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Leeds take first step on long march

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Paul Fletcher | 22:30 UK time, Saturday, 8 May 2010

At Elland Road

Saturday was a bad day for schadenfreude as Leeds United dramatically defeated Bristol Rovers to end their three-year spell in English football's third tier.

I strongly suspect that many neutrals favour the opposition when watching a Leeds match, and supporters of Millwall, Swindon, Charlton and Huddersfield all had good reason to hope that Leeds would fall at the last.

For a while it looked as though they would get their wish.

Mad Max Gradel had to be restrained by Jermaine Beckford (amazingly recast in the role of calm head) after he saw red in the first half.

Stewards and members of the backroom staff made their way on to the field to try to persuade Gradel that, having been sent off, he really ought to leave.

I have never seen scenes like it - and it added an angry, incendiary edge to an atmosphere thick with tension and anxiety.

Beckford regained hero status at Elland Road with the winner against Bristol Rovers Photo: Getty Images

When Darryl Duffy put Rovers ahead shortly after the restart you could sense the fear of failure - the nagging, horrid, unwanted feeling - among the vast majority of the 38,234 inside Elland Road that their team would have to settle for a play-off place.

It would have not been much of a consolation because Leeds have failed in the play-offs three times in the last four years (the other year ended in relegation), hence the sheer, spontaneous exhilaration as Leeds belied their numerical inferiority to score twice in four crazy second-half minutes.

Chairman Ken Bates had spent all week warning about the harsh consequences of a pitch invasion but that particular episode of tough talking was always destined to fall on deaf ears and Beckford's winner saw fans spill on to the pitch and the final whistle prompted a full-scale invasion.

I was surrounded by joyous scenes. A man in late middle age sat slightly to my right punched the desk I was sat at with primal abandon, while friends and families hugged and jumped up and down.

Some supporters sang the club's anthem, Marching On Together. I was struck by the line "we've been through it all together, we've had our ups and downs."

It has been more or less all downs for Leeds since the turn of the millennium but that ended on Saturday.

Manager Simon Grayson paid tribute to his players after the match, applauding the way they held their nerve as form wilted and pressure mounted in the final months of the season.

He said that dealing with the huge expectation was the reason why this promotion meant more to him than the one he achieved at Blackpool.

Grayson, a Leeds fan as well as their manager, also discussed the possibility that his team might challenge for promotion next season. He does not hide from the fact that he wants to take United back to the Premier League and said there was a "possibility" of back-to-back promotions.

Part of his rationale is that Leeds had suffered in League One because they were a notable scalp and teams playing at Elland Road often raised their performance level.

Director and former player Peter Lorimer mirrored that sentiment this week when he suggested that being in League One was holding the club back.

But there will be other clubs with equal ambition in the Championship and so playing Grayson's team will have lost its 'cup final' appeal.

Grayson will sit down next week and start planning. He is going to need a few new faces if his team are to figure at the top end - with at least one striker a definite priority.

Beckford is out of contract and widely expected to join Everton. When Grayson was asked about the striker's future he replied: "You'd better ask Jermaine about that."

The 26-year-old's form has dipped since he scored the winner in the FA Cup at Manchester United at the turn of the year but, nonetheless, his goal against Rovers was his 31st of the campaign.

He is the first Leeds player since the great John Charles to score 30 in consecutive seasons and the team have relied on his goals.

Luciano Becchio scored 17 in the season, Robert Snodgrass was the third highest scorer in the campaign with 10. Grayson will need more artillery in the Championship and replacing Beckford will not be easy or cheap.

Bates said in his programme notes that Leeds will be "looking for opportunities to improve our current squad" but he also made it clear that the club, so troubled by financial problems for most of the previous decade, would not spend what they cannot afford.

Leeds have never publicly revealed who actually owns the club since Bates took over as chairman and under Football League rules, do not have to do so. It makes it difficult to estimate what sort of funds will be made available to Grayson.

The manager would not be drawn on his budget but, to an extent, its size will determine how realistic a promotion push is next season.

I would be very interested to know which areas Leeds supporters feel Grayson needs to strengthen - and how far they feel their team can go next season. For now, however,
they are more concerned with celebrating a successful end to this campaign.

As I walked to Elland Road on Saturday afternoon I saw coaches from the Harrow, Cov & Warks and Plymouth branches of the Leeds United Supporters Club.

Fans had come from far and wide to see their team clinch promotion and the game sold out some time ago.

What they witnessed wasn't the final stop in the triumphant procession to the title that the club's form before Christmas suggested.

