Dec 30th Transfer Window Rumours  from Vital Leeds. The January transfer window is now just days away and Neil Warnock need to be very active this month and with new owners in place, there are sure to be many rumours. I usually run it from the start of the month but with GFH Capital taking ownership of the club on December 21st I have decided to start it from the takeover date. All the rumours that I put up have been in the national press, local press or websites such as,, and amongst others and not from sites where people just put up their wish list and make out that they have inside knowledge through their best mate`s uncle`s brother. With Neil Warnock saying a striker is top of the agenda it is not surprising that most of those mentioned since the takeover have been strikers. 22-year-old striker Jamille Matt is being linked with a move to Leeds. The Kidderminster Harriers striker has just returned to the Kidderminster side after having problems with his visa this year, which saw him ruled out from February to November. He has scored seven goals in six appearances since his return and he has netted 23 goals in total in 59 appearances since joining them in the summer of 2010. Former defender Ian Harte is once again being linked with a return to Elland Road. Harte is usually a name that pops up every transfer window with a return to Leeds and he has once again been linked thanks to The Sun newspaper. The 35 year old has made just seven appearances so far this season although he has started the last three games for Reading, in which they have conceded just one goal and that came in injury time at Manchester City. Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith was linked with Leeds in the summer and Neil Warnock admitted he tried to sign him. Both The Sun and the Daily Mail have linked Leeds with a move although the £5 million fee reported in The Sun is laughable. The Daily Mail reported that Leeds are trying to sign Southampton striker Rickie Lambert. The striker who has finished the last two seasons as leading goalscorer in League One and then the Championship is finding his feet in the Premier League. Lambert is amongst the leading goalscorers in the Premier League having netted 9 times in 19 appearances and the chance of Leeds landing the striker for a reported £1.5 million by The Daily Mail are once again laughable. Forest duo Lewis McGugan and Dexter Blackstock have been linked with Leeds by The Sun and The Daily Mirror respectively.McGugan was a reported summer target for Leeds and he is once again on the radar of Warnock according to The Sun. Blackstock scored for Forest against Leeds on Boxing Day and the Daily Mirror report that Leeds are ready to offer £700,000 for the striker. On loan duo Alan Tate and Michael Tonge have both been linked with longer-term moves to Elland Road. The Sun say that Tate is ready to sign for Leeds in a deal worth £250,000 whilst several organisations say that Tonge, who has now returned to parent club Stoke City after his loan spell ran out last week, will be signing for Leeds in January. There are not many rumours of players going out so far with leading goalscorer Luciano Becchio and youngster Sam Byram the ones being linked with moves away. Premier League Wigan Athletic and championship side Bolton Wanderers are being reported as targeting Becchio who has eighteen months remaining on his current deal at Elland Road. 19-year-old Byram has been the find of the season for Leeds having come through the clubs academy. Byram hadn`t made a senior appearance before this season but he is the only first team player this season to have played in every game so far and Everton and Liverpool have been linked with a move for the right sided player since the autumn. December 21st – December 30th InJamille Matt – Kidderminster Harriers (Sky Sports) Ian Harte – Reading (The Sun) Craig Mackail-Smith – Brighton (The Sun & Daily Mail) Rickie Lambert – Southampton (Daily Mail) Alan Tate – Swansea (The Sun) Michael Tonge – Stoke City (various) Lewis McGugan – Nottingham Forest (The Sun) Dexter Blackstock – Nottingham Forest (Daily Mirror) Out Luciano Becchio – Wigan Athletic £4 million (Daily Mirror), Bolton £3 (Talksport) Sam Byram – Everton & Liverpool (The Sun)

Dec 30th The game’s gone crazy – Warnock faces sack in new yearWith sackings in the Championship spreading like a contagion, Warnock should start looking over his shoulder. Nottingham Forest defeated Leeds and are above them in the table but that wasn’t enough to save the manager. Blackburn took decisive action when Berg was obviously failing. Barnsley have borrowed the chopper after dropping to the bottom of the table. And the biggest underachiever of the lot is probably Old Big Gob. Leeds fans insist all the blame lies with Master Bates, but he backed his manager’s judgement in the summer. Warnock built this squad and promised a promotion campaign. But the brutal truth is that his predecessor had a better record whilst at Elland Road. Despite the recent revival, based on a clutch of home games, Leeds are lower in the table now than they were when Warnock took charge thanks to two highly predictable away defeats. And Neil has made no secret of his intention to retire at the end of the season so what is the point of sticking with him now? If GFH Capital are going to invest money in the squad, why entrust it to a guy who will not be managing the players purchased next season? That sounds pretty stupid to me. And with Leeds still in touch with the clubs chasing the play offs, why not strengthen now and try to capitalise on a rank poor division, building a squad capable of finishing in the top six and storming the playoffs? The uncomfortable truth is that the team finishing third in the Championship is much more likely to win through to the Prem than any of the also-rans. So scraping into the playoffs in sixth place would almost certainly be a futile gesture, simply prolonging the agony of failure for the season. Leeds need to build a momentum instead in flip flapping from seventh to twelfth in the table depending on whether a home or away fixture is being played. Warnock has hidden behind the fans’ contempt for Bates and, as a result, he has not been judged on his own inadequate performance. If he was in charge of West Ham, we would be calling for his head. Leeds are hopelessly off the Championship pace and that is not acceptable for a club with such a great history. GFH Capital need to take decisive action. And fast!
Dec 29thLeeds United: 2012’s had more downs than ups – By Phil Hay The world was supposed to end in 2012 and in that respect it could have been worse. But when Ken Bates spoke of a “particularly difficult year” in the same week as he sold Leeds United, it was a rare occasion when his comments met with unanimous agreement. This, in its own way, has been an annus horribilis for Leeds. It does not merit comparisons with 2007 – a time of relegation, insolvency and points deductions – but 2012 has been one of those years: defined by falling attendances, managerial changes and a takeover which took more than 200 days to complete. If United’s new owner, GFH Capital, delivers on its promise of a bright future and a fresh start then 2012, United’s 93rd year of existence, might yet be defined as the moment when the Championship club turned the corner. But as 2013 approaches, these are Inside Elland Road’s abiding memories of 12 hard and exacting months:
1. Simon Grayson’s 
Escapology Only Bates knows when the sacking of Grayson became an inevitability but most of us saw a dead man walking after Leeds finished 2011 with a 4-1 defeat to Barnsley.“Embarrassing, shambolic,” said a shaken Grayson at the end of a match in which his players made a good fist of hanging him. Two days later virtually every journalist had started writing his obituary as Leeds trailed to a Burnley side reduced to 10 men. The divine intervention which came in the form of an own goal from Jay Rodriguez and a comical attempt by Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant to throw the ball into his own net defied description. Leeds escaped with a 2-1 win and Grayson escaped with his job. His resistance continued as a red card shown to Sean Scannell helped United avoid defeat at Crystal Palace on January 14, and the combined ineptitude of Alex McCarthy and Arran Lee-Barrett cost Ipswich Town a victory at Elland Road the following weekend – McCarthy handling outside the box and Lee-Barrett resorting to Grant’s style of hapless goalkeeping. By the time Birmingham’s Nikola Zigic ran Grayson through on the final day of the transfer window, the 42-year-old was like General Custer; bruised and bloodied with arrows in his hat. 2. The sale of Jonathan 
Howson Such was the reaction to Howson’s transfer to Norwich City that the story published on the YEP’s website drew more readers’ comments than any story written before it, football-related or otherwise. The vitriol aimed at the club over the decision to sell their captain brought to mind the vicious response to the auction of Jonathan Woodgate nine years earlier, albeit on a lesser scale. Howson divided opinion between those who appreciated his subtle talent and those who counted his forgettable games but his departure on January 24 perpetuated the idea that players become more popular and talented in the minds of the public when they step out of the team. Leeds justified the transfer on the basis that Howson’s deal was six months from expiry, Norwich had offered £2million and the midfielder wanted a move to the Premier League, but that logic – and the promise that Howson’s fee would be invested in new players – failed to wash. As YEP columnist Dominic Matteo said: “I’ve got a horrible feeling that Howson won’t be the last to leave. What chance of someone like Robert Snodgrass being here in August if Leeds aren’t promoted?” No chance, as it turned out 
3. Redfearn’s poisoned 
chalice and the appointment of Neil Warnock United think highly of Neil Redfearn – highly enough to entrust the care of their academy to him. Speak to anyone who works with Redfearn and they’ll describe him as a very capable coach. But the answer to the prayers of a major English club who are managerless, rudderless and under heavy pressure? Not really. Redfearn was named as caretaker boss on February 1, the day of Grayson’s sacking, amid whispers that a convincing impact would earn him the job for the remainder of the season. In reality, his fortnight in charge underlined the need for a proven appointment. Though Leeds won Redfearn’s first game at Bristol City, they were beaten at home by Brighton and outwitted away at Coventry on a night when Redfearn was left at the mercy of a dissenting away crowd. Before long, club chief executive Shaun Harvey was flying to Monaco with Warnock and a deal for his services was duly done. Having sat on the story anxiously for almost 24 hours, both the YEP and the Yorkshire Post broke the news on the morning of February 14 and though Warnock took a seat in the stands for a 3-2 win over Doncaster Rovers, United’s nervous demeanour prompted him to visit their dressing room at half-time. He made no criticism of Redfearn, describing him as a “good coach” and a “good bloke”. “But I think he was quite relieved,” Warnock said.
4. The emergence of Sam Byram United’s academy at Thorp Arch has seen its share of problems but the trickle of produce has not yet dried up. Tom Lees came of age last season and Sam Byram’s development in the past six months goes to show that youth-team squads never fail to surprise. It is doubtful whether Warnock knew Byram’s name before the teenager was asked to fill a hole during the earliest of United’s summer training sessions but he is part of that rare breed of players whose age and inexperience becomes meaningless when set against his ability. Speaking after United’s final pre-season friendly at Burton Albion, Warnock admitted candidly that he had no plans to use Byram extensively this season, not least because of the signing of right-back Lee Peltier, but Byram is one appearance short of 30 in his first full term. To give that figure some context, Aidan White managed a run of five successive outings before Gary McAllister removed him from the firing line in 2008. This mature 19-year-old is destined for big things as the watching scouts of Liverpool and Everton seem to have realised. Player of the season as things stand? Very possibly.
5. TOMA ‘Takeover My A***’ to the uninitiated and an acronym spawned by the many groundless takeover rumours during Bates’ reign as chairman. United’s supporters scarcely dared to believe that a buy-out was in the offing when talk of foreign investment grew legs in May and the excruciating length of GFH Capital’s acquisition of Leeds left many doubting whether the firm would come good right up until the point when its takeover was signed off on December 21. Twitter creaked under the weight of constant chatter during the previous seven months, and a thread on the Internet forum WACCOE – aptly titled ‘TOMA’ – attracted more than 135,000 posts, nine million views and the impatient prayers of a restless public. The thread did not quite break the world record but it bloodied the noses of all and sundry, this floundering journalist included. If GFH Capital doubts the whirlwind of attention it is stepping into, TOMA should change its mind.

