By Mike Courtney
I was listening to a contemporary radio station on the commute into work this morning and two of the songs that featured were "Silence is Golden" by the Four Seasons and Simon and Garfunkel’s "Sound Of Silence” (I know I know, I need to start listening to another Radio Station). It got me thinking though is this the station they are listening to at Elland Road because as the closure of the transfer window looms large this is exactly what we are hearing from the club, nothing, nada, complete and utter silence regarding the takeover.
There is an article in The Sun, not that I believe everything I read in that paper, stating that the takeover is almost complete. 72 hours was mentioned and that Warnock has spoken to the new owners, they even named the possible new Chairman. Yet there is nothing from the Club and nothing from LUST, who have been most vocal about the silence. This all leads me to believe that this story is just another false dawn for us beleaguered supporters.
I know supporting Leeds is not easy (well it is 'cos I love em but you know what I mean) and to expect good news at this late hour, allowing us to bring in a few quality signings before the deadline tomorrow night is akin to wishing to win the Euromillions Lotto. But why oh why does everything relating to our club and this takeover have to be dragged on an on. I for one am sick of it and can't wait, like everyone else, for it to be concluded one way or the other so that we know where we will stand for the season ahead.
It can't have been easy for Warnock and the squad to have this hanging over them at the start of the season, but they seem to have dealt with it well and the performances on the pitch have been beyond what I expected so far.
The big question is can they continue to produce on the pitch with such a limited squad? My fear is they can't and when the games start to come thick and fast as they do in this division, we will be found out due to our lack of strength in depth.
So as I watch the Sky Sports Transfer Deadline Day Countdown Clock move slowly toward 11pm tomorrow night, anxiously awaiting the word on new players arriving at Thorpe Arch I fear that one club that won't feature is Leeds United. Thus leaving us relying on the Loan Market to get players in to drive us forward to where we want to be come next May.
In the meantime here is Bjork.. "It’s oh so quiet SSH SSH"
MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds
By Keith Ingham
After two great wins and notable performances from quite a few players such as Becchio, McCormack and Paddy (always alert) v Peterborough and White, Byram and Diouf v Oxford in midweek. A mention also of 'The Beast' who played excellent in both games and also scored a superb goal.
Leeds face a tough fixture against another of the teams who dropped out of the Premiership. Blackburn with Steve Keane still in charge come to Elland Road with 7 points from their opening games and have invested in the summer bringing in Danny Murphy, Nuno Gomes and Leon Best. They also have a strong squad from the previous season and are rated as one of the favourites to return to the top division.
Leeds changed things in midweek but should revert to the side that started against Peterborough unless Diouf rejects the contract offered and leaves which would leave a place for either Aidy White or Sam Byram.
This is set up to be real 'six pointer' and although it will be a tight game I expect the improved home form to continue.
Leeds 2 Blackburn 1
On on on.
By James Dielhenn
Tuesday 28th August 2012
Capital One Cup Round Two
Elland Road, Att: 13,798
Leeds 3 - 0 Oxford
Team: Ashdown, Lees, Kisnorbo, Pearce, Drury, Byram, Brown, Austin, White, Diouf, Becchio
Subs: Kenny, Peltier (on for Byram 90), Thompson (on for Austin 84), Poleon (on for Diouf 76), Varney, McCormack, Becchio
Neil Warnock rang the changes for the visit of Oxford in the cup and was rewarded with solid displays from his fringe players.
