Sunday, June 30, 2013

Leeds United bid seven figures for Crewe midfielder

Scratching Shed 30/6/13
Leeds United have bid “seven figures” for Crewe Alexandra midfielder Luke Murphy, according to BBC Radio Leeds reporter, Adam Pope.
The news follows unrest amongst Whites fans after days of speculation about the lack of funds Brian McDermott has available to him.
While no deal has been agreed yet, and the Whites face competition from at least two other clubs, Pope’s claim seems to suggest that GFH Capital, the owners of Leeds United, have found some funds for McDermott to strengthen his squad.
Leeds face competition from Blackburn Rovers, who have also had a seven figure bid accepted, and Wolverhampton Wanderers, though their local press expects Murphy to go elsewhere.
24 year-old Murphy has made 186 appearances for Crewe since his d├ębut in 2008, scoring 25 times. He was an integral part of Crewe’s 2012 League Two play-off and 2013 Football League Trophy winning sides.

Morison departure allows McDermott to land Hunt

YEP 28/6/13
by Leon Wobschall
Leeds United striker Steve Morison sealed a return to former club Millwall on a season-long loan – in a move that will enable Elland Road manager Brian McDermott complete the signing of Noel Hunt.
The Lions’ interest in the 29-year-old was confirmed in the YEP earlier this week and despite the 29-year-old being happy at Elland Road, the lack of transfer funds available to McDermott has prompted his decision to let the striker head back to the New Den.
The incoming transfer of former Reading forward Hunt to Leeds has been waiting to be rubber-stamped for several weeks, with the 30-year-old’s wage demands reportedly around £12,000 a week.
By getting the wages of Morison – who is believed to be on a weekly wage in the region of £17,000 – off the club’s books, it effectively allows Hunt to come in.
McDermott said: “I am looking to re-shape my squad and there was an offer on the table for Steve to go to a club that he has already played at it.
“He’s there for a year and he will be playing games, and due to the terms of the deal he can’t play against us.”
Millwall are believed to have been interested in Morison for several weeks, with the Wales international having been a big crowd favourite during his time at the New Den from 2009 to 2011. During his time there, he plundered 40 goals in 95 appearances and formed a prolific strike partnership with Neil Harris, who recently returned to the Lions as a coach.
Morison is only part way through a three-and-a-half-year contract he signed with Leeds at the end of January after arriving from Norwich City as part of the deal which saw Luciano Becchio head to Carrow Road – with the Whites also receiving a £200,000 fee.
Just prior to Morison’s transfer to Leeds, Millwall had expressed an interest in bringing him back to South London on loan.
Despite moving from Millwall to the Canaries in a £2.1m deal in June, 2011, Morrison has still remained close friends with Lions chairman John Berylson, who helped give him his big break when he brought him in from Stevenage Borough.
Morison endured an undistinguished start to his time at Leeds in the final three months of the 2012-13 campaign, finding the net just three times in 13 full starts and three substitute appearances.
More wheeling and dealing is on the cards over the coming days and weeks for McDermott, who must sell further players if he is to make room on the wage bill for his hit-list of targets. McDermott’s wanted list is thought to include the likes of Bolton Wanderers’ defender Matt Mills.
Despite a lack of funds at his disposal and having to sell before being given permission to bring in new players, McDermott confirmed on Thursday that his targets remain the same.
United’s derby at Huddersfield Town on Saturday, October 26 has been switched to a noon kick-off at a request of the police.

I’m going nowhere insists McDermott

YEP 28/6/13
by Leon Wobschall
Brian McDermott may have suffered his fair share of frustrations of late, but his commitment to the cause of Leeds United remains undiminished.
That determined message is the one crumb of comfort towards the end of another difficult week in a largely tortuous last couple of years that United’s legions of supporters can at least take and hold onto.
In plain-speaking terms, McDermott is dealing with things in the best way he can and getting on with it, with his commitment to Leeds and his desire to sate the footballing appetites of its malnourished supporters already a strong driving force.
The quietly-spoken southerner, a long way from home up north, may have only been manager of the Whites since early April – and only moved up to Yorkshire permanently last week – but Leeds United is clearly already in his soul.
And while the lack of transfer action he thought would happen thus far has represented an obvious disappointment, he is steadfastly keeping positive.
On the player recruitment situation, “That’s a frustration that we have all got. I can empathise with that frustration (of fans); I have had that myself.
“But there’s no point being frustrated, that doesn’t help. In my situation, I have to keep my head down and keep working as hard as I possibly can and stay positive.
“That’s what we have got to do as the alternative to positive is negative.”
Many in McDermott’s shoes, so soon into his managerial tenure and given what he was probably led to believe would happen when he took over amid some fanfare and hasn’t, would have cause to seriously gripe.
But that is plainly not McDermott’s style – and something he considers to be futile as well.
Adamant his enthusiasm for the task in hand has not been dented either, he said: “It’s the absolute opposite. I like the challenge and the people around here.
“I have got no problem ‘digging in’.
“I have just a real commitment to this place and area now. The people have been really welcoming and I will do whatever I have to; I guarantee that.
“I haven’t been here very long, but I have a real sense from the people here that they want this club to grow, get better and be better.
“Because we have got an amazing club here – a massive club. Everywhere I go, people go on about their dad or son or someone being a Leeds fan and look at the shirts we sell throughout the world.
“We have the potential to be a really, really good club and need to respect and cherish that.
“There’s a lot of goodwill towards me and I really appreciate that. I go to functions with the fans and everything and see that.
“I’ve no history with this football club, so all I can do is work day to day, with the players and the staff, to the best of my ability, to try and build that bond with the fans.
“I cannot talk about the past – just about what is happening now. We really need to be as positive as we possibly can be and go forward together.”
United’s home game against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, August 31 will now kick off at 12.15pm and be shown live by Sky Sports – their third televised game in the opening month of the new Championship campaign.
The club’s first away outing of the campaign at Leicester City on August 11 and the White Rose derby against Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on August 17 were previously chosen for live coverage.
Peterborough United captain and United target Tommy Rowe has pledged that interest from the Whites will not affect his commitment to the London Road club.
Director of football Barry Fry confirmed earlier this month that the 25-year-old, who is transfer-listed, was wanted by Leeds, although they have yet to make a firm bid for the talented winger.
Wythenshawe-born Rowe, is keen on returning north, but said: “It’s always nice to hear clubs are interested.
“When I was younger at Stockport there were clubs interested, but I didn’t let that affect me then. If anything I’m stronger than ever to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Leeds United have borrowed an undisclosed amount of money from Brendale Holdings, a Dubai-based company where GFH and Whites board member, David Haigh, serves as a director.
It appears to be a restructuring of GFH’s loans to the club and is secured against club shares, according to reports.

Boss Mac will have to wheel and deal

YEP 28/6/13
Leeds United boss Brian McDermott insists his summer signing targets remain the same – despite the realisation he must now sell existing players to bring in who he wants.
It’s now clear there are little or no transfer funds available at his disposal from owners GFH Capital, so McDermott will aim to free up his hand in the market by moving on some contracted players – in the hope of kick-starting business after a frustrating close-season so far.
It’s effectively the only option available to McDermott, who has confirmed he has already received enquiries for one or two players as he essentially follows a sell-to-buy policy.
He said: “My targets haven’t changed and I am still talking to the agents and working behind the scenes to do whatever we can try and do. Hopefully, we can do the deals.
“No-one is giving me any impression that they are looking to go anywhere else. But obviously going into July, we want to do these deals and I am still focusing on that.
“Time will tell as far as players coming in and who doesn’t come in.”
One player rumoured to be attracting attention is striker Steve Morison, with his former club Millwall reportedly keen on re-signing him.
But McDermott, conscious that he has plentiful options in some areas of the pitch – with left-back and central midfield two areas where United seem to be well stocked – is keen on doing business regarding players in specific areas, ideally.
Although the fear for many fans remains that McDermott may be forced to cash in and sell prize assets such as Sam Byram, Ross McCormack and Tom Lees – to generate funds.
While McDermott is keen to retain his best talents, it remains to be seen if the club will be able to do so.
The Whites manager has confirmed that a verbally-agreed deal with one player will be completed next week – highly likely to be striker Noel Hunt – although he is first to acknowledge that he expected plenty more activity by now.
He added: “I did expect more signings. Obviously, we haven’t, but we have a verbal agreement with one player, which will happen next week. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a deal. And then we’ll see what happens.”
“It was a situation where we felt that we would have been able to do more in the transfer window, up to now. But the transfer window is miles from closing and all of us - the board, chief-executive, myself - must do what we have to do to get the players we need”.
On the prospect of sales, he said: “That’s a fact that might happen. There might be a situation where one or two go out of the door for one or two to come in.
“There have been enquiries about one or two players. If you have got a surplus of players in a certain position, maybe you can do a deal.
“If it’s best for a player that he can go and play somewhere else to get regular football, then we’d have to have that discussion with that player.”
He added: “Your ideal scenario is always to keep everybody and add. But obviously, you have to do what you have got to do.
“But I have been in this situation before. I have sold big players before, such as Shane Long, Matt Mills and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s of this world and built again.
“I want to keep players. But if there’s a surplus of players in one position, you have to look at that.”

