Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Leeds United: A History

In Leeds United: A History, author Dave Tomlinson relates the complete and definitive history of the club from the early days of Leeds City to the present day. Through the voices of the people involved with the club, including supporters, players and former players, owners, administrators and local writers, to describe the club's history within its social context, how changes have affected the club and how developments in football itself have made an indelible impact upon both the football club and the wider community. This is a must-have for any fan of the 'Mighty Whites'.

‘It's not the despair... I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.’ - John Cleese in Clockwise

Every fan of Leeds United will get the sentiment and readily acknowledge the masochistic nature of life as a follower of the Mighty Whites; right from its humble beginnings as Leeds City, the club has been dogged by a cycle of brave new dawns that inevitably give way in a resigned shudder to a disaster even grimmer than the last.
City struggled against financial challenges from the moment the club was established and just as the peerless Herbert Chapman offered the promise of promotion, Leeds were unceremoniously thrown out of the League and disbanded for making illegal wartime payments to players.
Football was reborn in Leeds with the formation in 1919 of United, Second Division champions in 1924 before spending the next fifteen years yo-yoing between divisions.
After the Second World War, Major Frank Buckley unearthed a superstar in John Charles; the Gentle Giant led United to promotion in 1956 before his big money transfer to Juventus left his colleagues with little to look forward to but relegation.
Don Revie brought unprecedented success to Elland Road, but after he left for the England job, the club meandered under the mismanagement of directors who had been spoiled by the achievements of Revie.
Howard Wilkinson led United to the League championship in 1992 before big money took centre stage and the powers-that-be lost faith in Wilko’s plans.
David O’Leary took a set of exciting youngsters through a memorable Champions League campaign only for financial gambles and a high profile trial to bring the club to its knees.
Promotion hopes beckoned in 2006 but United were hammered in the Play-Off final and relegated a year later as Ken Bates plunged the club into administration.
Simon Grayson’s side earned promotion in 2010 and went close to a return to the Premiership before Bates’ unwillingness to invest scuppered those hopes.
GFH Capital promised a money-driven revival, but their promises ran into the sand.
And now we have the eccentric Massimo Cellino …
To live through such a rollercoaster history requires resilience, the kind which few supporters possess. It’s miserable, fascinating, frustrating, exciting and chaotic being a Leeds fan and it doesn’t look likely to change any time soon … Marching On Together!!

Buy this book at Amazon

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yellow is back for United as 2015/16 away strip is unveiled

leedsunited.com 29/7/15
Leeds United will wear yellow again for the first time in five seasons after the new away kit for 2015/16 was unveiled on Wednesday.
The stunning new design by teamwear partners Kappa will be available to purchase in the Elland Road Superstore from 9am this Friday morning (July 31).
It will also be worn for the first time by the players in Saturday’s Elland Road pre-season friendly against Premier League side Everton.
We can also confirm there will be no third shirt this season, meaning United will only play in either white or yellow.
Kappa’s striking new design is a predominantly all-yellow affair, with a blue trim around the collar ensuring a stylish fit to the shirt.
Kappa’s iconic ‘Omini’ logos appear on each shoulder, while ventilation panels down the sides allow for maximum breathability in all climates.
Much like the immensely popular new home kit, the away shirt is without a main sponsor, making it unmistakably Leeds United with a retro feel.
2015/16 away kit prices (Season Ticket Holders and Members receive 10% off):
Replica shirt £45
Player fit £55
Junior shirt £36
Adult shorts £22, junior shorts £20
Adult socks £10, junior socks £8

