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FOUR YEAR Flashback: This bizarre Story
FOUR YEAR FLASHBACK!
Sunday People/Tom Hopkinson - QPR'S 2-DAY WEEK CHEEK - Queens Park Rangers can expect another angry backlash from fans after it emerged that their players are being asked to train only twice a week.
- People Sport understands the club decided to cut their weekly sessions over the last couple of weeks after both promotion and relegation were ruled out.
- And although they expect to up their training again this week, the news is sure to infuriate supporters, who are still paying top prices to watch players who are only working part-time.
- And they will be once again spitting feathers as their managerless outfit lurches from one problem to another.
- There is also unrest among the Rangers playing staff over plans for an end-ofseason tour to Bahrain which will cut into their summer breaks. Rangers are sponsored by Gulf Air, the Kingdom's flag carrier..
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Coming Soon...The "Winners"
Ferguson the richest manager
The fourth annual Sunday Times Sport Rich List, to be published in full on 28 April, says that Ferguson, who has just led United to Premier League title glory, is now worth ?34m.
The list is based on identifiable wealth, which includes land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, but which excludes bank accounts.
Former Sunderland and Ipswich boss Roy Keane, who used to play for Ferguson at United, is next on the list at ?29m, followed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (?29m).
QPR manager Harry Redknapp is worth ?13m, good enough for ninth on the list, just behind his predecessor at Loftus Road, Mark Hughes (?14m).
Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has joined the list in joint-10th, alongside England boss Roy Hodgson and Martin O'Neill, with a fortune of ?12m.
The richest Formula One drivers born or based in the UK have also been revealed and Lewis Hamilton leads the way among active drivers on ?60m, an increase of ?5m since last year.
Jenson Button has also added ?5m to his total in the last year and is now worth ?58m, while Scot Dario Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar champion, is worth ?50m.
|Ken Bates on Leeds & Warnock (Bates Reject C Hill)|
GFH clause left Bates unable to sack Warnock
By Richard Sutcliffe
Published on 26/04/2013 06:05
IN lamenting what he considers to have been a “wasted season” for Leeds United, out-going chairman Ken Bates last night revealed how the protracted takeover saga thwarted his plan to sack Neil Warnock last October.
The 81-year-old will tomorrow attend the final game of his reign as chairman when Brighton & Hove Albion bring the curtain down on United’s Elland Road campaign. Coincidentally, the Seagulls were also the opposition for Bates’s first home game in January, 2005.
Much has happened over the intervening eight years and three months, a period that has included two play-off final appearances, a spell in administration, one promotion, one relegation and a host of famous Cup wins.
Bates sold United to GFH Capital, a Dubai-based private equity firm, in December last year, when it was announced he would remain as chairman until the end of the season and then become president.
As proud as Bates is of his Leeds reign, he also admits to being frustrated at not being able to deliver the number one target when taking over from Gerald Krasner’s board.
Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post, Bates said: “The plan when I came in was to get Leeds back in the Premier League but, unfortunately, that has not been possible.
“In that respect, this season has been particularly frustrating, as I feel we really should have been at least challenging. In many ways, it has been a wasted season. A lost year, if you like.”
The past 12 months have been dogged by uncertainty at Elland Road with GFH Capital’s takeover taking the best part of six months to complete. Since then, a 10 per cent share has been sold to Bahrain-based International Investment Bank.
Bates, whose sale of Chelsea in 2003 to Roman Abramovich took a matter of weeks, is adamant the protracted saga has impacted on a season United have mainly spent in mid-table.
He said: “There is no doubt, in my mind, that the uncertainty which has hung like a cloud over Elland Road for a year has been a major factor in our unsuccessful season.
“As everyone knows, we agreed a 90-day exclusivity period (with GFH Capital) that was due to run until August.
“We took that to mean the deal would be completed during that period, meaning the club could still have a real go at getting promotion this season. Instead, things dragged on and, eventually, they (GFH) asked for an extension to November 19, which was turned down.
“Despite that, what we did agree to do was keep talking and, obviously, the deal went through on December 21.
“What people won’t be aware of, though, is that two clauses were included in our agreement with GFH. One was that we could make no material change without consulting GFH, while the other was that Neil Warnock had to stay as manager.
“It meant any player bought or sold from June (2012) onwards had to be discussed and approved by Salem Patel, on behalf of GFH. We were happy to do that because, as I say, we thought the takeover would go through during the summer.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t and, instead, the deal wasn’t done until December 21. A consequence was that we had to keep Neil Warnock when I didn’t think we should.
“I wanted to sack him in October because I didn’t think it was working out. But I couldn’t because of what was happening with the sale.”
Warnock’s tenure as United manager finally ended on April 1, almost six weeks after he had first mooted the possibility of stepping down in the wake of the FA Cup fifth round defeat to Manchester City.
The 64-year-old’s departure came just a couple of days after he had publicly lambasted defender Tom Lees for his “stupid” red card in United’s 3-0 defeat at Ipswich Town. Warnock’s assertion that Lees had “let me down, the team down and the fans who travelled” left the Leeds chairman so incensed he immediately telephoned the Academy product.
Bates added: “I didn’t like what he did to Tom Lees. To criticise Tom like that was terrible. After we heard what had been said post-match by Warnock, Suzannah and I rang Tom on the bus home.
“I told him, ‘Forget what has been said, it is a disgrace’. We then told Tom what a valuable member of the squad he was.”
