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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Who actually owns Leeds United?? - Who cares!?!

For the last several weeks I have seen countless internet pages, newspaper columns and message board posts relating to the ownership of several professional football clubs but most have focused mainly on Leeds United, either for easy reference or in a sinister attempt to provoke trouble at the club, in what are relatively stable times. For some reason the calls for transparency are getting quite heated, as fans, officials and even members of our Majesty's Parliament demand to know who owns 'our' club. There have been calls for The Football League to adopt the same ruling as The Premier League and insist on total transparency with regards to ownership of their member clubs, information that is freely available to the public.

Now I can sort of see why these people are getting upset. What have these clubs and Leeds in particular, got to hide by keeping the identity of the ownership out of the public domain? Its obvious that Ken Bates has some sort of stake but ultimate ownership is credited to FSF Limited in The Cayman Islands. Quite who FSF are or what they do is a mystery! Perhaps this is what the problem is, fear of the unknown. Mr Phil Willis MP has thrown his influence behind the movement and called for league officials to sanction the transparency ruling. Now forgive me if I'm wrong but Mr Willis only seems to comment on Leeds United matters when he can publicly berate our Chairman, it is Mr Willis who has 'demanded', more than once an investigation into the deal that saw Leeds United re-sold to Ken Bates in 2007 and made detrimental comment at every available juncture ever since. This after throwing his weight behind one of the failed buy-out packages that were available to KPMG in that dreadful Summer. The words 'Sour' and 'Grapes' come to mind. Perhaps Mr Willis should concentrate on matters in his own constituency instead of those in LS11. If you don't have anything positive to say, don't say anything!

Perhaps its just me, perhaps I'm not a 'real' fan or maybe its because I don't live in Leeds that makes me totally disinterested in who actually owns Leeds United. I take up my seat on a match day and live the entire 90 minutes (plus Fergie time) like victory is a life or death situation. I totally relate to Billy Bremner when he said "A goal against Leeds United is like being stabbed in the chest" (or words to that effect) and Leeds United is part of me. Whatever the outcome of this season, either ecstasy or the all too familiar despair of another failure... at no point will I stop and think, this promotion is all well and good but "who actually owns Leeds United?" Yes Ken Bates has his failings and his customer relation skills rival that of George W. Bush but I'm content in the fact that nobody will take the p*** out of my club or rape it of its assets whilst Uncle Ken resides in the throne.

This isn't a pro Ken Bates rant, far from it but everyone demands to know "Who actually owns Leeds United?!? - Who cares!! We're finally going in the right direction after years of turmoil, idiocy and ineptitude, whomever this mystery man is... they're not doing a bad job are they?

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  1. I hear what you're saying, but what if Bates/associates have an interest in some or all of FSF... and Astor... and ER ...and TA? What if the money from your overpriced ST/match ticket flows rapidly in his direction via those channels, away from the improvement of the club/team? If the interest is mostly property/ivestment related, then what chance for an otherwise ambitious and community-focussed club? Cheers. Phil

  2. Well said there.
    The excrement stirrers are not all motivated by the purest of intentions.

  3. Jon Venables owns us as does Robert Mugabe in partnership with Martin Edwards....what do you mean that's speculation, its as accurate a reflection of who could ultimatily own us within the context of the information avialable. But of course as you don't give a damm it matters not. So come-on Jon and Robert and Martin, start attending games, Dirty Leeds would love to have you in N10.

  4. "Nobody will take the p*** out of my club or rape it of its assets while Uncle Ken resides on the throne" Yeah mate except of course Uncle Ken himself. I suggest you look at Uncle Ken's history of raping and plundering companies on Wikepaedia. It does not make pretty reading.

  5. Quality,the only thing I am surprised of is that Clarkeonenil hasn't spontaneously combusted with rage at your article (anyone having read his articles or seen prevous posts will know exactly what I mean).

