Ken Bates has been anything but a happy bunny lately. If there was one thing that could be said for Ken, it was that the cheeky cockney chappy always had a mischevious (and to many, worrying) smile on his face. Well, no more… The past couple of months have taken their toll. This week we commisioned a… Southerner… to capture Ken during his weekly address to the Republic. We thought the soft southern twonk was actually going to capture him, but instead he came back with a ridiculously life-like painting of some kind:

Clearly, unless the artist is embellishing, Ken is miserable. In fact, he looks positively Scottish. Indeed, I’m not sure it’s even Ken at all! But I’ll give the lad the benefit of the doubt. I just gave him a whole fiver, so if it turns out this is a con I’ll cry – except, as a Yorkshireman I don’t know how. I’ll collapse into a corner and fall into an emotionally broken, tearless convulsion. Yes, that’s more like it.

I think Ken is miserable, though. Just last week he bemoaned to his butler Ben Fry:

They can hand it out, but they can’t take it… All the chanting rude things about me- when I called them morons they were most upset… “How dare he?!”… Well if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen!

And there’s the rub. Ken Bates doesn’t realise that he is married (metaphorically, obviously) to Leeds United. We’re the woman, of course; a cold, hard, fugly Yorkshire-woman. Neil Warnock’s the new nanny, and the players the kids (or babies as the old Irish nanny, O’Leary called them). Warnock’d better do a good job with our kids ‘else it’ll be no references for him. Grayson walked straight into another job with our references. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. But that other one who was around for a few weeks – “Redders” or “Reddersy” or “Reddo” or whatever – he was lucky not to get a horsewhipping, I’ll tell you!

But I digress.

We’re the woman, of course, because we’re screwed once a week (twice if we’re “lucky”) by the rich beardy old man of the house. Ken’s a good head of the household? Maybe, but he does have an annoying habit of initiating neighbourhood feuds, and can anybody who’s paid his ticket prices call the feeling anything except being screwed?

We’re only Ken’s third club! His first was a feisty young barmaid called Oldham. An impulsive if talented young man, Ken’s schemes promised much and no amount of hurdles would stop him from taking Oldham with him to that promised land called “Europe”. I heard Europeans don’t wash and they’re only interested in stealing our money – and selling pegs – curious people.

But I digress, again.

After another hurdle brought the family into a cash crisis, Ken insisted::

Gordon [the nanny] has asked for a free hand and backing. He’ll get both from me. Europe is our goal, and it can be done.

Alas, no amount of “This time next year, Oldham, we’ll be millionaires” could placate her after half a decade of empty promises. Ken left, heartbroken, in 1969. Oldham continued her life in happy mediocrity. She was a simple girl really, not matching his ambitions. It took Ken over a decade to get back in the saddle. Towards the end, there were rumours that he was a full-time mother’s boy, if you know what I mean!

By now probably a deeply frustrated man, Ken wasted no time in impressing a new object for his devotions. Well-to-do, Chelsea had fallen on hard luck amidst impulsive gambling and frivolous spending. Ken quickly used his rogueish business talents to wipe her debts away, and the two began a long and passionate relationship, restoring Chelsea’s house to her and employing some top nannies to look after the kids who soon took back award after award from school.

Nevertheless, Chelsea had a black heart. Ever demanding more and more, she had convinced the doting Kenneth to build extravagent additions to the estate. It pushed the family deep into debt. Spotting an end to the cash-flow, Chelsea ran off with a reclusive Russian sugar-daddy with a similar beard.She’s swimming in money now, but her kids are spoilt and unloved and she’s addicted to a plethora of drugs.

Ken was heartbroken. But then he came across another lady down on her luck. The resemblence was uncanny. Leeds United quickly married Ken out of necessity. He didn’t buy her house, but the new mystery owner was mysteriously happy to let her reside there. He pushed her into bankruptcy, despite her pleas. Eventually more mysterious people effectively bought her debts.

By 2007 Leeds was demoted to living well below how she was accustomed, mysterious powers seemingly controlled by her husband controlled her house and – in effect – her. But her spirit wasn’t crushed. She nagged over her kids’ tutelage, she nagged over his spending habits. Leeds United is still married to Ken, and she’s still the same harridan as he married. If there’s one woman’s spirit he can’t crush it’s Leeds’.

But Leeds shares Ken’s ambitions, his stubbornness. In many more ways than either would like to admit, it’s a marriage made in heaven. But only if Ken remembers his wife when concocting his latest schemes. He’s miserable and hen-pecked – just as all married men are. He could always divorce her…

Perhaps Ken is coming round to the fact that the only way to keep an old harridan like Leeds quiet is to give her some of what she wants? And even humour her while she pretends to know how to run a business and other mens’ matters, even if it means curbing his spending on whatever maniacal schemes he’s hatching? Maybe! Just maybe…