Leeds United ditches Beattie to take PR in-house

The new board of Leeds United Football Club has signalled its intentions to play its cards closer to its chest by ceasing to work with PR firm Beattie Communications.

Beattie's contract with Leeds expires at the end of the month, after which all of its PR will be handled in-house by press officer Don Warters.

The decision follows Chelsea chairman Ken Bates' purchase of a 50 per cent stake in the club that led to the creation of a new board, chaired by Bates.

'Beattie was responsible for putting out any statements that the previous board wanted to make. But we now have a different chairman and the new board is not going to be putting out nearly as many statements,' said Warters.

Warters has worked for the club since 1999. He is a former football correspondent at the Yorkshire Evening Post and authored Inside Leeds United: The Story of the Millennium Season, which was published in 2000.

Beattie was hired last year by Adulant Force, the consortium led by Gerald Krasner, which saved the club as it stood on the brink of administration with debts of more than £103m (PRWeek, 2 April 2004).

Leeds became a private company when it was sold to Adulant, but the need to reassure fans about the long-term future of the club led its then-chairman Krasner to hire Beattie on a consumer media relations brief. Beattie managed the club's press meeting and fan forums.

During Krasner's time as chairman, Leeds' debt was reduced from £103m to less than £25m. However, the club has been relegated from the Premiership to the second tier Championship and was forced to sell several star players and its Elland Road stadium.

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