Premier League English

A 16-year wait for Leeds to be back to the Premier League

After an agonizing 16-year wait, Leeds have finally succeded in being promoted to the Premier League.

Championship leaders Leeds are assured of a top-two finish with two games remaining after second-placed West Brom’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield.

Leeds moved on to 87 points on Thursday following their 1-0 home win against Barnsley, with West Brom, who remain on 82 points, having one game remaining and will drop out of the automatic promotion places if Brentford avoid defeat at Stoke today.

It has been a long road often laden with obstacles on their way back for Leeds, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2004 after imploding in a financial meltdown.

The West Yorkshire club spent a tortuous 13 seasons in the Championship and another three in League One after dropping into the third tier for the first time in their history in 2007.

Leeds’ debts had escalated out of control to over £100million in 2003 under former chairman Peter Ridsdale with imminent fears then that the club could go out of business.

The uncompromising situation forced them to sell all their players and other assets, including Elland Road Stadium and their Thorp Arch academy, and the club have since labored from crisis to crisis under a succession of different owners until they went into administration in 2007 under Ken Bates. The crisis hardly got any better under subsequent owners GFH Capital before the arrival of controversial Italian Massimo Cellino.

The chaotic three-year ownership of Leeds under Cellino saw seven different managers moving in and out of the club until current owner Andrea Radrizzani bought a 50 per cent stake in January 2017 to finally signal the dawning of a new era.

The remaining 50 per cent owned by Cellino was purchased by Radrizzani the following May and Leeds immediately followed up with a bold statement of intent by appointing Marcelo Bielsa in the summer of 2018. This spectacular move has been paying off and Marcelona has led them back to the the promised land of milk and honey in only his second season.