'Marcelo Bielsa was stood on our lawn' - Leeds United fans reveal phonecalls, gifts and meetings with head coach on 'Bielsa Day'

Leeds United fans have celebrated the third anniversary of the day Marcelo Bielsa entered their lives by telling tales of personal encounters and phone calls with their head coach.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:01 pm
BIELSA DAY - Three years ago today Leeds United appointed Marcelo Bielsa as their head coach, starting a love affair between the Argentine and the club's fans. Pic: Getty
BIELSA DAY - Three years ago today Leeds United appointed Marcelo Bielsa as their head coach, starting a love affair between the Argentine and the club's fans. Pic: Getty

The Argentine was appointed at Elland Road on this day in 2018 and has since led the Whites to a Championship title and ninth-place in the Premier League.

But the mark he has left in West Yorkshire and beyond, for fans, goes far beyond mere results and league positions.

Supporters tweeted us with reasons they love the 65-year-old from Rosario, memorable moments from his time in charge, meetings with the man himself and his appreciation of their gifts.

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THE MAN

There's no doubt that the results Bielsa has helped Leeds achieve on the pitch have played a huge part in the relationship between him and the fanbase, but his character, words and behaviour all feature highly when Whites speak of their love for the head coach.

@Marvin100: There's no real one moment or thing (except the hug with Kalvin at the impromptu promotion party) I just feel that with Bielsa I want to be a better person; try a bit harder; consider others more. Plus I have a Bielsa gnome and a Bielsa tattoo so I'm pretty obsessed.

@Matt_Ginsi After 1 win in 7 (Forest in Feb 2020), he emphasised how much the players were doing correctly, instead of being dejected like many of the fans. It relates on a human level at how we fixate on negative results in our lives and forget that we have many things to be grateful for.

@ryanjohnd83 Every moment, everyday he's been here, everything he has said, every sweet he has handed out, every press conference, every game he has went mental, hugging KP, Pablo when we won , the picture of him after Derby defeat on his knees. ,#SPYGATE #Masterclass ALL BIELSA ARENT WE

@ljdev80 When he made the players let Villa score. I didn’t like it at the time but it just shows what kind of man he is. Love him

@LeedsUnitedLiam His modesty. Even during our promotion. The fact the players forced him to lift the trophy… He’s the greatest ever.

@boaky7 I personally love the Bamford volley in the face. Interviews with bent glasses. Just shows what the thinks about material things. Lover of football. Absolute god.

@stevegrimson4 For me when he told the player what us fans have to earn to go watch them then made them go pick litter

@LarsChrisMars1 Not a Leeds fan but I love Bielsa. He's a gift to the game & life itself. There's plenty top class players/managers but he's a top class human. Long may his lum reek.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

From his first ever game at Elland Road to his 'Spygate' press conference, Bielsa has provided Leeds fans with a lifetime of memories in three short years.

@SimonWhitney2 The moment he gets to the stadium on take us home. Like a proud father and all his sons. There is no better moment than that.

@bobly44 The day we tonked West Brom at our church 4-0 where Pablo scored after 16 seconds, they could not live with us I was captivated then to read an article saying that Leeds United were the Manchester City of The Championship. It will be a sad day when the great man leaves us@st07pat So many to choose from but from a team point of view the very first game of him in charge and coming away thinking wow where did that performance come from. And from his personality point of view him stopping his car to get out and hug thw girl in a wheelchair at Derby.

@Theroxyfox When he was walking the team to the bus before a game under Dark Arches and we were all in pub banging on the windows and chanting his name - he was beaming!

@bobby_wilson1 It has to be the 1st time we as a fan base encountered him in a league game at ER. That Stoke game was everything we wanted it didn’t dare hope it would be, and we’ve never looked back since.

@Captainiwk Guiseley friendly in his first pre-season, him walking to and from the bench right in front of the fans and not flinching from all the shoulder pats he was getting.

@Contentable__ Sounds daft, but seeing him slumped in the tunnel after QPR. Showed he cared more than anyone before him had...that he hurt as much as we did. And now looking back at that pic, we can see what he was visualising

@daveg147 Lifting the trophy like an excited child then handing it straight back to the team so as not to take any extra credit for the achievement.

@LeedsViews Telling Phillips he’s the best [at the promotion party] and 12 months later the whole nation is saying the same thing

@ingham37 Just watching his first game in charge against Stoke City, the change in the players was just unbelievable. The other one is the lighter side of him, hugging Bamford in training and when promotion was achieved. Met him once at @GuiseleyAFC and you could wish to me a nicer man.

@TrainingToTeach Don't really think anything will ever beat when we got promoted seeing him arrive and hugging all the players, seeing the love they have for him and how happy he was because that love is what we all feel, he has changed the feeling in the entire city.

@Mr603 Having to be dragged into the trophy celebrations by Pat and Kalvin, then the little grin on his face when the players mob him. I can't think of it without smiling.

@PureLeeds The presentation to the press after Spygate broke. It summed up everything magnificent about Bielsa, my chest was bursting with pride that he was our leader.

