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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 09:39 GMT
Thoughts of chairman Ken
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Ken Bates' return to football at Leeds United will send shivers through those who suffered the sharp edge of his tongue in 22 years as Chelsea chairman.

Bates has been entertaining, infuriating, controversial, successful - and never, ever dull.

Never short of an opinion, Bates studiously avoided cliched soundbites to brighten up football's landscape with some of the classic quotes of the modern era.

Cuddly Ken verbally tormented those who

crossed him brilliantly. Now get ready for more trademark taunts at Ellland Road...


"Take Ruud Gullit. I didn't like his arrogance. In fact, I never liked him. But while he was delivering the goods, there was no problem. When he lost the plot he had to go."

"I parted on good terms with Luca Vialli. As he left the room and I led him to the door, we departed with the usual Italian formalities of a bear hug and a kiss."

"It takes one to know one. I'm surprised Martin O'Neill actually knows a word as big as cretin."

Chris Sutton
Sutton was "a disaster"
"I'm delighted for Claudio Ranieri that we beat Fulham in the FA Cup semi-final, as if we'd lost yesterday, it would have been a pity to sack him just after he'd signed a new contract!"

"Managers who criticise referees should be banned from the touchline and if they can't control their players they should be suspended themselves."

"I'm not being funny but some of the home-grown kids don't know what it's like in the real world and don't realise how great Chelsea Football Club is."

"I'm not reading them bedtime stories any more."

"There is no escaping the fact Chris Sutton was a disaster. His attitude wasn't right towards the end. He wasn't good for Chelsea."

"Makelele? Who does he play for? I've only ever heard of his brother, Ukelele."

"I got calls from Italy last summer and one agent offered me Gabriel Batistuta. He told me 'Batistuta wants to come to Chelsea'. I said 'I'm sure he does, but we've stopped signing pensioners'."

"Everybody wants to speak to me now I've got money."


"Even Jesus Christ only had one Pontius Pilate - I had a whole team of them."
On standing down from the Wembley National Stadium Board

"I put in 70 hours a week and quite honestly Chelsea could not pay me what I'm worth."

"We needed someone with bigger pockets than I have got."

"The king is dead. Well he's retired anyway."


"At first they were a shambles. Now they have descended via farce to make them a laughing stock. It has come to a pretty pass when Fifa criticise our performance."

"They remind me of New Labour spin-doctors, which I'm sure in one or two cases they'd quite like to be. Let them put a name to their quotes if that's what they think of me. They won't because they're cowards."

Bates on FANS

"Poverty among fans is grossly exaggerated when you see what they spend elsewhere. A small minority are poor and can't afford it."

"Just what makes them [corporate hospitality clients] any different from the fan who meets his mates around the corner from the ground, eats pie and chips at a local restaurant, washed down by a bottle of wine or a few pints and then walks to the ground?"

"All those toilet rolls coming on from Besiktas fans was orchestrated. They wanted to get the kick-off delayed so they would know what the other result was before our game finished. I said to Roman Abramovich, 'if you fancy making another billion, go and open another toilet factory in Turkey'."


"Has any chairman since Mao had more faith in his own opinions than Ken Bates? If laying down the law was an Olympic sport the Chelsea chief would be staggering under the weight of gold medals."
Sir Alex Ferguson

"A footballing cretin."
Then Leicester boss Martin O'Neill

"First he was Julius Caesar, then he was Jesus Christ, now he appears to be Mahatma Gandhi."
Former Sports Minister Kate Hoey's spokesman

"Mr. Bates said 'if Phil Collins wants to come in for a drink, he'll have to buy the club'. So, like, if I could have connected, I would have done."
Former Genesis drummer Phil Collins on wanting to exact justice on Bates

"Ken likes a grandstand and he will go out with a bang. Remember this. Without Ken Bates there wouldn't have been a Chelsea remotely attractive to Roman Abramovich."
Former Sports Minister Tony Banks

"I hope his nose is out of joint. He certainly put my nose out and he wasn't a nice man at times - but he has left the club healthier than he found it."
Former Chelsea star Peter Osgood

"Ken Bates does not know the meaning of gratitude. He is arrogant and has made a mistake."
Former Chelsea player Pierluigi Casiraghi

Interview: Ex-Leeds United chairman Gerald Krasner

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