By Noel Whelan

11th Oct, 2021 | 7:00pm

Whelan thrilled by 'huge' £250m Leeds update from Phil Hay

An expansion to Elland Road would be a “massive step forward” for Leeds United, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed increasing the capacity of the famous ground would help the club’s case for inclusion in any future World Cup or European Championships hosting bids.

The Athletic‘s Phil Hay revealed on Friday the club has a “definite commitment” to expanding Elland Road to “55,000-plus”, with work starting at the end of this season should the Yorkshire side avoid relegation.

He also added that the club could boost their annual revenue to £250million by completing the redevelopment.

Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear told The Square Ball podcast in August that “discussions are in place” with the council, with a deal to be announced soon regarding the stadium’s West Stand.

Whelan insisted the plans exhibit the “excitement” around the club currently, with fans enjoying the Whites’ second season back in the top flight.

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“This would be huge,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“The demand for tickets at Leeds means everything is sold out.

“Even for League Cup games, you’ve got 36,000 there and that just shows the strength of the fanbase and the excitement around the club at the moment.

“It’s a massive step forward, for revenue through tickets and sheer strength in numbers with the support.

“If they increased the capacity to 55,000, they would sell it out week-in, week-out – there’s no doubt about it.

“The other part of it is the possibility of holding World Cups and European Championships in this country – you want the stadium to be part of hosting these games.

“It’s another step forward and another progression for the club.”

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