Sunday, September 30, 2007

Irish Independent 30/9/07
Leeds parking the self-pity
Leeds have reverted to the ethos of the legendary Revie era in their quest to repair damaged pride, writes Aidan O'Hara
HAD Peter Cook been alive today, he could easily have sued Leeds United for stealing his ideas.
It was Cook, in the guise of his fictional football manager character Alan Latchley who created the week-long seminar called 'Dare to Fail', targeting clubs with the emphasis on embracing failure as a noble characteristic.
"It's for people who have had some degree of success in their life to come along and see what it's like to be at the bottom of the pile," said the cliché-ridden Latchley in a television interview a couple of years before his death in 1995. "They come along and learn how to get to the bottom with their pride and dignity intact."
In the last few years though, Leeds might have struggled with the last bit.
Dignity is not something that has been plentiful at Elland Road recently as supporters continue to watch Match of the Day highlights with a grimace, while pointing at the television and telling anybody who will listen "he's ex-Leeds, so is he -- and him".
It might be a chore for who-ever is on the receiving end to find sympathy but if a Premier League 11 of Robinson, Duberry, Ferdinand, Woodgate, Bowyer, Smith, Milner, Lennon, Viduka, Keane and Kewell had played for their club in the last five years, they might understand. Short of Jim Bowen appearing, Bullseye-style, to rub their noses in it by announcing "here's what you could have won", the road of what-might-have-been could not handle much more Yorkshire traffic.
But after a season of being wary to check results on Saturday afternoon for fear of another embarrassment, there's finally some optimism around the club after seven successive victories -- their best start to a league campaign -- which yesterday's draw will hardly dent.
True, it is only League One, but, as Manchester City found during their brief stay at the same level, it feels better to win in a lower league and build a platform from there than being beaten every week and struggle to stay afloat.
When chairman Ken Bates appointed Dennis Wise -- a combination as pleasant as a stone in your shoe -- the manager spoke of going back to the 'old' Leeds of nastiness and togetherness that could save them from relegation after their poor start to last season. Instead they sank like a stone.
Latchley's football philosophy was based around the three Ms (Motivation, Motivation, Motivation) but while Wise couldn't go to Latchley's extremes of kidnapping the players' wives to spark a rage within them, his chance to build an us-against-the-world mentality, which has traditionally been part of the Leeds fabric, was handed to him when the club were forced to start this season with a 15-point deduction for breach of the League's insolvency rules.
"Not only have they taken my arms and legs off, now they've cut my balls off as well," was Wise's reaction to the deduction. Not quite "we will fight them on the beaches" in its eloquence but the manager's outlook appears to have permeated through to his players who have brought the club from odds of 5/2 to be relegated to 9/2 to win the division.
Having struggled to get the best out of what was still a talented team last season, Wise has reverted to the formula that earned him relative success at Millwall and Swindon by trusting in players with something to prove rather than those who believe they should be playing at a higher level but are not willing to put in the effort to get there.
This season's captain -- Alan Thompson -- saw his Celtic career nosedive with the arrival of Gordon Strachan while David Prutton's bad-boy image is cemented following his 10-game ban during his time at Southampton.
Striker Tresor Kandol, prior to being sent off yesterday along with Jermaine Beckford, seemed to have benefited from a summer of pre-season training, having spent the previous one in prison.
The six weeks Kandol spent in jail for a string of driving offences (he doesn't have much luck with transport having been charged with train-fare evasion during his time with Luton Town), saw him discover a hidden talent for art which he hopes to publish in the future. His sketches would be a fitting homage to a changing era at the club were they to hang in the boardroom one day rather than the exotic fish which came to symbolise the wastefulness of the Peter Ridsdale era.
Kandol's background, often comedic first touch and celebratory back-flips are turning him into a cult hero among those daring to return to Elland Road after such a fall from grace. Last week's home game against Swansea saw 29,476 show up, and increase of 5,000 on the first game of the season, while the banners screaming 'we don't deserve all this' that unfurled from the stands awash with self-pity appear to have been left at home.
With such high spirits, there might be a bit more interest in the 20-year season-ticket that was offered three years ago to supporters for £3,000 (€4,300) with the club still in the Premiership in a desperate effort to raise cash. The idea was Geoffrey Richmond's (he of Bradford City insolvency fame) who hoped to make £8.5m (€12.2m) by selling 1,750 of these tickets. In just one of many failed ventures, they managed to get rid of just 184.
It took three years to go from Champions League semi-finalists to relegation fodder but when a club borrows £60m (€85m) at eight per cent interest (€6.6m annually) to spend on the likes of Dominic Matteo, Danny Mills and Seth Johnson, it's hard to escape the feeling that they brought it on themselves.
The real losers in the Leeds saga have been the creditors who were initially offered 1p in the pound when a consortium fronted by Bates bought the club on the same day that he applied to put them into administration with £35m (€50m) debts.
The offer eventually increased to 11p in the pound meaning St John's Ambulance service had to be thankful for the £18 they would receive while West Yorkshire Ambulance Service could settle for just under £1,000 (€1,400) of the £8,997 (€13,000) they were owed. And Wise thought he was hard done by with a 15-point deduction.
If any other club had wiped out a points deduction in such a manner, it would be seen as a fairytale but with Bates playing the Fairy Godmother and Wise Prince Charming, it is difficult to let the imagination run wild.
Next Saturday they play Yeovil, a team who were scrapping for promotion from the Conference six years ago when Leeds were playing Valencia for a place at Europe's top table.
And with a burning sense of injustice born in the Revie era, around 30,000 Leeds supporters will embrace the siege mentality and chant three sentences that could be the motto of the club, the manager and the chairman. "We are Leeds. No-one likes us. We don't care."