Rosler looking for wide man to complete his Leeds United squad

Yorkshire Post 29/7/15
Leeds United manager Uwe Rosler is facing a fight against time to bring in a left winger for the start of the new season.
Having strengthened his squad with six new signings over the summer months, it is widely understood that he now wants one more player to join the ranks as he seeks to provide some width down the left flank.
The arrival of goalkeeper Ross Turnbull on a free transfer from Barnsley – signing number six – left Rosler with a well-balanced squad of players.
The 46-year-old had already spotted an obvious shortage of goals in the team, so deals for Chris Wood and Lee Erwin were done. Tom Adeyemi’s loan from Cardiff City gave Rosler sufficient depth in his midfield and the deal with Sol Bamba retained a strong centre-back and a potential captain. Turnbull came in as cover for a goalkeeper in Marco Silvestri who will start the new season as first choice and was otherwise lacking an experienced deputy.
Turnbull was the most recent of the arrivals, signed to a two-year deal on July 15 and in time to go on tour to Austria and Norway. Since then Leeds have tried and failed to finish Rosler’s team off with a deal for an out-and-out winger.
It is still the top priority as the club head into the last few days of pre-season and begin counting down to the visit of Burnley on August 8.
Rosler never intended to gut the squad at Elland Road, realising that he would be working to a budget this summer and happy in any case with many of the players he inherited in May. His shift towards a 4-3-3 formation was assisted by the ability of Sam Byram to operate as a right winger and United’s substantial investment in Wood, a reliable goalscorer who Rosler believes is capable of fending for himself in a front three.
The left-hand side was more of a problem and Rosler’s pre-season experiments have largely served to convince him and the club that a specialist wide player is needed.
But time is running out if he wants to get his man ahead of next weekend’s big kick-off.
Rosler said: “There are areas where we want to improve. Our financial framework is restricted but we still want to do at least one more thing. In some areas we are very light, especially when you talk about wanting to play with width and three up front.”
At one stage a week ago, Leeds thought a deal to sign Catania’s Raphael Martinho was about to fall into place.
A medical was mooted, though Martinho never actually completed one, and United discussed the transfer at length before deciding that the Brazilian’s poor grasp of English might be a problem. Unconvinced that he would settle in Leeds, the club chose to move on.
Earlier this month, Cellino made contact with French club Bastia about Floyd Ayite, a 26-year-old Togo international who is reported to be worth around £2million.
United’s Italian owner did not like Bastia’s valuation and has left that option alone. In the past few days the search has turned elsewhere. Cellino believes the club have enough alternatives, though none of them would be cheap and he is resistant to the idea of signing loanees who do not sign with a view to a permanent deal. Manchester City’s Brandon Barker, a player linked with Leeds throughout the summer, was ruled out for that reason – City’s reluctance to discuss the option of a full-time move.
“With loans that have no (right of) redemption, you are only paying to train another club’s player,” Cellino once said. “I’ve never done a deal like that in my life.”
Leeds also remain intent on balancing the books, despite their willingness to pay around £2m for Wood.
Having negotiated the sale of Billy Sharp to Sheffield United on Saturday, the club are trying to remove Steve Morison and Nicky Ajose from their wage bill having decided that neither player is needed for the forthcoming season.
Sources at Elland Road believe Morison’s preferred move is a return to Millwall but the striker’s wage is far beyond the reach of a League One club.
He became one of United’s top earners when he signed from Norwich City in 2013 and Leeds are anxious to avoid an expensive pay-off.
Ajose, meanwhile, has two years left on his contract but was encouraged to look for a new club by being omitted from United’s pre-season tour. The 23-year-old, who made little impact after his move from Peterborough United a year ago, remained in England instead and trained with the club’s development squad.
“I said to Nicky that he would find it hard to get regular playing time,” Rosler said.
“I think to be honest to players is the best way to be.
“He’s trying to sort out his future. That’s the best thing for the player and for us.”

