July 27th. Interview with Ben Mansford United’s new CEO- Phil Hay Leeds United’s new chief executive says the club’s finances are in better health, they have a “proper” management team and an improved squad ahead of the new Championship campaign. Phil Hay reports. Football club chief executives no longer have the luxury of hiding behind more visible targets. Ben Mansford, the new Leeds United CEO, was confronted by chants of ‘Mansford Out’ or words to that effect while Barnsley were losing 2-0 away at Scunthorpe United in October. By the end of May, he and the club were milking every minute of a play-off final win.

Experience of volatility and fragile tempers should give him a crucial attribute for any job at Elland Road: thick skin. He jokes that Barnsley’s rise from the League One relegation places to promotion and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy was down to his lucky suit, a superstition which matches some of Massimo Cellino’s. “Paul Heckingbottom, the Barnsley coach, told me it was all rubbish,” he admits. “He told me it was 11 versus 11 and it didn’t matter what bus we were on or what suit we wore. If we were good enough we’d win.”


United’s new CEO Ben Mansford looks to be a very good appointment

Heckingbottom is right and one of the issues for Mansford – three years in the role of chief executive at Oakwell and now a month into the same job at Elland Road – is whether Leeds, 11 versus 11 in the Championship this season, can compete as head coach Garry Monk wants them to compete. An unusual stake is on the table this year and while Leeds will fall narrowly short of a target of 15,000 season ticket sales by July 31, Cellino and the club have committed to refunding 25 per cent of the money paid by many holders if the play-offs prove out of reach.

“I wouldn’t want to give a figure away but the liability is substantial,” Mansford says. “When the period up to July 31 finishes we’ll work it out exactly but it’s something the owner wanted to pledge. It’s bold, it’s brave and I think it shows his desire to succeed and his passion for winning.

“He wants to put money where his mouth is. We can compete this season and if we don’t, he’s going to have to write a sizeable cheque.”

The attempt to compete has so far consisted of the popular appointment of Garry Monk and much of the coaching team who worked under him at Swansea City and six new signings. Mansford, who worked in the past as an agent for Fabian Delph and Tom Lees and acted for solicitors Walker Morris during the takeovers of Leeds by Gerald Kranser’s consortium and Ken Bates, added a necessary layer of senior management, taking on similar authority to that given to Adam Pearson last summer.

In amongst that, Lewis Cook – the Football League’s young player of the year – was sold to Bournemouth and Leeds have not added to their squad since his exit. So is the investment, the wage bill and the approach in general considered enough for Monk to have a stab at the play-offs?

“The wage bill is high enough,” Mansford says. “It’s high enough when you add in non-financial factors. This is Leeds United. In all but status it’s a top-10 club in this country. That will always turn people’s heads – the fact that someone on the phone is offering an opportunity at Leeds

“Mixed with that, we’ve got one of the brightest managers of his generation who had great success playing a brand of football which had stadiums packed out in Wales. He’s got Pep (Clotet) and James Beattie with him. There’s the infrastructure at Thorp Arch and the fact that we average crowds of over 20,000 in the Championship. Especially under the lights at Elland Road, I don’t think there’s a more exciting place to play. When you factor all that in, we can recruit a team that’s competitive, definitely.”

Mansford concedes that Leeds are under more pressue when it comes to the squad’s “underbelly”; the depth beneath Monk’s strongest side. “Especially with the emergency loan window departing, a club with parachute payments have a £20m headstart on anyone who hasn’t,” he says. “But I think the squad is competitive and the budget is competitive.”You get into the debate with fans, and I had this at Barnsley where we ran a sensible ship and stayed within the confines the owner was prepared to support – do they want their club to operate in the black? Some fans do and never want to see their club’s existence challenged. You then have the other extreme which is spend, spend, spend and throw every penny in. It’s not what we can afford to generate, it’s what we can afford to borrow. Go for broke and try and buy success. “The reward can be huge but so it the risk.”

Yet for some clubs – and many who win promotion from the Championship – that risk pays off. Neither Middlesbrough nor Hull City operated at a profit last season. Bournemouth posted big losses and incurred a Financial Fair Play (FFP) fine after winning the title in 2015. Money is king in United’s league, if not ever a guarantee. “What you need is something sensible and in the middle,” Mansford says. “You need something that gives you a team that can compete consistently year after year – but not by gambling with the club.”

Mansford’s view of Cellino’s ownership is that he is not endangering its financial health and not in comparison with the way previous owner GFH had. “I came here with Barnsley a couple of years back for Danny Wilson’s first game as manager,” Mansford says.

“I saw David Haigh and other people walking round the pitch before the game. It seemed to be part of a process towards securing more investment. But then you saw a reported loss of £20m-plus and a wage bill of £20m-plus.

“You can see now that we’ve got our wages to a sensible percentage of turnover. That sees the club in a really stable and sustainable position to challenge. Only this week, there’s a takeover at Wolves and talk yesterday of them allegedly making bids of £20m (for Benfica’s Anderson Talisca). How is that sustainable or stable? And what if these owners pull funding? We’ve seen it up the road at Bolton. An owner said ‘enough is enough’.

“The finance out there can create a big challenges but in terms of where Leeds sit financially, I’ve charted the club over the years and charted football in the Championship and I do believe the club’s in as good a place financially as it’s been for a long time.”

Leeds’ last financial results were helped by the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham. Cook’s departure to Bournemouth brought in an initial fee of £6m. Sales of that nature are not new to Leeds and neither is the question of how the money will be used. “I wouldn’t want to say we’ve got x-amount of money,” Mansford says. “When people think you’ve sold for x and they think y is available, prices get a zero stuck on when you try to buy players. But there is finance available to strengthen.

“We’re trying to have a wage bill and a transfer fund which gives us an opportunity. Lewis was sold for a fair value and that money comes into ensure the club gets better.”

Mansford is philosphical about the transfer of Cook, saying it was completed with a “heavy heart” on both sides. Leeds claimed to have offered Cook a new deal with his contract into its final 12 months but said they were unable to compete with Bournemouth’s cash. “It’s difficult for me to comment because a lot of those conversations took place before I came in,” Mansford says. “What I want to stress is that Lewis cared passionately about Leeds United. A lot of what Lewis felt when he left struck me as being similar to Fabian Delph. If Leeds had got promoted to the Championship (in 2009), I don’t think Fabian would have gone to Aston Villa. He’d have wanted to test himself in the next league up.

“Lewis didn’t want to leave and if there were any circumstances where we could have guaranteed him that in the next year or two he’d be pulling on the Leeds United shirt in the Premier League, I don’t think he’d have been in a rush to go. “But the Premier League doesn’t come knocking too often for young English players. It was with a heavy heart that we sold him and heavy heart that he left. But the deal was right for all three parties.”

Charlie Taylor, United’s current player of the year, is in a similar boat. Criticised publically by Cellino for refusing to stage contract talks, his deal ends next summer and an extension looks unlikely.

Leeds says Taylor is not willing to renew his contract. But has his situation been well handled? “Charlie’s a really talented young man who’s come through the system and you don’t want to get into public dialogue about it,” Mansford says. “But every now and again he’ll have to answer a direct question and so will we. “As it stands today, Charlie isn’t going to extend his deal. That’s just a factual situation that’s been apparent for a couple of months. I’d love to paint a more positive picture of that but Charlie just wants to concentrate on his football.”

The message from Elland Road is that Taylor is not for sale in this window. “The owner’s said he’s not going to be sold and he’s the boss,” Mansford says. “Garry definitely doesn’t want him sold and it’s not going to be easy to replace someone of Charlie’s quality.

When you put all that together, it seems pretty clear.”

Mansford says he is encouraged by both the take-up of season tickets – the highest number sold by Leeds in more than a decade – and the number of sponsorship deals agreed this summer.

One of those sponsors, Crosswater, backtracked on a threat to withdraws its money in protest at Cellino’s ownership and increased its investment instead.

Cellino’s ownership has been a contentious and divisive subject for more than two years but Mansford says the negative portrayal of him is skewed. “What I’d say to the supporters is that Massimo wants the club to succeed,” he says. “All I can do is support that with facts.

“GFH’s last full year in charge saw losses of £20m and that didn’t get us any further up the pyramid. We’ve gone from that to a much smaller loss and we’re growing the sponsor base and the season-ticket base. “Garry and his staff – that shows significant investment. They’re proper staff in my opinion. “When I was thinking about coming here I looked at the pros and cons and the appointment of Garry was a real positive – working with a bright young coach. “There are good things Massimo’s done which are irrefutable but there’s work to do and yeah, mistakes have been made.” Does Cellino acknowledge those mistakes? “That’s a question for him,” Mansford says. “But I’d like to think we’re through a (tough) period now. “We need to look better and communicate better but in football everything is subservient to results. “If we win the first six games of the season or, better still, get promoted it doesn’t matter so much if the pies are occasionally a bit cold, or the beer’s a bit warm. “If a statement’s got a typo in it gets glossed over. I realised that at Barnsley. Going into Christmas we were down at the bottom of the league. There were those singing ‘Mansford Out’ away at Scunthorpe in October but by May, everyone was hugging each other.”Massimo wants Leeds to succeed. What the senior management team have to do is make sure we equip him to make the best decisions. “I’m not going to get drawn on things he should get criticism for because it’s the advent of a new season. “We should all be looking forward. “But things have gone on. And he wanted help.”




