Plymouth Argyle fans should pray for relegation following reports that Ken Bates could be lining up a takeover of the club, but only if the Pilgrims manage to avoid relegation from League Two this season.
The outspoken 81-year old ended his 8 year tyranny at Elland Road in December when he sold the club to GFH Capital. While he remains Chairman of the Whites until the end of the current season, his involvement seems to be almost non-existent. With no outlet for his tiresome, libellous rants, it’s no surprise Ken Bates is looking at other clubs. Such extraordinary levels of narcissism need to be fed somehow.
So what can Plymouth Argyle fans expect from a Ken Bates owned football club? Severely hiked ticket prices will probably be the first move, but don’t get too hung up on those, they’ll be the least of your worries.
The alarm bells should really start ringing when Ken decides to redevelop the stadium you’ll no longer be able to fill due to the aforementioned prices he charges for entry. Fear not though, for those balls of tumbleweed cascading over empty terraces will provide a serene and beautiful setting for the best executive boxes in League Two (that you also won’t be able to fill).
Are you short of pre-match watering holes in which you can get suitably intoxicated before the game? No? Neither were we, but a Ken Bates football club will provide you with extra ones all the same. They cost a few quid to build and will invariably lose money, but don’t worry, once you’ve signed up for Ken Bates’ membership scheme – for a “small” charge, naturally – you’ll be able to avoid the riff-raff and queue for a more expensive pint in a club-owned bar.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of any Ken Bates owned football club is his communication with the fans (or “morons”, “dissidents” and “sick-pots” as he affectionately labels them). This will come via in-house club media channels, such as your very own loss-making DAB digital radio station, on which he’ll broadcast a weekly address to the nation. This is an event no Plymouth fan will want to miss, as the chairman of your football club answers pre-scripted (by Bates) questions on pressing issues such as catering bills and Police costs. If you’re a Plymouth-based lawyer, this weekly diatribe will provide you with more courtcases to contest than ambulance chasing ever will. And since Ken Bates is an outspoken fool incapable of keeping his mouth shut, he generally loses and the club coughs up the compensation. A great boost to the local economy, I’m sure you’ll agree. (See also: The chairman’s programme notes)
But what about the team I hear you cry? Well, if you have any promising young starlets who may well hold the key to promotion, they’ll be sold and replaced by has-been journeymen acquired on a free or by way of a loan deal. Ken Bates’ executive box has to be paid for somehow!
And when all the courtcases and pointless building work catches up with the club and forces you into administration, fear not, for the club will live to fight another day when a mysterious and anonymous offshore company, who just so happens to be tied up to all the debt the club owes and certainly isn’t owned by Ken Bates himself (honest!) comes to your rescue. At this point, HMRC may suspect foul play and get a little peeved by all the tax said administration managed to dodge, but they’re completely harmless. Don’t worry about them.
Good luck Plymouth. You’ll need it.