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/9/07
No record for nine-man Leeds United
By Phil Hay
Gillingham 1 Leeds United 1
Dennis Wise knows that Leeds United is a complicated club.
It did not take a 15-point deduction to remind him of that, but yesterday's visit to Gillingham raised his understanding of the complexities of managing United to a ridiculous level.
Leeds came within 60 seconds of setting a club record with an eighth successive league victory at Priestfield, but by full-time it was difficult to reflect on the results that had gone before. Wise was too busy fuming at a display of appalling incompetence from referee Danny McDermid to worry himself with historical statistics.
McDermid has only one full year of experience as a Football League official, and his inexperience was exposed in painful fashion yesterday. The Londoner did what poor referees do best, and allowed his performance to detract from a fixture which he ruined before it had the chance to get going.
Wise does not handle match officials with care, but McDermid deserved the fierce criticism that came his way after full-time.
By the 57th minute, he had succeeded in sending off United's strikers, Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford. Kandol was first to depart after twice being booked for dissent, and Beckford was shown two yellow cards in the space of three second-half minutes, treatment the forward did not deserve.
McDermid's idea of discipline left Leeds to fight out the final half-hour with nine players, and their flawless league record was finally damaged by an equaliser from Ian Cox in the 90th minute.
Gillingham were steeped in mediocrity and, for all their frantic pressure, Sebastien Carole's goal looked likely to earn Leeds a win of incomparable resilience. But the lasting effect of yesterday's result will be greater than simply their failure to earn an eighth straight win.
Beckford and Kandol, who have 11 goals between them, will miss Tuesday night's game at Oldham, the first time this season that either player has been absent from a league game.Wise is not in possession of two senior and available strikers to replace them, and Beckford's ban will run for two games after he reached five bookings with his second caution. To compound the situation, Wise was sent to the stands after criticising McDermid at half-time, and he may now incur an FA fine. Gillingham performed with a strand of confidence during the first half-hour, but their overall display was poor. Despite the late goal from Cox, the game served to strengthen the feeling that Gillingham's caretakers, Mick Docherty and Iffy Onuora, are merely temporary stewards.
The hosts enjoyed a steady flow of chances before Carole finished off a well-worked free-kick in the 29th minute, but the opening goal did for their confidence.
The strike was a near-replica of United's first at Tranmere Rovers on the opening day of the season, and hinted heavily at the dedication with which Leeds treat setpieces on the training ground.
Frazer Richardson was fouled on the corner of the box by Adam Nowland, and as Jonathan Douglas lined-up the free-kick, Matt Heath and Manuel Rui Marques slipped off the edge of Gillingham's wall and sprinted towards Simon Royce's back post.
Heath met the free-kick with a header across goal which left Royce out of position, and Carole – the smallest player on the pitch – completed the process with a simple headed finish into an empty net. Gillingham's structure collapsed immediately, but Kandol saw to it that the balance of power was quickly shifted.
The striker had been booked for dissent by referee Danny McDermid in the 26th minute, and when he sarcastically applauded the award of a free-kick from the official four minutes before half-time, McDermid issued his second yellow card, followed by a red.
Kandol's only opportunity had come in the fifth minute when he ran on to David Prutton's chip and drew Royce into a brave block, but the clearer opportunities before Carole's goal fell to the hosts. Nowland's shot from outside the box in the 19th minute forced Casper Ankergren to cling tightly to the ball as it threatened to dip into the far corner of his net, and David Graham drove a volley wide after meeting Delroy Facey's header.
Ankergren gathered their most promising effort at the second attempt, smothering Andrew Crofts' low strike from inside the box, and Carole's goal arrived at a timely juncture, drawing the sting from Gillingham.
But the comfort provided by the Frenchman was quickly withdrawn by Kandol's sense of irony.
Poyet confronted McDermid as the referee left the field for the interval, and Wise's comments saw him banned from the dugout for the second half. In the absence of Kandol, meanwhile, Beckford was left to fish hopefully for half-chances.
His clever overhead kick shortly after the restart was parried over by Royce, but by the 57th minute Beckford was tracing Kandol's trail down the tunnel.
The striker received an unjustified booking for shooting after McDermid had blown his whistle for offside, and he was sent-off three minutes later after a lunge at Sean Clohessy. Both cautions were harsh, but McDermid's mood had passed the point of forgiveness.
The onslaught was invited and it arrived swiftly, though not with any constructive purpose. In between lacklustre attacks, Crofts headed Barry Cogan's corner over the crossbar from a good position, and Cox fired a shot over from four yards. Ankergren then intervened to parry a low shot from Graham.But as the game entered the first of five minutes of injury time, Cox rose to head Crofts' corner into the roof of the net and reel in United in cruel fashion. Leeds had no energy left, and no will with which to answer.
Their reponse at Oldham on Tuesday will now be telling. 29/9/07
GILLINGHAM 1 (Cox 90), UNITED 1 (Carole 28)
Gillingham: Royce, Clohessy, Cox, Sodje, Hamilton (Dickson 71), Nowland, Lomas (Mulligan 61), Crofts, Cogan, Facey, Graham. Subs: Stillie, King, Stone.
United: Ankergren, Richardson, Heath, Marques, Clapham (Huntington 59), Prutton, Douglas, Hughes (Westlake 59), Carole (Weston 75), Kandol, Beckford. Subs: Lucas, Thompson.
Referee: D McDermid (London).
Booked: Nowland, Cox (Gillingham), Hughes, Kandol, Beckford, Douglas, Ankergren (United).
Sent-Off: Kandol, Beckford.
Dennis Wise named an unchanged team as his United side went in search of a record breaking eight successive league victory.
Wise's men had equalled the record for wins to start to the season, beating Swansea last weekend, and an eighth would see them pass that and assume the post-war record for successive league victories.
And United had almost got off to a perfect start, Gillingham keeper Simon Royce reacting well to deny Tresor Kandol inside the opening five minutes.
Gillingham's first shot on goal came in the 10th minute when Matt Heath blocked an effort from David Graham.
United had the ball in the net after 15 minutes when Jermaine Beckford showed his confidence, converting a Kandol knock-down, but the in-form striker was denied by an offside flag.
The hosts were next to try their luck and Casper Ankergren made a good double save to deny Graham. The Danish goalkeeper also saved from Adam Nowland after a quick break by Barry Cogan.
The game continued to flow at pace and Gills keeper Royce pulled off another save from Dave Prutton, who worked himsefl a good opening.
United were also getting little out of referee Danny McDermid. An apparent foul on Kandol went unpunished early on, Andrew Hughes found himself in the book before being given a stern lecture on 22 minutes, and Frazer Richardson was also given a talking-to before a Gillingham corner.
So it was no surprise when Kandol was booked in the 26th minute for protesting after what looked like another foul by Efe Sodje was given the other way.
But United got their noses in front moments later, ironically after Adam Nowland was penalised for a foul on Prutton.
Jonathan Douglas whipped a free-kick across the goal, Matt Heath headed it back, and the unlikely figure of Seb Carole headed home for his first goal for the club.
Referee McDermid made sure he took centre stage again, though, five minutes before half-time when he showed Kandol a red card after the striker applauded a decision to give Leeds a free-kick.
That left United down to 10 men with Beckford operating as the lone front man.
Despite being a man down, United started the second half brightly and forced the home side onto the back foot by winning a couple of early corners.
The cards continued to appear as well and Beckford was booked for chipping the keeper after the whistle went for offside.
When Beckford went down moments later - Sodje was again involved - the referee simply awarded a free-kick.
But the card was out again when play re-started, and this time Beckford saw red following a challenge on Sean Clohessy as Leeds were amazingly reduced to nine men.
Wise immediately made a double substitution, introducing Paul Huntington and Ian Westlake in place of Jamie Clapham and Hughes. The latter had already been booked and, with cards being brandished like Christmas, Wise clearly didn't want to lose anyone else.
Skipper Douglas was next to see yellow - on 65 minutes - after Gillingham's Graham fouled Carole and escaped with only a free-kick.
On 68 minutes Ankergren was handed a yellow card for reasons unclear, and the game threatened to slip beyond a farce.
Unsurprisingly, Gillingham looked to make their numerical advantage count, but they struggled to get any change out of the resolute United side and even when presented a rare chance, Andrew Crofts headed wide from a corner.
Heath also did well to block an effort from Delroy Facey as United got men behind the ball and showed great spirit.
With 10 minutes remaining, Ian Cox had a great opportunity to level for Gillingham, but he fired high and wide from close range. Gills sub Chris Dickson also headed over as the clock started tick down on potentially United's best win so far this season.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Ankergren got down well to deny Graham, but the equaliser came from the resultant corner when Cox's header proved too powerful for a United defender to head off the line.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Yorkshire Post 28/9/07
Leeds consider legal standpoint as FA refuse to join their battle
By Ian Appleyard
LEEDS United chairman Ken Bates was taking legal advice last night after the Football Association refused to enter the fight against the club's 15-point deduction.
Bates wanted the FA to recommend an independent review of the Football League sanction which was imposed when the club broke rules on exiting administration this summer.
But the FA insist the Football League have acted in accordance with their own rules and so have rejected his plea.
Last night, United's chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "We are amazed that the Football Association do not feel it is appropriate to intervene in a matter which we believe is fundamentally wrong, and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.
"We will fully reflect on this surprising decision and are taking the advice of our legal team."
Leeds, who were also deducted 10 points for entering administration in the final week of last season, needed just five games to wipe out the 15-point penalty and have now climbed out of the League One relegation zone.
Another victory at Gillingham tomorrow would set a club record of eight wins at the start of a season, beating the previous mark set by Don Revie's Championship winning side in 1973.
The FA board discussed the Leeds case at a meeting on Monday, but only confirmed their decision last night.
A spokesman said: "We received a request from Leeds United to enquire into the way the Football League had dealt with matters. We considered it carefully. Having done so, and considering that the Football League have acted in accordance with their own rules, regulations, and constitution, we do not believe there is a need to enquire any further.
"The original decision was one of the Football League board. The club was given the right to appeal to the other Football League clubs who in turn were given the opportunity to endorse, reduce, or remove the points deduction and they chose to endorse it.
"Leeds United agreed to go through that process which has been fulfilled in accordance with League rules."
Bates may yet decide to take the case to the High Court or seek compensation from the other League clubs who voted to endorse the 15-point penalty should it prevent Leeds winning promotion.
On-loan defender Jamie Clapham, meanwhile, has agreed to extend his stay at Elland Road for another two months. 27/9/07
Leeds United have been informed by the Football Association that they do not believe it appropriate for there to be any further inquiry into the decision and the process adopted by the Football League surrounding the club's 15-point deduction.
Chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "We are amazed that the Football Association do not feel it is appropriate to intervene in a matter which we believe is fundamentally wrong, and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.
"We will fully reflect on this surprising decision and are taking the advice of our legal team. We will not be making any further comment at this time."
Any further questions should be directed to the Football Association.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yorkshire Post 24/9/07
Leeds looking more and more likely to have last laugh
By Ian Appleyard
THEY sneer and snigger at Leeds United's decline around other parts of God's Own County.
They laugh at the way a club which threatened to win the Champions League six years ago is now slumming it in the third tier of English football.But those people who throw stones should take heed, for a quiet revolution is taking place at Elland Road.
At this rate, it will not be long before Leeds are climbing back to the top, possibly even by-passing those who are currently looking down their noses.
The motto 'gaining strength from adversity' should be carved into the club's logo. There were times when the future looked bleak, when fans appeared so fed up that they might turn their back on Elland Road for good.
But this summer has heralded the dawn of a new era and, suddenly, the people of Leeds – both young and old – are flooding back to support their local team.
On Saturday, for the visit of plain old Swansea City, there were an amazing 29,500 supporters packed into Elland Road. That's 5,500 more than turned out for the opening home game against Southend United a month ago. The club's average gate is now the biggest in Yorkshire and higher than six clubs in the Premier League.
Slowly, but surely, the club are putting things right. Seven straight wins have wiped out the 15-point penalty imposed by the Football League with interest and sparked talk of a promotion push.
Ironically, the two men leading the revival – manager Dennis Wise and chairman Ken Bates – boast a longer association with one of the club's biggest rivals Chelsea.
The fans will not stop singing anti-Chelsea songs yet, but at least they have started chanting Wise's name. Things are definitely looking up.
The words of Leeds band Chumbawamba echo around the stadium when Leeds take to the field. "I get knocked down, but I get up again. No you're never going to keep me down!". You couldn't write a better chorus to sum up the current situation.Off the field, it is imperative that Leeds perform equally well.
Until this weekend, supporters had been unable to buy a new replica shirt; meanwhile children have been unable to get hold of a team photo for their bedroom walls. Good news, though, is that a photo call takes place today.
Bates reduced ticket prices and generated an immediate increase in attendances.
But, apparently, a group of schoolchildren wearing Leeds scarves on a bus destined for Elland Road were close to tears prior to the Luton game when news came through, via text, that all the discount tickets had been sold.Unable to afford the £18 admission price, they had no option but to settle for an afternoon in the shopping mall instead. Strangely, there were still plenty of spaces waiting to be filled in the club's 40,000 capacity stadium.
Someone in power needs to ensure that all those wanting to join the Leeds revival are welcomed with open arms. They want to buy the team photo and they want to wear the club's new kit. They are the club's future and they are proud to wear the colours again, so they need to be encouraged to stay.
Even as a neutral, it is impossible not to be impressed by the way things are improving at Elland Road. The Whites might not be everyone's cup of tea, but, to the people of Leeds, they are again a reason for celebration.
Yorkshire Evening Post 24/9/07
United push FA on penalty

