Sheffield United: Blades manage to escape contractual red tape

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Sheffield United, who were last night holding talks with Stuart McCall about the managerial vacancy at Bramall Lane, have been spared the unenviable prospect of negotiating severance packages with both Motherwell and the Scottish Football Association despite the 48-year-old’s dual role.

McCall joined Gordon Strachan’s backroom staff in January after the former Celtic and Middlesbrough chief took charge of the national team.

However, sources north of the border have indicated that he did not enter into a contractual arrangement with Scotland’s governing body.

Rather McCall, who recently steered Motherwell to second in the SPL table, reached a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ after being approached by Hampden Park.

Strachan is unlikely to prevent his colleague from leaving the SFA set-up should United prefer their next appointment concentrates solely on events on South Yorkshire.

Motherwell, who will demand compensation of around £130,000 for McCall, began making discreet enquiries about his potential replacement earlier this week.

Officials at Fir Park, where McCall is tied until 2015, had yesterday not given up hope of persuading him to oversee their forthcoming Europa League qualifying campaign.

Nevertheless, Paul Hartley of Alloa Athletic is believed to be among those viewed as a possible successor.

As The Star revealed earlier this month, United included McCall’s name on a seven man short-list for a position vacated when Danny Wilson was relieved of his duties 44 days ago.

Chris Morgan, subsequently installed on an interim basis, expressed his desire to take charge permanently following the ill-fated League One play-off semi-final with Yeovil Town.

Gareth Southgate and MK Dons’ Karl Robinson have been considered by a three man selection panel compromised of chief executive Julian Winter, chairman David Green and director Scott McCabe.

Advice from several independent third parties, including one former United employee, has also been sought throughout the process.

Scotland travel to Croatia for a FIFA World Cup qualifier next month before facing England at Wembley Stadium in August.