Leeds United need to learn lessons from tough season

Neil Redfearn on the Elland Road pitch after the last game of the season.
Neil Redfearn on the Elland Road pitch after the last game of the season.

With Massimo Cellino set to be officially back in control this week Leeds United fans are hoping for answers quickly on future plans at the club.

The 2014-15 season came to an underwhelming finish in keeping with a generally disappointing, if rarely dull, campaign when the Whites were held to a goalless draw in their last game at home to fellow relegation battle survivors Rotherham United.

For both sides it was a big relief that they will still be playing their football in the Sky Bet Championship next season and for Leeds certainly now it is all about moving forward with hopefully lessons learned from their troubled year.

United pretty much wrote the book for how not to run a club. They messed up their pre-season, were undercooked for the start of the season proper and to the surprise of few made a poor start. A brief recovery when Neil Redfearn took charge on a temporary basis was thrown away by another failed experiment with a second head coach with no experience of football at Championship level and it took the appointment of Redfearn full-time finally to get the club ultimately away from the relegation zone.

That they managed to make themselves safe more than a month away from the end of the season was a mark of Redfearn’s success, but with still no word yet on whether he will be allowed to continue the progress he has made into the 2015-16 campaign the Elland Road club appear once again to be on the verge of shooting themselves in the foot.

They also appear set to lose several first team players who have done well amid the off the field chaos with on-loan defender Sol Bamba and powerful midfielder Rudy Austin not signed up and rumours circulating about at least one of the talented youngsters brought on so well by Redfearn being sold this summer.

Sam Byram seems the most likely to go with Southampton favourites to sign the right-back, but there is also Premiership interest in player of the year Alex Mowatt and young player of the year Lewis Cook.

Of course, it has not helped that Cellino’s ownership disqualification has made it hard for the club to communicate and the transfer ban imposed in January has left them with difficulties agreeing deals for players.

But those excuses cannot be used with the owner back in position and supporters are now demanding some answers, firstly on who is going to be in charge.

Defender Bamba, who would like to stay beyond the loan deal that ended last Saturday, has spoken about the frustration felt by players about what was going on behind the scenes and is the latest player to back Redfearn.

Redfearn, whose contract with the club expires next month, meanwhile, has reiterated that he wants to be the head coach to take Leeds forward next season.

He said: “I want to stay and I want to be manager of Leeds United but I want to be manager of Leeds United with us successful.

“I don’t want another season where we’re mid-table or fighting relegation. I know it can happen but I want this club to be upwardly mobile and positive.

“It’s been a tough season. The last thing you want is to have Leeds United in one of those bottom three positions. We had to dig deep and come up with the answers. By and large we’ve had the right answers.”