One of the biggest domestic stadiums in England will make a return to our screens during the 2020/21 Premier League season. The promotion of Leeds United means that Elland Road will host top-flight football for the first time in 16 years.
Despite the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal moving into new stadia since Leeds were last in the top division, Elland Road still ranks as the 14th largest football stadium in England at 37,890. Indeed, before the all-seater era, the record attendance was 57,892 in 1967.
Having won the Championship last season by an impressive 10-point margin, spirits are high, and Leeds are expected to lead the charge of the newly promoted sides. Top-ranked UK football betting sites have Marcelo Bielsa’s side around 4/9 favourites with Boylesports to finish above West Brom and Fulham at the end of the campaign. Their high intensity style will make Leeds a favourite for the neutrals, and they are 13/8 to finish in the top half and 10/1 for a top six place, both with bet365. Anyone who believes the club can pull off a fairy-tale run to the title can get odds of 200/1 with the same firm about it happening this time around.
If Leeds are to become Premier League regulars, as they were between 1992 and 2004, home form will likely play a significant role. The Whites had the best home record in the Championship last season, gaining 50 points from 23 games. Although Elland Road won’t be as imposing without their vocal fan base – for now at least – the surroundings will be a stark contrast for a lot of the bigger visiting sides which are used to newer grounds.
Elland Road was built and opened in 1897, and the club have called it their home since their formation in 1919. The club have seen plenty of ups and downs over the last century. Three first division titles and European cup runs contrast with a recent three-year spell in League One, the third tier of English football between 2007 and 2010. The large Leeds United fan base will hope that they are able to establish themselves as mainstays of the Premier League after their long-awaited return.
The famous stadium has a rich and varied history as a sports area, but not just for football. It has regularly hosted both international and domestic rugby league fixtures, which is very popular in Yorkshire and the surrounding counties. Rugby union, American football, speedway, greyhound racing, cricket and boxing have all graced the hallowed turf too. Film fans may also recognise Elland Road from big-screen productions. These include The King's Speech where it was used as a makeshift Wembley Stadium and the Damned United, which profiled the short reign of Brian Clough. The outspoken and controversial manager was in charge at Elland Road for just 44 days, and filmmakers used some older parts of the ground to fit in with the 1970s feel.
The current stadium layout sees four all-seater stands, the biggest of which holds 14,900 fans. Initially, the East Stand held upwards of 17,000 spectators, 10,000 in the lower tier and 7,000 in the upper, but that was reduced to the current levels during reconstruction, which concluded in 2012. There have been plans for further expansion, most recently in 2019 – the club’s centenary year - when managing director Angus Kinnear unveiled plans for a new-look Elland Road which would hold 50,000 fans. However, nothing formal has yet been announced.