Bradley Johnson responds to Bates slaughtering (again) TSS December 9, 2010 Leeds United 62 Comments Vilified The war of words between Bradley Johnson and Ken Bates continues as the midfielder responds to a second attack in five days from the Leeds United chairman. Johnson had previously responded to Bates’ attack in the Leeds United programme notes for Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace, but the chairman ignored that minor detail when speaking to Yorkshire Radio and criticised the midfielder for bringing his contract saga into a public arena. Clearly annoyed by Bates’ own spin on the saga, and by claims that he was being greedy, Johnson told TalkSport that; “The chairman came out with something in the programme which didn’t fight my corner and everyone’s got their opinions and the fans took it his way, “My commitment from day one when I signed for Leeds has been shown in every game I’ve played. I’ve always given 100 per cent and I am committed to Leeds United. “I love Leeds, I love the fans and I love the city and I want to be here. It’s not a case of I’ve turned down a deal because I don’t want to be here – I want equality. “I’m not being greedy. I’m not asking to be the highest paid player at the club because I shouldn’t be. I just want equality.” Ken Bates also criticised Johnson for missing meetings with Shaun Harvey and Simon Grayson, but the midfielder says he felt cornered by Leeds United and that his excuse was a valid one. Johnson explains that contract negotiations are usually dealt with by a players agent, and that he doesn’t feel he should be attending contract talks without his agent present. In Bradley’s defence – which is a stance I don’t take often – Ken Bates is a master at manipulating these situations and does seem to be trying to turn the fans against Johnson. Becchio and Kilkenny are in a similar situation, but neither have received public criticism from the chairman. It does seem entirely unorthodox for the clubs Chief Executive and manager to be calling one-on-one meetings with the player after talks with his agent broke down, and I can understand how Bradley may feel the club are trying to manipulate him. Contract talks are extremely complex, and the agent isn’t just an inconvenience who we can blame for all the wrongs at a football club – he is also the man who represents other players in similar situations and understands the legal side of the contract. It’s no different from the millions of people across the country who are represented by Union Reps. There’s probably much more to this story than we currently understand, but what I can say for certain is that the agent knows the kind of money an average Championship player can expect to receive and I sincerely doubt he’s pushed for much more. We also know that Ken Bates has a pathological hatred of agents and a tendency to use them to turn the fans against certain players (Jermaine Beckford being a prime example last season). Ultimately, I suspect Bradley will be forced out of the club in January because Ken’s teddy has already left the cot and he isn’t known for his ability to perform U-turns. I just wish we could part with a player amicably, rather than see them vilified by a chairman with an insatiable appetite for drama.