Bolton Coach Who Mocked Leeds Boss Bielsa Gets Just Deserts – by Rob Atkinson

Specialist in playground mickey-taking, Bolton’s Lee Butler

It should probably be a convention in football, rather than just common sense, to do your best to refrain from taking the mick out of the opposing team boss – especially if there’s a snooping TV camera in the vicinity. The trouble with getting caught doing this, even though it might be good for a giggle at the time if you’re sufficiently immature, is that you end up looking a prat to hundreds of thousands of unsympathetic types like opposing fans. And you look even more of a prat if your team loses the game as well as coming off second best in a touchline bench fracas.

Such was the fate that befell the Bolton Wanderers goalkeeping coach Lee Butler at the Elland Road meeting of Leeds United and the Trotters on Saturday. The pre-match courtesies were under way and Leeds Boss Marcelo Bielsa, with characteristic Latin politeness, walked over to his Bolton counterpart for the traditional handshake.

Doubtless it’s a cultural thing, much like paying close attention to rival clubs’ preparation, but the Bielsa handshake is something above and beyond the restrained English version, as it incorporates a little bow into the gesture of offering the hand to shake. All very dignified and stately, you might think, and you’d surely be right. But apparently, in Bolton at least, it’s regarded as funny and something to mock. As Bielsa turned and headed for his upturned bucket, the silver-haired Mr Butler, resplendent in a red tracksuit that emphasised his less than athletic paunch, clearly mimicked and then mocked the Bielsa handshake, before having a good old laugh about it with one of his Wanderers chums, as can clearly be seen in this tweet from Leeds fan Gibbo.

Now, I’m sure that Marcelo himself, being above such schoolboy antics, would dismiss it as simply one more of those inexplicable English quirks, or more accurately, that classic contradiction in terms Lancastrian manners – and nothing to shake him out of his polite inscrutability. But I can testify, having seen the moment live, that it annoyed me and made me even more keen to see Bolton depart with nowt. Thankfully, after a bit of a struggle, the lads saw to it that this was so.

It wasn’t just me getting a bit offended though. Quite a few of the Leeds Twitter community were somewhat less than pleased too, and understandably so. Possibly certain members of the Leeds United staff, who perhaps are blessed with slightly less of the sang froid that Bielsa enjoys, might also have been annoyed, had they seen what Butler obviously hoped was a private moment. A bit daft then, really, to have it in front of the camera and 35,000 fans.

Later in the match, things kicked off in front of the West Stand dugouts; Gjanni Alioski, who was down injured, got some unasked for and unwelcome help from a Bolton player, and his Leeds team-mates took exception; Mateusz Klich saw fit to cool down an over-excited opponent by squirting water down his collar, Bolton coach Phil Parkinson unwisely squared up to Pontus Jansson and got sent off for his troubles – things were becoming very unfriendly on and off the pich. But it would be fair to say that the Trotters got the worst of it, as they did with the match itself, departing back over to the wrong side of the Pennines hurt and pointless.

Really, it served them right. You reap what you sow and, with that casual moment of pre-match disrespect, Lee Butler ensured that his club secured the moral low ground and got exactly what they deserved – nothing. I don’t know what the Football League would make of such a blatant display of rudeness and mockery – would they decide it’s a shining example of “acting in utmost good faith”?

You know what – I think they probably would.

21 responses to “Bolton Coach Who Mocked Leeds Boss Bielsa Gets Just Deserts – by Rob Atkinson

  1. A lancastrian wanderer

    Have to correct you on your quote about lee butler and lancastrian manners,lee butler is def not a lanky hes from sheffield and def out of order for what he did.Thankfully if the club take over happens all the backroom staff will vanish.


  2. Wouldn’t be too bothered by Butlers behaviour, just a light hearted bit of playacting, if we’re going to get upset about matters as trivial as this then there really is no hope for us.


    • If only we could all be as cool as you 😎


      • The best way to deal with behaviour such as Butlers is to ignore it, at the end of the day we had the last laugh although we did make hard work of it again, enjoyed your article as usual Rob


      • Thanks – I wrote it because, in the current (usual as well) Leeds hammering climate, I feel the indiscretions of others need to be broadcast.


      • The EFL will do everything in their power to keep us in the CS because without us the CS is nothing, when we get promoted the FA will do everything in their power to send us back down, I really hope we can do the business this season, what a feeling to sicken both the aforementioned at the same time.


      • I think Leeds United would be a big draw in the EPL, I’m certainly less worried about corruption there than I am with the Football League. (Famous last words).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ken Jarvis


    MB is GOD, if other coaches, etc don’t respect him, well to all of them, FROM ME, GO F#CK YOURSELVES….

    You clowns won’t meet a coach better than him in your lifetime – FACT


  4. howard mackey

    Thats why they are second from the bottom ,53 conceded some goalkeeping coach enough said.M.O.T.


  5. Dan Deeney

    Is it possible that Butler was expecting a handshake and when MB ‘ignored’ him, he made an embarassed joke of it? TBH that’s how I viewed it when I saw it.


  6. Did the cameras pick up on that nice, and not at all bitter, Mr P. Parkinson giving Pontus the middle-fingered salute?? That was really showing good faith and respect eh?


  7. Life is LUFC

    I saw LB taking the mick as well and thought how bloody rude you are. Still not to lower ourselves to his level we’ll leave it there and I agree this is a damn good read.
    As to Mr. P. Parkinson sharing a conversation with our own magic hat man, I really am glad Mr Beradi was not there, heaven knows what he would have done…probably hold the drowning man under in the swimming pool using the hands of Mr Parkinson thus ensuring a real ban from the grounds let alone the stands.


  8. He was in gym at Tankersley manor when they played Sheffield huffing and puffing a bit 😊


  9. Only just seen this clip, I am embarrassed for the immature Bolton coach, he’s not a patch on Mr Bielsa. As for him being from Sheffield, well I am from South Yorkshire and not all of us are like this, some of us down here are Leeds !!!


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