The Guardian have been banned from Elland Road for their coverage of the ownership saga surrounding the club.

Just hours before the Norwich and Leeds United game kicked off at Elland Road, the Guardian were informed that none of their reporters would be allowed inside the stadium to cover the game, after David Conn wrote about the ownership issues at the club – Issues that were widely reported throughout the national media and common knowledge to all our supporters.

I guess writing this probably leaves me in threat of being banned from Elland Road myself as the Bates regime/PR fiasco continues it’s dictator-like reign of destruction, but I have always read the Guardian and enjoy their coverage. Already we’re set to lose another of my favourite newspapers, the Independent, so with the Guardian now banned, that leaves the red-topped myth-makers and their “reliable sources” alongside the borderline racist, Daily Mail, which I have less respect for than Ken Bates.

I guess the dream for the Ken Bates run Leeds United is for newspapers to only report what Leeds United tell them they can or, better still, for them to just print whatever Ken Bates tells them to. You see, the problem with this Ken is that in this free country we live, we can all express whatever opinions we like. Indeed, you do so on a regular basis by using Radio Bates and the matchday programme to tell us all about your latest gripes and defend your extortionate pricing policy. If you want to be able to speak your mind and have people take you seriously, you have to be open to critisism yourself. Lying to courts will get you in the paper. It’s naive to expect anything less! If you don’t want freedom of speech, perhaps a move to China would be beneficial? I’m sure there’s some club out there that’d be happy to “benefit” from your years of experience.

What Bates actually expects to achieve by banning a national newspaper – except personal satisfaction – is anyones guess. Afterall, this is the 21st Century where information is readily available from more and more sources every day. Is he going to ban every national newspaper that questions the ownership of Leeds United, or disagrees with something he does? If so, the positive coverage of our League One dominance will be scarce, whilst the newspapers dig deep to uncover the skeletons lerking in Bates’ closet. Another PR disaster waiting to happen.

Administration, Thorp Arch, endless bad press, court-cases, shocking prices and now this. How much more of Bates’ nonsense do we have to endure before he leaves us in peace to rise quietly back to the top?

19 Responses


    Like you I’m a long standing Guardian reader, and many many years ago used to stand in the Scratching Shed,although now it’s the West Stand .Bates banning the Guardian didn’t surprise me at all, but appealing to fans to persuade Guardian readers to switch to the Independent, Telegraph or Times?This proves he has finally lost touch with reality.
    His bullying tactics are reminiscent of those employed by worthy characters as Maxwell, Asil Nadir and Goldsmith.

  2. Craig

    Excellent article and a good point well made. It beggars belief how Ken Bates thinks banning a much respected national newspaper will add anything to his cause. I predict that he has simply succeeded in alerting one of the few investigative journalists who are left in the newspaper industry to dig, dig and dig further until the murky truth is unearthed.

  3. Yorkshrman

    This isn’t just a Leeds / Bates issue, but to me is symptomatic of increasing arrogance in football generally – founded in Ferguson’s “banning” of various media outlets from his Press Conferences, or walking out of yesterday’s PC because he was irked at being asked about his FA charge ……

    I do find Bates’ increasing (apparent) paranoia worrying, particularly in the light of the uncertainty over the ownership of the club. However many Leeds fans are agin’ him, and however loud the protests get, it’s actually incredibly difficult for the fans to actually “get rid of” a Chairman – just look at how long Doug Ellis hung on at Villa …..

    On the other hand, it’s great to finally have a “media-friendly” manager – particularly after some of the ramblings of O’Leary, Blackwell and Wise that we’ve had to put up with over the years. Grayson doesn’t seem to get carried away when we win, deosn’t lose the plot when we lose – and I’ve yet to hear him criticise a referee, however deserving they might be!

