By Noel Whelan

27th Jul, 2019 | 5:34pm

'Very disappointed' - Exclusive: Whelan blasts Leeds board over loss of 'massive tradition'


Noel Whelan has blasted the board at Leeds United for taking away the “tradition” of having the final pre-season fixture at Elland Road.

The former Leeds star and lifelong fan of the club, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that he feels for the supporters this summer after their side failed to play a game at home before the new season.

Leeds’ final warm-up clash before the Championship season kicks off is away at Italian outfit Calgiari, having travelled to Australia to play against Manchester United and Western Sydney Warriors.

Despite it not being a competitive game, Whelan insists the final pre-season outing holds a place in the heart of fans and he has criticised the board for taking that away.

Whelan told Football Insider: “There’s a certain disappointment that the last game of pre-season isn’t at Elland Road. Taking away a massive tradition there for the fans. I feel for them because not many of them will have seen their team in pre-season.

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“This is always a fixture to look forward to. Last game of pre-season, a home game, packed Elland Road, to get the juices flowing for everybody and they’ve pulled that out the grasp of the fans, to have that game that is notoriously every year, it’s on the calendar. 

“You look forward to it, the kids go down there so disappointed they’re playing that last game away from home. It’s tradition, it’s a bit like Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. I’m very disappointed the club have decided to play it away.”

Marcelo Bielsa’s men have also played a number of games against smaller sides in Yorkshire, a Leeds XI taking on York City, Tadcaster Albion and Guiseley.

They lost to Manchester United 4-0 in Australia before beating Western Sydney 2-1 thanks to a late Pablo Hernandez strike.

In other Leeds United news, Whelan claims that Bielsa has held clear-the-air talks with a senior Elland Road star.