Leeds United: Byram may miss Slovenia tour due to hip problem

YEP 28/6/13
Brian McDermott will assess the fitness of prize asset Sam Byram over the coming week before deciding whether he will accompany the Leeds United squad on their pre-season tour of Slovenia.
Earlier this month, Byram was forced to withdraw from the England Under-20 squad currently on World Cup duty in Turkey due to a niggling hip injury which forced him to miss United’s final two games of the 2012-13 Championship campaign.
Byram was at Thorp Arch as United’s players reconvened for the start of pre-season training.
But he will be monitored before the club flies out to Slovenia on July 8.
Manager McDermott who confirmed he is not looking at any trialists at Thorp Arch, said: “Sam still has this slight hip problem, so we will have to look after him for a week or so to see how he is to get him to Slovenia.”
Virtually all of the first-team squad are being put through their paces at Thorp Arch, although defender Tom Lees has another week left of his break following his exertions with the England Under-21 squad in the recent European Championships.
Striker El-Hadji-Diouf is due back in training on Monday. (July 1)

McDermott - I understand fans expectations

Leeds United boss Brian McDermott says he understands the fans expectations and he likes the challenge that lies ahead.
McDermott arrived at Elland Road in April and helped lift the side away from the fear of relegation, winning three of his five games in charge.
Fans have been growing more frustrated by the lack of activity in the transfer market and McDermott says he understands their expectations and he can feel the commitment around the place and he is looking to build a side they can enjoy coming to watch at Elland Road.
Speaking on LUTV, McDermott said, "Expectations are what they are. The fans want expectations because this is Leeds United.
"I like the challenge and I like the people at Leeds and I really feel their commitment.
"I haven`t been here very long but I really feel the commitment of the people. They really want the club to grow and get better because potentially we have an amazing club."
McDermott is also looking to make Elland Road a fortress next season and he wants opposition players to fear stepping out onto the pitch in front of the Leeds fans. "We want people to come to Elland Road and have a real fear about playing in front of our fans and we want to build something at Elland Road."
The Leeds players returned to training today with just over five weeks to go until the kick-off the new championship season with a home game.

Boss poised to make second signing

leedsunited.com 27/6/13
Verbal agreement in place for player...
Brian McDermott is expecting to further strengthen his squad next week after striking a "verbal agreement" with one of his targets.
The boss wouldn't be drawn on the identity of the player, but he confirmed: "I've got a verbal agreement with one player which will happen next week.
"As far as I'm concerned that agreement is a deal so that will be done."
The United boss is also hoping he can add further to his squad as the countdown continues towards the new season.
"AlI I can do is work day to day to the best of my ability," said the manager. "We're trying to build as strong a football club as we can. Time will tell as to who we bring in.
"The transfer window is miles from closing and we have to work to bring in what we need to get. My targets haven't changed.
"We're working to do what we can try and do, and hopefully we can do deals. Going into July, we'd like to do them if we can and I'm focusing on that.
"It could happen that players go out of the door and others come in. There's been enquiries.
"If you have a surplus in a position then it makes sense because players can get regular football. If that arises, I will have that discussion with that player."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vice-Chairman: The Present and Future

leedsunited.com 26/6/13
Questions and answers with Salah Nooruddin...
With the players about to return to Elland Road from their summer breaks and the new season now just over five weeks away, Leeds United's Vice Chairman Salah Nooruddin answers questions from fans for leedsunited.com
What is the club's ambition for the coming season?
Obviously we want to finish as high in the Championship as we can and, if possible, to be in a position to be challenging for promotion. However, everyone needs to be aware that building for the Premier League involves a long term strategy and getting things right both on and off the pitch. We have great faith in our new manager Brian McDermott. But if it's not possible to achieve our major aim as fast as everyone would like then the owners will continue to support Brian and the club. We are all - shareholders, board and management - working to the common aim of building a successful and sustainable future for the club on and off the pitch.
What do you think of the fixture list?
It's an interesting start in the Championship. We start where we left off at the end of last season with a home match against Brighton. Of course they will want to prove a point after going on to lose in the Play-Off semi-finals last season. At the same time they are looking for a new manager. Then we have another of last year's Play-Off semi-finalists, Leicester City, away before hosting the Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday.
Is the manager being backed in the summer transfer market?
Yes. Our aim is to further strengthen the squad through sensible additions which will add to the long term development of the club. Brian has outlined plans to re-balance the squad and bring in a mixture of younger players with potential and others who are more experienced, and we are backing him to achieve these objectives in a structured way. Brian has also asked for certain changes to be made at Thorp Arch, which he believes will benefit the first team. Those changes are in the process of being made.
Do you see more players being bought between now and the end of the transfer window on 31 August?
Yes. We are working on the targets that Brian has outlined and expect to see more progress in the coming weeks. I believe that we have to look for the long term value rather than the quick fix in everything. We also have to be mindful that all our dealings fall within the Football League's new Financial Fair Play regulations which limit the amount owners can invest in a club. We also have to make sure that the net effect of our all our transfer dealings is to optimise the wage bill as we support the club in building long term sustainable success. This means that, more than ever, success is something you have to build for and work towards. It's not an overnight thing.
Do you expect some players to leave the club during the transfer window?
In any transfer window it's inevitable that some players will move on as the manager reshapes the squad as he thinks fit. Our aim is to improve the squad while at the same time optimizing the wage bill.
If the club sells players will the funds be used for team strengthening?
Our over-riding aim in the transfer window is to strengthen the squad and to increase its value to the club while at the same time keeping wages under control. This will be our guiding principle in all transfer dealings both in and out of the club.
How important is the Academy to your plans?
Brian and his team will be putting great efforts into our Academy. The Academy has produced wonderful players throughout the years and some of the brightest young talents currently in our squad have come through it. The success of Thorp Arch is the envy of many other clubs. Our plan is to make maximum use of it in building long term success which is sustainable for the club and for the fans.
Is the board still looking to bring new strategic investors to the club?
Yes and a number of discussions are ongoing on this front. Obviously at this stage they are confidential as any such commercial dealings would be and I can't really say much anything else about them.
Who do you see as being the main challengers at the top of the Championship this season?
This is a really tough league, there's 24 teams competing and each has 46 games to play. Many of them will be won or lost by no more than an odd goal. It's always difficult to say at the start of a season who will be up there at the end. Clubs relegated from the Premier League come with big squads capable of mounting a challenge. Then there are the teams who made the Play-Offs last year and who will be determined to go one better this year. And there will be one or two dark horses. But Leeds will be out there competing from start to finish. In Brian we have a manager who knows what it takes to succeed in the Championship, having reached the Play-Offs before and having won promotion.
How have season ticket sales gone for the new season?
We have lowered season ticket prices to bring in as many fans as possible to ensure maximum home support for the team - even though this means lower revenues for the club with the consequences that entails The good news is that we have already sold nearly as many season tickets as we did last year, and fans can obviously still buy them and take advantage of the prices. I believe the club will need everyone's support to take it back to where it once was. Therefore, we urge all Leeds fans to get behind the team and support the club on the next stage of its exciting journey.
How are things developing off the pitch?
The shareholders continue to support the club financially and given the size of investment we have made thus far, are obviously very keen to get things right. We also understand that the success of the club is key for the shareholders to be successful. Having said that, we need to ensure we do not take unnecessary risks to achieve success, or not take enough risk. The key is striking the right balance in the context of where the club is today.

Posh still waiting for Leeds United to follow up on Rowe

YEP 26/6/13
Peterborough United director of football Barry Fry says the League One outfit are stilll waiting to hear from Leeds United regarding a firm offer for their wantaway skipper Tommy Rowe.
The 24-year-old is keen to join United, with manager Brian McDermott having spoken to Posh to confirm his interest in the Wythenshawe-born player.
But United have yet to make a concrete offer for Rowe, one of several targets that McDermott wants to bring in to boost his squad in good time ahead of the start of the season.
Reading and Millwall are also interested in Rowe, but the player wants to return to the north to be nearer to his family home – with Leeds seen as an ideal destination.
Fry, right, told the YEP: “Initially, Brian spoke to me and Darren Ferguson, while I have also talked to Shaun Harvey and Ken Bates at a chairmen’s conference. But I have had no bid from Leeds United for Tommy. It’s been left up to Leeds to make a bid and discuss it, but it hasn’t got over first base, to be honest.”
United players will start pre-season training at Thorp Arch on Thursday (June 27) in preparation for the 2013-14 season.

Leeds United: Morison still keen to make his mark with Whites

YEP 25/6/13
by Leon Wobschall
Leeds United striker Steve Morison remains fully focused on proving himself a success story at Elland Road – in the wake of speculation linking him with a return to Millwall.
National reports have suggested that the Lions are keen on bringing the 29-year-old – who only moved to United from Norwich City at the end of January – back to The Den, where he started his professional career in May 2009.
But according to sources close to Morison, he remains very happy at Leeds.
Morison, who has endured a low-key start to his Whites career, will move into a new home in Yorkshire this week ahead of the start of pre-season training on Thursday – and remains determined to hit the ground running at Leeds in 2013-14, having only signed a three-and-a-half year deal at the end of January.
Lions chief Steve Lomas – also being linked with Peterborough’s Tyrone Barnett and Norwich City’s Simeon Jackson, is remaining tight-lipped regarding speculation surrounding a possible move for Morison.
He said: “Steve Morison had a really good spell here.
“(But) I think what it is is basically people putting two and two together. I have made a lot of enquiries for a lot of players, but until you get the deal over the line, it is very hard for me to try and tell you where we are at.
“You can rest assured I’ve spoken to a lot of agents and people at other clubs.”
The former Stevenage frontman had a rewarding two-year-spell at Millwall, forming a successful partnership with Neil Harris, who returned the club at the start of this week as a coach.
Millwall were linked with a reunion with Morison earlier this year before his move to Yorkshire – with chairman John Berylson known to be close to the player.
On the incoming front, a fresh round of speculation has linked United with a number of names, with manager Brian McDermott keen lor owners GFH Capital to give him the green light to complete several deals waiting to be rubber-stamped –with a number of players ready and waiting to sign.
They include former Reading forward Noel Hunt, who is expected to join Leeds when his Royals contract runs out on June 30. Others linked include central defenders Matt Mills, Matt Upson and Gabriel Tamas.
West Brom are prepared to let Romanian international Tamas leave the Hawthorns if they receive the right offer–- although its understood they have not had any approaches as yet.
Tamas has a year left on his Baggies deal – with the option of another 12 months if it suits all parties – and while willing to do business, the Midlands outfit are in no particular rush to sell the player either.
United have also reportedly been credited with an interest in Crewe Alexandra’s talented play-maker and captain Luke Murphy.
According to sources in Cheshire, Wolves are leading the chase for the 23-year-old, with Crewe, mindful that the player’s current deal expires next summer, expected to cash in and sell him this summer.
But with the Railwaymen seeking a big six-figure fee – possibly higher – the Whites face being priced out of any potential move.
Blackburn Rovers are also keen on Murphy, who has also been watched by several Premier League sides including Aston Villa. Speculation has also suggested that Leeds are interested in Brentford’s out-of-contract winger Harry Forrester, who has been offered fresh terms by the Bees, but who is keen to prove himself at a bigger club.
Forrester remains in discussions with the Bees and is in talks with another club, with his future set to be resolved this week.
Several clubs are said to be monitoring the situation, but it’s understood Leeds have not, as yet, firmed up any interest.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Leeds United: McDermott starting to make subtle but significant changes

