Saturday, December 30, 2006 30/12/06
STOKE 3 (Sidibe 12, Ehiogu og 54, Fuller 77) UNITED (Moore 41)
Stoke: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Hill, Lawrence, Diao, Russell, Hendrie (Berger 46), Sidibe, Fuller (Pericard 82). Subs: Brammer, Sweeney, Dickinson.
United: Warner, Richardson, Ehiogu, Heath, Lewis, Douglas, Derry, Howson, Westlake (Kandol 62), Moore, Healy. Subs: Sullivan, Carole, Marques, Beckford.
Referee: A D'Urso (Billericay)
Ugo Ehiogu was passed fit at the 11th hour to spare United's potential defensive crisis, but boss Dennis Wise also made changes to his midfield and front-line.
Jonny Howson was recalled to the midfield while Ian Moore and David Healy both returned to the starting line-up in place of Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford.
Kandol and Beckford both dropped to the bench and were joined by Rui Marques, who was figuring in the first team for the first time this season, Seb Carole and Neil Sullivan.
For Stoke, Lee Hendrie passed a late fitness to make the final start of his loan spell with the club.
It was the hosts who created a couple of early opportunities, but they were denied on both occasions by an offside flag.
But they made no mistake in the 12th minute when after winning a corner, Mamady Sidibe got up well to head home from close range to give Stoke the advantage.
United almost hit back straight away, though. Stoke failed to deal with an Ian Westlake corner and Jonathan Douglas fired a dipping shot inches over the top.
The home side's response was immediate, but Darel Russell's finish was poor after he was released clear on goal by an inch-perfect pass from Hendrie.
United enjoyed a good spell of pressure leading up to the half-hour mark and successive corners were followed by an Eddie Lewis free-kick which tested Steve Simonsen in the home goal.
The Stoke goalkeeper also got down to well to deny David Healy with a shot from distance. Former United defender Michael Duberry headed away a Frazer Richardson cross as Wise's men continued to press.
Healy was again involved when United had furious appeals for a penalty waved away after Carl Hoefkens appeared to haul the Ulsterman to the ground.
The deserved equaliser finally came four minutes before the interval. Richardson did well down the right, Healy delivered a fine cross to the far post and Moore, pictured, crashed through to head home.
And there was more panic for Stoke before the break when Salif Diao sliced a clearance over his own bar as United continued to press.
Ian Westlake found himself in the book early in the second half, following two challenges on Hoefkens, but worse was to follow for Leeds moments later.
Stoke had started the second period with a spring in their step and the hosts got their noses back in front on 54 minutes. Substitute Patrik Berger hit a shot from the edge of the box and the ball took a deflection off Ehiogu to leave Tony Warner with no chance.
United re-shaped after Stoke's second goal with striker Tresor Kandol replacing Westlake shortly after the hour-mark.
But the game was effectively sealed in Stoke's favour 14 minutes from time. Ricardo Fuller beat both Ehiogu and Warner to a long ball forward and after side-footing away from the stranded duo he tapped the ball home from close range to make it 3-1.
Moments later, Sidibe was presented with a great chance to make it four, but Ehiogu reacted superbly to clear the danger and in the 85th minute Warner pulled off a great one-handed save to deny Stoke substitute Vincent Pericard.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Telegraph 24/12/06
Leeds left clutching at draws
By Trevor Haylett at Elland Road, Sunday Telegraph
Leeds (0) 0 Hull (0) 0
They filed away silently in their thousands, dejected and in desperate need of a warm fireside and some seasonal cheer. There was none to be found inside Elland Road, a grand stage where they used to pay homage to the best team in the land but which now endures a level of mediocrity shaming the memory of all those great performers from the past.
A 0-0 home draw with Hull is certainly no reason to crack open the Christmas champers. It has come to something when that minuscule return is seen as a sign that there might soon be some light beneath a skyline presently offering only grey and gloom. 'A clean sheet' claimed those for whom a glass three-quarters empty, is a glass one-quarter full.
Yes, only the fourth clean sheet in 13 home games. But the lunchtime kick-off also produced a whiteout, a washout, at the other end and that is three successive games that the Leeds die-hards have been left short-changed.
So the sense of despair that has hung around this once-great institution since that catastrophic afternoon at the Millennium Stadium in May when Watford ridiculed Leeds' arrogant contention that their place among the elite had merely been placed on hold for two seasons, will linger into the new year unless Dennis Wise can imbibe his struggling team with some inspiration between now and Boxing Day afternoon.
There was a debate among some fans at half-time as to whether they were witnessing the worst 11 in Leeds' history. There was no lack of effort and no shortage of possibilities as Frazer Richardson and Eddie Lewis raided from full-back and sent over a stream of crosses, but only one of them forced Boaz Myhill to dirty his hands as Tresor Kandol headed goalwards. There was precious little forward punch and a paucity of midfield creativity, though some optimism could be gleaned from the promising debut of 18-year-old Jonathan Howson.
"It's clearly two points dropped," Wise said, "but I was pleased with the way we went about it today. We are getting there. We looked solid and played with a lot more confidence."
Yet with a large away following lending voluble support, Hull looked just as likely to steal away with the prize and there was no sense of hanging on for their point. They had the best player on view in Michael Bridges, who once wore the white of the home team on those rare occasions when he was not on the treatment table, and opportunities through a Sam Ricketts drive and Ryan France's header to leave Leeds behind in the bottom three.
Whether it will prove enough to enable Phil Brown to shed his 'caretaker' label is a decision for another day.
"After a performance like that it looks like I've the backing of the players, but the bottom line is that the decision is for the chairman to make," he said.
When Ken Bates, the Leeds chairman, emerged into the cold afternoon air there were just three supporters left in the club car park, two of whom shook his hand, the third planting a smacker on his cheek, demonstrating that goodwill at this time of year is not an old-fashioned concept. As for all the rest . . . they just wanted Christmas to begin and for this bad memory to disappear.

Saturday, December 23, 2006 23/12/06
United: Warner, Richardson, Ehiogu, Heath, Lewis, Douglas, Derry, Howson, Westlake, Blake (Healy 71), Kandol. Subs: Sullivan, Carole, Moore, Kilgallon.
Hull City: Myhill, Dawson, Coles, Turner, McPhee (Forster 29), Delaney, Bridges (Yeates 62), Ricketts, Marney, Fagan, France. Subs: Elliott, Duke, Byron.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Teenager midfielder Jonny Howson was handed his full debut against Hull City with skipper Kevin Nicholls serving the first of his three-match suspension.
Robbie Blake and Ugo Ehiogu returned to the starting line-up after shaking off injury with David Healy and Hayden Foxe dropping to the bench.
Tony Warner also returned to the side in place of the injured Graham Stack, making his first start since October. Neil Sullivan, recalled from a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers, was named among the substitutes.
The game started at a frenetic pace, but aside from one punched clearance from Warner, neither goalkeeper was seriously troubled during the opening 10 minutes.
Hull defender Michael Turner did make two good defensive blocks, though. The first came when he blocked a Jonathan Douglas strike and the second was when he headed away a teasing cross from Eddie Lewis.
At the other end, Matt Heath blocked a low shot from Michael Bridges as the game continued apace.
Turner again made another good clearance from a Lewis cross and, while challenges flew thick and fast, the game flowed from end to end.
And it was United who came closest to breaking the deadlock on 24 minutes when Blake sent a low, skidding effort inches wide of Boaz Myhill's upright.
When Blake threatened again, Hull defender Andy Dawson did well to force a corner after beating Douglas to the ball at the far post.
But Hull looked equally strong on the break - they moved the ball with pace - and early substitute Nicky Forster responded by firing wide.
Shortly before half-time, it was Tresor Kandol who forced Myhill into making the best save of the first half. Lewis delivered a pin-point cross from the left and the Hull keeper had to be at his best to tip Kandol's header over the top.
The second period started in the same vein as the first with both sides looking to exploit each other.
There was plenty of endeavour, but again, neither goalkeeper was seriously troubled despite the attacking intentions of both sides.
Lewis continued to be a threat for United and it was his delivery which forced a corner when Kandol was crowded out looking for the decisive touch.
As Leeds stayed in the Hull half, the enterprising Blake screwed a shot wide as he looked to force an opening.
The temperature raised a level with 18 minutes remaining when both sets of players became embroiled in a melee and United's Kandol found himself in the book.The game continued at a high tempo, though. Craig Fagan had a chance for Hull, but was denied by some quick-thinking from Heath and Warner while, at the other end, Howson was denied with a good chance after more impressive work by Lewis. 23/12/06
United chairman Ken Bates has moved to explain the club's current relationship with the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Writing his programme notes for Saturday's game against Hull City the chairman explained to fans: "You should be aware that all is not well in our relationship with the YEP.
"Co-operation between the club and its local paper is vital but it cannot be one-way traffic.
"Leeds United needs the YEP to get its message across, the YEP needs United's stories to help sell newspapers.
"Of course the YEP should be impartial while supportive but unfortunately this no longer appears to be the position.
"When Kevin Blackwell left, Phil Rostron, the YEP Sports Editor, wrote an article under his own name, making serious allegations against the club.
"At Mr Rostron's request we had a meeting in an attempt to clear the air. Phil promised to justify his claims on the following Monday but didn't telephone me and I haven't heard from him since.
"We sent a solicitor's letter on October 3, didn't get a (totally unsatisfactory) reply until October 31, so reluctantly, we issued a writ on November 2.
"The YEP's defence should be served on December 27, last week their lawyer requested more time to reply, in fact until January 24.
"Despite this, we have continued to offer the YEP the same facilities as the rest of the media, although the players have their own quarrel with the YEP, of which Mr Rostron was left under no illusion when he met Kevin Nicholls and Gary Kelly last week.
"Despite Yorkshire Radio being very supportive of St George's Crypt's Christmas Appeal, the YEP denied them access to report on the opening of a new centre on December 8 2006.
"The final straw was the back page headline in the YEP 'Poyet is in a Panic'. Gus was furious and rightly so.
"In the circumstances and with much regret the YEP will no longer be welcome at Leeds United until the legal wrangle is resolved."I'm sorry for any inconvenience to our fans but of course you can still get all the news and views via Yorkshire Radio, the SMS texting service and the website which is compiled to two ex YEP correspondents."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 19/12/06
The club were today fined £2000, £1000 of which is suspended, for a breach of Football League regulations, following the game at Burnley last month.
