04 Jul 2015 05:01pm, by Shields53
With the news that Leeds are negotiating a settlement with Neil Redfearn it looks as though his time at the club has come to an end. He'll have a lot more free time to play NetEnt's Wonky Wabbits. It is a sad end to a great career at the club, be it as head of the academy, caretaker manager or first team coach Redfearn has been a loyal servant and will be greatly missed by the majority of fans and players at the club. The writing was on the wall however after the disastrous break down in relationship between Redfearn and owner Massimo Cellino. In a now infamous interview with the Daily Mirror Cellino said;
“He thinks that he’s so strong that he can put me in the s**t because I’m worrying about the fans. He tried to play the fans against me to keep his place. Do you think that Neil Redfearn loves Leeds more than me? Neil Redfearn does salute. He challenged me. If you are good I can accept the challenge. But not if you are a bad coach. He wins two games and he disappears. He loses five games and he comes to me to ask my advice. Then he wins and disappears again. He has to respect the chairman. He has to respect the club. He’s like a baby. He is not a bad person but he has a weak personality.”
Whatever Adam Pearson said about Redfearn being welcomed back to his role at that academy and whatever Redfearn said about expecting to be still working for the club next season it was clear after that rant that it would never work. All respect had gone and there was no way back from that point. The revolt at the end of last season of six of the foreign players will also not have helped though many still suspect that it may have been a situation engineered by Cellino to undermine Redfearn.
But with the writing on the wall lets reflect on everything positive that Redfearn has done for the club. In 6 and a half years at the club Redfearn has seen perhaps the best crop of players emerge from the academy since the late nineties with the likes of Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Charlie Taylor emerge as first team regulars with what Redfearn says are better to come.
He isn’t solely responsible of course, there are a lot of hard working people at that academy behind the scenes making this possible but with Redfearn's history at the academy when he became first team coach he was able to integrate these young stars and mould the team and style of play around them. They appeared to play with confidence and without fear, with Redfearn's full backing and support they played with freedom which has allowed Mowatt and Cook in particular to shine. Sam Byram is also getting back to his best, his confidence had taken a beating but under Redfearn's guidance he appeared to be fulfilling his potential once more.
Never the strongest coach tactically, I’ll give you that, he was a refreshing change as head coach last season. After the negative disasters of Hockaday and Milanic his attacking style was a breath of fresh air and he turned our season around. Whether he was ever the man to lead us on to the next level we will never know but he saved us from relegation last year and for that I will always be grateful. With the team full of youngsters and a production line coming through we may not have yet reaped the full rewards of Neil Redfearn's time at Leeds. Thank you Redders!
04 Jul 2015 04:16pm, by Shields53
Leeds United will line-up with a new look strike force at the start of next season with the signing of Lee Erwin and Chris Wood. Why not have a flutter on Leeds next season with the football betting promotions on offer. First in was Erwin, the 21 year old from Motherwell on a free transfer signing a three year contract. The young Scot has scored 6 goals in 39 appearances for Motherwell and a further 8 goals in 11 appearances for Scottish League two side Arbroath FC. Erwin hit a vein of form towards the end of last season scoring 5 goals in 11 appearances including 1 against Rangers at Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership play-off first leg. Though perhaps he will be better known for receiving a punch from Bilel Mohsni at the end of the second leg which lead to an on pitch brawl. On signing the new deal Erwin said;
"I'm absolutely over the moon and I can't wait to get started. It's amazing. Once Leeds came to me it was really hard to say no. They're a huge club and the stadium and training facilities are brilliant."
The second new striker of the summer was 23 year old New Zealand international Chris Wood, signing from Leicester City on a 4 year deal. With Leeds rumoured to have paid around £2.5 million for Chris Wood I’m hoping that somewhere, in an apartment in Monaco, an old white bearded man fell off his chair. With 8 English clubs under his belt including Barnsley, Ipswich, Millwall, West Brom, Birmingham, Brighton & Leicester Wood will hope the four year deal will give him some stability having had limited chances for Leicester last year spending 8 games on loan to Ipswich. In 201 games Wood has scored 57 goals. His strength and physicality combined with an experience of English football should be positive assets for next season. On signing Wood said;
"Things didn't look right last season but I think the club has turned a corner now, I did my research, looked behind the scenes and spoke to the owner and I think the club is on the right path. It's going to take a lot of work for things to come together but I think they have the right people on board to do that. I've got the confidence that my best years are ahead of me, I want to be hitting my peak now and I feel like I can do that here. Leeds showed me the love, the passion, the drive and, ultimately, that's perfect for me."
They will of course join Mirco Antenucci and Souleymane Doukara as Uwe Rosler attacking options for the coming season. Antenucci was of course top scorer last season with 10 goals in 37 appearances whilst Doukara in a rather inconsistent season netted 7 times. It would be fair to say that Rosler will expect more goals from his strikers next season. It does but the future of Billy Sharp and Steve Morison in doubt with Wigan and Sheffield United already said to have shown interest in Sharp.
Leeds are also said to be in the running to sign Icelandic attacking midfielder Birkir Bjarnason after his move to Torino is reported to have broken down.
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