Kevin Blackwell has underlined that the Premier League is the ‘Holy Grail’ for Leeds United, underlining that no manager has got the club closer to a top-flight return than he did in 2005/06.
Leeds have been outside the top-flight since the 2003/04 season, but are in pole position to return to the Premier League this season in Marcelo Bielsa’s second campaign at Elland Road.
It’s been a turbulent spell outside the top-flight for the Whites and the 2005/06 play-off final remains the closest Leeds have come to securing a return to the Premier League.
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In the dugout at that time was Blackwell, but he failed on the big stage in Cardiff and Leeds were beaten 3-0 by Watford at the Millennium Stadium.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Blackwell underlined what it would mean to Leeds to return to the Premier League, whilst also making a slight note of his personal achievement: “For Leeds to get back to the Premier League, there’s no doubt I’m the only one who’s got them anywhere near, the Premier League for Leeds is the Holy Grail they’ve been after now for the last 13, 14 years.”
Despite not reaching the play-off final, like Blackwell, Bielsa’s first year in Leeds saw the club battling for automatic promotion right up until the penultimate weekend of the regular season.
Eventually, Leeds finished third in the table and crashed out of the play-off semi-finals.
This year, they are back for more and in the remaining nine games of the season will see Leeds looking to avoid a similar fate to last year.
Whilst Blackwell, statistically, got Leeds as close as they’ve been to a Premier League return, many fans don’t look on his spell at the club like that.
To them, he cost them promotion with a negative team selection in the play-off final and there’s little forgiving that.
Bielsa has inspired the whole city and Leeds are beginning to look Premier League ready under his management.
For the sake of the fans hearing about things like this from Blackwell again, there will be hopes they can get over the line in the promotion race this year.
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