After just 21 games, it has been announced that Neil Redfearn has lost his job as Rotherham United manager. This has shocked the Millers faithful as well as those in the media. Redfearn was just 4 months into his 2 and a half year contract.
The board felt it was necessary to sack the 50 year old, after he only managed to win 5 of his 21 games, picking up 14 defeats in the process.
This decision evidently only came about this week. This is because the manager was allowed to appoint a new assistant, Nicky Eaden, who was given the job last week. After their former assistant manager, Eric Black, left the club to join Premier League strugglers Aston Villa.
Neil Redfearn’s situation suddenly changed a short time prior to him getting sacked. This is most likely to have been in a board meeting with the manager and club officials, which took place on Monday afternoon, after Redfearn took training in the morning as usual.
The sudden change of heart from Chairman, Tony Stewart, was the result of consecutive defeats against relegation rivals Bolton and Charlton.
The Vice-Chairman of Rotherham United, Richard Stewart, reacted badly on twitter to the defeat to Bolton:
When you look back to the 9th of October 2015, when Neil Redfearn was appointed as manager. There was clear emphasis from the board hat there was going to be a restructure of the club, with the aim of developing the youth system to create more players from the academy to be promoted into the first team. This has not been the case for Rotherham United for a number of years and Redfearn seemed to be the perfect man to alter this. He had a successful career at Leeds United, where he was the head of the academy. He helped in the progress of young talents such as Charlie Taylor, Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt.
But, after just 4 months, it seems that this has all come to an abrupt end. The Millers are unlikely to find a man who can contribute to the academy as much as Redfearn would have done. This means that the Millers fans seemingly will have to wait some time yet to see a new youth product move up into the first team.
The timing of Redfearn’s departure is definitely baffling. It comes after the January transfer window has closed, in which Redfearn was allowed to add 7 new additions to his squad. It is possible that the new manager may not be a fan of the new signings and he could look to add more players during the loan window.
One player who will be disappointed with the sacking of Neil Redfearn is Chris Dawson. The youngster was brought in on a free transfer during the January window. His decision to join the Millers was influenced by Neil Redfearn:
“He puts a lot of belief in you and lets you know that you’re a good player and at the same time when you’re not playing well. He gets behind you and that’s what you need as a young player going forward so I’m really excited to be here.”
This also shows that the board are concerned about the position which the team are situated in the Championship table. They have acted quickly to attempt to avoid the club dropping back down to League 1 and they are hoping that whoever comes in can help turn around their clubs fortunes. This will be tough for the manager who is appointed, they face an intimidating run of fixtures which includes trips to Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday as well as home games against Middlesbrough and Derby.
The club have confirmed that they are looking to appoint a manager with a contract until the end of the season, which means candidates who are currently out of work, Neil Warnock and Paolo Di Canio, are realistic options.
Another manager who reportedly has already been targeted by the club is Chris Wilder. He is currently the manager of Northampton, who are flying high at the top of League 2. He has done a magnificent job while at the Cobblers, they have rapidly moved from the lower echelons of the league to the summit in a short space of time.
Although, Wilder is unlikely to be interested in the vacancy, as it is possible that he will be looking for a job with more security than just until the end of the season. This may mean that he could be unwilling to swap a secure job at promotion chasing Northampton, for a job at Rotherham United, who may decide against extending his deal if he fails to secure their Championship status for next season.
The club needs to bring someone in who has the ability to make an immediate impact to galvanise the squad. Who will ensure the team will give 100% each week to maximize the chances of Rotherham staying up again this year. Therefore, the manager who I feel the Millers should look to appoint is Neil Warnock. The board at Rotherham will struggle to find a candidate who is as experienced as Warnock. He knows the division like the back of his hand after spending a number of years managing at this level.
Also, the fact that Rotherham are looking to appoint someone until the end of the season will appeal to Warnock, who at this stage in his career, will not be looking at a long term stay.
On Tuesday Morning, Neil Warnock was a guest for TalkSPORT. He was questioned about the possibility of taking over as the new Rotherham manager, he refused to comment on the matter. This could be an indication that he is keen about the job, because if he was not interested, it is likely that he would rule it out at the first opportunity he got.
Whoever the board at Rotherham United decide to appoint, it is vital that he gives the team a much needed boost. Following their last two defeats, they have fallen into the relegation zone and the sides below them have closed the gap, meaning the race for survival is now as close as it has been all season.
It is sad to see Neil Redfearn lose his job. He has not done a lot wrong, with the exception of the previous two games. It seems that Redfearn has become a victim of the harsh way managers are being treated by clubs in this footballing era.
It would be fantastic for Rotherham to stay up and continue playing at this level. If the club does stay up, it would far surpass the achievement of staying up last season, when you consider the amount of ups and downs the team have experienced already this campaign.