Beaut scene of legendary Leodian legends finest hours. Nice friendly happy staff, truly a place of hope and glory... Yorkshire can be proud of Leeds and of Elland Road in particular. The yellow jacket wardens were super helpful and efficient. A truly egalitarian and Democratic place of skill. Together and motivated the real kahuna.
Arrived early for vaccine and was seen straight away. Every member of staff I met coming from & back to the car made everything so easy, explained everything & directed me clearly & with a smile. I let it slip that I'm scared of needles they looked after me & gave me a sticker 🤣 (I'm 36 🤫).
Early history The site, at the foot of Beeston Hill beside the A643 road to Elland, was owned by Bentley's Brewery and was called the Old Peacock Ground, after the pub which faced the land, hence the nickname the Peacocks associated with both Leeds City and United. The first occupants were Holbeck Rugby Club (rugby league) who moved from Holbeck Recreation Ground after buying the Old Peacock Ground from Bentley's for £1,100. The first competitive football match at the ground was the West Yorkshire Cup final on 23 April 1898 between Hunslet and Harrogate, with Hunslet winning 1–0. The club erected a new stand in readiness for the 1898–99 season. The ground eventually became known simply as Elland Road. For the 1902–03 season the Association football team, Leeds Woodville of the Leeds League, shared the ground with Holbeck RLFC in the 1902–03 season, but Holbeck went under in 1904 after losing a play-off against St. Helens and the ground was put on the market. After a meeting at the Griffin Hotel in Boar Lane in August, a new club, Leeds City, was formed and it was agreed that the Elland Road ground would be rented for the upcoming season. The lease was signed on 13 October 1904, for a rent of £75 per year. The club had an option to buy the ground for £5,000 in March 1905, but in November, the price was reduced to £4,500.
After City's first season in the Football League, the club built a 5,000-seater covered stand on the west side at a cost of £1,050. Attendances were rising, culminating in over 22,500 people cramming into the stadium to watch a local derby with Bradford City on 30 December, bringing in £487 of gate receipts. An expansion programme continued and the club's directors ensured that the initial success was built upon, employing a "ground committee" to oversee developments. In February 1906, 3,961 square yards of land on the Churwell and Gelderd Road side of the ground was bought from the Monk's Bridge Iron Company at a cost of £420. The committee built a 4,000-seater grandstand which the Lord Mayor, Joseph Hepworth, unveiled before a match against Chelsea on 17 November. The project cost £3,000 and over half a mile of steel was used. There was a training track for the players that ran the length of the stand, dressing and officials rooms and a motor garage. Drainage work was carried out on the pitch to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. City experienced financial hardships jeopardising the club's future but after much uncertainty, an offer of £1,000 and an annual rental of £250 was accepted for the ground. The ground was used during the Great War as a venue for drill and shooting practice until the 1919–20 season commenced. City started that season brightly, but scandal arose involving illegal payments to players during the war years and the club was expelled from the Football League after only eight games. This led some local businessmen to contemplate digging up the clay deposits under the pitch and turning Elland Road into a brickyard. Yorkshire Amateurs became the tenants, and that club played there for a brief spell saving the ground from development.
In 1920, Yorkshire Amateurs sold Elland Road to the newly formed Leeds United for £250.
In the 1920s, the South Stand terrace was covered with a wooden barrel-shaped roof and came to be known as the Scratching Shed. Another stand was built on the east side terracing called the Lowfields. Behind the goal at the north end was a terrace known as the Spion Kop, or simply Kop, from a hill in South Africa on which 322 British soldiers lost their lives in the Battle of Spion Kop, in January 1900, in the Boer War. No significant changes were made to Elland Road in the 1930s, and 1940s, although it did see some large attendances. On 27 December 1932, 56,796 spectators attended for the visit of eventual championsArsenal – a record that would last for almost 35 years. The last game of that season saw Leeds play Middlesbrough at home in front of a 9,006 spectators. The stadium was chosen to host the all city of Leeds Rugby Football League Championship Final between Leeds and Hunslet in 1938, when a crowd of 54,112 saw Hunslet win the title. In the Second World War, the ground was requisitioned by the War Office for administrative purposes.
Floodlights were first used on 9 November 1953 for a match against Hibernian when the £7,000 lights, claimed to be the most expensive in the country at the time, were switched on. The game attracted 31,500 spectators who saw two goals each from John Charles and manager Raich Carter as Leeds beat the Scottish side 4–1. It was the first of several Monday night games against teams from north of the border and in successive weeks, Dundee and Falkirk were the visitors to Elland Road.
