Leeds United manager issues ambitious statement of intent as the Whites target return to club's former glory
New Leeds United Women manager Rick Passmoor has issued a rousing statement of intent ahead of his first season in charge.
On Tuesday, the Whites announced that Passmoor would be replacing Dan O’Hearne as head coach as the former manager’s four-and-a-half year stint in charge came to an end.
O’Hearne’s successor boasts significant footballing pedigree; having once played for Scunthorpe United as a central defender, the 54-year-old has recently been back at Glanford Park working as Head of Academy Coaching and Coach Development.
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But before he made his return to the Irons, Passmoor spent several years coaching women’s teams, first for Leeds and then for Notts County.
After taking charge in 2007, Passmoor oversaw something of a golden era for Leeds United Women in which the Whites reached the FA Cup final and lifted the 2010 League Cup.
In the late 2000’s, Leeds was a destination club for aspiring female footballers, with the likes of Ellen White, Sue Smith, Steph Houghton and Carly Telford among the stellar cohort coached by Passmoor.
Since Leeds United cut ties with the women’s team in 2014, the side’s glory days faded and the Whites – reattached to the club by owner Andrea Radrizzani in 2017 – now compete in the fourth tier of the women’s pyramid.
But Passmoor believes those days can return – and that the scale of support for Leeds United will be key to restoring the women’s team to their former success.
“One of the major products of Leeds and the hinterland really is that we've got a massive fan base, so therefore we get a lot of talented players coming through,” Passmoor told the Leeds United website.
"You're seeing right now at the Euros – we've got Rachel Daly – but if I go back to it, we’ve probably got 12 players from Leeds that have gone on into the WSL and played internationals.
“It has progressed from our days, maybe 15 years ago with Leeds, and what we're looking to aim to do in a progression, in a very sensible manner, is to build and have a foundation and go forward with Leeds United to be up amongst the top teams within the women's game.”
This season, United will compete in Division One North, in which the side who ends the season in first place earns the chance to compete in a play-off for a place in the third tier, the Northern Premier.
From there, the Whites would be two steps away from the Women’s Super League, a division which is progressively flourishing into a source of heroines and role models for aspiring young football players.
Certain that the road to success lies in nurturing young talent, Passmoor is eyeing long-term gains with Leeds United Women.
“Could you imagine being at Leeds United Regional Talent Centre as a 12 year old female footballer?” Passmoor said.
"You've got role models, you've now got an opportunity to develop, and that's particular where our strengths are within Leeds United, not only the girls’ game, but also within the academy – homegrown talent.
“We want to grow our own players to represent Leeds United, wear this shirt with pride, and also go on to deliver high performances, so therefore we are in the higher echelons of the women's game.”