Ken Bates’ programme notes 12.03.2011

The Leeds United Supporters Club, a somewhat anonymous organisation, who have declined to reveal its membership (100… 1,000… 10,000… whatever) or its accounts.

They own the Old Peacock pub on Elland Road, which has just published its accounts which showed that with a turnover of £351,000 they made just £2,500 profit on an investment of £102,000. (Billy’s Bar made £120,000 profit last year). As easy as it seems from the outside, I’m still puzzled by their claim that they “support Leeds United”. Haven’t seen much evidence of that so far.

When Bates published this self-congratulating propaganda in 2011, we quickly countered a few of the points made.

  • Firstly, the Leeds United Supporters Club held an annual financial meeting to ensure transparency for its members.
  • Ken Bates is quick to point out the £102,000 investment that LUSC made in acquiring the Old Peacock, yet fails to mention how much Billy’s Bar cost to build (£1000… £100,000… £1,000,000… whatever) before bragging about alleged profits.
  • By and large, supporters club are set up to organise group travel to and from games. In other words, their raison d’etre is to support Leeds United, and they do so by booking large numbers of tickets to each and every game. I know this because I was once a member of one.
  • Finally, the hypocrisy of calling the Leeds United Supporters Club “anonymous” when – at that time – an anonymous offshore trust (Forward Sports Fund) owned Leeds United wasn’t lost on anyone.

Keeping the above in mind, you may find Ken Bates’ programme notes from the Oxford United game a little confounding.

I genuinely had a lot of sympathy for the Supporters Club when they had to surrender the tenancy of the Old Peacock last spring. It was a good try but I must confess I was somewhat surprised when they took it on. We looked at it before they did and decided that we couldn’t make it pay. The trouble with a tied pub is that the brewery often charges too high a rent and the licensee has to buy all the booze from them, often at higher prices than available in the supermarket. This leaves little margin for all the overhead costs.

Pubs are shutting every week up and down the country and its down to the greed of the pub owners. A combination of high rents and alcohol prices means a community loses their pub, once the centre of their social activities.

As I say, we have sympathy for the Supporters Club, perhaps time for a rapprochement.

Once you’ve cut through the smug “I told you so” part and Ken Bates’ broken Britain monologue (despite spending just 90 days a year in the country, broken Britain is a regular feature of his programme notes) you’re left with the stunning realisation that the Leeds United chairman is actually trying to build bridges with the Supporters Club.

That final word, ‘rapprochement’ (which is Cambridge for peace talks) seems so out-of-place in Ken Bates’ programme notes that I was tempted  to email the club and make sure it wasn’t a typo.

When I mentioned the notes on Twitter, some fans were so shocked by that final line they were calling conspiracy, insisting that the notes must have been ghost-written by someone else.

As out-of-character as this seems, added to Shaun Harvey’s appearance at a meeting of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust, you have to wonder whether things really are changing at Leeds United?

Has Ken Bates finally realised that ongoing tensions between supporters and club are damaging his business? Or is someone else pulling the strings, insisting that attempts are made to repair seven and a half years of broken relationships?

Whatever Ken Bates’ motives are, a call for peace is something I welcome. Words alone won’t repair the damage done however, there must be a concerted effort to once again engage with supporters at all levels and make them feel part of the club once more. As the old cliché goes, actions speak louder than words. Words are however, a good start.


54 Responses

    • TSS

      It’d be nice, but if that isn’t going to happen then we have to start considering the alternative.

      • Matthew

        What alternative? The bastard won’t change. Yes, let’s all be friends with the man who quite frankly wastes the clubs money, sells all our talent, essentially asset stripping this club and doesn’t give a shit. He’s a man that speands the clubs money on anything but the team.

      • Chareose

        the alternative is to boycott until he sods off….. The man is poison TSS !!! i cant beleive anyone could suggest we should try to make up with this idiot !

      • Matthew

        Well said, the thought of Ken Bates being on friendly terms with the fans at this point is sickening. The guy has sucked the life of this football club and is slowly killing us. He’s like a leech that has just had salt poured on him, keep pouring salt on him, until he lets go of this club and sells us.
        Btw I think Ken Bates must of visited this site, notice all the anti bates comments have 1 vote down on them. Ironic.