In the early hours of Tuesday 18 September 1956, a fire gutted the West Stand and scorched large sections of the pitch. The blaze consumed the entire structure, including offices, kit, club records, physiotherapy equipment, dressing rooms, directors' rooms, the press box and the generators for the floodlighting system. The roof of the stand collapsed into the seating area before the fire brigade arrived and the total damage was estimated to be £100,000, but the club's insurance cover was inadequate. The players helped clear rubble and wreckage but the 2,500-seater stand could not be salvaged. After a board meeting, the directors decided to launch a public appeal to build a new stand with assistance from Leeds City Council. The appeal raised £60,000 and a £180,000 West Stand was opened at the start of the following season.
The new stand had of 4,000 seats mounted behind a paddock, which could hold a 6,000 standing spectators. Two years later another fire started after a Central League match against Preston North End affecting the West Stand. Fortunately, Cyril Williamson, the club secretary, and several directors were on hand and the fire was extinguished and no significant damage was caused.
The 1960s saw the arrival of Don Revie as manager and the club were promoted to the First Division. The club finished in the top four places for the next ten seasons and Elland Road hosted its first televised game – a league fixture against Everton on 20 March 1965 – and Leeds were 4–1 winners. Great advances were made on the stadium during Revie's reign and a new attendance record of 57,892 was set on 15 March 1967, in a fifth-round replay of the FA Cup against Sunderland. In April 1968, the Spion Kop terracing was stripped away to make way for a new stand at a cost of £250,000. The roofed structure was built in less than six weeks and became known as the Gelderd End. When completed it left around 60 feet (18 m) of land behind the goal which was turfed and the pitch moved 30 feet (9.1 m) north.
Further improvements in 1970 included the coupling of the West Stand and the Kop with a £200,000 corner stand, the North-West corner. To complement the upgrade, an almost identical stand was built, linking the Lowfields stand and the Kop, which cost £200,000. In 1972, when the Leeds United Sports and Souvenir Shop opened, featuring a programme collection. In 1974, Leeds won the league for the second time and the Scratching Shed was dismantled and replaced by the South Stand at a cost of £500,000. This state of the art development comprised a standing paddock capable of holding 4,000 fans, a row of 16 executive boxes, above which was an all-seater 3,500 capacity stand. Plans to link the South Stand with the Lowfields were curtailed when Leeds ran out of money. In the same year, the floodlights were replaced by the tallest floodlights in Europe, measuring 260 feet (79 m). Initially, three floodlights were erected – two at either side of the Kop and another in the South-West corner – and the other was erected four years later.
1982–2000 The first match televised live was the rugby league Challenge Cup final replay between Hull FC and Widnes played on 19 May 1982. In summer 1982, Leeds sold Elland Road to Leeds City Council for £2.5m, and the council granted the club a 125-year lease. Ambitious plans to improve the stadium and neighbouring sporting facilities were designed in 1987 by Newcastle upon Tyne architects and promoted by developers Baltic Consortium and W.H. White. The estimated costs were between £50 million and £75 million to re-build the Lowfields with a 7,500 all-seater stand and construct a peripheral 2,000-seater sports stadium adjacent to the stand. Other plans included a shopping centre, ice rink, cricket hall, cinema, nightclub, café, restaurant, waterpark, leisure centre and shops. None of the designs were acted on.
In September 1991, the South-East corner was opened, joining the South and Lowfields Stands providing a full corner stand for away supporters. This section was used as the "family stand" until membership proved too big for its 1,710 capacity and a new home found in the East Stand. It is prominent because of its yellow seats, which have given its nickname, the "cheese wedge". A banqueting suite at the rear of the west stand, with a conference centre, was opened in April 1992. The biggest renovation project to date began in the summer of 1992, when the Lowfields was demolished and replaced by a new East Stand – a 17,000-seater stand with two tiers and no restricted views. On completion in 1993, at a cost of £5.5m, it housed 25 executive boxes, 10,000 seats in the bottom tier, part of which formed the members-only family section, and a further 7,000 seats in the upper tier. The East Stand was then the biggest cantilever stand in the world. For the 1994-95 season Elland Road became an all-seater stadium, with nearly 7,000 seats replacing the terracing in the Kop, as directed by the Taylor Report. The new-look Kop was officially opened in October by the club's president, George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood and Elsie Revie, widow of the late Don Revie. The Gelderd End was renamed the Don Revie Stand in honour of the club's former manager.
