Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yorkshire Evening Post 31/10/07
Dave Bassett bound for Leeds United
By Phil Hay
DAVE BASSETT was today on the brink of becoming Leeds United's new assistant manager.
The 63-year-old has been identified as Leeds' first-choice replacement for Gustavo Poyet, and United were working today to reach a deal which would bring Bassett to Elland Road for the rest of this season. Dennis Wise had other alternatives available to him - notably Ray Wilkins, his managerial colleague at Millwall - but he has turned instead to the man who launched his playing career at Wimbledon back in 1985.
Ex-Wimbledon boss Bassett signed Wise from Southampton when the midfielder was 18 years of age, and a five-year stint at Plough Lane was the making of Wise, who went on to join Chelsea for £1.6million in 1990. Bassett also worked with Wise at Leicester six years ago, and the pair were reunited briefly as joint-caretakers of Southampton in 2005 following Harry Redknapp's exit from St Mary's. They are now poised to come together for a fourth time as Leeds prepare for life after Poyet, who stepped down as assistant at Elland Road to take up the position of first-team coach with Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
United were in no urgent rush to fill the vacancy, but Wise has singled out Bassett as his favoured candidate and it seemed likely today that his long-time mentor would accept the opportunity to work with Leeds.
Bassett could be in place in time for Saturday's visit to Carlisle, but of greater concern to Wise was securing a number two before his three-match touchline ban begins ahead of United's FA Cup first-round tie at Hereford United on November 9.
Wise will also watch from the stands during the Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash with Bury and the forthcoming league match at home to his former club Swindon Town, and Poyet's departure was threatening to leave Leeds short of numbers in the dug-out next month.
Alan Thompson acted as Wise's assistant against Millwall last weekend but was not a candidate to assume the role permanently, and Bassett's arrival would add an experienced campaigner to United's ranks.
Bassett has worked with eight different clubs including Barnsley and Sheffield United, where he took charge of almost 400 matches between 1988 and 1995.
He has been absent from football management since leaving Southampton in 2005, but he now appears ready to resume his career. He would join United with the club creeping ever closer to the top of League One and only four points behind league leaders Carlisle.
Leeds have not commented on the possibility of Bassett's arrival, and it is understood that an agreement was still to be confirmed this morning.
Another potential bonus for Wise was due to be delivered this afternoon, with midfielder Shaun Derry lined up for his first competitive outing for more than 10 months during United's reserve clash with Hartlepool at Elland Road. Derry looks set to leave Leeds on loan next month after a long spell on the sidelines with a heel injury.
But a successful outing would give Wise another available midfielder within his squad.
Thompson, Andrew Hughes and Radostin Kishishev were all absent through injury during Saturday's 4-2 win over Millwall, and Wise has previously admitted that selection problems could offer Derry a way back into United's first team.
Portuguese winger Filipe Da Costa was also expected to receive a run-out during this afternoon's second-string clash.

Yorkshire Post 30/10/07
Wise ban hastens Leeds search for No 2
By Richard Sutcliffe
Chief Football Writer
An impending touchline ban for Dennis Wise means Leeds United's search for a successor to Gus Poyet is now a major priority at Elland Road.
The Uruguayan yesterday completed his switch to Tottenham Hotspur after an undisclosed compensation package had been agreed between the two clubs late on Sunday night.
Poyet's departure leaves Wise looking for a new assistant and a host of names have already been linked with the post including Dave Bassett – who has been a mentor to Wise throughout his career – and Italy Under-21 coach Gianfranco Zola. Suggestions Ray Wilkins is in the running are, however, believed to be wide of the mark.
Wise, who along with Carlisle's John Ward and Dean Wilkins of Brighton is on a three-man shortlist to be October's Manager of the Month, has made a feature of surrounding himself with personnel he can trust so United technical director Gwyn Williams could assume a more prominent coaching role.
The appointment will be a key one with Wise banished to the stands for three games next month after yesterday being found guilty of verbally abusing a referee by the Football Association.
Should Poyet's successor not have been found by the time the touchline suspension begins on Friday, November 9 when Leeds face Hereford in the FA Cup first round it will leave just goalkeeping coach Andy Beasley and Joe Allon in the dugout.
When contacted by the Yorkshire Post, former Sheffield United manager Bassett said rumours of him possibly joining Leeds's coaching staff were "news to me".
But he added: "Knowing Dennis as I do, he will be thinking very carefully about what to do next. He is not the type to rush into a decision like this.
"Losing Gus will be a blow because they were good mates. Most managerial duos are people who know each other very well and have a strong bond.
"But I am sure Dennis will be even more determined to push on. He had a difficult time last season, but, like when I was at Sheffield United in 1988, sometimes you have to take a step back to go two forward.
"Relegation hurt Dennis, but he has got Leeds flying now and it is great to see things going so well for him."
Alan Thompson stood in for Poyet on Saturday during the 4-2 win over Millwall, but the United captain is hoping to return to action in time for the tie at Edgar Street, which was yesterday selected for live transmission by Sky Television.
The 33-year-old midfielder has already ruled himself out of the running to replace Poyet on a permanent basis by insisting his priority remains playing.
Thompson said: "I do not think I will become the No 2. I might step into a coaching capacity at some stage, but I don't think I will be the assistant manager. The manager wants me to carry on playing."
As part of next month's touchline ban, Wise will also have to sit out the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie with Bury on November 13 and the following Saturday's League One meeting with former club Swindon Town.
The charge related to alleged comments made by the Leeds chief to referee Danny McDermid during half-time in the 1-1 draw with Gillingham in September.
At a Football Association hearing, Wise was fined £5,000 and handed a ban. A spokesman said: "The Regulatory Commission invoked a previous suspended one-match touchline ban and issued a further two-match ban. In reaching its decision, the Commission took into account Wise's poor recent disciplinary record."
In a further twist, the FA have also charged McDermid with using abusive and/or insulting words towards Wise and the official has until November 13 to respond.
Along with the search for an assistant, Wise is also considering a loan move for a striker after Wayne Andrews returned to Coventry City after a month at Elland Road.
Mark De Vries, who joined Leeds on loan at the same time as Andrews, went back to Leicester City last week after suffering a broken toe in the win over Brighton.
It means Leeds have no back-up to Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol due to Tore Andre Flo having undergone an operation on his foot and Leon Constantine, who is yet to make his debut, only having returned to training this month. 229/10/07
At a Football Association Regulatory Commission hearing, United manager Dennis Wise was fined £5,000 and given a three-match touchline ban.
The boss was charged with using abusive and/or insulting words towards referee Danny McDermid at half-time of the game against Gillingham on September 29.
An FA statement added: "The Commission invoked a previous suspended one match touchline ban and issued a further two-match ban. In reaching its decision, the Commission took into account Wise's poor recent disciplinary record."
The touchline ban becomes effective from Thursday November 8 and will cover the games against Hereford (FAC), Bury (JPT), and Swindon Town's league visit to Elland Road.
The FA has also charged referee Danny McDermid with using abusive and/or insulting words towards the United boss.
The incident is alleged to have occurred following the 1-1 draw at Gillingham. McDermid has until November 13 to respond to the charge.