YEP 22/6/13
Brian McDermott has revealed that several Leeds United players have been claiming a head-start ahead of the start of pre-season training next Thursday.
A number have already been in at Thorp Arch to work on their fitness before the official start on June 27 – and the Whites boss couldn’t be happier at the level of commitment shown.
He said: “A number of players have been in and started quite early and they are really keen to make sure they are ready and up to speed when they come back, which is great.”
Several changes will greet the first-team squad – that is those who already haven’t been voluntarily putting in the extra sessions – when they return, with a number of alterations taking place in the run-up to next Thursday.
The sight of a main training pitch to the exact same measurements of Elland Road is one, while changes to the lay-out of the main building will see first-teamers and academy players intermingle freely – with McDermott eager to build a ‘one club’ mentality.
McDermott added: “Work is being done and the physio room has been moved downstairs and the academy and first-team physio rooms will be adjacent to each other next to the gym, which makes sense to me.
“I want everyone together and I think it’s really important to be able to see everyone and I want that flow to be right.
“We have to do the best we possibly can and build a football club. That was what I was asked to do when I came in. I think if you build a football club, a team will evolve and that’s when we are going to successful and what we are trying to do, day by day.
“We are also trying to get the pitches sorted out and barrier them off and we’ve got an irrigation system going up on the number one pitch. The pitches we train on will be the same size as Elland Road.
“These are things that are really important and the details that make the difference.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

Transfer news: Wolves striker Kevin Doyle rules out Leeds move

Sky 21/6/13
Wolves striker Kevin Doyle has ruled out a summer move to Leeds and a reunion with former Reading boss Brian McDermott.
The Republic of Ireland international, 29, who left Reading for Wolves in a £6.5million deal in June 2009, has been linked with a move away from Wolves following their relegation to League One, with McDermott's Leeds a reported destination.
But Doyle told Irish Radio: "I was with Brian at a wedding at the weekend and we had a bit of fun together.
"He signed me at Reading when he was chief scout, but no I won't be signing for Leeds."
Doyle scored 10 goals in 44 appearances for Wolves last season, while McDermott has also been linked with another striker he worked with at Reading, fellow Irishman Noel Hunt.
Leeds signed 6ft 6in forward Matt Smith from Oldham earlier this month.

Leeds United: Mac says players should live locally

YEP 21/6/13
by Leon Wobschall
Brian McDermott has laid down some permanent roots in West Yorkshire – and has revealed he will expects all of future signings to do the same during his tenure at Leeds United.
The Whites chief, born in Slough and someone who has spent the vast majority of his life in the south of England, has just moved into his new home in the Leeds area and admits he has taken to life ‘up north.’
The friendliness of Yorkshire folk is something that McDermott has warmed to during his brief time spent in the Broad Acres so far since being named as Leeds manager in April.
And just as he has shown his own level of personal commitment moving up to the north, so he will be seeking prospective signings to follow suit.
While many United players live in the area close to Thorp Arch, several are based on the other side of the Pennines – and are faced with what is at often tortuous daily commute to training across the M62.
Footballers travelling considerable distances to their place of work is not something McDermott is a fan of, with players’ commitment in wishing to move that Leeds area a criteria he feels is necessary in terms of prospective new signings.
On moving up to Yorkshire, McDermott said: “It’s a big thing for me. I’ve previously lived in Cardiff and abroad in Hong Kong and Sweden when I was a player. But I have never lived ‘up north’ permanently before and this is the first time I’ve been up here, apart from a short time when I was a player and was once on loan at Huddersfield for a month.
“I have found the Yorkshire people to be friendly and I have been welcomed straightaway and I really appreciate that.
“For me, I think it’s really important that players live in the local area close to a club. Sometimes, people have things put in their contracts about where they have got to live – whether that be twenty or thirty miles away or whatever.
“From my point of view, that can’t be put into the contracts of players already here now as they have been signed.
“But I feel when you are a football player, manager or coach that you have to commit to the job and respect the job you have got.
“That’s why I think you need to be living around the area. You need to get a feel for that area and that’s why it is important to be around here and I am. I will be having that discussion with players who I want to come here.
“I can’t make players who have signed contracts move to the area. But for players that sign now, I will be having conversations with them saying: ‘You really need to be moving into the Yorkshire area.’ It’s a fantastic area anyway.”
Bolton Wanderers have confirmed that they have yet to receive a firm offer from United regarding target Matt Mills, who they are willing to offload this summer.
National reports linked Mills with a season-long loan move to Elland Road yesterday morning.
But the hierarchy at the Reebok Stadium are still waiting for an offer to materialise.
McDermott met with club bosses yesterday in a bid to kick-start some transfer business after revealing in yesterday’s YEP that a number of summer targets are ready and waiting to join.
United’s first away game of the Championship season, against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, has been switched to Sunday, August 11.
The game will be screened live on Sky Sports and will kick off at 4.30pm.
In addition, the Whites’ match at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, August 17 has also been selected for Sky coverage and will kick off at 12.45pm.

Leeds United boss McDermott seeks cash green light

YEP 20/6/13
by Leonn Wobschall
Leeds United manager Brian McDermott will meet with club bosses today in a bid to kick-start some transfer business – with a number of his summer targets ready and waiting to join.
McDermott is seeking the green light from club owners GFH Capital to allow him to nail down several deals and he will attend a key meeting today with club chief executive Shaun Harvey and director David Haigh.
McDermott has lined up several deals, with the Whites boss now awaiting clarification from the owners to enable them to be completed.
His targets are thought to include former Reading striker Noel Hunt and Bolton Wanderers centre-half Matt Mills – now being tipped to join United on a season-long loan with the Trotters keen to broker a compromise deal with Leeds having reportedly stalled at their £1m asking price.
McDermott, now resident full-time in Yorkshire following his summer break and keen to complete some incoming activity before the start of pre-season training in a week’s time, told the YEP: “We have had things in place for quite a while now. I have a meeting (today) for us to get the go-ahead to really nail these deals down. It’s really important we get things nailed down now.
“I want as many of the players in as I can for pre-season.
“Shaun has been working hard speaking to agents and I have spoken to players and stuff. We have to get the go-ahead to do the deals now.
“We have (verbal) agreements with certain players. But obviously you have to get an agreement with the player’s agent on a contract and an agreement if there’s another club as well.
“As far as players are concerned, we have got agreements that they do want to come. And what I have found is that players are very, very keen to come to Leeds. For obvious reasons, really. I now need clarification from the owners that the deals will be done.
“That’s important and one of the reasons I will be having a meeting with Shaun and the owners to get clarification and get these deals done.
“We did a lot of our work early and players are in place, if we can get the deals done. Full stop, that’s it. It’s very simple – have we (got) the finances to do the deals, can we do the deals? Players are in place and we have targets lined up if we can do the deals.”
McDermott added: “I do not have a number (in terms of targets). But it’s not just about the number, but who I believe can fit into the squad and make the difference for us.
“It’s not just about numbers, but that little bit of quality that comes with certain players.
“Some of these players have been in this position and know how to get out of it and what is required to play in this division.
“I have targeted players who know the division and others who I think will be good for the future if we have an amount of money to spend and who will be fantastic assets for our club.
“Once we get that green light, it will enable us to go ahead and really force the issue. I am confident these players will want to come to Leeds United.”

Leeds United: Giant striker gearing up for challenges of a ‘big club’

YEP 19/6/13
Imposing striker Matt Smith insists he is not intimidated by the challenge in front of him at a footballing giant in Leeds United – and has pledged to fully embrace it.
The 6ft 6in ex-Oldham frontman, who officially joins the Whites on a two-year-deal on July 1, admits that while he is no means the finished article after a mere two years in the Football League, neither is he fazed by what lies ahead.
Smith, 24, has been catapulted to prominence so far in a breakthrough 2013, which saw him plunder three FA Cup goals against Liverpool and Everton and finish the season strongly – and he is determined to give his all to give himself the best chance of carrying on that momentum with his new club in 2013-14 in the Championship.
Smith, who hit 11 goals for Oldham last term, told the YEP: “The first thing that struck me when I joined Leeds was how big the club is. Off the back of the day I signed, you really do get to see the size of the club’s fanbase.
“But it’s nothing to feel intimidated by, you must embrace and enjoy it because these chances don’t come around too often and I aim to take it with both hands.
“I am under no illusions and know it will take lots of hard work and dedication to make my mark on the division as there’s more experience and it’s on another level. I need to match that. But I have always been a relentlessly hard worker and if it is not going right on the pitch, away from it, I will make sure I am doing that right thing and on the training ground.”
“You have to work on all sides on your game as you will get found out if you really just excel at one particular point. I feel I am a bit more than just being good in the air and can offer the team other things.”
Birmingham-born Smith’s footballing story has been of the rollercoaster variety after he left Cheltenham Town as a youngster before playing for a host of non-league sides, while also completing a degree in international business management.
But after two seasons at Boundary Park, he has landed a crack at the big time and he intends not to waste it.
Smith, who joined Oldham after a prolific spell at Solihull Moors in 2011, said: “It’s been a rollercoaster from getting released at Cheltenham to playing varying degrees of non-league football to getting my break at Oldham.
“I will always be in debt to Paul Dickov for what he did for my career in giving my opportunity in the Football League.
“To do what I did against two Premier League sides are moments I will never forget. But it was important I said to myself that I wasn’t just known as the guy who scored a couple of goals in the FA Cup.
“I was really happy to finish the season strongly in the league and being the player of the month for League One in April was the icing on the cake.
“When I left Cheltenham, I was very raw and still filling out and wasn’t the height I am now. Full-time football wasn’t an option for me, which is why I took my degree.
“I am still a rookie after only two seasons in full-time football.
“It’s been a fast rise up the ladder, but I have come through on merit and it has not been a fluke.
It’s a great opportunity at Leeds and hopefully I will come on leaps and bounds.”

