Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another Premier League scalp for Leeds United as Nigel Adkins keeps focus on league survival for Southampton

Independent 30/10/12
Leeds United 3 Southampton 0
Jon Culley
A decade after reaching a League Cup semi-final in Neil Warnock's Sheffield United side, Michael Tonge scored the goal that set Warnock's Leeds on a path into the last eight as Southampton became the second Premier League opponent eliminated by Leeds in this season's competition.
Tonge's first-half strike was the difference between the sides until El-Hadji Diouf effectively settled the tie after 87 minutes, following up after the goalkeeper Kelvin Davis could only parry a shot by Rodolph Austin and adding to the pressure on Southampton manager Nigel Adkins. The substitute Luciano Becchio added a third goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
Adkins has also lost seven out of his first nine Premier League matches with his twice-promoted team yet any unease he may be feeling about his job security was not reflected in his team selection. He rested all 11 starters from Sunday's home defeat to Tottenham. Adkins confirmed that one of them – goalkeeper Artur Boruc – is the subject of an internal club investigation into allegations that he threw a water bottle at fans during the game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Against a Leeds side including nine of the players that knocked out Everton in the third round, Southampton were always second best and Leeds should have put the outcome beyond doubt long before the two late goals.
Luke Varney's energy was a key element in most of their best moves but his miss after 14 minutes, when he screwed the ball wide of the left-hand post when it looked impossible to miss, set an unwelcome trend for much of their finishing.
Varney hit the woodwork and missed with a header as well as having two other shots saved. There were chances too for Austin and Diouf.
Tonge put Leeds in front 11 minutes before half-time. Varney set up the chance with a run from the left, followed by a cut-back only half cleared, and Tonge beat Davis – recalled for the first time since he let in six against Arsenal in September -- with a low drive from just inside the box.
Southampton brought on 17-year-old Luke Shaw and gave a debut to 19-year-old Lloyd Isgrove in the second half, yet looked more of a threat and the Leeds lead looked fragile until Diouf pounced and then Becchio, on the field only moments, converted from the spot following a foul on Tonge.
"I take full responsibility for the team selection, although we would have liked to have played on Wednesday," Adkins said. "But regardless of that the performance was not up to the high standards we expect of Southampton players."

Leeds 3 Southampton 0: Varney's virtuoso show puts poor Saints to the sword

Mail 30/10/12
By John Edwards
Nigel Adkins changed Southampton’s entire starting line-up but not their fortunes as former Portsmouth winger Luke Varney ran them ragged in a Capital One Cup rout at Elland Road.
The under-pressure Southampton manager provided an insight into the competition’s importance alongside Barclays Premier League survival by making 11 changes and naming six teenagers on the bench.
He readily accepted the blame for the resulting shambles as he explained his selection by saying: ‘Forty-eight hours ago, we had a high-intensity game, and I made the relevant changes as a consequence.
'I wanted to play the game tomorrow night but the powers-that-be said no because Leeds have another game on Friday. It was my decision and I take full responsibility, even though I’d expect more from anyone who pulls on the Southampton shirt and represents the club.
‘That was nowhere near what you would expect from any Southampton FC team. The players who have not been in the side had a chance to do something about it but it was a very poor performance.’
It may have taken two goals in the last three minutes for Leeds’ dominance to be reflected in the scoreline but Southampton headed back to the south coast thankful they were not on the end of a bigger drubbing.
Varney, snapped up from Portsmouth in the summer, put his one-time derby rivals to the sword after being guilty of one of the misses of the season in the 14th minute.
The game was played in a keen, competitive but always fair spirit. And when Leeds’ Rodolph Austin accidentally hit the back of Chris Foy’s head as he threw the ball to a team-mate, the referee spun round and was greeted by an apologetic, raised hand. He responded with a smile and thumbs-up.
A goal looked a formality after El Hadji Diouf expertly hooked an Aidan White chip across the six-yard area, only for Varney to miscue from two yards and see the ball bobble agonisingly wide.
A full-length save by Kelvin Davis denied Varney in the 28th minute and, two minutes later, after pouncing on hesitancy in the Southampton defence, the midfielder saw his volley cannon back off the bar.
Southampton’s luck ran out, though, and the inevitable breakthrough came in the 35th minute after another darting Varney run.
Weaving his way down the left, he cut the ball back towards Diouf and, though a defender’s outstretched leg prevented the cross reaching its target, Michael Tonge was on hand to drill the loose ball beyond Davis.
If only Varney’s finishing had matched his approach work, Southampton would have been swamped. Expertly played through by Tonge in the 64th minute, he drew Davis, only to drive his shot against the advancing goalkeeper’s chest.
Leeds’ wastefulness might have proved costly when the outplayed Premier League side fashioned their first chance, a 70th-minute volley from Emmanuel Mayuka that flew wide.
But Adkins’ makeshift side were promptly put in their place by two late goals from Diouf and substitute Luciano Becchio.
If Diouf’s finish was simplicity itself, the run that preceded it was a virtuoso effort from Rodolph Austin, who set off from near the halfway line and breezed past two challenges before rifling a shot towards the far corner.
A sprawling save by Davis denied him one of the goals of the season but Diouf was on hand to force the rebound over the line and settle any doubts about Leeds’ passage into the next round.
Becchio added a deserved third after Tonge was deemed to have been fouled by a combination of Daniel Seaborne and Luke Shaw.
Leeds manager Neil Warnock said: ‘I thought Luke Varney epitomised our performance. He came up with the miss of the century yet was still man of the match for me.
‘He wasn’t feeling well and was sick at half-time. I asked him for another 15 minutes and he gave me 40. That’s his attitude through and through.
‘He is an easy target for fans and gets booed sometimes but I was delighted for him. He deserved the ovation he was given when he came off.’

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

GFH Capital: Leeds United talks nearing a conclusion

Sport 360 30/10/12
Eddie Taylor
Sport360° understands that GFH Capital’s proposed takeover of Leeds United Football Club is moving towards a conclusion after two days of productive talks in Monaco with current owner and chairman, Ken Bates.
David Haigh and Salem Patel travelled to the principality following Saturday’s home game against Birmingham City to try and conclude negotiations that have been ongoing since May. The pair have now travelled to West Yorkshire, where they will be attending tonight's Capital One Cup match against Premier League Southampton, as the takeover enters its final phase.
A source close to the deal confirmed to Sport360° on Tuesday morning that the deal is progressing quickly after the latest round of discussions, and that there are no foreseeable impediments to Leeds United being under new ownership well before the January transfer window opens.
The news comes on the heels of a joint statement between GFH Capital and Leeds United last Friday which acknowledged that the club is satisfied GFH Capital have the funds to complete the deal – and that £2 million has already been paid to Leeds.
Leeds United currently lie in 11th place in the NPower Championship but have stuttered of late, collecting just two points from their last three league games, including a tame 1-0 defeat in the home game against Birmingham at the weekend.
In the aftermath of the game, manager Neil Warnock repeated his desire to introduce three quality players to turn his squad into genuine promotion contenders, and suggested that a fresh injection of funds was essential for this to happen.
It seems his patience, and that of the long-suffering fans who have long called for change at Elland Road, might now be rewarded.

