Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ask the Gaffer

Neil Warnock guests at Lorimer’s, Q&A session 30/8
Time: 7.00PM
Availability: Good
Location: Nicky Chapman Suite - Elland Road
Warnock wouldn't swap Paddy Kenny for Rob Green or anyone else #lufc
Warnock wanted to sign Austin for QPR to replace Derry but couldn't afford him at the time #lufc
Warnock says Austin looks like he's 43 but his passport says he's only 27 #lufc
Warnock says we still need another striker and a right winger #lufc
Warnock understands Snograss leaving and would of probably done the same thing as him. #lufc
Warnock said be patient while the "takeover" is going on. He has put it to the back of his mind.
Warnock - looks at other teams with more money but all he is bothered about is what the other manager is like. Is he better than them.
Warnock. Almost sold McCormack for Mackail-Smith but needed money to secure it.
Warnock - Saw Joel Ward as an investment but was disappointed when it didn't happen.
Warnock - Still players at Leeds he wants to move on but they are not prepared to move. Warnock can get better players on less £
When Warnock sees a player he wants, he speaks to Shaun Harvey who then speaks to the players representatives then reports back to Bates
All keepers make mistakes and are judged on them. Paddy Kenny makes very few
Would be struggling if Pearce, Austin or Becchio got injured. Low on numbers and needs a few more
We would of beaten Blackpool if we had their bench and they had ours
Warnock saw Austin play 3 or 4 times but never in midfield. He had a good night out in Norway tho #lufc
Warnock could have gone to Forest if he wanted to but wanted to stay at Leeds for the fans
Said that wolves not hiring him was a big mistake and he told them that #lufc
Diouf was surprised and shocked by the reaction from the fans the other night #lufc
Diouf has been a smashing lad so far
Warnock wouldn't go abroad. Likes the Spanish clubs
Warnock doesn't like the music in the changing rooms. That head banging stuff #lufc
Warnock likes the way Peltier is respected by everyone and he's a good talker #lufc
Warnock doesn't like keepers as captains. Had to say sorry to Paddy
Warnock's says a decision he's planning for the weekend might back fire on him
The championship is a league where you have to go with your instinct as a manager
Might be 1 or 2 players he can bring in for free when 25 man squads are announced #lufc
Warnock would of liked Clint Hill but he got a new deal at QPR
Warnock hasn't got the qualifications to manage in premier league. He has a diploma and so does Alex Ferguson and Martin O'Neill
The only player leaving that he was bothered about was Snodgrass
Rogers and Nunez both have ability but doesn't know what he'd get from them come Saturday
Spends a lot of time with the players that aren't in the squad as you'll need them at some point #lufc
Wants players to have enjoyed playing under him when they look back #lufc
Players don't give a toss if a manager gets sacked
Warnock took potential new signings to his house not the training ground at QPR
Warnock's favourite game as Leeds manager was Southampton at home last season even tho we lost
Any point watching sky sports news 2moro. Always thinks its good to watch
Warnock- Paddy Kenny had a good laugh at the chants about his parties but wants people to know he'd rather they brought White Star cider than heroin #lufc

Leeds United v Oxford United: Reshuffled Whites prove too strong

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/8/12
By Phil Hay
A final at Wembley is asking too much – in this competition at any rate – but Leeds United met their manager’s daughter halfway last night by reaching the third round of the Capital One Cup.
The tournament is so often bypassed by Neil Warnock in the interest of other priorities but his conscience was tweaked two weeks ago by his daughter Amy asking whether he would consider taking the League Cup seriously and if Leeds might have the legs to win it.
Warnock could hardly promise the latter but United’s progression to the third round could produce what the League Cup has given Leeds twice in three years – a high-profile tie against club who might conceivably lift the trophy early next year. Liverpool in 2009 and Manchester United last season were the club’s commission for a serious approach. They await the draw with interest again.
There is more to a game of that nature than keeping Warnock’s family happy. It is a source of money too and Leeds as a club could do with some of that.
The team chosen by Warnock against Oxford United was selected as a means of protecting some of his prominent players and examining others who he did not expect to rely on so heavily.
It is likely that the transfer deadline will pass on Friday with no further expenditure at Elland Road.
Warnock’s side raised themselves from a lethargic start to subdue Oxford with first-half goals from Rodolph Austin and Sam Byram, their first scored in competitive games for Leeds. Austin’s finish was raking, in keeping with the man himself, and Byram’s the height of teenage zeal, chipped with audacity over the head of Oxford goalkeeper Ryan Clarke. The tie had no life left in it after 34 minutes.
For all his daughter’s pleading, Warnock exercised his right to do as he pleased last night, fielding a markedly different side to that used at Peterborough.
The exchange of places was numerous – six in all – but the transition smooth enough so see Oxford off. The League Two club came to Leeds with a stick to shake, top of their division after three straight wins.
Their appearance in the second round came via a penalty shoot-out against Bournemouth and the club were in the middle of a purple patch yesterday.
“There’ll be a shock somewhere,” said manager Chris Wilder before kick-off.
Had it not been for the sudden arrival of Austin’s goal on 26 minutes, his players might have threatened it but the second half was torture for them. Tom Lees rounded of the scoring with a header late in the game, by which time Oxford were being overrun.
The most notable inclusion in United’s line-up was El-Hadji Diouf, allaying the fear that he and the club might already have gone their separate ways after his short period on non-contract terms.
Diouf started up front alongside Andy Gray as Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio stepped onto the sidelines. For once Warnock had no issue with the strength of his bench.
It was never his intention to rely on it but Oxford oozed confidence from the outset, passing their way through United’s midfield in the early minutes.
A mis-kicked by Jason Pearce – United’s captain for the night – caused panic leading to a blocked shot from Alfie Potter and a sliding save from Jamie Ashdown as James Constable stretched for the rebound, and Lees’ timely header denied Tony Capaldi a tap-in against the club he once represented without distinction.
With unfamiliar partnerships all over the field, Leeds grasped for the same fluency without immediate success.
Two shots from Sean Rigg and Adam Chapman – booked after only 10 minutes for a lazy lunge on Diouf – examined Ashdown’s handling on the keeper’s competitive debut and it took until the 20th minute for Warnock’s players to take a grip of Oxford and reel them in.
Wilder’s defence had conceded only once in four previous games and they patrolled their box steadily until Austin ran onto Aidan White’s pass and beat Clarke from 20 yards. The strike was fierce but Clarke got a hand to the ball, pushing it weakly into the corner of his net.
The tie turned in that moment and Oxford lost their way.
They were picked open again 11 minutes before half-time when Byram received a pass from Diouf, cut between two defenders and beat Clarke with an exquisite chip from 12 yards. The body language of Wilder’s players was almost resigned to a lost cause.
Clarke kept them in the game either side of half-time by parrying Diouf’s attempted lob and a header from Patrick Kisnorbo, but Ashdown’s reaction to a 51st-minute volley from Constable was important too, preventing a change in the wind.
It allowed Leeds to enjoy second half, and the crowd too.
The Kop delighted in Austin’s effort from 35 yards that swerved in front of Clarke and clipped top of the crossbar, and Byram’s volley at the end of a cross from Diouf was just as nonchalant, flying into the supporters behind Clarke’s net.
The siege on his goal was almost permanent and Lees took advantage 15 minutes from the end by meeting Diouf’s delivery from the right with a well-placed header.
The impressive Diouf took his leave of the pitch after that as Warnock replaced him and looked towards Saturday’s Championship meeting with Blackburn Rovers. It was always there, at the back of his mind.

Bates Ken go

The Sun 30/8/12
By ANDREW DILLON
KEN BATES looks set to end his controversial reign at Leeds in the next 72 hours.
Islamic Investment bank Gulf Finance House Capital are close to a £50million takeover deal and they will replace chairman Bates with David Haigh.
Team boss Neil Warnock has had discussions with the prospective new owners about transfer funds and their plans to get back into the Premier League.
A source close to the deal told SunSport: “Things are moving quickly. GFH Capital are eager to start rebuilding Leeds United.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Secrecy, Lies And Indemnity

