Friday, October 29, 2004

Leeds Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More


THE clock was today ticking on the latest takeover bid for Leeds United.
The Elland Road board have demanded proof of the funds from the Trans-Atlantic consortium hoping to seize control with a £25m offer.
And the YEP also understands that the club have been told to clarify the exact source of the funding by legal eagles.
There appears to be a major concern over where the monies are coming from and until the consortium satisfy the United board and the legal team the deal will not go through.
The board discussed the proposal at length again at yesterday's board meeting and, while the offer appears to be too good to turn down in monetary terms, have been advised to hold off making any firm decision.
In principle the offer would be enough to satisfy the current board and the funds would not only ease United's debt problem but would also provide manager Kevin Blackwell with immediate transfer cash.
The consortium, headed by Sebastian Sainsbury, a member of the family which founded the national supermarket chain, have gone on the offensive and stated their intentions should they assume control of the club.
Sainsbury claims he was mystified when the United board issued a short statement, insisting: "We have always insisted that any interested party must be able to confirm that the necessary funds are available in order to complete any transaction.
"Despite much press speculation, as we stand now, no party has met our conditions."
That statement is contested by Sainsbury, who insists that his group offered a £500,000 deposit.
The group also includes Amercian based-businessman Burl Sheppard, whose background is in the telecommunications industry. He is described as "hi-tech fundraiser" and he has yet to explain his interest publicly.
In reality a deal was never going to be completed yesterday, despite speculation to the contrary, and Sainsbury is now suggesting that it could be Monday before his group can offer proof of funds.
That time factor may yet prove decisive because United do have other irons in the fire and a ground deal, coupled with further investment from an outside party, could provide the answer to the club's search for capital.
The United board, who maintained a stony silence during their own succesful take over of the club in March, were today refusing to comment further.
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Preston | Healy completes transfer to Leeds

Healy completes transfer to Leeds
Northern Ireland striker David Healy has completed his move from Preston North End to Leeds United.
Healy signed for the Elland Road outfit on Friday morning after agreeing personal terms with the club and undergoing a medical.
Leeds had several earlier bids turned down but then decided to meet Preston's asking price for the 25-year-old.
The fee is understood to be in the region of £650,000 and Healy has committed himself to Leeds until 2008.
Healy will go straight into the Leeds team to face Coca-Cola Championship leaders Wigan on Sunday.
The Northern Ireland international admitted the two weeks in which the clubs have been wrangling over the fee had been difficult for him.
"I never had any doubts. As soon as I knew Leeds were interested I wanted to come here," said Healy.
"Everything about it is impressive. The stadium and facilities are those of a Premier League outfit.
"They may not be there at the moment but hopefully we can get there soon.
"Preston took a massive gamble when they signed me from Manchester United and I'll always be grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to play first team football."
Kevin Blackwell was rewarded for his patience even though he admitted there were times Healy might not come.
"Whenever Leeds go in for a player, three or four other clubs take interest but fortunately David wanted to come here and I'm glad that was his decision," said the Leeds boss.
Healy is Preston's club-record signing, joining for £1.5m from Manchester United after a successful loan spell in 2001.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Guardian Unlimited Football | News | Leeds set for takeover

Sainsbury says he'll save Leeds

The man spearheading a proposed take-over of Leeds says he wants to save the club's soul

Staff and agencies
Thursday October 28, 2004

Krasner: "No statement will be issued at the present time"

Sebastian Sainsbury warned Leeds United chiefs today they face the stark choice of accepting his £25m bid or selling Elland Road.
Sainsbury confirmed he is the leader of a consortium whose bid for the club is being discussed at a specially convened board meeting this afternoon.

The 41-year-old banker and restauranteur insisted if he was successful the club's stadium would be saved and he would re-establish Leeds as one of the country's top clubs.

"The board has two options," said Sainsbury, "the option we have put forward or the option of selling Elland Road, the pride and joy of Leeds United for the past 85 years."

"They have to make a decision which is in the best interests of the shareholders, the players and particularly the fans, and I know which way I would go."

Leeds' current board, led by Gerald Krasner, have managed to significantly reduce Leeds' debt. But having sold their big-name stars and negotiated a lease-back deal on their training ground at Thorp Arch, only Elland Road remained.

Sainsbury said the primary intentions of his group including leading figures from the American Nova Finance Group were to buy back the Thorp Arch complex and provide manager Kevin Blackwell with cash to strengthen the team.

But he added he appreciated the weariness with which Leeds fans would greet renewed takeover speculation and vowed to listen closely to their wishes.

"I want to work closely with the supporters with the objective first of getting back into the Premiership," added Sainsbury, "then we must re-establish Leeds as a top club. When I was 12 years old and lived in London everybody knew who Leeds were."

"This is not going to be a Malcolm Glazer-type story or a Russian revolution."

"I want to be straight and avoid disappointing people. I want to communicate with the players and the supporters and to work out the next move together."

Sainsbury - the great grandson of the founder of the supermarket empire who boasts a number of high-profile business interests in London, has preferred a low-key lifestyle.

He has courted some degree of public prominence with his latest venture, an exclusive bar in west London's Sloane Street, in which Prince William is reputed to own shares, but he said he was aback by the level of interest in his first foray into the football world.

"This has opened my eyes to how much football means and it is quite a scary prospect," he explained, "I am not somebody who walks around with body guards or public relations officers and it is a scary thought that I will have a public profile."

"But this is one of greatest names in English football and anybody would relish the challenge of realising their enormous potential."

Before he can put his plans into place Sainsbury must persuade the current Leeds board of his intentions.

And three months of negotiations at Elland Road have not left him entirely confident of success today despite the future which he believes is at stake. Sainsbury said: "In three months of negotiations I have yet to sit in the same room with more than two members of the Leeds board at any one time."

"I don't know how you can close a deal in those situations. Today is the first time they will all have sat in the same room and discussed our offer."
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

Consortium poised to take over Leeds
Thu 28 October, 2004 10:09

LONDON (Reuters) - An Anglo-American consortium is poised to take over Leeds United in a deal worth 25 million pounds, according to the Yorkshire Post.

The newspaper said on Thursday the deal for the second division side should be completed within the next 24 hours with money made available to buy new players on completion.

Leeds, top of the Premier League in January 2002, have plummeted to 17th place in the second division after being forced to sell off their top players to service debts estimated at 80 million pounds.

The Post said 23 million would be pumped into the club to wipe out non-scheduled debts and loans if the takeover is successful.

It quoted a source close to the new consortium as saying its aim was to make the club debt-free and that it did not plan to sell Elland Road, the team's home ground.

Leeds, the dominant club in English soccer in the late 1960s and early 1970s, reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001 before financial profligacy caught up with them.

The club teetered on the edge of financial collapse earlier this year before being sold to a Yorkshire-based consortium in March. Leeds were relegated from the Premier League in May.

Leeds United Football Club - United Agree Fee For Healy

United Agree Fee For Healy
Leeds United have today agreed a fee with Preston North End for Northern Ireland striker David Healy.

Both clubs have agreed to keep the transfer fee undisclosed, but the 25-year-old will complete his move to Elland Road today subject to passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.

Kevin Blackwell has left supporters in no doubt that he believes Healy would be a key addition to the squad.

"David is a player I admire," he said.

"He is a proven international player, a proven goalscorer and a player with a good pedigree. He is the type of player this club should be looking to attract if we are to move forward.

"David wants to play for this club, so hopefully everything can be agreed quickly."

Healy began his career as a trainee with Manchester United but only made three substitutes appearances for them. After impressing former Preston boss David Moyes whilst on loan, he made a permanent move to Deepdale in a deal worth £1.5m in January 2001.

In just over three seasons with Preston he scored 44 goals in 120 starts for the Lilywhites and at international level is currently Northern Ireland's all time leading goalscorer with 15 goals from 39 caps.

Leeds are still waiting to hear if they can make one further addition to the squad ahead of Sunday's clash against top of the table Wigan.

Blackwell has enquired about taking West Ham midfielder Don Hutchison on loan but must wait to hear if the Hammers have picked up any fresh injuries following their Carling Cup defeat to Chelsea.

If given the all clear, Hutchison is expected to make his way to Leeds later on Thursday.

