The Leeds United Supporters Trust tonight held a meeting on their ongoing Campaign For Change protests, focusing on this weekend’s march ahead of the Brighton game (starting in Leeds City Square @ 13:15)

LUST On Investment Statement

  • It was made clear at the start of the meeting that investment discussion would be kept to a minimum this time round, however, the Supporters Trust confirmed that they have received responses from potential investors, including local people and potential consortia.
  • There are groups from overseas willing to help create an investment prospectus, outlining the huge potential of the club. The Trust are happy to work with these groups and individuals to collate information that can be used to attract potential investors.
  • Trust members feel Ken Bates’ claim that “there is no alternative” is nonsense, but the only way to prove that is if someone with the relevant wealth admits publicly his desire to either invest in, or purchase Leeds United.
  • One of the parties interested in Leeds United during 2007 administration are still interested. LUST will be pursuing this interest.

Campaign For Change March

  • West Yorkshire Police slightly concerned about potential for trouble ahead of this weekends march but are supportive of peaceful protest.
  • The Supporters Trust are keen to stress the importance of a peaceful protest.
  • LUST have tasked an “independent legal observer” to look out for potential trouble makers and ascertain whether these are Trust members or random members of the public looking for trouble.
  • March will end at the East Stand. Supporters asked to refrain from heading around to the other stands.
  • Strictly no alcohol on the march by order of the West Yorkshire Police. This will be confiscated.
  • Protest considered an important momentum building exercise. Aim is to raise awareness of disillusioned fans. There will be press in attendance.

Moving Forwards

  • Media coverage (Sky Sports, The Times, BBC, YEP) so far considered successful. Going forward, getting the supporters message out to the media is considered key. LUST confident media interest will continue to grow.
  • No need to lie about or “spin” information. Putting out the facts to counter Bates’ claims is more important.
  • LUST hoping to announce high-profile political backing in the “very near future”. Also hoping to announce celebrity backing.

Other Points Of Interest

  • LUST have heard from Elland Road staff that the club has been inundated with season ticket refund requests (on renewals) following the sacking of Simon Grayson. There is a “cooling off” period where supporters are entitled to a refund.
  • Trust membership approaching 3,000. Now the 9th biggest Supporters Group in the country.
  • Nigel Martyn (honorary LUST chairman) is “as passionate” about Leeds United and the Campaign For Change as LUST’s Chairman.
  • LUST enquired about advertising at Elland Road (such as player sponsorship). A meeting was set-up with Leeds United, but the advertising representative for the club failed to show.

Click here to visit the Leeds United Supporters Trust website for further information on the Campaign For Change. 

  • GilFisher

    The trust should probably retain professional M&A advisors if they are going to entertain discussions with investors about consortiums, etc. Looking over the Board, I’m not seeing a lot of relevant experience.

    • Jailhouse John

      @GilFisher

      I’m not sure they need to to go the expense to ‘retain’ M & A experts. If you look carefully there are all sorts of experienced people amongst our fan base.

  • TimPM

    LUST has been a breath of fresh air. They started slowly, but they have sounded measured, intelligent and constructive. Here’s hoping they deliver!

  • Tim Campbell

    Its definitely time to call bates hand – one way or another he and his lap dogs must be removed

  • yorkwhite1

    The great news is Bates can no longer dismiss this protest as a minority. 85% say he is to blame for the clubs current situation. It’s time to go. MOT

    • TSS

      @yorkwhite1 This is the YEP poll, right? More interesting was that only 2% blamed Grayson. The other 13% caught somewhere in between.

      • yorkwhite1

        @TSS

        I agree.

      • number1inyorkshire

        @TSS @yorkwhite1 Grayson played the game by picking that young squad against Brum add that to his post match stuff with Eddie Grey ,he resigned by being sacked ..

  • TSS

    It’s a direct response to Bates’ “show me the money” nonsense we’ll hear every time anyone campaigns against his leadership.

