Leeds United Elland Road expansion: Plan change, 49ers promise, are Leeds expanding Elland Road?

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Elland Road has a huge demand for season tickets and an expansion to the historic stadium has been called for by fans for years.

Over 20,000 Leeds United supporters are patiently waiting for their time to move off the waitlist and own an Elland Road season ticket as passion for the club continues to boom despite last season's relegation.

The need to expand Elland Road is clear with tens of thousands of fans wanting to be there every week but not currently being able to. There were worries that a return to the Championship would stall progress on that front, but the recently completed takeover is cause for optimism.

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In a thorough rundown of the 49ers Enterprises' early plans for their tenure at Elland Road, Mail Sport reported that ‘aside from promotion, the priority is Elland Road’.

Elland Road expansion gets green light despite relegation

Last season, it appeared that relegation from the Premier League would stall any such expansion plans but new ambition means that no longer seems to be the case. Andrea Radrizzani had said: “I always said to Angus Kinnear, we’ll look at the expansion of the stadium when we’re in the third year of the Premier League.

"The chance to go back in the Championship is very high in the first and second year but much lower after. Now we can move on. Angus has initiated some activities to finance the project. It will be over £ 100 million to renovate the West Stand and build it to a 55,000 capacity. We’re going step by step but, hopefully, we move soon with a financial partner.”

The club are pulling in £1 million every matchday at the historic stadium which, might seem a lot, but is some £4 million less than a Premier League club such as Tottenham Hotspur banks every fixture.

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Plan change

It was confirmed only in June 2021 that plans to build a new training facility had been withdrawn in favour of increasing the capacity of Elland Road to 55,000. Investment from the San Francisco 49ers had allowed them to review their stadium development plans, however it was made clear that they would need to remain in the top flight to uphold these plans.

Speaking to The Square Ball, Angus Kinnear revealed: “If we stay up this year, then construction wouldn’t start next year, but the process would” - suggesting plans would likely have been put on the backburner had the Yorkshire club returned to the Championship.”

Traditional not futuristic approach

The Mail reports that planning consultants have already been set to work by new owners with £200 million designs being drawn up to expand Elland Road. Those employed to draw up plans are the whizzes involved in the 49ers move from the ageing Candlestick Park to impressive Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara back in 2014.

Despite their links with such plans in America, it is believed the new Leeds United owners have already shut down futuristic projects like the Levi's Stadium for the football club, wanting to honour the original fixtures of Elland Road with an expansion plan similar to that of Anfield.

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Speaking to the BBC, Paraag Marathe previously 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.

“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.”

Kinnear had already revealed that the West Stand would be the first to be developed at the ground given its age with plans for the land behind the stadium promised to be announced 'shortly'.

Rejuvenation of 20 acres surrounding Elland Road

The land around Elland Road could be transformed (Image: Getty Images)The land around Elland Road could be transformed (Image: Getty Images)
The land around Elland Road could be transformed (Image: Getty Images)

Mail Sport also reports that Leeds United owner plans also include rejuvenating the 20 acres surrounding Elland Road with Australian businessman Peter Lowy recruited for crunch talks with Leeds city council about the land.

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What plans for that area might look like are for now under wraps, but early discussions are believed to be including improving transport links and making Elland Road a 'transport hub' to link the southern part of the city with the city centre.

Similar projects for the land outside a stadium are also underway at Newcastle United, with Saudi owners buying back land sold by Mike Ashley with the intention of creating a fanzone - it wouldn't be surprising to see a similar idea blossom in Yorkshire.

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