Whether you agree with it or not, no one can deny that money is one of the central factors in football in this day and age. From the multi-million pound wage bills to the ever-increasing ticket prices football could not function without it. However, what makes football what it is, could also be destroying it.
Of course all the money in the English Premier League has made the game more exciting, attracting the top players in world football to this part of the world and no doubt making it more entertaining for the fans, but it has come at a hefty price for fans of some clubs, the most famous of which would surely be Leeds United.
Only 11 years ago Leeds were in the semi-final of the Champions League playing Valencia for a place in the final.
Fast forward six years and Leeds were languishing at the bottom of the third tier of English football having entered administration.
This huge fall from grace was purely due to Leeds not qualifying for the following Champions League campaign, thus missing out on massive financial gain that the clubs board had already spent on players, cue huge debts and financial shambles as the board desperately tried to sell on players to recoup some of the debts.
All this, of course, meant that the squad was vastly depleted and relegation was a certainty.
Obviously it is not only Leeds that have fallen foul to money – the most recent being Portsmouth who, at the beginning of the season, had few if any senior players on their books.
These are both examples of money having a negative effect on a club.
However, there is the other side of the dice – Manchester City.
A mid-table Premier League team until 2008 when some very wealthy Arabs decided they liked the look of Man City and decided to buy it.
Look at them now – Premier League Champions. This is the prime example of just what money can do to a club, in a positive way.
Money is something Leeds fans have seen precious little of in recent times, but with recent developments in the saga of the takeover at Elland Road it could all be about to change.
In a recent statements GFH Capital have announced their ambitions for Leeds United, and among these was a statement that Leeds have waited all of 7 years to hear. ‘As a club, Leeds United has it all – passionate loyal fans, a great heritage and masses of potential to return to the Premier League with the right, sustainable investment’. And best of all for many Leeds fans this means the end of Ken Bates’ controversial tenure as chairman.
Another rare feeling around Elland Road is that of optimism, which with this recent news is now sky-high.
Leeds fans haven’t felt this confident for many a year and with the team in touch with the leaders after a very tricky start to the season anything could be possible.
However, now we have money the focus turns on to how to use it and ultimately the Premier League is the aim whether it be this season or next.
If you look at most of the teams that have been promoted in recent seasons then there is one common factor – money.
Tony Fernandes at QPR. David Gold and David Sullivan at West Ham. It is becoming ever more clear that, without money, the Premier League is unattainable.
But it looks increasingly likely that Leeds United will have money for the January transfer window, which is a luxury that no Leeds United manager has had in the last decade.
In fact, Leeds’ situation this at the moment isn’t dissimilar to Queens Park Rangers when they got promoted. Recently taken over, money to spend, and a promotion specialist at the helm in Neil Warnock.
With the team in a decent place in the league, and with money imminent, promotion has got to be the goal for this season, and I believe Leeds can do it, and many other fans are beginning to believe too.
And best of all, it means that we won’t have to put up with Ken Bates anymore.
All football fans know that there are few more frustrating things in football than a lack of ambition and at Leeds this is ultimately what has caused the unrest amongst the fans.
Most clubs know the feeling of losing star players, whether it being to higher league football, or just a larger pay packet but at Leeds we’ve had more than our fair share of high-profile departures.
It all started in the summer of 2010 when Jermaine Beckford attracted attention from Premier League Everton, who he departed for that summer. Next came players such as Bradley Johnson and Neil Kilkenny. Not star players as such, but ones that without we wouldn’t have been able to gain promotion.
Max Gradel and Kasper Schmeichel were the next departures, and it was them waving goodbye to Elland Road that really got the fans’ blood boiling, with no apparent reason as to why they were being sold other than to generate a quick buck for Ken Bates.
Finally it was the two players that we valued most. First Jonny Howson then Robert Snodgrass both went on their merry way to Norwich City (regretting it yet, boys?) leaving a squad low in both quality and confidence.
But at least all these star players being sold would create money for the club, which would be re-invested back into the playing staff, right? Wrong. A vast majority of it has ended up in Ken Bates’ tailored back pocket.
This puzzled all of the fans that were wondering why we were still offering low wages, thus leaving our players little option but to leave the club.
Add to all this Ken Bates being an ageing, yet still persistent pain in the arse then you’ll see why Leeds fans have had enough – and who can blame them?
So with this supposed takeover only days away then it means at last Leeds United are – almost – free from Ken Bates.
Seven years of lies, coming to a slow and painful end.