Hasselbaink Threatens to Leave Leeds

Article excerpt

THE LEEDS United striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink yesterday threatened to quit the club if the manager, George Graham, leaves to take over at Tottenham.

The Dutchman's shock declaration came on the eve of tonight's Uefa Cup first round second leg against Maritimo in Madeira - which is strongly rumoured to be Graham's last game in charge of the Elland Road club. It is believed that a compensation package of around pounds 2.5m is being negotiated by the Leeds chairman, Peter Ridsdale, and Spurs' Alan Sugar to allow Graham to be installed at White Hart Lane by the end of the week.

Hasselbaink, whom Graham signed for pounds 2m from the Portuguese side Boavista last year, said: "It will be a bad thing for me and for the team if George goes. He is very important to me, so I will be very sad if he leaves Leeds. If he does, then it will make me think about my future and what to do because of what he means to me."

Graham, refusing to be drawn on the link with Spurs, is determined to guide Leeds into the second round of the Uefa Cup. His side hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg, and he said: "It's a very important tie for Leeds. If we can put on a good performance and get the right result, then I will be delighted. Even if it's a gritty performance, I will still be pleased."

Maritimo's Canadian international Alex Bunbury, the former West Ham forward, could be the Portuguese club's danger man. "We respect Leeds," he said, "but after holding them to a one-goal margin on their own pitch we are confident that we can pull off a really good result in the second leg. …