Victor Orta reveals tears over Leeds United exit and legacy he is more proud of than Marcelo Bielsa
Victor Orta has revealed that “I cried a lot” to leave Leeds United last season but is proud of the “culture” he left behind in West Yorkshire.
The former Elland Road sporting director told the i on 23 October that he didn’t want to make “any noise that can damage Leeds” while pointing to the involvement of everyone at all levels of the club being committed to Whites success as his primary legacy, above even the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa.
He also addressed the two-fingered angry response to a fan at Elland Road after the game against Brentford in December 2021, saying his reaction was to half an hour of abuse and a threat against his son.
Orta said: “The thing I feel proud about is not bringing in Bielsa or buying Raphinha but the culture I created where, from Maria Dowson in the ticket office to the scorer of the goals, Patrick Bamford, all the people could contribute to the success and were committed to the success of Leeds United.
“In the office in Elland Road we had a carpet and the person who kicked the football closest to the middle won a voucher to go to a restaurant in Leeds. It was only 30 minutes but you had all the people from the different departments interacting – marketing, scouting, club secretary, director, media people.”
On his infamous confrontation at the ground he said: “You hear a person abuse you for 30 minutes without stop and his last words were ‘If you don’t bring any players in the winter market, be careful with your son.’ I said, ‘Come here to fight’. I agree it was a bad example but I’d like to know how many people could be cool after a level of abuse like that.”
Era turned sour
Orta will always hold a key place during a transformative era at the club whatever people’s individual opinions of him, and can point to some major successes despite far too many failures ultimately.
Appointing Bielsa will be his greatest contribution even if the succession plan he put in place was found woefully wanting, and while his style and demonstrative attitude wound up some it surely can’t be argued that he wanted anything but the best for the club.
Abuse that leads to threats towards family members would draw a reaction from most, so that specific incident may be understandable even if it didn’t look great for a key member of the hierarchy.
But many fans are glad to see the back of him now he is back at Sevilla, having been central to a chaotic decline following the sacking of Bielsa.
His handpicked successor in Jesse Marsch didn’t pan out despite substantial backing, and nor did Javi Gracia, while his steadfast devotion to both led to the disastrous timing of managerial changes last season which surely set the club on the route to relegation.
That he was in such a powerful position proved to be an accident waiting to happen once he got key decisions wrong, and has led to the new 49ers ownership to put together a new structure which, for now, is working more suitably.