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Showing posts from May, 2006
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Pugh first through United exit EXCLUSIVE By Phil Hay Yorkshire Evening Post Danny Pugh has become Leeds United's first close-season departure after reaching the end of his contract at Elland Road. Pugh's two-year deal expired after Sunday's Championship Play-off final in Cardiff, and the former Manchester United midfielder has exercised his right to become a free agent this summer.Pugh made an initial impression after moving to Yorkshire as part of the deal which took Alan Smith to Old Trafford in 2004, but his opportunities dried up during the 2005-06 season as Kevin Blackwell relied on other players to maintain the club's challenge for promotion.The 23-year-old's last appearance came on the final day of the term at Preston, but his future prospects seemed limited with Blackwell planning major changes to his squad before the start of next season.Blackwell said: "Danny will be leaving us. He's exercised his right to become a free agent and look for anothe
NO HIDING PLACE FOR BLACKWELL The Mirror KEN BATES has told Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell he can no longer hide behind the club's past problems. Chairman Bates is backing Blackwell despite a 3-0 defeat against Watford in the play-off final. But he warned: "From now on we can't blame previous boards, a lack of money or the fact Kevin had only two players when he took over. That's all gone - it doesn't mean a thing."
Blackwell laments below-par Leeds Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell said his team lacked a spark after watching them lose 3-0 to Watford in the Premiership play-off at the Millennium Stadium. "It's a terrible place to come and lose and feel as though you've achieved nothing," Blackwell said. "We lacked a spark and were second to the ball all over the park. We deserved to lose. "We had efforts cleared off the line but that's what happens in football. We wish Watford all the best." Leeds have recently suffered huge financial debt but, following Ken Bates' arrival and a successful run in the Championship, the future looks healthier. "The club has taken a few kickings recently but we'll bounce back and keep building," Blackwell added. "It's been a good season, but we've come up short in the last game. We've been third, fourth, fifth all season, but on the day, Watford take all the credit and on the day they deserved it. &q
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Leeds 0-3 Watford BBC Watford booked their place in the Premiership with a convincing victory over Leeds in a frantic play-off final. The Hornets went in front through Jay DeMerit's powerful header from five yards after Ashley Young's corner. Aidy Boothroyd's side were two up when James Chambers' shot deflected off Eddie Lewis and looped on to the post before dropping in off Neil Sullivan. Darius Henderson completed the rout with a cool penalty after Shaun Derry cynically felled Marlon King. The pitch was badly cut up after rugby union's Heineken Cup final on Saturday and possession constantly changed hands. The conditions meant Watford persisted with their direct approach, but the surface ensured their opponents found it tough to find a rhythm with their passing and movement. But both teams started brightly and had early chances. Watford striker Henderson failed to make decent contact on a close-range header from a corner inside a minute, while Young deflected De
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Sick man of Leeds puts faith in northern grit By Rick Broadbent The Times IT’S GRIM up North, which is why Shaun Derry likes it. The incumbent of the Leeds United hard-man role is champing at the bit ready for tomorrow’s £30 million Coca-Cola Championship play-off clash with Watford while championing the merits of the North-South divide. "It’s a different ball game up here," he said with relish. This 28-year-old is different. A pivotal figure in a season that will end in a winner-takes-all contest for Barclays Premiership status in Cardiff, he is the piratical indie rocker who forms a timeline back to teak-tough Tykes such as Bobby Collins, Billy Bremner and David Batty. He is the cliché killer who manages to be sick as a parrot and over the moon at the same time, his habit of vomiting before matches once turning Peter Crouch’s stomach. "The big man didn’t like it," Derry said of his erstwhile Portsmouth team-mate. "It’s an adrenalin rush that turns to a sick
WE WILL BE READY - BLACKWELL By Mark Walker, PA Sport Sporting Life Manager Kevin Blackwell has assured Leeds fans the club will be ready for the Barclays Premiership if they overcome Watford in the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final on Sunday. The fallen Yorkshire giants appeared destined for years in the wilderness when they spectacularly dropped out of the top flight at the end of the 2003/4 season with unprecedented debts that were to rise to over £100million. When Blackwell, assistant to Eddie Gray at the time, was appointed manager the following summer he set about building a team from scratch with the very real threat of liquidation still hanging over him. But two seasons later Leeds stand on the brink of a return to the big time, one game away from completing one of the most unlikely of turnarounds at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff given the legacy of former chairman Peter Ridsdale's boom-and-bust era. "From Christmas we've been looking at two possible scena
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LEEDS VOW TO HOLD INQUIRY By Mark Walker and Graham Chase, PA Sport Sporting Life Leeds have promised to hold an internal inquiry following allegations their players trashed their Deepdale dressing room after the Coca-Cola Championship play-off semi-final win. It is alleged obscenities were written on the dressing room walls in marker pen, posters stuck up and wash basins wrecked following Leeds' 2-0 victory on the night and 3-1 aggregate win. A statement from Leeds read: "Following publication of a story alleging Leeds United players trashed a dressing room at Preston, Leeds United have requested photographs to be sent to them." A club spokesman added: "We would welcome an opportunity to inspect the photographs referred to and upon receipt of them will hold our own internal investigation into the matter." Preston went into the second leg as favourites following a 1-1 draw at Elland Road. Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell admitted Preston's celebrations after the
