After plenty of well-documented managerial turmoil at the start of the current campaign, Neil Redfearn became Leeds United’s third manager of the season on November 1st.
It certainly seems to be a case of third time lucky for the Leeds board, as the former caretaker manager, who now finds himself in full charge of first-team matters, looks to be taking the club back in the right direction.
The Leeds fans, who have had more than their fair share of ups and downs in recent years, will know anything is possible at Elland Road. After relegations and numerous fizzled promotion bids, as well as an array of different managers all trying and failing to get the Yorkshire club back to the promised land, the Whites finally look like they have found the right man who can take the club forward.
Since Massimo Cellino took over at Elland Road, he’s earned a reputation of being extremely trigger happy when it comes to sacking managers; Brian McDermott, Dave Hockaday and Darko Milanic have already been shown the door during Cellino’s tenure.
But despite all the off-field upheaval of late, Redfearn has got on with the job on the pitch, and has really started to stamp down his managerial authority. The former Barnsley player may have had an indifferent start managing the club, but after Leeds have secured five wins in their last six Championship games, there hasn’t been this much optimism at Elland Road for a number of years.
Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Middlesbrough epitomised the way Leeds have turned their fortunes around under Redfearn. They may have rode their luck at times, but there is a togetherness among the players that has certainly been lacking in recent years. The clean sheet at the Riverside made it three clean sheets in as many league outings, and just four goals conceded in their last eight Championship encounters.
The Whites now sit 11th in the Championship table, 10 points off the relegation zone and 15 off the play-offs. After Leeds’ 2-0 defeat to Derby County in late December, Redfearn’s side sat perilously close to the drop zone, just one point off in 20th place. But United have only dropped seven points from a possible 24 available since, which has seen them move up to mid-table and, most importantly, away from the relegation zone.
Leeds United are still a million miles away from their glory days of yesteryear, and the run of positive results could be just that – a run. But results and good performances breed confidence, and the Whites will be hoping to finish the season extremely strong.
Cellino will surely know by now that the Yorkshire club are still in transition – but if the controversial owner can give Neil Redfearn the time and backing he needs – then there’s no reason whatsoever why the 49-year-old boss isn’t the right man to take the club to the next level, and give the luckless Leeds fans something to cheer about after far too many years of heartache.