Good Morning. It's Monday 5th December, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Bamford undergoes surgery
Patrick Bamford has been left out of the Leeds United training camp that travelled to Spain, and has instead made his way to Munich where he has undergone surgery on his troublesome groin. The injury plagued striker will be out of action for a further fortnight as long as everything goes to plan. Bamford has not completed 90 minutes of football since September 2021. Ironically, the last time he scored a goal was a year ago today, after coming off the bench to grab an injury time equaliser against Brentford, before re-injuring himself during his goal celebration.
Gokpo deal - we were 99.9% there
During a recent interview, Jesse Marsch revealed how just close Leeds were to signing Cody Gokpo. We knew Victor Orta had flown over to Eindhoven to meet with his Dutch counterparts, but we didn't know that he had met with Gokpo's family, and full personal terms had been agreed.
It's difficult for us at Leeds because I think Gokpo has gotten out of our price range. We were so close to securing a transfer for him in the Summer. It was so close, and now obviously it's disappointing. Our Sporting Director was in Holland, meeting with the family, we'd agreed on terms on everything, was talking with PSV. I mean we were 99.9%.
Little love lost - FA Cup tie between Leeds and Cardiff set for live broadcast
Leeds United's FA Cup clash with Cardiff City has been selected for live broadcast, and is set to kick off (in more ways than one) on Sunday 8th January at the Cardiff City Stadium. There's little love lost between the two sides over the years, none more so than the bad-tempered FA Cup encounter in 2002 when the Bluebirds recorded an unlikely victory over David O'Leary's side. The hostile atmosphere even spread to the benches.
Cardiff City (then) Chairman Sam Hammam had been berating the Leeds Manager all game. Things almost turned ugly, as O'Leary and Ridsdale were making their way back to the team bus. Hammam was in hot pursuit, and still intent on winding the former Republic of Ireland star up. O'Leary snapped, and went for Hamman, only for Ridsdale to drag him off. Earlier, Cardiff City fans then launched a pitch invasion upon the final whistle as emotions ran high and tempers began to fray. As we know, Leeds fans don't need a written invitation to join a party, and fighting broke out between the two sets of supporters.
Our unfathomable and spectacular fall from grace began when we travelled to play Cardiff in the FA Cup. David (O’Leary) had asked for the fixture to be switched from Ninian Park to the Millennium Stadium.
His request was declined but the manager set himself up for a fall when he quipped, ‘I’m disappointed. It would have proved excellent preparation for us if we go back there in May’. “Prior to the game, and in response to David’s taunts, Sam spoke about the Bluebirds being a bigger club than Leeds; a sleeping giant, and a club not intimidated by its Premiership rivals. In this psychological warfare, Sam’s mind games won out because we had a shocker of a match.
The atmosphere was already hostile in the ground when Sam intensified emotions with a walk around the edge of the pitch during play, rousing the Cardiff fans and goading the away support; an over-zealous mascot in a cashmere coat. It was an irresponsible thing to do and it led to violence in the stands as police dogs were brought in to restore order.
You can imagine how much Ninian Park went wild when Cardiff nicked the tie 2-1 with an 86th minute winner. David looked ashen in the dug-out, and you could tell he was seething over the shock defeat. As we traipsed out of the ground, crossing the tiny directors’ car park to the coach, which was parked in the main road directly outside the stadium to return us to the airport, Sam stood at the main entrance, still intent on chipping away at David. ‘I told you we were a bigger club!’ he shouted, clearly intending it for our ears.
David stopped in his tracks, simmering. ‘Well, you were right about one thing,’ Sam continued, laughing. ‘Your FA Cup started and finished in Cardiff’. “David went for him, rushing like a bull towards a red flag. Sam berated as David grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket. I dived in, dragging him away. Sam – who had it coming to him with all his provocation – still says to this day I stopped him from being punched. I’m not sure about that. All I was sure about was that our manager had lost his cool.