There’s always one transfer saga that runs and runs and this Summer its Bridcutt – 26K a week and a year of his contract to run – The Makems want Leeds to foot the bill

Monday 25th of July – Liam Bridcutt ‘hopeful of Leeds returnPhil Hay YEP Liam Bridcutt remains hopeful of forcing through a permanent move to Leeds United after being left out of Sunderland’s pre-season tour to France. Sources close to the midfielder told the YEP that Bridcutt is intent on rejoining Leeds this summer and optimistic that the impasse over his proposed move will be broken soon. United have been looking at a permanent deal for Bridcutt ever since his previous loan at Elland Road finished in May but repeated discussions with Sunderland have failed to strike an agreement for a player who has a year left on his contract. Bridcutt’s current wage stands at around £26,000 a week – far above the typical weekly salary at Leeds – and Sunderland value the 27-year-old in excess of £1.5m. The Premier League club, who want to avoid paying up the last 12 months of his deal, deemed Bridcutt surplus to requirements many months ago and confirmed his status by omitting him from the travelling party taken to France by new Sunderland manager David Moyes. Moyes’ arrival on Wearside yesterday as replacement for newly-appointed England boss Sam Allardyce is not expected to open any doors for Bridcutt and the ex-Brighton midfielder admitted during his loan at Leeds that he was equally keen to call time on an unsuccessful spell in the north east. Leeds and head coach Garry Monk see the addition of a midfielder in Bridcutt’s mould as a priority in the remainder of this transfer window and he has been the club’s prime target throughout the close-season. Sources at United indicated today that a fee was still to be finalised and Monk refused to discuss Bridcutt directly after yesterday’s friendly defeat at Peterborough United. Monk said: “We’re always looking at different players and names will be mentioned. “Everyone will have assumptions and whispers of who we’re going to buy but I like to keep those things quiet until there’s something concrete to talk about.” Bridcutt – a two time player-of-the-year at Brighton – was a mainstay in Leeds’ line-up last season after joining on emergency loan in November and then agreeing a half-season extension in January. He was widely credited with tightening up a struggling side before Christmas and made a total of 24 league appearances. Aston Villa were heavily linked with him last week but Bridcutt is understood to be looking to make a move to Leeds happen with the new Championship season less than two weeks away. United have not added to their squad since Kemar Roofe became their sixth arrival of the summer on July 7.

Sat Jan 23rd Peterborough 2-1 Leeds :P’boro : Alnwick, Smith, Hughes, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Forrester, J Anderson (Edwards 63), Da Silva Lopes (Chettle 77), Maddison, P Taylor, Coulthirst. Subs (not used): Tyler, Bostwick, Nichols, Nabi, Chettle, Stevens, Freestone, White. Leeds United: Green, Purver, Bartley, Bamba, Taylor, Murphy, Grimes; Sacko, Mowatt, Roofe (J McKay 63), Antonsson. Subs (not used): Huffer, M Taylor, Shackleton. Attendance: 4,152.

Pre-season never changes. It doesn’t matter until it does and it matters until it doesn’t, an unpredictable outlook which is subject to results.

The annual routine is only broken by the start of the season and the knowledge that an opinionated grey area has gone.

Leeds United were beaten at London Road on Saturday, beaten from a position of strength, and that fact irked Garry Monk, even though in his words the result was not all-consuming. It was his second game-of-two-halves in as many days, following on from Guiseley on Friday when a different Leeds side, a weaker Leeds side, trailed 3-0 before winning 4-3.

Significant or not, Peterborough United’s victory was something of a diversion. There were two other things for Monk to ponder on the road home: a terrific, relentless first half during which his style shone through in players who clearly get it, and a second half where Leeds suffered in oppressive heat and lost to a fitter Peterborough side.

“That’s one of the hottest game I’ve ever played in,” said midfielder Matt Grimes and Monk sympathised. From the first whistle to the last, United’s head coach could have done with a showering from the sprinklers which randomly attacked him as he tried to conduct his post-match interviews by the tunnel.

“I was sweating and I was sat on the bench,” Monk said, “but that’s one of the reasons why I’m happy. The second half was purely physical reasons. It wasn’t tactical or technical.” A first pre-season loss registered with him all the same. “You never want to lose,” he said. “The winning feeling we’ve had in the last few games, you want to keep it going.”

The first half at London Road was a huge consolation for him. Leeds were aggressive, incisive and compact to the point where Peterborough struggled to compete. Monk, a coach who said last week that 800 passes in return for no goals was not his idea of passing football, saw discipline and organisation, and the positive impact of certain decisions.

Quick movement of possession had Peterborough’s defence in trouble and allowed Kemar Roofe to give right-back Michael Smith the runaround until the break. Roofe’s trickery and cross saw Alex Mowatt bury a volley with 16 minutes played and Leeds had enough chances to sink Peterborough before the conditions kicked in.

“You saw in the first 45 that when we’re fit, when we’ve got a lot of energy levels, that’s exactly the football we can play,” Monk said. “We totally dominated them. We should have scored a few more goals.”

Grimes, who worked with Monk at Swansea City, felt much the same. the on-loan midfielder said. We’ve got a philosophy and there’s a positive attitude.”We were disappointed with result but there were a lot of positives,” “We’re looking forward first and not looking to be safe with the ball. Sometimes you need to do that or keep possession to kill the game but we want to get forward and create chances. That’s hopefully what we showed in the first half. Keeping that going for 90 minutes is where we need to get to now.”

That sort of football is easy to admire, as many did while Monk was managing Swansea, but it did not take long in the second half for Leeds to tire, falter and succumb to two spectacular goals from Shaquile Coulthirst. As the heat took Monk’s players, their discipline left them and their energy dissipated. As Monk said afterwards, it was obvious which side had gathered more minutes in pre-season so far.

Leeds have had four friendlies to date – individual players have featured in no more than three – and Atalanta at Elland Road this Saturday ends pre-season with a fifth friendly. In the past, United have been known to contest seven or eight. So the obvious question for Monk, two weeks out from the start of the season and with his squad playing 90 minutes for the first time, was whether the fitness of his players was truly where it needed to be.


Garry Monk says you will see his Leeds “peak two or three games” into the season (look forward to that so)

GarryMonkptb“From my experience, managing and playing, I know how to peak a team best,” he said. You can do it in two ways. You can load pre-season up with games and have a fantastic start but then you crash and burn around Christmas. Or you can try and taper it. “I’ve seen many managers do it differently. I’ve seen it where they top-load pre-season with games and you’re flying at the start, you’re at your peak, but because you’ve had so many games so early you start suffering around Christmas and in the second half of the season. “I’ve seen that done and it’s fine but I try and do it in a different way. This is my way. “At the start of the season we’ll be at a level where we can compete properly. But three or four games in, when we’re at our peak, you’ll see what you saw in the first 45 minutes for the full 90 minutes – and for the whole season. That’s the plan.”

The test of that will come soon enough but it is hard not to be impressed with Monk’s ideas. Roofe, who left the pitch in the second half with stomach cramps, looks evermore the signing of the summer and an advert for sizeable but well-considered investment. He laid on Mowatt’s goal and was unlucky not to score himself. Marcus Antonsson and Hadi Sacko also went close before half-time while Sacko was denied by a good, low save from Ben Alnwick.

In a central position, tucked in behind a front three, Mowatt saw more chances than he did in five times as many games last season, when form eluded him and a role on the left wing swallowed him. A 20-yard shot before the interval was inches from sneaking inside a post. Neil Redfearn, who coached Mowatt in the 21-year-old’s player-of-the-year season, attended London Road as a radio pundit on Saturday. “You’ve got to play him in the middle,” Redfearn said. “Anywhere else is a waste of his ability and his goals.”

Mowatt’s most recent campaign, by his own admission, barely earned him pass-marks but he has a spring in his step again. “He’s been great and he’s been very hard-working,” Monk said. “I don’t think he needs an arm round him. I just think the players are being pushed and the demands here are high.”At half-time Monk had little more to ask of his players but Peterborough drew breath and rapidly overcame their inability to make Leeds sweat. Monk’s side had survived two defensive mix-ups in the first half, one leading to a goalline clearance from right-back Alex Purver, when a weak clearing header from Kyle Bartley on 50 minutes was brilliantly dispatched by Coulthirst on the volley from 25 yards.

