Sunday, November 21, 2004

Times Online - Newspaper Edition

Leeds 6 QPR 1: Big Deane rips QPR apart
THE orange-coated steward groaned as he perused the team sheet a few minutes before kick-off. “I see the donkey’s playing up front again,” he grunted, and no doubt his opinion was shared by the majority of the crowd streaming into Elland Road.
It is fair to say that up to 3.13pm yesterday, big Brian Deane’s second spell leading the line for his hometown club had not been going well. One League goal in 13 starts cannot have been the return he had hoped for, but it is a fact that at Championship level, every donkey — oh alright, big, awkward old-fashioned British centre-forward — can still have his day, and yesterday was Deane’s.
The crowd was still settling when QPR went ahead. Receiving the ball from Kevin Gallen, Gareth Ainsworth skipped past Danny Pugh and from just outside the Leeds penalty area hit a fine right-footed drive into the top left-hand corner of Neil Sullivan’s goal.
The Leeds response was as immediate as it was impressive. Deane back-headed Gary Kelly’s long ball into the penalty area, and without breaking stride, David Healy clipped his shot over the stranded Rangers keeper Chris Day and into the net — a piece of finishing that would have graced the Champions League, let alone the Premiership.
A few minutes later Deane struck for the first time. Simon Walton, swapping wings with John Oster, back-heeled a pass into space for the pacy Jermaine Wright to drive into the Rangers penalty area and hit a perfect low cross for Deane, waiting two yards out to sidefoot into an empty net.
The 36-year-old had the ball in the net again moments later when Day failed to hold a shot by Oster, only to be flagged offside. It didn’t matter; he played a central role in United’s third, George Santos heading a ball sent into the box by Deane backwards across his own goalmouth.
It fell for the unmarked Wright to sidefoot goalwards, but although Day made a smart one-handed stop, by now everything was falling for Leeds and Wright followed up to score with ease.
Rangers were in disarray, and three minutes before half-time, Wright again charged into the right side of the Rangers area, again crossed low, and again Deane got in front of a marker — Marcus Bignot this time — to turn it in.
Incredibly, there was time for a fifth before half-time. Kelly crossed, from the right of course, two Rangers defenders missed it — including the hapless Bignot — and Deane, who by now must have been operating in some sort of dream, chested the ball down and drove it beyond Day.
Watching in disgust, Ian Holloway, the Rangers manager, immediately used the two substitutions remaining to him, and for a short period the game lapsed into mundanity, United contenting themselves with banging long balls forward instead of working Wright, Oster and Walton into space down the flanks.
It didn’t last long, and just after the hour Leeds should have made it six when Marcus Bean was judged to have tripped Walton in the area — he didn’t touch him — only for Day to make a fine save from Healy.
But there was always Deane; another Wright cross from the right, another lousy Rangers attempt to head clear, this time by Danny Shittu, and the big man steered another header beyond Day. “Deano for England,” they chanted, shamelessly. Coming at the end of another difficult week off the field for Leeds, this was a win the club needed; that it was achieved in style says something about manager Kevin Blackwell’s ability to keep the minds of his players concentrating on matters they can affect.
“It was the build-up play as much as the goals which pleased me,” said Blackwell, before praising Deane. “I bought him to set an example of professionalism to the younger players, and I hope some of his attitude rubs off on them. He deserved today.”

Deane steps to the four-front for Leeds
Leeds United 6 Queen's Park Rangers 1
By Dan Murphy
21 November 2004

The Championship's fourth-least potent attack put nearly half a season's worth of squandered chances behind them as Queen's Park Rangers succumbed, rather pathetically at times, to a resounding defeat at Elland Road.

It was Leeds' most emphatic victory since beating Charlton by the same score at The Valley in April 2003.

For Brian Deane in particular, this was a day to remember. The 36-year-old had never previously scored a hat-trick for Leeds United in two spells at the club spanning 12 years. Yesterday he needed less than half the game to complete the feat and even added a fourth for good measure later on.

As if that were not enough, Deane laid on the other two goals for David Healy and Jermaine Wright respectively. Not bad for a man who had hitherto managed one League goal all season.

"Deano for England," bellowed the Leeds faithful, before according their team a standing ovation at the end. The contrast between this and the last home game, when the players were booed off following a 2-1 defeat to Burnley, was not lost on Kevin Blackwell.

"We've played well the last two games, but they were away," said the Leeds manager. "Today we were able to play with some style and some of the goals were first-class. You can see the players I'm bringing in are improving the team.

"I was especially pleased for Brian [Deane] because he's a Leeds lad and I've asked a lot of him this season and today he got the rewards for all his hard work."

For QPR, who had taken the lead inside two minutes through Gareth Ainsworth, last week's win against leaders Wigan seemed a distant memory. They were behind within 10 minutes and the game was good as over long before half-time.

Ainsworth's drive from 20 yards opened the scoring but Deane moved into action shortly after. He flicked on Gary Kelly's long ball and Healy swept the ball over Chris Day and into the net.

Then a smart interchange between Simon Walton and Wright created the space for the latter to cross and Deane side-footed home.

He became provider again when his header presented a routine clearance to George Santos. The ball skidded off the defender's head to Wright and while Day saved his first attempt, he could do nothing about the rebound. Leeds' fourth was similar to their second. This time it was John Oster who fed Wright, and Deane was again on hand to finish. A first-half hat-trick was duly completed a minute later, with Gary Kelly this time the provider.

The second half was a non-event, but a sixth for Leeds should have arrived after Simon Walton tangled with Lee Cook and, to the surprise of most in the stadium, the referee blew for a penalty. Day's fine save from Healy's spot-kick prevented any injustice, for what little it mattered.

Deane's fourth arrived courtesy of Dan Shittu, who headed Walton's cross into his path. It was that kind of afternoon for QPR's defenders.

"We were naïve and terrible defensively - a shadow of what we can be," said Ian Holloway, the QPR manager. "But credit to them. They played superbly and were the better side by a million miles."
Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Leeds United vs Queens Park Rangers

Leeds 6 QPR 1

Leeds went goal crazy at Elland Road, completely blowing QPR away in spectacular style and hopefully getting the season back on track.

Brian Deane was the man who handed out most of the punishment, scoring four - including a first half hat-trick - to defy his critics who had written him off at the tender age of 36!

It was the first time United had won by the same scoreline since that famous away win over Charlton Athletic in April 2003, when another big Leeds striker scored a hat-trick, Mark Viduka. At Elland Road, it was the first six goal haul at Elland Road since the 6-1 thrashing of Bradford City in the penultimate game of the 2000/2001 season in which Robbie Keane also hit a hat-trick.

Team News

Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell named an unchanged side for the third game running, which means he continues to play with three men forward and three in midfield.

The visitors made just one change, welcoming back midfielder Marc Bircham after suspension.

The Match

Leeds had been looking for a good start against Rangers, but it was the visitors who stunned Elland Road with an early goal after just two minutes.

Former Wimbledon man Gareth Ainsworth gained possession 30-yards out from goal, approached five yards and smashed a right footed shot into the back of the net with a glorious strike.

It was a bitter pill for the Whites to swallow, and the outcome of the game would depend on how they responded to such an early setback.

The response itself was good and instead of the usual panic Leeds were measured and patient.

The first chance to equalise came two minutes after the goal. Wright took a free-kick on the left, Brian Deane met it inside the area before the defender could get there and Clarke Carlisle was nearly on the end of the loose ball to score against his old team, Danny Shittu just covering in time.

Then Wright went for goal himself with a shot from 16-yards out but QPR keeper Chris Day just managed to push it over the bar at full stretch.

The pressure continued on the visitors goal when Pugh cross brought down by Deane but the striker fluffed his shot.

The breakthrough finally came on nine minutes and it was a goal to savour for David Healy, his first for United at Elland Road since his move from Preston.

Wright's ball forward was headed down by Deane towards his partner in the centre and Healy met it with a first time half-volley that flew right over the keeper and nestled itself neatly in the back of the net. It was as precise a lob as you are ever likely to see.

The visitors problems then began when defender Matthew Rose was forced off with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Gino Padula.

From being a goal down Leeds had suddenly awaken and showed their potency by taking the lead just three minutes after their equaliser.

Jermaine Wright was at the heart of it again as he surged forward and sent a virtually undefendable ball across the face of the area for Deane to tap home. Wright was in inspirational form and Leeds were reaping the benefit.

It could have been 3-1 just seconds later when Oster's shot was only parried by the keeper and Deane was there to tap it in but the flag went up for offside.

The third goal came after 23 minutes, and at this point Leeds were rampant. Having threatened to take someone apart this season they finally appeared to be doing it.

The goal came from a mistake by the big Rangers central defender Georges Santos who, holding the line and defending a free-kick on the edge of the area, sliced his clearing header into the penalty area. Jermaine Wright was onto it in a flash, the keeper saved first shot and then a race was on between Wright and Simon Walton to get to the loose ball and tuck away the rebound - Walton wisely let experience win the day and Wright made it 3-1.

Leeds could sense more goals in this game and there was no let up from them with half time quickly approaching. Indeed, they somehow find the time and the confidence to score twice before referee Colin Webster could call a halt to the first half proceedings!

With five minutes left Brian Deane scored his second when Wright again drilled a low ball across the face of the area and nobody inside the six yard box dared to intercept the ball for fear of an own goal, but Deano was there for another simple tap-in.

