By George Overhill

16th Mar, 2022 | 9:10am

Leeds United fans write to Lord Mayor Asghar Khan to give Marcelo Bielsa city's highest honour

The Leeds United Supporters Network have approached Lord Mayor Asghar Khan to honour Marcelo Bielsa, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

The fan body which reportedly represents over 7,000 of the match-going Whites supporters have written to the official to call for the club’s former manager to be awarded the freedom of the city, for his impact on the local population.

The highest civic honour is being suggested in light of the Argentine’s success in returning United to the Premier League, and the hope and entertainment the club provided during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as his fair play in giving Aston Villa a goal during the controversial Championship match in 2019.

The letter says, via the YEP: “We cannot think of any person, since the turn of the century, that has done more to promote the city of Leeds than Marcelo Bielsa.

“The world of football, with its 3.5 billion adherents, was stunned and somewhat bewildered, when one of the world’s most renown coaches decided to risk his reputation by managing a club, although steeped in a distinguished history, that was languishing near the bottom of English football’s second tier.

“Many notable, and some less so, managers had tried and failed to rejuvenate this so-called sleeping giant. Marcelo Bielsa is more than just a football man, he is a unique human being.

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“Few people have enhanced Leeds’ reputation as Bielsa has, few have raised a City up with hope in difficult times and few have entertained us so passionately. Bielsa leaves behind what he has created. A special club and city.”

Could happen

As the report notes, a previous recipient of the award is the Whites’ hugely successful former boss Don Revie.

While Bielsa did not achieve the same level of success on the field, the footballing landscape is very different now.

The two influential United managers both spent multiple seasons in the second tier before securing promotion as champions.

While the late Revie took the Whites immediately into the conversation at the top of the then-first division before adding league titles, the recently departed boss also sprung a surprise in the club’s first season back in the fop flight for 16 years.

The similarities ultimately end there as the trials of this season saw the former Chile and Argentina boss lose his job.

However, the influence he had on the city as a man as well as a manager is unique.

Adored by fans for his down to earth personality and willingness to connect on an individual level, while at the same time restoring the club back to close to its former glories, it would not be a surprise if this recognition does come about.

Not many would argue that it is a well deserved honour if it does.

In other Leeds United news, one famous Whites fan left Elland Road early against Norwich and missed arguably the moment of the season.