Ken Bates Goes Bust: an epilogue

“This was the plan: we would take a holy and sacred picture of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, to the very summit of the earth; once there, we would place it with sincere reverence amongst the chimerical shimmering palaces of ice and snow and then (accompanied by some weird Zen magic) we would light joss sticks, dance about making screechy kung-fu noises, get off our faces, and that would be it: Planet Earth saved. Simple.”
~ Mark Manning, Bad Wisdom

WE HAD the same plan, at 9pm on Saturday 17th December 2011. But instead of a holy and sacred picture of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, we possessed a life-size copper bust of The Great Dictator, Kenneth W. Bates, which we’d just liberated from an Egyptian Temple in Holbeck. And we were on our way to Peter Lorimer’s pub.

Once there, we would place it with sincere reverence amongst the shimmering palaces of football, booze and fags and then we would take him outside, dance about playing “toss the chapati onto Ken Bates’ head”, get off our faces and that would be it: Leeds United saved. Simple.

We weren’t to know all this at the time, though, as we marched towards our destination in the hope that the landlord would be there so we could introduce him to our reconstituted copper effigy of his master. But Lorimer wasn’t there. Nobody was, except we sickpots with The Great Dictator, Kenneth W. Bates, and the Vikings sitting at the bar, demanding in guttural Norse tongues that their flagons be filled to be brim.

Suddenly, our ears pricked up. Vikings? In Holbeck? Could Valhalla, the great hall in which Norse gods received the souls of fallen heroes, stand right here in these frozen south Leeds wastelands? What better place to end our epic quest to sacrifice an artifact of such rare quality and undeniable potency?

Our disappointment would soon be complete, however. No amount of weird Zen magic; certainly no joss sticks; and no kung-fu noises, however screechy, could ever tempt Odin to receive our sacred and holy offering, for its subject – The Great Dictator, Kenneth W. Bates – not only possesses no soul, but also lacks the virtue of having a single heroic bone in his entire body. But shortly afterwards, safely back at the Temple, we did get off our faces.

Photos courtesy of Rob Glover. Thanks to Rob and to Mike Boorman for their good-humoured generosity, to Aidan Brown for creating a brilliant bust of Ken Bates which Ken Bates hates, and to everyone who came along to see it at The Square Ball do.

We bring you the head of Ken Bates

REMEMBER the mysterious emergence of a copper Ken? Thanks to its commissioner Mike Boorman, Aidan Brown’s life-sized bust of the Beeston Hotelier goes on show for the first time in the city of Leeds at The Square Ball Christmas Party at Temple Works on Saturday, straight after the home game against Reading.

The art world hasn’t seen such derring-do since Duchamp signed a piss pot. Be there! Book your £2 ticket right now at

All proceeds go to the Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal.

Gary Speed 1969-2011

HOW do you do a man’s life justice in just one image? It’s impossible, but here’s how I remember Gary Speed: on the move, in space, with time on the ball.

This pullout is just one of many fan tributes inside issue 5 of The Square Ball magazine, out on Saturday at Elland Road for the home game against Millwall. See you there.

UPDATE: Noel Lloyd and Ken Bates in The Square Ball

THE British Virgin Islands’ Jahphinx TV News reports reaction in the Caribbean to The Square Ball’s article on Noel Lloyd, the activist who led the fight to reclaim his country from Ken Bates in spring 1968.

Get your copy of the award-winning magazine right now at

Caribbean Spring 1968: Noel Lloyd and Ken Bates in The Square Ball

WHEN Ken Bates took over his homeland in 1968, Noel Lloyd led the fight to take it back. Read the startling full story in The Square Ball issue four, on sale at the Cardiff City game on Sunday from sellers around Elland Road, or online at

The Don, The Beaver, and The Square Ball

“What I’m telling you now is dynamite. What I’m telling you now is gold dust. What I’m telling you now is the best thing that’s ever gone in your magazine. Listen to this, this is massive.” ~ Paul Trevillion

LIKE most Leeds fans in their thirties, I was brought up on tales of that great side of the 60s and 70s. A can of Long Life or three was usually all it took for my dad to share his enthralling accounts of the time Leeds routed Southampton, or beat Barcelona, or defeated the double-winning Arsenal at Wembley.

