Leeds United F.C.

Leeds United
Full name Leeds United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Whites
The Peacocks
Short name LUFC
Founded 1919 (1919)
Ground Elland Road,
Beeston, Leeds
Capacity 37,890[1]
Coordinates 53°46′40″N 1°34′20″W / 53.77778°N 1.57222°W / 53.77778; -1.57222Coordinates: 53°46′40″N 1°34′20″W / 53.77778°N 1.57222°W / 53.77778; -1.57222
Owner Aser Group Holding (90%)
49ers Enterprises (10%)[2]
Chairman Andrea Radrizzani
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa
League Championship
2017–18 Championship, 13th of 24
Website Club website

Leeds United Football Club is a professional association football club in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The club was formed in 1919 following the disbanding of Leeds City F.C. by the Football League and took over their Elland Road stadium. They play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system.[3]

Leeds United have won three English league titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup, two Charity Shield/Community Shield and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups. The club reached the 1975 European Cup Final losing to Bayern Munich. Leeds also reached the semi-finals of the tournament's successor, the Champions League in 2001.[3] The club were runners-up in the European Cup Winners Cup final in 1973. The majority of the honours were won under the management of Don Revie in the 1960s and 1970s.

Leeds play in all-white kits. The club's badge features the White Rose of York together with the monogram "LUFC".[4] The club's anthem is "Marching On Together". Leeds share rivalries with Manchester United, Chelsea and Millwall.

History summary

Pre-Leeds United

Leeds United's predecessor team, Leeds City, was formed in 1904 and were elected League members in 1905. At first they found it hard to draw big crowds to Elland Road but their fortunes improved following Herbert Chapman's arrival. In 1914 Chapman declared; "This city is built to support top-flight football", but Leeds City were forcibly disbanded and forced to sell off all their players by The Football League in 1919 in response to allegations of illegal payments to players during the First World War. In 1919, Leeds United was formed and they received an invitation to enter the Midland League, being voted into it on 31 October, taking the place vacated by Leeds City Reserves. Following Leeds City's disbanding, Yorkshire Amateurs bought their stadium Elland Road. Yorkshire Amateurs offered to make way for the new team under the management of former player Dick Ray.

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

1920–1960: Early years

On 31 May 1920, Leeds United were elected to the Football League. Over the following few years, they consolidated their position in the Second Division and in 1924 won the title and with it promotion to the First Division. They failed to establish themselves and were relegated in 1926–27. After their relegation, 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 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 for eight 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 manager in April 1948 after just one year as manager. He was replaced by Major Frank Buckley.

Leeds remained in the Second Division until 1955–56, when they once again won promotion to the First Division, inspired by John Charles. 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 Charles resulted in Leeds being relegated to the Second Division in the 1959–60 season.

1961–1974: Don Revie era

In March 1961, the club appointed former player Don Revie as manager, following the resignation of Jack Taylor. His stewardship began in adverse circumstances; the club was in financial difficulty[5] and in 1961–62 only a win in the final game of the season saved the club from relegation to Division Three. Revie implemented a youth policy and a change of kit colour to an all-white strip in the style of Real Madrid, and Leeds soon won promotion to the First Division in 1963–64. In his 13 years in charge, Revie guided Leeds to two Football League First Division titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup, two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups, one Football League Second Division title and one Charity Shield. He also guided them to three more FA Cup Finals, two more FA Cup Semi-Finals, one more Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Semi-Final, one European Cup Winners' Cup Final and one European Cup Semi-Final. The team also finished second in the Football League First Division five times, third once and fourth twice. In a survey of leading football writers, historians and academics by Total Sport magazine, Revie's Leeds United were voted as one of the 50 greatest football teams of all time.[6]

1974–1988: Post-Revie and Relegation

Following the 1973–74 season, Revie left Leeds and Elland Road to manage the England 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.[7] Clough's tenure as manager started badly, with defeat in the Charity Shield Match against Liverpool in which Billy Bremner and Kevin Keegan were sent off for fighting. Under Clough, the team performed poorly, and after only 44 days[8] he was dismissed.

