Explained: Leeds United’s rivals, Premier League history and relegation woes |

Goal takes a look at the recent history of the Yorkshire club in England’s top tier, along with a glimpse into their rivalries

Leeds United are on the cusp of ending a period of wilderness outside of the Premier League that has stretched to a decade-and-a-half in duration.

One of England‘s best-supported clubs, they have been forced to look on in envy in recent seasons  as local rivals Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United enjoyed spells in the top flight.

Now led by legendary Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, their fast-paced style of play has earned plenty of admirers, but as much as impressing fans is important, getting the job done is the key.

So, as they aim to return to England’s top table, Goal takes a look at the Yorkshire club’s Premier League history and their most bitter rivals.


  1. Who are Leeds United’s Premier League rivals?
  2. Leed’s United’s Premier League history
  3. When were Leeds United relegated from the Premier League?

Who are Leeds United’s Premier League rivals?

When it comes to Premier League rivalries, Leeds United’s chief antagonists are undoubtedly Manchester United and the teams fiercely competed through the 1990s into the 2000s.

Leeds won the last First Division title in 1991-92, before the advent of the Premier League, and they finished four points ahead of second-placed Manchester United on that occasion.

However, the Elland Road side spent most of the ensuing decades in the shadow of the Red Devils and even had to contend with losing some of their best players to them.

Eric Cantona is arguably the most notable example, having switched to Old Trafford in the middle of the 1992-93 season and going on to help Man United win the league in that campaign.

Leeds United Manchester United Peter Schmeichel Steve Bruce Gary McAllister Roy Keane Gary Neville 1996

Others who crossed the divide include Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith, who signed for Man United in 2002 and 2004 respectively, during a period when the financial situation at Leeds was steadily worsening.

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Roses Rivalry’ due to the historic animosities between Lancashire (red rose) and Yorkshire (white rose), it has inspired plenty of spirited terrace exchanges between both sets of fans.

The teams have not met competitively since their meeting at Elland Road in 2011, when Man United triumphed 3-0 in the third round of the League Cup.

Leeds won the meeting prior to that in 2010, beating the Red Devils 1-0 in the third round of the FA Cup.

Chelsea are another rival of Leeds in the Premier League, having sustained many memorable encounters in the 20th century, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.

However, the scale of animosity felt between the clubs has undoubtedly diminished and Leeds fans nowadays would certainly consider the Chelsea rivalry second to that shared with Manchester United.

Of course, Yorkshire club Sheffield United would serve as their local rivals in the division.

Leed’s United’s Premier League history

Season Position FA Cup League Cup Europe
1992-93 17th 4th round 3rd round UCL…

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Explained: Leeds United’s rivals, Premier League history and relegation woes |