Fifteen minutes later, Coulthirst repeated the trick from the same distance, driving the ball into Rob Green’s bottom corner as Monk’s defence stood off him. In that area of the pitch, the ills of last season are not yet cured. There were late chances of an equaliser but Sacko, whose excellent work rate was tempered by his end product, found Alnwick equal to him twice. Those attacking movements are a massive part of what we deliver as a coaching staff,” Monk said. “Some teams just attack in a certain way and that’s it but you saw we could attack wide, attack centrally and build the play up well. We need to do better, I understand that, but we’re getting there. “That first 45 minutes is a clear indication of how we’re going to play when we’re fully fit. “We’re building it up and in the next two weeks you’ll see the difference for sure. We’re peaking for the first day of the season, not for pre-season.”


Conor McLaughlin

July 17th United eye NI full back Leeds United are weighing up a bid for Fleetwood Town’s Northern Ireland international Conor McLaughlin.The Elland Road club are understood to have made contact with Fleetwood about the defender’s availability on the back of his appearance at Euro 2016 McLaughlin, 24, was part of the Northern Ireland squad which reached the knockout stages of this summer’s tournament in France, playing alongside Leeds winger Stuart Dallas.

Several Championship sides, include Reading, are monitoring the £300,000-rated right-back but Fleetwood are anticipating an offer from United following an enquiry in the past few days.

Leeds already have two right-backs on their books, Gaetano Berardi and Lewie Coyle, but Berardi is nursing an injury at present and would also be used to cover at left-back next season in the absence of Charlie Taylor.

Coyle, meanwhile, only recently emerged from United’s academy to make his first-team debut and the interest in McLaughlin is a sign that Leeds want another experienced alternative to Berardi.

McLaughlin began his playing career at Preston North End before joining Fleetwood in 2012. He and Taylor played together while Taylor was on loan at Fleetwood in 2013-14, a campaign which ended in promotion via the League Two play-off final.


Sol Bamba Captain of LUFC v Shamrock Rvs

July 17th Bamba to go next ? Leeds are ready to sell Sol Bamba as Garry Monk steps up his overhaul of the club, according to a report. The Sun on Sunday newspaper (page 62) claim The Championship outfit will listen to offers for Bamba even though he is club captain and a mainstay of the defence. It is said that Leeds have set a £500,000 valuation on the 31-year-old, who has a year remaining on his deal. But the Sun say the Yorkshire giants may have to release Bamba from his contract and let him leave on a free transfer due to his “king-size wages”.The possibility that Bamba could leave is intriguing given that Leeds are keen to bring in cover at the back after allowing Italian defender Giuseppe Bellusci to leave on loan to Serie A side Empoli. Bamba, who joined Leeds in January 2015 on loan before completing a permanent transfer last summer, made 33 appearances for the club last season.The departure of the experienced Ivory Coast international would leave Liam Cooper as the club’s only senior centre-back. However, Monk has been strongly linked with signing a new defender following Bellusci’s exit.

Saturday July 16th Shamrock Rvs X1 0-3 Leeds United Leeds United: Green (Turnbull 65), Purver (Coyle 65), Bartley (McKay 46), Bamba (Diagouraga 65), Taylor (Denton 65), Vieira (Mowatt 65), Grimes (Murphy 65), Botaka (Phillips 65), Roofe (Sacko 46), Antonsson (Stokes 65), Wood (Doukara 65). Shamrock Rovers: Murphy, Clarke, Webster, Gibbons, Hanney, McCabe, Bulger, Purdy, Boyd, McCaffrey, Doona.

The Louth Branch travelled down in numbers to watch Leeds easily inflicted a 3-0 defeat over an inexperienced Rovers side. Roofe on the left particularly impressed following his 3M move from Oxford and looks a player. Antonsson took his goals with aplomb and may score goals in the Championship. Young Vieiera looks useful as a holding midfielder but may benefit from a a season out on loan. Taylor at left back is excellent but it looks increasingly unlikely that he will be at LUFC when the season commences in anger in mid August. Thankfully, Wooton, Bellusci, Bianchi and Silvestri and the tempremental Antenucci have depated or are on the platform out. Report from Phil Hay Two goals from Marcus Antonsson and a Chris Wood penalty rounded off Leeds United’s tour of Ireland with another victory.

Antonsson claimed his first Leeds goals on seven and 56 minutes and Wood’s penalty just after the half-hour helped to put today’s friendly in Dublin beyond a young Shamrock Rovers side.


Antonsson celebrates after scoring his first v Sham Rvs

Rovers fielded an inexperienced line-up after their first team met Bohemians in a league game last night and they were unable to seriously trouble Garry Monk’s side.

Monk gave a start to goalkeeper Rob Green and the former England international was untroubled for an hour, save only for a shot from Gareth McCaffery which bounced past his right-hand post and an effort from Gary McCabe which flew straight at him.

Antonsson broke the deadlock early on after a penetrating run from midfielder Ronaldo Vieira opened Rovers up and gave the Swede an easy finish from 10 yards.

Wood then hit the outside of a post before a foul by Trevor Clarke on Kemar Roofe gave him a chance from the penalty spot on 31 minutes. The forward sent keeper Barry Murphy the wrong may.

Roofe, who impressed throughout the first half, then hit the woodwork with a curling effort before being substituted at the interval and making way for Hadi Sacko.

Leeds stretched Rovers in the second half and Matt Grimes was denied a goal when his long-range effort smashed off the underside of Murphy’s crossbar on 54 minutes.

But Antonsson struck again two minutes later as a cross from Charlie Taylor flicked off Wood and laid on a header at the back post.

Sacko was then denied by a good save from Murphy before Monk introduced a raft of substitutes for the final stages of the match.

Rovers almost pulled a goal back with 16 minutes left but Jamie Aherne’s effort slipped just wide.

Leeds’ win at Tallaght Stadium followed on from Wednesday’s 2-1 victory at Shelbourne and Monk’s players will return to England on Sunday (July 17) to begin preparing for next week’s friendlies at Guiseley and Peterborough United.


Gary Monk happy with his 2 weeks in Ireland

Gary Monk said: “It was definitely an improvement on Wednesday. I had a good meeting with the players after Wednesday’s game and there were a lot of things that we needed to work on but I saw a definite improvement today and that’s always good.”Again, there are things that we need to improve on still but that’s quite natural and it was good to end two really good weeks away with two wins. Even though I’m not so focused on the results, wins give confidence to the players and it was important they saw improvement from Wednesday. “There was more team ethic out there than I saw on Wednesday – a little bit more cohesive.”I wouldn’t disrespect them too much. They were a step up from Wednesday night in terms of their level of the club here and as much as you can look at the game like that, the improvement for me was in the amount that we dominated. To dominate them so much was pleasing from my side.”

Weds 13th of July Shelbourne 1-2 Leeds United Leeds United (for 60 mins): Turnbull, Coyle, Bartley, Diagouraga, Denton, Phillips, Murphy, Mowatt, Sacko, Roofe, DoukaraLeeds United (last 30 mins): Peacock-Farrell, Purver, McKay, Bamba, Taylor, Vieira, Grimes, Botaka, Stokes, Antonsson, Wood. Shelbourne: Brady (Murray 65), Brown, O’Connor, O’Reilly, Kavanagh (Carragher 90), Boyne (Harper 90), Grimes (Evans 38), Shannon (Coyle 90), English (Duggan 76), Walshe.


New signing Antonsson showing a clean pair of heals

Match details –Phil Hay YP Their football was fit and fluent – neat enough to give Shelbourne very little – and as starts go the match in Dublin gave Monk no pressing AntonssonvShelsAntonssonvShelscause for concern. He needs signings before the new season starts and strength in positions which are obviously weak but last night’s game set a good tone. Souleymane Doukara got a grip of it early, scoring with the night’s first chance, and Hadi Sacko – the French winger signed on a prayer and season’s loan from Sporting Lisbon last week – tucked away another opportunity five minutes later. Shelbourne have a league fixture ahead of them on Saturday afternoon and the hastily-arranged meeting with Leeds suddenly lost its appeal. Only once did United offer a way back n, when Adam Evans found the net at the start of the second half.

If Monk has a philosophy or an “identity” as he calls it then it looked at first sight like a willingness to not only pass the ball but to pass it forward and pass with intent; to put possession at risk, as managers like to say. Shelbourne forced a handful of openings but Leeds had other chances and the brighter United players were some who needed to be – Alex Mowatt and Luke Murphy in particular. Mowatt’s role in Sacko’s goal was more like the 2014-15 season than his last.


Luke Murphy taking instructions from the boss

Massimo Cellino was among those present at Tolka Park; relaxed, smiling and unmoved by two fans who told United’s owner to ‘f*** off’ as they walked past him in the first half. There was no real vitriol in Dublin but rather the optimism which generates naturally at this time of year. Weak as the opposition were, the first sight of Leeds under Monk will have gone down well.

Holed up in Ireland for two weeks, United’s players were doubtless desperate for the release of a game by the time it came. Monk put them through a training session yesterday morning, allowing no break in the intensity of pre-season, but the strain was felt on both sides.


