Happy Birthday Marcelo Bielsa, Our Footballing Romantic

21 Jul 2020 07:18 am, by YorkshireSquare

Marcelo Bielsa is a footballing romantic, a deep thinker whose ideas have helped shape modern football. The amount of highly successful managers who use ideas invented and shaped by Bielsa is well known. Bielsa believes deeply in his ideas, he believes that a side should be more than the sum of its parts because of them. He believes this so much that he thinks nothing of playing a defensive midfielder at centre back, a right winger at right back or a striker at right wing. In Marcelo Bielsa's mind it shouldn't matter because the overall style should help cover any possible individual limitations.

At its best he can take less illustrious teams like Bilbao to European and Domestic finals, he can take previously mid table Championship sides to Champions of the Football League. But it's not the desire for silverware that led him to the Championship. It's simply that he's famously very picky about the projects he takes on. He values a club's fans and culture far more than available funds, because that's what he believes football is all about. He shows this with the humility he displays, the way he immerses himself in the local geography and lifestyle and the way he always takes the time to engage with fans on the street.

Bielsa's methodical, even obsessive approach can sometimes make him seem a little unempathetic but there are glimpses that he has a heart of gold. Spending time having photos taken with young supporters, hugging Patrick Bamford in training, stopping his car to hug a disabled fan, it’s all there bubbling under the surface waiting to explode out just like it did back at Newell's Old Boys. With promotion secured on Friday night we saw that side of Marcelo Bielsa, hugging players, waving his arms in celebration, dancing in the Derby changing room.

Marcelo Bielsa celebrates his sixty-fifth birthday today and his one hundredth games as Leeds United tomorrow. So Happy Birthday Marcelo Bielsa, it has been so good to see that smile on your face over the last few days. If you could just sign the contract to keep you at Leeds United past your one hundredth game I’m sure that would make the smile on our faces even bigger too!