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Leeds United: Emulating El Loco

Started on 17 December 2019 by joshleedsfan
Latest Reply on 31 January 2020 by Aaron
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited

Why fix something that isn't broken? In the summer of 2018, Leeds United pulled off the coup of the decade. Marcelo Bielsa turned up at Elland Road and revolutionised the way in which Leeds fans saw the game. High-pressing, enganche, intricate passing and wide overloads replaced "give it to the big lad", "get into 'em, fuck 'em up" and "get in t' box Lasogga yer fat cunt" as common terminology in LS11.

Under Bielsa, Leeds spent the majority of the 2018/19 season in the top two of the Championship. It was only a late downturn in form and a catastrophic second leg that condemned the club to a playoff semi-final defeat and a 16th season outside the top flight of English football.

The football under Bielsa was arguably the greatest seen at Elland Road since a plucky side managed by David O'Leary got as far as the Champions League semi-final in 2001. Players that were seen as mid-table write-offs such as Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips, Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas became hot property in the second tier whilst key features such as Pablo Hernandez, Luke Ayling and Kemar Roofe found another gear and showed scintillating form. It wasn't just long-established first teamers that felt the benefits of the Argentinian's philosophy. Jamie Shackleton, Leif Davis and Jack Clarke were amongst the names to have emerged from the club's famous youth set up and thrived under El Loco.

From Spygate to a Christmas period that saw dramatic comebacks against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers, the Bielsa season had it all.


Purely because of the restrictions of FM. If it was up to me, Bielsa would spend the rest of his life perched upon his blue bucket in front of the John Charles Stand. Unfortunately, I'd quite like to try and pick up where he left off and it's a pain in the ass to remove him from the game using the editor and add my own profile as Bielsa.

I'll be attempting the high energy, short passing game with a brutal pre-season regime, whilst maintaining the man management skills to keep the players as happy as Bielsa does. Call it a Bielsa tribute act, whatever you want to call it, this is my attempt at emulating El Loco


Muy bueno...

Subí táctica para descargar y jugar...
Yes the blue bucket!
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited


For many, Leeds United is a club that needs little introduction. For the uninitiated, it is the sole professional representative of the second most populous UK city outside of London. The club's rises to and subsequent falls from grace have been well documented over the years, but here's a rundown for those in a curious mood:

The club was formed in 1919 and plays its games at Elland Road, which was the home of United's predecessor, Leeds City. City were expelled from the Football League due to illegal payments to players during the First World War.

Pre-WWII, Leeds played a bit-part role in the scenery of English football, with promotion as Champions from the Second Division in 1924 the club's only real highlight. It was in the second half of the 20th Century when the club made a name for itself.

In a 13 year spell under player-turned-manager Don Revie between 1961 and 1974, Leeds won the First Division twice ('68, 74), the Inter-Cities Fairs cup (preceding the UEFA Cup) twice ('69, '71), the FA Cup in '72 and the League Cup in '68. The club also earned an unfortunate reputation for finishing as runners-up, with 7 cup final losses and 5 2nd place finishes in the league.

A side featuring Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray, Peter Lorimer, Norman Hunter and Jack Charlton signed off their better years with a controversial European Cup Final defeat in 1975, a result defiantly disregarded on the terraces to this day.

The club spent the late 70s and much of the 80s back in the wilderness, with the club relegated back to the Second Division in 1982. An ambitious taskmaster, not much unlike Bielsa in some regards, by the name of Howard Wilkinson took the reins in 1988 and guided the club back to the First Division in 1990. This was followed up by a title win in 1992, the last First Division season before the inception of the Premier League. Wilkinson assembled a fine side through the late 80s and early 90s, with an iconic midfield four featuring Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister, David Batty and Gary Speed.

Throughout the 90s, Leeds were amongst the first generation of Premier League clubs to attract global attention with stars such as Lucas Radebe, Tony Yeboah and (whisper it very quetly in these parts) Harry Kewell.

In the late 90s and early noughties, David O'Leary built a young side which had been tipped to regularly compete (and did that for a while) with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, with the likes of Alan Smith, Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Woodgate and Mark Viduka driving the side through many a European adventure, peaking at a Champions League semi final against Valencia in 2001.

The club's spending on talent such as Olivier Dacourt, Robbie Fowler and Rio Ferdinand went out of control however, and the club imploded financially. Every transfer window seemed to be a fire sale for Leeds, and the club were relegated in 2004, with neither a penny nor a player to their name.

Leeds United lasted three years in the Championship- although they did reach the Playoff Final in 2006- before they plummeted to the third tier of English football for the first time. The club's financial worries just simply would not go away in that time.

Leeds almost went into liquidation in summer 2007 before being bought out by the same man who put them in administration, Ken Bates. Despite the ill feeling this generated between fans and board, this would be the lowest the club would slump to.

Not even a 15-point deduction at the beginning of the 2007/08 season could stop Leeds from making the best of a bad situation, and the club were desperately unlucky to miss out on promotion after losing a Playoff Final at Wembley. One more Playoff heartbreak would follow before Leeds' League One nightmare came to a close in 2010, with Jermaine Beckford sealing automatic promotion on the final day.

The club's first season back in the Championship brought a false dawn and a respectable 7th placed finish. General mismanagement (at least not financial this time) frayed relations between the fans and the board with the club registering bottom half finishes five years in a row between 2012 and 2016. A playoff push fell in the final few weeks of the 2016/17 season, leaving Leeds in 7th.

Under new ownership, Leeds eventually staggered to a 13th-placed finish in 2017/18 despite a promising start, with neither Thomas Christiansen or Paul Heckingbottom able to meet expectations set by the previous season.

Marcelo Bielsa took charge in the summer of 2018 and the rest, as they say, is history.


Leeds United play their matches at Elland Road, in Beeston slightly to the West of Leeds City Centre. The club has played every home match here since its inception in 1919 and records trace the ground back to the late 1870s when it hosted local Rugby League.

Leeds City were formed in 1904, and became the first football club to play professional football at Elland Road. When Leeds City were expelled from the Football League, Leeds United were established and so professional football at Elland Road continued.

At this time, the pitch had an East-West orientation and during the 1920s. This was rotated to the North-South orientation seen today. As the club achieved little in the first half of the century, little changed about the ground. The ground was comprised of a 'scratching shed' at the South end and a main seated Stand to the West, with cinder embankments forming the other sides.

Following a fire in 1956, the West Stand had to be rebuilt. Fortunately, this fire was not during a game, so there were no casualties. Unfortunately, the club had to sell one of the world's highest regarded stars at the time, as John Charles moved to Juventus to pay for the rebuild.

The embankment to the North and scratching shed to the South were both replaced by the stands seen today during the 60s and 70s during the Revie era. The terraced embankment which stood on the East side was replaced by the large stand in 1993 as seen in the modern ground.

The current make-up of Elland Road consists of the main stand to the West (the John Charles Stand), which houses the away fans towards the south end and still has wooden seats; the Kop to the North, which is traditionally the end which Leeds prefer to shoot at in the second half and was the backdrop for the title win in 1992; the South Stand which used to house away fans and has now been taken over by a recent fan movement to essentially recreate the atmosphere in the Kop; the Cheese Wedge in the South-East corner -other corners are also enclosed but this was worth mentioning- named as such due to the yellow seats, as this used to house the away fans and the club's traditional away colour is yellow; and the large two-tiered East Stand, with executive boxes across the middle, visible for some distance from the ground.

Elland Road has been described as an 'old school' ground, completely untouched by modern football with a fierce atmosphere created at both ends. Many players and managers have spoken of the intimidating atmosphere, including legendary Manchester United boss Alex (no 'sir' in these parts) Ferguson.

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Familiar with the club after going to see them week-in-week-out for the past 10 years, I truly hope you can finally get us to where we belong :P
Great start. Hope you stick at it, mate!
Great start and Up the Leeds Dudes???
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited
If you've made it this far, congratulations. You either:

a) Have a large enough attention span to read everything that came before and managed to not get bored

b) Have an eye for what is and what isn't important information

c) Knew I was going to spend a while waffling about a team I've supported all my life, and had the good sense to skip to the good bit

For those who didn't make it this far, never mind. I am about to go into what matters to the seasoned FM pro like you and I (or probably just you). We're talking about the players.





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Tidy update. A clever way to really introduce the squad to those who may otherwise be unfamiliar. A good squad it has to be said, but I can't stand Bamford...
Great update, really like what you have done
2019-12-19 21:40#264113 ScottT : Tidy update. A clever way to really introduce the squad to those who may otherwise be unfamiliar. A good squad it has to be said, but I can't stand Bamford...

We do pride ourselves on our slightly less agreeable characters ;)
joshleedsfan's avatar Group joshleedsfan
3 yearsEdited

Board expectations

The Leeds United board have been kind enough to sign me onto a two-year contract. They'll take nothing less to promotion to the Premier League in the first year, so regardless of how attractive our style of play is and how much we could potentially get for our young players, it will all count for sweet nothing if none of it takes us up.

Of course, beautiful football and talented youth are important, and they have been embedded into the culture the board expects me to uphold at the club. It's a culture that suits my style of management like a glove: we'll be a high pressing, possession hungry side, with high levels of energy and a dangerous technical edge.

Young players will be key to this, enthusiastic starlets such as Mateusz Bogusz, Leif Davis and Jamie Shackleton being players in particular that will shine in this system.

The board has a 5-year plan, which I'll attach a screenshot, although I won't delve into great detail as I don't know whether they'll have me for the whole five years yet.

Facilities & Staff

For all the great work done on youth development over the decades and in recent times, with names from James Milner to Fabian Delph and Jonathan Woodgate to Lewis Cook, this is not quite reflected in game. Although the youth facilities are rated as 'excellent' at this level, the youth recruitment and junior coaching leave a lot to be desired, rated at 'adequate' and 'good' respectively. This will need bringing up to speed quickly, particularly if the club is to rub shoulders with the best in the Premier League.

The club does have 'superb' training facilities however, so little work is needed on a senior level. As for the stadium, Elland Road is currently capable of holding over 37,000 spectators. The ground sells out a vast majority of the time, but the club will not be able to afford an expansion unless promoted to the Premier League. In real life plans have been unveiled to expand to 50,000 in this case, but that is yet to be reflected in-game, meaning I will have to ask the board nicely.

As for staff, we're up there with the best medical and scouting teams in the league. We also have a generally impressive coaching set up, however this could be boosted by a couple of jack-of-all-trades additions. In particular, I'd like to improve our defensive coaching as it currently ranks just 12th in the league.

That concludes my other important bits. I'll be taking a week-long break for Christmas, after which I'll be back with a tactical breakdown, although if I can find the time and motivation to do it tonight, that may be brought forward.

I'll sign off for now by wishing you guys a happy festive season, whatever you celebrate and however you celebrate it.

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It is a case of promotion or sacked here, better get off to a fast start!
Full faith in you to guide Leeds back to the top-flight!
Smart few updates, looking forward to see if you give more of an opportunity to the youngsters that Bielsa has been reluctant to give too much playtime to this season.

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