Sunday, October 29, 2006
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
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
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
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.
WISE WANTS LEEDS TO GET NASTY
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."
Meet the new Dennis Wise - a thinking man's manager
Thursday October 26, 2006
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."
P W D L
Millwall 89 36 24 29
Swindon Town 17 9 5 3
Monday, October 23, 2006
Caretaker manager John Carver has parted company with Leeds United.
John presided over five games as caretaker boss, following last month's departure of Kevin Blackwell.
He opened up with a win against Birmingham City on September 23, but United have lost their last four league games and are now 23rd in the Coca-Cola Championship.
The club would like to place on record its thanks to John for stepping into the breach as caretaker manager and also for all his hard work over the past 15 months as assistant manager.
David Geddis is expected to take control of Tuesday's Carling Cup tie against Southend United.
Leeds agree Wise compensation
Swindon manager and assistant Poyet to talk to Leeds
Staff and agencies
Monday October 23, 2006Guardian Unlimited
Leeds tonight announced they have agreed financial compensation with Swindon and have been given permission to discuss personal terms with Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet.
The Robins revealed this morning they had granted the Championship strugglers permission to open talks aimed at bringing the management duo to Elland Road.
But Swindon later claimed negotiations had been broken off after Leeds failed to meet the level of compensation required to prise them from the County Ground, as set out in their contracts.
But, in a statement tonight on their official website, Leeds said: "Leeds United have agreed financial compensation with Swindon Town and have now been granted permission to discuss personal terms with both Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet with a view to them filling the vacant managerial position at the club."
This latest release appears to bring to an end a day of confusion where each club released conflicting statements concerning negotiations for Wise and Poyet's services.
Managerless Leeds crashed to a 5-1 defeat at Luton on Saturday, their fourth defeat in five matches following the dismissal of Kevin Blackwell last month, and chairman Ken Bates seemed to have found a long-term replacement.
The original statement released by Swindon said: "It is with regret that the board of Swindon Town FC on Saturday evening granted permission for Leeds United to talk to Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet.
"The three-year contract that Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet signed with the club in May of this year provides Dennis and Gus with the option to speak with potentially-interested clubs from the Premiership and Coca-Cola Championship, and states that, should Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet resign from Swindon Town FC in order to move to such a club, Swindon Town FC will receive the value of one year of both employees' salary in compensation.
"It is on this basis that the club have reluctantly granted permission for such talks to take place. The board of Swindon Town FC have offered Dennis Wise an improvement to his contract at the club, combined with a share option package in order to secure his services. A further announcement will be made when these talks have been concluded."
Leeds later confirmed the approach, but Swindon apparently pulled the plug on the duo's switch to the Yorkshire club due to an inability to agree compensation.
"Regrettably, it has proven impossible for the clubs to agree a suitable financial package," a second Town statement read. "Earlier today, the club withdrew permission for Leeds to talk with or seek to appoint Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet. Dennis and Gus remain valued members of Swindon as both players and part of the management team."
But the League Two club then hinted a compromise could still be reached and that the deal was not dead.
The statement continued: "While discussions are ongoing between the two clubs, Dennis and Gus remain contracted until the end of June 2009 and are continuing to fulfil their duties; both they and the club are determined to ensure that the progress achieved to date continues.
"Both individuals have been offered significantly improved terms at the club and it is hoped that they will both remain with Swindon for the foreseeable future."
