With Marcelo at the helm, the good ship LUFC is now a super yacht - YEP opinion
It’’s May 8 2004. I remember sitting on a plastic seat at Elland Road, nervously waiting for the video of our first DIY single Oh My God to be played on the big screens. It’s a big moment and a really good memory...well, that is if it wasn’t the backing track to an already relegated team playing their last home match in the Premier League.
The video was a cartoon of us in a boat, this was us ready to launch, but for Leeds it carried the impending feeling of a sinking ship.
But now, seven albums later, Leeds are back. It only took 16 years, a football genius and a global pandemic but we are back in the top league.
Every season brings with it a certain amount of excitement and hope.
Can Terry “El-Tel” Venables bring Champions League football back to Elland Road? Can our most expensive player in years, £1m Luke Murphy, be the spark for a successful promotion season?
There’s been plenty of false dawns. Lots of ups and downs.
For Marcelo Bielsa the last 16 years haven’t been plain sailing either.
Until that emotional moment a few weeks back, Bielsa’s last silverware was picking up his gold medal with Argentina at the Olympics in the summer of 2004, a few months after Leeds’ relegation to the Championship.
Just like Leeds he’s had ups and downs, good times with Chile and Bilbao. Not so good at Marseille and his two-day charge at Lazio.
For such a lauded manager and a great human, it was way past time for Marcelo to get his rewards.
Leeds needed promotion, but the cup was for Marcelo. From our two years together you could easily have expected him to shrug and say he was just doing his job. It was great to see him enjoying it and dishing out the non-socially distanced hugs.
Whatever happens this year, we have a lot to thank Bielsa for, not just the title, but also for his team, this club, that has risen from the wreck in spite of Masimo Cellino and Neil Warnock’s best efforts. He might not have signed all the individual players, but they are his and he’s definitely steered them to victory.
As we set off on our new journey, it feels like we are all doing it together. The club is one, no more them and us. We are after all a one-club city. Now we see the kind of team spirit that sees the majority of the squad so happy in each others’ company that they spent their precious few weeks off on holiday together. We have Klichy doing a Champions mural at the ground on his day off and Kalvin - lovely Kalvin - playing for England and of course his Gran. It’s a side we can all be proud of.
First up Liverpool. We played a team from Merseyside away on our return to Division One in 1990 beating Everton 3-2. This feels like a total no pressure game for us. No-one will expect us to get anything away at Anfield. If the brilliant (albeit hungover) performances against Derby and Charlton are representative of how we can play in a no pressure situation, then is Liverpool’s 46 home game unbeaten run seriously under threat?
For the first season in ages, I feel relaxed. I absolutely know it’s going to be alright. With Marcelo at the helm, the good ship LUFC is now a super yacht.