July 31st End of Yorkshire Radio.  LEEDS United have dramatically pulled the plug on their in-house radio station.Yorkshire Radio will be going off air at 6pm today, the club announced in a statement.The statement said United wanted to concentrate their digital media output on their website and LUTV online television channel. Leeds managing director David Haigh said: “This is one of the toughest decisions we have made, and we would like to place on record our thanks to all the staff at Yorkshire Radio, who have worked tremendously hard over the years to build up a Yorkshire sports station on DAB.” Yorkshire Radio was launched in 2006, just over a year into Ken Bates’ time in charge at Leeds. Speaking at the time, he said: “This gives us a potential audience of some four to five million listeners. Since coming to Leeds I have been very impressed by the people of Yorkshire and the vibrancy of the county and I think they deserve a radio station to match.” Bates was removed as president at the end of last week by the club’s recently-installed owners, Dubai-based investment bank GFH Capital.A message posted on Twitter by Yorkshire Radio director Ben Fry said: “Thanks to everyone who has listened to the station over the last seven years and  to those who have contributed on air and supported us”. Yorkshire Radio covered a wide range of sports and clubs but its biggest attraction for listeners was the full United match commentaries it provided. But the writing had been on the wall for the station since GFH signed a deal last month that allowed BBC Radio Leeds to resume United match commentaries after a lengthy absence.Writing online after news of the BBC deal was announced, Yorkshire Radio’s United commentator Thom Kirwin said: Listener choice is only going to be a good thing for everyone and whichever way you choose to listen this season let’s just hope it’s a successful campaign, that’s all we want and all that matters. Myself and (regular co-commentator Eddie Gray) will be covering every game this season.”

Shels 0-4 Leeds Selection. United: Cairns, Thompson, Killock, Taylor, Drury, Austin, Hunt (Walters 60), Dawson (Coyle 70), Mowatt, Smith, HallLeeds United winger Ryan Hall gave manager Brian McDermott a timely reminder of his ability as he scored twice in a comfortable 4-0 win for the Whites at Shelbourne. Quite a lot of the Louth branch were abroad on holidays but the Cooley contingent lead by Antoin Watters were vociferous in their support of BMac’s army, and maybe Hall staked a late claimThe United side was a mix of experienced players needing valuable game time and young professionals making their way in the game and they turned in a good display in front of a crowd of 2,177.Noel Hunt scored the opening goal on 15 minutes when getting on the end of a long pass by Rodolph Austin and the first of Hall’s goals made it two on 28 minutes as he turned to fire home.One of the youngsters, Ross Killock, added a third in the second half with the defender heading home a cross after a corner had not been cleared.Striker Hunt was taken off after an hour, with Saturday’s opening Championship game against Brighton in mind, but his replacement, Lewis Walters, also looked dangerous and Leeds continued to dominate.They could have had more goals, but managed just one more when Hall produced a good finish over the keeper.It was a decent final pre-season workout for first team squad players Austin, Smith, Zac Thompson and Adam Drury as well as another step on the road to recovery from injury for attacking midfielder Chris Dawson, who completed 70 minutes.

Sat 27th of July.  United sack Bates as President -Ken Bates reign as president ended weeks into his three years reign after he booked private jets for his own use without permission from to fly him from Monte Carlo to Leeds it was alleged last night-from Gulf News

London, England: Ken Bates on Sunday revealed he was sacked as president of English Championship club Leeds United after a disagreement over a private jet.Former Chelsea chairman Bates bought Leeds in 2005 and remained on the board after selling the three-time English champions to Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) in December 2012. But the 81-year-old’s time with the Yorkshire outfit appears to have come to an acrimonious end after reports that he renewed a contract with a private jet company without the approval of GFH.Bates had used a private jet to travel between his base in Monaco and Leeds before matches for eight years and is adamant that the contract, reported to be worth £120,000-per-year (Dh678,161), he signed to become president continued that arrangement with the full knowledge of GFH.“If you look at the contract which they drew up I have been doing that mode of transport for the last eight years and they included it in the contract, so there’s nothing new there, I don’t have to justify it,” Bates told TalkSport.Yet Bates was on holiday in Italy when he received a hand-delivered letter informing him of his dismissal.“Basically I had a chance of renewing that travel expense contract at a price that is cheaper than existing and at the same time, more importantly, it was in sterling and protects Leeds’ [accounts] because all gas is bought in dollars,” Bates said.“So, I checked with a solicitor and he confirmed that a director had the authority to commit a club or a company in which he was a director.“That was on June 27. On July 24 I had a hand-delivered letter telling me that I had broken the contract or agreement and asking me for my comments.“On July 28 I get another letter telling me they have terminated my contract. In all that time, not one person from GFH had rung me to discuss the matter.” Bates, who sold Chelsea to Roman Abramovich in 2003, is regarded as one of the football world’s more colourful characters after numerous controversial comments during his reigns at both Chelsea and Leeds. Good riddence you parasite.

Sat 27th of July Leeds lost 2-0 at home to FCNurmbergh in the last of their per season friendlies

Weds 24th of July Haigh targets promotion “within two years”. Leeds’ new owner David Haigh says he wants the club to be back in the Premier League within two years. The Whites haven’t played in the top flight since 2004 but after years of inconsistency, things now look to be going right direction at Elland Road, with boss Brian McDermott targeting a number of exciting players following the signing of Luke Murphy from Crewe and the arrival of Noel Hunt on a free transfer. Haigh obviously has big plans for the club and believes it is time that the ‘last sleeping giant’ of English football gets back to where he feels they belong. Our ambition is to be back in the Premier League in two years and we think that’s a realistic goal, it’s what we are aiming for,” he told The Sun. “We have said we want to build a sustainable future for Leeds and bring the last sleeping giant in English football out of its slumber.”

Tues 23rd. Stevenage 0-3 Leeds United (report from LUFC)  United leave Lamex as 3-0 winners… STEVENAGE 0, UNITED 3 (Varney 71, 76, 80). UnitedKenny, Thompson, Lees, Pugh, Drury, Green (Austin 59), Brown, Norris (McCormack 59, Murphy 82), White, Varney (Hunt 81), Poleon. Subs. Cairns, Warnock, Peltier, Tonge, Lenighan.Referee: M Russell Att: 2,751 There was a much changed starting line-up for United’s final away pre-season trip to Stevenage. Brian McDermott made eight changes from the team that started at Walsall three days earlier, the only remaining names on the teamsheet were Paddy Kenny, Tom Lees and Paul Green.

Aidy White at Stevenage

During the opening exchanges neither side were given the time to settle on the ball with both sides closing down well.

The first clear opportunity of the half went to the home side on the quarter-hour mark. Good work from Luke Freeman made an opening but Lees made a decisive block.

The home side attacked again five minutes later, and it was Lees with an inch perfect challege that prevented Oumare Tounkara having an attempt on goal.

Kenny was also called into action for the first time on 22 minutes when he made a great block to deny Jon Ashton.

On the half hour mark United created a first meaningful chance of the evening. Good hold-up play by Dominic Poleon led to a great chance for Green to strike at goal, but his attempt went over the bar.

Moments later United carved out the best chance of the half when Aidy White carried the ball 20-yards, beating three men in the process but Poleon couldn’t connect with the midfielder’s cross.

With the half drawing to a close it was United that pushed for the opening goal. Michael Brown struck a free kick that brought a great save from Chris Day and the midfielder’s effort proved to be the final attempt of the half.

Zac Thompson at Stevenage

United started the second half brightly, White was involved again and his good work led to David Norris seeing his strike fly over Day’s goal.

United started to control proceedings and 10 minutes after the interval Zac Thompson’s through ball set up Poleon, but the striker saw his effort saved.

United’s early pressure almost brought the opening goal when Luke Varney’s headed effort went just wide. The United boss rang the changes on 60 minutes by introducing Ross McCormack and Rudy Austin to proceedings.

The fresh faces sparked Brian McDermott’s side into life and it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken. Great build-up play from Thompson was followed by Varney converting Austin’s cross and heading the ball past the Stevenage keeper.

The goal was Varney’s first of pre-season and he doubled his tally five minutes later when he made no mistake after being put through on goal, to finish calmly past Day.

And just minutes after the restart Varney completed a nine minute hat-trick when he converted from the penalty spot. Moments later the striker received a standing ovation after being replaced by Noel Hunt.

With just five minutes of the game remaining Brown almost capped off the evening, but he saw his 20-yard lofted effort skim the crossbar as it went over. Verdict : Another patchy performance from the Whites. The home side should have been at least two goals to the good at half time. It will worry BMac that United had little drive until Austin came on in the 59th minute. Within 21 minutes, Leeds were three up. Varney is our in form striker and will start against Brighton. Austin misses the first two games of the season and will start in Dublin against Shels according to the manager after the match. With Byram also about to miss the start of the season, there is a worrying lack of pace in our side. We have to sell before we can buy. Once again Hall didn’t even feature on the bench as it looks likely he will be farmed out on loan or sold (if we can find a buyer). McDermott knew we needed a win last night to help build confidence and he will be concerned that McCormack didn’t dinish the macth having to go off with a slight bgroin strain when he came on with a half hour to go.

Tues 23rd. Leeds v Shelbourne. Taken from LUFC website : (and note the Louth flag in the top left corner)

Reminder to fans of Leeds XI fixture...

Fans at Shelbourne

Fans are reminded that we will be travelling to Dublin next week for a game against Shelbourne.

Brian McDermott will take a team to Shelbourne that is expected to be a mix of senior and young professionals.

The game is at Tolka Park on Monday July 29 (7:45pm) and tickets are available fromwww.tickets.ie.

I will be away on holidays as will Greg and quite a number of others, but Antoin Watters of the LUSC committee may be running a mini bus. Contact Antoin on 087/9213975.

Tues 23rd of July Knobs, energy and Byram.  Ross McCormack on his twitter account announced : “The person who has put it about that I handed in a transfer request is a knob”. Meanwhile BMac has called for more “energy and better decision making on the ball” when Leeds take on Stevenage in Tuesday’s friendly as helooks for a recation to the abysmal Walsall performance. He said: “The thing for me is that we have to be much, much better without the ball. We have to make sure that when the opposition has the ball, we get in their faces and we have to close down and that’s what we worked on in training on Monday. “I know these guys can pass it and are good players ,but without the ball we have to be much better. “When the ball goes dead we have to remain switched on and everything about that and the details will be nailed down in the next 10 days or so. “We had a reaction in training on Monday which was good and the atmosphere was good as well. We are looking forward to the game on Tuesday night now.”In that respect, tonight’s opponents Stevenage, well known for their robust, high-octane style, should a perfect test for United, with McDermott looking forward to renewing acquaintances with a familiar face at Broadhall Way in the shape of home manager Graham Westley. McDermott added: “Graham is a good friend of mine. I spent a bit of time with him (earlier) in the summer and I like him a lot. “He has been a very successful manager at Stevenage and he is a good man and he works very hard. “He spent a bit of time with me at Reading and I did the Pro License with him as well and I’ve got a lot of time for him.” McDermott added that he would be surprised if Sam Byram was fit in time for the start of the season, but Diouf was showing some progress in fitness.

Mon 22nd of July. Hunt appointed new CEO of Leeds United. Leeds United have appointed former Blackburn Rovers deputy chief executive Paul Hunt as the club’s new acting chief executive. The Elland Road post has been vacant since a boardroom shake-up at the start of this month that included previous incumbent Shaun Harvey stepping down and reverting to the role of director. Ken Bates also relinquished the position of chairman and was replaced by Salah Nooruddin with David Haigh, a director of owners GFH Capital, becoming managing director. Haigh said: “We are very pleased with this appointment, as it strengthens the existing management team we have in place. Paul has already been working with the club in an advisory capacity and in his new role he will have a key part to play in the day-to-day management of the club.” Hunt, who has also worked for Leicester City and Wigan Athletic, arrives at Leeds with a wealth of football experience. His time at Blackburn, however, ended controversially in 2012 after a letter to the Lancashire club’s owners calling for manager Steve Kean to be sacked was leaked by another party to the media. Kean had become a hate figure among Rovers’ supporters and Hunt’s sentiments struck a chord with the regulars at Ewood Park, but the club’s owners decided to stick with the Scot. Hunt’s brief will be to oversee the day-to-day running of the football club, leaving managing director Haigh and chairman Nooruddin free to concentrate on bringing in investment at Elland Road.

(see his leaked letter) - Wednesday 21st December 2011

Paul Hunt

Deputy CEO

Blackburn Rovers

Ewood Park




I have been your senior officer at the club for 6 months now and I feel that I must now write to you to ask you to make some significant changes to save the club, perhaps from relegation but also perhaps from administration.

In twenty years of the Premier League there has been only one side that was bottom of the league at Christmas that has survived relegation at the end of the season. With the bank closing in, I fear that they will look to foreclose and have the potential to implement financial restrictions upon the club that could (as a worst-case scenario) enforce administration.

I have kept quiet for a time now out of utmost respect and I trust that you realise that I am only emailing you now as I want what is only the best for Blackburn Rovers and the owners. I am very much of the opinion that we can save the club and I have always been very supportive and positive towards the owners. Therefore I hope you know that what I am saying is considered, honest, constructive and from the heart.

I ask that we instigate all the changes below in this 10 point plan. If we do, then I guarantee that, come the summer, the club will be in a much stronger position than it is now. This will give the owners the following benefits:

  • · A richer asset in the club as a whole
  • · A happy, strong and valuable playing squad
  • · Peace of mind that it is being run admirably
  • · Protection for the Venky’s brand and the BRFC brand
  • · The full backing of the Premier League
  • · Deliver the community a club to be proud of
  • · A devoted team of staff

1. Promotion to CEO

I am aware that that when we met in April, we said we would look at this within the first year. I believe now is the right time to promote me to CEO. The “Deputy” title is confusing to staff, supporters and media. I am confident that I now have the knowledge to be able to deliver strong progress. We have a great club, good team and an excellent range of staff that I feel can take this club forward, given the right support from the owners. Naturally, with extra responsibility I would like extra salary and I would be happy with a relatively modest increase with the promise of a good bonus and increase in salary in the summer that would reflect the improvement in position. I am currently the lowest paid senior club official in the Premier League.

