There’ll be no end of season party at Elland Road this year, that is, unless Ken Bates decides he’d rather sell up and move on. Leeds’ season has fallen apart over the last few games; we’ve rocketed to the bottom of the form table and confidence has been shattered. The players look as though they’re already sat on the proverbial beach, Neil Warnock has been more than honest about how the majority of them wont even be here next season and our captain has told the fans how disillusioned life at Leeds has become, asking ”How can you say you’re aiming for promotion and then sell your captain?” in reference to Jonny Howson being sold to Norwich.
This could all come as a shock to some on the outside, those that only ever listen to Ken Bates and his army of puppets. The picture they paint is of a happy Leeds United, with all the fans and players arm in arm singing ring around the rose bush. Unfortunately, when you look a little closer you see that it’s actually just Ken Bates dragging the fans through one, and making them pay for it too. But then again, if you want a Premier League rose bush you’ve got to pay premier league prices.
For those that aren’t aware of the people I refer to as his army of puppets, look no further than former Leeds legend Peter Lorimer, and yes, I did mean former. The reason for this is simple, he’s become an embarrassment to the fans, selling his soul to the devil by reading whatever script Bates happily places in his lap week after week.
This week he decided to tell us how we needed quality over quantity in regards to new players, which makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is selling the quality and then making a statement like that. Quality such as the aforementioned Jonny Howson, who along with Bradley Johnson successfully stopped the usually creative Tottenham midfield from controlling the game against Norwich. Both players deemed surplus by Leeds, but who were never truly replaced. You then look to Max Gradel, the one player that could create a chance from nothing and win a game when all seemed lost, he was also never replaced, though you may say he was practically irreplaceable anyway. At least the new executive boxes are at a quality standard. If you want premiership standard executive boxes…..you get the idea.
Understandably, the fans have had enough. The excuses made by Bates have long worn thin and you can’t help but feel that something really does have to give now. Ken bought himself some breathing space with the appointment of Warnock but the fans are rallying again and a protest is being planned for the game against Leicester, one of the many teams Ken has happily referred to as an example of how spending money doesn’t guarantee success. Leicester are 3 points off the playoffs with a bit of momentum gathering, Leeds are plummeting, and while he may, to an extent, have a point, you could also say that spending no, or little money almost guarantees failure.
It’s now or never for Bates, he’s got a manager who has addressed the flaws and called for big investment in the summer. Let’s hope when he reaches into his pocket next he pulls out his cheque book, rather than his list of excuses.