The club was in breach of Football League regulations after naming six loan players on the team-sheet for the match at Turf Moor on November 28. The maximum allowed is five.
The players named on the team-sheet were Graham Stack, Matt Heath, Ugo Ehiogu, Tresor Kandol, Geoff Horsfield, and Tony Warner.
The Football League took into account the extenuating circumstances surrounding Matthew Kilgallon's late withdrawal from the team through injury.
Yorkshire Post 19/12/06
Stone departs backing Wise to beat drop
United's former England midfield man finally admits defeat in battle against injury
Richard Sutcliffe
STEVE STONE may not be around to help the fight any more, but the former England international is backing Leeds United to battle their way out of relegation trouble in the Championship.The 35-year-old has this week brought the curtain down on his career after failing to recover fully from an Achilles injury sustained during pre-season last year.Stone had to wait eight months for his debut and even though he went on to chalk up 14 appearances, the United midfield player has now admitted defeat with a settlement having been reached over the remaining seven months of his contract.It means a frustrating end to a career that included the highs of helping England to the semi-finals in Euro '96 and winning promotion to the top flight three times.Speaking to the Yorkshire Post from his native North East, Stone said: "It has been a really frustrating year-and-a-bit. I came to Leeds full of hope that I could be part of another promotion success."Leeds needed a right-sided midfielder because Aaron Lennon had been sold and I was really looking forward to the challenge."But unfortunately, four or five days into pre-season I suffered the Achilles injury and it has never really recovered. I got back eventually but knew things weren't right pretty much straight away."I was getting a pain every time I tried to sprint, and if you can't do that at the top level then you can't do your job. I tried to adapt my game but it proved impossible and as someone who has always given his all, I knew I couldn't go on."It was only fair on the club to go to them and say 'I can't do this any more'. That way they can save on tax and a few other things, and I can get on with the next part of my life."People keep asking me if I will be bored but I have several business interests in the North East, including a building firm and a scaffolding firm. I am also doing some media work with Five Live, while my four kids will also make sure I am never bored."Stone's Achilles injury and the complications that followed during his rehabilitation means he has watched plenty of United from the sidelines in the past 16 months and is adamant his former club have what it takes to get out of trouble.He said: "Last season was frustrating from my point of view but what kept me going was our results. The team were doing well and I really thought we were going to catch Sheffield United."It also made it easier for me because the pressure was off when I finally made my debut. This season, though, it has been very different because results have been poor. That just added to the frustration."Leeds will get out of trouble, I am certain of that. Obviously, this season was supposed to be about building on last year and making sure we went up."It has not turned out like that, unfortunately, and now there is a new manager. Dennis Wise has already started to rip the team apart and bring in his own men, and that will continue in the January transfer window."He will mould a new team and get Leeds away from the bottom of the table. The time to judge him properly will be next season when it is completely his own team, but I still think he will keep Leeds up." Stone quite rightly looks back proudly on his three promotion successes and appearance in the 2000 FA Cup final despite being in the Aston Villa team beaten by Chelsea in the last final to be played at Wembley.And he remembers fondly his part in Euro '96 when he came off the bench against Switzerland, Scotland and Spain as England battled through to the semi-finals where they lost on penalties to Germany.Stone said: "Euro '96 was a fantastic experience and something club football just can't replicate. It made it even more special because we were in the country at the time so could see how everyone got caught up in the excitement."It was once-in-a-lifetime stuff for everyone from the players to the fans. It was great to play a part, though I remember thinking when I came off the bench in extra-time against Spain in the quarter-final 'I hope I don't have to take a penalty if it stays 0-0 in normal time'."I was down to take the seventh penalty with Robbie Fowler taking the one before me. Thankfully, we weren't needed as we won 4-2 on penalties."

Friday, December 15, 2006 15/12/06
Leeds United thave cancelled the contract of midfielder Steve Stone by mutual consent.
The 35-year-old former England midfield player has been plagued by injury since he joined the Elland Road club for the start of last season and had no real alternative but the bring down the curtain on his playing career.
When he joined Leeds from Portsmouth, hopes were that Stone would bring his wealth of experience and knowledge to the side but he had the misfortune to suffer an Achilles tendon injury during his first training session with United.
He went through a season-long battle when, following an operation, the wound became infected. "The injury and the infection has taken its toll on me and there were times when I even struggled to get up out of bed in a morning because of the injury," he said.
"Things didn't really work out for me right from the start and it has been a big disappointment for me but that is the way things go sometimes," he said.
"It wasn't right for the club and it wasn't right for me but now that things have been sorted out it is a relief," he added.
Stone began his career with Nottingham Forest in 1989 and made over 200 appearances there before moving to Aston Villa ten years later in a £5.5m transfer. He joined Portsmouth in 2002 and left there for Leeds in the summer of 2005.He made his international debut with England in 1995 and went on to earn nine caps, scoring two goals.
Yorkshire Evening Post 13/12/06
Wise: Just 10 more wins
by Phil Hay
Dennis Wise today swept aside concerns over Leeds United's Championship position, insisting the club were well on the way to the magical 50-point mark.
The Elland Road boss has set his sights on 10 victories from United's remaining 24 league games after claiming 30 more points will allow his players to repel the threat of relegation.Leeds are third from bottom in the Championship and have taken 20 points from their first 22 matches, and Wise's side will begin the second half of the season inside the relegation zone unless a convincing victory over Ipswich Town this weekend is coupled with a heavy defeat for Barnsley at Leicester.A total of 50 points is considered by most managers to be enough to preserve Championship status, and a tally of just 43 was sufficient to avoid a place in the bottom three last season.Gillingham, however, were relegated with 50 points to their name two years ago, and Walsall amassed 51 before dropping out of England's second tier at the end of the 2003-04 campaign. But Wise is unwilling to contemplate the possibility of United falling into League One.Asked if the Championship table was beginning to concern him, United's boss said: "It wasn't great when I came here so that isn't going to bother me."We have to get a certain amount of points by a certain time. Time's far from up, put it that way. If they keep performing the way they have been it will change. There's a fair few points to be had and you need between 48 and 50 points. I am confident."Wise's squad will be strengthened at Ipswich this weekend by the return of Ian Westlake, left, who completed a one-match ban against Derby and is free to face the club he left to join United.Captain Kevin Nicholls is also on the verge of a recall after an 82-minute outing during Leeds reserves' 2-0 defeat at West Brom on Monday.The midfielder has not featured for United's first team since undergoing knee surgery at the start of October.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yorkshire Evening Post 9/12/06
More bitter home truths
On the next occasion Leeds United and Derby County meet, the curtain will come down on the Championship season.How much will be at stake for either club at Pride Park on May 6 remains to be seen, but there was little in United's performance yesterday to suggest their situation will be any less bleak in six months' time than it is this morning.Dennis Wise's early efforts at Elland Road have offered encouragement to United's following but, after nine games at the helm, the job of rescuing Leeds from the Championship's relegation zone is refusing to get easier.County will outclass better sides than Wise's this season, and Billy Davies players arrived in Yorkshire on the back of six wins from seven games.But the first-half performance delivered by United will stand among their most shambolic this season, and their improvement during the second half failed to force a result.Leeds were behind after less than 10 minutes, stung by a header from Giles Barnes, and their lack of productivity up front meant the early effort was enough to seal Derby's win. PossessionThe visitors were a yard ahead of Wise's players and first to every ball, leaving United to feed on a small amount of possession in midfield.The three-man combination of Shaun Derry, Jonathan Douglas and Eddie Lewis was swamped by County's midfield, who hinged on the passing and ball-winning qualities of former Elland Road midfielder Seth Johnson.Their defence seemed unbalanced by Hayden Foxe's inclusion out of position at right back.The Australian had looked uncertain during previous appearances in the same role, and the organisation that Wise craves among his defenders was sorely missing. At the other end, United's strikers were simply left to watch the game pass them by until deep into the second half.Leeds' vulnerability during the early stages of their league fixtures has been glaringly apparent throughout the first 22 games of the season, and a costly trait reared its head again as Derby broke the deadlock after only nine minutes at Elland Road.Former Huddersfield striker Jon Stead was given space on the left wing to whip a curling cross to the back post where Barnes squeezed a low header past Graham Stack.The early strike was a repeat of last weekend's clash with Barnsley, when the Oakwell club snatched the lead after three minutes.StruggledBut, unlike the 2-2 draw at Elland Road eight days ago, United struggled to muster an immediate response to Barnes' finish.Leeds had created the first clear chance of the game on seven minutes when David Healy – recalled to the starting line-up in place of Ian Moore – met Foxe's cross with a volley which swung wide of the post, and Foxe was an unlikely threat again in the 18th minute when his low shot brought a comfortable save from Stephen Bywater.But the gaps in United's defence were expertly picked out by County's attack, and Leeds were spared a second Derby goal by a woeful strike from Matt Oakley shortly after.The visiting captain was given the simple task of finishing off another dangerous delivery from Stead, but his shot from eight yards sailed over the crossbar with only Stack to beat.Stead's creative instinct was a crucial difference between the teams and his raking crossfield ball cut Leeds open again on the half-hour.Although Steve Howard's weak header brought an end to a prom-ising attack, Derby always looked capable of striking for a second time.ImprovementBut the interval gave Leeds a chance to regroup, and the second half brought signs of improvement from Wise's players, without producing a goal.Eddie Lewis pulled a shot wide of Bywater post after a quick break involving Derry and Robbie Blake left the American free inside the box.The home crowd thought Blake had produced an equaliser on the hour when his free-kick flicked the side netting.But their best opportunity fell to Healy in the 66th minute, his final act before making way for substitute Moore.The Northern Ireland forward laid a pass off to Blake after finding space inside Derby's area, but when the ball returned to his feet, Healy lashed a hurried finish high into the stands.County were then unlucky to see David Jones' fierce strike in the 89th minute hammer against the underside of the bar before bouncing to safety.Bywater preserved the visitors' lead at the death when he threw himself to his left to parry a goalbound header from Matt Heath.