Yorkshire Evening Post 2/10/07
Match report: Life after Gus is nothing to fear for Leeds United
Leeds United 4 Millwall 2
By Phil Hay
Leeds United's post-match huddle has become symbolic of the collective mood which is breeding inside Elland Road this season.
In the aftermath of what threatened to be their biggest victory of the campaign on Saturday – and what should, in the circumstances, be seen as their most satisfying – the habitual gathering lacked its usual euphoria. It appeared as if something, or someone, was missing.
The absentee was Gustavo Poyet, who it seems has taken his seat in United's dugout for the final time as the their assistant manager. The Uruguayan was still to confirm his departure to Tottenham Hotspur this morning, but the crisis at White Hart Lane is such that Spurs' offer to Poyet will be beyond his refusal. Dennis Wise knows, as he must have known on Friday, that their professional partnership is at an end.
It is not a scenario that Wise would have envisaged this time last week, nor a development that aids the order and continuity that he has established at Elland Road.
But United are that type of club, and if Wise has not learned already to predict the unpredictable then he never will. Poyet's departure seems like a problem. Wise, in reality, has dealt with far worse. The instruction to his players in the minutes before kick-off on Saturday will have been to avoid missing a step.Poyet was purposefully absent from both the touchline and from Elland Road, a decision intended to minimise the attention on the doubt surrounding his position, and United's response was masterful. As they sat on a 4-0 lead with half-an-hour remaining, it was worth remembering that the whole of a club should always be greater than the sum of its individual parts.
With or without Poyet Leeds are now in a position to decimate League One. Saturday's win moved Wise's players into the play-off positions for the first time this season, and next weekend's visit to leaders Carlisle United is another opportunity to creep towards the summit of the table. It is likely that, by the end of November, they will be there or thereabouts.United are not infinitely superior to the rest of the division, but the gulf created by both results and momentum is tangible. Wise's line-up was below full-strength on Saturday, and the speculation surrounding Poyet did not lend itself to calm preparation. The fact that Radostin Kishishev had strained his hamstring in Leeds' final training session on Friday complicated an awkward situation.
It may, on reflection, have been the best opportunity so far for an opposing team to damage United's unbeaten league record, but Millwall were throttled by three goals inside six minutes soon after half-time. In the most difficult of circumstances, the victory provided enormous satisfaction; Poyet, it must be said, was barely missed.
Millwall competed gamely for the first half-hour, but once David Prutton opened the scoring with a screaming finish in the 37th minute, the result was a formality.
The visitors imploded in a manner which does not bode well for the remainder of their season, and caretaker manager Richard Shaw will have a hard job of making the position his on a permanent basis if future results follow suit.
Two late replies softened the scoreline, but Leeds were coasting to the finishing line by the time Ahmet Brkovic reduced their lead to two goals with 14 minutes remaining. As if to demonstrate how reluctant he was to dwell on Poyet's departure, Wise's reaction in the dressing room afterwards was to criticise his players for their late concessions.
United's manager pays close attention to detail, but when Jonathan Douglas established their four-goal advantage in the 60th minute, United's performance was beginning to border on perfection.
The Republic of Ireland international delivered his most effective display of the season and was rewarded with two opportunist, but clinical, goals in the space of only three minutes.
Douglas struck once with a shot on the turn and again with a low free-kick, taking advantage as Millwall's composure deserted them. Had Leeds not settled for their commanding lead and allowed Shaw's side back into the game, the visitors would have endured a horrible run to the final whistle. Still, highlighting United's failure to protect a clean sheet seemed like picking fault for the sake of it.
Without Alan Thompson and Andrew Hughes, and then deprived of Kishishev, Wise had turned to Ian Westlake to fill the vacancy alongside Douglas in the centre of midfield, and an unfamiliar partnership underpinned a comfortable victory once Millwall's threat had been extinguished.
The visitors had the ball in the net in the third minute after Will Hoskins finished off a quick exchange involving Gary Alexander, but Leeds were bailed out by an offside flag, and once Danny Senda had guided a measured lob a foot beyond Casper Ankergren's post, United began to exert themselves.
Jermaine Beckford pulled a left-foot shot wide of Millwall's goal, and Tresor Kandol failed to trouble goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley with a free header from Frazer Richardson's cross which was begging to be finished. Prutton, however, proved more exact with the searing strike which brought the opening goal after 36 minutes.
Sebastien Carole lost Senda on the left wing with a clever piece of skill and whipped the ball into Millwall's box. Shaw's weak header fell to the feet of Prutton, who took a touch to control the ball before driving a rising shot from 10 yards into the top corner of Pidgeley's net.
Millwall's keeper came under immediate pressure and was forced to beat away a shot from Douglas at the foot of his right-hand post five minutes before the break, but having excelled himself once Pidgeley was guilty of gifting Leeds their second goal in the 53rd minute.
The former Chelsea trainee drilled a straightforward clearance against Kandol, and was helpless to prevent Beckford from running the rebound into an empty net. The floodgates opened quickly, and two rapid finishes from Douglas put the result beyond doubt with an hour on the clock.
Millwall's willingness to struggle on spoke highly of their attitude, and Hoskins reduced the lead with an easy finish in the 65th minute after Jay Simpson's run had opened up Wise's defence. Brkovic then guided home a glorious glancing header which dipped into the net at Ankergren's far post, but the goal served to shake Leeds from their temporary slumber and ensure a quiet finish.
After the week that was, Wise would not have welcomed another nasty surprise.

Leeds United fury over Gus exit
Gus Poyet today confirmed his exit from Leeds United after agreeing to become Tottenham Hotspur's new first-team coach.
United opened the way for Poyet's move to London by agreeing compensation with Spurs last night, and the Uruguayan accepted Tottenham's offer this morning after holding talks with the Premiership club. But Leeds have been incensed by Spurs' approach for their assistant manager, and the way in which their attempt to lure him to White Hart Lane has been handled. Poyet will work under manager Juande Ramos, whose switch from Sevilla to Tottenham was completed on Saturday, and the move has taken him back to the club where he finished his playing career. Spurs have also named Marcos Alvarez, who worked with Ramos at Sevilla, as an additional first-team coach. Ray Wilkins – Dennis Wise's former managerial colleague at Millwall – appears a natural successor to Poyet. He is available and would be an experienced and knowledgeable replacement.
Leeds were first made aware of Spurs' intentions by a fax sent to Elland Road's general fax number at 11.39pm on Thursday evening, hours after news of Poyet's probable departure had begun circulating. The development prompted suspicions at Leeds that Tottenham had mounted an illegal approach for their assistant. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is believed to have waited until Saturday night before contacting United personally, when it is understood he spoke with Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey.
The two clubs were still haggling over compensation yesterday afternoon, and an undisclosed figure was finally agreed late last night.
Poyet was absent from Saturday's game between Leeds and Millwall but sent text messages to a number of United's players beforehand wishing them luck. He had missed Friday's training session at Thorp Arch after indicating that he intended to listen to Tottenham's offer.
But United chairman Ken Bates, who was first made aware of Spurs' interest by television reports, dismissed claims that Poyet's relationship with Leeds manager Dennis Wise had broken down as a result of his interest in a return to London.
Bates said: "All these reports about them falling out are complete rubbish.
"Gus is the innocent party in all this. The reason he wasn't at Elland Road (on Saturday) was because we knew it would turn into a media circus and distract everyone from the game."
Poyet's departure seemed likely from the moment United announced that he would not be in the dugout for the club's 13th league game of the season. United produced a convincing performance in his absence and moved up to sixth place in League One with a 4-2 victory over Millwall, but Wise is now beginning his search for a new assistant.
Alan Thompson has ruled himself out of the running for the position after stepping into Poyet's shoes temporarily at the weekend. Thompson was already certain to miss the clash with Millwall through injury and was invited to operate as Wise's assistant, but United's captain is still seen as a central member of the playing squad at Elland Road and does not appear ready to switch to the touchline on a permanent basis. The 33-year-old said: "I don't think I'll become the number two.
"I might step into a coaching capacity at some stage but I don't think I'll be the assistant manager. The manager wants me to carry on playing.
"Gus has great experience and he's a great coach but things move on. We've got good players here and it's not about what goes on on the touchline. It's about what goes on over the white line.
"He will be missed but I would think he'd be replaceable."
Fellow midfielder David Prutton admitted Poyet's loss would be keenly felt by the squad at Elland Road, but insisted none of his team-mates should be surprised to see the Uruguayan moving on. "With prospects and opportunities springing up, it's always going to be a game of change," said Prutton. "It's a reflection of the way football is. "It's not the best because he's a nice fella and he has a lot of input in the team. I've not got a bad word to say about him – he's spot on.
"But things always change and I'm sure we've got plans for how to deal with it."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Times 28/10/07
Leeds take it easy
Leeds 4 Millwall 2
Richard Rae at Elland Road
Gus Poyet may be leaving - the Uruguyan is expected to accept the post of assistant to Juande Ramos at Spurs tomorrow - but Leeds march on. Dennis Wise cut an isolated figure without his long-standing side-kick, but the United boss celebrated a year in charge by overseeing his team’s 11th win in 13 games; incredibly, given the 15-point handicap under which they began the season, it took them into a playoff position.
Yet Millwall almost punctured the bubble of anniversary good-will within five minutes of the start. Will Hoskins and Gary Alexander exchanged passes in the penalty area before Hoskins lifted the ball over Casper Ankergren and into the United net, only to see the linesman flagging for offside.
Jamie O’Hara headed Ahmet Brkovic’s cross over the bar, and Brkovic himself saw a deflected shot spin wide of the post as the visitors, initially, looked the more dangerous team.
As the half drew on, however, Leeds began to find an attacking rhythm of their own. Jermaine Beckford twice shot wide, Seb Carole fired straight at Millwall keeper Lenny Pidgeley and Tresor Kandol headed past a post.
Shortly before the break they went ahead. Carole beat Danny Senda down the left and though his cross was half-cleared, the ball arrived at the feet of David Prutton, who curled a right-footed shot beyond Pidgeley.
Hoskins almost embarrassed Ankergren at his near post shortly after the restart, but it was Pidgeley who was the goalkeeper left blushing when his attempted clearance thumped against Beckford. The forward collected the rebound and slid the ball into an empty net.
Jonathan Douglas, allowed time to turn and shoot inside the area, made the game safe with a third; two minutes later, he drove a free kick through a feeble wall to make it four.
Humiliation beckoned for Millwall, but Leeds perceptibly relaxed. Hoskins pinched one back with a deflected shot, Brkovic another with a header to start the nerves jangling, but Leeds tightened up again and should have scored at least one more before the whistle.
Wise chose not to appear for the postmatch press conference, leaving his “acting” assistant Alan Thompson to field the questions about Poyet. He did his job solidly, revealing Poyet had texted all the players and staff to wish them luck before the game.
“I think the boys were all a bit flat and down yesterday when Dennis said Gus was possibly going,” said Thompson. “He’s been a big part of what’s happening here and he’ll be missed.
“But in the end it’s about what goes on over the white line and we have good players here.”
For Millwall, assistant manager Colin West said: “I thought the players battled well after the mad 10 minutes at the start of the second half.”
There is a sense of inevitability about Leeds’s rise now. Up by Easter, if not before.
Star man: Jonathan Douglas (Leeds)
Player ratings. Leeds United: Ankergren 6, Richardson 7, Heath 7, Rui Marques 7, Clapham 6, Prutton 7, Douglas 8, Westlake 6, Carole 7 (Weston 77min, 5), Beckford 7 (Da Costa 89min), Kandol 7
Millwall: Pidgeley 5, Senda 5, Robinson 5, Shaw 5, Frampton 6, Brkovic 5, Fuseini 4 (Simpson 61min, 5), Dunne 6, O’Hara 5, Hoskins 6, Alexander 5

