Both Ken Bates and Simon Grayson are coming under fire from Leeds United fans following a summer of disappointment and a 3-1 hammering at newly promoted Southampton. 

Fans frustrations have intensified so much that a protest against Ken Bates has been organised for Leeds United’s game against Middlesbrough this coming weekend – a game in which the Whites owner will be in attendance.

Some Leeds United fans are even calling for the head of Simon Grayson, despite two successful seasons that have seen Leeds United finish 2nd in League One and rejoin the Championship with a respectable 7th place finish.

It’s understandable that Simon Grayson will be a target for blame when the team perform as badly as they did on Saturday, but to fix any problem, you have to get to the root cause.

Ken Bates’ misplaced priorities have us spending £7m to keep 50 people warm behind a protective sheet of glass in the East Stand. When purchasing tickets or buying a Leeds United replica kit, do you do so in the hope that it’ll provide a box to keep those much richer than yourself away from yourself? Or do you do so in the hope that it’ll help improve the only thing any of us really care about – ie. the squad?

Going back to Southampton, the new signings made little impact and Simon Grayson must take some responsibility for that. But you have to remember, these aren’t the signings our manager had in mind at the end of last season.

Off the top of my head, we lost Keith Andrews to Ipswich Town because our wage cap wasn’t competitive enough. After a summer of trying we still haven’t been able to sign Nick Montgomery from League One Sheffield United because Bates won’t pay more than a couple of hundred thousand for an experienced Championship player. Wages were again a problem with Alan Smith and Jonathan Spector and the list of those we’ve missed out on goes on and on…

Had we started with the afore mentioned players on Saturday, the chances are it’d have been a totally different game. Free transfers and loan signings don’t work, but what other choice does Simon Grayson have when the chairman isn’t providing him with the funds to bring in the players he wants? He’s being forced to settle for second, third and fourth choices like the rest of us.

The most ridiculous thing about Bates’ wage-cap is that it ruins his own go-to excuse – that whilst Leeds United might not be shelling out millions on transfer fees, we can attract a better quality of player because of our wage structure. Really? Is that why Ipswich Town are now outdoing us?

I understand that the wages of the players we have brought in costs us millions of pounds every year, but is that any different from the rest of the clubs in this division? Does Bates think that when the rest of the teams pay a £1m fee for a player, that the player plays out of the goodness of his own heart and doesn’t take a wage? Wages are relative to the division and everyone has to pay them if they want a team of footballers to run around for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon.

The excuse that we’re wasting money on other players is nonsense. Had Ken Bates provided the transfer funds for better players in the first place, we probably wouldn’t have half the players we’ve had to settle for.

So blame Simon Grayson if it helps you sleep better at night, but do you really think the next manager will have any more success when he can’t bring in the players he wants because Ken Bates is too busy expanding a stadium we don’t own?

As I said at the start of this rant, to fix any problem you have to get to the root cause. That root cause has been the same for many years now. It’s the same man who got us relegated, sent us into administration twice, labels fans as dissidents and sick-pots, has HMRC seeking revenge and who, after six and half years in charge, has failed in his promise to repurchase Thorp Arch and Elland Road and has failed to get one of the biggest clubs in English football back into the Premier League.

Picture courtesy of The Beaten Generation. Visit the Facebook Page for more information on the Bates Out protest.