With United going on to claim talks between the two parties were very much alive before releasing the latest statement this evening, it seems likely Wise will rejoin his good friend Bates before the week is out.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
History sounds ominous note for troubled Leeds
Richard Sutcliffeat Elland Road
Leeds United 1Leicester City 2
THE MISERY surrounding Leeds United deepened last night with the latest in what is fast becoming an alarming series of defeats.Goals from Danny Tiatto and Iain Hume were enough to condemn United to their eighth reverse in just 12 Championship games and make this the club's joint worst start to a season of all time. Only three times in United's long history have they lost two-thirds of their opening dozen games and on each occasion it proved very difficult to turn their season round. Twice, in 1946-47 and 2003-04, the club were relegated, while in the 1936-37 campaign Leeds finished just one place above the drop zone in the old First Division.Whether such a fate awaits the current crop remains to be seen but the manner of the two most recent defeats has certainly set the alarm bells ringing at Elland Road.True, Leicester's one-goal triumph last night was nowhere near as bad as the humiliating rout suffered against a distinctly ordinary Stoke City outfit four days earlier with John Carver's side showing much more character and passion.The 10-man home side, Matthew Kilgallon being sent off just after the break for a professional foul, could even have rescued a point with Robbie Blake's 78th-minute header having crossed the line before being cleared by Richard Stearman, the linesman somehow adjudging the ball to have stayed out despite being in a perfect position.The sense of injustice was only deepened when Hume doubled the visitors' advantage just two minutes later with a cool finish, making Paul Butler's brave headed goal five minutes from time merely a consolation despite a late rally.Despite that welcome display of character, however, there was little doubt over the 90 minutes that the Foxes were full value for the victory with only a trio of outstanding saves by Neil Sullivan, Shaun Derry's clearance off the line and two efforts also hitting the woodwork preventing the winning margin being even more emphatic.The message from the United fans certainly rang out clear during the second half with chairman Ken Bates being told by a sizeable section of the 16,477 crowd to "sort it out, or clear off home".Action is clearly needed because Leeds are showing all the hallmarks of a club in limbo at the moment and it will take strong leadership both on and off the field to turn the tide on the current malaise.The opening goal of the night had come courtesy of a fortunate deflection when Gary Kelly's attempted clearance smashed into the face of Josh Low and across the United penalty area. There was no doubt about the quality of the finish, however, with Tiatto thrashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from 15 yards. It was just what United did not need and within 60 seconds it had almost got a lot worse when a static home defence was badly exposed by a deft pass from Elvis Hammond that allowed Low to scamper through unchallenged.As Sullivan raced from his line, the midfielder seemed certain to score only to chip his shot over the advancing goalkeeper and wide of a post.It was a let-off for Leeds who were then grateful to see the Foxes waste two more golden chances either side of the break. The first came when unmarked Gareth McAuley planted a header against the crossbar, and the second two minutes after the break saw Derry hack a goalbound effort from Patrick Kisnorbo off the line after Sullivan had fumbled a cross.Leicester continued to dominate after Kilgallon was sent off when referee Colin Webster, who also booked five United players, adjudged the England Under-21 defender to have hauled the ever-dangerous Hammond to the floor after the pacy striker had been played through by Low.Bizarrely, this merely served to fire up the home side, who at least showed in the final quarter the battling qualities that will be needed to fight their way out of the bottom three.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Leeds United caretaker manager John Carver apologised to fans after Saturday's 4-0 Elland Road defeat at the hands of Stoke City.
United slipped to 22nd in the Championship after Stoke rammed in four goals without a reply to complete an unhappy afternoon for all at Elland Road.
The caretaker boss said: "The first thing I want to do is apologise to the supporters for that.
"It was a dreadful day and I can only say sorry to the fans.
"I pick the team and I prepare the team so the responsibility has to stop with me.
"I feel as low as I've ever felt after that. It's a lonely place when you are out there. It's a dreadful result for everyone connected with this club."
United are back in action again on Tuesday when the caretaker manager will attempt to pick up the pieces in readiness for a clash with Leicester City.
Striker Geoff Horsfield is a major doubt after suffering a hamstring injury against Stoke.
Sunday Times 15/10/06
Leeds 0 Stoke 4: Stoke pile on Leeds' misery
Rob Maul at Elland Road
ELEVEN league matches played, seven demoralising defeats, four of which have come at home — the statistics certainly make depressing reading for followers of Leeds United and, if yesterday’s match was anything to judge, then perhaps the chances of caretaker manager John Carver securing the job on a full-time basis is in serious doubt, too.
