Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yorkshire Evening Post 31/7/08
Leeds United land Becchio
Leeds United have completed the signing of Argentinian striker Luciano Becchio on a three-year deal.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Real Mallorca player completed a free transfer from Spanish club Merida UD this afternoon after Leeds secured his international clearance.Becchio scored 28 goals in 50 appearance for Merida last season and becomes United's fifth summer signing.

Yorkshire Evening Post 31/7/08
Leeds United's deal for Bothroyd flounders
By Phil Hay
Leeds United are set to abandon their chase of Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Jay Bothroyd.
The League One club appear resigned to missing out on the 26-year-old after failing to persuade him to take up their offer of a summer transfer to Elland Road.
United bid successfully for Bothroyd earlier this month, meeting Wolves' valuation of a player who has a year left on his contract at Molineux, but Bothroyd is understood to have rejected the option of joining Gary McAllister's squad.
Leeds, who were today on the verge of signing Argentine forward Luciano Becchio, have had minimal contact with Bothroyd since their offer was accepted by the board at Molineux, and the Yorkshire club have been disappointed by the striker's apparent reluctance to commit himself to a move.
Bothroyd, whose career began as a trainee with Arsenal and has taken him to Blackburn Rovers and Perugia, is not thought to favour a drop into League One, and a transfer to Elland Road would require him to accept a wage cut. His contract at Wolves is worth in the region of £8,000 a week.
United's bid for Bothroyd was structured to rise to around £300,000 depending on appearances, and Wolves are keen to remove the forward from their wage bill this summer, but he appears increasingly likely to begin the new season at Molineux despite being on the periphery of Mick McCarthy's squad.
The Wanderers manager has already informed Bothroyd that he will play no part for the club's first team next term, and the Championship side will continue to listen to offers for a player who has scored 12 goals in 55 appearances for Wolves.
McAllister and Bothroyd worked together at Coventry City and United's manager was keen to renew their relationship this summer, but Leeds are turning to alternative options with their bid for Bothroyd at a standstill.
One signing which could be completed today is that of Becchio, whose transfer from Spanish club Merida to Elland Road is in its final throes.
Becchio spent yesterday searching for accommodation in West Yorkshire, and the deal will be completed once United receive international clearance for the 24-year-old forward.
The ex-Barcelona player missed Tuesday's friendly against Darlington but could return to McAllister's squad against FCV Dender at Elland Road on Saturday, and United have worked to tie up the transfer quickly ahead of the first game of the new season on August 9.
Becchio's permanent arrival will increase the number of experienced strikers available to McAllister to five – adding him to a pool which already includes Jermaine Beckford, Enoch Showunmi, Robert Snodgrass and Tresor Kandol – and United's failure to capture Bothroyd is unlikely to trouble their manager unduly.
McAllister, above, is still keen to recruit one additional forward, with Crystal Palace's Dougie Freedman again in the frame, but the Leeds boss said: "As we weigh up the pros and cons of (signing Freedman) there are others on my mind as well.
"On the other side of things there are two or three who might be going the other way."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bothroyd linked with Leeds
Leeds have agreed terms with a club for a striker believed to be transfer-listed Wolves hitman Jay Bothroyd, reports say.
The 26-year-old is on his way out of Molineux this summer but so far Whites manager Gary McAllister has refused to name his target.
He told the Express and Star: "I don't want to show our cards too much, but we have agreed terms with a club for another player.
"It's not completed and I'd rather wait before I say who it is."
Wolves have already sold Freddy Eastwood this summer and it appears Bothroyd could follow him if he agrees to drop down into League One.

