THE departure of Danny Wilson this week set me thinking.
Have Sheffield United set some sort of ‘combined’ record for dismissing managers?
I’m thinking on these lines - has any club sacked a manager so soon after the start of a season as well as so close to the finish of one?
You may recall that Kevin Blackwell lasted just three games into the 2010/11 season.
Beaten 3-0 at the Lane by a QPR side managed by Neil Warnock, Blackwell got the bullet after that game. Even now you may think it strange to let someone go through the summer, planning, sorting out players and then sack him after just three games.
I don’t know if there has been a faster sacking in football but, if so, I’d like to bet the same club hasn’t sacked a manager with as few as five games to go as well.
It’s definitely a gamble. There’s more than one reason for Wilson’s departure but certainly it negates the prospect of a potentially damaging atmosphere should things not go right early on in tomorrow’s home game.
One wonders if Danny never quite forgave the poisonous ‘welcome’ from fans demonstrating against his appointment when unveiled as manager. The chants and calls could, embarrassingly, be heard inside the Press conference. Perhaps he never really felt wanted.
He was to meet fans, explain what he was about and win them over. But nothing wins them over like results and his side certainly produced last season.
Superb football and goals galore. No one in the country scored more. But luck wasn’t with him. His top scorer’s imprisonment let him and the club down and almost certainly cost promotion.
Then they manage to lose on penalties after their opponents miss their first three!
This season he loses key players in Matthew Lowton, Stephen Quinn, Lee Williamson whilst drastically slashing the budget. Then the top scorer gets sold in January. And he’s still expected to make a strong promotion bid.
But one home win in eight since Boxing Day, no goals in the last four at home and fan frustration is rising and likely to give way to anger.
Stripped of so much, no one could expect a repeat of last season’s stylish attacking. They’ve taken another route and, credit him, still been challenging.
Promotion via the Play-offs? I’ve thought it all along this season. I’ll stick with it!
MENTION earlier of Matthew Lowton brings me to his goal for Aston Villa last Saturday.
What an astonishing goal it was; testament to technique and the trust he has in it. It should win Goal of the Season but one suspects not, probably not a big enough ‘name’.
He’s one of the key players United lost in the summer, following in the footsteps of Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton in moving to the Premier League for a few million. Nice little earner.
Certainly it’s some leap from his days loaned out to Sheffield FC at the time that United’s current Operations Director Dave McCarthy was manager of the world’s oldest football club.
A teenager he was then, I recall seeing him play in centre defence. You looked at him physically and wondered if he could push through, let alone go to the top flight of the pro game.
So, it’s great to see such lads develop and blossom and you might well say that goal last Saturday was manufactured in the Blades Academy.