JOHN Pemberton, Sheffield United’s academy director, hopes tonight’s FA Youth Cup final appearance will leave a lasting legacy at Bramall Lane.
The South Yorkshire club, backed by a 6,000 strong following, head to Old Trafford hoping to lift the trophy for the very first time after drawing the opening leg of their contest with Manchester United last week.
Pemberton’s charges have won an army of admirers since reaching the later stages of the tournament with the likes of Harry Maguire, Jordan Slew and George Long already appearing at senior level.
But with United’s board of directors still to appoint a new manager, the 46-year-old warned whoever takes charge must be ready to play an expansive game or risk destroying the whole Shirecliffe experiment.
Pemberton said: “The philosophy has to be taken right the way through to the highest level otherwise it won’t work. Our lads are being brought up to approach things in a certain way. If the first team aren’t being asked to play in the same style then its going to be difficult for the boys coming through to fit in.”
Kevin McCabe, United’s plc chairman, admits that being relegated from the Championship last season means United must place even greater emphasis on developing home grown talent. Danny Wilson, Aidy Boothroyd and Peter Reid are among those interested in succeeding Micky Adams while Mark Robins could seek an opportunity to discuss the post after recently leaving Barnsley.
Pemberton also enjoys plenty of support and despite insisting he has not discussed the situation with McCabe - “I’ve never spoken about being manager” - did not rule-out the possibility of making the step-up at some point in the future.
“Swansea, Brighton and Reading are all having success by playing football,” he said.
“Look at who manages these teams: Brendan Rodgers, Gus Poyet and Brian McDermott. Young up and coming managers who have played football.
“I’m not crying out for someone to give me a chance. I don’t mean it like that. It’s just that it annoys me when I hear people say this person or that person has got no experience. How do you get that experience then?
“If that’s the case then what are we going to do? Just keep passing the same old managers around?”