August 2012

Aug 30th. Capitol One Cup draw. Leeds have been handed a home tie against Everton. The tie will be played week commencing Monday September 24th, and it will be the first meeting of the clubs since 2004.

Jordan Rhodes



Aug 30th. Transfer news involving Championship clubs. Simon Grayson’s prize asset, Jordan Rhodes has surprisingly joined Blackburn Rovers in a deal that could be worth up to £8M to the Yorkshire club. Larry has targeted former Barnsley winger/striker Adam Hamill as a bit part replacement after Wolves placed the player on the transfer list. Meanwhile, former Leeds target, striker Nicky Maynard has been the subject of an accepted £2.5M bid from Cardiff City by West Ham United. Cardiff also signed winger Craig Noone from Brigton and Norwich City have made an offer for Craig Makail Smith. Brighton & Hove Albion have made an audacious attempt to land Turkish ace Tuncay Sanli. The 30-year-old forward is available on a free transfer after agreeing to terminate the remainder of his contract at Bundesliga side WolfsburgDescription: http:/ last month. Peterborough pair George Boyd and Paul Taylor have turned down moves to Ipswich after discussing personal terms with the Suffolk club. Boyd and Taylor underwent medicals at Portman Road on Wednesday after Ipswich agreed a fee with Posh for the two players believed to be in the region of £1.75million. However, a statement on Peterborough’s official club website said: “Winger George Boyd and striker Paul Taylor have rejected personal terms with Ipswich Town after meeting club officials.” Taylor later changed his mind . Taylor is thought to be one of the lowest-paid earners at London Road whereas Boyd is one of the highest. Ipswich have therefore found it easier to persuade Taylor to make the move to Suffolk and the bulk of the £1.75M still goes through to Peterboro for Taylor, a player they got for nothing. Ipswich have taken Daryl Murphy on loan for a third (and final) time, once again joining from Celtic. Ipswich are also targeting Paul Gallagher of Leicester City. The 28 year old Scottish striker is available for a cut price £500K but they may have competition from Huddersfield Town. Paul Jewell is still targeting Sean St Ledger having failed earlier in the summer to land his target. Middlesbrough are hoping to spend their cash windfall following the sale of left-back Joe Bennett to Aston Villa. The England Under-21 international agreed a four-year deal with the Premier League club yesterday, which will bring Boro an initial £3m fee that could rise as high as £4.25m based on appearances. One club (now priced 15.2 to win the division from 20/1) anxious to avoid any business especially players leaving is Blackpool. One feels if they can hold on to their young top guns they may be difficult to stop from winning the Championship. Meanwhile because we have a miserable bastard as chairman it is highly unlikely that Leeds will have anyone arriving at LS11 this weekend except the Blackburn Rovers first team eleven, Cooley on tour and me.

Aug 30th. The Scratching Shed – “Ken Bates ready for peace talks with Leeds United Supporters  club”  Ken Bates’ programme notes 12.03.2011.”The Leeds United Supporters Club, a somewhat anonymous organisation, who have declined to reveal its membership (100… 1,000… 10,000… whatever) or its accounts. They own the Old Peacock pub on Elland Road, which has just published its accounts which showed that with a turnover of £351,000 they made just £2,500 profit on an investment of £102,000. (Billy’s Bar made £120,000 profit last year). As easy as it seems from the outside, I’m still puzzled by their claim that they “support Leeds United”. Haven’t seen much evidence of that so far”. When Bates published this self-congratulating propaganda in 2011, we quickly countered a few of the points made. Firstly, the Leeds United Supporters Club held an annual financial meeting to ensure transparency for its members.

  • Ken Bates is quick to point out the £102,000 investment that LUSC made in acquiring the Old Peacock, yet fails to mention how much Billy’s Bar cost to build (£1000… £100,000… £1,000,000… whatever) before bragging about alleged profits.
  • By and large, supporters club are set up to organise group travel to and from games. In other words, their raison d’etre is to support Leeds United, and they do so by booking large numbers of tickets to each and every game. I know this because I was once a member of one.
  • Finally, the hypocrisy of calling the Leeds United Supporters Club “anonymous” when – at that time – an anonymous offshore trust (Forward Sports Fund) owned Leeds United wasn’t lost on anyone. Keeping the above in mind, you may find Ken Bates’ programme notes from the Oxford United game a little confounding.  “I genuinely had a lot of sympathy for the Supporters Club when they had to surrender the tenancy of the Old Peacock last spring. It was a good try but I must confess I was somewhat surprised when they took it on. We looked at it before they did and decided that we couldn’t make it pay. The trouble with a tied pub is that the brewery often charges too high a rent and the licensee has to buy all the booze from them, often at higher prices than available in the supermarket. This leaves little margin for all the overhead costs.Pubs are shutting every week up and down the country and its down to the greed of the pub owners. A combination of high rents and alcohol prices means a community loses their pub, once the centre of their social activities. As I say, we have sympathy for the Supporters Club, perhaps time for a rapprochement”  Once you’ve cut through the smug “I told you so” part and Ken Bates’ broken Britain monologue (despite spending just 90 days a year in the country, broken Britain is a regular feature of his programme notes) you’re left with the stunning realisation that the Leeds United chairman is actually trying to build bridges with the Supporters Club. That final word, ‘rapprochement’ (which is Cambridge for peace talks) seems so out-of-place in Ken Bates’ programme notes that I was tempted to email the club and make sure it wasn’t a typo. When I mentioned the notes on Twitter, some fans were so shocked by that final line they were calling conspiracy, insisting that the notes must have been ghost-written by someone else. As out-of-character as this seems, added to Shaun Harvey’s appearance at a meeting of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust, you have to wonder whether things really are changing at Leeds United? Has Ken Bates finally realised that ongoing tensions between supporters and club are damaging his business? Or is someone else pulling the strings, insisting that attempts are made to repair seven and a half years of broken relationships? Whatever Ken Bates’ motives are, a call for peace is something I welcome. Words alone won’t repair the damage done however, there must be a concerted effort to once again engage with supporters at all levels and make them feel part of the club once more. As the old cliché goes, actions speak louder than words. Words are however, a good start.

Thurs Aug 30th. Leeds need a couple more – From The Lash for Cash Lorimer – YEP. Blackpool might prove to be one of the outstanding teams in the Championship this season. We’re only three games in but the way they played against Leeds United made me think of them as potential champions. They got everyone talking by putting six goals past Ipswich Town on Saturday. The interesting thing about Blackpool is that their team hardly changed over the summer. They’ve had nothing like the huge turnover of players seen at Elland Road – 11 in and just as many out in the space of a few months. Continuity gives you a big advantage and replacing your entire team, as Neil Warnock has done, is a huge task. He had very little to build on but I feel really positive about the way his players have started this season. They don’t look like a side who’ve been thrown together piece by piece in a matter of weeks. I share the feeling of a lot of fans when I say the strongest starting XI at Leeds looks good enough for the Championship. It’s deeper into the squad where Neil’s resources look a bit short. Managers are always on the look-out for new and better players but this is a situation where he’d genuinely benefit from another one or two quality additions in the right positions. Whether he’s able to do anything before tomorrow’s transfer deadline remains to be seen and only he and the chairman know the ins and outs of the financial situation at Elland Road. But it won’t be the end of the world if we reach the end of this month with no one else signed. The loan window opens in just over a week’s time and there are always good players available then.  Premier League managers will currently be cutting their squads down to a maximum of 25 and we’ve seen before that they’re more than willing to listen to offers for surplus players once August 31 has passed. What that means is that lads who aren’t up for sale are suddenly there to be had on a temporary basis. No doubt Neil would prefer to have players in permanently – and, in an ideal world, signed right now – but he’s hugely experienced and very wily. He’ll have a plan up his sleeve for any eventuality and we’ve seen already this summer that he knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to getting it right in the Championship. If I was him I’d be wanting a bit of cover on the right wing and more resources up top. There’s a lot of responsibility on Luciano Becchio and Ross McCormack and a real need to make sure those two stay fit. But as we found out with Paul Green a couple of weeks ago, injury can strike any time. We’d all feel happier if Neil had more options in certain areas. But the pleasing thing for me is that the team is already in place and looking good. Having watched the early weeks of the season, I genuinely feel like they’ve got a chance in this league. A little more depth in the squad would be the icing on the cake

Byram – Pure qualiity

Thurs Aug 30th. Byram so quick to impress to Warnock – Phil Hay YEP Sam Byram’s chance at Leeds United was exactly that – a fortuitous case of being in the right place at the right time on the first day of pre-season training. The defender had barely crossed Neil Warnock’s radar when a shortage of senior players at Thorp Arch saw Byram pulled from Leeds’ Under-21 squad and asked to make up the numbers. The effect of that short cameo has surprised his manager as much as it surprised him. Byram is technically a junior professional – he signed his first contract with Leeds as recently as June – but the past month-and-a-half has rewritten his plans for this season and his outlook in general. After a run of appearances in United’s summer friendlies, he made his competitive debut on August 11 and agreed an improved three-year deal a week later. On Tuesday night, playing as a winger, he scored his first competitive goal in United’s Capital One Cup win over Oxford United at Elland Road. His delightful finish was the mark of a player with everything going his way. The 18-year-old took a pass from El-Hadji Diouf, skipped around two defenders and lobbed goalkeeper Ryan Clarke with the casual ambition he might have shown in a training game. “It was superbly executed,” said Warnock afterwards. “Sam will probably never score a better goal in his career.”Byram’s run in the first team has not been entirely flawless and a hard night at Blackpool last week explained why Warnock will use him sparingly. But it is only three weeks since the United manager insisted after a pre-season friendly at Burton Albion that he had no expectation of using Byram at all, not after signing a proven right-back in Lee Peltier. The youngster’s form has been solely responsible for his overnight transition from United’s new development squad to their first-team ranks. Asked how much he had planned to rely on Byram, Warnock said: “Not as much as I have. “But he’s forced me into playing him since our first training session. We were a man down and we shouted him over to join in. At that stage he wasn’t even joining in with the first-team squad. “When he came on, Mick (assistant manager Mick Jones) said ‘I like this lad, gaffer’ and from that day he’s been with us ever since.“We took him to Cornwall on our pre-season tour and he’s such a level-headed lad. I thought he was super on Tuesday and he topped it off with a nice goal.”It is only two years ago that Byram, then a first-year scholar, was dropped below his natural age category and moved into United’s Under-16 squad to hasten his progression. Speaking last week, the defender said: “At first, I took it as a negative when I played in the Under-16s but I realised it was to help me develop and give me game time. It was important.”Warnock said: “He’s got a long way to go and he needs a lot of games yet. At Blackpool their two goals came from his area and his positioning but you’ve got to learn as a young lad.“It was disappointing for us to lose that game but I think he’ll have learned from that. I’ve found him to be a quick learner. So the thing for me is when to leave him out and when to play him. The same goes for the other young lads.” This weekend’s Championship contest with Blackburn Rovers – a match Warnock described as a “cracking game” – is the type of occasion when Byram and others in United’s squad may be required to wait their turn. Warnock made six changes to his team against Oxford, relying on the full extent of his resources to see Leeds through to the third round in comfortable style. United ran Oxford ragged in the second half and goals from Byram, Rodolph Austin and Tom Lees sealed a 3-0 win. Tuesday’s line-up was chosen with Blackburn in mind as Warnock rested several players and protected a couple of others who were carrying minor injuries. Peltier suffered a dislocated shoulder last week and, having played through the pain at Peterborough United on Saturday, appeared as a substitute for a only a few seconds of stoppage-time against Oxford. Midfielder David Norris was omitted completed, nursing what Warnock said was a “little niggle.” Warnock said: “I wanted to leave Peltier off altogether if I could and Norris had a little niggle so we decided against playing him as well. It was spot on in the end and I was very happy. Our attitude was great.“We haven’t got any more injuries thank goodness and now we can look ahead to a cracking game on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it.“If I’m being honest, the League Cup’s not my favourite cup and I knew I’d make changes but it was a super night. The lads who were on the bench (at Peterborough), you could tell they wanted to be on the pitch and you could see how much they enjoyed playing.“That’s what I asked them to do – enjoy it. Don’t feel trepidation playing in this round against underdogs. Let’s go out and enjoy the atmosphere. I think they did.“But the other thing is that I don’t think some of our players can do four games in two weeks. I felt it was important to rest Becchio and Ross before the big game at the weekend, and Luke Varney, too. We’ve got Aidan White so why not?“I suppose it was a bit of a gamble in that respect but when you know you’re going to get 100 per cent from everyone. We might have got beaten by a better side but overall I think we’d have beaten a lot of sides with that team.”The draw for the third round of the Capital One Cup will be made after this evening’s second-round match between Northampton Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers. This stage of the competition has been kind to Leeds in financial terms before, handing them home ties against Liverpool and Manchester United in the past three years. Both fixtures were worth several hundreds of thousands of pounds to United and although any further income will arrive too late to assist Warnock in this transfer window, he intends to make additions to his squad using the Football League’s emergency loan window which opens early next month. Despite his long-held attitude towards the League Cup, Warnock, whose daughter Amy has been urging him to attempt to win the competition, has further progression on his mind, saying: “I’d like a winnable game and I’d obviously prefer a home tie. But I won’t tell you exactly who I’d like it to be against.” Meanwhile, young Charlie Taylor has joined York City on a one month loan.


Thurs Aug 30th. Diouf to see it out with Leeds ? Senegalese forward El Hadji Diouf has revealed he prefers to be at Leeds United over a Premier League club and how the Elland Road side has helped him rekindle his love of football. Diouf signed non-contract terms at Leeds earlier this month and after impressing with a series of assured appearances, both the 31-year-old and the Championship club are keen to agree permanent terms. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sport360, Diouf said: “I hope I’m always enjoying playing football and people see that. Right now, it’s like the first time I started. Football is my life. God gave me good luck to play football and to make people happy so that’s what I want to do.”A troubled past, though, has not always endeared Diouf to the public, rival players or managers. Current boss Neil Warnock referred to him as a “sewer rat” after allegedly showering Jamie Mackie with abuse in January, 2011, after a challenge left the QPR forward with a broken leg. But, in recognition of the player’s undoubted ability, Warnock put personal impressions and the past aside when he surprisingly moved for Diouf – who had spells at Bolton, Sunderland, Blackburn, Rangers and Doncaster after leaving Anfield in 2005 – to bolster his Leeds attack. It was a signing that left the Elland Road support perturbed as many recalled the Mackie incident, unsavoury past tales of him spitting at players and fans, and his involvement in a tunnel bust-up last season when he played for Doncaster against Leeds. Warnock even joked: “It’ll take the pressure off me as well because [the fans will] have a go at him, not me!” But Diouf won over many doubters following a confident and classy cameo in his side’s 1-0 opening-day win in the Championship over Wolves. The Leeds crowd rose to give him a standing ovation as earlier jeers turned to cheers. He threw his shirt into the Kop end and then affectionately embraced Warnock, who praised his attitude on and off the pitch. “People say and think things, but they don’t know me,” adds Diouf, who knows he will have to remain a reformed character to appease his critics. “Neil believes in me and gives me confidence. What happened is in the past. I just need to play my football and help the young lads we have got and help the team win games.“In my life I only love one thing in football, the challenge. I had it at other clubs, Liverpool, Rangers, and leagues and now Leeds.“To play for Leeds is a big challenge. We have 25,000-30,000 fans for home games and who doesn’t want to play for a big club like this with all the history?“I prefer to play for Leeds than go to a Premier League club and have to play not to go down. It’s more exciting here and to help them achieve something special.“This season we will try to get promotion to the top and make the fans happy. That’s what everyone wants, the manager, the players, the fans. And I want to let my football do the talking for me.”

Weds 29th. Leeds up Diouf offer By Phil Hay YEP. Leeds United have made an improved contract offer to El-Hadji Diouf in the hope of keeping him at Elland Road for the rest of the season. The club increased their terms ahead of last night’s Capital One Cup win over Oxford United with outside interest in the Senegalese forward continuing to grow. Diouf, who has been at Leeds on non-contract terms for more than two weeks, is attracting the attention of both English and foreign clubs but United’s decision to alter their first proposal put to him last week could seal an agreement in the next 24 hours. The 31-year-old turned in his most impressive performance for Leeds so far last night and received a standing ovation when he was substituted towards the end of a 3-0 second-round victory. Manager Neil Warnock said: “We’ve spoken to his man again and offered him an increased contract. Whether it’s sufficient or not we’ll find out.“But that’s why I brought him off. The crowd were fabulous when he left the pitch and I hoped that might just push him into signing.“I’ve said to him, it’s not about money. He’s got enough of that. “It’s about playing in this stadium for a team like this. It’s about realising what he can do for us.”Diouf was a key influence in yesterday’s match at Elland Road, helping Leeds to reach the third round of the League Cup with a lively display. First-half goals from Rodolph Austin and Sam Byram gave Leeds control of the tie and Tom Lees punished a toiling Oxford side with a header late in the second half. Warnock made six changes to the line-up used against Peterborough United in a Championship fixture last Saturday and the United boss said: “It’s always a gamble. You’re likely to get stick as a manager in that situation – especially when your chairman tells you he expects you to win! When I told him my team I don’t think he was overly keen. “But I knew what all of those players were going to do and that’s a great feeling to have. “I left myself open to stick but we probably played better than if I’d played the first team. I don’t think the others could have been better.” David Norris was missing last night due to a minor niggle but the midfielder is likely to be available to face Blackburn Rovers this weekend.

Austin celebrates

Aug 28th. UNITED SINK OXFORD IN THE CUP Leeds 3 (Austin 27, Byram 33, Lees 73), OXFORD 0 Leeds: Ashdown, Lees, Kisnorbo, Pearce, Drury, Byram (Peltier 90), Brown, Austin (Thompson 84), White, Diouf (Poleon 76), Gray. Subs: Kenny, Becchio, Varney, McCormack. Booked: White (Leeds), Batt (Oxford) Att: 13,798 Report from LUFC website. United manager Neil Warnock made five changes to his side for the Capital One Cup second round clash with Oxford United. There was a debut for Jamie Ashdown, a return for Andy Gray, and starts for Paddy Kisnorbo and El-Hadji Diouf. The visitors, who included one-time Leeds loan man Tony Capaldi in their starting line-up, arrived full of confidence on the back of three straight league wins and they immediately put United under pressure, shodown having to react well to smother the ball at the feet of a visiting striker. Oxford were lively enough at the start and United had some defending to do. Jason Pearce had to head away one cross while Kisnorbo blocked a shot from Alfie Potter. But it was United who went in front on 27 minutes when Aidy White pulled the ball back on the edge of the box, Diouf allowed it to run, and Rodolph Austin smashed home his first goal in a Leeds United shirt. It was 2-0 shortly after the half-hour when Sam Byram showed real quality to not only work himself the opening, but to deliver a top quality finish for his first goal for the club. He skipped past a defender and showed real quality to chip the goalkeeper. It was almost 3-0 when Byram was again involved, feeding an advancing Diouf, but Ryan Clarke got a hand on the strike as Diouf looked to slip it back across him. United also started the second half on the front foot and it took some desperate defending to prevent a third goal, although there were claims from Leeds for a foul inside the six-yard box. Pearce had an effort blocked as United looked to kill the tie off during the early stages of the second period. Austin also ratted the crossbar with a thunderous strike from around 40 yards out. It was a night of spectacular strikes and Byram was next to try his luck when he sent a volley over the bar after great work by Diouf in teeing him up. At the other end, Adam Drury cleared the danger when Simon Heslop was closing in on a low centre as Oxford mounted a rare raid. United were soon back on the attack, though, and Michael Brown had a shot blocked. A third goal did come on 73 minutes when Diouf delivered a cross from the right and Tom Lees powered a header past Clarke in the Oxford goal to seal the tie. The visitors did look to salvage some pride, Capaldi sending a shot wide, but they were always huffing and puffing against a Leeds side who looked well in control and could have had more goals. It was good to free up Austin by letting him play in a more attacking role and let Brown play in the holding role. He looked a different player. Perhaps young Sam Byram can play in that more attacking role down the right. We didn’t start well again and Oxford could and should have been ahead but with five changes that was always going to happen, but fair play. Another professional performance and Diouf gets better when he gets fitter. Neil Warnock to Eddie Gray on LUTV after the game “I usually hate this round. We’ve got three or four games in such a short term and I haven’t got a big squad here. The attitude of the players was spot on. The chairman said to win the game. I was happy with 10 out of the 11out there tonight. The goals were all different but all good goals. The crowd was great. When you leave players out some players are unhappy but there was none of that here. The lads sat on the bench, all of them wished they could have come on. It’s a small squad. Norris had a small injury. We want to get 100 per cent on to B’burn and then we have the break to recharge.  We felt that Austin could push on. The lads just created the space for Dioufy in the hole. (R Diouf signing) There is no news, Eddie. Shaun has made him an offer today. I think he can get a lot more money elsewhere, but he doesn’t need the money.  It helped the applause when he came off. If he doesn’t want to play here in front of that crowd I don’t know what to say”.

