The Ken Bates School of Contract Negotiations

by Moscowhite • Daniel Chapman,

Andy O’Brien has given us an insight into the Ken Bates school of contract negotiations:

“I did all the dealings myself,” he said. “I spoke to Ken Bates by myself and did all the negotiations.

“The meeting with Mr Bates is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It was a bit like when I signed my first contract at Bradford with (then City chairman) Geoffrey Richmond. That was entertaining as well.

“My dad came in with me initially and he’s a big bloke of around 20 stone. The chairman’s first words were ‘we’ll sign the fat one instead.’ My dad replied that he’d been on a diet for six weeks, to which Mr Bates said ‘that’s not effing working, is it?’

“My dad’s quite quick-witted and said ‘well I don’t know what your excuse is!’ It went on from there. The great thing is I lived to tell the tale.”

This seems a chancy way to conduct negotiations – if on a certain occasion your particular sense of humour doesn’t work across the table, you could be stuffed.

BRADLEY JOHNSON: Mr Chairman, I’d like to have another talk about my contract.
KEN BATES: Haha, that beard of yours looks fucking stupid!
BRADLEY JOHNSON: [Slams door] GWYN WILLIAMS: [Slams head on desk]

LUCIANO BECCHIO: Chairman, I fugging unbellivubel contract, for sure.
KEN BATES: Haha, are you going to ask for the Falklands back, Pedro?
LUCIANO BECCHIO: [Slams door] GWYN WILLIAMS: [Slams head on desk]

NEIL KILKENNY: Mr Chairman, I’d like to have another talk about my contract.
KEN BATES: Well Neil, that seems reasonable. We agreed a wage, didn’t we?
NEIL KILKENNY: Yes Mr Chairman, it was satisfactory to both of us. I just need to sign on the dotted line.
GWYN WILLIAMS: Phew.
KEN BATES: Excellent! Simon will be pleased. Say, is that a hint of an accent I can hear?
GWYN WILLIAMS: Er, Mr Chairman – um, Neil, here, use my pen –
NEIL KILKENNY: Why, yes Mr Chairman, I’m Australian.
KEN BATES: Haha! Granddad go over on a convict boat, did he?
NEIL KILKENNY: [Slams door] GWYN WILLIAMS: [Slams head on desk]

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Originally on The Square Ball blog