In our third and final part of Fans React, the beloved Heidi Haigh talks about the emotions she went through as Elland Road returned home.
And we play all the way for Leeds United,
Elland Road is the only place for us,
with heart and soul for the goal that’s clearly sighted,
We’re out to toast each other from that silver cup.
These words from the record Leeds United kept playing over and over again in my mind once I heard the news yesterday 28.6.17 that Elland Road was ours once again.
Then I kept bursting into song before getting all emotional and the tears started falling down my cheeks. The news gives me so much hope for the future and that once again we are being run like a proper football club.
Seeing the back of all the upset in the background couldn’t come soon enough for me. Buying Elland Road back also shows the intent of our new owner Radrizzani in that he said he would buy it back and he has done!
Elland Road is my second home as it is with thousands of other Leeds United fans and means so much to me.
Our worldwide fan base started to come back over last season where we were once again reconnected to the club and the atmosphere returned.
This is something I love and Elland Road with the fans in full voice will always be special in my eyes. Welcome back! Marching on Together!
By Heidi Haigh
In part two of our Leeds Fans React to the purchase of Elland Road. Keith Ingham discusses the memories that make Elland Road famous and some of his favourite times.
Wednesday will go down as the day when, after many false prophets promises Andrea Radrizzani bought Elland Road back.
The original purchase of the ground was by Jacob Adler, who had owed the stadium since 2004. It's been on every owners list of 'things to do' but the Italian delivered in the infancy of his tenure.
What does it mean? Well no longer will nearly two million pounds go from the money the club earns, which must be so positive. The 'feel good factor' that was so visible last season can carry on into the 2017/18 season.
In my time I've seen Batty score at the Kop end, Beckford take us up, Butterworth and Connor score on their debuts, Cherry win a cup tie versus Man City, Gary Mac crack screamers, Hawley net winners, Howson superb equaliser versus Bristol Rovers, McCormack's incredible tally for the season, Chapman, Strachan and Speed(score one yourself) in those Championship seasons.
More recently I've seen 'The Duke' last season amazing us all, Mark Viduka's four versus Liverpool in the 4-3 win, Chris Wood's amazing goal scoring exploits last season and not forgetting the greatest goal ever scored in the ground by Tony Yeboah, I even saw Andy Watson score too!
It was all in this place we call 'home' through the good times into bad times, into thinking their might not be a Leeds United anymore. I've cried through joy and desperation, shared wins with strangers as we hugged on the 'Gelderd End', thrown my son in the air when Bowyer's goal beat Milan, been urinated on by drunk elders in the same place and felt lost when they closed the Kop terrace for the very last time. The atmosphere for a while disappeared when the seating came in, but it's back in abundance nowadays.
I have sat in nearly every part of Elland Road, Kop, Lowfields Road, West Stand, East Stand, South Stand, done the corporate and sat in amongst the press corps with my son.
It is a place of worship and fortnightly we pay our respects to the men in white shirts. When full and 'rocking' there is no better ground in the world, in my opinion.
My actual home has been in Keighley since 1978 but my 'spiritual home' will always be in LS11.
By Keith Ingham
In a new feature that discusses the recent acquisition of Elland Road, fans will be reacting to the news and discussing their feelings towards the move.
The first article is from David Watkins, who discusses the history behind the sale of Leeds' ground and the importance of having it back.
In November 2004 Leeds United were having to come to terms with life in the Championship, debts piling up all around after chasing but failing to catch the dream of continued Premier League status and the collapse of a white knight takeover by an American consortium led by Sebastian Sainsbury.
Leeds’ then Chairman, Gerald Krasner, took what seemed the only option left to save the immediate future of the club; he sold Elland Road and Thorp Arch; he sold the crown jewels.
The Elland Road sale is said to have brought in £8m with another £4m coming from the disposal of the Thorp Arch training ground.
Thirteen years later and having paid in the region of £20m in rent over that period, Andrea Radrizzani has brought the folly to an end with the repurchase this week of the club’s famous old ground for a reported total cost of another £20m.
