The Leeds United fans initiative ‘TenForKen’ continues to gather momentum as more flyers were handed out at the Charlton game on Saturday. Despite most fans attention being solely on achieving promotion, the flyers were received well with the majority of Leeds United fans seemingly in support of the campaign.

A press release sent to TSS, amongst others, last week read as follows;

Leeds fans demand transparency

Leeds, April 29, 2010: Leeds United fans are striking a blow to remove the cloak of secrecy that shrouds the League One club.

A group of fans, informally called the Campaign for Change, have identified ten key areas of concern along with a list of relevant questions about the direction the club is taking and are demanding answers from current chairman Ken Bates.

The issues of concern can be seen at the website www.tenforken.com and on Saturday, April 24, 12,000 leaflets with a condensed set of ten questions and 9,000 stickers were distributed among fans before the club’s 4-1 victory over MK Dons.

Such was the fan interest in the ‘tenforken’ questions at the MK Dons game, that on top of the planned 4,000 leaflets for the Charlton game, there will be a further 40,000 leaflets distributed at the Bristol Rovers game.

The ‘tenforken’ initiative came on the back of an open ‘Lorimer’s Bar’ forum with fans at Elland Road last Tuesday, where Ken Bates and his self-awarded reputation for no-nonsense straight-talking, looked a little shaky under direct questioning.

Replying to fans’ concerns on a wide range of subjects, the Monaco-based tax exile surprised some in the audience when he:

  • Confirmed that he didn’t have a clue who owned the club, saying it was ‘tough’ if disgruntled fans felt they had nowhere to take their concerns.
  • Said that in the current climate no one would lend money to football clubs, so his plans for a ‘Leeds Village’ hotel and shopping project are stalled.
  • Refused to take any responsibility for the club’s failure to re-purchase the Thorp Arch training complex (sold by the previous regime to raise funds) or the fact that, five years on, neither of his stated twin aims of ownership of Elland Road and Thorp Arch have been achieved
  • Alleged that Leeds had, as yet, received no money at all from Aston Villa for the summer sale of Fabian Delph, almost a year after the player was sold.

Questions at the meeting reflected growing discontent with a regime which has seen Leeds United at its lowest ever league position, with many questions remaining unanswered about the identity of the club’s owners, planning projects, court costs for libel cases, the status of the club’s Yorkshire Radio station, investment, pricing and priorities.

A spokesperson for the fan campaign said: “For the last ten years Leeds United fans have been kept in the dark by a succession of chairmen and owners about the state of the club. We demand greater transparency on key issues such as how the club is run and where our financial support goes – and that demand will extend not only to Ken Bates’s tenure but also to subsequent owners.”

Regardless of what people think of Ken Bates, or the other ill-fated campaigns against his leadership, you have to applaud the way in which ‘TenForKen’ is conducting itself. Unlike the now defunct LoveLeedsHateBates campaign, TenForKen has tried to approach the situation democratically and given the club every opportunity to answer the concerns of it’s fans. That’s not to say LLHB didn’t have some element of democracy, but the way in which it set itself up to be a smear campaign against Bates was always going to draw sceptics.

With so many people in support of such a campaign, it becomes hard for a club to ignore. If TenForKen can mirror the green and gold campaign of Manchester United’s fans by addressing the situation through peaceful protest without having an adverse affect on the team and management then it will continue to gather support and momentum.

The campaign does seem to have hit a nerve with the club already. Those in attendance at Elland Road for the Milton Keynes game will have no doubt noticed fans handing flyers out around the ground. The stewards outside the ground seemed keen to keep the protest as far away from the ground as possible, by moving the campaigners across the street.

If TenForKen’s efforts can somehow achieve a resolution to the animosity between the club and it’s fans then it’s something all Leeds United fans should welcome with open arms. Whether you’re in favour of Ken Bates’ leadership or not, the divide between the fans on this issue is unhealthy. All anybody is asking for is a little transparency and some honesty from the club we support. Personally, I don’t think that’s too much to ask for after so many years, so much money and so many miles supporting this club.

