A low key start for Slavisa Jokanovic as Sheffield United boss - but early signs are good indeed for Blades fans ahead of new era
Slavisa Jokanović made Sheffield United history exactly five weeks before he sat down at his new home of Bramall Lane on Friday evening to face the assembled media from television, written press and radio.
The first foreign permanent manager in over 130 years of existence, Jokanović’s appointment represents a new era for Sheffield United football club and as far as unveilings go, this was pretty low key. It could be. Jokanović’s record, promoted with both Watford and Fulham from this level, speaks for itself.
It has been a whirlwind first few days in post for the new boss. Starting on Thursday morning, 24 hours after his contract with Qatari side Al-Gharafa officially expired, he met his new players and coaching staff at the club’s Shirecliffe training base, before swapping his fetching new greeny-bluey-purple training kit for a sharp navy suit and fielding a range of questions on topics including transfers, injured players and the return of supporters to Bramall Lane.
The latter, Jokanović told this newspaper, is vital to how he wants to go about things in South Yorkshire. He still remembers vividly the chaotic game between his Fulham side and United in their promotion year, when they travelled to Bramall Lane and returned down south with all three points after winning 5-4. A few more games like that and United fans may feel it makes up a little for spending the best part of 18 months watching their side on television.
Moved from media station to station beside the Bramall Lane pitch, looking in fine shape ahead of the start of the new season next month, Jokanović does not seem the type to come out with headline-grabbing soundbites but there was enough in his early interviews to suggest that Blades fans should be excited.
Despite being born over 1,000 miles away from Bramall Lane, Jokanović seems to grasp what makes this football club tick. With incomings and outgoings expected in the transfer market, and concerns over Jack O’Connell’s fitness, there is work to be done. But the early signs, on this low-key showing at least, seem very encouraging indeed.