Hidden in the remote caves of tropical Borneo or deep in the dark, sandy tombs of ancient Egypt the first examples of murals adorned the walls. Creativity and expression in its absolute infancy, celebrating the achievements and lives of their cultures idolised figures and heroes. In England, the Leeds United history makers, too, have been immortalised.
Leeds United History Makers
Leeds United History Makers Handed Reward
Fast forward to modern-day Yorkshire and something strangely beautiful is taking place; for the very same public expression of love and appreciation demonstrated thousands of years ago is starting to spread through this great city.
Walls that were once bare brick, camouflaged against a suburban backdrop and stained by Leeds’ industrial, bustling past, have been brought to life with colour, with style, and with passion. There is a sense of pride around these parts that has not been seen for some time. When you stop to think about it, this has been one of the few reasons to be joyful in recent times.
2020 was a year to forget, and 2021 has been tough too. Not in terms of the Leeds United history makers of course, but in respect to the wider world and the issues that have ripped it to shreds these past twelve months. COVID-19 has decimated families and communities, racial tensions have raged across the USA in particular but also much closer to home (especially on social media), and political jokers have threatened to create havoc at every turn (some with alarming success). With the world at each other’s throats and seemingly ready to riot, the harmonious ‘feel good factor’ in and around this city is a pleasant change of pace.
It seems poetically apt that the murals now adorning the walls of Leeds are diversely rich, reflecting the mosaic of cultures, races, and religions that help to make this city great. The new artwork celebrates two South Africans, a Spaniard, a local lad, and, of course, a wonderful Argentinian visionary. Covering three continents, it is most certainly racially and culturally inclusive, and rightly so!
It is often said that football has become the new religion, particularly in the United Kingdom. That these men, that have meant so much to the recent footballing history of Leeds United, are now looking down upon the masses from above like the days of old, certainly has something close to a holy feel to it.
No, Kalvin Phillips is not the Messiah, but he is certainly worshipped by tens of thousands of people in a feverish, total manner. Marcelo Bielsa may even be closer to that mantle, when he speaks you listen, when he smiles the city lights up, when he’s angry lightning bolts smash the ground!
Modern Day Heroes
Gods? Of course not, but these are modern-day heroes. Stories will be told, songs will be sung and their heroics will grow in stature at every telling, in the same way as the proverbial fish that was caught. Where were you when Pablo Hernandez scored THAT goal at Swansea City? Did El Loco really walk in the desert to search for the answers to their plight? Did Stuart Dallas really change water into wine at the Etihad?
All joking aside, their place in our folklore is set. And while the Leeds United history makers may never have monuments built for them or Cathedrals named after them, one thing is for sure; they will never pay for a pint in Leeds as long as they live. After 16 years of darkness, they have shown their legion of fans the light. And while there will certainly be gloomy days ahead, there will definitely be plenty of chances to rejoice too, the hope is that the loyal congregation can return to their house of worship sooner rather than later.
For this is what it means to this city, this is what it means to be Leeds. Everyone needs something to believe in, it’s difficult to explain how much it means to be able to believe in this team again. The scenes at the Etihad Stadium certainly showed that miracles do happen. Amen to that.
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