Bates took charge of Leeds United in 2005, remaining as the principal owner and chairman until November 2012, until the club came into the possession of GFH Capital.
GFH then sold the club to Massimo Cellino earlier this year, and the Italian businessman has done much to create a brighter future at Elland Road, signing a number of highly promising talents, as well as confirming that he is planning on buying back the ownership rights to the Whites stadium using the large fee received for the sale of Ross McCormack.
He struggled at the start of the season with the appointment of now-departed head coach Dave Hockaday, but, having named former Slovenian star Darko Milanic as Hockaday’s successor, there are real hopes that the Whites can finally end their prolonged stay in the second division, and return to the Premier League.
Under Bates, who bought the club as ‘one last challenge’, the Whites suffered relegation to League One, and he failed to achieve the promise to buy back Elland Road, as well as the Thorpe Arch training ground used by the club.
Many were glad to see the back of Bates when he was officially removed from the club in July 2013, with his ties to Whites’ rivals Chelsea, as well as his bad running of the club, drawing negative opinions of the now 82-year-old.
However, one man who believes that Bates worked wonders at Elland Road is former Whites defender Paddy Kisnorbo, who played for Leeds under Bates’s ownership.
Quoted by FourFourTwo, Kisnorbo expressed his disappointment with the current structure of the club, and suggested that Bates would be welcomed back to Elland Road in favour of Cellino.
The current Melbourne City captain said: "I think it is disappointing.
"Leeds - it's one of the biggest clubs in the world for me. Great support base, big club, big fans, great history. And it is disappointing through the current owner who is doing what he is doing.
"In the Championship, I think you need to invest to go up and that's plain and simple.
"I think with this current owner - I don't think he understands the expectation of Leeds fans and what Leeds, as a club, need.
"I don't think it's for the best of the club and for the Leeds fans, which is disappointing. I love Leeds as a club.
"When the old owner was there, Ken Bates, he wore that club on his sleeve. And people were saying how bad it was then.
"I bet you if people could [get] him back, they would. He made that club his own and he treated that club like his own family."
Whilst Kisnorbo believes what he is saying is correct, he seems to have lost touch with the club in recent weeks. Cellino has certainly endeared himself to the Yorkshire club’s faithful, mixing with fans on match days and promising a number of ideals to return the identity of the club to the pinnacle they used to sit atop.
Bates led the club into administration, before buying them back from himself to clear the debt, and it looks unlikely that Cellino will do the same. He has sole ownership of the club, having sold his stake in Italian club Cagliari, and looks to be entirely focused on winning promotion to the Premier League. Kisnorbo has doubts that the Italian has invested enough in the squad to achieve promotion, but he signed a host of players over the summer, both for the present day and for future successes.
Whilst Kisnorbo is free to have his own opinions on the management of Massimo Cellino, it appears unlikely that you would find a Leeds fan who shares his sentiments.
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