Bearded maestro

In an interview on Yorkshire Radio this morning (08/12), Ken Bates discussed everything from Johnson and Becchio’s contract negotiations, to FIFA and a new Italian Academy link for Leeds United. Here’s a breakdown of what he had to say;

Bates on Johnson

The chairman started by telling Yorkshire Radio how he doesn’t like to discuss business – which is a strange one given his rant in this weekend’s programme – but would make an exception here due to Bradley Johnson’s own comments in the press.

Bates described Bradley Johnson’s current earnings as above that of the Prime Minister (which is £140k a year I’m told) and said Leeds United had made two increased offers but the midfielder’s agent wanted a ridiculous sum of money that the club weren’t willing to match.

Bates also revealed how Bradley Johnson had missed meetings with both Shaun Harvey and Simon Grayson, and had also failed to return the chairman’s calls on two occasions. He finished by saying that it was Bradley Johnson that needed to show the club some respect, and not vice versa.

Bates on Becchio

Clearly very fond of Luciano, the chairman described our top goalscorer as a ‘nice guy’ and a ‘goalscoring machine.’ He reiterated Becchio’s own comments by saying the striker wanted to stay with Leeds United and sign a new contract before insisting that talks were ongoing.

Bates said that the language barrier was delaying progress a fair bit, by which I can only assume he means that no one can understand his own mumbling tone because Luciano seems to speak better English than the majority of footballers. (He could have been speaking about Luci’s agent mind…)

Bates on defying the weather

The chairman paid tribute to the ground staff at Elland Road for ensuring this weekend’s Championship game went ahead whilst the rest of the country were postponing matches. He said that 15 years without postponement was testament to everyone involved.

Bates on Poleon

Following his hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup last night, the chairman was asked whether Leeds United fans should be keeping an eye on Dominic Poleon. Bates said he was definitely one to look out for, and that the result showed our academy was heading in the right direction with new players joining the club every month.

Bates on Italian Academy link

Sticking with youngsters, the chairman revealed a new link between a brand new Italian Academy and Leeds United FC, that will see the club visit Italy 3-4 times a year and be granted first pick of the players.

Bates’ Christmas bonus

Asked how ticket sales were shaping up for the Christmas period, Bates revealed that Leeds have already sold 24,000 for the visits of QPR and Portsmouth. He went on to add that the club budgeted for sales of 25k at the beginning of the season with a current average of 26k.

Bates on FIFA

The chairman continued to express his disgust at FIFA following last weeks decision to hand the 2018 and 2022 World Cup’s to Russia and Qatar. He said that FIFA was heavily influenced by ‘little tinpot organisations’ and once again suggested the big European teams should break away. Bates added that change would only come as a result of a concerted effort from the new FA chairman – who he stresses should not be a politician.

24 Responses

  1. Christopher Gee

    I thought the real reason Bessone was recruited was to act as Becchio’s translator but someone gave him a pair of football boots by mistake?

    • TSS


      That would explain a few things!

      I think Becchio does struggle at times, especially when the interviewer is rushing and speaking with a broad accent, but when spoken to clearly he doesn’t seem to have any problems whatsoever. He’s easier to understand than Bates.

  2. TheReaper08

    Not enough negative stuff about Bates in the above if you ask me.

    Bates out, he is the devil.Grrrrr.(insert angry face)

  3. TheReaper08

    @TSS You certainly achieved that, I though I had logged on to the wrong site for a second.

    To be fair to the grizzly bearded one he has actually said a few sensible things lately, beginning to wonder if he hasn’t been cloned.

    • TSS


      I think I had my fair share of controversy yesterday. I’m aiming for a relaxing day today, but it’s only dinner so you shouldn’t hold your breath.

      He does make me laugh though with his way of twisting these things. Don’t get me wrong here, I won’t lose any sleep if BJ leaves, but he only responded to Ken Bates earlier dig in the programme which resulted in fans booing. Then he comes out today making out as if Johnson fired first. I don’t know why he has anything against politicians, his spinning skills could make him one.

      Bates for PM!

  4. henry vincent lewis

    Language barrier:-

    Ken: How about £2,000 a week and free dinners at Thorpe Arch?

    Lucciano: What?!!!

    Ken: £2,100 a week?

    Lucciano: What?!!!!

  5. TheReaper08

    I have to say the Lucci thing is a concern. If you truly value a player and are concerned about losing them then you find a way to get the deal done.

  6. Colin

    Not sure I like what Bates came out with about Johnson. I read the quotes from the official Leeds United website. Okay maybe Bradley’s got a bad attitude but no matter what they’ve done, I think it’s better to keep it in house. Bates doesn’t need to get into a slanging match with Johnson and I’m not sure what effect this may have on team morale.

    Maybe there won’t be any impact, but I just don’t see why Bates had to come out publicly and say that and risk it leaving a bad smell in the dressing room.

  7. saltburnwhite

    Well to be honest in the footballing world , if bates is only offering BJ £150000 a year , im not suprised hes turned it down . now i know that is alot to the like of you and me , but for a footballer it really is pittance ….its good league 1 wages . £150000 a year divided by 12 is approx £12000 a month , or £3100 a week. How is bradders going to fund his lavish home boy lifestyle with that amount a week?? before tax aswell id imagine .
    To be honest its good money , he should sign but i reckon if we can get £1million for him were better off doing that or swap him with O’brien.
    Anyway if bates is working on these kind of wages i hate to think what hes offered luciano …even 5k a week doesnt sound great from his point of view now does it? and that would be almost double what hes offered johnson……im beginning to think this isnt going to turn out great!

    • timm

      @saltburnwhite Where did you hear that? I didn’t know it was public knowledge? I’d have thought he’d be offered somewhere around 10k a week? They should offer Becchio a minimum of 15k a week.