Aug 28th. Secrecy, Lies and Indemnity from The Scratching ShedThis is an excellent article from Tim from “The Scratching Shed”. I don’t agree with boycotting |Elland Road, but a superb piece. Replacing ‘imminent’ as this summers buzzword, indemnity is basically the would-be owners guarantee that Ken Bates will be financially liable for any skeletons found lurking in the Elland Road closets after he departs. In short, indemnity is compensation awarded if a pre-determined event occurs – say, for example, Leeds United are taken to court over something the previous regime was responsible for. If the latest reports from the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Leeds United Supporters Trust are accurate, the indemnity clause is the final hurdle before an agreement is sealed and Ken Bates relinquishes control of the club. The only problem is, Ken Bates appears to be stalling. Like most Leeds fans (I suspect), my mind immediately jumps to the conclusion that the buyers have stumbled across a very specific skeleton in Ken Bates’ closet that he fears is bound to resurface sooner or later. When you’re dealing with a man more notable for deception, court cases and dodgy offshore banking than he is for his contribution to football, it’s only natural that you start to fear the worst. After all, this is a man who managed to rig an administration process so that he cleared substantial debt whilst managing to retain control of the club (allegedly). However, it could just as easily be something genuine. Perhaps Ken Bates feels the terms of the indemnity agreement are too vague and could make him liable for things that weren’t his doing? The truth is, no one really knows. Or if they do, they’re not telling us. If the TOMA thread on WACCOE has taught us anything, it’s that an absence of verifiable facts is conducive to wild speculation. When you have a reputation like that of Ken Bates, wild speculation will seldom serve you well. If this takeover does fall through, the truth will be irrelevant. False hope, broken promises, anonymous individuals and incredibly poor communication only serves to remind fans of previous failings and the struggle for information Ken Bates’ reign has been synonymous with. In less than 3 months, fans have gone from pondering the implications of a Manchester City-esque takeover, to plotting further protests. The club have only themselves to blame for the latter. Whilst it’s true that the speculation was created by fans and it was they who let themselves get carried away, the club did little to stop them. Save for a few incredibly vague statements (1, 2, 3) that served only to heighten speculation and feed the madness, the club hid behind a confidentiality clause and continued to keep fans in the dark about the future of their club. I’m sure Ken Bates doesn’t lose a second of sleep over the concerns of fans/customers, he’s made perfectly clear in the past that he feels they have no business knowing what goes on behind the scenes at Leeds United Football Club. As owner, that’s his prerogative. As fans, the right to protest and withdraw funding is ours. That’s why compromise is key to running a successful football club. As Ken Bates is slowly coming to realise, an unhappy fanbase means the Leeds United turnover he so highly covets begins to diminish. A drop of 4,000 on our average gate last season represents a loss of around £3m on the season previous – that’s before you take into consideration the additional funds those 4,000 would have spent in the ground. If this takeover does fall through, there will undoubtedly be a further reduction in gate receipts. There’s only so much false hope a fan can digest before they become cynical and start to question the chairman’s motives. Fans want to believe that everyone at their football club is pulling in the same direction. They want to be valued as loyal supporters and see the hard-earned money they spend on supporting the club, reflected in the quality and ambitions of those they pay to watch. I don’t doubt that Ken Bates wants to see Leeds United in the Premier League just as much as I do – why wouldn’t he? The club is worth much more to him as a top flight team. My concern is that he seems incapable of achieving that goal and he’s made no effort to convince me otherwise, and therein lies the ultimate problem. The takeover seemed to be a concession of sorts. I never expected him to admit it, but in my mind, Ken Bates had accepted he was incapable of taking Leeds United to the promised land so had sought out investment from those who could – no doubt encouraged by the cashflow problems Leeds United’s latest accounts suggest. If Ken Bates was to come out tomorrow, admit he couldn’t take this club any further and promise to find a new owner, I’d hold my hands up and help him in anyway possible. Most fans would. Frank honesty and a little humility are highly valued commodities in Yorkshire, it’s the secrecy, lies and excuses our fans simply cannot abide, and it’s the secrecy, lies and excuses causing our fans to walk away. All Ken Bates really needs to do is be straight with supporters. If he genuinely has the club’s best interests at heart, then what has he got to lose? The alternative is getting him nowhere. Unless the members of Leeds United’s boardroom are a secret chapter of the Illuminati, sworn to protect the world from unspeakable evils who will be punishable by death if they utter a word of what goes on inside, the very worst they could face is a little embarrassment. I don’t care that they may have got it wrong – in fact, I’d respect the honesty of such an admission – I only care that they have a solution. If there’s nothing to hide and you’re supposedly working in the best interests of Leeds United Football Club, secrecy serves no purpose. Is it seriously too much to ask for a little communication and some long overdue honesty? If so, allow me to apologize in advance on behalf of all those who vote with their feet if this takeover isn’t completed successfully.

Aug 28th. Diouf deal in balance  and Oxford preview– YEP. Leeds United are facing a race against time to sign El-Hadji Diouf on a permanent contract, with up to 10 clubs – at home and abroad – waiting in the wings if he fails to strike a deal. The former Senegalese international, who made his full debut in Saturday’s Championship victory at Peterborough United, joined the Whites on a non-contract basis earlier this month and is aiming to agree a full-time deal with the club, which remains his preferred option. But with Diouf’s short-term arrangement thought to have elapsed yesterday with no agreement over his United future struck, the 31-year-old is considering his options. That is despite his first-choice being to stay at Elland Road, having first broached the subject with his representatives regarding a potential move to Leeds earlier this year. It’s understood money is not a major stumbling block in regard to agreeing a deal, with boss Neil Warnock keen for the situation to be resolved ahead of tonight’s Capital One Cup second-round home clash with Oxford United. While Capital One Cup glory may not be Warnock’s priority this season, with clinching a record eighth promotion of his illustrious managerial career heading the business in his in-tray, the veteran Leeds boss is shooting for the stars – having promised daughter Amy he’d do his upmost to clinch a shock trip to Wembley. Warnock, set to field a side with a sprinkling of youth and experience tonight, said: “I’ve told Amy we’d try and win the cup this year!” The United chief, who could hand starts to teenagers Dominic Poleon and Sam Byram tonight, while veteran striker Andy Gray is pushing for his first start since returning to the club, added: “It will be a great game, I’m sure, because Oxford will be playing some good stuff because they are top of the league. I’m sure Oxford will lift things and be up for the challenge, so we’ll have to be ready.“When you are underdogs coming to Elland Road, you always lift your game and play well normally. It’s just all about winning in Tuesday if we can.Early League Two frontrunners Oxford, managed by former Halifax chief Chris Wilder, arrive in rude health, having won their last three league matches, while also knocking out big-spending Bournemouth out of the League Cup on penalties. But injury prevents veteran defender Michael Duberry, 36, from stepping out against his old club tonight with Bradford-born Jake Wright to skipper the U’s tonight. Two other experienced players, full-back Andrew Whing, linked with United in the summer of 2009 and midfielder Peter Leven are also on the sidelines, with Deane Smalley – who ended a long scoreless drought with a brace in the 2-1 home win over Plymouth at the weekend – a doubt after coming off with a groin strain against Argyle. Wilder is also sweating on loan schemer Jake Caskey-Forster, who picked up a knock on Saturday, with midfielder Lee Cox (groin) out. But despite a few selection dilemmas, he is relishing tonight’s test.Wilder said: “It’s a great draw for us as we’ve got a few northern boys in the team. It must be my influence in dragging a few down!“We all known the size of Leeds United and the quality they have and that it’s a tough place to go.“Over the past few years in the cup, teams have come to our place and we’ve been the bigger club and teams come and make it difficult and enjoy playing.“This is a role reversal where we’ve got the opportunity of enjoying it and bring our best game there.”

Tues Aug 28th. “The truth about Ken Bates” – I try not to write articles about the same thing too often, I don’t want to be seen as having an agenda, but whenever I write about Ken Bates the comments I get never cease to amaze me. Don’t get me wrong, 90% of the comments are from fans that understand the situation that Leeds currently find themselves in and they appear to come from people that are pretty clued up on the facts. But then there’s the other 10%, those that can’t see a problem with Bates, that have fallen for every line he’s ever thrown them. Hook, line, sinker. This is the man that once told the world how he wouldn’t rest until Leeds United were removed from the Football League, who told us fans that he would rather liquidate us than allow anyone else to take control. Ken Bates never ‘saved us’ – he just made himself the only option. This is the man that takes millions out of the club year after year for his own personal gain. What is it that people aren’t seeing? The one argument that always seems to get thrown around in Bates’ defence is that we are now a club operating within our means, a club making profit. Have you ever looked at where that profit comes from? Year after year our top players are sold and the money seems to evaporate, yet still some cant see what is happening. The club makes a profit, yes, but only because of player sales. Is that really a club running within its means? Reliant on player sales to make profit? The club has no money left, that much is obvious and we are looking at a bleak future unless the proposed takeover is completed. Bizarrely, some still seem to question whether the takeover is even real, despite the mountain of proof before them – The supporters trust confirmed that a takeover bid was being made, the club confirmed they were speaking to a group, the buyers representatives even sat with Bates at Elland Road when we played Wolves but still people doubt it. This takeover is critical to the future of Leeds, despite what you hear from Bates we aren’t a club running within it’s means, we aren’t on a sound financial footing and we are going nowhere with him at the helm. To put it bluntly, Leeds face a very real threat of administration if the takeover does not go through, simply because Bates and the club have no money left. The money from player sales over the summer was used to replenish the squad, which was a welcomed change as we have seen many a player leave for handsome fees but without the money being reinvested in a suitable replacement in the past, but Warnock has openly admitted that the money has now run out and that he expects no further signings. The saying ‘so close yet so far’ applies to the current squad, as we are only a few quality additions away from becoming a serious force in this division, though without those additions we can only assume that with injuries and suspensions further down the line that we will fall away into the middle of the table by the time Christmas comes around. So this is it, the transfer window is about to close. We have a team that is so close to completion yet we have no money to complete it. The club have no money and they are at risk of administration if something does not happen quickly. The takeover is currently waiting for Bates to sign, we are literally a signature away from having money to spend, a team of quality players and a season of hope. This is the signature of the man who claims to have Leeds’ best interests at heart, the man who repeatedly tells us all how well we are doing financially. The man is a liar. The quicker those that remain oblivious to the truth realise that, the better.

Becchio double

Becchio in form

Ferguson and Warnock

Aug 25th. LUCIANO DOUBLE SECURES SUCCESS PETERBOROUGH 1 (Bostwick 73), UNITED 2 (Becchio 7, 50) Leeds: Kenny, Peltier. Lees, Pearce, Drury, Diouf (Byram 76), Austin, Norris, Varney, McCormack (Poleon 79), Becchio (Gray 87). Subs: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, White, Brown. Referee: S Mathieson Booked: Sinclair, Little, Swanson (Peterboro) Att: 10.482 (3,800 Leeds approx) United manager Neil Warnock handed full debuts to both Adam Drury and El-Hadji Diouf with Aidy White and Sam Byram dropping down to the bench. And United started the game well, picking holes in Peterborough’s midfield, and showing good passing and movement. Home goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik had to be alert inside five minutes to claw away a Ross cCormack free-kick after Luciano Becchio was hauled back by Shaun Brisley. And Leeds were in front just moments later. McCormack looked to pick out Luke Varney with a cross from the left, the home side couldn’t clear, and Becchio was able to slot the ball home to make it 1-0. The home side didn’t have a sniff until the 13th minute when a corner was floated over and Paddy Kenny reacted well to clear the danger. United were next to whip in a corner and there may have been claims for a handball against Grant McCann when the midfielder deflected the ball away. A free-kick at the other end was the next piece of action, Brisley heading wide after finding good space. But as the game headed towards the half-hour, United were looking the stronger, and after a Diouf effor almost allowed Peterborough an opening, Emile Sinclair responded to Leeds averting the danger by chopping down Lee Peltier to earn himself a yellow. And Peltier was soon involved again when he sent in a cross from the right which McCormack headed just wide. In the lead up to half-time the hosts back pairing made a hash of a ball forward and when Leeds looked to capitalise, the end result was a free-kick from McCormack which was blocked. United started the second half on the front foot as well and Peterborough had some early defending to do before Olejnik denied David Norris. Bit it was United keeper Kenny was next to be called upon when he beat away a shot from Lee Tomlin. But was 2-0 to Leeds on 50 minutes when Becchio again got on the end of another good move to plant a header firmly beyond the reach of Olejnik. Peterborough responded with a free-kick which was blocked, but they were on the back foot again as Leeds looked to carve them open with another good end to end move. The home side made a double change on the hour, and both subs involved in the build-up to a move that saw Kenny tip a Tomlin header over the bar. United were edging towards the win, though, and McCormack appeared to have a good penalty shout waved away when he was flattened in the box. But Peterborough pulled a goal back 17 minutes from time when United failed to clear the ball out of defence and Michael Bostwick was able to volley home from just inside the area. Warnock made two changes for United with youngsters Sam Byram and Dominic Poleon both stepping on for the final 10 minutes or so. The home side looked to push for a leveller and had a couple of wayward attempts while Byram also sent a shot fizzing wide as Leeds looked to bury the game. With three minutes left Warnock made his final change, re-introducing Andy Gray to competitive action in a Leeds shirt after a 16-year absence. Byram was involved at both ends during the final moments, blocking a free-kick with his head then winning a corner after looking to round the home goalkeeper. Colin post-match to LUTV- “I thought we deserved it was a but a bit hair raising at the end. We thought we had a penalty with Ross. All the lads thought so. But we very professional . We had two or three great opportunities but P’boro always fight for their lives.  I thought the back five were fantastic, – very solid. The front four as bad as they were at B’pool were very good today” (Re Becchio’s two goals)  “Luciano has to do that. He didn’t do the horrible stuff at B’pool but could and should have had a hat-trick . We are a bit short of options. It would be nice to get a couple of players in. B’pool were a good side and they won by six today didn’t they ?  That’s the type of league it is”. (Re Diouf) “We are talking. The non-contract will be released next week if we don’t get him signed and he can sign for other clubs. Tuesday is the cup. I only changed my mind re Adam (Drury) at the last minute”.  (Re transfer window) “We won’t be buying anyone  we need to be very lucky with injuries. That’s no disrespect to young Sam and Dominic. You can’t fault them but we may tray and look at a loan or two before next weekend”. Six points from nine isn’t a bad return. Tactically I hate the idea of sitting back on leads. We nearly got got caught out at at home to Wolves and again against Peterboro after dominating for much of the game. Withdrawing strikers and sitting back on narrow leads is never a good idea. Do we support the club even though Ken Bates is at the helm or do we withdraw our support because he obviously is not funding the manager in the transfer market, nor the previous manager, for that matter? That is the dilemna for some. I can see both sets of opinions. I am no fan of Ken Bates but I don’t believe I am helping Leeds United on the pitch by not attending games, buying match programmes, nor purchasing merchandise etc. Will the takeover take place ? Who knows ? Sending Ken a pen to sign up won’t change his mind. I would perhaps have liked to have seen the launch of a different campaign along the lines of the anti-Glazlier green/yellow scarf but perhaps with a black scarf and white for Leeds through it. The symbolism and visibility at Elland Road would be enormous. What I do believe is this. The more points we accrue leaves it easier for the club to achieve promotion if and when a takeover does take place. Hopefully it will  be sooner rather than later, when better players can be purchased instead of loaned and our great club can take its rightful place back at the top table.

Sat Aug 25th. Wall of noise telling Bates to sell – The Scratching Shed. There’s one thing Bates has been able to rely on throughout his time at Leeds United: media. This is hardly a coincidence. One of the first actions of our current majority-owner and chairman was to create “Yorkshire Radio” a local station dedicated to music nobody wanted to hear even when it was released, and more importantly a source of Leeds news and commentary. Bates’ employees – and I say Bates’ employees because Yorkshire Radio technically employed 0 staff in the latest published accounts – covered stories he wanted covering, and ignored certain others. No mention of the Levi court-case that apparently cost the club in the region of £3-4m while I was listening, but jubilant coverage of the WYP case that wins back roughly a quarter of that and cuts some costs on matchday (provided WYP still agree to police us – they don’t have to). Very little coverage of the takeover either. And once their match-day phone-in began hosting fans critical of Bates’ tenure, it became a phone-in with no calls. Why? According to Thom Kirwin, because there was only one call. Then, when told several people phoned in and got an engaged-sound or were cut off, because there was only one operator. I assume this one operator had a one-line switchboard, unlike previous seasons? That’s Yorkshire Radio, your one-stop radio station for Leeds news and interviews – so long as said news and interviews back Bates. BBC Radio Leeds has been left out in the cold as Bates has refused to work with media that failed to give glowing praise. This has meant practically every national media outlet that shows any interest in the club is banned in some way. The Daily Mail, The BBC, The Guardian – it’s not one end of the political spectrum, it’s anybody Bates can’t control. The YEP is a local newspaper. Like virtually every local paper, it’s sadly struggling to adapt in the 21st century. Leeds is, I guess, by far the biggest crowd-pleaser in the sports pages, and as such the YEP can’t afford to be banned by Bates either – unlike national media. David Conn of the Guardian rather excellently cuts through Bates’ nonsense on a fairly regular basis, the BBC asked “who owns Elland Road?”, how equally talented journalists like Phil Hay must wish on a regular basis they could do the same? The YEP hasn’t been a propaganda outlet for Bates, I’m not saying that at all, but surely they can’t risk being too critical of him for fear they lose one of their most lucrative markets? That’s my opinion obviously, and I’m not trying to criticise the YEP at all. They’re a great news-source and more people should consider picking it up and thus supporting the local economy. And they have been critical of the club at times. Perhaps, in fact, they are doing an excellent job of being impartial? In either case, it should speak volumes to Bates that the paper has now seen fit to run this article, which you should definitely read. It confirms a lot, including a few of the rumours and “pub gossip” we’ve heard over the last few weeks: Experts on football buyouts say most deals are completed within 2 months, some are completed in a matter of days. This is in its 3rd month.

  • In these experts’ eyes, the deal has “strayed into the realms of the ridiculous”
  • There is little left to do in the takeover, talks are dragging in the 11th hour over an “indemnity clause”*
  • The Middle-East Consortium are said to have funded financially-unstable Leeds throughout the summer.
  • The Consortium is now refusing any more funding of Bates’ Leeds.
  • Warnock has “nothing” in the way of transfer funds.