On Warnock, Bates added: “We went for one of only three managers to win seven promotions but it didn’t work out. Warnock was always getting his excuses in first.
“I kept hearing how we didn’t sign this player or that player. But we found the money for (Lee) Peltier, (Jason) Pearce, (Paddy) Kenny, (Rodolph) Austin, (Ryan) Hall and (Luke) Varney in the summer.
“The only player we didn’t sign who Neil really wanted was Clint Hill. He’s 34 and yet Warnock wanted us to commit £1.5m in wages and transfer fee. That was in January and we weren’t prepared to do that.”
Bates may not have too many positive things to say about United’s last manager but he has been impressed by his successor.
“Brian McDermott has made a big impression on everyone already,” he said. “Suzannah and I went for lunch with Brian (on Wednesday).
“He came across as a thoroughly decent man, who had plenty of interesting things to say.
“I found it interesting that he had spent the past two weeks finding out exactly what has gone on at Leeds United for the past three years. I also liked what Brian had to say about players living locally.
“At Reading, they all lived within 10 miles of the club. No-one commuted long distances, whereas at Leeds we have players living 100 miles or more away.”
I made mistakes, but I am leaving this club in a much better shape...’
Published on 26/04/2013 06:06
FOR Ken Bates, the past eight or so years as Leeds United chairman have been far from easy.
The return to the Premier League he targeted on day one after riding to the rescue as the Elland Road club threatened to buckle under ruinous debts has, much to his frustration, proved elusive.
He has also been the subject of a hate campaign that led to the United chairman’s mobile phone number having to be changed along with that of his fax machine in Monaco.
Despite all that, the 81-year-old insists his time as Elland Road chairman has been a happy one and that he remains proud of many things. Not least, that Leeds still has a football club to support.
“Leeds, as a club, were on their last legs,” recalls Bates when asked by the Yorkshire Post about the deal that saw him take charge of United on January 21, 2005.
“If I hadn’t taken over, the club would have gone into liquidation. I am certain of that. The tax debts alone were terrible and there just wasn’t the money about elsewhere to do what had to be done.
“Certainly, no-one one in Yorkshire was going to get involved. That is what I always say to any critics. What was the alternative?”
When Bates took charge, United had been relegated from the Premier League only eight months earlier. However, the ramifications of that demotion had become all too apparent with Elland Road and Thorp Arch having been sold by the previous board.
The sale of Leeds’s last two remaining assets had only bought time with the first month of 2005 bringing a winding up order from the taxman over an unpaid £1.2m bill.
Matters were so bleak, in fact, that then captain Paul Butler issued an impassioned appeal through the pages of this newspaper for United to be put in administration – and incur a 10-point penalty – so the players would know where they stood in the fight against relegation.
Bates’s arrival ended such talk. Transfer funds were soon found as the second and final parachute payment from the Premier League allowed Rob Hulse to be bought for £1.1m as another £2m was spent on Richard Cresswell and Robbie Blake.
Defeat to Watford in the 2006 Championship play-off final, however, proved to be a fatal blow from which United would fail to recover. Within a year, Leeds were not only in administration but also League One and a fraught summer ensued before Bates regained control ahead of rival bidders that included former director Simon Morris.
“What killed Leeds off was Peter Ridsdale’s contracts,” recalls Bates. “They were too long, the players were paid too much and the club just could not support it.
“The syndicate I brought in at the start of 2005 put in and lost more than £30m. It was a huge blow.
“Mind, money isn’t everything. It has never been my be all and end all. Instead, I love building things and doing things.
“It is why I have not taken a penny out of the club in wages, the first (chairman) since Leslie Silver to do so.”
After coming out of administration in the summer of 2007, United won promotion at the third attempt.
A seventh place finish followed in 2010-11 but Leeds slipped to 14th last term.
This time around, they sit 13th going into what will be Bates’s final home game as chairman when Brighton head to Elland Road tomorrow.
He said: “Some things have not been nice, such as the personal campaign waged against me. I had abusive phone calls, while all sorts of nonsense was sent to my fax machine in Monaco. I had to change my numbers.
“In that respect, football follows society and society is nastier than it was and more vicious. Twitter has played a part in that. It’s why I don’t do that or e-mail. What those chanting ‘Bates Out’ and causing problems fail to realise is how much damage they do while trying to be clever.
“In recent years, we have had three different first-class potential investors who did due diligence with a view to getting involved. But then, once they had witnessed the abuse meted out to me, they walked away. They didn’t need the hassle.”
On his time as Elland Road chairman, Bates added: “I am disappointed not to have got promotion to the Premier League, of course I am. That was the plan when I came in.
“But Suzannah and I have thoroughly enjoyed the last eight years. We have made lots and lots of good friends, who will remain so for life.
“I’d also like to thank the overwhelming majority of Leeds United fans who have shown unswerving loyalty during my time as chairman.
“It is just unfortunate that the majority have been silenced by the empty vessels who make a lot of noise to the detriment of the club they profess to love.”
When Bates and his financial backers took charge in 2005, he became United’s fifth chairman in less than two years.
Clearly, therefore, tomorrow’s game against Brighton will mark the end of an era.
He said: “I am proud of what we have done. I have made mistakes, I admit that. No-one in the world can claim to not making mistakes.
“But I am leaving the club in much better shape than I found it. Leeds United are in a stable condition. And that could never have been said about Leeds United in 2005.
“It is up to others to take the club forward now. And I have been assured that GFH have the financial resources to build on what we have done.”
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