Ken Bates was probably expecting an instant end to any kind of protests when he fired Simon Grayson last week. Generally speaking, the efforts of Leeds United fans to oust the unpopular chairman have been pitiful, quickly ended by any shred of hope offered up by a forthcoming transfer window and promises of “transfer warchests” or the signing of some random loan star the Whites faithful quickly decide will plug the gap. Or indeed, a new manager.

If you haven’t yet realised the last seven years have followed a repeated cycle, allow me to point it out for you;

  1. Growing unrest leads to calls for action.
  2. Dissident uprising leads to fan protests
  3. Excuses come thick and fast from the board, the chairman and manager. A rallying cry is issued by players.
  4. Protests dwindle as fans cling to some tenuous shred of hope offered by the club (forthcoming transfers being the main one).
  5. Fans split as the clubs excuses are accepted, some fans decide this is having a negative effect on our promotion hopes/ability to attract players/investment etc…
  6. Instead of fighting Ken Bates, the fans become distracted and start to fight each other.
  7. Uprising successfully quashed, the pattern repeats.

It’s become so predictable and tiring that any efforts made to remove Ken Bates are instantly dismissed by those that want him out the most. The level of cynicism aimed at LUST could quite possibly be the start of this whole cycle repeating once more. Whether the argument is that “LUST don’t have the cash to change things” or “what took them so long?” or “they’re using the uprising to boost their own profile” the fans are already starting to question each others motives, which in turn, draws attention away from the big picture.

The most ridiculous thing is, the fans moaning about an organisation trying to get Ken Bates out of Leeds United generally want Ken Bates out of Leeds United!

And what seems to have been missed by everyone is that Ken Bates manufactures these little divides every time. He’s played us all off against each for the last seven years. With one five minute rant on Yorkshire Radio or a couple of paragraphs in the programme notes, Ken Bates has done more damage to dissident uprisings than Colonel Gaddafi could have managed with the United States nuclear arsenal at his finger tips.

It takes only the slightest suggestion, whether that be that protests are having a negative effect on team performance, or that certain investors have been scared off by our thuggish antics, Ken Bates successfully creates an “us and them” divide every time. It generally goes along the lines of;

“This dissident minority are not real Leeds United fans. They’re just morons more interested in causing trouble than they are in Leeds United. Their childish antics only harm Leeds United Football Club, it upsets the team, effects performance and deters would-be investors.”

"Dissidents" protest against Bates, August 2011

Hurting the team’s performance? Scaring off would-be investors? Harming Leeds United? I didn’t mean to do that Mr Bates. I am a real Leeds United fan, honest! I just wanted to see my club successful. I just wanted to get a return on the thousands of pounds I pay to follow them each year. I didn’t realise that the failures of this football club were my fault? I can only apologise for letting these morons suck me in. I’ll give them a piece of my mind for you…

And with that, the cycle repeats.

It repeats because the above would be enough to scare most fans off. None of us want to hurt Leeds United after all. But just to undermine the efforts of those stubborn few that remain and ensure the divide is strong enough to distract us all, Ken Bates always finishes off with “I don’t see the dissidents/morons/sick-pots/LUST stumping up the cash to buy Leeds United”. And he’s right – sort of. He’s ignoring the fact that all these dissenting fans cough up thousands each year to fund the club but y’know… minor details…

This time however, Ken Bates’ own predictability may come back to haunt him. Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and that’s exactly what Leeds United fans have been doing for the last seven years. It’s the pattern I outlined above. If you want a different outcome, you have to change the variables.

Having predicted stages 1-3, the Leeds United Supporters Trust sat patiently waiting for an opportunity to alter the formula. Instead of allowing stage 4 to successfully quash any campaign for change, LUST responded in kind to Ken Bates’ standard, probably pre-recorded “show me the money” rebuttal. Firstly, they asked Ken for some specifics – what kind of investment he wants (full takeover, 10%, 25%, 50%?), and what kind of valuation he has on the club. Not an unreasonable question since he’s asked LUST to show him the money.

