Saturday, March 26, 2011 24/3/11
Tottenham youngster joins on loan...
Leeds United have signed Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore on loan until the end of the season.
The 21-year-old's loan deal includes provision to stay on until May 31 should the club reach the Play-Offs.
Jake, a product of Tottenham's Academy, has made 44 career appearances and has had loan spells with Derby, Peterborough, and Ipswich. He played against Leeds earlier in the season for Ipswich at Portman Road.
United manager Simon Grayson said: "Jake is a hungry, young player who has gained good experience at this level with both Derby and Ipswich.
"We're at an important stage of the season and he gives us increased competition for places. He is a good addition to our squad."
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 24/3/11
Redfearn: McCormack will be Leeds United hit
John Wray
Ross McCormack has sent manager Simon Grayson a message – don’t worry about Billy Paynter’s suspension, I’m ready to go.
Striker Paynter picked up a three-match ban after being sent off in Leeds’ 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United at the weekend but, if McCormack has his way, Paynter could be kicking his heels much longer.
The Scot fired home four goals in the reserves’ 6-0 demolition of Hartlepool and reserve boss Neil Redfearn admitted: “He was almost unplayable at times."
The 25-year-old striker has only made four first-team starts and 12 substitute appearances since joining Leeds from Cardiff last summer and has yet to score at that level.
But Redfearn is convinced that McCormack’s form against Hartlepool is no fluke.
“There have been times in the last three or four games when he’s been like that. It will give him confidence. He knows that if he goes back in the first team he’ll soon break his duck.”
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 21/3/11
Paynter red card completes derby woe as Blades hit promotion hopes
Sheffield United 2, Leeds United 0
Leeds’ prospects of automatic promotion suffered a blow after a bitterly disappointing display at relegation-threatened Sheffield United.
The meek surrender of three points was bad enough but Billy Paynter’s off-the-ball offence two minutes from the end earned the substitute striker a red card and a three-match ban after the referee’s assistant spotted the incident.
It was the first time Leeds had failed to score in successive games for a year. They are still fifth but now six points behind an automatic Championship promotion spot after second-placed Norwich drew at Hull.
Although it is claimed Sheffield broke regulations by naming six loan players in their 18-man squad and having five on the pitch at one time, including goal-scorer Bjorn Helger Riise, Leeds had no excuse for a below par showing.
Manager Simon Grayson said: “I am hugely frustrated and disappointed. We got out of the game what we deserved – nothing.
“We never got going. Even when we had possession of the ball, we didn’t use it well enough. They seemed as if they wanted the result more than us.
“We were looking to get the three points to put pressure on the other teams but we didn’t manage to compete. Too many played as individuals instead of a team. We lost our battles all over the pitch.”
On Paynter’s dismissal, Grayson said: “The referee said after talking to his linesman that Billy butted one of their players. Billy is adamant that he didn’t.
“The DVD is a bit inconclusive so we may have to put up with it. If there is enough footage we will try to appeal but if not we will be wasting our time.”
The poor performance has lost the players some of the time off they would have enjoyed, with no match until a week on Saturday.
Grayson explained: “The plan has changed. We will be in on Monday morning, train for the rest of the week and then see what days off to give them.”
The relegation-threatened Blades surprisingly dominated proceedings but Kasper Schmeichel’s excellent goalkeeping denied Micky Adams’ men a first-half goal.
Schmeichel made saves from Sam Vokes, Nick Montgomery, Stephen Quinn and Daniel Bogdanovic (twice) as Sheffield dominated possession.
Leeds’ only scoring opportunity in the 90 minutes was squandered by Max Gradel, who headed wide at the far post after Barry Bannan, Robert Snodgrass and Eric Lichaj created the 18th-minute chance.
Lichaj had been one of Leeds’ best defenders but nine minutes after the interval the American slid in and conceded an own goal in attempting to prevent Montgomery’s driven cross from finding Bogdanovic a yard out.
Grayson kept switching his team’s formation in the hope of improving matters but without success as Sheffield hustled the promotion-chasers out of their stride.
Soon after the hour, leading scorer Becchio – who had been ineffective – was replaced by Paynter.
The Blades lost Montgomery with a knee injury 19 minutes from the end but his replacement Riise scored his side’s second goal just three minutes after leaving the bench.
Jonny Howson lost possession and Riise punished the Leeds captain’s error by scoring from a narrow angle.
Not even the introduction of Davide Somma and Sanchez Watt could revive Leeds, who made too many mistakes – especially in midfield where Blades battler Michael Doyle excelled against his old club.
Sheffield fought for their Championship lives and thoroughly deserved the points, leaving Leeds without a win at Bramall Lane since their title success in 1992.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mail 20/3/11
Sheffield Utd 2 Leeds 0: Billy Paynter dismissal adds to United's derby despair
By John Helm
Should Leeds fail to make the play-offs, they will look back in anger on the curse of the Yorkshire derby.
They have dropped 12 points in games against Barnsley, Doncaster, Hull and struggling Sheffield United.
The form book went out of the window in a feisty encounter at Bramall Lane, and the Championship's top goalscorers failed to register while the division's lowest scorers netted twice.
It was the home team's second win in 18 games while promotion-chasing Leeds lost for the third time in 24.
