May 2012

May 31st.By Dominic Matteo – YEP –  Leeds United takeover talks: Cash boost vital to bring in the talent – I’ve no idea if Ken Bates wants to sell Leeds United and is truly ready to walk away from Elland Road. But as investment talks continue, the question he should be asking is: “can I take the club any further than I have already?” And more to the point: “can I take the club forward as quickly as the supporters want?”The easiest way to decide that is to look at the list of transfer targets drawn up by Neil Warnock – a manager who, don’t forget, was brought in to win promotion from the Championship. If the current board can fund Warnock’s plans and meet most of his demands for next season then there’s no problem. But if they can’t, it’s essential that investment arrives from outside and essential that all offers are listened to. Warnock strikes me as a realistic manager. A manager with ambition, definitely, but someone who’s fairly sensible about the amount of money he needs to build a competitive team. It’s no secret that the squad at Leeds needs a big improvement and plenty of cash spent on it and it was no secret either that Warnock took the job at Elland Road intending to make major changes. Leeds knew this situation was coming and it’s a bit of a worry that we’ve not seen more signings so far. I guess deep down we’re looking for the board at Leeds to be responsible. It’s up to a club’s owner – in this case Bates – to decide how and when he sells and how much he sells for but there always comes a time when a fresh start or a new pair of hands is needed. I’m not saying that this is definitely the moment for Bates to step aside at Elland Road, but it’s the right time for him to look at the club and decide about where it’s heading. The fact is that Leeds must be a force in the Championship next season. I don’t think they can afford to spend another season in mid-table. The fans won’t have it. And there’s only one thing that will achieve that – major expenditure on the playing squad. That’s what really gets people going when they hear rumours of a takeover. They imagine bundles of money and seriously-expensive signings. But I don’t think Leeds really need that at the moment.  What they need is that little bit of cash which lets them raise the wage bill slightly and which pays the transfer fees you need to get top-class players in the Championship. A new investor might be able to give them that. So how much would Leeds United sell for? That’s the million-dollar question and the more I think about it, the more confused I am about how exactly you value a football club. Are Leeds worth more because they’re in a one-club city and capable of attracting 40,000? Almost certainly. But they don’t own their stadium and they don’t own their training ground. And whatever anyone says about potential, they haven’t been a Premier League club since 2004. In short there’s plenty of work to be done at Leeds and that’s going to cost any owner who wants to make the club as strong as it can possibly be.  What I’m saying is that I hope Leeds are realistic about the price they ask for when they speak to people about investment and takeovers. Bates has no reason to sell on the cheap and we all know him well enough to know that won’t happen. But if a sale is in Leeds United’s best interests then you’d hope for cooperation on both sides to make it happen. All the same, who knows if this is the right deal at the right time! I say that because not every takeover is a good takeover. I spoke about Blackburn Rovers in a recent column and that club is an absolute mess. Foreign money has done nothing for them. For that reason, there’s also a responsibility on the board at Leeds to find the right buyers; to do their homework and make sure that as and when a deal is done, they’re passing the baton into safe hands.  Blackburn’s a good lesson in what happens if you don’t.  

May 30th. Rumour Day. Today had everything from a Kuwaiti billionaire buying Leeds (now Forest) to David O’Leary being involved with a Dubai Sheik back again to the USA but not before Neil Warnock was to take over at the City Ground. The silence from Elland Road is deafening but Bates who demands proof of funds lodged in a London bank before talks begin seems to have real cash flow problems so an impending deal looks possible albeit Bates will ask for the Sun, the Moon and the Stars and a starting point of £80M with a lease only on Elland Road and Thorp Arch to begin with. Oh and no Lord Sainsbury. Remember him ? Have I lost you ? Read on. Here are the key points of the day.

May 30th. YEP All signs point to a deal in the offing. Chief football writer Phil Hay looks at the implications of Leeds United’s takeover talks announcement. Ken Bates has a stock response to anyone who approaches him with promises of meaningful investment in Leeds United. “We have two golden rules,” he said last year, 24 hours after revealing himself as the club’s new owner. “We say ‘the identity of a proposed investor, proof of funds in a London bank.’ That usually gets rid of most of them.” In the past decade, rumours of impending investment at Leeds have often proved to be no more than speculation but the fact that an interested party were present at Elland Road six days ago suggests the individuals concerned have already cleared the first hurdle facing them. The group, described as North American, took a tour of United’s stadium and their training ground at Thorp Arch last Thursday as whispers of a buy-out began to circulate in the city around them. It was an intriguing end to a concerning week in which doubts surfaced about the club’s ability to fund either the number or the quality of signings planned by Neil Warnock for his first full season as United manager. Warnock made his first summer signing on May 4, paying £500,000 to land Jason Pearce from Portsmouth, but his attempt to follow up that deal with a £400,000 purchase of Joel Ward was frustrated by Leeds’ failure to put up the fee. Ward slipped through Warnock’s fingers on Monday, joining Crystal Palace instead, and other proposed signings are under threat. The YEP understands that Warnock has been similarly unable to finalise an agreement to bring Derby County midfielder Paul Green – another of his targets – to Elland Road on a free transfer. The lack of progress in the transfer market, at a time when Warnock hoped his squad would begin taking shape, pointed to two possibilities: a shortage of available cash at Elland Road or the potential arrival of new owners. Bates, United’s chairman and majority shareholder, has rarely given any indication of a willingness to relinquish control but confirmation of discussions in Leeds last week has given the idea some credence. A statement from Leeds read: The club can confirm that talks are taking place regarding investment for the long-term future. “The club has always publicly stated that it would welcome potential investment but has maintained a belief whereby the quality of the investor is the most important factor in terms of the long-term development of Leeds United.” The YEP has been told of a second consortium with an interest in purchasing Leeds, though the group are not believed to have made contact with United. A source involved in the consortium, which has links to both England and the Middle East, admitted they were “some distance away” from being ready to table a bid for Leeds and said investment in another English club was also under consideration. Leeds have long been seen as one of the more attractive investments in English football, despite the fact that the club do not own either Elland Road or their Thorp Arch training complex and pay more than £2million annually to lease both properties. The club have made pre-tax profits totalling more than £10million since the summer of 2007 and posted a gain of £3.5million at the end of the 2010-11 financial year. United’s rental agreement for Elland Road includes a buy-back clause which, according to the club’s most recent set of accounts, would cost £14.85million to exercise. Richard Cramer, a specialist in sports law with Front Row Legal in Leeds, told the YEP: “My objective view is that Leeds as a club are a good investment but anyone who plans to get heavily involved at Elland Road is going to need serious money. They won’t get the club at a snip. “In the first instance, I can’t see the club being cheap to buy and there’s a lot more to this than simply taking over. After that you’ve got the cost of investing in infrastructure – dealing with the stadium and the training ground for example – and the cost of building a squad good enough to take Leeds into the Premier League. “Even then you’ve got the pressure to continue on the up and up. I don’t see the supporters accepting what happened to Burnley or Blackpool – where you go up for a season and come straight down with parachute payments to play with. The club are an attractive proposition, provided you’ve got the right financial credentials and the right vision.” United expect to raise transfer funds through the summer sale of transfer-listed midfielder Adam Clayton, and the club stand to receive compensation if winger Aidan White turns down a new contract and leaves Elland Road. Leeds are also likely to listen to offers for Ross McCormack, who has rejected the club’s offer of a new deal and is out of contract in 12 months’ time, but cash received through substantial outside investment could spectacularly change the landscape facing Warnock. United underwent a change of ownership as recently as April of last year when Bates announced that he was buying a 72.85 per cent stake in the club from previous owners, Forward Sports Fund (FSF). Leeds were heading for a seventh-placed finish in the Championship at the time but the club struggled to make a sustained challenge for promotion this season, ending the campaign in 14th place. Their income in the past 12 months is likely to have been affected by a notable drop in attendances and the club are committed to using season-ticket money from both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns to repay a loan taken out to fund the recent development of the East Stand at Elland Road. Cramer said: “If I was advising anyone about investment in English football then I’d certainly suggest they look at Leeds United. “But you’d need to show the colour of your money to get involved there and it seems clear to me that investment is needed at Elland Road. You don’t get the impression that there’s a huge amount of cash available.”

May 30th. Waiting for our Saviour – The Scratching Shed. After much speculation, Leeds United eventually confirmed they were in talks regarding “long-term investment” in the club and – rather predictably – the 48 hours that followed has led to even more speculation. The latest person to be linked is Kuwaiti businessman Fawaz al-Hasawi, who confirmed he has signed an agreement to buy a second-tier English football club with a successful history. He also mentioned Neil Warnock, leading many to conclude it was Leeds United. However, it seems Nottingham Forest may be the club he was referring to and that Neil Warnock is simply one of the names on his shopping list. Personally, I’d say his interest is in Forest. The only thing we really know about talks going on at Elland Road comes courtesy of BBC Look North who claim there are three interested parties, one of which is a group based in Chicago. They went on to add that the American group is the furthest down the line, and it sounds as if they’ve already been shown around the facilities at Elland Road and Thorp Arch. It’s for this reason that I suspect Fawaz al-Hasawi is referring to Nottingham Forest. In the interview he gave, he made out as if it’s already a done-deal. If the Chicago-based group are the furthest down the line with Leeds, then it seems strange that a Kuwaiti businessman would be claiming to have already agreed to buy the club. There are other factors too, most important of which is the statement Leeds United released on the official site. The “long-term investment” statement didn’t strike me as one that was designed to appease the tensions of fans amidst growing speculation, but more of a “come and make us an offer” pitch to anyone else who may be interested in the club. Almost all reports have claimed those already interested in the club want a full takeover, and that no one is interested in becoming a partner to Ken Bates. It may well be that our Chairman is desperately trying to find a “money-man” who will come in as partner, as opposed to someone who will takeover the club completely. If he can’t find such an individual (and it seems unlikely given his history), Ken Bates may be forced into selling the club due to cash flow problems. Our inability to raise a measly £400,000 for a player suggests the finances aren’t quite as rosy as Ken would have you believe, and there has been other warning signs too. Take the “preferential shares” for example that appeared in our most recent accounts. This is basically a £3.2m loan that will cost the club £4m to repay, which they’ll have to do immediately if taken-over. I strongly suspect Ken Bates was the one to make this loan to the club and if that’s the case, it suggests forward-planning for a takeover scenario, in the event of which, Ken Bates would get his money back with £800k “interest” on top. You also have to take into consideration that we’ve only posted profits for the past few years due to player sales. It’s also worth considering the impact that 4,000 lost ticket sales per game will have on a club whose high turnover is largely a result of strong gate receipts. When your profit margins are so slim, an attendance drop of 4,000 coupled with no key players sold (as yet) won’t leave much to play with. It should come as no real surprise then that we didn’t have the funds to buy Joel Ward and that the club are desperately seeking investment. I suspect the only offers Ken Bates will receive will be for an outright takeover, and I doubt he’ll be too disappointed with that if he can drum up enough interest and instigate a bidding war – it’s not unreasonable to suggest Leeds United could sell for upwards of £70-80m, which sounds mental, but look at the level of turnover we can already boast and then factor in the sum that will reach when we finally return to the Premier League. Potential is our biggest selling point, Ken Bates would be mad not to use it. A lot of people laugh when they hear such a price-tag and point to the club’s lack of assets, but there are plenty of businesses with no real assets. Take almost every retail establishment in the country for example – very few of them own the properties (shops) they trade from, they’re generally leased from a property developer or the council. They will be selling the stock as well of course, but then so too are Leeds United – the only real difference is that Leeds United’s “stock” is football, and it’s unlikely to run out any time soon (even if it does drop to an even poorer quality). For all his faults, Ken Bates isn’t an idiot. Without the funds to improve our current squad, and with the distinct possibility of further players leaving, there’s a real danger we could end up going backwards. They say the key to any investment is knowing when to sell – without the necessary resources to take Leeds United any further, and with a genuine risk of the club falling back into the wilderness, Ken Bates’ golden opportunity to cash-in is now. And I suspect he knows that already. Very Good article.

May 30th. Rumours of Kuwait investment misplaced. It is understood that reports linking a group from Kuwait to the sale of Leeds United are wide of the mark. Reports from the Middle East suggest Kuwaiti businessman Fawaz al-Hasawi has been planning a takeover bid for the Elland Road club. Several newspapers in Kuwait say al-Hasawi has stepped down from his position as chairman of local club Qadsia to complete a deal to buy an English side. Leeds and fellow Championship outfit Nottingham Forest are said to have been on al-Hasawi’s radar in the past few months. Mr al-Hasawi was quoted as saying he was close to acquiring a “second tier English club  with a big history in football.”  But it is understood his attentions are more on Nottingham Forest than they are Leeds.

May 30th. YEP – The line up of investors. LEEDS United have confirmed that talks are taking place with potential investors following a season of unrest at Elland Road. Chairman Ken Bates, who took control at Leeds seven years ago, has been the subject of protests from a section of supporters who question his ambitions for the club. The identity of the potential investors has not been revealed but Yorkshire Post sources say that one is based in North America. It is understood at least three groups have declared an interest in Leeds with a Chicago-based would-be investor – thought to have inspected the club’s facilities last week – believed to be the frontrunner.  However, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) – the owners of Canadian ice hockey team Toronto Maple Leafs – denied any involvement via Twitter yesterday, saying: “We love the enthusiasm of #LUFC Fans! However to repeat our response from last week – there is no truth to the rumours.” And Jon Pritchett, chief executive of Chicago-based Club 9 Sports, said there had been ‘no discussions whatsoever’ between his company and Leeds. Club 9 made an unsuccessful bid to acquire a major stake in Sheffield Wednesday two years ago and have subsequently been linked with both Rangers and Tranmere Rovers. A spokesman for Leeds United said: “Further to media reports on Tuesday, the club can confirm that talks are taking place regarding investment for the long-term future. “The club has always publicly stated it would welcome potential investment but has maintained a belief…the quality of the investor is the most important factor in terms of the long-term development of Leeds United. No further comment will be made at this stage.” The Leeds United Supporters’ Trust (LUST) have been seeking out new investors for the last three months. Accounts published recently showed that Leeds made a profit of £10m in the last four years but, although sizeable amounts have been spent on ground development, the team lost several top players and finished only 14th in this season’s Championship. New manager Neil Warnock has already seen one of his top targets – Portsmouth defender Joel Ward – slip from his grasp to join Crystal Palace in a £400,000 deal. Highly-rated Scottish internationals Robert Snodgrass and Ross McCormack, meanwhile, have yet to sign new deals and may yet leave. A Trust spokesman said: “We want change at the club whether with Ken Bates or with someone else. We want a better relationship with the club and a good team. We want people in charge who share our ambition for the club. If this is what comes about as a result of these talks, we will be very excited.” The Trust is aware several parties have expressed interest and say at least one bid is on the table. “In February we responded to Ken Bates’s suggestion that we ‘put our money where our mouth is’ by asking any potential investors who shared the aims and ambitions of our members and of our Vision Statement to contact the Trust with a view to working together to take Mr Bates up on his offer. Our members increasingly tell us that they feel a change of ownership would be the best route towards positive change at Leeds United. “On Friday, we invited our members and Leeds fans everywhere to let us know their thoughts about the summer so far and we received hundreds of emails. “The clear and resounding message from our members was that they have completely lost faith in the current Leeds United board’s ability to deliver a successful football club. “Following the failure to meet Neil Warnock’s target of signing a new group of players before his holiday deadline and Robert Snodgrass’s comments about past promises not being met, and after last season – which saw players sold, failure on the pitch, and the season ticket income used to finance corporate facilities rather than new players – our members firmly believe that new owners and a new board are required at Leeds United to match the ambition of the fans, the players and the manager. “We developed a presentation so interested parties could see how working with LUST could help them and have been in contact with a number of people to explore ways of bringing about change for the better at Elland Road. “We have spoken to two groups who are interested in buying Leeds. At this stage, it is not possible for us to go into details as, with a firm offer on the table, we would not want to jeopardise any current negotiations. “We are sure that the news of discussions around the sale of the club will be warmly welcomed by our members and make disaffected supporters feel more optimistic about the future,” he added. LUST is a Supporters’ Trust affiliated with Supporters Direct and has almost 5,500 members.