It was comedy defending by the visitors and they were nearly punished again straight from the kick-off when Leeds won back possession and Healy broke free, but his shot was just tipped away by the keeper as the crowd were off their seat ready to celebrate a fifth goal.

They didn't have long to wait though for number five. On the stroke of the end of normal time, Gary Kelly delivered a deep cross and there was Deane at the back post to slam it home for his hat-trick. It was actually Brian Deane's first hat-trick in 169 appearances for Leeds.

Nobody inside Elland Road could quite believe it and as soon as the chants of Deano, Deano, Deano died down up came another, "we want six" they all sang.

It so nearly could have been six too as inside the last seconds of extra time Pugh delivered a corner and Carlisle was there with the header but showing some mercy towards his former team-mates sent the ball just wide.

If a repeat of the first half was expected in the second, it never quite happened.

Rangers had no doubt received the biggest rollicking they've ever received from manager Ian Holloway and came out after the break, with two changes in the side, more resolute and certainly tighter at the back.

Leeds were obviously going to have to work hard for the sixth goal. Deano was presented with a chance to get it after 55 minutes but the ball would not sit down for him and the visitors scrambled it clear.

Evergreen striker Kevin Gallen could have reduced the arrears just past the hour make but he shot straight at Sullivan and the save was easy.

Whites fans had been given little to shout about until the 67th minute when they were out of their seats applauding a penalty decision.

Simon Walton was fouled in the area by substitute Marcus Bean and the ref took an age to point to the spot. Healy stepped up to take it and hammered it to his left but the keeper made a great save. Leeds would have to wait for that magical sixth goal.

Number six nearly came when John Oster broke into the penalty area to receive the through ball from the marauding Sean Gregan but the flag was up for offside.

It finally came on 71 minutes and it owed as much to QPR's poor defending again as another good header from Deane.

Having scored his first hat-trick, the striker was on cloud nine when a cross from Kelly was headed straight up into the air by Shittu, allowing Deane to muscle his way in and get great contact on the ball with his header, sending it flying into the far corner.

And still the chances continued to come, Wright was nearly there for number seven and with nearly a quarter of an hour left to play the opportunity was there for Leeds to completely embarrass QPR.

Blackwell gave the visitors some respite when he took David Healy off as a precaution and put Julian Joachim on. Healy had been feeling his ankle after a heavy challenge but did not look as if it would cause a problem in the future.

And still the chances continued to come, Wright was nearly there for number seven and with nearly a quarter of an hour left to play the opportunity was there for Leeds to completely embarrass QPR.

Blackwell gave the visitors some respite when he took David Healy off as a precaution and put Julian Joachim on. Healy had been feeling his ankle after a heavy challenge but did not look as if it would cause a problem in the future.

When Brian Deane was taken off with five minutes remaining he was rightly given a hero's reception by the United fans, who then burst into "Deano for England" chants." There could be no bigger accolade. Aaron Lennon was the man who came on in his place.

By this time two thirds of the 3,500 QPR fans that made the trip to Elland Road were half-way back down the M1.

When the full-time whislte went, Glory, Glory Leeds United rang out and the old song never seemed so apt. Hopefully this is just the start of things to come.

Friday, November 19, 2004

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


SETH JOHNSON is set to hand Leeds United boss Kevin Blackwell an early Christmas present.
The 25-year-old is in the final throes of recovering from a cruciate injury and, barring any slip-ups, will begin full training with Kevin Blackwell's squad next month.
Johnson has made rapid progress, despite suffering two setbacks, and the former Derby midfielder's return will be a major boost for Blackwell.
Eirik Bakke is also making good progress after suffering a knee injury during pre-season and the Norwegian should also be ready to step up training in the New Year with a view to a February return.
United boss Blackwell said: "Both players have made good progress and it'll be great to have them back.
"I thought our best spell last season was when Eirik and Seth were together in the middle of the park – we looked like getting out of trouble – but we lost them both at roughly the same time.
"It'll be like having a couple of new players because they are two big players who can do well for us.
"Seth has had a few complications, but he's still on track as though he has had nothing wrong.
"Both of them have worked very hard to get where they are."
While Johnson and Bakke are nearing a return, physio Dave Hancock and his team are battling gamely in their bid to keep Stephen Crainey off the operating table.
Crainey is struggling with a groin injury, but surgery could lead to a five-month lay-off and Leeds are desperate to avoid that.
The Scot, who became the club's first cash buy for two years when he joined in a £200,000 deal from Southampton in August, has already visited a groin specialist in Belgium.
The 23-year-old's last appearance was in the goalless draw at Cardiff at the start of October, but he had been carrying the injury for some weeks. The root of Crainey's problem is inflammation around a bone in his pelvis which causes pain in his groin and lower back.
United are refusing to put a timescale on Crainey and Hancock and his medical team are working on preventing the problem.
Crainey's ongoing injury woe leaves Danny Pugh as the only recognised left-back at the club, although Matthew Kilgallon has filled in admirably at times this season.
But with Pugh one yellow card away from a suspension, Blackwell could face an unwelcome selection headache.
"Stephen could be a while yet," conceded the United boss. "He may need an operation, but we're hoping it won't come to that. In the meantime we'll play it by ear and decide who is the best person to do the job. So far, I've felt that Danny can fill the role.
"Stephen is a natural full-back who knows where to play. Killa has done well when he has come in but, understandably, he sees the game as a centre-back. We'll look at it as we go."
Leeds United Football Club - Better News On Midfield Duo

Better News On Midfield Duo
United's injury problems look set to ease with the news that midfield duo Seth Johnson and Eirik Bakke are well on course to return to action early in the new year.
The latest update on the pair is welcome news to boss Kevin Blackwell as he waits to hear if defender Stephen Crainey requires an operation that will effectively end his season.
Former England under-21 international Johnson ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in April and also suffered cartilige damage which was set to put him out for the calendar year, and that prediction by United's medical staff appears to be spot on.
Norwegian Bakke had only just returned from a bout of tendonitis when he too suffered cruciate ligament damage during United's pre-season tour of Sweden.
It was at first feared Bakke would miss the entire season, but as United head physio Dave Hancock explained, both players are making great progress towards playing first team football again in the very near future.
"We're very pleased with both of them," he said.
"Seth looks good, he's been out jogging and despite picking up an infection in his knee (following an operation) he's bang on target.
"Eirik's doing even better, he's absolutely flying at the moment. He's already been doing lots of running and is quickly building up his fitness.
"They should be back in full training again after Christmas and then hopefully they will be available for selectionn again at the back end of January."
Blackwell has revealed he is looking forward to the day when he can put both players in his team for the first time.
"For me it would be a massive lift for the club to get two players of that calibre back," he said.
"If I could have them now with Sean Gregan and Jermaine Wright it would make it the best midfield in the division. The frustrating thing is we can't do that at this moment, but we're close."
Meanwhile, former United defender Jonathan Woodgate's injury problems have forced him to seek specialist help in America.
Woodgate, who began his career United's successful Academy and was a fans favourite before being sold to Newcastle in January 2003, is suffering from a troublesome thigh injury that has prevented him from making his debut for new club Real Madrid.
The news comes as Real's doctor, Alfonso del Corral, claims he warned Real that signing Woodgate was a major risk from a medical point of view.
“We told the club that the player was arriving with a risk in the front of his thigh muscle," he said.
"I give the technical information and transmit the real physical state of the player because that is my professional obligation. I cannot say no to the club signing a player and I would never send a report saying `this lad won't play again'.”
Leeds United Football Club - Op Fear For Crainey

Op Fear For Crainey
United are keeping their fingers crossed that Stephen Crainey will avoid having to undergo an operation that will end his season.
The defender's groin injury is causing big concern as it has so far failed to respond to both treatment and a prolonged period of rest.
As things stand Leeds are unable to give the Scot an indication as to when he could return, but fear they may be forced to bite the bullet and send him away for surgery.
"If things don't work out he might need an operation which will be a massive blow," said manager Kevin Blackwell.
"At the moment I have to play it by ear but it does not look too good for Stephen."
The 23-year-old, who has been out of action since early October, is suffering from a condition called Osteitis Pubis, a painful overuse condition that affects the pelvis, causing pain during and after exercise, and commonly occurs through kicking activities.
Worryingly, the condition can be resistant to treatment and has been known to last between 6 months and two years before clearing up.
If Crainey is operated on it would involve drilling of the pelvic bone, but Leeds will try to avoid sending him for an operation if they can.
Explained United head physio Dave Hancock:"We could have decided to go straight to surgery with him but we are trying to rehabilitate him without the need for surgery.
"Any surgery is not always clear cut; Seth Johnson suffered a set-back when he was operated on and got an infection on his knee, so we'll give him as long as possible to recover without an op.
"At the moment it's difficult for Stephen because he can feel ok one day and not the next. If he did go for an operation he would not play again this season."
Concern over the left-back has already seen Blackwell look into the transfer market, and he confirmed the situation may force him to bring in a replacement soon.
"Losing someone like Stephen Crainey who is a natural left-back, and having to put a centre-half in who sees the game as a centre-half (and not a left-back) shows how we have been putting square pegs into round holes.
"If Stephen Crainey is going to be out for a long length of time then I would have to look at bringing someone else in." - LEEDS AXE RICKETTS

By James Reynolds
LEEDS are set to sell misfiring striker Michael Ricketts to the highest bidder and end his Elland Road nightmare.
Ricketts vowed to rediscover the form that made him an England international when he joined Leeds on a free transfer from Middlesbrough in the summer.
He even hired a personal trainer and has spent extra hours on the training ground in a bid to find his scoring touch.
But the former Bolton and Boro star has failed to shine, scoring just one goal this season.
He has been dropped by boss Kevin Blackwell - and Leeds are keen to get him off the wage bill. The arrival of David Healy from Preston last month has shoved Ricketts closer to the exit door.
He could even be farmed out on-loan if no-one shows an interest in buying him.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Leeds in despair as Bent twists the knife
Ipswich Town 1 - Leeds United 0
By Henry Brown
14 November 2004

Ipswich refused to allow life to get any better for Leeds following another torrid week at Elland Road, as Darren Bent's goal propelled the Suffolk club level on points with Wigan at the top of the Championship table.

