Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Match – 7 October 1972 – Leeds United 5 Derby County 0
A blinding performance by Don Revie's men and five blistering goals produced a result that represented some restitution for having the League title snatched from within their grasp the previous May
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Match – 23 September 1972 – Newcastle United 3 Leeds United 2
Four goals in the opening eight minutes in a classic encounter in the North East which saw United go down by the odd goal. Don Revie: "This type of football must bring the crowds back."
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Rod Belfitt – Reliable grafter
Belfitt managed less than 80 League appearances in eight years with United but was always ready to answer Don Revie's call when it came and rarely let the side down, particularly in knockout competitions
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Steve Guppy (left winger) 2004
Teddy Lucic (defender) 2002-03
Ugo Ehiogu (centre-back) 2006-07
Alan Wright (left-back) 2006
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Leeds United wait on Schmeichel outcome
Leeds United will discover the outcome of talks between Kasper Schmeichel and Leicester City early next week, with doubts persisting about the result of negotiations.
United have effectively ended Schmeichel’s career at Elland Road by stating that he will have no prominent role in their first-team plans next season, and representatives of the Danish goalkeeper are believed to have opened discussions with Leicester on Thursday.
City saw a seven-figure offer for Schmeichel accepted this week, leading to statements from United confirming that Schmeichel would be replaced as their first-choice keeper this summer, and Leeds are looking to see the transfer tied up before their squad report back to Thorp Arch for pre-season training in four days’ time.
Schmeichel and Leicester are considering their positions over the weekend, but sources in the Midlands continue to indicate that he is one of a number of keepers who City have been monitoring.
Meanwhile, former United midfielder Neil Kilkenny has signed a three-year contract with Championship rivals Bristol City after rejecting a new deal at Leeds.
“We’re delighted he has agreed to join us as we’ve been following him for a little while,” said City boss Keith Millen of his free transfer capture.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Leeds United Boss keen to ring defensive changes
The facts surrounding Kasper Schmeichel’s proposed sale to Leicester City were confused at best and troubling at worst. When the announcement came, some took it as a sign of Leeds United’s willingness to trade valuable players as soon as the price was right.
The club’s manager, Simon Grayson, justified the deal by stating it would maximise the return on a goalkeeper whose contract expires in 2012. Grayson claimed there was no prospect of extending that contract; Schmeichel reacted with surprise, saying no offer had ever been put to him.
The only certainty was that a transfer involving Schmeichel had not been mooted at the Dane’s request.
News of the agreement and the financial considerations behind it raised the question of what might happen if other prized members of Grayson’s squad attracted persuasive interest as the summer wore on. Robert Snodgrass has already been the subject of one offer from Norwich City and Max Gradel is on the radar of both Swansea City and Hamburg. Newcastle United began monitoring Gradel many months ago.
How likely their departures would be on the back of Schmeichel’s exit is nevertheless a matter of conjecture.
Despite Grayson’s initial comments, sources at Leeds say the decision to negotiate a transfer with Leicester was driven by their manager’s desire to improve a defensive unit which conceded 79 league goals last season and a feeling that more consistent keepers are available in the summer market.
Grayson is thought to have been unconvinced by Schmeichel’s performances over the course of 12 months at Elland Road. The 24-year-old made 40 appearances last season behind a backline which proved to be United’s weakness.
The club held one of the worst defensive records in the Championship while finishing as the league’s second highest scorers, and Grayson is understood to see a change of keeper as a partial, but necessary, step towards addressing that failing.
The Leeds boss moved to clarify his thinking yesterday, saying: “I’m trying to improve the back four or five, and when you concede the number of goals we did, it’s obviously an area where one or two players are vulnerable. We need to change it around.
“There are good options for goalkeepers out there, so this was a footballing decision first and foremost but obviously the Bosman ruling quickens decisions for you. We have other alternatives who will make us better and that’s why you make difficult decisions at times.”
The wisdom of a £1.5m deal with Leicester would be judged on the quality of Schmeichel’s replacement, and Leeds are assessing their options with pre-season training due to begin a week tomorrow. Coventry City keeper Keiren Westwood is a prime target but Sunderland are bidding to sign the Republic of Ireland international and their ability to exceed United’s offer of wages could make his signature unattainable. Huddersfield Town’s Alex Smithies and Burnley’s Lee Grant are more realistic possibilities.
