Earl of Harewood named new Leeds United president as club keep it in the family

When Leeds United choose a new president, they like to keep it in the family.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 4:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:56 pm

And for a club that remains one of the great names of English and European football, no ordinary family is ever going to fit the bill.

George Lascelles, the 7th Earl of Harewood – the Queen’s cousin, no less – was United’s president for 50 years until his death in 2011.

His widow, Patricia, Countess of Harewood, held the same title between 2017 and her death in May last year.

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David Lascelles, the 8th Earl of Harewood, proudly wears a Leeds United scarf as he stands in front of a portrait of his late father.

Now United have announced that David Lascelles, the 8th Earl of Harewood, has continued the family tradition by agreeing to become the club’s honorary president.

And he has spoken of his pride at taking on the role as Leeds prepare to celebrate their centenary and – all being well – a return to the Premier League under Marcelo Bielsa.

David said: “It really is an honour to be asked to be president of Leeds United.

“My father held the post for nearly 50 years and my stepmother too for a few months before she died.

“My father started taking me to Elland Road as a boy and I’ve been a season ticket holder since we last won the First Division championship in 1992.

“Now I go with my own sons and, in the last couple of years, with my young grandsons too.

“It’s the club’s centenary year and it feels like we are at the start of something very exciting, with the best manager in the league and a group of committed and passionate players.”

David’s loyalty to the Whites cause was underlined in an interview in 2016 with the Yorkshire Evening Post’s sister paper, The Yorkshire Post, when he named legendary United manager Don Revie as one of the people he would most like to take out to lunch.

He also reminisced about seeing the late, great John Charles in action for Leeds after the Welshman’s return from Italy in the 1960s.

Welcoming the club’s new president on board, United chief executive Angus Kinnear said: “The Harewood family have been part of Leeds United for over half of the club’s existence and have witnessed some of the greatest moments in our history.

“David’s knowledge of the club is impeccable and we are delighted the family’s association will continue into our centenary year.

“We hope there are many more historic moments to come in the near future.”

The Harewood family’s special place in United’s history was highlighted at a memorial service for George, the 7th Earl, in 2011.

Leeds legend Jack Charlton was one of the speakers, telling the assembled guests: “George was an exceptional man. We were all treated as friends and anyone who knew him will remember him with fondness.”