Barnsley ‘shocked’ as Heckingbottom signs Leeds United contract

Date published: Tuesday 6th February 2018 11:50

Paul Heckingbottom: Remains focused

Leeds have named Paul Heckingbottom as their new head coach.

The 40-year-old leaves Barnsley to move to Elland Road and has signed a contract that runs until the end of next season.

He succeeds Thomas Christiansen who was sacked on Sunday after a dismal run of form which has seen Leeds not win a match since Boxing Day.

Leeds have fallen to 10th in the Sky Bet Championship, and Heckingbottom leaves a side who sit 21st in the same division.

“Leeds United are delighted to confirm the appointment of Paul Heckingbottom as new head coach of the club,” the West Yorkshire club announced.

Heckingbottom only signed a new contract with Barnsley last week, when he said “there was never any doubt” he would commit to the club.

The Barnsley born and bred coach was targeted by Leeds once Christiansen left, however, and the opportunity proved irresistible.

Barnsley said several members of their staff, including first-team coach Jamie Clapham, would join Heckingbottom at Leeds.

A statement from Barnsley said the club felt “thoroughly disappointed” by Heckingbottom’s exit and “shocked” that he should want to leave.

“The Club are shocked at Paul Heckingbottom’s desire to leave, having agreed a new contract with Barnsley Football Club last week following the completion of the January transfer window, where the Board of 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,” read a Barnsley statement.

Barnsley Football Club Chief Executive Gauthier Ganaye commented: “Yes, it was unexpected. Yes, it has come during an already complicated period. Yes, it will make things more difficult short term, but our Club is full of resources and it is certainly not dependent on one man alone. I’m asking everyone from the players, employees and our loyal fans to come together as we have an important game on Saturday.”

 

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