Leeds United in hunt for Hearts defender

YEP 19/6/13
by Leon Wobschall
Leeds United are in the running to sign highly-rated young Heart of Midlothian defender Kevin McHattie.
The crisis-ridden Edinburgh outfit, saddled by crippling debts of £25m, served notice of their intention to appoint an administrator on Monday – three days after their entire playing squad was put up for sale.
A quartet of players, including left-back McHattie, who turns 20 next month, have reportedly attracted interest from English clubs, as Hearts desperately seek funds to keep them running over the summer – with the vultures circling.
Leeds are believed to have enquired about Glenrothes-born McHattie, who has been capped four times by Scotland Under-21s and also represented his country at under-17 level – and he is expected to be available for a cut-price fee.
McHattie, rated as one of the most promising young talents at Tynecastle – if not the best, enjoyed a breakthrough 2012-13 season for the Jambos, forced to reduce costs and blood youngsters last term after parting company with a number of senior players.
United, whose 2013-14 Championship fixture last list was revealed this morning, have so far completed just one incoming close-season transfer, with big striker Matt Smith to officially join the club on a two-year deal on July 1. A deal to sign former Reading forward Noel Hunt remains very much on the cards and is expected to go through shortly, with boss Brian McDermott having also made several other offers for players as he bids to formulate his squad for next season’s campaign, which kicks off on August 3.
The rumour mill has linked United with several other possible targets, including Celtic forward Anthony Stokes and Birmingham striker Marlon King, who spent an ill-fated loan spell at the club towards the end of the 2004-05 season.
Former Sunderland player Stokes is reportedly a back-up option if moves to bring in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Republic of Ireland international Kevin Doyle flounder, but he is not understood to be a target for United.
Similarly, speculation linking King, 33, with a move to Elland Road appears to be wide of the mark, according to sources close to the player.
King is one of a number of high-earners at St Andrews who have been told they can leave the cash-strapped Blues for free.
Blues are hoping to offload King, Peter Lovenkrands, Darren Ambrose and Hayden Mullins in a cost-cutting measure, with boss Lee Clark admitting there has been interest in the players.
King, top-scorer for Birmingham for the past two seasons, has a year left on his contract and is expected to be fit for pre-season training.
He underwent knee surgery in March, which kept him out for the remainder of the last campaign.
Meanwhile, former Whites winger Max Gradel has dismissed suggestions he could be set for a return to England following reported interest from Premier League new boys Cardiff City and Hull City.
The 25-year-old, a big favourite during his time at Elland Road, moved to Ligue One outfit St Etienne in 2001 and has gone onto establish himself for both his club and the Ivory Coast.
But his current priority is recovering from a knee injury he sustained back in March.
He said: “I have been linked with a return to England, but to be honest, I am more interested in healing my injury. I have been out now for four months – hopefully I will be ok in two months’ time.
“I love England, but at the moment, I like it in France. Hull City and Cardiff are good teams, but the Premier League will be tough for them, but they can surprise like Swansea.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leeds want Mills and Doyle as McDermott aims for promotion bid

Mail 19/6/13
By Simon Jones
Leeds United are in talks with Bolton over a season-long loan for defender Matt Mills.
Bolton wanted £1m for Mills but are prepared to compromise so they can move defender’s salary off their wage bill.
The Elland Road club are also keen on Wolves striker Kevin Doyle.
The Irish hitman scored nine goals for Wolves last season but could not stop the Black Country side being relegated to League One.

Academy: New deal for Naylor

leedsunited.com 18/6/13
Richard Naylor signs new deal to keep him at the Academy…
Leeds United Under-18's manager Richard Naylor has agreed a new deal that will see him remain an important fixture at Thorp Arch.
Richard has spoken of his delight at securing a new deal with the Academy and is now looking forward to getting started again.
"I'm really pleased," said Richard. "It's something that I wanted to get sorted as soon as possible and now I'm just looking forward to get cracking again next season.
"I wasn't sure if it was something I'd take to or enjoy having being a player since I'd left school at 16, it's a change of career for me.
"But I'm happy to say I really enjoyed it and working with the Under-18s went well and the club were happy with me so it was just a case of sorting it out.
"Obviously there was a lot of hard work but most of it was done by the lads, I was just a facilitator and tried to help them as much as I can.
"It's up to the lads to put the hard work in and that's what they did and they got their rewards.
In his first season as a coach Richard headed the Under-18s side and lead them to glory when they were crowned League Champions in May.
"It's really pleasing how the season turned out," said Naylor. "I had a lot of help from Neil Redfearn, he helped me a lot, Lucy Ward and everyone at the Academy.
"Everyone at the Academy contributed to how well the lads did last season because you are only as good as the kids you have got and the recruitment process.
"People like Terry Potter who does a lot of good work getting the kids in and a lot of local lads are involved which is really important."
Now that Richard has been confirmed in his role he will want to continue where he left off before the summer break began.
"I'll be looking at a continuation of last year really, there are a lot of first years that have now moved onto second years and they will be looking to become professionals," said the Under-18s boss.
"It's important for me to help them achieve professional contracts. Winning the League was a great moment and everyone at the club was proud of them for that but the most important thing is to get a career in the game and become professional footballers.
"I'll be working as hard as I can with these lads to improve their games to get them to a level where Brian McDermott can offer them something."
As a supporter of his hometown club, Richard knows of the calibre of player that have come through the ranks at the Leeds United Academy.
This is something that he will be working to emulate and wants to help push the future generation of players to the next level.
"There is a history of the club producing players and that is something that has been focused on in recent years and we're really concentrated on getting local lads in," said Naylor.
"There is nothing more satisfying for the Leeds fans, myself included, seeing a local lad make their debut and go on and do great things.
"We've got a history of that at the club and it's important that we continue that and keep it going."

Boss pleased with home draw

leedsunited.com 17/6/13
Brian McDermott's thoughts on Capital One Cup tie…
Early on Monday morning the draw for the Capital One Cup was made with United being handed a home tie against Chesterfield.
United haven't played a competitive match against Chesterfield for over 50 years now and the boss says it will be a great occasion at Elland Road.
"I'm pleased for a number of reasons," said Brian. "I've just been told that we haven't played them since 1960 so it will be great to play them.
"It's a local game for us and any time you are in a cup draw you want to be drawn at home so we're pleased about that.
"My priority is the next game, that's how I see things.
"If the next game is a cup game we'll try and win it and if it's a league game we'll try and win that one, it's very simple as far as I'm concerned."
The manager's summer break away from Thorp Arch is coming to an end and the announcement of United's Capital One Cup opponents excites the boss and he's ready to return to action.
"From my own point of view I'll be back full time on Wednesday, so it does come round quickly," said McDermott.
"I've been to a couple of weddings over in Ireland and had a really nice time but I'm really looking forward to getting back now and I'm ready to get cracking."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fry - Rowe keen on Leeds move

Whilst the Peterborough Telegraph report Barry Fry has saying that Leeds United cannot afford Tommy Rowe, Fry has told BBC Radio Leeds that Rowe is keen to join the whites.
Fry told BBC Radio Leeds that the player and his agent have been in contact with Leeds boss Brian McDermott and he is keen to return north but until there is an acceptable deal on the table he will not be leaving London Road.
Speaking on BBC Radio Leeds , Fry said, "The player and his agent have expressed an interest and they have spoken to Brian (McDermott), so there is willingness for the player to definitely join Leeds but until a transfer fee and a package can be sorted out, it will not happen.
"The player is aware of that. There are other clubs in for him, even though they are down south and not up north but the decision is up to him at the end of the day."
Rowe is originally from Manchester and he started his career at Stockport County before making the move to Peterborough in 2009.
He is one of the longest serving players at Peterborough and he has made over 150 appearances for the club since his arrival.
Rowe signed a new three-year deal with the club in 2011 but he has now refused a fresh deal offered to him by the club as he moves into his final year.
The winger picked up the player of the year award at London Road in the 2010/11 season as he helped Peterborough win promotion to the championship via the play-offs. Rowe was on target in the final as they beat Huddersfield Town 3-0 at Old Trafford.
Rowe made 32 appearances for Peterborough last season scoring 5 goals.

Leeds told they cannot afford to sign Peterborough skipper Tommy Rowe

Sky 14/6/13
Peterborough director of football Barry Fry has told Leeds they cannot afford to sign Posh skipper Tommy Rowe.
The 24-year-old looks almost certain to leave London Road this summer after rejecting the offer of a new three-year contract with the League One club.
Leeds boss Brian McDermott has expressed an interest in the midfielder but Fry insists the Championship side to not have sufficient funds.
He told the Peterborough Telegraph: "I've had Brian McDermott (Leeds manager) on the phone about Tommy and I've also spoken to their chairman Ken Bates and their chief executive Shaun Harvey, but Leeds just don't have enough money.
"We're sorry to be losing Tommy, but he's made it clear to us that we could offer him £20,000 per week and he still wouldn't sign a new deal.
"That's not to say he won't be here next season because we won't give him away. And if Tommy is here we know we will continue to get 100 per cent from him as he's a terrific lad."

