Showing posts from May, 2013

We have to be patient - Boss 31/5/13 Brian McDermott speaks about summer plans… United manager Brian McDermott was at the training ground earlier this week as the transfer process continues. The manager may have enjoyed his summer break but he has spent a lot of time working hard to start the process of bringing new faces into his United side. "I've been on the phone an awful lot, trying to get where we need to be," said Brian. "I'm back at the training ground now to try and do everything that we talked about towards the end of last season and that's in progress now really. "The phone has been quite hot actually, it's a little bit different here for me as it was at Reading. "At Reading I had a Director of Football who took a lot of the phone calls from the agents. "What's happening here is that the agents are contacting me, Gwyn Williams is involved and there is Shaun Harvey as well, so between the three of us that's happening." Wh

Leeds United: Mac’s happy with progress made on transfer front

YEP 31/5/13 by Leon Wobschall Leeds United boss Brian McDermott says the club are making positive strides in their quest to bring in a number of summer transfer targets. While the transfer market remains pretty quiet, with McDermott expecting that pattern to continue for much of June, the Elland Road chief says plenty of work is going on behind the scenes to facilitate business. The strongest transfer links regarding United have so far revolved around the names of defender Matt Mills and striker Noel Hunt, two players McDermott knows well from his time as manager at Reading. National reports suggesting that United have tabled a £1m bid for Bolton Wanderers defender and ex-Royals captain Mills appear to be premature – despite interest in the player from Leeds. It is understood that the two clubs’ respective valuations of the 26-year-old player remain apart, as it stands. Mills is keen on a move to Elland Road, with Bolton ready to sell him to provide funds to enable them to move

Don Revie - Never Forgotten 26/5/13 24 years on... Sunday May 26 marks the 24th anniversary of the passing of our greatest ever manager Don Revie. The Don sadly lost his battle against motor neurone disease on May 26 1989 in Edinburgh when he passed away, at the age of 61. Don, a former England international who had won an FA Cup winners medal with Manchester City, joined Leeds United as a player in 1958 and became player manager three years later. Within three years he had guided the club back to the top division and in 1965 he led the team out at Wembley for the first time ahead of the FA Cup final defeat at the hands of Liverpool. It was to prove the start of the most illustrious period in the club's history. He led Leeds into Europe for the first time during the 1965/66 season and won his first trophy two seasons later when United beat Arsenal in the final of the League Cup. United also claimed a first European success, beating Ferencvaros in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final, held o

Leeds United: Bolton in driving seat behind move for Mills

YEP 24/5/13 by Phil Hay Bolton Wanderers are ready to push Matt Mills in Leeds United’s direction after signing Alex Baptiste from Blackpool. The Lancashire club seem increasingly keen for a firm approach from Elland Road with Mills destined to be sidelined by a major reshuffle at the Reebok Stadium. United are not believed to have made a serious enquiry about Mills, a defender who played under Leeds manager Brian McDermott at Reading, but both he and his existing club are open to a deal which takes him to Yorkshire. The 26-year-old was a rising star during McDermott’s reign at the Madejski Stadium but his career has suffered since a £5million move to Leicester City in 2011. Leicester manager Nigel Pearson dropped him towards the end of his first season with the club and sold him to Bolton last summer. Bolton used him infrequently this season and are already looking to sell-off a centre-back who is thought to be earning in the region of £25,000 a week. Wanderers will look for a
7 November 1973 - Hibernian 0 Leeds United 0 United had little appetite for the UEFA Cup in 1973/74, but Billy Bremner's masterly display at sweeper and two rookie keepers saw to it that United earned a famous win by virtue of a penalty shoot out. "I have been proud of my players many times in the previous 76 matches we have played in Europe, but I don't think I have ever been more proud of them than I was last night," Don Revie told the Evening Post 's Don Warters after the game. "I don't think I have seen a better exhibition from 12 players over a two-hour period than I saw from my side. They were magnificent, and showed themselves willing to run until they dropped for Leeds United. I cannot ask for more than that. We were without so many good players, but we still managed to show them a thing or two. We

