FORMER LEEDS United chief operating officer Matt Child insists he has left the club with his head held high following his shock decision to quit his post.
Lifelong Leeds fan Child resigned under his own terms on Monday after less than three and a half months in his post.
In his first statement following his decision to step down, Child, who helped broaden United’s community and business links in the city and proved popular with supporters during his short time at Elland Road, stated that he believes he has left the club in a better place following his exit.
Child had arrived at the club on December 12 from the telecommunications industry, having held senior positions in private equity backed companies.
And despite taking the decision to leave, Child – whose exit has been described as a “sad loss” by head coach Neil Redfearn – believes he has left the club in a strong position after re-engaging with many organisations in the city and remains proud of his work.
A statement from Child read: “I believe I have left the club with the right plans, vision and insight to really kick on as a business and I am looking forward to seeing these play out as the club strives to win on the pitch as well as off it.
“I need to thank Mr Cellino and his family for giving me the opportunity to serve our club. I would like to praise the commitment and determination of the staff who enable match day to happen, the sponsors and fans who invest their hard-earned money in the club year on year, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police who have worked collaboratively and supportively with me.
“And of course Neil Redfearn and Steve Thompson who along with Neil Sullivan, the back room staff and players.
“They have given us the skill, grit and unity we have needed over the second half of the season to survive. They have given us a reason to believe and made us all feel so, so proud to be Leeds.
“It has not worked out for me, this time but life is not straightforward for any of us - that is why the football club represents more than just football.
“It is a place we go to be part of something bigger and where we are all welcome; a place of equal standing and sanctuary; a place that holds our memories and drives our hopes and ambitions. It is a Leeds family. Real history. Real future.
“For me though it is back to the Gelderd, richer for having met some great people along the way and somehow feeling more compelled and convinced that we must and should retake our place amongst the elite of UK and European football one day. MOT.”
Head coach Redfearn admits that Child’s exit on Monday represented a surprise to him.
He said: “Matt has done really well in a short space and is a good, likeable and intelligent guy and he’d got lots of plans he wanted to bring to fruition at the football club.
“He had good aspirations to develop the club further and I know he is held in high regard by the people at Elland Road.
“It’s a shame and has come as a shock. He will obviously have his reasons why he had to go, but it’s a big loss for the club.”