    In essence a large section of fans don't care as long as the club continues. People are more concerned with actually having a club,ticket prices, level of football etc.

  6. Hi Clarkeonenil!

    I promise you this wasn't a direct response to your articles, I respect the sentiment fully. Out those that don't wish to be outed, a case of if you've got nothing to hide, then what's the problem?

    Supposing the F.L. adopt this law and those 3 men are revealed as the owners of Leeds United, then what?!? We're still powerless! Men with far greater influence than you and I have failed to oust Ken Bates et al.

    I prefer to concentrate on getting out of this division.

  7. Finally someone said it out loud. I'm right with you on this. The hates Bates stuff is all getting a bit boring now along with the drop Beckford crap. Promotion is all that matters to me right now!

  8. It's worth caring because, on the football side, you have Southampton which was legitimately acquired by a Swiss billionaire, which paid off its CVA at 100% and which spent £2m on players over Xmas (including outbidding Leeds on Lee Barnard), and which, if it makes it into the playoffs, will surely win them. Leeds, with the only investment actually coming from player sales of promising youth players and from the fans via inflated ticket prices, and with nothing from its chairman, may yet end up going out in the playoffs as a result.

    And on the civics side, we have a situation where the Leeds administration process, and failed CVA, which cost the taxpayer £7m and which also probably cost the fans the involvement of a more supportive business team, still smells extremely fishy, and where the current ownership seems to be smeared across an impenetrable web of tax havens, primarily to avoid future tax payments.

    For all that we can have a laugh at the Man U situation, this strikes me as pretty much the same - a vampire owner who lives off the club and the fans, without putting anything in - but without any success while that's happening.

  9. Get a grip people. Do you really want to go back to the dark days of Professer John McKenzie (okay he turned Ilkley College around, but come on), Mervin Levi, Krasner, Risdale Give papa smurf a bl**dy chance!

  10. Firstly in order to behave like Southampton you have to have an interested billionare take you over, not sure where they all were when we were going down the drain but they certainly were not queing up to takeover the club.

    Secondly and I am really quite tired of saying this now we were not outbid for Barnard. We bid the same amount but for family reasons the player did not even want to consider moving north, end of.

  11. A football club is a business. When I go to a shop, I don't ask who owns it; and if I did I'd expect to be told to mind my own business or take it elsewhere.

    If a business makes a profit, its shareholders are entitled to a share of it.

    Bates runs Leeds as a business, as he should, and he does it effectively and efficiently, in stark contrast to his predecessors.

    It's very likely indeed that, without Bates' takeover and his tough rearguard fight, Leeds Utd would have ceased to exist.

    Now Leeds is financially stable, rebuilding and moving in the right direction on a firm foundation instead of a bubble of artificial wealth. Any club can buy success; we're going to get it by earning it - and then it can't be taken away when the bubble bursts. Things are far better for us all. The future is rosey for Leeds Utd.

    Yet we still have to hear from miserable ne'er-do-wells who just can't be happy unless they're whingeing. If they haven't anything important to whinge about, they'll blow something trivial or non-existent into something they can have a rant about.

    Wouldn't it be great if all our fans actually supported our club and team, instead of perpetually undermining it?

  12. You can damn well be sure that if you had a problems with something you bought in that shop you would want to see the management, if they gave you no joy you would go above them

    if they didnt tell you who that was for a limited company you could find out the names and adresses of the directors quite easily and theres a reason why that is law, its so people cant hide from their responsibilities

    if anyone thinks that bates has been running this club efficiently or effectively then explain why he took us into league one and administration?

    Dont mention risdale or the people before because they had nothing to do with the debt or the football on the pitch at that time, dont take my word for it, the information was made available by kpmg at the time and is easy to get hold of if you havent been bothered to look into it

    If you dont care who runs the club fine thats a personal decision, but then dont be suprised that this club has been floundering in league 1 for 3 seasons while we pay premiership prices and dont be further suprised when we end up with little squad investment for years to come but do end up with a hotel and some more debt

    I keep hearing our fans dont deserve to be in this league but quite franky our fans are exactly where they deserve to be

  13. If you have a problem with goods or service your recourse is through civil courts, not taking matters up with directors.

