Neil Redfearn is set to be officially announced as the new Leeds United coach today, after verbally agreeing a contract yesterday. Technically, it is a long term contract, but I don’t think that carries much water with Cellino in charge! There is talk that if it doesn’t work out, Redfearn will be allowed to return to the academy – but whether that is practical is anyone’s guess.
So what do we know of the new man at the helm? He was born in Dewsbury in 1965, and had a fantastic playing career – albeit mainly in the lower leagues, where he made 790 appearances. He was best known for his spell at Barnsley though where he earned a reputation as a goal scoring midfielder (and earning me a boat load of fantasy football points – but I digress!). Redfearn had some fairly uneventful spells as manager and caretaker manager at clubs mainly in and around Yorkshire, like Halifax and Scarborough, before moving to Leeds to work in their academy in January 2009.
He has worked mainly with the academy and reserve team, as well as supporting various managers with first team coaching.
Redfearn is a good man – and those who know him say he knows his own mind. What is clear, is that Cellino seems to respect him more than anyone else he has come into contact with. With all the mayhem going on, and the moving on of managers, Carbone, Naylor, Bromby etc, Redfearn is the one man who’s position has never been in doubt. He’s a football man, a Leeds fan, and he understands the club. He has the respect of the players – certainly the younger ones who he has worked with from an early age. Players like Chris Dawson – unfortunate to be overlooked in recent weeks following fine form for the U21’s, must be delighted with the appointment.
What he needs now is the support of the President. Let him make his own mistakes, let him do it his way. Let’s not fire him after his first bad run. The plan for Leeds was never to go up this season – next year was always the target, so let’s have some much needed stability. There is a crop of young players who have shown glimpses of what they can achieve. They have produced some fantastic goals, some great interplay, and a style of football that is much easier on the eye than that of recent years – however, that’s all it has been…glimpses – a 5 minute spell here, and 10 minute spell there, even the occasional good 45 minutes. What that says is that the ability is there, the right man is needed to get it out of them consistently. Is Redfearn the man? He has got to be given the chance to show what he can do. The fans were hugely against Hockaday from day one, and bemused by Milanic, but the vast majority are in agreement that ‘Redders’ is that right man. Hopefully Massimo will have learnt some valuable lessons over the last few months and give him the opportunity.