I’m sure many of you watched the fascinating documentary on Queen’s Park Rangers last night where a camera crew was given unprecedented access to the behind-the-scenes goings on at QPR as their owners tried to secure a Premier League promotion.

Things started off with the horrible Flavio Briatore as chairman of QPR and the similarities to Ken Bates were hard to miss. He involved himself too much in the team, couldn’t help but stick his nose into every individual matter, often providing unprofessional soundbites for the press and his all round arrogance, highlighted by such quotes as “I saved your club, how dare you boo me?” (sound familiar?) and an inability to accept his way may not be in the best interests of the football club was all too clear to see.

After Briatore had hired and fired a series of managers leaving Rangers in a relegation battle, the fans of QPR started vicious protests against his leadership and Flavio was replaced as Chairman by Amit Bhatia.

To describe the two as polar opposites wouldn’t do their differences justice. Out went a chairman whose old fashioned ways included hurling abuse at players and staff, and in came a man whose calm and controlled manner instantly settled those around him. From walking on eggshells, afraid of a trademark dressing down from the Italian, the QPR players and staff were now given the freedom to express themselves. Concerns and issues were raised and debated sensibly, and the chairman did everything in his power to ensure the people beneath him were happy and felt comfortable at the club.

In short, one led by fear, the other by respect.

The differences were staggering but the result was nonetheless predictable. Bhatia understood rule one of business, that the most important thing is to keep your customers and staff happy. Briatore meanwhile was from the same “my way or the highway” school as Ken Bates, and his reign was doomed to failure from the outset.

Ken Bates could learn a lot from Amit Bhatia. Bates’ view that Leeds United fans have no right to express an opinion is from a bygone era that has no place in the 21st century. Modern consumers simply won’t accept it, and Bhatia knew this.

As Chairman of QPR, Bhatia went to great lengths to listen to and address the concerns of fans. The feeling of unrest and exclusion dissipated, attendances roses and the positive atmosphere resulted in improved performances on the pitch and ultimately, promotion to the English Premier League.

Ken Bates meanwhile refuses to treat fans with the same respect. He doesn’t believe they have any right to express an opinion, and what’s even more worryingly, is that there seems to be a small minority of fans that agree with him and help reinforce this theory.

Successful businesses don’t care whether their customers complaints are accurate or justified, they’ll go to great lengths to resolve them either way. Where I work, we have an entire office full of staff whose sole duty is to respond to customer queries and ensure we keep them happy. Whether that involves an explanation of where we acquire stock, what we spend money on or how we justify prices is largely irrelevant, we’re here to serve the general public and if knowing such information is important to them, then we’ll hand it over without hesitation.

In fact, if we’d reached the stage Ken Bates has at Elland Road, I’m almost certain that our directors would deliver information to you personally, bow-tied and handed over whilst on one knee begging for mercy. All successful companies understand that you answer to your customers, because without them, you don’t exist. It’s clichéd, but the customer is the boss.

The reason for this is simple. Happy customers spend more money and, more importantly, they keep coming back. Failing to understand this results in a similar situation to what we have at Elland Road, whereby thousands of fans stay away every week refusing to give Ken Bates their money and thousands more refuse to spend money on products around the stadium, all because Ken Bates doesn’t treat his customers with the same respect that Amit Bhatia and the company I work for does. Bates’ approach is from a bygone era, it’s commercial suicide nowadays.

The documentary started with the statistic that Premier League teams have an average income of £108m. That’s £81m more than Leeds United’s last reported figures. Is it really so hard for Ken Bates to change his ways with such an incredible amount of money at stake?

  • ChicagoWhite

    Good piece something you should also point out is the track records of Bates/Briatore & Bhatia, Bates & Briatore have left a legacy of destruction behind them while Briatore has been an order of magnitude more successful than Bates he’s pretty much ridiculed & reviled publicly, Bates is in the non league financially with either Briatore or Bhatia. Bhatia I believe is more wealthy & successful than Briatore, Bates isn’t even on the radar. Mr Bhatia if your looking for a new project LUFC awaits what other club with the potential of Leeds exists, the 1st English team to play on all 3 major European finals, the only team outside the PL to have played in a European Champions League final. The last team to win the title purely on merit & not the size of the owners chequebook. A team in the 2nd tier of English football but with a fan base only matched or bettered by scum, cess & arse. Mr Bhatia if you took on LUFC you would be able to get more than a documentary on BBC2 you be getting a Oscar calibre film genre to play with.