The net cost of the financial imprudence that got Leeds into trouble in the first place, chasing that unlikely dream, is therefore around £32 million, just in relation to Elland Road; that was an expensive £8m bail out! That £32 million spent well in the transfer market at various times in the last thirteen years might just have been the difference between so many mid-table finishes and a few shots at the play-offs.
Many folk have promised to repurchase the ground over the years, from Krasner himself to Ken Bates, David Haigh (remember him?), GFH and Massimo Cellino.
All of them knew how damaging those rental payments were to the club’s finances, draining away millions of pounds every year, especially when the Financial Fair Play rules came into being limiting “allowable” club losses, but none had the wherewithal or confidence in their own projects to put an end to it. None that is until Sig. Radrizzani rode into town.
Within little more than a month of wresting complete ownership of the club from Cellino, he’s done the deed and bought Elland Road using the parent company that owns the club.
Moreover, he has said that the club will pay no rent for the ground and he clearly has plans to now modernise the old stadium and extend its use and capabilities, probably to include a new training complex that will ultimately extract the club from that Thorp Arch lease as well as boosting income by making it a more attractive arena for non-football events. Some commentators are saying that Radrizzani has already outlaid £80m on his Leeds United venture and that looks like commitment to me.
It all feels like a corner has finally been turned in our 21st century history and at long last our ship is being captained by a qualified pilot, one who has his telescope firmly fixed on the land of honey that is the Premier League.
For many Leeds fans the repurchase of Elland Road is just as symbolic as financially prudent, it has always felt slightly shabby that we didn’t actually own the stadium that as Jon Howe so appropriately sub-titled his marvellous history of Elland Road is, “The only place for us”.
But we have also levelled the playing field a little too and we are no longer at the disadvantage against other clubs, most of which own their grounds. It’s another part of the jigsaw, so many pieces of which have lurked down the back of our sofa for far too long.
By David Watkins
Earlier this evening came the news that many Leeds fans could not even comprehend only 12 months ago, we have our home back.
The acquisition of Elland Road is a very proud moment for our club. The building signifies so much more than 40,000 chairs and a piece of grass. To many fans it's there second home and for Leeds to get that back is phenomenal.
The move, which sees Greenfield Investment (Radrizzani's company who own Leeds) take sole ownership of Elland Road. A fee of around £20million is said to have been agreed, with the ground initially costing around £17million for the ground.
The purchase of Elland Road ends a near 13 year spell of the ground being under private ownership and saves Leeds £1.6million each year in rent alone.
It's clear to see that new owner Andrea Radrizzani has put a lot into this club over the past two months, including bringing back the Leeds United ladies and infrastructure improves within the ground.
Speaking to the Leeds United website, Radrizzani said; "Today is an important day in our history and a proud day for me and my team.
"When I met with both management and supporters during my first few months at the club, the purchase of Elland Road was very high on their list of priorities and I'm delighted to be able to announce that we have completed that process today."
In what looks to be the dawn of a new era at Leeds United, Radrizzani giving Elland Road back to Leeds United will be a historical moment.
The new owner has done for the club what no-one else could and we as fans should thank him in abundance for this massive show of support.
Andrea, you have just written your name in the history books at Elland Road and we are proud to have you as an owner.
If you'd like to thank our owner for this news, fans are using the hashtag #grazieradrizzani and we thoroughly request you do!
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds are now back and meaner than ever as preseason looms and the signings come highly regarded.
But Leeds' attention should not be turned just to potential first team signings for an immediate impact, but youth within English football that could propel through the first team at the earliest opportunity.
Although we have a stellar youth academy and young players that are ready to burst into the first team; Malik Wilks, Clarke Odour, Callum Nicell and Eoghan Stokes to name a few. There's plenty of room in the budget and development squads to add some key players.
Here's five players that could not only bolster the development squad but also be handy additions to Leeds' first team squad.
Although this may be a player that would want first team opportunities at the earliest opportunity, he won't be getting any at his parent club Manchester City and will be tired of going out on loan.
The young winger with a bright future would surely be available for the right price and would be no kind of gamble for Leeds United. The squad in its current state is looking short of influential wide players with Hadi Sacko, Stuart Dallas and potentially Kemar Roofe the only players to be wingers in the squad.
The 20-year old is known for his pace, skill and ability to perform on either wing perfectly.
