The demise of Leeds United
Leeds United were once Premier League and UEFA Champions League Challenges (2001 Semi-Finalists) however after failure to qualify for the Champions League for the 2001/2002 season meant that Peter Ridsdale who had purchased players like Seth Johnson and Robbie fowler for big fees and big wages did not recieve the income needed to pay off the debts. Leeds then began selling their best players Rio Ferdinand went to arch-rivals Manchester United for 30 million which then lead to the sacking of David O'learly and appointment of Terry Venables. Leeds then carried on the sale of their best players over time including Jonathan Woodgate, Lee Bowyer, Harry Kewell, Nigen Martyn, Robbie Keane & Robbie Fowler as well as releasing star players Olivier Dacourt & David Batty, eventually Leeds United where relegated in 2004 after 14 years in the top flight. In 2005 Ken Bates purchased Leeds for 10 Million and Kevin Blackwell stabilised the team by signing free transfers on low wages and Leeds finished midtable, in 2005-2006 Leeds then finished in the play-off places however Leeds lost the final playing poorly against Watford. 2006-2007 was one the worst season in the history of Leeds United which saw relegation to League One and entered administration and suffered a 15 point deduction to start life in League One.
Third Tier of English Football for Leeds United
July 3rd 2007 the CVA was due to end, which would have allowed Ken Bates to regain full control of the club, however HM Revenue & Customs challenged the decision and this could have put Leeds United into liquidation. If Leeds where still in administration by the time the season started they would not have been allowed to begin their season, following the challenge by HMRC the club where put up for sale by KPMG and once again Ken Bates' bid was accepted. Eventually HMRC decided not to challenge the matter any further and Leeds United began the season under Dennis Wise and assistant Gus Poyet, Dennis Wise joined the Newcastle revolution under Kevin Keegan January 28th and Guus Poyet left to join Tottenham the following day the club appointed Gary Mcallister, Mcallister signed Dougie Freeman and he was a superb signing helping Leeds finish inside the play-off positions despite a 15 point deduction which galvanised the clubs fans, players and staff! however Leeds lost the final to Yorkshire Rivals (if your a Doncaster fan) Doncaster Rovers 1-0 despite being heavy favourates Under Gary Mcallister. During the summer Mcallister Luciano Becchio and Robert Snodgrass who proved to be superb signings for Leeds United however In december folllowing 5 defeats in a rowwas sacked and he was replaced by Simon Grayson who guided Leeds to a 4th place finish however this time they narrowly missed out in the Semi-Final losing 2-1 to Millwall.
Finally on the up!
2009-2010 season saw Leeds start magnificently and opened the season with 8 straight victories under Mr.Grayson after making some astute signings such as Max Gradel, Patrick Kisnorbo and Richard Naylor. Half way through the seaosn in December Leeds where top with 56 points and then their was the famous date of January 3rd which saw one of the greatest games in Leeds United's recent history. 9,000 fans followed Leeds United passionatly to Old Trafford where Leeds faced bitter Rivals Manchester United in an FA Cup 3rd round tie, Leeds where huge, huge underdogs for the game and however they won the game 1-0 after a first-half Jermaine Beckford goal infront of the Stretford End was enough to seal the famous win. Leeds then drew Tottenham Hostpur in the 4th Round and travelled to White Hart Lane and earned a 2-2 draw after a stoppage time penalty from you guessed it, Jermaine Beckford sent the Leeds faithful crazy! Leeds eventually lost the replay 3-1 however they played with heart and give 100% and Leeds fans where hugely proud once again. After the great FA Cup run Leeds' form in the league dipped and their lead was closed on however Leeds United eventually sealed promotion to the Championship on the final day of the season beating Bristol Rovers despite being down to 10 men and a goal down for most of the game, the Leeds United fans carried their team all the way to a spirited 2-1 win goals from Johnny Howson and Jermaine Beckford sparked scenes of jubilation as the passionate and loyal Leeds United fans poured onto the pitch after the final whistle went. Marching on together ringing around the stadium! Leeds United are back!
Back in the Championship
The first season back in the Championship for Leeds was positive and they picked up some great wins at Elland Road and along the road. By Christmas Leeds United where second in the table and Premier League dreams where becoming a reality. In January Leeds travelled to the Emirates Stadium and managed to get a memorable replay, Leeds where very unlucky not win the game as Theo Walcott dived which lead to Arsenal getting a late penalty and snatching a memorable win from Leeds. The second half of the season Leeds where inconcistent and eventually missed out on the Premier League dream finishing a respectable 7th. The Following season saw a sale of some of the star players such as Bradley Johnson, Johnny Howson, Kasper Schmeichael and Max Gradel. Protests against Ken Bates began as Leeds fans started to fear the worst as the sale of so many star players instantly reminds us of what happened under Peter Ridsdale and Leeds fans who weren't so fond of Ken Bates to start with to say the least wanted him out ASAP! Febuary 01 saw the sacking of Simon Grayson after losing 4-1 to Birmingham City and this saw the appointment of Neil Warnock, Despite picking up some good away wins at the likes of Cardiff and Middlesbrough, Leeds finished well away from the play-off places.
Dreaming of the Premier League
Simon Grayson done a wonderful job at Leeds no matter what people say he got the club in the Championship and he got some famous wins along the way. However I believe Simon Grayson took Leeds as far as he could and the appointment of Neil Warnock is a superb one I think Neil Warnock and Leeds United are a match made in heaven, not quite sure weather Neil Warnock and Ken bates are mind! Neil has lost key player Robert Snodgrass however he's bought well bringing in some honest hard working players - Jason Pearce, Luke Varney, Rudolph Austin (who will be key), David Norris, Paul Green, Adam Drury, El-Hadgi Diouf and Andy Gray. I believe with those signing, Neil Warnock and the passionate fans coming every part of Yorkshire Leeds United can challenge for the Championship title or Play-offs this year without any doubt, the only real concern I have is the lack of depth all ready Leeds have suffered a couple of injuries and look a little light. Neil Warnock I understand is looking for one or two loan signings to come in to help boost the march to Premier League for the great Leeds United Football Club.