Saturday, October 27, 2007 27/10/07
United boss Dennis Wise was dealt an injury blow ahead of the game when loan signing Radostin Kishishev suffered a muscle strain during the final moments of Friday's training session, and was ruled out. Ian Westlake joined Jonathan Douglas at the centre of the midfield.
Wise was also joined by skipper Alan Thompson in the dug-out with assistant boss Gus Poyet not attending the game, following media speculation linking him with Tottenham Hotspur.
It was the visitors who actually had the ball in the net, though, with a disallowed effort in the third minute. Will Hoskins finished off a neat passing move, but the former Rotherham striker had strayed into an offside position.
Hoskins also skied a header over the top after Ahmet Brkovic delivered a cross from the right.
But the United response was immediate and Jermaine Beckford sent a shot inches wide after escaping the clutches of a Millwall defender.
Beckford also did well to win a corner after a Tresor Kandol ball found Seb Carole, and after Millwall failed to clear their lines, United's Frenchman tested Lenny Pidgeley with a strike from the edge of the box.
On 25 minutes, Frazer Richardson fashioned a chance when his cross found Kandol, but the striker's header was off target.
Shortly after the half-hour, Beckford curled a shot wide from outside the area as United looked to force an opening.
That opening did come on 36 minutes, though, when David Prutton fired United ahead with a sweet strike from the edge of the box. Millwall failed to deal with a Carole cross and Prutton picked his spot to perfection to leave Pidgeley well beaten.
Four minutes later, Pidgeley had to be at full stretch to beat away an effort from Douglas and moments later, it was Prutton who tried his luck with a shot from distance.
Douglas also sent a free-kick over the top at the start of the second period after Kandol was brought down on the edge of the box.
The second goal did come moments later though. Kandol charged down a Pidgeley clearance and the ball fell to Beckford who almost walked the ball into the net.
And it was 3-0 on 57 minutes when Douglas scored his first of the season when he converted from close range following a corner.
Amazingly, Douglas scored his second of the season less than two minutes later when he slammed home a low free-kick after Beckford was fouled on the edge of the box.
Millwall's confidence had clearly gone following the first goal, and United were dominating what had become a one-sided contest.
But the visitors did bag a consolation goal on 65 minutes when Hoskins converted after a quick break.
The goal proceeded to lift a Millwall side who had looked well beaten, and Ahmet Brkovic scored a second for the Lions when he headed home a cross from the left.
The warning shots sparked life into United again and Kandol was denied by Pidgeley in the final minute after a delightful pass from Curtis Weston.
But there was little other drama as United moved up to sixth in the table after stretching the unbeaten run to 13 games.
Yorkshire Evening Post 26/10/07
Poyet: 'I haven't spoken to anyone'
By Phil Hay
Gus Poyet has spoken out as Tottenham Hotspur were today preparing to move for the Leeds United assistant manager.
The Uruguayan is Spurs' first choice to fill the role of assistant manager at White Hart Lane following the sacking of boss Martin Jol and first-team coach Chris Hughton.
The former Uruguay international, who played for Tottenham between 2001 and 2004, is quoted on BBC Sport saying: "Everybody is calling me and sending me texts about it but I don't know anything. I haven't spoken to anyone.
"I don't know if something has gone on between the clubs. I don't have a clue." Jol and Hughton were dismissed last night and Tottenham were today working to secure Sevilla coach Juande Ramos and United's Poyet as their replacement management team.
United were still waiting for an official approach this morning but club chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "Despite the widespread speculation, Leeds United can confirm that we have neither received an approach from Tottenham for Poyet, nor a request from him to be released from his contract with Leeds.
"Any approach from Tottenham for our assistant manager would not be welcome."
Tottenham have been placed under the immediate command of Clive Allen, their development coach, but Spurs' interest in Ramos is well known. The 53-year-old is under contract at Sevilla until the end of the season, but it is understood that he could step into his new position with Tottenham as early as next week.
Leeds, however, seem determined to fight any attempt to lure Poyet from Elland Road.
He and boss Dennis Wise were installed as United's management team in October of last year, and they completed 12 months in the job on Wednesday. Chairman Ken Bates threw his weight behind the pair after Leeds were relegated from the Championship in April, and United have started this season with 10 victories and two draws from 12 games, quickly freeing the club from their 15-point penalty.
Poyet and Wise have operated as a close partnership during their time with Leeds, and speaking yesterday, Wise told the YEP: "We're good friends and we understand each other very well. We're on the same wavelength."