Instead, they were put through an emotional wringer on Saturday before finally seeing their team limp over the line.

It wasn't pretty but it was dramatic - and ensured the club's awards dinner on Saturday evening was a celebration not an inquest.

Leeds have taken the first step on their long march back to the top.


  • Comment number 1.

    Well done to Leeds.

    We made it much harder than it should have been, but we're out of L1 at last.

    I thought it was curtains at 10 men and a goal down.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great post Paul.

    What a nerve wracking 90 minutes of football!

    With regard to next season, I'd be happy with mid-table or above. Obviously challenging for promotion would be great but I don't want to ask for too much. It's great that we're now beginning our journey back to the top of the football elite and I'm prepared to take that journey nice and slowly.

    Therefore, couple of fresh faces such as another striker, central midfielder with a bit of determination and possibly another right back. I don't want to spend what we don't have but I trust Grayson to make the right shots.


  • Comment number 3.

    "I would be very interested to know which areas Leeds supporters feel Grayson needs to strengthen - and how far they feel their team can go next season. "

    Well, ideally, one striker if Beckford stays, two if he goes; a holding midfield player and possibly a winger; a goalkeeper and the entire back four apart from Kisnorbo (and as a backup the mysteriously out of favour Marques). I think Howson, Snodgrass, White, Kilkenny, Kisnorbo, Parker (if he can maintain fitness) and for that matter Beckford can make it at a higher level. Gradel possibly if he can calm down. This isn't meant to insult players like Naylor, Becchio and Hughes who have worked their socks off for the club this season, and I hope roles can be found for them. There is also a swathe of loan players, who will mostly (hopefully) go back to their owners.

    As to how far they can go ... If you look at the Championship this year, the top two were premiership clubs bouncing back up. The next five, including Swansea, who almost made it, and with the exception of Cardiff, were all relatively recently in League One. I can't see this year's relegated teams from the Premiership dominating the Championship next year. Whichever of the League One playoff candidates goes up, I think all three promoted teams (Norwich, Leeds and one of the others) could be formidable in the Championship, and at least one (not necessarily Leeds) will at least make the playoffs.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great to see Leeds achieving promotion. I bet it has been a long 3 years for their fans. Hopefully they will now start to climb back towards the Premier League where they belong!

  • Comment number 5.

    I think Higgs in goal is a sound bet for the CCC. I have confidence in him.

    We need creativity and some pace in defence. A replacement for Beckford would obviously be good too, as Mcsheff didn't show anything better than we already have.

    Despite Gradel's poor show today, I think he'll be a star next season.


  • Comment number 6.

    Well done Leeds !!!! You lot absolutely deserve the climb back up to where you truly belong !!! Good luck to you in the Championship next season !!!! Cheers Lads.... have a great sunday !!! Afterall you totally deserve it after 3 years of consistent bad luck !!!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Great Job indeed....

  • Comment number 9.

    We've made hard work of it but the players showed great character yesterday and it's a relief to be back in the Championship. As far as pushing on to the Premiership goes we're a long way from having a squad of players anywhere near good enough. Hopefully we can keep hold of our good players, maybe bring in a few and try and establish ourselves as a Championship club next season. I'd also like to think that we'd be in a better position in trying to retain the young platers from our academy, instead of seeing them leave for bigger clubs as they've done over the last few seasons.

  • Comment number 10.

    Great article!

    I can see Leeds having an outside chance at promotion. Usually the relegated Prem teams make up the automatic and playoff spots but the look of Hull, Burnley and Portsmouth won't frighten this Leeds team.
    It was great to see Beckford leave on good terms with the fans, whatever about his loyalties, his goals got us this far. He'll be another great premiership player that we can say 'You know he used to play for Leeds' next season.


  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Firstly lets be relaistic, getting out of L1 after 3 seasons is hardly the height of achievment for our club, Bates put us there in the first place with bad managers and even worse financial dealings and showed very little committment to helping the post Wise managers to getting us out!

    In terms of strengthening we will need a whole team, goalkeeper, full-backs, defenders, ball passing midfielders and strikers. Only Howson, Snodgrass and Becchio (and a fit Parker) out of our extensive group of players is championship standard. Even Beckford won't cup it up a division and can take Gradel with him on departure (that was a disgraceful act by Gradel and he should pay dearly in bans and fines)..

    21st will do me next season if it is accompanied by a change of ownership.

  • Comment number 13.


    It's interesting to note that the size of their ground will be the biggest in the Championship also, so clearly they are not currently existing in the way of a Bolton Wanderers, a Wigan Athletic or a Doncaster.

