Leeds United have confirmed via their official website that the club have successfully teamed up with the Leeds Ladies team, following the split enforced by Ken Bates in 2005.
Previously Leeds United Ladies trained alongside Leeds’ first team at the Thorpe Arch training facility as well as use the clubs branding and played the occasional game at Elland Road. However in 2005 the owner at the time, Ken Bates, decided to cut all funding to the women’s team and prevented them from playing under the Leeds United brand to save funds, forcing the team to change their name to Leeds Ladies.
Since the introduction of Leeds’ new owner Andrea Radrizzani, the Italian has shown his intentions of bringing back the women’s team and the news has finally been confirmed this afternoon. The Leeds Ladies team will once again use the clubs badge and receive funding from the club, which will help them perform in their current league- the Women’s Premier League Division One. They will continue to play their games at Garforth’s Wheatley Park Stadium, but will play two league fixtures at Elland Road per season, and will once again train at Thorpe Arch and play in the Leeds United kit.
The women’s team has had some impressive highlights since their formation in 1989. Arguably their most impressive achievement came in the 2007/08 season when they managed to make their way through to the FA Cup final, and came up against England’s most successful women’s team Arsenal Ladies. Despite losing 4-1, the game was played in front of 24, 582 spectators at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground which was the highest attendance at a women’s football game at the time.
It seems as if Radrizzani is making Leeds United into a proper football club once again, and removing their recent reputation of being a laughing stock. His impressive backroom changes as well as early transfer funding is something to get the fans excited about, and the new partnership with the women’s team shows that the new owner is keen to restore the club to its former glory and professionalism.