Those wishing to find out more about TenForKen should visit the site – www.tenforken.com

  • Funny that Smurf Chops insists on transparancy from any would be investor but won’t give the fans any about Leeds United. Surely he has nothing to hide…..

  • Grumpy Old Man

    Today is the third anniverasry of Bates plunging the club into administration and yet you chose to call the campaign that sustained the opposition to him for 3 years “a smear campaign”. I would like to see you substanciate that and also explain what else happened before Tenforken came along. You might also want to ask yourself how come a lot of people seem quite happy to have supported LLHB and TfK without the need to call themselves “sceptics”.

    • l l l leeds

      You joking? LLHB was farcical.
      Thank god it’s gone!
      What did it achieve? a big fat zero

  • l l l leeds

    This is a waste of time.
    Put your energies into backing the team to help us win promotion…
    Then the club will be forced to disclose the owners when the new ruling inevitably comes in over the summer. Until then you’re all wasting your time. Do you think Bates gives a f*ck?
    Surely you know better by now.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention TenForKen campaign continues to gather momentum -- Topsy.com()

  • Couldn’t agree more….LLHB and this current initiative is a waste of time…it’ll all come good in the end when Uncle Kens bails out and someone with serious money tops up his pension!

    Put all your energies into Saturday

  • James Ellis

    The dictionary definition of smear when applied to a campaign is ‘slanderous defamation’

    In what way did it ‘smear’ Bates? His lawyers would have been all over it if had smeared him – they had three years to do it an never did.

    As such, your article is clearly a smear against LLHB. I’d suggest you do the right thing and issue a clarification on it

    • TSS

      I respectfully refuse to issue any apology as I was always a supporter of LLHB. The problem was that they never had any clear goals other than to rid the world of Ken Bates, and as such, set themselves up as a smear campaign against him. A smear campaign is basically when you try to turn people against someone through criticism, and in the extreme, slanderous remarks. They weren’t doing anything Ken doesn’t do himself which is why I never had any real problems with them, but you can’t fight fire with fire and ultimately, they realised that and stood down, allowing TFK to try a different and more positive approach.

      • TheReaper08

        Oh dear TSS, have you been upsetting people again with your views and articles ?

        I go away for the day come back and all hell has broken loose. I will post my views on any respective campaigns below and will do so with some provocation, hopefully this might aim some of the comments my way.

      • James Ellis

        Once again. Where was the smear against Ken Bates in anything LLHB published?

        Where were the slanderous remarks?

        There weren’t any – as such your article is a smear.

        You say ‘respectfully’ but all you do is show disrespect to people who at least attempted to stand up to Bates when it was unpopular.

        You also jump on a currently populist movement that not only has the key members of LLHB behind it but one for which they also fell on the sword of their site to help promote.

        Perhaps if irony steps up, slaps you round the face with a wet kipper and shouts ‘I am irony’, you might just get it…

        • TSS

          James you’re missing my point (and I fear the purpose of TSS) entirely. I was pro-LLHB. I’ve taken more criticism than anyone for that stance, but what LLHB eventually became was the re-publication of our chairman’s quotes and decisions, which were then analysed and tore apart without any impartiality whatsoever, so as such, it was a very unapologetic smear campaign.

          That’s not to say I disagreed with the views of LLHB, I just came to the conclusion there must be a better way of doing things and as such, TFK has so far represented that.

          As for TSS, the site is simply an expression of personal views. It’s not an organisation set up to achieve any specific aims other than to vent my own personal frustrations and share my experiences with others. The above is my personal support for TFK, but acknowledgement that previous campaigns went the wrong way about achieving our goal. I can only apologise if anything I’ve written has offended you personally, but I leave the comments open and unmoderated to allow people to express differences of opinion.

          • James Ellis

            Perhaps you are missing my point. It’s a simple one but as you’ve ignored it twice, perhaps I am not making myself clear… in which case I will repeat it:

            Name one instance where LLHB smeared Bates under the dictionary definition.

            DId they slanderously defame Bates? No. Ergo, your premise of a smear campaign is false.

            As for ‘I’ve taken more criticism than anyone for that stance’? Really? More than the people behind LLHB?

