Promotion to the Premier League is secondary to the prospect of one more season of Marcelo Bielsa
20 Jun 2020 08:38 am, by YorkshireSquare
With the Championship season restarting on Sunday, Leeds United could well be on the precipice of promotion back to the Premier League. But for me the prospect of Premier League football is secondary, the main prize, the one I’m sure all Leeds fans want to win is another season of Marcelo Bielsa. The last two years are two I will forever cherish thanks to one man, Marcelo Bielsa, and I don’t want it to end. He turned up at Elland Road with a reputation as one of the greatest coaches in the world but with one of the most volatile temperaments and he has turned our football club around. The purity of the football that now graces the turf of Elland Road is something to behold. The intensity, the style, the beauty perhaps matched only by the top two teams in the Premier League and I feel privileged to have been able to watch a Marcelo Bielsa side week in week out.
Leeds are without question one of the most divisive clubs in English football, hated across the country, but we have won new admirers this past two seasons. Our moment on the big stage in front of a prime-time BBC One audience against Arsenal in the FA Cup opened the eyes to a new audience of the purity of Bielsaball. For forty-five minutes we looked like the Premiership team, winning plaudits from Manchester United fans who have to watch underwhelming Solskjaer, from Spurs fans who have gone from the exciting football played under Mauricio Pochettino (One of Bielsa’s disciples) to José Mourinho parking the bus.
Bielsa has given Leeds United a new audience across the globe, you only have to check out the #BielsaxESPN hashtag on Twitter when Leeds games are broadcast live in South America to see the adulation for both Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United coming in from Argentina; "I never looked at Nápoli for Maradona, I never looked at Messi's Barcelona ... I only started watching European football now with Leeds and Bielsa. It's wonderful, what you're doing in the UK, a genius." Bielsa is admired and loved around the world, he's our coach but he belongs to world football and we should always feel honoured that he chose to spend even a small moment of his career here in West Yorkshire.
How much more time we have with this great man depends on the next nine games. As revealed by Phil Hay on The Phil Hay Show podcast back in February if we win promotion Bielsa is likely to stay. If we fail to go up his time at Elland Road will come to an end; “If Leeds are going up then he’s going with them and there’s no real prospect of him not wanting to manage in the Premier League. But if they don’t go up then he’s finished here, and everyone knows that and he knows that and there’s no pretence this will go on for a third season.” I’m looking forward to another season with Bielsa at the helm, but if it isn’t to be now that we have been through the enlightenment we must not go back to the dark ages.
For all the purity and honesty and purity that Bielsa has brought us we have had to ensure Hockaday, Warnock and Heckingbottom to get here. Bielsa does not just transform players but he transforms clubs too, cities even and all the philosophy he has imparted on us must remain. Our club has had many managers but there are few that have revolutionized the club for the better. Where Dick Ray, Arthur Fairclough and Raich Carter tried but failed to create a lasting legacy Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson did. Hopefully we can add Marcelo Bielsa to that list, for everything he has given to us, no mater the outcome we must cherish and build on it.