    If LUST can prove credible investors exist, then Bates can no longer fall back on this lie. They don’t even need anyone to invest, they just need someone to admit publicly that they’ve tried to invest or would be willing to do so. If said person says they’ve fallen down at the due diligence hurdle because Bates won’t offer transparency to them, that works as well. You don’t get investment without transparency – credible businessmen don’t work that way.

    • GilFisher

      @TSS I personally believe Bates that nobody has presented an offer that values the club as a Premier League club. I think they’d be waiting until that day to put the offer forward and Bates would be wise to wait until that day to accept. Why settle for less?

      • TSS

        @GilFisher Will that day happen though with key players continuously sold and replaced with freebies, has-beens and loanees? I sincerely doubt it. I suspect that policy stems from the falling attendances – Bates’ business plan is losing him money, something has to give.

        If Bates can’t get us to the Prem – and let’s face it, we only have a slim chance even if we make the play-offs – then where do we go from there? Sit around while attendances continue to fall, the next generation of fans decide to support Man City instead and any remotely good player is sold because the club can’t afford to maintain itself with the pathetically low attendances Bates has created?

        I understand some fans feel we should wait because he might sell if we get promoted but we’ve been waiting for 7 years and things have got progressively worse. Besides, I don’t think he’ll sell in the Prem – Bates has never been in football for the money, he just enjoys the attention it brings. He sold Chelsea solely because of financial problems.

  • Tyler75

    I understand the LUST position on trying not to personalise the issues and make it all about Bates – but it really is and I can’t conceive of a solution to the transformation of LUFC with Bates (and Harvey) involved in the club in any way.

    • TSS

      @Tyler75 I agree, but let’s say he agrees to sell 50% to someone. At least he only half owns our club at that stage. Baby steps I guess…

  • Armoured Farmer

    I wish you the very best of luck on Saturday. I hope everyone’s dreams & wishes come true and we can return our MASSIVE Club back to the Glory Days’ BATES OUT! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! AF

  • TSS

    They don’t believe they can broker it. They’re not setting themselves out that way, they simply want someone to reveal their interest publicly to counter Bates’ claims. If someone comes forward they’d still be dealing with Bates, LUST just want to try and attract investors and reveal publicly they exist. It’s all about breaking down the lies. If you don’t win the PR battle against Ken, you don’t beat him.

    “A bunch of amateur football supporters” – do you know the backgrounds of these people? If not, I’d suggest that statement was playing to an out-dated stereotype of a working class, poorly educated football fan. Football fans come from all walks of life and their combined skills are what can make any kind of organised, democratic protest successful.

    Regardless, LUST are going down the transparency route. That hasn’t been overlooked, that’s why they’ve been contacting MP’s.

  • DrD

    Not sure what will be achieved. I only want 3 points on Saturday. But city square it is!

  • TSS

    Villa are definitely a worrying example of what could happen if we don’t find some way to oust Bates.

    The situation was different at both clubs however. There are incredibly strong suspicions of wrongdoing by Bates at Elland Road so we can use political pressure and try to oust him that way. How long would he stick around if he was fearful of his veil of secrecy being lifted? I doubt it’d be long.

    There are ways and means to oust Bates. Protests and disproving lies is all about winning the PR battle and highlighting the problem. If we can keep this in the press, then politicians will act and things will start to unravel.

  • TSS

    Isn’t that the same hymn Leeds fans have invariably been singing for 7 years? “We could potentially do well, protests unsettle the team”

    I respect your decision, but protests raise the necessary press attention and after 7 years sitting idly by and hoping things will turn out OK isn’t an option for me. This is a repeating pattern I’m afraid.

  • TSS

    That viable business is one where we currently have to sell players to post profits (accounts prove that). 65-70% of our revenue comes from ticket sales and attendances are falling quite dramatically – our average this season is lower than at any point in L1. If the trend continues then I think Colin is right, Bates’ hand will be forced. It’s either that, or he sells more key players and the unrest grows. Either way, Bates is on thin ice at the moment in my opinion.

