Ken Bates’ reign as owner of Leeds United came to an end today as GFH Capital completed a deal to purchase the club outright. The deal is subject to Football League approval, though this is usually nothing more than a formality and shouldn’t cause any issues.

The deal involves a transitional period which will see Ken Bates remain as Leeds United chairman until the end of the season, after which point, GFH will appoint a chairman from their own staff while Ken Bates takes a position as Club President – a honorary role previously filled by Lord Harewood before his death in July last year.

In a joint statement on Leeds United’s official website, Ken Bates and David Haigh confirmed GFH had been supporting the club financially for the last few months and that a cash injection has now been made which will allow Neil Warnock to strengthen his squad.

David Haigh, the man expected to takeover as Leeds United chairman at the end of the season said;

 “After a long process of negotiations, spanning Leeds, London, Monaco, Dubai and Bahrain, it gives us great pride today, to have completed the deal for Leeds United.

“A brief but important transitional period now begins in terms of the changeover of ownership: we have today injected further funds into the club and now we look to the future and start the exciting journey to take Leeds United FC back into a prime position in English football once again.

“From a Leeds family myself and a supporter of The Whites since childhood, I know that football is at the very heart of the people of Leeds and the wider community. We want to thank all the fans in UK and around the world for their patience and support while the negotiations have been taking place. Lets now march on together, taking the club back to the Premier League as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, GFH’s Head Of Investment Management, Salem Patel added that it is an “absolute honour to be involved with this great club and a real blessing to give so many people so much joy today.”

As Leeds United fans, The Scratching Shed is pleased to see the protracted takeover negotiations finally reach a conclusion. The last six months has been a difficult and frustrating period for supporters of the club, made worse by an underfunded team performing badly and poor communication from the club.

Low attendances stand testament to how disillusioned many of our fans feel. It is our hope that under new ownership Leeds United will seek to reengage with fans on all levels and address the concerns that have been ignored for far too long.

As with any club, Leeds United is stronger when the fans and the board are in-sync and pulling in the same direction. Our fans are not unreasonable and do not expect success to happen overnight, we understand the challenges involved in turning a football club around and are more than happy to do our part so long as we can see visible progress and don’t feel as though we’re being lied to at every turn.

To Leeds United fans, this takeover is the shining light at the end of a road we’d started to think was perpetual. Many more challenges lie ahead; challenges which the supporters of this club are ready to confront head-on, standing side-by-side with the owners, players and manager. But for Leeds to once again be United, the new ownership must learn from the mistakes of their predecessor. Secrets, lies and poor communication cannot coexist with a Marching On Together philosophy, there has to be mutual respect and trust, along with an openness and willingness to engage on both sides.

These are all challenges which can wait until tomorrow however. For today, we’d like to welcome GFH to the club and wish them every success as the new owners of Leeds United FC.

63 Responses

  1. @GeorgeColley

    Fantastic, couldn’t have put it better. A great day for the club. Marching on together.

  2. Irving08

    Excellent tone TSS: DH could learn from your measured approach. Ingratiation is not our style. On a more serious note, I wonder if there is not more to this so-called ‘transition period’ than meets the eye ? Could it be that KB has simply forced their hand and that they still can’t stump up the full amount ? From which follows quite a lot. Still at least things appear to be moving to a denouement, with more than one outcome still possible. At least everyone should be in a better mood for Saturday.

    • TSS

      I’m not surprised by the transitional period personally, I said was likely from day one and to be honest with you, I actually think it’s a good idea to learn the ropes from those who have been running the show for so long.

      • Irving08

        If that is all it really means I too have no objection. And Bates as Chairman till the end of the season – is that to give the new owner(s) a clearer run on NW’s successor ?

  3. Steob

    An early Xmas present for all leeds fans thank god it over .lets hope this will give the players on the pitch a boost and we get back to wining ways on sat . Marching on together

  4. mikelufc

    A shining light is it?
    We are now to be presided by the arch liar and robber for the rest of his life.
    We are to be owned by a bunch of shysters with little proof of any funds.
    We are still to be managed by a man who is chief trainer of thugs and who favours hoofball rather than football.
    I do hope that the mindless morons who have supported and made possible this scenario are rewarded for their efforts and cash.
    Personally I see little to no hope.

