Tim Steere writes his weekly article for Vital Leeds United and today he looks at the potential replacement for Simon Grayson as the next Leeds manager.
Trying to find a manager to come to Elland Road will always be tough. As the task is a daunting proposition for whoever is brave enough to step forward.
A pessimistic view maybe, but the moniker of ‘big club` will always be attached to Leeds United no matter what league they are in. Some thrive on that, but many have crumbled.
The pressure of the job stems from the history of Leeds United, from the Don Revie era, to Howard Wilkinson and to a degree the Champions League run in the early 21st century.
Thus an inbuilt sense of supremacy is installed in a lot of Leeds fans, they want success. The burden constantly lingers over whoever plays; manages or runs the club to give them exactly that.
You can say fans of all clubs want that, but Leeds fans are particular famous for this. Recently a ‘poisonous` atmosphere has been seen at Elland Road, but it`s long been noted by opposition fans and managers going into games. Numerous times the quotes; ‘If we frustrate them and get the crowd on their back, they`re there for the taking,` have been said before a match. Or words to that effect.
The frustration has only grown thanks to the recent spells in the Championship and League One. Fans who remember those glory years thinking ‘we shouldn`t be down here, we`re a big club.` Although Leeds fans, with their ever present gallows humour, sing ‘we`re not famous anymore` as a direct retort to opposition fans who claim Leeds just aren`t that important in footballing circles. But they are.
How many times have we heard in recent years playing Premier League sides in the cup that the top flight needs Leeds United? A full and rocking Elland Road has impressed many journalists and pundits at games. The fans and the history make this club what it is.
But while more under the radar clubs have made the step up, the likes of Wigan, Bolton, Norwich, Swansea, Blackpool have tasted Premier League football in recent years. Leeds have struggled to get close.
All these clubs have/had no expectancy to reach the top flight, everyone within the clubs knew they were underdogs and quietly built squads and harboured a team spirit to defy the odds.
Leeds will always struggle to do anything quietly and will always been seen as favourites. The pressure increases game by game; pressure on the players and manager especially. The long list of high profile names that have come in since our relegation from the Premiership in 2004 is a testament to the fact that playing for Leeds is unlike many clubs, and that success doesn`t come easily.
Simon Grayson got us out of League One; stabilized us and helped win us plaudits from the press when it came to the big games against the elite; helping to start off a thirst for a Leeds United return to the Premier League.
The next manager of Leeds will have to face the realization that now we are so close and have been away for so long. Nothing but promotion will be a success. The end of next season needs to see a promotion party at Elland Road.
I say the end of next season because it seems all of the sudden that the club aren`t in any rush to appoint someone new.
When Grayson was sacked, the club released a statement saying that with 18 games to go a new manager was needed to get the most out of the team and make the difference, ultimately gaining promotion.
17 games are now left after Neil Redfearn`s opening success against Bristol City, but Ken Bates has now confirmed that Redfearn will be in charge for the Brighton, Coventry and Doncaster games at least. Leaving any new manager just 14 games left in the season.
All of sudden there`s less than a quarter of the season left to ‘make the difference`.
Leaving many to speculate that Redfearn himself is being lined up. It`s his to lose. After all, if after these four games in charge, if the results are all good, the cheaper option is no doubt to hire the under-18`s boss.
The players are behind him and Bates has already spoke of his demeanour around Thorpe Arch and his change of focus in training to make the side harder to beat.
This is also reflected in the bookies with Redfearn favourite of 5/4 after the announcement yesterday. Looking at the other candidates of Neil Warnock and Billy Davies being close behind, it would be a risk.
It`s very rare that Leeds fans would rather see two men who have been widely despised in Warnock and Davies take on the job; Dave Jones has also been linked but is also not exactly a good friend of Leeds fans after chants made towards him during his time at Southampton.
But all do have pedigree at this level, all three have won promotion to the Premiership and know what it takes; Warnock most recently with QPR. To turn all of them down for Redfearn would be a huge decision.
Although a recent story in the Daily Mail could explain why Redfearn suddenly has more time. Warnock is currently seeking a £1m pay out for the remaining 18 months of his contract at QPR. And according to the article, he is not allowed to work at any other club until the matter is resolved. The article later says that friends of him (apparently he does) say that he has ‘one last challenge` left in him.
None of the above three managers are very popular with Leeds fans, but all have pedigree and so a relative amount of respect. They have an inbuilt drive to succeed and are big names at this level in terms of coaching. They are the kind of people that stand a chance of handling that pressure and having the ability to take Leeds on to the next level.
But how many will want to work with Ken Bates and will Redfearn be seen as the cheaper option?
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