Byram wants to stay on at Leeds United - McDermott

YEP 23/5/13 by Phil Hay Brian McDermott believes Sam Byram is committed to remaining with Leeds United next season and has claimed again that the right-back’s development will be best served at Elland Road. McDermott said he had no expectation of either Byram or Leeds attempting to line up a move in the transfer window and insisted he was “not concerned” about the future of United’s £8million-rated defender. The 19-year-old is poised to make his international debut with England’s Under-20s next month, a fitting end to a first season at Elland Road which earned him multiple player-of-the-year awards and a contract extension until 2016. Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City were three of the clubs who showed an interest in Byram during the second half of the 2012-13 campaign but McDermott said no bids had been tabled and the Leeds boss appears increasingly optimistic of starting the new term with the talented teenager at his disposal. McDermott said: “Sam wants to

McDermott’s aiming to move deals forward

YEP 22/5/13 by Phil Hay Leeds united manager Brian McDermott insisted last night that he was hoping for a “straightforward” summer in the transfer market, claiming he had a fixed idea of how his team and squad should look next season. McDermott admitted that his attempts to bring new players to Elland Road were still at a preliminary stage, two-and-a-half weeks on from the end of the 2012-13 term, but he spoke with quiet confidence about his prospects of hitting the list of targets put forward by him to United’s board. Leeds have been making initial enquiries about the “six or seven” names laid out by McDermott, who is planning for his first full year in charge of the Championship club. Speaking to the YEP, McDermott said: “We’re making progress and we’ve had conversations with the agents of a few players. It’s preliminary at the moment but it’s not a secret that I’m looking to move things forward quickly. “For me it’s very straightforward in the sense that my targets are my targ

Leeds United target Khizanishvili decides to stay put in Turkey

YEP 22/5/13 by Phil Hay Former Reading defender Zurab Khizanishvili appears to have ruled out the possibility of a reunion with Brian McDermott by agreeing a new contract with Turkish club Kayserispor. Khizanishvili, who was strongly linked with a move to Leeds United, is set to remain with Kayserispor next season after extending his deal until May 2014. The 31-year-old’s agent, Ivan Marko Benes, told the YEP: “He has signed a contract, there is no more to say.” Khizanishvili, pictured in action against Leeds, played 42 times under Leeds boss McDermott at Reading and was involved in the squad that reached the Championship play-off final in 2011. He left England for Turkey later that summer and has been regularly involved at Kayserispor. The ex-Newcastle, Rangers and Blackburn defender was tipped to return to English football before the start of next season with Leeds, Reading and Norwich City all touted as potential destinations. A new centre-back is one of McDermott’s requireme

Hall of Fame: Legend Eddie's Induction 21/5/13 Eddie Gray receives accolade... Elland Road legend Eddie Gray is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum. Eddie, who is a member of the Leeds United Ambassador Panel and has served the club as a player, manager, and a coach, is to receive one of the highest honours in football when he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a prestigious award ceremony on 25 September 2013. Matt Le Tissier, Cliff Jones, Mike Summerbee, Peter Schmeichel, and Ray Wilkins are the other former professionals being inducted along with Sheila Parker, who played for Chorley Ladies Football Club and is the club's longest serving player, and the late Jack Taylor, the first Englishman to referee a World Cup Final (1974) and first referee to take a place in the Hall of Fame. They will join a host of other famous football faces like Sir Alex Ferguson, lan Ball, Gordon Banks, Cliff Bastin, Jimmy Greaves and Sir Tom Finney, whose achievements are already

