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The last days of Bates are nigh?
The last days of Bates are nigh?
Sunday, 1st Jul 2012 21:48

As Gary Cooper says "dare we dream?"

The LUST chairman maybe should have copyrighted those three little words, as maybe it is the catchphrase to underpin the Elland Road Spring.

Are the final days of King Kenny's Reign now upon us? Will our club be awash with Arab money over the next few days?

How will we write up the seven-and-a-half years under Bates? Will the history books be kind to him?

Personally I was delighted when Bates rode into ER back in January 05. Despite his past connections, I felt we needed a footballing man at the helm. Krasner, McKenzie and even Ridsdale did not have the combined knowledge and experience put together than Bates had in his little finger.

I cringed at his abrasive ness but I also admired it. Leeds needed a chief " tell em to fuck off"(er) however rather than turn his scorn on the outside hating Leeds world, other than the BBC, he seemed hell- bent on civil-war upsetting the supporters clubs, the general fan by hiking up ticket prices and the long running battle with ex-director Melvyn Levi reportedly cost Leeds £4m in legal fees.

I was never a fan of Kevin Blackwell, I still cannot understand to this very day why Ken gave him a new deal in March 06 and sacked him six months later. Leeds should have kept their powder dry until after the Play-Off final debacle and Blackwell should have walked after the 3-0 defeat against Watford.

We saw the two sides to the Wise and Poyet regime, the slump which took us to our lowest standing in our entire history but then came the siege mentality which momentarily took us to the top of League One on Boxing Day 2007 despite a fifteen point deduction before a ball was kicked.

The actual process of how Leeds handled going into administration is worthy of a book itself, maybe the Guardian hack David Conn has already drafted the manuscript? but like you no doubt, I wanted Bates Out in 2007 but we were powerless to stop what seemed like dodgy dealings behind the scenes, eg the major creditor prepare to write-off a kings ransom as long as Bates remained at the helm backed by the seemingly secretive Swiss-based FSF when seemingly credible alternatives were ignored.

That was soon forgotten as Leeds, under Bates' prodigal son Dennis Wise made a storming start to 2007/08, Wise left however in January without a whimper for some faceless role at Newcastle. In came Gary Mac, Leeds legend, nice guy but not up to the task of taking us back to the second tier.

It seemed like Bates had found his own northern adopted son in Simon Grayson. Grayson became the first Leeds boss in 30 years to win at Old Trafford and managed to drag us back into the Championship in his first full attempt. Then a respectable seventh placed finish was far more than consolidation.

Grayson is assured a kind write up in the history books, the slaying of Manchester United and deliverance from annual trips to Colchester, Walsall and Yeovil cement his place in Leeds folklore for eternity. The majority consensus that he was forced to work on a shoestring and could not budget for the loss of Messers Beckford, Johnon, Kilkenny, Schmeichel etc. These bullet points will override any suspicion that Grayson was a limited coach tactically, without a plan B, over reliant on oan signings and a poor judge of players eg Bessone, Valrynen, Rachubka.

Bates' role during the horror show that was 2011/12 will be rightfully scrutinised. His persisant pursuit of additional revenue incomes is a double-edge sword. He is right in a business sense when he says that Elland Road must be utilised for more than 25 days a season. However there are only so many of the "prawn sandwich" and "pass the Chardonnay" brigade prepared to sacrifice a chunk of their disposable income watching a mediocre mid-table championship side struggle against teams of similar ilk.

Bates is just a dozen or so years younger than our beloved club. Maybe he did win five trophies at Chelsea all on " the smell of an oily rag". Perhaps he managed to persuade Kerry Dixon to quit Dunstable Town for £150 a week. Maybe Doug Rougvie and David Speedie were lured to the Bridge on the promise of as many gallons of Irn Bru and Tunnocks Wafers as they could carry south?

Yes footballers are greedy and judging by the number of hideous Gun Metal sports coupes and mock Jeeps in the Elland Road players car-park even our under-achievers are on a fair crack, but our failure to pay a competitive salary in comparison to Norwich and even Bristol City is a bitter-pill to swallow for fans who pay Premiership prices to sit in the cheap seats?

I think the timing is right for a clean break, as much as I enjoy reading his Chairmans Column I feel the time has come for Ken to bid the UK and LS11 farewell and spend a long and happy retirement in Monaco with his charming wife Susannah (who genuinely is a lovely person) and hopefully we can one day look back at his time with us as a necessary evil to get us back to where we belong!

Photo: Action Images



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