Meanwhile, another youthful United reserve side lost 1-0 away to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening.
Yorkshire Post Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

With funds set to run out in January, selling was only optionDavid Parkin
Business Editor
AS Leeds United face yet another change in ownership, one is reminded that when it comes to football and business the two just don't mix.
With the exception of Manchester United, arguably the world's biggest club, football clubs just can't be run at a profit.
When clubs are saddled with massive debts it makes the job even harder. Just paying the interest on those borrowings is tough enough, never mind paying them off.
The consortium which bought Leeds United earlier this year succeeded in erasing more than half of the club's £110m of debt.
They borrowed £15m from property investor Jack Petchey to help fund the takeover and negotiated to pay in instalments to creditors such as the Inland Revenue and former managers and players owed compensation. But they were still saddled with more than £40m of borrowings.
Perhaps that is why, when it came to the crunch, they were the only group of investors prepared to put their money on the table.
The consortium, led by chairman Gerald Krasner, a highly-rated Leeds insolvency accountant, gambled on three things.
Firstly they hoped the team could remain in the Premiership. They didn't and were relegated with the massive financial consequences that involves.
Secondly they hoped to raise millions through a debenture scheme by selling thousands of 20-year season tickets. With the club in the bottom three of the Premiership and facing relegation, they sold around 100.
And thirdly they were advised by former Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond.
An experienced football man, Richmond had left Bradford with huge debts and, only weeks after his involvement with Leeds was revealed, he was declared bankrupt.
While the first two were financial disasters, here was a public relations disaster to match them.
The four-strong board staggered on and have since sold the club's training ground for £4.2m in a sale and lease back scheme and a site for a casino next to Elland Road which raised £5m.
That only succeeded in reducing the debt to £30m, leaving just the Elland Road stadium left to sell – the asset cupboard was almost bare.
Seasoned observers of the club have been predicting that they would run out of money by January. That may or may not have been the case, but a sale has looked the only option for some time.
The Anglo-American group which hope to buy the club face two problems: fans and finance.
Leeds United supporters are bound to be suspicious of a group which are not fans of the club and have no previous experience of running a football club.
On the finance front, the group say they can use the club's worldwide brand to generate funds. Yet this brand is worth little unless the club are competing successfully in the Premiership.
Sitting 17th in the Coca-Cola Championship table, the promised land looks a long way away.
Yorkshire Post Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

Leeds to step up move for HealyRichard Sutcliffe
THE PAST two-and-a-half years have seen Leeds United undergo so much chopping and changing at the top that fans have been left wondering if Elland Road's main gates had been replaced by a revolving door.
During that time, Leeds have had five managers, five chairmen and so many prospective owners that it has been difficult for the club's long-suffering fans to keep pace.
United have also slipped from missing qualification for the Champions League by a point in the 2001-02 season to today being in the bottom half of the newly-named Coca-Cola Championship.
Everyone from Colonel Gaddafi's son to a lifelong Arab fan professed their interest in taking over a club whose finances spiralled so far out of control that they owed more than £100m as recently as March. But nothing came of the talks.
However, today's revelation that a British-American consortium led by Sebastien Sainsbury is set to take over at Elland Road looks like bringing to an end the most uncertain period in the club's history.
The move comes exactly a year to the day that Leeds announced a record pre-tax loss of £49.5m, taking their debts to £78m.
Sainsbury has linked up with Nova Financial Partners president Michael Lucas and executive Burl Sheppard to negotiate a £25m deal for United and the prospective new owners have big plans for the future.
Elland Road, whose value has risen considerably in the two weeks since Stanley Leisure paid £5m to build a proposed casino on land behind the Kop, will not now be sold and plans are afoot to buy back United's Thorp Arch training ground.
Supporters will be heartened by the news, but their most pressing concern is how it will effect what happens out on the pitch.
Manager Kevin Blackwell has worked wonders to put together a squad capable of competing in the Championship this season. The player exodus of last summer left him with just Gary Kelly and Michael Duberry of his established players available with both Eirik Bakke and Seth Johnson long-term injury absentees.
The rest of his squad was made up of promising youngsters and the phrase 'doing a Sheffield Wednesday' was increasingly being whispered around Leeds, with many forecasting United would soon follow their Yorkshire rivals into the third tier of English football.
Blackwell has banished that talk by making his side hard to beat, but if United are to progress the squad badly needs some creative influence and, above all else, a goalscorer. The prospective new owners have pledged that money will be available and Blackwell knows what he wants.
David Healy remains at the top of his shopping list, but a bid of £300,000 that could double depending on appearances and goals was last week rejected by Preston. The player's contract runs out next summer when he will be available for free and Blackwell has intimated his willingness to wait. But with cash suddenly at his disposal Preston's hand could be forced.
Blackwell has also been keeping tabs on a number of other targets so expect the Leeds manager to switch his attention should the Lancashire club remain unwilling to budge.
It should be noted that although United's strikers have managed just three goals between them all season, something they cannot be accused of is missing a host of chances.
This has been down to Leeds's midfield lacking a creative edge, particularly since Jermaine Wright was sidelined with injury. That has left the midfield in recent weeks consisting of two converted full-backs (Frazer Richardson and Danny Pugh) out wide, a central defender (Simon Walton) and a holding midfield player (Sean Gregan).
Blackwell spoke to Alan Pardew about bringing Don Hutchison in on loan last week, but the West Ham manager was unwilling to let the Scottish international leave before last night's Carling Cup tie at Chelsea.
That could now change and it could be a considerably altered team that Blackwell puts out in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Portsmouth vs Leeds United

Portsmouth 2 Leeds 1
United boss Kevin Blackwell was forced into a number of changes for the visit to Fratton Park. Suspensions for skipper Paul Butler and Matthew Kilgallon forced him to reshuffle his squad and in at centre half came Simon Walton, whilst Danny Pugh reverted to left-back.
Matthew Spring made a rare start in midfield after finding himself on the bench for recent games. Simon Johnson, recalled from his loan spell at Sunderland played on the left of midfield.
Upfront Blackwell went for Deane alongside Julian Joachim, who missed the Brighton trip to be at the birth of his fifth child.
Portsmouth started with a forward pairing of Ricardo Fuller and Diomansy Kamara, leaving Yakubu and Lua Lua on the bench.
The Match

The signs were ominous for Leeds from the start as Ricardo Fuller showed the danger he possesses after just a minute as he volleyed a shot over the top of Neil Sullivan's goal following some neat control.

Eyal Berkovic too looked dangerous, he showed his trickery with a run and chip into the penalty area, the danger from which was eventually snuffed out by Walton.
The game was 14 minutes old when Portsmouth took the lead, United conceding a very soft goal.
A sloppy pass from Gregan put Carlisle's in trouble and the defender lost possession to Cisse, who in turn set Kamara on his way and the striker burst into the area and rounded Sullivan before firing in a low shot that Walton just failed to intercept. Under the rules Kamara should have been booked for celebrating with his shirt off, but referee Steve Bennett let him off.
The first half was not all one sided though, Leeds saw plenty of the ball and created one or two early chances for themselves, but nothing that was to come close to a goal.
Frazer Richardson put in a teasing ball into the middle of the area that had the Pompey defence arguing between themselves who was to clear the ball and Joachim was nearly on it before the responsibility to turn it out of harm's way was taken by Linvoy Primus.
It was down the right flank that United were seeing some progress, with Richardson and Kelly both managing to break forward well. Kelly's cross on 20 minutes was headed down by Deane but blocked on its way to goal by Andy Griffin.
Leeds though were 2-0 down on 30 minutes when Gary Kelly conceded a penalty to end a good spell of pressure.
It was French midfielder Valery Mezague who won it when he duped Kelly into making the challenge just as the Pompey man was running away from goal. He took no persuasion to go down and Steve Bennett pointed to the spot. Berkovic sent Sullivan the wrong way from the spot.
Had Fuller's aim been better he could have finished the game as a contest but twice shot wide from a good position.
Gary Kelly, captain for the night in place of the suspended Paul Butler, continued to make plenty of runs down the right flank and from one of them Leeds got a deserved goal back on 39 minutes.
Kelly swung in the cross from a position level with the edge of the penalty area and Brian Deane met it with an accurate header into the bottom corner of the net.

Suddenly it was game on again with United having given themselves a way back into the tie thanks to Brian Deane's first goal since his return to the club.

No changes for either side at half-time, Leeds started the second half with gusto and were unlucky not to have had a penalty themselves when De Zeeuw went in hard on Brian Deane inside the area.
Pompey were looking for another penalty themselves when Fuller went down in the penalty area, but the striker had not even been touched.

Leeds were nearly gifted a goal when backpass to the keeper was charged down by Joachim and Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown hammered it against him and Portsmouth were fortunate that the rebound fell just between Brian Deane and two home defenders who muscled him out of the shot.
Ten minutes into the game Portsmouth were forced into their first change of the night when Berkovic limped off and was replaced by Yakubu, the man who completed United's humiliation with the final goal in last season's 6-1 defeat.
Leeds did get the ball in the net again a minute later but Deane was ruled offside after heading Richardson cross home.

