Leeds United have appointed their seventh boss in four years, with Barnsley’s Paul Heckingbottom taking over the hot seat despite signing a new deal at Barnsley on Friday.
Heckingbottom decided to swap the 21st-placed Tykes for 10th-placed Leeds after Thomas Christiansen was axed on Sunday.
The 40-year-old has signed a one-and-a-half-year deal following Leeds United activating a £500,000 clause to get the Barnsley man, according to the BBC.
The Elland road club are seven points off the pace for the play-offs after failing to register a win since Boxing Day following an impressive start to the season under the 44-year-old. United topped the table in September giving Leeds fans hope that their 14-year exile from the Premier League might be coming to an end.
However, former boss Neil Warnock delivered the final nail in Christiansen’s coffin by beating his old side 4-1 as Cardiff City continued their push for promotion.
However, the appointment of Heckingbottom has left a bitter taste in the mouths the Barnsley hierarchy with their manager walking away four days after pledging his future to the club.
“The club are shocked at Paul Heckingbottom’s desire to leave, having agreed a new contract last week following the completion of the transfer window, where the directors worked tirelessly along with Paul to secure their targets, resulting in a successful window.
“This left the club optimistic in a turnaround in form and a strong end to the 2017-18 campaign as we battle to retain our position in the league.
“Until a new head coach is appointed, Paul Harsley will take caretaker charge. The board fully trusts him to lead the team.”
Heckingbottom guided Barnsley to promotion to the Championship via the League One play-offs in 2015/16 and won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with the Tykes also.
As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Barnsley native could not turn down the opportunity to manage a club of a Leeds United’s stature and cannot wait to get started.
“I can’t wait to get started. I can’t wait. It’s a big opportunity, a big football club and something you work hard for. I’m planning to make the most of it.
“When I spoke to Victor and the owner (Andrea Radrizzani), it really aligned with what I was thinking and how I’d like to work.
“I presume that’s the reason they thought I was the right man for the job. I’m aligned with how they like to work and hopefully that will be good for us going forward.”
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena