Bielsa’s Leeds take it to the Maximus in new fly-on-the-wall documentary narrated by Gladiator star Russell Crowe
MY name is Marcelo Alberto Bielsa Caldera, Commander of the Elland Road Armies, General of the Leeds Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Andrea Radrizzani.
Manager of a fallen giant, spy on rival clubs. And I will have my vengeance, this season or the next…
MARCELO BIELSA has unleashed hell on the Championship since becoming Leeds ruler.
Now Gladiator himself, Russell Crowe, has narrated the story of the Argentine’s first season in England — and you are sure to be entertained.
Kiwi-born Hollywood superstar Crowe has been a Leeds fan since watching Match of the Day in the 1970s.
And he took a day in between filming in America to do the voice-over for Take Us Home, the new Amazon Prime docu-series following United’s dramatic – and ultimately unsuccessful – promotion bid last term.
Take Us Home follows Manchester City’s All or Nothing on Amazon and Sunderland Til’ I Die, which was broadcast on Netflix.
It was filmed by Leeds-based production company, The City Talking, who made ‘Do You Want To Win?’, telling the story of the Whites’ top-flight title glory in 1992.
As it was funded by United owner Andrea Radrizzani’s Eleven Studios, this is more like City’s polished programme than Sunderland’s warts-and-all show.
The six-part series does, though, take in the full Spygate saga, which saw Bielsa admit to snooping on opponents’ training.
SIX OR SEVEN INJURIES EVERY MONTH
And it shows just how close Leeds came to signing new Manchester United star Daniel James, who posed with a Whites shirt at Elland Road in January before Swansea pulled the plug.
Take Us Home gives a unique insight into Bielsa’s managerial methods, including how players are weighed every morning and spend nine hours at the training ground each day.
Defender Luke Ayling admitted: “You come home and you just want to have a little takeaway.
“And then you think, ‘I’ve got to weigh-in in the morning’.”
Cameras were not allowed into the dressing room on matchdays so there is no footage of Bielsa’s team talks.
But while Bielsa historically does not give one-on-one interviews, he did eventually agree to one chat with filmmakers after the season had finished.
Bielsa’s high-tempo, high-pressing playing style took its toll on the team last term, with the second episode showing a treatment room full of injured players.
Defender Gaetano Berardi, who was out for four months after tearing his hamstring in October, said: “It’s not easy to play in this way.
“We can see the injuries. But it’s our way to play, it’s what Marcelo wants and we can see the results so we need to keep going.”
Ayling added: “Every month there has been six or seven lads injured.”
Ex-Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera worked with Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao and told Take Us Home that he saw “players come off the pitch vomiting” during his time there.
Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear told the docu-series: “We have gone from an environment where players used to train for two hours and then go and play golf.
“Now they are in Thorp Arch for nine hours a day. Marcelo is asking a lot of them.
“The cultural change we have asked our players to take is really severe – it has changed their whole way of life.”
Kinnear hired Bielsa in the summer of 2018 on the instructions of supremo Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta.
And, in the opening episode, he reveals the ex-Argentina boss agreed to join despite not even discussing the details of his contract.
Kinnear explained: “Victor and I went over to Buenos Aires, we sat in a hotel with him for effectively 12 hours.
“One of my jobs was to get the contract signed and agree commercial terms.
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“I couldn’t get him to talk or debate or engage in that subject at all.
“We shook hands knowing he was going to be the next Leeds United head coach – but not knowing anything about what the contract was going to contain.”
- Take Us Home: Leeds United launches on Prime Video on August 16.