His recent loan spell with Dutch outfit NAC Breda is set to expire and Leeds should well be looking at testing Manchester City's resolve in whether they would like to cash in on the youngster who is valued at around £250k.
The talented youngster broke into a cash-strapped Blackburn Rovers side and has blossomed since his first opportunity.
Traditionally a right back, Nyambe can occupy a multitude of positions across the defensive line, most convincingly as a mean central defender.
With Nyambe comes a sense of maturity at a young age after he had been thrown in at the deep end at Ewood Park playing a full season at the age of 18. He's strong and can outmuscle players and with youth can only progress in his role.
The young defender only has 12 months remaining on his contract of the relegated Lancashire side and Leeds could save some serious cash and bring in a brilliant prospect for their squad.
Many fans will have heard of this young star as he has once again shown the fantastic youth setup at Crewe Alexandra.
Cooper is one of the reasons that Crewe avoided relegation last season, picking up an impressive eight goals and nine assists.
The 20-year old is an attacking force with pace and skill and is deadly in front of goal. All aspects of his gameplay scream of a younger Kemar Roofe at his time at Oxford and Leeds could snap this one up before it costs them over £2.5million.
Cooper has recently had his contract extended by the club due to a clause in his contact but firmly has his sites set further up the leagues.
Twelve months remaining and improving with each game? Crewe will be wise to get any money they possibly can for the youngster, with a fee of around £350k enough to bring the player to Elland Road.
Conor Chaplin is the chips to Chris Woods fish, the accompanying partner that creates the perfect partnership of braun and pace.
The Portsmouth youngster has been attacking some interest for some time and it's now looking like he's ready for a step up.
The 20-year old is adapt at finding space in the final third of the pitch and although needs time to make that next step in football, he could blossom at an academy like ours before showing true promise in the first team.
With Pompy recently being promoted it's likely that they will want to keep on of their prized assets, but if Leeds can reach their asking price of around £600k and sweeten the deal with a loan player or allow him to stay on loan for the season, Chaplin could be a gem for years to come.
With a name like that, our scouts could still consider Costello to be a foreign prospect and get a deal across the line in quick fashion.
Costello is our second Blackburn Rovers youngster on this list and is a future England senior player in all regards but the biggest issue will be where he will actually play. He's a very versatile player and by that I mean, the lad can just about play anywhere between defence and midfield.
The 17-year old is yet to make a first team appearance but has played both full back and wing positions along with roles in central midfield and has looked comfortable in all of them for Blackburns development squad.
A former Manchester United academy player, Costello still has two years remaining on his youth contract but with Blackburn relegated and poor, Leeds should have little issue in picking up this wonderkid on the cheap.
So there you have it, some brilliant prospects who could be future stars at Elland Road.
Would you like to see any of these players feature for Leeds United or are their others you'd like to see at Elland Road? Have your say in the comments below!
By Ryan Ingham
Leeds United have today announced the signing of Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich for an undisclosed fee on a three year deal.
Klich joins us from FC Twente where he had spent the 2016/17 season. The midfielder was a good return of investment for the club having scored 6 goals and made 4 assists.
The 10-capped Polish international is a central midfielder by trait but has the ability to play as a holding or attacking midfielder for Thomas Christiansen's new look side.
Klich spoke about his preference after joining the club saying: "I'm a creative midfielder but I'm not afraid to fight."
The 27-year old has spent a lot of time in European football having played for PEC Zwolle, Kaiserslautern and two spells with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
Klich is Leeds' first new addition this summer joining the permanent acquisitions of Pontus Jansson and Hadi Sacko who's loans spells were made permanent.
The reported £1.5million fee for Klich's services added with the £3.5mil for Jansson and £1.5mil for Sacko means that Leeds first forays into the summer market have cost the club £6.5million, a hefty spend to say we are still in June.
Although many fans will consider Klich a virtually unknown. The move does show one aspect that Radrizzani has bought in since taking over the club, a proper scouting network.
With the addition of Victor Orta came Spanish scout Dani Salas who's role is classed as 'Head of European Scouting'. With the addition of Salas and other European scouts Leeds have the option to beat off competition for high potential players for small fees, a move in the right direction.
