If the BBC wants to make savings, I would have thought that cutting these kinds of budgets make more

sense than cutting British local radio. The inevitable happened. Jonny Howson sold! The uninformed immediately assume the worst and leap to the barricades. What a pity that they didn't find out the facts before shouting off. Over the last 14 months, we have tried to engage Jonny in discussions to extend his contract to no avail. He made it quite clear that he wanted to keep his options open because he wanted to play in the Premier League. Jonny is 24 years old in May, his contract runs out in June and he is a free transfer under the Bosman ruling. To complicate matters, Jonny hurt his knee during the Millwall game on December 3; it wasn't a foul, just damned bad luck. It meant that he would be out of the team until February or even March, meaning that we might get seven or nine games out of him at the most, before he left for nothing on a Bosman. When the phonecall came from Norwich, it was like Christmas coming late. The manager said, "Take it" and we did. We'd get 2m on January 24, nothing on February 1 - no brainer! We are sorry to have lost Jonny, but we wish him well. Who will ever forget that storming equaliser against Bristol Rovers when we were down to 10 men, which, with Beckford's winner lifted us to the Championship? Still, we have nurtured him, trained him and coached him for some 14 years, so it is nice to get some compensation for all that hard work. I know some fans are frustrated at the lack of movement in the transfer window, but according to one leading agent, up to last Monday night, there have been just seven transfers completed which included a fee and Leeds were involved in two of them: Pugh in, Howson out. We have, of course, also welcomed back Fabian Delph on a temporary loan. In addition, we think that we have unearthed another little gem in Robbie Rogers, a 24-year-old USA international with 12 caps, who can play on either wing. One great decision we made was when we resigned from the Nor hern Reserve League and chose instead t to play reserve friendlies, mostly behind closed doors. This means that any bookings don't count and more importantly, we can play trialists. That is how Robbie came to our attention. The standard of football in these games, both in pace and quality, is much higher and a better test for our firstteam squad players and Academy hopefuls. To date we have already beaten teams from Celtic, Newcastle and Chelsea. It is our policy to bring on our youngsters and then put them out on loan to gain more experience. It also helps them to realise how for unate they are to play t for Leeds when they experience the facilities at some other clubs. So we return to this evening. It is comforting to know that with general financial doom and gloom forecast for the next few years, with football clubs facing serious cash problems and even sugar daddies cutting back on their wasteful spending, we are in a comfortable position and have a good foundation to build on. It is wishful thinking that some foreigner is out there waiting to splash their cash, outside of their own country, 'cause there ain't no spare money in Yorkshire! Fifty-seven points to go!

VALENTINE'S

DINNER

LORIMER'S BAR MEMBERS END OF

SEASON AWARDS FEVER PITCH
04

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