Latest Bates Court Case Could Cost Leeds United Over £1m – by Rob Atkinson


Cuddly yet litigious Uncle Ken

Ken Bates is due back in his favourite arena shortly as the litigation fanatic returns to the courtroom – and this time the quarry in his sights is Leeds United AFC itself.

The latest legal wrangle concerns Bates’ abruptly-terminated role as Leeds president – a position he was entitled to as a non-negotiable condition of the sale of Leeds United to present owners GFH Capital.  Bates remained in an executive position for some months after the sale, and was then due to move into the honorary office of Club President for a three year term ending in 2016.  However, only a matter of months into this arrangement, Bates was dismissed by GFH for “gross misconduct”.

The gross misconduct cited was said to consist of agreeing a contract (worth £500,000) for private jet travel for Bates between Leeds and his home base in Monaco.  The agreement was said to have been put in place without the knowledge or consent of the new board.  Bates will argue that the contract was set up while he was still chairman and therefore had the executive power to negotiate and authorise such a deal.  It has also emerged that, although his term as President came with a £250,000 a year salary – £750,000 over the three year term – Bates had waived this remuneration.  He has, after all, frequently claimed that he “never took a penny out of the club”.

The current legal tussle started when Leeds United sought reimbursement from Bates of costs incurred partly from the private jet contract, together with other expenses in excess of £100,000 including meals and Sky TV subscriptions which the club allege were not used to the benefit of the club.  Bates has entered a defence against that action, and counter-claimed for “wrongful dismissal” in the matter of the early termination of his Presidency.  It is thought that, if Bates were to be successful in a wrongful dismissal claim, he could be entitled to part or all of the £750,000 salary package technically due for the 3 year Presidential term, a sum he had voluntarily waived.  Legal costs on top of that could push United’s bill up over one million pounds.

These revelations come at a time when Managing Director David Haigh – a prospective Tory parliamentary candidate for Northampton South and new Chairman of Leeds United Ladies – has revealed that he has injected “a seven figure sum” into Leeds United AFC, to go towards Brian McDermott’s team-strengthening plans in the January transfer window. The irony of this is plain – should Bates be successful in his courtroom strategy, the club might possibly break even over the next few months, with Haigh’s seven-figure sum probably just about offsetting the amount Leeds could have to shell out to the wily Riviera-based octogenarian.  Swings and roundabouts.

Leeds United fans will have to cross their fingers and hope that the forthcoming court case ends as many have before, with Ken having to retire to his lair and lick his wounds. Ironically, it’s understood that in those previous instances of legal defeat, it’s often been Leeds United who had to pick up the bill, as Chairman Ken was allegedly sallying forth into battle backed by club funds.  We must sit and wait, in the hope that some of those pigeons now come home to roost and that Bates is finally sent packing without having further drained the resources of the club he’s claimed to have twice “saved”.

19 responses to “Latest Bates Court Case Could Cost Leeds United Over £1m – by Rob Atkinson

  1. I’m afraid that we won’t see the back of this man for many years. Let’s face it we the moronic fans still cannot put names to the people who own Elland Road or Thorpe Arch. Nor in fact can we put names and faces to the majority of shareholders of GFH. The simple truth is Bates isn’t the sort of man to walk away quietly from a potential goldmine.


    • Maybe not THAT many years. The old sod doesn’t look that chipper to me.


      • Chareose

        The fans should get behind the club, I don’t mind buying more kit to help the club fund a court battle with that cretin Bates. We cant let this damage BMCs transfer budget in January, the fans need to close ranks behind the club and man the trenches….. screwing bates in the courts can be a unifying factor for Leeds Fans


      • True, sorry to sound so pessimistic. Looking on the bright side we’re sixth in table and BM has a few quid for January. Let’s hope that come May we will be living the dream again. MOT


  2. A million to finally get rid of the old bastard is a bargain.


  3. On the face of it, Bates seems to have a strong case – which you set out in fair-minded way. I thought, at the time, that the actions of GFH were unnecessary and appeared to be no less arbitrary and high-handed than were many of Bates’s own. Many fans will feel that Bates could have paid his own travel expenses anyway; but then consistency requires that the same applies to such as Haigh (it will be interesting to see what is entered under Directors’ travel and remuneration in the 2013-14 accounts). In any event, on top of the so-called ‘Radebe consortium’ bid, this is another distraction BM, the players and fans could have done without.


  4. GrenvilleHair

    Could it be that this is what Haigh’s money is for Rob. Assuming Bates is using his own money rather than Leeds’s he’ll at least have to pay the costs if he loses! we don’t know the half of what’s going on here in my view. I still think he’s involved somehow.


    • It would appear that Bates has purchased the subway shop on Elland Road apparently for media purposes; he still has an apartment in Leeds, of course. He likes the city.


  5. Hence the apperence in Leeds last week, the old twat probably wanted to deliver the writ in person ,


  6. Over £1m, worth every penny to rid ourselves of that nasty parasite.


  7. If this a straight forward employment issue and gross misconduct is proven then the Club may not have to pay out too much. However was Bates called into a meeting and allowed a fair hearing with either his Trade Union representative or an employee of the Club before being sacked? If not either the Club has been badly advised or just foolish.


  8. £32,000 on meals for christ sake? Even a weekly shop in Waitrose over the last 8 years for the 3 of us wouldn’t come to that. He’s got an office over subway too, are their buns that expensive? I would imagine common sense will prevail, his case thrown out and an investigation into these expenses claims initiated.


  9. dansdad1919

    There will come a day when the media announces his passing, there will be few tears shed on that day and if it was tomorrow it would not be soon enough.


  10. mrbigwheels

    Meglamaniac !. Just pay him off. GFHC, McD, the Club and it’s Support would not be where we are now if the ‘shadow’ had not been moved on as per events. Setting up shop in Eland Road is an annoyance but their are enough people in the vicinity to deal with this….. Let’s go forward. MOT.


  11. mrbigwheels

    Elland Road and….. there are….. bloody pads!.


    • Out of court would be the best way for the club, but Bates will want to prove a point: if he dioesn’t, that will be the most interesting thing about it.


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  13. Could this be Bates getting his share in plain sight?

    Apart from our having the best management team, (footie), we’ve had in many a year what has really changed at the club in the last 12 months. Do we own the ground or Thorpe Arch? Where’s the major investment we keep hearing about? Yes, there’s Murphy, Smith and ticket prices but that was probably just part of the ‘big carrot’ to get the fans back.

    Also interesting this week when Twitter was ablaze with Bates’ re-appearance at the club, Haigh sets up a new company and puts a seven figure fee into the club for new players. As a result, the Bates story gets pushed off the front pages. Coincidence? Possibly…

    Then, ‘of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world’ Bates opens an office on Elland Road.

    So you take your choice. Bates’ is either running interference with GFH as the enemy or he’s still involved. Which is it?


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