Redfearn lands Leeds job


Published: Saturday 1st November 2014 by The News Editor

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Neil Redfearn has signed a 12-month rolling contract to make him Leeds’ fourth permanent head coach in five months.

Redfearn is the latest man to attempt to tame trigger-happy owner Massimo Cellino who, having seen off 36 bosses in 20 years at Cagliari, has already sacked three men since buying Leeds in April.

Darko Milanic was his most recent casualty, the Slovenian removed after just 32 days in the job and six winless matches.

Redfearn has been Leeds’ perennial caretaker over recent years – not just for Cellino – and was close to getting the job ahead of Milanic after taking 10 points from 12 games in a fourth temporary spell in charge.

Cellino immediately put Redfearn back in the hotseat after firing Milanic last Saturday night, and has spent the last week negotiating with him to make the permanent step up from the head of academy position he has held since 2009.

Even though neither man is hoping for a negative ending, a clause has been added to Redfearn’s deal to ensure he can return to his former job if he is unsuccessful with the first team

Speaking about getting the job this week, Redfearn said: ”It seems to be shorter here (a coach’s life) but you can spend the rest of your life wondering. You have to go on and make things happen and be positive.

“There’s no let up now. This is a massive honour. It’s a massive football club with a great tradition and the owner has a desire to make it great (again). I can see that, that’s a genuine opinion from me and if I can be part of that down the line it’s a fantastic honour. I’m capable of doing it, now it’s a case of knuckling down and concentrating on the footy.”

The ascent to the top job at Elland Road is the achievement of a lifelong ambition for Redfearn, a boyhood Leeds fan who, despite making over 1,000 senior appearances, never wore the white shirt.

A well-travelled midfielder he is best remembered for captaining Barnsley to the Premier League in 1997 and then scoring 14 goals as they unsuccessfully tried to stay in the top flight.

He made over 400 of his 1000 appearances for the Tykes while also playing for 14 other professional clubs. His first taste of permanent management came with the now-defunct Scarborough in 2005, while he also held caretaker spells with Halifax and York.

He joined Leeds’ academy in January 2009 and his since gone on to oversee an impressive revamp of a system that – with some exceptions – had slowed down in its production of talent since Leeds dropped out of the Premier League.

Redfearn is widely credited for overseeing the development of the likes of current first-team players Sam Byram, Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt.

His first caretaker spell came when Simon Grayson was sacked in January 2012, while he also stepped in after Neil Warnock left in April 2013. He then took the side for 24 hours after Cellino – still to buy the club at that point – sacked Brian McDermott who was then reinstated after a 5-1 win over Huddersfield.

His final stint in temporary charge came after Cellino sacked David Hockaday in August and he won games against Bolton, Bournemouth and Huddersfield again, as well as taking a point at Birmingham.

Published: Saturday 1st November 2014 by The News Editor

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