Showing posts from October, 2012

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

Independent 30/10/12 Leeds United 3 Southampton 0 Jon Culley A decade after reaching a League Cup semi-final in Neil Warnock's Sheffield United side, Michael Tonge scored the goal that set Warnock's Leeds on a path into the last eight as Southampton became the second Premier League opponent eliminated by Leeds in this season's competition. Tonge's first-half strike was the difference between the sides until El-Hadji Diouf effectively settled the tie after 87 minutes, following up after the goalkeeper Kelvin Davis could only parry a shot by Rodolph Austin and adding to the pressure on Southampton manager Nigel Adkins. The substitute Luciano Becchio added a third goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time. Adkins has also lost seven out of his first nine Premier League matches with his twice-promoted team yet any unease he may be feeling about his job security was not reflected in his team selection. He rested all 11 starters from Sunday's home defeat to Totte

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

Mail 30/10/12 By John Edwards Nigel Adkins changed Southampton’s entire starting line-up but not their fortunes as former Portsmouth winger Luke Varney ran them ragged in a Capital One Cup rout at Elland Road. The under-pressure Southampton manager provided an insight into the competition’s importance alongside Barclays Premier League survival by making 11 changes and naming six teenagers on the bench. He readily accepted the blame for the resulting shambles as he explained his selection by saying: ‘Forty-eight hours ago, we had a high-intensity game, and I made the relevant changes as a consequence. 'I wanted to play the game tomorrow night but the powers-that-be said no because Leeds have another game on Friday. It was my decision and I take full responsibility, even though I’d expect more from anyone who pulls on the Southampton shirt and represents the club. ‘That was nowhere near what you would expect from any Southampton FC team. The players who have not been in the s

GFH Capital: Leeds United talks nearing a conclusion

Sport 360 30/10/12 Eddie Taylor Sport360° understands that GFH Capital’s proposed takeover of Leeds United Football Club is moving towards a conclusion after two days of productive talks in Monaco with current owner and chairman, Ken Bates. David Haigh and Salem Patel travelled to the principality following Saturday’s home game against Birmingham City to try and conclude negotiations that have been ongoing since May. The pair have now travelled to West Yorkshire, where they will be attending tonight's Capital One Cup match against Premier League Southampton, as the takeover enters its final phase. A source close to the deal confirmed to Sport360° on Tuesday morning that the deal is progressing quickly after the latest round of discussions, and that there are no foreseeable impediments to Leeds United being under new ownership well before the January transfer window opens. The news comes on the heels of a joint statement between GFH Capital and Leeds United last Friday which

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

Independent 29/10/12 Leeds' El Hadji Diouf, who was once described by his current manager as a 'sewer rat', loves being booed – because it shows people are paying attention, he tells Glenn Moore Glenn Moore When El Hadji Diouf gets on the ball at Elland Road tomorrow tonight and runs at the Southampton defence he will not just expect to be booed by the opposing fans, he will relish the prospect. "I like being booed," he says with a gold-toothed smile. "When people boo me I always want to show them I am the best – I know they hate me but I want to say, 'You can hate me but you can love my football.' Everyone wants to beats Leeds because they know it is a big team, and there is a big character on the team: myself." For the Senegalese to be ignored is far worse than being disliked. There is a touch of Oscar Wilde when he says of himself: "My reputation is not me, but it is good to have a reputation. People talking good or bad about you is

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

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/10/12 By Phil Hay The press conference leading up to Leeds United’s game against Birmingham City brought a subtle admission from Neil Warnock. In discussing the importance of establishing a “plan b” at Elland Road, Warnock said he would “know what to do” if he was as an opposition manager preparing to play Leeds. The comment was taken as meaning his squad is too limited or too predictable – and on days like Saturday, plainly beatable.v Beatable teams are rife in the Championship. The division was devoid of a perfect record after three weeks of the season and has been without an unbeaten club since its fourth weekend. The undefeated sequence of seven games pieced together by Leeds before their match with Birmingham bucked that trend but a 1-0 loss inflicted by Leroy Lita did not arrive without warning. It was the fate United avoided narrowly at Sheffield Wednesday and by a much finer margin against Charlton Athletic last Tuesday. Lita’s 76th-minute goal

Duncan Castles fighting back 28/10/12

A large number of Leeds United supporters have asked me to respond to the comments made by Ken Bates in his match-day address to LUTV on Saturday. The email apology to GFH Capital deputy chief executive David Haigh which Bates referred to in the broadcast is genuine. Unfortunately, Bates failed to provide the proper context to the email. The email was categorically not an apology for any of the extensive reporting I have done on GFH Capital and the company's long standing attempt to take over Leeds United. The email was an apology for retweeting an item a Leeds United supporter, David A Nye (@DANYLEEDS) sent me in response to an article published last Sunday reporting concerns amongst the Islamic finance industry over whether its proposed takeover was compatible with Sharia principles. As soon as I was informed of the complaint by a colleague I deleted the retweet and offered to contact the complainant to apologise. I realised that what I initially considered an amusing comme