    But there are many clubs with capacities of 27,000 - 35,000 in the Championship, so if they think they'll walk the Championship, they're in post-euphoria pissed-to-the-gills cloud cuckoo land!

    It has to be said though, that if they get the footballing side right, that they should be in the Premier League. Their city warrants it, their tradition warrants it and the fact that there is no team from Yorkshire in the EPL warrants it.

    But they'll only get there if they win football matches. And if Blackpool, Burnley, Barnsley, Swansea or Preston North End win more, then good luck to them. You get promoted on how many points you get at the end of the season, not on how many fans go through the turnstiles.

    Except if the players, the managers and the media collude to 'arrange' things differently.

  • Comment number 14.

    are you honestly suggesting we should be punished by the FA for celebrating promotion after three hard years in L1??? Yes the pitch was invaded, but look at the scenes on BBC - no violence at all - just extreme relief at finally getting promotion. To even compare this with Hillsborough is frankly disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself...

    Do you want to fine Grimsby too, after their relegation and pitch invasion??

    Or are you one of these armchair supporters who's never been to an actual game to experience the passion and emotions they create??

  • Comment number 15.

    When you start pumping your fists in the air in celebration in the middle of a library after the Beckford goal went in, you know that you've had a good day of football.

    Well done boys and lets have a good one next season!

  • Comment number 16.

    The Championship next year is potentially one of the easiest to succeed in for some years, since you dont really look at the three teams coming down from the Premier League as automatically having a strong outing next year. Burnley maybe, since they didnt blow the club accounts out of the water. This means that the playoff race could well be wide open, and a club with strong fan support and the right signings could well make a big push.

  • Comment number 17.

    flooch,it would be interesting to see who you support because you seem very bitter at leeds getting promotion!get over it

  • Comment number 18.

    //Saturday was a bad day for schadenfreude as Leeds United dramatically defeated Bristol Rovers to end their three-year spell in English football's third tier.

    I strongly suspect that many neutrals favour the opposition when watching a Leeds match//

    What a way to start an article ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Leeds are up how did your favourite team do this season?

  • Comment number 19.

    James beattie sounded out today as a possible intake to deal with the departure of beckford... My view that would be the signing of the season. beattie is a perfect chamionship player. strong, poacher loads of stamina.

  • Comment number 20.

    Chelsea fan here.

    I am pleased that Leeds has gotten promoted to the Championship. I also wish you lot success next season, and hope you make it to the Premiership. I am looking forward to the tasty Leeds Vs Man United duels, and the passion the Elland Road faithful bring in their home games.

    I feel that the Premiership in recent years has lost some of the traditional English clubs to relegation. Names like Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle. I cannot wait to see you back where you belong.

    I also feel that Leeds, being a big name in English football, sells itself. Perhaps, you may be able to pull some big names or a few choice players to help your promotion bid next year. All the best!

  • Comment number 21.

    Clearly yesterday's game was thrilling, and congratulations to Leeds for finally sealing their promotion.

    Can't help wondering, though, why Norwich's promotion, at the first time of asking, has received so little media or bloggers'attention.

  • Comment number 22.

    No - if you read my post, I did say that Leeds were by no means alone & that the FA should find a means of deterring pitch invasions, particularly those while a game is still going on as these can often intimidate opposition teams & put pressure on referees to end games early.

  • Comment number 23.

    Flooch has a point. As a an Evertonian and scouser we all in our city know of the disaster that was Hillsbrough all those years ago, it is only right to respect the legacy of that day. It is after all a criminal offence to enter the pitch. Most clubs are not blameless, I remember people running on the pitch after we stayed up against Wimbledon years ago. After the game in celebration is not I suppose such a big deal but while the game in in progress it is wrong and potentially dangerous and could incite trouble. This is where mentioning Hillbrough is appropriate, it was due to that tragedy that the fences came down and the trust was given to fans to behave appropriatly. Dont abuse it!

  • Comment number 24.

    your comment was removed flooch,that says it all!super leeds go marching on, much to the dismay of others

  • Comment number 25.

    "I saw coaches from the Harrow, Cov & Warks and Plymouth branches of the Leeds United Supporters Club.

    Fans had come from far and wide to see their team clinch promotion and the game sold out some time ago."

    That wasn't just yesterday thats week in week out @ Elland Road. . . We will have the biggest fanbase in the CC . . . and Flooch i hope you can sleep at night after what you were saying .

  • Comment number 26.

