Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Influence of Ridsdale and Bates Lives On

Viduka’s Quartet 12/10/13
The once optimistic view towards GFH-Capital is slowly fading away, but is it something that they themselves have done, or is the scepticism stemming from United’s dark past?
The Ken Bates and Peter Ridsdale eras will no doubt be symbolised by poor judgement. Current affairs on the pitch are slowly turning heads towards the boardroom for answers, with the expectation at Elland Road becoming increasingly volatile towards our gulf based owners GFH-Capital. The opposing strategies of long-term success and a huge outlay of cash is a dividing line between what the board sees, and what the fans see. Some have even branded GFH-C as “the new Ken Bates” due to their lack of financial firepower. The Ken Bates legacy is, unfortunately, still hampering attempts from the owners to inject funds into the first-team squad. Indeed, around £3.3 million out of season ticket sales this season is being paid to ticketus, which is part of a loan to pay for the east stand development. Money is still leaving the club through rent payments for Elland Road and Thorp Arch, two significant outlays which the club could do without paying. All this leads to the cash shortfall already stated by GFH-C once taking over the club. Untying the knot left by Ken Bates takes time to rectify.
The huge spending sprees in the Premier League and the top of the Championship is something Leeds fans find hard to take, and this is, in no small part, down to past owner Peter Ridsdale. The ‘spend spend spend’ culture around the turn of the century helped create a team fighting with European giants, albeit nearly killing the club in the process. A lot of younger fans see this type of football culture the only way to possibly create a successful team, but in reality, it’s much different. The teams currently at the top of the Premier league (such as Arsenal and Liverpool) have built teams sustainably, without necessarily spending cash freely. Swansea is fast becoming an excellent team, built from the ground up, and that’s exactly what GFH are wanting to achieve. The integration of academy talent in the starting XI is something that Leeds have a rich pedigree in, and we are now starting to see the array of new talent, making its way out onto the Elland Road pitch. Money isn’t everything, especially when there is no quick fix for Leeds, but there is a way to make the team a success, without jeopardising the clubs finances off the pitch (I hope you’re reading Mr. Ridsdale).
There is an obvious need for new recruits at Leeds, and there is no doubt that money needs to be spent to continue the philosophy set out by Brian McDermott. The summer transfer window wasn’t as well choreographed by GFH-C as we would have hoped, with McDermott now struggling to find suitable candidates in the loan market. We cannot assume, however, that all our problems on the pitch will be solved in one transfer market. Clearly, there are certain members of the squad who are simply sapping the club of vital wage budgets, and are in need of a new club to play for. Can we blame GFH-C for this? It’s just another piece of the puzzle, and it’s not going to be easy piecing the jigsaw back together.
We as fans have every right to complain about club affairs or a lack of goals in the team, but it’s unfair to assume that GFH-C aren’t working damned hard behind the scenes to get things right. Eight years of hurt has been tough on the club, and getting it back to where it needs to be is a process that requires patience and understanding. Quick fixes may paint over the cracks, but it doesn’t stop the cracks from re-appearing.