May 29th. 2012. Latest re “Investment” – According to Phil Hay (the Chief soccer writer with YEP) tweets the YEP’s understanding that US bid for Leeds is Chicago-based. Group were shown round Elland Road and Thorp Arch last Thursday, whilst the other interested group have connections to England and Dubai but they are adamant that they are not ready to bid yet.

May 29th. No Ward but Lees pens new deal. Defender Tom Lees has pledged his future to Leeds United by signing a new four-year contract. The 21-year-old, who had previously signed a new deal last September, has been rewarded for a season that saw him establish himself a first team regular, making 44 appearances for the club. Lees had previously made over 100 loan appearances elsewhere, during spells with Accrington Stanley and Bury. He finally made his first team debut at Elland Road last season. He made a big impression on manager Neil Warnock who described him as a key man in his future plans. “Tom was probably the one bright spark at the back,” said Warnock. “He’s made individual errors and he’s got to learn, but he’s improved his all round game to such an extent that he was one of the first names on the team-sheet. I can’t give him a bigger compliment than that.  “I’ve told him there will be plenty of competition at the back next season because I am looking to bring in defenders, but he has every attribute. “Tom’s a great lad, he’s Leeds through and through and I see him having a great career here.” The former Academy youngster has signed a four-year deal with a further year’s option built-in.

May 29th 2012. Official Statement Leeds United are in discussions with a group of potential investors amid rumours of an impending takeover at Elland Road. United are looking for investment with a major overhaul of their squad planned by manager Neil Warnock this summer. The club missed out on the signing of Joel Ward from Portsmouth after failing to come up with the £400,000 fee and Warnock has landed only one new player since the end of the season – centre-back Jason Pearce. But last week’s discussions appear to have been a step towards a major injection of cash in United, who are currently owned by chairman and majority shareholder Ken Bates. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) – owners of Canadian ice hockey team Toronto Maple Leafs – have been linked with a bid for United but the firm have denied any involvement in last week’s talks.  Leeds United stated on their website :  “Further to media reports on Tuesday morning, the club can confirm that talks are taking place regarding investment for the long-term future. The club has always publicly stated that it would welcome potential investment, but has maintained a belief whereby the quality of the investor is the most important factor in terms of the long-term development of Leeds United. No further comment will be made at this stage.” According to the Daily Mail, Leeds United is talking to potential new owners but the groups do not include Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. An MLSE source said there was no truth to reports in the English media that it is a potential new owner of Leeds United. This came almost five years to the day after news surfaced the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs was thinking about buying a team that could play in the English Premier League, with Leeds United as a potential target. However, MLSE abandoned the idea after its investigation showed English soccer could be a treacherous money pit.

May 28th. Takeover Intereset – The Scratching Shed. After three days of takeover rumours, Leeds United Supporters Trust have confirmed that there is ‘firm’ interest in buying the club on their blog, and on Twitter. L.U.S.T. wrote: In February we responded to Ken Bates’ suggestion that we “put our money where our mouth is,” by asking any potential investors, who shared the aims and ambitions of our members and of our Vision Statement, to contact the Trust with a view to working together to take Mr Bates up on his offer. We developed a presentation so interested parties could see how working with L.U.S.T. could help them, and have been in contact with a number of people to explore ways of bringing about change for the better at Elland Road. As part of this ongoing work, we have spoken to two groups who are interested in buying Leeds United. At this stage it is not possible for us to go into details about our conversations with these groups, as with a firm offer on the table we would not want to jeopardise any current negotiations. They broke the news first on Twitter: The Trust can confirm that there is a firm interest in buying #LUFC. As soon as we have updates we will let our members know #twitterwhites We are aware that there is a bid on the table. At the moment in time we cannot say anything further. #lufc #twitterwhites #TOMA We can also confirm that we have held talks with two interested parties #lufc #twitterwhites #TOMA Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Evening Post also tweeted his understanding of the situation: Re tweets about investment/takeovers at #lufc – I’m aware of firm interest but still trying to establish full details Been told of two separate parties who are interested in #lufc, one seems to be much further down the line than the other. Has to be said that at this stage I’ve no idea how likely either is to come to anything. Seen so many takeover rumours in the past few years So three days after the first rumours started, we have some confirmation that there is serious interest in the club. Let’s just remember there’s a difference between an offer and a successful takeover.

May 28th. Ward goes to the Palace. Leeds United summer target Joel Ward has finally put pen to paper on a deal, signing for fellow championship side Crystal Palace. Leeds had been long time favourites to sign the versatile 22 year old from Portsmouth after he held negotiations with the club almost three weeks ago. The main stumbling block for Leeds is reported to have been the transfer fee, believed to be in the region of £450,000. Cash strapped Portsmouth wanted the full fee up front whilst it is reported that Leeds could not afford to pay for Ward in one whole payment. Palace have also beaten off competition from Ipswich Town, Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool for the signature of Ward who can play in defence or midfield. Leeds have managed just one signing since the end of last season, with Ward`s former teammate at Portsmouth Jason Pearce joining the club.

May 28th. Snodgrass nto Norwich ? Carrow Road.Net. According to a Leeds Utd site, City today have lodged a bid of £1.5 million for Robert Snodgrass, just whether Paul Lambert can get the player for this price is doubtful, but it will alert other interested clubs starting a bidding war. I would not be surprised if Ken Bates isn’t behind any leak of infomation, a war would be just what we would want, as Snodgrass is entering the final year of his Leeds deal and as openly questioned his future at the club, citing lack of ambition from Bates as a factor in him considering a move away from the club he captained towards the latter part of last season.Snodgrass could joining his former team mates Johnny Howson and Bradley Johnson at Carrow Road, but at guess not before the price has risen.

Sunday 27th of May.What next ? As the sun sets over another day of transfer inaction at Elland Road or Thorp Arch, only rumours of impending takeovers are the crumbs of comfort thrown to the dispirited Leeds United fans. The Joel Ward transfer saga echoes that of Sean Gregan’s in all but one way. Gregan eventually signed for Leeds whilst the closest Ward will get to Leeds looks likely to be in an away Eagles strip. Colin was to have had four of his transfer targets nestled away in West Yorkshire by now but it looks like nobody will gazzump Jason Pearce on the property ladder. The lad must me wondering what he has walked himself into. Rumours have also hit the blogs that Colin has had enough and won’t be returning to LS11 after his fortnight holiday. Meanwhile another of our transfer targets, Paul Green has hit the Euro jackpot by displacing the unfortunate Keith Fahey who is ruled out of the Ireland squad by injury. Let’s remind ourselves of what Colin had to say back in February : When I took over at Crystal Palace the headlines were: me and Simon Jordan, it’s just impossible. It’s the same thing with Ken Bates. “But the thing about (Bates) is that you look at the good things and the bad things. I think he does a lot of good things and I’m not trying to creep round him by saying that. But there are times when you need to tell him what you think is right for the club and he’s got to listen. “We have that relationship where I respect him and he respects me, and we’re both at an age where we want to do well. Make no mistake about that. I think we excite each other.“ At my age you haven’t got that long left. I enjoy managing and as long as I keep on enjoying it then I’ll manage. If I don’t enjoy it, I’ll call it a day. The difference is having the drive and I wanted a club that sends hairs up my back. I can’t remember jumping as high as I did for the third goal (against Doncaster).”  The only good thing is that this time last season Leeds fans were locked 24 hours a day to Leeds United news waiting like excited school kids at Christmas Eve for news of new arrivals, and all they really got was disappointment after disappointment until  top scorer Max Gradel was sold near the end of August. Already we have had our top goal scorer refusing to sign a new contract, our captain and talisman refusing to sign a new contract and a supposedly ambitious side unable to raise £400K for one of their top transfer targets. So at least our chairman is letting us know that there is no change from last season. Thanks Ken. I wasn’t really expecting anything but thanks for the consideration in letting me know so early. What a really decent bloke you are. Then again maybe we are about to be taken over by oil rich yanks from Texas, or Saudi billionaires or wee green men from Mars. It’s never dull at LS11. I look forward to hearing what Colin has to say after his holidays. Just another Summer on the Roller coaster of being a Leeds United fan.

May 26th. Kenny up for grabs ? QPR are to discuss the future of goalkeeper Paddy Kenny on Monday. Kenny has been strongly linked with a move to Leeds United, having played under Elland Road boss Neil Warnock at Rangers, Sheffield United and Bury. So far there has been no formal approach from Leeds, although that could change if Kenny is made available next week. The Republic of Ireland international is about to enter the final year of his contract and had hoped to be offered a new deal at Loftus Road. An improved contract was discussed prior to QPR’s sacking of Warnock, and talks later scheduled for the first week of February did not take place. Rangers have since made enquiries about a number of keepers, including Aston Villa’s Shay Given and Birmingham’s England Under-21 international Jack Butland. Kenny, who recently turned 34, has made 77 league appearances since moving to west London in 2010. It’s hard to see Kenny coming to Leeds when we can’t seem to afford players on lesser wages from lower divisions. At time of writing Colin has gotten one player in from the four he had hoped for before he retreated to his holiday hideaway.

May 26th. Larry back in the Championship. Congratulations to Simon Grayson for winning promotion with Huddersfield Town. People have rightly said that it wasn’t his side, but unlike the previous manager he brought them across the line when it mattered most where as Lee Clarke failed in the previous two attempts after high investment (2009/10 lost in S/F v Millwall and 2010/11 hammered 3-0 by Peterboro in final at Old Trafford). Mind you I know someone else who failed this year to improve on the position left by the previous incumbent, ie three points off the play offs only to finish up fourteen points off the play offs. I have no doubt that Larry will receive a tremendous reception when he returns to Elland Road next season after winning his third promotion with Blackpool, Leeds and now Huddersfield Town. Unlike Ken Bates, Huddersfield Town chairman, Dean Hoyle will invest every penny of the £4M plus he will most likely receive from the sale of Jordan Rhodes back into his own side.

May 26th . Lees to sign on Leeds United defender Tom Lees will sign a new contract next week, committing his long-term future to the Elland Road club. Lees is due to put pen to paper on Tuesday after agreeing the terms of an improved and extended deal with United. The 21-year-old centre-back will receive a four-year contract with the option of an additional 12 months, bringing his salary in line with a number of the more senior members of the squad at Elland Road. Lees is already tied to United until 2015 having accepted new terms at the beginning of this season but the defender’s performances during his first full term as a Leeds player have earned him a sizeable pay-rise and a longer deal. Manager Neil Warnock instigated the improved offer to Lees on the back of 45 first-team appearances. The United boss said: “Tom’s been the one bright spark at the back. “He’s got a lot to learn and he’s made individual errors but he’s improved his all-round game and he was almost the first name on my teamsheet. I can’t give him a bigger compliment than that.” Leeds are struggling to persuade other prominent players to commit to new contracts, with Ross McCormack and Aidan White increasingly likely to leave Elland Road this summer and captain Robert Snodgrass still to respond to an offer which would make him United’s highest earner. But an agreement with Lees has been reached after a swift and successful flurry of talks between United and his representatives. Lees recently underwent surgery to repair the broken nose he nursed through the closing weeks of the Championship term but he is expected to be fit to begin pre-season training in early July.

May 25th.  So what’s stopping the flood of new arrivals ordered by Neil ? – YEP When I suggested a fortnight ago that Leeds United chairman Ken Bates needed to get a move on in the transfer market, opinion, it’s fair to say, was mixed. Nonsense said some fans, far too early with the domestic season not yet over, said others. A portion felt I was simply pushing an anti-Bates bandwagon – not true – while some supporters even agreed with me. When Neil Warnock replaced Simon Grayson in the dugout he called for unity and an end to the protests against Mr Bates. The support duly responded but the chairman continues to fight with sections – the Leeds United Supporters Trust in particular – of the fanbase. And when the season fizzled out in a mid-table finish it took a series of meetings between Warnock – the right appointment by a country mile – and the owner to convince the new boss that Leeds would give him the tools to carry out the necessary and wide-ranging shake-up of the playing staff. The existing squad, as every match-going regular knew last August, was not good enough to sustain a challenge for promotion – and that was before Max Gradel’s pace and goals were sold at the end of that month’s transfer window. It was also before captain Jonny Howson was sold to Premier League new boys Norwich City – a side, don’t forget, who were promoted from League One at the same time as the Elland Roaders – in the next window. Warnock, speaking on April 12, told the YEP: “Before I spoke to the chairman I possibly did have doubts about next season. I said when I first came here that I didn’t want to be around mid-table. Next season’s a big season for me. “I don’t want to work many more years and if I felt we couldn’t get up there then it would be pointless picking up my money just to put a team out. I’ve never been like that. “The chairman knows how desperate I am – and you can use that word because I am desperate – to bring the players in who can give me the success I want. The incentive for me is a record eight promotions.” Having been reassured the Whites were serious about a shot at reaching the Premier League in 2012-13, Warnock revealed he hoped to have at least three new signings, possibly as many as five, in by the end of May. Centre-back Jason Pearce was snapped up for around £500,000 from relegated and financially-crippled Portsmouth in the first week, but despite repeated links with his Fratton Park team-mate Joel Ward and Derby County’s out-of-contract midfielder Paul Green, no-one else has arrived. And in the weeks since, United’s leading scorer from last season Ross McCormack has rejected the offer of a new contract. But, most damaging of all, new club captain Robert Snodgrass, second in the scoring charts and top of the club’s assists league, has again questioned their ambition. The 24-year-old did the same when Howson was shipped out, after the Leeds-born man stalled over a new deal, but on Wednesday Snodgrass made it clear how pivotal to his future it was to see quality, new signings through the door by the start of next month. “I said that I wanted to take a few weeks away from everything, not make any decisions and we will start speaking in June,” said the Scot, who has also been offered a new contract and, like McCormack, is entering the final year of his existing one.  “But I am living in the real world. If things change in terms of bringing players in and getting Premier League class and kicking-on, then it’s a no-brainer. You sign the contract and move on. “The chairman is trying to put a bit of pressure on me. 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.” Meanwhile, another local lad, Aidy White, is yet to agree the latest contract offer and looks set to head – like Jermaine Beckford, Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny before him – for pastures new. Anyone else getting twitchy yet? arnock must be. He wants a revamped squad in place as soon as possible to give him the best chance of a fast start come August. Little wonder, then, there have been at least two major, albeit Twitter-inspired, rumours suggesting the 63-year-old has quit a post he only took up in February. So what’s going on at Elland Road? Why can’t United afford to make free signings and cough up what are relatively modest fees – by today’s standards at any rate – to fulfil the manager’s wishes? In their defence Leeds are not alone in playing the waiting game. Most clubs will hold on until existing contracts run out on June 30, after players and managers have taken their end-of-season breaks, before starting business in earnest. Part of the problem for Leeds could be that the bulk of season ticket renewals – which have fallen in any case – took place early in the new year and there is no match-day income to use. Hence why, some argue, Mr Bates is trying to develop Elland Road into a 365-day-a-year money-making venture by boosting East Stand facilities and promoting the likes of Billy’s Bar and Howard’s restaurant. Great, the club can use that income then? However, do enough people actually use these facilities on non-match days to create a sizeable transfer budget? Okay, what about money raised from early sales of the latest home shirt or the club’s new two-year sponsorship deal with Enterprise Insurance?  But what fans want to know is why is it United, who made a £3.5m profit up to the end of June 2011 – a period which didn’t include the sales of Gradel and Howson never mind goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel – cannot invest in the team now? Mr Bates could always put in £6m of his own money under the Football League’s newly-agreed financial fairplay rules, assuming his money isn’t tied up in assets. Maybe there will be more cash free, for wages at least, when the contracts for Ben Parker, Mika Vayrynen, Alex Bruce, Mikael Forssell, Lloyd Sam and goalkeeper Maik Taylor expire. But how many of Warnock’s first-choice targets will have gone elsewhere by then because they need to sort their futures out and provide for families? It’s a case of deja vu so far this close season for anyone who follows Leeds – certainly since 2008 – when only three signings have been announced in May (Andy Robinson, Schmeichel and Pearce), but that’s the exact opposite of what Warnock planned, wanted or needed. Come on Ken, spend big on the team, back your manager, restore fans’ faith, get more people back through the turnstiles and the club will reap the rewards accordingly. Or maybe it’s simply time to accept you can’t take Leeds any further and go. Judging by the correspondence and phone calls the Yorkshire Evening Post receive there is very little goodwill left and crowds, like season-ticket sales, are dropping – down 4,000 last term. The last thing United fans need now is to see Warnock decide he’s had enough and turn those premature tweets into reality. Good article.