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/10/07
How Dennis Wise turned tide at Elland Road
By Phil Hay
EXCLUSIVEJoe Allon is the joker in Dennis Wise's pack, and the lightest heart in a football club where darkness has been prevalent.
Recruited by Wise in March, Allon's role in the coaching staff at Leeds United has never been conclusively explained to the outside world. He is, it seems, all things to all men – capable of imparting professional advice, but adept at raising smiles in the dressing room.
It matters to Wise that the eyes and ears surrounding his squad belong to people he can trust implicitly. He also gravitates towards straight-talkers, men who call a spade by its name. Ken Bates lives by that mentality, and so too does Allon. Asked this week to define Wise's first year as United's manager, the retired striker said: "Last year you were Osama Bin Laden. Now you're Elvis."
The analogy is not wholly accurate. Wise was never as disliked as Bin Laden, and he cannot now claim to be as popular as the King. But Allon is right to argue that Wise has travelled from pole-to-pole during 12 months with Leeds. A man who United's supporters were once compelled to hate is dangerously close to being taken into the club's bosom, against their expectations and his.
Wise does not concern himself with popularity contests, primarily because he rarely has any chance of winning them. He knew when he took the job at Leeds 12 months ago that he would be welcomed to Elland Road by few open arms and many clenched fists, some directed at him and others at his chairman.
Why, then, did Wise walk out of the tranquility of Swindon and into what became football's equivalent of civil war? And why, when the heat at Elland Road became intolerable, was he so reluctant to walk away? To understand his reasons is to understand Wise, and the nature of his life in football. He may not be addicted to conflict, but he is not far off it either. Without the smell of battle to thrive on, you suspect his routine would seem a little empty.
"I was probably in a better position at Swindon," Wise says. "I was 45 minutes from my house, and it was all quite simple – I seemed to have a job there for as long as it wanted it, I got a percentage of the gate and all sorts of other things. When we got offered the job here, they offered us new contracts. They wanted us to stay even more.
"But Batesy gave me a call and asked if I would want to come to Leeds. I said of course. There were two reasons – firstly because it's a massive football club but also because of my relationship with Ken Bates. We're very close and it wasn't looking too fantastic for him.
"I knew the financial side of the club wasn't great and I knew the dressing room wasn't great. Why did I do it? Because I'll have a go. I don't shirk. I'm thick-skinned and I've taken abuse all my life, except from the people I've played for.
"Everyone I've played against hated me so I knew it would be difficult here at first. I didn't know whether the supporters would change, or how long it would take. I really wasn't sure. But I wasn't too fussed about it either.
"In pre-season, a guy who was sitting with his boy said to me: 'you're not wanted here. Go.' I suppose that seems hard to take but I'm used to it.
"I once had a situation when I was playing for Millwall and I had 5,000 West Ham fans singing 'he's five-foot-four and his wife's a whore'. I laughed. Why? Because people get carried away. They read the papers, they want to slaughter you and that's what happens in football. It doesn't bother me.
"The supporters' first thought when I came to Leeds will have been 'what is he doing here?' I needed a chance, and in the first six months I never had it. I got battered all over the place – by the papers, by the fans.
"There was a lot of arguing with players here, a lot of snide remarks and nasty things going.
"But I knew it was going to get better. You might not believe me, but I knew it couldn't get any worse. That was it. I realised that I'd dealt with it all, mentally and physically. I never cracked."
The problems in Wise's dressing room last season were an open secret. Their exact nature is more of a riddle.Wise alludes to awkward issues, but is never specific. Two of his first decisions after his arrival last October saw Paul Butler and Sean Gregan shown to the door at Thorp Arch, and the squad responsible for reaching the Championship play-off final was methodically – deliberately – dismantled.
Age was one reason. Attitude appears to have been another. United's manager does not use the word undermined, but it is clear that at times last season he believed that he was. His fight to gain the confidence of the club's supporters was raging only as intensely as the private struggle for control behind United's dressing room door. Between that and the hanging hand of administration, the outcome of the season was obvious long before Leeds threw their dice for the final time and were relegated from the Championship on April 28.
"The players here had got their own way for such a long time, or that's how I felt," Wise says. "It seemed that they were dictating what happened."There were a lot of strong personalities and they thought my days were numbered – they basically said 'let's do him'. They didn't think I'd be here a year later. But I was always going to be here.
"They did what they liked, and I had to deal with that atmosphere. It's easier for a manager to have a go at a youngster, but it's not so easy for a manager to have a go at a big-head and to put him in his place. You have to have a strong personality and to be strong mentally.
"Maybe they thought 'sod him, he'll be gone', but I knew differently. It was no good me going in the cupboard and hiding, and I wasn't going to walk away just because it was a bad time. No chance, and not in a million years.
"I listened to people who abused me like that man with his boy did in pre-season, but I got on with it. Batesy always said that this was going to be a long job, not a short one."
Ah yes. Ken Bates. The only figure at Elland Road who can provoke more discussion than his manager, but a man to whom Wise is fiercely loyal.
Their relationship was professional before it became personal, but Wise's friendship with Bates is now as important to him as the opportunity of employment.
The two stood shoulder-to-shoulder through a summer which threatened to run them both out of Elland Road, and it is difficult to imagine an acrimonious parting of ways in the future. Wise worries more about the pressure on his chairman than he does about himself. Bates equally would hope that he never reaches the stage where Wise's position becomes untenable.
The pair are not quite a permanent package, but a successful Wise is likely remain at Elland Road for as long as Bates does. Were his chairman to walk, however, Wise would probably follow. It was certainly true that Wise's fate rested solely on Bates' ability to fight his way through administration, and to ignore calls for him to respond to relegation by instigating a change of manager.
"If someone else had taken over the club in the summer, I knew I was gone," admits Wise. "The perfect situation for them would have been to get rid of me.
"They'd have thought 'the crowd hates him, everyone hates him'. And they'd have been the cult hero because people would say 'thank God you got rid of that idiot'.
"I knew what was coming to me if anyone else took over. I'd have gone away on holiday and taken it easy. But the other thing I knew was that I had a fighter behind me, and that's Batesy.
"A lot of people have given him a lot of stick but there were reasons (for United's problems) and people never see all the reasons – they never see what's inside the circle, only the outside.
"Some of them don't like him but it's nice to see that they haven't sung about him for a long time. He doesn't deserve that because he's trying to do a job. I don't know – maybe there realising about him as well now.
"I'm very loyal to him, and I can talk to him in the right way. No-one else calls him Batesy. When I first did that I was 21-year-old and a young man – a cocky young man.
"He was signing me (at Chelsea), and Andy Townsend walked in looking immaculate. I walked in in a tracksuit. He said to me 'is this it for £1.6million?' I said 'yes, but I've got a bit heart so you'll be okay'. He started laughing.
"The situation at Wimbledon was that Sam Hammam owed me some money. I never asked for a transfer to Chelsea so I should have got a signing-on fee.
"Sam pulled me outside and said he couldn't pay me the money. He said I had to put in a transfer request or they'd call the deal off.
"Me being the young naive man I was, I thought 'bloody hell' and signed the agreement. My agent went mad but I wanted to go.
"Ken asked what had happened and we explained it. He rung up Colin Hutchison (Chelsea's then chief executive) and told him to add the money to my contract because if I wanted to come to the place so badly, I deserved to get what I was owed.
"That was very nice, and very loyal. Because I called him Batesy that day – and because it was a natural thing for me to do – he lets me call him it now. No-one else does. He tells people off if they do. I can do it but they can't. We're very close."
The strength of their relationship is shown by the fact that the last 12 months haven't damaged it.
When Bates invited Wise and Gustavo Poyet over to Monaco last October to inform them that he saw them as United's future, the picture he painted was incomplete. There can have been no discussion about administration or transfer embargoes, and only a fleeting mention of relegation. Friendships are broken by much less.
But Wise would not have left Elland Road with genuine pride or any motivation had circumstances led to his dismissal in the summer. He might, he admits, have taken a year off. Yet here he is, and here are Leeds – dominating League One and beginning to ask how far their manager can take them. Wise is wondering the same."I needed to do this for my own purpose, and my own challenge," Wise says. "The first six months were a nightmare but this was about fighting something.
"This could be my last job. It really could. I'm being totally honest. I don't know if it will be but I'm enjoying myself at the moment.
"I've enjoyed it from the start in a funny way – a strange and warped kind of way. I enjoyed the battle with people, and I enjoyed the slaughtering because it makes you stronger, and you see if you can stand up to it.
"I knew I would take dogs' abuse. But if you can stand up to it then you can stand up to a lot of things. I needed to find that out."
It is not the attitude that many of his peers would have adopted. But then Elland Road has never been a refuge for coaches short of courage. The job of managing Leeds United is safest in the hands of those who stare danger in the eyes. It is like the Russian proverb says: if you're afraid of wolves, stay out of the forest.