Portsmouth's second change came on 68 minutes with Berger, another scorer in last season's drubbing, coming on on for Kamara.
Kevin Blackwell made his first change with 18 minutes left to play, taking Julian Joachim off and giving Aaron Lennon some time to make his impact on the game.
The game was end to end for the next five minutes as the crowd were treated to some entertaining, attacking football from both sides.
First Fuller could have killed the game when he was put clear on goal but put his left-footed shot wide, then turning defence into attack, Johnson cut the ball back across the face of goal from the byline where De Zeeuw cleared in the nick of time with Deane and Lennon there for the tap in.
The missed chance saw the ball recycled and Portsmouth broke again and only a great save from Sullivan prevented Berger from making it 3-1.
Clarke Carlisle picked up the game's first booking after a late challenge and barely a minute later Mezague joined him in the book for a high challenge on Matthew Spring.

United then threw on two more strikers with Ricketts coming on for Gregan and Keogh making his first team debut in place of Simon Johnson. It was clear that Blackwell had instructed his side to go for broke.
Leeds rallied late on to try and force an equaliser and a number of chances did fall for them.
First an unconvincing clearance from De Zeeuw fell to Brian Deane on the right hand side of the area but his ball back into the area was rushed and straight against a sea of legs.
Leeds won corner in the last few seconds of the game and Neil Sullivan came forward to get on the end of the cross but the delivery from Spring was poor and the last chance of the game went begging.

Leeds may have waved goodbye to the Carling Cup for another season but at least they had given a good account of themselves.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Telegraph | Sport | Leeds look Stateside for injection of further funds

Leeds look Stateside for injection of further funds
By Richard Bright
(Filed: 26/10/2004)
Leeds United, who have sold their training ground and entered into an agreement with a casino chain in the last month in a desperate attempt to reduce crippling debts, are now hoping to secure a multi-million pound rescue package with an American company.
A delegation of Leeds officials will travel to the United States this week to continue talks which are already at an advanced stage with Nova Financial Partners regarding a proposed injection of funds into the ailing Championship club whose debts have been reduced from over £100 million to less than £30 million in 18 months.
The deal between the Leeds chairman, Gerald Krasner, and the American group, headed by the Miami businessman Burl Sheppard, will include Elland Road being sold and then leased back to the club in the same way as the Thorp Arch training ground.
Sheppard is believed to want a controlling interest in Leeds in exchange for a £20 million investment. Melvin Helme, the Leeds financial director, said: "We are talking to a number of people at this stage and things are at an advanced stage. We will look at our options and decide what is best for the club."
Leeds United Football Club - Talks Continue

Talks Continue
Leeds United director Melvyn Helme is hopeful that a deal with a potential new investor in the club can be reached in the near future.

Helme was responding to press reports which revealed an American consortium has been in discussions with the club about a possible takeover, but he would not confirm or deny the identity of any potential suitors.

He said: "We have had a policy ever since we took over at Leeds that in view of all the various speculation there has been, we have never commented on individual situations.

"We have just done a deal for the casino land at Elland Road and we were talking to four or five casino operators. We have successfully concluded a deal which is to the benefit of Leeds United and we did not comment on any part of it before an announcement was made.

"At this point in time we are trying to stabilise the club's finances still and we are also trying to find money for Kevin Blackwell to strengthen the squad, and we are talking to a number of parties. It would be quite wrong for us to comment on individual parties at this stage because at the end of day I am not sure which party will come forward and do a deal with us.

"We are at an advanced stage of negotiations with various people and when those negotiations carry on we have to have a look at all the options on the table and choose the best one for Leeds United."

Helme was optimistic that a cash injection will be forthcoming to take the club forward soon, and the rebuilding process at Leeds United can gather pace.

"I have a dream for Elland Road that sees the stadium substantially redeveloped over the next four to five years," said Helme.

"The casino is the first part of what is hopefully a large jigsaw and I can see a situation where money will come into the club.

"Leeds United is a very large club and if you speak to people around the world and ask them for the names of three or four English clubs Leeds United is always one of them.

"It is nonsensical to think that at some stage money will not come into Leeds. I have been waiting for the last seven to eight months for it to come in, I am still waiting and hoping that in the next few weeks something will happen."
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leeds United | Leeds hopeful over new investors

Leeds hopeful over new investors
Leeds United's finance director Melvyn Helme has hinted that the club are close to securing major new investment.
He would not comment on reports of a potential takeover by American Burl Sheppard but said the board are making progress in attempts to find new money.
"Talks with a number of parties have reached an advanced stage," he told the Mail on Sunday.
"It would be wrong to comment on any one person. I'm not sure which party will come forward in the end."
A group led by current chairman Gerald Krasner paid £22.5m when they took over Leeds last March and since then they have reduced the club's debts from £103m to just over £30m.
The club's Thorp Arch training ground was recently sold for £4.2m and up to £15m more could be raised by the sale of land adjacent to Elland Road for a proposed casino.
"My dream is for Elland Road to be substantially developed," added Helme.
"Casinos are the first part of the jigsaw and I see money coming into the club."
Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Brighton


United boss Kevin Blackwell fielded yet another unchanged line-up for the game at the rain-soaked Withdean Stadium.

Any thoughts he might have had about changing the attacking line-up were dashed when Julian Joachim pulled out to be with his wife who has gone into labour.

Martin Woods was recalled from his loan spell at Hartlepool and featured on the bench.

Brighton made two changes with Richard Carpenter in for the injured Alexis Nicolas and Adam El-Abd for Paul Reid, who was out with a foot injury.

The Match

Leeds kicked off as torrential rain lashed down on the Withdean pitch, with a small band of 500 travelling supporters packed into one of the open stands. They were quite literally singing in the rain.

Richardson had the game's first shot on target when he tried to curl one home from outside the area on six minutes but was unable to get any power behind the shot.

The wet conditions were caused Sullivan some problems in the first ten minutes and were certain to be a factor as the game went on. Sullivan slipped as he took a goalkick which forced Paul Butler into a bit of trouble

On minutes the first confrontation between Clarke Carlisle and Leon Knight arose, the pair having clashed prebiouvly when Carlisle was a QPR player.
Knight went down under a challenge from the defender but it was Gary Kelly who was booked for arguing with the free-kick decision.

The second booking of the was not long in coming as Richard Carpenter found himself booked for a pull on Ormerod's shirt.

The rain thankfully abated after 15 minutes and that allowed both sides to play a little bit more but it was certain to remain a scrappy affair.

Chances for either side were few and far between though, Leeds had one on 25 minutes that saw Ricketts pull the ball back for Ormerod, he then chipped in forward but couldn't get the shot in and it eventually fell for Sean Gregan to blast the ball over the top.

Leeds came closest to opening the scoring on 32 minutes when a foul on Ormerod gave them a free-kick 30-yards out. Michael Ricketts stepped up to take it and hit a fierce drive that was just inches wide and ruffled the side netting.

Ormerod then shot straight at Brighton keeper Michel Kuipers which the keeper took two attempts to control.

Leon Knight nearly caught Sullivan out with a low drive that skipped off the wet surface that he did well to control but Brighton should have taken the lead with three minutes to play to half-time.

Gary Kelly's mistake as he tried to control a ball on the edge of his area presented Darren Currie with a great chance to score, but his shot across the face of goal was pushed the other side of the post by Sullivan. Strangely the referee gave a goal kick yet booked the United keeper for dissent.

Richardson nearly sent Danny Pugh clear on the stroke of half-time but the forward ball was just too far infront for the left winger to control.

Kevin Blackwell made one change at half-time, bringing on Brian Deane for Michael Ricketts. Ricketts had come closest to a goal for United.

Leeds started the second brightly, both Pugh and Kilgallon were making progress down the left hand side and when Pugh fired in a cross into the area it was hacked away just before Ormerod could get there.

Five minutes after the restart and United missed another chance to score. Richardson's cross was right into the centre where it found Brian Deane in space, but the striker misdirected his header and sent the ball well wide.

All United's good work went to waste just before half-time when Paul Butler conceded a free-kick 30-yards out on 58 minutes.

Currie's free-kick was low into the penalty area where Adam Virgo and Clarke Carlisle went for the ball together, the ball probably just coming off the United defender as it snuck inside the post.

Shortly afterwards Simon Walton got himself booked for a crunching challenge on Oatway and suddenly things had turned full circle for United.

