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FOOTBALL: Lorimer: Get behind Ken.

Byline: JOHN WRAY

PETER Lorimer wants Leeds fans to end their traditional hatred of Chelsea and back Ken Bates's new Elland Road regime.

Some supporters used phone-ins to slam Bates's Chelsea links and lash Gerald Krasner's board for snubbing a Leeds-based consortium led by businessman Norman Stubbs.

But Lorimer, the only member of Krasner's board still a director under Bates, pleaded for fans to unite behind the ex-Chelsea owner. And he is backing boss Kevin Blackwell to win over Bates and keep his job.

Lorimer said: "The rivalry with Chelsea dates back nearly 35 years to the FA Cup Final when they beat us. It's no good saying Chelsea and Leeds are enemies. We've gone a long way down the road since.

"After talking to Ken Bates I know how sincere he is in wanting to take Leeds back to the top. He sees it as his last challenge in football."

But Simon Jose, of the Leeds Independent Supporters Association, said: "There is a myth that if Bates hadn't taken over, Leeds would have gone into administration.

"There was another offer on the table from the Norman Stubbs consortium - and they are true Leeds fans. The board panicked by taking Bates's pounds 10m offer. I am worried, but let's judge him on his actions."

Bates has pledged to give Blackwell a chance but Dennis Wise or Gordon Strachan are already being tipped to move in if Blackwell fails.

Lorimer added: "Kevin's qualifications are second to none. That's why he got the job and I believe he can take the club forward."

Leeds skipper Paul Butler said of Blackwell: "He's done a fantastic job and deserves to carry on. All the players want him to stay."

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APPEAL: Leeds legend Lorimer
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2005
Words:291
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