It’s been 6,146 days and counting since Leeds United fans were able to watch their side play in the Premier League at Elland Road.
A 3-3 draw with Charlton Athletic is the last memory Whites fans have of seeing top-flight football in West Yorkshire. Having led the game 3-1, including strikes from Jermaine Pennant and Alan Smith, the Addicks drew level with two goals in three minutes from Jason Ewell.
Just like that, we were relegated to the old Division One.
It’s been a long and mostly dark road back to the big time since then. But it now appears, for fans, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If everything goes to plan, spectators could be back inside football grounds in May. United fans have been locked out of Elland Road since March 2020, the last game being a 2-0 win over Huddersfield.
After the restart, Leeds won seven of their last nine games to seal promotion to the Premier League after a 16-year absence. It included four home games, in which the Whites scored 13 times and conceded none.
Whilst there was obvious relief and joy with the promotion, this season there has been despair as no one has been able to support the team as we’d like. It appears that it’s not just fans excited by the news, though.
Leeds United hero Raphinha can’t wait to hear the roar in his new home and that’s exactly what the fans want to hear from their new hero, especially as he’s already been linked with a move away.
The £17million summer signing has been a huge hit this year, scoring five and assisting five in the Premier League as we push for a top ten finish.
He seems very eager to get fans back in the grounds full-time.
Speaking to LUTV, he said: “To tell you the truth, I think I’m more excited than the fans about getting together.
“As I’ve said before, before coming to the club I really looked at the history. The attention I’ve received from the fans over social media has been great, so I’m really looking forward to actually feeling that affection in person with a full stadium of fans.
“I really can’t wait and hope it can be as soon as possible.”
We think fans might ben just as excited to see Raphinha live. MOT Leeds News columnist Paul Robinson has and says it’s a completely different experience watching him live in Elland Road. He looks, if that’s possible, an even better and more exciting player.
If everything goes to plan with regards to the latest Covid-19 outline, 10,000 fans could be in the stadium for our last game of the season against West Brom. We have a favourable run-in compared to some, the last three matches being Burnley, Southampton and the Baggies.
That final fixture could be crucial in our push for the top ten. What a joyous occasion it promises to be. Even if there is a quarter of the capacity allowed in, it’ll be a special day to see top-flight football at Elland Road again.
They’re a squad of heroes that deserve a traditional fantastic reception. It was feared that without the fans this season, Leeds would come unstuck and lost that extra bit of drive. But the squad have dug in and stuck to the philosophy of Bielsa, and are reaping the rewards.
They’ve gone above and beyond what was expected of them this year. It’ll be a pleasure to be let into the ground and get behind them.
In other Leeds United news, Lescott says this man could ‘destroy’ the Leeds defence on Monday.