Salah Nooruddin named as new Leeds United vice-chairman - YEP 21/5/13

Salah Nooruddin has already attended a meeting with chief executive Shaun Harvey and Leeds City Council. by Leon Wobschall Bahraini-based businessman Salah Nooruddin has been named as Leeds United’s new vice-chairman with immediate effect. United have also confirmed that Nooruddin, once a prominent employee at Bahrain’s International Investment Bank (IIB) – who purchased 10 per cent of club owner GFH Capital’s 100 per cent stake of the club in March – is the holder of 3.33 per cent in LUFC Holding Limited. Last week, Dubai-based GFH Capital told the YEP that several directors at Elland Road had been handed equity in the club after accounts of its parent company, Gulf Finance House, showed that GFH Capital’s stake had fallen to 86.67 per cent. The report stated that GFH had sold a 13.33 per cent stake in United during the first three months of 2013, 3.33 per cent more than it relinquished to IIB in March, with it having now been revealed that Nooruddin has acquired the additional e

Club Statement: Vice Chairman Appointed 20/5/13 Salah Nooruddin takes up post... Leeds United Football Club Limited are pleased to announce that Mr Salah Nooruddin has been appointed as Vice Chairman with immediate effect and can also confirm that he is the holder of 3.33% of shares in LUFC Holding Limited. Salah Nooruddin said: "I am delighted to accept the position as vice-chairman of Leeds United and look forward to working with the club's staff so as to achieve the best possible results both on and off the field." Hisham Al-Rayes, Managing Director of GFH Capital said: "Salah comes with 25 years experience in the investment business in various regions including the UK. He will be working closely with the club's executives to achieve our visions and goals. He will be in regular communication with the club to achieve this. "We have also had a constructive meeting with Leeds City Council that Salah attended along with Shaun Harvey to discuss how we can work together in the fu

Boss McDermott’s positive about his pre-season plans

YEP 20/5/13 There are some for whom the football season never truly ends. In a summer when Brian McDermott admitted that Leeds United “need a break”, as many as five of his squad will engage in international duty in countries across the world. McDermott watched with satisfaction last week as Tom Lees and Sam Byram were selected by England for tournaments abroad, and he knew before the domestic season finished that Rodolph Austin – a player who more than any other might have benefitted from prolonged downtime – would appear as many as three times for Jamaica in the first two weeks of June. FIFA’s latest round of World Cup qualifiers are arranged for the start of next month and Ross McCormack, the Leeds striker, is expected to be part of the Scotland contingent who fly to Zagreb to face Croatia on June 7. Midfielder Paul Green is also preparing for four Republic of Ireland matches after earning a place in Eire’s provisional squad. Byram’s selection for the Under-20 World Cup in Turke

Leeds United nostalgia: Hackworth had a baptism of fire in Nou Camp

YEP 20/5/13 It is chapter one or thereabouts in the book of debuts from hell; Tony Hackworth’s first appearance for Leeds United. His 16-minute outing at the Nou Camp in September 2000 was much like his career at Elland Road – fraught, forgettable and unlucky. Leeds lost 4-0 to Barcelona in a harsh Champions League introduction and Hackworth chased shadows as a crowd of 85,000 lapped up United’s drubbing. Before long, Hackworth would disappear quietly on the back of his involvement in the criminal trial of Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer. In the year of his United debut, the Durham-born forward was charged with assault and affray after a late-night attack on a student in Leeds but was rapidly cleared of both offences. Speaking at the time, his solicitor John Perry said: “Over the past 12 months he has shouldered this burden with great poise and dignity. It has been an immense burden for him and he has shouldered it well. I hope now he can get on with his life.” Hackworth made few

Leeds United Woo Striker Jean-Bryan Boukaka

Inside Futbol 18/5/13 Leeds United are wooing Tours striker Jean-Bryan Boukaka as they look to begin reinforcing their squad for the 2013/14 campaign. New Leeds boss Brian McDermott is on the lookout for more firepower and Boukaka has come to the ex-Reading manager’s attention. According to Mercato365, the Yorkshire giants are plotting snapping up the 21-year-old for a period of three years. Boukaka spent the second half of this season on loan at Boulogne. This season he has made nine appearances in Ligue 2, providing two assists.

