Leeds United owner has sights set on Europe


Leeds United’s new owner Andrea Radrizzani is set to raise the capacity at Elland Road to 30,000 this season and already has his sights set on Europe.

Milan-based entrepreneur Radrizzani paid 20 million pounds ($24.2 million) for the club in June. He will chair Leeds’s media conference on Monday at the club’s Whitgift School of Sport.

“The intention is to grow to 30,000,” he said. “The same size as Bayern Munich and Manchester United. The problem is that we are in Yorkshire and we need to sell more tickets.”

Radrizzani added: “The press conference was so successful. If we can get to 30,000, it would mean a huge development of the club, and it would be a confirmation that we are serious. The growth is based on fans, rather than revenue. People don’t like to come to games and it takes a long time to recruit people. It’s much more attractive to just have the best seats on the field.

He will present his plans to the Football League for approval at the governing body’s board meeting on Thursday. In order to move forward with his plans, Leeds is looking to break ground on a new 40,000-capacity stadium near the Riverside Stadium, which currently houses the club’s senior teams.

“The only way to change is by building something. It is already double the size of the stadium on average every other season,” he said. “We don’t want the club just to grow 10 or 20 times bigger. We want it to grow 10 times bigger. It’s important that it becomes the best.”

A feasibility study, which uses data from Watford’s move to Vicarage Road two years ago, suggests that building the new stadium at the location of the old Wharfedale College will cost 25 million pounds. Leeds is looking to either sell the old Wharfedale site to developers, or to lease it for use as a park.

Radrizzani said that he has spent the past three months doing extensive research of the club’s infrastructure.

“We are really studying Leeds and I feel confident in the year 2018, we can get to the Europa League,” he said. “Leeds is a great historic club that has proved over the years that it is not afraid to give its soul to the game. I think this club is a legend.”

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