When murmurs started of Leeds United’s interest in former Argentina and Chile manager Marcelo Bielsa, there were many fans that knew nothing of the 63-year-old, fast-forward eighteen months and there aren’t many people who don’t love the man.
Affectionately known as El Loco, Bielsa is a man of great belief in his philosophies and methods in transforming teams fortunes both on and off the pitch and with his ever dedicated team along side him, works tirelessly to achieve perfection on the pitch.
So when Leeds announced that they actually had their man, a man who had already watched every single minute of their matches from the previous season, including pre-season friendlies, the excitement started to grow in West Yorkshire.
His reputation precedes him and some old stories of the Argentine are unbelievable, not to mention some of the tales he has generated already in his short time in West Yorkshire, not least the fact that he walks to and from training everyday from his residence in Wetherby and never denies fans photographs and autographs whenever he encounters them, stating that part of his job is to be accessible to those who adore the club that he represents.
Perhaps the most ludicrous story from Marcelo Bielsa’s history in management is one from his time as Newells Old Boys manager in Argentina, a club Bielsa represented during his playing days, where the team lost a game 6-0 and a group of fans took it upon themselves to confront Bielsa at his home… what happened next was incredible.
“When he was coach at Newell’s in 1992, the club lost a match 6-0 and a group of ultras turned up at his home to complain.
“Legend has it that when he opened the front door, Bielsa was holding a grenade in his hand and he threatened to pull the pin if the fans did not leave.
“When the supporters did flee, Bielsa then chased them down the street and shouted ‘do you still want to talk?’ whilst in his pyjamas.”
El Loco indeed.
Add the above story to the dubious “Spygate” story from last season, where Bielsa sent an employee to watch Derby County train ahead of a Sky Bet Championship clash at Elland Road, who was consequently arrested and the story was talked about by press outlets for months afterwards and you have a man who cannot help but create headlines. Incidentally, Leeds United won the game 2-0.
But the real reason Marcelo Bielsa is held in such high regard, by Newells and Leeds fans especially is his intriguing ability to obtain the very best levels of performance from his players, demanding respect through actions rather than fear.
Last season he turned a group of players who finished thirteenth in the Championship in 2017/18 into automatic promotion ‘certainties’… before injuries and missed chances knocked the teams momentum off the tracks at a vital stage in the season and Leeds ended up finishing in third place with zero form and ultimately lost out on promotion at the play-off stages.
Leeds have started the new season well and with Bielsa and his coaching team still in place, the future could well be bright for The Whites.
The Argentine is held in the highest regard by some of the best footballing figures in the world, including Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochetino who both see him as a mentor figure, so who are we to question his doings in times of struggle?
The Leeds fans will have their moments where they question his methods, but the overwhelming majority know just how lucky they are to have Marcelo Bielsa as the manager of Leeds United and want to enjoy the roller coaster while he is driving.
While Bielsa is residing over Elland Road on his upturned blue bucket, he will divide opinion amongst his own and opposing fans as well as footballing figures in England I’m sure, but he is anything but boring.
Speaking of the fans, one fan in particular, a former contestant on The X Factor and local comedian Micky P Kerr took it upon himself to create a few parody songs for the Argentinian, in the shape of Oasis, Elton John and Queen…
Hi World – Bit of a delay on releasing #bielsasace. We've basically had to put it out on another label.
It's being released to all online stores and will be up in a few days, but hoping for an express and pre-release on iTunes ASAP. Sorry for delay!https://t.co/uRQbG1Ivr0
— Phat Chants (@phatchantspod) August 10, 2019
— Phat Chants (@phatchantspod) May 5, 2019
All links to purchase can be found in the description of the official video here: Cheers guys x
WE CAN DO THIS!https://t.co/g2RqOLQcWk
— Phat Chants (@phatchantspod) December 18, 2018
A man who is humble in his existence, passionate in his speaking and above all, totally and utterly in love with the game of football… in my opinion we are very lucky to have him in England and should make the best of his antics while they last.