My Leeds United: 'What we all want is what we are unlikely to get'
Wayne Gardiner is the deputy sports editor of the PA news agency.
“During this recess, we can share memories of favourite players (Jonny Howson and Mark Viduka for me) and favourite games (Anderlecht, home), watch Kalvin Phillips do keep-ups with Andrex and, keep on keeping on as best we can.
We might get a few soundbites from club officials. Who knows, in a few weeks we may see pictures of players in training.
But what we all want is what we are unlikely to get. An interview, nay an address, from Marcelo Bielsa.
Increasingly over the last couple of years this man, this enigmatic genius, has become a guide for us. What does he think? Mesmerised by him, if he thinks it, Leeds fans think it.
What does he think about the current situation and what should happen with the season? One suspects Bielsa may not even entertain the question. People first, football a distant second.
Bielsa’s weekly state addresses have become a must-see for supporters. Streamed live, press conferences have a big-game feel to them. What wisdom will he impart on us today, what can we learn?
Invariably the answer is a lot. Few Leeds fans will say they’ve not been touched by Bielsa’s caring, hand-on-the-shoulder approach.
Me personally, I took on the mission to learn Spanish. Why? I bought a battered, second-hand copy of a Bielsa book on eBay and it’s entirely in Spanish. I doubt he’ll be in the Elland Road dugout by the time I can leo el libro but I’m trying!
Bielsa’s arrival also marked a change in my relationship with the club. For some years prior I had covered the club’s games and press conferences. Bielsa’s arrival coincided with my son approaching three and it was time to switch from the press box to the stands. Cut all ties with being a professional and go back to being a fan.
My son, now four, a flag and geography obsessive, has a huge Argentina flag on his wall – his choice – and walks around singing ‘Albert, he comes from Argentina’... he doesn’t, he was born in Hull. But, you know.
We will all have a story about something Bielsa has given us. How to be loyal, perhaps. When are you going to drop Patrick Bamford? I’m not. When are you going to drop Bamford? I’m not. When are you... oh he’s back scoring and we’re top of the league.
You were right all along. Of course he was.
So while we miss our football fix, I reckon we are also missing our Bielsa fix. He’s been seen walking to work, unbowed, enigmatic to the last. Just what is coming out of those AirPods? Is he getting his daily bread from Cooplands?
What does he make of the empty shelves in Morrison’s? Just tell us so we know what to think as well.
But, alas, he won’t. And how much are we going to have to catch up on when he sits down to face the media again, whenever it may be? Let’s hope it’s not too long.”