Leeds United PROMOTED to the Premier League after 16 years of financial turmoil, manager merry-go-rounds and heartbreaking near-misses as West Brom’s 2-1 defeat against Huddersfield confirms Marcelo Bielsa’s side are back in the big time
- Leeds are in the Premier League after West Brom’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield
- It has been 16 long years for fans at Elland Road but they’re back to the big time
- Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites have played some scintillating football this season
- After last season’s play-off heartbreak and years of hurt the wait is over for them
It has been a 16-year long and often turbulent wait for the club but now they are in the Premier League once more.
Leeds’ slender 1-0 win over Barnsley on Thursday forced the second-placed Baggies to have to pick up three points and their 2-1 loss at Huddersfield means the Elland Road side will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Liverpool and old rivals Manchester United next season.
Leeds United are promoted to the Premier League after 16 painful years in the Football League
The club have played some incredible football this term as they raced to the top of the league
West Brom had to beat Huddersfield but fell to a shock 2-1 defeat against the Terriers
As soon as West Brom’s result was confirmed, Leeds were quick to express their joy at returning to the top flight as they tweeted a poster to celebrate their promotion, writing: ‘We are back!’
The celebrations have already broken out across the city after fans discovered their 16 years of pain was over – despite pleas from the club for supporters to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But after waiting so long for this moment, the Leeds faithful had no intention of staying indoors as groups arrived outside Elland Road with blue and yellow flares and waving flags and scarfs and singing to their hearts’ content.
Leeds fans were jubilant after their promotion to the Premier League was finally confirmed
Supporters arrived outside Elland Road waving flags and scarves and singing chants
Blue and yellow flares were released into the air as the party got underway in Leeds
Leeds had been in the English top flight for 14 years when they capitulated and went down in the 2003-04 season.
Their demise was in the wake of the club’s financial crisis and came just three years after they’d reached the Champions League semi-finals.
Debts mounted and even reached the £100million mark, Peter Reid was sacked as manager and Eddie Gray was unable to spark a turnaround.
Leeds suffered relegation from the Premier League in the 2003-04 season 16 years ago
Kevin Blackwell came in but there would be further heartbreak as the Whites suffered defeat in the play-off final at Wembley.
The club then plummeted further down, entering administration in 2007 and confirming their relegation to League 1.
It wasn’t until 2009-10 that Leeds clawed their way back into the Championship. Simon Grayson, Neil Warnock, Brian McDermott all had turns at the helm with chaos behind the scenes under the latter’s tenure as Massimo Cellino’s bid to own the club was initially denied and then overturned on appeal.
Gary McAllister consoles Tresor Kandol after Leeds lost the League 1 playoff final
Massimo Cellino’s spell in charge of the club brought about managerial instability
Dave Hockaday, Darko Milanic, Neil Redfern, Uwe Rosler, Steve Evans and Garry Monk all came and went as Cellino brought incredible instability to the club.
Then came some stability in 2017 as current owner Andrea Radrizzani took full ownership from his Italian compatriot.
In June 2018 came the major coup of capturing one of football’s most revered coaches in Marcelo Bielsa.
Last season, the Argentine’s first in charge, ended in the play-offs and they lost 4-3 on aggregate against Derby in the semi-finals.
This season has been a different story and the Leeds rollercoaster ride is on an upward trajectory once again.
Marcelo Bielsa’s appointment was a huge coup and he has led Leeds back to the big time
Bielsa has steered the team magnificently despite struggling with no out-and-out scoring threat up front at times but the quality and style of play has remained easy on the eye.
Next season it will be fascinating to see how Bielsa’s tactical mastery fares against teams with far greater resources and higher quality players.
For now though, Leeds fans can savour the moment after 16 years of almost laughable capriciousness, they’re back in the Premier League.