Sat Dec 21stLeeds woeful at Hull. 01 Kenny, 04 Lees, 05 Pearce, 15 Tate, 07 Green, 14 White (YC) 17 Brown (YC) 19 Norris (Austin – 68′ )  25 Byram (YC) 28 Somma (Varney – 46′ )  4 McCormack Booked. Unused Subs :  12 Ashdown, 03 Drury, 30 Hall, 10 Becchio. Report from “Hull and East Riding”. Hull City romped to a stylish 2-0 win over rivals Leeds United this lunchtime to ensure they head into 2013 in the Championship’s automatic promotion places. The gulf in class was stark at the KC Stadium as second half goals from Corry Evans and David Meyler sealed a comfortable derby victory for the Tigers. A sharper attacking edge could have seen City enjoy an even greater winning margin but the performance was as good as anything witnessed under Steve Bruce. A fifth win in six games completed the Tigers’ first league double over Yorkshire rivals Leeds since 1987-88 and consolidates their position of second ahead of travelling to Blackpool on New Year’s Day. The outcome rarely looked in doubt and City were the dominant force throughout a one-sided first half. After Robert Koren failed to punish Alan Tate’s weak header back towards goalkeeper Paddy Kenny when scuffing wide, two questionable challenges from Jason Pearce, one on David Meyler and another on Sone Aluko, both went unpunished inside the penalty area. The visitors, who adopted City’s 3-5-2 system, consistently struggled to keep the Tigers at bay. Ahmed Elmohamady and Aluko, in particular, carved open Leeds almost at will but City could not find the goal to reflect their superiority. Meyler dragged Elmohamady’s pull-back wide while Brady fired over from another wonderful cross from the Egyptian. The same source sent a devlish ball into the six-yard box, but Robert Koren could not apply the finishing touch on the slide. Leeds were swamped and grateful for the half-time whistle, but the interval failed to knock City out of their stride. Three minutes into the second half and Meyler could have scored twice. Paddy Kenny’s low save kept out the Irishman’s shot after a rapid break led by Robbie Brady and Stephen Quinn, before Aluko’s drilled effort across goal missed Meyler’s toe by an inch. If City supporters were beginning to fear the worst, their dominance finally paid off in the 52nd minute. Another intricate passing move close the Leeds box saw Aluko and Koren slice open the visitors and set up Evans to fire low past Kenny from the angle. It was nothing less than City deserved and within three minutes they lead was doubled. Robbie Brady’s pinpoint corner from the right flank picked out the run of Meyler and the on-loan midfielder finally got the goal his play warranted when dispatching a fine header into the top corner. A season-high crowd of 23,453 lapped up the entertainment and urged the Tigers on for more. Quinn’s shot from the edge of the box needed another strong save from Kenny but City could not pile further misery on Neil Warnock’s men with a third. This was as poor as it gets really. Five changes from the start, moving to a 3-5-2 formation that was all at sea before reverting to a 4-4-2. Hull have been ahead eleven times this season and won on every occasion. In contrast Leeds have dropped 15 points from leading in matches. Thus warnock’s “defend what we have ” tactics don’t work. Warnock elected to play Somma and McCormack up front together…two ball players. They would need to have been seven feet tall to get on to some of the long ball “passes” and they survived on scraps. Warnock’s signings have by and large been poor, his tactics baffling and the fight and passion he craves non-existent. Hull looked to be on a different planet with their slick passing, pace and invention. United had none of the above. We lacked guile, skill, pace and imagination and in truth have done most of the season. We rarely look like scoring when we are so pedestrian at moving forward and yet concede to almost every attack. This is Neil Warnock’s team, not pretty to watch but more importantly not effective. Teams who get the ball down and play cause us far too many problems. Sean O’Driscoll was sacked two hours after defeating Leeds on St Stephen’s day and his side were above us. Colin has cried all season regarding excuses in his after match interviews and lack of funds. This is his team. The sides at the top are Cardiff City, Hull City  M’bro, C Palace,  Leicester City and Watford. What have they all got in common apart from spending a few bob ? They are all footballing sides blessed with players who get the ball down and play. These kind of teams have caused us problems all season. Only a monumental change in tactics and some real imagination in the January transfer market will turn our season around. Is Colin the man to be trusted with these funds ? I guess we will soon find out. I don’t like changing managers during the season but the next two to three weeks will define both Leeds and Colin’s season. ? Warnok post match to LUTV : “Well it’s frustrating and disappointing and we are really glad that January is coming and we can get new players in squad. We missed a few players today not that’s an excuse. They were physically stronger than us today.  The system they play with one striker  they are effective. We were too meek and mild.  Becks has a little knock and it wasn’t  worth the risk.  Dioufy the same. He said Boss “I’ve never played so many games in such a short time.”.  I thought it was important to give Doufy a breather and give Ross a full 90 minutes. We are in tomorrow, plus we’ve got  Bolton more importantly coming up we’ll have Dioufy,  Thomas and Becchio available. We just got balls in their half and lost it. We never gave ourselves a chance. I remember the report about  Huddersfield here and couldn’t believe they never had a shot on target but nor had we today. It was frustrating and disappointing for the fans. There was a gulf in class. The new owners know we got to improve and bring players in. I think any manager doesn’t want to lose any game but the Championship is like that.  We’ve had two tough games.  I thought we should have won at Forest but were light weight today. Like I said we are in tomorrow and training on Monday for the game on Tuesday. I probably expected a bit too much too early from Davide  (Somma).  I didn’t want to bring Becchio on with his knock, ( Re signings) Shaun Harvey is working around the clock. Hopefully we have all four players available in January.  We missed out in Chris Wood.  No one can compete financially with Leicester, like I say I know the support I’m getting.  It’s just getting the right players and it can’t come quick enough. We haven’t come out with any credit really. I’m expecting players to come back in to give us a lift.  I expect those three (Thomas, Becchio and Diouf) to be available on Wednesday night”.Steve Bruce : “We smashed Leeds. From start to finish there was only going to be one winner”. We want to pass the ball. We want to excite people.”

Tate arrives from Swansea on loan to steady defense

Friday Dec 28th.Tate to stay on loan for season.-Sky News Swanseamanager Michael Laudrup is willing to let defender Alan Tate remain on loan at Leeds for the rest of the season. Tatehttp:/ has slotted well into the Leeds back line after arriving last month, but his loan is set to expire in the next few days and manager Neil Warnock wants to keep the experienced centre-back at Elland Road. The 30-year-old has slipped down the pecking order at Swansea and Laudrup is willing to let him stay in Yorkshire until the summer. “Alan is doing well and I think he’ll continue there for the rest of the season,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. Reports suggested that Leeds had been willing to offer £250,000 for Tate, who is under contract with Swansea until 2015, but a temporary deal appears more likely. A longer loan for Tate will be further good news for Warnock, who has tied down El-Hadji Dioufhttp:/ on a fresh deal and agreed the permanent signing of fellow winger Ryan Hallhttp:/ from Southend. Leeds are also expected to open talks about extending the loan spells of Stoke midfielder Michael Tonge and West Brom winger Jerome Thomas.

Dec 28th Leeds United’s profits tumble by Phil Hay – YEP Leeds United have underlined the importance of GFH Capital’s recent takeover by publishing new figures which reveal a major financial downturn at Elland Road. The club’s results for the 12 months leading up to June 30, 2012 show marked decreases in turnover and gate receipts and an operating loss of more than £3.3million. United posted an overall profit of £317,000, helped by the sale of ex-player of the year Max Gradel and former club captain Jonathan Howson, but the figure decreased dramatically from £3.5million during the previous 12 months. Gate receipts were down 10 per cent and turnover fell by almost five per cent to just over £31million. United’s parent company, Leeds City Holdings Limited, saw more severe decreases with its operating loss standing at £4.193m and its overall loss recorded as £536,000. Along with the club, Leeds City Holdings Limited owns Yorkshire Radio – United’s official radio station – Leeds United Media Limited and the Centenary Pavilion. The results have emerged a week after GFH Capital, the Dubai-based private equity firm, secured a 100 per cent buy-out of Leeds City Holdings Limited and acquired the majority shareholding of Leeds chairman Ken Bates. The 12 months covered by United’s latest accounts span a period in which Bates faced long-running protests against his running of the club and average league attendances at Elland Road fell by almost 4,000.

Friday Dec 28thLeeds United pay price for unfair penalty – “Lash for Cash Lorimer” The 4-2 loss at Nottingham Forest was disappointing as we’ve had a good run. All these games are difficult but I felt the penalty was a little harsh to let them back into the game. I felt we were comfortable at that stage. It was disappointing but Forest are not a bad side when they get going at home – they have some good players. But I don’t think they were in the game until they got the penalty to be honest and I felt we looked quite likely to get a second on the break. We had a couple of half chances and I felt we were quite comfortable in that first half. They looked disappointed, their crowd was getting a bit frustrated but it was just that penalty decision and I personally felt it wasn’t one. I believe a bit of pressure had been put on the referee from about five minutes before when they were appealing for free-kicks. But that’s how it goes. You’ve got to be disappointed with conceding three goals in such a short period of time for that kills you off. But I think we were unlucky for the third goal – the own goal where the ball was going nowhere. I think that was the deciding goal. That made it 3-1 and that gives a team confidence whereas at 2-1 we were every bit in the game with half an hour or so of the match to go. Now we have got to forget the result and get on with the game at Hull on Saturday. We are still on a good run – that’s five from seven we have won – and there’s nothing we need to be getting overly disappointed about. That’s a good run but we want to try and get the points on Saturday and keep in that little group just behind the play-offs positions. Hull are flying but we have played a lot of teams recently that are flying. We’ve played Crystal Palace who were going really well and Leicester and we’ve played good teams in the last few weeks but it’s just a league where when you have been on a run like we have you get disappointed when you have lost one. But that’s not a bad thing because it means we have been doing quite well. I suppose Neil Warnock will be looking at his options for Saturday and trying to turn out a team that will get the three points. the pressure intensifies for Saturday’s game because we didn’t get anything at Nottingham. After Hull, we play Bolton at Elland Road on New Year’s Day and that won’t be easy but if there is ever a good time to play Bolton I think it is now. They are going through a bit of a bad patch at the moment and if there is a good time to play them I would think it would be on New Year’s Day. There’s always a good crowd at Elland Road on New Year’s Day so let’s hope the fans get out and get behind the boys and keep them going.What game were you watching Lorimer ? It was a stone wall penalty. Sharpe waited for the tackle. Lees was naïve and put his foot in when he didn’t have to. Notice his reaction. He didn’t complain because he knew he fouled Sharpe. Forest should have had a penalty a few minutes earlier when Tate pulled back Sharpe. To give him a chance to blow again so soon afterwards was unprofessional to say the least. But that wasn’t the reason why we lost the game.  The reason we lost the game was because we sat back after going ahead. We should have dominated an average side by going two or three goals up. Then again, Lorimer you managed no one and the only advice you gave Simon Grayson was to sell our current top scorer….Luciano Becchio. Imagine where we’d be now without his fourteen league goals. Some judge ! Now piss off to Monaco with your honorary President, you leach !

Dec 27thHall to become signing number one in January. Leeds have confirmed Southend’s Ryan Hall will sign a permanent deal at Elland Road when the transfer window reopens. The winger, 24, joined the Championship club on loan earlier in the season and has made five appearances for Neil Warnock’s men so far, while also featuring heavily for their Under-21 side. The Whites have now announced Hall will pen a two-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee in the new year, becoming the first permanent signing under the club’s new owners GFH Capital. Hall scored 14 goals in 54 appearances for Southend last season. Southend’s official website read: “Everyone at Southend United would like to wish Ryan all the best at his new club.” Meanwhile, Leeds boss Warnock told their club website: “When we brought Ryan in I said ‘I believe he is a player with potential for a big future’. “I’m sure during the length of his contract Ryan will have the opportunity to establish himself at this level, and you can see that from his contribution at Huddersfield a few weeks ago.”

Points blown at Forst needlessly

Leeds concede

Dec 26th. Poor result for Whites at the ForestNotts Forest 4-2 Leeds. 01 Kenny, 03 Drury, 04 Lees, 15 Tate, 07 Green (YC) 08 Austin (Pearce – 66′ ) 09 Thomas, 7 Brown (YC) 25 Byram (McCormack – 79′ ) 10 Becchio, 21 Diouf (Somma – 65′ ) Unused Substitutes : 12 Ashdown, 05 Pearce 11 Varney 14 White 19 NorrisReport from BBC. Leeds saw their fine recent run come to an end as they conceded three goals in seven second-half minutes at Forest. The home side had won only one of their last five and went behind when a Jerome Thomas cross was not dealt with and Paul Green tapped in from a yard out. But Billy Sharp levelled from the spot, scored again soon after the break and Rodolph Austin sliced into his own net. Sharp had a header ruled offside, but Dexter Blackstock nodded a fourth, before Davide Somma’s late consolation. Neil Warnock’s Leeds could have moved into the play-off places had they made it six wins out of seven, and they were the stronger side in the opening half an hour as Forest struggled to find any momentum. This was Nottingham Forest’s first win on Boxing Day for six years The visitors went in front when Thomas crossed from the left, El Hadji Diouf poked the ball goalwards and it deflected into the path ofGreen, who was left with an open goal. But Forest finally began to impose themselves and the hosts had already had two penalty appeals rebuffed when Sharp’s turn was too clever for Tom Lees, who tripped him, and the striker sent Paddy Kenny the wrong way from the resulting penalty. Forest continued to press in the second half and Sharp latched on to Blackstock’s knock-down and showed great composure to round Kenny and guide his shot into the corner of the net to give Forest the lead. Republic of Ireland midfielder Andy Reid provided some useful ammunition from set pieces and the flanks with his cultured left foot, and his right-wing corner led to the hosts’ third. When Ward returned the ball into the danger zone from the left it flew into the net off the outstretched boot of Austin, before Reid’s perfectly flighted left-wing cross was emphatically headed home by Blackstock from 15 yards to make it four.Substitute Somma tapped in Ross McCormack’s cross from close range at the far post in the final minute and a goalmouth scramble might have provided a third for the visitors, but for all their recent success, Leeds slipped to a fourth defeat in their last five away games. Forest’s victory was their first home league win over Leeds since January 1996 and it took them above the Yorkshire side in an increasingly congested Championship table. Neil Warnock on LUTV :“I’ve known Billy a long time and if you are up against him in the area he’s going to be clever. Tom (Lees) has just breathed on him but Billy has made sure there is contact and gone down. In that situation you have got to stand a yard off him. It’s a penalty because 20 out of 20 referees would give it. Billy used to get penalties for me like that at Sheffield United so I can’t complain. Tom has just got to be more professional. It was really disappointing because at that stage it was the only way I could see Forest scoring. The equaliser gave Forest the lift they needed and we were guilty of being very amateurish and naive in the second half. I thought we could do more in the first half.  I’m disappointed we lost the game. We lost the game through seven minutes of madness. You gotta learn from your mistakes. If Tom Lees learns from his mistakes . You gotta learn from your mistakes then that’s fine. I thought we were better than them today and we end up getting beaten by four. I thought Michael Brown did well and  I thought Rudy was rusty. How he couldn’t get his feet away for the OG I don’t know.  I thought Diouf gave the ball away too much  and and I didn’t see Jerome Thomas until the last five minutes. I said to Davide Somma I’m disappointed you didn’t get a hat-trick. Becchio worked ever so hard on his own.  Ross has struggled to get in a team because we won 5 out of 6. Lee (Peltier) has had a long standing injury and if it doesn’t clear up we’ll have to look at a different direction. I thought M Brown did well and I thought the centre backs were disappointing. Adam Drury was fantastic at left back and  Paul Green tried his hardest and young Sam learned a lot from an old head. The goals were silly but I still thought we should have won the game”.Forest manager, Sean O’Driscoll : “We all know there are players throughout football who are likely to go down easily for penalties but Billy is not one of them. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say that Billy Sharp is a diver. What he does do is score goals. He’s made his name doing that and if you give him chances he puts them away. He had a bit of pressure with the penalty in front of the Leeds fans because it was an important moment in the match. But he showed his quality when he was one on one against the keeper to score his second. Like one or two of the other lads he was a bit under the weather before the game but the two goals will not do him any harm.” Despite winning the game 4-2 Forest sacked O’Driscoll after the game. Leeds were dominant in the first 15 minutes and scored the opener. The good sides go for a second and then a third. Neil Warnock goes against the grain and lets his sides sit back and bring the opposition on to them. Forest did just that. Lees produces a daft tackle in the box in the 43rd minute on Sharpe and Forest scored a deserved equaliser from the spot. United went missing for seven minutes in the second half and Tate was at fault for two of the three goals during that period. Are these loan signings good enough ? Tate, Thomas and Tonge ? We still need a left back, a quality striker along side the over worked Becchio and a quality midfielder who is allowed to pass the ball and not surpassed with long balls. Today was a  bad day at the races against a very average Forest side. We can’t afford too many more days like today and the manager has to become more astute tactically. On the plus side, Somma looked bright up front with Becchio and perhaps these two should start at Hull City, which is now a game that we need to get points out of. Also it was good to have Rudy back although he clearly wasn’t fit enough for the hour that he played especially when Norris has been in such a good run of form.

