The Wages Saga: A Must Read TimPM March 6, 2012 Leeds United 53 Comments Last Thursday The Scratching Shed responded to Ken Bates’ Wednesday radio address, acknowledging new evidence on the wages saga. For those who haven’t shown an interest, here’s the saga summarised: On November 10th, we posted an article called ‘Simon Grayson a Bargain at £56,320 Per Point’. The article used TransferMarkt‘s best guesses on transfer fees to show that, according to TransferMarkt‘s figures, Simon Grayson was far and away the best value manager based on transfer fees paid – almost half of second placed Kenny Jackett. As a post-script, responding to feedback from commenters, the article then included a table from The Swiss Ramble of wages spent in 2009-10. This showed that in our League One promotion season Leeds spent far more than several Championship clubs including Watford and Swansea. It also showed Leeds spent a lower percentage of their income than any other club in the Championship that year. On January 21st, we posted an article called ‘The £11.5m Leeds United Warchest’. This article reported disclosures in Leeds’ programme notes from our Chairman Ken Bates. He said that Grayson’s ‘player budget’ for this season was initially £9.5m, and had risen to £11.5m as Bates had bent the budget to support the manager. Using 2009-10’s figures from The Swiss Ramble, we highlighted that Leeds United would have been only 19th in the table in terms of wage spending two years ago. We also mentioned that Leeds’ 2009-10 figures (placing them 14th) were incredibly vague – including not only the players, but the managers, physios, and Board and transfer ‘pot’. On March 1st, last Thursday, we posted an article called ‘The Wages Saga (Continued…)’. This acknowledged Blackpool’s published accounts that showed a combined wage and transfer budget in their Premiership Season of £15.6m and would not suggest Leeds’ £12.5m budget (risen yet again) for the season was overly poor. Yet more evidence has come out, again to do with Blackpool’s wages. It seems Ken Bates has shot himself in the foot. While Blackpool did indeed only spend £15.6m in their Premier League season, and even sold Adam for £7m, the Daily Mail has analysed the accounts and have pointed out a scandal: Blackpool’s financial accounts for that 2010-11 campaign, filed in the past 48 hours and relating to their first season in the top flight for 39 years, reveal that one of Blackpool’s six directors was paid a staggering £11 million in remuneration for the season that ended with the club’s relegation back to the Championship. And the unnamed director, paid through his company, Zabaxe, was the chairman’s father, Blackpool’s multi-millionaire majority shareholder, Owen Oyston. […] That remuneration smashes every pay record for a non-player in English football and puts Blackpool’s majority shareholder among the global game’s highest earners for a single season, whether it is players, managers or club executives. The wage that Blackpool’s majority share-holder “earnt” is, in fact, more than highly-rated manager Ian Holloway, star player Charlie Adam and the rest of the squad’s combined! So it would seem that to excuse what seems to be very low expenditure on the playing side of the club, through the Blackpool’s accounts is odd at best. Fans will be forgiven for linking the scenario at Blackpool: with the sale of star player Charlie Adam for £7m to the reported interest from Cardiff in signing integral club captain Robert Snodgrass for £8m, as well as the sale of Max Gradel and Kasper Schmeichel, and the refusal to pay for the renewal of the contracts of Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson, and Neil Kilkenny. Indeed, Ken Bates has shown himself far from trustworthy, with the news eventually surfacing that despite assuring Leeds fans all summer that Max Gradel was going nowhere, the Ivorian international was in fact told he could leave at the start of the summer. Given his quoting of Blackpool as justification for Leeds’ low investment in the club, you have to question whether Ken Bates thinks this is the ideal way to run a club? TimPM Probably worth noting I reckon Warnock’s doing a good job, and if he’s backed I believe we can get relegation with a bit of luck next season. But when Bates tells us all Blackpool’s wage bill was £12m, when as a businessman he’ll know full well that they don’t include the ‘transfer pot’ in that when Leeds do, and to tell us because Blackpool spent this level that Leeds are doing the right thing is worrying when it turns out Blackpool had another £11m that it could have reinvested. I still think £12.5m we’re spending is a decent top-6ish budget, but I’m not going to let him brazenly lie to fans in terms of finances. mr bates last penny @TimPM we could get relagation with abit of luck? TimPM haha. Promotion* Now there’s a Freudian slip for David to diagnose… mikelufc Whats Relagation? TimPM Tisk. Grammar-Nazi Chareose Tim…….chill I know you meant to say relegation you cynical git…….. stop nicking my lines, im supposed to the suicidal fan around here ! TSS @Chareose If anyone is committing suicide, can’t we start with this Bates apologist that posts 20 different replies under various different names. I fail to believe there’s more than one of them. tommyt21 @TimPM £12.5 million would not rate in the top 8 of Championship Clubs, if it is to be believed, which i personally don’t. How has the wagebill jumped by £2.5 – £3 million when we have lost more players since the summer than we have signed. It simply doesnt add up. As for the size of our squad, only 5 teams in the division have used fewer players this season. Another lie from our Chairman who stated we had one of the biggest squads in the division ! Wish we had a smaller squad with more quality, but that is another issue. TimPM @tommyt21 Bates said it was initially £9mil or £9.5m. Can’t remember off the top of my head. we got in a few, like Vayrynen and Forssell late on, and Gradel will have been on L1 wages when he left. Then we got in Delph who will have been very expensive at a guess, and Townsend who needs a decent wage for soap with his forehead using up a bar per wash, and Smith who’s very hot property! I know what you mean, I wouldn’t just trust Bates’ word for things, but I’m not sure why he’d lie when he’s about to give in the accounts which numerous fans will look at? mattbb1 so we’re saying here that there is a potential parallel insofar as blackpools chief shareholder creamed off £11m that could have been spent on the squad? I’m not sure how that damns bates though, this is surely justr an example of another championship chairman short changing the fans? and even in doing so still spending more than we did! TimPM @mattbb1 No, there’s a potential parallel in both teams being willing to offload their best players, and the money not being obviously reinvested in the team. number1inyorkshire @mattbb1 Blackpool will have been as surprised as anyone to get in premier league not only that ,they would have thought they were only going to stay there a season .. Many teams going up only really invest when they are sure they are going to be there a second season it would be suicide to buy loads of players and go back down with premier league wages . I also remember Blackpool fighting hard to keep charlie adam and they did .. when they came down he was sold because he wanted prem football and when liverpool come calling chances are you will want to go there . Bates’s parallel isn’t that leeds spent as much as Blackpool it is that they only spent as much as LEEDS when they had more money .. Oyston will have loaned them money when the could afford to repay him they did i bet interest free .. if we get up and are going to come back down the players we have that have made an impact will stay in the premier league thats the same with all the teams coming down they have to loose wages .brum lost 18 players ken bates Schmeichel refused to sign a contract after falling out with the goalkeeping coaching staff then grayson. Kilkenny had many spats with grayson and put his house up for sale 13 months before the end of his contract and bought a place in bristol. Johnson fell out with grayson after grayson had an training ground fistycuffs with his mate lee trundle. Gradel fell out with grayson over his refusal to not go on international duty when ask by grayson. Howson said he would only sign if we were in the prem next season, under grayson we had no chance so they sold him, which since he has only played 25 mins on sat seems a good call. Snodgrass has an agreement put in place by grayson not to discuss contract extension until the end of next season, there is an agreement that he wouldn’t put a transfer request in last january if we allow him to go at the end of this season if we don’t go up. TimPM @ken bates Johnson fell out with grayson after grayson had an training ground fistycuffs with his mate lee trundle. That was the best yet! If that’s the case, I’m sure one of the old legends who seem particularly close to Ken could accidently let it slip somewhere like OTR where there’s no cameras but plenty of fans to retell the story. It hasn’t happened. I wonder why? Bradley Johnson effectively said Bates engineered a disagreement because he didn’t turn up to an appointment Bates made without consulting him which clashed with picking his parents up from a station. He never mentions Grayson. Kilkenny shows every time he’s at Leeds that he’s sore at Bates. He’s never mentioned Grayson. Gradel & Schmeichel are a tad more believable, but the benefit of the doubt is lost with those other bizarre stories… mattbb1 despite being labelled a paranoic yesterday youd have to admit the number of notes received that seem to be almost 100% pro bates to these types of posts is becoming a little tiresome isnt it? what a load of tosh @ ken Bates number1inyorkshire @mattbb1 watch out if you don’t agree we know what happens.but oyston taking 11m from blackpool has nothing to do with us at leeds TimPM @number1inyorkshire @mattbb1 Yes it does. People are too quick to label pro-Bates posters as lackeys or whatever. But it is noticeable over past few weeks we’ve gone from reasoned argument for him to people spouting nonsense. Chareose @TimPM @number1inyorkshire @mattbb1 That is the sort of rubbish that Ken Bates would come out with but the gary cooper postings the other day were faked number1inyorkshire @ken bates i think it was robbo who was mates with trundle best man at his wedding number1inyorkshire what has blackpool got to do with us ???? i thought owen oysten the estate agent tycoon was dead .and his wife was chairman whilst he was in prison for rape and then subsequently after his sad demise number1inyorkshire no he is defo still alive ,good lad if he took 11 m out it might be the inspiration to get Bates to take us there in the 1st place . this has nowt