The Game's Gone Crazier

For all the latest on the exploits of Uncle Festa, Godfather Cellino, Friar Brian, Old Big Gob, GianFredo Zola, Butterfingers Green, 'Arry the Albatross, The Grand Puppet Master, Il Duce Di Canio, Timmy Sherwood and a cast of thousands!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Win at Ipswich and Leeds are back in the promotion mix!

Look at the fixtures for this weekend and you understand why the defeatist air hanging over Elland Road may be as premature as the Warnock on his lucky Saturday night twice a year. Leeds travel to Ipswich for a must win can be won game against a team battling to avoid the drop. But more importantly, Forest, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Brighton and Bolton could all drop points.

Leicester and Miserableboro can't win a game to save their lives at the moment and you wouldn't back either to collect three points, no matter who the opposition. Millwall are still in the relegation mix so can't afford to be focused only on the FA Cup, and it's not difficult to see Boro getting devoured by the increasingly desperate Wolves. Bolton travel to Charlton, with the news that their captain has been sacked after years of great service, hanging like an albatross around their promotion necks.

Meanwhile, the Seagulls travel to in form Forest and it's hard to imagine Poyet's team avoiding defeat.

Three points for Leeds at Portman Road and suddenly the corpse could be wheeled out of the morgue.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Leeds United ask the question the fans want answered!

Well that's a bit rich isn't it? The Official Site of Leeds United holds a mirror up to the fans and asks, "Will you be bringing someone new?"

Funnily enough, with the Warnock still sitting beneath his Leeds United Bodhi tree meditating on the question of who should replace him, and everybody linked with the club giving up on promotion this season and calling for quality to be added to the squad in the summer, that is exactly the question the fans want answered by the Board!

Why waste £15 to watch a dead rubber of a game? Dear God, that's one and a half KFC Family Buckets! If the Board want the fans to show up in numbers, they have to give the fans hope of something better than mid table hoof ball mediocrity.

Instead of quoting Karen Halliwell and Wendy Longley, the club might try quoting Haigh and Patel, announcing the name of the Warnock's replacement. Il Duce Di Canio is tugging furiously on his reins, desperate to get back into football. Poyet might yet be tempted. Brian McDermott is still available. And after Scotland's defeat to Wales, even Strachan could be interested.

Perhaps Leeds are watching West Ham, hoping Allardyce will be off loaded as he seems ideally qualified to take over a team of hoof ball cloggers.

Sunderland lose a life as Fletcher is ruled out for a month!

Meouch! That is going to hurt the already limping Black Cats. At times this season, Fletcher has seemed the only player capable of scoring for O'Neill's strugglers, and losing him is a body blow to Sunderland's survival chances.

The fact that Sunderland are in the relegation quicksand is bad news for West Ham fans, because they are uncomfortably close to us in terms of points and league positions, but with no win in seven, this is exactly what Sunderland did not need.

It's hard to believe that any team managed by Martin O'Neill would ever get relegated, but the same was true of his mentor Brian Clough. Sooner or later, passion is not enough!

The Mad World of Reading FC

Which team finished second in the Championship last season? That would be Southampton. Who was their manager? That would be Nigel Adkins.

Which team WON the Championship last season? That would be Reading FC. Who was their manager? That would be Brian McDermott.

Which of the two teams spent a small fortune this summer? That would be Southampton managed by Nigel Adkins.

Which team spent next to nothing and have tried to battle on with basically the same squad that won promotion? That would be Reading managed by Brian McDermott.

Take away the three points won in the last round of fixtures and the three points secured by a remarkable victory over Man City, achieved under Adkins' successor at Southampton, and what would be the points difference between McDermott's Reading and Adkins' Southampton? Two!

I have a very high regard for both managers but can feel nothing but contempt for the way both clubs have treated them. Reading and Southampton are in the Premiership this season because of Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins. Both were owed more respect by their clubs.

I hope Adkins succeeds next season but I think both Reading and Southampton deserve to go down because of the way they have treated two great employees.

Warnock Sitting Pretty As Adkins Chooses Reading Over Leeds

Is Warnock stripped to the waist, sitting crossed legged under a Bodhi tree as we speak? How else can you explain his sense of serenity and the way the board at Leeds seem to be see him as the source of all knowledge?

'New manager? No need to panic. Let's take our time. Leave the decision up to me,' Warnock declared before undressing and assuming the lotus position beneath the tree planted in his honour in the Grove Road Recreation Ground.

With Poyet talking to Reading, the Warnock was untroubled, declaring unto an anxious Haigh, "No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path."

With Adkins now bound for Reading instead, the Warnock declares to a panicky Patel, "Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others."

And still the Warnock sits on, crossed legged, beneath his Bodhi tree in the Grove Road Recreation Park uttering pearls of wisdom as the candidate list for the job of managing Leeds shortens.

"Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind", the Warnock tells the board as they kneel before him in homage.

"He is able who thinks he is able" he pronounces as he looks at a portrait of himself held up by his favoured acolytes Brown, Kenny and Tonge.

"An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind", he pronounces as Haigh asks about the credentials of Il Duce Di Canio.

And all the time, the roots grow out of the Warnock's arse, entwining themselves around the heart of Leeds United and squeezing it so hard it bleeds in admiration.

Soon the Warnock will speak. Soon the Warnock will pronounce the anointed one. Soon the Warnock will declare from beneath the Bodhi tree in the Grove Road Recreation Ground, "You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. The new manager therefore should be me."

Monday, 25 March 2013

Promotion next season for Leeds? This season isn't over yet!

I don't support Leeds, and I'm getting royally pissed off by the defeatism emanating from everybody associated with the club. OK, the last two results were bitterly disappointing and OK, Leeds are 7 points adrift of a play off place, but Watford away apart, the run in is easy and seven wins out of eight games, whilst unlikely, is not impossible. And 73 points would see Leeds into the play offs. In fact, with Leicester and Middlesbrough badly out of form, 71 might suffice.

But from Leeds Legends, to manager, to England U21 international, they are all queueing up to say that, with a little bit of quality added in the summer - Ronaldo and Messi perhaps - this team could be transformed and push for promotion NEXT SEASON.

Bugger that for a game of flat caps and whippets! Whilst you are in a race, your focus should be solely on that race.

Poor old GFH Capital are desperate for cash, and every representative of the club, past and present, seems to be calling the remaining home games dead rubbers. It's hard enough to persuade the good folk of Leeds to abandon their KFC Family Buckets in favour of a game of footy at the best of times, how the hell will they be encouraged through the turnstiles if the games are of no import?

And the games could yet be massive. Leeds just need to get on a roll. One win will bring two, two will spill in to three, three will flood into four - and before you know it, Leeds will be back on the shoulder of the pack and then in amongst them. The Watford game is the last match of the season and, with tension high, even that might be won should Leeds slip up in the preceding seven games.

Warnock must be exhausted. How else can you explain his reticence? So what that the game with Huddersfield was lost, that just means that a couple of games marked down previously for draws have to be won. What's the big bloody deal?

I would be talking up the club's prospects, not talking them down. The clarion call should go out to the fans to roar Leeds home to promotion, with prices reduced to a tenner for the remaining home fixtures and free entry to the first round of the Capital One Fan Cup for anybody attending all of the remaining home games.

Leeds can do it. No, Leeds should do it given their run in and the head to head games that their rivals face. But Leeds won't do it without self belief. Arses need to be collectively kicked, minds need to be refocused, Bob the Builder should stand side by side with Obama as board, manager, players and fans proclaim, "Yes We Can!"

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sheffield United Trailing in Doncaster's Wake

It is true that, with games in hand, Shafting United are still positioned to secure automatic promotion, but even if they win their two games in hand, they will still find themselves one point behind little old Doncaster.

Sadly three goals at Carlisle were not enough to secure three points for Yeovil after one of the longest journeys in football, but the Glovers remain in the hunt. And Bournemouth's emphatic thumping of Bury has seen the South Coast minnows re-establish themselves in the race.

Shafting United and Coventry should be dominating the division but little old Donny continue to put one over on their more illustrious rivals - and long may it continue! What a shame the game with Brentford was postponed, had the Blunted Blades lost that one, the tension would really have increased!

What exactly has the club done with the Tevez money?