The Supporters Trust then go one step further asking interested parties to contact them first. This way, Ken Bates can’t simply deny the existence of credible investors and write them all off as chancers and conmen – their own credibility can be assessed by the wider fanbase and media. Not ideal, but I’m sure they’d be more comfortable with that than Ken Bates referring to them as “Sheikh Rub-A-Dub”.

LUST’s plan is simple, yet incredibly brave because there’s a good chance it’ll fail, and if it does, their reputation will be damaged leaving them back at square one. They have plenty to lose as well having already made great strides in the PR war, providing an alternative voice for the major news networks to air. They’ve also seen membership numbers soar, making them one of the largest supporters trusts in the country.

Everything hinges on whether a credible investor is forthcoming. If one does come forward, then great – the possibility of an alternative has been proven. If no investor is forthcoming then we’re back at square one and Ken Bates will be gloating for the foreseeable future. But either way, we’ve altered the variables, broken the cycle and tried something new. That’s progress no matter what happens and I for one applaud LUST for their efforts.

  • darrenc

    lets hope it works.. if its true that mr Lowy the Aussie billionaire wanted to invest in 2010 y hasnt he been contacted yet? come on guys get this snowball rolling.. BATES OUT.. WE R LEEDS.

    • Ozwhite

      @darrenc I doubt Frank Lowy would invest, he’s pumped alot of money into getting the a-league (the Australian professional league) off the ground and the league is still anything but solvent, and aside from all that Lowys not an idiot, he’s not stupid enough to get into business with Bates

      • darrenc

        @Ozwhite he obviously has the money to buy bates out which would suit all involved.. 1. he has money to improve the squad, buy back TA and ER
        2. we get rid of the leech
        3. bates gets what hes always wanted out of our club more £

        • Ozwhite

          @darrenc I’m not disputing his financial clout god I’d love Lowy to take over he’s done more for the australian game than he will ever be recognized for he’s a genuine football fan, I just think he has his interests tied up in other ventures at the moment, and I doubt he’d invest with bates, cuz if bates was looking to sell he’d not be asset stripping the squad

      • TSS

        @Ozwhite@darrenc I don’t think that matters, it’s the way that Ken Bates reacted to a credible investor. Would you give him money after slagging you off in the press?

        • If you think when Bates’y dies it’s going to be different, think again.

          The king is dead long live the king………………He has family who will step forward and screw us all further into the ground. The only answer is, don’t keep filing his pockets with cash, stay away from games at Elland Road.

  • Getrealpeople

    OK so I am seriously interested in investing in Leeds United even an out right bid.

    Should I first consult with a fans group and risk pissing off the one man I have to deal with to have a chance of carrying out my wishes?

    I think not! Sad but true, investors must go to Bates first.

    The fact is an investor with money will never in a million years deal with bates except to buy him out and send him packing like Abramovich.

    The only chance fans have got is to squeeze the old bastard financially which will mean he will retaliate, it’s a war in everything but name and he is up for it and the fans are not, hence he calls them morons.

    • number1inyorkshire

      @Getrealpeople that is exactly right , could tell LUST i have 20 million quid who are they to know i haven’t ..no one is going to show them there financial stuff ,bank details etc .

      the proper way is through lawyers ,who will want guarantees .so will Bates so will the investor ,thats just so you can have a look at the books ,cooking in the Bates kitchen

      .then you realise you get nowt for your £ xxx ,taxi for investor !!..

      • number1inyorkshire

        @Getrealpeople sorry “I” is missing and “their” not there ,whoops!!

        • Chareose

          @number1inyorkshire @Getrealpeople

          I agree it is a war but like TSS has stated our unity and actions as fans is just pathetic, we are all over the place. For many fans it will be a few more years of misery before they catch up with the rest of us and join the bandwagon..

