Following on from yesterday’s post, Part II of The Football Chairman’s Handbook sees Gledders look at the legacy of Peter Ridsdale and what Bates can do to avoid a similar fate.

The Chairman needs to know his history.

The expectations of this job are massive. You have the weight of “opinion” of over 100 000 supporters (most of them wrong!) on your shoulders. Past chairmen have been fan’s favourites. We all remember the euphoria of the Ridsdale era. Find me one fan that didn’t worship the sunshine from his bottom when dirty working class Leeds United were playing the footballing gods of Europe every couple of weeks. Didn’t we all think it was brilliant that Ridsdale used to charter airliners to demonstrate his respect for his lads? How many fans flew Ryanair to stay in a grubby bed and breakfast in Spain or Belgium but didn’t begrudge our team their bit of luxury. Hell, we were winning in the Champion’s League and we enjoyed spending the money by proxy. But it ran out and when it all went wrong, we turned on the same people that delivered us our own little corner of paradise. (When you think about Viduka’s wages per goal rate, how can we call Beckford greedy?) But we are fans and that is our right. We will be around long after the players and management have moved on.

Actually, I think that to some extent Ridsdale was a bit unlucky in the way the market price of players crashed for that one season when Plan B was to sell players to get us out of the mire. But some of the money we spent was laughable. We can be justifiably critical of the man that sanctioned terms for that all time great, Seth Johnson. By that I mean “all time great waste of money”. Decisions like that sort of ruin your credibility when history becomes the judge and Johnson wasn’t the only one. Each expensive bad-signing was one more reason we went bust and I don’t know if anybody else was sickened to see so many of them stick around to the end of their lucrative contract just to pick up the next pay cheque instead of working for a living.

Ridsdale’s era has more or less earned the epitaph it deserves.

The Chairman needs to learn lessons from that history.

Now we seem to have the opposite problem; a very experienced football chairman who apparently doesn’t want to spend any money at all. Which one is worse? I think it’s fair to say that after the Thorp Arch debacle, even previously pro-Bates supporters are asking questions. How could a business with a turnover such as Leeds United’s, selling assets such as Delph, and not really investing in new ones, not be able to raise £6 million for a property? That’s not what I find worrying. The future question is going to be how will a business with a turnover like Leeds United ever be able to raise £6 million for non-tangible assets like players? Quite obviously nobody else should be expected to invest in Ken Bates. “There you go Ken, have my PIN number. It works in the Cayman Islands too…”