the January window. Warnock completed three signings on deadline day, bringing in striker Steve Morison from Norwich City, left-back Stephen Warnock from Aston Villa and forward Habib Habibou from Belgian side SV Zulte Waregem.

Friday 1st of Feb. Cup win can breathe new life into our play-offspush – Matteo Watching Leeds United against Spurs was like watching a revitalised team. Confused? You could say that. Why is it that the club can play so well on Sunday yet struggle against some ordinary Championship teams? I say ordinary because in my opinion the Championship this season is a poor division. I’ll get a proper look at Cardiff City this weekend and they’ve got something about them but I’d be trying hard – and failing – to think of another decent side. We’ve seen Crystal Palace and Watford lose games that they should have won this week and a number of the top-six sides are out of form. The league from top to bottom is so unpredictable and I don’t say that as a compliment. In short, if Leeds can take Tottenham apart like they did at Elland Road then they should have the beating of any club in the Championship. they should be good enough to get out of the Championship. You can’t help but wonder why it is that they turn it on when we least expect it. The answer, I suppose, could be in the question: they play well because they’re under very little pressure. That might be true, but I think the players are also driven by the knowledge of what will happen if they under-perform against lads like Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. It’s not so much a case of wanting to prove that you’re as good as those players because realistically, you aren’t. It’s more an acceptance of the fact that if you’re below par, the top Premier League stars will murder you. We saw that in the last eight of the Capital One Cup: Leeds gave Chelsea an inch and they took eight miles. At the back of their minds it’s possible that they’re going out at places like Barnsley and Derby County and lacking the same sort of fear factor. Maybe they’re expecting to win at these places. If there’s one criticism I’d make of Leeds in their recent matches away from home, it’s that they haven’t started any of them quickly enough. They haven’t come out with a spring in the step and taken games by the scruff of the neck. This United squad are very good at squeezing teams when they get the bit between their teeth and that’s what happened in the second half of the FA Cup game at Birmingham City. Basically, Birmingham couldn’t withstand the onslaught. It’s the way to success for Leeds at the moment and high intensity football suits them best. Against Tottenham I saw a team with good shape, good balance and good understanding. Whether the absence of Luciano Becchio made a difference it’s hard to know for sure but they didn’t seem to miss him. I’ve been in two minds about the effect of Becchio moving on. Part of me sees a seriously reliable goalscorer but I can’t say I’ve been overly impressed by his form as a whole. There were times when, his goals aside, he didn’t contribute enough. I would never have classed him as irreplaceable or indispensable. As I see it, United couldn’t pick a better time to be playing Cardiff. The players at Thorp Arch should be looking each other in the eye and thinking that anything they can do to Spurs they can also do to a Championship side. I look at this weekend and part of me thinks that it might just be the start of something; a real opportunity to breathe life into the season. It’s stating the obvious to say that the next three league games are vital. Leeds are in contention for the play-offs but they’re also one bad run of form away from being out of it completely. You can fight back from 10 points behind in October or November but history shows that you’ve got no chance if you’re that far adrift with 10 or 15 games to go. If I was Neil Warnock, I’d be pulling the players together and saying “look lads, this is it. This is the point at which the season either lifts off or falls apart.” He won’t want to put unnecessary pressure on them but they do need to face reality and accept that a big push is needed. If these next three games go well for Leeds, then anything’s possible. If they go badly then the season could be finished, barring the FA Cup game at Manchester City. I think Leeds will find that if they start to hassle the top six, the top six will make hard work of seeing them off. That’s probably why so many teams below the play-off places still fancy their chances – because none of the clubs who currently hold them look especially impressive at the moment. Promotion is there for the taking, even now.

