Tag: Leeds United

So, Why Is The Leeds United Takeover Taking So Long, Then?

This evening, the supporters of Leeds United AFC could well be forgiven for contemplating the fact that it wasn’t meant to turn out like this. When Ken Bates finally surrendered the chairmanship of the club in July of last year, a new era was supposed to be at the point of dawning for a club – and a city – that has now been almost a full decade without Premier League football, but over the last couple of months a much-reported takeover of the club has stalled, whilst on the pitch the team has started to look every bit...

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Ken’s Bidding Or Not? The Daily Mail’s Hatchet Job On The Leeds United Supporters Trust

Earlier this week, Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail was in a “penthouse apartment in Leeds city centre” with Ken Bates, having been granted a rare interview with the Leeds United chairman ahead of Leeds’ League Cup quarter-final against Chelsea. It wasn’t, it should be said, the most testing of interviews for Bates, a man who frequently seems more than happy to use his own media channels to harrass those that he considers his enemies. What might appear a little more surprising, however, was the appearance of a second article on the paper’s website and in its print edition which can, in the absence of any valid “public interest” considerations (the well-established catch all explanation for dragging anybody’s personal life into the glare of the public domain), only reasonably be described as a hatchet piece on a long-time nemesis of Bates – Gary Cooper, the chair of the Leeds United Supporters Trust. In a breathless article (which we’re not going to link to – that’s what the likes of the Mail want us to do), Ashton revealed that “The man trying to secure investment for a Leeds United takeover has a failed business behind him and three county court judgements” and that “he has a chequered past according to documents handed to Sportsmail.” Now, it’s possible that Ashton genuinely believes that this story actually is a matter of considerable...

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The Continuing Stagnation Of Leeds United

This being Leeds United, of course, it was always never particularly likely that the takeover of the club by the Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) group was going to be completely straightforward. As the winter evenings continue draw in, this groups purchase of the club remains seemingly perpetually on the point of being completed, while on the pitch the teams performances and results provide weekly reminders to the supporters of precisely why it is so important that somebody comes into the club and actually invests some money into its playing staff. The last two weeks have been a case in point in this respect, with tepid single goal defeats at the hands of Burnley and Millwall intersected by a bizarre home thrashing at the hands of Watford in a match that saw Neil Warnocks team finish the match with just nine players on the pitch after a red card and broken leg to midfielder Rodolph Austin. A season that had started with a degree of cautious promise is threatening to unravel before everybodys eyes. The GFH take-over of the club has been perhaps the main talking point around Elland Road so far this season without it having yet been completed, in spite of the fact that it is now more than six months since the story first hit the headlines, and there was bad news last week for anybody...

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Ken Bates: “An Ex-Chairman Is A Nobody”

OK, we all know that Ken Bates is an unpopular individual in footballing circles. He is still, though, not as unpopular as he ought to be. There are still those in football, watchers, participants and commentators, who are happy to file Bates under “character,” or give him credit where it is not entirely due. To far too many people, Bates still represents a flash of excitement and unpredictability in a game whose participants are coached more rigorously in “dealing” with the media than kicking with their weaker foot; a game which usually only lets its guard drop in the ugliest fashion (check Chelsea FC’s latest travails for details). Bates “tells it like it is,” and “isn’t afraid to speak his mind.” But while “those who speak their mind often have nothing to say,” Bates has been filing column inches on sports pages throughout my lifetime (OK, maybe that’s taking things too personally), since he first came to footballing prominence, as Oldham Athletic chairman in 1965. Famously, he shared half a chapter of Arthur Hopcraft’s timeless book The Football Man, representative as he seemed to be of the thrusting new entrepreneurial spirit of modern football circa 1968. In it he was contrasted with the old-school (literally and figuratively) occupant of the Arsenal chair, Denis Hill-Wood. Hopcraft wrote of the pair that they were “definitively, the representatives of the public school...

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