Leeds United A.F.C.

Leeds United A.F.C.
Leeds United
Full name Leeds United Association Football Club
Nickname(s) The Whites, United, The Peacocks
Founded 1919; 92 years ago (1919)
Ground Elland Road
(Capacity: 39,460[1])
Chairman Ken Bates
Manager Simon Grayson
League The Championship
2010–11 The Championship, 7th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Leeds United Association Football Club are an English professional association football club based in Beeston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, who play in the Football League Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club's home ground is Elland Road.

The club's most common nicknames are "The Whites", "United" and "The Peacocks", the latter stemming from the former name of Elland Road, The Old Peacock Ground.[2] Although the club's name includes "AFC",[3] the current badge reads "LUFC".

The club have competed at the top level of English football for the majority of their existence, following the disbanding of predecessor Leeds City in 1919. Under the management of Don Revie during the 1960s and 1970s, Leeds won two First Division titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup twice. After Revie's departure to manage the England team, Leeds were relegated to the Second Division in 1982, not returning to the top flight until 1990, when they were managed by Howard Wilkinson. Leeds were league champions two seasons later, in 1992. During the 1990s and early 2000s Leeds competed for places in Europe, reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League in consecutive seasons. However, after severe financial difficulties and a mass sale of players, Leeds were relegated from the Premier League and subsequently from The Championship three years later. After three seasons in League One they were promoted back to the Championship on the last day of the 2009–10 season.

Being the city's only professional football team, Leeds United are associated with a large, passionate fan base. Recent online research indicates that they are in the top five most supported clubs in England.[4][5]



Pre-Leeds United

Leeds United's predecessor team Leeds City FC was formed in 1904, but was forcibly disbanded by The Football League in 1919 in response to allegations of illegal payments to players during the First World War. A new club, Leeds United, was formed and the club received an invitation to enter the Midland League from the league secretary, Mr. J Nicholson. Leeds United were voted into the Midland League on 31 October 1919, taking the place vacated by Leeds City Reserves. Yorkshire Amateurs, who occupied Elland Road, offered to make way for the new team under the management of former player Dick Ray.

The chairman of Huddersfield Town, Mr. Hilton Crowther loaned Leeds United £35,000, to be repaid when Leeds United won promotion to Division One. He brought Barnsley's manager Arthur Fairclough to Leeds and on 26 February 1920, Dick Ray stepped down to become Fairclough's assistant.

1920–1960: Football League

On 31 May 1920, Leeds United were elected to the Football League.

Over the following few years, Leeds consolidated their position in the Second Division and in 1924 won the title and with it promotion to the First Division. However, they failed to establish themselves and were relegated in 1926–27. After being relegated Fairclough resigned which paved the way for Ray to return as manager. In the years up until the start of World War II Leeds were twice relegated, both times being instantly re-promoted the following season.

On 5 March 1935 Ray resigned and he was replaced by Billy Hampson, who remained in charge for 12 years. In the 1946–47 season after the war, Leeds were relegated again with the worst league record in their history. After this season, Hampson resigned (he stayed with Leeds as their chief scout albeit for only 8 months) and was replaced in April 1947 by Willis Edwards.

In 1948 Sam Bolton replaced Ernest Pullan as the chairman of Leeds United. Edwards was moved to assistant trainer in April 1948 after just one year as manager. He was replaced by Major Frank Buckley.

They remained in the Second Division until 1955–56, when Leeds once again won promotion to the First Division, inspired by Welsh legend John Charles. However, Charles was hungry for success at the highest level, and manager Raich Carter was unable to convince him that Leeds could satisfy his ambitions. Charles was sold to Juventus for a then world record of £65,000; the loss of such a key player led to Leeds' decline, and the team was relegated to the Second Division in 1959–60.

1961–1975: Don Revie – the glory years

In March 1961 the club appointed Don Revie as manager. His stewardship began in adverse circumstances; the club was in financial difficulty[6] and in 1961–62 only a win in the final game of the season saved the club from relegation to Division Three. Revie turned the team around, winning promotion to the First Division in 1963–64. During this period, Revie succeeded in building one of England's greatest footballing sides, with a loyal group of core players. Between 1965 and 1974, Revie's Leeds side never finished outside of the top four, winning two League Championships (1968–69 and 1973–74), the FA Cup (1972), the League Cup (1968) and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups (1968 and 1971).

Set against the success was an unenvied record of second places; during the same period Leeds were runners up in the League five times, losing finalists in the FA Cup three times, runners up in the Fairs Cup once, and losing 1–0 to AC Milan in the European Cup Winners Cup final.

It was also during this period that Leeds picked up the Dirty Leeds tag, which has stuck to this day. This nickname is, in part, due to the tenacious never-say-die attitude that Revie instilled into his players which, at times, was perceived as crossing the line with regards to fair play. Revie admitted that during the first half of his tenure Leeds "played for results".[7] However, the quality of the football Leeds played towards the end of Revie's reign has never been in doubt. Games such as the 7-0 victory over Southampton, or the 5-1 win over arch rivals Manchester United, which occurred in consecutive games in 1972 are important moments in the club's history.

