THE chairman of Leeds United Supporters Trust has urged maximum support of #thanksredders day stressing the club’s head coach Neil Redfearn epitomises all that is good at Elland Road.
Saturday’s Championship finale at home to Rotherham United has been targeted as a specific occasion for United’s fans to show their appreciation to Redfearn.
The 49-year-old could well be overseeing his last game in the Whites dugout with his contract expiring this weekend having not been renewed or extended by president Massimo Cellino who is currently banned from his position at Elland Road.
That ban ends on Sunday giving hope that the Italian might offer Redfearn a new deal next week but both Burton Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Barnet boss Martin Allen have already been mooted as possible replacements.
Yet the general consensus is the steadying influence of Redfearn saved United from Championship relegation this term after the ill-fated reigns of both David Hockaday and Darko Milanic.
Redfearn has also had to deal with the bizarre suspension of his influential assistant manager Steve Thompson - and six players suddenly going down injured the day before this month’s trip to Charlton Athletic.
Amidst the trials and tribulations of Cellino’s ban - and the club’s transfer embargo - Redfearn could hardly have operated in more difficult circumstances.
Yet the head coach has still guided the club to comfortable Championship safety whilst also continuing to nurture former Academy aces Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Charlie Taylor - all of whom are now first time regulars.
LUST chairman Paul Keat now believes Saturday’s season finale provides the perfect opportunity for the club’s fans to show their support.
Whites supporters are being urged to take to social media to use the #thanksredders slogan - and also to show their appreciation in droves in the Elland Road stands this weekend.
Keat told the YEP: “We just thought that Neil has put up with such a bunch of rubbish this season as head coach or manager.
“We thought collectively as a board that it would be great to recognise him and his efforts, his patience and his professionalism.
“It’s something that we as fans can do and with his contract potentially not being renewed, this could be his last game on Saturday.
“This is a really good opportunity for all Leeds fans just to say ‘look, thanks for your efforts, it’s been a tough season for everybody but thank you very much.’
“We are trying to look at the positives and it’s been difficult this season, let’s face it.
“But we were thinking ‘well what good things have really come out of the club?
“We thought ‘we have got some brilliant young players - Charlie Taylor, Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook especially’ and we thought ‘they are the good things.’
“And what have all those four got in common? Neil Redfearn.
“He is the one who has nurtured them and brought them in.
“What happens in the close season is going to be out of our hands but we can only express gratitude for his efforts in adverse circumstances.”
Asked how important it was that Redfearn was allowed to stay in charge, Keat admitted: “It seems obvious that he should stay as until his assistant was suspended we were looking at a top ten finish.
“If we lose him I think it would be a shame.
“I’m a season ticket holder and I’ve seen the brand of football change, certainly since Steve Thompson came in.
“The diamond has gone, the youngsters have come through and we’ve seen some really positive signs.
“At Leeds United we have a history of creating our own players - look at the likes of Lennon and Batty and Milner as well and going back to the 60s when we created the great generation of Leeds United.
“We as fans we’d love another situation like that - to re-create those things and to create our own heroes and I think Neil Redfearn is looking to possibly do something like that and that’s a huge positive.
“It’s not only retaining Neil Redfearn because he knows these players - he knows them inside and out, he knows how to utilise their abilities and they work with him and he works with them.
“That’s nearly half the team we’ve got and that can be the new Leeds United for years to come.”
Keat also admits that Redfearn’s passion and loyalty to the cause could never be questioned, stressing: “At the end of the day, Neil Redfearn is a Leeds fan and what more do we as Leeds fans want than one of us - a Leeds fan - in the dugout for our team?
“Does he know who Leeds United are? Absolutely. And does he know what Leeds United means? Absolutely.
“Our confidence and focus should be on him but the decisions are out of our hands.
“We can only express our collective wishes and if it does come that he is at the end of his time as head coach then we will applaud him, we will say ‘thank you Neil’ and we will move on from there.
“Having met Mr Cellino, I’m sure he’s sensible enough to make decisions like that if he feels he has to. That’s really his decision but we will support Neil Redfearn while he is head coach.
“Lets face it, you don’t necessarily have to be a fan of Mr Cellino as chairman and owners come and go - as we know from the last few years.
“Managers come and go as well but we are all Leeds fans and that’s something that will always unite us in support.”