The Leeds City Council have announced that they have accepted the recommendation of a report submitted to the council that they enter into talks with Leeds United in regards to the redevelopment of the area around Elland Road, including the former Matthew Murray High School site and the Fullerton Park area.
Leeds United have previously announced plans to redevelop some of the area around Elland Road, including relocating the Leeds Academy and training ground away from Thorp Arch, where it currently resides. The club has also announced that it wishes to build a Community Sports Village at the site as well, as a place for the whole Leeds community, further integrating the club into the community as a whole. Leeds City Councillor Richard Lewis, the executive member for regeneration, transport, and planning said:
I am pleased that the executive board has agreed that the council and Leeds United can begin talks around a potential new club training ground being developed on the old Matthew Murray High School site in south Leeds.
We know from when the club was previously in the Premier League the impact that a successful and thriving Leeds United can have not just in spreading the Leeds brand around the world, but also in boosting the local economy. Just as important is the power that the club has in the city through its grassroots community and engagement work to enthuse, inspire and make a difference, especially to the lives of young people. The development of a Community Sports Village at the Fullerton Park site is a sign of a renewed ambition at the club to play a significant role in the life of the city off the pitch as well as on it – and that’s what’s been missing for far too long.
These moves also tie in with our ambitions to regenerate Beeston and Holbeck, where the council has built high-quality council homes next to Holbeck Moor and brought empty homes back into use on Beeston Hill. This sits aside bringing activity and purpose seven days a week to the wasteland around the stadium through the ice rink, the park and ride and the police headquarters.
Cllr Judith Blake: "From my dealings with the club, I cannot say loudly enough the differences with the regime that is there now." #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) October 18, 2017
As we’ve noted before, Andrea Radrizzani has been the kind of owner that Leeds United fans and the community as a whole deserves. He is invested in the success of not only his investment, in terms of income, but also in terms of wanting the club to succeed on the pitch and regain its previous glory. He’s also investing in the community, because redeveloping the area around Elland Road will help the Leeds community as a whole.
The thing that should frustrate fans, however, is that all of the stuff that Radrizzani is currently doing makes sense from a business perspective. All of it. He’s going to save money in the long-run by buying the ground back. The club will reap the benefits of having a training ground near the ground and in the city itself and getting a state-of-the-art facility as well. None of this is earth-shattering from a business perspective, but with the previous owners of the club approaching the Council with scorched-earth tactics and treating fans with contempt, this kind of sanity is seen as revolutionary.
Leeds finally have a decent owner again. Even if the season falls short of expectations on the pitch, the foundation has been built where success is guaranteed.