1974 – The Three Fortnights of Brian Clough; Jimmy Armfield Replaces Him

Revie's last season at Elland Road was in 1974, and he left Leeds to take up the role of managing the English national team. Brian Clough was appointed as Revie's successor. This was a surprise appointment, as Clough had been an outspoken critic of Revie and the team's tactics.[8] Beginning with the scandal ridden Charity Shield Match against FA Cup Champions Liverpool in which Billy Bremner and Kevin Keegan were both sent off at the hour for fighting and subsequently given large fines and 11 game suspensions, the team performed poorly under Clough in defending its 1973 League Championship title, and after only 44 days[9] he was dismissed and replaced by former England captain Jimmy Armfield. Armfield took Revie's ageing team to the final of the 1974–75 European Cup, where they were defeated by Bayern Munich under controversial circumstances.[10] The celebrated[11] Jonathan Peace novel The Damned Utd, (later made into a film directed by Tom Hooper) is based on this episode.

1975–1988: Legends fail as managers

Assisted by coach Don Howe, Armfield rebuilt Revie's team, and though it no longer dominated English football, it remained in the top ten for subsequent seasons. However, the board was impatient for success and dismissed Armfield, replacing him with Jock Stein, who also lasted just 44 days before leaving to manage Scotland. The board turned to Jimmy Adamson but he was unable to stop the decline. In 1980 Adamson resigned and was replaced by former Leeds and England star Allan Clarke. Despite spending freely on players, he was unable to stem the tide and the club was relegated at the end of 1981–82. Clarke was replaced by former team-mate Eddie Gray.

With no money to spend on team building,[12] Gray concentrated on youth development, but was unable to guide them to promotion from the Second Division. The board again became impatient and sacked him in 1985, replacing him with another former Revie star, Billy Bremner.

Bremner carried on where Gray had left off, but found it just as difficult to achieve promotion, though he did bring the club close; Leeds got to the 1987 play-off final but were defeated by Charlton Athletic after extra time, a result which prevented Leeds from winning promotion and ensured that Charlton avoided relegation. Leeds also endured a near miss in the FA Cup, losing to Coventry City[13] in the semi-finals.

1988–1995: The second golden era

In October 1988, with the team 21st in the Second Division, Bremner was fired to make way for Howard Wilkinson, who oversaw promotion back to the First Division in 1989–90. Under Wilkinson the club finished 4th in 1990–91 and then won the title in 1991–92. However, the 1992–93 season was a poor one, with Leeds exiting the Champions League in the early stages, and eventually finishing 17th in the League, narrowly avoiding relegation. Wilkinson's Leeds were unable to provide any consistent challenge for honours, and his position was not helped by a poor display in the 1996 League Cup final which Leeds lost to Aston Villa. Leeds could only finish 13th in 1995–96, and after a 4–0 home defeat to Manchester United early in 1996–97, Wilkinson had his contract terminated.

One of the legacies of Wilkinson and youth coach Paul Hart was that they helped develop Leeds United's youth academy, and as a result, the academy has produced numerous talented footballers for Leeds over the years.

1996–2001: Living the dream

Leeds appointed George Graham as Wilkinson's replacement. The appointment was controversial[14] as Graham had previously received a one year ban from The Football Association for receiving illegal payments from a Football Agent. Graham made some astute purchases such as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and also helped blood in some youngsters from Leeds' successful youth cup winning side, and by the end of the season Leeds had qualified for the following season's UEFA Cup.

In October 1998 Graham moved on to become manager of Tottenham Hotspur, and Leeds opted to replace him with assistant manager David O'Leary. Star striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink left Leeds for Atletico Madrid after a new contract couldn't be agreed with chairman Peter Ridsdale. O'Leary introduced promising youngsters, and signed Mark Viduka as Hasselbaink's replacement and also French midfielder Olivier Dacourt who broke Leeds' transfer record at the time.

O'Leary was assisted by Leeds legend Eddie Gray and Leeds secured 3rd place in the league, sending the club into the UEFA Champions League. Leeds' image was tarnished when players Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer were involved in an incident which left an Asian student in hospital with severe injuries. The resulting court case took nearly two years to resolve; Bowyer was cleared, and Woodgate convicted of affray and sentenced to community service.

In the UEFA Cup during that season, Leeds reached their first European semi-final in 25 years and were paired against Turkish champions Galatasaray in Istanbul. Leeds lost the game, but the result was overshadowed by the death of two Leeds fans, Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight, who were stabbed to death before the game.[15][16] Leeds were only able to draw the return leg at Elland Road, thus going out of the competition. A minute's silence[17] is held every year at the match closest to the anniversary of the incident to remember Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight.

The following season, Leeds broke their transfer record by signing West Ham and England International defender Rio Ferdinand for £18 million. Ferdinand was then named Leeds captain, replacing Lucas Radebe. Leeds reached the semi-final of the Champions League, eliminated by Valencia. Leeds were regarded as one of the best teams in Europe.

2001–2004: Financial implosion

O'Leary's Leeds never finished outside of the top five, but following their defeat in the UEFA Champions League 2001 semi-final against Valencia their fortunes began to change. Under chairman Peter Ridsdale, Leeds had taken out large loans against the prospect of the share of the TV rights and sponsorship revenues that come with UEFA Champions League qualification and any subsequent progress in the competition. Leeds signed Robbie Fowler and Seth Johnson for large fees and big wages. However, Leeds narrowly failed to qualify for the Champions League losing out to 4th place to Newcastle United, and as a consequence did not receive enough income to repay the loans. The first indication that the club was in financial trouble was the sale of Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United for approximately £30 million. Ridsdale and O'Leary publicly fell out over the sale, and O'Leary was sacked and replaced by former England manager Terry Venables.

Leeds performed badly under Venables, and other players were sold to repay the loans, including Jonathan Woodgate, who Ridsdale had promised Venables would not be sold. Other star players such as Lee Bowyer, Nigel Martyn, Robbie Fowler, Robbie Keane and Harry Kewell were also sold over time, with Kewell's departure under rather acrimonious circumstances.

