Showing posts from 2003
Times Online - Newspaper Edition O'Leary's return to Leeds leaves Gray frustrated on and off the pitch By Jeremy Cross Leeds United 0 Aston Villa 0 HONOURS were shared in a dour contest at Elland Road yesterday, yet David O’Leary, the Aston Villa manager, left his former stamping ground convinced that he had secured a victory on points. O’Leary’s acrimonious dismissal from Leeds United 18 months ago had meant that his first return to the club where he “lived the dream” with Peter Ridsdale, the former chairman, had been awaited with mixed feelings. As it turned out, his walk to the opposition dug-out before kick-off was accompanied by rapturous applause. While some would portray the Irishman as the joint architect of Leeds’s financial collapse, it appears the club’s supporters lay no blame at his door. He was welcomed back like a hero, yet O’Leary was never in any doubt as to his status with the Leeds faithful. “The crowd here didn’t drive me out,” he said. “They
Sky Sports - The Best Sport Coverage From Around The World O'LEARY CALLS FOR LEEDS ENQUIRY David O'Leary has supported calls for an enquiry in to what happened to the money at Leeds United, following his rousing reception from the Elland Road crowd on his return. O'Leary was delighted to be welcomed back by the fans, admitting he felt the support of the club was the thing that would always make Leeds a big club. The Irishman was sacked by the club after one if its most promising periods, but cannot believe the financial collapse that took Leeds to the brink of bankruptcy. "I would support an enquiry into what happened at this club," said O'Leary. "At that time we had the Champions League semi-final, a sell out of course and a big sponsorship deal with Nike and I was never aware of any financial problems. I let the financial people handle things because that was their strength I thought. I believed that a couple of people were overseeing thi
BBC SPORT | Football | Premiership | Leeds 0-0 Aston Villa Leeds remain in the drop zone after being held at home to Aston Villa Both sides showed plenty of effort and desire but the game was desperately short of goalscoring opportunities. Juan Pablo Angel had a goal ruled out for handball, while Leeds had the ball in the net only for defender Michael Duberry to be ruled offside. Former Leeds boss David O'Leary got a mixed response on his return to Elland Road for the first time since being sacked by the club 18 months ago. As expected O'Leary was booed by some Leeds fans, but he also heard some cheers from fans who remembered the good times of his rollercoaster reign. Once the game got under way there was not too much for the fans to cheer about with hardly a clear-cut chance in sight. Villa's in-form striker Angel had the first shot in the seventh minute with a 25-yard effort which bobbled past Paul Robinson's right-hand post. Leeds responded with
Sky Sports - The Best Sport Coverage From Around The World GRAY PLEASED WITH POINT Leeds United's stand in boss Eddie Gray admits that the 0-0 draw against Aston Villa was far from a classic, but is happy that his side claimed a point. Gray's side are now unbeaten in five games, and the Scot was delighted with his side's work ethic. "It was a difficult game, but I thought we did very well," said Gray. "I think a draw was a fair result, they shaded the first half but I thought we were better in the second. I'm a little disappointed not to have won at home, but I am also happy that we didn't lose. I'm trying to get the players to believe in themselves and also to believe in each other. One thing I can't criticise since I came back here is the work ethic - they are all working very hard. It wasn't a great game, but when two teams are battling for points it's always going to be a scrap."
