The Broken Business Model Driving Leeds United

So it’s January again, and as in July the Ken Bates pre-packed clichés are already flowing. We won’t `break the bank’ in the transfer market, or risk the clubs financial stability now we can spend some money on players.

We’ll also hear about those clubs who foolishly spent money in the summer on players, not performing as well as we are (Leicester, Notts Forest etc) conversely we’ll also hear how our players need to buck their ideas up, perform better and get us promoted – or else, ditto the incumbent manager.

Finally as certain key players reach the end of the current contracts we’ll hear how unreasonable they are in their demands – asking for pay rises, add-ons contracts for more than 2 years, and so it’s gone for the past three seasons with Bates.

Core to all of this is that Bates is running a tight ship, on sound business principles, and that while we as `morons’ simply want him to spend some of his multi-million pound fortune, he will not be swayed – I forgot he may also mention something repulsive about intercourse or foreplay at this point, to really repel anyone still interested in the detail of what hes saying.. apologies, just threw up a bit.

So it’s blame the manager, blame the players – even blame the fans, but never blame Ken Bates or Shaun Harvey for us being in the second division, the business model’s rock solid, we must never criticise it.. is it? Let’s break it down. Firstly why the model is strong

Positives & Potential

1. A loyal and numerous client and customer base

On average over 20,000 fans turning up to any home game – even in Division Three – and prepared to pay Premier League ticket prices to watch the likes of Yeovil, Brighton & Walsall.

2. A worldwide historic brand

A fan base which the likes of West Brom, Fulham and Bolton would kill for, and achievements in living memory like winning the last first division title and the oft discussed champions league semi.

Sky can sell ours and probably only West Hams games around the world in the Championship. Movies are made about Leeds United and best selling books sold.

3. A profitable business for the past 3 years (into the millions)

A rarity in football, full stop. And this a business which was in administration no more than 4 years ago (but see points 1 &2)

4. A manager who can find decent players for low fees and sell for much more

Part of the above, we have very little in the debit column when it comes to fees or salaries as a proportion of our revenue (as per the football league). Our manager and our scouts do seem to be able to find them (Gradel, Somma, Beckford)  – and like Arsenal – sell them well, (generally). Since relegation note a few of our key ‘outs’ – Gradel (£2M), Schmeicel (£1M), Delph (£6M), Lennon (£4M), Milner (£5M).

5. A strong production line of home-grown talent

How much do we think the likes of Howson, Lees, White would go for? More recently look at the likes of Garbutt, Kebbie, Taiwo, Woods – who were coveted even before an appearance was made in a white shirt. Much of our potential financially comes from this; moreover many of our match winning players are home-grown. We seem to excel here, with not enough investment it seems.

6. Large potential catchment area 

As per point one, in League One, and Championship regular attendances over 20k, are in stark contrast to over 30-35,000 while in the top flight. Leeds were big then, and they could be again. Its often trotted out that we’re a one club city (apologies to Farsley Celtic).

7. Readymade facilities for purchase at below market price

The club could buy back Elland Road and Thorp Arch for under £30M. The facilities are already purpose built for the training and development of soccer players, and for the playing of football (no one said good football…)

8. Support of Local Council

The council, even in these rarefied times offered to loan Bates & Harvey, a loan to buy the ground (despite us having turned a profit for the last 3 years) because they see it as critical to the success of the city that the club has that security.

But for the intractable issue of who exactly FSF were Leeds would have secured that loan. Any property developer will tell you such support is like Rocking Horse Poo from a city council, moreover that it is vital if you have ideas about building casinos, hotels, shopping centres and erm… a football team maybe Ken?

So just like Craig David… (I could think of no other), Leeds are ‘Born to do it’ – so why aren’t we? Well here’s the rub – his name’s Ken Bates, and his business model stinks like Boxing Day Stilton left next to the oven overnight.

Key blockers and disadvantages (or Ken as we know him)

1. Minimal investment in core business 

Why do people (including the non-moronic businessmen) turn up to LS11 every other Saturday? To watch football, at best they used to get their business contacts down to see the best football in Europe – and it followed that the better the offering – the more investors you got, the more tv money you got, and the more profits you made.

So you need to win games right? To get out of the dead zone Leeds occupy? To be the best you can? How do you do that? – You get the best players you can afford. Here’s where it breaks. Despite receiving transfer fees, generally up front (according to Bates & Harvey) Gradel £2M, Schmeicel £1M, slashing the wages of Johnson, Kilkenny, Beckford in the last 2 years from the wage bill, Did we go for the best players available? Did we even replace the ones we sold? No we didn’t, and we won’t.

A club of Leeds’ financial stature should compete with a Leicester, a Southampton, even a Barnsley, but we simply won’t spend transfer fees to give us a competitive edge. Ken’s right, the fees are exorbitant, and perhaps banks won’t lend ‘speculatively’ but we do have cash in the bank, and a turnover to support a promotion campaign – which should be after all what we need to do to get to the next level? Were i involved in credit and lending decisions, and I do have some professional expertise in this area, i wouldn’t call Leeds a bad bet at all.

Nothing wrong with bargain hunting, but man cannot live by the bargain bin alone, the odd bit of quality needs recruiting.

2. Major investment into peripheral areas 

So we dont have the money to do that eh? Well what about the £7m of investment in corporate boxes. We morons love to roll that one out, and Ken doesn’t think we understand that even though hes got a lease, that most business property is on a long lease and alterations and investments on leased property is often worthwhile if it enhances your business profile and profit margins. It pays for itself right?

However whilst we dont have top flight football it’s immaterial. The differentials between Premier League and Championship corporate revenues are staggering. It begs the question – has Ken got his priorities wrong?

It’s often insinuated he owns the ground already – who knows?

But even if he did this investment is the wrong way round – why build a fantastic theatre, but then fail to arrange any shows? Or to extend that further, why then arrange shows with anything other than the worst hams, luvvies, and burn outs on the stage? Ken has taken his eye off the prize. Why not; if property is so important buy it outright now? £7m would be sufficient for a deposit (over 20% of the total purchase price) and mortgage the ground for 30 years? Then spend your money; the whole thing looks a mess.

3. Lack of clarity to customers as to direction of business

We’re a successful profitable business, yet we dont spend money on transfer fees for players, we dont compete with the best – even in our current league, and we dont hold on to our best players and tie them to decent contracts.

So are we profitable or not? What is this dreadful `foreplay’ in which we’re engaging and what is the desired long term outcome?

We just dont know – and it smacks of total disrespect to the fans (who are the clubs major financial backers) It also speaks volumes to the business community. Our ownership structure remains opaque at best, and exactly where do the transfer fees, the inflated ticket prices, sponsorship money, tv cash etc go? Where and how does it get spent?

4. Visible dislike of key client/customer base

How can we forget being called ‘morons?’ It ranks with Ratners faux pas about selling ‘crap’ – you just dont slag off your loyal customers, some of them may even be investors. Ken Bates comes across as a malodorous, repulsive despot, of the worst kind. A misanthrope, who wants to bleed the club dry with little regard for the fans. Many fans have begun to vote with their feet, he just doesn’t seem to care, or want to change his ways – there are no olive branches offered, and no `plan B’ to get us promoted.