Clough was replaced by former England captain Jimmy Armfield. Armfield took Revie's ageing team to the final of the 1974–75 European Cup, in which they were defeated by Bayern Munich under controversial circumstances.[9] 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 became impatient for success and dismissed Armfield in 1978, replacing him with Jock Stein, who also lasted just 44 days before leaving to manage Scotland. The board appointed Jimmy Adamson but he was unable to stop the decline and in 1980 Adamson resigned and was replaced by former player 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 teammate Eddie Gray.

With no money to spend on team building, Gray concentrated on youth development, but was unable to guide them to promotion from the Second Division.[10] The board again became impatient and sacked Gray in 1985, replacing him with another Revie teammate, Billy Bremner. Bremner found it just as difficult to achieve promotion, although Leeds reached the 1987 play-off final, but were defeated by Charlton Athletic. Leeds also endured a near miss in the FA Cup, losing out to Coventry City in the semi-finals.[11]

1988–1996: Howard Wilkinson era

In October 1988, with the team 21st in the Second Division, Bremner was fired to make way for Howard Wilkinson. Leeds avoided relegation that season, and in March 1989 signed Gordon Strachan from Manchester United for £300,000. The Scottish midfielder was named captain, and helped Leeds win the Second Division in 1989–90 and gain promotion back to the First Division.[12] Under Wilkinson Leeds finished fourth in 1990–91, and in the 1991–92 season they won the title. However, the 1992–93 season saw 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 by Manchester United early in 1996–97, Wilkinson had his contract terminated. One of the legacies of Wilkinson and youth coach Paul Hart was the development of Leeds United's youth academy, which has produced numerous talented footballers over the years.

1997–2001: Graham and O'Leary

Leeds appointed George Graham as Wilkinson's successor. This appointment was controversial as Graham had previously received a one-year ban from The Football Association for receiving illegal payments from a football agent.[13] Graham made some astute purchases and also helped blood youngsters from Leeds' successful youth cup winning side. By the end of the 1997–98 season, Leeds had qualified for the following season's UEFA Cup. In October 1998, Graham left to become manager of Tottenham Hotspur, and Leeds opted to replace him with assistant manager David O'Leary.

Under O'Leary and assistant Eddie Gray, Leeds never finished outside the top five in the Premier League, and secured qualification for both the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League, enjoying cup runs to the semi-finals of both competitions. However, during the same period, the team's image was tarnished when players Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer were involved in an incident that left an Asian student in hospital with severe injuries. The resulting court case took nearly two years to resolve; Bowyer was cleared, but Woodgate convicted of affray and sentenced to community service. Additionally, in the UEFA Cup semi-final against Galatasaray in Istanbul, two Leeds fans were stabbed to death before the game.[14][15]

2001–2007: Financial implosion and relegation

Under chairman Peter Ridsdale, Leeds had taken out large loans against the prospect of the share of the TV rights and sponsorship revenues from UEFA Champions League qualification and subsequent progress in the competition. However, Leeds narrowly failed to qualify for the Champions League in two successive seasons, 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 woefully under Venables, and other players were sold to repay the loans, including Jonathan Woodgate, who Ridsdale had promised Venables would not be sold. Tensions mounted between Ridsdale and Venables and with the team underachieving, Venables was sacked and replaced by Peter Reid. Ridsdale resigned from the Leeds board and was replaced by existing non-executive director Professor John McKenzie. At this time Leeds were in danger of relegation, but managed to avoid the drop in the penultimate game of the season, beating Arsenal 3–2 at Highbury with a late strike by Mark Viduka.

Reid was given a permanent contract at Leeds the following summer and brought in several players on loan. An unsuccessful start to the 2003–04 season saw Reid dismissed, and Eddie Gray took over as caretaker manager until the end of the season. An insolvency specialist, Gerald Krasner, led a consortium of local businessmen which took over Leeds and oversaw the sale of the club's assets, including senior and emerging youth players of any value. Leeds were relegated during the 2003–04 season.