Phil Hay concludes on the Warnock-angle :”Bates cannot or should not be oblivious to this. He cannot hear a manager like Warnock claim that his existing squad have “not a cat in hell’s chance” of seeing through a full Championship season and fail to see the problem. Supporters and journalists who offer that view are easy to ignore but not a 63-year-old with seven promotions behind him. The air smells of stagnation. “These are massive issues raised.“Where’s all our money gone?” will be a familiar cry to Bates, and despite making £3m for Robert Snodgrass, and around £1m on other player sales, the club (who are estimated to have spent £2-3m overall) have literally no money according to Neil Warnock and the YEP.We said as far back as May that there were money-troubles at Leeds, we showed that the club only makes profit through player sales, while the Leeds United Supporters Trust in a public meeting in June revealed that financial experts had looked at the books and came to the conclusion the club could be – and probably were – in significant cash-flow difficulties. A lot of businesses are profitable, this is the key thing to remember. What pushes many into administration is the lack of money to pay debts at any one point in time. This is the scenario that we believe Leeds is in. And this scenario is backed up all the way by the revelation that the potential buyers, whose agents were pictured at the Wolves game, scarves in hand, have been funding Leeds through the off-season. It certainly sheds light on why Snodgrass said he’d been given assurances last season, that hadn’t materialised, and that he couldn’t trust the club anymore. In fact, it’s easy to forget that several players complained to the L.U.S.T. about their frustration at the situation the club was in, in June. We believe that at least one has since been moved on.Our signings might well be down to the buyers, not Bates. He couldn’t even afford that paper-thin squad we’ve got. This might make us think back to the Peltier deal of which Warnock declared he didn’t expect the deal could be done, and was quite surprised that it was done. Indeed, at a time when Leeds were able to afford Jason Pearce and then were beaten to the signing of the talented 22-year-old Joel Ward by Crystal Palace solely because Leeds lacked the funds to complete the deal, fans could be forgiven for wondering if any of our signings have been afforded by Bates rather than Middle-Eastern charity, and whether the £3m sale of Robert Snodgrass has not, in fact, been reinvested at all but was necessary for the paying off of the ludicrous levels of debt Ken Bates has once again run up at a football club. After all, a club already facing cash-flow issues must find that £3-4m legal bill over the Levi case awfully heavy, and £3m for Robert Snodgrass would, you would think, go a long way to easing that weight.And so we are here, now, with 6 days left to complete the takeover if we want any chance of expanding a squad that our own manager says there is not a cat in hell’s chance of making the playoffs with over the 46 game season. We’ve already lost Green, who had looked good, and have been forced to pull Danny Pugh from the transfer list as backup. Neil Warnock has been forced into playing virtually unchanged sides on Saturday-Tuesday back-to-backs and has we have been turned over by Blackpool. There’s no shame in that, Blackpool are a great side, but the performance rang alarm-bells. Not only is a manager famously unconvinced by the loan-market pinning his hopes this season on loaning Premier League exiles in September (Danny Pugh was one such exile last season), but he has complained that his front-four probably can’t give him 100% on Saturday-Tuesday matches and has said he will have to rotate whether he likes it or not for the next one. Thankfully the next Tuesday match is against Oxford. Rumour has it even Shaun Harvey has had enough. Bates has apparently taken a separate legal team to the club for this deal. All three sets of lawyers (his, the club’s, plus the buyers’) apparently advise him to sign this indemnity agreement, yet he still isn’t signing. Harvey has even met the L.U.S.T. to talk about stewarding issues and been photographed with chairman Gary Cooper. If I’d said a few months ago Shaun Harvey and Gary Cooper would be pictured together smiling, I’d probably not be taken very seriously. There’s a wall of noise, as Phil Hay says, telling Bates to do the deal. The club’s official statement insisted they are only going to sell in the best interests of the club. Yet the best interests of a financially unstable club, losing its customers and facing the end of the transfer window with a depleted squad, are to be taken over by owners who are serious enough to have personally funded the club through the financially difficult off-season. Based on the leaks we fans receive, the negotiations that are going on now are purely for Ken Bates’ personal gain in my opinion. So we end up where we begun. A team incapable of playing two matches in one week, and now so small a squad that you can’t rotate anyway. A manager asking the Youth Team Coach if there’s anybody at all who could fill the void on the subs bench, looking to loans after his “irons in the fire” melted, upset “sick-pots”, plummeting crowds (our largest income-source) and a negative and faltering start to the season. It didn’t have to be like this; our potential buyers have loaned money to a club that is in financial difficulties and struggles to get any sort of loan from banks even today. The terms of the sale has even been agreed in principle for quite a while. Fans have been falling over themselves to back Warnock’s team. But there’s one thing consistent in all this heartache and the broken dreams of tens of thousands: Kenneth William Bates. *My understanding of an indemnity clause is that it is a guarantee by the seller that the buyers haven’t missed any skeletons in the closet. Therefore, if they have, he will have to pay. Insurance can be taken out for this, but like with other kinds of insurance, some people will be blacklisted by insurance companies.

Aug 25th. Sorry Kenny apologises over text messages. Leeds United manager Neil Warnock says goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has apologised to Tony Fernandes after sending mocking messages to the QPR chairman. Kenny has been fined by the Whites and has deleted his Twitter account, on which he had posted derogatory remarks about QPR, the club he left in the summer following the arrival of England international Rob Green. The 34-year-old former Republic of Ireland international sent abusive text messages to QPR technical director Mike Rigg and Fernandes late last Saturday night and in the early hours of Sunday morning, mocking the team’s 5-0 defeat to Swansea and goalkeeper Green’s performance. Warnock wrote in his Independent newspaper column: “As I’m sure you are aware, my goalkeeper has been in the news in relation to some text messages he exchanged with people at QPR. I have to say I was disappointed that something that began in good humour got out of hand. “I’ve spoken to Paddy Kenny and he was full of remorse and couldn’t apologise to me quickly enough. I told him there is no problem with having a drink to celebrate a win like last Saturday’s over Wolves but he must be aware of his responsibilities to the club and be careful where he is and what he does. “I’ve obviously fined him and he has agreed to finish on Twitter with immediate effect. He has also apologised to Tony Fernandes, QPR’s chairman. “I’ve also spoken to Tony and told him I honestly believe there will not be a repeat. We ended the call on good terms. “It is disappointing when something which is essentially a private conversation becomes public the way this has but, as I’ve told players before, they need to be very careful about texting and Tweeting.”

Aug 25th. Leeds United: Takeover patience starting to run out By Phil Hay The laborious takeover of Leeds United spawned a supporter-led protest on Thursday, under the banner #Pen4Ken. The campaign is derived from Ten4Ken, a short-lived movement which in 2010 sought answers to 10 questions about the club’s policies and ownership structure. It consists of nothing more militant or aggressive than posting pens to Ken Bates care of Leeds United and Elland Road. All scepticism about strategy and impact aside, the sentiment of #Pen4Ken is genuinely conceived. This takeover needs signing off and patience is wearing thin. There is rising clamour for Bates, United’s chairman and majority shareholder, to put his name to a deal which passes the club to new owners. The generous public are making sure he has something to write with. If the demand for completion – or if not that, some clarity beyond the meaningless insistence that “talks are on-going” – strikes you as premature then consider the following: 88 days have passed since Leeds stated on May 29 that they were talking to investors with serious intent. Exactly 60 have passed since the club entered into an exclusivity period with a group of buyers from the Middle East, allowing them to pick through the financial details of United’s accounts. Solicitors who specialise in corporate law find the timeline surprising and unusually long. A week ago, two members of the management team at Dubai-based private equity firm GFH Capital Limited attended United’s game against Wolves. GFH Capital Limited are widely believed to be the go-between in this sale – the firm acting as brokers on behalf of the buyers – and their public appearance at Elland Road was no bad sign. But in the days that followed the silence has been almost total. Even whispers of back-and-forward negotiations began to dry up. A lawyer contacted by the YEP yesterday, someone who has dealt with takeovers at other English clubs, said the duration of a typical sale was rarely more than “a couple of months.” Occasionally they are completed in a matter of days, like the purchase of Leeds by Bates and the Forward Sports Fund from Gerald Krasner’s board in 2005 but due diligence sees to it that most buy-outs take longer. Few which ultimately end in a deal are as drawn-out as the latest attempt to acquire control at Elland Road. So the view of those who know the landscape is that this deal has strayed into the realms of the ridiculous and was heading that way for several weeks, not helped by the confidentiality agreement which smothers the full story. Bates said last week that in the absence of official comment, “rumours abound” and “pub speculation” runs wild. He is not wrong. The very reason why #Pen4Ken began consuming Twitter was because credence has been given to the idea that a signature from him is all that stands between Leeds and investment from the Middle East. Certain legal sources believe that suggestion is not so far from the truth. The talk in the past few weeks has been about disagreements over an indemnity clause – the protection given to a buyer in the event that liabilities appear after a sale is complete – and arguments over cash paid to the club by the Middle Eastern consortium during the summer. One contact on the seller’s side claimed scheduled payments owed to Leeds had been missed. Another connected to the buyers said they were unwilling to release any more money until final agreement on the transfer of Bates 72.85 per cent stake was reached. And so it continues with no official confirmation either way. The YEP contacted Leeds and GFH Capital Limited after Saturday’s game against Wolves in an attempt to discuss the appearance of GFH executives Salem Patel and David Haigh at Elland Road and clarify several rumours concerning the sale of United. Predictably there was no response. Both sides have stuck fast to their confidentiality clause and for many weeks there was no argument with that. People craved news and looked for developments but appreciated the complex nature of a takeover. In the past month, the commitment to confidentiality has felt more like a useful defence against valid questions, masking a confusing situation. The only certainty almost 90 days on is that the takeover is not dead. Warnock stated as much on Thursday and it is plain from his recent comments in the press that he is not in the mood to deceive anyone, least of all the club’s supporters. It is safe to assume that he wants this buy-out agreed, for the good of himself and his team. It is hard to imagine the scale of frustration in fearing the August transfer deadline will pass without any more signings. That, above all else, is a reason why Bates should understand the wall of noise telling him to hand the baton on. It is reckless for anyone to endorse this bid from the Middle East without any firm details about who the bidders are, how much money they have, how much they plan to invest and what their long-term strategy will be but the lack of information does not alter the debate about where Leeds are heading without serious investment. The message from Warnock at his press conference on Thursday was that he has nothing left in the way of funds and no expectation of any coming his way without a takeover. Even his mention of the emergency loan window was tempered by the admission that any signings from that particular market would be dependent on finances. That is not only a warning for the fate of this season but a warning for future seasons too. It gives the impression of a regime that has run out of steam – a regime who should be pleased that an offer to buy the club arrived when it did. Back when takeover fever first took hold of Leeds, it was convenient to think that their meagre transfer fund was an inevitable feature of a business about to change hands. It appears now that Leeds simply had no money to give Warnock. The well is dry again and their manager is helpless. When he enquired speculatively about a player on Wednesday, he was blown out the water by an offer from another Championship club. Bates cannot or should not be oblivious to this. He cannot hear a manager like Warnock claim that his existing squad have “not a cat in hell’s chance” of seeing through a full Championship season and fail to see the problem. Supporters and journalists who offer that view are easy to ignore but not a 63-year-old with seven promotions behind him. The air smells of stagnation. Sixty days ago, when United announced that due diligence was underway, they said in black and white that the buyers in question “have the financial resources to support the club and will have no issues in satisfying the requirements of the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test, unlike many of the previous approaches we have had to endure.” It was a fundamental admission, accepting the consortium as fit, financed and responsible purchasers. If that is so then this deal should be ratified without delay, in the best interests of Leeds United. Those interests are not being served by the bizarre status quo. Leeds United:

Dom Matteo – Highly regarded by the fans

Aug 24th. Invest or face a long hard season – Domini Matteo – YEP First we had the victory over Wolves, a lively and impressive team performance. And then came the reality check, a 2-1 defeat to Blackpool which could have been three times as heavy. A reality check is what Leeds United’s loss at Bloomfield Road was. Not because there’s any disgrace in losing to Blackpool or many harder games to be found in the Championship but because the benchmark was there to see. On Tuesday night Leeds fell a long way short of it. Blackpool have got this division worked out, make no mistake about that. They were play-off finalists in 2010 and again in May with a season in the Premier League in between. I never get the impression that Ian Holloway has an amazing budget to work with there but he’s got an eye for a player. Every time I see his side they look strong and ambitious. There’s no arrogance about them, just quiet confidence and belief. So Leeds were always at risk of a first defeat of the season on Tuesday. Plenty of other sides will lose at Bloomfield Road. And I’m not interested in making stupid predictions after two matches either. But it didn’t sound to me like Leeds gave Blackpool a game, never mind dominating the match or deserving a result. It sounds like they were completely outplayed. It brings us back to the same, recurring theme – the argument over whether this squad is strong enough to see out 46 games and finish in either the top six or top two. I said in last week’s column that I was doubtful and the defeat on Tuesday explains why. My view of the situation at Elland Road is that Neil Warnock has a starting XI which should be decent in this division and particularly consistent at home. What I can’t accept is the idea that he’s got the tools he needs for situations like a hard, midweek game at Blackpool. I keep banging on about the importance of having a quality squad but take it from me as one who went up with Stoke City – you won’t get promoted from the Championship without one. Bloomfield Road is the sort of venue where you want options and a means of changing the game if it’s going against you. Blackpool were able to throw on two good substitutes against Leeds and their two goals won them the game. One of them, Matt Phillips, is wanted by clubs in the Premier League. Who knows if he’ll stay beyond the end of this month or if Tom Ince might be sold too? But whatever happens, Holloway had the huge advantage of having cards up his sleeve when United came to town. It made all the difference. I look at Warnock’s bench and I don’t see anything like the same resources. I don’t see players who can arrive at any moment and alter the flow of the game. Leeds needed something to happen for them as Blackpool built the pressure up but what choices does the manager have? Not enough in my view. In normal circumstances you’d say ‘never mind, the transfer window’s open.’ But I’m starting to wonder if Warnock has any money left to sign players – and, let’s be straight about this, the sort of players he needs. He said on Tuesday that he’s assuming the transfer deadline will pass without any further additions but I find it amazing that the club could allow that to happen. Granted, this mooted takeover is apparently ongoing, but there’s still a team who want to be successful, a manager who needs backing and supporters who want to see progress. All summer it’s felt like things at Elland Road have ground to a bit of a halt. At Christmas a couple of years ago, Simon Grayson had the opportunity to push the button, get a few quality signings in and push on. The opportunity wasn’t taken and I just wonder if we’re in the same situation now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if this gaffer gets what he needs, you’ll see the results. If he’s left short, even he will find the uphill climb very hard. I’m aware that the loan window comes soon enough but honestly, how well has that done for Leeds in the past? If the club go past next Friday without two, three or four serious signings, it’ll be a very long run through to Christmas and the January window. I really think I’d fear for them. Maybe I’m wrong and everything’s rosy. Maybe I’m just another ex-player with an opinion. It might be that Leeds or the guys who are planning to buy the club disagree with me completely, and if I am misjudging the squad’s potential then I’ll hold my hands up. But from where I’m sitting, the manager needs someone to put their hand in their pocket. It doesn’t look like rocket science.

Aug 24th. Loan deals the way forward -Neil Warnock  Warnock  is already looking to the Football League’s emergency loan window amid heavy financial restrictions at Leeds United and a warning from him about the toll the Championship season will take on his squad. Two days after revealing that FIFA’s summer transfer deadline was likely to pass without further signings, Warnock made another stark admission about the situation at Elland Road by saying there was “not a cat in hell’s chance” of United’s existing squad being strong enough to cope with a 46-game term. The Leeds manager has seen his transfer budget dry up during the drawn-out attempt by a Middle Eastern consortium to buy Leeds from the club’s owner and chairman, Ken Bates, and Warnock appears to have resigned himself to attacking the Football League’s loan market which opens seven days after the summer window closes a week today. Premier League clubs will submit fixed 25-man squads to their governing body before the beginning of next month, inviting Football League clubs to sign surplus top-flight players on loan for a maximum of 93 days. Warnock expects “good players” to be available next month but conceded again that his ability to bring them to Elland Road depended entirely on the financial situation at Leeds. The United boss, whose side face Peterborough United at London Road tomorrow, said: “I can’t see anything changing before the deadline, unless the takeover is finalised. I know there are still on-going talks. “I think we’ll be looking at loans from the Premier League once their 25s are registered on September 1. There are a number of good players we could bring in but the finances here will dictate as and when that happens. “I’d love to bring three or four top-class players in, make no mistake about that. I could tell you three or four names now. I even enquired about one on Wednesday but another Championship club have offered him a lot more money than we could afford even if we were in the market. We’re up against it.”Asked if his squad was deep enough to see Leeds through this season, Warnock said: “No, not a cat in hell’s chance. “I’m not just saying that to scaremonger but for example, if we went to Peterborough and lost (Jason) Pearce and (Rodolph) Austin, I don’t really know where we’d turn to. “But a lot of clubs are like that. You lose two or three main players and it’s a problem. “It would be great for me to sign three or four good players on loan or permanently but it’s not to be. All managers know what the situation is at their club and that’s why, as a manager, all you can do is do your best, try to put out a team who’ll give everything and get every ounce of energy out of them.” Warnock’s comments come at a time of deepening public frustration about the lack of clarity  urrounding the proposed buy-out of Leeds. Intense discussions throughout last week appeared to moved the takeover to the brink of completion and two senior employees at GFH Capital Limited – the Dubai-based firm who are thought to be brokering the takeover on behalf of the buyers – attended Elland Road for Saturday’s Championship match between Leeds and Wolverhampton Wanderers. But few signs of progress have been seen in the past seven days, despite clear indications that the proposal is still on the table.

Robbie Rogers farmed out

Aug 23rd. Rogers joins Stevanage on loan USA international winger Robbie Rogers has joined Stevenage on loan until the New Year.The 25-year-old is now set to link up with the League One club again after a successful trial period in January. He has started just one game since joining the Whites from Columbus Crew and has made three further appearances as a substitute. A head injury ruled him out for a period last season before an ankle injury curtailed his campaign early. Rogers spent part of the summer working with LA Galaxy as part of his rehab and on his return to United he scored his first goal of pre-season in the 5-2 win at Farsley

Young Sam Byram

Aug 23rd. Byram to make it from Lash for cash – Lorimer. Becoming a professional footballer is not merely a case of having the talent to play the game. Every academy has capable kids within it but some players who you expect to go far ultimately don’t make it. They soon find out that there’s more to this job than the ability in your feet. You need ability, of course, but there are other factors too: self-confidence, the right physical attributes and – perhaps most importantly – a coach who will give you a chance. Without those things, your prospects are slim. Managers have seen time and again that what a kid does in a youth team game on a Saturday morning isn’t necessarily what he’ll do when you throw him in at the deep end. Some youngsters can’t cope with the expectation of a crowd of 25,000 and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The atmosphere at a ground like Elland Road is hardly water off a duck’s back. So to say I’ve been impressed by Sam Byram, Leeds United’s emerging right-back, would be an understatement and I’m delighted to see that we’ve tied him down to a lengthy contract this week. I heard quite a bit about him and his performances for the under-18s last season but I can’t pretend that I expected him to burst on to the scene like he has. Like Aidy White, Tom Lees and a number of others who’ve come through the academy, he ticks every box – he’s technically gifted, without a doubt, and he’s a tall, strong lad at the age of 18. You can tell that he believes in himself and it’s pretty obvious that his manager believes in him too. It was a gamble by Neil Warnock to play Sam against Wolves but he saw what all of us did during pre-season so the risk was calculated. I don’t expect for one minute that Neil will play him in 46 games this season for an experienced manager like him will be mindful of protecting Byram at the times when he needs saving from himself. I know what it’s like when you’re wet behind the ears – you want to play all the time and you think you’re capable of doing what players with 10 years of Football League experience do week in, week out. Byram will get there, you can see that already, but Neil will be monitoring him all the time, checking his fitness, watching his mood and looking for signs of burn-out. He’ll be handled with care. Personally, I just think it’s great to see another local product coming through the academy and into the first team. Developing youngsters is part of the ethos of this club going back many years and for all the tough times it’s had recently, the system here continues to produce promising youngsters. Every other youngster at Thorp Arch should be looking at Sam’s progress and drawing encouragement from it. It’s not like he’s been knocking on the door for years on end. Last season he was an under-18 player with a good reputation but no massive profile. It just goes to show that you never know what’s around the corner

Lees goal

Weds 22nd of Aug. Warnock expects to bring nobody in – Hay YEP. Neil Warnock watched Leeds United slip to a 2-1 defeat at Blackpool last night and then voiced doubts about the possibility of adding to his squad before the transfer window closes.The United manager said he was working on the “assumption that we’re not bringing anyone in” following a late fightback from Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. Leeds fell to second-half goals from Nouha Dicko and Matt Phillips, both of whom stepped off the bench to earn Blackpool a 2-1 win. Warnock refused to blame United’s first loss of the season on the strength of Blackpool’s squad, criticising individual errors and poor ball retention, but he claimed Leeds were at risk of being handicapped by a lack of depth in their own.The FIFA transfer window closes in nine days’ time and with a proposed takeover of United still to reach completion, Warnock’s hinted that his existing budget would make further additions to his squad difficult. The Leeds boss, who has signed 11 new players this summer but sold or released the same number, said: “We’ve got to work on the assumption that we’re not bringing anyone in. We’ve just got to try and do the best we can – and that’s not an excuse.“We might have a good 11, 13 or whatever and really you need a good 22 or 25 (players). But that doesn’t make you clear your lines properly.“Their subs changed the game and we didn’t have that depth. If you look at the programme again, their squad and our squad, – similar to Wolves on Saturday – they had so many more options. But that’s not why we lost the game.“We didn’t hold the ball up well enough and the front four in particular were poor at that. It made it easy for Blackpool to sustain pressure.”Last night’s defeat was a sobering experience after Leeds’ morale-lifting win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road on Saturday. Warnock said: “We’ve played two good sides now and even last night, if we hadn’t given the first goal away so softly then I think they would have become careless. But that gave them a lift and there was only going to be one winner once that went in because we didn’t have a clue how to hold it up. “The front four in particular were really poor in that respect and it gave us no chance.” 

