Why United should study their history

Sheffield United hope to unveil their new manager at Bramall Lane shortly
Sheffield United hope to unveil their new manager at Bramall Lane shortly

At the time, it was dismissed as hubris, writes James Shield. A glitzy piece of PR.

But hopefully somebody at Sheffield United still has a copy of ‘The Blades Way’ lurking in a desk drawer.

Nigel Clough (centre) during the League One play-off semi-final first leg against Swindon Town � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Nigel Clough (centre) during the League One play-off semi-final first leg against Swindon Town � copyright : Blades Sports Photography

Nobody, whether they agree, disagree or are completely indifferent about Nigel Clough’s departure on Monday morning, could argue that constantly chopping and changing managers has been a success at Bramall Lane. Or a prudent use of the finances, generated by directors, commercial partners and supporters alike, too.

Every new appointment wants to tweak the options they inherit. Disposing of unwanted players can, as United know from bitter experience, be just as costly as bringing fresh faces through the door.

Nobody is unsackable. It is an owner’s prerogative to hire and fire as they want.

Significant funding has been provided, despite the departure of influential names such as Harry Maguire, Kevin McDonald, for several seasons. But, for a whole host of reasons, much of it has been frittered away or misspent.

That can not be allowed to continue. The trend, for the sake of the benefactors, squad and fans alike, must be reversed. United can act smarter. Much smarter in fact because they have done so in the past.

Whatever the reasons behind Clough’s exit, irrespective of the rights and wrongs, the fact is he has gone. The search for his replacement continued last night with Phil Parkinson of Bradford City and Mark Warburton among those being considered for the role.

Whoever gets the nod - and as sources close to many of those linked testify, it remains an extremely attractive job - needs to be a both a pied piper and a pragmatist. Capable of moulding personnel not necessarily of their own choosing into an effective unit which produces the type of football most United followers want; sharp and intuitive but underpinned by a blood and thunder, no-holds-barred approach.

In short, galvanising a club which has much to be proud of but which needs to reassert its identity. No matter who is in charge, or how long they stay in post, those principles should remain the same.

Fortunately, nothing that two ugly centre-halves and a striker with power and presence would not immediately sort.

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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