In terms of football, Leeds is a one-club city with many observers saying that it is only a matter of time before ambitions and potential align and see the Whites play in the Premier League.
Since relegation in 2004 from England’s top-tier competition, Leeds United have dropped down as far as League One, coining the phrase ‘to do a Leeds’ as the results of their financial plight hit the Whites hard.
Progress back up the leagues has been somewhat arduous in recent years, the club held in the stewardship of owners who have spanned the whole gamut from lacklustre to inept and all stops in between. One thing that was seen as missing was a sense of ambition.
However, this ‘lacking’ has seemingly turned a corner with the arrival of Italian Andrea Radrizzani, the current owner of Leeds United. The new owner has revitalised the playing squad, sanctioning a host of purchases that has seen the Whites surge up the table. But there have been changes off the field too.
The superstructure of the club and stadium has seen a reinvigoration, foremost amongst this was Radrizzani buying back Elland Road, bringing the ground some fans simply call ‘Church’ back into club ownership. Elland Road has received an external makeover, and according to today’s news that approach may be about to continue in the future.
Leeds City Council says it is to discuss a report recommending that it begins talks with Leeds United about a new training ground. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) October 10, 2017
United’s current training facilities are out at their Thorp Arch academy set-up in Wetherby, but the above proposals are to bring it closer to Elland Road. In another tweet, Phil Hay says that “[the] Council’s executive board will meet next Wednesday to discuss the proposals,” adding that if approved then formal talks would be opened between themselves and the club.
Hay goes on to say that one potential site for the new training ground set-up could be the former Matthew Murray High School site, adding that the “Council/club want a Community Sports Village at Fullerton Park,” something that would include a Category 1 academy – something demanded of Premier League clubs.
A potential sticking point in the proposals could well be the issue of Thorp Arch itself, with Hay mentioning that the club have this on a lease that runs until 2029 – with no buy-back clause.
Should Leeds City Council decide that wheels need to be set in motion with Andrea Radrizzani and Leeds United, then it could be very happy times ahead indeed for the LS11-based club.