At Sport Witness we’ve covered the world football media for some years now, and it’s easy to find mentions of clubs like Manchester United. The Premier League is huge, and followed around the planet, which drives the big income.
It’s become clear over the past year that the Championship is growing. England’s second tier may not yet have been rebranded Premier League 2, but it’s beginning to be treated as such.
Finances help. In the summer, clubs around Europe were left astonished by sides like Middlesbrough not selling their stars for relative peanuts. Usually relegation means financial doom and a fire-sale, but not in England, there’s still money around.
Pontus Jansson staying at Leeds United, and Paweł Cibicki joining him, led the Swedish media to look at players moving to the Championship, and how the finances are now comparable to top leagues elsewhere.
The wave is growing, and by some perfect trick of timing, Leeds United have managed to get to the crest of it. Considered around the football world as a grand old club of the English game, fallen on hard times, it’s a good news story which has spread, and there’s so many connections for the world media to have.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga sees Leeds United covered daily in the German newspapers. Today it’s the Rheinische Post, explaining how Leeds and Lasogga have made a mockery of the player’s recent criticism, and Hamburg’s decision to avoid picking him under any circumstances.
The Hamburger Morgenpost have even shared their excitement about Lasogga getting his own chant, even if they’re not entirely sure on the words.
Felix Wiedwald’s chip on the shoulder after he was ushered out of Werder Bremen is shared by the club’s local media. It’s fair to say Polish goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka has been under more pressure than he would otherwise have been, and Wiedwald’s great Leeds start is repeatedly covered.
In Japan, there’s far more excitement over a potential Leeds United move for Yosuke Ideguchi than there would otherwise have been.
Leeds flying high at the top of the Championship brings assumptions of promotion to the Premier League, and has led several Japanese news outlets to spend time working out how Ideguchi could jump through work permit hoops and therefore not go out on loan, but instead stay at Elland Road.
Over in Catalonia, the local media are trying to get their own angle on success. Thomas Christiansen’s links to Barcelona bring more interest, and it can be guaranteed the coverage will snowball if Leeds United remain at the top of the Championship much longer.
The Catalan media love claiming a part in any success they can and if there’s a way to spin Leeds United doing well as being partly down to Christiansen’s background at Barcelona then it will be taken.
Should Samu Saiz carry on the way he’s started then he’ll also contribute toward the Spanish coverage. And Pablo Hernandez’s club-saving investment into Castellon sees him granted an almost elder statesman status.
Leeds are also now a thing in Macedonia, where Езѓан Алиоски, sorry, Ezgjan Alioski was already a big deal. For the last international break, Alioski went off with such a skip in his step that he managed to annoy Albania after dishing out advice to them post-match.
Before Alioski’s arrival, it’s fair to say Leeds United weren’t big in Skopje.
It’s all being driven by what’s happening on the pitch, but what’s happening off it is helping the feel-good factor spread. For example, anything Pontus Jansson says to LUTV is automatically picked up and spread all over Sweden, where now the media doesn’t seem so keen to massage exit stories.
A momentum is building around the club which, added to the ever increasing status of the Championship, is branding gold, and whilst Andrea Radrizzani will have planned for part of this, it’s surely going better than even he expected.
Leeds United Marching on Together around the world media is largely fed by results, and if they keep going the club will inflate in that respect, opening up old avenues which had pretty much forgotten about the Whites.
Foreign fans will remember they’ve got a Leeds United scarf three draws down in the spare room, and start to take interest again. Commercial contracts will have that added % jump.
There’s so much to gain for Leeds United right now, but, likewise, so much to lose if this bubble is burst too soon.
No pressure Thomas & Co.