Leeds tried hard to hit back as soon as they could, but kept missing what few chances came their way. Ormerod crossed from the right, Deane header was right into the path of Walton on the edge of the area but the teenager's control let him down as he blasted the shot over the bar.

United made a double change on 70 minutes, bringing Aaron Lennon and Matthew Spring on for Frazer Richardson and Simon Walton.

The two substitutes combined five minutes later to create another chance. Lennon played the ball into Spring's feet and the midfielder missed the target with his low drive.

Two minutes later a free-kick from Spring was headed wide by Deane. The opportunities were there but simply were not being taken.

Matthew Kilgallon picked up an injury ten minutes before time but with United having already made all three substitutions he opted to stay on the field, a decision that was to cost him.

Five minutes before the end Kilgallon dived into the tackle with Gary Hart and was given his second yellow card of the afternoon, his first having come just after half time, and the red card quickly followed.

Paul Butler picked up another booking for Leeds just before the end when he let the referee know what he thought of his performance, but it didn't end there when Butler continued to argue with the referee and less than a minute later became the second man to be sent off for Leeds in this game.

The end could not have come soon enough for Leeds
BEATEN BLACKWELL 'BAFFLED': Sporting Life - Football | Live scores, Champions League, Premiership, SPL, Championship, UEFA Cup, European News, Fixtures, Results, Tables

Kevin Blackwell was left "baffled" by the decisions of referee Richard Beeby after Leeds had two men sent off in the 1-0 loss at Brighton.

Tempers frayed as United headed for defeat on the south coast following a 58th-minute own goal by Clarke Carlisle, and Matthew Kilgallon and Paul Butler were sent off in the dying minutes.

Kilgallon saw red for two fouls and skipper Butler was dismissed for foul, abusive and insulting language.

"Some of the referee's decisions left everyone baffled," said Leeds manager Blackwell. "One tries not to get involved with referees, the talk should be about Brighton winning the game.

"Take nothing away from Brighton - they chased us around the park. Butler now faces a three-match suspension, yet he insists he did not swear.

"Because of the rules I couldn't speak to the referee for 30 minutes after the game. But I will discuss with him what he saw.

"What I said to my captain will remain in the dressing room but to say I'm disappointed would be an understatement.

"As for Kilgallon, Gary Hart got up straight away after the challenge which had my player sent off."

Blackwell claimed the match was "rubbish", adding: "It was a poor game and the conditions didn't help."

However Brighton boss Mark McGhee claimed his side "thoroughly" deserved the victory.

The only goal arrived when defender Carlisle touched in a free-kick by Darren Currie.

The Seagulls' first home win in eight weeks takes them above Leeds in the Championship and McGhee felt it ranked one of their best displays under him.

He said: "Certainly, at home, it was one of our most complete performances. We thoroughly deserved to win.

"A pleasing aspect was how we did in the second half, compared to previous games.

"Players are believing in themselves more and more and this was reflected in the passing. Confidence is growing all the time."

There were few clear-cut chances at a rain-soaked Withdean Stadium, although Brighton should have been ahead at the interval following a bad miss by Currie. The nephew of former Leeds winger Tony Currie put a tame shot wide after 42 minutes following a mistake by Gary Kelly.

Leeds could not find a way back into the match although midfielder Simon Walton should have hit the target following a ball by Kelly but fired over.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Yorkshire Post Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

Healy delay sees striker search widenRichard Sutcliffe
KEVIN BLACKWELL does not intend increasing Leeds United's bid for David Healy but has stressed the offer remains on the table for the Preston North End striker.
United have offered an initial £300,000 that could eventually double, depending on appearances, goals and Leeds achieving success. Preston turned down the bid but with Healy's contract due to run out next summer his value is dropping on a daily basis and North End will soon have to decide whether they can risk the Northern Ireland international leaving for nothing in the summer.
Leeds have been caught in a similar situation to the one facing Preston, Lee Bowyer being offloaded for a paltry £100,000 in January 2003 just five months after Liverpool had bid £9m for the midfielder.
Blackwell believes the offer represents a fair valuation for the 25-year-old and said: "At the moment, we do not intend increasing the bid. It is still there for Preston to look at and we feel it is very fair. It is dragging on and we have to start looking at other players."
Blackburn's Matt Jansen has been linked with a short-term loan switch to Leeds but Mark Hughes is unlikely to release the striker who came off the bench for the final 13 minutes of Saturday's 4-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough.
Healy, who scored in Preston's 2-1 victory over QPR on Tuesday, remains Blackwell's main target and is understood to be keen on a move to Leeds. Despite that, North End manager Billy Davies is still hoping the striker can be persuaded to stay at Deepdale. He said: "David has decisions to make regarding his future but we are just hoping that we can keep hold of him because he is a top striker.
"It was a great finish (against QPR). I thought the crowd got behind him and were great. They know the situation and they know David has done wonderful things for this club."
Brett Ormerod's return to Southampton on Sunday after a one-month loan spell means Blackwell's striking options will be seriously reduced.
Michael Ricketts has started the last two games but still appears to lack the sharpness that earned him an England cap just two years ago while Brian Deane and Julian Joachim have just one goal between them all season.
Blackwell spent yesterday scouring the transfer market to try to bolster a squad that is now down to just 16 fit players.
The Leeds manager said: "We are looking around but again it is all to do with money and finances. Losing Brett will be a blow because we not only need his ability but also his experience. I didn't expect Brett to play at Reading because he suffered a horrendous calf injury against Preston.
"It shows the sort of man he is. He knows he is going back to Southampton on Sunday but he was still prepared to play through the pain barrier at Reading. His experience is invaluable. I have a young side at the moment, at Reading our 'engine room' included Frazer Richardson, Danny Pugh and Simon Walton. They are all still on a steep learning curve but physically and mentally they gave me everything against a much more experienced Reading midfield."
Ormerod's departure should free up some wages while savings have been made by loaning out six players – Michael Duberry (Stoke), Simon Johnson (Sunderland), Jamie McMaster (Swindon), Andy Keogh (Scunthorpe), Henry McStay (Halifax Town) and Martin Woods (Hartlepool). McMaster is, however, due back at Leeds on Monday and will at least bring some competition to the squad.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Leeds Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

Blackwell: Fighting spirit was key factor


BOSS Kevin Blackwell today warned Leeds United's Championship rivals that his side are toughening up by the game.
Gallant Leeds turned in a solid away-day performance to earn a hard-fought point in front of a sell-out crowd at second-placed Reading last night, and Blackwell felt his side sent a message out to their rivals.
"Given Reading's record we knew it would be difficult there and they put us under a lot of pressure at times," he said.
"But I thought the team showed admirable spirit and in the last 10 minutes we looked the more threatening side.
"People had us written off at the start of the season as a side who would be blown away; well we aren't going to be blown away. The lads I've got here showed some balls when a lot of teams would have folded."
United surrendered an early lead, earned through Simon Walton's header, but finished the stronger of the two sides and were only denied victory by a superb save from Reading goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in the final minute.
"Our supporters sang us home and we were unfortunate we didn't nick it in the last minute because that would have been the perfect finish," said Blackwell.
Leeds United Football Club - Blackwell Proud After Passing Reading Test

Blackwell Proud After Passing Reading Test
Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell said he felt very proud after watching his injury hit United side come away from a tough game against Reading with a point.

The Royals forced Leeds to battle hard for the draw but in the end it was Leeds who finished the game on top and but for a magnificent save from the Reading keeper from Brian Deane's header, Leeds would have returned to West Yorkshire with three points.

Simon Walton got Leeds off to the perfect start after just 75 seconds when he headed them in front. It was a lead they were to hold until the final minute of the first half when Lloyd Owusu bundled home an equaliser.

A point against Reading was a good start for a week that sees United facing three tough games far away from home.

"It's a very difficult place to come to and there's no doubt they put us under a lot of pressure," said Blackwell.

"I thought the team showed admirable spirit and in the second half I thought we were the team most likely to win it.

"I am very proud of the players and the supporters were again magnificent, they sang us home tonight.

"I am disappointed at the goal we conceded because we think we're better than that. We had a game plan; we knew exactly what they would do, this has been a fortress for them in the last few years; there's hardly anybody won here. So it was a very big point for us.

"We had a game plan and we stuck to it and it almost worked to perfection. this team is at the top of the league and they're full of confidence, and we did not expect anything but a hard game. Leeds have shown that they have mettle about them."

Blackwell added that his team are starting to answer their critics, and hopes they can continue their 'defiance' after picking up another good result away from home.

