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Showing posts from February, 2013

Warnock calls a halt to his loan search

YEP 28/2/13 By Phil Hay Neil Warnock admitted today that he was increasingly reluctant to make further additions to Leeds United’s squad, claiming the arrival of a new winger would put him under pressure to change an in-form team. Warnock appears to have suspended his search for a loan signing after United’s performances against Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers persuaded him to keep faith with the current squad during the week ahead. The United manager is likely to name an unchanged line-up for the third match running at home to Millwall on Saturday and he will consider throwing the same side in key games at Leicester City and Crystal Palace if their fitness takes the strain of three fixtures in eight days. Warnock failed to sign a winger on the final day of the January transfer window and has continued to look for available players in the emergency loan market, claiming recently that Leeds were continuing to suffer from the loss of former club captain Robert Snodgrass. The Scotland

Warnock: Leeds nearly chucked it all in

Yorkshire Post 28/2/13 NEIL Warnock believes Leeds United are approaching the Championship run-in without nerves, claiming the crisis which developed at Elland Road earlier this month lifted a weight of expectation from his team. The United boss said he and his squad were at the point of “throwing it all in” after a defeat to Middlesbrough on February 12 appeared to end their season but he spoke of a buoyant camp today as he rallied the club for their clash with Millwall. Leeds would rise to within three points of the play-offs, albeit temporarily, with victory in Saturday’s lunchtime game and they will kick off in ninth place after midweek losses suffered by Blackburn and Burnley left their league position unchanged. Warnock seemed to be on the brink of parting company with United 10 days ago as public criticism of his performance as manager spiralled and his team drifted away from the top six but he insisted that Leeds had emerged from an embattled spell with new-found belief. W

The latest twist in the ownership saga

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YEP 27/2/13 Ex-Leeds commerical director wants success with current rugby club, Hull FC. Phil Hay on the latest twist in Leeds’ ownership saga. Adam Pearson brought attention on himself when, in an interview with Yorkshire Business Insider on February 7, he talked of returning to English football’s front line and named Leeds United as the ideal club to buy. Through coincidence or not, the article was published in the same week as rumours of impending investment at Elland Road grew legs, some of them naming Pearson as a possible figure behind a firm offer to purchase Leeds. But the ex-Hull City chairman backed out of the spotlight yesterday, claiming the chance to run the Championship club was “not for me.” Pearson’s latest comments were equivocal enough to imply that his interest in running Leeds is dormant rather than dead but they appeared to rule out the possibility of him featuring in or actively influencing on-going talks between potential investors and existing owner, GFH C

Adam Pearson distances himself from Leeds United takeover rumours

Independent 26/2/13 Leeds' owners GFH Capital open to investment Wayne Gardiner Adam Pearson has distanced himself from a takeover of npower Championship side Leeds owing to his commitment to rugby league. Pearson, the 49-year-old owner of Super League side Hull, has been widely linked with a move back to the club he used to serve as a director in recent weeks, having admitted he was keen on a return to football and that Leeds were a club which interested him. With Leeds' owners GFH Capital - who completed their purchase of the club on December 21 - saying they are open to investment from the right partners, Pearson was thought to be someone who was looking to get involved. But despite strong reports to the contrary, Pearson this morning told Hull FC Live that he is remaining at the KC Stadium. "It's a funny one because Hull FC is mine. I own the club, it's my baby and I want to grow and develop it. Football is my business and I'll always get rumours an

Tonge: How Leeds can getecrash Championship play-offs

Yorkshire Post 26/2/13 MICHAEL TONGE says Leeds United must get in touch with their caring side in their quest to gatecrash the Championship play-off picture. The midfielder has impressed on his return to the first-team, which has helped yield a useful haul of four points in United’s past two matches against Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool and provide some much-needed relief following the desperate FA Cup exit at Manchester City. But despite a presentable point at Ewood Park on Saturday, ninth-placed United failed to make inroads into the six-point gap between themselves and the final play-off position, now occupied by Brighton and Hove Albion following another setback for faltering Middlesbrough. Ultimately, for the fourth league match in the last five, it represented another case of the ‘if only’s’ for United’s players, manager Neil Warnock and supporters who were again left to lament several gilt-edged opportunities going begging. With the clock ticking and just 13 league games

