Leeds United have defended their decision to lift the Championship trophy in front of thousands of fans outside Elland Road on Wednesday night.
The club had urged supporters to stay away to help in the fight against coronavirus but those pleas were ignored by many, and Leeds players appeared on an open top bus to greet them after the 4-0 win over Charlton in their final fixture of the season.
In a statement, Leeds said: “Following consultation with the SAG (Safety Advisory Group) and (Leeds City) Council, Leeds United arranged for a bus to be parked outside the East Stand reception as a contingency to assist dispersal should a crowd congregate at Elland Road, despite a month-long campaign from the club and supporter groups to encourage supporters to stay at home.
“The safety group believed that a brief appearance from the players with the Championship trophy would help to signal an end to proceedings, encouraging fans to head home safely.
“In challenging circumstances fan safety has always been our priority.”
Prior to greeting the fans, Leeds had lifted the Championship trophy inside an empty Elland Road after thrashing Charlton in their final league match.
The Whites will return to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years having been crowned champions with two games to spare.
Manager Marcelo Bielsa, who has surely earned legendary status in Yorkshire, was serenaded by the players while wearing a ‘Champions 20’ shirt.
Leeds wasn’t the only city which witnessed joyous scenes as West Brom joined them in the Premier League on Wednesday night.
A 2-2 draw with QPR was enough to seal second place as Brentford lost 2-1 at home to Barnsley.
The Baggies also greeted fans outside the Hawthorns to celebrate their immediate bounce back to the top-flight.
Meanwhile, celebrations were ongoing at Liverpool as they lifted the Premier League trophy.
One man who wasn’t in a party mood was Leeds legend and Charlton manager Lee Bowyer.
The result sent his Charlton side down to League One following victories for Luton and Barnsley.
Even if Wigan’s 12-point deduction is overturned on appeal, Charlton will definitely be relegated.