In the Press

Leeds United news here, transfer rumours, club affairs, players, fans, etc.
Specific match discussions should go in the category below.

Re: In the Press

Postby Costy » 29 Jun 2019, 13:24

I'm sorry Corkwhite but for me you're just trotting out the same old rhetoric that so many older football fans do when talking about modern football (I was born in 1980 so I'm not particularly young myself). The Man City players (seeing as they were the example given) run huge distances in games. They work their socks off and money does not come into it. They also have quite a few players who have been there for several seasons now so can hardly be classed as mercenaries. Allan Clark played for 100 quid a week because that's how much top players got paid then. I'm also fairly sure that was a very good salary for the time, although obviously not as astronomical as today's pay. I happen to subscribe to the theory that as a species we build on what came before and generally improve in most things (a possible exception being today's music - Stormzy headlining Glastonbury?) and in my view that applies to footballers. Of course today's players are now exposed to far better facilities, nutrition, diet, training etc - that is why they are technically and physically superior - but Clark's quote was that his Leeds team would beat today's top team. I feel that without the benefit of all the improvements that have been made in the 40 odd years inbetween, there is simply no way they would.
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Re: In the Press

Postby SCOTTISH LEEDS » 01 Jul 2019, 19:51

Jon Howe's Leeds live column:-

If ever there was a flat pack DIY manual for gaining promotion from the Championship, the photo of the Brighton & Hove Albion board meeting the morning after their 2015/16 play-off semi-final defeat would feature in it. As the go-to reference for how a club should react to shuddering failure and prepare to go one better, it resonated at the time and more so now because it actually worked and Chris Hughton’s team went on to secure automatic promotion the following season.

There are obvious parallels to be drawn here, except football can’t be trusted to follow any kind of logical path, particularly where Leeds United are concerned. For their part, Leeds have enacted their own version of Brighton’s blueprint and swiftly secured the services of Marcelo Bielsa for another season. It is something of a display of bravado, as if this strategy does not pay off, questions as to what would happen next will be asked.

Brighton’s other successful strategy, and the other Championship escape mantra that is as close to fail-safe as you’re likely to get, was to incrementally improve their squad with each transfer window. Like anything with Leeds United, there is no straight answer to this simplest of questions. The issue here is clouded by FFP, club and ownership ambition, agents, the lure of the Premier League, an inherent ability to foul up the most presentable of situations and the unmistakable notion Leeds United’s fate is still being directed by the dark arts of a gypsy’s curse. Regardless of the overall merits of Kiko Casilla, for example, his signature in January improved the squad simply by the fact we didn’t have a senior alternative. Whether it improved it enough is another question, and then we can talk about Dan James, and yeah, did I mention nothing is simple with Leeds United?

Generally speaking, however, you would look at the Leeds squad as it stands today and say it is considerably improved on the one Garry Monk almost steered into the play-offs in the same season Brighton finished second behind Newcastle United. A big part of that is due to the success of the academy and, of course, to the beautiful gift bestowed upon us by the coaching of Marcelo Bielsa. And it is notwithstanding the fee raised by the sale of Chris Wood not being effectively utilised.

Despite some errors, the squad has improved over time. And take a look at it today compared to the end of the season just finished and we have to apply the same thought process. Ben White and Jack Harrison have now been signed, with Jack Clarke set to return and Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Helder Costa the next on the shopping list. Ignoring for a moment these are all on loan anyway, you would expect White to be a back-up signing, making Costa the only upgrade on the first 11 that failed to deliver last season.

Admittedly, Costa is a significant upgrade. Every summer the oft-repeated refrain is Leeds need two or three players to impact the starting 11. It is the unattainable dream, but in Costa, Leeds will hopefully deliver that, at least in part. If you looked at the main issue from last season and why it ended in an inglorious mess, however, it wasn’t through a lack of chances created, but from a lack of chances taken.

Countless crucial points were dropped as Leeds hacked at opportunities in front of goal like a frustrated golfer stuck in a bunker and in the midst of a personal meltdown. The aforementioned loan signings emerged as rumours almost a month ago, and it appears that was solid information and the fruits of a measured strategy. The concern is there has been no mention of a striker in dispatches, and while Costa could deliver goalscoring opportunities not just on a plate, but with a silver salver and resplendent in some kind of penguin suit, the question remains about whether these chances will be taken.

