Build us a team, not a hotel

THOUGH undeniably a factor, the cup win at Old Trafford – contrary to recent opinion – is not the reason for Leeds United’s 2010 form slump. If it was, then Simon Grayson’s predecessors, with no cup prowess to speak of between them, wouldn’t have hit the self-same wall 12 months into their reigns, too. But they did.

As highlighted back in September, not one has survived a second year in charge under the Beeston hotelier. Gary McAllister didn’t even see out his first, after a dismal run of results with which Grayson’s line-ups are becoming increasingly flirtatious. Since marking an extraordinary first year in charge with victory on Boxing Day and another three points two days later, his Leeds United haven’t registered consecutive wins in a 16 game period which has yielded just 21 points. It’s an alarming second-year slump worse than Dennis Wise’s; worse even than that of Kevin Blackwell.

What this means is that in returning Leeds United to where it was when Ken Bates first clapped eyes on it in 2005, avoiding the inevitable fate in the process, Simon Grayson has much trend-bucking to do. But it’s too easy to demand the manager’s head; less so to ask why we must keep plating it up. Cash black holes, escalating ticket prices, expensive courtroom failures, hotel plans and an overabundance of borrowed players all feed into the sense that this regime’s murky pursuit of off-field mediocrity is inconducive to excellence on it, whoever picks the team.

Where our forefathers stood by the finest players of any generation, we do likewise by a club that increasingly feels like Leeds United in name only. Our behaviour is monitored by the Members Club while the club itself continues to harbour the veiled interests of a chairman and his secret associates. But for how long?

With the incoming Football League chairman’s drive for transparency, the growing culture of fan protest and the realisation that we have problems with brass hotel doorknobs on, not much longer, one would hope. Once pacified by Ken Bates-sponsored media, we Leeds United fans are forming networks of our own and assuming positions to demand for ourselves the very best football club the bland old man’s capable of – unless, of course, that’s what we already have.

Instead of striving to copy his own Stamford Bridge template, Ken Bates would be well advised to heed the words of Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, the man tasked with making the west London development break even. “All a football fan wants,” he admits. “Is football.” Not a hotel.

9 Responses to “Build us a team, not a hotel”

  1. after the game against millwall i was so fed up i went home got out the old laptop and vented my spleen on the leeds united website at all things leeds and all things bates .just before doing so i left my telephone number with the remarks I EXPECT SOMEONE TO CALL .on wednesday at 3.15 the phone rang it was KENNETH WILLIAM BATES on the phone asking if i wanted to chat i said ohhyes .this wasnt a 30 second call it was infact a 30 minuite call and we discussed and listened to each others point of view , i have to say i did learn some colorful language ,but i expect he said that when he put his phone down .now lets get 1 thing straight i dont care 1 way or the other about bates or the board at leeds in general my allegiance is to the team and i pay my money to watch them not to build a hotel ,that said i dont moan about prices i know how much it is before i pay so thats that .The point is that we as supporters were generally happy with how things were going with results etc as iam sure was grayson and thats why he said he was happy with the squad he had .Ken bates insists he has offered money to the manager and simon said he was happy with the squad as at that time he would have been .THE downturn in form coincided with the transfer window ending thats not anyones fault other than the players ????.simon grayson has dabbled badly in the loan market aside from gradel they have all been rubbish and sodje last season,it is not bates fault the manger didnt want to spend the money with hindsight iam sure he would have .If bates does want to build at elland road however he should find his own money ,he said “if the fans want a good team they will have to pay for it” well we are, good money and he should use it to build a team not a hotel and find his own money to build the rest .

  2. Thanks Les, you make a good point about the players’ responsibility which allows me to mention a name I forgot in the above piece: Gwyn Williams. Fatigue was always going to be a problem in the latter half of this season, but the sheer amount of loanees, coupled with the frequency of flops at Elland Road (quite why it was deemed our squad required both Kandol and Showunmi for example, only Williams knows) under successive managers suggests a deficiency in the evaluation of footballers. There have been successes, but managers have come and gone while the underlying mediocrity has remained.

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  4. Top post as ever TBG & nice of Ken to ring you Les – did he reverse the charges?

    It’s an interesting one as on the back of Bates words above these were from the YEP:

    Grayson said he had received the backing of chairman Ken Bates “every time I’ve asked for a player” and he rejected claims that loan signings might be any less committed to United’s cause than permanent recruits.
    Grayson said: “Every manager would love to spend five to 10 million in every transfer window but realistically that doesn’t happen. Every time I’ve asked for a player the chairman has backed me. That’s credit to him. I genuinely believe that the group we’ve had this season has been good enough.”