Following relegation to the Championship, assistant manager Kevin Blackwell was appointed manager. Most of the remaining players were sold or released on free transfers to further reduce the high wage bill; Blackwell was forced to rebuild almost the entire squad through free transfers, and Leeds were forced to sell both their training ground and stadium in the autumn of 2004.[16][17]

The board finally sold the club to Ken Bates for £10 million.[18] Under Blackwell, Leeds reached the Championship play-off final, which they lost to Watford.[19] With the team performing poorly, Blackwell's contract was terminated, and Leeds hired John Carver as caretaker manager, but his spell was not a success and he was relieved of his duties, with Dennis Wise eventually installed as his replacement. Wise was unable to lift the team out of the relegation zone for much of the season, despite bringing in a number of experienced loan players and free transfers on short-term deals. With relegation virtually assured, Leeds entered administration on 4 May 2007, thus incurring a league-imposed 10-point deduction that officially relegated the club to the third tier of English football;[20][21] the club had previously never played any lower than the second tier. The players whom Wise had brought in were released; he was forced to build a squad almost from scratch, and because of administration Leeds were unable to sign any players until a few days before the opening game of the season.

2007–2010: League One

On 3 July 2007, HM Revenue & Customs lodged a legal challenge to Leeds' Creditors' Voluntary Agreement (CVA).[22] Under league rules, if the club were still in administration at the start of the following season, Leeds would have been prevented from starting their campaign by the Football League.[23][24] Following the challenge by HMRC, the club was put up for sale by KPMG,[25] and again Ken Bates's bid was accepted.[26] The League eventually sanctioned this under the "exceptional circumstances rule" but imposed a 15-point deduction due to the club failing to exit administration with a CVA, as the Football League rules required.[27] On 31 August 2007, HMRC decided not to pursue its legal challenge any further.[28]

Despite the 15-point deduction, Wise and his assistant Gus Poyet guided Leeds to a playoff position, only for Poyet to leave for Tottenham, and Wise quitting to take up a position at Newcastle United.[29] Wise was replaced by former club captain Gary McAllister.[30] Leeds went on to secure a place in the play-off final, but were beaten by Doncaster Rovers. The following season saw a poor run of results, and McAllister was sacked after a run of five defeats in a row. McAllister was replaced by Simon Grayson, who resigned from his post as manager of Blackpool to take the position.[31] Under Grayson, Leeds made the play-offs once again, but were beaten over the two legs of the semi-finals by Millwall.

In the 2009–10 season, Leeds secured the best start ever to a season by a Leeds side, and caused a major upset in the third round of the FA Cup by beating Manchester United at Old Trafford.[32] After the impressive run in the FA Cup, Leeds' league form suffered, with the team taking just seven points from a possible 24. However, the team rallied and Leeds won their final game of the season to confirm promotion to the Championship.

2010–2014: Return to the Championship

Leeds spent much of the 2010–11 season in the playoff places, but eventually finished in seventh place, just missing out on the playoffs.

In May 2011, it was announced that Leeds chairman Ken Bates had bought the club and become the owner of Leeds.[33] Before the match against Middlesbrough, about 300 Leeds fans protested about what they saw as a lack of investment in the playing side, to which Bates responded by calling the protesters "morons".[34]

Despite securing promotion to the Championship, Grayson was sacked after failing to mount a consistent challenge for promotion to the Premier League.[35] Neil Warnock was appointed as the club's new manager on 18 February, with his initial contract lasting until the end of the 2012–13 season.[36]

On 21 November 2012, Middle East-based private equity group GFH Capital finalised a deal for a protracted takeover of Leeds, gaining a 100% shareholding in the club. It was also announced Ken Bates would remain as chairman until the end of the 2012–13 season and then become club president.[37] The takeover was officially completed on 21 December 2012.[38]

Despite runs to the quarter-finals of the League Cup and the fifth round of the FA Cup (albeit with both runs ending in five-goal thrashings, by Chelsea and Manchester City respectively), Leeds's league form in the 2012–13 season was generally mediocre, with the club never making any real challenge for the play-off places. Warnock resigned with six games remaining, and Leeds just five points above the relegation zone.[39] Brian McDermott replaced Warnock, and the club won three of their final five games of the season, enough to avoid relegation. That summer, Bates stepped down as chairman, and ultimately left the club altogether a few weeks later following a dispute over expenses.