May 25th. Lorimer – YEP The Party line. It’s no surprise to me that Robert Snodgrass is taking time to think carefully about signing a new contract at Leeds United. He’s 24 years of age and this is a big decision for him. You can’t blame him if he needs some persuading. On the pitch, this season was a disaster for us and he won’t want to go through the same again. Put simply, if Leeds United are heading for a repeat of that failure then he’ll see his future elsewhere, and justifiably so. But we know we need to invest in the squad and that will happen between now and August.  No-one at Elland Road has any interest in going through another nine months of frustration and disappointment. Football’s changed so much since the days when I was Robert’s age. Back then you were contracted to a club and that was the end of it. The only way you were able to leave was if the club decided to let you go. Nowadays, contracts run out in double-quick time and players are always able to think about their options. You never used to get anything like the transfer speculation we now read in the papers every morning. From Robert’s perspective, he’s a talented lad with international prospects and a level of ability which I think is good enough for the Premier League. He’d need to prove himself obviously but he looks to have that class. He’ll be 25 later this year and he’ll feel the need to make progress – to make sure he doesn’t miss the boat. Every player has a certain amount of ambition and you’d be lost without it. But I still maintain that he can fulfil his ambition at Leeds. And I still maintain that if he gets to the Premier League with Leeds, he’ll be at a bigger club than any who try to sign him this summer. The next few months should show our own ambition and I’m confident that it’ll point to a great season ahead. If I was him I’d want to be part of that. As a club, we showed our intentions by offering to make him our highest earner. That was a big statement and I think it showed exactly how highly we rate him. It was our way of saying ‘you’re a major asset and we want you to stay.’ From his quotes this week, it’s clear that he’s mulling the situation over and in no rush to jump either way. He mentioned broken promises in the past but I’m not clear on what he was promised or who made those promises to him so I can’t comment on that. All I can say is that we know this season fell a long way below expectations and we know the squad wasn’t good enough. That’s why we’re working so hard to give Neil Warnock what he needs. Understandably, Robert wants to see the pieces fall into place. Fair enough. But I’m pretty sure that soon enough he’ll see that another season at Elland Road is going to be worth his while. That’s the point when I hope to see him put pen to paper. Re broken promises I’ll tell you Herr Lorimer what Robert Snodgrass said : “The chairman is trying to put a bit of pressure on me,” “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” Clear as day Herr Lorimer. You, Harvey and your boss Captain Birsdeye belong together. You were a great player but you have taken your 30 pieces of silver.

Friday May 25th. From TWTD –  New twist re Ward. But TWTD can reveal that the South London club have been told by the player’s representatives that the £500,000-rated Portsmouth utility man is set to end the long-running transfer saga and decide over the weekend which club he is going to join. A source close to the Eagles said: “There is no truth in the rumours that Ward has already had a medical at Palace. They are still waiting to hear which club he will be joining. “All they know at this stage is that it has become a two-horse race between themselves and another Championship club, which could or could not be Ipswich.” The fact that Town have yet to receive a response to the take-it-or-leave-it offer made by club owner Marcus Evans several weeks ago, when 22-year-old Ward visited Portman Road and the training ground for discussions, suggests they remain in contention to sign him. But despite reports that Leeds are out of the running TWTD understands the position at Elland Road is that they must first sell a player before being able to conclude a deal for Ward. If boss Neil Warnock is able to raise the much-needed cash over the next couple of days he could move quickly to reunite Ward with his former Fratton Park colleague, central defender Jason Pearce, another player who was on Town boss Paul Jewell’s wanted list. Leeds’ position could explain why Ward has waited so long to decide where his future lies, although it now seems the player is close to finally revealing which club has won the race for his signature.

Friday May 25th. Ward to sign at the Palace. – YEP Joel Ward was poised to finalise a transfer to Crystal Palace today and draw a line under Leeds United’s fraught attempt to sign him. The Portsmouth right-back is expected to move to Selhurst Park after undergoing a medical and agreeing personal terms. Leeds manager Neil Warnock has been pushing to bring Ward to Elland Road since holding talks with the 22-year-old two weeks ago but a prime target appears to have slipped through his fingers with Leeds unable to finance a £400,000 fee. The impending loss of Ward will come as a frustration to Warnock, raising questions about United’s ability to fund his plans for a major summer overhaul of the squad at Leeds. United paid Portsmouth around £500,000 to make centre-back Jason Pearce their first signing of the summer on May 4 but the club’s failure to commit to the cost of recruiting Ward has allowed Palace to step in and line up a deal. The London club were one of six sides who expressed a firm interest in Ward – joined in the race by Burnley, Ipswich Town, Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday – and Ward is believed to have met with Palace boss Dougie Freedman for the second time on Wednesday. arring any last-minute complications, a transfer to Selhurst Park was due to go through by Monday at the latest, leaving Warnock to begin his summer break with only one player signed in a month when he hoped to secure at least three deals.W arnock, who is departing on holiday this weekend, made no secret of the need for a quick and high-calibre influx of players at Elland Road having told 11 existing squad members that they had no future with Leeds earlier this month. The United boss said: “Quite honestly you’ve seen with my retained list that I don’t think we’re anywhere near as good as we should be with the size of this club.”

May 24th. No return to Leeds for Harte  Reading defender Ian Harte turned down interest from his former side Leeds United, in favour to sign a new deal with the Royals. The 34-year old signed a one-year contract extension for Brian McDermott’s team on Wednesday and it has been revealed that Leeds United had stated an interest in their former defender if he wasn’t offered a new deal by the Royals. However, Harte politely rejected this in favour of a chance to play in the Premier League again. Speaking to Jonny Fordham of the Reading Post, Harte said: “I got a phone call about 10 days ago saying they were interested. I love it down here and these have been the best two years of my career. It would be silly to leave such a fantastic club like Reading. I don`t say you can never go back as I`m sure that would be fine.’ Harte was a widely-appreciated player during his eight-year tenure at Elland Road, being regularly applauded every time he returns to Yorkshire. He played 213 games for the Whites, scoring an incredible 28 goals. The most memorable of those goals was in a Champions League quarter-final against Deportivo in 2001, where they were knocked out in the semi-final stage.

Thursday May 24th 2012. Is The White Flag Being Prepared At Leeds? by Stever Turnet from These really are worrying times at Elland Road.We started the summer confident and somewhat convinced that over the coming weeks there’d be an influx of quality players arriving at Leeds, ready to take on a gruelling campaign in the Championship, which we hoped would result in a push for promotion, and a return to the promised land. Those weeks have now passed and as it stands, we’d struggle to put out a competitive five a side team. The fans have almost given up, we’ve been here before and it didn’t end well. You could even say it never actually ended at all. For years now we’ve questioned Ken Bates’ reasons for being at Leeds, asking why we are put through the agony of having to wave off our better players season after season, with the ‘greedy’ excuses still ringing in our ears. We’re still waiting for an answer. His regime has seen us improve a stadium that we don’t own, create fancy new executive boxes for nobody to fill, make a profit on any player that ever dared to play well in the shirt and he has slowly but surely ripped the heart right out of Leeds. The fight is gone, the spirit has been crushed and almost all hope has been extinguished. On paper, the club will survive, but Leeds United and all it stands for are hooked up to a life support machine. Bates is a clever man, appointing Neil Warnock was a good move, but even he must know that promotion is an unrealistic target without supplying Warnock with the financial backing he needs. This is another worry, as a detailed report into Leeds’ finances recently did the rounds, revealing just how much we could afford to gamble on promotion without risking any problems in future. This was swiftly followed by news that Joel Wards proposed transfer from Portsmouth was being held up as Leeds were unable to find the reported £400,000 upfront payment for his services. The silence at Leeds was deafening. Here we were again, with Bates seemingly unable to deliver the promises he’d made. Bates recently stated – “The rebuilding of Leeds United is a bit like sex. In an age of instant gratification, Leeds United is having a long, drawn-out affair with plenty of foreplay and slow arousal” Yet the feeling the fans have at present can only be described as being trapped in a relationship with no escape route, having to endure the same lies, excuses and let downs on an almost daily basis. Ken has ground us down until we physically cannot find the energy to put up a fight anymore. One person you have to admire at Elland Road, for now, is Robert Snodgrass. In recent days he has publicly confirmed what we all already knew, stating how he is struggling to buy in to the plans for the coming season being preached to him by Bates, as the promises previously made by him had not materialized. If Snodgrass does indeed leave Elland Road over the summer, possibly to the Premier League, it will be with a heavy heart, though he can be assured that no Leeds fan could ever blame him. Ken Bates once said “I shall not rest until Leeds United are kicked out of the Football League’ There really is nothing else to say. Very Good piece. What propaganda will Herr Lorimer have in his piece  in the Yorkshire Post tomorrow (Friday) ? I hope Colin gets his way. I really do but does a leopard change its spots ?

May 23rd. Vital Leeds. Warnock feeling frustrated. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says he wants sufficient support to see the club push for promotion next season. Warnock has had a frustrating first month following the end of the season trying to bring in new players to the club. So far, he has added just Portsmouth defender Jason Pearce to the squad and he admits he is finding it both frustrating and disappointing. Speaking on Radio Leeds, Warnock said, “It is a challenge to get a squad together that is capable of winning promotion. “I want one shot at that eighth promotion and I am hoping I will get sufficient support to warrant that, and only time will tell. “You have got to try and get the signings you can as quickly as you can. We have spoken to a number of players and I am hoping to get one or two signed sooner rather than later and only time will tell if we can do it. “I am off on holiday this week and I will be disappointed if we have not brought anybody in this week but as we talk at the moment it doesn`t look likely. “It is frustrating and disappointing but I have just got to get on with it.” Leeds are still believed to be in the race for Portsmouth defender Joel Ward. The 22 year old has held negotiations with Leeds but is taking his time over the proposed move with a number of fellow championship sides in the hunt for the versatile player. Re Snodgrass he had this to say : “I want to keep Snodgrass and he knows what I think about him. I do not blame him at the moment. He is waiting to see how ambitious the club is. “When I spoke to him, he mentioned that twelve months ago it was Gradel, Johnson, Howson and me and now he is the only one left. “I can understand where he is coming from so I can see both points of view. “I cannot do anymore. He is going to wait and see whom we sign and what situation develops. I think that is the only thing that we can do. “I have said to him, sign another year and at the end of the season or at Christmas, if we have no chance of going up then I will sell you then. If not, it will be the end of the season and I will get him fixed up myself.” Grayson brought in £4M minimum from the sale of Howson and Gradel and the outlay on Pugh and Pearce was £1M. We also earned at least £2M from the Arsenal FA Cup tie in January. That’s circa  £5M and doesn’t include all of the following whom came off the wage bill :  Bruce, Danny Webber, Mikael Forssell, Lloyd Sam,  Maik Taylor,  Ben Parker, Darren O’Dea, Paul Robinson  and Mika Vayrynen. Clayton, McCormack and White are all marketable players who are in effect up for sale and yet we can’t afford another £450K up front to Portsmouth for Ward. As I said last night, if we don’t get this player the damage it will do our club will be huge ! Am I surprised ? Certainly not ! Over to you Colin.

Weds 23rd of May 2012. Different manager same transfer frustration.- YEP Neil Warnock’s vision of a successful summer included a minimum of three signings in the month of May. As things stand he will start his holiday on Friday in disappointed mood, beset by a lack of progress. The Leeds United manager wanted the earliest stages of the transfer window to revitalise his patchy squad and build the spine of a competitive team at Elland Road. Instead, his concerns have multiplied with one played signed, another seemingly outwith his immediate spending power and three of Leeds’ existing players reluctant to commit to new contracts. Warnock made the start he wanted when a £500,000 deal for Jason Pearce was agreed with Portsmouth on May 4 but three weeks of inactivity since that signing have reiterated the scale of the task on his hands and the complications he could face as the close season wears on. The 63-year-old planned to have two more deals completed last week and said he would be “disappointed” if they failed to materialise. Disappointed he was. Likewise, his remark on April 28 – the last day of the Championship season – that “I go away at the end of May and I want to have at least three or four lads lined up by that stage” will have been wishful thinking unless the next 48 hours bring sudden developments. A fortnight ago Leeds joined the bidding for Portsmouth right-back Joel Ward, negotiating a fee with Portsmouth’s administrators and inviting the defender north for talks. Ward spoke with Warnock at United’s Thorp Arch training complex on May 9 having flown up from Southampton to discuss a transfer. The deal has been pending for almost two weeks, with Ward – one of Portsmouth’s lower earners – understood to favour a move to Leeds over interest from Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Burnley and Blackpool, but the YEP understands that United have as yet been unable to raise the money needed to pay an up-front fee of around £400,000. The 22-year-old is one of Warnock’s main targets but sources close to the proposed transfer were indicating today that Ward is increasingly likely to take up a different offer. Meanwhile, firm suggestions that Derby County midfielder Paul Green could seal a free transfer to Elland Road before the end of last week also came to nothing, despite solid interest from Leeds. Warnock is understood to have spoken with United chief executive Shaun Harvey on Monday, discussing face-to-face the bid for Ward and progress with other potential signings. The pressure to ensure a consistent stream of arrivals at Elland Road is being increased by uncertainty about the future of three current squad members. Warnock revealed last week that Leeds could be forced to listen to offers for Ross McCormack after the striker’s agent indicated that he was unwilling to sign the improved deal put to him. McCormack is under contract for another 12 months but would be a free agent this time next year. That development was followed yesterday by the suggestion that Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Aidan White will also reject a new contract at Elland Road and leave the club when his current deal expires at the end of next month. Warnock, who has described the terms put to White as “very good”, said: “I don’t expect he will accept the offer from what I was told by his advisors.” White’s camp told the YEP that the 20-year-old’s preference was to stay at Elland Road but said he was looking for a “fair package”. White was heavily linked with Scottish champions Celtic over the weekend and is free to speak with rival clubs, though Leeds stand to receive compensation for him whether he joins an English club or moves abroad. FIFA regulations state that a fee is due when a “professional is transferred between clubs of two different associations (whether during or at the end of his contract) before the end of the season of his 23rd birthday.”White’s exit from Elland Road has seemed likely ever since he rejected an initial offer put to him last year but major question marks are hanging over club captain Robert Snodgrass after comments made by him at a community event at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Monday. Snodgrass is weighing up an enhanced contract which would make him United’s highest earner but he is far from decided about whether to accept the wage rise, admitting to doubts about pledges of investment in the squad at Leeds this summer and a promise by Warnock to find the Scotland international a move to the Premier League next year if Leeds fail to win promotion during the forthcoming season. Warnock has suggested that he might retain Snodgrass until at least Christmas regardless of whether he accepts a new deal but the 24-year-old is out of contract in a year’s time and his financial value would drop rapidly during the remainder of his deal. Snodgrass said: “He (Warnock) has 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. “The chairman (Ken Bates) is trying to put a bit of pressure on me. He’s telling me what plans he’s 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.” A more positive piece of news is the prospect of defender Tom Lees agreeing an improvement to a contract which already runs until 2015. United opened negotiations with Lees earlier this month with the aim of bringing the 21-year-old’s salary in line with some of their more substantial earners and he is close to putting pen to paper after further talks last week.