Yorkshire Evening Post 17/7/08
Mac targets strike support for Becks
By Phil Hay
Leeds United boss Gary McAllister has reiterated his intention to secure greater attacking support for Jermaine Beckford after the striker secured the club's first pre-season victory in Galway last night.
Beckford struck twice as Leeds began their tour of the Republic of Ireland with a 2-0 win over Galway United, and McAllister hopes to give the 24-year-old the best possible chance of exceeding the haul of 20 goals he produced last season during the 2008-09 term.
United's manager is moving closer to his fourth summer signing – believed to be a forward – after Leeds reached a deal with his unnamed target's club, but Beckford's pre-season form has once again highlighted him as a priceless part of McAllister's squad.
The ex-Wealdstone forward scored in last week's 1-1 draw with York City, and two well-taken goals in either half set up yesterday evening's win over eircom Premier Division side Galway at Terryland Park.
McAllister said: "We've got to watch that Jermaine doesn't peak during pre-season but he's been looking lively right from the start.
"He got 20 goals last season and he's come back hungry, wanting to show that it wasn't a freak. He wants to prove he's a guy who can follow it up with an even better season.
"The test of a player at any level is being able to repeat, and that's the demand we've put on him. He's set his standards high, but he's got enough in his locker to better that tally next season.
"He looks fit and he looks lean, and we just need to get a bit more help in and around him. We're close to a couple of signings and I'd still like a bit more firepower."
United's defeat in last season's League One play-off final seemed to increase the threat of Beckford leaving Elland Road this summer, but McAllister is under no pressure to sell the forward and has included him at the centre of his plans for next season.
"There's always going to be speculation with Jermaine because goalscorers are hard to come by," said McAllister.
"But I don't see any reason why he'd want to leave Leeds United. The club's in a good position and I've got a feeling in my gut that we're ready to move forward."
Beckford was one of 11 players who completed an hour of last night's game, and United's victory was secured by the time he left the field in the 63rd minute.McAllister's starting line-up also featured out-of-contract defender Paul Telfer, who flew with Leeds to Galway on Monday and made his first appearance in a United shirt at Terryland Park.
The 37-year-old was compelled to terminate his contract at Bournemouth last season due to a persistent foot injury, but he eased through 73 minutes last night and helped United to keep a clean sheet against a Galway team who competed gamely but lacked quality in the final third of the pitch.
McAllister confirmed that Telfer – his former team-mate at Coventry City – had a serious possibility of winning a deal at Elland Road this summer, saying: "He looked promising.
"Paul's a guy who's played at a higher level and he's not attached to anybody so he could be an option. He was steady and he's very experienced."
United's performance last night brought a satisfied reaction from their manager and the club are now preparing for their second match abroad, against Bray Wanderers on Sunday.
McAllister said: "The first XI got an hour and we'll flip the team around when we go to Bray.
"The pleasing thing is that we've picked up no injuries, and there was some good play in the first half.
"When the substitutes went on it got a bit scrappy but the team that played the first hour didn't do badly.
"You could see at certain stages that Galway are halfway through their season, but we were pretty comfortable by the end." 17/7/08
GALWAY UNITED 0, LEEDS UNITED 2 (Beckford 25, 46)
Galway: Rouse, Kenna, Fitzgerald, Hansen, McCulloch, Lester, Keane, Foley, Fenn, Foster, Konig.
Galway (2nd half): Rogers, Connelly, A Keane, Molloy, J Keane, Foley (Fahy 80), McBrien, Hansen (Brodrick 70), Glynn, Konig (Faherty 71), Sinnott.
United: Ankergren (Martin 74), Richardson (Gardner 74), Telfer (Michalik 74), Huntington, Sheehan (Parker 74), Howson (Bayly 62), Hughes (Douglas 62), Johnson (Sweeney 62), Beckford (Haber 62), Showunmi, Robinson (Prutton 62). Subs: Marques.
Att: 2749
Gary McAllister moved swiftly away from the early pre-season policy of naming a different side in each half, planning to use his substitutes later in the contest to give some of his players increased time on the park.
And there was little chance of his players suffering from the usual pre-season heat with grey skies and a cold wind swirling around Terryland Park.
Paul Telfer was handed his first start in a Leeds shirt, playing alongside Paul Huntington at the heart of the defence, and McAllister's men started in positive fashion playing some neat passing football.
But it was Galway who went close after five minutes when a shot was deflected for a corner. The resultant set-play was headed over the top. United responded with a quick passing move, but Jermaine Beckford was denied by an offside flag after latching onto a through ball.
Andrew Hughes also fired wide for Leeds before Galway's John Lester smashed a free-kick high over Casper Ankegren's bar.
Galway, who are mid-season at the moment, looked a lively side and Alan Keane fired wide of the mark after a good cross-field ball released him down the right.
Leeds had the ball in the net after 18 minutes when Beckford converted, following good work by Bradley Johnson, but the effort was ruled by an offside flag.
Leeds also carved out a great chance in the 23rd minute. Jonny Howson fed Andy Robinson, Alan Sheehan provided the overlap, and Enoch Showunmi headed the Irishman's cross narrowly over the top.
Two minutes later United were in front though. The industrious Robinson fed Beckford and the striker made no mistake in tucking the ball beyond Galway goalkeeper Kalvin Rouse to score his second pre-season goal.
With both sides looking to pass the ball it made for an entertaining opening period, and United debutant Telfer was called upon to make a good challenge to deny Ian Foster after some neat play from Galway.
Frazer Richardson and Howson both had shots off target and in the moments leading up to half-time United won a couple of corners before Galway cleared their lines.
Galway, who made a number of changes at half-time, didn't have chance to clear their lines at the start of the second period with United scoring a second goal straight from the kick-off.
Beckford picked up the ball just inside the Galway half and embarked on a strong run before producing a good finish to make it 2-0.
The home side came back strongly, though, and after having a penalty shout waved away, Telfer made a timely challenge before Cian McBrien fired wide.
On 62 minutes, McAllister made five changes, including handing an introduction to Canadian under-21 international Marcus Haber, who is on trial with United. Twelve minutes later he made another re-shuffle, leaving Huntington as the only member of the starting lineup remaining.
As often happens in the final stages of pre-season games after a number of changes, the game became a more scrappy affair, although Galway did have a great chance to pull a goal back when Derek Glynn should have done better from close range.
The hosts had another opportunity on 82 minutes when Scott Gardner did enough to put off Glynn.
There was little else to excite the near 3,000 crowd, though, as the game drifted towards it conclusion with United able to toast a winning start to the Irish tour.
McAllister's men have their next outing against Bray Wanderers on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sky 16/7/08
Leeds close on new signing
Terms agreed with another club, but player's identity kept a secret
Leeds United are closing in on a new signing after agreeing a fee for the unnamed player.
The League One club have already completed deals for Enoch Showunmi, Andy Robinson and Alan Sheehan over the summer and are homing in on a fourth recruit.
Whites boss Gary McAllister is in the market for a striker, although he has declined to identify his current target.
"I don't want to show our cards too much, but we have agreed terms with a club for another player," McAllister told the club's official website.
"It's not completed and I'd rather wait before I say who it is."
Duo on trial
Canada Under 21 international Marcus Haber and Paul Telfer are currently on trial with Leeds, and McAllister is keen to assess the duo on the pre-season trip to Ireland.
He added: "Marcus is out of contract at Groningen and we'll get a good look at him out here.
"Paul Telfer is an old team-mate of mine. He's got over his toe problem and he's right at the front in terms of training.
"He's a good age, but he's one of the fittest I've ever played with, he's got plenty of experience, and we'll be looking to get him some games."

