Sunday, May 22, 2005

Get in there... Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - Healy Sets His Sights

United striker David Healy hopes his performances in front of goal this season was just a taste of what's to come from him next season.

Despite arriving partway through the season, playing some of it in an unfamiliar wide role and missing the final four games of the season through injury, the Northern Ireland international still finished up the club's top scorer with seven goals.

With five more goals scored for Preston before his move and a few more for his country, David insists it has been an average season for him but predicts better things next campaign.

"There have been so many missed chances this season," said David.

"If we had taken half of them we would probably have finised six or seven places higher up the league. I could have got a lot more goals and that's obviously something I will want to put right next season.

"I don't know about setting a target for next season just yet but I will expect to get a lot more goals.

"People have talked about me playing in a wide position, and yes I am a striker and I do want to play upfront, but you have to go with what's best for the team sometimes. I was asked to play a role and to be honest, you will play anywhere within reason just to be playing.

"It has been frustrating at times because as a striker if you're not scoring in every game you don't feel you're doing your job properly."

Speaking before Rob Hulse completed his move to Elland Road, Healy was confident the former West Brom ace would stay and hopes they can put a winning partnership together.

"I've enjoyed playing with Rob and I think we do work well together.

"If he stays and we hit it off right from the start then I think there will be plenty of goals from the pair of us. We both came into the side when the season was already underway, so if we can put in a good pre-season then we should be able to get off to a good start.

"Hopefully we will all come back from the summer refreshed and ready to have a go at promotion.

"It's what we all want at the club and anybody who says different doesn't know us."

Monday, May 16, 2005

Blackwell: "We were third favourites to go down"
 Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - Blackie Here For The Long Haul

Kevin Blackwell may have just come through his first full season in the job but he's already set his sights on holding the reins at Elland Road for a long, long time yet.

The year Blackwell has spent at Elland Road makes him the club's longest serving manager in the last three years, having seen Terry Venables, Peter Reid and Eddie Gray all last a very short time

Reflecting on last season, he believes he has experienced many more problems than most managers would.

Said Blackwell:"There were so many thing that went on that people said would stand me in good stead for my career, but the truth is I did not really want to experience some of the things that went on this year.

"I did have a blast at certain people because I felt that if things did not chance quickly we would find ourselves where Nottingham Forest are today. I was very aggressive and maybe a little bit obnoxious towards certain people in charge but I felt things had to be said.

"I put my job on the line but it wasn't about me, it was about the safety and prosperity of Leeds United Football Club.

"What it has taught me is that you have to be focused and you have to take criticism and be strong enough to come through it.

"I think the biggest testament to me was that we were third favourites to go down and people gave us little chance of surviving,

"Nottingham Forest, European Champions 14 years ago have gone down and Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford and Barnsley - all clubs that have been in the Premiership in the last five years are all down there and that tells us we have done well to stabilise things. That is why I am pleased.

"I have learnt that you have to deal with this division first, nothing else because if you sign good players in this division you have a chance of winning it. If you start dipping into the divisions below thinking you can do it on the cheap then you will most likely end up in that division.

"The players I have signed have giving me everything this season and I am proud of that."

Although he has undoubtedly learnt a lot from this season, and learnt it the hard way to boot, Blackwell is by no means resting on his laurels as he chases success.

"It is still a learning curve for me, I don't know it all and I hope I keep learning next year on the positive side and not the negative. What I do know is that I love being manager of this football club.

"There have been times when you don't sleep at night, you go home and play through everything again but I just don't know what I would do if I wasn't here.

"Please God things turn out the way I want them to, and if they do I would love to be here for 20-years."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

KB ... man in a hurry Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - Time Is Of The Essence

Kevin Blackwell's summer recruiting drive is set to gather pace with the United boss hoping to add more new faces to the squad in the next few weeks.
Blackwell has already turned striker Rob Hulse's loan spell into a permanent move and he has been busy this week talking to players on his hit list.
Preparations for the new season actually began last season with Chairman Ken Bates giving Blackwell the go ahead to sign Ian Moore on transfer deadline day rather than risk him being tempted elsewhere in the summer, and the framework for Hulse to make his move was agreed.
Aside from those two, Blackwell and his coaching staff were busy watching players at home and abroad to help prepare his list of transfer targets. Now he's ready to make his move on them.
"We are very close on a few and hopefully it will be a case of weeks and not months,"said Blackwell.
"We identified the players we were after very early on and we have been able to speak to most of those and see who would be interested in moving here and the response has been very encouraging.
"Signing Rob Hulse is a great start to our pre-season, it shows the planning that we have in place at least two months earlier than we did last year.
"If one or two things happen we can move quickly and we'll be able to announce a couple more signings."
Just as last summer was important for Blackwell to get the right players to stabilise the club in the Championship, his decisions over the next few months will be equally important as he seeks the men to take the club from a mid-table finish into the top six next May.
"Whilst this season has been unbelievable in terms of turning it around and giving it some stability, next season I have to move it forward and that's another big test.
"So I have to make the right decisions and bring the right players in and move the club forward again."