Sport Leeds' hopes of survival pinned on Gray By Tim Rich The ghost of Christmases past stalks Elland Road this afternoon. David O'Leary laughed when asked if he imagined he could return to Leeds United with his held high. However, his reception will be considerably less than that of another messianic figure who came within an ace of breaking Manchester United's hold on the Premiership but whose legacy was heavy debt and memories of what might have been. Kevin Keegan's name was chanted from every corner of St James' Park when he returned for the first time in February 2002. The Manchester City team bus nosed its way into the stadium through a Geordie sea for an FA Cup tie and Keegan blew kisses to the vast stand his team had paid for. O'Leary, now at Aston Villa, will get precious little of this; his legacy is far more questionable. His insistence that he was unaware that he was spending £70 million of someone else's money still rings hollow 18 mo

Birch considers Leeds inquiry - ThisIsLondon 23/12/03

ThisisLondon   23 December 2003 Leeds acting-chairman Trevor Birch today promised to consider an independent inquiry into the running of the club over the last five years. With John McKenzie stepping down as plc chairman at the annual general meeting at Elland Road, albeit remaining on the football club board as a director, Birch has now assumed overall control and a new job title. Initially appointed as chief executive, Birch will be in temporary charge until at least January 19, the deadline agreed with creditors while a buyer is sought for the club currently £78million in debt. Birch's appointment as a director was overwhelmingly agreed by shareholders, who understandably voiced their anger and frustration at how the club had managed to find themselves in such a financial mess. One shareholder described the Leeds board, primarily harking back to the era under Peter Ridsdale, as "inept" and "incompetent", while another claimed they were now "the lau
Leeds United Football Club - Investigation Can Wait Leeds chief executive Trevor Birch has said that any enquiry into the club's past operations will have to wait until the future of Leeds United has been resolved. Birch was responding to questions at the AGM, amongst them calls for the dealings of previous management to be opened up for independent examination. "Shareholders have a right to be angry," said Birch. "On the face of it, it (the club's financial record) is difficult to defend as the results speak for themselves. But John came in, steadied the club and steered it through turbulent waters. The reality is the ship is still afloat. It may well have sunk if John had not implemented pretty difficult decisions in terms of taking cuts out of the business. In terms of an inquiry, all my efforts are concentrated on the club, and I'm not sure who would take it on and how it would be financed. But it's something to look at once Leeds Unite

Leeds maintain Gray impetus - Telegraph 22/12/03

Telegraph | Sport | Leeds maintain Gray impetus Man City (0) 1 Leeds Utd (1) 1 Shortly before 8.30 last night Eddie Gray would have raised a glass at his daughter Natalie's wedding. Not to toast the bride and groom but to mark the latest significant step forward of the Leeds United team who were in a dreadful mess when he inherited them from Peter Reid five games ago. Mark Viduka's fifth goal of the season enabled the absent Gray to savour his fourth reward from that short tenure - a precious point which inches them closer to Premiership safety as the teams around them move in the opposite direction. Manchester City are one of those teams and would have slipped even closer to the danger zone but for substitute Antoine Sibierski's late equaliser which quelled growing discontent among the home faithful. Gray was clearly at the City of Manchester Stadium in spirit as his players continue to respond encouragingly to his new approach to the daunting task of arresting th
Sky Sports - The Best Sport Coverage From Around The World LEEDS HAPPY WITH POINT Leeds United head coach Kevin Blackwell was very happy with a point at Manchester City, but confirmed the loss of Lucas Radebe through injury. Leeds secured a valuable point thanks to a 1-1 draw at The City of Manchester Stadium and Blackwell confirmed that getting something from the game was very much part of their pre-game plan. "It is one of those games were you set your plan out and try to get something and that is what we got," explained Blackwell - who was manager for the night as Eddie Gray was attending his daughter's wedding. "We knew we were would be under the cosh after we scored and we had to make decisions about it. It was a great fighting spirit from us and the players put their heads and bodies in where it counts. We wanted to try and stay tight and we did." Blackwell also confirmed that South African defender Lucas Radebe had torn his hamstring, after he