Lita sparks Clark's party while Bates moves nearer exit

Independent 28/10/12 Leeds United 0 Birmingham City 1 John Bowman As is so often the way with Leeds United, events at Elland Road were overshadowed by dealings off the pitch despite the home side falling to a demoralising home defeat to struggling Birmingham City. With the United chairman Ken Bates confirming that a takeover by Bahrain-based investment bank GFH is likely to happen within a matter of days, Leeds fans could be forgiven for yet again daring to envisage a brighter future. But if the mood in the stands has improved because Bates's departure may be imminent, on the pitch the team itself remains very much a work in progress was clearly evident during a dour performance which will have absolutely done nothing to revive Leeds' hopes of a return to the Premier League this season. In truth, neither side deserved to win a disappointing match, but Birmingham triumphed thanks to a remarkable goal powered in by Leroy Lita from a distance of more than 30 yards in the 7

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

Mail 27/10/12 Leroy Lita produced a moment of brilliance at Elland Road as his goal illuminated a largely dull game and earned Birmingham a win over Leeds. Like many on show today, the on-loan striker was a virtual spectator for most of the afternoon, but made his presence felt in the 76th minute when he cracked a bullet-like 30-yard drive beyond a helpless Paddy Kenny. It was a goal Birmingham scarcely deserved, although Leeds' showing did not merit anything either, but that will matter little to City manager Lee Clark who celebrated his 40th birthday with his club's second away win in 11 months. For a long time it had looked as though that would not be the outcome, with opportunities few and far between and only Ravel Morrison and El-Hadji Diouf looking like scoring. Lita changed all that, however, as he ended both sides' two-game drawing streaks, with Birmingham finishing up in a manner that was representative of their three-goal comeback in the 3-3 draw at Millwa

What Ken Said – 27.10.12 – Castles In The Sky

Square Ball 27/10/12 By Fax Man Taken from the end of LUTV’s interview with Leeds United’s current owner Ken Bates today… Ken Bates: What I can tell you is, matters are progressing but it is not being helped by people who are trying to cause trouble for some reason. I’m particularly curious about a fellow called Duncan Castles. He’s a gentleman that lives in South Africa and all of a sudden he’s an expert in Arabic affairs and football affairs. I don’t know if this is the same Duncan Castles who has lost his job at about three national newspapers and I’m puzzled that somebody sitting in South Africa can be concentrating on Leeds United and a big Gulf financial institution 8,000 miles away. He seems to be obsessed. Almost a stalker. He’s asking the most peculiar questions. Actually, to use a technical term, he’s just making himself a pain in the arse. (camera cuts) It’s interesting that he has had to send an email apology to GFH and I’d like to read it to you in full. He sent it to D

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

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/10/12 By Phil Hay GFH Capital’s protracted takeover of Leeds United appeared to be a step closer today after the Dubai-based firm provided confirmation that it has the money needed to close out a £52million deal. A joint statement issued by GFH Capital and Leeds said the company had produced “the necessary proof that it has the funds available” to bring an end to its pain-staking attempt to buy the Championship club. Negotiations between GFH Capital officials and United’s owner and chairman, Ken Bates, are heading into a sixth month amid growing confusion about the delay in agreeing a sale. The financial strength of GFH Capital has come under intense scrutiny amid concerns about the stability of its parent company, the Bahraini investment bank Gulf Finance House, but deputy chief executive David Haigh said the firm was “poised to make this deal happen” after offering fresh evidence of its ability to fund a takeover at Elland Road. GFH Capital has already

Mike O'Grady, great bloke

Just had a phone conversation today with Mike O'Grady, Leeds winger from the Seventies, wanting to put the record straight about his involvement (or lack of it more like) in the bribery scandal when United lost at Wolves two days after the 1972 FA Cup final and thus lost the Double. The Mirror claimed Mike was involved and Andrew Mourant said that he had admitted it. All b******s according to Mike, who was pretty upset about the whole thing. The Mirror later claimed that Don Revie tried to fix the game. Andrew Mourant: "It was alleged that Mike O'Grady had been approached by Revie as an intermediary to see if the Wolves players might be bribed so that the game would go in Leeds' favour. The Mirror article, quite explicitly, had O'Grady claiming that Revie made the offer, and O'Grady made the approach on his behalf.” O’Grady strenuously refutes those allegations to this day. He insists that he was never chased by the Mirror for an interview or in fact s

Bates encouraged as Leeds takeover takes step forward

Yorkshire Post 27/10/12 THE takeover of Leeds United has moved a step closer after the Gulf investment bank bidding to take control provided the necessary proof of funds. Talks over a possible change of ownership have been dragging on for more than five months between the Elland Road club and GFH Capital. Delays in recent weeks had left supporters wondering if the much touted buy-out of United’s parent company, Leeds City Holdings, was destined never to become reality. But a breakthrough seems to have been made after chairman Ken Bates, who owns a 72.85 per cent shareholding, was given confirmation that the money needed to close a deal, with a reported price of £52m, is in place. Bates said: “It has been a long road, but we are in a good place. Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon.” The news that the money is in place means a substantial hurdle has been cleared. GFH Capital announced last

