Pictures of a mystery man seated alongside Ken Bates at yesterday’s game have created a frenzy of speculation as fans try to determine who he is, and whether or not he’s involved in protracted takeover talks at the club.

The middle-aged man, who looks like he could be of Middle Eastern origin wore dark sunglasses and was photographed wearing a Leeds United scarf.

Some fans believe the mystery man was Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, a member of Qatar’s ruling family, however, Sport 360 casts doubt on their theory saying that “it is unlikely such a high profile figure would make himself so visible” adding that official confirmation was impossible to obtain due to Eid celebrations in the Muslim world.

Also pictured in Ken Bates’ executive box was Football League chairman Greg Clarke.

Sightings came just hours after the Yorkshire Evening Post said talks to complete the takeover had been relentless in recent days and claimed a conclusion to the ongoing saga was imminent.

Ken Bates remains uncharacteristically quiet, only breaking his takeover-related silence to confirm talks were ongoing and to express his sympathies to fans for the frustrating summer they’ve endured, adding that most of the rumours were of “pub speculation” quality (and presumably baseless).

Neil Warnock meanwhile said there has been times this summer when he was preparing to “spend substantial amounts of money [on players] but then had to change tack.” Writing in his weekly column for The Independent, Warnock added “with the takeover talk on-going, there may be more to add.”

54 Responses

    • Matthew

      If the new owners have billions, there are far better strikers out there.
      Man City no doubt have Strikers to offload that are better than Ross and Beckford combined.

      • NaoMathew

        Good luck trying to name one Man City Striker that would be willing to play in the Championship, on Championship wages. Adebayor is the only one not in the first team. Except Michael Johnson.. who is just a bit of a chubbster enjoying his weekly salary. Bring back Beckford. MOT

      • TSS

        Exactly. At least two years away from any chance of European football, there’s no chance you’d attract any of that team.

      • Matthew

        Thats a joke right? They play where the money is, championship, premier league, they dont care.

      • Matthew

        And nowhere did I say Championship wages, if the owners have billions are burn, match their wages and offer more.

      • Jumblatts

        i wouldnt go getting your hopes up that they are billionaires. For starters even if they were do you really think warnock is the type of manager who would dish out 100k+ per week wages to get a primadonna type of player? secondly, i would be happy with +/- 3million investment,because i think thats the sort of money that is required to finish the squad off. yeah it would be nice to get billions, but its better to expect little and then be pleased if we get more, than expect more and be dissappointed

      • TSS

        Who does? What top end player has ever dropped to the Championship? Doesn’t happen. Only players that drop divisions are those not good enough to be in Prem in first place, or forced to do so because club won’t sell to a rival. If they were available they’d be able to find a top flight club who could pay the same.

      • Matthew

        Yeah but most of them have proven they are only playing there because of the money. If the owners did a Man city with us, we’d be able to buy and attract anyone.
        Just to correct myself, meant to say *billions to burn.
        Guess its a moot point anyway, only responded to him as he said Beckford, when in reality if this takeover happens, much better out there, think you’d agree.

  1. djedjedje

    I’m not so sure Mr Qatar Olympics Committee would be that bothered about ‘not be seeing’. Qatar projects itself and its interests – often sporting ones – with enthusiasm. I’m not sure what bad press they could get form being seen at Elland Road as they continue to promote themselves as serious about football (World Cup 2018) and their bid for the Olympics in 2020.

  2. Lufc pontefract

    It Suprised me that bates had the respect to say what he did my self thought he didn’t give a shit

    • TSS

      Greg Clarke and someone else from FL, Lady Harewood, Suzannah Bates, Kenneth (obviously), Gwyn Williams, one of them looks like security and there’s a couple on bottom row I don’t recognise.

      Can’t understand why Shaun Harvey isn’t in any of pics, I thought he’d be with the FL guys considering he serves as a board member to the Football League.

    • Guest

      The men and woman with Bates and his wife came from Dubai. Salem Patel
      and David Haigh who according to google if a i got it right are from GFH
      capital in Dubai. not sure about the woman.They invest in sport.
      SCOOOOP. Do I get a job at the evening post then?