    Wow what a game! I was watching it on the internet and simply could not believe what I was seeing when Gradel refused to leave the pitch, even looking like he would fight Beckford rather than leave. He shouldn't play for Leeds again after such disgraceful actions in one of the biggest games we've played in years. After that we were running around like headless chickens, in complete disarray. Then to go 1 down straight after half time, it fitted in nicely with us being unlucky and the gods being against us. I'm so glad that Grayson was able to pull things together at half time as the reaction was stupendous in the second half - honestly you couldn't make it up!! Well done lads! Now we need Bates to fund a promotion push and a serious effort to get to the premier league in the best 2 years! Fantastic!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Been on the Leeds board a few times this season to tell them that they WERE going to make it.

    And now they have!

    Well done to Leeds.

    From a neutral who think that the biggest clubs belong in the top division!

  • Comment number 28.

    Taking nothing away from the season as a whole for Leeds but there is a wide spread feeling here in Bristol that the Rovers players sort of 'let' Leeds get that second goal yesterday as they had one eye on the crowd. I've never seen some of the players run so fast as they did at the final whistle. Can't really blame them either, I wouldn't have wanted to be on the pitch denying them promotion.

  • Comment number 29.

    tonbar dont alienate the boy becuase he made a mistake, he reacted because he knew how much that game meant to the all of us. Hes a fighter and we need that quality in our team. I am still not sure that Bates will invest in the team to bring in the quality we need to make us contenders. We got to be a more attractive prospect for a new investor, our fans base is in the top 10. Marching on together.

  • Comment number 30.

    Congrats to Leeds for finally getting themselves out of League 1 and into Championship football, I hope that your fans won't be expecting an immeadiate return to the Premier for the 2011-12 season, the Championship is a notoriously hard league to get out of....

    With Burnley and Hull coming into it with parachute payments (Don't think Portsmouth will get theirs) and next season all the Championship clubs (Expect for Norwich, Leeds and the playoff winner) will get Newcastle and West Broms 2nd and 3rd year parachute payments split between them.

    Will be tough but I wish Leeds all the best, would be good to have you back in the Premier, I remember how intense the matches were between us (United) and you lot back in the 80's/90's

  • Comment number 31.

    Man Utd fan here...Well done Leeds, fully deserved!! Now hurry up and get back into the top flight!

  • Comment number 32.

    Now then,

    Thanks for the comments. Interesting to see fans from Chelsea and Man Utd offering what looks like sincere congratulations.

    I reckon that although plenty of people say they cannot stand Leeds, some of their traditional rivals quite miss them and would welcome playing them more often.

    As for next season's Championship - I agree with all those suggesting it will be a tight league. The teams coming down don't look like they will be in great shape to bounce straight back and a couple of teams will no longer have parachute payments.

    It is the reason why Sheffield Wednesday chairman Lee Strafford was so keen to avoid the drop. He made it quite clear in the week before their crunch game against Palace that he felt next season's Championship would be a league of great possibility.

  • Comment number 33.

    We'll take the thanks from Man U and Chelsea with goodwill, even though (in the past at least) we had significant rivalries with them. There were many cracking games between them and us during the 90s (most recently) and of course in the times of Bremner, Charlton and Harris with atmosphere that was out of the top drawer.

    Thanks for your coverage Paul, which was objective as you can hope for from a neutral !

    In terms of replacements we need much strengthening. The defence has been a weakness, esp. since Kisnorbo got injured. We need some defenders who aren't 5 years past their best who are dominant in the air and who concentrate fully to avoid leaking a large number of late goals at set pieces and aren't burned off by even moderate pace, full backs who can defend and get forward and supply some crosses, a midfield general like David Batty, who are dominant in the tackle and also use the ball well, plus at least 2 strikers proven at Championship level to replace Beckford and give us more options. I like Becchio but can't see him scoring 15 goals in the CCC.

    As for Gradel - he can be really thankful the other players saved his bacon by showing such character a man down and a goal down, but until his dismissal, he was the next best player to Beckford on the field and had done well in the last half a dozen games. I think he will be forgiven and can maybe prove he's up to the CCC next season.

  • Comment number 34.

    It certainly was nerve wrecking.Beckford stepped up to the role of captain something I didn't think he coukd do.Yesterday was one of his best games of the season.Some strengthening will need to be done for next year but let's not worry about that for the moment.


  • Comment number 35.

    As a life long leeds fan, I want to first say well done to the lads and grayson... as usual, they put the fans through it right to the very end. BUT! we are now on the way, and with a few additions in the back row and a quality striker, I think we could do well. Not maybe promotion, but I would be happy with a top 10 finish to start with and consolidate our place in the championship then push on for the 2011/12 season.
    I believe Grayson is the man for the job, and I would hope that he is given the chance to show us what a great manager he could become no matter how we do next season, and give us some stability at the top... something we have been lacking for many years and I think this is just as important as getting the right players in.. maybe even more so!

