The appointment took a bit of time, but it was well worth the wait. New Leeds United First Team Manager Daniel Farke’s credentials pardon the incoming 49ers hierarchy’s perceived dithering.

After a protracted search, Farke saw off the serious claims of a raft of rival hopefuls, including Patrick Vieira and Scott Parker, among others, to emerge as the standout managerial candidate and ultimate winner by a country mile.

To be honest, it is hard to see how Leeds United could have done better. The likes of Graham Potter and Brendan Rodgers always had the look of fanciful and unattainable targets. Steven Gerrard, now off to Saudi Arabia to rebuild his tattered managerial reputation and West Brom boss Carlos Corberan also came under consideration, the latter more serious than the former.

Even with the two elite names like Rodgers and Potter in the hat, when it came to choosing a horse for the Championship course, Farke distinguished himself as the clear favourite. His managerial record of two promotions in three attempts in the second tier speaks for itself.

The German has won the last two English Championship races he has contested. It’s fair to conclude that it was on the strength of his Carrow Road resume that he landed the Elland Road job. He is exactly what Leeds United need at this moment.

The Norwich blueprint

Every Leeds United faithful will be hoping that Farke’s Norwich experience will stand the club in good stead for the promotion push back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. He did it with Norwich, with a record points tally to boot.

Farke’s challenge is to replicate his Carrow Road exploits at Elland Road. In that regard the German is his own tough act to follow. He will be judged against the dizzy heights he soared to with the Canaries, with the risk of being labelled a victim of his own success not too far away if he can’t guide Leeds United to Norwich-esque heights.

‘Farke-ball’ at Elland Road

Farke, a meticulous planner and stickler for tactical detail, is an exponent of full throttle front-foot football. His swaggering teams like to take the game to their opponents. It is a style set to excite Leeds United fans.

If there is any criticism of Farke it is that his teams only know one way to play. That is because the German is stubbornly yoked to his playing philosophy.

As Norwich struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League, Farke came under pressure to abandon his philosophical convictions in favour of a style more suited to the demands of the top division. He caved in and with that the ‘Farke-ball’ cookie started to crumble.

Shades of Bielsa

There is something about Farke’s time at Norwich that bears comparison with Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure at Leeds United, especially in terms of impact and rapport with the fans.

Both coaches earned their way into fans’ hearts with their playing styles. Both were uncompromisingly faithful to their playing philosophies.

The way Farke galvanised Norwich fans also reminds me of how the club and fans coalesced around Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds United reinvented themselves.

Farke’s Norwich legacy is comparable to Bielsa’s at Leeds United – both highly popular figures who transformed their club’s fortunes before departing in almost similar fashion.

Norwich never really got going in the top flight, although that was in no small measure down to a lack of investment in the playing squad. They tried to make do in the Premier League with a Championship squad.

Farke and the youth

Farke’s immediate challenge is to assess the Leeds United squad and start planning for the season ahead.

He will want to establish, sooner rather than later, the identities of the ‘Premier League’ players who can hopefully be prevailed upon to stay on at the club. His powers of persuasion will be put to the test as he tries to convince star players to buy into his project.

Obviously a few big names will be flogged as an inevitable by-product of relegation. However, there is no doubt Farke will want to have first pick of the players around whom he would remodel the squad for the promotion challenge, ideally a mix of seasoned professionals and academy graduates.

Oliver Skipp, James Madison (both Tottenham), Harrison Reed (Fulham), Ben Godfrey (Everton) have one thing in common. They all flourished under Farke’s tutelage at Carrow Road before earning their moves to Premier League clubs. Full-back Max Aarons continues to attract covetous glances from top-light admirers.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the kids coming through the club’s academy and how they could play a key role in the upcoming campaign. If Farke’s track record at Carrow Road is anything to go by then the Leeds United youngsters have every reason to be enthused by the club’s choice of new head coach. Farke will give young players a fair crack of the whip.

A reputation to uphold

Daniel Farke arrives at Leeds United with a reputation to protect and enhance. He will be determined to preserve his Premier League promotion record.

That record can either be a great motivator or an albatross around the holder’s neck.

Can Daniel Farke make it a hat-trick of promotions to the Premier League?


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

Write A Comment