Tensions mounted between Ridsdale and Venables. Although some players had left, the team was still underachieving given the quality of players remaining. Venables chose to leave out the likes of Olivier Dacourt and David Batty, who had been two of Leeds' star players in the years prior. After a string of poor results and Leeds in the bottom half of the table, and with relations between chairman and manager still strained, Venables was eventually sacked and replaced by Peter Reid. During this time Ridsdale had resigned from the Leeds board, and was replaced by existing non-executive director Professor John McKenzie. By this time Leeds were in danger of relegation, but Reid saved Leeds from the drop in the penultimate game of the season.

Reid was given a permanent contract at Leeds the following summer. Due to player sales, lack of funds, and the failure to land targets Paolo Di Canio, Patrik Berger and Kleberson, he brought in 8 players on loan. This policy was not a success, with players such as Roque Junior failing to live up to their reputations. An unsuccessful start to the 2003–04 season saw Peter Reid dismissed. Leeds were in turmoil with talk of dressing room unrest and poor performances on the pitch. Head coach Eddie Gray took over as caretaker manager until the end of the season.

Gerald Krasner, an insolvency specialist, led a consortium of local businessmen which took over Leeds and under his chairmanship oversaw the sale of the clubs' assets, including senior and emerging youth players of any value. Gray was perceived by many to be largely blameless for the performance of the team during the 2003–04 season as the majority of the squad was sold out from underneath him and despite his efforts, Leeds were relegated after 14 years in the top flight.

Following relegation, Gray's reign as caretaker manager was ended, and the then assistant manager Kevin Blackwell was appointed manager, his first managerial job in football. A mass exodus ensued as most of the remaining players were sold or released on free transfers to further reduce the high wage bill. Key players such as Mark Viduka, Dominic Matteo, Paul Robinson, Alan Smith and James Milner were all sold for relatively reduced fees. Blackwell was forced to rebuild almost the entire squad through free transfers. Leeds were eventually forced to sell both their training ground, for £4.2 million,[18] and their stadium[19] in the autumn of 2004.

2004–2007: Play-off failure and relegation

The board finally sold the club to Ken Bates for £10 million.[20] Blackwell stabilised the team by signing players on free transfers and low wages and Leeds finished the 2004–05 season mid-table in the Championship. At the end of that season defender Lucas Radebe retired after a series of injuries and promising young player Aaron Lennon joined Tottenham Hotspur.

In the 2005–06 season Leeds finished in the top 6 and made the play-off final. Leeds had been favourites for automatic promotion, but after being in the top 3 for most of the season and pushing Sheffield United for second place, Leeds' form drastically dipped in the last quarter of the season. Following an impressive performance away to Preston in the playoff semi final, Leeds lost the final 3–0 to Watford. Striker Rob Hulse was sold in the pre season to Sheffield United and was replaced by loan striker Geoff Horsfield.

The 2006–07 season started badly with Leeds conceding late goals in several matches, and in September 2006 Blackwell's contract as manager of Leeds United was terminated. Leeds hired John Carver as caretaker manager but his spell was not a success. Carver was relieved of his duties and Dennis Wise was eventually installed as his replacement after a month without a permanent manager. Defender Matt Kilgallon left in January to join Sheffield United, and Wise was unable to lift the team out of the relegation zone for much of the season, despite bringing a number of experienced loan players and free transfers on short term deals into the squad. With relegation virtually assured, Leeds entered a Company Voluntary Arrangement (administration) on 4 May 2007, thus incurring a league imposed 10 point deduction which officially relegated the club to the third tier of English football.[21][22]

The relegation was the lowest point in the club's history, as Leeds United had never played any lower than the second tier of English football. The summer saw players such as David Healy and Robbie Blake leave, whilst long serving Gary Kelly retired after the relegation. Leeds, as they had after Premiership relegation three years previously, were forced to build a squad almost totally from scratch; with the future of the club uncertain Leeds could not sign any players until a few days before the opening game of the season against Tranmere Rovers.

2007–2010: Third tier for the first time

The CVA was due to end on 3 July 2007, which would have allowed Bates to regain full control of the club. However HM Revenue & Customs challenged the CVA, a decision which could ultimately have resulted in the liquidation of the club.[23] Under league rules, if the club were still in administration at the start of the next season, Leeds would have been prevented from starting their campaign by the Football League.[24][25] Following the challenge by HMRC, the club was put up for sale by KPMG,[26] and once again Ken Bates' bid was accepted.[27] The league eventually sanctioned this under the "exceptional circumstances rule" but imposed a 15 point deduction due to the club not following football league rules on clubs entering administration.[28] On 31 August 2007 HMRC decided not to pursue their legal challenge any further.[29] Wise and his assistant Gus Poyet guided Leeds to a play-off place at the start of 2008, despite the 15-point deduction, which seemed to galvanise the Leeds players and fans and helped Leeds maintain an unbeaten start in the first quarter of the season. Assistant Manager Gus Poyet left to join Tottenham, and he was replaced by Dave Bassett. Wise controversially quit as manager on 28 January to take up a position in Kevin Keegan's new set-up at Newcastle United.[30]

The following day former club captain Gary McAllister was appointed as manager of the club with Steve Staunton brought in as his assistant.[31] In spite of this mid-season managerial change and a spell of poor form before Wise departed, plus the well-publicised 15-point deduction, Leeds went on to secure a play-off place with one game to spare. McAllister's loan signing Dougie Freedman had been instrumental in helping Leeds into the playoffs. They were however beaten 1–0 in the final by Doncaster Rovers in their first appearance at the new Wembley Stadium. Leeds had been favourites for the match but underperformed, with many of their players failing to play to their usual standards.

