New twist in Leeds United ownership saga TSS March 29, 2011 Leeds United 70 Comments The Culture, Media and Sport select committee, chaired by the Conservative John Whittingham has proposed new measures to ensure there is more transparency in football. Following Shaun Harvey’s meeting with the committee last week, The Guardian has said they were most alarmed by the “ease with which impenetrable structures can be set up” – referring to the shell companies and offshore accounts Leeds United’s ownership is hidden behind. The proposals call for football licensing laws that will consist of a much stronger fit-and-proper person’s test, regulations over debt to equity and assets and more supporter involvement. It seems the ownership of Leeds United has raised the most eyebrows here, so some of the measures implemented by the committee are likely to be aimed at untangling the web of companies who own Leeds United. Details are still a little sketchy, but time in parliament has already been scheduled for this proposal to be addressed. What is also unclear is what will happen should Leeds United’s owners be judged unsuitable for ownership of a football club within the English leagues. If – as I somewhat suspect – Ken Bates is revealed as the owner of Leeds United FC then the Chairman could face some serious charges of fraud and perjury. If he does own Leeds United then not only did he lie to a court when asked that question directly, but he also repurchased the club illegally. Not least of Ken Bates’ problems would be the Inland Revenue who were owed substantial sums of money by the previous ownership (by Ken Bates). After putting the club into administration, the debts were reduced but Ken Bates had no right to repurchase. This, some have argued, is why the club’s ownership remains such a mystery. Because it was the only way Ken Bates could remain in control of the club and wipe out the existing debts. Highly illegal, but if no one can prove you’re the owner then no one can charge you with anything either. It’s hard to determine what effect the planned measures will have on Leeds United FC, due to the lack of details currently available. It could put the current owners in an uncomfortable position forcing them to sell the club before the rules come in. Alternatively, it could just mean the owners will have to devise a new plan to keep themselves hidden as they continue on regardless. Neil H You seem pleased that leeds will be plunged back into financial uncertainty! Craig I’m not sure that’s what TSS is saying. Surely it is KB who may have to face the music, not the club. AndyBarx This fantastic institution will never fully recover until the shadow of Ken Bates is completely removed from the club forever. It doesn’t matter what the team does, it always feels to me it is despite what Bates and his goonies do, not because of it. Bring in the new rules, but let’s hope they don’t decide to punish the club if your predictions about ownership are correct (rearrange these words – CHANCE FAT!) Neil H Yeah it never effects the business if the owner is taken to court! Neil H AT least it will give those billionaires that rushed to our aid in the past to come in and make all the difference! The team will definitely be better if that happened. We might even be able to live the dream again! Clive Sanderson It’s amazing to me a Leeds supporter how many so called Leeds fans would like to see us thrown back into financial turmoil and possible ruin because of there often illogical hate of Ken Bates. If we won the Premiership title it would be in spite of Ken Bates according to them! As a person who never liked Bates before he came to Leeds I can understand the initial dislike for his regime, but a person who can think logically should be able to see some positives under his tenure instead of coming out with the emotionally based highly illogical mantra of hating Bates and his regime whatever they do. I have this impression most of these people take pleasure in self harm when they’re not going on about Bates. Jailhouse John It is not a case of hating Bates whatever he does. It is a case of being able to trust the man with my investment into the club and supporting any football club is an investment. I can accept the stabilisation he has brought with his no nonsense style. What I cannot accept is the following: – His lies. – His lack of investmnet in the on field resources despite exceeding his income targets. – His total and utter disregard for any independent fans body. – and finally the lack of clarity over the issue that this thread staretd out with. The ownership and Admin process was an enigma wrapped in intrigue and leaves my club always under this threat. AndyBarx Clive, Bates track record at Leeds says it all. The emotion comes out of the bad decisions: Relegation Adminstration Failure to buy back Thorpe Arch Failure to exit adminstration correctly – 15 points War chest