Leeds United striker El Hadji Diouf: 'You can hate me but still love my football'

Independent 29/10/12
Leeds' El Hadji Diouf, who was once described by his current manager as a 'sewer rat', loves being booed – because it shows people are paying attention, he tells Glenn Moore
Glenn Moore
When El Hadji Diouf gets on the ball at Elland Road tomorrow tonight and runs at the Southampton defence he will not just expect to be booed by the opposing fans, he will relish the prospect.
"I like being booed," he says with a gold-toothed smile. "When people boo me I always want to show them I am the best – I know they hate me but I want to say, 'You can hate me but you can love my football.' Everyone wants to beats Leeds because they know it is a big team, and there is a big character on the team: myself."
For the Senegalese to be ignored is far worse than being disliked. There is a touch of Oscar Wilde when he says of himself: "My reputation is not me, but it is good to have a reputation. People talking good or bad about you is only publicity."
It was not always thus. Having come to prominence in the 2002 World Cup Diouf had an indifferent spell at Liverpool, attracting unsavoury publicity, including a conviction for spitting. By the time he was playing for Bolton Wanderers the constant baiting by opposition fans was beginning to wear him down. Then came an intervention from the late Gary Speed, Wanderers' senior pro.
"One day I was asking, 'Why do people boo me every time? I don't understand.' He came to see me, took my hand and said, 'People never boo a bad player. They boo you because you are good and they try and wind you up.' When he said that I understood. Coming from him it was good."
Diouf now plays for Leeds United, where Speed is still revered for his role in their last title success, in 1992, and we are talking in the office of manager Neil Warnock. The same Warnock who, in January 2010, described Diouf as "lower than a sewer rat" after Diouf had accused Jamie Mackie of QPR, then managed by Warnock, of faking his agony as Mackie lay stricken at Ewood Park with a broken leg. The subsequent union of Warnock and the player he calls his "matador" raised many eyebrows.
"Me and the gaffer, it is in the past," said Diouf. "Lots of people say there are things between us, but the most important thing today is he enjoys working with me and I enjoy working with him. What I like of him we have the same temperament, we want to always win. He is a bad loser and a good gaffer. We are the misunderstood, a lot of people do not know us, but they judge us.
"Friends who play with him before, like Adel Taarabt and Armand Traoré, they tell me he is a good gaffer, he loves joking and working hard. So I say to him, 'Why not I come and play for Leeds?' I know he thought it was a joke at first but that joke came true. People can hate you, but recognise your talent. He recognised my talent."
Diouf was poised to go to Saudi Arabia when Warnock, searching for players within a limited budget, decided to see if Diouf was serious. The money on offer was a fraction of that available in the desert, and Diouf would have to start on a week-to-week trial basis.
"I said, 'Why not?' The big challenge today is to be in Leeds. I remember playing here with Liverpool [Diouf's fifth start in England, Liverpool winning in front of more than 40,000]. The atmosphere was unbelievable. I say to the lads: 'We can do it. We can be part of the story of Leeds United. People talk about Lucas Radebe, Eric Cantona, why not us?' To go up with Leeds would be massive, the biggest thing in my career.
"Elland Road has the same atmosphere as Anfield. A lot of teams in the Premier League do not have as exciting a stadium as we have. Leeds has a Premier League stadium and Premier League fans in the wrong division, we have to change that. I think we can do it this season, We just need to believe in ourselves, he [Warnock] won promotion with Sheffield United and QPR, why not here?"
A lack of funds is the most likely reason, with takeover negotiations with various parties now having taken more than six months. Having reached the play-off places early on this season Leeds have dipped, with two points from their last three matches, but the 2-1 home victory over Everton in the last round of the Capital One Cup showed what was possible.
Diouf was outstanding in that match and has generally been in excellent form. His current contract, however, expires in January and while Leeds have offered him a new one with a significant pay rise he will only say, when asked if he will stay, "We'll see." It may depend on whether Warnock will by then have the cash required to give Leeds a realistic chance of going up. "Me and the gaffer have the same ambition: to go into the Premier League," said Diouf.
There he would face again Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, former Liverpool team-mates who both criticised Diouf in their autobiographies, prompting withering replies, articulated again in L'Equipe earlier this month.
"I don't want to waste any more time talking about them," says Diouf. "Liverpool is a great club but for me it is in the past, I am looking to the future. When I was at Liverpool we had good players, but we did not make a team. We had a lot of problems there between foreign players and the rest, but I think that goes for many teams."
It was at Liverpool that Diouf was involved in the first of several spitting controversies. "I regret what I did in the past," he said. "I was young, I don't do it any more. I apologise to all people I have hurt. It was a result of my background."
Diouf's upbringing was a difficult one, living in poverty with his grandparents after his father left when he was eight, then moving to France to make his way as a footballer at 14. "It made me independent. I was always looking after myself, then after all my family too. I'm proud about that, and about the charity I have, helping a lot of people in Senegal."
Despite the animosity he attracts, Diouf enjoys playing in England, having spent the last 11 seasons here excepting a brief spell at Rangers. "I have had offers to go to Spain, back to France or Italy, but it is more exciting here. If you play 15 years in football and you don't play in England it is a big miss."
In the long-term Diouf expresses an interest in coaching and managing, which could be interesting, and there is a book on the horizon: the title … "Misunderstood".
He said: "People think they know me, then after meeting in a restaurant, or out somewhere, they talk for five minutes and say, 'I'm sorry I thought bad things about you before.' Even my wife. I went to talk to her and she didn't want to be with me because of what she had read about me in the papers in Senegal and what people say about me, but I am a different person. My reputation is not me."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Leeds United v Birmingham City: Lita’s stunner kills off Whites

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/10/12
By Phil Hay
The press conference leading up to Leeds United’s game against Birmingham City brought a subtle admission from Neil Warnock.
In discussing the importance of establishing a “plan b” at Elland Road, Warnock said he would “know what to do” if he was as an opposition manager preparing to play Leeds.
The comment was taken as meaning his squad is too limited or too predictable – and on days like Saturday, plainly beatable.v Beatable teams are rife in the Championship. The division was devoid of a perfect record after three weeks of the season and has been without an unbeaten club since its fourth weekend.
The undefeated sequence of seven games pieced together by Leeds before their match with Birmingham bucked that trend but a 1-0 loss inflicted by Leroy Lita did not arrive without warning.
It was the fate United avoided narrowly at Sheffield Wednesday and by a much finer margin against Charlton Athletic last Tuesday. Lita’s 76th-minute goal came and went without reply on Saturday, the glaring highlight on an afternoon of few and the sort of goal needed to break a side as belligerent and competitive as Warnock’s.
The well-travelled striker – signed by Birmingham on loan from Swansea City last month – ended a counter-attack with a shot hit more in hope than sense from 30 yards. He had Marlon King to his left and Chris Burke to his right as an outnumbered defence backed off nervously but Lita’s strike of the ball was vicious and precise. Paddy Kenny, at full stretch, grasped at it without a prayer.
United did likewise with what remained of the game, ruing a save by Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland six minutes before City scored. His classy, one-handed parry blocked a header from El-Hadji Diouf on Birmingham’s goalline, giving Butland time to clasp the rebound as a crowd of players gathered under his crossbar. Kenny had no such opportunity when Lita silenced a crowd who had already started to fear the worst.
The chance taken by Lita was nothing so much as clear-cut. In all, there were relatively few of those.
Rodolph Austin – recalled to Warnock’s line-up after scans on an ankle injury – forced Butland to stop the ball awkwardly with a leg after shooting from outside the box late in the first half, and Diouf saw an effort deflect into the crowd moments before Butland saved his header. An excessive reliance on Diouf’s vision was evident throughout. “We’d be in a state without him,” said Warnock afterwards.
Made to tick by the youthful energy and quick feet of Ravel Morrison and Nathan Redmond, two midfielders under the age of 20, Birmingham’s passing was sharper and more penetrating. They began to wear Leeds down in the build up to Lita’s goal and King missed an invitation to round Kenny and attack an empty net in the 73rd minute. Little by little, King’s hard running told on United’s defence and he almost rendered stoppage-time meaningless when his 88th-minute volley whipped over Kenny and smashed against the bar.
Warnock was less downbeat than the supporters who booed briefly at the final whistle, classing his side’s performance as a marked improvement from their witless draw with Charlton four days earlier, but his analysis of their loss to Birmingham invoked a familiar frustration: the planned takeover of Leeds which is intrinsically linked to the limitations of United’s squad and the players at Warnock’s disposal.
Senior figures at GFH Capital, the Dubai-firm which is “very close” to buying Leeds according to the statement released by both parties last week, were present at Elland Road again on Saturday; present for the umpteenth time this season.
Talks with United’s chairman and owner, Ken Bates, are understood to have continued in Monaco over the weekend, just as they have continued for five long months, and Warnock’s desire for a “little bit of class and a little bit of quality” – the traits he said Leeds were lacking against City – depends on an injection of funds secured through the sale of Leeds. Lita had been one of his targets, he revealed, but Birmingham did a deal that he could not. They were grateful for that at Elland Road.
“We need a bit of help now,” Warnock said. “A couple of players to come into the squad.
“Hopefully the takeover will come to the fore soon and we’ll be able to do something. I’ve been looking for weeks and there are two or three players I’d like to get but I don’t think we’ll manage it until the club sort everything out.
“I was after Leroy and he was one of the names I asked for on loan. But good luck to Birmingham, they got him.
“We’re lacking a little bit of class and a little bit of quality but there’s not a lot wrong if we could get two or three players in. It’s a matter of getting the signings over the line but that’s not easy.”
There is some scope for variation in United’s system and style – for instance Ryan Hall, their loanee from Southend who has renowned pace and an eye for goal.
At present, Warnock seems loath to trust in the winger’s fitness and while Hall made his debut in the final eight minutes on Saturday – thrown on with Aidan White in a vain attempt to rescue the game – he will be put through a mammoth training session in the days ahead.
Warnock admitted that the 24-year-old “really needs a pre-season” and with Hall ineligible for tomorrow’s League Cup tie against Southampton, United’s boss is also considering omitting him from the squad which will travel to Brighton on Friday. “We’re taking him out of everything this week,” Warnock said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get his fitness up to scratch.”
It is players like Hall and others available elsewhere who could bring unpredictability to the table at Elland Road. Birmingham found Warnock’s side easy to negate and only when Sam Byram picked out Diouf with a hanging cross on 70 minutes did City fall back on Butland’s ability.
The keeper’s save and Lita’s subsequent goal gave Birmingham manager Lee Clark the freedom to celebrate his 40th birthday as planned on Saturday evening.
“The beer will taste sweeter now,” Clark joked. “I’ve got the family down and they were hoping we’d get a result because they know what I’m like when we get beaten.
“They didn’t want a soppy-faced 40-year-old hanging around.”