Sky Sports - The Best Sport Coverage From Around The World  Monday 22nd December 2003 Manchester City 1-1 Leeds United A late goal from substitute Antoine Sibierski levelled Mark Viduka's first half opener to give Manchester City a 1-1 draw against Leeds United on Monday evening. Viduka had capitalised on a David Sommeil error to put Leeds ahead after 24 minutes and City looked like losing a game they had dominated until Sibierski headed home brilliantly to seal a share of the spoils with less than ten minutes left. City had started the game brightly and opened Leeds up after just 70 seconds when Shaun Wright-Phillips out paced Ian Harte before firing the ball across the area, but it was behind the on-rushing Nicolas Anelka. Leeds then had what would prove to be a rare chance, but it was a great one as James Milner flighted a free kick into the City area - the ball evaded everyone including Viduka at the back post, who only needed to make contact to score. The home side contin
LeedsUtdMAD Independent - the definitive Leeds United website. Independent news and stats from : "Gerrard: It All Points To Leighton" Dr BILL GERRARD, a professor of sport management and finance at Leeds University, is convinced Allan Leighton is the man who will come up with a rescue plan for Leeds. Leighton resigned as Leeds' deputy plc chairman earlier this month in order to form a consortium, aided by a number of leading city investors, thanks to his business connections. "When you look at it logically, and the longer it goes on, there's only one credible solution," said Gerrard, who will be attending the AGM tomorrow. "Eddie Gray is key to the football future at Leeds United, with Trevor Birch key to a successful financial future, with the third part of the triumvirate being Leighton. The creditors would not have proposed a standstill agreement and Trevor Birch would not have come in if he had not done his homework and there wa
Leeds Today VIDUKA SET FOR MOVE TO MAN UTD By PAUL DEWS MANCHESTER UNITED'S top priority when the transfer window re-opens is to capture Leeds United striker Mark Viduka, the YEP can reveal. The Old Trafford club are set to swoop for the Aussie ace by making cash-strapped Leeds a £5million offer next month.Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson is desperate to find a partner for Ruud van Nistelrooy and has identified Viduka as the missing piece in the jigsaw.Elland Road chief executive Trevor Birch insists no fire sales will be necessary in January, but he will have a fight on his hands if Viduka, asanticipated, confirms his desire to leave.It's understood that Leeds have already received a tentative enquiry from Old Trafford about Viduka's availability. Caretaker boss Eddie Gray would resist any approach for his star striker, but admits he won't be surprised when clubs come knocking on the Elland Road door. Said Gray: "You can never tell what happens with players.
Football news, fun, results, fixtures and features from LEEDS: 'NO SALES IN JANUARY' Leeds chief executive Trevor Birch has again insisted that no player will be leaving Elland Road during January's transfer window. With Leeds £78million in debt and up for sale as they strive to avoid the threat of administration, speculation surrounds the futures of players like Mark Viduka, Alan Smith and James Milner. All three have been linked with possible moves to Manchester United, while Viduka is again seemingly attracting the interest of Inter Milan. The Italian giants tried to land the Australia international on loan for the season in the summer, offering #2million for the deal, but Leeds declined. However, Viduka is an attractive buy as he is not cup-tied in Europe and would be able to play in either the Champions League or UEFA Cup later this season. Although Viduka has only scored three goals to date, and with his strike in the 3-2 victory over Fulh
Leeds United Football Club - United: No Plans To Sell The future of Mark Viduka is again being speculated on in the morning's press, but United insist they are not looking to part with their key striker. Manchester United and Inter Milan have both been linked with making a move for the Australian when the transfer window reopens by reports, but the club's position on all their key players remains clear. United chief executive Trevor Birch said today: "We are not commenting on speculation, but we are not looking to sell any players in January." Leeds caretaker manager Eddie Gray has been delighted with the form of Viduka since he took control. "Since I've come back to the club, he has been terrific," said Eddie. "I've never had any problem with Mark, who is a top-class striker. He is certainly a vital member of our team and I was delighted to see him score, because once he starts scoring goals, to go with everything else he has go
