Phil Hay has told a Q&A piece on The Athletic’s website that Leeds United have requested permission from Marcelo Bielsa to name the club’s Thorp Arch training complex after him – but are still awaiting a response from the Argentine.
Bielsa, 67, became a Leeds United legend during his time in Yorkshire. Managing the club in more games than he had with any other job in his long and colourful CV, he guided Leeds to 81 wins in 170 games from the Elland Road dugout.
Taking a side that finished mid-table in the Championship, to ninth in the Premier League in 2020-21, will live long in the memory. Spygate, high pressing, man for man, murderball, translators – Bielsa did things his way, and he was loved.
But things became too much in February and Leeds decided to sack the Argentine. A decision which eventually paid off when new manager Jesse Marsch guided the club to Premier League safety. Leeds still want to honour Bielsa, though.
There has been talk of the club naming the Thorp Arch training ground after Bielsa. A place in which Bielsa completely redesigned during his four years in Yorkshire. Leeds have asked for his permission, but Bielsa is yet to reply.
“As for the training ground, Leeds have written to him to ask for his permission to rename it after him. They’re waiting for a reply,” Hay wrote, on The Athletic’s website when responding to a fan’s question regarding Bielsa.
Leeds awaiting response from Bielsa after requesting permission
It would be a fitting way to celebrate the Argentine’s legacy at Elland Road. Up there with the likes of Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson in terms of the club’s best-ever managers, he ended a 16-year stint outside of the Premier League.
Leeds loved Bielsa and Bielsa loved Leeds. Often he would be seen in the local supermarket or Costa Coffee branch. Walking to work, instead of driving. He embodied what Leeds were all about, really connecting with Yorkshire.
Given his work at Thorp Arch, it is a nice touch for Leeds to rename their training ground after him. Such a move still hinges on permission from Bielsa but it would be strange to see why he would reject – although, this is Bielsa.