BLADES: Sheffield United unveil new head of football operations

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JOHN Stephenson has been unveiled as Sheffield United’s head of football operations, the League One club confirmed this afternoon.

Stephenson, who previously worked at Brighton and Hove Albion, Celtic, Watford and Reading, is tasked with helping manager Danny Wilson re-shape United’s first team squad.

Welcoming the appointment, Wilson said: “This is something we have discussed with owner Kevin McCabe and (chief executive) Julian Winter and is an appointment I fully concur with. We all welcome John to the club and wish him every success in his role.

“The recruitment, retention and maintenance of a squad of players, logistically, is a very time consuming and labour intense job, which John is experienced at.”

Stephenson worked closely with Winter at Vicarage Road.

“I am delighted to be joining Sheffield United at what is a very exciting time in the club’s history,” he said. “Football clubs all over the country are responding to new challenges about how they are run and I believe the challenge that lies ahead for many will be difficult indeed.

“Sheffield United are embracing these changes and as such are already ahead of many other clubs. “The changes and indeed the process needed to make this transition will have to be managed which in a nutshell is my job.

“I will work closely with all involved to make this process as smooth and seamless as possible, while fully understanding the need for the promotion back to the Championship.

“I look forward to working with Danny Wilson, (academy director) John Pemberton and others; colleagues I hold in very high regard and am delighted to be working with.”

Winter said: “John joins the club at a time when we are working towards sustainability for Sheffield United and has been given a very clear brief on which we are all confident he can deliver. All businesses must run in such a way that they are on going, sustainable and successful organisations capable of competing in competitive and challenging times.

“We have appointed John because we believe he has ability and experience to help shape our business in an appropriate fit for purpose way which we think is vital to sustain the future of this great football club.”

Meanwhile, United’s FA Youth Cup second round tie against Port Vale now takes place at Bramall Lane on Monday 21 November (kick-off 7pm). The winners must travel to Southampton in the third round.

United’s Central League fixture with Derby County now kicks-off at Noon at Shirecliffe on Wednesday.