    • TSS

      The “President” position is merely a figurehead. Did Lord Harewood preside over us before his death? No shareholding, no power.

      • djedjedje

        I imagine the ‘presidency’ will be a conduit to Bates delight in continuing to write his wonderous and often costly matchday programme notes. It’ll be interesting to see if GFHC have pre-stipulated who should pay for subsequent lawsuits over Bates’s comments?

        Anyone know if Bates still owns Yorkshire Radio? As the official mouthpiece of the club, Bates’s ‘influence’ (read as ‘meddling’) could well linger on.

        That said, I look forward to participating in the occasional chorus of ‘Ken Bates is a Wanker’ whenever he gets spotted in his box at Elland Road. Can there be a more vilified president by fans in footballing history?

      • derbyshirewhite

        Lord Harewood didn’t have a cupboard full of skeletons to keep locked. I don’t expect we’ll find out any more about the beneficial owners of ER and TA whilst this new President is involved.

    • Leeds 1960

      Mike give it a chance if Ken Bates had not bought the club there would be no club.
      I cant stand negative people do you go and support the team I do.

    • michael horspool

      wow nothing like optomisim is there? the board must be better than bates, ,better to have bates upstairs than on the board and the trainer of thugs has more promotions than bates has pound notes/MOT

  5. Tare

    Good article TSS and i fully agree with it. I hope that NW has his player network contacts in order so we could get some top quality loans in place just to avoid the 8 point gap widening too much because the January is the water shed month for the rest of the season. but my glass is always half full. Tare.

  6. mrbigwheels

    Excellent TSS. I applaud your response. Let us enjoy today. I personally feel as though someone switched the lights on and am trying to grasp the stair rail. Phew!. ”is this real?”

  7. djedjedje

    I still hold misgivings over GFHC, but they can readily reassure if they make money available for loan signings between now and the loan deadline shutting at 5pm tomorrow. So 25.5 hours and counting.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Warnock has to say about it all.

    • Tyler75

      The club statement refers to a ‘wealthy individual’ providing part of the funding – which bearing in mind that GFHC’s business is more to do with soucing investment funds and brokering of deals – makes sense. Whatever Bates is, he is not stupid when it comes to his own il gotten gains, so funding will unlikely be an issue. Good to see some money is already being made available to the club and if this is to provide NW with funds for loan players then GFH will go a long way to getting NW and the fans onside from the outset. However, little power he has I’m still unhappy that LUFC will continue to be tarnished by association with Bates. Also nothing said about ER or Thorp Arch – hopefully there will be positive news on these fronts once the deal is completed. Cautiously, I’m hoping this is the start of a new era for our famous old club. MOT

      • djedjedje

        In some Kafkaesque carnival of football that ‘wealthy individual’ would be none other Bates himself, returning the ownership of the club to anonymity and entirely offshore and almost tax revenue free. I’m not saying it is Bates behind it or anything, just the merry-go-round nightmare our club has endured would play out that way!!

        I agree there is likely to be some funding on the cards, but it’ll only be some and not a lot (we need a bit more than ‘some’ for our current squad), or else GFHC would have bought up the expensive outflow of the ground and training ground as part of the deal. Instead they are penciling in buying it back once we are back in the Premiership: nice dream, let’s hope we don’t wake up before we get there.

        I still worry how much we have been bought on leverage? It is rare these days that capital is tied up so heavily in an outright purchase when borrowed money is so cheap to borrow (abroad). It’ll take two years of accounts before we even get a sniff out how much money could be coming out the club for the pleasure of the mystery backer’s right to own our club.

        We need to know why it has taken six months to push through a relatively straightforward takeover. It is only natural that doubts emerged that capital was the issue. I’ve no doubt we will never find out from the horse’s mouth why GFHC took so long, especially not if they are going to be in partnership with Bates for the rest of the season. It’ll be more unanswered questions.

      • Irving08

        The way Bates, speaking on YR today, gave short shrift to the suggestion that money would now be readily available for new players (managers are always after them) made me wonder too about the character of his future involvement with the club. Also noted was his referring to the Manager as Neil Warnockm which is not exactly friendly, nor the jibe about keeping 11 men on the field. As I commented before hearing the interview, there may be more to the transition thing than meets the eye.