Sheffield United included four former Leeds players, plus Leeds-born and resident Nick Montgomery, the man of the match, while manager Micky Adams was in the Leeds team when their manager Simon Grayson made his playing debut for the club.
It might have been different had Max Gradel buried Eric Lichaj's far-post cross in the first half, but he missed, and only Kasper Schmeichel kept Leeds in the game, with terrific saves from Stephen Quinn and Ched Evans, before the break.
Montgomery's low cross was prodded into his own net by Lichaj, then Quinn pierced the heart of the Leeds defence for substitute Bjorn Helge Riise to belt in the first goal of his loan spell from Fulham.
Leeds substitute Billy Paynter was sent off for violent conduct - an alleged butt on Shane Lowry, one of the former Leeds quartet.
Grayson said: 'That rounded off a bad day at the office. Billy said he didn't do it and he's not that sort of lad, but the DVD is inconclusive.'
The angry Leeds manager added: 'We are hugely disappointed because we got what we deserved. We didn't get going from the first kick.'
A beaming Adams said: 'From start to finish it was perfect. Leeds will have come expecting to win, but it's never that easy in football.
'We stifled Leeds, I had to get the players in the right frame of mind and they werwe certainly that.
'We know it is still going to be difficult to avoid relegation, but we have four home games to come.'

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yorkshire Post 16/3/11
Revie’s stars reflect on the man who turned Leeds into legends
FIFTY years ago today, Don Revie was appointed Leeds United manager and the Yorkshire club was about to be changed forever.
He was only 31 at the time and the task of breathing life into a Second Division club that had become the very epitome of ‘moribund’ was a tough one.
Leeds was a rugby league city where not only were the Loiners at Headingley considered superior to United, but also Hunslet and Bramley.
Revie, however, was not without ambition – as underlined by his changing of the team colours to all-white in an attempt to instil a Real Madrid-style ethos into his players.
But he also realised it would take time, and the development of a youth policy that would provide a conveyor belt of talent into the first team, to transform United into winners.
The Leeds board, led by Harry Reynolds, were prepared to be patient and their support was rewarded a little over three years after Revie’s appointment when Leeds were back in the big time courtesy of winning the Second Division title.
The next decade brought unprecedented success to Elland Road as United carved their place in English football folklore.
Two league titles, two European trophies, an FA Cup and a League Cup were won by Leeds under Revie before his success at Elland Road prompted the Football Association to come calling with an offer to manage England.
Here, Richard Sutcliffe, Yorkshire Post chief football writer and author of the book ‘Revie: Revered and Reviled’, looks back at the ‘Magnificent Seven’ high-points of Revie’s memorable 13-year reign at Leeds in the company of some of United’s former players.

• Appointed: March 16, 1961.
• Resigned (to become England manager): July 3, 1974.
* Division One: Champions 1969, 1974. Runners-up 1965, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1972.
* Division Two: Champions 1964.
• FA Cup: Winners 1972. Runners-up 1965, 1970, 1973.
• League Cup: Winners 1968.
• Inter-City Fairs Cup: Winners 1968, 1971. Runners-up 1967.
• European Cup Winners’ Cup: Runners-up 1973.

Liverpool 0 Leeds United 0, April 28, 1969
“Don was the most thorough manager I played under. Before I signed for Leeds in 1965, he found out my family were Catholic and arranged for the Bishop’s secretary to come round our house. He was a little Irish fella and I remember him knocking on the door one day. He said, ‘Don Revie is very interested in you and wants me to pass on his best wishes’.
“My Dad was very impressed, though I doubt the Football Association would have been as I was a Huddersfield Town player at the time and it could have been considered to be an illegal approach.
“Later, we also had a visit from two councillors and a reporter (and former Leeds player) called Tom Holly who said Don wanted to sign me. It was all part of Don’s bid to sign me. The thoroughness he showed then was evident throughout the season we won the league. Don made sure we were the best prepared team in the First Division.
“Mind, there was one day when his tunnel vision about winning the title that season almost proved fatal. We were playing at Nottingham Forest when smoke started coming out of the main stand as the half-time whistle blew. We got back to the dressing room and Don started his team-talk. We’d been there five minutes when someone opened the door to go to the toilet. There was black smoke everywhere.
“We went out into the corridor and Don just said, ‘We need to find a quiet spot’. He only wanted to carry on the team-talk. We looked at each other but followed him to what was the secretary’s office. It was only when a burning bit of stand fell off that Don agreed we should get out of there. By the time we got outside, the stand was completely ablaze. We could have all been killed but it just showed how focused he was on winning the title.
“I went on to have a really good season when Leeds won the league. I played in 38 out of 42 games, mostly on the right wing. We only lost twice, 3-1 at Manchester City and 5-1 at Burnley. And the last of those was in October.
“We won the title at Anfield with a goalless draw. It was the penultimate game and Liverpool were the only side who could go past us, so Bill Shankly had been waiting for us. As we arrived, he said, ‘You may as well go home as you’ll get nothing here’. But, after we had clinched the title, the Kop chanted ‘Champions, Champions...’ to us. It was a special moment and great sportsmanship on the part of the Liverpool fans.”

Leeds United 1 Arsenal 0, May 6, 1972
“I REMEMBER having a fitness test on the morning of the Cup final. I’d been troubled by this injury for a few weeks but the gaffer wanted me to play.
