Fans' frustration over Bates' presidency

Ken Bates' previous allegiance to Chelsea meant he never had the full support from Leeds fans

Ken Bates' previous allegiance to Chelsea meant he never had the full support from Leeds fans

First published in National Sport © by

Leeds fans have expressed their disappointment that owner Ken Bates will be staying on as president at Elland Road following the completion of the club's takeover by Bahrain-based investment bank GFH Capital.

Bates, 80, announced on Wednesday morning that GFH Capital will complete a 100 per cent takeover of the club on December 21 and that he will remain as chairman during a transitional period until the end of the season.

Leeds United Supporters' Trust chairman Gary Cooper welcomed GFH's stated ambitions regarding the club but told Press Association Sport: "We're not questioning the transitional period at all, that makes absolute sense. But my members are already asking me, going forward, why does the club need or want Ken Bates as president?"

Cooper added: "His tenure at the club has not been one of success. He's done his best to discredit supporters' groups, he's called fans morons and dissidents and he's sold all our best players. GFH Capital now have the unenviable task of rebuilding the club's relationship with the fans when appearing to be hand-in-hand with Ken Bates."

GFH Capital deputy chief executive David Haigh, a lifelong Leeds fan, will take a place on the board at Elland Road immediately with three more of the Middle East consortium's representatives to join him before Christmas. A new club chairman will be appointed by the new owners at the end of the season when Bates will become club president.

GFH Capital, who first entered into talks with Leeds in May, have already transferred money into the club and will be making further funds available to manager Neil Warnock, who will have the new owners' full support.

Bates took control of Leeds in 2005, 18 months after he had sold his controlling shares in Chelsea to current owner Roman Abramovich.

He refused to reveal exactly who owned Leeds for the next six years, but amid mounting pressure from the game's authorities announced in April last year that he had bought 72.85% of the club's shares from Geneva-based Forward Sports Fund for an undisclosed sum.

Bates' previous allegiance to Chelsea meant he never had the full support of the majority of Leeds fans and an uneasy relationship steadily deteriorated during almost eight years in charge.

Bates' announcement ends an unsettling six-month period for the npower Championship club, who have slipped to 18th in the table after failing to win any of their last seven league matches.

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