Do the Bates Out protests actually achieve anything? TSS August 14, 2011 Leeds United 78 Comments Amidst a united battle to voice our discontent against Bates’ continued ownership yesterday, there were still plenty of people unconvinced by the effectiveness of the protests. Speaking to people at the ground and afterwards on Twitter, a lot of people told me the protests were pointless because Bates would revel in the hatred and that our chants would fall on deaf ears. And I don’t doubt they did, but there is a point to them. Bates turns 80 this year and has never been a particularly well-liked character. He’s not going to change into a loveable old rogue now and start investing money into our squad, it’s all water of a ducks back to him. The problem is, that Ken Bates’ ego won’t allow him to accept he could be wrong. He’s a stubborn old man who genuinely believes he’s leading a football revolution, that at some point in the future, people will look back and celebrate his genius, build statues around the country and that his name will become synonymous with how a football club should be run. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the deluded psyche of Mr Kenneth Bates. But if we already knew the protests wouldn’t affect him, why bother at all? Newspapers today will talk of unrest at Elland Road, the Football League Show aired pictures of Leeds United fans running around with “Bates Out” banners and the situation at Elland Road remains in the public domain. The supporters of this club can’t take Ken Bates down directly. Save for a mass abandonment of the club we love, we don’t have the power to rid Leeds United of this menace. HMRC, the FA & FL and our Government however do and the only way we can keep the pressure on them to act is by keeping attention on the problem. Our best shot at getting rid of Ken Bates is still the second takeover. If someone can prove this takeover was illegal, that the administration process was nothing more than a well-executed plan to clear an enormous tax-bill, Ken Bates would be in serious trouble. This has been a widely held theory for a long time now. The only reason we’ve got the attention from Parliament, from The BBC, The Guardian and other media outlets is because they sense crimes have been committed. While ever this attention remains on the Leeds United situation, it exposes uncomfortable weaknesses for HMRC, weaknesses they don’t want bringing to the attention of the wider public. It forces them to investigate in an attempt to reassert power and show the world that sooner or later, they will collect. The Football Association and The Football League are also forced to act. They don’t want their leagues to be associated with questionable ownership structures and tax evasion. What kind of sponsors want to put their names to that? Others may have their own reasons for protesting. Some may hope it alerts potential suitors to the possibility of a takeover, whilst others may simply want to vent. But for me, it’s all about the attention. While ever this issue is being publicised nationally, the powers that be are forced to respond. The Government could put pressure on the countries concealing our ownership to release details, investigative journalists with more resources than a disorganised group of fans could start their own crusades to uncover the truth and HMRC will be sat sharpening their knives. All because a group of “dissident” fans chanted loudly and forced the media to pay attention.