CHILD’S PLAY FOR RED­FEARN ON A HAPPY RE­TURN

Re­union not so clever for Evans

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

NEIL RED­FEARN branded Leeds chair­man Mas­simo Cellino “child­ish” af­ter the Ital­ian re­fused to let the Rother­ham boss park his car at El­land Road.

Red­fearn, a diehard Leeds fan who spent more than eight years work­ing for the club, was sacked in May by Cellino, who then called him a “weak baby”.

And in­sult was added to in­jury on Fri­day when Red­fearn re­ceived a call say­ing Cellino had per­son­ally in­ter­vened to deny him a car-park pass on his first re­turn to the club.

But the 50-year-old’s men de­liv­ered the per­fect re­sponse with Joe Newell’s goal pun­ish­ing a life­less Leeds dis­play that saw both sides fin­ish with ten men.

“It was very child­ish,” said Red­fearn, who took charge of Rother­ham in Oc­to­ber. “He needs to grow up. I just told (coach) Paul Warne to drive my car in and park it un­der his name. So he’s not that clever, is he?”

And while Red­fearn reaf­firmed his love for Leeds, he ad­mit­ted the vic­tory – which also lifted his side off the foot of the Cham­pi­onship – was made sweeter by get­ting one over on Cellino.

“I wasn’t both­ered about what he called me,” added Red­fearn.“What comes out of his mouth is ir­relevent. But it has been tough.We all know it hasn’t been han­dled well by Leeds. That’s not me say­ing some­thing you don’t know – ev­ery­one knows it.

“The bot­tom line is that the work we did here last sea­son has put Leeds in a bet­ter po­si­tion. I’ve got to be happy with that.

“At some point, this club has to have sta­bil­ity. It has to plan. And he has to re­alise that it isn’t go­ing to take 12 months. That’s not rocket science. That’s com­mon sense. But that’s his prob­lem now, not mine.”

For the other re­turn­ing man­ager, there was no such vin­di­ca­tion. Steve Evans spent three years in charge of Rother­ham, lead­ing them from League Two to the Cham­pi­onship.

Dis­missed in Septem­ber and sub­se­quently ap­pointed by Leeds, he is Cellino’s sixth man­ager in 18 months; both Dave Hock­a­day and Darko Mi­lanic were jet­ti­soned af­ter six games, and the Scot may be fear­ing a sim­i­lar fate af­ter a dis­play that sim­ply failed to ig­nite.

Yes, the Whites had chances. Alex Mowatt saw a snap shot turned away by Lee Camp, Chris Wood mis­cued a header. Luke Mur­phy was de­nied by Joe Tof­folo, Mirco An­tenucci ham­mered em­barass­ingly wide.

But there was no co­he­sion, no pen­e­tra­tion, no con­certed pe­ri­ods of pres­sure and about as much fi­nesse as a nail-stud­ded blud­geon.

“I don’t think we lacked ap­pli­ca­tion,” said Evans. “We lacked qual­ity, es­pe­cially in mid­field and up front.” Too right.

Rother­ham, too, were more about sweat than style, though their clincher was a pin­prick of ex­cel­lence in an oth­er­wise func­tional dis­play. Richie Small­wood, who was tremen­dous through­out, whipped a dev­il­ish ball into the box and Newell, run­ning off the back of Scott Wooton, glanced it per­fectly be­yond Marco Sil­vestri.

For­mer New­cas­tle striker Leon Best had largely failed to make an im­pact on his de­but for the Millers. That was rec­ti­fied when his swing­ing el­bow con­nected with the nose of Gae­tano Ber­ardi, splash­ing claret all over his li­ly­white shirt. En­raged, the Ital­ian shoved Best to the floor, then bun­dled a peace-keep­ing li­nes­man aside. Both men were cor­rectly sent off, lead­ing to an en­gag­ingly open fi­nal ten min­utes.

“Ber­ardi’s been ab­so­lutely smashed,” added Evans. “It was quite a hor­rific el­bow. But you can’t re­act like that and we’ll deal with him ac­cord­ingly.”

Evans ad­mit­ted de­feat to his old club stung but – un­like his chair­man – at least had the de­cency to recog­nise Red­fearn’s achieve­ments.

“I al­ways take de­feats in a bad way and to lose to a club that I took real pride in serv­ing for three years is dou­bly tough to take,” said Evans, who is hopo­ing to sign three play­ers be­fore Thurs­day’s dead­line.

“I con­grat­u­late Neil on his first win.We wish them well but we feel we con­trib­uted to them get­ting the three points.”

WIN­NER: Rother­ham United mid­fielder Joe Newell scores the game’s only goal

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