Leeds twice came close to taking a first-half lead through the on-loan John Oster before Bent's scrambled goal in the 52nd minute broke the deadlock and Ipswich cruised to their fourth straight win.

Off-field shenanigans, last-minute business deals, ground sales and cunning plans to save Leeds have been the stories of the week in Yorkshire. But the fact remains, perhaps unreasonably, that whatever the final resolution to Leeds's problems, their manager, Kevin Blackwell, is expected to forge his inexpensively assembled squad into promotion challengers.

Continuity, at least, is on Blackwell's side, and he was able to name a starting line-up unchanged from their 4-2 win over Preston a week previously - a win that ended a run of five successive defeats.

Leeds ran Ipswich ragged for the opening stages. Oster, on loan from Sunderland, was the inspiration, his tireless running creating half-chances for David Healy who, but for an offside flag, would have headed Leeds into an early lead. In the 18th minute, a slip by Jason de Vos, the Ipswich defender, was pounced upon by Healy and he slipped a neat through-ball to Oster, whose powerful strike was blocked away by Ipswich's goalkeeper, Kelvin Davis, at his near post.

Ipswich were wasteful in possession and made as many unforced errors as those which were pestered out of them by Leeds's terrier-like approach. A Bent header, straight at goalkeeper Neil Sullivan, was all Ipswich had to show for their limp first-half endeavours. But the early introduction of youngster Dean Bowditch for the injured Tommy Miller in the second half captured the imagination of the home supporters.

His neat work on the left allowed Shefki Kuqi and Bent to combine sublimely to set up Ian Westlake, who blasted at Sullivan.

Sullivan could do nothing to stop Ipswich taking the lead, though, a few minutes later. The move began in farce as Gary Kelly and Clark Carlisle collided when attempting to deal with a chipped through- ball. Their slip allowed Kuqi to lash the ball goalwards from a narrow angle. Sullivan pulled off an outstanding back-arching save, but Bent outfought Danny Pugh, eventually trampling through the brave but despairing dive of Sullivan to force the ball over the line.

The goal brought Ipswich out of their shell and they had Leeds penned in their own half. As Ipswich applied the pressure Kelly cleared superbly, yards from his own goal line, just after the hour.
Yorkshire Post Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

United takeover fails – Elland Road is soldRichard Sutcliffe
LEEDS UNITED chairman Gerald Krasner last night closed the door on Sebastien Sainsbury's planned £25m takeover as Elland Road was sold for the second time in less than 20 years.
United have agreed a 25-year sale and leaseback deal for their stadium and cleared the way for a possible substantial investment from a second consortium led by Leeds businessman Norman Stubbs.
Even to a group of fans who have become used to the unexpected, yesterday was an amazing day. The passing of a 1pm deadline for the British-American consortium to complete a takeover was followed by a press conference in which Krasner confirmed Elland Road was in the process of being sold to clear the debt of £9.2m owed to Jack Petchey.
Two hours later and with the sale sealed, Sainsbury and his American-backed consortium insisted their proposed takeover was still on. However, Krasner quickly countered: "We can categorically reiterate no further extensions have been negotiated with the American consortium. The club cannot go on with this uncertainty with a group that simply do not appear to have the cash to invest."
The 25-year sale and leaseback deal for Elland Road is believed to be worth around £10m and contains a buy-back provision for when the club's finances improve. Krasner said: "As a result of the sale and leaseback, Mr Petchey and his company will no longer have any involvement by way of loans and we will avoid any further interest payments.
Asked if any of the current board were involved in the unnamed company who have bought Elland Road, Krasner replied: "It is to a non-associated party. None of the directors have any interest in it."
The United chairman is confident a deal can be concluded with Stubbs's consortium. He said: "They are local businessmen who are Leeds United fans. To me, they will always put the well-being of the club before final financial profit. We said in the beginning that our consortium had limited resources – some have had to sell and pledge their assets.
"There is no more money in our consortium to put in, which is why we are quite prepared to bring in other businessmen on a similar basis. What I am telling the fans is that the local people I am speaking to are men of substance.
"They are putting together a sum of money that will be sufficient, not only to consolidate but to move the club on."
Sainsbury insists he wants to revive the deal but Krasner said: "Where was their money? How many consortiums do you think I have spoken to? I am up to 14 now. We are waiting to see a chequebook to come out from one of them.
"There was enough possibility that we had to give them time. If we had called it off a month ago, done another deal and sold the ground, and then an hour later they produce a cheque for £25m we would have quite rightly been slated."

Krasner On Leeds
GERALD KRASNER last night defended his board's record since they took control of Elland Road eight months ago.
And he told the Yorkshire Post why the club had opted to agree to the sale of the stadium.
"The sale is to get the debts down. Instead of being more than £30m, the debt will be well under £25m. That is from a starting point of £104m when we took over.
"Without this board there would be no Leeds United today. Despite reports saying we have made a mess of it, believe me we haven't. We have kept this club afloat and we are now consolidating.
"There was no money to pay the players when we came and we had to make the back payments as well. If we had not paid them, the players would have been entitled to walk away. There would have been no fee for Alan Smith and no fee for Mark Viduka.
"If Leeds United had gone into administration and a property developer had come along and offered more than a football developer for the ground, where would Leeds United be playing now? Where would the Academy be now?
"As repeatedly stated in the past, football remains at Elland Road. We have ensured that we have the option to not only use the ground in the long term, but to purchase back the ground when the opportunity arises."
Times Online - Sport

Elland Road to be sold after Leeds takeover deal stalls
By Times Online and PA Sport
Leeds United had fresh hopes of a deal to save its Elland Road ground late on Friday, with reports on Sky Sports News of a one-week extension for £25 million takeover negotiations with the consortium headed by Sebastien Sainsbury.
In a statement, Mr Sainsbury and Nova Financial Partners said: "First and foremost, can I please confirm to all of the fans of Leeds United Football Club that we are proceeding with our proposed takeover of the football club.
"What happened today should be received as part of the story and not the end of the story.
"Having gone through the due diligence that we have in the last few weeks, we totally understand the need - if indeed it has been done - of the current board to sell the stadium and protect the immediate future of the football club.
"We have the necessary resources to achieve the buy back of the Elland Road Stadium - if this is required - considering the buy back is along the lines that have been indicated to us.
"We remain incredibly excited about this opportunity, but it simply became too tall an order to free up and achieve the movement of the amount of funds required as quickly as it was. However, we can now move to a conclusion. Leeds United Football Club will hear from us with a view to completing this deal upon on our having achieved monies into our lawyer’s bank account."
But the Leeds, Gerald Krasner, chairman laughed off suggestions that he has granted a seven-day extension to conclude the deal, describing as "categorically untrue" claims that Mr Sainsbury has another week to buy the club.
Earlier, the club had announced that negotiations for the takeover by the American-backed consortium had ended after a 1pm deadline had passed and that Elland Road was to be sold under a sale and lease back deal. Mr Krasner also revealed that the club's board was in "advanced discussions" with a local consortium.
Leeds called a press conference at Elland Road this afternoon to clarify the latest developments in the Sainsbury takeover saga. A joint announcement by the club and Nova Financial Partners earlier in the week had stated that proof of funding had been established.
Leeds's urgency for completion was prompted by the need to pay back the latest instalment of the loan owed by the current board to Jack Petchey, or trigger a £2million penalty clause.
Mr Krasner said: "Leeds United can confirm that current negotiations for a takeover of the club have ceased with Nova Financial Partners. We can also confirm that today we are in the final stages of completing the sale and lease back of Elland Road."
Mr Krasner, who said the sale of Elland Road should be finalised later today, would not say how much the deal was worth but confirmed that it meant the loan owed by the board to Jack Petchey would be paid off in full.
The Leeds board, fearing that the Nova deal might not go through, have also been in talks with a local consortium believed to be headed by local businessman Norman Stubbs.
Mr Krasner said: "We are in advanced discussions with a local consortium which we hope to finish over the coming weeks."
Guardian Unlimited Football | News | Leeds to sell Elland Road

Leeds to sell Elland Road

Negotiations between Leeds United and Sebastian Sainsbury halted as club admits Elland Road will be sold

