Thursday, November 28, 2013

Competition key for Rudy

leedsunited.com 28/11/13
Skipper happy with season progress…
United skipper Rudy Austin believes that the high level of competition in the squad has been key to the team's rise into the Play-Off places.
Sixth spot is currently occupied by Brian McDermott’s men and the captain feels that things are going well this season and is hoping that United can push forward.
“It is going well so far and I was really pleased with Saturday,” said Rudy. “The boys are doing really well and we just have to keep it that way.
“It was a tough game. I think that we played well in the first half but in the second half it was hard against 10 men. But the most important thing was that we got the three points.
“We are feeling good. The squad is very competitive, everyone wants to play and that is how we want to keep it.
“We have to take it one game at a time and we can’t get too carried away.”
Rudy, who has now got over 50 appearances to his name in a Untied shirt, says he is enjoying his football and will do whatever is needed to help the team.
“I’m just enjoying it and I’m just trying to do my best for the team,” said the United skipper. “Whenever and in any way I can.
“However I can help the team I will do that job. For me, I just go out there and enjoy it and it is good when we get three points.
“When the team are doing well and getting the points other players are working hard to get in and it is good to have that competition in the side.”
Rudy wants United to head to Blackburn in a positive mood and is hoping for the three points.
United will be backed by over 6,800 supporters at Ewood Park and that is something that is appreciated by Rudy and the whole squad.
“It is always nice to see the fans at the away games giving us their support," added Rudy.
“We have to go into the game at Blackburn in a positive mood and hopefully we’ll come away with all three points.”

Leeds United: We can reel in top two - Byram

YEP 28/11/13
by Phil Hay
Sam Byram believes Leeds United can close the gap to the Championship’s automatic promotion zone in the run-up to Christmas with the club poised to begin the defence of their play-off place.
Byram wants Leeds to focus on reeling in the three clubs tied at the top of the table after a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough took United into the top six for only the second time this season.
Brian McDermott’s squad briefly held a play-off spot after their win at Bolton Wanderers in September but Saturday’s result extended a spell of promising momentum in which United have taken 12 points from their past five games.
A sizeable gap has opened up between joint Championship leaders Burnley, Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers, all of whom hold 35 points, and the rest of the table, and United are nine points adrift of the top three after 16 games.
But speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit to Blackburn Rovers, an optimistic Byram, whose battles with injury have disrupted his season, said Leeds should be looking to attack the teams above them after recovering impressively from a bad run of five defeats from seven matches.
“For the club in general the momentum’s brilliant,” he said. “We’ve been playing well, we’re in the top-six and hopefully we can push on.
“We want to cement a place and, if we can, get into the top two. The gaffer has the right ideas and the right plan.
“If you can be around it at Christmas and keep pushing then no-one knows what can happen.”
Byram – United’s player of the year in his first season as a professional – is waiting for his second campaign to begin in earnest after six months of injury trouble.
The 20-year-old struggled with a hip injury throughout the summer, a problem which forced him to miss the Under-20 World Cup, and he was sidelined again four weeks ago by a minor thigh strain.
The second set-back halted a brief return to McDermott’s starting line-up and Lee Peltier was preferred at right wing-back against Boro on Saturday with both players fit and available.
Byram said: “It’s been stop-start but I feel sharp and fit. I get a bit of stiffness after training but it’s nothing to worry about.
“Competition for places is never bad. We’ve got a good squad, the team are doing well and all I can do is work hard to get back in.”
Today’s 5pm loan deadline, meanwhile, is expected to pass without new arrivals at Leeds.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ken Bates is back in Leeds as court case looms

YEP 27/11/13
Former chairman Ken Bates appears to be pursuing another media venture on Leeds United’s doorstep. Phil Hay reports.
You can take Ken Bates out of Leeds United but it seems you cannot take the man out of Leeds.
The club’s former owner was back on his old stamping ground last weekend, reacquainting himself with Billy’s Bar, one of the emblems of his tenure as chairman at Elland Road.
The 81-year-old has occupied offices over the road from the stadium’s drinking hole and is understood to be pursuing another media venture, seven years after launching the now defunct digital station Yorkshire Radio.
The new project is unconnected to United, as Bates has been since he was sacked as club president in July of this year, but Leeds and their directors will soon engage with him again in a legal battle stemming from that dramatic parting of ways.
His appointment as president on a three-year term was agreed under the terms of his sale of United to current owner GFH Capital last December but Bates occupied the honorary position for less than a month before he was dismissed for alleged gross misconduct on July 26.
His presidential reign was terminated in part because of a private jet contract agreed by Bates with the firm 247 Jet to fly him to Yorkshire from his home in Monte Carlo, a contract worth just under £500,000 over three years.
Leeds claim the deal was put in place without the approval of the board at Elland Road; Bates argued that having been a United director at the time when the contract was signed, he had the authority to negotiate and accept it.
Speaking in July, Bates said: “Part of the contract (when Leeds were sold to GFH Capital) was that they would pay my expenses in the same manner that I’d been paid expenses for the last eight years.
“They (GFH Capital) drew up the contract. I only signed it. I’ve been doing that mode of transport for eight years and they included it in the contract. There is nothing new there and I don’t have to justify it. There’s no validity in this.”
Leeds subsequently initiated legal proceedings, claiming against Bates for the cost of the private jet contract and further personal expenses amounting to more than £100,000.
United say those expenses – including meal bills totalling around £32,000, additional travel costs and a subscription for Sky Sports – were not used for the benefit of the club. According to Bates, some of the bills for meals were submitted to Leeds in error and without his knowledge.
Around three weeks ago, Bates lodged his defence in the chancery division of the High Court, denying gross misconduct.
He also submitted a counter claim against Leeds alleging that his sacking amounted to wrongful dismissal. The case is expected to be heard in the new year.
Bates stated repeatedly throughout his time as chairman and owner that he had not received a salary, saying he was “never paid a penny in wages.” His three-year contract as president offered him remuneration of £250,000 a year – £750,000 over the course of the term – but Bates waived that money from the outset and was not paid for his 26 days in the post.
He and GFH Capital had originally decided that he would serve as president until the summer of the 2016 season after his time as chairman ended on June 30.
Bates agreed to sell his majority stake in United to GFH Capital last November and finalised the Dubai-based firm’s takeover on December 21 but he remained in an executive role for a further six months.
He was replaced as chairman by shareholder and former vice-chairman Salah Nooruddin at the beginning of July.
The appointment of Bates as president – a role previously held by the late Lord Harewood – was controversial among sections of United’s support but it is thought to have been a non-negotiable term of the sale of Leeds to GFH Capital.
Salem Patel, a board member of both United and GFH Capital, talked in December of the importance of “leveraging” on Bates’ experience but said that in the end, “that was the deal.”
Asked about the presidency in May, GFH Capital said: “He will become president for a three-year term from July 1, 2013.
“It (the presidency) is an honorary role. As has always been the case, club policies will be decided by the club’s board and its directors.”
The impending court case with Bates has the potential to cost Leeds a significant amount of money.
Beyond legal fees, a successful claim for wrongful dismissal could commit United to paying some or all of the £750,000 technically due to him for his three-year term as president.
Courtroom battles were a feature of the former Chelsea owner’s eight years at Elland Road. He lost a bitter libel trial involving Melvyn Levi, the one-time United director, in 2009 and was involved in another court case against Levi in 2012. During the second round of proceedings, Shaun Harvey – then United’s chief executive and now CEO of the Football League – said the legal process was costing Leeds a “fortune”.
As another dispute awaits, United’s directors are said to be bemused by Bates’s reappearance at Elland Road last week, though his interest in further media ventures was made clear by his unsuccessful attempt to buy Yorkshire Radio, LUTV – Leeds’ official TV station – and the club’s website for around £2m in the months before he stepped down as chairman.
The offer came to nothing and Leeds decided to close Yorkshire Radio before the start of this season. The station had previously lost a key selling point after United returned match-day commentary rights to BBC Radio Leeds.
Bates, however, has committed himself to more time in Leeds after his recent move into office space opposite Billy’s Bar.
He is understood to have invited many of his former staff at Elland Road to a Christmas party in the city next month.

