James Shield’s Sheffield United Column: Are we all members of the Super Coach cult?

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The cult of the manager means, paradoxically, this is probably the best possible time to be a player.

Bask in the limelight after every positive outcome. Watch as fingers get pointed towards the technical area when things go wrong.

Footballers, in February 2015, basically enjoy zero responsibility. Whereas those paid to organise them, thanks to the aura surrounding folk like Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal, are expected to boast superhuman powers.

How else can you explain the situation which arose at Gillingham last weekend when, after an individual error effectively condemned Sheffield United to defeat, Nigel Clough was held solely accountable by many of the tactical genii inhabiting cyberspace?

Proper sport, not the stuff simulated on computers or opined about by former pro’s, is about human beings. Fallibilities and all.

Neil Warnock once gave Stuart McCall, then United’s assistant manager, an insight into what to expect when he struck-out on his own.

“Enjoy it and take every bit of praise that comes your way,” Clough’s predecessor told the soon-to-be Bradford City and Motherwell chief. “Because now, when we win, it’s because you’re a great tactician. When we lose, it’s because I’m a s**t boss.”

Perspicuous, prescient and, so long as England’s blame culture continues to thrive, it will always be thus. Our obsession with personality is also symptomatic of an impatient society with a loathing of detail and desire for the quick fix. Likewise the fact that Clough, despite only being appointed in October 2013, is already the 41st name on the LMA’s long service list.

Mark Howard, whose mistake led to the opener at Priestfield, is still a fine goalkeeper. Jay McEveley, despite two high-profile howlers of late, remains an accomplished centre-half as he demonstrated during Tuesday’s win over Colchester.

My point is that United, having beaten West Ham, Southampton and drawn with Spurs, are clearly a good team. Inconsistent maybe, but talented nonetheless.

Which is why, in this instance, trust and a little patience should pay dividends. Because, if folk keep trying to do the right things, they usually get there in the end.

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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