Leeds’ 2016/17 season
League Position: 7th (2015/16: 13th)
Average league attendance: 27,699 (2015/16: 21,667)
Top league goalscorer: Chris Wood (27)
Leeds United looked as if they might finally return to the top division when they were pushing for a Play-Off place, at minimum, as winter ended but a late collapse meant 2016/17 was another season of disappointment.
The 1992 English champions, who reached the semi-finals of the Champions’ League as recently as 2001 have not been at the top table since relegation in 2004. They had a short spell in League One but have been in the Sky Bet Championship since 2010 without finshing higher than seventh. That looked as if it would change when they sat third at the end of January and were still fifth with four games to go. But defeat at Griffin Park in early April was part of a run of one win in their final eight games and the Yorkshire side finished seventh, five points off the Play-Offs.
The season has started poorly, with four defeats in the first six games, but Leeds steadily climbed the table. They had a run of 12 wins in 16 games either side of Christmas and looked to be pushing for promotion before the late drop-off. Thweir success was built on a solid defensive foundation – their total of 47 goals conceded was fourth best in the division – but only two teams in the top half scored fewer. Since the end of the season there has been a change of ownership and a managerial departure at Leeds so the future remains a little unclear.
Leeds are without a manager after Gary Monk left his position at the end of the season. Monk, the former Swansea City boss, had been in charge for just under a year, and had led Leeds to the brink of the Play-Offs in his only season in charge. There has been a turnover of managers in recent years at Elland Road. Since Simon Grayson left in early 2012 there have been eight bosses, including Monk. Neil Redfearn – one of the eight – also had three spells as caretaker boss before taking the job.
The task of appointing a new manager will fall to Director of Football Victor Orta, a recent arrival from Middlesbrough, and new owner Andrea Radrizziani. Radrizzani is Founder and Group Chairman of Aser, a company that focuses on the media and sport sectors. In January, through Aser, he purchased 50 per cent of the share capital of Leeds, making him co-owner of the club. He bought the full shareholding in the summer but Monk resigned two days later.
Last Time Round
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 10
Leeds wins: 12