Snodgrass in happier times (with McCormack)

Tuesday 22nd of May. The Scotsman ROBERT Snodgrass has cast fresh doubt on his future at Leeds United after revealing he is sceptical about promises being made to him about the future of the club by chairman Ken Bates.  Scotland international Snodgrass has a year left on his existing contract at Elland Road and admits he may have to consider a move elsewhere to maximise his chances of featuring regularly for his country in the forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. The 24-year-old winger was appointed captain of Leeds three months ago by new manager Neil Warnock, who is anxious to retain his services as he bids to guide the Yorkshire club back into the English Premier League next season. But Snodgrass remains unconvinced about the level of investment in the Leeds playing squad intended by Bates this summer. “The chairman is trying to put a bit of pressure on me,” said Snodgrass. “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. I’ll make the right decision when the time comes. If there’s no decision to be made, then by all means I’ll stay at Leeds for the last year of my contract. “The Scotland manager has told me a few times that there is a window of opportunity for progress. I need to think about that as well. It’s hard for an international manager to throw a Championship player in at the deep end for some of these big World Cup or European Championship qualifiers. He’s got a job to do and needs to pick his best possible eleven. If you are playing with better players in the Premier League, then it only helps Scotland as well. “I’d love to get into the Premier League. I would love it to happen with Leeds United. To lead Leeds United back into the Premier League would be a dream come true. The place would be absolutely buzzing. So there are different things for me to think about right now.  “I could have maybe done that last year – jumped ship and tried to force Leeds to sell me. But I was happy, because we were so close to going up the season before. I thought, with different players coming into the club, we could maybe progress into the Premier League. But it was a disappointing season we’ve just had, really. It didn’t really pay off. “So the next decision for me is vital. But it’s not just about me, it’s about my family and making the right decision for them. Before, it was always just about me and football, going out to enjoy it. But that’s not the case now. “I’ve got my own wife (Denise) and daughter (Sienna), but I’ve got family back home as well I need to try and help – nieces and nephews. I’ve told the chairman that in the past I’ve just signed on the dotted line without any questions. I’m now questioning how much money they are going to give me. I went down there as a nobody, no-one really knew who I was. For them to give me the chance to play down there was all I asked. “So I just signed on the dotted line every time there was a new contract. But I’m at the stage of my career now where I have to think what’s best for my family. That’s my reason for taking time and not just signing.”  Warnock has publicly promised Snodgrass he will help him get a move to a Premier League club if Leeds fail to win promotion next season, but that cuts little ice with the former Livingston player. “He’s already said he won’t be sticking around as manager for much longer,” said Snodgrass. “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.” The Leeds skipper has missed Scotland’s trip to Florida this week, despite being earmarked for a starting place in Saturday night’s friendly against USA in Jacksonville.  “Craig Levein told me I was going to start in America but I had to pull out because of a rehabilitation programme Leeds have got me on for a back problem,” he said. “If it had been a qualifier, it would have been a different story. The manager has stressed I am part of his plans for Scotland.”  Robert Snodgrass was speaking at Hampden, where he attended the Tesco Bank Football Challenge involving children from 30 different schools across Scotland. The event is part of a four-year community programme run in partnership with the SFA for Primary 2 and 3 children. Robert Snodgrass is no fool. He won’t be fooled by Neil Warnock and certainly not Ken Bates. This is as candid a piece as I have seen for some time. It’s also extremely worrying. The player saw how Grayson was not backed in the August and January transfer windows (Grayson’s words : “ambitions not matched by others at the club”) and sees his friends and players he rates, McCormack and Clayton about to leave the club. The final piece is why should he stick around for a manager who won’t be here and he coldly states “My future doesn’t lie in the hands of Neil Warnock, it’s in the hands of Robert Snodgrass.” I hope Snodgrass stays. I really do, but he sounds to me like a player who has put up with enough bullshit already from Leeds United. Colin has his work cut out. He needs a quick win, and that win needs to be Ward signing for Leeds. That’s the transfer saga that for whatever reason has dragged on for far too long already. If he too snubs Leeds we have a problem. Warnock needs this guy to commit to Leeds.One way or another we should know by tomorrow. There are rumours of a double deal for Ward and Halford. Who knows what to believe anymore ? Maybe Ward and “different players coming into the club may sway Snodgrass in June. McCormack, Clayton, and White all look to be certain departures. That will have dented Colin’s ego. Some of it is his own fault. His mouth is in gear before his brain downloads. However, unlike Grayson, Colin will  have some decent cash to spend as a result of the above players leaving  and he will have a fit again Somma. Let’s hope he can get the players he wants.

May 22nd. LUFC v the Cops – YEP  Leeds United’s legal battle over matchday policing costs at their Elland Road ground is heading for the High Court. The Yorkshire Evening Post told last year how United had issued a writ against West Yorkshire Police chief constable Sir Norman Bettison, demanding a reassessment of their recent matchday costs. Leeds claimed they had been overcharged by thousands of pounds for policing at home games. Now it has emerged that the case is due to go before the High Court in London on July 11. Both the police and United today said they were unable to comment in detail because of the imminent court proceedings. Leeds have previously argued that they should not be billed for the cost of policing land around Elland Road that they neither occupy or own. Before the start of the 2009-10 season, however, the West Yorkshire force decided it wanted to widen the area where it could charge for having its officers on duty, so that it took in local roads and car parks.  United’s policing bill is believed to be the highest of any club in their division. Speaking last June, West Yorkshire’s then deputy chief constable David Crompton denied that the force was profiting from the policing arrangements at Elland Road. He said: “For an average game at Elland Road, West Yorkshire Police deploy staff inside the ground, immediately outside to deal with crowd dispersal and traffic and also in Leeds city centre in case of trouble from unruly fans. “On average this means that West Yorkshire Police use 100 staff per game, however [United] only contribute towards 40 of them. “For a high risk game such as the ones against Millwall and Cardiff, the total number of staff rises to well over 300 and [United] only pay for 120 of them. “In cash terms, this represents an underpayment of between £20,000 and in excess of £100,000 per game, therefore it is [United who are] being supported at the expense of the taxpayer.”

May 22nd. The Pompey Pages –  Blackpool and Leeds in race for Ward. Sheffield Wednesday have withdrawn from the race for Joel Ward’s signature after refusing to pay Pompey’s asking price of £450,000. Local papers, The Sheffield Star and Sheffield Telegraph, are reporting that the Owls have withdrawn from the race after facing competition with Leeds United, Blackpool, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town and Burnley, with the newly promoted Owls reluctant to pay Pompey’s asking price. It now seems that Blackpool and Leeds are the front runners, with Blackpool’s Championship status confirmed for another season after losing out in the Championship Play-Off Final to West Ham at the weekend, whilst Leeds are considering a double bid for both Joel Ward and Greg Halford for around £1.5m. Many thought the clubs were waiting to see if Pompey would enter liquidation, meaning Ward would be a free agent and could join any side of his choice, but with Pompey’s immediate future looking a bit sturdier with takeover bids from Balu Chanrai and the proposed fan bid from the Pompey Supporter’s Trust, it seems Blackpool and Leeds will have to open their wallets and show us the money. It will be sad to see Joel Ward go as we all love having a local lad playing in the Pompey blue, but I think we’ve all come to realise that he will definitely be leaving the club. It now seems his imminent departure has become somewhat of a saga – but if Trevor Birch is to be believed, a deal could be complete as early as tomorrow!

Aidy White

May 22nd. White about to jump ship. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock expects Republic of Ireland Under-21 winger Aidy White to leave Elland Road this summer. White, 20, is coming to the end of his contract and looks increasingly likely to seek a fresh challenge elsewhere, with SPL champions CelticDescription: http:/ and Europa League qualifiers NewcastleDescription: http:/ reportedly among his suitors. Top scorer Ross McCormack could also depart Elland Road as he is yet to accept a new deal with only one year left on his existing contract. But there is some better news for Leeds fans with the club claiming promising central defender Tom Lees is close to committing his future. “We’ve heard nothing back from Aidy other than I don’t expect that he will accept the offer from what I was told by his advisors,” Warnock told the club’s official website. “It’s the same with Ross. We will have to wait and see what happens with that. It’s difficult but there’s nothing you can do really.” Lees, 21, was recently named the Whites’ young player of the season and is holding talks with Warnock about a new deal.

May 22nd. YEP – Claims settled. MORE than 200 claims against Leeds United following the club’s fall into administration five years ago have now been agreed, a report by the liquidators has disclosed. The claims by unsecured creditors amount to £18.5 million, a report by accountants KPMG reveals. Another 61 claims worth £4.7m have been rejected. The club’s administration triggered the sale by KPMG to a newly-formed company led by current owner Ken Bates.

May 21st. Another target bites the dust Leeds United boss Neil Warnock`s hopes of signing Clint Hill from Queens Park Rangers look slim with the defender being offered a new deal by the London club. Warnock admitted last week that he was interested in taking Hill from Loftus Road with defender at the end of his contract and having played for Warnock at both Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers previously. Rangers have offered Hill a new deal after collecting both the players and fans player of the year awards at Rangers last season. Hill had a slow start to the season after being sent off in their opening Premier League game against Bolton Wanderers. The 33 year old spent a month on loan at Nottingham Forest from September where he made five appearances. He had to wait until the 23rd October before his next Rangers appearance against Chelsea when he helped the side record a 1-0 home win over the local neighbours. Hill was an almost ever present between then and the end of the season as he helped Rangers avoid relegation back to the championship, making 25 appearances. Warnock admits that he is still working hard to bring in new signings to the club having so far managed to secure just the services of Jason Pearce from Portsmouth. The Leeds boss is expected to find out this week whether he has been successful in his attempts to bring in his teammate Joel Ward from Fratton Park. Ward has held talks with Leeds but he is also being chased by a number of other championship clubs, who are keen to secure the services of the versatile 22 year old. Warnock leaves for his summer holiday at the end of this week, with him still hoping to bring in some new faces. Meanwhile Ipswich Town, Leeds and Bristol City are allegedly battling it out for Derby County striker Steve Davies, according to tabloid reports. The Whites are claimed to be ready to launch a £1 million offer for the 24-year-old with the Blues and Robins also said to be interested.

May 22nd. LUFC v the Cops – YEP  Leeds United’s legal battle over matchday policing costs at their Elland Road ground is heading for the High Court. The Yorkshire Evening Post told last year how United had issued a writ against West Yorkshire Police chief constable Sir Norman Bettison, demanding a reassessment of their recent matchday costs. Leeds claimed they had been overcharged by thousands of pounds for policing at home games. Now it has emerged that the case is due to go before the High Court in London on July 11. Both the police and United today said they were unable to comment in detail because of the imminent court proceedings. Leeds have previously argued that they should not be billed for the cost of policing land around Elland Road that they neither occupy or own. Before the start of the 2009-10 season, however, the West Yorkshire force decided it wanted to widen the area where it could charge for having its officers on duty, so that it took in local roads and car parks.  United’s policing bill is believed to be the highest of any club in their division. Speaking last June, West Yorkshire’s then deputy chief constable David Crompton denied that the force was profiting from the policing arrangements at Elland Road. He said: “For an average game at Elland Road, West Yorkshire Police deploy staff inside the ground, immediately outside to deal with crowd dispersal and traffic and also in Leeds city centre in case of trouble from unruly fans. “On average this means that West Yorkshire Police use 100 staff per game, however [United] only contribute towards 40 of them. “For a high risk game such as the ones against Millwall and Cardiff, the total number of staff rises to well over 300 and [United] only pay for 120 of them. “In cash terms, this represents an underpayment of between £20,000 and in excess of £100,000 per game, therefore it is [United who are] being supported at the expense of the taxpayer.”

May 20th. What’s the wait ? It’s two weeks since Colin landed his first target, Jason Pearce. Colin is learning just like Larry before him, Leeds don’t usually tie up deals early. If he pins all his hopes on Shaun Harvey to nail down players early, he’s a lot softer than I had him down for. His hopes of two to three more players arriving before he departs on holiday next week look less likely by the day. Joel Ward is clearly playing each club off against each other and it’s strange that even though Leeds have had a bid accepted by Portsmouth, and the fact that his best mate has just signed already for Leeds, that he too hasn’t already committed pen to paper. Throw in Thorp Arch, the best training facilities of any club in this division and it becomes more of an enigma. He was allegedly waiting to talk with Blackpool (possibly to see what division they would be in) and Sheffield Wednesday over the weekend. If he signs for either of those sides it does not say a lot about Leeds ambitions for the season ahead.  Colin hasn’t helped himself either, by his remarks regarding Clayton. “If I’m honest I can get better for that kind of money” is poor and unprofessional especially when we are trying to get as high a fee as possible for Clayton (voted 2nd in the player of the year behind Snodgrass by the LUSC). Throw in the fact that Clayton is close with Snodgrass and McCormack and it doesn’t help matters. McCormack has scored nearly 20 goals in this division and is now up for sale. Wigan and WHU are reported to be weighing up a £2.5M offer. Larry received a lot of criticism for his signings. He also signed McCormack for a song and Gradel for that matter too. If this is true it would represent a £2.1M profit for Leeds on McCormack alone. If he goes that means we will have lost our top scorer in each of the last three seasons. Michael Brown has done very little all season except pick up yellow or red cards and we are keeping him, even on reduced wages. Colin has promised a lot since he got the job. He failed miserably in the first part of his assignment, ie getting more out of the players he inherited and improving on the position of the side. He keeps telling us he is the best man for the job. Now prove it ! Less talk more deals done please whether in or out !

Transfer Rumours : Week 1 IN El Hadji Diouf – (Doncaster) Alan Smith – (Newcastle) Jermaine Beckford – (Leicester) Stuart Beavon – (Wycombe Wanderers) Jason Pearce – (Portsmouth) Signed Greg Halford – (Portsmouth) Joel Ward – (Portsmouth) Luke Varney – (Portsmouth) David Norris – (Portsmouth) Ben Watson – (Wigan Athletic) Paul Green – (Derby County) Darren Ambrose – (Crystal Palace) Sol Bamba – (Leicester City) Matt Mills – (Leicester City) Jermaine Beckford – (Leicester City) 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) Paddy Kenny – (QPR) Michael Owen – (Manchester United  OUTAdam Clayton – Bolton & Burnley) McCormack (Wigan and WHU).