Leeds United: Former England defender Upson on boss McDermott’s radar

YEP 14/6/13
by Phil Hay
England international Matthew Upson is the latest defender to be linked with Leeds United as Brian McDermott’s focus begins to shift away from his forward line at Elland Road.
Upson, 34, is available on a free transfer following his release by Stoke City and looks likely to move into the Championship permanently after finishing last season on loan at play-off semi-finalists Brighton.
Albion are yet to make a move for Upson with the club’s manager, Gus Poyet, suspended from The Amex Stadium and likely to part company with the club after a recent fall-out with Brighton’s board of directors.
Leeds boss McDermott plans to recruit another centre-back and has already been credited with an interest in Bolton Wanderers’ Matt Mills and Reading’s out-of-contract defender Alex Pearce.
Pearce is on the radar of Liverpool, Newcastle United and Cardiff City, however, and Mills would cost Leeds a fee of at least £750,000.
The former Reading captain is out of favour at the Reebok Stadium after only one season with Bolton but he is tied to a lucrative and lengthy contract.
McDermott has made progress with the attacking end of his team this week, closing out a deal to sign Matt Smith from Oldham Athletic and lining up the arrival of Noel Hunt.
United are close to meeting Hunt’s wage demands – thought to be around £12,000 a week – after a spate of negotiations and the Republic of Ireland striker is expected to officially join Leeds when his deal at Reading runs out on June 30.

Chapter and verse on what went wrong under Warnock’s tenure - Lorimer

YEP 13/6/13
by Peter Lorimer
Neil Warnock’s a manager who likes to speak his mind so I suppose it’s no surprise that his new book is making waves.
Leeds United were always going to feature heavily in it and his views on his reign at Elland Road were unlikely to be anything other than mixed. It was a tough time for everyone, not least him.
To see Neil’s tenure in context you need to think back to the time when he was first appointed as manager. He fitted the bill in most respects and from the club’s point of view he was a calculated gamble.
Given how uncertain things were, he seemed tailor-made in a lot of respects.
Firstly he had a track record which suggested that he would do well with Leeds in the Championship. Secondly he had a dead-certain idea of what he wanted to do – a fixed goal if you like.
He’d won seven promotions and he wanted an eighth. But on top of all of that he was the type of manager who you expected to cope in a period of transition.
I honestly don’t remember many people telling me at the outset that his appointment was a mistake.
I’ve said before that in some ways I feel sympathy for him. He was in charge in the middle of a takeover and stuck in a situation where one person was trying to sell the club and other people were trying to buy it.
Clubs struggle to operate perfectly in that atmosphere and the focus on the playing squad and the football side of things inevitably suffers. As manager, I very much doubt that he felt like the centre of attention.
Neil made a good number of signings – 14 or 15, something like that – but I don’t doubt that with more money and more freedom in the transfer market he’d have brought in different players.
Yet if we’re judging the results and performances objectively then it has to be said that many of them weren’t good enough and the performance of the team is ultimately the manager’s responsibility. It was him who built that team. I don’t think anyone can consider themselves blameless for what went on last season.
I still feel that the crucial moment for Neil was losing Luciano Becchio. By January it was perfectly obvious that his relationship with Luciano was very strained and from speaking to him I know he’d reached the conclusion that Luciano had to go. But the problem there was that Becchio was our top scorer, someone who scored more goals than the rest of our forward line put together.
Steve Morison came in to replace him but he was carrying an injury at the time and never quite found his form.
When the goals dry up, chasing the play-offs becomes impossible and we were sliding down the table by the last month of the season. I think it was in the best interests of everyone when Neil and the club decided to go their separate ways.
In truth, I’m a bit disappointed at some of Neil’s comments in his book. I read criticism of Gwyn Williams, our technical director, and I felt it was an unfair swipe. Gwyn works very hard behind the scenes, travelling up and down the country, going to games and looking for players. He’s hardly ever home. He’s also involved in arranging contracts for the academy kids, several of whom have agreed professional deals recently.
I also think it’s a bit much for anyone to be having a go at our academy, especially because the staff there seem to be doing a great job at the moment. I’m not saying the atmosphere wasn’t difficult during Neil’s time as manager but you have to remember how much uncertainty there was. No-one knew how the ownership of the club was going to work out or whether their jobs were safe. It’s an awkward scenario to deal 
with.
What we’ve got now with Brian McDermott is someone who’s planning long term. That’s not an attack on Neil because the club never asked him to think about the long term. They asked him to come in and win a quick-fire promotion. It didn’t happen and when you see what’s in Neil’s book, you get the feeling that a fresh start was the right move for all concerned – Neil included.

Leeds United close in on Hunt deal as Millwall pull out of race

YEP 13/6/13
Phil Hay
Millwall have pulled out of the race to sign Noel Hunt with the Reading striker on the verge of sealing a free transfer to Leeds United.
New Millwall manager Steve Lomas abandoned plans to make an offer to Hunt after being informed that the 30-year-old had all but resolved to take up the opportunity available to him at Elland Road.
The development came as Leeds boss Brian McDermott revealed that a deal with an unnamed player was likely to be verbally agreed “in the next couple of days”, following on from United’s capture of Oldham Athletic striker Matt Smith.
Smith – a 6’6” tall centre-forward – finalised the terms of a two-year contract on Monday morning, giving McDermott his first signing as manager.
Hunt will also be available on a free transfer from July 1, when his contract at Reading expires, and Lomas’ failure to tempt Hunt into talks appeared to confirm that the Republic of Ireland international will join McDermott at Elland Road instead.
McDermott admitted earlier this week that he was “inches away” from landing another recruit and he reiterated his optimism last night, saying: “That’s ongoing at the moment and I’d like to think that in the next couple of days we’ll have a verbal agreement in place.”
Hunt made more than 150 appearances for Reading between 2008 and the end of last season but the club’s refusal to give him a new two-year deal led to a parting of ways.
Reading were willing to tie Hunt down for another 12 months but the striker admitted in April that he was looking for “more security”.
“I want a bit of security because I’m getting married in the summer and that has to come into the factor,” he said.
“They (Reading) asked me what I wanted so I told them that and I want to start a family so I’d like to have more than just a year.”
McDermott, who received an invite to Hunt’s wedding, relied heavily on the forward during his three years as manager at the Madejski Stadium and Hunt’s arrival would complement a group of strikers that already includes Smith, Ross McCormack and Steve Morison.
Luke Varney, El-Hadji Diouf and youngster Dominic Poleon also played up front at stages of last season, with Poleon starting and scoring in United’s final game away to Watford.
Leeds have expressed an interest in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Kevin Doyle but the Midlands club are not willing to consider approaches for their Irish forward until he and new manager Kenny Jackett discuss his future face-to-face.
The pair are due to meet on June 24, the date of Wolves’ first pre-season training session, and Doyle is likely to make clear his intention to move on from Molineux with Leeds and Scottish champions Celtic both monitoring him.
Celtic are believed to be tracking a number of other goalscorers but their need for new strikers will increase if Gary Hooper – once a target for United while Simon Grayson was manager during the 2010 January transfer window – secures a move to Premiership new boys Hull City.
The East Yorkshire club have tabled a seven-figure bid for Hooper, believed to be in the region of £4m, and are likely to find Celtic receptive to their approach with the 25-year-old heading into the last year of his contract.

Leeds United sweat on Byram’s fitness for pre-season

YEP 13/6/13
Leeds United are crossing their fingers that Sam Byram will be ready for the early stages of pre-season, with the youngster fighting to overcome a persistent hip injury.
Byram is in the hands of United’s physiotherapy staff after worries over his fitness led him to withdraw from England’s squad for the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.
The 19-year-old was due to fly to the continent with the rest of England’s players yesterday morning but he dropped out of Peter Taylor’s 21-man pool amid doubts about him recovering in time to feature heavily in the group stages of the tournament.
The Football Association refused to comment on the injury suffered by Byram but United manager Brian McDermott confirmed to the YEP that the right-back is struggling with the same problem that forced him to miss the last two games of the recent Championship season.
Byram sat out United’s meetings against Brighton and Watford with an injury sustained in training on April 26. It flared up less than an hour before United’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton, forcing McDermott into a last-minute change to his line-up.
McDermott said: “It’s his hip again, the same problem he had towards the end of the season.
“We’re giving him a thorough check over to see how he is and what we’re looking at.” Asked if Byram was likely to be fit for the first day of pre-season training on June 27, McDermott said: “We’d obviously hope so.”
Byram coped with heavy physical demands during the 2012-13 season as his first campaign as a professional brought him 53 senior appearances for Leeds, more than any other player.
The injury that he sustained ahead of the Brighton game broke a run of successive league starts stretching back to the middle of September. But he appeared to have recovered from his hip complaint last month and joined up with England’s Under-20 squad with McDermott’s blessing.
McDermott said: “It’s a shame and I know how much he was looking forward to going out there. But he’s got a long career ahead of him and these opportunities will come for him again. That’s the way he’s got to look at it.”
Fellow Leeds defender Tom Lees, meanwhile, has flown home from Israel after England Under-21s’ failed European Championship campaign.
The centre-back made one outing at the competition in a 1-0 defeat to Israel on Tuesday night, a result which left England without a single point after three group matches.

Warnock: It was all Snoddy’s fault

Scratching Shed 12/6/13
Two and a half months since he parted company with Leeds United, Neil Warnock’s excuses continue.
This time the former Whites boss has been talking to Sports Direct News, telling them how the sale of Robert Snodgrass cost him his eighth promotion.
“We lost too many points in injury time and we lost Snodgrass when we shouldn’t have lost him.
“We got £3m for him and didn’t spend it. A lot of it was down to Snodgrass wanting to go so late in the window – I had to take him off the training ground so he could speak to Norwich. If he hadn’t have gone, I think we would have walked it. It’s as little a thing as that.”
Most Leeds fans agree that Snodgrass’ exit left a huge hole in the team. The Whites had no recognisable winger for much of the season, played with no width whatsoever and adopted a scrappy, hoofball strategy that soon became predictable.
While Warnock’s excuse has some validity to it, Leeds needed to strengthen on the wing before Snodgrass’ departure. Even with Robert Snodgrass in the side, Leeds still had a serious lack of options out wide, a problem that was exasperated by Neil Warnock’s decision to play Snodgrass in a free-roaming position behind the strikers.
Elsewhere. the Yorkshire Evening Post are linking Brian McDermott with a move for Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, Kevin Doyle while all but ruling out a move for Billy Sharp – a player Leeds seem to be linked with every season.