Yorkshire Evening Post 15/7/08
Leeds United: Reds youngster on trial
By Phil Hay
Liverpool youngster Astrit Ajdarevic was due to begin his pre-season trial with Leeds United today with a view to securing a transfer to Elland Road.
Ajdarevic was expected to report to Thorp Arch this morning and he could feature in two of United's reserve-team friendlies this week.
The League One club are interested in recruiting the Swedish midfielder, who turned 18 in April and is entering the final year of his contract with Liverpool's Academy.
Leeds were initially believed to be considering a loan deal for Ajdarevic but reports on Merseyside suggest he would be allowed to leave Anfield and take up a permanent deal elsewhere this summer.
United's second string tackle Darlington on Thursday and are also planning to contest a friendly against Newcastle United in Tyneside on Saturday morning, and Ajdarevic has been lined up to appear in both matches.
Gary McAllister is also maintaining his interest in Ajdarevic's Anfield team-mate Krisztian Nemeth, the highly-rated Hungarian striker who helped lead Liverpool to the FA Premier Reserve League title last season.
Nemeth is believed to be unwilling to take up United's offer of a trial at Thorp Arch, but the gifted 19-year-old is still open to a loan switch to Elland Road if McAllister pursues a deal.
The youngster scored nine times for Liverpool's second team during the 2007-08 term and appears to be edging closer to Rafael Benitez's senior squad. He is currently involved with Hungary at the European Under-19 Championship finals in the Czech Republic and netted the only goal of the game in his country's opening group game against Bulgaria yesterday.
It was Nemeth's six goal in the competition overall and makes him the leading scorer alongside Michalis Pavlis of Greece. Ajdarevic is one of a number of trialists who have already linked up with Leeds for the early stages of the English pre-season.
Young striker Marcus Haber – available on a free transfer from Dutch club FC Groningen – has travelled with McAllister's first team for their tour of Eire, and Haber's Canadian compatriot Josh Wagenaar has followed him to Yorkshire this week.
Wagenaar is a free agent after cutting short his contract with Den Haag in January. He won his first senior cap with Canada's national squad during an Olympic qualifier against Mexico in March and will train alongside Ajdarevic and United's reserve pool this week.
Wagenaar was previously linked with a move to Toronto FC, who are coached by former Leeds caretaker John Carver.
Meanwhile, United striker Tomi Ameobi is set to embark on a trial with Doncaster Rovers.
Ameobi, who is also interesting Scunthorpe United, has been offered a new one-year deal by Leeds but may opt to move away from Elland Road in search of first-team football.
The 19-year-old academy product would command a fee as a result of his age.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yorkshire Evening Post 12/7/08
Bright start for Mac's men
York City 1 Leeds United 1
Forty-seven days after finding the door to the Championship locked, Leeds United resurfaced last night with the complexion of a club who have not allowed Wembley to darken their thoughts for longer than necessary.
Pre-season matches can be as mundane as they are perfunctory, but Leeds arrived in York at the start of their schedule of friendlies with no obvious signs of festering wounds sustained in or carried from the League One play-off final in May.
Though Gary McAllister may have privately wondered how severe the after-effects of United's defeat to Doncaster Rovers would be, there were few worthwhile concerns raised by their 1-1 draw at KitKat Crescent.
His players looked reassuringly lean – unaffected, in the main, by their recent break from training – and approached their game against York City with a satisfying level of interest.
In the stadium's uncovered terracing, reserved for away crowds, almost 2,300 of United's supporters braved the rain and the lack of a competitive edge to witness the club's first performance of the summer. Neither sight smacked of a club wallowing in their own failure.
The first game of the close season is traditionally designed as a fitness exercise, a fact epitomised by McAllister's decision to field a total of 23 players over the course of 90 minutes and different line-ups at the start of each half, but United's following were typically oblivious to the lack of significance surrounding last night's match.
The travelling pack provided half of the 4,405 attendance seen at KitKat Crescent, a figure which unexpectedly eclipsed the impressive crowd drawn in for the pre-season match between the clubs at the same ground exactly 12 months ago. York will do well to attract a larger gathering at any stage of next season.
So beleaguered were Leeds in the summer of 2007 that Dennis Wise, their equally besieged manager, relied on a blend of trialists, out-of-contract professionals and academy players to fulfil the game in York. Had it not been for the express permission of the Football Association, who sanctioned the game despite United's struggle to conclude their period in administration, the friendly would not even have kicked off.
McAllister can count himself blessed that as a result of the club's defiant rehabilitation last season, in which he played his part, he was able to look out on a large and settled squad yesterday – and one consisting entirely of players who are already contracted to Leeds for the 2008-09 season.
He should also rest assured that the nasty surprises which awaited Wise at the end of every turn last summer will not hinder his own path before Leeds begin their season at Scunthorpe United on August 9. United presently lack a shirt sponsor, as they did 12 months ago, but the vacancy is an isolated issue rather than one of many.