Leeds United were today hoping to secure an independent review of the decision which led to their 15-point deduction before the start of this season, writes PHIL HAY.
United's penalty was expected to be discussed at a Football Association board meeting today after Ken Bates asked officials at Soho Square to intervene in the dispute between the Elland Road club and the Football League.
Leeds were penalised by the League eight days before the beginning of the term after exiting administration without a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). The unprecedented punishment was later upheld by a majority vote among United's fellow League One clubs.Bates wrote to the FA last month requesting a review of the case after insisting United's appeal should have been heard by an independent panel. The FA were expected to decide today whether they have jurisdiction over League rules regarding administration.
The FA are unlikely to recommend that the penalty is scrapped altogether, but they may agree with Bates' demand for a review of the League's decision.
The recent dispute between West Ham United and Sheffield United over the eligibility of Carlos Tevez was heard by an independent tribunal, though Sheffield United later took their fight against relegation from the Premiership to the High Court.
Bates said: "We are seeking, at the very least, an independent commission to review our case.
"I have said before whether you agree or disagree with the outcome of the Tevez case, at least it was made by an independent tribunal, not by 64 self-interested competitors."
Yorkshire Evening Post 24/9/07
One match from record for Leeds United
By Phil Hay
Leeds United 2 Swansea City 0
Promotion is the elephant in Dennis Wise's dressing room, but the city of Leeds can think about nothing else.
As sensible as Wise may be to cling to caution, he is clutching at straws if he expects others to do the same.
Leeds United's first victory of the season at Tranmere brought forth a chant from their supporters claiming the club would win League One's title; after seven successive victories, Wise's fight to rein in expectation is nothing more than a losing battle.

United claimed their seventh win of the season yesterday, equalling in the process the club's finest ever start to a season produced by Don Revie's first division champions of 1974.

The importance of the record has been lost on Wise, who is reluctant to concern himself with bygone eras at Elland Road, and the historical significance was of less importance than the conviction with which Leeds swept aside a talented Swansea City team.

That United extended their sequence of success was an achievement in itself, but it mattered more that the record was matched by their most impressive performance of the season. Wise's players have not always been as good as their results this term, but there was no dispute with the scoreline yesterday. Even a disagreement over the manner of Leeds' opening goal could not protect Swansea from the fact that a comfortable defeat was all Robert Martinez's side had deserved.

Two goals in the space of four second-half minutes earned Leeds their victory, the first coming after Sebastien Carole had quietly moved a free-kick from the left-hand touchline to within feet of the edge of the box.

His cut-back was volleyed home by Jermaine Beckford, who claimed his sixth goal of what has been a wonderful personal season to date, and the strike left Martinez incensed. Leeds, however, were worth their lead and more, and a searing striker from David Prutton quickly put the result beyond doubt.

City seemed somewhat intimidated by both their hosts and the surroundings yesterday, but the goals came just as the visitors appeared to have weathered the worst of United's pressure. Leeds, though, have developed a talent for forcing goals, and the victory suited their display. Having sat at the bottom of the League One table just nine days ago, Wise can now consider his next move from 18th in the division.

The first half belonged to Leeds, but not convincingly enough to provide them with the lead.

United could not have gone much closer than Tresor Kandol's strike against the post, or a header from Manuel Rui Marques which Swansea goalkeeper Dorus De Vries clawed off his goalline, but a controlled display of sporadic dominance from Wise's players went unrewarded before the interval.

Kandol's chance came with eight minutes of the half remaining, and 60 seconds after referee Graham Laws had resisted a worthwhile claim for a penalty from Prutton.

The former Southampton midfielder appeared to have his legs taken from under him amid a crowd of three Swansea players, but he was immediately alert to space on the left wing and fed a pass to Kandol inside the box.

Kandol's finish from an awkward angle rolled towards the far side of De Vries' net but caught the inside of the post. The rebound favoured Swansea and allowed the visitors to retain parity with a desperate clearance.

City had earlier relied on De Vries to keep out Marques' effort, a header from Carole's cross which the keeper flicked away with his fingertips, and United were free to control the game against a Swansea side who planned to counter-attack and never allowed themselves to be drawn away from those tactics.

The threat to Leeds came solely from ambitious shots from long range, none of which gave Casper Ankergren more than routine involvement.

On the one occasion when Wise's defence lost either of Martinez's strikers, in the 23rd minute, Darryl Duffy's instinctive lob lacked accuracy and bounced safely past the post.

Paul Anderson and Ferrer Bodde tested Ankergren from outside his box, but Swansea seemed more likely to succumb to the pace of a fixture which flowed at an impressive speed.

De Vries was beaten by a powerful shot from Andrew Hughes in the 34th minute but saw the strike fade beyond his goal, and he had relied on wayward finishing to protect his clean sheet as early as the ninth minute when Matt Heath's knock-down was stabbed over the crossbar by Carole on the edge of the six-yard area.

Further headers from Prutton and Kandol gave Swansea discomfort before half-time and, having seen his players take their chances with efficiency this season, Wise might have worried about the implications of an encouraging half which had failed to supply them with an advantage.

United's boss had named an unchanged line-up after last week's 3-0 defeat of Bristol City, and the absence of Alan Thompson with a groin injury was notable again.

Wise's midfield was more productive than it had been at the Memorial Stadium but, devoid of Thompson's inevitable flashes of class, their influence shone through only in patches until the game slipped beyond Swansea's reach.

City, however, were timid in front of United's biggest attendance of the season, and the second half seemed to promise Leeds their seventh straight victory.

Beckford attempted to forced the issue two minutes after half-time when his fierce shot was deflected behind by De Vries' body, and Prutton's left-foot effort slipped wide after Swansea had allowed him to run freely along the face of their box.

But after City had shown their hand briefly during a short spell of pressure, Martinez's defence cracked in the 62nd minute.

Jonathan Douglas was fouled on left wing by Angel Rangel, and Carole's clever free-kick into the box found Beckford, who lashed a volley past De Vries. There was a question over whether Carole had taken the free-kick from the right position, but Swansea had no time to complain.

Four minutes later, Prutton ran onto a loose ball 25 yards from goal and settled the outcome with a screaming finish which flew beyond De Vries before he could react.

Swansea had no energy to respond, and Martinez's players were in danger of being routed. Their only chance to reduce the deficit fell to Warren Feeney, whose close-range shot was brilliantly parried by Ankergren with the goal at the striker's mercy.

But the outcome was already secure by then, and De Vries was called upon again to block a shot across goal from Beckford and a rare effort from full-back Jamie Clapham, encouraged forward by United's appetite for victory which is currently limitless.

