New Bates role is huge kick in the teeth

Tuesday 30th April 2013 7:02

Ken Bates: Set to become Leeds United president

Ken Bates: Set to become Leeds United president

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Leeds are making a huge mistake and undermining supporters in appointing Ken Bates as the club's president, writes FanZoner Steve Turner.

In July 2011 Leeds United's club president and lifelong Leeds fan, Lord Harewood, sadly passed away. His appointment dated back to 1961.

In the 50 years that passed the club president title was very rarely discussed, the truth was that few truly understood what it involved. Most still don't, but what was evident throughout that period was that there were few, if any, more fitting of the honour.

At the time of Lord Harewood's death Richard Mantle, director of Opera North, said: "There were many first nights which I hoped he would come along to, only to find he had gone tearing off to Elland Road.

"He was absolutely passionate about the club."

Lord Harewood was the club president because he loved Leeds United.

Why then, do we now find ourselves one game away from giving a title befitting of someone who cared for the club as much as Lord Harewood did, to Ken Bates? The very man who once told the world how he would do everything in his power to make sure that Leeds and its 'animal' supporters were kicked out of the entire football league?

If this was a demand made by Bates during the takeover discussions then GFH need to seriously consider whether the repercussions of going back on their agreement outweigh the fans' overwhelming desire to rid the club of him once and for all.

If GFH want to turn their vision of a 'united' Leeds into a reality, there can be no place for Bates.

Credit where it's due, they've slowly but surely started to put right some of the wrongs from Bates' era, but there is still a long way to go. When the takeover was completed the news that Ken would be staying at the club as president was met with utter dismay, it's an issue that the fans feel strongly about, and it cannot be brushed under the carpet.

With that in mind there would be no greater way to show the fans that they are truly on their side than by taking away Bates' last moment in the spotlight. GFH own the club, and they have the power.

That power will be worryingly undermined if Bates becomes club president.

This is where they need to show their mettle. If such a clause or promise was made during the takeover then it would be morally wrong to go back on that, but morals are something that Ken Bates simply does not have. Throughout his entire time here the fans have been last on the priority list every single time, and you can guarantee that were it the other way around it would be his way or the highway.

GFH need to stand up for the fans who have suffered for eight years under the man who is currently on course to become president of the very club he almost destroyed.

Whatever the cost, whatever the implications. Whatever it takes!

Leeds United is no ordinary club. The history books are filled with legendary players and managers who were all once proud to pull on the famous white shirt, or to manage a team so passionately supported. You can only imagine what Don Revie would make of the current situation.

Revie, Harewood once wrote, "welded together an ensemble - that is what a team is - which was the envy of others, and he and I used sometimes to talk into the night about how you build football teams and operatic ensembles and then inspire them so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts".

If GFH get the club united again, the whole will most certainly be greater than the sum of the parts. Unfortunately, while Bates remains at the club in any capacity it will never be truly achievable.

Make the right choice, GFH, and we can all march on together.

By Steve Turner, FanZone's Leeds blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @giddy_goose - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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