The Scratching Shed 28/8/12
Indemnity. Replacing ‘imminent’ as this summers buzzword, indemnity is basically the would-be owners guarantee that Ken Bates will be financially liable for any skeletons found lurking in the Elland Road closets after he departs.
In short, indemnity is compensation awarded if a pre-determined event occurs – say, for example, Leeds United are taken to court over something the previous regime was responsible for.
If the latest reports from the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Leeds United Supporters Trust are accurate, the indemnity clause is the final hurdle before an agreement is sealed and Ken Bates relinquishes control of the club.
The only problem is, Ken Bates appears to be stalling.
Like most Leeds fans (I suspect), my mind immediately jumps to the conclusion that the buyers have stumbled across a very specific skeleton in Ken Bates’ closet that he fears is bound to resurface sooner or later.
When you’re dealing with a man more notable for deception, court cases and dodgy offshore banking than he is for his contribution to football, it’s only natural that you start to fear the worst. After all, this is a man who managed to rig an administration process so that he cleared substantial debt whilst managing to retain control of the club (allegedly).
However, it could just as easily be something genuine. Perhaps Ken Bates feels the terms of the indemnity agreement are too vague and could make him liable for things that weren’t his doing?
The truth is, no one really knows. Or if they do, they’re not telling us. If the TOMA thread on WACCOE has taught us anything, it’s that an absence of verifiable facts is conducive to wild speculation.
When you have a reputation like that of Ken Bates, wild speculation will seldom serve you well. If this takeover does fall through, the truth will be irrelevant. False hope, broken promises, anonymous individuals and incredibly poor communication only serves to remind fans of previous failings and the struggle for information Ken Bates’ reign has been synonymous with.
In less than 3 months, fans have gone from pondering the implications of a Manchester City-esque takeover, to plotting further protests. The club have only themselves to blame for the latter.
Whilst it’s true that the speculation was created by fans and it was they who let themselves get carried away, the club did little to stop them. Save for a few incredibly vague statements (1, 2, 3) that served only to heighten speculation and feed the madness, the club hid behind a confidentiality clause and continued to keep fans in the dark about the future of their club.
I’m sure Ken Bates doesn’t lose a second of sleep over the concerns of fans/customers, he’s made perfectly clear in the past that he feels they have no business knowing what goes on behind the scenes at Leeds United Football Club. As owner, that’s his prerogative. As fans, the right to protest and withdraw funding is ours.
That’s why compromise is key to running a successful football club. As Ken Bates is slowly coming to realise, an unhappy fanbase means the Leeds United turnover he so highly covets begins to diminish. A drop of 4,000 on our average gate last season represents a loss of around £3m on the season previous – that’s before you take into consideration the additional funds those 4,000 would have spent in the ground.
If this takeover does fall through, there will undoubtedly be a further reduction in gate receipts. There’s only so much false hope a fan can digest before they become cynical and start to question the chairman’s motives.
Fans want to believe that everyone at their football club is pulling in the same direction. They want to be valued as loyal supporters and see the hard-earned money they spend on supporting the club, reflected in the quality and ambitions of those they pay to watch.
I don’t doubt that Ken Bates wants to see Leeds United in the Premier League just as much as I do – why wouldn’t he? The club is worth much more to him as a top flight team. My concern is that he seems incapable of achieving that goal and he’s made no effort to convince me otherwise, and therein lies the ultimate problem.
The takeover seemed to be a concession of sorts. I never expected him to admit it, but in my mind, Ken Bates had accepted he was incapable of taking Leeds United to the promised land so had sought out investment from those who could – no doubt encouraged by the cashflow problems Leeds United’s latest accounts suggest.
If Ken Bates was to come out tomorrow, admit he couldn’t take this club any further and promise to find a new owner, I’d hold my hands up and help him in anyway possible. Most fans would. Frank honesty and a little humility are highly valued commodities in Yorkshire, it’s the secrecy, lies and excuses our fans simply cannot abide, and it’s the secrecy, lies and excuses causing our fans to walk away.
All Ken Bates really needs to do is be straight with supporters. If he genuinely has the club’s best interests at heart, then what has he got to lose? The alternative is getting him nowhere.
Unless the members of Leeds United’s boardroom are a secret chapter of the Illuminati, sworn to protect the world from unspeakable evils who will be punishable by death if they utter a word of what goes on inside, the very worst they could face is a little embarrassment. I don’t care that they may have got it wrong – in fact, I’d respect the honesty of such an admission – I only care that they have a solution. If there’s nothing to hide and you’re supposedly working in the best interests of Leeds United Football Club, secrecy serves no purpose. Is it seriously too much to ask for a little communication and some long overdue honesty? If so, allow me to apologise in advance on behalf of all those who vote with their feet if this takeover isn’t completed successfully.

Monday, August 27, 2012

QUOTE (boozie @ Aug 27 2012, 10:26 AM)

WACCOE
I've said before the buyers currently at the table are in it for the long haul. They have invested too much £ into this takeover just to let it collapse. They want Leeds Uniteds and are in no rush to push it through. The longer this goes on the bigger the pressure on Bates to sell, the money is running out and he knows the buyers are ready to step in. They are in a great negotiation position.
I estimated that their legal fees are already between 1 and 2 million (probably nearer two) and they have already paid 4million to the club. They are not going to walk away from that kind of money because Bates wants to play games. These are big boys who have played with bigger boys(I was going to say fish but that just leads to more puns) than Ken Bates.
I don't see this happening before Friday (just my opinion) but I do still see this happening.*
* I base all this on the last update I had on Saturday, who knows what has gone on since then. LUST statement should hopefully rattle Bates some more.

Re: the money put into the club.
I don't know the exact terms on which this was given. However, I understand there has been much negotiation about this. The buyers believed this was for the club for transfers/wages/general cash-flow. Bates believes this was for him because he allowed them exclusivity! There was a huge disagreement about this money but I understand this has been resolved. I dont know how it has been resolved.
The only remaining issue is Bates taking his legal advice from the lawyers he hired and signing the thing.

Warnock’s transfer pot is empty

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/8/12
By Phil Hay
Leeds United look destined to sit out the final stages of the transfer window with manager Neil Warnock no closer to securing fresh funds.
Warnock appeared to dismiss the possibility of a sudden injection of cash this week by admitting after Saturday’s win over Peterborough United that Leeds “won’t be buying anybody” before the summer deadline passes at midnight on Friday.
The United boss has warned repeatedly that his need to increase the squad at Elland Road was unlikely to be met in the last days of the window and his latest comments indicate that he has no expectation of a planned takeover of Leeds going through in the next four days.
The buy-out proposed by a consortium from the Middle East – a group who have been in negotiations with United owner and chairman Ken Bates for more than three months –would potentially address Warnock’s empty transfer fund but it is increasingly uncertain if the takeover deal will survive a long and unexplained delay.
Warnock’s desire for more attacking players on his bench saw 18-year-old Dominic Poleon included in United’s squad at London Road.
The striker made his league debut as a substitute in the second half, appearing for the final 12 minutes, but Warnock was struck by the sight of Peterborough calling Paul Taylor – one of their more highly-rated players – up from the bench as they fought to overturn a 2-0 deficit.
Asked how active Leeds might be before Friday’s deadline, Warnock said: “We won’t be buying anybody. I think the most you can expect is a loan player if we can, getting into September (the Football League’s emergency loan window which opens on September 8).
“I want more options to come on from the bench. You saw again that we’re a bit short.
“No disrespect to young Dominic but it would be nice to be able to put a Paul Taylor on like they did.
“We’re going to be lucky to get through with what we’ve got here but these players are a great bunch and I can’t fault them. We’ve just got to be lucky with injuries.” Leeds are seventh in the Championship table after their second win of the season, a result which atoned for a 2-1 defeat suffered at Blackpool five days earlier.
United were comprehensively outplayed at Bloomfield Road but Blackpool flexed their muscles more impressively on Saturday, beating Ipswich Town 6-0 and remaining as the only Championship side with a perfect record after three games.
Warnock said: “If we hadn’t been organised and disciplined then we would have got beaten by six at Blackpool too.
“But you’re going to learn every week and we all know that Peterborough could go away and win anywhere next week, like anybody else. It’s that type of league and this is why I love it so much.”
Two goals from Luciano Becchio – his third and fourth of the season so far – condemned Peterborough to a third straight league defeat, despite the fine goal from Michael Bostwick which threatened a late fightback at London Road.
Warnock said: “You get greedy but we should have had a third goal on the break. “That would have made it easier and you know Peterborough will fight for their lives. You’ll get a comeback if you’re not careful.
“But our back five were fantastic and the players are getting better with each game.
“We’re also a different team when Becchio and (Ross) McCormack play as they can. Let’s hope they do that a bit more.”

Leeds United Supporters Trust Update: The Takeover - Present and Future

LUST Update 26/8/12
With the end of the transfer window less than a week away, Leeds United Supporters' Trust are very concerned by the lack of progress towards concluding the takeover of Leeds United.
The appearance of representatives from GFH Capital at Elland Road last weekend led to optimism that the drawn out process of negotiations would soon be over. The past week, however, has brought no further updates, and Neil Warnock is now publicly suggesting that he will have no money to strengthen the team over the next few days.
Despite his difficulties in building a competitive squad, Warnock has managed Leeds to two wins so far, and he and his players have enjoyed the vociferous backing of our fans as they battle to mount the promotion challenge we expected this season.
Manager, players and fans are all pulling together to make this season a success, but these efforts could be in vain if they are not matched by effort in the boardroom. L.U.S.T. have enjoyed better relations with the club this summer after Shaun Harvey attended our policing event, and we believe the bidders are willing to work with us to achieve the aims of our Vision Statement. Ken Bates, however, has continued his policy of dismissing the genuine concerns of supporters through his programme notes.
Over the last week L.U.S.T. have been inundated with requests for information, but we have felt that, with representatives of the buyers meeting publicly with Bates, a low-key period was the best approach in order to allow a deal time to be concluded. With time and financial constraints limiting Warnock's opportunities to prepare the team, we feel now is the right to time to bring that silence to an end.
The position as we understand it is as described in this weekend's articles by Phil Hay in the Yorkshire Evening Post and TimPM on The Scratching Shed, and as alluded to by Neil Warnock in his interviews. The lack of transfer funds is indicative of a poor cash flow situation at Elland Road, which could leave the club in a precarious position if investment is not found. The takeover deal is now split into three independent parts, with negotiations between the club, the buyers, and Ken Bates. During the negotiation process, the buyers have made payments into the club; due diligence was completed several weeks ago, and the buyers remain patient and determined to see the takeover through. We understand that a deal for the takeover for the club is all but complete, and only separate negotiations with Ken Bates are delaying the deal now.
This week's spontaneous 'Pen4Ken' protest showed that many Leeds fans want the takeover deal to be signed as soon as possible, so that the club can concentrate all its efforts on building for the future. We expect there will be many more demonstrations of this kind if a deal is not completed, and L.U.S.T. will always be supportive of fans who wish to make their voices heard in peaceable and original ways.
We ask that Ken Bates, the club, and the buyers take serious notice of the wishes of the fans, and conclude the takeover as soon as possible. L.U.S.T.’s Vision Statement calls for change at Leeds United, and for three months now we have been on the brink of perhaps the most significant change Elland Road has seen for years. The future of Leeds United is more important than the personal interests of Ken Bates, and all parties involved in the negotiations need to pull out all the stops to make sure that the present opportunity is not squandered, and that the future of Leeds United is a positive one.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Warnock - No players in before window closes