5. Failure to attract serious investors and business partners

No Matthew Harding, certainly no Roman Abramovich, apparently no one wants to invest in this climate… erm… apart from Marcus Liebherr at Southampton less than 12 months ago, the Thai backers of Leicester City, Hull’s backers (whoever they are? Birds Eye I suppose?) These all of course in the Championship, let’s not forget the major investment into Man City, Paris St Germain, Liverpool. Football clubs that are profitable, that have a large fanbase are the plum ones to buy – mysteriously apart from us.

Wonder why that is? Would you lend Ken £10? I wouldn’t. Would you buy a used car from him? So why might you give him £70M lets say, to buy a football club, the phrase `magic beans’ would be running through your mind as an investor as you handed the unkindly old gent that cash – would you own the club? The ground, the players contracts?

Credibility is everything in business and Ken exudes a disingenuous and antagonistic air, he is a dreadful ambassador for the club. Litigious, cantankerous and out of touch. Just ask fans of Aston Villa about Doug Ellis, they felt then as we do now – like no one will ever buy their team while hes around. Ken Bates is the man who demanded to see ‘proof of funds’ from Roman Abramovich – bjesus. Who called the recently deceased Matthew Harding ‘evil’ – really?

6. Open criticism of internal management and staff from the top

In what business is it acceptable to openly slate individual members of your staff and management? Ken Bates has opinions about individual players and their efforts. McCartney, Kilkenny, Johnson, Beckford have all felt the rough edge of his tongue, and with the exception of Kilkenny have all gone on to play for successful teams, generally at a higher level. Sour Grapes doesn’t do it justice. Moreover Ken slags off his manager’s capability.

Whether this is reverse psychology, garnering support from the fans, or just that hes a grumpy old man is moot. You just don’t wash your dirty laundry in public – not in any business. And you don’t demotivate your employees. But hey if customers are fair game – what do you expect?

A parting thought

Perhaps this is extremely biased, well it is, and it’s only one fans opinion.

Is Ken Bates totally to blame for where we are? Well not entirely of course – we’re not a very good team, so that limits our chances of promotion. But he’s the man with the plan – as it were. And that plan seems totally devoid of creativity, belief or credibility.

When we look at that underperforming team, and at the bench for hope at 2-0 down – remember we can only deploy the resources we are afforded by the chairman – we don’t have access to the full profits we make, or the leverage of our reputation, and notions of where we ought to be as a team. That is something the businessman in charge is paid handsomely to achieve.

If the club really were in such a bad state – would he really have stuck around as long as he has?

Written by Matthew Brown-Bolton

  • Matt

    Don’t forget that we have no evidence that Ken actually has any (significant) money. For all we know, the club is bankrolling his Monaco lifestyle, or he is holding everything back waiting for the big buyer to come along and make him rich again.

    • Chareose

      see above posts, investors dont trust ken bates, everything he gets involved in turns sour, absolutely everything…….but yes ken thinks ken is fucking amazing

  • truefan

    I’m perplexed. We are 8th in the Championship, having nearly made the play offs last year, and been promoted the year before. A few years ago we exerienced the near liquidation of the club through reckless overspending on players. We have a manager who is a Leeds fan with a proven succesful track record, and a chairman who is running the club on an even footing. Even so, he is still providing money for players who command reasonable wages. We are not an attractive investment for any buyer and are really lucky to be in business. If Bates walked away, there is noone waiting in the wings to take over. I agree that ticket prices and the policy is unfathomable and takes the mick, but by yelling negative chants at games, all this is going to do is demotivate the players – FACT (Don’t ask me how I know but I do). Sorry for the rant but other clubs fans (particularly those below us) must think we have the most fickle fans in country. I’d go one further and describe most of our support as morons. Now where have I heard that before.

    • the Leeds fan

      @truefan But he has so far abused the loyalty of the fans with ticket pricing, only now it is affecting the attendances, leaving us on the same standing as say Derby County, with a similar quality of team. The only presence we have left is our terrific away following. We could well be destined for being satisfied with play-off championship football year after year, with maybe the odd season in the top flight, before we drop. But who knows maybe if we do pull off the promotion Bates will inject all the promotion money back into the team, OR maybe he will build a hotel…

      • truefan

        The point I am trying to make is where the hell do our fans think the money for top class players is going to come from? We have to find ways of making money, and if that includes hotels, restuarants and corporate plastic fans then so be it. You may not like it but Bates has saved this club and if you want to vote with your feet the club will lose money, Bates will have no option but to walk away and we will go bust. Its not difficult to understand.

        • Ryan H

          Yes but, do you really think Bates will invest any future revenue in the playing squad anyway??…on past evidence that is a resounding NO!!!

        • truefan

          @Ryan H

          Probably not, but I’ll ask again who is going to take the club over and pump lots of his money into it with no chance of ever seeing it again. its a really simple question.

        • number1inyorkshire

          @truefan when anti bates post come around we always get 1 or 2 like yourself on making a point for the defence .sadly you will need to be as good as the OJ SIMPSON lawyer to get bates off the hook, it has never and will never happen on here ,you are absolutely wasting your energy on typing what you are You have a right to an opinion of course,its just that when it comes to sticking up for BATES it will always be the wrong one .

          you must have some nice christmas prezzies to play with

        • truefan


          Come on then, who would take over the club and fund it to the level of a premiership club? Or would you be happy for the club just to fold? Frankly, I think Bates comes accross as an arrogant twat, and I find the hike in ticket prices unforgivable. However, I really like going to watch football on a Saturday afternoon, unlike most Leeds fans who evidently would rather the club went out of business than Bates remain in charge.

        • number1inyorkshire

          @truefan there would be many i am sure if he would sell the whole thing and fuck off ,thats not what is up for sale ,bates wants an investor not a buyer .you have elequantly stated your opinion of him .if you had a spare 20-30 million would you give it to him or work with him ,

          That money would get you into a partnership with the biggest twat in English football ,not a club to do with what you want .

          if he sold it there would be a queue of people ,

        • Chareose


          Truefan no we are asking YOU who would take over with Ken Bates involved, infact who would trust Bates not to find someway to screw them over on any deal…. Yes ken wants another Mathew Harding to sail in to spend his money on Leeds United while Ken looks to walk away with the profits as he did at Chelsea. As mentioned by TSS his business model is a complete joke….Whos going to use the exec boxes, the hotel etc etc if the clubs shit, demoralized and fans are boycotting it……….Where as (pointed out for the millionth time) if he had spent money on decent players we could be well on the way to promotion and a £50 million pay day………

        • Northern Monkey

          @truefan where will these corporate plastic fans come from? Who wants to stay in Beeston overnight? Why would you take your better half to Howards unless your a Leeds fan? Without decent football none of the other things will happen, why would someone pay a fortune to bring some clients to see the standard of football currently being played when 30 miles away the richest football teams in England are playing games that a true leeds fan can only dream of? Bates is a cancer who is killing Leeds United not the saviour of them!!!

        • Tyler75

          @truefan@number1inyorkshire Forget investment for the minute; – Simple question; when funds are generated e.g. £2-£3m from Schmeichel and Gradel plus their wages and the freed up wages from Kilkenny and Johnson, why isn’t all the money re-invested in the team ?

        • @Tyler75@truefan@number1inyorkshire

          A very good question that we will doubtless never know the answer to. It is this, in my opinion, that has killed the atmosphere somewhat at Elland Road; the not knowing. However, as I wrote earlier, we are as we were last year with half a season to go, which is a million miles from where we were the season before in a footballing sense, and with our full support of the team and manager, we will only get better.

