Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Guardian 30/5/07
Leeds leave creditors clinging to wreckage
Ken Bates' dealings - including the non-payment of St John Ambulance, and a proposed penny to pound rescue plan - have angered creditors.
Amid the wreckage of Leeds United, in the appalling, familiar list of those left unpaid by another bust football club, sits an organisation which does not even charge for its services, just asks clubs to contribute towards expenses. Nevertheless, there it is again, in the £35m mountain of debts which Ken Bates's Leeds is not paying: St John Ambulance, owed £165.
At what is expected to be an angry creditors' meeting on Friday, the administrator, Richard Fleming of accountants KPMG, is proposing that Leeds be sold to a new company headed by Bates, in return for a payment of only 1p for every pound of debt. That proposal is backed by the three anonymously-owned, offshore companies who claim collectively to be owed £17.78m. If it is passed, St John Ambulance will be given £1.65 and will still be expected to turn up again next season to tend to the Elland Road injured.
Other organisations which will suffer the same fate, contained in a tightly-typed, 25-page list of creditors produced by the administrators, include suppliers of all the basics to a football club: local schools, hospitals and universities, the gas, electricity and water utilities, and Leeds City Council's leisure department, which is owed £124,121.
The speed with which the deal to sell the club was done, and questions about the identity and motives of the offshore companies, have infuriated many people in Leeds, a city now deeply embarrassed by the car-crash plight of its only professional football club. Bates, despite being a belligerent and unabashed chairman, is not even officially a shareholder; Leeds United is owned by the Forward Sports Fund, registered at a Cayman Islands PO box, with a Swiss-based company Chateau Fiduciaire named as its director. Bates's solicitor, Mark Taylor, has described Bates as Forward's "UK representative", the closest Bates comes to ownership of the club.
On May 4, the same day that Leeds were placed in administration, Fleming announced the deal to sell the club for 1p in the £1 to a new company, of which Bates and Taylor are directors, again owned by the Forward Sport Fund. It will have to pay what are known as "football creditors" - players and other clubs owed money - in full if the club is to be allowed to compete in League One next season, but all other debts will be all but wiped out.
Forward, according to club records cited in the administrators' report, paid £4.5m to take over Leeds in January 2005 from the previous owners, a group of local businessmen chaired by the insolvency accountant, Gerald Krasner. Forward now claims it is owed £2.419m, loaned in the failed attempt to keep the ailing club in business.
One of the two other offshore companies, Krato Trust, registered at a PO box in Charlestown, Nevis in the West Indies, claims to be owed £2.5m, having lent the club £2.25m between December 2005 and June 2006. Astor Investment Holdings, registered at a PO box in the British Virgin Islands, with an office in another tax haven, Guernsey, claims to be owed £12,839,309, having loaned the club £11,285,269 between August 2005 and October last year.
Both Krato and Astor Investment have told the administrator they have no connection to Bates, Forward Sports Fund or any other director of Leeds. Fleming told me his firm had made "fairly extensive inquiries" to confirm there was no legal connection between them and said, in fact, the owners of Astor were unknown.
Krato and Astor have stated that they have no connection with Forward or Bates. Nevertheless they have agreed to the proposal to sell the club to Forward for 1p in the pound, even agreeing to reduce the amount they will receive. Astor has agreed to write off half its claim if creditors approve the sale, while Krato has agreed to accept nothing at all.
Asked why the two anonymously-owned offshore entities should agree so dramatically to write off millions of pounds put into Leeds, in return for a sale to a new company in which they state they have no interest, Fleming said: "At the time we agreed it, there were no other offers. Maybe they had football in their hearts and wanted the club to survive."
The proposals need 75% of creditors to agree, so the offshore companies can block any alternative because their debts amount to 45% of the total. However, the transfer of the club is not expected to proceed without a storm. Several creditors have said they intend to challenge the administrator, demanding to know who is behind Astor and Krato to see proof they are not connected to Bates, and ask for solid evidence of the money the offshore trusts claim to have put in. Krasner, the former chairman, has offered to represent creditors free of charge to challenge the sale to Forward for what he describes as: "A derisory offer to creditors, people who have supported Leeds through thick and thin."
After a season in which Leeds were relegated, often watched by a depressed, half-full Elland Road where adult ticket prices averaged about £35, there is not a great popular appetite for Bates retaining control. Rick Duniec, chair of the Leeds United Supporters Trust, says:"Our main concern is to see our club restored to health, and it seems quite a widespread opinion that people want a change to more local ownership."
Leeds, a city which has been thriving economically, still has no major venue capable of hosting concerts and Elland Road has long seemed an obvious site for development, especially if it had a thriving modern football club at its heart. United's debt-laden collapse since the team reached the 2001 Champions League semi-final is infamous enough, but the detail of the last three years, chronicled in the administrator's report, still makes shocking reading.
Krasner and his consortium took over in March 2004, with £95.5m of the debts taken on by the former chairman, Peter Ridsdale, and his board written off. Krasner's consortium sold Paul Robinson, Alan Smith, James Milner, Mark Viduka, Elland Road, the Thorpe Arch training ground and, for £5m, an option to develop Elland Road, but still could not stem the club's losses.
In January 2005, with the Inland Revenue pressing for payment of £1.2m, the consortium sold the club to the Forward Sports Fund. Bates became the chairman and the offshore companies put their millions in, yet despite reaching the play-off final in 2006, selling Rob Hulse and Matthew Kilgallon, and receiving £4m compensation from Chelsea for two youth players, Tom Taiwo and Michael Woods, Leeds continued to haemorrhage money. The administrator's report does not make clear why that happened. Creditors piled up and last month HM Revenue and Customs issued a winding-up petition. Leeds owe almost £7m in unpaid tax and VAT.
It will be a surprise if the taxman accepts 1p in the pound, and with ordinary creditors likely to challenge too, the club's destiny appears to lie with the decision on Friday of two opaque funds, registered in the West Indies and BVI.
St John Ambulance, though, is unlikely to involve itself in any rows. The charity has tended not to make a fuss and avoided public statements, as it has been left unpaid, time and again, by football in its boom time.
Money owed
£631,595
Wages still owed to several former players including Michael Ricketts, Paul Butler, Eirik Bakke, Steve Stone and Jermaine Wright
£216,667
Money still owed to Danny Mills, who last played a competitive match for Leeds in May 2003
£3,839
Owed to New Burley Window Cleaners
£46,604
Owed to Leeds Metropolitan University
£2,900
Owed to Boo's Disco of Bramhope in Leeds for the hiring of mobile discos
£8,997
Owed to the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

BBC 29/5/07
Bates warning over Leeds future
Leeds chairman Ken Bates believes the club will find it hard to survive if creditors vote against his bid to buy back the Yorkshire side on Friday.
The former Chelsea chief took the debt-ridden club into administration ahead of the final weekend of season.
"If they want a football club in Leeds they should make sure they vote the right way," he told Yorkshire Radio.
Administrators KPMG agreed to sell the club back to Bates, but the deal has yet to be approved by creditors.
The creditors, and the Football League, will consider a Company Voluntary Agreement under which they would forego some of Leeds' £35m debt.
Bates added: "If the CVA fails, I can assure the fans it's unlikely there will be a Leeds United Football Club. Remember Accrington took 45 years to get back to league status from when they went out of the league.
"Hopefully we can move forward and put the tribulations of the last five to six years behind us and start again with an open and even playing field so we can start getting the club back to where it belongs."
Meanwhile, Leeds businessman Simon Morris has also submitted plans for a £10m takeover while Duncan Revie, son of legendary former Leeds manager Don, has said that he is considering making an offer.
Taking Leeds into administration resulted in a statutory 10-point deduction for a club that had already been relegated to League One.