Jamie Ashdown made his first appearance for Leeds in goal, but such was our dominance that he didn't have anything serious to do. 6
Tom Lees retained his place in the team but reverted to right-back. He didn't bomb on down the wing too much but was defensively solid. He scored his second goal of the season with a good header. It would really be helpful if Lees could develop a habit of getting into scoring positions. 7
Patrick Kisnorbo was given a chance at centre-back after another long-term injury. It was a nice, slow game to get him back into the swing of things. Kisnorbo did alright, clearing everything that went near him, but his pace and agility was never questioned by Oxford. 6
Jason Pearce played next to Kisnorbo and put in his customary commanding performance. Again, he wasn't troubled much. 7
Adam Drury played left-back and put forward his case to retain that position once again. He played well. 6
Sam Byram could develop into a real star this season. Playing right wing, he was full of pace and energy and had a really good game. The goal he scored was simply brilliant. 8
Michael Brown came into the team and played in a holding midfield role. Things were easy for Brown and he just kept the game ticking over with short passes around midfield. 6
Rodolph Austin was given a different role. With Brown as the defensive midfielder, Austin was given freedom to burst forward and rewarded his manager with a goal. It was a thunderous finish and he also hit the bar from 30 yards. Austin will have given Warnock food for thought with this performance. 8
Aidy White returned to the squad and did a solid job down the left wing. He looked a class apart at times. White owed his manager a performance after a slow start to the season. 7
El Hadji Diouf played just off the target man, up-front. He still hasn't signed a permanent deal but the standing ovation that he received when he was subbed should convince him to stay. Diouf was excellent, playing in a position where his footballing intelligence was too much for inferior opposition. He doesn't get into scoring opportunities much but his creativity was top drawer. 8
Andy Gray did a good job of holding the ball up and creating room for his team-mates. He didn't really have a proper chance to shoot and will face harder tests if he is to be Leeds' first striking option on the bench. 6
A professional display. Maybe Warnock will have learnt something about his squad tonight.
Neil Warnock Post Match:
"You won't see two better goals than the two in the first half. Sam will probably never score another goal like that in his career though Rodolph probably will! I was pleased for Tom Lees that he scored too.
"It is a gamble when you make six changes. I wanted to rest (strikers) Luciano Becchio and Ross McCormack because we have an important game against Blackburn on Saturday and I am really looking forward to that."
By James Dielhenn
Saturday 25th August 2012
London Road, Att: 10,482 (3800 leeds aprox)
Peterborough 1 - 2 Leeds
Bostwick 73' Becchio 7', 50'
Team: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Drury, Diouf, Austin, Norris, Varney, McCormack, Becchio
Subs: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Byram (on for Diouf 76), Brown, White, Poleon (on for McCormack 79),
Gray (on for Becchio 87)
Two wins out of three, and there is reason for optimism at Leeds despite Neil Warnock's gripes with the takeover and lack of funds. For the third consecutive game Leeds were defensively resolute, with the whole team set up to maximise solidity.
They deserved to beat Peterborough (whose awful defending contributed to their own downfall, admittedly) even if the last 20 minutes were nervy.
Paddy Kenny's influence on Leeds' new found defensive presence shouldn't be underestimated. The veteran keeper was excellent again at Peterborough, making one important save from a corner when the score was goalless. He also had to be alert to deny Peterborough as they took a quick free-kick. An assured performance. 7
Lee Peltier played at right-back, his favoured position, for the first-time. He wasn't tasked with getting forward but his defensive positioning was fine. Peltier was solid down his flank and was comfortable in possession. 7
Tom Lees put in a fantastic performance. He is improving vastly under Warnock's tutelage. Lees was constantly tackling and blocking everything that came his way. The win wouldn't have been secured without him. 8
Likewise Jason Pearce, who has been an inspired signing so far. He was bullish at the back, and dominated the aerial battles. He put his body on the line several times to thwart Peterborough. 8
Adam Drury made his first start for Leeds at left-back. The 33-year-old put in several crunching tackles, and possessed a fair bit of pace despite his age. He could secure the left-back spot for himself with more performances like this. 7
Rodolph Austin worked hard in the centre of midfield but after three games in a week, looked tired at times. He flew into as many tackles as possible, though, and helped to shut out Peterborough in the final quarter of an hour. 6
David Norris, next to Austin, struggled to get his foot on the ball and win possession because Peterborough had four men in the middle of their midfield. Norris worked hard although he wasn't able to get forward. He did contribute to costing Leeds a goal with an air-shot inside the box. 6
El-Hadji Diouf started on the right wing. He showed intelligence at times, shielding the ball and winning dangerous free-kicks. He also has a bit of quality with his deliveries from the wide areas, although he made the wrong decision on a few occasions. He is definitely worth signing to a permanent contract based on his performances so far. 6
Sam Byram came on for Diouf to add another defensive player as Leeds held onto their 2-1 lead. Byram was impressive, making some good runs down the right and threatening to score on a couple of occasions. 7
Luke Varney, on the left, improved from his two average displays so far to put in an important shift. His unselfishness created the first goal impressively. He lacks the pace of a proper winger but his movement was clever. He is also a real force in the air despite his height. 6
Ross McCormack had a good game. He played deep, behind the front man, and was able to pull the strings for Leeds. He had a hand in the first goal and assisted the second with a beautiful cross. He didn't have a chance on goal himself but had a very good outing. 7
Dominic Poleon replaced McCormack to add an out-ball as Leeds held on. He did well, putting in a real shift. 6
Luciano Becchio was immense. Even apart from his match-winning two goals, he put in his best performance for months. Becchio held onto everything that was pumped up to him, and his ability to contribute to the defence was fantastic. At least five times he headed away Peterborough set-pieces. Both goals were typical poacher's efforts, and he could have had a third if he wasn't so unselfish after running with the ball. Becchio, on this form, transforms Leeds into a threatening team. 9
Warnock looked elated afterwards. His troops now need a week's rest before their next match, but things might be starting to come together for Leeds.