Saturday, December 09, 2006 9/12/06
Leeds United can confirm that the club breached Football League regulations at Burnley on November 28 by naming six loan players on our team-sheet for the game.
The maximum number of loan players any club can name on a team-sheet for a game is five.
We will co-operate fully with the Football League on this matter and explain the extenuating circumstances.
We're on the mend
by Phil Hay
MATT HEATH today warned Derby County to expect a mentally-toughened version of Leeds United when they turn out in Yorkshire this weekend.
Billy Davies' side will descend on Elland Road tomorrow fresh from six wins in seven matches, but Heath believes the timing of United's meeting with Derby will suit his team-mates.The on-loan Coventry City defender has witnessed a vast improvement in United's character since his second game for Leeds ended in a sorry 3-0 defeat to Southampton last month, and Heath is hoping Leeds will be equal to the challenge of one of the Championship's in-form teams tomorrow.United are still trapped inside the division's relegation zone, 18 places below County, but Heath said: "I definitely think we're beginning to stabilise."The fighting spirit is better, and the game at Burnley was the best example of that. We lost 2-1 but we battled hard and we had them hanging on at the end."The Southampton game was completely different. At 1-0 down we were still in the game but as soon as the second goal went in you could tell we were finished."Heath is planning to put himself in line for a fresh deal at Elland Road before the transfer window swings open on January 1. The defender's loan from Coventry runs out at the start of next month, but he would welcome a second opportunity with Leeds if his prospects at the Ricoh Arena fail to improve.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sporting Life 2/12/06
By Mark Walker, PA Sport
Leeds manager Dennis Wise claimed linesman Karl Evans had cost his side all three points after the Yorkshire derby with Barnsley ended 2-2 at Elland Road.
On-loan central defender Matt Heath appeared to have given Leeds a 3-2 lead midway through the second half when he headed home Ian Westlake's corner at the near post.
Referee Kevin Wright saw nothing wrong with Heath's effort, but his assistant Evans drew his attention to an infringement and the effort was ruled out.
"It was the linesman this time wasn't it?" Wise said after goals on their home debuts from both Tresor Kandol and Ugo Ehiogu cancelled out two fine individual efforts from Barnsley striker Daniel Nardiello.
"I don't know what he's seen. I've just shown him it and he doesn't know what he's seen, but he's still making out he's seen something, some kind of foul.
"I don't know what the foul was, I really can't work it out. There were no complaints from their players.
"He (the linesman) made a mistake just before that when he flagged for offside before the corner, maybe he's making up for it.
"I'm disappointed he couldn't turn round and have the decency to say he'd made a mistake. There was nothing from their goalkeeper. It was a fair goal."
Wise was full of admiration for his players for twice fighting back to level despite a nervy start in a thrilling first half.
"It was a massive game for us. We were a bit nervous and after conceding a goal so early I was pleased we got back into it twice and we looked like the team that could win it.
"We had enough chances to win the game, good chances and it's disappointing."
Wise was full of praise for new loan signing Kandol, who made his first start for Leeds since arriving from League Two side Barnet.
"You've seen what he's about. He can be a bit laid back sometimes, he knows he can do better when he's got the ball, but you can see what a threat he is and he's going to score goals.
"He's a handful, he's a big lad and wins a lot of headers, has a very good touch and is a very decent player."
Leeds remain in the bottom three after their first draw under Wise, but the former Swindon manager is confident his side will begin to move clear of danger.
"We're okay, we're doing alright. We've got some good games coming up and if they keep playing the way they've been playing they'll be fine." 2/12/06
UNITED 2 (Kandol 8, Ehiogu 45) BARNSLEY 2 (Nardiello 3, 36)
UNITED: Stack, Douglas, Ehiogu, Heath, Crainey, Blake (Healy 80), Westlake, Derry (Richardson 64), Lewis, Moore (Carole 88), Kandol. Subs: Warner, Healy, Carole, Beckford.
BARNSLEY: Colgan, Hassell, Heckingbottom, Reid, Togwell, Hayes, Knight, Howard, Austin, Nardiello (Richards 79), McCann. Subs: Letheren, Tonge, Williams, Richards, Devaney.
Referee: K Wright
United boss Dennis Wise made one enforced change from the side which lost 2-1 to Burnley in midweek with Hayden Foxe missing through suspension.
Tresor Kandol was the man to come in - making his full debut - with Wise re-shuffling his pack to move Robbie Blake behind the forwards, on the right, and Jonathan Douglas dropped to right-back.
But United got off to the worst start possible after Barnsley opened the scoring in the third minute.
Danny Nardiello, who tormented United as a second half substitute at Oakwell in November, ran into the area unchallenged and was allowed the time to place his shot into the far corner beyond the reach of Graham Stack.
Leeds were level within five minutes, though, when debut man Kandol headed home his first goal for the club.
Barnsley defender Neil Austin headed a Douglas cross high in the box, and Kandol rose quickly to beat visiting keeper Nick Colgan as the ball looped down and he finished with a well-placed header, pictured.
Barnsley were defending desperately again moments later when Robbie Blake steered a low corner into the box, but the visitors scrambled the ball away.
As derbies go it was an entertaining opening 25 minutes with both sides seeking to get forward when possible.
The visitors had a couple of penalty appeals waved away while, at the other end, Blake tested Colgan with a free-kick from distance and also saw a shot deflected to safety after more panic in the Barnsley goal-mouth.
United continued to press, and on 35 minutes Eddie Lewis was denied by an upright when he struck a Blake pull-back sweetly with his left-foot.
But the visitors were always a threat on the break with their high tempo approach, and their response to the close shave was immediate.
Nardiello, out on the Barnsley right, latched on to a long pass forward before cutting inside and delivering an inch-perfect finish into the far corner to make it 2-1.
United came back straight away and Lewis was denied again when he shot narrowly wide, following a Blake corner. Ian Westlake also screwed an effort wide after a quick-break by Leeds.
And they were rewarded for their efforts in first half stoppage time when Ugo Ehiogu joined Kandol in netting his first for the club.
A United corner was half-cleared to Westlake, Shaun Derry returned his cross into the box, and Ehiogu headed home.
Barnsley keeper Colgan was called into action seven minutes into the second half when he reacted well to beat away a Westlake shot after some good build-up play by United.
Colgan also made a good save to deny Blake with a free-kick from distance.
United keeper Stack was also called upon to make one superb block from Leon Knight. Paul Hayes broke down the Barnsley left and delivered a cross for the onrushing Knight, but Stack was quick off his line to get the block in.
Stack made another good save when he palmed away a Hayes effort, following another quick break by the visitors.
However, United thought they had finally gained the advantage on 70 minutes.
Matt Heath appeared to have made it good day for first-time scorers when he headed home a Westlake corner, but after consulation with his assistant, referee Kevin Wright disallowed the goal.
With ten minutes remaining and the game still very much in the balance, United brought on David Healy for Blake as they stepped up their search for a winner but it was Barnsley who threatened in the 84th minute when Knight set up Hayes with a shooting opportunity but Stack made the save.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/11/06
United's defeat was on the cards
Burnley 2 Leeds United 1
By Phil Hay
Leeds United under Dennis Wise are starting to resemble a yo-yo.
Foxe leaves the field after being sent offUp one minute and down the next, with little to fill the space in between. The one near-certainty of his seven-match reign has been that defeat will follow victory, and vice-versa.Should last night's galling loss to Burnley precede a win over Barnsley on Saturday, as the present pattern would seem to predict, Wise can be content with a satisfactory week's work. But regardless of this weekend's events at Elland Road, United's manager is unlikely to feel any less bitter about the way in which three points went begging at Turf Moor.Burnley's stadium has not been a forgiving venue this season, and the club themselves are rarely seen taking prisoners, but Wise's players were giving little quarter to their Lancashire opponents until the game turned on the sudden dismissal of Hayden Foxe in the 52nd minute.The Australian defender was carrying a yellow card from a first-half foul on Steve Jones when he lost his footing as Wade Elliott curled a dangerous cross-field pass towards Burnley striker Andy Gray. Foxe, perhaps instinctively, stuck out his hand to divert the ball away from Gray, and referee Phil Dowd swiftly ordered him from the field for a second bookable offence.For almost an hour United had restrained their hosts comfortably, surviving a handful of near misses from long range but preventing Burnley from getting close enough to see the whites of Graham Stack's eyes.But by the 70th minute, 18 minutes after Foxe's dismissal, Leeds were 2-0 down and on the brink of defeat. As turning points go, the Australian's departure was especially costly.Foxe did not dispute either of his cautions, and the makeshift right-back was heading for the tunnel long before Dowd raised his red card, but Leeds will reflect on another game when little came their way from the man in the middle.Dowd was not solely to blame for United's defeat, but his reluctance to let the game flow affected the attempts of Wise's team to transform a solid defensive performance into a narrow victory.The Staffordshire official's judgement was best summed up by the first-half booking issued to Ian Westlake for diving after the midfielder's legs were chopped from under him on the edge of Burnley's box.There was nothing in Leeds' performance, though, to depress a manager who has previously seen the good, bad and ugly sides of his squad at Elland Road. United's opportunities during the 90 minutes were few, but for the all the pressure created by Burnley before Foxe's red card, their end product gave Stack little to worry about.The on-loan Reading goalkeeper was well beaten by a curling shot from Steve Jones that whistled beyond the post after half-an-hour, and he parried a low effort from Wade Elliott after a pre-planned free-kick earned the winger a sight of goal before the break.But Leeds' defence was calm and organised, and clearly improved by the addition of Ugo Ehiogu to Stack's protective line. The Middlesbrough centre-back was a surprising selection before kick-off, making his United debut in place of Matthew Kilgallon who Wise later revealed was carrying an ankle injury.Ehiogu stepped into the vacancy seamlessly, and the organisation of United's defence was unquestionable before the game swung Burnley's way in the 52nd minute.In recent weeks the signs have been that Kilgallon – still a youngster at 22 – would benefit from a well-earned rest, and a fit Ehiogu looks an ideal replacement should Wise decide to keep him in position.Ehiogu spoke last week of repairing United from back to front, and their last two fixtures have shown increasing defensive solidity, but the final part of a winning formula is still evading the players at Elland Road.Leeds are not incapable of producing chances and scoring goals, but they failed to seriously test the confidence of Burnley goalkeeper Danny Coyne until the game was lost.Their clear opportunities before the break both fell to Ian Moore, who had an early shot blocked by Coyne and sliced another wide of goal after benefiting from Robbie Blake's quick feet and vision.Burnley might have held the lead at the interval had Stack not tipped Jones' rising effort over the crossbar in the 40th minute, and Shaun Derry received a welcome reprieve three minutes after the break when Wayne Thomas' corner caught his head and smashed against Stack's post.But moments later, Foxe was sent from the field and Leeds were forced to adopt a policy of damage limitation.Jonathan Douglas replaced Foxe at right-back and Moore dropped on to the right wing, leaving Wise with the unappealing task of withdrawing Blake and introducing substitute Tresor Kandol as a lone striker.Kandol fought Burnley's defence as valiantly as he could, but the forward saw too little of the ball to make the most of his isolated position as the home side monopolised possession.The Claret-coloured water eventually broke United's dam in the 67th minute when the hugely-impressive Jones beat Douglas on the left wing and pelted a low cross into the six-yard box. An unfortunate half-clearance from Matt Heath drove the ball into the path of Gifton Noel-Williams, whose powerful finish gave Stack no chance.The goal gave Wise plenty to ponder, but before he could move to alter his side Burnley struck for a second time.Two minutes later, Thomas steered a low pass to the feet of Gray, and the striker's quick turn on the edge of the box gave him space to curl a left-foot shot round the dive of Stack and into the corner.United in their previous guises this season would have surrendered meekly, but it speaks volumes of Wise's work that his players showed the nerve to dominate the remaining 20 minutes.Burnley's defence took the strain until the last three minutes when a goal from substitute David Healy hushed the home support.The Northern Ireland forward collected a wonderful 40-yard pass from Stephen Crainey and beat Coyne from outside the box with a looping shot which appeared to take a deflection off Jon Harley.The goal gave United impetus and urgency, but the five minutes of injury-time allowed by Dowd ultimately contained no hidden reward.Wise, however, should feel inspiration rather than disappointment after a revealing and reassuring night. For him, his players and an increasingly positive group of supporters, Saturday's showdown with Barnsley cannot come quickly enough.