        • Granted it’s hard to stay 100% positive and supportive when we’ve been used to so much better, with the release we look for in these tough times being seemingly harder, and dearer, to come by and with Ken Bates at the helm, but let’s just remember the lyrics of our anthem ‘Marching On Together’ and use it as our mantra. Fuck Bates, we are Leeds and will be when he’s brown bread, ’til that time, get behind the team week in week out and together we won’t go far wrong.

    • @truefan

      Don’t apologise for speaking the truth mate, except the ‘most of our supporters are morons’ bit; there’s a fair few of them, but the vast majority of Leeds fans are supporters not detractors.

  • Jonesy

    Great article – spot on. The only way things will ever change is if the fans don’t buy tickets. It’s that simple. Larry will be the first to get the boot as Ken will blame him but when it continues something will need to change. If a restaurant isn’t getting any customers they offer promotions, or increase the quality. Ken needs to do both – whilst we all continue to pay top prices for second rate goods Ken won’t be going anywhere…. he’s got away with it for years now.

  • AndoverWhite

    Truefan, are you K Bates in diguise.

  • number1inyorkshire

    Back to Bates at last my favourite figure of hate !!!

    he is right to run the business as he is thats a fact ,when i say that i mean within its means .The point is in my opinion he is running it too much within its means and therefore making a massive profit for himself ..

    Is there any evidence that bates actually bought the club from someone or that fsf or whoever actually existed or anything that bates has said is true ,is the money still going to fsf and was bates buying it a smoke screen for the FA/LEAGUE to shut em up on the fit and proper persons rule or as everyone suspects did bates own it all along ..

    Another fact is that leeds isn’t up for sale ,he wants someone to invest like harding did and spend on the team ,whilst he builds a hotel on the team bringing in profits ,its the chelsea model unfolding here right in front of us ,the difference is bates is 20 years older and more stupid and noone will fall for the old chestnut of bates taking money from a team he puts nothing into to build a hotel .

    Players do need to have a look at themselves i agree when it comes to the real world and some are asking far too much at a time when many fans are struggling ,their bubble at this level will burst as it stands on wages , alright many are on the way up at this level so eventually if they are good enough the premier league promised land of untold riches beckons ,but all too often many are on the way back down and are not worth what they are asking .

    There are many pro footballers on the dole ,

    The current dilemma on the pitch ,although now sent into the history books with an emphatic win yesterday has not got much to do with bates thats down to his manager ,he could sack him to resolve that problem .

    Bates now though has a problem in his own right he has to put up or shut up ,his spoutings about getting up to fill his new boxes mean he has to invest in the team because if he is the football man he claims to be ,he should see that team is not good enough to get up and is devoid of any quality ,at any level that costs money ,thats down to him ..

    I hate ken bates i have told him more than once, more than once i have nearly put his number on here and other sites ,but that would lower myself to his level he is 90% of the problem at leeds united but not the whole problem .

    But we are stuck with him ,there are various answers from various people ,i personally only pay for tickets for the league matches for instance others do other stuff

    There are they say only 2 certainties, well he don’t pay much tax !!! he can not escape the other !!!!!! GOING DOWN

    • Irving08


      Yes, old Batesey is in a bit of a dilemma: he can invest in the team and see the money go down the drain (as it did with Blackwell) or he can invest in bricks and mortar and see the money go down the drain that way (as well it might if we don’t at least make the play-offs), but he’d still be left with said stuff. What would you do in his position ? Me ? I have no idea: for one thing, I don’t have the necessary information and, for another, I have never run a big business. Which is why, on this site, I stick generally to commenting on things I think I do know something about from having played the game a bit and spent the last half century or so watching it.

      • number1inyorkshire

        @Irving08 are you basing the investing in the team money going down the drain on Grayson and his previous aquisitions .if as people say he has had no proper money giving him some might be the difference ..

        BLACKWELL keeps getting mentioned there is a difference between him and others ,the fact is bates never liked blackwell from the start and he got us to cardiff in a final on zero money so it is unfair to keep bring him back up in the negative and he beat bates in his unfair dismissal case costing leeds hundreds of grand no doubt .

  • Captaincrash

    In pavilion yesterday Lorimer said how our wage bill is £12.5 million versus Barnsley’s £5 million.

    The point was made as to we do spend on players BUT I would feel pretty certain that as a % of total revenue their’s is the bigger investment in the playing squad by some margin?

    • TSS

      @Captaincrash Well that’s a lie. There’s absolutely no way Barnsley have halved their wage bill in the past year. Below graph from Swiss Ramble, compiled using club accounts (the guy is a finance guru)

      Comparing our wage bill with Barnsley’s is an absolute nonsense anyway. That’s like comparing the overheads of a corner shop with Asda. It’s the percent of turnover to wages ratio that is most interesting – Leeds’ is the lowest in the Championship, and we still can’t get any money for transfers.

      • Captaincrash

        @TSS Absolutely my point re the %. Corner Shop 4 Asda 1 was a disgrace mind!!

      • @TSS@Captaincrash

        Which is within the new regulations is it not? All the clubs on there paying near and over 100% of their turnover are sitting ducks, it’s simple maths; it must be, I only got a C at GCSE.

      • @TSS@Captaincrash

        Erm, Burnley 49%?

        • Captaincrash

          @Danny Bowden @TSS And Mr Kilkenny’s new employers….good table TSS.

        • Ludlow Leeds

          Danny – Burnley’s turnover increased 400% after a season in the premiership which skews the figures somewhat. They made an £11.7m loss the season before.

        • @Ludlow Leeds

          Yes, but they are now operating at below 50% of turnover to wages, which is sound business, unlike Portsmouth for example who still haven’t got their ship in anything resembling order, and they got relegated at the same time didn’t they(?), which is why they’ll probably be one of the first to go out of business.

        • @Captaincrash@danny@TSS

          I don’t understand what you mean here, sorry, it’s been a long day. I don’t know who is backing Bristol City, but it is evident he/she has more expendable cash than we do. Will that last.. Unless he or she has a bottomless pit of funding, not without success it won’t, and let’s be honest, they’re not going to have any of that in the near future.

        • Ludlow Leeds

          The figures are for 2009/10 so turnover is inflated by premier league income. I would assume, despite parachute payments and a reduction in salary expenditure, that curent wages to turnover percentage is above 50%.

          Portsmouth were in the Prem for longer and aquired a much higher wage bill, with many contracted players remaining with the club after relegation. Granted they were stupidly managed.

          Incidentally it’s interesting that no-one seems to be questioning the new 50% rule. It’s an arbritary figure uniquely inflicted on an industry in order to bring it in line with ‘normal’ business. It’s a bizarre concept. I don’t see the state dictating wages to turnover policy in ‘normal’ private business?

          The 50% rule may make clubs more ‘solvent’, but at what expense? The gap between rich and poor will widen and smaller clubs will be able to compete even less than they can now.

          And quality of football? Mediocrity will rule, with current LUFC a shining example of the future.

        • ‘At what expense?’ you say. Well, if the percentage was higher, it would be at the expense of a lot of football clubs’ Football League or Premiership status. The fact that it’s set at the level it is will protect a lot of clubs from being over-ambitious a la us under Ridsdale, and therefore reduce the chances of similar happening again to us or any other club; much fairer and very much more sensible.You say the gap between rich and poor clubs will widen, when the whole point of this regulation is to stop the likes of Citeh, Chelski and Blackburn Rovers a decade ago from buying success with money that has nothing to do with the football club, making it a much more level playing field.