  • ChicagoWhite

    Good piece something you should also point out is the track records of Bates/Briatore & Bhatia, Bates & Briatore have left a legacy of destruction behind them while Briatore has been an order of magnitude more successful than Bates he’s pretty much ridiculed & reviled publicly, Bates is in the non league financially with either Briatore or Bhatia. Bhatia I believe is more wealthy & successful than Briatore, Bates isn’t even on the radar. Mr Bhatia if your looking for a new project LUFC awaits what other club with the potential of Leeds exists, the 1st English team to play on all 3 major European finals, the only team outside the PL to have played in a European Champions League semi final. The last team to win the title purely on merit & not the size of the owners chequebook. A team in the 2nd tier of English football but with a fan base only matched or bettered by scum, cess & arse. Mr Bhatia if you took on LUFC you would be able to get more than a documentary on BBC2 you be getting a Oscar calibre film genre to play with.

  • TG_QPR

    An excellent post my friend, very interesting read.
     I am a QPR fan and as you saw last night, the crap we had to put up with under Briatore and Eccles cake was appauling!!!
    You say that this is exactly how Bates is at Leeds, I am not surprised really as I remember him when he was at Chelsea. His answer then to his football clubs hooligans was to fit an electric fence around the pitch where his own supporters watched from!!!! The man is a total plank in my view, I have a few friends that are Leeds fans, including my brother in law, and you should not have to endure this from what should be an intelligent human being. My only hope for you lads is, that you also get a “Amit Bhatia” to take up the running of your famous club and show Bates the way forward, you never know, Bates may leave like our very own “Tango and Cash” did (Briatore and Eccles cake).
    I hope for your sakes that you manage to get rid of this maniac that owns your club. Good luck in the future and hopefully we will be playing you soon in thePrem!!
    You R’sssssssssssss

  • wyla

    That same wonderful board went on to rather stupidly and totally unfairly sack the best manager qpr have ever had and replace him with someone lacking the experience of said managers toe nail clippings. Their loss, our gain, long live Warnock!!!

    • TSS

       @wyla Wasn’t actually the same board. Amit Bhatia’s family own 33% of QPR, and he was Chairman when they got promotion. The other shareholders sold up after that and the new guy replaced Amit as Chairman, (he became vice chairman). He so strongly disagreed with some of the decisions they were making – which included their stance on Warnock and a 40% ticket price increase – he stepped down from the board. 

    • wyla

       @TSS
       Fair enuff and I stand corrected but i have to say I came away from that program thinking that despite getting where they wanted to get, they still got a bunch off utterly pompous twats running the show, just like us ha ha!! Tottaly agree with your point about happy punters and staff but sadly starting to think that the majority of football chair people are very much removed from the reality of what our clubs really mean to us, probably because of their privelaged backgrounds. 

  • mikelufcbastardbatesout

    “All successful companies understand that you answer to your customers, because without them, you don’t exist. It’s clichéd, but the customer is the boss.”
     
    That’s true under normal circumstances but ours are not at all normal.
    There are thousands and thousands of Leeds fans who will take any amount of shit from the chairman and his cronies whilst paying top dollar for everything because they have paid for their season ticket so I must go (such as yourself)
    or will not miss matches to presurise bastard bates and bastard board
    or have to support “the lads”.
    Bates knows this and has us all by the balls because of it.
    The fans are incapable of helping themselves so we are stuck with the situation, so why keep harping on about a situation you yourself along with those thousands refuse to do anything about it?

    • TSS

       @mikelufcbastardbatesout There are indeed thousands that will, but there are also thousands that won’t. This ongoing nonsense is costing the club money. If they had the kind of respect for their customers as the likes of Norwich City and Amit did at QPR do, attendances wouldn’t have dropped so low. 