      • djedjedje

        Good point Irving. You have to conclude that the relationship between Bates and Warnock will have become frosty over the last months, and how irreversible is that with the two egos? I presume Warnock was working on the basis that if he stayed and the takeover came through then that’d be the end of Bates at Leeds, and if it failed then he’d walk. Either way he’d be looking forward to be Bates free come January and we now know that aint going to be the case.

        You have to wonder if Warnock gets dumped then to what extent will the green belly GFHC-ites be willing to let Bates pick them a new manager and spend their cash on January investments which they’ll be lumbered with for a couple of seasons. If I was them and it was my cash I’d not let Bates dictate who and what I buy, but I’m sure Bates will be full of his too public opinion on whatever GFHC do that isn’t his way (ie. most things hopefully!). Could easily be friction there and we’ll just have to hope that someone at GFHC has some balls.

      • mrbigwheels

        Well put. I feel that Warnock has had enough of them all. He will not allow himself to be dumped and blue skys are already on the horizon for him.
        NW has got caught with Bates and his promises and short of giving him an elbow or two… fancies a quiet Christmas with reasonable people. I don’t blame him. He will know enough, let his bosses get on with it and get out ‘intact’, so to speak.

      • Irving08

        Yes, he will want to keep control of his exit – which means controlling the story too. I would not like to be his frame of mind coming into the next few matches.

      • fringo

        “In some Kafkaesque carnival of football that ‘wealthy individual’ would
        be none other Bates himself, returning the ownership of the club to
        anonymity and entirely offshore and almost tax revenue free.”


  8. oldschoolbaby

    Well rampant cynicism is pretty hard to restrain but we have no choice, reaally, but to get behind GFH 100% and believe.
    As for the old bastard as President it`s an awful snub to the memory of Lord Harewood who always seemed genuine and gracious. From a wider football perspective it will stop Bates inflicting himself on another poor club. Perhaps it`s not wiorth fretting over as he will likely shrivel without the animosity and court cases to feed off.

    • Irving08

      Sorry OSB, I feel unable to follow you in your 100% support for a takeover that is funded to a significant degree by an individual who is stated to be closely connected to the Bahreini regime. This aspect of the takeover was aired thoroughly on the site during the summer, so I won’t bore you others again with my reasons. I actually feel both sad and a little disgusted by it.

      • djedjedje

        I’m wondering if it is that nutter one of their family who gave Michael Jackson $7m to record a pop record with him only for Jackson to disappear to Ireland, never to return, and leaving the Bahraini lad with egg on his face? Not often did Wacko Jacko make me think he was right in the head, but that was one time.

      • oldschoolbaby

        I get your fudamental points 08. However, if you choose to scrutinise modern day football through the lens of morality it`s all rather disgusting. The truly moral response would be to walk away. If you have Leeds United in your blood, as we all do, walking away seems to be something we`re incapable of. Successful football clubs need investment. The sad fact is that the world`s wealth is gravitating towards countries with distasteful, even unpalatable, leadeship regimes. The simple truth is that if you drive a car, drink beer from an aluminium can and own a smartphone you have limited credibility moaning about it
        I`m not voting for GFH. I`m trying to be positive about a fresh start. The club is bigger than the ownership. It is the club that has my ongoing 100% support. Of course, it is a more than legitimate argument that, by default, I`m backing GFH 100%. So be it.. On this issue I`ll live with my conscience.

      • Irving08

        Yes, some links are inescapable and softer forms of politcal rule are hardly to be expected, when states undertake the task of development and, in such cases, moral restraint does have to be exercised by us, the fortunate beneficiaries of historical accident. But we are here considering a regime that serves no social purpose, and which appears to be sustained in power by the armed forces of another state. Yet this is the regime to which, like it or not, we have now been tied, together everything else that is rotten about this deal. And, yes, I agree with you about football today and, like you, I have tried hard to separate club and owner, but I now seriously wonder if I can continue to do so. Nothing is more revealing of the previous owner than this warped conception of how best to secure our long term interests. Thank you OSB for provoking thoughts.