Daily Express 29/5/07
REVEALED: £1BN LEEDS COUP TO REMOVE BATES
By Harry Harris
AN ATTEMPTED £1billion business coup designed to discredit Leeds chairman Ken Bates, remove him from power at Elland Road and buy up the stadium for redevelopment, has been uncovered by the Daily Express.
The plan, commissioned by would-be Leeds buyer Simon Morris, entails compiling a ‘black book’ on Bates and others involved in the ownership of land adjacent to the club. Elland Road plus two other sites would net £1bn according to a confidential memo.
Code-named Project Peacock, the plan was drawn up last month. The intention was to activate it as the club hit their lowest ebb – once relegated and then wound up. The club would be moved to a new 50,000-seat stadium supported by a business development.
But Bates has, in part, stymied the plan by putting the club immediately into, and out of, administration.
The memo reads: “We advise that we should assemble a black book on [Bates and other property owners] deploying our dedicated research team, and, at the time, providing non-attributable press briefings in the first instance followed by on-the-record briefings at the appropriate time.”
On Friday, the administrator holds a meeting of Leeds creditors to discuss the future of the club. Bates’ tactic of putting the club into and out of administration is subject to creditors’ approval.
The Daily Express yesterday asked Morris to explain the memo and ‘black book’ against Bates. Morris said he believes he will win the fight for control of Leeds on Friday. He said he was unaware of the memo’s existence, although he admitted he had hired the London PR firm who produced it.
He wanted the Daily Express to fax the memo to his offices. When pressed, he said: “Whoever has written this memo would not have anticipated your perception of the reference to a black book. In any case, these sorts of memos are vanilla, neutral, blank...with no real connotation.”
Asked about the £1bn development, with Leeds being moved to a new ground, he said: “The idea is to rebuild Elland Road adjacent to the present site with all the amenities. You know I am still a Leeds fan, and it would not be good PR if We need the council-owned car park we were doing anything against Leeds United. for this project to work.” As for the memo itself, he said he had hired PR firm Brunswick and added: “Ken Bates is now suing Brunswick over this memo, and yes Brunswick act for me.”
Morris added he had a “pretty strong” chance of taking control of Leeds. He said: “I have two opportunities; I can take it on alone or go with a joint venture.”
When I told Bates the Daily Express had obtained the memo, he said: “It’s confidential. How did you find out about it?”
The document outlines Project Peacock in ‘The Brief’. It explains that the “target development area” consists of three sites adjacent to one another – Elland Road (owned by Jacob Adler); a British Road Haulage site owned by the Castle family and over which Stanley Leisure has an option which expires on July 2; and a council-owned plot.
Project Peacock’s objective is to acquire all three sites for development, relocating Leeds United to a site nearby which would be supported by retail outlets and a 50,000-seat arena.
It notes that, “Stanley Leisure wish to gain permission for building a regional casino and that Mr Bates is exposed to a charge of seeking to defraud the creditors of Leeds FC (the Inland Revenue) and that Mr Bates has fallen out with Leeds City Council.”
A separate section, ‘The Strategy’, involves presenting “ourselves (accurately) as the people best able to save Leeds FC – placing it on a sound financial footing – and best able to regenerate the surrounding area bringing facilities and prosperity to an under­developed and run-down plot”.
It adds: “While the current owner of Leeds FC should in no way be under-estimated, it is noted that the club are in severe financial difficulties and that PAYE is owed to the Inland Revenue.”

Monday, May 28, 2007



New pages uploaded at mightyleeds.co.uk

Matches – 9 December 1967 – Liverpool 2 Leeds United 0


Careless Hands - one of the most immortal of all footballing gaffes - after a bad day at the office life would never again be the same for United keeper Gary Sprake





Read the full story at http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/matches/19671209.htm

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Daily Mail 26/5/07
Healy to leave Leeds and join up with Sanchez at Fulham
Northern Ireland striker David Healy will sign for his former international manager Lawrie Sanchez at Fulham as soon as Leeds United are taken out of administration.
Healy is keen to link up again with Sanchez despite interest from Middlesbrough and Sunderland but Fulham have to wait until Leeds’ financial situation is resolved before they can complete a £1 million deal.
The 27-year-old is Northern Ireland’s record scorer and famously netted the winner in a World Cup qualifier against England in 2005.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Daily mail 24/5/07
Revie rejoins takeover race for Leeds
Duncan Revie has stepped up his interest in taking control of Leeds United by proving to the club's administrators he has the money in place to buy them.
Revie, son of legendary former Leeds manager Don, has completed a dramatic U-turn by formally submitting proof of funds with administrators KPMG before a crucial creditors meeting on June 1.
The 52-year-old, who heads the highly-successful football conventions and forums company Soccerex, had said he was not yet ready to join the takeover race.
But he has now confirmed he will decide by the end of next week whether to make a formal bid for the club.
Revie told PA Sport: "The creditors meeting has never been a deadline for me.
"We have a much longer-term view of taking on the whole thing and will not be rushing into our judgment.
"We have lodged proof of funds with the administrators. We have not lodged a bid.
"We need to see the figures first and you don't get to see the figures unless you can prove you have the funds available.
"By the end of the weekend we'll know whether or not we're going to make a bid."
It has been reported Revie is heading a Dubai-based consortium, but it is now understood he is working for an individual backer.
Revie said: "That person wishes to remain anonymous, but you could probably guess who it is if I say the financial backing is coming from the Middle East."
Leeds chairman Ken Bates was forced to call in the administrators earlier this month before the last Coca-Cola Championship game of the season.
The club is £35million in debt and the Inland Revenue issued a winding-up order due to an unpaid bill of £5million.
But with the approval of administrators KPMG, the club were immediately sold to a newly-formed company, Leeds United Football Club Limited, of which Bates is a listed director.
The sale is subject to the approval of the club's major creditors at a meeting next Friday.
The Football League must also approve the deal, while local property developer Simon Morris has already formally lodged his £10million offer to buy Leeds with the administrators.
Morris, recently named among the top 10 richest people under 30 in Britain with a fortune estimated at £69million, plans for a further £25million cash injection to bring financial stability to the club.
He also proposes to develop land around Elland Road and build a new stadium as part of a £400million entertainment complex.
It has also been reported that other consortia are aiming to ambush Bates' plans to resume control of the relegated club, including former West Ham chairman Terry Brown and two Irish consortia.
But Revie is not concerned who emerges from the meeting in control at Elland Road.
He added: "Whatever happens at the creditors' meeting it will not alter our plans at all.
"We have an unswerving vision, just as my dad did when he walked into Elland Road in the early 1960s and changed the strip into the all white of Real Madrid.
"If I do this I will do it wholeheartedly. I have a very talented team of legal experts and accountants who are looking at it.
"It's a heartstrings and head decision. My heart's going one way and my head's in the middle. Hopefully we can bring the two together."
Simon Morris, one of the men attempting to buy Leeds, insists he will not be breaking any rules if he succeeds in purchasing cash-strapped Boston.
Football League laws forbid dual ownership of English sides, which would seemingly preclude him from winning both bids.
But Morris, whose SR Morris Group is behind the Standing Alone Ltd group trying to buy Boston's York Street ground and the club's holding company, claims he can legally pursue both bids as he has buyers lined up to purchase the Pilgrims once they become solvent again.
His spokesman told the Lincolnshire Echo: "SR Morris group are fully aware of Football League regulations with regards to dual ownership.
"SR Morris Group would never allow that to become an issue - simply because we know of several interested parties who want to take Boston United on as a going concern."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

