The Case for a new man at the helm by Matthew Brown-Bolton

To an interested bystander it would seem that Ken Bates is doing all he can to take the Leeds out of Leeds United.

West London ticket prices, corporate boxes, and a systematic removal of anything `yorkist’ from the side. Local hero Jonny Howson flogged on the cheap to Norwich, with ne’er an attempt to convince him we could get promoted, and LUST members speaking of an `increasing alienation’ from the club itself.

Just where Kenneth Bates thinks he’ll replace the money of 20,000 fans in his latest turnover model is anyone’s guess..

We’ve heard it all before though haven’t we? Many of us understand, and many more disagree with the broken business model Ken Bates is employing. He’s lost focus on recruiting the right personnel to get us promotion, and vanity projects abound, none of which seem to involve actually buying the ground or Thorp Arch, and none of which seem to be making a serious impact on the credit column of our accounts.

Ken Bates’ most recent programme notes show him to be out of touch as ever `we want to build a club – not a team.’ Just Wow…. We have a club already Ken – Leeds United AFC, with a stadium (rented albeit) and enough fans to fill Wembley twice over, all over the world. We could go on and on… and so will Ken by the looks of it.

LUST have gone quiet again since their somewhat anodyne statement of the bleeding obvious last week, and while I am most likely playing into Bates’ hands – I expected more. I expected them to be seeking actively a high net worth individual, and actively promoting our sale and profile. We may not be for sale, but bring 10-20 investors to bang on his door with proof of funds and he may take note?

So in lieu of these facts and that Ken, refreshed from terrorising the wildlife of the veldt (pith helmet and elephant gun I imagine) seems like hes going nowhere. And to that end the answer is yes we do need a new man.

I’ve supported Grayson on this site many times, and think his failure was down to a lousy amount of investment. So we outspent Barnsley on wages? Well I’d hope so, our turnover is almost 5 times that of Barnsley, did we outspend them on fees?… probably not. As has been pointed out £12M of wages represents under 50% of turnover, well below what UFA are calling for in terms of a prudent spending (70%) but again these points are moot, we all know that the Gradel, Delph, Howson & Schmeicel fees represent a lost opportunity, ditto the money `frittered’ away on losing Johnson and Beckford for nothing.

So while Kens going nowhere, we need a different type of manager, a great man manager able to get the best out of some very ordinary players. Someone who is prepared to accept a generally low salary, and be prepared to take public criticism from his boss. Someone with skin as thick as the Pachyderms Ken’s just been pursuing across the dark continent…

Because we all know it as gospel, there’ll be jacksh*t available to him now the windows closed, unless he wants to reshuffle some of the loans, or sign some clapped out, out of contractee – (a la Forrsell)

The timing of the sacking was cynical, but if we are to get promoted it was clear that Simon Grayson was just like the rest of us mere mortals, he needed support to do his job, and the tools required, that’s why we need this new man at the helm. Was Grayson a bad manager? Certainly he seemed on occasion to be unwilling to change things around – the game against Birmingham a case in point – your left backs getting a roasting – so either sub him or give him extra support – he did nothing? He made his share of duff signings (Neill Collins, Billy Paynter, Fede Bessone, Paul Rachubka) but on paper they didnt seem too bad, and they probably aren’t – signings just dont always work out.

No, Grayson needed to go because he expected non-existent support, not statistics about salaries being trotted out to disprove what is glaringly obvious, that we are dressed up for dinner, sat at the top table – but have been given £5 by dad to pay for the meal. He didnt get that support.

Ken Bates is looking for someone who will work without a safety net, who has that thick skin, and a bloody minded determination, probably not unlike Ken to succeed despite the conditions against him. Step forward Neil Warnock, perhaps Ken realises his number is up if we dont get promoted?

Guest submission by Matthew Brown-Bolton