available to Grayson as soon as we get into the championship. These are the ones I can think off in the last 10 seconds. Any person who runs a business is responsible for the performance of that business. Promotion from league 1 despite Bates still remains valid. TSS The suggestion that I – or any other Leeds United fan for that matter – would like to see Leeds United thrown back into financial uncertainty is ridiculous. A cheap shot you are in absolutely no position to make since you don’t know me and are making a judgement based on something factual (with a couple of opinions added) that you didn’t like reading. As things stand, myself, yourself or any other support have no idea what our financial position is other than what Bates tells you. How do you know we’re financially sound at the minute, what evidence do you have of that? You don’t even know where the money from your tickets goes. No, what I would actually like to see is Bates sell the club and move on before his actions come back to haunt us. I bet he finds few people ready to apologise for him at that point in time. Neil H At last someone talking sense. Bill New regulations? Don’t make me laugh. What’s the betting that FIFA will poke their nose in with threats of banishment for all and sundry for political intereference in football affairs? Can’t have the government rocking the cosy boat now – can we? Chris from Wakey Whatever you may think about Ken Bates, and I have to say I don’t really trust him simply because his lack of transparency over the ownership of Leeds United is all a bit too “Del Trotter” for liking, I don’t see why he should be subject to anymore scrutiny than any other football club. That the ownership of the club is a thorn in the side of the football league and the FA is nothing to do with anything – at the moment it satisfies the rules – but the issue of ownership at QPR seem to have gone on the back burner whereas I doubt there would have been the same silence if these issues had applied to LUFC. Neil H Your investment? Do you get to say what happens to your money when you go see a film, or do you get dodgy dvds? I think other people have a lot more at stake than seat tickets! Football is a business these days, get used to it or go cheer on your village team! Lies, he doesn’t have to tell you squat, you don’t see other business’s giving customers carte blanche to trawl through how they operate! Do you blame him with indpendant supports club if they all just hate him blindly like you lot! Look what you’ve all done, I sound like Ken Bates love child, I’m just happy Leeds are still there for me to watch and love Kel_Holbeck Have to agree totally with what you have just said. The Guardian shit stirring in the mire. McDonalds, topshop etc are defrauding the country of hundreds of millions What makes you think Bates or anyone else for that matter gives a shit? I’m just happy there is a Leeds United to go watch. It could be worse, it could be the Glazers who owned Leeds and then watch the misery begin. Jailhouse John Well you are too easily pleased Richard The simple truth is whatever business you’re in no one wants to do business with someone they feel they cannot trust. I’m afraid Mr. Bates reputation precedes him; he’s just managed to wriggle out of one or two too many dubious situations. He’s clever I’ll give him that and he’s a fighter but if I were a businessman looking to invest in a football club I’m afraid I’d run a million miles from any deal concerning Mr. Bates. MOT Craig Its Bates’ expensive lawyers who are clever! James McGuirk There is a storm on the horizon Clive Sanderson In answer to Jailhouse John’s last reply. I can’t comment on whether Bates lies but with regard to investment in the team this is another issue that the self harmers among us seem to bang on about that is questionable. I doubt very much whether there’s another club in this division who has such a large team. All of our reserve team would be capable of performing in this league. I bet our wage bill is one of the biggest in the league. I get the impression sometimes that if we’d paid a million for several players even if they were no better than the ones we have then the self harmers would feel much happier. But would that not send us back into financial ruin? One thing that does annoy me about our playing staff is the way certain players seem to get totally over looked despite showing they are more than capable of being in the first team (Nunez and Somma are the obvious examples for me). But that’s up to Grayson and another conversation. As for his disregard for an independent fans body, if someone hated me I think I might disregard them if they don’t want to listen to any reasonable comment. Chris Tidswell Clive, good points again here and while this is not about SG and his decision not to play certain players I strongly agree with your representation of just two there, Nunez looks a fantastic