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/10/07
Poyet in line for Spurs role
Leeds United assistant manager Gus Poyet has been linked with a return to Spurs following the departure of Martin Jol.
Juande Ramos has emerged as the leading contender to take over from Jol following the Dutchman's departure as Tottenham manager yesterday.
Former Spurs midfielder Poyet has been widely tipped to join as assistant.
Spurs announced after the UEFA Cup defeat to Getafe that Jol and assistant boss Chris Hughton were sacked following the club's dismal start to the season, although news had filtered through to fans during the match.
Jol waved to fans and there were songs criticising chairman Daniel Levy, who famously was among the Spurs officials who met Sevilla coach Ramos at the start of the season.
Ramos spoke of an offer from Spurs then vowed to stay in Spain for the rest of the season, but bookmakers have stopped taking bets on him succeeding Jol. They will have big shoes to fill after Jol managed fifth-placed finishes in the Premier League during his only full seasons at White Hart Lane. They were within touching distance of the Champions League two seasons ago but were hit by a mystery virus on the final day of the season.Heavy investment in the squad this summer - and retaining the services of Dimitar Berbatov - saw expectation rise in the boardroom.
The aim was the top four but Jol could only manage one win with more than a quarter of the season already gone.
Levy said: "For me, Martin and Chris' departure is regrettable. Our greatest wish was to see results turn in our favour and for there to be no need for change.
"They have been professional, popular and respected members of the coaching staff and there will always be a warm welcome for them both at the Lane."
Jol added:"I can understand the position of the club in light of the results. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Tottenham Hotspur is a special club and I want to thank the terrific staff and players."
For me the fans were always amazing with their support so I would also like to say thank you - I shall never forget them."
Development coach Clive Allen and youth team boss Alex Inglethorpe will take charge of the first team for the time being.
Two defeats in the opening week of the season put pressure on Jol - then the meeting with Ramos at the Alfonso XIII hotel emerged.
Jol appeared a "dead man walking" from then. He was not helped by Berbatov appearing moody, and the Bulgaria striker appeared to undermine his boss when he looked reluctant to warm up as a substitute against Newcastle on Monday.
Jermain Defoe was also upset after finding himself out of the matchday squad on occasions or used as an impact substitute, while Darren Bent has not settled in following his £16.5million move from Charlton.
Their defensive problems surfaced against Getafe after Defoe had opened the scoring in the 19th minute.
The Spaniards equalised immediately when Esteban Granero's free-kick from around the 40-yard mark bounced in, with Ruben de la Red claiming the slightest of touches.
Braulio Nobrega back-heeled the winner with 20 minutes remaining.
Getafe boss Michael Laudrup has been under pressure himself and felt for his counterpart.
"Football is a hard world," he said. "One year you are fantastic, the next you are the opposite.
"Given what he has done last year I don't think he will have a problem finding a new job." 2510/07
Dennis Wise has been at Elland Road for 12 months but he admitted today that he found himself in a nightmare situation during the first six months after he accepted the role of Leeds United manager.
"A lot of things weren't right at this club when I came here and I knew it was going to be a big challenge for me but I have never been one to shirk a challenge," he said.
If the first six months of his first year at Elland Road were turbulent the second six have, however, been quite amazing with his side attracting bumper crowds to Elland Road after an outstanding start to the season and still unbeaten after 12 games.
"Last year was just a nightmare in every aspect really - on the field and off it," Dennis recalled. "There were so many things really but we learnt a lot from that situation and it was important for us to learn from it.
"I experienced a lot of different things that I would otherwise probably not have been involved in. In the time I have been manager here, the first six months opened my eyes to a lot of things and it has made me a better person - and probably a better manager as well because of what I have seen.
"A lot of things happened last year and I don't want to harp on about them too much because those days have gone but I do believe I am better for having experienced it and I am sure it will benefit me and the football club.
The United boss said that last season gave him a better understanding of the club. "When you first walk into a place you feel uncomfortable and you know you need to remove that feeling. That is what it was like when I came to the club - it was very uncomfortable."
Dennis said that people didn't know him and he didn't know them. "People judge you on what they have heard about you, not on what you are about really. Those who get used to you get on well with you the ones that don't unfortunately don't see eye-to-eye with you."
He said the first time he really felt comfortable at the club was at the start of pre-season training this year. "The group we had last season wasn't a good group. But we dealt with the situation, which was difficult, and we got through it.
"The easy option would have been just to say 'to heck with this, I don't fancy it. Why would I want to be here next year? But we do it because we have a job to do - to change things around.
Although Dennis regards pre-season this term as being a turning point, he readily agreed that a lively half time team talk at Tranmere on the opening day of the League campaign was a significant time.
"I did have a few words with the lads and got upset a bit that day but they needed it and the situation changed. Sometimes it is needed sometimes it isn't but there hasn't been too much of that," he added.
At his very first United press conference the manager said he wanted Leeds to have aggression, spirit, determination, togetherness and be a little more like the Leeds side of old. Has he got that now? "Yes I have," he said. "Sometimes we have gone a little bit overboard with the discipline - the mouth more than anything.
"Maybe we can tone that down a bit because that only gets us into trouble a little more. We don't want silly bookings," he said.
It is safe to say that when he was appointed manager at Leeds his was not a universally popular appointment with a lot of fans.
So why did he take the job?
"Because Leeds are a massive club and because of my relationship with Ken Bates. I know him very well and I'm very close to him and I knew that it wasn't looking too fantastic for him. The financial side of it wasn't great either and I knew the dressing room wasn't great," he added.
When he took up the reins Wise had to put up with verbal abuse from some fans and even at the start of the current season he was told my one man sitting with his boy: 'You're not wanted here'.
"II have taken criticism and verbal abuse all my career but it doesn't bother me. I'm thick skinned and I thrive on a challenge. I knew it would be difficult for me at first here. I got battered by newspapers and some of the fans but I just got on with trying to change things," he said.
"But the fans have been fantastic this season because things are going OK and now I think they realise what Gus and me or all about. When things don't go OK we will need them just as much. But full credit to the fans for this season, they have been great."
Where would Dennis like to be at the end of October next year? "In the same situation as now but in a league higher," he replied.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yorkshire Post 24/10/07
Kishishev returns for second loan spell at Leeds
By Richard Sutcliffe
RADOSTIN KISHISHEV has returned to Leeds United on loan.
The 33-year-old Leicester City midfielder has joined Leeds on an initial one-month loan deal after falling out of favour at the Walkers Stadium.
Kishishev's return is a huge coup for Leeds manager Dennis Wise, who today celebrates one year in charge at Elland Road, with injuries troubling several of his midfielders.
Alan Thompson and Andrew Hughes are among those who are doubtful for Saturday's meeting with Millwall and Kishishev could go straight into the side.
The Bulgarian international spent the final two months on loan at Elland Road from Charlton Athletic last season and made a huge impression despite United being relegated.
United wanted to sign the midfielder in the summer, but the lure of Championship football proved too great. Martin Allen's replacement by Gary Megson has, however, left Kishishev out of favour at the Walkers Stadium.
Gus Poyet has been fined £1,500 and warned about his future conduct by the Football Association after criticising the performance of referee Andy D'Urso.
The United assistant was upset with the handling of the 3-0 Carling Cup defeat at Portsmouth in September, suggesting afterwards it would be a good idea for the Essex official not to referee Leeds again.

Yorkshire Evening Post 21/10/07
Leeds United's Kandol lights up match
Brighton 0 Leeds United 1
Football's style council lives by the proverb that it aint what you do, it's the way that you do it. But not in League One.
England's third division is a pragmatic competition, and one where quantity is reigning over quality. Leeds United's have been told to gather points this season, and to worry less about how those points are fashioned. Saturday's victory in the southern reaches of England epitomised that attitude perfectly.
United's performance against Brighton was forgettable in the extreme, and so was the game as a whole. When the club come to reflect on the season in its entirety on May 3, they will not remember the Withdean Stadium as the scene of their most convincing victory. It is also unlikely, however, that any individual result will prove more telling than United's 1-0 win.
Leeds as a club have never warmed to the Withdean Stadium. Or not, that is, until Tresor Kandol settled Saturday's game with a goal in keeping with a fixture which lack animation from the first whistle.
Both of United's previous visits to Brighton's ground - a peculiar venue which struggles to scrape above non-league standards - had ended in defeat, and Albion's proposed move to the nearby site of Falmer seemed as much in the interest of Leeds as it will be in that of the Seagulls.
The Withdean Stadium is a location where capable teams are destined to toil, and the goalless draw that United were protecting with 11 minutes remaining could not have disappointed Dennis Wise. His club's history on the south coast is such that any result in Brighton other than a defeat is something to treasure. The victory that Kandol's goal yielded, therefore, may come to be incredibly valuable.
The striker will not score an easier effort this season, nor will a chance be presented to him as charitably as it was by Albion. Kandol positioned himself sensibly in anticipation of Frazer Richardson's cross, and when the full-back's weak delivery was sliced lazily by Adam El-Abd towards his own goal, Kandol made simple job of tapping the ball into Brighton's net.
Having missed a penalty against Leyton Orient seven days previously, it was precisely the source of rejuvenation that he required. Wise had spoken earlier in the week about the importance of protecting Kandol's confidence, and Brighton's defending did his job for him. There is apparently nothing capable of knocking United or their players from their stride.
Leeds' drab display was, in truth, a reflection of the quality offered by Albion. That has been the case on several occasions this season, and if Wise has learned nothing else about League One, he at least understands that few other clubs are valuing performances over points.
is pleasing to be promoted with style, but it is just as rewarding to be promoted without. United can play with panache when the mood takes them, but the outcome of their season is most likely to depend on the results produced at their lowest ebb. Saturday's game did not appear to be offering a victory to either side when Kandol struck. The fact that United travelled home with a 10th league victory suggests their prospects of promotion are more realistic than Brighton's.
Albion were on the fringes of the play-off positions before kick-off on Saturday, and Dean Wilkins, their inexperienced manager, believed his players were mugged. If by that he meant that Albion controlled the larger part of a poor game then he was right. But the irony of Brighton's sharper passing and more sustained dominance was that the better chances fell exclusively to Leeds.
Kandol could have given United the lead after only two minutes had he not allowed a cross from David Prutton to glance weakly off his head, and in between the spells of pressure exerted by Brighton, Wise's players made the most of the limited possession which came their way.
Sebastien Carole produced the best strike of the first half in the 31st minute, a fierce volley from Kandol's knockdown which Michel Kuipers parried with one hand, and El-Abd's hesitation force his goalkeeper to pluck the ball bravely from Kandol's feet inside his box 60 seconds before the interval. El-Abd would later discover that Kuipers' ability to bail him out was not a reliable service.
Brighton had shown their own hand on a number of occasion, and Wise's defenders were rarely left in peace in the first half.
Casper Ankergren, who remained largely untroubled for all Albion's impetus, pushed away a shot from Jake Robinson which appeared in any case to be fading beyond his goal, and David Martot scuffed a wasteful strike wide after Andrew Whing's cross reached the Frenchman at the far post.
Dean Hammond then scraped Ankergren's side-netting with a low effort three minutes before the break, but the respective potency of the teams suggested a goal was more likely to come from Wise's strikers, if at all.
Wise lost Andrew Hughes to injury in the 38th minute, and his midfield were unable to prevent Brighton from exerting themselves after half-time.
Ankergren's diving block repelled a shot from Alex Revell, and Martot's volley would have beaten United's keeper easily had it not skipped a foot wide of the post. But a header from Jermaine Beckford which skimmed the crossbar on the hour reminded Albion that Leeds have thrived on an impressive goalscoring record this season.
Kandol has been at the centre of that form, and after three games without a goal, the striker was invited to claim his sixth of the season by El-Abd's costly misjudgement 11 minutes from time.
Richardson's mis-hit cross presented no danger to Albion, but El-Abd's clearance sliced towards his own goal and forced Kuipers to claw the ball away from the far corner of the net. The Dutchman's reaction was excellent but it left him exposed, and Kandol stepped forward to slip the rebound into an unguarded net.
Games like Saturday's are easily forgotten but seasons can turn on such results, and the quietly-ecstatic reaction of Wise's players and staff said as much. Winning in Brighton may be a key moment for United. How they achieved it is, in reality, neither here nor there.

