Welcome to Marching on Together

23 Oct 2017 06:56pm, by Shields53

The local council and Leeds United officials are currently discussing plans for a new training ground in Holbeck. The site of the former Matthew Murray school – demolished between 2005 and 2006 – is now wasteland. While there have been a few ideas about what to do with the land, many in the Holbeck area, and across the city, believe training facilities to be a worthwhile investment. Here’s why:

The state of Leeds United’s current facilities

Thorp Arch was built in 1994 as the brainchild of Leeds’ legendary manager Howard Wilkinson. At the time, the facility was hailed as a huge step forward by many in the game and became the envy of most clubs in England. But 23 years on, Thorp Arch is looking dated.

Training grounds across the country (especially those in the Premier League) are either catching up with the facility, or are overtaking it. The opening of Manchester City’s Eastlands – now the Ethiad Training Complex – is a case in point. The Manchester club’s £200 million investment gave it an 80-acre site with a 7000-seater stadium, education rooms, sports science and medical facilities.

By contrast, Thorp Arch was denied the upgrades it desperately needed ever since Leeds were relegated in 2004 right up until 2013, when then-chairman, Andrea Radrizzani, put money into cosmetic improvements. This is mainly due to the fact that the current training ground is rented (and has been ever since the club dropped down into the Football League). The club was in dire financial trouble and earned £4.2 million from the sale – but this comes at a cost…

The owners are now paying £700,000 a year to rent Thorp Arch. By the end of its lease in 2029, the club would be paying well over £1 million each year just to use a tired facility it used to own.

Effects of regeneration on local community

Leeds city centre has been subject to major regeneration over the last few years – and we’ve seen the difference that the new Trinity & Victoria Gate shopping centres and a host of modern bars and restaurants make to the local economy.

In the age of social media, many people now play games online, with bingosites.uk often their first port of call. Yet the success of a number of new brick-and mortar bingo halls outside central Leeds shows that there is still a market for traditional gaming. As a result, a new luxury bingo hall, Dirty Martini, is due in Leeds city centre. This will generate jobs and boost financial well-being in the community.

How this applies to Leeds United...

With all of this in mind, it stands to reason sporting success also has many positive effects on the economy. Having had the local football team in the Premier League in years gone by, the council is well aware of the boost Leeds United’s potential success could have on the city’s economy. The city of Leeds is already the UK’s major financial centre outside of London, but a rise in United’s fortunes can only help the northern city’s continued growth.

The plans for a new training ground also tie in with the councils aim to regenerate Holbeck and Beeston. If existing plans go ahead, the grounds will also include a Community Sports Village as a means of making a difference to young people in the area.

17 Oct 2017 09:02pm, by Shields53

Today marks the 98th birthday of Leeds United Association Football Club. The history of football in Leeds dates back to the late 1800’s with teams such as Hunslet Football Club winning the West Yorkshire Cup in 1898 and Leeds Woodville in the Leeds League who shared Elland Road stadium with Holbeck Rugby Club. When Holbeck failed to secure a place in division one of the Northern Union in 1904 the club were disbanded and Elland Road put up for sale.

Traditionally a Rugby League city there was an appetite for football in Leeds, especially now there was a vacant stadium available. The men previously behind the now disbanded Hunslet Football Club held a meeting at the Griffin Hotel in Leeds to discuss plans for a new football team for the city. And so it was in 1904 that Leeds City Football Club was founded. Leeds was the biggest city in England not to have a team in the Football League and finally on the 29th May 1905 they were admitted to the second division of the Football League.

Leeds City finished mid-table in the first few seasons but when Herbert Chapman arrived as manager in 1912 their performances started to improve. They finished in the top half of the table and narrowly missed out on promotion before the league was suspended in 1915 due to the war. During the war Leeds City won an unofficial League Championship with many guest players including internationals turning out for the club. The League started again in 1919 but allegations were made about the club making illegal payments to players during the war. As a result of an enquiry Leeds City were expelled from the Football League.

Following the disbandment of Leeds City by the FA due to illegal payments made to players during the first world war the entire playing staff of the club was auctioned off at the Metropole Hotel in Leeds on 17th October 1919. After the auction a group of more than 1,000 loyal Leeds City supporters held a meeting at the Salem Hall in Hunslet where Leeds United AFC were formed. The new club were elected to the Midland League on 31st October 1919 taking the place vacated by the Leeds City reserves. Leeds United joined the Football League on 31st May 1920 and finished 14th in their first season.

To read more on the history of Leeds United visit these wonderful sites;
Oz Whites Leeds United FC History
The Mighty Mighty Whites
WAFFL Leeds United History