Re: The Official Npower Championship Thread
Letter to Bates from a Leeds fan (not mine). No doubt will be ignored or else insulted for daring to question.
A long read and I'm sure no-one will be interested but it explains in great detail why Leeds fans feel as we do about the club at this moment and in particular the chairman who has turned this club into what it is today.
I am writing to you to express my concern as to the way you are running this once great football club. As someone who has actually invested good money in supporting the club over the last 25 years I believe I’m entitled to ask these questions and particularly ask them of you given the fact that by your own admission in a court of law you have never invested a penny of your own money in the club. You have now been in charge of the club for 7 years and in that time what have you actually achieved? When you took over we were 11th in the Championship and 7 years later we are still 11th and with no signs of realistically challenging for anything better. When you took over you stated that your primary concern was to repurchase Elland Road and Thorpe Arch and yet neither are in our control.
You state banks are currently happy to lend money for property and development, well surely given the fact the buy back price of both assets is considerably less than their actual value it would be straightforward obtaining a loan to repurchase them both? You constantly remind us how expensive the yearly rent is that we pay for the use of these facilities, if this is the case then surely obtaining a loan and buying them back would be a far cheaper and more prudent option? Notwithstanding this you are yet to explain your failure in buying back Thorpe Arch before the deadline, especially as you had so many years to plan for this date and also after selling Fabian Delph for around £6m you yourself said it would help with the repurchase of Thorpe Arch. Strangely that money vanished without a trace and after blaming the council you then decided to say it was a facility that was no longer up to standard and we would instead be looking at other options. (Something that has strangely never been mentioned since!!)
With regards Elland Road you claim you do not even know who owns the ground yet you are happy to spend millions of pounds on building work improving a ground that we do not even own, why? Is it the case that you do actually own the ground? You still constantly blame the Ridsdale era for all of our problems yet after you placed us in Administration and then repurchased the club (through unknown means) you told us all that we could draw a line under the past and move forward and that the club was free of the debts of the Ridsdale era. Why then in your latest letter to season ticket holders do you still remind us of the “living the dream” era? After 7 years this current era is firmly yours and you are responsible for all failures, it seems the Ridsdale era is something you constantly use as a weapon to excuse your complete lack of investment in the club. Further to this where are the investors you told us that you had lined up after Administration? Seven years down the line we still have none! You now claim this is down to us “moron” fans scaring them off. Is it nothing to do with the fact that people have seen your past record of dealing with investors and the way you insult and slander them (another thing that has cost this club millions in court cases) and decided they want nothing to do with the club whilst you are at the helm?
You state that each year you budget negatively, for a low average attendance, league position and for no cup run. If this is the case then where exactly has all the money gone? Over the last few years we have played Man U, Liverpool, Spurs x 2, Arsenal x 2, all on TV with bumper gate receipts, we have received compensation for the kids that Chelsea, Everton and Spurs stole, received money for Wise and Poyet, received £6m for Delph and £2m for Max and Kasper. This is a huge sum of money, if you budget negatively then surely this windfall should provide the funds for a decent team? (we currently have the cheapest starting XI in the Championship!).
You state the club has one of the largest wage bills in the country yet wasn’t it a boast of yours a while back that we have one of the lowest wages to turnover ratio’s in the country? Why is it that as a club we are unable to renegotiate the contracts of our talented players? Last season we lost Kilkenny and Johnson, and Max and Kasper were forced out due to there been no prospect of them renewing their contracts.
This year it seems it will be Howson and White who we lose on free transfers and Snodgrass and Clayton who are sold (ring me in September if you are able to prove me wrong with that!) Why is a club like Crystal Palace who were in financial difficulty themselves only a short time ago able to tie down Zaha on a long contract despite interest from the big clubs? Yet we constantly see our talent leave on frees or for nominal fees due to the clubs failure to be able to negotiate contracts? It also makes zero business sense to constantly lose such talent as they need replacing. For example had you provided Johnson with a decent offer then we would have been able to keep a talented up and coming young player instead of seeing an old has been in Brown instead? Surely the difference in wages can’t have been that much and in Johnson we’d have a player who carried a sale value instead of Brown who offers no such potential.
If as expected we do lose the next crop of our big names in the summer then what prospects do the club have in moving forward? How can you justify spending £7m on executive boxes and a museum when the club is losing all of its talent and when no suitable replacements are ever seen being brought to the club? Who is going to use these facilities when the product on offer to them is so poor? The corporate fans won’t be that is for sure! You tell us these facilities are essential to turn the club into a 365 day a year money making business yet when are these facilities actually going to start paying for themselves and when will we see some of this money directed at the football team? Your current policies are driving the fans away from the club and many of them will not return until you leave the club.
