How Leeds Defied All Odds and Returned to the Top of English Football

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The last three decades have been a rollercoaster ride for Leeds United. From winning a Premier League title in 1992 and making the Champions League semi-finals eight years later, to buckling under debt and being relegated from the Premier League. Now, Leeds United are back at the top of English football, and their journey appears to have come full circle. Here’s a look back over their return to form.

The Golden Days of Leeds United End in Tears

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Leeds United were enjoying their golden days.

The side spent 14 years in the Premier League, winning the title in 1992 and going deep in the Champions League in the 2000-2001 season. However, spending on wages and transfer fees was sky-high compared to other clubs, and the debt that Leeds United faced as a club grew from £9m to £119m in the space of five years. When Leeds United failed to make the Champions League in 2002-2003, ticket sales and other revenue streams dropped off significantly, cuts had to be made to players, and the side began a rapid decline.

In May 2004, a defeat to Bolton 4-1 sent Leeds United crashing out of the Premier League, relegated just 12 years after they had won the title

The Decline Deepens for Leeds United

Only a few years later, the demise of Leeds United became even worse.

With a game left in the 2006-2007 season, Leeds United were forced to enter financial administration, receiving a ten-point penalty that triggered relegation to League One. This marked the first occasion that the club had ever dropped as low as the third tier of English football, and was the rock bottom moment for Leeds United.

The odds of a side going from Premier League winners to languishing in League One are astronomical, and yet Leeds United managed to pull it off. However, as those who compare betting odds with would know, a comeback from the third tier back into the Premier League is just as unlikely, and yet that’s what was ahead for Leeds United.

Leeds United Mounts Their Comeback

The financial issues of Leeds United cost them several years, with their financial penalties meaning it wasn’t until 2010 that they could make their way high enough on the ladder to earn a promotion back into the Championship.

However, it would take Leeds United another decade in the Championship before they would fight their way to the top of the pack and gain their promotion back into the top league. After several seasons of being there or thereabouts, the 2020 season saw Leeds United make the right signings and put together a strong campaign. Despite fans being in doubt about the team, they sealed their promotion with two games to spare in July 2020.

The side even went on to win the Championship in 2020, gaining their first trophy in almost three decades. Now, it’s time for Leeds United to work their way up the Premier League ranks and win that title again.

Photo by Unsplash

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