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

White dopes on grass... Posted by Hello
Guardian Unlimited Football | News | Godfather Bates not cross with Blackwell

Godfather Bates not cross with Blackwell

Matt Scott and Daniel Taylor
Tuesday May 10, 2005
The Guardian

Ken Bates last night dismissed talk linking Dennis Wise with Leeds as "totally unfounded". The former Chelsea captain quit as Millwall manager on Sunday, adding to rumours that he would join Bates, his former chairman and godfather of one of his children, as manager at Elland Road.
The Leeds chairman gave a terse response to such suggestions. "It is unfair to put a question aimed at fuelling speculation that is totally unfounded," snapped Bates, who is highly appreciative of Kevin Blackwell after he steered the club to a respectable 14th place in the Championship in a season in which he started with only one player under contract.
"We had a long chat after the game [0-0 against relegated Rotherham] and talked about where we need to be next season and how we get there," Blackwell said. "The chairman is still working hard at putting in place the financial side that was previously mishandled.
"I will work with him under those constraints until we go from there. He has always been very positive in the chats we've had about next season. I can't stop the speculation and what will be will be."
Leeds have paid an initial £800,000 for Rob Hulse, the West Brom striker who has spent the past three months on loan at Elland Road, with the fee rising to £1.1m dependent on future success. The 25-year-old, with six goals in 13 games for Leeds, has signed a three-year contract through to 2008.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Nice player ... shame about the stripes... Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - Hulse Completes United Move

Leeds United have today completed the signing of striker Rob Hulse from West Bromwich Albion for a fee that could rise to £1.1m dependant on future success.

The 25-year-old was delighted to commit himself to the club for the next three seasons by signing until the summer of 2008.

Hulse spent the past three months on loan at Elland Road from the Hawthorns, scoring six times in 13 appearances and his experience has left him in no doubt it's where he wants to be.

"I am pleased we've got something sorted now," said Rob.

"I have had a brilliant couple of months here and it was just nice to get back into playing again at a fantastic football club. I feel very much at home here now.

"I am looking forward to the challenge next year and I think we have got a hell of a chance of promotion.
"Who does not want to play in front of 30,000 every week and have those great fans behind you? I want to do well for them and myself because I am proud to be associated with this football club."

Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell is pleased to have secured one of his prime transfer targets so early.

"Signing Rob Hulse shows that the club is coming out of the terminal decline it was in and we are serious about moving forward," said Blackwell.

The striker has set himself a high target for next season but he's confident about reaching it.

"I will be expecting to get at least 20 goals next season. I expect it of myself, I wanted to score more goals this season but I have had the chances and with a good pre-season behind me I can achieve that."

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Radebe ends with the skipper's armband Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - Matchreport Leeds United vs Rotherham United