29 November 2006
Telegraph 29/11/06
Noel-Williams sparks timely Burnley win
By Peter Gardner
Last Updated: 1:50am GMT 29/11/2006
Burnley (0) 2 Leeds United (0) 1
Two goals in two minutes by Burnley ended the resistance of 10-man Leeds United, who had defender Hayden Foxe sent off after receiving a second yellow card at Turf Moor last night.
Gifton Noel-Williams scored his first goal in eight games in the 67th minute of an absorbing encounter, and Andy Gray confirmed home superiority, two minutes later, with the second against his former club to give Burnley's promotion hopes a boost.
However, the home side still had defending to be done, because David Healy, the Leeds substitute, pulled a goal back three minutes from time.
Burnley, beaten at home by the Championship favourites Birmingham on Saturday, asserted their authority from the start by using the flanks to their advantage, with Steve Jones and Wade Elliott constantly stretching Leeds with their skill and pace.
Burnley started the second half still on top, too, but it took a stroke of luck for them to take the lead; a long cross by Jon Harley out on the left, bounced off a defender back towards Noel-Williams, who finished with ease.
Two minutes later Gray turned sweetly before scoring with equal aplomb beyond the goalkeeper Graham Stack.
The introduction of Healy gave Leeds fresh impetus and his well-struck goal after splendid work by Stephen Crainey caused a few home flutters, but justice was ultimately done.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/11/06
Devon delight for dynamic Leeds
Plymouth Argyle 1 Leeds United 2
By Phil Hay
On the last occasion before yesterday that Leeds United claimed three points away from home, Kevin Blackwell and Paul Sturrock were occupying opposite dug-outs at Sheffield Wednesday.
It is a measure of their wait for a victory away from Elland Road that neither man is still in situ. The events of Hillsborough on August 27 are little more than a distant memory after all that has gone between, but United's players can stop counting days after a priceless victory at Home Park yesterday.Goals in either half from Robbie Blake and Eddie Lewis inspired a win which Leeds unquestionable deserved, and one that should drive confidence through every member of Dennis Wise's squad.United were dominant and dynamic, free from the nervous shackles that last weekend's 3-0 defeat to Southampton might have placed around their ankles. Wise's job since arriving at Elland Road has been to convince his team that they are good enough to fend off relegation. On the evidence of yesterday's victory, United's players are beginning to believe his message.False dawns have come and gone already this season, and Wise will treat his side's 2-1 defeat of Plymouth with caution ahead of a difficult trip to Burnley on Tuesday night. But, on a gloomy day in Devon, Leeds showed a level of resilience surpassing anything seen in their previous performances this season.At half-time, the assumption among United's supporters might have been that their team was preparing to implode. Bojan Djordjic had levelled Blake's opening goal five minutes before the interval, giving Plymouth parity after a first half in which Ian Holloway's players were given the run around.But United restored their narrow lead with a 61st minute effort from Eddie Lewis, and the visitors' backbone remained rigid during the remaining half hour.Wise is still struggling to place his finger on United's most effective formation, and his line-up at Home Park was another experiment with the players at his disposal.Geoff Horsfield and David Healy were dropped, and the 4-3-1-2 system employed by Wise for three successive games was abandoned in favour of a four-man midfield, giving Ian Westlake and Ian Moore the chance to start.Southampton's heavy victory had largely been the result of poor finishing from Leeds, but Wise had barely settled in the visiting dug out yesterday when Blake finished off their first chance after two minutes.Moore unsettled Plymouth's defence by nudging Hasney Aljofree away from a long clearance, and a quick through ball gave Eddie Lewis space on the left side of Plymouth's box.The American's low cut-back skipped past Moore, but Blake ran in at the back post to side-foot the ball into the net.Plymouth were fortunate to avoid a second goal when Moore's shot in the ninth minute struck the woodwork, and United were denied a clear penalty when referee Dean Whitestone failed to penalise a blatant foul on Westlake.The chances – and United's goal – lit up a first half which was littered with fouls from Argyle.Leeds' free-kick count soared into double figures inside the first 20 minutes, but the disruption did not prevent them from dictating the pace of a game which flowed relentlessly towards goalkeeper Luke McCormick before half-time.Wise's players bullied Plymouth incessantly, punching regular holes in their defence and at times falling one touch short of a second goal.Argyle were unable to respond effectively, although Barry Hayles scuffed a shot wide of Graham Stack's post after teasing space out of Hayden Foxe, and the lack organisation among Ian Holloway's side was glaring. Their poor shape was a direct result of the quality of United's passing, which left the home defence in disarray but, against the backdrop of a toothless performance, Plymouth restored parity with a soft goal five minutes before half-time.Matt Heath conceded a dangerous free-kick by clattering into the back of Barry Hayles, and Tony Capaldi's curling delivery was headed home by Djordjic, lurking amongst a crowd of players.Djordjic had been removed from Plymouth's transfer list by Holloway earlier in the week, and his goal was vindication of his manager's decision. Holloway would have been happier still had Djordjic's wonderful lob in injury time sneaked under the crossbar rather than landing on the roof of Stack's net.The late concession was United's cue to panic, but the confidence developing under Wise was evident as the visitors claimed a crucial win 16 minutes into a competitive but uninspiring second half.Moore brightened the gloom by stretching Plymouth's defence with a brilliant pass to the feet of Lewis, who lost his marker and sized up McCormick before slipping a low finish into the net.Leeds were forced to withstand a late flurry, and Stack repelled the best of Plymouth's chances with a low save from substitute Luke Chadwick, but an outstanding show of resistance during four minutes of injury time was fittingly rewarded by the final whistle.

Saturday, November 25, 2006 24/11/06
New United loan man Tresor Kandol says he just can't wait to get started with the club.
Tres, who has initially joined on loan until January 1 with a view to a permanent move, made the mad dash to Leeds from London on Thursday night in readiness for a first training session with his new team-mates.
The prolific marksman only completed the formalities of his move north within the last hour before the loan deadline, and the 25-year-old is relishing the prospect of throwing his weight behind the club's battle in the Championship.
"It all happened very quickly," Tres told
"I sort of knew that something would come up, but didn't know what and didn't know when.
"It was one of those where you are wanting something to happen, but don't think it actually will.
"When the call came about Leeds I wasn't at home so I wasn't even ready for it! It was a case of getting things together quickly."
Tresor has attracted a host of admirers this season with a haul of 13 goals from 21 appearances. He has scored seven in his last three outings.
The six-foot one marksman joined Barnet at the turn of the year after a loan spell at Darlington. He had netted seven goals in 14 appearances for Conference outfit Dagenham before his loan spell with the Quakers and admits he has waited for his chance.
"I've been waiting for a while for the right move to come along," he explained.
"I've been up and down and played at a few places, but this is the right move at the right time.
"When you look where you have come from and something like this comes along...fingers crossed, this is the right time.
"I came up on Thursday night and just couldn't wait to meet everyone and get started."
Tresor did feature at Elland Road earlier this season when he came on as a second half substitute during the 3-1 Carling Cup defeat of Barnet.
Two Ian Moore goals, pictured, and one from Robbie Blake ensured United a smooth passage through, but Barnet bagged a late consolation and emerged with plenty of credit for their second half efforts.
"The first thing that struck me that night was outside the stadium and you don't realise how big it is," recalled Tresor.
"The whole history of the club excites me.
"That night I just couldn't wait to get on. I know Elland Road wasn't full, but there was still something about it.
"We knew going to Elland Road wouldn't be easy and we did well in the second half. We scored and we kept going.
"It was a good experience."
Sky 23/11/06
Whites land Bees striker
By James Pearson
Leeds United beefed up their strike force on loan deadline day with the capture of Barnet hit-man Tresor Kandol.
The Whites have struggled for goals of late and with Richard Cresswell back on the sidelines with a knee injury, Dennis Wise has moved for Kandol.
The 25-year-old former Luton, Bournemouth and Darlington striker has linked up with Leeds on loan until January with a view to a permanent move.