Duncan Castles fighting back 28/10/12

A large number of Leeds United supporters have asked me to respond to the comments made by Ken Bates in his match-day address to LUTV on Saturday.
The email apology to GFH Capital deputy chief executive David Haigh which Bates referred to in the broadcast is genuine. Unfortunately, Bates failed to provide the proper context to the email.
The email was categorically not an apology for any of the extensive reporting I have done on GFH Capital and the company's long standing attempt to take over Leeds United. The email was an apology for retweeting an item a Leeds United supporter, David A Nye (@DANYLEEDS) sent me in response to an article published last Sunday reporting concerns amongst the Islamic finance industry over whether its proposed takeover was compatible with Sharia principles.
As soon as I was informed of the complaint by a colleague I deleted the retweet and offered to contact the complainant to apologise. I realised that what I initially considered an amusing comment on the implications of a successful GFH Capital takeover of Leeds, could potentially be perceived as offensive, and that I had made an error of judgement. I was, and remain, more than happy to apologise to anyone who was offended by the retweet.
It then transpired that Haigh was the complainant and that he threatened legal action if I did not apologise. Though I have over 44,000 followers on Twitter and an extensive readership in Islamic countries, Haigh's was the only complaint I received.
Having been informed that my emailed apology would bring an end to the matter, I was surprised that Haigh passed on that private email to the chairman of Leeds United, apparently without any explanation of its context.
Following Mr Bates' Saturday broadcast I have contacted Haigh by both email and telephone in an attempt to clarify why he passed on my email and allowed it to be broadcast without context. I am yet to receive an explanation.
In Ken Bates' address to LUTV, the Leeds United chairman stated that I had been “asking the most peculiar questions”.
As a football journalist I have placed a series of questions to GFH Capital. All of the questions were based on information provided to me by several sources privy to the dealings of GFH Capital, Leeds United and relevant to the the proposed takeover - a subject of significant public interest.
My questions were placed with David Haigh and/or his PR consultant Sam Bowen in attempt to check facts and to offer them a right to reply to various claims regarding GFH Capital's intentions for Leeds United and behaviour in attempting the takeover. It is a standard process required of a responsible journalist.
I first contacted Haigh via Twitter's direct message system after GFH Capital's involvement in a bid to take control Leeds United became public. I asked to speak to Haigh on an off- or on-record basis as he preferred. I received no reply to my messages.
I was only able to initiate a dialogue with Haigh when he publicly criticised my reporting on Twitter on September 23. Haigh stated that he was “Looking for a 'quote of the day'.. On Journos that make stuff up as they go along.” When a correspondent (@davidhen1) replied to his tweet with my name, Haigh responded “exactly”.
I again wrote to Haigh asking that he be specific about what I was supposed to have “made up”. Haigh declined to do so, but put me in touch with his PR consultant, promising that Bowen would help me with my reporting on the proposed takeover.
I then placed a series of written questions with Haigh and Bowen on GFH Capital's attempt to purchase Leeds United. On 29 September, Bowen provided me with answers to some queries and declined to comment on others.
In subsequent days, Haigh promised to reply to further questions and discuss other matters. Bowen also contacted me, promising a phone conversation with Haigh. On October 13, I postponed publishing an article because Bowen asked me to wait until the next day when Haigh would be free to talk. The promised phone call never came.
A list of public-interest questions placed with Haigh, Bowen and GFH Capital during this reporting process.

Questions placed by email on 6 October:
1) Is it correct that the 'exclusive agreement' GFHC referred to in its 27th September statement is the deal agreed this summer? IE, it is not a new agreement.
2) Is it correct that the same 'exclusive agreement' expires at the end of this year?
3) Is it correct that your company has been canvassing multiple investors to raise finance for the purchase of Leeds City Holdings?
Also, can you, or the company, say - on record - that none of the acquisition cost will be transferred onto Leeds United's books should you manage to complete?

Questions placed by email on 13 October: [Haigh had retweeted an item from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum leading to speculation that the Dubai monarch was involved in GFH Capital's bid.]
1) Has GFH Capital or GFH offered Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the opportunity to invest in Leeds United and had he agreed to invest?
2) Has GFH Capital or GFH now succeeded in its recent attempts to raise the funds to purchase Leeds United and additional money to fund player acquisition costs and improved contracts post-purchase?
3) How many Leeds United matches have you attended in your life?
4) How many professional football matches have you attended in your life?
5) Have you ever supported any other football team?
[Haigh had also used Twitter to respond to queries from Leeds supporters that he was not, as claimed, a fellow Leeds fan, but had been a supporter of Manchester United by tweeting that he was “thinking of getting an #lufc tattoo”.]
6) Why did you only begin following football-related sources, or commenting or referring to football-related matters on your Twitter account this year?
7) Is it correct that Sam Bowen spoke to Leeds United Supporters Trust on your behalf this week ahead of the Trust's Monday evening statement?

