ken-batesOllie Harden shares his thoughts on what has been an interesting few days for Leeds United. 

It wasn’t the white smoke we expected to be endlessly dispersed from the Elland Road rooftop on July 1st 2013.

Nor was it a mist, a fog, a smog.

It all seemed far too anti-climactic, after eight years of waiting with evaporating patience, to be genuine.

We were instead left to survey the scene: Overcast skies smothering a suffocating sun.

Indeed, there were those glorious occasions when the ball of light would break free, illuminating the four walls of the arena, yet it would always be veiled once more by the frustratingly predictable curtain of confusion, with slight speckles of rain whirling in conjunction with an inconsistent breeze acting as a prologue to the sharpest of showers.

It was a setting reflective of the near decade-long tenure of Kenneth William Bates as chairman of Leeds United.

As the sun rose over the Yorkshire skyline on Monday, as Bates scurried to the White House to begin his term as President, the new era was to commence.

Now a distant memory are the matchday programme notes that would ever-so deeply offend Kevin Wilson, the Grand Master of the Ferrets at the Yorkshire Federation of Ferret Wrestlers and supporters of the Chinese Olympians of 2012, as well as the bizarre claims that his clumsy fondling of the club’s bare bits is ‘a bit like sex’.

The rearranging of Elland Road – those hospitality units, the defacing of the East Stand and the flipping of the away seating area – had overnight been reduced to a set of scars, mere reminders of the moment that had seemingly changed your life forever.

And those proclamations that he is and will forever remain the saviour of Leeds United Football Club, as if in expectance of being granted the freedom of the city before being paraded through it? Rejoice!

The excitement surrounding the departure (of sorts) of Bates and the promotion of Salah Nooruddin does not, of course, come without a purifying sense of rebirth and renewed (perhaps daunting) expectations.

The reported attempt of Nooruddin to gain a place in the club’s academy for the 18-year-old son of a business associate was a move not even matched in the Farce Department by the Venky’s of Blackburn Rovers in their turbulent three-year spell at Ewood Park.

Meanwhile, Salem Patel, the media darling who controlled PR affairs with such elegance and assurance alongside new ‘managing director’, social media manager, charity mountain climber and club scarf wearer David Haigh upon the formal confirmation of GFH Capital’s arrival in December, has seemingly vanished from the very face of the planet since appearing in the Sakhir paddock for April’s Bahrain Grand Prix in a Leeds home shirt, performing his best impersonation of Queens Park Rangers owner-come-mascot Tony Fernandes.

The confusion, regrettably, fails to stop there, with the club’s first ‘seven-figure’ – seven-figure! – signing since 2005, Crewe Alexandra captain Luke Murphy, confirmed only a matter of days after manager Brian McDermott was informed that he would have to ‘wheel and deal’ by the board to have any chance of meeting his targets this summer.

That McDermott opted to secure the capture of the highly-rated Murphy, who also attracted the interest of the Venky’s latest puppet, rather than to finally finalise a deal to sign Noel Hunt, his partner in crime at former club Reading, may suggest that the 52-year-old, due to a lack of considerable funds, will be forced into a summer of persuading his Berkshire allies to join him at Elland Road – mirroring his predecessor Neil Warnock’s fishing for ex-Sheffield United flames 12 months ago.

The thought of Dave Kitson and Ian Harte (for all his sentimental value) posing with Leeds shirts at Thorp Arch in the coming weeks, however, means Nooruddin & Co. must support the almost contagious enthusiasm of their manager and align with the ultra-professional operation he quite clearly yearns to implement.

So, Salem, Salah and Dave, leave the scarves and the cheesy grins at home. Don’t befriend Sebastian Vettel or Jenson Button on the grid with the Leeds crest on your chest – they hate football, anyway.

Don’t let the temptation of a quick pint in The Peacock keep you from the directors’ box inherited from Ken. And please, don’t sing Marching on Together from the Revie End.

It never worked for Mike Ashley.

And as the sun broke through those bars of cloud outside Elland Road following that sharp, late morning shower, glinting off the wet concrete, it became clear that the statue of Billy Bremner was the only thing to have remained still, stable and tranquil over the last eight years of Leeds United’s history.

It’s time to change.

The King is dead. Long live the Three Wise Men.

  • bdwhite

    elephant in the room of ken owning ER and TA???

