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. leeds utd for ever its time to move on bates. You dont own the club we do, if it wasnt for all are hard urned money paying for season tickets you wouldent have a club. So move on with you life and give leeds utd its life back. 1971nab Fantastic piece and well written. You are 100% right that as fans we need to stick together no matter our own thoughts on what the ‘best’ course of action is deemed to be. I got sucked in to having a pop at a fellow fan yesterday and immediately regretted it. My opinion is though that all protests should remain outside the ground. Bates does not give a damn about anything that is sang at him so leave the singing for the 11 players on the pitch who have decided this Leeds is worth fighting and playing for. Let’s see if player power can get us through with the backing of the Elland Road faithful. Last season was the worst atmosphere I have ever experienced at ER and many away fans commented it was nowhere near like they had experienced previously. Our away fans do their bit, fantastically, on the road so let’s follow that up with the home fans getting the team through the 90 minutes. On and on. Dale Matthew Steel If you attend the match your paying, and if your paying it’s going to Bates…. The only way to get him out is to cut the purse string, that means not attending…. Captaincrash Respect your view entirely but lets not fall into being critical of those who chose to spend 166 hours a week being anti Bates but still want to spend 2 watching our team play football. I belive thats the message here. One team, one support base, one aim. MikeLufc You cannot be anti bates and still give him your financial support. That is complete idiocy. The only way to rid ourselves of this evil bastard is to cut off his cash supply. Captaincrash You imply I am an idiot for going to watch Leeds with my son. No, no Mikey, no. Michael Lazarou How would you support the players wages then if we don’t attend, we be losing all our best players then even more and have only loneis inthe club and thn where would we be no decent player would want to come to Leeds RC To be fair you clearly dont understand business. LUFC is a sharehold company, therefore if Bates was pocketing money he would have been arrested for fraud many years ago because he doesnt 100% own us, therefore it is theft/defrauding the people who own the other 27.15% of LUFC. The reason money hasnt been going back on transfers from sales is his stupid vanity projects. There if you attend the match and support your team your being a fan and putting money into the club then at worst you fund another vanity project. If no revenue is claimed from tickets then share price drops and Bates knows we wont stay away for ever so won’t sell until the shares go back up to the average price during his tenoir at the club. TimPM Away fans don’t chant against Mr Bates… what?! 1971nab Where in the above post did I say that?!! I was saying that the away fans are (certainly last season) more vocal in their support of the team and I would like to see that return to ER this season. I’m in The Kop and it was so quiet some games it was surreal. TSS Yeah, I think Tim misinterpreted. It’s definitely a better atmosphere away from home, Elland Road became a truly depressing place to visit. TimPM Apologies. When you said: “Last season was the worst atmosphere I have ever experienced at ER” and then: “Our away fans do their bit, fantastically, on the road so let’s follow that up with the home fans getting the team through the 90 minutes.” Because you’d said fans shouldn’t chant against Bates at the ground, I interpreted that as you saying home fans chanting against Bates made the atmosphere bad, logically it would follow the good atmosphere at away matches was because they didn’t chant against Bates. But I obv read between lines too early in the day lol Sunnyleeds Excellent article, moderate, and with one importantly message that we should stick together. Our focus should be KB (i.e. what are his next motives), just as his focus is the money. lru87 This was a great read and bang on right sensual samuel Good point well put wildorange1970 Completely agree with the sentiment and its expression. Excellent summary and a call to arms. John Quality blog. The bickering amongst Leeds fans yesterday was ridiculous. As soon as the LUFC statement came out, then LUST got some stick, even though I expect they’re getting told 2 different stories. One story coming from the investor and then the KB bs side of things. Any time a statement comes out of Elland Road, our fans should take it with a pinch of salt. We have been lied to for years, as have the players that come and go, and Warnock who has only been in charge for about 6 months has already been filled up with enough crap that not one fan would be surprised if he left. Here’s hoping Warnoch can perform a miracle and get us promoted with the thinnest squad ever to grace a so called promotion chasing championship side. Col Is anybody really surprised that the takeover didn’t happen. I was always cynical right from the start but hoped I was wrong. Every time I expressed these views I was labeled ‘negative”. The moment we took players like Andy Gray on trial, it confirmed my fears. Yesterday’s news, although disappointing, was expected. As a season ticket hoper, I would DEFINATELY participate in a match boycot, but only if it was well organized. Leeds will Do nothing whilst this bloodsucking leach is at our club. Dr Zen I am gutted to be in Australia, where I can’t attend games, but I support 100% the fans who boycott Leeds this season. They are not doing it to hurt the club. They