On 7 January 2014, Leeds United's managing director David Haigh was involved in Sport Capital, a consortium involving the managing director of Leeds United's main sponsors, Enterprise Insurance, Andrew Flowers. Sports Capital came close to completing a transaction with GFH Capital that would have given them a 75% stake in the business.[40]

On 30 January, Sport Capital's takeover collapsed due to a lack of "financial backing". Haigh released a statement conceding that it was unable to complete a deal despite two months ago agreeing to purchase a 75% stake in the club from the owners Gulf Finance House. Haigh said he and Sport Capital had "injected substantial sums into the club to ensure its viability" but earlier in the week fellow consortium member Andrew Flowers, the managing director of Leeds's shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance, stated that GFH had "breached their covenant with us" after inviting a rival bid from Massimo Cellino, the president of the Serie A club Cagliari Calcio.[41] Haigh's statement on his personal website read:

We [Sport Capital] signed a share acquisition agreement with GFH Capital at the end of last year. This meant, I believed, that we were in a position to move things forward and complete the transaction in time for the January transfer window. Unfortunately, however, some of the consortium's backers ultimately didn't feel able to deliver the financial backing we had hoped was agreed to take the club forward. I have met many, many potential investors over the past year and, sadly, while many are keen to talk the talk, they have been unable or unwilling to deliver in financial terms.[42]

On 31 January 2014, under controversial circumstances, it was reported that manager Brian McDermott had been removed from his position as the club's manager following a string of poor results, while the controversy surrounding the club was resolved.[43] New club captain Ross McCormack expressed his support for the former manager.[44] By 3 February the BBC was reporting that McDermott had been called by a lawyer representing Massimo Cellino "and told he had been relieved of his duties". However, Cellino still did not own the club, as the Football League had not yet approved his purchase, so neither he nor his lawyer could sack the manager. McDermott, therefore, remained in his post.[45]

After weeks of speculation regarding the purchase of Leeds United,[46] on 7 February 2014, Leeds United had announced that they had exchanged contracts for the sale of Leeds to Cellino's family consortium Eleonora Sport Ltd. The deal saw the Cellino family acquire a 75% ownership of the club, subject to Football League Approval.[47]

At its meeting on 23 March 2014, the board of the Football League decided unanimously that Cellino's conviction by an Italian court meant that he did not meet its owners and directors test, so could not take over Leeds United.[48]

In the backdrop of Cellino's takeover, Leeds suffered an appalling second half of the season, dropping from the play-off places to the fringes of the relegation battle. In the end, the weak performances of the teams below Leeds meant that they were never in any real danger of going down, and a late run of wins put survival beyond doubt well before the end of the season. However, McDermott still resigned his position a few weeks after the season ended.

2014–2017: The Cellino era

On 5 April, Cellino was successful in his appeal with independent QC Tim Kerr to take over the club.[49] The takeover was completed on 10 April, with Cellino's company, Eleonora Sport Limited, buying 75% of the club's shares.[50] Two months later, the inexperienced Dave Hockaday was surprisingly appointed head coach, with Junior Lewis hired as his assistant.[51] After only 70 days, the pair were fired by Cellino.[52][53] Darko Milanič was given the head coach position in September 2014, but left the club the following month.[54][55] On 1 November 2014, Neil Redfearn was confirmed as the new head coach.[56]

On 1 December 2014, Cellino was disqualified by the Football League after it obtained documents from an Italian court, where he was found guilty of tax evasion.[57] He was disqualified from running the club until 10 April 2015, and on 24 February 2015, Cellino announced he would not be returning to the club after his ban ended.[58] Redfearn was replaced by Uwe Rosler as head coach in the summer of 2015, but Rosler was himself replaced by Steve Evans after only a few months in the role.

On 30 October 2015, Cellino agreed a deal in principle with Leeds Fans Utd to sell a majority stake in the club.[59][60] When asked to legally commit to an exclusivity period to allow due diligence to commence, he reneged.[61]

On 2 June 2016 Garry Monk was appointed as the new head coach, replacing Steve Evans.[62]

On 4 January 2017, Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani purchased a 50% stake in the club from Massimo Cellino.[63]

At the close of the 2016/17 season, Leeds narrowly missed out on the Playoffs. Leeds had been in the Playoff positions for the majority of the season before a poor run of form in the final games saw them drop into seventh place. This was compounded by being knocked out in the Fourth Round of the F.A. Cup by non-league side Sutton United 1-0, who, at the time, were 84 places and 4 divisions below Leeds United.