Monday, June 10, 2013

McDermott closing in on second signing

Leeds United boss Brian McDermott says he is close to completing his second signing.
McDermott announced his first signing today since arriving at the club when Matt Smith agreed to join from Oldham Athletic and he says he is close to completing a second.
Speaking on Radio Leeds, McDermott said, "We are close to agreeing one. We have nearly agreed a deal verbally and to me, once a deal is agreed verbally that means it is done as far as I am concerned. We are very close on that one."
The Leeds boss told Radio Leeds last week that he was in talks with four players and talking to them again this evening, he says he is now in talks with two more, as he looks to build his squad ready for the new season. "We have a couple of others that I have already spoken about and we have another two that we are now in talks with.
"Whether they will be completed in the next week or so, I am not sure. I am not that worried, it is more important to complete the deals," McDermott continued.
McDermott would not go into names and he says there have still been no enquiries about any of his current squad leaving.

Over the moon - Matt Smith interview

leedsunited.com 10/6/13
New signing speaks of his delight at joining Leeds…
New United striker Matt Smith says he is 'over the moon' at joining Leeds United and admits he can't wait to start his career with the club.
Oldham Athletic striker Matt will officially join the club on July 1 when his current contract expires.
"I'm absolutely delighted," he said. "Once I heard of the interest from Leeds United I was over the moon.
"It's a massive club with a massive history and I'm looking forward to being a part of it."
United, along with a host of Championship clubs, were vying for the striker's signature, but once Matt knew of interest from Elland Road he was only going to end up in one place.
"I was taking my summer holidays and I heard of some bits of interest but once Leeds came in it was a no-brainer," said United's new signing.
"Everything about the club is fantastic and hopefully I can do well here.
"Growing up as a kid Leeds were an absolute powerhouse with the likes of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, that's what I remember from growing up.
"But knowing what I do now it's a huge club with a terrific fan base. And with what Brian did at Reading, which is obviously something that he will want to do here, everything is just perfect really."
United's new arrival was instantly impressed with his new manager and he is looking forward to manager and his team improving him as a player.
"To do what he did at Reading was absolutely fantastic and just from meeting him you can sense his enthusiasm," said Matt. "He wants to do well for the club and I'm sure that he will.
"I think he is excited at the prospect, he sees it as an interesting one. I'm not the finished article by any means but with the resources and coming into a strong squad I can really thrive."
Matt's journey into professional football can not be described as 'normal' as, at 24-years-old, he has only been a professional for two years.
While studying at the University of Manchester, he impressed at non-league level and was rewarded with move to Oldham Athletic in 2011.
"It's not the most orthodox route into professional football," explained the striker.
"It has been a bit of a rollercoaster coming form university to non-league to League One and now to a big club like Leeds.
"It's been an exciting journey and I'm hoping it is going to be the start of a new challenge for me and I'm really looking forward to it.
"I've had a taste of reality, having been in employment outside of football and I know how much of a privileged position I'm in, to be a professional footballer.
"It's something I love doing and I'm very excited."

Matt Smith: Boss welcomes striker signing

leedsunited.com 10/6/13
United manager delighted with his first signing...
United boss Brian McDermott was delighted to capture the signature of striker Matt Smith.
The 24-year-old joins from Oldham Athletic on July 1 after finalising a deal on Monday morning to become the manager's first signing.
"I'm really pleased," said the boss.
"I've known him for a little while. He's come on to the scene in a short space of time, and I like his background, the way he's been brought up, he's done his studying, he went to Oldham, he's played against some big sides and done very, very well.
"He got Player of the Month in April and he's a good acquisition for our squad."
The boss has an impressive success rate with developing talent from lower divisions, Dave Kitson and Adam Le Fondre being two strikers to take their careers on to the next level following his recruitment.
"Matt's from a league below and we're looking for someone with potential, who can be better, can play in the team, and who the fans can take to," said the boss.
"I've got a really good vibe about him. He's not here to sit around and do nothing, he's hungry to do well and achieve. I said we want hungry players to come into the club. They're the players were talking to; players who want to achieve something. There'll be no players coming here who don't have that."
At six foot six, Matt brings added height to the squad.
"It's a major asset, but it doesn't mean to say we'll be smashing long balls in," said the boss.
"He can take it in, hold it up, you saw his goal against Everton from a set-play. His movement is good. He's a work in progress, but he's not an 18-year-old work in progress. He's done well in games and we feel he is a good asset."
The boss also believes the striker's early grounding of a life away from football will stand him in good stead as he looks to develop his career at Elland Road.
"He knows the other side of life," he said. "He's worked in different places and seen different things. It's very similar to Dave Kitson who we signed at Reading from Cambridge United. He'd worked in a different part of life before football.
"When I spoke to Matt - and it's very important to speak with players before you sign them - and looked into his eyes, you could see that when he comes into training every day he appreciates the environment he's in and what he does for a living."
United vice-chairman Salah Nooruddin was also quick to welcome Matt to Elland Road and he added: "We're delighted that Matt has agreed to join us and we look forward to him joining us formally on July 1."

Transfer news: Leeds sign striker Matt Smith from Oldham on a two-year deal

Sky 10/6/13
Leeds United boss Brian McDermott has made his first signing of the summer after agreeing a deal with Oldham striker Matt Smith.
Smith, 24, is out of contract at the League One club and will move to Elland Road on July 1 after signing a two-year deal.
Smith shot to prominance last season when he scored against both Everton and Liverpool in Oldham's run to the FA Cup fifth round and he finished the campaign with 11 goals in 40 appearances.
He began his career as a trainee at Cheltenham after impressing at non-league Solihull, he earned a move to Oldham in 2011.
"I'm really pleased," McDermott told the club website. "I've known him for a little while.
"He's come on to the scene in a short space of time, and I like his background, the way he's been brought up, he's done his studying, he went to Oldham, he's played against some big sides and done very, very well.
"Matt's from a league below and we're looking for someone with potential, who can be better, can play in the team, and who the fans can take to."
Smith added: "I'm absolutely delighted. Once I heard of the interest from Leeds United I was over the moon.
"It's a massive club with a massive history and I'm looking forward to being a part of it.
"Growing up as a kid Leeds were an absolute powerhouse with the likes of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, that's what I remember from growing up.
"But knowing what I do now it's a huge club with a terrific fan base. And with what Brian did at Reading, which is obviously something that he will want to do here, everything is just perfect really."

Leeds United: Mac has own grounds for concern over Thorp Arch

YEP 10/6/13
Neil Warnock took Thorp Arch to task last week, picking holes in a facility which has long been seen as the jewel in Leeds United’s fallen crown.
Warnock’s opinion of the training ground, or more specifically the atmosphere within it, was that it represented a “cancer in the club”. If Brian McDermott has his way, many aspects of Thorp Arch will change before Leeds begin another season.
McDermott had plans for the property long before Warnock, the manager he replaced at United, spoke out so forcefully in a new autobiography. But his blueprint might ensure that the conflict of personalities which seemed to irk Warnock is not a problem for him.
The former Reading boss remarked in the earliest weeks of his tenure that concentrating solely on managing the first team was akin to “building on sand”. “We’re trying to build something with foundations,” he said, “not just putting 15 or 20 players together and forgetting about everything else.”
By his own admission, the alterations he wants in place for pre-season are not quite there, though his players do not report back for another fortnight. Among McDermott’s demands is a main training field measured to the exact length and width of the pitch at Elland Road and an extension of the sprinkler system used at Thorp Arch. He also wants the complex to have a “better flow” – in simple terms, to be an environment without division or estrangement.
“One of the things I noticed straight away was that the main training pitch is miles short of the pitch at Elland Road,” he said. “I don’t understand why.
“Elland Road’s where we’ll play most often and it’s the pitch we should be most comfortable on. Train on a pitch with the same dimensions and Elland Road will feel so familiar. That kind of makes sense to me.
“I want to get barriers around it, frame it off and give it a better feel. And we’re going to extend the watering system to a couple of pitches which it doesn’t reach. Again, it just seems like a good idea to have everything up to the required standard.
“But the other thing I want is the flow of the training ground to be different. I want the feel of the place to be really inclusive. I don’t want anyone sectioned off from anyone else – the first team, the academy, the physios. I want us to mix and work together, to work like we’re all part of the same team.
“It’s not all there at the moment and we’ve stuff to do before we start training – both with the work on the training ground and with bringing new players in. We’ve got plenty to do.”
New signings are an increasingly pressing priority with United’s first pre-season friendly less than a month away. McDermott is in prime position to tie up striker Noel Hunt on a free transfer on July 1 and a total of four offers for players have been made by Leeds. He is vying with Celtic for the signature of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Kevin Doyle.
There are strong suggestions, meanwhile, that McDermott favours the appointment of a full-time head of recruitment and has a preferred candidate in mind, another example of the long-term view afforded to him by a three-year contract.
McDermott is spending part of this month in Ireland attending the weddings of Hunt, Shane Long and John O’Flynn, the Exeter City striker, but he will return to Thorp Arch a week before his players report in on June 27.
The 52-year-old appears open minded about the possibilities in the transfer market, saying: “Picking the right players doesn’t mean picking the obvious ones.
“Sometimes you want experience but sometimes youth serves you better. Sometimes there are lads in lower leagues or foreign leagues who think they can have a crack and are worth a go. Dave Kitson and Shane Long are two that spring to mind from my time at Reading.”