Will Doukara have a future with three new attacking players signed ?

Shelbourne hosted Swindon Town in a separate friendly on Tuesday night, shunting the games together after a late request from Leeds and while Leeds turn out at Shamrock Rovers on Saturday, they will return to league action. The view at Tolka Park was that hosting Monk’s squad was well worth the effort and the money pulled in by the crowd; the equivalent of four weeks’ wages for Shelbourne, according to chairman Joe Casey. Casey welcomeCellino into the boardroom and having watched Monk’s training sessions all week, last night gave the Italian a first impression of Monk with opponents across the halfwayDoukaravShels line. Monk gave little away with his choice of players – one team for the first 60 minutes, another for the last half-hour – but the use of Toumani Diagouraga, Luke Murphy and youngster Paul McKay in the centre of defence highlighted clearly the need for another centre-back. United gave up on a deal with Joel Ekstrand on Monday after deciding that the Swede’s prior injuries at Watford – cruciate ligament problems in 2015 – were too severe to gamble on but an alternative is plainly necessary and will surely come. After so much activity in the early days of July – multiple signings and the sale of Lewis Cook to Bournemouth – United have had a quieter week in the market.Three of those signings, Sacko, Kemar Roofe and Kyle Bartley started at Tolka Park and Leeds made quick work of a side midway through the Irish season.


It took nine minutes for pressure on Shelbourne’s defence to lead to a charge down by Roofe which left Doukara free inside the box. The Frenchman steadied himself before shooting inside Jack Brady’s near post. Within five minutes, Leeds scored again but with less help from Shelbourne’s backline. Mowatt found space two yards outside the hosts’ box and timed his pass to meet the run of Sacko, who whipped the ball low to Brady’s left, beating him hands down. Shelbourne struggled to muster the same impetus at the other end and a rare chance in the first half, a shot from James English as Leeds defended a corner, was hacked off the goalline and onto the roof of Ross Turnbull’s net. The goalkeeper, who was back after many months out with a broken ankle, did not have a save to make until shortly before half-time. There was, from Monk’s players, an attempt throughout that period to pass, move and avoid lateral play, the sort of football that Monk will want his side to commit to against more competitive sides.

When an error came in front of Turnbull on 37 minutes, the keeper reacted quickly to meet English’s strike but he could do little six minutes into the second half when Monk’s defence fell asleep and Evans tucked away Lorcan Shannon’s cross at the far post.

Monk had moved Murphy to centre-half by then, giving Diagouraga 15 minutes in midfield, and a full raft of changes came on the hour, taking the sting out of the game. His starting line-up left the field to warm applause and his remaining players saw the contest out. The crowd left with few complaints about the product of two-and-a-half weeks of work under Monk. Unfortunately the match clashed with Dundalk’s Champions league fixture versus FHH so many of us couldn’t make Tolka Park, but we will be in attendance on Saturday for the Rovers game. Looking forward to it,

Tuesday 12th of July Rico Henry chased by Leeds Walsall left back Rico Henry is wanted by Leeds United should Charlie Taylor decide to leave the Yorkshire club. Taylor is regarded as one of the best left backs outside the Premier League and with his contract running down fast, Leeds have targeted another hot prospect – our very own Rico Henry. With all the departures this summer, you envisaged that Henry would have been one of the first out the door but transfer speculation has been very far and few between for the England youth international. The Daily Mirror are reporting that Leeds are set to offer £1m for his services – a fee which I doubt Walsall would turn down. Should Rico leave the club this summer and with the uncertain future of Tom Bradshaw – Walsall could start their League 1 campaign with just six of the eighteen who were picked against Barnsley, remaining.

Mon 11th of July Whites decide not to take risk on defender LEEDS UNITED are to pursue other defensive targets after deciding not to offer former Watford centre-back Joel Ekstrand a contract. The Whites had been strongly linked with a move for the 27-year-old, a free agent following his release by the Vicarage Road outfit at the end of last month. But concerns regarding the fitness of the Swedish international, who has not played competitively since suffering a serious knee injury playing for the Hornets in a Championship game almost 16 months ago, have precluded hopes of a permanent deal.

A play-as-you-play deal is still being mooted as a possibility if Ekstrand can prove his fitness, but any realistic hopes of him earning a long-term contract at Elland Road appear highly unlikely with the 6ft 2in defender having not played since March 2015. Ekstrand damaged the anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage in his left knee and fractured a bone in a game against Ipswich Town, with his road back to fitness having been gruelling and painstaking. Worries about his injury record has forced United to focus on other defensive options, with the club seeking to boost their numbers further in that department following the arrival of Kyle Bartley on a season-long loan from head coach Garry Monk’s former club Swansea City. Central midfield represents another big priority area – exacerbated by the £10m departure of Lewis Cook to top-flight side Bournemouth. United have so far brought in six players to the club this summer; Swansea loan duo Bartley and Matt Grimes, £2m Swedish forward Marcus Antonsson, Sporting Lisbon loan winger Hadi Sacko, ex-QPR and England goalkeeper Rob Green and £3m Oxford United attacker Kemar Roofe.

Several are likely to feature in tomorrow’s evening Irish tour opener against Shelbourne at Dublin’s Tolka Park. Kick-off for the friendly is 7pm. Leeds are also in action on Saturday when they face Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium, Dublin. Kick-off is at 3pm. Meanwhile, forgotten striker Lee Erwin is confident that his target-man qualities can be utilised to the full after joining Oldham Athletic on a season-long loan. Erwin has endured an inauspicious time at Elland Road after joining from Motherwell last summer, making just 12 appearances in 2015-16, 10 of which arrived from the bench. The Scot, 22, farmed out for a brief spell on loan at League One outfit Bury in the autumn, is hoping for extended game time in a preferred central role at Boundary Park where he links up again with new Latics manager Steve Robinson, who he worked with during his time at Motherwell. Erwin said: “I found out about the interest from Oldham Athletic on Tuesday and then I completed the move soon after, so I’m happy it is finally done. “I have set myself a goals tally in my head, but I won’t be saying what that is.”I like to come short, run in behind and I can be a target man for the rest of the season”.

Monday 11th of July Incoming personnel not up to Cook class – Noel Whelan I’D LIKE to know whether Garry Monk knew that selling Lewis Cook was going to be the case. Because by all accounts he was building a team around these young boys and wanted to add more quality to it. I feel like we have missed out on a massive player at the club now and I don’t feel that the players that we have brought in have the same quality or life-span of what Lewis Cook has. I think we all know that he is potentially an England player and in my eyes he was probably the best player at the club, bar your Charlie Taylor there.

He’s young, he’s got at least another 10 or 11 years left in the game and he’s good now; but just look at the potential of what we could have had if we had kept him. I feel like we have sold a player for £10m but I don’t see us buying players for £10m. And that’s what we needed to do if we are really serious about challenging next season with the teams that have come down. They will be there spending money and bolstering their squad so we should have been keeping Lewis Cook and spending bigger.

The only thing I’d say now is, let’s be honest, do you think that the squad that we have got now, even with the six new players, are going to finish where we need to get promotion?

Yes, we have brought in a goalkeeper in Robert Green with experience but he is coming to the very, very latter stages of his career. You’ve got a young player in Kemar Roofe who was the player of the year in League Two but we have just let one of our best players go.

It’s not a step forwards for me, it’s a step back. Will Charlie Taylor go next? It’s more than likely I would think. The way that Massimo Cellino has come out and said they are not selling him, even if he has to keep him to the end of his contract, we have had that happen already with Sam Byram. We had to wait for six months for his contract to run down and then we had to sell him for less than we should have done. And who’s going to want to play for the chairman after he comes out and publicly insults him. Things are just not done right at the club unfortunately. At the moment I don’t think the squad is good enough and that’s my honest opinion. Yes, you have brought six players in but they are not going be the difference and that’s a big worry. They are not the players that we were hoping to sign at the end of the season/the beginning of this one. We were hoping to bring in some real quality.

Keep the players that we have got and release the players that are surplus to requirements like Casper Sloth, Giuseppe Bellusci and Tommaso Bianchi and maybe another couple – including Jordan Botaka possibly.

That frees up some wages and then really get three or four quality players in that will cost a bit of money. That would then give you a chance to challenge against such as Newcastle and Norwich and all these other teams that are keeping their better players adding to them.

Roofe cost around £3m but he is not proven. He is proven in League Two but this is two steps up. You need quality around that player to bring out the best in him and we have just lost that one quality player that could have made Roofe better and the whole team stronger.

I look at Cook’s departure as the same level as Robert Snodgrass and a number of those players like Jonny Howson – influential players that you need in your team. Cook is very, very young. He had energy, he would die for the club and we have just let him go. We didn’t strive to keep him I don’t think, we just waited for the biggest amount of money to come in and then just let him go. I think he will do excellently at Bournemouth because he has got a great manager there and he’s got a great infrastructure with the club.

