Alan Biggs: Fair play to Phipps for his backing of Blades boss Adkins

Nigel Adkins shakes hands with co-chairman Jim Phipps
Nigel Adkins shakes hands with co-chairman Jim Phipps
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It should go without saying but it’s good that the point has been made.

Namely that Sheffield United have a very good, nigh on ideal, manager and that the club’s hierarchy is as aware of that as anyone else.

Nigel Adkins has never flinched from the urgency for promotion THIS season. You can never demand it but you can be desperate for it and rightly so. But there is a difference between that and desperation.

So it was reassuring to see a significant snatch of a recent Twitter exchange between co-chairman Jim Phipps and Blades followers whose mood could best be described at the time as . . . well, desperate.

Questioned on too high a turnover of managers, Phipps responded: “With Clough we doubled our average manager time.

“I think we need to double that again with Adkins.”

Considering Nigel Clough had 19 months, the inference is that Adkins should indeed have realistic hopes of seeing out his three-year deal.

Of course, football is never so straightforward as simple arithmetic.

Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to add up at all, like United’s erratic form. As a general yardstick based on the game’s behaviour, you’d think Adkins must be promoted either this season or next to be sure of staying the course.

The important point and one that it would be good to see placed on record in a more official format is that his tenure does NOT depend on this ONE season.

If Phipps, in stating a personal opinion, cannot be said to have gone that far then it is at least a nod towards what I feel should be the club’s public position.

Making that clear removes the uncertainty and cynicism that United’s record would be bound to attract if things don’t go to plan this time.

That said, supporters are entitled to be anxious and demanding because five seasons in the third tier is plainly unacceptable.

Performances have been less than convincing and a proven manager is taking time to crack the puzzle – but then he is the fourth man to confront it and each new incumbent inherits a mounting build up of fans’ frustration .

Adkins would not use this as an excuse.

He accepted the expectation that rightly comes from having a large budget at this level.

But sacking managers has solved nothing and it helps the cause if we’re all aware there won’t be another radical change of direction if his first attempt fails.

Not that it will or that it should. It’s still early days in the season – just as in the reign of the manager.