      • oldschoolbaby

        Firstly, It may be a touch harsh but with our government and legislature stuffed full of self serving, devoid of integrity, no-marks with no greater ambition than feathering their own nests for a further term I`m no longer sure we have the moral authority to be disdainful of all alternative governance
        Secondly, whilst very poorly informed I suspect the average Bahraini has a lifestyle superior to a very sizeable chunk of the world`s population. A lifestyle our own children and grandchildren will be extremely lucky to achieve.
        Thirdly, if Leeds United was owned and run by the devil incarnate divorce still wouldn`t get to the top of our to do lists

      • Irving08

        Thank your for your reply OSB. I think we should leave it there, don’t you ? – unless there are other posters that wish to contribute. I would be happy to debate further over a pint or two, although I am not sure yet where that could be. However since I bought my Palace ticket before this week’s news, I do know where that will be tomorrow.

      • Irving08

        I agree about our loss of moral authority: I would find it harder to justify doing today what I did in January 1993 – which was to bring 25 elected members of the Russian parliament for 3 weeks to study our parliamentary system of government (the highlight of which was of course a big day out at Elland Road). Nevertheless at least venality here can be exposed and punished without a purge or revolution, palace or otherwise. And we can still change our government without bloodshed. On living standards, surely it is the standard of life that could be achieved, say, by the worst off under alternative arrangement in one’s own society that matters. The yardstick you suggest is a blunt instrument when it comes to judging justice. (Conn in his excellent book on Man.City worries about the migrant labour dimension of this question in Abu Dhabi – they apply to the entire region.) Finally I think you are far too pessimistic about our chidren’s and grandchildren’s prospects. The West – Europe in particular – will continue to produce most of the world’s science, which will remain a principal factor in development, and our fund of human and cultural capital is unmatched. (I include Russia in Europe, by the way.) Of course it will be fascinating to see if Muslim societies can accomplish the trick of modernising while preserving the
        many positive moments in Islam. As for China, I will let you know what I think next Spring.

  9. Ollywhite

    Come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!
    Can’t fecking wait get the fans back get the atmosphere back cos that’s disappeared up its own arsehole, get some investment into the team cos as a kid I used to piss in the sinks at half time( didn’t bother me or anyone else) put the money into the playing staff!!
    Can’t contain myself I know we can all bleet on about el president nob ed but he will soon be dead so don’t stress – new start fellow supporters don’t look back look forward – this season can still be a success MOT

  10. Exiled White

    I hope this doesn’t prove to be a false dawn. Time will tell. I’m not a vindictive or nasty person, but the best thing that KB can do is get the hell out of LUFC, or failing that, he drops down dead. Leeds need a clearout and top of list to go is Warnock’s name. Start afresh next season and we all can MOT. Premiership here we come!!

  11. Matthew

    Hurray the nightmare is over, the nightmare is over.

    We’ve all dreamed of the day the bearded cunt would leave, but now that its here its hard to put into words beyond FUCK YES.

  12. mrbigwheels

    Having had a coffee, or rather… just smelt it, I am trying to take in the absolute words of Mr Ken Bates of this mornings OS statement… ”nothing has changed”.
    Is this a takeover or a makeover?. I hold a view that today is the culmination of one of the finest implementations of any smoke and mirror tactics that a man with help from a few assistants could present. It’s called… ‘we’re doing it my way or we’re not doing it at all’.
    Paul Daniels would be proud.

    • Chareose

      If we s[end more than 2 million on a player over XMAS you will know its a real takeover of sorts….. Can you really see Kenneth bates pulling the wool over our eyes and then spending decent money on players ??? Proof will be had in January