      • TSS

        I didn’t, I suggested he should try and build bridges with us. We’re not in the wrong here, I’m not backing down.

        Problem is, if he does change and everyone is too stubborn to give him another chance, then where does that leave us? Another 7 years of this? I’ve protested for a reason, if he meets my demands then so be it.

      • Matthew

        He has done nothing, nothing at all that would suggest he has the clubs best interests at heart. This is nothing more than a token gesture, come on dude you know he hasn’t changed. You don’t change that quickly,no one can go from destroying the football club they own, to saying, hey, lets be friends. To a fanbase that has had to endure their money being wasted, no investment, best players sold.

      • Chareose

        and if he makes loads of promises, delivers for a while and then reverts back to his original mandate which is to run this club on a shoe string as a means of supplying him with money and a soap box to spout his crap from????
        Cmon you know aswell as me Ken Bates is Ken Bates he wont ever change……….if we make up with him now then yes we will be stuck with this “Half Life and half existence for god knows how long…………..our club will never be what it can be with him at the helm and it will always have a divided supporter base….
        Look you guys can do what you want but for me (the way i feel right now) i wont set foot in elland road until Bates has gone and if that means 10 years so be it, ill find something else to spend my hard earned on…

      • TimPM

        He has no credibility, how could he change? There’s a reason he has no credibility. You can’t rebuild a bridge you burnt seven years ago without consistent effort. He’d think he got the upper hand after a month and go back to screwing us over.

      • Irving08

        I agree – though I am not sure it helps your cause !

      • TimPM

        Surely the alternative is A) carry on in the same vein, or B) go back to square one and hold still while he takes us roughly up the arse until he drops dead.

        He’s not going to change, he’s too old for that. If you give him an inch he’ll take a mile and that’ll be the end of it.

  1. Sunnyleeds

    If from what Bates says, he is good where it concern the beer industry, I have concluded that he is not so good when it comes to managing Leeds United. Huddersfield have sold Jordan Rhodes today, a League One player up to some few months ago, for 8 million! He is Snodgrass team mate and our ex-man was playing in the Championship for two years and was sold to a Premier club. Why on earth did we collect just 3 million against the 8 million for Rhodes may I humble ask? IMHO Bates has made a mess of Leeds during the past 12 months and it is about time that we say it is enough. How can I conclude otherwise when we have 23 players in our squad while Huddersfield have 33?

  2. jacccqqques

    It sounds like he’s begging for custom to me. Maybe the takeover is struggling and he’s realising that without getting people back to ER turnover is going to take a massive hit this season, meaning he is going to struggle to make a profit (apart from the rent obviously).

    I hope the irony of Ken Bates moaning about high rents and costs leading to communities losing their pubs isn’t lost on anyone. That also works for Football Clubs Ken, especially when you don’t treat your punters right.

    • tim campbell

      You cud be right pal – bates mouthpiece (the official leeds website) were trying to flogseason tickets again today. Bates feeling anxious? Perhaps! Haha lol

  3. Ron

    Bates is starting to crack. If the supporters really turn the screws on him financially, this may get interesting. In the words of The Carpenters “We’ve Only Just Begun”.

  4. craigb

    An attempt by Bates to promote the Supporters Club ? By making people think they are developing closer links to the club again, he is trying to put LUSC into the spotlight at the expense of what he now sees as a more potent threat – Leeds United Supporters Trust. They are growing quickly and outspoken in their criticism of the current regime – he must be desperate to try and wrestle back some credibility with the fans ….

  5. Matthew

    The easiest and quickest way to get rid of Bates, would be to do what Blackburn fans have done. They have a stadium of over 30,000 seats but bring in just 13,000 attendance since relegation. Sadly no one will give up going to games in the hope of driving this man out of our club, he is the cancer killing Leeds United.
    I would accept admistration, hell relegation, if this man was gone.

    • TSS

      Blackburn have always had crap attendances mate, that’s got very little to do with the owners.

      Contrary to the old proverb, building it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come. Elland Road holds 40,000, we average just over half of that. And that’s not all Bates, we lost 10k dropping division.