Press Association
Friday November 12, 2004

Leeds today confirmed negotiations for the takeover of the American-backed consortium led by Sebastian Sainsbury have ended - and that Elland Road is to be sold under a sale and lease back deal.
Leeds chairman Gerald Krasner also revealed that the club's board was in "advanced discussions" with a local consortium.
Leeds called a press conference at Elland Road this afternoon to clarify the latest developments in the Sainsbury takeover saga.
The current Leeds board had set 1pm today as the deadline for the £25m takeover deal to go through, after a joint announcement by the club and American company Nova Financial Partners earlier in the week that proof of funding had been established.
Leeds' urgency for completion was prompted by the need to pay back the latest instalment of the loan owed by the current board to Jack Petchey, or trigger a £2m penalty clause.
Krasner said: "Leeds United can confirm that current negotiations for a takeover of the club have ceased with Nova Financial Partners.
"We can also confirm that today we are in the final stages of completing the sale and lease back of Elland Road."
Krasner, who said the sale of Elland Road should be finalised later today, would not say how much the deal was worth but confirmed that it meant the loan owed by the board to Jack Petchey would be paid off in full.
The Leeds board, fearing that the Nova deal might not go through, have also been in talks with a local consortium believed to be headed by local businessman Norman Stubbs.
Krasner added: "We are in advanced discussions with a local consortium which we hope to finish over the coming weeks."
Krasner said the Leeds board "would have been foolish not to have given time for Nova to come up with the substantial funds being mentioned" and he sought to explain why the proposed takeover deal with Nova Financial Partners had collapsed.
He said: "On Tuesday we received a copy fax showing substantial funds were available in a HSBC bank account. This was accompanied by a covering letter stating that the funds were available for use in a takeover bid for the club. The name of the account holder had been blanked out on this document and Nova's solicitors are still awaiting verification of this document.
"On Thursday we were informed that Nova had opened a Barclays account in the UK and that funds would be transferred from that into their solicitors' account by close of business. This transaction has not taken place.
"On that basis the Leeds United board has been advised through their solicitors that negotiations (with Nova) have now ceased."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

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

Elland Road board hope to complete £25m takeover of Leeds to consortium before weekendA DEADLINE of Friday afternoon has been set for the completion of a £25m takeover of Leeds United.
The British-American consortium bidding to take charge at Elland Road spent yesterday locked in talks with the current board.
As revealed in yesterday's Yorkshire Post, Nova Financial Partners president Michael Lucas has presented proof of funds from HSBC Bank.
Another day of intrigue saw rumour and counter-rumour emerging with suggestions the deal had collapsed and David Richmond was part of a consortium trying to hijack proceedings, something the former director vehemently denies.
But a joint statement from United and Nova confirmed last night: "The Leeds United board of directors met yesterday with the president of Nova Financial Partners, Michael Lucas.
"Nova has agreed to transfer £25m into their solicitor's bank account by the end of Thursday (11th November) and this transaction will be verified at such time by Leeds United's solicitors.
"Provided the funds are verified, Nova confirmed it would complete a deal with the club on or before 1pm on Friday 12th November. No further comment will be made by either party or anyone representing either party until either completion or the deadline for completion has passed."
Both sides remain hopeful a deal can be concluded. United chairman Gerald Krasner said: "The intention of the board is to secure the best possible future for the club and we look forward to completing a successful deal on Friday."
Nova president Lucas added: "We are looking forward to completing the contract and working towards Premiership status."
The deadline of Friday is pertinent as a substantial repayment is due in two days' time on a £15m loan taken out by the current directors to buy the club in March. Aston Villa shareholder Jack Petchey is believed to still be owed around £9m and missing the repayment will result in a significant penalty.
Failure to complete the deal with Nova by Friday will see the board switch their attention to striking a sale-leaseback deal for Elland Road.
Talks have been on-going for months over a possible sale to wipe out the Petchey debt, albeit by selling the club's one remaining major asset.
Speculation in Leeds yesterday suggested Richmond was trying to hijack the deal but he told the Yorkshire Post: "There have been a lot of rumours flying around about me and the current situation but I can categorically say they are rubbish.
"I am not a director of Leeds United, I am not party to the negotiations of Leeds United and I have no influence at Leeds United.
"I put money into the club back in March, which for me was an awful lot of money.
"That is still in the club but I cannot make any demands on anyone.
"I am not part of any consortium and for people to talk about me making demands for this amount or that amount of money to push a deal through is absolute nonsense.
"All I want to do is live a normal life and go watch Leeds United with my kids in the future as a supporter. I am a fan and just want whichever deal is the best for the future of the club to go through."
Steve Parkin, who made two bids to buy United earlier this year, will join the board should the £25m takeover go ahead. He said: "For the good of Leeds United, we need stability and we need leadership because it is a sad situation at this club.
"It was never my intention to be involved in the running of the club when I tried to take it over earlier this year.
"But what I can bring to the party is an entrepreneurial spirit and leadership, which as I say, is something that is required and has been lacking."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Telegraph | Sport | Sainsbury ready to seal �25m Leeds takeover

Sainsbury ready to seal £25m Leeds takeover
By Mark Ogden
(Filed: 10/11/2004)

The financial nightmare that has taken Leeds United from a Champions League semi-final to the brink of extinction in just three years may, finally, be about to end with the latest in a long line of takeover bids set to be completed at Elland Road by the end of this week.
Leeds supporters have heard the phrase, 'it will happen by the end of this week', more often than they have seen `Leeds star sold' on the news stands. An Arab Sheikh, a Ugandan businessman, a Yorkshire-based tycoon and a mysterious Chinese group have all attempted to acquire the fallen giants.
However, the Anglo-American consortium led by Sebastien Sainsbury is now within days of wresting control of the Championship club from the current board having succeeded in persuading chairman Gerald Krasner that his Nova Financial Partners group have the funds to seal a £25 million takeover, which will finally wipe the slate clean at Elland Road.
Should the deal go ahead, manager Kevin Blackwell's position could be in jeopardy.
The club's solicitors, Walker Morris, are sifting through documentation from HSBC Bank which gives the go-ahead for Sainsbury's group to complete a deal with Adulant Force, the holding company formed by the Leeds directors when they took control of the club in March.
"Sufficient documentation has been received that we can now progress," Krasner said. "A deal has not yet been concluded. That will only be the case when contracts have been signed. Before then there will be more meetings and negotiations."
A successful deal between club and consortium appeared distant earlier this week following a row between Sainsbury and the Leeds financial director, Melvin Helme, during a phone-in on the local radio station, Radio Aire. However, with Leeds now accepting the financial strength of the bid, Sainsbury is confident of completing the takeover by Friday. The deal is also expected to see the Brighouse-based haulier and lifelong Leeds fan, Steve Parkin, awarded a place on the new board.
Sainsbury said: "The documents show the money is sitting in a London bank and waiting to be verified by the lawyers of Leeds United. We are confident that even the current board can have no problems with this proof of funding.
"We're hoping for a quick response and we're still confident that the deal can be completed by Friday. It has to be completed by Friday because there is an issue over the loan due to Jack Petchey."
Petchey, the former Watford chairman, loaned the board £15 million in March. He is still owed in the region of £9 million, with a payment of £2.5 million due by the end of the week, but Sainsbury is hopeful of negotiating the terms of the repayments with Petchey.
Sainsbury said: "Providing everything goes to plan this week, we plan to sit down with Petchey and discuss paying the balance back."
Should the financial future of the club be secured by Friday evening, attentions are likely to turn to Blackwell's prospects of holding on to his position. Despite last Saturday's 4-2 victory against Preston at Deepdale, Leeds remain just six points above the relegation zone.
Blackwell has already voiced his frustration at having to operate on a shoestring budget at the same time as offloading high earners to reduce the wage bill, saying: "It's been a real battle. There hasn't been any real investment within the team."
Sainsbury has pledged to provide money for team strengthening in an effort to trigger a rise into the play-off positions in the second half of the season, but only time will tell whether it is Blackwell or a new manager who will have access to those funds.

Guardian Unlimited Football | News | Sainsbury moves closer to Leeds deal

Sainsbury moves closer to Leeds deal

Owen Gibson
Wednesday November 10, 2004
The Guardian

The Leeds United takeover saga moved closer to resolution yesterday as the US consortium fronted by Sebastian Sainsbury proved to the club's board that they had the money to complete the £25m deal.
After two weeks of claim and counter-claim, proof of funding was delivered to the board late on Monday night via HSBC, raising the possibility of a deal before the end of the week.
Leeds's chairman Gerald Krasner said yesterday: "Sufficient documentation has been received that we can now progress forward."
Michael Lucas, chairman of the Nova Financial Partners group hoping to buy the club, has spent the past fortnight in Leeds trying to close the deal. His partners Burl Sheppard and Bradley Ray are expected in the city tomorrow in the hope of tying it up by Friday.
A joint statement released by Nova and the club last night read: "Nova have agreed to transfer £25m into their solicitors' bank account by the end of Thursday and this transaction will be verified at such time by Leeds United's solicitors. Provided the funds are verified, Nova confirmed it would complete a deal with the club on or before 1pm on Friday."
Krasner added: "The intention of the board is to secure the best possible future for the club and we look forward to completing a successful deal on Friday."
The prospective new owners have begun recruiting prominent local businessmen to join them if their bid succeeds. The haulage magnate Steve Parkin, who failed with a £20m bid, yesterday confirmed he would accept a board seat if the takeover went ahead. "I am a massive Leeds fan, as everybody knows, and I have a burning ambition for this club to succeed," he said.
Sainsbury, who will become chairman, said his appointment and that of local businessmen would help allay suspicions of a "Malcolm Glazer-style US takeover".