Aug 22nd. Holloway on win v Leeds –  Blackpool Gazette Ian Holloway described Blackpool’s 2-1 home win over Leeds as one of his best ever. The Seasiders came from behind last night to go top of the Championship table as the only club to have won their first two games. It was want away winger Matt Phillips who came off the bench to seal the win after Pool dominated. And manager Holloway thinks it doesn’t get any better. He said: “It’s as good a performance as any of my teams have ever put in. “We had to fight. We had to show character as Leeds are a good, strong team. “Sometimes football is frustrating as we had chance after chance and didn’t take them. “They looked hard to break down, but my goodness me it was fantastic stuff. The character we showed – it just shows you have to stick together.” After Tom Lees headed the away side ahead in the first half, it looked like it was going to be a frustrating evening for the Seasiders.Pool missed a host of good chances and faced a Leeds keeper in Paddy Kenny who was in fine form. But they stuck at their task, and substitutes Nouha Dicko and Phillips were the matchwinners. Holloway added: “I said to the lads at half-time that they would get through it.“They were all a bit down but I told them all to realise how good they are and how well they were playing. The subs made a huge impact.“No matter what happens, no matter what we do, we always stick together and that’s a huge compliment to this club.” After all the talk of Matt Phillips wanting to leave, Holloway made the big decision to name him among the substitutes. And it was no surprise when he repaid his boss by meeting Tom Ince’s cross to seal the win. “Matty was absolutely fantastic,” said Holloway. “I don’t blame other people for showing interest in him, but they should firm it up before the lad knows about it. “My chairman doesn’t want to talk to them but they can do what they like. “Until interest turns into an opportunity, there’s nothing in it. But last night proves what a magnificent lad he is. “I have no doubts Matty will go right to the top and hopefully he can do it with us.” Holloway had appealed in The Gazette yesterday for supporters to back Phillips. The Pool boss was worried fans may turn on his young striker after he revealed his wishes to join Premier League side Southampton. Holloway added: “I’m delighted with the energy we got from the crowd.“I was delighted that I didn’t hear anyone have a go at Matt when he was warming up.“That’s what sets us apart, that’s what makes this club special. I think everyone appreciates the effort the lads have tried to put in.“My team are more like Olympians than footballers.”

Ross McCormack after B’pool defeat : “Frustrating evening. We never got going. We took a bit of a doing to be honest. We didn’t play any football. We knew they were going to drift into little areas. We studied them. It’s hard to pick up but we took a doing as I say. Some of their players were very good. It’s never nice for it to happen. We’ll probably watch the game again on Thursday and analyse it. The boy Ince was sensational and they will do well to keep hold of him (Re contract) I’m absolutely delighted to get it done. It was getting to me a little bit. I just wanted to stay at Leeds. The club is massive.  My missus and my wee boy are settled here. It was dragging on and  and I didn’t want to be going into the first game not knowing what’s going to happen. The gaffer told the people upstairs to get it done.(Re Snodgrass leaving) Snods couldn’t turn down the ambition to play in the Premier League and the boys here are happy for him.The club has ambition. We are obviously a few bodies short, but we have as good a chance as anybody really.  I couldn’t have moved to a bigger club than Leeds. I can’t tell you how happy I am to still  be here. I had a bad first season here but the fans stuck with me and that was another reason to stay at Leeds. 

Tues August 21st. Blackpool  (Dicko 75, M Phillips 80), Leeds 1 (Lees 17) Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Lees, Pearce, Peltier, White (Pugh 79), Norris, Austin, Varney, McCormack (Diouf 58). Becchio. Subs: Drury, Kisnorbo, Ashdown, Brown, Gray. Referee: D Whitestone Booked: Lees, Varney (United) Report from LUFC website. With Paul Green sidelined due to a knee injury, Neil Warnock re-shuffled slightly, Tom Lees returning at centre back, Lee Peltier moving to left back, and Aidy White moving up to the right side of midfield. The United boss had talked about Blackpool’s attacking prowess and, as expected, the hosts looked to start on the front foot and put Leeds under some early pressure. Paddy Kenny had to come off his line inside the opening 10 minutes to deny Tiago Gomes after some neat build-up play by the home side. Lees was making his seasonal debut and he found himself in the book early on, following a crunching challenge on Gary Taylor-Fletcher. The unruffled defender responded by heading clear the resultant free-kick. Gomes was involved again moments later when Kenny pulled off a terrific save and after the United goalkeeper delivered the ball quickly upfield, it took some good defending from Neal Eardley to head clear under pressure from Luke Varney. But it was 1-0 to United after Blackpool failed to clear the pressure and Lees rose well to head the ball home. The home side threatened again, courtesy of Thomas Ince, and on 23 minutes Kenny was called upon to deny Phillips after an incisive ball from Taylor-Fletcher. Kenny was in outstanding form, and he pulled off another terrific one-handed save to deny Alex Baptiste while several Blackpool players appealed for a handball by Lees during the build-up. Stephen Crainey also sent a shot just over the top as the hosts looked for a route back into the game. As the game headed towards the break there was a short halt to proceedings as Peltier received treatment, but the hosts threatened again moments before the whistle when Crainey picked out Ince, but the player sent his shot fizzing across the face of goal. After Kenny’s heroics in the first half, the inside of the upright came to United’s rescue less than 30 seconds after the re-start when Isaiah Osbourne drilled a powerful strike past the Leeds keeper. But it was United who came close to bagging a second moments later when Ross McCormack sent an effort narrowly wide. Blackpool were next to go close when the impressive Ince lifted a shot over the bar. United started to see more of the ball as the game headed towards the hour and Warnock also took the opportunity to make his first change with El-Hadji Diouf replacing McCormack. Blackool were scrambling on 65 minutes when Matt Gilks had to be at full stretch to get a hand on a Luciano Becchio header as Leeds continued to look like a second goal could yet be in the locker. But it was the hosts who got back on terms with 15 minutes remaining when Taylor-Fletcher picked out Nouah Dicko with a low cross and the Blackpool man turned the ball beyond the reach of Kenny. And it was 2-1 five minutes later in similar fashion when Matt Phillips found space to turn another low centre beyond the reach of Kenny. It was a hammer blow for Leeds who had turned in an excellent rearguard action with the two quickfire goals changing the outlook. Blackpool did have a couple more half-chances to add to their lead, including a free-kick which clipped the bar, and United were unable to force a way back. In truth Leeds were well second best. Blackpool will beat most sides at the Seaside this season. That said, Leeds have no plan “B”. We score early against the best footballing side in the division and sit back and let them come at us for over seventy minutes. It was only a matter of time before they scored. And when they got one they got two and in truth should have won 4-1 or 5-1. To go long periods without the ball against decent sides expends all the energy and leaves our players chasing shadows. This is a reality check. We won 1-0 against Wolves on Saturday but played a much better side today. Our side is short of at least three quality players and Warnock being the wily old fox that he is know this. We lack real pace. Blackpool killed us with direct pace and footballers with craft and guile on the ball. When they scored their second goal, they didn’t go for the corner flag. They went to try and score a third and hit the crossbar. It’s okay to stop the opposition from playing but you need someone to play an out ball to and you have to have pace like a Gradel also. We lack this.One goal is never enough. Remember, this is the same side who out played WHU at Wembley but on that occasion didn’t take their chances. West Ham had more quality than Leeds United. Norris, Austin, Green etc are all great in a dogfight when we have something to hold on to but when we need to create a goal, we need a different type of player and we had Pugh, Diouf and a knackered Becchio left on the pitch. Our only tactic was to play for a corner kick. These are where Colin’s resources and his tactics are a little thin on the ground. Don’t get too high after a win and don’t feel too low after tonight. It’s on to London Road on Saturday for a very winnable fixture. Only Blackpool are on a a100% record after two games which in itself is a remarkable statement. We need to be more positive in games. Who knows where the takeover will take us, but even the loan system was very well utilised by Colin when he won promotion with QPR two seasons ago. It’s time to get back on the horse on Saturday.  Interview with Neil Warnock and LUT post match  –“ Disappointing really. They were the better side. We were our own worst enemy if I’m honest  for the two goals. We didn’t hold it up tonight. Our front four were poor tonight. As good as they were on Saturday, they were poor tonight.  Their subs were excellent. I’ be glad if we finished one below them.  Nothing to do without fatigue.  Like Varney could gave whacked it away. Young Luke got done for one of the goals.  I was disappointed with Ross and Luke and Becks. The game was too much for young Luke with the home crowd and everything . We’d like to have more options on the bench. We lost because ofe had bad habits. We missed Paul Green. (Re Diouf)  Sean is talking to Diouf’s representatives.”

Monday August 20th. Byram pens new three year deal. Leeds United youngster Sam Byram has been rewarded for an excellent start to the season with a new contract. The 18 year old, who has come through the clubs academy system has signed a new three-year deal with the club after starting the first two games of the season. The defender signed his first professional contract with the club at the end of last season but his form in pre-season now at the start of the season as seen Leeds quickly reward him with a new deal. Leeds boss Neil Warnock only stated recently that he did not feel Byram would play in the first team this season but after an injury to fellow defender Tom Lees on the eve of the Shrewsbury Town game in the League Cup, Byram was given his chance. His form against Shrewsbury kept out Lees against Wolves, who had returned to fitness and had to settle for a place on the bench. The young full back again looked impressive against Wolves on Saturday and he looks to have a bright future ahead of him – at Leeds. Meanwhile, Paul Green may be out for a few weeks after injuring his knee in the first half against Wolves. Meanwhile, Blue Square Bet North club have taken 19-year-old Alex Cairns on a month`s loan from npower Championship side Leeds United. Yorkshire-born Cairns signed his first professional contract during the summer of 2011. He joined Leeds` Academy in 2006 and has excelled in recent years. He was a near ever present in the under-18s in 2010/11 season and joined the first-team squad on their tour of Scotland during the summer of 2011. He made his first team debut as a second half substitute against Blackpool at Elland Road in November 2011. He was also an unused substitute on several occasions during the season and had a loan spell with Conference Premier side Barrow during last term.

Aug 20th. Movement in betting. Championship got underway this weekend and contrasting fortunes for Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Cardiff City, Blackpool, Hull City and Birmingham City has resulted in some movement at the top of the Championship title betting maket. Favourites Leicester have been cut from 7/1 to 11/2 for the title after a solid opening day victory over Peterborough United and that 2-0 victory means they overtake Bolton at the top of the market. Owen Coyle’s side lost 2-0 at his old club Burnley and Wanderers have been pushed out to 7/1 (from 13/2) for the Championship as a result. Leeds and Blackburn stay at 10/1 for the Championship trophy after both sides avoided defeat, with the latter drawing 1-1 at Ipswich and the former gaining a valuable 1-0 win over Wolves in Stale Solbakken’s first league match in charge, a result that sees the Molinuex club go from 10/1 to 12/1 for the title. Cardiff have been cut for the title after a last gasp 1-0 win over Huddersfield on Friday night, with the Bluebirds now priced up at 10/1 from 11/1.Three of the outsiders have also seen their price altered: Blackpool are now 14/1 (from 16/1) after a good 2-0 win at MIllwall, while Birmingham have been cut from 20/1 to 16/1 despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Charlton. Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest are now 12/1 for the Championship after a 1-0 win over Bristol City, despite being 10/1 before the season started.The biggest movers in the betting have been Hull City, who have been cut from 28/1 to 20/1 for the title after a 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, who remain 16/1 for Championship glory.

Fuller linked

Sunday August 19th. Lack of funds test Warnock’s ingenuity – By Phil Hay. The tail end of the transfer window is often said to be the worst time to seek value for money. It is also the worst time for a club without money, the situation that Leeds United find themselves in. An empty pot and the imminent arrival of the new season were the factors that brought El-Hadji Diouf and Leeds together last week. United needed greater depth in certain positions and Diouf was capable of filling them. Moreover, he was freely available and potentially cheap, though discussions about a permanent contract are still incomplete, nine days on. Manager Neil Warnock envisaged other strikers coming to Leeds – he discussed a swap-deal involving Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith and was more than speculatively interested in Nicky Maynard, a forward who West Ham United wanted an up-front payment of around £400,000 for, but he is honest enough to accept that he has no prospect of funding his preferred signings, not while the elusive takeover of Leeds battles on behind closed doors. His only answer in the absence of greater wealth is to be resourceful and inventive; that is, to look for opportunities like that presented by an out-of-contract Diouf. As every agent knows, there are scores of players out of contract every August, all of them searching for clubs and a few inexplicably unattached. Matthew Upson, the England international and former Arsenal centre-back, was a free agent until August 9 last year when Stoke City belatedly signed him.Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, said the timing of the deal was remarkable “when you consider the quality and experience of the lad”. Diouf carries more baggage but his ability does not explain why a 31-year-old with several seasons ahead of him is on non-contract forms on the first day of the 2012-13 term. However, the reality of this period of the transfer window is that thrifty options suited to a Championship club are few and far between. Speculation in the north east on Thursday suggested Leeds were competing with Middlesbrough for the signature of striker Ricardo Fuller, a claim Warnock denied. Fuller is in the same position that Diouf found himself in last week – out of contract after leaving Stoke City and struggling to find a move that suits him in time for the start of the season. To coin a cliche, he is worth a punt – at least in the eyes of Boro boss Tony Mowbray. Fewer managers would take as optimistic a view of Frederic Piquionne, the French forward who has played for West Ham and Doncaster Rovers in the past two seasons. Piquionne was reported to have agreed terms with Leeds this week, a rumour which appears to be wide of the mark, Dabbling with free agents is a game of hit and miss. One English agent who has dealt with Championship clubs this summer told the YEP: “With a few exceptions – and I mean a few – there’s a good reason why players are out of contract at this time of year.“To be brutally honest most of them don’t have the quality that clubs are looking for. If they did have the quality they’d have been signed up a long time ago. For an agent they’re often the most difficult lads to get fixed up.“The other issue you have is the fitness of the players. Most footballers look after themselves and any self-respecting athlete is going to stick to a programme right through the summer but a lot of them won’t have played in any friendlies. Their match fitness will be behind the rest of the squad that they’re joining and that’s hardly ideal when you’ve got league games coming one after another.“At this stage I’d expect any club approaching a client who was out of contract to be offering them a trial at best. Common sense tells you that if no one else is signing them, you’d be foolish to jump in and give them a deal – unless it’s an exceptional option.”There is one exceptional free agent who, like Upson before him, is making heavy weather of finding new employers. Michael Owen – once the pin-up of English football – has been unattached since he and Manchester United went their separate ways in May. He has long been resistant to the idea of dropping into the Championship and his attitude does not appear to have softened, despite his circumstances as the season starts. “I know I can still bang them in at the top level,” he wrote on Twitter last month. “I am not being disrespectful when I say I wouldn’t play in the Championship. I always said I wouldn’t drop down the leagues like some have done.“After playing for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, Man Utd and England, I don’t think I would enjoy that football.”Warnock was asked about the possibility of signing Owen earlier in the summer and laughed off the suggestion at a time when Leeds were struggling to raise the £400,000 he needed to sign Joel Ward from Portsmouth. Owen has been in negotiations with Stoke but doubts about City’s ability to meet his wage demands are another example of why Owen moving to the Championship does not stand up. “Michael Owen is the only player who stands out as being out of contract and a great shout,” said another agent, based in the north east. “There might be a couple of others but I’d question how many free agents out there would be good enough for Leeds or good enough for what Leeds want to achieve this season.”Warnock has another avenue to new signings, via the loan market which Leeds have used so regularly in the past decade. The United boss is free to negotiate half-season or full-season deals until the closure of the summer transfer window and the Football League’s emergency loan window opens seven days after the end of August. But Leeds will have played four league matches by then and it was never Warnock’s intention to be finalising his squad with the Championship term in full flow. But the 63-year-old has been philosophical about his playing budget, saying: “We’ve signed 10 players. I know what people want me to say (about the shortage of transfer funds) but I’ve got 10 players.“I’d like another couple, especially with losing Robert Snodgrass and I have to work at getting what I can with the means I’ve got.“It would be my biggest ever achievement if I got promoted with this squad as it is at the moment. But I wouldn’t write it off.”