That is probably something that drew him to it, they have got stability not just on the field but away from the field – in the boardroom and the club in general. When you get it right, players feel comfortable but you have got to fight to keep players. You have got to show them that you want them to be at the club, you have got to show them that they are needed and we have not done that, I don’t think, with Lewis Cook. Of the new signings, there is nothing there that excites me right now, I’ll be perfectly honest. I was hoping to get a proper striker in. Yes, we have got Marcus Antonsson but we don’t know anything about him yet.

We know that the Swedish League isn’t great and is that probably the same standard as League One? Possibly, maybe, I don’t know. We have got to be realistic here and we haven’t gone out and signed a Jordan Rhodes and spent £9m, let’s be honest.

We are just going on somebody’s opinion that trained with him or coached him but this is a completely different league altogether and that’s what people have got to start understanding. The Championship is a strong league. There’s talk that Joel Ekstrand could be the next signing – and he’s had a lot of injuries. We are getting a lot of free transfers in and they are players that are surplus to requirements. You are getting them because they are not good enough for the club that they are currently at and they are not going to be a difference at another club.

You are just bolstering numbers. We are selling players for £10m – £7m or whatever it may be rising to – but where are we putting that money?

Where is that money going?


Swede to be no 7

Sat 9th of July Elkstrand about to become number 7 ? Leeds United have brought in six players in an unprecedented bout of transfer activity, unless you count the initial wave of Italians brought over when Cellino bought the club. However, in  recent Tweet (below) Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Phil Hayseems to confirm that signing number seven is on the way. Swedish media now saying ex-Watford centre-back Joel Ekstrand on a free transfer to Leeds is a goer. Looking like signing number seven. Free transfers appeal mainly to clubs as they set about gaining bargains out of players, but Ekstrand, whilst a free agent, is coming off of a release by Premier League Watford after a prolonged injury. Ekstrand, a two-cap Sweden international, last played competitively for the Hornets in March 2015, a game where he suffered a cruciate knee injury against Ipswich. The severity of the injury has meant that he missed all of Watford’s Premier League campaign, being released at the end of the season just gone.

Sat July 9th. Erwin joins Latics on loan for season United forward Lee Erwin has joined League One side Oldham Athletic on a season-long loan. The 21-year-old, who arrived at Elland Road from Motherwell last summer, ended the 2015/16 campaign with 15 appearances to his name in all competitions, including three for Bury during a brief loan spell at Gigg Lane. The Club would like to wish Lee the very best of luck during his time at Oldham.


Bye bye Cookie

Friday July 8th. Now the bad news…Cook leaves for Bouremouth Leeds United can confirm that midfielder Lewis Cook has joined Premier League side Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee. The Club would like to thank Lewis for his contribution throughout his time here and wishes him the very best for the future after signing a four-year deal with the Cherries. Cook, who featured 47 times in all competitions for United last season, progressed through the ranks at Thorp Arch to make his first-team debut at the start of the 2014/15 campaign. The England Under-19s midfielder was crowned the Football League Young Player of the Year in April on the back of a season which saw him take his United appearance tally to 85 in just two years. Cook first joined the club aged six and had already represented England at youth level by the time he signed scholarship terms in 2013, with the midfielder going on to play a key role in England Under-17s’ European Championship-winning campaign the following year. Cook established himself as one of the country’s brightest prospects during his breakthrough season, featuring 38 times for United before having his campaign cut short by injury. He signed a new two-year deal at Elland Road last summer but, after much speculation, Bournemouth moved to secure his services in the top-flight and finalised the deal on Friday evening. As you can expect the deal when down like a fart in a tent with Leeds fans with Twitter exploding. How can a club with a capacity of 11,000 prize away our top player. Easy. Cellino hadn’t him on a long term contract and The Cherries have a couple of hundred million more than Leeds owing to Sky and BT TV money. Time to move on, get replacements for the shite we had throughout the side last season and keep giving Monk his chance. If we are lucky we will hit the ground running if not another season of mediocrity. And for those Leeds fans in any doubt, with one year left on his contract, Taylor will be gone long before August.


It didn’t take Monk five minutes to see that he had a pigeon catcher in goals – Most Leeds fans will be glad to see the back of Silvestri

Friday July 8th Silvestri next to depart Leeds United have all but confirmed that Marco Silvestri’s Elland Road career is over by sending the goalkeeper to train with their Under-21s. Silvestri left United’s pre-season training camp in Ireland yesterday and was due to begin training with the club’s development squad at Thorp Arch this morning..

Friday July 8th. Positive mood soured by the sale of Cook.  In the morning came key additions and by early evening the threat of key departures. Much good work was done by Leeds United in the past 24 hours but a positive day turned last night with sudden movement towards the sale of Lewis Cook. The midfielder is in Bournemouth’s sights again and unlike January, when Leeds withstood pressure from Dean Court to let Cook go, the club are ready to take the cash on offer to them. Starting at around £6m, the fee could rise to close to £10m.


Cook is as good as gone. Cornman needs to pump the funds back in on replacements

The midfielder and left-back Charlie Taylor – the most valuable players in the squad at Elland Road – have both entered the last years of their contracts and in the absence of productive contract talks, owner Massimo Cellino is prepared to sell at least one of them. Head coach Garry Monk will look now for extra transfer funds if Cook departs.

Talk of the 19-year-old’s exit broke at the very moment when Leeds were in credit after a spate of signings, the latest a deal for talented League Two player of the year Kemar Roofe from Oxford United. Roofe, along with Swansea City’s Matt Grimes, was one of two arrivals yesterday and one of three in the space of 24 hours.

Six signings to date have predominantly addressed the areas of Monk’s team which needed attention and addressed the weaknesses responsible for wasting last season: a shortage of goals, frailty in central defence and worries about the all-round game of United’s first-choice goalkeeper. Monk’s squad looks very different now to how it did last Monday, when Marcus Antonsson was waiting for Leeds to announce him as transfer number one.

United and Cellino have made no pretence of being the Championship’s richest club but in the past fortnight they have been more active than most. Kyle Bartley’s arrival on loan from Swansea City last Friday was the first of five arrivals in seven days, ending with Roofe and giving Monk a fuller hand to play with when the club’s pre-season friendlies start in Dublin next week. That progress, however, is at risk of being diminished by the loss of player in Cook who Monk talked out of England Under-19 duty this month specifically because of his importance to the team and Leeds’ forthcoming season.

The on-field failings at Elland Road during the 2015-16 season were self-evident, on paper and in the flesh. Under both of Monk’s most recent predecessors, Steve Evans and Uwe Rosler, Leeds were limp up front and brittle at the back; outscored by Rotherham United and Fulham and far below the defensive standards of the top six. Leeds, as Evans said, fell betwixt and between – never seriously at risk of relegation but highly fanciful in their talk of the play-offs.

Monk resolved early on to make changes at both ends of the pitch, including a big decision about his keeper. Marco Silvestri is eight games short of 100 appearances for United and has been close to ever-present for the past two years, but United were increasingly unconvinced that his game was suited to the rigours and style of the Championship. The club spoke about Lee Grant and Lee Camp, who are under contract at Derby County and Rotherham respectively, but went instead for Rob Green, an England international and a free agent after his release by Queens Park Rangers in May.

After Green’s arrival on a 12-month deal on Wednesday, Monk now has four keepers training with him in Ireland and Leeds are likely to try to trim a pool which includes Silvestri, Ross Turnbull and 19-year-old Bailey Peacock-Farrell. Peacock-Farrell is safe after signing a two-year contract last month.

Bartley, like Green, is also in Yorkshire with the intention of providing much more than cover. Monk has three centre-backs to choose from after Giuseppe Bellusci’s loan move to Empoli – a deal which removed a difficult character from United’s dressing room – but another addition could be made to go alongside Bartley, Liam Cooper and Sol Bamba. Cellino is keen on Alfie Mawson, the Barnsley centre-back, and watched him when he attended the League One play-off final at the end of May.

Grimes, the 20-year-old who joined Leeds on season-long loan from Swansea, is a midfielder who Monk knows from the Liberty Stadium and a prospect who will value the chance of a full season in the Championship. Swansea paid £1.75m to sign Grimes from Exeter City in 2015 but the England Under-21 international has featured infrequently for his parent club and he finished last season with a loan at Blackburn Rovers.“I’m really excited to come here and play football,” Grimes said. “That’s the aim for me this season. Coming here gives me a really good chance to do that at a high level.” He might find himself filling’s Cook’s shirt before long.


At the front end of Monk’s team, Leeds have taken what they think are worthwhile gambles, the most unpredictable Hadi Sacko on loan from Sporting Lisbon. But the talented Roofe struck 26 times for Oxford United last season and Antonsson had a record of 10 from 12 games midway through the Swedish season.