Questions placed on 27 October:
1) Is it correct that the "proof of funds" mentioned in your 26 Oct joint statement is NOT for the full amount of the agreed purchase price?
2) Is it correct that your company has attempted to solicit funds for the purchase of Leeds United by emailing potential investors?
3) Is it correct that those emails offered a seat on Leeds United's board for a minimum investment of £1m?
4) Is it correct that your PR, Sam Bowen, contacted Leeds United Supporters Trust on your behalf ahead of the 10 Oct joint statement in which you said "neither I nor any employee of GFH Capital has been in discussions with the LUST"?
5) Is it correct that you are aware of other bidders for Leeds United Football Club?
6) Is it correct that your current exclusivity agreement on the purchase of Leeds will have expired in December?
7) Is it correct that the £2m funds provided to the club earlier this year must be repaid by Leeds United by next summer to avoid control of the club reverting to GFH Capital?
8) Is it your claim that the quotes contained in this 9 Oct article with The Sun (http://www.thesun.co.u...) are fabricated and used without your permission?

To all these questions the only publishable response was an email from Bowen on Saturday:
Duncan
Our full and final statement for you. Nothing more to be added.
Sam
A GFH Capital Spokesperson said:
"Advanced talks between GFH Capital and the current owners of Leeds United FC continue with the intention of completing the deal soon, assuming all final detail on the contractual side is in place. As a Middle Eastern bank, GFH Capital must ensure certain regulatory procedures are adhered to and wants to ensure finer detail is agreed between both sides in the interests of the club's future, before signatures are traded. Clearly, proof of full funds for the purchase of Leeds United has been shared by GFH Capital and the current owners and Leeds United FC itself have confirmed they are happy with it; an official statement was released this week confirming that the deal in respect of both parties is in a very good place.
GFH Capital is committed to its long term strategy for Leeds United FC: to invest in the football and help to move the club back to the Premier League and for the Club and the fans to once more enjoy the fruits of that position as a successful club in English football."
----

One further point on the subject of David Haigh's PR Sam Bowen contacting the Leeds United Supporters Trust ahead of the Trust's carefully phrased October 8 statement on the proposed takeover. (http://lufctrust.squar...)
Haigh claimed in an October 10 joint statement with Leeds United that “neither I nor any employee of GFH Capital has been in discussions with the LUST.”
(http://www.leedsunited...)
However, LUST chairman Gary Cooper says the Trust was contacted by Bowen, who stated that he was acting on Haigh's behalf.
Cooper said: “I can confirm that we spoke to the same consultant who had been employed by GFH Capital to speak to other sections of the media and Leeds United supporters.”
Both Haigh and Bowen and have declined opportunities to comment.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lita sparks Clark's party while Bates moves nearer exit

Independent 28/10/12
Leeds United 0 Birmingham City 1
John Bowman
As is so often the way with Leeds United, events at Elland Road were overshadowed by dealings off the pitch despite the home side falling to a demoralising home defeat to struggling Birmingham City.
With the United chairman Ken Bates confirming that a takeover by Bahrain-based investment bank GFH is likely to happen within a matter of days, Leeds fans could be forgiven for yet again daring to envisage a brighter future.
But if the mood in the stands has improved because Bates's departure may be imminent, on the pitch the team itself remains very much a work in progress was clearly evident during a dour performance which will have absolutely done nothing to revive Leeds' hopes of a return to the Premier League this season.
In truth, neither side deserved to win a disappointing match, but Birmingham triumphed thanks to a remarkable goal powered in by Leroy Lita from a distance of more than 30 yards in the 76th minute.
It was the perfect gift for Lee Clark, the Birmingham manager, on his 40th birthday and set the tone for the party at his Midlands home last night.
Clark said: "My birthday seems a lot sweeter now. I've got my family and friends coming down tonight and they wanted us to get a good result. They didn't want a soppy-faced 40-year-old hanging around the party."
Birmingham were content to rely on solid defence and to play on the break and manager Clark's tactics almost worked in the 10th minute when the defender Curtis Davies headed just wide from a tempting Nathan Redmond cross.
For Leeds, Rodolph Austin's strong drive was beaten away well by England goalkeeper Jack Butland on the half-hour, but a lack of fire-power, which has seen them have fewer attempts on goal than any other team in the Championship, remains a major concern for the Yorkshire club.
Neil Warnock, the Leeds manager, will point to a recent run of six unbeaten league games and a spot just outside the play-off positions and his side did at least show a renewed urgency in the second-half.
After 70 minutes El-Hadji Diouf went close and the former Liverpool striker saw his goal- bound header from Michael Tonge's superb right-wing cross saved spectacularly by Butland.
But it was Lita who provided Leeds fans with the perfect excuse to descend back into despondency when he decided the match from long range.
His delighted manager Clark said: "I was shouting for him to pass, but it was a goal once it left his foot. It went like a rocket. I'm delighted because getting any result here is difficult because Neil Warnock's teams play in-your-face football.
"We tried to nullify the effect of the crowd by being in control of the match and keeping possession. But they came at us more in the second-half and we defended well.
"Jack Butland made a good save, but we expect that of him because he's that good. It was run-of-the-mill stuff for him."
For Warnock, this was further evidence that he needs at least two new players, which explains why he wants the takeover to go through as soon as possible. But he was in a philosophical mood after the match: "That's football. We didn't deserve to lose, but they got a world-beater of a goal and it won them the game.
"The players didn't expect him to shoot from there, but they should have done.
"The league is such that you will get beat when fans expect you to win and win games when nobody expects you to win. It's up and down.
"I can't fault my players. I thought they gave everything, although we may not be good enough in certain areas.
"We need a bit of help now. Hopefully the takeover will come to the fore shortly and we can bring in a couple of players."

Leeds 0 Birmingham 1: Clark has three reasons to celebrate after Lita strike

Mail 27/10/12
Leroy Lita produced a moment of brilliance at Elland Road as his goal illuminated a largely dull game and earned Birmingham a win over Leeds.
Like many on show today, the on-loan striker was a virtual spectator for most of the afternoon, but made his presence felt in the 76th minute when he cracked a bullet-like 30-yard drive beyond a helpless Paddy Kenny.
It was a goal Birmingham scarcely deserved, although Leeds' showing did not merit anything either, but that will matter little to City manager Lee Clark who celebrated his 40th birthday with his club's second away win in 11 months.
For a long time it had looked as though that would not be the outcome, with opportunities few and far between and only Ravel Morrison and El-Hadji Diouf looking like scoring.
Lita changed all that, however, as he ended both sides' two-game drawing streaks, with Birmingham finishing up in a manner that was representative of their three-goal comeback in the 3-3 draw at Millwall on Tuesday.
Leeds, though, were as limp as they were in their 1-1 result with Charlton, never getting going and nearly falling behind in the second minute when former player Steven Caldwell snapped a volley over.
Curtis Davies then put a header wide from a Nathan Redmond free-kick before Leeds woke up, with Sam Byram cutting in and driving against the legs of David Murphy.
The next effort was a Leeds one too, with England keeper Jack Butland sticking out a leg to save a Rodolph Austin shot he had initially misread, but there was no doubting Birmingham were the more accomplished side, with the roaming runs of Morrison and the strength of striker Marlon King impressive.
Despite that, they were not getting clear sightings of Kenny's goal and on a bitterly cold afternoon, the half-time whistle came as a relief to most, although the poor fare would continue into the second period.
It took until the 58th minute for either side to actually be presented with a clear shot at goal, with Morrison wasting it as Lee Peltier's poor clearance fell to him on the penalty spot.
It by no means opened the floodgates but El-Hadji Diouf then had a similar opening presented to him at the other end, his strike deflected over by Caldwell, but with Butland looking increasingly unsure under the high ball, Leeds had a sniff.
Unfortunately for them Butland was more than composed below head-height, as he demonstrated in the 70th minute when he produced a brilliant point-blank save to rebuff a diving Diouf header from a searching Byram cross.
Butland's acrobatics also paid dividends with 14 minutes remaining as Lita produced his moment of magic. He collected possession from Murphy, via a King dummy, and ignoring the wide-open overlap of Chris Burke, thumped a 30-yard drive beyond Kenny.
It could have been more for Birmingham not long after with King planting an audacious strike on to the bar. It would have been a flattering goal, but City had enough anyway.