"People said at the start of the season that we would be blown away by some teams, but I can tell you now that we are not going to be.

"I have got sixteen players, five of them under the age of 20 and they showed some massive balls tonight where a lot of teams would have folded.

"We can go back now and prepare for another tough away game, and we can go home with some credit.

"To know you can come to places like this and get results is a major sign that we are moving in the right direction and things are starting to develop at the football club."
Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Reading vs Leeds United

A first senior goal by 17-year-old home-town hero Simon Walton helped United to a valuable point against Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Walton may have been the man to pop up with the goal but there were plenty of heroes in white shirts on the night, showing both solid resistance and a refreshing determination to get the win. Why settle for a point when three are on offer? That's exactly what Leeds were all about in the last 15 minutes of this game and with more luck another three point haul would have led to the all to of play-offs and automatic promotion again.

Kevin Blackwell was satisfied that he saw more evidence of improvement in this game. The road back may be long, but the rewards are worth it.


United boss Kevin Blackwell was able to keep an unchanged side for the visit to the Madejski Stadium following the 1-0 win over Preston North End at the weekend.

It meant that despite strong concerns over his calf, on-loan striker Brett Ormerod had managed to shake off the knock he picked up whilst setting up the goal for that win to take his place upfront alongside Michael Ricketts.

The hosts made one change to the team that beat Stoke away at the weekend, with former Arsenal youngster Steve Sidwell returning to the side after suspension in place of midfielder Paul Brooker, who picked up a groin injury.

The Match

With less than two minutes on the clock Leeds shocked everyone inside the Madejski Stadium when they took the lead through the youngest player on the pitch.

It was a lightening quick break down the right that eventually saw Ormerod put in a cross for Walton to sneak in between defenders and send a crashing head past Marcus Hahnemann in the Reading net to put the Whites 1-0 up.

Leeds escaped with their lead intact from an excellent goalscoring opportunity for the hosts after 12 minutes when Shaun Goater got clear of the back four.

Steve Sidwell fed the ball through into the area, Butler failed to cut it out at full stretch which left the former Manchester City striker with just Sullivan to beat, but once again the keeper saved United as he blocked the shot with his feet and the ball was scrambled clear.

Sullivan was called into action again on 20 minutes when a low cross from the left was met perfectly by former Burnley winger Glen Little from 12 yards out with a well struck volley, but it was fortunately straight into the arms of the United No.1.

A few minutes later and Leeds were again living dangerously again when Goater was allowed space in the box to get in a shot on goal and only thanks to Clarke Carlisle throwing his body in the way of the strike did they survive at the expense of a corner.

Walton, playing with youthful exuberance and buoyed by his goal, was shown the first yellow card of the evening when he pulled back James Harper just past the half hour mark. Mind you, referee Roger Olivier does have a booking ratio of just over three yellow cards per game to maintain.

Goater, who had been presented most of Reading's chances, surprisingly made way with just five minutes of the first half remaining for Lloyd Owusu, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford striker.

Although he had been a major doubt before the game, Ormerod showed little sign of the calf injury that had been troubling him and was indeed afforded more space upfront than he enjoyed against Preston. In the last few minutes Leeds rallied and Ormerod's shot from the right was only just kept out by Hahnemann.

Ricketts had his first shot on goal just before the break and it was inches away from becoming his first league goal for the club, just passing the left hand post from a narrow angle.

It was Reading though who found the finishing touch to their late rally, and it resulted in the equaliser.

A corner from the right was headed down by defender Ibrahima Sonko, it was tipped onto the post by Sullivan and the loose ball came back fortuitously for substitute Lloyd Owusu to bundle it home and make it 1-1.

No changes by either side at half-time, the scene was set for an enthralling second half. Did United sit back and defend the point, or would they push forward for a winner?

The first chances fell to Reading. First Dave Kitson held the ball up, tried to shoot for goal but skipper Paul Butler got the block in and inadvertently set Little up for a clean strike on goal but his effort was easily saved by Sullivan.

The same player missed the chance of the game for Reading just three minutes later. A cross from the left by Owusu bypassed everyone inside a crowded United penalty area and fell for Little just ten yards out, but he somehow screwed the shot wide or Sullivan's left hand post.

Kevin Blackwell left it until the 64th minute to bring Brian Deane on for Michael Ricketts. Deane had been influential in United's winner against Preston and it hopes were high he could have similar impact on this night.

Simon Walton was given a rousing reception by the massed ranks of United fans when he was substituted on 71 minutes for Matthew Spring. Apart from scoring the goal, the youngster had worked tirelessly and competed for every ball in midfield.

With 15 minutes to go Leeds decided they were going to go for the win.

Sean Gregan came forward with purpose but fired just over and then a rash of harsh challenges that saw Deane fouled, Ormerod brought down and numerous other potential free-kicks were waved away by the referee.

Leeds were playing good passing football but yet again it was the killer ball that was lacking. Brett Ormerod was replaced by Julian Joachim with eight minutes of normal time left to play. The Southampton striker has just one game remaining of his loan spell before he returns to St Mary's.

United could have lost this game in the final two minutes when a ball was whipped in across the face of goal and Kitson, in acres of space, missed the ball from six yards out.

The Whites won a corner deep into injury time and from it came within a whisker of winning the game.

Matthew Spring delivered a great inswinging cross and Brian Deane stooped low to get in a fierce header on goal that produced the save of the match from Readng keeper Marcus Hahnemann.

Leeds may have been denied all three points at the end, but the point they did get was richly deserved.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Leeds United Football Club - Healy Frustration!

Healy Frustration!

Preston North End have rejected a fourth offer from Leeds United for their Northern Ireland international striker David Healy.
The offer, a package totalling up to £600,000, was turned down by North End chairman Derek Shaw late on Sunday evening even though the player is set to become a free agent after 31 January 2005.
It means Leeds United are now considering taking their search for a new forward elsewhere, leaving Healy – who has made no secret of his desire to join the Elland Road club – at Deepdale.
“We put what we considered to be a very attractive deal on the table, which was rejected even though Preston stand to lose David for nothing in three months time,” said Leeds United spokesman Bryan Morris.
“The player wants to come to Elland Road. However, considering our current circumstances, there’s not very much more we can do.
“Regrettably, it’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll have to look elsewhere to solve our striking problems.”
Proposed Regional Casino Development in Leeds 18/10/2004
Stanley Leisure plc ('Stanley'') is pleased to announce that Stanley CasinosLimited has acquired the entire issued ordinary share capital of Leeds UnitedProperties Limited from Leeds United Retail Limited for a cash consideration of£5 million. The only asset of Leeds United Properties Limited is an option toacquire a seven acre site adjacent to the Leeds United F.C. Elland RoadStadium.Subject to the reform of Britain's gambling laws, Stanley intends to apply forplanning permission to develop a regional casino complex on this site. It isanticipated that the complex will comprise a 150,000 sq. ft. casino, togetherwith other developments including a hotel, restaurants, bars, leisurefacilities and designer shops. The site is ideally located close to the M1, M62and M621 motorways and enjoys a catchment of over five million adults livingwithin one hour's drive. Stanley has started discussions with possible partnerswho share its vision to maximise the full potential of this development whichis expected to cost up to £125 million.Bob Wiper, Chief Executive of Stanley Leisure plc, said:'We are delighted to announce the development of this exceptional site in Leedswhich we believe is the best location for a casino in the North of England. Weplan to build an exciting casino complex, to rival any other development in theUK, which will be a huge entertainment attraction of which the region can beproud.It is expected that this project will be complete by the end of 2007, subjectto planning and deregulation. We estimate that the complex will create over1,000 new jobs in addition to the jobs associated with the development phase.Stanley has over 30 years experience of operating casinos in the UK. We willcontinue to operate in a socially responsible manner and, further, we arecommitted to meeting all new requirements as determined by the future GamblingCommission.This development consolidates Stanley Leisure's position as the UK's leadingcasino operator. We expect our existing Star City casino in Birmingham, alreadythe largest casino in the UK, to move to regional casino status soon after thenew legislation is introduced. The Leeds casino will then become our secondregional casino.'

