Leeds start their latest bid to escape the second tier on Sunday against Bristol City after the bitter disappointment of letting slip a 2-0 aggregate lead against Derby in the play-off semi-finals in May.Derby should once again be strong after replacing replaced Frank Lampard, who left to manage Chelsea, with former Dutch star Phillip Cocu.The relegated Premier League trio of Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield, will be buoyed by parachute payments, but the last side to go straight back were Newcastle, after they slipped out of the top flight in 2016.West Brom, who reached the play-offs in May are positioned to make a strong push under former West Ham and Croatia manager Slaven Bilic.– Leeds favourites –But fallen giants Leeds, missing from the Premier League since 2004, are the early favourites to complete their journey back to the top flight.Bielsa, who has kept faith with most of the squad from last season, also bringing in Portugal international winger Helder Costa on loan from Premier League side Wolves, has been succinct in his appraisal of their chances of success.“We can arrive at the goal we want to achieve,” he said.The goal of automatic promotion has been hammered out in no uncertain terms by the club hierarchy.Italian owner Andrea Radrizzani has stayed put, having denied rumours he was trying to sell the club.“When you are really close to something and you don’t get it, you can take two roads,” Leeds director of football Victor Orta told the BBC.“You can think about the chance you lost, or think about the one in front of you. We have decided on the second one. When you look back, you can’t advance.”Orta said he was not concerned by the lack of new faces at the club, adding “continuity is our value for next season”.At least Bielsa’s famously tough training regime will not be the shock it was on his arrival last year.“You can have double, triple, four sessions a day,” said captain Liam Cooper. “There were hard blisters on my feet.“Everything just ached. Sometimes I don’t even get to put my little girl to bed at 7:00 pm. This is day after day.”Cocu is taking charge of a Derby side brimming with young talent and will seek to inspire the players after the disappointment of defeat in the play-off final against Aston Villa.The 48-year-old Dutchman, capped 101 times, is seeking to restore lustre to his CV after a brief, traumatic, stay with Turkish outfit Fenerbahce following a successful spell in the PSV Eindhoven dug-out.“Over the last few years the club has tried to build something and I want to continue this process, this philosophy,” he said. “I have the feeling it’s a good fit and a good moment to step in.”Bilic, another high-profile appointment, is bullish about West Brom’s chances, describing them as a “massive club”.“We are going to try to come back to the Premier League this year,” he said. “Short term or long term, this is where this club belongs.“Like as in every second league in the world of football, it’s not only us who are a big club in the league. There are many clubs who could say the same things, but West Bromwich Albion has something special.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa © AFP/File / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGENLONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 31 – Marcelo Bielsa has another chance to deliver Premier League football to the success-starved fans of Leeds United after falling agonisingly short last season, as the Championship starts this weekend.The charismatic 64-year-old Argentine, idolised by Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, gave the three-time English champions a boost by agreeing to stay on for a second campaign.
Simi Valley Democrats’ fault Re: “L.A. exports gang terror” (Feb. 7): I have lived in L.A. County for 36 years and have watched the gang-terror problems escalate with nothing being done to stop it. Then it dawned on me that the city and county have been run by Democrats over that entire time. This shows the complete incompetence of the Democrats to solve serious problems. How many people do we have to have killed in L.A. so that we won’t offend someone? We don’t need a “three-day summit” to tell us what is wrong. We want the City Council and county supervisors to get off their liberal butts and get some guts and start fighting the problem. Congress has not solved the problem in its own backyard so why does it think it can solve Iraq? Re: “Mayor, police chief vow to crack down on gangs” (Feb. 4): Dying isn’t worth it. Last Friday two police officers were involved in a shooting that injured a 21-year-old gang member. As stated in the article, according to Bratton and Villaraigosa, “The rise of gang violence was partly to blame on school dropouts.” There will always be gangs. Instead of worrying about getting rid of gangs, I think a goal should be getting these gang members to start taking seats in the classroom instead of seats in a car in pursuit of a drive-by. There are teachers that want to teach. Let’s find a way to get these individuals taught instead of killed. – LaMese Smith – Allan L. Griffith Stevenson Ranch `Pobody’s nerfect’ Re: “A life of reaching for the stars crashed back down to earth” (Feb. 7): Even the most pristine glamorous agency the world’s ever seen has its blemishes. A celebrated space traveler has fallen from the stars to the point of serving time for a human