So, Do We Want Leeds United Promoted by Default … or Not?? – by Rob Atkinson


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Leeds United, big club, great fans. Massive player in any league

On the face of it, any question with the question “do we want Leeds United promoted” in it would always come under the heading of “bleedin’ silly/obvious”. But circumstances alter cases and we are not living in normal times. So, weird as it would normally appear, we’ve seen genuine Leeds United fans genuinely confused and uncertain about what seems to be a genuine possibility that United, along with West Brom, may be invited to join a slightly inflated Premier League next season, with the caveat that they’d have to finish five or six places clear of the bottom in order to stay up – as there could be four or five relegated to redress the imbalance caused by no relegation at the end of this possibly truncated season.

Phew. If that’s all clear to you, we now move on to the even knottier issue of whether or not we’d want promotion this way. Certainly, it’s far from ideal  There’d be no carousing on the pitch after an ecstatic final whistle, no tension, no anticipation, probably not even the civic pride of an open-top bus parade from City Square to the Town Hall and onwards to Elland Road. Instead, it would be the meekest, mildest and probably least satisfactory promotion ever – but at least we’d be up.

The other alternatives are scarcely more attractive. Voiding the season simply doesn’t bear thinking about, so I won’t discuss it. Resuming the season in the foreseeable future seems unlikely, unless some way can be found to play behind closed doors without causing riots outside locked stadia. But at least that would permit the possibility of an earned and undisputed promotion (unless we screw up again). Ending the league now, with the positions as they are, would perhaps taint any promotion thus earned. Yes, we’re seven clear of third – but even Liverpool, twenty-five points clear at the top of the Premier League, need two more wins as it stands, for mathematical certainty. Would we really want our many critics to have the open goal of “Yeah, you went up – but it was shoddy”. As Spurs legend Danny Blanchflower famously said, “The game is about glory”. There’s a school of thought that demands any promotion should be glorious, and therefore shrinks away from any antiglorious creative accounting or artifice, whatever the circumstances.

I’m looking for input here, tell me what you think. I must confess that, if we were simply invited up alongside WBA, it would leave a slightly hollow feeling where my yellow, blue and white heart should be. Not that it’d stop me hailing us as Champions. But would any of us stick so closely to noble principles that we’d look a gift horse in the mouth and say, no – I’d rather we stayed down and earned it next year? Not forgetting, of course that – given another year in the Championship – we’d probably be saying goodbye to Marcelo Bielsa (God) and Kalvin Phillips, the Yorkshire Pirlo himself.

I must admit, I slightly lean towards going up any which way, and arguing about it later, with our Premier League status confirmed. But there’s a nagging doubt still, over how I’d actually feel.

Let me know what you think, please. Feel free to add in your own feelings, doubts, arguments. And please don’t think I’m neglecting the seriousness of this COVID-19 crisis. But that’s all over the media – and here in this protective bubble is where we talk about Leeds United, while the world outside goes crazy.

Marching on Together

38 responses to “So, Do We Want Leeds United Promoted by Default … or Not?? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Totally agree with you Rob, of cause we would all love to be “invited” to the top table but at the same time would maybe feel robbed of the thrill of the finish.

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  2. Totally agree about the empty feeling Rob,my thoughts are to extend the season, and start the next ko in October. At least we can say we have earned,and we deserve promotion.

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  3. I’ll take the promtion if its offered Rob. If the season gets voided (like big mouth Karen Brady wants), well lose Bielsa for sure as well as our other top players (As you mentioned) We are but a whisker away anyway so grab it, and the barrow loads of loot that go with it 💰

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  4. Geoff Varley

    No doubt about it. Leeds have earned top spot by right, and whilst it’s clearly not likely to be a full season, that’s not our fault. Frankly, the way Mr B has us playing, I would be completely happy with promotion, even to an inflated league. We’ll be competing in the top half, not the Bottom. So far this season, despite losing 8? Games, we have only been outplayed for 45 minutes, (Arsenal 2nd half), so yes
    Bring it on.

    MOT

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  5. Gordon Baxendale

    Hi ,Rob
    Just a thought ,money wise, how would the prem regard the loss of income from the rest of the season be compensated for, would the bonuses for the teams that face relegation be paid and if they are how could anybody say that next season could possibly be a level playing field?
    Much as I am desperate for promotion I could foresee a team still low on squad potential struggling to sign a “star”
    MOT
    Gordon ( 73 years supporter )

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  6. John Bennett

    We must go up, bottom line, whatever happens! We have earned promotion and we have suffered enough – of course I want to play out the season and do it “properly” but forgetting three quarters of a campaign as never happening is too “Leeds” to bear (and the Centenary angle as well!).
    Oh, and Karen Brady’s sudden interest in the welfare of mankind has doubtless been prompted by suggestions that statistical models be used to to predict and apply scores for all unplayed games through the divisions – and some of these models see West Ham relegated – go figure.