Kandol has revealed it was a wrench to leave Underhill, but hopes the club's fans understand his reasons for switching to The Championship.
"I am very sorry to be leaving but I am sure the fans will appreciate that this is a good career move for me at my age," he told the club's official website.
"It is good for me and it is good for the club - hopefully I will settle there."
Bees chairman Tony Kleanthous was keen to retain Kandol, but felt the deal was in the best interests of the League Two outfit.
"In the end, Tresor felt the opportunity was too good to turn down, and I reluctantly had to agree that it could be in his best interests," he said.
The arrival of Kandol at Elland Road is the second capture of the day following the loan arrival of experienced Middlesbrough stopper Ugo Ehiogu.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sky 21/11/06
Wise warning to Sullivan
By James Pearson
Leeds United's new boss Dennis Wise has informed experienced keeper Neil Sullivan he is now the club's third choice shot-stopper.
Sullivan was a regular under ex-boss Kevin Blackwell, although Tony Warner's arrival on loan brought competition for the number one jersey.
Wise now has Reading's Graeme Stack also on loan, leaving Sullivan well down The Whites' pecking order.
Leeds' new manager will not stand in Sullivan's way should he wish to seek pastures new, although he could be handed a chance in the New Year if Stack and Warner's deals are not extended.
"I've told Sully that, whatever condition he's in, he's going to be third-choice goalkeeper," Wise told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"He should be looking to get a number one shirt and, if I'm being honest, I'm looking for a younger, more athletic goalkeeper.
"It's his choice, and he has to do it for himself. He can be a second here, and a really good second for me, or he can go and play in the lower divisions."
Meanwhile, on loan Middlesbrough winger Adam Johnson has returned to The Riverside following a loan spell at Elland Road. The 19-year-old, who was brought in by caretaker boss John Carver, made five Championship appearances for the West Yorkshire outfit.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sporting Life 20/11/06
By Mark Walker, PA Sport
Former manager Kevin Blackwell is preparing for a court battle with Leeds in his fight for compensation.
Blackwell, who led Leeds to the brink of the Barclays Premiership last season, believes he has no option other than to sue the Yorkshire club after he was sacked two months ago.
Leeds chairman Ken Bates has declined to enter into compensation talks with Blackwell's representatives, the League Managers Association.
"We would have preferred to keep it out of court," LMA chief executive John Barnwell said.
"But it would appear Leeds don't want to negotiate a settlement.
"Mr Bates has said Kevin Blackwell was not dismissed because of poor results but for negative comments made in the press about the club's finances, but having looked closely at this case we feel we have no option other than to put the matter in the hands of our lawyers."
Leeds issued a statement which read: "In response to suggestions that former manager Kevin Blackwell is preparing to sue the club for wrongful dismissal, Leeds United can confirm that the matter is currently in the hands of our lawyers.
"No further comment will be made at this stage."
Blackwell, who has remained tight-lipped since being sacked on September 20, is understood to have been stunned by the manner of his dismissal.
The former Sheffield United coach had steered Leeds to Coca-Cola Championship safety in his first full season in charge before narrowly missing out on promotion last season.
But the 47-year-old came under increasing pressure this time around as his side lost momentum and poor early results added to the fans' frustration following the 3-0 play-off final defeat to Watford.
"We have instructed Kevin Blackwell very clearly to make no comment at all," Barnwell added.
"We had to find out what the comments he made in the press were and having seen them the matter has been passed onto our legal team.
"It does not necessarily mean it has to go to court.
"There may be a re-think by somebody who realises they have gone about this the wrong way - but we're not too optimistic."
Blackwell, who succeeded Eddie Gray in June 2004 after spending 12 months as coach, was sacked after a 1-0 defeat at Coventry saw them slump to second-bottom in the table - their lowest ever league position.
Blackwell, a goalkeeper in his playing days with Boston, Scarborough, Notts County, Huddersfield and Plymouth, first arrived as coach in the summer of 2003 after being recommended to then manager Peter Reid.
But Reid lasted just eight months in charge and when Eddie Gray was sacked just six months after that, Blackwell became the club's fifth manager in under two years.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Independent 19/11/06
Leeds United 0 Southampton 3: Rasiak leaves Leeds reeling
By Dan Murphy at Elland Road
Published: 19 November 2006
Leeds United have not secured a single point this season from games in which they have conceded the first goal. Yesterday, for the 13th time, they fell behind and duly continued this miserable trend as Grzegorz Rasiak's ninth and 10th League goals of the season, either side of Rudi Skacel's first, gave this scoreline a lop-sided appearance.
In fact, until Skacel was presented with the ball, unmarked, on the edge of the six-yard area midway through the second half, Leeds had actually been the better team. But from that moment onwards, the degree of resilience Leeds had shown since falling behind evaporated, as the Championship's leakiest defence conceded three goals or more for the seventh time this season. "Our problem has been dominating games and not taking our chances so it was nice today to see some of those chances going in," said George Burley, the Southampton manager.
Southampton took the lead when Raziak met a Gareth Bale cross that Andrew Surman flicked on. The Pole measured a header back across goal that sailed over Graham Stack and dropped under the bar.
Following Leeds' best period of the game after half-time, Southampton made the game safe when John Viáfara delivered a low cross and the ball somehow found its way to an unmarked Skacel at the far post.
A few minutes later Skacel's corner found Raziak unmarked and he headed home a third. It left Dennis Wise, the new Leeds manager, with much to ponder.
"The second goal really killed us," said Wise. "At 1-0 down we were actually the better team. I couldn't fault the effort but we are still making silly errors."
Leeds United have not secured a single point this season from games in which they have conceded the first goal. Yesterday, for the 13th time, they fell behind and duly continued this miserable trend as Grzegorz Rasiak's ninth and 10th League goals of the season, either side of Rudi Skacel's first, gave this scoreline a lop-sided appearance.
In fact, until Skacel was presented with the ball, unmarked, on the edge of the six-yard area midway through the second half, Leeds had actually been the better team. But from that moment onwards, the degree of resilience Leeds had shown since falling behind evaporated, as the Championship's leakiest defence conceded three goals or more for the seventh time this season. "Our problem has been dominating games and not taking our chances so it was nice today to see some of those chances going in," said George Burley, the Southampton manager.
Southampton took the lead when Raziak met a Gareth Bale cross that Andrew Surman flicked on. The Pole measured a header back across goal that sailed over Graham Stack and dropped under the bar.
Following Leeds' best period of the game after half-time, Southampton made the game safe when John Viáfara delivered a low cross and the ball somehow found its way to an unmarked Skacel at the far post.
A few minutes later Skacel's corner found Raziak unmarked and he headed home a third. It left Dennis Wise, the new Leeds manager, with much to ponder.
"The second goal really killed us," said Wise. "At 1-0 down we were actually the better team. I couldn't fault the effort but we are still making silly errors."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Yorkshire Evening Post 17/11/06
Wise eyes Ifill move
by Phil Hay
Leeds United manager Dennis Wise today confirmed his interest in Sheffield United midfielder Paul Ifill.
Wise has approached the Premiership club over Ifill's availability, and the Leeds boss is hoping to force through a deal before this month's loan deadline.Football League clubs will be prevented from completing any loan agreements from 5pm on November 23 until the transfer window opens on January 1, and Wise's attempts to secure Ifill have been hampered by the 27-year-old's international commitments.Ifill, who worked with Wise at Millwall, is in the Caribbean with the Barbados national squad, but he has not featured regularly for the Blades this season, and Bramall Lane boss Neil Warnock is thought to be open the possibility of a deal with Leeds. Wise said: "Paul Ifill is a player I'm looking at. He's gone on international duty to Barbados, and that is one of the reasons why we haven't brought him in."Last week we tried but he was slightly injured. Now he's gone to Barbados for 10 days so it would have been rather stupid to bring him in and waste the time."But there's a certain date we have to get him in by, and we may not be able to do it be then."Wise is also set to maintain his interest in Southampton's Darren Powell despite seeing an approach for the defender rejected.United's boss had hoped to sign Powell on loan with a view to a permanent transfer in January, but Saints boss George Burley refused to consider Wise's cash offer.Powell, however, is out of contract at the end of this season, and Wise is likely to compete for the 30-year-old's signature next summer if Southampton refuse to reconsider.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New pages uploaded at

Major rewrite: 1909/10 season

Opening day win with Irish imports but a terrible autumn leaves City deep in trouble - A grim struggle against having to apply for re-election ends happily but it was a close thing

Read the full story at

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wise moulding side - Cresswell
Leeds striker Richard Cresswell believes manager Dennis Wise is slowly beginning to mould the team in his style.
Leeds have won two and lost two since Wise took control from caretaker-manager John Carver last month, but turned in an impressive display against Colchester to bounce back from back-to-back defeats.
"It was probably our best performance of the season and hopefully we can build on that," Cresswell told the club's official website.
"That's how the manager played and how he wants us to play. It's rubbing off."
Cresswell's second-half header was his first goal since February with the striker struggling with knee ligament damage since sustaining the injury against Watford. "It's been tough," he added. "I've been out seven months and it's hard to get the fitness back. I'm just pleased to get on the scoresheet. Hopefully I can carry on now and score some more."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Yorkshire Post 11/11/06
Wise move to bring back Smith
Leeds United manager joins the race to sign former Kop hero as squad rebuilding picks up pace
LEEDS UNITED have joined the race to sign Alan Smith with an audacious attempt to bring the Manchester United striker back to Elland Road on loan.