          • TSS

            I haven’t once missed your point, in fact, I’ve continuously explained that the context in which I used the phrase ‘smear’ was meant. LLHB set itself up in a way which simply republished what Bates had said and disagreed without any impartiality. If an organisation is going to take pot-shots at the chairman regardless of whether he’s right or not, then it’s not going to get anywhere. TFK is going about it the right way by setting out specific demands from it’s fans and avoiding any little digs like LLHB solely did. (Although, I have noticed a reaction to something Bates said on their blog since writing the above).

            Whether you deem what LLHB was doing as a smear campaign or not is your opinion. I do, but I don’t disagree with them for doing it. Bates does exactly the same thing against any opposition, but you can’t fight fire with fire. The best way is to gain national attention and pressure the FL to change the rules, which is what TFK seems to be doing. That’s the right way.

          • TheReaper08

            I prefer the good old Oxford English dictionary myself :

            smear

            • verb 1 coat or mark with a greasy or sticky substance. 2 blur or smudge. 3 damage the reputation of (someone) by false accusations.

            Smear

            • noun 1 a greasy or sticky mark. 2 a false or unwarranted accusation. 3 a sample thinly spread on a microscopic slide.

            I prefer verb 1 so my question to you TSS is what greasy or sticky substance did you leave on LLHB ?

          • James Ellis

            “A smear campaign is basically when you try to turn people against someone through criticism, and in the extreme, slanderous remarks.”

            Wrap yourself up in semantics if you will but the above is your quote…
            So, once again, where were the slanderous remarks?

        • James lacks dictionary skills

          James, you’re a muppet – not the brightest bulb in the box, and as if you’re this bothered.

          The amount of bile filled hate that came out of that site and others, like Clarke 1-0, is ridiculous – one of the reasons this site is infinitely better.

          If anyone’s wrapping themselves up in semantics it’s you, son. “well the dictionary definition is….” grow up.

          So why don’t you accept that not everyone is going to have your (incorrect) opinion, and stop confusing your self by trying to use big words.

          • James Ellis

            Abuse and name calling. A valid way to end an argument. Well done

          • TheReaper08

            I don’t agree with James but I also don’t agree with name calling and then telling someone to grow up.

            If you want to debate with the guy then fair enough but let’s not result to calling each other names.

          • l l l leeds

            Yep, I’ll agree with that one.
            No difference between what you’ve said there and the belittling comments James has made throughout this list of comments.
            Looks like you’ve upset the little lad… didums

          • Craig

            But you’ve just agreed that abuse is not the way to carry on and then added further abuse, thus breaking your own maxim!

  • leeds lad

    Give some credit to LLHB for actually showing some initiative in opposing Bates. Yes, some matters could have possibly been handled more tactfully, but has “tactful” ever been a consideration with Bates and Co ? ….. I agree LLHB are owed more courtesy than you have shown them !!

  • les

    as much as ia gree in principle to ten for ken and llhb i also agree that they sadly will not make 1 bit of diference to bates THEY JUST WONT
    the only way for fans to make a difference not only at leeds but all clubs is just simply not to pay through the turnstiles .the problem with doing that obviously is that the club suffers not bates .and iam pretty sure ,well as i can be that the bearded ,tothless mr bates will wind our club up
    what these sites should do is, find out who to get in touch with about buying selling shares in f s f etc i try everyday to buy shares in f s f but never get no where after all bates doesnt own 1 single share they are the peole to speak with .

    that said lets for this one last week put our differences to 1 side and get behind the lads for what is our biggest game since the european battles
    tss its generally you who chooses the topic lets have a positive few days

    COME ON YOU WHITES

    • TSS

      This was positive. I was acknowledging and applauding peaceful and respectful protest.

      I know what you mean though, and everything on TSS until we know our fate will be relating to the squad only. Ownership troubles can be forgotten ’til seasons end.

      • les

        looks like you have upset clarkeonenil although its not hard i did it once
        ahh well all its peace and harmony in leeds united land
        a land where we have been promoted straight to the premiership .to only be told we will never face relegation ,even if we finish bottom .
        champions league fotball forever ,and a bi into the semis of the FA cup for 20 years .not to mention the national lottery funding us for life £150 million a year and ken bates was just one of those dallas moments where we woke up and it was radebe as chairman .all this and still some people are not happy
        ah well back to reality hello ken ,bring on bristol

        • TheReaper08

          Not hard to upset Clarkeonenil, it’s the undemocratic ramblings of the insane and does not welcome opinions that differ from there own.