  4. West Stand Rebel

    So Uncle Ken another week another ban you are completely losing the plot.The men in white coats are coming ….should please Gary Edwards if the coats are “white”
    Before they cart him off here are ten questions he may like to address in his programme notes.
    No.1 Who owns Leeds United or it’s ultimate holding company FSF?
    No.2 What is the link between Astor Holdings and the Club ?
    No.3 Why despite assurances from you that this was a “prioity” was Thorpe Arch not bought back by the Club ?
    No.4 Why despite large cuts in the payroll over the last few seasons can we not afford to buy any new players Leigh Bromby at £250k being I believe the only exception?
    No.5 Where has the money received from the sales of players eg Delph for £6m gone? The total I believe is now nearly £15m.

    No6 Who is paying for the abortive court case against Levi? The bill we are told runs to £1.5m plus your fine of £50k.
    No.7 Why was Michal Taylor’s firm paid £476000 to June 2008 ?
    No. 8 Where does the TV and Radio monies end up ?
    NO. 9 Why is it necessary to have 3 companies i.e. LUFC ltd Leeds City Holdings Ltd and FSF Ltd (Cayman Islands ) running the one Club?
    NO. 10 Why do you insist on charging ridiculous premier league prices for third division football and thus keeping half the ground empty?

  5. TBG

    Great article, TSS. Bates is all about control. He was self-publishing forty years ago at Oldham Athletic and repeated the trick at Chelsea, where the Members Club (as we know it) was conceived and the Yorkshire Radio equipment came from.

    It’s when the pressure’s on that all this earns its keep; when their prolongued silence on key matters is finally broken by a distant voice on a Monaco veranda.

    The Members Club is routinely used to demonstrate support for his methods, yet many thousands of members think nothing of the sort, for they’re in it out of necessity.

    So, Bates has joined the dots, but not all the dots. There is another pattern, which sites like ours can help connect. And it’s for this reason that I fear you’re right to suppose that the next in the firing line from m’learned friends might well be fans themselves – but we shall maintain.

  6. West Stand Rebel

    Quite correct TBG.Season ticket holders are automatically members ..they have no choice. Members like my son who cannot afford to go to every home match pay for the card so they can pick and choose their matches eg Charlton & Liverpool. This is not because they have any affinity with Bates’s scheme.
    I am also waiting for my cover to be blown so Ken can have me escorted unceremoniously from the ground, like Levi’s son. Bully’s who have lost the argument often resort to these tactics. Maxwell was famous for it.
    I suspect that is why local news reporters say nothing about the scandals he is involved in.

    • TBG

      I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to you to learn that Bates considered Maxwell a “great man”.

      The recent lack of gumption shown by the YEP over Thorp Arch was a particularly poor show on their part. They often found themselves hours, even days behind blogs – and it’s not hard to surmise why. Nor is it difficult to see the true value of the Members Club’s database to a bunch of control freaks.

      • TSS

        Agree that it’s frustrating to see the local paper so diplomatic towards Leeds United. I guess they understand the value of access to the club – in terms of selling copies – and tread carefully to avoid conflict.

        The thing that really puzzles me with The Guardian is that they haven’t really unearthed anything we didn’t already know. Maybe they’ve put it out to a wider audience than before, but if they didn’t someone else would have. The ban is totally ludicrous and unjustifiable. As someone pointed out earlier, it’s making Bates look continually more paranoid which is making me extremely concerned.

      • TBG

        It’s the same story with most local papers. They have to sing for their supper when it comes to the local football club, but to completely ignore certain developments just makes them look foolish.

        The thing about the Guardian ban is all it does is prevent their hacks accessing the press box. It doesn’t stop them attending matches (which they seldom do anyway), and it certainly doesn’t put an end to David Conn’s conveyance of facts.

        The Admatch case has been running for over two years, during which time Bates and Taylor have each had to file affidavits in the wake of “mistakes”. Who knows where it’ll lead to next.

  7. JGD

    Excellent series of posts and points. It depresses, angers and frustrates me that tinpot demagogues seem to think that they can ride roughshod over the wishes of those who have a true emotional tie to the club. Bates history is littered with examples of bullying, conniving, underhand behaviour and criminal disregard for the law. I for one will be happy when he’s gone and forgotten.


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