Times Online - Newspaper Edition Chinese millionaire 'interested in Leeds' By Ashling O’Connor ONE of China’s richest men has emerged as a possible saviour for Leeds United as the cash-starved Barclaycard Premiership club scours the globe for potential investors. Xu Ming, 32, the president of Shide, a petrochemicals and housing materials group, was yesterday named by a Chinese newspaper as an interested party in the club, which needs to find fresh capital by January 19 to avoid administration. A keen football follower, Xu owns Dalian Shide, the Chinese first-division club, which has won seven of the past nine championships. He has spoken of wanting a joint venture with a leading European club and expressed interest in buying teams in South Korea, Australia, Italy and the United States, the Shanghai Morning Post reported. Last year, he was entertained at St James ’ Park by Freddy Shepherd, the chairman of Newcastle United, at a game against Charlton Athletic. “Whi
Times Online - Newspaper Edition Captain Courageous saves day for Leeds By RICK BROADBENT Leeds United 3 Fulham 2 IF EDDIE GRAY IS NOT careful, he may be getting a poisoned chalice for Christmas. It may be too early to talk of a phoenix rising from the ashes of tainted dreams, but seven points from their past three games amount to manna from heaven for a side that had been dodo-esque during the last days of Peter Reid’s reign. Having twice lost his job at Elland Road in the past, the caretaker manager is now staking a claim to be handed the role on a permanent basis. It is no coincidence that Leeds’s improvement has arrived with Gray’s policy of leaving out the job-lot of loan signings that Reid recruited from abroad. “There are lots of players with ability, but you have to use it,” he said. “You need courage.” The implication was that home-grown players such as James Milner and worldly warhorses such as Lucas Radebe are a better bet for a relegation scrap. A rip-snorting


Sport News and Results from Sporting Life   Professor John McKenzie was described as "damaged goods" following his decision to step down as Leeds plc chairman. McKenzie has confirmed he will not be standing for re-election at next Tuesday's AGM to ensure there is no conflict of interest should he represent potential new investors in negotiations with the club's advisors or creditors regarding a buy-out. McKenzie, who took over the troubled helm following Peter Ridsdale's resignation at the end of the March, is to retain his role as non-executive chairman, although it is understood he will also relinquish that position at a later date. Dr Bill Gerrard, a professor of sport management and finance at Leeds University Business School and an outspoken critic of the United regime in recent months, feels McKenzie's departure comes as "a relief." Although McKenzie, who is Leeds' largest individual shareholder with four million shares, has been able to s
Leeds United Football Club - The Official Website STATEMENT: BOARD CHANGES by Graham Walker John McKenzie has today indicated he will not stand for re-election to the board of Leeds United plc at the Annual General Meeting on 23 December. He has determined on this course of action to ensure there will be no possible conflict of interest were he to represent potential new investors in negotiations with the club's advisors or creditors during the next few critical weeks. However, the board wishes to make it clear that media comments regarding the identity and status of any potential new investor is speculation. Commenting, Professor John McKenzie, said: “When I was appointed Chairman of Leeds United plc I made it clear my immediate tasks were to stabilise the business; to improve our trading position; and to introduce a strong management team capable of achieving a robust, long term restructuring package. We have cut £20m from our costs on an annualised basis and are no

Fire-fighter Birch: 'We mustn't sell any players' - Independent 14/12/03

Sport  By Steve Tongue 14 December 2003 Give him his due, Trevor Birch is always up for a challenge. This is a man who, bearing the burden of being Bill Shankly's last-ever signing, tried to break into a Liverpool forward-line of Keegan, Toshack and Heighway, with David Fairclough as the regular supersub; then, having lost that battle, had to replace Ian Rush at Chester ("After most games the manager used to come in and lament, 'If only Rushy was still here', which taught me about man-management"); was a 16-year-old school-leaver who took a degree at 23; then jacked in a partnership with an accountancy firm to return to the crazy world of professional football, where the numbers never quite seem to add up. As managing director of Chelsea (estimated debts £98m), he performed such wonders of juggling that not a player had to be sold, and administration was avoided. Just the man then, after being rewarded for his achievements with constructive dismissal (Manchester