Saturday, September 22, 2007 22/9/07
UNITED 2 (Beckford 62, Prutton 67), SWANSEA 0
United: Ankergren, Richardson, Heath, Marques, Clapham, Prutton, Douglas, Hughes, Carole (Westlake 74), Beckford (Flo 90), Kandol. Subs: Martin, Huntington, Parker.
Swansea: De Vries, Rangel, Lawrence, Monk, Painter, Butler, O'Leary (Pratley 68), Bodde, Anderson (Orlandi 66), Scotland, Duffy (Feeney 68). Subs: Austin, Knight.
Referee: G Laws (Whitley Bay)
Booked: Monk (Swansea), Prutton, Marques, Hughes (United)
Att: 29,467

After an amazing start to the season, Dennis Wise and his United players were looking at the prospect of making history against Swansea City at Elland Road.
A seventh successive league win would equal the record set by Don Revie's all-conquering side back in 1973.
United were backed by the biggest crowd of the season and after enjoying some early pressure, Seb Carole fired the first shot of the game wide of the mark after Wise's men won successive corners.
It was an encouraging start by Leeds and Swansea skipper Garry Monk earned himself a booking after 10 minutes for stopping Tresor Kandol in full flow.
Swansea's first attempt on goal came in the 17th minute when Casper Ankergren comfortably gathered a low strike from Ferrie Bodde.
But it was Swansea goalkeeper Dorus De Vries who made the first real save when he clawed away a Rui Marques header, following a Carole cross. De Vries also collected a Prutton header as United kept up the pressure.
While Swansea defended well and looked to hit Leeds on the break, Andrew Hughes was next to go close when he tried his luck with a shot from distance which flew over the bar.
Ten minutes before the interval, Prutton had a penalty appeal waved away when, after weaving his way into the box, he took a tumble under pressure from Kristian O'Leary when shaping up to shoot.
And, as United won the ball back and returned it to the danger zone, the unfortunate Tresor Kandol could only look on as his shot came back off the inside of the post and was cleared to safety.
Swansea's Bodde did have another attempt at goal shortly before half-time when he put a free-kick over the top after Marques was penalised for a ball-winning tackle 25 yards out.
At the other end, Carole had another shot from distance which went wide of the mark.
United started the second half at a good pace and, within 90 seconds of the re-start, De Vries pulled off a good save to deny the inventive Jermaine Beckford after a terrific flick-on from Kandol.
Prutton was next to work himself an opening, cutting in from the right, and he fired wide of the mark.
The visitors had given the impression during the opening period that they may be suited with a point, but they showed more adventure after the break and Jason Scotland screwed one early effort wide.
The game opened up more, and the opening goal came on 62 minutes, courtesy of the in-form Beckford.
Carole played a free-kick to the feet of the striker who twisted and turned before picking his spot with precision to fire home through a ruck of players.
Moments later, De Vries pulled off a tremendous point-blank save to to deny Beckford with a header after Carole again supplied the delivery.
But the second goal did come - just five minutes after the first - when Prutton netted his first for the club with a sweet strike from distance.
Swansea boss Roberto Martinez responded by making full use of his substitutes and former United youngster Warren Feeney was immediately denied a goal by a great block from Ankergren.
With the prospect of equalling a club record seven wins to start the season in sight, the crowd also rolled back the years with chants of 'ole' as United looked to keep possession and wind the clock down.
The fans also savoured the celebrations at the final whistle. After watching the struggles of recent years, the opening to the new season has been nothing of terrific.
Yorkshire Evening Post 21/9/07
Leeds United boss on verge of new record as hype kicks in
By Phil Hay
The late Don Revie casts a large shadow over Elland Road, and Dennis Wise is happy to occupy the shade.
Appreciating the historical importance of Revie's tenure is a prerequisite of managing Leeds United – a fact misjudged spectacularly by Brian Clough – and Wise will not seek comparisons with his most revered predecessor if his side earn their share of a club record tomorrow.
He is more inclined to do what he always does; greet the victory with a sense of perspective before retreating once more behind the barricades.Wise has not been tempted to mention promotion this season, and a seventh league win against Swansea City tomorrow is unlikely to break his poker face.
Leeds are at the point of equalling a record set by Revie's players in 1973, when with seven straight victories they constructed the finest start to a season ever staged by a United team, but the fact has almost passed the club's present manager by.
Wise can sense the anticipation building outside Elland Road; he is deeply reluctant to fuel it further by offering cheap rhetoric from within.
"I've not even thought about it," he said, when asked about the prospect of matching Revie's record. "I really haven't. And if I'm being totally honest, I'm not really bothered about it.
"First of all it has to be achieved – there's no point talking about it now because it hasn't been achieved, and it might not happen. At the moment, I just want to win the game. That's it.
"If we do win it then we'll get out of the bottom four and we'll catch the next group. That's the next thing for us, and it would be massive.
"We've done really well, and what we're doing is good enough, but we're still second-from-bottom. We've got a tough game tomorrow, and I don't want to take any credit from them (Swansea).
"They're doing very well – we've done better, but they're ahead of us. They're sitting in fourth and we'd love to be in that position. But we're a long way from it."
The gap between United and Swansea stands at seven points, a deficit created by United's Football League penalty.
Last Friday's 3-0 victory over Bristol Rovers was sufficient to fulfil Wise's ambition of escaping from 24th position in the League One table, but the club's prospects are difficult to predict with certainty.
United appear to be obvious promotion candidates, but their results this season are yet to provide any breathing space; a first defeat of the season tomorrow would risk a return to the bottom of the division, a position they occupied until the end of last week's fixture at the Memorial Stadium. Wise's caution is not driven purely by a desire to play possum. He at least remains wary of the precarious position that Leeds are in.
Swansea's ambitions have been more heavily stated and, after losing in the 2006 play-off final and finishing seventh last season, their manager, Roberto Martinez, is carrying the demands of an ambitious club and their expectant supporters.
City will visit Elland Road with successive league wins over Cheltenham and Carlisle behind them, but the early weeks of the term were a minor struggle. Beaten by Doncaster and Oldham, Swansea were sitting with four points from as many games on the first day of this month.
Martinez's side possess realistic promotion potential, but United have already seen off several similar opponents. Southend, Tranmere, Hartlepool and Bristol Rovers are all pressing towards the top six, and Nottingham Forest and Luton Town would expect to be involved in the play-offs themselves, even allowing for their mediocre results so far.
Wise said: "The teams that we've played, counting Swansea, have been seven teams who are going to be very close to promotion.
"I'd say they're the better teams, but that's no disrespect to the others. I'll treat them all in the same manner.
"Swansea like to play, and they've won their last three games. They like to keep hold of the ball, and they've got players who can cause problems. Roberto's done very well.
"Football is really funny, and when you're doing well you can get a kick. We don't want a kick. People saw us get to zero and thought we'd take our foot off the pedal, but we didn't. I don't want that to happen, and we're not willing to let it happen.
"I'm not a ranter and raver but I try to put across to the players what we expect. If they don't do it then I have to do my job. A lot of managers like to shout and scream in their faces, and I've spat my dummy out a couple of times, but it's not called for with every game.
"If you shout at them you're not going to get anywhere. You need to explain what you expect from them, and you do that during the whole week. Come Saturday, they should know what they're doing and if they don't then they need a kick up the backside.
"If you've prepared them for the game, they've got no excuses."
Wise criticised his players after their 2-0 defeat of Hartlepool United – the result which returned the club to zero points – but was more content with the 3-0 victory at Bristol Rovers last week.Leeds weathered heavy pressure but took their opportunities with clinical finishing, and the return of 10 goals from Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford has kept United beyond the reach of their six previous opponents.
Asked whether it was realistic for Leeds to attempt to maintain an unbeaten record until the end of the season, Wise said: "I don't know. You'd love it, but to turn round and say things like that would be stupid. I wouldn't say it.
"We've performed very well so far and it would be nice to get a game where we perform all the way through.
"That's very difficult, but the players all want to play which is nice, and they're all in confident mood which is even nicer."

