You can tell when Chris Wilder really likes someone or something because he uses the word “proper”.
Like Chris himself, “proper” is straightforward and to the point.
According to Chris, Wigan’s Paul Cook is a proper manager, as are Neil Harris and Mick McCarthy.
They are all, like Chris, honest and straight-talking, never resorting to platitudes.
When the time comes that Wilder leaves United, which he will, but hopefully many years’ from now, I wouldn’t mind if Cook became United’s manager, if only so we have the gruffest-voiced manager in the league.
Like Wilder, Cook has come up the hard way, spending time at Southport, Sligo Rovers and Accrington Stanley.
Then Chesterfield – when they were better run than they are now – took a gamble in appointing Cook, but it didn’t half pay off – promotion was followed by a League One play-off place. Look what’s happened to them since he left.
Dropping down a division to Portsmouth might have surprised some, but Cook knew that Chesterfield had peaked and Pompey, a much bigger club, were on their way back.
Another promotion brought interest from Wigan, and, guess what, he got them promoted too.
And he continues to take Wigan in the right direction; I can see them challenging for a return to the Premier League next season.
He’ll be catching Neil Warnock up for promotions before he retires.
Incidentally, now that Dean Smith has left Brentford, the three longest serving managers in the Championship are the three who won promotion from League One in 2016/17.
Of course, a recent promotion earns you a bit of leeway when, like Bolton and Millwall, your team is struggling, but it emphasises the short-termism prevalent elsewhere in this division.