26/8/12
Neil Warnock says he will not be signing any players before the transfer window closes this week.
The transfer window closes on Friday and Warnock says it will probably be September before they sign anyone else, with someone coming in on loan.
Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, "We won`t be buying anybody. I think the most we can expect is a loan signing if we can, going into September.
"We will have to be very lucky to get through with the squad we currently have."
Warnock has brought in ten players so far this summer and he is currently trying to negotiate a deal with El Hadji Diouf, who is currently at Elland Road on a non-contract basis.
The Leeds boss has been fortunate with the emergence of youngster Sam Byram, who once again made an impact from the bench in the win at Peterborough on Saturday.
Fellow youngster Dominic Poleon came on to mark his championship debut and Warnock says he is working with a great bunch of lads but a few injuries could leave them short. "They are a great bunch of lads. Young Sam (Byram) did well and so did Dominic (Poleon). We just need to be very lucky with injuries," added Warnock.
Leeds have already lost Paul Green for up to eight weeks this season after suffering a knee injury in the opening day win over Wolves and he has joined long-term absentees Leigh Bromby and Davide Somma on the sidelines.
Warnock is still hopeful that the club can sort out a deal to keep El Hadji Diouf at the club.
Leeds made Diouf an offer last week and the experienced Senegal international is still mulling over the deal.
Diouf could leave Leeds this week, with him being at the club on a non-contract basis and Warnock is still hopeful that the club and the player can come to some agreement over a deal to keep him at Elland Road.
Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, "We have held talks and with him being on a non-contract he can be released early next week if we don`t sign him and he is free to talk to other clubs.
"I hope we can give him some sort of offer that is acceptable to him before Tuesday."
Diouf made his first start for Leeds at Peterborough on Saturday before being replaced late in the game.
He has appeared in all four of Leeds games so far this season, since signing on a non-contract basis on the eve of the League Cup tie against Shrewsbury.
Warnock will be desperate to add the player to his small squad with the Leeds boss already admitting he is not expecting to sign any new players before the transfer window closes on Friday until the New Year.
Warnock felt his side deserved the three points after securing their first away win of the season at Peterborough United on Saturday.
Warnock was relieved to see out the game in the closing minutes and he felt they should and could have made the game safe. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, "I thought we deserved it. It was a bit hair-raising near the end when we couldn`t finish them off.
"I thought we were quite professional today and deserved the win. You have to give them credit though; they fought back and put us under pressure.
"I thought we should have at least got a third. We had two or three great opportunities on the break but we couldn`t find the final ball and it wasn`t to be."
Leeds led 2-0 thanks to two goals from Luciano Becchio at the start of each half, the striker`s third and fourth goals of the season.
Peterborough had hardly scared the Leeds back line all day, until Michael Bostwick fired past Paddy Kenny with just under twenty minutes remaining, after a poor attempted clearance by David Norris.
Leeds substitute Sam Byram had a couple of chances to increase Leeds lead in the dying minutes and despite four minutes of 'Fergie time` Peterborough hardly threatened the Leeds goal.
The win for Leeds moves them up to sixth in the championship table at this early stage in the season having picked up six points from a possible nine.
The championship once again looks wide open this season with only Blackpool, the only side to defeat Leeds so far this season, still having a 100% win record.
Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn, Nottingham Forest and Charlton are the only other sides in the division still unbeaten after three games.
Crystal Palace and Peterborough are still looking for their first point this season having lost their opening three games and one of the pre-season favourites for the division, Birmingham have picked up just one point.
Next up for Leeds in the championship are Blackburn Rovers who were relegated from the Premier League last season.
The Lancashire club have picked up seven points from a possible nine but there is still unrest amongst the fans at Ewood Park, who continue to call for the sacking of manager Steve Kean despite a decent start to the season.
Warnock was full of praise for his players after the win at Peterborough United on Saturday.
Leeds won 2-1 thanks to two goals from Luciano Becchio and Warnock was satisfied with the performance after losing at Blackpool in midweek.
Warnock was especially pleased with the defence, who he believes are getting better with every game.
Adam Drury came into the defence for his first competitive game of the season in place of youngster Sam Byram. Lee Peltier moved to his more natural right back position, with Drury coming in at left back.
The central defensive partnership of Jason Pearce and Tom Lees looks to be blossoming with the young central defensive duo looking assured. Paddy Kenny in the Leeds goal, once again was there to make the difference when the Peterborough attack had a chance on goal, making two good saves.
Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Warnock said, "I thought they all did well today. I thought the back four, even the back five, were fantastic. I thought they were solid and they are getting better each game."
Rodolph Austin continues to endear himself to the Leeds fans with another strong performance in midfield and Warnock was pleased with the wide men and strikers who had come in for some criticism from the Leeds boss following the defeat at Blackpool in midweek. "The two midfielders did well. I was disappointed with the front four the other night but I thought they were good today.
"We are a different side when Luciano plays, so let us hope he is on it a bit more.
"He could have had hat trick today but he was in the right place for his goals," added Warnock.
Becchio is once again in great goalscoring form after having a below par season last season.
The Argentinian striker has netted four goals in four games so far this season having scored just eleven goals last season, his lowest return in three full seasons at Elland Road.
Last season, Becchio missed the whole of pre-season following surgery on a hamstring injury and the hustling and bustling centre forward, who had become a huge fans favourite in his first two seasons at Elland Road, looked a shadow of that player. Despite his form he did still manage eleven goals.
The striker has enjoyed an almost full pre-season this summer, he looks much leaner and stronger, and having netted four times already he looks well set to beat his best return of 20 goals in Leeds first season in the championship in 2010/11.
Becchio is now the clubs longest serving player having joined in the summer of 2008 after a successful trial under Gary McAllister.
The 28 year old has now netted 71 times in 194 appearances for Leeds.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Peterborough 1 Leeds 2: Becchio brace gets Warnock's men back on track

Mail 25/8/12
In-form Luciano Becchio took his tally for the season to four as Leeds bounced back from their midweek collapse at Blackpool to record their second win of the season at Peterborough.
Neil Warnock's men surrendered a 1-0 lead in the space of four second-half minutes on Tuesday night, with the veteran boss particularly scathing of Becchio and his fellow forwards for their role in the loss.
Becchio is no stranger to criticism from his manager either, having had his fitness called into question in pre-season, but he continued to deliver answers today with a goal in each half.
Neither was the most taxing of finishes, with an abject and so-far-pointless Peterborough docile in defence, allowing first Luke Varney and then Ross McCormack to pick out the Argentinean.
And, although Michael Bostwick pulled one back for Peterborough with 17 minutes remaining, Darren Ferguson's side were unable to prevent themselves losing their opening three games of the season for the first time since 1972.
In truth, the writing had been on the wall for Peterborough from the opening minutes as, with the words of their manager no doubt ringing in their ears, the away side's front three combined to give them a seventh-minute lead.
McCormack had already had a fizzing free-kick clawed out by Robert Olejnik when the goal came, and the Scotland international was at the heart of it.
His pass set Varney free and after looking up he squared for the waiting Becchio who did the rest from 10 yards, although Olejnik could have done more with the shot.
With Rodolph Austin patrolling the midfield with far more discipline that he showed at Blackpool, Leeds looked comfortable at the back, although they took a break from that when Shane Brisley got free and flicked an effort in that Paddy Kenny did well to turn away.
But Leeds looked crisper in attack than their hosts and McCormack went close with a 35th-minute header after Lee Peltier's run and cross, although that was it as far as chances when in the first half.
No doubt pepped up by Ferguson in the dressing rooms, Peterborough were livelier after the restart, with Lee Tomlin looking to take advantage of the wet surface by drilling in from 25 yards, only to find Kenny equal to it.
But their new-found enthusiasm lasted just five minutes as Becchio grabbed a second, heading in one of the easiest goals he will ever score after McCormack picked him out, in space, with a pinpoint cross.
Tomlin refused to give up the fight for Peterborough, drawing a save out of Kenny with a header, and his spirit drew more out of his team-mates as Bostwick seized on a poor clearance from David Norris and lashed a strike beyond Kenny from the edge of the box.
Leeds were naturally nervous afterwards, with Warnock withdrawing flair players McCormack and El Hadji Diouf, although one of the defensive reinforcements sent on, Sam Byram, should have done better when a chance fell to him inside the box. But Peterborough's fire had gone out by that point at Leeds held on to secure a 500th away win in league football.

