Confrontation makes me nervous, there is the possibility of losing. But the article here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/football_league/article6974706.ece really stabbed me in the ribs. Its timing and its platform, The Times no less, is no co-incidence. Regulars here will know my first post was in support of the current board assuming at that time the Delph transfer fee was to be used for the future of the club. It didn’t happen and my eyes were opened to the duplicity of charging top prices for seats and merchandise, whilst simultaneously investing nothing in the future of the team.

Surely the Times’ article is the pre-cursor to a sale or else why would it be there? I just hope that the next owners realise that fans are customers, not an irritating collection of differing views.

Of any future owners, I would ask for integrity over money every time. Simon Grayson has already proved to me that brains and judgement are the essentials simply by creating such a good team on such a lowly budget.

Although I doubt my reply would be edited, I post the transcript below for the record.

“One win over Manchester United has suddenly made Leeds United newsworthy. So this is a golden opportunity therefore to ask the board members how they got the purchase of Thorp Arch so incredibly wrong.

Yes, success for a footbal club is measured in results on the field. However, this needs to be backed by the shrewd financial management of a financialy solid business. For proof of this, look no further than the story of Leeds United in the first decade of this century. During the Autumn of last year, the board are quoted loosely as saying they could not raise £5 million to purchase the Thorp Arch training facility because the club was not effectively credit worthy after administration. Let’s bear in mind that this is after selling Fabian Delph to Aston Villa (fee undisclosed as usual) one guesses for about the same money as Thorp Arch.

So, one asks, where is the cash injection mentioned above actually going to come from? If the finance was not available to purchase a capital asset, how can we finance less tangible assets such as players? Moreover, if the finance was available, why did we not purchase Thorp Arch? A strong balance sheet is a positive for any company in the long term and it is good business to ‘collect’ as many as possible during the natural course of trading. At least that’s what my bank managers have always advised me.

I assume that your writer has had an interview or contact with an insider of Leeds United to make what is quite a profound statement, therefore it would be a good opportunity to ask the question of where the first year’s post administration profits and the fee for Delph actually went. The clues could be in the first year accounts. Otherwise, the objectivity of your excellent newspaper could easily be brought into question, arguably making a venerable British institution a public relations vehicle for a wealthy businessman looking to make the best return on what has become a no-cost investment.

The real heroes of Leeds United are currently the mamager and the players. I feel genuinely aggrieved that any board member could hi-jack their success in what outwardly appears to be a public relations stunt designed to attract wealth. Spiritually, every football club belongs to its fans and any person who profits without matching their passion is little more than a parasite.”

  • Grumpy Older Man

    I personally wouldn’t take a Tony Cascarino seriously on any subject, never mind Bates. Ignore it.

    • Gledders

      People like you have made me cynical GOM. I used to like Bates.

  • Colin

    I agree with the fact that Cascarino doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The Times article is just another story to fill a hole in the column inches. No one will buy Leeds anytime soon. The board have no say over the ownership of the club. That is purely the responsibility of Forward Sports Fund. We don’t know who FSF are, but we do know it’s not Bates. So I’d forget Bates, who is only allowed to spend limited time in the UK because he’s not a UK resident. The board don’t run the club, FSF do. For example, even if Bates wanted to keep Beckford, the call on whether he goes or Leeds take the money in January is down to FSF.

    FSF are in this to make money and as Leeds continue to perform better and better, the money also increases. I don’t reckon they have any intention of selling.
    If Bates moved on, then I’m pretty sure that FSF would just let Shaun Harvey take over.

    • Gledders

      I’m not sure just what you mean. Nobody knows who FSF are but if they are a group of small shareholders, then they will delegate decisions to their fund manager. That means Ken Bates. If it is one huge investor, then that will be him also.

      There is very little operating profit in football full stop. Returns are made on sale of the club or sometimes a large salary for the directors. Most revenue tends to be invested in wages because people like Ray Ranson and Stephen Schecter have taken the financing of players transfer fees off the backs of (some) clubs. Essentially, the higher a club gets, the more indebted it gets, shareholder dividends rarely exist and the only choices available are a benefactor or to sell.

      That goes around the point however which is that the first year Leeds Utd announced a £4 million profit, then they sold Delph and then they didn’t have enough money to buy TA. However, they still had enough to pay £5.85 million to Astor Holdings – the previous owners of Leeds United. (Figures are from memory but I believe them to be correct)

      At the end of the day, it is Bates’ club and he can do what he wants with it so we’re all wasting our breath. But if you take that view, why turn up to watch every Saturday? The answer is because we care about our club and that’s why I personally can’t stomach the double standards. I, like every fan want to see profits invested in players.

  • Sir Quej

    Gledders, people like you make me laugh to be honest…. If you really think club owners own football teams because they have “passion” for the club or game then I would like to order a pint of whatever you are drinking. Of course Bates/FSF/Astor investments or whoever he wants to call himself these days wants to make money off the club. Football is a business these days, get used to it. The fact is though that the better the club does, the more money Bates will make so I for one am happy for pappa smurf to make money while getting the club in the premiership…. Its a simple fact of life that money motivates people and the Bates will make decisions based on what will make him the most money. No one would willingly make a decision that will cost them money.

    • Gledders

      I’m not totally naive and a lot of Leeds fans think the same way I do. I respect your opinion if not the way you put it.

      Perhaps you might like to read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2004/mar/07/sport.features1

      Of course football is a business. The biggest leisure orientated business in the UK. As for passion, well I’d point to David Moores and Freddy Shepherd. Look what has happened at both those clubs once those owners moved on. I truly believe that money is not the only motivation to success. Just in case you don’t know this little gem, Chelsea were more indebted than Leeds United and were allegedly only saved from administration because Abramovich’s helicopter flew over Stamford Bridge on the way back from White Hart Lane. Plus there must be a reason why investors are not flocking to Leeds to flash the cash on one of English football’s best known brands. Imagine how successful we might be now if we were run by somebody who cares.

      Oh and as you asked, I’m drinking a pint of water. Blue tap…