Championship: Leeds United promoted to Premier League after 16-year absence
Leeds United have been promoted to the Premier League after 16 years away.
Their place in the top flight for next season was confirmed by West Brom's [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] on Friday.
Leeds will now be crowned champions if Brentford do not beat Stoke on Saturday or the Whites then take a point from Sunday's visit to Derby County.
Argentine Marcelo Bielsa has led the Yorkshire side to promotion in his second season in charge after finishing third in the Championship in 2018-19.
Even allowing for the enforced break because of the coronavirus pandemic it has been a campaign where Leeds have never really looked like repeating mistakes of previous seasons and they have not been outside the top two since November.
They had seemed set to win promotion last season only for back-to-back defeats by Wigan and Brentford to leave them third behind Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, before a dramatic 4-3 play-off semi-final defeat by Derby.
After that setback, fans could have been forgiven for fearing the worst about the future of Bielsa and the talented group of players he had assembled.
But he opted to remain with the club and together they have reaped the rewards.
The lowest of lows
It has been a long and often painful journey back to the Premier League for Leeds and their fans, who had seen their team reach the semi-final of the Champions League in 2001.
The club was in a dreadful financial position when they were relegated to the Championship in 2004 and though Kevin Blackwell - the first of 15 managers employed by Leeds since they were last in the top flight - steadied the ship initially, and nearly took them back up in 2005-06, they were placed into administration in 2007 and went down to League One.
Worse was to come in the form of a 15-point deduction to start the following campaign and it took them three seasons to eventually win promotion back to the second tier under the management of Simon Grayson.
The revolving door
Grayson eventually made way for Neil Warnock, who lasted just a year before Brian McDermott was brought in.
McDermott came with a good reputation after bringing success to Reading but controversial new owner Massimo Cellino decided he wanted a head coach not a manager when he took over in 2014 and appointed former Forest Green boss David Hockaday.
He lasted just six games, as did Hockaday's replacement Darko Milanic.
Neil Redfearn, Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans all quickly came and went before Garry Monk fell just short of getting the team into the play-offs in 2016-17 and promptly left.
Dane Thomas Christiansen started well but faded badly and was replaced by Paul Heckingbottom, who endured a difficult four months in charge.
El Loco brings stability
The appointment of world-renowned coach Bielsa in June 2018, by owner Andrea Radrizzani, brought a new spotlight to the club.
The veteran had been widely praised by Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino for his techniques and meticulous nature and had worked with Argentina, Chile and Athletic Bilbao during his long career.
Leeds started the 2018-19 season brilliantly with few teams able to live with their high tempo pressing and incisive passing.
Even allowing for the controversy that occurred in January after Bielsa admitted he had sent a member of staff to watch all the other clubs in the division train they seemed set to end their long wait for promotion.
However, they fell away badly at the end of the regular season before the Rams got the better of them in a play-off classic.
There was to be no denying them in 2019-20 though and they once more find themselves back in football's elite
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