Bradford City AFC is pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Redfearn, who returns to the club as lead professional development phase coach.
The former Leeds United and Rotherham United boss will take charge of City’s under-19s side, with Ryan Farrell promoted to the role of academy head of coaching.
A former midfielder, Redfearn returns to the Bantams having made 21 appearances during the club’s first season in the Premier League, after notable time playing at Barnsley, Lincoln City, Crystal Palace, Doncaster Rovers and Oldham Athletic.
He arrives following a recent spell as assistant caretaker manager of Oldham, where he and Steve Thompson oversaw three wins and three draws in six matches.
A period in charge of Newcastle United’s Under-23s came between 2018 and 2019, before the 58-year-old spent two years as head coach of Sheffield United Women between 2020 and 2022 - his third job in the women’s game after stints at Doncaster Rovers Belles (2017-2018) and Liverpool Women (2018).
He said: “It feels really good to be back. It is a while since I played here, but this is a fantastic club with a good history of bringing young players through, so it is a great place to be.
“I have got good experience from my time at other clubs in similar roles. We have some fantastic young players on our books and it is a good time to try and bring that talent to the fore, which I am excited to be a part of.
“The experience of having one foot in the academy and another in the first team, as I did at Newcastle United and Leeds United, will help. It is good to have your own identity and always nice to have your own players in the first team.
“It was only a few weeks ago I was on the grass helping out at Oldham Athletic, and this is a challenge that really excites me. This is a big club in its history and tradition, and we want to give these boys the opportunity to kick on and further their careers.”
Head of coaching Farrell said: “This is a really positive appointment and a really exciting time for our academy.
“Neil brings in a wealth of knowledge and experience which we are sure will have a positive impact on the PDP and the wider academy.
“In bridging that gap between PDP and first team, Neil has been there, seen it and done it. He has been in those environments, seen the pathways and knows what it takes for players to progress from under-18s and under-19s to the first team.
“I am really proud and privileged to be moving up to head of coaching, on a personal note, following on from some great people in Conor Marlin, Martin Drury and Lewis Nightingale who have created really strong foundations for me to build on.
“I am hoping to share my experience of being here for a number of years within our academy, and drawing on Neil’s experience in the game as a player here and elsewhere, and as a coach and a manager to collaborate powerfully within the academy and have a bigger impact on our players moving forward.”
City’s head of academy, Mark Litherland, added: “We are really excited. We had over 85 applicants for this position, including several former Championship managers, but Neil was the outstanding candidate.
“You cannot buy Neil’s wealth of experience in what he has achieved both playing and coaching, so to have him in the building working with our under-19s is pivotal for us as a club moving forward.
“He knows youth development and the importance on bridging the gap between the youth team and first team.
“There has been so much positive work done previously, with Ryan Farrell now moving to head of coaching. We have built really strong foundations, and now it is about building on them further, moving forward.”
Bradford City AFC would like to take this opportunity to thank former head of coaching Conor Marlin for his services, and wish him the very best for the future, after leaving the club over the summer to pursue another opportunity elsewhere.