Dec 24th 2012. Leeds United: Becchio irreplaceable with top-six slot on the horizon – Eddie Gray Neil Warnock warned rival clubs that Luciano Becchio would be off-limits in the January transfer window after the striker’s 17th goal of the season intensified Leeds United’s pre-Christmas surge. Becchio struck twice at Elland Road to seal a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday and a delighted Warnock rejected suggestions that the Argentinian’s prolific strike rate might provoke a battle for his signature next month. The United manager said he had received assurances from the club’s new owner, GFH Capital, that he was under no pressure to sell players, and he indicated that Becchio, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, would be retained next month regardless of any offers for him. Becchio’s form has established him as the Championship’s third highest scorer, behind Burnley’s Charlie Austin and Crystal Palace’s Glenn Murray, and his second-half header handed an improving Leeds side their fifth win in six league games on Saturday. Warnock’s plans for this season were badly affected by the sale in July of former club captain Robert Snodgrass to Norwich City, but GFH Capital, which completed its 100 per cent takeover from United chairman Ken Bates on Friday, has promised Warnock that he will not be asked to part with key members of his squad in the weeks ahead. Warnock said: “I don’t think we’ll lose anybody we want to keep. I can guarantee that while I’m in charge and they’re in charge there’ll be no key players leaving here – unless we want them to leave. “We need every good player. We want to look upwards, not downwards or sideways. It’s not just Becchio. If I was a Premier League manager I’d be looking at three or four of my players. If anyone calls then I’ll answer my phone but I know what I’ll say and I don’t think the new owners will mind me saying it. No-one will leave unless we want them to.” GFH Capital’s reign began in impressive style on Saturday, with Elland Road witnessing its biggest Championship crowd of the season and Leeds reaching the halfway point of the term in eighth position after a tense victory over Boro. Representatives of the Dubai-based firm met with Warnock for talks on Friday, leading to fresh discussions about the transfer window, and Warnock said: “I’ve told them what I think and I think they trust me totally. “I’ll get the support I need next month but it’s a case of whether we’re able to get the players. Teams want to hang on to good players and they can make it difficult when you try to sign them. We’ve got to have a bit of luck.”

Colin congratulates Becchio

Dec 24thHands off our Becs Neil Warnock warned rival clubs thatLuciano Becchio would be off-limits in the January transfer window after the striker’s 17th goal of the season intensified Leeds United’s pre-Christmas surge. Becchio struck twice at Elland Road to seal a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday and a delighted Warnock rejected suggestions that the Argentinian’s prolific strike rate might provoke a battle for his signature next month. The United manager said he had received assurances from the club’s new owner, GFH Capital, that he was under no pressure to sell players, and he indicated that Becchio, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, would be retained next month regardless of any offers for him. Becchio’s form has established him as the Championship’s third highest scorer, behind Burnley’s Charlie Austin and Crystal Palace’s Glenn Murray, and his second-half header handed an improving Leeds side their fifth win in six league games on Saturday. Warnock’s plans for this season were badly affected by the sale in July of former club captain Robert Snodgrass to Norwich City, but GFH Capital, which completed its 100 per cent takeover from United chairman Ken Bates on Friday, has promised Warnock that he will not be asked to part with key members of his squad in the weeks ahead. Warnock said: “I don’t think we’ll lose anybody we want to keep. I can guarantee that while I’m in charge and they’re in charge there’ll be no key players leaving here – unless we want them to leave.“We need every good player. We want to look upwards, not downwards or sideways. It’s not just Becchio. If I was a Premier League manager I’d be looking at three or four of my players. If anyone calls then I’ll answer my phone but I know what I’ll say and I don’t think the new owners will mind me saying it. No-one will leave unless we want them to.”GFH Capital’s reign began in impressive style on Saturday, with Elland Road witnessing its biggest Championship crowd of the season and Leeds reaching the halfway point of the term in eighth position after a tense victory over Boro. Representatives of the Dubai-based firm met with Warnock for talks on Friday, leading to fresh discussions about the transfer window, and Warnock said: “I’ve told them what I think and I think they trust me totally. “I’ll get the support I need next month but it’s a case of whether we’re able to get the players. Teams want to hang on to good players and they can make it difficult when you try to sign them. We’ve got to have a bit of luck.”

Dec 23rd. Warnock a happy man. Davide Somma was a surprise inclusion on the bench on Wednesday night against Chelsea after eighteen months out after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in the summer of 2011. He was an unused substitute on Wednesday night, with Warnock saying he did not want to risk Somma after putting in so much hard work in returning to full fitness. Somma made his reappearance for the club, when he came off the bench for the final twenty-two minutes of the game against Middlesbrough on Saturday. The South African international striker showed glimpses of the form that saw him net 12 goals in 18 starts in his only full season in the Leeds first team. Warnock was delighted to have the striker back and he feels it is like signing a new player after so long out of the side. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I thought he looked sharp. He has done well in training and he is like a new signing for me.” The return of Somma is a huge boost for Warnock whois looking for a striker to add competition for places in attack. Luciano Becchio continues his great form this season. The Argentinian scored twice in the win over Middlesbrough to take his tally to seventeen for the season. Fellow striker Ross McCormack was once again a frustrated spectator as he was an unused substitute. Andy Gray wasn`t amongst the eighteen players named for the Middlesbrough game and he could be seen as surplus to requirements when the transfer window opens in just over a week`s time. Regarding January arrivals Neil Warnock says he will not want to spend stupid money when the transfer window opens in just over a week`s time. Leeds finally announced new owners on Friday, with Dubai based investment bank, GFH Capital taking over the reins at Elland Road. Warnock has been promised support in the January transfer window by the new owners but the Leeds boss feels it is a matter of getting in the right players at the right price, rather than spending what he calls ‘stupid money`. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I think they know I don`t want stupid money. I won`t be spending stupid money for the sake of it. “It is a matter of trying to get the right two or three players in, wheeling and dealing, because that is what I have done all my career and nothing will change. I am never going to spend five million on a player; we need to walk before we can run.”I just need the support for the type of players I am trying to get in, that is what is important to me.”We have targeted a certain number of players and we will try and bring them in.” 
Warnock says his priority is a striker to give Luciano Becchio competition and he is already being linked with big money moves for strikers. Southampton striker Rickie Lambert is the latest to be linked to Leeds in a £1.5 million move according to the Daily Mail. Lambert helped fire Southampton to back-to-back promotions in the last two seasons, finishing top scorer in the division in both seasons. He netted 31 times last season as Southampton won promotion to the Premier League. He has been a regular in the saints side this season and he has netted six goals in the Premier League so far this season.

Dec 23rdDiouf happy to have signed deal. El Hadji Diouf says he is happy to have signed a new deal with Leeds UnitedDiouf signed a new eighteen-month contract with the club recently and he says there were just a few things that needed to be sorted before agreeing a new deal. Speaking on LUTV, Diouf said, “Everything needed to be clear in my head. There were just little things that needed to be done between the club and my agent.”Everything is now sorted, I am happy and I hope the club are happy.”Diouf originally signed for Leeds in August on non-contract terms ahead of the first game of the season against Shrewsbury Town in the League Cup, a game he made his debut in as a second half substitute. The former African footballer of the year agreed a short-term deal until January later in the month after making a good impression in his early weeks with the club. The flamboyant character has reaped the praise of boss Neil Warnock, who says he has been great around the club and he has helped with some of the younger members of the squad. The 31 year old quickly endeared himself to the Elland Road faithful and he has missed just one game for the club so far this season having made 27 appearances.

Dec 23rd. Tonge “desperate to return to Leeds”. On loan Leeds United midfielder Michael Tonge says he is desperate to return to Elland Road after coming to the end of his loan spell at the club. Tonge completed his 93-day loan from Premier League side Stoke City on Saturday in the 2-1 win over Middlesbrough and he says he is gutted to be out of at least the next two games. Speaking on LUTV, Tonge said, “I am desperate to come back and carry on playing, so fingers crossed.”My loan is now finished and I am gutted. I cannot play until January even if something is sorted out.”  Tonge has been an ever-present for Leeds since signing ahead of the game at Cardiff City in mid-September. The former Sheffield United midfielder had been in the wilderness for the past four seasons after leaving the blades to sign for Stoke in a £2 million move. He has made just 18 appearances for Stoke since arriving at the Britannia Stadium in the summer of 2008 and he has spent time out on loan at Preston North End, Derby County and Barnsley. Tonge has enjoyed his run of games, that has seen him make 22 appearances for Leeds and he admits he wants to carry on playing. “I am disappointed I will miss the next few games because when you are on a roll you want to keep playing. “Some of the lads are saying it will be a good Christmas because I will miss a couple of games, but it isn`t for me. Out of anyone this season, I just want to keep playing because I have missed a couple of years. “It would have been great for me to keep playing but it is just the way it works with the 93 day loan,” continued Tonge. Leeds boss Neil Warnock has expressed his desire to sort out a deal with Stoke City for the services of Tonge when the January transfer window opens on January 1st. If a deal can be sorted, Tonge could return to the Leeds

Colin searching for a new striker

Dec 23rdWarnock – new striker “a priority”. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock has a new striker high on his January hit-list now the club’s takeover is complete. Dubai-based investment bank GHF Capital completed a £50million deal to purchase the Yorkshire club on Friday. GFH Capital executive Salem Patel stressed that the club would not be spending “silly money” on new players but they would be providing Warnock with funds to strengthen the squad.
The Whites’ new era got off to the perfect start on Saturday, with Luciano Becchio’s brace giving Leeds a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough at Elland Road – their fifth win in six games. Speaking after the game, Warnock praised the Argentine forward but revealed his desire to buy him a strike partner when the transfer window opens next month.“Luciano’s first goal was unbelievable. It was not even a half-chance but a top-quality finish,” said Warnock. “I still feel we need another striker because Luciano can’t play week-in, week-out, with so many games coming up and we need someone in case he gets injured. That has to be my priority. “It was a super day for our new owners at the end of a really positive week. I have to be delighted, especially coming from behind to beat a very good side. We put our bodies on the line near the end and there were a lot of tired legs out there.”

Becchio – right place and right time

Dec 22nd Leeds 2-1 Middlesbro. 01 Kenny, 02 Peltier (Pearce – 77′ ) 04 Lees, 15 Tate, 07 Green (White – 46′ ) 09 Thomas (Somma – 68′ ) 18 Tonge, 19 Norris (YC) 25 Byram, 10 Becchio, 21 Diouf. UnusedSubstitutes : 12 Ashdown, 17 Brown, 28 Somma.Att 25,406 (3,000 Boro) Report from BBC. Luciano Becchio scored twice as Leeds came from behind to beat Middlesbrough in the Championship at Elland Road.The visitors took the lead through Lukas Jutkiewicz, whose shot was saved before he scored with a follow-up via a deflection. Becchio equalised with a half-volley on the stroke of half-time after Boro failed to clear their lines. And he headed in a corner to secure victory and take his tally for the season to 17. The victory came a day after GFH Capital confirmed its 100% buyout of Leeds. It was Leeds’ fourth successive home league win – a feat they last achieved in October 2011 – and lifted them to eighth in the table. Middlesbrough missed out on a hat-trick of league wins as they dropped six points behind leaders Cardiff. The visitors opened brightly, Scott McDonald firing narrowly wide in the second minute and Leeds looking toothless in attack early on. Sam Byram’s downward header, which drew a superb save from goalkeeper Jason Steele, was as close as Leeds came before Jutkiewicz beat Paddy Kenny at the second attempt after sprinting clear. After the break, Boro defender Jonathan Woodgate, playing against his former club, fluffed his attempted clearance from Byram’s cross to give Becchio space to lash home off the woodwork. Jutkiewicz was denied by Kenny’s midriff as he closed in on goal, but Becchio showed the more ruthless edge. After his header from a Diouf cross was tipped over by Steele, he rose highest from the resulting corner to beat the goalkeeper with another header. The visitors had 17 minutes to earn a share of the points, but, despite Emmanuel Ledesma and even Steele going close, Leeds clung on. Leeds manager Neil Warnock: “It was a super day for our new owners at the end of a really positive week. I have to be delighted, especially coming from behind to beat a very good side. We put our bodies on the line near the end and there were a lot of tired legs out there.” Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray: “We had a host of chances and missed them. We were through one-on-one two or three times and threatened the goal more than enough to have got something out of the game, but give Leeds credit. They worked hard and defended well without putting us under much pressure.” 