That year was notable not only for Leeds winning their first and only FA Cup, and the rotten way they had to play in vain for a double of their own at Wolves just two days later, but also because it was when Leeds became “Super Leeds”.

Those players forged the legend of Super Leeds, but the name was pure Paul Trevillion. Hired by Don Revie to raise the club’s profile, Trevillion introduced such instant cool as Leeds’ numbered sock tags, inspired the timeless ethos of Marching on Together, and suggested they take to the field before their opponents to greet the crowd and air their skills.

It was the epitome of what The Glory Years – the BBC video which also did much to crystallise in my young mind how that team went about doing what it did – dubbed Leeds United’s “footballing ABC: arrogance, belligerence, confidence.” But it was also brilliant art.

When I first went to Elland Road at the age of 10, Leeds weren’t so Super and the sock tags were gone, but the players still did the wave and choruses of Marching on Together echoed around terraces. At the same time, I discovered in Match magazine a sequence of incredible drawings – of footballers past and present, perfectly poised, seemingly exploding into action – bearing the distinctive signature: TREVILLION.

His is the pen which brought Roy of the Rovers to life and is still drawing You Are The Ref over 50 years after it began. But it turns out that The Beaver, as he’s known, has more in his locker than sock tags and ink bottles. He’s performed on stage with Norman Wisdom, been crowned world speed-kissing champion (twice), toured America with his patented putter, and England as football’s Panda of Peace.

So how did the extroverted Trevillion strike up a collaboration with the guarded, superstitious Revie? Did he really doorstep Les Reed until he agreed to write Marching On Together? How did he win over the hardest players in football, and what on earth has all this got to do with Salvador Dalí?

Find out in The Art of Super Leeds, parts one and two!

Leeds United’s loan arranger rides again

phoneloanIT’S said that when one door closes, another door opens – but at Elland Road the same can be said of windows. Transfer windows.

The emergency loan window swung open today with loan arranger Simon Grayson odds-on to add to his startling personal tally of 28 loans, which account for almost half of Leeds United’s whopping sum of 62 in the 7 seasons since 2004.

So, thanks to the collective wisdom of Leeds fans the internet over, indulge yourself in the most bang up-to-date version yet of our indespensable infographic guide to Leeds United’s men on borrowed time.

Infographic: 2011/12 season ticket prices

INSIDE your brand new copy of the award-winning, by the fans, for the fans Square Ball magazine lies a special report on the season ticket cost of each Championship club for the new campaign, featuring a brand new TBG infographic.

Guarantee your copy of all 10 issues this season by subscribing to The Square Ball, or download issue 1 right now.

Uncle Ken’s Ben Fry

Take a “wok” on the wild side and read Mr Chairman’s answers to Ben Fry’s so-called questions each Wednesday on The Square Ball.

Infographic LATEST: Who owns Leeds United?

AFTER Tuesday’s update in the wake of news that Ken Bates has acquired a controlling stake in Leeds United, further information on the club’s ownership has come to light. The identities of the other four shareholders in the club’s holding company, Leeds City Holdings, who hold 27.15% collectively with no one of these holding more than 10% of the issued shares are revealed in the firm’s latest Statement of Capital.

Outram Ventures Ltd (7.70%), registered in Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Donald Manasse (7.15%), a Monaco-based lawyer; Homer Trust (7.15%), registered at Château Fiduciaire, Geneva; and Halton Sports Ltd (5.15%), location unknown, control the portion of Leeds City Holdings which is not in the hands of Ken Bates.

The above was filed with Companies House on 3th April 2011, 23 days before the club say Ken Bates became Leeds United’s majority shareholder. Since the wording of the paragraph regarding Leeds City Holdings’ ownership in the club’s ownership statement has not changed, it is under the assumption that the shareholding, too, remains unchanged that the blanks in TBG’s ownership infographic have been filled.

Download what we believe to be the most comprehensive explanation yet of Leeds United’s ownership for FREE right now.

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