Leeds 0 Rotherham 0
Leeds made four changes to the side for the final game of the season. Clarke Carlisle went down the night before with illness whilst Gylfi Einarsson failed a fitness test just an hour before kick-off. Kevin Blackwell also brought Aaron Lennon back into the team and Jermaine Wright into midfield and Marlon King started on the right wing.
Frazer Richardson was dropped to the bench, whilst skipper Paul Butler also made an appearance there, his first time back in the squad following the infamous collision with Neil Sullivan during the Sheffield United game. Young midfielder Gavin Rothery was also given his first appearance on the bench.
There was space amongst the replacements for Lucas Radebe, the legend who would come on later to make his 200th and final league appearance for the club.
The Match
Within 30 seconds Ron Hulse had tested Rotherham keeper Mike Pollitt, going on a dashing run down the right hand flank and unleashing a shot from the edge of the area that Pollitt did well to hang onto.
Matthew Kilgallon was lucky to escape giving away a penalty when he brought Millers forward Michael Keane's run to an end inside the area. It looked a clumsy challenge but referee Lee Mason was right behind it and waved the appeals away.
With rumours that Aaron Lennon was playing in his final game for the club before a big money summer move too loud to ignore, the youngster was doing his best to put on a good show. His characteristic running at defenders got people off their seats and on one occassion just his final shot let him down.
Lennon then set off on a run down the left into the area and delivered a great ball into the centre but it was cut out just before reaching Ian Moore for what would have been a simple tap-in.
The Chapeltown teen then set up another chance for Matthew Kilgallon with a delicately flighted ball over the top of the Rotherham defence but the visitors escaped as Kilgallon was judged to have put a high boot up to foul Pollitt.
The visitors were not about to wave goodbye to the Championship without a fight though, and McLaren forced Sullivan into a smartish save just after the half hour mark.
Leeds should have been celebrating the opening goal with ten minutes left until half-time.
Matthew Spring is was who 'sprung' the offside trap and found himself bearing down on goal and there was nothing wrong with the power in his shot, unfortunately after beating the keeper it hammered against the far post and rebounded to safety.
No changes at half-time, the first half began in much the same fashion as the first finished - with the woodwork again coming to Rotherham's resuce.
This time it was Rob Hulse who was denied, picking the ball up outside the area, stepping inside and unleashing a low drive that had Pollitt floundering but came back off the left hand post.
Leeds were making all the running and creating all the chances, but they had done back in November and still came away with a 1-0 defeat at Millmoor.
With his father providing commentary from the gantry for a South Yorkshire radio station, Ian Moore was next to be denied as Pollitt pulled off a good save to hold onto his right footed shot.
Just before the hour mark, twice against the woodwork became thrice as Marlon King hammered a shot against that pesky left-hand upright again. It was only Pollitt and the frame of the goal that was keeping Leeds at bay.
Once again though Rotherham threatened to undo Leeds and McClaren was involved, Sullivan just keeping out his near post header and then Gary Kelly was a saving challenge to prevent a near certain goal.
Lennon was still proving to be a real danger despite Rotherham putting a man on him and was denied once more as a touch from Martin McIntosh deflecting his curling shot just wide of the target.
Marlon King was just as desperate to end his time at Elland Road with a goal but he was continually denied too, and when he fired a shot between the goal and the six-yard box nobody inside a crowded penalty area managed to get a touch on the ball to turn it inside. The chances Leeds were missing were becoming quite incredible.
Just as unbelievable as the miss from former Sunderland striker Michael Proctor that would have earned the Millers their first double of the season. McLaren swung in the cross and perfectly placed he somehow put his header over the bar from six yards out.
Frazer Richardson came on with 15 minutes left for Marlon King.
Proctor had another chance to open the scoring, this time from almost bang on the penalty spot but it was Neil Sullivan's heroics in pulling off the save that left the striker looking to the heavens.
With five minutes of normal time lef, the moment most supporters had been waiting for arrived when Lucas Radebe stepped onto the pitch as a late substitute. Elland Road rose to applaud him and acknowledge his ten years of service to the club.
There was still a match to be played though and the party nearly went sour when Proctor found the back of the net for Rotherham - fortunately up went the linesman's flag for offside and the goal was ruled out.
The full time whisle went and Leeds had failed to beat Rotherham this season and it was a result which just about summed up some of the rotten luck Leeds have had in the last 12 months.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Come on down you Zulu Warrior, Come on down you ZULU CHIEF ... CHIEF ... CHIEF Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - Final Hurrah For The Chief

Lucas Radebe will call time on his playing career with one final appearance for Leeds on Sunday, but hopefully not his involvement with the club.

Radebe is expected to feature on the bench against Rotherham and come on for the last few minutes to achieve his 200th league appearance, bringing to an end a career which has seen him captain club and country with distinction.

Ten years at Elland Road have seen him emerge as one of the most popular players in decades, as 38,000 turning up to support his testimonial showed, and despite his career having been ravaged by serious injury.

Offers of coaching work have already been flooding in for the 36-year-old, but he wants to move into that new field with qualifications already under his belt, and that means attaining his UEFA A and B coaching badges first.

Radebe is in no rush to return to South Africa just yet and hopes he can do much of his learning under United manager Kevin Blackwell.

"I want to stay here for another two years before I think of returning to South Africa," confirmed Lucas.

"I am looking to get some coaching qualifications this summer and then next season hopefully another set. I will go back home some day but at the moment I want to increase my knowledge of the game.

