Leeds United secured promotion to the Premier League in 2020, making it almost impossible to get tickets at Elland Road. Arguably the club did not have the capacity to match the fanbase size and prestige of the Whites, with a capacity of 37,792.
Elland Road is one of the oldest grounds in the country and it’s no wonder that expansion is talked about again and again. And surviving in the top league this season will again be a great incentive for potential upgrades. We take a look at Leeds United’s latest expansion plans and how their Premier League status will be affected.
Marathas on Elland Road
Speaking to the BBC’s ‘Sports Desk’ podcast, Leeds vice-chairman and 49ers boss Parag Marathe cautiously discussed his plans for the future, particularly his approach to Elland Road.
“I’ll be honest with you, the most important thing is to protect the magic and power in Elland Road,” he said. “So the answer is [it] That probably means it’s more of an extension to the stadium than a new stadium, because I don’t want to take anything away from it.
“Other 19 players [Premier League] Clubs, if they are going to make a list of the three worst venues they would want to play for an away game en route then Elland Road is probably one, two or three for them. I don’t want to take it away.
Radrizzani’s ‘reconstruction’ commentary
Andrea Radrizani spoke at last year’s Web Summit in Lisbon, discussing his investment in the club, stadium and partnership with the 49ers.
“Leeds United, like Eleven and many other companies in my life, is always a challenge,” he said. “All my life I have been seen as an underdog, people have not always given me credit when I start something. People say ‘it will crash, it’s football so it will lose money’.
“I have invested almost £100 million to buy and rebuild Leeds United in the Championship. Now that the club is in the Premier League we have a lot of international players. Seven or eight in the first team, but not just in the senior team The value is probably four times that now.
“People sometimes think I’m crazy to make this investment, but it’s rational, because with the right people and the right management, it can be rational. Give the project time to flourish and we can get things done.
“We are now working with the 49ers. It will be difficult to stay in the Premier League this year, but if we stay this year we can do a lot next year. Then top six over time and hopefully stadium size. Start upgrading and growing this club.
‘High on the agenda’
The Daily Mail reported in September that general manager Angus Kinnear is “leading the way” on the expansion plans and that Peter Lowery “will play an influential role over the course of the project.”
It is said that 22,000 fans are on the waiting list for season tickets and the expansion is expected to increase business and retail facilities.
change of plan
It was not confirmed until June 2021 that plans to build a new training facility had been withdrawn in favor of increasing the capacity of Elland Road to 55,000. The San Francisco 49ers’ investment allowed them to review their stadium development plans, though it was made clear that they would need to stay in the top flight to maintain these plans.
Speaking to The Square Ball, Angus Kinnear revealed: “If we stay this year, construction won’t start next year, but the process will begin” – suggesting the Yorkshire club may have plans to return when they return . will be held. Championship.
While expansion will obviously take a long time, Leeds’ future in the Premier League will clearly be key to all plans.
General view outside Elland Road ahead of the Premier League match between Leeds United and Bournemouth.
Kinnear also explained how the expansion would take place, with the length of the redevelopment usually making playing in the stadium particularly difficult.
The CEO of The Whites claimed development would be phased, saying: “The phasing is up for debate. But you can do West and North at the same time, or you can do them separately. And you monitor the appearance for the season you are on.
“The way it works is it’s built on top of the existing stands so the supporters can still sit in their seats, and next season they go up and then you build layers under that. So ideally you don’t build the vital capacity on during West and North can be done at the same time [or] They can be done sequentially.
“And then it’s probably about getting to the East Stand, and it’s more about redeveloping the East Stand than knocking it down and starting over. And then the South Stand is the most challenging because beyond that you have Elland Road, so you don’t have the footprint to expand.
“So it will probably limit expansion on that side… That grandstand will have to be torn down and restarted. It doesn’t have the depth of the other three.”
Kinnear also admitted to wanting to change the layout to one bowl instead of four separate stands to improve the atmosphere.