“There was no way I was going to miss the game if I could help it. But Don still wanted to make sure I realised how desperate he was for me to play. He said, ‘I’d rather have you playing on one leg than anyone else with two’.
“It was Don’s way of making me feel special, as if I was the most important player in the world. Man-management was a big strength of his and he used that trick on quite a few of the lads down the years.
“I’d signed for Leeds in 1969. The gaffer saw me as the final piece of the jigsaw and showed a tremendous amount of faith to pay Leicester £165,000 for me, which at the time was a British record. It wouldn’t be a week’s wage to a top player now but, back then, it was a lot of money.
“I always felt I owed the gaffer for the faith he showed in me. I went on to have nine wonderful years at Leeds United and played in three FA Cup finals. Of course, we lost to Chelsea after a replay in 1970 and Sunderland three years later. But, I always say that we won the one that mattered – the Centenary Cup final.
“The Queen was there to present the trophy and that hasn’t happened too many times. Before the 1972 Cup final, I honestly didn’t care who scored – I just wanted us to beat Arsenal. But, obviously, the fact it was my header in the 53rd minute that won the game 1-0 does make me feel very, very proud.
“The flipside of winning the Cup, however, is what happened next in that we were forced to play our final league game at Wolverhampton Wanderers just 48 hours later. The league title rested on the result as we needed a point to be crowned champions so it was ridiculous that the FA made us play so soon after the final. It wouldn’t have happened to Liverpool or Manchester United, I am certain about that.
“It meant we had to travel to Wolves directly from Wembley so were unable to celebrate. It also meant we had a lot of injuries. Mick Jones had dislocated his shoulder in the closing stages of the final so was out. If there had been nothing at stake against Wolves then Johnny Giles, Eddie Gray and myself wouldn’t have played. But, because we were going for the title, we played at Molineux and lost 2-1.
“Missing out on the double like that was awful and it does, in a way, tarnish the memory of winning the FA Cup.”

Leeds United 1 Arsenal 0, March 2, 1968
“The thing I remember about the League Cup win was the euphoria in the dressing room afterwards.
“I was only a youngster in those days but the experienced lads and Don knew exactly what it meant to win our first major trophy.
“We’d gone close in the league and finished as runners-up a couple of times. We had also lost the 1965 FA Cup final to Liverpool so beating Arsenal to win the League Cup, which back then was a big trophy, was an important step. The game itself wasn’t a classic, by any means. Neither side played their best football and I doubt it was a great game for any neutrals at Wembley.
“Our goal was worthy of winning any game, though. I swung in a corner and Big Jack (Charlton) was in his usual position, making a nuisance of himself inside the six-yard box. Arsenal could only clear the ball as far as Terry Cooper, who struck a sweet volley into the net. After that, we defended for our lives and it was a big relief when the final whistle blew .”

Juventus 2 Leeds United 2, May 28, 1971. Leeds United 1 Juventus 1, June 2, 1971 (Leeds win on away goals)
“We’d missed out on the league and been knocked out of the FA Cup by Colchester United. So, this was our last chance of a trophy.
“The first leg was in Turin but torrential rain caused the game to be abandoned in the second half. It was rearranged for three days later and Don wanted us to return to the team hotel in the hills above the city. The lads wanted to stick to the original plan of spending time with our wives and families.
“Don got his way, though only after a few of the lads had had their say.
“I think it was the first time he felt the lads were growing away from him. We weren’t, we just didn’t agree at having to stay away from our families.
“We drew 2-2 out there and then 1-1 at Elland Road to win the Fairs Cup. Fabio Capello was in the Juventus team and it was a great feeling of achievement when the final whistle blew.”

Liverpool 0 Arsenal 1, April 24, 1974
“Before the season started, Don got us all together and said that our target was not just to win the league but remain unbeaten all season.
“We started really well and won nine of our first 12 games. But, we had drawn two of the last three, and Don wasn’t happy. We played Manchester City next. Don sat us all down in the dressing room and said, ‘I want to go unbeaten and win the league, but if you lads are not going to do it for me, I’ll go out and get some lads who will’. We just looked at each other, stunned. But we stepped up our efforts and kept the run going until February when we lost 3-2 at Stoke. It was a disappointment but we went on to win the league with a game to spare.
“We weren’t even playing on the night we became champions when Liverpool lost to Arsenal at Anfield. That title was for Don, he had driven us on all season. If I had to compare Don to anyone in the modern game it would be Sir Alex Ferguson as he had amazing drive and determination.”

Swansea 0 Leeds United 3, April 11, 1964
“I joined Leeds in the February, when I could have gone to Spurs.
“Bill Shankly also enquired about me but Don was very persuasive. Don was originally from Middlesbrough and I’d got to know him socially at golf days, when the Leeds lads would also take part.
“The first thing he did when trying to persuade me to join Leeds was to outline his dream of turning the club into Real Madrid. He had changed the club shirts to white and now he wanted to change the team.
“Promotion was the first step. It was quite tight but Don’s belief kept us going.
“I scored a few goals (eight in 14 appearances by the end of the season) and we went to Swansea knowing a win at Vetch Field would be enough.
“In the end, we managed it quite comfortably. I scored a couple of goals and then Johnny Giles added a third before half-time. It was all over and Leeds were on their way to becoming one of English football’s greatest teams.”