2. Owners to invest in the club

As you are aware Barclays have asked for the owners to put £10m into the business. This needs to happen and I am confident that this could only be a loan as we would increase the value of the club significantly. With all the speculation in the press the playing staff value and overall club value is depreciating on a daily basis. By putting an end to this the owners would be protecting their investment, putting their trust in the executive team and the club. The position with the finances is a cause for grave concern. Auditors KPMG have put as many obstacles as they can in the way of signing off the accounts due to their concerns. We continue to try and work with Barclays but they are very quickly losing patience as we cannot give answers. We have been forced to agree to additional spending against our wishes (Christmas hampers, sponsoring the Princes Trust event etc) and I am fearful that the situation will only get worse.

During January we need additional funding to pay wages etc. Scottish club Hearts did not pay their players in November and have effectively breached their contracts. By law (supported by FIFA) the players can now annul their contracts, seek other clubs and still chase the club for payment of their wages. Clearly, the club will not receive any fee for any transfers. See link http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/football/spl/2011/12/10/hearts-stars-told-they-can-walk-away-from-club-now-over-unpaid-wages-86908-23623969/

You may also be aware that HMRC (tax authorities) have been chasing Portsmouth Football Club for a debt they owe. HMRC have made a technical mistake in law and therefore cannot claim the money they are owed. They will make sure of course that the next football club that falls out of line, won’t be so lucky. We need to make sure that this club is not Blackburn Rovers.

3. Manager to change and report to the CEO

Publicly I have been asked to support the manager and I always have as I personally like Steve. I have supported him from the start and have been desperate for him to do well. However, I am now of the opinion that it isn’t working and he is ready to go. He has lost the crowd and as a result of this evening’s game has lost the dressing room as well – the players no longer want to play for him. It is a shame and disappointing but we must act now to save the club. The board should be asked their opinion in who should be the new manager. The board has over 60 years football experience between them, it would be a travesty not to rely on that experience for the biggest decision the club will make this season. The new manager should now report into the board who then recommend and endorse his wishes to the owners. Allow the board to protect the owners from the media, supporters etc.

4. Trust the executive – bring us in

Give the executive team at Ewood Park, the latitude and authority to run the club. Everything at the club needs to come through either myself, Simon Hunt or Karen Silk – both Karen and Simon are excellent appointments. We have vast experience and with Vineeth as well, I am sure we have a winning team. The owners must learn to trust us. I am enjoying working with Vineeth and although he has little experience in football, he is quickly learning. I am trying to establish him with all the other staff too and am introducing him to the Heads of Department on an ongoing basis. I don’t really think for one minute that the owners will allow this club to go into ruin but without knowing this for

sure, we need to be prudent. However, if we had more information on your plans, strategy and thoughts going forward (after assisting you in formulating that strategy of course) then we can support and deliver growth. Without knowing the plan, we will of course be guarded and suspicious. With our fiduciary responsibilities as directors, if the club goes under, the directors (including Vineeth, Mahesh and Gandhi Babu) are all potentially personally liable for that failing and the courts could take our houses from us. My family do not deserve this.

5. PR just from Ewood

Another big issue is the PR and the fact that a lot of it in the past has come from India, without our knowledge. ALL press statements need to come from Ewood Park with me as the spokesman. That way we can control all the output and protect the owners. I will take on an experienced PR consultant who will advise the board/owners. It will be someone who will be aware when any negative stories are about to hit the press. We must now remove the club from being headline news for the wrong reasons. A full PR strategy needs to be instigated from January 1st that re-engages the owners with the supporters – the owners need to trust us in this regard as we know our customers. As owners you are not protected. Use the board (and manager combined) as a buffer zone to the media, the bank, the fans and we will protect you. I want to tell the media that what they are printing is not true but the truth is that I do not know. It is clearly evident that neither yourself, Bala or Venky currently feel comfortable coming to Ewood Park. If we as an executive team had more say, day to day running and authority, we would be able to support you and take all the criticism ourselves. The damaging story in the Mail on Sunday has caused players, staff and the supporters much concern. We need to invest time in stopping leaks leaving the club.

6. Regular visits to India

To be able to understand the strategy and to assist the owners, the executive team of myself, Simon Hunt and Karen Silk must visit India once every two months as a minimum. This way we can be together on all issues and help to craft them with our experience. I am happy for the new manager to be a part of that delegation and would welcome his input. I am very concerned that I have not met with you properly during the six months I have worked at the club. You have asked me to deal with things locally but to be able to do this, as I have asked before, I need a greater understanding of your aspirations so I can deliver on them. If you keep me informed and learn to trust me, I can be your mouthpiece.

7. Regular visits to Blackburn and Premier League games

The owners must attend games in Blackburn as often as possible and I would suggest that at least one of the owners is present for at least a quarter of the games. The staff needs to meet you and get to know you too – whenever I have met the owners, I feel warm and strong and you instil in me the fight to face challenges and win. The supporters also need to meet you and we need to get the message of solidarity out there as quickly as possible.

8. Hire and Fire

The executive team at Blackburn Rovers must be allowed to hire and fire staff. We will of course ask for the owner’s opinion for senior positions but we must

be allowed the latitude in this. In Simon Williams we have someone who is against the owners and spreads the word wherever he can. I am disappointed I was not allowed to remove him from post in the summer, when he and the rest of the staff were expecting it. We must act soon in this regard and look to review other positions and then give the staff great morale.

9. Lost revenue and brand equity

We are losing fans/customers at an alarming rate. I am very concerned that fans are voting with their feet and not attending, not purchasing and not engaging with the club. Research shows that only 5% of ex season ticket holders will ever return. We are losing sponsors and suppliers. I am concerned we will lose Umbro if we continue to manufacture Rovers shirts in India for the RoverStar programme. Their contract specifically disallows this and we are putting at risk £800k of annual revenue. The Blackburn Rovers and Venky’s brands are both suffering terribly. Whilst there are negative goings on such as protests, complaints, media stories, unhappy fans etc, then both brands are losing brand equity and consequently, losing value. I am also concerned that the Premier League will intervene soon as they may take the view that their brand is being tarnished by association too. It is all reparable of course but we must start to act now by building bridges with fans and the media as above.

10. Support is necessary / Final thoughts

I am disappointed that we have not managed to progress as I would have liked over the past 6 months. I for one was very excited to be given the opportunity and wanted to assist the owners in delivering strong progress for the club. However, we have been too busy fire fighting (protests, media intrusion, finance issues) to do this so far. As you know, I like to be proactive but the current climate only allows us to be reactive.

I feel impotent as I am not asked by yourselves about my opinion on matters. I joined the club to make a difference, not to sit by and simply action instructions. I appreciate that my advice will not always be acted upon but I am disappointed that I am not asked. I have a great deal to contribute and have great experience. I won’t get it right every time but will always do my best and learn from any mistakes.

My concern is for the staff. They have put up with a lot recently and are still supportive. They live in the community and are being asked questions by their friends and family but cannot answer them. They are also being challenged at the games and when they come into contact with fans. Most are junior or part time staff who are feeling under pressure. I am concerned that they are going to become too stressed and will look to get jobs elsewhere. We have some great staff and cannot afford to lose them.

I may be speaking out of turn here, but I am also concerned that no one reports everything to you, that is, everyone tries to report positive news and are not overly forthcoming when negative news needs to be told. By not having the full details, anyone would find it difficult to make decisions that encompass all the facts, all of the time. I am sure that if you were exposed to the full story, no matter how negative sometimes, that you would do the right thing. I need to be able to report a little more readily to you and on an infinitely more regular basis.

Please don’t view this as me questioning the owners unjustly. Please be reassured that I do question things, it means I am doing things right for the club and the owners by not accepting things lightly. This is how I work and how I must continue to work to get the best for Blackburn Rovers. With my experience of Blackburn now and my previous experience at three other prominent clubs, I do feel as though my suggestions come from a position of strength and can make a huge difference to life at Blackburn Rovers.

I would very much appreciate an opportunity to speak with you on these points by invitation to India. Without instigating these points it will get more and more difficult to deliver progress for the club. I call on the owners to act, to play their part in the investment that puts all our minds at rest, and then allows me and the executive team to initiate all of the above points for the greater good of Blackburn Rovers.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

With very best wishes for a bright future,



Leeds new away kit

Mon July 22nd – New Kit launched. United have unveiled their new away strip for season 2012/13.  The design is a new direction for the club and incorporates a gold shirt with navy detailing teamed with navy shorts. The collar of the shirt is a gold and navy rib which is reflected in the socks, completing the kit which will be worn by the team on their travels over the forthcoming season. The shirt and shorts feature a tonal navy and gold crest which can also be seen on the new range of training wear which has already received a great response from supporters. The full away kit will be available to buy instore and online from 9am on Thursday, July 25, and will be worn by the team when they face Nurnberg in the home pre-season friendly on Saturday, July 27.



Green Challenges

Sunday July 21st 2013. Leeds United’s transfer dealings; up to scratch or way below par? -  I’d Radebe Leeds(I think most Leeds fans would share these views). Ever since Brian McDermott took the reins at Elland Road it’s been obvious to players, staff and fans that a great reshuffle was needed in the upcoming transfer window for promotion to be a realistic aim, with just six weeks until deadline day and two weeks until the Championship begins, has United’s progress been good enough? White’s manager Brian McDermott said at the start of the summer he was looking to bring seven new faces to Thorpe Arch with five coming in on free transfers and two requiring a fee. McDermott has always stated he’ll do what’s best for the club financially; his ethos was proven when he gave up the chase to sign one of his targets due to an astronomical price tag. It is clear that McDermott doesn’t require crazy money to create his idea of a promotion contending squad, so in theory meeting his needs shouldn’t be too much of a problem for owners GFH-Capital, but it has been. United’s first signing came back in June when Oldham’s FA Cup superstar Matt Smith rocked up at Elland Road, his height resembling that of a giant and strength obvious it wasn’t difficult for fans to realise he’d be a huge help to us in the air when going for goal. McDermott said he was ‘delighted’ with his signing, so far so good. As the weeks passed it wasn’t just the supporters that were growing restless. News emerged that McDermott had voiced his concerns with the club’s owners during a private Q&A at a swanky hotel in Leeds; several fans claim that the frustrated manager made it clear that the money he was originally promised would not make its way to his grasp. He allegedly divulged that he was promised three million pounds for transfer fees and the same again for wages, figures that had now been slashed to the million pound mark. Panic set in amongst fans when the manager shared that wheeling and dealing would be necessary, perhaps meaning a sale of wonder boy Sam Byram. Striker Steve Morison was the first to feel the effects of the cash shortage, as he was loaned out to league rivals Millwall in a bid to reduce the wage bill. It wasn’t long after this news circulated that we were rumoured to be swooping in for Crewe Alexandra midfielder Luke Murphy – a player who looked set to be on his way to Blackburn. Sure enough it filtered through that we had placed a seven figure bid for the 23–old, and the next day to the shock of the Leeds faithful he was a United player. This, along with a few carefully placed cryptic messages posted on twitter by directors Haigh and Patel, led the fans to believe McDermott had finally received the backing he’d sought after. Just before the squad jetted off to Slovenia the worst kept secret in football was revealed when McDermott favourite Noel Hunt revealed his white shirt in front of the press, the wages lost by Morison’s departure presumably gave this deal the green light. It wasn’t long however, before the harsh reality was back to bite us in the backside, in several interviews during the pre-season tour of Slovenia, the boss made it crystal clear that we’d still need to sell to buy, and investment in the squad wasn’t going to happen. McDermott has negotiated with his targets, and he’s not kept it a secret that those targets are keen on a move to Yorkshire, the only stumbling block in these deals is the financial backing that the gaffer needs to receive. With two losses in Slovenia and a shocking performance at Walsall it’s apparent the squad is a long way off challenging for promotion, and that can only be rectified by purchasing some quality players. For McDermott to finalise his targets and get the deals over the line he’ll need to move some players along to lessen the wage bill, the snag with that being the lack of interest in the ‘deadwood’ we’ve seemed to accumulate during Warnock’s stint as manager. As far as transfer proceedings go, this year hasn’t been too bad for us and we’ve managed to bring in three good, useful players, but we still lack greatly in the centre of defence and in the wide areas. These areas will need to be strengthened in order for us to challenge, I know that, you know that, McDermott knows it, but will GFH acknowledge it? Colin was allowed to bring in circa 20 players, whether on loan or as we see now through dead wood two to three year contract permanent signings. Two free transfers and a £1M signing is a long away from the sort of the support McDermott was lead to believe he had. The numbers out there are (we were lead to believe) £3M on transfers and a further £3M on wages. We need width, pace and Matt Mills. By all means get rid of the dead wood in the panel which is not of his making, but don’t let him start a season with one hand tied behind his back. The message to GFH is simple : “Back him” or watch us struggle to mid table mediocrity again.

Paul Green v Walsall


Sat July 20thWalsall 1-0 Leeds.Report from Phil Hay – YEP.   Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce (Pugh 80), Warnock, Green, Tonge (White 60), Murphy, McCormack, Hunt (Varney 72), Smith (Poleon 46). Subs (not used): Cairns, Brown, Norris, Thompson, Varney, Drury. Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)  Attendance: 3,900 (1,707 Leeds). Leeds United paid for a disjointed first half as Craig Westcarr’s goal condemned them to a third straight pre-season defeat. Walsall punished a lacklustre performance from Brian McDermott’s side and Leeds were unable to reply to Westcarr’s early strike at the Banks’s Stadium. United’s loss followed on from their defeats to Domzale and Ferencvaros in Slovenia and left McDermott to consider his options ahead of the opening game of the Championship season on August 3. United’s manager named a team which was close to his strongest but Leeds struggled to contain Walsall before the break. The hosts opened the scoring after 12 minutes when former United trainee James Baxendale accepted a through-ball from Adam Chambers and squared a pass to Westcarr who dispatched a difficult volley on the run. Leeds created spells of pressure and a number of opportunities and Tom Lees was denied by a brilliant save from Richard O’Donnell in the 25th minute. The defender met Stephen Warnock’s corner with a firm header which Walsall’s goalkeeper pushed onto his crossbar. Ross McCormack also failed to beat O’Donnell from close range and Matt Smith saw an effort cleared off the line by James Chambers but Baxendale wasted a good opportunity for Walsall on 35 minutes as his shot curled wide of Paddy Kenny’s far post. McDermott introduced Dom Poleon at the start of the second half and his presence made an immediate difference. The young forward should have levelled in the 48th minute but stabbed the ball against O’Donnell’s chest and Noel Hunt’s spared Walsall again when his free header bounced wide from 10 yards. O’Donnell frustrated Leeds further when he dived to parry a goalbound strike from Michael Tonge and Walsall found United’s defence increasingly resistant until the closing stages. Ashley Hemmings was unable to connect as Baxendale fired the ball in front of him with only Kenny to beat on 63 minutes but Ben Purkiss should have put the win beyond doubt when he volleyed James McQuilken’s delivery over an open goal. Aidy White almost snatched a draw late one with a spectacular volley which dropped into the crowd. A third defeat in a row is a concern especially in the manner Leeds went down. We lacked width and penetration against an inexperienced side. Brian McDermott talked of frustration about bringing in his targets, admitting that players will have to go out before players come in. He feels (as we all know) that he lacks a centre back and at least one winger. Two weeks before we kick off the season and booed off by a section of our away support reflects where we are.


