One of the top football teams in the country during various periods of their existence, Leeds United are the three-time champions of England.
Nicknamed The Whites but almost always simply called Leeds, this club can claim to be one of the biggest in the country despite spending a lot of their history outside of the top flight. Average attendances remain among the biggest in the land at Leeds and that will always be a bigger marker of a club than how much money they have or what level they play at.
Leeds United was officially formed in 1919. They were preceded in the area by Leeds City which was inaugurated as a club in 1904.
The club was elected to the league in 1920, playing in the Second Division initially. Their various peaks and troughs in league football finally led to them being top-flight regulars during the Don Revie era. This period was a time of great success.
Afterwards, the club was relegated again but after the appointment of Howard Wilkinson in 1998 the good times returned; Leeds not only being promoted but also quickly becoming English champions in 1992.
Infamously in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Leeds under David O’Leary hugely overspent. This meant that although they were successful on the pitch and qualified for the Champions League, they ultimately were punished by their financial collapse. They were relegated once more to the Championship in 2004.
Leeds’ Home Ground
Although actually built-in 1897, Leeds United’s home ever since their formation in 1916 has been Elland Road, a renowned old-school football stadium right near the centre of the city.
Despite not tasting Premier League football since 2004, Leeds maintained very strong home support aided by their possession of the fourteenth largest stadium in England and all this in the era of new stadia having been built on a regular basis.
Part of Euro ’96 and the host of some games for the Rugby World Cup in 2015, Elland Road is much revered and is made up of the Don Revie Stand to the north, the Norman Hunter Stand to the south alongside East Stand and the John Charles Stand.
Today Elland Road’s capacity is 37,890, though before restrictions on standing were introduced many more used to pack in with the all-time record attendance being 57,892 for an FA Cup Fifth Round replay in 1967.
Leeds Club Legends
Among those players venerated most of all by fans of Leeds United are legendary former players such as Billy Bremner and John Charles.
Bremner, part of the club’s league success in 1974 and subsequent run to the final in the European Cup the following season played for Leeds for some 16 years before going on to manage the squad in the 1980s.
Charles is often lauded as Wales’ greatest ever player and became a Leeds legend during an eight-year stay at the beginning of his career in the late ’40s and early ’50s during which time he scored 157 league goals in 297 appearances.
The likes of
- Eddie Gray,
- Bobby Collins,
- Jack Charlton
- Gary McAllister,
- Gary Speed,
- Mark Viduka and
- Eric Cantona
have all lit up Elland Road on numerous occasions.
The greatest manager in the club’s history is undoubtedly Don Revie. During his spectacular 13-year tenure Leeds managed to win eight trophies domestically and on the Continent.
Leeds’ Club Honours
While the West Yorkshire club may have fallen on harder times in recent years, their overall history both in England and in Europe is impressive.
Leeds won the First Division title on three occasions in 1969 and 1974 and again in 1992 immediately before the formation of the Premier League which brought with it the domination of one of their great rivals, Manchester United.
The Elland Road side has also spent various periods in the second tier of English football, though winning the Second Division (now the Championship) in 1924, 1964 and 1990.
Their league title wins in 1969 and 1992 led to them competing in and winning the Charity Shield during the same years, while they also lifted the League Cup in 1968 and the FA Cup in 1972.
Leeds’ European success lies in the now-defunct Inter-Cities Fairs Cup which they won in 1968 and 1971, while they’ve also been runners-up in the European Cup (1975) and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup (1973).
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