May 18th. Interest in Ward hots up whilst Leeds receive interest in Clayton- Hay YEP. Leeds United’s attempt to sign Joel Ward was in the balance today with the Portsmouth defender set to hold talks with two more clubs over the weekend. Ward is preparing to meet with officials from two unnamed Championship sides after a delay in his proposed move to Elland Road. The 22-year-old is one of Neil Warnock’s prime targets and met the United manager for talks earlier this month but Leeds are yet to close out a £400,000 transfer, despite Ward appearing to favour the option of joining them. Portsmouth have been in administration for three months and are looking to sell the player in an effort to help the club avoid financial collapse. United paid Portsmouth £500,000 to secure centre-back Jason Pearce two weeks ago and appeared to be at the head of the queue for Ward’s signature after making their interest known. Three other Championship clubs – Crystal Palace, Burnley and Ipswich Town – have spoken with the defender, who made 46 appearances in the division last season, but his destination remains uncertain with two more teams stepping forward in the past 48 hours. Portsmouth are keen to see a transfer concluded as quickly as possible and Ward is also pushing for clarity on his future. The YEP understands that the right-back – a good friend of Pearce’s – was receptive to the idea of moving to Leeds but he is anxious to prevent the saga dragging on beyond the early stages of next week. Warnock planned to secure up to four signings before the end of this month and Pearce became his first summer recruit when he signed a four-year contract on May 4. The Leeds boss suggested that two more players might arrive at Elland Road this week but further additions looked unlikely today. Warnock has not commented on his approach for Ward but he said: “I’m speaking to agents every day and I’m pushing to get deals over the line. It’s a long summer but it’s so important to keep things moving.” Ward and Warnock are believed to have met at Thorp Arch to discuss a move last Wednesday, and Ward’s wage demands are not thought to be a complication. He is one of Portsmouth’s lower earners and would receive a substantial pay rise by transferring to Elland Road. But Portsmouth administrator Trevor Birch – formerly chief executive at Leeds – suggested on Tuesday that United were in danger of missing out on Ward’s signature. Joel Ward will be next to go but I am not certain of the timescale on that,” Birch said. It’s not necessarily going to be Leeds. He’s met a few other clubs and has been talking things over with them. “We are waiting to see what the outcome will be.” Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton said: “Leeds are the main interest but there are a few others. “I didn’t think Joel would be short of interested parties and that has turned out to be the case. There are a lot looking at him.“Ipswich have always shown interest, Palace are there and Burnley have come in really strong. “Eddie Howe (Burnley’s manager) worked with him in the past at Bournemouth so you’ve got that link there. He’ll have a good future wherever he ends up.” Ward is part of a long list of players on Warnock’s radar with the Leeds boss facing up to a huge rebuilding job this summer. United are competing with Ipswich and Middlesbrough for the signature of Derby County midfielder Paul Green – due to become a free agent in July – and are also believed to have identified two other Portsmouth players, David Norris and Luke Varney, as viable targets. They are expected to be part of a mass exodus from Fratton Park. Warnock was linked with a move for Senegalese striker El Hadji Diouf towards the end of the Championship term but Diouf’s arrival at Elland Road is far from certain, despite sources close to the player suggesting discussions about a free transfer could take place next week. Leeds could also look to strike a deal with Clint Hill if the defender declines the offer of a new contract at Queens Park Rangers. Hill, 33, is in talks with QPR about prolonging his stay at Loftus Road but the Premier League club are unlikely to hand their player of the year more than a 12-month extension or guarantee him regular football next season. Asked about Hill, Warnock said: “Clint’s had a very good season and I thought he held them (QPR) together towards the end of it. “He’s a very good player and like anything else we are looking for good players. I think everybody is.” Beyond the incoming players on Warnock’s agenda, the United boss is attempting to move on a number of the under-contract professionals transfer-listed by him at the start of this month. Midfielder Adam Clayton was the most high-profile name added to United’s list of available players and Burnley are poised to submit the first bid for him. The Lancashire side are in the process of drawing up an offer for the 23-year-old, who was transfer-listed by Warnock after failing to agree an extension to his contract. Clayton’s existing deal expires at the end of next season and his exit would generate a sizeable fee, increasing Warnock’s transfer fund. Paul Connolly, Billy Paynter, Ramon Nunez, Andy O’Brien and Paul Rachubka are also in line to leave Elland Road with Leeds seeking to remove them from their wage bill. “We’ve had a bit of interest in the likes of Clayton,” Warnock said. “But to a large extent you’re in the hands of other clubs, waiting for them to come in.”

Friday May 18th 2012. McCormack next to leave ? Leeds boss Neil Warnock admits he does not expect striker Ross McCormack to accept the club’s terms on a new contract. The 25-year-old’s current deal runs to next summer, but his decision to refuse an extension could see the Scotland international leave during the close season. McCormack was signed from Cardiff on a three-year deal in 2009 and after a quiet first season at Elland Road he hit the net 19 times during the last campaign. “It’s unlikely he’ll sign,” Warnock said. “We’ve offered Ross an increase but his representatives made it clear that they’re looking for a more significant increase after the season he’s had. “We’ve agreed to play it by ear and see where things go from here but he’s going into his last year and it might be that people come in for him now.” Colin may now be facing some of the problems that Larry faced before him, ie paying players what they are worth. McCormack scored 19 goals last season, a difficult player to replace at this level without investing a hell of a lot more than the circa  £400K that Simon Grayson paid Cardiff City for his services. That now looks a snip. Snodgrass and White, two players that Colin covets have still not signed up although we hear that we are “close” with Snoddy. Colin wants at least two players in before he departs on holidays. It looks like it’s any two from Ward, Hill and Halford, all defensive players. But its’ offensively that we may have problems also with having to replace Gradel, Howson and probably McCormack.

Clint Hill

Weds May 16th. Leeds in for Hill ? Leeds’ move in for Clint Hill comes after QPR staved off relegation from the Premiership on the final weekend of the season. Like Leeds, the London club has now embarked on a programme of rebuilding its squad, and Hill is thought to be unlikely to figure in the new line-up. Warnock and Hill worked together at QPR and before that at Crystal Palace, where Warnock signed him from Stoke City. QPR manager Mark Hughes said: “The club wasn’t ready for the Premier League but we are moving very quickly. There’s no way we’ll be in this situation again in my time here.” Hill, 33, was yesterday named the players’ player and fans’ player of the year at Rangers. He could now be invited to join a Leeds back line which began to take shape with the recent capture of centre-back Jason Pearce. However The Daily Mail claim “CLINT Hill is ready to snub a move to Leeds United to stay at QPR”. The versatile defender is out of contract in the summer, but is in preliminary talks over a new deal in W12 after an impressive second half of the season. Hill’s QPR career looked over when he was shipped out on loan to Nottingham Forest earlier in the year, but he played a major part in the R’s survival bid under Mark Hughes. The 33-year-old’s exploits earned him the player of the season at QPR as he looks for a one year extension, but Neil Warnock is destined to sign him according to another tabloid. So one newspaper had gotten it wrong.

Weds May 16th. Premiership pre-season opponents ? Leeds United chairman Ken Bates says the club are awaiting the result of the Champions League final in Munich on Saturday night between Bayern Munich and Chelsea before they can announce their pre-season game at Elland Road on Friday August 10th. Chelsea travel to face Munich knowing that a win would see them clinch the final Champions League place ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who finished fourth in the Premier League. Tottenham would then drop into the Europa League alongside Newcastle United, Everton and Liverpool, who will all have qualifiers to reach the group stage of the competition, as would Chelsea in the Champions League. Bates would not say who the chosen opposition is but says they will make an announcement once they know the outcome on Saturday. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Bates said, “We have to wait to see if Chelsea win or lose in Munich. If they win then the top three in the Premier League will be in the Champions League and the fourth placed club will move down to the Europa League. “We have attentively agreed to play Premier League opposition the Friday before the season starts, so we will have to wait until we can announce who we are playing. “Apart from that, we are reasonably well advanced, with one or two more games to be fitted in.” Leeds have so far confirmed four games during pre-season. They will play three games in Devon and Cornwall during a five-day stay in the South-West. They will face Tavistock on Monday July 23rd, Bodmin on Wednesday July 25th and Torquay United on Friday July 27th. Leeds will then travel to Norway to face Sandejford in Oslo on Wednesday August 1st. Neither Leeds or Burton Albion are yet to confirm a pre-season friendly between the two sides on Tuesday August 7th at the Pirelli Stadium despite Burton chairman Ben Robinson talking about the fixture in last week`s Burton Mail.

Leeds target – Ward

Tuesday May 15th. Make your mind up time for Ward. Portsmouth administrator Trevor Birch says Joel Ward will be the next player to leave Fratton Park but it will not necessarily be to Leeds United. Leeds are believed to have met with Ward last week and are hoping to reunite him with his former teammate Jason Pearce, who signed for Leeds earlier this month. Ward is also being chased by a number of fellow championship clubs with Burnley, Crystal Palace and Ipswich also being linked with the versatile 22 year old. Speaking in the Portsmouth news, Birch said, “Joel Ward will be the next to go but I am not certain of the timescale on that. That is progressing. I would have thought something should be happening in the next few days. “It is not necessarily going to be Leeds. He has met a few other clubs in total and has been talking things over with them. “We are waiting to see what the outcome will be.”  Leeds boss Neil Warnock has stated today that he is hoping to bring in at least two unnamed players to the club before he leaves for his summer holiday on May 25th. Warnock has also been linked with a number of other Portsmouth players, but Birch says that Ward is the only player that they have so far received a bid for of those left at the club. “I am not in an advanced stage with any others at the moment. I am aware of other clubs` interest. “There have been enquiries but we have not even gone into negotiations. “There is nothing else on the table at this point other than for Joel,” added Birch. As well as Pearce and Ward, Leeds have also been linked with moves for Luke Varney, David Norris and Greg Halford so far this summer from Portsmouth as the cash strapped south coast club look to reduce the wage bill at Fratton Park.

May 15th. Both Scots miss out. There is no place in the latest Scotland squad for Leeds United duo Robert Snodgrass and Ross McCormack. Scotland boss Craig Levien has left the pair out of the 22-man squad that travel to Florida for a friendly with USA on May 26th. Snodgrass has been a regular in the Scotland squad this season and he played in their last friendly in Slovenia in February. McCormack has been overlooked by Scotland all season despite netting 19 times for Leeds this season. The striker hasn`t featured for Scotland since playing in the nation`s cup games with Wales and Ireland last May.

Tues May 15th. Colin on the relegated trio and the challengers- YEP Neil Warnock insists former club Queens Park Rangers’ successful relegation fight is good news for Leeds United. While the most dramatic ever day in the history of the Premiership may have ultimately belonged to Manchester City, the other big winners were the R’s, who staved off the drop at Bolton Wanderers’ expense in their own version of Survival Sunday, despite a last-gasp defeat at the Etihad Stadium – with the final whistle the cue for mass celebrations in both the home and away ends. Former Loftus Road chief Warnock, controversially dismissed by the West Londoners in January, was happy enough that his old employers survived, but perhaps not for the reasons many would envisage. While Warnock proved a hugely popular figure among R’s supporters after memorably taking them to the Championship title in 2010-11 and would be forgiven for having a bit of a soft spot for the club, the main reason he is pleased they stayed up is purely from a United perspective. Rangers splashed the cash to stay up in January and were the top spenders in the transfer window along with Chelsea and Newcastle. And given their financial largesse – boosted also by a hefty parachute payment – Warnock is sure they would have gone for it in a big way if the worst had happened and their Premiership place have been relinquished after just 12 months. Instead, it’s Bolton who accompany Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers to the second tier and the Trotters, saddled with considerable debt, face some tough decisions over the coming months as they seek to get back on a financially even keel. While Wanderers are expected to have to fight serious financial fires, it’s all about in-fighting just up the road at Ewood Park following a wholly fraught and disharmonious campaign which has seen supporters turn against both the management and controversial club owners, Venky’s.On paper, things seem a bit more stable at Wolves, although their appoint of a ‘rookie’ in Norwegian boss Stale Solbakken hasn’t exactly filled the Black Country with a massive amount of confidence. United boss Warnock said: “From our point of view, I think it’s far better that QPR have stayed up, as I think they have more money to throw at things and would have been stronger than most (next season). “Looking at it, the three coming down were the best three for us. “I don’t think any of the three teams going down will be a major threat, like it was when West Ham went down last season. I don’t see a ‘West Ham’ there. “I think Wolves are gambling by having a relative stranger to the Championship (managing). But they haven’t got to sell anybody, so they will probably keep all of their squad. “I do see Blackburn and Bolton as losing some of their main players, if I’m honest. “I think Bolton will have to cut their cloth accordingly as they’ve got a lot of debts at the minute.” While Warnock’s considered view is that the teams going down aren’t as strong as in previous years, he’s certainly not daft enough to think that next season’s Championship won’t be anything other than a teak-tough division to get out of, especially if West Ham don’t clinch promotion at Wembley on Saturday afternoon. The division’s make-up is still full of sides who have been spent a considerable amount of time in the top-flight during the past couple of decades, from Leicester City and Middlesbrough to the likes of Derby County and Ipswich Town and the promoted duo of Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday. Warnock said: “Coming up, there’s Charlton, who will be strong. Already I’ve enquired about one particular player and I know Charlton are willing to pay a fortune for him, wages-wise, so they are obviously having a go and will maybe sign two or three on big money. “Then there’s the likes of Leicester and speaking to Nigel (Pearson), they are going to support him again and they are going to have another buying spree. They have got to be a threat. “No matter what people say, it’s always a notoriously competitive league. It’s always the same and I think that’s what makes it a good league. “But from my point of view, I won’t be worrying about any of them if we get our targets really”.


Tuesday May 15th. Two more to come in but which two? Whilst Leeds have been closely linked with the arrival of “at least two players” this week, it remains to be seen which players they will be. Paul Green from Derby is available on a free transfer but he may not be a Warnock type of player, and speculation has been rife for a fortnight now regarding Joel Ward’s arrival. Colin though has been cagey and has stated that : “There’s loads of speculation, but fortunately two or three of my targets haven’t been mentioned yet. I’d like to keep them all under wraps, ideally. “I’ve spoken to quite a lot of agents over the last seven days. It’s just a matter of trying to seal deals really.” This has lead one to believe that Greg Halford may be the real arrival from Portsmouth. Warnock said: “I’ll be glad this week if we get a couple of lads in. If we haven’t, I’ll be disappointed if I’m honest. “I go away on the 25th and I want to try and get two or three in by then, if I can”. Halford is versatile, quick and tall. He has had several big money moves but in truth hasn’t fully fulfilled his potential. Still only 27 he can play any position in defence and in midfield.  Other players linked are Luke Varney and David Norris all team-mates of Ward and Halford. Dave Penny, former manager of Green at Doncaster Rovers was glowing in his praise of the current Derby County player : “If you get a player like Paul Green available on a free transfer, then most clubs would be interested in the Championship. “Paul’s a proper kid and a team player as well. He’s not one of those selfish footballers that seem to be flying about at the moment. “He has played right-back, as he did this season and will play in any position he’s asked to. “But for me, he’s best position is central midfield. He has got a goal in him, a good engine and can get from box to box. “We got him as an apprentice at Doncaster after being released by Sheffield Wednesday, possibly because he was a little bit too small. “But as we kept progressing, so did he and he was the only one who really stayed with us as we moved up the leagues”. Last night Sheffield United made it through to the League One play off final where they look as if they will face Huddersfield Town. Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton have already been promoted so the Championship is looking stronger again next season. Kevin Blackwell, former chum and nemesis of Colin looks set to become the new manager of Hull City so it could be possible that there are two ex Leeds managers coming back to Elland Road next season. Meanwhile none of Leeds’ transfer listed players have moved on to pastures new as they retain the benefits of decent United contracts during the summer.

Monday May 14th. Three relegated  Congratulations to Man City on winning the Premiership, and commiserations to their noisy neighbours from Salford on finishing second. Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves will join us in the Championship next season and will no doubt be comforted with their parachute payments. Wolves look best prepared as most of their squad automatically reduce to Championship salaries, whilst Blackburn appear to have found one of the few Middle East businessmen without money. Each club will receive £19m from the Premier League this season by way of a parachute payment, which will decrease to £14m and two payments of £8m over the next three years. It’s a hell of an advantage over every other side in the Championship. It has emerged that  the 65-year-old Farnworth-born, Isle of Man businessman ploughed £10m of his personal fortune into the coffers (of Bolton) in March as part of transfer costs.On the positive side, the club owns its own stadium, hotel, training ground, car parks and academy and owe only around £10m of the £110m debt recorded in the last financial figures to the banks, again underwritten by the owner. But while Davies’s investment gives Bolton a semblance of stability, it is highly likely to be a summer of austerity for Owen Coyle. Coyle is highly adept at recruiting at this level so Warnock will have stiff competition from at least two out of the three sides that have come down.