@ashlaurenn_ ‘I’m alive’ after THE game against Birmingham

@lewhartley89 The spy gate presentation, going from expecting him to quit to seeing him school everyone on scouting and analysis was brilliant.

LOST IN TRANSLATION

A deluge of tweets referenced Bielsa's attempt to pronounce Ipswich in a press conference during his first season. He gave it a real go, with help from former translator Salim Lamrani, before eventually conceding defeat to the delight of the assembled press and the Leeds supporters watching on.

@everyone Trying to pronounce Ipswich.

PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS

So many Leeds fans cherish the moment they got to meet the man who has led their club back to the top flight. Rarely does a day go by when a photo of such an encounter doesn't pop up, with supporters young and old beaming next to Bielsa. Many take place in and around a certain coffee establishment in Wetherby, he's been selfied in the supermarket, on his walk to work and outside stadia. Some supporters have even answered the phone to hear his voice on the other end.

@Emmabtvs My parents met the big man just after promotion in Wetherby. He got really excited to see the crest on my dad's shirt!

@ruthbletham Meeting the man himself just after he joined us at the Great Yorkshire Show, walking around pretty much unknown! Later saw him reading the Farmers Guardian sat down in the food tent.

@Thefieryjack Met him in Costa at his usual table and asked if we could have a pic, he smiled & I sat down & we chatted in English. Looked on the table & it was his team selection & match strategy for Sheff Utd. Analysis of EVERY SU player, strength/wknss. I distracted him, we lost. Soz.

@pantsdanny When I met Bielsa, it's the only time I've ever been starstruck. I sort of made this involuntary grunt when he first walked past , I don't know where it came from. Even Danny, cool teenager etc, went a bit weird. I read a very short thank you speech in Spanish to him off a piece of paper , which he put in his pocket. It probably got ruined when he washed his trackies in but in my head he kept it in his desk drawer! In Bielsa We Trust....

@metalliman72 Not long after joining, gave my daughter his autograph then kissed her on her head and 'only for you' Last year, my son saw him in Wetherby, and went in his bag and gave him some sweets and an LUFC pen. Such a lovely, warm, humble man.

@OntheBielsaBus I met him in his first month in charge when my son was the mascot at Oxford. A good strong handshake. He just had an aura about him that could only impress you. My son spent 15 minutes with him sat in the dugout, something I will never forget.

@battshooot My 60+ mum having her usual flat white & toast in Costa. Unknown to her, Bielsa was sat a couple of tables back. Struggling to open the little pot of jam, he got up, walked over and offered to open it for her. Just then, the pot opened. He smiled, shrugged, and said “ah, bueno”

@KD4Reb I met with two Argentinians for the Derby Play-off game,I’d taken them to the hotel, to wave off the team leaving for ER, As MB left foyer, he saw the Newells Old Boys shirts being worn he darted over with a broad smile, for a cuddle and photograph.

@OSullivanWayne The only time I met him was after cup game in Salford, I’ve never met someone with such an aura . He spent 5 minutes with my son , they didn’t speak the same language, but with the warmth, love & affection given by Marcelo they didn’t have too. A beautiful moment I’ll cherish

@FlexerentTalent When he rang me on my 40th to wish me a happy birthday. One of the most bizarre experiences of my life!

@atkinleeds He approached me and my 2 kids and started showing me pictures of him at Newells old boys on his phone just because i had an Old Boys shirt on, it was like I was famous and he wanted to see me...I stated I'm only wearing this because of you Marcelo.....No No No he said.

@leedshunter Two phone calls from him, a meeting with him for me and my family... I got him to sign and date my arm, then I got it tattooed. We all love him. What a man!

APPRECIATING GIFTS

The devotion to Bielsa is expressed in practical ways on a regular basis. He's inundated with letters and gifts from fans near and far.

@ArchaeoWill I sent him a book and letter. I was working from home one day and a knock at the door. @SophieOverfield answered the door and her mouth hit floor - Bielsa was stood on our lawn bless him and wanted to thank me personally. Gifted me Costa shirt, centenary badge and we had a chat. He genuinely loved the @SelbyTown_FC centenary book! So much so, he brought it with him to show me he had it and even had bookmark poking out of it!!!

@FollowMeAndLUFC The day he rang me on my mobile to personally thank me for giving him a copy of my book, Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.

@tompalmerauthor I sent him a copy of one of my @royoftherovers children's books, where I thanked him in the acknowledgements for his good work. I got a signed photo THREE days later (including a matchday) saying thank you for the book. Exceptional man. #BielsaDay

@benlyt Similar to Tom, I sent him a copy of Onze Metres, the French version of my penalty book. Sent one to every Ligue 1 coach at the time. He was the only one to respond with a letter of thanks (& an apology that he didn't speak French!). Superb

@Atomskibomb Like many, I sent him a book. Diego Flores wrote back asking for my telephone number. A couple of weeks later I had a 10 minute chat with Marcelo.

@hunsletboy When Biesla wore the special bracelets my disabled daughter Abi makes to spread joy around the world. @spreadjoy5 #LifeIsShort #bekind #spreadJoy #leedsunited #LUFC

@CheKaye Receiving a Christmas card from the great man, after I sent him a book as a Christmas present.