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Neil Redfearn’s Leeds United Merry-go-round

The Boot Room



Neil Redfearn officially joined the ranks of the dearly departed at Leeds United last week. Having been relieved of his first team duties and replaced by Uwe Rosler as last season drew to a close, the fans favourite looked set to return to his role with the academy at Elland Road but a formal job offer has failed to materialise.

Redfearn had a successful stint heading up Leeds’s youth programme and his elevation to first team coach coincided with cost-cutting at the Yorkshire club, as several of his academy products found themselves thrown in at the deep end in a misfiring side.

With Redfearn’s appointment the Cellinos earned some breathing space. With off-field problems continuing to engulf the club, and particularly owner Massimo Cellino, sliding a Leeds United man into the hot seat provided much needed stability and brought the fans back onside, temporarily at least.

Redfearn found his legs chopped from under him when his assistant Steve Thompson was sacked without warning – a sign of ever there was one that the manager’s office at Elland Road might be the hot seat, but it’s not the top job. Cellino keeps his axe sharp. He always has.

But even the most domineering of owners often find themselves locked in an odd and stunted dance with their club’s fans.

Cellino bowed to fan pressure when appointing Redfearn. Similarly, Mike Ashley, who seemingly threw up his hands, saying “Look! I gave you what you wanted!” in appointing first Kevin Keegan and then Alan Shearer to the Newcastle job. It’s not much fun to own a club that’s unsuccessful and where tens of thousands of fans turn up and tell you they hate you, so the urge to bow to popular pressure must be a tempting one – even if against your better judgement.

In Ashley’s case, after several failed experiments which included Keegan and Shearer, he found stability with Alan Pardew holding down the job for four years – a veritable eternity in contemporary terms. Cellino needs to find that stability, but history suggests he won’t. There were 36 managers in 22 years at Cagliari for Il mangia-allenatori, The Manager Eater.

Massimo Cellino in the stands at Elland Road

Upon Cellino’s arrival, then manager Brian McDermott found himself in and out of the job again like he was trapped in a revolving door. Eventually he, like Redfearn, emerged onto the pavement with his personal effects in a box. Uwe Rosler is manager number 5 inside a calendar year at Leeds United.

McDermott, again like Redfearn, had made his name developing talent, having successfully stepped up from working with the reserves and U19s at Reading to managing their first team following the departure of Brendan Rodgers. McDermott had also been chief scout at Reading, he wasn’t directly replaced and at times during his tenure, it felt as though he was working from a little black book that hadn’t been updated recently.

Similar is perhaps true of Redfearn. While the continuity he provided blooding youngsters in the first team was valuable – that theory won Germany and Joachim Low a World Cup – he perhaps lacked the next big idea, or the versatility to change when his approach wasn’t working. You have to bob and weave to avoid Il mangia-allenatori, nothing is worse than being all out of ideas.

New manager Uwe Rosler spent four years at Manchester City as a player, before managing at Brentford and Wigan.

But Leeds fans, like the fans of every other team in the country, will enter the new season with a sense of hope. New manager Uwe Rosler brings with him an intense desire to manage in the Premier League and an iron will that helped him resist the Stazi in pre-Soviet collapse East Germany.

Leeds have yet to move big in the transfer market, and will look to strengthen before the season gets properly underway, despite Chris Wood and Sol Bamba joining the ranks, and Tom Adeyemi joining on loan. In Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt and Mirco Antenucci they have the makings of a competitive Championship side.

But what’s needed, again, is stability. Football teams run on personal faith and interaction – when a manager says, work hard in training and you’ll get a shot in the first team, the player has to believe the manager will be there in three weeks time. If your manager is facing the perpetual risk of being eaten, you are significantly less likely to heed his plans for the future, and the team will continue to under-perform as a result.

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Birmingham City

Garry Monk should reunite with Rob Green at Birmingham City

Birmingham City are set to let David Stockdale leave the club.

Mathew Coull



Huddersfield Town have announced their retained list for the summer and veteran goalkeeper Rob Green will now be hunting for a new club. The Terriers have not renewed his one-year deal at the club and the 12-cap England international will now be hunting for a new club this summer.

Green joined Huddersfield on a free transfer after a shock release by West Yorkshire rivals Leeds United last summer, who decided to replace him with German goalie Felix Wiedwald. That proved to be a move which certainly backfired.

But he played second fiddle to Danish international goalie Jonas Lossl and is now on his way. He did not feature in a single game for the club, spending the entire season as a substitute at the John Smith’s Stadium.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

So where does he go next?

One potential option would be a return to working with Garry Monk, currently the manager at Birmingham City.