No Bates as GFH hit town

The customary scarves over the shoulders shots

Hopefully these guys aren’t going to play

All smiles at ER

Dec 21stTakeover completed – ITN News and YEP. Leeds United’s new owners finally completed a deal to assume control at the Championship club and told fans to look forward to a bright future. GFH Capital, a Dubai-based investment bank, have put pen to paper on a reported £52 million takeover. The move brings to an end 206 days of protracted talks between the 2 parties. New club directors David Haigh and Salem Patel gave their first press conference this morning, and there for us was our sports reporter, Chris Dawkes. Leeds United’s new owners GFH Cpaital met the press this morning and have outlined some of their plans. Here are a few snippets of what David Haigh and Salem Patel said… * “It’s a club with history and pedigree.”- * “We looked at a number of clubs.” - * “We are not going to be spending money like crazy.” - * “We want to make the investment sustainable.” - * “We are very transparent. We bought the club with cash.” - * “January is not a great time to be spening money.” - * “We are going to try our best to help Neil Warnock in January but we will not say how much we will be spending.” Leeds started a fresh era this morning as GFH Capital were unveiled as their new owners, with directors David Haigh and Salem Patel outlining their vision for the future. The duo have been the frontmen for the Dubai-based investment company, who started talking to Leeds and outgoing owner Ken Bates about a takeover 206 days ago. That long journey was officially ended this morning, with Haigh and Patel presented to the media, with the latter admitting a desire to take Leeds back to the Premier League being a luring factor. United were relegated from the top flight in 2004 and have endured a largely miserable existence since, slipping as far down as -15 points in League One as financial problems took their toll. Patel, though, wants to take the club, currently fighting for promotion from the Championship, back up. “What we want to do is create a successful but sustainable club and I think every fan will be with us,” he said. “English football is one of the most successful exports that England has at the moment. People are watching world over and being part of that is very exciting to us. “We are both fans of English football and this is really interesting for us. We want to take Leeds back where they belong.” Haigh, a Leeds fan, excitedly claimed they had bought “the best club in the world” before going through his plans. He stood down the rumour that he will replace Bates as chairman when the veteran leaves the post at the end of the season, while also revealing that manager Neil Warnock staying on board was part of the criteria for the purchase. “He is our man and one of the reasons we decided to buy this club in the first place. The guy is a legend in English football and it was a requirement of the contract,” Haigh said. Warnock is chasing a record eighth promotion and Haigh added: “We don`t want to put a timescale on our investment but we want to make this club as successful as we can in the shortest time possible. “We’ve been speaking to Neil and we will try our best to meet whatever needs he has and to be fair to us, we have already invested in the team. “We’ve been speaking to him on and off since the summer to be honest. We very much assisted him with his plans in the summer and hope to continue to do so.” Haigh and Patel also outlined their long-term plans to buy back the club’s Elland Road ground. And there’s more….. Mad Friday. Not so long ago, such an infamous date in the calendar would have seemed wholly appropriate for a new owner of Leeds United to take a bow.  Back in the dark days between 2002 and early 2005 when United were, quite frankly, a mess thanks to the fallout from the ‘spend, spend, spend’ era of Peter Ridsdale and subsequent relegation from the Premier League, the club was in such dire straits that it seemed unlikely they could even be given away. Most would-be investors, no matter the strength of their interest, were soon put off once they had looked at the books and even those bold enough to take a chance, namely the Gerald Krasner-led Yorkshire consortium, soon realised that United’s problems bordered on the insurmountable and eventually withdrew after just eight months at the helm. To seasoned Elland Road observers, it was as if a sign should be hung on the main gates reading, ‘You don’t have to be mad to try to save us, but it would help’. Fast forward, however, to 2012 and Mad Friday – traditionally the day when Leeds takes a collective leave of its senses and drinks itself into a stupor to celebrate the final Friday before Christmas – saw United’s new owners reveal for the first time their vision for the future. And in an indication of how times have changed down LS11 way in recent years thanks to United’s revival in off-field fortunes, no one – least of all the new powers-that-be – believes any longer that such an investment is anything but a sound one. “Leeds United is a great football club with a fantastic fan-base and great pedigree,” says Salem Patel, executive director of GFH Capital, the Dubai-based investment bank who this week assumed control at Elland Road after seven months of negotiations with Ken Bates. “We maybe didn’t think it would take as long as it did, but we are there now and looking forward to the future.” Patel, who joined the Leeds board on Thursday after the takeover had been rubber-stamped, joined the Bahrain office of GFH in 2007 and later became head of investment research. The germ of the idea that led to the Yorkshire club being taken over this week was his, with GFH colleague David Haigh – a boyhood Leeds fan – then adding impetus when talks were in danger of stalling. “We had a brainstorming session in May,” explains Patel. “We have a new acting CEO and we were looking for new ideas. Being from England and passionate about football, I said we should look at English football. “It was before the new broadcasting deal (that will earn the Premier League clubs £3bn from domestic rights alone for the three years from 2013) had been announced. We were looking for different type of investments. Everyone is investing in health care at the moment and defensive sectors. “I thought, ‘Let’s push the boat out a bit’. As pioneers of investment in the Middle East, football seemed a very good sector to go into. “We looked at several clubs, but then we got the investment memo from the broker saying, ‘Leeds United is for sale’. I was in London at the time and met the broker. “I liked what I heard and relayed the message back to head office. I went back to Bahrain and within a week I was back meeting Shaun Harvey and being shown round. Within a week, we signed our first agreement with Leeds.Those early days may have seen quick progress made but, soon, any hopes fans had of a swift conclusion started to fade. Patel adds: “We didn’t have a timeline as to how long it would take from the outset, but it was never going to be a case, like Roman Abramovich, of coming along and saying, ‘I don’t care what is going on, I have the money to sort this out’. “We are not individuals, we are a regulated bank and certain processes have to be taken if we are to invest in anything. We also had to ensure we knew everything about the club before we bought it. “The period of due diligence finished inOctober, it really did take that long. But now we are here as the owners of Leeds United and couldn’t be any happier.” None of the bank’s three executives who have joined the United board – Hisham Alrayes, who is in the Middle East on business at the moment, completes the trio – have any previous experience of running a football club, but GFH Capital and parent company, Gulf Finance House, have a proven track record of investing in a range of business fields. When GFH’s involvement in Leeds first emerged, the suggestion was that they would look to flip – or quickly resell at a profit – the club within months of striking a deal with Bates. Asked by theYorkshire Post if that was the bank’s intention, Patel replies: “The way our business model works, it is not about flipping or long-term/short-term. “The way we typically work would be to identify a project, then we would bring strategic investors with us. If people want to call that flipping, then it is flipping. “But to us it is not flipping. It is identifying an asset and then bringing the right people on board – whether that is management or shareholders or investors – to help try and build that asset to take it to the next level. “We will not be selling 100 per cent, we will be maintaining a shareholding in this club.” Just what the future holds for United is unclear, but there can be little doubt that promotion to the Premier League is very much part of the new owner’s remit. As is building on an off-field performance that over the past four years has seen United make a collective profit of £10m, an achievement that back in those dark days of less than a decade ago would have seemed nigh on impossible. Patel adds: “Looking at the business from a profitability aspect, the club is making money. Not many in the Championship can say that. Looking from a cash flow perspective, which is something that I feel a lot of fans don’t do, then that is where you can see there is an area of weakness.”

Thurs 20th of Dec. Takeover nearly complete. Leeds have called a press conference for Friday morning amid speculation that GFH Capital have completed their takeover of the Championship club.The Dubai-based firm have been in negotiations with Ken Bates for the best part of six months over a possible deal. They completed the first part of that purchase last month to take a 33.33 per cent shareholding with the plan being to complete a full takeover by December 21 at the latest. Earlier this week, GFH Capital deputy chief executive David Haigh and company director Salem Patel attended the Football League to seek approval for their proposed buyout.

Super finish from Becks

Thomas causing problems

Becks and Diouf celebrate

Coin in his element

Weds 19th of Dec 2012. Leeds 1-5 Chelsea CC. Becchio put Leeds ahead in the first half but Chelsea outclassed United in the second with all their big guns and in the end we received a hammering. eg They bring on Hazard and we bring on Aidy Whyte.  Some of our defending was Kindergarten stuff, (no player on the near post, Peltier playing Hazard on in his own half etc). In truth class against average Championship players. One major positive was the sight of Davide Somma on the subs bench. Leeds 1 (Becchio 37), Chelsea 5 (Mata 46, Ivanovic 65, Moses 66, Hazard 81, Torres 83) United: Ashdown, Byram, Pearce, Lees, Peltier, Thomas (White 68), Green, Brown (Norris 72), Tonge, Diou (McCormack 73), Becchio. subs: Kenny, Varney, Gray, Somma, Att: 33,816 Official website report Elland Road was sold out for a Capital One Quarter-Final clash that pitted Leeds against old rivals Chelsea for the first time since May 2004. Neil Warnock’s side had won four out of the last five league games and he made a handful of changes, while Chelsea had only arrived back from Japan 48 hours earlier after their World Club Championship defeat. United went on the attack first, El-Hadji Diouf getting in behind the Chelsea defence, but the visitors showed their quality with an incisive passing move that saw Jamie Ashdown beat away a shot from Victor Moses. The fixture has a history of fiery matches and after Michael Brown was involved in one early altercation with David Luiz, Frank Lampard was booked for a challenge on Diouf. United certainly started lively and some quick thinking from Petr Cech denied Jerome Thomas after some sloppy defending. But it was Ashdown who was called upon to make another good save when he got down well to another Moses strike. United were certainly making Chelsea work hard and another decent attack saw Cech smother a far post header from Paul Green. And Leeds were in front before half-time when Thomas escaped down the wing after an incisive break and Luciano Becchio was on hand to convert his low cross. Elland Road erupted when the South American stroked the ball past Cech, and it was very much game on. The visitors’ response came courtesy of Lampard, who forced Ashdown into making his third good save of the game. But United had a great chance to double the advantage in the moments leading up to half-time, Tom Lees heading a Diouf cross over the bar. There was still time for Ashdown to make another great save, getting a hand to a long distance effort from Lampard, but it was United who went in a goal to the good at the break. But the visitors did take the lead within 60 seconds of the restart when a Juan Mata shot from distance crept inside of Ashdown’s near post. The game was still remarkably open, though. United continued to take things to Chelsea and put pressure on the visitors. In return, Chelsea were incisive in their movement, and Ashdown was called upon to make a good save to deny Fernando Torres. The United goalkeeper also made another good save from Lampard, but he could do nothing when Branislav Ivanovic made a darting near post run to squeeze a header home from a good cross. And it was 3-1 to the visitors a minute later when Moses did well to work himself an opening before firing home with a sweet strike from distance. Chelsea added a fourth with 10 minutes remaining when, with Leeds pressing and leaving space, Eden Hazard was able to latch on to a through ball before picking his spot to tuck the ball beyond Ashdown. And it was 5-1 within three minutes when Torres was able to convert after Ashdown had made an initial save. That gave the scoreline a harsh look in Chelsea’s favour, given that for over an hour the contest had been more than even. Neil Warnock :“I’ve never heard anything like the noise when the first goal went in,” said the boss. It should be like that here every week. It was amazing to listen to that noise. It shows what can be done at a club like this. Goodness knows what European nights must have been like because it was an amazing atmosphere. If we can get things right here, there’s no reason why we can’t push to have that every week. It’s a super club with the crowds we can get isn’t it?” United have now won three out of three in the league on home soil and will be aiming to make that a fourth against Middlesbrough at Elland Road on Saturday. It’s a cliché, but you want to make it a fortress. We’ve got the current best team in Yorkshire coming here on Saturday and we want to make it as difficult as possible for them.” United could be backed by a crowd of almost 25,000 for the visit of Boro on Saturday. Warnock on Somma : “He has done ever so well. If it hadn`t been so wet and cold, I might have given him twenty minutes. “He has done really well to get back to fitness; I didn`t want to spoil it by risking an injury to him.” Somma hasn`t played for Leeds since the final day of the 2010/11 season at Queens Park Rangers after requiring surgery on a cruciate knee ligament injury in the following pre-season. The South African international only returned to full training last month and Warnock did not think he would see him battling for a place in the side until February at the earliest after so long on the sidelines. The return to the squad of Somma is a boost to Warnock ahead of the busy festive period. Somma enjoyed a successful first season in the Leeds side, scoring 12 goals in 32 appearances with only 13 of these being in the starting line-up. The 27 year old will be looking to impress in the second half of the season with his contract at the club ending in the summer.

Monday 17th of December.  Lampard – Show passion at LeedsChelsea have to show passion, plus some brute force, or they face losing to Leeds on Wednesday, says Frank Lampard. The Blues put in a limp performance to be beaten in the Club World Cup final in Japan on Sunday, and now face a needle match at Elland Road – where Lampard is not expecting to get an easy ride. He said: “We have to go (to Leeds)and stand up. We got a result against Sunderland before we came (to Japan) and it’s important now, not just Leeds, but the league games over Christmas. “There’s a rivalry (with Leeds) - we’re aware of it – and I just hope it’s a good game. “We have to play on the pitch with passion, and do the physical side of things up there – because they are going to be right at it. “We can’t expect to go up there and tap it around and try and get a result – we need to do both sides.”

