Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Leeds have moved quickly to appoint a new assistant manager following Gus Poyet's move to Spurs. In comes Dave Bassett who has worked with Dennis Wise at previous clubs so hopefully this a shrewd move. According to the BBC Leeds are also looking to make a further appointment to the first team coaching staff within the next week.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
In the article itself it seemed that there were two very different steers emerging depending on which line you read. On the one hand "a Defra document published on the official Whitehall website revealed that the climate change bill would allow local authorities to charge for waste in a bid to boost recycling" and on the other "paper versions given to reporters and MPs stated that the bill would only give local councils the power to run pilot schemes to encourage recycling"
These two different slants would seem to propose very different ways of going about things.
The first implies that households will be charged for the amount of rubbish they throw away. This would seem to be on the basis that the amount of non recyclable rubbish can be weighed and a bill can be issued. I am absolutely convinced that this method will not be a great success and will in all likelihood lead to two unwanted outcomes - an increase in the amount of rubbish fly tipped or taken directly to the local municipal site and an increase in neighbour disputes caused by people putting their rubbish into other peoples bins.
The second implies some kind of scheme whereby those who recycle through kerbside collection facilities gain some kind of reward which is offset by those who refuse to use such facilities receiving some kind of charge. This seems to be a more positive way to go about things but we have to ensure that every household has the facilities to recycle and I suspect the administration of such schemes will be relatively expensive and open to challenge. If someone does not put out any recyclables then presumably their normal bins will need to be checked to see whether or not their waste contains recyclables. This may also prove unpopular as the thought of the local authority rooting through peoples bins may not go down very well.
If implemented sensibly by local authorities this may help, if not do not be surprised to see the amount of fly tipping on the increase
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
As an aim this is to be lauded although I somehow doubt the cost effectiveness and long term benefit of such a scheme without a real focus on and investment in tow other key factors.
Firstly money needs to be invested in good, clean, regular and reliable public transport. The example which I gave a month ago of our local station at Aldermaston is a good one. As I said then "On a Sunday as the trains wend their merry way from Newbury To Reading and back again try guessing how many trains stop at Aldermaston. Yes you guessed it a grand total of zero. Slow trains go up and down and stop elsewhere but not here." Just how much extra would it cost to get these trains to stop? Very little I suspect.
Secondly I suspect that a far greater return on investment could be achieved through working with employers to see how technology to could be best used to enable a significant number of employees to work from home for part or all of the week. Personal experience would seem to indicate that the worst times to travel on the motorway network in this country are Monday morning, Friday afternoon and Sunday evening. At least two of these three could be addressed through and increase in home working.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Today's Guardian had a great piece on Saturdays 4-2 demolition of Millwall.
The old adage of the home crowd being a 12th man does not do justice to
Leeds United's vehement support - 13th, 14th and 15th men should be added to
that cliche. This was Leeds' sixth home win out of seven, lifting them into the
play-off positions, and it is difficult to see how any team from League One will
emerge from this intimidating venue with three points
The attendance of 30,319 was the highest in the Football League this season
and the fourth highest in the country on Saturday, and it took the average at
Elland Road to over 27,000 - more than any Championship club and 6,000 more than Leeds themselves registered in the higher division last season. Only two other
teams in League One have an average attendance that stretches to five
They may remain in denial over what happened last season and during the
summer - the tickets for Saturday's match said Football League Championship, the
"Real League Table" printed in the matchday programme has Leeds top of League
One by some distance, and No15 in the squad is listed as "Football League" - but
the points penalty is unlikely to matter at the end of the season.
I certainly hope they are right!
The full article can be found under the headline "Leeds's baying Colosseum revels in ruthless mauling of the Lions"
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The good news is that there is relatively little damp under the floor and so with a bit of luck the final stage of drying out may be shorter than expected. It also looks as if they may have to remove less plaster than was originally estimated. More than half the floor cam out today and the rest goes tomorrow.
This picture shows the bomb site that is now our hallway
Monday, October 22, 2007
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.
No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
Why the early bird gets the worm;
Life isn't always fair;
and Maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year- old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Tylenol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
According to MSN "The Prime Minister has appealed to insurers to continue offering cover to people in high flood risk areas after the industry reacted angrily to flood defence spending.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) accused the Government of letting down millions of homeowners and businesses by failing to give enough money to help prevent floods.
It also warned that the shortfall in money announced in Tuesday's Comprehensive Spending Review could leave homeowners in areas at risk facing more trouble insuring their properties.
Before this summer's floods, the ABI had already called for the Government to spend £2.25 billion on flood defences during the coming three years.
