Tag Archives: ken bates

Leeds United: Ken Bates not responsible for programme notes today, has Ken’s power at the club reached rock bottom?

In what is quite a surprising twist, Ken Bates was not responsible for today’s programme notes, instead deferring to the GFH Capital team of Hisham Al-Reyes, David Haigh and Salem Patel.

Bates, famed for his vitriolic notes which tend to criticise a giant range of characters (calling Leeds fans names from ‘sickpots’ to ‘morons’), has apparently given up the duty for at least a week. This will come as a surprise, given Bates’s penchant for remaining in the public eye, and the fact that, given no word otherwise has emanated from the club, he remains chairman of Leeds.

If Bates has surrendered his power (and we cannot assume he has, given that it is only one week) to publish his thoughts in the programme, it suggests an internal power struggle has occurred, because Bates would likely not have given this up without a fight. It also points to the fact that GFH Capital won this fight, and have realised the potential damage given Bates a platform would cause to their attempts to reinvigorate the fans.

For those who have doubted GFH Capital’s control over the club, given what we feel is a figurehead position to satiate a weakened ego, this could be taken as a sign that things have changed slightly. It would be wise to watch the programme notes for the Bristol City game, to see if Ken Bates resurfaces.

Of slight interest from the programme notes is that GFH Capital are planning an event to meet the new ownership.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).

Leeds United: 2012 Report; Debts Grow into Millions, Problematic for Future?; Sale to GFH Capital Needed?

We’ve already talked about the situation surrounding Leeds’s finances before: to put it simply, Leeds United was not as hunky dory financially as Ken Bates would like to have people believe. The financial reports for the year have been published, and it shows that had the sale to GFH Capital not gone through, things would have got increasingly worse:

Leeds City Holdings, the parent company, lost £3m, a not insignificant sum.

The football club itself, ‘Leeds United Football Club’, lost £2.2m before player trading. As we have often stated, Leeds were, under Ken Bates, reliant on a model revolving around the sale of the likes of Gradel, Snodgrass et al. at a profit, putting managers in an awfully difficult situation where budgets were repeatedly slashed. So where the sale of Howson etc. was supposedly inevitable, once Premier League interest came, this is not the case. Leeds United under Ken Bates NEEDED to sell the crown jewels last year, and did so.

Leeds United Media and Yorkshire Radio lost £122k between them (the latter losing a whopping £100,000). Keeping things in-house certainly working for the best, eh Ken?

The Centenary Pavilion, one of Leeds’s efforts at diversifying income away from match-days, lost £233,000. It is alright having the best conference facilities between Wetherby and Sheffield, but it doesn’t matter when no one is there to fill them.

The group lost £536,000 overall, a massive drop from the £2,988,000 profit that was made in 2011. Is this much of a surprise, with attendances falling and the club losing masses of money in merchandise due to an increasingly embittered fan base?

Furthermore, the club entered into an agreement on 7th of July 2011 where it sold “£5 0m of season tickets” for the 2012/13 season and the 2013/14 season to Ticketus 2 LLP. Ticketus are, of course, infamous for their role in the Rangers downfall. It must be assumed that the figure is five, and not fifty, otherwise the situation is worse than thought. This was used to fund the East Stand development, which, whilst nice and all, surely won’t bring in £5m over the next two seasons to service this debt?

Preference shares worth £4m upon a “change in control” were sold to Lutonville Holdings Limited on the 21st of December 2011.

Leeds City Holding closed with a debt increase from £1.3m to a whopping FIVE MILLION, TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS. Ken Bates, as much as he liked to delude everyone, did not leave Leeds United debt free.

Was the sale to GFH Capital an unmissable inevitability? The reality is Ken’s regime could probably not sustain itself in the face of such financial issues.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).

Bates will have no power in ‘New Leeds’ – History tells us so…

There has been cause for consternation amongst Leeds fans, not least on my Twitter feed and on the forums, that GFH Capital’s takeover (now confirmed) will merely be a method by which Bates will extend his stay at Elland Road. After all, Bates will be chairman of the football club until the end of the season, after which he will become Honorary President of the board, fulfilling the role Lord Harewood did before his passing last year.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however (see, it is capitalised and everything), history has provided us with a set of convenient precedents to look at, not least with the fall of Bates’s own involvement at Chelsea, but also with the Abu Dhabi United takeover of Manchester City.

Here’s a quote directed at me on Twitter last night:

“There’s no way City/Chelsea owner would buy Leeds if Bates forced them to keep him on!”

Contrary to that statement, history already shows us that Roman Abramovich WAS forced to keep Ken Bates on, at least temporarily. As previously discussed, Ken Bates is a man obsessed with legacy, a megalomaniac who hates even a fraction of a second out of the sun. His Daily Mail interview with Neil Ashton (look it up, I’m not willing to provide them more hits) prior to the Chelsea game proves this.

“‘I held Suzannah’s hand and told her, “I have to save Leeds United”.’”

Bates, even upon departure, is keen to stress his importance for Leeds and his place in history. He is a man who knows the end comes for all, and feels it imperative to be known, and thought about, even after death.

Back to the point, however, and history. Abramovich was forced to retain Ken Bates as chairman, even after his takeover. The date of that takeover? June 2003. The date of Ken’s departure from Stamford Bridge? March 2004. Bates had seen his role as Chairman stretching into a glorious future, yet it was wrestled quickly from his grasp. Out of the limelight, Bates was unhappy. As to how difficult it was for a man with unlimited wealth to remove Ken Bates from his club, Bates hinted at the reality when he named a company set up to complete the takeover of Leeds ‘Romans Heavies’. Ken Bates, even facing a man with incredible riches, literally had to be dragged kicking and screaming from Chelsea.

Manchester City, similarly, had to deal with an unwanted presence after the now famed takeover by Sheikh Mansour. Post-takeover, with the former Thai PM fighting corruption charges and seeking political asylum in the UK, Thaksin Shinawatra was made honorary president of the club, like Bates will be. Again, some of the wealthiest people in the world having to cow-tow to the egomania of a formerly important man. He was, once again, removed swiftly from that position when convicted of corruption.

GFH Capital may have to deal with Bates currently, but the reality is that the chairman will have little power in the ‘New Leeds’. CEO Shaun Harvey has heavy ties to the new regime, with rumours suggesting that he made much of the deal possible. He is responsible for the day-to-day dealings at Elland Road, and has been for many years – after all, there is a limit to what tax exile Ken Bates can do from his home in Monaco on a daily basis. Neil Warnock himself has often talked about how “Shaun” was working hard to complete transfer dealings. GFH have even said themselves today that “the buck stops with [them]”. How much of club policy can Ken actually control in this situation? He is not at Elland Road day-to-day, he is not in control of the purse strings any longer, he is not in charge of the team itself. What does he actually control?

Richer people than GFH Capital have had to wait to get rid of Bates and other unfortunate leeches from old regimes, and it should come as no major issue that placating Bates was the only way to get his hands away from the club. Today’s press conference, Bates-less and without massive deference to his “legacy”, shows what the reality is. Ken Bates will have no power in the ‘New Leeds’.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).