July 2012

Tuesday July 31st to Weds Aug 1st. Latest News Leeds drew 1-1 with Sandefjord of the Norwegian Second Division with Jason Pearce netting the first goal of his Leeds career. Neil Warnock described it as his team’s “toughest test yet”. Elsewhere, Billy Paynter’s week long trial with Blackpool was cut short as it looks now like he will have to consider his options in League One. Flop, Andy O’Brien is at last off the wage bill as he links up with Vancouver Whitecaps, Peter Lorimer’s  old side.

Monday July 30th. Paynyer in exit talks. Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has confirmed striker Billy Paynter has spoken to a ‘few clubs’ regarding a transfer. PaynterDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif was placed on the transfer list by Warnock at the end of last season and he has scored just three goals in 27 league appearances since his 2010 move from Swindon Town.Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif The 28-year-old had a spell on loan at Brighton & Hove Albion last term and was not involved in Leeds’ recent pre-season games against Tavistock and Bodmin. He also left the squad ahead of the friendly against Torquay UnitedDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif to discuss a possible move away from Elland Road and Warnock is waiting to receive a suitable offer. “Billy’s talked to a few clubs,” Warnock told the club’s official website. “There’s a number after him but it’s got to be right for us.” Doncaster RoversDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif were strongly linked with a bid for Paynter last week, with manager Dean SaundersDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif close to improving his own squad. However, reports on Monday claimed that Leeds’ Championship rivals BlackpoolDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif were on the brink of finalising a deal for Paynter.

Mon July 31st. Latest re Becchio, Kenny and Austin Luciano Becchio is likely to remain in England when Leeds United head for Wednesday’s friendly against Sandefjord as the club work to restore his fitness in time for the start of the Championship season. Becchio was expecting to be omitted from the squad named by manager Neil Warnock to fly to Norway, and he will undergo rigorous training sessions at Thorp Arch after sitting out of most of United’s tour of Devon and Cornwall. The striker made one appearance in the south of England but suffered an ankle injury in Leeds’ 6-0 victory over Tavistock and did not play in either of their friendlies against Bodmin Town or Torquay United. Warnock was also considering journeying to Sandefjord without first-choice goalkeeper Paddy Kenny who has a minor thigh strain and also made just one appearance during last week’s tour. The Leeds boss said both injuries were minor and admitted that Becchio was left out of Friday’s win at Torquay as a pre-caution having all but overcome his twisted ankle. A full week of training would put him in contention to play in Saturday’s match at Preston North End. The Argentine forward was hampered last season by a hamstring operation which sidelined him until the second month of the term and appeared to affect his form throughout United’s campaign. Warnock is hopeful that a schedule of training this week will ensure that Becchio is match fit for their first Championship match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 18. Warnock said: “We’ve had three hard games down south and come away with only one real casualty but Luciano’s okay now.“We’ll probably work on his fitness this week and we might not take him to Norway with us. “We’ll maybe give him two or three sessions a day while we’re over there.”Becchio has been an influential figure at Elland Road for much of the past four years, producing a 20-goal haul during his first season in the Championship in 2010-11, but he struggled to make an impact last term after missing the whole of the club’s pre-season schedule. Leeds attempted to nurse him through a hamstring problem but were eventually forced to send him for surgery on a ruptured tendon, ruling him out of the early stages of the campaign which followed. The thigh strain affecting Kenny, meanwhile, developed before United’s friendly at Bodmin on Wednesday but he was fit enough to take part in the warm-up before both that fixture and Leeds’ 2-1 victory over Torquay on Friday night.New signing Jamie Ashdown stood in for him in those matches, competing 90 minutes at Priory Park and Plainmoor, and he is likely to start against at Sandefjord.Warnock said: “We’re probably going to leave Paddy behind too and let him build himself up. It’s his thigh that’s bothering him and we don’t want to do anything silly for that. But he’s got a great chance of being fit for the Preston game.”Another player who Warnock wants to involve at Deepdale is Rodolph Austin, his £300,000 signing from Norwegian side SK Brann. Austin has agreed the terms of a three-year contract at Elland Road but the completion of his transfer depends on him securing a work permit – something United expect him to receive but which previously prevented a mooted move to Stoke City. The midfielder’s fitness is unlikely to be in question, however, with Brann currently in the thick of the Norwegian Premier League season – Austin turned out for the club as recently as eight days ago – but Warnock is keen to give the Jamaican a run-out in United’s remaining friendlies. “He might be alright for Preston and I definitely want him to get a couple of games in if possible,” Warnock said. “But he’s been playing in Norway so he’s not lacking match fitness. I’d imagine he’ll fit in straight away.”The United manager is free to take new signing David Norris to Norway after Leeds concluded the former Ipswich Town captain’s transfer from Portsmouth on Friday. Warnock has still to decide who to hand the armband to on a permanent basis after his former club captain, Robert Snodgrass, quit Leeds on Thursday to join Norwich City in a £3million deal. Michael Brown, Tom Lees and Paul Green have all captained United in pre-season, with 35-year-old Brown expected to officially sign a new one-year deal this week. But further new signings are planned before the season starts, in addition to nine made already, and Warnock will bide his time before naming Snodgrass’ successor. “I think it’s important for a club like Leeds to have a good captain and the right captain,” he said. “Some managers don’t think it’s that big a deal but captaining Leeds is a great honour and I’ve got my ideas about what I’ll do. “At the moment I’m going to give a few lads the chance to say they’ve done it and had that fantastic privilege but I’ll make a decision when everyone’s here and the time’s right.” The coming days could also see developments with striker Billy Paynter who is on the transfer list and attracting interest from Doncaster Rovers and Notts County. He was part of United’s touring party in Devon and Cornwall but was unable to playing due to a niggling groin strain. Warnock said: “He’s talking to a few clubs and quite a number are after him. He fancies one or two of them but it’s got to be right for us too.“I wish we’d had him on the bench at Torquay. We were bit short of numbers and Andy Gray had to stay on to the end when I’d much rather have brought him off”.

Cranie looking for a contract

Mon July 30th. Cranie to be signing number 10. Leeds United manager Neil Warnock is looking to strike a deal with Martin Cranie after the former Coventry City defender reached the end of his pre-season trial. Warnock admitted he would be happy to add Cranie to the squad at Elland Road if Leeds and the centre-back can agree terms on a suitable contract. Cranie, is a free agent after leaving Coventry in May and he has featured in all of United’s four pre-season friendlies, including three in Devon and Cornwall last week. A 45-minute outing at Torquay United on Friday night brought Cranie’s fortnight-long trial to a conclusion and Warnock is open to the possibility of signing the 25-year-old. Warnock said: “He’s a steady player and what I’d call a squad player.  “Where it goes from here really depends on what Martin’s looking for and what we can afford to offer him. He’s calm, collected and a good lad who’s fitted in well with the other players. We just need to chat things over and see what happens.” United did not concede a single goal in any of their first four friendlies with Cranie on the pitch, and he and Jason Pearce were paired in the centre of defence throughout the first week of Leeds’ pre-season schedule. Warnock has an alternative centre-back in youngster Tom Lees but he requires cover in that area with Andy O’Brien likely to move on from Elland Road after being transfer listed at the end of last season. Warnock’s priority in the transfer market is securing a new striker and he is also seeking a specialist right-back, with Leicester City’s Lee Peltier high on his list of options. But having signed no fewer than five players last week, he does not expect any new faces to appear in United’s next friendly against Sandefjord in Norway on Wednesday, saying: “I wouldn’t have thought any of my targets will come in before then. Although you never say never with us.”

Mon July 30th. Eddie Gray – Two new faces can compete jigsaw. WE’VE now brought in nine new signings and I think Neil Warnock is getting the players in that he thinks are going to be strong enough and good enough to challenge for promotion. And I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it yet either. I think Neil will be looking to sign another one or two. I just think he’ll be looking all over and I still feel he’ll be looking at maybe another defender or midfield player. It looks like we have got plenty of strikers now and I imagine he would be going for someone who can play out wide, with Robert Snodgrass leaving – which I think is a blow for the football club. I think that will be an area Neil will be looking at it and it also depends where he is going to play Aidy White this year. It depends whether he is going to play him on the wing or at full-back and that will be something else to consider. I think he may try him further forward and keep him there. Neil is so far basically bringing players to the football club with experience – players who have been around a bit at a good level. That augurs well for the future but the only thing is we have got to wait to see how they perform at Elland Road and see whether they can get it together. The other thing about it is that Neil has got four players from one football club in Jason Pearce, Luke Varney, Jamie Ashdown and David Norris who have all come from Portsmouth. They will all know each other and I think that’s a good thing. It’s not so much about them gelling on the football field, it’s about feeling comfortable in your surroundings. And if you’ve got a few people that you know, then that helps as it’s a long way from Leeds to Portsmouth. A lot of these players have played at a higher level and I think the supporters can really start to look forward to the new season now. Obviously my brother Frank’s boy (Andy Gray) has also signed and I’m delighted that Andrew is back here. It was a long time ago that he left Leeds United Football Club and it’s nice that he’s got a contract. I am delighted for Andrew because he works hard, he keeps himself fit and obviously he has impressed Neil and his staff enough because he is not a young player any more. But he must have impressed them enough with his level of fitness and his attitude to warrant his contract and I’m delighted for him. I see a lot of Andrew and his wife and the kids and I am delighted personally. He’s been up to our place a few times, he’s friendly with our kids and he set himself a goal to get a contract. Now he’s just got to see how it works out but I’m pleased for him because he lives in the local area and he started his career at Leeds United. Now he could end his career at Leeds United too. The friendlies are obviously well underway at Leeds now but I haven’t been down to Cornwall and the first game I’ll be going to is the Preston game. That’s a week before we play Shrewsbury in the League Cup which is the Saturday before we play Wolves in the league. But by the Preston game Neil should basically have his squad together. Before that they have got this game in Norway on Wednesday (against Sandefjord) and then Preston and then it’s basically down to business in the Championship with a friendly at Burton in between. Leeds seem to have done well in the friendlies so far but it doesn’t mean that much because of the clubs they have been playing. You don’t get carried away as they are not playing against any teams of any great quality like the quality they are going to meet in the Championship. But it’s still nice and basically it’s just a fitness exercise – getting the players fit and ready for the whole campaign ahead. It’s a long 10 months. In the meantime, the Olympics have started and I watched Great Britain’s game against Senegal but I couldn’t really get into it if I’m perfectly honest. Football doesn’t come into my mind when I think of the Olympics – it’s athletics and all the rest of it. When I think of football I think of the European Championships and the World Cup. As well as the Senegal game I also thought Japan played well against Spain. I think they are going to be an up-and-coming nation and in the next eight or 10 years Japan could be a force in world football and it’s nice to see these countries competing. But to be perfectly honest I can’t really get into the Olympic football and I’d rather be watching Leeds United against Wolverhampton. I’m more looking forward to seeing Usain Bolt running than watching the football! – I’m sorry Eddie,  I disagree. I think we are at least three players and maybe four short. Assuming we get a full back and I honestly don’t know how good Peltier is, we need a goal scoring centre forward, a creative winger and a midfielder who can open up defences with a pass. All these guys need to be team players rather than squad players and all these guys will cost a few bob.

July 29th. McCormack swop for Mackail-Smith may still be on Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he would like to keep Ross McCormack at the club. Last season`s leading goalscorer at the club, looks to be on his way out after turning down the offer of a new deal, as he moves into the final year of his current contract with the club. McCormack was on target twice on Friday night in Leeds 2-1 pre-season win at Torquay and Warnock says he doesn`t want the Scottish international striker to leave the club. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “There have been a couple of clubs ask about buying him but we don`t want to sell him unless there is a player exchange. “I would rather keep him and Ross knows that. I think we will have to play it by ear. If Ross starts to enjoy himself, which I think he is then we will see how it goes.”We can`t lose players like Snodgrass and McCormack with replacing them, where would the goals come from?” McCormack scored 19 goals last season and there has been plenty of attention for the striker from other clubs this summer. Huddersfield, Crystal Palace, Bristol City, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Wolves have all been linked with the 25 year old who signed for Leeds in the summer of 2010 from Cardiff City.There has also been talk of a deal with Brighton and Hove Albion that would see Craig Mackail-Smith come to Leeds in a swap deal. Having watched the highlights of the Torquay match, McCormack was different class to the offensive players that we had on the park. His two strikes with either foot and both from well outside the box are what we have come to expect from a player who chips in with nearly 20 goals per season if playing and fit. Snodgrass and McCormack will definitely leave big shoes to fill. We haven’t as yet got two players at the club to fill in for both of these guys and Luke Varney (with all due respect) is a squad player and is no Robert Snodgrass. Three weeks to go to identify more replacements. 

July 29th. So who will be captain ? Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he is giving everyone a chance before deciding who will be the new captain of the club.Leeds are looking for a new captain this season after the sale of Robert Snodgrasss in the week to Norwich City. Warnock was being very coy when talking to Yorkshire Radio after the game at Torquay United on Friday night. “I will make a decision once I have seen them all. Tom Lees was gobsmacked when I gave it to him.” So far this summer, Warnock has used four different captains in Leeds four games. Michael Brown (Farsley), Tom Lees (Bodmin) and Paul Green (Torquay) have all started games as captain, with departing captain Snodgrass wearing the armband at Tavistock.

July 29th. Vital Football Porsmouth on the Leeds Pompey players Leeds have signed goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown, midfielder David Norris and winger/striker Luke Varney in the last seven days and Vital Portsmouth editor Pompeyrug gives us the lowdown on the trio. Jamie Ashdown  What are his strengths and weaknesses? Definite strengths are his shot-stopping ability, in particular from close range when he can have lightening quick reactions. That part of his game has never been in doubt although he does not command his area as well as I feel a keeper should and his distribution is pretty poor.A good keeper that will not let you down when called upon, although I am disappointed that he has seemingly taken the easy route out and accepted a no.2 role at Elland Road as he will clearly play second fiddle to Paddy Kenny. There must have been a club that would have taken him on as the no.1, but hey, we all have to earn a crust eh! How good is he aerially? Not mentioned above but this too is not really one of his strongest areas. He often sits back and waits for defenders to deal with crosses rather than coming for them himself. That said I guess it is better to leave than to come and flap at something you are not sure about…Does he command his area? See above, a definite weakness of his as he is nowhere near as commanding as he should be. Distribution? Weakest part of his game, as mentioned above. Shot stopping? Positional sense (not that I am a keeper) I sometimes questioned him from free-kicks so his shot stopping from distance has, at times, been something I have questioned before but all in all his shot stopping is really good. Some of his close range reaction saves are outstanding. A double save he made against Watford a few years back are among the best I have ever witnessed personally, although one against Derby in a sky game might have been seen, that was phenomenal. Seems when he does not have time to think he excels perhaps? If you could describe Ashdown in three words, what would they be? Solid and reliable. Luke Varney What are his strengths and weaknesses? In all honesty, whilst he started last season quite well injuries did not help so we did not see the best of him. That said I had this feeling that once he was fit his heart was not ever really in it and he had wanted to move on, but we refused a move to Forest as it was not in the best interests of the club at the time. Strengths I would say are his pace, he has a decent amount of this when he wants to use it and can also put in a good shift, so work rate is decent if he us up for it! Weaknesses are his lack of application when he is not up for it. Also, it seems that if he has too much time to think about it he will often fail to convert. What is his preferred position and is he versatile? He can play out on the wing, and (as said) can do this effectively if he is up for it, but an out and out striker is where I feel he prefers to play. If you could describe Varney in three words, what would they be? As far as thoughts for Leeds go) Decent squad player. David Norris What are his strengths and weaknesses? He certainly puts in a shift and is not afraid to put his boot in to make a challenge, will also ‘take one for the team’ if needed. Sometimes it is what you do not see that makes a difference so if you do watch him he covers a lot of the pitch in a game getting up and down it. Never afraid to have a pop and scores some belters, his equaliser against Scum on the volley was awesome and will see Chuck take his place forever in Pompey folklore. Although he did not exactly set us alight early on when he got going I really liked Chuck but would say his main weakness is perhaps his size, he is a lot smaller than I thought he was, but to be fair still has a good body strength to compensate. Perhaps his limited pace cannot help at times too. What is his preferred position and is he versatile? Definitely a central midfielder, but reckon he could play in front of the back four but perhaps just off the strikers would see the very best of him? If you could describe Norris in three words, what would they be? Dependable team player

July 28th. Neil’s bid to unify club needs a helping hand – Phil Hay YEPWith one glaring exception, Leeds United’s pre-season tour of Devon and Cornwall has been a lesson in positive PR: inclusive, welcoming, sensibly mapped out. It was Neil Warnock’s intention and a product of his philosophy. Nurture a club’s support and they will nurture you. He had bridges to build from the outset at Elland Road – bridges burned by other people – and he has done so religiously since the day of his arrival. Three months in the job last season was enough to show him what happens when Leeds and their crowd find themselves at odds. The concerted effort on his part to repair that relationship has done him credit. You sense it is appreciated. On Tuesday, somewhere in the region of 400 supporters travelled into the Cornish countryside to watch an open training session and mingle with United’s players. “I’ve never seen them train before,” said one fan. “I was more bothered about this than going to the friendlies.” So far so good. Then along comes a bid for Leeds’ club captain, in the midst of a takeover which is dragging its heels, and the old grievances return. It was impossible not to sympathise with Warnock as he stood in the changing rooms at Bodmin Town, deflated by Robert Snodgrass’ defection but anxious too that the £3m sale should not be allowed to set the tone for next season. He will realise that these moments have historically inflicted great damage on the mood he is working to raise. It is clear enough that when the time came, the decision to leave was Snodgrass’. The tipping point was the bid submitted by Norwich later last week but Warnock’s desperation to keep him led him to take Snodgrass south regardless and play him in Monday’s friendly against Tavistock. It is also clear that the prospective new owners of Leeds, whoever they are, took it upon themselves to make one final play to make the Scot reconsider. All that can be said is that Warnock did everything he could. The timeline since he became manager in February is one of relentless courtship – granting Snodgrass’ wish by giving him the armband, securing the offer of a more realistic contract for a player of his value, talking the winger up whenever the media gave him the chance. His sale will not be classed as Warnock’s fault. It is the legacy of a problem which precedes his appointment at Elland Road. The question is why it took Warnock’s arrival for a deal so good to land at Snodgrass’ feet. Though the contract was never signed, it does not appear to have been a half-hearted proposal. A source close to Snodgrass told the YEP last week that it was “75 per cent right” but difficult to negotiate while the proposed takeover of the club remained incomplete. The time to offer that level of contract was not March but last summer when the Canaries waded in with their first bid for Snodgrass. It can hardly be argued that the Scotland international was any more impressive last season than he was in the 2010-11 term. The reason he stood out more vividly last season was a shortage of players with comparable talent but his class has always been clear. Leeds paid for a situation which was going nowhere until Warnock got involved. By then, it seems, it was too late. So Snodgrass goes and Leeds move on as they did after Jonathan Howson, Max Gradel et al. The difference on this occasion is that they will move on immeasurably once the change of ownership at Elland Road occurs and provided the new owners are fit and proper in a footballing sense. It is impossible to say never again with a player like Snodgrass – some scenarios run their own course, and the lesson of his exit on Thursday was that transfers tend to happen when footballers want them to – but the loss was symptomatic of a lack of foresight. It is plainly a blow to Warnock and he did not pretend otherwise. Yet nine signings are in place and you get the impression that he is confident of pulling his squad together even if the takeover runs close to the start of the Championship season or beyond. Warnock has money now from the departure of Snodgrass and time to invest it. As he said on Thursday: “It’s not like the season’s starting tomorrow. We’ve got three weeks still.” That point not withstanding, there are some above him who could give him a hand. Snodgrass’ sale brought sharply into focus the lack of clarity about the takeover and what it will mean for the club and next season. As time ticks on and the uncertainty continues, the pressure for answers gets more intense. There are good reasons for silence, of course, but equally good reasons for the silence to end. Until an announcement comes, it seems it will be left to Warnock to keep the wider Leeds United family happy. He made a good fist of that battle in Devon and Cornwall and would no doubt be relieved to reach August 18 without any of the negativity which hung over Leeds at the start of last season. His efforts so far do not deserve that.

July 28th. Colin happy with tour. Neil Warnock hailed a successful week after United wrapped up the tour of the south west with a 2-1 win at Torquay United on Friday evening. Two super strikes from Ross McCormack settled matters at Plainmoor, and the boss was able to reflect on another good win, and a successful pre-season tour. “It’s been a tough week for the lads,” said the boss. “The heat has been on hasn’t it? They’ve played three games in five days and they’ve done ever so well. “We were glad to come out unscathed on Friday. They’ve got minutes under their belt, and I thought they looked a bit jaded towards the end, but that’s understandable given what they’ve done this week. I think Martin has a good team at Torquay as well.”I’ve always enjoyed Torquay. They’ve done ever so well with what they’re doing, and they’ve got their new stand. They’re a progressive club and I’ll come here and watch when I hang up my boots. “We always get a nice welcome here and we’ve had Bodmin and Tavistock as well this week, and you couldn’t meet nicer people. It’s been great for PR and the Leeds fans have enjoyed themselves. “The pitches have been good as well. It’s just about fitness. We had really tough sessions before the games. It’s about building fitness. It’s never easy to beat Torquay here. Last time I did it we won promotion so let’s hope that’s an omen.” Over 2,500 Leeds fans again turned out in force for the win at Torquay and the strength and size of the club’s support was further emphasised during the week-long stay in the south west.”Look at the fans. What can you say about them?” beamed the manager. “I don’t think the new lads knew what had hit them. It even took me by surprise. Torquay on a night?”I bet we did wonders for Cornwall’s tourism this week, I bet we filled all the B and Bs. You’d have paid a fortune to go away and not get better weather than we’ve had.”

Snodgrass

July 28th. Snods says thanks. Robert Snodgrass has delivered a parting shot to Leeds United by issuing a thank-you to the club’s supporters.The Scot completed his move to Norwich City earlier this week, but was keen to say his farewells properly after a four-year stay which he admits he will never forget. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person connected with Leeds United for your support over the past four years,” said the Scot. “It’s a fantastic club with an unbelievable fanbase and nothing would make me happier than to see Leeds United back in the Premier League. “I felt the frustration of the Leeds United fans last season and that is why I stayed on a further year to try and help the club back to where they belong. But I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play Premier League football this time around. “I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Neil Warnock and his backroom staff all the best for the new season and the near future”

July 27th. Norris and Austin sign in Leeds have completed the signing of 31 year old David Norris on a three year contract and fellow midfielder Rodolph Austin has also signed a contract with the club but must fly to Jamaica to finalise some paperwork before hoining up with the squad.

July 27th.Torquay 1-2 Leeds United Leeds Team: Ashdown, Lees, Cranie (Byram 46), Pearce, Drury, White (Rogers 79), Green, Brown (Thompson 79), Varney (Pugh 65), Gray, McCormack (Poleon 65). Leeds United continued their build up to the new season with a 2-1 win at Torquay United. Two goals from Ross McCormack early in the game made it a comfortable evening for Leeds as they ended their tour of the south west with another win. McCormack opened the scoring on seven minutes with a low left foot shot from the edge of the area. Four minutes later, he doubled the lead when his free kick hit the inside of the post before going in. Ian Morris dragged wide for the hosts when he got In behind the Leeds defence. Paul Green should have added a third before half time when he screwed wide from close range. Torquay had a great opportunity close to half time when Bodin was allowed to waltz through the Leeds defence, but Jamie Ashdown made a smart save low to his left. The second half was being played at a very sedate pace. Dominic Poleon came on for Leeds with 25 minutes remaining to add some spark to the game. Torquay got themselves back into the game with just fifteen minutes remaining when substitute MacKenzie scored within ten seconds of entering the field. The goal did seem to wake Leeds up and Poleon saw a fierce drive from the edge of the area saved by Poke in the Torquay goal. Leeds held on to make it four wins out of four so far in pre-season. The impetus will now be stepped up with a trip to Norway to face Sandefjord next Wednesday, who are already well into their season.

July 27th. Leicester Mercury – Leeds to make second bid for Peltier Leeds are expected to make a second bid for Leicester City defender Lee Peltier next week after manager Neil Warnock confirmed his interest in signing the player. The Leeds boss admitted Peltier was a transfer target of his as he looks to rebuild his side. He said he hoped to have a new right-back on board by the end of next week. Peltier is understood to be Warnock’s preferred target. “We’ve made enquiries about a few,” he said. “There’s three on the radar and Lee is one of them. So we’ll see what happens. “I’m sure we will pull a full-back in over the next week.” It is understood that both Leeds and Huddersfield have had bids of £600,000 rejected by City for the 25-year-old. Peltier only joined City last summer from Huddersfield in a £750,000 deal. The Terriers had thought they had agreed a deal to re-sign Peltier but their bid was rejected before City’s recent Austrian training camp.Reports from Huddersfield say the Terriers have now dropped out of the race after being told City wanted £850,000 for Peltier. Peltier made 44 starts for City last season, 39 in the Championship, and City consider his value to have increased because of the experience, although the signing of Ritchie De Laet from Manchester United has put Peltier’s starting position in doubt for this season. But sources at Leeds still feel they can do a deal and Warnock now has funds following the sale of his most bankable commodity, midfielder Robert Snodgrass to Norwich.

July 27th. Billy to Donny ? Doncaster Rovers are targeting a move for Leeds United striker Billy Paynter. The 28-year-old was transfer listed at the end of last season by the Championship side. He joined Leeds from Swindon in June 2010 but struggled to make an impact at Elland Road, scoring just three times in 27 league appearances and spent time on loan at Brighton last season. Boss Dean Saunders told BBC Radio Sheffield: “I’m hoping to do a couple of deals over the next day or two.” Paynter scored 26 goals in League One for the Robins in 2009-10.