But Chancellor Alistair Darling announced spending between 2008/2009 and 2010/2011 would total just £2.15 billion. The trade association said the announcement showed the Government had "completely failed to grasp the importance" of improving the country's flood defences in the wake of this summer's floods.
But speaking at Commons question time Gordon Brown insisted that differences with the industry over spending were "very small" and that the Government was doing everything it could to improve defences.
He also appealed to insurers not to deny cover to people at risk of flooding. He said: "I hope they will not take the step to deny people insurance."
Well Mr Brown I have a few messages to you with regard to flooding
1) It is almost certainly going to happen again and if your government has cut the money then don't complain when your government gets the blame
2) We have to stop building on flood plains at all costs - it is economic madness to continue
3) A lot of the flooding was not caused by flood plains from rivers it was caused by volume of water and high water tables. If we have a similar period of weather again the we are going to have similar problems. Money needs to be invested in drainage to ensure that water can be taken away to replenish reservoirs and that local drainage systems can be kept clear to handle high volumes of water. Money needs to be invested through local authorities and the farming community to ensure that this happens
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Good news indeed. Ming was always a great foreign affairs spokesman but never made his mark as leader. Let us hope that we can now elect a leader capable of connecting with the electorate without references to things such as the "motor car"!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
It is fairly depressing to watch most of your home being broken up and put into a skip but that is what has been going on over the last week or so. After a long saga of inaction and many phone calls to the insurance company and their various agents we have finally seen some action. Most of the ground floor contents have been written off and broken up and put into a skip. We have had two of these big skips both of which were full.
We now have a pretty empty ground floor. All the contents that could be saved have been packed and sent for storage. We still have a table and chairs (although they too have been written off) and a serviceable kitchen. That is about it on the ground floor. Some rooms do not have power as yet but we do have five drying machines on site at last
Next step is for the builder to remove the wooden floors throughout the ground floor along with all the skirting and up to one metre of plaster but as yet we have no timescales for this.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Where has all the common sense gone?
Nobody disputes that a healthy diet is a good thing for pregnant women. But just how is this grant of £120 supposed to achieve that. The women will receive the grant too late into pregnancy (some seven months in) to have the desired impact and there is no actual guarantee that the money will be spent on the healthy food it is paying for! In fact the money could be used to buy cigarettes, alcohol or drugs.
All this at an annual cost to the taxpayer of some £70 to £80m a year.
There are a number of issues where I think we should be making a very clear statement ahead of the next general election. These are not necessarily areas which need to be covered by heavy weight policy documents. A lot of what we want to do on the environment and many other issues is common sense but there are a number of smaller but meaningful issues which really resonate with the public and where we could make an impact
These are issues which for want of a better term are what I call common sense and fairness issues. Issues where the current government policy is either clearly barking mad, lacks commons sense or does not appear to be fair to people could yet prove to be a rich area for us to exploit.
Just as important as government policy is the reality on the ground. There may be areas where we would agree with the governments policy but where the practical implementation of the policy is not happening on the ground or where its implementation is not seen to be fair.
A list of common sense and fair pledges which resonate with the public could be very useful.
Lets start with abandoning this policy and saving the £70 to £80m.
Ok there is still plenty of opportunity for things to get worse but six games, six wins, eighteen points and a goal difference of plus eleven is not to be sniffed at!
I know that most of the rest of league one have to play tomorrow but to be out of the relegation zone already is absolutely stunning. We are now six points from the playoff spots and ten points from the automatic promotions spots. If we had not been docked fifteen points we would be five points clear at the top of the league.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Anyway five games of the season have now elapsed. Five Games, Five Wins, Fifteen Points and we now stand on the grand total of zero after today's 2-0 win over Hartlepool. First target achieved and we are now three points from safety, nine points from the playoff spots and ten points from the automatic promotion spots with the best goal difference in the division. Had we not been docked points we would be two points clear at the top.
Meanwhile the off the pitch turmoil continues as Leeds United have been barred from full membership of the Football Association after being unable to prove all their non-football creditors have been paid. The good news is that according to the BBC "Leeds United will still be able to compete in all competitions, including the FA Cup. However, they will be unable to vote at any FA general meetings or receive FA Cup final tickets"
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I feel a new chant coming on
-9, -9, -9
-9, -9, -9
-9, -9, -9
So having started the season on -15 points we have managed three straight wins (including two in the league) and now stand on the grand total of -9 points and only a mere 10 points from 20th and safety. Whatever the ins and the outs of the legal ownership shenanigans that have been going on the team are giving it their all on the pitch and long may it continue!