        • @Ludlow Leeds

          You may well be right on the mediocrity comment, and maybe that is something we all need to learn from, in life aswell as football supporters. Look what happened to the banks, look what happened to Italian football (it’s shit, but no more than the businesses behind it deserve). For too long, too much emphasis has been placed on money and short term success at the expense of longevity and stability, rather than morals and reality; nobody should understand that more than us Leeds supporters.

        • ludlowleeds

          To echo Geoff’s comments I don’t see many football clubs going bust. The 50% rule is just another political campaign.

          ‘Level playing field’ is a metaphor for mediocrity. What kind of business model is that?! And mediocrity as moral code? Lower our horizons and settle for less? How’s that going to fill the terraces?

        • @ludlowleeds

          As I said, look what happened to the banks! Living beyond your means in any walk of life isn’t the way forward. They had no moral conscience and now we are all paying for it as a nation, how fair and fun is that!?! (You can’t get a job at a bank because you owe them a few grand, yet they owe us the British public billions; go figure..)

          Which political party’s campaign do you refer to?You may be right that ‘many’ football clubs will not go bust, we will just have to wait and see. However, as football is a business now, those businesses that aren’t being run on a sound financial basis will either fall by the wayside or have to be bailed out. Again, look what happened to the banks; did those bailouts work? Do you think having to work extra years for less of a pension, while our quality of life decreases is a good thing? Not on you nelly!

        • @ludlowleeds

          ‘Level playing field’ could well be used as a metaphor for mediocrity, I agree, but surely it is better than having any of 4 teams winning everything, every season (except maybe our national cup competitions, as those teams tend to play their second string or kids, as they can not ‘afford’ to not win the league or a european competition for more than a few seasons. Why? Because, Citeh and Chelski aside, they are all living on the never-never, like we did under Peter Ridsdale).

          The alternative, is that we allow clubs to do what they want and pay what they want, which will ‘definitely’ mean provincial and smaller clubs will suffer decreasing success, crowds, enthusiasm and ultimately, lose their ‘professional’ football team status or have to accept they will never get to the heights they’d like to.

        • ludlowleeds

          Granted many clubs are living beyond their means, but the comparison between football clubs and banks is a non-starter. Football clubs are a combination of business and community service. Football fans are not merely ‘customers’ (unlike banks – no-ones ‘born’ a supporter of Lloyds TSB..).

          The ‘customer’ nonsense is an invention from the Thatcher/Blair NHS ‘patient is now a customer’ policy. Goodness knows they’ve tried to turn it into a business, but it doesn’t have the same rules.

          Football clubs are probably more akin to public sector industry. Many are run at a loss, some through mismanagement (Ridsdale) and some through choice (Abramovich et al). Take that choice away and football will cease to be what it has always been.

        • @ludlowleeds

          I’d like to believe football was a community service, but I live in the real world. I hate everything being about money, but unfortunately, we live in a capitaist world. Even local teams playing in the Red Triangle League etc. have to watch their money or risk folding.What are you suggesting as an alternative to the way things are at present? Do you want us to spend more money than we have with no guarentee of success, but with the guarentee we’ll have to pay more back and risk the future of our club; again!!!

        • @ludlowleeds

          Football is no longer what it used to be, it hasn’t been for a while, but that’s the way of the world; another thing we can thank Rupert Murdoch for, along with monopolising the media, turning anybody into a celebrity and diluting the moral fibre of our species.Sorry, I digress. I don’t think it is any coincident that atmospheres were better, tickets were cheaper, players tried harder… before the formation of the Premier League, because it was all about football then and those days are sadly never to return.

        • Ludlow Leeds

          Ahh, those rose-tinted spectacles…

          Atmospheres were better because society wasn’t so risk-averse as it is today – loss of terraces, strict policing of chanting, cctv etc etc.

          Risk-aversion as policy is, ironically, the result of the economic and ideological collapse of the capitalist world you despise.

          But you can’t build or achieve anything without risk. Risk, by definition, may ultimately mean failure, but a football club, a business or a bridge won’t get built without it. ‘Living within your means’ is Brownite presbytarianism – it may be true of a domestic family, but a business run on such principles will be unable to expand and quickly be outcompeted.

          And, come on, blaming Murdoch and the bankers is a bit sixth form isn’t it?

        • Ludlow Leeds

          I bet you don’t really hate everything about money.

        • @Ludlow Leeds


          I doubt bridge bulilders would sling up a bridge before having tested it on state of the art computer systems whilst using the highest form of proven engineering. Banks risked a lot of peoples life savings, pensions etc. and even hedged their bets and they still wiped trillions of pounds off the face of this earth. Try your argument with the bankrupt people of Iceland, who with a population of less than half of West Yorkshire ‘were’ richer than the whole of Great Britain before banks risked all their money, and the pensions of Leeds City Council who kept their money in Icelandic banks, away.

          So, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky company is not to blame for football being played on random nights that had nothing to do with the game before? He’s not to blame for the Premiership monopolising the majority of money in the game? Get real!

          When did capitalism die by the way? Thought I might have heard about that one like.

          I’m not going to say anymore as it’s clear you and I are singing off entirely different hymn sheets.

      • Dogg68

        TSS, because your a director of Barnsley so you know what budget they gave the manager I suppose. The % is interesting and we all agree we should be spending a higher %. Plus are Barnsley not in our league so of course you can compare, especially seeing as they did the double over us. Does this not prove we are not getting value for the money we give players.

        • TSS

          @Dogg68 I don’t need to be a director of Barnsley, they publish their accounts like almost every club so all I need to be able to do is read – and I had that nailed at an extremely young age.

  • Mushy

    Same old guff about lack of investement. Bates has repeatedly warned Grayson to cut the playing staff if he wants to bring other players in. Until McCarthy went back to Reading we had 4 goalkeepers and that’s not counting Rachubka who’s out on loan. These players are on thousands a week. Grayson said the other day that he’s got a squad of 18 players. This maybe the ones he picks occasionally, but the other 10 or so are also on the wage bill. Bates has stated that Grayson can only bring new players in if he gets others off the wage bill. You guys don’t seem to understand (or don’t want to) that top class players earn top wages. Where’s the money going to come from. Do you expect Bates to be a sugar daddy? Do you think banks will lend the club money to go in debt in this financial climate? Have you all forgotten the Ridsdale business model? a good coach gets the best out of what’s at his disposal, cue Brian Clough.

    • Chareose


      “wheres the money going to come from?” Well from our top end premiership season ticket prices ofcourse…….

      • Mushy

        @Chareose Hardly. The big bucks come from tv and sponsorship these days.

        • TSS

          @Mushy@Chareose Not true. Not in this league anyway, and especially not with Leeds United – being on TV actually costs us money due to decreased gates.

          The big bucks have and always will come from the gate receipts with Leeds United. Despite all these new facilities built to bring money in and Bates’ concentration on the other 340 days a year, the vast majority of our revenue still comes from gate receipts, as is the case with all Championship clubs – yet somehow we can’t compete with them for players and wages when we top the list of ticket income. Go figure.