Boss encouraged by owner support 17/5/13 Brian McDermott hails positive meetings with board members... Representatives of GFH Capital met with manager Brian McDermott this week to discuss the club's plans for the future. Managing Director of GFH Capital, Hisham Al-Rayes, along with fellow Leeds United board member Salah Nooruddin met with the United manager at both Elland Road and Thorp Arch. "We've had a good meeting over two days," said the boss. "We got on really well and spoke about a number of things to progress the club, including player acquisitions, philosophies, how I see things, and upgrading the training ground. "We discussed an open working relationship and the importance of everyone pulling in the same direction, and they were very, very supportive. "I have to say, it was very positive and very encouraging." The owners also met a number of staff members during their visit to Leeds.

Unnamed Leeds United directors acquire small stake in club

YEP 17/5/13 by Phil Hay GFH Capital has further diluted its stake in Leeds United by assigning a small portion of shares to unnamed members of the club’s board. United’s owner confirmed to the YEP that a number of directors at Elland Road have been handed equity in the Championship side after accounts for its parent company, Gulf Finance House, showed GFH Capital’s stake had fallen to 86.67 per cent. The Dubai-based firm took full control of Leeds in December and subsequently sold a tenth of its 100 per cent stake to Bahrain’s International Investment Bank (IIB) for a sum of £2.5million. Gulf Finance House’s report, however, states that “the group sold (a) 13.33 per cent stake” in United during the first three months of 2013, 3.33 per cent more than it relinquished to IIB in March. Asked about the anomaly, GFH Capital said the additional equity had been acquired by directors of Leeds, though it declined to name the board members concerned. It stressed, however, that former owner

Leeds United: Bahraini’s view investment in Whites as a ‘value play’

YEP 16/5/13 The International Investment Bank, the Bahraini firm which bought 10 per cent of Leeds United in March, paid £2.5million for its minority stake according to the company’s latest financial report. IIB described its decision to invest in Leeds as a “value play” – an opportunity to buy shares which it expects to increase in value – and claimed the plans of owner GFH Capital would “make the club more sustainable and an attractive investment opportunity.” The bank announced a deal to purchase a small portion of GFH Capital’s 100 per cent shareholding on March 28 having first discussed a minor investment around the time of GFH Capital’s £21million takeover of Leeds midway through December. The exact details of the agreement with IIB and the price paid for its 10 per cent stake were not disclosed initially but the firm’s annual report for 2012 has shed more light on its outlay and intentions. In a statement, IIB’s chief executive Aabed Al-Zeera – appointed to the board of Uni

Leeds United track Swindon Town star in case Byram leaves

YEP 15/5/13 by Phil Hay Swindon Town right-back Nathan Thompson could emerge as a target for Leeds United if the Elland Road club are forced to sell Sam Byram. Sources in Swindon claim Thompson, 22, is on United’s radar after coming to the fore at the County Ground during Town’s run to the League One play-off semi-finals. Thompson played 26 times before missing the run-in and the play-offs with an ankle injury sustained at the beginning of last month. His contract with Swindon expires at the end of June but his one-year deal is believed to include the option of another 12 months. Swindon are set to take up that option having named the young full-back on their retained list. The Wiltshire club are believed to value Thompson in excess of £500,000 and United will only enter the market for a new right-back if a substantial offer for Byram tempts them to cash in on the 19-year-old. Leeds have another available right-back in captain Lee Peltier, but Peltier – United’s most expensive s

Mancini’s exit at Manchester City casts fresh doubt on Byram bid

YEP 15/5/13 by Phil Hay Manchester City’s plans to table a close-season bid for Leeds United defender Sam Byram have been cast in doubt by the sacking of Roberto Mancini. The threat of City making a multi-million pound offer for United’s prized asset appears to have receded following the announcement of Mancini’s dismissal late on Monday night. The Italian coach was among Byram’s many admirers and had monitored the 19-year-old throughout the second half of the season with a view to submitting a bid for him during the summer transfer window. But Mancini’s time at Eastlands was unceremoniously ended in the aftermath of City’s defeat to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final, increasing the likelihood of Leeds retaining Byram for the 2013-14 Championship season. The teenage right-back was the stand-out player in United’s recent campaign, playing 53 times in his first year as a professional and claiming a clutch of awards last month, including the YEP’s player-of-the-year prize. Leeds t

