To support Leeds United, one has to become to accustomed to a staple diet of lies and deceit consistently fed to us by strings of unworthy chairmen. In reality, the anti-Bates protests are nothing new, neither to Leeds, nor football clubs in general, indeed the one common rule amongst supporters is to clash with those who run their clubs. Even our hated friends across the Pennines, despite their three titles in a row, consistently pick fights with the multi billionaire Glazer family, whilst I for one would pray to see just a fraction of their wealth invested into LUFC. Since these calls to heaven remained unanswered, the only option is to put up with Bates and his weekly press releases that churn out the best propaganda material since Hitler decided to employ a certain Josef Goebbels in the mid 1930’s. Although Uncle Ken’s previous ownership of Chelsea singled him out for loathing immediately, this frankly childish gripe needs to be put aside, and instead focus on factors far more concerning, ones that regard the chairman himself.
My first complaint involves him airing his dirty laundry in public; the club hardly needs his pathetic feuds lowering our reputation even further. Whilst there are almost too many to mention, a few have embarrassed LUFC more than others, with an early example being a clash with Chelsea over the alleged tapping up of the three youth players, Ben Gordon, Tom Taiwo and Michael Woods. A fair point, given how sick we are of youngsters being poached from our academy barely before they’re out of nappies, yet Bates’ conduct in the whole affair made him the fall guy. After calling the Chelsea directors “a bunch of shysters from Siberia”, he made an alleged anti-Semitic remark about Abramovich, before finally, after hearing Chelsea had reported him for his conduct, announced “I haven’t laughed so much since Ma caught her tits in the mangle.” Real classy Ken. Then there’s his war on agents. For some reason Ken has taken the drastic inflation in footballer’s wages personally and appears to believe it is only Leeds United that agents and players demand high prices from. Maybe he hasn’t noticed recent transfer activity in the Premiership but I’m fairly certain Andy Carroll’s agent didn’t walk into Anfield in January and offer his player to Liverpool for a packet of peanuts and his bus fare home. Personally I think his regular moans over wages and agents’ fees are a front for the lack of money he is willing to put into the club. It certainly gives him a good cover story.
Another complaint about Bates’ chairmanship involves his inability to keep his beak out of anything that happens in football. Some of his best blunders have involved calling Sepp Blatter ‘a village idiot’ and claiming Arsene Wenger ‘should have gone to Specsavers’ after Leeds’ 1-1 draw with the Gunners in last season’s FA Cup. While both are fair points, a little more subtlety wouldn’t go amiss. Less tasteful quotes from Bates’ mouth have appeared more recently, including his sex analogy for his ownership of the club in recent Programme notes, “Leeds United is like having a long, drawn-out affair with plenty of foreplay and slow arousal,” an extract that undoubtedly left fans a little queasy, a feeling for once that hadn’t arisen from the God-awful pre-match Elland Road burgers. He then turned to borderline racism as many senile old men do in this country, claiming the only benefits of the Chinese choosing Leeds as their Olympic base for 2012 was that “all Leeds gets is increased sales of sweet and sour pork,” before branding Leeds United dissidents as ‘morons’ for their recent criticisms of the club. What a wonderful way to get people onside.
So Bates may be a vulgar mouthed old man with a wonderful ability for sticking the proverbial foot in it, but does this make him a bad chairman? It does in combination with his wonderful inability to tell the truth. During Bates’ time as steward of Leeds United, he has come up with more porkies than Bill Clinton, remarkable given that Clinton once swore under oath he hadn’t had extra marital relations. The obvious evidence to back up this claims lies with the ownership of the club, an issue that baffled everyone so much, the FA decided to investigate. After Leeds were purchased by a mysterious offshore company following their second foray into administration, though Bates remained as chairman, the new owners wished to remain anonymous, while Bates swore he didn’t know who owned the club, and that it certainly wasn’t him. After all, admitting he had repurchased the club after an administration would be slightly illegal wouldn’t it? Yet once the FA decided secret ownership of a club wouldn’t be allowed, Leeds suddenly announced Bates did own the club after he purchased the secret company that originally owned the club. Confused? Yep, me too. As Ken was obviously too busy deciding whether Leeds United did belong to him, he didn’t see fit to re-invest in a side that narrowly missed out on the play-offs, despite the fact that all their main rivals were spending millions in an effort to reach the Promised Land. A couple of free transfers later, along with the profitable sale of Kasper Schmeichel and Leeds fans were furious, demanding to know why the club wasn’t buying the quality needed. Bates however, promised fans Grayson had a ‘war-chest’ to work with, whilst our best players wouldn’t be sold. Fast forward two months to transfer deadline and Leeds did sell last years’ star performer Max Gradel, whilst missing out of the likes of Lee Bowyer and Keith Andrews to Ipswich, due to them not fitting under Leeds’ “competitive wage structure.” A wage structure I’m assuming happens to be similar to likes of Cheltenham Town or Oxford United. Meanwhile, the East Stand strangely began to grow into a corporate development rather like the Chelsea Village. I can’t quite remember who built that…Bates assured us it would only cost £7 million and that we would now boast the best conference facilities from Newcastle to Manchester. Well given that apart from Leeds, the only recognisable city between Newcastle and Manchester is Middlesbrough, I wouldn’t have thought this was difficult to achieve. After all, I have classier conference facilities than Middlesbrough in my back garden.
And now, despite the fact that fans don’t appear to have the right to voice their opinions without being roundly abused by Bates, (I mean who wouldn’t want to see £7 million of their club’s money be spent on swanky bars rather than players), Bates appears to hold the divine right over the supporters with his boldest claim to date. ‘Without Ken Bates, there would be no Leeds United football club.’ A claim that appears to have wholly convinced Leeds fans he is right!! Let’s not forget that when Bates ‘saved’ us the first time, supposedly from administration, yet soon after, Leeds ended up there anyway. The second time, there were in fact other offers on the table for the club, something Bates has conveniently forgotten, it was just the creditors, for some reason, decided he’d be the best option bizarrely. So thanks, but no thanks Ken. As far as I’m concerned, it would be in the best interests of everybody if you just sold up and gave us our football club back. I’m not sure if Bates is just power crazy, or just an egotistical, sour geriatric, who is so stuck in his ways, he can’t see how much the fans dislike him and how much damage he is doing to LUFC. Which is strange, because he notices everything else that happens in the world. Either way, this is rant over, and I’m going to crawl back under my stone, subdued by the tidal wave of Bates rubbish that comes out of Elland Road. Let’s hope the boys can achieve promotion despite the chairman, not because of him.