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Observer | Sport | Championship: Leeds 1 - 0 Preston

Pugh takes the plaudits

John Wardle at Elland Road
Sunday October 17, 2004
The Observer

Danny Pugh finally ended Leeds United's lengthy wait for a goal. Their drought had lasted for more than seven hours when the former Manchester United winger struck to extend Preston's dreadful away record.
It ensured a victory that this lethargic Leeds team hardly deserved, but nobody could dispute Pugh's right to emerge as the match-winner with his sixth goal of the season.
It was an appropriate reward for Pugh's industry and intelligence down United's left flank, adding to the belief that his arrival in the summer on a free transfer was one of the shrewder recent moves by a troubled club.
'He's been a revelation,' said Sam Ellis, the Leeds assistant manager. 'He had scored only one goal before this season and now he's got six by the middle of October. Let's hope he can keep it going. He played only one league game before he came here. He is a young lad without a lot of experience.'
Pugh's goal leaves Preston with only two points from their seven away games and their frustration surfaced when assistant manager David Kelly was sent off in the 63rd minute after pushing the fourth official Craig Barker and hurling away a water bottle.
Manager Billy Davies said: 'I think David had a point because one of our players went down, but let's talk about the football.'
That proved to be a brief conversation because there was little football played. The first half was particularly nondescript, with just one clear opportunity created when the 12th-minute shot of Preston's Graham Alexander was diverted wide by Pugh.
Later in the half, Pugh and Brett Ormerod forced Andy Lonergan to make routine saves from long-range attempts, while Simon Walton headed over.
More passion was injected into the game in a second half that mercifully involved more threats on goal, but quality football was still a rarity.
Preston's Dixon Etuhu should have done better with a 47th-minute chance, but he misdirected his header from Andy Smith's cross before Pugh, rising above the general mediocrity, led United's response.
A low cross from the winger appeared dangerous until it ended up at the slumbering Michael Ricketts, who was soon to be substituted.
Then Pugh found space again for a shot that gave Lonergan his first moment of concern. And, just when a goal appeared improbable, Pugh finally made the breakthrough when he turned in a cross from Ormerod, who did well to rob Alexander and hold off two challenges as he scrambled into the area.
Keeper Neil Sullivan's last-minute save from Lewis gave Leeds their seventh clean sheet in the league, but this was a game that showed why they have now put in a third offer for Preston striker David Healy.
Ellis said: 'We have put in another bid, but it wouldn't be right to give the amount. I think he is a good player, but it was difficult for him today.'
Sky Sports - The Best Sport Coverage From Around The World

Leeds up Healy ante
by Alex Livie - Last Updated 17 Oct 2004
Leeds have lodged a third bid for Preston striker David Healy, with reports suggesting a deal could be concluded next week.
Healy was at Elland Road on Saturday as his Preston side slipped to a 1-0 defeat and he was given a fine ovation from the Leeds fans when leaving the field with 15 minutes remaining.
Leeds chairman Gerald Krasner was tight lipped when asked to comment on the situation, but the Elland Road coffers were boosted by £500,000 on Saturday after Robbie Fowler made an appearance for Manchester City which triggered a clause in the deal which took him over the Pennines.
With the extra money at his disposal, it is believed that Whites boss Kevin Blackwell could land his man next week.
"Discussions are continuing," was all Krasner would say on the situation.
Blackwell's assistant Sam Ellis added: "There is no doubt Healy is a good player.
"It was difficult for him today in the circumstances, but he is still a Preston player and it's really not for us to comment on.
"But there is another bid in, although it would not be right for us to make it public."

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Sky Sports - The Best Sport Coverage From Around The World

Second Healy bid rejected
by James Pearson - Last Updated 16 Oct 2004
Leeds United have seen a second bid rejected for Preston North End's Northern Ireland striker David Healy.
The Whites offered £100,000 for the former Manchester United ace on Thursday, but that bid was swiftly gunned down.
Leeds have now doubled their original offer to £200,000, however once again Preston are not interested.
"This is totally unacceptable," said chairman Derek Shaw to the club's official website.
"Leeds came back in with an improved offer but again it is nowhere near a figure we would even consider."
Leeds may opt to use some of the £500,000 they can expect to receive once Robbie Fowler plays one more game for Manchester City to help fund their Healy bid.
Healy is out of contract at the end of the season and would be available on a free transfer after rejecting Preston's offer of a three-year deal.
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Stoke City | Duberry joins Stoke in loan deal

Duberry joins Stoke in loan deal
Leeds United defender Michael Duberry has joined Stoke City on a three-month loan, reports BBC Radio Leeds.
First-choice Leeds duo Clarke Carlisle and Paul Butler have left the 29-year-old short of first-team opportunities.
Stoke director of football John Rudge said Duberry's experience would be a great boost for the club.
"He has played at the highest level with Leeds and Chelsea and he will add quality and competition to our squad," he told Stoke's official website.
"There is no doubt his arrival gives us a boost."
Guardian Unlimited Football | News | Leeds close to Elland Road sale

Leeds United were yesterday forced to sell off their training ground and moved closer to a similar deal for Elland Road. But even these drastic measures will not end their financial plight.
The scale of the challenge was illustrated by documents filed at Companies House which revealed that the chairman Gerald Krasner and his board have taken out eight new mortgages on property and land owned by Leeds to fund their takeover and keep the club afloat in the seven months since saving it from bankruptcy.
The Thorp Arch training complex, on valuable land near Wetherby, was sold to an unnamed property investment company and the club will lease it back over 25 years. It also has first option to buy back the land if the financial situation improves.
Once mortgages on the land around Thorp Arch are paid off, Krasner said Leeds would be left with "in excess of £4m" to go towards reducing debts, currently around £40m.
Krasner is also believed to be close to a similar deal on the stadium. He said yesterday that negotiations to sell Elland Road and lease it back were at a "delicate stage", dismissing claims that the club was unable to meet debt repayments and insisting it was "business as usual".
The stadium deal should enable Leeds to meet their commitments but will not be a long-term solution. They will get up to £15m for the ground, but most of that will immediately be spent repaying a loan taken out to fund the takeover.
That loan is secured on Elland Road via a debenture mortgage with Trefick Ltd, an investment vehicle owned by the property developer Jack Petchey. Trefick loaned the club £15m to help fund the takeover and Leeds have been paying a hefty £1.5m a month in interest to service the debt since August.
Selling the ground would ease the dependence on Petchey's company, but Leeds would immediately have to pay rent to the new owner instead. One mortgage expert likened such deals, which he said were common in businesses with cashflow problems, to "running to stand still".
At the time of the takeover, which more than halved the club's £100m-plus debt, Krasner admitted a ground sale and lease-back was not his "No1 option" but he has now been forced to reconsider.
Leeds United Football Club - Thorp Arch Sale - Lease Back Agreed

Thorp Arch Sale - Lease Back Agreed
Leeds United Football Club can confirm that it has arranged a sale-lease back agreement on its Thorp Arch training facility near Wetherby, aimed at further reducing the club’s debts.

The club has negotiated a 25-year sale-lease back deal with a very good buy-back provision for when the club’s finances improve.

The current board has already reduced the club’s debts from in excess of £100 million down to £40 million, and this deal is expected to knock over £4 million further off that figure.

Shaun Harvey, Chief Operations Officer at Leeds United, says: “In an ideal world it’s not an option we would have taken, but our number one priority is to reduce this club’s debt so it can operate again under normal circumstances. This arrangement will go a long way to helping us do that.

“Instead of paying the mortgage on Thorp Arch, we will be renting it instead, with the players continuing to utilise the excellent training facilities available there."
Leeds United Football Club - Leeds Bid For Healy

Leeds Bid For Healy
Leeds United have made a £100,000 bid for Preston North End striker David Healy. The striker impressed Kevin Blackwell enough last night to convince the manager he can do a job for The Whites.

Blackwell watched Northern Ireland's 3-3 draw with Austria last night and saw Healy score an impressive 25-yard screamer of a goal.

The boss had been linked with a move for the 25-year-old as he seeks to solve United's goal shortage, and could not help but be impressed by the manner in which Healy took his goal, flicking the ball up before hitting a dipping volley that left former Arsenal keeper Alex Manninger with no chance.

Blackwell's attempts to get back to Leeds this morning though have been thwarted by heavy fog in both Belfast and Leeds, with a number of flights either delayed or cancelled.

Earlier this month he admitted that Healy is a player he would be definitely interested in:

"David is a player I admire but there are many other players I admire," said Blackwell.

"He is a proven international player, a proven goalscorer and a player that if I had the chance to sign, I would be interested in doing so." Blackwell has now acted on that chance.

Meanwhile, recent signing Sean Gregan has warned United they will have to be on their guard to keep Healy quiet on Saturday, if he plays.

Said the former Preston skipper: "I played alongside David for a few years and know what he can do - if you give him half a chance he will bury it. If he is available, I am sure our gaffer and a lot of other managers will want him."
RADEBE STATES CASE FOR DEFENCE: Sporting Life - Football | Live scores, Premiership, SPL, Championship, Champions League, UEFA Cup, European News, Fixtures, Results, Tables

Leeds defender Lucas Radebe is happy with the way manager Kevin Blackwell is rebuilding the club from the back.

