Leeds United seal Premier League return after a 16-year wait
Second-placed West Brom’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield means second-tier Championship leaders Leeds are assured of a top-two finish with two games remaining.
Leeds moved on to 87 points on Thursday following their 1-0 home win against Barnsley.
West Brom, who remain on 82 points, have one game remaining and will drop
out of the automatic promotion places if Brentford avoids defeat at Stoke on Saturday.
It has been a lengthy and often tortuous road back for Leeds, who were demoted
from the Premier League in 2004 amid a spectacular financial meltdown.
The West Yorkshire club has spent 13 seasons in the Championship and three in League One
after dropping into the third tier for the first time in their history in 2007.
Leeds’ debts had stooped to over STG100 million ($180 million) in 2003 under
former chairman Peter Ridsdale and there were fears the club could go out of business.
They were forced to sell all their players including Kewell and Viduka and other assets,
including Elland Road Stadium and their Thorp Arch academy and have since stumbled from crisis to crisis under a succession of different owners.
Leeds went into administration in 2007 under Ken Bates and fared little better
under subsequent owners GFH Capital before controversial Italian Massimo Cellino.
During Cellino’s chaotic three-year ownership Leeds had seven different managers,
but current owner Andrea Radrizzani bought a 50 percent stake in Leeds in January 2017 to signal the dawning of a new era.
Radrizzani purchased the remaining 50 percent from Cellino the following May
and Leeds made a bold statement of intent by appointing Marcelo Bielsa in the summer of 2018.
It was an expensive gamble, but Bielsa proved an instant hit, transforming the
same squad, he inherited into genuine promotion challengers in his first season.