  • Comment number 36.

    It's interesting that everybody seems to underrate the relegated clubs in the Championship next year.
    I distinctly remember everybody doubting the ability of Newcastle to get promoted at the start of this season and they absolutely dominated.
    Burnley and Hull will be strong sides next year at that level.
    Burnley particularly are solid financially and I don't see their squad getting much worse then it currently is. Leeds will do OK but doubting sides with unbelievably bigger budgets who have hardly embarrassed themselves in the Prem is arrogance on the part of Leeds fans bordering on stupidity

  • Comment number 37.

    watson135 - you are right to suggest that many thought Newcastle would find it hard going. Instead the complete opposite happened.

    However, I'm not convinced Burnley, without the inspirational and shrewd management of Owen Coyle, will be a team to be feared.

    And I am most definitely not convinced that Hull and Portsmouth will have the squads left to seriously push for promotion.

    I may be wrong because there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding both clubs but I expect it to be a long, hard summer for both, during which some tough, tough decisions will have to be made.

  • Comment number 38.

    I was glad to see Leeds FINALLY get promoted...if anything to put an end to my best mate (and Leeds fan) moaning so often the football gods really hadn't been kind to them for a long time 'til yesterday.

  • Comment number 39.

    Nice one, Fletch.
    I think this Leeds team is crying for a leader on the pitch, who has experience as well. Lee Carsley would be a good addition, who has been released by Birmingham.

  • Comment number 40.

    About time for the promotion but now't like leaving it to the last Game & needing a win to guarentee it. So now my beloved Newcastle won the Championship & are up & Leeds got the second spot of League 1(Should of been Champions like in my opinion) so i've gotta say it's been a canny season. Now don't get relegated ha ha....... Well done Leeds & you's fans deserve it.

  • Comment number 41.

    Clarkeonenil, you are a miserable, horrible bitter waste of space.

    Grow up and stop moaning. TSS got you down to a t. IDIOT.

  • Comment number 42.

    the good side of football - i just love the words of praise from non-Leeds fans - a big thanks to them - that is what football should be all about - if it carries like this we will eventually gain the same respect as rugby watching fans, and if it gets even better might one day be able to enjoy a pint in the stands!

  • Comment number 43.

    Well done to the players and well done Simon. Enjoy the next day or so but then the hard work has to start and hard decisions taken.

    We should never have been in the position of having to win the last game of the season. Was it over confidence or fatigue? Was the lack of activity in the January transfer window due to lack of funds, lack of judgement or a desire to obtain different players fit for the championship at the end of the season? Why were out of form players picked and others overlooked week after week?

    Of course certain players are not of championship standard and others will prove better than they were in Division 1. Questions need to be asked of the squad, the questions in the previous paragraph need to be answered by Simon, so that we learn and grow stronger.

    We all know what areas of the team need strengthening, we all have our favourite targets. All I ask is that we act decisively and quickly not waiting for the cream of possiblities to be eaten up before we act.

  • Comment number 44.

    Great to see the lads finally get out of League 1: Congrats to Grayson and the boys.

    To strengthen I think we need:

    If Beckford goes then try for Rickie Lambert, maybe even if Beckford stays, I could see them two working well together.

    I wouldn't mind taking Chaplow and Carter from Preston for a bit of steel and guile in our young(ish) midfield, and we probably need a commanding central defender as Naylor is great but is knocking on a bit and it seemed that Grayson didn't really have faith in Lubo to replace him.

    That said I am extremely grateful to all the players and backroom staff at Leeds this season for getting us out of League 1. Now we just need Bates, or whomever, to pony up some money and for Grayson to spend it wisely.

  • Comment number 45.

    A source in Simon Graysons family told us on Friday that he would get the boot if we didnt gone up this year. Also, he has no confidence that he will receive any financial backing for next season. So it doesnt bode well.

    In many respects Mr Bates will be disappointed by the promotion, as he was raking in large sums playing in this division. Work out what he made this season, with average gates of 22,000 (at 25quid a ticket), 4 cup games vs Man Utd away and Spurs home and away, and Liverpool at home, add on the Delph transfer fee of up to 8million. He literally creamed over 20million in profit. Probably a lot more. He chose not to buy Thorp Arch back, ludicrous and short sighted, and shows he doesnt have the long term interests of the club at heart.

