The news that all Leeds fans had been fearing ever since November 2014 came to pass last week. Neil Redfearn has departed the club after six years at the club.
The lack of official statement coming out of the club is as cold as it first seemed. Since Redfearn was forced to step down from his head coach position held since Marko Milanic’s sacking in November last year, it was looking like a difficult situation was unfurling.
Club owner Massimo Cellino made his feelings abundantly clear near the end of the season, accusing Redfearn of being a ‘baby.’ Unreasonably troubled by Redfearn’s support from the crowd as he continued to support his academy fledglings. Much lauded for his excellent work at within the Leeds academy, many inside the club were already seething due to ‘misplacement’ of recognition.
On acceptance of his promotion, Neil Redfearn was confident of maintaining his option of an academy return. “I asked if he (Cellino) sees me as the future and he said he does, which is great for me.
“I have been here six years in total and have put a lot of hard work. There is the caveat that I can go back to the academy if it does not work out, but I am very proud.”
This was without consideration of his standing if his services were terminated. Such emotion runs through the Italian and the animosity aimed at Redfearn was evident on completion of the season.
This has led to former academy boss declaring his position ‘untenable’ with him being ignored by Cellino since his return. Adam Pearson’s offer of a return to his original post was labelled ‘not genuine’ by the boyhood Leeds fan. Presumably acting under Cellino’s orders, Redfearn was told to leave on arrival at Thorp Arch for a training session.
Such a popular figure amongst the staff could have proved problematic under the Uwe Rosler regime but both parties have claimed amicable discussions took place concerning the season’s plans.
Redfearn’s position became increasingly unstable when his assistant Steve Thompson was sacked from underneath him in April during Leeds United’s best run of form. Still evasive when pressed for the reasoning, Cellino and former Sporting Director Nicola Salerno are clearly keeping something under their hats.
With his role within the club uncertain, Neil had tried to ascertain his future, meeting a brick wall in regards to Cellino, culminating in a long drawn out discussion pivoting around Redfearn’s unwillingness to leave by ‘mutual consent.’ Now solved by his resignation, the settlement battle is surely to rage on over the coming months.
Unlike his former employers, Neil spoke heavily of his time at the club, releasing a definitive statement: “It is with great sadness that I am resigning from my employment at Leeds United with immediate effect.”
“I would like to place on record my thanks to everyone connected with the first team, including the fans, for making last season both productive and beneficial after a difficult start.
“Very importantly I would like to pay a special tribute to the academy where I proudly worked along with others for the best part of 6 years. The LUFC academy is now regarded as one of the most productive in the country.”
This last sentiment being very true, he has admitted that he is just a ‘cog’ in the running of the academy but any resulting damage will not be seen yet. It will be 5-10 years before enlightenment on production change will come to the surface.
Massimo has shown himself to be a very jealous man but in all other aspects he has made the right choices at Elland Road. The truth behind all this is yet to unfold.