July 27th. 2012. The Scratching Shed, Neil Warnock’s major surgery is reaching its end-game with just 22 days to go until the opening match against Wolves. With the takeover still not completed, and Leeds facing cash-flow issues under the current ownership, Warnock hasn’t done a bad job so far. (Warnock, who famously assured Nigel Clough: “You’ll never see another Leeds United or Neil Warnock team like this again”)has allowed five players contracts to expire this May. He has since sold Adam Clayton and Andy Lonergan for a combined total of around £800,000. Meanwhile, the wheeler-dealer has signed Adam Drury, Paul Green and David Norris on frees, as well as signing Jason Pearce, Paddy Kenny and Rodolph Austin for a combined total of around £1.3m. And while Warnock was desperate to keep want-away midfielder Robert Snodgrass, who told Norwich he “jumped at the chance” to sign for the bookies’ tip for relegation, the reported £3m-plus-variables fee, with £1.5m up front, will prove vital in his bid to create a hard-to-beat team capable of a consistent push to promotion. Warnock has told fans of his determination to find 3 “icing on the cake” players to turn an upper-mid table team into promotion contenders, and already looks set to use £800,000 on the long awaited capture of Leicester full-back Lee Peltier (whose price has risen by about £500,000 in the past month thanks to the lack of cash available to the gaffer) to round off probably the strongest Leeds defence since Gary Kelly retired. Next on Warnock’s list is a quality striker and he will have the funds to capture a good one. Links to Leeds continue to include Jay Bothroyd, Jermaine Beckford, Craig Mackail-Smith and Nicky Maynard. Warnock said: “We don’t know what’s going to happen with Ross [McCormack] and I want to strengthen that area by getting lads who we know will score goals in the Championship. It’ll be a relief when we sign someone of the calibre I’m looking for”. With interest in several transfer listed players including Billy Paynter and Andy O’Brien, and with McCormack possibly leaving, and about £3m already in the ‘warchest’, Warnock will look to sign the quality that differentiates a promotion chasing team from an upper mid table one, and the next couple of weeks could be crucial to Leeds’ hopes next season. But let’s not forget the importance of the January window. It is vital Warnock is given what he needs this summer, and with new owners waiting in the wings he probably will receive the money from player sales for once. But the winter window is a vital follow-up to the summer window. Warnock was active for QPR in January 2011, bringing in 4 players to help the club over the line, while last season’s champions Reading also brought in 4 players to help their surge to the title. Leeds signed Andy O’Brien while releasing six senior players in 2010-11’s winter window, and Robbie Rogers signed while we sold club captain Jonny Howson in 2011-12. The winter window will be another crucial period for the club, and with Bates apparently on his way out, it looks like we might finally have the backing we need all year round to mount a serious promotion challenge next season, and we should have the stable finances to build on this season’s campaign should we fail

July 27th. Hitmen are in United’s sights” – YEP. Leeds United were redoubling their efforts to bring new strikers to Elland Road today after beating Sheffield Wednesday to the signing of David Norris. Norris has agreed a move from Portsmouth to Leeds – the fifth player to commit to United in less than a week – and manager Neil Warnock is turning his attention to other areas of his squad with his midfield taking shape. Leeds have already signed Paul Green from Derby County and lined up a deal for Jamaica international Rodolph Austin whose £300,000 transfer from SK Brann depends only on the 25-year-old receiving a work permit. Norris’ agreed his move subject to a medical and was expected to finalise the transfer today, and Warnock expressed satisfaction at landing a midfielder who held talks with Sheffield Wednesday on Monday afternoon. The United boss has now secured the services of nine new players but his hunt for signings is continuing at pace, following Robert Snodgrass’ £3million move to Norwich City last night on a three-year deal. United are also at risk of losing last season’s top-scorer, Ross McCormack, who has failed to agree an extension to a contract which expires next summer, and Warnock admitted that out-and-out goalscorers were at the forefront of his mind with Norris’ transfer effectively sealed. Leeds were linked with West Ham United’s Nicky Maynard earlier this week and have also taken an interest in Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith. Leeds and Brighton are thought to have discussed the possibility of a swap-deal involving Mackail-Smith and McCormack. Warnock said: “We’re making enquiries and signing strikers is a big focus for us. I’ll definitely be bringing at least one in. “We don’t know what’s going to happen with Ross and I want to strengthen that area by getting lads who we know will score goals in the Championship. It’ll be a relief when we sign someone of the calibre I’m looking for. “There’s work to be done there but we’ve got three weeks until the (Championship) season starts. It’s time enough to put the icing on the cake but it’s going to take some hard work. This summer’s been nothing but hard work.” Warnock took United south for their pre-season tour of Devon and Cornwall on Sunday with only four players signed but a further five additions this week have greatly altered the complexion of his squad. It was affected also by the sequence of events which saw Leeds approve Norwich’s offer for Snodgrass on Wednesday morning. But Norris gave Warnock a timely lift by rejecting the chance to move to Hillsborough and agreeing a deal which Warnock had been proposing for almost three months. The former Ipswich Town and Plymouth Argyle midfielder is an experienced addition with more than 400 appearances behind him – and the fourth player to arrive at Elland Road from Portsmouth since the end of last season. Former team-mates Jason Pearce, Luke Varney and Jamie Ashdown have also trodden the same path. Warnock said: “Norris is another player who I’ve liked for a long, long time. He’s got goals in him which we want from midfield, especially with Snodgrass going. “He’ll have to fight for a place here because we’ve got good options in midfield now but he’ll have no problem with that. I know he had a few others clubs after him but I got the impression when I spoke to him for the first time that this was the move he wanted. We were his first choice.”United are also in the market for another defender and remain in contention to land right-back Lee Peltier from Leicester City. Warnock, meanwhile, expects to see departures from Elland Road in the near future after revealing that approaches have been made for forwards Billy Paynter and Ramon Nunez. Experienced defender Andy O’Brien is also the target of firm interest after being transfer-listed in May

July 27th “I’ve already signed Rob’s replacement” – Warnock – YEP. Neil Warnock has revealed that Luke Varney will be used to fill the gap left by Robert Snodgrass as he urged Leeds United to move on quickly from the sale of the Scotland international. Warnock admitted that Snodgrass’ move to Norwich City last night on a three-year deal had heightened the pressure on him to secure his “marquee signings” but Varney is set to operate as Snodgrass’ replacement next season after joining Leeds from Portsmouth in a £200,000 deal. The 29-year-old forward made his first appearance for the club in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly at Bodmin Town. Varney started the game on the left wing but drifted into a free role behind Andy Gray and Ross McCormack, scoring the opening goal in a 4-0 win. Warnock planned to use Snodgrass in a similar role next season but that strategy has been wrecked by Norwich’s successful bid to sign United’s club captain. Snodgrass passed a medical on Wednesday, 24 hours after City’s £3m offer was officially accepted, and he returned to Carrow Road yesterday to put the finishing touches to his transfer. United are to receive a payment of £1.5m up front and Warnock is intensifying his search for further signings, with strikers high on his list of priorities. The departure of Snodgrass could see Leeds step up their interest in West Ham United forward Nicky Maynard.But Warnock is optimistic that Varney’s arrival will compensate for the creative qualities of Snodgrass and the 13 goals scored by the Scottish winger last season. Varney’s tally during the 2011-12 Championship campaign totalled six. “I’ve always been trying to sign Luke Varney for that role,” Warnock said. “I’m sure Luke can get double figures in the Championship and we need double figures from someone in that position. “You’ve seen Rob’s contribution over the years and I had to make sure we covered that. But we’ve got to get other signings too – marquee signings if you like – and that was the case before Rob left. It’s still the case now.Asked about the challenge of stepping into Snodgrass’ shoes, Varney said: “I don’t think we’re here to replace anyone. We’re all here do our own jobs. But I must admit that when I signed he was one of the players I was looking forward to playing with. It’s unfortunate, but he’s a young lad and he can’t miss his chance of playing in the Premier League. I’m sure the fans are disappointed, as the players are, but we’ll move on.”Snodgrass’ departure after four seasons at Elland Road marks the end of a long-running campaign by the Canaries to sign him and a tireless fight by Warnock to try and persuade the 24-year-old to commit himself to Leeds for another season. His contract had less than 12 months to run and Snodgrass resisted the offer of a new deal, described by Warnock as the most lucrative offered to a player by United in “almost a decade”. As revealed in the YEP yesterday, the unnamed figures behind a proposed takeover of Leeds were involved in last-minute attempts to tie Snodgrass down. But Norwich’s interest has been clear since they bid around £3.5m for the former Livingston winger last summer, and an offer of £1.5mat the beginning of last week was improved ahead of Leeds’ first pre-season friendly at Farsley. Snodgrass travelled with Leeds on their tour of Devon and Cornwall in what appears to have been a final effort by Warnock to keep him close, but the United manager claimed the time was right to resolve the uncertainty over Snodgrass’ future with the Championship season due to start in three weeks’ time. “It’s one of those things, he said. “You don’t want it to happen and you can tell by the way I’ve been going on that I had no intention of letting him go without a fight. But there comes a point where you have to be a realistic and you have to move on. “I don’t think we could let it fester. It could only go on so long. There’s no way we could have a situation where we’re in the last week of pre-season and suddenly he goes. We’d have been completely flummoxed then. “We’ve got to plan without him but we’ve got time to plan without him and in the next two or three weeks I can set about putting everything in place and the icing on the cake.  “I didn’t want him to leave but if he had to leave then it was better happening now than in a month’s time. At least we know where we stand. “But I really did think we could persuade him to stay for another year. There’s been a lot of (speculation) about Rob, going right back to the time when I first came into Leeds, but I thought we had a good chance. “I’ve spoken to him so many times and he knew how I felt but I do think his head was turned. “I’m sure there are people at Norwich who know Rob, inside the dressing room and outside the dressing room, and it’s quite understandable if he sees it as an attractive move. “If you were in his boots would you do the same? That’s the question you’ve got to ask.  “I thought he’d be better off sticking with us, but some people would disagree. He obviously did.”City were promoted to the Premier League in 2011 and avoided relegation last year, in part with the help of two others players signed from Leeds, Bradley Johnson and Jonathan Howson. And in following Howson to Norfolk, Snodgrass is the second club captain to leave for Norwich in the space of six months. Warnock sought to earn Snodgrass’ commitment with the promise of promotion from the Championship next season but the prolonged wait for completion of takeover negotiations at Elland Road has hampered United’s recruitment drive. Warnock, however, is still convinced that the planned buy-out of Leeds will strengthen the club significantly in the weeks and months that follow it.The United boss said: “I’ve been let down by loads of players who I’d have put my life on sticking by me over my career. So nothing surprises me. “Rob wants to play in the Premier League and he wants to play for Scotland regularly and he thinks this is the right way to make that happen. “I think Leeds – if we get the right backing now – could be a far bigger club in 12 months’ time than the club he’s going to but that’s my opinion, not his, and time will tell. “There are a lot of questions but it’s gone now and we’ve got to move on. There’s no one player bigger than a club – I’ve always said that wherever I’ve been.”

Colin signing autographs

July 26th. Snods completes his move and what Warnock said about Snods and takeover. “I offered him the best contract he’s ever had and the best contract the club’s offered anybody for the best part of a decade. I made him captain and everyone knew I wanted to build the team around him. I couldn’t have been more open about that. But what do you do when people have their heads turned? Everyone at the club fought to keep him, talking to him about the future and what we saw our future being. I honestly think we did everything we could. In the end it’s down to the player himself because I don’t want to keep a player who doesn’t want to be here or who’s going to be worried about getting injured for the next six months. The game doesn’t work like that. There were other factors too and the takeover and all the complexity of the due diligence has probably gone on too long for us to sort this out. If it (the takeover) had been done three or four weeks ago then we’d have had a better chance but everyone behind the scenes is trying to do what’s best. These things take time and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. It makes my job that little bit more difficult but today’s another day and I’ll pick myself up,” Warnock said: “I need to start thinking about players who want to be here, not players who don’t. Rob made it clear he didn’t want to play for us.”  Tonight Robert Snodgrass completed his move to Carrow Road and signed a three year contract. “Sometimes this window of opportunity does not come about too often, and I jumped at the chance.” Snodgrass will join up once again with his former Leeds teammates Bradley Johnson and Johnny Howson, who both joined Norwich last season and helped the Norfolk club cement their place in their first season back in the Premier League. The Scotland international winger says he is now looking to help Norwich finish as high up the table as he can. “What Norwich did in the Premier League last season speaks for itself. Bradley Johnson and Johnny Howson kicked on for Leeds, and when you look at that, you think ‘I want to be part of it` and try to get Norwich as far up the table as they can possibly go, added Snodgrass.
July 26th. Trust demand update. “The Leeds United Supporters’ Trust want to express our frustration and disappointment with the way the takeover of Leeds United is being handled. We believe the time has come for the fans to be told that is happening at their club,” read a LUST statement. “The complete silence from the buyers and the wholly inadequate statements from the club itself have kept Leeds fans in the dark about what will become of their club after this summer. We respect the need for confidentiality and that the legal process needs time. However, we believe that Leeds United’s fans should also be respected. “By not responding to calls from the fans for information, the new owners are not beginning this key relationship in a positive way. Our members want to support a transparent and open Leeds United and being kept in the dark about who currently owns or runs their football club does nothing to achieve this.”

Norris

July 26th. Number 9 signing agreed.  Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign David Norris from Portsmouth, beating Sheffield Wednesday to the midfielder’s signature. Norris is expected to complete his transfer to Elland Road in the next 24 hours having travelled north to undergo a medical. The 31-year-old looked to be on the brink of a move to Hillsborough after holding talks with Wednesday earlier this week but Warnock has succeeded in landing a player he began chasing at the start of the summer. Norris will become United’s ninth signing of the close season and is joining the club in the same week as Warnock agreed deals with Andy Gray, Jamie Ashdown, Luke Varney and Rodolph Austin. He has made over 400 appearances in a long career which took him to Bolton Wanderers, Hull City, Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town before his move to Fratton Park last summer. Warnock told the Whites’ official website: “He has good energy and the way we are at the moment, you can’t get enough good players in that area. “I think he’ll fit in well, he’ll fight for his place and give us the competition.” Warnock added: “I’m looking for goals from midfield to help us with the loss of Snodgrass. We need to compensate that even though we’re looking to sign strikers.”

Templeton of Hearts linked – a decent winger

July 26th. Leeds linked with Hearts winger. Sergejus Fedotovas has insisted Hearts are in no rush to sell star winger David Templeton, a reported target for Leeds UnitedThe 23-year-old has just one year left to run on his contract at Tynecastle, but the Jambos are thought to be holding out for a bid of around £1million. Fedotovas told the Evening News: “We have had interest in Templeton but for us it is most important to look after the shape of the team. “We will evaluate that interest on the basis of what options there are to replace the player and strengthen the squad.” The interest is rumoured to be coming from several English clubs, with Leeds reportedly leading the chase.

July 25th. Bodmin 0-4 Leeds. Jamie Ashdown, Tom Lees, Adam Drury, Martin Crainie, Jason Pearce, Luke Varney, Paul Green, Michael Brown, Andy Gray, Ross McCormack, Aidy White. Subs used: Robbie Rodgers, Zac Thompson, Danny Pugh, Aiden Turner, Lewis Turner, Dominic Poleon, Ramon Nunez. Leeds United put four goals past Carlsberg South West Peninsula League champions Bodmin Town on Wednesday night, in game two of their pre-season tour.Around 3,000 fans made it through the gates at Priory Park for the match, more than double the attendance for Bodmin’s match with Premier League side QPR last summer. Leeds were without Robert Snodgrass, who left the pre-season tour of Cornwall to open talks with Norwich about joining the Carrow Road club. Luciano Becchio was also absent from the starting line-up having picked up an ankle injury in the 6-0 win over Tavitock on Monday nighy. The Argentinean took a place in a packed grandstand to watch the game with the large number of Leeds fans who have travelled to watch the match. Despite two key absentees, it was a strong line-up Leeds named. Ross McCormack, new signing Luke Varney and the impressive Aidy White all started.Bodmin named former Crystal Palace keeper, and Falmouth-born, Kevin Miller in their side, with Adam Carter providing a target man up front. t was a close opening 15 minutes, with Bodmin arguably creating the better chances. They had optimistic appeals for a penalty turned down when Carter was pulled back by Leeds United trialist Martin Crainie in the box. Shane Krac then hit an effort from the edge of the box, which was easily saved by goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown, who joined Leeds United from Portsmouth on Monday. Bodmin were defending well at this poin, getting two banks of four in front of the ball as Leeds pressed. However, the Championship club began to spread the play in the 16th minute, hitting a couple of cross-field balls to open up space. It allowed Paul Green to deliver an excellent cross for debutant Luke Varney to head home. Varney almost had a second moments later as McCormack played an good through-ball to him. However, the former Portsmouth striker elected to feed a pass to Andy Gray, instead of shooting, and Bodmin scrambled the ball clear. Further chances came Bodmin’s way in the first half as Crainie gave away a free-kick 30-yards from goal, which Krac drilled towards the Leeds United net forcing Ashdown to tip the ball over his crossbar. But it was Leeds who were beginning to take control of the game as the half wore on. They began to find space and Varney should have added a second when he blazed over from eight yards out. McComrack then played in Paul Green on 37 minutes, but his shot was well blocked by Miller. Further chances came as McCormack was denied a goal by the offside flag, before Gray continued his good scoring record in pre-season by firing in from close range, on 42 minutes, after Michael Brown’s effort had been blocked. Leeds were then given a fortunate penalty on the stroke of half-time as McCormack went down in the area, with the ball running out of play for a goal kick. To Bodmin’s annoyance, referee Brett Huxtable pointed to the spot and McCormack duly stepped up and drilled the spot kick into the right corner of Miller’s goal.Leeds added a fourth early in the second half as a cross into the box was palmed away from goal by Miller, under pressure from Gray. Unfortunately the keeper didn’t get sufficient distance on the save and White was on hand to drill a shot into the back of the Bodmin net.The second half was then disrupted by substitutions. Leeds rhythm was halted as the impressive White, McCormack and Gray all exited to make way for some of the youth and fringe players. As a result Ashdown was forced into a couple of good saves for Leeds United.At the other end Ramon Nunez had header blocked Miller and Dominic Poleon looked lively, but failed to deliver a telling final ball into the box and blasted a couple of efforts well wide of the target.

July 25th. Leeds to decide on Crainie on Friday The defender who was released by Coventry City at the end of last season after coming to the end of his contract has been training with Leeds since the start of pre-season. Cranie completed 90 minutes in the win over Bodmin Town this evening and he has featured in all three of Leeds pre-season games so far. Speaking after the win over Bodmin, Warnock said that the plan is to sit down with the player after the game with Torquay on Friday. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I said we would talk after the game at Torquay. He has come down for a week with us so I plan to sit down and talk to him after that.” The versatile defender, who can play anywhere across the back four, made 120 appearances for Coventry during three years at the Ricoh Arena. He started his career with Southampton, coming through their academy and he made his debut against Chelsea in 2004 as a 17 year old. After struggling to break into the Southampton side, where he made 25 appearances in three seasons he joined South coast rivals Portsmouth on a free transfer. He made just 5 appearances in two seasons at Fratton Park before signing for Coventry in 2009. During his time at Southampton and Bournemouth, he also had short loan spells at Bournemouth, Yeovil, QPR and Charlton. Cranie has also represented England at under 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 levels Leeds boss Neil Warnock has already signed one trialist after giving a one-year contract to Andy Gray earlier this week.

July 25th. Latest betting for promotion to the Premiership – Ladbrokes Beyond the three favourites to gain promotion from the Championship – Leicester (2/1), Bolton (9/4) and Wolves (5/2) – there are four closely matched contenders, with Cardiff, Blackburn, Leeds and Nottingham Forest all rated at 7/2. Who from that quartet is the most likely to secure a spot in the Premier League though? At present, it is Blackburn who present the most impressive case, with the predicted post-relegation fire sale yet to materialise. Yakubu has left with Junior Hoilett almost certain to follow but the likes of Paul Robinson and Morten Gamst Pedersen remain and the squad has been strengthened by the likes of Danny Murphy, Leon Best and Nuno Gomes. A number of promising Portuguese youngsters have also been recruited to supplement the talented graduates of the club’s own academy who are expected to stay. The sums invested, including a reported £3 million for Best, suggest that, as much as their faith in Steve Kean and lack of decisive leadership may provoke criticism, the owners are at least committed to trying to guide Blackburn back up. The other team that stood out as strong candidates were Leeds after a summer of revamping and being prepared by promotion specialist Neil Warnock. However, the anticipated £3 million sale of Robert Snodgrass to Norwich is a major blow. It is unclear how much of that money Warnock will be permitted to reinvest by unpopular chairman Ken Bates, as talk of a Middle Eastern takeover that started at a similar time to Nottingham Forest’s has gone alarmingly quiet. As far as Forest are concerned, the arrival of the Al-Hasawi family significantly increases their chance but Leicester’s heavy investment and miserable failure last season shows that spending plenty offers no guarantee of success. Cardiff are harder to call as they are always in the mix, making the play-offs in each of the last three campaigns, yet regularly fall short. It is worth waiting until mid-August to see who they add, with the likes of Craig Bellamy linked.

July 25th. Varney’s joy at being a White. Luke Varney has revealed that the chance of working for manager Neil Warnock made up his mind to make a dream move to Leeds United. The 29-year-old hit six goals in 28 starts for PortsmouthDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif last season but was facing an uncertain future at the troubled League One side as they battle to stay in business. But VarneyDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif was handed a lifeline by Warnock and spoke of his happiness at putting pen-to-paper on a two-year deal at Elland Road “I’m delighted it’s all complete,” said Varney. “Once I’d spoken with the manager I couldn’t wait. “I’m looking forward to working with him and this is a club I have always wanted to play for. “I know some of the lads here – those that I didn’t know have been really welcoming. And you see the training ground and the support…hopefully we will have a good season.”

July 25th. WHU – The game’s gone crazy ! Which is the bigger club, Norwich or Leeds? Ask Snodgrass! (I don’t often include articles from this closet Leeds fan but here goes)  So Captain Snakeinthegrass has cut short his Cornish holiday and headed off for contract talks with mighty Norwich City. Despite all Warnock’s redoubled efforts to persuade him to stay, offering him the captaincy and a promise to build the team around him, the best player on Leeds’ books has decided that the sisters are sweeter and more fun in Norfolk. What an odd decision! Doesn’t Snodgrass understand that Leeds are a huge club with a fantastic history and a wonderful future? Poor Warnock hasn’t been able to tell him anything “concrete” about the take over, but surely if it is imminent, he could have been offered a confidentiality agreement to sign, and then persuaded him that remaining with a club owned by billionaire Bahrainis would be better than joining country bumkin Norwich with Delia Smith as a director! This is madness! Snodgrass needs his head examining! Leeds are one of the biggest clubs in Europe, no, one of the biggest in the world, and Norwich are…well Norwich! How many Premiership titles have Norwich won? How many times have Norwich played in the Champions League? Marching On Together in Norwich? MOT stands for Mother On Top in Norfolk! But Snodgrass has decided that Norwich are the better bet. Makes you wonder about this take over doesn’t it? And makes you understand why Leeds were suddenly able to bid for Maynard – not that they have bid for Maynard you understand. A telephone enquiry is not a bid! Most definitely not! So how much will Norwich pay? £2.5m? Putting Bates and Leeds in profit for the summer dealings even if £1.5m is splashed on Maynard! So much for the Bahraini Billionaires! Snakeinthegrass clearly doesn’t reckon them!

July 25th. Snodgrass joins Howson and Johnson Leeds United captain Robert Snodgrass is on the verge of leaving Elland Road after the club accepted a £3 million offer from Norwich City. Snodgrass has quit United’s pre-season training camp in Cornwall and is due to open talks with Norwich today ahead of a proposed move to the Premier League club. It is understood Norwich have negotiated a £3 million deal with £1.5 million to be paid up front. Leeds manager Neil Warnock has been fighting to retain Snodgrass ever since his appointment as manager in February, naming the Scotland international as club captain and offering him a deal which would have made him the club’s highest paid player. But Snodgrass declined to accept that offer and entered the final year of his existing contract at the beginning of this month. Warnock told United’s official website : “Negotiations have been going on for weeks. I was hoping he would have had a change of heart and I can honestly say that in all my time in football, I’ve never worked as hard in trying to keep a player. He was offered the best contract, the captaincy, and we would have built a team around him so I am very disappointed. He’s made it clear what he wants to do and he’s had his head turned. He wants to play in the Premier League. He believes his Scotland international career may be better served in the Premier League, but I’m not so sure.” Warnock added: “The club is in the process of due diligence and there’s not a lot concrete we can say to him. ‘He’s seen and heard a lot of things over the past few years. But I am still disappointed. Very disappointed. Life moves on though.” Following a friendly win at Celtic on Tuesday night, Norwich City boss Hughton said: “We did put a bid in for (Snodgrass) a week or so ago and that is where we are at. He is a player we would like, hence the reason we made the bid, but of course he is a Leeds United player and until we are told otherwise that will be the case. ‘I would like to strengthen the squad but it has to be the right player because we have a good squad with good morale and good mentality, as showed last season. ‘It is important that the right player will enhance what we’ve got and give us the right competition in the right areas.” Beckford, Gradel, Howson, and now Snodgrass. It is widely believed that Snoddy was offered £15K per week, making him Leeds highest paid player at the club. Colin talked about building his team around him. Would he have stayed for £20K per week or was the lure of the Premiership and even lowly Norwich City greater ? Norwich probably even offered similar wages but Colin talked last week of his “head being turned” and that signalled the end. The broken promises of the past versus a couple more weeks of takeover completion which could possibly deliver considerable funds for a sustainable promotion challenge won out in the end. Snodgrass was very close to Clayton and McCormack and may not have liked the way they were treated. Was Snodgrass not convinced by Leeds buying clout were it seemed that players leaving dictated the pace and quality of the arrivals ? Ironically the last couple of days saw Colin’s most productive arrivals, four in one day. Alas, the damage was done before that. Does this bode well for our our new owners who would have had a huge say in him staying or going ? I suspect no, but maybe the clue is in what Snodgrass said on Tuesday 22nd of May to the Scotsman newspaper : He’s telling me what plans he has got for the club. But they told me the same type of plans the season before and it didn’t work out. So it’s hard to buy into these things again. “I’m captain now, so I should be able to just sit back and let everything else happen. But it’s a wee bit unfortunate that I’m in this situation again. I’ll make the right decision when the time comes. He’s already said he won’t be sticking around as manager for much longer “Who knows whether he’s got one or two more years left at Leeds? If it’s one year, and I don’t sign the contract, then I’ll be free next year. If I do sign, I’d have another year left and be in the same situation I am now. “So it’s alright for him to say he could get me a move, but if he leaves, then the people up above him in the football club are not going to worry about what he said. My future doesn’t lie in the hands of Neil Warnock, it’s in the hands of Robert Snodgrass.” Sadly, Robert I don’t think you have advanced your career in the long term by going to Norwich City, but we are Leeds fans and we are used to moving on whilst at the same time wishing you well.

July 26th. Gray back at Whites. United’s current assistant manager, Mick Jones, suggested last week that the 34-year-old had come to Leeds on trial a fortnight ago with “a point to prove” but Gray’s motivation is nothing to do with injustice or Graham’s decision to cut him loose. “That was a long time ago,” he said. “This is just a great opportunity for me.”Gray was looking for a new club after parting company with Barnsley and he began training with Leeds at his own suggestion. He knew Jones and United’s manager, Neil Warnock, from his short spell with Sheffield United and they were willing, in Warnock’s words, to “have a look” at a forward they rated and respected. For several weeks Gray resisted a deal on the table at Bradford City in the hope of earning himself a contract from Warnock. The offer he craved arrived on Monday as he and Leeds agreed a one-year deal shortly before the club’s pre-season friendly at Tavistock. Gray has returned to the fold at Elland Road by way of seven permanent transfers, numerous goals and countless competitive appearances. “There were a couple of times in past when I was moving clubs and Leeds were mentioned as an option,” Gray said. “I’ve been close to coming back before but it’s never actually happened.

“I wouldn’t call that a disappointment because I’ve had a good career and I’ve enjoyed my football but I’d have jumped at the chance to play for this club again. “I just didn’t expect it to work out that way, especially now. “I’m 34 and you kind of feel that if you haven’t had the opportunity (to rejoin to Leeds) by this age then you never will. “But when the manager got the job here I knew I’d done quite well for him at Sheffield United. It made me think. You never say never in football. “We had a chat and he said he’d take a look to see if I was fit enough. He must think I can still do a job. For me it feels like a good time to be here because things are happening. The next 12 months look exciting. “The manager’s stating quite openly that he wants to get one more promotion and he’s very hungry to do it. “I’ve watched him closely in the last few of weeks and he’s as hungry as he ever was at Sheffield United, that’s for sure. “He’s not messing about and he definitely wants to take this club up.”Any concerns about Gray’s physical condition were unfounded. As it transpired, he was fitter than many of the players who reported back to Thorp Arch for the first day of pre-season training on July 11, despite his age and his status as a free agent. But there was no pretence on the part of either Gray or Warnock to pretend that he was joining United in his prime. Gray will turn 35 in November and is under contract on a short-term basis, for 12 months.“I’ll do whatever he wants from me,” Gray said. “I’ve told him that I don’t expect to be playing every week but if I get a chance then I’ll take it. If he wants me to be a sub, to start or just be around the place then I’m happy to do my job and work hard.”Warnock, who admitted yesterday that his “crucial signings” are still to arrive at Elland Road, said: “He’s not signed a 10-year contract. It’s only one year but he’ll be a good asset in that period.  “Right from day one he wanted to sign here. He had one or two options lower down the leagues but he can give us good cover. “There’s always a goal in him and it’s the right time for him to be coming back. “He’s desperate to play for Leeds again and for the sort of contract we’re talking about, he’s well worth a shout.”The level of competition that Gray will face within Warnock’s squad next season is not yet clear. Striker Luke Varney has agreed to sign for Leeds from Portsmouth and Argentinian forward Luciano Becchio is evidently part of Warnock’s strategy for the term ahead. But United are continuing to listen to offers for top scorer Ross McCormack, who has attracted interest from Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace, and Billy Paynter is on the transfer list. The incomplete picture suggests that at least one more forward is likely to arrive before the Championship season begins on August 18. Gray is merely happy to be included in what is supposed to be a promotion year. He was approaching his teens when Leeds last won promotion from England’s second tier at 1990 but has not forgotten the buzz in the city. “I was about 13 when Leeds got promoted from this league last time,” he said. “I remember it vividly and the whole city took off.“The club have had a similar amount of time out of the top division this time as they did back then so everyone’s ready for it. To do it this season would be fantastic.”The achievement would not matter to Gray specifically because of his treatment by Graham and his disappointing exit from Elland Road after little more than 20 first-team appearances. It would matter because of his professional ambition, his many years as a supporter of the club and the strong ties between his family and Leeds. “I’m over the moon to be back,” he said. “Throughout my career whenever I’ve not had a game I’ve always watched Leeds. To come back and play for them is fantastic. I hope I make the most of the chance. “There might be a few regrets (about what happened under Graham) but circumstances change so quickly.  “Howard Wilkinson gave me my opportunity but he got sacked the following season and George Graham came in. He didn’t give me much of a chance. “That’s football and that’s how things worked out. I’d have loved to have stayed here longer. “But I don’t see this as unfinished business. I was never bitter and what happened was a long time ago. This is the club I support and my local team. “If I’m not playing football then I go and watch Leeds. “My kids support them and so does my whole family. “It’s not unfinished business – just a great opportunity and a privilege to be back.”