    He will need to spend more next year, and even though we will be a division higher, his profits may drop.

    Leeds desperately need a cash injection and a forward thinking board to take us to the next step, (like at Southampton) rather than an old man padding his retirement funds.

    Grayson needs to quit with his tinkering and loan signings, as this destroyed our season (and does EVERY year). The base of our squad isnt bad, but certainly we need at least 4-6 players. Main priorities should be a central midfielder, forward, right back, centre back.

    I'm honestly impressed by the Man U and Chelsea fans and their congratulations. Thanks guys, its very noble of you.

    Hopefully we can renew our fierce rivalries in the near future!

  • Comment number 46.

    This article could had been much better had it also acknowledged that another but very different football team made this such a good game. Rovers could had been uninterested, intimidated or had played not to lose but chose to make it a cracking game very worthy of the English third division. A contrast of the clubs would had been more interesting I am sure.

    Rovers have never been in the top tier or are they likely to but neither have they been in administration owing millions to others. Rovers sold Ricky Lambert at the start of the season to born-again Southampton weeks after the Saints had come out of administration. Southampton reportedly doubled Ricky's wage which was our club record; why can clubs like Leeds,Bristol City (1982), Cardiff and Southampton ignore the rules of normal businesses?

    Perhaps Rovers should borrow £20 million for their new stadium, not pay it back and go into administration and then be deducted 10 points (seems a good deal to me).

    Bitter....yes....but it takes two teams to create such a good passionate atmosphere and there were certainly two teams out there, something this report omits. Good luck Leeds (particulary against the 1982ers) next season but don't get carried away again.

  • Comment number 47.

    One thing that promotion has done is make us more attractive to a potential investor.

  • Comment number 48.

    The mighty Leeds are back in the dizzy heights of second tier football. Chelsea and co must be terrified

  • Comment number 49.

    Leeds deserve it? Why? I recall a post earlier saying they deserved to go up as champions too... er, no. We (Norwich) won the league, on the basis that over the course of the season we were the better team. Looking at post-January form, this lot would be mid table at best. And as for 38,000 fans, and someone saying that this is a regular occurrence, if that was the case your average attendance would be 38,000, but it's not, so it obviously wasn't a regular occurrence.
    Hopefully they'll get sent straight back down nest season.

  • Comment number 50.


    Don Revie left Leeds Utd thirty six years ago and died twenty one years ago.
    I suspect that many "neutrals" who wish the opposition to win against Leeds United are not really neutral at all! Or maybe they are just neutral in the same way that many Scots are neutral in matches where England are playing?

    Be that as it may, I've read many good wishes from football fans who might be expected to be enemies of Leeds United.

    One of my enduring memories of those times is that Leeds teams were very inclusive in that as well as English players, they also seemed to have a lot of players from Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

  • Comment number 51.

    As a Leeds fan living in Australia I had to answer lots of questions this morning as to why the huge grin.

    Well done the lads, Grayson and everyone working behind the scenes to make this possible; you've all made a lot of people happier.... and almost as importantly just as many people un happy (looking at you Damienmarc666, so sorry the lads stole your thunder).

    For next season, I'll be happy for mid table and above, and would absoluetly dread promotion. we'd get hammered silly. If anything Leeds've proved they can take the long haul, and in Grayson we have a capable manager who won't jump ship.

    Well done lads, now rest up and get ready for the Championship :D

  • Comment number 52.

    To go from sweating out the final game of the regular season in hopes of avoiding the playoffs, to looking at immediate promotion from the CCC within one season seems very optimistic. Especially with a new set of players as is being suggested by many.
    Nevertheless, here's looking forward to the CCC and games against Sheffield United, Ipswich, and the three teams who came down from the PL.


  • Comment number 53.

    Most Norwich fans I know, plus who posted on the Leeds 606 forum were actually congratulatory and sincere in expressing their good will towards us. Most Leeds fans are very complimentary about Norwich (and some other clubs such as Charlton and others) on the forums too.

    The MEDIA and a few very optimistic/bordering on over confident fans are the ones who peddled all the rubbish about us walking the league, mostly on the back of being top at Christmas and especially after beating Man U. Most real Leeds fans knew it would never be that easy after we then almost immediately lost to Exeter (deservedly so), when Grayson did nothing except pick up a couple of dubious loan signings in January (no thanks to Ken Bates here), when Beckford got seduced by the media who had him going to about 12 different PL or Championship clubs and whose performances dropped off for the next 3 and a half months, when Kisnorbo who had been the best defender by far got a long term injury and then when we struggled badly against Walsall, Hartlepool, Swindon, Wycombe and Brighton etc in the coming weeks after the FA Cup game.