Yorkshire Evening Post 20/9/07
Leeds United go back to the future
By Phil Hay
August 25, 1973. Don Revie is holding court in the players' lounge at Elland Road, two hours before the start of the season.
All of Revie's most trusted servants are present, gathered around his selfless captain, Billy Bremner. Enthused by the dawn of another season but still seething over the outcome of the term behind him, Leeds United's manager decided to raise his own standards of excellence at Elland Road.
"I'll never forget that meeting," recalls Allan Clarke, the zealous centre forward in Revie's ranks. "It was 1pm in the players' lounge and Don was preparing us for the first game of the season against Everton. If you remember, we'd lost to Sunderland in the FA Cup final the year before. It didn't go down well. So Don said 'It's a new season lads, and I've had a thought. I'd like you to go through the season unbeaten'.
"We looked at each other in amazement, and he asked whether it was possible. It was an incredible thing to suggest, but after a few seconds we all said yes. That was how it started."
After 12 seasons as United's manager, Revie understood his players intimately – their strengths, their weaknesses and their loyalty to his brand of football. He would not, Clarke agrees, have made unreasonable requests, and his suggestion that Leeds were capable of completing 42 games without defeat was not a stab in the dark. It seemed instead to be a statement of fact.
What followed was a season that bordered on perfection.United finished the year as Division One champions after only four league defeats, and one at Elland Road. Their unbeaten pledge survived for 29 games until a 3-2 defeat at Stoke City on February 23, 1974, and their championship credentials were bourne out by an initial sequence of seven straight league victories. It was, and is, the finest start to a season ever produced by a Leeds side and a record which has gone unchallenged for 34 years, until now.
"We were the best team in the country," says Clarke. "Any club that planned to win anything was going to have to get past us, and Don knew that. He hated losing, and I hated losing – the whole squad did.
"When I was with Leicester and Fulham, the press used to comment about the foul mood they would find me in whenever we lost a game. They couldn't understand my attitude, but it hurt me too much. I had no reason to smile.
"At Leeds, I found a group of players who shared that attitude, and it felt like home to me. Losing just wasn't acceptable."
Peter Lorimer, Clarke's prolific attacking partner, agrees.
"I think the approach to that season was Don's way of answering the embarrassment of the FA Cup defeat," he says. "He was a bit sore about it, and he wanted us to prove to everyone that we were not just a good team but a great team. Good managers are the ones who turn negatives into positives, like Dennis Wise is doing now.
"Traditionally, Don ran a pretty regimented club but that was the first season when he allowed us to go out and be ourselves – to do what came naturally without being constrained by tactics or formations. It brought the best out of us.
"Seven straight victories at the start of the season was impressive, but the run of 29 games without losing is one of the best achievements by an English team.
"We couldn't wait for the next game to come, and that was always my attitude as a player. I never understand people moaning these days about having too many fixtures. That's why you're a footballer, and that's what you love – not running through bloody Roundhay Park in the pouring rain trying to keep fit. In the '73-74 season, I didn't want to be off the pitch."
Clarke's attitude was identical, and he and Lorimer went tit-for-tat during the first three weeks of the season as United's winning streak grew legs. A 3-1 victory over Everton on August 25 started the term impressively, and Lorimer's first goal of the season contributed to Leeds' 2-1 win against Arsenal three days later.
Clarke claimed his first at Tottenham, and then saw Lorimer score five goals in two games to flatten Wolves and Birmingham. But Clarke did not do secondary roles, and his three strikes in the space of four days earned maximum points from a second meeting with Wolves, and a visit to Southampton on September 15.
"There was never any rivalry between myself and Sniffer," says Lorimer. "We both scored a lot of goals but we just loved seeing the ball smack against the net and then hearing the roar go up.
"Between me, Allan and Mick Jones, we expected to get 60 goals. That was a regular season for us. We aimed to push somewhere towards 70, but I always approached the season looking for 20 goals. It was my job to score.
"People get different things out of football. Billy Bremner loved to get stuck into the midfield battle, and Johnny Giles loved his 40-yard cross-field passes. For me and Allan, scoring goals was the attraction and we did it pretty well.
"There were big incentives for us. We knew we were the best team around, but we also knew that a lot of people didn't like us – especially the London journalists. They hated us.
"We liked nothing better than to stick it up them, and during that run of 29 games we were doing it every week. We had a proper siege mentality and there's no question that Leeds have got that now."
The squads on offer to Revie and Wise are incomparable, but a record which has survived for more than three decades will be matched on Saturday if Wise's United record a seventh straight league win against Swansea City at Elland Road.
Clarke was present for their recent wins over Luton and Hartlepool, and liked what he saw. Lorimer has been similarly impressed. For men who played to the highest of standards, their endorsement is especially valuable.
"I was at Elland Road for their last two home games, and I'm absolutely delighted with the way the season's going," Clarke says."On the evidence of what I saw, I think Leeds will not only be promoted, but promoted automatically. I'm not a betting man but that must be worth a few bob."
Former Elland Road striker Allan Clarke today handed Dennis Wise a firm vote of confidence by backing Leeds United for automatic promotion.
The ex-Leeds forward – the scorer of the winning goal in United's 1972 FA Cup final victory over Arsenal – believes Wise's squad are heading for a top-two finish in League One after starting the season with six straight victories.
United will equal a 34-year-old record if they extend their streak during Saturday's clash with Swansea City at Elland Road, and Clarke, who played in the last Leeds side to begin a league campaign with seven successive wins in 1973, insists he saw signs of a promotion challenge in Leeds' last two home fixtures against Hartlepool and Luton.
The 61-year-old also criticised the Football League's decision to deduct 15 points from Leeds before the start of the season, but United have already wiped out their penalty and Wise's side moved off the bottom of League One after their 3-0 victory at Bristol Rovers on Friday night.
Clarke said: "I was at Elland Road for their last two home games, and I'm absolutely delighted with the way the season's going. It's impressive.
"I never thought I'd live to see the day when Leeds United were playing in the third division, but this is where we are. The only thing that matters now is getting the club out of here.
"The 15-point deduction could only have happened to Leeds United. You'd never have seen Liverpool or Manchester United treated like that. But I've watched Leeds a couple of times this season and they haven't let it get to them.
"On the evidence of what I saw, I think Leeds will be not only be promoted, but promoted automatically.
"I'm not a betting man but that must be worth a few bob."
Wise, who is hoping to have captain Alan Thompson available for Saturday's game after a groin strain, may opt to give a handful of his first team squad members a run-out during tonight's reserve clash with Darlington at Norton and Stockton (kick-off 7pm).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BBC 19/9/07
Poyet hit with misconduct charge
Leeds United assistant manager Gus Poyet has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association after he openly criticised referee Andy D'Urso.
Poyet suggested D'Urso held a vendetta against him and Leeds boss Dennis Wise going back to their playing days.
Poyet said at the time: "Andy D'Urso is not good enough for us and I don't want to see him at a Leeds match again."
The comments came after Leeds' second round Carling Cup defeat to Portsmouth. Poyet has until October 4 to appeal.
Leeds lost the tie at Fratton Park 3-0 and Poyet, who was sent off by D'Urso during his playing career, added: "He can't forget things he's done to us in the past.
"It's sad and has happened again since we've been in management.
"He keeps laughing during games and doesn't make any decisions. If there is something complicated in the box he never gives it.
"We had a bet with the fourth official who would get the first yellow card and of course it was us. "It is too much. It is personal. He has sent me off before and that's not hard but when it is against the team it is not right."

Yorkshire Evening Post 19/9/07
Deal me in says Tres
By Phil Hay
Leeds United striker Tresor Kandol is planning to accept the club's offer of a new contract.
Kandol today revealed that he intends to reach a fresh agreement after Leeds started discussions with his representatives over improved terms at Elland Road. United approached Kandol and fellow striker Jermaine Beckford to re-negotiate their deals last month, despite the fact both players are tied to the club beyond the end of this season.
Kandol signed until June 2010 when he moved to Leeds from Barnet in January, while Beckford's contract runs until 2009, but they are set to be rewarded for their impressive goalscoring form this season.
Discussions are on-going, but Kandol said: "I don't see any reason for me to go anywhere. Things are working out well. Right now I think I've found the right club – a big club that's looking to move forward.
"If you had the choice, you'd always choose a club that was trying to win promotion, and trying to achieve things.
"This club looks after the players, and the manager does as well. I have an understanding with him (Dennis Wise), and that's the
sort of thing that wants to make you stay.
"I don't want to go anywhere. I've moved around too much, and it's time to settle down. I want to get on with what I've got to do."
Kandol is League One's joint-leading scorer with five goals, and all six of United's league wins this season have been secured by strikes from him or Beckford, who has also found the net on five occasions.
The pair have become automatic selections for Wise and will lead the fight for a seventh straight victory against Swansea City at Elland Road on Saturday.
Wise gave a number of senior players a run-out during last night's reserve clash with Darlington at Norton and Stockton, where United's second-string defeat suffered their second defeat of the season.
David Lucas, Jonathan Howson and Curtis Weston were all included in Leeds' line-up, but a penalty from Clark Keltie earned Darlington a 1-0 win.

TRESOR Kandol has turned a deaf ear to the sudden acclaim surrounding him at Elland Road – for fear of a return to the troubled days which launched his career with Leeds United.
The Congolese striker is resisting the temptation to savour a period of consistent accomplishment after witnessing the speed with which professional footballers can traverse the gap between animosity and acceptance.Kandol was a maligned member of Dennis Wise's squad two months ago, but his fifth goal of the season last week added credence to the belief that the 26-year-old is now one of United's most valuable players.
He and Jermaine Beckford, Kandol's foil in attack, are League One's leading scorers, prompting the club to begin drawing up improved contracts for both players.Kandol has revealed to the YEP that he intends to accept United's offer, but he would not tempt fate by telling anyone that he deserves it. The former Barnet forward is content to maintain a modest profile after enduring the return of one goal from 18 matches which incurred the wrath of United's supporters last season.
"You want every game to come quickly when you're doing well, but I'm taking things slowly," Kandol said. "It's happening for me right now but the situation can change quickly. I've seen that already.
"I could go through the next five games without a goal, and for a striker that would be a big problem.
"But I've got a positive frame of mind and I try not to think about the negative possibilities. It's better for me when my head's right.
"My phone won't stop ringing at the moment, and I feel like changing my number.
"I've even started getting Leeds supporters ringing me and texting me to say congratulations after every result.
"I've no idea where they're getting the number from, but I don't mind.
"It shows that people are behind you and that people are interested in you. It's nice that they're being positive about me.
"But I can't listen too much to what people are saying. We've got 40 games left and it's a long season – scoring goals for six games isn't enough for me. I do have a target but I'm keeping it quiet."
Kandol's aim is unlikely to be short of 20 goals this season with five to his name already, and Beckford will have similar intentions. Their partnership is the talk of Elland Road and, after their demolition of Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium last Friday, interest in their development is spreading League One.
Wise is alive to the prospect that Leeds will receive offers for both players in January, but the start of contract talks is evidence of his determination to fight the vultures.