“Scoring goals is something I enjoy,” Roofe said yesterday after signing a four-year contract. Monk will know that he and Leeds need them.


long term target and striker Kemar Roofe arrives

Thursday July 7th Signing number 6th is the biggest so far We are delighted to announce the signing of forward Kemar Roofe on a four-year deal from Oxford United for an undisclosed fee. The highly-rated 23-year-old, who won the League Two Player of the Year award last season, becomes our sixth new addition of the summer following the arrivals of Marcus Antonsson, Kyle Bartley, Hadi Sacko, Robert Green and Matt Grimes. Roofe finalised his switch at Elland Road on Thursday morning and will now head to Ireland to join his new team-mates at their pre-season training camp. “It’s an amazing feeling,” Roofe told leedsunited.com. “I don’t think I’ll actually realise how big the club is until the first game of the season, but I’m amazed by what I’ve seen so far. “As soon as I found out, I was really pleased to be a part of a club like this. The club has a great history and a bright future as well. “You can tell there’s something exciting happening here with the signings we’re making – they’re all good signings. “I can’t wait to start getting to know the squad and playing football again.” Asked about his style of play, Roofe added: “I like to be entertaining – I like to play football how I would like to watch football. The fans want to be entertained, see creative play and goals. “I think I can play in several positions and I wouldn’t like to nail myself down to one place. I like to have the ball in the attacking third and try to create something. “I’ve worked hard on my finishing and scoring goals is something I enjoy. I was fortunate to do that a lot last season.” The Walsall-born attacker, who can also operate on the wing, played a key role as Oxford achieved promotion to League One last term and were Football League Trophy Runners-up at Wembley. Roofe netted 26 goals from 49 matches in all appearances during the last campaign and secured himself a place in the League Two Team of the Year at April’s annual Football League Awards. He initially joined Oxford on loan in 2015 after progressing through the ranks at Premier League side West Brom. During his time at the Hawthorns, Roofe also had a loan stint at Icelandic club Vikingur Reykjavik before returning to England for spells at Northampton Town, Cheltenham Town and Colchester United. He shot to prominence upon his switch to the Kassam Stadium, though, and the U’s moved to make the deal permanent last summer after hitting six goals from 16 matches. Roofe enjoyed the finest season of his career to date during 2015/16 and caught the eye during the opening weeks of the campaign with a 40-yard strike in Oxford’s League Cup victory over Championship side Brentford. He went on to net an impressive FA Cup brace against Premier League outfit Swansea City earlier this year and bagged his first hat-trick in a League Two win against Dagenham and Redbridge back in March.

Thursday 7th of July. Will Roofe be number 6 arrival Leeds United were today pushing to make League Two player-of-the-year Kemar Roofe their sixth summer signing. The Elland Road club are in advanced talks with Oxford United about a deal for Roofe and are quietly confident of reaching an agreement for the talented 23-year-old United are long-time admirers of Roofe but their interest in him cooled earlier in the summer when Oxford set their valuation at £3m. The newly-promoted League One club will be hit by a sizeable sell-on clause negotiated when they signed Roofe from West Bromwich Albion a year ago and want to maximise the fee for the forward. Leeds, however, believe they are close to striking a deal to buy Roofe out of the last two years of his contract and they are ready to invest in a striker who claimed the League Two player-of-the-year award in April. His 26 goals fired Oxford to both automatic promotion and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final. The move for him comes at the end of a week in which United’s transfer business has intensified dramatically. Sporting Lisbon’s Hadi Sacko and Swansea City’s Matt Grimes have both arrived at Leeds on season-long loans and out-of-contract goalkeeper Rob Green signed a 12 months deal last night. He looks a really good player, something like Beckford although he scores more goals from longer distance than Becks. Looks like one who can definitely make the jump from league two to Championship.


Matt Grimes is signing number 5

Thursday 7th of July. Matt Grimes of Swansea is signing number 5 We are delighted to announce the signing of Swansea City midfielder Matt Grimes on a season-long loan. Grimes, an England Under-21s international, follows team-mate Kyle Bartley in making the switch to Elland Road this summer and becomes our fifth new addition of the current transfer window. The 20-year-old, who spent time on loan in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers last season, will now join United’s pre-season training camp in Ireland after putting pen to paper on Wednesday evening. “It’s a great feeling,” Grimes told leedsunited.com.This was a no-brainer for me – it’s such a big club and we’re looking to have a really strong season. “I’m really excited to come here and play football – that’s the aim for me this season. Coming here gives me a really good chance to do that at a high level. “Garry Monk and Pep Clotet were really good to me when I was at Swansea. They helped me a lot and nurtured me when I was a young player coming through, so it will be great to work with them again.“I’m really looking forward to getting going. I can’t wait to get to Ireland, start training and get some games under my belt – which is what pre-season is all about.” Grimes was originally taken to Swansea by new United boss Garry Monk in January 2015 after catching the eye with hometown club Exeter City. The midfielder was crowned the Grecians’ Player of the Year following his debut season at St James Park and, despite completing his move to the Liberty Stadium midway through the following campaign, Grimes’ displays earned him a place in the 2014/15 League Two PFA Team of the Year. His first international honours also came during his year-and-a-half in the Exeter first-team, earning the first of his 13 England Under-20s caps. Grimes made his Swansea debut in the Premier League as a late substitute in April 2015’s 3-1 victory over Hull City and went on to score his first senior goal for the club in last season’s League Cup win at home to York City. Earlier this year he joined Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers for the remainder of the campaign and went on to make 12 league appearances for the Ewood Park side.


The experienced Rob Green is signing number 4 and will put undoubted pressure on the unreliable Silvestri

Weds 7th of July Rob Green (goalkeeper) becomes signing number 4 We are delighted to announce the signing of goalkeeper Robert Green on a one-year deal. The former England international was a free agent following his departure from Championship rivals Queens Park Rangers earlier this summer. Green, a vastly-experienced ‘keeper with over 600 career appearances to his name, becomes our fourth new addition of the summer following the arrivals of Marcus Antonsson, Kyle Bartley and Hadi Sacko. The 36-year-old will now link up with his new team-mates at their pre-season training camp in Ireland ahead of next week’s friendlies with Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers. “It’s exciting to be here,” Green told leedsunited.com . “This is one of those opportunities where the first phone call asking if you want to come and play for Leeds is a very quick one. It was a ‘yes’ straightaway. “I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve spoken to the manager and I know what he’s got in store and what he’s planning. “What he said really resonated with me and re-affirmed my feelings towards this opportunity. “After long wait over the summer, the last few days have happened very quickly and now I’m ready to go. I can’t wait to get going. “I’ll join the squad as one of the older members of the group and the role I’ll have to play with my experience really appeals to me. “I’m here for however the manager needs me. He’s got a young team of players, who, he says with the right guidance, will really flourish.” Green, born in Chertsey, progressed through the youth system at Norwich City and made his senior debut for the club in 1999. Two years later he established himself as the Canaries’ first-choice ‘keeper and went on to make 241 appearances during eight seasons with the Carrow Road outfit, earning international honours with England along the way. Green also won Premier League promotion with Norwich before making the switch to West Ham United in 2006. 241 appearances and further international honours followed during his six-year stint with the Hammers, before Green joined Premier League newcomers QPR in 2012. During his four years at Loftus Road, Green experienced both promotion and relegation to and from the Premier League and amassed 128 appearances for the club prior to his release in May.

Weds July 6th. Ray fell steps down after 31 years Ray Fell’s 31-year tenure as chairman of the Leeds United Supporters Club tells only part of the story of his commitment to it. Before his election in 1985 he was treasurer, fundraising secretary and one of the founders of LUSC’s Britannia branch in Holbeck. His membership began more than 50 years ago, around the time of Leeds’ first FA Cup final appearance. On Sunday, at the group’s annual general meeting, Fell resigned reluctantly as chairman on the grounds of ill health. “It’s a great disappointment to me,” he said. I’ve always worn the position with pride, just as I’ve always been proud to be involved with the Supporters Club. But ill health has caught up with me. “The Supporters Club was founded at the same time as Leeds United were founded (in 1919) – just prior to Leeds United, in fact – and they’ve grown together over many years. My attitude is that the Supporters Club is there to build relationships with Leeds United. It’s what we’ve always tried to do.”At its height, around 10,000 Supporters Club members were represented by Fell. LUSC is Leeds’ oldest fans group and before the surge of membership in the Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST) in 2011 and 2012, it was also United’s largest. Membership always goes up and down but there were around 10,000 members at one stage and 90 branches worldwide,” Fell said. “I don’t know the exact numbers now but we’re still a big, active group. “Our motto is ‘Always Leeds, Always Loyal’ and I think that’s a good description of how we think. Our first thought is always to support the club, not just by going to games but in financial ways too.”


The organisation was accustomed to close relations with United until Ken Bates’ arrival as club chairman in 2005 saw it marginalised. Bates formed his own members club – an official branch of the club – and his relationship with LUSC and its senior officials grew bitter as the years went on.