    Leeds and Norwich enjoy good relations, so I don't worry what the odd dissenting voice says - for Heaven's sake, I sat in the Drysalters pub with Norwich fans after Carlton Palmer scored a late goal years ago which condemned Norwich to relegation and had 2 pints bought for me by fans who were devastated but fair. Most Norwich fans don't have silly biases against anyone but the Tractor Boys and Colchester AFAIK.

  • Comment number 54.

    I know there's a lot of talk about us getting back to back promotions and I fully believe that we've joined the championship at a very good time, no stand out teams, no teams of the Newcastle, West Brom standard of this season. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself and say "oh we'll definitely be challenging" but I was just on sky sports and they have us at 7/2 to win the championship and 10/11 to be promoted, Im not sure how good an Indicator that is and I'm not going to count my chickens but I think it does show how open it could be next season. A couple of good signings and I think we could be in the mix, here's hoping MOT!

  • Comment number 55.


    "Leeds deserve it? Why? I recall a post earlier saying they deserved to go up as champions too... er, no. We (Norwich) won the league, on the basis that over the course of the season we were the better team."

    You've answered your own question, we deserve it because over the course of the season we were one of the top 2 teams.

    As for hoping we go down again, you'll not be the only one, but we've never really cared for the opinions of others anyway.

  • Comment number 56.

    well done leeds have a good closed season and come back fighting fit two or three years back to the premier league and classic matches man u liverpool arsenal and chelsea come on yee whites

  • Comment number 57.

    From the other side of the world (New Zealand) every Sunday I'd log onto the internet to see how Leeds had done and was happy when they sat at the top of the league for so long. This was going to be our year ! Then we started to slip and feared only getting into the play-offs which we haven't done well in, in the past. However that is now all history and we are in the Championship league.
    When I logged onto the internet on Sunday 9 May and saw Millwall had won, Charlton had won my heart dropped but scrolling down the page to the Leeds result was heaven - well done lads! I bet the atmosphere at Elland Road after the final whistle must have been pure mayhem - we've finally escaped League One and look forward to the start of next season.

  • Comment number 58.

    Beckford isn't even close to being good enough to make it in the Premier League, let alone at a club as good as Everton. The media really need to actually watch the bloke rather than just look at how many goals he scores. Long ball football with Becfords pace running onto it might work in League 1, but would not work in the Championship never mind the Premier League. Leeds have some decent players in Kisnorbo and Snodgrass especially, and need to start building to play better football than they have this season, which they will probably do. Although as a Town fan I hate them, I can't see them dropping back down, and think it is far more likely they will be going up again in the next few years.

  • Comment number 59.

    The good wishes from rival supporters is much appreciated. As far as new signings are concerned, I see Beattie has been mentioned. He would be good. If not, could we tempt Kevin Phillips from Birmingham? He would be dropping down a league, but would he be prepared to do that for a more regular place in a team?

    I'm not sure what Simon Grayson has against Andy Robinson. On the occasions I have seen him play for us (not as many as I would like) I thought he had a certain spark, and he appears to have lost weight recently too.

  • Comment number 60.

    "I would be very interested to know which areas Leeds supporters feel Grayson needs to strengthen - and how far they feel their team can go next season."

    In Grayson we trust; Simon has the backing of the fans and his decisions are always respected. Making Beckford Captain on Saturday was a brave and brilliant decision. Beckford led from the front and was arguably man of the match.

    Next season we will not be going into every game expecting to be guaranteed the three points. Whilst most supporters felt Leeds were too good to be in League One, I do not think the majority of fans will be expecting promotion next season. Hopefully this will take a bit of pressure off the team, particularly at home where the expectation soon turns to anger and frustration if we go a goal behind.

    As for fans travelling from far and wide to watch Leeds, I flew out from Liverpool airport on Sunday. There were lots of passengers wearing Leeds shirts and scarves in the many different check-in queues. I flew back to Oslo and there were at least forty fellow supporters on the same flight.

    Marching On Together!

  • Comment number 61.

    The "Cup Final" excuse is a poor one, there are several big spending teams in League One this season who don't have those same problems.

    Leeds are not well liked, and never will be, no matter what division.

  • Comment number 62.

    Cmr-OAfc - can you tell me, honestly...why do YOU not like Leeds? If you have a good enough reason I will let you be! Serveral other big spending teams? So that suggests that the cup final excuse isn't a good one this year? Maybe that would imply we should have gone up this season then? Oh...Look, we did. Looks like your comment has only cemented the opinion that the cup final excuse is a great one!