In effect, Schmeichel’s exit will continue the gradual break-up of the team thrown at the Championship by Grayson in August.
United’s manager remarked over the weekend that “wholesale changes” to his squad were unlikely, insisting that the signings “won’t be as many as last summer and nowhere near double figures”, but a clearing of the decks has taken place since the beginning of last season.
Six of the players who started Leeds’ first Championship game against Derby County are no longer present or wanted by the club, and Schmeichel is about to join that number. Grayson is still to make his first summer capture and his line-up for the new term is lacking definite shape with July on the horizon.
Last season ended with the release of several players on whom Grayson had relied heavily in the past – Bradley Johnson, Neil Kilkenny, Richard Naylor and Shane Higgs – but the agreement with Leicester for Schmeichel heralds the first unforeseen departure from Elland Road.
With United prepared to sanction the move, the club’s supporters will wait to see how much interest Leeds show in subsequent bids for Snodgrass and Gradel.
Snodgrass attracted an offer of around £3m from Norwich earlier this month, an approach which Leeds rejected. Gradel – United’s player of the year last season – is a sought-after winger on account of the strongest year of his career as a professional and 18 goals in the Championship last season.
Both are central to Grayson’s plans for next season.
Asked about Snodgrass’ future, Grayson said: “Nothing’s moved on from 10 days ago when we turned down an approach from Norwich. It’s testament to him that he’s worth that sort of money and we think he’s worth more than that.
“We don’t want to sell our best players but, ultimately, every player has his price whether he’s at Leeds United, Manchester United or Real Madrid. We’re not actively looking to sell our players and if they are to be sold then it has to be at our valuation, not anyone else’s. We’ll do what’s right for the club.”
Gradel’s situation is particularly uncertain with his contract, like Schmeichel’s, entering its final year. The former Leicester trainee stated in April that he was interested in negotiating a new deal and tying himself to Elland Road beyond the end of the 2011-12 term.
Grayson, meanwhile, is waiting to see an influx of new players having presided over a minor exodus since May 8. He currently faces the prospect of starting pre-season training next Thursday with gaps in several areas of his squad, most significantly the centre of midfield.
“We’ve got a bit of work to do,” he conceded. “In the first week of the summer we could easily have gone and got a couple of players, but they might not have been better than what we’ve got.
“You need to wait for players to weigh up their options and most clubs don’t do anything until the days before you get back for pre-season.”
Schmeichel hits back as Leeds United accept Leicester City bid
By Leon Wobschall
Kasper Schmichel insists he is being forced out of Leeds United after the club accepted an undisclosed bid from npower Championship rivals Leicester City for his services.
The Danish international stopper, 24, who has a year left on his contract after joining United just 13 months ago, said he was happy at Elland Road and looking forward to playing his part in a promotion crusade in 2010-11.
Schmeichel’s exit would leave United without a recognised first-team keeper on their books, with last season’s No.2, Shane Higgs, released at the end of last term.
But Whites boss Simon Grayson has insisted the deal is “in the best interests of Leeds United”, with Schmeichel said to be unwilling to commit his long-term future to the club.
A statement issued on behalf of Schmeichel by his representatives read: “At the end of the season, Leeds United and I both made a commitment to honour the last year of my contract and try to win promotion.
“Therefore, it’s with great disappointment that I have learned that Leeds have accepted an offer from Leicester. I want to put on record that I have never asked to leave Leeds United, nor did I reject an offer for a new contract, since one was never put to me.
“I was enjoying being a Leeds United player and was looking forward to winning promotion this season with the club.
“I have spoken to the manager Simon Grayson and he has made it clear to me, that, in spite of having played well for him, this is something he believes is a good deal for Leeds United.
“I have been put in a very difficult situation and will spend some time considering my options for my future.”
United were today stepping up their search for a new number one keeper after accepting an offer – thought to be over £1m – for Schmeichel, who joined the club on a Bosman free transfer from Notts County.
On Schmeichel’s proposed move, United boss Grayson added: “We feel this is the right deal for the club.
“We spoke to Kasper’s agent at the end of the season about a contract extension and it was apparent that it was going to be difficult to agree a deal.
“Given the fact that he has one year left on his contract, we feel this is in the best interests of Leeds United.”