      • Matthew

        Ahh. Sorry I haven’t been following them since we were relegated, just remembered they always had over 20,000 at Ewood Park but now they’re like 10,000 down from last season if not a little more.


    Perhaps LUSC should take up the offer of ‘rapprochement’. What is there to lose?

  7. Chareose

    omg and you think this is a good sign !!!???!!! If he is trying to get in our good books again it means theres very little chance of him leaving……….im not sure how its good for leeds united that he wants to stay when he is someone who constantly insults his customers, has no idea how to make a business successful and has reaped profits at our expense with no investment in the end product ? You think that a guy in his 80s can suddenly change from being a complete crook ?? Look at his previous business dealings, im hardly being harsh !
    If this is the latest news from Leeds then the takeover was a frabrication from day 1

  8. Mattbb4

    wow. i’ve not been to a home game for a while so havent enjoyed his notes.. I still want new owners, but perhaps yes he does realise just how far he’s alienated his customers and that to be frank he could have worse fans (see Huddersfield, Millwal) The old fellas not made of stone, but to be honest I’m not expecting miracles just hoping that as you say someones pointed out to him that he might as well behave a little better if hes about to leave.

  9. Allwhitestrip

    What he means is, if you drank in the pub then you are welcome to do so at Billy’s bar. Oh, and if anyone fancies buying the pub, don’t bother because it will loose money ( whilst coincidentally taking beer sales from his bars). Never does anything that isn’t for his own benefit.

  10. normanstan

    Remember 3-3 v blackburn 93 i think and Batty sold after game.Newell allowed to take free and score 15 ft from free. Bates wise,he’s staying even with takeover,thats why stressing “investers” and charm offensive if ever two words did/not describe him

    • Matthew

      The Sun seems to think David Haigh will takeover as Chairman of LUFC when this takeover happens.

  11. bremners barmy army

    we don’t want peace talks. we want shot of the Monaco based moron who has stolen our club from us and persistently lied to us. only when the laser sighted shyster has given the club back to the fans will the club move forward. now sign the papers you two bob bag of cockney shite!!!

  12. donnywhite63

    Sad to say, his change in attitude suggests to me that he now knows that the takeover is not going to happen and is trying to build bridges in advance of another season of dealing with a club of “morons”.

  13. TimPM

    Did he actually put “106.000” listeners, or did he put a comma? Reason I ask is if it was a full-stop clearly he meant 106 listeners but wants to mislead us.

  14. tim campbell

    Out of interest i wud love to know how much money old greybeard has actually put into leeds united out of his own pocket, how much he has taken out of the club for personal gain, and finally how many millions he will pocket after this takeover occurs (if ever).

  15. NottsWhite

    The only bridge building the fans should now accept is investment in the playing staff, which KB can not or will not do. It worries me that that this show of solidarity from KB means that he is going nowhere fast. I am afraid that only god will be able “retire” Ken

  16. Tycipa

    I think he’s befuddled, his age is catching up with the (ir)rational part of his brain.

  17. Chareose

    I made the mistake of reading some of the Clarkeonenil blogs today……talk about negative “MG thinks we need 10 good players not 2″…….. Actually for me Warnock has done an amazing job with sod all cash….. Our best first 11 for me is shown below and without the hapless Varney and the temptation to put brown on to let Austin rome I think its a pretty good championship side. Not automatic promotion no…Warnock was spot on about his assesment, we needed 2 excellent signings in attack to complete the squad but that team can give anyone a game…
    Peltier Lees Pearce Drury
    Byram Norris Austin Diouf
    Mccormack Becchio

    • djedjedje

      Clarkeonenil revels in its grumpy old man role; I guess there’s some pressure on a Yorkshire man to tell it as it is and (without too much relish). I disagree with his verdict on Diouf but unless Diouf signs then that’ll probably be of no consequence.

      We have a hardworking first XI, true, but I wouldn’t get carried away. We haven’t seen much yet from Peltier or Drury going forward.
      The only half-back who did show some positive attack play was promptly moved into midfield as a winger, Byram (we are that short), and it is too early to say whether he is blooming with beginners luck (young lads usually have a good run at defences because they don’t yet understand the conservative style of safety-first that managers seem to love, and a half-back role calls more than any for safety-first!!).
      That, and Diouf can’t possibly be lined up for our season starting XI when he could be gone within hours (if not already).