Sat July 20th. McDermott plays waiting game in transfer market – Phil Hay. Leeds United manager Brian McDermott has held further discussions with the club’s managing director, David Haigh, in an effort to break the impasse over a proposed fourth summer signing. McDermott and Haigh met for talks on Friday (July 19) after another week of patience from United’s boss failed to reward him with a new arrival. Incoming deals at Elland Road have run dry since Leeds announced two in the space of three days a fortnight ago, unveiling Luke Murphy and Noel Hunt, and McDermott flew home from the club’s tour of Slovenia on Wednesday with the intention of speaking to his board about the situation. McDermott has signed a total of three new players in the summer transfer window and his well-publicised pursuit of a fourth target appears to have ground to a halt. United’s boss is refusing to name the player concerned but, as revealed in the YEP yesterday, Leeds have approached Bolton Wanderers over the availability of centre-back Matt Mills, formerly McDermott’s captain at Reading. Brighton’s Gordon Greer has also been identified as a possible recruit and McDermott gave a hint about his plans by appearing to suggest that a potential signing has been earmarked to carry the captain’s armband at Elland Road next season. Asked about his latest target, McDermott said: “It hasn’t changed. Nothing’s really changed as far as that’s concerned. I want it to be done, it’s really important for me that it gets done.” Lee Peltier is United’s captain at present but the right-back looks likely to replaced by McDermott before the Championship season starts. Peltier admitted this week that he would pass on the armband without complaint if McDermott chose to relieve him of the position and appoint a new skipper. “The captain is something I’ll discuss with the players when the time comes,” McDermott said. “It’ll be done for the Brighton game – hopefully.” The slow trickle of players into Elland Road has increasingly dictated McDermott’s strategy for the new term with the Leeds manager committing to a midfield diamond formation. His tactics during three years at Reading were more reliant on wingers, helped by the presence of Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAnuff in his squad, but McDermott is lacking wide options at United and is likely to use his established formation again during this afternoon’s friendly against Walsall. “I like the way that the formation works,” he said. “It fits the players and you have to get a formation that fits them. There’s no point trying to put square pegs in round holes. It’s not what you do. “You have a set of players and you find a formation. Because of that, formations to me are pretty irrelevant. It’s all about the players.” For the fifth friendly running, Leeds will be unable to call on Sam Byram, Jamie Ashdown or El-Hadji Diouf at Walsall today but Noel Hunt has recovered from a groin strain and is available to start. McDermott is hoping for a more free and open game after a string of tight matches in Slovenia, saying: “They were very stop-start games over there and the refereeing standard was pretty diabolical. When the referee had to blow his whistle at the right times, he didn’t. Walsall will be different.” United’s Championship fixture list has suffered yet another alteration with their visit to Sheffield Wednesday now scheduled for Sunday, January 12 (ko 3pm). Leeds’ appearance at Hillsborough last October was marred by an attack by a United supporter on Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and this season’s fixture has been rearranged on police advice. There is a lot of deadwood in our squad and the pressure will be on McDermott to move them on before new players arrive. Varney, Tonge, Brown, Norris, Pugh and Hall  to name just six are ones that are all surplus to requirements.

Friday July 19thLeeds make move for Mills – Hay YEP. BOLTON Wanderers last night confirmed that Leeds United have enquired about the availability of Matt Mills. Manager Dougie Freedman revealed an approach from Leeds over a deal to take the defender to Elland Road – and said he would leave any decision on Mills’ future in the 27-year-old’s hands. But Freedman also suggested that Mills might opt to stay at the Reebok Stadium and fight for his place despite the possibility of a reunion with Brian McDermott. Leeds boss McDermott managed Mills at Reading and handed him the captain’s armband in the season leading up to the club’s Championship play-off final defeat to Swansea City in 2011. Reading sold Mills to Leicester City for £5million in the aftermath of that loss, sacrificing one of the most highly-rated centre-backs in the Championship, but his career has meandered since then and a short-lived spell with Leicester ended with a move to Bolton last summer. Mills’ time in Lancashire has been equally mixed – he made just 18 appearances last season – and Wanderers were believed to be keen to remove his salary of around £25,000 a week from their wage bill, with sources in Bolton claiming United are willing to pay half of that. United, meanwhile, are in need of a new centre-back, a requirement underlined by McDermott taking the opportunity to assess Lee Peltier in that position during Tuesday’s defeat to Ferencvaros in Slovenia. Former Leeds loanee Freedman said: “We had an enquiry from Leeds United, a phone call from their chief executive to enquire what his situation was. “He’s a very capable defender who I would like to keep but like everybody, if the right offer comes in and he tells me he wants to go then he can go. “I only want people at this football club who show the right attitude to being here. “Matt has shown the right attitude and he’s someone I’d like to work with.” Despite the enquiry about Mills, McDermott is thought to have other possibilities in mind and he was linked this week with Brighton’s Gordon Greer. McDermott has spent the past fortnight pushing to bring his fourth summer signing to Elland Road. Leeds have only two senior centre-backs available at present – Tom Lees and Jason Pearce – but McDermott admitted on Tuesday that Peltier’s performance in that position had given him another alternative. “He was excellent, he played really well,” McDermott said. “He can play that position for us, definitely.” Meanwhile, McDermott will change tack at Walsall tomorrow and give the first indication of how United plan to tackle Brighton on the opening day of the season. McDermott is ready break away from the fitness-focused strategy of United’s first four friendlies and give the majority of the players who start against Walsall a run-out to the final whistle. The Leeds manager fielded most of his squad for 45-minute in their matches against Farsley and Pomurje and rotated his team again in defeats to Domzale and Ferencvaros, with many who played an hour in the first game completing just 30 minutes in the second. But McDermott could give a pointer towards his preferred starting XI tomorrow, saying: “It won’t be 60-30 this time. “I’ll pick a team and make a few substitutions at certain points but it won’t be the same structure as it has been in the last couple of games.” United players were resuming training at Thorp Arch this morning having flown back from their tour of Slovenia on Wednesday. Sam Byram, El-Hadji Diouf and Jamie Ashdown are likely to miss tomorrow’s match and United are monitoring the groin strain which forced Noel Hunt to sit out of Tuesday’s defeat.

Friday July 19th. Leeds linked with Red Bull for sponsorship and ER naming rights. LEEDS United are in talks over a lucrative link-up with energy drink giant Red Bull that could lead to the renaming of the club’s Elland Road ground.It is understood top-level discussions have started between the club and the company about a possible shirt sponsorship agreement. No-one involved in those discussions is prepared to go on record as to how far reaching any deal could be. But today’s revelation is likely to prompt speculation that a stadium naming rights deal could also be under consideration. Red Bull is already involved with a string of football clubs around the world – the New York Red Bulls and Austria’s FC Red Bull Salzburg play in grounds named after the company. Asked whether the talks could involve a stadium naming rights deal, highly-respected brands expert Jonathan Gabay said: “It’s not out of the question.  “They would have to be cautious, because the initial reaction of football fans is to resist that kind of move. At the same time, however, I think fans are coming round to the idea that this is the way the sport is going.”Mr Gabay added: “As a brand, Red Bull is all about the idea of excitement. They would want to be involved with a club which matches that image.” United have made no public comment but managing director David Haigh is known to have well-placed contacts at Red Bull. A source close to the talks said: “Red Bull are a huge brand name and a partnership with Leeds would obviously be a really exciting coup.” Red Bull’s turnover in 2012 was close to five billion euros. The firm’s sporting interests away from football include a Formula 1 motor racing team.Talk of a new name for Elland Road will stir memories of United’s ground move plans during the chairmanship of Peter Ridsdale. Leeds chose a site off the A1(M) near Stourton for a new stadium and were in negotiations with a number of major international firms over naming rights before the proposal was scuppered by the club’s meltdown on and off the pitch.


Tues 16th of July. United taste defeat again  Leeds 0-1 Ferencvaros Kenny, Thompson, Peltier (Lees 63), Pearce (Pugh 63), Drury (Warnock 63), Austin (Green 63), Tonge (Norris 63), Murphy (Brown 63), McCormack (White 63), Varney, Smith (Poleon 63). Leeds United’s pre-season tour of Slovenia ended in a second successive defeat as Daniel Bode’s 53rd-minute goal earned Ferencvaros a 1-0 win in Murska Sobota. Leeds were punished for failing to take a string of chances and Bode’s shot on the turn was enough to separate the sides on a feisty night at the Fazanerija Stadium. Kick-off was delayed by violence between Ferencvaros’ 300-strong following and riot police behind one stand but the game played out in a good and competitive spirit on the pitch. Leed should have scored after eight minutes when Luke Varney nodded the ball down and Matt Smi th broke clean through, only to stab a lob over the crossbar. But Sandor Hidvegi drew a good save from Paddy Kenny moments later and Brazilian forward Somalia forced United’s goalkeeper into another block after breaking into the box on 11 minutes. The half meandered until the closing stages when Ross McCormack drew a diving save from Levente Jova with a curling free-kick and the referee refused to award Leeds a penalty despite Vladan Cukic appearing to bring down Rodolph Austin. McCormack went close again after the break when he sliced the ball from 10 yards out but Leeds were stung against the run of play when Bode controlled a dropping delivery and lashed it into Kenny’s net. David Norris had a late chance to equalise but failed to get on top of his volley and lashed it into the stands and Aidan White saw another attempt blocked while a blatant foul on Stephen Warnock inside Ferencvaros’ area again went unpunished. Ferencvaros: Jova, Hidvegi, Besic, Jozsi, Gyomber, Cukic, Alempijevic, Tuyp, Bode, Jovanovic, Somalia. Macca : “We have had a couple of penalty shouts and I hope the referee doesn`t referee in England anytime soon because they both looked like nailed on penalties to me.”

Tues July 16th. Brian McDermott in Dublin on Sunday Aug 4th.  I got a nice e-mail from Dave Kenny, secretary of Phoenix FC who  played Dundalk recently in the FAI Cup at Oriel Park. Dave and his club has Brian McDermott as a guest on bank holiday Sunday in Dublin and here is the balance of the e-mail. Tickets are very reasonably prices at just €10Euro each for anybody who can make it up on the night :  “We are Phoenix FC from the Navan Road in West Dublin close to Blanchardstown roundabout off the M50, a culmination of a merger between Ashtown Villa FC & Kinvara Ards FC.   We have 4 senior teams (LSL) and 17 schoolboy teams (DDSL & PhoenixNDSL).  We, like most clubs these days, need funds to keep surviving and with this in mind we are holding a fundraising event on Bank holiday Sunday 4th August, 2013 at 8.30pm in our local bar.  There is a Leeds United flavour about this event as you can see from the ticket attached and perhaps this is something that will attract your members attention & perhaps you can spread the word to other LUFC Supporters branches .  If you wish to purchase any tickets for this glamour event please let me know the amount urgently as the venue will hold max. 250 and we are starting to advertise & dispatch tickets from tomorrow so let me know and I can hold some for you? Best wishes     Yours in Sport Dave Kenny Club Secretary  (I’ll be happy to liase with Dave for any members who wish to make a night of it and but a few tickets. There will be a signed Leeds shirt raffled on the night also )