Promotion still on Leeds agenda: Warnock

Yorkshire Post 25/2/13 NEIL Warnock insisted today that Leeds United would be poised for a strong finish to the season if they kept their promotion bid alive heading into the last 10 games. Warnock said he was confident of a late surge from his team after Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Blackburn Rovers but warned that their chance of making the play-offs rested on forthcoming matches against Millwall, Crystal Palace and Leicester City. Leeds have 13 fixtures remaining and their goalless stalemate at Ewood Park – a game in which missed chances cost Warnock’s side dearly – maintained a six-point gap between the club and the Championship’s play-off zone. Warnock was enthused by another strong performance, conceding that United’s away form through much of this season had been “diabolical”, and he claimed that Leeds would be well-placed for the run-in if they make the most of this weekend’s clash with Millwall and subsequent visits to Palace and Leicester. Six of the United’s final 10 matches

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United: Resilient Whites just lack a cutting edge

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YEP 25/2/13 By Phil Hay It was possible at the start of last week that Leeds United’s manager was days away from becoming an ex-Leeds United manager. Neil Warnock could see a scenario where he woke up this morning unemployed, unattached and packed off to Cornwall. Instead, his players dug deep enough to claw four points from two games and delay a separation which, to gauge by Warnock’s comments, will come to pass if and when Leeds no longer have an interest in the play-offs. He left Ewood Park on Saturday night with mixed emotions: underwhelmed by the result but pleased with the week behind him. United’s goalless draw with Blackburn Rovers – their first goalless draw since Warnock’s first game as manager, 12 months and 55 matches ago – was taken from the chapter of the textbook entitled “goals win matches”. His players were organised, aggressive and defensively sound but incapable of drawing blood. Warnock counted three instances which looked to him like gift-wrapped chances, th

"Leeds to be sold again next week" -Castles

To Ell and Back 24/2/13 Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castle's reckons the club will be sold again next week to a consortium consisting of former whites' director Adam Pearson and Saudi Arab investors. Castles writes today "THE Leeds United manager Neil Warnock could soon find himself working for a third set of owners in one season. The Championship club are close to being taken over for the second time in a little over two months after a round of negotiations between the current owners, Gulf Finance House, and a consortium fronted by the former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson. According to sources, a Share Purchase Agreement was drawn up between the two parties last week in preparation for a scheduled completion meeting." Castles believes Leeds could be under new ownership again as early as next week! However I understand GFH Capital, Leeds current new owners have described the story as "100% incorrect" and are consulting their lawyers. It has not bee

Leeds take a point from bore draw at Blackburn

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To Ell And Back 24/2/13 Tim Whelan Our goalless draw with Blackburn Rovers wasn’t the most enthralling of encounters, with Leeds dominating the possession but lacking the cutting edge we needed to take advantage. Before the kick-off this seemed to be shaping up to be a great day out, with large numbers of Leeds fans in town and the police taking a relaxed attitude as we took over the ‘Postal Order’ Wetherspoons and made great noise. And inside Ewood Park the big screen showed the goals from our immensely enjoyable 2-1 victory here in 2004, which remains to this day our last away win in the Premier League. But then the match began. Neil Warnock opted to start with the same eleven players who began the victory over Blackpool in midweek, and at seemed to be working as we enjoyed a lot of possession right from the start. But the trouble was that Blackburn were content to drop very deep for a home team and we had to break them down, and we spent much of the time passing the ball round

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United: Warnock longs for a Whites cutting edge