2017–: Radrizzani era

On 23 May 2017, Radrizzani announced the 100% buyout of Leeds United, buying the remaining 50% shares from previous Co-Owner Massimo Cellino, with Radrizzani taking full ownership of the club.[64] Garry Monk resigned as head coach two days after the takeover, after one season at the club guiding them to 7th place.[65] Then in June 2017, former Spain international Thomas Christiansen was announced as the new Head Coach of Leeds, joining from APOEL.[66] Followed by Radrizzani introducing Leeds United Ladies back to Leeds United ownership.[67] Also in June, Radrizzani completed the purchase of Elland Road, returning the stadium freehold to the club which had not been separate since 2004.[68]

In January 2018, Leeds announced an official partnership with Aspire Academy in Qatar.[69] Aspire own Spanish team Cultural Leonesa who saw Leeds players Yosuke Ideguchi and Ouasim Bouy both join them on loan as part of the partnership.[70] On 4 February 2018, Thomas Christiansen was sacked after a bad run of games (not a single win since Boxing Day 2017 across all competitions) leaving the team 10th in the Championship table. On 6 February, Paul Heckingbottom was confirmed as Christiansen’s replacement, just four days after signing a new contract at Barnsley

On 24 April, it was announced that Leeds United would go on tour in Myanmar in the post-season following the 2017-18 campaign and despite the 2017 Rohingya persecution, which has been described by the UN as ethnic cleansing,[71] two games took place.[72]

On 24 May 2018, Leeds announced that 49ers Enterprises had bought shares in the club to become a minority investor, the 49ers Enterprises is the business arm of the NFL side San Francisco 49ers owned by Denise DeBartolo York, Jed York and John York.[2]

Heckingbottom was sacked by Leeds on 1 June 2018 after being at the club for just four months.[73] Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa was named the clubs new Head Coach on 15 June to replace Paul Heckingbottom, signing a 2 year contract with option of a 3rd year, after two weeks of negotiations with the club. In doing so he became the highest paid manager in Leeds United history.[74][75]

Colours and badge

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


In Leeds's first 15 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,[76][77] because Huddersfield's chairman Hilton Crowther was attempting to merge the two clubs.[77] He eventually left Huddersfield to take over at Leeds.

In 1934, Leeds switched to blue and yellow halved shirts incorporating the city crest, white shorts and blue socks with yellow tops.[77] The kit was worn for the first time on 22 September 1934.[77] 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.[77] In 1961, Don Revie introduced a plain white strip throughout, in the hope of emulating Spanish side Real Madrid.


The club adopted their first badge in 1934, using the city crest as Leeds City had, which survived in various guises until 1961.[78] A perching owl was added to the strip in 1964 as the club's emblem. The design was a surprise, given Revie's superstition about the symbolism of birds. The owl badge came from the city crest, which itself was based on the crest of Sir John Saville, the first alderman of Leeds. The owl was normally navy blue, but was coloured gold in the 1968 Football League Cup Final.[78] 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 1970s 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.[77] In 1977, the smiley badge was reversed from yellow with a blue smiley to blue with a yellow smiley; 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 worn that was similar to the previous season's smiley but had the design of a peacock. In 1984, another 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, and a football in the core section: a truncated icosahedron similar to the Adidas Telstar but in Leeds' colours white and yellow.[78]

In the 1998–99 season, the club logo changed again with some modifications of the previous version. It again featured the white rose and was blue, gold and white in colour, reading "LUFC" vertically down the centre.[4] The current badge was officially adopted in 1999 when the football from the 1984 badge was added to the centre of the rose.[78]