July 24th. “Crucial signings yet to come”. Neil Warnock’s plans for next season took a big step forward with four deals in one day – but the Leeds United manager insisted: “The crucial signings are still to come.” Warnock’s persistent work in the transfer market paid off yesterday as agreements with out-of-contract trialists Andy Gray and Jamie Ashdown followed confirmation that Luke Varney and Rodolph Austin were destined for Elland Road. Warnock’s tally of summer signings to eight, added to Jason Pearce, Adam Drury, Paul Green and Paddy Kenny. But Warnock said: “I feel like the crucial signings are still to come. “We need a couple of what I’d call excellent signings, maybe three of them. There’s some wheeling and dealing to be done in that area and it’s a priority for us now. “But I do feel the ball’s rolling. It’s taken time and it’s been hard work but we’ve put these signings to bed and I’ve got to work hard again to get the next one down.” Asked if further arrivals were dependent on funds provided to him by the planned takeover of Leeds, Warnock said: “We’re working hard to get the players in and trying to get deals over the line. “I’m as much in the dark as everyone else regarding the timing (of the proposed takeover). All I know is that everyone’s trying to help me secure players. I want to bring in the best players I can.” Now this is the kind of stuff Leeds fans want to hear and a positive link is certainly Nicky Maynard whom Leeds are allegedly chasing and has not exactly been a roaring success with Big Sam’s Hammers returning just 2 goals in 14 games since his big money move last season. He would be an excellent addition to Leeds and a good foil for Becchio.

Peltier of Leicester

July 24th. Will Peltier be number 9 ?Sky Sports understands Leeds United have made an official approach for Leicester City defender Lee Peltier. The former LiverpoolDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif right-back is expected to leave the Foxes this summer, with Leeds and Huddersfield vying for his services. Whites boss Neil Warnock is keen to bolster his defensive options as Paul ConnollyDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif is currently on the transfer list. “Luke should be down in the next 24 hours but Rodolph will need to go home for his work permit and everything else.” Peltier joined LeicesterDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif from the Terriers last summer, but it is understood he no longer features in manager Nigel Pearson’sDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif plans. Leeds could now steal a march on their West Yorkshire rivals by making the first move to land the 25-year-old. Meanwhile, one player set to join Leeds is Portsmouth’sDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif Luke Varney, with Warnock hoping to land his man inside the next 24 hours. The striker agreed a two-year deal with the Whites on Monday, while SK Brann midfielder Rodolph Austin needs to return to Jamaica and secure a work permit before completing his move to Elland Road. “Luke should be down in the next 24 hours but Rodolph will need to go home for his work permit and everything else,” Warnock told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “But it’s important to get him involved as soon as possible, just to give us a couple of weeks to work with him.”

Leeds United successful in test case against West Yorkshire PoliceMr Justice Eady gave judgment today in favour of Leeds United FC in a test case concerning police charges levied against the Club by West Yorkshire Police. West Yorkshire Police had sought to charge the club not just for policing in the stadium, but also for policing within a “footprint”, covering public car parks and the public highway abutting Elland Road. Mr Justice Eady held that such policing was within the normal duties of constables and hence could not be charged for as Special Police Services under section 25 of the Police Act 1996. Mr Justice Eady said at paragraph 41 of his judgment: “it seems wrong to discount the majority of well-behaved fans who come to Elland Road, whether Club supporters or visitors, all of whom retain their status as members of the public. In that capacity, they too are entitled to expect police protection.” Leeds United, Chief Executive, Mr Shaun Harvey, said: “We have never objected to paying for the cost of policing on land owned, leased or controlled by the Club. However West Yorkshire Police’s stance, to seek to charge us for policing the public highway and for areas away from the ground is a step too far. We have been paying under protest for the last 3 seasons on this basis and are pleased to have received this clarification in a dispute which was only capable of being resolved in front of a judge.”Leeds United continue to have a very good relationship with West Yorkshire Police and are committed with West Yorkshire Police to minimizing the use of police resources for policing Leeds United home games and to ensuring that all spectators at Elland Road are accorded the highest standards of protection, safety and comfort.

Andy Gray

July 24th. Colin happy with his new arrivals United manager Neil Warnock is delighted at the prospect of welcoming four more new faces to his squad. Former Portsmouth striker Luke Varney is set to join up with his new team-mates for the remainder of the tour of the south west, goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown and striker Andy Gray were already with the travelling party and have agreed deals to stay on, and a further deal has been agreed to sign SK Brann’s Jamaican international midfielder Rodolph Austin. Striker Gray is the most familiar face to Leeds fans having started his career with the club. He returned as a trialist during the summer, and scored two goals in the 5-2 friendly win at Farsley last week. Andy is finalising a one-year deal with the club. “Right from day one he’s always wanted to sign a year,” said the boss. “I feel we did have options, but with the squad that we have he gives us good cover and there’s always a goal in Andy. He’s also desperate to play for Leeds again.”I’ve known him at Sheffield United as well and I thought for the sort of contract he’s come in on he’s worth a shout. He’s not signed a ten year contract. It’s only one year and I think he’ll be a good asset to the squad and he’s good in the dressing room.”Goalkeeper Ashdown was a surprise face to Leeds fans when he emerged for the warm-up at Tavistock on Monday at the same time as his two-year deal was being finalised. Jamie, who was at Portsmouth last season, made his debut as a second half substitute. “I spoke to Jamie a few weeks ago and he was aware of my interest,” said the boss. “He’s had Middlesbrough and a few others talking to him, but I wanted him to sign and commit himself and this week he told me he would. He has good presence and he’ll be good for Paddy as well.” Another arrival to be confirmed was Portsmouth striker Luke Varney. The marksman has been linked with the club for some weeks, but a deal the player underwent a medical on Monday before a deal was agreed for him to join the club. “I’ve been after Luke for seven years on and off, and spoken to him a number of times with different clubs, so hopefully it’s a sign of the times that we’ve talked him into signing for us,” said the boss. “We’re still looking for a number of players but he’s that kind of player…unpredictable, and the fans will like him. I’d like to think he can a few goals next year, and I think he’ll enjoy the atmosphere at Elland Road.” While not signed, sealed and delivered, another deal agreed was that to sign midfielder Austin from SK Brann. Rodolph is another long-time target of the manager’s and he’s delighted to finally snare his man. “I’ve tried to sign Rodolph an few times,” said the boss. “They wanted £2m last time and I didn’t think he was worth that type of money, but we’ve now agreed a fee.”He’s probably not one that catches the eye but he’s one of the first on the manager’s sheet. He’ll have to get his work permit and what we need. We’re in the process of dealing with that now, so hopefully it’ll be sorted fairly quickly so we can work with him.” And, while admitting he’s delighted with the work so far this summer, the boss says his strengthening mission isn’t yet concluded.“It’s been one of the hardest summers I’ve ever had,” he said. “But I feel there’s still some crucial signings to come. We’re working hard behind the scenes. It’s a case of trying to get things over the line. Everyone is trying to help me get the players. We need a couple of excellent ones. We have to wheel and deal in that area. I think we have the nucleus, we have fringe players as well, it’s just the icing on the cake now”

July 23rd. Tavistock 0-6 Leeds United. Kenny (Ashdown 46), Lees, Cranie (Byram 68), Pearce (N. Turner 80), Drury (L. Turner 80), White (Rogers 68), Brown (Pugh 46), Green (Poleon 68), Snodgrass (Thompson 68), McCormack (Nunez 68), Becchio (Gray 46) Goals from Aidy White and Paul Green shortly before the break perhaps didn’t tell the whole story of a half which United pretty much dominated with some neat passing and movement. Ross McCormack did send one early chance fizzing wide while Tom Lees was a constant threat with crosses from the right flank. Green was almost rewarded with a goal on the 20-minute mark but his shot was blocked on the line by Snodgrass. Jason Pearce also went close with a header while Snodgrass and McCormack both had further half chances to open the scoring. But Leeds did go 1-0 up five minutes before the break when White latched onto a long ball forward and delivered a quality finish. The second goal came on the stroke of half-time when Green finished off a move that started with a McCormack free-kick and involved Snodgrass. The second half started in similar vein with United dictating the play, although the final occasionally went astray as United pushed forward. A third goal came on the hour mark, though, when White delivered a cross from the left and a Tavistock defender, under no real pressure, made a hash of the clearance and sliced it past his own keeper. McCormack went close again after another good Snodgrass ball, but the manager finally made his wholesale changes with 22 minutes remaining when he swapped the bulk of his side. One of those replacements, Ramon Nunez, had an early opportunity saved, and he followed that by sending a great cross which Dominic Poleon headed wide. Moments later, it was 4-0, though, when Robbie Rogers smashed the ball home after a poor clearance by the home goalkeeper.Andy Gray went close twice also, but a fifth goal came four minutes from time when Poleon cut inside from the left before delivering a smart finish. Tavistock were struggling to compete now, and Zac Thompson led another raid forward when he finished off an advancing run with another good finish to make it 6-0 with two minutes remaining

July 23rd. Crucial signings still to come. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says the crucial signings at the club are still to come after adding four more players to his squad today. Jamie Ashdown, Andy Gray, Luke Varney and Rodolph Austin have all agreed deals to sign for the club today and Warnock is still working hard to bring in players. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “It takes time and it is one of the hardest summers I have ever had. “I still feel the crucial signings are still to come. We are working hard again and hopefully get the next signing over the line.”Warnock promised major surgery to his squad this summer as he looks to build a squad capable of fighting for promotion. The four signings today bring his summer total to eight with Jason Pearce, Paul Green, Adam Drury and Paddy Kenny already at the club.

July 23rd. Signings seven and eight arrive. Luke Varney has signed on a two-year deal and Jamaican midfielder Rodolph Austin at a rumoured cost of around £300,000 each. No details of Austin’s contract have yet been released by the club as he requires a work permit to officially complete the deal. Austin automatically qualifies for a work permit as a regular in the Jamaican international side so this should be a relatively straightforward process

Luke Varney

Luke Ivan Varney (born 28 September 1982- Age 29 currently) is an English footballer who plays as a striker for Leeds United. He started his career with non-league Quorn, a club in his home county of Leicestershire, before moving to league football with Crewe Alexandra. His performances during Crewe’s 2006/07 campaign, when Varney was named in the League One “Team of the Year” despite Crewe finishing only mid-table and scored against Manchester United in the League Cup saw him come to the attentions of bigger clubs and consecutive £1m-plus transfers to the Championship followed, as he joined Charlton Athletic and then Derby County. He had made over 200 league appearances, and scored his 50th career league goal, and career first top-flight goal, in the Premier League, with a 76th minute strike against Fulham on his debut for Blackpool. Varney was born in Leicester on September 28th 1982, and began his career as a semi-professional footballer at non-league level with Quorn before being spotted by Crewe’s assistant manager Neil Baker. The Englishman signed for the Railwaymen in 2003 and spent four years at the club, appearing in 95 league games and scoring 27 goals. Varney signed for Crewe Alexandra from non-league Quorn F.C. in 2003 for £50,000. Varney’s deal also had a 20% sell-on clause with the Leicestershire club.[2] Whilst at Quorn, he worked as a quality controller at a factory.[3] Varney made his Crewe debut five months later in a 3–1 away defeat to Wimbledon. The young Englishman also managed to get his first goal for the club four games after his debut in Crewe’s 3–1 away win over Crystal Palace, Dean Ashton scoring the other two goals for The Railwaymen. Unfortunately, Varney picked up a shoulder injury during January 2004, denying him a chance of making any further appearances during the rest of the 2003–04 season.[4]Varney recovered from his injury in time for the following season, making 26 appearances for Crewe, scoring four goals in those appearances. The striker also picked up two yellow cards during the course of the year. He became more involved in the first team during the 2004–05 season, making 27 appearances and scoring five goals. In 2006, Crewe Alexandra were relegated to League One. Varney would make his name during the 2006–07 season, scoring 25 goals in all competitions during the season, which saw the Englishman take the honour of the League’s third top goalscorer. Varney also formed a notable partnership with Nicky Maynard, as the two became League One’s most productive partnership, scoring a total of 44 goals between them. However, it was Varney’s performance against Manchester United in the League Cup that gained attention from the bigger clubs as during the weeks following the game, which saw Varney score the goal that forced extra time,[5] FA Premier League clubs such as Portsmouth were reported to be interested in signing him.[6] On the contrary, however, Varney himself played down any talk of him moving clubs.[7] Varney’s season however was cut short in March 2007 after breaking his toe in Crewe’s 1–1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion. Varney completed a move to Charlton Athletic for £2 million in May 2007 with a percentage of the fee going to Quorn, rising to £2.5 million depending on appearances.[8] Charlton manager Alan Pardew commented that “Luke is an exciting young player and perfectly fits the mould of a Charlton player”.[8] “The deal was done very quickly” Dario Gradi recalled,[9] “Alan [Pardew] rang me out of the blue really and asked me about Luke. It was a surprise because I had no indication that they were interested before. I said what we wanted for him and then we discussed his strengths and his weaknesses” he added.[9] Varney’s first goal for the Addicks came against Leicester City in September 2007, the club he had supported as a boy.[10] Varney scored 8 goals in 39 league appearances. In the 2008–09 season, Varney made a further 18 league appearances, scoring twice, joining Derby County on loan. He signed for Derby County on loan on 27 November 2008 with a view to a £1m transfer in January 2009. On 6 December he scored on his home debut for Derby in a match against Crystal Palace. The move became permanent in January 2009 for a fee of just over £1 million.[11] After suffering from various niggling injuries, illness and a loss of form, Varney joined Sheffield Wednesday on a month’s loan on 20 March 2009.[12] Varney made 4 appearances at Wednesday, scoring 2 goals – a brace against Southampton. He returned to Derby on 21 April 2009, saying that “The loan was enjoyable and now I’m fit and ready to put my all into the last few games with Derby. It feels like a fresh start, a clean slate. When you go out on loan you do think “am I needed here (at Derby)?”, but the manager said I was 100% in his plans for next season. It has been an unsettling season as a whole coming from Charlton, the quick change of manager at Derby, and the injuries and illness. But I wish the season was not about to end because I’ve come into a bit of form and I’m enjoying my football.” [13] He rejoined Sheffield Wednesday on a four-month loan on August 21, 2009. On his return to Derby he hinted at a return to Sheffield Wednesday either on loan or permanently, Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Sean Mcauley also hinted at this.[14] New permanent Wednesday manager Alan Irvine signed Varney on loan for the remainder of the season on January 21, 2010.[15] Despite Varney’s goals he was unable to prevent Sheffield Wednesday slipping to relegation on the final day of the 2009–10 season and returned to Derby his future still very much up in the air.Prior to the 2010/11 season, Varney was linked with a move to Southampton[16] but remained at Derby and played a part in the club’s pre-season preparations, albeit often employed out of position at right back.[17] When employed up front, he put in a Man of the Match display during Derby’s 3–1 Bass Charity Vase, scoring twice.[18] Despite this, he was still linked with a move away from the club, with Q.P.R. and Crewe Alexandra amongst those expressing an interest[19] before he made a surprise return to the Derby side with his first Derby appearance since 18 August 2010, and his first start since May 2009, in a 1–2 defeat to Cardiff City on 14 August 2010, in which he provided Tomasz Cywka for the Derby goal.[20]On 27 August 2010, Varney joined newly-promoted Premier League club Blackpool on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal in the region of £500,000.[21] The following day he scored on his debut in the Seasiders first Premier League match at Bloomfield Road, a 2–2 draw with Fulham.[22] He scored his second league goal on 3 October 2010 as Blackpool defeated Liverpool 2–1 at Anfield with Varney’s first half goal proving to be the winner, In a performance which saw him named in the week seven 2010–11 Premier League Team of the Week, alongside teammate Charlie Adam.[23][24] After scoring four times in his opening 11 appearances, Blackpool confirmed their desire to sign Varney on a permanent deal in the January 2011 transfer window.[25] Manager Ian Holloway claimed that Blackpool had a “massive clause” in the loan deal which meant they could sign Varney for just £250,000 in the January 2011 transfer window, though Derby denied this saying Varney could be sold to any club and that no deal is in place with Blackpool.[26] Varney scored his fifth for the club with the second in a 2-2 draw at Bolton Wanderers on 22 November 2010 before embarking on a fifteen match goalless run which saw him dropped to the bench for the 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United on April 23, 2011. After appearing as a substitute versus Newcastle, and the following game against Stoke City, Varney made just one appearance in the remaining three games of the campaign, coming on for the last 15 minutes in a 4-2 defeat against Manchester United which confirmed Blackpool’s relegation from the Premier League after one season.[27] Varney ended the season with 5 goals from 30 appearances, but enduring an 18-game goalless streak. After lengthy speculation,[28] it was confirmed on 6 July 2011, that Varney would join Portsmouth for a fee of £750,000.[29] Varney scored his first league goal for Portsmouth on the 6th August 2011 against Middlesbrough.He then scored his second goal for the club in a 4-3 away defeat to West Ham, deflecting in off Carlton Cole, after he volleyed Liam Lawrence’s corner.[30] Most recently, he has been moved up front in a 4-4-2 formation after the departure of Steve Cotterill, where has scored 3 goals in 3 games, once in a televised home 2-0 victory over Barnsley,[31] and then a brace, again at home, in a 3-1 victory over Doncaster.[32]After a number of weeks of rumours his signing for Leeds United was confirmed by Manager Neil Warnock on Monday 23rd July 2012, after admitting he has been trying to sign him for the last seven years. Varney has agreed a two-year deal at Elland Road and Warnock believes that the fans will like him. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I have been after Luke for about seven years now on and off. I have spoken to him a number of times at different clubs but have never quite managed to sign him. “He is an unpredictable type of player and the fans like him and I think there are goals in him. “I will be setting him a target; I would like to think he can score between 8 and 10 goals next season”. He has scored 85 goals in 300 appearances = 1 goal in 3.5 games.

July 23rd.  Gray desperate to play for Leeds. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says new signing Andy Gray was desperate to re-join the club he started his career with after agreeing a one-year deal with Leeds. Gray, the son of former Leeds player Frank and nephew of Eddie, started his career at Elland Road, coming through the clubs academy system. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “Right from day one, Andy has wanted to sign a year. He did have one or two options lower down the league. I just think he will give us good cover and there is always a goal in him. “He was desperate to play for Leeds again and I think the contract we were talking about, he was worth a shout.”Howard Wilkinson gave him his debut in January 1996 and he was a regular in his first half season at Elland Road making 15 appearances. Gray was one of the few shining lights in Leeds dismal Coca-Cola Cup final defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. The following season he made just eight appearances, with just two of those coming under George Graham who replaced Wilkinson in September.In the 1997/98 season, he once again failed to break into Graham`s side and he was loaned out to Bury where he made seven appearances. After just 29 appearances in two and a half seasons for Leeds, Gray joined Nottingham Forest in August 1998. Gray has never really settled at a club and during his time at Forest, he had loan spells at Preston and Oldham before signing for Bradford City. His best spell in his career was when he joined Warnock and Jones at Sheffield United in 2004 and he scored 25 goals in 58 league appearances. Gray`s form at Bramall Lane saw him make a £1 million move to Sunderland in 2005 but he once again struggled, scoring just one goal in 21 Premier League appearances. He had enjoyed a short loan spell at Burnley towards the end of the 2005/06 season where he netted three times in nine appearances and the Lancashire club signed him in the summer of 2006 in a £750,000 deal. Gray spent eighteen months at Turf Moor, where he scored 25 goals in 60 championship appearances before moving to Charlton Athletic. After eighteen months at the Valley, Gray returned to Yorkshire, signing for Barnsley. Gray netted 21 times in his three seasons at Oakwell before being released at the end of last season. He looked all set to sign for one of his former clubs Bradford City this summer before joining up with Leeds for pre-season.
July 23rd. Colin happy to land number two keeper. Leeds United manager Neil Warnock was pleased to bring in his second goalkeeper in a week after Jamie Ashdown agreed a deal at Elland Road. Ashdown was released by Portsmouth at the end of last season and he has joined up with the squad for their week-long tour of Cornwall and Devon. The signing of Ashdown was announced prior to the game with Tavistock and Ashdown made his debut as a second half substitute. Warnock was pleased to land the goalkeeper, who has been attracting interest from a number of clubs. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I am very pleased to have signed Jamie. I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and he knew of my interest. “He has been training with Middlesbrough and one or two other people have been talking to him. I wanted him to sign and commit and this week he told me he would. You could see tonight that he has a good presence and he will be great for Paddy, so I am pleased.” The 31 year old joins Leeds after eight years at Fratton Park where he made 124 appearances. Ashdown made 21 appearances for Portsmouth last season for the south coast club.

Andy Gray who Colin has had a few times

Jamie Ashdown

Monday July 23rd. Players six and seven arrive Leeds United have added two more more reinforcements after the club confirmed Andy Gray and Jamie Ashdown have agreed deals at Elland Road. The duo are both free agents and are set to join on permanent contracts after training with the Whites. Striker Gray has agreed a one-year deal as he returns to the club where he started his career back in 1995. The 34-year-old, who notched up 29 appearances during his previous stint at the Yorkshire club, returns to Leeds following his release by Barnsley at the end of last season. Gray impressed in the club’s pre-season friendly against Farsley last week, scoring twice in a 5-2 victory. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Ashdown, who played for Portsmouth last season, is currently with the squad in Cornwall having agreed to join the Yorkshire club. The 31-year-old has also played for Reading, Bournemouth, Rushden and Diamonds and Norwich City. Ashdown has been brought in to replace Andy Lonergan who has moved to Bolton following the arrival of Paddy Kenny from QPR. Manager Neil Warnock has now drafted in six summer signings with Jason Pearce, Adam Drury, Paul Green and Kenny having already joined. Andy Gray - Gray was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on November 15th 1977. He will be 35 in November. He signed for Leeds United which carried on the family tradition of his father who ex-Leeds United player Frank Gray and the nephew of Leeds United legend Eddie Gray. One of Gray’s first senior appearances came for Leeds United in the 1996 League Cup final, when he was 18 years old. Leeds lost 3–0 to Aston Villa, Gray was one of the standout performers on the day for Leeds despite a 3-0 defeat. After failing to displace the likes of Tony Yeboah, Rod Wallace, Brian Deane and then Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gray had a loan spell at Bury to get regular first team football before leaving the club permanently in 1998. Gray joined fellow Premier League side Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal, where he added competition to Forest striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk, however his time at Forest he only scored only once, in a game against Wolverhampton Wanderers,[1] in 64 appearances. He also had loan spells at Preston North End and Oldham Athletic. Gray left Forest for a spell at Bradford City where his goalscoring ability came to fruition. He earned the Bradford City Player of the year Award in 2003. His form at Bradford earned him a call up to the Scotland national team. In total Gray scored 20 league goals in 77 games for Bradford. His form at Bradford also alerted Neil Warnock who signed Gray for Sheffield United. One of the highlights of Gray’s career came when he scored a last minute equaliser against Arsenal in the FA Cup in 2005.[2] After scoring 25 goals in 58 games for Sheffield, Gray joined Sunderland in the Premier League in a multi million pound deal. In August 2005, Gray returned to the Premier League after he signed for Sunderland. He had a goal-scoring record of 28 goals in 65 games at Sheffield United, prompting the £1.1 million transfer to the Black Cats. However, his second stint in the Premier League was unprofitable as he scored only once in 22 appearances; that goal coming on his debut against Charlton Athletic.[3]On 17 March 2006, after prolonged interest from a number of clubs, he signed on loan for Burnley until the end of the season, after he was placed on the transfer list by manager Niall Quinn. His former club Leeds United were favourites to sign him but his switch to Burnley became permanent when the transfer window reopened in the summer of 2006 for around £750,000. His early form at Burnley at the end of the 2005–06 season and the start of the next suggested that he would again prove an effective goalscorer in the Championship. His 2006–07 season was disrupted by a broken metatarsal, incurred against Leeds United, but both before and after the injury he scored regularly. Burnley’s long winless run that season coincided with Gray’s absence through injury, demonstrating his importance to the team as a source of goals. He returned towards the end of the 2006–07 season, scoring four goals in three games as Burnley won five of their six last games. This goal-scoring form continued into the 2007–08 season. Gray left Burnley on 18 January 2008, when he sealed an emergency loan deal with Charlton Athletic prior to a permanent move the following week.[4][5] He made his debut when came on as a second half substitute the following day in Charlton’s 1–1 draw away at Watford.[6] His £1.5 million move to Charlton was finalised the following week[7] and he made his first start for his new club on 29 January 2008 in a 1–0 victory over Stoke City.[8] His first goal for Charlton came in his 13th game, when he scored an equaliser in a 1–1 draw with Southampton on 12 April 2008.[9] Gray followed this up with goals in successive home games with the second goal against Coventry City in a 4–1 win, a goal against Swindon in a 1–1 draw and a penalty in the impressive 4–2 defeat of newly relegated Reading.[10][edit] Gray signed for Championship side Barnsley on 21 August 2009 for an undisclosed fee[11] and made his debut the following day at Leicester City. Gray scored his first goal in 3–1 loss to Reading on 28 August 2009. He was released by Barnsley at the end of the 2011-2012 season following three years with the club. After being linked with a move to Bradford City,[12] Leeds manager Neil Warnock stated that Gray had started pre-season training with the Leeds, who were looking to sign the striker on a short-term contract, to cover for injured striker Davide Somma.[13] On 20th July, Gray scored two goals in a 5-2 win for Leeds United in Pre-Season against Farsley AFC.[14]On 23rd July, Gray rejoined his first club Leeds on a permanent deal on a 1 year contract.[15  Jamie Ashdown was born on November 30th 1980. He will be 31 in November and began his career at Reading, where he established a reputation as an exciting prospect. Following loan spells at Gravesend & Northfleet, Bournemouth and Rushden & Diamonds, and a work experience placement at Arsenal, Ashdown broke into Reading’s first team squad as a result of an injury to first choice ‘keeper Marcus Hahnemann. He made 13 appearances for the Royals but in the summer of 2004, Ashdown declined Reading’s offer of a new contract and instead signed for Premier League club Portsmouth before the start of the 2004–05 season to provide competition for Shaka Hislop, with a view to replacing the veteran on his retirement. Ashdown started his first season at Portsmouth as substitute goalkeeper but gained a starting place after an injury to Hislop. After the departure of Harry Redknapp as manager and alleged comments by Hislop, a new goalkeeper, Konstantinos Chalkias was bought to the club and given the first team place. After a number of poor performances by Chalkias, Ashdown was again restored to the first team and remained there for the remainder of the season. In August 2005, Portsmouth signed another goalkeeper, Sander Westerveld and Ashdown was in competition with him at the beginning of the 2005–06 season for a first team place. Westerveld started the season as first choice ‘keeper. However, after a number of poor performances by Westerveld he was dropped and Ashdown was again called on as Portsmouth’s number one goalkeeper. With the return of former manager Harry Redknapp, Ashdown was dropped to second choice again after the arrival of Dean Kiely from Charlton Athletic in January 2006. In the 2006–07 season Ashdown faced even more competition from new high-profile signing David James. Due to the large competition for the goalkeepers spot at Fratton Park, Ashdown was given the opportunity to go out on loan, Portsmouth decided that this would help his career and joined Nowrich City. He played the first game of a loan spell with Norwich City on 21 October 2006 in a 1–0 win against Cardiff City at Carrow Road, replacing Paul Gallacher in the starting XI. However, he was sent off in his next match, which Norwich went on to lose 5–0 against Stoke City and did not play again for the Canaries, returning to Pompey on 20 Ashdown returned in late 2006 and was still nowhere near the first team due to the incredible performances of David James during the 2006/2007 season. These performances put Pompey at the top of the table in the early parts of the season. Ashdown picked up an FA Cup winners’ medal with Portsmouth in 2008, although this was subsequently stolen.[1] Despite not playing in the FA Cup win he made 3 appearances in the 2007/2008 season. In the 2008/2009 season Portsmouth played their first ever European Match against Vitória de Guimarães which they won and qualified for the group stages of the Uefa Cup. Ashdown was the second choice goalkeeper after David James. Ashdown did not feature in the competition or in the League that season. After playing six league games during Portsmouth’s 2009–10 Premier League relegation season, he was released by the club.[2] However, before the start of the following season, he re-joined Portsmouth as their first choice goalkeeper after David James’ departure to Bristol City.[3]After returning to Portsmouth, Ashdown got more game time as first choice, with 50 appearances including the League Cup and FA Cup in a season which Portsmouth finished 16th in the nPower Championship. Ashdown’s proudest moment in a Portsmouth shirt was when he broke a post-war club record for most minutes without conceding a goal (636 minutes) between February and March 2011.[4]In the following season, Ashdown struggled for form, which led to the manager to drop him in favour of new signing Stephen Henderson. Henderson remained a first choice goalkeeper but in March 2012 Henderson was loaned to West Ham United to reduce the wage bill of financially stricken Pompey, Ashdown was established as number one for the rest of the 2011/12 season as the only goalkeeper for Portsmouth. Ashdown played for Leeds in a friendly against Alfreton Town and joined the club on a permanent deal on the 23rd July to add competition to Paddy Kenny.[

July 22nd. The Scratching Shed  Neil Warnock and assistant Mick Jones spoke to the media as Leeds played their first pre-season match of the summer. They covered White, Snodgrass, the match, their frustrated hard work, and their helplessness in the transfer market while Bates remains and his mess is unable to be cleaned up (reading between the lines, of course!) Re Aidy White  “Aidy’s Leeds United through and through. [...] Eventually the pull of Leeds, I don’t think he could resist really”. Re Norwich have made another bid for Snodgrass?From reading the papers and all the media that’s correct! “We’ve not had a bid that’s acceptable yet, and Robert knows that. I think everybody knows my feelings and nothing’s changed on that. But in football you don’t know what’s around the corner so we’ll just have to keep an open mind on that.” Re Squad ? “We’re very thin at the moment, but hopefully over the next few weeks there will be a few new additions.What I’m looking at over the next few weeks are players who will really make a difference, not the squad players, and I hope there’ll be some more in the next few weeks.At the moment I’m just keeping the seat warm and trying to do the best I can to get a squad together to give us a good go at promotion next year. It’s not been an easy summer, but I can’t remember having many over the last few years!”  Re Targets?  “I’ve had 25-30 on my list, so there’s quite a few players you could link us to. I’d like to probably bring another 8 in. [interviewer audibly surprised]  Don’t forget you’ve got to have a decent squad [for injuries and suspensions.” Sisyphean Effort It’s disappointed me a little bit that we couldn’t get more players in at this stage. But some things you can’t do in football and Aidy White’s another to tick off. It’s all about getting them over the line. Shaun Harvey’s working his – er – socks off, to help me to get these players. I’ve not slept much over the past couple of weeks or months, there have been easier times for me. But the fans have been fantastic for me so I owe them that really. It’s important I repay them, and I think they know the kind of team I’m trying to build and what I’m trying to do and I think they’re all with me on that. And that does matter to me that – a lot.  Happy here?Absolutely yeah. I wouldn’t be here otherwise – it would’ve been easier to leave, believe you and me! I haven’t met [the buyers] so it’s no good me commenting on speculation. But there’s so much happening you’d be naive not to have reassurances, wouldn’t you?