Bolton Wanderers defender keen on Whites move

YEP 14/5/13 Leeds United transfer target Matt Mills is keen on a move to Elland Road and a reunion with Whites chief Brian McDermott – who managed him at former club Reading. Mills’ days at Bolton Wanderers look numbered, with the Lancastrians ready to sell the 26-year-old to provide boss and former United striker Dougie Freedman with cash to help fund a summer recruitment programme, with West Bromwich Albion centre-half Craig Dawson top of their shopping list. Mills only joined the Trotters from Leicester City for an undisclosed fee – thought to be in the region of £2m – last July. But the Swindon-born defender is expected to move onto pastures new once again, having not started a game for Freedman’s side since December 8, when he suffered a thigh injury in a 2-2 draw at Huddersfield Town – his only appearance in 2013 coming as a late sub in the reverse fixture against the Terriers in early April. According to reports, a bid of £1m could prompt a sale. Former United boss Neil Wa

Books confirm Gulf owners seeking new investment in Leeds Utd

Yorkshire Post 13/5/13 By Phil Hay THE parent company of Leeds United owner GFH Capital has confirmed that the search for investment in the club is ongoing after announcing its latest financial results. Gulf Finance House, the Bahraini investment bank which controls GFH Capital, said it “undertook due diligence on a number of potential strategic investors” for Leeds during a three-month period in which its small profits rose by 50 per cent. GFH Capital bought a 100 per cent stake in Leeds in December and sold 10 per cent of that shareholding to another Bahraini organisation, the International Investment Bank (IIB), in March. But comments from company executive and United board member Hisham Alrayes indicated again that further sales of equity were planned. The commitment of GFH Capital to long-term ownership of United came under scrutiny earlier in the year when a statement in Gulf Finance House’s annual accounts appeared to suggest that it would relinquish its entire stake in the

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1 September 1973 - Tottenham 0 Leeds U 3 It was in a mood of burgeoning self-confidence that Don Revie 's Leeds United arrived at Tottenham's White Hart Lane at the beginning of September 1973. The Whites had won their opening two games, defeating Everton 3-1 at Elland Road and following up with their first Division One victory in London since January 1971 by beating Arsenal 2-1 at Highbury in midweek.

Search for investment goes on for Leeds United owners GFH

YEP 11/5/13 By Phil Hay The parent company of Leeds United owner GFH Capital has confirmed that the search for investment in the club is ongoing after announcing its latest financial results. Gulf Finance House, the Bahraini investment bank which controls GFH Capital, said it “undertook due diligence on a number of potential strategic investors” for Leeds during a three-month period in which its small profits rose by 50 per cent. GFH Capital bought a 100 per cent stake in Leeds in December and sold 10 per cent of that shareholding to another Bahraini organisation, the International Investment Bank (IIB), in March. But comments from company executive and United board member Hisham Alrayes indicated again that further sales of equity were planned. The commitment of GFH Capital to long-term ownership of United came under scrutiny earlier in the year when a statement in Gulf Finance House’s annual accounts appeared to suggest that it would relinquish its entire stake in the Elland Roa

Diouf claims are 'complete rubbish' 9/5/13 African claims dismissed... Claims being made by Guinean club AS Kaloum about signing El-Hadji Diouf have been dismissed as "complete rubbish" by the player. Officials from the African club have publicly claimed they expect to sign Diouf during the transfer window, despite the fact he has a year remaining on his current Elland Road contract. Diouf, who returned to Senegal last week and is currently involved in a number of charity footballing events in the region, said: "It's complete rubbish. "I have a contract with Leeds United, I will be back for pre-season training on June 27, and I'm looking forward to the new season."

