Tuesday, March 30, 2010
FIRM FOUNDATION FOR FINAL EIGHT - BOSS
Leeds United manager Simon Grayson said he was proud of his side's performance at Norwich on Saturday - but still left Carrow Road "gutted" after the league leaders stole a late, late winner.
An 89th minute goal from Chris Martin condemned Grayson's men to an ill-deserved defeat as Norwich gained revenge for their late loss at Elland Road back in October.
Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow - particularly after news that Millwall's 5-0 win against Stockport had pulled them level with Leeds - but the boss said he couldn't fault the performance of his players in East Anglia.
"We stifled them, we passed it as we can do and we created half decent opportunities," he said.
"We never looked like losing the game. That was their only opportunity. We didn't deserve that.
"It was a good ball in and a good header, but we didn't deserve to lose. I know how Paul Lambert felt at Elland Road now when we beat them in the last minute.
"I thought our back four were outstanding all game and the lads in front of them did a great job. That enabled us to play and we kept the ball for large parts of the game.
"We got into some decent positions, but we knew we needed to have a bit more composure.
"The players were hugely disappointefd afterwards, but they can look at themselves and know they did themselves proud."
United weren't helped by the early loss of Luciano Becchio, who was stretchered from the field inside the opening 20 minutes after being caught in the face by a boot.
The player received on-field treatment and medical attention before travelling back to Thorp Arch with his team-mates after the game.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Season – 1913/14 – A team to be feared/Brink of glory
Herbert Chapman's men quickly earn themselves a reputation as a team to watch, achieving the club's record victory. Despite a poor run in January, City push all the way in unsuccessful pursuit of promotion.
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Leeds United 0 Millwall 2 : match report
Read a match report of the League One clash between Leeds United and Millwall at Elland Road on
By Rob Stewart at Elland Road
Celebration: Millwall striker Steve Morison celebrates after opening the scoring at Elland Road Photo: PA
Leeds United's faltering promotion campaign suffered a potentially devastating setback as a harrowing defeat was compounded by an injury to centre-half Patrick Kisnorbo that has ruled the Australian out of action for the rest of the season and ruined his World Cup dreams.
Kisnorbo was stretched off in the opening exchanges of this defeat by Millwall, who loosened Leeds’ grip on the second automatic promotion slot thanks to goals from Steve Morison and substitute Shaun Batt.
The win takes Millwall to within three points of a club whose descent from League One leaders to play-off candidates is gathering speed.
Leeds manager Simon Grayson, who hopes to have leading scorer Jermaine Beckford available for Saturday’s visit to leaders Norwich after he missed the Millwall game with hamstring trouble, will seek to sign temporary cover for Kisnorbo before this Thursday’s transfer loan deadline.
“Unfortunately for Paddy he has a severe Achilles injury that will rule him for the rest of the season and probably the World Cup as well,” Grayson said.
“That was a huge blow for us because the lad has been outstanding for us all season.
“He has been a warrior-type, a big leader and I’m absolutely gutted for the lad because his dream was to play in the World Cup and it looks as though it has been shattered so it puts things into perspective at times.
“Still, our performance wasn’t good enough. At home we are playing with anxiety but the players have to cope with the pressure better.”
Grayson’s side did not manage a shot on target and were given the runaround by Millwall, who exploited Kisnorbo’s absence to take the lead when Morison finished off a five-man move by converting Liam Trotter’s cross.
Batt finished off Leeds in the 80th minute when he wriggled clear of two defenders before unleashing a low shot that was too powerful for Casper Ankergren. Grayson’s team were booed at the final whistle and he insisted the club’s disgruntled fans were justified in jeering.
“We need the fans to stick with us but they are entitled to their opinions because they pay good money to watch the club,” he said. “When you under-perform you are entitled to express your opinion. We got bullied.”
Millwall manager Kenny Jackett, whose side have won 10 of their last 12 games, added: “It is a very good run we’ve had and long may it continue. It is a big result because we were playing one of our competitors.” His skipper Paul Robinson refused to play down his club’s promotion prospects. “We took the game to them and killed their joy. Promotion is always a possibility and we are just going to keep going and keep focusing. You could see the belief in us and the momentum is with us.”
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Match – 29 November 1913 – Leeds City 8 Nottingham Forest 0
The arrival of Jimmy Speirs to Elland Road had revived Billy McLeod and he smashed home four goals as City trounced Forest during their chase for promotion.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010
442 Staff - Sunday 14 March 2010, 23:14
Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford has been named the FourFourTwo League One Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons.
The announcement was made at the 2010 Football League Awards incorporating FourFourTwo’s Top 50 Football League Players at Grosvenor House, Park Lane on Sunday March 14 in front of more than 850 attendees from clubs, sponsors and representatives of the football industry.
The 26-year-old Elland Road hot-shot is ranked third in FourFourTwo’s Top 50 Football League Players list, making him the highest League One representative – 22 places above Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan, the second-highest League One entrant.