Leeds United 1 Ferencvaros 0, August 7, 1968. Ferencvaros 0 Leeds United 0, September 11, 1968 (Leeds win 1-0 on aggregate)
“We had got through to the final by beating Dundee the previous May, which meant there wasn’t enough time to get the two legs in before the summer.
“So, they were arranged for the start of the following season. I’d played in all 10 games but was on the bench for the first leg. We won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mick Jones and I came on for Johnny Giles. There was then a five-week gap until the second leg in Budapest but, by then, I’d been sold to Birmingham City.
“It meant I became the subject of a question that I have been told has been asked in countless pub quizzes ever since – Which player was transferred halfway through a Cup final?’“).
“I did find Don’s decision to let me go a bit strange and, to be honest, I can’t remember now whether I even got my winners’ medal or not. But, at least, I knew I’d played my part when Leeds got a goalless draw in the second leg to win the club’s first European trophy.”
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 16/3/11
Leeds United reach milestone since appointment of greatest manager
John Wray
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Don Revie’s appointment as Leeds manager – the start of a 13-year reign that took the club from the depths of the old Second Division to undreamed of glory at home and abroad.
Revie was famously handed the job by United chairman at the time Harry Reynolds, who drafted a letter recommending him to Bournemouth before deciding to appoint him instead.
Leeds narrowly avoided relegation to the Third Division in Revie’s first season in charge but the man of many superstitions – who had played with distinction for Leicester, Hull, Manchester City, Sunderland, Leeds and England – went on to manage United to trophies in the League Cup, FA Cup, Second Division Championship, League Championship, Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and Charity Shield.
He was manager of the year three times – in 1968-9, 1969-70 and 1971-2 – and became Sir Alf Ramsey’s successor as England boss on July 4 in 1974, six days before his 48th birthday.
Revie’s team was admired for its ability and undying spirit but largely loathed outside Yorkshire for a heavy reliance on physique to bring success in the early years.
Revie was never as successful in the England job as he had been as a club manager and quit in 1977 in controversial circumstances to become soccer supremo to the United Arab Emirates, accepting a contract reported to be worth £340,000 tax-free over four years.
He was sacked in the summer of 1980, receiving a reported £90,000 in compensation. He then joined Emirates club side Al Nasr but left in November 1984 because his wife Elsie could not settle in Cairo.
QPR started talks with him a month later but dropped their interest on hearing of his financial demands.
Revie died in Scotland in May 1989 aged 61 after a long battle against motor neurone disease. His ashes were scattered at Elland Road in a private ceremony attended by his family and Leeds went on to name their all-seater Kop after him.
There are plans to honour the greatest manager in the club’s history with a statue and it is testimony to his influence that his players Jack Charlton, Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray, Allan Clarke, Terry Cooper, Norman Hunter, Johnny Giles, Terry Yorath and Trevor Cherry all became managers.
Hunter said: “Don Revie was special. His ideas were well ahead of anybody else.
“He brought so many players through the youth system and knew how to get the best out of us. You cannot over-state what he did for Leeds United.
“Outside Yorkshire he isn’t as revered as he should be. He took a struggling team and made us one of the best in Europe.”
Clarke, scorer of the goal that defeated Arsenal at Wembley to take the FA Cup back to Leeds in 1972, added: “Don was so far in advance of other managers at that time.
“I was lucky to play for two of the greatest managers in Alf Ramsey and the gaffer. He built the club and I was part of the team which put Leeds United on the world map.
“What he created happens once in a lifetime. He was on a par with all the greats.”
Current Leeds boss Simon Grayson said: “As a manager, you try to emulate what Don did. If you get half as close to what he achieved, you will be a success.
“He is an inspiration to all those who have followed him in the job and he has left a fantastic legacy.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 15/3/11
Leeds United chief defends club ownership structure
The chief executive of Leeds United today told MPs he has no knowledge of the people behind the “mysterious trust” that owns the club - and that chairman Ken Bates does not know either.
Leeds’ ownership structure came under the microscope at the culture, media and sport select committee’s inquiry into football governance at a hearing at Burnley FC today.
The club’s chief executive Shaun Harvey said Leeds is owned by a holding company called FSF, based in the West Indies island of Nevis and owned by three discretionary trusts. The trustees have appointed two men, Patrick Murrin and Peter Boatman, to run the club and they had asked Bates to be chairman.
Harvey told the committee: “I don’t know who the beneficiaries of this discretionary trust are, no.”
Asked if Bates knew, he replied: “Not to my knowledge.”
He added: “There is no individual [owner], that’s the nature of discretionary trusts - it’s a perfectly legal and much-used ownership structure in many different industries, not just football.”
One MP, Damian Collins, queried whether that was a healthy state of affairs.
He said: “With a club like Leeds United the majority shareholding is owned by a mysterious trust and we don’t know who the investors are and I think that is a legitimate concern.”
Harvey defended the structure and said the club had recovered from the financial problems inherited from the Peter Ridsdale era.
He added: “The football club has no debt. There’s no indication that there’s any desire [from the discretionary trusts] to move away from the investment.
“I am convinced now that the light at the end of the Elland Road tunnel is the way out rather than the train coming in the opposite direction.
