February 1st has seen a lot of change over the years.
On that date, the Chinese took over Taiwan in 1662, Texas seceded from the United States in 1861, Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, Hungary abolished the monarchy in 1946, The Beatles had their first number one hit in the US, Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran in 1979, Harry Styles was born in 1994 and The Shard was opened to the public.
None of the above brought about as much unrest as the sacking of Simon Grayson at Leeds United in 2012 – although you could argue Styles ran it close.
Between the first day of February 2012 and the first day of June 2018, Leeds United made 14 different changes to their head coaching position. If you crunch the numbers, the Yorkshire club have had a new boss in charge every 165 days – roughly every five or so months.
Now, that’s either a rotten run of luck or impatient top brass.
The truth is probably a mix of both, combined with some bizarre appointments thrown in for good measure. Remember Dave Hockaday? He lasted six games. Clearly his incredible pedigree from his time at Forest Green Rovers didn’t result in success. Who’d have known?
But we’re not here to poke fun. We’re here to deliver good news. Marcelo Bielsa is exactly what the club have been crying out for now for 15 years.
Negotiations are ongoing and if you’re a Leeds fan, you should be saying your prayers. If you don’t know too much about him, he can best be described as a cross between Pep Guardiola and Al Capone. The abstract football genius of the former and the tenacity and outspoken ways and mannerisms of the latter.
Bielsa caught the world’s attention by implementing a 3-3-3-1 shape with his clubs – and nobody has a bloody clue how to attack it when they first encounter it. Leeds may require just one good season before they can sky-rocket back to the top table and realise that boring cliché of them once again being a big club.
Leeds have always been one of those clubs – ‘proper’ clubs if you will – and to be honest, while they may not be a huge club in the grand scheme of things, it still takes a big man to take on the associated pressures. We haven’t heard much about Hockaday since he left Elland Road, but he’d probably do well to get a job in B&Q with his CV.
The Argentine knows all about rivalry – of which Leeds have many. They take immense pride in their identity and Bielsa grew up in Rosario – the scene of the Newell’s Old Boys and Rosario Central derby.
He understands what clubs stand for and he embraces it.
Maybe if Leeds could have had a running start at actually harnessing some of the energy and scope associated with the club, they’d achieve. Bielsa will come in, take no nonsense and ensure the players know just who they’re playing for.
For the first time in a long time, Leeds could have a figurehead that has a combination of football IQ and personality.