What Ken Said – 27.10.12 – Castles In The Sky

Square Ball 27/10/12
By Fax Man
Taken from the end of LUTV’s interview with Leeds United’s current owner Ken Bates today…
Ken Bates: What I can tell you is, matters are progressing but it is not being helped by people who are trying to cause trouble for some reason. I’m particularly curious about a fellow called Duncan Castles. He’s a gentleman that lives in South Africa and all of a sudden he’s an expert in Arabic affairs and football affairs. I don’t know if this is the same Duncan Castles who has lost his job at about three national newspapers and I’m puzzled that somebody sitting in South Africa can be concentrating on Leeds United and a big Gulf financial institution 8,000 miles away. He seems to be obsessed. Almost a stalker. He’s asking the most peculiar questions. Actually, to use a technical term, he’s just making himself a pain in the arse. (camera cuts) It’s interesting that he has had to send an email apology to GFH and I’d like to read it to you in full. He sent it to David Haigh and he writes for a paper called The National in the Gulf which seems like the late News of the World without the class. He said: “David, I’d like to apologise for a retweet of an item on Twitter that may have cause offence. It was certainly not my intention to offend or dishonour Islam and I apologise to anyone who took offence to the item. Sincerely, Duncan Castles, Sports Journalist.” And when we look at that we see he does indeed live in South Africa so I think it puts his credibility where it belongs: it the bottom of the bin. (camera cuts) So if you do read anything about him or from him, whatever, take no notice because he’s discredited before he starts. It will inevitably be press and media interest about this transaction but we’re making progress. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, just ignore any rubbish in the newspapers written by people who have not checked their facts and who write speculation just to fill the newspapers. (KB turns to face the camera) If I’ve told you before, I keep telling you, if you want to know what’s going on… LUTV, Yorkshire Radio, and the internet. There’s nothing on those three things because there’s nothing to tell you. Simple as that. So, let’s forget Mr Castles and the takeover today. I’m happy to say some of the people from Gulf are my guests today. I need to get that in first because you see a picture of them in the papers either Sunday or Monday, so I’ll get in first today. They’re very welcome. I don’t quite think the weather was what they were expecting, coming from the Gulf but that’s another story 100C to minus 100C, but let’s concentrate on the game, let’s get our three points and let’s get into the play-offs.

Leeds United takeover: We can finance Whites deal - GFH LATEST

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/10/12
By Phil Hay
GFH Capital’s protracted takeover of Leeds United appeared to be a step closer today after the Dubai-based firm provided confirmation that it has the money needed to close out a £52million deal.
A joint statement issued by GFH Capital and Leeds said the company had produced “the necessary proof that it has the funds available” to bring an end to its pain-staking attempt to buy the Championship club.
Negotiations between GFH Capital officials and United’s owner and chairman, Ken Bates, are heading into a sixth month amid growing confusion about the delay in agreeing a sale.
The financial strength of GFH Capital has come under intense scrutiny amid concerns about the stability of its parent company, the Bahraini investment bank Gulf Finance House, but deputy chief executive David Haigh said the firm was “poised to make this deal happen” after offering fresh evidence of its ability to fund a takeover at Elland Road.
GFH Capital has already injected at least £2million into United – an investment made in return for a mortgage of shares in the Yorkshire club – and the company is aiming to acquire a 100 per cent stake in Leeds City Holdings Limited, United’s parent company.
A statement published on behalf of both parties read: “As an obligatory part of this stage of the talks, GFH Capital, which has already provided £2m to the club with further funds available, has now provided the Leeds United FC owners and management with the necessary proof that it has the funds available to close this transaction.”
The statement came after a month of uncertainty in which Bates claimed GFH Capital’s lawyers were responsible for delaying completion of the proposed buy-out.
Speaking on October 6, United’s chairman described the offer to him from GFH Capital as a “pretty straightforward deal by anybody’s standards” and said: “I don’t know what the delay is. All I can say to the fans is don’t blame me.”
But following further discussions this week, the 80-year-old, who owns a 72.85 per cent shareholding in Leeds, said: “It’s been a long road but we are in a good place.
“Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon.”
Haigh, who has attended several of United’s games since the start of this season and will be present at Elland Road today, said: “With the money in place we are poised to make this deal happen pending agreements and arrangements which are in the interests of the future of Leeds United – we need to make sure all the finer detail is addressed before trading signatures.
“Both sides continue to talk regularly and continue to work hard to get the job done.”
GFH Capital began due diligence on United’s accounts in June after agreeing a period of exclusivity in which to set up a takeover. United stated at the time that they were confident about GFH Capital securing the necessary funds and passing the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test, a test applied to anyone who acquires 30 per cent or more of the shares in an English club.
Amid close attention on the accounts of Gulf Finance House, GFH Capital has repeatedly refused to reveal how it will source the money needed to secure ownership of Leeds.
More recently, questions were raised about whether GFH Capital’s involvement at Elland Road would conflict with the principles of Sharia law in Islamic states like Dubai and Bahrain.
Salem Patel, a director at GFH Capital, said: “We understand there is some concern related to how Leeds United would be run under our stewardship.
“It remains important to be clear that Shari’ah law will not hinder this transaction nor will it affect the future operations of the club.
“Our intention is to provide investment which will facilitate a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United on and off the pitch.”
Bates became chairman of Leeds since January 2005 and bought a controlling interest in the club from their former owners, the Forward Sports Fund, in April of last year. He is expected to cut all ties with United if GFH Capital succeeds with its takeover bid.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mike O'Grady, great bloke

Just had a phone conversation today with Mike O'Grady, Leeds winger from the Seventies, wanting to put the record straight about his involvement (or lack of it more like) in the bribery scandal when United lost at Wolves two days after the 1972 FA Cup final and thus lost the Double.
The Mirror claimed Mike was involved and Andrew Mourant said that he had admitted it. All b******s according to Mike, who was pretty upset about the whole thing.


The Mirror later claimed that Don Revie tried to fix the game. Andrew Mourant: "It was alleged that Mike O'Grady had been approached by Revie as an intermediary to see if the Wolves players might be bribed so that the game would go in Leeds' favour. The Mirror article, quite explicitly, had O'Grady claiming that Revie made the offer, and O'Grady made the approach on his behalf.”
O’Grady strenuously refutes those allegations to this day. He insists that he was never chased by the Mirror for an interview or in fact spoke to them on any occasion about the matter.
This isn’t the first or last time that Fleet Street has been less than straightforward with its stories and O’Grady was clearly very upset by the speculation. He is a supporter of functions to raise money for Leeds causes such as the erection in 2012 of the Don Revie statue at Elland Road, and was mortified by a story that had got out of hand and damaged his reputation.
Whatever the motivation, O'Grady's Wolves team mates were certainly fired up for the game, winning 2-1 to deny United the double.



Mike was also a bit confused as to why when you do a search for him on Google it comes up with a picture of an American guy next to a summary about when Mike played for England. do a search and see for yourself.
Anyway, Mike is a fantastic bloke and one of United's true greats.

