McDermott named as Leeds boss

Brian McDermott was appointed as manager of Championship club Leeds on Friday just weeks after being sacked by Premier League strugglers Reading.

Brian McDermott, pictured on February 18, 2013 in Manchester, was appointed as manager of Championship club Leeds on Friday just weeks after being sacked by Premier League strugglers Reading.

McDermott agreed a three-year contract to succeed Neil Warnock, who stepped down two weeks ago, and will take charge of his first match when local rival Sheffield Wednesday visit Elland Road on Saturday.

"I was approached about 10 days ago and the conversation was about coming in the summer," McDermott said.

"But things have escalated, I spoke to Shaun Harvey (Leeds chief executive) who wanted to put a manager in place now and that was something I had to think long and hard about for a couple of days.

"It feels right. The whole place feels right. I wouldn't have taken a job at this stage of the season anywhere else.

"It's a massive club and I don't need to be told about the history."

The 52-year-old had led Reading into the Premier League as Championship winners last season, but he was axed by the Royals after failing to lift the club out of the bottom three.

Former Arsenal midfielder McDermott needs to make an instant impact on his new club as Leeds have slipped into the relegation dogfight in recent weeks.

Last Saturday's defeat at Charlton under caretaker Neil Redfearn was their fourth in a row, and they sit only five points above the second tier drop zone.

"We are delighted to have appointed Brian as our manager," Leeds director David Haigh said.

"He is a man with a proven track record of success and shares our vision of the best way to return long term and sustainable success to this great football club.

"Obviously the immediate aim is a return as soon as possible to the Premiership. Brian's success in taking Reading to the Premiership last year was a key factor in our decision to hire him."

McDermott, who has hired his former assistant Nigel Gibbs to work with him at Leeds, didn't become a professional manager until December 2009 when he replaced Brendan Rodgers at Reading.

In his first full season in charge he took Reading to the Championship play-off final where they were beaten by Rodgers' Swansea, but they responded by winning the title a year later.

Life in the Premier League was harder and, despite winning the manager of the month award in January, McDermott was sacked in March.

McDermott is the first managerial appointment made by Leeds owners GFH Capital, who bought the club from Ken Bates in December, and Haigh and Salem Patel flew in from Dubai to secure McDermott's signature.

Leeds have acquired a reputation as a selling club over recent years and, with young stars Sam Byram and Tom Lees recently linked with moves, McDermott acknowledges he has taken a gamble that the owners won't cash in on his best players.

"I want to take this club forward, but no one person can do that on his own. Everyone has to be going in the same direction," he said.

"But I don't want to lose anyone. The best place for the young players is here, playing in front of these fans.

"The first thing we have to do is get a result on Saturday. We have to play with no fear.

"I have been here with Reading and thought to myself 'we'll do well to get a result here'."

Bizarrely, the new Leeds manager isn't the only Brian McDermott in charge of a sports team in the Yorkshire city.

Rugby league club Leeds Rhinos are also led by a Brian McDermott and, in another curious twist, both teams have wingers called Ryan Hall.

McDermott has won two Super League titles and the World Club Challenge during his time with the Rhinos.

About the author

Writer: AFP
Position: News agency