Tag: Leeds United

Have We Entered The Last Days Of Ken Bates Empire?

There was a hint of what might have been and what might yet be at Elland Road last night as Leeds United knocked Everton out of the League Cup with a win by two goals to one which, if we disregard the empty seats between a crowd of only just over 21,000 people, rolled back the years to the days when this club was a Premier League force. It was a result which might not have much long-term significance – even winning the League Cup doesn’t feel particularly significant in the grand scheme of things these days – but for a couple of hours the clubs supporters were able to forget about the persistent Ken Bates-shaped cloud that hangs over their club and get on with the altogether more satisfying job of seeing their team dumping a Premier League club out of a cup competition. On the pitch, Neil Warnocks team has made an inconsistent start to the league season, and the 2012/13 Leeds United vintage remains something of a work in progress. A home win against Nottingham Forest last weekend ended a run of three league matches without a win and left the club in twelfth place in the Championship table, still comfortably in touch with the play-off and automatic promotion places at its top but without having issued the statement of ambition that we might have expected...

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100 Owners: Number 96 – (George Cripps &) Joseph Connor (Leeds City)

As those of you that have been keeping up to date with this series will already be aware, there was probably no golden age for football in England when the game was completely free of corruption and malign influence. We have already looked at the controversial promotion of Arsenal into Division One of the Football League in 1919, but that year also saw the expulsion of a club that had been members of the League since a year after its formation in 1904. The tale of Leeds City AFC would come to be regarded as one of the most notable cases of corruption within the game for many years, and this was a story of circumstance that involved a man that would go on to become one of the most important managers in the history of the world game. Football in the city had started in 1885 with the formation of Leeds FC, but this club struggled to establish itself and folded shortly afterwards. After a couple of other attempts to form a club in the city, in 1904 Leeds City AFC was formed, playing its home matches at Elland Road – which had been used for football matches since 1898 – and in 1905, as the Football League sought to expand into other areas – the club joined the Football League, finishing in sixth place in Division Two...

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Ken Bates’ Grand Game Of Divide And Rule

Sometimes, the oldest ones are the best – or, in this case, the worst. There are plenty of rogues operating in and around football clubs these days, but the old master, Ken Bates, can still teach others a thing or two about dealing with those that they hold in contempt with an almost breathless degree of disrespect.  Elland Road has not been a happy place this season. Leeds United are performing much as we might have expected on the pitch. Although it was not enough to save manager Simon Grayson his job in January, the club currently sits just below the play-off places in the Championship in tenth place in the table and there is still all to play for, but crowds are down and discontent is in the air. For some Leeds United supporters, the tipping point, as far as Bates is concerned, came with the sale of club captain Jon Howson to Norwich City for £2m in January. Howson had come to represent the very best of Leeds United during a period in the club’s history that most supporters would prefer to forget. His sale, in the middle of a season in which promotion ambitions remain on the agenda, has come to represent a toxic culture at Elland Road of cost-cutting and a lack of investment in the playing squad while ticket prices remain very much at Premier League levels. The...

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Is The Tide Beginning To Turn At Leeds United?

We have noted before on this site that football supporters can be considerably more patient than we are ever given credit for. Indeed, some might even say that we are too patient. In recent years, we have put up with increasing ticket prices, the desecration of the atmosphere inside grounds and policing methods that would raise an eyebrow were they to be practiced in a totalitarian state. It is also worth remembering, however, that everyone has a tipping point, a moment at which a penny seems to collectively drop amongst a support base which triggers feelings that may have been suppressed or ignored for a considerable period of time. That moment may just have come for the supporters of Leeds United. The Yorkshire club has had to tolerate the ownership of Ken Bates for four and half years now, at least. Bates’ hard-headed policy of pushing ticket prices through the roof, using official club media for baseless attacks on those that he deems to be his “opponents” and labelling those amongst his club’s own support that oppose his methods with language that goes beyond being merely derogatory and into the realms of merely being abusive. Set against this, the decision to sell club captain Jon Howson to Norwich City may seem, from the outside, to be relatively small beer. Howson, however, more than merely the club captain at Leeds United. Born...

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Match Of The Week 2: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United

There remains a sense of great expectations surrounding Leeds United. To get a feel for the root cause for this, we only need to spin back four decades, when Don Revie’s team lost out on the Football League Championship to Derby County but managed a little solace in winning the FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley. Times have changed since then, of course. In the intervening forty years, Leeds United have been relegated, bounced back, won the last English title before the induction of the Premier League, plummeted back to the third tier of the English league system and only narrowly avoided closure before resurfacing in the Championship, their ambition thwarted, yet undiminished. Perhaps it is this sense of grandeur which, in recent years, seen the club over-perform against superior opposition. Two years ago, they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and gave Spurs a game and a half before succumbing after a replay. This time last year, they faced a trip to The Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal and again managed a draw before slipping up at home in a replay. Whatever limitations the Leeds United teams of the last couple of seasons may have had, they always seem capable of giving those bigger clubs a game in a one-off cup match. If psychology counts for great deal in football, then it could even be argued that,...

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