“We have gone from a very low point and are ascending a ladder of success though we’ve not achieved anything yet, there are still nine games to go this season. The reality is that it is the board of directors who are responsible for the running of the football club not shareholders.”
Harvey said he saw no reason why the club would face any difficulty in satisfying the Premier League over their ownership if Leeds achieve promotion from the Championship.
“We expect to be able to comply with the Premier League rules,” he said. “The statement we would make is no different to the statement we have made now because it is an true and accurate record of the ownership structure of Leeds United.”
Committee chairman John Whittingdale responded saying: “True, accurate and also rather uninformative.”
Bates had been due to give evidence to the inquiry himself instead of Harvey, but did not appear because he was suffering from bronchitis.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yorkshire Evening Post 14/3/11
Leeds United v Ipswich Town: Whites prove a point to prizes
On the evidence of the past fortnight, a goalless draw in the Championship is not the worst of results.
Leeds United’s game against Ipswich Town befitted that scoreline perfectly.
Elland Road will stage more raucous football in the weeks to come than it hosted on Saturday.
How much value Simon Grayson should place on the point accrued – against a distinguished but unauthoritative Ipswich team – is, as ever, a matter of opinion.
In a league where Nottingham Forest are without a win in six matches and Swansea City have flown unwittingly into turbulence, other managers in Grayson’s position might be wary of sniffing at an orderly draw.
Paul Jewell, for one, was largely content. “We were all over Leeds for the first 10 seconds,” the Ipswich manager joked. “But nil-nil is never a bad result away from home.”
That outcome loomed from an early stage of Saturday’s game. Aside from isolated shots on target asking more than average agility of either goalkeeper, the urgency of United’s season passed the fixture by.
Ipswich had nothing to play for, the club’s reputation excepted, but a goal stood between Leeds and a tie for second place in the Championship. Their creative streak ran dry, unusually, and Grayson’s players rarely reached the point where their finishing was in question.
Jewell blamed the pitch and Grayson a “lack of finesse” in the area of the pitch where it mattered most.
A coach with weaker self-control than him would have pointed an accusing finger at Darren Deadman, the match referee. Deadman’s perceived list of failings was long and damning, his performance described by Grayson with some restraint as “frustrating”. Jewell begged to differ.
“I thought he was good,” Jewell said. “I won’t say the crowd here can influence referees but they can certainly twist their arms.”
Deadman had a hand in United’s laboured performance but Grayson accepted that Leeds were responsible for tying their own hands inside and outside Ipswich’s box.
A small number of half-chances for Billy Paynter, their solitary striker, was symptomatic of an organised Town defence who held their nerve whenever pressure came to bear. Many before them have cracked under the glare of an expectant stadium.
If Paynter’s appearance at Preston last week represented a nod of emotional support from Grayson, the approval shown by his re-selection against Ipswich was greater still. At face value, it was a decision made on form and not predominantly on the grounds of resting Luciano Becchio.
United’s natural flow with a home gathering around them disappeared with the Argentinian, and the crowd were calling for him by the 64th minute.
Grayson was not surprised to see Jimmy Bullard’s name on Ipswich’s team-sheet after implying on Thursday that scepticism over the midfielder’s fitness was reverse psychology on Jewell’s part. Bullard’s tight hamstring duly healed.
To his right was the recognisable face of Kieron Dyer, a player signed on loan from West Ham United on Friday morning and remembered in Leeds for wreaking havoc at Elland Road on Newcastle United’s behalf in 2001.
Jewell used him behind striker Tamas Priskin, mimicking Leeds’ formation and the role occupied most often and most effectively by Jonathan Howson.
Dyer’s influence proved to be modest and Bullard operated under the thumb of Bradley Johnson. Whatever Jewell’s intention, the immediate result was a 20-minute stalemate of which his players had nominally the better.
Twice Priskin slipped the attention of United’s defence, the first occasion after only 12 seconds, but lacked the poise to bring a save from Kasper Schmeichel, and a bouncing header from Gareth McAuley cleared the crossbar with the help of the Dane’s fingertips.
Marton Fulop, Ipswich’s keeper, used the same extremities to turn Max Gradel’s shot around a post, an effort fashioned after McAuley backed away from the winger 20 yards from goal, but United’s disconnected mood was in contrast to their furious treatment of Doncaster Rovers a week earlier.
Gradel marauded as best he could but found himself in the territory of a right-back in Carlos Edwards who had the pace and positional sense to constrain him.
Paynter, meanwhile, missed two chances, hooking a shot wide and glancing a header across Fulop’s goal, but neither attack was as worrying as the break from Lee Martin which took him in behind a stumbling George McCartney. Schmeichel met Martin’s strike with both hands and an anxious dive.
In amongst the congestion, there was time enough for Deadman to sap the crowd’s energy.
His booking of Andy O’Brien for a dubious trip on Priskin was as contentious as his ignorance of the back-pass rule and his decision to wave Ipswich on in response to an offside flag against them. “All we want is a decent ref,” came the response from the masses, a stand-up row between Grayson and Deadman ensued.
The Football League’s appointments for games involving Leeds this season have swung between Select Group candidates and National List representatives, to no acceptable avail.
The anger of a normally-placid Grayson was an indictment of another questionable performance. But, if nothing else, Deadman’s ineptitude stirred the fixture into life.
