Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani achieved God-like status at Elland Road after leading the club back into the big time.
The Italian stallion rode into the Yorkshire club and turned them into Championship thoroughbreds who stormed to a much-celebrated top flight return in 2020.
But Radrizzani is now spending his credit in the bank faster than Viv Nicholson, the infamous football pools winner from up the road in Castleford who won and blew a fortune in the blink of an eye. After less than two campaigns back at the top table of English football, Radrizzani has turned those supporters' dreams he made come true into living nightmares.
Leeds are sinking without trace and Radrizzani's reputation is crumbling quicker than the empire built. Just over two months ago he staked it all on a roll of the dice which promised to define his time in charge. He took the brave decision to sack Marcelo Bielsa and replace him with Jesse Marsch. Given Bielsa's iconic status, it was a decision that had to work.
But it hasn't, because last night's drubbing at the hands of Chelsea has left Leeds looking doomed as Marsch nurses a woeful record of just three wins from 10 games. Radrizzani is starting to resemble someone who put all his chips on red, only to see the roulette ball stop on black. And nothing is blacker than a return to the second tier, a scenario that would see the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Raphinha all find new clubs and leave Radrizzani facing serious questions from club investors and partners.
But if Elland Road ends up burning with rage – and it will do should the worst happen – then Marsch would not be to blame. The Gandhi-quoting American has done himself few favours, it has to be said. Claiming positives from heavy defeats when there aren't any is delusional, picking Raphinha at right wingback against Chelsea was pure Ted Lasso and filling heads with quotes from iconic people is desperate and futile.
Will Leeds manage to beat the drop? Let us know in the comments section below
But the most comical act of Leeds' demise has been Radrizzani's decision to ask someone with no Premier League experience, and the same approach to the game as Bielsa, to ride to the rescue in the first place. Supporters have turned on Marsch, whose been on a hiding to nothing from the start. But the huge burden of blame should sit on the shoulders of Radrizzani. He allowed the fans' idolising of Bielsa to cloud his judgement.
He could see the direction the team was going in, but acted too late. Sacking Bielsa was the right decision at the wrong time, because he allowed the Argentine to leave behind a unbalanced team due to his refusal to make signings in January. He hasn't give Marsch long enough to acclimatise to a unique situation, convert those who worshipped his predecessor or implement his ideas on the team. By the time Radrizzani pulled the trigger, Bielsa had overseen two wins in 15 games in all competitions and inflicted such an inferior goal difference on his side that it could now prove the difference between survival and relegation.
Leeds could still escape and Radrizzani would look like a genius. But if there is no Houdini act then Radrizzani will look like a muppet and has to take all the responsibility, because he took one hell of a gamble and lost.
Moss struggled to keep up
The look on Steven Gerrard's face when told referee Jon Moss was retiring at the end of this season said it all. There might have been a slight smirk from the Aston Villa boss, but the overriding impression he gave was one of huge relief. He won't be alone in feeling like this, either. Not only does the Durham official look like a bad referee these days, but he is one as well.
If there is anyone out there who disagrees, and I doubt there will be, then watch a replay of his performance in Villa's home defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday night. There are no words to describe how bad it was, although "incompetent" would be a good place to start. He looked overweight and struggled to keep up with the pace of the game, which is the sporting equivalent of selecting a wicketkeeper who can't catch.
It was another painful reminder of how the best league in the world has some of the worst officials operating in it, while referees' chief Mike Riley sits back and allows it to happen. With the odd exception, the standards are nowhere near good enough and this has to change.
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