Sunday Aug 19th. Leeds United are still a work in progress –  Phil Hay There are certain teams who were good enough to treat the Championship as a sprint – Queens Park Rangers two years ago and Newcastle United before them – but the majority of clubs will see the start of this season as the onset of a marathon. Asked about the significance of the league season opener against Wolves, Neil Warnock said: “The result isn’t going to determine whether we do well or not. We’ve got a hard start and the first few months are extremely difficult. It’s one of those where we’ll be hanging in there.”The worry for United’s manager is whether his squad has the legs and the resources to see through a campaign which, if his assessment of their potential is correct, could run for 48 games up to the play-off final on May 27. Last season the squad at Elland Road finished eight positions and 14 points shy of sixth place, devoid of the necessary stamina or ability. With the new season here and the transfer window due to close in less than two weeks’ time, Inside Elland Road considers the question of whether United are in better shape now than they were over the course of the 2011-12 campaign. GOALKEEPER: In its own way a problem position for a couple of years. Or perhaps more accurately, an area of the team where doubt has persisted. Kasper Schmeichel came and went in the space of 12 months with precious little protest about his sale to Leicester City. And though Andy Lonergan showed himself to be competent – in short, a keeper of Championship stock – he seemed to suffer from a chronic loss of confidence after recovering from a broken finger last season. Signing a new keeper was hardly Warnock’s most urgent priority but Paddy Kenny was a good answer to a definite niggle. He is as capable a signing as Leeds could have sourced within their budget and his laid-back, assured attitude should help the defence in front of him. It is an advantage too that any injury to Kenny would not leave United reliant on Paul Rachubka or Alex Cairns. Verdict: Stronger. RIGHT-BACK: Paul Connolly, Tom Lees, Alex Bruce, Zac Thompson, Adam Smith (remember him?) – the attempt to find a regular right-back last season was a hopeless affair. Warnock had a clear idea of how to address that shortcoming, moving for Joel Ward as soon as the summer began, and his inability to fund Ward’s £400,000 price tag might prove a blessing in disguise. He landed instead 25-year-old Lee Peltier, a defender who Warnock compares to Kyle Walker and who could conceivably be ever-present this term. The unheralded emergence of teenager Sam Byram as trustworthy cover is a bonus Leeds did not expect. Verdict: Stronger. CENTRE-BACK: If we’re talking numbers, United are in a weaker state. They began last season with Lees, Bruce, Andy O’Brien, Leigh Bromby and a fully-fit Patrick Kisnorbo. How great the talent was in that particular pool of professionals is a matter of debate but Simon Grayson had numbers to work with. Warnock in contrast has two fit and recognised centre-backs, Lees and Jason Pearce. They have the making of a strong partnership – how United need that – but the loss of Lees to a groin strain last Saturday forced Peltier to deputise as best he could. Rodolph Austin is another makeshift alternative but promoted teams rarely get there by plugging round holes with slightly square pegs. With Bromby injured and Kisnorbo short of match fitness, another addition is needed. Verdict: Weaker. LEFT-BACK: Possibly the most glaring hole in the side at Elland Road last term. In no way can it have been Grayson’s plan to start the season at Southampton with Darren O’Dea on the left side of defence, 24 hours after his move to Leeds from Celtic. Aidan White had a bash and Danny Pugh helped out but not even the signing of the experienced Paul Robinson from Bolton Wanderers could settle Warnock’s nerves when teams attacked down the right flank. Adam Drury is in the same age bracket as Robinson but many who watched his years of service at Norwich City think Leeds have invested wisely by taking him on a free transfer. Between them, he and White should offer far more stability. Verdict: Stronger. RIGHT WING:Robert Snodgrass has gone and the argument ends there. It is no slight on White, Paul Green or the indisputable talent of El-Hadji Diouf to say that the loss of United’s former club captain is likely to be felt. Verdict: Weaker. CENTRAL MIDFIELD: At his best, Adam Clayton was a dynamic figure in United’s midfield but he was also maddeningly inconsistent. Michael Brown struggled to get going last season and for all the appreciation of Jonathan Howson, central midfield has never been his position. The less said about Mika Vayrynen the better. As the squad stands now, Warnock has a fit and engaged Brown and the transfer-listed Pugh to supplement Green, David Norris and Rodolph Austin. The unit is not bullet-proof in terms of injuries but there is far more purpose to it. Verdict: Stronger. LEFT WING: It is easily forgotten that Leeds began last season with Max Gradel on the left wing. He was sold before the end of August but in all the discussion about Snodgrass, there is little attention paid to the class of Gradel in his happier times at Elland Road. That said, Grayson used Pugh to replace him to no great effect over several months, and only by switching Snodgrass did Warnock find a solution in the closing weeks of the season. This is Luke Varney’s bag now and the early impression of him is encouraging but he will do well to mirror Gradel’s influence. Verdict: Weaker. STRIKERS: Plus ca change…for all that went on last year and all the work done this summer, Luciano Becchio and Ross McCormack are still the two main sources of goals at Elland Road.  Billy Paynter’s exit was neither here nor there and Andy Keogh – signed on loan from Wolves a year ago – predictably found prolific goalscoring a challenge. Mikael Forssell failed to strike once. Leeds need another reliable forward. In truth, they have needed that for some time. Verdict: Unchanged. SQUAD:The squad list in the Shrewsbury matchday programme included 19 players, excluding injured pair Bromby and Davide Somma but including Byram, Thompson, Dominic Poleon and two players who are on the transfer list. The situation at Leeds can be summed up as thus: the team is virtually there but the squad is not. Rarely has Warnock needed two weeks of the transfer window like he needs the fortnight ahead. Verdict: Weaker.

Sunday Aug 19th  From to Ell and Back. Ken Bates has warned Leeds takeover hungry supporters that although talks are “ongoing” the only place where the news matters is the official Leeds United website and not forgetting Yorkshire Radio! however yet more pictures have been circulating on Twitter this morning of him and some companions believed to be from Saturday’s win over Wolves.The pictures show Bates sat alongside a man, who looks to be of Asian/Arabic descent and his female companion in the upper East Stand yesterday. There are also pictures of the mystery man donning a Leeds bar scarves near the disabled parking bays before yesterday’s win. The pictures come despite Bates warning of the dangers of “pub speculation”. On the official Leeds United website this morning, Bates announced “The real problem is that rumours have abounded inevitability. We are in negotiations with a party. We signed an exclusivity agreement to give them time to do due diligence and we’re continuing negotiations. “We are also bound by confidentiality, so we can’t say anything and in the absencd of being able to say anything rumours abound. “It’s basically pub speculation that is being put out to a wider audience. I’m sorry for the fans but there is nothing more I can say at this stage, but when I can I will” Like so many aspects of modern life, like offering your best players more than half a pound of tripe and a sheepskin coat to avoid them leaving for Norwich, our dear chairman is dearly out of touch with the modern phenominum that is digital communications, media and forums.Although he does charge a couple of quid for the ridiculous, rubbish Leeds United Iphone App. In the absence of any word from the club, including brief statements that there is no news and talks are ongoing, which has not been forthcoming until of late, it is inevitable that “self appointed self seeking publicists” (his programme notes 18.08.12) will fill t’internet with gossip. Whilst inevitably it will annoy him, his lawyers and possibly the potential investor, surely the fact that people care about the future of our club is another reason why we do speculate as to what has been happening behind the scenes this summer in the absence of any regular and meaningful statement from the official channels? Hopefully he will soon have plenty of time on his hands to do some silver surfing in the Internet cafes of Monaco!

Becchio goal

Luciano celebration

Byram done a great job on Jarvis

August 18th. Leeds United 1-0 Wolves. 01 Kenny, 02 Peltier, 05 Pearce, 07 Green (Diouf – 45′ ) 08 Austin , 11 Varney (YC) 14 White (YC) 19 Norris 25 Byram (YC) 10 Becchio (YC) 44 McCormack (Lees – 75′ ) Unused Subs – 12 Ashdown 03 Drury 06 Kisnorbo 20 Gray. Att – 23,745. Report from BBC – Luciano Becchio ensured new-look Leeds United started the season with a win as Wolves suffered a deflating return to the Championship at Elland Road. Argentine Becchio, 28, settled the game when he headed the only goal in the 17th minute following an inch-perfect cross by Ross McCormack. Wolves were fortunate not to suffer a heavier defeat against dominant Leeds. Debutant Rodolph Austin had an effort cleared off the line while McCormack also went close to scoring. Having won on the opening day for the past two seasons, this was Wolves’ first away defeat on the first day since they lost 2-1 at Stoke on 8 August 2004. Wolves were relegated from the Premier League after winning just five games last season, and only one of their last 24. And new manager Stale Solbakken faces a huge task to get them back there if the Black Country club’s first match in the second tier for more than three years is anything to go by. Wolves were tepid in the first half and although they improved after half-time, they lacked the cutting edge to hurt an impressive Leeds side. After a busy summer in the transfer market, the hosts’ starting XI featured eight players making their league debuts for the club, but Neil Warnock’s side played as though they had been together for more than just a few weeks. Wolves needed to show they had the appetite for a fight but their defensive failings from last season resurfaced as early as the 17th minute. Austin had already seen an effort hacked off the line while McCormack, who signed a new three-year contract on the eve of the season, had missed another chance by the time Becchio launched his fifth season at Elland Road by heading home from close range. Becchio stooped low to meet a cross from the outstanding McCormack following a long punt forward by keeper Paddy Kenny. With Sunderland target Steven Fletcher out with a damaged ankle, the visitors offered little in attacking threat as Leeds, playing against the backdrop of takeover talks, opened the campaign in determined fashion. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle were starved of service as captain Lee Peltier and Jason Pearce marshalled the home defence. Indeed, the only negative for Warnock in the first half was the sight of Paul Green going off injured, his departure paving the way for El-Hadji Diouf to make a league debut for his 10th club. Wolves improved in the second half, substitute Slawomir Peszko cutting in from the left to meet the ball with a swinging left foot. But his effort cleared the bar before Matt Jarvis fired across the face of goal on a frustrating day for the visitors. Leeds manager Neil Warnock: “They [my players] deserve a lot of credit. We have a few niggles around the place and when you looked at our players and theirs, we were half the size of them, so we’ve done well. “You have to do what we did today. The Championship is a different league to the top level. The players loved the atmosphere and playing in front of a big crowd. That was something I didn’t think we had about us last year.” Wolves manager Stale Solbakken: “The only way you can change it [the mentality] is to win that first game and get that winning feeling. “You can say that you can work hard blah, blah, blah, but you have to win that first game. Today was a fair result, there were not many chances in the game. Leeds protected their penalty area well when they went in front. I have no complaints. “We are trying to find a winning formula. The team lost many games last season, maybe one win in 26 or 27. But now we have two home games and maybe we can get it then.” It wasn’t pretty but it’s all about getting three points from the opening home fixture but picking something up at the seaside Tuesday night will give us more food for thought. McCormack and Becchio will be a handful for any defence, but unfortunately we have little service from either wing with Varney in particular very disappointing. Had he scored when clean through, it would have been a more relaxing afternoon. The wily Diouf held the ball up well in the second half and although lacking match sharpness is a class act in this division. If he has the hunger, he will be a quality player for us. The Senator and Green worked hard in the middle, more as destructive players than creative individuals. But, I thought Austin (playing in front of the back four) was the best player on the pitch by a mile. Not only did he break up attacks but twice he could and possibly should have scored with powerful headers from corners. Paddy Kenny looked extremely assured in goal. He has excellent hands, good positional sense, can play like a sweeper and uses every inch of his box to get the ball to his forwards on a counter attack ASAP. It was him who kicked the ball long to McCormack who in turn crossed for Becchio to score the only goal of the gamer. Peltier and Pearce looked very good although it may have been wiser to have left Lees and Pearce in the centre of defence and this would have caused a less comfortable afternoon for the inexperienced Byram up against Jarvis, with the former Leicester player then retained at right full. Once again Colin sprung a surprise when he made Peliter his captain. I must confess I didn’t see that one coming, But Colin said “he saw one or two things in training and in the game last week and in the way he conducts himself off the pitch”. We wish him well.  As expected, we don’t use midfield by getting the ball forward from back to front very quickly. I hardly remember the Senator touching the ball in the second half as Wolves had the ball for such long periods. The negative side of this is that we can go long periods of the game chasing the ball and the crowd become extremely frustrated. We sat deeper and deeper and let Wolves come at us. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Gradel or a Snodgrass type of player who can quickly create by beating a player. A fortunate foul was given against one of the Wolves players in injury time when he headed against the Leeds cross bar, and Jarvis ghosted in from the left late on to shoot wide. Better sides than a confidence starved relegated Wolves team may punish us more with this kind of possession. We are still two to three players short but being difficult to beat and edging games 1-0 goes a long way in this league, and this counter attacking approach may earn decent points on the road. Still some of us grabbed the 6/4 on the single and can’t complain. Bar One (at a push) were offering 5/1on Leeds for promotion on Friday and with a few weeks of the window to go, there still may be value to be had here if Warnock can get some funds to bring in some decent talent. This is what he had to say to Talk Sport :

Aug 18th. Connolly joins Pompey on loan. Right-back Paul Connolly has joined troubled Portsmouth on a one-month loan deal. The former Derby County defender finally sealed his move to the South Coast earlier on Saturday morning which allowed him to play for his new club against Bournemouth. Connolly was placed on the transfer list by Neil Warnock and has failed to feature during pre-season. Ex-boss Simon Grayson brought in Connolly in 2010 and since his moved Connolly has made 64 appearances for the club.

Aug 17th. McCormack pens three tear contract. Leeds United striker Ross McCormack put pen-to-paper on a new contract as manager Neil Warnock insisted: “I never wanted him to leave.” McCormack has agreed a three-year deal at Elland Road, committing himself to the club just hours before the start of the new Championship season. Warnock said the announcement was a “shot in the arm” ahead of today’s opening league game against Wolverhampton Wanderers and admitted United had been set on securing his future before the campaign began. McCormack’s decision to accept a fresh deal ends an uncertain summer in which he seemed destined to leave Elland Road after rejecting a previous contract offer in May. Leeds began listening to offers for him with his previous deal due to expire next summer but they resumed negotiations with his representatives late last month as Warnock fought to prevent further losses from his squad in the wake of the sale of Robert Snodgrass to Norwich City. Warnock told the YEP: “I never wanted him to leave and Ross has known that for a long time.“He’s a talented player and a special player, someone who I think can score 20 goals for us this season. If he scores 20 goals then we’ll do well. It was so important to keep him here.“Things were a bit uncertain earlier in the summer with his contract running down but the club have worked so hard on this deal and a lot of credit has to go to Shaun Harvey (United’s chief executive).“I wanted this done before the Wolves game and I’ve not been disappointed. “It’s such a big lift at the right time.”McCormack – signed by Leeds from Cardiff City in August 2010 – finished last season as United’s top scorer, recovering from a quiet first year at Elland Road to score 19 times. He decision to turn down a new deal in May attracted a bid from Crystal Palace and further interest from Huddersfield Town and Bristol City but Warnock grew increasingly reluctant to sell him as pre-season wore on. McCormack, who turned 26 today (August 18), has enjoyed a productive week, returning to the Scotland fold on Wednesday night and scoring in a friendly against Australia before returning to Leeds to sign his new deal. The striker said: “This was what I always wanted to do. It’s perfect timing with the first game of the season being (today) and it’s my birthday as well.”Warnock said: “He’s got a great chance to thrive here now and a chance to really enjoy the season. “There were times when I think the whole contract business got to him a bit but it’s done and dusted now. He’s got what he wanted and we’ve given him what he deserved. It’s a real shot in the arm for us.”United are set to release a fringe member of their squad with right-back Paul Connolly in line to join League One club Portsmouth on loan. Connolly has been on the transfer list all summer but is available to sign after a hernia operation.

Aug 17th. Time to end all the uncertainty – Dominic Matteo- YEP.  I’d love to write this column without mentioning the word ‘takeover’ but even now, a day before the start of the Championship season, it’s dominating everything at Leeds United. It seems like so long since I first touched on this subject and I’m starting to wonder if a deal to buy the club will ever be reached. On Monday there were rumours everywhere of an announcement coming. Since then we’ve heard nothing. Almost every week this summer has been identical – speculation, counter-speculation but still no takeover. In many respects it’s typical Leeds. Why do things the straightforward way? I’m not denying that lots of effort has gone into all this – trust me, certain people at the club have been working all hours to make the takeover happen – but you have to question how long the negotiations can go on. That’s not just something for Leeds to answer but a question for the buyers too. Call me simplistic but surely we’ve reached the stage where a takeover either happens or it doesn’t, end of story. The season starts tomorrow after all. Right through the summer I’ve been counting off the milestones: the start of pre-season training, the first friendly and the first league match. Every time I’ve thought ‘it’ll be fine if the takeover’s done by then.’ But now we’re 24 hours away from the game against Wolves and three weeks away from the end of the transfer window. Everyone around the negotiating table must be able to see the problem. They must realise that the delay is doing no-one any favours. I know plenty of Leeds supporters and I can’t explain how frustrated they’ve been by all this. They don’t have a clue what’s going on and they don’t know what the future holds. Is the club’s owner going to be Ken Bates for the foreseeable future? And if it’s not him then who will it be? The summer has been so cloak-and-dagger that we don’t even know what the takeover means or what the buyers are planning to do. We don’t even know their names. I’ve said before that the time’s right for a takeover but not just any old takeover. For all the criticism I hear of the current regime, I’ll judge the new owners on their own merits and how they go about running the club. It would be good to be able to see the whole picture. If this takeover had gone through four or five weeks ago, I’d rate Leeds as major contenders for promotion. With more time and more money, it’s obvious that Neil Warnock would have put a stronger squad together. He’s said himself that he’s been looking at Premier League strikers – by that I think he means strikers who are under contract and would cost money – but instead he’s moved for El-Hadji Diouf. I really don’t think this is what was intended. My concern with Diouf isn’t his attitude, his temperament or his quality as a player. I’ve always found him to be a fairly sound lad, as hard as you might find that to believe. But I just wonder if he’s got the passion and the ambition for a season like this. The passion and ambition you associate with Warnock. You’ll probably get games on and games off with Diouf; times when he’s brilliant, times when he goes missing. He’s that sort of player. I’d like him to prove me wrong but I’d much prefer to see a Nicky Maynard or a Jermaine Beckford up front. A known quantity if you like. We can all see how badly another quality striker is needed. As for the squad as a whole, it reminds me of the squad that got promoted at Stoke City. We didn’t have many outstanding individuals at Stoke but he had a plan and a formula for winning games. We never gave away soft goals – something Leeds have got to get a grip of – and we were great at nicking games 1-0. If Leeds get promoted this season, I’m sure they’ll do it that way too. But I still don’t feel they’ve properly replaced Snodgrass and it’s looked to me like a case of selling to buy this summer. I might be wrong but the fees coming in seem to have covered the fees going out. It’s not exactly a case of throwing the kitchen sink behind Warnock and if I’m being honest, I’m a bit disappointed with how things are. I’m crossing my fingers but I just don’t have that natural feeling of confidence about Leeds. The ridiculous thing is that Warnock has all the credentials to win promotion. All the credentials and more. This was the club’s opportunity to take full advantage of that and make the most of the manager they’ve got. It doesn’t make sense to pin your hopes on someone as good as Warnock and then put him through a summer as difficult as this one. It feels like a bit of a waste of his managerial talent. If anyone can pull promotion out of the bag then Warnock is the man. He and his players needs the support of everyone – and I mean everyone – if they’re to do it this season. But with the first game here and so much confusion around, I’m just not sure. And it really pains me to say that.

Thursday August 8th. Leeds linked with Piquonne, the 33 year old former unloved  West Ham and Portsmouth striker. Between 2009 and 2010 he scored a massive 5 goals in 34 games for Portsmouth and was equally as prolific with Portsmouth scoring 5 goals in 35 games. In 2012 he scored 2 goials in 8 games whilst on loan with Doincaster. Not one to get excited about and shrieks of laughter can be still be heard from all the WHU and Pompey blogs. Untimately, and thankfully this didn’t come to fruition.  