Youngster Dawson signs new contract

Image 8/5/13 Chris gets his reward... Highly-rated youngster Chris Dawson has signed a new three-year contract with the club. The 18-year-old, who made his first team debut against Derby in April, was already under contract until 2015, but he has accepted the offer of a new three-year deal, and is looking forward to the future. "I'm really pleased with how my season has gone and this is a reward at the end of it," said Chris. "At the start, I was hoping to maybe get a one-year 'pro' by Christmas and then kick-on next season, but it's obviously gone a lot better than expected and I've got three years now. "This will give me a lot more opportunities and I have more time to work things and improve." Chris started the campaign in the Under-18s and moved up to the Under-21s where he scored seven goals in 12 appearances. "As a first year scholar I didn't get an opportunity all season, but this year I started in the 18s a

Poleon confident he make it with Leeds United INTERVIEW

YEP 8/5/13 By Phil Hay Brian McDermott is not the first manager to think that Dominic Poleon has something to offer at Elland Road. Poleon has been a prospect-in-waiting since Leeds United took him from Southend United’s youth system at the age of 16. His opportunity to shine against Watford on Saturday was a matter of convenience more than anything else – the only striker left once Steve Morison took an elbow to the face – but members of staff at Thorp Arch expected Poleon to break through the academy ceiling eventually. He departs for the summer now, safe in the knowledge that McDermott will give him a chance. Poleon had a chance of sorts under Neil Warnock, the manager in situ when the 19-year-old turned professional last summer, but never quite met Warnock’s needs. He played and scored on his full debut against Nottingham Forest but was sent on loan to Bury soon after. A later appearance against Crystal Palace went badly wrong, with Poleon culpable for the lax defending which

McDermott hands list of potential targets to Elland Road board

YEP 6/5/13 By Phil Hay Brian McDermott wants as many as seven new signings in place before the start of next season after Leeds United ended a hard campaign with a morale-lifting win at Watford. United signed off the 2012-13 term by recording their first away victory in more than five months, wrecking Watford’s bid for automatic promotion in the process. A last-minute goal from Ross McCormack settled a pulsating match at Vicarage Road and a satisfied McDermott praised United’s “integrity” on a day when his players found themselves at the centre of a chaotic promotion fight. But the Leeds boss spoke of major changes to come after revealing that he had asked the United chief executive Shaun Harvey and technical director Gwyn Williams to make approaches to “six or seven” summer targets. McDermott released a total of 10 players on Friday but is yet to transfer-list any of the senior professionals who are contracted to Leeds for next season and beyond. But the 52-year-old said: “We’ll

A fit Poleon can be a major asset for us - Mac

YEP 6/5/13 Dominic Poleon has been told that a hard and committed summer will earn him a place in Leeds United’s plans for next season after making the most of an unexpected opportunity on Saturday. The youngster’s goalscoring appearance helped Leeds round off their Championship campaign with a 2-1 win over Watford and secured a promise of future involvement from manager Brian McDermott. Poleon stepped into the breach after Steve Morison suffered concussion eight minutes into a bizarre and dramatic game and he opened the scoring with a simple tap-in following a mix-up between Watford goalkeeper Jack Bonham and defender Joel Ekstrand. The outing was his first for Leeds in more than seven months and a positive step forward by an academy product who made his senior debut on the first day of the season. He started and scored in a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on September 22 but failed to feature again under McDermott’s predecessor, Neil Warnock. Poleon was sent on loan to Bury befo

Watford v Leeds United: McCormack winner has sting in the tail

YEP 6/5/13 The final Championship table does not tell even half the story of Leeds United’s year or the last hours of the season. “Amazing” was Brian McDermott’s verdict as the dust settled and, through gritted teeth and a sad smile, Gianfranco Zola agreed. Football’s purists look elsewhere for fulfilment – with just cause going on the past nine months – but they will not find a division in Europe which ends as the Championship did on Saturday. Plots, sub-plots, extreme emotion; in isolation at Vicarage Road and at other stadiums miles away. Leeds United were neutrals amid the fighting, forced to sit in that bemusing no-man’s land created by a league in which half of its clubs had something to gain from their 46th game. Automatic promotion was Watford’s Elysium but Leeds gave them hell, riding the most distracting of atmospheres and walking off into the summer sun with a rare away win. That in itself – United’s first league victory away from home for 154 days – made their game ag