The thorny issue of Leeds United’s strikers' conversion rates is something of an elephant in the room, and of course I’m quite possibly wasting 1,000 words on this while Leeds are lining up a goalscorer of pedigree with the £10m expected to be recouped in the Jack Clarke deal. If we accept the uncomfortable reality there’s perhaps only one permanent signing to be made this summer, you would want that to be it, but you suspect that and the fifth and final loan spot (you can only name five in a matchday squad) will be kept in reserve as Leeds wait to see how the rest of the summer pans out.

You can plan your own destiny as much as you want, but Leeds are powerless to a Premier League bid for Kemar Roofe or to some no-mark club nonchalantly matching our asking price for Kalvin Phillips with a last-minute bid in August like they’re making a mercy dash to the Sainsbury’s Local for extra pigs in blankets on Christmas Eve.

It is of course tempting to conclude whatever Bielsa wants is okay with me, and if he’s happy to go with Roofe and Patrick Bamford again then who are we to argue? Each are perfectly acceptable at this level and can point to injury seriously influencing their success last term. The worry is whether even Bielsa can coach the kind of composure, ruthlessness and kill-your-own-grandmother-to-score-a-goal blood lust we really need to improve on last season. For all Roofe and Bamford’s qualities, I’m not sure I’d be confident of either of them delivering a measurable improvement on our very palpable failings.

And will they both be here anyway? Certainly I can’t believe we could afford to add a third quality striker to the ranks, and we know how Bielsa likes a tight unit.

While I love this team and the characters within it, you suspect we rely too much on Sweet Pablo, and at 34-years-old that’s perhaps a dangerous policy. To make a discernible difference to last season, this team needs a new hero, someone to make the heart flutter, someone to make us dance, someone to deliver great things in small packages. Costa may bring some of that, but can he bring the execution?

Leeds might be improving their squad in this transfer window, but does this key area need to be looked at?
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Re: In the Press

Postby PC71 » 02 Jul 2019, 22:14

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Re: In the Press

Postby ChilwellWhite » 05 Jul 2019, 09:09

PC71 wrote:

This won’t go away so does this mean that a deal is imminent ? If these mega rich owners are buying the club why was Clarke sold ? I suppose only time will tell but Radrizzani is very noticeable by his absence on social media lately.
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Re: In the Press

Postby SCOTTISH LEEDS » 08 Jul 2019, 11:15

Jon Howe's leedslive column about Pontus:-

There is an art to managing people, and certainly people who are footballers. By definition, footballers are a different breed of person, and they have to be. The challenge comes in throwing eleven of them together and making it work, for a collective goal.

When there’s only one prize, or three in the case of gaining promotion from the Championship to the Premier League, you have to look at the things that aren’t working, or are a detriment to the sum of the parts being as successful as it should be.

In this context, the expected sale of Pontus Jansson is no real surprise. From the moment Jansson walked into Leeds United in August 2016 he was unapologetic in using his principal characteristics to wake up a dormant football club. Jansson was combative, brash, unruly and untamed, almost a caricature of himself, and if a fan on the Kop wanted to design a cartoon character of what a typical Leeds United player should look like, Jansson was pretty much it.

But then maybe the one thing that made Jansson so perfect for Leeds United was ultimately his failing? And maybe that’s an indicator as to why Leeds United’s history is littered with near-misses and critical failures? When it comes to the crunch, you can’t just exist on raw emotion, much as we’d like to, it somehow needs to be channelled in the right way. Having 35,000 fans creating a cacophony of noise means nothing, when a club like Bournemouth can run things differently and grind your face into the dirt.

While Jansson ticked every box as a Leeds United player, we so wanted it to work that we had to paper over his obvious failings; an unstable temperament and a diva personality that seemingly tested tolerances within the club. On the pitch, you knew when he had lost his head, when concentration had slipped, but you forgave him because we all felt a connection. However technically gifted you are, football is a game of emotions, and while supporters are allowed to let go of theirs, who are we to insist that a footballer keeps theirs in check? When Jansson wore his heart on his sleeve, we loved him even more. But that was his undoing; a quality that a manager or a teammate, in the final standings, couldn’t tolerate.

