Leeds United: Ex-coach aims to dispel myths over Whites exit

Steve Thompson and Simon Grayson on the touchline during PNE's visit to Hull.
Steve Thompson and Simon Grayson on the touchline during PNE's visit to Hull.
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PRESTON North End coach Steve Thompson has finally spoken about his time as assistant manager to Neil Redfearn at Leeds United

Thompson joined Leeds from Huddersfield Town in late 2014 as assistant manager and he and head coach Neil Redfearn helped take the club to the safe confines of mid-table after flirting with relegation at the end of the year.

The club went on an unbeaten run all the way through January and into February, and only lost three games up to his suspension in March 2015 – beating the likes of promotion-hunting Middlesbrough, Ipswich and Bournemouth.

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Thompson told the Lancashire Evening Post: “Neil Redfearn had been given the job at Leeds and it was a no- brainer to join him.

“They were second-bottom when I joined and the job was to save them from relegation.

“It was complex there, with something of a divided dressing room with players who just weren’t good enough.

“You had foreign lads smoking before training which was something I just wasn’t used to. I remember Redders saying to me: ‘The better we do here the worse it will be for us’.

“I thought that was strange at the time, but he was right.

“ One Thursday morning a letter was put on my desk informing me I had been suspended. There was no explanation and it was such a frustrating time for me.

“The LMA (League Managers’ Association) told me to keep my own counsel and that was hard when I saw my name pop up on Sky Sports News as breaking news. There were allegations of me falling out with football director Nicola Salerno, but I did not fall out with anyone.

“The most frustrating thing was the use of the word suspended. That implied I had done something wrong which could not be further from the truth. I think it was done to try and undermine Redders, and I really felt for him.

“They lost five games on the bounce and the dressing room was split. Later I had offers to go back but I could never do that.”

Lewis Cook came on as an 84th-minute substitute in England U19s’ 1-1 draw with Croatia in Zagreb yesterday.

United Under-21s lost 3-1 at Millwall in the Professional Development League 2, Tom Pearce hitting a late consolation from the spot.

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Monchengladbach in Austria last week.
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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