Elland Road troubles not just down to my Leeds tenure, claims Ridsdale

FORMER Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale has hit out at successor Ken Bates for branding him the cause of the club’s financial problems.

Ridsdale was in charge at Elland Road for five years from 1998 before leaving as the club’s debts spiralled out of control – eventually peaking at more than £100m.

Bates took over in January, 2005, after the previous board, led by Gerald Krasner, had been unable to stem the tide of financial losses following United’s relegation from the Premier League.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Two-and-a-half years later, Leeds were placed in administration.

Speaking yesterday at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, the former Leeds chairman said: “It is a useful excuse but one that ought to be examined more carefully.

“Leeds went into administration four years after I left and I do not believe it was anything substantial to do with my tenure at Leeds United.

“Everyone seems to forget that I left in 2003 and there were three other chairmen before Ken Bates took over in 2005, and they never get mentioned.

“The suggestion that he inherited a mess and that it was all my fault appears almost more regularly in the club programme than the residents of Leeds.”

The collapse of United, who since coming out of administration in 2007 have posted a profit in each financial year, is often held up as a salutary lesson to other clubs as to the perils of over-spending.

Ridsdale, speaking yesterday at an event called ‘The Fine Line Between Success and Failure’, added: “Had Leeds retained their Premier League status, its debt would have been manageable and would not have caused a problem.

“One of the lessons I learned at Leeds and put into practice at Cardiff is that we were so impressed with our own success that we allowed (too much) spending.

“We brought players in and agreed that players would go out and they never did. For example the manager (David O’Leary) wanted Robbie Fowler and the deal was Robbie Keane would go out but that didn’t happen.

“We perhaps signed a couple of players too far.”