Leeds United’s Ken Bates and Neil Warnock: A Match Made in Purgatory
Kenneth William Bates is a man Leeds United fans have unfortunately come to know very well over the past several years. Even the highest profile of owners has drawn the ire of their fans for various reasons. But no one seems to do it the way that Mr. Bates has. From his puzzling sales of top players to calling the clubs fans “Morons” Ken Bates is certainly one of a kind. For that reason alone, it only made sense that he would hire the recently unemployed Neil Warnock as manager of Leeds. Warnock also has a history of being a one of a kind manager, with his many outbursts and controversies with players, managers and referees alike. He also has a good track record with getting Lower League clubs promoted, having taken 3 clubs to the Premier League. On the surface this looks like a very good hire for Leeds United, as every clubs ultimate dream is of success in the EPL. But when you attach the name Ken Bates to the hire, one can only be skeptical of the motives behind it.
Leeds recent moves, or lack thereof, in the transfer window are puzzling to say the least. Unloading young and talented players who would seem to be the future of a club, it would appear that Mr. Bates would be happy with just keeping the club in The Championship. But that would be too predictable, certainly not the style of one Ken Bates. It seems that the ultimate destination of Leeds would be to become a “yo-yo” club. It seems that whenever Leeds start to put together a formidable team, a strong team with a good young core, one of its key elements is either let go or sold off. Now you could call me old fashioned, but generally when a club sells off some of its top players, it usually brings in other top players or prospects to help fill the void. Unfortunately for Leeds supporters, Mr. Bates favorite player to bring in usually has a “Free” attached to his name. To counteract this blatant selling of good players, Neil Warnock was brought in to help guide the club to promotion. Warnock is known for getting the best out of his players and not necessarily needing to make high profile signings. This is something that is right up Ken Bates ally. The club has the feel of a mid to high table Championship team, which is just the kind of team that Neil Warnock can excel with. Unfortunately for Mr. Warnock, his track record as a Premier League manager is not quite as good as his record in the other leagues, which is also right up Ken Bates ally.
So what does this all mean for Leeds United going into the future? Well if all works out, promotion will hopefully be in their future, whether it is this year (though it is seemingly unlikely) or the next, Leeds will be a team that wins promotion to the Premier league, and gets that nice fat check that comes along with it. It’s the money that is ultimately being chased by Ken Bates. As sole owner and chairman he reaps the rewards of the clubs success. If he can gain promotions on a regular basis and not have to invest heavily in the club, I’m sure he would be doing back flips all over Elland Road.
No one knows what Ken Bates motives are for owning Leeds United. Basing it off of his past, one would assume he would try to build the club up and sell it off to another Russian Billionaire the same way he did Chelsea. But it’s not every day that you’ll find a mega rich entrepreneur to buy your club and walk away with a cool 17 million pound profit. Obviously everything I have described here is all hypothetical. I’m sure Ken Bates is a wonderful, misunderstood human being who has nothing but the best in mind for Leeds United and wants nothing more than to restore them to their former glory. But in all likelihood that last sentence couldn’t be further from the truth and Leeds Supporters can do nothing about it. Morons.