O’Neill link

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale has denied that David O’Leary was sacked because of his refusal to sell Rio Ferdinand and dismissed reports linking Martin O’Neill with the Elland Road vacancy.

It had been reported that O’Leary’s departure wass precipitated by the club’s decision to sell Ferdinand butthe Leeds chairman is adamanat that the player was not for sale.

“Rio Ferdinand is contracted to Leeds,’ said Ridsdale. ‘I have no intention of selling him. He has a clause in his contract that says he can’t go to another Premiership club.

“We’ve had no offers for him and if I’ve got anything to do with it he’ll see out his contract.

“I’m not stupid enough to say never is never but we’ve told Rio we do not want to sell him and this decision had nothing to do with Rio.

“We are not selling Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United,” he said.

Ridsdale also dismissed reports that that Celtic manager Martin O’Neill had been to discuss the managerial vacancy.

“There is no successor nominated or indeed approached and wehave to decide who we believe is the best manager to take us to the next stage.

“I haven’t approached anybody. At the moment we have a shortlist which has been added to because a number of people have let it be known they would like to be considered.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the interest expressed by some quality managers.”