Leeds United director Adam Pearson has told Neil Redfearn that he is free to resume his old job as academy boss, despite his unceremonious removal as head coach and a bitter fall-out with owner Massimo Cellino.
Redfearn has been offered a return to United’s youth-team set-up after the club confirmed his departure from the first-team role at Elland Road by appointing Uwe Rosler as their new head coach.
Rosler signed a two-year contract yesterday and is already in the process of recruiting his backroom staff ahead of the start of pre-season training in July.
Redfearn’s short tenure as head coach – a reign which began last November – looked ill-fated during the closing weeks of the Championship season and his demotion was effectively confirmed at the weekend following a scathing newspaper interview in which Cellino accused him of acting “like a baby” and of being a “weak character”.
Cellino has not spoken to Redfearn since the end of the Italian’s Football League ban on May 3 but Pearson – named as executive director at Elland Road last week – has taken the matter in hand by promising the 49-year-old that he is still entitled to work in United’s academy. The contract Redfearn signed last November tied him down as head coach until June 30 and included a clause guaranteeing him that his previous role as development-squad coach would be available again if Leeds chose not to take up a different option to keep him in charge of the first team next season. 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.
Pearson denied that Rosler had been appointed with a head coach still in place, saying: “There isn’t a head coach here. The clause (to extend Redfearn’s time in charge) has not been exercised on Neil.
“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 has time to think about it.”
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.
“It’s definitely a realistic offer because I made it,” Pearson said. “It was said with all credibility and it’s been given to him.
“With Neil’s track record over the last year I’d imagine that he has other offers to consider. I’m sure that’s what he’s doing now. The conversation was held in a very mature and professional manner. I’m sure he’ll go forward to have a good career.”
Rosler also offered Redfearn a vote of confidence, saying: “For me Neil did a good, solid job for me to push on from and I wish him all the best.
“In the end this was not a decision of Uwe Rosler. It was a decision of the football club.”
Leeds were in grave danger of relegation at the turn of the year but their form in the second half of the Championship season saw the club finish 15th and stave off the threat of another stint in League One.
The run-in, however, was marred by the suspension of Redfearn’s assistant, Steve Thompson, and the controversy surrounding the withdrawal of six players through injury shortly before a 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic.
Redfearn received the backing of large sections of Leeds’ support amid the chaos, some of whom turned on Cellino and chanted for his departure in the final weeks of the term.
On Sunday, Cellino accused Redfearn of using the fans to undermine him.
Asked if Redfearn’s future employment as academy boss would depend on the repair of that relationship, Pearson said: “It’s not crucial at all. I’ve dealt with the situation and that’s what I’m empowered to do. As of this moment everything’s in hand.”