Tues 16thI’ll always do what ‘s right for Leeds – BMac – P Hay YEP. United boss Brian McDermott is happy with the way things are panning out on and off the field at Leeds as he tells Phil Hay. At certain points of his Slovenian tour, Brian McDermott has found himself speechless. Saturday afternoon was one of those moments as Leeds United’s adoring public flashmobbed him and his squad as they drove into a car park in Domzale. McDermott retreated into the quiet of the stadium and sat down by the press box, drawing breath and shaking his head. “They remind me of the Irish,” he said. “They’re just so into their club.” It will take time for him and others to forget the naked supporter who appeared in front of them. He has learned this week that devotion to Leeds takes many forms. The tale of his 50 Euro note and the treatment it got has been told to death and McDermott himself described how two of United’s kit men, Chris Beasley and Shaun Ford, drove 24 hours without a break to bring piles of equipment to Ptuj. “The ethos and the attitude – it’s everywhere and I love it,” he says. “That’s how a club should be.” McDermott created and nurtured a family of his own at Reading, which is one reason why his sacking in March wounded him. Away from the matter of how ruthlessly he was treated, in leaving Reading he left a lot behind – not least a club who mattered to him. Four months on, Leeds are easily filling what might have been a demoralising void. “It would have been hard to be without that,” McDermott says. “It was hard at first. I didn’t see Reading’s decision coming. There’s wasn’t a great deal of warning. But do I think about it now? Not much. “When it first happened it was on my mind a lot. That’s only natural. These days I think about Leeds United and there’s plenty to think about. People maybe underestimate that. When you ask ‘does what happened at Reading still rankle’, the honest answer is that it doesn’t have time to rankle. “I was sure I’d find more work when the time was right but what I’ve got here is truly special. I’ve ended up at a club who are steeped in history and have a fanbase which, quite honestly, you can’t get your head around sometimes. No matter what I thought back then, I feel very lucky now.” The passing of time and four months of living with Leeds United has repaired any cracks in McDermott’s relationship with Reading’s hierarchy. Their chairman, John Madejski, was a long-time ally and honest enough to say that he “would have kept him.” The man who sacked McDermott and appointed Nigel Adkins, Russian owner Anton Zingarevich, sent the 52-year-old a supportive and conciliatory text on the day of his appointment at Leeds. They will be able to share a drink when United and Reading play in Berkshire on September 17. “Reading are happy with the manager they’ve got and I hope Leeds are happy with the manager they’ve got,” McDermott says. “I don’t see the need for either of us to dwell on it any longer. I’m loving working here, absolutely loving it. “I’ll never say a bad word about Reading because I was there for 13 years and had a lot of success in different jobs. I’m not going to rewrite history. It was a fantastic part of my life. I’ve no problem with the owner, honestly I haven’t. I said to him that we’ll always be friends because we won a championship together. That’s how I feel. “I got a really nice text from Anton when I went to Leeds. That tells you something. They decided to go in a different direction and at the time that was difficult for me to accept. But when I step back now, I’ve actually got no problem with that. They went their own way just as Leeds did with me.” Zingarevich bid for a controlling stake in Reading in 2012, midway through McDermott’s three-year tenure, and was free to make a change which Madejski might not have countenanced. The experience of seeing power shift and directors come and go will not be wasted at Elland Road. Already McDermott has witnessed a change of chairman at Leeds – Ken Bates out, Salah Nooruddin in – and alterations to the day-to-day management structure. He deals directly with David Haigh, Leeds’ newly-appointed managing director, and is regularly on the phone to Bahrain, the base of Gulf Finance House which, when all is said and done, controls 86.77 per cent of United. Some managers leave the boardroom to look after itself. Others, like McDermott, prefer to watch it closely. “Oh yeah, I take an interest in that,” he says. “I’m very mindful of what’s going on and the changes that take place. I think it’s a naive manager who isn’t aware of what’s happening in the boardroom. It’s vital that you know. “But I’m very comfortable dealing with the owners here. I’m dealing with David Haigh now, I’m on the phone to him constantly and on the phone to other people in Bahrain. They want the club to go forward and at the moment I think the structure’s good. I’m happy with it.” GFH Capital, the subsidiary of Gulf Finance House which bought Leeds last December, has bobbed and weaved in the fight for credibility and trust. Arguably, the company holds higher public stock now than at any stage of the past seven months. The decision last week to return match day commentary rights to BBC Radio Leeds was, in the eyes of many, another attempt to address a matter which the previous regime got wrong. The recent movement in the boardroom also appealed to those who were tired of Bates’ methods of football club ownership. But more than anything, the £1million signing of Luke Murphy on the first day of July gave a riposte to the burning question in Leeds – can GFH Capital give its manager all he needs in the Championship? McDermott’s appointment in April as Leeds’ replacement for Neil Warnock was immensely popular, as Warnock’s appointment had been 13 months earlier, but by the end of June he began to give the impression that the slow drag in the summer transfer market was testing his patience. After days of discussions between manager and board, Murphy was signed and McDermott felt refreshed. “Signing Luke at the value we did was a big step forward,” he says. The situation, still, is not so straightforward. McDermott has been chasing his fourth signing for many weeks and is stuck in what appears to be a bit of an impasse. He has players who he would happily move on if Leeds could find takers and directors who have made plain to him the need to keep the wage bill on a leash. It might be too simple to say that McDermott needs to sell before he can buy but he has work to do on both fronts. “I’ve been supported in my time here but I also know that balancing the books is necessary,” he says. “If you look at my career I’ve always done that. I do what I have to do. “At Reading we sold Gylfi Sigurdsson, a massively gifted player, for a load of money to Germany. That was hard –hard for me – but it kept the place going and it kept us in the black. So we built again. Then we got to a play-off final and we lost Shane Long, Zurab Khizanishvili and Matt Mills, £10million worth of talent. Then we built again and won the league. “Was I happy with that? Quite frankly I’d like to be keeping all my players but you have to be mindful of the club and their circumstances. And as that period at Reading proves, balancing the books isn’t a barrier to success. “As long as everything is done for the best intentions of your club, nothing else matters to me. And I’ll always do what’s best for this club. Always.” To listen to McDermott throughout the summer, it is perfectly clear that the purpose of his pre-season programme is to be inclusive of everyone and to make the best of what he has.  Maximising the potential of his existing squad is one way of insuring against deals which might not happen and are still unconcluded. “There’s obviously one particular player I’m trying to get in,” he says. “I need that to happen. But I’ll tell you now, someone will come from within this squad and surprise you, I’m convinced about it. It happens a lot. “I had Jimmy Kebe at Reading. When I got the job he wasn’t a fans’ favourite but he turned himself into a fans’ favourite and became a terrific asset. It got to the point where if Jimmy wasn’t fit or able to play, it was seen as a bonus for the opposition. You just never know.” So onto next season and United’s chances. McDermott claims he hasn’t thought about that. “Pre-season sets you up for the season,” he says, with United’s players training around him, “so I’m only thinking about pre-season. This session actually. That’s how I work.” Speak to the players and supporters at large and it becomes apparent that McDermott is winning the battle of hearts and minds. He has several sides to him – serious and considered on camera but dry and witty away from it; evidently driven yet strangely short of ego. He was utterly bemused when the fan who took a 50 Euro note from him in Murska Sobota last week decided to keep it and get it signed. “Why on earth would he want to do that?” McDermott asked. Already, the mood at Leeds is as he wants it. “We’ve got no egos here and no-one cares who the credit goes to,” he says. “That’s a pretty fundamental situation. I don’t see how you can make a go of things if people are fighting or worrying about who’s getting which plaudits. “I don’t know what happened here last season. It doesn’t really matter. But I made the point when I came here that the way I work is everyone together. “If you don’t like that or you can’t cope with that then this isn’t the place for you – although how anyone can have a problem with working together and pushing in the same direction I’ve no idea.” He almost makes the job of managing Leeds United sound simple. Only McDermott could do that

Louth Neptune JIm Finlay and Neil Sullivan

Mon 15th of July.  BBC return and so does Neil Sullivan.Whilst Leeds broke their ceasefire with the BBC by signing a very sensible three year deal to cover Radio games and thus bring the ER games back to the Yorkshire public for free, Neil Sullivan, former Louth branch player of the year was unveiled as an academy goalkeeping coach. Another sensible arrival.


Mon 15th of July. Ready and waiting for Whites new centre half –Eddie  Gray YEP. These early games that Leeds are playing in pre-season don’t really count. They are all to do with fitness and the manager will try and get the players fit and try and get them ready for the season. He will try and formulate in his own mind what he thinks he needs and what he thinks is going to be his best line up.  and the manager looks at his players and assesses the fitness of his players and then makes his mind up what players he wants at the football club. He will look at what players he thinks he might move on and what he thinks he needs in at the football club. He’s brought in a few new faces now which is a good thing but there’s no doubting he will still be looking. In this last week nothing has happened on the transfer front but obviously Brian was talking about two players that have not materialised yet. But hopefully that will happen in the next week or so. He’s now saying that he is after one player in particular who he thinks will be really important and I would think that must be a centre-half. He will be looking for a centre-back and I think he needs one. He was more or less saying that at the end of last season. And that’s no disrespect to the boys that are there. But I think he is looking for a dominating centre-half though there is not that many around. They are in short supply. This trip to Slovenia is just about pre-season games and I think we will find out more when we get near the Nurnberg game. The squad should be looking settled then but you just hope that Brian gets the players in and it’s not a last-minute scramble. That would make it difficult for everybody and I just hope that whoever the manager recruits that he gets a chance to work with the players before the Brighton game. The start of the season is going to be so important but if we can kick off the season and get a decent points total in the first couple of months then we can hopefully push on from there. Brian knows himself what it’s all about and how important the start of the campaign is. Dominic Poleon was on the scoresheet on Saturday and I think he’s got a chance of making it into the first team but he’s got to still keep working hard at his game. The Championship is a good league and one game doesn’t make you a good player. You’ve got to work hard and make sure you keep working hard and you never stop learning in football – it doesn’t matter how old you are or how good you are. That’s why players like Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs are at the top of the tree. They never stop working and they never stop learning. One of our Championship rivals this season – Wigan – have signed Grant Holt this week and he has got a good track record of scoring goals in the lower divisions and he did well in the Premier League. He’s a good signing for Wigan and it shows their intent.He’s not getting any younger but I think Wigan have bought him for this one-season push to get back into the Premier League right away. He’s a long-term signing but I think they are thinking that he can lead the line and get them a few goals and get them back in the Premier League. And they are probably paying him top money to do it. The Championship is going to be tougher this year than last year and that’s why it’s important that Brian gets the players who he wants in and that they get a good start. I also heard about Brian McDermott giving the Leeds fans 50 euros to get the drinks in and he will appreciate the fans that have travelled over there. It’s a long way to go and a lot of the Leeds United fans will have planned their summer holiday around the pre-season trip. That was a nice gesture from the manager and I’m sure the fans appreciated it. It’s not a bad way to get on with the fans is it? Enjoy a drink on the manager!

Mon 15th. Diouf longer on sidelines. El-Hadji Diouf is facing up to 10 more days of complete rest with an infection contracted during his summer holiday in Senegal. The Leeds United forward, who is absent from the club’s tour of Slovenia, is in danger of missing their entire pre-season schedule due to a viral infection affecting one shin. Diouf stayed in England while United’s squad flew to Slovenia last week and he is unlikely to be ready to resume training before Leeds contest a friendly at Walsall on Saturday. McDermott will be unable to call on Diouf for the first two matches of next season with the Senegalese international still to complete a three-game ban incurred in April. But the loss of Diouf to a peculiar ailment has sidelined a player who McDermott hoped would “come back the fittest he’s been in his life.” Speaking after Leeds’ 2-1 defeat to Slovenian club Domzale, McDermott said: “He’s got a bit of a virus, an infection in his shin. “He’s come back with it from Senegal and he going to have to rest it for the next five to 10 days or so.” Diouf spent much of the close-season in Africa having departed to his homeland with McDermott’s permission prior to the end of last term. The 31-year-old missed the final game at Watford after his controversial dismissal in a 2-1 loss to Brighton at Elland Road on April 27.  Diouf, who joined United on a free transfer last season, was shown a straight red card for celebrating a goal by running towards Brighton’s supporters and grabbing his crotch. McDermott was highly critical of Diouf’s actions but insisted that the former Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers player would be heavily involved in the forthcoming campaign.  Diouf is under contract at Leeds until next summer. Speaking at the time, McDermott said: “I’ll stand by him every day of the week, as long as he does things right. He’s committed to playing for Leeds next season. He wants to be part of it and I was delighted to hear that.” McDermott’s other fitness concerns, goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown and right-back Sam Byram, are not expected to play against Ferencvaros in Murska Sobota tomorrow, the last match of Leeds’ Slovenian tour. Striker Noel Hunt, who played against FC Domzale, has a minor groin complaint but should complete half an hour.


Sat July 13thUnited lose on tour – Hay YEP. Leeds United:  Kenny (Cairns 61), Peltier (Thompson 61), Lees (Killock 61), Pugh (Pearce 61), Warnock (Drury 61), Norris (Austin 61), Green (Murphy 61), Brown (Tonge 61), White (McCormack 61), Hunt (Varney 61), Poleon (Smith 61)Dominic Poleon continued his rise to prominence at Leeds United by striking again in a 2-1 defeat to FC Domzale. The young forward produced the opening goal of a tight and competitive game, finding the net for the third time in as many friendlies. But a late goals from Slobodan Vuk inflicted United’s first pre-season loss ahead of the final game of their Slovenian tour against Ferencvaros on Tuesday. Leeds came up a more slick and effective side than they had faced at either Farsley or in Murska Sobota on Wednesday, meeting Domzale with the Slovenian Premier League season already underway. An eventful first half saw numerous chances with Poleon striking a post after two minutes and Paddy Kenny diving low to parry a shot from Jure Balkovic moments later. But United snatched the lead midway through the half when Paul Green was given space to shoot from 25 yards and Poleon arrived to bundle home the rebound after home goalkeeper Ajdin Mulanic spilled the ball. Leeds manager Brian McDermott left his starting line-up on the field for 61 minutes and they narrowly avoided a concession on 55 minutes when Gabric hacked an effort against the underside of Kenny’s crossbar. Both sides continued to press for further goals and a spate of Domzale changes saw them dominate the closing stages and United’s defence held out until the 80th minute when poor marking allowed Vuk to nod home a free header at the far post. And Vuk snatched the win a minute from the end as his weak shot deflected off Ross Killock and beat the unfortunate Alex Cairns. Leeds United boss Brian McDermott was far from happy after his side lost their first pre-season game of the season in Slovenia. He made wholesale changes on the hour, but he says the side sat too deep in the whole of the second half and they need to learn how to win a game ugly. “First 30-minutes I thought we were good and could have been three up,” McDermott told Yorkshire Radio. “In the second half we just played in front of them. We made a lot of changes after 60-minutes, we weren`t functioning and we weren`t flowing with the ball. They pushed up on us and I have told the players, sometimes if you are 1-0 up, if you have to win a game ugly, then so be it. “I know we have trained a lot and about fitness but more importantly it is about winning. We are Leeds United, we have to win games, and that is what is important to me. “There are different ways of winning and that was a game we should have won ugly and we didn`t.”


Sat July 13thMcDemott “Happy with progress” – P Hay YEP. Brian McDermott has insisted he was “very happy” with Leeds United’s progress and claimed he was confident of having his squad in shape before the season starts on August 3. Leeds will contest their first Championship game against Brighton in exactly three weeks’ time and McDermott gave an optimistic outlook as he assessed the extent of the work in front of him. United’s manager was unable to offer any encouragement about incoming transfers, admitting only that his pursuit of a long-standing but elusive target remained ongoing, and he is still to receive firm approaches for any of the players he intends to move off the wage bill at Elland Road. But speaking ahead of Leeds’ third pre-season friendly, staged against FC Domzale in Slovenia this evening, McDermott insisted that his strategy was coming together despite the wait for further developments in the transfer market. McDermott said: “By the time we get to August 3 we need to make sure we’re in a certain place but I’m sure we will be. I’m very happy with where we are and the situation as it stands. “I’m still targeting one signing at the moment, the signing I’ve been targeting for a long time.  “We’re trying to get this particular player and it’s not happening just yet but we need to try and do that. For me he’d be an important player. “But the lads who are here are buying into what we’re doing.  “You’re looking to get as much fitness into the boys as possible but they’ve come back really fit so it’s actually been easy for us. If anything it’s hard to get them off the training pitch. “The mood is good and you can’t manufacture that. You’ve either got it or you haven’t and we’ve got it.” United’s players were due to train again this morning, completing a session prior to the second game of their three-match Slovenian tour. Right-back Sam Byram worked alone with head physiotherapist Harvey Sharman while United players trained close to their base in Ptuj yesterday and his injured hip will not be risked against Domzale tonight. The majority of McDermott’s squad is available, however, with Rodolph Austin in line to make his first pre-season appearance. Leeds overran a week regional XI in Murska Sobota on Wednesday evening but they are facing a Premier League side in Domzale, one who finished last season in third position. A clash with Ferencvaros ends the tour next Tuesday. McDermott said: “The opposition are getting better and stronger.  “They (Domzale) are a good side and then we play another very good side next week. “Tonight is a different ball game to Wednesday so we need to be right. “At the moment I’m not thinking about the first game of the season or anything like that, just about what we’re doing next. “I’ll probably only do that the week before (Brighton). “I need to concentrate solely on the work we’re doing now. Everyone will want to play in the first game and that’s how it always is. Everyone should want to play in every game. “As long as the players conduct themselves in the right manner whether they’re chosen or not, which they will do, that’s the sort of ethos we’re looking for.”