    But this isn't about directors, it's about ownership, about shareholders. You won't find the names of shareholders of limited companies openly published as the names of directors have to be, because the latter are responsible for the business but the former aren't.

    "Dont mention risdale or the people before because they had nothing to do with the debt... "

    What??? WHAT???

    So you don't think the enormous debts existed before Bates took over? You think they were run up while he was in charge? You must really hate him to be so determined to shut out reality.

    The club was already profoundly doomed to administration and relegation when he took over. The essential questions were would the club survive at all, and would it ever be able to rebuild. Neither answer was clearly positive. It took considerable business skill, determination and bloody-mindedness to achieve first survival, then financial stability, then rebuilding. Dismantling an expensive squad and suffering relegation were essential measures.

    You can hate Bates if you like. He's an awkward troublesome man, for sure, but I reckon most of the Leeds fans who don't like him don't because of his association with Chelsea, not because of anything he's done wrong at Leeds. And maybe they just don't like the ticket prices.

    I remember how cross he used to make me. Now he's making the fans of other clubs cross, and that's fine by me. He took on a club in a hell of a mess, he sorted the mess out and now the club's rebuilding on a firm foundation.

    If Bates and other owners make money out of Leeds that's fine by me so long as they've given the club survival, prosperity and the foundation for success.

    So you don't like Bates. Presumably you'd rather have Ridsdale and the rest of them?

  14. Okay, okay, fair point Mr Depressed. Bates isn't perfect and Risdale, Krasner, Professor John McKenzie (turned Ilkley college around), Mervin Levi did good things as well as bad.

    You all have to admit there is one person who should really be blamed for everything going wrong. Everything was fine until he came to the club....yes you have guessed it bl**dy BRIAN KIDD. Disgrace!

  15. Yes, Brian Kidd was right there at the nexus. He was the wrong man for the job. (And who did he play for?)

    I think, though, that there was only one man for that job - O'Leary. The success of the team was built upon his very close relationship with them. Bringing anyone else in to allow O'Leary to be more hands-off was almost sure to be disastrous.

    But why did O'Leary want/need to be more hands- off? Because of the intense legal and media circus he'd been forced into by the Majestic incident.

    And who caused that mess? Personally, I don't doubt it was mainly down to Woodgate and Bowyer, though I always suspected the other parties were less-than-innocently exploiting it for their own interests.

    Yes, Kidd was hopeless. But he was only there because of Woodgate and Bowyer, I believe, and I blame them most of all.

  16. Andy Longfellow11 March 2010 at 14:04


    Chill out. Batesy has got us on the right track. We were in huge debt before he saved us from the brink of going under and I for one have every faith that he has the clubs best interests at heart. Who was the only one prepared to put his hands in his pockets when Krasner and co were taking us under? Batesy! Who steadied the ship after we were relegated to League One? Batesy! Who put his hand in his pocket for loan signings in January and helped get the likes of Capaldi and Ephraim in to freshen up the squad? Batesy! Grayson has already gone on record as saying that Batesy has backed him whenever needed and at I am sure Shaun Harvey will carry things on when Batesy dies, god forbid. The problem with most people is they have short memories. It was all OK for Peter Liesdale to pretend to be a fan but we all know what happened there. At least Batesy and Shaun know how to run a business.

    I'm with the fella who posted earlier on this one. The real criminal was Brian Kidd. Everything was alright till that scummer turned up. But not enough credit given to McKenzie in my opinion for what he did at Leeds. He steadied a sinking ship and carried on the decent work he had done at Ilkley college.

    Marching on Together!

  17. I think a lot of the 'steadying' prior to Ken Bates was done by Trevor Birch


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