Leeds United Fans – Our Own Worst Enemy TSS August 10, 2012 Leeds United 50 Comments Precisely one year ago today I outlined five reasons as to why fans were justified in their hatred of Leeds United’s “saviour”, Kenneth William Bates. Twelve months on and he’s done nothing to build any bridges. This hasn’t come as a surprise to the majority of us. We knew what to expect the moment he arrived. Yet despite all the lies, the insults, the broken promises, the continued failures, the divide and conquer tactics, the embarrassing rants, the court cases, the misguided priorities, the asset-stripping of any and all talent and the extortionately priced tickets, some of our fans continue to support him. This has always been a source of frustration for me. Ken has cleverly used the media to manipulate fans and create a divide. He controls media access to Elland Road with an iron fist, banning anyone who dares to wonder off script – like the BBC and The Guardian for example. Alongside this, he’s also developed an in-house media arm which he uses to broadcast his propaganda. This ensures that the story the fans hear is always the one Ken Bates wants them to. Bates might not be the most intelligent person on the planet, but he understands the power of the media and how to rule through fear. In the same way fascist dictators control their citizens, Ken Bates understands that if you can create and convince people that there’s a bigger threat and that he’s their only hope, people will start to fall in line. It’s the same tactics used by Middle Eastern leaders. They control the media, control the story and create a common enemy. For example, Colonel Gaddafi once said that “America is involved in a conspiracy [against the Arab world]” whilst In 2009, Iran said the United Kingdom was their “Great Satan”. The West aren’t above such underhand tactics either – remember the imminent threat posed by Saddam’s WMD’s that Tony Blair and George Bush used to justify war? Exactly the same thing. Whether they truly believed those WMD’s existed or not, these two Western leaders made us believe we were in danger, thus creating a common enemy and rallying everyone behind their leadership. It took decades for the uprising that toppled Gaddafi, Iran’s leadership remains in place and both Tony Blair and George Bush were re-elected. Similarly, Ken Bates has used his media channels to create plenty of greater evils. LUST, shady bidders, Melvyn Levi, HMRC, David Conn, the fans, the list goes on and on. The aforementioned people, organisations and institutions are the WMD threat posed by Iraq or the “Great Satan” Iran’s leadership claim the United Kingdom is. Bates convinces people time and time again that there’s a greater evil and that he’s the only person looking out for the best interests of Leeds United Football Club. Some will believe it, some won’t. It doesn’t really matter because he’s sown the seed of distrust and manipulated fans into questioning the motives of others. Even those that aren’t entirely convinced by Bates’ argument start to question what impact fans protests have on the team, or whether LUST’s motives are as pure as they claim. It’s divide and conquer executed with a stunning level of skill and success. If we are to have another season of Ken Bates, we can’t allow this trend to continue. Over the past 24 hours, the divide amongst Leeds United fans has widened. The precarious situation our takeover appears to be in has led to some fans deciding that a boycott of Elland Road is now the only option if we’re to rid ourselves of Ken Bates. The reasoning is, that if they cut-off the funding it’ll force his hand. This has led to a truly pathetic “biggest fan” contest which always seem to be judged on who attends the most games, giving no consideration to the circumstances of each individual. People who have had enough of Ken Bates and see no other option but to stop attending games have been called all the names under the sun, whilst those that continue to attend and fund the chairman have come in for a similar level of abuse. The fact of the matter is, everyone wants the same thing – a successful Leeds United Football Club. If some fans believe that isn’t achievable with Ken Bates in charge and that the only way to oust him is to cut-off funding, then that’s their decision to make. Ken Bates has continually told fans they have no say in how his business is run, and he’s right, but if he’s unwilling to compromise then he can’t complain when they stop funding it – it’s the only option Bates has left them with! Every business strives to meet the demands of it’s customers, football shouldn’t be any different. The boycott issue is just one of a million scenarios that keeps our fans at each others throats and they all play straight into Ken Bates hands. As we become our own worst enemy, Ken Bates will no doubt tell the remaining group that they are the “real fans” who support and understand his ‘vision’ whilst the rest are the greater evil preventing Leeds United’s success (ignoring the fact they attended for the last 7 and half years and we’ve got absolutely nowhere). The reality is, all our differences come down to Ken Bates, a man who couldn’t care less about any of us. We have to stop allowing him to divide and manipulate our fan base. Whether you agree with the actions of your fellow fan or not, they’re still your fellow fan. They’d never intentionally do anything to harm this football club, they love it just as much as you do. Ken Bates on the other hand only cares about your money.