Meanwhile Ken Bates has sent me a letter (text below) - how kind of him to attempt to explain what has been going on. Far far better would be if he sorted out the problems that are currently preventing me from using the Leeds United web site to buy tickets so that I can go to games!
If you read the text of his letter below and have a better interpretation that "it is all someone elses fault" please do let me know.
Dear Leeds Club Member
I have delayed my usual pre season letter until the outcome of recent events was resolved.
I can understand if you feel frustrated by the lack of information coming out of the Club but negotiations on many fronts have been both delicate and confidential. Unfortunately information given to fans is picked up by the media and we are then at the mercy of individual media reporters and editors who sometimes interpret (or in some cases misinterpret) a story according to their views or prejudices.
Only now do I feel comfortable in informing you of the position and it will be a long letter because you should know of the many aspects of the recent past including many parties, plots, intrigue and much more.
THE ADMINISTRATION (CVA)
KPMG were advised throughout by Walker Morris the Leeds based Insolvency Lawyers as well as two Senior Barristers. In view of several press articles and comments by the Football League it is essential to state that all parties behaved properly at all times. The common desire was to save Leeds United and stop the taxman's attempt to close it.
In view of the behaviour of certain parties with hidden agendas, KPMG decided to invite fresh offers but at the end of the day the offer from the Forward Sports Fund ('FSF') was still the highest and best.
After the original creditors meeting there is a period of 28 days for anybody to object. The taxman objected at 3pm on the last day just before the court closed.
At the insistence of the League, KPMG tried very hard to meet the Taxman's objections and the negotiations were conducted at the highest level. The first demand/condition was that all monies from FSF to KPMG should be paid upfront. That was agreed. The second demand was that the Football Creditors should not get preference and be paid any more than anybody else. This was an impossible demand. If Leeds didn't pay the Football Creditors in full then the Club didn't get membership of the League. We were between the devil and the deep blue sea. Damned if we do, damned if we don't. The Taxman then proposed that a sum equal to that going to the Football Creditors be paid into the general pool for all Creditors putting them in a better position. FSF agreed. The Taxman then refused to withdraw their appeal and further stated officially that they would vote against any other proposal if Football Creditors were ever paid in full. Indeed they stated that they would oppose any further CVA when Football Clubs were involved. Clearly this is an impossible situation.
What really irks the Taxman is that until 2003 they got preferential treatment in any insolvency. Now they don't. That is not Leeds fault or that of the League.
Finally, we believe that the actions of the Taxman were illegal.
In the case of Wimbledon the very question of the Football Creditors was challenged in the High Court and the Taxman lost on Appeal.
Secondly, Newcastle United won in the High Court against the Taxman because of their refusal to allow VAT on Agents' fees as a deduction. Despite losing, the Taxman still submitted a huge claim for VAT on Agents' fees which was illegal. The Taxman is questioning the validity of some creditors' claims. They do not have clean hands in this matter. This dispute is not about Leeds United, it is about opposing the Football League's Rule that Football Creditors must be paid in full.
At the time of buying the Club from the Administrators, FSF promised to talk to any other would be purchasers with a view to any possible cooperation. We did the best we could. This is a summary of what did or did not happen.
1. DUNCAN REVIE - Did not and has not made any offer at all. Neither has he contacted me or any other Director.
2. SO CALLED AMERICAN INVESTMENT FUND - One phone call and they have not been in contact since. Absolutely no discussion.
3. REDBUS - Mark Taylor, a lawyer, had one meeting and one phone call. No proposal.
4. SIMON MORRIS - He made contact through a middle man. We informed him to call us direct. We weren't prepared to negotiate through a third party. We haven't heard from him. In the newspaper it was reported that in buying Leeds it would be part of a £500/600 million pound development in the surrounding area. Unfortunately (for him) he doesn't own the land and Leeds citeh Council have put it out to possible public tender.
He also employed two PR companies to run a dirty tricks campaign against me which backfired. We obtained a background memo, a copy of which is enclosed. PROJECT PEACOCK is the code name for Leeds and PROJECT PILGRIM is the code name for Boston United. Gerald Krasner was the squirrel for Boston United and Morris hoped to get the Boston Club ground for redevelopment but he was unsuccessful.
Despite all the media speculation we knew of no other interested party.
Levi was a member of the Yorkshire Consortium (YC) who briefly owned Leeds United until it was sold to the FSF in January 2005.
For technical reasons, FSF acquired 50% of the Club at the time and had an option to buy the other 50% in June 2005. FSF exercised the option but Levi refused to sign over the shares.