Aug 16th. Leeds need a game breaker – Peter Beagrie YEP Leeds United may have covered their squad bases in an intensive bout of high-summer transfer shopping, but one key item on the list still remains – a game-breaker. Finding somebody with the X-factor, a touch of stardust – call it what you will – is something that legions of Whites supporters are crying out for, as no doubt Neil Warnock probably is as well. Rounding off their signings programme by recruiting that very player capable of stepping into the considerable shoes vacated by Robert Snodgrass – or not – could make the difference between reaching top six or going without. It’s the widespread view of many fans – and one leading expert on all matters Championship isn’t about to disagree. That man is Sky Sports pundit and commentator Peter Beagrie, who despite being impressed by Neil Warnock’s incoming business in the transfer market so far, feels a gaping hole still remains. Beagrie said: “In the last few years, Leeds have been blessed with the likes of Snodgrass and Max Gradel who have not only been able to set up goals, but have an end product. They are the sort who get between 13 and 18 goals a season and provide upwards of 10 to 15 assists – not only in dead-ball situations, but in open play as well. The ones who make a difference. “When I’m looking at Leeds, for me Neil will be still looking for that talismanic player who can wave his magic wand. That’s what the missing ingredient is for Leeds at this moment.“The thing is everyone is searching for that player who does something out of nothing. But they are very expensive and very rarely do you get them on a free transfer or for a few bibs and balls!” While United’s defence has proved their Achilles heel in the past few seasons, with countless combinations tried – without lasting success – particularly in the middle of the back four, Beagrie is confident of a sea-change there following Warnock’s overhaul of his defence, with only Tom Lees expected to be the sole regular from last year’s line-out in this season’s revamped rearguard. In the midfield, Beagrie feels that signings of two proven Championship performers in David Norris and Paul Green, not forgetting Rodolph Austin, will help compensate for the loss of Adam Clayton, a player the former winger rates highly, having seen a fair bit of him in a breakthrough 2011-12. On Warnock’s close-season business, Beagrie said: “I think in the circumstances, Neil has gone a really good job. “Neil is very good at wheeling and dealing in the transfer market and has players who have an undivided loyalty to him such as Paddy Kenny who has joined up with him again. “Obviously, the cause for concern on the pitch in the last few seasons has been the defence, but in Kenny, they have no better organiser of the defence. “I actually think he’s found himself unfortunate to be surplus to requirements at QPR as he had been a great acquisition. “Starting at the back, Neil has made tremendous signings in Adam Drury, Jason Pearce and Lee Peltier, who is a great player who can play in various positions – centre-half, right-back or as a holding midfielder as well.“The criteria of every Leeds fan would have been strengthening the back as they have scored goals in the past few seasons, but had a leaky defence.“The disappointing thing for me – along with their chief architect in Snodgrass joining the mass exodus to Norwich – has been losing probably one of their best players of last season in young Clayton. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. He’s a brave player – not just in terms of putting his foot in, but getting on the ball.“Neil’s tried to redress the balance there. I couldn’t agree more with Beagrie here. Clayton was the only player we had who would get on the ball and make things happen. Green and Norris are more runners. This will be an interesting one to watch.  David Norris is a very good footballer and confident person, while Paul Green is a box-to-box player and when was in the team at Derby, they did well and when he was out, they really struggled. Both have good Championship experience.“In Luke Varney, they also have a striker who can score a goal, but who is also willing the run the channels and chase. He’s clever and times his runs and could be an ideal foil for the likes of Becchio.“To me, it looks the basis of a strong squad which will be needed in the Championship this year as I don’t think it’s ever been closer.”In terms of the runners for the top two, much is expected of the north-west duo of Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, both back in the second tier for the first time since 2001 and of the two, Beagrie fancies the latter to be smiling come the spring. While Rovers have lost a few leading players in the wake of relegation, they have also bolstered their ranks by bringing in the likes of Fulham captain Danny Murphy and if they can find a striker to pull the gap following the unfortunate recent injury to £3m man Leon Best, the title can be there’s – although it depends on their mental approach is right, according to Beagrie. As night follows day, sides who are relegated are invariably tipped to head straight back up – mainly due to the fact they are armed with hefty parachute payments, but it’s by no means clear cut as the likes of Middlesbrough, Birmingham have discovered in recent years. Beagrie said: “All the relegated clubs will definitely be in the top 10, without a shadow of a doubt. “But with teams that go down, it can be a mental state of mind with some players who are there thinking: ‘Do I want to be here?’ Teams may think: ‘We’ll bounce back this year,’ but it’s extremely difficult. If you get into that wave of thought, you can get unstuck.“Unless the Blackburn’s and Bolton’s are right mentally, they will not bounce straight back as the Championship is a war of attrition.“But I do fancy Blackburn to do it, if they don’t lose any more players and get a few in. Sometimes, it’s not about how you bring in, but who you keep hold of as well.“Junior Hoilett is a big, big loss, but they were never going to keep hold of him – as was the case with Yakubu. But when I look at (Dickson) Etuhu and Danny Murphy running things and them buying another striker with Leon Best out, they can do it.“They are after Jordan Rhodes at Huddersfield and if they get him that could be the difference between Huddersfield staying in the division or going out. That’s how important he is to Huddersfield.”And what about the rest of the top-six contenders in 2012-13? “The cast list certainly looks considerable one with the nearly-teams of last season such as United’s Yorkshire rivals Boro and Hull City being in the mix along with the last season’s beaten play-off trio of Blackpool, Birmingham City and Cardiff City. Beagrie said: “In terms of picking the three teams to go up, it really is a toss of a coin and a coupon wrecker this season! Middlesbrough have been active in the transfer market with Hull have been active and spent a few bob on the German striker (Nick Proschwitz) who was top-scorer in the second division of the Bundesliga. He could make a difference for Hull, although he’s a bit of a gamble.“Hull did struggle to score goals last year. Last season they had Aaron McLean, Jay Simpson and Matty Fryatt, which looked like an embarrassment of riches, but only Fryatt really managed to score goals consistently.“For me, the big signing for Boro is Grant Leadbitter, going back to his native north-east. “He has a lovely range of passing and I think he’s got that little bit of steel and devilment in midfield to drive them on after losing Barry Robson, who was pivotal for them.”While Boro and the Tigers along with Leeds are set to battle it out for White Rose supremacy, Beagrie is not ruling out Sheffield Wednesday from the race to be top dog in the Broad Acres and feels the Owls can also be dark horses in the play-offs thanks to a signing of an inspirational figure in their promotion to the Championship.Beagrie said: “Dave Jones has made the signing of the season for me in Mikhail Antonio. “If I was a Sheffield Wednesday fan, I’d be absolutely ecstatic. He’s quick, direct and makes things happen and he was the difference at the end of last season for me when they won ten in their last 12 games”“Wednesday’s front four are a match for anybody and if they defend well, they could do what other teams coming up have done and make an impression on the division.”

Thursday August 8th. Talks with Diouf to continue on Monday. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he will sit down with El Hadji Diouf and his representatives on Monday to discuss a more permanent deal with the club. Diouf agreed to join Leeds last weekend on a non-contract basis and he made his debut as a second half substitute in the 4-0 win over Shrewsbury Town last Saturday. The former African footballer of the year is available in Leeds opening championship fixture this weekend and Warnock says he has fitted in well since joining the club recently. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, ‘We’ll probably talk to his people on Monday.’ He may be involved at the weekend if he’s happy with that. He’s on a non-contract basis so he is available.’ He’s certainly enjoying himself, he’s fitted in, the lads have taken to him and I think he was pleased with the support he received on Saturday. He even went home from the train station afterwards and I said to him ‘you’re brave!” The experienced Senegal international started his career in France before making a big money move to Liverpool in 2002 after starring for Senegal in the World Cup Finals in Japan. Diouf spent the next nine years in the Premier League with Liverpool, Bolton, Sunderland and Blackburn. He spent a short spell with Glasgow Rangers on loan in the second half of the 2010/11 season, helping them to the Scottish Premier League title and the League Cup in his 22 appearances. He returned to Blackburn but had his contract terminated after returning late for pre-season training. The 31 year old spent most of last season with Doncaster Rovers, where he made 23 appearances.

Aug 16th. Colin on takeover and season. Despite a frustrating start to the transfer window largely caused by the lack of funds available to the Leeds United manager, Neil Warnock says he will not use the takeover as an excuse should his team under-perform this season.“I know what people would like me to say, but I’ve got 10 [new players].“I’d like another couple of quality players, especially after losing [Robert] Snodgrass, and I have to work at getting whatever I can in by whatever means. But rest assured whoever we play against will know they’ve been in a game. “That’s what I try and do and nothing’s changed, whatever the financial situation is or whoever owns the football club.” Speaking at today’s press conference, Warnock also cast doubts on a speedy resolution to the ongoing takeover saga; “I accept anything that’s happening at the moment. I’m hardened to it all. I imagine we’ll be having this conversation around Christmas time about the takeover and then probably March and by the end of the season it might be sorted.” A tongue-in-cheek response from Warnock (I hope), but after three months of speculation with very little information leaking out, it’s not hard to imagine this takeover dragging on for another nine months. Warnock has also given his thoughts to the Yorkshire Evening Post today, claiming that there was no one in the Leeds United team he inherited that he felt was irreplaceable. “We needed different players in just about every position, all over the team. This summer was never going to be easy.“I found myself standing on the touchline last season thinking ‘nobody here – and I really mean nobody – is irreplaceable.’ That’s how bad it was. Even though I wanted to keep Robert Snodgrass, I didn’t think there was anyone we couldn’t do without. I’ve never seen that before.”  
Aug 16th. Warnock” in a better position than Grayson a year ago” – Phil Hay – YEP  assesses another long summer at Elland Road and what the new season may hold. Leeds United have had worse summers. The last one for example. Few of us who watched Simon Grayson wrestle with the transfer market will forget the creeping death as May became June, June became July and August began with a flaying at Southampton. The “ugly” transfer window, as chief executive Shaun Harvey put it, made a lame duck of Grayson and a lame duck of Leeds. It offered a salutary lesson about the virtues of a conventional summer and the likely consequences of one which is not. There is irony to be found in the fact that Grayson felt more compromised a year ago than Neil Warnock does now. Grayson, after all, had fewer complications. The problem for him was debilitating but simple – a transfer plan ruined by proposed signings who went elsewhere and others he couldn’t afford. The season duly died and Grayson lost his job. At his most pessimistic, Warnock saw much the same coming. And were it not for the fact that the transfer market gave into him eventually, he would not be here to see this season. He is enamoured with the aura of Leeds United but not to the point where he is willing to manage a sub-standard team. Nor was he ever likely to be pushed before he jumped. There were some in the press who expected him to bail out of his job when United’s transfer impasse peaked towards the end of May. He has had the misfortune of experiencing the most uncertain close-season at Elland Road since the insolvency crisis of 2007. Handicapped though Grayson was by a budget he believed was insufficient, he at least knew who he was answering too and who he was trying to please. Warnock has had none of that clarity. He expected United to acquire new owners earlier in the summer and was told by the buyers that his job was safe. Beyond that, no guarantees or specifics and no immediate help. By the time pre-season arrived with silence all around, he had taken the attitude that a buy-out of Leeds might never happen. Speak to those who follow the club and the same opinion has been prevalent. This takeover is no mythical beast – the process has already swallowed countless hours and stacks of money – but the days tick on and scepticism grows. Where are these buyers who began negotiating with Leeds in May and are believed to have agreed a deal in principle as far back as June? And more to the point, who are they? Complex business takes time to play out but there is something unsettling about a takeover which appears to be dragging its heels. Some would say it is liable to disappoint. Contrary to that view, two different sources told the YEP that the deal was in the final throes of completion last night. It is not clear exactly when discussions first began between United’s board and a group of investors from the Middle East. What is know is that the Middle Eastern approach came shortly after an American consortium were shown around United’s Elland Road stadium and Thorp Arch training complex by Harvey on May 24. Give or take a week or two, the ownership of Leeds has been bargained over for fully three months, the duration of the club’s summer. Warnock realised long ago that completion of the sale was far beyond his control. He has almost taken to ignoring it. United’s public do not have the same luxury. For the duration of this process they have been starved of information; treated to a total of three statements published by Leeds and confused by a flurry of rumours. At around 11am last Thursday, the takeover was reported to be dead in the water. By 5pm, United had clarified the situation and indicated that talks were continuing. A confidentiality agreement applying to both sides of the table has made this buy-out as watertight and secretive as most of the takeovers seen in English football. Even Ken Bates, United’s ever-quotable chairman, has been silent throughout the summer. His weekly address on Yorkshire Radio, United’s official station, ceased at the end of April and has not recommenced. He surfaced briefly last month to tell ESPN that “I am here in Monte Carlo but I am making no comment at all” but his column ran as usual in the matchday programme published before Saturday’s League Cup tie against Shrewsbury Town. He made no mention of a takeover, talking only about a “hive of activity” at Elland Road and revisiting familiar ground by calling the agent of Robert Snodgrass – sold to Norwich City for £3million on July 26 – as “very aggressive.”Bates is the unknown factor in all this: the majority shareholder and the man whose signature is ultimately required to see a takeover through. Since April of last year the 80-year-old has held a 72.85 per cent stake in Leeds and given nothing like the slightest hint of a desire to cut himself free of all that his roles as chairman and owner entail. The fact that he has engaged with investors who want full ownership of United and seem to want him gone is proof in itself of an interest in selling but many will believe his departure when they see it. In a mark of his long-term outlook, a former employee of the club recalls being told by Bates that “they’ll have to carry me out of here.” More than seven years after he first took charge, it has been hard to believe that he was truly ready to walk of his own accord. His notes on Saturday talked of “our promotion-winning 2012/13 season.”There were protests against him from the crowd who attended Saturday’s win over Shrewsbury; muted in comparison to the onslaught seen last season but audible still. Bates did not attend the League Cup tie but he is due in Leeds for the club’s first match of the Championship term, at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend. Try as he might, Warnock cannot expect to keep all eyes on the field. It is a worry for United’s manager – the idea that in-fighting will poison the atmosphere of Elland Road, a stadium where Leeds lost 11 league fixtures last term – but Warnock has recently cut a figure whose optimism is intact. I interviewed Grayson a week before his team were picked apart at Southampton and his comments oozed frustration. “All I think about is doing the best job I can with the resources I’ve got,” he remarked. It was his way of saying that the year in front of him would be as good as his squad allowed it to be. The club finished 14th and finished it without him. Warnock’s situation is not so different. The outcome of his first full year as manager will be intrinsically linked to the squad he has built. It is healthy in parts and under-nourished in others; big enough to fill a seven-man bench but small enough to leave Warnock praying quietly to the God of injuries and suspensions. It is plain to see that he has a team and something close to the team he wanted. Therein lies a key difference between Warnock’s summer and Grayson’s last. But as every manager says – and as Shaun Derry claims in this supplement – a squad is what wins a club promotion. Other sides in the Championship are as well-equipped at Leeds and some are in finer fettle. Blackburn Rovers were expected to fall into the division as a club in disarray. Their owners continue to act like children playing Championship Manager but they have retained many players and signed Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu and Colin Kazim-Richards. Wolves and Bolton Wanderers have also come down with their equilibrium unaffected. Cardiff City are gambling on Craig Bellamy – a calculated risk for anyone who can afford it – and Leicester City are Leicester City: rich in resources and managed by a coach in Nigel Pearson who should make a better fist of exploiting them than Sven-Goran Eriksson ever did. The doubts about Leeds are thus: too few goals in their squad – with or without El-Hadji Diouf – and too many players brought together in one summer for promotion to be achievable. Warnock almost subscribes to the second half of that statement. “It’s just about impossible to bring 10 new signings together,” he told me, “but only just about. It’s not actually impossible.”It is that sort of defiant utterance which has held Leeds together this summer. There was no such optimism around Elland Road a year ago, or none that sounded credible. Last season began with people asking if Grayson would see out the first 10 games – a fair question given all that had happened. He survived until January but only by dodging several bullets. The negativity was well-founded. Were is not for Warnock, you would fear the same again. He has on paper a better team than Grayson, if not necessarily a stronger squad, but the summer has made this season difficult to believe in. It might have been impossible to believe in without a figure on the touchline who has a resume showing seven promotions and a name which says ‘maybe, just maybe.’ When the subject of the takeover came up during United’s pre-season tour of Devon and Cornwall, one supporter muttered: “It’s the hope that kills you.”  At the end of another bewildering period, it must be nice to have some.

Aug 16th. Write of White at your peril – Comical Ali Lorimer – YEP. Every year you hear it said that the new Championship term is going to be the toughest yet. We were told the same 12 months ago but I’m not convinced the division was anything special last season. From what I saw in the lead-up to Christmas, the Championship was a league where any team with talent and consistency had a chance. Even Leeds United with our hot-and-cold form were in contention for the play-offs until April. I feel no different this time around. Yes, we’ve got Blackburn, Bolton and Wolves in with us now but they’re in with us for the simple reason that they were poor sides last season. The bookies always sway towards favouring the relegated clubs but it’s not like throwing Chelsea into the Championship. These are clubs in the habit of getting beaten and potentially low on confidence. As I see it, there’s no great difference between the standard at the top end of our division and the standard in the bottom half of the Premier League. There’s an astronomical difference when it comes to the likes of Manchester City but a decent Premier League outfit has every chance of staying up. That’s why I’d never feel intimidated by those who come down. The truth of the Championship is that you get what you deserve from it. Your own performance over 46 games is everything. It won’t matter to Leeds what Blackburn, Bolton or Wolves do this season, just as you didn’t see Southampton or Reading worrying about anyone else last season. It was widely assumed that West Ham United were guaranteed title-winners in 2012 but unfortunately for them, they couldn’t keep up. They drew too many games and were left to fight it out in the play-offs. That’s the way it goes. Keep your fate in your own hands and you’ll not be disappointed. We also found that Leicester City and Nottingham Forest packed far less punch than they promised. Forest were second-favourites for goodness sake and they were lucky to stay up. I can’t claim that the Championship never goes to form but I don’t think it’s ever a foregone conclusion. You don’t get a proper feel for how the league will shape up until seven or eight results are on the board. So I’m open minded about what Leeds can achieve this season. And I’m optimistic too. It’s asking a lot to expect the squad to win automatic promotion but I don’t see much point in writing off targets before a ball’s been kicked. Who, in all honesty, thought Southampton would cut loose in the way that they did? And who believed that Reading would have the legs to catch them and beat them to first place? Sometimes it pays to keep your powder dry – to keep your head down, work away quietly and build up momentum without making a song and dance about what you’re going to achieve. The pleasing thing about the squad at Leeds is that I can see them being consistent. I’m not expecting them to run riot every week or batter teams by four or fives goals but they don’t strike me as a team who will lose very often. I certainly don’t see them losing 11 league games at home or anything close to last season’s terrible record. There’s much more mettle and organisation about them. When I think about our recent form at Elland Road, it’s hard to believe that visiting teams found points so easy to come by. Leeds have never been so vulnerable at home or so easy to turn over. Some of the performances were very poor but I also think there was a big problem with the atmosphere. It was downbeat and negative and I’ve no doubt it affected the players. It’s tough to cope with a situation like that, especially when you feel like your own fans are so unhappy. Neil Warnock has spoken many times about changing the mood and restoring Elland Road’s reputation as a hard ground to come to. When you consider the history of this club, it really is a joke to have teams turning up and turning it on with total freedom and no pressure. Opposition players should love the challenge of coming to our stadium but they should never be allowed to enjoy the occasion. They need to be met with passion and hostility. Our supporters clearly have a big role to play this year and the atmosphere is down to them. I was really encouraged to see 18,000 show up for our League Cup game against Shrewsbury Town last weekend and I hope we’ll see a big attendance on Saturday. Wolves at home is a great match to start with, a game to fire everyone up. Some people are saying that the takeover process might affect the mood at Elland Road or cause a bit of despondency among the fans but it really shouldn’t. What matters on Saturday is what’s happening on the pitch. Everyone should be excited and encouraged by the fact that the takeover is on-going and they should know that the work being done and the decisions being made are all in the best interests of Leeds United’s future. I’ve said from the outset that what will be will be and after a very long summer, it’s great to be back to thinking about league football. It’s great, too, to see the manager we’ve got in the charge and the players he’s brought in. I’m not saying we’ve got the best squad in the division or the strongest either and Neil does need more players but I like what he’s done with the team. It looks like a team that’s been designed for the Championship. But of course you need something other that solid, reliable footballers and you can understand why Neil’s taken a good look at El-Hadji Diouf. Not everyone will like the idea of this signing and the lad’s got history but all I’m worried about is what he does from today onwards. In his career, he’s been to Liverpool, Bolton, Blackburn and Rangers – top-flight clubs at the time he was there. We’re talking about a premier player and you can’t deny the value of having one or two of those. I trust Neil’s judgement and I trust him to get the best out of Diouf. I trust him to get the best out of every single player. It’s what he does and it’s why he’s been so successful throughout his career. Nobody in the Championship should write his squad off.