      So what we have is a good spine of the team, which is at least something that was lacking over the last few seasons.

      • chareose

        I think Peltier looks good and i think we have been a bit too defensive in our first games……perhaps too obsessed with proving they are a “Warnock” side to express themselves until Oxford turned up…….let them relax a bit Neil….. And i suspect that Austin is by far our most dynamic central midfeilder and is wasted in a deep defensive roll

    • Camo

      No I’d put in green when he’s fit we looked better against wolves with him there

  18. Killinghall1

    I don’t care about Bate’s ostensible desire to heal the rifts which he has created between the fans and the club’s administration, I’m much more concerned about the fact that today is the last day of the transfer window, and we’ve still positions vacant which won’t be filled, Bates out!

  19. Durhamwhitemichael

    I truly hope the cunt dies soon all bates followers fuck you too , Maynard to Cardiff , Huddersfield bid for becks, we simply can’t compete and we are Leeds , it makes me that sick I could cry fuck bates and his followers !!!!!! And surprise surprise bates hasn’t sold the club before the transfer window, cancer is bad and a wouldn’t wish that on him , my dad died of that and he was a legend, unfortunately bates is a cunt and deserves worse

    • TimPM

      Heh- you should see a less than friendly message someone claiming to be head of a sponsor of Leeds’ left to some posters on one of the forums. Said users had made the cardinal error of doing the typical TV protest of contacting sponsors to say they personally wouldn’t be using the product until X changed.

      Said bloke- if it really was him- hurls abuse at all these people via PM and to cap it off claims Bates has “steadied the ship”. According to financial experts, there’s a good chance we could be in financial difficulty. According to people inside the club we are in financial difficulty. According to Neil Warnock, there is no money.

      It’s just sad, really. That bloke had obviously sponsored the club partly because he’s a fan. But even a business-man seems not to be able to see what’s staring him in the face.

      • djedjedje

        “But even a business-man seems not to be able to see what’s staring him in the face” ~ ever-increasing empty seats, I imagine. lol

      • Irving08

        There must be loads of clubs in ‘financial diffculties’ (and yes I have read your illuminating pieces on our finances – insofar as they can be illuminated, that is).
        We would have to get relegated to be hit by adminstration-threatening difficulties and this, though not impossible, is highly unlikely.
        Meanwhile for our season’s motto we might do worse than heed the words of the German theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr:
        ‘O God, give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, courage to change what can be changed, and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other’.

      • Chareose

        Irving…….weve spent 7 years “accepting what cannot be changed”…… if we carry on with Bates then we will likely fail to purchase decent players in January and fail in a promotion effort, Warnock will likely leave and we will sell the decent players at the club again……. Bates will then look for another Warnock type manager to make gold out of horse shit and also another prospective group of buyers / mugs interested in handing over money prior to buying the club…. Dejavu yet again……..

      • TimPM

        I think you worked behind the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Soviet Union from what you’ve said before? Would you trust a Ruski to reform? They’re having a hard time doing so even now.

        The trouble with Bates is we see a long history showing a man only out for himself, too head-strong to change his ways if he perceives it will mean losing face. Based on that reading of him, I couldn’t trust him to change. I don’t think many who disagree with his current direction could?

        My reasoning is that we are in a very difficult situation and it differs entirely from other clubs. We were stretched on cashflow even in 2010-11 when we were doing so well, with 27,000 crowds and the “other” income blossoming as you’d expect from an optimistic, enlarged crowd. Now we’ve £2.5m (plus interest – and Bates really was forced to shop around on that loan from what I hear) a year extra to pay off, and yet around 3,000 fans less to do it with going on last season. That’s £2m or thereabouts without factoring the lost “other” income. We’ve also apparently got another £2m to pay on severed contracts, bringing the number to £4m, around £4m to pay on Levi’s court case (not including his costs, some of which we have to pay) bringing the number to £8m, legal fees to pay on WYP case which I won’t factor in in exchange for ignoring the lower costs on match-days. We also have only been able to keep functioning through selling players for at least £3m a season, bringing the number I’d say to about £10m at a conservative estimate.

