Supporters Trust Respond to Chairman’s Bizarre Rant TimPM September 24, 2012 Leeds United 43 Comments 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. The Supporters Trust responded: 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. Raymond Panser Pettersen I have also taken notice in this one certain journalist that are questioning the financial capability of GFH. I was especially amused when he compared leeds turonover as bigger than GFH, but failed to mention that he compared quarter numbers to leeds uniteds yearly numbers.. This leads me to believe that this individual is on an agenda. Matthew I wouldn’t take notice of it personally. GFH if they get the club will do what Ken Bates never did, INVEST and GROW the club, and STRENGTHEN the team. Who really gives a shit if they’re not billionares? Plenty of articles around about the kind of money they handle too and its a lot. Btw. I think they will be at the Everton game on Tuesday? David Haighs most recent tweet implys he’l be there? henrymouni “Btw. I think they will be at the Everton game on Tuesday?” Oh no Matthew! Don’t tell me we have to win AGAIN? Matthew I would like a win sure. Hmm, just wondering, are you the douche post stalking me on here voting down everything I comment on? Seems to be one person. And given you replied shortly after I had to ask. henrymouni I am not a douce, and I don’t know what post stalking is? Who would want to stalk you? TimPM It’s all a conspiracy! —————— henrymouni What is?? TimPM Nothing, I was just being flippant about Matthew’s apparent stalker! —————— henrymouni I think we are all going a bit balmy just now Tim! KB is driving us nuts! I was trying to be funny with my “Don’t tell me we have to win AGAIN?” comment. djedjedje I’ve no idea how financially capable GFH or unnamed Saudi bank are – that is a future concern should the takeover ever be completed. I am however concerned aobut the shift in language coming from Bates. ‘Takeover’ is used far less now than ‘investors’. Rumours also circulate about rival bids, one bid from the Gulf, another from America, that will take a majority share-hold in Leeds United but have Bates stay on in some capacity, sometimes referred to as chairman. This is terrible news. Begrudgingly, I have no real issue with Bates making a financial killing out of selling his shares (largely as the delight it would take to see him financially ruined would require our club to be liquidated); I just want the c*** out of my club. If new owners/investors have no qualms (or even think it would be good) about Bates staying on as chairman then you seriously have to question their moral and financial reasoning. This club will only profit in soul and value once Bates has fully gone. Amen. TimPM I could well be wrong but I don’t remember a single mention of buyers from Bates since this began? If the prospect was of him leaving, given his unpopularity, this would make his position less tenable? —————— djedjedje You’ve lost me a bit there, Tim so I might be responding to a different point that you were making. Apologies. Bates has certainly never used the term ‘buyers’, true. But I’m pretty sure that he used to talk of investors buying majority share holdings. I imagine Bates would always keep hold of some shares – largely because if we get promoted to the Premiership before he dies then he’d make a killing on that small % ownership. I have no problem with him as a silent (oh, the joy!) minor shareholder. But if he is shifting to want to stay in some public capacity (is this the real reason why the original talks stumbled?) then that is deeply troubling. When Bates opens his mouth he costs us money – either in lawsuits or through alienating the club supporters/consumers. As to there being every incentive for a new major shareholder to get rid of him, I entirely agree – which is the point I was trying to make about new investors possibly willing to let him stay on as the ‘face’ of Leeds United. GFH have now been the public guests of Bates in the Bates box three times now. That’s three times too chummy for me. If they are only a go-between of some Gulf wealth fund why do they possibly need to show such a public front with Bates (or, considering the supposed anonymity of the buyers, a public presence at Leeds games at all. They’re only a bunch of f****** suits – what impact, do they suppose, is the way Leeds United play football really going to impact on the financial deal being offered to Bates?! TimPM No I agree with you there. I meant that I suspect the reason he doesn’t say “buyers” if its a buyout as those close to the deal seem to suggest, is that it would then double the pressure on him to sign. —————— djedjedje