August 15th. Colin prepares Leeds for “outside top two”.  Leeds boss Neil Warnock does not think his side is good enough to win automatic promotion to the Premier League this season. But he does think they have a chance of ending an eight-year exodus from the top flight via the play-offs. Warnock said: “If I put my hand on my heart, I don’t think we’re automatic promotion material. That’s not me being defeatist, I’m just being realistic about the squad we’ve got. I’m telling you what I see. “As far as the play-offs go, I’m optimistic that we’ll have as good a chance as most clubs of getting in there. “You need a bit of luck to finish in the top six and you can’t always rely on luck but, first and foremost, you need the players. I’m going into the season with a lot of the players I wanted.” “We have put together a side that the fans can get behind. I looked at the players in the dressing room after training and I told them all, there is nobody I would worry about being behind or alongside me in the trenches. “Usually you have three or four you want in front of you! Not in our dressing room, I was delighted and we are going to need them over the next nine or ten months because it is going to be a long slog.”Ten new faces have arrived at Elland Road this summer, with the controversial El-Hadji Diouf expected to be the 11th. Warnock, who introduced similar sweeping changes before leading QPR to an unexpected Championship title in 2011, added: “We’re not the finished article and we do need a couple more players but if I can’t sign anyone else before the season starts then I’d still be happy going into it. “I really mean that. I’ve got genuine players here and I also know that teams will have to be really good to beat us. Really good.” Here’s how Paddy Power have the betting. Now Colin, there’s no pressure on this one. Just make sure Leeds are in the top two and remember that Reading were 25/1 last season and Saints were 16/1 to win the division. So at 11/1 Leeds around  sixth favourites. Bolton 7/1Blackpool 16/1Burnley 33/1Leicester 7/1Birmingham 18/1Huddersfield 33/1Wolves 9/1Charlton 20/1Derby 40/1Blackburn 10/1Middlesbrough 20/1Millwall 50/1Cardiff 11/1Sheff Wed 22/1Crystal Palace 66/1Leeds 11/1Hull 25/1Bristol City 66/1Nottm Forest 11/1Ipswich 25/1Peterborough 100/1Brighton 14/1Watford 33/1Barnsley 150/1 Each Way Terms 1/4 places 1,2,3. Meanwhile United have been handed a home time against Oxford United in the next round of the Capitol One Cup commencing mid-week August 27th. One familiar face in their line up will be Michael Duberry. Also, Leeds one time trialist Martin Crainie looks to be taking up a two year deal with Barnsley, and one can’t blame him for not waiting around on Leeds.

Aug 14th. Kamara opts for Leeds as champions – YEP. The forthcoming campaign cannot come soon enough for football pundit Chris Kamara who got a flavour of what’s to come on Saturday as ambassador for the Capital One Cup. His former side Leeds successfully steered past Shrewsbury Town but it is with another cup that Kamara can see the Whites landing – the Championship trophy and promotion to the Premier League. Kamara, who helped Leeds to the second division title back in 1990, is counting down the days until the Football League season starts this weekend with the 54-year-old set to light up our TV sets with his colourful punditry for Sky Sports. Visits to Elland Road will be frequent and the ground is one that Kamara expects to see buzzing this coming season under Neil Warnock. With a proposed takeover looking to have collapsed and Robert Snodgrass having departed to Norwich City, Leeds are only sixth-favourites to win the division in most bookmakers’ lists and as big as 14-1 behind Bolton, Leicester, Wolves, Cardiff and Blackburn. However, there are no negatives from Kamara who can see similarities between this season’s new-look Leeds side under Warnock and the same manager’s Queens Park Rangers team that stormed the second tier back in 2010-11. Sizing up his prediction for how the Whites might fare this season, Kamara told the YEP: “I think they might be the surprise team, they really might. “When you look at them on paper you probably think they have got no chance but everybody thought that about Queens Park Rangers two seasons back and Warnock had it virtually won by Christmas.“They had a little bit of a dip in form but nothing drastic and they stayed top of the table for most of the season. They are going to be hard to beat and one thing that seems to have been missing at Elland Road for a while is making it a fortress. That’s what he’ll aim to do and he’ll try and have it so that teams go there and get nothing. “I think they are going to have a really good season and you expect them to do well. Warnock doesn’t like to settle for second best and I’m not sure he will.”Nor does Kamara feel that this summer’s takeover shenanigans will have any effect on Leeds United’s manager at all.Talk of investment from the Far East has rumbled since June but Kamara has been impressed with the way that Warnock has maintained his business as usual approach, with the former midfielder believing that goalkeeper Paddy Kenny will prove a particularly excellent acquisition. The football pundit also believes the sale of Snodgrass was a clear sign that a takeover was never going to happen. “I never really believe in takeovers where Ken Bates is concerned,” said Kamara. “He got out of Chelsea in good circumstances and he’s always told me that they were never going to go to the wall in the first place. “When people suggested that if Roman Abramovic hadn’t have put his money in that they would have ended up going bankrupt he said it was absolute nonsense and I believe him. “Now when I see him I just know it would be hard for Ken Bates not to be associated with football and unless someone comes along with a ridiculous amount of money then I really can’t see it happening. “Otherwise why allow Neil Warnock to sell Snodgrass and bring in loans of free transfers if someone is going to come in with loads and loads of money? “The one man that is not unsettled by all this is Neil Warnock and that’s what you have got to think about. “The fans may be unsettled as they hear that someone is going to come in with money to spend but I think the only person who isn’t really bothered about the takeover is Neil Warnock because he does what he does best. “We all know about Neil Warnock and what he does and you just look at the players that he has brought in already. “He brings in players on free transfers, he sells the likes of Snodgrass and it gives him the opportunity to say ‘well look, I am six million pounds in profit, look what I’ve brought in for virtually nothing and just watch us go.’ “He’s very good at building teams, he knows what’s required and he’s made some great signings and one of the best ones is the goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, because he keeps clean sheets. “He’s not flamboyant, he doesn’t catch the eye all the time but he keeps clean sheets and he is a great signing for him. “The rest of the players that have come in on frees and are all players that you know are desperate to do well and will be modelled into the Warnock way.”It is a way that impresses Kamara who deeply wishes that the side he spent 21 months with between January 1990 and November 1991 can finally return to the top flight next term. Middlesbrough-born Kamara feels the Whites belong in the Premier League but knows only hard graft and a significantly better home record than last season will get them there. Leeds lost 11 games at Elland Road last season and Kamara knows that simply will not do. “With the fantastic away support they have got, Leeds are always going to pick up points away from home,” said Kamara.“If they had won more games at home last season then they wouldn’t have finished where they did and that’s what cost Simon Grayson his job – the home form.” Not true Chris- Neil Warnock actually lost more games at home than Simon Grayson.

Aug 13th. Paynter moves on. Billy Paynter at last completed his move to Doncaster, signing a two year deal at the Yorkshire club. Billy Paynter is eyeing a 2013 return to the Championship having left Leeds United for a fresh challenge at Doncaster Rovers. Liverpudlian striker Paynter has ended a difficult two-year spell at Elland Road by signing a two-year contract with the recently-relegated South Yorkshire League One side. The 28-year-old had been placed on the transfer list by Whites boss Neil Warnock and his Leeds contract was cancelled by mutual consent to allow him to join Rovers. Since signing from Swindon Town in June 2010, the six-foot forward who was loaned to Brighton last season has made only 11 starts for United with 17 outings coming as a substitute. The targetman – who has been unlucky with injuries – netted just three goals in that time for Leeds but is now optimistic of his career turning a corner in light of a fresh challenge. “I’m pleased to be here,” said Paynter on completing his move to Doncaster yesterday. “I came down and trained with the lads a couple of weeks ago and I’ve signed. It’s a good set-up here with a good bunch of lads and I’m looking to help fire Donny back up.”Paynter’s departure leaves Leeds with five recognised strikers in Ross McCormack, Luciano Becchio, Luke Varney, Andy Gray and Davide Somma though the latter remains sidelined with a knee injury. But Neil Warnock remains busy trying to seal the permanent signature of another attack-minded player in El Hadji Diouf who is currently a Leeds player on non-contract terms.Diouf made his Whites debut on Saturday as United defeated visiting Shrewsbury Town 4-0 in the first round of the Capital One Cup and Warnock’s side begin their Championship season with Saturday lunchtime’s hosting of relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers.United will have to prepare for the opener minus three key players in McCormack, Aidy White and Paul Green who have all been called up for international duty. McCormack has joined the Scotland squad ahead of their clash with Australia at Hampden Park tomorrow with summer recruit Green on Republic of Ireland duty in Belgrade ahead of tomorrow night’s friendly with Serbia. Meanwhile, Neil Warnock believes he has his mind made up on his captain of Leeds United. He has been alternating armbands during the pre-season friendlies. I have a sneaking feeling he will opt for either Jason Pearce or Paddy Kenny.

Whites ready for season ahead

Colin team talk

Aug 12th. Season off to a decent start. The Olympic Games are over          but Leeds season has kicked off in decisive style albeit against opposition like Shrewsbury, a side who in the past that may have given us a fright. We’ve had the side show of the past week where Bates allegedly tried to do his best to derail the takeover by getting more money out of the Middle East consortium or at best lure higher bidders on board. By all accounts Shaun Harvey (maybe because he wants to remain CEO) seems to have convinced the bearded one to climb down. Colin has gone for experienced, steady players at this level who he believes won’t let him down. Most are in the twilight of their careers and at one stage he may have become Mayor of Portsmouth on his one man battle to save the club from distinction.  I don’t think Robert Snodgrass was ever going to be a fan of Neil Warnock. Some players and managers don’t hit it off and whilst Colin tried everything to keep Snodgrass, and we are lead to believe that he moved for less money, the fact remains that Snodgrass is now a Norwich City player, Jon Howson is a Norwich City player, Max Gradel is St Etienne player, Jermaine Beckford is a Leicester City player. It’s time to move on. We now must get behind the players that wear the white of Leeds United. Colin has signed eleven players now and spent approximately  £ 2.2M  whilst taking in £3.65M in sales. Jason Pearce, Paul Green, Adam Drury, Paddy Kenny, Andy Gray,  Jamie Ashdown Luke Varney,  Rodolph Austin, David Norris, Lee Peltier, and El Hadji Diouf are all our new signings. He freely admits there is a lack of flair in the forward positions, but his signing of El Hadji Diouf is to be commended especially in light of the history between the pair. Sewer Rat or no Sewer Rat, Diouf can play, and he may be the player to coax the best out of McCormack and Becchio if the crowd give him a chance. It can’t have been easy over the past few weeks managing Leeds where every signing seems to have been a challenge. Rogers and Pugh have been transfer listed to fund more prioritised arrivals and Colin freely admits that Pugh in particular has been “unlucky” because he wanted to keep him. We have a couple of decent young players apart from Aidy White who have flown under the radar so far. I particularly like Dominic Poleon and young Sam Byram. Leeds have conceded too many goals from some time now, so Neil Warnock has spent £1.2M of his allocation on Pearce and Peltier alone, whilst adding the experienced 34 year old Drury to his squad. He wants Crainie (as a squad player) but can’t as yet fund his arrival. You could almost hear cries of Sheffield delight when Paddy Kenny at last signed on the dotted line. He no doubt will be a crucial signing. Michael Brown, not one seen as crucial by us, has been added for another season because Colin likes having players influence his decisions by hardened characters he knows in the dressing room. Austin comes with a good CV, a combative Jamaican David Batty who by all accounts should be a £1M arrival instead of a £300K player. Paul Green is a typical up and down Championship midfielder who Colin believes can get a goal, as is David Norris who already has. Varney is a player who Colin believes can produce that something special although his scoring record is poor, and Andy Gray has “unfinished business” at Leeds and is happy to be a bit part players he believes he can contribute some vital goals. He often has against us. Tom Lees can only get better, and it will be interesting to see where Aidy White plays. I think he will probably play wide on the left and maybe on the right wing where is electric pace can trouble defences. It is vital we keep Ross McCormack. He is a goal scorer, and a decent one at Championship level. By all accounts he wants to stay and he isn’t looking for the sun, the moon and the stars in his contract. Get it sorted. One player who could have a massive season for us is Luciano Becchio, who was carrying niggling injuries for much of last season. He’s a really big player for us, a super target man. What about Becchio, Diouf and McCormack up front ? It’s a thin enough squad that certainly needs extra arrivals. A good start is important……and there is the simple matter of getting this take over sorted out. Let’s see where we go from here.

Aug 11th. Shrewsbury hit for four at Elland Road. Leeds 4-0 Shrewsbury. Leeds Team :   (Becchio 20, Varney 26, Norris 65, McCormack pen 69), Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Peltier, Pearce, White, Green (Poleon 76), Austin, Norris, Varney (Brown 86), McCormack (Diouf 76), Becchio. Subs: Ashdown, Drury, Kisnorbo, Gray. Att: 18,194. United manager unveiled a surprise signing ahead of the kick-off when El Hadji Diouf was named among his subs. The starting line-up included eight debutants, seven new signings, and teenage defender Sam Byram, who stepped into replace the injured Tom Lees. The Capital One First Round tie was a curtain raiser to the Championship opener against Wolves, and it was a lively start to proceedings with both sides looking to attack. Paddy Kenny’s first taste of competitive action was to make a good save to deny Mark Wright during the early stages. Kenny was tested early on, including another great stop from Jermaine Grandison right on the line, but it was United who scored the opening goal after 20 minutes. Rodolph Austin tried his luck from distance with a shot which was parried and Luciano Becchio was on hand to tap the ball home.hat advantage was doubled just six minutes later when Luke Varney finished off a flowing move from close range after Ross McCormack had seen his shot blocked. The visitors had shown plenty of spirit and endeavour with the ball, trying to take the game to Leeds, but United’s passing from back to front was assured and, with the ball, Leeds looked both comfortable and threatening. As the game headed towards half-time, Grandison headed over for the visitors while McCormack shot at straight at Chris Weale and David Norris, who was wearing the captain’s armband, lifted a shot over the top. Norris also went close early in the second half following good play by McCormack, but he was denied by the visiting goalkeeper. McCormack was also involved in a move the ended with young Byram whipping a ball back into the middle and across the face of goal. The Scot was impressing and he almost played an advancing Paul Green in. But the game was put beyond doubt on 65 minutes when Norris found himself well placed just inside the box to hammer the ball home after the visiting defence failed to clear their lines.A fourth goal came just four minutes later when a Shrewsbury defender handled while under pressure from Green, and McCormack stepped up to convert the penalty kick.With 14 minutes to go, Warnock made two changes, handing debuts to Diouf and Poleon in place of McCormack and Green.The visitors did have another opportunity when Marvin Morgan looked to slip the ball beyond Kenny, but the Leeds keeper got a fingertip to the shot to turn it around the post, despite a goalkick being awarded.There were no further chances as United eased towards a comfortable 4-0 win to kick off the season.

Aug 11th. Diouf and ColinUnited manager Neil Warnock says he has nothing to lose by giving Senegalese international El Hadji Diouf the chance to impress at Elland Road.The former Liverpool and Blackburn man joined on a non-contract basis on Thursday and made his debut as a second half substitute in Saturday’s 4-0 Elland Road win against Shrewsbury Town.”I met him about six or seven weeks ago,” explained the boss. “It wasn’t a planned meeting, but we ended up having an hour- and-a-half chat and I told him what I disliked about him and he talked to me about the things that he’s done in football.”It opened my eyes in what I thought about him and nobody has said worse things about him than I have. It would have been easy for me not to bring him to the club but I’ve never been one to shirk a situation. “A friend of mine, Micky Walker, who was at Doncaster Rovers, couldn’t speak highly enough of him. He said he’s good in the dressing room, he’s excellent with the youngsters, and is a bit of a likeable rogue. And he told me his weaknesses. “We’re also short on the right hand side. There’s a not a lot of money without moving players out – there’s a couple of Premiership lads I’ve looked at, but they’re on a lot of money – so I thought we’d have a look”We’re going to be looking for a few more goals from that position as well and he fits the bill. It’ll take the pressure off me as well because they’ll have a go at him not me! Its non contract, so we’ve nothing to lose.”

August 11th. How Colin and the Sewer Rat got it together. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says that new signing El Hadji Diouf is not a bad egg after signing the controversial striker. Diouf signed for Leeds on Saturday on a non-contract basis and he made his debut as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Shrewsbury Town. The former African footballer of the year has had a chequered past with a number of misdemeanours both on and off the pitch tarnishing his name. Warnock and Diouf have history. The pair fell out in 2011 when Warnock was furious with Diouf following an incident involving Jamie Mackie during his time at QPR. Mackie had suffered a broken leg in a challenge in a FA Cup clash at Ewood Park, with Diouf taunting Mackie whilst he lay prone on the pitch. Warnock launched a scathing attack on Diouf in his after match interview when he said, “For many years I`ve thought he is a gutter-type of boy and I was going to call him a sewer rat but that might be insulting the sewer rats. I think he`s the lowest of the low. ‘I can’t see him being at Blackburn much longer because I can’t see Steve Kean putting up with someone like that in the dressing room when he is trying to form a new image for Blackburn. ‘I think he will be the first to go and good riddance – I hope he goes abroad because I won’t miss watching him.’ Diouf hit back at Warnock when he said, “This guy Warnock talks a lot of s*** and everyone knows he talks a lot of s***. “He wants to put himself on the front page of the paper all the time but no one is interested in him. Every time we see him on TV he talks s***. “You see managers talking, like Ferguson, Wenger, Allardyce, Villas-Boas, and you listen. “But this guy? What has he done in his life? Nobody knows him. “Watch him with his best player, Adel Taarabt. If it wasn`t for Taarabt last year he`d never have been in the Premier League this season. “But how has he treated him? He has taken the captain`s armband off him and treated him like s***. But HE`S the big s***. “One day I will catch up with him and we`re going to talk. “If I see him face-to-face, he`s going to know what I think about him.” It seems the pair have now managed to put their differences behind them after Diouf arrived at Leeds on trial towards the end of last week and Warnock puts it down to a chance meeting. Warnock says the pair met by chance around six weeks ago and had a long chat about what happened in the past. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio Warnock said, “I met Dioufy about six weeks ago. It was not planned it was an accidental meeting. We ended up talking for about an hour. “We talked about our past history. We had a chat, I told him what I didn`t like about him, and I told him what I liked about him. “He is good in the dressing room; he is not a bad egg. He is a good lad. We only signed him on a non-contract basis to have a look at him this week.” The 31 year old was first linked with a move to Elland Road in April. Diouf speaking at the time said he had no problems with Warnock when he gave an interview to Sky Sports News. ‘I know people have talked about the incident between me and Neil Warnock but it is in the past and is not an issue. ‘I have the utmost respect for Neil Warnock and I’d be delighted to help Leeds gain promotion to the Premier League.’ The signing of Diouf also seems to have split the fans with him receiving a mixed reception on his debut on Saturday. The majority of fans applauded Diouf when he came on the pitch to replace Ross McCormack with fourteen minutes remaining but there was clearly some boo`s from the Elland Road crowd. The Elland Road crowd only taunted Diouf less than six months ago when he visited with Doncaster Rovers in Neil Warnock`s first game at the club. Diouf and a number of Leeds players were involved in pushing and shoving on the pitch during a long break in play whilst Leeds midfielder Robbie Rogers and Doncaster defender Tommy Spurr received treatment for a clash of heads, which resulted in both players being stretchered from the pitch in the final minute of the game. The delay led to seven minutes of injury time being played with Luciano Becchio scoring a winner for Leeds in the final seconds of injury time. Tempers boiled over at the final whistle with unnamed players from both sides involved in an incident in the Leeds tunnel that led to both clubs being investigated by West Yorkshire Police. Both clubs were later cleared without charge. It will be a very interesting time at Elland Road whilst Diouf is here that I am sure.

