Neil Redfearn aiming to get back into the game he loves

Neil Redfearn is busy doing his homework into academies he thinks might soon sack their managers because he still feels he has something to give in the game.
Neil Redfearn: Looking for a job.Neil Redfearn: Looking for a job.
Neil Redfearn: Looking for a job.

The former midfielder, most closely associated with Barnsley, has not directly been involved in the game since leaving Newcastle United in November. He was caretaker manager at St James’s Park in the summer, but had since returned to the Under-23 set-up.

Now, while he admits it is not pleasant, he is on the lookout to see who might be next to lose their job at youth level.

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“I’ve done quite a bit of work for Talk Sport over the last few years but I still want to get back on the grass because I still enjoy the coaching side of it and I still think I’ve got a lot to give,” he said.

HELLO AGAIN: Neil Redfearn welcomes Steve Thompson to Leeds United as his new assistant head coach. Picture: Tony JohnsonHELLO AGAIN: Neil Redfearn welcomes Steve Thompson to Leeds United as his new assistant head coach. Picture: Tony Johnson
HELLO AGAIN: Neil Redfearn welcomes Steve Thompson to Leeds United as his new assistant head coach. Picture: Tony Johnson

“The way I set my stall out at Leeds shows what I’m about.

“I’ve been doing my background work into some of the under-performing academies where there might be a vacancy coming up but that’s the nature of football, unfortunately.

“It’s a great feeling playing professional football in front of a crowd and now I love seeing players get on in the game and spending time on the grass. If I was going to be a manager, I was always going to be a tracksuit manager.”

Life at Newcastle is rarely dull, and Redfearn’s time there was no exception, first standing in when club legend Peter Beardsley was suspended as Under-23 manager pending an internal investigation which led to his 2019 departure and an FA charge of racially abusing players, then for first-team manager Rafael Benitez after he ran down his contract at the end of last season.

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Despite the recriminations against owner Mike Ashley when Benitez left, Redfearn enjoyed his time as caretaker.

“I’d been (under-23s) head coach for a week when they said I’d have to go to Edinburgh and get a visa because I might have to take the first team in China (where they were going to play in the pre-season Premier League Asia Trophy),” he recalled. “Soon after Rafa announced he was going.

“The lads at Newcastle were brilliant. They were uncertain times but they’d got to do their pre-season work anyway and they were such good professionals who listened and did as they were told. They were an absolute pleasure to work with. It was a good experience and a good tournament for us. We took a walloping off Wolves in the first game but we beat West Ham.”

It was a short-lived experience, with Steve Bruce joining from Sheffield Wednesday during the competition.

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“Steve Bruce was a great appointment for me. I’ve always been a fan of Bruce and the team he has around him, and they’ve done a good job there,” said Redfearn. “We were just holding the fort and I think the supporters knew that.”

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