Sporting Life 17/9/07
Gus Poyet insisted League One survival remained Leeds' first priority after a sixth straight win had put points on the board at last.
More than 1,000 travelling fans chanted "We're going to win the league" after two goals from Jermaine Beckford and one from Tresor Kandol smashed Bristol Rovers' unbeaten record on Friday - the West Yorkshire side winning 3-0.
Poyet said: "This was probably our best performance of the season because we defended well when we had to and scored three very good goals.
"We mustn't get carried away. Our first target is enough points for safety and we will see where we are then.
"I dream that one day I might wake up and find that the 15 points have been given back to us by the Football League. Dreams sometimes come true.
"But if not we have to approach each game with the same attitude because every club in League One is looking to topple Leeds United."
Bristol Rovers head coach Paul Trollope insisted there was no disgrace in losing to Leeds.
He said: "Football matches are won in the respective penalty areas and Leeds were better than us in both boxes.
"Between the penalty areas we outplayed them at times, but that is no good if you fail to take your chances.
"We are learning about playing at a higher level than last season and there was no shortage of commitment from our players.
"Leeds will be challenging at the top of the table before long because they have quality players throughout the side. Losing to them is no disgrace we will bounce back."

Saturday, September 15, 2007 15/9/07
Gus Poyet was quick to salute the players after they moved off the bottom and out of the relegation places after winning in Bristol on Friday night.
The lads made it six successive wins by beating Bristol Rovers 3-0 at the Memorial Stadium and the victory was enough to haul United off bottom spot for the first time this season.
It was another gritty performance from the side - in front of Rovers biggest ever crowd - and three quality goals sealed another memorable evening.
"The team was very professional," said a delighted Gus. "We knew when to play, when to defend, when to suffer and when to pass it.
"We scored at the right times, and I think professional is the word.
"I think the team understand that when you have players like Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol on the pitch, you always have the chance to score.
"The other nine know they have to work very hard for them and give them one or two chances, because they will take them.
"They understood and they defended very well for 20 minutes in the second half.
"They pushed a lot and put in so many crosses, but the second goal killed the game. The last one was there to enjoy because it was different class."
After clawing back the 15-point deduction - imposed by the Football League - in record time, the win on Friday was enough to keep the amazing start going.
Victory against Swansea next weekend would equal the club's best ever start to a league campaign and could even lift the lads into mid-table. Without the deduction United, the only side with a 100 per cent record in the Football League, would be well clear at the top.
"It's great for everyone to have the table on Friday and not see Leeds bottom," said Gus.
"It's hard to take because everyone knows we've won six games and we're still in there so we'll keep going and try to get points, no matter who we play or where we play. We'll keep being professional, like on Friday.
"The only way is to think about the next game. We are taking it game by game and the lads know that. The supporters understand that as well. This is another step but there's a long way away.
"We have a good group of players and they're pulling together, with great supporters behind them. It's working.
"There's a long way to go, 40 games, but we can enjoy the weekend."

Daily Mail 15/9/07
Beckford gives Leeds a big lift
Bristol Rovers 0 Leeds United 3
Jermaine Beckford fired Leeds United off the bottom of League One with two classy goals at the Memorial Stadium last night.
The former Wealdstone striker scored in each half as Leeds maintained their 100 per cent start to the league campaign.
A sixth straight victory was enough to lift Dennis Wise's side out of the relegation places, continuing the club's remarkable recovery from the 15-point penalty imposed by the Football League.
But Rovers manager Paul Trollope was left to rue a series of missed chances as his side surrendered their unbeaten league record.
United opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Beckford ran into space and flicked in a cross from Sebastien Carole.
The hosts dominated for long periods but Craig Disley wasted their best opportunity in the 25th minute, nodding wide a free header from a Ryan Green corner.
And Rovers had a strong penalty appeal turned down after Bryan Anthony's header hit a flailing arm.
But Tresor Kandol put the result beyond doubt with a close-range finish on 77 minutes before Beckford's sublime overhead kick completed United's victory in injury-time.
Yorkshire Evening Post 12/9/07
Leeds United move to tie up strike pair
By Phil Hay
Leeds United are in negotiations with strikers Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford over new contracts at Elland Road.
United have opened discussions with the representatives of Kandol and Beckford after witnessing their contribution to the club's sequence of five straight league victories. Kandol is League One's top scorer with four goals, and Beckford claimed his third of the season with a sublime chip during Saturday's 2-0 win over Hartlepool United. Their form led manager Dennis Wise to initiate contract talks at the end of last month, just three weeks into the new campaign, with fears already growing that the January transfer window will see widespread interest in both players.

Kandol signed for Leeds from Barnet at the start of this year, and his present deal at Elland Road runs to the end of the 2009-10 season. Beckford, meanwhile, is under contract until the summer of 2009, but the 23-year-old attracted repeated offers from Scunthorpe United during the summer - peaking at £200,000, according to Leeds - and United are anxious to provide greater security for two of their most valuable assets.

Wise said: "We needed to get the (transfer) window out the way first, but it was always on my mind. They both love it here and they want to stay here so I told the club to sort them out and look after them. They deserve it. It's only just started, two weeks ago, and I'm not going to deal with it. But I want them to have new contracts.

"When players perform well it's only right that the manager says 'you should rip that up and have a new contract'. Some managers would leave it, but full credit to (Ken) Bates and to Shaun (Harvey) - they've done it straight away."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday Times 9/9/07
Beckford stars as Leeds march on
Leeds 2 Hartlepool 0
Pete Oliver at Elland Road
LEEDS UNITED’S match programme boldly carries their version of the “real’ League One table, which sees their team sitting firmly at the top with a 100% record. To the rest of the football world yesterday’s fifth successive win merely kept them anchored at the bottom.
But what isn’t open to debate is that Leeds are on the move, and this time in an upward direction with the 15-point penalty imposed by the Football League on the eve of the new season already wiped out.
Their best start to a season since winning the original League Championship in 1973-74 must be considered against the fact that they have never previously played at as low a level as this, but so far they have done all they can to try and make amends. Accordingly a season’s best crowd of 26,877 saw Leeds continue their winning run against a Hartlepool team that is also unrecognisable from some of its predecessors. When Leeds were launching a run of three consecutive top-four finishes in the Premier League eight years ago, Hartlepool avoided relegation to the Conference by a single place.
Now under the guidance of Danny Wilson and revitalised by Norwegian oil money, they are looking to build on last season’s promotion and in all but one area were a match for Leeds in their first ever league meeting. Yet while Richie Barker and James Brown were thwarted by the woodwork and countless other chances went astray, Leeds were razor-sharp from far fewer attacks with goals from Tresor Kandol and, with a brilliant finish, Jermaine Beckford.
The fact that Leeds were even playing on a day of international fixtures reflected their continued fall from grace as only one of their senior players was required by his country. But the absence of Jonathan Douglas, and his injured midfield partner Alan Thompson, did not appear to inhibit the home side too greatly as they took an 18th-minute lead through Kandol. The striker once endured an unhappy loan spell with Hartlepool’s neighbours Darlington, was again very much in the right place at the right time to head his fourth goal of the season from Frazer Richardson’s deep cross.
The pace of Leeds’s front line at times threatened to swamp Hartlepool but to their credit they clung on and hit back strongly before half-time, Richie Barker heading a Robbie Elliott free-kick against the underside of the bar. The benefit of the doubt was given to goalkeeper Casper Ankergren, who moments later beat away a fierce drive from Godwin Antwi.
However, any hopes Hartlepool had of extending their own winning run to four league games were seemingly ended just four minutes into the second half when Leeds doubled their lead thanks to a stunning goal from Beckford, controling Seb Carole’s long pass and beating towering goalkeeper Jan Budtz with a measured, angled chip.
Star man: Jermaine Beckford (Leeds)
Player ratings. Leeds: Ankergren 6, Richardson 6, Marques 5, Heath 5, Clapham 5, Prutton 5, Hughes 7, Howson 5 (Huntington 90min), Carole 7 (Westlake 83min), Beckford 8, Kandol 7 Hartlepool: Budtz 6, McCunnie 6, Nelson 6, Antwi 6, Elliott 6 (Gibb 67min), Monkhouse 6, Liddle 6, Humphreys 7, Brown 8, Barker 7, Moore 5 (Porter 74min)