Sat July 13th. Smith is on a rapid learning curve – YEPNew boy Matt Smith has never experienced Pre-season training like this one with Leeds United, but he is benefitting from it.  Earlier this week Matt Smith was the victim of a prank devised by Ross McCormack and Noel Hunt. The pair crept into his bedroom in the middle of the night and woke him with a loud shout. A video of Smith’s reaction was charitably posted on Twitter. That, in its own way, is the point of pre-season tours – an opportunity for social bonding and quick integration for players like Smith who have been with their clubs for a matter of weeks. But pre-season has also been an invitation for the striker to explain what the fuss is about; to show why it was that Brian McDermott wanted to sign him. Three goals in two games – albeit against Farsley and an amateurish Slovenian side – went a small way towards doing that. Two headers at Throstle Nest, mixed in with several other efforts on goal, and a poacher’s finish in Murska Sobota on Wednesday showcased Smith’s ability as well as a 10-day visit to Slovenia was ever likely too. The 24-year-old is a considered and educated type; too sensible to be fooled into thinking that his effort so far has won him thousands of admirers but he is paid to score goals and looks like he will. On the basis of his performance at Farsley alone, McDermott argued that Smith’s value was already on the rise. “Pre-season is pre-season and I’m not making too much of it,” Smith said. “But I can’t deny that it’s nice to get a few goals under my belt. “Fitness aside, it’s the feeling of confidence that matters more than anything else. You get five or six weeks away in the summer after 10 months of really intense football and it’s nice to know that you still know where the goal is. I believe in myself and there’s no problem there but you have to dust off the cobwebs a bit. It’s good to get on a bit of a roll.” McDermott is as pleased as anyone to see him on it. The arrival of Smith, especially in light of Steve Morison’s sudden exit, has given Leeds a Plan A and a Plan B – a tall, strong forward to compliment the likes of Ross McCormack and Noel Hunt. Which plan Smith will become is for his manager to say or decide in due course; some assumed that a free transfer from Oldham Athletic had the makings of back-up but McDermott thinks more of him than that. Smith is equally ready to fight his corner. The Manchester University graduate has mixed it before with sizeable clubs, most memorably against Liverpool and Everton in the FA Cup. “I’ve come here to play and, really, I’ve come here to start,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a player around – or not at my age anyway – who aims to be on the bench and settles for that. “But that decision is the manager’s and you earn a start, you don’t just get it. I spoke to Brian at length before I signed and he comes across as a very fair guy, someone who’ll give you a chance if you deserve a chance. I think what we all know is that if we’re not in the team then there won’t be much to argue with. “Obviously I need to play well and I need to score goals so it’s no bad thing to be off the mark in pre-season. I just don’’t get carried away about it. The goals really need to come when the season starts. What we’re all trying to do now is get fit and put ourselves in the manager’s thoughts.” Getting fit has been the name of the game in Slovenia. McDermott has worked the players with relentless training sessions, most of them carried out under the burning sun. The temperature dropped slightly in Ptuj yesterday but still cleared 25 degrees. Smith, who is sharing a room with another new signing, Luke Murphy, had pre-conceived ideas of what he might do in his spare time in Slovenia. The intensity of the past week has put paid to most of them. “To be fair, we’ve been literally conked out because of the training,” he said. “It’s been really hard and we’ve been asleep half the time. “When you come out here, you think to yourself ‘what am I going to do in my time off?’ You’ve got all these plans for what you might do or where you might go. But honestly, you’re training, you’re eating, you’re sleeping and that’s it. Well, not quite. But the work’s been exhausting and it’s what you need. I feel like it’s paying off. “This situation’s quite different for me. There are lots of experienced lads in the team which is good and a bit of a change. The teams I’ve played for before have always been a group of youngsters so it’s good to have some older heads around me, guys who’ve been there and done that at the top level. I’m someone who likes to learn and there’s plenty for me to learn here. Me and Luke are in a similar boat in a way, new to the club and looking to make an impression. I guess we can help each other settle in. I knew of Luke before we came here and we’ve got a lot of mutual friends. We’re a similar age, similar types.” It is never necessary to remind Smith that two years ago he was a non-league player, preparing to move from Solihull Moors to Oldham. Football is not necessarily the career he anticipated when he graduated in business studies, or when he was moving from Droylsden to Solihull. “The changes have been massive and the higher you go, the better and more professional things get,” Smith said. “You do get pre-season in non-league but it’s very different because you’re only there Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I’ve trained more with Leeds in the last week than I’d probably have trained with some other clubs in two or three. But that’s the way things are here.“ When I think about it, the attitude of the manager was one of the biggest reasons for me coming here. There were a few clubs after me but this was a move I wanted from the start and when I met Brian, everything about him was right. “You get a gut feeling and a gut instinct about people and I found him very infectious, very likeable. He gave more all the right vibes. I know I’m onto a great thing here.” Friday 12th of July. No return from Somma. Brian McDermott has confirmed that Leeds United and Davide Somma have effectively parted company following the club’s decision not to offer the striker a new contract. Somma, whose deal at Elland Road expired last month, was invited to train with Leeds during the close season in an attempt to restore his fitness after a spate of injuries.  But McDermott is unaware of Somma’s whereabouts and believes the South African forward is looking for another club having reached the end of the line at Leeds. United’s manager appeared to keep the door ajar for Somma by giving the 28-year-old the opportunity to work at Thorp Arch in pre-season, though McDermott admitted that Leeds were still unlikely to consider handing him a new deal. Speaking last night, McDermott said: “I haven’t seen Davide at all so I think he’s sorting himself out.” Somma enjoyed one impressive season at Elland Road, scoring 12 times during the 2010-11 term, but a succession of knee injuries limited him to six appearances in the past two years. What a pity. It would  have been nice to have had a fully fit Somma back but the lad may never be fully fit again.


Thurs 11th of July. Poleon promised a place in Whits plans – Hay YEP. Dominic Poleon has been promised a place in Leeds United’s plans for next season after finding the net in the club’s first two summer friendlies. United manager Brian McDermott ruled out the possibility of the striker departing on loan again with Poleon settling into a more prominent role at Elland Road. The 19-year-old – an academy product originally recruited from Southend United – has been on the fringes of Leeds’ squad for the past 12 months but his chances of a serious breakthrough were restricted by loans at Bury and Sheffield United. McDermott, however, threw him into the fray on the last day of the term at Watford and has used Poleon for 45 minutes in both of United’s pre-season matches against Farsley and a Slovenian select XI. The forward followed up his effort at Throstle Nest with an eye-catching 20-yard strike in Murska Sobota on Wednesday evening. Leeds have made major changes to their group of strikers during the transfer window, signing Noel Hunt and Matt Smith and agreeing a deal to send Steve Morison to Millwall on a season-long loan. Ross McCormack looks increasingly likely to be used as an attacking midfielder next term but offers another proven alternative up front, leaving heavy competition for Poleon. But McDermott said: “Dom looks like a player who can be effective for us this season and he will score goals. When he had that chance with his right foot (on Wednesday), you expected him to score. He’s got a great strike on him. “It’s like everything, he’s a young player but if you were me would you let Dom Poleon go out on loan? Probably not. “I had a good chat with him at the back end of last season and he’s taken what I said on board. He scored against Watford, he’s come back from the summer and he’s really grown up. “I like him as a person and just look at his attributes – he hits the ball really well, he’s got fantastic pace so he’s right in contention. “I’m looking at the strikers we’ve got, four of them, and they’re all fighting for places. They’ll work well together I think.” The signings of Hunt and Smith gave McDermott a variety of resources in attack but other areas of his squad are still to be addressed. The Leeds boss is in the market for out-and-out wingers and is also expected to sign a new centre-back before the season starts. Departures from Elland Road remain essential, however, with United seeking to control their wage bill. All of Leeds’ senior players bar the injured El-Hadji Diouf and Ryan Hall, whose partner was expecting a baby this week, are in Slovenia on tour but McDermott intends to move several on in the weeks to come. He admitted that “nothing was imminent” with players leaving Elland Road and is also expecting to end the tour without completing any further signings. But McDermott insisted he was relaxed about the state of his squad and talked once more about the satisfaction of taking Leeds into next season, four months after he was sacked by Reading. The 52-year-old fuelled his popularity further on Wednesday night when he responded to chants of ‘It’s your round, Brian’ from around 200 Leeds supporters by passing a 50 Euro note into the crowd. “For me, when I come to work every day I want everyone to enjoy themselves,” he said. “There’s enough doom and gloom in the world and we’re privileged to be doing our jobs. I’m privileged to be managing this club. I want to enjoy every minute of it – especially after what happened to me in March.” 

Thurs July 11th. Macca not giving up on “Crucial transfer target” – Phil Hay YEPBrian McDermott is refusing to give up on his pursuit of a crucial transfer target despite admitting that his bid to sign the unnamed player is destined to run into next week. The Leeds United manager underlined the importance of a deal he had hoped to secure last weekend by saying he “was very determined to get this player” with the start of the new season closing in. United recorded a second successive pre-season victory last night, beginning their three-game tour of Slovenia with a routine win over a regional select line-up in the city of Murska Sobota. McDermott has made three additions to his squad in the past month, with Matt Smith, Luke Murphy and Noel Hunt all moving to Elland Road, but his attempt to force a fourth arrival after Saturday’s 5-0 success at Farsley has so far failed. The Leeds boss said the potential signing was one he and the club “need to do” - but he confirmed again that departures from United would be necessary to allow him to complete the rebuilding of his squad. McDermott stated at Farsley that he was pushing for an answer on his latest target “in the next couple of days” but speaking after last night’s friendly, he said: “I’m still working on one particular signing, the same one. It’s not going to happen in the next few days but it’s something we want to do and something we need to do. “I’m mindful too of the situation at our club and of what I have to do. Players need to go in the opposite direction as well. There’s nothing imminent (with players leaving) but things happen and we’re just waiting to have conversations. “I don’t really get frustrated by transfers, I just do what I have to and if I find that I can affect the situation then I will. But I’m very determined to get this particular player. I don’t feel urgency but I do want this particular player.” McDermott does not expect any additions to his squad before Leeds complete their tour of Slovenia next week but he cut an upbeat figure yesterday and spoke positively about the progress made by his existing players in pre-season. A poor Pomurje line-up were beaten 3-1 at the Fazanerija Stadium, with Matt Smith and Noel Hunt giving Leeds a 2-0 advantage at half-time and Dominic Poleon scoring after the break. McDermott again used different teams at the start of each half. The friendly in eastern Slovenia was played out in front of around 300 Leeds supporters and McDermott acknowledged their attendance at the final whistle, responding to chants of ‘it’s your round Brian’ by handing a 50 Euro note into the crowd. “I only had 50 Euros so I gave it to them,” he joked. “It was my round apparently and it’s all I had! I’d have given them more if I had it but I only came out with 50. I feel a bit bad actually.” McDermott also paid tribute to his team, who were made to train in harsh heat on the morning of yesterday’s game, saying: “We’d never have worked with that intensity before a league game. “You saw that a little bit towards the end of the match and it went exactly as I expected it to. I kind of wanted it to end after an hour. The conditions were very difficult but in the first half especially we played well. “We’re trying to play a certain way and the players are adapting to it. I think you can see that coming through.” United continue their 10-day tour with a match against Premier League side FC Domzale on Saturday. Ross McCormack, who completed the second half last night, is an early doubt after complaining of a tight groin at full-time. “He felt a little bit restricted so we’ll have to work on it,” McDermott said

Weds July 10th SLOVENIA: SLOVENIAN SELECT XI 1 (Grah 69), LEEDS UNITED 3 (Smith 10, Hunt 40, Poleon 66) United (first half): Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pugh, Taylor, Norris, Green, Murphy, White, Smith, Hunt. United (second half): Cairns, Thompson, Killock, Pearce, Warnock, Brown, Tonge, Drury, McCormack, Varney, Poleon. Brian McDermott again opted to field two seperate XIs for the opening game of the Slovenian trip, against a representative team from the region. Jamie Ashdown and Sam Byram have travelled, but are in the throes of recovering from injury while Rodolph Austin is likely to make his first appearance of the summer on Saturday. This game did, however, see a first start for summer signing Luke Murphy. Despite temperatures of 28 degrees, the hosts were up against it from the start, and after Tom Lees went close early on, Matt Smith bagged the opener from close range, following a strong burst by Noel Hunt. Moments later, Hunt had the ball in the net again, but a flag was raised. It was all very comfortable for Leeds, though, who controlled proceedings and BMacsbeermonforced the home side to defend deep. Aidy White rattled the post after more good work by Hunt and Smith forced an acrobatic save from the goalkeeper as 300 travelling fans showed their appreciation by making pleny of noise at one end of the ground. The home side had their first real effort on 38 minutes with a shot which went over Paddy Kenny’s bar, but it was 2-0 before the break when Hunt headed home from close range. United made a Peltierandteamwholesale change at the interval, but the second half started in the same vein. Luke Varney twice went close to furthering the advantage before Stephen Warnock tried his luck from distance. Dominic Poleon also brought about a good save from the home goalkeeper, but momemts later he made no mistake with a powerful strike. The 3-1 advantage lasted a matter of minutes before the hosts pulled one back – a close range cross conversion – but Michael Brown came within a whisker of restoring the three-goal margin straight from the restart. Both Brown and Poleon went close again in the dying moments, but the game ended in a 3-1 victory. Spaeking to YR : Everyone is trying to impress and everyone wants to be part of it. I never look at what my team is going to be at the start of the season. “I know there are 25 players going in the same direction, so the relevance of the team at the start of the season will be what it will be. We will pick eleven to start and seven subs but those players not involved will support the lads that are on the team sheet and then they will get their chance. It is all about a group of people going in the same direction.” “I had a good chat with Dominic (Poleon) at the back end of last season and he has taken it on board. “He is really growing up as a person and I like him. He strikes a ball really well, he has fantastic pace, so he is right in contention. When you look at the four strikers, they are all fighting for places and they will work well together.” 