    Harvey claimed:

    “What we’ve done this year is invest heavily in the playing squad – not in transfers fees particularly but in terms of the wage bill. We wanted the best players possible to get us out of this division. Investment doesn’t always mean spending £3m on a centre-forward. It can be judged in many ways, like the number of players you sign and the wages they earn.”

    I suspect the truth lies somewhere inbetween and I agree the players need to look at themselves too. The performance on Saturday negs the wuestion of where the fuck have they been the last 15 games! And individual let doewns, well – McSheffery needs to decide if he is a footballer or an actor – he does a great impression of the invisible man!

  5. les im not suprised ken phonedyou ,my mate moaned about summat last year and ended up aving tea and scones with the old politician. thats what the man is, he is a very clever businessman and like all clever businessmen he is very economical with the truth just like a politician. ive been going to ER for 35 years now and for the first time in that time im questioning wether or not to renew my S.T , which saddens me greatly. i dont feel he has the clubs best interest at heart. he is an old man, and the clubs future is not at the top of his agenda. 4 million pound profits last year, WOW! that is unbelieveable for a football club these days, especially one in league one. why does he need promotion ? you can guarentee that next season if we dont go up there will be still at least half a dozen games where there are more than 30,000 maybe a couple more lucrative cup games, 1000s of members, 1000s of replica shirts EXCLUSIVELY sold by LUFC 1000s of pounds thru LUTV he will still cream it in. so there will be no panic by that PARASITE. now if we go up then he will have to spend and that might not payoff and i really do believe that is risk he wont want to take. why are we talking about building hotels? lets talk about that if or when we get back in the prem. rumour has it he still owns 80% of chelsea village, no wonder hes desperate for one at elland road, coz he will probably own similar stakes when hes gone from ER. i would not trust this man as far as i could throw him, he needs to go ASAP. so the season ticket prices have been calculated on the basis that we go up. so what if we dont? will we spend like a championship club? i think not. why didnt he say that ST prices will be frozen just in case we dont go up, then if we do then a further payment of X amount will be needed to purchase that ticket. that would have been fair. the way he has done it means he cant fail, but we as LOYAL FANS certainly will. please someone tell me that im not the only one that feels this way about that man. please no one say IF IT WANT FOR BATES COMING IN AND BAILING US OUT WE MIGHT NOT AV A TEAM, coz he himself said in court that he hasnt put a PENNY into the club since hes been here.

  6. Have to say that I’ve always thought old Batesy was doing the right thing but now I’m not so sure.

    The whole thing looks poor to me now both off and on the field. Batesy goes on about building from the bottom ie getting in place a firm foundation to move forward; but money is the key to it…ie the vast amount of funds in from pricks like me and the rest of the loyal fans who go year in year out. I know nearly two dozen who are sacking the season ticket now and I’m pissed off that I bought my two just over a week ago.

    I even enquired about booking some corporate stuff etc almost 3 weeks ago and despite a standard emailed acknowledgement of my enquiry and a promise therein that the ‘corporate team’ would be in touch I have heard cock all. Just about sums it up to me.

    Maybe Batesy might want to buy me tea and scones and have a sit down with a fan of nearly 40 years for a chat.

    Mark warburton – Saddleworth, Oldham

  7. Some true words spoken above but all I want like all fans is to get out of this league. I hope the players get there act together P.M.A Positive Mental Atturtude is needed at Leeds we can do this

  8. I believe it is time that Leeds fans United against Bates, he has manipulated and been disingenuous with Leeds fans for over 5 years now. We are on our 4th manager so who is really to blame for our state of affairs the constants are Bates/Harvey/Williams. The Don, Billy, Les, Big John, Albert must all be turning in there graves and the state of Leeds and the ambivalence of the fans, we protested in the 80’s for change why can’t we do it now, even the lot across the pennies are at least willing to protest when seemingly (on paper) things are good for them, we are at our lowest in the clubs storied history and there is more disunity within the fans ranks than wrath and action against Bates.

  9. I think the main barriers to protest were set in place by Bates himself some years ago. The Members Club, Yorkshire Radio and LUTV are a controlling influence over many Leeds United supporters, and the relationships between them play on the minds of those who, quite reasonably, wish to think the best of and for “their” football club. We must free ourselves by forging independent groups and networks of our own – which we are, and we may be seeing the tide slowly turn.

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