Neil Redfearn quits Leeds United

Neil Redfearn.
Neil Redfearn.
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FORMER head coach Neil Redfearn has quit Leeds United amid claims the club made his position ‘untenable’

The 50-year-old handed in his resignation earlier this morning after he and Leeds failed to agree the terms of a deal to sever his employment.

United executive director Adam Pearson had been attempting to negotiate a settlement following the breakdown of Redfearn’s relationship with owner Massimo Cellino.

But in a statement released this morning, Redfearn said: “It is with great sadness that I am resigning from my employment at Leeds United with immediate effect.

“I am desperately disappointed that Adam Pearson’s ‘offer’ of a return to my old position as academy manager was not genuine and the club have since made my position untenable by refusing to let me take up my post at Thorp Arch.”

Redfearn finished last season as United’s head coach, managing the first-team squad in a period when Cellino was banned from running the club by the Football League, but the Italian chose to replace him with Uwe Rosler after regaining control of Leeds at the start of May.

Redfearn’s contract as head coach gave him the option of returning to his old job as academy boss, a position he first took up in 2012.

Cellino, however, attacked Redfearn in a national newspaper interview on May 18, describing him as “weak” and of behaving “like a baby”. Cellino accused Redfearn of attempting to turn the club’s supporters against him during a fractious end to last season.

Pearson nevertheless insisted two days later that Redfearn would be welcome to retake control of Leeds’ academy, saying: “It (the offer) is definitely a realistic offer because I made it. It was said with all credibility and it’s been given to him.”

Despite that, Redfearn was absent from the club throughout the summer and has not been present at Thorp Arch since the Rosler’s squad began pre-season training at the start of this month.

Cellino is understood to have pushed a parting of ways following their public and bitter fall-out and talks about a severance package continued for a number of weeks.

The failure to agree a settlement is likely to see Redfearn bring legal action against the club.

The former Barnsley midfielder leaves United after more than six years as a coach at Thorp Arch.

He joined the youth-team staff in 2009 before becoming academy head in 2012 and head coach last November. He also acted as caretaker manager on three occasions.

His short tenure as head coach saw Leeds escape from severe relegation trouble but the period was marred by the unexplained suspension of his assistant, Steve Thompson, in April and the controversy surrounding the withdrawal of six foreign players through injury ahead of a 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic later that month.

He was widely credited with helping to bring through a crop of young players, a number of whom played regularly for the first team last season.

Redfearn’s statement read: “I would like to place on record my thanks to everyone connected with the first team, including the fans, for making last season both productive and beneficial after a difficult start.

“Very importantly, I would like to pay a special tribute to the academy where I proudly worked along with others for the best part of six years.

“I would like to wish Uwe Rosler and his staff and players every success for next season and beyond so that Leeds can go back to the Premier League very soon.

“It has truly been an honour to represent and serve this great club.”

United have been approached for comment by the YEP.

Full Redfearn statement: “It is with great sadness that I am resigning from my employment at Leeds United with immediate effect.

“I am desperately disappointed that Adam Pearson’s ‘offer’ of a return to my old position as academy manager was not genuine and the club have since made my position untenable by refusing to let me take up my post at Thorp Arch.

“I would, however, like to place on record my thanks to everyone connected with the first team, including the fans, for making last season both productive and beneficial after a difficult start.

“Very importantly I would like to pay a special tribute to the academy where I proudly worked along with others for the best part of six years.

“The LUFC academy is now regarded as one of the most productive in the country and last season proved testament to that with the continued development of Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook, Charlie Taylor, Kalvin Phillips, Lewis Walters and Chris Dawson amongst a crop of outstanding young players to wear the Leeds badge of honour and to don the famous white shirt.

“The academy philosophy and coaching programme that I wrote and developed will be part of my legacy to this great club and hopefully will help shape more top young professional footballers moving forward.

“I would like to wish Uwe Rosler and his staff and players every success for next season and beyond so that Leeds can go back to the Premier League very soon

“Last, but not least, I wish to thank the fans for their unstinting support both during my time at the academy and whilst in charge of the first team.

“It has truly been an honour to represent and serve this great club.”