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Hooliganism, Sheepshanks, and Shaun Derry

Leeds FansFirst off, a bit of light relief: the Home Office has released its statistics on football-related crime, and Leeds, once again, have come out on top. 118 Leeds fans are currently banned from all domestic and foreign football matches, four more than our nearest rivals, Cardiff. It's nice to know we can succeed at something, even if it is hooliganism. Some of the Leeds fans currently wanted by the police are on the left.

In related hooligan news, Ipswich Town's chairman is annoyed at the FA for deciding not to punish Leeds, a decision which makes it pretty much the only professional body in English football that hasn't had a go at kicking the team while it's down.

Not that I'm giving them any credit – this is the same FA that refused an independent inquiry into the Football League's decision to dock Leeds 15 points at the start of the season. That's more like refusing to help while others kick the unconscious bloke on the floor, rather than kicking him yourself, but I'm not sure that there's a huge moral difference. Ipswich's chairman, the brilliantly named David Sheepshanks, thinks that Leeds deserve to be punished for failing to prevent a pitch invasion by Leeds fans at the end of last season. I'm not sure what the FA is supposed to add to the 10 point penalty imposed at the end of last season and the 15 point penalty imposed at the beginning of this season, but Sheepshanks (Ipswich Town's nickname: The Tractor Boys) isn't satisfied.

And, finally, a bit of serious news. The Yorkshire Evening Post is reporting that Leeds manager Dennis Wise wants to send midfielder Shaun Derry out on loan, since Wise seems to think that he isn't going to get onto the team and it would be kind of pointless to pay him not to come in on a Saturday.

For my money, it would be a mistake for Wise to offload Derry permanently. He was one of the better players in the Leeds squad last season, and although does have a tendency to drift out of games when he's either not completely fit or not completely committed, he has a very powerful presence in the midfield that's sorely lacking in the current squad. We've yet to lose a game, yes, but that's down to an excellent striking partnership (in Jermaine Beckford and Tresor Kandol) and a rock-solid defence: the midfield really can't take any credit, and is the one area in desperate need of strengthening in the January transfer window. Derry was a decent player for Leeds in the Championship; in League One, he could make a serious impact.

Still, rumour has it that Derry was the infamous Leeds United Mole, and given the temper Dennis Wise is legendary for, if that's true, Derry is lucky to be given the chance to leave Elland Road alive.