Leeds United's hand-tied jealousy could finally be blown apart with release of 49ers millions

-Credit: (Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images)


If you were sat at home with envy on Friday, July 17, 2020, today could be the day you have been waiting for. If you were watching pictures filter in from an Elland Road engulfed in blue and yellow smoke, missing out, today could be the day you have been waiting for.

While the laws of the land told the general public they must only meet in small groups and maintain social distancing, thousands of Leeds United fans, downtrodden by 16 years of EFL pain, could not be suppressed. Promotion was confirmed by West Bromwich Albion’s Huddersfield Town slip-up and, within minutes, Elland Road would be overwhelmed by supporters.

For the thousands that did ignore the Covid guidance, there were hundreds of thousands more who had to sit on their hands and watch from behind their phone screens. Four years on, after missing out on that party and the subsequent dream year in the top flight, the Leeds faithful, en masse, can have their moment together at last.

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Only Leeds could wait 16 years for promotion and then have it coincide with a global pandemic. There was a release of emotion across that weekend, especially in the swarm of bodies clambering across City Square and its furniture after the Derby County win, but this, today, with nearly 40,000 Whites inside Wembley, together, could be the real explosion.

A victory would see Leeds, on a bank holiday Sunday, come to a standstill. This would be the promotion, the reward after the years of hardship, the fan base and city deserve. The Premier League was supposed to be that reward, but the first year remained behind closed doors and the next two saw a miserable 16 wins in 76 top-flight matches.

Without wanting to be disparaging about the personal fortune of a man who bankrolled the end of United’s EFL purgatory, on paper, this chance to ascend feels different. 49ers Enterprises is currently shackled by the income streams of a Championship football club, but promotion could open the door to so many possibilities.

Paraag Marathe and his boardroom still have to prove they can make the right decisions in the long term with the millions their investors have ploughed into the fund, but the last two windows and the appointment of Daniel Farke have made for a promising start. Promotion today, a miracle if you asked the German in September, only gets that dream kickstarted sooner and unleashes the potential of this American dream.