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Jan 8, 2011

Bates hits out at Wenger

Leeds United chairman Ken Bates has taken a swipe at Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger ahead of Saturday's FA Cup showdown at Emirates Stadium - and insisted his club will soon take their rightful place in the top flight once again.

Bates, who effectively rebuilt Chelsea - both as a team and a club - before selling them to Roman Abramovich in 2003, bought a troubled Leeds in 2005, and they now stand just outside the Championship promotion places.

And the outspoken Bates also revealed he no longer cares for London and is happy being based in West Yorkshire - when he's across from his full-time home in Monaco that is.

He even went as far as to call former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho a "cheat" for his laundry basket escapades when banned by UEFA.

Bates revealed that has never had much time for Wenger, though did say he admires Arsenal as a football club, and also made a negative remark about former vice-chairman David Dein.

"Arsenal are an institution, well run, well managed financially, conservatively operated and a great deal of applause goes to all those who run it," said Bates. "They don't go and buy success. They build.

"But I've never been a great fan of Wenger, he moans a lot and never sees anything.

"He's a great manager but the fact of the matter is you have to look at his behaviour at a great, great club. Having said that, the only good thing David Dein did in his life was appoint Wenger.

"Leeds would improve the Premier League gates. We are the third biggest city in the country. There is London, Birmingham, then Leeds. Manchester is fourth not third.

"We have no debts and we pay our bills before they are due. Money doesn't bring you success. Go through the history of football, forgetting the oligarchs and the Bollygarchs. If you've got a guy worth £10,000-a-week and you pay him £3million-a-week, he's still a guy worth £10,000-a-week. He doesn't become a better player.

"If we get in the Premier League and when we play Chelsea, all my lifelong friends I haven't heard from for seven years will be ringing up for tickets, and that will be my greatest enjoyment.

"We'll relish being in the Premier League. And Mr Abramovich will be very welcome in the chairman's suites - providing he's wearing a tie.

"My wife Susannah says she would rather live in Leeds than London. I would agree with her. London is not the London I knew, whereas Leeds and Yorkshire has different values, a proper place, with local pride.

"Whereas London is now so cosmopolitan. Leeds gives me a feeling of belonging.

"In Simon Grayson we have a great manager. He's good for Leeds because he's a Yorkshireman which is very important. He started at Leeds, has gone round the houses and is now back in his spiritual home. That's a great advantage because Yorkshire people like Yorkshire people.

"He knows how to deal with me, with them, and the players. He's quiet, unassuming, and gets on with the job. He struggled at first with me. Now he understands."

Bates also said he expects to see Leeds back in Europe. "Is there any reason why we shouldn't?" he said. "I'll give you the answer I gave when we were fighting at Chelsea years ago - the outcome is undoubted, the timing is uncertain."

Bates also talked about Chelsea and England boss Fabio Capello.

"Chelsea is a different club to the one I left. I was very careful not to criticise the Abramovich regime, I simply said their values are not my values, their methods aren't my methods, their attitudes aren't my attitudes.

"And when Mourinho was there he was a cheat. Can you remember him getting in the laundry basket to overcome a European ban? Leeds is a very different culture to Chelsea. "

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