Aug 12th. Vital Football on El Hadji Diouf  Vital Doncaster Rovers contributor 1879Rovers gives us his thoughts on a signing that has certainly had a mixed reaction. What are his strengths and weaknesses? Firstly, I have to say how surprised I am to see him signing for Leeds especially with his history with Neil Warnock. The abuse he received when we played at Elland Road in February also surprises me that Diouf would also want to join. When he first signed for Rovers, there were very similar views to those of Leeds fans (they have probably been the same wherever he has gone). The fans were split. Some saw him as a great signing whilst others could not look past his troubled past. Whilst I find some of the stuff he had done disgusting, I recognised the talent he has. Once we saw what we had on the pitch, he quickly changed the views of many fans. I know we were struggling at the foot of the championship but he looked a class above most players on the pitch and that included the opposition. Cast your mind back to our visit in February. He ran the game that day for Rovers. He supplied a great number of chances for players and I honestly still feel had we kept Billy Sharp we would not have been relegated. His commitment was there and after initially joining us on a short-term deal, he always stated he wanted to stay to try and help Rovers avoid relegation. Sometimes it is just words but he did sign a contract to keep him at the Keepmoat at least until the end of the season. His biggest weakness is obviously his temperament. He did manage to keep it under check for most of his time with us. Probably his worst moment was at Elland Road. He did not keep his nose completely clean whilst he was with us and he was arrested in April on suspicion of violent disorder for an altercation in a Manchester nightclub – He was eventually cleared. Rovers boss Dean Saunders and the players all said what a joy he was to have around whilst at the club, it was only when he left in the summer, when Saunders said, he was very difficult to manage. It is sure to be a rollercoaster with him and Warnock. He picked up six bookings for Rovers in 23 games and I think most of them were just down to frustration. What is his preferred position and is he versatile? He can play in a number of positions. He played out wide, up front and in the hole for Rovers, so he definitely has plenty of versatility. He scored six times for us, which in a poor team and not playing as an out and out striker was a decent return. If you could describe Diouf in three words, what would they be? Unpredictable, match winner. What I am really trying to say in that is, he is obviously a loose cannon and you are always waiting for something to happen. At the same time, he can prove a match winner with his skill. At championship level he is a quality signing and in a decent team he could do really well. I am looking forward to seeing what happens as I am sure are most football fans. 

August 11th. Diouf and Whites may just make it work – Phil Hay YEP. Neil Warnock wants a new striker and ideally a right winger too. But Leeds United’s manager has no money to play with. So what’s the solution? Common sense says one out, one in – sell a player to buy a player or rearrange the wage bill at any rate. Earlier this week Warnock revealed that Danny Pugh and Robbie Rogers had been transfer-listed and ear-marked to pay for other signings. He took care to disguise the fact that a potential signing was already in the building. El-Hadji Diouf joined Warnock’s squad for training at Thorp Arch on Thursday morning, taking part in the penultimate session before Leeds’ first competitive game. His appearance revived the possibility of a deal first touted 48 hours before the end of last season. This unlikely marriage has been a long time coming and it would be going some to say that it was always the plan, ala Paddy Kenny, Luke Varney or a number of Warnock’s other signings. There were stages of the summer when Diouf to Leeds had no more legs than the next rumour but it was always an option while Diouf was out of contract and Warnock found himself short of forwards. With August upon them, the marriage would be strangely convenient. Not everyone in Leeds will see it that way. Most signings provoke a degree of debate but few are as emotive as a transfer involving Diouf. It is down the scale from Harry Kewell and Alan Smith but far above the average footballer. At the risk of letting Diouf off lightly, his list of misdemeanours do not need reprinting. It is public knowledge and the basis of his reputation. Diouf has come to be seen as trouble and generally more hassle than he’s worth. How much he warrants that reputation is hard to say. His football-related brushes with the Football Association and the criminal justice system are not mythical or trivial but his personality is still a mystery. He has never copied the Joey Barton routine of willing dissection at the hands of the public. Dominic Matteo, the former Leeds captain, says he found Diouf to be good company and likeable whenever their paths crossed in private. Another ex-player who saw first-hand the strange machinations at Doncaster Rovers last season told the YEP that while problems existed in Doncaster’s dressing room, Diouf was not one of them. On the contrary, the 31-year-old “did what was expected of him.” That was essentially true of his appearance at Elland Road in February, on the day of Warnock’s appointment as Leeds manager. Playing out wide, Diouf did what Doncaster expected of him. He was the best player on the pitch. But there was something inevitable about the gradual slide towards the tunnel brawl which followed the final whistle and remains in the hands of the FA’s disciplinary department. How big a part Diouf played inside the tunnel is not clear but he was in the thick of the build-up to the fighting, by no means innocent in the growing tension. So the signing of Diouf is one which would need selling to some of the supporters, and possibly some of the players. But Warnock being Warnock has been here before, albeit with different players and in slightly different circumstances. His recruitment of Adel Taarabt at Queens Park Rangers was viewed as a masterstroke and the key to their Championship title, even though Warnock took the view that Alejandro Faurlin was the pick of the talent in his squad. With the money needed to make it happen, signing Taarabt from Tottenham Hotspur was considered a no-brainer. Some of his other players saw it differently. “Taarabt was the most unusual player but someone who could win anything on his day,” Warnock said. “But some of the other players didn’t like the idea of him to start with – the likes of your Shaun Derrys and your Clint Hills. I had to make them aware that if we reined him in and got the best out of him then he could get us promoted. He could get us into the Premier League. It was a matter of convincing them.” Diouf and Taarabt are not instantly comparable, not as footballers or in terms of their respective ages. But they are complex characters or, perhaps more accurately, players who require careful management. It is presumptuous to think that if Warnock was able to handle Taarabt then he can also keep Diouf in hand – even United’s manager found Barton to be a nuisance too far – but he is as capable as anyone.  It helps too that both he and Diouf have allowed their infamous spat in January 2011 to walk on by. As soon as Diouf was told of possible interest from Leeds in April, the Senegalese striker said: “The incident is in the past and it’s not an issue. I have the utmost respect for Neil Warnock.” The cynical view is that Diouf was talking the talk. He needed a club – as attractive a club as possible – and he liked the idea of staying in the north of England, close to his family home in Bolton. But perhaps he was being sincere. Perhaps he really fancied the move. Whatever else persuaded him to link up with Doncaster, it was not money. His wage at the Keepmoat was £2,000 a week. There is more to be earned at Elland Road but a deal with Leeds won’t make him rich. From Warnock’s point of view, there could be mileage in a player of indisputable ability who is freely available and easy to sign. Moreover, Diouf can play up front or wide on the right, the positions Warnock sees as vacant. As we speak, there is no guarantee of a takeover and no guarantee of anyone signing Pugh or Rogers quickly enough to help Warnock out. It is not an obvious partnership, Diouf and Leeds, but what is ever predictable about Leeds? And at this late stage, what’s the worst that can happen?

Aug 11th. Leeds sign Diouf. Leeds United have signed former Liverpool and Bolton striker El Hadji Diouf on a non-contract basis. The 31-year-old Senegal international trained with the club this week and his signing was confirmed ahead of the 4-0 win against Shrewsbury Town at Elland Road in the Capital One Cup. The controversial player has made over 300 appearances in English football, after starting his career in France. He spent nine years in the Barclays Premier League with Liverpool, Bolton, Sunderland, and Blackburn. He also had a loan spell with Rangers before joining Doncaster in the npower Championship last season. Diouf, who has twice been named African Footballer of the Year, made 23 appearances for Doncaster, but could not prevent the Yorkshire side from being relegated from the Championship.

Aug 11th. It’s put up or shut up re take over – Phil Hay  The fate of a bid by a Middle Eastern consortium to take control of Leeds United is likely to be decided in a matter of days, according to a prominent legal expert. Sports lawyer Richard Cramer believes Leeds and their prospective buyers have reached the stage of “put up or shut up” after a deal to sell United ran into trouble earlier this week. An attempt to take outright control of Leeds has been under discussion for more than two months, with an agreement understood to have been reached in principle at the end of June, and the would-be purchasers had been reviewing United’s accounts with the protection of an “exclusivity period”, preventing other interested parties from putting forward rival offers. But that exclusivity period expired last week with the sale of United incomplete and Leeds reacted to reports that the takeover had collapsed by issuing a statement effectively inviting new investors to come forward. Cramer told the YEP: “It might be a case of brinkmanship – Leeds effectively saying to the buyers ‘put up or shut up’ – and it seems clear enough that the deal has run into trouble. In my experience ‘put up or shut up’ is exactly where they’ll be at the moment.  “We were told that due diligence started on June 26 and I’d have expected that process to start and finish in the space of three to four weeks, especially because we’re in the middle of pre-season and a crucial period for the club. “Any clued-in buyer would be aware of that. We’re seven or eight weeks on now and that’s not a good sign. “When we went past the end of July you started to suspect that something was up. Given what’s gone on this week and given the fact that the process has taken so long, my personal view is that it’s unlikely this deal will happen but not impossible. I think a decision will be taken one way or the other very soon, probably in a matter of days.” This takeover would not be the first to stumble at the final hurdle and recover in time to reach the finishing line. The recent purchase of Watford by the Italian Pozzo family appeared to fall through on June 22 when Watford’s previous owner, Laurence Bassini, said: “The deal is definitely off. They don’t have the money.” Seven days later, the deal went through. The sale of Sunderland to Ellis Short in 2008 also survived last-minute complications to reach a successful conclusion. But Leeds themselves cast doubt on the likelihood of immediate investment from the Middle East by saying: “Leeds United announces that the exclusivity period granted to a potential investor as mentioned in the statement of June 26 has ended. “The club remain happy to continue discussions, but not on an exclusive basis, so as not to prevent other options passing. “The first priority must be to ensure that the credibility of any future investor or ultimate owner is such that the Leeds legacy and its future is in safe hands, back in the Premiership. “The club will continue to be receptive to approaches from potential new partners who can establish that they have the necessary credentials.” Problems with the proposed takeover of United became apparent on Wednesday when United chief executive Shaun Harvey flew to Monaco to meet club chairman and owner Ken Bates. It was seen as an attempt to advance the process and bring about a swift resolution but the talks instead prompted speculation of an imminent collapse in negotiations. The YEP has since been told that the buy-out “isn’t definitely on but isn’t definitely off either” and discussions are understood to have continued yesterday. Cramer said: “It’s so often the way. You get through a lot of work and a lot of talking but when you reach the end of the line, difficulties arise. “If this is a consortium of three or four individuals then it’s possible that one or two of them have got cold feet or broken ranks and changed their demands. “It’s possible too that Leeds at the death are wanting a slightly different deal. It’s not unusual but it doesn’t bode well. “Aside from the time involved, you can rest assured that a huge amount of money has been spent on this. “You normally pay a fee for an exclusivity period and you can bet your bottom dollar that the buyers have lost that now. “You also have the expense of due diligence and the bill created by hiring a large commercial law firm to do the work. “It’s a serious and intensive process – not the sort of thing you get into if you’re not really sure about going through with the deal. “The statement from Leeds told us a few things: firstly, the door to this deal isn’t quite closed. Secondly, these buyers no longer have the protection of exclusivity. “So they’re going to have to get on with it or walk away altogether. I can’t see it dragging on much longer without a final decision. “But what’s also clear is that the club is definitely up for sale. The statement talked about ultimate owners which is a takeover by a different name. It suggests that if the right offer is there, Ken Bates is ready to go.” A confidentiality clause agreed by Leeds and the Middle Eastern consortium has prevented any side from making any comment apart from the occasional statement from United. Cramer said Wednesday’s statement was likely to have been drafted with legal advice, avoiding any remarks which might further threaten the takeover. But Cramer, a lawyer with FrontRow Legal in Leeds, warned that the full story of the negotiations could remain confidential for up to five years under the terms of the negotiations. “We might never know the ins and outs of all this,” he said. “The one thing we know for sure is that a confidentiality clause is binding on both sides. “The clause can apply long after negotiations have ended. “I’ve seen agreements in which confidentiality was agreed for five years. “Unless Leeds and the buyers consent to waive the clause, I don’t expect to see the full picture.”

Aug 11th. Toffees look at McCormack. Everton have been linked with Leeds United striker Ross McCormack after David Moyes sent David Weir to watch him yesterday. McCormack scored a penalty and set up another in Leeds’ 4-0 Capital One Cup win over Shrewsbury at Elland Road, with the ex-Cardiff striker generally at the heart of everything the home side created. Weir was spotted making notes – setting toungues wagging after Moyes himself watched McCormack play for Leeds against Preston last weekend. There has been interest from Wigan, West Ham, Huddersfield, Blackburn, Wolves and Brighton in the 25-year-old Scotsman, who has just one year remaining on his current deal at Elland Road and scored 18 goals in the Championship last season. But Leeds boss Neil Warnock is still hopeful that striker Ross McCormack will sign a new deal at the club. McCormack turned down the initial offer made to him by Leeds earlier in the summer and the club and the players representatives are now back around the table renegotiating a new deal. Warnock told Yorkshire Radio: “We are still not sure about Ross, but we are hopeful he will sign a new contract. We are once again in talks with him.”

Sat Aug 10th. Deal to buy Leeds “not dead”. LUST have told the BBC that the deal that broke down on Thursday is back on. Gary Cooper of LUST had the following to say : “We understand that there has been a change of position. The deal is is being discussed  and they are looking to sort out certain terms. This was a done deal some time ago but it is delicately poised now. The buyers remain very keen and are acting in the manner of a group wanting to get a deal done rather than pulling out”. 

Aug 9th. LUFC takeover announcement – YEP LEEDS United tonight insisted that a planned buy-out of the Elland Road club was still alive following speculation that the deal had collapsed. In a statement, United said they were “happy to continue discussions” with a consortium from the Middle East who plan to take control of Leeds – but confirmed that they were ready to consider other offers of investment. Leeds have been in talks with the Middle Eastern group for more than two months and granted the consortium an “exclusivity period” at the end of June, allowing them to perform due diligence on the accounts at Elland Road. But the proposed takeover was thrown into doubt earlier today when the Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST) claimed the deal had fallen through. The statement read: “Leeds United announces that the exclusivity period granted to a potential investor as mentioned in the statement of 26 June has ended. “The club remain happy to continue discussions, but not on an exclusive basis, so as not to prevent other options passing. “The first priority must be to ensure that the credibility of any future investor or ultimate owner is such, that the Leeds legacy and its future is in safe hands, back in the Premiership. “The club will continue to be receptive to approaches from potential new partners who can establish that they have the necessary credentials. “Meanwhile, it is encouraging that there is a new spirit at the club under the management of Neil Warnock and his ten new signings. The club will making no further comment at this stage.” Last month Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa – the man who led a failed takeover of Leeds United in 2003 – was named as a key figure in the Middle Eastern consortium behind the takeover. Reports in the Bahrain media claimed a group of investors, headed by lifelong United supporter Al-Khalifa, were close to completing a deal for Leeds. But talks appeared to have stalled, and this morning manager Neil Warnock revealed that that further new signings were now dependent on the finance raised from players leaving Elland Road. Al-Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s ruling dynasty, was part of a consortium including representatives from Saudi Arabia and Asia who failed to push through a takeover deal just under a decade ago, but it seems he has maintained a strong interest in United’s affairs. In 2003 he told reporters: “I fell in love with the club when I was 11-years-old when Leeds played Chelsea in the 1970 FA Cup Final. “Leeds mean everything to me, I was born to support them. Those who are closest to me, my friends and my family, know what Leeds United mean to me.” The protracted takeover saga has been rumbling on for more than two months with a trail leading from North America to the Gulf. Leeds reached an exclusivity agreement with an unnamed investor in early July, with the period enabling the interested party – who satisfied the requirements of the Football League’s Owners and Directors test – to carry out due diligence at the club.

Thursday Aug 8th. LUST has reported the deal to takeover Leeds United has collapsed. Shaun Harver travelled to Monaco last night for emergency talks with bates to try and get it through, but when you try and do a deal with the devil, unfortunately the devil can change the rules. How pathetic is it for LUFC that it was LUST that broke the news and not the football club itself ?

Tuesday August 6th. Latest news from sunny Tenerife. A Luke Varney goal was enough to earn victory in United’s final pre-season friendly, this time at Burton Albion. Austin and Peltier both earned their debuts. Disappointingly, Colin announced after the match that players coming in (his striker and right winger) would depend on players leaving first. This is despite there being approximately £1.5M left in the kitty. A couple of clubs have expressed an interest in taking Connolly on loan and Paynter was to complete his move to Doncaster today. That leaves just Nunez and Rachubka to move on. Nothing of note to print re the takeover.

Monday August 6th. Update from sunny Tenerife. Michael Brown has signed his one year deal on “reduced terms”. Martin Craine didn’t play against Presten NE for fear of getting injured and there is still no word if Colin has offered him a contract that he is happy with. Apart from Lees and Pearce we have a dearth of central defenders, and even though Paddy Kisnorbo played 30 minutes against Preston, his Leeds career may well be over. Having watched the Preston match, I concur with Colin’s view that we are a winger and a striker short. Snodgrass’s invention is not in the current squad and the 3-1 score line flattered us with the Lancashire side dominating much of the game. The spine of our side is strong but creativity and subtle invention is sadly lacking. We have a week to go to get players eleven and twelve in and they may be the hardest ones of all to secure “the cherries on the cake” as Colin likes to call them. In his interview to LUTV he cautioned that finance may be a problem in securing both, but he also has the small matter of nailing down Ross McCormack.

Sun Aug 5th. 2012. Manager Neil Warnock expressed his satisfaction with the win at Deepdale and the capture of Peltier. He maintained that two more players would complete his summer spending and said that he would sit down today with Martin Cranie and try and iron out a deal suitable to both parties. Elsewhere, Darren O’Dea has joined MLS side Toronto (Andy O’Brien had already left for Vancouver Whitecaps) and it was expected that Billy Paynter would join Doncaster Rovers tomorrow. Colin was confident that “one or two more” would move on, and that leaves only Paul Connoly and Rachubka. With a right full and a sub keeper already signed both players are well surplus to requirements. Ramon Nunez had grabbed some first team action in pre-season action but he too has been transfer listed and has caught the attention of several clubs with Scunthrope leading the queue. Colin is now free to pursue his final two targets, a right winger and a striker but he is due also to sit down with Ross McCormack and sort out a deal for the Scot who he now realizes that he can’t afford to lose. Craig Makail Smith continues to be linked but it would be surprising to see Leeds spend £2M plus on a striker who is yet to be proven at this level. Still it is all looking a lot more promising than just a fortnight ago. The defence has taken shape and we are two are three players in midfield/attack away from being a real force. Paddy Power have us @ 4/1 to be promoted which looks real value. There are five are six clubs priced less than that.

Sat August 4th. Preston 1-3 Leeds United. Goals from Tom Lees (31) and second half strikes from Sam Byram and Aidy White completed a scrappy 3-1 win at PNE. Kisnorbo got his first action of the pre-season (30 mins alongside Pearce at centre half and it was good to see Luciano Becchio get 60 mins under his belt. Next up Burton Abion on Tuesday night.

Sat Aug 4th 2012. Peltier completes move. Patience proved key for Colin as Lee Peltier became signing number ten for Colin this summer for an undisclosed fee, thought to be £600K. The right full displaces has signed a three year contract and will keep the number two shirt and hopefully forcing Connolly to consider a career outside of LS11.

Thursday August 2nd. Thursday’s news from Elland Road.Today Dominic Matteo stated that Leeds must keep Ross McCormack at all costs, especially after losing Robert Snodgrass. Sky Sports report that Neil Warnock has made ano offer for Craig Makail Smith and has him as his new number one target of the Summer. Brighton want an exchange deal with Ross McCormack plus cash. Such a deal with be folly for Leeds because McCormack is the better scorer and he is younger. Unlike Snodgrass, McCormack has offered an olive branch to Leeds saying that he is awaiting an offer from Leeds insisting that “his missus and 8 year old month child are settled in Leeds”. Surely Leeds can’t afford to lose top scorer McCormack and what message would that send to those who have yet to renew their season tickets ?