        That’s missing out a few other things, and the experts (one of which is Bates’ favoured financial man apparently) that looked at our books and indeed had a complaint upheld by the FL meaning LUFC had to re-submit their most recent accounts, have also spoken about certain types of accounting whereby you can hide other debts (perfectly legally of course), I’m no financial wizard so I couldn’t go into that territory if I wanted.

        Based on that £10m difference, we have regained £1m from the WYP victory, we could have gained maybe £3-5m in commercial deals? I’m stumped for where else we can get the money to cancel these costs out. £10m conservative est vs £5m liberal the way I see it.

        Of course there is the revelation that the buyers have lent £4m to the club over the summer (I bet they’re due interest if the deal collapses). That could more or less balance the books? More or less. You could slash the playing budget as well, we don’t really know where we stand on that, but I can’t for the life of me see where we could save more than £2m on that.

        It’s a tight thing, being able to pay our bills, in my opinion. I’m no expert, I could be wrong, I’d love if somebody could tell me if I was because it’s not a nice prospect to genuinely believe we could be driven into administration unless Bates sells or has an ace up his sleeve (and given his past performances, he might think he did and turn out he really didn’t).

        The difference with other clubs isn’t just that our financial over-extension has been off the pitch rather than on it, but also that we can’t afford to artificially fund our debt. Hull City got a new owner after they were relegated and he personally paid the club money to counteract their debt while they restructed, Boro’s chairman has been doing much the same and giving them financial boosts at the key times (part of how they got to the Prem a few years ago) himself as he’s a supporter, while Cardiff couldn’t pay their debts so their owner sold up and these new buyers effectively bought the debt as part of the price of the club.

        We can’t do that. Our chairman doesn’t have that much money but even if he rivalled Bill Gates, he has a point to prove that a 2nd tier football club can get promoted to the 1st tier on a renewable basis. Which it can, just look at Blackpool, and we’re an even bigger club and thus have bigger income, but the difference is Blackpool didn’t spend over £20m on ensuring people had a non “hairshirt” experience as you once called it, at the football. You don’t divert that kind of cash unless you’re happy where you are. Seven years on and we’re where we started under Bates, and it’s not a minority of fans who think we should be in the Premier League by now, whatever they think of him. Bates himself keeps saying the Premier League is the realistic goal each year. But we don’t have the cash to both spend wisely on improving the squad over a 2-3 year period, and spend on what Bates wants to spend on because Bates himself won’t fund us like other owners.

        That’s where I’m coming from. The sums simply don’t seem to add up anymore. We’re told by financial experts there’s a good chance of a cashflow-induced problem, rather than just too much long-term debt, we’re told by people inside the club there are money worries, and looking at it from my own limited view and ability it seems pretty bad. Why go against all evidence, and simply believe what the chairman with a vested interest in giving the illusion of safety and prosperity says? It’s like the Soviets propping up their virtually dead leader or the North Korean’s insisting they’re the richest country in the world. Of course they say that, but what does the evidence say?

  20. batesout

    maynard to cardiff, billy sharp to forest, wtf… mid table for us again this season, cheers bates for crushing our dreams for another year

  21. batesout

    no big signings again, its all take take take bates… £37 to watch mid table championship football

  22. Chareose

    TSS, please contact your pals at Lust and kindly suggest that leeds fans should band together to pay for detectives to start investigating Ken Bates from a legal angle ??
    I cant see any other way to help get rid of him, the government certainly will not help and bates holds all the cards currently……we can either support neil warnocks (mid table team) and fund Ken Bates or we boycott and potentially destroy our football club (which Ken Bates predicted hed do anyway)
    Can anyone see any other way to get rid of this man ?
    I would be willing to help with money!

  23. David Lockwood

    May be it is a question of divide and conquer, more like! Ken Bates can’t change at this age. He is simply buying time and hoping that people will stop deserting the terraces in droves. I know it sounds cynical, but you have to be fairly cynical when you look at the antics of this regime. Ken wants a few more faces in the ground watching second tier football and paying first tier prices. He will then be able to move his little projects forward. Do you trust Ken Bates???


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