Leeds United Football Club - The Official Website McKENZIE TO FORM CONSORTIUM? by Graham Walker United chief executive Trevor Birch has said that reports that chairman John McKenzie may be stepping down from his position are "a little bit premature," but did admit he could be putting together a consortium of his own. McKenzie, who took over from former United chairman Peter Ridsdale in March after being invited to the board in October 2002, has many business associates in Japan and China, and they could prove to be useful allies if he does front a bid for Leeds United. "John has a lot of business interests in the Far East and I think there is a possibility he might be looking to put a consortium together with those people," said Birch. "But it's early stages and we shouldn't really speculate too far on that." Birch added: "Stepping down does two things. It allows John to be able to work and put together a consortium and also g
BBC SPORT | Football | Premiership | Leeds edge past Fulham Leeds 3-2 Fulham A late headed goal from captain Dominic Matteo earned Leeds three priceless points after Eddie Gray's side had let slip a two-goal lead against Fulham. A fortuitous Michael Duberry goal and a superb Mark Viduka effort had put relegation-threatened Leeds seemingly in complete control. But just 70 seconds after Viduka's goal, Fulham gained a foothold in the game after Louis Saha guided a shot past Paul Robinson. Saha struck again on 86 minutes with another piece of opportunistic finishing, but soon after Matteo rose to glance a header past Fulham goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. The victory means Leeds have now accumulated seven points from their last three games and are within a point of fourth-from-bottom Leicester. Leeds' initial attacks were concentrated down the right where Gary Kelly and Jermaine Pennant caused the Fulham defence some anxiety. One Kelly cross in particular forc
Times Online - Sunday Times Leeds chairman to resign David Bond THE chairman of Leeds United, Professor John McKenzie, is expected to quit in the next 48 hours to pursue a rescue package in China for the troubled club. The move, which will be confirmed in an announcement to the London stock exchange tomorrow, will take effect immediately and be rubber-stamped at the club’s annual meeting on December 23. McKenzie has decided to quit to avoid possible allegations of a conflict of interest as he attempts to negotiate a deal to save the club with a group of wealthy Chinese investors. If he is successful, he stands to benefit personally because he is the biggest shareholder on the Leeds United board, with a holding of 4m shares, about 1% of the total. A month after Peter Reid was sacked as manager, McKenzie’s move will cause fresh uncertainty at Elland Road. Although Trevor Birch, Leeds’s chief executive, is in talks with at least three groups interested in buying the club, inc
Leeds Today GREEN FOR GO EXCLUSIVE: yep investigation into united future Philip Green could emerge as the public face of a bid which would see considerable funds pumped into Leeds United AS the clock starts ticking away on cash-strapped Leeds United's bid to find a buyer or investor by January 19 YEP soccer writer PAUL DEWS examines the various scenarios facing the club. TREVOR BIRCH and Leeds United's plc board face an unenviable task. They have just five weeks to agree a rescue deal with a consortium that will not only save Leeds United from administration, but will also safeguard the long-term future of the Elland Road outfit. It is not just about finding a buyer for the business, but finding one who will satisfy the interests of the creditors, the shareholders and, indeed, the board itself. The clinching of a deal could even spell the end of the road for the very men who are being charged with saving United from oblivion. There are so many scenarios availabl
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leeds United | O'Leary defers Leeds pay-off David O'Leary says he will delay payment on the £2m severance he is owed by Leeds in a bid to help his former club out of a financial crisis. O'Leary receives a monthly payment following his sacking last year. Terry Venables and Peter Reid have a similar deal, but O'Leary says he will defer payments to every six months. "You can't cut your ties with a club where you worked for a number of years and not feel something for them when things are going wrong," O'Leary said. O'Leary retains strong feelings for the club and the fans and will now be paid £500,000 next month, with three more similar payments to follow. "The supporters at Leeds have always treated me fantastically well," O'Leary said. He added: "I still keep in touch with people at the club and friends of mine are supporters so I feel the way they do about what has happened. I have a
