Leeds United have apologised after large numbers of fans were shut out of today’s Professional Development League play-off final against Birmingham City.
Hundreds of supporters were forced to abandon attempts to watch the game at Elland Road following a huge turn-out for the last leg of the Under-23s’ divisional campaign.
The tie was scheduled at late notice amid a delay in Leeds and Birmingham confirming a date and United’s decision to make admission free prompted thousands to travel to the Bank Holiday clash.
Leeds, who planned to open only the West Stand, recorded an attendance of over 7,800 but some fans failed to make it through the turnstiles until half-time and kick-off was not delayed despite long queues stretching around the stadium.
United responded to criticism of their organisation with a message on Twitter, saying: “We apologise for any delays and can confirm that all those who waited in the queues have got into the ground.”
A number of supporters, however, said they were told to leave the queues and travel home by stewards due to all tickets selling out. Leeds belatedly opened up space in the North Stand to accommodate late admissions.
Preparations for the clash are understood to have been hampered by a disagreement last week over the timing of the fixture.
Birmingham originally announced on their website that the match would be played tomorrow night but a Bank Holiday kick-off was eventually agreed around 6pm on Friday evening. United have made no further comment.
The club’s Under-23s secured victory in today’s final with a penalty shoot-out win over Birmingham.