It was telling that Jansson was never made captain when his most animated qualities demanded that he should be. The trouble being, that you need a leader to be able to handle their own emotions as well as their teammate’s, to see the greater need in the team and its constituent parts. Jansson was raw and excitable, volatile and impulsive, these were great qualities when you’re riding the crest of the wave, but there’s always a downside, and dealing with adversity brought neurosis and reservation. It takes a special person to embrace both the highs and the lows so effortlessly, and with those failings we saw the human side to Jansson that we can all relate to.

The falling out with Leeds United somehow felt inevitable. A long held desire to play in the Premier League is a natural one for a footballer at any level, but particularly so with Jansson, who at times looked head and shoulders above any other player in this division. That Leeds are having to accept a £5.5million price tag from Brentford is something of a shock, and while that tells a story about the distressed seller having little negotiating power, perhaps it says something about market forces and Jansson’s true standing in the game?

Yes, Leeds could hawk their player around Premier League clubs for a couple of weeks and eke out a couple of million more, but Marcelo Bielsa wants this done quickly and his squad largely in place before they jet off to Australia. Also, if there was genuine Premier League interest in Jansson, they would have been knocking down Leeds’s door all summer, because the events at the tail end of last season suggested this day wasn’t far away.

A consequence of Leeds being such a high profile club is that Jansson’s various antics don’t go unnoticed. The fact that Brentford – with all due respect – are the only suitor as it stands, suggests that swearing live on TV, going against your manager’s wishes (with the goal conceded at home to Aston Villa) and the very public sit-in post-Derby County paints Jansson as a ticking time bomb in the eyes of Premier League clubs who can’t afford such distractions.

Despite Bielsa publicly hailing Jansson’s efforts last season, in the game where everything mattered the most, he was left on the bench. We’ll never know what was behind that, but it’s no great surprise that the path from there has led to where we are today.

The question now, is where do Leeds United go from here? £5.5million isn’t enough to replace a player of Jansson’s quality, but in terms of replacing a constituent part, quality isn’t always the answer when looking at the ultimate goal. Many people have drawn comparisons with the sale of Eric Cantona for a sub-standard fee to a divisional rival, but I see a lot, also, in the sale of John Sheridan in 1989.

Sheridan, at the time, was the ultimate ‘Leeds United’ player; a mesmerising amalgam of craft, arrogance, style and malice. It was so easy to connect with him, and everybody did. But in the final count up, there was no deliverance. Howard Wilkinson identified Sheridan as a disruptive influence and replaced a brilliant player with a different kind of quality, and which immediately brought the rewards; showing that a team unit can benefit when all the constituent parts are working better together.

Maybe it is too much of a leap to suggest we face that same scenario now, but in essence, the answer you seek isn’t always the most obvious one. We all thought Jansson was the ultimate ‘Leeds United’ player, but could he really handle it? Was he the calm, measured, standard bearer that we really needed? You can find those qualities in a different kind of player and which, in due course, makes the team better. And whatever you think of the derisory £5.5million fee, you can probably find the right player for that, somewhere.

The 1981 film Gregory’s Girl was a lesson in the edict that you can’t force chemistry. You can try too hard, you can be too enigmatic, and the right answer isn’t always the one that first demanded your attention. The right answer is somewhere, maybe where you least expect it, but the harmony and interaction is what the recruitment team at Leeds United need to find, to give Bielsa the players to make the unit work.

Gregory’s Girl wasn’t the girl he thought he was looking for, it wasn’t the one who enchanted him and who he had portrayed in his own mind as the perfect one. And now Leeds United are the awkward and vulnerable one maybe looking in the wrong place. The answer is out there in someone with effortless cool and wisdom, who can sweep us off our feet in a more modest and unpretentious way. So just who is Leeds United’s man?
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Re: In the Press

Postby SCOTTISH LEEDS » 12 Jul 2019, 10:45

Neil Kilkenny has helped rock Manchester United before and the former Leeds man and is looking to spring another surprise by disrupting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pre-season preparations.

Two months after a tumultuous 2018-19 campaign came to an end with a 2-0 home loss to relegated Cardiff, United return to action at the mammoth Optus Stadium in a friendly against local side Perth Glory.

Saturday’s match will pit the Old Trafford giants against a few players that have plied their trade in English football before heading to the A-League, including star midfielder Kilkenny – somebody that knows all about upsetting United.

