Ex-Leeds United manager & former Newcastle United U23s coach joins Bradford City as he takes up academy role

A former Leeds United manager has taken up a role in Bradford City's academy
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Former Leeds United manager Neil Redfearn has been appointed as a lead professional development phase coach at Bradford City. The 58-year-old from Dewsbury spent a season at the Bantams during his playing career and was most recently with Oldham as caretaker assistant manager under Steve Thompson.

Redfearn made his professional debut for Bolton Wanderers in 1982 and also had spells at Crystal Palace, Oldham, Barnsley, Lincoln City and others before moving into management. He was caretaker at Leeds three times before being named permanent manager in November 2014 after Darko Milanič’s departure. He signed an initial 12-month deal but was replaced by Uwe Rösler in May 2015. He later joined Rotherham United and then moved into the women’s game with Doncaster Belles and Liverpool Women. He took charge of Newcastle United Under-23s in 2019 before spending two years at Sheffield United Women between 2020 and 2022.

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The 58-year-old first joined Leeds as coach of the Under-18s side in January 2009 before moving up to the Under-21s, then called the reserves, in December 2010. His caretaker spells came after the respective departures of Simon Grayson, Neil Warnock and Dave Hockaday.

Of his move to Bradford, he said: “It feels really good to be back. It is a while since I played here, but this is a fantastic club with a good history of bringing young players through, so it is a great place to be. I have got good experience from my time at other clubs in similar roles. We have some fantastic young players on our books and it is a good time to try and bring that talent to the fore, which I am excited to be a part of.

“The experience of having one foot in the academy and another in the first team, as I did at Newcastle United and Leeds United, will help. It is good to have your own identity and always nice to have your own players in the first team. It was only a few weeks ago I was on the grass helping out at Oldham Athletic, and this is a challenge that really excites me. This is a big club in its history and tradition, and we want to give these boys the opportunity to kick on and further their careers.”

City’s head of academy, Mark Litherland, added: “We are really excited. We had over 85 applicants for this position, including several former Championship managers, but Neil was the outstanding candidate. You cannot buy Neil’s wealth of experience in what he has achieved both playing and coaching, so to have him in the building working with our under-19s is pivotal for us as a club moving forward.

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“He knows youth development and the importance on bridging the gap between the youth team and first team. There has been so much positive work done previously, with Ryan Farrell now moving to head of coaching. We have built really strong foundations, and now it is about building on them further, moving forward.”