The replacement to this badge, due to enter service for the 2018–19 season and drafted in time for Leeds' centenary year, was revealed on 24 January 2018, depicting the "Leeds Salute".[79] This new badge attracted criticism from huge numbers of fans,[80][81] resulting in an online petition over 77,000 signatures strong against the design's introduction.[82] The club then decided to "re-open the consultation process" in light of the poor reception the new crest engendered.[82]

Kit sponsors and manufacturers

YearKit ManufacturerMain Shirt SponsorSecondary SponsorTertiary Sponsor
1972–1973 Umbrononenonenone
1973–1981 Admiral
1981–1983 UmbroRFW
1985–1986Lion Cabinets
1991–1992Evening Post
1992–1993 AdmiralAdmiral
1993–1996 ASICSThistle Hotels
1996–2000 PumaPackard Bell
2000–2003 NikeStrongbow
2003–2004Whyte & Mackay
2004–2005 DiadoraRhodar
2005–2006 Admiral
2006–2007Bet 24Empire Direct
2007–2008Red KiteOHS
2008–2011 MacronNetFlights.com
2011–2014Enterprise Insurance
2015–2016 Kappanone
2016-1732RedClipper LogisticsGreenpeace
2017- Utilita


Leeds United have only ever used one stadium as their home ground, Elland Road, where they have played since foundation in 1919. An all-seater football stadium situated in Beeston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, it is the 12th largest football stadium in England, and the fourth-largest ground outside the Premier League as of the 2016–17 season. Elland Road was previously occupied by their predecessors, Leeds City before their disbanding.[83] After their formation, the council allowed them to rent the stadium until they could afford to buy it. With the exception of periods from the 1960s until 1983, and from 1997 to 2004, the local council owned the stadium.[84] However, it was sold by the club in October 2004, with a 25-year sale-leaseback deal being agreed, and a commercial buy-back clause also included for when the club's finances improve sufficiently.

Initially the ground was the home of the Holbeck Rugby Club, which played in the Northern Rugby Union, the forerunner of the Rugby Football League.[85] 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 its pub The Old Peacock, which still faces the site.[86] The newly formed Leeds City agreed to rent and later own Elland Road. After their disbandment, it was sold to Leeds United. The most recent stand at Elland Road is the East, or Family, Stand, a cantilever structure completed during the 1992–93 season that can hold 17,000 seated spectators. It is a two-tiered stand that 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. 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 drew up plans to redevelop parts of Elland Road and increase the stadium's capacity. Ken Bates also revealed plans to take out the executive boxes out of the South Stand to increase the starting capacity by a further 2,000–3,000. More executive boxes would be built in the east stand.

Sir Alex Ferguson has said that Elland Road has one of the most intimidating atmospheres in European football.[87]

A statue for legendary Captain Billy Bremner was unviled outside the stadium in 1999 in the area known as 'Bremner Square'.[88] Then a bronze statue for Leeds' most successful manager Don Revie was also unveiled in 2012, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the club winning the FA Cup.[89] As part of the renovation towards the Bremner statue in the summer of the 2018, 'Bremner Square XI' was announced[90], which featured 10 further 'legendary Leeds players' who will have engraved stones featuring the legends keys stats and achievements during their careers with Leeds United.[91]

On 28 June 2017, new Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani completed the purchase of Elland Road, making the stadium property of Leeds United for the first time since 2004.[92] In July 2018, Elland Road was voted 'Best Ground In the Championship' by football supporters.[93]

A panorama of Elland Road


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."[94] Reid was also joined by two other previous managers on the eve of Leeds's first appearance in the third tier. Reid said that "the support is fantastic" and "incredible", Kevin Blackwell said "fans will follow them everywhere" and David O'Leary commented "There is an immense fan base and they are still with the club".[95]

The supporters are renowned for singing the 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 which Leeds lost due to dubious refereeing decisions. Leeds United fans also have their own salute.[96] Leeds are 10th in the all-time average attendance figures for the Football League and Premier League.[97] They have the third most rivalries in the English League[98] and were, allegedly, the most hated club in English football as of the start of the 2008–09 season.[99]

An LGBT fans' group was formed in 2017 and will sit on the club's Supporters' Advisory Group.[100]