United: Where the money is owed
By Phil Hay
Exclusive
THE Company Voluntary Arrangement put forward to Leeds United's creditors by Ken Bates is a transparent depiction of the intricate business that professional football has become. From the debt of £12,839,309 owed to Astor Investment Holdings Limited to a three-pound payment due to a property firm in Ferrybridge who have entered into liquidation, the CVA document constructed by Bates explains every penny which forced United into the hands of administrators KPMG a fortnight ago.
The list of creditors is long and varied, encompassing a wide spectrum of business and society.
Alongside the names of solicitors, accountants and local authorities are those of delicatessens, locksmiths, travel agents.
Even a mobile disco is listed. A total of around 1,350 creditors are involved.
Most, if not all, have spent the latter half of this week contemplating the implications of a deal which offers them next to nothing.The terms of the CVA drawn up in the name of Leeds United Football Club Limited, the company and vehicle through which Bates intends to buy back United from KPMG, confirms that the club's hundreds of unsecured creditors will receive a penny for every pound they are owed if his proposal is approved at a meeting on June 1.
Preferential creditors can expect to be reimbursed in full, but their number will be vastly outweighed by the hundreds of businesses and individuals who have been asked to forego 99 per cent of the money they are owed.
The unsecured creditors are preparing to become the collateral damage of United's historic debts and chronic overspending.
The deal put forward would instantly cut Leeds' liabilities of £35m to something approaching a six-figure sum.Gerald Krasner, the former Leeds chairman and insolvency practitioner who described Bates' offer as "utterly derisory" yesterday, suggested Leeds United Football Club Limited were in line to re-purchase the club for as little as £500,000, including the professional fees incurred by administration.
In the space of seven days after the High Court issued an administration order on May 4, KPMG's charges totalled £95,038, the result of 340 hours work at an average hourly rate of £279.
The benefits of administration can be numerous but the service does not come cheap.
The basic figures thrown to KPMG by Leeds, showing total debts of £35m and net liabilities of just under £23m, were the tip of the iceberg of cash owing from Elland Road.
Beyond the massive sums of money due to Astor Investment Holdings Limited, Forward Sports Fund and Krato Trust – United's biggest creditors – rates due to Leeds City Council are tallied at £838,494, and more than £630,000 is due to seven former players, one of whom – Danny Mills – left Leeds in 2004.
Mills is owed £216,667 by United, and the enigmatic Michael Ricketts, who made only 29 appearances for the club, is still waiting for a settlement of £117,500.
The combined bill due to Paul Butler, Sean Gregan, Steve Stone, Eirik Bakke and Jermaine Wright is £297,429. Bakke alone is set to receive £76,000.
Barring any fresh agreement, Football League rules will ensure their debts are paid in full.
The liabilities extend not only to ex-players but to other clubs and footballing organisations. Swindon Town have a bill of £100,000 outstanding, a debt which is likely to be linked to the acquisition of United's management team, Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet, from the County Ground in October of last year. Barnet are due £150,000, presumably as a result of the deal which brought striker Tresor Kandol to Elland Road last year. Further money totalling £596,921 is owed to Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United, Brondby IF, Coventry City, Bolton Wanderers, Wolves, Reading, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Charlton, a list which mirrors the string of loan signings made by Leeds last season.
Numerous agents are also listed among the creditors, along with the Football Association and the Football League.
The effects of administration will be far-reaching among football's economy, and that of the area surrounding Leeds. The CVA's list of creditors is a roll of every conceivable industry and service, connected in some way to the business of football.
The catalyst behind United's move into administration was a £5m bill called in by the Inland Revenue, though despite securing a winding-up order and as a result of the Enterprise Act, the taxman is no longer classed as a preferential creditor and is technically no more likely to secure their funds on June 1 than the average businessman in KPMG's list.
Bates, however, requires 75 per cent of creditors to approve his proposal, and the Inland Revenue may have a key role to play in next month's ballot. According to the CVA, United are assured of receiving "unqualified support" from Astor Investment Holdings Limited, Forward Sports Fund (FSF) and Krato Trust, whose combined debt is stated as being in the region of £18m. FSF hold the shares in Bates' new company, Leeds United Football Club Limited, while Astor have waived their right to claim as a secured creditor having been issued with a debenture in their favour by Leeds on April 4. But were any of the three to be classed by law as connected creditors – with proven links to United or any of their directors – Bates would require permission from more than 50 per cent of the club's unconnected creditors to force his CVA through.
The quiet threat in the background of the dealings between Bates, KPMG and the rival parties who are showing an interest in owning Leeds is the winding-up petition served by the Inland Revenue on Leeds shortly before midday on Tuesday, April 17. The petition was issued by the High Court of Justice in Bristol and will be heard on June 27 if KPMG fail to push through a successful takeover bid before that date. A paragraph in the CVA document revealed that United had been paying £200,000 a month to Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs (HMRC) as the result of historic debts built up over a period of years, and the failure to meet those instalments in March and April – breaching a 'time to pay' agreement with HMRC – prompted the Inland Revenue to pursue a winding-up petition.
Ironically, the information drawn up by KPMG also shows that Leeds posted a net profit of over £1m in the nine months leading up to March 31, 2007, although the club sustained an operating loss and strengthened their accounts with the sales of Rob Hulse and Matthew Kilgallon to Sheffield United.
KPMG have also confirmed that the settlement with Chelsea over the transfer of two youth team players, Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo, to Stamford Bridge was worth in the region of £4m.
When the loans made to Leeds by Astor Investment Holdings Limited between June and October of last year are considered, totalling more than £4.2million, the degree to which money was slipping out of Elland Road is glaringly apparent. The pressure on Leeds is increased by the fact that the club have few serious assets to speak of. Elland Road and Thorp Arch training ground remain in the hands of British Virgin Islands-based firm Teak Commercial Limited, and KPMG estimate that, in a 'forced sale scenario', the club's squad would bring in a sum of £3.2m. The Football League would insist that the proceeds from player sales are used to settle football debts, rather than those of unsecured creditors. Under English rules, all football debts must be settled in full before United's membership of the Football League and Football Association is transferred to a new company.
Among those protected by the CVA are the 184 supporters who purchased 20-year season tickets during Krasner's reign as chairman in 2004. The investments will be honoured should Bates retain control of United, and other buyers would also be unlikely to bring on a public relations disaster by declaring the tickets void.
The details of United's finances, and the inescapable web they have produced, explain exactly why KPMG were called into Elland Road two weeks ago. The trap that Leeds walked their way into, over a number of years, was beyond the financial nous of Bates, and beyond the interest of any sensible investors. Throwing money at an insolvent club was a pointless task while the debts remained as high as they are.
In the days leading up to June 1, the club's creditors will take the time to consider their position and decide whether Bates' proposal is good enough to support. Krasner says not, and the presence of confirmed and rumoured bidders hovering about Elland Road may persuade others to agree. The magic number is 75, and Bates will visualise that percentage between now and June 1 as he fights to reach his ideal scenario of a debt-free club.
It is a footballing dream for chairman across the world, but the insolvency of Leeds United AFC Limited will leave financial carnage in its wake, whoever takes the reigns.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