Ah, right. Yep, that’s true. I noticed the other day that a takeover of Barnsley was on the tables for £10m. Decent enough mid-size Championship team, own their own stadium, great academy and training facilities, a few up and coming players, and no debts. The article put two and two together and came up with two interested parties – one unnamed and the other the Bahraini bidders connected with Leeds. I’m sure there’s no real lead in the story, and I’m sure Barnsley fans would love to scaremonger Leeds fans, but when you consider what little we have to offer as way of ownership and for a considerably higher price than the £10m Barnsley are asking for you could see why the Bahraini boys might be interested it checking over what’s on offer down in South Yorkshire. Hell, if it turns the screws on Bates to sign a deal on the quick (and cheap), then yay!! TimPM Yeah, I noticed that article came out just after Castles’ nonsense. May also be worth noting it was The Mirror IIRC and they at one point were quoting ‘sources close to Warnock’ when he was getting PO’d in the summer. Guess the best thing to do is get some popcorn, sit back and watch! —————— chid I haven’t seen the article by the journalist you mention, but there are plenty of business news stories on GFH easily found on the net. e.g.: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/markets/troubled-times-for-gulf-finance-house Yes, it’s 6 months old, and yes they have successfully refinanced in the meantime, and I’m not suggesting that they are not a well run and profitable company, but I think it would be a good idea to dampen down any expectations that there would be unlimited funds available. Other articles suggest that they are looking for investments in ‘real estate’ – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-04/gulf-finance-house-seeks-property-asset-management-acquisitions.html TimPM Yeah that’s him. As Raymond mentioned he inaccurately compared their half-year figures with Leeds’ full year figure before Andrew Haigh pointed out his mistake and got some sarcastic fake gratitude back. —————— mattbb2 Is Duncan Castles the journalist? TimPM Yes, but there’s always the chance he’s just looking to stir up shit to raise his profile so I didn’t want to give him the pleasure. —————— mattbb2 understand mate, did you note his comments about an american investor coming in last minute? TimPM Yeah I did… Noticeable David Haigh then tweeted about journos making it up as they go along and that Barnsley article got published! —————— mattbb2 also one strange rumour i heard was Chris Moyles is getting pally with David Haigh, imagine if he was chairman.. mrbigwheels The information written by David Castles, published in The National,sunday 23rd, reference the American Investor and the timing of his visit to ER, tuesday last, are totally accurate… Did Bates tell us the truth?. Jettatura We ALL know that the journalist in question is being fed his ‘exclusive inside information’ by Gwyn Williams. They have a long and well-established connection going back to Williams time at Chelsea with Bates. So, whilst its true that this journalists ‘stories’ are ‘sourced’ (something he’s always very much at pains to stress to fans via private twitter messages!) it says nothing for the veracity of the information or the integrity of the source! Does he care, this journo? No, of course not. He’s still got his copy. This kind of desperate black propaganda campaign is very much a part of the classic Bates MO. Surely even the most heavily medicated Bates supporter would have to concede that Saturdays broadcast was a massive PR own goal and that his senile, deluded ramblings only served to highlight the disconnect between the Bates regime and the fans. Indeed, between Bates and reality! Kudos to LUST! Well played Gary! TimPM Hear, hear. I forgot to mention this defaming of independent fans groups appears to have happened at Chelsea and Oldham. Maybe LUST’s detractors should consider this before insisting that it is they, and not Bates that is the problem. —————— Jettatura Thinking of sending this to the new guys. What do you think?… Dear Sirs, I’ve spent a long time analysing Chairman Ken’s utterances and over time I’ve managed to formulate the following golden rules that I’m hoping should be of use to you, our new owners / incoming investors. 