Self-proclaimed "saviour" of LUFC

Highlights of an interview with Ken Bates before the Hull City match (09/11)

Davide Somma

The first major topic is Davide Somma who had signed a new three year contract that day. Fans had been expressing concerns about the length of time remaining on his previous deal, fearing a repeat of the saga that saw Jermaine Beckford join Everton for free.

Bates denies there was ever a possibility of him leaving and says the only reason the contract talks had taken so long was complications caused by agents working on both sides of the Atlantic.

Bates explains that the South African was signed to an American agency following his time in the USA and that when they wanted to negotiate a new deal, the American agency had to appoint a British agent to sit down with the club. Basically, it sounds like the two agencies have been sending carrier pigeons between themselves across the Atlantic so the deal took a little longer than Leeds would have liked.

Ken Bates said Davide was very eager to extend his stay at Elland Road, reaffirming the South African’s own words on the official site that he was delighted to be playing in the Leeds United first team.

Soon to be ex-Leeds players

Bates seemed uncharacteristically happy with the agents handling of Somma’s contract talks (aside from the delays), but soon reverted back to his old self when he was asked about the other players whose contracts expire in the summer.

Ken described the expectations of players agents as ‘unrealistic’ saying that some of them would be leaving Elland Road as the club are unwilling to meet their demands. Continuing with the ‘all agents are evil’ theme, Bates described them as short-termist and said they didn’t have the best intentions of the player using the Beckford saga as a prime example (although he has since scored for Everton).

Bates wasn’t pressed too much on who the individual players were, but it’s easy to speculate Bradley Johnson is one of them after he turned down a three year extension only last week.

Other pearls of wisdom…

The bearded maestro was also quizzed on Leeds United’s turbulent start to the season to which he revealed, he was very happy with our position so far especially when he considered the amount of players we’d had injured. He also said he was ‘forever baffled by football’ when asked why he thought our home form was so much worse than our away form.