little attaching midfield type player and could probably play in place of either Kilkenny or Johnson. As is the case with Somma, proven scorer of goals, not the best on the ball but then neither was Beckford. What does concern me though is that we have a lot of loan players returning to their clubs, interest in our forwards and midfielders, our wage bill is likely to be sorted out for us should we not make the Premiership this year and if we do, what sort of team will be left with to play with. Investment is a defnite must but not to the detriment of our status as a club. I don’t want to go through what we have over the last several years. Chris Tidswell I’m sure Nunez is actually an attacking midfielder not an attaching one! Jailhouse John Clive- I know from personal experience that fan organisations have gone to the club with an open mind but have been treated like something nasty trapped under ones shoes. ‘Independent’ is not a concept our Chairman is prepared to accept. Clive Sanderson In reply to AndyBarx, I certainly agree with you on the Thorpe Arch issue. It would have been good business to buy it. It was badly handled by Bates. As for your other comments, I can’t agree as most of the issues relating to them were either up to the mess the previous management left us with or the Inland Revenue attitude to the situation. Matt BB I’ve said this before, but until we get clarity on ourowners, and their viability, legality and intentions we are already in a tenuous position. There is no point in these situations giving into the climate of fear that Bates holds over the club, as when we were threatened with extinction unless all those voting for the CVA in 2007 were told, unless we accepted his offer the club would be wound up, and i believe that was not an idle threat. What we as fans should all know by now is that you can plunge Leeds United into League One or possibly worse and we will still all go to watch them. Like any misdemeanour the longer it is perpetuated the worse the consequences will be. All that seems to be on our side currently is a lack of assets. If the football league went to town on us and HMRC then we are effectively `men of straw’ we have no ground, only the playing squad and our turnover as anything like assets – oh and the new pavilion. I for one am all for the truth coming out in the wash about who owns us, I will only ever support Leeds United, whatever league we are in, and if the truth comes out then so be it, it will only set us free – truly. Colin This is just a group of politicians with nothing better to do. I don’t care who they think they are – if a club has a Swiss registered financier (Leeds have), then there’s no way they can get hold of the details. Under Swiss law that info doesn’t have to be disclosed and that overrules EU and UK law. The politicians can ask for the info, but they can’t just get it. I’ve no problem with the Culture Club at the Government looking into football clubs as long as they also look at who owns the companies that sit on the FTSE100 and check whether their owners are fit and proper as well. But they won’t do that will they? The Reaper 08 Well said Colin. Even if it does change I bet it’s not introduced retrospectively. And as for all this we were relegated because of Bates but promoted despite of him you need to get real. The guy might be a total arse but you can’t manipulate every single outcome to serve each and every argument you have. AndyBarx Reaper, let me try to get real with the facts so as to remind you. Bates buys Leeds in Jan 2005. Leeds reach play off final in 2006 Leeds get relegated in 2007. Another reminder, the head of an organisation is responsible for its performance. I am merely stating that his performance is way below what he would expect from his managers and his negatives far outweigh his positives. What has happened in some ways is history and can be closed off, but sadly when you have the same person at the head of LUFC inc, you are more than likely to see a repeat of previous errors. The Reaper 08 Andybarx, I totally agree mate and that’s my point. If it’s Bates fault we went into administration and were relegated then it his equally to his credit that we now operate within budgets and got promoted. StuartL It’s hardly a ‘new twist’ is it? More like re-fried sick. leeds_lad Transparency must be a priority over all other matters, including divisional status. Yes, this may result in “short term” consequences, but until LUFC are seen as accountable and rational in the way the club is run we have no prospect of ever gaining the necessary investment needed to climb into the top half of the premier league where we belong. Even if we gain promotion this year, we will remain uncompetitive at the level where we intimately want some degree of success. I love the club passionately, but will never return to being a season ticket holder unless I can be reassured that we are owned