Takeover patience starting to run out - Hay

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/8/12
By Phil Hay
The laborious takeover of Leeds United spawned a supporter-led protest on Thursday, under the banner #Pen4Ken.
The campaign is derived from Ten4Ken, a short-lived movement which in 2010 sought answers to 10 questions about the club’s policies and ownership structure. It consists of nothing more militant or aggressive than posting pens to Ken Bates care of Leeds United and Elland Road.
All scepticism about strategy and impact aside, the sentiment of #Pen4Ken is genuinely conceived. This takeover needs signing off and patience is wearing thin. There is rising clamour for Bates, United’s chairman and majority shareholder, to put his name to a deal which passes the club to new owners. The generous public are making sure he has something to write with.
If the demand for completion – or if not that, some clarity beyond the meaningless insistence that “talks are on-going” – strikes you as premature then consider the following: 88 days have passed since Leeds stated on May 29 that they were talking to investors with serious intent. Exactly 60 have passed since the club entered into an exclusivity period with a group of buyers from the Middle East, allowing them to pick through the financial details of United’s accounts. Solicitors who specialise in corporate law find the timeline surprising and unusually long.
A week ago, two members of the management team at Dubai-based private equity firm GFH Capital Limited attended United’s game against Wolves. GFH Capital Limited are widely believed to be the go-between in this sale – the firm acting as brokers on behalf of the buyers – and their public appearance at Elland Road was no bad sign. But in the days that followed the silence has been almost total. Even whispers of back-and-forward negotiations began to dry up.
A lawyer contacted by the YEP yesterday, someone who has dealt with takeovers at other English clubs, said the duration of a typical sale was rarely more than “a couple of months.” Occasionally they are completed in a matter of days, like the purchase of Leeds by Bates and the Forward Sports Fund from Gerald Krasner’s board in 2005 but due diligence sees to it that most buy-outs take longer. Few which ultimately end in a deal are as drawn-out as the latest attempt to acquire control at Elland Road.
So the view of those who know the landscape is that this deal has strayed into the realms of the ridiculous and was heading that way for several weeks, not helped by the confidentiality agreement which smothers the full story. Bates said last week that in the absence of official comment, “rumours abound” and “pub speculation” runs wild. He is not wrong. The very reason why #Pen4Ken began consuming Twitter was because credence has been given to the idea that a signature from him is all that stands between Leeds and investment from the Middle East.
Certain legal sources believe that suggestion is not so far from the truth. The talk in the past few weeks has been about disagreements over an indemnity clause – the protection given to a buyer in the event that liabilities appear after a sale is complete – and arguments over cash paid to the club by the Middle Eastern consortium during the summer. One contact on the seller’s side claimed scheduled payments owed to Leeds had been missed. Another connected to the buyers said they were unwilling to release any more money until final agreement on the transfer of Bates 72.85 per cent stake was reached. And so it continues with no official confirmation either way.
The YEP contacted Leeds and GFH Capital Limited after Saturday’s game against Wolves in an attempt to discuss the appearance of GFH executives Salem Patel and David Haigh at Elland Road and clarify several rumours concerning the sale of United. Predictably there was no response. Both sides have stuck fast to their confidentiality clause and for many weeks there was no argument with that. People craved news and looked for developments but appreciated the complex nature of a takeover. In the past month, the commitment to confidentiality has felt more like a useful defence against valid questions, masking a confusing situation.
The only certainty almost 90 days on is that the takeover is not dead. Warnock stated as much on Thursday and it is plain from his recent comments in the press that he is not in the mood to deceive anyone, least of all the club’s supporters. It is safe to assume that he wants this buy-out agreed, for the good of himself and his team. It is hard to imagine the scale of frustration in fearing the August transfer deadline will pass without any more signings.
That, above all else, is a reason why Bates should understand the wall of noise telling him to hand the baton on. It is reckless for anyone to endorse this bid from the Middle East without any firm details about who the bidders are, how much money they have, how much they plan to invest and what their long-term strategy will be but the lack of information does not alter the debate about where Leeds are heading without serious investment.
The message from Warnock at his press conference on Thursday was that he has nothing left in the way of funds and no expectation of any coming his way without a takeover. Even his mention of the emergency loan window was tempered by the admission that any signings from that particular market would be dependent on finances. That is not only a warning for the fate of this season but a warning for future seasons too. It gives the impression of a regime that has run out of steam – a regime who should be pleased that an offer to buy the club arrived when it did. Back when takeover fever first took hold of Leeds, it was convenient to think that their meagre transfer fund was an inevitable feature of a business about to change hands. It appears now that Leeds simply had no money to give Warnock. The well is dry again and their manager is helpless. When he enquired speculatively about a player on Wednesday, he was blown out the water by an offer from another Championship club.
Bates cannot or should not be oblivious to this. He cannot hear a manager like Warnock claim that his existing squad have “not a cat in hell’s chance” of seeing through a full Championship season and fail to see the problem. Supporters and journalists who offer that view are easy to ignore but not a 63-year-old with seven promotions behind him. The air smells of stagnation.
Sixty days ago, when United announced that due diligence was underway, they said in black and white that the buyers in question “have the financial resources to support the club and will have no issues in satisfying the requirements of the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test, unlike many of the previous approaches we have had to endure.” It was a fundamental admission, accepting the consortium as fit, financed and responsible purchasers. If that is so then this deal should be ratified without delay, in the best interests of Leeds United. Those interests are not being served by the bizarre status quo.

Leeds fans mail pens to Ken Bates in bid to oust owner

ITV 24/8/12
Fans of Leeds United have begun sending pens to owner Ken Bates as part of a campaign to oust the 80-year-old and hurry through a takeover of the club.
The cheeky campaign, dubbed Pen4Ken, originated on Twitter, with fans arranging to send pens to Elland Road, addressed to Bates, for him to use to sign off on a reported takeover deal which has dragged on throughout the summer.
An official Twitter account has also been set up and on Friday morning published details of Bates' home address in Monaco.
A takeover of Leeds had looked on the cards earlier this summer, when an unnamed group thought to be from the Middle East entered into a period of due diligence ahead of a potential purchase of Bates' 72.85% share of the club.
But earlier this month it appeared the deal had stalled, with the exclusivity period for the consortium ended without a takeover going through.
Since then no progress has been made, and though Leeds fans had hoped for cash investment to fire their promotion push this season, the chances of a takeover before the transfer window closes on 31st August look slim.
Manager Neil Warnock admitted as much in his press conference on Thursday, in which he admitted his side had "not a cat in hell's chance" of promotion without significant transfer funds.
"It would be great for me to sign three or four good players on loan or permanently but it’s not to be," Warnock said.
"All managers know what the situation is at their club and that’s why, as a manager, all you can do is do your best, try to put out a team who’ll give everything and get every ounce of energy out of them."
Ken Bates bought Leeds United in January 2005, and has overseen the club's relegation to League One, a 15-point deduction in the wake of a controversial administration process, and their subsequent return to the Championship.

Come on people get your #Pen4Ken in the post asap. #lufc
From @Aleks_LUFC on Twitter: ( 3:28 pm, Thu 23 Aug 2012)

Sent off my #Pen4Ken , there's going to be one bemused postie on Princess Grace Avenue for the next few days. #fortheloveofgodmanjustgo
From @ralphineson on Twitter: ( 9:38 am, Fri 24 Aug 2012)

Wait, something's gone wrong here. #pen4ken #lufc #batesout http://t.co/fkPkNqHr
From @TBG2005 on Twitter: ( 9:15 am, Fri 24 Aug 2012)

Warnock - No more in unless takeover finalised

23/8/12
Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says unless the takeover is completed he cannot see any more players coming in to the club before the transfer window closes.
Leeds have been in talks with a possible new investor to the club since the start of the summer, but as yet, nothing has been finalised with the transfer window nearing an end.
The summer transfer window closes in one week and Warnock says he is now looking at bringing in players on loan from September 1st, when Premier League clubs have to finalise their 25 man squads.
Speaking on LUTV, Warnock said, "I can`t see anything changing before deadline day unless the takeover is finalised.
"I think we will now be looking to loans from the Premier League when they register their 25 man squads on September 1st."
Warnock feels his squad is nowhere near good enough at the moment to make a challenge for promotion, with no depth to his squad.
The Leeds boss has already lost Paul Green for around eight weeks and he says if a few of his other first team players were to be injured, he wouldn`t know who to turn to. "I don`t think the squad is anywhere near strong enough at the moment. If we lost the likes of Jason Pearce and Rodolph Austin at Peterborough on Saturday, I haven`t a clue who we would turn too," added Warnock.
The Leeds boss, who has already brought in ten players this summer, is currently waiting for an answer from El Hadji Diouf who has been playing for the club on a non-contract basis.
Warnock said he was looking for an 'icing on the cake` signing at the start of the month but with the financial restraints at the club, he knows he is going to struggle to match any offer made from other championship clubs for these sort of signings. "I would love to bring in three or four top class players in, make no mistake about it.
"I enquired about one yesterday but another championship club has offered him a lot more money than we can afford."
Leeds currently have just twenty-one players available to them with first team experience, with three of those, Paul Rachubka, Danny Pugh and Ramon Nunez are all on the transfer list.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our own worst enemies - Boss

leedsunited.com 22/8/12
Neil Warnock's Blackpool verdict...
Neil Warnock said his side were their own worst enemies at Blackpool on Tuesday after coming within 15 minutes of what would have been a backs-to-the-wall victory.
After Tom Lees early goal put Leeds ahead, United were forced to dig deep with a rearguard action that included several outstanding saves from Paddy Kenny, but just as the storm appeared to have been weathered two goals in the space of five minutes saw the points snatched away.
"It was disappointing," said the boss. "They were the better side, but after defending so well like we did...we were our own worst enemies for the two goals.
"We had plenty of time to clear the ball for the first one and young Sam got done for the second one - but I can't fault the back lads because we didn't hold it up enough.
"I thought the front four were poor and I told them that because we have to hold the ball up more away from home. As good as they were on Saturday, they were poor at Blackpool. And if you don't hold the ball up you will struggle away from home."
Having beaten Wolves in a hard fought game on Saturday and worked like trojans at Bloomfield Road for over an hour last night, the boss dismissed any suggestions that tiredness cost his side at Blackpool.
"Fatigue doesn't stop Luke Varney from knocking the ball away and not dribbling inside his own box," countered the boss.
"That's nothing to do with fatigue. It's bad habits and it gets punished in this league. That's disappointing after all the hard work, and it could be someone else next week so let's hope they learn by their mistakes."