By Mark Rasdall
Some of you may remember Reg Varney as his most well-known character, Stan Butler, in 'On the Buses.' Reg was loyal and hard working but never had much luck or ever looked like being more than what he was.
I have read reports on yesterday's Leeds United away match at Peterborough United from Thomas Hill and Andrew Butterwick. Between them they cover what it was like to be a Leeds fan on an away day. I loved every bit of it too, from walking expectantly down to the game to marching away from the ground afterwards and, of course, the non-stop singing from our fantastic support of 4,000 fans throughout.
Peterborough were anything but Posh yesterday. They were ragged: devoid of ideas or effort. It was quite the worst Peterborough team I think I have ever seen. The 6,000 of their fans who made up the rest of the crowd must have feared the worst when we went 1.0 up and then 2.0 early in the second half. Another defensive error let them in briefly but it would have been an absolute travesty if we hadn't have won.
As a team we were much more up for it. As in the first two games we worked really hard and looked much more organised than last season if not actually controlling the game at any point. Defensively we looked pretty solid, apart from their goal, and Becchio and McCormack worked their socks off this time and Luciano took his goals well - especially the header for the second one.
In midfield we were big and quite tough but also went missing too often and this is where I think we'll have problems. As poor as Peterborough were yesterday they too often found themselves with time and space to set up attacks. Better sides than them with heart and imagination will capitalise on that and we'll be tested much, much more severely.
I know the situation with size of squad and very early days for new players. I also want to give everyone a chance as obviously does Neil. Diouf worked hard but is not really effective on the right and we lack a player of real creativity in midfield. If we were somehow to get a real playmaker in there, I think we could mount a promotion challenge. Poleon did well when he came on and it was fantastic to see Andy Gray in a Leeds shirt again, having not seen him since that dreadful day 16 years ago at Wembley against Aston Villa.
My biggest worry, though, is Luke Varney. I wanted to see for myself whether he was better than I initially thought. I'm afraid he was worse. He sticks quite well to his position and heads the ball effectively. However he has a dreadful touch and clearly has no real flair, preferring to argue with everyone around him just a little too much. Worse than this, though, he goes missing voluntarily. I watched him several times when we had set pieces or throw-ins in the second half. He doesn't look at the player kicking or throwing, or even go on intelligent decoy runs. He hides. He doesn't want the ball. He's obviously frightened of making a mistake or exposed for just not being that good.
I want to watch players like Luciano - not just because of the goals - but because they never stop running and want (demand) the ball whenever possible. Luke Varney doesn't. If he runs, it's like he wants to be seen to be putting in a shift (presumably to keep him in the team in these sparse times) but he never really engages unless he has to. I actually got the impression that he was a bit arrogant and thought he was deserving of a higher league, and is just doing us a favour by gifting his services to us - almost out of pity for our plight (perhaps he still thinks he's a Portsmouth player?).
I assume we'll give some players a rest against Oxford but Varney should play. He doesn't deserve a break and certainly hasn't earned the right to wear the shirt yet. Let him play against a lower league team and prove that he has a lot more to give - I for one would be delighted if this happened - otherwise we should offload him to somewhere like Peterborough where neither the players nor fans seem to care.
