James Shield's Sheffield United Column: Managers do not just manage players, as Chris Wilder has demonstrated during the transfer window

Eiður Guðjohnsen, the former Iceland, Chelsea and Barcelona centre-forward, is fond of telling a story about his time at the Camp Nou.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 30th August 2018, 1:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th August 2018, 1:21 pm

Concerned about a lack of opportunities under Pep Guardiola, he cornered the Catalan to ask what he wanted in return for more minutes on the pitch. The answer came back without a moment's hesitation: "Your life." Guardiola believes the most effective players in the world never stop learning. They should be prepared to soak-up knowledge like a sponge. The most enduring managers are the same, constantly reinventing themselves and tailoring their methods to the zeitgeist. Nothing, no matter how irritating, annoying or seemingly inconsequential, should be disregarded. Because, as the now Manchester City chief might say, it could come back to et mossega a la bum. Chris Wilder is similarly disposed at Sheffield United where, by his own admission, both he and his coaching staff constantly analyse everything they do. This process of constant revolution might at first seem chaotic but, and this is the key bit, their core principles do not change. Rather, they way in which they are conveyed and put into practice are subtly tweaked in order to conform with the habits of the day. It is a custom which reminds me of one of Wilder's predecessors who used to constantly complain about how the game had changed. He was right. It has, and mostly not for the better. But even more depressing, as results went south, was the sight of a talented individual belligerently refusing to take his own advice. The outcome, a P45 and perfunctory handshake, was as inevitable as it was sad. Wilder is fortunately cut from much more intelligent cloth. For both his own sake and Bramall Lane's as a whole, as events during the summer transfer window demonstrate.

The 50-year-old makes no attempt to disguise his contempt for many modern peculiarities. He is more likely to buy a Sheffield Wednesday season ticket, dine at Dejphon Chansiri's table and order a D Taxi home than sign-up for Twitter or open a personal Facebook account. But he clearly keeps abreast of what is being said on these mediums because, as tomorrow's loan deadline approaches, he has called for patience on numerous occasions  as United chase two more signings. It might be a poor gauge of public opinion. It does not, despite people's attempts to persuade you otherwise, reflect the prevailing wind. But as Wilder and other shrewd members of his profession recognise, in this most fickle of eras managers must manage social media as well as players.