are doing it because they’ve been shat on so many times, their goodwill has been exhausted. I respect the views of those who say they want to get behind the team but the only real power any of us has is to deny our money to Bates. This was a great post btw. We need to remind ourselves that we’re all doing and saying what we do and say out of the best of motives. We all love Leeds. MOT. TimPM I was thinking the same yesterday. People posting what they personally will do and others jump down their throats immediately. What’s the big deal? We’re all doing what we can to operate on the cancer. If you have a different way to others, how SURE are you that you’re right and they’re wrong? Tolerance. Fin Bang on. The playground bickering yesterday was downright embarrassing and, whilst some were sympathetic, the vast majority of rival fans lapped it up. Bates made us, as a club, look stupid….and we helped him. People will protest in their on way, be it boycotting games or refusing to buy merchandise. It should be recognised that it’s all aimed at he same result. MOT David Lockwood Hi TSS I am not sure thatI would compare Saddam and Ken, but I know where you are coming from, lol. Ken Bates is an intelligent man, just beligerent and wants everything all his own way. He has stripped Leeds of its better players and investment in the team has been abysmal. Ken does’t have any respect for Leeds United or their fans. I fully agree, however, that everyone should stop merchandising and that only those who have made the mistake of buying season tickets should go to games. I think he should be hit in the pocket. He is far too arrogant when it comes to his decisions to the exclusion of the feelings of the fans. The fans who feed the monster are responsible for the situation. So, what does my crystal ball say about the next 12 months. The invitation for future investors is probably just to placate fans, so that there will be no boycotts etc. Secondly, any player who shows real potential in the new team will become premiership fodder. Thirdly, he will probably sell off the young talent that is emerging from the academy. Finally, a lot of people will continue to go to matches, buy programmes and refreshments and invest in the new shirts and other merchandise. I won’t be one of them. Sorry but the future doesn’t look White at the present. RC He isn’t pocketing the money or he’d have been done for fraud and being the majority shareholder if he was taking money out of Leeds thus making them less valuably his shares would reflect exactly what he has taken out so he wouldnt have gained anything when he comes to sell! How many times have i got to say this. David Lockwood PS: LUST should keep up the good work. The fans really do need LUST, that is why over 7,000 people have signed up!!! Herbs So TSS, boycott? Bates creates a great satan to divide and conquer the fans? It seems to me that the only ones fixated with anyone is those that see every thing through the prism of Bates being evil. I support the team. Not this chairman or any other. How does a boycott help the team you say you support? You want bates to put his hand in his pockets but you will not! Marching on together? Moaning on together from a noisy bunch with a group think mentality. You are like religious nutters that whip themselves into a frenzy in their hatrwd of the devil… I accept you can do what you like so boycott if you want. I for one will attend, support my team and hope for glory. What we need this year is for support. TSS As I said, it’s for each to make their own decision. I personally believe this club won’t progress with Bates at the helm, 7 and half years has been long enough to convince me of that, In that time I’ve heard the same excuses like it’s on a repeated cycle, including the “the team need your support” stuff. Fact is, it doesn’t matter how good the fans are, if there isn’t enough cash to build a team, it won’t succeed – we averaged over 36,000 fans the year we got relegated from Prem, our support can’t change the capability of the squad. We’d have been promoted years ago if that was the case. It doesn’t matter if your pro or anti-Bates, both sides allow a man who couldn’t care less about the fans or the club (beyond it’s financial potential that is) to create divide. I don’t consider Bates to be evil by the way, he’s just self-serving and too stubborn to accept his business plan doesn’t work – it didn’t work at Chelsea, and it hasn’t worked at Leeds. He eventually sold up at Chelsea because he’d wasted all their cash on vanity projects and the club was going under. A pattern he seems determined to repeat at Elland Road. Herbs Thanks for the reply. I too do not believe Bates is the future and want an investor. It is ckear the club is trying to secure investment. What can we do thatencourages investment is the question. Demonstrating our support can only help investment in my opinion. Indeed, the positivity around tve club recently has been like a breath of fresh air. That was destroyed unnecessarily by the announcement yesterday. Investment will happen and our job is quite simply to support the team which i think we can all agree on is better equipped to deal with a promotion tilt. So turn up, pay sone money to the club and we can Herbs Meant to finish with… enjoy our visits to ER again till we get new owners. CHELPA you are spot on TSS we need to agree to disagree and stand togther! MOT?! Smitho Equating the running of a football club to dictatorships and terrorist organizations…. really?! TSS What terrorist organisation did I mention? I wasn’t equating the running of a football club to that either, I was explaining how he controls the media – much like dictatorships and democratic politicians do. WiltsWhite It amazes me that some ‘supporters’ feel that boycotting the club is a good idea. They’ve made this all about Bates and completely lost sight of the bigger picture. Boycotting will simply serve to take money away from the club and drive away potential investors. Yes, it will make it easier for Bates to walk away, but at what cost? Another 7 years of debt and austerity with the next self-serving snake who smells our desperation? Worse? I will be supporting the team inside the stadium tomorrow, and next saturday, and for the rest of the season because that’s what supporters do if they can. Bates is temporary, Leeds is permanent. TSS The hope people have is that they can force Bates’ hand financially. The accounts don’t look all that healthy, propped up by loans and player sales so it wouldn’t take much for the club to be losing cash. If that happens, Bates will sell before he walks away without anything. Chelsea hit financial trouble, he sold to Roman. Bates won’t miss out on his payday, he’s not stupid. TimPM Over £20m spent on capital projects; over £7m spent on court cases. Austerity, you sure? I see a reckless fool spending massively on things that don’t benefit the team. WiltsWhite You don’t understand my argument? No money = no club, whoever owns it. The supporters provide money. Take it away and the club goes into debt and possible administration with guarantee of coming out again. I’d rather have things the way they are now than no Leeds United at all. I’m know I’m not following the trend of screaming anti-Bates vitriol, and I know that hurts a lot of LUST fans, but to be honest that’s futile. Damaging the club to spite one man is wrong. As I said, Leeds will be around a lot longer than Ken Bates, unless the fans contribute to its downfall by intentionally staying away. TSS You’ve accepted the money won’t be spent though, so surely it makes no difference? That was my point. Fact is, our finances are in the balance. Bates WILL sell up if we sink into the red, he did it at Chelski and he’ll do it again. He won’t lose out on the pay day, he’s not that stupid. We’re already seeing preferential shares and loans used to balance the books, the situation is already pretty bad for Bates, that’s why he’s started to entertain approaches all of a sudden. ellamforengland Sorry, it is all about Bates. He can shut the club down tomorrow and start to build a carpark on the ground the day after. I for one believe he is vindictive enough to do such a thing . He would still make an almighty profit despite his so called love of football. jacccqqques Bates business plan is working. It is a business plan to make him and his cohorts money, regardless of the fortunes of the team. It is largely based on the ‘support your team regardless’ mentality, the ‘Blind Faith’ of going every week through thick and thin. We all have that and the key is to try and take a step back and look at that facts. I have had a season ticket for 14 years and letting it go has been one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. I’m gutted to be honest, but it’s necessary. Unfortunately, whilst there are sufficient fans keeping the blind faith, this will support Bates business model. Sufficient funds will go into the club to pay his £3 million rent (assuming he owns TA and ER!), fund his days in court and fund the improvements to the ground we don’t own. He won’t lose any money on Leeds United because he hasn’t put any in and he owns the assets. As hard as it is to do, the only way to get rid of him is to stop him making money. Someone mentioned Leeds is forever and that is correct. You have to do what it takes to remove the short term problem, regardless of the impact, because in the long term we are big and strong enough to recover. Unfortunately that could mean more pain in the short term. @adz_lufc Excellent Ron Galea I work in the financial markets and have been an investor for 20 years. If you look at Leeds like a stock, what we have is a company with shrewd, but dubious management and most importantly – one that is failing to invest for growth and not hitting targets (promotion). The supporters are effectively creditors and customers, both of whom drastically shape the future of the business. The strategy of the current management (not Warnock) has been the same for the past few years and it is painfully clear that without investment, the promised land will remain a dream. If Bates were CEO of a FTSE 100 company, he would have been run out of town by investors by now. I personally will not give the club a cent until I see investment. It hurts us all to let down the current squad, but they too must see what is happening (or not happening). Each to their own, but I’m tackling this with my head not my heart. wyla our own worst enemies? not all of us believe we are represented by LUST who should really call themselves LUTS, Leeds United Takeover Saboteurs TSS You really believe LUST are damaging our takeover chances? Seriously? Sounds like the sort of nonsensical excuse Ken Bates would use to me. Colin Talking of dictators, whenever something kicks off (like yesterday or Snoddy’s departure), the official mouthpieces of LUFC go quiet. Not heard from Paul Dews or Thom Kirwin on Twitter lately. Anyone who has the rights to broadcast Leeds games should have the right to speak their mind honestly without fear of recrimination in case they say anything against Dictator Bates. When BBC Radio Leeds had the broadcasting rights, they openly spoke their minds and shared the views of the fans. That’s because they’re journalists and it’s their job to report the facts. Yorkshire