What Mick Jones Said: The Match “The first game of the season is always good for people’s fitness levels. There was a lot of enthusiasm tonight and a lot of hard work. They stretched us on occasions, but there were good individual performances as well. For the first game, I thought the first 45 minutes in particular was exactly what we needed.We didn’t play Rob Snodgrass or Luciano Becchio because of small strains, but if it’d been a league game both would’ve played.You’ve got to start judging players further down the line with harder matches, no disrespect to Farsley. Preston in particular, and Norway, they’ll be tested to the full.Sam Byram’s come through at left-back, and he’s got the makings of a very very good player, but he’s not on his own. There’s one or two lads who have a long way to go and a lot to prove, but I think the next couple of years will be vital to them, not tomorrow” Re Aidy White “Aidy’s fantastic. We’re all delighted for the boy. We all knew about Derby and all the other interest, but he’s a Leeds boy and he’s absolutely delighted to have signed a contract and he’s buzzing now.We see him as a player who can settle in any position. At the moment I don’t think Aidy has found his true position yet and I don’t think we know what that is yet, but I do know he’s got fantastic pace, fantastic enthusiasm, he’s made of the right stuff, and being a Leeds lad is a big plus.” Re Andy Gray “We’ve known Andy Gray a long time and all through the pre-season I’d say he’s probably the 3rd fittest at the club, which is quite impressive given he’s had quite a long career. He’s a proud man, Andy, and I’ve a sneaking suspicion he’s come here to prove a point”. Sisyphean Effort, The Second “I’ve never known Neil work as hard as this. All summer he’s been at it, even more so in the last week or so. I just hope it’s exciting times over the next 10 days to 2 weeks”

Austin

July 22nd. Yellow card to help Austin move – The Scratching Shed. Yesterday ba.no reported that Leeds want Austin to come to Leeds on Monday, after the Brann-Aalesund match today. But with another match between Monday and the Norwegian August transfer window, Brann were reluctant to agree. Rodolph Austin begun the match today in unusual fashion, striking from Bradley Johnson distances (with Bradley Johnson results) and diving into tackles recklessly, at one point failing to complete the tackle which allowed an attacking play to build. The former can be put to eagerness to impress his English fans who have taken to watching Brann while they wait for the deal to go through. The latter was because Austin was on the verge of a one match ban, trigged by his next yellow. A ban which would not carry over to English football. After about half an hour Austin was finally given a yellow for a two-footed lunge from behind. Austin’s yellow will solve the disagreement on timing between Leeds and Brann, but if Austin’s actions might have annoyed his coach it is a testament to his importance to the team. Austin’s performances in the Tippeligaen (judging by only two performances, granted) seem to bring solid defensive capabilities to Brann, along with pace that is vital to foiling opposition counter attacks and supporting Brann’s, and a good passing ability. He can also strike a ball bloody well. It’s now two goals in two matches for Austin, not necessarily a prolific scorer from his defensive midfield position. Austin scored 7 goals in the Tippeligaen last season, but in the three seasons before that he only scored 4 times. Austin’s first goal was strongly struck low from outside of the box, this goal was a cool-headed lob. On 35 minutes Brann won a corner, collected by the keeper. But the keeper hooked his kicked clearance, the ball landing with Austin (who appears to sit back from the box ready to shoot from range if the ball spills from corners) who composed himself as the keeper scurried back from the edge of his box, and lobbed the ball just right, the Aalesund keeper able to get his hand to it, but unable to keep the ball out of the goal.July 22nd. Leeds look at French defender. Leeds United are giving a trial to young French defender Sebastien Faure. The 21 year old played in Leeds 2-0 win at Alfreton Town on Saturday. Faure is a free agent after being released by top French Ligue 1 side Lyon at the end of last season. The young centre back made his debut for Lyon in the 2008/09 season against Metz in the French League cup after coming through the clubs academy system. Faure struggled to break into the side managed by Remy Guard last season and he joined French Ligue 2 side Nantes at the beginning of 2012. He was due to spend the remainder of the season with Nantes but Faure returned to Lyon after suffering pain in the toe he had broken in December. The central defender has represented France at under 17, 18, 19 and 20 level. Faure played in the first five games for the French side as they reached the semi-final of the under 20 World Cup finals in 2011 before missing out in the defeat to Portugal.  July 22nd. Vital Football. “Colin looks to bring eight more in”. Neil Warnock says he is looking to bring in up to eight players in the next couple of weeks. Warnock has been frustrated in the transfer market so far this summer, adding just four new signings to his squad. The new championship season is now just four weeks away from kicking off and Warnock is looking ahead to a busy couple of weeks in the transfer market Speaking prior to the game at Farsley Celtic on Friday night, Warnock said, “Over the next few weeks hopefully there will be a number of additions. “I am looking for players that are going to make a difference and not just squad players.”At the moment I am doing the best I can to put a good squad together to give us a good chance this season. “I would like to bring another eight players in. You need a squad; it is not just the top end of the market players. You need back up when you get injuries so you need a decent squad” The squad is looking thin at the moment. So far, Warnock has brought in Jason Pearce, Paul Green, Adam Drury and Paddy Kenny and he has seen Adam Clayton and Andy Lonergan leave for fellow championship clubs. The Leeds boss started his summer clearout at the end of last season with Ben Parker, Mika Vayrynen, Mikael Forssell, Danny Webber and Alex Bruce all released by the club. Warnock also has five players on the transfer list with Paul Rachubka, Paul Connolly, Andy O`Brien, Ramon Nunez and Billy Paynter seen as surplus to requirements. He is looking to bring in enough players to complement the first choice players as well as those good enough to come into the side when injuries and suspensions affect the side. “I am looking to bring in a substantial amount of players over the next few weeks. There will also be players leaving; we have a number on the transfer list.”It disappoints me that we haven`t got more players in at this stage of the season. I think anything is possible over the next couple of weeks; it is just a matter of getting them over the line,” added Warnock. Warnock has been boosted by versatile player Aidy White signing a new deal with the club, after it looked like he would be moving on this summer. The 20-year-old putting pen to paper on a new three-year deal on Saturday.  Midfielder Michael Brown is also closing in on a new one-year deal with the club. Ross McCormack and Robert Snodgrass are yet to sign the new deals offered to them at the end of last season. Warnock admitted last week that five clubs have enquired about McCormack, whilst Norwich City have made a bid for Snodgrass that was turned down by the club. Norwich have since been reported as tabling a second offer for the Scottish international but Warnock declined to comment when asked on Friday night, only saying that Snodgrass would be travelling with the squad on Sunday to Devon and Cornwall for the week-long tour.

July 21st. Snoddy to travel to Cornwall. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says Robert Snodgrass will be travelling to Devon and Cornwall with Leeds next week despite an improved bid from Norwich City. Snodgrass played no part in Leeds first pre-season friendly and Farsley Celtic on Friday night and Warnock was quick to play down the fact, saying the Leeds captain had picked up a slight hamstring injury. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, ‘Snodgrass has a tight hamstring and I didn’t want him to risk it or anything. ‘There’s a lot of speculation about him, there’s a lot of people here who would want to ask him questions, and I just felt he was better off out of the way. ‘He’ll be there at 8am on Sunday when everyone goes down to Cornwall.’ Norwich had an initial bid turned down by Leeds earlier this week, with Leeds stating that the bid was not near to the clubs valuation of the club captain. The Premier League side were reported to have come in with an improved bid on Friday, something Norwich boss Chris Hughton confirmed on BBC Radio Norfolk on Friday evening. The bid is reported to be in excess of £2 million and as yet, Leeds have made no comment. Snodgrass will join up with the rest of the Leeds squad on Sunday as Leeds travel down to Devon and Cornwall for their week-long tour, which will include friendlies at Tavistock, Bodmin and Torquay.

Sat. July 21st. Phil Hay – A slow Summer. The success of Leeds United’s summer to date can be judged on the group of players who have trained at Thorp Arch during the past 10 days. In simple terms the club’s squad contains more transfer-listed members than it does new signings; under-subscribed for pre-season and nowhere near ready for the main event. There is time yet to remedy that but the periphery of the new Championship season will soon be counted in days rather than weeks. The laboured trudge towards supplying the club’s manager, Neil Warnock, with the squad he asked for cannot continue much longer, not unless next season is to rest on a wing, a prayer and the scramble that is the latter stages of the transfer window. Beyond the obvious shortage of money at Elland Road – a shortage which seems insurmountable without external investment – and a transfer market which one agent called “painfully slow in general”, the pending takeover of Leeds United is the cause of this. It is to be hoped that a takeover will also be the solution. As and when they take their seats, the priority of the club’s prospective new owners must be to give their manager a chance. There is a crackle of excitement in Leeds and rightly so. The time is right for fresh funding, a fresh attitude, a fresh start. Nothing says that more than Warnock’s struggle in the transfer market or a week of speculation about the future of Robert Snodgrass. If the buyers in question have a finger in the air or a proper handle on social media they will know that they are wanted, regardless of their anonymity and the absence of any vision statement. It should be clear too that they are needed with some urgency. That is, of course, assuming that their intentions are honourable and their colours don’t run. It is churlish to roll out the be-careful-what-you-wish-for mantra when credible information about the investors goes no further than strong links to the Middle East and Bahrain in particular. Leeds seem convinced by their suitability and Warnock does too. Warnock, you would think, has worked under too many loose cannons to pander to any future employers. It is his view and his continuing commitment to Leeds which engenders optimism. It is essential first that the takeover crosses the line; that the promise of change comes to something meaningful. But with due patience, United’s new owners will deserve the same careful scrutiny which Ken Bates and the present board at Leeds have experienced. The natural assumption is that the buyers have riches or substantial wealth. They will be expected to prove as much quickly. On the basis that Leeds expect them to pass the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test, their moral fibre ought not to be in doubt. What matters to Leeds and their supporters in particular is their understanding of how English football works and their creation of a coherent plan to enhance a fine club. It is a heavy responsibility, as they will find out. Might the buyers, for example, look at Snodgrass’ situation and ask why he has not been ring-fenced against all-but ludicrous offers to sign him. He is Leeds’ most talented player and their most valuable. Moreover, he is the player who United’s manager sought to retain above all others between April and September. It is hard to see how he could countenance Snodgrass’ departure with anything other than a desperately heavy heart. Leeds did their bit by rejecting a £1.5m offer from Norwich City on Monday, but the fact the Canaries returned with an improved bid within 72 hours suggests they believe a deal is there to be done. Far from coming to life this week, it appears that Norwich’s intentions have been known for much of the close season. They are set on making this transfer happen. And if the incumbent regime at Elland Road are indeed preparing to vacate the building, selling Snodgrass would be a fitting end to much of what has gone before. Any sale will come with standard explanations – Snodgrass wanted Premier League football, his contract is running down, it makes financial sense, as it did with Jonathan Howson in January. But the doubt surrounding him is a consequence of the way the summer has gone. It has failed to keep the wolf from the door. Warnock admitted some time ago that the only motivation for Snodgrass to sign a new and improved contract would be indisputable proof that Leeds were building a squad capable of toppling the Championship next season. Even allowing for four encouraging signings, that is still a promise rather than a reality. The transformation has not been spectacular enough, not with Warnock constrained by what virtually amounts to a one in, one out policy. The purpose of any takeover – or any takeover involving a stable club – should be to nurture the club over a period of years. The grand scheme of United’s next owners is ultimately more important than what happens over the course of a single season. But the season ahead matters, to Warnock, his players, to potential signings and to the thousands who waded in to buy season tickets on the back of a lame campaign. There is a risk amid heady talk of new ownership that the task in hand is neglected or forgotten. It is why confirmation of a takeover will only be the start of all that needs to happen. In four weeks’ time, Wolverhampton Wanderers come to Elland Road for the first match of the Championship season. Before long that fixture will be tomorrow – much like the buy-out of Leeds United has been for several weeks. So close to completion yet not quite official; the ultimate game of patience. As one supporter said yesterday: “It’s the hope that kills you.”

July 21st. Alfreton Town 0 Leeds United XI 2 Alfreton Town fell to a 2-0 defeat against what was essentially a Leeds United reserve side which contained four players with first team experience. Nicky Law’s side created chances throughout the 90 minutes and had the ball in the net twice, both efforts ruled out for offside, but their profligacy cost them dearly in the end. The Reds began in very confident fashion, stringing passes together and gaining good progress. Both sides enjoyed good possession without really making the goalkeepers work too hard in the first half. The hosts began the second half well with Nathan Arnold twice getting free down the left but two close range shots lacked potency Alfreton’s new goalkeeper Phil Barnes saved a 51st minute Zac Thompson penalty and produced an outstanding stop to keep out Thompson’s close range follow up Leeds took the lead on the hour when the lively Dominic Poleon fired in a low shot past Barnes from 12 yards. A second goal followed on 70 minutes with Thompson’s curling ball through the penalty area arriving at the feet of Lewis Turner at the far post who fired into the roof of the net Leeds looked the sharper in the second half but Alfreton battled on and continued to create chances to the end, none of which were taken. The attendance was 830 with 262 from Leeds. Alfreton are at home on Wednesday evening when Notts County make the short trip over the border from Nottinghamshire.

White

July  21st 2012. White signs 3 year contract at Leeds. Aidy White was delighted to admit he is looking forward to the future after signing a new three-year deal with the club on Saturday morning. The 20-year-old Republic of Ireland under-21 international has pledged his future to the club and admits he couldn’t be happier. “It’s fantastic to get everything sorted,” he said. “I’ve been at the club since I was eight and I didn’t want to leave. I came back in pre-season wanting to stay.”I spoke to the manager who said he wanted me to stay and that we would try and get things done this week. That was a real positive and I’m looking to crack on for the season now.” Despite his tender age, Aidy is something of an old stager in the United squad, having made his debut back in 2008. Only Luciano Becchio and Robert Snodgrass have been around the first team longer than Aidy. The youngster, a product of the club’s Academy, has played the majority of his football at left-back, but he has also played on the left side of midfield, and following the arrival of Neil Warnock in February, he was handed a new role on the right side of the midfield. “I’ve spoken with the gaffer about how he sees things position-wise and I think he sees that attacking role, but also that I can play full back if needed,” explained Aidy. “He’s said to me to try and make an impact and that’s what I’m looking to do.”He’d talked about me being a part of his plans which was great and I don’t think it was ever a case of him wanting me to go. He has a great record as a manager and hopefully he can take us into the Premiership.” While media stories most recently linked Derby County with a move for Aidy, the Premier League is the natural aim for the highly-rated youngster, and he firmly believes that ambition can be achieved with the club where he grew up. “That is the ideal,” said Aidy. “Having been here such a long time, the aim is to do well here and for us to get to the Premiership. The gaffer has the experience, the squad he is building is more than capable, and hopefully it will be an exciting season.”Aidy got his first run out of the new season on Friday evening when he played the opening 45 minutes of the 5-2 win against Farsley AFC. His electric pace caused problems for the home side before the manager made wholesale changes at half-time. “It was nice to get a blow out and it was nice to get a convincing win both for the team and the fans,” said . Good piece of work done at last getting White signed up. Now let’s get Snodgrass sorted out and kick on.

July 21st. Jones hints at possible deal for Andy Gray. Leeds assistant Mick Jones said there is a chance the Whites could sign trialist Andy Gray after he fired a brace in the 5-2 win at FarsleyFormer Whites striker Gray struck twice in the opening period on Friday night before American Robbie Rogers added another as United raced into a three-goal half-time lead. A much-changed Leeds XI took to the field after the break and, although the home side pulled two goals back, Billy Paynter and youngster Sanchez Payne gave Neil Warnock’s men a comfortable victory. Jones told the club’s official website: “We’ve known Andy a long time and all through pre-season I’d say he’s probably the third fittest player at the club, which is good when he’s had a long career. I’ve got a sneaky feeling he’s come here to prove a point. “He came here at his suggestion, because we knew him from the past. I think he’s a very, very good player so who knows? We’re going to be linked with a lot of players in the next 10 days and if he’s one of them – brilliant.” New signings Paddy Kenny and Paul Green made their debuts for the Elland Road club but Robert Snodgrass and Luciano Becchio sat out with slight strains while Adam Drury was also absent. Jones added: “The first game of the season is always one of those that is good for fitness levels which is the usual thing. They stretched us on a few occasions, but there were some good individual performances as well and for the first game I thought the first 45 minutes were exactly what we needed.”

Friday July 20th. Farsly 2 (Muller 60, Watson 68), Leeds United5 (Gray 31, 35, Rogers 36, Paynter 64, Payne 89) Farsley: Guildford, Hay, Serrant, Briggs, Jackson, Radcliffe, Watson, Bambrook, Jones, Grant, Priestly. Subs: Muller, Carr, Pacey, Burgess, Dugdale, Ferdinand, Flowers. Leeds: Kenny, Lees, Crainie, Pearce, Pugh, Brown, Green, Rogers, McCormack, White, Gray. Leeds: (2nd half) Cairns, L Turner, Killock, Gimpel, Taylor, Byram, Thompson, Lenighan (Poleon), Payne, Nunez, Paynter . Leeds United opened up the pre-season campaign with two trialists in a senior starting line-up at Farsley. Former Portsmouth defender Martin Crainie and ex-Leeds youngster Andy Gray were both included in a side that also included debut men Paddy Kenny and Paul Green. Manager Neil Warnock had stated his intentions to play two different teams in each half, and he was also quick to point out that after a heavy morning on the training ground, he was treating the match as a fitness exercise first and foremost. As it was the opening 10 minutes or so saw United play some decent football, knocking the ball around well as the players looked to get the feel of a return to action after the summer break. Gray caused an early problem, Ross McCormack had a free-kick blocked, and Green looked to get his head on the end of an early corner. United were firmly in control of the contest by the midway stage, having kept the ball for long periods, creating numerous half-chances. Robbie Rogers and Gray both had headed attempts, Danny Pugh screwed a shot wide, and Rogers had another attempt which was marginally off target. The pace of Aidy White was also a major threat while Lees advanced well from the right back role and delivered some telling first half crosses. Farsley couldn’t get out of their own half and a goal seemed only a matter of time. McCormack sent a shot fizzing narrowly wide after Gray flicked on a long ball, but the opener came moments later when Gray converted after a good ball through to mark his return to the club as a trialist with a “second debut”goal. Moments later, White again stormed forward and on this occasion he was denied with a low, skidding effort by Farsley keeper Tom Guildford who parried the shot. But it was 2-0 10 minutes before the break when Gray got up well at the far post to head home a cross for his second goal of the night, and a third followed moments later when Rogers got up well to plant a Michael Brown cross past Guildford and into the goal. And that proved to be the last meaningful action of a half that had seen United ease back into the scheme of things by playing some decent football to build a commanding a lead. As expected the manager made wholesale changes at half-time with a largely youthful team including the experience of Billy Paynter and Ramon Nunez. The flow of the game was the same, though, and Nunez was denied twice, Paynter went close a couple of times, and both Sanchez Payne and Simon Lenighan tried their luck. But, while Kenny didn’t have a save to make on his debut, his deputy Alex Cairns was called upon to make a smart stop before the hour mark, and he could do little as Farsley pulled a goal back, courtesy of an Adam Muller effort from out wide which was deflected past the United goalkeeper. The three-goal advantage was restored within minutes, though, when Paynter scored with a good header after a Nunez cross. But Farsley pulled another back with around 20 minutes remaining when Ryan Watson scored with a terrific strike from outside of the box. That really was the cue for the game to head towards what will be a familar conclusion over the next weeks with the contest becoming bitty and disjointed due to the number of changes, and with little meaningful action taking place. There was still time for a fantastic fifth goal for Leeds, though, when Sanchez Payne scored an absolute screamer from outside of the box to wrap up a comfortable victory to kick off pre-season.

July 19th. Who is going where in the Championship ? Former Donny manager, and Forest number two, Sean O’Driscoll has been confirmed as the new Forest manager.Mick McCarthy is reported to have turned it down because of “owner interference”. Hull City have signed Nick Proschwitz. The  6ft 3in striker joined Steve Bruce`s side from SC Paderborn 07 for a fee of £2.6 million, City`s highest transfer fee paid outside of the Premier League. Former Leeds centre half Alex Bruce has also teamed up with his dad at Hull. Leeds target, Richard Keogh has signed for Derby County who have also lodged a £500K bid for Aidy White. Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett has agreed to join QPR and after failing to nab Andy Lonergan, Ipswich have signed Scott Loach from Watford.

Friday July 19th. Peter Lorimer: I’m still hopeful we’ll keep Rob – YEP It didn’t surprise me to see Norwich City fail with their bid to sign Robert Snodgrass on Monday. Leeds United’s stance is very clear. Robert’s one of our top players and we really don’t want him to leave. That’s why he’s been offered the chance to become our highest earner. All the same, I don’t doubt that Neil Warnock is anxious about all this. He’s been more vocal than anyone in singing Robert’s praises and he’s clearly fighting tooth-and-nail to keep him. The last thing he needs with the new season so close is to lose his club captain. We won’t be the only team facing this problem. Other Championship managers will be looking at their leading players and wondering what might happen in the next month-and-a-half. If Norwich are interested in Robert then I’d assume that other Premier League sides are too. And, to be fair, why wouldn’t they be? He’s a big talent with huge potential. But when all’s said and done he’s a talent who we’ve nurtured for the last four years and I’d be desperately sad to see him go. I’m crossing my fingers that it won’t happen and it would be nice to be able to say for certain that he’s going to be here next season. The reassuring thing is that we’ve seen a united front from Neil and the board in the battle to tie him down. Yet to some extent this situation is probably going to depend on Robert himself. Neil spoke earlier this week about him “having his head turned” and I know what he means. The Premier League is the place to be and any player who gets wind of an opportunity at that level is bound to be tempted by it. I know from speaking to Robert that he’s a loyal lad who’s loved his time at Leeds. Coming south has changed his career and his life, both in a good way. I’ve no doubt at all that he’d be proud to captain Leeds to promotion from the Championship, but I also know that he’s got international aims and a desire to play at the highest level. I see in him a lot of the ambition that my generation all had when we were young players making names for ourselves at Elland Road. First and foremost he’s under contract, so the decision over whether to keep him is the club’s to make. At the same time it’s much easier to keep him on board if he genuinely wants to be here next season and that’s a decision I think Robert needs to make. He needs to be clear in his own mind about where he sees his future. If Leeds choose to reject bids and fend off interest until the end of August, I’m certain we’d still get 100 per cent from him. There were times when I felt speculation about transfers affected Jermaine Beckford and his form suffered because of it. I don’t see the same happening with Robert. Deep down I’m still hoping he’ll be the catalyst for us in the months ahead

July 19th. Norwich not right for Snodgrass – Dominic Matteo YEP Robert Snodgrass to Norwich City was the most inevitable transfer link of this close season. They tried and failed to sign him last year and all of us expected speculation to surface again. Even Paul Lambert going to Aston Villa hasn’t killed it stone dead. For Snodgrass, Norwich looks like a risky option. The coming season will be a hard one for them and they’ll do well to survive. Snodgrass needs Premier League football but he needs it long-term, not just for one year. But for Leeds and their supporters, it feels like they need more clarity over this. Is Snodgrass staying or going? Is he signing his new deal or not? Can the club deliver, or realistically expect to deliver, on the promises they made to him at the start of the summer? Rob’s been excellent for Leeds and he deserves complete honesty about where the club are and not least where the proposed takeover is at. His situation is yet another reason why the sooner the uncertainty lifts from Elland Road the better. It’s what I have said all summer, Dom and at leaat it’s not farting around the subject like Comical Ali Lorimer will tomorrow in his weekly doctrine.

July 27th. Austin’s future to be decided tomorrow. SK Brann have told Rodolph Austin that he will have a decision on his future before the end of this week as Leeds United work to tie up the signing of the Jamaican midfielder. Austin is pushing for permission to begin discussions with Leeds after expressing his desire to join the Championship club, and United manager Neil Warnock is hopeful that a deal will be finalised in the next seven days. Brann have rejected an initial offer from Elland Road, believed to be in the region of £200,000, but will sell the midfielder if Leeds return with a bid which meets their valuation. The Norwegian side are keen for Austin to remain with them until after their league match against Aalesund on Sunday but sources in Bergen expect Austin’s future to be resolved in the next 72 hours. Austin has twice come close to securing a deal in English football, missing out on a move to Stoke City due to a failed work permit application and denied the chance to join Warnock at Queens Park Rangers in January of last year. Brann rejected QPR’s offer and have so far held firm in negotiations with Leeds, despite a belief that the club are resigned to losing Austin. Warnock said: “I don’t think there’s anything agreed but we’re in conversations. I’m hoping we can tie a deal up and get him as soon as possible in the early part of next week.” Austin’s arrival at Leeds would strengthen a midfield weakened by the sale of Adam Clayton to Huddersfield Town but Warnock has revealed that Michael Brown is poised to take up a new one-year deal at Elland Road having reached the end of his previous contract last month.

July 27th. Brown will sign on.  Leeds boss Neil Warnock expects Michael Brown to prolong his stay at Elland Road by putting pen to paper on a new deal next month. The 35-year-old was offered a new one-year contract at the end of last season but returned to pre-season training with his team-mates without signing the 12-month agreement. The former Sheffield United and Tottenham enforcer made 26 appearances for United last season, with the majority of those coming following the arrival of his former Blades boss Warnock as Leeds manager in February. Brown, who joined the West Yorkshire club from Portsmouth last summer, was an ever-present in Warnock’s starting XI until a red card picked up at Easter effectively ended his season. The manager said: “We’ve offered Michael another year and I think we’ll start that from next month.” Hopefully it’s a pay per game deal or minutes on the park deal with the amount of red cards he accumulates. I won’t mention his age in case “Age Action” comes after me. But seriously are we not better adding this wage  on to Snodgrass/White’s terms to stay instead of giving this guy circa £10K a week ? Two of the tackles he put in away to Reading would put a fella away in Mountjoy for a year.