by “fit and proper” persons. I am sure my hesitancy is shared by thousands of other fans, and is clearly a matter of concern for the football authorities and Leeds City Council. Why do LUFC have to remain the one and only exception to the rule on this matter !! simon Why dont we concentrate on the field matters.PROMOTION is the aim at the moment.No distractions please!!!!!!! Matt BB ownership of a club matters I am afraid, and it can be the house of cards scenario, especially when a club becomes vulnerable financially, so anyone who thinks this is a waste of time has their head stuck in the sand. Rick Who gives a toss about the ownership of our club, last week it was the east stand development on TSB now its the old chestnut of Ken Bates, change the fucking record and support the team, that is unless you happen to be a multibillionair then buy the fucking club. MOT MOT MOT MOT MOT MOT simon Well said Rick.MOAN MOAN MOAN…..!!!! Matt BB hey look i want us to get back to the premier league as much as anyone, but i’d rather we didnt end up getting promoted only to find ourselves kicked out of the league. We seem to be pioneers at finding new ways to be punished by the football league. kevwall there is no more a deserving club than leeds to go under, absolute animals Bill Your turn with the shared brain cell today? Making good use of it. Loved them diamond floodlights F off retard ye sisters missing ye mightywhite83 with how our season went when we was deducted 15 points reaching the play off final i dont think the footballin hierarchy think we was punished enough for how bates cheated getting us out of promotion. everyone knows how he fleeced millions of pounds from the people he owed money to the only thing is we dont have the papers to prove it… regarding the post about bates not lying to us and that he doesnt have to tell us squat….wat a load of shit…football is not run like any other business so you cant compare the 2 football clubs are a law to themselves and yes bates has lied to us….wasnt the delph money supposed to going to buy thorpe arch….wasnt grayson supposed to have a cash warchest for this season???? get a grip bates yes bates has done some (not very much) good for this club but lets be honest hes also dragged this clubs name thru the mud aswell!!! drew What was the set-up when he was at Chelsea and built that Chelsea Village. Were they the same ‘owners’ involved then as they are now with Leeds United? So many question……. Rick http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Transfer-News-Stoke-manager-Tony-Pulis-wants-to-sign-Leeds-Robert-Snodgrass-as-replacement-for-Glenn-Whelan-article717228.html just read this link and you will see that they report shit, it states that Glen Wheelen is out of contract at the end of the season but he signed a 4 year deal in 2009, so all I say is stop fuling the fucking bullshit that is written about Leeds United and get behind the team in the run in for the rest of the season. Ken Bates picked our club up after Ridsdale and his merry men nearly destroyed our club, as for 2007 when he bought the club again there was other people in to buy but none of which were real contenders, just jokers. Get behind the team and if we end up in the premiership at the end of the season then nobody whill be complaining. MOT MOT TSS These so called “jokers”, none of which you know weren’t able to buy the club because Bates had the creditors in his pocket – remember the legal action HMRC was taking? That was because the creditors refused to take the highest offer and instead accepted the lowest one, because the creditors wouldn’t have it any other way. Do you really think these creditors choose the new owners out of the goodness of their own heart? No, they take the highest offer – unless someone, somehow has managed to control the voting. Imagine that? As for the link, how exactly does an undivided fanbase keep the papers from creating rumours? If we all put down our pitchforks, will Snoddy stay? number1inyorkshire lets be right about this ,we as ticket buyers could be funding anything and bates as he says he doesn’t know who are the final beneficiaries of the money could be a front to GADDAFI” lol .. bates claims are at best contemptible in the year 2011 at times of world banking crisis who would let bates manage their money without speaking to them 1st NOONE Flummoxed I can see and agree with the comments made by Clive.. I knew you! (-; This cloud though over the ownership will alway be a worry until it is clear and open, something that may never arise, even IF the rules can be ‘changed’ and is Leeds the only club in the country that is run like a sinister business? TSS I find the idea that this is somehow the fault of those distrusting of Ken Bates somewhat laughable. Like the only reason this was brought up is because we have a hatred of him and would like nothing more than to see our club self-destruct (again). What