Gianfranco Zola's body language betrays Watford's promotion disappointment

Independent 6/5/13 Michael Calvin There's something of the country curate about Gianfranco Zola, a transparent decency and thoughtfulness which makes one care for his welfare. In such a harsh, unremittingly challenging environment as professional football, his body language is too eloquent for his own good. He couldn't disguise the hurt of Watford's failure to clinch automatic promotion. He hovered over his seat, visibly impatient to end the inquest into the 2-1 defeat by Leeds, and return to a dressing room which was a cross between a confessional and a psychotherapist's consulting room. Zola has a huge job to lift his players, physically and mentally, for the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final at Leicester City on Thursday. Watford defeated them twice during the regular season, but his team were hollow-eyed with disappointment, knowing they were a goal away from the Premier League on a surreal afternoon at Vicarage Road. "I know how tough this

Watford 1 Leeds United 2: Fans Fittingly Provided With a Final Flourish - Fear and Loathing in LS11 5/5/13

by Ken DeMange In a season where positives on the pitch have been thin on the ground and solace has only been consistently been found in the support the club continues to receive in the stands, it was fitting that the football should take a second billing for the visit to Watford. Even in the darkest hours, the spirit sapping humiliations at the KC Stadium and Oakwell, the string of late conceded goals, the horrific spectacle of a seeing Jason Pearce and Rodolph Austin paired together at the back in the closing stages at The Valley, being reduced to pinning our hopes on Habib Habibou and the long, 6 month stretch without witnessing a league win, not mention the 4+ months without a first half league goal…even then, the fans’ heads have never bowed. Yesterday was all about them. A 6.00am departure on the White Rose Supporters’ coach was evidence enough that a 12.45pm kick-off was but one component of the day’s plans. The nature of the passengers, provided rather more clues; it’s not

Watford 1 Leeds United 2 match report: Jack Bonham left in private hell as he lets Watford's chances slip

Independent 5/5/13 The Calvin Report: He was the club's most unlikely recruit since wine waiter Gary Plumley Michael Calvin An afternoon which began portentously with thunder and lightning ended in bitter anticlimax and undisguised anxiety for the welfare of two young Watford goalkeepers. One was in the hospital adjoining the Vicarage Road ground, and the other was in a private hell. The worrying facial injury to goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, sustained halfway through a first half which stretched to 62 minutes, was a moment of brutal perspective which introduced Jack Bonham to the pitiless realities of the professional game. Watford's third-choice keeper, dragooned into his debut, was culpable for both of the goals which condemned them to defeat, and a Championship play-off semi-final against Leicester. They will be without striker Troy Deeney, sent off for a scything foul on that enduring irritant Michael Brown, for the first leg at the KP Stadium on Thursday. Bonham may

Leeds' Ross McCormack spoils Watford's automatic dream at the death

Guardian 4/5/13 Watford 1-2 Leeds United Jacob Steinberg at Vicarage Road For Watford it was an afternoon when absolutely nothing went right and at the end of it there was an unmistakeable sense of what might have been. When Cardiff City scored a dramatic late penalty to earn a 2-2 draw with Hull City, Watford, who were being held 1-1 at home by Leeds only needed one goal to steal the final automatic promotion place. One goal to decide an entire season. Yet no sooner had the prospect of Premier League football been dangled tantalisingly in front of Watford, it was snatched away from them. As they poured men forward in search of a decisive winning goal there was space for Leeds to exploit on the break and when Aidan White sent Ross McCormack racing away down the right flank in the 90th minute, his tame chip from 25 yards out somehow slipped through the fingers of the teenage debutant keeper, Jack Bonham, and slithered agonisingly over the line to condemn Watford to the play-offs.