Leeds United Board of Directors met today with the president of Nova Financial Partners, Michael Lucas.
Nova has agreed to transfer £25million into their solicitors’ bank account by the end of Thursday (11th November) and this transaction will be verified at such time by Leeds United’s solicitors.
Provided the funds are verified, Nova confirmed it would complete a deal with the Club on or before 1pm on Friday 12th November.
Gerald Krasner said: “The intention of the Board is to secure the best possible future for the Club and we look forward to completing a successful deal on Friday.”
Michael Lucas said: “We are looking forward to completing the contract and working towards premiership status.”
No further comment will be made by either party or anyone representing either party until either completion or the deadline for completion has passed.
FRIDAY TARGET FOR LEEDS TAKEOVER: Sporting Life - Football | Live scores, Carling Cup, Premiership, SPL, Championship, Champions League, UEFA Cup, European News, Fixtures, Results, Tables

The consortium led by Sebastian Sainsbury should complete a £25m takeover for Leeds on Friday.
After weeks of negotiation, a joint statement read: "Nova have agreed to transfer £25m into their solicitors' bank account by the end of Thursday and this transaction will be verified at such time by Leeds United's solicitors.
"Provided the funds are verified, Nova confirmed it would complete a deal with the club on or before 1pm on Friday."
Leeds chairman Gerald Krasner said: "The intention of the board is to secure the best possible future for the club and we look forward to completing a successful deal on Friday."
One of Sainsbury's American colleagues, Michael Lucas added: "We are looking forward to completing the contract and working towards Premiership status.
"No further comment will be made by either party or anyone representing either party until either completion or the deadline for completion has passed."
The Leeds board had been seeking proof of funds, a factor that has long been a sticking point in negotiations, with the money understood to be lodged in a United Kingdom bank account.
And Steve Parkin, a life-long Leeds fan who attempted his own takeover earlier this year, has agreed to become a member of the board should a deal be completed and certain factors be met.
Parkin, though, has revealed he will not be the only Yorkshireman on board as he said: "I know they have approached three others, all of whom are well respected businessmen in the Leeds and Yorkshire area."
Parkin does believe Sainsbury's group is genuine and is eager to add his input, though will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the club.
"They invited me for a chat and following that I told them I would accept a seat on the board," Parkin said.
"That is providing they show the financial stability of the club is secure and all the conditions they have said they would put in place are met.
"They do seem genuine, but I have asked for certain information to be forwarded to me, and my involvement will depend on that.
"But for the good of Leeds United, we need stability and we need leadership because it is a sad situation at this club.
"I would like to think this represents a good opportunity for me because I am a massive Leeds fan, as everybody knows, and I have a burning ambition for this club to succeed.
"But I will have no involvement in the running of the club. It is something I cannot do because I am a very busy man and I have a lot of business commitments.
"It was never my intention to be involved in the running of the club when I tried to take it over earlier this year.
"But what I can bring to the party is an entrepreneurial spirit and leadership, which as I say, is something that is required and has been lacking."
Sainsbury, who is to assume the role of chairman when the deal goes through, feels Parkin will add credence to his bid.
"It clarifies the position we have always maintained that we want local people involved in the club," said Sainsbury, the 41-year-old great grandson of the supermarket founder.
"If he [Parkin] does come on board it will be good for the fans because he is local and it takes some of the doubts away about foreigners and Londoners - as some people have referred to us - taking over Leeds United."
Sainsbury, though, is facing a race against time to complete the takeover as the latest instalment on the £15million borrowed from Aston Villa shareholder Jack Petchey to help complete the current board's own buy-out earlier this year is due on Friday.

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

Parkin back in takeover deal at UnitedExclusive
Richard Sutcliffe
Haulier set for place on Elland Road board
STEVE PARKIN, the Brighouse-based haulier who failed in a bid to buy Leeds United in the summer, will join the club's board if a planned £25m takeover by a British-American consortium gets the go-ahead, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.
Nova Financial Partners president Michael Lucas last night met the current United directors to finally deliver proof of funds from a London bank and it is understood Parkin, who was seen deep in discussion with the American yesterday, will have a major role to play in the future.
Parkin, who led two attempts to buy the club at the tail end of last season, will become an executive member of a new United board to be headed by Sebastien Sainsbury.
The club's solicitors are now examining the documentation from HSBC Bank, which says the money is available to complete the deal with Adulant Force, the holding company set up by the current directors when they took control of Elland Road.
Sainsbury, 41, spent yesterday in London securing the necessary documentation. He said: "The documents show the money is sitting in a London bank and waiting to be verified by the lawyers of Leeds United. The contact details have also been given to help with that verification.
"We are confident that even the current board can have no problems with this proof of funding. Every effort is being made to complete the deal by the end of this week.
"We are keen on getting down to the job of helping Leeds United get back to where they belong."
The consortium felt they had provided adequate proof of funds last Friday with documents from a firm of lawyers in Canada but these were rejected by the Elland Road board.
Club spokesman Bryan Morris said: "Michael Lucas came to Elland Road yesterday and he handed some papers to Melvin Helme for him to look at. Melvin has taken those papers to our solicitors for them to look through and verify."
A possible complication to a deal comes in the form of a £15m loan taken out by chairman Gerald Krasner and his fellow directors which enabled them to purchase the club last March.
A substantial repayment is due on Friday to Aston Villa shareholder Jack Petchey who is believed to still be owed around £9m.
Sainsbury, the great grandson of the founder of the supermarket chain, said: "We are aware of the situation with Jack Petchey and providing everything goes to plan this week we plan to sit down with him and discuss paying the balance back."
Lucas was not available for comment last night but Parkin's involvement adds credence to the American's belief that any new board should have their roots in Yorkshire.
Parkin will join Sainsbury and Lucas in filling three of the nine executive positions on a new board. Three non-executive roles will also be created, including one for a Leeds United supporter who will be voted for by ballot.
Life-long Leeds fan Parkin, who runs the Clipper Group Ltd, has an executive box in the East Stand and has long made known his desire to take control of the United reins.
Sainsbury has already promised that Elland Road will not be sold and stated plans to activate a buy-back clause in the £4.2m sale-leaseback of United's Thorp Arch training ground. Money will also be made available for new players.
Involved in a heated radio debate with director Helme after Saturday's 4-2 victory over Preston North End, he plans to travel to Leeds tomorrow along with several leading Nova officials in the hope of pushing the deal closer to completion.
Under Sainsbury's plans, £23m will be used to both wipe out the £18m non-scheduled debt to pay off all loans accrued by the current board and provide around £5m of working capital. Chairman Krasner, Helme, Melvyn Levi and Simon Morris stand to receive £2m between them as part of the deal.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Sports Network 8/11/04
Leeds Finance Director clashes with Sainsbury

By Rich Baggott - November 8 2004Leeds Club Direcotor clashed live on Radio Aire with Sebastion Sainsbury, frontman for the Nova Financial Consortium that are currently in the process of trying the buy the club
Shortly before kick off, Radio Aire held an exclusive chat with Sebastian Sainsbury, the front man of the Nova Financial Group consortium that are said to be offering a 25M takeover deal. Sainsbury refuted claims that proof of funds had not been seen and elaborated further; claiming a deal had been completed by Directors of Leeds United and Michael Lucas from Nova in which a contract would be signed on Monday and the deal completed by the transfer of funds on Thursday when he would become the new Chairman of the club. Sainsbury claimed this agreement was reached at 2pm on Saturday in the Boardroom at Preston North End.
Following the match, Leeds Finance Director, Melvyn Helme joined the commentators for a post match reaction and to comment of the earlier claims of Sainsbury. He started by praising the team for the performance and explained that as far as he was concerned, the club still had not received proof of funds as confirmed on Saturday afternoon by the clubs Solicitors, Leeds based Walker Morris. He explained that the proposals by the Nova group were acceptable to the club and that the club directors would proceed with the contract signing, once the required proof of funds had been obtained. Mr Helme also spoke out against the actions of the consortium in going public with negotiations, saying the delays were unsettling to those at the club, including the backroom staff, players and fans, and asked Sebastian Sainsbury to either put up, or shut up.
At this point in the Interview, Sebastian Sainsbury joined the presenter and Mr Helme on the telephone. He stated the consortium had provided proof of funds however this was challenged by Mr Helme who stated that the club had only received a letter from a Canadian Solicitor, unassociated with the consortium which stated he had been asked by them to write the letter. Mr Helme confirmed the clubs solicitors did not accept this as proof. Mr Sainsbury went to state that asking for this level of proof was not a normal way to conduct business and that as soon as the contract was signed, the funds would be transferred. He also stated he couldn't understand why the club was delaying this and challenged Mr Helme to confirm the discussion earlier in the Preston boardroom. Mr Helme declined to comment of this point. Sebastian Sainsbury was also asked why he couldn’t simply provide the name of the bank or an account number. Mr Sainsbury declined on both counts stating this was not the way to conduct business. The two men repeatedly spoke over each other and ignored questions from the other, signify to the listeners that both were some way apart on their understanding of the present situation.
It seems apparent that a hold up to the deal at present is the difference in understanding between the two sets of Solicitors involved. Leeds are asking for further proof of funds and the consortium do not believe this is necessary. Both parties probably have viable reasons for current standpoint however further negations and possible compromises are needed for the deal to proceed.
Melvyn Helme has spoken with conviction and I for one agree with his sentiments that this deal should not be concluded so publicly. Leeds have been approached by several high profile bids to take them over, each one failing to come to fruition and I believe the board are aright to be cautious. On the flip side, I can also understand the alleged frustration of the American based consortium. Imagine putting a bid on a house for sale and having to provide all your bank account details to the sellers before they accept your offer. I’m sure any contract can be written up and signed subject to full payment as agreed for it to be valid.
This latest mess is coming to a head and expect further news this week. If the deal comes off, it’s good news for Leeds. The debt will be cleared, money for team building and plans to buy back Thorpe Arch Training facilities. A new board will be good for the club as the present one, whilst doing a fantastic job atsaving the club, are not dynamic enough or financially capable of moving the club forward for a good number of years.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Preston North End vs Leeds United

