Uproar over 'disgusting' scenes as Leeds celebrate promotion

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·6-min read
Leeds fans, pictured here celebrating their side's promotion to the Premier League.
Leeds fans left the streets in disarray. Images: Getty

A female police officer suffered a serious head injury and the streets were left in disarray as Leeds fans celebrated their side’s promotion to the English Premier League on Monday.

Leeds United clinched the Championship title without kicking a ball on Saturday as Brentford's 1-0 defeat at Stoke handed the trophy to Marcelo Bielsa's side.

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Leeds had celebrated promotion to the Premier League on Friday evening when second-placed West Brom lost 2-1 at Huddersfield.

Leeds are heading back to the top flight of English football for the first time in 16 years - and fans are understandably over the moon.

But despite the pleas of authorities to celebrate at home, thousands of fans packed the streets of Leeds and completely ignored social-distancing regulations.

A huge clean-up operation was underway on Monday morning after an estimated 7000 people gathered in the streets, leaving a sea of broken glass in a city centre square.

West Yorkshire Police said a female officer was hit by a bottle and taken to hospital with serious head injuries.

Nine people were arrested and a number of others injured, police said.

Workers, pictured here clearing litter in the centre of Leeds.
Workers clear litter in the centre of Leeds after celebrations by fans. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Leeds fans, pictured here leaving rubbish strewn throughout the streets.
Leeds fans left rubbish strewn throughout the streets. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Oz Khan said: “Throughout the weekend, fans have gathered across Leeds to celebrate the promotion of Leeds United into the Premier League.

“We have continued to impress upon fans the importance of the Covid-19 Government guidance and our approach has primarily remained as one of engagement and encouragement.

“On Sunday, almost 7000 people gathered in Millennium Square in Leeds.

“Whilst the vast majority of fans were enjoying themselves and celebrating, there were a small minority of people who began to throw bottles at police officers.

“A female officer suffered a serious head injury and was taken to hospital for treatment, a number of other officers suffered minor injuries and a further 15 members of the public were injured.”

Other fans took to social media to condemn the ‘disgusting’ scenes as photos circulated of mountains of rubbish lying strewn in the streets.

Leeds has recorded over 3700 positive virus cases, while in Yorkshire as a whole the number sits just under 30,000.

Over 45,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK.

Leeds end 16-year stint in wilderness

Leeds are back in the top flight after a 16-year absence marred by a spell in the third tier, a painful period in administration, a host of woeful owners and 14 failed managers.

Former Argentina, Lazio and Marseille boss Bielsa has awoken Leeds, with crowds regularly over 35,000 at Elland Road before the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of fans celebrated on the streets outside their stadium on Friday, with Leeds' Italian owner Andrea Radrizzani also eager to remember those the club has lost in recent weeks.

Norman Hunter and Jack Charlton two Leeds greats from the Don Revie era in the 1960s and 1970s, died at either end of the recent lockdown.

Trevor Cherry, who joined Leeds in the early 1970s and won a league title, passed away in between.

Workers, pictured here clearing rubbish from the centre of Leeds.
Workers clear litter in the centre of Leeds. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)

The trio made making a combined 1985 appearances for the club.

Celebrating the club's centenary last October, Hunter wrote Radrizzani a letter expressing his wish that the club would be promoted in his lifetime.

“A word about Norman Hunter and Jack Charlton, two club legends we lost recently and who would have certainly celebrated this achievement with us,” he said in a letter on Leeds' website.

“They are part of a great legacy that we will work hard to honour, as we continue to take strides forward in a new cycle for this fantastic club.”

Radrizzani assumed sole control of Leeds in 2017, having initially gone through a staged buy-out from the unpopular Massimo Cellino.

Leeds United fans, pictured here celebrate after winning the Championship title.
Leeds United fans celebrate after winning the Championship title. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

After a false start under Thomas Christiansen and then a short spell under Paul Heckingbottom, Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta pursued Bielsa.

The Argentine has delivered, transforming a mid-table team into champions in just two seasons.

“I am so happy for everyone in the Leeds United family, we all deserve this promotion,” Radrizzani said.

“Leeds United is one of England's greatest and most well-supported clubs with a rich history known all over the world.

“We have been out of the top flight for 16 years and I am thrilled for the whole club and our incredible fans that we are back in the Premier League.

“Since my journey with Leeds United began in the summer of 2017, we have strived for this moment and it is a time for us all to celebrate the club returning to where we belong.”

with agencies