Leeds Legend Tells Warnock to Shut Up and Go

Good to see 53 game Leeds Legend Brendan Ormsby telling Warnock to keep his big gob shut and to get the hell out of Elland Road as soon as possible. It's rare indeed for a mouthpiece of the Yapping Post to come down so hard on an organ of the club.

The Leeds Legend comes up with the original idea that the owners of the club should decide on the identity of the new manager, not the outgoing boss. This stunning piece of analysis is sure to send shock waves through the footballing world as Roman Abromovich suddenly looks up from his desk and asks, "What, it's up to me who manages this club? I don't have to ask that Spanish cnut Benitez who replaces him in the summer?"

According to the Leeds Legend, Warnock's choice may not be the right one for the club, indeed Old Big Gob might choose somebody "totally different from whom they want". I think the trouble is Brendan, Haigh and Patel don't know who they want because even they are not running the show.

When the board of the club says one thing, and the parent company says another, you know there are problems: big problems!

Somewhere, behind the scenes, Master Bates is sitting in a cloud of smoke, either pulling strings or smiling at the prospect of buying Leeds back on the cheap when the Arab bank built on sand decides, hang on, this isn't going the way we planned, that Yank that Mr Bates told us about isn't interested in the club after all. In fact, no bugger wants to pay us more than what we paid for the club. How can that be when Leeds have such a great history?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Is Brighton's Poyet Leeds bound after rejecting Reading?

The fact that he even considered moving to Reading shows that Gus is getting itchy feet at Brighton. It would have been a stupid move with Reading favourites to slip out of the Premiership and the Seagulls an outside bet to replace them, so the decision not to swap the south coast for the M4 corridor was unsurprising.

Leeds, however, are a different kettle of woollen socks. Poyet was a popular figure with the fans when serving his time as assistant to Dennis not so Wise and, given the history of the club, would represent a step up on both Brighton and Reading.

The big questions centre on the nature of the present squad and the availability of funds to renew the playing personnel. Warnock has clogged up the squad with a sludge of mediocrity suited to playing in a crude, physical style; Poyet, on the other hand, likes his team to play with more poise, more grace, more sophistication, words likely to provoke a Warnock tirade of ridicule.

Without squad renewal, Poyet would be trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Morison, McCormack and Byram would fit his style of play, and he might be brave enough to bring through some of the promising kids, but he would almost certainly want half a dozen new players to turn the Warnock grimace into the Poyet smile; and would GFC Capital be willing and able to fund the acquisitions?

There may also be an issue with paying compensation to Brighton of course. If the Arab bank built on sand are really looking for a way out, they may see any expenditure as an erosion of profit or a deepening of debt.

Leeds fans should also be wary. Warnock is going because, for two consecutive seasons, he has failed to negotiate a way into the Play Offs and, come the end of the season, Poyet's record at Brighton may well look very similar to Old Big Gob's at Leeds. The Seagulls are a nearly team who often flatter to deceive.

So Poyet might fancy it and Leeds fans would welcome him but the stumbling block may be GFC Capital and the fact that Warnock may be given a say on who replaces him. After all, he doesn't want a seagull to shit all over his statue!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Have Leeds United left it too late to bid for the Olympic Stadium?

Oh dear, pretty soon the Oxford English Dictionary will need rewriting with the meaning of the word "Prevarication" reading "GFH Capital".

Having missed the opportunity of revamping the squad in January and of replacing manager Neil Warnock at the same time, it now seems the Arab bank is about to lose out on the Olympic Stadium, with confident predictions that, replete with retractable seating, it will be awarded to West Ham United tomorrow.

What a missed opportunity! Leeds are such a huge club that it seems absurd for them to retain the 39,000 capacity Elland Road as a home stadium. And why stay in a city where fans will only turn up in reasonable numbers if the price of entry is made comparable with a KFC Family Bucket?

Just imagine what Leeds could have achieved had the club moved to London. Suddenly proper players would have been keen to join, attracted to one of the greatest cities in the world!

Wimbledon made the move in the opposite direction, setting the precedent, and GFH Capital, with a greater sense of vision, could have renamed the club Stratford Leeds AFC and settled snugly into the Olympic Stadium, attracting gates of 60,000 for every home game, and facilitating the sale of the club to an Arab or Russian oligarch, attracted by the unlimited potential of a club located in London and occupying a state of the art stadium, remodelled at the expense of the tax payer.

How galling must it be for the fans of Leeds United to know that their taxes are helping to remodel a stadium to improve sight lines for West Ham fans? How much better would it have been if this sleeping giant of a club had secured the stadium as their own?

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Leeds fans are being taken for a ride - and they're paying for it!

Oh dear. Somebody has probably got too close to the truth so GFH Capital have rushed out a statement trying to calm everybody down. It seems the parent company let the cat out of the bag in the financial audited report, but that was scripted for one set of eyes, not for public consumption.

So, why exactly is the parent company saying one thing and the holding company another? Is this bank really in such a mess that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing? Believe that if you will, but it is stretching credibility somewhat.

Leeds fans should be very worried. Why are the owners giving out these mixed messages? It seems that the parent company feel the need to suggest that there will be an injection of cash soon, which makes you wonder about their financial health. Why else would they make this statement, knowing it ran contrary to the message Haigh and Patel were  trying to disseminate?

Ed the Duck asked last week if the government could organise anything in a brewery and, of course, being an Islamic bank, GFH Capital clearly couldn't! And boy is it showing!

Will we see a Fire Sale of Leeds United's players by GFH Capital?

How disgusting. If the rumours are true, it seems GFH Capital only bought Leeds United with a view to turning them at a profit.

I always warned that the deal stank, and that protracted negotiation period is now possibly explained. The bank built on sand was probably looking for a buyer even as they were running down the exclusivity period, ignoring the needs of the club for stability in order to turn a fast buck.

Remember what happened? The take over seemed to be going nowhere, then rumours of other interested parties emerged and suddenly the deal was closed. The trouble is, those interested parties have since run for the hills, leaving a potentially cash strapped bank holding an unwanted trading chip that nobody else seems keen to buy.

And now the news is out, what strategy would you use if you wanted to buy the club? Wait. The longer the Arab bank holds on to the asset, the more desperate they will be to sell it. And if investors take that approach, poor Leeds fans could see their new owners selling players in order to asset strip the club ahead of a fire sale sometime next year.

Byram to Man City? It looks odds on to me now. If they are struggling to turn the business, why shouldn't they milk the business? The cash cow of the Prem is out of reach, but the cash cow of moveable assets is there for the taking.

Worrying times if you are a Leeds fan. And I warned about this before the take over was completed but too many Leeds fans had oil in their eyes to see.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Leeds MUST sack Warnock now

I know I said Warnock was being unfairly blamed for the failure of Leeds United this season, and I hold with that, but there is absolutely no sense in retaining him now. Adkins is apparently the number one target, but Reading and Leicester are rumoured to want him too, so what's the point in prevaricating: if GFH Capital want him, they have to make a move before it is too late.

But it goes way beyond Adkins. Whisper it quietly if you wish, for fear of ridicule, but Leeds could yet reach the play offs and make it through to the Premiership. But is that going to happen under Warnock? No chance.

And that's not Old Big Gob's fault. The players know he is going so why do they care? Promotion would present major problems to 98% of the squad who obviously are not up to Premiership standard: stay down, and they have a cosy career; go up, and they face a season of misery or have to find new employment.

So what changes if a new manager comes in you ask? Well at least Warnock's replacement would have credibility when he insists, "We can still do it", and at least he would arrive without any loyalty to old has-been favourites.

The facts are simple. If Leeds win six games out of eight, they will qualify for the play offs and will go in to the knock competition as the form team in the division. Win six out of eight and suddenly momentum would make Leeds favourites.

But Warnock has given up hope. Warnock knows the players are already thinking about their summer holidays. Warnock knows all the questions but no longer has any of the answers.

So what should GFH Capital do? Simple. Pay off Warnock, recruit his replacement, and put the manager and the entire first team squad on a £1m bonus each to secure promotion. If it doesn't work, so what? If it does, promotion to the Prem is cheap at a cost of £20m.

But will the Arab bank built on sand do it? No chance. Why? I really don't think they have £20m to chuck at it!

And there, in a nutshell, is the on going problem at Elland Road.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Watford ruling: since when has ignorance been a defence in law?