July 19th. Pros and Cons of foreign ownership – Phil Hay – YEP. Foreign ownership came to Nottingham Forest last week, as it has to numerous English clubs and might yet come to Leeds United. The money behind the purchase of Forest flowed from Kuwait and three members of the Al-Hasawi family, Fawaz, Abdulaziz and Omar. On the day of the takeover, the brothers said: “It’s an honour and privilege to assume control of this great club steeped in history.”They did not delay in beginning work. Forty eight hours later Steve Cotterill was sacked as manager. By the beginning of this week, four Kuwaiti trialists had arrived at the City Ground with another three expected to follow. One of them, striker Bader Mutawa, was reportedly described by Fawaz Al-Hasawi as the “second-best player in Asia”. It is a situation which Leeds United’s supporters can watch with interest as the prospect of foreign ownership surrounds Elland Road. There is anticipation in Nottingham but apprehension too; as yet no clarity over whether the Al-Hawasis are suitable successors to the late Nigel Doughty or a more erratic pair of hands. As it did with Forest, the funding behind the proposed buy-out of Leeds from chairman and majority shareholder Ken Bates – a deal which was still awaiting final completion today more than a month after due diligence began on United’s accounts – will come from the Middle East. Back in May, Leeds stated that the prospective owners had the financial power to “support the club” and would pass the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test. Neil Warnock was candid enough to call the buyers “proper people” and he has received assurances that he will remain as manager once the takeover is completed. But the true colours of the next owners of Leeds will be impossible to gauge until full disclosure of their identities emerges. Forest are presently without a manager and failed to convince Mick McCarthy that he should take the job on. McCarthy held talks with Forest on Monday but declined the opportunity within 48 hours. He is thought to have sought assurances that he would have full control over the management of Forest’s squad and transfers.Paul Taylor, a sports journalist with the Nottingham Post, said: “McCarthy would have been a great appointment. Only he knows his reasons for turning the job down but it’s a bit of a concern that he has. “The new owners obviously sacked Cotterill with the idea of appointing McCarthy and that’s gone by the wayside already. Their plan B is going to have to be good. All in all it’ll be a while before anyone can say with much certainty if the new ownership is going to be a success. “At their first press conference they made all the right noises and spoke humbly about Forest’s stature and history. They made no rash promises about promotion next season or anything else. It was very encouraging. “As far as the trialists go, I can understand why fans might be worried about that. But again it’s a case of wait and see. Some of these players played with a very successful club in Kuwait (Al Qadsia). And ultimately the trials might come to nothing, That’s where we are with a lot of things at the moment – a bit unsure.” In English football the merit of foreign ownership is moot – proven conclusively in the cases of Chelsea and Manchester City, both of whom attracted bona fide billionaires, and a progressive if chaotic influence at Queens Park Rangers where Warnock won promotion last year. American interest at Manchester United and Liverpool has been contentious by comparison and Randy Lerner’s Aston Villa fell on anxious times last season. But Portsmouth are the most glaring model of catastrophic foreign management, struggling with administration again and preparing for League One four years after winning the FA Cup. The finest achievements of Leeds and Forest are further behind them and the atmosphere at both clubs was ripe for a takeover this summer; Forest due to the sudden death of former owner Doughty and Leeds on account of growing apathy among their support and United’s struggle to finance the signings planned by Warnock. Echoes of the Al-Hasawi buy-out have been seen at Watford, where investment by the Italian Pozzo family last month led to the sacking of ex-boss Sean Dyche and the appointment of Gianfranco Zola in his stead. Suggestions that Watford would become a feeder club for Udinese – also controlled by the Pozzos – were forcibly denied and the Championship side were yesterday linked with Filippo Inzaghi and Alessandro Del Piero, aging stars but two of the finer Italian players of their generation. Those mooted signings would normally rank in the realms of too-good-to-be-true. Watford’s new management team have already met with the Watford Supporters Trust with the aim of embracing the wishes of their fans. The Trust’s chairman, John Fawell, told the YEP: “We’re pretty happy with what we’re seeing. We want to be sure that this takeover is right in the long term but we’re about to enter a period of stability and that’s crucial when you consider what’s gone on at Watford in the past 10 years. “From talking to the management team it’s clear that they want to avoid doing anything which alienates the supporters. This is a community club and a family club. But all of a sudden we’re a club with potential and a promising set-up. I pinch myself when I say that.”

July 18th. I did like this phone in with Colin and Alan Brazil from Talk Sport this morning – just cut and paste it in the url : http://www.talksport.co.uk/sports-news/football/football-league/championship/120718/exclusive-warnock-assured-he-will-remain-leeds-boss-176864  In it he has a go at Leeds for not putting their better players on longer contracts. I nearly fell off my rocking horse when I heard that one, but he does say the new owners are “proper footballing people” and they have promised him that he will keep his job. 

July 18th. ESPN understands that Leeds United are on the brink of a takeover, which could be completed in the coming days. The future direction of Leeds United could be announced in the coming days.Leeds have been in talks with a group of investors for some time, fronted by Bahrain-based Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, a Leeds United fan who failed with a takeover bid in 2003. After protracted discussions and countless rumours, an ESPN source has said: “A takeover is now imminent, it could happen any day.” ESPN contacted current owner Ken Bates in Monaco, who refused to comment on the possibility of an impending change in ownership. Bates told ESPN: “I am here in Monte Carlo but I am making no comment at all. If anything happens you will be the first to know.” Bates also refused to confirm that the party involved was in fact the reported Bahraini investors. Bates, though, did confirm that “an investor” has been granted an extension to the usual business process of due diligence, where the club’s finances are examined ahead of a possible takeover. Former Chelsea owner Bates added that has he has signed a confidentiality agreement, meaning that he cannot discuss any aspect of any potential takeover.

July 18th 2012. Latest  on McCormack and White. Leeds United manager Neil Warnock does not want to sell Ross McCormack unless a replacement is already on board, while he hopes to keep Aidy White. Warnock admitted last week that Leeds had received offers for McCormackDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif and he has now revealed that up to five clubs are in the hunt for his signature. The striker has another year left on his current deal and Warnock would prefer to bring new players in before he thinks about letting anyone go. White is in a slightly different position as he is out of contract, although the 20-year-old has returned to training and Leeds are entitled to compensation if he goes elsewhere. Warnock says there has been interest in White but remains confident he will stay at Elland Road and plans to hold further talks. Speaking about the duo, Warnock told the club’s official website: “Ross has got many people who like him.”There’s four at the moment and there’s another one who has phoned me this week. There’s probably five clubs vying for his signature.”If we lose players like that we have to have replacements and have them on board. I don’t think we want to be waiting and letting them go, we want to get some players in. We need to look at things day by day because it’s changing.”It’s like Aidy White, there’s a couple of people spoken to him. I’d like Aidy to stay but we have to negotiate with his advisors and come up with an agreement that he’s happy with as well. I don’t think he’s looking to leave.” There are just a few weeks to go until the start of the season and Warnock admits it has been a tricky time as he tries to strengthen his squad, but he is staying optimistic.”We’re still in the process with the due diligence, and it’s difficult at this moment in time to plan,” explained the manager. “It’s not the best of situations because you want to bring players in and bed them in, but this is an unknown factor.”It’s taking a while to get each and every one over the line at the moment, but hopefully we’ll move that along.” It does beg the question that 95% of Leeds fans are asking : If we have five clubs wanting to sign him, including Blackburn and Wolves who most probably will be challenging for promotion, why are we selling him ?

Austin link

July 18th. Austin will be a hit – Eirik Bakke (remember him? ) YEP Leeds United old boy Eirik Bakke is tipping Rodolph Austin to be a massive hit if he moves to Elland Road. United’s interest in the combative central midfielder was first revealed in the YEP last week, with boss Neil Warnock subsequently confirming that the 27-year-old SK Brann man was on his hit-list of summer targets. Austin himself is desperate to try his hand in England after seeing moves to Stoke and QPR, then managed by Warnock, fall through in the past. For his part, Bakke – who played with the Jamaican international for three seasons in Brann’s midfield from 2008 to 2010 – has completely sold his former club to his one-time team-mate. Bakke, 34, currently playing for hometown club Sogndal in the Norwegian Premier League, has been hailed by Austin as a “fantastic man” and influence on his career and Bakke insists his former team-mate is tailor-made for Leeds. Discussions between United and Brann are ongoing with the Norwegian club thought to be willing to sell Austin for around £300,000. The player – out of contract in December – confirmed his desire to leave when interviewed after Brann’s 6-2 win over Odd Grenland last Sunday. It is likely a deal will only be finalised after this weekend, with Brann desperate for Austin, who is easily their most influential player, to feature in Sunday’s key clash with fellow-strugglers Aalesund before letting him go. On the possibility of Austin following in his footsteps and wearing the famous white jersey, Bakke told the YEP: “I spoke to him about Leeds on Sunday and he’s very excited. “He wants to go now and hopefully he will sign. “He will suit Leeds perfectly. Leeds fans want players who give their all every match and he does that. He’s never injured as well and he is a very good player. “He’s a great athlete and a very good professional. “I think he will provide something that maybe Leeds have been missing in the last few years. “He’s a typical defensive midfielder who works hard and has good passing ability and he always gives 110 per cent in training and in games. “If Leeds get him, they will get a bargain. “He’s one of those guys that every team needs and the Leeds fans will love him. “In every match, he gives everything and he has got a lot of power in him. “He will be a very good buy for Leeds if they get him.” While Austin may be a quiet guy off the pitch, Bakke insists he does his talking firmly on it. On lining up alongside Austin, who arrived in Norway from Jamaican outfit Portmore United in 2008 and has also played alongside ex-United midfielder Gylfi Einarsson, Bakke added: “It was very good as he could just do all my running! But Rodolph is a good lad as well in the dressing room – he’s a very good person. “He’s a leader and while he doesn’t say much, he does it out on the pitch.”While Bakke can’t speak highly enough about Austin, neither can the Norwegian press who have watched his performances in the Tippeligaen with increasing admiration since he headed over to Scandinavia. One journalist who has seen more of Austin than most is Brann football reporter Rune Ulvik, who works for the Bergen-based Bergensavisen newspaper covering the club. Any test of a good player is his ability to adapt his game and that’s something that Ulvik insists Austin has done after some teething problems. A rash of bookings pervaded his early time with Brann and while Austin has picked up five yellow cards and a red card so far this term, suggesting he is still not exactly a saint on the pitch, Ulvik says he has learnt plenty – and quickly – following his early days at the club and curbed his most reckless tendencies. Soccer writers in Norway provided affirmation when they voted him as the best player in the top-flight in 2011, with Austin a star turn as Brann reached the domestic cup final only to lose out to Aalesund. The respect Austin – who scored seven goals in 25 appearances last season – is held in by journalists is also matched by the support of the Brann faithful, with the engine-room grafter pretty much the first name on the teamsheet. Ulvik said: “Austin has a big profile in the league and he’s very respected by the fans at Brann. “He is a real dedicated player who has been at Brann for four-and-a-half years now. “He needed very little time to adjust to the Norwegian League. “He had great seasons in 2010 and 2011 and he was voted Norwegian player of the season in 2011 by every major newspaper and by the players themselves. “As a player, he has pace and is a really strong tackler. He does a lot of the dirty work!  “For a while, he tackled a bit too much and picked up a lot of yellow cards. “He was told to adapt his way of playing and he did.”Compared to the Championship, the Norwegian Tippeligaen is comparatively sedate and Ulvik feels Austin’s natural all-action style will ensure his transition to the faster and more physical English game will be a seamless one. Ulvik added: “I think if Austin goes to the Championship, he’ll be able to tackle a bit more! “England is what he has been aiming for ever since he wasn’t able to go to Stoke due to work permit issues in 2008. It’s been his main goal.”Colin said on the Official website that Leeds “are in conversations with Brann and hoping to tie up a deal and get him in early next week”.

July 17th. Still no word on the takeover and we still seem to have to sell in order to buy. Even more concerning is the fact that our captain and top goal scorer are very sought after players and what is even more galling is the fact that for the second year in a row we will probably lose both.

July 17th. Colin on Norwich offer for Snodgrass Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says the club have received a bid for Robert Snodgrass but it does not meets Leeds valuation of the player. The club captain is yet to sign the new deal offered to him by Leeds at the end of last season as he waits to see the ambitions of the club in the transfer market this summer before committing himself to the club. Norwich twice had bids turned down for the Scotland international winger last summer and Warnock says they have once again fallen short of what Leeds think he is worth. Speaking on the official website, Warnock said, “It’s been made public that they have bid, but from our own point of view it’s not what we’re looking for. ‘We’d like to keep Rob, and Rob knows that. Whether that will be possible we’ll have to wait and see. ‘It’s difficult when players get their heads turned, but I’d like to keep Rob at the club and that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment. Unless they come up with a valuation that the club thinks is satisfactory then that’s what we want to do.’ Snodgrass is moving into the final year of his current deal at Elland Road and Leeds have made him an offer that would make him the highest earner at the club. Warnock as always admitted that he would like Snodgrass to give him one more year to try to help him see the club promoted to the Premier League. The Leeds boss as also said that if the club did not look like promotion candidates when the transfer window opened in the New Year then he would make sure he found him a Premier League move. As well as Norwich fellow Premier League clubs Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Stoke City and West Brom have all been linked with Snodgrass this summer. Here is my what if scenario ? What if Snodgrass doesn’t buy into the Colin plan for promotion ? Do we lose another one of our brightest stars and replace him with another 30 plus year old ? Personally, I think Snodgrass would be foolish to join a club like Norwich City. If Villa under Lambert came in that may be a different matter. But this is all very worrying. Colin talks of a player’s “head getting turned”. Is it that he isn’t convinced that Leeds will match his ambitions on the park because he doesn’t strike me as the type to demand £20K a week ? We have a worrying trend here.We are losing a lot of our better players and younger players and replacing them with players in the Autumn and in some cases the Winter of their careers.  Robert Snodgrass is just 25 in September. Adam Clayton is 23. Aidy White is 21 in October. Ross McCormack is 25 in August. Are we selling off the family silver to replace with ageing antiques ?

Lonergan goes to Bolton

July 17th. 2012 Lonergan signs for Bolton.  Andy Lonergan completed his £250,000 move to Bolton today and signed a three year deal with the Trotters. Colin had this to say about the former number one Leeds stopper : “Andy is a good keeper especially at Championship level, but for me to get the opportunity to get the opportunity to sign Paddy Kenny was unbelievable. For me he is the best there is. I had a chat with Andy and I said you are looking at first team football. He had two or three clubs in for him but he lives near Bolton and he fancied the opportunity of challenging for a place there. And his family is settled over there. It just suited everybody. I couldn’t ask him to stay as back up because that isn’t right and he’s a good professional who we wish well”. Colin is now looking to bring a keeper in as Rachubka is on the transfer list. 

Makail-Smith link

July 17th. Latest from Elland Road. The future of Leeds United striker Ross McCormack is expected to become a lot clearer within the coming seven days, the Yorkshire Post understands. A trio of clubs have registered firm interest in the Scottish international with Huddersfield Town among the front-runners as Simon Grayson attempts to sign a second player from his old club following the capture of Adam Clayton earlier this month.McCormack, United’s top scorer last season with 19 goals, has entered the final year of his Elland Road contract after turning down the West Yorkshire club’s offer of a new deal.With the striker having made it clear that agreement is unlikely unless the offer is substantially increased, Leeds will not allow his contract to run down as that would mean the Scot leaving on a free transfer next summer. Instead, it seems McCormack will be sold in an attempt to either raise funds for Neil Warnock to reinvest in the transfer market or allow the United manager to bring in a major target as part of a swap deal.To that end, sources in Brighton have indicated that tentative talks have taken place between the Yorkshire club and Albion manager Gus Poyet over a possible swap deal that would see McCormack head to the Amex Stadium and Craig Mackail-Smith travel north in the opposite direction. Agreement, however, is far from close with the Seagulls board believed to be keen on a cash adjustment due to wanting to recoup more of the £3.5m fee paid to Peterborough United striker a year ago. Brighton and Mackail-Smith are away in Spain at the moment preparing for a friendly tournament that also includes League One Portsmouth but further talks are planned, while the other clubs interested in McCormack are also expected to step up their own attempts to secure the services of a striker who finished fourth in the Championship goalscoring charts last term.As the Scot’s future edges closer to being resolved, one player heading out of Elland Road – possibly as early as today – is goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.Last week’s capture of Paddy Kenny from QPR has meant the former Preston North End goalkeeper becoming surplus to requirements at the Yorkshire clubs were the first club to make a move for the 28-year-old and Owen Coyle seems certain to head off late interest from Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town. All three clubs are understood to have had £250,000 offers accepted by United in recent days but Lonergan prefers a return to his native Lancashire.Another Leeds player being coveted by rival clubs is Robert Snodgrass, who was yesterday the subject of a bid from Norwich City. The offer, believed to be in the region of £1.5m, is not expected to tempt United with Warnock being desperate to hold on to his captain. Snodgrass has been a long-term target of the Canaries, with previous manager Paul Lambert having been a big fan of his fellow Scot.The Premier League club made concerted efforts to sign the 24-year-old a year ago but were unable to match United’s valuation. Lambert’s successor, Chris Hughton, seems equally confident the Scot can make the step-up into the Premier League in a similar fashion to that made by one-time team-mates, Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson. Snodgrass, who like McCormack is in the final year of his Elland Road contract, was offered a new deal towards the end of last season that, if accepted, would have made him the highest paid player at the club. The contract remains unsigned but United are still keen to retain the services of a player who has excelled in each of the last two Championship campaigns. Whether agreement can be reached with Snodgrass remains unclear, though an increased offer – something that will be dependent on the proposed takeover of United going through – is likely to be required to keep hold of the hugely popular wideman in the long-term.Due diligence by the group granted exclusivity by the Elland Road hierarchy last month remains on-going as they continue to work towards a successful completion.For supporters, the wait for positive news has been frustrating but the Yorkshire Post believes no problems have been found and all parties remain confident of being able to strike a deal. Meanwhile, one of United’s transfer targets – SK Brann defensive midfielder Rodolph Austin – has stated his desire to secure a move to the Championship.The Jamaican international is on Warnock’s list of potential targets and an offer has been on the table since last week. Contrary to reports elsewhere, that offer – believed to be around £300,000 – has not been rejected and is still under consideration by the Norwegian club. Austin, for his part, is very keen to push the deal through – as he made clear when speaking to the Norwegian press after scoring in Brann’s 6-2 win over Odd Grenland on Sunday. Speaking about the interest from England, 27-year-old Austin said: “I am 27 years now, and I think the timing is right. But it is between the clubs. If I can go to Leeds, that’s something I would like.“I don’t know if this was my last game here, but if it was then it was a perfect way to finish”.

July 17th. Hopefully not Walter Mitty again. t was back in August 2003 that Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa first appeared on the radar at Leeds United – and the question scores of fans are now pondering is whether the Bahraini is the man behind the latest consortium planning to take over at Elland Road.  Sport is certainly in the blood of Al-Khalifa – a member of the ruling Bahraini family – with football and horse racing among his chief passions. And nothing seemingly stirs his emotions quite like Leeds United, with a love affair born over four decades ago when Don Revie’s Super Leeds were the best team in the land and he was in private education in England. Back in 2003, when he first expressed an interest in taking over United – in debt to the tune of £70m at the time – Al-Khalifa gushingly confirmed his passion for the club. “I fell in love when Leeds played Chelsea in the 1970 FA Cup final,” he said. “Leeds mean everything to me, I was born to support them.“Those who are closest to me, my friends and family, know what Leeds United mean to me.”While his intent may have been genuine and his passion real, Al-Khalifa was destined not to take over at Elland Road, not then at least, with fans subsequently referring to him, in not exactly glowing terms, as the “Fake Sheikh”. Yet after trying – and failing – to take over at United once, the name of Al-Khalifa is doing the rounds again with speculation abound that he is heading a Middle East-based consortium aiming to take control of the club. The Bahraini Information Affairs Authority has confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that any deal is nothing to do with any government department in the Gulf state, and is a strictly private deal – and private matter. The spokesperson for the Bahraini IAA added that the individual mentioned – Al-Khalifa – was more likely to be in negotiations with financial investors but, as it was a private deal, there were no details at hand.Al-Khalifa was believed to be in Europe last week, but was not understood to be available for comment.It remains to be seen whether it’s a case of second time lucky for Al-Khalifa after failing to push through the deal in the winter of 2003-04, when he was touted as a buy-out saviour.Whites fans were desperate to cling on to any semblance of hope at a time when the club were on the verge of financial meltdown following the much-publicised excesses of the Peter Ridsdale ‘spend, spend, spend’ era.Al-Khalifa was the first individual to go public about his interest in December 2003, when the severity of the club’s financial position was starkly revealed. United were on the market, with then chief executive Trevor Birch having an initial eight-week period to find outside investment to protect the club from going into administration and possible oblivion. Several other consortia showed their hand, including one linked to former United deputy chairman Allan Leighton, busy working on plans with a City-based group of businessmen. Al-Khalifa’s first job was to reject claims that he was looking to pick the club up on the cheap, while insisting to supporters he was desperate to see United survive. The talk was that Al-Khalifa was heading a consortium of potential Middle Eastern investors, including two wealthy Saudi Arabians, having convinced them that Leeds were a good investment despite their high-profile debts. They were big-hitting figures. Sheikh Mansour Salah Al Zamil, who owned oil and gas containers and storage businesses, plus steel and construction companies and huge land interests. And Sheikh Fahd bin Muhammed Al-Sudairi, a businessman connected to the Saudi Royal Family.An initial £17m investment with further cash to follow was the talk on the grapevine, with United supporters eagerly anticipating an early Christmas present by way of new cash-rich owners. To show he meant business, Al-Khalifa revealed to the YEP before the festive season that he had enlisted the services of renowned stockbrokers Brewin Dolphin and law firm Linklaters, while entering into advanced talks with the club.He said: It is very important that fans know I have the club at heart and my intentions are to move forwards because it looked like administration was just around the corner.“We have a team working, negotiations (are) ongoing and a consortium ready if things go according to plan – and that is, I hope, to avoid administration. “That is the main target, unlike some comments that said I was waiting for administration like a vulture. I am not a vulture; I am a fan and have suffered like all the fans have suffered and hope to help it work.” But Christmas came and went and despite continued speculation and ongoing interest which saw Al-Khalifa touted as a £35m saviour, United officials continually stated that no bid or proof of funds had been received. The YEP headline of January 16, 2004 read “Now show us your money” as club chiefs told prospective buyers to front up with an official bid. But in the case of Al-Khalifa, nothing official transpired and his interest vanished into the sunset, with United fans hoping for more concrete developments this time around.

July 16th. Lambert gone but Canaries still sniffing. Norwich City have made a fresh bid for Leeds winger Robert Snodgrass, Sky Sports understands. The Canaries first tried to sign the Scotland international last summer, but their approaches were turned down by Leeds. They have made a fresh bid for the 24-year-old, and Sky Sports understands Norwich have tabled two offers in the last week for the Scot. With Paul Lambert,Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif who is now at Aston Villa,Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif among a host of confirmed admirers in the Premier League, Norwich will be hopeful they can strike a quick deal to land the in-demand Scot. Snodgrass has just one year left on his current deal at Elland Road, having failed to agree a new contract with the West Yorkshire outfit. Will Snods exit stage left or sign up to the Colin promotion project or will Leeds simply cash in ?

Colin winning promotion

Taraabt his previous talisman

Routlidgle on loan from Spurs to QPR

Derry

Helgusson

Hill – Captain

Final Table

Kenny becomes a White

July 16th. Jamaican wants to come to Leeds. Jamaican international midfielder Rodolph Austin says he would like a move to Leeds United. Austin was on target for his Norwegian side SK Brann on Sunday in their 6-2 win and speaking on Norwegian TV channel TV2 after the game, Austin Said, “I am 27 years now, and I think the timing is right. It is between the clubs. If I can go to Leeds, that is something I would like.”I don`t know if this was my last game here, but if it was then it was a perfect way to finish”. Reports broke on Friday that Leeds were interested in taking the Norwegian player of the year to Elland Road. Austin is in the final year of his current contract at Brann and he enjoyed a trial with Leeds boss Neil Warnock during his time at Queens Park Rangers. Speaking in the Yorkshire Evening Post on Friday, Warnock said, Speaking in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Warnock said, “He`s a player I had at QPR. I had him over for a week and he`s a smashing lad. ‘I`ve always liked him, but it`s always been a bit too much money. The last time I spoke to them, it was around the £2m mark. ‘But his contract runs out in December and he`s one that we are looking at as well as several others.’ Austin looked emotional after netting his goal in the win over Odd Grenland on Sunday afternoon and he spent time at the end of the game applauded fans on all four sides of the ground. Leeds have already been reported as having a bid turned down for Austin but they are expected to go back in with another bid for the player who is out of contract in December. July 15th. How Colin won promotion with QPR and will there be  similarities with Leeds? Many have placed blind faith in Neil Warnock and refuse even to question his record at Leeds last season, saying that he came in too late to change things. I find little appeal in that argument. What I do know is that under him we played 14 : Won 3 Drew 4 Lost 7. Believe it or not, Leeds lost more at home under Neil Warnock last season than they did under Simon Grayson, including our record defeat under any Leeds manager, 3-7 at home to lowly Notts Forest, a side we had defeated 4-0 away only a few short months before. But enough of the doom and gloom. Let’s look at his promotion season at QPR. Colin’s promotion sides are rarely built on flair and on free scoring attacking football, and this was the case at Loftus Road. He was backed to the hilt by the Italians in his judgement not only in the transfer market but in paying high wages and securing top class players on loan from Premiership clubs. This exercise is for my own benefit to try and reap some kind of knowledge from the type of player he is trying to secure for LS11, because so far, like many I am a touch unimpressed with the type of player being linked and disappointed with not only the quality of the player we are losing but the age profile of that particular player also, many of whom would be seen as our future. That said, it is his task to build a promotion winning squad and to do it in one season. He alone will be judged at the end, and as he has already stated, he could so easily have walked away. So let’s take a closer look at our “Messiah”. It is difficult to gauge how much money was actually spent in the world of “undisclosed transfer fees” but the following arrived for significant fees, Adel Taarabt (his Moroccan talisman) from Spurs, Paddy Kenny from Sheff United for £750K, Rob Hulse from Derby County, Tommy Smith from Portsmouth, Jamie Mackie from Plymouth Argyle. Warnock says he doesn’t like the loan system. Not true. He doesn’t like the bargain end of the loan system. He excelled at QPR with some very astute top notch proven loan additions :  Kyle Walker  from Tottenham (now England’s right full) for the first five months of the season and the audacious Wayne Routledge  from Newcastle for the entire season, Ishmaael Miller from WBA(striker) from January to season end . Between loans and fees QPR are reported to have spent nearly £10M. Where Warnock skilfully set his stall out was in the free transfers. He likes players that he knows and that are tested. Shaun Derry arrived on a free from C Palace and Clint Hill arrived on a free from C Palace. The superbly named Danny Shittu and Pascal Chimbonsa also arrived on frees but only featured five times between them. Of the 15 players signed by Warnock, only the above made an impact. No players were sold for a fee. The talented Heidar Helgusson, Matthew Connolly, Hogan Ephraim, Kaspars Gorkss, Patrick Agyemang, were already there but were to be big playres for the boys from the Bush that season. QPR raced out of the blocks. Nine points extracted from Yorkshire clubs in the first three games pleased Colin no end where Barnsley, Sheff United and Scunthorpe were all put to the sword without conceding. Helgusson and Taarabt were particularly prolific. But it was Paddy Kenny in goal who constantly made saves when he had to that made sure three points were won instead of one. Derby County were the only side to take any points and score against QPR in the first eight games as the “Rs” took 22 points from their first eight games. Even in that 2-2 draw at Derby, Mackie equalised for Rangers in the 95th minute to epitomise the spirit in the camp.  Mid October saw Rangers “hit the wall” as they drew four games in a row (v Norwich, Swansea, Bristol C and Burnley). This period saw them fall to second in the table for a period of two games. QPR won their next two games on the trot before losing their first game of the season (game 20) 1-3 at home to Watford. They were to remain in first position for the rest of the whole campaign. Only one side was to take six points from them all season, Leeds United. A Max Gradel brace on December 18th was followed up by a meaningless 2-1 win in the last game of the season when Rangers were already Champions. Adel Tarrabt was pleasing on the eye and his individualism was superb topping their goal scoring with 19 league goals, but the fans voted Paddy Kenny their player of the year, not surprising when you hear that he kept a remarkable 24 clean sheets. This in no doubt signifies why he rates Kenny so highly and maybe for Tarrabt, he sees similarities in Robert Snodgrass.  His key players were : Paddy Kenny (goalkeeper (44 games – 24 clean sheets )  Clint Hill (defender 44 games) Gorkss (defender 42 games ) Connolly (defender – 33 games),  Bradley Orr (defender 29 games) Kyle Walker (right full- 20 games) Faurlin (Greek midfielder 40 games and 3 goals) Shaun Derry ( midfielder 45 games)  Routledge– (winger 20 games and 5 goals), Tommy Smith ( Midfielder/striker23 games (10 as sub) 5 goals) Hogan Ephraim (winger 19 games (9 sub) 3 goals) Taraabt (43 games 19 goals)  Helgusson (striker played 32 games and scored 13 goals )and Jamie Mackie (forward  25 games – 9 goals) Perhaps in Clint Hill he sees Jason Pearce as a similar centre half, and maybe young Tom Lees is his Gorkss. Patrick Agyemang the powerful Ghanaian striker never started a match but came off the bench 19 times and grabbed 3 goals. Colin loved having a collection of strikers. Maybe the hard working Derry and Faurlin are similar to Green and Rodolph Austin. His disappointment in losing right full back Ward to Palace was perhaps his Championship version of a Kyle Walker and Adam Drury at left back certainly would match the Connolly scenario. Has Peltier the pace of Ward at right back or are we chasing a poor man’s number two? The nearest we had to Routledge speed and guile on the right flank was Max Gradel but maybe he sees Luke Varney in that role and Becchio would certainly score more goals than Helgusson, although he is a different type of striker. Craig Makail –Smith is more of the Helgusson type but I really don’t see us splashing anything remotely near the £2.5m that Brighton are trying to recoup. Up front I think Colin must have one or two aces up his sleeve or why release McCormack, especially to a Wolves who will be up there challenging ? I still worry about the lack of pace and youth in our side. The next few weeks will certainly tell a tale.

