The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY -

I WAS amazed to see Steve Evans leave Rother­ham, es­pe­cially af­ter beat­ing a very good Birm­ing­ham side 2-0.

I was at St An­drews a few weeks ago and they bat­tered Birm­ing­ham.The Blues were taken to pieces from the first minute to the last. Rother­ham grafted, played good foot­ball – every­thing you could want from a side.

Af­ter such a bad start, it seemed Steve had got ev­ery­one to roll their sleeves up and claw their way out. So what hap­pened next came right out of the blue.

Per­haps, though, the op­por­tu­nity to ap­point Neil Red­fearn was just too good to pass up. Neil is very highly re­garded in coach­ing cir­cles.

At Leeds, he in­her­ited a re­ally tough sit­u­a­tion.The club doesn’t own the train­ing ground, the owner was call­ing the shots. I even heard that play­ers were be­ing told to clean their own kit to save a few quid.

But he got them up to mid-ta­ble and won the fans round. Be­fore that, as head of the academy, he’d brought through a huge amount of tal­ent on a shoe­string bud­get.

Guys like Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook, Sam Byram, Char­lie Tay­lor have all be­come first-team stars af­ter work­ing with Neil in the youth ranks.

That has to be some­thing Rother­ham looked at.They aren’t mas­sive spenders.They don’t have a mega-rich backer.To com­pete in the Cham­pi­onship, they have to grow their own.

Neil knows the game as a player. He’s done his home­work as a coach. He’s man­aged in the Cham­pi­onship.That’s a mouth­wa­ter­ing com­bi­na­tion for a chair­man who doesn’t want to break the bank and can’t af­ford a big name. If Neil takes that ethos to Rother­ham then he’ll po­ten­tially save them a lot of money by bring­ing play­ers through.

Maybe the chair­man has looked at it and thought ‘yes, Steve will keep us up, but Neil could help us grow’.

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