Ken’s attitude to supporters changed things for us,” Fell said. “We’re an independent group but our support is never in question. I got the feeling that Ken wanted to do away with the Supporters Club or to take us under his wing. That’s how it seemed. Before him, we’d always had very good relations with different chairmen of the club and that’s probably because they were Leeds United supporters themselves. They would speak to us and give us an idea of any plans which would directly affect the fans. That dRayfelloesn’t mean that they let us make decisions but they consulted us and talked things over. They were happy to hear our voice.

“I know he’s had a lot of criticism but I’ve even got a little soft spot for Peter Ridsdale. He was 100 per cent a Leeds fan and we dealt with him regularly. He was chairman of a board who made mistakes and, in the end, he carried the can for that.  

“Those years (the years with Bates as chairman) were difficult for us and difficult for some of us personally but we kept our unity in spite of him.”

The Supporters Club are less active politically than other fans groups and protests against different regimes at Elland Road have come from other quarters. LUST led the opposition to Bates in 2012, the year in which Gulf Finance House bought United, and current owner Massimo Cellino came under attack last season from Time to Go Massimo, a group pushing for Cellino to sell his majority stake at Elland Road. Their protests included a mock funeral procession in front of the East Stand, billboards throughout the city and a plane flown over Elland Road, trailing a banner reading ‘Time to go, Massimo’. 

“I felt that last season was a bad season for the fans,” Fell said. “Not only because of the ability of the team but because there was so much unrest and so much action publicly against the club. Our attitude as the Supporters Club is that we’re here to build relationships, not to destroy them, and from the point of view of wanting things to go well for Leeds United, it’s depressing to see such strong feeling against (Cellino). “Everybody has reservations about the present position of the club and the owner himself but I think more people would try to support him if he’d only come out and speak to us properly, telling everyone what his ambition is and how it’s going to be realised. Like every owner, the fans are there to work with him if he engages.  “Whatever your view, it was sad to see so much unrest and bad feeling. It’s one thing I hope will change in the years ahead.”

Enjoy your retirement, Ray. On behalf of the Louth branch we wish both Joan and  you the very best.  


Signing number 3 arrives (Hopefully they won’t all be loans)

Tues July 5th Sacko becomes arrival number 3 at Leeds United have sealed the season-long loan signing of 22-year-old Sporting Lisbon prospect Hadi Sacko. The French forward completed a temporary move to United this afternoon, becoming the club’s third recruit of the summer. A successful approach to Sporting Lisbon from Elland Road saw Sacko link up with head coach Garry Monk and his squad when the group travelled to Ireland for the start of a pre-season training camp on Sunday. Sacko worked with Monk’s players yesterday ahead of an official announcement by Leeds and his Portuguese club. The French youth international, who started his career at Bordeaux, was signed by Sporting Lisbon for around £1m in 2014. Reports at the time said Sporting included a buy-out clause in his six-year contract, set at 60 million Euros, but United revealed today that he has come to Elland Road with a view to a permanent deal. Sacko – a versatile forward who can operate up front, out wide or as an attacking midfielder – has been limited to appearances for Sporting’s B squad and he went on loan to Sochaux in France’s second division during the second half of last season but Leeds see clear potential in a player who was capped by France at Under-20 level. United have tied up two other transfers so far this summer, landing Swedish striker Marcus Antonsson on a three-year deal from Kalmar and taking centre-back Kyle Bartley on a season-long loan from Swansea City.

Monday July 5th. United offered £2.8M for Salibur Yesterday news broke that Leeds United had put an offer in for Guingamp’s flying French midfielder Yannis Salibur. Ths was according to a report in respected French publication L’Equipe. According to the French publication, Leeds had sent “an offer” for the 25-year-o Frenchman of DR Congolese descent. However, the Whites were frustrated as the former Lille player said he “would not however consider [playing] in the English second division.”

Salibur is at home on the left-wing, where he plays the majority of the time for Guingamp. He arrived at the Ligue 1 side from Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot for an undisclosed fee and is valued at £1.7m by the website Transfermarkt. During the 2015/16 campaign he made 30 Ligue 1 appearances for Guingamp, scoring seven times nad providing six assists for teammates. In cup competitions, Salibur made four appearances, scoring three times. There is obviously something that the Leeds coaching staff, led by Garry Monk and Pep Clotet, saw in Salibur. This prompted the club to send said offer for his services, an offer that was rebuffed by the player. What was largely unknown, to a degree, was what kind of offer was submitted. More clarification can be gained from the following Tweet, a Tweet that signals a ‘substantial’ offer. The first Tweet announces what is already known, that Leeds would like to acquire Salibur’s services. However, it is the following Tweet that is of significance with the value of the offer. Leeds are said to have put in an offer for the Frenchman of €3.3m, or around £2.8m. Should this offered sum be correct, it shows a definite sense of Leeds’ ideas in the transfer market. By that, it appears that if they see a player that they think is a worthwhile addition to the squad, then the club aer willing to pay a significant fee to bring them onboard.

Tues July 5th. Leeds to play Atlanta at home Leeds United will round off their pre-season programme with a friendly against Serie A side Atalanta at Elland Road on AtlantaSaturday, July 30.The Italian club have agreed to play in Leeds during the final weekend before the start of United’s Championship season. Leeds traditionally play their last friendly of the summer at home on the final Saturday before the campaign begins and Atalanta will provide the strongest opposition among the teams lined up to meet Garry Monk’s side. United play Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers in Dublin next week before contesting two friendlies in the space of 24 hours against Guiseley on Friday, July 22 and Peterborough United on Saturday, July 23. Atalanta, who are based in Bergamo in northern Italy, finished 13th in the Serie A table last season.

Tues July 5th. United pay more unfair dismissal costs Former Education and Welfare officer Lucy Ward was fired from her position in July 2015 after 17 years years, and claimed unfair dismissal and sex discrimination at a hearing in April 2016. She has now been awarded £127,229 for sex discrimination and a further £5,525 in respect of unfair dismissal, according to the BBC.

Mon 4th of July . Monk moves another player out as Guingamp turn down bid for player. Casper Sloth has completed his move to Alaborg in Denmark for an undisclosed fee say that he is ‘a more complete player the one who oved to England’.L’Equipe saying Leeds have bid for Guingamp midfielder Yannis Salibur. Seem to suggest that a deal is unlikely for the attacking midfielder who doesn’t want to play in lower leagues.


Yannis Salibur has turned down the opportunity to play for the biggest one city club in the world – the fool!

Mon 4th of July LUFC Squad for Ireland The United squad will hold their first training session in Ireland this morning after landing in Dublin on Sunday evening for the start of a two-week pre-season training camp. Garry Monk’s 24-man travelling squad includes summer signings Marcus Antonsson and Kyle Bartley, while youngsters Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Tyler Denton, Paul McKay, Alex Purver, Ronaldo Vieira and Eoghan Stokes are all included for their first pre-season tour with the senior team. Stuart Dallas remains absent from the squad due to his international commitments with Northern Ireland this summer. United’s 24-man squad for the pre-season tour of Ireland is listed below by position and in alphabetical order of surnames. Goalkeepers Bailey Peacock-Farrell Marco Silvestri Ross Turnbull Defenders Sol Bamba Kyle Bartley Gaetano Berardi Liam Cooper Lewie Coyle Tyler Denton Paul McKay Charlie Taylor Midfielders Jordan Botaka Lewis Cook Toumani Diagouraga Alex Mowatt Luke Murphy Kalvin Phillips Alex Purver Ronaldo Vieira Strikers Marcus Antonsson Souleymane Doukara Lee Erwin Eoghan Stokes Chris Wood


Sako – One hopes he’s not a Habiou (‘The Duck) and more of a Becchio

Mon 4th of July Chance for Sacko but time up for Sloth. Hadi Sacko is on Leeds United’s pre-season tour. French winger Hadi Sacko could make a move to Leeds United, after being pictured on the club’s pre-season tour in a photo posted on Twitter by assistant boss Pep Clotet. It is unclear if Leeds are attempting to sign Sacko on a permanent or loan basis, with the 22-year-old currently under contract with Sporting Lisbon until 2020. Sacko was highly rated when he signed for the Portuguese club in 2014 from Bordeaux, signing a six-year contract. However his time in Portugal has been particularly disappointing, and earlier this year he explained his frustration, shortly after being sent on loan to French side Sochaux. He was quoted by Portuguese outlet Mais Futebol: “Things dragged on [with contract talks at Bordeaux], I was disappointed, so I accepted the proposal of Sporting. “I take responsibility for that choice and do not regret it. Now,I do not hide it, it has not been as expected. “Still, it has made me grow and I have not lost hope to impose myself there. My progress was delayed, but I’m not deHadiSakoHadiSakoad.” He added that when he signed with Sporting, he had no inkling he would be sent to play for the B Team, instead of the first team squad. Sacko added: “If I had HadiSakoHadiSakoknown … No one told me. Perhaps there is someone better than me. At the beginning, I admit I had some difficulties regarding the language, but I adapted.” In total he made only four appearances for Sporting’s first team, playing 54 times for their B Team instead, scoring 10 goals. His spell on loan at Sochaux was more productive, playing 14 times for the first team after signing on loan in January, netting twice, but was at least back to playing more competitive football. Hopefully he will be more of a Becchio and not a Pierre Laurent.


