Victor Orta tells childhood tale amid impassioned speech during Leeds United's awards ceremony

Leeds United will be playing Premier League football next season for the first time in 16 years.
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Leeds United's director of football Victor Orta will forever have his place in Elland Road folklore after helping deliver promotion to the Premier League.

Orta - who joined the club three years ago when owner Andrea Radrizzani completed a full takeover - assisted in building and shaping a Championship title-winning squad that has now brought top flight football back to the city of Leeds after 16 long years.

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Criticism of the Spaniard was rife among the supporters following his debut campaign in West Yorkshire, but Orta has won over a lot of his doubters with better and more concentrated recruitment in recent seasons.

Leeds United's director of football Victor Orta celebrates promotion at Elland Road.Leeds United's director of football Victor Orta celebrates promotion at Elland Road.
Leeds United's director of football Victor Orta celebrates promotion at Elland Road.

His decision to identify and deliver Marcelo Bielsa as the club's head coach in the summer of 2018 has played a key role. As did his use of binoculars during United's on-pitch celebrations at Derby County last week in ode to 'Spygate'.

Orta, though, has also become known for his passionate displays and celebrations during Leeds games - kicking and heading every ball in the directors box alongside Angus Kinnear and Radrizzani.

The 40-year-old's hard work has come to fruition this season and he reflected on a successful campaign at the club's end-of-season awards this week by giving an impassioned speech to players and staff.

A childhood dream has been realised with the Whites.

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"This is the Rothmans Football Yearbook," Orta said holding a copy aloft on stage.

"In 1993 I was fourteen years old. I found in World Soccer - a magazine - that you could buy this book.

"It was five thousand pesetas - now it's about thirty euros. I go to my father and say: 'I want to buy this book. It's about English football. It has all the stats, players, results. Please buy me this book'.

"My father said: 'It's a lot of money. We cannot buy it'. So I said: 'Okay'.

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"I went to clean swimming pools during the summer for two months and I took the money to buy my first one in 1993.

"I had it with me all year - on the bus, in school. Because for me it was like a dream - remember there is no internet in this moment.

"I spent all day reading the book.

"Twenty years later I want to thank all the people who wrote a line in this book. I am really grateful because I could never dream when I was fourteen years old that I could write a line in this book.

"Thank you to all of the people. The chairman, management, players and staff. You make me really happy.

"I love the game.

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"I feel so proud because even if I had the good luck to have different celebrations in Sevilla in the Europa League, this is the first time in my life that I felt one thing - in the other celebrations the players aren't in the tables and people are going to say thank you.

"It's the first time in my life in the celebrations that all the players have gone to all the people and staff to say thank you.

"You are special. Please don't lose this. If we keep this we are going to go where we want. Perhaps the Europa League and all of these things.

"We have the core, please don't lose this feeling. Don't lose the humble [nature].

"This is the core that will put this team at its real level, which is the Champions League. That is the real level."