New pages uploaded at mightyleeds.co.uk

Players – Alan Peacock (1964-67)

Crippled by knee injuries, Alan ‘Peachy’ Peacock was among the unluckiest of all footballers, but he provided United’s cutting edge in the mid-60s


Read the full story at http://www.mightyleeds.co.uk/matches/19671007.htm
Yorkshire Post 22/5/07
Players' wage deferral helps keep United going
By Richard Sutcliffe
ALL but four of Leeds United's players have agreed to defer their wages until after next month's creditors meeting.
The Elland Road outfit were placed in administration on May 4 amid debts of £35m and a balance sheet indicating that an injection of £10m was needed to keep the club going.KPMG were immediately appointed as the administrators and within minutes they agreed to sell the business and its assets to a company called Leeds United Football Club Limited.Chairman Ken Bates is listed as one of three directors in the new company and the sale is subject to approval at a meeting of creditors on June 1.Three members of staff based at the club's Thorp Arch training complex – physio Alan Sutton, kit manager Sean Hardy and Dennis Wise's secretary, Vicky Walsh – were made redundant last week as the administrator implemented a round of cost-cutting. KPMG then approached the Professional Footballers' Association to see if the 36-strong playing staff would be willing to take a wage deferral until later in the summer to help United keep going.Football League officials were also involved in the talks that led to all but four of the squad agreeing to the deferral. The quartet who refused will be paid their wages in full as normal.Bates is hoping to buy back the club on June 1 when his offer of one penny in the pound to creditors will be voted on. He is understood to have already secured the backing of the three major creditors – Astor Investment Holdings, Krato Trust and Forward Sports Fund, the three institutions from which United arranged funding.The Leeds chairman is, however, facing competition from Leeds property developer Simon Morris, who spent 10 months on the Elland Road board when Gerald Krasner was chairman.A host of other parties have gone public with their interest in taking over the club once they exit
administration, including former United manager Don Revie's son Duncan and multi-millionaire businessman, Sheikh Samir Mirdad, who claimed over the weekend to be heading a Dubai-based consortium.Amid all the off-field goings on, United are still having to prepare for life in League One and yesterday they confirmed their pre-season fixture schedule.Wise's side will travel to York City on Saturday, July 14 before embarking on a tour of either Germany or America. Details will be announced later this week.Once United return to England, they will face Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday, July 28 and then travel to Darlington the following Tuesday.The club's pre-season schedule will be rounded off with a rare home friendly against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, August 4.The Premiership club will be the first to visit Elland Road for a friendly game since Valencia in the summer of 2004.


BBC 21/5/07
Leeds players agree wage deferral
All but four of Leeds United's players have agreed to a request to defer their wages, reports BBC Radio Leeds.
The club's administrators KPMG liaised with the Professional Footballers Association and the Football League before entering a deed of deferral.
Thirty two of the 36-strong squad have agreed in order to help secure the long-term future for the club.
Leeds, who have been relegated to League One, went into administration before the end of the season.
The wages of the players who have agreed to the deferral will be paid after the approval of the CVA at a meeting of the creditors next month.
The administrators will pay those who did not sign the deed of deferral.
Chairman Ken Bates is hoping to buy back the club, who are £35m in debt, on 1 June when their creditors who are owed money are expected to be offered one penny in the pound.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Daily Mail 12/5/07
Revie’s son will ask Bates to name his price as fans back his Leeds takeover
By JOE BERNSTEIN
Duncan Revie will this week ask Leeds chairman Ken Bates to name his price after being backed by supporters who want him to take over the club.
The son of legendary Leeds manager Don Revie announced his interest last week in heading a consortium to take control at Elland Road and has been discussing finance with a number of backers, including the wealthy Maktoum family, who rule Dubai.
Revie now plans to see the Leeds chairman to discuss the next step. He said: "It is time to sit down with Ken Bates, to push this thing further and see what he wants. I intend to ring him on Monday and arrange a meeting to find out what the story is. I know Ken and I quite like him. It’s always best to deal with him face to face and be up front about it.
"I’ve been staggered by the reaction of Leeds fans to my interest in taking the club back where we belong. I’ve always said they are the most passionate fans in the country and they’ve proved me right."
Businessman Revie, 52, runs the successful Soccerex company, which puts on conventions and forums for the football industry. Last week, Leeds United’s World Cup winner Jack Charlton was present at a one-day conference put on by Soccerex at Wembley.
A number of other parties are also interested in buying Leeds. Former club director Simon Morris, 29, has launched a £10million bid to buy the club and has pledged to build a new 50,000-seater stadium.
Property entrepreneur Morris, recently named among the top 10 richest people under 30 in Britain with a fortune estimated at £69m, is setting up a website to get fans’ views.
The club, who will play in League One next season after relegation, went into administration with debts of £35m last week but were almost immediately bought by a new company, Leeds United Football Club Limited, of which Bates is a listed director. However, the sale is subject to approval by the club’s creditors at a meeting on June 1.

Thursday, May 10, 2007



New pages uploaded at mightyleeds.co.uk

Matches - 7 October 1967 Leeds United 7 Chelsea 0


Chelsea arrive at Elland Road without a manager, and then leave without their dignity after a Billy Bremner wonder show and Leeds get their revenge for two Cup defeats