I find even more amusing is the suggestion that raising concerns about our ownership somehow relates to how well we support the team. I cheer the lads on from start to finish at every single game and have never once protested against Bates inside the stadium. The fact is, the matter was raised by MP’s – you can’t just ignore it and hope it goes away. That only works for the monsters under the bed. Finally, what I find most amusing is that this is still a debate over being in the ‘hate Bates’ or ‘Bates apologists’ camp. It doesn’t matter what side you’re on if the club is in trouble, you can’t simply ignore the fact that Bates put us in that position and hope your excuses will be good enough for parliament. Why don’t we just blame the anti-Leeds MP’s or the press while we’re at it and invent yet another Leeds United conspiracy? The only way out of this hole is transparency and/or a change of ownership. If fraud, perjury or both have been committed here, then the last thing we want is for the consequences of those actions to be dealt. It would be better for everybody if Ken Bates packed up, shipped out and moved on now if that’s the case. If it isn’t, then hiding the ownership is a pathetic drama that has divided the fans and caused a lot of arguments. Ending it one way or another is the only way there’ll be peace I’m afraid. Idly excusing Bates, calling him a “saviour” or questioning the fans’ support is ridiculous. The Reaper 08 What I find contemptable TSS is those on the ‘Hates Bates’ team who conveniantly forget he stepped in the first time round when the chimps had sold off all the silverware and we were in dire dire trouble. We keep hearing about all the other bidders who were prevented from being our salvation by the creditors who were ‘in Bates pocket’ the second time, but what about the first time ? Where was your salvation then ? They could have bought the club quickly and easily just like anyone else, in fact just like Ken Bates. Granted he engineered administration, in all likelihood performed a classic smoke and mirrors trick to re-acquire, is an arse but let’s not ignore the full course of history just because it suits us. It’s poor at best. TSS I didn’t have a problem the first round though Reaper. I never liked the man, but I’m willing to give anyone a chance. My contempt grew with the ridiculous interviews, price hikes, lies and failures and the game of risk he played with our club. But all that aside, my main problem has always been the second buyout which I’ve always suspected was highly illegal and capable of causing problems in the future. Don’t mistake this for me being smug, but that day is getting closer and sooner or later we’re going to have to deal with the consequences of that – unless he leaves. LeedsMatt There are really only two reasons behind the secretive owners a) they are shy and reclusive (unlikely) b) being known would raise more concern and interest from the powers that be than being anonymous. I think that another potential reason for the secret ownership of the club is the also unknown ownership of ER and TA. Chances are the owners are one and the same. This could have meant that ER and TA would have been taken into account as assets when we went into administration rather than as a creditor (with significant voting power when it came to the CVA) who was owed rent. I neither love not loathe Bates. I do think though that ownership is being kept secret for a reason which if and when all is revealed is likely to cause the club more problems and fans more heartache and uncertainty. Hope I’m wrong. MOT LeedsMatt Oh and given the extortionate rent for ER and TA they are probably making a huge personal profit out of the club they also own. Mike This is another fine mess you have got yourself in TSS! TSS What mess? Are you suing me? trueyorxman I heard somewhere his son Master Bates (owns the club!) Gez To clarify a few points: 1. The nonsense that Ken “saved” us. Ken put us in Administration – that can’t be too difficult to understand. He borrowed tens of millions of pounds, according to HIS figures, and then put us in to administration. He had raised £7.3 million from player sales, received a £4m settlement from Chelsea, taken over £4 million in season ticket sales, borrowed £11.3 million from Astor Investments and £2.6 million was paid by Forward Sports Fund for shares in the club. Throw in around £46 million is additional gate receipts, significant sponsorship revenue, t.v. money and prize money and in little more than a year Leeds allegedly spent £80 million prior to Administration. 2. When Ken took over Leeds Utd at 2.27am on Friday 21st January 2005 debts stood at under £25m. On Friday 4th May 2007 at 3.15pm, when Ken Bates put Leeds Utd in to administration the debts were stated as £35 million. 3. At the administrators meeting these debts were then restated as £46 million !!Of these £46 million of debts less than £1 million can be blamed upon Ridsdale. 