to do with bates or leeds SO WHAT IS MY RESPONSE TimPM @number1inyorkshire Well yet again someone throwing this at me. KEN BATES has been using Blackpool to justify Leeds’ wage expenditure. Look, he’s talking about Blackpool, so it’s a natural thing to talk about. HE is the one who drew parallels. number1inyorkshire @TimPM he did but his argument is true, BLACKPOOL with all the premier league money only spent a little more than leeds . that means that even some premier league teams are spending less than .leeds or the same .the 11 m that oyston took out has nothing to do with it which seems to be the must read bit .. i think what Bates likes to say is that greedy players are being reeled in that in my mind is why he refuses to spend more than he thinks they are worth .. footballers are greedy and i agree with him though the fact is they are on big wages means he has to pay them if he wants his team to compete .. i do not like Bates i make my feelings clear on any post that is anti Bates but sometimes there is no post really .. number1inyorkshire @TimPM sorry forgot to say ,not justify compare ,his comparison is valid in my view ..he was trying to say they had loads of premier league dosh but they only spent the same as us number1inyorkshire @TimPM he will no doubt use others when they publish if they spend around the same as leeds TSS @number1inyorkshire Wake up Number 1. Bates uses this stuff, so we’re only responding to him directly. More to the point, if we were complaining about Leeds’ wage budget without comparing it to other teams in the league, I’m sure you’d complain about that too. number1inyorkshire @TSS i am fully a wake we spent the same as blackpool or a bit less but they were in the premier league is Bates argument .. well thats is still true ,thats the same story they spent x leeds spent a lesser x than blackpool . it should be the blackpool fans that should be mad or are we suggesting that when the papers anylize the leeds published accounts they will find bates has had 11 million too .. oyston will say that he loaned money to blackpool now he took it back when they could afford to repay him instead of in 5 years when the parachute payments stopped he would have bankrupted them , so that has nothing to do with wages for the players so why has ken shot himself in the foot Blackpool only spent a little more than leeds, is still the fact but clearly they had more to spend if they could give oyston 11 mill back .. this an argument for when leeds publish there accounts to see how much is paid by leeds if its less than bates says then he will have bullet holes in his hush puppies . but right now kenneth has stated the truth At least we have moved away from Barnsley AdamLUFC95 Paul Robinson on loan then, lets hope his hands are as good as they were when he left! leeds lad leeds Paul Robinson is our 68th loan player since 2004 :O AdamLUFC95 @leeds lad leeds interesting fact there ;oooo Chareose I would like to see detailed accounting statements from Leeds united…………if i see that we spent 8 million pounds on bog roll then its time to start asking questions about where its all going and whose ass its wiping (hes says in a bore sort of whimsical way) number1inyorkshire @Chareose 8 million on bog roll .its been spent on shit obviously !!!! kirkbyman At it again TSS! Whipping up the frenzy and sowing the seeds of discontent.I’m not sure what your ultimate aims are but suspect that you wish to bring about rhe downfall of the current regime irrespectful of the consequenses. Your leader article puts forward numerous “facts” from sources which I presume you consider to be reliable and persuasive but which I consider to be nothing more than conjecture and speculation..So far as I am aware none of your sources have had the opportunity to carry out a thorough and extensive audit of LU’s accounts and can therefore be dimissed as pure guesswork..I could carry my reasoning m,uch further but, in the interests of brevity, I will limit myself to just a couple of straightforward questions.I am not against change if it is for the better of the club and would like to think that you share those same sentiments.So please tell me this.You are striving to bring about the downfall of the Bates regime,What therefore do you intend to replace it with? I’m not asking what you would wish for but simply what you can viably offer in it’s place.Don’t give me rumours of mysterious un-named wealthy godfathers;give me specific names and bona fides.Show me the colour of the money.If you can do this then I might well join your campaign TSS @kirkbyman I didn’t write the above, but figures are based on accounts of other clubs and what Ken Bates has revealed. How much more accurate would you like it to be? We don’t need an audit of Leeds United’s accounts when Ken Bates tells us our player budget was £9.5m and it rose to £11.5m, before later declaring it to be £12.5m. Why don’t you read this stuff before commenting and making yourself look like an idiot? THIS WAS WHAT KEN BATES TOLD US – how much more reliable would you like than from the horse’s mouth? The rest is based on published accounts. If that’s “guesswork” then I don’t know where that leaves us all. Defending Ken Bates is one thing, but when you’re defending him because we’ve used figures he’s reported as fact, I don’t know where that leaves us. Defending the indefensible… Gary Cooper @TSS The figures are based on “best guesses” need I say any more! TimPM @kirkbyman Appreciate you engaging us instead of trolling like a few others have. First: it is important to appreciate that at the bottom of each post is an author tag that shows who’s written it. I wrote the above, but David has written a few that I quoted and numerous other people write different articles. Second: It has never been my primary objective to help people trying to unseat Ken Bates, my aims were simply to see the club managed properly. I’m not a businessman or manager, but some of the facts the Board gave us (sometimes involuntarily like the yearly published accounts in compliance with FA and FL rules) worried me as a fan of the club and I have pointed these out. If I have the wrong end of the stick I expect someone to make me look silly, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, the more facts and figures we get the more my initial worries seem to me to be vindicated. But that’s my own view and I never claim to talk for others or to know better than others – though of course I will believe what I write and will argue it’s side. Initially, I was sceptical of one or two of David’s conclusions with transfers. TransferMarkt uses the media to record transfers and so isn’t that reliable – e.g. Andy O’Brien is down as “?” and was undisclosed, and I’d probably be willing to bet figures based on TM should be at least £300k higher for that season and probably more, while Adam Clayton is down as E400k, which would make no sense as it Man City and LUFC are unlikely to do a deal in Euros and it would equate to an odd sum to agree to.. But Swiss Ramble’s entire article is an in-depth look at Derby’s club accounts. An interesting read given they were one of those who “did a Blackpool” before Blackpool and came straight back down. The figures are very vague and necessarily so. Leeds include many more expenses on their “wages” than some other clubs and thus compare favourably on that table to a few. Based on those figures, we looked to be investing very nicely in League One and congratulations to Ken for doing that and pulling us out of that horrendous league. If he were the blackgaurd some paint him he’d have left us down there. But the stats didn’t compare well with the figures our Chairman used this season. In fact, he said we’ve spent £20mil on facilities since he took over. It’s not as if I (and the other fans who argue the same as me) am asking for unreasonable things. We had an average League attendence of 27k last season, up from 23k the season before when we gained promotion from League One. That should’ve brought in at an educated guess based on a bit of maths, £1.25mil compared to our League One season, and would be further boosted by higher TV revenue and probable increased merchandise and matchday spending by fans with higher attendences and less glory-hunters abandoning their allegiance. So you would expect at least equal spending to our 09-10 season. Yet this season our wage expenditure does not seem greater. Possibly we’re being unfair. If Leeds were spending on what we couldn’t afford and managed promotion, and at the same time finances in football were going through a significant rough patch then it’d make sense. But then we have that curve-ball of £20mil on facilities with £7mil this season. So I hope from that you see where we’re coming from? That pushes a lot of people to wanting Bates out. Personally I think he’s got more or less the right idea in many respects, but we have to push ahead and although fans like me are acting like harridans, it’s better that for me than keeping quiet and letting the Board just think “oh we’ll knock a mil off here and put it into more development/refurb” especially when we don’t own the stadium… TimPM @kirkbyman A P.S: after some fans were criticising the coaching of players and the standard of the backroom (and certainly it seems there’s been an immediate improvement under NW and his team) if I remember right, Bates appointed Chris Sulley to the Academy, and they’ve been doing pretty nicely since. So I’m being a nag firmly in the belief that we have a chairman who will listen to our concerns, not to try to whip up a frenzy and oust him. Chareose @TimPM @kirkbyman good response Tim but I dont think we have a chairman who will listen to our concerns or even cares (THATS the problem) To Kirkby The apathy in fans works against demanding changed….. now we possibly have a very good manager and some freshness injected into the club so the fans (QUITE UNDERSTANDABLY) and me included have slackened off trying to push for change, but change needs to happen. Supporting Neil warnock in the summer with transfers and trying to be honest with fans and fan groups (without the arrogance )will go along way to repairing the damage but its now or never. If Warnock leaves in the summer and things carry on as they have for the past few years with the lies and manipulation then expect twice as much protesting and boycotting of leeds united next season……. the rot is there now and needs dramatic change to get the trust of the fans back again. The posts on this blog are needed to remind fans what the issues are….and as a site its doing a great job of fighting the CLUBS cause rather then Ken Bates own personal business interests…… The WhiteLizard @kirkbyman It’s impossible for us as outsiders to propose anyone, as you are well aware. We do not have an accurate set of financials to show to an investor & no-one is going to come forward