A switch to the East Midlands would see Schmeichel link up again with Foxes boss Sven Goran Eriksson, who took him to Notts County from Manchester City.
Schmeichel, who received his maiden full international call-up to the Denmark squad last month, endured a mixed first season with the Whites and, despite showing plenty of promise, kept just nine clean sheets in 37 league games. Ironically, only Leicester, of the other sides in the top-half of the Championship table, conceded more league goals.
United were recently linked with Coventry City’s highly-rated keeper Kieren Westwood, but he looks set to move to Sunderland. Leicester were also in the hunt for Westwood, with the likes of Huddersfield’s Alex Smithies and Nottingham Forest’s Northern Ireland international Lee Camp also on their radar.
Former loan keeper Jason Brown, who is a free agent after leaving Blackburn Rovers, is another potential United target.
Meanwhile, United’s opening clash of 2011-12 campaign, against Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday, August 6, has been switched to a 5.20pm kick-off.
Ken Bates faces parliamentary probe into Leeds United ownership saga
Conservative MP Damian Collins wants government inquiry
The MP Damian Collins wants a government inquiry into the circumstances around the sale of Leeds United to Ken Bates.
Ken Bates will face a parliamentary demand for a government inquiry on Tuesday in order to disclose every detail of the transactions that led to his taking over Leeds United.
The former Chelsea owner has been chairman of the Championship club since 2005 – barring a short period during the club's 2007 administration – during which time he served two separate consortiums of anonymous offshore owners. The obfuscated ownership structure finally came to an end last month, when Bates took over 73% of the club in a transaction whose cost has not been disclosed. But the lack of transparency remains a major concern of the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into football governance.
Now Damian Collins, the Conservative MP who sits on the football governance inquiry, has set up an adjournment debate at Westminster Hall next Tuesday. "The principle is that it should never be allowed to happen again that football clubs are bought by offshore trusts of which we have no idea who the owners are," said Collins. "Even though Ken Bates has now taken the club over, I do not think we should forget that. There remain a lot of unanswered questions about the whole process which warrant a full investigation."
When Leeds collapsed under the weight of £35m in debt in 2007 its anonymous offshore creditors refused bids that would have earned them £8m more, simply because they wanted Bates to retain control as chairman. That insolvency process also led to HM Revenue & Customs receiving only a fraction of the £7.7m it was owed in unpaid taxes.
Collins added: "I think we should investigate how Leeds was bought by Ken Bates and whether there are issues for the government to look into, given the millions of pounds of unpaid tax in the administration. We should also consider whether there is a need for the government to look into how the money was raised to buy the club, and where it came from."
Saturday, June 11, 2011
CHAIRMAN ON POSSIBLE SMITH MOVE
Ken Bates responds to Smith speculation...
United chairman Ken Bates has refused to rule out a possible move for former Elland Road youngster Alan Smith.
Media speculation about a possible Elland Road return for the 30-year-old started within moments of it being announced that Newcastle were willing to let the midfielder leave the club.
Speaking exclusively to Yorkshire Radio, the Leeds chairman said: "It depends on whether Simon wants him which is his decision.
"We have to be careful because he has had a poor injury record and what we can't afford to do is sign someone who can't play. We have at least eight more matches than in the Premiership.
"The other thing is his wages. He has been at Manchester United and Newcastle so his wages are in a stratosphere, probably well over the seven-figure medium, so if he did join us he would have to knock a nought off and maybe half it.
"But nothing is certain and nothing is uncertain. I can confirm we are continuing our quest for the right players and if he is fit Alan would certainly be a good addition to our squad, but that would need further investigation and consideration by Simon."
Saturday, June 04, 2011
CLUB CONFIRMS ENQUIRIES
Leeds United can confirm that we have received a number of enquires from both home and abroad in relation to our players.
Leeds United CEO Shaun Harvey said: "It would be naïve to believe that we would not receive any enquiries about our players who, collectively, achieved a seventh place finish in the Championship last season.
"We will continue our policy of not commenting on specific speculation, but would re-iterate our position that any players leaving will only do so in those circumstances that we believe represents the best interests of the club and has the full support of Simon Grayson.
"Our recruitment plans continue quietly behind the scenes and we have no intention of making public our targets."