Bates back in Leeds but not to buy back the Whites

Yorkshire Post 27/11/13
by Richard Sutcliffe
KEN BATES last night moved to deny “categorically” speculation that he is involved in any of the consortiums bidding to buy Leeds United.
The 81-year-old sold the Elland Road club to GFH Capital last December and was removed as honorary president just a few weeks into what should have been three years in the role.
He is now embroiled in a legal battle with the United hierarchy which is likely to end in the High Court come the new year.
Despite that, several sightings of Bates in Leeds since last Friday – including many outside Elland Road – had sparked a frenzied internet debate among supporters about his possible return.
The former United chairman’s friendship with managing director David Haigh, one of the key players in GFH Capital’s purchase of the Championship club, has also added fuel to the rumours, but Bates last night moved to dispel the speculation.
Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post, he said: “I am aware of the negotiations taking place between the owners of Leeds United and various consortiums but I can categorically state that I am not part of any of them.
“I only became aware my name was being mentioned in connection with any of these potential bids when someone told me. They said I was getting slagged off for trying to buy Leeds back.
“But, as usual, these people are wide of the mark. The reason I have been back in Leeds for the last few days is I am setting up a new media company. Our offices are on Elland Road and that is why people will have seen me in recent days.”
Several would-be suitors are understood to be interested in United. A consortium of Yorkshire businessmen including Gary Verity, the Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive, and former Sunderland commercial chief Mike Farnan had an initial bid of £7m for a majority share rejected by GFH Capital 11 days ago.
The group, which also includes United legend Lucas Radebe, hope to hold talks with United’s owners in the near future.
Other parties are also believed to be strongly interested in acquiring an interest in Leeds, whose owners have made no secret of their wish to bring additional backers on board since taking control.
Bates, though, is adamant he is not involved, insisting his only contact with the club in recent months has come through his legal team.
The former chairman is suing United for compensation over his terminated presidency – which, under the terms of the three-year deal, could be worth up to £750,000.
Leeds, meanwhile, are alleging misconduct over Bates’s expenses claims. Part of this is understood to relate to the signing in June of a three-year £500,000 contract with a private aeroplane company, 247 Jet, to ferry Bates to Yorkshire from his Monaco home.
United also allege expenses were claimed that were not of benefit to the club. These include a £32,000 bill for dinners Bates held in the Elland Road Banqueting Suite in April to say ‘goodbye’ to both club employees and friends.
A Sky subscription for Bates’s Monaco home in the final six months of his time as chairman is also mentioned in legal papers. Bates denies the claims.
GFH’s legal team submitted their case to the High Court in July. Bates then countered with his own papers in October and United have until today to submit their full response. The case is expected to be heard at the High Court in the new year.
Asked about the expenses, Bates said: “The matter of the bill for the dinners is down entirely to the incompetence of Leeds United.
“The dinners were held in April at Elland Road and were our way of saying goodbye to all those who we had worked with for eight years and also those who had become our friends.
“They were arranged with Compass (who run the club’s catering operation) and the bill should have been sent to me. Instead, the bill was sent to Leeds United by mistake.
“The correct thing would have been for the bill to be returned to Compass, as this was a private matter. Instead, Leeds United paid the bill.
“We have said in our court submissions that we have never even seen the invoice. And as for Sky Sports, how else was the chairman of Leeds United – which I still was until June 30, which is the period covered – supposed to keep up with what was happening in football?”
A spokesman for GFH Capital last night declined to comment.
For Bates, meanwhile, his main focus is now on establishing his media company from offices opposite United’s stadium. As was revealed in this newspaper last July in the wake of Bates’s removal as president, the former chairman had been hoping to strike a deal to buy the club’s in-house television station LUTV, Yorkshire Radio and United’s official website.
This was rejected, as was a later request to buy Yorkshire Radio for £650,000 and a five per cent share in the business.
United again said no and the station, which had been set up by Bates, was closed down on July 30.
On his future plans, he added: “We had got so far down the line with the bid to buy Yorkshire Radio before the plug was pulled late on that we decided to carry on anyway.
“That is why I am here in Leeds and nothing else.
“It is ‘goodbye Yorkshire Radio’ and ‘hello Radio Yorkshire’.”

Haigh’s £1m-plus input will be used to strengthen McDermott’s transfer hand

Yorkshire Post 27/11/13
by Richard Sutcliffe
MANAGING director David Haigh has reaffirmed his commitment to Leeds United by ploughing at least £1m into the club.
The 36-year-old was a key figure in GFH Capital’s takeover at Elland Road a little under a year ago.
In recent weeks, the ownership of United has been thrust back into the spotlight courtesy of a consortium, which includes former defender Lucas Radebe, making a bid for a majority shareholding.
The offer, which is understood to have been an initial £7m with further payments scheduled, was immediately rejected.
However, talks are also understood to have taken place between GFH Capital, who since taking charge in December last year have made it clear they would welcome other investors coming on board, and other interested parties over possible new backing.
Those discussions are on-going, but with the January transfer window looming large and United handily placed in the play-off places, Haigh – through his company Sport Capital – has introduced what sources describe as a “seven-figure sum” into the club.
Those same sources have also indicated that the intention is to back manager Brian McDermott when the January transfer window opens.
The £1m plus payment follows Berrydale Seventh Sports Holdings, a Dubai-based company in which Haigh is a director, loaning United a six-figure sum on October 15.
A debenture lodged with Companies House revealed at the time that he was responsible for sanctioning the payment on the firm’s behalf.
As for the recent £1m-plus payment, Sport Capital was set up on October 23 and is based in Sussex. Haigh is listed as a director.
Sources at Elland Road have also indicated that speculation Haigh may stand as a parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives in the Northampton South ward at the next general election is wide of the mark.
At one stage, the United managing director is believed to have been on a six-man shortlist, but now sees his immediate future in Yorkshire.
It was also announced yesterday that Haigh will sponsor Leeds United Ladies for the next two years and become the club’s new chairman.
On becoming involved with Leeds Ladies, Haigh said: “We are committed as a club to developing Leeds United Ladies FC and, just as I’m looking to the long term with Leeds United, I look forward to working with the team and management of Leeds United Ladies going forward to help them move towards securing a place in the FA Women’s Super League in the coming years.”

Leeds United boosted by new investment from David Haigh

BBC 26/11/13
Leeds United managing director David Haigh has committed a seven-figure investment to the club.
BBC Radio Leeds understands that the funds from Haigh's company, Sport Capital, will be used towards bolstering the squad in January.
He joined the club's board in December last year before GFH Capital's takeover of the Elland Road side.
Leeds, who face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, are currently sixth in the Championship.
Meanwhile, Haigh has also revealed that his company are to sponsor Leeds United Ladies for the next two seasons with the businessman becoming chairman.

Leeds United: Winger Hall aiming to reignite his career

YEP 26/11/13
by Leon Wobschall
Released Leeds United winger Ryan Hall is steadfastly focusing on moving onto a new chapter in his career after the end of his fraught spell at Elland Road.
United announced on Sunday that the 25-year-old’s Elland Road contract had been terminated by mutual consent – bringing an end to his chequered 13-month career at the club.
Hall’s exit came hot on the heels of the former Southend United and Crystal Palace player being suspended over an alleged breach of the club’s social media policy.
Hall was barred on full pay after a number of controversial posts on his Twitter account expressing his anger at being out of the first-team picture.
Hall became the club’s first permanent signing since being taken over by GFH Capital in December 2012 when he arrived for a six-figure fee, believed to be in the region of £150,000 following a loan spell.
He still has 18 months left on his deal, with negotiations believed to be ongoing regarding the player’s pay-off.
Sources close to the player say Hall wants to concentrate on reigniting his football career again after a difficult time on the pitch at Leeds, while acknowledging that things change under new management with Hall brought in by United’s previous boss Neil Warnock.
The Londoner spent a loan spell at Sheffield United earlier this autumn.
Despite everything, Hall insists he made some friends during his ill-fated time at Leeds and now just wants to start a new footballing adventure elsewhere, with his career having hit the slow lane at Leeds. On his departure, Hall tweeted: “Just wanna wish Leeds all the best in the future I enjoyed my time there and met so many nice people.”

Hopeful Mac says Leeds United is a natural home for Mowatt

YEP 25/11/13
Brian McDermott has revealed that Leeds United are close to agreeing a new contract with Alex Mowatt and says the young midfielder would be well advised to commit his future to the Elland Road club.
McDermott confirmed that advanced talks between Leeds and Mowatt were underway after the academy product returned from injury with another compelling performance in United’s 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Mowatt missed a recent victory at Charlton Athletic with a groin strain and was forced to pull out of England’s Under-19 squad for a friendly in Hungary but McDermott recalled him in place of Michael Brown on Saturday and watched the 18-year-old exert his influence again.
McDermott talked last month about the importance of improving Mowatt’s terms amid an increasing level of interest in his talent among Premier League clubs, and Leeds appear to be on the verge of tying him to a longer, more lucrative contract.
“We’re in the position where we’re talking to him about a new contract,” McDermott said.
“Hopefully we can get that done and dusted soon. We think we’re close and why would Alex want to play anywhere else? He’s got to play at Leeds United. All of the younger players coming through to our first team are getting better and better.”
Mowatt twice came close to his first Leeds goal in the second half of Saturday’s match, denied on both occasions by replacement goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler who took to the field after Boro’s Jason Steele was shown a red card for a professional foul.
Leutwiler’s saves forced McDermott to endure an anxious finish as United held on to a 2-1 lead during the last half-hour of an eventful contest.
Steele’s 42nd-minute dismissal for a crunching challenge on Dexter Blackstock outside the box came as Boro trailed to an earlier strike from Ross McCormack. The visitors snatched an equaliser on 52 minutes with a fine goal created by Albert Adomah and scored by Mustapha Carayol but Jason Pearce’s header five minutes later gave Leeds the points in front of a crowd of more than 30,000.
McDermott said: “In the first half we played some good stuff and I thought we might have nicked more than one goal. But the second half was tough.
“At half-time I said that what we didn’t want in the second half was a slow game but it developed into a slow game. Sometimes you’re better off against 11 men. We found that against Bournemouth last month when we had to win the game late on.
“But you’ve got to admire the character of the players to get themselves in front again at 2-1. And if you look at it, Middlesbrough scored a good goal and had a couple of chances. We had a lot of good opportunities.”
McCormack – a prime transfer target for Boro in the summer – took his tally of goals for the season to 13 with an opportunistic header after 34 minutes.
The Scotland international was involved in a light-hearted exchange with Boro’s travelling crowd after drawing first blood but McDermott denied that his leading goalscorer had taken extra satisfaction from scoring against a club who fought hard to sign him.
“I don’t think that was relevant,” McDermott said. “It could have been any club coming in for him.
“He was just very strong in his resolve to stay here. You have to give the board credit for that. They kept him and turned down a decent amount of money.”

Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Leeds aim to build on victory over Boro this time

Yorkshire Post 25/11/13
SAME expectant crowd, same opposition, same smiles, same whiff of optimism among home supporters. Even the same result.
Saturday was just a delightful throwback, if you were a Leeds United fan, to December 22, 2012.
Two goals from Luciano Becchio crowned GFH Capital’s first game in charge in a 2-1 triumph over the Teessiders, which represented a fourth successive home win for United, just as Saturday’s result did.
Similarly as last December after a keynote win over the Boro, Leeds – up to sixth in the Championship table – have wind in their sails again.
Now, it is a case of navigating the course better after hitting some post-Christmas icebergs under Neil Warnock in 2012-13.
Granted, it took a shock 52nd-minute leveller from Mustapha Carayol to pep United into second-half life with the winner 
arriving from an unlikely source in Jason Pearce five minutes later.
But the outcome of the game once United opened the scoring in the 35th minute courtesy of Ross McCormack was never in serious doubt on a day when Boro goalkeeper Jason Steele became the latest in a long line of players to be dismissed in this particular fixture.
Both moments had a certain ring of inevitably to them, with the red card issued being the ninth displayed in a Leeds versus Boro fixture in as many seasons.
You suspect that plenty of Teessiders among the 2,600 travelling contingent will have also had a crafty pound or two on McCormack – subject of three failed big-money bids from Boro in August – finding the net.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson revealed that a simple message from Jose Mourinho helped him decide to give the manager’s job to Aitor Karanka, who made his dug-out debut at Elland Road in front of a 30,000-plus crowd.
The Portuguese, whom Karanka worked under at Real Madrid, simply said to Gibson: ‘Get him’.
How Boro will wish they had got McCormack as well after he struck his 13th goal of the campaign and seventh in his last three matches and then proceeded to celebrate in front of the sizeable visiting contingent in the West Stand.
Whites manager Brian McDermott said: “Ross wanted to stay at Leeds and he never wavered in that. I wanted him to stay and I never wavered. Whatever money they threw at us, he always said ‘I want to be a Leeds United player’.
“It could have been any club coming in for him; he was very strong in his resolve to stay at Elland Road.”
On his side claiming a hat-trick of successive league wins for the first time in his tenure to move into the play-off pack, McDermott – who confirmed the club are close to agreeing a new deal with Alex Mowatt, who was excellent once again – added: “I’d rather be top one. But we’re in the top six, that’s where we are.
“You’d rather be where Burnley, Leicester and QPR are, but we’re chasing them and we’re making a good fist of it. We’re improving. I genuinely think there’s more to come.”
United fans did not need any reconfirmation of the qualities of their own ‘Special One’ on the pitch in McCormack. More pleasing too for them was affirmation of the growing stature of his supporting cast.
Reliable footsoldier Pearce, enjoying an impressive renaissance this season, deservedly got some of the limelight with his winner.
Danny Pugh, who produced a sound display in his first outing at Elland Road since October last year, was not far behind in his 100th appearance for the club.
Out of the first-team picture for the best part of a year, the Mancunian is making the most of his renewal, with Saturday rounding off a special few days for the 31-year-old, whose wife gave birth to his second daughter, Isla, on Thursday.
Pugh, who almost found the net with a rasping shot just prior to McCormack’s opener, said: “It’s been the perfect week for myself and I am absolutely delighted.
“This season has been difficult, not playing the football. You have just got to stay as positive as possible. It’s difficult at times, but I have come in and enjoyed it. There’s been talk of loans and sniffs of things like that. But nothing has materialised. So I’ll just try and kick on and see what happens.
“I am not going to look far ahead. I will train and, when needed, I will do the best I can and see where that takes me.”
It may been a different face in the dug-out for Boro in Karanka, but the same problems remain for the Teessiders, whose defensive deficiencies and capacity to shoot themselves in the foot resurfaced.
Karanka, who revealed that he received a good luck message two hours before kick-off from Mourinho, will have learned plenty already on that count.
Weak defending played a part in the opener for United, for whom loan striker Dexter Blackstock spurned an absolute gift before McCormack showed his strike partner how it should be done 10 minutes before the break.
A cross from Mowatt following a short corner routine was headed across goal by Tom Lees, with McCormack nipping in to nod home.
Boro’s afternoon then assumed nightmare proportions on 42 minutes when a terrible header from Daniel Ayala put the visitors in deep trouble, with panic-stricken Steele injudiciously racing out of goal, clattering Blackstock and seeing red, seemingly for serious foul play.
Yet somehow, Boro – with just one win on their travels since last December – conjured a leveller seven minutes after the interval from their two most dangerous outlets.
A probing run from Albert Adomah saw him send over an exquisite cross which was turned in brilliantly from close range by Carayol.
Boro blinked again on 57 minutes when Lee Peltier’s cross following another short corner was headed in at the far post by Pearce, who outmuscled ex-Whites full-back Frazer Richardson.
Carayol, strangely substituted on 67 minutes, said: “It was good to get on the scoresheet, but the result is more important. “We made it hard for ourselves – there’s no excuse to concede two goals from set-pieces.
“Steele was unlucky because I thought Woody (Jonathan Woodgate) was behind him.”
leon.wobschall@ypn.co.uk

Leeds United: Ace Pugh hails daddy of all weeks

YEP 25/11/13
by Phil Hay
Danny Pugh reflected on a remarkable change of personal fortune after chalking up a century of games for Leeds United during their 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Pugh rounded off a week in which he became a father for the second time with his 100th Leeds appearance and a display that laid further claim to a regular starting place at Elland Road. The 32-year-old has been a bit-part player at Leeds for the past 18 months and was trapped on the transfer list for much of that period but Brian McDermott ended a year-long absence from United’s line-up by naming him in his side at Charlton Athletic this month.
Pugh retained his place at left-back in front of a crowd of 30,000 at Elland Road on Saturday and played his part in a third straight league victory, a result which took United back into the Championship’s play-off zone for the first time since mid September.
The former Stoke City player – a £500,000 signing in January 2012 – said: “My wife had a little girl late on Thursday night so this has been a nice way to round off a special week.
“It’s been difficult for me not playing football but you have to stay as positive as possible.
“There’s been talk of loans, little sniffs and things like that, but nothing materialised. I’ve come back in and enjoyed it and I’ll try to kick on and see what happens. I’m not going to look far ahead.
“I’ll train and when needed, I’ll do the best I can. It’s been a perfect week for me.”
Leeds were helped on Saturday by the first-half dismissal of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele but goals from Ross McCormack and Jason Pearce earned them a deserved victory over a team managed for the first time by new head coach Aitor Karanka. Pugh said: “In the first half we played really well. For some reason – and you see it happen time and time again – we didn’t play as well against 10 men. But I thought we were worthy winners.
“The atmosphere was so charged and it’s hard to ignore it. It makes a hell of a difference and it’s days like this you look forward to.
“You can never play enough games like that.”

Haaland is kean to forget that tackle

YEP 25/11/13
Roy Keane is a shadow forever stalking Alfie Haaland. These days Haaland speaks of him in tired, uninterested tones.
But you doubt that the Norwegian would hold so much affection in Leeds were it not for his history with Manchester United’s ex-captain.
Haaland was back at Leeds United in December, a guest at a Championship game against Ipswich.
He attended a function in the club’s banqueting suite beforehand and gave a thousand handshakes to all and sundry; a cult hero among the masses at Elland Road.
It was never his intention to be regarded as one but two clashes with Keane in 1997 and 2001 – the first as a Leeds player and the second with Manchester City – made him welcome in Yorkshire any time. When Keane came to Elland Road as manager of Sunderland in 2006, he was greeted with chants of ‘One Alfie Haaland’ from the Kop. That feud still resonates.
Haaland has done his best to forget about the reckless tackle which began the countdown to his retirement 12 years ago; the studs-up lunge in a Manchester derby which Keane revisited in vicious style in his autobiography.
“I’m not bitter about it,” Haaland told the YEP last year, “and I don’t think about it, except when I get asked – which a lot of people do.
“As I said, what he wrote in his book was the worst thing. That can’t be good for football. It doesn’t set the right example.
“Will he regret it? Knowing his personality, I don’t think he will. Or maybe he will in time, when he’s 60 or 70.”
Haaland prefers to reminisce about 10 years in English football and three seasons with United – his best spell in the country, he says. Haaland was a hard, combative presence in midfield; by no means a playmaker but a footballer whose big heart warmed the crowd around him.
In many ways he suited the style of George Graham, the manager who signed him.
It is often forgotten that Haaland played for Norway in the 1994 World Cup and moved to Nottingham Forest in the aftermath of that tournament. A central defender in his younger years, he reinvented himself as a midfielder at Forest and was bought by George Graham for £1.6million after the Nottingham club were relegated in 1997.
Haaland made 37 appearances in his first season at Leeds and 36 in his second. The death-knell for him was the appointment of David O’Leary who became less and less convinced by Haaland’s worth, despite the midfielder heavy contribution to the club’s UEFA Cup campaign in 2000. He was sold to Manchester City later that year.
Haaland had choice words for O’Leary when the Irishman’s tenure began to go awry.
“O’Leary’s luck seems to have run out,” he said. “He can’t hide behind all those little phrases of his anymore. He has to produce the goods.”
As for Keane, the two men will never be reconciled. “I don’t expect us to speak,” Haaland said last year. “Not really. I probably wouldn’t be able to understand his accent and he might not understand mine.”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Leeds United forward Ryan Hall leaves Elland Road

Sky 24/11/13
Leeds United forward Ryan Hall has left the club by mutual consent.
Hall recently spent a month on loan with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United and played five times during his spell at Bramall Lane.
But he was suspended on his return to Leeds as the club investigated a breach of discipline, believed to be related to the club's social media code of conduct.
Hall came through the ranks at Crystal Palace but failed to secure a regular place in the side before making his name at Southend, where he scored 23 goals in 105 matches.
He impressed during a loan spell at Leeds before making the switch permanent in January but he has now left Elland Road.

Ryan Hall leaves Elland Road

leedsunited.com 24/11/13
Leeds United can confirm that Ryan Hall has left the club by mutual consent.

Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: McDermott wants more from Whites

YEP 23/11/13
Brian McDermott believes there is more to come from Leeds United after this derby win thrust them into the Championship promotion race.
Leeds advanced into a play-off position for the first time since September, with in-form Ross McCormack again on the mark.
McCormack, who took his goal tally for the season to 13 in all competitions, opened the scoring against the club which had three bids for him rejected in August and although Mustapha Carayol equalised seven minutes into the second half, defender Jason Pearce headed Leeds’s winner five minutes later.
Leeds manager Brian McDermott said: “We have tried to find a way to play with no wingers and to get Ross up field as much as possible. If he plays right up the pitch he will score goals.
“Every time he plays he looks as if he is going to score. There were bids for him but that is not really relevant because he wanted to stay at Leeds and never wavered.”
McDermott added: “Sometimes you are better playing against 11 men. We have found that in the past. It is psychologically harder against 10. We couldn’t get that third goal but the result was the most important thing.
“They could have had a man sent off for handball earlier, but I’m glad they didn’t go down to nine. It’s good to be in the top six but I would rather be even higher. There is much more to come from the team.”
McDermott revealed that talks are under way with talented young midfielder Alex Mowatt over a new contract.
Mowatt is growing in stature with every game and McDermott said: “Alex is doing very well for us. Why would he want to go and play anywhere else?”
Aitor Karanka shrugged off Middlesbrough’s defeat in his first game in charge and hailed the attitude of his players as they battled with 10 men against Leeds.
The former Real Madrid defender saw goalkeeper Jason Steele sent off shortly before the interval but was happy with what his side accomplished afterwards in the 2-1 loss at Elland Road and is now convinced they can climb the Sky Bet Championship table Karanka said: “It would have been better if we had won, but I am happy because we played very well in the second half when we were down to 10 players.”
Karanka side-stepped questions about Steele’s dismissal for charging out of the penalty area and bringing down Leeds striker Dexter Blackstock.
“I prefer to talk about the team and how we were still in the game until the final whistle,” he said.
“I have had just 10 days with the players but they have shown a good attitude and with that we can build.
“Even so, there may be changes for the next game, depending on what I see on the training ground.”

Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Karanka happy despite Whites defeat

Yorkshire Post 23/11/13
Aitor Karanka shrugged off Middlesbrough’s defeat in his first game in charge and hailed the attitude of his players as they battled with 10 men against Leeds.
The former Real Madrid defender saw goalkeeper Jason Steele sent off shortly before the interval but was happy with what his side accomplished afterwards in the 2-1 loss at Elland Road and is now convinced they can climb the Sky Bet Championship table Karanka said: “It would have been better if we had won, but I am happy because we played very well in the second half when we were down to 10 players.”
Karanka side-stepped questions about Steele’s dismissal for charging out of the penalty area and bringing down Leeds striker Dexter Blackstock.
“I prefer to talk about the team and how we were still in the game until the final whistle,” he said.
“I have had just 10 days with the players but they have shown a good attitude and with that we can build.
“Even so, there may be changes for the next game, depending on what I see on the training ground.”
Leeds, meanwhile, advanced into a play-off position for the first time since September, with in-form Ross McCormack again on the mark.
McCormack, who took his goal tally for the season to 13 in all competitions, opened the scoring against the club which had three bids for him rejected in August and although Mustapha Carayol equalised seven minutes into the second half, defender Jason Pearce headed Leeds’ winner five minutes later.
Leeds manager Brian McDermott said: “We have tried to find a way to play with no wingers and to get Ross up field as much as possible. If he plays right up the pitch he will score goals.
“Every time he plays he looks as if he is going to score. There were bids for him but that is not really relevant because he wanted to stay at Leeds and never wavered.”
McDermott added: “Sometimes you are better playing against 11 men. We have found that in the past. It is psychologically harder against 10. We couldn’t get that third goal but the result was the most important thing.
“They could have had a man sent off for handball earlier, but I’m glad they didn’t go down to nine. It’s good to be in the top six but I would rather be even higher. There is much more to come from the team.”
McDermott revealed that talks are under way with talented young midfielder Alex Mowatt over a new contract.
Mowatt is growing in stature with every game and McDermott said: “Alex is doing very well for us. Why would he want to go and play anywhere else?”

Leeds United's Jason Pearce sees off 10-man Middlesbrough

Guardian 23/11/13
James Savage
Aitor Karanka was pleased with the attitude shown by his new charges in a narrow defeat but admits it was mistakes which cost him a result in his first game as Middlesbrough manager.
The former Real Madrid assistant claimed a trip to Elland Road was the perfect way to start to his reign on Teesside but a goal from Ross McCormack followed by a red card for goalkeeper Jason Steele left him with a mountain to climb at half-time. Mustapha Carayol grabbed an equaliser early in the second half but the hosts hit back swiftly through defender Jason Pearce's header and closed the match out.
Despite the defeat Karanka was pleased with the effort and work-rate shown by his players, especially after going down to 10 men. "I am sad about the result but I am also happy because I have a team which has a good attitude," he said. "It is the same attitude which I have seen in the 10 days which I have been working with them.
"We were still in the game right up until the last minute with one less player. We played better with 10 players. We played a good second half but we need to keep working hard and improving. We made two mistakes with defending from a corner and the red card.
"We have only had 10 days together but the most important thing is the attitude. If your players don't have the right attitude it's very difficult to do anything."
McCormack "who scores when he wants" according to the Elland Road faithful was in the right place at the right time on 35 minutes to stoop and head home the opening goal after defender Tom Lees put the ball across the six-yard box following a corner.
Steele's rush of blood to the head came right on the stroke of half-time. Dexter Blackstock ran clear and got to the ball first but was taken out in clumsy fashion by the keeper. Referee Philip Gibbs showed no hesitation in reaching for the red card despite protests from the Boro players that there were men getting back behind the ball.
Karanka got the response of an early second-half equaliser as Albert Adomah raced down the right wing to cross for Carayol to volley home an expert finish.
But Leeds were kick-started back into life and a great deep cross from Austin was met with a powerful header by Pearce to restore the advantage on 57 minutes.
The result meant Boro slipped to 18th in the table but Brian McDermott's Leeds side are charging in the opposite direction – largely thanks to the form of McCormack. That's seven goals in three games for the Scotland international and 13 for the season.
McDermott was quick to heap praise on the front man, not just for his goals, but his all-round play. He said: "He's having a fantastic season. Every time he plays he looks like he's going to score a goal, or two, or three.
"At the end of the match he took the ball up the far end of the pitch and won a free-kick. That's the sort of thing that top, top players do. It's not just goals which he brings to this team."
McDermott was also pleased with the way his side saw the game out against 10 men to make it four wins out of five and climb into the play-off places. "It was really pleasing to get the result because we struggled against Bournemouth when they went down to 10 men earlier this season," the manager added.
"The first half we played some good stuff but the second half was tough. It's a great result. I'm pleased to be in the top-six but it would be better to be in the top one. I genuinely believe there is so much more [to come] from this group of players."
Earlier, spectators paid tribute to Gary Speed on the second anniversary of his death, as both sets of fans applauded.

Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: McCormack fires Whites to Boro win

Yorkshire Post 23/11/13
ROSS McCORMACK’S seventh goal in three matches against the side who were so desperate to sign him in the summer helped Leeds United secure a hat-trick of league wins for their first time under Brian McDermott.
Seeking their fourth straight home win in front of a bumper Elland Road crowd of 30,367, United were full value for victory against visitors, who did their cause no good whatsoever by shooting themselves in the foot in the 42nd minute, courtesy of a crazy dismissal for keeper Jason Steele.
The Boro custodian injudiciously raced out of goal to haul down Dexter Blackstock after slack defensive play from the Teessiders, with referee Philip Gibbs having no option but to dismiss him.
Seven minutes earlier, McCormack -whose strike had a certain ring of inevitably to it - had been on hand to nod home an opener from close range with Boro again not helping their cause with some slack defending.
Ten-man Boro did manage to stun the majority of Elland Road by grabbing a shock leveller on 52 minutes from Muzzy Carayol, but five minutes later, Jason Pearce powered home a header to settle the issue.
United, in the box seat before Steele’s dismissal, were the dominant force against the Teessiders, in Aitor Karanka’s first match in charge.
The Basque may have been making his bow in the dug-out, but the same defensive ailments that afflicted Boro and which ultimately proved so costly for his predecessor Tony Mowbray, who was sacked last month, flared up again.
Before the game, the late Gary Speed was honoured by the club, with fans also paying tribute in the 11th minute with a resounding chorus of “Oh, Gary, Gary Speed.”
Leeds, who made two changes with Alex Mowatt and Marius Zaliukas replacing Michael Brown and Scott Wootton, had the first chance to drew first blood and it fell to their most potent outlet in McCormack.
Feeling no effects of the hamstring niggle which forced him to pull out of the Scotland squad for their friendly win in Molde on Tuesday, McCormack - subject of three failed bids from Boro in August - headed wide after latching onto a downward volley from Mowatt.
Slowly but surely, Boro started to have a say on proceedings, with wingmen Albert Adomah and Muzzy Carayol looking lively in stages, but the Teessiders still failed to significantly trouble Paddy Kenny.
Ex-Whites favourite Jonathan Woodgate headed wide at the far post from a deep Grant Leadbitter corner, but it tamely flew into the massed ranks in the Kop.
United gradually built up a head of steam and started to dominate proceedings, with Rudy Austin’s 25-yarder beaten away by Steele before McCormack wasted a free-kick opportunity after a handball from Richardson very close to being inside the penalty area.
The rebound broke to the Scot, who was then challenged, somewhat untidily, by Marvin Enmes, but Gibbs was unmoved, despite the United top-scorer’s vehement protestations that it should have been a spot-kick.
Then, 23 minutes in, United spurned a gilt-edged chance to take the lead.
McCormack’s cross on the right, with Boro’s defence stretchered, found Blackstock six yards out with the goal at his mercy, but his contrived to steer his effort wide of the gaping goal.
At the other end, Leadbitter’s free-kick was blocked before the reactions of Steele at the near post saved Boro after he turned away a fiercely-struck shot from Danny Pugh.
The respite wasn’t long from the Teessiders and after a corner wasn’t cleared, Austin’s cross was latched onto Tom Lees, who rose above George Friend with his header across goal nodded in by lurking McCormack, who showed predatory prowess before milking the goal in front of the 2,600 Boro travelling contingent.
Things then went from bad to worse for Boro a few minutes before half-time when Austin cashed in on a terrible header from Danny Ayala before heading the ball in the direction of Blackstock, with Steele slow to spot the danger before racing out and felling the loan striker with a reckless challenge.
The keeper was handed his marching orders, with sub keeper Jayson Leutwiler soon coming on for the ineffectual Emnes.
It looked like the longest of second periods for Boro, only for the Teessiders to somehow conjuring a leveller seven minutes into the second half.
Slow out of the traps on the restart, United paid the price with Adomah racing away down the right before sending over a fine cross, with Carayol showing the instincts of a striker to clinically turn the ball home impressively for a shock leveller.
Stirred into life following a sluggish opening, Leeds upped the gas again with Mowatt’s low shot bringing out an excellent one-handed save by Leutwiler.
From the resulting corner, United went in front.
Lee Peltier manufactured enough space down the right to send over an inviting cross with Pearce outjumping ex-United man Frazer Richardson to head in his first goal of the campaign.
United went close to wrapping it up 18 minutes from time when Mowatt, who again added to his burgeoning reputation with another impressive display, arrived on cue in the box following a fine cross from another home player who had an eye-catching game in Pugh.
But Leutwiler blocked his effort, with Austin putting a chance wide to seal it soon after.
Despite United struggling to wrap the game up, Boro with a man light but afforded a fair bit of possession, struggled to get behind the home defence as United maintained their late-autumn momentum with another three-point haul.
Boro had one half chance in stoppage time, but sub Jutkiewicz’s effort was comfortably held by Kenny.
At the other end, Austin fired into the side-netting before Mowatt struck a shot over the top, but the points were Leeds.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Leeds United: Mac’s happy to bide his time

