Leeds United: Get to know the Wanderers' first opponents at Bankwest Stadium

It’s just over a week until Western Sydney Wanderers open their new home ground at Bankwest Stadium with a high-profile friendly clash against English club Leeds United.

It promises to be a special night at Parramatta as the state-of-the-art new venue hosts its first football match.

Ahead of the encounter on Saturday, July 20, we look back at the history of the club from Yorkshire.

A century of Leeds United tradition

Formed in 1919, Leeds will celebrate their 100th birthday this October.

They have played at the famous Elland Road Stadium since their inception, with the venue originally named "The Old Peacock Ground" after a local pub across the road.

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Known as "The Whites", Leeds have spent the majority of their existence in the top tier of English football, winning three top-flight championships/

However, since 2004, the club has been swinging between the English Championship and League One as they look for promotion back to the Premier League under manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Leeds United fans are among the most passionate in England

The glory days

Leeds United were undoubtedly the team of the 1960s and mid-70s under the management of club legend Don Revie.

Leeds implemented a strong youth program, with the likes of John 'Jack' Charlton (762 games) as well as Billy Bremner, Paul Reaney, Norman Hunter, Paul Madeley and Peter Lorimer were all part of Revie's dynasty.

With Revie in charge, Leeds won the first four major trophies in their history.

The 1968 League Cup was the first with Terence Cooper scoring the only goal in a 1-0 triumph over Arsenal at Wembley.

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Revie then took Leeds to their maiden First Division title the following year when they won the league by six points over Liverpool.

It was a similar story in 1974 when Leeds pipped the Anfield side by five points to win their second English crown in Revie's final season at the club.

The 1972 FA Cup Final was also a carbon copy of the 1968 League Cup final with Leeds again beating Arsenal 1-0 with Allan Clarke netting the winner this time around.

The club's most recent English top tier title was in 1992 when they won the last ever English League First Division crown, finishing four points ahead of Manchester United.

Leeds United
Leeds were a dominant team in the 1960's and 70's

Australian connection

Leeds have had a strong Australian flavour in their ranks, especially over the last two decades.

The most famous two that became heroes at Elland Road were Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell.
With Viduka and Kewell working in tandem, Leeds made the UEFA Cup Semi-Final in 2000 and the UEFA Champions League Semi Final in 2001.

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Other Australians to have played at the club in recent times include ex-Caltex Socceroos skipper Paul Okon, Neil Kilkenny, Jacob Burns, Hayden Foxe, Patrick Kisnorbo, Shane Cansdell-Sheriff, Danny Milosevic and Jamie McMaster.

Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka made huge impressions at Elland Road
Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka made huge impressions at Elland Road

Current day

Leeds narrowly missed out on promotion back to the Premier League this year after losing to Derby County in the playoff Semi-Final.

The Whites were in the top two for most of the season before a loss of form saw them miss out on automatic promotion.

Things were looking up for Leeds who after winning the first leg of the Playoff Semi Final 1-0 against Derby, then went down 4-2 in a dramatic return leg to break the hearts of their loyal fans.

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But under Bielsa, there is a feeling they aren’t far off a return to the EPL.

Skipper Liam Cooper, Pablo Hernandez, Kemar Roofe and new recruit Helder Costa will all play a key role in the 2019/20 campaign as Leeds aim to get back to a place that they belong to.

And it all starts with their trip Down Under, with their clash against the Wanderers one not to be missed.

Leeds United
Leeds' quest for a return to the EPL begins in Australia next week