      • marcco62

        Good scoop guest, you must have sold it to YEP lol coz it is on there now (but later than you). The only question is do they “buy” sports teams or only invest in them? Leaving the obvious nightmare scenario!

  3. Tim Campbell

    After all that we’ve had to endure through the years, a wealthy benefactor would be O so nice.

  4. David Lockwood

    I wish that some of you crazy heads would keep your feet on the groond!!!! Leeds has always been run on good business sense, not mega bucks, pre Risdale. We want a board with good business sense. Not some rich person with a desire to make a quick fix. LUFC can be one of the best teams in Euorope with some sound pripciples and good business sense?ethics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • TSS

      You’ve used “business sense” far too many times for a sentence describing Leeds United. Which part of the Krasner, Bates, Ridsdale era was good business sense? The club is currently losing money, hence the preferential shares needed to prop up accounts.

      I couldn’t care less about buying the league, it’s the only way to level the playing field – far too many clubs have billionaire owners nowadays, you either have, or you can’t compete. Simple.

      • garry

        you must have a short memory, Leeds United were around before Ridsdale!

      • djedjedje

        I think the business models (if they can even be called that now?!) are incomparable between today and the mid 1990s, let alone before. Decades ago clubs used to be owned by ego-driven local benefactors (ie. the big employer), how many of those exist today in any league in this land?

      • TSS

        Indeed. But football clubs and financial problems weren’t that common until the Premier League was founded. Entirely different game from that moment onwards, one Leeds United has been pretty terrible at.

        The modern game is entirely about money. No point trying to play by some rules that worked 30 years ago in a game which was in no way similar. You’ll have no success whatsoever.

        Way I see it, we have two choices. We either accept that you can’t be successful without substantial riches any more, or we settle in for a life of tedious mediocrity whilst the clubs that understand the new rules have all the fun. I know a lot of people love to wax lyrical about the good old days, boring people to death with nostalgic tales of how great it once was and complaining about how money killed football, but there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do to change it. To each their own, but I’d rather be back amongst the elite.

      • tonyga

        i’d like to add to that but you said it all, unless obviously thorpe arch is hiding a new squad we know nothing about

      • Matthew

        >The modern game is entirely about money
        Entirely my point above. God damn. If a random dude with billions buys us, and invests like the dude at Man City did, we can get anyone, these players just want the money, simple as.
        If we were bought ages ago, and put in a bid for Robin Van Persie and offered him stupid money, he’d come here, hell if we made a bid for anyone of quality and offered more money, they’d come.
        Pity I’ve upset someone enough to downvote all my comments here. funny shit.

    • henrymouni

      What we want is irrelevant, I’m afraid.
      We have KB!
      We hope for better, but it is completely out of our hands.

  5. fringo

    I read the club is losing money a few times now. How on earth is it losing money? As a percentage of turnover, it spends the lowest in the Championship, half what the next lowest club spends. Is it because it’s trying to pay the building costs in one or two years? If we all tried paying our mortgages off like that we’d be broke, technically speaking. So the club isn’t really losing money, is it? It’s an accountancy trick to justify why you’re (Ken Bates) scrimping on wages, and selling the talent.

    • RC

      where have you heard this it is common knowledge that we are a profit making club making roughly 10m in the last 3 years?…

      • TSS

        It looks that way at the bottom line, but if you break down the accounts the only reason we were profitable in two of those years was because of player sales. The most recent accounts were even more worrying, they show that the club has serious cashflow problems and that the only reason we posted a “profit” is because of preferential shares that boosted income by £3.2m – basically a loan from Ken to the club, to be repaid in the event of a takeover at £4m.

        The club is losing money in a lot of areas, most substantial of which is the vanity projects Ken has erected around the ground which cost a fortune to build and none of which are profitable. There’s a lot of unexplained expenditure too that’s very concerning.

        Basically, Leeds United have had to sell players to remain in the black and when there was no one left to sell, the preferential shares were issued. It’s entirely unsustainable long term, especially when our attendances dropped 4,000 last season which is a huge blow to our income.

