Phil Hay reports in The Athletic that if Marcelo Bielsa‘s move to Leeds United did not work, Victor Orta told Andrea Radrizzani to fire him. Obviously, Bielsa’s near four-year stint at Elland Road saw him become a legend of the club.
Back in 2018, Leeds were in the land of mediocrity. Paul Heckingbottom’s side had finished in 13th in the second tier of English football. Leeds needed something amazing to get them going. To wake up a sleeping giant of English football.
Orta embarked on a trip to Buenos Aires, with Angus Kinnear, to thrash out a deal for Bielsa. One of the game’s most-innovative tacticians. The rest is history. He took Leeds from 13th in the Championship, to ninth in the Premier League.
Bielsa of course, was sacked in February and replaced by Jesse Marsch. But his legend lives on and it is believed that the Thorp Arch training ground will be named after him. Hay reports what Orta told Radrizzani, on hiring Bielsa.
The Spaniard was so convinced of Bielsa’s appointment, that it would work, that he told Radrizzani to fire him – if it did not work out: “If it fails, fire me,” Orta said, Hay reports in his latest Athletic piece – amid Bournemouth eyeing Bielsa.
Orta told Radrizzani to fire him if Bielsa move to Leeds did not work
It worked beyond just taking Leeds to the Premier League, which was of course the ultimate aim. A return to Premier League football after 16 years. Bielsa massively improved the Thorp Arch complex. Numerous changes.
Indeed, he re-opened the swimming pool in which Massimo Cellino had closed. He added hotel-style bunk beds so players could sleep at the complex in order to cope with the tiredness of his gruelling sessions. He did so much.
His relationship with fans, murderball, Spygate, and plenty more. It was fun-filled chaos and that encapsulated his time in charge of Leeds. If he does go to Bournemouth, it will be sad – but it will be nice to see him back in the dugout.