Leeds United: Whites set to profit from Gradel sale

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/7/15
Leeds United are set to receive a six-figure cash windfall as former winger Max Gradel closes in on a move from St Etienne to Bournemouth.
United stand to profit from a sell-on clause agreed when Gradel quit Elland Road for France in 2011.
The controversial sale of the 27-year-old earned Leeds an upfront fee of around £2m but the terms of the agreement guaranteed United a cut of any future profit made by St Etienne – believed to be 10 per cent. Bournemouth, who Gradel played for previously, appear to have won the race to sign him and are expected to pay more than £5m to complete the transfer.
The deal is expected to go through once St Etienne complete their Europa League qualifying matches.
Gradel’s exit from Elland Road four years ago caused much upset among United’s support, coming at the very end of the summer transfer window and sacrificing a winger who had won their player-of-the-year award three months earlier. The Ivory Coast international scored 18 times during the 2010-11 campaign, helping Leeds to the brink of the Championship play-offs.
United have twice expressed an interest in re-signing Gradel in recent years – once while Neil Warnock was manager and again with Brian McDermott in charge. They were priced out of a deal on both occasions.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Leeds United star Cook taken off as ‘precaution’ says Rosler

Yorkshire Post 27/7/15
UWE ROSLER allayed fears of a serious injury to Lewis Cook after the midfielder limped out of Leeds United’s friendly defeat to Hoffenheim.
United’s head coach said Cook was withdrawn as a “precaution” during the first half of yesterday’s match in Norway after taking a blow to one foot.
Leeds’ talented youngster completed just 15 minutes of a 2-1 loss in Lillestrom but is expected to recover in time to feature in the club’s last friendly at home to Everton on Saturday.
Rosler has seen a spate of injuries among his midfielders during United’s pre-season schedule. Luke Murphy underwent surgery three weeks ago and will miss the start of the Championship season and Tommaso Bianchi sat out yesterday’s friendly with a swollen knee.
Rosler, however, expects Bianchi to train this week and asked about Cook, the German said: “He’s fine. He got a kick on his toe and we took him out just as a precaution.
“We didn’t want to risk him two weeks before the season starts.”
Leeds are entering the closing stages of their pre-season programme after Saturday’s defeat rounded off a week-long tour of Austria and Norway.
Rosler’s side lost 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt near Salzburg last Tuesday and were narrowly beaten by another Bundesliga team in Lillestrom, in front of a crowd of more than 2,000.
United fell behind to a second-minute strike from Mark Uth, scored from long-range, but new signing Tom Adeyemi equalised when he finished off a well-worked corner with 25 minutes gone.
Rosler expressed satisfaction with United’s first-half display but conceded that their intensity dropped after the interval, on the back of a long week of training.
Hoffenheim settled the friendly on 67 minutes through a close-range finish from Steven Zuber.
“The first 45 minutes were excellent,” Rosler said. “We camped in their half against top opposition.
“We looked physically very strong and sharp when we pressed them high. We looked dangerous from set pieces and from open play.
“I was very happy. I praised the players a lot at half-time –probably a little bit too much but because we’ve come to the end of a very hard week.
“We couldn’t keep that level up in the second half but we had two or three very good chances. A draw would have been a fair result.
“It’ been a good week and we’ve put a lot of good things in place. I think you could see that.”
Rosler’s hunt for an out-and-out left winger remains at the top of the agenda at Elland Road with the start of the new season approaching rapidly.
Leeds gave serious consideration to signing Catania’s Raphael Martinho but pulled out of talks last week after deciding that the Brazilian – a player who speaks virtually no English – might struggle to settle in England.
Interest in Bastia’s Floyd Ayite has not progressed and Rosler used both friendlies abroad to try out options within his squad, using Casper Sloth as a left winger against Frankfurt and giving that role to Souleymane Doukara in the defeat to Hoffenheim.
Doukara, who moved to United from Italy a year ago, scored seven times for Leeds in his first season at Elland Road but became increasingly peripheral in the second half of the term.
Asked if he was happy with Doukara’s display, Rosler said: “On the ball yes but without the ball Souleymane knows he has to work very hard. “But he’s putting a lot of effort in and there were a lot of encouraging signs from him. He wants to do well.”
Leeds United line-up v Hoffenheim: Silvestri, Berardi, Bamba, Bellusci, Taylor (Cooper 65), Adeyemi (Sloth 84), Cook (Phillips 15), Mowatt (Walters 85), Byram (Erwin 80), Doukara (Antenucci 61), Wood (Morison 80). Subs (not used): Turnbull, Coyle, Wootton, Horton.

