Simon Grayson has paid tribute to Ken Bates on the 79-year-old's latest anniversary as Leeds United chairman, saying a lack of interference from boardroom level has been crucial to the success of his own tenure as manager.
Bates completed six years at the helm of the club this week, a reign which began on January 21, 2005, and Grayson said their strong relationship was a fundamental reason for the progress made since his appointment as coach.
Grayson became the fourth full-time manager to work for Bates, pictured left, at Elland Road when he replaced Gary McAllister in late 2008, and the former Blackpool boss is the longest-serving coach under the existing Leeds board after seeing out his second year in the job in December.
Bates' time as chairman has been controversial, marked by disputes over tickets prices at Elland Road and criticism over the investment made in United's playing squad, but the club reached a position of financial profitability after their damaging insolvency in 2007 and won promotion
from League One under Grayson last season.
A second successive promotion is a possibility this season with
Leeds defending fifth place in the Championship at Portsmouth this afternoon, and Grayson credited Bates' support as a factor in the club's healthy league position.
"We've always had a good relationship," Grayson said. "We speak on a daily basis and he doesn't voice his opinion too much. Sometimes he's more critical when we win but he's very supportive when we lose and he lets me get on with it.
"He understands my sense of humour and I understand his. We both get on with the job and that's what we should do. I work hard for the club and for him because he's very committed and he wants us to be successful. I
want to be part of that with him for an awful lot longer.
"We respect each other and we don't get involved in heated arguments. It's always the case that if you don't get on with your chairman then you're on a hiding to nothing. There's only one winner. I respect that but I stand up for myself, my beliefs and the things I need. Everything we do is in the best interests of the football club.
"There'll be one day down the line where he decides to quit or I end up losing my job because that's the nature of football. But I'd class him as a friend as well as a chairman who I'm employed by.