McAllister signed Andy Robinson, Luciano Becchio and Robert Snodgrass during the summer period. Leeds started the next season in fine form, playing attractive passing football and the emergence of Fabian Delph was an indication that the Leeds youth policy was still in rude health. However, the team became fragile in defence, leaking several late goals, and form drastically dropped. On 21 December 2008, McAllister was sacked after a run of poor results (5 defeats in a row), including the club's first defeat to non-league opponents, Histon, in the 2nd round of the F.A. Cup. At the time, Histon's goalscorer was working as a postman by day.

McAllister was replaced by Simon Grayson, who resigned from his post as manager of Blackpool FC to take the position, two days later.[32] Leeds' form improved under Grayson, who made a few loan signings to help strengthen the defence such as Richard Naylor and Sam Sodje. Leeds made the play-offs once again by finishing 4th; however, this time they did not make the play-off final, after being beaten over the two legs of the semi-finals 2–1 on aggregate by Millwall. In the summer Fabian Delph was transferred to Premier League side Aston Villa in a multi million pound move. Over the summer Grayson decided to strengthen the team by signing Patrick Kisnorbo, Max Gradel, Shane Higgs, Jason Crowe, Michael Doyle and Leigh Bromby. Richard Naylor was signed on a permanent deal and was made Leeds United captain on a full time basis, after having the armband whilst on loan previously.

The club opened the 2009–10 season with eight consecutive victories, thus recording the best start ever to a season by a Leeds side. Leeds lost 1–0 to Premier League team Liverpool in the League Cup. In the league, Leeds were top at the halfway point in the season with 56 points. On 26 December 2009, manager Simon Grayson celebrated a year in charge of Leeds. In his 46 league games in charge of Leeds, Leeds had accumulated 102 points, and scored 99 goals under his management.

In the third round of the FA Cup, Leeds created an upset against old rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on 3 January 2010, beating them 1–0. It was the first time Leeds had triumphed at the ground since 1981; it was Alex Ferguson's first defeat in the FA Cup third round as Manchester United manager and the first time ever his side had fallen to a lower division side in the competition.[33] Leeds then faced Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Leeds earned a 2–2 draw against Spurs after Jermaine Beckford scored from an injury-time penalty, but lost the replay 3–1 at Elland Road.

After the impressive run in the FA Cup, Leeds' league form suffered with the Whites taking just 7 points from the next 24 available and surrendering an 8-point lead at the top of League One to Norwich City. The poor run of form included a 2–1 home defeat to Walsall on 16 February; the match was the first home league game Leeds' had lost for 26 games, which stretched over a year. After a 1–1 home draw with Brentford on 6 March, Leeds were still in 2nd place, but with only a 2-point advantage over third-placed Charlton. On 9 March, Leeds won their first away league match of 2010 with a convincing 4–1 victory over Tranmere Rovers, giving them breathing space of five points from third place with 11 games remaining.

However on 22 March, Leeds lost 2–0 against Millwall at Elland Road, closing the gap between the two teams to just 3 points. Two further losses left Leeds in 4th place. Leeds also lost regular first-team player Patrick Kisnorbo for the rest of the season with a serious achilles injury and Preston defender Neill Collins was brought in on loan to replace him.

Leeds finally ended their winless run with a 2–1 win over Yeovil at Huish Park and a 2–0 home win over Southend. Leeds then made it three wins on the bounce with a comfortable 3–1 away win over Carlisle United despite Grayson deciding not to start with top scorer Jermaine Beckford, and instead opting for Max Gradel. The win moved Leeds back into second place and an automatic promotion spot; they were unable to continue the winning momentum in the next fixture as they went down 3–2 away at Gillingham, but still kept 2nd place. On 24 April Leeds responded with a 4–1 home win over MK Dons. In the penultimate league game Leeds lost the chance to be promoted as Millwall lost 2–0 away at Tranmere Rovers while Leeds lost 1–0 away at Charlton Athletic to a late own goal from captain Richard Naylor. A win would have seen Leeds promoted but the defeat still kept them in 2nd place, with their fate resting in their own hands going into the final game on 8 May. Leeds lay one point ahead of both Millwall and Swindon, two points clear of Charlton and three points ahead of local rivals Huddersfield.

Leeds' final match of the season at home to Bristol Rovers appeared to be going against them as Max Gradel was sent off and they went a goal down just after half time. Meanwhile Millwall were leading at home to Swindon, but Leeds responded with two goals in four minutes from Jonny Howson and Jermaine Beckford to turn the game around. Leeds held on to win 2–1, confirming promotion to The Championship, and sparking scenes of jubilation as fans ran onto the pitch. Beckford finished the season as Leeds' top scorer with a total of 31 goals in all competitions whilst Patrick Kisnorbo took both Fans' Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards.

2010–present: Return to The Championship

Leeds began the 2010–11 season in the Championship after ending a run of spiralling down the divisions. Long serving players such as Rui Marques and Casper Ankergren were released. Jermaine Beckford, Leeds' top scorer in the last three seasons, had his contract cancelled before he joined Premier League club Everton. Leeds, however, did make something of a transfer coup when they signed highly rated goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, son of Manchester United keeper Peter. Leeds also signed Swindon striker Billy Paynter after his contract had expired; Paynter had scored 29 goals in the previous season. Pre-season training was marred when Patrick Kisnorbo suffered a ruptured achilles tendon, ruling him out of the first few months of the league campaign.

