NO ONE WOULD BLAME NEIL FOR QUITTING
THE laughable, misspelled letter that sealed the fate of Leeds assistant Steve Thompson was signed by director Nicola Salerno.
But we all know who was really behind the decision to suspend Neil Redfearn’s greatest friend and ally at Elland Road.
Yes, Massimo Cellino may be suspended from running the club but his tawdry paw prints were all over this latest farce.
The letter criticised the way Thompson had been “doing his duties”. This is complete nonsense.
This is a guy who, since arriving from Huddersfield in December, has not only won huge popularity with players but been the driving force behind an upsurge in form that kept Leeds out of a relegation battle. His performance has been exemplary.
Which leaves just two possible reasons for the pathetic episode. One is that Cellino is trying to clear the decks before selling the club.
Sacking Redfearn would be expensive; far better from a business point of view to can the cheaper assistant, thus prompting the head coach to walk of his own volition.
Indeed, a pensive and downbeat Redfearn admitted he was ‘considering his position’ ahead of yesterday’s game against Blackburn.
The second reason is more troubling: petty vengeance. Earlier this week, Leeds chairman Andrew Umbers – presumably at the behest of Cellino – ordered Redfearn not to play top scorer Mirco Antenucci as two more goals for the 30-yearold Italian would trigger an automatic contract extension.
He also warned Redfearn not to reveal the real reason. Aware of his duty to supporters and an intrinsically honest person, the lifelong Leeds fan refused to lie. The story duly broke.
Is it simply coincidence that his close friend was suspended two days later? This, too, appears calculated to force Redfearn’s resignation.
No one would blame him for walking.