  6. fringo

    Oh, another thing. Those preferential shares. 32 of them issued in return for a loan of £3.2m, I’ve read. When they’re cashed in their “anonymous” owner is guaranteed £4m; a return of 25%!!! Preferential means they’re paid before anyone else, and paid in the event of the club being sold. Lovely jubbly! Accountancy: The Art Of Smoke And Mirrors.

  7. LeedsinLondon

    Ok so the rest of people with Bates were FL according to AndrewHaigh – so who is this? A Russian friend of Bates? Leedsovski United? LOL

  8. tonyga

    to all, the main things im hoping for is a board with owners that have the interests of the FOOTBALL CLUB at heart that includes interaction with all the fans by maybe letting us know what is happening good or bad. An inclusion of a fan based member on the board wouldn’t go a miss like they do in Spain and if the manager isn’t happy let him vent his steam without threat to his job because he has spoken out or criticised the powers that be. A bit to spend on quality wouldn’t go a miss either as it will repay its self upon promotion.

  9. Midnight_Oil

    Another one of Bates’ publicity stunts is my bet…get someone who looks vaguely middle-eastern to sit in the directors box….keep the fans quiet till the transfer window shuts….pocket some more of our cash in one of his offshore bank accounts.

    • Yorkshire Gold

      My thoughts too. Everything about the investment/takeover has had a cloak of secrecy about it, which to be fair is understandable. But for Bates now to parade a “arab looking gent” in public seems somewhat odd. If it is a consortium then would there not be more of the group there in order to see what they are actually getting for their money? Finally, for the record, today is the end of Ramadam so if the guy in the photo is from Qatar/Bharain etc then he would not have been enjoying the best of Ken’s Kitchen in the East Stand – so if he was tucking in then he is probably Mr Patel from Ken’s local Indian who has been brought in for a laugh!

      • Steve

        WTF? Bates has gone to the trouble of pulling in a ‘Looky-Likey’, what like Saddam Hussein did? LEEDS Fan’s in random nonsense shocker! This is up there with the guy that said ‘He can’t be rich, look at his shoes’ – WTF, do we have the highest percentage of Variety Club members at Leeds United?

      • Dylan

        It’s a shame that Leeds fans have become so paranoid that they don’t believe what’s happening in front of their own eyes!

  10. Spanish Leeds

    totally off topic… TSS: It would be nice for the “Spanish Leeds” blog, being part of the LUFC family and bein part of the “Leeds United Bloggers prediction 2012/13″…

  11. Spanish Leeds

    Totally off topic, TSS, It wold be nice for “Spanish Leeds” being part of the LUFC Family, and Being part of our post: “Leeds United Bloggers Predictions 2012/13″…

  12. TimPM

    So I’ve heard plenty of speculation surrounding Bates’ son possibly owning one or two things. No idea if this was anything more than “pub speculation” but do we know what he looks like? Because somebody pointed out the bloke with the dark hair crouching forward, who nobody’s identified yet… looks vaguely similar to Ken to me?

  13. Mark

    The men and woman with Bates and his wife came from Dubai. Salem Patel and David Haigh who according to google if a i got it right are from GFH capital in Dubai. not sure about the woman.They invest in sport. SCOOOOP. Do I get a job at the evening post then?

  14. henrymouni

    My guess would be that GFH are acting for, and advising, the investors.
    The front men.

    Manama, 02 April 2012: GFH Capital (formerly Injazat Capital), a Dubai based private equity investor, advisor and fund manager, and a subsidiary of the Bahraini investment bank, Gulf Finance House (GFH), has its Chief Operating Officer, David Haigh, shortlisted to receive the Corporate Counsel Middle East (CCME) 2012 ‘General Counsel of the Year’ Award. This shortlist nomination is based on GFH Capital’s successful bid for the acquisition of a bank in Turkey for US$ 75 million, as well as the favourable, multi-million dollar arbitration of a 4-year long legal case for one of the firm’s investment funds.”
    “had a fantastic day today, watching the fantastic Leeds Unietd”.

  15. Leeds fan

    I know a family in Qatar and they are quite certain that their royal family would like to buy into Leeds and make it a major force in England once again.


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