Dennis Wise moved quickly yesterday after learning that Sir Alex Ferguson would be willing to allow the 26-year-old to go out on loan after receiving an inquiry from Cardiff City. Manager Wise is desperate to bolster a side sitting second bottom in the Championship and the capture of Smith, who was a hugely popular figure with supporters before making a controversial £7m switch to Old Trafford in May 2004, would be a massive coup for the strugglers.Sources in Manchester have indicated that the Leeds-born striker is not keen on a move to Wales but would welcome the chance to return to a club for whom he made 228 appearances and scored 56 goals.Wise, who continued his Elland Road revolution yesterday by telling former captain Paul Butler to find another club, said: "Alan Smith would be someone I would be interested in. You know what you are getting with him and that he will give you everything that he can possibly give you."It would be a boost for the team, let alone the club and the fans. We are talking about a quality player who has done it at all levels. I am sure there will be 20 other clubs interested in Alan Smith, maybe other teams in the Premiership."He is the type of player we would love to have because he is a fantastic player. I want a certain standard of player, though sometimes you can't get players that you would like to get. I would like John Terry but I am not going to get him."Smith enjoyed an explosive start to his Leeds career by scoring with his very first touch in front of the Kop at Anfield to help United to a 3-1 victory in 1998. The striker was a leading member of David O'Leary's swashbuckling side that took Leeds to the semi-finals of the Champions League and UEFA Cup but had to be sold following relegation. Smith's decision to opt for United's bitter rivals turned the fans against him just a few weeks after they had carried the striker off the field shoulder-high at the end of the club's final home game in the Premiership. A broken leg sustained in the FA Cup defeat to Liverpool last February brought an abrupt end to his season and after returning to action last month, Smith is still lacking fitness, according to his manager.On Cardiff's interest, Ferguson said: "They phoned on Thursday morning and because of the fact we are no longer in the League Cup, I think a short-term loan would be ideal for him to get games."I put that to him. I do not think he has spoken to (manager) Dave Jones, but he has spoken to someone at Cardiff and is uncertain as to what he should do. It is an option to play games and that is the main thinking on our part because we are not in the League Cup."Should Leeds's audacious bid come off, Smith will return to a club in danger of being relegated for the second time in just three years. Wise is determined to halt the slide by moving players on and Butler was told that he is free to join another club.The 35-year-old had the Leeds captaincy taken off him a fortnight ago by Wise who said: "I have told Paul he is not needed at the club and can find himself another club. I told him this morning (Friday) and I think he was half expecting it."Paul is not part of my plans, he knows my reasons and that is that. "I have had a chat with him and I am looking to bring in one or two centre halves. There has to be some changes and I need to get some out."Butler seems certain to follow Sean Gregan out of Elland Road after the 32-year-old defender moved to Oldham Athletic on loan this week.Wise added: "It is nothing against Paul or Sean, but they are just not in my plans. I can only be honest with them both. "If I really do need him at the last minute, I would expect him to be a professional and do the right thing but at the present moment I do not need him."On the attempts to re-mould his squad and bring new faces in to add to loanees Graham Stack and Matt Heath, the Leeds manager added: "A lot of hard work has been put in to try and bring some new faces in. Unfortunately, it has not happened but we are still trying."

Monday, November 06, 2006 6/11/06
Manager Dennis Wise admitted Saturday's 3-2 derby defeat at Barnsley was a "big kick in the teeth" after two second half goals earned the home side three valuable points.
United had enjoyed the better of the first period and, after Martin Devaney gave the hosts the lead, goals from Shaun Derry and Robbie Blake turned the tables before the interval.
But the home side struck twice from distance in the second half to send United tumbling back to 23rd in the Coca-Cola Championship.
"It was a big kick in the teeth," said Dennis. "I thought we'd done extremely well in first half, but in the second half we made individual mistakes and those poor mistakes cost us.
"We deserved to be in front at half-time. I was disappointed with the first goal we conceded, but we got ourselves back into it.
"I wasn't happy with the goals we conceded in the second half either, people have to get a lot closer. They know that, we were speaking for a quite a while after the game."
It was a full 40 minutes before Dennis emerged from the dressing room to face the media after the Oakwell defeat and the manager says he is under no illusions about the task ahead.
"There's a lot of things wrong," conceded the boss.
"We've got to pick them up and get them to play with confidence because at this moment there's not a lot of confidence there. And we've got to stop conceding goals.
"We're well aware of how big the job is, but it doesn't phase us. We know it's a difficult job, these players are lacking confidence and need help.
"We need fresh faces as well, but at this moment it is proving difficult. We are trying and yes, there will be some movement.
"I hope the players are just as upset as me and Gus are. I'm disappointed whenever we lose and especially in a Yorkshire derby.
"We need to pick ourselves up, do some hard work and get this team doing the right things at the right time."
Independent 5/11/06
Barnsley 3 Leeds Utd 2: Howard enjoys generosity of Leeds
By Dan Murphy at Oakwell Stadium
Published: 05 November 2006
Barnsley moved above Leeds United at the foot of the Championship yesterday after an entertaining Yorkshire derby between two teams as inept without the ball as they were enterprising with it.
Perhaps that was only to be expected from the League's two most porous defences but there was also much to admire in the creative work of Barnsley's Martin McIndoe and Leeds' Robbie Blake.
Leeds have now conceded 16 goals in their last four away fixtures. After dominating the first half they fell apart in the second, allowing Barnsley to come from behind and claim their first win in nine games. All three Barnsley goals were eminently preventable from a Leeds perspective.
"There wasn't much in it in the first half but I thought we were by far the better side after that," said Andy Ritchie, Barnsley's manager and a former Leeds player and coach.
Graham Stack's flap at a cross by McIndoe led to the first goal. Martin Devaney was able to control before shooting low into the unguarded net.
Leeds deservedly equalised when Shaun Derry met Blake's corner. Then David Healy's pass fed Eddie Lewis, and his cross set up the classy Blake.
McIndoe's equaliser was explosive - he advanced unchallenged before unleashing a powerful drive into the bottom corner. Yet more substandard defensive work gave Barnsley the winner. This time Brian Howard was the beneficiary. Allowed to work a shooting opportunity from 18 yards, he curled a shot into the far corner.
"We did extremely well in the first half but in the second half there were too many individual mistakes," Dennis Wise, the Leeds manager, said. "There are a lot of things wrong at the club but we know what has to be done. There will be some transfer movement in the near future because the current players are not doing what I want them to."
Barnsley moved above Leeds United at the foot of the Championship yesterday after an entertaining Yorkshire derby between two teams as inept without the ball as they were enterprising with it.
Perhaps that was only to be expected from the League's two most porous defences but there was also much to admire in the creative work of Barnsley's Martin McIndoe and Leeds' Robbie Blake.
Leeds have now conceded 16 goals in their last four away fixtures. After dominating the first half they fell apart in the second, allowing Barnsley to come from behind and claim their first win in nine games. All three Barnsley goals were eminently preventable from a Leeds perspective.
"There wasn't much in it in the first half but I thought we were by far the better side after that," said Andy Ritchie, Barnsley's manager and a former Leeds player and coach.
Graham Stack's flap at a cross by McIndoe led to the first goal. Martin Devaney was able to control before shooting low into the unguarded net.
Leeds deservedly equalised when Shaun Derry met Blake's corner. Then David Healy's pass fed Eddie Lewis, and his cross set up the classy Blake.
McIndoe's equaliser was explosive - he advanced unchallenged before unleashing a powerful drive into the bottom corner. Yet more substandard defensive work gave Barnsley the winner. This time Brian Howard was the beneficiary. Allowed to work a shooting opportunity from 18 yards, he curled a shot into the far corner.
"We did extremely well in the first half but in the second half there were too many individual mistakes," Dennis Wise, the Leeds manager, said. "There are a lot of things wrong at the club but we know what has to be done. There will be some transfer movement in the near future because the current players are not doing what I want them to."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Times 29/10/06
Leeds 2 Southend 0: Leeds show their teeth
Duncan Castles at Elland Road
Leeds came into this match in relegation form, having shipped 18 goals while losing their last five matches. Logically they should possibly have lost Dennis Wise’s first match in charge too, since it was against the same side who had beaten Leeds here during the week. But Wise relishes challenges and he rose to this one.
The win came from late goals in each half, from Ian Moore and Robbie Blake, large draughts of perspiration, and a fair degree of fortune in resisting Southend’s second-half dominance. Wise, though, had been flown in to end a miserable run, and that he did. Never shy about making an impact, his first move at Elland Road had been to appoint Kevin Nicholls captain, principally because the midfielder was brave enough to give him a kicking last time they played each other.
“I want nastiness and togetherness,” said Wise, who also wanted to send a message out to an ageing and lately truculent squad.
Having lost the captaincy to a man recovering from knee surgery, Paul Butler is one of a number of players on the cusp of losing their jobs. A new club has been sought for Sean Gregan, borrowed goalkeeper Tony Warner may return to his old one, while Steve Stone is to be paid off. The signals were there long before Wise agreed to leave League Two Swindon, chairman Ken Bates unfavourably comparing his playing staff to excrement after one recent reverse.
Wise has been too canny to comment publicly on that analysis, but there were changes to the Leeds team that had granted Southend progress to the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time in the club’s history five days previously.
Graham Stack came in at goalkeeper, Eddie Lewis dropped to left-back to accommodate Adam Johnson, while Richard Cresswell was added as a second striker.
Soon Leeds were turning the screw with Johnson stretching his marker to send in crosses and a long-range drive that just failed to produce goals. On the other wing, Luke Moore was a persistent threat, one long, cross-field dribble almost teeing up David Healy. Southend’s central defenders were working double shifts to keep the Northern Irishman and Cresswell at bay.
Less clever for Leeds was the right side of defence, where Gary Kelly insisted on tucking in so tight to the beefy Butler that Southend were left freedom to roam.
Freddy Eastwood gratefully accepted it and was a deft Matthew Kilgallon interception away from laying on a Luke Gutteridge opener. Instead the first goal came from Moore, courtesy of a 40-yard Lewis pass that set him free down the centre of the park. The converted forward strode on, drew Darryl Flahavan from his line, and calmly clipped over the goalkeeper.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight was Bates’ curious choice of interval music, but his predators appeared to be rousing nicely as Cresswell nearly doubled Leeds’ advantage after the restart.
Southend, though, were also awakening, with Peter Clarke placing one header over the bar and seeing another touched away by Stack.
With home fitness visibly fading, Eastwood almost caught the keeper out with a low drive, but it was Leeds who were to score again, Blake’s spiralling free kick granting them a flattering margin of victory.
Star Man: Eddie Lewis (Leeds)
Player Ratings: Leeds: Stack 7, Kelly 6, Butler 6, Kilgallon 7, Lewis 7, Moore 7 (Richardson 61min, 71), Douglas 5, Derry 6, Johnson 6 (Westlake 87min, 6), Healy 6 (Blake 80min, 7), Cresswell 6.