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Red cards mar Leeds' night of triumph Louise Taylor at Deepdale Tuesday May 9, 2006 The Guardian Leeds are marching towards the Premiership but Kevin Blackwell's side appear to be wearing hobnail boots. They collected eight yellow cards and had two players, Stephen Crainey and Richard Cresswell, sent off for second bookable offences during a heated encounter studded with spiteful tackles in which Preston's Brett Ormerod broke a leg and Carlo Nash fractured a cheekbone. In the midst of the mayhem - and, significantly, before the two dismissals - Leeds scored two goals, Rob Hulse and Frazer Richardson propelling them towards a play-off final in Cardiff against Crystal Palace or, more probably, Watford. When a power cut plunged Deepdale into darkness as the half-time whistle blew it was possibly an omen that the lights were about to go on Preston's season. Though the second half started after a 30-minute delay, Billy Davies's side rarely looked like building on the
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Blackwell angry with play-off ref BBC Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell was delighted to see his team reach the Championship play-off final although was critical of referee Mike Thorpe. Leeds overcame Preston 2-0 to win 3-1 on aggregate, but also had Stephen Crainey and Richard Cresswell sent off. "There was a power cut, delays, goa ls disallowed, tackles, bookings and a referee that seemed to lose his way right at the end," said Blackwell. "I wasn't sure we would have players left the way he was going on. Blackwell was also unhappy following the performance of referee Phil Crossley who officiated Friday's 1-1 first-leg draw at Elland Road. "I was very sceptical about the two refereeing appointments made for this semi-final, and I made my feelings known to the powers that be at the time," said the Leeds boss. "These games are too big for these kinds of officials. For all the teams in the playoff, these are £40m games. "I don't understand why we
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Preston 0 Leeds 2 (agg 1-3) ITV Nine-man Leeds are just one win away from ending their two-year exile from the Premiership after two goals in the space of four minutes from Rob Hulse and Frazer Richardson settled their play-off semi-final with Preston. With the first leg ending in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road on Friday, North End enjoyed the better of the first half but Leeds' double strike just before the hour put them into the Championship play-off final against Watford or Crystal Palace a week on Sunday. United, who had six other players cautioned, had defender Stephen Crainey and Richard Cresswell both sent off for two yellow cards. But despite North End's Tyrone Mears having a goal chalked off, the hosts could not get back into the game. It was a bitter contest which included a power failure at half-time, second-half crowd trouble and a number of melees involving the two sets of players. But exactly five years since they reached a Champions League semi-final against Valenci
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Blackwell Criticises Official leedsunited.com United boss Kevin Blackwell criticised the performance of referee Phil Crossley as Leeds drew 1-1 with Preston in the first leg of the play-offs. Eddie Lewis brought Leeds back into the tie with a superb second half free-kick after David Nugent had put Preston ahead, and afterwards Blackwell expressed his concerns about the official. Blackwell was left fuming after what he believed was an inadequate performance from Crossley; Leeds had two good penalty appeals turned down but it wasn't just those incidents he had complaints about. Said Blackwell:"There were certain things I was disappointed with, I thought the referee was poor, he was rubbish. "I don't know what half the decisions were for, I don't know whether Preston did and I'm sure he (Crossley) didn't. "I thought we could have had two penalties but if I say too much I will be fined and I think the referee should be fined for his performance. "U
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Leeds 1-1 Preston BBC Eddie Lewis' superb free-kick helped Leeds fight back to earn a draw in a tense first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final against Preston. Matthew Kilgallon had headed against the post for Leeds before David Nugent put Preston ahead, dribbling past four men before slotting the ball home. But Leeds levelled when former Preston winger Lewis curled the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box. The two sides will meet again in the return leg at Deepdale on Monday. Preston came into the game as the team in form after winning five of their last six games of the regular season - including a final day win over Leeds - while the home side had managed just one victory in the same period. But Leeds were boosted by the support of their biggest crowd since their relegation from the Premiership in 2004 - and kick-off had to be delayed by 15 minutes to allow all of the 35,239 fans into Elland Road. When the game did get going it was the home side who ma
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Nugent's return boosts Preston who gain upper hand in mind games Jason Mellor at Deepdale Monday May 1, 2006 The Guardian As a diminutive Scot, Billy Davies claims his main lifetime aim is to reach five feet three, but his Preston North End side clearly have loftier ambitions for him. His quest for added stature is likely to be the only tall order at Deepdale in the next couple of weeks, because the team he has fashioned on modest resources is looking capable of ensuring he becomes the shortest manager in the Premiership. What amounted to an end-of-season stroll was played as though lives depended on the outcome, so heaven knows the commitment levels to be scaled when the sides next meet, at Elland Road on Friday in the second of a trilogy of encounters to contest a place in the Premiership. There is history between the clubs, and with cross-Pennine pride on the line, those expecting a tame affair should have known better. In the past, Preston fans have watched with growing resen