4. £630 000 was owed to ex-players. Only Danny Mills was from Ridsdales era – he was owed £216,667. Paul Butler, Sean Gregan, Steve Stone, Eirik Bakke and Jermaine Wright were owed £297,429. 5. Swindon Town had a bill of 100,000 (for Wise and Poyet), Barnet were due 150,000 for Kandol. Further money totalling 596,921 was owed to Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United, Brondby IF, Coventry City, Bolton Wanderers, Wolves, Reading, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Charlton. Some other interesting facts: 6. There were 6 bids in total, 5 from the UK and the other from a US based group. The most lucrative, by far, was from Simon Morris. We all know what happened to him! The most credible and the one that got the most support outside of Bates cronies was from Redbus Investments who committed to immediately bringing in a “Premiership Manager” with a transfer budget of £10 million. All the bids had had to produce proof of funding in the form of £10 million. Only Bates didn’t have to provide any proof. 7. Bates was confirmed to be a liar. His repeated statements that Leeds United would be forced out of business and out of the League unless his bid was accepted were dismissed by the Football League’s solicitor, Nick Craig. 8. Just two months before putting the club in to Administration Bates borrowed £12.1 million from Astor Holdings. Apparently he spent this money, along with all our other income in just 8 weeks!!! 9. Gerald Krasner was representing a number of creditors. He pointed out that KPMGs administrators’ report to the creditors said with legal precision: “The Forward Sport Fund are the only connected creditors of the company as far as the administrators are currently aware on the basis of the information provided to them to date.” In other words, they found no connection between Bates, Astor and Krato. He then taunted the administrators with the fact – disclosed in Leeds’ 2006 accounts – that Astor had been linked to Bates’s Forward Sport. Astor, which Bates says has nothing to do with him, had an interest in Forward Sport, according to the accounts. KPMGs representative Fleming could only reply : “It’s the first time we have been made aware of it.” This is a long post so some people won’t read it. They will be obvious because they will be the people who continue to refer to Bates as our saviour. In fact he is a crook and will, I am convinced, be proven to be so as the case is still being investigated by HMRC. Paul C Thank you Gez! Some excellent information there and from my memory accurate also. It is amazing how Bates supporters forget or decide to ignore these facts and prefer their fantasy world which involves Bates riding along on a white charger saving the day from those nasty people who wrecked the club. Your final point is something that I am particularly concerned with , it is a future I dread for the club but If I were at HMRC and in a position of Authority I would make Ken Bates and Leeds United my top priority. I would leave no stone unturned until I found the evidence to prove wrongdoing , they would surely believe that this is their last chance to tackle Bates and his method of business in football and my biggest fear is it will be our great club and its supporters who will be the casualties. Bates will just skulk away to Monaco , call some people foul names and his supporters will melt away and deny all knowledge. Will23 I am however interested in the financial accounts of the football club, notably its cash flow, changes in its debt, and overall profitability. Those financial factors are key for the owners in the short to medium term as I am sure they do not want to (or are unable to) inject more capital into the club. The other crucial objective for the owners is, to state the bleeding obvious, promotion. Promotion will increase the valuation of the club ten fold, if not more, and provide a nice and tidy capital gain. We do not have owners with deep pockets. We must accept that. Knowing the owners names will not change their objectives, financially or on the pitch. And there is really no gain for the fans. So, as I say, as long as the club ownership can satisfy the rules of the FA & FL is all that should concern fans. And what this has to do with overpaid, thieving scumbag politicians I do not know. Will23 Will23 The first half of my post was missed off! What I said was… Part 1 Matters between the FA/FL and clubs are private. Politicians should not be interfering in private matters. But then, politicians currently have their nose in private Lybian matters (risking other peoples lives) so it’s no surprise they feel they have the god-given right to poke their nose in more mundane aspects of our lives. These parasites really cannot help themselves. My view is that I do not care who owns our club. That some fans make comments about our previous administrative