July 27, 2021

Patrick Bamford, the Leeds striker who said no to Harvard

Back in the Premier League after sixteen years in purgatory, Leeds United, coached by iconoclast Marcelo Bielsa, lines up a player with an original course at the forefront of his attack. Author of three goals in the first three matches of the Peacocks (3-4 against Liverpool, 4-3 against Fulham and 1-0 in Sheffield), the Englishman Patrick Bamford, 27, is one of the few footballers able to boast of having had to choose, in his youth, between a career as a professional player and a prestigious schooling at Harvard.

At 16, he was fluent in three foreign languages

The slender center-forward, who impresses Leeds fans with his fighting spirit but sometimes annoys them by his clumsiness in the face of goal, comes from a very wealthy background, he has in particular family ties with one of the biggest fortunes from the United Kingdom, Sir Anthony Bamford, CEO of the construction company JCB. In addition to football, which he practiced at the Nottingham Forest Academy from the age of 7, the young Patrick learned the violin, the saxophone and the piano. And his school career was brilliant: at the age of 16, he was fluent in French, German and Spanish and obtained excellent grades in his GCSE (final diploma of general education in England).

Something to catch the eye of Harvard, the prestigious American university, which offered him a scholarship to study finance while continuing to play soccer. After a period of reflection, he politely declined. “My ambition has always been to play football,he had declared to Daily Mail in 2014. As soon as I knew I had a chance to make my dream of turning pro, Harvard was just a spare. “ After a first pro season at Forest, he signed on January 31, 2012 at Chelsea, coached by José Mourinho. Faced with fierce competition in attack, Bamford struggles to find a place; he does not play any game with the Blues and connects loans to second-class clubs for five years.

Combative on the pitch, striker Patrick Bamford impresses Leeds fans. (Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via / Camerasport via getty images)

It is in Middlesbrough, in 2014-2015, that Bamford begins to speak the powder. And reveals his other talents: that season, his teammates remember having seen him one day settle at the piano to play Bach’s Prelude. Come to paint his portrait, a journalist from Guardian, amazed by “His brilliant intellect”, asked him his book of the moment: a book of analysis of international financial markets. Footballistically speaking, Bamford changed dimension in July 2018 when he signed for Leeds. A transfer claimed by Marcelo Bielsa, another brain of football.