MATT ABBOTT: We wouldn’t be where we are without Andrea Radrizzani

In his latest column for the YEP, poet and Leeds United fan Matt Abbott says he’ll be raising a glass to the club’s owner on the fourth annniversary of his investment in the club.

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Saturday, 9th January 2021, 6:00 am
Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani has got the club back to the big time. Picture: George Wood/Getty Images.
Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani has got the club back to the big time. Picture: George Wood/Getty Images.

Don’t get me wrong. That battering at Old Trafford was painful.

And I’m not talking 4-1 at Selhurst Park painful. I’m talking Karel Poborský in 1996 levels. When the primary school playground was full of glory-hunting hyenas and Sergeant Wilko was clearing his desk. It’s different against that lot.

Weirdly, though – in this parallel universe that Bielsa has introduced us to – in many ways it was more entertaining than the 1-0 win over Burnley. We went for it, as we always do, regardless of the scoreline. And whilst shipping six against Solskjær’s lot was intensely unpleasant, we should’ve bagged four ourselves. Even 6-3 would’ve just been a fancy version of 2-1.

Anyway, the fact that we’d put five past Newcastle a few days earlier softened the blow. And seeing us put another five past West Brom a week or so later was pure bliss. And that’s the thing with Leeds United: it’s all or nothing.

That 1-0 home win over Burnley was a glimpse into another parallel universe.

A universe where Sean Dyche is happy to grind it out, stodge it, slow it down, and survive. Where a succession of 1-0 wins and 0-0 draws is a solid and successful campaign. And that 15th place in the Premier League will do very nicely, thank you.

Don’t get me wrong. Survival is key. And if we were this gung-ho in the relegation zone, we’d all feel differently about it. But as I type this, we have the joint fifth highest points total in the league, and a top-half finish looks more than doable.

It’s a shame that we couldn’t fully enjoy Stuart Dallas’ goal at Old Trafford. One of the highlights of this season for me is seeing Dallas, Ayling and Alioski consistently turn in key performances. I absolutely love watching Raphinha, and we’re yet to see the best of Rodrigo or the other new signings. But seeing our mid-table Championship misfits lighting up the glitzy Premier League is utterly brilliant.

The journey of those players is down to Marcelo Bielsa. But the fact is, we wouldn’t have Bielsa without Andrea Radrizzani.

We wouldn’t be here without Radrizzani – living it up in the top-flight, battling against old foes and budding superstars.

We recently marked four years since he took ownership of the club.

And from day one, he transformed us from demoralising Groundhog Day to our natural “all or nothing”. Dropping points last season felt like teetering over a cliff edge. Lifting the Championship trophy had us all in floods of tears.

So, I’ll raise a glass for Radrizzani. And whilst the pain at Old Trafford was something I’d rather not repeat, I’ll take it on the chin if it means we’re giving it our all. ‘Cause that’s the Leeds United way.