Green out of contract at Derby

Monday 14th. Green light ? LEEDS United boss Neil Warnock hopes to complete the transfer of Paul Green from Derby County later this week. Middlesbrough and Ipswich also chasing the Republic of Ireland international, who has signalled a move after refusing to sign a new deal with Derby. He said: “Hopefully something will be sorted by the back end of the week.” Green added he was looking for a “fresh challenge” after four seasons at Derby. He underwent cruciate ligament surgery last year and made 30 appearances for Derby this season. He said: “I sat down with my family and discussed it and came to the decision that it was time for a change.” Green has more than 400 senior appearances to his name and is one of five players named on standby by Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni for Euro 2012.

Monday 14th of May 2012. “Premiership clubs to do business now” By Eddie Gray – YEP .People have been speaking about our new signing Jason Pearce very highly. He won stacks of player-of-the-year awards down at Portsmouth and hopefully he’ll be a good buy. He looks like exactly what we need at the back – a big, strong lad. I was also pleased to hear that Neil Warnock is trying to secure Tom Lees to a new and improved deal. It shows how highly he thinks of him. Tom actually only signed a new contract last autumn and it will make him feel good and boost his confidence further to be offered another one. We’ll also have to wait and see what happens with the likes of Aidy White and Robert Snodgrass who have been offered new deals at Elland Road. This is the time of year where, with the season finishing, the Premier League clubs know where they stand and where they are going to be next season and they start doing a bit of business. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed our lads stay. It will be an interesting couple of weeks for the club and Neil will be working away to try and get the players sorted out – including those he has put on the list as well. He will want to actually know what he’s got going out and what he can afford to bring in – financially and numbers-wise. If all the players Neil wants to leave the club go, there’s a big hole there to fill with new players. It’s all interesting stuff.

Davide Somma

Sat May 12th. Somma to be fit for start of season.   Striker Davide Somma is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season and will return to the training pitch with a vote of confidence from the club’s assistant manager, Mick Jones. The South African international appears to be winning his battle against the knee injury which required two operations and forced him to miss the whole of this season. Somma suffered cruciate ligament damage in the early stages of Leeds’ last pre-season programme and saw his hopes of an on-schedule comeback ended when United sent him for a fresh bout of surgery in March. The 27-year-old was expected to play a major role in the 2011-12 campaign having broken into United’s first team during the previous year but his recent set-back left him fighting to be ready for the opening day of the forthcoming Championship term. Manager Neil Warnock revealed that Somma is on course to take part in pre-season, which begins provisionally for Leeds on July 4 and in earnest on July 11, and he admitted that Jones had identified much to admire in the striker’s game. Warnock said: “Mick loves him. I’ve not seen a lot of him but Mick has and he loves him. “But you just don’t know when you’ve had injuries like that. When you’ve been out for the length of time he has it’s difficult to predict if a player can sustain the top level of Championship football.” Somma is part of an extensive injury list at Elland Road, and defender Leigh Bromby was sent to London for surgery on a ruptured knee tendon earlier this week. But defender Patrick Kisnorbo and winger Robbie Rogers, who are recovering from knee and ankle injuries respectively, could also be available when Warnock’s squad report back to Thorp Arch in two months’ time. “They’re all working hard and they’re all going to be fit for pre-season,” Warnock said. “Paddy’s determined to be fit. They should all be available.”

Saturday 12 May Grayson no regrets – YEP.  “HAVE no regrets,” is typically the final instruction Simon Grayson sends his team out with ahead of an important game. So, when it comes to the Yorkshire Post asking whether the 42-year-old has any regrets of his own at how things worked out at Leeds United, maybe it should not be a surprise when he replies in the negative. “No, I don’t look back with any regrets or negativity towards myself,” says the former United apprentice of his 37 months in charge at Elland Road alongside Glynn Snodin and Ian Miller, who both subsequently followed him to Huddersfield. “I loved every minute of it so how could I look back with any kind of negativity or the feeling that we were a failure as we got the team promoted and had some great results in the Cup?” As keen as Grayson may be to accentuate the positives of his time at Elland Road, there must, this newspaper asks, be an element of frustration at how United failed to build on last May’s seventh place finish? “Last summer probably was a frustrating one,” he admits after a pause. “Finishing seventh was, to me, a case of the club over-achieving but we felt, as a staff, that if we added to the players we already had then we had a great chance. Unfortunately, the summer turned out to be frustrating. There were three or four players who I felt would really improve us but, for whatever reason, they went elsewhere. Did Leeds really push the boat out to get them? Only people behind the scenes know that. But those players would have made a difference. “A month into the season, we felt the team was weaker than it had been at the end of the previous season where we should have been able to build on it. When you look at the attacking six that finished the season and the team when we left, they don’t compare. We went from Snodgrass, Kilkenny, Johnson, Howson, Gradel and Becchio to only having Snodgrass playing to the best of his ability due to Luciano having had a mixed season.” Grayson was smiling happily at the end of the play off tie at MK Dons as his side looks to have an unassailable 2-0 lead going back to West Yorkshire on Tuesday night. But as we all know, leads going into 2nd leg home game are not always cast iron certainties to win outright.

Sat May 12th  Taken from “The game’s gone crazy”. What has happened at Leeds? At the beginning of the season, most people expected them to be a real force, not marking them down for automatic promotion but as strong favourites for the Play Offs. Under Grayson, their form was patchy but they were still in with a good shout, and when Warnock was appointed many people, including myself, expected a late season charge. But talk about ending with a whimper! Leeds disappeared off the radar faster than a plane crashing on take off. That was not what Master Bates ordered! And with the purse strings pulled tight and the present team woefully inadequate – as the hammering by Forest demonstrated – it is hard to see the marriage of Leeds and Warnock lasting too long. Can two egos like Bates and Warnock share the same living space for too long before the verbal brickbats start flying? Of course, it is the same old problem with Bates – he wants to run a football club along sound financial lines and that means shipping out your best players as soon as you get a decent offer for them, even when the sales generate very little cash in the big scheme of things. How much did Leeds generate in transfer revenues at the end of the day? What did Gradel go for as an example? The fee was undisclosed but it wasn’t megabucks and, although not Messi, he went on to score six goals in 24 starts for St Etienne, having finished the previous season as Leeds’ Player of the Year. For Bates, the balance sheet looked healthier but given investment is crucial for growth, the short term gain was at a huge potential long term loss. Leeds missed out on the playoffs by 14 points – a massive final gulf it is true – but had Gradel and Howson been retained, and money been spent, the potential revenue from a season in the Prem would have far exceeded what Bates saved. We shouldn’t write Warnock off yet – he has a fantastic record in the Championship – but it may be that Leeds under Bates are destined for a long stint in the second tier of English football. We saw nothing over the final third of the season to suggest that they will challenge for promotion next season and if things are not going well by Christmas, it is hard to see anything other than an acrimonious divorce ahead. Unless Warnock is offered another job and walks out over the summer!

Sat May 12th. Friendlies. Leeds United have announced four pre-season friendlies including a return to Norwegian club Sandefjord. Leeds will visit Sandefjord, who they played last summer, on Wednesday, August 1 after completing a three-match tour of Cornwall and Devon. Manager Neil Warnock plans to begin pre-season by taking his squad south for matches against two non-league sides, Tavistock and Bodmin Town, and League Two outfit Torquay United – the same schedule followed by Warnock’s QPR team ahead of their Championship title-winning campaign in 2010-11. Leeds are due to turn out at Tavistock on Monday, July 23 before appearing at Bodmin 48 hours later. They will round off a week-long tour of the south-west with their first trip to Plainmoor for more than 50 years, meeting Torquay on Friday, July 27. All three of United’s domestic fixtures will kick-off at 7pm. The game against Sandefjord is due to start at 7pm local time, 6pm UK time. Further friendlies are likely to be announced by Leeds shortly, with their only home game taking place against as-yet unconfirmed Premier League opposition on Friday, August 10. Throughout his managerial career, Leeds boss Warnock has made a tradition of launching pre-season campaigns in Cornwall. The Leeds boss said: “The fans who come will be welcome to come and watch us train. “It’s a great chance for the (players) and the fans to gel – to bring everyone together early doors.”

Friday 11 May 2012   Bates get a shift on. YEP. So, almost a fortnight since a hugely disappointing npower Championship season ended Leeds United have just one new player on their books. That’s right, one. Granted it’s a start, but with manager Neil Warnock on record, several times, before and immediately after the campaign closed saying he hoped to add as many as three, possibly four, new faces by the end of the month, it’s only that.  The arrival of Jason Pearce was hardly a surprise after Portsmouth leaked news of Warnock’s move for the defender before the final game of the campaign, but the fact the 24-year-old left Fratton Park clutching a host of player-of-the-year awards suggests United’s first signing is a very good one. It has also set the bench mark, so far as Elland Road regulars are concerned, for what Warnock expects to be a busy summer. It’s unusual, of course, for the Whites to make a signing before the end of June – free transfer Andy Robinson, signed by Gary McAllister, and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, a May-time capture for Simon Grayson, are the only two that spring readily to mind – so the transfer, with money paid out to Pompey, represents a not insignificant marker. Pearce’s arrival may yet come to indicate something of a sea change in attitude from chairman Ken Bates and Co who, in the past at least, have seemed to prefer to wait as long as possible during the close season and sometimes after the start of the new term before taking on the extra wage burden of new players. There’s nothing wrong with taking a frugal approach if the resources are tight and the man in charge of team selection is happy enough with the options at his disposal, but this time things are very different. And having announced last week that Ben Parker, Mika Vayrynen, Alex Bruce, Mikael Forssell, Lloyd Sam and goalkeeper Maik Taylor, who was on a short-term contract in any case, would not be offered new deals there was bound to be more money available this time round. The worry for United fans is that Warnock clearly wants and needs rapid progress – breakneck speed when compared with Leeds’ usual summer recruitment process – if he is to stand a chance of putting together a higher-quality playing staff capable of hitting the ground running come August. And the club owner’s weekly radio address – where he appeared to dampen down expectations of a rush of early incoming transfers – will have done little to soothe fears that another long, slow off-season is in the offing. Do you not get it Ken? You need a flurry of arrivals to rekindle the interest among a group of supporters who feel hard done by. The average attendance was down last season, season ticket renewals for next season are down and many Leeds fans I speak to are talking about picking and choosing their home matches next season. Some supporters tell me they feel they have been taken for granted and over-charged for tickets – their opinions not mine – for too long and now they want a show of intent and, more importantly, ambition from the club before they stump up any more of their hard-earned cash. Many believe that Neil Warnock can and will achieve the record-breaking eighth promotion of his managerial career with Leeds, if, and it’s a big if as far as they are concerned, he gets the financial support he needs to attract the players that he wants. The future of your latest club captain, Robert Snodgrass, who is yet to put pen to paper on a new contract and has only a year left on hs current deal, probably also rests on the who is added to the squad. Warnock, of course, has been fulsome in his praise of Mr Bates since taking over the United hotseat and professed himself satisfied with the club’s promises to back him as he bids to put together a smaller, better balanced squad. But United fans still vividly recall what happened after the Championship play-off final defeat by Watford when a failure to invest enough in players led to a disastrous relegation to League One. And just 12 months ago, having seen Grayson’s side blow a golden chance of, if not automatic promotion, at least a shot at the end-of-season play-offs they sat back and waited for a couple of high-profile arrivals to make the vital difference in 2011-12. They never came. Instead, in the final knockings of the summer transfer window, Max Gradel departed and in January club captain and local lad Jonny Howson was sold! So rather than bolstering a squad that wasn’t good enough to win promotion first-time round it was weakened. It’s time for the talking to stop Ken and the action, in terms of getting better players in, to start.

May 9th Bates on contracts. Bates would not go into detail during his interview with Yorkshire Radio, but he feels young defender Aidy White, who is out of contract this summer is the least likely at this moment in time to sign a new deal. “The biggest question at the moment is with Aidy White,” added Bates. Snodgrass and McCormack are both in contract until the summer of 2013 and have been offered new deals after impressive seasons at Elland Road. Snodgrass has taken over the captaincy of the side since the arrival of manager Neil Warnock and the club have admitted they have offered him a deal to make him the highest paid player at the club. Bates feels they are almost there with the deal with just a few sticking points. He continued,“We are almost there with Snodgrass. We have a few outstanding sticking points but there may be sticking points but we will just have to wait and see.” McCormack was the leading goalscorer for Leeds last season with 19 goals and Bates says he is still waiting for a response from the striker`s agent and Bates is frustrated that the agents keep the players away from the meetings when discussing new deals. “With Ross, we are still waiting for his agent to come back to us.”I think players should be more involved with the negotiations. They should be present rather than being kept away but it doesn`t seem to be how it works,” added Warnock. Bates made no mention of midfielder Adam Clayton who is out of contract in the summer of 2013 and was placed on the transfer list last week after negotiations between the club and player broke down.

Weds May 9th. Hill v Diouf. Clint Hill says QPR’s players will not hold it against Neil Warnock if their former boss signs El Hadji Diouf for Leeds United. Hill and his team-mates accused Diouf, who was then a Blackburn player, of shouting abuse at Jamie Mackie as the R’s forward lay injured after suffering a broken leg in an FA Cup tie at Ewood Park last year. Ex-Rangers manager Warnock labelled Diouf “worse than a sewer rat” after the game but is now believed to be interested in taking him to Elland Road. Hill, who played under Warnock at both QPR and Crystal Palace, told West London Sport: “If he does sign him there’ll obviously be reasons for it. We won’t hold it against him. “Jamie’s very close to us and what happened up at Blackburn was such a bad experience, and as a group we were really annoyed. “But it’s not for me to judge who Neil Warnock signs. If that’s the route he decides to go down then fair enough.”

Ward to Leeds ?

May 7th.  Daily Mail – Ward to be number two. It has been confirmed that Portsmouth’s Joel Ward is on the verge of signing for Leeds United within the coming weeks. Ward who is also a target for Ipswich Town but looks likely to follow his team mate and close friend Jason Pearce to Elland Road.The 22 year old has followed a similar career path to Pearce, spending valuable playing time on loan at Bournemouth. Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton recently said about Ward and Pearce: “They are two peas in a pod, where one goes the other follows.”Ward has become a versatile footballer over the past couple of seasons and can play centre back, defensive midfield, right back and has featured the left side of midfield for most of this season at Fratton Park. With the club recently placing current Leeds United right back Paul Connelly on the transfer list, Ward could be brought in to cement that place his own. With Portsmouth’s current financial situation the Whites could once again be getting another promising player on the cheap with a fee of £250,000 been reported to bring him to Elland Road. Meanwhile the YEP had this to say re Waiting game for Leeds United expect to discover next week whether Joel Ward will become the second Portsmouth player of the summer to move to Elland Road. The right-back is understood to be high on manager Neil Warnock’s wishlist as he looks to rebuild following a disappointing 14th-place finish last season. Leeds have already swooped to sign Pompey player of the year Jason Pearce but Warnock is keen to add at least another couple of new faces before the end of the month and talks have taken place over the past 48 hours with Ward’s agent. The United chief, however, faces competition from Burnley, Ipswich Town and Crystal Palace for the 22-year-old. Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton has admitted that Ward was likely to be next to follow Pearce through the exit door at Fratton Park. He said: “There could be five or six in the race for Joel. That can only be a good thing. I’d be very surprised if he’s not the next one to move on.”