Leeds brought in right-back and former Derby County captain Paul Connolly, and later made their fourth summer signing by bringing in Swansea left-back Fede Bessone, who, like Luciano Becchio, had trained at Barcelona earlier in his career. Two new players later joined when the Whites re-signed Neill Collins from Preston for an undisclosed fee following his earlier loan spell; he was followed by Leeds-born winger Lloyd Sam, signed on a free transfer from Charlton. Simon Grayson's seventh signing saw the versatile Alex Bruce join from Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee. Leeds completed their pre-season campaign on 31 July with an encouraging 3–1 win over Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road. Leeds' eighth signing came in the form of winger Sanchez Watt, who re-joined the club on loan after an impressive loan spell from Arsenal the previous season. The 9th signing of the summer was completed on 6 August when Leeds signed midfielder Adam Clayton on loan from Manchester City. Leeds lost their opening league fixture 2–1 against Derby County on 7 August at Elland Road. The first point of the league campaign came in the match against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground with a 1–1 draw.

Leeds picked up their first win in the Championship by beating rivals Millwall 3–1 at Elland Road, with South African striker Davide Somma scoring twice on his league debut. Leeds brought in the 11th and 12th signings of the season by bringing in Cardiff City striker Ross McCormack and Honduran trialist Ramón Núñez. Adam Clayton's loan move was made permanent for an unisclosed fee from Manchester City. On 9 September, Leeds signed Senegalese International Amdy Faye on a free transfer after a short trial. After Kasper Schmeichel picked up an ankle injury Leeds signed Jason Brown on loan from Blackburn Rovers to provide cover. On 23 September, Northern Ireland international George McCartney followed on an initial month loan deal from Sunderland. At the start of December Leeds found themselves challenging in and around the playoff spots. On Christmas Day 2010 Leeds were lying 2nd in The Championship. The day also coincided with the 2 year anniversary of the appointment of Simon Grayson.[34]

Leeds were also drawn away to Arsenal F.C. in the FA Cup, and managed to earn a draw; however, Arsenal won the replay at Elland Road 3–1. Leeds spent much of the rest of the season in the playoff places, but eventually finished in a respectable 7th place – just missing out on the playoffs. Leeds' top scorer for the season was Argentine striker Luciano Becchio who scored 20 goals in all competitions, closely followed by winger Max Gradel who scored 18 goals. Leeds also finished the season as the best supported club in the entire Football League with an average attendance of 27,299; the attendance figure was also higher than the average attendances of 9 Premier League clubs.[35]

On 30 April 2011, Leeds had their annual player of the season awards. Max Gradel won both the Fans Player Of The Season Award and also The Players Player Of The Season Award. Jonny Howson won the Young Player Of The Year award and Bradley Johnson won the goal of the season award for his strike against Arsenal.[36]

In May 2011 it was announced that Leeds Chairman Ken Bates had bought the club and became the owner of Leeds.[37] In May 2011, Leeds released captain Richard Naylor and Shane Higgs. Midfielders Neil Kilkenny and Bradley Johnson also left the club as well as prominent loan players Eric Lichaj, Sanchez Watt and George McCartney who returned to their parent clubs. First choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was also told he could leave the club, with a bid accepted for the Danish keeper from Leicester City. On 23 June 2011 Leeds made their first signing of the summer with American keeper Paul Rachubka signing on a free transfer from Blackpool. Schmeichel was sold to Leicester City for an undisclosed fee with Leeds looking to address their poor goals against ratio. Leeds also signed veteran midfielder Michael Brown on a free transfer. 25 July Leeds completed the signing of goalkeeper Andy Lonergan from Preston North End. On 4 August, Leeds signed Irish centre back Darren O'Dea on a season long loan. On 6 August Leeds were comprehensively beaten 3–1 in their opening game of the season away to Southampton.[38] Before the match against Middlesbrough, Leeds fans protested at Ken Bates about lack of investment in the playing side, in which Bates responded by calling Leeds fans 'morons'.[39] On transfer deadline day Leeds sold star player Max Gradel to St. Etienne.[40] In September, Leeds signed Finnish internationals Mikael Forssell and Mika Väyrynen on free transfers.[41][42] After being knocked out of the League Cup by bitter rivals Manchester United[43] Leeds re-signed former player Danny Pugh on 22 September. [44]

Colours and badge

Leeds' first home colours
Leeds' home kit before changing to all white. 1934–1950

In Leeds' first fifteen years the club kit was modelled on Huddersfield Town's blue and white striped shirts, white shorts and dark blue socks with blue and white rings on the turnovers,[45][46] because Huddersfield's chairman Hilton Crowther was attempting to merge the two clubs.[46] He eventually left Huddersfield to take over at Leeds.

In 1934 Leeds switched to blue and yellow halved shirts incorporating the city crest badge, white shorts and blue socks with yellow tops.[46] The kit was worn for the first time on 22 September 1934.[46] The club also adopted their first badge in 1934, using the city crest as Leeds City had. In 1950 Leeds switched to yellow shirts with blue sleeves and collars, white shorts and black, blue and gold hooped socks. In 1955 Leeds changed again to royal blue shirts with gold collars, white shorts, and blue and yellow hooped socks, thus echoing the original Leeds City strip.[46]

Leeds City Council coat of arms
Leeds' badge 1984–1998

In 1961 Don Revie introduced a plain white strip throughout, in the hope of emulating Spanish side Real Madrid. A perching owl was added the strip in 1964 as the clubs emblem. The design was a surprise, given Revie's superstition about the symbolism of birds. The owl came from the city crest, which itself was based on the crest of Sir John Saville, the first alderman of Leeds. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Leeds used the LUFC script found running down the centre of the current badge, however this was presented in a diagonal fashion rather than the current vertical. In 1973 came the embodiment of seventies imagery with the iconic LU smiley badge. Revie's predilection for gimmicks was years ahead of its time, and done with the explicit intention of gaining acceptance from a public outside West Yorkshire.[46]

In 1977 the smiley badge was reversed from yellow with blue smiley to blue with yellow smiley and the following year it was back to yellow but enclosed in a circle with the words Leeds United Afc surrounding it.