          That is the opinion of TheReaper08 and is not the opinon of TSS or any other contributors to this site.

          • TSS

            Disclaimers on comments now Reaper? I might have to start following suit…

  • Craig

    Do we really believe that Bates doesn’t know who owns the club?

    • les

      course he does its his wife, well the shares are in her name i will bet my last shilling

  • Eyeball

    This little ‘episode’ sums up the current mood of Leeds United fans. We’re currently a club on the verge of civil war, and while that makes a catchy headline it’s a sad truth to say that at the end of it all we all pray for the same outcome on Saturday. It seems this article now has a counter article on Clarke one nil and while differing opinions make good journalism and are the cornerstone of every post-match discussion the name calling and the degrading attitude it is penned is out of order and pathetic. No wonder the comments were closed.

  • TheReaper08

    All of these campaigns are pointless because there is no mechanism in place to force Bates to tell people what they want to know. Tenforken is quaint at best, in much the same way as my Auntie’s bridge club is.

    Handing out flyers, printing leaflets, writing nasty things, old Batesy must be quaking in his boots, does no one with a brain realise just how long this guy has been doing these things ?

    If you want answers you have to circumnavigate the guy, start as I have said all along by campaigning to the new Football League chairman and ask with some vigour that the rules be changed on public declaration of football club ownership, just like in the Premier league. Now we might find that out when we get to the CCC if the PL manage to persuade them to change their rules, but really, why wait to see if that happens.

    Open that door and who knows what you will force Bates and Co to reveal.

    I would end by asking for someone to tell me one positive thing achieved by any of these campaigns, other than gathering like minded people together and making them feel better about themselves, like a self help group really.

    I am not saying don’t do it, just do it smarter.

    • James Ellis

      TFK is but one arm of a wider concept informally called the Campaign For Change. Another facets of which is The Square Ball-backed transparencyinfootball.co.uk that is doing just what you suggest.

      • TheReaper08

        I am not aware of that website and when I link to it it goes to a facebook page with a diluted campaign from various sources asking a multitude of questions.

        Not what I would call a targeted campaign by Leeds fans to get the football league to make it mandatory for owners to reveal themselves.

        What I see from the sites I am aware of is a list of questions that we would all love the answer to but that you have no hope of obtaining.

    • Craig

      A shiver ran down my spine when I read the sentence: “Open that door and who knows what you will force Bates and Co to reveal.” Surely the cruelest scenario of all would to be promoted on Saturday, be forced by the CCC to reveal facts that have been carefully secreted under numerous carpets and then be docked more points which would leave us fighting relegation again.

      • TheReaper08

        How can that happen Craig, the football league have approved the owners under there fit and proper owners test, it’s only us fans that don’t know the truth.

        • Craig

          I’m recalling that there was a story that surfaced the other week about teams in the CCC being required to be more transparent. It was covered on this site because I commented on it at the time… or am I dreaming? I’ve not got time to find it at the moment.

          • TheReaper08

            No your not mistaken Craig, I think I remember talking to you about it at the time and I commented on it on my post above.

            It’s not confirmed but the PL are looking at make it manadatory for CCC clubs to reveal owners in exchange for increased parachute payments.

            All things being well we will go up the rule will come in and we will start to find out some more. It is my persoanl belief that once we have the answer to that question we will start to get answers to some of the other things as well.

          • Craig

            Which is exactly what worries me… what else will they find and how harshly will we be punished when they do?