Leeds had this game sown up by half-time after a blistering first half in which Brian Deane opened the scoring and then two goals by David Healy against his former club helped settle the nerves.
United boss Kevin Blackwell went for a change of formation against Preston, with John Oster making his debut for the Whites. The loan signing from Sunderland was thrown straight in after proving his fitness in a training session on Friday.
Blackwell went for a 4-3-3 formation with a forward line of Oster on the right hand side of the three man attack that also included former Preston striker David Healy on the left and Brian Deane in the centre.
The midfield three were Wright, Gregan and Walton, whilst the back four featured the one change with Danny Pugh dropping to left-back and Matthew Kilgallon having been dropped to the bench.
The Match
Leeds took an early lead at Deepdale after Brian Deane sneaked in at the back post to score a simple but very effective goal to set United on their way to victory.
The 4,000 Whites fans could hardly believe it when another striker - and this one was scripted - David Healy scored his first Leeds goal on the return to his former club just three minutes after Deane's opener.
The goals came at the end of a ten minute spell of pressure from United that saw them weather a strong few opening minutes from the home side and then take the game to Preston.
Leeds were piling on the pressure with Deane having first forced the error out of gangly centre-half Claude Davis to win the ball inside the penalty area and play it back for Healy, but this time he wasn't to punish his old team-mates, that was to follow.
Then came United's charge on 12 minutes. Jermaine Wright delivered a corner from the left hand side and nobody tracked Deane's run to the back post where he was left with the simple header in.
It was the striker's first league goal since his return to Elland Road and the relief was evident on his face.
The supporters had barely stopped celebrating the goal when three minutes later Leeds doubled their advantage.
A free-kick was delivered into the heart of the penalty area and with four United players in there to cause problems, Preston could not get the ball clear and eventually it came back to Healy about 12 yards out who blasted home a low drive.
The curse of the ex player returning had been put upon Preston with Healy coming back to haunt them.
Leeds were not finished there though, they set their stall out in the first half to show Preston they meant business and the pressure continued on the home goal.
Healy fired just over the crossbar barely a minute after scoring and then Deane missed a glorious chance to make it 3-0.
The chance came from great work by Gary Kelly to win the ball off John Curtis, the full-back delivered it into the box where Wright flicked it on to Deane in a similar position to where he scored from, but this time he missed the target.
It wouldn't be Leeds playing without the occasional lapse of concentration though and that came into play just after the half hour.
Butler was shielding the ball for Sullivan to clear downfield, but the United keeper only managed to hit the ball against Preston striker Andy Smith and the Leeds fans in the stand behind his goal held their breath as the ball came back towards the goal but missed by an inch.
The Lilywhites thought they had a way back into the game when skipper Chris Lucketti looked for a penalty after Clarke Carlisle's challenge in the area but play was allowed to continue and Preston could not convert the loose ball.
Leeds virtually secured all three points with two minutes of the half remaining when David Healy scored his second Leeds United goal.
It was a magnificent ball forward from Jermaine Wright that caught the Preston defence flat-footed and Healy was onto the chance like a shot. He bore down on goal but waited for the keeper to commit himself before firing in from the left hand side of the area.

It meant that Kevin Blackwell's half-time team talk was for once short and simple - same again please lads!
Preston boss Billy Davies rang the changes at half time, bringing on Omar Daley and Brian O'Neil for Youl Mawene and Andy Smith.
Leeds had expected Preston to come out after the break with all guns blazing and they managed to hold firm for just eight minutes before the home side grabbed a goal back.
Richard Cresswell, the former York City city striker and self-confessed Leeds fan, it was who scored it as his charge took him clear of the defence after getting a lucky bounce and he comfortably beat Sullivan.
The Lilywhites continued to force Leeds back and some frantic defending followed from Leeds but they held firm.
Cresswell could have made it 3-2 after escaping past Kelly and doing all the hard work, but then scuffed his shot straight at Sullivan.
Kelly was having another good game for United and it was a case of safety first when he was forced to head away an inswinging cross towards the back post under pressure from American winger Eddie Lewis.
Preston had another penalty shout on the hour mark when Claude Davis went down inside the penalty area with Brian Deane chasing him. The referee was certain though that no contact had been made and booked the Preston man for diving.
If fears that Preston could yet come back into the game were growing amongst the Leeds bench, they were extinguished on 71 minutes when United scored their fourth goal of the afternoon.
Hitting them on the break, it was loan man John Oster whose high hanging cross caused all the problems, eventualy being met by Deane at the back post and he simply headed it into the empty space where Preston keeper Gavin Ward had been stood and Simon Walton tapped in.
Leeds made their first change after that, taking John Oster off after a decent debut and bringing Frazer Richardson on.
Preston could have reduced the defecit to just one goal had Brian Deane not blocked Omar Daley's fierce shot with a brave header. In the meantime, David Healy was booked for dissent and Neil Sullivan had minutes earlier picked up a card for time wasting.

Brian Deane could have made it 5-2 in the final seconds of extra time when Frazer Richardson's cross picked him out unmarked in the six yard box but the keeper held onto the shot from a narrow angle.
It mattered little though and Leeds were well worth the win in the end, the first time they've scored as many goals away from home since the 6-1 mauling of Charlton nearly two years ago. - FOOTBALL: END ARE BROUGHT TO HEAL


Preston 2 Leeds 4
Steve Bott
DAVID HEALY grabbed the goal glory on a spectacular return to Deepdale, but Leeds United had plenty more heroes in a much-needed victory.
With the Championship relegation zone far too close for comfort at kick-off, the troubled Elland Road side came up with a vital, nay sparkling win, going 3-0 up by half time and surviving a mini-revival by Preston in the second half to run out impressive and deserved victors.
Healy grabbed the spoils Ð and a late booking for time-wasting Ð with two goals but this game was always going to be about his, and, to a lesser extent, Sean GreganÕs return to their former stamping ground.
Gregan stole Irish striker HealyÕs thunder briefly when the former Preston skipper featured in an early incident.
North End hitman Richard Cresswell left Gregan writhing in agony on the deck after a challenge.
Good, honest fodder for the tap room afterwards, but there was on-field action of a more straightforward nature before that when former Manchester United defender Danny Pugh blocked Graham AlexanderÕs close-range shot in the second-minute.
Quite a turnaround for Pugh as he has been fairly active at the other end of the park recently.
Going into this game he was LeedsÕ top scorer with six goals Ð admittedly aided by spells on the left of midfield.
A man steeped in goals and experience got things rolling in the 12th minute.
Much-travelled striker Brian Deane came up with the perfect reply to recent criticism when he climbed above Claude Davis on the far post to head in Jermaine WrightÕs corner. Just three minutes later Healy hit centre stage. Well, it was more like a walk-on part really but the main thing is he put Leeds 2-0 up against his old team-mates inside a quarter of an hour.
Preston skipper Chris Lucketti blocked a Wright shot in the box, it fell nicely for Healy and he tucked a smart shot past Gavin Ward in the home goal.
Leeds, desperately in need of a lift, had got it in no uncertain terms. They ruled the roost for the rest of the half, so much so that some Preston fans were heading for the exits well before the break.
Deane kept up the good work and should have made it 3-0 when he headed a Wright cross over the bar.
Sullivan got away with a real howler in the 32nd minute. His attempted hoofed clearance hit Preston striker Andy Smith smack in the middle of his back and the rebound went wide of the near post.
Two minutes before the interval Healy added his second. Once again midfield ace Wright, at the heart of so many Leeds moves, hit a superb 45-yard pass to put Healy in. He then held off DavisÕs challenge to fire in.
Cresswell pulled a goal back from close range after Paul McKenna and Dickson Etuhu, unwittingly on the latterÕs part, set Cresswell up on the edge of the six-yard box.
Davis tried to further boost those comeback hopes when he went down in the Leeds box on the hour, only to collect a booking from referee Clive Penton for diving.
McKennaÕs 68th minute run and shot from the right maintained PrestonÕs big push, but Sullivan got right behind the shot.
Preston were all washed up three minutes later when midfielder Simon Walton gleefully smashed the ball home courtesy of a Deane knock down.
CresswellÕs 82nd minute tap-in from an Etuhu cross took Preston closer Ð but not close enough.
PRESTON: Ward 6 Ð Mawene 5 (OÕNeil, 45 mins, 6), Lucketti 5, Davis 5, Curtis 6 Ð *ALEXANDER 7, Etuhu 6, McKenna 6, Lewis 5 Ð Smith 5 (Daley, 45 mins, 6), Cresswell 6.
LEEDS: Sullivan 7 Ð Kelly 7, Carlisle 7, Butler 8, Pugh 7 Ð Oster 7 (Richardson, 83 mins), *WRIGHT 9, Gregan 7, Walton 7 Ð Deane 8, Healy 8. Ref: C Penton 7.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Guardian Unlimited Football | News | Leeds board split over Stubbs bid

Leeds board split over Stubbs bid

Matt Scott
Saturday November 6, 2004
The Guardian

The bid to take over Leeds being prepared by Norman Stubbs's consortium may fail because it does not include a financial incentive for the current board.
Stubbs is understood to have raised £10m and the proposed sale and leaseback of the Elland Road stadium is expected to bring in a further £15m. However, his backers insist all monies must be directed towards the continued survival of the ailing club rather than rewarding those directors under whose stewardship debts have been reduced from £104m to slightly more than £30m.
The current Leeds chairman Gerald Krasner is understood to be content with Stubbs's offer but his view is not shared by two of his fellow directors, who are pushing exclusively for Sebastian Sainsbury's Anglo-American consortium. Sainsbury initially offered two board seats to the incumbents and a £2m sweetener to the current directors, a proposal which is the subject of further negotiation.
However, in taking out £4.75m in directors' loans which helped facilitate the initial Adulant Force buy-out of the club, the board used their homes and businesses as security. Should both current takeover bids fail, directors stand to lose their estates if the club goes under.
With Leeds only four points off the relegation places in the Championship, refinancing would be impossible and analysts project administration will ensue next March unless £13m outstanding to the former Watford chairman Jack Petchey and £9m owing to the Inland Revenue is paid.
If such estimates are correct, those directors who would snub Stubbs are effectively gambling with their livelihoods. This has caused a series of board squabbles.
But there were encouraging signs yesterday that Sainsbury's bid is inching forward. "We have had certain paperwork lodged with us that has progressed matters," said Krasner. "But nothing will happen this side of the weekend."
Meanwhile, Leeds have signed Sunderland's midfielder John Oster on a month's loan and he goes straight into the squad at Preston today.
Leeds United Football Club - Hello Again!