Daily Mail 8/9/07
Former Newcastle chairman in talks over Leeds takeover
Freddy Shepherd, the ousted chairman of Newcastle United, is about to make a sensational swoop to buy Leeds United from Ken Bates.
He has already had discussions with Bates, the owner of the ill-fated Yorkshire club, and takeover negotiations are believed to be at an advanced stage.
Shepherd and Bates were spotted dining together on Tyneside last week and independent sources have confirmed that Bates could be willing to sell — and that Shepherd is ready to buy.
Although Shepherd is still a regular visitor to St James' Park where he has a box, close associates have revealed that he has been missing the excitement of being involved in the game and recognises the potential of reinvigorating one of the biggest clubs in the country.
Only three months ago, Shepherd made more than £37.6million by selling his family's 28 per cent stake in Newcastle to billionaire Mike Ashley and he is thought to regard Leeds as the perfect opportunity to make a quick return to football.
Despite their relegation to League One and the 15-point penalty imposed for financial rule breaches, Leeds remain an attractive investment because of their pedigree, strong fan base and development potential around Elland Road and the training ground at Thorpe Arch.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs last month dropped court action over the controversial sale of Leeds back to a company run by Bates after the former Chelsea chairman had put the club into administration with debts of £35m at the end of last season.
While tax chiefs may still seek to recoup a sizeable portion of the £8m they are owed, Bates is now effectively in control of a club which is virtually debt-free.
The sale process, to Shepherd or any other party, will nonetheless take some time.
First, the old football club company, Leeds United Association Football Club Ltd, will be taken from administration into liquidation, either by administrators KPMG or another firm.
The money received from Bates for the club will then be used to pay off non-football creditors at a reported rate of about 11p in the pound. Once that hurdle is overcome, the club, now under the banner of Leeds United 2007 Ltd, a company in which Bates and allies Shaun Harvey and Mark Taylor are directors, will be able to re-apply for full FA membership.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Yorkshire Post 1/9/07
Result: Leeds United 1 Luton 0
By Richard Sutcliffe
at Elland Road
TRESOR KANDOL'S first half goal was enough for Leeds United to claim their best start to a league season in almost a quarter of a century.
The former Barnet forward struck just before the break to capitalise on fine work by partner Jermaine Beckford and ensure United claimed a fourth consecutive victory.
It is the first time Leeds have enjoyed such a start in the league since Eddie Gray was manager in 1984 and means that another win next week against Hartlepool United will mean the draconian 15-point penalty imposed by the Football League will have been wiped out.
United broke the deadlock in front of a magnificent crowd of 26,856 when good work from Jermaine Beckford on the left saw the ball worked to Kandol and he smashed the ball past David Forde in the Hatters' goal from 12 yards out. The lead was deserved with Leeds having wasted a golden chance to open the scoring just before the half-hour when Beckford shot wide despite being played through on the goalkeeper.
The opening owed much to the vision of Tresor Kandol with the striker looking up before chipping an inch-perfect ball for his partner to chase. Defender Keith Keane tried to cut out the ball but failed to connect, which presented Beckford with a glorious chance that he shot wide from 10 yards out. It was a big let-off for Luton who also seemed to get away with a decent appeal for a penalty in the seventh minute when Kandol appeared to be impeded by Chris Coyne only for the referee to wave away the home side's appeals.
Kevin Blackwell's side failed to muster a shot on target in the first half with their best opening seeing former Sheffield Wednesday striker Drew Talbot get to the by-line before drilling the ball across the United six-yard box but away from his two team-mates.
The visitors improved after the break with Paul Furlong putting the ball in the net six minutes after the restart only for his 'goal' to be ruled out for a tug on Rui Marques.
David Bell also came within a whisker of equalising with a stinging 25-yard shot that flew just inches over the crossbar with Casper Ankergren well beaten on the hour. Beckford went close for United but, in the end, it did not matter as Kandol's goal proved enough to cut the club's points deficit to three. 1/9/07
UNITED 1 (Kandol 44) LUTON 0
United: Ankergren, Richardson, Heath, Marques, Hughes, Prutton, Thompson (Clapham 73), Douglas, Carole, Kandol, Beckford. Subs: Martin, Howson, Parker, Ameobi.
Luton: Forde, Goodall, Perry, Coyne, Bell, Currie (Morgan 64), Edwards, Talbot (McVeigh 76), Keane, Spring, Furlong (Andrew 76). Subs: Hutchison, Robinson.
Referee: C Oliver.
Att: 26,856

United were going in search of a fourth league win in a row against Kevin Blackwell's Luton, and boss Dennis Wise made just one change from the team which won at Nottingham Forest the previous weekend, recalling Andrew Hughes in place of loan man Jamie Clapham.
And Wise's men started brightly, winning a couple of early corners. A penalty appeal was also waved away when Tresor Kandol went down under pressure from Luton defender Chris Coyne.
Luton goalkeeper David Forde was tested for the first time on 10 minutes when Kandol tried his luck with a low shot from distance.
United played the neater football during the opening 20 minutes, and other than a couple of early crosses, Luton's only real opportunity came when David Bell screwed a shot wide of the mark from outside of the box.
The best chance of the half came on 28 minutes when Kandol played a lovely ball to send Jermaine Beckford through on goal, but the striker's finish was wide of the mark.
United were rewarded for their efforts moments before half-time, though, and it was Kandol who got his third goal of the season.
Strike partner Beckford was again the provider and Kandol delivered a good finish to give United a deserved half-time lead.
There was a scare six minutes into the second half when Paul Furlong converted a cross from close range, but the former Birmingham marksman had strayed offside.
United's response was immediate and Kandol was again on the end of a good ball when he fired into the side-netting.
At the other end, Bell tried his luck from distance with a vicious, dipping effort, which flew inches over the bar.
But United continued to look assured and Forde spread himself well to deny Beckford before Luton scrambled away the corner.
Casper Ankergren also made a good save when he got down to a David Edwards shot, fired low through a ruck of players.
The game continued at a good pace and Alan Thompson sent a free-kick wide of the mark before Kandol headed a long throw just wide of the upright.
The visitors had a go in the closing stages, but United were never seriously troubled as they recorded a fourth straight league victory.
The win makes it United's best start to a league season since the 1984/85 season when Eddie Gray was manager.
Daily Mail 1/9/07
A relish for the scraps keeps Bates hungry for a challenge with Leeds
Ken Bates rolls into Monte Carlo's Casino Square on a bus.
'From my apartment to here costs 45p,' he says proudly before taking his usual table at the Cafe de Paris. 'But why travel here any other way? Why waste the money?'
He hates wasting money, just as he hates what he found when he first took charge of Leeds United in January 2005.
'It wasn't a business,' he says as he reflects on a turbulent two-and-a-half years at Elland Road — a tale of administration, relegation and what has now become a fierce battle with the Football League in the wake of their controversial 15-point deduction.
'Leeds were very similar to Chelsea when I walked in there 20-odd years ago,' he says. 'Rotten from top to bottom. I was stunned by the club's inefficiency when it came to making money.
'Loads of paperwork churned out with no information. Too many overpaid people not doing much work. I said the Leeds motto was: “Find a hard way of doing something and do it like that.”
'I remember Melvyn Levi, who used to be one of the directors, telling me he would get 20 or 30 tickets for each game for people he said were important, people who can help Leeds. I said they could help by buying a f*****g ticket. That would be a start.
'Well I put a stop to all that. They all went bananas but why should the guy behind the goal, who really struggles to pay, subsidise these parasites in their big cars with their two foreign holidays a year and their big houses? Why should they get it for nothing? We had to educate them a bit.'
The players also had to be told.
'They wanted 150 tickets for every game and when I cut it to 75, Gary Kelly went bonkers,' says Bates. 'He said they needed them. I said “Well, if you need them you can bloody buy them.” My son comes to watch and even he pays for his ticket.
'I'll never forget a story Joe Smith, the old Blackpool manager, told me. One of his players asked him for extra tickets for his family. Joe said: “F**k me, if they won't pay to watch you, then how can you expect anyone else to?”'
Like most people, Bates says Peter Ridsdale, the former Leeds chairman who earned the nickname 'Father Christmas' because of his extravagance and generosity, has to shoulder much of the blame for the club's financial collapse.
'I actually persuaded Peter to stand for a place on the FA board,' he says with a shake of the head.
'He's a good salesman but he's not a businessman. If you're just a salesman you need good back-up and there wasn't any back-up.
'Ridsdale was a spendaholic and he had nobody questioning what he was doing. He had players on very long contracts. Look at Gary Kelly. When he left in the summer he got a £600,000 loyalty bonus.'
It is the morning after a heavy night and Bates orders a glass of champagne, an espresso coffee and something that tastes utterly disgusting. 'It's called a Fernet Branca,' he says with a chuckle.
'An old business colleague of mine urged me to have one in Dublin and it works a treat. You down it in one and then follow it with a glass of water. Here, there's a tip from me to every reader of the Daily Mail.'
Even at 75, his appetite for life is as insatiable as his appetite for football and business. 'In the 18 months between selling Chelsea and buying Leeds I got bored out of my bloody mind,' he says.
'I played the stock market and watched football on TV. I fell in love with Jeff Stelling, probably because I saw him nearly as much as my wife. It's the best football programme on TV.
'My wife was delighted when I went back to football because she could see I was bored. Susannah and I have a great relationship that is built on laughter. I get out of bed every morning naked, she starts laughing, and we go from there.'
But why Leeds? 'I was flattered by the fact that 36 clubs asked me to join them,' he says. 'But you've got to have a challenge and for me that meant taking over a big club like Leeds and setting myself the target of getting it back where it belongs. We want to get back to the Premier League, rebuild the stadium and make it a commercial success. It keeps me on my toes.'
As the Football League and Sir Brian Mawhinney are beginning to discover, Bates is as bellicose as ever. When he clashed with a radio station in Leeds, he responded by launching a direct rival. 'We've already got 35,000 listeners,' he says of Yorkshire Radio.
For legal reasons, he has to be careful what he says about the Football League and their decision to deduct 15 points for what they considered a breach of their rules on administration, a decision that was taken after a vote by all the other clubs in the Football League.
'We have asked the Football Association to launch an inquiry,'
Bates says. 'Because how can you be judged by people who have a vested interest? It should be independent. Whether you like the outcome of the Tevez affair or not, at least the decision was made by an independent panel.'
Whatever the outcome, the situation appears to have galvanised the club. Had it not been for the points deduction, Dennis Wise and his team would be meeting Luton Town — and his predecessor Kevin Blackwell — today as leaders after three successive victories. As it is, they sit at the bottom of League One on minus six points.
'In the match programme we print what we call 'The Real Table' and we are top,' says Bates, who lives in Monaco. 'And page 15 is actually page minus 15. Dennis is doing a great job but it has brought the team and fans together.'
By now a drink has become lunch with Susannah and friends and the subject of Chelsea and his decision to sell to Roman Abramovich eventually comes up.
'I still speak to a lot of Chelsea fans and, while they are happy to have the success, they say it's just not the same any more,' he says. 'To quote Peter Kenyon, it's a brand rather than a club now, and a lot of the fans struggle to relate to that.
'When I sold it to Abramovich I thought they would continue what I'd been doing, although obviously with more money. I thought the club would evolve. Instead, however, there has been a revolution.
'My relationship with them disintegrated and it probably dates back to when I was sitting with Eugene Tenenbaum (a Chelsea director) one day in August 2003. I said: “Manchester United must be laughing their bollocks off.” He said: “Why?” I said: “Veron and Kenyon. They've sold you two lemons in three weeks.”
'Look at Veron, Crespo and Mutu. That was £100million and none of them were any good. Before I left I took an option out on Joe Cole and Scott Parker, and they could have had them for £6m each. But Abramovich didn't want them. He said they weren't good enough. I said they're the best two kids in England and I've stolen them.
'The following January they paid £17m for them. Too many people were making a fortune out of him by recommending people from overseas.'
And, in the opinion of Bates, wasting the Russian's money — and that's something the man just cannot abide. 31/8/07
Portuguese left winger Filipe Da Costa became Dennis Wise's third capture on deadline day when he put pen to paper on an initial one-year deal with the club late on Friday night.
Filipe has joined United from Ionokis and joins fellow deadline day signings Paul Huntington and Alan Martin at the club.
However, Gylfi Einarsson left the club on Friday evening and is now a free agent.
The Icelandic international parted company with the club after making 25 appearances in almost two years.
The midfielder, who is currently recovering from injury, scored his only goal for the club at Burnley in early 2005 on his second appearance.
He made his debut in January 2005 after originally joining from Lillestrom in November 2004.