In 1978–79 a new badge was adorned which was similar to the previous season's smiley but had the design of a peacock.

In 1984 a new club badge was introduced, lasting until 1998, making it the longest lived of the modern era. The rose and ball badge was distinctive, in the traditional blue, gold and white, incorporating the White Rose of York, together with the club's name.

Stadium and supporters

Leeds United's home ground, Elland Road

Elland Road was sold by the club in October 2004 with a 25-year sale-leaseback deal being agreed. A commercial buy-back clause was also included for when the club’s finances improve. According to a recent Board of Directors statement, Leeds United should have become debt free in the 2006–07 season. However, the club went into administration at the end of the 2006–07 season.

Initially the ground was the home of the Holbeck Rugby Club who played in the northern rugby union, the forerunner of the rugby football league.[47] One of Leeds' first nicknames, 'The Peacocks', comes from the original name of Elland Road – 'The Old Peacock ground'. It was named by the original owners of the ground, Bentley's Brewery, after their pub 'The Old Peacock' which still faces the site.[2]

When Leeds United were formed, the council allowed the new club to rent the stadium until they could afford to buy it themselves. With the exception of periods from the 1960s until 1983, and from 1997 to 2004, the council has owned the stadium.[48] It is however owned by a leasing company at present. The stadium is currently the 10th largest football stadium in England.

The most recent stand at Elland Road is the East or Family Stand, a cantilever structure completed during the 1992–93 season, and which can hold 17,000 seated spectators. It is a two tiered stand which continues around the corners, and is the largest part of the stadium. The Don Revie Stand was opened at the start of the 1994–95 season, and can hold just under 7,000 seated spectators.[specify] The roof of the West Stand holds a television commentary gantry and walkway for TV personnel. Elland Road was named in December 2009 as one of the contenders for the England 2018 World Cup bid, as a result of the bid Leeds have drawn up plans to re-develop parts of Elland Road and increase the capacity of the stadium. Ken Bates also revealed plans to take out the exectutive boxes out of the South Stand to increase the starting capacity by a further 2–3 thousand. More exectutive boxes would be built in the east stand.

Leeds' stadium Elland Road is an all-seater football stadium situated in the Beeston area of the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Elland Road has been the permanent residence of Leeds since the club's foundation in 1919 and it was previously occupied by their predecessors, Leeds City.[49] The stadium is the 12th largest football stadium in England, and the second largest ground outside the Premier League.

The supporters are renowned for singing signature song 'Marching On Together' during matches, other notable songs Leeds fans sing during games are 'We Are The Champions, Champions Of Europe' (more commonly known as WACCOE) in reference to the 1975 European Cup final when dubious refereeing decisions cost Leeds the title, and also the chance to defend the title, meaning Leeds would technically still be "Champions of Europe". Other popular chants commonly used by Leeds fans are 'Leeds, Leeds, Leeds' and 'Glory, Glory, Leeds United'.

Elland Road from the East

Alex Ferguson has said that Elland Road has one of the most intimidating atmospheres in European Football.[50] Leeds are 10th in the all time average attendance figures for the Football League and Premier League.[51] They have the third most rivalries in the English League[52] but however are the most hated club in English football as of the start of the 2008–09 season.[53]

Peter Reid commented after being relieved of his managerial duties at Elland Road that "In 30 years I've never seen support like I did at the Arsenal game [at Elland Road] a couple of weeks ago. The fans at Leeds are fantastic."[54] Reid was also joined by two other previous managers on the eve of Leeds' first appearance in the third tier. Reid said that "the support is fantastic" and "incredible", Blackwell said "fans will follow them everywhere" and O'Leary commented "There is an immense fan base and they are still with the club".[55]

Leeds United fans also have a salute which is known as the 'Leeds Salute'[56]

Yorkshire Radio, LUTV and Leeds, Leeds, Leeds

Leeds United own their own radio station Yorkshire Radio which broadcasts on DAB Digital Radio and LUTV.[57] Leeds also own their own internet television channel called LUTV, which is available through subscription to watch online.[58] LUTV features a daily news programme, player and staff interviews, match highlights (both first team and reserve) and exclusive commentary of all Leeds matches which can otherwise only be obtained on Minster FM and Yorkshire Radio after BBC Radio Leeds failed to negotiate a package to continue broadcasting commentary of the club's matches. Live match commentary is by Thom Kirwin and Leeds United legend Eddie Gray.[59]

The club also publish their own magazine 'Leeds, Leeds, Leeds' which was first published in 1998. In recent years, the magazine was taken out of circulation in newsagents, supermarkets etc., so was only available to official club members by mail or by purchase in the official club shop.


