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Marcelo Bielsa’s First Season in Charge Helps Inspire City Artwork

It’s fair to say that Marcelo Bielsa has firmly endeared himself to the Elland Road faithful during his first season at the club. Despite the maverick Argentinian being unable to guide Leeds back to the Premier League, he is still held in high regard by the majority of supporters, and his presence in the dugout this season has helped inspire a series of colourful art installations which have popped up at various locations around the city. 

These colourful and eye-catching fixtures began to pop up around the city in early 2019 with many of these striking pieces positioned within walking distance of Elland Road. The number has slowly increased in recent months, and they’ve been warmly received by the majority of fans. Utility boxes and bollards have undergone makeovers this summer, with many of them featuring captions and slogans such as “MOT”, “Top Man” and “Bielsa”. Whilst the majority of these designs are inspired by the man nicknamed “El Loco”, other pieces pay homage to cult figures from the past including Gary Speed and Allan Clarke. Popular Swedish defender Pontus Jansson has also been immortalised. 

 

In April 2019, the Yorkshire Post revealed that local school teacher Andy McVeigh was responsible for these conspicuous creations, and he admitted that he was delighted by the city’s response to his handiwork. It isn’t the first time that artwork has appeared close to the stadium with cartoon images depicting euphoric Leeds fans also popping up in a Holbeck subway earlier this year. 

Shortly after his arrival in 2018, local artists Joe Hill and Max Lowry completed a 3D design on Albion Street, and this featured a framed photo of the experienced coach incorporated within a mock up of a sinking ship. This was designed to help celebrate the launch of Escape Hunt’s new Blackbeards Treasure escape game. 

Although he admits that he is not a diehard Leeds United fan, McVeigh explained that he is aware of the club’s importance, and how their performances tends to dictate the mood and morale of the West Yorkshire city. 


There was a noticeable feel-good factor around the region during Leeds’ tenure at the top of the table, and confidence remains high ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign. The Whites were defeated by Derby in the Championship play-off semi-final, which confined them to another season in the second tier. They also missed out on automatic promotion by the narrowest of margins, with fellow Yorkshire outfit Sheffield United pipping them to the post. However, The Blades are expected to make an instant return to the Championship, and are 4/6 in the latest Premier League betting to be relegated next season. Fellow newcomers Norwich City are the second favourites for the drop. 

Fans were delighted when Marcelo Bielsa announced that he will remain at Elland Road for at least another season, and if the Argentinian can guide them back to the promised land, he is likely to be forever enshrined. 

McVeigh’s designs have certainly got Leeds United fans talking, and they’ve helped light up the city this summer. Plenty more compositions are expected to appear in the near future, and Bielsa’s level of popularity in the region shows no sign of abating anytime soon.