Dec 17th.  No need to panic buy given undisputed promotion form – By Eddie Gray. Saturday’s game against Ipswich Town wasn’t a classic but we got a win and it was the type of game that could quite easily have gone the other way. It was the sort of contest where we could have ended up losing the game. But I thought overall we shaded the game. They had a good period in the second half where they had a few chances really the match was very even. But we had a couple of good chances first of all and Luciano Becchio had a great chance with a header to put us two up. David Norris had one kicked off the line and we got into half-time 1-0 up and I was thinking that we just edged the first half. I thought they were the better team in the second half overall and they missed a couple of chances but then we missed a couple of chances ourselves. But overall when you look at it now that is 12 points out of 15 as we have won four out of our last five games. That’s a good record and that’s promotion form which is just something we have got to continue. If we can keep winning three or four games out of five then that will take us up there at the end of the season. I know a lot of the fans weren’t happy about the overall performance on Saturday and apparently some people have been saying that if we play like that against Middlesbrough next Saturday then we won’t be winning. But the thing about that is that if you look at this league, Ipswich had won their last three games on the trot. They beat Millwall the other week and Millwall won again at the weekend. You have to look at the facts and anything can happen in this league.I think Middlesbrough will be a solid side on Saturday but I don’t think they will be a great team. We have beaten Crystal Palace at home and we have beaten Leicester at home and before the game on Saturday, Ipswich were actually on a better run than we were, points-wise in their last few league games. They have done well Ipswich and it was never going to be an easy game. They missed a couple of chances late on but I think we will definitely have to play better against Chelsea! Chelsea lost in the Club World Cup final yesterday and I don’t think they are flying up here until Wednesday morning for Wednesday night’s League Cup quarter-final at Elland Road. It’s a long trip for them but it’s something that we can look forward to and at least the fans are going into the game with a bit of optimism after the game on Saturday. People say it wasn’t a great performance but it was still a win and it was a win that was an important win. These two league games – Ipswich and then Middlesbrough at home on Saturday were always going to be very important as everybody knows, coming up to the Christmas period. This is the time when it matters and then in January the transfer window opens. Neil Warnock was saying on Saturday that it was going to be important to get the boys that he has got on loan signed up and then he mentioned himself probably a striker. In case anything happens to Luciano Becchio, that is what he is looking for. Hopefully things will work out but the most important thing for us just now is that El-Hadji Diouf has signed up for 18 months. If Neil can also get the other boys who he wants to sign then it augurs well for the second half of the campaign. It said in the programme on Saturday that there was going to be no mass spending spree in January but sometimes in the January transfer window it can be stupid to spend money because the best players aren’t usually available then. Teams hold on to their best players as they don’t want them to go at this stage of the season. And as Neil says, he doesn’t want to just go and get somebody that is just going to be a loan player as a stop gap again. He is looking for somebody that he can bring into the football club who he thinks is going to be of long-term value to the club. That’s important. But when you think of how we have done with the players we have got just recently, we’re not that far away from the play-offs, we’re in a decent position and if we beat Middlesbrough at home in the league it puts us in a strong position going into that Christmas period. There’s some tough games coming up but if they keep performing like they have been but discounting the Derby game then we should be a match for most teams in the league. Obviously Jerome Thomas and Paul Green got our goals on Saturday but I was also impressed once again with Sam Byram who I was saying after the game reminded me a little bit of Paul Madeley. I wouldn’t compare him to Madeley just yet but I was saying he has got that type of temperament. That’s what I was meaning. Nothing seems to faze the boy and he’s a youngster who looks as if he can play in a number of positions. You wouldn’t start comparing him to somebody like Paul just now but the boy looks as if he can go a long way in the game. He looks to have good ability and a good temperament but you have got to remember that Madeley was one of the best players to have ever played the game. There’s a big difference but Sam Byram has definitely got that type of temperament.

Dec 16thColin on transfer window Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he needs to bring in a quality striker in the January transfer window if they want to be serious promotion contenders in the second half of the season. With the takeover of the club hoping to be finalised this week, Warnock will be hoping to have a reasonable transfer kitty when they transfer window opens in just over two-week`s time. The Leeds boss is hoping to do some sort of deal with the players who are currently on loan and he says he has already had talks about bringing them in. “I don`t think we need serious investment but I do think we need help if we want to go up. We could quite easily be mid table in this league but I want us to have a go and the chairman knows it. “We are looking at targets and we have already talked about the lads Tate, Thomas and Tonge and Shaun (Harvey) is working really hard,” Warnock told Yorkshire Radio. Leeds announced a new long-term deal with El Hadji Diouf in the week. Diouf was on a short-term deal with the club having arrived in August, originally on a non-contract basis. Diouf signed a new 18-month deal with the club and Warnock felt it was important to sort out his new deal first. “I thought the main one was to get Diouf sorted out and then it really depends on the other lads want to come, then I think we can do some sort of deal with their clubs,” added Warnock. As well as sorting out deals with the loan players, Warnock feels a striker is the main priority during January. Luciano Becchio is having his best start to a season since arriving at Elland Road in the summer of 2008. The Argentinian striker has already netted 14 times in 23 appearances this season and he is well on his way to beating his best return in a season, when he netted 20 times in Leeds first season back in the championship in 2010. Warnock feels that Becchio is not under pressure for his place in the side and he wants to bring in a new striker to keep Becchio on his toes with someone breathing down his neck wanting his place in the side.“We do need another striker without a shadow of a doubt and I don`t mean a free transfer, we need to get another good striker in. “It is hard for Luciano to keep a level of consistency and we need someone who can put him under pressure in that role.”continued Warnock. As well as adding to the squad, Warnock will want to offload players in January. Goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, defender Paul Connolly and midfielders Robbie Rogers and Danny Pugh are still on the transfer list. With Warnock looking to bring in another striker, it could also spell the end for Andy Gray who signed a 12-month deal with the club in the summer. Gray has made just nine appearances this season, with just one start.

Sat Dec 15thLeeds United 2-0 Ipswich TownKenny, Byram, Tate, Lees, Peltier, Green, Tonge, Norris, Thomas (Brown 84), Diouf (McCormack 81), Becchio (Varney 90) : Subs not used : Ashdown, Pearce, White, Hall.  Goals : Thomas (19) and Green (68)Att 19,123. Report from Vital Football.  Leeds United returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 2-0 home win over Ipswich Town. On loan winger Jerome Thomas scored his first goal for the club on 19 minutes and Paul Green doubled the lead halfway through the second half. Leeds boss Neil Warnock made two changes from the side that lost at Derby County last weekend. Thomas returned in place of Ryan Hall after recovering from a hamstring injury and El Hadji Diouf, who signed a new 18-month deal with the club on Friday starting in place of Ross McCormack. Thomas scored the opening goal when he was on hand to finish after Tom Lees had headed the ball down. Leeds could have extended their lead in the first half. David Norris saw an effort against one of his former clubs cleared off the line and Luciano Becchio headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Carlos Edwards had the visitor`s best effort of the half close to half time but Paddy Kenny blocked his effort. Becchio had a good chance early in the second half, this time his header testing Henderson in the Ipswich goal. Green doubled Leeds lead halfway through the second half when they broke and Thomas set up Green who side footed into the top corner of the goal for his third goal in five games.Ipswich came close to getting back into the game but Kenny produced a good reaction save to deny Lee Martin. The visitors continued to press and Kenny denied Michael Chopra after good work from Martin but it was to prove the last meaningful action as Leeds made it four wins in their last five games. The win for Leeds was the 1500th in their history and their 999th at Elland Road. Ipswich Boss Mick McCarthy thought his side let Leeds off the hook in the second half of the 2-0 defeat at Elland Road. The Town manager felt his team were on top prior to Paul Green netting the home side’s second goal. McCarthy was disappointed with Jerome Thomas’s opening goal: “I think we gave a bad goal away in the first half, we didn’t defend the corner kick properly. I didn’t think there was a lot in it up until then.“We got away with a header from Becchio before half-time, thought we’d done all right, played OK. In the second half I thought we had the game by the scruff of the net and let them off the hook. They had the one bit of quality to finish. We had our chances even at 2-0,” .“We had breaks and could have scored. If we had scored, we know the game would have been different and it would have been a nervy end for them because we played well in the second half.”The Blues boss was pleased with the way his side kept the ball in their dominant period after the break: “I was delighted. “But it doesn’t stick up front and it ends up in our net. That’s Championship football – we got done on the break. But it was a fabulous finish, his finish was quality and that was the difference.“We’ve had our chances in the second half to score goals, to set somebody up to score a goal to have a chance. “They get their one in that moment in time, except for Becchio’s header that Hendo saved. It’s a fabulous finish and it’s killed the game.”He felt Green’s goal came at a crucial stage in the game: “We were playing well in the second half, we were the team that were on top. “The crowd were giving out to the Leeds players, their bench is starting to get animated, we’re playing well and we’ve let them off the hook. “It goes up to our front players and it comes back and ends up in our net. It was a great goal by them, but pretty poor from us from our point of view.” McCarthy was pleased with Michael Chopra after he came off the bench, although was disappointed that he didn’t take his chance: “Of all the people in the world that you’d want in front of goal to put it in, it was him, but he didn’t. There’s the difference.”Overall, he believes the result doesn’t tell the whole story: “I’m disappointed, I really am. It’ll be in the paper tomorrow ‘Leeds 2-0 Ipswich’, it looks like a fairly comfortable, regulation win for the home team, but it wasn’t that at all.”Leeds boss Neil Warnock was pleased with the way his team stood up to Town during their period in the ascendancy: “I haven’t had many times this season when I’ve really complimented the back four. I thought at half-time we should have been more than one-up.“We knew they’d have a period because of the confidence they’ve got – they’d won five out of seven. “I thought in that 15 minutes in the second half when we had to had to hang in there, we were super because I didn’t see Paddy Kenny having a save to make during what was their positive period, which pleased me. “We’re always going to come back into it because of the type of lads we’ve got and I thought we hung in there and came back and the goal gave us another lift. It was a super goal.” Dec 15thPaul Green, a player at last finding his form with no little consistency : “After last week`s defeat at Derby, it was important to get back to winning ways. f you lose a couple in this league you can quickly be down in the bottom half.It is crucial to be in and around it at Christmas so it was a massive boost.”We now need to kick on and get another run going.”

Saturday 15 December 2012.January sales hold the key – By Phil HayPublished on Leeds United have never quite mastered the art of the winter transfer window. Flawed though FIFA’s system is, the pre-requisite of each and every January is to finish the month in better shape than when it began. Two years ago, Leeds and their manager, Simon Grayson, were caught sitting on their hands at a time when the Championship table was begging them to twist. January of this year was worse again – a shifting of the deckchairs which predictably ended with Grayson thrown overboard on the first day of February.Players came and went without any semblance of strategy or planning: Danny Pugh signed for £500,000 and club captain Jonathan Howson sold for around £2million, replaced by loanee Fabian Delph. Andros Townsend arrived from Spurs but wasted no time devising an exit strategy, and the last-minute signing of 20-year-old Adam Smith made a mockery of Grayson’s complaint about an inexperienced defence on the night of the defeat which led to his sacking. It was that bizarre month which brought Neil Warnock to the coalface.Warnock has a fairly clear view of how next month should work. If soon-to-be Leeds owner GFH Capital can tie down the five Leeds players on short-term deals, he would readily settle for a new striker and ask for little more.It is a vote of confidence in a squad who have lost as many league games as they have won this season and currently lie 14th in the Championship. Others will look for more telling investment when the window opens and invite Leeds to make more of the season than they have already. Here, Inside Elland Road gives its view on what the club should look for when January comes…New Striker: A necessity in August and a necessity now, not least because goals are coming predominantly from Luciano Becchio. The strike rate of United’s forwards is slightly skewed by the long absence of Ross McCormack but Becchio’s return of 14 goals is far in excess of any other player in Warnock’s squad. El-Hadji Diouf, who yesterday signed a new 18-month deal with the club, has five goals but seems more comfortable pulling the strings than hovering around the six-yard box and when Warnock says he wants competition for Becchio, in reality he needs another forward on top of McCormack, who can compensate for the days when the Argentinian’s well runs dry.  Jermaine Beckford, Cameron Jerome, DJ Campbell – worthwhile investments if the cash is there. In no way would Leeds look top-heavy with an additional striker on board. Midfield play-maker: Those who control the purse strings at Elland Road might take the view that Warnock has enough midfielders already. Between Rodolph Austin, David Norris, Paul Green, Michael Brown and potentially Michael Tonge, there is no shortage of bodies to fill the centre of midfield. But while the attacking tendencies of Norris and Green offset the marauding protection offered by Austin, the absence of a player who can consistently put his foot on the ball and control a game – as a random example, Graham Kavanagh, circa 2005 – has been apparent all season. What price Alejandro Faurlin, a man Warnock once described as “the best midfield player I’ve ever worked with” and who contributed to Queens Park Rangers’ promotion in 2010? Faurlin was under-used by Mark Hughes at QPR and cannot even make Harry Redknapp’s squads. He’ll cost money, naturally, but GFH Capital have money, right?Left-back: United’s defensive record is fairly indefensible – three clean sheets and 35 goals conceded in 21 league games. Criticisms on a postcard please. The irony of that failing is that it is not down to an acute lack of adequate resources, from goalkeeper Paddy Kenny forwards. Sam Byram, Tom Lees, Jason Pearce and Alan Tate are well suited to the Championship and Lee Peltier is hardly out of his depth at this level, but his extended run at left-back looks increasingly like a makeshift solution.  At a cost of around £800,000, Peltier would be an expensive substitute but Byram has given him a run for his money on the right side of defence and left-back is a point of weakness for Leeds. When Adam Drury arrived from Norwich City in June, you assumed that he would make 30 to 40 appearances this season but he is still to reach 10 and is struggling to hold down a seat on the bench.