"I have spoken to Kevin Blackwell and he says he will try and create a position for me."

Blackwell has confirmed he will do his best to ensure he can keep Radebe at Leeds, if only just to allow him to achieve his qualifications.

Said the Leeds boss:"We've had a chat and I've told him that he has to get on and do his coaching badges this summer. If we can help him in any way or form we will do.

"If I can create a role within the club and afford to do it I would like to take Lucas on, but if I can't do that then the door is always open and I will always treat him as a coach at the football club.

"We will help him every way we can and we have a good set of coaches at this football club and he can learn a hell of a lot from them.

"I would love to have him around but obviously finances will dictate everything."

Would Lucas thrive as a coach though? Blackwell is certain he has the character to make it to the top.

"Coaching is completely different and Lucas might have the knowledge but it's how he puts it across, can he put it into a format that is understandable? But there is no doubt about it that Lucas would command respect from the youngsters on the training ground.

"Respect will only take you so far and then it's down to ability, but he no doubt has the tenacity to want to be the best coach as well. "

Radebe has revealed that he has already had approaches from the South African FA to undertake a role with them, former club Kaizer Chiefs have also been in touch, whilst FIFA too have shown an interest in a man they once honoured for his work in the community.

Blackwell is not surprised in the attention he is receiving and says Radebe remains the ultimate role model for all professional footballers.

"Lucas was one of the first people to come over and speak to me when I came to this football club.

"He puts people at ease straight away and he works as hard as any man I know. As a sportsman he's up there with the best and as an ambassador he is a diamond of a person in every sense of the world.

"He goes to all the top places and meets all the top people in the world, but Lucas is still the exact same person that came out of Soweto all those years ago. It has not affected him in any way or form and for young professionals he is a great role model.

"I say to the players that no matter what they achieve in the game they should try and keep their feet on the ground and it's great to have Lucas there.

"If certain other people had followed Lucas's ways then they would not have got into the trouble they did at this club or other clubs."

Lucas has promised there will be no tears from him on Sunday as he receives an emotional farewell, but there's certain to be fewer dry eyes amongst the fans.

At least we're top of something ... Come on, you LEEEEDS!! Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - United Fans Still Tops

United Fans Still Tops
Leeds fans continue to lead the way in the Coca-Cola 'Win A Player For Your Club' competition with nearly 150,000 votes cast!

The United faithful have done the club proud once again and have developed a massive lead in the competition, which at the last count was nearly triple the number of votes second placed QPR have managed.

But let's make sure we can hold onto a lead by getting as many people as possible to vote (you can vote every day if you wish).

With still over a fortnight left to vote, let's go for the 250,000 mark to give us the best chance ever of winning the £250,000 prize towards a new signing!

The lucky winning fan and club will be announced live on Sky Sports during the Coca-Cola Championship PLAY OFF FINAL, held at the Millennium Stadium, on 30th May 2005.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Spring ... SPRUNG? Posted by Hello
Leeds United Football Club - Blackwell's Spring Warning

Kevin Blackwell has told Matthew Spring he needs to impress him in every game to ensure he has a long term future at the club.
Spring has been given an opportunity to do just that in the first team following Sean Derry's suspension and the decision to withdraw Seth Johnson for contractual reasons.
The player had remarked that he doesn't believe he has been given a fair chance to establish himself in the squad this term after recovering from a series of early season injuries that set him back.
Signed on a free-transfer from League One side Luton last summer, Spring is keen to prove to Blackwell that he can handle to step up to the Championship and the Whites boss will be happy if he does just that.
"Matthew was injured more than he was fit this season, so he has to bear that in mind," said Blackwell.
"I make it quite clear to Matthew Spring and any other player at this football club that they are damned right they have to impress me.
"They have to make sure they can play for this football club week in and week out at a very good level because if they can't then you will be leaving this football club.
"It is nice to know Matthew feels he has a point to prove because I want my players to believe they have a point to prove every week, not just to me but to the 30,000 plus fans at Elland Road who demand success.
"The players that cannot handle that will be shown the door."
Spring's main problem has been his fitness and a subsequent lack of "sharpness", but regardless of the fact that he has only made 5 starts this season, manages to maintain a healthy fan club amongst United supporters.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A memorable day for the Whites against the Reds... Posted by Hello

There's a new page on the Mighty Leeds website - - featuring United's 4-2 win against reigning champions, Bill Shankly's Liverpool at the start of the momentous 1964-65 season.