Friday Feb 1st. Right in the Gary Kellys. GFH strike the right note.“Hey I just met you.. and this is crazy – but I’m locked in the car park – would you sign me maybe?”… Yes folks it could only be the madness encapsulated by the transfer window, and whilst not a Leeds issue the above scenario in which Peter Odemwingie did little to endear himself to West Brom supporters wasn’t untypical of the types of insanity that we see at this time of the footballing year. Leeds United in recent years have followed a specific model. :
• Bates issues statement that Leeds dont need to sell any of their best players
• Bates signs no one January 1st-30th
• Bates sells {Insert best player here} to Norwich claiming that it was good business as said player wanted premiership wages..
• Fee is not spent on replacement
• Bates tells manager he can sign a loan player (preferably either under 20 years old or over 32)  - Said player should not be in a position in which we need any cover. A recipe for depressed Leeds fans and a low to mid table finish..
Yesterday felt different, albeit step 3 was sadly replicated with Luciano Becchio’s dreams of an Eastern Adventure promised by his agent Horacio ending considerably short of the SOuth China Sea – in Norfolk. Since Becchios transfer request there had been an air of inevitability about his exit, but it didnt make it hurt any less. Becchio cut a not too triumphant figure holding up the yellow and green of Norwich next to the bus shelter they parade their new signings, but for one I wish him well. I think he’ll do a job in the premier league, technically he’s got better in the last 12 months (just see his volley in the last Middlesbrough game)  and has become far more combative. His parting words were typically heart on sleeve : “The years I spent at Leeds were the most marvellous, and until today, the happiest of my career. I will carry the affection and love of the Leeds fans in my heart,” “I want to thank Leeds United for giving me the opportunity to play in the English league and I would like to thank (technical director) Gwyn Williams for giving me the chance to play for Leeds United. “Now I have begun a new chapter in my career, in Norwich. I don’t have any doubt that I will find the same love and affection as I did from the Leeds fans at Norwich.” On the last point I disagree Luciano, you wont find more passionate and enduring fans at Norwich..The move though was not the usual one way traffic with Steve Morison crossing paths with Luciano on the westbound carriageway of the A14 – or the road to the `mainland’ as the locals call it. Morison apparently comes to us not in a pure swap deal, but with a suitcase containing £200,000 too (probably) A combative, and quite skilful player Morison probably has one asset Becchio lacked, pace. His route to the premier league has been almost as tenuous as Becchios. With Stints at Northampton, Bishops Stortford,  Stevenage, M*llwall (we forgive you) before the `bright lights’ of Norwich hoved into view. Leeds fans will remember him best scoring for Millwall (35 in 86 starts) Warnock stated – “Even Before Luciano put in his transfer request we had enquired about Steve – He was at the top of my list in January to bring in – and I can’t tell you how delighted I am”. On his move one comment stuck out “When Leeds come in for you and you see the place – its a no-brainer” – welcome to a big club Steve! Morison is perhaps the perfect foil to McCormack’s guile and trickery performing a typical centre forward role. Looks good to me. The movement in didnt stop there.. Word had been circulating twitter since earlier in the week that Stephen Warnock was set to join us from Aston Villa. The 31 Year old Left back hadnt featured once in Paul Lamberts side this season, even enduring 3 months on loan at struggling Bolton. That looked dead when it transpired West Ham had come in for him, but Sam Allardyce was soon lamenting their decision to only offer him a short term loan. Allardyce said: “That [Warnock deal] was a lot of hard work that went to waste yet again.” Warnock said “Leeds offered me a contract, and at first it was a shorter term contract, but I was on my way to West Ham earlier in the Week and Leeds came in and really made me fell wanted. “There were a couple of clubs interested  but when you see the size of Leeds, and the magnitude of the club  theres only one choice” Warnock will wear the number 15 shirt – he will presumably be first choice left back with Asdam Drury injured and we’ll see an interesting battle for that spot with Aidy White having played a blinder against Spurs at the weekend.. The signing we all wanted though if only for the Duck throwing skills, and fantastic name (roughly translated Love Love Love) was that of Central African Republic Striker Habib Habibou, his shirt number? 22 you couldn’t write this stuff. At 6’ 4” Habibou is a fearsome physical presence, scoring 20 goals in 57 appearances for Zuilte Waregem in the Belgian top flight. His twitter account alone os worth a follow for some quite remarkable comments (check it out @habibhabibou7) Perhaps Paddy Kenny finally has someone to rival his escapades on social media? In unusually restrained style Habib said – I’m very happy to be here,  I know the background of the club and the expectations around the club, and I’m happy to sign and start playing”. So 2 Centre Forwards, a Left Back, and lest we forget the permanent signings of Ryan Hall, Michael Tonge, and the loan signing of Ross Barkley. That represents some decent business, and some committment in terms of wages and transfer fees. GFH had a balancing act to achieve given Neil Warnock will be gone in 4 months time – just how far do you back a manager in that situation? The above looks about right. Augment the current squad, and trim the squad –  the outgoings?
Patrick Kisnorbo – Season long loan to Ipswich (which of course completes the length of his current contract)  Robbie Rogers – Released – Ramon Nunez – Released –  Danny Pugh – Season long loan to Sheff Weds (presumably with a view to a permanent move) Paul Rachubka – Season long loan to Acrrington –  Paul Connolly – Season long loan to Preston – There has also been a continuation of the loans of Zac Thompson, Ross Killock, the Turner twins, and Alex Cairns. There has been of course some criticism mainly on twitter, of the ambition of the board, but surely the above sensibly sees players moved out of the squad who realistically weren’t going to get games, fans might also want to consider the very real likelihood that bids for the likes of Byram and McCormack simply MUST have been received and rebutted. So we begin our lives post Becchio, but with the seemingly unlimited terrace chant potential of Habibou to look forward to..