Blackpool v Leeds United: Tangerines sink the Whites

Yorkshire Evening Post 22/8/12
By Phil Hay
It would have been some statement of intent: two wins from two games against clubs who are ranked in the highest bracket of Championship class.
Neil Warnock visualised that scenario for more than an hour at Blackpool as Leeds United slogged towards a victory that would have been everything their defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers was not: nervous, unconvincing and against the run of the entire match.
But United’s manager is savvy enough to know the likely repercussions of an onslaught and with three points in their grasp at Bloomfield Road, Leeds succumbed to two goals which came in the final 15 minutes but had been in the offing for so much longer.
Blackpool chipped away desperately at Tom Lees’ 16th-minute header, striking a post and meeting two rigid obstacles in United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and referee Dean Whitestone before substitutes Nouha Dicko and Matt Phillips made the most of the 25 minutes they were given by Ian Holloway.
Dicko struck first, scoring from a range that even the impressive Kenny could not deal with and Phillips settled an absorbing game 10 minutes from time with a similarly easy finish.
It was late, the fightback, but not at all undeserved; the likely result of ceaseless pressure.
On another evening, as the saying goes, Blackpool would have beaten Leeds at a canter but so much conspired against them, not least the prolonged durability of Warnock’s team. Kenny, United’s £400,000 signing from Queens Park Rangers, stood up to a barrage as Warnock knows he can and Leeds looked to have drawn the sting from Blackpool at the very moment when Dicko struck.
On reflection, it was asking too much to allow Holloway’s side as much of the game as they had last night. Organised resistance was one of the pillars of Warnock’s strategy for this season but that did not equate to hanging on as desperately as Leeds did at Bloomfield Road.
The battle lines were drawn in the earliest minutes and Blackpool were free to attack at will, throwing their weight against an altered Leeds team. A solitary change to Leeds’ line-up was called for after the loss of Paul Green to a knee injury on Saturday.
Certain like-for-like replacements presented themselves to Warnock – none more obvious than the mercurial and increasingly popular El-Hadji Diouf – but United’s manager took a different tack, naming Lees at centre-back, moving Lee Peltier to the left side of defence and using Aidan White to replace Green on the right wing.
Warnock experimented with White in that position towards the end of last season and did so again in the earliest stages of this summer, insistent that the left-footed 20-year-old could thrive in a role which no other domestic manager had previously given to him. Only with the Republic of Ireland’s Under-21s has White been seen as a prospective right winger.
Blackpool were exposed to his pace inside five minutes as a counter-attack from the halfway line ended with Ross McCormack scuffing a shot off his shin but Warnock’s side were forced to play on the break in the first half and sometimes not at all. Blackpool ran the contest and constantly threatened an avalanche of goals. As early as the third minute, Neal Eardley threatened Kenny with a shot which struck the foot of Peltier, and Kenny entered the fray properly by diving to parry a low effort from Tiago Gomes after Kevin Phillips and Stephen Crainey worked the ball around United’s defence.
As worrying for Warnock was the raised foot from Lees which caught Gary Taylor-Fletcher on the ankle and brought an early booking from Whitestone amid a brief scuffle.
The official’s haste in pulling out a card initially suggested that the centre-back’s punishment would be more severe.
But as Blackpool drew breath after Gomes’ chance on 15 minutes, White appeared on the byline and forced Eardley to concede a corner under pressure from Luke Varney. When McCormack swung the set-piece into the six-yard box, Gilks stood still as his defence froze and Lees planted a header into the net.
The goal came against the run of what play there had been and United’s night got no worse initially. Whitestone was backed against a wall three minutes later when Varney appeared to clip Tom Ince’s heels inside Kenny’s box but he soaked up a wall of noise from Blackpool’s crowd and gave nothing, other than the benefit of the doubt to Varney.
Leeds’ clean sheet held again when Kevin Phillips anticipated a through-ball, ran straight at Kenny and stabbed an unusually cagey finish into the keeper’s arms. After Lees’ escaped with a strong appeal of handball against him, again inside United’s penalty area, Kenny intervened once more to stifle Alex Baptiste’s close-range shot with a brilliant save on his goalline.
In all, the half belonged to Blackpool in every respect except the scoreline. Stephen Crainey’s firm strike from outside the box carried narrowly over Kenny’s bar 10 minutes before the break and Ince whipped the ball wide after Crainey fed a pass behind United’s right-back, Sam Byram.
When Ince’s chance came again moments later, he drove a loose effort over the bar. The accuracy of Blackpool’s finishing was akin to dropping a garden hose.
Ince deserved no criticism at all when he outwitted Kenny at the start of the second half, striking a post with all the power in his foot and watching with bemusement as the ball ran along the line and out for a corner. Reluctant to accept another 45 minutes of pressure, Warnock waited a short while before replacing McCormack with Diouf in a repeat of the substitution which did much to see off Wolves at Elland Road.
But Blackpool’s came again in the 75th minute and when Crainey wandered into space six yards from goal, his cut-back gave Dicko an invitation he could not refuse. With Kenny sprawled on the turf, Dicko rolled the ball into an empty net. It was all the encouragement Hollway’s players needed and Leeds cracked again 10 minutes from time as Ince picked out Matt Phillips and Blackpool’s other substitute slipped a low finish inside Kenny’s far post. For all the time they took to arrive, the goals had been coming – even as Leeds and Warnock prayed they would not.

The Leeds United Miserablist, interesting but not impressive times

Clarkeonenil.co.uk 22/8/12
Michael Green
So two games into the 2012-13 season and where are we? Well to be blunt all over the place. Once you peel away the veneer of early season optimism and OTT expectation levels you find a football club no further nearer sorting itself out, on or off the pitch, than it has been for most of the last decade. Whether you believe in buy-outs or not, drink at the fountain of Warnock’s hyperbole or don’t it doesn’t take much thinking about to note that despite all the interesting sideshows delusional promotion dreams are at some point about to get stamped on.
Now notwithstanding this columns name (and my reputation) I rhetorically challenge anyone to show where any of the detail outlined in this article is wrong or unduly “negative”. The truth is I don’t need to over guild any Miserablist lilies, the state of the club does it all for me. However I am always happy to acknowledge realities and it is absolutely true a significant rump of the support are lapping up the concoction of potential new beginnings, fast-talking management and burgeoning “dirty Leeds” playing style with gusto. Strangely enough this is hardly a new phenomena, happens every season and the promoters are the usual (should know better) suspects.
Let us start with takeover fever. As interesting as it has been following the drip, drip of information around who is or isn’t involved in this takeover one thing stands up above all else: the new consortium will start life in deficit to the fans. No amount of “confidentiality clauses” (which are not about preventing identification of the buyers, that is an exercise in futility as fit and proper owners rules require that information, it’s about preventing our present owner’s byzantine ownership structures being exposed) excuses the lack of a public face or basic public relations activity. The Arabian peninsula boys and girls may think keeping certain persons in a information loop will garner them some brownie points, they clearly don’t understand Leeds fans if they do.
More significant however than that communications fail is the nature of what (subject to Bates signing the small outstanding forms) we will be getting. The Gulf Finance House element was in the mix relatively early to this saga, GFH Capital is but a smaller subsidiary to that organisation, so whilst we shouldn’t fixate on the parent companies rescheduling of its debt burden we should recognise that its sibling doesn’t operate in the high 9 figure sums area. Basically we are swapping one complicated ownership structure for an equally complicated but differently financed version. Now whilst now would be a good point to re-iterate the “anyone but Bates” position that shouldn’t prevent us from recognising we are dealing with venture capitalism with Middle Eastern protocols, thus do not expect a new era of transparency!
Previous Miserablist offerings have suggested that even if we are to assume a low 9 figure sum (£150-200m) will be on offer for investment, it will need to cover a good 5 seasons (stabilising the club, getting promoted and sticking in the PL). One of the reasons I am less than impressed with the slowness of the takeover process is that we can almost definitely assume this season is a write off for any of that investment to be useful, so basically it’s that investment (which also has to cover repurchasing assists, covering losses, paying the consultancy costs…) over 6 seasons. Regardless of whether it’s the newly identified Dubai based “Tories abroad” Mr D Haigh or some other Yorkshire infused front man (maybe has LUFC experience) the new owners will find themselves having to keep the cap on a bubbling over level of expectation.
One man who could never be accused of not knowing how to stoke expectation its Warnock, even when he is suggesting the squad isn’t top 2 material it just gets the ra-ra girls excited that a couple of “quality signings” will change that. Warnock may not be my cup of tea in football manager terms but he is a clever manipulator that is for sure. Again as I have previously suggested it would be nice if new owners meant a new manager (with the short-termism Warnock represents finally dispatched from the club) but a combination of a lack of footballing experience in the frame for takeover and the Cornish connection makes me think Warnock is safe till results say otherwise. Bizarrely I would be happier if Warnock was on a 3 year contract (or even a rolling 1 year one) than the 10 months he has left, any form of medium term planning is better than a 10th consecutive season of short-term thinking, even under Mr Total Anti Football. No I haven’t gone soft, bottom line is results get managers sacked regardless of length of contract, it just so happens Warnock’s present contract is the worst of all worlds (but then Bates/Harvey gave it him so we know why).
Speaking of results we need to get real on Warnock, after the win against Wolves and the win/draw/loss against Blackpool his league games record at Elland Road reads W4/D4/L8 a win percentage of 25% from 16 games. Compare that with our last 10 managers (some of whom were underwhelming) and it doesn’t look impressive at all (and as also pointed out on this site the first 10 games record tends to be reflected in the final figures). If the last fourteen games of last season are replicated in the first fourteen of this we are struggling (given how new the squad is, particularly the starting xi struggling should be expected), even if you doubled the wins to 6 we are mid-table. Factor in the way other clubs in our division have set out their stall and play-offs if we are really lucky seems to be our glass ceiling (well some of you lots glass ceiling, mine is about 13th). Anything that “does the job” is a reasonable position to have but it is better to acknowledge what has worked, and that is silky ball passing ala Swansea City and young hungry footballer’s ala Norwich City and Southampton, Warnock isn’t in the business of either of those.
Watching the Wolves game was Groundhog Day to me, August 2004 or August 2006 or even August 2010 (yes I know we lost that game but the general sentiment was the same), I was only relieved it wasn’t August 2007! Poor football disguised as endeavour and then extrapolated after the victory into a beacon of hope. Well we all know what happens to beacons, somebody sets fire to them and they become ash! Stephen Clark touched on it yesterday; the solid battling elements of our new back 9 can’t disguise the gaping lack of quality throughout the team and you wonder outside of the obvious two of Becchio and McCormack who is going to score goals. Yes I can appreciate Austin’s all action style already (but I can also notice he over hits passes constantly) and yes I can smile at Pearce and his solidity and I can even enjoy Paddy Kenny’s combination of calm area control and headless hopeless charging from his box tendency, but you need more than that. With Green getting an injury Warnock has even less ball passing to offer us, said it once said it a million times, it isn’t going to be pretty regardless of league position.
Warnock, whether through Bates/Harvey or through GFH Capital, gets a chance to add some quality to the squad over the next 9 days but to be honest given how he changes his mind like an hysterical girl about which players he wants (Diouf must have been charm itself over that romantic dinner) it is almost impossible to know who he would bring in that he classes as “quality”. The twitter children can dream Barton and Bothroyd but I’d be more concerned its Heskey and Smith (Tommy) he is looking at. I see numerous claims we are getting Maynard (and I would be pleased if we did) but to be blunt given the industrial nature of our midfield I would settle for a Lee Frecklington!
From my perspective what I would really like Warnock to do is see if his record with supposed talented PL youngsters is better than Grayson’s. Not only would that lower the average age of his signings this summer (presently standing at 29.8 years old and more than 30 when Webber and Robinson are added from last season) but would replicate what other in our division are doing (scan the competitors signings of the summer and see how many decent young players have been taken on). Yes there are risks, I too was crying tears of laughter and pain as Livermore made his England debut after recalling his abject stay at Elland Road, but those risks are less than having a journeyman oldie on a 3 year contract! In terms of a real statement of intent if we could get Spearing in from Liverpool that would be good, alas Bolton seem to have got in first.
Whilst we are on players, can we please let Byram develop at his own speed, too many times we have seen youngsters come in early doors, get new contracts on the back of one or two performances and then fade. If I was Neil Redfern I would have a life size poster of Simon Walton pinned to the Thorp Arch dressing rooms to remind everyone what unfulfilled expectation looks like! Equally Austin needs time to fit into his role, if we give him instant cult hero status it can only hinder his adjustment. Yes there is a 1 in 10 chance he is a slightly lesser Dacourt but no one who has seen the 200 bits of garbage that has worn the white shirt over the last decade will discount the possibility he is the next Jonathan Douglas. Finally on this part, McCormack; yes he has signed a three year contract, always good, but be of no doubt, any late bid over £3m from a PL side and we can wave him away ala Delph or Gradel style. Hopefully that won’t happen.
Now from where I am sitting none of the above is coincidence, actually the opposite is true, the short-term thinking of the board has been replicated in the squad, that is why Snodgrass, Schmeichal, Howson, Delph, Gradel, Johnson, Kikenny, Kilgallon and others are elsewhere and we have Drury, Diouf and Andy Gray. You don’t get promotion on one season gambles unless you planning on becoming the next Hull City (go up, spend it all on wages, go down and nearly go bust) Someone somewhere at Elland Road has to lay down the markers that change this culture of slow decline. Now personally I don’t care who starts this process; Haigh/A.N. Other, Warnock or Peltier by leading from the front on the medium term, I do know it probably should come from the top and as the top is still as you read this Mr K.W. Bates it clearly isn’t happening yet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Leeds Fans Leave Bates With No Excuses