Saturday, June 08, 2013

I'm looking for hunger - Boss

leedsunited.com 7/6/13
Boss lays down his criteria for incomings...
The playing staff may be enjoying a summer break from football but Brian McDermott is still hard at work.
The boss is in the process of trying to strengthen his squad for the next campaign and is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to player recruitment.
"I'm looking at players that are out of contract and I'm looking at players that would be available on compensation that have contracts that are up and are under 24," said McDermott.
"And I'm looking at players that we could possibly look to buy.
"They are the players that I have submitted to the board.
"You always have plans but you'll get a phone call regarding a certain player that becomes available and it's a do-able deal so you do that deal.
"So you have to be flexible in what you are trying to do. You give a list of players but it doesn't mean that you get that list of players and that doesn't mean to say that they are the number one choice.
"I want to sign players that are hungry, that's the criteria - players that are hungry and want to do well so I'll be looking at all types of players."
When it comes to the possibility of players leaving Elland Road the manager confirmed that the club are still receive offers.
"We haven't had any calls regarding any of our players at all," confirmed the manager. "There maybe players that do go out of the door, that's the nature of football.
"A number of players have already left the football club so we'll see, there could be players that leave but we don't know yet."

Leeds United: McDermott hints at Somma exit

YEP 7/6/13
by Phil Hay
Leeds United manager Brian McDermott expects Davide Somma to continue his career with another club next season, despite Leeds offering to see through the striker’s latest bout of rehabilitation.
McDermott admitted that the renewal of Somma’s contract at Elland Road was “realistically not going to happen” with the injury-prone South African recovering from a third knee operation.
Somma underwent surgery on damaged cartilage two weeks before the end of the Championship season, consigning him to a further spell of treatment at a delicate stage of his career with Leeds.
The 28-year-old is rapidly approaching the end of his three-year deal at Elland Road and was told in May that Leeds would not be immediately extending his contract.
The club did invite him to continue training at Thorp Arch, however, and McDermott is likely to give him the chance to feature in Leeds’ pre-season programme in an attempt to resolve the fitness problems which have sidelined Somma for most of the past two years.
McDermott said: “He’s a great guy who’s been really unlucky. I spoke to Harvey (Sharman, United’s head physiotherapist) and we agreed that we wanted to do the right thing by him.
“We’ll look after him, try to get him fit and if something comes up for him elsewhere, we’ll try to make sure that nothing stops him taking up the opportunity.”
Leeds named Somma on a 10-man released list announced 24 hours before their last game of the season at Watford but United added that “the South African international will have the opportunity to join in pre-season training with a view to assessing his fitness”.
The remark indicated that he might yet have the chance to win another deal but McDermott said: “I think realistically that’s not going to happen. You never say never in football but that’s not necessarily how we were thinking.
“At the moment he just needs to concentrate on getting fit and over all the injuries. You feel for him.”
Somma made fleeting appearances last season having missed the whole of the 2011-12 term through knee ligament damage but his belief that the worst of his problems were behind him was wrecked by his latest bout of surgery.
Leeds will supplement their choice of forwards with new signings before August, and Noel Hunt and Kevin Doyle have both attracted McDermott’s attention.

Leeds United: Warnock bemoans ‘cancer in the club’

YEP 7/6/13
by Phil Hay
Neil Warnock has painted a grim picture of his 13 months as Leeds United manager, bemoaning a “cancer in the club” and describing his spell in charge as a “lonely job”.
Writing in his latest autobiography, The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager, Warnock accused members of United’s staff, individual players and the local media of undermining and complicating his reign as boss.
The 64-year-old was sacked by Leeds in April, a little over a year after replacing Simon Grayson as manager.
His tenure – supposed to bring him a record eighth promotion in the Football League – became a story of frustration as the protracted takeover by GFH Capital, a restricted transfer budget and mediocre results left Leeds at risk of relegation by the time he and the club parted company.
Warnock, who faced chants of “Time to go” from sections of United’s supporters in the lead-up to his dismissal, was scathing in his assessment of the atmosphere around Elland Road and Leeds’ training ground at Thorp Arch.
“There was some moaning from the fans but not as much as the local press would have you believe,” he wrote. “I did feel the local media were very negative towards the club.
“That negativity seeps through the club. There’s no humour at the training ground, no happiness at all, no joy in coming into work.
“I went to Leeds and found the attitude of the academy towards the first team is them-and-us. There’s very little integration.
“It’s like a cancer in the club. If we won a game, on a Monday they’d keep their heads down and ignore us. Yet if we lost they’d be waving through the windows. It made me think they didn’t want us to succeed because the club might then bring in better people to take their jobs.
“There had been cuts and cuts for years and it sapped morale. It’s a lonely job being manager there.”
Neil Redfearn is United’s highly-regarded development team coach, heading a group of academy staff in which former Leeds captain Richard Naylor manages the Under-18s.
Redfearn was caretaker manager prior to Warnock’s arrival and replaced him for one first-team game after his dismissal. Naylor’s Under-18 squad recently won their development league title at the end of his first season in charge.
Warnock, meanwhile, questioned the impact of Gwyn Williams, United’s technical director, who also worked for many years under Leeds chairman Ken Bates at Chelsea. Warnock said: “He’s obviously influential but I never did work out just what his role was. I suppose he’s been Ken’s eyes and ears for 20 years.”
Williams declined to comment when contacted by the YEP.
Leeds were under Warnock’s control for a total of 63 games, winning 23 and losing 25.
His reign was dominated by a takeover which spanned more than six months and was finally completed by GFH Capital in November, four months into the Championship season.
Warnock, who claimed he was “doing Bates a favour” by taking charge at a time when protests against United’s chairman were mounting, said: “While Cardiff were spending £10m and running away with the division, I had to sell (Robert) Snodgrass and (Luciano) Becchio.
“Most of the division spent more than we did – in the circumstances we over-achieved.”

Leeds’s academy feels the force of Warnock’s anger

Yorkshire Post 7/6/13
by Leon Wobschall
FORMER Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has taken a swipe at the attitude of the Whites’ academy staff during his spell there – describing it as being ‘like a cancer in the club’.
The controversial comments are included in Warnock’s recently released book entitled The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager, with the 64-year-old scathing of what he perceived as a prevailing mood of negativity at United’s training ground.
Warnock, who left United in early April, was also severely critical of the attitude of former striker Luciano Becchio in his book and described his time at the club as a ‘lonely job’.
Also included are details of his deep-seated frustrations at a lack of transfer cash from owners GFH Capital to enable him to do more last-minute business, particularly at the end of January.
On what he saw as a downbeat training-ground atmosphere in comparison to previous club QPR, Warnock stated: “There’s no humour at the training ground, no happiness at all, no joy in coming into work which was strange, and not what I am used to.
“(Then) I went to Leeds and found that the attitude of the academy towards the first team is them-and-us, as if we are two different entities. There’s very little integration.
“It was like a cancer in the club. If we won a game, when we went upstairs on a Monday and past their offices, they’d keep their heads down and ignore us. Yet if we lost, they’d be waving at us through the windows.
“It made me think they didn’t want us to succeed because the club might then bring in better people to take their jobs.
“There had been cuts and cuts for years and it has sapped morale. Maybe if the new owners stabilise the club, they will feel more stable and the mood will lift, but it’s a lonely job being a manager there.”
A section in the chapter devoted to Warnock’s ill-fated 13-and-a-half month spell at Leeds also centred on the acrimonious build-up to top-scorer Becchio’s exit to Norwich City early in the new year, with the veteran boss slamming the commitment of the Argentine after he made it plain he wanted to leave in December.
Warnock said: “I know (knew) he’s as good as telling me if I don’t let him go, I might not get the best out of him in the rest of the season.
“The issue came to a head when we lost at Barnsley in January and to my eyes, Becchio never broke sweat.
“I knew after that I had to do something about Becchio, so I spoke to his agent on the Monday and told him how disappointed I was at Becchio’s attitude.
“In reply, the agent let slip Becchio had rung him an hour before the game. I was gobsmacked, but I didn’t let on, just asked him a question that ensured he confirmed it.
“I then asked Becchio if his mind was on the (Barnsley) game, he said it was, but when I pointed out he’d been on the phone to his agent an hour before kick-off, he had suddenly nothing to say. He couldn’t deny it.”
After Becchio’s beat-the-deadline move to Norwich, Warnock also claimed that his requests for an extra £300,000 to fund a move for Birmingham City’s Chris Burke were dashed after being told by GFH C that they had a shortfall of funds which ‘ran into several millions’.
An excerpt said: “The deal with Norwich gave us £200,000 as well as (Steve) Morison and I asked for a further £300,000, so we could sign Birmingham’s Chris Burke and add some much-needed pace and width, but I was told they had a shortfall which ran into several millions.v “Whether the new owners knew about that when they came in, or it had taken them by surprise, I don’t know. But it meant I was unable to bring in the players I knew we needed.
“I came out of the meeting really disappointed as the new owners wanted to look at everything before they invested in the team.
“That was understandable, but no good to me as my opportunity would have gone and it would be a new manager in the summer who would benefit.”

Leeds United: Axed boss says want-away Becchio put gun to his head

YEP 7/6/13
by Phil Hay
Neil Warnock has again laid the blame for Luciano Becchio’s move to Norwich City at the striker’s door, saying Becchio put “a gun to my head” by making clear his intention to leave Leeds United.
Warnock sold Becchio to Norwich on the last day of January, with United securing Steve Morison and £200,000.
Becchio’s future came under scrutiny in the build-up to the transfer window and a deal was hatched with Norwich after clubs in Turkey and China moved to sign United’s top scorer.
Writing in his newly-released autobiography, The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager, Warnock said: “It was clear by early December that he wanted to go – before the Chelsea (League Cup) game when he scored and kissed the badge.
“At that stage he wanted to go to either Turkey or China. The Turks were offering to nearly treble his wages so inevitably I get a player coming to see me telling me he’s 29 and this is his big chance to make himself secure for life.
“I know he’s as good as telling me that if I don’t let him go I might not get the best out of him. But I can’t tell the local press there is a gun to my head.
“The issue came to a head when we lost at Barnsley in January and to my eyes Becchio never broke sweat. He had to go but I needed a replacement.”