Green was the number one for Monk at Leeds in 2016-17. Had the manager remained at Elland Road, it is highly likely that Green would have done the same and played out this season as the Whites number one again.

But with Monk gone Green needed to find somewhere else to play his football and now the pair have a chance to reunite again.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It also appears that Birmingham are going to be in need of a new goalkeeper. The Yorkshire Evening Post suggest this weekend that Monk wants to move on David Stockdale, with his hometown club and Monk’s former club Leeds keen.

If Stockdale is exiting, Birmingham need a safe pair of hands between the net. Despite his advancing years, Green proved at Leeds he still has plenty to give at the Championship level and with Monk needing a new ‘keeper he can rely on the 38-year-old would be a no-brainer for Birmingham City.

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Nottingham Forest

Aitor Karanka should target reunion with Julien De Sart

The Belgian could be a great signing for Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Coull



It seems as though Belgian midfielder Julien De Sart will be looking for a new club this summer. He finds himself in a state of limbo after a season on loan at Zulte Waregem from Middlesbrough.

Despite being a regular for the Essevee he will not be making a permanent move to the club. According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the club will not be prioritising his €700,000 (£612,000) permanent deal agreed with Middlesbrough.

The 23-year-old will now return to the Riverside, where it appears he has no long-term future.

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

But should his former boss bring him to Nottingham Forest?

Aitor Karanka was the manager at Boro when De Sart was snapped up from Standard Liege back in 2016 and was considered one for the future on Teesside.

Now, the former Belgium under-21 international needs to find a new home and a reunion with Karanka at the City Ground could be a perfect move.

The central-midfielder would be a welcome addition for Forest, who need to strengthen across the park following another mediocre season.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

De Sart has impressed in the East Midlands before. He was finally showing what he could do during a loan spell with Derby County in 2017. Unfortunately, a change of manager saw him drop out of the side under Gary Rowett.

Forest, however, could offer him a second chance in the Championship and it would give Karanka a chance to properly work with a player he clearly rated just a couple of seasons ago.

He would be a cheap and known transfer option for the Nottingham Forest first-team squad. He would also arrive with a point to prove to his old boss Karanka and the manager at bitter rivals Derby, something Forest fans will certainly appreciate.

It would be an under-the-radar signing, but one which could act some genuine quality to the Forest midfield ahead of the new season.

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Derby County

Newcastle United should take advantage of Matej Vydra’s low asking fee

The Czech international has scored 20 goals in the Championship this season.

Josh Kerr



Matej Vydra
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United ensuring another season of Premier League football represents one of Rafael Benitez’ most impressive achievements in football to date.

The job done by the Spaniard is all the more admirable considering the Magpies striker options have been thin for large periods of the season, and the arrival of a goal-scorer is surely imminent for the Tyneside club.

According to The Telegraph, Derby County are likely to list their top-scorer Matej Vydra for sale after their failure to earn promotion to the Premier League.

This comes as massive news to a number of clubs in England’s top-flight, and Newcastle should be one of the front-runners queuing for the 26-year-old’s prolific services.

The Czech Republic international has been excellent this season firing 20 goals in 35 appearances for the Rams.

Reports suggest the club may be forced to sell their star striker in order to reduce the club’s £35 million wage bill ahead of next season.

The 26-year-old’s sale this summer will be Derby’s attempts to slash their budgets and form a strategy that is going to enable the club to push for promotion once again next season.

A fee of around £8 million could prove a major boost for Newcastle, considering the club’s financial restraints, and a 20-goal striker would surely be an improvement on Benitez’s current front-line options.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Islam Slimani’s loan move from Leicester proved to be a disaster, and the arrival of Joselu was one of the most disappointing transfers of the season.

The club are in desperate need of a goalscorer, with Perez leading the club’s individual efforts, despite being a number 10 and not an out-and-out goalscorer.

Vydra also has rare Premier League experience with West Bromwich Albion, as well as Watford, and his graft in the Championship may mean he’s ready for a return back to the top-flight.

The former West Brom striker guarantees goals and if there is one thing Tyneside supporters have missed in recent years, it is a goal-scoring hero.

At a little over £8 million, he could still prove a real bargain and a relatively insignificant risk.

Benitez has been wanting to break the bank since his arrival in 2016 but may be tempted do a deal on the cheap for the highly-rated striker.

Newcastle will be looking to improve on their impressive 10th place finish next season and the firepower of a genuine goalscorer could see them surpass the highs of this campaign.

Vydra offers pace and is even an aerial threat at just 5ft 2, so it has to be a priority for Newcastle to capture one of the bargains of the season and bring Vydra to St James’ Park.

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