YEP Jury: Promotion, the Championship title and a four-goal victory finale ... a dream scenario for Leeds United

THE COLLECTIVE 16-year dream came true - officially - on Wednesday evening for The Yorkshire Evening Post fans’ jury as Leeds United were crowned Championship champions, confirming the Whites’ return to the Premier League.
Leeds United players 
Illan Meslier, Ben White, Kalvin Phillips and Tyler Roberts pose with the Championship trophy. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.Leeds United players 
Illan Meslier, Ben White, Kalvin Phillips and Tyler Roberts pose with the Championship trophy. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.
Leeds United players Illan Meslier, Ben White, Kalvin Phillips and Tyler Roberts pose with the Championship trophy. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.

A 4-0 romp over Charlton Athletic - which confirmed the Addicks’ relegation to League 1 - was the icing on the cake in terms of the season’s on-field play as a strong line-up graced the Elland Road turf free to showcase their talents without the pressure that had been attached to their promotion goal. That particular target had already been achieved the previous weekend.

And so too were the fans - jurors included - set ‘free’ emotionally to simply enjoy the moment. And enjoy it they did ...

ANDY RHODES

Man of the match Ben White hammers the ball into the net to put Leeds one up against Charlton on Wednesday night. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMediaMan of the match Ben White hammers the ball into the net to put Leeds one up against Charlton on Wednesday night. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia
Man of the match Ben White hammers the ball into the net to put Leeds one up against Charlton on Wednesday night. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia
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What can you say at the end of a season like that? It’s what we’ve been dreaming of for so, so long and now it’s finally reality.

This week’s celebrations have been a sight to behold and were thoroughly deserved.

Just over two years ago, Marcelo Bielsa was brought to the club to complete just one task: get Leeds up.

But in those two years he and his team have done so much more. Leeds United has been reborn and the club has reconnected with the city.

Leeds United's opening scorer, Ben White, launches himself into defensive duties against Charlton on Wednesday night. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.Leeds United's opening scorer, Ben White, launches himself into defensive duties against Charlton on Wednesday night. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
Leeds United's opening scorer, Ben White, launches himself into defensive duties against Charlton on Wednesday night. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
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After the Charlton match, Liam Cooper said Bielsa had urged his team to fight to the very last kick so to respect the competition. This is what Bielsa has brought back to the club, respect. The Addicks never stood a chance and were swept aside with ease, a glimpse of what Leeds can do when the pressure is off.

To say this has been a long time coming would be an understatement. We’ve spent the last 16 years dreaming of a return to football’s top table. Promotion is just the beginning.

Man of the match: Ben White.

MATTHEW EVANS

A professional steam-rollering of Charlton Athletic to relegate the Addicks and their manager Lee Bowyer was the perfect way to round off our EFL experience and put the last 20 years to bed.

Watching the players lift the trophy, albeit on TV, was something I realise I’d given up on ever seeing happen.

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It was a joy to behold and only slightly soured by the club’s weird decision to reward those not heeding the stay at home advice by staging a pre-planned show outside the ground.

Ben White picks up my man-of-the-match nomination and keeping or replacing him will be crucial.

We looked comfortable throughout our final game and it bodes well for the quick transition to the Premier League that is ahead of us.

Ithas been a long old ride, and a more bizarre end to the season could not have been imagined.

But all that doesn’t matter now.

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We said we’d be back at the Reebok Stadium in 2004, and now we are.

Man of the match: Ben White.

DAVID WATKINS

What a way to end the season! Playing our strongest side, with no pressure and against a relegation-threatened team, we saw the real Marcelo Bielsa-inspired Leeds United finally let rip!

Leeds were simply awesome and there were some sweet moments and a few things that have been missing this season; a superb maiden goal from Ben White, a header from a corner for Tyler Roberts, and a superb goal fashioned by three of the ‘young pretenders’.

Watching Pascal Struijk launch the ball 50 yards for Ian Poveda to collect and Jamie Shackleton finishing like an ‘old stager’ was simply sensational!

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The manner in which Struijk played showed that this young lad will be a top-class player and, with so many other youngsters coming through, we have cause for much optimism.

The future is the Premier League and there are decisions to be made in the coming days, not least confirmation from Marcelo that he wants a crack at it. For now, let’s spend a few weeks enjoying what the team’s given us this season; we are the Champions, United are back!

Man of the match: Pascal Struijk.

MIKE GILL

It is rare in football for the stars to align in the way they have for Leeds United in the past week.

To be rewarded for your efforts justly and deservedly.

It was clear from the team selection for the Charlton game that the Whites were taking this one seriously. What followed was some beautiful football, four exquisite goals and the celebration of their triumph at the end of it all. To see Marcelo Bielsa so openly happy, if a little embarassed at the celebrations, must have melted the flintiest heart. 2019/20 was the season United came of age. The promise shown in the previous campaign was augmented with steel and determination and the result was explosive.

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In the end, the chasing pack just couldn’t keep up. Even West Brom, who deservedly finished second, ended up 10 points shy of the Champions. Brentford, who pushed the leaders all the way, now have to enter the cruel lottery of the play-offs.

As for the future, if United can retain the services of Bielsa and his team then they have nothing to fear in the Premier League.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds finished their season with a dominant display that produced four goals without reply to make sure they finished the season on a major high.

United dominated Charlton from minute one and the defeat sends the Londoners down to League One. What can I say about the last 11 months, incredible at the start, playing the best football most Leeds fans have seen in their lives and, even with the unexpected break, they still came up 10 points better than second-placed West Brom.

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The passion and the pride are back in the city, the Premier League awaits and I, for one, cannot wait for September 12th when the new season starts.

I’m proud to be Leeds, and always have been, but this season the football I’ve watched has been superb and there is no better team in the Championship.

I for one would like to thank every player, coach and backroom staff member who have put 110 per cent effort into getting Leeds promoted after 16 years. We march on to the Premier League with the best fans in football and I’m very, very proud to be one of them. MOT.

Player of the season: Stuart Dallas.

Young player: Ben White (please sign him up).

Goal of the season: Stuart Dallas away at Stoke City.

JACOB STARR

Champions again olé olé. There was no better way to conclude 16 years out of the top flight and bring an end to Championship action - hopefully forever.

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A resounding 4-0 victory over Charlton Athletic and holding the trophy aloft on the Elland Road pitch just about put the icing on the cake, although Ben White’s price tag may have doubled after his wonderfully-taken goal.

The win condemned Lee Bowyer and Charlton to relegation on a night of final-day drama.

West Brom will be joining us next season after Barnsley and ex-White Clarke Odour shocked Brentford at the death, whilst Nottingham Forest ‘did a Leeds’, surrendering sixth place for Swansea to compete in the play-offs.

Ninety-three points, 10 points clear of second. That says it all.

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We have all been blessed with the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa two years ago, despite the heartache of last season which was required for us all to experience these surreal moments.

This team is something special and these last few days will live long in the memory. But like I said, El Loco’s impact has been far greater than that, what we have witnessed on this two-year chapter of a 16-year journey has been nothing short of a phenomenon.

Our next competitive match will be a Premier League one.

Man of the match: Ben White.

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890. We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

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