In the chaos of transfer deadline day yesterday the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed that the council have held a meeting regarding the future of Thorp Arch and ruled out the option of loaning Leeds United the money.

This doesn’t mean they aren’t going to help, it simply means they won’t be offering us a loan to buy it back for ourselves. Given Leeds’ financial history and Ken Bates’ reputation, this is hardly suprising.

With the loan option ruled out, it seems the most likely option will be for the council to buy Thorp Arch for themselves (and the taxpayer) and lease it to Leeds United. I’d suspect that Leeds would want a buy-back option included in the deal as well so they can regain outright ownership at some point.

Leeds City Council (LCC) do seem keen to help the club as it will help their chances of becoming a World Cup host city should the 2018 bid be successful. There does seem to be other conditions flying around now as well though, such as LCC wanting the facility to be used for educational purposes. This isn’t a major shock as LCC have to justify spending £6m to all taxpayers. Having visited Thorp Arch some years back I can see why it’d be a benefit to youngsters and have no real problems with this so long as it doesn’t effect the teams training.

Overall nothing I wasn’t expecting. As a taxpayer living in Leeds I can understand why people would be unhappy loaning money to Ken Bates, even though I am a Leeds United fan and know it’s in the interests of the club. The option to buy it and lease it to us works out for everyone. Thorp Arch is secure, the taxpayer gets a good deal and LCC’s money is safe.

  • White to the core

    Whatever happened to the £4million in opps profits and the initial downpayment for delph. Why cant captain birdseye bates use that to buy thorpe arch back. And he was the one with the gall to call others shysters.

    • Yorkshrman

      Profit does not necessarily equal cash!! The business I work for has made a small loss this year, but has quite a lot of cash in the bank. I haven’t seen the LUFC accounts, but it is quite conceivable that they posted a £4m operating profit (which would then be reduced by tax), but have little or no cash available …..

  • Robert Bapty

    I agree, where does all the money go? £4.5m profit from the 2007/8 season, something similar last season I assume plus the £6m from the sale of Delph!

  • Eddie

    The buy back option may not be available for 3rd parties like LCC. It may be an exclusive buy back option for Leeds Utd. If Leeds Utd don’t take up the option then the current owner will be very happy indeed. He’s probably got his original investment back in rent and now holds a parcel of green belt land that is just a bribed councilor away from being land for redevelopment. Thorpe Arch Mansions anyone.

  • simon andrews

    If i was Ken bates i would have used an offshore company to buy Thorp Arch (and Elland Road too) years ago and sit back and collect the rent – knowing at some point Leeds would pay me back for it. Effectively you get double your money back.
    Didn’t Adler sell it on to some offshore company so we don’t know who owns it now?

    • TSS

      Hi Simon, Thorp Arch isn’t owned by an offshore company, it’s Leeds United that is. People get the ownership confused, which is understandable but TA is owned by a Manchester property firm.

      Eddie – The option for LCC to take ownership of Thorp Arch must be available as it was suggested in the documents that were released. It’ll probably work by LCC buying the complex on Leeds United’s behalf and Leeds signing control over to LCC.

  • West Stand Rebel

    The continuing saga of ER & TA is inextricably linked with the finacial chicanary at the Club.When we exited administration that was not an end to the debt.The Club owed…some £6m or £7m. The administrators took £1.8m and Uncle Ken ran up legal bills with Mark Taylor Associates of £476000. Of course Mark Taylor is a director of Leeds United mmm. The Club LUFC is owned by a parent company called Leeds City Holdings who were owed £1.215m as at June 30th 2008. This company is a wholly owned subsidiary of FSF Ltd registered to who knows in the Cayman Islands. If you say this has anything to do with Uncle Ken he will sue you. So I’m not saying anything.
    Since June 2008 the date of the last filed accounts we have had the rise of another “branch” of the Club, Yorkshire Radio. So what we know or are allowed to know is the tip of an iceberg as money is moved from company to company.
    We do know that unless he lost all his money to shysters and “enemies within” that Uncle Ken is worth a bob or two. He sold Chelsea for £17m and as was proven in court recently has not put a penny into our Club.So why does he need to go to the Council cap in hand for a miserable £5m ?
    If I were the Council I would tell him to **** off World Cup or no World Cup.
    Thoughts?

    • TSS

      Hi WSR,
      The whole thing is such a tangled mess I sometimes don’t know what to think. We have no idea if Ken actually owns Leeds United for a start. As far as I’m aware (admittedly from his own claims) he isn’t the owner, but simply a frontman/chairman for the company that does own us so he’s unlikely to invest his own money in.

      The profits we’ve made do annoy me too though. If we are indeed debt free then a profit is a profit no matter how you look at it. The money should be available and by a reasonable estimate – taking the Delph money into account and deducting tax – we must have over £6m in cash avaialble to us?

      The problem remains that we know so little about Leeds United finances, other than what Bates tells us and the little bit we can get from the publically released accounts that we have no idea how we actually stand financially. It’s obviously not as well as we’d hoped though if we’re having to seek funding from the taxpayer.

  • simon andrews

    Adler sold both TA and Elland Road to offshore companies – that no-one seems to know who owns

    As i said if I were a savvy businessman i’d have jumped in here – maybe we’ll never know who the current owner is, but you can see why the council might be reluctant to lend money

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2004/dec/14/newsstory.sport11

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/leeds_united/6450171.stm

    • TSS

      It’s all very confusing as Bates made out (either in his programme notes or on OS) not so long back that we were owned by the Manchester based property developer still.

      I’m getting more puzzled by the day by this arrangement! The council must know who owns it or they’d not even consider paying money for it.

      I do remember the offshore thing happening but assumed some Manchester property company (maybe even Adler again) had taken control of it.