Southend: Flahavan 6, Hunt 6, Sodje 7, Barrett 7, Hammell 7, Gutteridge 6 (Campbell-Rice 78min, 6), Clarke 6, Maher 6, Gower 6, Hooper 5 (Harrold 72min, 6), Eastwood 7

Blues strike £5m Leeds deal
Duncan Castles
Chelsea reach out-of-court settlement to avoid action over poaching
CHELSEA have avoided being found guilty of illegally approaching three Leeds United youth players by reportedly offering £5m in compensation for the two who ultimately moved to Stamford Bridge. Leeds had obtained mobile phone records of Chelsea communications with Daniel Rose, Tom Taiwo and Michael Woods last season while they were attached to the Leeds academy. Taiwo and Woods moved to Chelsea without transfer fees being agreed.
A joint Premier League and FA investigation into the affair ended on Friday when the bodies let Leeds withdraw their complaint. Last night, Chelsea denied that the compensation, which is understood to involved staged payments, was as much as £5m, and were keen to emphasise strongly that there had been no admission of liability.
A joint FA and League statement read: “Leeds has withdrawn their complaint and the Premier League has been advised by both clubs that any claims and litigation arising out of any alleged improper approach have been settled.
“Chelsea have undertaken to conduct an internal review of policies and procedures in relation to the recruitment of players, take steps to rectify any shortcomings . . . and develop their own code of conduct.”
Leeds’s phone evidence came from Chelsea scout Gary Worthington, who spent five years at Leeds before moving to his new job in July 2005. He is understood to have signed a severance agreement with Leeds in which he promised not to recruit any of his former charges for 18 months.
But it is believed he continued to use his Leeds mobile number, contacting Taiwo and Woods before they signed with Chelsea, who denied making an illegal approach and initially offered Leeds £200,000 each for the players. Leeds will use the compensation to fund an overhaul of their first-team squad in January.

Wise words not enough
Rob Hughes
Wise must do more than promise grit if he is to win the hearts and minds of Leeds fans
Whoever is writing the script for Dennis Wise and Ken Bates at Leeds United has a lot to learn about the club, the city, and the real meaning of what it would take to earn the respect, never mind the affection, of a one-club, one-eyed Yorkshire football community.
On Thursday, the official unveiling of the 15th manager appointed in the 32 years since Don Revie left the club, they walked Wise past the bronze statue of Billy Bremner. They presented him in the Bremner Suite, where black and white photographs of the former captain hang like old and faded memories.
And when Wise, the street-smart Londoner, was asked to set out his stall for the new Leeds United era, he took a direct line to the past. “I told the players I want them to be a bit like the Leeds of before who were . . .” He searched the walls for a word. One came. “Well, ’orrible. I want a bit of nastiness, like they used to have here.”
Bates, the chairman who had employed Wise as the grit in his Chelsea teams, barely suppressed a smile. For Bates, now investing some of his Chelsea payoff in trying to exhume Leeds, the analogy Wise was trying to pull off is doubtless a real memory.
You have to be older than Wise’s 39 years actually to recall wee Billy Bremner. You need to read Michael Parkinson’s cutting phrase in this newspaper more than 40 years ago to picture Bremner, the fiery captain of the old Leeds, as “10st of barbed wire”.
Ten stone was a bit on the generous side for Bremner, just as it would be for Wise. They were diminutive warriors of the field, the “poison dwarves” of combative football. Yet getting to know Bremner after his 16 years of sheer perseverance in Leeds’s white was to discover a mellow man of almost secretive, charitable deeds.
He once went Awol from a Revie training session, took his punishment, and never explained to the boss that he had answered a knock on his door that morning and instinctively gone with a mother to visit her daughter, who was in a coma.
“It makes you seem so soft,” he later confided, “and you didn’t want to show that side to anybody in the game, did you?” The hope of the mother was that the voice of Bremner, already then synonymous with the coarse side of Leeds’s football, would bring her daughter to life. It didn’t, but he tried.
And the point is that, all these years on and long after Billy himself had passed away following a heart attack, identifying the new manager with the old skipper simply by alluding to “nastiness” will not begin to restore what Leeds have long lost.
Better men have perished in the process of trying. Brian Clough followed Revie in 1974, and lasted 44 days before a player rebellion got him the sack. Jock Stein came, saw, and retreated sharply back to Scotland. And like skittles, a succession of some of the British Isles’s most capable managers walked the ghostly corridors of Elland Road. Not all of them failed. Howard Wilkinson, with his chairman Leslie Silver and his captain Gordon Strachan, revived the past and won the title back in 1992, with a team containing the likes of Gary McAllister, David Batty, Gary Speed, Lee Chapman and Eric Cantona. George Graham built up a tough platform from which David O’Leary briefly prospered until he and his gullible chairman Peter Ridsdale overdid the spending and took Leeds as close as any major club in modern times has come to liquidation.
It has floundered rudderless since, and it took a man as cantankerous and as dogged as Bates to dare to step in and try, for his own sake as much as for Leeds, to mend the broken club.
Irascible as ever as he closes in on 75 years of age, “Batesy”, as Wise publicly called him on Thursday, chipped in with the line that if people don’t like the new management “they can follow somebody else”.
There’s the rub. There is no other club the Leeds supporters can follow, and no other option but to get behind the new team and, as the signature song of Leeds United goes, “march on together”.
When the superlatives were done on Thursday, Wise told the press that his first ruthless act had already taken place on the training ground at Thorpe Arch. He had relieved Paul Butler, the ageing centre back, of the captaincy, and given the armband to the former Luton and Wigan midfielder Kevin Nicholls, a man who, because of injuries, has yet to make any telling impression at Leeds following his arrival from Kenilworth Road in July. “Nicko’s the type that I like,” Wise enthused. “He’s got a bit of bite about him. He’s very aggressive, a leader. I played against him a couple of times and he booted me — and it hurt. He’s a nice fella, he’s what I want.”
You mean, a journalist suggested, he’s like you, a combative spirit? “Thank you,” said Wise, flashing that cheeky-chappie Cockney smile. “The players will find I’m very honest, to the point. I’m not a ranter and raver.
“I suppose I’ve been a bit selfish (leaving Swindon Town after less than four months in charge there), and let down the players there, but I’ve told every one of them that this is a massive, wonderful challenge with a big club and I’d be stupid to turn it down.”
He was asked if he will move the wife and family up to Yorkshire, and said he had discussed that with his family. The plan is that they stay in the south and he gives it as long as is required in Leeds — on a contract that neither Bates nor Wise will specify the length.
Some players, he said, will have to go, some new ones will come in, no different to every new manager at every club. Yet it was different, partly because of the legacy that was all around us in those sepia-toned pictures, partly because of Wise’s own men sharing his inaugural platform. Bates, of course, was central to it. Gus Poyet, the former team-mate of Wise who was at home in Uruguay when he got a call “out of the blue” from Dennis last July asking if he fancied joining him as assistant manager and coach at Swindon. “And now, in just three months, we’re here at this big club,” said Poyet. “It’s unbelievable.”
Completing the platform quartet, and again a former Chelsea blue, was Gwyn Williams. After 27 years at the Bridge, working every job from scout to assistant to such first-time managers as Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli, and such imported managers as Claudio Ranieri, Williams had seen the entire Bates era from the reputed £1 purchase of the indebted Chelsea to the £17m Bates personally received when Roman Abramovich took over.
Bates took the money, but couldn’t live a tax exile’s tranquillity in Monaco without the angst of football. And it was Williams, the observer of all things at Chelsea, who in the summer left Stamford Bridge and shortly afterwards accepted the task of rebuilding the playing side, from apprentices to Bosman-type transfers, at Leeds.
“It is,” he said on Thursday, “very much like Chelsea all over again.” He had started there as youth development officer under Geoff Hurst in 1979, and one of his first tasks at Leeds is to try to help Bates recover compensation for youth players lured from Leeds to Chelski. Williams has observed every one of 11 managers’ first days at Chelsea, from Hurst to Jose Mourinho, and helped foreigners from every part of the globe to settle into English football. So when he says that there was something impressively direct about Wise’s first training session at Leeds, something he describes in a single word, “management”, there speaks a man who knows what it takes to survive tough times in football, and harsh times under Bates.
After the chairman called time on the mass media conference, it was Williams who drove Wise to the hotel that will be his home from home. And it had been Williams, often the silent witness of all that has gone on at Chelsea’s transformation, who mostly watched and listened as the hot air was dispensed from the top table on Thursday.
“He’s a Rottweiler, that one,” Williams said more than once afterwards, using the term to suggest that this club, with its antipathy to all things Chelsea and with its mistrust of outsiders, will need the most tenacious of wills to conquer.
Meanwhile, for the media, Bates was giving out the descriptive words he thinks sums up his newest team manager. “He’s tough, a leader, a motivator, a winner,” said Bates. “Need any more?” There is, though both men seek to play it down, an affinity between Wise and Bates — a closeness that might compare to the old Leeds days when Manny Cousins was chairman, Don Revie a first-time manager, and Billy Bremner the heart of a team that possessed far greater talents than are remotely available today.
“I don’t think personal (friendship) comes into it,” insisted Wise when asked if the fact that Bates was godfather to one of his children would spare him the sack. “I know that one day it will happen, but Batesy will still be godfather to my son. There’s a working relationship, and I trust him. If I do the job right, I won’t get the sack, if I don’t, I will, simple as that.”
Bates said nothing, but Poyet had an observation. “You ask if Dennis would have come for any other chairman,” he said. “Do you think anyone else would offer him a job like this?”

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Times 28/10/06
He's only 5 foot 4 . . . but Leeds fans should Wise up to his merits
By Giles Smith
THE dismay among fans surrounding the appointment of Dennis Wise as manager of Leeds United is perfectly understandable. Anyone who has taken an interest in the storied career of this crop-haired, modern-day maverick tends to develop firm opinions about him and is, accordingly, bound to wonder whether Leeds is a fit place for a person of Wise’s sophistication and thoughtfulness.