Weds July 10th. Macca feels at home in Slovenia – P Hay. The Leeds boss took previous club Reading to Slovenia in 2010 and 2011 and saw no reason to change his routine. Phil Hay reports. Football managers are creatures of habit, which is why Brian McDermott knows parts of Slovenia like the back of his hand. Leeds United’s disappearance to a picturesque but obscure region of eastern Europe was not arranged on a whim, as little of McDermott’s work is. Two previous tours of the country with Reading made Slovenia a safe and suitable base for 10 days of exertion. United’s manager and his squad flew to Graz in Austria on Monday before travelling south to the Slovenian city of Ptuj. McDermott has not only chosen a familiar country for pre-season; Leeds are using the same location, the same hotel and the same training facilities as Reading did in 2010 and 2011. This is his answer to Neil Warnock’s Cornwall, minus the nearby home. McDermott’s rationale for revisiting Slovenia is that he “knows what I’m getting in every respect.” Three-and-a-half weeks before the Championship season rolls into motion, the 52-year-old is anxious to avoid the unknown and prevent any nasty surprises – poor surfaces, ludicrous heat, inadequate infrastructure or unsuitable opposition. He travelled to Ptuj in June to ensure that everything was as he remembered it. “I know Slovenia so well,” he said, “and I didn’t want any problems. I wanted to know everything about the place we’re going to, everything about the environment.“Because I’d been there a couple of times when I was at Reading, I know the training ground, the hotel, the kind of games we’re going to get. I also know where our fans will be going and how it’ll be for them. I wanted to make sure it was a good environment for everyone.” Ptuj is an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, and a short trip from Murska Sobota on the north-eastern Hungarian border. Murska Sobota provides the venue for the opening friendly against a Slovenian select XI this evening, a representative team comprising of domestic professional players. By definition, tonight’s opposition at Fazanerija Stadium – the 3,800-capacity home of ND Mura 05 – are the least predictable. Europa League participants FC Domzale, who host Leeds on Saturday, finished third in Slovenia’s premier division last season and Ferencvaros’ involvement in the last of three game next Tuesday brings together two clubs who went hell-for-leather in the final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968. The old European powerhouse will cross from Hungary to play United, again at the Fazanerija Stadium. There is more might in the reputations of this year’s opponents than there was in the teams involved in last summer’s tour of Devon and Cornwall but pre-season fixtures vary in their levels of competition. Leeds met fit and feisty teams when they toured Germany and the Czech Republic in 2007, on the cusp of the Bundesliga season, but encountered less convincing sides in Slovakia three years ago. McDermott said: “Our first game is against a select XI and then we’re playing another game against a Premier League side. After that we’ve got a match against Ferencvaros and I think that rather speaks for itself. “But I don’t concern myself too much with the opposition in pre-season. The concern is getting things right with my own players. That’s always what I concentrate on. Being out here means you’re together for 10 days, playing three games and training all the time. That’s very good for us. It’s a great place, Slovenia, and it’s not particularly expensive. The Leeds fans will like it, I’m sure of that.” The attendances at foreign friendlies involving Leeds invariably have the capacity to run into thousands. A planned fixture against Dynamo Dresden six years ago was cancelled because the German police – occupied by matters and political protests elsewhere – lacked the manpower to chaperone a four-figure influx of Leeds supporters on the morning of the game. Farsley recorded the crowd for last weekend’s friendly – a game won 5-0 by Leeds at Throstle Nest – at around 3,000. McDermott, who admitted that the summer attendances would keep his players honest throughout their programme of non-competitive games, was asked after the final whistle whether he was already in the process of making judgements about which players might hold which positions when Brighton visit for the first Championship game on August 3. “I’ve got no decisions to make yet,” he replied. “All I’ve got to do is drive back to my place, pack my gear and fly to Slovenia. What we’ve got to do as a group is get better every day and keep working every day. That’s all. “This is about the whole squad and everyone together. I really don’t concern myself about the 11 for the first game of the season. The season’s 46 games long so we’re going to need every single one of the players we’ve got when it starts.” There is limited scope in any case for McDermott to begin finalising his line-up. He has signed three players but expects to bring in at least as many more before the end of the month. Several existing squad members were left out of Saturday’s win over Farsley and not all will make appearances during the tour of Slovenia. Sam Byram is in Ptuj but will not be used until Leeds are confident in the condition of his injured hip. Jamie Ashdown (foot), United’s second choice goalkeeper last year, is in a similar position and minor issues with the fitness of Luke Murphy have seen McDermott ease his £1million signing into pre-season gently. El-Hadji Diouf is a player who the Leeds boss will not be able to assess until the friendly at Walsall on July 20 at the earliest. The Senegalese forward, who spent part of the summer in Africa and was the subject of reports about unflattering off-field incidents, is undergoing treatment on an infected shin. He begins next season with a two-match ban. McDermott said: “Diouf’s not travelled. He’s got a bit of an infection in his shin so we need to take care of that and make sure it’s okay.” “It’s something that could become a problem if we let it become a problem. We have to make sure he’s looked after.”


Mon July 8th. White aims to earn first team place. Aidy White says everyone will have a clean slate this summer under new Leeds boss Brian McDermott. White played 45-minutes in the second half in Leeds opening pre-season game of the summer at Farsley on Saturday, finishing the scoring with a fine strike in the 5-0 win. The versatile player, who has been used in a number of positions since making his debut for the club in 2008, says everyone will be doing their best to impress McDermott this summer to stand a chance of starting the first game of the season against Brighton and Hove Albion on August 3rd. “I think the squad is probably the strongest I have seen it since I have been here and anyone could get in before the start of the season,” White told Yorkshire Radio.  “Everyone has a point to prove and we are all starting with a clean slate with the new manager coming in. Everyone will be going out there to do their best.” The 21-year-old, who is a product of the clubs academy system, is currently the longest serving player at the club with first team experience. White is closing in on his 100th appearance for the club since making his debut against Crystal Palace in the League Cup in August 2008 and White, who made 33 appearances last season, will reach the landmark when he makes his first appearance for the club this season.


Mon July 8th .Mills to stay with Trotters.  Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman has revealed that defender Matt Mills wants to stay and fight for a first-team place. Reports have circulated in recent weeks linking him with a move to Leeds United and a reunion with former Reading boss Brian McDermott. However, Wanderers have not received any formal bids. Although it is believed they would accept an offer of £1 million his wages may prove problematic. Freedman has reportedly said: ”There has been plenty written about Matt Mills but we have had nothing as we speak…“I have spoken to him and he’s very comfortable fighting for his position in the team.’’ Meanwhile Barry Fry has confirmed to YEP that he has had no more contact from Leeds re Tommy Rowe as Leeds are thought to be pursuing Mackay-Steven.


Mon July 8th From Footyplace Cautious optimism for Leeds fans as new owners splash the cash Dominic-  Smith believes Leeds’ recent activity in the transfer market finally gives fans reason to feel optimistic ahead of the new Championship season. You can tell it’s a long time since Leeds United were a force in English football, a great footballing chasm since David O’Leary’s babes almost bested Barcelona, dismantled Besiktas in front of a rocking Elland Road and tamed Anderlecht in their own back yard. You know how? On the fleeting occasions now that Leeds are on television, commentators rarely exclaim how many years it is since 2001, when Leeds went on that thrilling Champions League run, or since 2004, when they dropped out of the top flight in the midst of the financial tsunami which made it fall to its knees. Now, the club are treated with the same casual indifference afforded to a range of mediocre Championship clubs, with only the odd reference thrown in to that side, built on the quicksand of Peter Ridsdale’s kamikaze chairmanship. Despite the money, that era, like Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson’s before it, now seems a curious quirk of footballing past; an anachronistic tale of a side full of home-grown talent causing earthquakes amongst the very best in the country and Europe. It may appear that, compared to that period, and the tumultuous fall down the leagues that followed, the last few seasons have been relatively calm for Leeds fans, with the club safely cossetted in the Championship once more. Leeds are 5/1 to win promotion from the Championship this season and 14/1 to win the league. Bet £10 and get a £20 free bet if you are a new Paddy Power customer But in fact this period has increasingly engendered resentment and frustration, as under-investment over several seasons and the increasingly vituperative conduct of chairman Ken Bates has drawn fans’ ire. Neil Warnock, brought in to engineer one of his trademark promotions, spectacularly failed, succeeding only in instilling what seemed almost a deliberately awful brand of football which saw Leeds sink to 12th place before he departed in April. Initial optimism generated by GFH Capital taking control of the club last December quickly dissipated, despite the new owners impressing with fan pleasing measures like half-season tickets and moving ageing bile dispenser Ken Bates out of an operational role. New boss Brian McDermott had spoken at the end of last season about the need to get six or seven new players in, preferably before the start of pre-season. But when the squad returned to Thorp Arch 10 days ago, only one had been signed, rookie beanpole striker Matt Smith from Oldham Athletic. This festering hostility bubbled over a week ago, when rumours on Twitter quickly went viral on the #lufc hashtag that McDermott had spoken frankly about a lack of funds at a charity dinner. The former Reading manager revealed he was due to meet the board to discuss why several of his summer transfer targets had not yet been signed. After getting the job in April, McDermott has impressed all with his quiet but steely determination. He oversaw an immediate refresh of the club’s on-field performances, drawing unfathomably energetic performances from Warnock’s leaden booted charges. There is a belief that he is the man to get Leeds back into the top flight, if he is given the money required to do so. That it appeared that Leeds were back in the familiar position of having none only ratcheted up fans’ despair. Then, suddenly, the club’s dusty old coffers were opened. Rumours spread late on Saturday night last week that Leeds had made a seven-figure bid for highly-rated Crewe midfielder Luke Murphy, and those rumours came to unlikely fruition on Monday when he signed for the club, in the most expensive transfer since the capture of Richard Cresswell in 2005. That was quickly followed by the signing of Noel Hunt on a free transfer from Reading, and rumours circulate that the club are in for Dundee United’s highly rated Gary Mackay-Steven amongst others. So what to make of this sudden and dramatic shift from skint to spendthrift? GFH Capital have made no secret of the fact they are open to further investment into the club, and a transfer of mortgage shares between GFH and a company called Brendale Holdings based in Dubai has increased speculation that more funds are coming into the club. But, as some ever pessimistic Leeds fans have suggested, the funds for the transfers of Murphy, Hunt and others could have been freed up by the completion of contracts for peripheral squad players at the end of June. Unsettling links still also remain between starlet Sam Byram and Premier League clubs. Whatever the reason, the signing of Murphy has reenergised Leeds fans, and McDermott has sounded refreshed and optimistic when giving interviews to local media about further additions. Fans are restless for Leeds to be back in the top flight, and are perhaps more willing now to turn a blind eye to the schizophrenic backroom behaviour of the Leeds United board. The consequences of financial irresponsibility of the club have been terrible for the club in the past so there is a need to be wary, but, with McDermott at the helm, there is a sense that the media won’t be ignoring Leeds for much longer.


Mon 8th. Macca wants to stay.- Phil Hay YEP Leeds United striker Ross McCormack has moved to quell speculation about his future by telling both his manager, Brian McDermott, and his agent that he has no interest in a transfer away from Elland Road. The Scotland international clarified his position and stressed his commitment to the club after featuring in Leeds’ first pre-season friendly against Farsley on Saturday. United’s forward line clicked convincingly at Throstle Nest with new signings Matt Smith and Noel Hunt and young striker Dominic Poleon scoring in a 5-0 win. McCormack, who looks increasingly likely to be used as an attacking midfielder by McDermott, is expected to be at the forefront of United’s plans next season but the past fortnight has seen links between him and a number of other clubs. Blackpool are known to be interested in signing McCormack and appear willing to pay £1million to prise him from Elland Road while Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers have also been linked with the 26-year-old.McDermott has admitted that players will leave United to help finance new signings and Steve Morison was allowed to join Millwall on a season-long loan. But McCormack has made clear his intention to stay at Leeds and hinted that he would pre er to discuss an extension to a contract which runs until 2015. McCormack said: “We’ve signed a couple of players and I think everyone knows that a few players are going to have to go out to balance the squad and probably balance the books as well.“At the minute there’s a lot of speculation about me but I don’t want to go. The manager knows that, my agent knows that so it’s all pretty clear. If anything, maybe something could happen with my contract.” United’s players were travelling on tour to Slovenia this morning with McDermott pressing to secure his fourth signing.The Leeds boss said: “There’s one person in particular I’m working on and have been for such a long time. I hope to get some kind of outcome on that.“Every one of the players I’ve tried to sign have been important to me and this is another one. I’m always optimistic and there’s another club involved but if we can do the deal then we’ll do it.”



Sat July 6thFive-goal win at Throstle NestFARSLEY 0 – 5 Leeds Utd  (Poleon  4,Smith 22, 27, Hunt 50, White 62)  United (first half): Kenny, Peltier, Killock, Pearce, Pugh, Brown, Green, Tonge, McCormack, Smith, Poleon. United (second half): Cairns, L Turner, Lees, Warnock, Drury, Norris, Thompson, Lenighan (Murphy 75), White, Varney, Hunt. Report from Official LUFC site. United manager Brian McDermott named two different sides for each half for the opening pre-season game at Farsley. New signings Noel Hunt and Matt Smith were both included while Luke Murphy was among he substitutes. Sam Byram, El-Hadji Diouf and Jamie Ashdown all missed out through injury. The game started in sweltering conditions, and it took just 4 minutes for Dominic Poleon to score the first goal of the summer when he converted after being played in by Michael Tonge. Unsurprisingly, it was United who controlled proceedings and debut man Smith was denied by Farsley goalkeeper Tom Morgan after being played in by Ross McCormack. The home goalkeeper also made saves to deny Paul Green and Smith. But United’s big striker scored twice in the space of just five minutes before the half-hour. The first came after good work by Poleon and the second came after a precision corner from Michael Tonge. On a hat-trick, Smith was denied twice more by Morgan, while Michael Brown also rattled the woodwork from 25 yards out with a stinging strike. It was a day for new boys scoring, though, and Noel Hunt maintained the theme when he got up well to head home a Luke Varney cross just five minutes into the second half. Shortly after the hour it was the turn of Aidy White to get on the scoresheet when he made it 5-0 with a terrific solo effort. Moments later, it could have been six, but Varney was cursing the upright, and for all the effort in the roasting conditions, there were no further goals to add. The vast support were afforded a 15-minute glimpse of Luke Murphy during the closing stages, and both the manager and the fans will have been happy with what they saw throughout the afternoon. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, McDermott said, ‘I spoke to the players before and said to them that every time they play for Leeds United they put their reputations on the line, and that is the message for the season really. ‘Wherever you play, you play in front of a big support, the support was fantastic today, and they deserve to see good football and the lads giving them everything and they have seen that today. ‘It was a worthwhile exercise for us and for Farsley, so we’re all pleased.”I think the three new lads realised what this place is about and we need to get some momentum going.’”There is one person in particular who I am really working on and have done for quite some time. “I hope to get some kind of outcome on it in the next few days.”  (thought to be Rowe from P’boro) but unlikely to be ready for Slovenia trip. Meanwhile, Ross McCormack has told Phil Hay that he has already informed Brian McDermott and his agent that he has no interest in a move away from Leeds this Summer. Meanwhile, Diouf has picked up a shin infection and won’t be travelling to Slovenia.



