WHEN Sheffield United were riding high at the top of League One and Sheffield Wednesday, with seven defeats on the trot, were bottom of The Championship, you would have got very long odds indeed in December on Danny Wilson losing his job before Dave Jones.
But, this week’s developments at Bramall Lane saw Wilson shown the door and, in the process, hand over a title to his Owls counterpart - that of longest serving manager in this area.
Jones has only been in charge at Hillsborough for 13 months yet finds he has reigned longer than any of the managers at the five other local clubs in this area.
Wilson’s departure comes with United having five league games to go. When Wednesday sacked Gary Megson (on February 29 last year on the same evening United were beating Scunthorpe to consolidate their second place in the table), Jones moved in days later with 13 games to go.
What happened next is part of Sheffield footballing history and folklore. Celebration in one half of the city and heartache in the other half.
But, midway through this season, managerial fortunes had changed. It was going well for Wilson but not for Jones.
On December 15, Wednesday had a Saturday tea-time kick off at Barnsley. The Owls had dropped to bottom spot that same afternoon as they waited for their own game.
They had lost seven on the trot, one of the worst such runs in the club’s history, and pressure on Jones looked to be mounting. But they won and it was a turning point.
Wilson, rather than looking up, was looking down on everyone a week later.
United went top of League One for the first time. There is irony in the fact that the team they beat to go top were Crawley - with a 2-0 away win just as it was for Crawley on Tuesday in the defeat that precipiated Wilson’s departure.
When he arrived, Jones would have noted those in charge at the local clubs, in addition to Wilson.
Keith Hill was the boss at Barnsley. He got bulleted at the end of December. David Flitcroft, appointed a fortnight later, has three months under his belt.
So too has Brian Flynn at Doncaster Rovers where John Ryan put him in place just after Dean Seaunders walked off to Wolves at the beginning of January.
Just two weeks after Jones moved into Hillsborough, Andy Scott was shown the door at Rotherham United. Steve Evans was appointed and, in fact, celebrated a year in charge last Tuesday.
Chesterfield chopped John Sheridan in August but not until the end of October did Paul Cook come in, so he’s got five months under his belt.
It all begs the question: “How many will make changes in the next 12 months?”