All decisions by YC had to be unanimous, consequently Levi's actions blocked the deal. From that day to this Levi has worked in the background attempting to frustrate every effort to strengthen the Club's finances. We planned a rights issue to raise a further £5m for the Club but Levi frightened off the participants. Last October we agreed a deal with an Irish consortium who would put £10m of new capital into the Club and lend us the dublooons to buy back Elland Road and the training ground. Levi found out and rang the would be investors and put them off. This is well documented.
Then Weston (see later) got in on the act with Levi and they demanded 10% of the Club, £200,000 in cash and Directors' Box tickets for life in return for honouring the option. Levi has denied this but we have witness statements on file.
This is a brief summary of what has occurred but suffice to say Levi has been actively trying to frustrate all our efforts to strengthen the Club's financial position. He even went to court and obtained an injunction against Leeds printing a match programme. The Judge threw out his case after 40 minutes.
Robert Weston is the first husband of Levi's wife. Levi arranged with Weston (who lives in Jersey) to handle Leeds season ticket credit card transactions. For two years we have been trying to recover the £190,000 which Weston owes to Leeds. He has used every possible delaying tactic to avoid repaying the dublooons which he has acknowledged he owes. We have at last obtained judgment and should get the dublooons this month. Weston has been in jail for trying to pervert the course of justice.
Levi is a disgrace.
PLAYERS, BUYING AND SELLING
Player transactions are very complicated and when fans jump to conclusions they do not always know the full facts which, for important reasons, cannot be revealed at the time.
Let me take David Healy as an example. Healy's agent voted against the CVA. Healy had one year left on his contract which meant he could sign a pre contract in January and walk out next June on a free transfer. Everybody said we should get £3m+ for him but nobody offered it. He was a high earner and his agent wanted him away. Fulham's was the only genuine offer and we got £1m for him plus add-ons. He cost us £750k from nob end plus 20% of any profit. We still owed nob end £200k so of the £1m we actually got £750k net. We have already spent £500k on buying Casper and Hughes.
A year ago Danny Rose refused to go to Chelsea because he "loved Leeds". Last month his agent refused a new contract and Rose walked out. After a lot of haggling we got £750k plus add-ons of £250k. To buy or sell a player (a) he has to want the move (b) the other Club must be willing to do a deal and (c) we must afford him, otherwise we are back in a Ridsdale situation.
One example is of a young promising striker from the South. Free transfer and earning £600 a week. Deal done, except that his agent suddenly demanded £6,000 a week in wages. No deal.
I know it is frustrating sometimes for fans but we do not reveal our plans publicly, it just alerts the opposition.Rest assured, Wisey plans to recruit experienced but mainly younger players who are hungry for success and want to achieve things, not those looking to delay their retirement with no ambition other than to have another pay day.
THE WAY FORWARD
We now have a Club with no debt, the last legacy of the Ridsdale era is behind us.
We still have the consequences of the Krasner, Levi and Morris actions with us. They sold Elland Road for £8m. We have to buy it back at £15m meanwhile paying £1.1m a year in rent.
We have tightly controlled budgets and all the staff know that every penny counts.
We are willing to have discussions with any serious investor who has the Club's best interests at heart, rather than hoping to make a quick buck from the property.
We are preparing plans to develop Elland Road to enable non footballing income to come into the Club to strengthen our buying power on a permanent basis.
We will invest in our scouting and youth policies to continue Leeds' great history of developing home grown players.
The 15 point "sanction" is a scandal and a travesty of justice. We are appealing that decision to the Football Association but meanwhile will get on with the job of strengthening the team and getting back firstly to the Championship and then the Premiership.
Dennis, Gus and myself are here for the long haul. So the mindless minority who do their silly chants had better get used to it.
On a lighter note may I point out that under the Sex Discrimination Act demonstrations that invite men getting their shirts off is only legal if the Ladies do the same!
Finally, thank you all for the tremendous support throughout the difficult time. Fulham, Man City, Derby, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough have all been in our current position, look where they are now.
Marching on Together
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I cannot for the life of me see what rule has been broken let alone what rule has been broken that would lead to us being docked 15 points having already been docked 10 points last season we appear to have incurred a 25 point penalty. And to think that West Ham did not even lose 1 point and are still in the Premiership.
If there was a problem in leaving administration other than through a CVA then the League rules should say that. But they don't they say "except in exceptional circumstances" Obviously there were exceptional circumstances in that the Administrators determined that a CVA was not the best route. We do not have any say in this as I understand it they are just administering the insolvency laws of this country so why have we been docked 15 points? Where in the rules does it say that we have committed an offence let alone that we should be docked 15 points for it? Frankly it stinks!