  • NottsWhite

    Without getting carried away we need to embrace the positive moves by the board. Reduction in season ticket prices, recruitment of a senisble manager who can take this club to the next level, removal of the incompetent Shaun Harvey, investment in players with potential. The statement from Nooruddin did state that BMcD would be supported and so far he has, I would not begrudge them asking for the manager to generate some funds by moving out players who will not figure in his plans i.e. Brown, Pugh et al, as it appears that he will be allowed to spend that money. Only time will tell if this transfer window is a success i.e. Not cashing in on Byram. However there is plenty to be positive about and we should repay those actions by filling ER to support the team

    • TSS

      I’m not totally against Byram’s sale, just depends on the circumstances (big enough sum and money reinvested, it makes sense).

      And I agree, it’s entirely fair to ask McDermott to clear some of the squad before making too big a splash in the transfer market, we have a dozen midfielders now! Most of them are CM’s too.

      • NottsWhite

        Fair point TSS. The sale of Byram for the right money could provide funds to significantly strengthen the squad. I have been too used to our club “giving” our assets away or not investing the proceeds back into the squad.

      • Chareose

        Yeah thats the one thing I dont agree with you about….:o) And you dont seem to take in anyones arguments against it….???
        1/ Selling Byram would need to be justified by having good quality players coming in and even then its a gamble because BYRAM is a success, theres no guarentee new players will be…
        2/ Selling Byram is short termism….the type of thinking we need to move away from as a club…….yes lets sell a player with massive potential only to find that ;
        A/ When we are in the Prem we decide we need similar quality and jack out millions to get a player with half the potential and double the age
        B/ That Byram’s price doubles after successful seasons in the Prem….
        3/ Then theres the psychology…. selling our most talented youngster at this time could flattten the momentum created by the purchase of Murphy and the development of our youth team……This is more important than you think….
        Byram should only be sold as a last resort and it is a gamble…a complicated gamble that should be avoided. Its down to BMC, he will have to judge his chess peices….

        • TSS

          Sorry, I thought the argument against his sale was self-evident. (ie. he’s by the best player in the team, such a quality player could spend his entire career at the club no matter what level we’re playing at, it’s short-termist etc..)

          Basically what you said.

          It’s not that I don’t see the negatives, I just didn’t think that the point needed to be outlined. I don’t think there’s a right and a wrong answer to be honest with you because it depends on the circumstances, but I think both outcomes could have benefits.

          Ultimately though, if we have money to invest into this squad without selling Byram then it becomes a moot point. Of course we should keep him if that’s the case.

          • Chareose

            Its not self evident when so many fans beleive international quality Right backs grow on trees, how many times have i heard “yeah sell him for 8 million and we will get better players in” …for me theres more arguments against selling him than for.
            Your comment “im not totally against Byrams sale” is the reason for my response…..

          • TSS

            Fair enough – though “not totally against” also suggests I’m not totally for it.

            Like I said, it comes down to circumstances. If we have no money to spend whatsoever, and we have to sell to buy, then there’s little point being exceptionally strong in one position and useless everywhere else.

      • Morcar’s Hill

        How can you be “totally” against such a sale and then follow it up with circumstances where “it makes sense”?

        • TSS

          LOL. No worries.

  • Miseralist lives

    Kitson has signed for Oxford, Harte for Bournemouth, please keep up. Not so much an article on Leeds more an attempt by OH to show his impressive writing talent and that is no bad thing so long as he understands expressing a firm reasoned opinion withapoint is a blog prerequite and i’m struggling to find it in this contribution.

  • Dean

    I am not sure if this is an attempt to remove the upward spiral of the roller coaster before we reach the summit or just lazy journalism? I guess whatever you write, accusations could fly from all sides re positivity or negativity.

    I would like to see a push for a rush of season ticket sales, merchandise that would be a clear signal of our support of GFH when they get things right. Yesterday was a very positive day. The next couple of weeks might prove frustrating as the dead wood is removed. Expect Rowe to follow in by end of July. Actual talent blended with experience will make next season very easy to watch.

  • Wapper

    Way too wordy clap trap. Some lazy journalism too. You seem to be way behind the times with some facts. Maybe you should go & do a course in Journalism.

  • Irving08

    I like most of the feature articles on here, but this is an exception: it is wordy, boring and literally pointless.
    Oliver, son, get yourself a good sub editor asap. Better, read The Mirror’s sports writers. Steer well clear of James Lawton and the Indy’s other windy wordsmiths.

  • Boner

    “The reported attempt of Nooruddin to gain a place in the club’s academy
    for the 18-year-old son of a business associate was a move not even
    matched in the Farce Department by the Venky’s of Blackburn Rovers in
    their turbulent three-year spell at Ewood Park.”

    Actually, see “Myles Anderson”