Leeds United takeover approaching completion - Ken Bates

BBC 26/10/12 The proposed takeover of Leeds United is approaching completion, according to chairman and owner Ken Bates. Bates told the club's website that Middle East-based private equity group GFH Capital has now provided proof it has the funds to close the transaction. Bates said: "It's been a long road but we are in a good place. We hope to complete very soon." Talks began at the end of May and Monaco-based Bates recently blamed GFH's lawyers for the long delays. However, in a joint statement, GFH deputy chief executive officer David Haigh warned there were still issues to be addressed. He said: "With the money in place we are poised to make this deal happen, pending agreements and arrangements which are in the interests of the future of Leeds United - we need to make sure all the finer detail is addressed before trading signatures." GFH chief investment officer Saleem Patel attempted to address supporters' concerns regarding the level

Joint statement from Leeds United/GFH Capital

Image 26/10/12 Advanced talks continue between Leeds United and GFH Capital... As an obligatory part of this stage of the talks, GFH Capital, which has already provided £2m to the Club with further funds available, has now provided the Leeds United FC owners and management with the necessary proof that it has the funds available to close this transaction. Leeds United chairman Ken Bates said: "It's been a long road but we are in a good place. Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon. The inaccurate reporting of certain journalists who will remain unnamed does not help the situation. Their articles, based upon a lack of knowledge of the intricacies of the deal and the full facts of the positive intentions of GFH Capital, achieve little and lead only to retractions or public apologies at a later date." David Haigh, Deputy CEO, GFH Capital said: "With the money in pl

Subdued Whites settle for a point

Yorkshire Evening Post 24/10/12 By Phil Hay From the chaos and hostility of Hillsborough to the relative slumber of a 1-1 draw at home to Charlton Athletic; there are ways of keeping a crowd in check and last night’s game at Elland Road was one. As a contrast of football, emotion and scandal, Leeds United’s derby at Sheffield Wednesday last Friday felt like a different sport. The ramifications of that controversial game have been all-consuming and a FA investigation into it has some way to run but United’s meeting with Charlton will not resonate in the corridors of Soho Square. It made hard work of encapsulating Elland Road. There was, in truth, no harm in United’s first game since Hillsborough passing off without any choice headlines and it would have suited Neil Warnock had his team teased three points from an hour-and-a-half of unremarkable entertainment. David Norris’ 37th-minute goal – an isolated moment of poise and inspiration – gave United that chance. But Dorian Dervit

Bates disgusted by vile chanting from Leeds and Wednesday fans

Yorkshire Post 22/10/12 KEN BATES last night insisted both Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday fans deserve condemnation for the vile chants that shamed Yorkshire football. Last Friday’s derby at Hillsborough was marred by ugly scenes as Owls goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was knocked to the ground during a mini pitch-invasion and missiles were hurled by rival fans. The Football Association have launched an investigation into the violence that followed clearly audible chants mocking the murder of two Leeds fans in Istanbul 12 years ago and similarly sickening abuse aimed at Wednesday manager Dave Jones over the child abuse allegations from which he was totally exonerated in 2000. In the immediate aftermath of his side’s 1-1 draw, Jones branded the United fans present at the derby as “vile animals” and called for them to be banned from away grounds in the future. Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post, Bates feels some of the Owls manager’s comments were made in the heat of the mome

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

Independent 21/10/12 Talking Football: There were 3,089 arrests out of an attendance of 37m. That's 0.01 per cent Sam Wallace When he reflects on his attack on Chris Kirkland at Hillsborough on Friday, the Leeds United fan in question might wonder why he picked the night the Sky Sports HD cameras were in town – capable of reading the "LUFC" tattoo on his neck, never mind capturing his grinning face. Violent, cowardly and thuggish? Undoubtedly, but not exactly the Professor Moriarty of football-related crime, is he? And as for his fellow pitch invaders, one of them – you will have to refer back to the video clip for this one – appears to be, for reasons best known to himself, fighting with the goal net. Kirkland, thankfully, was not seriously injured. As for his alleged assailant, widely named in newspapers and on social media there is a good chance he will be given a custodial sentence. His banning order from football grounds will be so long there is even a chance Le

Fan jailed over pitch assault on England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland

Independent 22/10/12 A football fan who admitted attacking goalkeeper Chris Kirkland during a televised football match was jailed today for 16 weeks. Aaron Cawley, 21, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to assault and invading the pitch during Leeds United's match against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday evening. Cawley, who appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court, was arrested after Sheffield Wednesday keeper Kirkland was confronted and pushed in the face during the game at Hillsborough stadium. The incident occured as Leeds United fans celebrated a 76th minute equaliser in the acidic match which ended 1-1. Kirkland, a former Liverpool player who has played once for England, was shoved to the ground moments after conceding the late goal. Viewers of the Championship match clearly saw a man running from among the Leeds fans onto the pitch and pushing Kirkland in the face before running back into the crowd. Kirkland was given treatment by medical staff after the incident. The