Could Leeds United fans have dreamed of this just a few years ago?

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YorkshireSquare
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News Article Could Leeds United fans have dreamed of this just a few years ago?

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Everyone will have their own feelings about quite when the darkest days were for Leeds United. Relegation to the Championship, losing to Watford in the play-off final, relegation to League One with administration thrown in for good measure, the monotonous hopelessness of Neil Warnock? What is certain is that there have been plenty of dark times over the last twenty years, even just a few short years ago there was no sign of the light at the end of the tunnel. The appointment of Paul Heckingbottom felt like another step backwards, another hapless coach who would condemn us to yet another season languishing in the Football League. But all that was to change on 15th June 2018.

From the minute that Marcelo Bielsa was linked as a potential candidate for the head coach job at Leeds United there was a great deal of excitement and anticipation in the air. His appointment was a coup d'état, the the most exciting appointment the club have ever made. Leeds fans were salivating at the prospect of Bielsa reviving one of football’s sleeping giants and it was clear from his first game against Stoke that we were right to be excited. In his first games in charge he put two of the contenders for the Championship title to the sword emphatically. Bielsa’s style, the high press and work rate of the players was enthralling to watch.

Promotion may not have been delivered in his first season but Leeds United was revitalised both on and off the pitch. There was optimism around the club once again, the club and the city brought together again for the first time in years. Now, three years on from his appointment everything is good with Leeds United. Premier League football secured for a second season, plans for expansion of Elland Road to a capacity of 55,000 and one of our own, Kalvin Phillips, making waves on the international scene with a starting role for England at Euro 2020. All of this thanks to Marcelo Bielsa!





Even before Bielsa had accepted the head coach’s role at Elland Road there was something obvious that stood out to him. In Kalvin Phillips, Bielsa thought saw a potentially world class player, even if none of us had seen it. He took him under his wing, made him his personal project and transformed Phillips from an average Championship box to box midfielder into a world class holding midfielder, lighting up Euro 2020, drawing the attention and affection of greats such as Mesut Özil, Michael Ballack and Nigel de Jong amongst them!

But Bielsa hasn’t just transformed one player, he has transformed a whole team, a team who play some of the most exciting football in the country. A team so exciting to watch that it was almost impossible to buy a ticket to watch them in the Championship, never mind in the Premier League. With 25,000 people on the season ticket waiting list plans to expand Elland Road are perhaps overdue but the announcement this week that they are planning an additional 5,000 seats on top of what had already been planned shows the ambition of the club going forward.

Even a global pandemic couldn’t halt Leeds United’s progress under Marcelo Bielsa but it has meant that fans have missed out on seeing our return to the Premier League in person. This week saw next seasons fixtures released and the chance to pay back our biggest Rivals, Manchester United, for last seasons frenzied 6-2 defeat in the first game of the season. Hopefully this time with a vociferous bunch of travelling Leeds United fans in attendance at Old Trafford to remind everyone what they have been missing for the last seventeen years.

All in all it’s felt like a pretty good week for Leeds United and to cap it off Gjanni Alioski scored for Macedonia, the first Leeds player to score in a major tournament since Rio Ferdinand against Denmark at the 2002 World Cup.
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Re: Could Leeds United fans have dreamed of this just a few years ago?

Post by Norm »

Good post Adam - no, we couldn't dream of it. Garry Monk worked wonders for a while but then he quit because something upset him.
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Re: Could Leeds United fans have dreamed of this just a few years ago?

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'Tis all we could do was dream...then came the Messiah... :)
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Re: Could Leeds United fans have dreamed of this just a few years ago?

Post by Leeds1000 »

Not being a football aficionado i must confess i didn't know who Bielsa was before he arrived, which i now find strange with all the nice comments others managers say about him.. And having been dragged threw the mud on so many occasions i was initially sceptical....., What does he know about the Championship, another unknown roll of the dice, he may get it right in 5 years, but normally he buggers off after 5 months. Why haven't we gone for a safe pair of hands...in Alex Neil! :)

Glad to say the rest has been a welcome humble education on my behalf. It turns out he's one of the best managers in our history.
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Re: Could Leeds United fans have dreamed of this just a few years ago?

Post by White's and Proud »

Good article but how on earth the author forgot to include the comic trainer David Hockaday is beyond belief. Surely Heckinbottom is not as bad (though he's not good either) than that of Cellino's madcap signing? It is funny now but most certainly was not back then because our Club LUFC became the World's football laughing stock. Oh thank the lord how times have moved on from such a very dark period with everyone now praising, talking about Bielsa and his Leeds United, as the song by andrew Wilson goes "UNITED ARE BACK" and long may it continue, without both Heckinbottom and David Wackaday🤣
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Re: Could Leeds United fans have dreamed of this just a few years ago?

Post by YorkshireSquare »

White's and Proud wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 1:04 pm Good article but how on earth the author forgot to include the comic trainer David Hockaday is beyond belief. Surely Heckinbottom is not as bad (though he's not good either) than that of Cellino's madcap signing? It is funny now but most certainly was not back then because our Club LUFC became the World's football laughing stock. Oh thank the lord how times have moved on from such a very dark period with everyone now praising, talking about Bielsa and his Leeds United, as the song by andrew Wilson goes "UNITED ARE BACK" and long may it continue, without both Heckinbottom and David Wackaday🤣

I try to forget about Hockaday!
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