At the beginning of the season Leeds United were hoping to be serious play-off contenders but very soon it all went badly wrong.
The Whites have been lacklustre on the pitch, had too many controversies off the pitch with their owner Massimo Cellino, they have gone through three managers and are now languishing down in 15th after getting dangerously close to the relegation zone. At the beginning of April fresh controversy broke at the club when news came out that assistant manager Steve Thompson had been suspended from his duties until the end of the season. The problem was nobody seemed to know why he had been suspended.
Neil Redfearn, Leeds’ third manager was equally baffled, “He’s been suspended – for what, I don’t know. I don’t understand why he has been suspended. I am bitterly disappointed.” The gaffer is also facing an uncertain few weeks as his contract is due for renewal and it remains unknown as to whether the chairman will be interested in Redfearn staying on. Leeds had started to try and turn their fortunes around, after what has been a dire season for all involved in the club and they started 2015 better than they finished 2014 but now they are back on a slippery slide and there is a strong correlation as to when Leeds were better and when Thompson was involved.
Since the former Blackpool caretaker boss was suspended for the “internal matter”, Leeds have only managed to win one game in the Championship which is a dramatic change from the results they had been getting. Thompson joined the Peacocks in December 2014 as Redfearn’s assistant manager and the gaffer classed them as the “ideal partnership” believing their style and technique greatly complimented each other. In the time he was on board as Redfearn’s right hand man Leeds won seven, drew four and only lost four games.
The gaffer remains uncertain about his future and if it shows he was not the brains behind the slightly better run in form they had, his future at the club may be short lived. It has been announced that all contractual issues will be decided in the summer so there is still a lot to be looked into.
Thompson has a proven record of bringing the young talent from the development and youth squads into the 1st team and that is something Leeds desperately needs to develop. They have a lot of older players in their first team and Redfearn has already said he wants to look at the youth team to bring some up for next season. Thompson was assistant manager at Blackpool for eight years and was caretaker manager a number of times. Each time the Englishman was in charge, Seaside fans pleaded with Karl Oyston to make it a permanent deal but for some reason it never quite happened. The 50-year-old has never been given the opportunity to step up which makes you wonder why.
Thompson may be a fantastic number two and many see him as the fun uncle who does all things your parents won’t do but Redfearn is the stern parent who gets the results. They work together like chalk and cheese so for Leeds sake let’s hope Thompson will back in the dugout next season or Redfearn might not last much longer.