The Leeds United of yesteryear are nothing more than a distant memory to most supporters – the days of European football in midweek, under the floodlights have gone down in the club’s history and will do for many more to come.
The 1990’s produced the glory years at Elland Road, with some of the greats making a mark for themselves at Leeds. One name comes to mind, Eric Cantona.
The Frenchman kick-started his career when he moved to Yorkshire in 1992, and of course went on to bigger and better things at top-flight giants Manchester United.
Rio Ferdinand made the same switch a decade later, and once again won many a trophies at Old Trafford. The point is, those days are almost long gone for Leeds United but under the club’s current regime, they might be returning to them in the near future.
The academy’s stamp hasn’t changed, every now and then they seem to produce a number of promising youngsters who have made the move to top-flight teams.
Lewis Cook switched Yorkshire for the south coast last summer when he signed for AFC Bournemouth, and similarly Sam Byram who now plies his trade in London for West Ham United.
Secondly, Leeds have a young, determined manager at the helm who has a point to prove having been shown the door at Swansea City. At 37 years of age, Monk has more than enough managerial skills to take the club up a division.
He’s a wise boss and knows what’s best for his team and the players, which proves he has what it takes to reach the heights of the Premier League.
There’s also a solid fan base at Elland Road to go along with the successes on the pitch.
Despite being relegated from the top-flight thirteen years ago, the supporters have stuck with the club, even when they endured League 1 football, and that is a good place to start.
Leeds United arguably have one of the largest supporter numbers in the Championship, with the exception of Newcastle United.
Finally, there are a high number of quality players in that squad. Garry Monk has been backed by the board and has brought in several well-known faces, as well as get the best out of who was already there.
The manager was able to sign ‘his’ players, something previous bosses weren’t able to do at Elland Road. January arrivals Mo Barrow and Alfonso Pedraza, both on loan, are signs that the club are heading in the right direction.
Also, the permanent capture of impressive defender Pontus Jansson, who has won the heart of every Leeds fan, proves the intent Leeds have to get out of the second-tier and their financial backing.
Forward Chris Wood has seemingly flourished under the new set-up having surpassed 20 goals in his year’s tally.
Youngsters such as Ronaldo Vieira, Lewis Coyle and Kalvin Phillips have broken into the first-team and look to be part of the future at Leeds United – which is promising for supporters.
Overall, the club have a very bright long-term plan and I can only see them returning to European football within the next five years because of the great infrastructure.
Leeds fans, do you think your return to the ‘good old days’ are just around the corner? Is there anything the club need to improve on to ensure that happens? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!