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Next Up - Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers (Published in Sheffield Wednesday's Official Programme)

Updated: Feb 18, 2021


LEEDS 26/10, 12:30PM

Following tonight's encounter, the next visitors to Hillsborough are fellow Yorkshire side Leeds on Saturday.

The Whites' bid for promotion last season triggered a fair amount of media attention and even an Amazon documentary.

From 'spygate' to the gifted goal incident against Villa, Leeds certainly provided value for money, together with enigmatic manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa's reputation in South America, namely Newell's Old Boys in Argentina, is of the highest reverence. So much so, the club named their stadium 'Estadio Marcelo Bielsa' in December 2009.

The man affectionately known as 'El Loco' has such fervour for the game that there are countless stories from his time in Argentina displaying the type of character he is.

For example, from having to be locked in the toilet by his assistant to calm him down after one game, to claiming he would chop his finger off for victory in another!

Bielsa was once confronted by a hoard of angry Newell's fans following a heavy loss and the story goes that he opened his door holding a hand grenade and chased them down the street!

Of course, it is not just his passion, Bielsa's encyclopaedic knowledge of the game and laborious attention to detail have seen him manage some huge clubs and become adored by their respective supporters.

BLACKBURN 02/11, 3:00PM

Transfer windows historically bring about some weird and wonderful rumours and not least at Blackburn back in the club's Premier League days.

Rovers lifted the top tier title in 1995 before tumbling into the Championship seven years later Prior to that drop, in the January window of 2011, two big names were circling the football world that excited those of an Ewood persuasion.

First was AC Milan star and 2005 Ballon d'Or winner, Ronaldinho. The link emerged following a tweet that stated: "Venkys trying hard to get Ronaldinho for 2 years contract. Offered 7.2 Million Euros as salary per year."

However, Rovers fans were left disappointed as Ronaldinho was spotted in his native Brazil looking set to put to paper on a contract with Gremio.

The club distanced themselves from these negotiations but stated their desire to acquire a marquee signing.

Next, they turned to English football icon and LA Galaxy star David Beckham, who was rumoured to be pursuing an MLS off-season loan to the Premier League.

Tottenham and Newcastle were touted as potential destinations and Blackburn went public with their interest. Managing director Venkateshwara Rao stated: "We have made an effort to get Beckham on loan."

Alas, any potential deal fell flat and by the end of the following season, Blackburn suffered relegation to the second tier where they have since remained.

Peter Jones

@PeterKennyJones

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