The nights have barely begun to get shorter and yet Leeds’s prospects of promotion this season is looking increasingly unlikely. Behind as early as the seventh minute, through Lee Hendrie’s fantastic free kick, they were embarrassingly off the pace, conceding three times more, and losing to Stoke City at Elland Road for the first time since February 1981.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis, who returned to the club this summer for his second spell in charge, has not enjoyed the most satisfying of times recently either, experiencing just one victory this season before this match.
Two of his latest recruits, Salif Diao and Rory Delap — on loan from Liverpool and Sunderland respectively — started yesterday in midfield, although it was Hendrie who produced the most significant first-half contribution for the visitors.
Hendrie, on loan from Aston Villa for three months, initiated the move on six minutes, expertly feeding Vincent Pericard along the left-hand channel with the outside of his boot. Tussling for the ball with defender Matthew Kilgallon, the muscular striker tumbled to the ground, and referee Trevor Kettle, without hesitation, awarded a free kick 20 yards from the Leeds goal. Hendrie, cool and composed, curled the ball right-footed over the wall, and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Neil Sullivan.
A brilliant start for Stoke and an historical one too; it was the first goal they had scored at Elland Road in six matches, a record stretching back to August 1986. It was a dreadful start for Leeds., whose striker David Healy had gone close, forcing an exceptional reflex save from goalkeeper Steve Simonsen. Two goals in four second-half minutes finished off the match. Andy Griffin beat Sullivan at his near post with a powerful right-footed drive and then Danny Higginbotham rose above a static defence to head in a Hendrie corner. Just for good measure, Simonsen saved a poor 80th-minute penalty taken by substitute Robbie Blake, before Ricardo Fuller came off the bench, quite emphatically to score the fourth.
Star Man: Lee Hendrie (Stoke)
Player Ratings: Leeds United: Sullivan 4, Kelly 5, Butler 6, Kilgallon 6, Wright 6, Douglas 6, Derry 5, Westlake 5 (Stone 58min, 5), Lewis 5, Healy 6 (Blake 58min, 5), Horsfield 5 (Cresswell 26min, 6)
Stoke City: Simonsen 8, Hoefkens 7, Duberry 7, Higginbotham 8, Griffin 7, Diao 7 (Brammer 81min, 6), Delap 8, Russell 7, Hendrie 8 (Chadwick 84min, 6), Pericard 7 (Fuller 66min, 7), Sidibe 6
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Competition - Win a DVD - Leeds United - The Greatest Team Ever
Those very lovely and generous people at ILC Sport Direct have let me have three copies of the new DVD "Leeds United - The Greatest Team Ever" to give away in a competition exclusive to visitors to the MIGHTY MIGHTY WHITES WEBSITE.
Visit the site to take part
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Leeds seal loan deal for Wright
Leeds have signed veteran Sheffield United defender Alan Wright in a month-long loan deal.
The 35-year-old is caretaker manager John Carver's first signing and joins the squad for training on Thursday.
Carver told the club website: "Alan comes with a wealth of experience as he has made only 500 appearances mostly in the Premier League.
"He's got good energy and he will attack and go forward but primarily he is a defender." Wright, whose last appearance for Sheffield United was against Arsenal on 23 September, has played for a host of clubs including Blackpool, Blackburn and Middlesbrough as well as eight years at Aston Villa.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
McAllister enters Leeds frame
Former Leeds United favourite Gary McAllister is the latest name in the frame for the manager's job at Elland Road.
The Whites issued a statement this week playing down speculation talks with interested parties had taken place, while Alan Curbishley and caretaker boss John Carver have denied they have been offered the post.
However Glenn Hoddle, Brian Kerr and now McAllister have all emerged as potential candidates to succeed Kevin Blackwell who left Elland Road McAllister enjoyed a successful playing career with the Whites and cut his managerial teeth with Coventry before leaving the game to care for his sick wife.The former Scotland international is believed to be keen on returning to management and a return to Leeds could be on the cards.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
New pages uploaded at mightyleeds.co.uk
21 May 2006 - Leeds United 0 Watford 3
In the most valuable sporting event of all time, United took 40,000 fans to Cardiff - shame the team failed to turn up on and do them justice on a desperately disappointing day
Read the full story at