Before the 15 point deduction I thought we would probably have a long hard fight against relegation given our inability to sign new players, the loss of existing players and the lack of a proper pre season with a full squad. The deduction of 15 points merely confirms this and increases the likelihood that we will be relegated again.
Still at least we have at last been able to sign some players including a goalkeeper. Casper Ankergren, Leon Constantine, Curtis Weston, Matt Heath, David Prutton, Rui Marques, Alan Thompson, Torre Andre Flo and Andy Hughes have all signed or rejoined having been on loan last season.
Of course there is still the question of the court case being taken by Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs which is scheduled for 3rd September. Presumably this could see us back in administration again with a further 10 point deduction.
Perhaps the saddest summary of all that has gone on over the last five years was published in todays Guardian entitled "Fans fight against the dying of the light as Leeds face up to life at a new low". It was all summed up in the following short extract from that article.
Elland Road is empty but for a handful of fans at the ticket office. Tony Doran is Leeds from top to bottom - Bremner shirt, Leeds tattoo on arm and shoulder, Leeds wallet, Leeds glasses case, Leeds earring. He wants to know what's happening with his season ticket. "I paid by credit card and the card's not gone through yet." At the club pub, Billy's Bar, and the souvenir shop only cash is accepted. The credit card companies are refusing to accept credit from Leeds.
What's the feeling like in the city? "Not good," he says. "We've never
been this low before. We'll be lucky to get 15,000 next season."
Doran is with his niece. I ask her if she has noticed a change in him.
"Yeah. He's not had a smile on his face for a year."
As the photographer takes his picture, a security man emerges and asks
what we are doing here. I'm talking to fans, I say. He makes a call to the
press officer, and says I have to leave.
"Can I speak to the press officer?"
"No, he won't talk to you. You have to leave. This is private property."
I feel angry, as Doran does. He has spent tens of thousands of pounds on his club over the years, and he would like to have his photograph taken inside Elland Road, but the club won't allow it. "Disgusting. They treat us like scum," he says.
That is what we end up with at the end of all this. Fans who feel they have been treated with disdain by the club, the chairman, the Football League and the administrators. Gates that are falling as the club tries to charge Premiership prices for Championship relegation football. A club that cannot tell them what has happened to their season ticket money and whether or not they will have a ticket for games this season. A club shop that will not take credit cards because nobody wants to deal with them. A club where the Press Officer will not even talk to a journalist who actually wrote a very sympathetic article and a club where a life long fan was turned away from providing the photo for the self same article!
Friday, August 03, 2007
Meanwhile according to the Daily Telegraph the Taxman's demands are deepening Leeds crisis. David Hartnett an official at HM Revenue and Customs has insisted that Leeds must pay the £7.7 million owed in tax and has also demanded that Bates must reveal the identity of the mysterious backers behind his new bid for the club. KPMG have stated that if HM Revenue and Customs demand full payment of their debt then any attempt to obtain a new CVA would fail. Added to which of course "Leeds' biggest creditor, Astor, whose owners are unknown as the company is registered in the British Virgin Islands, have indicated that they will only back Bates' bid."
Saturday, July 28, 2007
1. Why did Leeds collapse into insolvency and administration in the first place, with debts of £35.5m, given that Ken Bates, and his solicitor and fellow Leeds United director Mark Taylor, had said during 2006-07 that the club would be in a dramatically better financial position once the season was over and the contracts of high-earning players would come to an end?
Sunday, July 22, 2007
The fans are understandably frustrated at this latest twist in a saga which has frankly been running for five years. We are now waiting for the outcome of talks which are supposed to be taking place between the PFA, The Football League, KPMG and Leeds United. This is no doubt further complicated by the fact that Leeds United appears to currently go under two incarnations at present one the old club that went into administration and appears to hold the players registrations and the other Leeds United 2007 which claims to have bought the club through the administrators.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Inside the house as the washing machine and freezer start to drown
The garden floats away
View from the front door
The adjacent railway line - hence all the problems between Reading and Newbury on Friday. Still only two rooms still have water above the floorboards (all the rooms still have plenty of water below the floorboards). The power is mostly ok and I have finally got an intenet connection. The insurers have been contacted and seem very efficient but I suspect the building work will take a very long time.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
A giant doughnut-brandishing Homer Simpson has been painted onto the hillside above Cerne Abbas next to the giant. Apparently this is a publicity stunt to promote the Simpsons movie which is due to be released later this month.
