Orta steps down as Leeds United Director of Football after six years
Written by Training Ground Guru — May 2, 2023
VICTOR ORTA has left his role as Director of Football at Leeds United by mutual consent after six years.
The decision came a day before the Whites announced Sam Allardyce as their third Head Coach of the season - and with the side sitting above the Premier League drop zone on goal difference only. Orta had wanted to retain Javi Gracia as boss, which put him at odds with owner Andrea Radrizzani.
Orta joined Leeds at the end of May 2017, having previously been Chief Scout at Middlesbrough. His proudest legacy will be bringing Marcelo Bielsa to the club as Head Coach, with the Argentine leading them back to the promised land of the Premier League after a 16-year absence.
However, Orta has since become a target for fan discontent and derision. The Spaniard was ultimately responsible for Head Coach and player recruitment and both have been questioned since the controversial sacking of Bielsa last February.
Successor Jesse Marsch did manage to save the side from relegation last season, but struggled subsequently and was dismissed after less than a year in charge. The next man in the hotseat, Gracia, is also set to be sacked after an alarming run of form that has seen Leeds move closer to the Premier League precipice.
Announcing Orta’s exit by “mutual consent”, Radrizzani said: “I am deeply saddened by the way that this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and his people for all they have done in the past six years.
“However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and therefore we have agreed that Victor will leave the club. I understand supporters are hurt and upset, but now is a time for unity. We have four cup finals left to play this season and working together, I believe we can survive.”
Orta was the sixth longest-serving Director of Football (or equivalent) in the Premier League, after Richard Hughes (Bournemouth), Phil Giles (Brentford), Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City), John Rudkin (Leicester City) and Tony Khan (Fulham).
In October 2019 he appeared on Episode #7 of the TGG Podcast, explaining how the appointment of Bielsa had come about.
“I had tried two times to get Marcelo Bielsa - once with Seville and once with Zenit," he explained. "He is a reference for football. We tried at Seville, when he was leaving Chile, and when he arrived at Atletico (Bilbao) it was amazing.
“I always analyse his ideas and football. Even with his ups and downs, the quality of the football was amazing. I had the idea that he (Bielsa) could say yes, but it was Andrea who gave me the bravery to say, ‘Come on, try, try. Why not try?’
“Marcelo is always evaluating the history, the fans, the challenge (before taking a job). My impression was that he knew we could have a good link, because we had known each other for years, but my concern was if we could impress Marcelo about Leeds United. In the end, we achieved both goals..
“I met Marcelo with Andrea in Buenos Aires, and then with Angus (Kinnear) we had another meeting. Andrea was really impressed which, for me, was not a surprise, because I know Marcelo's way of work. In the end it happened and changed all the club and increased all the standards.”
Orta also presented at our 2022 Scouting & Recruitment Webinar. His talk was titled 'Resources and Methodology in Football Recruitment.'
Allardyce brought two assistants with him to the club: former Oxford United manager Karl Robinson and ex Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane. A trio of staff departed with Gracia: assistants Zigor Aranalde and Mikel Antia and fitness coach Juan Solla.