Yorkshire Evening Post 23/11/13
by Phil Hay
Brian McDermott has hinted that he will allow next week’s loan deadline to pass without further signings, saying Leeds United are in a “pretty good place” ahead of the run-in to Christmas.
Leeds have until 5pm on Thursday to make temporary additions to their squad and McDermott will take a last look at the options available to him after today’s clash with Middlesbrough at Elland Road.
The United manager has used the Football League’s emergency loan market only once, signing striker Dexter Blackstock from Nottingham Forest on a 93-day deal last month, and he has cover in most areas of his squad following the recent capture of centre-back Marius Zaliukas on a free transfer.
His choice of central defenders was weakened by the loss of Scott Wootton to an ankle injury – a set-back which will keep the 22-year-old out for a number of weeks – but McDermott approached today’s game against Middlesbrough on the back of three wins from four games and with Leeds eighth in the Championship.
“We’re winning games and we’re scoring goals so we’re in a pretty good place,” McDermott said.
“Obviously we’ll look at what’s out there once the weekend’s gone because it’s wrong to be unaware of your options. But if nothing happens we’ll go through to January with this squad and I’ll be quite happy about that.”
Blackstock joined Leeds from Forest on October 24 and under Football League rules his parent club now have the right to recall him at 24 hours’ notice but the forward is a fringe player at the City Ground and was allowed to leave Nottingham until January 25.
He made his first start for Leeds before the international break, appearing at Charlton Athletic on a day when McDermott’s squad was missing Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt, Stephen Warnock, El-Hadji Diouf and Luke Varney.
Blackstock’s move was set up by a tip-off from Luke Dowling, United’s soon-to-be chief scout, and McDermott – linked in the past few days with young Arsenal attacker Thomas Eisfeld – will speak with Dowling again next week to discuss possible targets.
“We always talk and he’s looking at players constantly,” McDermott said.
“We’ll see how we go this weekend and take it from there.
“But we’ve got some really good players not in the team, some good players not playing, and that’s the strength of the squad.”

Non-divisive Radebe could be golden ticket in bid for Leeds United’s soul

Yorkshire Evening Post 23/11/13
Lucas Radebe is a man without enemies or none that we know of. And when you consider how toxic the past 10 years at Leeds United have been, that’s some achievement.
It’s the mark of a diplomat or a skilled politician but really, Radebe is devoid of a bad bone in his body; an icon with Nelson Mandela in his corner. If you want a figurehead for a buy-out of Leeds, Lucas is your man. He carries no baggage and is as close as any other ex-player to a non-divisive presence.
There is nothing surprising about the consortium who bid to buy Leeds last weekend attempting to align themselves with Radebe. It’s a surprise that nobody tried this strategy before, though his personal circumstances were deeply challenging for many years. He’s a winner in a PR sense and an easy sell – powerful currency in the fight for credibility. But these squabbles for equity always rest on real currency and real money.
Radebe’s name will not open the door to anything more than negotiations. Saturday’s bid of £7m for 80 per cent of United’s shares was too little for the club’s owners, some of whom seem to think that the offer and the group behind it are entirely without substance. GFH Capital has spent the past week ridiculing the approach.
The consortium responsible involves Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire, and Mike Farnan, a man whose commercial experience in football came from employment at Manchester United, Sunderland and Sheffield United. He worked for the company Red Strike Marketing, who helped to arrange the deal which saw Macron become United’s kit maker, and Frank Devoy – another member of the group bidding for United – is a business colleague of his.
Their offer is said to involve structured payments on top of a £7m hit but the initial price was seen by GFH Capital as laughable. The firm paid around £20m for its own buy-out last year and has invested more than £30m through its takeover and 12 months of ownership. Steve Parkin, the Yorkshire businessman who carried out due diligence on Leeds in the spring, was offering £12m or thereabouts for a controlling stake.
So if last week’s approach was a final offer, it is dead in the water. If the approach was an opening bid, it has some ground to cover. They will argue on one side that Leeds have a limited value but GFH Capital – or its parent company, Gulf Finance House – has a heavy stake in this and much money committed. The lower the offers, the more tempting it will be to stick around.
United were highly unimpressed by leaks about the consortium’s bid and an invitation for Verity to attend today’s game against Middlesbrough as a boardroom guest duly vanished, though it does appear that he will be at next month’s meeting with Wigan. The club’s board might resent the level of the offer or the publicity it received but objecting to the offer in principle seems duplicitous when investment is the name of the game at Elland Road.
Leeds, according to Gulf Finance House’s latest accounts, are an asset ‘held for sale’ as they have been since the day they were bought. It is no secret that the board at United spend much time discussing equity sales. A spokesperson for GFH Capital said this week that the firm was continuing to look for “strategic investors” but there is no explanation of what that means or what it is that GFH Capital wants.
United’s shares are already split three ways and there are, you feel, only so many times a cake can be divided between men or women with money and egos. It is telling that both Parkin and this latest consortium sought to run the club, rather than share in its management. This is either GFH Capital’s baby or it is somebody else’s. Whether it likes the bids it receives does not change the fact that it is openly asking for them.
Radebe’s intention is to work with GFH Capital. His statement on Wednesday said as much and he was a guest of United’s during their 4-0 win over Birmingham last month. He and managing director David Haigh met and spoke at length. His conciliatory tone of his statement was at odds with the aggressive move to buy Leeds last Saturday and he did not make clear whether the group he represents is in fact the group who offered £7m a week ago. We assume that it is.
Radebe has enough gumption to tread with caution when deciding who or what to back. Likewise, you would hope that anyone approaching him for support would do so in good faith rather than in search of a cynical means of blowing up their profile. Boardroom jobs can do damage to seemingly untouchable figures. Walter Smith, the nine-in-a-row stalwart at Rangers, would tell him that. So would Peter Lorimer. But if a personality as decent as Radebe can’t ride the turbulence of hard decisions, no former Leeds player could.
An aside to the question of what GFH Capital wants is the question of what Leeds United want. Even now, 12 months on from GFH Capital’s takeover, the bottom line is assurance; assurance and security.
With enough authority Radebe has the wit and intelligence to nurture that, an ambassador who would not see high-level association with Leeds as an in-and-out job. In the right management team and the right circumstances, he is United’s golden ticket – a figurehead to die for. Unless this really is all about being filthy rich.

