Britain's first coalition government in 70 years, London hosting an Olympic Games 64 years after the last, the creation of YouTube and the death of Michael Jackson. All these events have occurred since Leeds United were last in the Premier League and after a chastening defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round, their return to the top flight has never looked more improbable.

Relegation to League One allowed the club to build up a head of steam, but after winning promotion to The Championship in 2010, Leeds have plateaued amid a succession of player sales with former owner Ken Bates starving the club of financial resources.

A seventh place finish in their first season back in The Championship was the precursor to a swathe of players leaving the club, in Kasper Schmeichel, deemed not good enough by the club's hierarchy, Max Gradel and latterly contract rebel Jonny Howson.

Only last summer was a fraction of the money recouped from that trio spent on the current squad, and in a frivolous manner. Just the £400,000 was made available for 34 year old Paddy Kenny, and a further £500,000 for Jason Pearce.

Neil Warnock
Moments of delight have been few and far between for Warnock.

Having assembled a group of eclectic, yet dithering individuals, Leeds have produced a poor excuse for an attempt at promotion undermined by just 12 wins from 31 games and a mammoth 48 goals conceded.

Their plight was summed up by a disastrous performance in the 4-0 defeat to Premier League champions City, who despite being a wounded animal after cascading out of the title race following defeat to Southampton, have been exposed enough times this season to give Leeds, a team who have already knocked Everton and Tottenham Hotspur out of cup competitions this season, some encouragement.

While City should be praised for being clinical, Leeds lacked the urgency and intensity which had accompanied their previous cup shocks. But perhaps more telling was the deficiency in quality.

If the swashbuckling runs of Mick Jones, Eddie Gray and Harry Kewell have represented the narrative of Leeds sides of yesteryear, their current guise is defined by their ineptitude. Neil Warnock has received much criticism in recent weeks for a failure to sustain a promotion push and while his showing as manager has fallen short of previous standards a squad squeezed of recourses by a greedy ex-owner never stood a chance.

"It's a great club and if we don't go up, I think everybody knows I won't be here next season," Warnock said after defeat to City

"It's not rocket science. I think the club will be sensible about it, but I don't want to leave them in the lurch. My contract is up in the summer and there is no way I want to stay in the Championship next season."

Leeds were 15/1 to cause an upset at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, a sign of the current state of the first team and their trials under Warnock and with smart money having rarely been placed on the Leeds squad, the odds have forever been against Warnock during his tenure at Elland Road.