Football Fancast 21/8/12
Written by Steve-Turner
The weekend programme notes from Ken Bates didn’t fill us in on much, we know that talks are ongoing but as it stands, that is all we know.
However, any fan that follows the mumblings of Bates on a regular basis will have spotted one of his famous lines amongst the rubble, that is of course the now legendary ‘your protests scare investors off’ line.
Now, anyone that believes that ‘Bates out’ chants or a protest march makes investors think twice about taking a chance on Leeds need to look at the only person that is claiming that to be the case, which is the very man the protests are aimed at.
Any potential investor with any credibility whatsoever would be well aware of the current relationship between Bates and the fans, they don’t come skipping into Elland Road with bags of money only to retreat in horror when they hear our nasty ‘Bates out’ chants. Unfortunately, we have only ever been able to take Ken’s word for it that these potential investors ever even existed. Considering his past record of not always being so, shall we say, honest, I think it would be foolish of us to do anything other than take his words with a rather large pinch of salt.
Regardless, Bates decided to warn us against negative chants or protests at the weekend anyway, no doubt fully expecting his request to be ignored and to see efforts doubled in all four corners of the ground. This would then give him plenty of ammo to fire at us if the takeover doesn’t go ahead. ‘’It was your fault, morons’’ However, if that was indeed his plan it was a catastrophic failure. It was almost as if every fan in the ground worked him out, as we in the ground focused our efforts on singing for the team throughout the entire game. There wasn’t so much as a mumble of ‘Bates out'.
So where does that leave Bates now?
It is worth noting that at the game Ken was up in his comfy chairman’s box with his wife, though they were accompanied by a mysterious couple, who apparently asked a steward to bring them a Leeds scarf each.
After a flurry of pictures on the internet after our victory over Wolves a mass hunt for the mans identity took place, with many believing him at first to be Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the general secretary of the Qatar Olympic committee and Doha 2020 Vice Chairman, though it appears he is actually a representative of Dubai based investment group GFH Capital.
Whoever they were, the fact that they were at the game can only be a good thing in regards to the takeover, Ken Bates doesn’t just let anybody into his chairman’s box and considering there were also representatives from the Football League at the game, it could be suggested that the deal is close to completion.
It is clear that as it stands, we need to sit tight and give Bates no excuses for letting a chance like this slip away, the recognized names on the message boards are suggesting that the hold up is once again down to Bates, who seems to be haggling for something that nobody can quite put their finger on.
If this is the case, the last thing we need is to give him any reason to start blaming us fans, the problem here is Ken Bates, the problem has always been Ken Bates.
Twitter – @giddy_goose

Finance firm representatives spotted at Elland Road

Yorkshire Evening Post 21/8/12
By Phil Hay
Representatives of a major private equity firm in the Middle East were among the guests of Ken Bates during Saturday’s game between Leeds United and Wolves, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.
Salem Patel and David Haigh, senior figures at Dubai-based investment company GFH Capital Limited, joined United’s chairman at Elland Road for the club’s first match of the Championship season amid on-going talks about a buy-out of Leeds.
Patel – a board member at GFH Capital – and Haigh, the firm’s deputy chief executive officer, sat close to Bates in the stadium’s East Stand throughout a 1-0 win over Wolves.
United’s opening league fixture came at the end of a week of relentless takeover negotiations between the board at Elland Road and a group of Middle Eastern investors who have been bidding to acquire the West Yorkshire club for almost three months.
The identity of the buyers has never been revealed and claims that a member of Bahrain’s ruling family – Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa – is among their number remain unconfirmed.
But it has long been suggested that the approach from the Middle East is being fronted by a financial institution in the region, of which GFH Capital is one.
On its website, the firm describes itself as “one of the Middle East’s foremost private equity investors, advisors and fund managers, providing capital and strategic support for growth companies.”
The firm says it has a “10-year track record of top-performing investments and fund management” and claims to have managed “investments of more than $8bn in over 40 companies and across 25 countries.”
Patel’s personal profile lists previous position held with Gulf Finance House, an investment bank in Bahrain, and Accenture in England.
He was educated at City University London where he gained a degree with honours in business studies.
Haigh is listed as a “Leeds United fan” by the same website and is said to have “led pioneering transactions in technology, media, telecommunication, financial services, sports and healthcare.”
Discussions over the ownership of United have continued ever since the club began speaking to potential investors shortly after the end of last season.
The Middle Eastern group, who are understood to be aiming to buy the entire 72.85 per cent stake held by Bates, began due diligence on United’s accounts in June and were thought to have agreed in principle the terms of a sale more than a month ago, but the yet is still to be finalised.
Their proposal appeared to run into trouble a fortnight ago but intense negotiations last week are believed to have revived the possibility of a full takeover at Elland Road.
A legal source told the YEP that a small number of “necessary legal matters” were still potential obstacles.
Bates confirmed on Saturday that discussions were ongoing, saying: “We are in negotiations with a party.
“We signed an exclusivity agreement to give them time to do due diligence and we’re continuing negotiations.
“We’re also bound by confidentiality so we can’t say anything and in the absence of being able to say anything, rumours abound.”
Twitter and Internet message boards have been flooded with pictures of individuals seen with Bates in the East Stand on Saturday.
Both United and GFH Capital were approached for comment about the appearance of Patel and Haigh at Elland Road but did not respond.

Sam signs up for the future

leedsunited.com 20/8/12
Teenage defender signs new United contract...
Teenage defender Sam Byram has pledged his future to Leeds United by signing a new three-year contract.
The 18-year-old signed his first professional deal at the end of last season, but after a whirlwind summer that has seen him make his senior debut, the youngster was offered a new extended contract with the club.
"I'm delighted," said Sam, who made his senior debut against Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup first round tie before following that with his league debut last weekend.
"I didn't expect anything like this at all when we started back six or seven weeks ago."
Sam's first involvement with the senior side came as part of a young second half team in the opening pre-season friendly at Farsley. But he went on to feature in every senior friendly before stepping into the competitive action.
"I was in the squad for the Farsley game and I just wanted to do well and impress the manager," he said. "We went on the tour after that, but I didn't expect to be involved when we came back.
"I know some of the young lads took part in the tour last season, but didn't go out to Norway and play in the other games after they got back. I thought that would be the same with me this season.
"But it's been good. I played a part in a every game. The manager and the staff have been really encouraging, and they said they've liked my attitude."
Despite being a pre-season regular, Sam admits it was a surprise when he was told he would be starting the clash with Shrewsbury Town.
"Tom (Lees) got injured and I was told on the Friday I would be playing," he explained. "I was nervous all night and in the morning, but once I got in the tunnel I was alright.
"I thought Leesy would be back on Saturday for the Wolves game, but being told I was playing and knowing that the gaffer trusted me to play was a big boost.
"My aims are still the same as they were over the summer in that hopefully I can play as much as possible and be involved."
Sam is another player who has progressed from the Academy and his development is an example to other young players coming through the system at the club. As a first year scholar Sam played 'down' an age in the under-16s, yet two years on, he is in the first team.
"The Academy helped me develop as a player and a person," said Sam.
"At first I took it as a negative when I played in the under-16s, but I realised it was to help me develop and give me game time which was important."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Leeds United are still a work in progress - Hay

Yorkshire Evening Post 19/8/12
By Phil Hay
There are certain teams who were good enough to treat the Championship as a sprint – Queens Park Rangers two years ago and Newcastle United before them – but the majority of clubs will see the start of this season as the onset of a marathon. Asked about the significance of the league season opener against Wolves, Neil Warnock said: “The result isn’t going to determine whether we do well or not. We’ve got a hard start and the first few months are extremely difficult. It’s one of those where we’ll be hanging in there.”
The worry for United’s manager is whether his squad has the legs and the resources to see through a campaign which, if his assessment of their potential is correct, could run for 48 games up to the play-off final on May 27.
Last season the squad at Elland Road finished eight positions and 14 points shy of sixth place, devoid of the necessary stamina or ability. With the new season here and the transfer window due to close in less than two weeks’ time, Inside Elland Road considers the question of whether United are in better shape now than they were over the course of the 2011-12 campaign.

GOALKEEPER: In its own way a problem position for a couple of years. Or perhaps more accurately, an area of the team where doubt has persisted. Kasper Schmeichel came and went in the space of 12 months with precious little protest about his sale to Leicester City.
And though Andy Lonergan showed himself to be competent – in short, a keeper of Championship stock – he seemed to suffer from a chronic loss of confidence after recovering from a broken finger last season. Signing a new keeper was hardly Warnock’s most urgent priority but Paddy Kenny was a good answer to a definite niggle.
He is as capable a signing as Leeds could have sourced within their budget and his laid-back, assured attitude should help the defence in front of him. It is an advantage too that any injury to Kenny would not leave United reliant on Paul Rachubka or Alex Cairns.
Verdict: Stronger.