Leeds United: Diouf is still part of my plans, says Mac

YEP 23/11/13
El-Hadji Diouf has been out in the cold at Leeds but Brian McDermott says the player is happy to fight for a place. Phil Hay reports.
Leeds United manager Brian McDermott says El-Hadji Diouf is still in the thick of his plans, despite the forward’s muted role at Elland Road.
McDermott said Diouf’s repeated absence from his line-up was a tactical matter and denied that there were any problems between them amid surprise over the limited impact made by the Senegalese international.
Diouf has been a bystander for much of this season, starting one game and appearing as a substitute in four others, and the two-times African Player of the Year was omitted completely from United’s most recent fixture, a 4-2 win at Charlton Athletic.
A stomach bug threatened to rule him out of this afternoon’s meeting with Middlesbrough but Diouf’s lack of involvement under McDermott meant his inclusion on the bench was unlikely regardless of his fitness.
The 32-year-old has not played since a defeat at Derby County on October 5 nor started a match since appearing in a home loss to Burnley midway through September.
His season was delayed by injury and disrupted by personal matters and McDermott has looked elsewhere for creativity and goals in the past three months.
But asked about Diouf’s situation, McDermott said: “Dioufy’s been nothing but respectful. I talk to him man-to-man, one-to-one, and I’ve got respect for him too.
“I’ve had no problem with him whatsoever. Quite the opposite. I just pick teams and try to get results. He’s in the squad and he’s one of a group of players trying to get into the team. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Diouf earned a warning from McDermott towards the end of last season after his dismissal in a 2-1 defeat to Brighton but United’s manager promised to give him another chance and allowed him to make an early start to his summer holiday in Senegal.
A shin infection contracted by Diouf during his time in Africa troubled him until the middle of August when he returned in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Another short absence followed last month after McDermott granted him permission to miss Leeds’ clash with Birmingham City and attend the funeral of Bruno Metsu, the former Senegal coach who took Diouf to the 2002 World Cup.
United are known to have been open to approaches for Diouf during the summer transfer window and at least one other Championship club were made aware of his availability. Diouf, whose contract expires next June, attracted no offers and remained at Elland Road.
His handful of appearances this season contrast starkly with his first year with Leeds when Diouf played 45 times and scored seven goals. He laid on another 10. Yet he is not the only high-profile player on the fringes of McDermott’s team.
Summer signing Noel Hunt is undergoing treatment on an injury but was dropped on the basis of his form last month. Luke Varney and Paul Green are also struggling to make the bench.
Michael Brown started a league game for the first time since May at Charlton and Danny Pugh’s outing in London ended a year-long wait.
The challenge of keeping a large squad happy is a tangible one for McDermott. “I’ve been asked that question many times,” he said. “How do you keep people happy?
“I try to the best of my ability to speak to players one-to-one as much as I can and I try to pick a team which I think it right for the occasion. I go with my gut feeling all the time.
“I never make so-called soft decisions. It’s harder for me to make a soft decision than it is a so-called big decision. In the long term, even if things look a little bit hard or are bordering on unfair, I’ve still got to do what I think is right.
“Sometimes the supporters will say ‘why’s he not playing?’ But I see training, I see the work we do and I try to come up with a solution for every game. I’ve always tried to do that as honestly as I can and I speak to the players about it.
“Everyone I hope feels part of what’s happening here. I never alienate anyone. I’ve seen situations in the past where five or six players are training with younger players. But I don’t believe in that. I believe it’s all of us together.”
The alternative view of McDermott’s roll of absentees is that he now has options; more than he did when he first arrived at Elland Road as manager in April.
The recent signings of Marius Zaliukas and Dexter Blackstock strengthened his hand and, inevitably, heightened the competition for seats on the bench. The squad which McDermott took to Charlton was also minus Alex Mowatt, Sam Byram and Stephen Warnock, all of whom were injured.
“If you go back to April when I came here, I would say we now have some younger players in the squad with energy and we’ve got value too,” McDermott said. “I see improvement. That can only be good for us.
“But I’d never write anybody off and why would I?
“Someone who hasn’t played for a long time can come back.
“If any one player in our squad puts a shirt on, I’m sure they’ll be backed by the supporters. Because the only thing that matters is results.”
Hunt’s injury is a problem which McDermott said his out-of-form striker had been carrying throughout his time with Leeds.
The Republic of Ireland international suffered heavy criticism after eight games without a goal but McDermott said: “He did himself a disservice when he came in because he had a bit of a problem. So he’s come out of things now and he’s working with the physios to get himself right and fully, 100 per cent fit.
“Once we see Noel at 100 per cent, he’ll do himself justice. It’s something he’s been carrying and he needs to take care of it.”

McDermott - Lack of goals was a priority

Leeds United boss Brian McDermott says he has dealt with the lack of goals in the side in the early months of the season.
Leeds have scored 15 goals in their last 6 games since McDermott moved Ross McCormack into a more attacking role, this coming after the side had netted just 6 times in their opening 9 games.
The whites have also won four of their last six games to move to within one point of a play-off place and McDermott says he feels he has now dealt with a big priority within the squad.
Speaking in the Yorkshire Evening Post, McDermott said, "We`re on a bit of run at the moment, three wins from four, and we`re scoring goals which as I said myself was a problem for us at the start of the season. That was a priority and we dealt with it and I prefer not to look beyond the priorities."
McCormack has certainly thrived since returning to a centre forward role having been used out wide and in behind the central striker since the arrival of Neil Warnock in February 2012.
McDermott continued to use McCormack in a more withdrawn role following his arrival in April but he hasn`t looked back since McCormack was given the chance in attack when Bournemouth visited in October.
McCormack has now netted eight times in six games since the switch and he is currently leading the goalscoring charts in the Championship.
Leeds will hope to continue their good run when Middlesbrough visit Elland Road on Saturday. A win for Leeds would be the first time that they have won three games in a row in twelve months.

Ken Bates tries to worm his way back into Elland Road

Scratching Shed 23/11/13
Like the jilted-ex who just won’t go away, Ken Bates was in Leeds yesterday attempting to win back favour at Elland Road and worm his way back into the club’s ownership structure.
The news was revealed by Paul Hunt at a regional member’s club meeting at Elland Road who assured those present the largely despised ex-Chairman was quickly shown the door:
“Take mine and David [Haigh's] word for it” Hunt is quoted as saying “he’ll never be back involved at Leeds United Football Club.”
During his 8 years at Elland Road, Ken Bates was a controversial figure whose regime saw The Whites relegated to League One before leaving the club back where he started, never delivering on the Premier League promise he made on his arrival.
Claiming to have “saved” the club twice (the first time from an administration he later put us in, and the second time from himself presumably), the outspoken ex-Chairman, a master of manipulation and divide and conquer rule, polarised the Leeds United fanbase, sparked many a heated protest and created an atmosphere of division at Elland Road seldom conducive to success. All this while selling our best players to fund pointless vanity projects, like cream-cladding the side of Elland Road’s East Stand and adding loads of executive boxes no one used.
Ousted by GFH Capital following their successful takeover just over a year ago today, Ken Bates was expecting to retain a role at the club as a self-appointed, life-long President – an honorary position which had previously been filled by Lord Harewood, angering fans who felt the role should be filled by someone the fans respect and admire.
But Ken Bates’ time as President of the club was short-lived after GFH fired Bates for lavish private jet expenses charged to the club, a luxury he enjoyed throughout his time at Elland Road while selling our best players to balance the books.
Elsewhere, Gwyn Williams ‘gardening leave’ has now come to an end, meaning Leeds United have officially parted ways with another stalwart of the Ken Bates regime. Also at the RMC meeting, Brian McDermott confirmed Luciano Becchio wanted to return to Elland Road earlier this year, but was prevented from doing so by Chris Hughton.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Boro: I look at us - McDermott

leedsunited.com 22/11/13
United boss looking forward to return to league action on Saturday…
United manager Brian McDermott says that his side have his full attention ahead of Middlesbrough’s visit on Saturday.
Middlesbrough have one away win to their name this season but that isn’t a stat that the manager is looking into as he concentrates on how his team will line-up against them.
Elland Road is expecting a bumper crowd on Saturday and the manager is looking forward to returning to action at home.
“It feels like a long time since we had our last home game,” he said. “There is a real expectancy from the crowd and we’re hoping for 30,000 on Saturday which would be fabulous.
“I don’t look at Middlesbrough’s stats, I just look at us. I look at our training sessions and the way we are going about our business.
“I look at the players that we have got and then we’ll match ourselves up against the opposition we are playing. So that’s what we’ll do and we are looking forward to getting back to Elland Road.”
Middlesbrough come to Elland Road on Saturday with a new manager at the club. Aitor Karanka took the hot seat at Middlesbrough during the international break and Saturday’s visit will be his first game in charge in English football.
The United manger admits to have done his homework on the former Real Madrid man and feels that he is going to do good things for the Teesside club.
“I’ve listened to and seen some of his interviews and with the way he has spoken you can tell he is a real football man,” said the United manager.
“The last time he came to Elland Road he was in the Real Madrid squad when they beat Leeds in the Champions League. So he has got a great CV.
“I didn’t know much about him to start with but obviously I do now because I have done my homework.
“That is what you try to do to see if there is anything you can pick up about the opposition. But I like the way he speaks, you can see he is going to do well for Middlesbrough.”
Prior to the November break United recorded back-to-back victories against Yeovil and Charlton and the manager is eager to build on the momentum created by the two results.
“I think that we have been building since I came into the club,” said the boss. “We have been trying to build that momentum since April.
“We have had some really good days. But we have had some days that have been low points but you have to have that when you are playing football. You have that time when things don’t go your way and then you bounce back from those occasions.
“Middlesbrough is another game, a one off and we’ll try and win the game.
“I get a sense that the fans are looking forward to the game but I know the staff and the players are.”