      • Chareose

         @TSS
         agree and therein lies the frustration……….. with a new owner (even if he wasnt wealth) that would be prepared to run the club for the clubs sake rather than a private fund for other property developments i think wed do ten times better, more fans going to games, more players willing to join leeds united.
         
        also the clock is ticking, the longer leeds stay in the lower leagues the more we will be seen as a small club and so our pulling power will be reduced for both senior players and talented youth players……..
         
        leeds need a chairman who understand that all of leeds united success has come via good youth development , all the great eras had youth players coming through that were talented and managers who built on them rather than just sell them and start from scratch.

  • number1inyorkshire

    i,ve never heard any ex players slagging off bates either at chelsea .leeds etc other than killkenny who thought he should have come down to see him when he came back with Bristol ..managers who have been sacked maybe but not players ..
    i bet to be fair Bates loves and you can tell by his programme notes and when you speak to him personally that he feels he is a mans, man F ing and blinding is his style ,tap room humour and bullish comments like a chap who has had a few in the bar .take him out of our football club PLEASE and put aside all his other business stuff on a neutral basis i bet bates in a bar would be good company for an hour or so .
    i do not think Bates really interferes at the club and takes on any managerial tasks .like going into the dressing room he will say his piece .i would if i owned the club although his programme notes on player stuff are a  little harsh at times and he was as guilty as Grayson on o’brien ….
     he is not the best chairman but he is  not the worst the fact he lives out of the country hepls his cause and warnocks

    • mikelufcbastardbatesout

       @number1inyorkshire 
       
      Have you been drinking numero uno?
      Or is it a new prescription for the “condition”?

      • number1inyorkshire

         @mikelufcbastardbatesout i thought someone would say that but if you read it all i do say take him out of our club please and i will bet he doesn’t do the dressing room etc ..
        i bet he could be a laugh if you wasn’t a football fan etc or had any personal  dealings with him he would be a good laugh in them circumstances

        • Chareose

           @number1inyorkshire
           id agree with the having a beer but thats it, for me Bates is one of the worst chairman theres ever been, hes almost openly ripping the fans off,  he insults the fans, insults his own players, puts un-necessary preassure on the team and manager, insults everyone he can think of and if you assume he is trying to do his best for Leeds united and not just Ken Bates then hes a complete and utter idiot for the decisions hes made……
           
          As for article above, other people have pointed out that actually getting to the Premiership doesnt actually mean Ken would be able to pocket more money than he would running us on a shoe string in the Championship. Hed potentially have to invest significant amounts of the clubs income (shock horror) into the team and that could be seen as a bit of a headache for Ken……….

    • TSS

       @number1inyorkshire You’ve never heard ex-players slag Bates off? Under which rock have you been living? Killa didn’t pull any punches and there’s been plenty of others over the years. 
      But most would never be daft enough. Would you slag your boss off publicly? 

      • number1inyorkshire

         @TSS i mentioned killa but they have axes to grind the rest killa got himself plenty of stick on various sites including here ..
        why wouldnt you slag him off once you have left if you thought he deserved it. he is not the 1st chairman to slag his players off  i dont know of any players that have slagged him off either past or present if you could furnish me with names i would be interested  to read the comments for a laugh .ex managers don’t count

  • Oxford White

    Change of subject (sorry) but I read Killa may move from Sunderland to Sheffield Utd, at 28 I’d have him in O’Dears place in a heartbeat…

    • number1inyorkshire

      me too !!!!

      • mattbb1

         @number1inyorkshire wait for the summer, warnock signed him for the blades – i fully expect him back at ER, and O’Dea on his way back to Glasgow.

  • mattbb1

    so to those who label those of us with opinions – whingers, moaners and the like here is a shining example of how to do things properly, it would cost so little and mean so much for Bates to say he regrets how badly he and certain sections of support are getting on, and that he wants to build bridges – the upside? more money – come on Ken even you wouldnt turn down that?

    • @mattbb1 I think the best label for people that want bates out is uneducated sheep!

  • Pure Laughable I predicted that you would try and use this documentary to serve purpose for your agenda and I wasn’t wrong. I only wish you could have the basic amount of substance to your conjecture, your post are so biased that they just aren’t worth reading anymore. I keep coming back to this site with the hope that you might have a shred of evidence and substance to back up your statements, it’s a shame that you keep disappointing me by publishing more conjecture, it’s also a shame that the minority that supports LUST are also puppets for TSS, #boring