Well the Watford judgement seems a bit rich doesn't it? A transfer embargo of sorts has been imposed - but it doesn't stop Watford from buying and selling players - and although Watford were "found to have breached Football League regulations", there is neither a points deduction nor a fine. So, it's a slap on the wrist and nothing more.

Watford FC claim "It is clear from the decision of the Football Disciplinary Commission that the offences which the club has been found guilty of were committed by one or two individuals who are no longer associated with the club - and without the knowledge of the full board of the club" but since when has ignorance been a defence in law?

It makes you wonder if the "full board of the club" at West Ham understood that the Tevez deal broke the rules on a technicality and if the "full board of the club" knew about the "oral cuddles" that were allegedly given to  Kia Joorabchian.  I suppose it is easier to wash your hands of it all when the "guilty party" has left the club, and a little more difficult when the legal adviser has been promoted to the position of CEO. Presumably the CEO will not now negotiate a compensation package of £20m+ to a rival team missing out on promotion, should Watford go up.

Who were the players involved in this case? If any have played a role in this season's promotion push, then Watford have arguably benefited from wrong doing. The club's "lend lease" transfer deals (for the want of a better term), have already triggered cries of unfair from some; this ruling will simply heighten the sense of injustice in certain quarters.

That feeling is probably totally unjustified but affection for Watford is being tested still further.

GFH Capital to blame for Leeds United's failure this season

Fans are now jumping on the bandwagon, anxious to shift the blame onto Warnock after the faint hopes of a play off place all but died with the defeat at home to Huddersfield. Old Big Gob is going, so he is now the convenient fall guy and bile can be vented without showing disloyalty to the club and cause.

But is this fair? Warnock was the fans' choice when he was appointed and, when I mocked his signings in the summer, Leeds fans sent hate mail, organised virtual death squads and wished cancer upon myself and my family, children included. Now those very same individuals are claiming that Warnock was not up to the job and that the players he brought in are "dead wood" for the most part. Well what did they expect when he recruited players relegated with Portsmouth, Doncaster and Coventry?

The point is, we can all be wise after the event, but very few of you were wise before it. When I warned that the protracted take over negotiations stank of something rotten, the fire of hatred flared higher. When I asked questions about GFH Capital's financial well being, I was mocked. When I predicted a maximum of £2m would be invested in the January window, I was subjected to howls of derision. When I said that Becchio would go, even as Warnock was saying he was going nowhere, burning crossed hammers blazed all across Leeds.

And now I will give you another prediction. Warnock's departure will change nothing. He has saddled the squad with aged yard dogs because that's all he was allowed to sign.

Why did Becchio go? Because Leeds would not meet his wage demands. Why did Wood join Leicester? Because Leeds could not afford his wages. And who was running Leeds by that stage? GFH Capital.

And why are Leeds all but out of the running for a play off place? Because of the lack of a true goal scorer. Since Bechio's departure, Leeds have scored twice in only three games (out of eleven) and Warnock's Wonders have not scored three in any one of those games. Indeed, it took a penalty to get Leeds to two goals in one of those three "high scoring" matches.

What happened to the transfer war-chest that GFH Capital suggested would be available in January? I distinctly remember them saying that they would back the manager and his drive to make the playoffs. Well if that is "backing", God help Warnock's successor - for with a playoff place within reach, the new Board showed a profit on January transfer fees!

Tell me, where was the sense in that if GFH genuinely harbour aspirations of guiding Leeds into the Prem? Next season, the club will start again on zero points and level with every other team in the division. In January, Leeds were hovering in eighth to tenth place, well ahead of the majority of the division. Sensible investment at that stage could have opened the door to the Promised Land of the Prem. But GFH Capital declined to make that investment. Why?

Leeds fans, in classic revisionist style, are now clutching at the straw that the Arab bank built on sand is simply keeping its powder dry, biding its time, waiting for Warnock to go before pumping in oil money. Oh yes? Then why did they let Warnock bring in Morison and Warnock Junior and why was Hell Hadji given a contract extension and why have the old yard dogs that populate the squad been given two and three year deals? If you have written off the season, write it off. If you have decided to jettison the manager, don't entrust more money to him, not a single penny.

If fact, if Warnock was always going, why didn't the club sack him? If he isn't up to the job, then appoint somebody who is whilst Leeds are still in with a shout of winning promotion for God's sake. But GFH Capital sat on their hands and prevaricated. Why? Because that was the cheapest and easiest option. Forest's new owners took action, and look at where Forest are now; Leeds United's new owners did nothing and look at where Leeds find themselves in consequence.

In truth, Leeds have achieved a par score given what Warnock had to operate with. But what exactly were GFH Capital up to between June and December when the club desperately needed stability and an injection of cash? How the hell did that deal take so long to finalise and why weren't the Arabs in a position to fund new signings if they only paid the rumoured £24m for a controlling stake in the club?

It feels slightly odd for me to be defending Warnock but I really do think he is getting a raw deal now. He is what he is and he did his level best. But GFH Capital seem like a shady outfit, big on promises and small on substance.

Will investment come this summer? I suspect only if the Arabs move Leeds on to another buyer. But as they are finding, and as Leeds fans will wake up to one day, history counts for nothing, it is the here and now that matters. Clubs relegated from the Prem will be richer still from now on and the parachute payments will dwarf anything Leeds can offer without a money bags benefactor - and Financial Fair Play will put the club in a corset anyway. The time to act was January and GFH Capital naval gazed instead. Why? Probably because they didn't have the money to do anything else.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

So Who Does Warnock Want To Manage Leeds? Apart From Warnock?

How arrogant is the guy? Old Big Gob has royally screwed up at Leeds, achieving no progress whatsoever in the 15 or so months that he has been at the club, but he still thinks he should have a say in who replaces him - if not the King, he wants to be the King maker at least.

But based on what credentials exactly? Most would agree that Warnock belongs to a different era: like Allardyce, he is an anachronism, a throw back to the bad old days when "Lump and charge!" were considered sophisticated tactics. Quite why he feels qualified to anoint his replacement is beyond me.

But he wants to leave his mark behind - or stain if we are honest. Like a dog that pees to identify his territory, Warnock wants to leave his scent upon the corridors at Elland Road. He's missed out on that statue so he wants to donate a stink instead.

And who might he favour? How about Brown who must be old enough to hang up his boots now and who would be a chip off the Warnock block as a manager - pugnacious, in the face of the players and media alike, bringing all his destructive expertise to the management table.

What Warnock wants is a man who will respect his legacy, a man who will treasure the OAPs in his squad and who will speak highly of the man who has handed over the reins. Mark Hughes rubbished him when he took charge at QPR, and Warnock's pride is still smarting. The best way to preserve his personal reputation is for an old mucker to fill his Elland Road slippers!

Little Yeovil Town Show Leeds and Sheffield United The Way

I spent many happy hours on the terraces of the old Huish Park cheering on Cliff Myers, Cyril Davies, Dickie Plumb, our old school groundman Len Harris, Stewart Housley, John Clancey, Tony Cottle and co, but the club was back in the Southern League in those days.

There was the epic game at home to the mighty double winning Arsenal team (a 0-3 thumping), a great 2-1 home victory over Torquay, a home defeat against Plymouth and many, many great tussles with non league rivals, including a fantastic game against Wimbledon when Plumb shoulder charged Dickie Guy into the net whilst he was holding the ball, and the referee gave the goal. Guy, who was to feature in the great Wimbledon run that led to election to the Football League, went mad!

Yeovil have been a league team since the 2003-04 season when Leeds, with a nice symmetry, were still in the Prem. Well now the Glovers are on the threshold of promotion to the Championship and, despite modest gates, have turned a profit for the third consecutive financial year. Yeovil fans don't crow about being a great club - how could they? - but they support their team through thick and thin and, next season, could be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Leeds, Middlesbrough, Leicester and Sheffield Wednesday.

Of course, famously, games were not played on a level playing field at the old Huish Park, where a Tesco store now stands, and Yeovil are on the shoulder of Shafting United, despite operating with much lower gates and without a five million a year subsidy from the Duxbury agreed Tevez compensation package. Indeed, Yeovil's entire turnover last year was just £3.1m, just over half what the Blunted Blades creamed from West Ham.