Southampton goal-machine Rickie Lambert – who finished third as a Bristol Rovers player in last year’s awards – picks up the bronze medal again.
After netting 34 goals in all competitions in 2008/09, Beckford is on course to match that impressive feat this term, with the former Wealdstone striker having already scored 27 times, including three in his last two outings against Tranmere and Brentford, to steer Simon Grayson’s side to within touching distance of automatic promotion.
But the former Chelsea trainee's most high-profile performances this season have come in the FA Cup, with his solitary goal at Old Trafford proving enough to eliminate 11-time winners Manchester United in the Third Round, before bagging a brace at White Hart Lane to earn Leeds a replay with Tottenham Hotspur.
“It’s really nice to know that all the hard work I’ve been putting in is being rewarded,” he says in the April issue of FourFourTwo magazine – in shops on Monday.
“When the ball went in [at Old Trafford] I didn’t hear anything, although I know every Leeds fan was going berserk. My dad was going berserk, too, although as a Man United fan he was ecstatic and upset at the same time! I can’t really describe the feeling although it took a couple of days to sink in.”
The full interview with Beckford, plus additional exclusive one-on-ones with Kevin Nolan, Graham Dorrans, Craig Dawson, Nathaniel Clyne, Lee Camp, Robbie Savage, Lee Hughes, Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert and the full rundown of the Top 50 Football League Players can be found in the April issue of FourFourTwo magazine – out Monday.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Leeds United's owners declared fit and proper but can remain anonymous
Politicians from the three main parties and football supporters' groups have united in calling for the Football League to make public who owns its clubs after the league approved as "fit and proper" the offshore owners of Leeds United while keeping their identity private.
The sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, said: "Fans of any football club have a right to know who the owners are. We want to see greater supporter representation in the running of football clubs and far greater accountability. The League should insist on clubs making public to their supporters who owns them."
He was joined by the Conservative shadow sports minister, Hugh Robertson, who argued: "As with Parliament and many other areas of public life, transparency is going to be an increasing requirement and expectation. That includes publicly identifying the owners of football clubs. Football should reform its governance, to include greater supporter representation on the board of clubs."
That call was echoed by the Liberal Democrat MP for Harrogate, Phil Willis, who has long criticised the anonymity of Leeds' ownership, routed via companies in offshore tax havens. "At the very least, supporters of a club have a right to know who owns it. As an act of faith and goodwill, I hope the Leeds United board now publish the documentation they have presented to the Football League so that all sense of mystery can be removed."
The Premier League does now require its clubs to publish the names of all shareholders with stakes of 10% or more, but the Football League does not. Instead, clubs must tell the League's chairman, Lord Mawhinney, and three other senior executives, who the ultimate owners are, but the information is not made public.
Leeds have declined requests from the Guardian, following the League's ratification, to say who the ultimate owners are. The only response this week came from Peter Boatman of Château Fiduciare, the Geneva-based financial administrator of Leeds' holding company, Forward Sports Fund. "It is not necessary for you to have that information," he said.
The politicians were joined by the Leeds United Supporters Club, the national Football Supporters' Federation and Supporters Direct in calling for League clubs' owners to be publicly identified. "Like all football clubs, Leeds United's character is that of a public institution wrapped in a privately owned business and that creates a mismatch," said Dave Boyle, the chief executive of Supporters Direct. "The authorities can recognise that public nature by sending a clear message: you can remain a private anonymous citizen, and you can own a football club, but you cannot do both."
Boatman was named last May as an FSF director and confirmed this week he had passed the fit and proper person test. He pointed to the progress Leeds have made on the field and financially this season, and said questions about who owns the club would be seen as unwelcome criticism with the club pushing for promotion. He added that no information has been withheld from the League.
Summing up Leeds' position under the current ownership, Boatman said: "The situation at the football club has improved immensely, which is very satisfying when some other clubs are in serious financial trouble. We have never denied information to the Football League and although I cannot confirm or deny who the shareholders are, the only thing I can say about the structures we control is that they are all above board."
The League's approval of Leeds' owners follows inquiries it began in October after the Guardian revealed that the club's chairman, Ken Bates, had revised his account of its ownership at a court case in Jersey. In January last year, Bates' solicitors told Jersey's royal court, which is hearing a dispute between Leeds and a finance company, Admatch, that he and his long term financial adviser, Patrick Murrin, jointly owned "management shares" in the club's holding company, the Forward Sports Fund.
In May, Bates swore an affidavit stating that the previous statement had been "not correct" and "an error on my part". In fact, he stated, he did not own a management share in FSF. The affidavit attached a letter from Château Fiduciare, which said FSF had 10,000 shares, owned by shareholders who have not been named.
The League confirmed it had written to Leeds seeking clarification because directors and 30% shareholders in its clubs must be identified to it and passed as fit and proper people who have no recent criminal convictions and have not run a football club into insolvency twice. The League made no further comment until a spokesman said last month: "The Football League has concluded its enquiries regarding Leeds United's fit and proper persons test documentation and has addressed the issues raised with the club. Following further information from Leeds, the League is now satisfied that the club is compliant with Football League regulations."