On 16 November 1997, the third and deciding match of the Super League Test series between Great Britain and Australia was played at Elland Road before a crowd of 39,337. In December 1997, £11.3 million plans to improve the West and South Stands were unveiled which would have raised capacity to around 45,000. A new structure mirroring the East Stand would have seated around 12,000 people. A three-tier structure would focus on hospitality with a 15,000-seater indoor arena at the rear of the West Stand. This venue would have accommodated basketball, ice hockey, pop concerts and other events. However, after naming an ice hockey team, Leeds Lasers, to play at the arena, the project was shelved. Earlier plans to create a 65,000-seater "Wembley of the North" at Elland Road also failed to materialise.
Leeds received the ownership of Elland Road once again in 1998, when the new owners, Leeds Sporting Company agreed to pay £10 million to buy back the stadium from Leeds City Council.
2001–2010 On 16 August 2001, chairman Peter Ridsdale sent a letter to season ticket holders and shareholders regarding the future of the club outlining two options, to improve Elland Road or to relocate. A ballot form was included but the letter was biased in favour of relocation. Less than 13% voted to stay at Elland Road and 87.6% of the 18,500 who voted were in favour of the move. On 7 September 2001, Ridsdale announced his intention to move the club to a 50,000-seat stadium at Skelton in time for the 2004–05 season. The plans never came to fruition as Ridsdale resigned in March 2003, leaving financial disarray and the PLC was soon to follow in March 2004.
Later that year, Elland Road was sold with a 25-year lease and buy-back clause to raise funds to pay an instalment of a loan to Jack Petchey. It emerged on 27 December 2006 that the stadium had been sold to the British Virgin Islands-based Teak Trading Corporation 15 months before. In summer 2006, the South Stand was updated and closed for the first few games of the 2006–07 season while work was completed. The refurbishment included boxing in the concrete columns and alcoves; overhaul of the kitchen concourse area, a mezzanine-level office area, modernisation of the corporate facilities above and a restaurant, Billy's Bar, named after former club captain Billy Bremner.
Plans for development at Elland Road to include hotels, a shopping centre and health club were featured in the programme for the match against Huddersfield Town on 8 December 2007. There would be hotels on the site of the shop. Possible adjacent developments could include an arena, casino, police headquarters, cafés, bars and parking for 2,700 cars. On 27 October 2008, the club released plans for redevelopment behind the East Stand containing a 350-room hotel, a covered arcade with shops, bars, and restaurants; extended and improved facilities for business conferences and events, a megastore, office block and nightclub. On 6 November 2008, the city council announced it would not be building the proposed Leeds Arena on council owned land adjacent to the ground. On 16 December 2009, the host cities and stadia to be used if England won the right to host the 2018 World Cup were revealed. Leeds was chosen and had the bid have been successful the John Charles and Don Revie stands would have been rebuilt, leading to increased capacity of over 50,000 however this never happened due to England not hosting the 2018 World Cup. On 28 December 2009, chairman Ken Bates spoke about future plans to increase the capacity of the South Stand in the future by around 2–3,000. This would be achieved by removing the executive boxes and replacing them with seating, however, this work was never started due to Ken Bates selling the club in 2012.
In March 2011, the East Stand Development began phase one of a five-phase redevelopment project which included an extension to the East Stand Upper's main concourse along with the addition of 25 executive boxes and a modern upgrade to the external appearance of the stand; whilst this created extra corporate facilities and more room on the concourse, it in-turn reduced the East Stand Upper's capacity by around 2,500 seats, thus leaving the overall capacity of the ground to stand at just under 38,000 seats. An arcade, hotel and megastore were planned to be built as part of the four further phases, however these plans did not take place following the sale of the club to GFH Capital who then sold the club to Massimo Cellino.
In June 2017, new Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani bought the stadium back from Jacob Adler's company Teak Commercial Limited for £20 million, using his own company Greenfield Investment Pte Ltd. The first game taking back control of the stadium was against Oxford United in a pre-season friendly on Saturday 29 July 2017 in which Leeds United won 2–0.
In July 2017 the club announced a number of internal and external improvements were in the process of being made to Elland Road to improve the general appearance of the stadium. The improvements consisted of a partial new roof and cladding on the West Stand, banners on either side of the East Stand, South Stand and North East Corner of the ground featuring Leeds United legends past and present. In addition, the inside of the West Stand, dressing rooms and hospitality suites all underwent cosmetic improvement.