So, for Yeovil to be where they are now is a fantastic achievement. Arab merchant bankers probably don't even know where Somerset is, but so what? Yeovil plug on, happily punching above their weight, doing the town proud and showing big time Yorkshire Charlies like Sheffield United and Leeds that it's not all about money. If you get your head down, graft and show commitment, so much can be achieved.

In fact, when he retires to Cornwall, Warnock might like to pop in to Yeovil to watch a game. He would probably be amazed to see the team passing the ball to feet and trying to win games in the right way without massive money injections.

On Tuesday, Yeovil play Swindon in a promotion six pointer and, although in Romania, I will be cheering on the Glovers, hoping desperately that they can take another step towards, what for the club, would be the Promised Land of the old Division Two.

How things have changed since the days of Don Revie and Penguin Hughes!

Has Leeds Legend Brendan Ormsby been in a Coma?

How else do you explain the poor guy's confusion. Despite my post explaining why a 1-1 draw was the most probable result against Peterborough, he rocked up at Elland Road taking victory for granted.

Why? Well according to the 53 game Leeds Legend, "The way I looked at it was simply Leeds United versus Peterborough; not too many years ago, it would have been a Premier League side versus a bottom-division one in a cup".

Not too many years ago? Leeds dropped out of the Prem in 2004, so that's almost a decade, and between 2007 and 2010 were in the old Third Division! Indeed Brendan, it's not so long ago that Leeds were in the Third Division whilst Peterborough were in the Championship!

In fact, Leeds have only been in the top division of English football for 14 of the last 31 years! That's less than 50%! THAT is the truth of the matter and it is the failure of Leeds fans and Leeds Legends, like Ormsby, to recognise this fact that is a large factor in the club's on-going demise.

Ormsby finishes by claiming that Leeds are "a massive club" but massive clubs don't have to drop the entry price to the cost of a KFC Family Bucket to get 25,000 into the ground, a ground they don't even own, and massive clubs don't spend 17 of the last 31 years out of the top division.

Real Madrid is a massive club Brendan. So is Barcelona. So is Manchester United. How many years have they spent out of the top division in the last 50 years exactly? One year between them?

Leeds are, at best, a big club, but that label is questionable now. In truth, Leeds have slipped further and further down the rankings, becoming a feeder club to little Norwich.

So Brendan, wake up! Time has moved on. Leeds cannot take victory over Peterborough and Huddersfield for granted because Leeds, like it or not, are anchored in the same division as these clubs and, if all goes well, may be in the same division as Yeovil Town next season.

How the mighty have fallen!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Leicester Need Di Canio!

The Foxes need to stop the rot. Quit the messing. Kick out Pearson: he is a yard dog manager. What has he ever achieved? He wasn't good enough first time around so why did the Board ever give him a second chance?

Leicester are in desperate need of inspiration. Appoint Il Duce Di Canio and play off qualification would be guaranteed; prevaricate any longer and Bolton or Brighton may just catch them.

Every week has seen Leicester slip further and further behind the teams at the top. Even with Hull and Watford losing, and Palace not playing, Leicester have still managed to fall further behind in the "race".

This is a shit division but, under Pearson, Leicester are still shitter than five teams in the division. Surely enough is enough. Pearson has to go!

Leeds Humiliated At Home To Huddersfield.

Warnock asked for three games to change the world. Then it was eleven. Then it was six wins out of nine. Now? Well let's stick with the number ten, the position Leeds are stuck in. Or seven, the points they are shy of play off qualification with eight games to play - and that's before Brighton play Crystal Palace tomorrow.

Of course, Leeds still have a chance. There would be no fun if the agony were over already. Warnock will still send out the battle cry. Nothing has changed. In fact Leicester are looking even more vulnerable, Bolton's magical run has ended and Miserablebrough continue to play like relegation certainties rather than promotion contenders. But Forest are all but there, as I predicted at the start of the season, and Leicester need just 12 points from 8 games to finish above Leeds, miracles excepted; and if Brighton win tomorrow then all bets will be virtually off.

Warnock has ballsed up, big time, but he won't see it that way. Some might say, never mind a statue, the guy needs to be sunk in concrete and then tipped into the Aire. But it's not Neil's fault! How could it be? Blame the referees, the assistant referees, Master Bates, eighteen year full backs and Carlos Tevez. In fact, blame Nostradamus, Karl Marx, Gordon Brown and Islamic Fundamentalism. No hang on, don't blame the Muslims, they now pay Neil's wages!

How shit are Leeds when all is said and done? I tried to be positive this morning, I tried to paint a picture of potential success, but at the end of the day, even with Leicester and Bolton losing, Warnock's Wonders still contrived to cock it up against a very, very ordinary Huddersfield team.

Thank God I didn't risk my winnings from Tuesday night. Instead I backed Villa to beat QPR. Happy days!

But don't lose heart all you Leeds fans. Six wins from eight games is all you need. Leeds can still do it!

Warnock Targets Six of the Best for Leeds.

First of all he asked for three games to change the world, then it was eleven, and now Old Big Gob has settled on the number six. Six wins, that's all it will need, for Warnock's Wonders to make it into the playoffs. Six wins. And after today's game against Huddersfield that will be down to five.

But who will those wins come against? Well every home game has to be won. And the opposition are none too frightening - only marginally better than Peterborough for the most part. If Leeds can't win at home to Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley and Brighton, they don't deserve to go up.

Brighton, at the moment, looks like a six pointer but I fancy the Seagulls will be out of the race by the time they fly in to Leeds. The injury to Mucky-Smith and the seven game suspension for Paolo Barnes will make it difficult for the seasiders to score, never mind win games. Watch them plummet down like an albatross shot by an ancient mariner's arrow in the coming weeks. The big contenders are Nottingham Forest and Bolton at this stage and, if results go well today, Leeds could be right on their shoulder.

The Sheffield Wednesday game may prove the most difficult because of events at Hillsborough earlier this season. The match will be more of a war than a football game, and that usually suits the weaker teams.

But you can see Leeds winning all five home games, giving them 15 points and 67 come the end of the season. But Warnock is right, that won't be enough. Forest would only then need ten points from nine and Leicester eight from nine to deprive Leeds given the relative goal differences. So Leeds need points away from home.

And those fixtures aren't too tough either, leaving aside the last game of the season at Watford. Leeds can pick up points at all of Ipswich, Charlton and Birmingham. Three draws would see them through to 70 points and that may just be enough. A win and a draw and Leeds would almost certainly do it.

The run in is kind. They will erect that statue if Warnock can negotiate a route into the top six, then carry Leeds through the playoffs on a tide of hope and glory.

Buy those discounted season tickets guys, it could be a great deal for a season in the Premiership!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Opportunity Knocks for Warnock and Leeds

This weekend represents a great opportunity for Leeds to get back into the promotion mix. The game at home to Huddersfield is eminently winnable, and meanwhile, all the teams chasing a play off place have much harder fixtures on paper: Nottingham Forest travel to Hull; Brighton host Palace; Leicester have a derby at Derby; Bolton journey to Ipswich; and Middlesbrough host Birmingham.

Paul Green reckons Leeds could be just two points behind the playoff pack come the end of the weekend, and to be in with a serious chance of making it to the Prem, they need to be.

First things first, of course, Leeds have to beat Huddersfield. That should be a formality even with the injuries. Then if the other results fall right, that statue of Warnock may be recommissioned!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Has Leeds United's Board Conceded Promotion Already?

That's the only way the reduced season ticket prices make sense. If G.F.H Capital hold out realistic hopes of being in the Premiership next season, why would they reduce prices? I know Master Bates has been ripping off Leeds fans for years, but no sensible business model allows for a superior product to be sold at a knock down price. Maybe that's why the Arab bank is struggling and can't afford to invest in the squad!

It seems to me that the experiment with cheaper pricing failed on Tuesday night. Yes seven thousand was added to the gate as families were forced to forgo their nightly KFC Family Buckets so Dad could go to the game, but at a tenner a throw, that surely still resulted in lower gate receipts? But then, the Islamic bank may have made up the shortfall through the sale of alcohol and pork scratchings.

It all seems like very peculiar timing if there is any hope harboured of winning promotion. Maybe the Peterborough game was the final straw. Maybe Haigh and Patel reflected and thought, hang on, if we can't beat Peterborough at home, maybe we need a plan based upon us being in this division for a few more years to come. Lower the prices, then maybe the monkeys won't complain so much about the quality of the nuts!

