HEAD coach Neil Redfearn will step aside gracefully if Saturday’s clash at Sheffield Wednesday proves his penultimate game in the Whites dugout, admitting: “I’ve got no God given right to be in charge of Leeds United. The club is far more important than me.”
Redfearn has also heaped praise on the club’s loyal fan base, admitting they are entitled to criticise both him or owner Massimo Cellino but beaming: “I’ve been on my own in the dugout but it’s felt like I’ve had 20 thousand in there with me.”
Cellino remains banned from being owner at the club until Sunday, May 3 - the day after United’s last Championship game of the season at home to Rotherham United, after which Redfearn’s contract as head coach expires.
The 49-year-old still has no idea if he will be here next season - or even if new terms will be discussed next week - but the head coach says it is the future of Leeds United as a whole that matters most.
Redfearn admits even he needs to have a “sit down and think” about his long-term future and the former Academy coach is known to want certain assurances, even if he was to be offered a new deal to stay in charge.
That looks increasingly unlikely but Redfearn says he will remain hugely passionate about Leeds United even if he leaves the club, with the head coach having been particularly warmed by the Whites’ passionate fan-base.
Redfearn has had to undertake his duties by and large on his own following this month’s bizarre suspension of his assistant boss Steve Thompson - who it took many weeks in any case to prize away from Huddersfield Town.
Assessing his future and asked how he would feel if he only had two games left as head coach of Leeds, Redfearn told the YEP: “I’ve got no God given right to be in charge of Leeds United and the club and the powers that be are far more important than me.
“I’ve been asked to do a job and I’ve done the job to the best of my ability.
“My remit was to keep Leeds United in the Championship - I’ve done that.
“But I understand that football is not always straight-forward.
“But it won’t change my view of people at Leeds and my time at Leeds, whatever happens.
“I’m proud of the fact that I have been able to represent this football club and I’m proud of the people that have worked under me and worked with me.
“That will always be the case.
“There are two games left and it’s not so much that things have been said - I just expected that I’d take the last two games. My situation will be discussed then. Obviously the club have got their own view about what they want to do and I’ve got to sit down and have a good think about what I want to do.
“There’s a lot of things that have got to be discussed and a lot of things have to be made clear. In this season I think both parties have learned a lot about this season and learned a lot about what we need to do. It’s a case of having a level-headed, adult conversation about what’s best to do.”
The uncertainty at United has made Saturday’s Championship lunch-time derby at Sheffield Wednesday something of a side-show with the Whites 16th in the table but safe from relegation and the Owls in 12th.
United approach the game following five successive defeats - all of which have directly followed the suspension of Redfearn’s assistant Thompson.
Paying tribute to the club’s loyal supporters - 3,000 of which travelled down to a dead rubber at Charlton Athletic last weekend - Redfearn beamed: “I’ve been on my own in the dugout but I’ve felt like I haven’t been - I felt like I’ve had 20 odd thousand people in there with me.
“That’s been a real plus for me and it’s definitely helped me through this season.”
Large sections of last weekend’s away following also called for the departure of Cellino, on which Redfearn added: “It’s difficult for me to comment on things but what I would say is that people form their own opinions and if that’s how they feel, that’s how they feel.
“The thing about Leeds United supporters is they are very honest, they’re very passionate about the club, they want success and they want things done right.
“They chant, they sing, they always get behind the team and if it’s not so good sometimes they’ll let you know.
“And I think that’s right.
“I think that’s how football should be.
“It’s very much a northern trait that they like to see their teams competing and fighting - fighting for their shirt.
“They want players that care and want to fight for the club.”