Leeds face up to challenge of bouncing back to Premier League at first attempt

Leeds United are back in the Championship
Leeds United are back in the Championship.

Leeds United A.F.C.” by _moonpie is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

Relegated after three seasons in the Premier League, Leeds United are back down to the Championship, where issues off the pitch might make it hard for them to come straight back up to the top flight.

They are currently without a manager, with big names looking set to leave and questions remaining over the ownership of the club. With the approval from the EFL, the 49ers Enterprises will be made the new full owners of Leeds United.

This would settle the worries of the fans, as the York Family who own the 49ers Enterprises, are billionaires said to be willing to pump cash back into the club. But the takeover is still yet to be fully finalized.

The previous time Leeds was relegated from the Premier League was back in 2004. Their drop was exacerbated by a storm of huge financial problems for the club. During the 2003-04 season Leeds had been saved from disaster after a consortium of local businessmen, called Adulant Force Limited, took command of the club. Debts got as high as £105m ($132m) and the club needed a total reset.

It was only in 2020, under Marcelo Bielsa, that the club was able to get back to the Premier League. This ended a painful 16-year wait for the Elland Road outfit to face the biggest clubs in England again. Leeds fans will certainly not want to wait that long to return to the top flight again this time around. 

To get straight back up to the Premier League a quality manager is required. A strong managerial appointment would bring stability to Leeds. The Whites went through three managers last season: Jesse Marsch, Javi Gracia and Sam Allardyce. 

In a tough 2022-23 campaign Leeds only managed to pick up seven wins and conceded the most goals of any team in the Premier League (78).

Although many Leeds fans would love to see the return of Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, the 67-year-old has recently become Uruguay’s manager.

One current manager available is Scott Parker and he has apparently been interviewed for the vacant Leeds job. The former Spurs midfielder and England international had an unsuccessful season as a manager last season. Being sacked early on by Bournemouth he then spent just over three months at Belgian side Club Brugge.

Despite this, he has a great record at Championship level. Back in the 2019-20 season Parker brought Fulham up via the playoffs. Then two seasons later he gained promotion automatically, finishing second with Bournemouth.

Other possible candidates are Chris Wilder – who won promotion with Sheffield United in 2019 – and current odds-on favorite Daniel Farke, who won two Championship titles with Norwich.

Whoever is to step in as the new manager Leeds have what appear to be quite favorable fixtures early in the new campaign. The first two games are against Cardiff and Birmingham, who finished 20th and 17th respectively last season.

Then comes a trickier game facing West Brom, who are managed by former Leeds managerial target Carlos Corberan. The first five fixtures are rounded off with games against two of the newly promoted sides, Ipswich at Portman Road and a Yorkshire derby at home versus Sheffield Wednesday.

However, the Championship is labelled as possibly the most challenging division in England if not European football. A relentless 46-game campaign, highlighting the need for a resolute manager to lead them through. 

When looking at the likelihood of Leeds securing promotion at the first time of asking next season, it is noteworthy to analyze the record of previous clubs who have been relegated from the Premier League.

Only Burnley immediately returned to the top flight after relegation a year ago. In total, over the last ten years, seven teams have come back up after one season in the Championship.

It will be an almighty task to get the current Leeds squad promotion-ready, with players such as Illan Meslier, Robin Koch, Junior Firpo, Tyler Adams, Marc Roca, Jack Harrison, Wilfried Gnonto and Rodrigo looking like they could leave this summer.

Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.

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