Reg Varney was funny but we're going to need much more than bus drivers when we hit the congestion of the winter months ahead.
By Keith Ingham
After a pretty impressive display from all involved on Saturday, Leeds host Oxford in the newly named Capital One Cup at Elland Road on Tuesday.
This trophy is not high in Warnock’s priorities but with the Premiership teams due in the next round he will be sending out a strong, if different team. I expect quite a few changes with a few of the under 18's involved plus the player’s not involved from the start v Peterborough. It gives Andy Gray another home debut if he is selected and fans will be interested to see Dominic Poleon who had a few games and scored in pre- season.
After the game thoughts will turn to the transfer window but as Neil Warnock has already said he's not expecting to be involved in the rush to sign anybody but I'm hoping at least a couple could be done as a few injuries could spoil a decent start to the 2012/13 season. If not it looks like waiting to see who is left out of the Premiership 25 man squads and hopefully get a couple of them.
On On On
By Mark Rasdall
I'll be going to Leeds United's away game with Peterborough United tomorrow. I actually grew up in Peterborough so it's something of a home game for me in a strange kind of way. Growing up in the 'Seventies I couldn't afford to travel to Elland Road often but went to watch Posh who had an exciting team at the time, managed by the late Noel Cantwell.
The highlight for me was seeing our great team play Peterborough at London Road in an FA Cup 4th round tie in January 1974, which Leeds won 4-1 in front of a crowd of 28,000. Although Peter Lorimer and the rest made it look easy that day, Peterborough's reputation grew on the back of being a very good cup team and this helped their election to the Football League in 1960. Probably their greatest result was in 1965 when they beat Arsenal 2-1, also in the 4th round, in front of 30,000!
So, Peterborough certainly have the pedigree and I do remember well that Cantwell's team always seemed to play out of their skins against the best teams but struggled against lesser opposition. With two defeats out of two so far this season, they will certainly be up for us tomorrow, especially with what is sure to be one of the biggest crowds they'll get at home all season. We may not have sold all of our tickets but believe me it will feel as if we've filled their tight ground for them - and I'm sure we'll all be reminding them of that.
I've seen Leeds play Peterborough twice more since that wintery afternoon all those years ago. We lost there 2-0 three seasons ago but won 3-2 last season with a last minute goal by Becchio. That was also a match to remember! We did our very best to throw it away and only won it in literally the last few seconds.
It would be good to see Becchio score again tomorrow (obviously) especially after his winner last Saturday. He's undoubtedly struggled over the last year and it's clear to all of us that his injury was worse than the club admitted publicly. I know that Neil was on his back again after Tuesday's game at Blackpool - as with all of the front players it seems - so we all be willing him on and hope he really can get back to his best form for us.
The other player I'm not at all sure about yet is Luke Varney. I wasn't that impressed with him against Wolves and obviously he was at fault for the first goal on Tuesday. I'm all for giving players the chance to settle in and prove themselves. We at Leeds are often too impatient far too quickly and it sometimes takes longer for some players than others. Hopefully we'll be more impressed after tomorrow's game and I certainly want him to do as well as any other player. I just think he's flattered to deceive so far.
So, can't wait for the game and being unable to talk properly for days afterwards - hopefully these words will tell of another great day for Leeds as opposed to the glory hunters from Peterborough.
By Keith Ingham
Today as I look at the calendar I see the transfer window deadline getting closer and fear that unless we receive an influx of money that the squad will be far too small to compete in this tough Championship.
Please before the rants start look at the facts:
1. We could not even fill our squad when the lists were published
2. The boss has said in interviews that "he will have to work with what he has" (Blackpool)
3. Players are leaving the club and not being replaced as there is no money in the pot
4. Paul Green, who looked good in pre- season is out for around eight weeks.
5. Neil Warnock's pre- match Peterborough comments about his squad.
The season started with fans being so positive because they thought the takeover was around the corner but as I write nothing from the club or LUST has been forthcoming leaving fans feeling worried that a top six place may already be out of reach.
I want to be wrong but something needs to happen NOW and then we can all look forward more positively and I will gladly shut up.
On On On