You can see how the culture of the club has already unsettled the former Chelsea captain. At his inaugural press conference, conducted in a room threateningly hung with images of Norman Hunter and the late Billy Bremner, Wise spoke, with apparent relish, of the "horrible" Leeds sides of the past and pledged to bring back some of the "nastiness" that characterised the club in their long-gone heyday. He also appointed Kevin Nicholls as the new club captain — chiefly, as he explained it, on the grounds that Nicholls had once kicked Wise during a match, "and it hurt".

This grimly combative, almost quaintly old-fashioned message was so far from the nature of the silky playmaker and imperious, box-to-box midfield general who graced Stamford Bridge in the Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli eras that one had to assume it was merely part of a canny ploy to ingratiate himself with the locals. The alternative interpretation — that Wise was serving notice of a plan to sink to Leeds’s level, rather than encourage Leeds to rise to his — was, for anyone who fondly appreciates Wise and what he has come to stand for, too disquieting to contemplate.
Unless he was in on the joke, Gustavo Poyet, who was Wise’s team-mate at Chelsea, was latterly his assistant at Swindon Town and who now joins him at Leeds, must have been scratching his head in confusion at his partner’s press conference performance. The former Uruguay international is an instinctively level-headed character who, in his career as a player, was sent off, for spitting, only once. It could only have surprised him to learn that he was now being invited to form a Kray-style double act in Yorkshire and play the Reggie to Wise’s Ronnie.
Common sense suggests, though, that the "horrible" and "nasty" stuff was a sop to local feeling, and a decent bit of headline stealing on Wise’s part. Certainly it hardly tallied with what one knows of the philosophy of the man who learnt his trade at Wimbledon under Dave Bassett and Bobby Gould, but then (and this is the important thing), had the intelligence to unlearn large portions of it under more sophisticated guidance at Chelsea. Thus did Wise smartly reinvent himself within the context of a game going rapidly forwards in the grip of the "foreign revolution", eventually leaving his mark around the club as a family man of sophisticated tastes with a mews house in Knightsbridge and a devilishly handsome smile.
Wise is still hymned at Chelsea as a lifter of trophies and as the scorer of a stunningly well-executed late goal against AC Milan under the hot lights of the San Siro in 1999. Fans also recall his firm belief in the importance of playfulness in football — perhaps best embodied in the friendly pinch he once gave to the inner thigh of Nicky Butt, of Manchester United. And if Butt happened to pick up the wrong end of the stick and end up lashing out at Wise and getting sent off, well, that only indicates how Wise’s approach was poorly comprehended within the game at large. It is all too frequently the fate of the genuinely pioneering to be misunderstood.
Leeds fans, with their reputation for straight talking and their long years in the wilderness, were bound to bridle at the arrival at the club’s helm of someone such as Wise, with his medals and his fancy ways. Even so, sometimes the levels of ingratitude to which the truly fortunate are capable of rising can only take one’s breath away. "You can stick Dennis Wise up your a***," Leeds fans chanted last weekend. But you can’ t, so let’s end this sizeist nonsense directly, shall we? Wise is small, but he’s not that small.
Let those disgruntled supporters also take comfort from Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous, admiring, even slightly covetous, tribute to Wise – that he could "start a fight in an empty house". Only 10,449 watched Leeds lose 3-1 to Southend United in the Carling Cup this week. Clearly Elland Road isn’t quite an empty house yet, but it’s getting there, making Wise, by Ferguson’s definition, even more obviously the man for the job.
For which all credit must go to the vision of Ken Bates, the Leeds chairman, who, let’s face it, could simply have found the first troublemaker on his Rolodex to come in and rough everyone up a bit, but instead made a decision with football in mind. Who knows what fruits could yet be yielded by this dramatic reunion? Provided, that is, that Wise has the stubbornness and tenacity to resist local history and do things his own way. And provided that Leeds allow him to be his own man, as alien as that man may seem to the club at this time.
Sporting Life 26/10/06
By Mark Walker, PA Sport
New Leeds manager Dennis Wise wasted no time in stamping his authority on the ailing Yorkshire club and told sceptical fans he was now one of them - whether they liked it or not.
The former Chelsea midfielder, a player the Leeds fans used to love to hate, insisted he can get the club back to the Barclays Premiership and said he was ready to start wielding the axe in pursuit of success.
The no-nonsense 39-year-old revealed at a press conference where he and assistant Gus Poyet were introduced to the media that his first task was to strip Paul Butler of the team captaincy and hand the role to Kevin Nicholls.
Wise stated it was clearly evident from the Carling Cup defeat to Southend in midweek that the dressing room was not harmonious.
But he was pleasantly surprised by the welcome he received from fans at Elland Road and insisted he had already put what had gone on in the past firmly behind him.
"I was expecting a couple of things to be launched at my head," Wise joked when asked about the crowd's reaction on Tuesday.
"But no, it was very nice of them to give me a clap and a cheer.
"No matter about the past. I'm here to try to do a job and achieve something for Leeds United Football Club and I'll give them as much as I can give them.
"I'm not very tall, but I'll give them everything I've got."
Wise, who guided Millwall to the FA Cup final in 2004 and steered Swindon to third place in the Coca-Cola League Two table when he answered Leeds chairman Ken Bates' SOS, said the players were in desperate need of a boost.
"They do need confidence, that's important and they need to be together, they need to be in it together - that's the most important part," said Wise.
"Having watched the last game they're not quite together as a bunch and are not organised.
"Looking at the (Southend) game you could see that some things were wrong and they need to change and we're here with different ideas and to do things we think are right and will get us out of trouble."
When asked if the players were in for a shock, Wise was interrupted by Bates who said: "I think they have had that already."
Wise added: "The players understand what they are getting and that is a bit of honesty.
"I don't pull my punches and I'm not afraid to tell them what's what and what they need to do.
"The important part is that you know what you want and I know what I want, and I have got to put that across to the players.
"They know that now I have made a couple of decisions early doors with regard the captaincy.
"It was important for me to make a younger up-and-coming player the captain. He (Nicholls) was captain at Luton and has a bit of bite about him and that's what I want."
The former member of the infamous Wimbledon Crazy Gang said he was ready to instil the side with bite and a winning mentality.
"I want them to be a bit like the Leeds of old - horrible," Wise added. "I want a bit of nastiness and togetherness.
"I have explained that to them. The fans get behind them, they are fantastic fans and the other night when we had lost 3-1 they were still singing.
"I said 'Come on lads, these fans are trying to help you and you just need to give a bit more'."
Assistant Poyet, a former Uruguayan international and Wise's former midfield partner at Chelsea, claimed it was a dream come true for the pair to be in charge of a big club.
He was in no doubt Wise would soon be immensely popular.
Poyet said: "If you think that five or six months ago I was at home in Uruguay, I then get a phone call from Dennis to come back and we go to Swindon and four months later we are here at this big club - we are dreaming.
"But it's very easy for me to understand Dennis. I know what he wants. We're quite happy to be together.
"We are very honest in the way we treat players and we know what we want.
"It's one thing knowing Dennis as a player, but when you know him personally it's a different matter and I'm sure the supporters here, they will love him."
Guardian 26/10/06
Meet the new Dennis Wise - a thinking man's manager
Dominic Fifield
Thursday October 26, 2006
The Guardian
Dennis Wise has received a ringing endorsement from the man who hopes to replace him at Swindon Town, Ady Williams, as the new Leeds manager attempts to spark a similar revival at Elland Road to the one instigated at the County Ground.
Wise and his assistant, Gus Poyet, watched their new side capitulate to Southend United in the Carling Cup on Tuesday and will be unveiled this afternoon with Leeds a point from the foot of the Championship and reeling after five successive defeats. Yet Williams, who was signed by the 39-year-old in the summer with Swindon relegated to League Two, believes he could prove an inspirational appointment, having lifted Swindon to third place in his short spell in charge.
"Swindon needed to be picked up," said Williams, a Wales defender who briefly played alongside Wise at Coventry last season before playing his part in Swindon winning their opening six league games. "This club needed a personality, a name like Dennis to pick it up by the scruff of the neck in the summer and give it a kick up the backside. Presumably, that's what he's hoping to do at Leeds as well.
"But people shouldn't get the wrong impression of Dennis. First and foremost, he's the complete opposite as a manager from what most people would perceive him to be, certainly from the figure people recognise from his playing days. I've very rarely heard him rant and rave. He's never flung any teacups in the dressing room or used the hairdryer treatment, which is what most people would assume."
There has been public scepticism in West Yorkshire as to whether Wise and Poyet, with their Chelsea connection, are the men to arrest the club's slump. Despite reaching last season's play-off final under Kevin Blackwell, Leeds have conceded 18 goals in their past five games with the reserve team manager, Dave Geddis, put in temporary charge against Southend, admitting: "Anybody who comes to this club in the situation we are in, with the confidence so low, has got a massive job on their hands. Momentum has to pick up sometime because it can't get any worse."
Wise, who appointed Andrew Beasley as goalkeeping coach yesterday, steered Millwall to the 2004 FA Cup final and Williams is confident he can reverse Leeds' fortunes. "He's inspirational," said Swindon's 35-year-old caretaker manager. "When you think of the Chelsea days and, for someone of my age, the Crazy Gang winning the FA Cup final, he has that aura about him. As does Gus, who was a first-class player as well. People sit up and take notice when they talk because they've seen it and done it many times over.
"He and Gus work well as a team. They always think before speaking, it's all very organised and very thorough - they're very professional. He's very methodical, a thinking man's manager. No stone is left unturned and he's a big organiser. That's his forte. His lifestyle, I would imagine, is very similar. On a Monday morning he's very structured about what is going to be done in the week in the build-up to a game, and he sticks with it."
Swindon's players are adjusting to life without Wise, with the striker Christian Roberts admitting his departure was "devastating", though Williams hopes to maintain the momentum generated by his predecessor as he attempts to secure the position on a permanent basis. He appointed Barry Hunter as his assistant last night and will take charge for the first time against Lincoln on Saturday.
"I've been fortunate to have played for the likes of Mark McGhee, Alan Pardew, Mark Hughes with Wales, Peter Reid, Micky Adams and Steve Coppell," he said. "You can't help but learn from these people. I'll take something from all of them, including Dennis, and hope to mould my own style. This is something I've always wanted to do and I hope to grab this chance."
Managerial career
Millwall 89 36 24 29
Swindon Town 17 9 5 3