It’s easy to forget that the Leeds United played in the semi-final of the Champions League a while back…
Despite finding European success in the early 00s, things have dropped off massively for the club since their exit from the Premier League in 2004 – they were even relegated to League One back in 2007.
The club boasts one of the most dedicated and passionate fan bases in the country, but ‘doing a Leeds’ has now become a common negative term used in the game.
In fact, there’s now an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to ‘doing a Leeds’, which is described as an “English football phrase which has become synonymous with the potential dire consequences for domestic clubs of financial mismanagement”.
It’s easy to see why – Leeds were hampered by severe financial difficulties in the 00s due to overspending, which resulted in the sale of key assets such as Elland Road stadium, as well as players like Rio Ferdinand and Jonathan Woodgate.
The club entered voluntary administration in 2006 and incurred a 10-point league penalty, resulting in their relegation to League One.
The club is now synonymous with decline, and things haven’t been helped by arrival of maverick owner Massimo Cellino in recent years either.
Seven managers have come and gone during his two years at the club, with former Swansea boss Gary Monk currently the man in charge.
The Wikipedia page also explains how other clubs have followed the same model of over expenditure, failure and a slide down the leagues.
“Managers and chairmen, although sometimes obliged to ‘chase the dream’ (the inevitable precursor of ‘doing a Leeds’), are often forced to deny they are ‘doing a Leeds’ in the wake of a large investment that some analysts predict cannot be afforded by their club and may overstretch their budget.
“Similarly, fans may fear their club will ‘do a Leeds’ if its expensively acquired and maintained team is unable to qualify for the Champions League or is relegated from the Premier League, thereby failing to ‘live the dream’.”
Bolton and Portsmouth are two other clubs who are cited as ‘doing a Leeds’ over the years.
Bolton played European football under Sam Allardyce in 2006-2008, but the club recently racked up debts of £172.9m, and were relegated to League One in 2016.
Portsmouth too endured financial difficulty in 2009, and went all the way down to League Two.
It’s not been a particularly happy time for fans at Elland Road over recent years. However, despite their reputation, things are looking slightly brighter in 2016.
The club have produced a number of English talents in recent seasons, and currently sit just outside the play-off places in the Championship.
12 years away from the top flight is long enough, don’t you think? Fans will be hoping that the once-great club can return to its former glories sooner rather than later.