Book: Marcelo Bielsa vs The Damned United:

Last updated : 05 September 2021 By Kevin Markey

Marcelo Bielsa vs The Damned United is a fan’s account of two extraordinary seasons at Leeds United, which culminated in the club’s return to the Premier League after a 16-year exile.

Bielsa, one of the most revered managers in world football, quickly transformed a mediocre group of players into would-be title winners and raced to the top of the Championship.But his biggest foe was the very club he had come to save, a club where controversy and calamity are never far away.

The controversial ‘Spygate’ saga derailed the seasonand the team collapsed at the finish line in heartbreaking and calamitous fashion. The following season Bielsa faced more controversy, more chaos, and just as his team reached the finish line again, along came a global pandemic.

This book captures the essence of a unique football genius, and the trials and tribulations of a long-suffering fan base – in love with their manager, electrified by his football and often deranged by a rollercoaster two-year promotion race.

I am in awe of Marcelo Bielsa and as a season ticket holder in the Kop at Elland Road I have been pining to get back into my 'standing position' next to my seat after missing out on being in the ground for the run-in for promotion. I have been watching Leeds since 1961 and I have been looking forward to reading the account of Bielsa's first two seasons. I expected a match by match analysis but this book is so much more than that. It brought to life the reality of being a frustrated Leeds supporter and I totally recognise the authenticity of the book and it brought back so many memories of the "ups and downs" we Leeds fans have endured for far too long ... they were brought back to life for me and it was so exciting to read and relive these two historuc seasons. The book was also interesting in a way that it opened up on the author's own experiences of his life as a Leeds supporter and the impact it has has had on him. A great read, any Leeds United supporter will love this book.
My 15 year old son has never been able to read or enjoy books but he can’t stop reading this one! He was up until 1-2am reading it, said he couldn’t put it down! His English tutor is thrilled he has found a book he can enjoy! So happy I ordered this for him :)
Great book written from an ordinary fans perspective covering Bielsa’s first two seasons and the dramatic turnaround of Leeds United’s fortunes.

This is a great read from two perspectives. First from the perspective of the football side, giving a detailed review and analysis on the matches, the players and Bielsa himself. This is balanced perfectly with the second perspective, that of the author himself, how his life is intertwined with the football and how he experiences the extreme highs and lows as a match going football fan. It’s well written, highly witty, very informative and extremely engrossing. I highly recommend it for all football fans. Despite not being a Leeds fan it left me feeling real empathy for the club, for all the trials and tribulations they, their fans and the author himself have had to endure. It’s also a wonderful tribute to Marcelo Bielsa and helped me to revere and respect him more than I would have expected.

Brilliant writer and a great period to look back on! Definitely a must for any Leeds fan.
What a read 
Rosanna Totiah

An absolute belter from a genuine fan. a must read for any Leeds fan. Can't wait for the next one
For all football fans 
Tom Straker

Yes, this is an in-depth account of two incredible seasons through the eyes of a passionate and dedicated Leeds United fan, but this is for all football fans; it has heart, rituals, stories, ups and downs, something that every football fan around the country can relate to. I thoroughly enjoyed all the little anecdotes and the compelling storytelling through the eyes of a dedicated football fan. A fantastic read and highly recommended.

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