A rattled Neil Redfearn said he was in the dark and “bitterly disappointed” after Leeds United suspended his assistant, Steve Thompson.
Thompson was effectively sacked by Leeds this morning in a dramatic development which has left head coach Redfearn without a number two for the rest of the Championship season.
United confirmed Thompson’s suspension in a two-line statement, saying the decision had been taking by sporting director Nicola Salerno and that the club would make “no further comment on this internal issue.”
Redfearn, however, appeared at a press conference at Thorp Arch this afternoon (April 3) to express his shock at the departure of coach who came to Elland Road after his own appointment as boss in November.
United took almost two months to secure Thompson’s services from Huddersfield Town, finally tying him to a short-term deal in the week before Christmas. He has been in his post for just 19 matches.
In a letter given him at Thorp Arch this morning, Thompson is understood to have been told that he will be suspended until his contract expires at the end of the season.
He has also been informed that an option to renew his deal will not be taken up by the club.
Redfearn, who was not warned of Thompson’s impending exit, said: “Thommo was informed this morning through a letter.
“He’s been suspended - for what, I don’t know. You’d have to find that out from the club. I don’t understand why. He’s been part of a successful team since the turn of the year.
“It seems a really strange decision and I’m bitterly disappointed. It’s very rare that people lose their jobs when they’ve been successful.”
Leeds were one place above the Championship’s relegation places at the end of December but their squad have taken 29 points from 18 league games since Thompson’s arrival as assistant.
“We’ve been better and you can see that in the performances and results,” Redfearn said. “They don’t lie. They’re facts.
“It’s unbalancing the stability we had. It’s undermining what we’re trying to do - to put something together under the belief that you’re getting the backing you need.”
United chairman Andrew Umbers - promoted to that post following the Football League ban imposed on owner Massimo Cellino - was asked to explain Thompson’’s suspension.
In a statement, Leeds said: “The director of football, Nicola Salerno, has suspended the assistant coach Steve Thompson from his duties at the club.
“This is an internal matter and the club will make no further comment on this internal issue.”
Redfearn is also out of contract in the summer and has yet to be offered an extension. He said the departure of Thompson, who is taking advice from the League Managers Association (LMA), would make him have a “hard think” about his future.
The 49-year-old took training this morning and will work alone to prepare the team for Saturday’s game against Blackburn Rovers.