Hello Again!
Barely three weeks since they last met at Elland Road, United face Preston at Deepdale tomorrow with Kevin Blackwell looking for a marked improvement on Wednesday night's fiasco.

The fixture computer threw up an oddity when it paired the Whites and the Lilywhites together twice in less than a month, but it's not memories of the 1-0 win over Lancashire side that Leeds take with them across the Pennines, but nightmares of their midweek capitulation at the hands of Burnley.
Blackwell was furious with his team's performance and made it clear they had let him and the fans down. The fans in turn let the players know their feelings as a section booed them off at the end of the game.
"We will find out on Saturday how they reacted to my words," said Blackwell, who had ripped into his team in the dressing room after the Burnley game.
"From day one they have been an honest bunch of players and that has endeared them to most of the fans, and equally when the fans voiced their opinions on Wednesday night they knew the fans meant it and it hurt them as well.
"I need players to try and pull all the other players together and it's a difficult job and no-one ever said it wasn't.
The Whites have only scored once in the league in the last three games and new arrival David Healy is still looking for his first goal for the club. It would be sweet if he could find the net against his former club on his early return to Deepdale, but Blackwell is keen to ensure the responsibility for scoring goals is shared.
"I want anybody to score, everyone know we haven't been scoring many and I don't want David to come here and think he has to carry the whole mantle on his shoulders because it puts too much pressure on the player.
"After taking just 12 seconds to score the other night I felt we could have gone on to score a few more, but it turned ugly.
"The way we played against Stoke is how I want us to play; my reputation as a coach is to play fast attacking football with balls on the floor and getting people into scoring positions."

Blackwell has added Sunderland midfielder John Oster to the squad and the Welsh international is in line to start the game after showing good fitness levels in training on Friday afternoon. The boss hopes the 25-year-old can provide some creativity.
"John is well known for being able to unlock defences, he had a particularly good season last season in taking Sunderland to the FA Cup semi-final and the play-off semi-finals.
"He has a good track record and I have been after a wide man since the start of the season and hopefully he can give us a bit of creativity."
Oster could play on the right wing, a position Blackwell has highlighted as a problem since he took over at the helm in the summer.
"I have known from day one that I had no wide players, and the two lads there Pugh and Richardson have done a manful job but they haven't got the knowledge of how to unlock defences and receive the ball in the correct manner.
"I have brought John in and he will be expected to perform straight away which is hard on any player, but that's the position were are now in. We are having to try lots of people and it's very much trial and error at the moment.
"I know to build the club again is going to take some time. Funds will always make you move a little bit quicker, but when you haven't got funds and you haven't got any players here and you have to do everything for nothing, it is very difficult to go and get the players in.
"I have got to try and find the players that are right for Leeds for nothing and that's very hard."
Preston at home are likely to be a very different proposition to the Preston that came to Elland Road three weeks ago. At Deepdale they have won six out of eight game and it's a place Blackwell admits he's never enjoyed going to.
"Deepdale is a very hard place to go to and I have been there many times before and not enjoyed a great deal of success.

"They are not a small side, they have five men over six foot, so they are a big side and one that has been together for quite a while. They have seven or eight players that have been together for three or four years now and they do know each other's style of play whereas we are still learning about each other.

"But the expectations on our players to perform are huge and they will be expected, by me and the fans, to go out there and perform at their best. If they do that we'll win."
REVIVAL WILL TAKE TIME - BLACKWELL: Sporting Life - Football | Live scores, Champions League, UEFA Cup, Premiership, SPL, Championship, UEFA Cup, European News, Fixtures, Results, Tables

Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell is hoping commonsense prevails after coming under fire for the first time this week since taking charge at Elland Road in the summer.

Blackwell has only been in the job for just over four months, but after four straight defeats - including three in the Coca-Cola Championship to leave Leeds four points off the relegation zone - the knives are slowly coming out.

Such is the pressure, expectation and demands at Leeds, it has not taken long for the critics to round on Blackwell, with the fans voicing their disapproval after Wednesday's 2-1 home defeat to Burnley.

With a takeover battle currently raging behind the scenes, with the Anglo-American group fronted by Sebastian Sainsbury seemingly edging closer to a £25million buy-out, United are again a club in turmoil.

But ahead of tomorrow's league clash at Preston, Blackwell is adamant he can cope with the flak, providing his detractors take a reality check.

"Criticism is part of the territory for this club because the expectations are massive," said Blackwell.

"I didn't jump into management. I decided to go along a route that would give me a lot of experience to deal with situations like this.

"There are times when we've struggled at other clubs and I've seen how to handle things and moved on, and this is no different.

"I just have to hope people look at the situation and understand it. People with any commonsense will realise to build this club up again will take time.

"They have to be aware when you turn up to do a job of work, to do that job effectively you need some tools and up to June 27 at this club there weren't any, and I had to get the right tools in.

"But if people want to voice their discontent there's nothing I can do about it because the problem at this club is that no matter what we do, it won't be good enough.

"Whoever does this job faces a mighty task. You have to be something of a magician at the moment to be able to bring in players of the quality we need for nothing. It just doesn't happen."

Following the defeat to the Clarets, Blackwell appeared to be a man on the edge as he slammed his players for what was an inept performance, and then turned on the board as he demanded they finally show some leadership.

The takeover distraction is clearly undermining the club, and although Blackwell does not want to make it an excuse, it is affecting the performance of his players.

But despite the unhappy experiences he endured last season when Leeds stood on the brink of administration, he concedes there is little he can do to protect the players.

"You try your best, but it's out in the media and in this day and age you can't shield players," added Blackwell.

"I know Eddie Gray felt last season players should just concentrate on football, but we had many experienced internationals who were affected.

"You have to hope the players cope with the speculation in the right way, but Leeds is a massive club and everyone wants to know about it.

"You can't hide from it, it's there and we just have to deal with it."

Wales international right-winger John Oster looks set to make his debut for Leeds on Saturday after joining the club on a one-month loan deal from Sunderland.
Leeds Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

United takeover is still up in the air

THE takeover saga at Leeds United was today shrouded in mystery and confusion.
The American consortium hoping to seize control of the Elland Road club claim they have documents detailing their proof of funding – but the United board insist they still haven't received the papers.
To add to the confusion, director Melvyn Levi insists he HAS seen proof of the £25m offer – but his fellow directors were today playing down Levi's comments.
A source close to the Elland Road board confirmed that Levi met with Mike Lucas and Sebastien Sainsbury to discuss the deal and that a faxed letter from a lawyer indicates the funding is available. But with chairman Gerald Krasner currently away on
business and Levi now clearly supporting the American bid, the Elland Road boardroom appears to be split.
The one clear fact is that, as of this morning, United's solicitors had still NOT received any proof of funding.
The Americans had claimed the deal would be done today – but it has taken over a week to show any proof of funds and doubts still remain over the validity of the bid.
Sainsbury was today defiant in his belief that a deal is imminent, but he had earlier claimed funds would be shown last week and again on Monday.
Sainsbury said: "I think the fact Mr Levi says he has seen proof should be enough.
"We have have produced to them the first of a number of
documents showing that we have the funds in place to complete the transaction, and for the balance of any regulatory and security checks to be completed by all parties."
Meanwhile, talks are still ongoing with a second consortium, headed up by Yorkshire-based businessman Norman Stubbs and, the longer the American deal takes to put together the chances of the local bid succeeding will increase.
Any such deal would involve the current board sanctioning a sale and leaseback deal, worth around £10m, for their Elland Road home.
Leeds United Football Club - Oster Set To Join

Oster Joins For A Month
United boss Kevin Blackwell has managed to complete a deal to take Sunderland midfielder John Oster on a month's loan in time for tomorrow's trip to Deepdale.

Blackwell was looking to add a much needed boost to his squad with six league fixtures coming up over the next month and has been looking for a right-sided wide player.

Out of favour at the Stadium of Light, the 25-year-old has made eight starting appearances and three substitutes appearances for Mick McCarthy this season, with his last appearance coming in September, but he has also played in Wales' World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland.

Oster's last Coca-Cola Championship start for Sunderland came in their 1-0 defeat at Reading in late August. he has made one apperance since, in the Carling Cup.

