Whilst searching for anything remotely interesting on Yeovil Town ahead of our League One encounter this weekend, I came across a site called Ciderspace. The site has an extremely well researched brief history of our club going all the way back to the days of Leeds City.

Credit where it’s due, the site’s author definitely did his homework. However, I did get the impression we won’t be on their Christmas card list;

Those who have followed the fortunes of Leeds United over the last couple of years or so, would raise a wry smile at knowing that Leeds United were formed in 1919 after their predecessors (Leeds City) were folded amidst a row with the Football League over financial misdemeanours. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

For those that don’t know the beginnings of Leeds United, this is entirely true. He does neglect to mention that the financial misdemeanours were over alledgedly paying our players during the war – hardly the stuff of pure evil, is it? And to my knowledge, this was never proven, but even in the early 1900’s the Football League didn’t seem to be big fans of ours.

After skimming through the glory years of Revie, our resurrection under Howard Wilkinson and the ‘living the dream’ era, we come to the most recent administration;

Not that this [the administration shambles] appears to have done Leeds too much harm. They’d junked the best part of the 35 million quids worth of debts and Bates stated that the club was as good as debt-free – exactly as Blackwell had predicted – making them now probably the richest club in League One. The punishment given out by the Football League also had a welcome side-effect for Bates – it got the fans off his back and onto that of the authorities. That 15 points deduction now looks like a bargain.

He makes a good point. One we’re all too aware of. Upon Bates arrival the majority of fans weren’t impressed. The -15 season brought us all together, with the ‘backs against the wall’ mentality that led us so close to achieving promotion at the first attempt, despite the obvious handicap.

Bates led the charge against the evil powers of the Football League, whilst many overlooked the fact that it was the tactics himself and KPMG used during the takeover that led to the deduction. Many forget that during and after the takeover, there was several parties unhappy at not being given a fair chance to bid for the club. Still can’t help wonder if we’d have been better off with one of them.

After Donny ‘urinate all over our parade’ we come to the appointment of Grayson;

Leeds, being Leeds, illegally approached and poached Simon Grayson from Blackpool. Why should they care? They finished fourth this time around, but didn’t even get to Wembley, Millwall putting them out of the play-offs at the semi-final stages.

‘Leeds, being Leeds?’ He makes it sound as though we’ve illegally approached anyone we had a slight interest in, when the truth is, this is very uncommon at Leeds. I don’t doubt we’ve been guilty of it as much as most clubs, but we’re hardly up there with the likes of Chelsea and Man United.

Can’t argue too much with the next bit though;

Another day, another season, but still the investigations into Bates rumble on. The net seems to be closing. No longer is he treated by the media as a bluff shooter from the hip – ‘Oh, that’s just Ken being Ken again’. The dark side of Bates is emerging. Everyone knows the man is a dissembling liar, tax dodger and bully, but can what most suspect be proven: that he’s a crook as well? Football, long the home of charlatans, shysters, fantasists and outright criminals, is beginning to change – if painfully slowly. Will Bates decide to retire to his Monaco tax haven before he’s brought down, or will he again wriggle through that net? Whichever, at least there’s one positive: at his age he can’t be much longer in the game, and football will be, by a small degree, a better place when Bates is gone for good.

I might have misinterpreted this, but the final part seems to suggest we’d all be better off with Bates dead. I’d be jumping for joy if he sold the club and left us in peace, but to wish him dead is a little extreme at best.

I used to get frustrated by the dislike aimed at us from all these League One clubs we have no history against, but have learnt to laugh it off these days. Being disliked is hardly something foreign to us afterall.

The annoyance usually stemmed from the fact that people disliked us for the Revie years. They had a misconception of the team being cheats and thugs. People rarely mention how brilliant that team were and how skillful the players were. They were uncompromising. There’s no escaping that, but you had to be back then. Chelsea were exactly the same, as were a lot of teams, but Leeds are the ones people remember, because we were the outsiders and people hated our success.

These days however, we’re disliked for an entirely new reason. Ken Bates’ lack of people skills and unique business dealings continue to attract bad press. There’s not many people Ken hasn’t annoyed at some point along the way. In one sense, Leeds United are strong because ‘everyone hates us and we don’t care‘ – It’s the backs to the wall mentality that drives us forward. However, i’d much rather be hated for our success than bad publicity.

Let’s hope Simon Grayson’s side can replicate the 4-0 hammering we gave them last year at Elland Road and give them real reason to hold a grudge.

16 Responses

  1. Grumpy Older Man

    The poaching point is an interesting one, it suits the “In Larry we trust” mentality to focus on the fact he is a Leeds fan rather than remember he walked out on a contract. In terms of our history we took the following managers off other clubs: Wise, Wilkinson, Armfield, Adamson, Stein (although he was general manager by then), Bremner and Clarke. Whilst that isn’t a definitive guilty its a significant number for anyone whose footballing history streches back beyond Millenium night.

    As for getting rid of Bates, by any means possible.

    • TSS

      They weren’t illegally poached though, were they? I’m pretty sure we were either given permission to speak to them or there was no rule preventing it at the time.

  2. Lord Woof of Barking

    I am certain that the exit wished upon Ken is retirement from football, not from oxygen. Having followed comments on the above site for many years, I am positive that is the correct assessment.