July 15th. Latest Transfer Rumours – Vital Football.  Vital Leeds United is keeping fans up to date with all the latest transfer rumours over the summer with Neil Warnock looking to build a squad capable of mounting a promotion challenge next season. Finally, the worst kept secret at Elland Road happened this week. Having been linked with Leeds all summer, Paddy Kenny signs a three-year deal at Elland Road. After a quiet start to the week with no new players being linked, the end of the week sees some new names thrown into the ring. Leeds returned for pre-season training and amongst those at Thorp Arch are two trialists. Former player Andy Gray is back along with versatile defender Martin Crainie who is out of contract at Coventry City. One name that gets everyone talking is Rodolph Austin. Unknown to the vast majority of Leeds fans, the Jamaican international is on manager Neil Warnock`s wish list. Austin plays his football with SK Brann in Norway and he was voted the player of the year last season. Warnock had him on trial at Queens Park Rangers during his time there and it is reported that Leeds have made a bid in the region of £250,000 for Austin who can play in midfield or at the heart of the defence. Reports coming out of Norway suggest he will join at the beginning of next month when the Norwegian transfer market opens. The last one of the week came in this morning`s papers with Brighton and Hove Albion striker Craig Mackail-Smith being linked with a £3 million move to Leeds according to the Daily Mail. This sort of deal will obviously rest on the successful takeover of the club, as Bates has not spent £3 million since he arrived in total. The takeover continues to rumble on. Another week and still nothing from the club. The media caught up with the article on Vital Leeds last Sunday and Bahraini Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa is now firmly touted as the man to take over the club. Of those players already linked with moves in and out of Elland Road. It looks like Portsmouth forward Luke Varney is closing in on a move to Leeds and Leicester defender Lee Peltier is still being strongly linked with a move to LS11. With the arrival of Paddy Kenny, Andy Lonergan looks like he could be on his way shortly. Bolton Wanderers are still leading the chase with their boss Owen Coyle admitting his interest. Ipswich Town are also reportedly interested in Lonergan. Leeds boss Neil Warnock confirms the club have had a number of clubs show an interest in striker Ross McCormack and Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers are the latest clubs linked with a move for last season`s top scorer. Luke Chambers will not be joining from Nottingham Forest. The defender signed a three-year deal with Ipswich Town on Monday. Another player not joining is Crystal Palace midfielder Darren Ambrose who was linked with Leeds in the first week of the summer. Ambrose signed for fellow championship side Birmingham City on Friday. If you read of any player links in or out of Elland Road then let us know on Vital Leeds. Ambrose would have been a cracking player forh Leeds, highly underrated, skilful, excellent from a deadball situation and can spot a good pass, the kind of player we lack now that Clayton has been sold. 
July 15th. Daily Mail – Mackail-Smith linked with Leeds. According to the Daily Mail “ Leeds boss Neil Warnock is eyeing £3million Craig Mackail-Smith as the club continue talks with Bahraini investors. Warnock sees Brighton’s 28-year-old Scotland international as the striker to fire Leeds into the Premier League and believes Brighton are willing to sell him. Leeds owner Ken Bates has allowed Bahrain’s Sheik Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa to conduct due diligence on the club. Another one that looks highly unlikely”. The Daily Mail rarely gets anything right and why would a manager speculate “£3M” on a 28 year old who scored just 9 league goals in 45 league games last season and sell a 25 year old (26 in late August) who scored 19 league goals last season

Austin

Macca

July 14th. Jamaican next to arrive and Lonergan and McCormack to say Adios ? Taken from “The Scratching Shed” and YEP. The major development this weekend looks set to be the Rodolph Austin transfer swoop. According to this morning’s news from ba.no, SK Brann have confirmed a bid has been received from Leeds for ‘midfield general’ Rodolph Austin. ba.no believe that the offer is around £250,000 and that Brann have asked for a bit more. Brann are keen to agree a deal, though, with the former Tippeligaen player of the year running out of contract this December. Austin’s agent has told Norwegian news sources that the agreement is likely to go through, while Brann Chief Executive of Football Rolf Magne Walstad has explained: “Rodolphe Austin is a good footballer, but at the right price every player is for sale”.If Leeds are pushed for funds they may be able to negotiate a discount in exchange for granting Austin two final weeks in Norway since Brann will not be able to replace him until the transfer window opens on August 1st. Austin already has match fitness with Brann 14 matches into the season, but Leeds will probably want Austin as soon as realistically possible to blend with a rapidly changing team in time for the new season in late August. Bolton are stepping up their efforts to land Andrew Lonergan as competition for Adam Bogdan. Bolton have offered around £200,000 and hope to do the deal before their pre-season tour to Scotland gets under way this Tuesday. However Wanderers will not be able to snap Lonergan up without offering a fair deal, with the keeper on a fairly long contract and the subs bench extending to 7 players this season. Ipswich Town are reported to be interested in gazumping any deal.Meanwhile the Daily Star claim that Leeds’ top scorer Ross McCormack is attracting interest from both Blackburn and Wolves, with a valuation of around £2.5m. The striker has attracted plenty of attention this summer with other links including Wigan, West Ham, Huddersfield and Brighton.

July 13th. Colin admits he nearly “walked away”. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock admits he contemplated leaving Leeds this summer after being frustrated in the early weeks of the summer. Warnock was hoping to build his squad for the 2012/13 season sooner rather than later and after making just one signing, Jason Pearce from Portsmouth in May. Warnock then lost out on Portsmouth teammate Joel Ward.Ward joined Palace after it was reported that Leeds could not afford the cash payment up front for the player, much to the frustration of Warnock. Speaking in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Warnock said, “I was disappointed to lose Ward to Palace earlier on in the summer; in fact at that stage I`m not sure I was going to be here. “There were temptations and I think it might have been easier to take an offer elsewhere than stay here. “My son James lives here and he`s the one that over this summer – when it would have been easier to leave – who has pleaded with me to give it a go. “Because he knows how desperate I am to get another promotion.” Leeds have added three players to the squad since, with Adam Drury (Norwich), Paul Green (Derby) and Paddy Kenny (QPR) all signing for the club.

July 13th. United linked with Jamaican. LEEDS UNITED are lining up a move for Jamaican international midfielder Rodolph Austin.Warnock has confirmed his interest in bringing SK Brann player Austin, 27 – voted as the best player in the Norwegian premier division in 2011 – to Elland Road, having previously had him on trial at former club QPR in January of last year. The combative defensive midfielder, capped 45 times by the Reggae Boyz, will be out of contract in December and has refused to sign a new deal, with Brann’s asking price believed to be between £200,000 and £300,000. Austin saw a move to Stoke City in 2008 fall through due to work permit issues. Warnock said: “He’s a player I had at QPR. I had him over for a week and he’s a smashing lad. I’ve always liked him, but it’s always been a bit too much money. “The last time I spoke to them, it was around the £2m mark. But his contract runs out in December and he’s one that we are looking at as well as several others.”  So who is he ? Rodolph Austin (born 1 June 1985) is a Jamaican football player who currently plays for the Norwegian Premier League side Brann.[1] He also plays for the Jamaica national football team.[2] He plays as a Defensive Midfielder and is renowned for his tough tackling style of play. Austin started his career at Portmore United in Jamaica, where he won the two domestic league titles and the CFU Club Championship. An attempt by Stoke City to bring Austin to the club from Portmore United failed in August 2008, when he was refused a work permit on appeal.[3] Austin went on to sign a one-year loan deal with SK Brann, after an agreement was reached between Brann, Portmore United F.C. and Stoke City. Stoke would have the option to buy the player until 1 February 2009, and if they opted not to buy the player, SK Brann would have the option to buy until 30 June. Austin made his Brann debut in the 1-3 defeat against FK Bodø/Glimt on 31 August 2008 coming on as a substitute in the last 20 minutes. He debuted in the European cups three weeks later with a 2-0 win against Deportivo de La Coruña in the UEFA Cup. Stoke City didn’t activate their option because Austin couldn’t get a work permit in England, and on 27 February 2009, Austin signed a four-year deal with Brann in a transfer worth £1,000,000. In January 2011, Austin was subject to a bid from Q.P.R. managed by Neil Warnock after a trial spell at the club, however SK Brann rejected the bid.[4]On 13 July 2012, Austin was linked with a move to Leeds United, who were managed by former Q.P.R. manager Neil Warnock. United were said to have had a £200,000 bid rejected. Warnock confirmed that Austin was a player he was looking to sign for Leeds. [5]Austin has featured for Jamaica U20, U23 and senior national teams since 2005. Most recently he was named most valuable player in the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup. He is 6 feet tall, 27 years old and scored 13 goals in 88 games for Brann and 3 in 45 for Jamaica.

July 13th. Leeds look at Crainie. Ex-Coventry City central defender Martin Crainie has joined up with United for pre-season training – after leaving the Sky Blues at the end of last month. Crainie who also filled in at both right and left-back last term, turned down a new Sky Blues deal earlier this month after revealing he wanted to stay in the Championship.Middlesbrough were linked with the 26-year-old earlier this month. He can also play rtight back.

July 13th. Offers in for McCormack Warnock has confirmed that he has received a number of offers for his current players The boss transfer listed six players at the end of last season, and there has been increasing speculation surrounding the futures of striker Ross McCormack and, following the arrival of Paddy Kenny, goalkeeper Andy Lonergan. “We’ve had a number of offers for Ross and we’ve had enquiries for other players,” said the boss. “As and when it’s right to tell people any more we will. “We have an offer from a Championship club for Andy Lonergan as well, but it wasn’t what we would call acceptable.”

July 13th. Warnock explains Clayton situation Adam Clayton was the first transfer-listed departure of the summer when he joined Huddersfield Town last midweek – and the boss admits casualties are an  inevitable part of his re-building programme. “I spoke to Adam and I think he’s got the contract he wanted,” said the boss. “I couldn’t guarantee him the position he wanted here because I have some irons in the fire in the midfield area. “Sometimes you have to forfeit players and I want to bring in the players I want to bring.”

July 12th. ITN News. Sources close to a Shaikh in Bahrain say they believe a deal over the future of Leeds United is just days away. The man who headed a failed takeover bid in 2003 is reportedly leading a consortium that is wanting to buy the club from United Chairman Ken Bates. Sheik Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa – the man who led a failed takeover of Leeds United in 2003 – has been named as a key figure in the Middle eastern consortium poised to take over at Elland Road. Gulf Weekly journalist Stan Szecowa revealed that the Sheikh, a lifelong Leeds fan, was heading the consortium. He’s been talking to Calendar’s Paul Burland

Lonergan

July 12th. Coyle wants Lonergan. Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has confirmed he is pursuing Leeds United goalkeeper Andy Lonergan. Following Jussi Jaaskelainen’s summer move to West Ham United, Wanderers are seeking a keeper to provide competition for Adam Bogdan. It has been rumoured for some time that Coyle has his eye on the Elland Road man, but he has now made that interest public. “There are a number of goalkeepers that have been in the frame, and Andy is one that has been mentioned,” Coyle told The Bolton News. “He’s a goalkeeper I’ve known about for many years and he played against my Burnley team for Preston in a season that he was probably the outstanding keeper in the whole Championship. “There was a lot of interest from Everton at the time, I’m led to believe, so I know all about him but there are three or four others out there at the moment, so we’ll see what the next couple of weeks brings.”

July 12th. Leeds have made a premier signing in Paddy – Montgomery – YEP. Nick Montgomery well appreciates the irony of him and fellow Leeds United fan Paddy Kenny successfully orchestrating the downfall of their boyhood club in the noughties. It was most spectacularly manifested in the 2002-03 season when Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United, then in the second division, bounced the top-flight Whites out of both domestic cup competitions in famous upsets at Bramall Lane. All told, the pair played six games against Leeds between November 2002 and April 2006 and didn’t finish on the losing side during Warnock’s tenure at the Blades, with mixed feelings among their families which are both full of Whites supporters. The fates have now decreed that Kenny, 34, will in all likelihood round off his career at Elland Road after finally sealing his move to United yesterday. And Leeds lad Montgomery – linked several times in the past with a move to his home city club – is pleased as punch for one of his best mates in football. On Kenny’s move from QPR to Leeds, completed as United returned to pre-season training, Montgomery told the YEP: “Paddy’s one of my best mates and he’s absolutely delighted to come to Leeds. “His mum, dad, children and all his family are up here and it’s fantastic for him to come back to Yorkshire. “He’s had his time in London, which he has enjoyed, but he wanted to come home. “Paddy’s from Halifax and it’s not too far from Leeds. There are lots of Leeds fans there and he’s supported them as a kid, like I did.  “So it’s a bit of a dream for him to finally play for Leeds after lining up against them over the years when we used to do well against them at Sheffield United.“I speak to Paddy all the time, I am usually on the phone every couple of days and I know he’s been desperate for this to happen. “I know he could have stayed at QPR and remained in the Premiership. But Leeds are a massive club and the fact that Neil (Warnock) is at the biggest club in the Championship and the one he supports made it easy.”Kenny’s move for a fee in the region of £500,000 sees him link up with Warnock for the fourth time in his career, with the veteran manager handing him his big professional break when he brought him from non-league obscurity at Bradford Park Avenue to Bury in August 1998. Four years later, Warnock – then in charge of his boyhood club Blades – took Kenny across the Pennines and he was quickly on the phone again in the 2010 close season when he activated a clause in the goalkeeper’s contract allowing him to leave should another club table a £750,000 bid. After taking him to Loftus Road, another reunion has now arrived. And while the pair are cut from the same White Rose cloth in being straight-talking and passionate individuals, sentiment and likeability is clearly just a side issue to a streetwise Warnock, who well appreciates, above everything else, that Kenny is a top-class keeper who has never let him down. Montgomery said: “Neil’s an astute manager and Paddy has probably been the bargain of the century for him. “I remember Neil signing Paddy for Sheffield United from Bury and him and Kevin Blackwell were desperate to get him. “From the moment he came through the door, he was one of the best players for the club for many years and when we got to the Premier League, he was outstanding. “There are so many games where we probably should have lost, but Paddy pulled off save after save. “I’ll always remember the big games we had in the cup against Arsenal when he frustrated some of the top players in the world.  “His reactions have always been first-class and he’s saved so many points for clubs to enable them to get promotion. “The back four and midfield can play the ball back to him with pace. Paddy’s got a great first touch on him and he’s really good with his feet, which is now a massive part of a keeper’s game. “He’s a fantastic player and for me he’s probably the most underrated keeper in England and definitely a Premiership one. “For me, there’s no doubt he should be playing in the Premier and he showed that at QPR last year. “The fact that he puts in consistent performances week in, week out just makes him a top keeper.”Montgomery is also sure on another thing. Namely Kenny’s infectious character and will to win will also soon resonate with both United supporters and his new team-mates and expect the dressing room to liven up a notch with his arrival. He said: “Paddy just enjoys playing football so much and he has got so many qualities. “He picked up the player of the year award at QPR last season above the likes of Adel Taarabt and that just shows how good he is. “For me, he has been a bit of a folk hero at every club he’s been at. “We have a laugh about it, but that’s how fans see him and it’s just the way he is. Paddy is such a down-to-earth lad, he’s never forgotten his roots and I think that’s why fans take to him so much. “He’s not the biggest keeper in the world, but he’s got a massive presence and personality around the dressing room. “He demands that everyone in front of him do their jobs and if they don’t, he’s on at them to make sure they do. “He just gives everything. He’s in every day and trains right to the end. I’ve even known him to come out and play out in the field in the five-a-sides – he just loves football. “He comes from a working-class background, like myself. He’s so grounded and despite all the success he’s had, he’s just the same lad and that’s a great quality to have.”

Gray looking for a contract

July 12th. White trains and so does Gray. The future of Leeds left-back Aidan White is set to be resolved within the next week, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.White trained with the squad yesterday on the first day of pre-season, despite being out of contract after the club and his representatives failed to agree a deal. It is thought White would prefer a stay at Elland Road, should the deal be a fair one for both parties. Three Premier League sides and fellow Championship sides have expressed an interest in the pacey defender but a compensation fee would be required due to White being under the age of 24.Also joining White on the training pitch is Andy Gray…no not the commentator, the former Barnsley, striker. Gray has returned to the club where he started seventeen years ago as a professional. Although many fans including myself don’t want Gray to sign a deal, it seems for now it may just be a fitness regime for the striker hoping to keep fit until he finds a club. Speaking to the official site, Neil Warnock said: “You’re always going to get trialists at this time. I said they could have a couple of weeks with us and we’ll see how things go. Andy is a player I’ve known for a long time, and there’s no promises made or anything like that, he’s just training and we’ll see how things go.”

July 11th. Busy day. At last we had a busy day at Elland Road, well relatively busy anyway. The players reported back for pre-season training complete with Aidy White, Robert Snodgrass and Ross McCormack. One wonders will all three take part in the Wolves game in August. Paddy Kenny, Neil Warnock’s number one target (in more ways than one) at last arrived at Leeds as our new goalkeeper and our mystery takeover man was allegedly named (read below). Warnock now moves on to “his other targets” and Varney and Norris are thought to be arriving at Elland Road in the next few days with Andy Lonergan probably going to Bolton pretty soon also. Whilst the defence is taking shape, the squad still looks dreadfully thin on the ground and one wonders will money be committed in time to see the type of names sign that the fans feel will help Leeds challenge. So far it seems players leaving are having more of an influence in the type of player that we are attracting (Kenny and possibly Pearce aside) rather than Middle East or Southern France money. And isn’t the silence from Monaco deafening just now!

July 11th. Warnock moves on to his “next targets”. Leeds United manager Neil Warnock says that he still has more signings to make this summer following the capture of QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.The keeper joined the club on Wednesday and, after completing the deal, Warnock said he was still hoping to bring more new players to the club. So far this summer Leeds have brought in PortsmouthDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif centre back Jason Pearce,Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif Norwich full-back Adam Drury, Derby midfielder Paul Green and Kenny. The club start pre-season with a match against Farsley on 20th July, before heading down to Cornwall for a week on 22nd July. “We have a number of targets where we have made offers and all sorts of things where we’re trying to do deals,” Warnock told the club’s official website.“I’d like to bring in a few others, ideally before we go to Cornwall, but we’ll see. “We’re looking all over the place. Every area, we’re looking to bring other players in. “I’ll move on to my next main target now and see if we can secure him over the next few days and the squad will take shape towards the kick-off.”

Colin eventually gets Paddy

Where have we met before ?

July 11th. Warnock finally gets his man as Kenny becomes signing number 4. Leeds United have completed the signing of QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny for an undisclosed sum. The 34-year-old joins the club on a three-year contract and met his new team-mates for the first time at Thorp Arch today. Kenny arrives at Elland Road with a wealth of experience and knows manager Neil Warnock well, having worked with the United boss at Bury, Sheffield United, and QPR. He is a two-time promotion winner to the Premier League, with Sheffield United and QPR, and made 33 Premier League starts last season, keeping seven clean sheets. He won Player of the Year awards at both Bramall Lane and Loftus Road and has made almost 600 career appearances. Kenny had this to say : “I’m delighted to get it done. It’s a massive club. It’s being rumoured for a while but once I’d spoken to him (Colin) and heard his plans for the club I really wanted to come. I am from around here and have a lot of family and friends who are big Leeds United fans. It’s one of the biggest clubs around and I want to show what I can do. This is the fourth time he’s signed me and he knows what he will get from me and I know what I will get from him, and as soon as I had the opportunity to come here I was delighted to take him up on it. His record at this level and on promotions speaks for itself and with the players he is looking to bring in and those he’ll get I’m sure we’ll be pushing there. He told me to come here, be myself, bring my experience and try and help get this club promoted. I’ve done really well and hopefully I can vary that on here. First and foremost it’s a difficult league and we know that. You have to make your home games winnable and hopefully with the big crowd we can do that and try and be up at the top of the league. I’ve had a bit of syick of the crowd in the past but hopefully I can change their minds and do well for them”. Paddy, they rarely boo bad players. I think you will do just fine, son especially if you keep 24 clean sheets! Neil  Warnock said, “I am delighted; I think it is the most important signing I will make for Leeds United. I rate him highly and I think the fans will see why.” Warnock was full of praise for Kenny after completing the signing, “I think he is a great keeper, I think he is one of the best in the country, not just in the championship,”added Warnock. The pair have worked together previously at Bury, Sheffield United and more recently at Queens Park Rangers. They have won promotion to the Premier League together at both Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers and he was an almost ever-present last season for the West London club as they maintained their place in the Premier League.

July 11th. Kenny says goodbye to QPR. Paddy Kenny has said farewell to Queens Park Rangers, as he joins Neil Warnock at Leeds United.The stalwart stopper signed a three-year deal with Leeds United today (Wednesday) for an undisclosed fee and joins ex-QPR boss Warnock for a fourth time. A stunning 24 clean sheets from Kenny helped Rangers secure Premier League status and he has provided the QPR faithful with many wonderful memories in his brief time in W12. Kenny was quick to praise the supporters, speaking to QPR.co.uk: ‘I’ve loved every single minute of my time at QPR.’It’s been an incredible two years. Winning promotion to the Premier League here is an experience that I’ll never forget – as was the rollercoaster ride of avoiding relegation last season.’The fans have been first class and I can’t thank them enough for their support – and for making a song about me!’ Kenny has since been replaced by England international Rob Green with Radek Cerny remaining at the club.

July 11th. Middle East Take Over Link man named Reports in the Middle East have put a name to the mystery man they believe to be in pole position to buy Leeds United. Gulf Weekly reports that the group of Middle East investors, with links across the region, is headed by Bahrain’s Shaikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa. The report, from the Bahrain-based newspaper, goes on to say that the Shaikh is a lifelong supporter of Leeds and was previously linked with a failed takeover of the club in 2003.  According to the newspaper, friends of Shaikh Abdulrahman say he is currently visiting Europe and is not available to comment. 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.” He sounds like an Arab Peter Ridsdale.

Snods doing his weights

Brown and Lees

Drury

July 11th. 2012.  Leeds report back for pre-season training including White. The players reported back to Thorp Arch and were put through their paces by the Leeds boss who has built his sides in the past on working hard and a high level of fitness and Warnock says he will stick with the same philosophy. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said : If you have a good pre-season in stands you in good stead for the rest of the season. I like the lads to do well and most of my teams have been pretty fit, so I am sticking with what I am used too over the last couple of years. They have done well today. “It is hard work; you have to put the hard work in. You can see they have worked hard through the summer.” Paul Connolly, Ramon Nunez, Andy O`Brien, Paul Rachubka and Billy Paynter who have all been placed on the transfer list were all present for the first day of training. The Leeds boss says that he has told them all they must work hard for themselves as much as anything. “I have told them all, whether you are on the transfer list, one of the youngsters or one of the new players. You have to train hard in pre-season, you do it for yourself, and you want to be in the team wherever you are,” added Warnock. Also present on the first day were Michael Brown and Aidy White who are now out of contract. Warnock offered Brown a new one year deal at the end of last season on reduced terms whilst White turned down the offer of a new deal at the club. The Leeds boss admits what the future holds for the duo but he plans to sit down with the pair in the near future to find out what they intend to do. “I have offered Michael a new deal, I will have a chat with him but I haven`t had time to have a chat with him yet, it is the same with Aidy, I don`t know what is happening with him. “I want all the lads I have offered new deals to, to stay with the club. Aidy`s offer has now expired, so I am not sure if he is just keeping himself fit. I just haven`t had time to talk to either of them because there has been too much else to do,” continued Warnock. The Leeds boss also stated that he is looking at a number of trialists over the next couple of weeks as the players prepare for their first pre-season fixture at Farsley Celtic on Friday July 20th. The Leeds boss added, “I have had one or two offered to me and one or two I have asked to come and have a couple of weeks with us. I am sure I will mention them as I go along.” Injured duo Leigh Bromby and Davide Somma were also at Thorp Arch as they continue their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.

July 10th. 2012. Pompey star up for Leeds switch – YEP. Luke Varney has today revealed he is ready to snub fresh Championship interest to join Neil Warnock’s Leeds United revolution. The striker, whose representatives are in discussions with Leeds, trained with Portsmouth yesterday, (July 9) while also holding further talks with Pompey administrator Trevor Birch who confirmed that other clubs have now entered the race to sign him. Sheffield Wednesday are thought to be one of those clubs with Varney having spent two previous loan spells at Hillsborough with another couple of Championship sides also interested. But Varney, 29, exclusively confirmed to the YEP that his sights are set on joining Leeds and is hoping the move is finalised sooner rather than later. He said: “The other clubs that have been mentioned are still Championship clubs. But they are not clubs of the size of Leeds. “Neil’s got a great record in the Championship and it’s something I want to be a part of. With coming to Leeds, I can also still get home to see my little child in Leicester and it would be perfect. I’m looking forward to a move to Leeds.” Portsmouth are thought to still owe Derby County around £300,000 as part of the deal that took Varney to Fratton Park for £750,000 last July. That is believed to be their asking price for the striker, with that payment effectively enabling cash-stricken Pompey to pay off Derby and freeing him up to leave. Varney has two years left on his Pompey deal and is owed money by the crisis-hit club after taking a wage deferral, but that issue is expected to be resolved and not thought to be a stumbling block to the deal going through. Leeds are also battling it out with Sheffield Wednesday to sign Pompey midfielder David Norris, with Fratton Park boss Michael Appleton expecting developments regarding both him and Varney shortly.

July 10th. Kenny to become a White tomorrow. Sky Sports understands Leeds are poised to sign Paddy Kenny after finally striking a deal with Queens Park Rangers. Leeds have been trailing KennyDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif all summer and have been locked in talks with RangersDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif about a possible move for some weeks now. QPR are willing to let Kenny move on having brought in England international Robert GreenDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif on a free transfer last month. Leeds have now come to an agreement with QPR for Kenny and they have been given the green light to hold talks with the former Sheffield UnitedDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif man. Kenny, who is expected to undergo a medical at Elland Road on Wednesday, is set to sign a three-year deal at Leeds as he links up with Warnock for a fourth time in his career. The 34-year-old will become Leeds’ fourth signing of the summer following the arrivals of Jason Pearce,Description: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif Adam Drury and Paul Green when he puts the finishing touches to his move.

July 10th. Other News. Alan Smith has agreed a permanent move with MK Dons. Robert Snodgrass continues to be linked with Paul Lambert, this time at Aston Villa. Leeds take the police to the High Court over policing bills outside Elland Road and United have kept their ticket prices at the same high prices as last season. Oh and re takeover…no news I’m afraid

July 10th. Adam Drury interview with YEP. Winding down his career on easy street ahead of hanging up his boots is not in Adam Drury’s footballing DNA. Cosy options abroad and a swelling of the bank balance in the process may have been too good to turn down for many rival thirty-something footballers in his shoes, with Stateside interest from the Major League Soccer (MLS) particularly enticing. But not for Drury, 33, with the attraction of clinching the fifth promotion of his distinguished career – and at a monster club at that in Leeds United – something he simply couldn’t turn down. After becoming part of the fixtures and fittings over 11 long seasons at Norwich City, Drury was the first to acknowledge the time was nigh for a new and final footballing challenge this summer. That said, the Cambridgeshire-born defender, who made 16 starts for the Canaries last term, didn’t necessarily have to up sticks from his native East Anglia, with Norwich offering him the chance to remain at Carrow Road, admittedly on reduced terms. Also on the table were offers from several of United’s Championship rivals, with Drury having plenty to mull over. But the tantalising offer from Leeds always stood out. References about his new club from former Whites players Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson were certainly glowing. But truth be told, those positive sentiments merely confirmed what he probably knew anyway. Drury, who played 361 times in the yellow and green of Norwich, told the YEP: “I could have stayed at Norwich and had other options in the Championship and could have gone abroad. “But I sat down and weighed it all up and spoke to people and I know what a massive club Leeds is and what an opportunity it was for me. “Having spoken to the manager, Leeds was the stand-out option. I could have took an easier option and gone abroad, but I wanted to come somewhere where I could actually achieve something and Leeds is a massive opportunity for me. “The interest was from everywhere, to be honest, but the last thing I wanted to do was go somewhere and just see out my career. “I wanted to go somewhere and do something. With the backing the Leeds fans give the club, it’s exciting for me and that made me want to be part of it. “I obviously spoke to Bradley and Jonny and they spoke very highly of the place and told me how good the training ground was. They just said that if Leeds got it right, what a club it could be. “Although they didn’t have to tell me that much, to be honest, as when you speak to people and they say Leeds United you know what a massive club it is anyway. “I’ve played against quite a few of the Leeds lads, while I know Leigh Bromby a bit as he was on loan at Norwich for a little while. Leeds have some talented players.”Drury has sampled promotion to the Premier League twice in his long career, which started out at Peterborough United back in the mid-nineties. The first arrived just under a decade ago in 2003-04 when Drury was team captain as Nigel Worthington’s Canaries returned to the top-flight after a nine-year absence by being crowned Division One champions, with Drury joyously holding aloft the trophy on the balcony of Norwich’s City Hall in front of thousands of fans. Drury was the only member of that line-up who was in the 2010-11 squad who booked a return ticket to the big time under Paul Lambert and clinching a noteworthy treble with Leeds would crown his already-impressive footballing CV. But when it comes to success in the promotion stakes, Drury still has a considerable way to go to emulate the feats of serial-fixer Warnock, chasing a record eighth promotion of his lengthy managerial career – and fourth to the top-flight – with Leeds. And it’s safe to say that the last thing Warnock expects the Whites to be doing next season is making up the numbers. Drury added: “Neil knows this is the last big challenge for him. He won’t accept being in the lower half of the table, he wants to be up there challenging week in, week out. That’s what the Leeds fans want as well. “Neil has seen it and done it and all of his sides are teams in the truest sense of the word. Half the battle for a manager is that if they get players who want to play for them, it’s a massive plus. I’ve played against his teams a few times and they are always organised and committed and have plenty of team spirit.”While games between Leeds and Norwich can hardly be described as derbies, they have certainly proved high-octane encounters in recent years, with the margins between both sides paper-thin during the regimes of Simon Grayson and Lambert. Two hard-fought draws occurred during City’s promotion campaign of 2010-11 with the 2-2 draw in February 2011 arguably the best game seen at Elland Road in many a year with the quality and commitment from both sides top-notch. Drury, who started that game at LS11, said: “We’ve had some great games with Leeds and coming to Elland Road with Norwich, it was always a battle and such a hard place to go. The atmosphere has always been fantastic as well.“To play for the Leeds supporters is a massive motivation for me and one of the main reasons why I joined. Hopefully, the Leeds fans will appreciate my playing style and I can’t wait to get cracking now.“I don’t mind a tackle and I don’t like to get beaten in one-versus-ones. I try and get forward as well and even have been known to get a goal every now and then! But basically, I see myself as someone who gives their all, week in, week out and if you do your best no-one can ask much more than that.”

