Sheffield United: Harry questions Speed decision to walk away

Sheffield United vs Millwall. The power Box, shows Kevin McCabe, backrow, Trevor Birch & Dave Bassett with Chairman Chris Steer
Sheffield United vs Millwall. The power Box, shows Kevin McCabe, backrow, Trevor Birch & Dave Bassett with Chairman Chris Steer
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DAVE Bassett has illustrated his commitment to the Sheffield United cause by expressing astonishment that Gary Speed, Micky Adams’ predecessor, preferred to take charge of Wales rather than stay with the South Yorkshire club.

Bassett, who was appointed as Adams’ footballing consultant last week, told The Star that being manager at Bramall Lane is an equally prestigious position as the one Speed accepted at the FAW.

“I was surprised when I saw that Gary had gone,” he said. “The international scene, in my opinion at least, is something that you look to get into 15 or 20 years down the line.

“Gary’s a really nice lad and I respect him a lot but surely, if you are ambitious, then you want to get a side like this one into the Premier League? I don’t think the Wales job is bigger.”

Bassett’s first task, however, is helping Adams prevent United from slipping into League One. They entertain Reading this evening 22nd in the Championship table and three points adrift of safety following Saturday’s draw with Millwall.

Adams recruited Bassett, who the 49-year-old describes as “my mentor,” after admitting he had been surprised by the size of the job he inherited when Speed departed two months ago.

Having twice guided United to promotion during his stint at the helm between 1988 and 1995 Bassett, who previously worked with Adams at Nottingham Forest and Leicester City, boasts a wealth of knowledge and experience.

But despite revealing that Adams, United’s fourth manager of the season, has granted him permission to speak “honestly and openly” behind the scenes, Bassett is adamant the lines of authority will not become blurred.

“When I was here I did everything,” he said. “I looked at players, I did the negotiations when they came in and I sorted out all of the contract details. But the game’schanged so much now.

“It’s got bigger, there are more demands on your time and you just can’t do that anymore.

“Basically I’m here to do anything that Micky asks of me. If he wants me to go and watch a match then that’s what I’ll do. If he wants me to speak to another manager about something then I’ll do that too. The same if he wants me to use my contacts.

“I’m not a director of football. That’s not what this is about. It’s about taking some of the load off Micky’s shoulders and letting him focus on what he’s good at.

“We trust each other implicitly so I’ll tell him if I think something is wrong or could be done better.

“But, at the end of the day, he is the one calling the shots.

“The final decision rests with him.”

Meanwhile, United sponsor East Midlands Trains has offered to exchange or refund rail tickets purchased for Monday April 4’s visit to QPR. The match had initially been scheduled to take place 48 hours earlier but was rescheduled after being selected for television coverage. Tickets will be exchanged to travel into St Pancras after 1200hrs and departing on the 2225hrs service.