YEP 23/2/13 LEEDS United manager Neil Warnock felt a lack of cutting edge undermined an impressive effort from his players in the goalless npower Championship draw at Blackburn. United enjoyed the better of the chances but could not make it back-to-back wins following their 2-0 triumph over Blackpool on Wednesday night. Warnock felt the tangible sense of disappointment in the visiting dressing room afterwards was indicative of a fine performance. “You don’t tend to come away to Blackburn, end up 0-0 and be as disappointed as we are,” he said. “I don’t know how we’ve not won the game really. I never thought they were going to score, even at the death when they had a couple of corners. “I thought we were super at the back, did well in midfield - you’ve just got to take your chances. “When I’ve looked at the chances - Lee (Peltier) should have scored when he mishit it into the goalie, Ross McCormack should have scored, Luke Varney should have scored. “It’s a start because we asked

Blackburn 0 Leeds United 0: Promotion hopefuls play out bore draw

Mail 23/2/13 By Dominic Farrell, Press Association Blackburn and Leeds played out an uneventful goalless draw at Ewood Park - a result that does little for either side's npower Championship play-off hopes. Leeds pinned the hosts into their own half for much of the early action but the only save of note in the opening 45 minutes came when Paddy Kenny denied Rovers forward Colin Kazim-Richards. Ross McCormack wasted Leeds' best chance shortly after half-time while Blackburn's top scorer Jordan Rhodes brought Ewood Park to its feet with a shot into the side netting. Rovers returned to their miserly defensive ways following Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat at Hull to keep a fifth clean sheet in nine games under Michael Appleton but strike pairing Rhodes and DJ Campbell were badly starved of service. It was a similar story for Leeds, whose attacks lacked the bite given to them by Luciano Becchio before his deadline day move to Norwich. If Middlesbrough beat Millwall in this

Leeds United boosts GFH's profit

National 23/2/13 Sean Cronin Leeds United Football Club is helping its heavily indebted Bahrain-based owner repay creditors. Gulf Finance House reported US$10 million (Dh36.7m) in profits for last year with receipts from the Championship club emerging as one of the biggest contributors to earnings in the fourth quarter. In 2011, GFH had barely scraped into the black with a profit of $380,000. "Despite the slowdown in the international, regional and local economies, we at GFH have met the challenges and have continued to maintain its growth momentum and remain profitable," said Esam Janahi, the chairman of GFH. The Manama-based Islamic investment bank has restructured hundreds of millions of dollars in debt after it was hit by losses from a number of soured property deals in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis. It said it had made progress in extending terms on a number of loan facilities. The bank said it had successfully restructured the $45m remaining debt on a facil

Leeds United: Long fight just beginning to capture hearts and minds of fans

YEP 23/2/13 By Phil Hay On Wednesday, GFH Capital channelled a sum in excess of £1m into Leeds United. This, the company said, was to “stabilise the club’s financial position.” Or to put it another way, plug a hole in the accounts. When the Football League introduces the full remit of Financial Fair Play, that solution to cash shortages will have its limits. Next season, owners of Championship clubs can invest a maximum of £6m, falling to £5m in 2013-14 and £3m the following year. The Football League will wave a transfer embargo at anyone who breaches those boundaries. So Leeds United need to raise their income and stem the haemorrhage of money outlined by their last set of financial results. The club have a high turnover by Championship standards – over £30m – and a modest wage bill in percentage terms but player sales subsidised an operating loss of £3.3m in 2011-12. Judging by Wednesday’s cash injection, GFH Capital is now meeting the shortfall. Only the firm can say how long it

Gulf Finance House net profit hits $10 million

Gulf Daily news 22/2/13 MANAMA: Gulf Finance House (GFH) yesterday reported a net profit of $10.03 million last year as compared to $0.38m in 2011. The bank attributed profitability in 2012 to income from profitable investments as well as significant restructuring. During the fourth quarter of 2012, GFH posted a net profit before provision of $12.9m with net profit after provision of $2.5m as compared to a net loss of $4m for the corresponding previous period. This is due to income generated from the Leeds United football club investment and others. "The results are a testimony to the determination of the board and executive management to turning around the bank positively following the financial crisis," GFH chairman Esam Janahi said. "Despite the international, regional and local slowdown, we have met the challenges and have continued to maintain growth momentum and remain profitable. Operating profit before provisions for the year saw an increase of 140 per cen

