It was an hour after the last whistle when the commotion started. Leeds had just achieved their most important victory in 16 years and it was quiet around Elland Road until Victor Orta appeared.
“We are the best in the competition! We are Leeds United! We are top of the competition! A song that should have been sung by dizzying supporters in the Don Revie booth was now blown by Orta, the club’s lavish football director, while giving a friend on the back.
Sometimes it’s impossible to control your emotions and this jubilant scene must be recreated in houses and streets all over a city fueled by the exploits of Marcelo Bielsa’s cheerful team.
Leeds United have returned to the Premier League and there will be cheers in the city
After a great season, the city has been troubled by the performance of Marcelo Bielsa’s team
Thursday’s 1-0 win over Barnsley may have been one of their nastiest displays, but the consequences – at the end of an emotionally charged week – can’t be underestimated.
And on Friday night after 16 years in the wilderness, Leeds’ return to the top flight was confirmed after West Brom lost to Huddersfield.
To make it all clear – the desperation for success, the desire to mix it up with the biggest names – you just had to spend the last few days on Bremnerplein and talk to those supporters who came on personal pilgrimage in large numbers.
Their 1-0 win over Barnsley was nasty, but it could be one of their most important wins
Jack Charlton’s death led to the creation of a sanctuary with replica shirts, cards, even flat caps and fishing gear left in honor of a man who gave his heart and soul to the club for over 21 years and 773 performances.
It was sad – “devastating” was the word Captain Liam Cooper used to describe his feelings – but all of this created a sense of purpose. Leeds used to be a bad luck club, but the tone has changed. There is no longer any room for pessimism.
“Promotion is really something for the club, especially with Jack in our minds and hearts,” said Professor Mahendra Patel, a long-time subscription holder who had taken time off to pay his respects to Charlton. “Let’s just say it, we’re going up.
“I saw the emotion of Liverpool fans when they won the title, but for this city, Leeds rise is just as big – maybe even bigger for some. The past four months, with people locked up and through hard times, have been so tough.
There will be a euphoria among the supporters who have been waiting for many years for this moment
“All emotion is ready to come out. There will be euphoria, there will be sound. I don’t think it will be comparable to anything here. You sometimes wonder if things happen for a reason and how appropriate would it be if we went up in the week everyone remembered Jack? ‘
However, the tribute wasn’t just for him.
Billy Bremner’s statue was decorated with scarves; letters had been written to Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry, two other giants of that Revie team. Both died in April, Hunter of coronavirus.
It was an emotional time for Leeds after the passing of legends like Jack Charlton
Norman Hunter, right, and Trevor Cherry also died this year, and promotion is a fitting tribute
“For me, such people were the best of the best,” Dominic Matteo, who was part of the last Leeds top team, told Sportsmail. “Those guys are legends. Brilliant people. They called the South Stand after Big Norm and that was a class touch. ‘
Leeds has been relentless since the campaign restart, with 16 points from the last 18.
There has also been symbolism, as they won for the first time since 1964 – another promotional campaign – in Swansea last Sunday and will face tomorrow against Derby, the team that broke their hearts in the playoffs 12 months ago.
The club has gone through the mill since they were relegated from the top flight in 2004
“Some would say it’s in the stars,” Patrick Bamford, the club’s striker, offered.
Few would disagree. Since their relegation in 2004, they have gone through the mill. There has been administration, three years in League One, playoff final losses, home defeats that have led to shame and frustration.
There have been no fewer than 18 manager changes. Now it can be sent to the past. A city and a football club are ready to celebrate again.
But despite the pain and turmoil, the club finally has a reason to celebrate success