Of course there may be another explanation. Maybe the Arab bank built on sand has cash flow problems, thus the urgent need to bring forward purchases, forgoing profit to help them survive? Milk the cow whilst you have it!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

If Morison and McCormack are out, will Habibou start for Leeds against Huddersfield?

It was the walking wounded by the end of the Peterborough game apparently. Who would believe it, Dirty Dirty Leeds roughed up by a bunch of Posh pansies from south of Birmingham. Revie and Bremner will be turning in their graves.

And poor Old Big Gob may have to change his team sheet for the Huddersfield game. He's kept the last one for so long, he's probably forgotten where he's put his pen! But why fix something that isn't broken, Warnock will say; and fair enough, until it's broken and you then realise that a few running repairs might have avoided a catastrophic seizure.

So if Morison and McCormack are ruled out of the Huddersfield game, who starts? Warnock turned to Diouf at half time last night, a strange choice when goals were needed. Surely it should have been Haribo; wasn't last night crying out for the goal hungry giant?

Yet strangely, even with just nine minutes remaining, the big number 22 was left sitting on his arse on the bench. If he's not good enough to play against Peterborough, you have to wonder why the club brought him in on loan in the first place.

Surely, if the two Ms are ruled out, Warnock must give his wild card a chance against Huddersfield.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Leeds robbed in 1-1 home draw with Peterborough

Oh dear. It was a fluke of course. How could I know that the game would end up 1-1 just as I predicted and blogged?

One Leeds fan felt the need to post "A resounding lack of objectivity in your analysis there HF - a common mistake amongst the uneducated. Keep your fingers crossed though because if you fluke it then in your head you will be a genius - a common mistake amongst the deluded!"

Another commented "Good work on the maths. You seem to have put some effort into this piece, as opposed to the drivel you write about your own team. Seeing as you've learnt how to work out averages, why don't you work out the average number of points Leeds have won at home, and Posh have won away, and then tell us all who the smart money is on?"

But funnily enough, I wasn't forecasting a Leeds home win or a Peterborough away win, I predicted a 1-1 draw!

For the record, this is exactly what I said:

"But back to Peterborough and Leeds. At home, Leeds have ridden their luck a little in recent weeks and Fortress Elland Road isn't quite what it seems. Leeds are still struggling to score goals and I fancy they will need at least two to beat Ferguson's Peterborough.

Posh may be second from bottom, but they won at Blackburn, which Leeds couldn't do, and thumped a Millwall team away from home that Warnock;s team struggled to overcome at home. Do the calculations and the form of the two teams hasn't been that different if you ignore that seven game losing run that Peterborough suffered before their season really got started. Since then, Posh have averaged 1.31 points per game, whilst Leeds' record over the season has seen them pick up 1.41 points per match.

Given the gulf in the league table, the goal difference is surprisingly close too. Peterborough's stands at minus 10 and Leeds at minus four; but Peterborough's goal difference stood at minus 11 after those first seven games, so they are a goal to the good subsequently.

The biggest problem is that Leeds go into the game expecting to win. All the focus has been on the Leicester and Palace games, and this match is like the water jump after the Chair in the Grand National, apparently easy but fraught with danger nevertheless.

This is a game that neither team can afford not to win. My money is on a 1-1 draw. "

You see, statistics make sense, and that unseen balancer in the universe, He who wants equilibrium and ensures a coin comes down 500 times heads and 500 times tails said, "Enough is enough. Leeds have won too many home games by the odd goal, it's time for them to drop precious home points". And who else can Warnock now blame other than God? Leeds had 20 shots on goal and were roared on by over 24,000 tight arsed Yorshiremen, 5000 of whom only support the team when entry is the price of a KFC Family Bucket. Only God could have stood in the way of victory!

But no matter. Brighton lost! And Leicester only drew. Nothing's changed! Except Leeds no longer have that vital game in hand over Forest, Middlesbrough and Bolton. And that extra home game has been sacrificed in return for a paltry point against a team in the bottom three. And that Leeds charge now reads three points from the last nine. And Forest are on fire, and have a five point advantage with just nine games to go. And Bolton are two points ahead and have won five on the bounce. And there's a gap of  seven points to Leicester who so nearly won at Cardiff.

And Leeds are still in tenth place, still stuck in mid table.

Still, give Warnock nine games more and he will change the world. Meanwhile, I'm off to collect my winnings from Betfair!

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Stats Say To Back Peterborough to Draw at Leeds

After seven games, Peterborough were rock bottom of the Championship and literally pointless. Now they sit second from bottom and have just 38 points. On paper, this should be a doddle for Warnock and his resurgent Whites, until you consider the facts.

Leeds fan are rightly chuffed after avoiding defeat at Leicester and Palace but the stats suggested those results as the most likely outcome. Leicester are in a terrible run, as their defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday confirmed on Saturday, and can't win a match for love nor money. The clever money bet against a Leicester win and, as the Wednesday result proved, the draw represented a missed opportunity for Leeds.

The opposite applied at Palace. Holloway's team went into the game on the back of five straight home wins and chasing a record that stretched back for I don't know how long - but it was a bloody long time! Records stand for a long time for a reason and betting any team to win six homes games on the bounce deserves longish odds, outside of teams like Man Utd, Real Madrid and Barcelona. So, in truth, it was no surprise to see an ordinary Palace team fail to to prevail.

But back to Peterborough and Leeds. At home, Leeds have ridden their luck a little in recent weeks and Fortress Elland Road isn't quite what it seems. Leeds are still struggling to score goals and I fancy they will need at least two to beat Ferguson's Peterborough.

Posh may be second from bottom, but they won at Blackburn, which Leeds couldn't do, and thumped a Millwall team away from home that Warnock;s team struggled to overcome at home. Do the calculations and the form of the two teams hasn't been that different if you ignore that seven game losing run that Peterborough suffered before their season really got started. Since then, Posh have averaged 1.31 points per game, whilst Leeds' record over the season has seen them pick up 1.41 points per match.

Given the gulf in the league table, the goal difference is surprisingly close too. Peterborough's stands at minus 10  and Leeds at minus four; but Peterborough's goal difference stood at minus 11 after those first seven games, so they are a goal to the good subsequently.

The biggest problem is that Leeds go into the game expecting to win. All the focus has been on the Leicester and Palace games, and this match is like the water jump after the Chair in the Grand National, apparently easy but fraught with danger nevertheless.

This is a game that neither team can afford not to win. My money is on a 1-1 draw.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Byram the second big test for new Leeds owners.

GFH Capital  failed the first test, parting with leading scorer Becchio before the January window closed, although many are arguing that his replacement Morison is a better all round player anyway. The really big test, it seems, will come this summer with Mancini apparently lining up an £8m bid for Byram, if he still has a job at Man City.

Now if Leeds are in the Prem, GFH Capital will probably hold out until January, but if Warnock's resurgent Whites miss out on promotion, will the Arab bank have the balls to turn an offer down? Byram has only recently signed a new contract but who knows what that contract includes - and a sensible agent will have negotiated a release clause should a bigger club come in for the young starlet, a club like Manchester City or even Norwich perhaps.

And £8m would pay back a great chunk of the £24m that the Arab bank are reputed to have paid for a controlling share in the club.

The pill could well be sugared Zaha style, with a season long loan agreed as part of the deal, but if Byram is as good as many think he is, then Leeds should move heaven and earth to hold on to him. As a West Ham fan, I have felt the pain when Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Glenn Johnson were all sold on at a massive profit for the clubs who stole them from Upton Park; and whilst £8m sounds good now, it could look like peanuts if Byram develops into England's next right back.

Zola risks touchline ban after Watford's defeat against Blackpool

Ok, the guy was hopping mad, and ok, he may have had a case, but Zola's words were less than judicious after master tactician Paul Ince outwitted him at Vicarage Road.

Zola may well be receiving a call from the Football Association as he pointed the finger in no uncertain terms at referee Andrew Madley.

Zola ranted: "What was wrong today? The referee a lot of the time." According to the Italian, "the referee has affected the game".

What is worse, all this has been carried on the club's website. Ferguson is allowed to do this, but no other managers are. A rap across the knuckles is the very least GianFredo can expect, and if I was him, I wouldn't take my nephew fishing between now and the end of the season!