Leeds have now also been linked with moves for enticing pair Egzjan Alioski and Sumuel Saiz, both players look flamboyant and well worth a punt. Leeds are back on the map and signing proper players again, rejoice.
A quick note on how the deal came about- Klich was mentioned as a potential signing from Boro boss and all time snake Garry Monk prior to his departure and apparently Boro were then interested in signing player. Take that you t***! Leeds will always be bigger.
Klich will now become the first Polish player to feature for Leeds United but possibly not for long! Leeds are currently in a partnership with the 'Polish Football Academy' with scout Jacob Bokiej being very vocal on his work with the club. Bokiej has stated that he has links to both Leeds and Manchester City and two young Polish players have joined Leeds youth setup as part of the deal.
A good move, a talented player and a cheap validation - all things point in the right direction. So how's about not complaining until you've seen him with a Leeds shirt?
By Ryan Ingham
While the rhyme always tells you to never smile at a crocodile, I've learned that Wikipedia is the thing you really can't trust in football.
A recent story has been linked that Leeds have been linked with Belgian striker Jelle Vossen, which has apparently resulted in his Wikipedia page being changed. However, should the story be true, here's some info on the potential new signing.
Vossen will be known to many fans having featured against Leeds for two separate clubs against Leeds in the space of 12 months having played for both Middlesbrough and Burnley.
The aforementioned move to Burnley in the summer of 15/16 season is a peculiar one to say the least. Vossen only spent two months at Burnley in 2015 before departing for Belgian supremos Club Brugge. Burnley having spent £2.68million on him then decided to let him leave for £2.81mil begging the question; why was he signed in the first place?!
Anyway, Vossen is now back in his native Belgium and is once again banging the goals in for fun having scored 34 goals in 80 appearances for Club Brugge.
A talented forward who can play up top along with occupying a second striker or wide forward position, Vossen is a talented forward who could add some goals to Leeds attacking line up and support for Chris Wood.
However, Vossen is everything we already have in Marcus Antonsson and resembles the same gamble Leeds took when signing the Swede last summer.
In my opinion, we'd be better giving Antonsson the support he needs to improve on his gameplay and investing in a different type of striker, one with some damn pace!
Do you think Vossen is a potentially good signing or do you think Leeds should be looking elsewhere? Have your say in the comments below.
By Ryan Ingham
With a new Spanish backroom and head coach, it was highly expected that Leeds would dip into the Spanish market for new additions.
The same thing happened when Massimo Cellino joined Leeds United with the summer of 2014 belonging to an abundance of 11 players being signed from the Italian leagues.
With Victor Orta bringing in his own Spanish scouting network, it's likely the next few signings will be of Spanish nationality or having played in the Spanish division
One player who has been linked with a permanent move to Leeds is Samuel Saiz.
The 26-year old has been a journeyman in the Spanish second division having featured for seven clubs, including five B teams for high profile Spanish clubs.
Saiz started his youth career at the famed La Fabrica youth academy for Real Madrid youngsters and even featured for both the Real B and C teams for three seasons.
He then moved on loan to Sevilla B, an interesting move that could be key to Leeds signing the player with Victor Orta and his backroom team having worked there during this period. They could have been the people who located the player as a key prospect in the past.
Fast forward to the 16/17 season and Saiz has finally found a place to settle down at Huesca in the Liga Segunda.
In his second year with the club Saiz has blossomed and last season was their highest finish in their history as they finished sixth in Spain's second tier. This was no little down to Saiz registering an impressive 12 goals and 7 assists.
The former Spain under 19 international is an attacking midfielder by all aspects but can double as a backup or second striker.
There's some interesting YouTube clips that shows his varied passing range including weighted balls, cross field passes and delectable flicks all in his repertoire.
The video also shows his ability to finish and you won't be disappointed with his shooting boots as he crashes in a few beauty's from outside of the box. But we all know how YouTube clips can be.
Here's the link should you feel inclined:
Overall, Saiz could be an interesting transfer and add something to Leeds' game that we lacked last season; more goals. Chris Wood cannot do it himself and a player of Saiz's calibre could be the difference for Thomas Christiansen.
By Ryan Ingham