Massimo Cellino finally made the right decision on who should be leading Leeds United, appointing the hugely popular Neil Redfearn to the role of Head Coach, a man many would argue should have been appointed ahead of both Darko Milanic and David Hockaday.

Could haves and should haves are irrelevant now, dwelling on the extra points we might have secured had Cellino not broken the momentum Neil Redfearn had built up in his previous spell as caretaker won’t change the past, but there’s an important lesson Cellino needs to take from this and that’s how different Leeds United is from other clubs. Coaching credentials alone simply won’t suffice at Elland Road.

There are myriad reasons Redfearn is the right man for the job, this isn’t simply a case of him performing well in his previous caretaker spell, rather a combination of things including the respect he maintains from players and fans alike, an intimate understanding of the club and his coaching expertise with, and willingness to, properly utilise younger players.

I for one was championing his appointment to the top job before the season began and again when David Hockaday was fired, not because I think he’s the greatest manager to ever walk the earth (I mean, he might be, but one step at a time) but because the job at Leeds doesn’t call for one of those big name managers who look good on paper, nor does it follow that the only alternative is relatively unknown and inexperienced candidates like Hockday and Milanic.

Neil Redfearn

A young Neil Redfearn (image via @lucywardleeds)

Instead, what Leeds United needs – and what Leeds United always needed – is someone who understands Leeds United. Someone who understands the fans, the players admire, someone who loves and will work tirelessly for the club and more importantly than all of that; someone who can continue to thrive in chaos, just as Redfearn has done with the Academy throughout the most turbulent era of a club whose history is littered with turbulent eras.

The timing is right too. This always was and still remains a transitional season for The Whites, one in which a whole host of young players are graduating to regular first team duties, many of whom have already worked and experienced great success under Neil Redfearn. That their graduation to first team duties should coincide with that of Neil Redfearns can only be beneficial.

You only need to look at the performance of Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook during Redfearn’s previous spell, then consider the added benefit a resurgent Sam Byram and Chris Dawson could have. A team built around a core group of impressive academy graduates is what should have happened ten years ago, but instead we sold and/or ruined them.

Only now, with the financial stability Cellino brings and under the guidance and nurture of Neil Redfearn, will Leeds United’s Thorp Arch graduates have a genuine chance to realise their potential and fulfil their dreams at Elland Road.

And they’ll do it for Redders, because these players – like the fans – have a respect for Neil Redfearn that he’s worked hard to earn and thoroughly deserves.

With a little bit of momentum, this club will quickly unite behind Neil Redfearn, just as it did behind Simon Grayson – the last manager who truly understood the chaos he was walking into – and when that happens, nothing will stand in our way. A united Leeds will be an almighty force few will want to cross paths with.

Cellino made no mistake this time, Neil Redfearn is the right man for the job.

14 Responses

    • TSS

      No, but it’s a matter of formality. He spoke about it in press conference yesterday, his wage and key points have been agreed and he hopes to sign before Cardiff but it may be next week. 12 month rolling contract with clause stating that he can return to Head of Academy should Cellino want to replace him.

      • markman

        I hope so
        you know what our beloved leader is like
        and next week is a full moon

      • mrbigwheels

        Sounds good but what exciting concrete news this would have been this week ahead of the Cardiff game. Cellino needs to inspire not instill doubt. His word cannot be taken….. Bought ER today?.

      • Dr Zen

        Even if he does buy Elland Road, it’s likely it will be his asset not the club’s.

        So cutting the rent would be a good thing but when he tires of us, we still won’t own our own ground.

        It’s no fun being right about this guy. I wish I could get the rosetinted speccies on. Now I’m hoping that Redders is able to do miracles, and if and when he’s sacked, he doesn’t go and do the great work we know he does for someone else.

        And you know he’ll need to do miracles. We would be satisfied with signs of progress (and true, there are some green shoots so I’m hopeful) but will Cellino? He doesn’t consider a season a success unless he’s sacked a manager or three.

  1. Thommohawk

    He’s earned this. The senior players respect him. The youngsters are probably loyal to him. The fans like him.

    Imagine if we go and get 3 points @ Cardiff now lol

  2. Tyler75

    Great article – agree with every word. To the core of youngsters I would add Charlie Taylor and Lewis Walters when fully fit. The future’s bright etc

  3. Lars

    Hard to refute this honestly. Redders has to be the man now, and he atleast has some respect from Cellino so maybe he won’t be called a “watermelon” like the other two sods.

  4. Graham

    Spot on – I agree that we are a team in transition and need to be realistic but optimistic about this season. There are some Leeds fans who are expecting us to sweep imperiously to the Premiership, but it is good to read an article such as this that has balance to it.

  5. ellamforengland

    Good article and nice to see your respect for Grayson as well. I still firmly believe with financial backing and a good defensive coach we would be in the prem now with Larry still at the helm. Cellino and ourselves have got to give Redfearn time. After all, we have endured ten + years another one should be a doddle!

  6. PMH

    Our team looked quite sad against Cardiff, so it is time to agree that a popular manager does not instantly translate into fine winning football. And we really don’t know if things would have been different if Redfearn had been appointed in the first place. It would have been a better decision, but it would have been the same brand new team struggling to find itself. It is going to take until Easter, maybe, to really learn if this team and this manager have a future. Of course,Cellino won’t give them that long.

    • Irving08

      Before Easter there will be changes to the team, eg Bianchi and Bellusci may have given way to Cooper and Dawson as members of the starting X1, judging on last night’s match, at any rate. Soukhara is also vulnerable, his effort notwithstanding. And can Adryan perform in more than (quite impressive) fits and starts; he seems keen to vindicate his selection, though ? In any event, it is going to be interesting, I think, in a good way.


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