    • TSS

      He’ll still have Tom Lees and Adam Clayton to sell the following season and there’ll be more youngsters/freebies come good after that no doubt. We clearly have issues though, he didn’t always sell our best players, Jermaine Beckford is a prime example of that. OK, so there was Fab Delph but that was understandable.

      The East Stand development was clearly the turning point – work on that started and we became a selling club. We’ve long suspected foul play but things were ticking over and we were making progress in spite of Bates. That’s not the case any more, his off-field dodginess is having a huge effect on the short-term future of this club, instead of just the long-term damage many were happy to ignore previously.

  • mattbb1

    i hte to say this, but i really think bates has run out of money, his ridiculouos east stand folly has left us unable to turn down basically any cash bids, to improve contracts for players, or to get in replacements, in my humble opinion I genuinely believe we are again at risk of administration, hence the cheap manager, cheap squad, and barrowload full of lies from Bates – we desperately need this investment, and if I can help LUST at all please let me know.

    • SniffersCupFinalHeader

      Financial Armageddon over the horizon then. I know there has been a lot of theorising, but it is clear, come hell or high water, Bates has continued to take his dividend out of the club on an annual basis. As already stated, we have dwindling season ticket revenue, aswell as a gradual reduction in pay on the day supporters. This means inevitably, that Bates has to sell players to maintain the turnover, to enable him to take his cut. Having asset stripped the squad, Bates will be forced to sell the club, as retaining it will start to cost him money and hell will freeze over before that happens. Looking at whats left to sell, we may just be able to see the light at the end of this dismal tunnel.

  • TimPM

    No, any protest must not inevitably do.

    How settled do you think Robert Snodgrass is feeling? He’s lost his most talented teammates and it looks like more – inlcuding him – will be gone if we don’t find cash that Bates insists we can’t afford to put into the wage-bill.

    How settled do you think Jonny Howson felt? He looked and sounded absolutely gutted to have left Leeds, and Ben Parker – when put on the spot by Peter Lorimer in front of aggrieved fans – admitted his contract offer was utterly derisory and that he never wanted to leave the club.

    How settled do you think the team really is? We the fans are not unsettling them. Backroom disputes and Bates’ inability/unwillingness to offer them acceptable contracts has left the team unsettled.

    If you honestly believe the fans are the ones having a negative effect on the team I just don’t know what to say to you. I hope you’re a WUM, because with your constant nay-saying about anything designed to give anything but 100% support to Bates you certainly seem like one.

    • number1inyorkshire

      @TimPM Roberts snodgrass left a club to come to the riches of English football i bet he never thought for long about leaving livingston was it ??.

      Us the fans thinking that the players are thinking about past team mates is pretty much sentimental rubbish ,they know its a transient job pretty much because most of them have arrived from somewhere else ,some more than once ..

      Snodgrass and others might think with this player gone ,it diminishes my chance of getting to the riches of the prem league not because of leeds but because of the money ..

      And of we do not he will be gone thats the game

      • TimPM

        @number1inyorkshire @TimPM Yeah but the difference is that Leeds had the potential to match his ambitions and progress with him. If you think people aren’t going to opt to stick with colleagues they know over a completely different setup with different people…

  • Daveylufc

    @Irving08

    What you got to realise is that ken bates is a cancer on this once mighty club. You can prey for a miracle that things will work out well for us under his stewardship or you can face the facts that we are on a steady decline to nothingness. Bates is raping the club of all it’s assets and will no doubt leave it in a worse state than when he took control having made millions in the process and lost a whole generation of young potential Leeds fans for the future.

    I prefer to nip this sort of disease in the bud now rather than bury my head in the sand. If everyone unites in getting this gangster out of our club we can look forward to a bright future once more. He relies on the division in the fans to carry on. My advice is go on the match on Saturday

  • TimPM

    I agree to an extent. But he’s been selling assets. Max Gradel, Fab Delph, Jonny Howson. I’ve not seen that money obviously reinvested…

    @mattbb1 has a point I reckon.