Official confirmation of the move from the FA came through in time for Oster to go straight into the squad for this weekend's trip to Preston.

Blackwell has revealed his concern that he is being forced to play too many players out of position due to a lack of strength in the squad, as he put it, "trying to fit square pegs into round holes", and Oster will offer him more flexibility.

He said: "I thought Killa played a great game on Sunday against the two best strike in the division at centre-half but against Burnley as a left-back I thought he looked like a centre-half, and Danny Pugh as a left winger looked like a left-back.

"Kids have had to come in and do a man's job. I had to take Frazer out for a rest because he's been crying out for it, Danny Pugh also needs it.

"They are still young players trying to learn the game but the challenge at Elland Road is too big for kids week in and week out."
The Independent Online Edition > Sport

Blackwell attacks takeover dithering at Leeds
By Ian Parkes
Published : 05 November 2004

The Leeds United manager, Kevin Blackwell, yesterday expressed his fears for the future of a club he feels is being "undermined" by ongoing takeover uncertainty.

The patience of the Leeds chairman, Gerald Krasner, and his fellow board members is being tested to the limit by the continued failure of an Anglo-American consortium fronted by Sebastian Sainsbury to provide proof that funds are in place to complete a deal. Self-imposed deadlines from Sainsbury, the 41-year-old great-grandson of the supermarket founder come and go, with the latest now Tuesday, and concern is growing that the deal will fall through.

Sainsbury's consortium cohorts are Michael Lucas and Burl Sheppard, of the Nova Financial Partnership, a company based in Tampa, Florida. Lucas claims to be a former American international, yet United States Soccer Federation records dispute that.

Waiting in the wings is a Yorkshire businessman Norman Stubbs, a Leeds supporter who has held his own negotiations with the board. Blackwell, who lived through the drama which ripped through the club last season, can see worrying similarities to the present time.

"I am hoping something positive happens for this club, be it the takeover or leaving this present board in place so they are not being undermined," he said. "But at the moment they are being undermined by a takeover bid because the leadership of a business has to be strong, to know where it's going and what it's doing.
"Because of things outside this board's control, things are not in place and that's what has happened for the last two years. I turned up here last year and I couldn't tell you after three weeks who the chairman was, who was running the business or making the decisions. Now how can that be right for a club of the stature of Leeds United? Never mind stature, how can that be right for a business the size of Leeds United? If your middle management aren't sure what's happening from day to day, it becomes pure guesswork."

On the pitch Leeds are suffering. They fell to their fourth successive defeat on Wednesday, their third in a row in the Championship, a 2-1 home defeat to Burnley leaving them four points off the relegation zone. "We're in such a perilous state financially," Blackwell said. "The debts are massive. The wages have been cut, but we're still in a situation where we're paying £18m out a year."
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leeds United | Leeds officials meet with suitor

Leeds officials meet with suitor
Sebastian Sainsbury's proposed takeover of Leeds United moved closer to reality on Thursday night when his consortium met with club officials.
Sainsbury said Nova Financial Partners had begun to provide proof of funding for a bid reportedly worth £25m.
"The consortium has produced the first of a number of documents showing that we have the funds in place to complete the transaction," he said.
Leeds had insisted they were still some way from concluding any takeover deal.
But Sainsbury - the great grandson of the founder of the supermarket chain - believes he will have control of the club by the middle of next week.
"We appreciate the efforts that the board has gone to in extending the time in which to make available to them our proof of funding," the businessman said in a statement.
Current chairman Gerald Krasner continues to exercise caution, having seen a number of deadlines expire amid mounting concerns that the deal could fall through.
And waiting in the wings is Yorkshire property tycoon Norman Stubbs, a Leeds supporter who has held his own negotiations with the board regarding his own takeover.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Leeds United vs Wigan Athletic

United boss Kevin Blackwell was able to hand new signing David Healy his debut after the striker shook off a bout of conjunctivitis to declare himself fit. He was paired upfront with Brian Deane, who got his first goal since his return to the club against Portsmouth in midweek.

Missing from that Portsmouth game though was Matthew Spring whose hip injury has flared up again. It left United with little choice but to revert Simon Walton back to midfield after he sat in at centre-half for skipper Paul Butler who was suspended and was for this game serving the final game of his two match ban. Matthew Kilgallon, returning from his own ban after his dismissal at Brighton, filled in at centre-half, his preferred position.

The Match

Leeds got into their stride early on against Wigan, perhaps determined to show the division's top dogs that they would not be about to concede any ground on their home turf and to show them who was boss.

Good passing football to start with but it was following a long ball out of defence on four minutes that United's first real attack came from. Simon Johnson went for goal from 20 yards but sent his shot straight down the throat of Wigan keeper John Filan who comfortably held onto the ball.

It was five minutes before David Healy really got involved, and he showed that scoring goals was not his only attribute when he drew warm applause with an exquisite one touch pass to Johnson. It was the kind of touch that Blackwell's men, hardworking and as honest as they are, have rarely demonstrated this season.

Wigan are not top for nothing, and they have potential match winners in every position, so the danger signs were there when David Graham was given too much space and time to run at the United defence and fortunately the shot was wide in the end.

It was 19 minutes before Healy was to take his first shot at goal, the interception from Sean Gregan in midfield saw him run unhindered for 30-yards before laying off a pass to Healy who was making the run wide on the right. The Ulsterman's well hit shot from just inside the area kept on rising though and cleared the crossbar by about two feet.

A few minutes later he had another chance with when he won a free-kick 25-yards out, but his low drive was comfortably dealt with by Filan.

The game turned nasty for a moment after 26 minutes when Lee McCulloch leapt straight into Gregan with a challenge that was not only late but dangerous and it left the midfielder in agony on the deck. Clarke Carlisle was incensed at the challenge and his reaction earned him a yellow card along with the villain of the piece, McCulloch.

Leeds fans were fearing the worst a few minutes later when Carlisle ended Jason Roberts run with a shoulder charge that saw him concede the free-kick and fortunately the referee showed common sense and gave him just a stern ticking off and not another yellow card.

Matthew Kilgallon was back at centre-half for this game, a position he's been longing to get a chance to impress Blackwell in, and he, aided by Carlisle, was certainly making the most of it by keeping the powerful Jason Roberts quiet in the first half. 'Killer' was winning tackle after tackle against the big striker, a few of them in the penalty area where a well timed challenge was absolutely necessary.

The final five minutes of the game were packing with incident after incident, none of them resulting in a goal though.

First Gary Kelly conceded a free kick on the edge of the area with a foul on Leighton Baines and the cross was headed back across the face of goal by Matt Jackson where Sullivan was able to quickly gather.

Then Simon Walton and Simon Johnson combined inside the Wigan area to give Johnson a shot on goal he sent over.

Down the other end Wigan pressed hard for an advantage in extra time added on at the end of the half. The lively Jimmy Bullard took a shot from 20-yards and nearly caught everyone out, Sullivan might have got to it but fortunately the shot fizzed past the left hand upright.

Clarke Carlisle's foul on Jason Roberts then gave Wigan a free-kick just outside the box that Bullard cracked wide.

There was still time for another booking in the half when Simon Johnson went in hard and late with a challenge on David Wright.

The game was just 43 seconds into the second half when Wigan went someway to protecting their unbeaten start to the season with a quick-fire goal from Alan Mahon.

Leeds lost possession in midfield and Roberts fed the perfect ball through to Mahon who simply took aim and struck gold with a fierce right foot drive.

Wigan could have been two goals up in as many second half minutes with Ellington looking to get on the end of a ball but Carlisle came across to clear the danger.

Simon Johnson took on the task of getting United back into the game and his shot from 25-yards threatened to sneak inside the post, but the bounce took it wide.

Brian Deane then played the ball inside to Healy on the break and the shot was strong but drew an equally good save from Filan and the rebound just wouldn't drop to a white shirt.

United's problems doubled though on 52 minutes when the visitors stretched their lead to 2-0. The quick break was on and Bullard threatened to pass to Ellington making the run into the area but instead went straight for goal and beat Sullivan at the near post with a low drive.

Kevin Blackwell made his first change on 57 minutes, bringing Frazer Richardson off and putting Jermaine Wright, just back from an Achilles injury, on.

Leeds were still picking up bookings in this game at an alarming rate, one on 65 minutes going to Sean Gregan after he brought down McCulloch.

Blackwell's second substitution on 70 minutes saw Julian Joachim come on to try and add more impetus to attack, with Walton going off.

Nearly as soon as he came on though Leeds could have been chasing the game 3-0 down with Roberts just missing the target with a shot across the face of goal. A minute later he blasted a shot into the side netting from an even better position.

Leeds were struggling to get close to Wigan when the visitors had the ball and when United had it, they couldn't keep their passing going.

There were chances though to reduce the defecit, first Julian Joachim had a shot cleared off the line by Wright and then Healy played the ball across for Deane to strike but his shot was straight into the body of the Wigan keeper.

With six minutes left to go Simon Johnson was replaced to allow Blackwell to give Aaron Lennon six minutes to use his trickery to change things. Johnson left the field to a good round of applause and the striker had deserved it after working hard and creating some of United's best moments in an unfamiliar winger's role.

As time ran began to run out on Leeds, Brian Deane came closest of all in a white shirt to scoring when he forced Filan to turn away a well directed header after meeting a cross from the right by Kelly.

Even if the ball had gone in it would have been too late to save Leeds from their second home defeat of the season. Wigan deserved the points as Leeds were left to reflect on a second half collapse.