    • mrbigwheels

      What a difference a day makes……… incredible how we can mop up the words of the absolute artist of deception and think it’s all going to be ok. This is nothing more than an investment via the backdoor. Bates hasn’t gone and isn’t actually going anywhere. This is a bums on seats exercise. A cash flow improver that will fool many. Bates and his boys are in this together. Neither have any money for LUFC, just scraps, enticements for the fans to liven things up a bit and keep this club in the black.. No, I’m not on the hard stuff or lost the plot, I’m really quite angry. Bluff and more bluff from the new board. Yeah there will be some investment in January, talk of a serious promotion push but don’t forget Mr Bates, yes Mr Kenneth William Bates will still be in charge of this club. Why?. Because he will be a big stake holder in the consortium. He sells everything on the condition he buys back into the LUFC consortium pot. Oh,and by some piff paff puff reasoning becomes President…. for life. Some may say thank you Mr Bates for what you’ve done, finding us all a saviour, a worthy owner to enhance your term here, I just wish that was the case. I may believe it when I see Mr Warnock looking a little happier and the team believing they actually work for a football club that means what it says and isn’t just giving us all a false dawn while trying to attract the real money we need to progress and develop in the future with stability.
      If this appears a rant, I apologise but it is my view based on my involvement with the Club, the football industry and a fifty year habit of supporting Leeds United…………….. I had hoped for something slightly better than this.

  13. Clive Sanderson

    Hope this is an end to the Bates out chants that has poisoned the atmosphere at Elland Road

  14. wyla

    good article (but I guess it’s only good to me coz I agree with most of it), bottom line is we need sucess on the pitch and hopefully with a few more quid in the coffers we can achieve it even if it is a deal between the devil we know and the devils we don’t. MOT

  15. West Stand Rebel

    Whilst I welcome any deal which sees the end or the beginning of the end of the current regime, I am left with nagging doubts. I have just been listening to Michael Michaelson on Radio Leeds who quite rightly asks what has been sold, i.e. is it just the football club (the brand) . Gaping,unanswered questions abound, about the ground, Thorp arch and the other businesses that contribute to the whole of the football club.
    The cynic in me (and lets face it we have every reason to be cynical) wonders whether this is just a ploy to feed us some good news before season tickets go on sale again in about 6 weeks.

    • Old Goat

      Or maybe the mystery owner of TA and ER will not push GFH – (who look like they may have already over-extended themselves financially – hard not to draw this conclusion the way things have finally limped over the line at the eleventh hour) – for settlement of invoices. Then, when the club goes into further debt to pay off GFH’s backers and this mystery owner of ER/TA owns the 25.0001 percent of total debt required to block any CVA or takeover not of his choosing……………………..
      Wonder if anyone has tried this before??

      I’d like to be happy but like you, I’m uneasy about the whole thing

  16. Joe Black

    I cannot believe that GFH are going to do a serious job after they have been conned into keeping Bates on board a sChairman for 6 months and even as (honorary) Presdent after the end of this season. Surely they must know how the club has declined under his time there and I cannot understand that they are allowing him to remain involved in the club in any capacity whatsoever.

    Bates out – this means he will never be out!

    Also many questions still remain open, e.g.are GFH buying ER and TA.You would imagine a serious owner of the football club would want control of these faciliities even (dare I say it) to able to be in a position to be in control of naming rights which can bring in substantial sums. Personally I would not like Elland Road to be named anything else but in these commercial times clubs take their money where they can get it.

    Anyway let us see what happens in the next 24 hours and in the January window and perhaps we shall then get some idea of how serious GFH really are. of at least keeping us in a decent position in our present League this season and hopefully over a period we will see if they have the wherewithal and management sense to set down a plan to get us back into the PL.

    I would have been happier if the future both short and long term would have been one without Bates and Warnock altogether but then, I am not buying the club so as along time fan I cna only hope!

  17. Mark

    What is the point of these people taking over Leeds if they have no money to sustain the club? It’s alright cobbling together the funds to pay off Bates, but what then? What happens if we don’t achieve promotion this season, which is what they seem to be banking things on? Why didn’t Bates sell to the American whose stated aim was to ‘return Leeds to the summit of the domestic and European game’, that sounds more like someone who would satisfy our real ambitions. Yes it would be nice to return to the premier league again, but aren’t GFH’s ambitions a little modest? I mean Leeds fans will expect much more, we want to be competing with the best clubs again, for Champions league places etc, maybe eventually even league titles, can GFH achieve that? Aston Villa are a club similar size to Leeds and look at the trouble they are in with an owner that is no ambitious

  18. DrD

    All that matters is what happens next. Investment in the team, quality players,in the future, possible promotion. I don’t care about Bates, so we should now stop worrying about Bates. If money comes into the team (and we get results and hopefully play good football in the future!) then Great, the previous owner has delivered -end of (I can’t forget what a pain it has been the last few years, but we can all move on!! The future is bright, the future is White. Fill the ground MOT.