Who is the Yorkshire Post calling a Leeds Legend?

Bloody hell, talk about hyperbole! Or hyper bollocks in this case! Use the words Leeds Legend and you think Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray, Norman Hunter, Don Revie, Johnny Giles, Sniffer, Jack Charlton, Terry Cooper, Peter Lorimer, Terry Yorath and Neil Warnock but Brendan Ormsby? By what perverse definition of the word is Brendan Ormsby a Leeds Legend?

How many games for the club? 57! How many trophies won when with the club? None. Most abiding memory for Leeds fans? His mistake against Coventry in the semi-final of the FA Cup!

Surely the Yorkshire Post should be done under the Trades Descriptions Act! Ormsby was born in Birmingham and if he is anybody's legend, he is a Villa legend, but that would be pushing it given he only played 117 games for the club! A legend at Pontefract Collieries is the truth of the matter!

Mind you, Ormsby could be a comedy legend too! His latest suggestion to take over at Leeds? Alan "Turds" Curbishley no less, the man who has been out of the game for so long since his departure from West Ham that younger fans say, "Who?"

Curbishley? The guy was a specialist at little old Charlton, managing a club with zero expectations and specialising in staying one step ahead of the drop. Is this what Leeds need? Has the club really fallen so far? Well according to Ormsby, Poyet and Zola wouldn't be interested because Brighton and Watford are much more likely to be in the Prem next season! Charming! A great way to endear yourself to Whites fans still dreaming of a charge into and through the playoffs.

Ormsby a Leeds legend? If I keep this blog going, the Yapping Post will call me a Leeds legend before we know it! Hang on, there's a thought, never mind that Warnock statue, build a statue of Hammersfan outside Elland Road!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Holloway Takes Leaf Out Of Warnock's Book After Draw With Leeds

It's never the players' fault is it? Somewhere along the line, if you don't get the result you want, the referee is to blame.

Usually it is Warnock who is moaning, but this time it was Holloway. According to the talking scarecrow, Leeds should have been down to nine men. Well I'm sorry Olly, I can't agree.

The yellow card given to Warnock for bringing down Zaha was marginal but, on balance, was just about right. It was a cynical and professional foul, no doubt, but there was another Leeds defender on Zaha's heels, and there's no guarantee he would have had a clear goal scoring opportunity but for Warnock's tackle.

As for Olly's claim that Varney should have gone for a second yellow for his dive in the box, that is absurd. Yes, the first half tackle probably deserved a yellow but it wasn't given. Had it been, would Varney have taken that tumble when on a yellow? No one can say, but he would have to be incredibly stupid to do so and risk a second yellow. Player's change their game after a yellow, otherwise every game would see a red card or two.

Overall, a draw was a fair result. Olly should acknowledge this and move on.

Should Leicester City Show Pearson The Door?

Leicester's season is fast turning into another nightmare. First a draw at home to Leeds, now a defeat against Sheffield Wednesday. All that money spent, and what do the owners have to show for it? Leicester are out of the running for an automatic promotion place and now the odds of featuring in the play offs are lengthening. And even if they squeak in, what chance would they stand on current form?

How ridiculous is that Manager of the Month gong looking now. Has Pearson's team won a game since? The goals have dried up, the team's confidence has evaporated, and Pearson looks absolutely clueless.

And meanwhile, Hull City, the club Pearson betrayed when he returned to Leicester, are in the box seat for second spot tonight after Watford's home defeat and Crystal Palace's home draw. And the team closing in fast and now sitting on Leicester's coat tails? None other than East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest.

One is tempted to say, serves Leicester and Pearson right! But Leicester could yet save their season by sacking Pearson and bringing in Steve Bruce.

Crystal Palace 2 Leeds 2 - So Near But So Far!

What a game! Leeds were unlucky to be behind at the break, as I posted at half time, but two minutes into the second period were lucky to still be in the game. Zaha, of Crystal Palace, Manchester United and England, broke the offside trap, was through on goal and, from a slightly wide angle to be fair, put his shot the wrong side of the post.

And that wasn't the only Palace chance. Dobbie struck two narrowly wide, the second after a lovely lay back header from Murray, and Leeds were reduced to cheating, with Varney throwing himself to the ground in a ludicrous dive, hoping to con his way to a penalty, and Warnock fouling just outside the box and collecting a booking which could so easily have been a red.

But then it all turned. Varney broke away on the left, delivered a superb cross and Morison took one touch to control the ball before driving it into the far corner of the net. 1-1. And with Leeds fans still pinching themselves because a forward had scored, Kenny drilled the ball upfield, Morison got on the end of it and buried the chance with aplomb. 1-2 and Leeds were charging towards the Premiership!

Could they do it? Could they hold on? On came Kevin Phillips, 40 this summer, older even than anybody in Warnock's squad. But Phillips couldn't do anything.

Instead it fell to Murray again, ghosting in behind former England full back Warnock and volleying home Delaney's pinpoint cross. A class goal in response to Route One Warnock.

At the end of the day, 2-2 was a fair result, and with Brighton, Middlesbrough and Leicester all losing, this was so nearly the perfect day. But Bolton won, of course, and the big problem for Warnock is Billy Davies's Nottingham Forest who netted three whilst defeating Wolves. So, despite two great away results, Leeds are still six points off a play off place, and that's quite a gap with just 10 games remaining.

Still Warnock will be happy. After all, with Watford losing, Palace moved a step closer to promotion, which is what Warnock wished for before kick off!

Half Time Crystal Palace 1 Leeds 0 - Warnock getting what he wished for!

Well Old Big Gob said he hoped Palace would win promotion so, this far, he is getting what he wished for! To be fair, Leeds are unlucky to be behind. Palace have had more chances, and Kenny has been much the busier of the two keepers, but Leeds have looked half decent on the ball and Varney really should have equalised. Meanwhile, Byram and Warnock Junior have been impressive.

The Palace goal was coming. Peltier and Lees had already allowed two headers from the middle of the box - one saved by Kenny, the other bending a foot wide - so it was no surprise to see Murray deep in the six yard box, unchallenged, heading home Williams' superb cross with both Leeds United centre backs standing, Arsenal style, with arms in the air appealing for offside. Good goal, poorly defended.

Kenny was called into action to save from Parr before Varney had his chance. Green engineered a shooting chance superbly and Speroni saved with his legs, deflecting the ball across the face of the goal. And there was Varney, closing in, with the goal at his mercy. Here was Leeds United's Premiership opportunity. Suddenly time slowed down, Varney seemed to take an age to reach the ball, and three Palace defenders closed like the jaws of a shark on a surfboarder. Varney got there, just, his shot was on target, but was blocked brilliantly.

It's not all bad news for Leeds. Miserablebrough are losing too. And so are Brighton. And Leicester are still only drawing. But Forest are winning, and Bolton, and Watford are ahead so Palace HAVE to win this one to give Warnock what he wished for!

Whose side is Leeds United’s manager Neil Warnock on exactly?

The game at Crystal Palce today is huge. Win it, and Leeds really will be in with a shout for the playoffs; but if they lose and Nottingham Forest and Brighton win, then the mountain will be huge. Nine points is one hell of a gap to close with just ten games to go. Even if Leeds won eight of those - a monumental ask - Brighton would only have to win five given the goal difference advantage they hold over Warnock's men.

Not that Brighton are guaranteed a win today. The trouble is, if they lose, Bolton will then pull further ahead of Leeds. That's the difficulty of trying to play catch up at this stage of the season. Of course, Leeds have a game in hand on both Bolton and Nottingham Forest, and that is a home game, so should Brighton lose today, they will remain in the shakeup - just - even if they lose at Palace and Forest and Bolton win. Permutations! Permutations!

One thing Warnock shouldn't want is for Palace to be promoted from their present position. First off, I wouldn't fancy Leeds over two legs against Watford, and secondly, that would probably require Palace winning today's game.

So, Warnock's expressed hope that Palace go up is strange. He is, of course, trying to manage the reaction of the Eagles' fans ahead of his return to Selhurst Park, but he has overstepped the mark in by book.

Can Leeds win today? Well ahead of the reverse fixture, I said this Palace team wasn't anything special and predicted a Leeds victory. I got the score wrong - forecasting 2-0 - but no matter, the point was that Leeds were strong enough to down the Eagles who were flying at that stage. But Becchio scored in that game and Becchio is not at Leeds anymore.

