Who Owns Leeds United? How Football Documentaries Should Be Made

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11 Responses

  1. Ben says:

    I disagree, I think the documentary taught us very little that was not already public knowledge and incredibly biased. The fact that Leeds are now operating at a profit, just in time for the “financial fair play” initiative was glossed over quite successfully I noticed.

  2. Scottydog says:

    I agree with most of what you’ve written. In totality, it was a pretty devastating critique of Mr Bates and his time with Leeds. Substantially, most of the content was already in the public domain, mainly thanks to David Conn’s earlier efforts. But put altogether in on package, the sleazy regime at Elland Road was exposed to a much wider audience. Conn is a breath of fresh air in British sports journalism.

  3. chris says:

    I thought it was rubbish I expected something more gritty, a bit like the Roger Cook reports of old. Don’t get me wrong David Conn might be a nice chap but he doesn’t seem ruthless enough. I thought the content was old news just recycled once again. All this negative media attention is making the club a laughing stock, and as soon as we can get back to concentrating on supporting the team (which isn’t as weak as some make out) the better. The last thing we need is all this negativity getting to the pitch and affecting the players.

  4. The programme was a huge disappointment, and told us Leeds fans, well the anti-Bayes, none happy clapping fans, nothing we didn’t already know.
    I know the programme was specifically about ownership of Leeds, but Conn failed miserably by not at least mentioning the other gangsters that own football clubs in England and elsewhere.

  5. ooopps, anti-Bates that is

  6. LeedsForLife says:

    How documentaries should NOT be made is to decide the conclusion then cherry pick information and opinion, and present a selective interpretation of them, to give the impression that conclusion has been reached.

    Cobbling together a load of information and opinions that were mostly if not entirely already known, and asking some questions in an important manner so as to suggest they’re important questions (but not actually answering them), isn’t much by way of ‘investigative journalism’. It’s more like the use of licence payers’ money to pursue a vendetta (and how nice for Conn that the licence payers paid for his unnecessary jolly to Geneva). Although Conn’s vendetta is apparently against Bates, it seems he won’t mind if Leeds Utd is damaged as he pursues it.

    Whatever Bates’s wheeling and dealing, however sharp his business practice, he’s done better for the club than Ridsdale or Krasner did; their policies sent it towards it’s destruction.

  7. Mick F says:

    It seems that Ben and LeedsForLife would be happy for Satan to own Leeds Utd so long as the club is successful. Maybe he already does!

  8. Andy Flynn says:

    I’d be more interested in who owns Elland Road and Thorpe Arch and who owned the investment trusts that would only write off their loans if the FSF bid fronted by Bates won…..

    These are the thoughts of my anonymous friend from Switzerland. I detach myself from these comments completely…..

    Krasner sells ER and Thorpe Arch to an offshore company who leases them back to Leeds United. That company is happy because they have assets that are rising in value and are generating a profit. And continues to do so today. However, where would they have been had Leeds United disappeared? They rely on Leeds paying rent and have no guarantee of developing the land….

    Krasner sells Leeds United, which is  already insolvent to Ken Bates who fronts up an offshore company. The ownership is confidential. Bates probably pays nothing because the club has no real assets and lots of creditors. 

    However, it was still generating underlying profit due to parachute payments and matchday revenues.

    But, everything it was generating was servicing the debt. Plus the parachute payments were to disappear. The debt wasn’t reducing so technically Leeds United were still insolvent unless it made an quick return to the Premier League and started generating more income again. 

    Somehow, Ken manages to convince 2 investment trusts to provide loans to Leeds United to keep the business afloat even though the business is in a win or bust position. They know the club is insolvent if it doesn’t go up and they will have to write off these loans if Leeds United go out of business. 

    These 2 investment trusts are now the biggest non-footballing creditors. Overall debt levels don’t change, but they are probably much more lenient towards Leeds United than other creditors…..because  my friends view is that Ken is in fact providing the loans. 

    By the way, financing a business through loans/debt is more tax efficient than injecting capital. So what actually happened is that Leeds United purposely keep debt high and shareholder capital close to zero so ken has a business that is extremely tax efficient. Plus, being the biggest creditor means the loan providers have a big say in what happens to the club should it become insolvent. We’ll come back to that. 

    Plan A 
    Ideally for Ken, Leeds United go straight back up to premier league, income goes up significantly, he keeps debt financing the club through loans that he probably provides, he starts generating interest on the loans  and Leeds United breaks even again so doesn’t pay any tax!!!! 