Warnock calls for more of the same from Leeds

Yorkshire Post 23/2/13 Neil Warnock has challenged his Leeds United players to replicate the form they showed in midweek in the dispensing of Blackpool. United turned in arguably one of their more polished performances of the season in ruining Paul Ince’s first game in charge of the Seasiders. But if they are to prove that the 2-0 win was not a flash in the pan, and that there is life left in them in the race for the play-offs, then the manager wants them to repeat that performance at Blackburn today, and beyond. “It’s one of those now where we’ve got to get the same level of performance,” said Warnock. “We’re playing a top team, but Blackpool are a good team and three out of the next four are probably the toughest three games we could have away from home – Blackburn, Leicester, Palace. “It’s going to be a test of us now, but I do think we’re a better side now than we’ve been for a long time. But this (stretch) will put us to the test because all three of these teams have got to

Neil Warnock: I’ve already said if Leeds United don’t get promotion I’m going to leave

Independent 22/2/13 What I Learnt This Week Neil Warnock I went shopping on Thursday. When I picked up some toilet roll it was a packet of six. Sharon said: ‘Don’t you think you should just get two!’... ...we both started laughing. Two blokes alongside us started laughing. I said: "We've got Blackburn, Leicester and Palace coming up away from home so you're right, we'd better make it a two." Don't get me wrong, I want to stay at Leeds as long as I can. We have 15 games left and 15 games is a lot of points to play for. I think the play-offs are still a possibility. I'd like any manager to get more out of the group of players than I did against Blackpool; they gave me everything. One report said: "The contest opened up in front of a sparse Elland Road crowd..." – 25,500 on a Wednesday, on a freezing cold night! It was a fabulous crowd. The new owners put the prices down and it was fabulous to get that many there. After Sunday's FA Cup d

Blame the players, not the boss – McCormack

Yorkshire Post 22/2/13 By Leon Wobschall ROSS McCormack has urged Leeds United supporters not to lay the blame for the club’s indifferent recent results at the door of Neil Warnock – and says the players are culpable. United got their act together in highly-impressive fashion in Wednesday’s 2-0 home win over Blackpool which ended a four-match winless streak and kept their play-off hopes alive. While it was a key win in the context of United’s season, it was also for their under-fire manager, berated by fans in the recent defeats to Manchester City and Middlesbrough – which striker McCormack feels was unfair. He said: “We wanted to win for the supporters and for the gaffer too. “The stick he has been getting has not been nice and (the blame) it is really down to the players. The gaffer puts us on the pitch to go and deliver a performance. “Unfortunately, managers always get the blame. But it is really the players.” The much-needed home triumph moved United up four places to nint

Leeds United players have apologised to me for poor form - Neil Warnock

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 21/2/13 Leeds United manager Neil Warnock has admitted that some of his players have apologised to him after they had only taken one point from three recent npower Championship games. In the aftermath of United’s 2-0 home win over Blackpool on Wednesday, the 64-year-old, who has said that he is unlikely to be at Elland Road beyond the end of this season unless they get promotion, said of his players: “They were aware of the situation involving myself, and over the past few weeks a few of them have apologised because we should have had nine points from the three league games before Wednesday night. “To take just one is criminal but that’s how it is.” However, he added: “But I can’t fault any of them this time. They gave me everything. "They say it is never over until the fat lady sings and we have plenty of points to play for. “We’ve got the best side since I have been here. We’re lacking a Snodgrass or a Thomas to change the game but (Steve) M