Gradel swung a shot inches away from Fulop’s left-hand post after Edwards contrived to lose him on the edge of his area and Paynter’s attempt to sweep home a low cross met resistance from an outstretched leg.
Deadman found himself surrounded again after O’Brien’s volley appeared to hit an arm inside Fulop’s box but the official drew the line at a corner.
The players who walked past him at the end of the first half took a moment to remonstrate, though none so intently as Jewell who pursued him towards the entrance of the tunnel.
The animation of Ipswich’s manager could have related in part to an early incident in which Paynter struck McAuley with an elbow and drew blood from the defender’s ear. The collision earned Paynter the first yellow card of the game and McAuley took retribution in the second half by clattering the striker off the ball. A caution inevitably followed.
Deadman’s handling of the game not withstanding, Grayson had other matters to ponder.
A reserved first half had limited the impact of Gradel and Paynter and badly stifled Robert Snodgrass and Howson. The reticence of the latter pair did not extend far into the second half, blank though it ultimately was.
Howson’s sliced volley underneath Snodgrass’ cross was the start of a period in which Leeds found their voice. Snodgrass pulled a shot beyond Fulop’s far post and the keeper dropped down to deny Paynter a goal during United’s next attack.
Despite the improvement, Grayson called on the cavalry in the 76th minute. Howson made way for Barry Bannan and Becchio replaced Paynter, given a quarter-of-an-hour to do what he had done 17 times before this season.
The flat atmosphere inside Elland Road told him not to raise his hopes, but Grayson was still bullish afterwards.
“It rounds off a good week,” he said, aware that seven points from nine is promotion form by the present standards of United’s league.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mail 12/3/11
Leeds 0 Ipswich 0: Tractor Boys dent United's promotion push
Leeds' automatic promotion hopes were dealt a blow as poor finishing cost them all three points in their goalless draw with Ipswich.
The hosts had an opportunity to move level on points with second-placed Swansea in the npower Championship but their profligacy in front of goal cost them dearly.
In fairness, the Ipswich defence held firm in spite of a Leeds onslaught in the second-half to grab a point.
But Max Gradel, Jonny Howson, Robert Snodgrass, Billy Paynter and Andy O'Brien all had chances - but no one in a white shirt could find the back of the net.
It was not all doom and gloom for Leeds as they did close the gap on Swansea to two points - but they will know they missed an opportunity.
The main talking point before the game centred on Kieron Dyer's debut in his second spell with the Tractor Boys.
The midfielder rejoined his former club on a one-month loan deal yesterday from West Ham.
Dyer was immediately put into action along with Jimmy Bullard and Tamas Priskin, as Ipswich looked to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat to Reading.
The visitors' recent form has been poor, with three defeats in their last four matches. However they more than held their own in the opening minutes.
Gradel nearly opened the scoring for an unchanged Leeds outfit against the run of play but his 25-yard strike was tipped round the post by Ipswich goalkeeper Marton Fulop.
At the other end, Kasper Schmeichel did well to ensure the score remained goalless. He made a fine save from Lee Martin's drive from just outside the area.
From the resulting Jimmy Bullard corner, Gareth McAuley's downward header bounced off the ground and was helped over the bar by Schmeichel.
That served as a wake-up call for the hosts.
The dangerous Gradel cut in from the left and his curling shot was just wide of the right-hand post.
However, Leeds were aggrieved at a series of decisions that went against them and there was a chorus of boos at the half-time whistle.
Howson and Snodgrass missed the target as Simon Grayson's men improved after the interval.
Leeds have the best attacking record in the npower Championship, having scored 69 goals this season, so it seemed just a matter of time before they broke the deadlock.
Paynter, who was preferred to Luciano Becchio in attack, tested Fulop and Andy O'Brien went close with a 20-yard drive that just sailed wide of the left-hand post.
Though Leeds continued to completely control the tempo of the game, chances were few and far between from then on and the points were shared.

Saturday, March 12, 2011 12/3/11
United manager Simon Grayson named an unchanged side for the visit of Ipswich, following his side's midweek win at Preston, while the visitors handed a "second" debut to new loan signing Keiran Dyer.
Ipswich had won at Cardiff the previous weekend, but followed that with a midweek home defeat at the hands of Reading. They had also beaten Leeds at Portman Road back in October, and they carved out the first opportunity of this game when Tamas Priskin sent a low shot wide.
It wasn't the most entertaining starts, but it was Ipswich who were looking to play the early football and Leeds had some defending to do during the opening 10 minutes.
Ipswich goalkeeper Marton Fulop had to make an save on 12 minutes when he got down well to deny Max Gradel with a strike from distance. Gradel also forced a corner following some good build-up play that ended with a great cross from Eric Lichaj.
Kasper Schmeichel was called upon to make a good block from Lee Martin when Ipswich threatened again and from the resultant corner he had to touch the ball over the bar after a header took a wicked bounce.
There was a moment of controversy shortly before the half-hour when Priskin stumbled to the floor while in pursuit of the ball and Andy O'Brien, who was a good three yards away, was booked for a foul.
It remained a tentative affair, although Gradel came within a whisker of opening the scoring on 37 minutes when he curled a shot just wide of the post. Billy Paynter was also denied by a good block from Carlos Edwards.
