Only a Madman Would Want the Leeds Job. Marcelo Bielsa Might be That Man – by Rob Atkinson

Loco Bielsa – new Leeds coach?

The rumours that Leeds United are set to dispense with the services of coach Paul Heckingbottom simply refuse to go away. Indeed, they get stronger with every passing hour, and crazier too. The latest embellishment to the “Heckingbottom to get the boot at Leeds” whisper is an unlikely-sounding “and will rejoin Barnsley“. I wonder if the Tykes fans would be up for that?

Leeds fans, meanwhile, are lapping up the stories linking United with any number of replacements – even before little details like creating a vacancy have been attended to. That vacancy may well be posted quite soon though; the initial trickle of Hecky Out rumours has turned into a torrent that seems set to sweep away the former Barnsley man and lifelong Leeds hater. Even now he is on holiday, a status he mentioned in the context of being sacked, when he first occupied the Elland Road hot seat. His position now is being said by many Leeds fans, having seen this riptide of rumour swell to tsunami proportions, to be well nigh untenable.

So, if Hecky is to be gone, where does that leave Leeds United? Surely, after all the comings and goings under Cellino, and with Radrizzani already on the verge of wielding the axe a second time, only a complete nutter would consider the Leeds job. Well, the Whites may just, if the latest story is to be believed, have found that nutter in the volatile shape of the madcap Argentine, Marcelo Bielsa.

Who? Actually, if you’ve had anything to do with the LUFC hashtag these past few hours, you won’t need to ask who. For those who have not seen the Twitterstorm, though, all you need to know about Bielsa is here, together with a few bright-spark edits from the usual suspects. Suffice to say that he’s a brilliant coach who has his teams play a highly watchable brand of attacking football – and also that he is, reputedly, as mad as a box of frogs. If that’s not the identikit Leeds manager after the own heart of every United fan out there, then I don’t know who is.

Bielsa is nearly 63, so even though he might be a little cuckoo, he’s no spring chicken. But any managerial appointment is a risk for a club like Leeds and, having considered at some time or other most of the rational possibilities, maybe it’s time to try the other sort. From that point of view, the man they call Loco Bielsa would seem to be the obvious choice.

If this story does turn out to be true, then it’s safe to say that it’ll be a very interesting “however long it lasts” down at Elland Road. Twitter seems excited, and I must confess I am too. So if Hecky’s race really is run – and, let’s face it, his credibility as Leeds boss has been shot full of holes with all this talk and yet not a word from the club – then we’ll need a new man in sharpish.

And who better, in that case, than a controversial, maverick, hothead madman such as Bielsa? For an insane club like Leeds, he ticks more of the right boxes than just about anyone else you could imagine. It would be a “major coup” for the Whites, but much would of course depend on Heckingbottom’s fate, firstly – and then on whether or not the Argentine would want to work in the United management structure as it stands. But it’d be a refreshing change, a man of real stature and a genuine, one-off individual into the bargain. Since demotion from the Premier League 14 years ago, Leeds have tried just about everything to recapture the good times. It might just be that it’ll take a real nutter in the Bielsa mould to get this club back on track.

16 responses to “Only a Madman Would Want the Leeds Job. Marcelo Bielsa Might be That Man – by Rob Atkinson

  1. gerry hobbs

    I would prefer to see Heckingbottom given a season to bring in his own players. ORTA failed at Boro and his buying has got no better at Leeds. Coupled with the fact that he brought in that incompetent Set-piece coach who has totally ruined our set-piece scenario since coming to Leeds it still has to be ORTA OUT before anything else transpires.


  2. Tim Campbell

    Just think of the amount of street cred Bielsa would bring to the club. This appointment, if confirmed, would also surely indicate Leeds would intend to back the guy with a substantial transfer kitty to play with. Let’s face it Bielsa isn’t going to come to play with peanuts and a box of conkers in the transfer market, so another positive there then. The guys preferred style of play sounds exciting, and should Radz get him to sign on the dotted line then expect a major run on season ticket sales. Aaah I love it when a plan comes together 😉


  3. I suspect the club is waiting for PH to get back of his hols before delivering his P45 . If they wanted him to continue surely they would have made a public statement supporting him , in fact if they do intend to keep him on, it beggars belief why they haven’t doused the fire .
    We do need a proven manager , hopefully that’s now plain to AR . There’s managers (and players ) who’ll do fine at other clubs , but we need experience.
    Just two other quick points
    – For all Orta has done wrong , look how he’s transformed the U18 & U23′.
    – I wish Janson would keep it shut , and admit he was part of the problem



  4. Kevin Weston

    Including Monk this would AR’s 4th manager in just over 12 months. The problem is that some owners and directors of football try to be too clever with the appointments that they make including players. PH hasn’t been given a fair chance, took over a bunch of under performing players. At least he’s managed to keep 11 on the pitch (Beradi is always an exception) and given some youngsters a chance. Time to back a young English manager.


  5. If it happens and if Biesla is backed with £40 – £50 million transfer funds (he would surely demand this kind of inverstment) then I’ll be very exited indeed. Maybe Radz for all his complaints re Wolves last season was paying attention to their results and now the penny has dropped.
    Guaranteed 35,000+ gates if this happens and big uptake in early season ticket sales to help towards transfers etc. How long have we been stating the obvious now! Even Lee Sharpe in the YEP is banging on about investment etc. Maybe Radz read them? I really really hope the above happens Rob. Great blog as usual.MOT


  6. Gill Stephenson

    The fact that we’re even contemplating signing a 3rd rate striker from Carpi should tell us all we – and Bielsa – need to know about LUFC’s ambitions. Do we seriously think that someone of his stature is going to want to coach cast-offs from Europe’s 2nd and 3rd divisions ??!! Don’t think so ! And why, oh why are we still chasing such players when players like Marriott, Maddison etc are for sale ? No, I agree with comments above – until we sort out Orta we’re in this division for keeps.


  7. Life is LUFC

    But he is Argentinian……I had to turn the other cheek when Becchio came in but please not another one.


    • Becchio could still do a better job as a striker, than the impotent strikers currently at Leeds and that includes the departed Lasogga.
      Hecky has to stay for some kind of stability and be given a chance with his own players and not Serie B weaklings, who can’t cope in the winter and seem to hide in the extremely physical Championship.
      It’s getting a bit late in the day, to be bringing in yet another Coach, when all concentrations must now be on signing very good players from the Championship and not nobodies from Capri.
      The best free transfers are currently being snapped up and all Leeds are bothered about is bringing in another “nobody” Coach, who knows zero about Championship football.


  8. I’ll tell you Rob… no one wants him back


  9. We have complained about our coaches not having a ‘Plan B’, well this guy seems to have a complete alphabet of them.


  10. NickB(50yrsLU)

    Bielsa lasted just days at two recent appointments. Reading the other comments, I can’t help thinking it’s a bit of sensationalism to boost season ticket sales. I’m beyond cynical, after what we’ve all endured so far this millennium.
    Why would one of the world’s greatest managers accept a post as coach of a second division team where he has to accept the players bought for him by a buffoon called Orta?
    Maybe that’s why Zidane resigned yesterday – to come to Leeds; just as implausible.


    • It’s not exactly like for like between Bielsa and Zidane. But Bielsa is admired by the likes of Pep Guardiola, so we really shouldn’t pick out his bad spells and judge him on those.


  11. Here we go again Rob. No comment apart from I just hope we àre corresponding next May in a more positive, happier situation. Feel sorry for PH. The guy stood no çhance. Let’s see what the Twaterazi make of this .


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