Neil Warnock has parted company with Leeds United after 13 months as their manager, the final act of his tenure being a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of their old rivals Derby County.
Neil Redfearn, the reserve team manager, has been handed control of first-team affairs for the time being.
Warnock's departure at 64 had already been planned for the end of the season but Monday afternoon's calamitous result, after they took the lead through Ross McCormack in the 67th minute, brought matters to a head. It was Leeds's sixth game without a win and had many fans calling for the manager's head before the final whistle. "Warnock, time to go" was the refrain after Jake Buxton's 88th-minute header earned Derby a third successive victory.
"We are not going to get into the play-offs now, so it is a good time to put somebody else in charge until the end of the season," Warnock said immediately after the defeat. "I don't think they should rush into a permanent appointment because there are no outstanding candidates at the moment but there will be in the summer. I have been a manager for 33 years and this last 12 months have been the hardest. I have given it my best shot but, being honest, we haven't been good enough in the final third of the pitch. I am speaking to the owners and I think a statement will be made in due course. It would appease the fans if I go now and I will recommend putting Neil Redfearn and Gwyn Williams [technical director] in temporary charge until the end of the season. If the owners asked me to stay on for the remaining games I would but I don't think it will come to that and it wouldn't appease the fans."
Warnock had given his critics a significant wave at the final whistle, knowing his reign was over. Redfearn will be in charge for Saturday's mid-table match at Charlton, one of his former clubs.
The Derby game was Warnock's 62nd in charge and much of it was spent as the subject of abusive chants from their fans. He signed an 18-month deal to replace Simon Grayson and openly said it would be his last job, with the aim being to get a record eighth promotion before retirement. He leaves with the team in 12th place and looking down rather than up.
The Elland Road chief executive, Shaun Harvey, said: "We would like to thank Neil for his efforts and share his disappointment that we could not achieve promotion this season. We now need to look to the future and the search for his replacement is under way, for which there is no fixed timescale as securing the services of the right person is the primary objective, so as to give us the best chance of promotion next season.
"We would also like to thank Mick Jones and Ronnie Jepson, who will leave the club with Neil, for all their hard work since coming to the club."
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