Neil’s not a quitter but his honest words were surely spoken in haste

YEP 21/2/13 By Peter Lorimer It is Neil Warnock prerogative to take decisions about his career, his future and his job at Leeds United. I read his comments after Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City and he was very honest in his views. But I think it might have been better to have waited until the club were completely out of the running for the play-offs before speaking like that. It felt a bit like giving in too early. I often wonder how sensible it is for managers to speak to the press so soon after the end of a game because emotions run high and you are forced to speak in haste about subjects which need serious consideration. It might be that Neil said what he wanted to say at the Etihad but I do wonder if, by the time he got home, his mood had changed. I’m not blind to what’s going on and all of us can see the criticism he’s taking but talking as he did on Sunday made it sound like the season is over. It’s not in great shape, that much is true, but nor are the play-offs an im

Whites hopes lit up by Seasiders triumph

YEP 21/2/13 By Phil Hay There is life in the old warhorse yet, or so it seems. Three days on from what almost passed as a resignation speech, Leeds United gave Neil Warnock cause to think that all at Elland Road is not quite lost. His squad entered the last-chance saloon yesterday evening and saw out 90 minutes against Blackpool without spilling their drinks. A comprehensive win on a night when Leeds deserved nothing less was enough to make their manager reconsider the state of an apparently hopeless cause. With the play-off places six points above them, it might make the Championship reconsider too. Promotion is no more probable now than it was a week ago, not in the eyes of those who know how the Championship works, but Leeds are part of the shake-up still and a team whose attitude against Blackpool was that of a side with little to lose. If Warnock’s decision to ruffle the white flag on Sunday was a case of reverse psychology, it had the desired effect. His comments after Unite

Neil Warnock pleased with the freedom Leeds played with 2-0 Blackpool win

Sky 20/2/13 Leeds manager Neil Warnock was delighted with his side after they revived their play-off chances with a 2-0 victory at home to Blackpool. Some Leeds supporters were calling for Warnock to leave during the FA Cup loss to Manchester City at the weekend but second-half goals from David Norris and Steve Morison eased the pressure on the boss. It was a first league victory in four for Leeds and they are now just six points adrift of the play-off spots. Warnock said: "I couldn't pick a star tonight. They were all nine or 10 out of 10. "We started on the front foot and limited them to just a couple of opportunities, which would have been cruel if they'd gone in. Paddy (Kenny) made a couple of great saves and I couldn't see him being beaten. "If you brought another manager in, I couldn't see him getting more out of those players than you saw tonight. "They played with a freedom that they haven't shown for a while, so we go to Blackb

Leeds 2 Blackpool 0: Ince family fortunes hit by sorry start thanks to second-half strikes

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Mail 20/2/13 By Richard Gibson For one manager a new beginning, for the other the beginning of the end. At least that was how the opening of Paul Ince’s reign as Blackpool manager appeared to be against a man in the opposite dug-out whose days were looking increasingly numbered. However, the fresh optimism Blackpool arrived with at Elland Road was nabbed for Neil Warnock by his spirited Leeds team. They claimed only a second Championship victory since New Year’s Day — courtesy of goals from David Norris and Steve Morison — to rekindle hopes of a top-six finish. Warnock revealed after Sunday’s FA Cup exit to Premier League champions Manchester City that he expects to be out of a job unless promotion is secured in May. It is also understood Warnock, 64, will not seek a new deal if they fail. This week, which marks the first anniversary of his tenure, and also includes a trip to Blackburn, appears to be key to any play-off push. Leeds’s current mid-table place has led to apathy a

Neil Warnock's Leeds overcome Blackpool to spoil Paul Ince's big night

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Guardian 20/2/13 Paul Ince's latest stab at becoming a successful manager ended in defeat on Wednesday night as his new club, Blackpool, went down 2-0 to Leeds United. A fixture graced a year ago by Jonjo Shelvey's hat-trick for them when on loan from Liverpool was this time an intriguing clash that had Ince selecting his son, Thomas, for a second time in his career following their spells at Notts County two seasons ago. Late on Blackpool's Alex Baptiste steered wide but it was Neil Warnock's side who made up three points on sixth-placed Middlesbrough. This left Blackpool 11 from a play-off position and Ince striking a realistic note. "I'm not saying we forget the play-offs but our most important thing is to get to 50 points, then build from there," he said. "It's probably the hardest league in Europe to get out of. Obviously it would have been nice to start with a win but this last week I was sitting in me lounge walking my dog in me garden.

