The Leeds United save had gotten off to a great start, heading into 2019 on a three-month unbeaten streak.
The January transfer window saw a bit more activity, with the main outgoing seeing Kemar Roofe – who I’d decided wasn’t as good as Patrick Bamford – moving to Swansea City for £5 million.
We brought in more vital funds with backup midfielder Adam Forshaw going to West Bromwich Albion for £3.3 million, Pablo Hernandez – who had suffered a major dip in form towards the end of the year – moving to Al-Gharafa for £1.8 million and backup winger Stuart Dallas going to New York City FC for £1.2 million.
In their place we brought in young Paris Saint-Germain right-back Richard Makutungu and loaned Bordeaux striker Josh Maja and Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff.
The unbeaten run came to an abrupt end as we lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day. We followed that up by beating Reading 2-1 in the FA Cup third round, with a Kalvin Phillips double cancelling out Modou Barrow’s first minute opener.
Two league draws with Derby County then Stoke City were followed by another FA Cup win, this time a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers with Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown scoring his first goal for the club then a penalty from left-back Barry Douglas. January then finished without a league win as we suffered a shocking 5-2 defeat at Rotherham United.
We got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win at home to Norwich City, drew with Middlesbrough, lost at Swansea then went out of the FA Cup fifth round on penalties after a 1-1 draw at home to Premier League Bournemouth.
That gave the side confidence and we bounced back with five straight league wins, beginning with a 4-0 thumping of Bolton Wanderers thanks to a Bamford hat-trick.
Bamford scored in the next three games too, while Jack Clarke scored in four straight matches as we strengthened our position towards the top of the table. A 2-1 defeat at home to Millwall was followed by two big away wins at Birmingham and Preston, only to then again lose at home, this time to Sheffield Wednesday.
Two more defeats in the next three games meant the title race was getting super close, but we sealed promotion with a 3-0 home win over Wigan Athletic thanks to yet another brace from Bamford. Leeds were back in the Premier League for the first time in 12 years!
A 2-0 win at home to Aston Villa sent us into the final day knowing a win would seal the title. We travelled east to face Ipswich Town and three goals in six minutes at the end of the second half saw us claim a 3-2 victory that made us Champions.
Our team total of 93 points and 100 goals both saw us set all-time Leeds United club records.
And our players totally dominated the individual awards. Bamford hit an impressive 26 goals in 41 games to finish as the top goalscorer and Douglas claimed the most assists in the league with 13 and Clarke only one behind him.
Clarke’s fine form saw him crowned the EFL Young Player of the Year to bring a superb season to a great ending.
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