This pre-season has no reason to develop into the after-thought it became a year ago.
McAllister's main priority between now and August will be acquiring the handful of players he intends to supplement his squad with, but the range and variety of professionals on offer to him already was amply displayed by last night's 1-1 draw.
Ten of the 11 who started the play-off final were involved, the exception being the departed loanee, Dougie Freedman, whose prospects of returning to Elland Road remain speculative.
United's two new arrivals, Andy Robinson and Enoch Showunmi, appeared for their club debuts after half-time and contributed to a healthy contest without straying towards the spectacular. Though neither of McAllister's line-ups chosen before or after half-time is likely to represent that selected at Glanford Park in four weeks' time, United's manager cannot feel troubled about the task of selecting a dominant team from the score of senior players available to him.
York's attitude was as McAllister would have desired – energetic, committed and positive enough to force a draw against Leeds for the second year running – and the absence of a victory was neither here nor there.
United won two of their eight friendlies in 2007 but succeeded in producing the second best record in League One during the season which followed. Of more concern to Wise than the club's results was the state of his players' fitness, and McAllister is likely to adopt a similar tack. On the evidence of yesterday's stalemate, the condition of his squad is scarcely a problem.
Leeds dictated the first half and produced their goal in the 25th minute after an incisive passage of play involving Frazer Richardson, Andrew Hughes and, finally, Jermaine Beckford.
Richardson's accurate pass played Hughes into space on the right wing, and the midfielder's low cross picked out Beckford who drove a clinical finish past Michael Ingham in York's goal.
The keeper's one-handed save had diverted Beckford's header over City's crossbar in the second minute, and the striker had sufficient chances to finish the first half with three goals to his name.
Another effort on the half-hour, a low shot which beat Ingham, also missed the post and flashed into the side-netting.
Much of United's momentum in the first half stemmed from Hughes, who worked to lively and damaging effect behind Beckford and Curtis Weston, and his shot from 25 yards slipped just wide of Ingham's goal in the 20th minute.
But York plucked an equaliser from a rare opportunity in the closing seconds of the half.
City's possession had caused United's defence few problems other than a cross which dropped over the head of makeshift centre-back Robert Bayly and forced Casper Ankergren to parry a shot at the feet of Martyn Woolford, but a sudden lapse allowed Onome Sodje to collect the ball on the edge of Leeds' box with a clear sight of goal.
Ankergren's prompt reaction blocked Sodje's first shot, but the ball squirmed through the Dane's legs and allowed Sodje to attack the rebound with a low strike which United's scrambling defenders were unable to block on the line. In different circumstances, the concession would have disappointed McAllister. Last night, the 43rd-minute breach was of little importance.
His starting line-up was withdrawn at the interval and replaced by a fresh set of players, including Robinson and Showunmi.
Robinson tested Josh Mimms, the son of former Tottenham and Blackburn keeper Bobby and York's replacement for Ingham, with a curling free-kick 13 minutes from time, but the second half rarely promised a third goal.
Alan Sheehan drove a left-footed strike over the bar, while Craig Farrell's free-kick at the other end of the field missed the goal by a foot. Neither side came closer than the 86th-minute shot from York's Adam Boyes which Alan Martin pushed away with one hand.
But by then McAllister was carrying a satisfied look which indicated that the wheels on his machine were turning as planned once more.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 10/7/08
United boss Gary McAllister is still on the hunt for more firepower ahead of the new season.
The boss made Enoch Showunmi his third summer signing this week, but admits he is looking to bolster his strikeforce further in readiness for the new League One season.
"It's an area we still need to strengthen and we are pursuing two others in the forward area," explained Macca.
"I'm looking to add some more striking power to the set-up and we're juggling two or three at the moment.
"Leon Constantine's gone and something might happen with Anthony Elding - we've had a bid which we're looking at - so I'm still looking at another couple of players."
Of the three summer arrivals, the manager firmly believes both Andy Robinson and Showunmi will bring goals to the party.
"Andy is an experienced player and he brings goals and guile," he added. "Enoch has a physical presence and he's a proven goalscorer at this level."
Speaking at his first press conference of the summer, Gary also re-iterated his stance that only players he doesn't require will be allowed to depart before the new season starts.
"I can only work with X amount of players and I believe it's beneficial to some of them to try and find football elsewhere," he added.
"I've spoken to the guys who are not in my plans and people might be more aware when the squad is announced for Ireland.
"There have been enquiries about some players, but it's been made pretty clear to me that if I don't want a player to leave he won't leave and this 20 or so I'm working with I want to keep."

