LUFC news in brief: Man Utd, Man City, Ownership issues TSS September 30, 2009 Leeds United 6 Comments We’re not famous anymore Before the Manchester derby the other week, Alex Ferguson’s usual mindgames began when he told Manchester City they were a small club, with a small mentality. However hard he tried to write off the derbies significance, he couldn’t help getting caught up in it all. His celebration after their winner, which came SIX MINUTES (only at Old Trafford!) into injury time showed just how much the victory actually meant to him. However, he still maintains that the Liverpool game is a much bigger fixture and Paul Scholes agrees. Not only does Paul Scholes agree, but he goes one better by telling City’s fans that lowly League One club, Leeds United (that’s us!) are also a bigger rival. “City probably aren’t the closest of rivals, but in terms of geography, if you like they are close rivals and it’s a game you want to win “But Leeds away was just pure hatred towards us, but we always did well when we went there and we thrived on it. Liverpool is the same. We have done quite well there, although we have lost a couple of times, which is no surprise because it’s a hard place to go.” Seems Man U’s fans agree too. Reading the comments below the post on The Republik Of Mancunia blog shows just how much they really miss us. We’ll be back soon enough, don’t worry! Ken Bates forgets if he owns us or not Finally someone else is asking the question that the fans have been asking for years. After a story in The Guardian revealed that Ken Bates “accidentally” lied to a court when claiming he was co-owner of Leeds United the Football League may be forced to investigate the clubs ownership under the fit and proper person rule. Bates had previously claimed he co-owned the club, but has now changed his mind and decided he actually doesn’t. Maybe his age is catching up with him? Either way, it could cause a lot of complications for Leeds United if the Football League are forced to investigate. The mystery surrounding the ownership of Leeds United has deepened after the club’s chairman, Ken Bates, admitted that he had made “an error” when he said in January that he jointly owned the club. Bates had previously informed a court in Jersey that he and his long-term financial adviser, Patrick Murrin, each held one “management share” in Forward Sports Fund, the Cayman Islands-registered company which owns Leeds. Yet in an affidavit sworn for the same court in May, Bates stated that in fact he does not have any shares in Forward at all. His previous statement, that he had been the joint owner, was “not correct,” he said, and “an error on my part”. Coming in the wake of the controversy surrounding Notts County’s own mysterious ownership, the revelation that Leeds, one of the Football League’s biggest clubs, have unnamed offshore owners, will now prompt pressure on the Football League to investigate. The affidavit, sworn in a legal action Leeds are bringing against a Jersey-based company, Admatch, for money Bates says the club is owed, attached a letter from the director of Château Fiduciaire, financial administrators of Forward, based in Geneva. The letter said there are 10,000 “participating shares” in Forward, and the owners will not be revealed because Château Fiduciaire protects its clients’ anonymity unless ordered by a court to disclose them. Bates, in his affidavit, said: “Neither I, Mark Taylor [his solicitor and a Leeds director] or Shaun Harvey [Leeds’ chief executive] are able to confirm who the ultimate beneficial owners of Forward are.” According to the League’s regulations, club directors, anybody owning 30% or more of its shares, or anybody “who exercises or is able to exercise direct or indirect control over the affairs of a club” must declare themselves to the League and be passed as a “fit and proper person”. As Bates had previously said he and Murrin owned “management shares” in Forward, and Taylor said they were the only shares, it seems logical to conclude that Bates and Murrin were submitted as Leeds’ joint 50% owners. Neither the club, Taylor or Bates responded to the Guardian’s questions about who was submitted to the League as the club’s owners, nor how Bates could have made his “error” about whether he owned the football club. The League does not disclose who have been named as the owners of a club for the purpose of the fit-and-proper-person test, claiming that it cannot do so under the Data Protection Act. But the fact that the owners of Leeds United are now revealed as holders of 10,000 shares in a Cayman Islands company, whose administrators will not disclose their identities without a court order, does beg the question about whether they have ever been passed as fit and proper. That raises the possibility that Forward’s takeovers of Leeds, with Bates as the chairman, in 2005 then in 2007 when Forward bought the club from administrators, may never have been properly ratified by the League. Not sure how to take this news. I’m intrigued and somewhat concerned about how owns the club, but do we really need all the turmoil this will inevitably create right now? Meanwhile… Elsehwere, former player and manager, Gary McAllister has failed to agree terms to take over at Fratton Park. Tom Lees has extended his loan at Accrington Stanley and injury worries begin to set in as Leigh Bromby and Robert Snodgrass were taken off injured last night.