Thursday, 21 April 2011
349 Neil Redfearn
Position : Midfield
Played : 2003-04
Appearances : 9
Goals : 0
Neil was a deadline day signing from Boston where he had recently been displaced as player-coach. The 38-year old had been in the game for over 20 years. He started out in Nottingham Forest's youth team but followed John McGovern to Bolton where he made his League debut in 1982 and experienced the first of quite a few relegations in his career. After 35 appearances scoring once he went on loan to Lincoln at the end of 1983-84 and was signed permanently in the summer for £8,250. It was with Lincoln that he started getting goals. He was in the Lincoln side on the day of the Bradford fire and is mentioned in John Helm's commentary just before the blaze gets noticed. The following year Lincoln were relegated and Neil moved on to Doncaster. He spent one season there playing in every game and scoring 14 goals which got him a move to Crystal Palace for £ 100,000. Just over a year later he went to Watford for £150,000. He played there for 13 months before returning north to Oldham in January 1990 for the same amount and helping them to win the Second Division title in 1991. Neil had scored 16 goals in 62 appearances but the return of Mike Milligan in the summer put him out in the cold and he took a move to Barnsley (for the same fee again) in September 1991. Neil is a legend at Barnsley scoring 72 goals in 292 appearances and skippering them to promotion to the Premier League in 1997. He scored 10 goals in 37 appearances the following season but could not prevent relegation. However he had made his mark in the Premiership and Charlton rescued him with a £1 million bid in the summer. Neil's age began to tell and he moved on to Bradford a year later for £250,000 after 3 goals in 29 appearances. He scored once in 17 appearances then left the Premiership by joining Wigan for £112,500 in March 2000. He stayed there for exactly one year scoring 7 in 25 appearances before joining Halifax with a view to moving into management. He had two short spells as caretaker but opted to continue his League career with Boston after failing to get the permanent job. He was player-coach and still weighed in with 12 goals in his 54 appearances before he and the manager were dumped because former manager Steve Evans's suspension from the game had expired.
Neil's signing got me in a bit of bother because my walking group had a snooker night at Riley's in Bolton and news of the signing came up on Sky TV while we were waiting for a table. My reaction was "Bloody hell he's nearly 50!" which didn't go down too well with my wife's fiftysomething friend. Neil made his debut in the game at home to Carlisle ostensibly wide on the left but really just adding ballast to the middle. Needless to say he was a bit slow and his influence was peripheral. We are the only one of his many clubs who didn't get a goal out of him but he did set up Lee McEvilly's equaliser against Doncaster with a great cross. He made his final League appearance in the penultimate game at home to Southend.
In his auto-biography Neil states that he did well and had a great relationship with the fans (not sure that's entirely accurate ) and suggests that Parkin released him because he didn't want an alternative manager in the squad. I think ( for once ) I'm with Parkin on that one.
Neil went on to Scarborough initially as player-coach but he was manager by November. He also finished as one of the top scorers in the Conference. In July 2006 he resigned after being over-ruled over a new assistant and continued his playing carreer with Bradford Park Avenue. He then moved to Stocksbridge Park Steels in March 2007 before being appointed manager of Northwich.
He was sacked after one win in the first 9 games (he didn;'t play in any of them) and resumed playing with Frickley Athletic then Bridlington Town. In February 2008 he became York's youth coach with an agreement that he could play for Emley when commitments allowed. The arrangement continued wth Salford City until he became assistant-manager at York when his playing career seemingly came to an end. He is currently a youth coach at Leeds United.
Neil concludes the 2003-04 season.