  • Comment number 63.

    Brilliant atmosphere and passion at Elland Rd once again.

    I would like to see a prolific striker coming in to replace Beckford. Also a couple of full backs possible Tierney from Colchester, hes young passionate and on a free.

    Nxt year I will settle for mid table as long as it means no getting into massive debt and staedying the ship for the following season where we have to push for the prem.

  • Comment number 64.

    Staying in the championship next year will be a lot easier than getting promoted from League One, so I think Simon Grayson will be in a no lose situation. Most fans and the chairman will settle for a season of consolidation.

    However if Leicester can get in the championship play offs in their first season after been promoted, I see no reason why Leeds can not do the same.


  • Comment number 65.

    Well after 3 seasons in League One, the team showed us what we knew they were capable of doing and got us up. The last 2 months have been a rollercoaster for all Leeds fans and we have gone through every emotion possible. Now we look forward to next season, lets not get carried away we are stepping up in quality and I believe that we need to add 4 -5 quality players to start to build a team to get us into the premiership.
    I am glad its over, have a great summer and we will all march on together in the championship. Kudos to the other fans who would like to see Leeds playing in the Premiership.

  • Comment number 66.

    Marchin' On Together
    just wanna say well done to the boys n i think we will be heading for the prem within 5years.

  • Comment number 67.

    Leeds are up up up!

    Grayson- His resume is enough to justify his presence at Leeds, his love for the club is enough to allow for a margin of error- despite the criticism he recieved post-december. Fact is, he said he would get us in the Championship and he has.

    Norwich- Appreciate the goodwill fro those who gave it, no offense but with our history and tribulations, promotion means something special for us. The media gives us enough flack that it seems fair to have our day.

    General comments- Beckford; I've consistently had the same criticism and praise no matter how he performs. His heart isn't with Leeds, but we paid for him to play and he's done that. I don't see any way he will stay- why would he? But he had a noteworthy exit, and a great season which is the reason we are getting promoted.. He nearly tripled Becchio this season in goals. So godspeed to the Everton bench.

    We need to overhaul the squad, I love every one of em but our Cup performances just showed that we can compete, not beat the best week in week out. Graysons signings/loans have about broken even for the season, McSheffrey and Dickov were a waste of money, and signing Somma was respecful but a little shortsighted, but Watt has been a great see.

    Despite his lack of goals, Snodgrass is consistently the most unselfish playmaker on the field. Becchio is a great partner up front for anyone, and is only going to get better. But we need two more strikers, Gary Hooper and Rickie Lambert or poaching a Championship player.

    I don't think our midfield is nearly as bad off as some have been saying... Johnson, Hughes, and Kilkenny are decent, Gradel is ok, Howson is staying anyways. But it would be great to strengthen up if possible.

    Defense... Kisnorbo is a rock, paired up again with Rui would be great. Ben Parker (when fit) is solid. Bromby has certainly had his moments, but we obviously need the most work here.

    Keeper- I may be one of the only people who thinks Casper should be in front... Higgs is an exceptional player, but Casper has done phenomenally well all year, and in all our big games. I dont think we need anyone knew (unless Rob Green wants to step in).

    Not knowing who owns the club is in Ken Bates's top ten worst things he's done to the fans, and the most stressful now. I just hope whoever holds the wallet can give us the resources to put us in the Premiership ASAP. But we have a team with loyalty and heart, and thats worth more than Messi.


  • Comment number 68.

    Great article Fletch. Two things immediately spring to mind regarding next season for Leeds. Beckford MUST stay. Where else is he going to be guaranteed first team football in front of 35,000+ fans every week?? He needs to sack his agent, sit down with Grayson and Bates, and sort his future out. For all his faults, the guy is well on the way to becoming a Leeds legend. I believe he's capable of hitting 30 goals in the Championship and he should do it for us. If he wants Prem' football - get there with us - he's still young.
    Secondly, (and it will sound strange), I think League One next season looks tougher than the Championship!! I'm so pleased we're out of it. Southampton, (3 from) Millwall, Charlton, Hudds and Swindon, + Plymouth, Sheff Wed, Posh!!! Hard division.
    Me? I'd settle for a nice cosy 8th/10th place all season long! No promotion worries, no relegation worries. I've had enough stress this season. But then - I would love to blitz it!!!! :)
    Just a quick thanks to all the fans of other clubs who have sent congrats. Nice to know we aren't really hated!!

  • Comment number 69.

    PS. We should sign Billy Paynter alongside Becks!


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