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Guardian 9/5/07
Morris makes £10m bid for Leeds
Former director plans to build new stadium
Staff and agencies
Wednesday May 9, 2007
Guardian Unlimited
Former Leeds director Simon Morris today launched a £10m bid to buy the club and build a new 50,000-seater stadium as part of a £400m "world-class leisure venue".
Morris, the 29-year-old property entrepreneur, was recently named among the top 10 richest people under 30 in Britain with a fortune estimated at £69m. He has tabled a £10m bid for the club and, if successful, says he will provide a further £25m to bring financial stability to Elland Road. Moreover, Morris's lavish plans involve developing the land around Elland Road and building a new stadium as part of a multi-million pound entertainment complex.
SR Morris Group, who claim to be one of the fastest-growing property companies in the UK, say they plan to invest £400m in the scheme. "Our plans are fully costed and very well financed," said Morris. "They offer a great future for Leeds United and the club's fans, allowing us to put the troubles of the past behind it. Our scheme would also put Leeds where it belongs - at the top of the tree in the north of England for entertainment and urban regeneration."
Leeds went into administration with debts of £35m last Friday following a winding-up order issued by the Inland Revenue, who are owed £5m in unpaid taxes. The business was, with the administrators' approval, almost immediately bought by a new company, Leeds United Football Club Limited, of which Ken Bates is a listed director.
But the sale is subject to approval by the club's creditors at a meeting later this month and also by the Football League, while SR Morris and other consortia are aiming to ambush Bates' plans to resume control of the club.
Morris was the leading shareholder in the Yorkshire consortium that were in charge at Elland Road for 10 months from March 2004.
Moore shocked as axe falls
By Ian Appleyard
LEEDS United striker Ian Moore is 'devastated' after being told that he will not be staying at Elland Road next season.
With a battle for control of the club brewing behind the scenes, Leeds are locked in crucial talks with players as manager Dennis Wise attempts to rebuild from the rubble of relegation to League OneMoore is one of 10 out-of-contract players at Elland Road while another six are unlikely to be staying after reaching the end of loan deals.The former Nottingham Forest striker, who joined Leeds from Burnley two years ago, has scored only five goals in 65 appearances."I was devastated when I was told I wouldn't be here next season – I was hoping to play a part in helping the club get back up," he said. "I didn't have a good start when I first came to the club, but I think I've always had a good relationship with the fans"In my first full season I didn't really figure, but we got to the play-offs, which was a great achievement, and were unlucky to miss out. Last season, I got more of a chance, and five goals in 15 starts isn't the worst scoring record."Long-serving defender Gary Kelly has already been told that he will not be offered a new deal, veteran striker Tore Andre Flo is heading back to Norway and veteran goalkeeper Neil Sullivan is still awaiting confirmation of his release and is wanted by Doncaster Rovers.Defenders Robbie Elliott, Hayden Foxe, Matt Heath, Stephen Crainey, Rui Marques and Armando Sa are out of contract and in the process of resolving their futures.Loan players Radostin Kishishev, Michael Gray, Alan Thompson, Jemal Johnson and Casper Ankergen are not expected to return to Leeds and Wise also has to decide whether to offer a permanent deal to Reading goalkeeper Graham Stack.Leeds went into administration with debts of £35m last Friday after a winding-up order was served by the Inland Revenue, who are owed £5m in unpaid taxes.The business, with the administrators' approval, was swiftly bought by a new company, Leeds United Football Club Limited, of which chairman Ken Bates is a listed director.But the sale is still subject to approval by the club's creditors at a meeting later this month and also by the Football League, while other consortia are poised to ambush Bates's plans to resume control of the club.Administrators KPMG are expecting several parties keen on taking control at Elland Road to step up their bids before the weekend.However, joint-administrator Richard Fleming says no one has yet stepped forward with a firm offer showing proof of funds."We've had a number of approaches, but only from intermediaries acting on behalf of other people," he said. "I expect that to change though over the course of the next couple of days."A section of the club's supporters are dismayed that potential new owners do not appear to have had a chance to lodge their interest in buying the club.Leeds property entrepreneur Simon Morris has declared his intention to launch a takeover bid and it has also been reported that former West Ham chairman Terry Brown, a Dubai-based consortium headed by former Leeds manager Don Revie's son Duncan, and two separate Irish consortia are also
in the running.Fleming said: "The deal we have done is subject to the approval of creditors, but we know we already have the backing of a reasonable chunk because we have consulted them informally."If the creditors don't approve the transaction at the meeting, the natural route, of course, will be to talk to other people. In any event, we will be talking to people who have a valid interest."Leeds MP Colin Burgon, who has protested about the veil of secrecy under which he claims Bates has operated at Elland Road, has announced he will be writing to Sports Minister Richard Caborn about the need for transparency in the handling of the club's finances.Fleming said: "Make no mistake, this club was insolvent. The cash-flow showed it needed £10m straight away."It's pretty serious when the Inland Revenue issues a winding-up order –going into administration had to happen."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Yorkshire Post 6/5/07
Bates: I'll get Leeds back to the top
By Richard Sutcliffe
EXCLUSIVE:Ken Bates intends staying at Leeds United for the "long haul" after revealing the club are looking for investors and not buyers.
A dramatic turn of events last Friday saw the Elland Road outfit placed in administration amid debts of £35m only to then emerge minutes later in the hands of a newly-formed company called Leeds United Football Club Limited.Bates is listed as a director of the new firm along with United chief executive Shaun Harvey and director Mark Taylor, so, providing a creditors meeting at the end of this month approves the sale, it means Leeds will emerge with the same management team at the helm.
Dennis Wise's side finished bottom of the Championship after being deducted 10 points by the Football League for going into administration, but Bates remains in bullish mood about the club's prospects in 2007-08.
He said: "The bookies have made us 6-4 favourites to go up and 5-1 to win the league, and bookies are rarely wrong. There is no reason why we can't get back to the Premiership.
"I am here for the long-term, the long haul, to get Leeds back to where they belong. There is nothing else to do in life but football. I saved Chelsea, but this one has been harder. What is important is the legacy."
Although relegation was confirmed by the points deduction, United's fate had all but been sealed a week earlier when Alan Lee scored a late equaliser to earn Ipswich Town a draw at Elland Road. It left Leeds needing a bizarre set of results on the final day to stay up and Bates then revealed the club were seeking outside investment. It was not clear, however, whether this would involve a straight-forward cash injection or a full-blown takeover bid.
However, after the drama of last Friday when Leeds were placed in administration only to then emerge in the hands of a new company late in the afternoon there is no doubt in Bates's mind what the club need.
He said: "We are looking for investors, not buyers. We would welcome partners and investors. They would have to be the right kind of partners who are interested in the long-term future of Leeds United. The way you make money is to go in at the bottom of the cycle. That is where Leeds are. Small clubs have their day in the sun, but big clubs are always big."
Since taking charge at Elland Road in January 2005, Bates has been inundated with enquiries from parties claiming to be interested in investing in the club.Ray Ranson, who is believed to be competing with former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for control of Manchester City, is just one of many to have contacted Bates, who has adopted a consistent mantra throughout.
The Leeds chairman said: "I have always had two rules – proof of identity and proof of funds. But the moment we say that, we never hear from them again."
The few days leading up to United going into administration saw intense speculation over a possible takeover bid being launched with former United director Simon Morris understood to be interested along with Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST).
However, Bates, who turned down the chance to buy Leeds in 2003 when approached by then chief executive Trevor Birch, said: "The people who were supposed to be interested did not come forward. We had Simon Morris, but we only read about him in the paper. Where were they?
"LUST rang up and said 'can we come and talk to you?' I asked them to put in writing what they wanted to do – we sent them the standard letter we have sent to everyone.
"They claimed to have a £100m backer. We said 'show us proof of funds and we can talk'. I have not had a reply.
"Since administration, we have had 10 people contact us and I have agreed to meet them all. But they have to show proof of funds."

