Bates sets his sights firmly on Man City TSS August 10, 2009 Leeds United 10 Comments Ken Bates seems on the brink of another legal battle as he reveals he’ll be taking Manchester City to a tribunal over the signing of our youth players. Man City snatched George Swann and Louis Hutton straight from our youth academy and Bates insists he’ll battle to ensure Leeds receive ‘adequate compensation’ for the pair. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Bates said; “The average club do not even recover their costs when they have players taken. “A lot of them are thinking of closing academies and centres of excellence because they have effectively become unpaid agencies to identify youngsters for bigger clubs.” The seemingly endless legal disputes Ken Bates gets involved in infuriate me usually, but for once I totally agree with the man. The current youth development system is wasted on lower clubs as the higher ones simply leave them to do the hard work then lure the players in with dreams of success as soon as they reach the age for a professional contract. The system needs a complete revamp. The transfer tribunal addition that Bates is intending to use for this case is a good first step, but it needs to be built upon. Personally, I’d like to see a block on clubs signing other clubs academy products (unless they agree) until the age of 21-22. Most young players end up warming the benches or playing for the reserves of higher clubs at this age anyway and if the higher clubs want them so much it’d force them to fork out the money the lower clubs deserve. The current system, like most systems in English football these days, is a total shambles and needs looking into. I’m glad Bates is taking a stand, whether it’s for personal gain or not, the big clubs should pay for the services of smaller clubs youth stars.