Glad to be of help, Mike, the updated version of his life story will be available soon at http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/players/ogrady.htm


Bates encouraged as Leeds takeover takes step forward

Yorkshire Post 27/10/12
THE takeover of Leeds United has moved a step closer after the Gulf investment bank bidding to take control provided the necessary proof of funds.
Talks over a possible change of ownership have been dragging on for more than five months between the Elland Road club and GFH Capital.
Delays in recent weeks had left supporters wondering if the much touted buy-out of United’s parent company, Leeds City Holdings, was destined never to become reality. But a breakthrough seems to have been made after chairman Ken Bates, who owns a 72.85 per cent shareholding, was given confirmation that the money needed to close a deal, with a reported price of £52m, is in place.
Bates said: “It has been a long road, but we are in a good place. Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon.”
The news that the money is in place means a substantial hurdle has been cleared. GFH Capital announced last month that they had signed an exclusive agreement to lead a takeover of Leeds after they had notified the Bahrain stock exchange.
The firm, which is based in Dubai, completed due diligence into United’s accounts and operational set-up several weeks ago.
They also ploughed £2m into the club during the summer as part of their on-going attempts to take control.
GFH Capital’s deputy chief executive officer David Haigh, who is being tipped for a management role at Elland Road providing a deal can be struck, said: “With the money in place, we are poised to make this deal happen pending agreements and arrangements which are in the interests of the future of Leeds United – we need to make sure all the finer detail is addressed before trading signatures.
“Despite what has been said recently in media, both sides continue to talk regularly and continue to work hard to get the job done.”
Adding to the intrigue surrounding this deal in recent weeks has been that the purchase was being hindered by Shari’ah law, owing to GHF’s Islamic background. However, as part of a joint statement issued on behalf of Leeds and GFH, Salem Patel, one of the firm’s directors who has been at a couple of recent games at Elland Road, said: “We understand there is some concern related to how Leeds United would be run under our stewardship.
“It remains important to be clear that Shari’ah law will not hinder this transaction, nor will it affect the future operations of the club.
“Our intention is to provide investment which will facilitate a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United on and off the pitch.”
United, who have posted a total profit of £10m over the last four financial years, host Birmingham City today sitting just one point outside the play-off places. Leeds’s game at Huddersfield Town has reverted to a Saturday kick-off (November 1, 12.30pm) due to the concerns of West Yorkshire Police.
The game was selected for live Sky TV coverage the previous day but the crowd problems when Leeds visited Sheffield Wednesday eight days ago – which included an assault on home goalkeeper Chris Kirkland – have forced a re-think and the derby will be held as originally scheduled.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Leeds United takeover approaching completion - Ken Bates

BBC 26/10/12
The proposed takeover of Leeds United is approaching completion, according to chairman and owner Ken Bates.
Bates told the club's website that Middle East-based private equity group GFH Capital has now provided proof it has the funds to close the transaction.
Bates said: "It's been a long road but we are in a good place. We hope to complete very soon."
Talks began at the end of May and Monaco-based Bates recently blamed GFH's lawyers for the long delays.
However, in a joint statement, GFH deputy chief executive officer David Haigh warned there were still issues to be addressed.
He said: "With the money in place we are poised to make this deal happen, pending agreements and arrangements which are in the interests of the future of Leeds United - we need to make sure all the finer detail is addressed before trading signatures."
GFH chief investment officer Saleem Patel attempted to address supporters' concerns regarding the level of investment GFH intends to make in the club.
He said: "We understand there is some concern related to how Leeds United would be run under our stewardship.
"It remains important to be clear that Shari'ah law will not hinder this transaction nor will it affect the future operations of the club.
"Our intention is to provide investment which will facilitate a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United on and off the pitch."
Bates owns 72.85% of Leeds United after his company completed a deal with previous owners FSF Limited last year.
The former Chelsea owner has been chairman of Leeds since 2005, when he turned his attention to the Elland Road club after failing in a bid to take over Sheffield Wednesday.

Joint statement from Leeds United/GFH Capital

Leedsunited.com 26/10/12
Advanced talks continue between Leeds United and GFH Capital...
As an obligatory part of this stage of the talks, GFH Capital, which has already provided £2m to the Club with further funds available, has now provided the Leeds United FC owners and management with the necessary proof that it has the funds available to close this transaction.
Leeds United chairman Ken Bates said: "It's been a long road but we are in a good place. Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon. The inaccurate reporting of certain journalists who will remain unnamed does not help the situation. Their articles, based upon a lack of knowledge of the intricacies of the deal and the full facts of the positive intentions of GFH Capital, achieve little and lead only to retractions or public apologies at a later date."
David Haigh, Deputy CEO, GFH Capital said: "With the money in place, we are poised to make this deal happen pending agreements and arrangements which are in the interests of the future of Leeds United - we need to make sure all the finer detail is addressed before trading signatures. Despite what has been said recently in media, both sides continue to talk regularly and continue to work hard to get the job done."
Salem Patel, Board Director and Chief Investment Officer, GFH Capital said: "We understand there is some concern related to how Leeds United would be run under our stewardship. It remains important to be clear that Shari'ah law will not hinder this transaction nor will it affect the future operations of the club. Our intention is to provide investment which will facilitate a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United on and off the pitch."

Subdued Whites settle for a point

Yorkshire Evening Post 24/10/12
By Phil Hay
From the chaos and hostility of Hillsborough to the relative slumber of a 1-1 draw at home to Charlton Athletic; there are ways of keeping a crowd in check and last night’s game at Elland Road was one.
As a contrast of football, emotion and scandal, Leeds United’s derby at Sheffield Wednesday last Friday felt like a different sport.
The ramifications of that controversial game have been all-consuming and a FA investigation into it has some way to run but United’s meeting with Charlton will not resonate in the corridors of Soho Square. It made hard work of encapsulating Elland Road.
There was, in truth, no harm in United’s first game since Hillsborough passing off without any choice headlines and it would have suited Neil Warnock had his team teased three points from an hour-and-a-half of unremarkable entertainment. David Norris’ 37th-minute goal – an isolated moment of poise and inspiration – gave United that chance.
But Dorian Dervite’s soft reply at the start of the second half retrieved a point for Charlton amid a general lack of conviction all over the field.
Results are not lacking in Leeds, however, and the unbeaten spell which reached six games while all were losing their heads in Sheffield took another step forward last night.
United have been on the fringes of the Championship’s play-off positions for a while and, with the semblance of form behind them, they sat a point adrift of sixth at full-time.
A livelier performance would have done for Charlton, who made no great attempt to throw caution to the wind until the closing stages, but Tuesday night fixtures involving United are not renowned for champagne football and United hung on anxiously at the death.
They earned their point but no more than that.
The same might have been said about their clash with Sheffield Wednesday had anyone felt like discussing the game.
As the fall-out from Friday’s derby consumed Leeds, reflection on their display at Hillsborough went almost unheeded.
Warnock claimed the match-defining assault by a United fan on Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland drew the sting from the contest at a time when his side were more likely to win it but Wednesday’s dominance in the first half had been palpable.
So exhausted did Rodolph Austin look in Sheffield, hours after flying home from an international appearances with Jamaica, that his half-time substitution at Hillsborough was followed by a complete omission from Warnock’s squad yesterday.
Michael Tonge’s blistering volley on Friday – the unintentional catalyst for the trouble which followed – also failed to protect his place, and Warnock’s changes ran to four, giving his midfield an experimental look.
Among the players included was Paul Green, a player last seen limping from the field at Elland Road on the first weekend of the Championship season.
Charlton were beset by a limping midfielder of the own before last night’s game even began.
A hamstring strain ended Dale Stephens involvement in the pre-match warm-up and Bradley Pritchard took his place at short notice. It did not do Charlton a great deal of good.
Parts of the first half belonged to them but the chances fell routinely to Leeds. Most stemmed from hard and direct counter-attacks, the speed of which Charlton struggled to cope with.
An early header from Jason Pearce cleared the visitors’ crossbar from too long a range to trouble goalkeeper Ben Hamer, and a timely clearance from Leon Cort prevented Norris’ 14th-minute volley from testing Hamer’s reflexes.
The ball looked destined for the corner of the net until Cort met it with his head. None of those glimmers of promise harnessed the enthusiasm of a quiet and half-full stadium.
The highlight of the first 20 minutes was the struggle of one linesman to mend a flag which kept falling apart in his hands.
Pritchard avoided a yellow card for tripping Luke Varney but Rob Hulse – a striker known well to Leeds and Warnock – deservedly incurred one after catching Adam Drury with his studs.
It was as lively as the first half got before Norris produced a goal that had not been coming.
Luciano Becchio summed up the mood on the half-hour by lashing the ball into the crowd after needlessly running it out of play.
Referee Nigel Miller booked him for a show of dissent which was more akin to personal frustration.
Minutes earlier, Cort had headed a Johnnie Jackson free-kick wide of Paddy Kenny’s goal but Kenny and Hamer spent more time plucking aimless crosses from the air. More often than not, they were not involved at all.
But Hamer found himself exposed and unable to react when Jason Pearce met Michael Brown’s cross with a downward header.
The ball caught a Charlton arm but Miller allowed play to run and Norris took advantage with a shot on the turn which swung inside Hamer’s left-hand post.
Charlton saw trouble afoot and threatened to equalise three times before half-time: once when Jackson pulled a feeble finish wide with United’s defence stretched, again when Hulse drove an ambitious if worthwhile volley into the advertising boards, and for a third time when Tom Lees headed a corner against his own crossbar. The near-miss was reminiscent of Kenny’s fumble in the opening minutes of Friday’s derby at Hillsborough.
The break intervened soon after but Charlton’s manager, Chris Powell, was not asked to wait much longer and four minutes into the second half, Lawrie Wilson laid off a pass to Dervite whose weak shot from 20 yards rolled past an unsighted Kenny.
A sense of deflation was evident all round but the concession provoked in Warnock’s players a short burst of energy.
Repeated attacks down the right wing weighed heavily on Charlton and Sam Byram lifted a header over the bar after Drury picked out his run with curling cross.
Charlton should have scored again on the hour when an off-balance Salim Kerkar bundled Wilson’s low delivery wide of an open goal but the visitors seemed content to allow Leeds to press.
Warnock attempted to exploit their tactics by introducing Tonge and the pace of Aidan White, a means of forcing the issue, but stray passes and offside forwards killed most of the minutes that remained.
Only after two sensational saves from Kenny denied substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips in injury-time could United even be sure of a point.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bates disgusted by vile chanting from Leeds and Wednesday fans