Yorkshire Post 20/10/07
Brighton Albion 0 Leeds United 1
Gus Poyet readily conceded Leeds were not at their best, but was none the less happy to reflect on a job well done as United extended their unbeaten League run to 12 games.
Leeds were forced to work hard for maximum points by an improving Brighton and a late goal from Tresor Kandol sent the Seagulls to their first defeat in six games before the biggest ever crowd at their temporary home.
Congolese striker Kandol settled the issue by seizing on a defensive mistake by Adam El-Abd to score his sixth goal in 11 League games this season.
"It was not the best game for our supporters but sometimes you have to grind out results.," said United assistant manager Poyet.
"I would have loved to have seen us play better, but we got another clean sheet by being solid at the back."
Poyet felt it was vitally important for Kandol's confidence that he bounced back quickly with a goal having missed a penalty against Leyton Orient the previous week.
He added: "We have to pick Tresor out for special praise. The goal might have come from a mistake, but he was there at the right time."
Kandol steered the ball home from close range 11 minutes from time after El-Abd failed to control a cross to the near post by Frazer Richardson.
Leeds could have been in front in only the second minute had Kandol not headed over, and a powerful shot from former Brighton winger Seb Carole was saved by keeper Michel Kuipers.
The well-placed Jermaine Beckford headed a Jamie Clapham cross over before Kandol's clincher and Poyet, delighted at his team's battling qualities, emphasised their success so far is due to a collective effort.
He added: "Everyone believes in each other, confidence is quite high and this was another great three points for us.
"We had some good fortune with the goal we scored but we have a very good group of lads and the togetherness of the team is carrying us through."
Brighton manager Dean Wilkins had no doubt his side were particularly hard done by not to have taken anything from the match, and moaned: "We were mugged. I feel we were very unlucky because we were undone by one slip."
Brighton: Kuipers; Whing, Elphick, El-Abd, Richards; Savage (Elder 80), Fraser (Loft 87), Hammond, Martot; Revell, Robinson (Forster 87). Unused substitutes: Butters, Sullivan.
Leeds United: Ankergren; Richardson, Marques, Heath, Clapham; Prutton, Hughes (Westlake 37), Douglas, Carole; Beckford (De Vries 90), Kandol. Unused substitutes: Huntington, Andrews, Lucas.
Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).
Leeds man of the match: Jonathan Douglas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yorkshire Post 9/10/07
Darlington 0 Leeds United 1
By Richard Sutcliffe
A LOT has changed since Leeds United made the trip up the A1 to take on Darlington in a pre-season friendly on a warm July evening.
Back then, the Elland Road club's very future was still in doubt with the Football League refusing to return their so-called golden share and the majority of fans in open revolt against Dennis Wise and Ken Bates.
The unprecedented 15-point penalty was still a week or so away, but with the side that started the friendly against the Quakers featuring just five players who were then under contract to Leeds, the future looked anything but bright. Fast forward a little over two months, however, and the picture has changed somewhat.
Not only is there now genuine hope that United's season could end in promotion, but the 2,828 fans who made the trip to the Darlington Arena last night were able to spend much of the closing stages singing about a possible trip to Wembley in the spring.
Paul Huntington's 47th-minute goal was the reason for such confidence with the former Newcastle defender's powerful header meaning United need to negotiate just three more rounds to reach the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final.
Such talk may seem premature, but such is the belief running through Elland Road at the moment that anything really does seem possible.
United, who made nine changes from the side that made it nine wins and a draw from their opening 10 League One outings with a 1-0 triumph over Yeovil at the weekend, may have rode their luck in a first half in which Darlington created the better chances.
But the manner in which they closed the game down once ahead means few will fancy drawing Wise's men in next month's Northern Area quarter-finals. The winner was a straight-forward affair, Jonny Howson swinging over an inviting corner for Huntington, making his full debut, to power an unstoppable header into the net from six yards.
Leeds could have added to the lead with Mark De Vries striking a post midway through the second half and debutant Filipe Da Costa going close with a shot that followed a jinking run down the left.
The Portuguese winger has had to be patient after joining Leeds from Greek club Ionikos in late August due to a delay for his international clearance to come through. On the evidence of last night, the wait may well prove to be worth it with Da Costa showing plenty of promise after being brought off the bench just before the hour.
Darlington, who in contrast to Leeds made just two changes from the weekend win at Dagenham & Redbridge, had been the better side in the first half with Dave Penney's side bringing a couple of decent saves from David Lucas on his debut in the United goal.
The former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper had to react quickly to keep out a shot from Alan White when Clark Keltie's cross to the back post had found the defender unmarked. Then, just before the break, Lucas pulled off a fine save to his right at full stretch to deny a stinging drive from Gregg Blundell before scarmbling to his feet to claim the bouncing ball.
Leeds offered little going forward in the first half, but all that changed within two minutes of the restart when Huntington rose high to head the visitors in front. The lead came under threat just once when substitute Matt Green hit a fierce 25-yard shot that had Lucas scrambling across goal.
That apart, it was a comfortable end to the game for Leeds as the visiting fans showed just how much has changed since the club's last visit in July by chanting for their manager, now a hero after United's blistering start, to "give us a wave".

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Independent 7/10/07
Leeds United 1 Yeovil Town 0: De Vries makes mark in another Leeds late show
By Jon Culley at Elland Road
Published: 07 October 2007
The League One table in the Leeds programme shows how it would look had the fallen giants of Elland Road not been docked 15 points, under which reckoning Dennis Wise's team would have 28 points and lead by nine after stretching their unbeaten start to 10 games here yesterday.
In reality, they looked anything but runaway leaders against a Yeovil side who will believe they should have won. Yet out of their troubles Leeds have acquired the enviable knack of playing moderately yet stealing victory at the death and the habit was maintained when substitute Mark de Vries headed home Jonathan Douglas' cross after 89 minutes.
The on-loan Leicester striker's first goal for Leeds was the eighth Wise's team have scored inside the last five minutes so far this season, transforming draws into wins in five games.
The Leeds team had been as expected with Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol asked to resume their 11-goal partnership. Both were forced to sit out the midweek trip to Oldham following red cards at Gillingham last weekend and while their replacements, de Vries and fellow loan star Wayne Andrews, earned compliments from manager Wise for their contribution to a 1-0 win at Boundary Park, neither kept his place.
The pattern of the football, however, was not quite as the home crowd probably envisaged as their team sought to extend their unbeaten start to the League One season. Yeovil deployed only Lloyd Owusu in a purely attacking function and Leeds were hard-pressed to find working space in midfield.
Moreover, they faced opponents with the pace on the flanks in Kevin Betsy and Paul Warne to break at speed and, in 21-year-old Anthony Barry, a player capable of hitting accurate passes from central midfield.
Indeed, though Leeds, after a quiet opening period, began to impose themselves more by half-time it was only through two reactive saves from goalkeeper Casper Ankergren that they kept the scores level. The Dane pulled off a brilliant stop after Warne's low cross from the left had picked out Barry and later stretched himself to his left to deny Warne with a fingertip save. Marcus Stewart also missed a simple chance.
By contrast, Yeovil's Romain Larrieu was well protected as captain Terrell Forbes organised a tight rearguard, the best chance created by Leeds ending with Seb Carole sidefooting tamely over the top after Douglas had combined to good effect with centre back Rui Marques.
The response by Wise was to send on two more strikers in De Vries and Tore Andre Flo and hope that Leeds' predilection for last-gasp winning goals continued. And again he got lucky.
Yorkshire Evening Post 6/10/07
Sub De Vries is Leeds United's hero
By Phil Hay
Leeds United 1 Yeovil Town 0
Carlsberg don't do home debuts, but if they did they would probably involve Mark De Vries.
The striker's first appearance for Hearts at Tynecastle five years ago brought four goals against Hibernian in a rout of an Edinburgh derby, and his maiden game at Elland Road yesterday was made to match.
The Dutchman ended his brief appearance from the substitutes' bench by heading home the only goal of an unflattering clash with Yeovil Town, and provided the type of unlikely finish which has become almost a weekly occurrence with Leeds.