        • Irving08


          This does not answer the point – that SG has largely wasted the – admittedly limited – funds at his disposal. Personally, I would be very reluctant to give SG any of my money to spend, for the simple reason that he appears to be a poor judge of a footballer and a muddled thinker to boot. Having watched and supported Leeds for 56 years, it takes more than a frustrating manager, some indifferent performers and a zenophobic Chairman to make me stop going to Elland Road, or giving whoever is playing my wholehearted support.

        • TSS

          @Irving08@Mushy@Chareose Yeah, the likes of Gradel, Somma, Clayton, Kisnorbo (for the most part), Lonergan, McCormack etc. etc. were real let downs. Damn you Grayson, how dare you make the occasional bad signing when you’re spending Uncle Ken’s money! Why can’t you be like erm… all those other managers I’m struggling to think of that never make a bad signing.

          Most of the bad signings have been the ones forced through a lack of actual transfer funds. If we had £7m to spend in the summer do you really think the likes of Paul Rachubka and Michael Brown would have been on our shopping list? I doubt they’d have made a shopping list with a quarter of that budget.

          While ever Grayson is forced to settle for loans and freebies, you’re going to get bad signings I’m afraid – it’s a miracle he’s manager to pull the quality he has in truth.

        • Irving08


          Fair, but only up to a point: (a) of those you list as pluses, only Clayton, Gradel and Lonergan to me make strategic Championship sense (for reasons to do with formations, basic skills like ball control, fitness etc), though we can argue bout this; (b) you omit the ones that he could have signed but didn’t, such as Austin, who is worth all the strikers he’s signed put together; (c) while I don’t have your memory for the ratio of loans, frees and transfers, there are a hell of a lot duds and duplicate duds, players he’s fallen out with, and players who have deteriorated under his management, on our grotesquely swollen books.

    • Two Face

      @Mushy are you a bit simple or have you not been paying attention for the last 6 or 7 years……our squad is thin enough with quality as it is so getting rid firstly wont be easy and secondly will mean that we have to spend money to replace them something your hero will not do. as for the risdale business model, that took us into a lot of debt but never into administration and league 1, perhaps if you were a bit more attentive you would have looked at the bates business model 40m of debt (bates debt which helped him gain control durin admin in case you wrongly try to put that at risdales door) in championship, relegating a team that had reached the playoff final, into adminstration, into league one, failed to reach a CVA so -15 points deducted, 3 years of under investment in league 1. bates a sugar daddy?? hes put zero into this club and he doesnt need to its a club that can generate enough money to finanace a better squad if someone isnt syphoning it all off to finance a property portfolio. time to pay a bit more attention to whats going on

      • Mushy

        @Mushy Well Two Face, I’ll ignore your insults and stick to debating if you don’t mind. I’ve been supporting Leeds since 1966 and I’ve been paying careful attention to what’s been going on down at Elland Road all these years. Bates didn’t create the debt, he inherited it from Ridsdale and co. Bates didn’t organise a fire sale of players to ease the wage burden: “We won’t sell the crown jewels” – remember that? Remember players like Robbie Fowler being farmed off to other clubs and Leeds having to carry on paying part of their wages? Remember the stadium and Thorpe Arch being sold? Remember the gold fish? This was all pre- Bates, so don’t blame him. I’m no fan of the man, I can’t stand the tax-avoiding, loud-mouthed bigot. I’ll be glad when he’s gone. What I don’t want, no matter who’s running the club, is for them to have a go at “Living the dream” again and investing large sums of money in the hope it can be recouped by getting into the Premier League. Once is enough as far as I’m concerned.

      • @Mushy

        Are you on crack?

        • @Mushy

          Sorry, I meant that for the drongo Two Face.

  • saltzby

    I am a season ticket holder and I will be renewing in January for next year. I do think Ken Bates is having a laugh with prices. I do think we should have a balance between bringing new players in and spending on the ground after all we dont want it falling down. But so far the money has gone mostly on the ground. During this transfer window and during the next close season I want evidence that better players are coming in, that we keep our quality players who are already on our books and the club is making progress on the pitch. I want to see a reduction in loan players and I certainly want to see no more poor loan signings. I dont care what excuses Bates gives, for me the proof will be evident on that pitch. For my money I want to see good football Otherwise I will not be renewing my season ticket this time next year I will find something else to do on Saturday And I will never come back.. It really is that simple.

  • Sad Leeds Fan

    It’s quite simple.Nobody but nobody will invest in LUFC because Bates insists in retaining a place on the board.A couple of years ago I was told on good authority that he wanted 40 million AND a place on the boarNo doubt he wants more now e’re in the 2nd division..

    • number1inyorkshire

      @Sad Leeds Fan you are excatly right .i do not know about the small print but only 50% of lufc is up for sale at the mo with bates retaining the other 50% .

      it is him and him alone holding off investors

      • @number1inyorkshire@Sad Leeds Fan

        Where have you seen that 50% of our club is up for sale? I haven’t seen or heard anything remotely stating anything of the sort and I read every article on WAFLL, every day, and nothing gets under their radar.

        • number1inyorkshire

          @Sad Leeds Fan ken bates said it a long time ago that he only bought 50 % when he bought at the beginning ,in real terms the club or any part of it is not really for sale ,but if the club is worth “x” and you put a decent amount of money in you surely would want something in return ,namely a percentage of the club , bates will want to keep control e:g 51% or more that has been pretty much common knowledge that bates as often said including this week he is looking for investors not buyers ,

          if i put 20 million in i would be buying shares as i am sure you would thats really where that comes from its been said many times by the board publicly “investors ” now if you have a spare 10-20 million you want to invest for nothing in return please do ,but i know no one and i bet there is no one who would invest that money with bates sticking round and still in charge so therefore the assumption is that if the club gets an investor who invests for shares the maximum for sale would be 49% so bates could retain control

        • @number1inyorkshire@Sad Leeds Fan

          Any business would welcome any extra investment, that goes without saying, but that doesn’t mean half the club is for sale, and it stands to reason that if you invest something in a product/business etc. you want to see returns. Ken Bates would sell us at the drop of a hat if the money was right; money talks, until then he will look for people to buy shares whilst retaining the majority which is completely logical as a businessman, but as you point out, there can’t be many, if any, who would want to do business with him. So, we are where we are, solvent, but having our patience tested. This is harder to take if your club has had any kind of success, which ours has, as there’s always something there to remind you (That’d make a good song title) of what once was.We’ve been through it all together,And we’ve had our ups and downs.

        • number1inyorkshire

          @Sad Leeds Fan which is what i and others have said already i don’t think ken would sell right now ,not it all maybe when we get to prem (if) so the assumption is that only a share is for sale he only owns 78% anyways so your investment would only get maybe some of his shares

    • truefan

      FFS – I’ll tell you what, I’ll buy the club for £40 million. I’ll then sell all our players, and everything connected to the club. I would actually make money.

      • number1inyorkshire

        @truefan deal !!!welcome MR chairman who will be your manager or are you gonna do that too?????

      • number1inyorkshire

        @truefan what would you sell by the way we own F—all to sell..

        you got to ken with 40 mill he will take off your hand

      • mattbb1

        what like bates is doing now..

  • mattbb1

    the above is genius, i agree with it totally.

    • Chareose


      good article matt

      • mattbb1

        cheers Chareose, i await bates nuisance phonecall.

  • Gryff

    Enjoyed this one. Maybe also worth wondering who owns the facilities we pay ludicrously high rent on?