Diouf a “key signing”

Diouf scoring against Blackburn in front of the Louth Branch

Friday 14 December – Diouf signs on and others may follow – Phil Hay El-Hadji Diouf has committed himself to Leeds United by signing a new 18-month deal, with a relieved Neil Warnock praising the Senegalese forward for “doing the right thing.” Diouf and Leeds concluded contract talks on Friday afternoon after Diouf accepted an offer which is thought to be worth around twice the £5,000-a-week wage paid to him by United for the past three-and-a-half months. Negotiations to extend the half-season deal agreed with Diouf at the beginning of September were threatening to drag into the January transfer window, and Warnock was increased fearful of losing a player who he described as a “match-winner”. The United manager signed Diouf during the summer despite their chequered history which involved a public spat between the pair after an FA Cup game involving Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers in 2011. Warnock infamously labelled Diouf a “sewer rat”, but they were reconciled following a chance meeting during the close season and Diouf turned down offers from the Middle East to spend the first half of this season at Elland Road. His performances have consistently caught the eye and although he rejected an initial offer from Leeds last month as rival interest from Premier League and Championship clubs grew, he has taken up a contract which will keep him in West Yorkshire until the summer of 2014. Warnock told the YEP: “He’s a match-winner and we simply don’t have many of those.“We needed this deal to happen and as much as I’ve got a good relationship with him, you worry that the big clubs will come calling and cause you trouble.“If I was a Premier League manager and I’d seen him play this season then I’d have been interested in him.“I always thought he’d stop here but you never say never until the deal’s signed. It’s a massive relief.“In fairness, he knows what it took for me to bring him here. I put a bit of history aside and the relationship’s worked. We’ve worked well together.“Given all that I thought it was right for him to stay – the right thing for him to do if we made him the right offer.”Diouf was one of five existing Leeds players who Warnock hoped to tie down beyond the end of their short-term contracts. Michael Tonge, Alan Tate, Jerome Thomas and Ryan Hall are all presently on loan at Elland Road. Hall is expected to join United in a £150,000 move from Southend United next month and the club hope to reach a permanent deal with Stoke City midfielder Tonge. Leeds are also believed to be preparing a £250,000 bid for Tate in a firm demonstration of their commitment to signing the Swansea City defender. The 30-year-old centre-back has impressed since joining United on a temporary basis last month and Warnock has made clear his desire to re-sign Tate once the transfer window opens. Leeds could find Swansea receptive to offers with Tate on the fringes of their squad but he is contracted to City until 2015 and admitted in an interview with the YEP yesterday that leaving Swansea would be a “serious decision” after eight-and-a-half years with the club. Tate said: “Whether this turns into a more permanent move, who knows? It’s not something I’ve spoken about.” Swansea manager Michael Laudrup was equally non-committal on Tate’s future after agreeing to send him on loan to Leeds on the last day of the emergency loan window. Laudrup said: “We have five players in his position so it was a good decision by Alan to go and play some football. Now we will see what happens but whether it’s going to be a permanent deal is going to depend on a lot of factors.” Tate has made four appearances for Leeds, including three in their victories over Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Huddersfield Town.

Weds Dec 12thFull steam ahead for the takeover By Phil Hay. The Football League’s decision to sanction the appointment of three members of management at GFH Capital to the board of directors at Leeds United removed a major obstacle to completion of the firm’s takeover on December 21. Approval from the Football League is fundamental to any serious investment and the realisation of GFH Capital’s 100 per cent buy-out a week on Friday was reliant on the governing body accepting that the three men fronting the deal were fit and proper. With the ‘Owners and Directors Test’ behind them, there is no obvious obstruction to final payment in return for full ownership in nine days’ time. David Haigh, deputy chief exeutive of GFH Capital and the only one of the company’s staff who has already joined United’s board, will travel to England from Dubai tomorrow to begin the countdown to a full transfer of shares. Haigh spent time in Bahrain last week – the home of GFH Capital’s parent company, Gulf Finance House – and preparation for the takeover continued in the build-up to Saturday’s announcement that Haigh, Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes had all received permission from the Football League to become directors at Elland Road. Haigh’s appointment took place on November 20, the day when GFH Capital and Leeds chairman Ken Bates finally shook hands on a deal, and Patel and Alrayes will be added to the board as soon as the Dubai-based firm replaces Bates as owner of the club. They are also expected to become directors of subsidiaries of Leeds City Holdings Limited, United’s parent company. Confirmation of Haigh’s addition to the board is still to be announced by Companies House, which requires new appointments to be declared within 14 days, but a Mortgage of Shares submitted on November 20 confirmed that LUFC Holding Limited – the off-shore firm being used by GFH Capital to buy Leeds – has been incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Having previously invested at least £2million in United, GFH Capital injected fresh funds within hours of its agreement with Bates. The owners-in-waiting supplied the money as “working capital” but the most pressing outlay facing them now, aside from payment of funds to seal the takeover, is the cash required by manager Neil Warnock in the January transfer window. Warnock met Haigh and Patel after the pair attended Leeds’ 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on November 24, speaking for around an hour after full-time, but they are still to discuss in detail his budget for next month. United have asked Warnock to draw up a list of targets, and the arrival of Haigh in Leeds this week should prompt further talks with United’s manager. Asked whether he was clear on his spending power, Warnock said: “Not at the moment. I’d imagine that will come but I think everyone’s been so busy. I’m just doing what the chairman (Bates) tells me – giving him names”. A new striker is Warnock’s priority, though his outlook could change depending on decisions made about the players in his squad who hold short-term contracts – El-Hadji Diouf, Michael Tonge, Ryan Hall, Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas. The 63-year-old Warnock has already been linked with a fresh approach for Leicester City’s Jermaine Beckford and reports yesterday linked him with Max Gradel, United’s player-of-the-year in 2010-11. Gradel’s wage at St Etienne is likely to be prohibitive, however, and a deal with Beckford – currently approaching the end of an emergency loan at Huddersfield Town but sidelined by a hamstring injury – would require a compromise over his weekly salary of more than £30,000. The wider details of GFH Capital’s takeover plan involved the repurchase of United’s Elland Road stadium but sources close to the firm say it will concentrate on improving Warnock’s squad before tackling other business. Despite expectation that GFH Capital would buy back Elland Road as part of its takeover – an acquisition which would cost some £15million – it has not yet finalised the paperwork needed to reclaim ownership of the ground. At present, the private equity firm holds 33.33 per cent of the shares in Leeds City Holdings Limited, enough to activate the Football League’s ‘Owners and Directors Test,’ which was passed by Haigh, Patel and Alrayes. The governing body is in the process of completing formalities but neither GFH Capital nor the club anticipate any opposition to their deal. A statement published by Leeds over the weekend read: “The club are pleased to announce that GFH Capital executives Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel, who will become directors of Leeds United upon completion of the takeover, have received approval from the Football League to join the club’s board having satisfied the requirements of the Owners and Directors Test. “David Haigh, who joined the board last month, was also approved by the Football League before taking up his role as a director.”Haigh, Patel and Alrayes have attended numerous games this season – United’s 1-0 defeat of Leicester City the most recent – and Saturday’s match against Ipswich Town is set to be the last league fixture before GFH Capital pushes through its long-awaited takeover. Bates plans to relinquish all of his majority shareholding after Leeds play Chelsea in the Capital One Cup a week today. Haigh has worked increasingly closely with the 81-year-old in the past few weeks, shadowing United’s chairman on match-days at Elland Road, and the period between initial agreement on November 20 and the planned handover on December 21 was described by Bates as a “transitional period”. That period is now poised to end around 24 hours before Leeds play Middlesbrough. The immediate changes at United are unlikely to be sweeping, however, with Bates intending to remain as chairman until the end of the season and chief executive Shaun Harvey set to remain in his post indefinitely. Harvey has been chief executive since 2004 when he was recruited from Bradford City by the board headed by Gerald Krasner. GFH Capital has also promised Warnock its backing having watched him toil through much of the summer transfer window, and the Leeds boss made his requirements clear ahead of last weekend’s defeat to Derby County. “If we get the four loanees tied up and Diouf as well then I don’t think we need many more,” said Warnock. “I think we’d only be looking at a striker on top of that.”

What a signing Max would be

Tues Dec 11thLeeds to move for Maxi twist ?  The Sun newspaper is reporting today that Leeds United are going to make a bid to bring back former player Max Gradel in January.They report that Leeds boss Neil Warnock is ready to switch is attention to The Ivory Coast international if they fail to land Jerome Thomas, who is currently on loan at Elland Road from Premier League side West Bromwich Albion. Gradel made 84 appearances for Leeds netting 25 times before signing for French Ligue 1 side St Etienne in the summer of 2011 after he said he wanted to be closer to his family. He spent eighteen months at Elland Road after initially signing from Leicester City on loan in October 2009. His move became permanent the following January and he helped Leeds to promotion from League One despite being sent off on the crucial final day of the season win over Bristol Rovers. The 25-year-old scooped the Player of the Year award in Leeds first season in the Championship as he netted 18 goals for the club as they just missed out on the play-offs. He has been a regular in the St Etienne side since moving to France, making 45 appearances in the league. Gradel has played in all 16 league games this season as St Etienne lie fourth in the Ligue 1 table. If only !

Tues Dec 11thDiouf future hangs in the balance- YEP The clock is ticking regarding the future of El-Hadji Diouf – with his representative still awaiting contact from Leeds United regarding their next move. United are keen for the 31-year-old, who has proved a huge success at Elland Road, to agree fresh terms at the club, with his current short-term deal expiring next month. But a deal is yet to be agreed with the ball firmly in the court of United, who saw an initial offer to the former Senegalese international rebuffed at the end of October, according to his agent, Willie McKay. Diouf, who is currently earning £5,000 a week, having linked up with the club on a half-season deal in September, wants to extend his stint with the club. He is understood to be seeking a deal in line with United’s higher earners, with McKay confirming there remains plenty of rival interest in the former Liverpool forward, with two Premier League clubs still keen on taking him in the January window – along with several Championship clubs. McKay is waiting for Leeds to get back in touch with him and wants renewed talks in a bid to resolve the future of Diouf, who turned down more lucrative offers from the Middle East to join United, before the new year. Securing the future of Diouf is one of several pieces of key transfer business that boss Neil Warnock is desperate to push through at the start of January, with a permanent move to bring in Michael Tonge from Stoke City also high on his priority list. Warnock also wants to bolster his squad with several other signings and is expected to hold transfer talks with board member David Haigh, due to attend Saturday’s home encounter with Ipswich, at the end of this week. United have confirmed that GFH Capital executives Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel, who will become club directors upon completion of the takeover later this month, have received Football League approval to join the board having satisfied the requirements of the ‘Owners and Directors’ test. Haigh, who joined the board last month, was also approved by the Football League before taking up his role as a director.

Dec 8th.  GFH executives pass Football League testGFH Capital’s takeover of Leeds United has moved a step closer to completion after two executives received approval from the Football League. Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel, who are due to become directors at Elland Road, have satisfied the requirements of the league’s owners and directors test. The Middle East-based equity company finalised a deal to take control of the Championship club last month. Leeds lost 3-1 at Derby on Saturday, leaving them 14th in the table. Once the takeover is completed, GFH Capital will become the 100% shareholder of the club. They have been financially supporting Leeds since entering into an exclusivity period to conclude negotiations about their proposed investment. Current owner Ken Bates will remain as chairman until the end of the season, when he will become president.

