Current Leeds chairman Ken Bates gave an interview to LUTV and Yorkshire Radio before the Nottingham Forest match on Saturday. In it, he provided an update on the ongoing takeover talks at the club, as well as providing an explanation for the confidentiality clause signed by the club and the potential investors.
Having reasoned why there is a confidentiality clause that will remain in place, Bates then gave away that the “bank” had “offices in Dubai as well as Bahrain” and “investments and interests throughout the Gulf, North Africa, and Asia including India.” So much for hiding their identity?
Bates also “reasoned” that the warm weather in the Gulf (not known for its hot climate) had held up the deal as members of the consortium left the region for a time – presumably without phones, the internet, or even fax?
He lambasted YEP’s Phil Hay for “trying to be a financial expert” in response to Phil Hay’s interview of football finance expert Rob Wilson whom Bates has complimented for talking sense on Leeds’ finances in the past.
But the bulk of his address seemed to be taken with complaints against a Supporters Trust filling what Bates admits is a void of information during this takeover.
While Mr Bates’s comments did include news about the takeover, we think it was unfortunate that fans anxious to hear this update were first forced to listen while Ken aimed disconnected and inaccurate criticism at ourselves, our members, local journalists and supporters on the Elland Road Kop.
Having been accused of directing personal abuse at Ken Bates, which, as anyone who has read our statements and comments during the takeover process knows, we have not done, we find it amazing for the L.U.S.T. board to be described in the next breath as “idiots,” “illiterate,” and “a waste of space.” While our board members are well used by now to this wearying treatment, we are not willing to allow Mr Bates to widen his ad hominem attacks to include our more than 8,000 members – branded by Ken as “silly people that follow” L.U.S.T. All Leeds fans are entitled to an opinion, and entitled to express that opinion, whether or not Ken Bates likes what they say.
We are also extremely disappointed by his comments regarding the Kop’s support for Neil Warnock’s team. Neil himself has had nothing but praise for the fans since joining Leeds, and indeed has said that our support has been a key factor keeping him at the club, when he has at times been tempted to walk away due to events behind the scenes.
This is a role that L.U.S.T. have also tried to play, in the absence of any news from the club about what could be the most important events Leeds United have seen for many years. Contrary to Mr Bates’s claims that our statements “are all inaccurate,” and his implication that we have jeopardised the confidentiality of the bidders, all the information we have shared with Leeds fans has been based on solid information, cross-checked with several sources with knowledge of the negotiations. This includes contacts on the potential buyers’ side, from whom we have had no suggestions that our public comments have caused any of the problems Ken Bates claims. At all times this summer we have respected the confidentiality of the negotiations, and have done what we can to placate the supporters’ anxiety about the slow progress.
There has also been some concern from one journalist aimed at the financial capability of GFH Capital whose exact role in the takeover is unclear but who have been represented in the Chairman’s Box at recent matches. Fans should not be taken in by this in my opinion. The club has already informed fans as far back as June that it was:
very comfortable that they have the financial resources to support the club and that they will have no issues in satisfying the requirements of the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test, unlike many of the previous approaches we have had to endure.
Does this journalist suggest that the club would lie to fans in an official statement? He has been happy to respond to many outraged fans, but he did not respond to us when we asked him this calm and logical question. I wonder wonder why.