Showing posts from December, 2023

The Leeds hero who became Judas – why did Alan Smith move to Manchester United? — The Athletic 13/5/20

By Phil Hay What strikes you first about Alan Smith’s answer is the brevity of it. Throwaway, casual, almost innocuous. Blink and it’s gone. He’s on Soccer AM in 2002, answering questions for the show’s “Changing Rooms” feature. Is there a club he would never join? “Yeah. Man United.” He looks and sounds young in the video, clean-faced with spiky blond hair. His comments are unguarded, as if they don’t matter, and he has since said that he regrets the naivety of that interview. Manchester United were the club he would never join, a club incompatible with his Leeds United roots. Except two years later, Smith did. And the interview, the transfer, the implied betrayal has always been held against him. There was already a path between Elland Road and Old Trafford, trodden before in both directions. Two of Leeds’ most influential signings — Johnny Giles and Gordon Strachan — came from Manchester United at the outset of Leeds’ greatest eras. But both were surplus in Manchester and over

Leeds United fans join tribute, mixed reception for Daniel Farke and off-camera West Brom moments — YEP 30/12/23

Leeds United’s away form continues to be a problem as they head into 2024 and the joy of their recent win over Ipswich Town has been quickly forgotten. By Graham Smyth For the first time under Daniel Farke the Whites have lost consecutive games, going down 2-1 at Preston North End and 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion. That makes it one win in five games for Leeds and there are now three sides at least six points ahead of them in the Championship. Here’s the YEP take on what transpired at The Hawthorns, when Farke went up against ex-Leeds coach Carlos Corberan. Good day: Joe Rodon One of those who stood up and at least held down his job. The defender tried to bring some progression to the performance from the back, and he was wholehearted in his defensive effort, despite looking to be struggling with a knock in the second half. Bad day: Joel Piroe This was another one of those games for Piroe, one of those that passes him by without anything like the impact he's capable of. T


Legendary manager appointed an OBE for services to football and charity Legendary Leeds United manager Howard Wilkinson has been named in the 2024 New Year Honours List, alongside a host of sporting stars, including former Leeds Rhinos players Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield. Wilkinson, who celebrated his 80th birthday last month, has been appointed an OBE for his services to football and charity, including his current work as chairman of the League Managers Association. The last English manager to win the top flight, Wilkinson joined Leeds in October 1988 from Sheffield Wednesday, going on to revolutionise the club from top to bottom, over the course of the following eight years. Wilkinson led the Whites to promotion in his first full season in charge, topping the 1989/90 Second Division (now Championship), before watching his side be crowned 1991/92 First Division (now Premier League) champions. Leeds would follow this up by lifting the 1992 Charity Shield, playing in the Cha

Leeds United’s 2023: Allardyce, Farke, Summerville, Piroe’s goal and the win at Leicester — The Athletic 29/12/23

Leeds United’s 2023: Allardyce, Farke, Summerville, Piroe’s goal and the win at Leicester By Phil Hay Goodbye to 2023 and, quite honestly, who in Leeds is mourning its passing? The past year for Leeds United, or more than half of it anyway, is what happens when a club gets so much wrong. No escape, no get-out-of-jail card, a team who worked so hard to get into the Premier League forced to start over in the Championship. But in Leeds, the hope tends to kill you — and here they are with 2024 around the corner, wondering again what fate will smash in their collective face. A 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Friday night was a turn for the worse in their league campaign, hot on the heels of a Boxing Day loss at Preston North End, the automatic promotion positions now looking less and less attainable. As Leeds laboured through the second half at The Hawthorns, with attacking players stacked on the pitch, the art of creating and scoring deserted them; all the gear but no idea. G

Leeds United leave 2023 with too-familiar sensation as Farke is challenged on 2024 - Graham Smyth's Verdict — YEP 30/12/23

Leeds United will exit 2023 with sensations that have been all too familar after a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion. By Graham Smyth It's a good job football is lived in seasons rather than calendar years. 2023 has been, in the overall balance, none too kind to Leeds United, bringing with it a painful and calamitous relegation. What ups there were struggled to match the downs for significance. A new ownership era and new management, in the shape of Daniel Farke, introduced hope for the second half of 2023 and beyond, but it felt depressingly on brand for 2023 that it ended in defeat and frustration. The manager has been inundated with calls to make changes to his starting XI in recent weeks, having stuck so sturdily to a favoured line-up and after the defeat by Preston North End he acquiesced, partly out of obligation. Illan Meslier's three-match suspension for violent conduct brought Karl Darlow in between the sticks for a first Championship start in Leeds colours. Lia