RIGHT-BACK: Paul Connolly, Tom Lees, Alex Bruce, Zac Thompson, Adam Smith (remember him?) – the attempt to find a regular right-back last season was a hopeless affair.
Warnock had a clear idea of how to address that shortcoming, moving for Joel Ward as soon as the summer began, and his inability to fund Ward’s £400,000 price tag might prove a blessing in disguise. He landed instead 25-year-old Lee Peltier, a defender who Warnock compares to Kyle Walker and who could conceivably be ever-present this term. The unheralded emergence of teenager Sam Byram as trustworthy cover is a bonus Leeds did not expect.
Verdict: Stronger.

CENTRE-BACK: If we’re talking numbers, United are in a weaker state. They began last season with Lees, Bruce, Andy O’Brien, Leigh Bromby and a fully-fit Patrick Kisnorbo. How great the talent was in that particular pool of professionals is a matter of debate but Simon Grayson had numbers to work with. Warnock in contrast has two fit and recognised centre-backs, Lees and Jason Pearce. They have the making of a strong partnership – how United need that – but the loss of Lees to a groin strain last Saturday forced Peltier to deputise as best he could. Rodolph Austin is another makeshift alternative but promoted teams rarely get there by plugging round holes with slightly square pegs. With Bromby injured and Kisnorbo short of match fitness, another addition is needed.
Verdict: Weaker.

LEFT-BACK: Possibly the most glaring hole in the side at Elland Road last term. In no way can it have been Grayson’s plan to start the season at Southampton with Darren O’Dea on the left side of defence, 24 hours after his move to Leeds from Celtic. Aidan White had a bash and Danny Pugh helped out but not even the signing of the experienced Paul Robinson from Bolton Wanderers could settle Warnock’s nerves when teams attacked down the right flank. Adam Drury is in the same age bracket as Robinson but many who watched his years of service at Norwich City think Leeds have invested wisely by taking him on a free transfer. Between them, he and White should offer far more stability.
Verdict: Stronger.

RIGHT WING: Robert Snodgrass has gone and the argument ends there.
It is no slight on White, Paul Green or the indisputable talent of El-Hadji Diouf to say that the loss of United’s former club captain is likely to be felt.
Verdict: Weaker.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: At his best, Adam Clayton was a dynamic figure in United’s midfield but he was also maddeningly inconsistent.
Michael Brown struggled to get going last season and for all the appreciation of Jonathan Howson, central midfield has never been his position.
The less said about Mika Vayrynen the better. As the squad stands now, Warnock has a fit and engaged Brown and the transfer-listed Pugh to supplement Green, David Norris and Rodolph Austin. The unit is not bullet-proof in terms of injuries but there is far more purpose to it.
Verdict: Stronger.

LEFT WING: It is easily forgotten that Leeds began last season with Max Gradel on the left wing. He was sold before the end of August but in all the discussion about Snodgrass, there is little attention paid to the class of Gradel in his happier times at Elland Road.
That said, Grayson used Pugh to replace him to no great effect over several months, and only by switching Snodgrass did Warnock find a solution in the closing weeks of the season. This is Luke Varney’s bag now and the early impression of him is encouraging but he will do well to mirror Gradel’s influence.
Verdict: Weaker.

STRIKERS: Plus ca change...for all that went on last year and all the work done this summer, Luciano Becchio and Ross McCormack are still the two main sources of goals at Elland Road.
Billy Paynter’s exit was neither here nor there and Andy Keogh – signed on loan from Wolves a year ago – predictably found prolific goalscoring a challenge. Mikael Forssell failed to strike once. Leeds need another reliable forward. In truth, they have needed that for some time.
Verdict: Unchanged.

SQUAD: The squad list in the Shrewsbury matchday programme included 19 players, excluding injured pair Bromby and Davide Somma but including Byram, Thompson, Dominic Poleon and two players who are on the transfer list.
The situation at Leeds can be summed up as thus: the team is virtually there but the squad is not. Rarely has Warnock needed two weeks of the transfer window like he needs the fortnight ahead.
Verdict: Weaker.

Mystery Middle Eastern investors survey Leeds United

Sport 360 19/8/12
The mystery over the possible new owners of Championship club Leeds United continued yesterday with the presence of Middle Eastern businessmen in owner Ken Bates’ Elland Road hospitality box.
The controversial owner, who had flown in from Monaco for the first game of the season against Wolves, entertained what is thought to be members of the unnamed consortium that has been engaged in a summer of negotiations over the £40 million purchase of his 72 per cent stake in the club.
Rumours on Twitter and fan message boards suggested one of the gentleman, pictured in sunglasses and carrying a Leeds scarf during and after the game, was Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, a member of Qatar’s ruling family and the Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee.
The Eid holiday, which began in the Gulf this morning, has made confirmation all but impossible, although it is unlikely such a high profile figure would make himself so visible. But is an interesting new twist to the protracted takeover saga.
It still thought that Bahrain’s Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, apparently a life-long Leeds United fan, has been driving the bid, but only as the head of a consortium of regional investors with the actual financial means to both meet Ken Bates asking price and help improve Leeds United’s squad.
The emergence of a partner from Qatar, the one Gulf economy that continues to boom and with a demonstrable interest in European sport via Paris St Germain and their partnership with Barcelona, certainly makes sense.
Although the club’s supporters trust declared the deal had “collapsed” last week, reporters for the Yorkshire Evening Post,the local paper in Leeds, are now saying that a takeover is only a matter of finalising a few legal details, and could be completed this week.
Ken Bates told the official Leeds United website last night that negotiations are merely "underway". "We signed an exclusivity agreement to give them time to do due diligence, and we're continuing negotiations," he said.
"We're also bound by confidentiality, so we can't say anything, and in the absence of being able to say anything rumours abound."
Leeds made an encouraging start to the new season as eight debutants contributed to a battling 1-0 win over Wolves, who were relegated from the Premier League last season.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leeds United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0: match report

Independent 18/8/12
By Si Hughes, Elland Road
Finally, there was progressive news from Elland Road. The announcement of a new three-year contract for Ross McCormack on Friday evening clearly lifted Leeds United ahead of this victory, but it also vindicated a widely held theory based on simplicity: for the club to be successful, it must find a way to retain its best players.
McCormack, the Glaswegian striker that scored 19 times last season, was at his very best here; his intelligent movement and dexterous use of possession too cunning for a Wolves side emotionally brittle after their relegation from the Premier League.
Ken Bates, the Leeds United chairman blamed for years of cost-cutting through player sales, reiterated in his programme notes that he is trying to sell to owners with deeper pockets. Not for the first time he preached patience, adding that supporter reaction in the next few weeks will be crucial with interest in a full takeover from the Middle East genuine.
"We have to get it right and public comment and chants doesn't help," he said. "They have discouraged two parties who didn't like what they saw or heard."
Bates's popularity in this part of West Yorkshire remains unanimously truncated, but one decision he certainly got right in recent times was the appointment of Neil Warnock who Bates claims, turned down Wolves in favour of his current position. This Leeds is certainly Warnock's own already. In lean times, he is astute in fashioning a team spirit – or at least – gathering a group of personalities that will eventually form one.
One of those 'personalities', in this case, is El-Hadji Diouf. Eighteen months ago, Warnock branded the Senegalese a "sewer rat", after he broke Jamie Mackie's leg in a FA Cup tie between QPR and Blackburn Rovers. Here, though, they embraced like old friends with Warnock offering a man-hug before sending Diouf on as a first half substitute following an injury to Paul Green.
Green's departure was the only negative for Leeds on an afternoon they controlled throughout. From the moment McCormack supplied Luciano Becchio with the winner via a flawless left foot cross, the outcome looked secure.
Leeds' enthusiasm and commitment was in contrast to Wolves. With nearly the same group of players that performed so miserably in the last campaign, their problem seems terminal.
Only when the recently signed Slawomir Peszko arrived as a half-time substitute did they show any sign of an attacking intent. There is much work to do for new boss Stale Solbakken.

Bates talks of potential investors

Sky 18/8/12
Leeds owner insists that investors are welcome By Subhankar Mondal
Leeds United owner Ken Bates has insisted he is still in discussion with potential investors.
The Championship club revealed on June 26 that they had granted an exclusivity period to would-be investors, but issued a statement on August 10 confirming that period had ended with no deal being reached.
Subsequent reports suggested that no more takeover negotiations were going to take place, but Bates has now dismissed them.
"Suffice to say that the exclusivity period granted to the original would-be investor have now lapsed, but we are continuing talks with the same people," he wrote in his programme notes ahead of Saturday's season-opener with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
On the lack of public support and abuse he has received from Leeds supporters over the years, Bates wrote: "We have to get it right and public comment and chants doesn't help.
"They have discouraged two parties who didn't like what they saw or heard."

Investment talks continue - Chairman

leedsunited.com 18/8/12
Investment talks latest...
United chairman Ken Bates has confirmed that talks with potential investors are continuing.
With speculation continuing apace about the position of the talks, the United chairman says talks are ongoing and are bound by confidentiality agreements.
"The real problem is that rumours have abounded inevitably," he told LUTV.
"We are in negotiations with a party. We signed an exclusivity agreement to give them time to do due diligence, and we're continuing negotiations.
"We're also bound by confidentiality, so we can't say anything, and in the absence of being able to say anything rumours abound.
"It's basically pub speculation that's being put out to a wider audience. I'm sorry for the fans because there's nothing more I can tell them at this stage, but when we can I will."