Today will be a huge test for Warnock's new look team and for Byram and Warnock Junior in particular. Palace will seek to use the full width of the pitch and the defence will be tested more than in any league game of late. I predicted 1-1 last week and I'm standing by that. That would keep Leeds in the hunt unless Brighton win at Bolton and I can't see that happening - if fact I take Bolton to win that one.

It promises to be a nail biting afternoon. May the best teams win!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Is it Hoe Hoe Hoe time at Leeds United at long last?

Is there any truth in the rumour? Might Master Bates really be about to buy Plymouth Argyle?

Plymouth is famous for its Hoe of course, and Leeds fans will be Ho Ho Hoing from here right through to Christmas if Santa Bates really does bugger off at the end of the season.

He started big at Chelsea, scaled down to Leeds and now may be about to scrape the bottom of the barnacled barrel.

Still, he will be perfectly located to sail around the coast and meet Warnock in his Cornish retirement!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Former Liverpool Boss Benitez Leads Chelsea to Defeat at Steaua

Bucharest is buzzing tonight! Chelsea strutted into town and will scuttle out again with yet another pathetic performance under their belts. Benny Benitez will, no doubt, complain about the penalty decision but, from where I was sitting, it was fully justified.

Torres was shit again. Chelsea were shit again. Benitez's tactics were shit again.

Tickets were sold out within two hours of the draw. The good people of Romania hold English football in awe but, if Sky are not careful, the world will wake up to the Premiership chimera very soon. No teams in the last eight of the Champions League, Chelsea struggling in the footballing backwater of seems the Premiership, like every dog, has had its day.

How many stars remain? Bale. And Suarez? And how long will they hang around?

How did that Mary Hopkins song go? "Those were the days my friend, we thought they would never end, we'd sing and dance for ever and a day."

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Has Aston Villa's Fabian Delph Nailed The Reason For Leeds Decline?

Interesting that Fabian Delph is complaining that the game has become "too technical" after collecting his tenth booking of the season.

He reckons that the referees have gone soft and the game has become "boring" now that it is more technical and players are not allowed to risk breaking each others' legs with reckless challenges.

Mind you, he has cleaned up his act since leaving Leeds! The former White claimed, "I was probably worse when I was at Leeds". Well there's a surprise! The Dirty Dirty Don Revie tradition survived right the way through to the Leeds youth team in the C21st then!

In fact, you can hear the spirit of Charlton, Hunter, Bremner and Giles when Delph complains, "No-one is allowed to kick anyone these days!" It's just not fair is it Fabian? The poor boy has to unlearn everything he was taught at Leeds!

No wonder Leeds seem to be in terminal decline. How can a club imbued with the tactics of Revie and managed by Old Big Gob Warnock hope to survive in this namby pamby era?

Yes Leeds are a big club, big like the dinosaurs!

Watford and Zola Daring to Dream

The result at Wolves was disappointing, with the team seemingly settling for a one goal victory from half time onwards, but last night Watford were back to winning ways, and better still Hull lost and Cardiff only drew. Leicester's failure to beat Leeds effectively knocked them out of the automatic promotion race, so now it is any two from four, or any one from three if Cardiff recover from their blip and get back to winning ways quickly.

I am still uncomfortable with the way Watford are doing it, exploiting what Holloway called a "loophole" to field so many loanees, but as Watford fans insist, supported by the club's lawyers, no actual rules have been broken. It's true too that the presence of Duxbury and Nani at the club militate against any affection I might feel for the Hornets but, leaving all that aside, you have to admire the job Zola himself is doing.

I didn't rate the guy as a manager at West Ham but this lend lease arrangement, for the want of a better term, could have gone one of two ways. Tevez and Mascherano were head and shoulders above everybody else in Pardew's squad when they shipped up at Upton Park, but they didn't want to play for the club and that infected morale and triggered a disintegration of team spirit. The dressing room split into factions and the passion that carried us to ninth place and a cup final the previous season evaporated.

That could so easily have happened at Watford. But Zola has got everybody playing as a team and not every manager would have been able to do that. Warnock has talked about the problems he experienced when the influx of new players joined his promoted QPR squad and he failed to manage the situation, as did his successor Mark Hughes. Zola, in contrast, has got it spot on.

I expressed my doubts when he was appointed and have mocked a little a long the way, but hands up, even if he misses promotion come the end of the season, GianFredo has done a bloody good job this year. Perhaps he says Hail Marys as the team run out on to the pitch!

Warnock's Long Goodbye At Leeds

First he wanted three games to change the world; now he wants another eleven. After last night's cruel draw, Old Big Gob was moaning about the referee yet again but suggesting that, despite the six point gap to Brighton and four point gap to Nottingham Forest, Leeds can still do it!

The team, apparently, go in to every game believing they can win it, presumably by a one goal margin given the lack of goals. Warnock's not sure if they will make it to the playoffs, but they are going to give it their best shot (with shot in the singular per game!).

It's six games out of ten at home after Saturday says Neil. Not that this should matter as the team believes it can win, "every game" so the venue really should be irrelevant. But it sounds to me as if Warnock is discounting the game at Palace, maybe fearing a reverse. Maybe that's why he is talking of 11 games before the curtain comes down on his career?

Warnock's words were:

"I think Leicester will be glad to have come out of the game with a point. There should have been two free-kicks in the build-up to the goal. The last time I felt like this was at Bristol City three years ago and it cost me three grand after I'd been on the telly so I have to be careful what I say. But I was disappointed with the consistency tonight and that's all you ask for."

"Whether we can still get into the play-offs I don't know but we have six out of 10 at home after Saturday and these lads are going into every game thinking they can win. It might be the last 11 games of my career but I'm going to enjoy them."

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Too too cruel for Warnock and Leeds

On 75 minutes it was all going swimmingly. True Middlesbrough were ahead, but Nottingham Forest were only drawing at home, Leicester were, of course, losing to Old Big Gob's brave hearts, and Brighton were only claiming a point. The gap was closing! The Premiership was in sight!

Even after 89 minutes Leeds were on course! True Forest had sneaked into the lead, but Miserablebrough were now losing and Brighton were still being held. Leeds were ahead at Leicester and the route to the play offs was beckoning.

And then Sod's Law struck! A Leicester equaliser in injury time! Et tu Keane? Then fall Big Gob!

Forest have widened the gap now to four points, Leicester maintain an 8 point cushion,  Brighton stay six points ahead, and bloody Bolton have overtaken Leeds and are on a charge! One moment you have your foot in the Premiership door, and the next the door slams shut and crushes your varicose veins.

Poor Old Big Gob will be exploding in pride, indignation and fury tonight. The dog had better watch out or it's in for a good kicking! If only the bloody forwards could score!

One goal is never enough, as they say, unless you are Nottingham Forest and Bolton!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Is Warnock Proving West Ham Wrong At Leeds?

Warnock Junior was on the point of joining West Ham when Warnock Senior came in for him at the last moment and offered him a longer contract. As a result, the former England left back opted to take his chances in the Championship rather than have a stab at rebuilding a Premiership career.

Well, thus far, the Villa reject is proving West Ham wrong. Pogatetz has been dire since his move from Germany, whilst Leeds have looked pretty watertight since Warnock was drafted into the team; and his penalty winner on Saturday was the icing on the cake.

Of course, things may look differently after the Leicester and Palace games, when both Warnocks will face bigger challenges than against Blackpool, Millwall and injury hit Blackburn but, for the moment at least, Old Big Gob has been vindicated in his pursuit of his namesake, whilst Allardyce may be cursing the money pinching West Ham board.

Leeds game huge for Leicester after Nottingham Forest reserve inflicts another defeat

The game against Leeds is now huge. The manager of the month award that Pearson collected seems to have gone to his head and is weighing like a ball and chain around the ankles of his team, because that victory over floundering Blackburn apart, Leicester have been hopeless ever since.

And to lose at Ipswich to a Forest reserve out on loan to the sister lovers - Oh the shame! McGoldrick isn't good enough for the Tricky Trees but he was good enough to slay the mangy Foxes. Boy that must hurt! What a clever piece of business by Forest. Lend out a player who then scores against a team you are looking to climb above in the play off places!