What Daniel Farke said about Leeds United penalty decision and reason for defeat at West Brom — YEP 29/12/23

Daniel Farke lamented Leeds United’s inability to turn good positions into good chances and a refereeing decision that went against them in a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion. By Graham Smyth The Whites suffered a third defeat in five games and their fourth away loss by a 1-0 scoreline this season, after struggling to break down yet another stubborn and organised defence. Farke rang the changes, making five in all including the enforced replacement of the suspended Illan Meslier and the injured Pascal Struijk. In came Sam Byram, Ilia Gruev and Willy Gnonto, along with Karl Darlow and Liam Cooper. But while Leeds should have had at least one penalty in the first half, they drew just the one save of note from Alex Palmer in the Baggies goal and conceded a soft one at the other end. Jed Wallace was given the freedom of the Black Country on the right wing and his cross was tucked in at the second attempt by Grady Diangana. Farke threw on more attackers in the second half and Leeds

West Brom 1 Leeds United 0: Whites promotion hopes suffer second successive setback — Yorkshire Post 29/12/23

Leeds United’s hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship suffered another blow as they were beaten 1-0 by West Brom at the Hawthorns. Grady Diangana’s 37th-minute goal was enough to give former Leeds coach Carlos Corberan back-to-back home wins and inflict a second consecutive loss on Daniel Farke’s side, who have won one of their last five games and trail second-placed Ipswich by nine points. And they did little to suggest they could come back from Diangana’s fifth goal of the season as they failed to test West Brom goalkeeper Alex Palmer. But they were perhaps unfortunate not to win a 30th-minute penalty for Cedric Kipre’s challenge on Wilfried Gnonto. Leeds settled quicker and had the ball in the net in the 16th minute when Sam Byram swept home Joel Piroe’s cross on the volley, but the full-back had strayed a yard offside. West Brom were denied the opening goal in the 23rd minute with their first serious attack. Djed Spence cleared Kipre’s low volley off the lin

Daniel Farke reveals Leeds United behind-the-scenes evidence in question over Patrick Bamford happiness — YEP 28/12/23

When it comes to judging Patrick Bamford's happiness at Leeds United, Daniel Farke cannot read the striker's mind but he can be informed by what he sees behind the scenes. By Graham Smyth A puff of the cheeks and a somewhat rueful look from Bamford to the camera as he entered Elland Road for the Ipswich Town game was picked up on, because it was enough to be picked up on. That kind of body language, on its own, might mean nothing at all and yet when combined with Bamford's recent tendency to go straight down the tunnel instead of around the pitch, it felt like something. Maybe. Would it be such a surprise if the 30-year-old was not skipping off the bus and grinning inanely on his way into work, given how things have gone for him. The injuries, the lack of goals, the lack of joy, the relegation, the lack of game time and opportunity. And the abuse, criticism that went way beyond what is remotely acceptable and veered distinctly into vindictive, targeted bullying and di

West Brom v Leeds United: Daniel Farke press conference on team news, full backs and young star — YEP 28/12/23

Leeds United face a swift return to action after Boxing Day’s disappointment at Deepdale with Friday night’s trip to West Brom, ahead of which boss Daniel Farke has held his pre-match press conference. By Lee Sobot Leeds lined up for Boxing Day’s lunchtime kick-off at Deepdale sat third and just seven points adrift of the division’s second automatic promotion place occupied by Ipswich Town. Leeds, though, suffered a 2-1 reverse which led to the Whites dropping down to fourth place after a fresh boost for promotion rivals Southampton who walloped Swansea City 5-0 at St Mary’s. The win put the Saints three points ahead of fourth-placed Leeds who are now eight points behind second-placed Ipswich Town who left it late to bag a 1-1 draw from Boxing Day’s late game at home to leaders Leicester City who are now 14 points ahead of the Whites. For Leeds, a Friday night trip to fifth-placed West Brom is next on the agenda as the Whites face a side just one position and six points below t

Daniel Farke explains Pascal Struijk penalties standing with Leeds United 'karma' claim — YEP 28/12/23