De Vries angled his finish beyond goalkeeper Romain Larrieu with his only chance in the 89th minute, bringing United three points at the expense of their distraught visitors.

Yeovil had controlled the first half and withstood heavy pressure to create the better opportunities during the second, but there is something inevitable about United's results.On eight occasions this season Wise's players have produced a goal in the final five minutes, a tendency which is proving incredibly valuable.

On De Vries' first outing at Oldham on Tuesday, it took a strike from Ian Westlake four-and-a-half minutes into injury time to secure a 1-0 win from a game which United had not even shaded.

De Vries' first goal for Leeds came slightly earlier against Yeovil, but the effect was identical. Dramatic would be the appropriate superlative, if only results like yesterday's were anything out of the ordinary for Leeds.

Wise is of the opinion that United have already met – and beaten – the most effective teams in League One, but other clubs would beg to differ. Yeovil are one of those, and Russell Slade made the point of stressing that his squad would not willingly play the part of lambs to the slaughter.

Last season's beaten play-off finalists have been quietly effective this season, scoring few goals and conceding fewer, and their goal difference was responsible for keeping them beneath the play-off places before kick-off at Elland Road. As if to prove the seriousness of their intent, Yeovil stifled Leeds with a measured performance of quiet ambition, and created three chances which should have left De Vries in no position to steal victory.

Two of those opportunities came before half-time, and though United's results have kept them beyond criticism, their contribution before the interval was as ineffective as anything Wise has witnessed from his players this season.

As with their victory at Oldham, a compact midfield left no space for Leeds to exploit, and Yeovil were schooled in the art of mastering direct tactics. It seemed as if Slade had studied Tuesday night's fixture at Boundary Park closely, and United's lack of panache allowed their visitors to develop a sense of confidence.

Yeovil do not possess the players needed to tear League One to shreds, and their transfers dealings during the summer were not exactly the programme of strengthening that Slade might have wished for after their appearance in the play-off final.

But his squad is capable, and contains a pleasant mixture of young legs and experienced heads. It was one of each who might have given Yeovil the lead before the interval.

The better opportunity feel to Anthony Barry, a 21-year-old Liverpudlian who thrived on his role in the centre of a cramped midfield.

Barry was left completely unmarked when a counter-attack sucked Wise's defence towards the right-hand side of the Elland Road pitch, and a crossfield pass from Paul Warne slid nicely into his team-mate's path.

Barry took a gentle touch and ran clear in United's box, but Casper Ankergren moved forward quickly to meet the threat and threw his body behind a fierce shot. The chance was Barry's to miss as much as Ankergren's to save, but the Dane's reactions were outstanding.

They were examined again seven minutes before half-time, and passed another difficult test.Warne benefited from a ricochet on the edge of United's area and drilled a sharp volley towards the left-hand corner, but the keeper's save at full-stretch kept the ball out.

A shot from Sebastien Carole, after interplay between the Frenchman, Jonathan Douglas and Manuel Rui Marques, was as much as United had to show for their effort in the first half, although the build-up was as considered as any of Yeovil's attacks.

Carole's effort rose high over the bar, and a strike from Jamie Clapham which Terrell Forbes blocked long before it reached goalkeeper Romain Larrieu was their only other memorable threat. Wise's comments at half-time would have been fascinating to hear.

United's boss is loathe to criticise his players unnecessarily, but United were uninspired at Oldham and he would not wish to see ill-deserved victories become more regular than they have to be. Even with Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol back in harness after one-match bans, Leeds were short of inspiration in and around Yeovil's box.

But the start of the start of the second half brought a surge of energy from Wise's players, and an injection of pace into a game which had otherwise had none. Beckford tested Larrieu's handing with a low shot from 20 yards three minutes after the break, and Clapham's volley from a tight angle beat Larrieu and the post. But Yeovil's threat was apparent in flashes, and United's gift of space to Warne in the 57th minute saw the former Rotherham midfielder skim the ball dangerously close to Ankergren's crossbar.

The game was going nowhere at speed, although Marcus Stewart will carry the burden for Yeovil's failure to inflict United's first defeat after wasting the game's finest chance 17 minutes from time. Matt Heath's poor control inside his own box presented the ball to Kevin Betsy, but his pass across the face of Ankergren's goal was sliced wide by a criminally casual finish from Stewart.

The cost of his finish came to bear two minutes from time. Wise had gambled by introducing De Vries and Tore Andre Flo for two midfielders, and when Jonathan Douglas' cross from the right wing carried to the far post, De Vries guided a header back over Larrieu and into the far corner of the net. Not a single soul in Elland Road was remotely surprised.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New pages uploaded at

Seasons – 1910/11 – Play up, Ireland!/Mediocre, dull and uninteresting

Frank Scott-Walford brings in more Irishman, but City get off to a dreadful start before recovering to achieve their best finish under the manager but it's a lacklustre season

Read the full story at

Yorkshire Evening Post 4/10/07
Dennis Wise wins manager award
By Phil Hay
Leeds United boss Dennis Wise has been named League One's manager of the month for the second month running.
Wise collected the accolade for September after guiding United to four victories and a draw from their five league games last month. The run of form, which has left United unbeaten after nine league matches this season, wiped out their 15-point Football League penalty and lifted the club out of League One's relegation places. Tuesday night's 1-0 win at Oldham Athletic moved Wise's players up to 10th position, four points short of the play-offs. The 40-year-old was previously declared the division's manager of the month for August after four wins from five games during the first three weeks of the term. Wise's squad will be strengthened this weekend by the return of strikers Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol from suspension, but United are waiting anxiously for news on Tore Andre Flo's condition after sending the Norwegian forward for a scan on his injured foot.

