Today Ken Bates will celebrate a year in charge at Elland Road by watching his team, now third in the Championship, taking on fellow fallen Yorkshire giants, Sheffield Wednesday. Doubtless the Elland Road faithful will repay him by turning up in their erm... hundreds! Reality has taken hold at Leeds United after the Morphean years of Billy Buffoon aka Peter Ridsdale, and ticket prices have risen, dramatically in some cases. This is becasue Peter Risible curried favour with the Leeds fans (and demonstrated his business acumen at the same time), by holding down ticket prices for years, (when you couldn't get a ticket for any high profile games at Elland Road)!
Bates has shouldered the risk of the monumental debts of the Risible Regime, begun the refurbishment of Elland Road, paid off the long queue of failed ex-Leeds managers who were down to their last several million pounds and provided enough money for team building so the we have seven internationals in the team! He has doubtless earned the gratitude of Kevin Blackwell, the manager who has produced a similar miracle on the pitch whilst Bates was working behind the scenes,
"When Ken came in we were days away from liquidation - to all intents and purposes we were finished," Blackwell told BBC Sport.
Sadly Ken hasn't earned the gratitude of many Leeds fans who, pathetically, seem obsessed by his Chelsea past. Many have genuinely had to stop going to games because of the price rises but many more glory-hunters have used it as a handy excuse to cancel their season tickets... until we get into the Premiership, when they be the first in the queue for a season ticket, boring the arse of everyone who'll listen about how they were one of only three men and a dog that supported the Whites on windswept terraces at Rotherham or Crewe on cold November nights, blah, blah, blah.
It seems that many Leeds fans believe that if they stay away Mr Bates will exit Elland Road and leave the door open for a consortium (that damned word again) of "true Leeds fans" to take over the club. The Internet is littered with many Leeds fans claiming to "know" that there was a consortium of Leeds fans just 24 hours away from taking over when Bates stepped in ahead of them. These ridiculous claims keep on coming even that there is still a consortium with money ready to take over! These sad little people tell the same lies so often that they actually believe them. But their groundless self-aggrandisement, by claiming to be "in the know" only encourages other small-minded fans to believe that if they stay away Bates will go. They've obviously never observed Mr Bates' record if they believe that. He won't go and the only sufferer of this action is the club, our club.
So it's time to remove the scales from your eyes and see the truth - Ken Bates saved Leeds United from extinction - everyone else was too scared or incapable of doing so, dithering like old women rather than the dynamic businessmen needed by the club - and the job is far from over such was the terrible mess made by the 'Fan-Friendl'y Chairman, Peter 'Risible' Ridsdale. Ken Bates and Leeds United need YOU to play your part in the revival of the club. You need to put your MONEY behind the club and your VOICE behind the players. 15,000 against Wigan was pathetic, embarrassing and the players deserve better. Many of the quality players we have at Leeds United aren't here because they want to play Championship football - they came because Blackwell told them what he believed to be the truth at the time - that they'd be playing in front of 35,000 fanatical supporters giving their all for the team, not playing in a half-empty stadium. Time to start Marching on Together, not Moaning on Together.
Finally, when you're at the game today, remember Ken Bates rejected taking over at Sheff Wednesday in order to come to Leeds United - don't make him regret his choice?
For another article about Ken's first year in charge read: A Year With Ken Bates - BBC
Read what others have to say
on this story or make your own comment!
Here's a few comments made so far:
At least he put his money where his big mouth is - Andrew
He's the best thing to come out of Monaco since the Grand Prix - Chris
Choosing between the train wreck that is Sheff Wed and the potential of Leeds Utd didn't take much doing did it? - jamie
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