Leeds United are an enormous club by almost any standard. It has essentially been the sole footballing institution in the populous city since 1919. The stadium, Elland Road, is one of the biggest in the land. They have won the First Division on three occasions. They were once runners up in European Cup, and reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001.
They have languished outside the top division since 2004.
Financial over-extension led to calamity. Relegation beget implosion beget another relegation. Despite losing the Championship play-off final in 2006, they were relegated to League One in 2007, remaining there until 2010.
Since returning to the Championship they have done little of note, save an impressive 7th place finish in 2011. They occasionally threaten to reach the play-offs. They occasionally wander too close to relegation. Mostly they sit in mid-table obscurity, a sleeping giant serving as a cautionary example of financial mismanagement.
Yet now at last they are showing signs of life. Garry Monk survived a troubled start to his reign at the club and has since guided them to fifth in the table. They looked better than Liverpool for much of their recent EFL quarter-final. Automatic promotion looks beyond them, but success in the play-offs is not too crazy a prospect to consider.
Leeds United might finally be heading back to the big time. Remember, this is not their first troubled spell. They spent the bulk of the eighties in the Second Division. They finally won that division in 1990. By 1992 they were Division One champions again.
It is not hard to imagine Leeds becoming one of the biggest clubs in England again. All of the infrastructure is there; The club only needs promotion and some investment from non-insane businessmen and they could become the next Man City.
Such dreams, should be treated cautiously, for fear of getting ahead of ourselves. Leeds are looking good this year, but there have been other false dawns. I await with bated breath. For my father’s sake, I hope this is the year Leeds finally get back on the right track.