Newcastle United central defender Paul Huntington has joined United for an undisclosed fee.
Paul becomes the second signing of transfer deadine day, following goalkeeper Alan Martin, who completed his move from Motherwell on Friday morning.
Carlisle-born Paul, who turns 20 on September 17, has featured 11 times for Newcastle United.
Paul, who won the Jackie Milburn Trophy in the summer of 2005, an award given to the most promising young players in the north east, made his Toon debut last season and scored his only goal for the club against Tottenham in January.
Highly-rated Paul started out with Newcastle's Academy - he joined up with the first team squad for their Intertoto matches in 2005 - and has represented England at under-18 level.
Paul will provide much-needed cover and competition for Rui Marques and Matt Heath at the heart of the defence.

Yorkshire Evening Post 31/8/07
Taxman pulls out of Leeds United court challenge
By Paul Robinson
Leeds United's summer of discontent took a dramatic final twist today as the taxman abandoned a legal challenge to the club's administrators.
The concerns of HM Revenue and Customs about the way accountancy firm KPMG handled United's time in administration were due to be heard at the High Court on Monday.
Today, though, the Revenue confirmed it had formally withdrawn its challenge.
However, it said it would continue to take all possible steps to secure a "fair return" on the £7.7m in tax and VAT it was owed when Leeds went into administration.
News that the legal challenge had been dropped was welcomed by Leeds United Supporters' Club chairman Ray Fell. But he also questioned the motives behind the Revenue's decision to take KPMG to court in the first place – a move which indirectly led to United being docked 15 points by the Football League.
He said: "If this challenge had never happened there would have been a lot less heartache and worry for fans. The taxman's unhappiness with KPMG related in part to the voting process used at a meeting on June 1, when United's creditors backed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) deal to resell Leeds to chairman Ken Bates.
The CVA would have been worth just 1p-in-the-pound to creditors like the Revenue.
Its opposition prompted KPMG to scrap the CVA and put the club on the open market before again agreeing to sell to Mr Bates. That second deal could be worth as much as 52.9p-in-the-pound to creditors.
Yet the Football League claimed that, by failing to exit administration via a CVA, Leeds had breached its insolvency policy.
As a result the club began its first ever season in the third tier of English football on minus 15 points.
United have said they will appeal to the Football Association against that punishment.
Today a spokeswoman for HM Revenue and Customs said its legal challenge had become "academic" when the CVA was ditched in early July.
She would not be drawn on why it had taken the Revenue nearly two months to formally kill off the case.
The spokeswoman was unable to elaborate on what steps the taxman now intended to take regarding the money owed by United.
KPMG declined to comment.
A United spokesman said the club was "following developments with interest". 31/8/07
Leeds United have beaten off stiff competition to capture Scotland youth international goalkeeper Alan Martin.
Alan, who was at Motherwell, has signed an initial two-year deal with United.
The club have agreed to pay Motherwell an undisclosed amount of compensation.
The highly-rated 18-year-old, a member of Scotland's under-19 team, was attracting interest from several SPL clubs, but has opted to move south of the border.
Alan, who will wear the squad number 12, will provide competition for Casper Ankergren at Elland Road.
The Glasgow-born keeper's future has been the subject of speculation after he indicated a desire to leave Motherwell during the summer, and he has impressed in training with United.
The deal was completed on deadline day, and Alan said: "I'm glad it's all gone through now. I'm on top of the world to be signing for a club like Leeds. The facilities here are top class and I'm looking forward to working with the manager and coaching staff and becoming a better player."
He added: "The 15 points doesn't mean anything, it's already down to minus six, and the players here have a good chance to make history."

Yorkshire Post 31/8/07
Taxman drops Leeds Utd legal challenge
By Rob Waugh
THE dramatic saga surrounding Leeds United's financial collapse appeared to be on the verge of closure last night after the taxman formally withdrew a legal challenge to the club's administrators, KPMG.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had been due to face KPMG in the High Court on Monday after initially launching a challenge in early July to the way the administrators secured a creditors' agreement to resell the club to Ken Bates. Under the deal, creditors would have only received 1p for every pound Leeds owed them.HMRC, which was owed £7.7m when Leeds
went into administration on May 4, went to court only an hour before a 28-day deadline for creditors to challenge the controversial company voluntary arrangement (CVA) was due to pass.
As a result, KPMG responded by putting the club up for sale in a move which effectively bypassed the existing CVA. Mr Bates won the ensuing auction and has since resumed control of the club which nevertheless suffered a 15-point penalty for exiting administration outside the normal CVA procedure.
The controversial decision to put the club up for sale outside the CVA process eventually secured a better deal for creditors, who will receive an initial 11p in the pound, potentially significantly more if the club returns to the Premiership in the next ten years.
KPMG and HMRC both declined to comment last night. 30/8/07
United boss Dennis Wise has been rewarded for a 100 per cent start to the League One campaign by being named Coca-Cola League One Manager of the Month for August.
Leeds and Leyton Orient, managed by Martin Ling, are the only two clubs in the entire league still with 100 per cent starts to the season.
Wisey has presided over United's best league start for 12 years, but said his latest accolade counted for little in the wake of the club's 15-point deduction.
"It's very nice, but it means not too much to me to be honest.," said Dennis. "The Football League? After what they've done to us this is like a little tap on the back saying 'we do apologise, here's Manager of the Month.' It's laughable isn't it when we're bottom of the league? I'd rather have my 15 points back than Manager of the Month. Nothing from the Football League this year will be going near my mantelpiece after what they've done to us. I just can't accept what they've done to us this year, but I don't want to harp on about it."