    • TimPM

      @Getrealpeople Considering Ken Bates has consistently fought off any and all investors, only a true fool would go direct to Ken Bates.

      LUST is a powerful weapon for a would-be investor. If the would-be investor didn’t understand that, I’d wonder how they made their money…

      • number1inyorkshire

        @TimPM @Getrealpeople sadly then TIM you will get nowhere ,Bates will not deal with LUST ,who are LUST trying to kid ,its great to have the march which i will be in sat ,but they are not and no investor who is serious will be taking up their offer .a serious go between for Bates and an investor not ever ..

        .

        I like LUST and their objectives but i feel they are over doing their part

        • TimPM

          @number1inyorkshire @Getrealpeople They are extremely powerful because they show every time Bates gets rid of an investor. And if the investor was willing, LUST could show that this person was not a “sheikh rub-a-dub”

        • TSS

          @number1inyorkshire @TimPM@Getrealpeople You’d rather we stuck to the same repetitive cycle that’s failed several times already?

          Supporters Clubs have already secured investment for clubs, it’s a proven tactic.

        • number1inyorkshire

          @TSS @TimPM @Getrealpeople Though none of them involved KEN BATES .

          Ken Bates will laugh in the face of LUST ,he owns 78% ,look i have no better answer i will be honest but Bates has often in his programme notes dismissed all outside supporters clubs etc ,he set up his own to do just that ..

          we keep going round in circles with this to be honest ..

      • number1inyorkshire

        @TimPM @Getrealpeople just to say Bates has not fought off any investor as such ,he wants one though not a buyer ,when he asks them to show the means to invest they run .

        either that or they realise what they get ,a rent book and 28 players they run .

        if Bates said i want a buyer they would be queueing round to the white rose centre ..

        • mattbb1

          @number1inyorkshire @TimPM @Getrealpeople Ken Bates may well be the owner, but there is nothing wrong at all with a bidder engaging first with a fans group – it will gain you credibility as a bidder, traction, and momentum with the core client base of that business, it happens all the time in business. Bates is no fool, he may well see this as his final challenge, but a large brown paper envelope (about the size of a challenger tank) would make him think twice about hanging around. Where it comes from may not concern him too much. I have to admit the likes of portsmouth should give us all cause for concern, how many white knights rode to their rescue so I hope for our sake LUST have a decent vetting process and the right skillset to apply it, that is where their creibility may fall down. Due diligence.

  • number1inyorkshire

    Firstly i joined LUST and paid for that ,not the free £5 was paid by pay pal ..

    Ken Bates will take your investment money all day long as many millions as you have to offer ,it will be like Christmas and birthday together for him ..

    However right now he will not sell unless you offer him £50+ million cash in hand to walk away ,said it soooo many times LUFC is not up for sale right now .

    If I ,LUST or anyone else including Ken Bates thinks some one is gonna wander round shoving millions of quids into Bates and his dirty little mitts for nothing ,,i say nothing in return we are mad ,it will not happen now, next week next year or ever .

    investment is one thing and what Bates wants selling is another ..

  • Chareose

    I Completely agree,

    I don’t blame those fans who have renewed season tickets but my blood starts to boil when I see the same fans posting on forums and blogs about how we need to support the team etc………. These people are MUGS, they are just prolonging the problems at Leeds united and it will be a slow death rather than a short sharp oporation to remove the cancer……… We will be moaning like this for years to come and as TSS rightly says, there will be sporadic moments of hope but the true pattern is established. we are selling club, with no ambition.

    Infact when the likes of Irving and Woody spend their hard earned cash at Elland Road they are in reality handing over cash for nothing…………Its almost like me walking out and just handing some stranger in the street a couple of thousand pounds and telling them it’s a gift………..

  • TimPM

    So, shouldn’t one of the points we’re making be that “he’s getting on a bit, old Ken, and if you invest now you stand to suck up the rest in the vaccuum when he inevitably gives Leeds up in a few years”

    When we keep painting it as dealing with a monster, nodboy will invest. So surely we should emphasise the fact that whoever holds (for sake of argument) 25% stands in the perfect place to take over the club at a later date? It’s not as if we’re going to rake up debt with unwise spending on players in the mean-time!