    Another Yeovil unofficial site, Pride of Somerset,the ‘Old Dodger’ he is affectionately (of course) referred to, also see ‘Indebted to the Debtors’ and ‘Enough To Make a Parson Cuss’.

    Leeds are not universally hated – Mr. Bates attracts news, that is the bottom line.

    • Lord Woof of Barking

      Sorry – part of the above didn’t come out for some reason – Pride of Somerset articles with reference to Ken/Leeds are in the blog section.

  3. TSS

    “It is not Leeds’s fault (neither am I making an issue here of foreign players), but another staring-in -the-face irony is that Leeds has been naughty in recent times and caught out, Yeovil Town has followed and continues to follow a righteous financial path. The Leeds Chairman is a career huffer and puffer at all things that annoy irrespective of justice and evidence; the Yeovil Chairman remains dignified, both respects and is respected.”

    One of the points I tried to raise was that Bates does us no favours and it’s hard to argue with any of that.

  4. Badger (YTFC)

    I’m not the author of the above article but I am one of the site administrators. The author is offline for a couple of days, but it’s probably safe to say that he’d be happy to see Bates out of football as the priority, rather than in his grave – just in case any of Mr Bates or his cohorts start saying “I’ve received death threats on the internet” …

    In terms of why do many League One fans who have no prior ‘history’ with Leeds dislike them? I suspect that for 95% of them, Don Revie won’t come into it at all. For me, I was too young to recall any of the Revie era. No, I suspect for the majority, everything comes around to Bates, Bates and Bates and not down to size of club or previous successes. I’m sure everyone wants to do over Norwich, Charlton, Saints that little bit more than your bulk standard League One team, so there’s probably a little bit of that, but I suspect that if you didn’t have Bates at the helm that you’d be bundled in with the above three clubs rather than specifically singled out. In short, people in football don’t like the idea of individuals doing things by methods that they see as being unscrupulous or unfair, or below the belt, or where there appears to be a hidden agenda. That’s why the Guardian’s David Conn makes a career out of trying to expose Astor/Forward’s ownership and why the whole administration phase is regarded with suspicion. We’re aware that many Leeds fans share those views. If that innuendo wasn’t there, it wouldn’t attract the attention and the controversy that it does. Anyway, see you all on Saturday, and no another 4-0 will not be what we want! :)

    • TSS

      Hi Badger, thanks for clearing that up. I guess Dennis Wise didn’t help our cause either. We were recently voted the most hated club in football despite our demise, which says it all really. I think most Leeds fans have grown used to it, but some teams continue to suprise me.

      All the best for Saturday. Bet your hoping to keep Jermaine quiet after the hattrick last year!

    • Yorkshrman

      Sorry, Badger, I think you’re completely wrong on this. The contemporary “Dirty Leeds” thing predates Bates by several years ….. there was a great rejoicing from Premiership fans when we were relegated from the Prem, and much of the attitude we now see from L1 fans was there in the early Championship days – again, before Bates had any involvement with the club.

      Although the “Dirty Leeds” tag dates back to the Revie days, if anyone’s to blame for resurrecting it, it’s probably the idiot Lovejoy, from his days on Soccer AM. Personally, I suspect that the majority of L1 fans couldn’t give a toss about Bates being owner of Leeds ……

  5. Terry

    With regard to Grayson, I would refute that we approached him illegally. We asked permission to speak to him and were refused. The Blackpool chairman made the approach public, NOT us, and then Grayson resigned as he felt agrieved that he had not been allowed to at least speak to us. He was then a free agent, so we spoke to him and agreed terms then signed him. Once the Blackpool chairman got over his hissy fit we then talked to him and agreed compensation, though I would suggest that under the circumstances there was no need for us to do that.
    I’m no Bates fan, far from it, but on this occasion he did the right thing. (Always a first time I suppose!)

  6. David

    I’m not at all sure that the majority of football fans really hate us, I think it’s a vocal minority-somewhat like those Leeds fans that go on and on about hating Man Utd. I’m always a bit suspicious about people who seem to want to say more about what they hate rather than what they love. Whilst I accpet the comments made by Badger (YTFC) above, I can’t understand why the supporter of any football club would want to use their website slag off another team rather than look to support their own. I too used to get annoyed when we get voted ‘most hated club’ etc but in the end the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about etc etc. I suspect that most Yeovil fans think that they are about as likely to come away with a result from Elland Road as they are to win the FA cup, and those comments are driven by that frustration. So, come on lads, stick another 4 past this lot, onwards and upwards!

  7. Kernow

    Just wanted to pick up on what GOM said on the topic of poaching. In this age there isn’t a pool of quality managers, waiting around, unemployed – looking for jobs. Hence, managers will always be leaving one club for another – often with some acrimony. As we’ve seen recently, Rotherham’s loss has become Barnsley’s gain. We lost out on Martin O’Neill when Leicester refused him permission to talk to us. Maybe we could have used more underhand tactics in that position, but we didn’t. I think the fact that many of our managers were in employment before joining us is merely the norm these days, and not a sign of any trend at Leeds.

    • TSS

      Completely agree. That’s what I meant in the post by we’ve been no more guilty of it than other clubs. I guess some clubs are always on the receiving end whilst some pretty much always benefit – like us, but that’s hardly reason to single us out.


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