Yorkshire Post 22/10/12
KEN BATES last night insisted both Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday fans deserve condemnation for the vile chants that shamed Yorkshire football.
Last Friday’s derby at Hillsborough was marred by ugly scenes as Owls goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was knocked to the ground during a mini pitch-invasion and missiles were hurled by rival fans.
The Football Association have launched an investigation into the violence that followed clearly audible chants mocking the murder of two Leeds fans in Istanbul 12 years ago and similarly sickening abuse aimed at Wednesday manager Dave Jones over the child abuse allegations from which he was totally exonerated in 2000. In the immediate aftermath of his side’s 1-1 draw, Jones branded the United fans present at the derby as “vile animals” and called for them to be banned from away grounds in the future.
Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post, Bates feels some of the Owls manager’s comments were made in the heat of the moment.
However, the Leeds chairman admits that such distasteful songs reflected badly on those involved among the rival sets of supporters.
Bates said: “I would like to point out that Dave Jones’ comments were somewhat intemperate. He has omitted to mention the Wednesday fans and how they were chanting about Istanbul.
“Dave should also have criticised his own fans. By not doing so, he reduced the credibility of what he said.
“I do believe that Dave said a lot of things in the heat of the moment, and in the cold light of day, he may probably regret some of them. What I will say, though, is the chanting that was heard on Friday night from both sets of fans was disgraceful.
“I have nothing but contempt for those involved. We condemn totally what we heard.” Along with the chants aimed at Jones, a section of the visiting fans could be heard singing in praise of Leeds-born Jimmy Savile, the subject of a torrent of recent revelations claiming he was a serial child abuser.
The Wednesday fans, meanwhile, also aimed derogatory chants at Leeds manager Neil Warnock and goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
As shocking as the distasteful chanting was, however, it was the attack on Kirkland that attracted unwanted headlines around the world for Yorkshire football and led to Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Gordon Taylor calling for a full inquiry into scenes that took football “back to the bad old days”.
Police yesterday arrested a 21-year-old in the Cheltenham area on suspicion of assault.
On the incident that left him requiring treatment on the field before being able to continue, Kirkland said: “I just want the authorities to look at what happened and take the appropriate action because, sooner or later, we could be talking about something even more serious. The rest of the game flew by. Then the final whistle came, the adrenalin goes and you reflect on something like that and it was scary.
“I thought of my family watching something like that and it was not a nice feeling to think my daughter saw me assaulted like that.”
Wednesday officials were left irate by Leeds manager Warnock suggesting in a live Sky interview that Kirkland had “gone down like a tonne of bricks”.
Having now viewed footage of the incident, Warnock has issued an apology. He said: “I didn’t actually see it (the incident) and was told by a member of our staff what had happened. But, having looked at it, I was out of order.
“No one should be allowed to come on the pitch and do what they did to Chris. When I saw it, I could understand why he was mad.”
United reacted swiftly to condemn the fan who knocked Kirkland to the ground with an official statement being released before the end of the derby.
Chairman Bates added last night: “What is encouraging is that I am told the vast majority of Leeds fans were as appalled by what happened as everyone else. The idiot who ran on the pitch better not go anywhere near Elland Road again. There are a lot of people angered by what he did.
“We have been working hard as a club to improve our image over the past few years. But this guy has done so much damage to that. It isn’t fair on the overwhelming majority of Leeds fans.
“It doesn’t do any of us any good, especially at a time when we are working so hard to get this club where it deserves to be.”
Wednesday have elected to make no further comment until stadium manager John Rutherford has completed an investigation into the damage wreaked by the hooligans. He will then conduct a full debriefing with club officials.
The FA, meanwhile, are today set to step up their investigation into the matter with the report of referee Eddie Ilderton likely to have arrived at the governing body’s headquarters.
richard.sutcliffe@ypn.co.uk

Sam Wallace: The Chris Kirkland attack was horrific – but let's keep some perspective