  • saltburnwhite

    GUYS , GUYS , GUYS!
    CAN WE FOR JUST A FEW DAYS PLEASE JUST GET BEHIND THE CLUB , THE PLAYERS , THE MANAGMENT ….AND YES EVEN THE BOARD ROOM…..SUPPORT THEM AND EACH OTHER JUST UNTIL AFTER THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT GAME LEEDS HAS BEEN IN SINCE EVEN BEFORE THE CHAMPS LEAGUE SEMI! …. WE NEED EVERY LEEDS FAN TO BE POSITIVE , NOT WHINGING ! NO DIVIDED RANKS JUST FOR A FEW DAYS , LETS HAVE SOME POSITIVE POSTS PLEASE!
    LETS ACTUALLY FOR ONCE FOLLOW THROUGH ON OUR CLUB WAR CRY OF ‘MARCHING ON TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOGETHER’

    • Rob Clark

      ditto ,come on lets get behind the boys .AND FIGHT AND BICKER AFTER PROMOTION

  • Mikelufc

    I agree saltburn
    do they still sell the excellent Tetley imperial at that old pub on the seafront?

  • Ross

    Anyone else bricking it yet? Sell out crowd at ER Bristol Rovers have lost their last 5 games, pressures on Leeds in a big game, just hope they don’t put it on the telly or its all over!

    not a religous man but ill be spending most my time between now and the game praying!

    On On On!

    • Craig

      Sorry to be pedantic but BR managed a 0-0 in the middle of the 5 match run you refer to.

  • les

    lets have a proper debate
    whats the starting 11 for sat game
    higgs
    collins
    naylor
    hughes
    lowry
    watt
    killkenny
    snodgrass
    howson
    becchio
    beckford
    thats mine

  • Craig

    Like Reaper, I’ve also been away and am catching up this morning. I’ve just read the Clarkeonenil response to this article – it seems this post has made some highly opinionated dude very angry. ‘Libellous’ is a strong riposte!

    I have to say that on my skim-read of the post whilst on my travels the ‘smear’ accusation looked a bit harsh. On reflection I think it was fair simply because LLHB had become such a reactive campaign that was prepared to shoot down anything that looked like Bates, sounded like Bates, smelled like Bates… (now I’ve gone too far… you get my drift) without giving it a chance to state an opinion. The sad thing about pressure groups like that is that you know they will, sooner or later, turn their guns on each other and the Ken Bates’s of this world know that by ignoring them they can sit it out.

    That’s not to say I don’t feel some sympathy for those who have now started shooting their frustration our way. The reason LLHB and other one trick ponies become so enraged is exactly because the absence of hard fact makes every conspiracy theory plausible – but to more balanced observers, each new conspiracy theory makes them look a little more gullible and they thus become more isolated, more angry and one step closer to their demise.

    This is why I too think TfK has much more chance of achieving something, even if its place is to put the tiniest nick in Ken’s armour that others (maybe the Guardian or the footballing authorities) can exploit. Sooner or later Ken will make a wrong move and the list of people ready to pounce is growing by the day.

  • saltburnwhite

    yes they do mike ! well they did the last time i went in there about a year ago! come on leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeds !

  • Colin

    Maybe I’m missing the point but you surely you can’t force an owner to leave a football club?

    If you want Bates or FSF out then the only way that’s going to happen is if another buyer comes in and FSF accept their offer?

    As for the CCC going public with any owners who have more than 10% – I can’t see it actually going through, especially when there’s so many CCC teams looking for investment and those investors will probably want to become anonymous.

    Even if it does go through, then all that Leeds’ owners have to do is to split the companies that own Leeds into 11 companies, each owning less than 10%, therefore not having to release who they are.

  • Colin

    As an aside has anyone thought that if Leeds (yet again) fail to get promoted, that our much hated owners might put LUFC up for sale and look to invest in any of the CCC clubs that need investment.

    Let’s say they’ve put in £20m into Leeds – get an offer for Leeds of £15m, then bought someone like Palace (once the administrator looks for bidders) for £5m. Then use the £10m to rebuild and restructure that club?

    I could see FSF putting Leeds up for sale for £25m, if someone comes in then it’s good for them (profit made). If no-one comes in then Ken can say, well no-one else apart from me cares about Leeds, so get behind me.

    And he’d have a point.

  • Mikelufc

    Quite right Colin
    when I find myself feeling critical of Bates, which is often, I think of Krasner.
    Your not so bad Kenneth, we are on our way up, not on our way out.
    MOT