  • TSS, does LUST have some sort of investment prospectus? If they do, can you send it my way at dave_richardson@me.com. Thanks…and thanks for all the editorial. You do a great job.

    • TSS

      @SuperLeedsUtd I suspect not, considering how shadowy Ken Bates’ reign as LUFC chairman is. Ken seems to think people just hand over money without the need for any transparency. That said, I’d contact LUST for further details by emailing: chairman@lufctrust.org

      • @TSS Thanks. I’m not talking about Shady Bates. LUST needs to be able to detail why LUFC is such a good investment. I’m here in the US and have a few contacts in the money world. They’re not going to buy on my passion for my hometown alone. I’ll ping LUST and let you know what I get.

  • number1inyorkshire

    to be taken seriously LUST need to first of all cancell saturdays protest ,then make themselves public, the faces behind LUST that is and arrange a meeting with Bates ,he said is willing to talk to people let them try ..

    if he accepts find out what he wants and agree with him that can they try to attract investment .

    serious people have stopped running round the country since the tolpuddle martyrs like un organised banshees ,Engage him in a professional manner be professional in your objectives and see what happens

  • lufc_chat

    LUST bottled it last night when they declared they are “not anti-Ken Bates”.

    Sorry but some of us are anti-Ken Bates, and battle lines have been drawn, and that includes boycotting Bates PLC.

    Ok so boycotting games outight is never going to get mass support, but being selective about what games we attend will hurt him in his back pocket.

    Likewise, when we do go to games we simply must boycott the extra costs of programmes, beer, food etc. that is simple to do, buy The Square Ball instead (a much better read), drink before and after games, and eat outside the ground if you must.

    • TSS

      @lufc_chat I’m not anti-Ken Bates. I don’t like him, but then I’ve never liked any of our chairman all that much. If Ken Bates pledges £10m in transfer funds tomorrow, I’m not going to tell him to f**k off because of some petty grudge. I’m Leeds – all I want is for the man running the show to believe in this clubs capabilities as much as I do, and to match that with adequate investment. That could be Ken Bates, Adolf Hitler or Mother Theresa, I honestly couldn’t care less either way.

      • lufc_chat

        I agree about not caring who owns Leeds, just so long as they invest and back the club., well within reason, but Bates is odious and has a track record of hating the ordinary football fan.

        I firmly believe that Bates wants to destroy Leeds, remember his 1984 comments, whilst at the same time he is quite content to make money out of us. Hence he plays with us like the cat with the mouse, or in this case the cockroach with the “morons”, eating off the decaying corpse of Leeds United Football Club.

        7 years of lies is a little too long to put up with.

        I too would not tell him to fuck off if he chose to invest £10m in transfer funds tomorrow, but I’d hope he as doing it to add value to his asset so he can go all the way and sell us.

  • IanLeeds

    I’ve just been to the LUST website and registered. May I suggest that every Leeds fan whether season ticket holders or mere FANS register too. It is a slim chance but at least a UNITED call to action is better than the usual half hearted demonstrations of dissatisfaction that is easily dismissed by our Dictator… sorry Director. Although on a smaller scale than Ghandi in India, Egypt, Libya or any other country that needs to rid themselves of a regime they no longer trust nor want. They have to join together and act as one. LUST might not be everyone’s idea of perfect but at least it’s Leeds fans taking a positive stance and they should be supported by the supporters. We spout ‘Marching on together’ but when it really counts we really don’t do we? I say back them, or go to the meetings if you don’t agree with them. But don’t sit on you hands and do nothing. At least LUST are showing us the way!

  • NIWhite

    LUST havent got any money??

    Perhaps that why they called for anyone who was interested in buying the club to get in touch with them first