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Director Lee Hicken gets goosebumps watching best bits of Leeds documentary

Leeds players celebrate promotion
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Take Us Home: Leeds United director Lee Hicken cannot recall his favourite moments in part two of the Amazon Prime documentary without breaking out in goosebumps.

The first six episodes, released in August last year, followed Leeds’ fortunes from the start of the 2018-19 campaign, Marcelo Bielsa’s first season in charge.

That ended in play-off heartbreak, but two new 45-minute episodes, released on Thursday, complete the story of their Premier League return and for Leeds-born Hicken it has been a labour of love.

“My favourite bits? Kalvin (Phillips) and his nana when he signed the new deal and the moment fans realise the players are inside Elland Road the night promotion was confirmed,” Hicken told the PA news agency.

“I get goosebumps telling you now and I’ve seen it 400 times. That’s magical. Particularly coming out of lockdown and what happened with Norman (Hunter) and Jack (Charlton) and everything.

“That moment they have done it and the players see the fans and the fans see the players. That’s just magic.”

Produced by Neo Studios and Leeds-based The City Talking and directed by Hicken and Giuseppe De Luca, Take Us Home also chronicles the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on the club and its wider community.

“It occurred to me during lockdown that my whole vision for the show had changed,” said Hicken. “It moved away from being football to something else.

“I could see how hurt everybody was that promotion might be taken away and then the fans couldn’t celebrate it and the players were hurt as well because of that.

“I no longer cared about players talking about their favourite crisp flavours or someone kicking a water bottle.

“The show became bigger than just football. Everyone needed something after lockdown and somehow, even though it was through windows and gaps in fences, people found a way to get joy from each other.

“I know how that sounds considering the much bigger issues we’re facing in 2020, but for just a few days it was joyous.”

Hicken is now collaborating with Oscar-winning Man on Wire director James Marsh on his next project, a four-part documentary about German club Hertha Berlin for Gangs of London producers Pulse Films.

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He has another thrilling story to tell, but is unlikely to become as emotionally involved.

“Leeds were a club that were hard to love for a long, long time,” Hicken added. “But (owner Andrea) Radrizzani and particularly Bielsa have made fans fall in love with them again. I think we’ve captured that love story.

“It’s a new era. The Premier League is shiny and corporate, but there’s still an edge to Leeds and that non-polished rawness will appeal to an even bigger audience now.

“If they keep the same values and by that I mean everyone – the fans, players, staff at the club – then there’s no reason why it has to change.”