Thursday, 13 January 2011

Bates cash pledge

Leeds United chairman Ken Bates expects the club's FA Cup ties with Arsenal to seriously strengthen their financial position after revealing that he budgeted for negligible income from the competition this season.
United are preparing for a second televised fixture in the space of 11 days after taking Arsenal to a third-round replay, and Bates confirmed that the revenue would be used in part to support Simon Grayson's attempts to strengthen his first-team squad.
Leeds are believed to have earned in excess of £500,000 for last Saturday's initial tie at the Emirates Stadium – a match which pulled in a broadcast fee of £144,000 – and Wednesday's replay at Elland Road will generate £72,000 in television money alone after ITV opted to cover the game for a second time.
The club have already sold 27,000 tickets for the replay and the crowd is likely to edge towards a capacity attendance for the first time since this season
Bates admitted the financial strategy at Leeds had been based on the assumption that United would fall at the FA Cup's first hurdle after drawing a low-profile tie away from home, and he said the money pulled in from two battles with Arsenal would significantly benefit the club "on and off the field."

"It will be (a big financial boost)," said Bates. "In our budget we always assume we'll be drawn away for both the Carling Cup and FA Cup, knocked out in the first round and have no TV. We assume very little income.

"The money we're getting from the Arsenal games will go straight into our coffers and help us continue to improve the club, on and off the field. We weren't expecting anything at the Emirates and I told Simon to tell the players to go out, give a good account of themselves and don't worry about a thing."

Leeds made their first high-profile signing of the January transfer window last week when they landed Andy O'Brien on a two-and-a-half year contract from Bolton Wanderers, matching an offer from Cardiff City to secure a player who had been on loan at Elland Road since October.

Grayson is planning other arrivals before the end of the month, with a new central midfielder among his priorities, and Bates said: "Simon has my full support if and when he decides who he wants. Obviously we don't have a bottomless pit. We're not in debt and we don't intend to be so we're going to be conservative.
"But there are good players out there and if Simon decides he wants to bring them in then watch this space."

Howard Webb,referee and Manchester United supporter?


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