How Wise 'was left to clean up mess'
By Richard Sutcliffe
EXCLUSIVE: Ken Bates tells Richard Sutcliffe why he strongly disputes United's former manager's claim that he would have kept the Elland Road club up.
KEN BATES has revealed for the first time the extent of the dressing room unrest Dennis Wise encountered on taking charge of Leeds United.
The former Millwall manager assumed control at Elland Road in October with United sitting 23rd in the Championship table after a dreadful run of five straight defeats that saw 18 goals conceded.
Rumours of a split dressing room were circulating at the time and one of Wise's first moves was to strip Paul Butler of the captaincy and appoint Kevin Nicholls in his place.
The switch did little to improve matters, however, with Nicholls having the captain's armband taken off him later in the season by Wise after requesting a return move to Luton Town.Bates believes former manager Kevin Blackwell, who was sacked in September with United second bottom in the table, had lost control of the dressing room.
The Leeds chairman was, therefore, furious to read claims by Blackwell, now in charge of Luton, last week that had he remained in charge then the club's first relegation from the top two divisions would have been avoided.
Bates said: "I am not in the excuse-making business, unlike Mr Blackwell. But we would have been relegated in December if he had been still here. He had lost control of the dressing room. It was in disarray.
"The day Dennis Wise took over, he called (then captain) Paul Butler in. I had suggested to Blackwell to change his captain, but he said 'no'. I think he was frightened of him.
"Dennis called Butler in and said he was taking the captaincy off him. Dennis then asked 'do you want to stay?', to which Butler said yes.
"Dennis then said 'so why did you text another manager and say 'get me out of this club'. There was a silence and I think Butler denied it. But he had made a mistake because Dennis then said 'the text went to my best friend, that's why you are not captain any more'."
Leeds have endured a chaotic season with 44 players having appeared for the club, more than a third of which have been on loan. Relegation is certain to lead to a clearout with only nine senior first-team players being contracted beyond the summer, including the likes of David Healy and Richard Cresswell who are certain to be targeted by other clubs.
Bates said: "It is a clean sheet. Dennis knows already who is going. Some of them we don't want, some are at the end of their contracts and some do not want to play in League One. They do not have the heart for the fight. Dennis knows who falls into that category.
"We had a big meeting last Tuesday and there is another meeting planned for Tuesday this week. "Every player who comes in will be one Dennis wants. The players will then be brought back on July 2 for a proper pre-season.
"That was at the root of this season's problems. The number of injuries we have picked up this season show that. Dennis says you never make up your pre-season training if you do not do it."
This summer will see the burden of having to pay a host of ex-players finally come to an end, while the last remnant of the Peter Ridsdale era, Gary Kelly, is to retire after 16 seasons at Elland Road. This will ease the wage bill considerably as United prepare for a first season outside the top two divisions. Bates said: "Kelly costs us £2m a year."At the beginning of the season, (United chief executive) Shaun Harvey went to Gary Kelly and said 'can you help us by taking a cut? You have had five years of this'. His agent came back and said he would come down from the £4,000 appearance money he was on to £2,000. But if Leeds were promoted, we would have to give him the £2,000 per game back."
Ridsdale has tried to distance himself from the mess he left behind at Elland Road in March 2003, and Bates clearly has little time for the claims by the current Cardiff City chairman that United's predicament is the fault of others.
The Leeds chief said: "It is Ridsdale's fault that this club is in this state. He was the chairman who borrowed the money and wasted it. Now he is blaming (then manager) David O'Leary, but O'Leary did not sign the cheques.
"When he became chairman (of Cardiff), they were five points clear. Now they have not qualified for the play-offs. Maybe he should concentrate on his own performance."

Derby County 2 Leeds United 0
By Richard Sutcliffe
After nine tortuous months, one administration, 44 players, three managers – or four if you include Dave Geddis's stewardship of last October's Carling Cup defeat to Southend United – 17 loanees, eight captains and 26 league defeats, the worst season in Leeds United's history is finally over.
A future in League One now awaits and the United fans who held up a banner reading 'We don't deserve all this' at Pride Park yesterday will hope the 2007-08 campaign signals the club's re-birth.
If that is to prove the case maybe it was fitting that the final chapter in the decline should be played out at Pride Park against a side containing a player whose £38,000-per-week wage was a symbol of the largesse that brought United down.Just to add insult to the almost fatal injury Peter Ridsdale's spending inflicted on Leeds, it was Seth Johnson who helped create the only goal for Derby in the 57th minute of a first half extended by a lengthy hold-up to stretcher injured referee Phil Crossley from the field.The former Leeds midfielder took advantage of Casper Ankergren's failure to cut out a deep cross from the right and diverted the ball into the path of Darren Currie to score from 10 yards out.United, with Richard Cresswell operating as a makeshift centre-half, rarely threatened a reply in the second half even though Alan Thompson, captain for the day in place of David Healy, did curl a free-kick over the wall that Stephen Bywater held at full stretch.A miserable season was capped when Robert Bayly, making his full debut, was sent off for an attempted headbutt on Craig Fagan before Tyrone Mears doubled the Rams' advantage four minutes from time.United assistant manager Gus Poyet said: "There is a lot of work to do and we have started already. There will be big changes in every department so we have to make sure the decisions we make are the right ones."
Derby County: Bywater; Mears, Nyatanga, Leacock, McEveley; Bisgaard (Currie 45), S Johnson, Pearson, Fagan; Howard (Macken 66), Peschisolido (Lupoli 81). Unused substitutes: M Johnson, Malcolm.
Leeds United: Ankergren; Marques, Foxe (T Elliott 46), R Elliott, Gray; Bayly, Blake (Delph 53), Thompson, Carole Howson 53); Cresswell, J Johnson. Unused substitutes: Stack,
Moore.Referee: P Crossley (Kent).
MATCH FOCUS HERO The 1,500 visiting fans: If only Leeds players could have matched the passion of those who have cheered them this season.
VILLAINS Robert Bayly: Needless sending-off that will rule him out at the start of next season.
KEY MOMENT 12th minute of first-half stoppage time: Casper Ankergren's failure to collect a right-wing cross sent Derby heading for the points.
REF WATCH Phil Crossley only lasted three minutes before being replaced due to a back injury by Carl Boyeson, who was average.
ENTERTAINMENT A boring end to a season which, for all the wrong reasons, has been anything but dull for Leeds.
VERDICT United will be glad to see the back of 2006-07.
WHO'S NEXT Unfortunately, for Leeds United, their next opponents in league football could be any one of the likes of Gillingham, Northampton or Cheltenham in League One.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Times 4/5/07
Administration seals Leeds relegation
Leeds United have been relegated to League One after going into administration today, triggering an instant ten points deduction, the Football League has confirmed.
Their demotion from the Championship was all but certain already after their 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town left them trailing Hull City by three points with a goal difference deficit of nine.
Shortly after KPMG's appointment as administrators they agreed to sell the club to a newly-formed company called Leeds United Football Club Limited, with Ken Bates, Shaun Harvey and Mark Taylor as its directors. The sale of the club is subject to approval by its creditors who will meet before the end of May to consider a Company Voluntary Agreement, whereby they would forgo some of their debt. The Football League would also need to approve the sale.
However, the former Chelsea chairman could not resist criticising former club officials for incurring huge debts.
"The action (going into administration) taken brings to an end the financial legacy left by others that we have spent millions of pounds trying to settle," said Bates. "But the important thing now is not to view this as the end, but the beginning of a new era."
"The financial burden of the past finally pushed the club into administration following the issuing of a winding up petition by HM Revenue & Customs who will be one of the company's major creditors. The other parties who will suffer the biggest financial loss are institutions from which the board arranged funding: Astor Investment Holdings, Krato Trust and Forward Sports Fund who collectively will lose in excess of £22million."
A statement from KPMG revealed the club had debts "totalling approximately £35 million, with a cash injection of approximately £10m required to continue trading".
It also revealed that customs recently issued a winding-up petition for approximately £5m and had this debt not been paid by June 25 the club may have been forced into liquidation.
"The administrators understand from discussions with the Football League that the administration will result in the immediate deduction of ten points from the club's current points total in this year's Championship," the statement added. "This means that next season the club will start the campaign in League One with no points deducted."
"This agreement has been reached quickly to maximise the possibility of survival of this major football club, to minimise uncertainty for all the club's stakeholders and supporters and to allow the club to plan ahead for next season. There is now a big decision for the creditors to make at their forthcoming meeting."

