Leeds United managing director Angus Kinnear has announced tentative plans to expand the club’s home ground of Elland Road if and when they secure Premier League status.
The Whites celebrated their centenary birthday yesterday with a number of events, including a service at Salem Chapel, the birthplace of United, and a civic reception at Leeds Civic Hall.
Kinnear gave a presentation on the club’s future, including the proposals to bring the academy and training ground back to the city centre and a proposal to increase the capacity of the ground.
“In our centenary year we are very proud to announce two initiatives in partnership with the council,” said Kinnear. “They both fall under the title of ‘Vision: Elland Road’.
“Part of it is around the stadium and taking it up to 50,000 and turning it into a true ground which can compete with other stadiums in the Premier League and in Europe.
“More importantly is what we want to do with the community. We want to bring the training ground back into the city centre, not just the training ground but the academy.
Part of it is around the stadium and taking it up to 50,000 and turning it into a true ground which can compete with other stadiums in the Premier League and in Europe.Angus Kinnear
“We announced a few weeks ago that we agreed heads of terms with the council for the former site of Matthew Murray School. The idea is to create a pathway for inner-city youth.
“We want to bring world-class facilities into our community too.
“We are working on the Parklife scheme with the FA which will be an £8m investment which will bring facilities onto Fullerton Park in the heart of Beeston. These facilities will be open to the local populous.
“We are in dialogue at the moment about what they will be.
“They will be sporting, educational and social. What we believe we can create is the best community facility not only in Leeds but in the country.”
Speaking after the ceremony, Kinnear explained that the cost of expanding Elland Road made Premier League status a necessity.
“We have tentative plans to increase the capacity to 50,000 when we’re in the Premier League,” he said.
“I think it is appropriate for a club of Leeds’ scale and calibre. It will help us compete with teams at that level.
“The way the financials work require us to be in the Premier League before we can commence that work and before it makes sense from a business perspective.
“We know when we’re in the Premier League we’d sell 50,000 out week in, week out.”