United also had a good penalty appeal before the break when an O'Brien shot appeared to be blocked by the hands of an Ipswich defender.
And it was Leeds who carved out the first chance of the second period. Jonny Howson screwed an effort just wide after good work by Robert Snodgrass, and the two combined again moments later when Snodgrass went close.
Leeds started well, and Paynter was next to go close following some great inter-play when his low shot was saved by Fulop.
O'Brien also went within a whisker of firing Leeds ahead when he drilled a first-time shot just wide of the mark.
Leeds were continuing to look the more threatening of the two sides as the game headed towards the final 20 minutes, but clear cut chances were few and far between.
With 14 minutes remaining, Grayson made a double change, introducing Barry Bannan and Luciano Becchio.
United continued to probe, though, and Gradel forced Fulop into making a save after cutting in from the right.
Lichaj was denied by a good block by Damien Delaney, but for all the endeavour, United were struggling to make headway in finding the decisive goal.
Ipswich had offered little in the way of invention during the second period, but as the game ticked past the 90-minute mark Leeds had some defending to do for the first time in the half.
In the 93rd minute. it was United's turn to mount one final push, but Ipswich held firm to ensure honours ended even.
Yorkshire Evening Post 9/3/11
Preston North End v Leeds United: Unlikely lads set up Whites victory
Preston North End were responsible for one of Leeds United’s gravest humiliations but, as the Championship table stands, the club from West Yorkshire can live with that.
There is more to their season than the restoration of pride or the matter of a minor Roses rivalry.
Beaten 6-4 at Elland Road in ridiculous circumstances five months ago, Leeds returned the favour last night with fewer goals and less fuss, settling a competitive Championship fixture with goals in either half from Neil Kilkenny and Billy Paynter.
Revenge was mentioned beforehand and duly delivered by Leeds, though Preston might argue that the moral victory was theirs over two league fixtures between the clubs.
From Simon Grayson’s perspective, the events of Elland Road on September 28 became irrelevant many weeks ago.
Preston will be relegated and United are closer to the Championship play-offs than they have been for five years; the win achieved by Preston in Leeds stands out as a blemish on the record of Grayson’s club and a meaningless highlight in North End’s annus horribilis.
Grayson was asked about the concept of revenge before last night’s game at Deepdale and sounded altogether unimpressed.
“I don’t see it that way,” he said, pointing out that that his squad had more pressing priorities than doing to Preston as North End had done to them.
A comparable rout of the Championship’s 24th club might have raised a smile on the face of United’s manager but the victory achieved by Kilkenny’s first league goal of the season and Billy Paynter’s first goal of his life in Leeds was all the same to him and his players.
Three points are three points when the months of spring arrive.
In the case of Leeds, they are valuable on any occasion when the club appear in midweek.
Much has been made of their appalling record outwith Saturday afternoon kick-offs – five points taken from 10 league games before yesterday’s fixture – but that impasse broke on an evening when something had to give.
Preston were themselves due a victory after 14 games without but they rarely threatened it after Sian Massey, the assistant referee made famous by the offside rule, disallowed a header from Sean St Ledger at the start of the second half.
Whether Grayson could argue that the existing gap of 45 points between North End and Leeds is an accurate portrayal of their respective qualities is another matter but there was no mistaking the downtrodden team at Deepdale.
The legs of Preston were willing but this division is destined to be rid of them.
Grayson flexed United’s muscles on Monday by nailing down a new signing, prising Barry Bannan from Aston Villa after a torturous wait, but the Scot’s arrival did not tempt him to restructure his midfield.
Grayson chose instead to risk a change in attack, dispensing with Luciano Becchio and giving Billy Paynter another opportunity to impose himself on the club’s season.
The striker’s goalless sequence – 16 games and counting before last night – began to stalk him over the weekend as the crowd at Elland Road willed him to clear a psychological hurdle by scoring for the first time in a 5-2 win over Doncaster Rovers. An 83rd-minute effort which struck a leg on Doncaster’s goalline and present Max Gradel with a tap-in gave the best example of his misfortune since signing for Leeds in July.
But his luck reversed spectacularly in Preston, shaken by a raking finish early in the second half.
He cannot have lost hours of sleep over a later chance which rebounded off a post.
Paynter’s selection at Deepdale was an unmistakable vote of confidence from Grayson, asking him to hassle a defence strengthened by the arrival of Ricardo Gardner from Bolton Wanderers.
Grayson had enough depth in his squad to tie Bannan to his bench; Gardner’s inclusion in Preston’s line-up was an absolute necessity, brought on by a spate of injuries.
The left-back carried the credentials of a Jamaican international but closer inspection of the 32-year-old’s season revealed no first-team appearances since August.
Robert Snodgrass promised him a tiring evening but saw much of the game pass him by either side of instigating Kilkenny’s goal.
The winger had not touched the ball when Keith Treacy shook the frame of Kasper Schmeichel’s net. The effort was the product of a weak header from Andy O’Brien which dropped five yards outside United’s box. Schmeichel failed to reach it but the crossbar above him repelled the ball, bouncing it down a yard in front of his goalline.
It was not the way that Grayson’s players intended to start or the style in which they meant to continue.
