Whatever Happened to Leeds United?March 3, 2009 at 5:24 am | Posted in General Football | 4 Comments
Tags: champions league, Giles, hankin, Leeds united, lorimer, LUFC, Vancouver Whitecaps
Leeds United managed to take one of the Holy Grails of world football, qualification for the Champions League, and turn it into a garbage bin. Leeds qualified for the Champions league through the back door qualification process back in 2000. They made it thorough the first stage (it was then a two stage process before the knock out round), through the second stage, and progressed all the way to the Semi-Final where Valencia beat them. I watched them lose to Barcelona 4-0 in September 2000 (see post on this blog) but the team rebounded to go on its incredible run to the semi-final. The game in which they defeated Lazio 0-1 at the Stadio Olimpico was absolutely thrilling.
Buoyed by their incredible run the season before, Leeds invested heavily, betting the farm on the hope of qualifying for the next year’s Champion’s League. They did not qualify. What happened in the financial shock thereafter dealt Leeds a terrible blow which they still have not recovered from. They were demoted from the Premier League , the Championship, and then fell as low as Division One. They were given a harsh points penalty for falling into administration which prevented them from going up to the Championship. Last year they made the Division One play-offs only to be beaten by Doncaster Rovers (whom my Grandad used to play for in the thirties), their Yorkshire neighbours.
As it has turned out, it appears Doncaster was the better team to go up as they seem to have found form to stay up in the Championship whereas Leeds is strugging to stay in the play-off zone in Division One.
I miss Leeds United and hope they come back up to the Premiership soon. The club has a wonderful history including being the last club to win the Division 1 title before it turned into the Premiership. Furthermore, there has been a great connection between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Leeds United with Johnny Giles, Peter Lorimer, Terry Yorath, Ray Hankin and David Harvey being players who spent time at both clubs (In 2012 the Whitecaps signed Andy O’Brien from Leeds United). They also have generated some classic playing strip, especially the ones created by Admiral back in what I believe was the late seventies or early eighties.
While there is no arguing that they did not make it to the Premiership without merit, some of the Clubs currently in the Premiership hardly quicken the pulse. Wigan, Hull, Bolton and a few others are not the kind of clubs I look forward to seeing on the tele. Leeds is a Premiership club that I love to watch. I look forward to the day they make it back up to the top.