David Norris

Paul Green

Sat July 6th. United top heavy in midfilders – Phil Hay When Brian McDermott spoke this week about Leeds United’s squad being “overloaded in certain positions”, he was pointing his finger in no small part at the glut of central midfielders at Elland Road. Regardless of the room for improvement in that area, Leeds were top-heavy before the summer transfer window began. In signing Luke Murphy, McDermott increased the pool to nine and raised the need for subsequent cuts. United’s manager is more fixated on players coming in than he is on those he hopes to move on but he agrees with the club’s owner, GFH Capital, that movement in both directions is necessary. Reluctant though McDermott is to bruise egos by publicly deeming anyone surplus, a quick head count tells him that several members of his squad can have no part to play next season. While some at Leeds offered a route to quick money – Ross McCormack, Tom Lees and Sam Byram especially – McDermott’s focus has been on freeing the wage bill of anyone under him who “won’t get an opportunity and needs to play.” A number of his midfielders will inevitably fall into that category. Signed for £1million, Murphy joined a crowd featuring Rodolph Austin, David Norris, Michael Tonge, Paul Green, Michael Brown, Chris Dawson, Zac Thompson and Danny Pugh, most of whom were expected to play in today’s friendly at Farsley. Dawson is recovering from a shoulder injury and, as the latest academy product on whom Leeds will hang their hat, faces no threat whatsoever. Pugh remains on the transfer list, as he has for more than a year, and could make his way back to Sheffield Wednesday after finishing last season on loan at Hillsborough. But McDermott is likely to cut his cloth more substantially to keep his part in the bargain of “balancing the books” at Leeds. “We’ve had little enquiries, nothing of a concrete nature, but that’s what might happen,” McDermott said. “We’ve made signings now and there’s a situation where players might go out the door – players who aren’t going to get an opportunity and need to play. “That’s part of football and part and parcel of trying to build a squad.” United’s players will travel en masse for a three-game tour of Slovenia on Monday having completed their first full week of work at a steadily-improving Thorp Arch training ground. McDermott has instigated a number of changes at the complex, arranging an extension of the sprinkler system, the installation of barriers around certain pitches and re-organising the lay-out inside Thorp Arch’s main building. LEEDS UNITED’S CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS – How the battle for places shapes up: LUKE MURPHY: The signing of the summer so far at a cost of £1million. Primed for a big season at Elland Road

Brown v Saints

Cgris Dawson

RODOLPH AUSTIN: Prominent under McDermott – until he was sent off against Brighton. Should still feature heavily DAVID NORRIS: Played 34 times last season but underwent knee surgery in April. Fit again now. MICHAEL TONGE: Made more league starts than all bar four players in 2012-13. Under contract for another two years. PAUL GREEN: In and out during his first term – in part because of injury – but became the defensive point in the midfield diamond favoured by McDermott. MICHAEL BROWN: Turns 37 in January but an extension to his deal has placed him under contract until next summer. Last season brought him 15 league starts. CHRIS DAWSON: A rising star and a Wales Under-21 international whose best years are in front of him. ZAC THOMPSON: Yet to really break through but would have started the last game at Watford had he not been ineligible

Danny Pugh v Burnley

DANNY PUGH: Transfer-listed for a year and is likely to leave.

Ryan Hall v Millwall

Ryan Hall : Often played wide but rarely featured under Warnock who brought him in Aidy White : Left back or left side of midfield that is the question


July 5th. Big week produces positive outlook at Leeds – by P Sutcliffe YEP. SO much has changed at Leeds United inside the past week. A boardroom shake-up, a first £1m signing in seven years and a notable sense of optimism having returned to a supporter base who, in the dying days of June, seemed as downbeat as is possible with a new season still five weeks away. For all this, perhaps the biggest indicator of the difference a week can make at a football club has come via the demeanour of Brian McDermott. Just eight days ago, the United manager cut a disconsolate figure with the frustrations of being unable to kick-start his planned recruitment drive clearly evident as he outlined the situation to the local press on the opening day of pre-season. Fast forward a little over a week, however, and McDermott’s demeanour has been transformed. The smile that as recently as mid-April betrayed his pride and delight at being named as Neil Warnock’s successor is back and life is good again. “It wasn’t so much that I was frustrated,” replied the Elland Road chief when the Yorkshire Post remarks on how chipper he looks compared to a week ago. “More that I just wanted to get things done and dusted. “Sometimes, things are a little bit slow. I had long conversations last week with the owners, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So, you have to give credit to the owners for what has happened in the last few days. “Obviously, the structure of the club is different now so we have to say that the owners are making statements. What they have also said is that we have to try as best we can to balance the books as well. “I understand that. This is a business. Three players came in and I have to try and do everything I can to do right by the club, to make sure it is in a safe and sound place.” Luke Murphy’s arrival from Crewe Alexandra as United’s first seven-figure signing since Richard Cresswell back in the summer of 2006 may have been the main reason for the upturn in mood among the Elland Road faithful. But McDermott seems just as pleased with the free transfer capture of Noel Hunt, who along with fellow summer signing Matt Smith is expected to bolster a goal tally that, at just 57 last term, was lower than all but seven of their rivals in the Championship. He is also well aware of the impact his new signings have made in the wider world. “I’ve a funny story from last Monday after news about Murphy had come out,” he said. “I went into a place in Harrogate and needed a bottle opener. “I asked in this particular shop if they had a bottle opener and was told no, they didn’t. So I walked out the door, crossed the road to my car and a bloke knocked on my window. “He said, ‘I’ve got two bottle openers and I want to give you one’. I said, ‘You don’t have to do that’. But he said, ‘You’ve just made my day with what you’ve done’. So, he ran up to his flat to get his bottle opener. I was trying to give him £20 but he wasn’t having it. “It shows what a signing can do. I’ve said that to the owners, ‘What you have done is cause and effect’. It is incredible and I knew that would be the case.” Leeds kick off their pre-season programme at Farsley tomorrow before heading off on a 10-day training camp to Slovenia that will include three games. McDermott is hoping to have further positive news in the transfer market before then with talks ongoing over two targets. As is to be expected, he is closely guarding the identity of both players and will only reveal that any deal will be in the best interests of the club. “I will never do a deal that is going to be absolutely stupid or crazy and put the club in jeopardy,” he said. “We had a situation this week where I was going for a player and the player was offered an astronomical amount of money (by another club). Our owner spoke to me about it and asked my opinion. I said, ‘Let him sign for the other club’. It was just ridiculous. “We are not going to be held to ransom by anyone and that is really important. The deals have got to be right for us and this one wasn’t. It was just astronomical. Good luck to him, but it wasn’t going to happen here.” McDermott’s rebuilding has not been confined to the squad this summer with work also ordered at Thorp Arch, including the changing of the dimensions of the new main training pitch to match those of Elland Road. As part of that work, new drains and an irrigation system have had to be installed, while the physio’s room has been moved and extended. “Everyone kept telling me it (Thorp Arch) was great but I just felt that we needed to change things,” he explains when standing next to the new main pitch that is expected to be ready for use when the squad return from Slovenia. “As a club, we are getting there and I am happy. One of the best things is that we are working in the same direction – myself, the owners, the players, the staff and fans. I keep saying the same thing but that is how you get success, isn’t it?”


July 5th. No bids for Byram – McDermottBrian McDermott laughed off talk of a £3million bid from Crystal Palace for Sam Byram as a positive week at Leeds United continued with the signing of Noel Hunt. McDermott insisted that Leeds had received no offers for their teenage right-back and responded to suggestions of a £3million price-tag by asking: “For which boot?” Sources in London are indicating that Palace – newly promoted to the Premier League – intend to approach Leeds about Byram’s availability but McDermott gave short shrift to the subject of the 19-year-old’s future after adding Hunt to his squad. Hunt was unveiled as United’s third close-season signing yesterday, agreeing a two-year deal at Elland Road. A delighted McDermott welcomed his arrival, describing the striker as a “winner” and saying Leeds’ supporters would “love him”. But he was categorical in dismissing fresh speculation about Byram, saying: “If any club wanted to make a bid for Sam Byram then they’d do it the right way and I certainly know that (Palace manager)Ian Holloway would do it the right way. “He’s a really good person and I’m sure he wouldn’t be making a bid of £3million for Sam Byram. That wouldn’t be the case and it certainly hasn’t happened.” Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City are other clubs who have taken an interest in Byram, though a tentative approach from Cardiff in April is understood to have been met with an asking price of £8million. Byram is presently recovering from a hip injury and could miss Saturday’s opening pre-season friendly against Farsley but Hunt is in line for a 45-minute outing at Throstle Nest after finally sealing a free transfer to Leeds. An eventful week at Elland Road has raised the mood in Leeds following an anxious period in which McDermott appeared to be growing increasingly frustrated with a lack of progress in the transfer market. Hunt’s arrival followed on from Monday’s £1million capture of Luke Murphy from Crewe Alexandra and the raft of boardroom changes which saw former chairman Ken Bates and ex-chief executive Shaun Harvey relinquish their positions. McDermott revealed that he was continuing to work on two more signings but played down the likelihood of either player arriving before the weekend. “There’s a good atmosphere here,” he said. “There’s a good spirit here and you can smell it. We need to try and be the best we can. If you consider that last week was difficult, this week things are happening. Things are happening around the training ground, with the squad and with the club. We’re getting to where we need to get to.”


July 4thHunt finds out how big Leeds really is. In his mind, Noel Hunt became a Leeds United player three weeks ago. As soon as he and Brian McDermott struck a “gentleman’s agreement” about a contract at Elland Road, Hunt considered the matter closed. With a wedding and a honeymoon behind him and the air at Leeds unusually clear of uncertainty, he signed a two-year deal yesterday and gave United their third recruit of the summer. “It’s the worst-kept secret around,” joked McDermott as he presented Hunt to the press at Thorp Arch. McDermott’s previous two signings – Matt Smith and Luke Murphy – arrived without warning. By contrast, Hunt’s transfer was telegraphed from the beginning of June onwards and with good reason. The relationship and mutual respect between him and United’s manager made the 30-year-old striker an obvious target. McDermott did the scouting work prior to Hunt’s move from Dundee United to Reading in 2008 and played him religiously during his years as Reading’s manager. So close are the pair that McDermott was invited to Hunt’s wedding, one of three involving players which the Leeds manager attended last month. Money permitting, the deal was bound to happen. “We agreed it all about three weeks ago, a gentleman’s agreement, and that was good enough for me,” said Hunt. “It was always done. I had my wedding and then I was straight off on honeymoon. There wasn’t time to get it done before I went away and there was no way of faxing everything securely abroad but for me the agreement was the big part. I trust Brian and he trusts me. “He was a massive factor in me making my decision. There were three or four Championship clubs, even a couple of Premier League clubs, who enquired and wanted to know what I was thinking but when Brian first phoned I had it in my head that I wanted to come to Leeds. That was four or five weeks ago. “I’ve known him going on six or seven years now. I’ve got a lot to thank him for. He’s honest and for me that’s the biggest part of a person – their honesty. What you see is what you get. If I’m playing, I’ll know why and if I’m not playing I’ll know why. That’s all you ask for.” McDermott was not the only person whispering in Hunt’s ear. Ian Harte, the former Leeds defender who left Reading with Hunt in May and subsequently moved to gave his close friend the third degree. Once news of Hunt’s likely move to Elland Road broke, so did every supporter he met. I’m really close with Ian and we’re good family friends,” he said. “He knows how much bigger it was here than what I’m used to and he said that if it was him there would only be one club in his head. Speaking to people like that helps a lot. But it’s such a big club around the world. We were in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and there were Leeds fans there. Then we were in Saint Lucia and we had people from Yorkshire coming up to us, too. “When it broke a few weeks ago that I might be coming, it just didn’t stop. At home or abroad there was always a Leeds fan talking about it. It was definitely an eye-opener. But that’s what football’s about. You want to play in front of passionate crowds. “I wanted to come here and I really think it’s a sleeping giant. People have been saying that for long enough but it can’t sleep forever (What a great quote !) . I hope we’ve got enough to give it a poke and get it up and running. It’s a big season for the club and a big season for me.” It will be a strange season, too. For the past five years, Hunt has been at the forefront of Reading’s many achievements. He lost one season to injury but played regularly in the other four, scoring 39 goals. Out of contract this summer, he asked for another two years but was offered only one. “They offered him a year’s contract when I was there,” said McDermott, who was sacked by Reading in March and replaced by Nigel Adkins. “Noel wanted a two-year contract and the manager there has made a decision. It’s his prerogative. I’m just delighted that we’ve got him. He’s played a lot of games in the last five years and he did a great job from Reading.”

Hunt’s CV at Reading shows a Championship winners’ medal, a play-off final appearance and, most recently, 24 Premier League appearances. He earned the reputation of a highly effective grafter and was never far from the picture at the Madejski Stadium. “In my first year at Reading, we got to the play-offs and I played in nearly 80 per cent of the games,” he said. “The second year I missed through injury but in the third we got to the play-off final and I played in 90 per cent of the games. “In my fourth year, we got promoted and I played in 90 per cent of the games again so I’ve been used to a winning mentality, up until last year when things changed a little bit. It was an important time for me and I wish Reading all the best. But, as of today, I’m a Leeds United player. “If you talk to most players they’d say I’m honest and for me it won’t be about individual goals. It never has been. For me, it’s about team goals and that means you do whatever you can for your team. You need effort, workrate, desire. They’re the three most important things and whatever I can do to get us a goal, score it, make it or be a part of it, that’s the objective.”   McDermott and his squad will soon stray into the period when objectives tend to dominate most conversations. The prevailing view of Leeds last season is that the club were bereft of the necessary tools required to win promotion to the Premier League. Hunt, however, says: “I actually think they were equipped with the boys they already had. They’ve got a lot of good players here. And there’s Elland Road. It’s a tough place to come and I know that for a fact. You ain’t just playing against the team, you’re playing against the crowd as well. “All it needs here is a little bit of help and the manager’s bringing in a few players. It’s never done by individuals in this league, it’s always done by a team effort. That’s not your 11. It’s your 22 or 23-man squad.”