Paynter’s first chance materialised soon after but he swung and missed at a ricochet which spilled in front of Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, and Jonathan Howson’s wild finish wasted a long, insightful clearance from Schmeichel.
Leeds surmised from those two moments that North End would be vulnerable if stretched with enough purpose. In between United’s moments of pressure, Schmeichel parried one effort from Eddie Johnson and held another from Treacy.
Max Gradel kept Lonergan involved with with a hanging cross a shot that spun up in front of the keeper but Grayson could see his players feeling their way with caution into a competitive game.
Bradley Johnson’s 19th-minute booking for a foul on Iain Hume was undeniably soft yet drawn by Preston’s persistent pressure.
Lonergan’s handling was a small source of encouragement for Grayson, exposed again when Howson’s effort dropped out of his arms, but the keeper shouldered no blame for his concession after half-an-hour.
Snodgrass’ first meaningful sight of the ball drove Preston’s defence into their own box, and a half-hit clearance from his low cross dropped to Kilkenny. The midfielder barely looked up before curling a shot from 25 yards around Lonergan and into the net with the help of a post.
The goal was Kilkenny’s first of the Championship term, perfectly struck and perfectly timed.
Though not exactly against the run of play, the threat from Leeds prior to it had been sporadic at best.
They took the Australian’s finish as an invitation to force the floodgates open. St Ledger’s sliding tackle prevented Paynter from aiming the ball into the far corner of Lonergan’s net, and the striker pulled an effort wide after exploiting St Ledger’s hesitation beneath a bouncing ball. If Paynter feared the worst then he need not have worried.
The forward found himself alone and in possession on the corner of Preston’s box 12 minutes into the second half. With no players around him and few other alternatives, he attacked Lonergan with all the anger of a goalless striker and stretched North End’s net to the point of bursting.
United worked appeared to be done inside an hour.
Hume said otherwise after 63 minutes when he picked out the height of Schmeichel’s net from far outside the box.
“We’re going to win 6-2,” taunted an optimistic home crowd as Preston re-enacted the Alamo.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Yorkshire Post 5/3/11
Leeds United 5 Doncaster Rovers 2: O’Driscoll backs Whites for promotion
BILLY SHARP netted an equaliser on the stroke of half-time as Leeds United’s tendency to shoot themselves in the foot returned, writes Richard Sutcliffe.
Luciano Becchio, Max Gradel and Jonny Howson scored the all-important goals in the final 15 minutes to seal United’s first victory in four Championship outings.
On the balance of chances created, Leeds were good value for their win but Rovers deserve tremendous credit for playing a full part in a derby that kept the 27,027 crowd enraptured until the closing stages.
Rovers had seized the initiative at the start of the half and gone ahead within four minutes of the restart courtesy of a fine finish from Franck Moussa after he had been found by a Brian Stock header.
The lead lasted less than a minute, however, with Jonny Howson dragging United level with a drilled shot from 20 yards after the Elland Road captain had charged down a Stock clearance.
Both sides then created chances with Kasper Schmeichel twice coming to United’s rescue with saves from Molussa and Billy Sharp.
At the other end, Max Gradel then twice failed to capitalise on being played through one on one with goalkeeper Gary Woods.
Leeds then regained the lead when Snodgrass picked out Bradley Johnson, who headed down for Becchio to net from close range.
Such is the fragile state of the home defence, however, United knew a fourth goal was required and it duly arrived seven minutes from time when Gradel finished from close range after Billy Paynter’s shot had been blocked by Woods.
Howson then rounded off the win in stoppage time with a fine finish after being played through by Snodgrass.
Leeds manager Simon Grayson said: “He (Gradel) just epitomises what this team is about. He’s got quality but also a great work ethic.
“The way he chases down defenders and works rubs off on his team-mates and he is a breath of fresh air, a joy to work with.
“He’s reaping the rewards for his endeavour and enthusiasm and he’s a great lad to work with.”
Doncaster boss Sean O’Driscoll was left to rue some poor defending from his side and backed Leeds to secure a play-off place.
“But the manner of the goals in the second half disappointed me.
“To concede a goal 30 seconds after you’ve scored and when you look at the DVD we weren’t even ready for the kick-off, in this division you can’t switch off especially against a quality side like Leeds.
“Credit to them, they’ve created chances all afternoon and their front six is probably as good as anything in the league.”

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 3/3/11
Leeds United must wait on loan recruits
Leeds are being thwarted in their attempts to bolster their defence for the run-in towards promotion.
Recent matches have exposed the United backline as the weak link – only three Championship teams have conceded more than their 55 goals this season, including two in the relegation zone.
Manager Simon Grayson had hoped to make a move in the loan market for some Premier League players.
Leeds chairman Ken Bates still thinks that is possible but pointed out the problems they are having.
“We hope to make one or two signings this week or next but Premier League clubs are suffering injuries and suspensions,” said Bates.
“We have a situation where three players Simon had in mind, who we had provisionally agreed to sign, are now on hold because their present clubs are concerned they may need them themselves.”
Bates also revealed that agents’ desire to secure full-time deals for their clients rules out some targets. Leeds are not ready to sign Premier League contracts until they know promotion is secure.
“We’re not signing a player now that could hamstring the manager’s budget for next season,” he said.
“If we get promoted, players will have their wages reviewed, but we’re not making long-term policy decisions based on future performance.”