10 Sept 2007 :: by
The small band of Leeds followers who cannot accept that Bates is miraculously still at the helm of Leeds United will be in despair tonight at his words on Yorkshire Radio. The chairman of Leeds United said, "I'm here for the long haul". Ken Bates was publicly rubbishing reports that his lunch with Freddy Shepherd presaged a take-over of the Whites by the ex-Barcode chairman.
This website pointed out yesterday that Bates would not want to sell Leeds after the "two years of hell that he has endured", especially now the club has turned the corner. Bates echoed those very sentiments in his radio interview,
"The hard work has now been done, all of the rubbish is out of the way, and the club is back on track.
"The real league table shows we are two points clear at the top, or will be when we get our 15 points back.
"The club is in profit, the gates are back and we have averages higher than Middlesbrough, Wigan, Reading and Fulham.
"The ground is slowly being improved and the team is strong. Why would I want to sell?
"After two years of hard work and three months of absolute hell, we can talk about football.
Having earlier referred to Freddy Shepherd, the former Newcastle United Chairman, as friend and denying a takeover bid was imminent from him Bates then dropped a hint that when the embargo on selling shares in Leeds United ends at the end of June 2008 he may consider an investment from his lunch buddy,
"Freddy is a wise old man - although he's younger than me - he's experienced and he would be an ideal partner, but it's gossip. I'm here for the long haul."
Ken Bates has readily welcomed offers of investment in Leeds United since the day he took over - but the "show us the money first" policy has meant that the dreamers never got through the Boardroom door. More than a dozen wealthy Leeds United supporters have been linked with the club in the past but all failed to put their money where their mouth was - some seemingly waiting in the wings for Bates to put up the club for sale at a bargain price when he ran out of money. Well, they were out-foxed by Bates when it did happen and it looks like if they don't get their act together soon Bates may have no need of any other investors if Shepherd comes on board at the end of this season. £37 million goes a long way in lower division football!
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