Nobody Has Filled The Gap Left By Bielsa, And It’s Unlikely Anyone Ever Will

If Leeds fans think they are going to stumble across a second Bielsa, they need to think again
12:39, 19 May 2023

Marcelo Bielsa is not coming back. That is something lovelorn Leeds United fans need to get straight right now.

The revered coach who brought energy, cavalier football, zero English and a bucket to the touchline has moved on. Leeds must do so as well.

With Yorkshire’s adopted Messiah taking up the job of Uruguay coach this week and the team he left behind in a tailspin towards the Championship, it is obvious who has suffered the most from this split.


Trouble is, the fanatical fans who make Elland Road such a fervent arena, enjoyed their brief high under the Argentine so much that the comedown is proving harder than expected.

After just three years back among the glitterati of the Premier League, Leeds are at pinch point. Should they lose at West Ham United and results go the right way for Everton and Nottingham Forest, it is all over. They will be relegated.

Caretaker manager Sam Allardyce was parachuted in and handed 25 days to come up with an ultra-emergency patch-up job to stay in the division. He is yet to win a match. And with a takeover bid in the offing, it won’t just be the team going down if it fails. The value of the club will plummet.

The upcoming crop of talented rookies being talked about offers hope and insurance for a brighter future. But if Leeds fans think they are going to somehow stumble across another miracle and find a second Bielsa to bring them back up to the top tier they need to think again.

As unpalatable as it may seem to the hipsters who have replaced the old Service Crew, the managerial situation seems to be unavoidably drawing to a dreaded conclusion with Allardyce staying on.

Big Sam is not to everyone’s taste and most Leeds supporters would regard it as a step backwards if the 68-year-old purveyor of ‘19th Century’ football as he was once labelled, got the job full time.


He did it at West Ham, getting them promoted via the Play-Offs in 2012, against a background of lofty Cockney derision and snooty down-your-nose philosophising about a style of play which can be a bit industrial.

But should Leeds suffer the drop they need to get back up and quickly or the proposed buyout by the San Francisco 49ers NFL franchise could fall through entirely or the club will change hands for peanuts.

Leeds might be stuck with Allardyce for time yet and it might be the marriage of convenience they need to get back on an even keel. Budgets will be squeezed, players will leave, income will reduce just as the number of games increase. EFL football is a drain on manpower and resources.

Allardyce has that uncanny ability to get the right men in who can handle the demands of 38 league games. He gets in the trenches and systematically shapes a defence that steadily tightens up.

No team has conceded more than the 71 goals that Leeds have let in this season so it doesn’t need a genius like Bielsa to work out something needs to be done. Even a gruff old block-head from the Midlands can see it. Admittedly, Allardyce thinks he is better than he is, splits opinions right down the middle with his abrasive and bullish personality and he wears out his welcome sooner rather than later. But Leeds need to shelve this notion that they have moved on from this kind of manager.

There are people who think that Big Sam has already started to work an upturn into confidence levels in the squad. If it comes too late to save them from relegation this season, over the medium term it is what Leeds need to stop the shambolic mis-management that has got them into this position.

Nobody has been able to fill the gap left by Bielsa and it is unlikely anyone ever will. His sacking triggered the domino effect that has got one of England’s biggest clubs to this moment in time.

Big Sam won’t be the long-term solution, but if he is a short-term love on the rebound he will fulfil a need at least.

Leeds United are 2/1 to stay up with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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