The dictatorship-like reign of leadership at Elland Road seems to be continuing as Ken Bates decides who can, and more interestingly, can’t take pictures at our home games.
Most of you will no doubt remember the Guardian’s ban not so long back for reporting what most of the country already knew. It seems Bates took a dislike to their article on the ownership issues at Elland Road and just hours before we kicked-off against Norwich, the Guardian were informed that none of their reporters would be allowed inside the stadium.
It seems that Bates has contiued his Robert Mugabe style leadership traits by systematically banning photographers from Reuters, Getty Images and the Associated Press alongside a few others, to leave only Action Images and an Elland Road based company called Varleys able to snap inside the stadium.
I’m all for supporting local business, which in a roundabout way Bates has done here by narrowing down Varleys competition, but the reasons behind his move aren’t quite so generous and Santa-like.
Infact, the main reason for the bans seems to be a sponsorship thing. In true meglomaniac fashion, the powers that be at Elland Road have decided they want full control over any pictures taken at the stadium. Sports Journalists Association are led to believe this is so they can “give undue prominence to the club’s sponsors and pitchside advertisers.”
Maybe it’s good business practice and Bates is getting the best deal possible for the pictures, on top of improved advertising rates from sponsors. For me however, I can’t help thinking Bates has completely lost the plot. The power went to his head a long time ago, but he seems to get worse every week. As if lying to courts wasn’t enough, he seems hell-bent on banning the freedom of speech and controlling everything that has anything to do with the club.
What’s worrying is how far he’s going to go with things like this. What’s next; A ban on the BBC and Sky from reporting anything he doesn’t like? More bans for newspapers? Or maybe he’ll take steps to ensure online blogs are regulated by the club itself? Nothing would suprise me anymore.
The fact is that we need publicity to ensure we stay a big name. We need it to attract investment and make players remember our existance. We need publicity to make untapped support aware of existance. You can’t run a football club under a media blackout, it’s a ridiculous idea.
While our boys on the pitch are performing well and taking the league by storm, we should be hearing and reading great things about Leeds United. Investors should be waking up and smelling the freshly re-brewed coffee of the reawakened Elland Road giants, but instead we’re left analysing Bates’ latest dictator-like move, wondering what he’ll do next!