Crowds are already down around an average of 3500 per home game and what are you doing to try and attract them back? Are you offering half season tickets or family packages? No instead you tell us we need to pay for next season by the end of January!!! Can you explain why this is the case? When season ticket renewals were first brought forward you advised it was to give us the best chance possible of competing early in the summer transfer market, we now know this isn’t the case so what reason do you possibly have? Surely by doing this so early you are boxing the club into a corner with regards tickets prices for next season? Surely you should be evaluating why crowds are down and looking to act upon this not telling fans to pay for next season now or your prices will be going up again!! it’s plain stupid!!
Crowds are down and action needs taking, what we don’t need is further price increases! We pay the fifth highest season ticket prices in the country (that is a fact, not the twisted version you give where you tried to claim our prices are middle of the road for the Championship. The only middle of the road price we charge is the once a season category C game!! You are fooling no one with your twisting of the truth there Mr Bates!). You state, “if you want Premiership football you have to pay Premiership prices”. Well we’ve paid these prices for years now and yet we are nowhere closer to seeing Premiership football than we were when you took over seven years ago! Why can’t you leave the building work to one side until we reach the bumper revenue of the Premier League and show some desire to give us a team to get us back to the big time.
The chance is there this season in what is an open league. Get Howson, White, Clayton and Snodgrass tied down on long term contracts, get the money brought in from Max and Kasper’s sales spent on a couple of decent players and show some ambition to get us to the big time. If you do this the fans will return and the club will get itself on a roll once more. If you are unwilling to do so then please please get out of our club and give someone else a chance. You claim no one is interested but given the tin pot clubs who we have seen experience take overs in recent years I have no doubt that if you were seriously willing to do business then someone would love to take over the club. We are one of the few clubs with the potential to challenge the big five but instead you are trying to turn us into another Burnley or Blackpool.
Sadly I will be renewing my season ticket again this year because I love my club but I know many who won’t whilst you are at the helm. Instead of insulting those people how about you show some transparency and decency towards the people who have kept this club afloat over the last few years, us the fans. Stop with the insults to the fans who are demanding a change and try and win them back around by showing that you have the same aim as us in providing a football team we can be proud of and not a club who constantly loses its best players in order to finance the next building project. (Hey if you can explain how a nightclub and hotel in Beeston would benefit the club when we have the most vibrant city centre 20 minutes away then I’m all ears!!!) I’ve never felt so down and depressed about my club as I currently do and I hold you responsible for that, I can’t remember the last time we had a piece of good news or when we last had real hopes of achieving something, showing some ambition and moving forward.
1) None of it.
2) Interesting? It's entirely fricking obvious what Leeds fan think. Most were already píssed off at the way we've been treated, at where all the money has disappeared to, as to why we seem to be the only club who sells off our best player every transfer window and then doesn't replace them, as to why our best players are not offered new contracts until they're into the last 6 months.
White (along with Howson and Snodgrass, our best player, and only 20) will leave for free in the summer (if he's not sold this window). Snodgrass will inevitably be sold in the summer, inkeeping with previous transfer windows. Not to mention Lees who is attracting interest from Bolton, Clayton (Bolton and QPR) and McCormack (Wigan...).
I think this will be the last straw with most fans. Attendance has already dropped by about 18% and season ticket renewals are at an all time low. Serious questions are being asked and Bates response is to either ignore them, make up lies or insult the fans.
No he wasn't. This isn't Football Manager. And the lad wanted/wants to stay. And every Leeds fan has been asking these questions ever since Beckford left. Then Johnson and Kilkenny. Now Howson and White. Next season Snodgrass. Our board incompetent and tight.
What we need. And our of favour ex-player to come back for fitness with no motivation. We do this every year (McSheffrey, Trundle, Bannan, Livermore) and it never works.
There's no replacing Howson at this level (unless you're Leicester or West Ham). Certainly not with our spending.
Seriously don't see any positives supporting this club at the moment. We replace roughly 8 of our starting 11 every season and lose our best player. Until Bates leaves or more likely dies we'll continue to stagnate or possibly even head back down to the third tier. Dwindling fan base won't help performances and relying on youth, 34yo free agents and loans won't either.