  • Chareose

    Larry Grayson : “There is different ways of spending the money. It is not necessarily going on permanent deals and spending large transfer fees. If we want to bring in the quality players, and that is from the higher divisions, then they are on big wages. So whether you are getting them on free transfers and paying their wages or on loan deals, where your still paying good wages, we will try and spend the money wisely what we have available. “”

    God help me….. not this rubbish again, more cheap and cheerful loan signings…….Larry got a win under his belt so his singing from Uncle Kens hymm sheet again. Loan signings give you a false position….because once they leave your screwed. A club that basis is strategy on loans is going no where.

    • Mark45


      Couldn’t agree more, we see the same short term, paper over the cracks strategy every transfer window and it never works. Unfortunately for all Leeds fans If Grayson really believes in the statement above he he is as fundamental a part of the broken business model as bates and all his other lackeys. I would love to hear Grayson stand up for the club and supporters and tell the board Leeds need to invest more in the paying squad, he never will though, not while he is manager at least. When you look at the players left contracted to Leeds for 2012/13 you see the scale of the problem, half the players we will have left we wouldn’t want to keep but will struggle to move on, key players like Snodgrass and Clayton with only 1 year left on their contracts more likely to follow Gradel than sign an extended deal. The club may well be only 2 or 3 high quality players away from challenging for a place in the the premiership, unfortunately 2 or 3 quality signings are also a million billion miles away. By the time we get to summer 2012 the problem, broken promises and lame excuses will just get worse and worse and worse

      I have been a season ticket holder (west stand) for 20 seasons, never thought i would say this but I will not be renewing for next season, i refuse to put any more of my hard earned money into bates off shore tax haven.

      The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome:

      Elland Road, home of a dishonest and corrupt board of directors, a weak and ineffective, a football team with a few pearls but mostly full of flotsam and debris and 25,000 loyal yet certified lunatics

  • Si

    TSS my man you are absolutely bang on the money again. I am not sure of your years in age but you are not short of savvy whatever age you may be. when I win 100 million on the lottery next week me and you alone are going to bring this might club back to where it clearly belongs. P.s. bates went to council for a loan to buy the ground from himself !

    • TSS

      The above is actually a guest submission from a regular on here (Matt BB) but I agree, he’s got Bates’ business strategy nailed.

      • mattbb1

        thanks gents, i can bring £5 to the table btw if there is a bid upcoming.

      • BennyLovesMissDiane

        @TSS Good article overall but where the hell do you get a £4 million transfer fee for Lennon ? I think you will find it was £1 million at most because Spurs like a lot of other clubs at the time stripped our carcass bare.

  • Saviourmyarse

    Truefan, Bates the Saviour? Who else would invest? Did you sleep through the KPMG fiasco? He fixed the process and offered less than other parties – FACT! As long as people like you continue to believe the lies and spin he tells, the club will continue to stagnate. In the past few weeks the thing that concerns most about the club is not the poor performances, the unambitious transfer rumours but the apathy of the fans. Yesterday for 20mins we were all stood in resigned silence. Bates is slowly killing the club, wake up before its too late.

  • Firstly, I, like the majority of you, absolutely despise Ken Bates. He is arrogant, a proven crook, a spin doctor and confrontational to the core; all ‘lovely’ qualities in a man.However, Leeds are solvent (positive), which we weren’t for quite a while and which a lot of Premiership (eg. Scum – best part of half a billion in debt, Bolton – £110m in debt and counting…) and Football League clubs are not (and who will go the same way we did, if not worse, when the new wage regulations come in, a lot of them not having our history or fanbase to entice anyone in to save them), have progressed in the league the last few seasons (positive, though maybe not positive enough for some of you), we have a manager who has won 50% and drawn 25% of all matches whilst at our club (positive), on a tight, ‘rational’ budget I might add and all this while the world around us is imploding financially, morally and quite possibly irreversibly.So what does this say and what is my point…It says we are in a good position as a business, are a football team making progress, albeit slower than some of us may like, and most importantly, we have a past, present and ‘future’, which may not have been the case several years back and will not be the case for some clubs, a lot I fear, come the decades end.

  • Firstly, I, like the majority of you, absolutely despise Ken Bates. He is arrogant, a proven crook, a spin doctor and confrontational to the core; all ‘lovely’ qualities in a man.

    However, Leeds are solvent (positive), which we weren’t for quite a while and which a lot of Premiership (eg. Scum – best part of half a billion in debt, Bolton – £110m in debt and counting…) and Football League clubs are not (and who will go the same way we did, if not worse, when the new wage regulations come in, a lot of them not having our history or fanbase to entice anyone in to save them), have progressed in the league the last few seasons (positive, though maybe not positive enough for some of you), we have a manager who has won 50% and drawn 25% of all matches whilst at our club (positive), on a tight, ‘rational’ budget I might add and all this while the world around us is imploding financially, morally and quite possibly irreversibly.

    So what does this say and what is my point… It says we are in a good position as a business, are a football team making progress, albeit slower than some of us may like, and most importantly, we have a past, present and ‘future’, which may not have been the case several years back and will not be the case for some clubs, a lot I fear, come the decades end.

    • My point is this; yes our patience has been tested to breaking point (though the vast majority of the blame has to go to Peter Ridsdale), yes we are now playing football a lot of us aren’t used to seeing or desire to see (top of the premiership at the turn of the millennium to playing Doncaster Rovers), yes we have a chairman who boils our piss, but we are here, we’re getting better slowly but surely, we will still be here for aslong as I care to look forward, we have a manager who loves our club as we do and I, hopefully like you, still love and support my club as much as I ever did, and there is nothing any chairman or investor can do to change that or take that away from me.

      The world’s a grim place at the mo’, you don’t have to make it grimmer all the time, especially within farting distance of a home win that put us back within 9 points of the joint leaders who we still have to play again. And i’m not even a ‘half full’ man, i’m a realist, a pragmatist, a Leeds ‘supporter’ til I die.

      Cheers, Danny Bowden (374 games and counting).

    • BarneyWhite

      we are not in a good position – Bates is in a good financial position but at what cost to LUFC. Following Leeds used to be about passion, belief, hope, aggression, intimidation – even in the 80’s when we were shit. The atmosphere at ER is worse than the Darlington Arena, the football is poor for the most part , attendances are falling and we have to pay sky high prices. I can accept the admission prices if I feel we are progressing but it is not happening – our best players will leave and only one man will be left smiling as we make up the numbers in the Championship. I no longer spend one single penny at the club other the my ticket. I want to renew for next year but cannot abide being associated with anything to do with him – i am torn between supporting the team or supporting bates by buying the ticket. This is not how it should be. Bates OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • BarneyWhite

      we are not in a good position – Bates is in a good financial position but at what cost to LUFC. Following Leeds used to be about passion, belief, hope, aggression, intimidation – even in the 80’s when we were shit. The atmosphere at ER is worse than the Darlington Arena, the football is poor for the most part , attendances are falling and we have to pay sky high prices. I can accept the admission prices if I feel we are progressing but it is not happening – our best players will leave and only one man will be left smiling as we make up the numbers in the Championship. I no longer spend one single penny at the club other the my ticket. I want to renew for next year but cannot abide being associated with anything to do with him – i am torn between supporting the team or supporting bates by buying the ticket. This is not how it should be. Bates OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • kane baker


  • DubaiWhite

    I do not agree that we are in a good financial position or that we have a sound business model, the reason being exactly what is stated in the main articale above – minimal investment in our Core business. We are a football club, our core business is football; if we do not invest in the team to get them to deliver a quality football then our attendance will slowly but surely get lower, as so will our league position. Our average attendance at home is on average 4,000 less than past season, our league position is 7 places below the position we held at this point last season.Our already minimal investments in the team will be even smaller…

    The manager have to confront the chairman with the realities: to get promotion we must invest. Today I think SG send the wrong signals to KB; that we will get promoted with the team we have, consequently the chairman will not fund new investments in the team (rather invest in other areas in preparation for PL)..

