Stadium expansion an absolute must to put Elland Road back on the map
source: StadiumDB.com; author: michał
There's been discussion of expanding Elland Road for a few years now, and it seems that the wheels are finally in motion. Leeds United has decided to put the idea of building a new £25 million training ground on hold and, instead, has opted to move towards expanding the stadium.
The plan is to increase the capacity from 37,890 to 55,000, and this is a necessary move if the club is to relive its former glory days.
Once One of the Country’s Main Grounds
When England last hosted a major international tournament, Euro 96, Elland Road was one of eight venues used for matches. Of the grounds used, it had the fourth-highest capacity of 40,204, behind only Villa Park, Anfield, Old Trafford, and Wembley. If England were the main country for the World Cup now, though, it's doubtful that Leeds United’s ground would be used to host games.
In the 25 years since then, as the fortunes of Leeds have sunk to unprecedented lows, other sides have risen up around them. When the Whites were in the doldrums of League One football, Manchester City were developing into a global powerhouse. There's no doubt that the Citizens’ 55,000 capacity Etihad Stadium would be above Elland Road in the pecking order now if a World Cup came to town. So too would the Emirates, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the London Stadium of West Ham United.
This is why an expansion of Elland Road to the proposed 55,000 capacity is something that must happen if the club is to carry on with its redemptive arc back to the top of the English game. In the eyes of everyone involved with the club, Leeds should be considered as one of the top sides in the Premier League alongside the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool. Expanding the stadium is one of the stepping stones to achieving that dream.
Highly Passionate Fan Base
Leeds fans are renowned for being among the most passionate in the country, and support for the club has grown tenfold during Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure as manager.
In addition, lucrative sponsorship deals have further boosted the club's profile, with the likes of betting company and online casino 32Red striking up an affiliation. According to Bonusfinder, who ran a recent post, this site is among the top places to play casino games in the UK thanks to its welcome bonus. Part of that success could be to do with its past sponsorship with Leeds United.
The power of the Leeds fan base is obvious, and the 32Red story is one of many examples of how much of an effect these people can have. Bielsa himself has stated that the fans are the most important aspect of a football club, so it stands to reason that Leeds United wants to ensure that more fans can enter on match days.
Leeds is making all the right moves when it comes to restoring their former glory. The results on the pitch have been going extremely well, but it’s the business side of proceedings that should be organised in a sustainable way too.
Expanding the stadium will have Leeds rubbing shoulders with the cream of the crop in England once again.