Bates' blast for Harding

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Ken Bates, the Chelsea chairman, yesterday spelt out the terms if Matthew Harding is to take over the club. "There are 36 million unissued shares as of today, and a banker's draft for pounds 18m would do nicely," Bates said.

Harding resigned on Monday as a director of Chelsea Village, the company which owns the club, but he has maintained his seat on the board at Stamford Bridge.

His resignation was accepted by Bates, who then released letters between the parties regarding the club's future. Bates is angry about Harding's apparent lack of enthusiasm for his plans.

Asked if he was optimistic about getting a response to his plans, Bates replied: "Put it like this, it has taken a year not to get one. All we have is fluff on the cappuccino.

"Harding should put up or shut up. It is as simple as that. If he wants to start taking over the club, then he should start buying some shares."

Bates first sent a letter by recorded delivery to Harding on 19 October outlining his plans. Harding responded on 2 November, asking to be allowed to stand down from the board.

That prompted Bates to reply on 4 November, when he told Harding: "I have flagged up my thoughts and strategy to you often enough. Surely after nearly a year the Board is entitled to a detailed, measured response."