Radebe, sidelined after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in August, will end his 10-year love affair with United at the end of the season and he has every confidence in the new generation of defenders who will fill his shoes.

Captain Paul Butler, left-back Stephen Crainey and centre-half Clarke Carlisle arrived in the summer and Blackwell kept hold of Michael Duberry, young England Under-21 international Matthew Kilgallon and long-serving Gary Kelly.

"He has concentrated on defence and by doing that he has made sure we do not get beat easily," Radebe told the club's official website.

"Last season we were conceding too many goals and that made it very hard for us to get them at the other end. Now we can keep clean sheets and that gives us a chance to score.

"I know there have not been too many goals but they will come. The main thing is to make sure you do not lose the game."

Sunday, October 10, 2004

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leeds United | Blackwell's Leeds admission

Blackwell's Leeds admission
Boss Kevin Blackwell has admitted that an instant return to the Premiership could be counter-productive for Leeds.
Blackwell feels the cash-strapped club needs a period of calm stability after the trauma of relegation.
The Leeds boss said: "In the long term it could be detrimental if we go up this season.
"Many fans have said they don't want to go up this year - we need a year or two to get back to a level footing, next season we'll have a settled squad."
But Blackwell added: "There is still pride and we all want to go up.
"If it happened this season we would take it."
Leeds currently lie 17th in the Championship but are coming to grips wth the demands of the division.
However, their sound defence have conceded only eight goals, the same as leaders Wigan.
Blackwell said: "I want to build from the back and if we win our game in hand we're not far off the play-offs."
The Leeds boss has had to wheel and deal to replace stars like Mark Viduka, Alan Smith and Paul Robinson, who were sacrificed as Leeds were forced to cut their financial cloth.
Blackwell said: "I've brought in 17 players and they're all living out of suitcases.
"The whole club has been rebuilt in nine weeks but it's totally frustrating because of the financial problems. Black holes keep appearing.
"Many people thought we would do a Sheffield Wednesday and drop through the divisions.
"My first job is to make sure we don't do that. After that, anything else will be a bonus this season."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Leeds United Football Club - United Set To Lose Out on Brett
United Set To Lose Out on Brett
Southampton have indicated that they are unlikely to meet Kevin Blackwell's request to extend Brett Ormerod's loan spell for another month.

The striker is midway through his one-month loan at Elland Road which comes to an end after United's trip to Brighton & Hove Albion in 18 days time, but Blackwell is hoping to be able to keep the Saints striker for at least three months.

An injury crisis on the South Coast though looks set to see the 27-year-old former Blackpool forward recalled into the Southampton first team line-up again.

Key striker James Beattie has been ruled out of action for up to six weeks with a broken toe and Steve Wigley's side already have injury doubts over Kevin Phillips. His side are also without Michael Svensson, Matthew Oakley, Yoann Folley, Marian Pahars, Graeme Le Saux, Neil McCann and Jason Dodd through injury.

Wigley told the Southampton Official Website: "It was always the intention to bring Brett back after a month.

"We just wanted him to get first team practice.

"With James out injured it makes sense to get Brett back and hopefully he will feel the benefit of playing regularly."

Southampton though are unable to recall Ormerod back before his loan officially ends, which means the player will be available to Blackwell for the next three games.

Blackwell meanwhile, regardless of whether Ormerod is given permission to stay, is stepping up his search for a new striker.

The boss intends to make the most of the next fortnight without a game to see if progress can be made in the transfer market, but is remaining cautious about his chances of getting someone in time to face Preston at Elland Road.

"It took time to get Sean Gregan in but the point is we did," said Blackwell.

"Let's wait if we have to, get the right players in and then see what happens."
Leeds Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

Now Blackwell turns to trialists for firepower

LEEDS UNITED boss Kevin Blackwell today assessed his side's barren run in front of goal and insisted: "I know what the team needs."
United's 0-0 stalemate at Cardiff on Saturday was their third successive blank in front of goal and it's now nearly six hours since they last hit the target.
Blackwell admits the lack of firepower is a major concern – his strikers have netted just one league goal between them this term – but the United boss is keen to deflect the pressure on his marksmen.
"It's the pint glass half-empty, half-full syndrome," groaned Blackwell.
"We've kept eight clean sheets and have lost one in seven, but we haven't been scoring and that's what people want to talk about.
"I am aware what the team needs, but if I hadn't built from the back we'd have nothing to build on and I want to take the pressure off the front men. a
"The strikers are frustrated because we've missed another good chance at Cardiff, but I don't want them putting themselves under pressure because no one will be able to take the chances.
"I want them to be bright and sharp and I don't want people to be harping on about the strikers because that will become a poisoned chalice.
"If people had been sitting here 10 weeks ago saying we were solid and keeping clean sheets then that would have been a big plus.
"I know what I've got to do and I don't need people telling me. However, there are certain circumstances when I can sign people and certain times when I can't. People are saying you've got to do this or that, but it won't happen overnight."
United now have a two-week break before their Championship campaign resumes against Preston North End at Elland Road on October 16.
Blackwell will again cast his net far and wide in the hope of attracting new blood and two European trialists will join for training.
Hungarian Andras Kohalmi joins from Ujpest Doza while Frenchman Phillipe Delaye will also be handed a chance to impress.
Said Blackwell: "We've had a look at lot of players. With trialists you never quite know what you're going to get, but there's always that chance you can unearth a diamond and that's what we're looking to do."
Blackwell has already drafted in Brett Ormerod on loan from Southampton to boost his firepower while Michael Ricketts, who scored United's last goal, against Swindon Town 13 days ago, is working his way back to fitness.
Blackwell added: "I said people have to be patient with Ricketts and he will come good. He's had 18 months in the wilderness and he's coming back."
Leeds United Football Club - Blackwell: We Earned Our Luck

Blackwell: We Earned Our Luck
United boss Kevin Blackwell admits Leeds were dealt a big slice of luck on Saturday but believes it was hard work and not good fortune that earned a point at Ninian Park.

Cardiff were left the most frustrated of the two sides after the 0-0 draw having hit the crossbar on three occassions and seen Neil Sullivan pull off a penalty save.

Blackwell was happy to finally get the rub of the green and enjoy some lady luck that has so far been missing this campaign.

He said: "We were fortuitous with them hitting the bar a few times but we've not had much luck ourselves so far this season and thankfully we had some this time.

"I am a firm believer that you make your own luck and I accept they may have hit the bar three times but so what?

"We've now got eight clean sheets out of 14 and that's the basis on which I am rebuilding this football club."

"If you come away from home and don't get beat then it's a positive and as I have said to my players if we keep defeats to a minimum then we've got a great springboard to build from."

Leeds were once again involved in a game that had a cup tie atmosphere, something that was always going to be the case regardless of what happened in the previous meeting between the two sides two and a half years earlier.

"Lennie was pleading with the players to give him everything they've got because he felt this could be his last chance and they responded for him.

"It was also made to be an England v Wales game and the atmosphere was quite intimidating at times but I thought everyone handled it quite well."

Cardiff were given the chance to turn the game firmly their way when Stephen Crainey was judged to have tripped Bluebirds winger Jobi McAnuff inside the area to concede a penalty, but Sullivan's save further increased his good standing in the eyes of Kevin Blackwell.

"I thought it was a shoddy penalty to be honest," said Blackwell.

"I didn't think there was anything in the challenge and the lad just went to ground. Justice was served though with the save from Sully.

"I brought Neil to the football club because I think he's a very good goalkeeper and he works on penalties and it's paid off for the second time."

Cardiff manager Lennie Lawrence was understandably frustrated by the result.

"We are thankful that 17,000 fans were here to cheer the players on after we have lost four home games on the bounce and I told my players they had to respond to that.

"Hitting the bar three times and missing a penalty is something that happens to you when you are down. Andy Campbell badly needs a goal but his overall display was good.

"We were quite easily the better team and were as good defensively as we have been all season."

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Telegraph | Sport | Gabbidon defies Leeds
Gabbidon defies Leeds
Trevor Haylett at Ninian Park
(Filed: 03/10/2004)

Cardiff City (0) 0 Leeds (0) 0

The way things are going Danny Gabbidon could almost be holding the Welsh defence together on his own next week. Wayne Rooney might well bring an interesting dimension to his afternoon's work, not to mention Michael Owen. Throw Jermain Defoe into the mix as well and you could forgive Gabbidon for suddenly discovering what has become known in international weeks as a 'Sir Alex Ferguson muscle strain'.

