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Leeds United v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 16th March 2012
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy has been a bit worried this week. After the latest report that suggested red meat was, like, really, really bad for you, steak suddenly appeared on the menu at the Avram Grant Rest Home for the Bewildered for the first time in ages. Strangely, they didn't offer any to any of the other residents though. While we wait for his demise here's his look at Leeds United, in which you'll find the scandalous secret about their ownership that even the BBC weren't able to uncover. John Northcutt brings us back to reality with his stat round-up...

Next we have a hike up the M1 to Yorkshire where we visit Leeds United for a 3pm kick off on Saturday. Enjoy it while you can. Travel news and, whilst the trains seem to be ok on the East Coast line, on the Underground the Met, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines all have whole or partial closures which may make getting to Kings Cross an interesting exercise so allow yourself enough time to get there.

Our opponents this weekend currently lie in 10th place having amassed 53 points from their 36 games so far. That leaves them four points shy of Hull in 6th place, though the Humberside outfit do have a game in hand. Current form is mixed with 8 points coming from their last six, the record being won two (2-0 at Boro’ and 3-2 at home to Doncaster), drawn two (0-0 at Hull and Portsmouth) and lost two (1-0 at home to Southampton and a surprising 2-1 away at Coventry).

Inconsistency would seem to be the order of the day then, though with just a little more in the way of luck, they might have picked up something out of the home match with Southampton whose winner came with just about their only attack of the match. Still if you don’t take your chances ... (as we are of course all too aware).

I’ve probably mentioned in past previews that Leeds are not one of the more admired clubs in the professional game. Already saddled with an image problem following all the thuggery, gamesmanship and bribery issues of the late 1960s-early to mid '70s period they found themselves in major financial bother. Things were so desperate that even the arrival of Ken Bates looked like a good idea.

In amongst some rather cynical attempts to manipulate the timing of points deductions there were also some dubious goings on that enabled them to push through a CVA to enable them to survive, despite the best efforts of HM Revenue & Customs, though they eventually ended up in whatever Division Three is called this week.

If Pompey and Rangers weren’t proof enough that the football authorities see the words 'fit and proper' in a completely different light to the rest of us, the continued presence of Bates in the professional game is something of a major giveaway.

You may recall from the preview earlier this year that Bates had a bit of a falling out with the BBC when they asked exactly who it was that Bates had brought the club from – not an unreasonable question one might have thought, given that assurances had been given that no one individual owned more than 10 per cent of the club. Unfettered by the journalistic integrity rules that the BBC applies I went off and did my own research into the issue.

This involved trips to several of the sunnier tax havens (the expense bill for which I have charged directly to the editors so they may be a bit short this week if you see them in the pub). I finally came up trumps when I got to Monaco which is where Bates himself is based. After buying a few bankers a few drinks I can now reveal exclusively that the secretive power behind the throne at Leeds from whom Bates bought the club was none other than Harry Redknapp's dog Rosie.

They’ve never been ones to court popularity. Apart from the fact that they are owned by Bates they’ve also employed the likes of Dennis Wise as manager in the past. The recent change at the top is a case in point. It’s almost as if someone inside the club has said, "what can we do to make ourselves just that little bit less popular? I know let’s get rid of a promising young manager in the form of Simon Grayson and bring in Neil Warnock".

Known as Colin (with good reason) he almost qualifies as an honorary Scouser given his predilection for blaming anyone else for anything that goes wrong with his career. His team’s failure to hold on to a 10-point safety cushion in 2006/07 was, of course our fault. According to Colin his recent sacking from QPR was down to players, players’ agents, Mark Hughes, Mark Hughes’ agent, Twitter, QPR’s owners, QPR’s previous owners etc etc etc.

The fact that Colin’s stewardship seemed to have placed QPR into some sort of footballing tailspin (with Hughes pulling desperately on the joystick) appears somewhere behind increased solar flare activity and the demise of Amy Winehouse in his list of "reasons I got the sack".

The departure of Simon Grayson has proved the old adage about ill winds, giving as it has a fresh chance to defender Andy O’Brien. O’Brien and Grayson had a falling out of Mike and Bernie Winters proportions earlier this season. A poor start to the season on O’Brien’s part saw him dropped, only returning to first team action in November when injuries and suspensions necessitated his return to the fold. Then things got a bit complicated.