Comment: Rick Broadbent
The word from Elland Road this morning was that Ken Bates was looking remarkably chipper for a man whose club was supposedly on the brink of ruin. Now we know why. Although Leeds' relegation was confirmed by the club going into administration and incurring a ten-point penalty, Bates emerged still in control of the club and with a heavily reduced debt.
With Simon Morris, a former director, in the latter stages of putting a takeover bid together, which was to include developing an arena and entertainment complex around Elland Road, and the prospect of a bid from Dominic Marrocco, who had spoken of bringing Mike Tyson with him as fitness coach, Bates moved swiftly. The club went into administration yesterday afternoon and then out again.
Ironically, Leeds' ineptitude on the pitch rendered the ten-point penalty irrelevant. The club was already relegated, barring a miracle against Derby County on Sunday, and so administration has probably never looked so tempting. Quite what the Inland Revenue make of it is another matter, but it is scarcely any wonder Bates looked happy as he rolled into work this morning. It is not every day that you can justifiably celebrate relegation as a positive move after all.

Leeds' rise and fall 1989-2007
Times Online and Agencies
1989-90: Leeds promoted to top flight for the first time in seven seasons.
1990-91: Finish fourth.
1991-92: Edge out Manchester United to win the First Division title.
1995-96: Beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa in League Cup final.
1996-97: Howard Wilkinson sacked after poor start to the season and replaced by George Graham. Peter Ridsdale becomes the club's chairman.
1998-99: Graham departs for Tottenham Hotspur, with assistant manager David O'Leary taking charge.
1999-2000: Qualify for Champions League but beaten in UEFA Cup semi-final by Galatasaray. United supporters Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight stabbed to death before the first leg in Istanbul. Players Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer involved in incident which left an Asian student hospitalised, resulting in lengthy court case.
2000-01: Reach Champions League semi-finals, going out to Valencia but miss out on qualification for following year's tournament.
2001-02: Finish fifth in Premiership, missing out on Champions League qualification.
2002-03: O'Leary sacked before start of season, Terry Venables takes over. Rio Ferdinand sold to Manchester United for £30million. Venables sacked in March 2003 with Peter Reid appointed as his successor. Chairman Peter Ridsdale resigns from the board, the club struggling with net debts of around £79million. Leeds finish 15th in Premier League.
2003-04: Reid is sacked. Eddie Gray appointed caretaker boss until end of season and club are relegated. Gerald Krasner's consortium takes control of club, assuming debts of £103million.
2004-05: Kevin Blackwell is appointed as manager but Elland Road and the club's training ground is sold, along with further cuts to the playing staff. Leeds finish 14th in Championship.
2005-06: Former Chelsea chief Ken Bates buys a 50% stake in the club for £10million, saving them from administration. Leeds finish fifth but are beaten in play-off final by Watford.
2006-07: Blackwell is sacked. Dennis Wise appointed manager at Elland Road along with former Chelsea team-mate Gus Poyet as his assistant. Wise appoints summer signing Kevin Nicholls as Leeds' new skipper. After the February 10 game with Crystal Palace, Wise reveals a 'mole' had leaked the Leeds team to Palace prior to kick-off. Wise insisted the mystery player "will never play for this club again". The culprit has yet to be named. The following month, Nicholls was dropped and stripped of the captaincy after requesting a return to former club Luton Town.
April 28 - Relegation to League One is all-but confirmed as Leeds draw 1-1 at home to Ipswich while Hull City win 1-0 at Cardiff. It means Leeds trail Hull by three points and Hull's goal difference is superior by nine goals, leaving Leeds with only a mathematical chance of escaping relegation on Sunday when they travel to Derby County and Hull face Plymouth Argyle at home.
May 4 - Administrators are appointed at Elland Road and they quickly agree to sell the business and its assets to a newly-formed company called Leeds United Football Club Limited, the directors of which are Ken Bates, Shaun Harvey and Mark Taylor. The sale has to be approved by creditors at a meeting later this month and by the Football League. Going into administration means the club incur a 10-point deduction which confirms their relegation to League One.

Comment: Leeds take the fall now in hope of rising again
Robert Lindsay
Ken Bates has found a clever way out of some of Leeds' debts by putting it into administration and forming a new company to buy it back instantly.
As chairman and controller of the club, having paid £10 million for such control two years ago, it was Mr Bates who called in the administrators KPMG. Today we hear that he has formed a new company Leeds United Football Club Limited and persuaded KPMG to hand the club over to this new company. It is unlikely he will pay anything for this.
The administrators made clear that the club needs a £10 million cash injection to stay alive and presumably Mr Bates and his backers will have to stump up this money.
The club has £35 million in debt and one of the creditors is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which has been demanding £5 million in tax payments and willl liquidate the club and sell off its few assets if it has not been paid by June 25.
Creditors have to vote on the deal. While the football debts (players' wages, etc) must be paid if the club is to contiunue, other creditors face the choice of forgoing some of the £35 million they are owed or risk the club being broken up and then taking their place in the queue, behind the Government and banks, for its few assets.
They may be praying for a white knight billionaire to ride to the rescue. But Leeds has been floundering for years and there have been no signs of one up to now.
By timing the administration now, when Leeds were already heading for relegation to football's third tier, the club can take the 10-point penalty automatically imposed for entering administration up front and start next season with a clean slate. And perhaps renewed optimism.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Just the worst feeling in the world...

Is there anything in the world that hurts more than the dire realisation on a Saturday afternoon that all your hopes and dreams are crumbling to dust?

Not at the time, I know, but in the one or two hours after the shock has hit and reality has sunk in, you know you were expecting this all along, and you know that the only way is up ... LUFC in the Third (League One ... what a joke, who thought up that little one?)

Who's for the big climb up to the top starting now, this week, this month, this year?

PS Three weeks ago I was sat in a car park in France ... Leeds had just gone 1-0 up at Colchester and the rest of the results were going the right way ... then Mrs D made me go off and get the duty free wine before setting off home ... when I get back to the car Leeds have lost 2-1 and nothing (MUCH) has gone right ever since ...