Leeds United: Kenny’s happy now the cloud has lifted

YEP 22/11/13
Paddy Kenny says United is a better place on and off the field this season and Is hoping to extend his career at the club. Phil Hay reports.
Ross McCormack took the match ball home after Leeds United’s victory at Charlton Athletic but an overshadowed Paddy Kenny held legitimate claim to one of the spares. His fingertip saves were a subplot to the tale of a rampant Scottish striker.
It is arguable whether McCormack’s moment in the sun would have come without the earlier interventions of his goalkeeper, and 80 yards apart on a woefully sodden pitch they contrived to send Leeds into the international break with tails up and optimism renewed.
United’s manager, Brian McDermott, talks relentlessly of collective endeavour – the full story of Charlton away – and Kenny sees more of it at Elland Road now than he did in his first season with Leeds. A cloud has been lifted, Kenny says, which might explain why his performances are largely beyond reproach.
The keeper was a steady cog in United’s machine last season but a maligned one too; prone to criticism which often seemed excessive. It sounds simplistic to say that he was one of Neil Warnock’s men but that strong association did little for his popularity, despite his consistency in a mediocre side.
Now, you struggle to remember Kenny’s last notable error. “Don’t say that,” he jokes. Tomorrow’s game against Middlesbrough is around the corner and Kenny would rather not jinx himself. But while it is going some to say that he is in the form of his career – this a player who won a Championship medal in 2011 – Kenny feels happy. United feel happy. It tells in his football and that of the club.
“There was a lot going on last year,” Kenny says. So much so that this week in 2012, Leeds were effectively sold by Ken Bates to GFH Capital. “It was a difficult place to be last season I thought. It was a hard season as a whole, up and down, and we didn’t get the right results when we needed them. That affects how people think of you and how they look at the team.
“But this season it feels like a completely different club. The expectation’s still there but there seems to be a bit of a buzz too. It’s a good place to be.
“A big cloud has been taken off the club and we all feel more settled. That’s rubbing off on the pitch and all of a sudden we’re right in the mix.”
Their 4-2 victory at Charlton saw to that, the first time this season that Leeds have pieced two league victories together. The club sat a point beneath the play-offs at full-time. McCormack’s four-goal spree was the talk of The Valley but Kenny did his bit with three immense saves, and two in particular.
His point-blank parry from Simon Church in the first half denied Charlton an equaliser which came regardless when Cameron Stewart beat Kenny on 45 minutes with the mother of all volleys. The keeper’s reactions to shots from Callum Harriott – one a clever flick off the outside of the forward’s boot and the other diverted by a huge deflection – were crucial, top-draw reactions. In amongst so much discussion about McCormack, he was mentioned in dispatches by McDermott afterwards.
“I was more pleased with the second save (from Harriott) than the first,” Kenny says. “I had to move my feet quickly and I’ve not got the smallest of frames, have I? I was going one way but managed to get back.
“The first one was more about instinct. It’s a reaction and the ball just comes at you. The second one was better. But any save you make you’re happy with. The last one you make is always your best.
“The way the game went – for us to take the lead twice and for them to come back twice – we could easily have let them take the upper hand in the end. But we managed to dig deep and Ross pulled a few tap-ins out of the bag.”
McCormack’s raking finishes were tap-ins in the same way that Kenny’s full-stretch parries were easy reaches but McDermott’s biggest achievement in seven short months as manager has been to bring some humour to his club and his job. There was little to laugh about at Thorp Arch last season, before or after GFH Capital’s takeover.
The irony of an easy-going mood is that McDermott is presently omitting some major players from his squad – Noel Hunt, Luke Varney and Paul Green to name three. El-Hadji Diouf has a stomach complaint but was not involved in the trip to Charlton and had little chance of starting tomorrow anyway. Michael Brown and Danny Pugh are expectedly ahead of others in the queue having bided their time.
“I’m pleased for a lot of people,” McDermott said after the win over Charlton. “Danny, Michael, lads like that. Paddy’s two saves were terrific, truly terrific. As a group, the players are growing.”
How much more Kenny can grow as a footballer at the age of 35 remains to be seen. Keepers are increasingly inclined to push on towards 40 and he has played every minute of this season, 18 competitive games back-to-back, without causing McDermott sleepless night. It as well for McDermott since Jamie Ashdown, his most established reserve, has a long-standing foot injury.
“I feel good,” Kenny says. “There’s not much time to rest but that’s the way it is in this league and you get used to it over the years. I’m pleased to have played in every game. I’m not getting any younger and sometimes it’s better that you just keep playing rather than miss the odd game here and there. It’s better for you.”
Periods of this season asked questions of Leeds but they kick off against Middlesbrough this weekend two places beneath sixth; as prominent as McDermott might have expected them to be after 15 games when the season began against Brighton in August.
United pulled in a crowd in excess of 30,000 for that fixture and are quietly hopeful of doing the same tomorrow. Kenny can sense impetus behind them saying: “We’ve won the last two games and it’s the first time we’ve won two in a row in the league,” he says. “So we’ve got momentum and we’ve had a bit of a break, got a few injured players back. There’ll be a big crowd there tomorrow and we’re going out to win. “Win this game and, well, not many people have spoken about us yet. But we’d be right in there, pushing the top six.”

Takeover talk won’t distract Leeds United boss

YEP 22/11/13
Brian McDermott said he was untouched by speculation about ownership changes at Leeds United as he looked forward to a welcome game at Elland Road.
McDermott responded to questions over a recent £7million offer for a controlling interest in Leeds by saying he was unaffected by matters that were “not on my horizon.”
United’s owner, GFH Capital, received a takeover bid from a UK-based consortium last Saturday but the Dubai-based firm rejected the proposal outright and has not received an improved bid. Talk of investment intensified further on Wednesday when club legend Lucas Radebe confirmed that he was part of a group looking to acquire a stake in United and described a boardroom role at Elland Road as his “dream scenario”.
But Leeds manager McDermott said: “Things like that don’t bother me, not at all. What excites me is what happens on a Saturday afternoon. It excites me coming into work every day.
“I’m not affected by (takeover speculation) and the only thing that matters is training the boys, working with them, preparing them for the next game. It hasn’t come onto my horizon.”
United are in a strong vein of form after three wins from four games and they will turn out at Elland Road tomorrow for the first time in three weeks.
Talking ahead of their clash with Middlesbrough, McDermott said: “It’s been a long time coming. It feels like a long time since we last played at home.
“There’s expectancy about the crowd and we’re trying to get it up to 30,000.
“I sense that the fans are looking forward to the game and I know we are.
“If I could play 46 games at Elland Road then I would. Give me that any time. Sometimes we won’t play well but the fans can live with that as long as they see a reaction. That’s the message I’ve sent out from day one.”

Going with my instincts - McDermott

leedsunited.com 21/11/13
Trio return as boss talks selection...
United boss Brian McDerott welcomes Sam Byram, Stephen Warnock, and Alex Mowatt back into the equation for Saturday’s Elland Road clash with Middlesbrough.
The trio have recovered from their respective knocks, and are all available for selection for the game against the Teesside outfit.
With Danny Pugh and Michael Brown both stepping up turning in the 4-2 win at Charlton - and turning in excellent performances - the boss, who says he has already picked his team , has had plenty to consider.
“They both did great,” he said. “I spoke to them afterwards in front of the group and they did really well.
“I know what team I will pick on Saturday, and the players know. I try to pick a team that I think will be right for the occasion. I try to do it honestly, go with my gut feeling all the time, and I never go with soft decisions. Soft decisions are easy.
“Supporters will ask sometimes ‘why isn’t he playing?’ but I see training every day and I try and pick a team as honestly I can. I have the respect of the players.
“I’d been talking to Danny Pugh and saying ‘you’ll get your chance.’ It was the same with Browny. I’m a big believer that we’re all in this together.
“I’d never write anyone off. A player who hasn’t played for a long time can come in and be a part of things, and for me if any one player puts a Leeds United shirt on they will be backed by our supporters.”
The boss will be without Scott Wootton (ankle) and El-Hadji Diouf (illness) while Noel Hunt, Adam Drury, and Jamie Ashdown continue to be sidelined.

City's sporting giants come together

leedsunited.com 21/11/13
Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos join forces...
The sporting giants of Leeds, Leeds Rhinos and Leeds United, have agreed a new working partnership that will see the clubs work closer together than ever before.
The two clubs have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the aims and objectives for the new initiative which hopes to foster the loyal support for both Leeds Rhinos and Leeds United within the city and use that to help increase participation in sport through the work of both club’s charitable foundations.
The new partnership was launched at Headingley Carnegie Stadium today with Leeds United’s Paul Hunt and Leeds Rhinos’ Gary Hetherington shaking hands on the new vision for the top two professional sporting organisations in the city.
Commenting on the new initiative Hetherington said: “We are delighted to work more closely with Leeds United because there is a lot of synergy between our two organisations. Both clubs have an incredible heritage and a loyal fan base with more similarities, and by sharing best practise between our various departments it can only make each club stronger in their own right.
“However, the most important aspect of the new relationship is the power of sport to inspire. The Leeds Rugby Foundation and Leeds United Foundation are doing so much fantastic work in the community and the top priority of the new understanding will be to support that work wherever possible,” added Hetherington.
Those sentiments were echoed by Hetherington’s Leeds United counterpart Paul Hunt. He added: “We have already begun discussions with Leeds Rhinos and the exciting part of this undertaking is the potential opportunities that exist for both clubs. Already we share a number of key partners who can harness the power of both brands to gain further exposure whilst there are obvious links between the football and rugby departments of both clubs.
“The city of Leeds is rightly proud of its sporting heritage. We are a home to Test match cricket, recently hosted two Rugby League World Cup games, will welcome the Tour de France this summer and in 2015 Elland Road will host two Rugby Union World Cup pool games. By creating a partnership between Leeds United and Leeds Rugby we have made a strong voice for professional sport in the city.”

Leeds United awaiting second offer

YEP 21/11/13
by Phil Hay
Leeds United’s board are yet to receive a second offer from the consortium bidding to buy the club, despite Lucas Radebe revealing last night that he is backing an attempt to secure shares in Leeds.
United turned down a £7million bid for a majority stake from a UK-based group over the weekend and have attracted no further offers since dismissing the approach as “risible”.
The consortium concerned have not declared their identities but individuals involved with the group are understood to include Mike Farnan, a former commercial and marketing employee with Sunderland and Manchester United, Frank Devoy – a business associate of Farnan’s – and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity.
Former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson has also been heavily linked with the consortium, but he denied any involvement soon after news of their bid broke on Saturday.
The seven-figure offer to Leeds, which was aimed at securing a stake well in excess of 50 per cent, was immediately rejected by United owner GFH Capital with the Dubai-based firm openly doubting the credibility of the proposal.
The YEP understands that Verity was due to be a boardroom guest at Elland Road for Saturday’s Championship game against Middlesbrough but that invitation has now been withdrawn. United’s directors are believed to be unhappy about the intense coverage of the consortium’s approach.
A statement released by club legend Radebe last night fuelled expectation of forthcoming investment at Elland Road, though the former Leeds defender appeared to rule out the possibility of involving himself in a hostile takeover by saying his group’s plan involved “working with GFH Capital”.
United have themselves held talks with Radebe about the possibility of the 44-year-old purchasing equity in a club who were sold to GFH Capital by ex-chairman Ken Bates less than a year ago.
Radebe, who captained Leeds and played for them between 1994 and 2004, maintains huge popularity among United’s fanbase and would be a highly popular addition to the board, an ambition he called his “dream scenario”.
Radebe said: “I can confirm that I am part of a consortium which has submitted a preliminary indication of interest regarding the acquisition of a stake in Leeds United.
“We hope to continue our recent discussions confidentially with the current shareholders and the board. We would like the opportunity to explain both the substance of our proposal and our strategy for working with GFH Capital to continue the re-building process at the club.
“Leeds United has a special place in my heart. Ever since I retired I have been considering ways to get involved at the club – working at board level with an equity interest would be the pinnacle. It is my dream scenario.”

