Last season Leeds United had an average home attendance of 23,813 which is amazing for a League One side, especially when you compare it to Premier League clubs like Blackburn, Bolton, Portsmouth and Wigan all of which attracted lower average home attendances last season.
Relegated from the Premier League in 2004, and again three years later from the Championship, Leeds for the first time in over 2 years look to be ready and raring to go to make a return to the second tier of English football.
This season they’ve started as they finished last term. In the final 15 games of last season Leeds produced 11wins, three draws, and only one defeat. They looked to have the momentum of an all but promoted club, finishing 4th in League One, a position higher than the previous season. , then came along the sucker punch of defeat in the play-off semi finals to Millwall. However, this looks like the season Leeds finally bounce back.
A 2-0 victory over Stockport last weekend saw Leeds notch up their 14th straight league win at home, and continues their 100% start to the season with eight wins from eight in all competitions. Simon Grayson and his side have now surpassed Leeds legend Don Revie’s great teams of 1969 and 1973 with their impressive record. For the first time in years Leeds have managed to stabilise themselves. After financial ruin, relegation and various managerial changes, they look to be favourites to gain automatic promotion this season.
These days their squad is built on a shoestring budget with their latest signings coming from clubs such as Northampton Town, Cheltenham, Leicester and Sheffield United mainly on free-transfers, a far cry from the days of signing Rio Ferdinand for a still club transfer record fee of £18million. They are also producing some very promising academy players, the most recent, Fabien Delph who moved to Aston Villa this summer for £6million. Johnny Howson, Ben Parker and Tom Elliott are some of the up and coming players also progressing through the ranks that in the past produced players like Alan Smith, James Milner and Paul Robinson.
It may not be as glamorous as their Champions League semi-final experience against Valencia back in 2001, but after a harsh dose of reality of lower league football, Leeds look set to be on the way back up. They along with former Premier League club Charlton are setting the pace so far this season in League One, and having held onto Jermaine Beckford this could well be the season Leeds finally makes a well deserved return to the Championship.
All I can say is it’s about bloody time!