Leeds United Back In EPL After 16 Years


Leeds United have secured promotion from the second-tier Championship with two games to spare on Friday after West Bromwich lost to Huddersfield 2-1, ending their 16-year exile from the top-flight.

Marcelo Bielsa's side who are now five points clear at the top with a game in hand was able to celebrate promotion without kicking a ball as second-placed Albion's failure to take three points guaranteed Leeds will finish in the top two. They can clinch the Championship title with a draw against Derby at Pride Park on Sunday

"We are back. Leeds United are Premier League," the club said on their Twitter account moments after the final whistle.

Leeds have been away from the Premier League for so long that Twitter and Instagram didn't exist the last time they played in the top-flight. The sleeping giant of English football who was Champions League semifinalist in 2001, went into a financial implosion which led to being relegated from the Premier League in 2004, with debts rising to more than 100 million pounds (now $125 million) and fears the club could go out of business. The club was forced to sell all of its players and other assets, including the stadium academy, and stumbled from crisis to crisis under a succession of owners which ended them into administration in 2007 under Ken Bates’ ownership, this forced the team to relegated to the third tier where it spent three seasons.

In January 2017, current owner Andrea Radrizzani bought a 50% stake in the club, and in May, purchased the remaining 50% signalling the dawning of a new era. His first bold step was appointing former Olympic gold-winning coach (Argentina, 2004), Athletic Bilbao, Marseille, Lazio and Lille manager, Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera who proved to become an instant hit. Who in his first season with Leeds almost secured promotion after securing third (3) position with 83 points only behind Sheffield Unite and Norwich City who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively with 89 and 94 points but they crumbled in the final weeks and were beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Derby. Meanwhile, Norwich City has been relegated back to the EPL.

Bielsa has earned iconic status in west Yorkshire after the Leeds boss finally put his club back on the football map. Leeds is one of England's biggest clubs, with their legion of fanatical fans following them around the country and regularly attracting home crowds of over 30,000 despite years of underachievement. Their long-awaited return to the top tier completes a turbulent journey that saw them become a laughing stock when they languished in third-tier obscurity.

West Brom remains a point ahead of Brentford, which can move into the second automatic promotion place with a win at Stoke on Saturday in its penultimate game. One of Brentford, Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Swansea City can feature in the EPL pending the outcome of the season and Play-Offs.