July 9th. Eddie Gray on Clayton moving. Adam Clayton has completed his move to Huddersfield Town and I just think it was a case of Neil Warnock not fancying him as a footballer. Sometimes that happens in football. He’s young and wants first-team football and you’d think he’d be guaranteed that at Huddersfield, the way things stand. I thought he did well for us and probably will progress, but I just think Neil wants to bring in a different type of player. That’s the thing about football. Different managers have their own ideas. Neil obviously wants something else in the midfield. Looking at Adam last season, I thought he had decent spells. But overall, you’ve got to look at  erformances, not individually, but as a team. And you look at where we finished in the league and it simply wasn’t good enough. Individuals shone at times; as Adam did. But overall, we never really dominated teams in those midfield areas and that was one of the big problems. When a manager puts you on the transfer list, he basically doesn’t fancy you. From what I’ve been told, I think the boy was disappointed as he enjoyed his time at Leeds and working for the football club. But once you are on the list, it’s time to move on and get on with your job. It’s part and parcel of football. Neil obviously wants to move a few other players who are transfer-listed on, in order to get a few new faces in. And one thing Neil has been good at over the years is wheeling and dealing and Clayton’s move will probably start things for him. It’s getting to the stage now where with the European Championships finishing and with players’ contracts running out, players are starting to move around. Let’s hope a few come in at Leeds and a few more go out. In the central midfield area, I do think Neil has people in mind. You don’t let someone go if you haven’t got someone in mind to replace them. Neil will have a list of players. He might not get them all in, but I’m sure he has two or three things up his sleeve. We definitely need new players in if we are going to be successful next season and Neil certainly knows that. Obviously, the takeover is still ongoing and when it happens, with money going into the football club, it will be a big help for Neil to entice the players he wants. It should give him more leeway. Lots of players have been linked to the club but until they actually put pen to paper, nobody really knows. And I’m sure Neil prefers it that way as well. The less talk about players you want, the less chance of other clubs nipping in and stealing them. One thing that is clear is that Neil is going for experience. I don’t think there’s any doubt that’s what he is going to do. The quicker we get players in, the better. Hopefully, we can get them bedded in during the friendlies in time for the big kick-off. One important thing we also can’t afford is a poor start in the league and playing catch-up. Pre-season starts on Wednesday and I think Neil will get some fitness into them and work them into an organised outfit. Next season will be his team and as he’s stated, his ambition is to take this team into the Premier League to crown his career.

July 7th Warnock’s thoughts on players returning to Thorp Arch:“We start on the 11th although a few came in earlier than that. Lads look after themselves nowadays and so they should . It’s a different ball game to what it used to be. We’ll look to have a good week’s training before we start with the game at Farsley. We’ll have a good week away, down in Cornwall, and we’ll have a vast amount of fans down there to watch our games and an open training session, probably on the Tuesday. It’s just a week where we train morning and afternoon and play games at night. Although the games are important the results are unimportant because you won’t be relaxing like you do in a session with all the training. The game are just another fitness session. I also think being away bonds the lads very well.”

DJ Campbell

Leroy Lita

Simon Cox

July 8th. Are these players good enough for Leeds promotion push ? Leeds fans are growing increasingly infuriated over the caliber of players that we are being linked with and the quality of the ones that we are letting go. Adam Clayton may be more a victim of the type of football we will be playing next season where ball players will not be needed centrally, and runners from midfield prioritised as the ball is played forward earlier to Becchio to hold up. The latest links over the weekend see United linked with DJ Campbell, who admittedly has a much better scoring record than Luke Varney, but is not the type of player who will put bums on seats at Elland Road. Over 30 years of age now and having scored once for QPR in his last 11 games is not the prolific scoring rate to replace a McCormack type scorer. He is very much a poor man’s Jermaine Beckford and a player who has become plagued by injury. The Sunday Mirror suggest Leeds will splash £1M for Leroy Lita of Swansea City. Why ? Twenty Seven year old Lita never quite fulfilled his potential in football after scoring 31 goals for Bristol City in 85 games  between 2002 and 2005. His big money move to Reading (then a record fee of £1M for Reading) never quite worked out for him where he averaged less than one goal in four games between 2005 and 2009. 2008 saw him enjoy two relatively successful loan spells at Charlton (3 goals in 8 games) and Norwich City (7 goals in 16 games). He joined M’bro in 2009 on a free transfer and between 2009 and 2011 scored just less than one in four (20 goals in 78 games). In July of last year Swansea surprisingly paid £1.75 for his services but unsurprisingly he didn’t cut the mustard registering 2 goals in 16 appearances. He’s possibly a decent guy to spring from the bench but realistically he is one who  should not command a fee. Twenty five year old  Simon Cox has been linked also and is the pick of the the above. Although Cox has scored only 10 goals in his last 65 WBA appearances, he has not always been deployed as a striker for the Baggies and has scored 32 goals goals in 54 appearances at his previous side Swindon, albeit at a much lower level. At Championship level he could be prolific with Becchio, although we would lack pace. We do hope that Warnock is too long in the tooth to be linked with below average players who will not bring Leeds to a higher level. However, if I was sitting in Robert Snodgrass’ position right now I don’t think Pearce, Green, Drury arriving (with probably Kenny, Varney and Norris) and Clayton, White and McCormack going the other way would convince me to put pen to paper. Just look at the type of player other clubs in the Championship (and that I have already referred to below) are signing. We have money arriving. The fans need excitement. The players need excitement not more dross. Summer Exam paper results – Can do a hell of a lot better ! So come on Colin let’s sign the type of player that Brighton have just signed at full back and if you don’t fancy McCormack maybe sign a player for the same kind of bucks and quality that Blackburn Rovers have just signed. But then again, maybe I’m doing you a disservice and between now and August we’ll see some real talent at LS11

July 8th. Players Leeds United are rumoured to be  have been associated with according to Vital Football week to week – Week 1 IN El Hadji Diouf – (Doncaster) Alan Smith – Newcastle) Jermaine Beckford – (Leicester) Stuart Beavon – (Wycombe Wanderers) Jason Pearce – (Portsmouth Signed week 3) Greg Halford – (Portsmouth) Joel Ward – (Portsmouth – Joined Crystal Palace Week 5) Luke Varney – (Portsmouth) David Norris – (Portsmouth) Ben Watson – (Wigan Athletic) Paul Green – (Derby County – Signed week 8) Darren Ambrose – (Crystal Palace) Sol Bamba – (Leicester City – Joined Trabzonspor week 9) Matt Mills – (Leicester City – Joined Bolton week 10) Out Aidy White – (Newcastle United) Ramon Nunez – (Doncaster Rovers) Week 2 IN George Boyd – (Peterborough United) George Friend – (Doncaster Rovers) Simon Gillett – (Doncaster Rovers) Tommy Spurr – (Doncaster Rovers) Richard Keogh – (Coventry City)  Week 3 IN Clint Hill – (QPR – signed new QPR deal)  Paddy Kenny – (QPR) Michael Owen – (Manchester United) OUT Adam Clayton – (Bolton & Burnley – Joined Huddersfield week 10) Week 4 IN Steve Davies – (Derby County) Ian Harte – (Reading -signed new Reading deal) OUT Ross McCormack – (Wigan & West Ham) Aidy White – (Celtic & Arsenal) Billy Paynter – (Portsmouth) Luciano Becchio – (Sheffield Wednesday) Robert Snodgrass – (Norwich, Newcastle, Stoke & West Brom) Week 5 IN Shaun Derry – (QPR) Jamie Mackie – (QPR) Tommy Smith – (QPR) Lee Peltier – (Leicester City) OUT Ross McCormack – (Huddersfield Town)  Week 6 IN Matt Kilgallon – (Sunderland) Inigo Calderon – (Brighton) OUT Andy Lonergan – (Bolton Wanderers) Aidy White – (Lille & Werder Bremen) Robert Snodgrass – (Aston Villa) Billy Paynter – (Brentford & Notts County) Week 7 IN OUT Neil Warnock – (Nottingham Forest) Week 8 IN Jamie Paterson – (Walsall) Adam Dury – (Norwich City – not linked with Leeds before his signing)  OUT Ross McCormack – (Bristol City/C Palace) WEEK 9 IN Brian Howard – (Reading) OUT Adam Clayton – (Reading – Joined Huddersfield week 10) Ross McCormack – (Crystal Palace)  Week 10 IN Luke Chambers – (Nottingham Forest) DJ Campbell – (QPR) Simon Cox – (West Brom) Leroy Lita – (Swansea City) OUT Adam Clayton – (Huddersfield – Joined on Friday)

July 6th. Around the Championship. Whilst Leeds have been dilly dallying around the lower reaches of the Championship searching for players, other second tier sides sides have shown a little more ambition. Although Leeds United have nabbed 33 year old Adam Drury (although he will be 34 in August) as left back, the mighty Brighton have signed 31 year old Wayne Bridge on a season long loan from Man City. M’bro have signed former Leeds, Real Madrid and Spurs star  Jonathan Woodgate, and Huddersfield have completed the signing of promising  23 year old Leeds midfielder Adam Clayton. Leeds are hopeful of completing the double swoop for Luke Varney and Chuck Norris over the weekend which should help in season ticket sales. Meanwhile 20 year old Aidy  White looks to be moving to another Championship side during the week.

Clayton goes to the Terriers

July 6th. From “Right in the Gary Kellys” – “LUFC adopting the Arsenal approach” – Ian Wylie. I read a fascinating piece of correspondence yesterday. It went a little something like this…“The real conflict seems to be between the supporters’ expectations and your vision for the Club and at the heart of this is the policy of so-called self financing” It went on to say “As a consequence of this policy, which is dressed up as prudent financial planning, it is down to our Manager to have to deal with the Club’s tight finances.” Finally, it states “This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the Club and the Club’s ambitions. The situation with our captain and outstanding performer from last season sums this up.”This was written by a Club director. “Has Lorimer finally come to his senses?” I hear you ask. No such luck. It ‘s a quote from an open letter from Arsenal director Alisher Usmanov to the Club’s Board of Directors, questioning the Van Persie situation. Substitute Van Persie for Snodgrass, and it could apply, word for word, to Leeds United. No wonder Ken was so happy to get them in the FA Cup two years in a row, he’s copying their business model! Which brings me to Adam Clayton. Admittedly he’s not Cesc Fabregas, but he’s not Michael Brown either. He’s 23, and has just had an excellent first full season in a white shirt. Half way through the season, The Square Ball were eulagising him as the best midfielder we’ve had since the Premier League years. His form may have dipped a bit, but ask a player to play almost every minute of every game in his first full season and that will happen. So he wanted more money? Can we really not match what Huddersfield are paying him? If the answer is no, then we better hope to hell that this takeover materialises, otherwise we are in big trouble. But hey, it’s ok, we’re being linked with a couple of journeymen from Portsmouth as a write this. Much rather have them than a promising, box to box midfielder who weighed in with his share of goals, wouldn’t we? Our tranfer policy continues to baffle and frustrate me in equal amounts. We seem incapable of retaining our best players, and seem unwilling to offer them parity with other, supposedly smaller, teams in our division. I thought this would change under Warnock. If the takeover falls through, how long will he put up with this?  So for now, we are the Arsenal of the Championship. Only without the free flowing football, and shiny new stadium. But hey, we’ve got some nice Executive Boxes to look at when the football is rubbish, and a lovely bright blue shirt to spend even more money on. I think I’ll nip out and have a beer in the garden to cheer myself up. Oh, hang on a minute…

July 6th. Varney “in talks with Leeds” and Norris moving to “Championship club”. Leeds United targets Luke Varney and David Norris are close to sealing their exits at Portsmouth – with Neil Warnock at the front of the queue to sign the pair. Pompey boss Michael Appleton has confirmed that striker Varney is in talks with United, while Norris, a close friend of Varney’s, is also speaking with a Championship club. Varney, 29, has set his heart on a switch to United and is keen to seal the move before the start of pre-season next week.There is thought to be rival interest in the former Blackpool frontman, but Elland Road is his preferred destination. The YEP have been reporting that Midfielder Norris, 31, is understood to be have held advanced talks with United and their Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday ahead of making his final decision, with both players available for cut-price fees following the cash-strapped South Coast club’s relegation to League One. A fee of £75,000 has been agreed with Pompey for Norris. Appleton said: “I believe Luke has been in talks with Leeds. Whether that (move) will happen this weekend or next week, we’ll have to see. “David is also in discussions with a Championship club and I will be surprised if there weren’t others interested in him. “I know they are both close to agreeing moves elsewhere.” Warnock’s need to bolster his striking options has been heightened by the news that Davide Somma is unlikely to return to first-team action until the autumn. The South African international has been out since suffering a anterior cruciate knee ligament injury in pre-season training last summer. As it stands, Warnock’s striking cupboard is noticeably bare and while Luciano Becchio is expected to lead the line next term, the future of last season’s top-scorer Ross McCormack is uncertain, with the Scot having rejected fresh terms – with Huddersfield and Crystal Palace in the market to sign him. Transfer-listed Billy Paynter’s days at Elland Road also look numbered, while Mikael Forssell and Danny Webber left the club in May. Along with Varney, another striker believed to be interesting United is West Brom’s Simon Cox, expected to leave The Hawthorns this summer. We scored goals for fun last year. Lets hope we can keep them out better at the other end, but so far I wonder where our goals are going to come from ?

Clayton in Leeds colours

Friday July 6th. Clayton moves on. Twenty three year old Adam Clayton has joined Huddersfield Town in a deal thought to be around £500K. He links up again with Simon Grayson on a three contract. Clayton had this to day about joining Huddersfield :  “It’s the ambition of the place to be honest,” Clayton told the club’s official website. “Once the manager called me and I came down to meet the chairman it was obvious. Everything about Huddersfield Town is moving forward and I want to go to the same place as the club. I think this is a great place to achieve that. “I want to play in the Premier League. I’m young and ambitious and I think this is an ambitious team too. I think the club and I can grow together. “I can’t wait to get going. I was in this league last year and there’s nothing to fear about the Championship. People have seen what Southampton and Norwich have done and although I’m not saying that we’ll go straight up – I’m not getting carried away – I think the ingredients are here for us to do well.” Clayton, reunited with former Leeds boss Simon Grayson, added: “Obviously I’ve worked with Simon and Snods [coach Glynn Snodin] before and I know how he works day-to-day. I’ve worked with Ian Miller for even longer as he was at Manchester City with me. We got on well as they are great people to work with and I enjoyed my football under them, which I’m sure can be the same again.” On His leaving Leeds : “I have nothing against the manager Neil Warnock or Leeds. I had an unbelievable time there. I was not part of his plans, he had his own ideas, and that is how he thinks the club will move forward. “It was just a case of me wanted to be somewhere where I was wanted. I was wanted at the start of last season but wasn`t wanted at the end of it. “I am just delighted I have found a team that are ambitious and have the same aspirations that I have. I think we will complement each other and move forward quite well. “It was a massive disappointment at the end of last season. I had a good seasonally personally and I didn`t expect it. It was a decision the manager made and I am sad to leave.” Clayton was transfer listed by Warnock in a move that surprised the majority of Leeds fans. He finished second behind Snodgrass in the LUSC player of the year. Warnock had said that he could “get better for £400K if I’m honest”.Well now he has his chance. The money released should secure the signings of the two Pompey players he has been looking at or perhaps use it for the Paddy Kenny signing. Personally, I’ll be surprised if he gets a better midfielder than Clayton for that money and once again we seem to be losing our younger players, ie White age 20 and Clayton age 23. Losing young players one of which our supporters found to be our second best on the park last season doesn’t sit well with me. I really hope Colin knows what he is doing.

Comical Ali and Comical Peter

July 6th 2012. It’s comical Ali I mean Peter Lorimer’s weekly YEP post.   Warnock will have plans in place – By Peter Lorimer YEP. Neil Warnock is working tirelessly behind the scenes and as a manager, he’s the perfect man for Leeds United in our current situation. He’s not panicking and he is getting on with the job. He’ll be getting things lined up and then hopefully when he gets the green light, he can get on and finish his plans. Obviously, the main reasons we got Neil in was for his experience and promotion record – his reputation goes before him. Everyone knows it’s a big job at Leeds. Neil has been at a lot of good clubs, but this is the biggest. With what he’s done in the past, it would be very easy for him to retire to Cornwall and have a nice, easy life. But he’s still got the ambition as have his coaching staff, Ronnie Jepson and Mick Jones, having spoken to them. They see this as a big challenge. At certain times in your life, especially as you get older, these challenges become more enjoyable because you are doing something you WANT to do, rather than something you have got to do. In regards to the possible takeover, legal matters take time and it’s a matter of everybody being patient and hoping it all works out for the best. Things have to be done in the proper manner. Football is going through big changes; look at Rangers, who would ever have thought things like that would happen there. The good thing is we’ve still got a big name, reputation and worldwide fanbase and hopefully we’ve got light at the end of our tunnel. Everything the club will do is for the benefit of the club long-term. And this is hopefully the next step to us getting back to the Premiership. The last few years have been a hard period but I think the club have done a great job getting us back on a stable footing. But like everything, things move on.

Thurs July 5th. I probably couldn’t sum up any better than than this item from The Scratching Shed. The market has heated up this week. Neil Warnock told of his hard work, doing plenty of homework to put his targets in order, but now is the time when the experienced wheeler and dealer will see some minor coups, or a lot of Grayson-esque frustration. This time last season Leeds manager Simon Grayson saw a drop in budget of £2m, but is doing well at Huddersfield, signing talented Palace winger Sean Scannell, as well as promising Man City youngster Oliver Norwood. Grayson’s also thought to be close to signing Adam Clayton for a surprisingly low fee of around £500,000. Sources suggest that Adam Clayton is still very reluctant to leave Leeds, but the youngster has caught the eye of several top Championship and some lower Premier League clubs. Grayson’s interest is the firmest, but Burnley and Reading could out-muscle the League One promotion specialist if they decide to make a move. Meanwhile, Bolton have made a bid for Andy Lonergan according to Sky Sports, but local media suggest Wanderers have not offered enough to tempt Warnock. Leeds will look for Paddy Kenny to arrive before allowing Lonergan to leave. The keeper may not be excited at the prospect of switching a backup role at Leeds for a backup role at Bolton, though it will be closer to home. Leeds’ deal for Paddy Kenny might be in danger. Sources suggest Kenny has completed a medical at Leeds on Wednesday, but that QPR are now asking for more money at the last minute. If true, it is hard to believe that this will be anything but counter-productive. Warnock’s a realist and his past work with Kenny will probably not see him held to ransom. YEP’s sources, however, disagree. They claim that Kenny’s planned holiday along with Shaun Harvey’s workload elsewhere, means the deal will not go through until next week, although it has been agreed in principle. YEP have also singled out Simon Cox (pictured) as another under Warnock’s surveillance. The 25 year old is contracted to West Brom and was part of Ireland’s Euro 2012 team. Although a ‘long term target’ of Celtic’s, Keith Andrews’ snub in favour of Ipswich shows that despite Celtic’s size, the prospect of what is increasingly becoming a cul-de-sac for footballers can’t compare with football on the fringes of the Premier League. YEP sources have confirmed the long-standing Peltier link saying the clubs are negotiating for a deal that could be complete this week. Despite calling for more time, Luke Chambers will need a lot of convincing to turn down Ipswich’s offer which would grant him a wage of around £15,000 – Leeds’ average first-team wage last season was closer to around £6,500. Nevertheless, Warnock seems serious in his interest and he has done enough to convince the centre-back to bide his time for now. Richard Keogh, yesterday’s headline rumour, is apparently the centre of a bidding war. The centre-back, who also doubles on the right, is apparently being pursued in tandem with Chambers. Welsh media suggest Bristol City have had a laughable £250,000 bid turned down, but that Cardiff’s apparent £750,000 bid is being taken seriously. Leeds are thought to be on the verge of making a ‘substantial’ rival bid which might rely on unwanted players leaving first. Demoted Coventry are said to need cash up-front and so newly bought Cardiff look the favourites to win this race unless Leeds can secure cash one way or another. If Bristol City miss out on Keogh, they will compete for Cardiff’s outgoing centre-back Anthony Gerrard. At 26 Anthony, cousin of Steven, has learnt his trade at Everton’s youth academy, and made over 150 appearances for Walsall before being spotted by Cardiff in 2009, where he has since made 60 appearances (and a full season on loan to Hull). If Leeds miss out on both Keogh and Chambers, which seems unlikely given Warnock’s reputation in the market, they might decide to hijack this deal. Although Keogh is understood to be the hot property as far as centre-backs go, Anthony Gerrard is proven at this level. As usual, missing out on the best deals early on might prove far more expensive in the long run with Gerrard apparently commanding around double Richard Keogh’s fee as Cardiff have no financial need to sell. Blackburn have been linked with a move for him, so even for Gerrard, Leeds would face stiff competition. Luke Varney, whose heart is apparently set on joining Leeds, is being linked with a £200,000 move. He has apparently rejected Nottingham Forest. Finally, this morning London-based media has suggested that Leeds could line-up a bid for QPR striker DJ Campbell. Campbell was signed from Rangers last season for £1.25m, however a few injuries have meant Campbell hasn’t featured much for QPR. The 30 year-old’s injury status will limit the price QPR can quote, but Campbell has extensive experience with Birmingham, Leicester and Blackpool on his CV. He finished Blackpool’s Premier League season as their top scorer with 13 goals to his name. Interest is rumoured to come from West Ham and Reading, but QPR are likely to make at least a £500,000 loss on the striker. As usual fans would be well advised to take a pinch of salt with these rumours, but it looks like crunch time for Leeds as a few deals Warnock has genuinely set up will either be completed or will fail in the next couple of weeks. Still far from impressed with some of these player links. Campbell is a poor man’s Beckford and once again we seem to be aiming around the 30 barrier. If we can buy in Harrods why shop at Woolworths ?

New away strip

Lees

July 5th. Quality signings can excite fans – Dominic Matteo YEP The transfer market is starting to warm up now and Leeds are being linked with a fair few players. All the feedback I get from Leeds fans is that they just want to get a couple of quality players into the club – someone to excite them before the new season. Let’s be honest, when was the last time Leeds bought a player where you thought: ‘He’s a really good player and I can’t wait to see him next season!’ I’m in and around the Leeds fans all the time and that’s what they are waiting for.I know fans are anxious about the takeover, but from what I’ve heard, it’s going to happen at some point. It’s like anything with business deals. Sometimes they happen quickly overnight, but at other times you have to be patient. I’m sure the Leeds deal will happen; but it’s just taking a little bit of time to get over the line. There’s no doubt in my opinion that Neil Warnock will be working feverishly behind the scenes and will have players in mind. He’s said from the end of last season that a lot of work needs to be done to the squad and we all agreed with that. For me, we need a couple of exciting players so that fans will be going to games with a bit more confidence. To keep hold of players such as Robert Snodgrass, Leeds must make a couple of key signings to show that they will be having a good go at getting promoted. I’ll tell you what, if Leeds do sign a couple of quality players, the fans will be there next season and I’m sure there will be around 30,000 in every week. If they are doing well, there could well be more. Teams are starting to make moves in the transfer market now and Neil will be looking at teams who have come down such as Blackburn, who have brought in the likes of Danny Murphy and Leon Best, and thinking: ‘Are we going to finish above them?’ At the moment, you’d say no, so he will be eager to bring players in. It’s no surprise to see Neil in for players like keeper Paddy Kenny because he knows they work in this league and can get Leeds out of it – they have the experience to do that. We need more players, there’s no doubt about that. To be honest, I still think we need six players and I’m sure Neil knows that as well. From what I saw last season, Leeds just weren’t at the races. They were so inconsistent, especially at home. If Leeds can sort that out, they will have a great chance. You went to home games last season thinking: ‘We’re going to get beaten today’ and that shouldn’t happen. Elland Road should be a fortress and Neil will work on that, while trying to nick results away. At home, you can’t sit back. I’m doing radio work at Farsley Celtic in two weeks’ time and it will be a nice little exercise to see how many new faces Leeds have got in for the season by then. I do like a manager to get his players in and get a pre-season under his belt with them so the players get used to each other. Players need to work together and get used to each other in the dressing room. Sometimes, deals don’t happen and it’s down to the last day and we’re all looking at the ticker bar on Sky Sports. Let’s hope that’s not the case for United! Leeds start pre-season training next Wednesday and a number of transfer-listed players could still find themselves starting the new season here. For those players, it’s about being professional. If you go back to a club where you might not want to be at and haven’t got fixed up elsewhere and the manager doesn’t want you, you’ve simply just got to get on with your job. That club still pays your wages, don’t forget! If you are going to move clubs, first things first – you have to be in good shape. You can’t be messing about on the training ground, you are there to work. At the end of the day, some players might actually go full circle and end up staying. I know it’s unlikely, but you never know. (see Leeds new away shirt above pics)

July 5th. Trust calls for patience.  Leeds United Supporters’ Trust has urged the club’s fans to remain patient as they wait to learn further details about the possible takeover at Elland Road.The club announced last Tuesday they had granted permission to an unnamed group of potential investors, believed to be from the Middle East, to conduct due diligence, leading supporters to believe that on-going negotiations between the two parties were drawing to a conclusion. But there have been no updates since and LUST said in a statement: “At the moment both sides are prevented from making comments by a confidentiality clause and we have to respect their right to conduct the negotiations as they see fit. “Due diligence can be a long process and trying to predict how long this might take will be difficult even for those closest to the deal. “At LUST we have tried to respond to fans with what we feel are realistic estimates for time-frames but the only concrete news will come when the club or the investor chooses to announce it.” The statement added: “We will continue to do all we can to build an ambitious and successful Leeds United for the future and we hope that Leeds fans will not have to wait too much longer to hear a positive update. We urge you all, in the meantime, to stand together and be patient until there is news to hear.”

July 5th. Somma dealy a setback to Leeds.  Leeds United striker Davide Somma is not expected to be back before the start of the season. Somma hasn`t played since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in pre-season training last summer. The South African international returned to training at the turn of the year but suffered a reoccurrence of the injury that has ruled him out ever since. Speaking on the official website, Leeds boss Neil Warnock said, “I cannot see Davide being available until September or October. I can`t see him starting anything until the end of August.” Somma broke into the Leeds side at the start of the 2010/11 season after a successful loan spell with Lincoln City the previous season, where he scored 9 goals in 14 appearances. The striker scored twice on his championship debut as a second half substitute against Millwall and he went on to score 12 goals in 32 appearances during the season. His form also saw him break into the South African national side and he scored his first international goal in his second start against Kenya. Elsewhere, long-term injured Patrick Kisnorbo and Robbie Rogers are expected to return during pre-season. Kisnorbo hasn`t played since suffering a knee injury in the home win over Burnley at the start of the year. Rogers has had a stop start beginning to his Leeds career. He suffered concussion within ten minutes of his debut against Doncaster Rovers in February, which saw him carried from the field. He returned in April as a substitute against Reading and he made his first start for the club against Peterborough a week later. After an impressive start, he suffered an ankle injury inside ten minutes that ruled him out for the final three games of the season. Rogers has been working with LA Galaxy on his rehabilitation during the summer and he returned to Thorp Arch this week ahead of the first team returning to training next week. Warnock is not expecting Kisnorbo and Rogers to be ready for the start of pre-season but they will be working hard to join the rest of the squad ahead of the new season, starting on August 11th with the Capital One Cup tie with Shrewsbury Town.