    And yes, we might get promoted this year, but without getting new quality players in now our chances are less than 1% and plyoffs less thna 30%,, with the correct investment in players we can at least improve the chances for a play-off to 90%.

    Today I see panic in the team and that we continue loosing games against weaker teams that we can’t afford.

    • @DubaiWhite

      I’d love to know how you worked those percentages out. You’re not fit to lick clean Carol Vorderman’s shoes. I’ve been out on the pop all day and I don’t think I could come up with the random bollocks you’ve just spuffed out. How the frig you live in Dubai when you can’t even talk coherent English is amazing; it never fails to surprise me how well divs seem to get on in life.

  • Mushy

    Doen’t some of the Sky millions trickle down to the lower league’s? Does anyone actually know where the revenue from Leeds United comes from and how it’s spent? Is this information in the public domain? We’re all arguing about finances but do any of us have any facts?

    • Two Face

      @Mushy yes mushy we do have the facts leeds united publish their accounts so its all in the public domain, but as they are moving cash around several companies that are part of lufc it can be a little difficult to see the bigger picture as to where all the moneys going thats why you need to be on the ball and look at what bates is doing closely instead of peddling his propaganda for him

      • @Mushy

        Name these several companies please…

    • @Mushy

      Wages and running costs equate to the best part of 100% percent of our gate receipts, which is why, like any progressive business, we have to diversify; just ask the farmers. Tesco are the prime example of a business that has diversified over the years, and they now take around £2 of every £10 spent in Britain. If we stuck with just being a football club and not adding other businesses to our portfolio, we would be paying less wages than we currently do, and I don’t need to explain to you what that would mean. Ken Bates is a shrewd old fossil, granted he’s a cock, but where business is concerned, he knows how to make Gene Tunney.

      • Chareose


        Danny you still havent explained how Bates business is going to flourish with no fans, a crap team with poor players and a club with no fans going to games ??? Thats where we are heading mate …..Promotion to the prem = 50 million and we have been maybe 3 players short of automatic promotion for 2 years, so whats the logical answer ?? exec boxes, nightclubs ? Or Promotion ?

        • Mushy


          If you substitiute “Prem” for Champions League” then thats the same logic O’ Dreary apllied when he got Ridsdale to invest millions the club didn’t have in players we couldn’t afford.

        • TSS

          @Chareose@Mushy Not true – at least the part about it being successful. The additional boxes haven’t been sold and additional revenue from bars, restaurants and the other 340 days of football does not cover the loss in gate receipts – not even close. Our gate receipts account for more than 60% of our revenue, and they’re falling thanks to a lack of investment and ludicrously high ticket prices (5th highest in the country – higher than Scum!). Again, this is all published in our accounts so no one is making assumptions, it’s fact based – look it up.

        • mattbb1

          @TSS i think this is the point i wasn making a couple of days ago, i think there is value in making a reasoned business statement based on the published accounts, once bates is shown up – in numbers – there really is nowhere to hide in the business community. I think such a report would actually make him sit up and take notice, There is (not wishing to sound patronising) a large group of fans who still see ken bates as the clubs `saviour’ not only did he rig the administration process – which amazingly seems to have been forgotten or escaped the attention of most, but he is clearly making money out of leeds united (not a crime) but rather disingenuously claiming to be running things on a shoestring. O think we would be able to turn his silent majoritys views on its head if we did materially and simply explain things like – Yorkshire Radio are a major receipient of investment out of the clubs accounts, that Professional fees to the likes of Taylors law firm seem to receive over £1m a year in fees… gems like this.. that gates represent £16m out of £22M turnover, so why invest so heavily in anything other than football? i think we do need to do it and in simple terms.

  • mattbb1

    This is porbably where my acumen ends, namely how do you deciphr the accounts that are published – in the public domain? what i can tell you is that a balance sheet can hide a multitude of sins, no salary drawn? what about dividends paid to investors, payments to professionals attached to the business and companies like yorkshire radio (affiliates) the key issue for me is to partner up with someone who can perform that analysis (as boring as it seems) because what needs to be done – and thi is ciritical, is we should all try to start thinking about where the money really is going?

    Leeds might declare a small profit – but the debt column needs forensically stripping back and the issues on it itemised fully. We should be raking it in to put no finer point on it. Our rental payments on ER are comparable to a mortgage, so no moaning there, but of course our icomes from player sales and gate receipts, plus tv cash, sponsorship mean we should be investing more into the business than we do, and then into the right area, in my opinion we could afford the £7m of corporate boxes – they are as speculative an investment as a purchase of a player. guys, an open invite then – lets run through those accounts – compare the ratios say with Southampton? or even Crystal Palace.

  • mattbb1

    sorry about the typing thats what 3 hours sleep will do to you..

  • Steve Varley

    Great article, agree with all of it.

  • Bazil Whelan

    once he shows profit he let us play in clare league

  • Chareose


    you dont need to decipher the accounts, you just need to look at the logic……ok best case scenario is that Ken Bates is not deliberately trying to screw the club over but even if you accept that, his business model is still a complete joke as has been pointed out time again………… your not going to fill new exec boxes, museums, etc if the fans no longer beleive in the football team and stop coming to elland road… have to balance the fact that its both about entertainment / sport and a business rolled into one.

    Personally after 3 years of the OBVIOUS excuses and lies I no longer trust Ken Bates even IF he is genuinely trying to rebuild Leeds. He should have thought about that before pumping out arrogant propaganda for the last few years. If he had not tried to bullshit the leeds fans then he’d be in a far stronger position right now and the pro bates crowd would be winning a lot more votes

  • Geoff

    Sadly Leeds United is worth far less inherently than it is to Ken Bates. We have very few assets, either brick and mortar or in playing staff, and can boast about 20,000 regular home fans, little more than lesser clubs like Derby, Leicester etc. Even Sheff Utd’s best attendance in the Championship bests our best average attendance under Ken Bates by quite a few thousand. But the old lizard still rakes in far more than any other Championship club thanks to his ludicrously sky high prices and the fact that our merchandising and commercial income remains that of a big club, even if the gates do not.

    Bates proved he was a staggeringly incompetent chairman when he needed bailing out at Chelsea on two occasions, but that’s not to say his tenure at Chelea and now Leeds isn’t incredibly lucrative to him personally.

    The more gullible Leeds fans will no doubt take solace in the fact that we’re “financially sound”, but I don’t see many football clubs going to the wall. What he really means is that we’re one of the top 5 most expensive teams to follow (child season tickets are 300% more than the divisional average, for example) and spend far less a percentage of our income on the team than anyone else. Perhaps the next time fans of Derby et al deride us for our lacklustre home support, the Bates apologists can chant back, ‘How much revenue do you raise per occupied seat per game?”, because we all know that’s what football is all about, and I’m sure the good folk of Derby will sit a little more uncomfortably in their £380 per season seats

    • Chareose

      excellent !

