Leeds United: Redfearn confirms return to former academy role

Neil Redfearn
Neil Redfearn
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NEIL REDFEARN has confirmed that he intends to accept Leeds United’s offer of returning to his old job running the club’s academy – and will start work in his former post on July 1.

Back on May 20, the club stated that Redfearn had been offered his position back running United’s youth-team set-up after announcing his departure from the first-team head coaching role at Elland Road by appointing Uwe Rosler.

Redfearn had been considering the club’s offer for the past three weeks – and has now decided to revert to his former role.

When Redfearn became permanent head coach last November, the deal – which was due to last until June 30 – included a clause guaranteeing him that his previous role as academy boss would be available again if Leeds chose not to keep him in charge of the first team for 2015-16.

Redfearn’s contract with the academy is a rolling 12-month agreement, which is understood to only end when one party gives the other a year’s notice.

Redfearn joined the academy at Thorp Arch in 2009 and took control of the youth-team system after former manager Chris Sulley quit the role in 2012.

During his time at the Academy, he has helped bring through a number of talented homegrown players, including Sam Byram, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, Charlie Taylor and Kalvin Phillips and was widely praised for his work there.

Despite the acrimony of the final weeks of Redfearn’s tenure of head coach, compounded by a scathing newspaper interview last month in which owner Massimo Cellino accused Redfearn of acting “like a baby” and of being a “weak character”, the 49-year-old is now focusing on a new chapter and the challenges ahead back with the academy.

Redfearn told the YEP: “My contract had said that if I wasn’t offered the (head) coaching job, then I will go back to being the academy manager.

“That is what will be happening and I will go back on the first of July, as it stands at the moment.

“I have had a bit of interest from other people, but to be honest, I am a fair way into this now with the academy and had spent six and a bit years here.

“I have brought a number of these kids through and it is something that I want to keep doing.”

He added: “As far as I am concerned, on the first of July, I am coming back as academy manager.

“It is a job which in the greater scheme of things had been massively important and it is important for the rest of the academy to know that it does matter.”

“It will be good to continue that and if we can continue to supplement Uwe’s first team and bring some more kids through and he can use them, that it’s good news for everybody.”

Despite Redfearn’s unceremonious removal as head coach of Leeds after steadying the ship impressively in 2014-15 and having the gratitude of large sections of United’s support, executive director Adam Pearson confirmed last month that Redfearn was free to resume his old job.

Pearson was adamant that the offer was a genuine one, regardless of obvious tensions between Redfearn and Cellino, but he conceded that Redfearn’s performance as head coach might earn him invitations to manage elsewhere.

Speaking at the unveiling of Rosler as new head coach and clarifying the position of Redfearn, Pearson said: “Neil’s been offered the appointment back in charge of the academy and we await his answer.

“The role’s been offered to him and I’m sure he’ll come back to me as soon as he’s had time to think about it.”

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