Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Cellino's gamble on Milanic

Let's be clear about one thing at the outset - Neil Redfearn wanted the Leeds manager's job on a permanent basis.

He was buoyed by the way the players responded to him in both training and matches during his four games in charge.

And he felt that, at 49, and with many years as academy boss and two previous spells as caretaker under his belt, he was ready to step up.

Massimo Cellino's logic in appointing Darko Milanic and overlooking the caretaker was that he wanted to keep Redfearn at the academy and at the club long-term (because he does have a bit of a habit of sacking managers or head coaches).

This argument stacked up only if Redfearn was happy with the arrangement. And the fact is he wanted the top job.

That makes this is a big gamble by Cellino, arguably the biggest of his tenure at Elland Road so far.

Redfearn has been strongly linked with the top job at his former club Barnsley, where he enjoys hero status from his time there as a player.

There hasn't been any contact between the parties yet, but if the Tykes do decide to replace under-pressure Danny Wilson, you can be pretty sure that Redfearn's name will be at the top of their wanted list.

That could mean Leeds losing one of their most loyal and respected servants, a man who knows the club inside out and who undeniably did a great job for them as caretaker. Record: played four, won three, drawn one.

It's why Phil Neville, admittedly not the most popular pundit among Leeds fans for obvious reasons, made pertinent points about the Milanic appointment last week.

"They've already got somebody there with the quality and the experience, who knows what the club's all about," he said.

"If they are a club who want to bring through their own players, well this lad's been doing it for the last however many years."

There have been a lot of departures at Elland Road in recent months - Benito Carbone, Andrew Umbers, Graham Bean, Dave Hockaday - the list goes on.

But Redfearn could prove particularly difficult to replace.

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