For this Mangle I’ve been set a challenge by TSS’s good editor: to fulfil his own dream of writing a piece highlighting Ken Bates’ blatant narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in a not overly-academic manner – something he’s apparently failed to achieve, not for want of trying. With the mental health references in my last piece proving so popular, I couldn’t resist.

In some ways, this reminds me of when I considered, then sensibly decided not to, do a piece comparing our relationship with Ken to that of long-term spousal abuse, only this time without the better line of logic winning the day. Hey, these are the dark times we’re living in.

Frankly though, you don’t really need my brand of full-length waffle to draw the required parallels when Wikipedia makes it all immediately far more clear than I ever could. There you have it: our Chairman as Narcissus – he’s basically just like you and me.


You read correctly. Fantasies? Check. Attention-seeking? Check. Unrealistic goals? Check. Exaggerated sense of achievements and importance? Check. Appearing tough-minded? Secret feelings of hurt and rejection? Single-minded obsession? Check, check, check. Leeds, Leeds, Leeds.

Yes, the condition that is NPD is basically the condition of ‘being Leeds’, and with Ken also being heartily afflicted, this clearly makes Ken about as Leeds as it comes.

There’s no wonder we’re not compatible (notwithstanding the fact that the narcissistic personality has trouble forming relationships with anyone at all), we share symptoms that were born to push angrily away from each other unto an acrimonious breaking point.

We can point out the cultural incompatibilities, roll out the cockney and Chelsea Scum lines as much as we want, but we’re masking it; the truth that when we look in the mirror we can almost see the white stubble peeking out of facial follicles if we squint hard enough. It’d be awfully like one afflicted with NPD to mask their true understanding of what’s in front of them, wouldn’t it now?

It would be fair to point out that it seems that Ken probably has far more severe NPD than us – in fact displaying signs of all five subtypes as defined by Theodore Millon (crap, this is getting a bit academic now…) – particularly the Elitist, Unprincipled and, ahem, Amorous brands.

As for us, well the Leeds-born folk, we have an excuse for this psychological disaster zone – we were thrust into it by geographical proximity – we are in the thrall of Leeds much in the way that impressionable youngsters get sucked into Bible Belt cults.

As far as our famed and loyal ‘out of towners’ are concerned, what’s your excuse? Nothing that some rigorous Freudian analysis wouldn’t unearth, presumably. A lack of maternal hugs as a toddler, perhaps, or maybe simply a Leeds exile father inflicting his damage on the next generation.

Whatever the cause, Wikipedia makes abundantly clear that “traits are compounded by a failure of the interpersonal environment.” Damn right. Surrounded by fellow sufferers prancing and preening around us, there’s less than no hope of being dragged kicking and screaming out of affliction via our brethren. Or is there?

It’s not untreatable; we can stop hiding our true likeness from each other, all join hands with Ken and march on together for an intensive course of Schema Therapy, something that would almost certainly be administered by a sympathetic non-Leeds. If there is in fact no such thing, then it should be someone with no interest in the game at all.

The specific course of therapy targets those “self-defeating life patterns of perception, emotion, and physical sensation” that define the LUFC experiences of both fan and owner. When we’ve developed those new coping styles and are finally fulfilling our basic emotional needs, we can move onward with true positivity – not just the ephemeral kind generated by a grizzled, wise old warhorse taking the wheel of our beloved club/ cause of all afflictions.

We are angry children, us and Ken – but we can heal together. Well, maybe. It can’t be denied that the narcissistic personality’s natural tendency to pour scorn upon and ultimately reject any form of treatment does suggest otherwise…Ah, screw it: COLIN W**KER’S (GENUINELY) BARMY ARMY – repeat.