Marcelo Bielsa's Brilliant Leeds Lads: The Men Who Lit Up the Premiership

02 Sep 2021 10:23 pm, by YorkshireSquare

2020-21 was a season like no other in English football history. Lockdown kept the fans out of the stadiums but Leeds United lit up the Premiership with an unprecedented brand of attacking football which made them the favourite other team of most supporters in the land. Above all, they delighted their uniquely loyal and long-suffering fans as they reclaimed their rightful place in the Premier division. Newly promoted after sixteen years of undeserved exile and relatively cash-strapped, their teamwork, team spirit and sportsmanship made them a beacon of light in the darkest days of the pandemic.

'Marcelo Bielsa's Brilliant Leeds Lads' is a new book by Graham Gordon available on Amazon which tells the story of Leeds' triumph and the man who inspired it. It first describes Bielsa’s seven greatest games in 2020-21 beginning with the seven goal thriller at Anfield, continuing with-amongst others- the demolition of Aston Villa, the outclassing of Leicester City and the defeat of Manchester City with only ten men. It looks at the masterly way in which Bielsa influenced the course of these games but above all it brings the matches vividly to life to create an enjoyable read for Leeds fans.

The second part comprises detailed pen portraits of every player in Bielsa’s squad, the A-S of the brilliant lads from the so-called nutter Gjanni Alioski to Pascal Struijk ‘the invisible man.’ It includes Patrick Bamford ‘the guy who fooled the pundits’, Kalvin Phillips ‘the linchpin’ and ‘the Brazilian revelation’ Raphinha. It describes great goals, assists and saves but it also highlights the personalities of everyone who wore the white shirt. The final part reflects on last season. The pundits called Bielsa’s team "the entertainers", pretending it was a compliment when they meant it as a putdown. But three genuine reasons are suggested for Leeds becoming the second favourite team of most supporters in the land.

Graham Gordon is a sports historian. His books include 'Master of the Ring' (Milo Books), the critically acclaimed biography of Jem Mace, First Heavyweight Champion of the World and Father of Boxing plus Blue Moon Turned Gold- the Rebirth of Manchester City.