The Mangle: Leeds United's next ‘White Knight’ Gary August 18, 2011 The Mangle 48 Comments We love our White Knights, we do. We’ve had sh*tloads of the buggers, from cipher-like Sheikhs to Sainsbury’s Local, hell, even the Don’s son had his moment in the fading Beeston sun. And they love us too. They’re passionate fans, just like us. Sort of. They love us so much that we’re still stuck with Ken Bates. Clearly they all failed to recognise the attendant risk of putting your money where your mouth is, and accidentally ate it all. It’s been said that what the Bates Out campaign really needs is to offer up their own viable alternative to Ken – it does make some sense, and has recently been certified as Bible by the Holy Dom Matteo pointing out what we’d already been worrying. But at the point when a White Knight is needed more than ever, they’re all quiet; neutered. Aside from anything else, those Knight-a-minute days were pretty good pantomime, so it’s sad to see their current acute stage fright. Never fear, however – I’m going to suggest some new players to enter the fray, fight the good fight, and other cliché; players not afraid of the limelight one bit. Naturally, given the discerning audience, they need to adhere to one main criterion – they need to ‘be Leeds’. This is nebulous enough a concept to mean anything from lifelong season ticket holder to seen once at ER in the 90’s, to just not showing embarrassment about being born and/or raised in the city while not showing any other obvious club affiliation. It also helps if they’re somewhat known to us, so the outsider suspicion we’re famed for doesn’t raise its shackles. So without further ado… White Knight 1: Sir Jimmy Savile. The ultimate White Knight – an actual bona fide Leeds-born, Leeds-residing Knight of the Realm with extremely white hair. It must be noted, though, that a love for cigars does not necessarily imply the necessary financial clout to run a football club, as it did in the old days. Would it also be anathema to question whether it’s ever been proved that he’s a fan? White Knight 2: Melanie Brown. Breaking down all the gender, race and common sense barriers of what constitutes a White Knight, Mel’s historically confirmed her support, and we can only hope a) the payout to ex-hubby Jimmy Gulzar didn’t damage her wealth too severely and b) if it did, that her film producer husband might offer his wallet up to the altar of Leeds, in the way that Americans often see such gestures towards English institutions as ‘cute’. White Knight 3: Barbara Taylor-Bradford. South Leeds-born, 32million copies of sh*t books sold plus a myriad of TV rights deals – with this backing we could possibly even compete with Leicester City. Just imagine that. If you’re interested, Barbara, I’ll unequivocally retract the comment about the quality of your literature. White Knight 4: Chumbawamba. Chumbawamba, I would accept, are not a person, so probably not a Knight either. But they are ‘Leeds’ by the latter definition, and I quite like the idea of applying the anarchic framework described in band member Boff Whalley’s recent insightful piece in The Independent to a football club. Working against this dream is my suspicion that they don’t actually like football at all – perhaps even see it as the complete antithesis of their ethic. More their loss, I say. White Knight 5: Lucas Radebe, representing the Government of South Africa. Honorary West Yorkshireman is good enough for us. While there’d be so much wrong with accepting the generous bankrolling of a state with one of the highest income inequality rates in the world, it’s possible that the majority would be happy with Murdoch or Gaddafi, as long as they were lavishly flashing the cash on the wages of Jason Koumas, Alan Smith, Roque Santa Cruz and the like. And no doubt the worldly-wise face of Chairman Chief would provide enough of a comfort blanket to all. Don’t ever say The Mangle is not a forum for constructive, reasonable suggestions in this time of strife.