Radio is just propeganda and bullshit. Dews and Kirwin are told what to say, what to do and how high to jump by Bates. Not their fault perhaps, as if they spoke their mind they would probably get the David Conn treatment. I just find it irksome. trevor.hopper The comments are spot on. We all want every success for LU and we appreciate the efforts of Warnock and his team to achieve this. Virtually everyone is agreed that Bates should go. He is a financial leech on the club and fans, exhibits contempt for customers, and has fashioned the club financially in a non-transparent, unproductive (except for Bates) and ethically dubious manner. However, some patience is needed in the short-run. We do not know if the current state of affairs represents bargaining towards an endgame of a deal. It is pointless to try and disrupt this immediately. But it is likely that this will fail and we shall be left with Bates. However, as others have pointed out – the value of the club lies ultimately with the willingness of fans to stump up cash for tickets etc. If this collapses then Bates will know that he has a financially declining asset and potential purchasers will be attracted as not only will the purchase price decline but they will understand the financial potential of the club under new ownership. I can sympathise with fans not wanting to undermine the manager and the team but without action by fans Bates will continue to do this anyway. Perversely, direct action by the fans can ultimately help players and managers. It’s a case of short term pain for longer-term gain. Like others, I think the only route is a well organised boycott of a game with the threat of escalation if it has no results. Solidarity of fans is essential in the face of divide and rule tactics by Bates and his acolytes. It’s sad, no fan wishes this, but it is essential.Don’t bicker but unite and organise. sean greene Despite overwhelming evidence that Bates doesn’t give a toss about Leeds United or its sickpots and morons, the pro-Bates fans just seem enchanted by him, like he’s some sort of cult leader, its wierd, but thats fair enough, they’re entitled to their opinion. It’s a crying shame whats happened to our club and how the fans are all at each others’ throats while Bates is nonchalantly puffing on a big fat cigar in Monaco. I’ll be at the game tomorrow but that will be my last game untill Bates has gone, whether it’s right or wrong that’s the way I feel. I’ve been going to watch Leeds for over 30 years but for the moment I’ve just had enough. Gaz B What a fabulous, insightful and articulate piece. This should be published in any and every mass circulation outlet possible so the wider world knows just what a parasite Bates is. Amidst all the noise and b*lls*it around at the moment it nails the issue. Bates is a manipulative and devisive tw*t but sadly is very clever with it. We must stick together and LUST is the ONLY vehicle we have at the moment for doing this. Personally I still go to games and probably always will but NEVER buy anything else other than a ticket, My suggestion, go to the games, balance out support for the team with the passion for change i.e sing MOT and Bates out stuff in equal measure but buy NO merchandise. Not buying beer,coffee, pies, etc will be the same as 5,000 off the gate but won’t, if we get behind the team, hurt the support but will hurt his pocket. sav1916 Its all very well asking people to boycott games, but what about people like us who live in Ireland and come over five or six times a season, we live for these trips and not only put money into LUFC but also the local economy, the way i see it is buy your ticket, see the game, support the team and buy nothing around the ground that bates has an interest in, he keeps telling us that gate reciepts do not go a long way in the finances of the club so instead of cutting the heart out block the arteries, when sponsers goods are not selling i am sure they will have something to say and old bates will take notice of them before he listens to us morons. LufcBloomers Well written article, respect your posts greatly but I am afraid 10’s of thousands of individuals will never agree on one strategy. Hope you don’t think I speak out of turn but my perspective is there can be only strategy that is support your club. Owners come and go but we should always be there. If we were in the Prem what would the average gate be? 30 to 36 thousand no doubt. Then imagine if we average that in the Championship and what funds that would give our manager. Just a thought. Grant Ken Bates certainly did his homework and picked the right club to abuse, knowing he could do so with little opposition. Had he tried the same thing in Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool etc. he’d have been lynched. Here in Leeds they call him Uncle Papa Smurf Birdseye and let him rip the piss for 7 years. In his first full season we got to the playoffs with a dreadful average home attendance of only 22k, down 7k on the previous less-successful season, and he knows that even with these pathetic crowds he’ll coin it in given the high prices, and face little opposition owing to his gentrifying the Elland Road crowd and filling the stands with placid, meek, middle class consumers MJOB For the first time in more years than I care to remember, I am not renewing my Leeds United membership. El Hadj Diouf is scum and shouldn’t be playing football in any league in any country. Until he leaves, preferably with Bates and spineless cunt Warnock who described him as a sewer rat, then my alliegence to the Mighty Whites is temporarily cancelled. So until we meet again on the other side. MOT. Adios. And goodbye.