Either the people who did this got permission in which case I would suggest that whoever granted permission should take a step back and think about how best to protect our heritage or they did not in which case they need to be caught and prosecuted.
The Cerne Abbas giant is a hill figure of a giant naked man on a hillside near the village of Cerne Abbas to the north of Dorchester in Dorset, England. The 55 metre (180 feet) high, 51 metres (167 feet) wide figure is carved into the side of a steep hill and is best viewed from the opposite side of the valley or from the air. The carving is formed by a trench 30cm (1 foot) wide and about the same depth which has been cut through the grass and earth into the underlying chalk. In his right hand the giant holds a knobbed club 36.5 metres (120 feet) long.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The best rumour so far is that another consortium has put a bid in for Leeds and have promised to pay off all debts thereby removing the possibility of legal action and have also promised funds for the day to day running of the club. The suggestion is that they will provide £20m and an announcement will be made (possibly tomorrow) once KPMG has proof of funds. If so you heard it here first!!
Exits nerves shattered clutching straw firmly.
Monday, July 09, 2007
There are also rumours that Redbus might link up with the consortium led by Simon Morris to make a joint bid.
Another potential bidder to resurface is the former Hull City owners Peter Wilkinson and Adam Pearson ( a former Leeds United commercial director). They have disposed of their interest in Hull so might be interested in bidding for Leeds.
Ken Bates has resubmitted his original offer and is apparently threatening legal action if he is not in charge of the club at 5pm today. He was quoted as saying "Our bid is the original deal that was done in the meeting of creditors when we placed the Company Voluntary Agreement on June 1. We believe in fact our offer is valid. Therefore it should be the only one to be accepted. So there's a problem and a possibility that if the administrator goes down another route then there could be further legal battles."
Looks as if we are damned either way.
Either we are doomed to continue with Ken Bates under UK insolvency laws which clearly need a long hard look at and some reform or alternatively we face the possibility of a new consortium taking charge and having its hands tied whilst legal action continues in the courts.
Either way the chances of having a proper squad assembled and fit and ready for day one of the season have already gone by the board. I fully expect us to continue to struggle in League One at least initially and if things carry on in this manner off the pitch then a long hard relegation battle is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
The new 309 article charter limits the prime minister's term to eight years and makes it easier to launch impeachment proceedings. It will also prevent the Prime Minister from holding major stakes in media companies and extends financial disclosure rules to the entire Cabinet and Parliament.
Parliament itself will be slightly smaller. Seats in the House of Representatives are reduced from 500 to 480 and in the Senate from 200 to 150. However nearly half of the senate members will be appointed by a special committee rather than being elected!
The government appears to be threatening that there will be no elections unless the referendum approves the constitution (logical I guess). According to The Nation the Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas said "The general election can take place only if the new constitution passes the referendum, otherwise political turmoil will never end."
Friday, June 15, 2007
Now Lib Dem MP Phil Willis has laid down an early day motion in the House of Commons which according to yesterdays Guardian "urges law-enforcement agencies to mount inquiries, calls for greater transparency in the ownership of football clubs and urges HM Revenue and Customs to challenge in court the conduct of the administrators of Leeds United."
Meanwhile according to the Guardian sportsblog "aggrieved creditors have 28 days to challenge a company voluntary arrangement which settles an administration, and several creditors of Leeds United are understood to be taking legal advice about whether to do so. Several avenues are being investigated, one of which is to contest the FA and League's football creditors policy, which requires all money owed to those in the game, including players and other clubs, to be paid in full, while at Leeds the other creditors, which include schools, hospitals, the police, ambulance service and St John Ambulance, are to be paid just 1p in the pound."
Leeds also escaped a potential 10 point deduction by going into administration before the final game of the season when it had become clear that they were almost certainly relegated in any case. The Football League has closed that particular loophole. From next season any club that goes into administration after the fourth Thursday in March will have their 10 point deduction suspended. If they are subsequently relegated then the points will be deducted from the start of next season. If they stay up then the 10 points will be taken off their final total for the current season as a consequence of which they may then be relegated.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It would appear from this report here that this action may have an impact on the proposed takeover of Manchester City. Thaksin's people were supposed to be performing due diligence on the proposed takeover but now Man City are asking questions about the impact of his assets in Thailand being frozen.
Now the military government have stated that Thaksin Shinawatra is free to return to Thailand in order to pursue a legal challenge against the freezing of his assets. Indeed the current Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said that he would personally guarantee Thaksin Shinawatra's safety if he did return to Thailand. Apparently he has been given sixty days in which to return and make a legal challenge for the return of his assets
This is an interesting development. He has been banned from all political activity for five years and his political party Thai Rak Thai has been dissolved. Until now the line taken by the military government is that they do not want him to return until after elections (originally scheduled for October) which are supposedly going to take place in December.