process that could be borderline libelous/slanderous, said as they are in the absence of full knowledge of that legal process worries me for their sake. Some fans conflate a promise with an objective. A promise to buy back Thorp Arch (or whatever it is) entails the power of control over everything; an objective to purchase Thorp Arch is subject to a plan of a series of future actions whose successful outcome is dependent on favourable future events, some of which are outside someones control. If Bates was omniscient or even omnipotent – then he would not be the owner of a Championship football club! So whilst I do not care about ownership, I do care about the finances of the club… see post above for part 2. Will23 TSS Why stop at football clubs, why not banks too? MP’s are paid to look after the interests of the taxpayer. Leeds United is a business operating in this country and as such is answerable to the taxpayer. If there is any suspicion that the owners of the football club have somehow defrauded the taxpayer, then I not only expect, but I demand politicans do the job I pay them for and see the individuals involved are held accountable to their actions. I suspect few would be making a similar argument if a bank was “finding loopholes” in our laws. Will23 TSS:”MP’s are paid to look after the interests of the taxpayer.” They want you to think that is what they are paid to do. It is merely a cover of the pursuit of power/ego over incompetency. TSS: “Leeds United ….is answerable to the taxpayer.” No private business is *answerable* to the taxpayer – whatever the meaning of the word “answerable” is taken to mean. Private businesses are *answerable* only to their owners. They must *comply* with the laws of a country, that is true, but that is a matter for the courts, not the taxpayer. Being “answerable” and being “compliant” with rules/regulations are two different things. The ownership of football clubs is primarily a matter for compliance with the rules of the FA/FL, not the taxpayer, or even parliament. The legality of the administrative process is a matter for the administrator. That is what they are paid to do: to ascertain if the mess that is tax law is complied with, along with other legal matters. That the HMRC seek to challenge the preferred creditor status of football creditors is a matter for the FA/FL and HMRC to determine in the *courts*. That preferred status exits to protect the competition. Due legal process is what matters, not what politicians bluster about on their high horses. “If there is any suspicion that the owners of the football club have somehow defrauded the taxpayer” On a matter of principle this is the role of the administrator, not politicians. As for ownership, that is a matter, as I said, for the FA/FL and clubs. TSS I’m not entirely sure what ‘answerable’ means either, but it was the early hours of the morning in my defence. Just because you like to be cynical of politicians., it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do there jobs. Sure, some of them are self-serving egomaniacs, but I’m sure there’s the odd good one. The loopholes – It’s not where he’s broke the law that these loopholes have been used, it’s the way the owners of the business have been disguised, preventing anyone from investigating whether or not Leeds United is legit. The offshore companies for example are legal, but if Bates turns out to own Leeds United then that isn’t. Will23 PS As for “loopholes”, in a court of law, an action that falls into a legal loophole is not illegal or fraudulent. If you consider everything you disagree with as falling within a legal loophole then we are well on the way to fulfilling Orwell’s 1984. Loved them diamond floodlights Change the bloody factual record lads our club is on the up every business is open to these dissections no business is run totally by the book everyone lies at some point nobody thinks ken bates is a saviour White knight whatever who gives a shite we are in the best position we have been in for years football clubs have lied forever so much cash flown around over the years bates has improved our business can anyone actually argue that do you think he would do all these improvements if he hadn’t covered his arse ? I’d rather bates than the yanks or the bloody Indians or the frigging Arabs it’s a royal event when them lot turn up at a game bates is here most home games and in the pub Sunday dinner and he knows the offside rule and he calls a spade a frigging spade too many personnel agendas on here, was a poll on bates on here not long back and I think the results caught a few off guard i didn’t see how it ended but it wasn’t heading for the landslide victory for the kb haters were anticipating that’s for sure Will23 PPS The most pressing concern for fans should be over Grayson. As the stats here show, 2011 has been a footballing disaster for LUFC considering we were in such a position