The Athletic’s Phil Hay has delivered an update on where things stand with Leeds United’s proposed stadium expansion plan.
During a Q&A for The Athletic, Hay responded to a fan’s query about whether the Whites might put off providing further details of the club’s stadium redevelopment until they had secured another season of Premier League football this year.
He said: “Most likely, partly because planning and so on is still at a very early stage. There’s a definite commitment to expanding to 55,000-plus by redeveloping the north, west and south stands but it’s a major project and it won’t happen in a flash. The last time Angus Kinnear spoke about it, he indicated that the process would begin in earnest at the end of this season — not the actual building work but the process itself.
“Realistically, expansion has to be done. The waiting list for season tickets is massive (more than 20,000) and Leeds think that with a stadium twice the size, they can bump their annual revenue over £250m. They’re doing very well on one commercial front this season — shirt sales will be not far off 300,000.”
Having sealed their return to the riches of the Premier League last year, the Whites are well set up under Marcelo Bielsa to remain a top-flight team for the seasons to come.
It was only a couple of decades ago that Leeds were dining at the top table in the Champions League, and with a club that has the massive history that the Whites do, it’s no surprise that they are desperate for a bigger stadium.
Redeveloping Elland Road so that it can accommodate the more than 20,000 fans who are currently on the waiting list, would prove to be a bumper deal for Andrea Radrizzani in terms of increasing the club’s income.
At its current capacity of 37,792, Leeds have the 11th biggest stadium in the Premier League, behind the likes of Everton and Aston Villa.
However, the proposed increase at Elland Road to something around 55,000 would see them hover around the top-five, with champions Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium currently seating 55,017.
Not only would a bigger Elland Road mean more fans be allowed in to watch their team play, but it would also be a statement of ambition that Leeds mean business and are intent on bridging the gap to the Premier League’s elite.