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Leeds News: Gary McAllister tips Paul Heckingbottom for huge Elland Road success

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Owner fiascos, manager merry-go-rounds and selling the stadium to reduce crippling debts have tarnished the image of a club which reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001.

But old boy Gary McAllister senses a real change in fortune for Leeds where he, himself, played for six years in the nineties.

And under new boss Paul Heckingbottom he believes Leeds can return to the big time where they belong to end their white rose shame.

McAllister said: “I think the Premier League wants Leeds United as much as Leeds United wants the Premier League.

“It’s a huge club, steeped in history. A one-club city which has huge potential. Everything is there in terms of infrastructure – the stadium, the fanbase.

“I really do think that Leeds have been missed in the top flight. I would never disrespect any teams in the Premier League but in terms of size of club it’s a real shame that Leeds aren’t in there.

“The top six clubs are out on their own at the moment but I’d certainly say Leeds would fall into the next category in terms of size and potential. That’s where they should be.

“Last year it was 25 years since Leeds won the last First Division title and now the pressure is on to deliver the club back to that top flight.

“They’ve got a promising young coach and the speed in which he was appointed made me think that it was something that had been in the pipeline for a while.”

Heckingbottom was installed in the hottest of seats just four days after signing a new contract at Barnsley and McAllister sees a great future for him at Elland Road which is now back in the hands of the club itself.

McAllister added: “I met the new chairman and he is very much aware of the history and tradition of the club. What I liked was that, for once, it felt like there was a definite plan to get the club moving in the right direction.

“Getting the stadium back was the first move and as well as making business sense I think that bought him a lot of goodwill.

“I think the supporters are a lot more comfortable spending their money at Elland Road because they now know it’s all going to the club.

“Buying back the stadium gave every Leeds fan a massive lift. You could really feel it. I don’t know much about the new manager but what I have heard has all been positive.

“He punched way above his weight at Barnsley and hopefully this isn’t just another false dawn. But I know a lot of Leeds fans and they keep turning up because they are special supporters.”

Gary McAllister was talking after Liverpool’s Legends took part in a training day at the club’s academy to prepare for their charity game against Bayern Munich Legends at Anfield on Saturday, March 24.

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