    • mattbb1

      where did the money come from to buy leeds? did ken get a loan via investors? does most of our revenue just go back to them? i have to admit if i was 80 years old i wouldnt be risking my own money. the more i think about it the worse it gets. It may smack of scurrilous gossip but if what bates says is true about the banks not lending to him – still, well then i have to say i think hes run out of money as well as ideas. Just my opinion of course, but this says to me that we need inward investment very quickly and our current owner out.

  • TSS

    Yes they would. No successful businessman invests in anything without extreme due diligence carried out first – I’ve seen it first hand, the process is unbelievably thorough. You’d be shocked by what these people consider relevant details, it’s an incredibly tedious process. Do you think the links of Richard Branson got to where they are by investing in businesses they didn’t fully understand? Trust me, they didn’t.

    There has been people attempt to negotiate investment/buy-outs of Leeds United, I know this for a fact, and Bates has said as much on Yorkshire Radio. But irrespective of who these people are, Bates won’t allow them to do their due diligence and that means they won’t risk investing. He expects them to do it in good faith when he wouldn’t be willing to do so himself – no one would. Then of course he spins this to the press as they had no proof of funds – yes they did. But we need these people to come out in public and reveal themselves, only then will this lie be put to rest.

    Your opinions of LUST are what they are, and that’s fair enough. Only way you can change that is by getting involved yourself. But let’s not pretend there are good faith investors out there that have made millions by ignoring due diligence.

  • TSS

    You mean the Dutch state owned bank? Of course due diligence was done – quite easily too I suspect considering their records will have been public. Investors don’t have that luxury with Leeds, they only get necessary access if it’s provided for them. While ever Ken Bates refuses that it makes things look even more suspicious, further deterring investors.

    You honestly think the Arabs don’t do due diligence? Of course they do. Let’s look at other immensely wealthy people – Branson, he does. Eccelstone, he did. Briatore, he did. Paul Allen, he does. We could go on forever. As for Ambarovich, Chelsea approached him – the financial records were provided, he knew exactly what he was buying.

    Investment still continues to come in from all areas, by people of varying wealth in spite of the recession. Football is recession proof, it always has been. Revenues continue to rise so people are as willing as they’ve always been to invest in football clubs.

  • number1inyorkshire

    surely the best way for LUST and would be investors to move forward is to find the 4/5 other shareholders?? at leeds and try buy there shares its an in ,that way Bates will not have his own way all the time ..

    Lust seem to be moving forward but there is still the massive stumbling block of the pig headed Bates ..

    • number1inyorkshire

      just thought i would add i do not think there is a likely hood of a financial meltdown at Leeds .ok season tickets are down with gate receipts ,but it seems sound the only scenario i could envisage if Bates gets pissed and does something stupid to piss us the fans off..

  • NorthEastLoiner

    You’re missing the point,we need to get rid of him and the only way is pressure both financially which might impact in the short term on the club and also public opinion. Bates is a megalomaniac and craves power and if he feels he’s losing it he may look for a way out. That’s the hope anyway.

  • TimPM

    @NorthEastLoiner

    LUST is doing 2.3.4.5 and 6.

    I’ve only heard one or two people backing this “never spend a penny, that’ll show old Kenny”. The march is not a boycot, it’s a peaceful protest to raise media awareness.

    Completely seperate from that is the probability that Bates is struggling financially.

  • TimPM

    Mistook you for Irving08, apologies!

  • number1inyorkshire

    where is the brighton post ??? everyone else is commenting on the match already cmon tss

  • Chareose

    @TimPM

    Tim I think you will find that “THOUSANDS” have supported the “Never spend a penny policy”, thats where there are so few fans going to elland road……….

    I agree with Oldschools post though and I like Lusts approach but one of the reasons its hving an effect is BECAUSE so many fans HAVE stopped spending money. You need preassure from all angles to succeed

  • Chareose

    goodbye to Delph then…….just as i thought……he regains fitness and a semblence of form and villa want him back