O’Brien apparently approached Grayson and announced that he would never play for Leeds again, a statement with which Grayson elected to agree. O’Brien later stated that his comment had been made whilst suffering from depression and that he had not been in the right frame of mind when he made it. It appears that this was an explanation that Grayson had little time for and it was only after the manager’s departure that O’Brien was seen in Leeds’ colours again, taking part as he did in the 2-1 defeat to Coventry a few weeks back. During his absence from the ranks, O’Brien was linked with a move to the Boleyn during our own injury and suspension crisis that saw Linda playing at centre back.

The skipper, midfielder Jonny Howson, was out for much of the season before being flogged to Norwich meaning that the captain's armband is currently to be found halfway up the sleeve of Robert Snodgrass. Prior to Colin's appointment, 'keeper Andy Lonegran had been performing the coin toss and smiling in photos with the mascot duties. However it would seem that Colin prefers these tasks to be undertaken by an outfield player. Snodgrass is a full international, albeit only for Scotland and can be handy from free-kicks. He’s netted 12 times this season, a stat that puts him second in their top scorers list.

At the top of that list is Snodgrass's fellow sweaty Ross McCormack who has 16 goals (of which 15 have come in the league). McCormack missed their match against Millwall before Christmas to attend the birth of his son. That’s fair enough but he can look forward to a law suit over his decision to call the kid 'Layton', which is far too close to 'Leyton' for Barry Hearn’s liking. McCormack has been in and out of the Scotland squad with Craig Leveine attracting no little criticism north of the border for his failure to select the in-form front-man.

Of course the arrival of Colin means that he is re-united with midfielder Michael Brown, a fellow veteran of the so-called Battle of Bramall Lane. This you may recall was a match in which the spirit of the game took as big a kicking as one or two West Bromwich players.

Warnock’s explanation for the abandonment of the match was about as convincing as Harry Redknapp’s tax defence, though in the form of the disciplinary panel Sheffield United had as gullible an audience as that that sat on the jury at Southwark the other week. Brown has always had a reputation for the lack of ball-winning quality of some of his challenges and, as if to underline the fact, Barnsley skipper Jacob Butterfield is currently sitting at home nursing a cruciate knee ligament injury described by the victim as "intentional" and "malicious".

They have a couple of defenders in on loan at present. Darren O'Dea has been there all season having come in from Celtic. Paul Robinson is a more recent arrival having come in from Bolton on a one-month deal earlier this month. Sam must be kicking himself.

And so to us. I'll admit that, when I heard that we'd signed Vaz Te I was far from overwhelmed. In fact I was struggling to make 'whelmed'. However, he is precisely the sort of player that we've been lacking this season. Someone who can run at, take on and beat players. He may not be the greatest player you've seen doing those things but he seems to be all we've got in that department. The fact is that after he went off against Doncaster that was it as far as we were concerned.

This makes the news that he's out for three weeks all the more galling as it is worrying to note that we didn't look like breaking Doncaster down without someone willing to do something just that little bit out of the ordinary. It may be that young Ravel Morrison may be the player for that – I've not seen him in action so haven't really got that much of a line on how he plays. However, although he made the bench last weekend, all the comments coming from the club suggest that we shouldn't be holding our collective breath, though you never know.

Other injuries include Demel (retrograde widdershins) Diop (thigh), Reid (bonce) and Faubert (unspecified but he was limping when the boss saw him last week so let's call it 'leg'). Joey O'Brien should be available though, which should mean a return to the more familiar left hand side for Linda.

We will of course be away from home for this one and the way the team is likely to be set up, together with the available personnel, may be more suited to matches where the onus is on our opponents to make the running. There also seems to be a psychological thing about the Boleyn Ground at the moment so maybe a weekend away from E13 will do them the power of good.

Prediction? Well they played well against the Southampton Diving Academy the other week and the pressure to get their first goals and first win under Colin will have been released. Irrespective of division this is always a difficult place to go to so I'll go for a stalemate. 1-1 maybe?

Enjoy The Game!

When Last We Met: Drew 2-2 at the Boleyn. Cole put us 1-0 up. Gradel (now with St Etienne) missed a penalty that shouldn't have been awarded. McCormack levelled in the second half. A Kisnorbo own goal put us 2-1 up and Clayton gave Leeds a deserved point with a late, late equaliser.

Referee: Peter Walton. Premier League referee who once famously sent Piquionne off for celebrating a goal stating that the player had climbed into the crowd. When he had done no such thing.