Sunday, July 06, 2008

New pages uploaded at

Seasons – 1911/12 – Little to cheer/The end for Scott-Walford

Amid fresh money worries, City endure a run of results that leaves them in danger - The Peacocks lose their manager and are forced to apply for re-election after a disastrous run

Read the full story at

Friday, July 04, 2008

Sky sports 2/7/08
Le Havre try out Carole
French outfit look at Leeds winger
By James Pearson
Newly-promoted Le Havre have handed a trial to Leeds United's French winger Seb Carole.
Carole joined The Whites on a free transfer in the summer of 2006, but has struggled to hold down regular football during his time at Elland Road.
The 25-year-old did feature in 28 League One games last term - 17 as a starter - although fans were often frustrated by his inconsistent displays.
It now seems United boss Gary McAllister is willing to part company with the former Monaco man after allowing him to link up with the newly-promoted side on trial.
It has proved a somewhat quiet period for Leeds this summer with only Andy Robinson and Alan Sheehan joining, although Carole could now be one heading for the exit door.

Constantine seals Cobblers switch
Whites striker joins Northampton on free transfer
By James Pearson
Northampton Town have completed the free transfer signing of Leeds United's Leon Constantine.
The 30-year-old former Port Vale man was down Gary McAllister's pecking and has now joined The Cobblers in search for first-team football.
Constantine, who spent time on loan with Oldham last season, endured an injury-hit season at Elland Road making just one League One start.
Northampton boss Stuart Gray is pleased the club have beaten off fierce competition to sign a striker with a proven track record at League One level.
Proven goalscorer
"He's a centre forward with a physical presence and a proven goalscoring record at this level," Gray told Northampton's official website.
"Gary McAllister has come in wanting to sign his own players and that has given us the chance to bring in a player who I think is a quality centre forward.
"Full credit to Leon, he could have sat on his contract at Leeds but he has got a great attitude, he is hungry to play football and he wants to get his career kick started again. His goals to games ratio is very good."
"I've spoken with Leon and like a number of players I can't guarantee them regular football," McAllister told Leeds' official website.
"Leon is at a stage in his career where he needs to be playing regularly and hopefully this move will enable him to do that."