Independent 21/10/12
Talking Football: There were 3,089 arrests out of an attendance of 37m. That's 0.01 per cent
Sam Wallace
When he reflects on his attack on Chris Kirkland at Hillsborough on Friday, the Leeds United fan in question might wonder why he picked the night the Sky Sports HD cameras were in town – capable of reading the "LUFC" tattoo on his neck, never mind capturing his grinning face.
Violent, cowardly and thuggish? Undoubtedly, but not exactly the Professor Moriarty of football-related crime, is he? And as for his fellow pitch invaders, one of them – you will have to refer back to the video clip for this one – appears to be, for reasons best known to himself, fighting with the goal net.
Kirkland, thankfully, was not seriously injured. As for his alleged assailant, widely named in newspapers and on social media there is a good chance he will be given a custodial sentence. His banning order from football grounds will be so long there is even a chance Leeds might be back in the Premier League by the time he is permitted legally to watch them in person.
Whoever is found guilty of assault, encroachment on the pitch, encouraging others to follow him – and the distinct possibility that he may have breached an existing banning order – it will be a long rap sheet. Gloucestershire police made an arrest yesterday.
It was appalling to watch and the culprit deserves to be punished. But what about the wisdom of the wider clamour for a crackdown and for the police and the courts to get tough with football fans?
The problem with an incident as regrettable as the one at Hillsborough is that it often provokes a sharp lurch to the right, when it comes to attitudes towards football's so-called "problem" and demands more of police and courts. Yet the legislation introduced around a decade ago to deter football disorder is already draconian and civil liberties groups have asked serious questions about the measures' ethical basis.
The football banning order (FBO) remains the cornerstone of football policing and the Football (Disorder) Act of 2000 means that a fan does not necessarily need to have a criminal conviction in order to be served one. The police can apply to a court for an FBO on the basis that they have evidence that the individual is considered likely to cause disorder around a match.
There are around 3,000 FBOs currently in place, of which 500 are "on complaint", or for those who have not been convicted of an offence. FBOs typically include a ban from an exclusion zone around an individual's home ground, a ban from all grounds in the country and the requirement to surrender one's passport while England are playing abroad. FBOs last a minimum of three years.
The concern among fans' groups, including the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF), is that police are applying for banning orders on relatively low-level public order offences. While discretion is used by the police, that might include swearing at a ground. Or gesturing at opposing fans. Entering a ground drunk can trigger an arrest, and potentially an FBO. And before the clubs grab the moral high ground, it should be pointed out that they all serve alcohol.
In general, there is little sympathy for football supporters or a desire to hear about what they regard as maltreatment. One only needs to witness the struggle of the families of victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster for justice to recognise that and Friday's incident at the same ground will not help.
Four years ago, more than 80 Stoke City fans were rounded up by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) under Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act– designed to break up drunken groups – and transported back home without watching their team play at Old Trafford. They were held for four hours, placed on coaches with no toilets and told by police that they had to urinate in paper cups. They sued GMP with the help of FSF.
The most recent Home Office statistics for football-related disorder, for the 2010-2011 season, reported a total of 3,089 arrests out of an estimated total attendance of 37m. That is, as the Home Office itself points out, less than 0.01 per cent of all supporters or one arrest for every 12,249 tickets sold. It was 9 per cent down on the 2009-2010 season.
Yet even now, the authorities continue to video innocent supporters watching games, a practice that understandably upsets many supporters. Police are likely to take your name if you are ejected for persistent standing or having a ticket in the wrong section of a ground, even though these are not criminal offences.
There has also been the introduction of "bubble matches", the term used to describe the style of policing for games identified as being at high-risk of disorder. Away supporters are given no alternative but to collect their tickets at a designated location and be bussed in and out en masse under police supervision, as will be the case for the Burnley v Blackburn Rovers, the east Lancashire derby, next month.
It should be noted that some supporters prefer the peace of mind that "bubble match" policing – implemented, for example, for the South Coast derby last year – gives them. Others regard it as another liberty removed from the well-behaved, blameless football supporter.
Policing itself can make a huge difference. Last month, Manchester City supporters following their team in Madrid for the Champions League game at the Bernabeu reported unprovoked baton charges from Spanish police. Michael Slater, the Charlton Athletic chairman and a City fan, was knocked unconscious in the attack.
The leading academic research on football disorder has found conclusively that the style of policing is fundamental to the behaviour of large groups of fans. Dr Geoff Pearson's analysis of Portugal's two separate forces policing Euro 2004 in very different ways – and getting very different results – demonstrates the benefit of a low-key approach that does not legitimise a violent reaction in the minds of the crowd.
Unfortunately, the benefits of that research, as well as the questions that have been raised about the use of some of the legislation against supporters, are ignored when something as shocking as Friday night's incident occurs. It would be wrong to say that fans have not attacked players before – sadly, they have – but the statistics tell us that it is very rare.
What is not in doubt is that the punishment for Kirkland's assailant will be more severe for him having committed the offence on a football pitch than had he done so on the street. Dave Jones, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, called on fans to "police" themselves but, given how quickly Kirkland's attacker's identity was circulated, that appears to be exactly what happened.
For the vast majority of Leeds fans, and the wider football supporter fraternity, appalled by the actions of one of their number, attending games is something they do lawfully. Keeping the balance between maintaining the peace and people's rights is not easy, and there really is no call for the lines to be blurred any further.

Fan jailed over pitch assault on England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland

Independent 22/10/12
A football fan who admitted attacking goalkeeper Chris Kirkland during a televised football match was jailed today for 16 weeks.
Aaron Cawley, 21, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to assault and invading the pitch during Leeds United's match against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday evening.
Cawley, who appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court, was arrested after Sheffield Wednesday keeper Kirkland was confronted and pushed in the face during the game at Hillsborough stadium.
The incident occured as Leeds United fans celebrated a 76th minute equaliser in the acidic match which ended 1-1.
Kirkland, a former Liverpool player who has played once for England, was shoved to the ground moments after conceding the late goal.
Viewers of the Championship match clearly saw a man running from among the Leeds fans onto the pitch and pushing Kirkland in the face before running back into the crowd.
Kirkland was given treatment by medical staff after the incident.
The confrontation was caught on camera by Sky Sports, which was broadcasting the game.
Unemployed labourer Cawley stood in the glass-fronted dock wearing a blue T-shirt which left an "LUFC" tattoo clearly visible on his neck and a Leeds United club crest on his right arm.
The court heard that he had been the subject of two football banning orders in the past, which he had breached four times.
Despite living with his mother in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, he had supported Leeds United all his life and went to every game - home and away, a district judge was told.
Prosecutor Paul Macaulay said Cawley told police he was so drunk he could not remember the incident, which has been seen by millions of TV viewers.
District Judge Naomi Redhouse said she had not seen the footage and it was played for her in court today.
Mr Macaulay said Cawley told officers he had drunk a number of cans of Stella Artois lager on Friday morning, followed by three-quarters of a litre of vodka - all before he got to Sheffield by train.
Once in Sheffield, he had a further seven to 10 pints of cider, the court heard.
District Judge Redhouse heard that Cawley, of Blenheim Square, Cheltenham, only realised what he had done when other people told him and then he saw himself clearly on TV.
He emailed the police to say sorry and also emailed Sky Sports in the hope that his apology would be passed on to the two clubs and Kirkland.
His solicitor, Elizabeth Anderton, tried to tell the judge that reports that her client had bragged about the incident in social networking sites were wrong. But District Judge Redhouse stopped her, saying she had not seen the reports and was not interested.
Mr Macaulay told the court the incident happened in about the 77th or 78th minute of the match.
Kirkland told police he had been already been hit by an object as he warmed up in front of the Leeds United fans after coming out for the beginning of the second half.
The Leeds fans were in the Leppings Lane end of the ground - the area where the Hillsborough disaster claimed 96 lives in 1989.
The prosecutor said Cawley came on to the pitch after Leeds scored and, when he stood in front of Kirkland, the goalie thought it was someone just "excessively celebrating" or "taking the mickey out of Mr Kirkland".
Mr Macauley described how Cawley then slapped the keeper on both sides of the face - hardest on the left-hand side.
He said Kirkland told police it was like he had been "hit by a ton of bricks and went straight on the floor".
The prosecutor said Kirkland was not seriously injured and Cawley was quickly identified as the perpetrator on the internet.
"This was not the most difficult police investigation," Mr Macaulay said.
He added that Cawley was fully co-operative with the police but told them he did not remember what happened after half-time because of his drunken state.
He said he left the stadium before the end of the match and a steward opened a gate for him to leave. Cawley told police he had been drinking since 10am.
"He saw exactly what he had done on TV although he did not recall what he'd done," Mr Macaulay said.
"He accepted it was clearly him on TV. He made email contact with South Yorkshire Police and Sky TV."
The court heard that in the emails he said: "It was a disgrace and I'm embarrassed by my actions."
He said he had "brought shame on Leeds United Football Club".
The court heard that Cawley has a long history of football-related offending.
He was given a three-year football banning order in January 2008 at Leeds Crown Court and another at Derby Magistrates' Court in November 2008 after breaches.
When he breached that order in September last year he was given 10 weeks in a Young Offenders' Institution.
The court was told that Kirkland made a Victim Impact Statement which said: "I feel shocked, upset and angry.
"I think the man is a thug and should be caught and put jail.
"Anyone who supports what he's done is just as bad."
Today, Cawley admitted common assault and going on to a football pitch.
He was jailed for 16 weeks and ordered to pay £85 costs.
The district judge said he will be given a new banning order, probably for five years, but the details of this will be sorted later.