Sharp departs for Blades return

leedsunited.com 25/7/15
We can confirm that striker Billy Sharp has left the club to re-join Sheffield United for an undisclosed fee.
The 29-year-old, who joined moved to Elland Road from Southampton last summer, scored five times in 35 United appearances last term.
We would like to thank Billy for his efforts here and wish him all the best for the future.

We deserved a draw - Uwe on Hoffenheim

leedsunited.com 25/7/15
Uwe Rosler was full of praise for United’s display despite seeing his side suffer a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Hoffenheim on Saturday afternoon in Norway.
United had fallen behind after just two minutes in Lillestrom, with Mark Uth’s unstoppable effort leaving those inside the Arasen Stadion stunned as it sailed into the top corner.
But Rosler’s men responded well and pulled level on 25 minutes courtesy of Tom Adeyemi’s first goal in Leeds colours.
Second-half substitute Steven Zuber managed to clinch the victory for Hoffenheim, converting a cross from close-range, but Rosler still drew plenty of positives from the pre-season tour’s closing game.
“I thought the first 45 minutes were excellent,” he said. “We camped in their half – against tough opposition from the Bundesliga.
“We looked very strong physically and sharp. We pressed them high and they didn’t come out of their half.
“We looked dangerous from set-pieces and we looked dangerous from open play. We had lots of chances – I’m very happy.
“I praised the players a lot at half-time – probably a little bit too much – due to the fact that we were at the end of a hard week.
“We couldn’t have kept that level up in the second half but we still had two or three very good chances.
“It was just a couple of square passes where there would have been a tap-in – there was one for Souleymane and one for Morro. Mirco had a good chance too.
“We should have got a draw – I think a draw would have been a fair result considering both halves.”
Lewis Cook was forced off through injury after just 15 minutes of the game in Norway, but Rosler confirmed that removing him was purely precautionary.
“He is fine,” the head coach said. “He got a kick on his toe and we took him off – it was just a precaution.
“We didn’t want to risk anything two weeks before the season starts. Kal came on and was terrific in the first half.”

Leeds United: Cook limps off as Whites lose to Hoffenheim

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/7/15
Lewis Cook limped off injured and Tom Adeyemi scored his first Leeds United goal as the club suffered a 2-1 defeat to Hoffenheim in their penultimate pre-season friendly.
Cook was lost to a knock early in the first half in Norway, creating a fresh injury worry for head coach Uwe Rosler with the new Championship season two weeks away.
The Leeds boss saw Luke Murphy succumb to knee surgery earlier this month and midfielder Tommaso Bianchi also missed this afternoon’s match with a problem sustained in training.
There was better news about Chris Wood, however, as the striker started against Hoffenheim.
Wood - Leeds’ new signing from Leicester City - missed the previous two games against York City and Eintracht Frankfurt with a hamstring problem but he was passed fit for today’s clash at Lillestrom.
Adeyemi, meanwhile, struck on 25 minutes to help Leeds recover from an early Hoffenheim goal.
The Bundesliga side scored after two minutes through a long-range Mark Uth goal but Adeyemi, who joined Leeds on loan from Cardiff City last week, pounced when flicks from Sam Byram and Souleymane Doukara allowed him to convert an Alex Mowatt corner.
Hoffenheim sealed their win in the second half when Steven Zuber found the net from a few yards out.
Today’s friendly rounded off United’s tour of Austria and Norway and Rosler’s side will now return home for their last pre-season match at home to Everton next Saturday.