Leon Wobschall: Radrizzani’s bold approach leads to Christiansen’s arrival at Leeds United

David Wagner and Carlos Carvalhal
David Wagner and Carlos Carvalhal
Share this article
Have your say

MARCO who? Carlos who? David who? And now, Thomas who?

Do not let it be said that Yorkshire has not seen its fair share of think-outside-the-box managerial appointments in recent years, and fans of Leeds United – more than most – have quickly learned to expect the unexpected.

The club’s latest appointment of a total unknown as their new head coach in the shape of ex-APOEL Nicosia boss Thomas Christiansen follows on from two other ‘radical’ appointments in David Hockaday and Darko Milanic. Whisper it, mind.

The unfortunate duo achieved infamy after catastrophically bad, short reigns at Elland Road – and were shown the door after 70 and 32 days respectively in 2014.

At first view, the name of Christiansen will have evoked memories of the above pair among Leeds wags. But perhaps all might not be what it quite seems.

In recent times, unconventional appointments have reaped some dividends in Yorkshire. Sometimes it pays to be different.

Thomas Christiansen.  Picture: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Thomas Christiansen. Picture: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Huddersfield Town were meandering along and pretty much going nowhere until Borussia Dortmund reserves coach David Wagner arrived in November 2015. It proved magnificently inspired.

And remember Sheffield Wednesday fans scratching their heads at the appointment of unknown continental coach Carlos Carvalhal in the summer of 2015?

Wednesdayites soon swapped incredulity for belief, buying into the Portuguese’s vision and singing about Carlos having ‘a dream’.

Even accounting for two tough play-off outcomes, the 51-year-old is going strong at Hillsborough and plotting a case of third time lucky. He is Yorkshire’s longest serving boss and only one manager since Trevor Francis in the early to mid-Nineties has been in charge for more games at Hillsborough.

Former Hull City manager Marco Silva

Former Hull City manager Marco Silva

There was also the short-lived, but buoyant reign of Marco Silva, who briefly provided Hull with hope when there seemed none. It represented a roll of the dice, but very nearly paid off.

Left-field appointments are always gambles, For every Wagner and Silva, there a fair few more who perish such as Bob Bradley, Hockaday, Milanic, Walter Zenga.

Risk and reward? We will see.

Andrea Radrizzani has only been in full control of Leeds for a few weeks, but do not let it be said that he has been anything but bold in his first managerial move.

As for Christiansen, his longevity will all come down to ‘events, dear boy, events’ as former PM Harold McMillan once said.