OH FICKLE FINGER OF FATE...
Leedsunited.com 1/5/07
WHERE WE ARE
United chairman Ken Bates has thanked the fans for their support since Saturday's draw with Ipswich all-but confirmed the club's relegation from the Championship.
"We've received a tremendous amount of support from people who recognise what we have tried to do and what we are doing," said the chairman, speaking to LUTV.
"The support has been beyond my wildest dreams. We've had letters, calls, and e-mails from fans from across the country who are all right behind us.
"We've had one letter from a fan who last had a season ticket in 2002, but says he is coming back again next season. It's terrific to know that people are behind us. "Our commercial department are busy with calls from box holders and corporates, some wanting to sign up for as long as five years, and I was with a match sponsor who has already offered to do three games next season. "Our League One campaign starts now, and we will come back. Big clubs will always be big clubs. Others have been here before and come back, so will we.
"We have a big future. The people of Leeds tell me we need a successful club, and they need to get behind us. We will do it and when we get back where we belong, we will remember those who supported us and, equally, we will remember those who didn't support us."
Since the club's relegation was all-but confirmed there has been much speculation about the financial implications of falling into League One for the first time in the club's history.
"We'll start off with the wage bill dropping by more than half, then there's about one to one-and-half-million pounds to former players which will come to an end," explained the chairman..
"We now have a permanent rate reduction on the East Stand upper, we've shut the shops, the warehouse, and we're continuing to reduce our overheads in any way possible...this is what we have to do to balance our books.
"There's plenty of people talking about investing, but they don't want to put their money in to carry on subsidising the club. Football clubs have to be run as businesses and fans have to appreciate that."
The chairman was also scathing of the media coverage since the weekend.
The BBC wrongly claimed there was "a board meeting" on Monday morning to discuss the future, and contrasting reports have suggested the club is both on the verge of administration or being taken over.
"The BBC just repeated their own gossip," said the chairman. "The media feeds off each other, that's why everyone else started picking up on the stories. All the time we're just trying to get on with our own business."
Former Sheffield United Mike McDonald was one of the names linked to the club in reports over the weekend.
"I saw him in the New Year asked him to come back with proof of funds and I haven't seen him since," explained the chairman.
"A lot of people try and make a quick buck, chancers if you like. They come along to a football club, say 'I represent a consortium...we've got this.. and we'd like to invest'.
"Well, 'who's the constortium?' 'Well, I can't reveal that'. You soon realise they haven't got one. What they are trying to do is get permission to negotiate on behalf of 'someone'. That gets to the papers and creates a lot of speculation among players and staff. They're time-wasters.
"We always say 'who are you?' and 'why don't you talk to us direct?' and 'show us your money'.
"The genuine investors we are talking to and continuing to talk to. I don't do it in the press."
The chairman has also given his full support to manager Dennis Wise, who was quick to put his hands up and take responsibility for the club's relegation following Saturday's draw.
"That says Dennis is a man and he will be succesful manager," said the chairman "And he will be the leader of our playing side next season to get us back where we belong.
"How many in football take responsibility for what happens? Very few. It's usually someone else's fault.
"Dennis got the team working together, but we finally ran out of matches. I don't like the word luck or criticising referees, but the decisions against Barnsley and Southend away obviously had a significant impact on our points."
And the future?
"The fans have to realise that we are being realistic," added the chairman. "Lower ticket prices and big spending on players don't go together.
"While there was uncertainity, we couldn't fix the (season ticket) prices. Now we know our fate we can plan accordingly. We are introducing a new catageory of games and also reviewing season ticket prices.
"We will have to make deep cuts at the club this summer in costs to balance our budget, but we will do what we can with what we can afford and I know Dennis will get the best out of the limited resources with the players he signs."
Telegraph 1/5/07
Leeds pay devilishly heavy price for past sins
By Sue Mott
The fall of Leeds United has been so precipitate and catastrophic, like a runaway toboggan down the Cresta Run, it is tempting to believe in some kind of supernatural retribution. As though a Faustian pact was forged during the Don Revie era, now demanding repayment. 'Let us be the best, the most feared, the most ferocious team in England but come the 21st century, Oh Great One with the pitch fork, you can get your own back'. And here it is. The vengeance. The famous Yorkshire club, on the verge of administration, faces relegation into the third tier of English football for the first time in a once-proud history.

Hard times: fans give the Leeds players a message after being condemned to near-certain relegation
How did it come to this? It is almost bizarre that at a time when Premiership clubs, and even Southampton in the Championship, are causing a feeding frenzy among the piranhas of world finance, Leeds United are crushed and penniless. New brooms are sweeping through football countrywide, Elland Road can't even afford a new broom.
This is the club where Arsenal's Herbert Chapman learned his trade, where Revie invented organised brilliance, where Howard Wilkinson won the title parading no less a talent than Eric Cantona. Where players like Bremner, Giles, Charlton, Clarke, Hunter preyed on, rather than played, terrified opposition under the guiding hand of their Don. Elland Road was a huge and passionate fortress. Now, like the training ground, it is sold-off and leased back to the club. Leeds are living on sufferance.
Have devilish forces been at work? Did they begin to unleash their tide of misfortune even as the club reached the semi-final of the Champions' League against Valencia in 2001, just six years ago, persuading the then-chairman Peter Ridsdale to borrow heavily on the strength of prospective television and sponsorship revenue, except that neither ever transpired. Perhaps they did. The devil has a track record of temptation.
He, the old goat, may well have been in the area while Jonathan Woodgate, then a Leeds centre-half, was convicted of affray after a street assault on a student. Lee Bowyer, his colleague, was declared innocent.
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There began a free-fall into chaos. David O'Leary was sacked as manager, replaced by Terry Venables who proceeded to take the club to within an ace of relegation by winning only 16 games out of 42.
Peter Reid kept them up, then took them down and Eddie Gray, the old boy, found himself presiding over ruins. All the players of any value were sold off, like pieces of artwork or still-operable gas cookers, when a house is repossessed. Meanwhile the ownership of the club was being passed about like a parcel of dubious value - which it was.
Ridsdale resigned and a professor of economics took up the cudgels, only to hand them on to an insolvency expert, who sold off most of the assets, both brick and human, to reduce the gargantuan debt. The club was not so much run as systematically ransacked. Where are they now? Well, Ridsdale, for one, is chairman of Cardiff and side-stepping, with breathtaking gall, all responsibility for the fall. In fact, he was seen proferring a glass of champagne to the former Leeds commercial director, Adam Pearson, now chairman of Hull City, when their teams played each other at the weekend. Shamelessness 1, Accountability 0.
And so to the last chapter of accidents. Poor Kevin Blackwell being booted out despite heaving the club to the play-off finals against Watford. They were a game away from the Premiership just one year ago and now the reign of the crosspatch and diminutive Dennis Wise has brought them lower than at any time in their history. The chairman, Ken Bates, who planted £10 million of his Chelsea windfall into the club having been spurned by Sheffield Wednesday, might or might not rue the appointment of such a novice and controversial manager. We would like to know. But he is not answering his phone, which is rare when there is an opinion to be expressed.
Bates has always been fond of Wise, but the little Chelsea captain has fought his demons. He was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, overturned on appeal, for assaulting a taxi driver in 1995.
He was accused of biting a Mallorcan player in the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1999. He missed 15 Chelsea games due to suspension in the 1998-99 season. None of these incidents disprove his fitness as a manager - witness one Roy Keane, once also excitable - but the furious outburst after the Crystal Palace match this season when he accused one of his players of being a 'mole' and passing on tactical trade secrets to the opposition, indicated unnecessary hysteria.
As Sir Alex Ferguson said of Wise: "He could start a fight in an empty house". So could Sir Alex, for that matter, but Manchester United aren't sliding into old Division Three. That is a difference.
Even the fans are revolting. Against each other and everything else. On Saturday the supporters that remained in their seats turned on the gormless exhibitionists who invaded the pitch, forcing the temporary abandonment of the match against Ipswich. It is a club imploding as doom approaches.
The devil's work is all but over, except you cannot help wondering whether human frailty has its part in the drama after all.
Thirty years ago Revie resigned in uproar as England manager, his reputation forever tarnished, to take up a £340,000 tax-free post as manger of the United Arab Emirates team. Only a few voices were raised in his defence, notably his old Leeds United players. John Giles was one of them. "But who isn't greedy?" he said. The sentiment is hugely apt.
There is nothing supernatural about the story of Leeds United.
Super greedy and sadly human, more like it. Leeds United have been devoured by ambition unfulfilled and continuous, ill-conceived human error to the point where they have traded Premiership life (average annual turnover £75 million) to League One (£5 million). It cannot make them terribly attractive to prospective buyers. Except that by entering administration at this stage of the season the automatically-triggered 10-point deduction may affect this season and not next. Quite a smart, if ethically-debatable, move.
What are the football authorities going to do about it? Having failed to deduct points from West Ham United despite absolutely solid grounds of precedent, there seems to be a moratorium on fitting punishments to big teams on hard times. Maybe Leeds, in their darkest hour, are going to have a slice of luck. Maybe they've done another deal with the devil.