|From Stamford Bridge Satan to National Treasure - Marksism Today|
Tue 21st Sep 2010 19:37 by Marko
How Ken Bates has actually won me over.
Three-years ago I was as vocal as the loudest Yorkshireman. Bates Out and take fucking Wise and Poyet back to fucking London with you.
We had slumped to all all-time low, the third-tier of the English game for the first-time, in adminstration and facing the mountain of a fifteen-point deduction. On and off the park, the club was rotten to the core and we prayed that someone with some purpose, direction and even affinity for our great club would ride in and boot out the "Chelsea Scum".
It never happened! Whilst Poyet and Wise moved on to ill-fated tenures with so-called "big" clubs, Bates remained and remained as belligerent as ever!
Another management team came and went. He hiked up the prices and bizarrely it worked out cheaper to watch Premiership teams such as Blackburn and Bolton than it did Leeds. I despaired! Why wasn't Bates driven out of town? A friend of mine who remembers the "Adamson Out" protests of 1980 recalls a noisy demonstration in the car-park nearly turned into a full-scale riot when a champagne-quaffing Director high up in the West Stand delivered the ultimate snub and drew the curtains on the rabble below taking care not the spill the Moet as he wrestled with the drapes!
Okay the civil disobidence the RMT Union leader Bob Crow called for last week is more out of fashion than Ginger Spice. We have lost the fire in our bellies to fight. You have to go back at least 20 years for the Poll Tax riots and a quarter of a century to the Miners strike to recall the last time it kicked-off big time. But we are Leeds and I despaired that there was not enough of us game or willing enough to show Bates the way back home to his tax haven by the Med and leave us alone in our cold, Yorkshire drizzle.
Successive campaigns such as LUST and Ten For Ken have run out of steam, the deliverance of promotion last year has quelled most of the heat on our chairman.
It has given me time to reflect too and really Ken is the last of the old-time chairman. You think Sam Longston (Derby), our very own Manny Cussins and purveyor of dodgy Manchester schooldinner meat and Old Trafford supremo Louis Edwards - Ken is the last of a long-gone breed.
What would you rather have? The sterile fakeness of Roman Abramovich, high away in his box, surrounded by his flunkeys -barely uttering a word or showing any emotion or good old Ken, an opinion on anything and anyone and always up for a to-death scrap in the gutter? Okay Abramovich is technially the "owner" and Ken, well...ahem...best not go there but Bruce Buck is not much of a fertile source of the wonderful soundbites Ken reels off the cuff.
I think it was a week last Friday's Independent which swung me. I occasionally buy the Indy on a Friday and there was Ken, Suzanna at his side, engaged in one of his legendary carpet-blast articles from the comfort of a Monaco Hotel. In an age of being implanted firmly in the politically correct wilderness, part of me winces and part of me secretly enjoys Ken's natural lack of PC. In last seasons MK Dons programme, he urged Leeds fans to use their vote carefully and vote for the Icelandic Volcanic Party as they have "done more to stop immigration in the last 7 days than Labour have in 13 years". Mildly racist and definately hypocritical given his tax-exile status but only Ken could get away with it.
This season, the Disabled have been in his sights. In the Swansea programme he referred to "wheelchair bound" another definite "no no" in the PC Dictionary (the preferred term is wheelchair user). Now he only gives concessions to Disabled customers dependant on what rate of Disability Living Allowance they get. Initially I imagined Ken with a tape measure at hand, checking how high customers could reach or even stumble to qualify for the Disabled enclosure but apparently all he has done is applied the same rules adopted by many other Championship clubs.
So would I really want a cold-fish like Abravomich? What about the Sheik at Manchester City? We all know they both will be fucked when their owners get bored and walk away! What about the Yanks in the north West at Old Trafford, now mortgaged up to the hilt and at Anfield - maybe on the verge of financial meltdown some do say. The Yank at Aston Villa has soon peed-off Martin O'Neill and it will be interesting to see how much patience the locals will have with a manager with a dodgy ticker who has been out of the Premiership for as long as we have! Where has the Indian saviour of Blackburn gone? That fat joker who owns Newcastle is still in power but the replica shirts and booze-ups are a thing of the past.
For now, give me Ken any day of the week. Okay the actual ownership of the ground and club is murky but spiritually it belongs to us, the fans so does it matter? Bates is a cold-hard businessman when all is said and done, Leeds is not in his blood but beggars cannot be choosers. It is a long-hard road back to the Premiership, but it will be sustainable and whilst Bates is at the helm we will not be returning to the days of the boardroom goldfish and Mercs for typists ala Ridsdale or the fire-sale humiliation under Krasner and friends.
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