Leeds United have rivalries with several clubs, including local rivalries with Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Bradford City and Huddersfield Town, and national rivalries with Manchester United, Chelsea and Millwall. A rivalry with Turkish club Galatasaray was created after two Leeds fans were murdered by Galatasaray supporters before a UEFA Cup fixture in April 2000.[101] When former Leeds player Harry Kewell moved to Galatasaray in 2008, it caused uproar with Leeds supporters.[102][103][104]


Leeds United owned their own radio station, Yorkshire Radio, which broadcast on DAB Digital Radio and LUTV, before being closed in July 2013 by new owners GFH Capital, after outgoing president Ken Bates left the club.[105] LUTV is the club's own internet television channel, and is available to watch online via a mix of freeview and a subscription service.[106] It features a daily news programme, player and staff interviews, match highlights (of the first team, the development squad and the under 18s) and live commentary of all Leeds matches by Thom Kirwin and former player and manager Eddie Gray. Alternative commentary is broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds by Adam Pope and co-commentator Noel Whelan.[107]

The club also published its own magazine, Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, which was first produced in 1998. In recent years, the magazine was taken out of circulation in newsagents and supermarkets, and so was only available to official club members by mail or by purchase in the official club shop. The magazine ceased publication in 2011.

After the takeover by GFH Capital, Leeds introduced a Leeds United official Twitter feed to help interact via social media.[108] GFH Capital also expanded the club's Facebook page and introduced Instagram accounts and further official Twitter pages for commercial ventures. The club also re-branded and re-designed the official club website in August 2013, with an integrated LUTV facility. The club also has an official Snapchat account too.

In October 2014, it was revealed that Ken Bates-owned radio station Radio Yorkshire would broadcast Leeds United games, thus sharing broadcasting rights with BBC Radio Leeds and LUTV for live matchday commentary of all Leeds United first team games.


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.[109] After Leeds's 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 at eighth 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, written especially for Leeds United.

For many years, "Strings for Yasmin" by Tin Tin Out was played before kick-off at Elland Road; 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 21 August 2018[110][111]

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

No. Position Player
1 GK Bailey Peacock-Farrell
2 DF Luke Ayling (vice-captain)
3 DF Barry Douglas
4 MF Adam Forshaw
6 DF Liam Cooper (captain)
7 FW Kemar Roofe
9 FW Patrick Bamford
10 MF Ezgjan Alioski
11 FW Tyler Roberts
13 GK Will Huffer
14 MF Samuel Sáiz
15 MF Stuart Dallas
18 DF Pontus Jansson
19 MF Pablo Hernández
20 DF Tom Pearce
22 MF Jack Harrison (on loan from Manchester City)
No. Position Player
23 MF Kalvin Phillips
27 GK Jamal Blackman (on loan from Chelsea)
28 DF Gaetano Berardi
34 MF Lewis Baker (on loan from Chelsea)
35 DF Conor Shaughnessy
39 FW Ryan Edmondson
41 FW Sam Dalby
42 MF Callum Nicell
43 MF Mateusz Klich
44 DF Hugo Díaz
46 MF Jamie Shackleton
47 FW Jack Clarke
48 MF Jordan Stevens
50 DF Pascal Struijk
MF Izzy Brown (on loan from Chelsea)

Out on loan

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

No. Position Player
FW Paweł Cibicki (on loan to Molde FK until 31 December 2018)
DF Lewie Coyle (on loan to Fleetwood Town until 1 January 2019)
DF Liam Kitching (on loan to Harrogate Town until 2 January 2019)
FW Mallik Wilks (on loan to Doncaster Rovers until 2 January 2019)
MF Eunan O'Kane (on loan to Luton Town until 10 January 2019)
DF Laurens De Bock (on loan to KV Oostende until 31 May 2019)
DF Tyler Denton (on loan to Peterborough United until 31 May 2019)
DF Paudie O'Connor (on loan to Blackpool until 31 May 2019)
DF Oriol Rey (on loan to UB Conquense until 31 May 2019)[112]
No. Position Player
MF Vurnon Anita (on loan to Willem II until 31 May 2019)
MF Ouasim Bouy (on loan to PEC Zwolle until 31 May 2019)
MF Yōsuke Ideguchi (on loan to Greuther Fürth until 31 May 2019)
MF Hadi Sacko (on loan to Las Palmas until 31 May 2019)
FW Adrián Balboa (on loan to Terrassa FC until 31 May 2019)[113]
FW Jay-Roy Grot (on loan to VVV-Venlo until 31 May 2019)
FW Alex Machuca (on loan to Burgos CF until 31 May 2019)[114]
FW Caleb Ekuban (on loan to Trabzonspor until 30 June 2019)
FW Oliver Šarkić (on loan to Barakaldo CF until 30 June 2019)[115]

