Leeds United Need A Bigger Boat: Will Cellino's Yacht Problem Allow The Shark Bates Back In?
There are many questions swirling around Leeds United right now: who is David Haigh actually working for if he's left GFH but Cellino isn't the new owner? Why does he persist in asking media outlets and the manager to put the message across that he is 'the glue holding it all together' when it is all so clearly falling apart?
How long will it be before Brian McDermott does the decent thing and leaves the first team management to someone else? Should Cellino's daughter's arse really be an influencing factor in the debate about who the new owner should be? Were the police really called to Elland Road recently to investigate drug use on the premises? How can the Football League be deemed impartial when a) they are made up of rival owners with no interest in losing their pay day from playing Leeds United at home (and the television money that comes with it), and b) the head of the Football League is directly responsible, during his previous tenure as Leeds United MD, for the mortgaging of current and future ticket revenues, the sales of decent playing staff, and the recruitment of so much deadwood?
You can discuss all of the above amongst yourselves, but the question that most worries me is why has Ken Bates delayed the publication of his autobiography until the current ownership situation is resolved? Do me a favour, don't cry conspiracy or even codspiracy, Bates might look like a fish finger salesman but he's a shark. This much we know when we see Fabian Delph scoring an amazing Cruyff-style back-flick for Aston Villa against Chelsea, or Robert Snodgrass scoring week in week out for Norwich. Bates used those sales and more, not his own money, to finance the running of the club. It will be terrible if it's a yacht that allows this great white sh*te back into our club. No-one delays a book being published out of mere interest in the ongoing state of a former business, make no mistake Bates is considering a comeback.
When Bates took over Leeds I wrote in The Independent: "He may be a b*stard but he's our b*stard now, so we better get on with it." At that point I assumed he wanted to take Leeds to where he had left Chelsea, football-wise they were in good nick, as it was he left us where he also left them financially, in a dubious position at a time the London Evening Standard were reporting an un-named London side were on the verge of administration.
After a while I came to the conclusion that he may never have wanted us to make the Premier League, where the cost of playing staff rockets. It suited him to be able to take large gate receipts, player sales, and more TV revenue than any other team in the Championship. He liked being the bigger fish in the lower league - or to use another marine analogy, Big Tw*t, Small Pond - rather than work men so wealthy they would look down on him from piles of money so high he'd look like a grain of salt.
The item about Bates autobiography appeared in Charles Sale's sports diary in the Daily Mail on Tuesday – the same place various anti-GFH stories ran, including one that said the bank would stop alcohol sales at Elland Road. Most gossip columnists just answer the phone and run the stories people ask them to. If it concerns people the readership are interested in then they're not too bothered about the truth of the matter. It's gossip after all, not news.
Why would Ken be delaying publication depending on the outcome of the ownership of Leeds if he didn't have an interest in proceedings? At the start of GFH's ownership of Leeds United, a friend stood with David Haigh and Ken Bates as a guest at a club dinner and listened to the following exchange:
Haigh: "This place will be rocking when we get 40,000 in here every game, Ken."
Bates: "And when it's not and you've screwed it up after six months, I'll be back to buy it again for a pound."
Who knows where Cellino might have or might still take us, he certainly couldn't have played his daughter's arse up front alongside Ross, not that it would have done any worse than some of the players who've turned out in the last few years. We may never know if Cellino would have been a force for good or bad, but one thing for certain is it will be absolutely dreadful if Ken Bates returns.
Follow James on Twitter, @jamesjamesbrown