Leeds have completed the deal to bring highly rated young coach Paul Heckingbottom to Elland Road after agreeing terms with the Barnsley-born man. Leeds paid the buy-out clause of around £500k and last night tied up loose ends to compete the deal.
Heckingbottom arrives from the club he has supported all his life in Barnsley and will now link up with the Leeds players and staff this morning ahead of Saturday’s game at Sheffield United. The news has brought a mixed reaction from the Leeds fan-base but that would happen with any appointment, it certainly isn’t unusual by any means. Barnsley fans are extremely disappointed by the move as you would expect but Heckingbottom will leave with the club in a much better position than when he took over, down at the bottom of League One a few years back.
Heckingbottom has a bubbling reputation in football and you have to take what he’s done at Barnsley and put it into context. Barnsley finished mid-table last season after promotion and that’s with all of their key players being sold from under him. During Heckingbottom’s time at Barnsley, also in the academy he has helped develop the likes of John Stones, Alfie Mawson, Conor Hourihane, Mason Holgate, James Bree and Sam Winnall, all of whom have now been sold by the club. His ability to bring through youth players and improve them is a huge factor in his success and despite Barnsley being on a bad run at the moment, with their squad and money spent they are still over-achieving by being in the race to stay up.