Leeds' biggest rivalry has been with Manchester United, due to the traditional rivalry between the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire (often described as a "War of the Roses", though the historical Wars of the roses had little to do with geographical counties).[citation needed]

One of Leeds' biggest rivalries is with Turkish club Galatasaray after two Leeds fans were murdered by Galatasaray supporters before a UEFA Cup fixture in April 2000.[60] When former Leeds player Harry Kewell moved to Galatasaray in 2008 it caused uproar with Leeds supporters.[61][62][63]


In April 1972 the Leeds squad released a single, "Leeds United" with the b-side being "Leeds! Leeds! Leeds!" (commonly known as "Marching On Together"). It was issued to coincide with the team reaching the 1972 FA Cup Final; the vocals on the original recording were by the Leeds team. The record reached number 10 in the UK singles chart.[64] After Leeds' promotion back to the Championship in May 2010, the song was digitally re-mastered and re-released in an effort to get the song into the UK Singles Chart. By 4 pm on Monday, the song was already sitting 8th in the iTunes store charts and top of both the Amazon.com and Play.com singles charts. On the Official Chart Company's Official Chart Update the song charted at 10 (for the second time in its history) and was the highest new entry apart from B.o.B's Nothin' On You. Whilst it is not officially the club anthem, "Marching On Together" is played before every home game. Unlike many football songs that are just new words set to existing music, "Leeds Leeds Leeds" is an original composition by Les Reed and Barry Mason, purposely written for Leeds United.

For many years, Strings for Yasmin by Tin Tin Out was played before kick off at Elland Road, however it was replaced in the 2008–09 season with Eye of the Tiger by Survivor and in the 2009–10 season with, Dance of the Knights, composed by Sergei Prokofiev. Nightmare by Brainbug is currently played before the start of the second half.


Current squad

As of 26 May 2011.[65]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Andy Lonergan
2 England DF Paul Connolly
3 Australia DF Patrick Kisnorbo (vice-captain)
4 Northern Ireland DF Alex Bruce
5 Republic of Ireland DF Andy O'Brien
7 Finland MF Mika Väyrynen
8 England MF Michael Brown
10 Argentina FW Luciano Becchio
11 Ghana MF Lloyd Sam
12 England GK Paul Rachubka
14 England MF Jonny Howson (club captain)
15 England MF Adam Clayton
16 England MF Danny Pugh (on loan from Stoke City)
18 Finland FW Mikael Forssell
19 England DF Ben Parker
No. Position Player
20 Honduras MF Ramón Núñez
21 England GK Alex McCarthy (on loan from Reading)
22 England DF Tom Lees
23 Scotland MF Robert Snodgrass
26 England DF Leigh Bromby
27 South Africa FW Davide Somma
28 Republic of Ireland DF Aidy White
29 England MF Zac Thompson
30 England GK Alex Cairns
31 England DF Charlie Taylor
32 England DF Lewis Turner
38 Republic of Ireland FW Andy Keogh (on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers)
44 Scotland FW Ross McCormack
48 Republic of Ireland DF Darren O'Dea (on loan from Celtic)

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
9 England FW Billy Paynter (on loan to Brighton & Hove Albion)
No. Position Player
England MF Will Hatfield (on loan to Accrington Stanley)

Reserve and youth team

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
30 England GK Alex Cairns
England GK Christian Paulat-Brigg
Republic of Ireland GK Eric Grimes
England GK Brad Dixon
England GK Dan Atkinson
31 England DF Charlie Taylor
32 England DF Lewis Turner
England DF Conor Qualter
England DF Lewie Coyle
England DF Ross Killock
England DF Sam Byram
Germany DF Monty Gimpel [66]
29 England MF Zac Thompson
No. Position Player
England MF Will Hatfield
England MF Sanchez Payne
England MF Nathan Turner
England MF Joe McCann
England MF Simon Lenighan
England MF Dean Bartle
England MF Lewis Cook
England MF Chris Dawson
England MF Charlie Clamp
England MF Tyler Denton
England MF Jordan Snodin
England FW Dominic Poleon
England FW Luke Parkin

Notable players

Backroom staff

Club officials

Life Patron Patricia, Countess of Harewood
Chairman Ken Bates
Directors Ken Bates
Shaun Harvey
Yvonne Allen
Peter Lorimer
Chief Executive Officer Shaun Harvey
Catering Director Norbert Pinchler
Head of Commercial Steve Lewis
Marketing Manager Hayley Kelly
Head of Advertising Sales Ian Smith
Ticket Services Manager Katie Holmes Lewis
Access Systems Mark Broadley
Membership/Customer Services Lorna Tinkler
Retail Manager Daniel Jeffery
Head of Media Paul Dews

Last updated: 21 Oct 2011
Source: Leeds United: The Next Chapter – Official Handbook 2008/09

Coaching and medical staff

First team

Position Staff
Manager England Simon Grayson
First Team Coaches Scotland Ian Miller
England Glynn Snodin
Goalkeeping Coach England Andy Beasley
Head Physio England Harvey Sharman
Fitness Coach England Matt Pears
Assistant Physio England Paul Perkins
Performance Analyst England Alex Davies

Last updated: 2 Aug 2010
Source: Leeds United A.F.C. 2009/10 Season Official Handbook


Position Staff
Academy Manager England Chris Sulley[67]
Reserves + Under 18s & Under 16's Coach England Neil Redfearn
Interim Youth team Coach England Bobby Davison[68]
Under 16s Coach England Phil Wilson
Under 14s Coach England Dennis Oates
Under 12s Coach England Chris Coates
Under 10s Coach England Mike Morton
Under 9s Coach England Alan Parkes
Under 8s Coach Scotland Arthur Graham
Head of Recruitment and Development England Steve Holmes
Academy Coach (Part Time) England Leam Richardson[69]
Youth Team Coach (Part Time) England Gavin Rothery[70]
Goalkeeping Coach England Ian Wilcox
Assistant Goalkeeping Coach England Rudi Coleano
Academy Goalkeeping Coach England Lee Kelsey
Head Physio England Alan Sutton
Assistant Physio England David Schrivener
Head Physio's Assistant England Alan Scorfield
Academy Scout England Terry Potter

