After a 16 year period that saw once great soccer club Leeds United relegated to not one but two divisions below the top level of English football, they have now ascended back to the English Premier League. By virtue of dropped points by challengers West Bromwich Albion and Brentford, Leeds United Football Club are champions of the English League Championship, giving them automatic qualification for England’s top division.
It’s been a long road for LUFC. They reached dizzying heights of world football in 2001, reaching the semifinals of the Champions League before succumbing to Valencia. But just 3 years later, after a period of football and financial mismanagement, they were relegated from the EPL after a bottom 3 finish, never to resurface until only now.
Things even went from bad to worse in 2007 when Leeds were relegated to yet another league downward to League One, where they languished for three years before crawling back to the English League Championship.
After that, there were faint signs of life from time to time. But the only real cause for optimism came after the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa as manager in 2018. If fact, he put them in the driver’s seat for EPL qualification late in his very first season, only to see the team crumble late in agonizing fashion.
But there was no hangover this season, as Leeds asserted its dominance in this campaign, rising once again to the top of the table. Only a pandemic would truly threaten their advancement this season. And once play was resumed in July, LUFC completed their mission and clinched a league title.
West Bromwich sat atop the table with Leeds at the pandemic break. But it was a marauding Brentford club that would soon join the top three. But only West Brom’s position is under threat now, as Bielsa and Leeds can make plans for life in the penthouse of English Football.