And that is the truth of the matter. Cardiff and Pearson's former club Hull may now already be out of reach. Three weeks back, the talk was of a charge for an automatic promotion place, now with Miserablebrough just three points behind and Forest closing in fast, big spending Leicester may yet miss out on a place in the play offs - and how risible would Pearson's award appear then?

Leicester simply have to beat Leeds and Wednesday in back to back home games. In fact, the Leeds game is a potential eleven pointer: if Leicester win, Leeds will never close that gap; if Warnock's boys prevail, they will fancy catching the Foxes with the gap then down to just five points. It's shit or bust time for Warnock's Leeds - well they have been shit and bust for years! - and it is fast approaching that for Leicester too.

Still, I am reliably informed that Leicester always lose to Ipswich so, if they are a bogey team, perhaps the result can be ignored. But over in Nottingham, glasses will be raised to out on loan David McFoolsGoldrick!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Is the Leeds Recovery Fact or Fiction?

He asked for three games to change the world, and many Leeds fans believe Warnock has delivered on his promise. Three games played, two won, one drawn, and Leeds have climbed the table to the heady heights of ninth. True, Leeds are just as far off the play offs in terms of points and goal difference but that's not Old Big Gob's fault is it? He can only do what he can do with his own group of players.

The trouble is, the evidence of a recovery is flimsy in the extreme. Yes Leeds have won two home games on the bounce, but they have been doing that for most of the season, and, if Warnock is honest, Leeds should EXPECT to beat Blackpool and Millwall at Elland Road. Since the defection of Wurzle Holloway, Blackpool have been poor; whilst Millwall have been toothless lions since losing Wood. But even then, Leeds were hardly convincing over the two games. Meanwhile, the Blackburn result looked decent until Posh banged three past them in 45 minutes yesterday.

If you look at the facts, nothing has changed. Leeds have scored just three goals in 450 minutes of football and five goals in 630 minutes, with two of those being penalties. Less than one goal per 100 minutes of game time is hardly scintillating is it, especially when Warnock said he was adopting a gung-ho approach. There was a predictably hysterical response to Morison's first goal for the club, but the Welsh goal machine hasn't been prolific for a long time now.

Leeds fans will point to a water tight defence, but on the basis of skewed stats. Blackpool were goalless again yesterday and, ignoring Cup games, Millwall have scored just six goals in their last nine games, a goals per minute record to compare with Leeds. Blackburn, meanwhile, were ravaged by injuries and struggled to put out a midfield.

The acid test comes this week. If Leeds lose at Leicester and Palace, the lie of a surge in form will be laid bare. Leicester have to win after their defeat yesterday so Tuesday night is a shit or bust affair for both teams. If Leeds lose and Forest win at home, the writing will be on the wall. If Brighton and Miserableboro both win too, Leeds will be cut adrift.

Keep that Warnock statue on hold!

Billy Davies shows Warnock and Leeds how to do it!

Nottingham Forest completed a miserable day for Leeds despite their lucky 1-0 win over Millwall. Whilst Leeds have squeaked victories in two home games against very modest opposition and drawn away, Forest have won away twice and achieved a hugely impressive six goal victory at home.

Warnock wanted three games to change the world, but at the end of those games, nothing much has changed. Brighton are six points ahead of Leeds, Middlesbrough five, and Forest have overtaken them. All three teams have a better goal difference than Warnock's team, and there are now three less games for Leeds to close the gap. Meanwhile, Bolton are suddenly sitting on Leeds' shoulder.

Warnock promised a gung-ho approach, but in those three games, Leeds have only managed three goals, and one of those was a penalty. Are they missing Becchio? The evidence suggests yes!

And now Leeds face games at Leicester and Crystal Palace whilst Forest have back to back home games against Ipswich and Wolves. If Leeds are still in touch by the time they next play at home, Warnock will have earned that statue!

Redknapp Should Name Agent Destabilising QPR

Lies! Lies! Disgusting lies! 'Arry was pulling no punches when he rubbished reports of a "holiday camp" atmosphere on the QPR Dubai jolly, except when it came to naming the agent responsible for ditching the dirt on the trip.

Of course, agents are easy targets given all fans hate them, but if 'Arry is so sure of the culprit, why doesn't he go ahead and name him? Redknapp insists no players were behind the leak, but it's difficult to believe that unless agents were allowed on the trip.

But then 'Arry might well have welcomed agents along, I suppose. Any deals done in the Arab playground are tax free aren't they? That sounds right up Redknapp's alley!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Former West Ham Sick Note Scores For Middlesbrough!

Dear God, it must be something in the air - well smog in the case of Middlesbrough! Kieron Dyer not only played - in March! - but scored in the league for the first time since 2007, when he was still a Newcastle player! Neil Warnock will be hopping mad that Leeds didn't sign him!

Sorry for all the exclamation marks but this really is incredible. It's like finding a Roman Catholic Cardinal who hasn't acted improperly in relation to young priests or choir boys, or discovering that Neil Warnock occasionally tells his players to "Keep the ball on the deck and pass it around", or learning that Middlesbrough has a beauty spot!

Kieron Dyer has scored! It's up there with 'Arry forgetting about a Monaco bank account in the name of his dog Rosie!

Heartbreak for Warnock and Leeds

He asked for three games to change the world and Leeds have not conceded a single goal in all three of them. But cruelly, wickedly, following Middlesbrough's stunning victory over Cardiff and Brighton's thumping of Huddersfield, Leeds are actually further off that precious play off place tonight than they were at the start of the day - thanks to goal difference and goals scored. And with two tough away games coming up, all hope could be gone by the next time Warnock's team return to Fortress Elland Road.

The old problem of lack of creativity and fire power returned to haunt Leeds against a very poor Millwall. The two penalties apart, one of which was missed, when did Leeds ever look like scoring? And had the referee not been a homer and awarded the obvious penalty to Millwall when Byram handled, the game could easily have ended up all square.

The result at Blackburn looked decent last week, but with Rovers losing at home to Peterborough today and shipping three goals in the first 45 minutes, you are again left wondering what Leeds might have achieved had they retained the services of Becchio or, better still, invested in Wood.

As for Warnock Junior, he is clearly a quick learner. Never mind the penalty he scored, that foul on James Henry was straight out of the Leeds United text book on how to break opponents' legs. Neil will no doubt be telling him, a little more force at the moment of impact next time lad!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Watford throw it away at the death

What a missed opportunity. Wolves were there for the taking tonight and, had Watford gone for the throat in the second half instead of seeking to play out the game with the narrowest of leads, the pressure would have been on Hull and Leicester tomorrow.

The result was far from a disaster for Zola's loanees, but Crystal Palace's victory at Derby has brought Olly's boys right back into the automatic promotion frame and should Leicester and Hull both win tomorrow, the battle for the second promotion spot will intensify.

Meanwhile, the point has done very little for Wolves' cause. They looked pretty clueless for most of the match and relegation to the old Division Three is looking more and more likely.

Leeds Bankers To Beat Toothless Lions

Chris Wood fired Leicester on their way to a recovery after a mini slump in mid week and his absence is hurting both Millwall and Leeds. Warnock wanted him, but Warnock couldn't afford him, and it was the short sighted decision of the club not to speculate in order to accumulate which means that Leeds are having to come from behind in the amble for a play off place.

But victory over Millwall will see belief surge. It's a game charged with hate. There will be ill will spilling over from the encounter earlier in the season - when ironically, Wood fired the winner - and there exists a deep seated loathing between both sets of fans.

All in all, it is a recipe for a bloody battle. A red card or two would not be a great surprise, and if Hell Hadji makes it onto the pitch, it could get particularly ugly. But Leeds have to win this one and surely will win it. Since Wood has departed, Millwall have been distinctly ordinary, whilst Warnock's team are presently riding on the crest of a wave. That wave is hardly of tsunami proportions but it is surely strong enough to sweep away this very, very poor Millwall team.

Leeds look a banker bet in this one. Away games at Leicester and Palace may give a truer picture of the quality of the present squad but, for the time being at least, Leeds are in with a shout of the play offs. And if they squeak into sixth place, who knows what might happen!

Warnock asked for three games to change the world. Another clean sheet and a goal or two in the opposition onion bag and suddenly he will have moved from zero to hero. The granite for that Warnock statue is on order as we speak!