of strength after beating QPR at home. http://stats.football365.com/dom/ENG/teams/LeedsUtd.html A second successive second half season meltdown is no coincidence. That said, a pick up in results in the last 6 or 7 as last season could see us sneak automatic promotion/play-offs. But we are now in a position of weakness compared to last season when points were on the board. Question marks over SG are growing by the game, and I stand by my prediction that SG will be gone by Oct 11. SG seems to pride himself on “entertainment” – he could be offered a Sat night job replacing Simon Cowell! LFF30years Surely the most that will happen is that the consortium has to sell the club. At that point, step up Ken Bates with his wallet — he will simply pass a large amount of money to the consortium and it will mysteriously and miraculously re-appear in his own bank account! All legal & above board and then uncle Ken is officially our owner with no repercussions regarding tax, impropriety or anything else. Matt BB we keep on ignoring it, but as long as politicians and journalists keep making mischief this is the biggest issue on our plates, and not eh standard offootball we play. It has already almost destroyed us once, and clubs like coventry and portsmouth will vouch for how much ownership matters. TSS is right to be angry about the nature of the second Bates Purchase, and I think many people have managed to acquire short memories now we have a shot at the play offs, but that will be short lived as a boost if people like HMRC and the government apply a new set of business rules, which they are more than capable of doing. And never mind the government, its the football league who hold all the cards in real terms, and look at what their kangaroo court did to us last time they werent happy with us. Without their backing we dont get to play football, and then there is no football club, there is no law ensuring leeds united get to play games every week set out in statute, thats all down to the clowns at the football league. Will23 Okay, cannot let this opportunity for another rant go by, and this is aimed at all Leeds based politicians, and the jumped up Guardian pen-pushers… This committee of politicians with their jumped up notions of how football should be run is laughable considering how appallingly badly all politicians “serve” this country. They have a big nerve talking about the financial capital structure (debt to equity) of clubs whilst overseeing a country that, thanks to 13 years of New Labour is on the verge of bankruptcy, printing electronic money as fast as you can say “Snodgrass is Gordon Brown’s lovechild”, devaluing the pound in your pocket by 10% each year whereby inflation is becoming the biggest stealth tax and destroyer of personal wealth there is. And here they are bandwagon, hobby-horse politicians, bending over backwards, licking whatever they need to lick in the pursuit of power, as if they had a right to pontificate on matters that are actually of no concern for them. It is more self-serving nonsense from a parliament of crooks. The Guardian are also a bunch of hypocritical numpties. Their parent company avoided paying any corporation tax on £300m of UK profits in the y/e 31 March 2009, thanks in no part to a complex offshore structure, yes using tax havens, and yet they have the nerve to go for Barclays et al, organisations that pay billions in PAYE & NIC each year that the Guardian could only wet-dream about. Now I cannot say the leaders of the FA & FL are bastions of virtue. But that is besides the point here. They are the organisations who should be dictating the rules of the sport they are appointed to run. If they do a bad job of it, that does not mean some external body of men has the right to interfere. If a rival organisation wants to set up another football federation, with the aim of trying to tempt existing professional clubs to join them, and so leave the FA or FL, then that is one option; and why not, if clubs are unhappy with the FA/FL? It would still be nothing to do with our self-serving, gold-plated-pension loving / golden pay-off theft on election defeats / expense fiddling politicians. (And Ken Clarke is now on Sky news just to make my day, another jumped up woolly left-liberal tw@t, along with some Arts bod crying tears over what is hopefully the end of his taxpayer funded parasitical arts career). Right, time for a freshly squeezed orange juice Where are the real-anarchists when you need them!? Irving08 Perhaps my friend you should go and join the Colonel: now he is a real anarchist -he deosn’t even hold an official position. Just think you can spend your nights surrounded by beautiful women swapping quotes from Bakunin and Kropotkin. Gryff Communism is the answer. Craig If Communism is the answer can you clarify what the question was? juckels corey YOU CHEATING BASTARDS Clive Sanderson Well said Loved them diamond floodlights.