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Friday, 31 January, 2003, 12:21 GMT
Is the truth out there?
Read my lips: "Rio is not for sale. It's total rubbish"
BBC Sport Online's Phil McNulty

Peter Ridsdale has put his hands on one prestigious trophy during his life and times as Leeds United chairman.

Sadly for him, it was not the Premiership, FA Cup or Champions League.

He was elected Communicator of the Year by the Institute of Public Relations Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Group in December 2000.

Sadly, he is unlikely to reclaim his coveted crown after an array of mixed messages that have created first confusion, then fury, as he presides over one of the most spectacular clear-outs ever staged at a major football club.

The truth is out there. And bitter and enraged Leeds United fans are determined to unearth it.

So what did the man branded "Publicity Pete" say - and what actually happened?

Rio Ferdinand

What Ridsdale said
"Rio Ferdinand is a player we are building our team around and not one of those players we would entertain letting go.

"This just shows that the silly season is upon us again. It's a total load of rubbish."

What Leeds did
Manchester United's 29.1m offer for Ferdinand was entertained quite royally, and he was on his way to Old Trafford in July.

Jonathan Woodgate

What Ridsdale said
"We actually bought Rio in the first place because Jonathan Woodgate's position was uncertain due to his involvement in what turned out to be two trials.

"People say we have sold our best player in Rio, but you have to take a view on whether that is actually the case or not."

What Leeds did
Wise words those from Ridsdale - because Woodgate was to be sold seven months later - unless he regarded one of Robbie Keane, Robbie Fowler, Lee Bowyer or Olivier Dacourt as Leeds' best player.

Terry Venables

What Ridsdale said
"Terry Venables knows how much he has to invest and he will do so in the next few days so we can have a real tilt at the title. Terry and I have agreed a list in the last few hours and I'll be working on bringing them in later in the week."

"If we can bring in three or four in the next few days we should not be disappointed."

What Leeds did
Leeds did indeed plunge into the market - but not exactly with the promised flamboyance.

They snatched misfit Nick Barmby from Liverpool and paid nothing for Middlesbrough's Paul Okon and Sweden defender Teddy Lucic.

Leeds as a club

What Ridsdale said
"People need to look at how much we've invested in the last three or four years - we're hardly a selling club."

What Leeds did
They transform themselves, within months, into the most high-profile "selling club" in Premiership history.

The squad

What Ridsdale said
"Look at the squad we've got - and it'll be nice to see them compete without any distractions."

What Leeds did
They sold five of them. No distractions there then.

How many to be sold?

What Ridsdale said
In the words of Terry Venables: "I'm assured that if the Robbie Fowler deal goes through, there will be no more players leaving."

What Leeds did
Jonathan Woodgate is sold before the ink on Fowler's Manchester City contract had dried.

Leeds United in crisis

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