Daniel Farke has explained Pascal Struijk’s Leeds United penalties standing and his annoyance in a Whites “karma” claim. By Lee Sobot Farke’s side were awarded an 82nd-minute spot kick in Boxing Day’s Championship clash at Preston North End as they chased an equaliser in being both a goal and man down after ‘keeper Illan Meslier’s dismissal. Despite the presence of several Whites attackers, centre-back Struijk stepped up to take United’s penalty before producing a finish that any striker would have been proud of, sending keeper Freddie Woodman the wrong way to draw his side level. Struijk’s conversion put Leeds on course to take a point that Farke said his side would have deserved, only to then concede again in the 89th minute to a fine goal from standout player Liam Millar who beat Archie Gray before firing home into the top right corner of the net It meant Farke’s side ultimately left with a 2-1 defeat but the Whites boss labelled Preston’s late winner as a form of “karma”

Preston North End 2-1 Leeds United: Swing the mood — Square Ball 27/12/23

NO GETTING AWAY Written by: Moxcowhite • Daniel Chapman Festive blessings to Illan Meslier, because it’s a while since anyone did something this idiotic in a Leeds United shirt. There has been plenty of stupidity at Leeds over the last couple of years, but most of the time we could point to someone in a suit, or a duffel coat, or stressfully tight jeans as the instigator. Some of the management fixated crowd among modern football fandom will still make corporate complaints after this defeat, arguing from among key performance indicators that resources should have been better allocated to mitigate risk in the club’s goalkeeping department. But they’re looking in the wrong direction. This was personal. Happy Christmas Illan, you daft sod. Meslier’s fractional loss of temper when he was challenged for a high cross was spotted and seized upon by Preston’s players, and the television replays break it down like a nature documentary. Let David Attenborough talk you through it: the momen

Leeds United youngster's presence, fans' feat, defender example in off-camera Preston moments — YEP 27/12/23

Leeds United endured a Boxing Day to forget at Preston North End which presented a bad day for most Whites men but not all of them. By Lee Sobot Here is the YEP’s take and a few off-camera moments. Bad Day Illan Meslier Leeds were disappointing in the first half but it ultimately ended goalless, giving the Whites every chance of sorting things out after the interval and leaving with all three points. A particularly good Meslier save helped keep the score goalless in the first 45 minutes but the Frenchman then undid all of his earlier good work with the moment of madness that led to his red card. The reaction of Preston’s Milutin Osmajic to Meslier putting his hand in his face was extreme to say the least but any player raising their hands to an opposing player’s race is running a big risk and Meslier paid the price. He can have no complaints and his red card cost his team dearly with the complexion of the game then completely changing. The Frenchman is also now looking at a t

Leeds United must address obvious problem to save automatic promotion chances — YEP 27/12/23

Leeds United have one area they must improve if they want to make up ground on the automatic promotion spots. By Jamie Kemble Leeds United have suffered a fresh blow in their automatic promotion chase, but they already know what they need to correct if they want to make up ground on those above. Daniel Farke's men thought they had set themselves up for the perfect festive period after beating Ipswich Town in the final game before Christmas. That win reduced the gap to seven points, but the Whites suffered a defeat away to Preston North End on Boxing Day, and Ipswich drew with leaders Leicester City to regain a point. Eight points now separate Leeds, who have dropped to fourth place, from second spot, and they go up against serious play-off contenders West Brom in the Midlands on Friday. But as the New Year approaches, Farke and his coaching staff don't need to do a whole lot of research to uncover one of Leeds' biggest problem. While the Whites sit near the top in b

Leeds United left dancing to Preston's tune as young guns taught Yuletide lesson - Joe Donnohue's Verdict — YEP 27/12/03

Leeds United came away empty-handed from their Boxing Day encounter with Preston North End and will be without first-choice goalkeeper Illan Meslier for the next three matches after the Frenchman was shown a straight red card. By Joe Donnohue Gone are the days of teenagers reaching into their stockings on Christmas Day and plucking from the depths a 'Now That's What I Call Music' CD. Of the 5,700 away fans at Deepdale on December 26, there will have been several who can recall that exact memory from their formative years. It was a different kind of blast from the past they were dealt on Boxing Day this year as Leeds, buoyed by their recent exploits against Ipswich Town, faltered away to one of the division's poorer attacking sides - their wounds largely self-inflicted. Now That's What I Call The Championship. United fans have their own, much simpler phrase for this sort of thing: 'Leeds, that'. Illan Meslier's needless sending off, Liam Millar