Exciting news has been announced in the last few days, with Manchester United and Leeds United set to tour Australia in July 2019.

The two rivals will face off at Optus Stadium in Perth, while Manchester United will battle Perth Glory at the same venue. While it has not yet been announced, Leeds have been rumoured to be playing Western Sydney Wanderers at the new Western Sydney Stadium.

The arrival of Leeds to Australia is a fascinating one and it gives their fans a chance to see their team in action. While they have been in the English Championship for the last decade-and-a-half, they have been a successful team in England in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Leeds last won England’s top division in the 1991/92 season, finishing four points above second-placed Manchester United in what was the last season before the creation of the Premier League.

A couple of fifth-placed positions were to come for Leeds, and in the 1998/99 season, the club secured a top-four finish.

In the 1999/00 season, Leeds finished in third spot and won 21 of their 38 matches, however fell 22 points behind their rivals Manchester United. They also performed well in Europe that season, reaching the semi-final of the UEFA Cup against Turkish side Galatasaray.

Leeds maintained a top-four finish the following season, however impressed in Europe by reaching the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League. Despite holding Valencia to a draw at home, they were outclassed in the second leg 3-0.

The 2001/02 season saw Leeds finish in fifth spot in the Premier League and compete in Europe for the last time.

A financial crisis hit the club and by the end of the 2003/04 season, they were relegated to the Championship. They have not returned to the top flight of English football since and as a result of entering administration in the 2006/07 season, they were relegated to League One. It was a horrible story for a club that was one of the best in England only a few years prior.

Leeds boasted a strong squad in their period at the top, with players such as Danny Mills, Michael Bridges, Rio Ferdinand, Lee Bowyer and Alan Smith.

There were a number of Australians that played for Leeds – another reason why their upcoming tour to the country is an important one.

Players such as Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka were stars and contributed to their success. Jacob Burns, Paul Okon and Jamie McMaster also played for Leeds, while Danny Milosevic and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff were part of the reserve squad.

Leeds are currently challenging for the Championship under their new manager Marcelo Bielsa and have been playing exciting football. Injuries have impacted their form; however, they are still a big chance for promotion back to the Premier League.

It would be magnificent timing if they were to gain promotion at the end of this season, due to the fact that we would see them clash with Manchester United in the Premier League for the first time since 2004.

Their upcoming tour will no doubt excite their Australian-based fans, many of whom clearly remember their club’s bright period in the 1990s and early 2000s, and have waited for hope ever since.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com