The Leeds United fans initiative ‘TenForKen’ continues to gather momentum as more flyers were handed out at the Charlton game on Saturday. Despite most fans attention being solely on achieving promotion, the flyers were received well with the majority of Leeds United fans seemingly in support of the campaign.

A press release sent to TSS, amongst others, last week read as follows;

Leeds fans demand transparency

Leeds, April 29, 2010: Leeds United fans are striking a blow to remove the cloak of secrecy that shrouds the League One club.

A group of fans, informally called the Campaign for Change, have identified ten key areas of concern along with a list of relevant questions about the direction the club is taking and are demanding answers from current chairman Ken Bates.

The issues of concern can be seen at the website and on Saturday, April 24, 12,000 leaflets with a condensed set of ten questions and 9,000 stickers were distributed among fans before the club’s 4-1 victory over MK Dons.

Such was the fan interest in the ‘tenforken’ questions at the MK Dons game, that on top of the planned 4,000 leaflets for the Charlton game, there will be a further 40,000 leaflets distributed at the Bristol Rovers game.

The ‘tenforken’ initiative came on the back of an open ‘Lorimer’s Bar’ forum with fans at Elland Road last Tuesday, where Ken Bates and his self-awarded reputation for no-nonsense straight-talking, looked a little shaky under direct questioning.

Replying to fans’ concerns on a wide range of subjects, the Monaco-based tax exile surprised some in the audience when he:

  • Confirmed that he didn’t have a clue who owned the club, saying it was ‘tough’ if disgruntled fans felt they had nowhere to take their concerns.
  • Said that in the current climate no one would lend money to football clubs, so his plans for a ‘Leeds Village’ hotel and shopping project are stalled.
  • Refused to take any responsibility for the club’s failure to re-purchase the Thorp Arch training complex (sold by the previous regime to raise funds) or the fact that, five years on, neither of his stated twin aims of ownership of Elland Road and Thorp Arch have been achieved
  • Alleged that Leeds had, as yet, received no money at all from Aston Villa for the summer sale of Fabian Delph, almost a year after the player was sold.

Questions at the meeting reflected growing discontent with a regime which has seen Leeds United at its lowest ever league position, with many questions remaining unanswered about the identity of the club’s owners, planning projects, court costs for libel cases, the status of the club’s Yorkshire Radio station, investment, pricing and priorities.

A spokesperson for the fan campaign said: “For the last ten years Leeds United fans have been kept in the dark by a succession of chairmen and owners about the state of the club. We demand greater transparency on key issues such as how the club is run and where our financial support goes – and that demand will extend not only to Ken Bates’s tenure but also to subsequent owners.”

Regardless of what people think of Ken Bates, or the other ill-fated campaigns against his leadership, you have to applaud the way in which ‘TenForKen’ is conducting itself. Unlike the now defunct LoveLeedsHateBates campaign, TenForKen has tried to approach the situation democratically and given the club every opportunity to answer the concerns of it’s fans. That’s not to say LLHB didn’t have some element of democracy, but the way in which it set itself up to be a smear campaign against Bates was always going to draw sceptics.

With so many people in support of such a campaign, it becomes hard for a club to ignore. If TenForKen can mirror the green and gold campaign of Manchester United’s fans by addressing the situation through peaceful protest without having an adverse affect on the team and management then it will continue to gather support and momentum.

The campaign does seem to have hit a nerve with the club already. Those in attendance at Elland Road for the Milton Keynes game will have no doubt noticed fans handing flyers out around the ground. The stewards outside the ground seemed keen to keep the protest as far away from the ground as possible, by moving the campaigners across the street.

If TenForKen’s efforts can somehow achieve a resolution to the animosity between the club and it’s fans then it’s something all Leeds United fans should welcome with open arms. Whether you’re in favour of Ken Bates’ leadership or not, the divide between the fans on this issue is unhealthy. All anybody is asking for is a little transparency and some honesty from the club we support. Personally, I don’t think that’s too much to ask for after so many years, so much money and so many miles supporting this club.

Those wishing to find out more about TenForKen should visit the site –