When it comes to measuring history, not a team in the country can beat Leeds United - YEP opinion

David Alexander, a 20-year-old student, one of the YEP’s Voices of the Future and a devoted Whites convert, reflects on Leeds United’s promotion to the Premier League.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 6:00 am
The legacy of Billy and the boys is one Leeds United fans carry. Picture: Steve Riding.

In a piece I wrote for my university newspaper earlier this year, I asked: “If Leeds United become good again – properly good – then won’t they lose just a bit of the underdog status which made them so addictively likeable in the first place?”

Now I know the answer: absolutely not. See you later “underdog status” – shut the door on your way out. We’re in the Premier League again, whether the rest of the country likes it or not.

I can see why I asked the question, though. I didn’t used to support Leeds United, and, when I first moved to Leeds from Hull, the most endearing thing about the club was the plucky resilience with which it confronted apparently never-ending hardships.

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I could hardly have loved Leeds United for its recent successes, could I? Not when they seemed to peak with promotion from League One.

The club’s great past seemed as unreal to me as Greek mythology. Revie and Bremner may as well have been Zeus and Hercules.

Sure, they were impressive – I remember gawping at Bremner’s dynamic Elland Road statue the first time I saw it – but when would the likes of him return?

Well, now we know. OK, so the current squad aren’t necessarily Bremner’s level in ability, but they’ve reincarnated his spirit, and that’s more important.

Captain Liam Cooper leads the line with an elegance that undermines his critics, and a steel that holds together the team.

“The way it is”, he told The Athletic, “if anyone in the dressing room’s slacking, they get pulled, they get told, and the lads knock it out them.”

Seasoned pros maintain the standards and help some of the flashier wonderkids force results over the line – think of the now legendary Pablo Hernández.

Meanwhile, in a century of Leeds United, only four games haven’t featured an academy player, and home-grown talent continues to thrive, not least in the thrilling form of Kalvin Philips, one of the best defensive midfielders in the country.

United have become elite again; bred to win. Behind it all is Bielsa, the gnome-like mystic, and most-loved man in Leeds.

And all those years of mediocrity haven’t disappeared. We’ll carry them with us.

All the topsy-turvy drama of time in the Championship. Grayson to Heckingbottom, and everyone in-between. The disappointments, the near-misses, the could-have-beens, the why-did-they-sell-HIM moments.

That will all fuel us.

“You’re playing with the big boys now”, a friend said when we got promoted.

Sure, we are, if you’re counting the billions invested by the owners of our new rivals.

But if you measure real history – let’s call them “ups and downs” – then no team in this country can beat Leeds United.

When you support the club, that’s the legacy you take on.

We carry it between us, and we march on together.

Now, let’s see this fixtures list…