A look back at Leeds United’s journey into the Primer League after almost two decades of relegation

Football fans hear the words Leeds and Premier, and don’t make an association. Why’s that? Well the last time the love-to-hate Yorkshire club hit the jackpot in the championship was over 17 years ago. And prior to that was 1992…..

The team came out on pitch in their unfamiliar re-branded colours of pink and grey, ready to compete in their final Championship game against Derby County which could edge them into the Premier League.

Not quite sure how non-Leeds fans will respond to their win, with this team being the only team to have a chant made against them…. ‘we all hate Leeds scum’. Known for being some of the most loyal fans in football, after their victory Leeds players came to the window at Elland Road, greeted by thousands of fans cheering on ‘all Leeds are we’ blazing yellow and blue flares up into the sky.

Elland Road is packed with fans after Championship victory

Although a great result for manager Marcelo Bielsa and the club, the journey hasn’t been an easy one.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane of the club’s history before Bielsa powerful takeover…

March 19, 2004 – Leeds United PLC and Leeds United Holdings Ltf are placed in administration following reports of a staggering 103million pounds in debt.

Andrea Radrizzani is Leeds’ fifth owner since the club were relegated from the Premier League in 2004. Leeds announced 16 years ago that their immediate future was safe after Gerald Krasner’s consortium completed a takeover.

Soon after followed the unfortunate relegation from the Preimer League, and years of  financial disaster from former chariman Peter Ridsdale.

May 9, 2004 – Leeds’ 14-year spell in the Premier League is over after a 3-3 home draw against Charlton confirms their relegation.

November 12, 2004 – Manchester-based property developer Jack Adler buys Elland Road after the collapse of Sainsbury’s 25million pound takeover bid.

January 21, 2005 – Ken Bates completes his club takeover, buying a 50 per cent stake through Geneva-based company The Forward Sports
Fund for £10m.

May 4, 2007 – Bates puts the club into administration, forming new company: Forward Sports Fund to buy it back again. Leeds are then relegated to League One after an imposed 10-point deduction for going into administration by The Football League.

July 3, 2007 – The Inland Revenue launches a legal challenge to Bates’ buy-back deal due to £7.7m owed to them in unpaid taxes.

July 11, 2007 – Administrators KPMG announce the sale of Leeds to Bates’ consortium.

August 3, 2007 –Leeds gain confirmation from The Football League of their return to League One next season.

May 8, 2010 –Leeds beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 leading to promotion back to the Championship.

May 3, 2011 – Bates becomes Leeds’ major shareholder in a move that ends the mystery over the club’s ownership, buying out FSF Limited through his company Outro Limited.

December 21, 2012 – Dubai-based investment company GFH Capital completes a protracted £52m club takeover, buying a 100 per cent stake in the club.

February 1, 2014 – GFH Capital announces it has agreed to sell a 75 per cent stake in the club to Italian Massimo Cellino, subject to Football League approval.

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April 5, 2014 – An independent QC overturns the Football League’s decision to disqualify Cellino due to a tax conviction and the Italian completes his club takeover.

May 30, 2014 – Manager Brian McDermott, departs the club by mutual consent.

December 1, 2014 – Italian court confirms Cellino’s involvement in tax evasion, and is disqualified by The Football League for three months.

March 5, 2015 – Cellino’s ban is extended from March until end of the 2014/15 season.

May 8, 2015 – Cellino returns to Elland Road.

October 19, 2015 – The Football League announces Cellino is disqualified following another tax conviction.

November 4, 2015 – Cellino reneges on his decision to sell the club to fans’ group Leeds Fans United.

December 7, 2016 – As reports emerge that Cellino is to be banned by the FA for breaching its agent regulations over the sale of Ross McCormack, the Italian releases a statement saying he intends to appeal.

December 8, 2016 – The FA confirms it has banned Cellino for 18 months, effective of February 1, 2017, and fined both him and Leeds £250,000.

January 4, 2017 – Cellino sells a 50 per cent stake in the club to Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani.

May 24, 2017 – Radrizzani takes full control of Leeds after buying the remaining 50 per cent of shares held by Cellino.

June 29, 2017 – Elland Road returns to Leeds’ ownership for the first time in 13
years after Radrizzani completes a deal to purchase the ground.

June 15, 2018 – Former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa signs a two-year deal to become the highest-paid manager in the club’s history.

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That result at Elland Road this season meant it was only a matter of time before their Premier League place was sealed but after 16 years of instability and near misses, no-one associated with the club could rest easy until it was official.

Following West Brom’s lost to Huddersfield, and Brentford’s defeat by Stoke made Leeds title-winners, the outpouring of emotion of the pitch was undoubtedly huge.

It meant an end to Mateusz Klich’s 92-game streak of Championship starts and a first league game out of the side since December 2018 for Jack Harrison, as defensive midfielder Pascal Struijk and winger Poveda made their full debuts.

That, coupled with lengthy first-half stoppages for injuries to Derby’s Tom Lawrence and Leeds’ Gaetano Berardi, resulted in a sometimes disjointed game, but the Yorkshire club still had the better of things throughout and were good value for their victory.

Leeds certainly has a colourful history to say the least, leading to a slow and steady winning of the race which has ultimate paid off for the club.

Will Leeds thrive in the Premier League, or see a quick turn around to another relegation?


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