Yorkshire Post 3/10/07
Leeds end 20 year wait for victory at Boundary Park
By Richard Sutcliffe
Oldham 0 Leeds United 1
IF Leeds United can win at Oldham Athletic, then anything really is possible this season.
At a Boundary Park where in 19 previous visits Leeds had won just twice, Ian Westlake's sweetly-struck volley five minutes into stoppage time was enough to earn three vital points for Dennis Wise's side. It was rough luck on Oldham after a largely forgettable game in which neither side had looked capable of breaking the deadlock. But none of the 3,732 visiting fans who celebrated joyously at the final whistle cared a jot as United continued their charge up the League One table. The decisive goal came after a quick throw from Andrew Hughes saw the ball find Sebastien Carole wide on the left. The French winger then looked up and swung over a deep cross that flew over the top of the Oldham defence to where Westlake, who had only been on the field a matter of seconds, was arriving unmarked to smash the ball into the roof of the net and spark wild scenes in the away end at Boundary Park.
It brought to an end a near 21-year wait for a win at Oldham for Leeds, with the nine visits since an Andy Ritchie goal was enough to earn a 1-0 triumph at Christmas, 1986, resulting in five defeats and four draws.
The victory also ensured United bounced back from the disappointment of seeing their winning start to the season ended in controversial circumstances at the weekend.After being reduced to nine men by the dismissal of Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford, United held out until stoppage time at Gillingham when Ian Cox rescued a point. With the two strikers suspended, Wise drafted in Wayne Andrews and Mark De Vries on loan and the pair both started against Oldham and worked hard without really being given the service needed to make an impact. Andrews, on loan for a month from Coventry City, had possibly the best chance after being played through in first-half stoppage time by Jonathan Douglas. The striker was left with only Mark Crossley to beat but shot well wide of the target. David Prutton also had a flicked header well saved by Crossley in the second half, while Oldham's Chris Taylor saw a shot cleared by Rui Marques from in front of his own goal.That seemed to be it for United until the late, late show broke Oldham's hearts and continued United's charge for promotion. And if Wise's men can pick up three points when not playing well as they did last night, then there really is no limit to what can be achieved this season.
United's problem before Westlake's stunning late winner was a lack of creativity with the tactic of pumping long balls forward from defence playing straight into the hands of a home defence led by Sean Gregan. It was a mystifying tactic with a lack of pace being one of the major reasons behind Gregan being released by Wise last season. And yet, apart from an instance at both the start and end of the half, Leeds failed miserably to try and capitalise on their former player's frailties when trying to match a quick and powerful striker. The yellow card handed to Gregan in just the second minute for hauling down Andrews after
being caught flat-footed should also have acted as encouragement to Leeds.
Oldham did create a couple of chances, the best undoubtedly coming in the 19th minute when Taylor's shot was cleared after Andy Liddell had burst into the penalty area on the right.
But that was as good as it got for the home side who only had time to kick off following Westlake's winner before referee Phil Joslin blew for full time to send the visiting fans back along the M62 in elated mood.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Yorkshire Evening Post 1/10/07
Strikers in at the double for Leeds United
By Phil Hay
Leeds United have averted a serious selection crisis by signing strikers Mark De Vries and Wayne Andrews on one-month loans.
Andrews accepted a transfer to Elland Road from Coventry this morning and Dennis Wise moved to tie up a deal for Leicester's De Vries at lunchtime after United's 1-1 draw with Gillingham on Saturday left him without a fit senior forward in his squad.
The stalemate at Priestfield cost United their 100 per cent start to the League One campaign, denying the club a record-breaking eighth straight win, and red cards for Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford created a critical shortage of players ahead of tomorrow's night's clash with Oldham.
Kandol and Beckford were dismissed for two bookable offences by referee Danny McDermid, giving Leeds no right of appeal, and both strikers will serve a one-match suspension during the league fixture at Boundary Park.
The strike partnership has provided 11 goals already this season, but Wise had no experienced replacements available to him after revealing that Tore Andre Flo has been sidelined by another foot problem.
Flo has managed only four appearances as a substitute this season, and Leon Constantine is around a month away from completing his recovery from a broken ankle.
But Andrews and De Vries are now preparing to lead the line tomorrow evening, and their arrival has eased the strain on Wise's squad. The loss of Kandol and Beckford initially left 19-year-old Tomi Ameobi as the only fit forward in Wise's ranks.
United's manager was incensed by both red cards at Priestfield and the performance of McDermid, and the repercussions of Saturday's game are likely to stretch far beyond tomorrow's visit to Oldham after a fractious afternoon in Kent.
Wise was banned from the visiting dugout by McDermid after protesting against the decision to book Kandol twice for dissent in the first half – once for sarcastically applauding the referee – and United's boss is likely to face a misconduct charge from the Football Association as a result of his dismissal.
The FA may also investigate events after the final whistle, when McDermid and his assistants left the field under a hail of missiles from United's supporters, but the London-based official could be the subject of disciplinary action after Wise accused McDermid of swearing at him after the full-time whistle.

Yorkshire Evening Post 1/10/07
Ref nightmare as United falter
By Phil Hay
Gillingham 1 Leeds United 1
Leeds United have threatened to create new standards of consistency this season, but the pursuit of perfection can warp perspective.
In terms of the Football League, United's record is almost unique, and only Bristol City can claim to have mirrored Leeds by traversing eight unbeaten games. It said much about the excellence which has emanated from Elland Road that Saturday's draw at Gillingham felt like a defeat.
An impeccable run of victories had to end somewhere, and it will have secretly delighted Paul Scally, Gillingham's chairman, that Priestfield was the venue responsible.
Scally and Dennis Wise go back a long way. Twelve years ago, Wise and Chelsea provided the opposition for a pre-season friendly at Priestfield, an occasion which marked Ruud Gullit's debut for Chelsea, and Scally's first fixture as Gillingham's chairman. A firm friendship was established between Scally and Wise on that warm July night in 1995, but the former cannot claim to be universally popular at Elland Road.
As one of the 64 chairman who voted to shackle Leeds with a 15-point penalty, Scally will have anticipated the rough and abusive ride he was given by United's supporters on Saturday.
He seemed to be enjoying the last laugh as he reflected on a 1-1 draw, but his hollow description of referee Danny McDermid as "spot on" is unlikely to earn him a warmer welcome when he makes the return journey to Yorkshire on the last day of the season.
Wise has braced himself for the arrival of what he called 'the kick' – the bump that would inevitably disrupt United's seamless flow – but it came on Saturday with unpredictable force.
The 90th-minute goal which rescued an inept and relegation-bound Gillingham team was bad enough, depriving Leeds of an eighth straight win and the best start to a league campaign in the club's history, but the loss of Tresor Kandol and Jermaine Beckford to red cards was, and is, a greater concern.
Kandol was dismissed on the back of two yellow cards before half-time, and Beckford suffered the same fate during three second-half minutes which set the tone for an unsavoury conclusion at full-time.
McDermid, who had banned Wise from the visiting dugout after a terse conversation at the interval, attempted to walk from the field after blowing the final whistle, but he and his assistants were forced to sprint down the tunnel as United's travelling support pelted them with missiles.
His rapid departure added greater weight to what is likely to become a complex investigation by the Football Association.

Guardian 1/10/07
Siege mentality proves Leeds' undoing as Cox ends record run
Mark Tallentire at Priestfield
Monday October 1, 2007
The Guardian
Indignation at being deducted 15 points has given Leeds United a siege mentality not seen since 2000-01, when two of their players were on trial during the run to the Champions League semi-final, and again it has been a positive force, which has helped the team equal the winning record of the great 1973-74 side to lift themselves out of the relegation places.
It can also be a negative influence, however, and was almost their undoing at Gillingham, where they took the lead with 11 men but had to hang on with nine players for more than half an hour to leave the manager, Dennis Wise, also sent off at half-time for swearing at the referee, and the fans seething at the perceived injustice.
Tresor Kandol was dismissed for two bookable offences committed before half-time, both dissent, the second for applauding loudly when awarded a free-kick after Efe Sodje's challenge, and his fellow striker Jermaine Beckford joined him for chipping the keeper after the whistle had gone for offside before needlessly hacking down Sean Clohessy in the right-back position four minutes later.
After the final whistle the referee and his assistants were pelted with coins by a handful of Leeds fans as a huddle of security guards rushed the officials to the tunnel in that corner of the ground, the fourth official using his board to protect his head. Several other Leeds fans exchanged blows with stewards while police dog handlers struggled to restore order. The Football League will now await the referee Danny McDermid's report with interest.
"Leeds are high-octane, play on the edge and their bench is noisier than the crowd," said Iffy Onuora, Gillingham's joint caretaker manager. "I laughed when [Wise's assistant] Gus [Poyet] jumped 10 feet in the air to protest about something then sat down and winked at me. It's a bit of kidology. They had great careers, are well known and like to try and play on it.
"Good luck to them, but the flip side is that when you play on the edge and it goes to the other side you are in trouble, and that's what happened. One or two of their players lost a bit of discipline at the wrong time. I don't think the referee did too much wrong and I don't think he had too many alternatives with the decisions he made."
Leeds's seven league wins had come against clubs in the top half of Saturday morning's table and they would have expected another against a managerless team they had already managed to overtake despite the 15 points. However, Gillingham, who made six changes to the side thumped at Nottingham Forest, were game and competitive despite going a goal behind, when Matt Heath knocked a Jonathan Douglas free-kick across goal and Seb Carole headed in from close range.
The home side, whose chairman has added Brian Little's name to a managerial shortlist comprising those of John Gorman, Martin Allen, Micky Adams, Brian Kidd and Graham Rix, pressed hard in the second half and with the fourth official indicating five minutes' injury time and Wise hopping about in the press area anticipating eight, Ian Cox met Barry Cogan's corner and powered a header high into the net to secure their deserved point. All of which made Wise's post-match comment that he intends to report the referee for swearing at him as the officials left the pitch - "it's not acceptable" - somewhat perplexing but that is the Leeds way, and so far it is working for them.