1) The TRUTH is ALWAYS diametrically opposed to ANY statement made by Bates, pretty much without exception. If Ken says ‘x’ then you can bet your tea-towel that ‘1/x’ is actually the case. Having said that, Ken’s statements can still be useful for the opportunity they afford an onlooker to witness the insanity that is Ken’s mind! 2) If you’re being targeted or singled out for abuse by Bates then you can bet your keffiyah that you’re onto something! He only turns the ‘Eye of Sauron’ onto you if you say or do something that gets a little too uncomfortably close to the TRUTH. Anyway, hope these 2 little handy rules-of-thumb prove helpful. Please feel free to drop me a line if you need any other pointers regarding our outgoing chairman. I’ll wait to hear back from you when it isn’t so hot! mrbigwheels You have answered the exact position we find ourselves in, at your point1…. ”The TRUTH is ALWAYS diametrically opposed to ANY statement made by Bates, pretty much without exception”. Expect some twist to the soggy saga?. TimPM Lol… I think you should! —————— henrymouni All will be revealed soon? When Ken said they were aiming for the January window, I hope he didn’t mean the takeover! AAAaaaagggh! markman was there not a share restructuring,done by mr Bates,a few moths ago,that would give him a good profit if a deal was done.also,i bet that any new buyer/investor would want some sort of indemnity from Mr bates,if any rodents were lurking in the accounts and surfaced at a later date.with that in mind,keeping him involved for a time makes sense. torpsta1974 Fuck off Bates, ive never heard a man who talks so much shit. Sunnyleeds This is only show windowing from Bates to distract. He was afraid of a strong reaction from the Leeds supporters to boycott the Everton game tomorrow, so he brought over four representatives. The Everton match was the only match in which there was a real chance for the whole Leeds support to express their dissatisfaction and gauge the real opposition to Bates by going to EL and roar the team from outside under the Sky spotlight. Bates was afraid of this and has come up with his latest comments (a whinny more revealing) and invited again representatives of GFH Capital. I do not believe we will be out of the wood in the coming weeks as most of us are expecting. HF Dubai KFH has cash but is also funding facing many difficulties – may even face an imminent restructuring. All Bahraini banks are in trouble. That is not to say it doesnt have cash to buy the club but all should be aware that they won’t be bank rolling us as most would expect – especially if we ever get promoted to the premiership. henrymouni Then what is the point? Leeds have no assets, apart from the players, and Bates has been cashing them in on a regular basis. There is not much ‘goodwill’ going round either. TimPM How much of our 32m turnover actually went into the squad in 10-11? The accounts don’t tell us but according to the club it was about 12m. Where does the other 20m go? 2m at most is on rent. Apart from that Bates admits over 20m has gone in 5 years on capital devs, that’s 5m a year right there. We also see Yorkshire Radio (going on memory here) taking something like 2m that then disappears from the books by the looks of it? It might’ve only been a few hundred thou, but I remember a few million disappears into smaller companies like YR and the Pav either way… Leeds United has been a financial black hole under Ken Bates. Make no mistake, we should be in the PL! Simon Grayson should’ve been backed when his 7th placed squad showed flashes of table topping ability, I think Ken even half-admitted he thought we could do it on the cheap in passing? It doesn’t matter where it goes, the fact is we could find 6-7m a year that has gone to various less important aspects of the club. Oversimplifying, the fans could get more money spent on the team AND the investors could take a sneaky cut… Let’s not forget the crowds we’ll attract if we look like serious contenders. Sorry if that came off as a lecture, it wasn’t my intention! —————— mrbigwheels I for one feel better for reading your thoughts Tim. Logical and calmly sobering. Bates’ rantage… if there is such a word, at the weekend provokes and raises once again such division in the fan base, hopes for some and deeper anger for others. Important to not lose sight of the real truth of the past but the future is the only element that will eventually determine what length of time Bates has with LUFC. Bates is clearly ‘rattled’ by LUST, YEP. blog activity, the threat of noisy disruption around ER and financial boycott. I think the fans will have some input as to what happens at Leeds and Bates reign but there will be very little influence from us ‘idiots’ in who Bates sells some of Leeds to. What concerns me is the smokescreen Bates has just thrown up on the TO and pretty soon a new story will appear. I’m convinced the men in shades and scarves are just his ‘suits’ and see no reason for them being seen at ER other than to