May 7th. Bates on Warnock’s Pearce signing Leeds United chairman Ken Bates says the club took advantage of Portsmouth`s financial problems when signing Jason Pearce, a player manager Neil Warnock thinks is an exceptional signing. The South coast club are currently in administration and are facing up to life in League One next season following relegation from the championship. Leeds landed the defender on a four year deal for an undisclosed fee last week. Bates says that Pearce has been a player that Leeds boss Neil Warnock has wanted to bring to the club since his arrival in February. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Bates said :  “Neil thinks he is an exceptional signing. He has been stalking him for about three months and he is taking advantage of Portsmouth`s financial problems. “We have had him under wraps for almost a month before it was leaked out from Portsmouth.”The 24  year old picked up a number of player of the season awards at Fratton Park this season following on from picking up the same accolade at previous club Bournemouth the previous season. Bates believes that Warnock sees Pearce and fellow youngster Tom Lees has his centre back partnership next season. “I think Neil sees Jason and Tom Lees as his centre backs for next season,” added Bates. Warnock has been complimentary about Lees since his arrival at Elland Road and he said recently that the he was almost the first name on the team sheet.The 21-year-old made 45 appearances for Leeds in his first season involved in the first team and despite signing a new deal last September, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2015, Leeds are to offer the versatile defender an improved contract this summer.

Leeds legends with The Don

Saturday and Sunday 5th & 6th of May 2012. Weekend updates. As Leeds welcomed home “The Don” to his rightful resting place on the Lowfields Road, Ken Bates was quick to announce plans of a 3,500 square metre casino at Elland Road. Leeds were linked with the usual amount of the “new signings” some close to the mark and most way off the mark. Latest links are as follows : Ins El Hadji Diouf – (Doncaster) Alan Smith – (Newcastle) Jermaine Beckford – (Leicester) Stuart Beavon – (Wycombe Wanderers) Jason Pearce – (Portsmouth) Signed Greg Halford – (Portsmouth) Joel Ward – (Portsmouth) Luke Varney – (Portsmouth) David Norris – (Portsmouth) Ben Watson – (Wigan Athletic) Paul Green – (Derby County) Darren Ambrose – (Crystal Palace) Sol Bamba – (Leicester City) Matt Mills – (Leicester City) Jermaine Beckford – (Leicester City) Out Aidy White – (Newcastle United) Ramon Nunez – (Doncaster Rovers) Bruce (already released) was linked with a Bosman to Burnley.  Simon Grayson spoke to the Huddersfield Examiner:-‘Obviously we are at the stage of the year when players are being released, but what is happening at other clubs is really not my problem,’ ‘I have to look to my group of players and focus the Yeovil game tomorrow and then our two big games against Milton Keynes Dons and try to ensure that we are playing against the likes if Leeds in the Championship next season.’ It was incorrectly suggested that he wasn’t interested in signing any ex Leeds players. The man quite rightly doesn’t know what division his team will be in so won’t know his budget.

Sat May 5th. Pompey view on Jason Pearce. The thoughts of Portsmouth fan Benedict West. A Portsmouth fan on Leeds new signing, Jason Pearce. “If Leeds have paid half a million for Jason Pearce then they got a bargain. His attitude and reliability are what make him worth that price: Portsmouth’s season has been an utter disaster, but he’s been one of the few positives over the year. Despite the fact he was only made captain in March once Liam Lawrence had been sent on loan to reduce the wage bill, he’s led by example ever since he’s arrived: vocal and commanding on the field among a fluctuating team”. CareerPearce started out at Portsmouth as a youth player in 2004, but never made a first team appearance and was inevitably sold to Bournemouth in 2007 where he found his feet. He flourished in the centre of defence and moved back to Pompey at the start of the 2011 season for about £300,000. After settling into the first team, he iterated his desire to stay when Ipswich Town bid for him in January, forming a core of players who were determined to turn the club around. He finished this season with 2 goals in 44 appearances, and picked up 7 of the 9 fans’ player of the season awards handed out.” Talents He is consistent: in a depleted squad he was at the heart of defence the whole time, forming a great partnership with the more free-ranging Ricardo Rocha. Whilst he was suspended when he first arrived at Portsmouth, he has played every minute of every game after then, as he rarely gets booked and hasn’t got injured. He’s a dependable player around whom the team can be built. His attitude is impeccable: it’s clear how deeply he cares about the club and understands the connection to the fans, frequently rallying the other players after conceding or when they flagged late on. He organises the defence brilliantly and tends to be one of the most composed and calm there, making sure of positions at free kicks and corners. He has proven himself in the Championship and is too good for League One – it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to play in a better team so we could really see what he is capable of. “Weaknesses He isn’t a goal-scoring defender: he is only 6 foot and isn’t going to come up and win much in the opposition penalty area. His speed isn’t fantastic, but he was usually able to rely on one of the wide defenders to cover for him if he was caught out. Given that his best performances have come in ‘back against the wall’ scenarios, it’s not clear how well he’ll actually do in a healthy squad with more competition. Maybe his pointing and shouting would get on some of the Leeds players’ nerves! I hope he continues to develop and has a better season than the one just gone – he’s been my favourite player in a long time.”

£500K signing Pearce

Friday 4th of May 2012. Colin delighted to get Pearce. “I’m delighted. He is a lad I’ve been looking at a lot and for a long while now. I saw him when he was at Bournemouth and almost took him to QPR last summer. I tried to get him in March when I first came here but couldn’t quite do it. I think he epitomises what I’m looking for in a player. He’s got hunger, enthusiasm, and he won all the player of the year awards down at Portsmouth. He’s just the type of player we need. He’ll love it here and I’m sure he’ll be a fans favourite. He’s not old, he’s only 24, he’s not a 34-year-old. He’s got so much to prove and I think we can make him a better player here. This is the hard work just starting. We’ve had some late night and we’ve met quite a lot of players and agents. We spoke to two or three on Thursday. I’ve been at some clubs where I’ve done deals at home because I didn’t want them to see the training ground or the facilities – that’s not the case here. Once they see the facilities they don’t want to leave. We’re trying to get some deals done and hopefully we can progress quickly.”

Friday May 4th 2012. Time to spash the cash – Ken by By Gary Walker YEP. If Neil Warnock’s new broom is to sweep clean this summer Leeds United chairman Ken Bates is going to have to fulfil his side of the bargain. A major overhaul of the Whites’ playing staff is in full swing after the announcement of the club’s retained list, but the success of Warnock’s revolution – Jason Pearce was due to be the first arrival – depends almost entirely on how much money he is given. With six players transfer-listed and six more told their contracts will not be renewed the king of promotions is going to need every penny to put together a leaner, meaner squad, boasting greater quality, capable of mounting a sustained challenge for Premier League football next term. The good news for Mr Bates is that under the Football League’s new financial fair play rules he – as club owner – can only invest £6m of his own money this close season. With Warnock trying to bring in cash from the potential sales of goalkeeper Paul Rachubka, defenders Paul Connolly and Andy O’Brien, midfielder Adam Clayton, winger Ramon Nunez and striker Billy Paynter that level of spending power would make United serious contenders. It would also give the Leeds boss a far greater chance of landing his first-choice targets and in the process revive the hopes of supporters who, by and large, feel disillusioned and badly let down by the Bates regime. Next season will be United’s ninth outside the Premier League and yet, since exiting administration in 2007, they have posted annual profits totalling £10m, bolstered by a £3.5m surplus in 2010-11. So the club, which has continued to charge among the highest ticket prices in the land, including during an ignominious three-season sojourn in League One, is clearly making money. Fans continue to argue that not enough money is finding its way into the playing budget, despite protestations from Mr Bates of a £12m reserve and being in the division’s top five in terms of spending on players and wages. Twenty years ago United won the division two and then division one titles on the back of a £3m spending spree sanctioned by Leslie Silver and his board and a similar declaration of intent is, I believe, needed now. It may be unlikely the current Leeds chief will raid his own bank account to finance that show of ambition, but the recently adopted financial fair play rules mean that the shareholder investment figure declines year on year to a maximum of £3m in 2015-16, so it really is now or never if he’s going to splash his own cash. Mind, if Mr Bates doesn’t want to dip into his funds the least he can do is ensure that as much money as possible is squeezed out of club coffers to back Warnock’s brave new world. If he doesn’t he may well find that the supporters stay away in greater numbers in 2012-13 – gates fell just below the 24,000 budgeted for last term – and, worse still, he could even lose his manager. Warnock wants a record-breaking eighth promotion before he retires and with relegated Wolves, backed by Premier League parachute payments, amongst others likely to be on the hunt for someone to mastermind a speedy return to the Premier League he is the obvious target. I don’t doubt he wants, and intends, to stay at United – the fans have ensured that – but if his hands are tied in the transfer market and progress on signings is slow he may just see it as mission impossible at LS11. If you give the manager the support he needs and the fans a team worthy of their support the club will reap the dividends at the turnstiles Ken. In short, if you really believe that you get what you pay for – prove it. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Pearce with his new number 5 shirt

Friday May 4th. Jason Pearce becomes signing number 1 for season 2012/13. Leeds have competed the signing of the former Portsmouth captain for an undisclosed sum (thought to be circa £500,000 all paid up front) from Portsmouth. The deal is Warnock’s first of what promised to be a busy pre-season. The Pompey centre half has signed a four year contract with the Whites. “He’s just the type I look for when I go into a club at Championship level,” Warnock told the club’s official website. “He fits the bill for everything – hunger, ability and so on. A lot of plusses.” The player completed a medical a few weeks ago under an assumed name. The 24 year old had this to say : “Leeds showed an interest a few weeks ago and as soon as I knew that I just wanted to get it done. The gaffer showed me around and you can see what a massive club it is with great facilities, and you can’t turn it down. I’m delighted to be here and I can’t wait to move forward now. I’ll give 100%. I’m a team player and a leader as well.” Whilst sad to leave Portsmouth he believes the fee will be big help to his former club and added : “For me personally I have gotten the opportunity at a massive club with a great gaffer who wants to bring in a lot of new players. I’m really looking forward to it”. The player gets the number 5 jersey and hopefully he can defend better than the last number 5. This is a promising start and now for the next three defenders.

The Rat and Colin

May 5th. May 4th. When Neil met Diouf from Flaming . Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has refused to rule out making a move for El-Hadji Diouf despite having labelled the controversial striker a ‘sewer rat’ during his time managing QPR last season. Diouf recently expressed his desire to join the Elland Road side on a free transfer and believes if given the chance he could establish an effective strike partnership with Luciano Becchio stating: ‘Becchio is a good, intelligent player. I’m sure he and I could link up well at Leeds. It would be ideal for me.’ The move would come as a surprise to some considering the bad blood between Diouf and Leeds boss as a result of an incident during QPR’s FA Cup clash with Blackburn last January in which Warnock accused the Senegal star of abusing Jamie Mackie while he lay on the pitch with a broken leg. However when speaking to Sky Sports News Warnock would not be drawn on the reports linking Diouf with a move to Leeds stating: ‘You can keep asking me all day but I’ve said all along we’re not going to say anything about speculation.’ ‘I am hoping to sign my first player tomorrow (Jason Pearce) so that will be the first time I admit to talking to anyone. I’m at Leeds United. It’s a club I’m going to do the best I can to bring the right players into the club and you’ll have to wait to see if he is one of those targets or not.’

Artist and Artiste

May 4th. The Don “comes home”. YEP. HE’S coming home, he’s coming home, Revie’s coming home…This was the scene as the new statue of legendary Leeds United manager Don Revie finally took pride of place at the club’s Elland Road ground. The installation work was carried out ahead of the 8ft-tall bronze’s official unveiling tomorrow. Being held at 11am, the ceremony is due to be attended by Revie’s children, Duncan and Kim, plus a string of other relatives. The guests will also include many members of The Don’s footballing ‘family’ – the fabled Leeds side he put together in the 1960s and 70s. Tomorrow’s big moment will be preceded by a breakfast screening in Elland Road’s Centenary Pavilion of United’s famous 1972 FA Cup final win over Arsenal. A celebratory lunch will take place in the ground’s Gary Speed Suite with several members of the 1972 side after the ceremony. Proceeds from tomorrow’s event will be donated to research into motor neurone disease (MND), the condition which claimed Revie’s life at the age of just 61. Prof Karen Morrison, who heads up the MND Research Centre at the University of Birmingham, said: “A big thank you to everyone associated with the Don Revie statue for your contribution and your support.” Funds for the statue have been raised during an appeal led by long-time Revie admirer Jim Cadman. The £90,000 bronze was crafted by Barnsley-based artist Graham Ibbeson, who was on hand yesterday as it was moved into position. Revie spent 13 trophy-filled years as United manager before taking charge of the England team in 1974. The statue is located next to the Centenary Pavilion, opposite Elland Road’s East Stand.

Clayton “easy to replace” an insult to the player

May 5th. May 4th. Clayton “easy to replace”. YEP. Neil Warnock insisted today that he would replace transfer-listed Adam Clayton with a higher calibre of Championship midfielder, saying: “He’s not worth more than the player I’ll sign.” The Leeds United manager defended his decision to make Clayton available for a close-season move and suggested that the 23-year-old’s exit would pave the way for a £500,000 replacement. Leeds are actively seeking a buyer for Clayton having failed to agree a new contract with a player whose deal expires next summer, and the midfielder is resigned to leaving Elland Road after learning of Warnock’s plans at a scheduled meeting on Wednesday. His appearance on the transfer list was the most unexpected development on an afternoon when Warnock clarified the future of his entire squad, releasing five out-of-contract players and transfer-listing no fewer than six more. The Leeds boss offered hope of a reprieve to Clayton by admitting the midfielder will have a chance to re-establish himself in pre-season if acceptable offers fail to materialise before training begins on July 4, but the YEP understands that Clayton would favour a transfer elsewhere in the wake of his appearance on the transfer list. Warnock’s sacrifice of an emerging footballer who played 46 times for Leeds this season provoked a mixed public reaction, but he claimed the club were “realistic” in the level of salary they were willing to pay Clayton. The sides engaged in two rounds of talks, though a formal offer was never made. Warnock said: “It was pointless fudging it. I’m sure there’ll be a number of clubs after Adam because he’s done well this season in a lot of games. “But if we can’t agree what I think is a decent offer, we have to move on quickly. If there are casualties then so be it. We don’t have time to dwell on that and you’ve got to make decisions. I want to be doing things yesterday. “Like a few other players he only had a year left and it’s up to the club to make a realistic offer. I felt that the offer from the club was realistic. “I have to look at it and say that I’ll be signing a player for £400,000 or £500,000 and I don’t feel Adam’s worth more than the player I’ll be signing. “With what I’m looking for, I’ve got to generate something to get me what I want. “That’s how I looked at it and I’m trying to be a realist. “We weren’t going to throw money at it just because we made a big contract offer to (Robert) Snodgrass. “Robert’s a special player at Leeds. He’s been here a long time and he’s seen a lot of his team-mates depart. That’s why I felt we had to offer him the top rate.” Warnock promised one surprise prior to the announcement of his retained list, and the planned sale of Clayton was it. But Wednesday’s announcement was taken as a shown of faith in several players, not least goalkeeper Andy Lonergan and striker Luciano Becchio – for so long a lynchpin in United’s line-up but a player whose starred has dimmed in the past 12 months. Hamstring surgery delayed the start of his season and Becchio’s form never recovered, despite him finishing with 11 goals. Warnock will attempt to re-integrate him more effectively next season after sparing the Argentinian and transfer-listing Billy Paynter instead. “I’m a big fan of Becchio,” Warnock said. “He can be a much better player than I’ve seen so far and that’s something I’ll be working on in pre-season. “It’s also why I put Billy Paynter on the transfer list. If I do bring another striker in then he needs to be different to those two. “We’re looking at pace in a few areas and I’m trying to get the right balance on the ins and outs.” Less surprising than Clayton’s demise but unpredictable all the same was Warnock’s offer of a new 12-month deal to Michael Brown, one of several players who had reached the end of their contracts and the only one bar Aidan White to be handed an extension.Brown turned 35 in January and endured a disjointed first season at Elland Road. Brought in on a free transfer from Portsmouth last summer, supposedly as an experienced head in the team managed by Warnock’s predecessor, Simon Grayson, the midfielder played just 13 times under the coach who signed him. His involvement became more regular after Warnock’s appointment and he was recalled to Leeds’ starting line-up for their final Championship game against Leicester City after serving a three-match ban. Leeds have taken up an option to extend his deal for a further 12 months, though the offer to Brown – one of the club’s higher earners – is a reduction on the wage he received this season.


