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Paul Heckingbottom explains what he knew he ‘needed to do’ after Leeds United sacking

Leeds United

Paul Heckingbottom explains what he knew he ‘needed to do’ after Leeds United sacking

The former Leeds United boss was sacked as the club pursued Marcelo Bielsa.

On the same day that his predecessor at Leeds United, Thomas Christiansen, lost his job at Belgian club Royale Union SG, Paul Heckingbottom has been discussing his own plans for the future.

The former Barnsley boss replaced the Spaniard in February 2018 with the club struggling to cling on to play-off contention. 

However, Heckingbottom could not turn things around and he was sacked that June as Leeds United went in an entirely different direction. 

Leeds eventually appointed Marcelo Bielsa, who has transformed the club into the Championship’s best team over the past two seasons.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – AUGUST 11:  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Heckingbottom has been speaking to the Yorkshire Post about his future plans, as he is currently out of work after losing the Hibernian job in November 2019. 

He also spoke about what he learned from his time at Leeds and his exit. It seems that continuing to study the game was the lesson ‘Heck’ took away from his time at Elland Road. 


“I have been doing lots of fitness stuff and thrown myself into business big time. I also started a professional doctorate into sports coaching last year when I was up at Hibs.

“It is five years of research and a big piece of work. You can investigate anything to do with your practice and my research starts, in earnest, in the next few months.

“Keeping studying was something I knew I needed to do when I left Leeds. I wanted to get mixing with people outside of football more and also having a different challenge to day-to-day management stuff.”

So it appears that Heckingbottom is working hard toward building a profile for himself which extends far beyond just football manager. 

Indeed, some point down the line, it would seem that Heckingbottom could be known as Dr. Heck. 

But that time at Leeds clearly helped him realise that things in football can change fast and that having more than one string to his bow could be a massive help somewhere down the line. 

Leeds United fans are undoubtedly pleased they now have Bielsa in their dugout, but will be pleased to hear that Heckingbottom took lessons from his time at Elland Road.

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