Leeds United takeover ‘is heading to a conclusion’

Yorkshire Evening Post 18/8/12
By Phil Hay
The proposed takeover of Leeds United was awaiting the go-ahead today after a week of exhaustive negotiations between United’s board and the group bidding to buy the club.
Intense discussions involving the legal representatives of both sides have continued throughout the past seven days in an attempt to break the deadlock surrounding the bid by a Middle Eastern consortium to take control at Elland Road.
A deal to acquire the club and the 72.85 per cent stake held by chairman and owner Ken Bates – a deal believed to have been reached in principle at the end of June – appeared to be drifting towards collapse a week ago but renewed talks have revived the possibility of a full takeover.
A legal source told the YEP last night that the buy-out of United was still dependent on the two sides resolving “necessary legal matters”, describing them as “decisive issues” but claiming the process was nearing the “end of the line, whichever way it goes.”
Bates, 80, was planning to attend United’s first Championship game of the season this afternoon – the start of his eighth full league term as the club’s chairman – after flying into England from Monaco on Wednesday, though it is understood that the buyers had hoped to see a takeover signed off ahead of today’s clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The group, whose identities remain unclear, have been discussing the purchase of Leeds for more almost three months and remain at the negotiating table, despite complications developing last week and frustration growing over the delay in agreeing a settlement.
The consortium are believed to be based in the Middle East, with their offer fronted by a financial institution in the region.
Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Hamad Al-Khalifa – a member of Bahrain’s ruling family who attempted unsuccessfully to take control of United in 2003 – was reported to be among the buyers but his involvement has never been confirmed and he has made no public comment about the proposed acquisition of Leeds.

What Warnock Said: “I Don’t Think We’re Automatic Promotion Material”

The Scratching Shed 15/8/12
Neil Warnock has today told reporters that he doesn’t believe Leeds United are good enough for automatic promotion.
”If I put my hand on my heart, I don’t think we’re automatic promotion material.
“That’s not me being defeatist, I’m just being realistic about the squad we’ve got. I’m telling you what I see.”
The Whites boss previously described this summer as the most difficult one he’s ever faced in terms of player recruitment and admitted he’d considered walking away at one point as he grew frustrated at the lack of funds made available to him.
Early optimism based on takeover speculation and the arrival of Jason Pearce soon dissipated as negotiations dragged on and Neil Warnock was left to perform a balancing act with his squad, forced to sell players before he could recruit new ones.
It’s not all been doom and gloom for Neil Warnock however. After the slow start to the transfer window and despite the takeover dragging on into a third month of speculation, the Leeds United boss has managed to secure ten new signings and believes his side is capable of a play-off push, conceding that a couple of new arrivals is still a priority.
“As far as the play-offs go, I’m optimistic that we’ll have as good a chance as most clubs of getting in there.
“You need a bit of luck to finish in the top six and you can’t always rely on luck but, first and foremost, you need the players. I’m going into the season with a lot of the players I wanted.
“We’re not the finished article and we do need a couple more players but if I can’t sign anyone else before the season starts then I’d still be happy going into it.
“I really mean that. I’ve got genuine players here and I also know that teams will have to be really good to beat us. Really good.”
There’s no doubt a little bit of mindgames going on here, but it’s important to control expectations at Elland Road as our fans get carried away very easily and when things don’t go according to plan, the manager becomes an easy scapegoat and people start calling for his head.
We’ve lost key players, have an almost entirely new squad that is going to need time to gel and still look to be lacking the necessary depth and game-changing individuals that are the difference between a successful season and one of mediocrity. There’s very little between the starting line-ups of teams in the Championship, so quality depth to overcome injuries is of paramount importance whilst a Gradel/Taarabt type player can earn you a lot of points in a division of very evenly matched teams.
Elsewhere today, Leeds United drew Oxford United at home in the second round of the League Cup.

Phil Hay (Yorkshire Evening Post) on Twitter

Twitter.com 18/8/12
Phil Hay ‏@PhilHayYEP
Bates: "We have to get it right and comment and chants don't help. They have discouraged 2 parties who didn't like what they saw or heard."
Phil Hay ‏@PhilHayYEP
Bates in programme: "Exclusivity period granted to would-be investors has lapsed but we are continuing talks with the same people." #lufc

Monday, August 13, 2012

Striker Billy joins Rovers

leedsunited.com 13/8/12
Paynter on the move...
Leeds United striker Billy Paynter has joined Doncaster Rovers on a two-year contract.
The 28-year-old's Elland Road exit was finalised on Monday when he moved to South Yorkshire to tie up a deal with the League One club.
The move brings to an end what has been a frustrating two years for Billy at Elland Road. Since joining from Swindon Town in the summer of 2010 he has scored three goals in 28 appearances.
His first campaign was blighted by an injury sustained in pre-season and with appearances limited, he had to wait until March to score his first goal in a Leeds shirt.
Last term, Billy started twice and made two sub appearances. He scored two goals, both coming in the 4-1 win against Peterborough in April.
Billy was placed on the transfer list by manager Neil Warnock at the end of last season.

Diouf the focus as Whites cruise

Yorkshire Evening Post 13/8/12
By Phil Hay
The sky was cloudy when El-Hadji Diouf drove into Elland Road but he wore sunglasses anyway. It would not be like him to keep the profile low, not with the most improbable of transfers about to go through.
Diouf has enough talent to merit a place in the squad at Elland Road but improbable is how the signing looked with Leeds and Neil Warnock both involved. He was until Saturday no friend of United’s and no great friend of Warnock’s either. Eighteen months have passed since the pair traded insult-for-insult after an FA Cup tie involving Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers.
It was long enough to clear the air and allow the signing of Diouf on non-contract terms. He did not dominate proceedings during Saturday’s League Cup tie between Leeds and Shrewsbury Town – two goals in either half earned United a 4-0 win – but he was still the point of interest: signing autographs on his arrival and earning a polite round of applause during the warm-up before starting the game on the bench. It was a change to be talking about something other than United’s elusive takeover.
Now 31 and a decade into a career in British football, the Senegalese international took to the pitch with the Saturday’s game already won and no time to do more than stretch his legs. There were boos among the applause and chants of ‘Dirty Leeds’ rang around him. All parties concerned with this arrangement know their history.
Warnock, who famously labelled Diouf a “sewer rat” during their spat in 2011, said: “I’m going to get stick for this. And no-one’s given him more stick than me over the years.
“I met him about six or seven weeks ago and it wasn’t a planned meeting. It was at a function. I ended up having an hour-and-a-half with him, taking about what I didn’t like about him and him talking football in general.
“I had to tell him what I disliked about him but it was a good meeting. I enjoyed the conversation I don’t think in life you ever say never but let’s be fair, it would be far easier for me not to involve him than to sign him and have it all in the papers. It would be easier not to do it, wouldn’t it?
“But I think in our situation, we haven’t got any money. He’s on a Bosman, he’s quality, he’s not fazed by a club this size. Some players who come here freeze.”
There is method in the madness which some see in this signing. If Diouf takes up a permanent deal this week – a deal which is unlikely to run for longer than 12 months – then the cost will not be horrendous. It would give a club with no immediate spending power a right winger and a striker in one foul swoop.
The aesthetic appeal of Diouf at Elland Road is open to debate but this was a matter of pragmatism. The crux of the argument is that Warnock cannot really do without him, unless the proposed takeover of United breathes again and suddenly fills his pockets.
“I spoke to Mickey Walker (Doncaster Rovers’ former director of football), a good friend of mine. He said Diouf was one of the best lads around Doncaster. He didn’t shirk anything and was great around the kids. One or two people I spoke to couldn’t speak highly enough of him.
“There were one or two strikers out of the Premier League I was looking at up to this week but we haven’t been able to bring them in. It’s too much money at the moment and we can’t move players on like we want to. It suited both parties and I don’t think there’s a another club in the Championship he could have played for. Anywhere else, he probably wouldn’t have been given an opportunity.”
Confirmation of Diouf’s signing on non-contract terms was the saving grace for Saturday’s Capital One Cup tie – a game which was lost in the confusion which surrounds the planned buy-out of Leeds by a consortium from the Middle East.
The League Cup has never driven Warnock in the way that promotion-after-promotion does but the lack of attention earned by Shrewsbury’s visit to Elland Road was not his fault or even his intention.
It was virtually suffocated by a takeover which turned off and on in the space of 24 hours last week but might yet come to pass. Fresh negotiations on Friday were described to the YEP as “extremely positive”, and both sides appear optimistic of meeting in the middle.
Whether the deal proceeds or not, Warnock has the reassurance of a team in place. His squad on Saturday was riddled with Championship stock and only the name of Sam Byram looked particularly out of place in a starting line-up containing seven new signings. On the strength of his form in pre-season, Byram was not undeserving of the competitive debut which came as a result of an injury to Tom Lees. His performance was excellent.
Without Lees, Warnock’s defence stood up to scrutiny from a side who finished second in League Two last season and had an accomplished feel. United were stretched twice in the first six minutes, throwing bodies around to block a shot from Michael Hector and leaving Paddy Kenny to clasp Rob Purdie’s effort, but both resembled the type of chances conceded routinely by Leeds last season.
In Kenny, moreover, Warnock has an instinctive keeper and a safe pair of hands. His answer to a scramble caused by a deep corner was to drop down and deny Mark Wright and Jermaine Grant from close range, and Kenny’s catch of Marvin Morgan’s volley on his goalline brought to mind the cliché of fine margins. It was a goal averted by a matter of millimetres.
Shrewsbury had played their way into the tie impressively by then but two blink-of-the-eye errors from Hector killed the game in the space of six minutes.
The centre-back miscontrolled the ball after his goalkeeper, Chris Weale, punched Rodolph Austin’s shot straight at him, leaving Becchio to do the rest. In the 27th minute, Hector covered his mouth with his hands again when a deflection off his legs ran and reached Ross McCormack who allowed Varney to attack an open goal.
That turn of events gave Leeds a licence to play with all the freedom they wished and they turned a steady contest into a procession, improving as the game went on.
The impressive David Norris scored on 66 minutes, scuffing Varney’s knockdown past Weale with his right shin and McCormack converted a penalty four minutes later after the hapless Hector handed Paul Green’s lob. In all, it was a tuneful prelude to the main event and United’s first Championship game against Wolves.
Warnock said: “I can’t wait for that game, I’m so glad it’s Wolves. And then Blackburn in the second game at home. They’re great games and it’ll be nice to be underdogs.
“You could see early doors that we haven’t had time to work on basic things and because of that we gave them too much time. We’ll be working on it next week and that’s why it’s great not to have a game in mid-week. Once we brush up on that we won’t give teams an opportunity to dominate games. Some of their chances would have been goals at Championship level.”