Last updated: 11 Mar
Source: Leeds United A.F.C. 2009/10 Season Official Handbook, Leeds United Academy Outfield & Goalkeeping Belfast Open Trial

Other staff

Position Staff
Technical Director Wales Gwyn Williams
Chief Scout England Mervyn Day
Head of Football Administration England Alison Royston
Kit Man England Chris Beasley
Head of Recruitment and Development England Steve Holmes
Marketing And Commercial Partnerships Manager England Alexa Stockham
Commercial Sales Executive England Charlotte Taylor
Development and Recruitment Officer England Terry Potter
Education and Welfare Officer England Lucy Ward[71]
Head Groundsman England Norman Southernwood
Elland Road Tour Guide Northern Ireland John McClelland[72]
Yorkshire Radio Commentator England Thom Kirwin[59]
Yorkshire Radio Co-Commentator Scotland Eddie Gray[59]
Yorkshire Radio Station Director & Pitch Announcer England Ben Fry[73]

Last updated: 23 Jul 2010
Source: Leeds United A.F.C. 2009/10 Season Official Handbook

League history

Leeds United's Historical League Position

Club honours

Domestic competition

League titles
First Division
Second Division
Football League One
  • Runners Up (1) 2009–10
Football League play-offs
Second Division Play off Final
  • Runners Up (1) 1986–87
Championship Play off Final
  • Runners Up (1) 2005–06
League 1 Play off Final
  • Runners Up (1) 2007–08
FA Cup
League Cup
  • Winners (1) 1968
  • Runners Up (1) 1996
FA Charity Shield
  • Winners (2) 1969, 1992
  • Runners Up (1) 1974
FA Youth Cup
  • Winners (2) 1993, 1997

European competition

European Cup
  • Runners Up (1) 1975
Cup Winners' Cup
  • Runners Up (1) 1973
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup/UEFA Cup
  • Winners (2) 1968, 1971
  • Runners Up (1) 1967
Inter Cities Fairs Cup – the play-off
  • Runners Up (1) 1971

Unofficial competition

The Central League
East Division Central League

Personnel honours

English Football Hall of Fame

The following have either played for or managed Leeds and have been inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame :



Scottish Football Hall of Fame

The following have either played for or managed Leeds and have been inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame :



Welsh Sports Hall of Fame

The following have played for Leeds and have been inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame :


European Hall of Fame

The following have played for Leeds and have been inducted into the European Hall of Fame :



Football League 100 Legends

The following have played for Leeds and were included in the Football League 100 Legends :

FWA Player of the Year

The following have won the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award whilst playing for Leeds :

PFA Players' Player of the Year

The following have won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award whilst playing for Leeds :

PFA Young Player of the Year

The following have won the PFA Young Player of the Year award whilst playing for Leeds :

PFA Team of the Year

The following have been included in the PFA Team of the Year whilst playing for Leeds :

Football League Awards

The following have won the Football League's Player of the Year whilst playing for Leeds :

The following have won the Football League's Young Player of the Year whilst playing for Leeds :

Goal of the Season

The following have won the Goal of the Season award whilst playing for Leeds :

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers

Year Kit Manufacturer Main Shirt Sponsor Secondary Sponsor
1972–73 Umbro none  
1973–81 Admiral
1981–83 Umbro RFW
1983–84 Systime
1984–85 WKG
1985–86 Lion Cabinets
1986–89 Burton
1989–91 Top Man
1991–92 Evening Post
1992–93 Admiral Admiral
1993–96 Asics Thistle Hotels
1996–00 Puma Packard Bell
2000–03 Nike Strongbow
2003–04 Whyte & MacKay
2004–05 Diadora Rhodar
2005–06 Admiral
2006–07 Bet 24 Empire Direct
2007–08 Red Kite OHS
2008–11 Macron NetFlights.com
2011– Enterprise Insurance

In popular culture

  • The Damned Utd – A fictional best-selling novel by David Peace based on Brian Clough's tenure as manager of Leeds United.
  • The Damned United – A 2009 film based on the above novel.
  • The Penalty King – A 2006 film about a Leeds United fan whom goes blind after an accident and uses the Legend of Billy Bremner as inspiration to take up Football again.
  • Leeds United – A Song by Amanda Palmer.
  • Paint It White: Following Leeds Everywhere and Leeds United: The Second Coat – Bestselling books by Gary Edwards, a man who has missed only one game, including friendlies, since he started watching Leeds United in 1968.
  • English: Own Goal – A BBC Schools Drama set in and around Elland Road based around a group of children who tackle criminals forging fake shirts and tickets.[75]
  • Since the club's dramatic demise in the 2000s, the phrase "doing a Leeds" has entered English football terminology to refer to the potential pitfalls faced by any club due to over-spending or failing to qualify for the UEFA Champion's league.[76][77][78][79]

See also


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  77. ^ Wilson, Paul (23 March 2003). "Catchy Toon could be a classic". The Guardian (UK). Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5n0N3uXGA. Retrieved 23 January 2010. "...'doing a Leeds' has entered the language of English football. There is now an understandable worry that any club trying to haul themselves up on the Champions League ladder will crash spectacularly to earth in a couple of seasons." 
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