Leeds United hired Victor Orta as their director in 2017. Now, aided by Marcelo Bielsa, he has Elland Road dreaming of Premier League football.
Victor Orta has admitted that he chose the opportunity to become Leeds United’s director of football because of the Latin-like passion that runs through the veins of this West Yorkshire giant, speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post.
It’s hard to believe now that, just two years ago, fans of this bearded, bespectacled talentspotter were few and far between.
These days, thanks to the history-changing coup that was the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa, not to mention the inspired signings of Ben White, Gianni Alioski and Jean-Kevin Augustin (if he recovers from those early injury problems), Orta has won over the majority of those critics.
While his record in the transfer market is still rather mixed (remember Jay-Roy Grot and Pawel Cibicki?), no one could possibly doubt Orta’s commitment or ambition, attributes that have helped transform Leeds from mid-table strugglers into genuine title contenders.
And it’s fair to say the former Middlesbrough chief has no regrets now about his decision to reject a return to Spain in order to reawaken English football’s sleeping giants.
“When I arrive at Leeds, I felt a Latin club behind Leeds, fans who take this club like a religion,” says Orta, who just ‘gets’ what it means to be Leeds.
“But that was part of my decision, when I chose Leeds. I had two options to go back to Spain but I knew the weight of the history of football at Leeds United and I always said if I can, I want to work in clubs with history, with passion.
“For me, I chose Leeds for this reason.”
With just nine fixtures remaining in the Championship season, Leeds are top of the table and closing in on a return to the big time after 16 years away. Orta is potentially just a few games away from being immortalised in Elland Road folklore.