Now the government appears to be backing Thaksin Shinawatra into a corner – effectively forcing him to return to reclaim his assets. There are already demonstrations against the military government in general and the dissolution of Thai Rak Thai in particular. Thaksin’s presence in the country would seem to be likely to add to such demonstrations and increase the potential for serious civil disorder.
Being cynical one might think that the military government would have encouraged him to withdraw his assets from Thailand and then claimed this as evidence of “guilt”. Maybe they attempted to do this and he refused to be drawn into acting in this way.
Either way one has to conclude that the military government is deliberately attempting to bring matters to a head. Sadly I suspect that this means that the government feels that it now has sufficient control over the military units to ensure that it can crack down hard on demonstrations if it feels the need to do so!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Obviously this will not include Thai Rak Thai which has been dissolved by order of the Constitutional Tribunal.
However, according to the Bangkok Post this is only a partial lifting of the restrictions stating that "the cabinet agreed to partially lift the Council for Democratic Reform's Announcement No 15 and allow political parties to be meet and act, with immediate effect"
This addresses section 1 of Announcement number 15. However it does not address the issue of the setting up and registration of new political parties (section 2 of Announcement number 15) and given the dissolution of Thai Rak Thai there is likely to be significant demand for at least one new party. Apparently this will be addressed by the Council of State who are to look at a a bill to "modify section 2 of the announcement". The critical word here would seem to be modify. If there were to be no ban on new political parties then section 2 could just be lifted and the implication of the need to modify it is that this is not to be the case!
Monday, June 04, 2007
At the creditors meeting there were 6 bids in total 5 from UK bidders and one from the USA.
However two of the creditors (Astor Group and Krato Trust) would only support the Bates bid and held enough votes to defeat any other bid. Neither the administrators nor the solicitors know the identities of the beneficial owners of the Astor Group. Apparently Astor loaned the club £12.1m less than a couple of months ago shortly after they had served a final demand for £5m. This increased the debt and (coincidentally) increased their share in the voting process to such an extent that they would be in a position to dictate the eventual outcome
One of the bids would have returned 18p in the £ to creditors and yet a deal which returned only 1p in the £ was pushed through by groups which (allegedly) have no links to Bates!!
The law needs reforming so that the administrators make the decision about what represents the best deal for the creditors. It looks as if the system has been abused here and a lot of creditors are considerably worse off as a result.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The Constitutional Tribunal has banned Thaksin Shinawatra and 110 other Thai Rak Thai officials from political office for five years. They have also ordered the party to be dissolved after it was found guilty of violating electoral laws. Apparently thousands of troops are on the streets of Bangkok in case of unrest and one former Thai Rak Thai deputy had threatened to mobilise thousands of protesters.
The caretaker leader of Thai Rak Thai Chaturon Chaisang said last night that the verdict was "highly unexpected", and expressed his worry over "setbacks" towards the development of democracy in Thailand. He called upon the party's 14 million supporters to respect the verdicts, and not protest.
However, according to The Nation he then vowed to fight on and said that "the verdicts proved that he who controlled the state power could make anything right". He said "the public would not accept the verdicts". "This is not acceptable. The country is now ruled under dictatorship."
According to the report in The Nation he continued his verbal attacks before his speech was take over by a newscaster!!
State censorship will not solve this problem. Even if Thai Rak Thai is successfully and peacefully disbanded the ideas that were central to the philosophy of Thai Rak Thai will find a home in another (probably new) party and I suspect that this is the real problem which will not go away when and if further elections are held.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
- She is the most famous ship in the world
- She is the epitome of the great age of sail
- She is the only surviving extreme clipper, and the only tea clipper still in existence.
- Most of her hull fabric survives from her original construction and she is the best example of a merchant composite construction vessel.
- She has captured the imagination of millions of people, 15 million of whom have come on board to learn the stories she has to tell.
- She was preserved in Greenwich partly as a memorial to the men of the merchant navy, particularly those who lost their lives in the world wars.
- She is one of the great sights of London.
Statement of Significance
- She is the world’s sole surviving extreme clipper, a type of vessel that was the highest development of the fast commercial sailing ship, with the majority of her hull fabric surviving from her original construction.
- She is internationally appreciated for her beauty and is one of the most famous ships in the world.
