Leeds United tried everything to steady the ship last season, including bringing in veteran Sam Allardyce as their third manager of the campaign in a desperate bid to avoid relegation, but they couldn’t stay afloat in the Premier League.
Despite their surprise drop through the trap door, there would have still been an air of confidence amongst the Yorkshire side’s fanbase that it wouldn’t be long before they are back in the top flight of English football. However, the waters have remained choppy throughout the summer.
Andrea Radrizzani sold the club to 49ers Enterprises after news broke that he offered to use the iconic Elland Road as leverage to secure a £26 million loan to buy Italian Serie A side Sampdoria and several key players have left in the transfer window, with more still likely follow before it slams shut on September 1.
All that, combined with a poor start to the season, will have Leeds supporters starting to worry that their recoil back to the Premier League might not be instantaneous. Indeed, the Whites are still one of the favourites in the Championship winner odds, but their nightmare start to life back in the second tier doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence.
Leeds were somewhat lucky to get a point on the opening weekend of the season against Cardiff City. Josh Bowler and Ike Ugbo fired the visitors into a two-goal lead at Elland Road, but Liam Cooper got his side back in the tie just minutes into the second half, and the equaliser game in the 95th minute when Crysencio Summerville clutched a point.
Leeds weren’t as lucky on gameweek two, travelling to St Andrew’s and losing 1-0 to Birmingham as Lukas Jutkiewicz made the lengthy trip from the United States to the midlands worthwhile for the Blues’ new minority shareholder Tom Brady — who was spotted soaking in the atmosphere in a local pub pre-game.
Of course, the Championship is a long and gruelling season and a lot will happen between now and the end of the season. But this is certainly not the start to the campaign that Daniel Farke would have hoped for and things are set to go from bad to worse for the German as Jack Harrison has joined Everton, while Tyler Adams and Wilfried Gnonto could be the next players to join the mass exodus this summer.
If Leeds can’t end this rut that has been going on continuously for the best part of a year, they are in serious danger of not returning to the promised land of English football. On the positive side, there is still plenty of time to turn around their fortunes, and the closing of the transfer window at the end of the month could also work in Farke’s favour as he will know what players he will actually have to work with until at least January.
It is still early days in this new season, but the signs are worrying for Leeds fans. This is a hugely competitive league and games are going to come at the Yorkshire side thick and fast — often twice a week, in fact. Time will tell if Leeds can end this barren spell and return to the Premier League, but this isn’t a good start to achieving that goal.