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leeds United | Leeds begin takeover talks Leeds United have revealed they are in discussions with several parties interested in buying the Elland Road club. Leeds confirmed to the Stock Exchange on Wednesday that the talks were "at a very early stage and may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company". The financial problems at the Premiership club have been well documented in recent times, and they have until 19 January to find a buyer with the debt currently about £82m. Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa is one potential saviour, but former board member Allan Leighton is also believed to be assembling a takeover consortium. The Sheikh has revealed that his group includes two Saudi Arabian businessmen and an Asiatic company. He also revealed that a rival bidder - believed to be Leighton - had entered the race. Leeds chief executive Trevor Birch earlier said he was confident a buyer would come forward to save
Times Online - Sport Leeds aim to resist Wenger's move for Smith By Rick Broadbent ALAN SMITH could become a reluctant pawn in the power struggle between Arsenal and Manchester United as the vultures circle over Leeds United. The striker, who has said that his future is out of his hands, has emerged as Arsène Wenger’s No 1 transfer target, but any courtship is likely to provoke opposition from both sides of the Pennines. Smith is one of up to eight strikers that Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, is considering as he prepares for the new-year sales, but Wenger has stolen a march on his adversary by pinpointing the 23-year-old as his preferred choice to ease the pressure on Thierry Henry’s shoulders. Leeds continue to insist that Smith is going nowhere. “He epitomises what we are about,” Professor John McKenzie, the Leeds chairman, said. “I will leave before he does.” A former ball boy, Smith came up through the club academy. Trevor Birch, the chief executive, sai
Sport News and Results from Sporting Life BIRCH SEARCHING FOR 'WHITE KNIGHT' By Ian Parkes, PA Sport Leeds chief executive Trevor Birch believes any prospective new owner has to have the club "in the blood". Birch, portrayed as the man who saved Chelsea from ruin with the introduction of billionaire Russian Roman Abramovich, is now attempting to douse the financial fires which have long raged out of control at Elland Road. Birch remains confident he will save Leeds from administration, and believes not only will no players be sold in the January transfer window, but new faces will arrive. Despite claims of a £17million offer from Bahrain's Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, who is backed by Saudi businessmen, Birch insists no formal bid has yet been received. Birch also hopes former deputy plc chairman Allan Leighton, who last week resigned from the board, comes back in with his own consortium, while he insists "there is likely to be furt
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leeds United | Leeds deny Sheikh bid Leeds deny Sheikh bid Leeds have denied reports that the club's potential saviour, Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, has made an official bid for the club. The Sheikh was quoted as saying that the consortium he is heading were waiting for a response from the Elland Road club after submitting an offer. He claimed his group included two Saudi Arabian businessmen and an Asiatic company but he also revealed that a rival bidder had entered the race. But a Leeds club spokesman said: "We have not received an offer as yet from anybody for the business." Leeds came to an agreement with their creditors last week which avoided the immediate threat of administration. The "standstill" deal has also released £4m to give the club four to six weeks to find a buyer. Former Elland Road board member Allan Leighton is believed to be putting together a consortium and is understood to b
Leeds United Football Club - The Official Website CONFIDENCE RETURNING TO WHITES by Graham Walker UNITED'S players are starting to believe in their own ability again after two good performances on the trot, believes caretaker manager Eddie Gray. Gray pin-pointed restoring confidence to the side as one of his main tasks when he came in to fill the void left by Peter Reid's departure, and after a win against Charlton and Saturday's excellent draw against Chelsea at Elland Road, he feels he is on track to achieve that aim. "When teams are in the position we were confidence can be lacking and it's hard to turn things around," said Eddie. "Once we start picking points up and start to climb the table I think we will start playing more ourselves. "It was all about us going out there and trying to make it as difficult as we could for them, but we made some chances for ourselves. "I thought it was up to our boys to work hard and make