Top five reasons to Love Leeds, Hate Bates TSS August 10, 2011 Top fives 44 Comments #05 – I will buy back Elland Road One of the first promises Ken Bates made in 2005 was that he’d repurchase Elland Road to ensure the long-term future of our club. After all, without any assets all you really own is a pretty looking badge and a few sheets of paper that say a few players will run around for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon wearing whatever illuminous sponsor-heavy shirt you put them in. Some fans would argue Bates already owns Elland Road – I mean, why else would you spend £7m on the East Stand and millions more on bars and the “best conference facilities from Newcastle to Manchester?” As I’ve said many times before, you wouldn’t bolt a conservatory onto a council house.. Maybe Ken Bates would? #04 – The Fabian Delph money will go towards the repurchase of our training facilities When it quickly became apparent that Leeds United could not keep hold of youth sensation Fabian Delph, The Whites fans reasoned that his sale was for the good of our future – that if it would secure the repurchase of our training facilities as Ken Bates claimed, Fabian Delph wouldn’t be the last Academy sensation to grace the hallowed truth of Elland Road, and that, in this instance, the Chairman’s long-term thinking was not only justified, but also in the best interests of Leeds United Football Club. Imagine our confusion then when, despite the Fabian Delph money and additional funds from the compensation received on other youth players, Leeds United had to go cap-in-hand to the council to try and secure an 11th hour deal. The council had issues with the lack of transparency at the club and decided against the bail-out, meaning Leeds United would continue to pay extortionate sums of money so the players had somewhere to train. More ridiculous still was that only a few months after the failed repurchase, Ken Bates decided our training facilities had fallen into a state of disrepair and that Leeds United would be better off starting afresh elsewhere. “I didn’t want to play anyway, I’m taking my ball home…” #03 – I don’t know who owns Leeds United (It’s not me, honest) Following administration, Leeds United were repurchased by a mysterious offshore trust whose owners wished to remain anonymous. Ken Bates remained on as Chairman of course, because these new owners had seen what a stand-up job he’d done so far in getting Leeds United relegated to the third division for the first time in their history and putting them into administration – I mean, who wouldn’t want that kind of prudent leadership? Many fans speculated that Ken Bates had in fact repurchased the club himself but was unable to admit it because this would make the repurchase of Leeds United F.C following administration slightly illegal. Ken Bates denied these claims, stating that he didn’t know who owned Leeds United and it most certainly wasn’t him! This was a vague, yet consistent statement from the Leeds United Chairman right up until the point he appeared in a Jersey court and told the judge he did in fact own shares in the club – something he later retracted. Understandable really, we all forget whether we own multi-million pound businesses from time-to-time, right? Somehow, despite not knowing who the owners of Leeds United were, in the summer of 2011 Ken Bates managed to purchase the club from them. We don’t know the exact details, but in my mind, the Leeds United chairman had a secret “bat phone” to contact these illusive owners. When he said he wanted to buy the club he was instructed to deposit a briefcase full of cash in a busy public park somewhere in the Cayman Islands. Looking as inconspicuous as humanly possible when you’re Santa Claus’ living double, Ken Bates donned a hat, sunglasses and long, sandy-coloured overcoat to make the drop. Sure enough, a few days later these mysterious and not-at-all-dodgy owners, mailed him the papers stating he now owned Leeds United. A gentleman’s way to conduct business in the 21st Century if ever I heard it. Of course, the alternative view is that he simply drew up some papers switching the ownership from the offshore trusts (him) to… well… him. Damn conspiracy theorists ruining my 1950’s spy-montage. #02 – The mysterious transfer warchest £150,000 spent on a goalkeeper, whilst £1,5m was received in transfer fees and the Fabian Delph money miraculously turned up in the shape of some East Stand executive boxes. This appears to be the sum total of the transfer “warchest” Simon Grayson has to work with. Scared yet West Ham? Yeah, you should be… Not all hope is lost though, because Ken Bates says that we can attract a better quality of player to Elland Road because of our “competitive wage structure!” What do you mean Ipswich Town outbid us for Keith Andrews? Pass me the razor-blades! #01 – “Without Ken Bates, there would be no Leeds United Football Club” The sheer ridiculousness of this statement shouldn’t require me to add anything further, but it seems Ken Bates’ propaganda has been well and truly absorbed by many Leeds United fans. To those who still believe Ken Bates “saved Leeds United” let’s track back. When Ken Bates’ mysterious offshore backers bought us out the second time, there were several other bids on the table which all offered more money than Ken Bates’ and were the preferred choice of every creditor, except the mysterious offshore one (you’ve spotted the theme, right?) that somehow decided they’d prefer Ken Bates in charge of the club despite the fact they’d lose several million pounds on the deal. HMRC were quite upset by this, as was everyone else, so much so that a CVA couldn’t be agreed and Leeds started the following season on -15. Job done, Leeds United saved! As for the first buy-out, it’s quite possible Leeds were facing administration if Ken Bates didn’t come in and “save us.” The only problem with that one is that we ended up in administration anyway! Hardly my idea of salvation. Had Leeds gone into administration under Krasner, this would have given potential suitors the chance to purchase Leeds United, rid them of debt and invest wisely to get us straight back into the Premier League where they could sell for a huge profit. Instead, we got Bates and three years of League One football. Good times. It’s also worth noting that the only person who ever suggested this club could cease to exist was Ken Bates, when he threatened to put us into liquidation if he didn’t get what he wanted. All hail our saviour, hey?