Sheffield United: The secret of Nigel Adkins’ success? It smells like team spirit...

Nigel Adkins
Nigel Adkins

The ink is dry on his contract, the last of the handshake-pictures has been taken and now, Nigel Adkins can begin to settle in to his role as Sheffield United’s new manager.

The 50-year-old, unveiled as Nigel Clough’s successor at a London briefing on Tuesday evening, spoke warmly about United - which he described as a “proper football club”.

For a man who seemingly has the monopoly on promotions from the third tier of English football, it was perhaps fitting that Adkins faced the press in Mayfair - at the offices of United co-chairman Kevin McCabe’s Scarborough Group.

Adkins, twice promoted from League One with Scunthorpe, repeated the feat with Southampton before taking them straight into the Premier League.

He did so by harbouring a tight-knit spirit amongst players, fans and club staff alike.

Dean Wilkins, who worked with Adkins at Southampton and has been appointed his first-team coach at Bramall Lane, reckons Adkins’ strength is to make every member of staff at a club feel valued.

“If there is unity across the whole club, between the footballing side and the fans, then we have a greater chance of achieving what we all want,” Adkins said.

“Which is success for this football club.

“I’m very excited to be here.

“When a club like Sheffield United says it’s interested in talking to you, with the history, the stature, the support, then you don’t say no.

“You’d be a fool to do that.”

Adkins, out of work since being sacked by Reading in December, has spent his time out of the game wisely.

Speaking before agreeing to succeed Clough at the League One club, Adkins said: “I’m utilising my time out of the game to keep developing myself in all aspects of leadership.

“I’ve been in work since the age of 16 and apart from a short spell out of work, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time out of management.

“I have been doing something travelling. I went to the USA to watch football, basketball and baseball.

“I have been broadening my horizons.

“I feel fit and fresh and I’m looking forward to the next managerial challenge should it come along.”