As preparation for the World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford next week Gabbidon faced up to Brian Deane and Brett Ormerod yesterday. Not quite the same examination that the Manchester United wunderkind and his England partners will pose but at least the atmosphere at Ninian Park will have provided a taste of the kind of intense atmosphere that awaits Gabbidon and the rest of the Welsh team in six days' time.

The Cardiff defender was in impressive form as these two bitter enemies locked horns with hostility flying back and forth as the two sets of supporters reprised in their distasteful songs the unhappy memory of the last time they met. On that occasion, in January 2002, Cardiff gained a notable FA Cup scalp but football's name was dragged through the sewer once more.

Exactly 1,000 days after that fateful encounter the teams met again. So much has changed. At the time Leeds were sitting on top of the Premiership while Cardiff were part of what was once known as the Second Division. Their turnover of players is such that Gabbidon was their only survivor of the team who battled their way to a famous 2-1 victory.

With his Cardiff colleague Robert Page injured and Andrew Melville out of the first-team picture with West Ham, the Wales manager Mark Hughes will first write Gabbidon's name into his central defensive spaces for the England game and then disappear for some serious contemplation.

Sometimes his air of supreme calm can make Gabbidon look casual. Even, at times, disinterested.

It is misleading. As he showed yesterday in keeping both Deane and Ormerod quiet, he can call upon total concentration when the going gets tough. With Deane's aerial power and Ormerod's pace and wiles on the ground, this was not a day he could afford to switch off for a second.

One brilliant example of his awareness and composure arrived in the 27th minute when Danny Pugh's shot struck Deane and could have easily landed back with a white shirt inside the penalty area. In a flash Gabbidon was quickly in to smother the danger, collecting the loose ball before demonstrating exemplary poise to then evade the onrushing Pugh.

Gabbidon deserved to finish on the winning side but the teams ended deadlocked because Andy Campbell made a mess of his penalty kick in the 21st minute and the woodwork kept getting in the way as the Welshmen turned the heat full on in the latter stages.

Twice in 60 seconds substitute Cameron Jerome and Jobi McAnuff were left frustrated as a header and then a volley came back into play. Just before that the luckless Campbell had touched a Paul Parry attempt onto the bar and over.

At least Cardiff did not lose which has been their fate in all four previous home games. They wobbled when a Jermaine Wright corner was met a forceful thrust of Clarke Carlisle's forehead. But there on the line to keep it out was Chris Barker.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Cardiff City vs Leeds United

Cardiff 0 Leeds 0

As expected, Kevin Blackwell named an unchanged side for the third game running with the recently formed front pairing of Brian Deane and Brett Ormerod looking to break their goalscoring duck.

United's mean defence has only conceded one goal in the past four games and the main threat to that record will be Cardiff's Peter Thorne who has scored three goals in the past four games.

The Match

The game kicked-off with both sets of supporters barracking each other to create an atmosphere that was certainly more hostile than Leeds have experienced anywhere else on their travels this season.

The opening few minutes on the pitch were without incident, a few free-kicks against Leeds but neither keeper had been called into action.

On 11 minutes a Chris Barker cross was deflected behind by Clarke Carlisle, but there were deafening calls for handball against the defender who had conceded a penalty against Crewe for that offence a fortnight ago. This time he survived and so did Leeds as they dealt comfortably with the corner kick.

A tense atmosphere at Ninian Park became even more charged when the game saw its first yellow card after only quarter of an hour of play. England under-21 captain Gary O'Neill had his ankle tapped by Sean Gregan as he tried to go through on goal and United's new recruit found himself in referee Phil Crossley's notebook.

Five minutes later and the crowd were off their seats again as a penalty was awarded against Stephen Crainey after he was judged to have brought down Jobi McAnuff just inside the area. The Leeds players protested heavily against the decision but they were to escape thanks to the brilliance of keeper Neil Sullivan.

Former Middlesbrough striker Andy Campbell stepped up to take the spot-kick but his poor penalty was saved by Sullivan's legs and the loose ball hacked behind to safety. It was the Scottish international's second penalty save of the season for United.

Just before the half hour mark Jermaine Wright was booked for dissent and the free-kick was brought forward ten yards, but it made little difference for Cardiff as they blasted the ball high and wide.

Leeds then created their first real opening of the afternoon and would have taken the lead but for a late intervention. Wright's cross was met with a firm header in the centre of the area by Clarke Carlisle but the defender was denied his second goal of the season when it was cleared off the line by the Bluebirds loan signing Darren Williams.

It was an excellent chance right in front of the visiting Leeds fans and offered a clue as to where United might find some reward in front of goal this afternoon.

With the scores still deadlocked at half-time, Leeds were in the same position they were in at Sheffield United when similarly they had been hardly troubled in the first half, yet on that afternoon they failed to perform in the second and Blackwell would have been out to make sure the same did not occur here.

Shortly after the restart Leeds passed up a chance to take the lead. Crainey played a ball forward that enabled Wright to go forward down the left, he crossed it into the centre where Ormerod came in unmarked but sliced the ball well wide of the target after snatching at the shot. It was another good chance gone begging.

The homeside threatened early on too when Parry turned inside the area and shot, but the effort was blocked by Carlisle and the same man then blasted the ball just over Sullivan's goal. McAnuff then hit a shot well wide after breaking through

Kevin Blackwell made changes just after the hour mark, first bringing on Julian Joachim for Frazer Richardson and then, two minutes later, bringing on Michael Ricketts in place of Deane.

Whilst the changes gave Leeds fresh attacking impetus, it was at the back where attention was needed when slack defending saw Cardiff carve open the game's best chance. Parry hit a low shot from distance into the penalty area and it was flicked goalwards by Campbell but this time the woodwork rescued Leeds. It had been a terrible miss for the Cardiff striker and a real let-off for the Whites.

The last ten minutes saw United survive a number of very close scares as the home side turned up the heat a little and gave the defence a severe examination.

First substitute Cameron Jerome had a header tipped onto the underside of the bar by Sullivan and then McAnuff took a pot-shot from distance and hit the bar. Sullivan was forced to spread himself wide to keep out the loose ball, but there was no denying that Leeds were indebted to the woodwork for saving them a point.

Leeds had survived the stiffest of challenges with a little bit of luck and of the eleven league games played so far this season, they've kept six clean sheets. A statistic that proves United are building from the back as they plot their recovery.
Leeds United Football Club - Boss On Striker Rumour

Boss On Striker Rumour
Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell has played down reports he is chasing Preston striker David Healy - but did admit he would sign him if given the chance.

The Northern Ireland international is out of contract at the end of the season at Deepdale, and has reportedly turned down Preston's latest contract offer and is looking at options elsewhere.

A former Manchester United youngster, the 25-year-old has scored 43 goals in 117 starts for Preston, but Blackwell said he had not looked at the player as Leeds immediate solution to their goalscoring problems.

"David is a player I admire but there are many other players I admire," said Blackwell.

"He is a proven international player, a proven goalscorer and a player that if I had the chance to sign, I would be interested in doing so. However, at the moment that is not the case.

"I have not made a specific target of David Healey but if there was ever the chance then I would like to give it a go."

Healy could become a future target but for the moment Blackwell is urging supporters not to get too carried away when they read about players being linked to the club.

"Players are hyped to be sold and the best way of doing that is by saying Leeds are interested in them.

All of a sudden that opens up a load of clubs because most clubs do respect the staff I have got here and if we earmark a player then they must think we think he's good. If that's the case then they tend to jump on the bandwagon.

"Five clubs came in after I declared an interest in Sean Gregan."

Meanwhile, the boss confirmed he was looking to get another month's extension to Brett Ormerod's loan spell at Elland Road.

Ormerod joined on a one month loan deal and in a similar position to the one that faced Leeds with Arsenal's Jermaine Pennant last season, will have to rely on Southampton's good will to agree to the loan being extended month after month.

"I am hoping that we can keep that review going for the next couple of months because I did not bring Brett here for a month,

"I want him for longer than that but it's how Southampton want to play the situation and I am happy to do so."
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Sheff Utd | Cadamarteri to join Blades

Danny Cadamarteri is set to leave Leeds to join Sheffield United.
The Blades are expected to snap up the 24-year-old former Bradford City striker for £50,000.

Cadamarteri has made just one substitute appearance for Leeds since arriving at Elland Road in the summer from Bradford.

The striker burst onto the scene as a teenager at Everton but fell out of favour at Goodison Park and then suffered a series of injuries.