As Leeds United get themselves settled into their second season in the Premier League, the regular sight of a sold-out Elland Road highlights the need for an expansion of the stadium. With plans in place to increase the capacity to 60,000, the hierarchy at Leeds have shown that they have the ambition to make the West Yorkshire outfit a formidable force in the top-tier ranks once again.
Demand on the Rise
After a successful first season back in the Premier League, which saw the Whites finish in a respectable ninth place in the table, Leeds fans have been showing their support in droves by packing out Elland Road for the new campaign. The West Yorkshire side are expected to be competing for mid-table slots and above, according to recent football prediction blogs. They're currently priced at 350/1 for an elusive title win and 5/4 to finish in the top half.
The club has enjoyed a loyal fanbase over the years: even at its lowest with three seasons in League One, the ground would often be close to full capacity. Through the days in the Championship, and since the arrival of manager Marcelo Bielsa in 2018, demand has absolutely skyrocketed for tickets.
The new campaign has highlighted even further the need for an expansion of Elland Road, with Leeds selling out their first two home games against Merseyside outfits Everton and Liverpool. However, August’s Carabao Cup second round encounter being sold out against Crewe Alexandra has been the biggest cry out for the capacity of Elland Road to be increased.
Elland Road Has Fallen Behind
When looking at the stadiums for Premier League teams today, it’s clear to see that the humble surroundings of Elland Road are in need of a revamp. The likes of the Etihad Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium are perfect examples of what’s possible in 2021. Meanwhile, not all that much has changed at Elland Road in recent years, except for some minor cosmetic work around the outside of the ground, and new lighting.
Ultimately, it’s the number of fans that can be accommodated within the stadium that's the key for the owners and investors at Leeds, moving forwards. Elland Road is currently the 14th largest stadium in England, but turning the Beeston ground into a 60,000 seater venue would see it rise to sixth.
At present, the official capacity of Elland Road is just under 38,000, but the hierarchy at Leeds are confident they would be able to fill a much larger stadium. Meanwhile, fans will be happy to see that Leeds are looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Liverpool in expanding their current home, as opposed to looking for an altogether different location in the city.
There have been plenty of ups and downs at Leeds United over the years, but with an ambitious coach on the field, and plans for expansion, there's plenty of excitement about what the Whites might be able to achieve in the years to come.