The fall from grace:
Leeds United competed in the Champions League semi-final in 2001 and one would only dream of further success in the foreseeable future. But the tale unveiled a different turn as this immensely proud and historic club fell into a downward spiral of financial catastrophe. Leeds United, a team which promised so much, went down from the Premier League as they finished nineteenth. They were able to put up little resilience to the onslaught that they faced almost every game, something very uncharacteristic of them.
Scurrying to get back will only cost you more:
The Whites were adamant about getting back soon after they dropped, to prove to the world that the descent was an accident of colossal proportion but they could amend it right away. But seldom do we get what we dream, at least right away as Leeds’ horrendous slump in form saw them lose their advantage in the league table. This dip in form would eventually prove even more costly as a defeat to Watford in the playoffs final in 2005 saw them stuck in the second division for another year. And they’ve languished there long enough. The club which has arguably the largest fan base in the championship division had too much pride to be stuck where they were. The fans demanded Premier League football at any cost and were never ever-present to voice their thoughts in a jam-packed Elland Road week in, week out.
The roadblocks were considerable:
This burning desire of reclaiming their past glory pushed the owner Andrea Radrizzani do whatever he can do in his capacity to give the fans what they ask for. But finances were obviously an issue for them. They were, by no means, had an empty purse but what they had was not enough to make the star signings that would make the fallen giants seem like a reckoning force once again. However, often our limitations lead us to paths that succor us in ways unthought of.
The attempts at resurgence:
Leeds appointed Marcelo Bielsa, the maverick Argentinian nicknamed El Loco as their manager and the rest is history. But what’s the man who Pep Guardiola hails as the best coach in the world slogging his way in the championship division? Bielsa, surprisingly, was deemed as a genius but also a loser who can play some amazing football but somehow would not have a trophy or medal to show for it. It was all falling apart for this brilliant Argentinian when he was sacked by Lille. He was touted to be one of the great managers who couldn’t keep up with modern football. He was done, or so it seems before his arrival at Elland Road in June 2018.
The ‘mad-scientist’ improved every player in the squad, stuck to a group of 14-16 players and things were in the ascendency. The Leeds fans, once again, dared to dream with the Argentine at the helm of their club. Leeds played an attractive, attacking brand of football which was appealing to the fans as well as to the neutrals as well. The Peacocks looked all set to enter the Premier League once again in the 2018/19 season but yet another dip in form saw them fall off from automatic promotion standings to a playoff place. The match against Derby in the playoff was all-important for El Loco’s men but as it has happened almost every time in the past, Bielsa lost.
Reclaiming a seat in the Pantheon of the greats:
With the weight of a crushing defeat on the shoulders of the coach and the team, many said they’d succumb. First Division football would continue to be one step too far for them. They said what didn’t happen this season, won’t happen again anytime soon. But the unorthodox Argentine had other plans. Extreme fitness regime, training, and strategies par excellence saw Leeds United take on the championship by storm yet again. The club that has seen many false dawns, endured chaos for more than a decade and a half once again dreamed. The club that couldn’t bear the second division even fell to the third for three seasons and looked one more heartbreak away from ceasing to dream. On 17th July, the Leeds United faithful finally managed to grasp their dreams as promotion was confirmed and the Whites now dream of merrier dreams in a place where they believe they’re suited, where they believe they belong.
The game’s most unpredictable manager in English football’s craziest club, a match made in heaven that finally bore the sweetest fruit after an unbearable exile. Indeed, the group that gathered to express their gratitude towards the coach of their dearest team they hold holy chanted ‘You are God.’