Sheffield United: Boss wants Blades to be united

Nigel Adkins wants to implement an attacking style of football at Bramall Lane
Nigel Adkins wants to implement an attacking style of football at Bramall Lane

Eloquence, experience and a common purpose, writes James Shield.

Three basic tenets, Nigel Adkins explained after being unveiled as Sheffield United’s new commander-in-chief, of every successful footballing regime.

Senior Blades chairman Brian Walton (left) with Nigel Adkins and The Star's James Shield at the group's recent lunch

Senior Blades chairman Brian Walton (left) with Nigel Adkins and The Star's James Shield at the group's recent lunch

The former Scunthorpe and Southampton manager, whose preparations for the forthcoming campaign begin in earnest when the League One club’s squad reconvenes later this month, has outlined plans to encourage freedom of expression and a sense of belonging behind the scenes at Bramall Lane.

But, he told The Star, United’s coaching staff will demand absolute loyalty and conviction from the players in return.

“First of all, you find a common goal,” Adkins, outlining the principles which underpin his promotion blueprint, said. “Something that everyone can share.

“That’s not difficult to identify because we all want Sheffield United to be in the next division. We know what we want to achieve and where we want to be.

Sheffield United supporters before a match at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United supporters before a match at Bramall Lane

“We are the ones with a voice, but we want to use that voice to communicate together. Communicate with the players, with the owners and with the supporters too. That’s vitally important because they, the fans, are the lifeblood of any club. Particularly one like this.”

Nigel Clough, Adkins’ predecessor, was relieved of his duties soon after last term’s ill-fated play-off campaign condemned United to a fifth season outside of the Championship.

Speaking during his official coronation in London, Adkins acknowledged he is expected to lift them out of the third tier at the earlier possible opportunity. The 50-year-old has previous after performing the same trick at both Glanford Park and St Mary’s before arriving in South Yorkshire via Reading.

But, Adkins insisted, that type of pressure should be embraced.

Nigel Adkins wants to invigorate Sheffield United supporters next season � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Nigel Adkins wants to invigorate Sheffield United supporters next season � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

“We know the expectation will be for us to win,” he said. “Our expectation will be that’s what we are going to do.

“But we’ve been underdogs in this division before. So we know how tough this is going to be.

“We are aware that the other teams will be doing everything to stop us achieving those expectations.

“So we have to be ready to give everything. One hundred per cent every single day.”

Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United � copyright :  BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United � copyright : BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Adkins shed further light on his tactical template at the latest meeting of the Senior Blades.

The group, which meets on the second Tuesday of every month inside the Platinum suite, boasts the likes of Tony Currie and Fred Furniss as members.

The get-togethers, which start at include a guest speaker and a three course lunch.

Currie said: “Nigel seems a really positive person and I think that’s going to strike a chord with a lot of people here. It was really good to have a chat and he was talking about the importance of going out there, trying to score the first goal and seize games by the scruff of the neck.”

Adkins gained promotions with both Scunthorpe and Southampton before accepting his fifth managerial posting.

“The fact he’s done it before can only stand us in good stead,” Currie added. “There are no guarantees whatsoever in football of course though.

“But, because of what he’s achieved before, he knows the challenges that are likely to crop up and the problems you are going to have to overcome.

“One thing is for sure. Despite what some people might say, this division is far from easy.”

Currie, Keith Edwards and Kevin Gage are holding a question and answer session with supporters at the North Notts Arena, Worksop, on Saturday evening. Tickets, priced £10, are available in advance or on the door.

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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