behavior that’s anathema to the status we place on astronauts. They’re just as frail and as human as the rest of us, and, it seems, just as nuts as everyone of us. See, NASA? “Pobody’s nerfect.” Not even you. – John C. Weaver Palmdale True compassion Re: “Animal killing on way out” (Feb. 4): If we count those dogs whose immune systems break down from the stress of overextended hold periods in L.A. city shelters and those that die from injuries from dogfights caused by overcrowding, would “no kill” statistics be so admirable? A survey at a city shelter this week disclosed that merely keeping animals alive seems more important than the quality of their lives. Dogs – especially pit bulls – are held in small kennels up to six months, while insanity causes them to spin for hours from boredom and throw themselves against the sides of their cages in self-mutilation. Eventually they are euthanized anyway because they become (if they were not originally) so dangerous they cannot be adopted. If we did what is best for obviously unadoptable animals within a humane time frame, would we not have more space and money for adoptable pets, provide a more pleasant shelter atmosphere, and truly be acting with compassion? – Phyllis M. Daugherty, director Animal Issues Movement Los Angeles White boxer pup Re: “Fighting chance sought for white boxer pup” (McCarthy column, Feb. 1): I have a beautiful white boxer and the lady who was going to put him down because it was white is absolutely ridiculous. My white boxer just celebrated her 13th birthday. I feel all puppies should be given a chance to have a loving home. Don’t put them down just because of their color. – Joyce Scanlin Granada Hills `Dinette Set’ cartoon “Dinette Set” cartoon (Feb. 1): Usually “Dinette Set” will make me shake my head in agreement with whatever Julie Larson is poking fun at with the characters in her strip. But the Feb. 1 cartoon made me sad and upset. Let her use her people characters to do and say stupid things, but never, ever show them mistreating an animal. I find her cartoon showing an animal locked in a cage, unable to get to its food and water anything but amusing. If she is running out of silly stuff for her characters to say and do, let her find another way to get her point across. Using a helpless animal for others’ enjoyment is too cruel. Not funny, Julie, no way, no how. – Nina Mintzer Reseda It all makes sense now Re: “Unfixable Earth,” “Political hysteria” (Your Opinions, Feb. 8): The writers ask us to believe that global warming is a creation of a “certain political agenda” whose only proof is bad computer climate models for an untold purpose of mass panic. Their na ve scientific arguments are so compelling that I’m sure Dominick Odorizzi and Tom Snyder can also prove that the Universe revolves around the flat Earth. Mankind never landed on the moon, as it’s actually made of cheese and that the dodo bird is alive and well in a time-share condo in Santa Monica with Elvis. – Howard Barr Burbank Driving in diapers I’m envious of the astronaut who drove 900 miles without having to stop to use the bathroom or for gas. Please let me know the make and model of the car and the brand of diapers. – Phil Leslie Tarzana City Council dictates Re: “United front defeats council” (Feb. 4): According to Marshall Abernathy, the airport hotels are denying “living wages” to airport hotel workers, and “continue to underpay and steal tips from poverty-level employees.” If these hotel workers are at poverty level, which I assume is minimum-wage level, they are in that position because they have little or nothing to offer in the way of marketable job skills. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. The L.A. City Council should not attempt to dictate terms of wages and benefits to private enterprises that are not doing business directly with the city. – Charles Robinson Saugus All-night barking The Feb. 6 letter from reader Lisa Freedman underscored a problem that has vexed my entire neighborhood for years. I have the misfortune of living next door to a woman who, by letting her six captive dogs bark and howl for all hours of the day and night, has completely destroyed the charm of this neighborhood. After enduring hours of incessant all-night barking and howling, I feel like I’m living in some inner-city slum – and not Sherman Oaks. I understand that Orange County has recently passed a law that provides criminal penalties for pet owners who fail to regulate the noise pollution created by their animals. This sort of legislation is sorely needed in the San Fernando Valley. – Thomas R. Atkins Sherman Oaks 34-year-old slaying Re: “Bittersweet end to 34-year-old Valley slaying” (Feb. 6): It is good to know that justice is still being served. The real hero in this story of the stamp-collecting killer is Detective Rick Jackson. With leads dried up and evidence scarce, this detective could have just chosen to give up and leave this homicide case alone with the other 9,000 backlogged cold cases. But thanks to this agent’s diligence and patience over this two-year investigation, society has one less person to worry about. Though the known killer, Francis J. Fico, is now deceased and can’t pay for what he did to the Akopian family, they can now rest, knowing that this killer will not be hurting any more families. – Chey Ban Northridge 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!