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  7. John Milner

    If all else fails surely a better and fairer option to “Bradying” the whole season would be to resurrect the ‘old’ pools panels and let them decide on the final 9 matches bases on probabilities. That surely would be acceptable to the EFL who seem to like making decisions based on probabilities and not facts!

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  8. We’ve been in the top two all season and deserve it. I’ll tell you one thing Rob, if Liverpool had already won the premier league Leeds chances of promotion would be nil, the season would be scrapped. But, if the powers that be award Liverpool the prem title, I cannot see how they cannot promote Leeds Utd and WBA. They cannot award one without the other. It’s a good job that Ferguson isn’t still running the FA, we would have no chance along with Liverpool.

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  9. Nigel Cohen

    We’ve been in the top two all season and deserve it. I’ll tell you one thing Rob, if Liverpool had already won the premier league Leeds chances of promotion would be nil, the season would be scrapped. But, if the powers that be award Liverpool the prem title, I cannot see how they cannot promote Leeds Utd and WBA. They cannot award one without the other. It’s a good job that Ferguson isn’t still running the FA, we would have no chance along with Liverpool.

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  10. Tim Campbell

    Theres no other solution but to promote us and WBA. The other idea of promoting 4, as pushed by the Bundesliga, would produce a convoluted Premiership next year. In golf if 2 rounds are played, and the end of the tournament cannot be reached, the results stand as they are. We are more than 3 quarters of the way through the season, to mull and void all that effort and results hard earned would be a travesty! The fact that Bielsa and Phillips won’t be hanging around either just puts the cherry on top of that particular argument. Listen Rob we have been right royally screwed down through the years by the establishment, so no I will not shed a tear or even feel deflated by such a promotion. Bring it on and bring it NOW I say!

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  11. Go up any way we can! I hear and understand your thoughts, and probably agree with them to a certain extent, but the taste of a hollow promotion, can be seasoned by investing in premiership quality players, welcoming and wrenching 3 points from the big clubs, when they visit, and treating the premiership to biesela ball.
    It’s either that, or fighting for championship survival next season, which is a real possibility, when the manager and his team depart, our wonderful owner has run outta cash, and our best players get sold, or decide to move on.
    We are where we are, top of the leauge, on the back of some wonderful football, and some hard fought victories, no one can say we were gifted promotion.
    Anyway we’ll have plenty of allies in the baggies, and scouserland to call upon of needeed!!
    A

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  12. If it comes to being ‘invited’ to join an inflated Premier league by dint of being the top club after 37 games then we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Yes, it would be less than satisfactory but I’m sure the majority of genuine supporters could live with that. I’m convinced that we will more than hold our own in the top flight so relegation after one season shouldn’t be an issue. We would be there on merit and I wouldn’t have any qualms about proclaiming us as champions. We’ve been shafted too many times in the past not to grab this opportunity if it comes our way.

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  13. Thinlizzywhite

    Hi Rob. Yes, a real dilemma if ever there was one. The answer is accept promotion, swallow the jibes and carry on. The playing field truly is uneven .. we would lose Bielsa, Philips, white and potentially a few more. A decimated squad that could leave us stranded here fo many more years and force out Radrizzani.
    We have some hot to hold on to and so much to lose.
    As for Karen Brady, well there’s one woman running scared with her team playing so poorly – abandonment of the season is a blessing for them.
    Meanwhile we miss out on the revenue and all Radz and Bielsa have sought to build over the last 2 years … our club’s rebirth.
    Choice is simple … get up any way any how.

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  14. I agree that we would love a big ER crowd cheering the lads on after a game that gave us mathematically, top 2 but if we get an offer to go up we have to grab it, keep MB next season and with some investment, surely we would finish top half. I have spoken to a few friends who are Prem team supporters and they all (some grudgingly) admit we belong there, and others, who never watch EFL couldn’t believe how good we were v The Arse in that first half. So lets go up and show them we can more than compete. Kev – Leeds for half a century.

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  15. They can shove their invitation where the sun doesn’t shine. You would think this crisis had indeed been engineered by the EFL as one last attempt to p— on our parade. No I’m sorry,after 15 years away and a few of those years in league one we deserve nothing less than winning the Championship on merit and a celebration. I bet LiVARpool aren’t denied their glory.

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    • If Liverpool are declared champions, it’s difficult to see a case for refusing to decide other issues on a “league so far” basis. The lawyers are likely to have a field day whatever happens.