As well as spells with the likes of Birmingham, Bristol City and Preston, the 33-year-old spent a period with United’s rivals Leeds and was part of the League One side that secured a shock 1-0 win on enemy territory in January 2010.

Jermaine Beckford’s goal in the FA Cup third-round clash against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men has gone down in Elland Road folklore and Kilkenny reflects on that night fondly ahead of coming up against United again.

“It was a good game,” Kilkenny told PA with a broad smile. “I’ve played against Man United four or five times.

They're in a transitional stage. Probably for a club like that, they shouldn't be going through such a time, but you know these things happen.

Kilkenny on Manchester United

“Obviously the one is the Leeds one, when we played at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, was a good experience and it was a good day for us.

“Sir Alex Ferguson made the club so big and powerful, a powerhouse of the world game.

“I said before the game, even looking back now, that we had a chance. We were in good form before the game, we had some really good players.

“We were all at a good age. A lot of us were 23, 24 and we had a good team, so we were striving, and we were flying in the league as well.

“I knew that we definitely had a chance and we came out on top that day.”

It was quite the scalp for third-tier Leeds to knock out the reigning Premier League champions – a side that was in a far better state than the one that arrived in Perth.

“Listen, they’re in a transitional stage,” Kilkenny said. “Probably for a club like that, they shouldn’t be going through such a time, but you know these things happen. I think you’ve seen it with Arsenal as well.

“They probably relied on one man so much with Sir Alex Ferguson and him being there for so long it’s sort of a massive culture shock then when there’s a new man, new thoughts, going away from the one man that basically near enough built the club.

“It’s unfortunate for them but they’re still a massive club.

“This Saturday’s game will be at a beautiful stadium and I am really looking forward to it.”

Kilkenny is relishing the chance to pit his wits against United and could be in for an interesting evening against wantaway World Cup winner Paul Pogba in midfield.

“He’s got world-class ability,” he said of the Frenchman.

“Obviously if he could show a bit more consistency, then he’d be, well, probably the best midfielder player in the world.

“He’s still definitely up there with the best midfielders in the world, so it’s going to be a good challenge.”

Like United, Glory are in the early stages of pre-season and they will be without a number of players on Saturday.

But they approach the friendly on the back of a fine season in which they topped the A-League before narrowly losing the Grand Final, with head coach Tony Popovic, the former Crystal Palace defender, bringing organisation and excitement to the side.

“Last season we had the most successful season that the club’s had in the A-League era,” Kilkenny added.

“We’re the best team in the country but again it’s a new season so we’ve got to prove that again.

“It’s good. I am enjoying it, really. A different way of playing football.

“It’s a bit more technical here than in the UK, where the ball is in the air a lot more and it’s a lot more of a scrap.

“Now looking from afar, I feel the UK is changing slightly now with obviously (Pep) Guardiola and (Jurgen) Klopp coming in.

“A lot of teams want to play through thirds a bit more, which probably would have suited my game a lot better.”
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Re: In the Press

Postby Sniffer » 13 Jul 2019, 09:08

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Re: In the Press

Postby PockWhite » 13 Jul 2019, 10:00

SL & Sniff, 2 great reads there, thanks for posting up! :clap:
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Re: In the Press

Postby SCOTTISH LEEDS » 15 Jul 2019, 13:53

Jon Howe's LeedsLive column:-

Obsession usually comes from routine, and when you’re as obsessive as Marcelo Bielsa , you like your routines. Just like popping into Costa for a Chai Tea Latte (I’m guessing) after a post-training stroll, Bielsa likes to know where everything is and what time everything is. He doesn’t like change, because change is something you can’t always control.

For this reason, Leeds United’s previously announced pre-season trip to Australia will likely have caused him some major consternation, like a wonky painting that needs straightening, or worse still, a wallpaper pattern that doesn’t line up. And it won’t line up. Forever.

It’s the sort of gripe that bristles, and the pre-season trip down under will have made Bielsa itch as soon as he first heard about it. If this is why it was announced months in advance, then a pat on the back for whoever had such foresight, because much as this will have rankled with Bielsa’s almost maniacal preoccupations on how his team should properly prepare for the new season, he can’t say he didn’t know about it, particularly and most pertinently, when undergoing deep recent discussion on whether to take on another year of Leeds United’s magical mystery tour.

