This season has seen Leeds United take some steps to integrate themselves closer with other clubs and academies from all over the world. Leeds have entered into a partnership with the Aspire Academy in Qatar and have an informal “feeder club” agreement with Cultural Leonesa in La Liga 2, a club that is owned by Aspire. Aspire also own KAS Eupen in Belgium, and there was even a strange transfer report about a Japanese player going on loan to Eupen from Leeds, although Leeds weren’t involved in the transfer at all.
So it’s not entirely surprising to see another club tweet out that they have formed a “partnership” with Leeds, but it is surprising to see it’s a club from Northern Ireland.
Glenavon FC from the Northern Ireland Football League Premiership tweeted out that they had entered into a “performance partnership” with Leeds yesterday evening, with a promise of more information coming on their website later. No such information has been posted on their website, nor any communication from Leeds at all about the “partnership.”
What does this mean? Honestly, no idea. It does make sense to use links in both England and abroad to find talent, as the club hopes to do in Yorkshire with York City. Leeds already have two Northern Ireland internationals on the roster. Bailey Peacock-Farrell recently made his debut for the U21 team and got a clean sheet. Stuart Dallas has been a key player for the Northern Ireland team for a few years now, and he’s one of the longest serving players at Leeds right now.
Glenavon FC are a team from Lurgan, Northern Ireland. They’ve been one of the more successful teams in NIFL Premiership over the past few years, and were involved in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League for three straight years from 2014-15 season to the 2016-17 season.
We’ll see what this “performance partnership” means once either club clarifies exactly what the statement means. It looks like someone might have jumped the gun with the announcement, as nothing else was posted about the agreement after the tweet ran in the early evening BST. If it turns out to be another “link” then Leeds fans will have a team in Northern Ireland to root for at least, right?