Leeds reward Reid with 'permanent' contract

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The Independent Online

Cheer up, Peter Reid. After banking his caretaker's bonus for steering Leeds United clear of relegation, the 45-year-old Merseysider was yesterday confirmed as their third "permanent" manager in less than a year on what the cash-strapped club informed the Stock Exchange was a "rolling, one-year, heavily incentivised contract".

Cheer up, Peter Reid. After banking his caretaker's bonus for steering Leeds United clear of relegation, the 45-year-old Merseysider was yesterday confirmed as their third "permanent" manager in less than a year on what the cash-strapped club informed the Stock Exchange was a "rolling, one-year, heavily incentivised contract".

Reid's pay, and his prospects of staying longer than one season are, in other words, linked to Leeds' Premiership performance. His basic salary is thought to be £1m a year, a sum that reflects the club's £78m debts. Terry Venables was paid twice as much after succeeding David O'Leary, who received £1.7m.

The first task for Reid will be to resolve the futures of Leeds' most prized assets. Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka are being linked with Manchester United and Tottenham respectively, while there is also predatory interest in Paul Robinson and Alan Smith. The former Sunderland manager was "hopeful" that Kewell would sign a new, three-year deal worth £45,000 a week, yet intimated that he expected commitment in return.

"I want everyone that's here to want to play for this club," Reid said. "It's no use me having players who don't want to be here. That doesn't work. It didn't seem like that at Arsenal last Sunday [when Leeds won 3-2 to ensure survival], but it was a different matter at Southampton [a 3-2 defeat]. I'm like the fans. They want to see lads pull on the shirt and play with pride for Leeds."

Asked whether he would have money to spend this summer, Reid said he would "wheel and deal like any other manager – there will be comings and goings". He added: "The chairman, John McKenzie, has been very honest with me. He's doing his bit on the financial side. The football part is up to me. We have to get back to being hard to beat. Nineteen defeats is not good enough."

Time will tell whether Reid has accepted a poisoned chalice or a cup brimming with possibilities. This season, against a backdrop of player sales, public unrest and the demise of Venables and Peter Ridsdale, they have beaten all the current top four but also lost to Reid's Sunderland and Sheffield United (twice).

The appointment is a case of third time lucky for both parties. Reid came to Elland Road as a teenaged trialist during the Don Revie era, while Jimmy Adamson later tried to lure him from Bolton. In the event he joined Everton, winning numerous club honours and 13 England caps before turning to management in 1990 with Manchester City.

After taking over at Sunderland in 1995, Reid prevented their falling into the Second Division and the following season led them into the Premiership. They were promptly relegated but returned within two years and then achieved successive seventh-placed finishes. But last October, with the team lying 17th, he was sacked.

Regarded as a motivator rather than a coach or tactician, he none the less made a positive impression at Leeds by restoring Smith to attack and Kewell to the left, as well as using Dominic Matteo, a defender, in midfield. He dispensed with two Venables recruits, Paul Okon and Raul Bravo, and inspired a timely surge in the scoring form of Viduka, who pointedly hailed Reid as a breath of fresh air.

His seven games have delivered 10 points, compared with four from Venables' final eight matches, and spared Leeds a demotion that might have been followed by administration. The manner of his three wins, at home to Fulham and at Charlton (a 6-1 rout) and Highbury, convinced the board that Reid was capable of restoring stability and perhaps even success on a shoestring.

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