Sheffield United: Have Blades finally worked out the secret to promotion?

You'd be right in saying it has taken too long to get here; seen off too many managers, too many players, cost too much money and caused too much heartache, but the introduction of Chris Wilder as manager has seemingly heralded a new era of good old common sense at Sheffield United.

Friday, 22nd July 2016, 11:34 am
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2016, 12:39 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

More succinctly, finally arrived has the realisation of just what is needed to get out of this division in which United have found themselves floundering for many more years than they should.

Past managers, backed somewhat naievely, though for the right reasons, by the Bramall Lane hierarchy have placed an emphasis on bringing players down from above with the belief that they can stroll through League One.

Jake Wright

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And then there was the time wasted on some who clearly didn’t really want to make the drop down a division or would only do so if they were handsomely rewarded. All the while, better more realistic potential targets were being signed by rival clubs.

And those who did scout around for a rough diamond, simply brought in too many of them, to the point that the sparkle was never going to get an opportunity to shine through.

Now though, under Wilder’s albeit fledgling stewardship, Blades fans have seen a manager take charge, who believes that dogged determination and, more importantly, knowledge of the idiosyncracies of a tough league are the main qualities needed in any of his new recruits.

After a bit of a gap following the early signings of Chris Hussey and Mark Duffy, James Wilson came on board having left Oldham.

Jack OConnell

Immediately after that acquistion, Wilder pointed out that big salaries and big name signings were being put on the back-burner and a major switch in focus on the transfer front was now in place.

“Our recruitment might have to go in a different direction with me in charge,” Wilder said. “I doesn’t bother me that James (Wilson) is not someone who has come in from the Premier League with a glittering career behind him. He’s ticked a lot of boxes for us and that is more important.”

Cynics might suggest that it could be the Board who have had enough of wasting money on transfer market failures and the new man is now bearing the brunt but there is an over-riding sense that this is Wilder’s doing.

Further signings arrived in the form of Jack O’Connell, whose loan spell at Rochdale proved his mettle and in John Fleck, on his day one of the best midfielders in League One. And then came Jake Wright, a trusted soldier of many previous battles won by Wilder.

John Fleck

“We’re still working hard on things behind the scenes,” Wilder said. “But, like I’ve said before, any deals we do have to be right for this football club. The right deal and the right people. That’s something I think is very important and I won’t alter from. We won’t be doing that.”

That’s a victory for common sense and it should bring with it a lot more victories throughout this upcoming campaign.

The recent chasing of Leon Clarke from Bury provides another insight and further proof that Wilder has a certain type of player in his mind that he feels will bring the success that he craves both as a manager and a fan of the club.

Every single addition and those who will join them have one thing in common. They know football at this level and, together, you wouldn’t rule out that collective experience providing and keeping lit the spark that has been extinguished all too easily over the past few years.

Jake Wright
Jack OConnell
John Fleck