- Her fine lines – a considerable part of her appeal – are defined by her frames which form part of the vessel’s composite construction; a construction technique of which she is the best surviving example and of which she is of exceptional quality.
- She has captured the imagination of millions of people, 15 million of whom have come on board to learn the stories she has to tell.
- She is a gateway to the World Heritage Site at Greenwich and is a key asset to both the World Heritage Site and the Borough of Greenwich.
- As a tea clipper, she is tangible evidence of the importance of tea in 19th century trade and cultural life.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
The local election results were not good across the country although undoubtedly they varied a lot from area to area. Some areas posted good or steady results whilst other lost ground.
I have been helping in West Berkshire and Portsmouth. The results in West Berkshire were disappointing although we retained control of both Newbury and Thatcham Town Councils. Better news in Portsmouth where we gained one and lost one and where our leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson held his seat after a very strong and determined effort by the Tories to oust him.
If a week is a long time in politics then a week is a very long time in Football - particularly if you are a Leeds fan. Just over a week ago Leeds were 1-0 up against Ipswich and heading towards 48 points and the possibility of today's game against Derby being a meaningful encounter. Then Ipswich equalised and a pitch invasion and FA investigation followed.
In the immediate aftermath it became obvious that we were effectively relegated to league one baring some form of miracle today. Last Monday Ken Bates told Yorkshire Radio that support shown for Leeds over the last 48 hours was "beyond my wildest expectations". By Friday Leeds had called in the administrators, suffered a ten point reduction and been formally relegated to League One.
Meanwhile there is a rumour a minute as to what the future of the club will be in terms of new owners. Apparently Mr Bates wants to buy the club back from the administrators and has set up a new company called something like Leeds United 2007 for the express purpose of doing so! I am not sure where the fit and proper person test fits into all of this but perhaps it should!
Apparently Gary Kelly and an Irish consortium are interested in purchasing the club. So are some Russians. Oh and some Americans as well. And a consortium headed up by Duncan Revie the son of the former Leeds United manager Don Revie. Also according to the BBC The Leeds United's Supporters Trust says it is in a position to make a proposal to buy the club. These are just the rumours I have heard and doubtless there are many more to come
The only positive point to emerge from this whole debacle is the fact that at least the ten point deduction applied to the current season and not the next one.
I suspect that we are in for a long summer whilst the long suffering fans wait for a whole host of issues to be resolved. Even if we have new owners we have no clue as to who the manager will be and which players will be leaving and which players will be arriving. Either way I expect wholesale changes to the team before we begin life in League One
Monday, April 30, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Apparently she "decided that enough was enough recently when her grandson came home from school after a citizenship lesson and said that he was learning about other religions."
I guess I always thought that that was what schools were for - education about things that our kids would not know about otherwise.
I tried to follow her line of reasoning to its logical conclusion.
Languages - French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin will no longer be on the syllabus - English only please.
History - well ok providing it is only British history
Geography - ditto
Politics - ditto
Art - ditto
Home Economics might survive I guess just so long as there are no foreign foods or recipes on the Food and Nutrition part!
I assume that Maths, IT, the Sciences and Design Technology would survive, but Latin and Greek and their associated history will I assume be just that - History
Saturday, April 14, 2007
That news was immediately followed by speculation that Fulhams new manager Lawrie Sanchez has put David Healy at the top of his list of transfer targets after the job he has done for him in the Northern Ireland team. If we stay up I hope that we manage to keep him and learn how to make the best use of his undoubted skills. If we go down then I am sure he will depart and it is just a question of how large a fee we can get for him.
Friday, April 13, 2007
A couple of weeks ago the Royal Bank of Scotland threatened its staff with disciplinary action if they did not have their primary bank account with the Royal Bank of Scotland. I followed this up with my local branch who had not heard the story and attempted valiantly to get me a response from their headquarters. The kept me in touch and promised a written response from their headquarters. Sadly to date I have not received any communication explaining their position. Two fingers to me I guess my accounts and business are not worth keeping!
So should I move my account elsewhere?
Well I am seriously considering it despite the inconvenience involved but I won't be going to HSBC. According to yesterdays Guardian one of their branches has now decided that only customers with £50,000 or more in savings, a hefty mortgage or a salary of at least £75,000 are to be allowed to talk to staff. If you do not meet this criteria and want to be served personally or make an inquiry then you will have to go to another branch.
Banks seem to have lost the concept of customer service and perhaps they are also losing site of one of the basic economic equations involved in Banking. There are some who have money and leave it in the bank, there are some who need money and borrow it from the bank, the difference between the two interest rates covers the banks costs and provides its profit!