Mr Bates Nearing His Leeds Sell By Date Then?
Leeds United, like fellow Yorkshire giants, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, are a Premier League club in all aspects, but where it counts. Neil Warnock certainly has the promotion track record to get them there, having done it with QPR and Sheffield United, (he is despised by Owls for past endeavours and comments) as well as 5 other promotions within the tiers of English football. So is the hold up to a return to the promised land due to the grace of god or perhaps the continued ownership of Ken Bates?
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
A demonstration of about 400 fans plus audible abuse throughout the 2-3 home defeat to Hull, suggests patience over the protracted takeover is close to running out. The corporate level silence isn’t helping, but then the nature of business non disclosure agreements always ensures a frustrating level of secrecy for fans, or anyone, on the outside of the deal. Now that the exclusivity period has ended there could be scope for more openness , but as talks remain on going, Leeds have still refused to reveal the identity of the potential buyers although Dubai based GFH capital are acting as the negotiators for the mystery Middle Eastern client. So three months in, with no sign of a deal being completed any time soon, fans are still on a knife-edge with regard to the club’s future, let alone Warnock’s winter wonderland transfer war chest. Leeds also lay 6 points off the automatic promotion places suggesting this would be the perfect time for someone to come in and ensure the good times can roll..
Although sympathy is in short supply nowadays, Mr Bates look over the indebted club in January 2005 for a reputed £10 million with the club then going into a Company Voluntary Arrangement in May 2007. Despite an HMRC challenge Ken Bates still appeared to come out as the owner, or did he? Who else was confused, when, on May 3rd 2011, to clarify any confusion, as well as a football wide governance initiative, it was announced that he had bought out the previous owners FSF Limited through his company Outro Limited for an “undisclosed sum”.
Back to the present day and Mr Bates programme notes shed little more light on matters: “The current situation is that as I write, the appropriate documents have not been finalised between the lawyers.” Now 80, the ‘Beeston benefactor’ is also frustrated with matters it seems and, in particular with the views of Leeds United Supporters Trust.
Bates has hit out at the constant speculation surrounding a deal and said: “Despite the confidentiality agreement, stories keep appearing with varying degrees of accuracy as evidenced by the statements put out by LUST (Leeds United Supporters Trust). That included a TV interview that said a deal was ‘imminent’. It wasn’t then and is progressing slowly now. In football everybody expects everything now – but the real world is different.”
Gary Cooper LUST’s chairman had this to say on the matter. “The protest is simply a message to Mr Bates; if you cannot or are unwilling to match our ambition for the club then do the decent thing and sell to those who are. The takeover saga has continued for over 100 days and patience is running out.”
GFH Capital, who are based in the Dubai International finance centre, are naturally keeping tight-lipped on matters, as is professional protocol. That is handy for some quarters, but frustrating for others, especially the white Roses and their prickly thorns. All that is known is that they are working on the deal on behalf of Middle Eastern investors and that media enquiries are handled via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps a quick email from inquisitive Leeds fans might help. As avid readers of the Scratching Shed, STMI anticipates an update to the 5,000 fans lost in under 2 years post with relish. They like most Yorkies, don’t suffer fools gladly on there.