July 3rd. BMac “hoping for two more signings before Slovenia”.  Leeds United boss Brian McDermott says he is trying to bring two more players  in before the side leave for Slovenia on Sunday. McDermott is taking  his squad on a ten-day training camp in Slovenia and he says he has deals in  place with two players; it is just sorting out terms with the respective players  clubs. Speaking on BBC Radio Leeds, McDermott said, “I am still  working on two at the moment. “It will be tight to do anything in the  next two days but we will see. It is a possibility. “There are a couple  possible. We have talked terms; it is just a matter of negotiating a deal with  the clubs who we are talking to and trying to get deals  done.” McDermott made his second signing of the week today, finally  bringing in striker Noel Hunt following his release from Reading. He  follows Luke Murphy into the club, who signed from Crewe Alexandra on  Monday. The duo makes it three new players brought in by McDermott since  the end of last season, with giant striker Matt Smith signing from Oldham  Athletic last month. McDermott admitted at the start of the summer that  he was hoping to bring in six or seven players before the new season.

July 3rd. Hunt targets promotion. Leeds new boy Noel Hunt has set his sights on helping the club win promotion back to the Premier League.Hunt has signed a two-year deal at Elland Road after leaving Reading at the end of last season. The Irishman is relishing joining Leeds and is hoping he can help win promotion from the Championship next season. “It has to be the number one target [promotion],” Hunt told Sky Sports News. “The club have showed intent, they have spent a few quid obviously got in a few players and I am sure there will be more to come. “The big thing for this season is to get back into the top league in the country and this place has got all the foundations and all work to do it, so hopefully we can. “I know a lot of these boys know what they are in for as they have been in this league long enough and lot of them want a crack at the top table and hopefully we can do it.” It’s always nice to hear what former fans th9ink of a player. Read on : Josh Aspinall from Vital Reading gives us his views on Leeds latest  signing Noel Hunt. Hunt spent five years at Reading, making over 150  appearances for the club. How disappointed are you to see Hunt  leave Reading? I have mixed emotions on Hunt leaving really. I would  like to have seen him stay for another season, as I genuinely thought he could  offer Adkins a different option, compared to Le Fondre and Pogrebnyak`s style of  play. On the other hand, after signing Hunt when he was 25 and in his peak as a  striker from his time at Dundee United, at the age of 30, he isn`t going to get  any fitter or faster. Hunt is a player that thrives on his work rate and  eccentric nature, but we struggled to see that side of his game anymore at times  last season. He is described as a winger/striker. What would you  say is his best role? Definitely a striker. The only reason I say  this as his attributes as a player doesn`t suit a wing role. McDermott used to  deploy him on right wing on occasion when it got desperate, but was  unsurprisingly ineffective. However, his darting runs to back post does catch  defenders by surprise, but is much better exploited as a forward, or even a  second striker. What are his strengths and  weaknesses? Hunt`s main strength is his aerial ability, which is  strange for a striker who stands at 5`10. He has a fantastic leap, certainly one  of the best I have seen from a striker his height. Despite Hunty only scoring 39  goals in over 150 games, I can`t remember him missing an awful amount of chances  – he is usually quite composed in front of goal and a lot of goals usually come  from headers, mainly due to his good leap. He will also work his socks off  during games, he never lacks in effort. In terms of weaknesses, Hunt  doesn`t boast many physical attributes. He is not the quickest and not the  strongest footballer going. This obviously means that he needs supply if he is  going to score goals – good supply too! Hunt has also had his fair share of injuries in his Reading career too, with a knee problem that has troubled him for quite a while in his career. Describe Hunt in three  words? Friendly, committed, workaholic.


July 3rd Hunt Next. Worst kept secret confirmed. Leeds have made their third summer signing after striker Noel Hunt completed his move from Reading. The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international has been reunited with Leeds manager Brian McDermott after putting pen to paper on a two-year deal. “Noel is a player that I scouted five years ago when he was playing for Dundee United,” former Reading manager McDermott told the club’s official website. “We spent £500,000 on him at the time and that was money very well spent. “He’s an infectious character and I’m sure he will engage Leeds United fans with his desire and determination, and never say die attitude. “He will bring an awful lot to our squad on and off the pitch and I’m delighted he’s chosen to come and play for Leeds.” Hunt, who was out of contract at Reading, scored 39 goals in 162 appearances during his five-year spell with the Berkshire club and follows fellow summer signings Luke Murphy and Matt Smith to Elland Road. Meanwhile, Blackpool were preparing a £1M bid for United forward Ross McCormack and were willing to match his Leeds wages. It would be a surprise if United were to cash in on McCormack, because one would hope that Hunt would be the perfect foil for him.  As former Leeds favourite Jermaine Beckford was about to sign for Bolton in a £1M deal, manager Dougie Freedman insists he has yet to receive a firm offer from Leeds for central defender, Matt Mills. That said, many of us thought we had no chance of attaining Luke Murphy for £1M. Mills would be a super addition. Elsewehere, there was one would assume ridiculous fantasy coming out of Selhurst Park presuming that £3M and an offer of football from C Palace would tempt Sam Byram away from Leeds. Taking the Pi** or what ! July 2nd. “I couldn’t turn Leeds down” – Murphy. Midfielder Luke Murphy says he couldn’t have lived with himself if he hadn’t joined Leeds United. Leon Wobschall spoke to the £1m man. £1m man Luke Murphy admits that he would not have been able to live with himself had he spurned the advances of Leeds United. The 23-year-old midfielder, whose skills were nurtured at the nearest thing you can get to a school of footballing science in England at Crewe Alexandra, had his pick of three clubs – who all beat a path to south Cheshire to land the latest talent off the Railwaymen’s prolific Academy-reared production line. Wolves, then Blackburn Rovers and finally Leeds saw bids of around £1m accepted, with the Whites showing their hand in the nick of time – just when it seemed that Murphy was about to head to Ewood Park for good. Murphy met manager Brian McDermott, who revealed his interest in him to his agent six to eight weeks ago, on Sunday – and his decision was soon made, with the Alsager-born play-maker staying at Leeds overnight before being whisked up to Thorp Arch yesterday morning for a medical ahead of completing his move. The speed of developments, given a hitherto tardy summer of recruitment at Elland Road, was somewhat breakneck, even bewildering. The seven-figure transfer represented a seismic development not just for Murphy, but his new club and Whites fans, now busy reflecting on a momentous chain of events that most would not have dared envisage just a few days ago. Arriving hand in hand with a shift in transfer policy is a new boardroom structure. And if the club’s new chairman Salah Nooruddin and new managing director David Haigh, now responsible for day-to-day running of United after chief executive officer Shaun Harvey stepped down – although he remains a director – wanted to make a declaration of intent to Whites supporters, Murphy was plainly it. On his path to Leeds – via stop-offs at Wolves and Blackburn, Murphy said: “It was a hard decision. But once I thought about it in my head, I knew that if I turned down Leeds United, it would be a massive regret in my life. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. “Leeds are up there with the biggest clubs in this country. Looking back in my life, if someone had said I’d be playing for Leeds in however many years time, I’d have snapped their hands off. “I went to Wolves and really liked their manager Kenny Jackett. But I really wanted to test myself at a higher-level. “Blackburn came in and I made the decision to speak to them. “Again, they were a great club with a great manager and who are going in the right direction – with a great assistant in Terry McPhillips, who I knew from back at Crewe. “But then on Sunday, I found out Leeds were interested. “You don’t need much persuading to sign for Leeds. “I was all set to go to Blackburn and I think if it had been any other (Championship) club bar Leeds, I would have still been on my way to Blackburn.” The persuasive charms of a club like Leeds may have spoken plenty to Murphy, but the pitch of his new manager certainly firmed up everything in his mind. And the words of McDermott – who waxed lyrical about Murphy yesterday, labelling him as the best player in League One no less – soon convinced the Cheshire lad, if he needed any more swaying, he was making the right move. Not that Murphy was without his own a ‘heads-up’ on his new gaffer, with long-serving Crewe assistant boss Neil Baker providing him with a glowing reference regarding McDermott. Murphy, who ended a 16-year association with Crewe, who he had been on the books at since the age of seven, to move to West Yorkshire said: “I have seen Brian on TV in interviews and really liked how he came across and it was the same on Sunday. “We had a little chat and a coffee and connected straightaway. “As soon as we had a chat, that’s when my head was fully turned and I was looking in different directions to where I was the previous day. “Everyone I have spoken to about the manager speaks very highly of him. “Earlier on in pre-season, I did have an idea Brian McDermott did like me as a player and I spoke to Neil Baker about it and he said: ‘You won’t get a better manager than Brian.’ “I take Neil’s advice very seriously and when he is telling me things like that, that’s something I have got to seriously think about.” The first to admit that he was ripe for stepping up to the next level after a long and fruitful association with Crewe, Murphy now simply cannot wait to start making Championship waves at United after proving himself over several seasons in the lower leagues. While the apex of his former club’s ambition was to reach the second tier, a level that the Railwaymen played at between 1997-2002 and 2003-06, Leeds’ aspirations all centre around returning to the Premier League, which they last played at in 2003-04 – with the clock ticking loudly. Having seen the likes of former Railway colleague Alex Westwood – who he took over the captaincy from at the Alexandra Stadium last summer – move onto the big time at Aston Villa, with scores of other Crewe players having also followed a track to the top-flight, it’s plainly where Murphy ultimately wants to be. If he can achieve that with his new club, you sense it would mean the world to him. He said: “It would be massive to help Leeds go up. Leeds are a Premier League club and if I can be part of something and help take them back there than would definitely be the best moment in my career. “To get a massive club back where they belong.”  

Leeds new £1M signing

July 1st. Murphy the £1m man. Leeds United today confirmed the signing of Crewe Alexandra captain Luke MurphyThe central midfielder has signed a three-year contract with the Whites. United beat off interest from a number of clubs, including Blackburn Rovers and Wolves, to capture the signature of the highly-rated 23-year-old. Boss Brian McDermott told the club website: “Myself, the owners, the staff, the players, and I’m sure and I can speak for the supporters on this one, are absolutely delighted to sign Luke. “He’s a player I’ve known for a long time, I’ve watched his career progress, and I feel he was the best player in his division last year. “Luke certainly fits the profile of player that we’re looking to attract: He is young, hungry, wants to work hard and very obviously talented. “I’d like to thank the owners for making this deal happen. We had spoken about Luke earlier in the summer being one for the key signings we’re looking to make.” Newly-appointed chairman Salah Nooruddin said: “We’re delighted to complete the deal for Luke. There was plenty of interest in him from other clubs, but Brian had never made any secret about his desire to bring Luke here, and we’re pleased we were able to get things done and welcome a very good addition to our squad.” Murphy is a graduate of Crewe’s Academy system and, since making his debut as an 18-year-old, he made 186 appearances for the club, scoring 25 goals. Managing director David Haigh said: “It’s great to welcome Luke aboard. He is a player that Brian had identified some time ago and we have all worked very hard to make this happen.” Murphy becomes the club’s second signing of the summer following a deal to bring in striker Matt Smith from Oldham Athletic. At last a statement of intent from the powers that be and Luke Murphy becomes our first £1M signing since we paid £1.15M to Preston for Richard Cresswell eight years ago. July 1st. Changes in the boardroom at LeedsLEEDS UNITED have announced major boardroom changes, with vice-chairman Salah Nooruddin to take over as chairman, David Haigh to become managing director and Shaun Harvey to step down from his role as CEO. The club confirmed that Harvey will remain at the club as a director, but Haigh – formerly a director – will now be responsible for the day-to-day running of the club. Nooruddin, confirmed as new chairman following the end of Ken Bates’ chairmanship on Sunday, said: “We are pleased to welcome David Haigh to his new role. He and I will continue to work with the rest of the board, the management tram, Brian McDermott and his team to build the foundations on and off the pitch for a successful future for Leeds United. “At the same time, we extend our thanks to Shaun for his services to the club over the past nine years. Shaun will remain as a director of the club to offer us his considerable footballing experience.”

Steve Morison 9

July 1st. Morison departs for Millwall on season long loan. Leeds United striker Steve Morison sealed a return to former club Millwall on a season-long loan – in a move that will enable Elland Road manager  Brian McDermott complete the signing of Noel Hunt. The Lions’ interest in the 29-year-old was confirmed in the YEP earlier this week and despite the 29-year-old being happy at Elland Road, the lack of transfer funds available to McDermott has prompted his decision to let the striker head back to the New Den. The incoming transfer of former Reading forward Hunt to Leeds has been waiting to be rubber-stamped for several weeks, with the 30-year-old’s wage demands reportedly around £12,000 a week. By getting the wages of Morison – who is believed to be on a weekly wage in the region of £17,000 – off the club’s books, it effectively allows Hunt to come in. McDermott said: “I am looking to re-shape my squad and there was an offer on the table for Steve to go to a club that he has already played at it. “He’s there for a year and he will be playing games, and due to the terms of the deal he can’t play against us.” Millwall are believed to have been interested in Morison for several weeks, with the Wales international having been a big crowd favourite during his time at the New Den from 2009 to 2011. During his time there, he plundered 40 goals in 95 appearances and formed a prolific strike partnership with Neil Harris, who recently returned to the Lions as a coach. Morison is only part way through a three-and-a-half-year contract he signed with Leeds at the end of January after arriving from Norwich City as part of the deal which saw Luciano Becchio head to Carrow Road – with the Whites also receiving a £200,000 fee. Just prior to Morison’s transfer to Leeds, Millwall had expressed an interest in bringing him back to South London on loan. Despite moving from Millwall to the Canaries in a £2.1m deal in June, 2011, Morrison has still remained close friends with Lions chairman John Berylson, who helped give him his big break when he brought him in from Stevenage Borough. Morison endured an undistinguished start to his time at Leeds in the final three months of the 2012-13 campaign, finding the net just three times in 13 full starts and three substitute appearances. More wheeling and dealing is on the cards over the coming days and weeks for McDermott, who must sell further players if he is to make room on the wage bill for his hit-list of targets. McDermott’s wanted list is thought to include the likes of Bolton Wanderers’ defender Matt Mills. Despite a lack of funds at his disposal and having to sell before being given permission to bring in new players, McDermott confirmed on Thursday that his targets remain the same. Link to earlier Leeds United SC Louth branch site http://leedsutd-louthsc.com/