Leeds lose badly at Derby

Sat Dec 8thDerby County 3-1 Leeds Utd.  01 Kenny, 02 Peltier, 04 Lees, 15 Tate, 07 Green, 18 Tonge, 19 Norris (White – 80′ ) 25 Byram, 30 Hall (Varney – 68′ ) 10 Becchio, 44 McCormack (Diouf – 74′ ) Unused Substitutes : 12 Ashdown, 05 Pearce, 17 Brown, 20 Gray. Att : 25,304. Report from YEP.  Second-half strikes from Jake Buxton and Ben Davies halted Leeds United’s resurgent run as Derby County ran out 3-1 winners at Pride Park. Buxton’s 12-yard finish and an injury-time effort from Davies settled a scrappy but competitive match, ending Leeds’ sequence of three straight wins in the process. Paul Green’s goal seconds before half-time – replying to Conor Sammon’s early strike for Derby – briefly changed the flow of the game and Leeds controlled the initial stages of the second half, with Ryan Hall and Ross McCormack both going close. But Sammon threatened again for Derby on 57 minutes, dragging a hurried finish wide, and Paddy Kenny denied the impressive Will Hughes with a brilliant save moments later. As the pressure grew, County regained the lead on 67 minutes when defender Jake Buxton fired into the net amid poor defending from United. David Norris could have levelled with a volley which County goalkeeper Adam Legzdins parried and Tom Lees was desperately unlucky to see a header strike in the inside of the post, with Richard Keogh waiting to clear on the goal line. Substitute El-Hadji Diouf fired inches wide in the closing stages but Davies settled the contest when a Derby attack left him with space to shoot at the end of added time. In truth Leeds never got to grips with Derby who should have been three up at the interval. Young blonde haired Hughes (just 17)  ran the show in midfield with skill, pace and invention. Norris and Tonge never got a look in. Lees was very unfortunate not to equalise when his header rebounded off the post, and Diouf added experience and danger when he entered the fray. However Derby, notably in the first half were first to every ball. Leeds are still at least three players short of a threatening Championship side. In my view a left back, centre forward, and skilful midfielder is essential to progress our season.  Anyone who ignores this is in denial, and Peltier again was very poor, playing Derby on side for the opener and in general not good enough with his passing, positioning and leadership. How long before Colin bites the bullet with this player ? Warnock : “How Hendrick did not get a red card I will never, ever know.It’s a horrendous challenge, it’s a career threatening challenge and to get a yellow card for that, I do not understand the game. “They’re even saying Ryan Hall got up quickly, as if that’s a crime. What do we tell them to do, stay down and roll around? It was bad at the time but it’s even worse when you watch it again. “I thought we were poor for the first half hour but we withstood that and I didn’t think they could improve, but I thought we could be 100 per cent better in the second half and I thought we were. “The second goal was always going to be the winner today and we couldn’t quite manage it. You need the rub of the green at times but it would have been entirely different with 10 men.” Derby manager Nigel Clough“I think a few of the big boys are watching Will [Hughes] which is a great compliment to him and the academy lads, but if they are we will do everything we can to hang on to him. “Early on, I thought Leeds stopped him playing just through good closing down so we couldn’t quite get him on the ball. But once the game opened up he was outstanding again. “We were on the front foot early on and it was a very, very solid home performance. Apart from a small period in the game we played some excellent stuff today and the character and honesty of the players again shone through.” 

Tonge about to sign for Whites

Jan 8thLeeds set to sign Tonge – Phil Hay. Leeds United are working to strike a deal which will see midfielder Michael Tonge make a permanent move to Elland Road on January 1. United have begun pushing for an agreement over Tonge’s long-term future with the Stoke City player entering the final fortnight of his 93-day emergency loan. Tonge will rejoin Stoke before Christmas having joined Leeds midway through September, but United hope to negotiate his release from Stoke and strike the terms of a full-time contract in time for the start of the January transfer window. The 29-year-old is seven months away from becoming a free agent and is understood to favour the option of a permanent switch to Elland Road after failing to make a serious impact during a four-and-a-half year spell on the books at the Britannia Stadium. City were expected to make Tonge available on a free transfer next month but the Premier League club could yet demand a fee for the midfielder following his impressive spell with Leeds.  A source close to the deal, however, said City’s valuation of Tonge was likely to be “nominal”. Tonge has been a fixture in United’s line-up since his transfer to Elland Road, playing 18 times and scoring five goals including one in last weekend’s 4-2 win at Huddersfield Town. Football League rules limiting emergency loans to a maximum of 93 days will prevent Leeds from involving Tonge in their post-Christmas schedule but the club intend to tie up the signing ahead of their New Year’s Day meeting with Bolton Wanderers. Manager Neil Warnock has been effusive in his praise of Tonge, saying: “He needed games when he came here but the fitter he’s got, the better he’s been.” Meanwhile, United’s FA Cup third-round tie against Birmingham City has been scheduled for Saturday, January 5.  The game at Elland Road will kick-off at 3pm.

Friday Dec 7thBoss still targeting another forward – Phil Hay Neil Warnock admitted today that a new striker might be his only requirement in January if Leeds United retain their four loanees and extend the short-term contract held by El-Hadji Diouf. In a sign of growing confidence about the squad at Elland Road, United’s manager said agreements with the five players approaching the end of their deals would leave him looking for the “icing on the cake” when the January transfer window opens in 24 days’ time. The recent takeover of United by Dubai-based GFH Capital was expected to lead to heavy investment in new signings next month, coming at a time when Warnock was badly short of players and struggling to keep United in touch with the Championship’s play-off positions. But the fortnight since the announcement of GFH Capital’s deal with current club owner Ken Bates has brought three straight wins, two loans signings in Jerome Thomas and Alan Tate and a flurry of players returning from injury and suspension. Thomas and Tate were respectively signed from West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City until the start of January and midfielder Michael Tonge will return to Stoke City prior to United’s Christmas schedule having all but completed a 93-day spell at Elland Road. Winger Ryan Hall is also edging towards the end of his loan from Southend United and Diouf’s future remains uncertain with Leeds continuing to negotiate an extension to his half-season contract. Warnock, who is still to discover the size of the budget earmarked for him by GFH Capital, said: “Everyone talks about the January window but for me I don’t think we need that much.“We need the loanees tied up and Diouf tied up and then we need to look for a bit of icing on the cake. That’s what I’m looking for.“I’m not sure there’s an urgency for us but all the loanees have a part to play and if we can’t keep them then we’ll need to get in very similar players. We’ll be looking at either tying them up or getting something similar. But if we get the four loanees and Diouf as well then I don’t think we need many more. I think we’d only be looking at a striker on top of that.” A new forward was Warnock’s priority towards the end of the last transfer window but United’s financial situation and a shortage of available money prevented him from signing any of his targets. Warnock named Nicky Maynard as his preferred option but the forward moved from West Ham United to Cardiff City in a £2.5million and has since suffered a serious knee injury. United’s manager also expressed an interest in Jermaine Beckford, the former Leeds player whose loan from Leicester City to Huddersfield Town expires at the end of December, and he spoke to Brighton about a possible deal for Craig Mackail-Smith. Another rumoured option, Scotland forward George Boyd, remains on the transfer list at Peterborough United. Asked how much money he would have to work with next month, Warnock said: “I haven’t got a clue. I’ve just been asked to give a few names in different scenarios.“If we lost every game until January then we’d look at just staying up and we’d have a different hit-list. But we might do the opposite and do well. It’s good to be going into this phase with three wins under our belts.“If you look at what we’ve done already it’s been slowly but surely. We brought Tonge in and he needed games but now he’s showing what he can do. Ryan Hall can do what he did at Huddersfield last weekend and we’ve brought in two Premier League players to fill gaps that desperately needed filling. “There are three or four strikers I’d like to put pressure on Luciano (Becchio) and I do feel we need another striker in our squad to make sure we’re at the right end of the table.” Boyd was expected to leave London Road in August having been made available by Peterborough but a potential move to Ipswich Town came to nothing and he has played regularly this season, scoring six times. The 27-year-old said: “I’m concentrating on helping Posh stay up. I’m a Posh player until I’m told otherwise.“We’ve worked so hard over the last few years to reach this standard and no-one wants to drop back to League One. No disrespect but we don’t want to be playing Walsall when we can be playing Wolves or Bolton.”

Friday Dec 7th.  Beccs can play a crucial role – Matteo YEP. Strikers are funny animals. I’ll never know exactly how they tick because I never played as one but it must be odd to be constantly judged on how many goals you score. Take Luciano Becchio for instance. Up until a couple a weeks ago I’d have said that he was having a really poor spell and a pretty ordinary season, in terms of his performances anyway. But give the lad his due. He knows where the net is. It seems harsh to criticise a forward who’s scored 14 times in 22 games. But as an ex-player myself, I’m more inclined to judge Becchio on his all-round contribution: his effectiveness in the air, the quality of his hold-up play and his anticipation in the box. When he delivers the whole package he’s in the highest bracket of Championship strikers and he starts to look like someone who Leeds United would never want to be without. If I’m being honest, he’s struggled to impress me over the last three or four months. He’s always good for a goal and you can only admire his habit of getting in on the act when you least expect it but he’s made hard work of playing as well as he did at Huddersfield last Saturday. That’s the Becchio I like to see – a threat to the opposition and a complete nightmare for the defenders around him. I’d never accuse Becchio of being a lazy player and people who do mistake his labouring style for a lack of effort. If you looked at the stats I think you’ll find that he puts in the yards like anyone else. But he’s so good in the air that if I was his manager I’d be looking for him to win nine out of every 10 headers he went for. I’d be looking for him to consistently outplay the centre-back who’s marking him. That’s what he did for two years in League One and that’s what he did during his first season in the Championship. Whether it’s down to the injuries he’s had or a problem with his confidence, consistency has escaped him this season and last – and I say that regardless of his strikerate. I’d love to think that he’s starting to rediscover his complete game. I put Becchio in the same mould as an Alan Shearer or a Mark Hughes – not in terms of talent or ability but in terms of the way they were treated by the opposition. Shearer and Hughes were prolific strikers but the one thing they knew for sure before every single game was that they were going to get battered from start to finish. Even if they were never in the game, they’d get kicked all over the place. The point about Shearer and Hughes is that they hardly ever failed to turn up. They were rarely bullied out of things. To me, Becchio should offer the same sort of physical presence. He should always have the strength and the nuisance value to better his opponent. Everyone has off days and I had plenty in my time but Becchio seems to have gone through a period where centre-backs and full-backs started to fancy their chances against him. Something tells me that the return of Ross McCormack from injury will make a big difference to him, for two reasons. Firstly, there’s a bit more competition now and Becchio’s as vulnerable to it as anyone else. You can tell from some of Neil Warnock’s comments that he’s not been 100 per cent impressed with everything he’s seen from Becchio in his time as manager. Secondly, McCormack and Becchio are a decent foil for each other. Ross is probably as suitable a partner as Becchio has had since Jermaine Beckford left Leeds and the next few months might well be the first time that both of them are properly fit, properly in form and able to hone their levels of understanding through a lone run of games. I’m expecting to see big results. The long and short of Becchio is that for as long as Leeds are in the Championship I’d be much happier to have him in the squad than not. I’m unconvinced about the chances of him thriving in the Premier League but, to fair to Becchio, he’s never had the chance to prove otherwise. What we all know is that he’s an asset in this division – and that’s the view not only of people who watch him but of most managers who come up against him too. If everything goes to plan and promises are met, Warnock will get some funds next month and new faces will arrive. But when I look at Becchio’s 14 goals, I still think he’s going to have a big hand in how the season goes from here. He’s an absolute star on his day. I just wish he had his day a little more often. Backing Leeds United to beat Huddersfield Town last weekend was a no-brainer – and I’ll be lumping on them again at Derby County tomorrow. There’s a risk of being complacent at present but when you see United at 9/5 on the back of three straight wins, you’ve got to think of that as good odds about a team in form. County themselves are a little hit-and-miss but they do have a solid record at home so anyone who thinks that Leeds need only turn up at Pride Park should think again. Whether it’s the comfort of their own stadium, the support of the crowd or just one of those odd anomalies, Derby have suffered only one home defeat this season compared to six on the road. I’d expect a tight contest and be wary of underestimating Nigel Clough’s team. If you’re not so confident as me, consider taking the even-money offer about Leeds in the Draw No Bet market.That way, you’ll double your money if United win and get your stake back if they leave Pride Park with a point. And given the way these two sides defend, you might want to take Sportingbet’s 37-20 about the first goal coming inside 15 minutes. I tipped Luciano Becchio to score any time at Huddersfield and that paid out nicely but he’s 5/4 this weekend – understandably so – and I’ve been looking for something a little more tasty. David Norris, pictured inset above, is my pick for tomorrow at 7-2 to score during the 90 minutes. Attacking football is his game and as he showed last weekend, he knows how to finish. For a full list of prices for Saturday’s clash at Pride Park go to or download the mobile app.

Still well down the table

Sun Dec 20thIt’s time to look forward. What a difference a weekmakes ! Nine points from the last three games is quite an achievement given our past results. Throw in the fact that these games were against sides all above us(with Leicester and Palace two of the best sides in the division) and one can sense the beginning of optimism returning to LS11. The team is starting to play well and the midfield trio of Tonge, Norris and Green have been impressive in the engine room. When called upon, Michael Brown has filled in admirablyalso.It is a compliment to all three to note that  Rudy Austin has hardly been missed. On the left flank, new arrival Jerome Thomas has looked threatening and direct. Leeds have lacked pace and this guy gives us a different dimension with Hall snapping at his heels for a starting place also. On the right Sam Byram has performed beyond his tender years and is always direct and purposeful. He has arguably been our player of the season so far. Luciano Becchio has been nothing if not consistent and has converted nearly every chance presented to him. He thrives on good service and in recent matches this service has become evident. The mercurial El Had Diouf has been brilliant for Leeds and Leeds has arguably been equally as brilliant for him. The contract he craves and ultimately deserves looks like a formality. The people at the helm now have been visible and have struck the right tone.  Ross McCormack showed in his display at Huddersfield that he is back to his best and for once Neil Warnock has a selection headache up front. In goal Kenny had an indifferent period but looks to be settling in now for a period of consistency. How good he is under crosses remains to be seen. Tate on his arrival from Swansea struts around like Mick McCarthy but is a leader and organises well. We have sorely missed a player like him for such a long time.  Perhaps if we get him for a longer period, Warnock would be well advised to present him with the armband rather than the stuttering Peltier. He has been poor for us thus far and hasn’t performed anywhere near the £700K to £800K we paid for him. Tom Lees has done well as has Sam Byram who it appears can play anywhere. Pearce will find it hard to get back in. We still need a left back and another striker, and one wonders how Davide Somma will do when he fully recovers from his horrific injury. We have dropped an awful lot of silly points but if we can go on a run who knows where it will take us. The takeover complimented with the arrival of Thomas and Tate has given the whole club a lift. The crowds have yet to flock back to Elland Road, but there is a completely different atmosphere about the place. For once we can look forwards to a transfer window without wondering which of our remaining starlets will be leaving. If Warnock strengthens in the right areas and holds on to Tate, Thomas and Tonge there is absolutely no reason why United can’t reach the play offs or better. The last two matches have seen Elland Road as an intimidating stadium where Leicester and Palace left with nothing but a milky cup of tea. Beating Huddersfield Town makes it three wins on the road. It’s still early days of course and we should not become complacent. We have five games left between now and the end of the year. However, if we can take eleven points from games against Derby, Ipswich Town, M’bro, Notts Forest and Hull City this should propel us to within touching distance of the play offs and give us a great platform from which to commence the new year. Let’s kick on now.

