Leeds United Elland Road expansion: New update and talks, plans change, 'agreement', 49ers' view

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Leeds United round-up on Elland Road expansion plans and reports

Leeds United supporters will spend the next few weeks travelling the country with four of the Whites' next six matches taking place away from Elland Road over the busy festive period. A vital meeting with Ipswich Town and the visit of Wayne Rooney's Birmingham City are the only two games to be played at Elland Road between now and late January, with the stadium's atmosphere set to be buoyant thanks to recent form and festive spirit.

In the background, talk over the ground's future continues and this is the latest round-up on what's known about the Elland Road expansion.

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Clear criteria to meet for Elland Road expansion

The Yorkshire Evening Post understands that while the hierarchy at Leeds United remains committed to developing Elland Road and enhancing the matchday experience, any plans are to remain on hold until the team return to the top flight.

Daniel Farke's side are pushing for an automatic promotion spot this season, although are still catching up ground on leaders Leicester City and Ipswich Town after a slow start to life under the former Norwich City man. The Yorkshire club's owners know what it takes to improve a stadium thanks to links with the 49ers. Leeds United recently appointed a new chief operating officer in Morrie Eisenberg, who played a key role in the 49ers' move to the revered Levi's Stadium a decade ago.

New talks

Phil Hay of The Athletic has reported that Leeds have met a major architectural firm. Redevelopment of Elland Road would naturally lead to potentially higher revenues and strengthen the club commercially. Hay wrote: "When 49ers Enterprises lined up its takeover in the summer, it was suggested that the fund might be in a position to unveil more concrete plans before the end of this year. Leeds are known to have spoken with at least one major architectural firm about redeveloping their ground.

"A larger, more modern home is seen as the most crucial way of giving United greater commercial strength; the key to pushing up the worth of a club that, at one stage, had a valuation of close to £500million ($630m) in the Premier League."

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The plans that changed

It was agreed in 2021 that Leeds would build a new training ground, as well as expanding Elland Road. But those plans were later withdrawn, with Leeds instead opting to expand the stadium to 55,000 seats, up from the current capacity of 37,608. It was said at the time that further investment from the 49ers would be needed. Angus Kinnear said at the time: “If we stay up this year, then construction wouldn’t start next year, but the process would.”

‘Agreement’

New Leeds owners 49ers Enterprises are expected to assume ownership of Elland Road from previous owner Andrea Radrizzani, according to The Athletic.

“As yet, there are no updates on Companies House about a change of ownership, but the 49ers’ buy-out of Radrizzani included an agreement for the group to acquire 100 per cent of Elland Road and sources with knowledge of the deal — speaking anonymously to protect confidentiality agreements — have told The Athletic that the handover is due to be registered at Companies House in the near future.”

49ers’ previous promise

Paraag Marathe is keen to preserve the personality and history of the Elland Road culture. In an interview with the BBC, Marathe said: “I’ll be honest with you, the main thing is to protect the magic and electricity that is in Elland Road. The answer then is [it] probably means that it’s more of a stadium expansion than a new stadium because I don’t want to take away from that.

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“Players from the other 19 [Premier League] clubs, if they are going to list the three worst places that they want to play on the road for an away match, Elland Road is probably one, two or three for them. I don’t want to take that away.”

Leeds looking at ‘tens of millions’ to expand

The proposed Elland Road redevelopment could cost Leeds United ‘tens of millions’ of pounds. That’s according to football finance expert Daniel Plumley, who spoke with MOT Leeds News about the club’s stadium expansion plans.

“Look at the amount of money it is taking Everton to do a full new stadium, obviously the Spurs one was the most expensive in history. So, you’re talking hundreds of millions to do a full stadium, then you work off from there, so if it’s full stand reconstruction, you come down from those numbers but it is still significant amounts of money, certainly in the tens of millions for sure.”

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