Feb 1st. January Ins and Outs at Elland Road – Official website. Neil Warnock firmly believes he has emerged from the January transfer window with a “much tighter” squad after a month that has seen the club involved in 22 separate pieces of business. During the month there has been four new permanent arrivals, three from Premier League clubs, two loans in, and new contract offers accepted by highly-rated young players Sam Byram and Dominic Poleon. Heading out, Luciano Becchio has joined Norwich City on a permanent deal while four senior players have moved out in loan deals until the end of the season. In addition, Zac Thompson has extended his stay at Bury until the end of the season while five young professionals have been loaned out in a bid to gain match experience. “I’m delighted with the players we have brought in,” said the boss. “I believe we have the better of the deal with Luciano and I was delighted when Stephen Warnock decided to throw his lot in with us and come here on deadline day. “Eleven players have gone out as well, some of them young lads and some players who wouldn’t necessarily have been involved anyway so we have a much tighter squad now.”
The club’s January business in full is detailed below…
Players in
Michael Tonge – Stoke City
Ryan Hall – Southend United
Steve Morison – Norwich City
Stephen Warnock – Aston Villa
Mohamadou Habibou (loan) – SV Zulte Wagerem
Ross Barkley (loan) – Everton

New contracts
Sam Byram
Dominic Poleon
Players out
Luciano Becchio – Norwich City
Paul Connolly (loan) – Preston
Danny Pugh (loan) – Sheffield Wednesday
Patrick Kisnorbo (loan) – Ipswich Town
Paul Rachubka (loan) – Accrington Stanley
Zac Thompson (loan) – Bury
Nathan Turner (Youth Loan) – Chester
Lewis Turner (Youth Loan) – Chester
Ross Killock (Youth Loan) – Alfreton
Alex Cairns (Youth Loan) – Stalybridge Celtic
Charlie Taylor (Foreign Loan) – Inverness
In addition to the above, Ramon Nunez, Robbie Rogers and Andy Gray also left the club after mutual termination of their contracts

Feb 1st 2013. “Clearing up myths of deadline day. United boss Neil Warnock has moved to clear up some of the speculation which surrounded potential player moves during the January transfer window. The boss confirmed that the club made “a substantial bid” for the services of Birmingham wide man Chris Burke, spoke with West Brom winger JeromeThomas on deadline day, and dismissed suggestions of firm interest in Peterborough’s George Boyd. The club were heavily linked with Birmingham winger Burke during the 48 hours leading up to the transfer window closing, but the boss says City’s valuation of a player who is out of contract at the end of the season was simply too high. “We did make a substantial offer for Chris,” he confirmed. “I believe that both us and Forest offered the same amount, but I thought that Birmingham’s valuation was very high for a player who is out of contract at the end of the season. “They also sold Jack Butland to Stoke as well on Thursday which meant they were in a slightly different position as well. “I spoke with Jerome Thomas on deadline day as well. He’s gone to Blackburn and fair play to him. They’ve paid a good fee for him and he’s on good Premier League wages there. He’s probably on more than he was at West Brom. “I had said that I was looking to bring a wide man in, and we’ll have a look when the loan market re-opens and see where we are and what we need.” GFH had a balancing act to do, in whether to support the manager half heartedly, whole heartedly or not at all. Have they struck the right chord with a manager who will not be here in the summer ? Time will tell. Personally, I think we missed a good opportunity with Burke, and an even better one with Boyd. The Morison/McCormack partnership should work well, as long as Colin doesn’t hoof the ball up at every chance for the pacy Morison. Stephen Warnock will be a decent left back at this level, and in a position we have spent years trying to fill. It’s ironic he arrives when our back four looks as good as it has all season. Maybe White will be tried on the left wing but in truth he has struggled all season on the wing. A classy winger could make all the difference, but I guess Colin will wait until the loan window opens next week to see who is available.

Jan 31st. 11PM.  Championship deadline day. So who is going where? In real terms (excludingperipheral players) Leeds brought in three players and lost one,Luciano Becchio.  In have come Steve Morison, Stephen Warnock and  Mouhamadou Habib Habibou. Some of the moves in the Championship as follows :George Boyd (class act) has moved from P’boro (although at time of writing he has failed his medical on eyesight grounds ) to Forest for just £500K. I would have liked his silky skills and for once I agree with Ferguson : “The best player I have ever managed”. Colin doesn’t do silky skills.  He was free to walk in the Summer. The seemingly always injured Kieran Dyer has moved to M’bro from QPR where he will share a Physio room with Jon Woodgate. Kevin Phillips looks to be reunited with Ian Holloway at C Palace (from Blackpool) but the Tangerines will be delighted that Tom Ince didn’t complete his “dream move” to Liverpool . Paul Robinson turned down a move to WHU from Blackburn but DJ Campbell joined the Ewood Park club along with ex Leeds loanee Jerome Thomas.Jack Butland has left Birmingham for Stoke City in a £4M deal rising to £5M. John Stones has left Barnsley for £3M to join Everton whilst throw in expert Rory Delap has joined Barnsley on loan until the end of the season from Stoke City. Notts Forest failed with a bid of £500K for(a player I think would have suited Leeds) Chris Burke of Birmingham City. We didn’t get our winger which I think we need. Morison is proven at this level, Warnock should be fine and Habib should offer a dash of excitement if he can adapt from Belgian football. I’ like to get Barkley on loan from Eveon for the rest of the season. That said, the emergency loan window reopens in a week. No more excuses from Colin. He has had lon enough now and this is his team. Will he deliver promotion ?