The following is a guest contribution written by Matthew Brown-Bolton. If you’d like to have an article considered for publication here on The Scratching Shed, please use the online form. 

How many protests does it take to move on an irascible chairman? The start of a bad joke perhaps?

To answer that question The current board members of LUST should probably look no further than one of Ken’s closest cronies, recently knighted `Sir’ Doug Ellis.

The perennial `Stadtler & Waldorf’ of English football Doug & Ken grumpily espoused (past tense for Doug for he has of course now been ousted) their miserable dictums and critiques on the Haphazard (but entertaining) Muppet show beneath them.

But whilst Kermit the Frog (Wenger), Fozzie (old red nose himself) and Gonzo (Mancini) have a riotous time on stage and gain acclaim for their relative teams these types of dinosaurs offer little to the game of football. Dusty remnants of the 1930’s, totally out of touch with post-depression era football, and ready to dive for cover if someone uses a mobile phone near them, for fear it might cost them their soul…

The Parallels are frightening, whilst young buck Ken Bates was busy stretching Chelsea’s overdraft to its very limit, Doug Ellis was pioneering the art of steering a football club to modest profitability, at the expense of any achievement of any sort actually being made on the football field itself.

That model is of course familiar to us all as supporters of Leeds, for Ellis was the evil Sith Emperor to Ken’s Darth Vader. We’re now going nowhere fast, selling our best players, or letting their contracts run down, and won’t push the boat out. Burnt by his £100m debt at Chelsea, Ken clings to his modest profits with the fervour of a 3 year old girl and her security blanket – he knows no other way.

Ask any supporter of Aston Villa about those dark years and you will see their leaden expression tell a story. Supporting Villa was like doing time. 1982 – The one year he stepped down as chairman saw the club win the European cup. Mid table finishes and the odd relegation battle followed. They rarely worried the big 4. Hell I even remember us going down there and giving them a going over?!

I digress. The cautionary tale at stake here is that Doug Ellis was happy to draw his modest profits in the millions, proportionately invest little of it into the team, bar the odd marquee signing that Premier League status required, and then lambast various players and managers for not achieving more. Again many the parallel there.

Supporter led campaigns made our current batch look like small fry, yes the internet has come to prevalence and social networking is far more effective now than when Ellis was on his uppers in the early 2000’s but these groups even managed to source investors, formed groups to buy the club themselves. Ellis’ responses were usually no more than two words. He just wouldn’t go. He couldn’t see anyone better than he to run the club.

In the end it took failing health to convince him to take the £80m or so on offer from Randy Lerner seriously, and well ‘do one’ to put no finer point on it. For those of us hoping Ken will see sense, realise he’s no good for the club, and that others might do better,  well they’re in for a rude awakening.

I write this not to discourage, but to forewarn any of those involved in this process that this will take real guts – as Ken is as stubborn as even some Yorkshireman dare I say. But as those of you able to go to the LUST meeting tonight pore over what is said, it’s important to remember that inaction is really not an option. Let’s not bend to Kens will here, fight fire with fire and be as unreasonable as he is.

Ken will argue against economic realities, namely that for a football club to do well, it must make some investment to steal a march on its rivals if it’s to get to its maximum potential.

He’ll tell us all we’re risking the clubs future – no Ken – you are and you have the track record. Putting us into administration and threatening to wind us up, and also by your refusal to sell up. Put up the for sale sign – tell us you’re looking to find someone who can take us to the next level, and we may even grow to like you (a little). We’d even understand you wanting £77m for the club, just so long as you went.

Leeds are worthy of a Premier League spot, have the resources to do it, when properly employed, and in time will attract decent investment – why not make that English money for a refreshing change! Richard Branson are you reading?

The key here is not to give up, as the sign above the clothes pegs used to say – KEEP FIGHTING!

Written by Matthew Brown-Bolton