Yesterday evening Leeds United ‘parted company’ with head coach Thomas Christiansen after just eight months in charge at Elland Road.
The 44-year-old came to Elland Road as a left-field choice after 52 games in charge of Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia, including a successful Europa League campaign. Many, if any, had heard of him before his appointment. Yet he won the crowd over, initially at least, with his calm and assured manner.
However, it is a result-driven business is football and the former Barcelona striker was delivering results in only fits and starts. Fits and starts isn’t good enough, and that proved to be the case with Phil Hay breaking the news of Christiansen’s demise.
Christiansen’s departure from Elland Road left the Whites looking for a manager to take them through to the end of the season, but in the short -term to pick up and put back together a crumbling, yet once hopeful play-off challenge.
With names being bandied around amidst photographs of Steve McClaren at Elland Road on Saturday, it didn’t take long for a favourite to emerge. That favourite was current Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom with the Yorkshire Evening Post adding a little colour to proceedings.
The YEP’s Phil Hay said in his article from earlier this evening that the Tykes boss “is due to conclude negotiations at Elland Road this evening and should be installed in time to take charge of training at Thorp Arch tomorrow morning.”
With things moving at seemingly breakneck speed, few other details emerged other than what Hay said and what was already in the public domain.
40-year-old Heckinbottom guided the Tykes to a Johnstone Paint Trophy triumph, as well as promotion via the play offs to the Championship. After such a successful spell in charge, he was appointed from his role of caretaker manager to manager on a permanent basis.
Despite losing key men such as Conor Hourihane, Alfie Mawson and Sam Winnall, Heckingbottom helped the club to a 14th place finish in their first season back in the Championship last time out.
New details have emerged recently on Twitter with the following tweets indicating just how much the Whites have paid to action Heckingbottom’s release clause from his role at Oakwell, as well as evidence purporting that he is currently at Elland Road to hammer out a deal.
— David Anderson (@MirrorAnderson) February 5, 2018
Reaction from Leeds United fans on the interest and impending arrival of Heckingbottom as manager is, to say the least, of a mixed variety. Whilst there are some lauding the club’s approach, there are also others condemning it.