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  16. I’d take the expanded number of teams in the league scenario (us and baggies promoted)as the season is already three quarters done. Of course I’m old school and would keep the top league at 22 teams as it was for donkeys years anyway.
    Next best option for me would be to finish this season at a later date and maybe have a truncated following season if necessary.
    So many issues to sort whatever the decision.
    This is a new virus and as yet we don’t really know what the effects will be and how long they will last.
    Good to see some honest debate on here and not just a lot of cobblers re conspiracy theories and rampant self interest. MOT

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  17. nick bickel

    I’ve looked at the tables, and ours is the only division where all teams have played the same number of games. A possibility I haven’t heard suggested would be to have a few ‘behind-closed-doors’ games to give a conclusive end to the season in these extraordinary times. Firstly, in the other leagues have the teams that are behind in numbers of games played catch up first, with one game each (some, even two). Then, look at tops and bottoms of tables, and generally have top two (in some cases three) automatically promoted, and play-offs between the others currently in the mix. Similar with relegation issues. Bottom of Championship is particularly tight and might involve six teams playing for points rather than knockout matches. But something fair could be worked out through negotiation, that doesn’t leave a nasty taste all round. My preferred option is obviously to play out the rest of the season in early summer, and perhaps ditch the Euros – which would be quite fitting in the year of Brexit!

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  18. John Ingham

    Hi Rob,Long time since I replied to one of your fabulous pieces, how are you??
    If I may voice my opinion, it is that we go up any way possible and if that means suspending the season now and promoting us and West Brom then so be it!! Let’s face it the EFL and FA have held an agenda against us for long enough.
    Although this is my opinion, I honestly cannot see it being that easy can you??

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  19. David Dean

    It might just be that by the time this issue is discussed at the highest level we might not care about football! Now the sublime: I don’t understand why matches can’t be played behind closed doors. Fans would not be crowding outside the ground as you suggest, there would be little point, the majority would be at home watching our heroes. There would be a ban on pubs showing matches. BCD is tge answer. If teams have players ill then isolate them snd play with the players that are fit and well. No postponements due to illness. 2 matches per week – get this season finished.

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  20. Uncle Dave

    Going up without the thrill of doing it or winning it without question would feel a little hollow. I dont think its fair to promote us and the Baggies to be honest? this time last season, we were second in the championship, and we all know what happened. If we were Fulham, 7 points behind second and 27 points to play for, would we think its fair? Obviously, i want and dream of our promotion. We all do! Slightly changing the subject of promotion, i see that some people are suggesting that Mr B will leave if we arent promoted this time. Really? How do we know what he wants to do or where he wants to work? more importantly, what he wants to achieve and where his loyalty lies? Him staying with us is paramount in my opinion and clubs like Brighton should pay us to loan their players to us. Our gaffer turns their mediocre players into £20 million assets for them. He has more than doubled the value of our first team in 2 seasons in my opinion. Whatever the powers that be decide, i pray that we dont lose him. In the bucket we trust.

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  21. Brad Twersky

    Rob, being promoted that way may be hollow, but having a representative season (like Sheffield United has this year) will validate the promotion.

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  22. I found the articles which compared this season to those at the beginning of the 2 World Wars interesting. They suggested that because those were voided, this year should be as well, fails to take account of the timing in my view. Those seasons were ended in September when I believe no more than a handful of games had been played. We’ve already played enough games to suggest we would be worthy of promotion and surely nobody can deny Liverpool the right to the Premiership title?

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  23. K s sham kumar

    The Uk government has just thrown in the towel at containment of the virus so most likely the club has no choice!

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  24. We deserve to go up, it certainly wouldn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth.

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  25. If the offer arrives, you’ve got to take it and think about the rest later. No question. Everyone wants our day in the sun – a distinct possibility if the season runs to July/Aug – but if the worst happens and they go ‘as is’ then lets take it for what it is….Six weeks ago, and looking shaky, we’d be all over this!

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  26. Anne Davies

    I think if we go up as it stands, we just need to prove ourselves next season and stay up. That will shut up all the doubters.
    Anne Davies

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  27. I’m with the majority – let’s take it. Let’s get the hell up – and STAY UP. And I’m sure we will.

    As an aside – if Brady gets her way, if the entire season is declared null and void, does everyone who paid good money to see all these matches get reimbursed in full? I think we know the answer to that one!

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  28. Rob Mynett

    Id take the promotion. We have earned it by being in the top spot at this point. Even if the season resumed you would still get people claiming the season was tainted, or it was unfair, or it played into our hands (with the alleged Bielsa burnout) so who cares. Haters gonna hate. If people hate us even more then so be it.

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  29. Life is LUFC

    Blimey Rob what a to do, how the hell do you start to pick the bones out of this lot.
    And if the lawyers get involved the season, which ever year that might be, will never kick off again.

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  30. king sniffer

    A hollow promotion is better than a travesty of justice with a cancelled season. Not only that but the prospect of losing Bielsa and Kelvin into the bargain doesn’t bare thinking about.
    Now the Euros have been cancelled the chances are the season may be able to be finished, whether it be behind closed doors or not. Now I have suddenly had the thought; be careful what you wish for! Just take a hollow promotion if given the chance and shut the fcuk up!

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    • It’s occurred to me that we’ve been quick starters in both Bielsa seasons. Now we possibly face a nine game mini-season, surely after a restorative break, we can blast our way through that to glory 👍

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