The Leeds United Comeback Starts This Season
The 2009-10 League One season will be Leeds United's sixth season outside the Premier League, and the fans of fallen football giants sure know it.
In the time since the club last graced the Premier League, there have been two different owners at EllandRoad, the club has gone into administration and been relegated again. They incurred a fifteen point penalty for not exiting administration without a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). Then they missed out on promotion three times, and have also had four managers and dozens of different players.
With all these problems you will probably think the statement about to be printed is absolutely mad, but, Leeds United will be League One Champions this season and in doing so start the club on the path back to the top flight.
The main reason why this outcome is a certainty is because of the man currently in the Leeds United hot seat, Simon Grayson.
In the past two seasons, Leeds United has had their promotion pushes derailed by mid-season changes.
In January 2008, Dennis Wise left as Leeds boss to take up a role as a director at Newcastle United. This forced Chairman, Ken Bates into appointing a new manager in Gary McAllister.
Despite Leeds' handicap of 15 points that season, they went on to make the play off final at Wembley, against Doncaster Rovers, eventually losing out 1-0.
Had Leeds not been deducted fifteen points or if they had been successful in regaining them, they would have finished second in League One, just one point behind Swansea who were crowned Champions.
In December 2008, Ken Bates was forced to make another managerial change after a dismal run of form saw Leeds drop out of the promotion places, and end Gary McAllister's tenure as Leeds boss.
Just days later former Leeds defender, Simon Grayson was appointed manager, after acrimoniously leaving Championship side, Blackpool.
Grayson guided the club into last season's playoffs, losing to Millwall in the semifinals, but Leeds had only missed out on automatic promotion by six points.
Had Grayson taken over a month earlier, who knows what might have been.
Grayson offers Leeds United their first chance for managerial stability since Kevin Blackwell was boss back in 2006. Grayson also has something on his CV which his predecessors didn't, he has won promotion from League One before, with Blackpool in 2006.
During his time, so far, at Elland Road Grayson has stamped his own mark on the team. They have shown more confidence in both themselves and each other, they have scored more goals and conceded less, and most importantly, they are enjoying their football.
Grayson, as a manager, has the right blend of youth and experience and holds two traits in equal measure, that Wise and McAllister struggled with.
McAllister excelled in the area of man management and Wise didn't, but Wise created a team spirit, something McAllister couldn't accomplish.
Both Leeds Chairman and Manager, have outlined their vision for Leeds this season, and already squad changes are underway. Johnny Douglas, Frazer Richardson, and David Lucas have all been axed, with several more players likely to leave.
The only major dilemma facing the Leeds boss is the future of star-striker, Jermaine Beckford. The former Wealdstone FC forward scored thirty plus goals last season and is currently on the transfer list. He rejected a new deal with only twelve months left on his current contract.
But even this problem could prove to be nothing more than a small inconvenience, with rumoured transfer targets including, Billy Sharp, David Healy and Michael Mifsud.
Finally, Leeds are helped in their goal of automatic promotion by the calibre of the opponents in the title race.
Southampton are set to start the season on negative 10 points and are still unsure of who will own the club, manage the club, and play for the club.
Norwich are a force to be reckoned with, but have lost key players such as Lee Croft and Manager, Bryan Gunn is also surely one of the likely candidates to be the first manager sacked.
Charlton are in financial trouble, which would, barring the usual anomaly, leave just MK Dons and Millwall for Leeds to fear.
However, Leeds matched both of these clubs last term and has the bigger resources to pull even further ahead of them this season, although should the club not achieve promotion this season they will struggle to attract the higher calibre of player needed to gain Championship status.
While confidence is high that this is the start of club's return to glory, it is also the last chance saloon.
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