Weds July 4th. All the latest from  Elland Rad. This is what Neil Warnock has had to say on the pursuit of his targets: “While there’s not been much news I’ve been very, very busy over the past few weeks making enquiries as you’ve got to do.” You’ve got to do your homework and put things into place. We’ve got our targets and we’re hoping that in the next couple of weeks we can start bringing more in so we can have a full supplement as soon as we can during pre-season. It’s a matter of trying to find out who is available and what the situation is. You look at the cost, their wages, and see where we are. All I say to the supporters is just wait and see how we are early on. I’d ask the fans to trust in me, I’m working for them as well as the club.I think they all know we need a big influx of players and that’s what I’m looking to do. We won’t get all our targets but it’s important that we get them in as soon as possible because it gives us a chance to bed them in for the new season. On the potential takeover: “Everyone knows we need a number of players and I think if anything the negotiations have got to be a good thing. “But I don’t think it’s for me to talk about. I’m just concentrating on getting my targets and trying to bring them in as soon as possible as I have done in the past few weeks. “With being on the inside maybe I do know more than other people, but there’s not a lot to tell you at this moment in time.” On walking away : “It is a great club. It would have been easy for me to leave the club and take on something a little bit different, but it does intrigue me and I am still here, and I am doing the best I can for everyone”. On players leaving : “We’ve had a few enquiries about some of the fringe players that he is trying to move on. “I’m not surprised really. I think they all could do other clubs a job, but it’s just that we’re trying to change things and there’s always one or casualties. It’s no disrespect to them because you want to bring players in. We’ve had a couple of offers.”

Clayton

So who is leaving ? According to the YEP Huddersfield Town were last night expected to step up their efforts to sign Leeds United midfielder Adam Clayton, writes Richard Sutcliffe. The 23-year-old was told by United manager Neil Warnock at the end of last season that he could leave Elland Road if a suitable offer came in. Simon Grayson, who signed Clayton for Leeds from Manchester City in 2010, remains a big fan of the former England Under-20 international and is keen on bringing him to the Galpharm Stadium as the Terriers continue to prepare for the step up to the Championship. Leeds are believed to want around £500,000 and talks have taken place between the two Yorkshire rivals over a possible deal. Mind you when your own manager says you can get better for £400K it doesn’t give you much of a chance. Still we’ve always got Michael Brown to fall back on.  Sky Sports have reported that Bolton Wanderers have made a bid for Leeds United goalkeeper Andy Lonergan. The 28-year-old joined Leeds last summer from Preston North EndDescription: http:/static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif. It will be the second season in the year that Leeds will have sold their number one. Warnock is a wheeler dealer and will like the thrill of getting a few bob in for a keeper before he nabs Paddy Kenny. Crystal Palace are leading the race for Ross McCormack where United are seeking a minimum of £800K. It seems ludicrous United will settle for this amount when Burnley received £6M for Jay Rodriguez from Southampton for a player who scored just two goals more “in all competitions” during season 2011/12. Interestingly the points total for Leeds United players of the year for 2011/12  from LUSC were as follows : 1. Snodgrass. 2. Clayton. 3. McCormack and 4. Whyte . It’s possible none may start in season 2012/13 in a white shirt..

Keogh link

July 4th So who is coming ? Luke Varney and David Norris look to be definites.  Pompey seem desperate to get them off the wage bill and both players who have two years left on decent contracts seem willing to compromise. We saw last season how David Kitson and Liam Lawerence were on £19K and £18K each per week at the South coast club in administration. Warnock likes the work ethic of both Norris and Varney. Varney can play on the flank and up front although his goal scoring ratio is poor. Elsewhere, late Bosman target Luke Chambers  who passed a medical at Portman Road yesterday still hadn’t put pen to paper on his £15K a week three year contract. The Coventry Telegraph have reported that Leeds are about to make a £750K bid for Coventry’s Irish central defender, Richard Keogh. Manager Andy Thorn is desperate to keep hold of Keogh who, but he has one year left on his contract and won’t play League One football. Paddy Kenny is obviously another one on the definite list and the sooner he signs the better but can we have some forwards please ?

July 4th. Paul Green YEP Interview - Paul Green has enjoyed his fair share of good times at Leeds United’s expense in the past – and insists it’s high time that changed. The Yorkshireman, who admits he can’t wait to get cracking and begin his United adventure, has won on all three occasions he has played at Elland Road in a competitive match, albeit as a visiting player. He’s also been part of the losing side just once in five outings against Leeds – in both the white of Derby County and red-and-white hoops of Doncaster Rovers. The Rams can justifiably lay claim to being United’s bogey side par excellence, having won the last seven matches between the two sides. But those defeats don’t stick in the craw half as much as the one sustained on a spring afternoon at Wembley in May 2008, when Green and his Doncaster team-mates inflicted a bucketload of heartache upon Leeds, who fluffed their lines on the big occasion. Not for the first time. That punishing 1-0 defeat in the League One play-off final ironically was Pontefract-born Green’s last game in Rovers colours – what a way to bow out…. Now Green’s colours are firmly nailed to the Leeds mast, with the 29-year-old, who carved out a reputation as a consistent Championship performer during his four years at Pride Park, desperate to achieve his Premiership dream under the guidance of serial promotion fixer Neil Warnock. The midfielder, on international business at Euro 2012 with the Republic of Ireland last month, told the YEP: “To be fair, I’ve been pretty lucky against Leeds and hopefully I’ll bring that luck here now that I’ve joined. I’ve always enjoyed playing at Elland Road. “When I spoke to Neil, straightaway I liked what he had to offer. “I know he’s got promotion before with Sheffield United and QPR and he’s got the drive to get Leeds United up where they should be. “I’d love to play in the Premier League. And having spoken to Neil about what he wanted to do with the club, it got me excited for pre-season. “I’ve been away for a few weeks’ holiday in Cyprus and now I can’t wait to get started. “You have your break and then you are really pleased to get back. “The championship is so open, it’s unreal. “In the past two or three seasons, it’s been so close and there have only been a few teams who have been outstanding such as Newcastle, while Reading came with a late run last year. “Anyone can beat each other. And there’s no reason why Leeds can’t be up there. It’s a fresh start.” After four years in the East Midlands, Green admits he was ready for a change of scenery after refusing fresh terms at Derby and deciding to take up the offer of a move close to his Yorkshire roots. Truth be told, Green, who has penned a two-year deal, didn’t need much persuading when his new boss Warnock donned the guise of salesman to make his pitch for him to join. The midfielder, whose graft, energy and appetite for the game served him well in his formative years at Doncaster, soon endeared himself to punters at Derby with his workaholic tendencies and if he carries on from where he left off at Leeds, he should quickly earn the respect of the United followers who take total commitment as a given from anyone who pulls on the famous white jersey. Green, who links up with his new team-mates for the start of pre-season training at Thorp Arch in a week’s time, added: “Sometimes, change is better as you can get a bit stale. It’s nice to have a fresh start and hopefully we can have a good crack at it this year. “What people will get from me is 110 per cent. If I’m having a bad game, you will still get that from me. Hopefully, I won’t have many of those though! “Leeds are a massive club and fanbase with a lot of history behind it as well. As soon as I knew about their interest, that was the biggest thing for me. “I was waiting to see what came about and I am just glad it’s done and dusted. “I spoke to Darren O’Dea about the club and he praised the place. Coming to the training ground and seeing the facilities blew me away. Derby had a set-up for the Premiership and so do Leeds.” While he’s hoping to prove popular with his new audience, it’s fair to say Green already is with his fiance Claire and members of both her and his own family, many of whom are avid Leeds supporters. A number were among United’s 50,000-strong travelling army who descended on Wembley just over four years ago, with the emotions that day decidedly bitter-sweet with acute  isappointment interspersed with a touch of pride for Green’s personal achievements. Green said: “I’ll always remember Wembley. There was a massive following of Leeds fans and we got the victory and it was a great way to go up. “At least the following year, Leeds went up, so it was all good in the end! “Those who went that day were happy I got promoted and there were no hard feelings.” On heading back to his West Yorkshire roots and being in the good books of family and friends, he added: “It’s always nice to come back to your family and friends as it’s hard moving away. I had an enjoyable four years at Derby, but it’s nice to be back. “My fiance Claire is a Leeds fan, so she’s absolutely delighted with the move. “Claire’s mum and dad are close followers of Leeds as well and I’ve got relations who are big Leeds fans, so they are chuffed to bits as well. “When I was young, I more or less followed Sheffield Wednesday as I was there as a youngster and went to watch them. “That said, I never really supported any team properly as a fan. And while I haven’t supported Leeds, I have always looked out for their results.”

July 3rd. Where is Aidy ? Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he does not know what is happening with out of contract Aidy White. White ended his current deal with the club on June 30th after turning down a new deal with the club. Warnock says he has had no word from White or his representatives and he is still waiting to be informed what his intentions are. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I have not been told whether he`s found a club or whether he intends to find a club. All I know is he turned our offer down and until he makes a decision I don`t know. “We come back on the 11th. I haven`t spoken to him but I know he is fit because he played the game for Ireland. I am sure we will be informed on what his intentions are.” The product of the Leeds United academy enjoyed a fruitful season in the first team last season making 39 appearances before an ankle injury against Watford in March brought a premature end to his season. The 20 year old has now made 66 appearances for Leeds since making his debut in August 2008 in the Carling Cup win over Crystal Palace. His form for Leeds last season also saw him break into the Republic of Ireland under 21 squad. He played in all seven games that they played during the 2011/12 season, and he scored his first goal in the win over Liechtenstein. He was also shortlisted for the under 21 Ireland player of the year. White has been linked with a number of clubs during the summer and is thought to moving to a fellow Championship club or Glasgow Celtic.

July 3rd To Ell and Back – Will CPS decision pave way for Diouf move? The CPS have revealed today that no charges will be brought against any Leeds or Doncaster player following a melee in the tunnel last February. With Neil Warnock watches his new charges from the stands grab a last gasp 3-2 win having trailed 2-0, it all kicked- off in the tunnel with Ross McCormack and then Rovers star El Hadj Diouf squaring up. Luckily the police managed to restore order and no arrests were made our injuries sustained. The Crown Proscecution Service have also revealed they are not taking any further action. Since then, Diouf has been linked with a move to Leeds and has admitted he would love to join us, however there has been no move for the 31-year-old former Senegal international. Diouf and Warmock have clashed in the past during Warnocks QPR days when he branded Diouf, at the time a Blackburn player, a “sewer rat”. However when the link originally surfaced in April, Warnock hinted he would seriously consider adding Diouf to his squad, citing a conversation he had with Sam Allardyce where the West Ham boss backed out of signing Diouf only due to the fans reaction. With Ross McCormack being linked with a £800,000 switch to Crystal Palace, could this and the CPS’s decision pave the way for Dioufy to find his way to Elland Road?

Best link

Mills link

Zola

July 3rd. Around the Championship.  Perennial survivor Steve Keane at Blackburn  has landed Leon Best for £3M from Newcastle to spearhead his attack. It’s a decent move. He’s also bolstered his midfield with 36 year old Danny Murphy and it will be interesting to see how the talented Scouser features. This morning Sky has reported that Portugal’s Nuno Gomez has also joined the Blackburn revolution. He’s 36 now but scored goals prolifically throughout his career including last season with high flying Sporting Braga. These three players will be on big wages. Anthony Gerrard of Cardiff is also expected to arrive at Blackburn also to replace Scott Dann who is being chased by Premiership clubs. Meanwhile, Leeds United weekend target Luke Chambers looks to have sealed a move to Ipswich Town. Bolton Wands have nabbed midfielder Joel McKee after his Burnley contract expired. Bolton are also set to seal the £2M deal for Leicester midfielder, Matt Mills having already landed Keith Andrews. Wolves new manager, Stale Solbakken is “feeling really positive” about keeping his star players, Kevin Doyle, Steve Fletcher, and Matt Jarvis. In real terms he is waiting for the highest bids to come in. Birmingham City’s Lee Clarke is still re assessing his new squad but Irishmen Stephen Carr and Colin Doyle have been offered new contracts. At Brighton, Gus Poyet has called on star player, Vincente to “respect his contract and return”, but 31 year old Bruno Salter has signed up for two years after spending three seasons at Valencia. Cardiff City are chasing Coventry City’s Richard Keogh and Watford with the “Pozzo” money  have struck a deal with Gianfranco Zola to manage the club after sacking the unfortunate Sean Dyche. At Hull City Steve Bruce has insisted that he has “had no contact with Emile Heskey but Andy Dawson has agreed to sign a contract extension. Meanwhile there is no news at takeover Leeds but studying some of the above names on the move to other Championship clubs, one hopes that we will have similar potential coming to LS11 this Summer.

July 2nd. Cash is great news but we must spend wisely – Eddie Gray – YEP Last week’s announcement from Leeds United was good news. It’s no secret the club are looking to get new investment to try and keep up and the thing about football now is that you are going to need it, especially with the new television deal for the Premier League. That will mean that clubs coming down will spend more money, so others really have to get back up to the top-flight as soon as possible now. To me, that probably means next season. If we let things go again and teams come down from the Premiership, they will probably reinvest their parachute payments. That makes it difficult for other teams in the Championship. What form this investment takes, we’ll have to wait and see. Whether it’s a complete takeover or part investment, no-one really knows. I’m sure things will have been in progress for a while, but until everything is done and the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed, you just don’t know. One thing we shouldn’t do is get carried away. As even investment doesn’t automatically mean you will be successful. You have to spend wisely. Look at Leicester. They spent more money than anyone else in the league last year and it never paid off. It doesn’t matter how much money you have got. The best players want to play at the highest level and you don’t get Premiership, but Championship players. You just buy players at this level who have potential to play in the Premier League. First, you have to get players who will get you out of the division, that’s the important thing. For me, this week is going to be the testing time. With the way things seem to be moving, you would think the football club are trying to tie everything up for this is the time when players’ contracts are finishing and they can move on. Managers and players are going to be back this week and managers will be seeing who is available and who they can afford. For Neil, there’s going to be a lot of work – as there will be throughout next season! We don’t know who is currently coming in and out. And even when you get them, that’s when the hard work starts in terms of getting results. In terms of Neil’s priorities, I still think they are all over the park. Without being disrespectful to anybody, I don’t think he felt we were good enough last year to get in the hunt. When you finish 14th in the league, one or two players don’t change you into a championship-winning side. I’ve said all along Neil will be wanting to bring six or seven players in. In what positions, it could be anywhere…

July 2nd. Warnock looking to splash new owners’ cash – P Hay YEP Neil Warnock was working to tie up loose ends in the transfer market today, in preparation for the planned takeover at Leeds United. The United manager is back after a holiday abroad and awaiting permission to conclude multiple transfers with funds supplied by prospective new owners of the Championship club. Investment from the Middle East is poised to arrive at Elland Road after an unnamed group agreed in principle a deal to purchase Leeds from chairman and majority shareholder Ken Bates, subject to due diligence and the investors passing the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test. The buyers are understood to see Warnock – appointed in February and under contract until the end of next season – as integral to their immediate plans and to have offered assurances about both his position and the money available for transfers. Warnock has worked in the meantime to put deals in place ready to complete, and the arrival of goalkeeper Paddy Kenny from Queens Park Rangers appears reliant only on Leeds meeting a fee of around £500,000. Sources in Leicester also claim the transfer of right-back Lee Peltier to Elland Road is effectively a done deal, with City said to value the 25-year-old at £350,000. Warnock has other matters to attend to with midfielder Michael Brown – recently offered a new one-year deal on reduced terms – now out of contract and Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Aidan White also at the end of his deal. Leeds have compensation rights for the 20-year-old, who has yet to accept the offer of a fresh deal at Elland Road, who is believed to have spoken to a rival Championship side. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, look ready to step up their interest in Ross McCormack in a bid to beat Huddersfield and Bristol City to the United striker’s signature.

July 2nd. The names in the frame – P Hay- YEP Neil Warnock is strangely familiar with complicated summers and the close season to date at Leeds United has certainly tried the patience of their experienced manager. But the prospect of an imminent takeover at Elland Road, underwritten by funding from the Middle East, is promising to untie Warnock’s hands at last and leave him free to attack the transfer market with vigour. An injection of cash from outside investors appears to have held the key to United’s close-season plans but Warnock, who has long described his transfer strategy as “sensible” and “realistic for the Championship, is unlikely to deviate wildly from his initial plans regardless of the wealth of Leeds’ prospective owners. With the first day of pre-season training nine days away, Warnock has nailed down three signings – Jason Pearce on a £500,000 deal from Portsmouth and Paul Green and Adam Drury on free transfers from Derby County and Norwich City respectively. He departed for his final break of the summer last week but left the club in no doubt that more new players were required before his squad report back to Thorp Arch on July 11. Here, Phil Hay looks at six of the strongest transfer rumours involving Leeds and assesses the chances of the deals coming to fruition. PADDY KENNY – A signing which is there to be done. The Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper – a player who Warnock trusts like few others – is heading out of Loftus Road after his current club landed Robert Green on a free transfer from West Ham United.  Kenny has already left his rented home in London and it iss believed Leeds United is his preferred next port of call. Ipswich Town are interested – as they always seem to be when United are involved – but payment of a fee in the region of £500,000 is to be the only obvious obstacle between Kenny and a switch to Elland Road.  It would also pave the way for United’s current first-choice, Andy Lonergan, to head for Championship rivals Bolton Wanderers. Likelihood: 9/10   David Norris- One of numerous players who relegated Portsmouth want to remove from their wage bill. Warnock hoped to hold talks with the midfielder in May but a lack of transfer funds at Elland Road – an issue which ruled Leeds out of the running to sign right-back Joel Ward – forced Warnock to keep his interest cool. Since then Norris is believed to have held talks with Dave Jones, boss of newly-promoted Sheffield Wednesday, and a move to Hillsborough is a serious possibility, despite Pompey claiming that they are yet to receive an acceptable offer for him. The door is still open for Warnock to step in and add the 31-year-old to his engine room. Likelihood: 6/10 LEE PELTIER Peltier’s impending exit from Leicester City has been an open secret for many weeks and his prospects at the King Power Stadium were hardly improved by his absence from a fitness check carried out on most of the Foxes squad last Tuesday. City paid around £750,000 to take the 25-year-old right-back from Huddersfield a year ago, at a time when Sven Goran Eriksson was manager, and the financial power of Leicester’s owners will not dissuade the club from trying to recoup most of that fee. The Terriers would like Peltier back, but Warnock needs a right-back after seeing Joel Ward take up an offer from Crystal Palace. Likelihood: 7/10 LUKE VARNEY Ross McCormack’s departure from Elland Road appears to be inevitable, even though he finished last season as United’s top scorer. Billy Paynter will leave too if options for him materialise elsewhere. Warnock plans to sign at least one striker and he was heavily linked with an effort to sign Varney on loan from the financially troubled Fratton Park outfit in March. Pompey are open to serious bids for him, with the south-coast side club understood to owe money to Derby over the deal which took Varney to Fratton Park last summer. The forward has Premier League experience and a touch of pace, something which Leeds lack up front. Likelihood: 7/10 EL-HADJI DIOUF The most controversial link of the close-season so far, but one which went quiet soon after blowing up towards the end of April. It is not clear whether Warnock is as keen on signing Diouf as Diouf is on joining Leeds – the pair had a well publicised run-in while Warnock was at QPR last year. The Senegalese star was also involved in the recent game between Leeds and Doncaster which ended in a tunnel brawl – but the move would suit the player after his exit from the Keepmoat Stadium following Doncaster’s relegation to League One. Diouf lives in Bolton and is keen to remain in the north of England, with a club which, in his view, suits his ability. A player who cost Liverpool £12m in his prime would not be an expensive capture these days. Likelihood: 4/10 SHAUN DERRY Still under contract at Queens Park Rangers and potentially still in Mark Hughes’ plans. Derry played 32 times for QPR last season and featured heavily during the Premier League run-in, so it is far from certain the 34-year-old is even available. But few of the signings who have come through the doors of Elland Road in the past decade have enjoyed their experience of Elland Road more than him and it is not difficult to imagine Derry being enthused by the possibility of a return to West Yorkshire. However, last week Rangers paid £3.25m to sign another midfielder – Mali’s Samba Diakite – and that may clear the way for Derry’s return to LS11.Likelihood: 5/10 I have to say I have my doubts over more than one of these regarding ability but the age profile isn’t exactly for the future either and are some of them any better than what we have ? If we have the money should we not be aiming a lot higher re quality ? I’m not expecting Iniesta or Pierlo but Norris or Varney. There is a reason why Portsmouth were relegated. 

July 1st. What’s next ? The time is nigh. It’s a big week for Ken Bates. It’s a big week for Neil Warnock. It’s a big week for Leeds United. It’s a big week for Leeds United fans. It’s a big week for the Louth branch. Seven years of austerity may finally be coming to an end. That’s not to say the purse strings will be loosened entirely at the beginning, but we have lived like hermits over the past number of years feeding of a frenzy of misfits as Grayson had to gamble heavily on free transfers to balance against the departures of Delph, Beckford, Gradel and Howson to name but a few. Warnock got a taste of it early on when his only two loan signings (Webber and Robinson) failed miserably and sensibly weren’t invited back for a second chance this season. So far only £500K has been invested in the highly rated Jason Pearce with the arrival of Green and Drury perhaps down as sensible and steady signings and possibly the promising arrival of right full back Peltier likely to be arrival number four. Over this weekend we have become heavily linked with Luke Chambers. The ex Forest captain who is also available on a Bosman  was thought to be on his way to Portman Road. That would go a long way to sorting out his back four. But the man he wants to play in front of that back four is Paddy Kenny. There is no doubt that Kenny at this level is a class goalkeeper, and Warnock has had him as his trusted liutenant at Sheffield United and at QPR. He likes him riding shotgun and it seems that £500K will seal the deal. If Kenny comes, that means Lonergan goes, and Owen Coyle seems to fancy him. All the best Andy, and close the door after you. We keep hearing that Warnock is the best man for the job, and quite often that has come from Warnock himself. He will get no fools pardon on this forum but equally so he will receive the backing he deserves if and when he gets that elusive record winning eight promotion. Unfortunately he didn’t improve on the job last season as we slid from three points off the play offs to 14 points off the play offs. If as it looks extremely likely now that the takeover will happen in the next few days, one hopes that he will  have more funds at his disposal than any Leeds United manager since our relegation from the Premiership. Money doesn’t always guarantee success(look at Leicester)  but even £5M to £10M in this division gives you a hell of a chance. We don’t lack firing power, and it will be good to have our best finisher at the club, Davide Somma available for the season ahead. Would it be prudent to lose our top goal scorer for the third season in a row ? McCormack isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but at this level guys who score 19 goals per season like Holt and Lambert are coveted. Newspapers have Leeds linked with Luke Varney. I’m sure a wily old fox like Warnock would believe that Leeds would be a step up for a 29 year old journeyman who has scored just 11 goals in his last 60 games. Equally so there is a reason why Portsmouth diced with relegation all season and is the like of David Norris going to enhance Leeds United’s chances of promotion next season ? Again hopefully only more paper talk. What Leeds do lack next season up front is a genuine pacey striker and I’m sure that type of player will feature highly in the manager’s plans. Warnock has already stated who he wants to keep and let go for the season ahead. Personally, I thought Adam Clayton was treated dreadfully and one hopes that Leeds will get a lot more than the £400K the manager thinks he is worth. Michael Brown has surprisingly earned another year at the club if he decides to accept, albeit on reduced terms, but Paul Green looks to be a definite starter. Will Aidy White be offered another couple of grand to stay or will he join others before him who weren’t offered what they thought they were worth ? Now for the burning question. Has Robert Snodgrass seen enough of Neil Warnock or of the the new Leeds United complete with Paul Green and Adam Drury and takeover aspirations to be convinced to sign up for another term ? We are still quite a few players short. How does a manager convince players to come when he states himself  that he is only here for one year ? We need more pace throughout the team. We need more energy, flair and ability, and all that costs money. The fans need to see their hard earned fate and costly match tickets being matched in pounds of investment on the park. Warnock is going for that elusive number eight promotion. He is football’s own Mister Marmite and retains undoubted belief in his own ability. Let’s hope he’s right. For supporters will a new regime try and build bridges with the LUSC and LUST, the latter of which deserve immense credit for helping get us this far with the new investment/takeover ? Long term what happens the ill fated Membership clubs ? What happens Kenneth Bates ? All these are questions for another day. We’ve had our ups and downs but we’re surely due a few more ups. It should be interesting but boy it’s rarely dull.

July 1st. 2012. Leeds linked with Forest captain By Phil Hay- YEP . Leeds United are being linked with a bid to sign out-of-contract Nottingham Forest captain Luke Chambers. Chambers is available on a free transfer after five seasons at the City Ground and Leeds have been credited with an interest in the experienced defender. Forest have been unable to tie Chambers down amid their recent search for new owners and his status as a free agent has allowed several clubs – among them Ipswich Town – to set their sights on the 26-year-old. Ipswich are thought to be at the front of the queue to sign the centre-back, whose appearances for Forest number more than 200 and reports in Suffolk claim manager Paul Jewell will attempt to force the transfer through in the next seven days. Chambers’ contract at the City Ground ended at midnight. But Leeds have emerged as another possible option for Chambers as the Yorkshire club inch towards a takeover at Elland Road. United manager Neil Warnock has already signed one centre-back this summer, landing Jason Pearce in a £500,000 deal from Portsmouth and he gave youngster Tom Lees a firm vote of confidence by handing the 21-year-old a new, long-term contract last month. But his supply of centre-backs diminished towards the end of last season with the departure of on-loan Darren O’Dea and the subsequent release of Alex Bruce. Andy O’Brien has been transfer-listed by Warnock and Leigh Bromby is recovering from serious knee surgery. Forest, meanwhile, are close to a takeover but the delay in finding new owners has cast doubt over the future of a number of their more prominent players. The Nottingham club narrowly avoided relegation from the Championship last season and their prospects for the coming campaign are unclear with a buy-out in the offing and doubts growing about the future of manager Steve Cotterill. Asked in April where he was likely to be playing next season, Chambers said: “At this moment I don’t know. I can’t answer that – we’ll have to wait and see. “I want to be involved in a team that is moving in the right direction. Hopefully I can do that, wherever that might be.” Warnock’s signings have numbered three since the end of the 2011-12 term, with Pearce joining Leeds on May 4 and Paul Green and Adam Drury set to move north from Derby County and Norwich City respectively once their existing deals run out this evening. But the prospect of new ownership at Elland Road – a takeover which is believed to be on the verge of completion – promises to open the way to further arrivals in the days leading up to the start of pre-season training on July 11. Warnock, who has been out of the country on holiday this week, has already underlined the importance of the next fortnight, saying: “I want to make sure that as many signings as possible are here before we start on July 11. “It’s the first day of pre-season when you want or need most of your players on board. That’s when everything starts.”

July 1st. Unpopular Bates regime may becoming to an end – Ladbrokes – Few clubs have ever fallen so far and so fast as Leeds did in slumping from the Champions League semi-finals to League One in six seasons, but their return to prominence could be just as drastic. Despite completing the first part of the climb two years ago, there has still been little to celebrate at Elland Road recently, only two managers lasting two years since David O’Leary left a decade ago and chairman Ken Bates proving hugely unpopular. There are suddenly reasons for optimism though, a process started by the appointment of Neil Warnock in February following his rather harsh sacking from QPR. The Sheffield United fan hasn’t always had a great relationship with the Whites and his initial results were underwhelming. However, it is in his first pre-season that his methods usually start having an effect. Warnock’s ability at this level is certified by seven promotions as a manager, three of those into the top tier. That is a joint-English record and his prospects of seizing sole control of it with Leeds next season are enhanced by talk of a takeover. The investors currently in discussions about a complete takeover of the club are widely believed to have Middle East connections, prompting supporters to hope that significant spending beckons after years of frugality since their fall. The prospective owners are currently carrying out due diligence having agreed an exclusivity period, so the end of Bates’ despised seven-and-a-half year regime of minimal investment juxtaposed with exorbitant ticket prices may be imminent. Leeds are currently tied joint-fifth favourites to win the Championship at 11/1. They have finished seventh and 14th since promotion so could feasibly challenge without an injection of cash, aided by a sprinkling of Warnock-approved additions. That process is already underway with the first few signings – Portsmouth defender Jason Pearce, Derby midfielder Paul Green and former Norwich captain Adam Drury – appearing a decent starting point.

Peltier

July 1st 2012. Vital Leicester – Pelter move to Leeds agreed.  It’s being reported that Matt Mills move to Bolton is back on, and Lee Peltier’s switch to Leeds has gone through. The Leicester Mercury state that the deal for Mills to move on loan to Bolton with an eye for a permanent move next year stalled because Mills and Leicester couldn’t agree on severance payment, but it’s believed a deal is close to being struck and should be agreed when parties meet next week. Leaving the way open for Coyle to get his man for a £1m upfront, and then a further £1m at the end of the loan to make it a permanent switch. They also suggest that the £350,000 transfer of Lee Peltier to Leeds United has been agreed and the paperwork will go through once Leeds’ takeover goes through. Pelts’ replacement is again said to be James Chester from Hull. Now it’s clear Mills has no future at the club, although it is somewhat sad to see him move on in this manner given his overall performance levels, but Pelts is a strange one for me. Admittedly I don’t know much about Chester, but I’m not 100% convinced he would be an improvement and it also seems a very low fee for him to leave on.