  19. Allen

    OK. New start.
    Lets give it time.
    Be positive.
    Elland Road :Just be there ! Show your support ! Let’s MOT !!!!

  20. superleeds93

    I’ve been reading articles on The Scratching Shed since about 2009/2010, Ive never commented before because for the past few seasons reading about how our club has been ripped apart and players sold, but worst of all how the fans have been split, between the ‘Bates out’ and the ‘but he saved our club’ types has just made me so disillusioned as to what Leeds United is anymore. That said this is a new start, a new opportunity for fans to be once again united. I’m as skeptical as anyone about GFH, But for now at least i think its time to let them have their say, see what happens and don’t rush to the ‘GFH OUT’ chants. Once they’ve had a chance to build Leeds United back to what it is supposed to be. It wont be instant,but it will be worth it.

  21. trueyorxman

    If GFH are serious they will get rid of Warnock before handing over any ‘war chest’ as he will still buy average players. Sack Warnock now and get RDM in, how big a coup would that be just 6 months after winning CL. Where else has he to go?



  23. lufcblue

    sad day for leeds united as a club… dirty muslim money… dirty regiem… we’d be better off keeping the mighty ken bates… he who saved us from the abyss and gets no credit from the fans… lets see where we are in a few years time… not in the premier league………………….. think i’ll just follow leeds rhinos from now on


      1 of my comments was removed for callin ken bates a c**t the other day, were it not for the fact i want this 1 to go up id say the same to you. So swear words arent allowed but racism is ok TSS? have a look. ah what the fuck, cant help meself YOUR A CUNT MATE.

      • djedjedje

        I imagine it’s OCR software that picks up on certain words – c**t being one. Much harder to pick up on casual racism as long as certain words aren’t being used, sadly.


        last 1 seems to have gotten ok though, would hate to think he didnt get to see it.

      • TSS

        No one has removed any comments on this site. Some get blocked by spam filters when they contain profanities or racist terms, but I don’t actively moderate them – I tend to trust that our fans are mature enough to engage in debate without resorting to personal abuse. Evidently not.

        PS… Am I being called a cunt solely because automated software blocked a comment? Seems a bit excessive.

      • djedjedje

        I’m pretty sure Dublin’s cunt accusation was for the racist fella whose comment was deleted.

  24. Chareose

    I think people are missing the point…………Bates continued involvement will have been THE ONLY WAY a deal was going to be done……so either give up and walk away ir accept Bates demands….. And thats probably why it took so long to complete…. I agree with TSS best to support the club with the view of seeing how supportive they are of developing a team that can get promotion.

  25. djedjedje

    I’m starting to get a bit tired of hearing from such heavily interested parties as the lawyers and Bates and GFHC and gullible ex players (Mr. Lorimer) about what a great day the ‘takeover’ has been for everyone… Yes you got paid a good price Bates, yes you lawyers strung it out so you got paid handsomely, or you bought the club cheap (time will tell, Mr Haigh).

    But after eight years of being shafted by Bates and eight years of growing doubt-becomes-cynicism-becomes-conspiracy theories the proof of change is going to be in hard facts – something Bates has denied us for eight years.

    So, and with seven hours until the end of the loan window, give Warnock some money then.

  26. Matthew

    Some people are quick to label Warnock as clueless but considering he had no time in the loan market and likely didn’t believe he would land anyone in said loan window because of the overly long takeover and no support from Bates, bringing in 2 quality players quickly is proof he has an idea :)

    • mrbigwheels

      Post Hughes…. Many are wishing he was still there at QPR.
      I wish him and the team ‘the best of’ tomorrow and the supporters will do their stuff like no others can.

  27. Paul Askham

    It’s a step forward, lets face it we cant feel any worse than we do at the moment. Lets give them a chance but if we dont like them what can we do?


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