Sheffield United: How Nigel Adkins dazzled Blades co-chairman Kevin McCabe

Nigel Adkins (left) shakes hands with co-chairman Kevin McCabe,
Nigel Adkins (left) shakes hands with co-chairman Kevin McCabe,
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Calibre, contacts and a commitment to expansive, attacking football.

Three qualities which, according to Sheffield United’s co-owner Kevin McCabe, made Nigel Adkins to perfect choice to take charge of the League One club.

“Nigel’s reputation speaks for itself,” he told The Star last night. “He is highly regarded and hugely respected by everyone you speak to within the game.

“He’s shown that he can work with players, he can improve players and that he can also use the transfer market effectively. And, more than anything else, Nigel has got a track record of success.

“What everybody says about him, he has been able to back up.”

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Dean Wilkins, Nigel Adkins and Andy Crosby

Dean Wilkins, Nigel Adkins and Andy Crosby

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Adkins was officially unveiled as Nigel Clough’s successor at a media briefing in London yesterday. His coronation, which also sees trusted lieutenants Andy Crosby and Dean Wilkins join United’s staff, came following an exhaustive interview process which, McCabe insisted, further underlined the new manager’s credentials.

“Yes, we make no bones about it, we spoke to some very talented people,” McCabe continued. “The fact that Nigel emerged from that only serves to enhance what he brings to the table. It is a sign of his strengths, more than anything else.”

United were beaten in the play-off semi-finals last term and McCabe, acknowledging the promotions on Adkins’ CV had made him a doubly attractive proposition, added: “Nigel has got four in total now. Two apiece with Scunthorpe and Southampton who he also took into the Premier League. Three of those are out of this division.

“That’s impressive in itself. Even more so given that he’s achieved it in a manner which has really excited and enthused supporters. That was another thing, when we started our search, that we were also looking for. He really brings everyone around a football club on board. The same as his staff.

“Clearly, that’s why they’ve been so well received.”

Adkins’s appointment on a three year contract has inspired United’s following. It has also, as McCabe and co-chairman Jim Phipps revealed, enthused a Prince.

“Prince Abdullah (Bin Mosaad Abdulaziz Al Saud, United’s co-owner), and Nigel spoke on the telephone before the press conference,” McCabe said. “He’s hugely excited that, together as a club, we’ve been able to do this.”