Doubtless there are commercial reasons for Leeds undertaking this pre-season trip to Australia, which will also explain why we’ve known about it for so long, and while Bielsa arrived in our lives with a reputation for stubbornness and streaks of volatility, he has been nothing but measured, calm and compassionate when dealing with the inevitable upset that comes with having a relationship of any kind with Leeds United.

Bielsa wanted Ronaldo Vieira to stay, he even wanted Lewis Baker to stay, he probably didn’t want to sell Jack Clarke either. But he took each of those departures on the chin, and hence, sending his squad on a 22-hour flight a couple of weeks before the start of the season is just a way for Bielsa to hammer another nail into his former reputation for inflexibility.

The more Bielsa learns about Leeds United, the more he appears to be able to bend to accommodate the foibles of a quite unique football club. Whether it’s FFP or income streams in Oceanian territories, Bielsa appears to have softened in his advanced years. Pre-season tours in unfathomable places are what big clubs do, rightly or wrongly. Big games against big clubs, are what big clubs do. From Guiseley to Manchester United in one giant leap.

In his own mind, preparations for this pre-season trip will have started many months ago, and in his own way, Bielsa has stuck to his tried and tested methods. The group of players he stayed faithful to throughout last season was formed on Day One of that folkloric and transformational pre-season boot camp, and anyone who came after, even by a matter of days, was colonised and had a hell of a battle on to penetrate that insular core group. The squad Bielsa has sent to Australia reflects that same way of thinking.

Anyone who arrived back late from international duty or has been signed since the start of pre-season training has been left behind. And the core group is that precious inner sanctum with a sprinkling of under-23 starlets who must now feel like a million dollars. The group left behind clearly have work to do; the have nots to the haves. A strange dichotomy has broken out, and instead of chucking bread rolls at each other on a rare break in the Thorp Arch canteen, the players’ WhatsApp group will be taking an almighty hammering this week.

In some respects, there is a concern that the group left behind will be lacking in match practice – albeit a friendly with Tadcaster Albion is planned for this week – particularly when there appeared to be nothing wrong with the fitness levels of players like Helder Costa, Jamie Shackleton and Ben White in the friendlies last week. This is not a great time for the camp to be so fundamentally split, for factions to potentially break out and for integration of new players, both socially and tactically, to be so disrupted. And it says something that Bielsa has chosen to travel out to Australia three days after the rest of his squad, somehow trying to keep a foot in both camps.

It puts an enormous emphasis on the match against Cagliari on July 27th, effectively the only game prior to the season’s start where Bielsa will be able to utilise his whole squad and embed critical methods in a match situation. Perhaps in that sense, the effective addition of just two players to last season’s squad – Costa and White – is a blessing. But only in that sense…….

Of course the opportunity to renew rivalries with Manchester United – for Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa – is a fascinating one, even if the prospect is somewhat watered down with it taking place thousands of miles away in a sanitised neutral arena and not to the backdrop of coins and spittle, on-pitch melees and obscene chanting.

Bielsa has history with our red rose friends via an infamous Europa League encounter with Atletico Bilbao, and it will further cement his love affair with Leeds United to see first-hand, that there is a serious rivalry and a serious history between the two clubs. Even if this encounter is somewhat contrived and artificial, players like Kalvin Phillips, Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper will help to ensure that this is a game that matters. We might not have Ince and Batty grappling at each other’s throats, but this is a chance for Leeds to salvage something from last season’s traumatic conclusion, and to prove that they are comfortable playing against Premier League teams.

With that background, perhaps Bielsa will relish this opportunity, a first chance for the team he has built to challenge itself against a side from a higher level. It is a different pre-season to the last one, but maybe it needed to be? Otherwise, how can you hope to have the same impact simply by repeating the same things?

And while we can talk about disruption, a split group, air miles, jet lag and distance learning, we can maybe forget that nobody prepares better than Marcelo Bielsa, and that Marcelo Bielsa has seen everything in football, except a Leeds United v Manchester United game. And however diluted it might be, who are we to deny him that?
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Re: In the Press

Postby SCOTTISH LEEDS » 25 Jul 2019, 12:48

LeedsLive article about Michael Bridges:- ... y-16640995
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