    So he now has a profitable investment and one that has gone up in value because it is back in the premier league. a massive ROI whichever was you look at it. 

    Regardless of whether he keeps Leeds United or sells, they still owe him money through the loans and he didn’t pay any money for the club so makes a huge profit…

    Plan B
    Leeds don’t go up, they lose the parachute payments. Ken is pissed cos he hasn’t made his quick return, but he is reducing the cost base in line with loss of income, obtains another injection of friendly debt to keep the business solvent and creditors happy. He’s not making a profit, but he still had an asset that can generate underlying profits if costs are well managed and if he gets promoted the jump in income will achieve the same result as per plan A in the end.

    Plan C
    So worst case scenario for Ken is that Leeds are relegated again and really are now insolvent. This happens…. 

    However, the loan providers have now become the biggest creditors.

    So Ken now has put Leeds United into administration because we can no longer service the debt due to loss of  income. To come out of administration all footballing creditors need to be paid in full – lucky them!  

    The administrator then has to get the best deal for all the non-footballing creditors.. 

    If someone comes in and says we will pay the creditors 10% and another says 9% then it’s obvious that the best deal is 10%!!

    However, the biggest creditor by far is the loan provider. The administrator is duly told  that the loans will be written off by this creditor, but only if Leeds United is sold to FSF, not anyone else. 

    Therefore Ken has effectively bought the club through writing off the loans he provided, forming FSF and bettering any rival repayment rates to other creditors. Some of these creditors are told they can continue to supply the new Leeds United to if they back the FSF bid. 

    To beat his bid  someone would have to come in and agree to pay all the creditors including Ken at a higher rate!   

    For anyone that hadn’t already sunk the investment they were never going to spend that sort of money to rival the FSF bid on a league 1 club. At that point in time someone would have had to pay around 4 times more for Leeds United than FSF who didn’t have to pay anything to the loan provider….

    So, to be fair to Ken Bates, he has saved Leeds United twice by debt financing the club and having to write of that debt….so he has lost money. 

    However, he has no regard for the collateral damage. Many other creditors lose out as Ken only pays them a small percentage of what they are owed.

    Ken hasn’t injected any shareholder capital so managed to buy a profitable asset for nothing other than the loans he has written off, which in turn allowed him to keep the asset due to insolvency rules. 

    This can be seen from p&l accounts from the last few years. Now the cost base has been addressed, Leeds is a profitable asset.

    That asset also pays him a good wage to be Chairman.

    He has used it’s ties to the city to try to leverage cheap investment from Leeds City Council to increase the asset value and generate new income. Remember, injecting debt finance through loans is a cost effective was to run a business due to tax rules. LCC has quite rightly rejected these advances due to the lack of transparency over the ownership and structure of the club. 

    So, where we are today is that Ken had committed to a building project at Elland Road on the basis that we win World Cup 2018!!! Can’t see any reason for developing the East Stand at this point in time. 

    As Ken did not secure a loan, Leeds United must be using retained profits and cash to pay the builders. The case against Chelsea and the Delph sale generated good profits and injected cash to the club. Clearly the Delph money is funding Elland Road development when it should be invested in the playing squad!

    This is why fans are hacked off with Ken now. We are nowhere further up the league ladder than we were when he took over, he has screwed over local businesses by taking us into administration and is now diverting cash that should be used to build the team into a building project that is not required right now. 

    And who funds it…. the very fans he calls morons and dissidents. He uses loyalty to the club to increase income by charging season ticket holders and members extortionate prices for everything…..

    He is only in it for self gain and uses offshore companies, debt finance and insolvency rules to protect his own investment at the cost to others…..how does the fit and proper person test work??? They are two words I would not use to describe Mr Bates. 

    But, the reality is we are stuck with him until someone buys him out and he won’t sell up until he is in the premier league and makes a big profit! 

  9. Dom says:

    It was utter rubbish

  10. EYLEEDS says:

    I found the programme a bit of a let down. Most of the points Conn made are already well known by Leeds fans but I supposed others may have learnt something.
    It needed to be harder hitting and I think that an interview with Bates was a must.

  11. Brian B says:

    David Conn describes himself as an “investigative journalist”

    Why did he not ask Gerald Krasner the obvious simple question:-

    “Who did you sell Leeds United to?”

    If Krasner did not know who he was selling to, perhaps Conn should have asked him why he cares so much now about who owns LUFC?

    The programme was overhyped an in typical David Conn fashion a “copy and paste” exercise.

    If only I could find a job like Mr Conn’s! One that requires little effort for a lot of reward.

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