Retired numbers

On 15 May 2014, Leeds United retired the number 17 shirt due to then-owner Massimo Cellino's superstitious beliefs. Up until June 2014, the last occupant of the shirt had been Michael Brown.[116]

Reserves and Youth Team

Notable players

First team staff

Position Staff
Head Coach Marcelo Bielsa[117]
Assistant Head Coach Pablo Quiroga[118]
Assistant Head Coach Diego Reyes[118]
Assistant Head Coach Diego Flores[118]
First Team Coach & Development Squad Manager Carlos Corberán[118]
Translator Salim Lamrani[118]
Goalkeeper Coach Marcos Abad[118]
Performance Analyst Jorge García Valera[118]
Performance Analyst Chris Meek

Last updated: 18 June 2018
Source:Leeds United and Yorkshire Evening Post

Medical team

Position Staff
Head of Medicine and Performance Rob Price[119]
Fitness Coach Rubén Crespo[120]
Fitness Coach Benoit Delaval[118]
Sports Scientist Tom Robinson[121]
Sports Scientist Alexandros Kapsis
Performance Nutritionist Nessan Costello
Head Physio Henry McStay[122]
Assistant Physio Daryl Carter
Sports Massage Therapist Paul Evans[123]

Last updated: 18 June 2018
Source:Leeds United and Yorkshire Evening Post

Scouting team

Position Staff
Head of European Recruitment Gaby Ruiz[124]
Head of Football Development (Asia) Toshiya Fujita[124]
Head of Emerging Talent Craig Dean[125]
Scout Dani Salas[124]
Scout Paco Peral[124]
Recruitment Analyst Alex Davies[124]
Recruitment Analyst Andrea Iore[124]

Last updated: 15 May 2018
Source:Yorkshire Evening Post

Under 23s and Academy staff

Directors and backroom staff

Owners and directors


Leeds United Football Club Limited ('LUFC') Owners Aser Group Holding (90% shares)
Leeds United Football Club Limited ('LUFC') Owners 49ers Enterprises (10% shares)
Patron Patricia Lascelles, The Countess of Harewood (Posthumous)
Chairman / Owner Andrea Radrizzani
Chief Executive Angus Kinnear
Director Iván Bravo
Director Paraag Marathe
Director Andre Tegner
Director of Football Victor Orta
Executive Director Paul Bell

Last updated: 01 May 2018
Source:Leeds United Official Website

League history


Manager/Head Coach history

Club honours


English leagues

English cups

European competition

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 EFL League One Player of the Year at EFL Awards whilst playing for Leeds :

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

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

Continent Player of the year

The following have played for Leeds United and been a recipient of a Footballer of the Year award, including the Ballon d'Or, African Footballer of the Year, Asian Footballer of the Year, South American Footballer of the Year, Oceania Footballer of the Year and CONCAF Player Of The Year


Goal of the season

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

Premier League Golden Boot

The following have won the Golden Boot award whilst playing for Leeds :

EFL Championship Golden Boot

The following have won the EFL Championship Top Scorer award whilst playing for Leeds :

  • 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 ground was featured at the end of an episode of BBC comedy series Porridge, when a released prisoner began to dig up the turf in the mistaken belief there was buried loot underneath. The Leeds team was also referred to in another episode as being "hard but fair".
  • The Penalty King – A 2006 film about a Leeds United fan who 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.
  • Gary Speed – A Song by Lars Vaular.[130]
  • 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.[131]
  • 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 Champions' league.[132][133][134][135]

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  133. Wilson, Paul (23 March 2003). "Catchy Toon could be a classic". The Guardian. UK. Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. 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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