Leeds United owners put in the spotlight: Q&A

YEP 19/2/13 In response to a request for an interview with GFH Capital’s David Haigh and Salem Patel, the YEP was asked to submit written questions about their plans for leeds united. Here are their replies: Q: In the press release of September 25, 2012, GFH spoke about how they were going to “lead and arrange” the takeover. Many took that to mean you were working in tandem with other investors. Did that change? And if it did, was there a time when you had second thoughts about continuing with the purchase? A: It did not change. We are an Investment Bank and our model is to bring investors to investments. Q: Where is your funding coming from? Are suggestions that you have a wealthy backer inaccurate and was that ever the case at any stage of takeover negotiations? A: The acquisition of the club and injections of working capital have come from GFH Capital’s own resources and that of several of its clients. Q: Is it correct, as reported on Saturday, that you are willing to consider

Leeds United: Funds already in position - GFH

YEP 19/2/13 By Phil Hay Leeds United owner GFH Capital last night confirmed that it had rejected outright the recent attempt to buy a majority stake in the club - and claimed funding was in place to support United without immediate and substantial investment. Responding to a series of questions submitted to it by the YEP, the Dubai-based firm appeared to rule out the possibility of a quick change of ownership at Elland Road by revealing it was unwilling to accept the offer made by a local consortium for a 51 per cent shareholding in Leeds. A representative of the Yorkshire-based group tabled their takeover bid a fortnight ago, seven weeks after GFH Capital completed its own buy-out of United chairman Ken Bates. Businessman Steve Parkin is believed to be involved in the consortium, with ex-Hull City chairman Adam Pearson also rumoured to be supporting the bid six years after fronting an unsuccessful attempt to purchase Leeds while the club were in administration. Executives of GFH

Warnock - A year at Elland Road

YEP 19/2/13 By Leon Wobschall February 18 marked the first anniversary of Neil Warnock’s fraught time in charge of Leeds United. You would probably have struggled to find a more inauspicious occasion. Don’t expect for one minute that anything resembling a celebration – even in the loosest sense of the word – will have taken place at United’s Thorp Arch training ground among Warnock and his staff. Or for that matter among United’s multitude of the punch-drunk supporters, who suffered another blow to the solar plexus after witnessing the tortuous FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City in a TV shocker on Sunday afternoon. The milestone was truly a cursory one. While in an ideal world, Warnock would have been envisaging his side preparing for a definitive business end of the season which would hopefully culminate in a record eighth promotion to guild his hitherto impressive managerial career on his first anniversary, the reality has proved starkly different. And how. For the th

Odds on Di Canio becoming next Leeds United manager shorten

Scratching Shed 19/2/13 Paolo Di Canio is now the second favourite to become Leeds United’s next permanent manager after he resigned as Swindon Town manager last night. Sky Bet have odds of 4/1 on Di Canio being GFH’s first managerial appointment while Nigel Adkins remains a narrow favourite at 7/4. Adkins and Di Canio are followed by Neil Redfearn at 10/1, Owen Coyle and Sean O’Driscoll at 12/1 with Phil Parkinson and former Leeds United captain Gordon Strachan at 16/1. Other former players in the list include Richard Naylor, Nick Barmby and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, all with odds of 20/1, Lucas Radebe, Noel Whelan and Gary McAllister at 33/1 and if you really want to give your money away, Tony Yeboah at odds of 66/1. Gus Poyet meanwhile is considered to be no more likely to get the job than David O’Leary, both sharing odds of 25/1, while another name constantly thrown around by fans, Robert Di Matteo, isn’t even in the list. Champions League to Championship a little too far-fetch