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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Leeds appoint Blackwell
Kevin Blackwell (left) and Ian Harte
I am enthusiastic and confident the future will be better for this club
Kevin Blackwell
Leeds United have confirmed Kevin Blackwell as their new manager.

Blackwell, who has signed a two-year deal at Elland Road, was due to be appointed as the permanent successor to Eddie Gray on Monday.

Steve Parkin's interest in the club forced the board to delay the move, with the haulage magnate thought to favour Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie.

But after the collapse of Parkin's proposed 25m takeover, the club has moved quickly to secure Blackwell.

Blackwell, who joined the club last July after a lengthy spell as Neil Warnock's right-hand man at Sheffield United, took charge of United's final game of the season against Chelsea after the departure of Eddie Gray.

The 45-year-old has been working as head coach since Gray's departure, but is keen to stamp his own authority on the club.

BLACKWELL FACTFILE
Born: Luton 21/12/58
Playing career: Barnet, Scarborough, Notts County, Torquay, Huddersfield, Plymouth, Bury, Sheffield United
Coaching career: Sheffield United (assistant manager), Leeds (assistant then caretaker boss)
2003: Helps Sheffield United to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, the Worthington Cup and the First Division play-off final but later agrees to join Peter Reid at Leeds
2004: Takes over as caretaker boss after Eddie Gray's departure before being given the job on a permanent basis
"When I arrived at the club I had my own ideas about how we could move the club forward," Blackwell told the club's website.

"But the situation at the club quickly became one where we were having to paper over the cracks, one problem after the other, so what this club needs most is stability.

"Of course even now despite everything the club has been through I am enthusiastic and confident the future will be better for this club.

"People always said it was a massive club but until you actually get here, as an outsider you don't realise just how big it is."

Blackwell is said to have been unhappy with the way he was treated on Monday.

But he was summoned to meet with Leeds managing director David Richmond on Tuesday and, after receiving the full support from every member of the board, agreed to sign the two-year deal he was offered originally.

Blackwell was also given a personal apology by director Simon Morris, who vetoed the initial agreement.

"I was happy to sign, but only after asking to speak to people who had put doubt in my mind," Blackwell said.

I needed to know I had their backing
Kevin Blackwell
"That doubt has now been eased. I've had assurances from all board members, including Simon Morris. It was important I spoke to him.

"I didn't want to be offered the job on the back of one director agreeing and another not.

"I had to have a guarantee from everybody I was the right man in their eyes because it is a big job and a very difficult rebuilding job.

"Along the way there might have been some problems, so I needed to know I had their backing."

The former goalkeeper becomes the club's 26th manager, and their fourth in the last two years.

Blackwell's departure from Bramall Lane in June ended a 17-year association with Warnock, who first signed him when he was Scarborough boss in 1986.

He also followed Warnock to Notts County, Huddersfield, Plymouth and Bury - often helping out with youth team coaching duties.

Blackwell will become one of the country's most experienced coaches when he completes his Uefa 'A' badge this summer.

His coaching reputation saw him sounded out by Southampton earlier this season when they were looking for a replacement for Gordon Strachan.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell
"It's a massive challenge"


BBC Sport's Luke Wileman
"With the takeover deal dead Blackwell has finally put pen to paper"




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26 May 04  |  Man Utd



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