Angus Kinnear reflects on Leeds United's size and scale, global interest and aim for top six
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Kinnear joined the Leeds board from West Ham United back in the summer of 2017 before a season in which United finished 13th in the Championship under Paul Heckingbottom who replaced Thomas Christiansen in February of the 2017-18 campaign.
Kinnear then proved instrumental in appointing Marcelo Bielsa as head coach in June 2018 and Leeds are now 13th in the Premier League two and a half years on.
Speaking on the Official Leeds United Podcast, Kinnear said Leeds were unique to any other club outside of the division’s top six and the CEO said Bielsa’s current group epitomised the club’s mantra of ‘side before self.’
In the country’s ongoing battle against coronavirus, United’s players, coaching staff and senior management all took a voluntary wage deferral last Spring to safeguard the business and to ensure that hundreds of non-football staff at Elland Road and Thorp Arch could still be paid.
Leeds were then promoted as Championship champions following the end to a delayed campaign last June, ensuring a return to the Premier League after a 16-year wait.
Asked if his time at Leeds so far had gone beyond his expectations, Kinnear reasoned: “I think what has surprised me and it shouldn’t have surprised me because I came because I knew it was a big club but the size of the club and the scale of the club has surprised me which has followed the success.
“Not only is it owned by the city but there’s an interest in Leeds United globally which I don’t think exists for many clubs, probably any clubs outside the top six. So I think our ambition of being a top-six side was absolutely right.
“I think the journey that we have taken to get here has been more of a rollercoaster than I expected.
“But I think the way that we went up last year and the way that we have approached the Premier League, I don’t think I could have hoped for any more.
“The team’s performances last year and the way that they stuck together both on and off the pitch, I have always said they will have a special place in Leeds United’s history for the way they acted, not only the way they played but the way they came together over Covid.
“I’m not sure the fans really realise what they did then but for me it was the best indication of side before self and it just showed how special the club is.”
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Thank you Laura Collins