bolster his ruse of where any investment is coming from. They’re his men in other words trying to flog investment in the club for him. . henrymouni Good points Tim. There is SO much we do not know about the spiders web that KB has woven. The target for anyone buying the club is strengthening the squad: Promotion: Buying back the ground and Thorpe Arch (in time): Winning over the fans. My worry is that KB is going nowhere. He is fooling the new buyers into thinking he is a good chairman, with an intimate knowledge of the game. He is constantly pointing out that there is a moronic minority, who are doing their best to disrupt the club. If he stays on as Chairman, it will spoil everything. He will have won again. TimPM Do we know what the position is with the takeover for certain? Personally I’ve always said all we need is 2-4m for Neil to use and from then on just focus on putting max turnover into the squad to get us to Prem. But do we even know if that’s the situation? We’ve heard a lot this summer not least that GFHC are the middle-men. —————— TimPM “an overseas fan” wrote: “Actually ken bates stated a lot of things that are probably not that far off the truth but you guys seem to be too interested in your own personal agendas to notice. I only found this website a few months ago and although there have been some very interesting articles you have lost a lot of credibility in my opinion. When you slag off KB you should take a hard look in the mirror because there are similarities. Another point. Why don’t you and your 8 000 members do the right thing and buy the club. That way you can actually do all the things you talk about.” ================================ Sorry about that OSF, we just switched the Disqus commenting system last month and yours was only the second comment I’ve seen flagged spam. Can’t log onto the main admin system to unflag your post and the site owner’s away for a while. TimPM 1) How do you mean “me and my 8,000 members?” We are not the Supporters Trust, I don’t actually know if the site founder is even a member (let alone the several other writers), we are simply covering the news; if the club’s chairman decides he wants to go on a rant about one of the country’s largest independent supporters’ groups you can’t really blame us for covering this? 2) I would also argue it’s fair comment – Bates’ rant was utterly bizarre given one moment he was trying to update fans and trying to justify the delay, next minute he’s laying into The Kop, LUST, the YEP’s lead sports writer. It wasn’t just expressing disapproval of the Trust, it was wild flailing criticism of even some of the most hardcore rain-sleet-and-snow fans. The Kop have myriad opinions, it can’t respond to the blanket criticism, Phil Hay didn’t respond, but the L.U.S.T. did. It’s newsworthy stuff in the world of Leeds United. I’m sorry if you disagree with our coverage. Personally, a lot of what he said I didn’t find particularly interesting. The fact that Simon Grayson’s squad of youngsters who are now playing top flight football elsewhere after leaving for a pittance managed to match Premier League teams isn’t really news! It’s also a memory unlikely to elicit anything other than rage against Bates’ “strategy” from fans. I’m happy to hear constructive criticism though, and I’ll consider covering those speeches that grab my attention in more detail. For note, The Square Ball have been covering Bates’ interviews in more depth for ages so we don’t feel the need to, they also edited through much of what he said – this wasn’t just us and “our agenda!” http://www.thesquareball.net/what-ken-said/2012/09/22/leeds-united-takeover-ken-bates/ P..S It would be fantastic for fans to own the club; as Bates once said: “there’s no money in Yorkshire”! The “pub gossip” I’ve heard is that the kind of money on the table is £50m give or take. I’m not sure all LUST’s members would agree to commit money to purchase the club, and I can personally guarantee you not all of them have the £6-7,000 that would be required! TimPM P.P.S. He also mentioned how greater regulation of banks would’ve stopped them getting in this “mess” in the first place. I agree (albeit it’s not something I’d fill a footy blog with, despite the frequent temptation!) mrbigwheels What a fantastic football match… in the rain. 21164 less 5000 Evertonians = c16000 non boycotting fans. Great teamwork with EHD involved in everything. Lets hope we get some American dollars flowing in soon and a few loanees to keep everything on the boil. Well done to Warnock and his men. We deserved to win that one. Mike N. Still months to go? http://www.ameinfo.com/gfh-capital-talks-takeover-leeds-united-312875?