Leeds United: Players hold key to McDermott’s plans

YEP 21/11/13
Whites boss Brian McDermott has drawn up a plan of action for the run-up to the Christmas period. Phil Hay reports.
In touch at Christmas was Brian McDermott’s order and the next five weeks will determine whether Leeds United give him scope to further his reputation as a manager who finishes each season more spectacularly than he starts it.
McDermott was drawn into discussing the taboo subject of promotion before the international break, abandoning his usual caution and saying that a Championship position “there or thereabouts” at the turn of the year would open the door in the second half of the term.
His players responded to that quiet prompting by beating Yeovil Town and Charlton Athletic, reaching their two-week interlude a point behind the play-offs. McDermott thinks that most observers will see United’s form – 23 points from 15 games – as “not bad” or “relatively okay”, no better than that. But only three clubs have put clear water between themselves and his squad.
“You’ve got a couple of teams above us, Watford, Reading, Nottingham Forest maybe, who everyone thinks have started well,” McDermott said. “Ask people how we’ve done and they’ll probably say ‘not bad’. They’ll tell you that we’ve been relatively okay so far.
“They might be right but we’re only a point or so behind three or four of the teams ahead so were not in bad shape. The last period before the international break was good for us.
“We’re winning games and scoring goals and I still don’t think that as a team or a squad we’ve played as well as we can. But perhaps we’re starting to get going now. And that’s good because this is a busy period coming up.”
The run-up to Christmas is busy in a relative sense. It is nothing like the month between this season’s first and second international breaks when Leeds played seven times in 21 days and five times away from home. A gain of six points from that congested spell gave McDermott his first taste of criticism and scepticism.
United have six matches ahead of them before their Boxing Day visit to Blackpool, a televised fixture on the west coast, and a glut of combative games in the pipeline, starting with Saturday’s meeting with Middlesbrough. That fixture precedes a visit to Blackburn Rovers – United expect to confirm a sell-out of 6,800 tickets for that trip – and home games against Watford and Wigan Athletic.
The Championship rankings at the end of December are often a benchmark for the table on the final day of the season. The division’s top two on January 1 last term was unchanged on May 4 and three of the four teams in play-off places successfully defended them. Only Middlesbrough lost their way during a customary collapse under former boss Tony Mowbray.
McDermott’s managerial record is different to Mowbray’s, created by a Reading squad who consistently grew in strength from January onwards. But neither of the teams who competed for promotion under him began the New Year hopelessly out of touch.
“The run to Christmas can be tough and it’s very busy but I wouldn’t say it’s crucial,” McDermott said.
“Crucial to what? Your results over 46 games are crucial and having a good Christmas doesn’t mean you can afford a bad Easter or vice versa. There’s no such thing as a period where you don’t need results.
“We’re on a bit of run at the moment, three wins from four, and we’re scoring goals which as I said myself was a problem for us at the start of the season. That was a priority and we dealt with it and I prefer not to look beyond the priorities.”
Last season was something of a freak, allowing Leicester City to slip into the play-offs on 68 points. Leicester lost 16 times over the course of 46 games, a tally of defeat which alongside 11 draws would have cast them off into mid-table in a typical campaign.
United themselves have been one way or the other since August, winning seven times, losing six and drawing only twice.
McDermott accused his team of being too “gung-ho” after they lost at Huddersfield Town last month but their most recent win at Charlton Athletic was no less open, settled eventually by two goals from Ross McCormack in the last 20 minutes.
“We play to win,” McDermott said, “and I don’t think there’s any other way.
“I’ve spoken a lot about managing games and doing the right things at the right times but I don’t want the players to be cautious. Quite the opposite. From the start I’ve said ‘get on the ball’. If mistakes are made then I’ll live with that.
“Draws aren’t bad results in the Championship but playing for them usually goes against you. It doesn’t work. It’s not how we are and it’s not how I want us to be. And at the end of the day, winning games is what kicks you on in this league.”
Middlesbrough have discovered that in the past two and a half years, twice racing towards the top of the Championship before falling away badly after Christmas. Boro gave Mowbray another chance in the summer but sacked him on October 21 after failing to gather any fresh momentum.
A short period under caretaker Mark Venus was followed by the appointment of Aitor Karanka, whose first game as head coach is at Elland Road this weekend.
Karanka – a former assistant to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea – is finalising his backroom team and should make additions to it in the next 48 hours.
McDermott admitted yesterday that he was unfamiliar with Karanka’s style but made the point that there are “only so many formations or systems you can use.”
Karanka appeared to echo that sentiment, saying: “The best way of playing is when supporters go home having seen their team win. “I laugh at the comment ‘football has to be played the right way’ because the right way is to win.
“Yes, we want it to be attractive, we want it to be all the things you want it to be but it’s very rare to get everything you want.”

Radebe confirms consortium backing for Leeds purchase

Yorkshire Post 21/11/13
Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe last night revealed he is backing a consortium bid to buy into the Championship club.
United turned down a £7m bid for a majority stake from a UK-based group over the weekend but yesterday revealed they had attracted no further offers since dismissing the approach as “risible”.
The consortium concerned have not declared their identities but individuals involved with the group are understood to include Mike Farnan, a former commercial and marketing employee with Sunderland and Manchester United, Frank Devoy – a business associate of Farnan’s – and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity.
A statement released by club legend Radebe last night fuelled expectation of forthcoming investment at Elland Road.
Radebe, 44, who captained Leeds and played for them between 1994 and 2004, maintains huge popularity among United’s fanbase and would be a highly popular addition to the board, an ambition he called his “dream scenario”.
“I can confirm that I am part of a consortium which has submitted a preliminary indication of interest regarding the acquisition of a stake in Leeds United,” Radebe said.
“We hope to continue our recent discussions confidentially with the current shareholders and the board.
“We would like the opportunity to explain both the substance of our proposal and our strategy for working with GFH Capital to continue the re-building process at the club. Leeds United has a special place in my heart. Ever since I retired I have been considering ways to get involved at the club – working at board level with an equity interest would be the pinnacle.”
The seven-figure offer to Leeds, which was aimed at securing a stake well in excess of 50 per cent, was immediately rejected by United owner GFH Capital with the Dubai-based firm openly doubting the credibility of the proposal.
It is understood that Verity was due to be a boardroom guest at Elland Road for Saturday’s Championship game against Middlesbrough but that invitation has now been withdrawn. United’s directors are believed to be unhappy about the intense coverage of the consortium’s approach.
United have themselves held talks with Radebe about the possibility of the 44-year-old purchasing equity in a club who were sold to GFH Capital by ex-chairman Ken Bates less than a year ago.

Lucas Radebe part of consortium looking to buy a stake in Leeds United

Guardian 20/11/13
Radebe says acquisition would be a 'dream scenario'
South African made over 250 appearances for club
The former Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe has confirmed he is part of a consortium looking to buy a stake in the club. The 44-year-old made more than 250 appearances for Leeds and returned to Elland Road in October as a special guest for the game against Birmingham City.
Now the South African has revealed on his personal website that he is looking into buying part of the club and hopes to return them to the top tier of English football.
His statement on lucasradebe.com read: "Following recent speculation, I can confirm that I am part of a consortium which has submitted a preliminary indication of interest regarding the acquisition of a stake in Leeds United Football Club. The club has a special place in my heart. It is my dream scenario.
"We hope to continue our recent discussions confidentially with the current shareholders and the board. We would like the opportunity to explain both the substance of our proposal, and our strategy for working with GFH Capital to continue the re-building process at the club.
"Ever since I retired, I have been considering ways to get involved at the club, working at board level with an equity interest would be the pinnacle.
"I would not have become involved if I didn't think our consortium would be able to help give the club a chance to go back up to the Premier League where it belongs, and to keep it there.
"I am hopeful we can find a way forward and make progress."

Youngster Killock extends loan deal

Young Leeds United defender Ross Killock has extended his loan deal at Chester FC until the New Year.
The 19-year-old will remain with Chester until January 5th after impressing during his initial loan spell with the club.
Killock has made five appearances for Chester since joining the non-league side on loan and he was due to return to Elland Road after their game with Nuneaton this weekend.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lucas confirms Leeds bid but GFHC remain silent

To Ell And Back 20/11/13
Lucas Radebe has today confirmed he IS behind a bid to buy a stake in Leeds United, however GFHC who at the weekend claimed to be "bewildered" by the speculation involving the ex Leeds skipper have yet to comment again.
Radebe said on his website: "I can confirm that I am part of a consortium which has submitted a preliminary indication of interest regarding the acquisition of a stake in Leeds United.
"We hope to continue our recent discussions confidentially."
Radebe's comments come exactly one-month after he was a guest of honour at our 4-0 win over Birmingham City. Although it is understood Radebe has discussed investing in the club he graced for 11 years including a spell as captain for some time, his visit last month was not to discuss the move involving a consortium who BBC Leeds tonight claimed included Gary Verity, Chief Exec of "Welcome to Yorkshire".
GFH capital are also believed to have turned down an offer of just £7m for a controlling stake in the club they reportedly paid £22m to Ken Bates for little under a year ago. Whether this came from the group Lucas is part of remains to be seen, however the rest of his statement released today on his website appears to suggest investment rather than full-blown buy-out.
"We would like the opportunity to explain both the substance of our proposal, and our strategy for working with GFH Capital to continue the rebuilding process at the club," Radebe added. . "Leeds United has a special place in my heart. Ever since I retired I have been considering ways to get involved at the club - working at board level with an equity interest would be the pinnacle.
"It is my dream scenario. I would not have become involved if I didn't think our consortium would be able to help give the club a chance to go back up to the Premier League where it belongs, and to keep it there.
"I am hopeful we can find a way forward and make progress."
I'm sure most fans would welcome any new investors on board, but the presence of Lucas Radebe is bound to be a sure fire winner amongst the fans who still adore him nearly 10 years since he last played for us.
Hopefully GFH Capital will clarify the situation in the morning and be willing to enter into negotiations with the man who is a legend in both South Africa and Leeds.