  • There are some fantastic, well written comments in the article and subsequent comments however it is all blah blah because we are just talkers!!!! Do any of you think Man Utd or Liverpool would put up with Bates?!?!? No…. they organised and demonstrated to the world through the watching media that they were not happy…what do we do? Yes one set of fans were successful and the other it remains to be seen. We do nothing…. We won’t get Bates to sit up and take notice until we kick him where it hurts….in his pocket….. we need to vote with our feet or scare him that we are going to! Matthew Brown-Bolton, you seem an eloquent intelligent man….if you fancy leading the charge put me down to be on the front-line with you!

    Do nothing together and we are just a bunch of talkers…ironically a bit like Bates!!!

    • mattbb1

      @Buckstone Whites you are right. i think there are 2 things that need to be done though – 1. mobilise opinion, to do this you uncover the truth of the matter and put it simply to a wide audience. To me the most striking fact is the total lack of investment manifested in no players of consequence getting signed. then 2. As per man united begin something approaching a dignified but visible protest – with them the green and yellow scarves, their original colours. WHen matters descend into mob type protests it plays right into bates hands. but he strikes thr gith chord when hje says investors are scared off by we protesting morons, we need to portray ourselves as not only right, but erudite, and organised, then the investors may even take the view that bates is someone that needs to go for the good of the team and its fans. so to go back to point one perhaps we set up a group on here of persons prepared to organise on the web / at the ground leaflet issue / documents detailing the chronic underinvestment & like wise on the web. then you get to step 2 – what do you think? who is up for it?

  • Ok – as I said I am up for it. Let’s gauge support and willingness to organise – then we can formulate a plan and the actions to deliver it! I am sure we all have different skills we can put into the mix!

    Let’s stop talking and start doing – I want our club back!

    • mattbb1

      @Buckstone Whites @TSS do you think this site is the right forum to gauge such support? i have to ask given it is yours!

      • @mattbb1@TSS It is not my site Matt – why do you think that?

        • mattbb1

          @Buckstone Whites@mattbb1@TSS apols TSS though the domain etc was yours? dont tell me its owned by FSF!

        • @mattbb1@TSS Again you’ve lost me – sorry. Who is FSF? I think the confusion is in the replying option – your replies have the prefix TSS also. With regards to this being the best forum, I am not sure? I do feel a strong campaign needs to be put together by a group of like minded individuals – what’s the objective? What does the future look like? How are we going to engage the wider fan base? What are the actions that will get media time? So the first job is getting an “action” group together and then meeting. I am sure with your writing skills we can put a case forward to at least gauge opinion and get a group together. What do you think?

        • mattbb1

          hi yes some confusion, thats what having a 5 week od will do to you!…. happy to discuss offline if you wish – youcan see my real name at the foot of the article so by all means message me on facebook.

          @truefan as a democrat i respect all opinions, but you are coming across as a stooge my friend, if you arent actually a business associate of Ken then perhaps you are him… buckstone white is spot on, our brand is our most valuable asset, look at the wasge Man U generate (even when they fall out of the CL…) just for being Man U.

          Lets get the message, well put, to the right people and get our club back – all those reading welcome to join in.

  • truefan

    So the verdict is that you want to force Bates out of the club, and bring in the numerous investors who can’t wait to plough money into the club. Let’s not forget we’re a MASSIVE club and they will be falling over themselves to take over just like last time when we went bust . If it wasn’t for evil Mr Bates we would be in the champions league now. Strewth, I cannot believe how stupid the fans of my own club are. How about a sensible approach, we reduce ticket prices and fill the ground every week, but in doing so we will have to cut the wage bill (perhaps) to break even. We can all then go and watch our local side and get behind them and hope one day we may get into the premiership, and accept that we will not be competing with a select few sides paying stupid wages to overpaid freeloaders. People keep mentioning Derby, and this appears to be what they are doing, and anyone who went this season can testify what a brilliant atmosphere they create, albeit having put togethor a side on a shoestring. FFS is this not a better scenario.

  • That’s your opinion and of course you are entitled to it – I don’t agree that there are no other parties interested. Having been involved with two potential buyers in the last few years I know it is the under handed agenda Bates is running that is retarding our club. One party offered more in the administration process but the offshore company that was a major creditor (I wonder who owned that? hmmm?) preferred Ken’s substantially lower offer!!! The other was when we were top of Division 1 and Bates decided he only wanted to sell £25 million for 25%! Would you trust Bates with that sort of money (or any for that matter)? That buyer has just purchased a Premier League club!

    With regards to your “Massive” club jibe – if you are to believe Ken does not own the ground or training facility (I do not) – our only assets are the players, the potential players in the academy (and we know Ken values them) and our brand equity! Given branding is my profession I can feel somewhat qualified to tell you that intangible asset is worth more than all the other assets put together (and probably the bricks and mortar we do not own). This equity will multiply in value when, like any brand, the product becomes better. It will expand the fan base both here and abroad, raising more sponsorship revenue etc…. And massive is a relative term………. we are by crowd figures alone still one of the highest valued even in the Championship!! Improve the product and, well, read the previous paragraph.

    My opinion is Leeds will go nowhere with Bates and raising awareness of this will help on so many counts.

  • truefan

    Brilliant – spoken like a true football fan – Lets make the club into a brand – then anybody can support the club worldwide. In fact lets move the club to Dublin, or even better the good old USA. Just imagine how good it would be supporting a global brand. Doesnt matter that we can’t watch them play anymore, we can just watch on television. Fkn branding! – Its not bates I wish would get out of my club, its tools like you.

  • truefan

    Sorry, I should have put loads of meaningless exclamation marks after each sentence beacause one just won’t do. Also I should have added a hmmm for no apparent reason, but to look really clever. Then agaibn I’m not in branding therefore I know nothing.

  • truefan

    Oh I forgot – I should have put more than one exlamation mark after each sentence just to get my point accross. Also, I should have added a hmmm somewhere for no apparent reason but to annoy. Then again, I’m not clever enough to do this because I’m not in branding. Anyway, can’t wait til tonight so I can listen to all the negative chanting on live TV so the whole nation can appreciate what a great support we have.

    • @truefan Oh dear – you must be a big fan of Ken! Like him, you have to resort to insulting comments – someones writing style and spit out personal insults. Your lack of understanding of my comments is obvious and your insults reflect on you not me – unintelligent, unimaginative and uncalled for!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Irving08

    Please no talk of ‘brands’ – we have been down that route. I have a prize collection of unreadable Annual Reports if you need any convincing. And – a collectors’ item this – a small ad in the business columns of the Financial Times circa 2002 selling one Peter – ‘the fantasist’ – Ridsdale to potential investors. ‘We are Leeds’, and we want to do things differently – and we will. One thing about old Ken,I do like, he’s unbrandable !

    • @Irving08 Irving I understand what you are saying but you can’t avoid our brand (reputation) is a most valuable asset – whether you, me or anyone else likes it or not. Because Risdale abused it or not is just another sad chapter in our history but not a reason to ignore it. However we will be attractive to other buyers because of the potential to monetise the potential of our intangible assets.

      Thanks for the comment though – it points out some areas and words to avoid.