  8. Chris from Wakey

    Unfortunately Uncle Ken always seems to be angry about something – which he probably is – but he could maybe do with some spin coaching from someone like Cliff Richard!

    It’s true though that much of what Mr Bates says makes sense and his plans to use the whole stadium facilities for more than just football is a good one – after all football clubs are businesses and as such have to consider other ways of making money. I keep saying this but nowadays we can go to Elland Road pretty confident that the club will still be there for the next game wheras Publicity Petes “living the dream” was just that and as fans there’s been a high price in terms of dreadful football and an almost empty stadium since the glory days in the Champions League. I’m all for a bit of caution and staying within budgets even if this means it takes a bit longer to get back to the Premiership.

    The down side to Uncle Ken is that he shows a very marked reluctance to give any ground and consequently us lot – the fans – are sweating that Bechio will go when it’s a plain as a pikestaff he’s the sort of player we should really be hanging onto. The rumoured swap of Bradley Johnson for Andy O’Brien isn’t a bad idea – with a bit of cash as well of course – and we really should be aiming for a smaller squad with better players now rather than loads of mediocre players who spend their time warming the bench.

    Perhaps we need a January sale.

  9. Jason Hardcastle

    Tbh with you i dont like Bates as much as the next man but some of the rants he goes on are simply golden you can always be assured that as long as Bates is here we wont be going much longer than a couple of days without contorversy. If he decides to sell the club to a nice rich man with leeds interests at heart i would love him to stay on as spokesperson of LUFC just so i could hear his total codswallop that flies from his mouth each week!

  10. carl pearson

    has there ever been a popular chairman at leeds? e.r is a hell of a lot healthier with bates like him or not.
    And he is right with his stance on players tail does not wag the dog, this lot are so priveliged to play for our club if they dont like whats on offer then go whoever they are and no matter how good they think they are.
    And i do not buy into the who earns what and tax on wages total crap does anyone truely believe these lads do not get bonus after bonus thrown at them every appearance, every goal,league position,maybe a car thrown in and more these lads get looked after that tax is more than made up to them they earn a damn good living at our club but if they are not happy shut door on way out.
    We have had the big time charlies on the big wages and look where it got us in the end.

    • louis finn

      I totally agree, keep the tightwad on as minister of information. Personally im looking forward to this years end of season party and Uncle Kens’ classic speeches. Expect a “two-bob club” and a “tin-pot outfit” thrown in there somewhere!! Come on lads a top six finish would be fantastic, and i wouldnt be too depressed if we lost in the play-offs this time round!!

  11. saltburnwhite

    @timm bates alledgedly said that they offered johnson a contract above what the prime minister earns which is a reputed £140k a year so as kenneth has used the prime ministers wages as a yard stick i think we can assume that it isnt much more or less which is why ive guesstimated at £150k a year.
    and i think 15k a week for becchio is too much at this level , we dont want to be going back down the same route…..weve been down that road before !
    id say our max wage a week for a gem should be 10k . with add ons etc . i do absoloutly worship becchio though so id make an exeption like you say , but you give one , then they all want it .
    you can see kenneths point if we paid 16 first team players in our squad a flat 5k a week it would amount to a yearly wage budget of nearly 4 million a year!
    16 players on a flat £3k a week like bradders , still amounts to approx £2.3million a year , alot of money i think you will agree .
    so 3k a week for bradders is probably a first team players wage at leeds …so he should sign and i dont blame kenneth for not offering better terms….im rambling now!

  12. Chareose

    kens not stupid, he chooses his targets for a reason….. i think we all know the johnson saga wont be quite as straight forward as ken has made it out to be…… That said i dont rate johnson at all and hes not work a wage increase. Send him to Everton please….

  13. Colin

    If I was Bradley Johnson and I got offered £3k a week, I would throw the contract back in Bates’ face.

    Let’s get real, the average wage for a half decent Championship team must be AT LEAST £15k a week.

    Alan Smith is on £60k a week and some fans were saying we should get him back!

    Leeds have most of their players on high end 3rd division/low end Championship money. It’s a dangerous game to start saying that Becchio can’t get £15k a week, because if we want to impose a wage cap at let’s say £15k, then there is absolutely no chance you’re keeping Snodgrass or Howson, because they are easily £20k+ a week players.

    And that’s why it’s stupid in my opinion for Bates to pluck stats out like the PM’s wage, because the simple fact is that Wayne Rooney earns more than the PM’s yearly wage in a week. Lampard and Terry are on £125k a week at Chelsea. Crazy money, yes, but that’s modern football.

    If Bates has an issue with players wages then he should have come out and had a pop at the likes of Rooney, Lampard and Terry on over £100k a week, but he didn’t. He had a pop at a player who’s probably trying to get £10k a week.

  14. Dan mightywhite

    Have the players wages increased at all since we got promoted i wonder? And say we wer to get to prem… Would they get an increase then? I think bates needs to loosen purse strings on wage bill, money talks n if u pay peanuts, youll get monkeys

  15. KNick

    Hopefully the reason Leeds aren’t overly concerned with Bradders not signing a new contract is that they know that even if we don’t get promoted this year, he’s still simply not good enough in this league to drive us forward.

    They’re going to be replacing him anyway so what’s the point in renewing his contract, buying (or taking on a free ) a new player in jan/summer and then having the extra expenditure of two wages. He’ll be the next Bromby sitting around the training ground, playing a few reserve games and taking the clubs money…

  16. louis finn

    I dont think Santa would be stupid enough to let Luciano slip through his wallet-clutching fingers, the boys a superstar. I was kacking meself about where the goals would come from this season, but i need’nt have bothered. My only worry is we dont get promoted and some lower ranked prem teams start taking an interest. Did anyone


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