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Leeds United face fight with Celtic over Wolves striker Doyle

YEP 6/6/13
by Phil Hay
Leeds United are competing with Scottish double-winners Celtic for the signature of Wolves striker Kevin Doyle.
Celtic have signalled their intention to make an offer for Kevin Doyle with Leeds United looking to beat Neil Lennon to the forward’s signature.
Lennon hinted strongly at a renewed effort to take Doyle to Glasgow last night as it emerged that Leeds are vying with the Scottish champions for the 29-year-old striker.
Neither club are thought to have made a formal bid to Doyle’s existing side, Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the Republic or Ireland international is aware of interest in him and will leave Molineux before the start of next season.
His contract with Wolves runs until June 2015 but back-to-back relegations have dragged the West Midlands club into League One and made Doyle’s summer departure inevitable.
Celtic tried and failed to sign him on loan in January but are now looking to negotiate a permanent transfer.
Leeds manager Brian McDermott is also an admirer of Doyle’s and will attempt to persuade him to cut his salary of around £25,000 a week and return to the Championship with United.
McDermott launched Doyle’s career in England in 2005 by identifying him as a worthwhile investment while he was chief scout at Reading and Doyle was on the books of Irish side Cork City.
Doyle completed four seasons at Reading and has been at Molineux for the past three years. Wolves, however, are planning for a term in League One under the management of new boss Kenny Jackett and expect Doyle to leave. His contract - signed in 2011 - did not include any relegation clauses designed to reduce his wages.
Celtic boss Lennon showed his hand yesterday saying: “I’ve always liked Kevin.
“He wasn’t having a great time at Wolves and we just felt that coming to Celtic for a few months (in January) might have re-energised him.
“He’s got the talent, he’s got the quality and to be fair to him he had a good run towards the end of the season when he started banging a few goals in for Wolves.
“There’s an interest in Kevin and always has been.”
Leeds presently have offers on the table for four unnamed players, with forward Noel Hunt and centre-back Matt Mills seen as likely recruits.
Hunt is close to the end of his contract at Reading and Mills has been made available by Bolton Wanderers for a fee in excess of £750,000. Both players featured for Reading during McDermott’s time as manager, though Doyle had left the Madejski Stadium by the time the 52-year-old replaced Brendan Rodgers.
Manchester City youngster Reece Wabara, a versatile defender who spent much of the recent season on loan at Oldham Athletic, has also been strongly linked with a move to Elland Road on loan.
Speaking on Tuesday, McDermott said: “We’ve made offers to players and we’ve gone for four so far.
“We’re working on them at the moment and they’re players who would improve the squad. But there are others who I’m looking to speak to.
“I want to bring in others on top of that.
“I won’t talk names and I won’t talk timescales because it means nothing until you’ve got a player signed. But we are progressing.”

Leeds boardroom row after director tries to get academy place for friend’s son

Yorkshire Post 5/6/13
GFH Capital’s ownership of Leeds United is the focus of fresh attention after the company was forced to intervene in an unseemly dispute between the club’s new vice-chairman and their Thorp Arch academy.
Representatives of Leeds’ owner found themselves at odds with director and shareholder Salah Nooruddin following an attempt by Nooruddin to secure an academy place for the son of one of his business contacts.
United offered a trial to Idris Tahar last month in response to a request from Nooruddin but they rejected the 18-year-old outright on the basis of his ability. Nooruddin is alleged to have put pressure on Leeds’ academy staff - led by development squad coach Neil Redfearn - to sign Tahar, despite the initial refusal.
Nooruddin, a 49-year-old businessman from Bahrain, joined United’s board at the end of April and was named as the club’s vice-chairman last month. He holds a 3.33 per cent stake in Leeds having bought his share directly from GFH Capital.
The Dubai-based firm, which itself is wholly owned by Bahrain-based bank Gulf Finance House, is believed to have been deeply unhappy with Nooruddin’s bid to force Tahar into Thorp Arch and instead backed the stance of United’s academy coaches.
It is understood that Tahar has not been offered a place in the youth-team set-up and will not be offered a place in the future. In what seems to be a clear division of boardroom views, executives from GFH Capital have overruled Nooruddin.
A spokesman for GFH Capital declined to comment on the situation in detail but said: “Academy places will always be offered on the basis of footballing merit alone.”
GFH Capital’s move to assert its authority and resolve the conflict nevertheless leaves questions about Nooruddin’s future influence as a director of Leeds.
News of the dispute comes at a critical point in the year and at a telling stage of GFH Capital’s first 12 months in charge at Elland Road.
United are in the thick of the summer transfer window but are yet to make their first close-season signing. Manager Brian McDermott has so far tabled offers for four players and is aiming to substantially change his squad after Leeds finished the recent term in the bottom half of the Championship.
GFH Capital has faced persistent questions about its financial position and its ability to finance player recruitment, and Leeds have been hampered this summer by the need to use £3.3million of season-ticket income to pay off the loan taken out for the redevelopment of Elland Road’s East Stand in 2011.
The structure of United’s boardroom has changed substantially during GFH Capital’s short reign and Nooruddin is the most recently appointed director.
His selection as vice-chairman on May 21 came with firm indications that he would succeed Ken Bates as chairman when Bates stepped down to become club president at the end of this month. However, it is understood that Nooruddin’s promotion to the head of the board on July 1 is far from agreed and not at all certain.
GFH Capital deputy chief-executive David Haigh - one of the men who led the company’s buy-out of Leeds last November - was seen for some time as Bates’ most likely successor but neither the club nor their owner have made any comment on who is preparing to replace the 81-year-old.
GFH Capital recently revealed that it had agreed to appoint Bates as president on a three-year term, with United’s former owner relinquishing all of his executive power.

Whites submit bids for four players

YEP 5/6/13
by Phil Hay
Leeds United have submitted offers for four players and are poised to approach further targets, manager Brian McDermott confirmed last night.
McDermott said an initial round of bids would be followed by another spate of enquiries by Leeds, admitting he had “gone for four so far” but wanted to “bring in others on top of that”.
United’s manager refused to comment on rumours of interest in specific players, saying only that former Leeds defender Ian Harte was not on his radar, but he described those approached so far as “receptive” to the prospect of a transfer to Elland Road.
Leeds have been strongly linked with several players, among them striker Noel Hunt, who played for McDermott at Reading but will leave the Madejski Stadium when his contract ends on June 30.
McDermott is due to attend Hunt’s wedding in Ireland later this month and is widely expected to secure the forward on a free transfer in time for the start of the new Championship season.
Bolton Wanderers’ Matt Mills - a former Reading captain - and Manchester City’s reserve defender, Reece Wabara, are also being touted for moves to Leeds, though Mills is likely to cost upwards of £750,000 and presently earns around £25,000 a week.
McDermott is working to seal his first signing as Leeds boss with pre-season training three weeks’ away but the 52-year-old said: “We’ve made offers to players and we’ve gone for four so far.
“We’re working on them at the moment and they’re players who would improve the squad. But there are others who I’m looking to speak to. I want to bring in others on top of that.
“I won’t talk names and I won’t talk timescales because it means nothing until you’ve got a player signed. But we are progressing.”
Asked if he was facing competition for his preferred signings, McDermott said: “The question I always ask of players is ‘do you want to play for this club?’
“If the answer to that is ‘yes, but I’d rather go elsewhere for the sake of a few quid extra’ then it’s better that the player moves elsewhere. I’ve no issue with that. But the ones we’ve been in touch with have been receptive and they’re giving me the feeling that they want to come. That’s important.”
Jamaican winger Chris Humphrey will not be joining Leeds after agreeing a free transfer from Motherwell to Preston North End.
Leeds expressed an interest in the 25-year-old towards the end of the recent season but did not see him as a first-choice target.

McDermott not tempted to let his heart rule his head

YEP 5/6/13
by Phil Hay
Brian McDermott insisted last night that Ian Harte would not be returning to Leeds United, despite claiming the veteran full-back will “give someone great service” next season.
McDermott dismissed claims that out-of-contract Harte was closing in on a move back to Elland Road and said he would put his trust in United’s existing group of left-backs for the new Championship term.
Harte, 35, is looking for a new club after three successful years at Reading and McDermott paid tribute to a defender who was believed to be past his best when he unexpectedly moved to the Madejski Stadium from Carlisle United in 2010.
The ex-Leeds trainee’s time at Reading earned him one play-off final appearance, one Championship winners’ medal and a season in the Premier League.
McDermott, the manager who took Harte to the Madejski Stadium, said: “Ian’s one of the most hungry players I’ve ever worked with.
“He was 33 when I signed him and at the time he was winding down apparently. There were question marks about him in the minds of other people. He was right in the thick of everything we achieved at Reading, a fantastic asset.
“But he won’t be coming to us this summer. We’re well covered with full-backs in that area so it won’t be happening. He’ll be a terrific player for someone, though. He’ll give someone great service.”
The left-back slot at Leeds has been regularly filled by Stephen Warnock since United signed him from Aston Villa in January, though McDermott chose to use Adam Drury against Watford on the last day of the season. Both players are under contract for the 12 months ahead.
McDermott has former academy player Aidan White as a third alternative and the United boss will apply his budget to other parts of the squad at Elland Road. He confirmed that Leeds have so far tabled offers for four players, with bids for a number of others planned.
Harte was linked with United immediately after confirming his departure from Reading last month and he is fondly remembered at Elland Road where he played as a senior professional for almost a decade.
The former Republic of Ireland international made more than 200 appearances for Leeds and shone during the club’s fine Champions League run in 2000 and 2001.
He later signed for Levante, Sunderland, Blackpool and Carlisle before McDermott approached him ahead of his first full season as Reading manager.
“Gylfi Sigurdsson was sold that summer and I needed someone to replace his set-pieces,” McDermott said. “Ian was ideal. He was at Carlisle but I thought he had something to offer at a higher level.
“He’s been a great player over the years, a really top pro, and I don’t think he got the respect he deserved for the time he spent at Leeds or the number of games he played. That was a great team back then.
“He’s 35 now but you write off Ian Harte at your peril. I don’t think he’ll be short of people wanting to sign him.
“Hungry players are what I’m most interested in bringing to this club. Age doesn’t really come into it, or not always. You can be 21 and hungry or you can be 33 like Ian was and still be massively driven.
“I need my players here to be massively driven and those are the type of signings we want - driven players with quality too.”