without those. The onus is on the current ownership to be more transparent. Since they clearly have no intention of doing that, the only alternative is to get rid of them & see what falls out. If the administration process in 2006 had been open & honest, Bates would not now be in control. As you will remember, he used one of his shell companies to veto a better bid. The only ay we will have better ownership is in the absence of Bates, whatever that brings. kirkbyman TSS Like so many others you evade the latter (and most important) part of my post.Surely you, in your wisdom,.can answer the vital question which I posed and.which I now repeat If by some miracle,you dispose of KB what do you propose to replace him with? Not a difficult question really.If,as I suspect, you have no answer then own up and stop throwing up smoke screens TimPM @kirkbyman It’s hardly smokescreens. He didn’t write this; he didn’t write the last anti-Bates article; he didn’t write the one before that. It’s been about a month since he’s written anything that could be vaguely construed as going anti-Bates. straw men and attacking, leaps to mind. Gary Cooper @kirkbyman I guess your still waiting for your answer you see TSS has no substance or plans in any of there posts, they base there opinions on someone else’s “best guesses” what a complete joke Irving08 Football economists have proved that wages levels, not transfer fees, are the best guide to managerial effectiveness. They have also shown that most managers achieve more or less what the wages bill would lead one to expect. A handful of managers apparently ‘over-achieve’ and may do so for two reasons: (a) they are fortunate to have on their books a number of low paid, very good young players; (b) they have the capability to add value to their players/team. Analysis shows that very few managers add any value at all to their sides. Leeds were fortunate in 2009-11 in having the potential to benefit from the second of the above factors. Regrettably that potential was not fully realised due to having a manager who was no more than average. The team almost failed to get promoted in one year and then declined, rather alarmingly, in the second half of the following season. Preliminary analysis inddicates that the same manager ‘under-achieved’ before he was dismissed by a hesitant Chairman in January 2012. number1inyorkshire welcome back irving how was russia and the overthrowing of the old regime you could have spent your time in leeds overlooking that Irving08 Spasibo Number One. The analogies are indeed striking. Fuller analysis later. number1inyorkshire paul rachubkas debut for orient has gone the shape of the pear 4—0 at half time …he must be a nervous wreck Gary Cooper When a site basis it’s arguments on someone else’s best GUESSES! it confirms that this site has no substance or evidence to any of it’s articles or statements, how ridiculous are you guys here please at least don’t provide the majority of fans who laugh at LUST campaign reasons to laugh harder! That is all I will comment on because it’s pointless even discussing this with people who are so deluded and quite happy to spread conjecture without a shred foundation or evidence! Well KB is safe if the sheep follow the blind (TSS & LUST) Gary Cooper P.S Bates talking about Blackpool was wages that is the only parallel at the end of parallel here ends his analysis and comments but this site see’s fit to try serve it’s agenda by twisting his comments yet again! TimPM @Gary Cooper It’s extremely pertinent. Bates directly compares Leeds’ expenditure to Blackpool’s. Why was Blackpool’s expenditure so high/low? It turns out, because the owners spent £11mil elsewhere. That is very important to the comparison. TimPM @Gary Cooper To highlight that, Blackpool is okay for comparing to Leeds with 14mil wage expenditure exclusing directors’ fees on TSW for 2010/11. But they’re rock bottom of Premierleague spenders. That same season, the second lowest spender is WBA on £37m for the year. That’s a massive gulf. Of course, if Blackpool’s owners hadn’t awarded themselves an £11m bonus they’d’ve been able to spend £25m and would have been somewhat competitive. TimPM @Gary Cooper If you’re talking about Swiss Ramble I believed they’re based on the self-published budgets that clubs have to do in line with FL/FA rules. They’re not guesses. Gary Cooper @TimPM The Swiss Ramble is based on voluntary contributions from players! It is then made up of an educated guess for the whole squad team wage budget, it is not fact and would you provide how much you earned in wages to someone who ask you to voluntary provide information. There is no commitment from the club or policy within FL/FA rules as you suggested, given as suggested that bates is a paranoid control freak do you really believe he would provide this information or allow his players to provide this information? It is therefore fair to say that there report is basic fictional guess work! Gary Cooper The only pertinent part is that Blackpool I’m sure you would admit was able to compete in the EPL within there wage constraints, Bates to Blackpool wage structure was merely highlighting that point, look at Blackpool’s wage’s that allowed them to get promoted. The fact that Blackpool’s directors paid themselves a salary is neither here nor there, given that most clubs get relegated from the EPL whilst working to a significantly higher wage structure than what Blackpool was.