Sloth moves to Aalborg in Denmark having failed to make the grade at Leeds

Casper Sloth, who cost Leeds £600,000 when he joined from Aarhus in 2014, has never made an impact in his time at Elland Road and he is poised to follow Tommaso Bianchi and Giuseppe Bellusci out of Leeds.  United hope to finalise a deal with Aalborg in the next 24 hours, ending Sloth’s time at the club 12 months before his contract expires. Sloth made 14 appearances for Leeds, including seven league starts. Monk’s players, meanwhile, will begin training in Ireland this morning ahead of twCasperSlotho friendlies in Dublin next week. United are scheduled to play Shelbourne on July 13 and Shamrock Rovers three days later, the first of their pre-season fixtures.

Sunday 3rd of July. Leeds arrive in Ireland. Leeds arrive in Ireland to set up a training camp and play two friendlies against a Shelbourne side and a Shamrock rovers eleven now minus Pat Fenlon, who left the club today.


Sako (back) arrives in Ireland


Cead mile failte to Leeds July 2016

Sunday 3rd of July 2016 Who is Hadi Sacko ? This player joins United on tour of Ireland with the prospect of a loan season ahead. He is a winger, attacking player with Sporting Lisbon having been capped at all young levels by France, with an amazing 60M release clause, having signed from Bordeaux in 2014. It looks like United re trying to secure him on loan for the season subject to them being happy with his ability on the Irish tour and not another George Weah cousin. Hadi Sacko (born 24 March 1994, in Corbeil-Essonnes) is a French footballer who plays for Portuguese club Sporting Clube de Portugal in Primeira Liga. He plays as an attacking midfielder, winger or striker.[1] Of Malian descent, Sacko is a France youth international having represented his nation at under-16, under-18, and under-19 level.[2][3] On 31 May 2012, he signed his first professional contract at Bordeaux agreeing to a three-year deal.[4] Sacko was, subsequently, promoted to the senior team by manager Francis Gillot ahead of the 201213 season and assigned the number 12 shirt. He made his professional debut on 20 September 2012 in a UEFA Europa League group stage match against Belgian club Club Brugge.He was loaned in January 2014 to Ligue 2 side Le Havre, for the remainder of the season.[6] Sporting Lisbon On 28 August 2014, he joined Sporting Clube de Portugal on a 6 year contract, with the club stipulating a 60 million Euros release clause into his contract. On 1 February 2016, after scoring 10 goals in 54 games for Sporting CP B and failing to break into the Sporting first team, Sacko joined French Ligue 2 side Sochaux on loan and scored 2 goals in 14 appearances whilst on loan Of Malian descent, Sacko has represented France and represented his nation at under-16, under-18, and under-19 and France U20 level.

July 1st. Bartley relishing the prospectt of working with Monk again Kyle Bartley says he is relishing the opportunity to work under Garry Monk and Pep Clotet again after completing his season-long loan switch from Swansea City. The centre-back, our second new arrival of the summer, joined the South Wales side from Arsenal in 2012 – when Monk was still the club captain – before the new United boss and his assistant, Clotet, took charge the following season. Bartley, who is capped by England at Under-17s level, admits he had interest from elsewhere but insists he had no doubts about where he wanted to be spending the forthcoming campaign. “It feels fantastic to be here,” the 25-year-old said. “I found out about a week ago that Leeds were interested and, straightaway, it was something that I was really looking forward to. “I’m just happy to be here now and have everything signed. “There were a few other teams interested but as soon as I spoke to the gaffer, I told my agent that this was the only club for me. “With the massive history of the club and how big the club is, it was a no-brainer for me. “I want to come here and play week-in, week-out in what we hope will be a really successful season for the club. “I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think we could have a good season. I know how the manager is and what his mentality is – he won’t want anything less than the very best day in, day out. “I think, as long as everyone pulls in the same direction, which I know they will, then we can do really well.” On re-uniting with United’s coaching team, Bartley added: “As soon as I spoke to Garry and Pep, I knew this would be the place for me. “I’ve worked with them over the last two seasons and they’ve been absolutely fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about them. “It’s a great set-up here. All of the lads seem really good and obviously I already know the coaching staff. Everyone – the physios, the doctors, the canteen staff, the kitmen – has been fantastic. I just can’t wait to get going now.” Asked about his style of play, the defender said: “My idol growing up was Rio Ferdinand, so I tried to base my game around him. But it just depends on each game really. “I try to defend first but I also want to play out from the back. It all depends on the game and what the manager wants.


Bartley becomes signing no 2

July 1st. Signing number 2 Bartley arrives We are delighted to announce the signing of Swansea City defender Kyle Bartley on a season-long loan. Bartley, a former England Under-17s international, becomes our second new addition of the summer following the arrival of Swedish striker Marcus Antonsson earlier this week. The 25-year-old centre-back, who won the FA Youth Cup during his time with Arsenal’s Academy, played alongside and worked under new United boss Garry Monk at the Liberty Stadium. Bartley began his career in the youth system at Bolton Wanderers before making the switch to Arsenal and helping the Gunners to the Premier Academy League title in 2009 – the same year he made his senior debut in a Champions League tie away to Olympiacos. Loan spells with Sheffield United and Scottish giants Rangers followed, before the Stockport-born defender joined Swansea in summer 2012. He spent the first half of the 2013/14 campaign on loan in the Championship with Birmingham City and, after impressing upon his return to South Wales, was handed a new three-year deal with the Premier League side. Bartley made eight appearances in all competitions for the Swans last season but will now link up with the United squad as they prepare to head to Ireland for their first pre-season friendly fixtures of the summer. “It feels fantastic to be here,” Bartley told leedsunited.com. “I found out about a week ago that Leeds were interested and, straightaway, it was something that I was really looking forward to. “I’m just happy to be here now and have everything signed. “There were a few other teams interested but as soon as I spoke to the gaffer, I told my agent that this was the only club for me. “With the history of the club and how big the club is, it was a no-brainer for me. “I want to come here and play week-in, week-out in what we hope will be a really successful season for the club.” United boss Garry Monk added: “I’m delighted to get Kyle in. Kyle has worked underneath me for the last two years and I know him very well – I know what he’s capable of. “I think defence is an area where we need to add strength to the quality that we already have. Kyle has worked with me and he knows how I work, so that helps. “I think he’s at a stage of his career where he wants to prove himself and try and fight for a place. “He’s big, he’s strong and he’s a very good defender. He’s a good leader, he talks very well, he’s a good organiser and a good communicator. “All of those things will help the squad.”

July 1st Bellusci departs United defender Giuseppe Bellusci has joined Serie A side Empoli on a season-long loan. The Italian centre-back, who featured 31 times in all competitions during the last campaign, returns to his homeland due to family reasons, with a view to a permanent move due. Bellusci, a summer 2014 signing from Catania, has 61 United appearances to his name in total. The Club would like to wish Giuseppe the very best of luck during his time in Italy. Few Leeds fans will mourn the departure of a player who was a hazard in defence and also in the dressing room by all accounts. It looks like Casper Sloth will also join him shortly through the exit door as he finalises a move back to his home country.


Beattie and Monk

July 1st James Beattie joins coaching staff We are delighted to welcome James Beattie to Leeds United as the Club’s new first-team coach. The former England international, who worked alongside Garry Monk and Pep Clotet during their time at Swansea City, becomes the latest summer addition to the United backroom team. Beattie, a Premier League striker with Southampton, Everton and Stoke City during a prolific playing career, also spent just over a year as manager of Accrington Stanley after initially joining the League Two side as a player-coach. The 38-year-old departed Swansea last December and was quickly identified by Monk as the man to assume the position at United in time for pre-season training getting underway earlier this week. I’m delighted to be here,” Beattie told leedsunited.com .It’s a huge club and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”I’ve worked with Garry and Pep before and I know how they work with the high standards and the values that they’ll bring to the club. “This club has got untold potential to be whatever it wants to be, and we see that as a challenge. “I feel that the level of training and coaching we can bring to the club is of a very high standard. “We’ve got a young squad that we are looking forward to developing, coaching and providing guidance. We need to get them playing in the right way and try to help everyone create something really special.” Reflecting on his coaching career to date, Beattie added: “I’ve had a taste of management at Accrington, which was a brilliant experience. “I learned a lot of things about the job – we were right up against the coalface – and I got a lot of respect from people within the game for that.”Then I went to Swansea, where I spent a lot more time on the grass, coaching elite players. I really enjoyed that and the building of relationships with them.”I’ve come in this week to a fantastic training facility. It gives us an environment where the players will be encouraged to develop and to flourish and to bring out their own natural personalities and talents.”We’ll be doing a lot of work tactically, physically and technically and hopefully that will set them off on a pathway to get Leeds back where they belong.”