No further details have been released. Sutcliffe this week acknowledged the moves the League has made in securing detailed financial information from clubs and requiring outstanding tax to be paid, but said "more can still be done" to make clubs more transparent. A League source said clubs currently have "no appetite" to introduce a rule requiring their owners to be made public.Mawhinney, who is due to retire this month after seven years in which he has overseen a series of reforms, did indicate that he believes the League should go further. "We have come a long way," he said. "Clubs cannot play in our league unless we know who the beneficial owners are. Could we do more? Yes – but it is a matter of priorities. Eventually I think football will be strengthened if the ownership of clubs goes public."
DICKOV DEAL COMPLETE FOR UNITED
Leeds United have signed striker Paul Dickov on a short-term contract until the end of the season.
The 37-year-old former Scotland international will provide added experience asSimon Grayson's looks to lead the club to promotion back to the Coca-Cola Championship.
Dickov, a former Arsenal trainee who has made over 400 career appearances during spells with Man City, Blackburn, Leicester, and Derby County among others, had a short spell underSimon Grayson at Blackpool in 2008.
Grayson said: "We're delighted to get things finalised and welcome Paul on board.
"He has been training with us, we know all about him and what he will bring to the squad over the next few months.
"He brings experience both on the pitch and in and around the dressing room, and he is a good short-term signing for the club."
Paul will make his club debut in the reserves at Huddersfield Town on Wednesday (7pm).
Paul has been allocated squad number seven for the remainder of the season.
The Big Interview - Ghost of Leeds Past Inspires Duncan Revie's Soccerex Ambitions
Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie signals his ambitions for the world’s biggest football business conference as its European forum kicks off in Manchester.
United hit back from deficit to take lead but can’t hang on
Huddersfield Town 2, Leeds United 2
Simon Grayson was happy to come away from the Galpharm Stadium with a point after a tense League One local derby against Huddersfield.
Leeds recovered from going a goal down in the first half and hit back with two in five minutes, only for the hosts to grab a late equaliser, leaving United in second place and Huddersfield still sixth.
Grayson said: “I think a draw was a fair result, although when you get in front with ten or 15 minutes to go you like to think you can see it through. Unfortunately we couldn’t do it.
“We looked like ourselves again after a good performance on Tuesday night and we’re another point closer to where we want to be and we’re still a good position in the league.”
Huddersfield dominated the first half and went in front with a deflected shot from Anthony Pilkington, who was left unmarked on the edge of the box.
The home side should have gone further ahead but Jordan Rhodes put an easy chance over the bar and, right at the start of the second half, Casper Ankergren made a fine stop to thwart Pilkington.
That sparked Leeds into life and Jonny Howson started and finished the move for the equaliser, picking out Robert Snodgrass and then heading home the winger’s cross.
Five minutes later, Luciano Becchio headed his third goal in two games from another fine delivery by Snodgrass and Leeds looked set to go on and win.
Town were denied by a post and another fine Ankergren save but, with four minutes to go, Gary Roberts guided home a cross from Pilkington to earn Town a point.
Grayson said: “Jonny showed great awareness with the first pass and then followed it into the box and finished it off. He’s a box-to-box player and can get into those areas.
“When Luciano got the second, we thought we could go and get the third and finish the game off but credit to them, they came back at us.”
Huddersfield 2 Leeds United 2: match report
The corresponding fixture at Elland Road in early December saw Huddersfield Town take on a rampant Leeds United side on a seemingly unstoppable march to the League One title.
By Will Swanson
They had won fourteen of their first eighteen matches and held what appeared an unassailable lead.
However, come late February and the league landscape is now very different, doubts and distractions causing Leeds to relinquish that lead to Norwich City and allow the chasing peloton to close in behind.
Lee Clark’s men are among that pack and they welcomed their local rivals in fine form, holding a proud unbeaten home record and a ten-match unbeaten league run.
From the start Huddersfield held the upper hand and they deservedly took a 1-0 lead into the break through a 12th minute strike from Anthony Pilkington.
Leeds suddenly found their feet after the restart and within a five-minute spell had turned the match around with headers from Jonny Howson and Luciano Becchio in the 61st and 66th minutes.
With five minutes remaining it seemed the three points were heading to Elland Road, but after intense Huddersfield pressure Gary Roberts stole in at the far post to level.
It seemed at one stage Leeds would cruise to the League One title, now manager Simon Grayson’s sole aim is to secure the points necessary to escape the division automatically: “We wanted to make sure we didn’t lose the game.
“It’s another point to our campaign, it’s another game gone by for teams who are trying to catch us.
We’ve just got to keep focused on what we’re trying to achieve now.” Huddersfield manager Lee Clark was left disappointed: “I think the least we deserved was the result we got. “But for an unbelievable reaction save from Ankergren we could have won it, but it wasn’t to be.”