Danger Man: Robert Snodgrass – scored against Boro'. Good with free-kicks and not averse to the odd assist either.

Daft fact of the week: The city of Leeds takes its name from the name a forest that covered the 5th century Kingdom of Elmet. This is reflected in the fact that, although citizens of Leeds like to refer to themselves as 'Loiners', the rest of the country think that they are all 'Elmets'.

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

Head to Head
Pld 103; West Ham Utd 27, Leeds Utd 48, Draws 28.

Biggest Win
1st January 1967: West Ham Utd 7-0 Leeds Utd (Boleyn Ground, League Cup 4th Round)

Heaviest Defeat
5th February 1966: Leeds Utd 5-0 West Ham Utd (Elland Road, Division One)

First Meeting
29th January 1921: Leeds Utd 1-2 West Ham Utd (Elland Road, Division Two)

Last Five Meetings
21st August 2011: 2-2 (Boleyn Ground, Championship)
26th February 2005: 1-2 (Elland Road, Championship)
10th December 2004: 1-1 (Boleyn Ground, Championship)
8th February 2003: 0-1 (Elland Road, Premiership)
10th November 2002: 3-4 (Boleyn Ground, Premiership)

Memorable Match
9th February 1929: West Ham Utd 8-2 Leeds Utd (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

West Ham, who were to narrowly avoid relegation (by just eight points) at the end of the 1928/29 season recorded their biggest win of the campaign when smashing eight past a hapless Leeds side at the BG in front of just over 18,000 spectators. On target for the Irons were Tommy Yews, Viv Gibbins and United's club-record goalscorer Vic Watson, who hit a double hat-trick - a feat unrepeated until October 1968, some 39 years later when Geoff Hurst hit six again Sunderland in an 8-0 win.

You're Off! Red Cards Received
Harry Redknapp (1968-69); Michael Hughes (1996-97); Neil Ruddock (1998-99); Shaka Hislop (1998-99); Steve Lomas (1998-99); Ian Wright (1998-99); Marc Vivien-Foe (1999-2000); Fredi Kanoute (2002-03).

They Played For Both
Robbie Keane; Lee Bowyer; Sebastien Carole; Matthew Kilgallon; Brian Deane; Rio Ferdinand; Lee Chapman; Mervyn Day; Alf Harwood; William Jackson; Dave Mangnall; George Speak.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by IronWorx
09:32AM 17th Mar 2012
''"Its hard to take anything seriously in an article that refers to Leeds as a team from Humberside" - Wonderful, lol.

They'll be Twittering Chris Hoy to complain about his refereeing performance next...''

by Macca [Leeds]
04:03PM 16th Mar 2012
''Good read guys but not enough emphasis on the major problem which has divided fans all season .....BATES.

You will experience the delights of being in the corner of the West Stand tomorrow which I hasten to add isn't in any shape or form reflective of the extortionate price you have paid. Please sympathise with LUFC fans who have to line his pockets every week.

Tomorrow well over 30k are expected. The atmosphere will reflect the fixture and here's hoping the game does too!''

by Preview Percy
03:03PM 16th Mar 2012
''@Blake - er if you can point out where I refer to Leeds as a team from Humberside you can have this week's supply of Werther's Originals. I do point out that the team from Humberside has a game in hand but I'd have thought that it was obvious that referred to Hull since, er, it's them that has the game in hand. As I'm sure you knew really.

As for being taken seriously - heaven forbid! However, should there be anyone out there with any doubts I am happy to confirm that Harry Redknapp's dog has never to my knowledge owned shares in Leeds United FC; it was of course Peter Storrie's cat 'Tiddles'.

Well done to those who spotted the Howson error before we had a chance to correct it - I pressed 'send' before I pressed 'save' so that the old version went live. Schoolboy error and lines are being written as we speak.''

by Blake [LUFC]
02:06PM 16th Mar 2012
''It's hard to take anything seriously in a article that refers to Leeds as a team from Humberside, most people know its Yorkshire. Also hard to take seriously when done so one sided.''

by Elland Back
12:49PM 16th Mar 2012
''Good read. Delighted to hear that Vaz Te will be watching from the stands as he already has a hat-trick against Leeds on his CV this season playing for mighty Barnsley. Hoping to see your much more loveable manager spitting out his dummy tomorrow teatime. ''

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