Charlie Taylor

Friday May 5th. Thompson and Taylor to go out on loan. Leeds United plan to send teenagers Zac Thompson and Charlie Taylor out on loan next season. The inexperienced pair will be dispatched into the lower leagues by manager Neil Warnock, who admitted he would be “disappointed” if he was forced to rely on either player when the new term begins in August. Thompson and Taylor featured sporadically for Leeds this season, with Thompson starting seven games and Taylor playing four times, but Warnock will look to blood both properly at senior level by releasing them on a temporary basis. United’s boss underlined his confidence in Thompson by moving to improve the midfielder’s contract on Wednesday, and Taylor was given a rare chance to impress in Leeds’ 4-1 victory over Peterborough United last month. The left-back struggled through 45 minutes, however, and Warnock is reluctant to involve them too heavily next season in a campaign when he expects to his squad to be in the thick of the fight for promotion from the Championship. Warnock said: “I don’t think they’re ready just yet. With Charlie and Zac, I’ll almost be disappointed if they’re in my first team next season. That’s not being disrespectful to them. I just think both could do with going out on loan and playing regular first-team football – hopefully together. “I’ve spoken to one or two managers about them already because they need toughing up and three or four months of playing, rather than getting 10 minutes here and there. “I’ll be trying to get a club who’ll take them on board and tell me they’re going to play, rather than just take them on board to make up the numbers. That doesn’t help.” Eighteen-year-old Taylor joined League Two side Bradford City on a short-term loan in January,  appearing in four first-team games before returning to Leeds a month later. Warnock does not expect United’s academy to be heavily represented in his squad during the early stages of next season, saying: “I don’t think we’ve got too many lads who are ready for the first team. There aren’t a lot I could put in. “You get different mixtures at different clubs. When I was at Crystal Palace they were coming from everywhere, out of every corner – seven or eight who could almost go into your first team. QPR wasn’t as good as Palace in that respect but there were still two or three. Here, the lads I’ve talked about need more experience before we can properly fling them in.”


May 3rd. Update on Leeds United injury list. A day after Leeds United boss Neil Warnock announced his released and retained list, he has now given an update on the players remaining at the club who are recovering from surgery. Leeds currently have four players who have undergone surgery this year and whilst two should be ready for the start of pre-season, another two look set to miss the start of the season. Davide Somma is still recovering from the cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered last pre-season. The striker suffered a setback early this year after returning to training and Warnock says he does not expect him to be back in time for pre-season, but he should not be too far away. Patrick Kisnorbo suffered a knee injury in the home game with Burnley at the start of this year that required surgery an injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the season. Warnock is hopeful that the Australian international defender will be back in time for pre-season. Robbie Rogers required surgery on an ankle injury he sustained in the game with Peterborough United in April and Warnock is also hopeful that the American international will be back for pre-season. Defender Leigh Bromby has undergone surgery on the ruptured patella injury he sustained at Cardiff City in Leeds last away game. Warnock described the injury to Bromby as ‘rare` and he does not expect him back until the New Year at the earliest. From the above list the one I think we have missed the most is undoubtedly Davide Somma.


May 3rd. Warnock on why he wants Brown. Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says the new deal offered to Michael Brown is ‘extremely reduced` on the deal he had in his first season at Elland Road. Brown signed for Leeds last summer following his release from Portsmouth and after a slow start under previous boss Simon Grayson he flourished under Warnock, a manager he had worked with before at Sheffield United. Warnock is keen for Brown to play his part in the clubs push for promotion next season and admits he could surprise a few people. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, “I think Michael has done a good job since I have been here and he is very good to have around the place. “Financially it wasn`t possible to offer him anywhere near what he was on so we have offered him an extremely reduced contract for next season.  “It is the opportunity for him to come back. He knows what he can do and he might surprise a few people if he keeps his place in the team. It would not surprise me.” The 35 year old made 26 appearances for Leeds in his first season. He started in 11 of Warnock`s 14 games in charge, missing just 3 games through suspension following his sending off against Derby County.

May 3rd. Clingan becomes available. Long-time Leeds target, Sammy Clingan has rejected Coventry’s final deal so will be a free agent in the summer. He was a long term target of Larry but may not be for Colin. One to watch.

May 2nd. Bates explains as only he can. Ken Bates has labelled the demands of one of the current Leeds squad that has been offered a new deal as ridiculous. Bates refused to name the player (possibly Adam Clayton ?)  in his weekly interview of Yorkshire Radio but he says that agents will need to get real with their demands in the current economic climate. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Bates said, “There is one individual whose agent has demanded £15,000 a week for him. That is £780,000 a year and with taxes, you are looking at nearly £900,000 a year, for a footballer in the championship. “That is the equivalent of the gate receipts from four home games in a season. It is ridiculous, good luck to the guy if he gets it elsewhere. “All the chairmen I have been speaking too in the last few months are all cutting back. As we point out, there is a recession and we have the fans writing in to complain about the pricing. It seems that player`s agents seem to think they are immune to this information. “They will learn this summer. We have a squad of 30, we intend to cut it to 21-22, and we intend to get value for money. Fans are entitled to it and it is all we can afford.” “Neil knows his targets and we cannot carry passengers and players who do not give their all .Warnock has been critical of the squad since his arrival in February and he has promised a major influx of new players in the summer. Bates who never tells lies added  “One prominent player said to me, ‘Mr chairman, for the past three seasons there are too many players at Leeds United more interested in the money than the football.` I think they have now been sussed out and Neil will change them”. He would prefer to go up as champions but if we have to do it by the way of the play-offs then so be it. “Neil knows the type of game he wants to play and the type of tactics he wants to employ and some of the squad we had did not fit the way he wants to play.”

May 2nd. The manager explains the “deck clearing”. “It’s always difficult for managers, whether you’re telling a 16 year old or a professional but it has to be done. Over the past few months I’d worked out who I wanted to stay and I want the club to move forward. That’s why I had discussions with all the players including the ones who are being retained. Even up to the last few games I’ve had a few things in my mind what I would do and the last few games finished a few things off.” Re the six who are available for transfer: (Connolly, Rachubla, O’Brien, Paynter, Nunez and Clayton). “Just because players are on the transfer list doesn’t mean that they are going to go. If we don’t get the offers we think are acceptable they’ll come back pre-season and fight for their place”. (Re Adam Clayton – the surprise in the package) “I’m looking to sign midfielders and the contract Adam’s representatives were looking for we weren’t prepared to go to that extent. Coming into the last year it makes sense to see if they can get that offer somewhere else and if we get the appropriate figure it’s the sort of money I can use to improve the squad. But if he hasn’t gone, he’ll come back and it’s up to him to show us he can get in the team, get in his position and then he’s in the driving seat until Christmas. I wouldn’t say to any it’s full and final, It’s something I felt, particularly in Adam’s that the best thing is to see how he comes back and and we’ll cross the bridges as we come to them. We’re signing players now and I’m looking at players we’re signing and there’s a couple of offers we’ve made to players (possibly White and Snodgrass) that I think are good. Whether they accept them or not I don’t know, but I felt this needed doing at this time and we’ll cross the bridges as we come to them. When you are talking about so many players there’ll be a few decisions that not everyone agrees with. Adam has probably had more games than anybody else but looking at that area I have my own ideas about players I’d like to bring in and that’s what I’m looking for really. I’d like to clear the decks a little bit and bring in the fresh faces that we need. I don’t see them playing regularly so rather than keep them you can’t just release them when they are on contracts. But they know if clubs come in with an offer that we think is acceptable they can go. I’ve had some enquiries so we’ll see how we go. It’s just trying to start early for next season”. The manager is perfectly entitled to release or try and release who he sees fit. Regarding Clayton, either he over played his hand or more probably Colin is in search of more powerful players in the midfield area and sees Clayton as one of his major saleable assets. This is what Clayton had to say just a fortnight ago the YEP : “I think we’re looking towards sorting something out so I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement. Hopefully the gaffer wants to keep me on board. If he does then I’d be delighted to stay. I want to stay in his plans and if I can week-in, week-out for Leeds next season then I’ll be over the moon.” Bruce may feel disappointed because he claimed that Larry never gave him a chance. This may be the case, but unfortunately he makes at least one glaring error per game, and with Tom Lees, Jason Pearce and at least one more central defender on the way, the back four was always going to be in the firing line. Any Lonergan is fortunate to avoid the cut and eyebrows will twitch over Michael Brown. Kisnorbo’s injury probably saves him the axe. Who will come in for Connolly, Paynter, O’Brien and Rachubka and if they have to drop a division will Leeds subsidise their wages like Colin hinted at the on Saturday?

May 2nd. Details of Colins “cull”. Neil Warnock as promised gave a sneak preview of his plans by announcing his “Retained List” and those who would not be receiving new contract offers. Leeds have released out-of-contract players Alex Bruce, Danny Webber, Mikael Forssell, Lloyd Sam and Maik Taylor. Ben Parker, Darren O’Dea, Paul Robinson  and Mika Vayrynen were already let go or returned to their clubs. That’s 8 players. The following are still contracted to Leeds but are deemed surplus to requirements or transfer listed : Billy Paynter, Ramon Nunez, Andy O’Brien, Paul Rachubka and Paul Connolly and Adam Clayton. That’s another six players which makes 14. Clayton may be the surprise here but Colin has obviously decided to cash in on the 23 year old, who has made 50 appearances for the Whites. Clayton should generate in the region of £3M pounds and is in the final year of his contract with Leeds. The longer it goes on into the Summer, the more his price tag will deteriorate, but this would free up funds for replacements. It may not be as easy losing some of the others. Warnock confirmed, meanwhile, that new contracts will be offered to Ross McCormack, Tom Lees and Zac Thompson, and experienced midfielder Michael Brown is weighing a one-year extension to his deal ona “reduced rate”. Robert Snodgrass and Aidan White have already been offered new deals by Leeds and negotiations on-going. That leaves six players plus the injured Kisnorbo, Somma and Bromby and of course Andy Lonergan in goals. Meanwhile seven of the club’s young players are being offered professional contracts. Nathan and Lewis Turner are being offered an extension, and full back Sam Byram, centre back Ross Kilcock, midfielders Simon Lenighan and Charlie Clamp (some name) and forward Dominic Poleon all pen their first professional contracts with the Whites.

May 2nd. Colin to “wait” on Snods. Neil Warnock has revealed that he will look to keep Robert Snodgrass at Elland Road until at least Christmas – even if the Leeds United captain refuses to sign a new contract. Warnock insisted he would not be forced into selling Snodgrass this summer, despite the financial implications of allowing the Scotland international to run into the last year of his existing deal. Snodgrass is weighing up an offer which would substantially improve his salary and make him the highest earner at Elland Road, and Leeds are awaiting a response from their player of the year. The 24-year-old is currently tied to the club until June 2013 but he stands to become a free agent this time next year and his immediate future appeared to rest on his decision over the terms put too him last month. Warnock called it “the best contract we could possibly offer him” but Snodgrass will take time to consider his answer amid United’s failure to win promotion from the Championship and the possibility of fresh approaches for him from Premier League clubs. The former Livingston winger attracted a bid of around £3.5million from Norwich City less than 12 months ago, and Leeds were expected to listen to further offers for one of their most valuable players if his contract remained unsigned. The recent Championship season saw the club cash-in on winger Max Gradel and former captain Jonathan Howson, claiming fees for players whose contracts were diminishing, but Warnock has countered the suspicion that Snodgrass’ refusal to accept a new deal might automatically lead to his departure before the start of next season. Asked whether he believed Snodgrass would be at Elland Road for the opening day of the 2012-13 term, United’s manager said: “My gut feeling is I’m not too sure. “I’d imagine his agents are talking to everybody and it depends who comes in and the telephone money they talk about. But they’d still have to agree a fee with us. “For us to let him go this summer, the fee would have to be very big. There’ll be no getting away from that. I’ve said to the chairman (Ken Bates) ‘if we have to keep him until Christmas, we keep him until Christmas.’ “If I get six months out of him with the team I’ve got and he wants to stay here on the same money then good luck to him. I’d like to keep Rob until at least Christmas. “What I’ve said to him is ‘sign your contract. If we’re nowhere near by Christmas then I’ll sell you at Christmas. If by the end of the season we don’t go up then I’ll make sure you’re in the Premier League.’ I don’t think I can do any more than that.” The retention of Snodgrass on his existing deal would drastically reduce the winger’s market value in the eyes of other clubs, taking him to within six months of a free transfer. Warnock admitted that a fee earned around the turn of the year would be substantially lower than a fee accepted before the start of next season, saying: “It would be but I’ve told the chairman it’s important to keep Robert. “But there are situations where if someone offers a realistic fee for him and I’ve got players lined up or in my mind who I can spend the money on – and I know that I’m going to get that money – then you never say never. I’ll have to play it by ear with Rob’s situation.” Warnock has made no secret of his admiration for Snodgrass since becoming United’s manager midway through February. He handed the Scot the captain’s armband a week later and rapidly instigated talks about his future at Elland Road. Discussions about a possible contract extension had been on hold ever since Norwich’s unsuccessful bid in the aftermath of their promotion to the Premier League. Snodgrass rounded off the recent Championship term by collecting two player of the year awards at United’s end-of-season ceremony on Saturday night. He spoke highly of Warnock afterwards but admitted in yesterday’s YEP that he planned to speak to his family about United’s offer before returning to Leeds with a final decision. Warnock said: “I’ve had another chat with Rob and, as you’d expect, he’s probably heard it all before – about what we’re going to do in the summer. “But he’s listening to me because of our relationship since I’ve been here. He’s my captain and we do talk.  “He’s a fabulous player. He understands where I’m coming from and I keep him informed about the signings I’m after. All I can do is put forward the case. “I understand the other side of the coin. Twelve months ago it was Gradel, (Bradley) Johnson, Howson and Snodgrass. He doesn’t want to be in that situation again. I understand his point of view. “I’ve tried to do my best, and straight away the chairman agreed we would offer him the best contract we could possibly offer.  “Then there was no fudging it. It’s now down to whether Rob wants to stay – whether he thinks we’re ambitious enough, whether we’ve signed enough good players. He might leave it a while. He’s not in a rush to make his mind up. If he has to start next season on the same contract then he’s going to be financially less off but the challenge is for us to show him that we’ve got the right team for next year and for him to sign a contract when he sees what we’re doing.” Snodgrass is one of number of Leeds players in active contract negotiations, with Aidan White, Adam Clayton and Ross McCormack also discussing improved deals, but Warnock said: “If we lose a player who we’ve made a good offer to then I get on with it. “I don’t want to lose four or five players but if I have to then that’s life.  “You can’t mope too long and you can’t let individuals disturb what you want to do.”

May 1st 2012. Snoddy waits. LEEDS captain Robert Snodgrass is refusing to be drawn on re-signing at Elland Road. Snodgrass is seen as a cornerstone of manager Neil Warnock’s new team, and a new deal would make him the highest-paid player at the club. The 24-year-old Scot still has a year to run on his current deal, but he says he will take his time before committing beyond that. He said: “I’ve got another year left, that’s what people are forgetting and they think I’m going to leave because my contract is up. But that’s not the case. “I can’t sit here and say I’m doing this decision for myself. It’s never really been about me; I’ve just come down here and signed a contract and played for Leeds United and got on with it. “But now I need to sit down with my family – the people who matter most – and try and see where the next step is. “I’ve a year left and if nothing comes about, I’ll be here at Leeds United and hopefully be part of what will be a successful promotion season. “It’s the end of the season and we’ll take a break a little bit. The club will be trying to get their signings in as well and I know Neil Warnock has got his ball rolling already and he’s trying to sign a few and you’ll see them come up over the next few weeks.”