Leeds United are kicking off an initiative that aims to strengthen their ties with the local community and celebrate the club’s proud past.
United have announced plans for a series of themed matchdays that will include a tribute next month to the heroes of the armed forces.
Charities, providers of emergency services and the city of Leeds as a whole will be the subject of similar matchday events later in the season.
Leeds are also organising theme days saluting the achievements of some of their finest players, including Lucas Radebe and Norman Hunter.
The launch of the programme is likely to be seen as the latest step in United’s efforts to build bridges with supporters and the wider community following the discontent of the Ken Bates era.
Leeds managing director David Haigh said: “As a football club we recognise that we are part of a thriving city and region and we want to celebrate that.
“We have a responsibility to the community which we are in, and we want to make Elland Road and our matchdays a focal point for that.”
The club’s themed calendar starts with former Whites captain Radebe’s visit to Elland Road for the match against Birmingham City this Sunday, October 20.
The South African will also be signing copies of his book Lucas: From Soweto to Soccer Superstar, at the club superstore at the ground on the morning of the game, as well as signng books at Waterstones on Albion Street the day before between 11.30am and 1pm.
United’s tribute to local servicemen and women will take place at their home game with Yeovil Town on November 2.
The same day will be used to celebrate the career of Revie-era great Hunter, who turns 70 that week and remains a legend with the Leeds United faithful.
News of the theme events follows the launch of a grassroots ticketing scheme aimed at junior football club members and the creation of a FamilyZone area in Elland Road’s East Stand.
“We’re indebted to our loyal supporters at this club, but we also need to reach out to people and demonstrate that we are an all-inclusive club, and that Elland Road is the place to be,” said Haigh.
“Our new initiatives have been well supported and we hope that our themed days will give people more reason to join us on a matchday.”