SHEFFIELD UNITED: Why loyal John Pemberton stayed at Lane

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JOHN Pemberton has outlined his reasons for declining an invitation to take charge of Crawley Town.

Pemberton, Sheffield United’s academy director, cited loyalty as the major factor behind last week’s decision.

The 47-year-old, who made nearly 80 appearances for the South Yorkshire club before forging a career in coaching, discussed the vacancy with Crawley director of football Steve Coppell but told The Star: “I just didn’t think it would be right or proper to leave here. Especially at this moment.

“With everything that it going on and the planning that has gone into making sure things are right for next season, it would have been wrong to disrupt or undermine that.

“I’ve always regarded this as ‘my club’.

“If I was working somewhere else then it might have been easier but, the fact is, I’m not.”

Pemberton added: “Yes, I spoke to Crawley and I was given permission to do that.

“There were footballing reasons that influenced me but ultimately I went with my gut instinct.

“It just didn’t feel right to leave here.”

Pemberton returned to Bramall Lane in May 2010 and continued the sterling work of his predecessor, Ron Reid, by leading United into the final of the FA Youth Cup.

Several members of that squad, including Harry Maguire and Elliott Whitehouse, are expected to feature prominently at senior level next term while Joe Ironside and Matthew Harriott also joined Danny Wilson’s team at their recent training camp in Malta.

Pemberton, who captured the imagination of supporters by making an impassioned speech to shareholders soon after his arrival, said: “I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I want to work at the highest level I possibly can and be the best that I can be.

“I don’t see anything wrong with that.

“But we’ve got some really good staff working at the academy, some really capable, talented and hard-working individuals who I value and respect very highly.

“It would have been wrong, at such an important stage in this club’s development, to possibly break all of that up.”

Although Whitehouse is expected to miss the start of the new campaign with an injury sustained at Ilkeston last month, Ironside and Harriott could enjoy opportunities to press their claims when United’s preparations for next weekend’s Capital One Cup first-round tie against Burton Albion continue at Hallam FC tomorrow.

United visit Morecambe on Saturday before concluding their friendly schedule at Matlock on Tuesday.