Sunday Dec 2nd. Another home cup draw for Leeds. Leeds United have drawn Birmingham City at Elland Road in the third round of the FA Cup. The game will be played on the weekend of January 5 and 6.

A decent win and performance against the Terriers

Super finish from Becchio

Captain and manager

Sat Dec 1st. Leeds win derby. Huddersfeld 2-4 Leeds United. Report from YEP01 Kenny, 02 Peltier, 04 Lees, 15 Tate, 07 Green, 09 Thomas (Hall – 62′ ) 18 Tonge (Brown – 90′ ) 19 Norris, 25 Byram, 10 Becchio Booked (Gray – 90′ ) 44 McCormack Unused Subs: 12 Ashdown, 05 Pearce, 14 White, 21 Diouf . Att – 20,372.  LucianoBecchio’s double helped Leeds United clinch a third straight league victory and their first win over rivals Huddersfield Town in five years. The Argentinian striker headed the Whites into a first-half lead after Michael Tonge had cancelled out Chris Atkinson’s opener for Huddersfield. Former Leeds midfielder Adam Clayton equalised for the home side from the penalty spot just before half-time, but David Norris edged the visitors ahead midway through the second period and Becchio ensured a thrilling derby win for his side with a header in the 86th minute. It is Leeds’ first win over Huddersfield in six attempts, while Town boss Simon Grayson,facing Leeds for the first time since being sacked at Elland Road in February, was left to reflect on just one win in his side’s last six league matches. Clayton returned from suspension, but another former Leeds player, striker Jermaine Beckford, missed out due to an on-going hamstring injury. Defender Antony Gerrard, striker Alan Lee and midfielder Atkinson were recalled by Grayson, while Leeds striker Ross McCormack made his first start since recovering from an ankle injury. Town’s on-loan Reading forward Simon Church and winger Danny Ward both tried their luck from outside the penalty area before the home side’s early breakthrough. Ward combined with Clayton on the edge of the area and the latter slipped the ball into the path of Atkinson, who ghosted in behind the Leeds defence to steer a neat finish into visiting goalkeeper Paddy Kenny’s bottom right-hand corner. It was not until the 25th minute that Leeds mustered their first effort on goal when McCormack’s goalbound header from overlapping right-back Sam Byram’s cross was blocked by Town defender Peter Clarke. But the visitors began to look dangerous on the counter-attack and struck twice in as many minutes shortly before half-time to turn the game on its head. McCormack first teed-up Tonge on the edge of the area in the 35th minute and the Leeds midfielder’s low side-footed shot went underneath Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies, who will argue his sight had been hindered by a dazzling sun. Two minutes later, McCormack was the provider again, setting up Becchio in a similar position after another swift break by the visitors and the Argentinian slammed home his 13th goal of the season into the top corner. But Becchio then turned villain for the visitors, penalised for pulling Huddersfield skipper Clarke in the area following Ward’s free-kick and Clayton stepped forward to steer the subsequent spot kick into the bottom corner. The Mancunian clearly enjoyed his sliding celebration in front of Neil Warnock, who had sold the Mancunian in the summer. Lee headed Ward’s corner just over the crossbar at the start of the second half and Jerome Thomas went close with a volley at the other end. Leeds were rewarded for another concerted spell of pressure with a third goal in the 70th minute. Substitute Ryan Hall beat his man on the edge of the box and squared the ball for Norris to bury a left-footed finish inside Smithies’ left-hand post from 12 yards. Leeds continued to probe for a game-clinching goal and Smithies pulled off a fine save to turn Hall’s 81st-minute header over the crossbar. The visitors then made the game safe in the 86th minute when Becchio powered home Hall’s left-wing cross to make it a happy return to the John Smith’s Stadium for Leeds’ former Huddersfield boss Warnock. Neil Warnock post match to Thom Kirwin and Eddie Gray – “I thought we were excellent today. Once we got into our stride I thought we played well. We thought at half time we could go on and win it and we did. Dioufy was a wee bit stiff so I thought I’d leave him out. Ross was desperate to play and I thought it would be a good game for him. It’s good to have options and it’s so good to have your better players fit. Michael Tongue was very good and took responsibility in the middle. Norris and Green responded. I thought apart from the silly free kick we coped well and we limited their threat there. We needed a bit of fortune with the first goal and you could see their heads drop.(Re Adam Clayton’s celebration in front of him)  I have no problem with Adam. I wouldn’t have let him go but for the financial situation. If I had the money I would have kept him. If I had been a player I would have done the exact same thing. (Re Ryan Hall’s influence as sub) Ryan will be pleased tonight. It was a great run and cross for the goal. We have had a great week. Its not just winning the games it’s the way that we played. We needed a break so it’s always good to have a weeks recuperation.” Very good interview from Colin.Simon Grayson speaking to Thowm Kirwin and Eddie Gray after the game  – “Well I thought we started the game well and got the early goal and got to be the dominant team for 25 minutes. After that our keeper has made a mistake and our heads went down and Leeds were the better team, well definitely were the better team. We conceded quickly and Luciano made it 2-1. The second half was disappointing and we got no shots on Paddy Kenny in second half. All in all it’s been a disappointing day. We have a young team but we have no excuses (Eddie Gray interrupts re  Beckford and Southern loss) I think in the last week after the takeover you can sense the lift in the club (Leeds Utd)  and it looks like the players are passing the ball and they have some really good and experienced Premiership and Championship players.  On their day anyone can beat anybody in this league. I never got carried away when we did well (on Huddersfield’s run) and I’m sure Neil won’t get carried away also. When you get new players in it gives players a lift. When we have everyone fit, Vaughan, Beckford and Southern we can cope with anyone but but no excuses today we were beaten by a better team. (Re Leeds threats) We knew Byram and Paul Green would be a threat down the right but I think it’s more of a team performance from Leeds. (Re the buildup) The game didn’t affect me. We had the seame preparation as if it were Bolton or Burnley. I wasn’t reacting to Leeds fans singing my name because I’m employed by Huddersfield Town now and I wasn’t being disrespectful to them and I apologise if I have offended them”. Top man !

Sat Dec 1stLeeds United: GFH keen for Diouf deal - By Phil HayNeil Warnock remains hopeful of agreeing a new contract with El-Hadji Diouf, with Leeds United’s new owners promising to back his bid to keep the striker at Elland Road. Warnock confirmed today that Leeds have renewed discussions with Diouf’s agent in an effort to resolve the 31-year-old’s future before his existing deal expires next month. United have already failed with an initial offer to Diouf – an offer which the ex-Liverpool player rejected at the end of October – but the takeover of Leeds finalised by GFH Capital 10 days ago has raised expectation of a fresh agreement. Diouf is currently earning £5,000 a week having come to Elland Road on a half-season deal in September. He was a free agent at the time and took up a heavily-reduced wage despite receiving more lucrative offers from the Middle East. But having impressed throughout the first half of the Championship season, Diouf is pushing for a deal which will move him in line with United’s higher earners, and fresh talks between agent Willie McKay and Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey could see Diouf’s signature secured before the January transfer window. Warnock, United’s manager, said: “I spoke to Shaun and I believe he’s speaking to Willie McKay again so there’ll possibly be something to come on that. “I want him to stay and I think they (GFH Capital) would as well. They’re in agreement about that.” McKay recently claimed that Diouf’s form had generated interest from two Premier League clubs who were keen to recruit him when the winter transfer window opened but the forward is expected to sign a new contract at Elland Road if Leeds meet his wage demands. United’s financial position has been strengthened by the virtual completion of GFH Capital’s buy-out and an investment of funds by the Dubai-based firm last week. An ownership statement published by Leeds revealed that GFH Capital has acquired a 33.33 per cent stake in Leeds City Holdings Limited – United’s parent company – and will complete a 100 per cent takeover in around four weeks’ time. GFH Capital is buying Leeds with LUFC Holding Limited, a newly-created firm based off-shore in the Cayman Islands

Sat Dec 1st. Leeds United takeover’s given Warnock new impetus – Phil Hay – YEPNeil Warnock sees a life after football; a life that does not involve retirement on the grounds of ill health.When he came to Leeds he spoke passionately about the game but soberly too about outstaying his welcome and ending his days “being pushed around Looe in a wheelchair.”Spend time in his company and you start to doubt whether Warnock has it in him to leave his work behind. He has no desire to die on the job, as he once put it, but on certain days the thought of a football-free existence must kill him. There’s a reason why Sir Alex Ferguson fights on at the age of 70 and a reason why a millionaire pensioner subjected himself to the stress of owning Leeds United. It’s what they do and all they know. Only twice has Warnock given the impression that managing Leeds was more hassle that it was worth; a waste of time for a coach who is 64 today. Back in May, when United were courting investors and struggling – and failing – to raise the £400,000 needed to sign Joel Ward from Portsmouth, he began a holiday in the Caribbean in a black mood, depressed by United’s general impotence. Some of us wondered if his first act upon returning to England would be to wash his hands and submit his resignation. For a coach like Warnock, there are always other clubs and other jobs. Or a comfortable, healthy retirement if he wants it. The same attitude and body language was evident during the press conference held by him before Leeds’ game at Millwall a fortnight ago. His deflated comments bordered on an admission of defeat, a stream of consciousness from a manager who saw no light at the end of the tunnel and shook his head at the mention of promotion. It was, very nearly, Gary McAllister after MK Dons and Simon Grayson after Barnsley; men with no answer to the question of where they go from here. By the time the takeover of Leeds went through last week, the process had all but consumed Warnock. It was plain to see that he could not look beyond it – beyond the tormenting idea of how much better his job would be if new ownership, fresh funding and a breath of clean air actually materialised. By the time it went through he shared the attitude of so many supporters: never going to happen. Asked about his future before the loss at Millwall, Warnock said:“I don’t really want to answer that question.” So we all read between the lines instead. But hope springs eternal and United’s manager does likewise. The defeated image he drew of himself on November 16 faded after Tuesday’s victory over Leicester City. He was bouncing off the walls in comparison, jovial and bright-eyed. You might ask how he was supposed to react after successive wins against two well-placed Championship clubs but those results were only a start. Statistically, promotion still rests on a return of close to two points a game. In Warnock’s eyes, it is the bigger picture created by GFH Capital’s buy-out which makes that exacting ratio possible. There may be some form of psychological explanation for the upturn against Leicester and Crystal Palace, some enlightenment caused by a change of ownership, but the simple observation is that Leeds played well. Their midfield was compact and more competitive and their defence thinned the gaps in which other teams have run riot. They attacked with width and attacked in numbers, albeit without threatening an avalanche of goals. It is Warnock’s strategy as we have come to understand it; the difference being that his strategy worked.He credited that in part to his new signings, Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas, saying the club would not have won either game without them. It was a bold statement. Their accomplished performances received due attention but it went much further – almost too far – to define them as match-winning. Perhaps Warnock was talking in a wider sense about the message given off by the timely arrival of two Premier League players in the hours after GFH Capital’s takeover. It is hard to imagine that Tate and Thomas are the final pieces in the puzzle at Elland Road. But after so many weeks of inactivity in the transfer market and a stream of poor results, it might genuinely feel that way. For the time being, Warnock has what he wanted: new owners with one foot in the door and enough resources to see him through to the start of January. In return, those new owners will expect him to reach January with a satisfactory league position in tact. The entire season is reliant on Leeds staying in touch. And so, in a way, is Warnock himself. His position at Elland Road and his prosperity as manager are intrinsically linked to this critical period of eight or nine Championship fixtures. He is, after all, a coach whose contract expires at the end of the season. If his one-year project goes awry, he cannot count on a second chance. He might not want a second chance. So for all that GFH Capital planned to throw money at the squad next month, the company needs an incentive to do so. It needs the league table to convince it that Warnock will not be buying players for a different manager to work with in the Championship next season. At this early stage of ownership, it needs results. That thought must have dawned on Warnock as soon as the takeover crossed the line last week. He is well liked by GFH Capital’s staff and well respected on account of his CV but the deal between Ken Bates and the private equity firm drew a line in the sand. It removed a wealth of valid excuses for why Leeds were cut so far adrift of the Championship’s play-off positions. The new owners have done their bit, in the short-term at least. Warnock and his players must now do theirs. With that in mind, it cannot have been coincidence that the announcement of the takeover preceded two performances as disciplined as those which pole-axed Palace and Leicester. United’s football was that of a squad whose attention had been sharply focused. That’s the thing about a new broom. It’s always waiting to sweep the stables clean. But you can tell from Warnock’s demeanour that he’s not ready to let this go. Not yet.

Sat Dec 1stAccrington Stanley sign keeper Paul Rachubka -Accrington Stanley have completed the emergency loan signing of Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Rachubka. The 31-year-old, who began his career at Manchester United, comes in for a week after first-team keeper Ian Dunbavin suffered an injury in training. United States-born Rachubka is eligible to play in Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Oxford United. His last game was on 3 April for Leyton Orient.