The Quality of Madness: A Life of Marcelo Bielsa

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The Quality of Madness: A Life of Marcelo Bielsa

The Quality of Madness: A Life of Marcelo Bielsa

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The book is a great read about a true sporting impresario and football fans and general readers alike will love it. Marcelo Bielsa, ‘El Loco’, the Godfather of modern football, arrived as the new manager of Leeds United on 25 June 2018, the same day England thrashed Panama 6-0 at the World Cup in Russia. When Bielsa was announced as the new manager of Leeds, his appointment was met with fascination. How could a manager known as much for his eccentricity as his fast-paced, frenetic style of football, possibly succeed as this then unfashionable club, not least a club which is proud of its ‘northern’ English identity.

The best chapter is on the ‘spy gate’ controversy. Here Rich carefully details what actually happened. In 2018, Bielsa sent a young intern to Derby County’s training grounds to spy on Derby’s pre-match training sessions. Once again Bielsa bore the brunt of the controversy, but Rich makes a convincing argument that sending one intern to an opposition training ground doesn’t mean Leeds are guaranteed a victory on match day. The effect that he has had on Leeds United, and on the city’s environs has been extraordinary. He has transformed a team floundering in mid table mediocrity in the Championship to Premiership heavyweights and fired the imagination of a whole region. Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera was born in Rosario, Argentina, in 1958. After a moderately successful playing career for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys, he retired at 25 to study coaching – by 1992 he returned to Newell’s as manager. Within a year he had transformed the fortunes of the club, becoming champions of Argentina in that first year.

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