Sheffield United: The six point plan

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Sheffield United’s search for their ninth manager in just six years begins in earnest this morning following David Weir’s departure yesterday, writes James Shield.

Despite its troubled start to the new campaign - the South Yorkshire club are 22nd in the League One table - Bramall Lane’s board of directors has already received numerous expressions of interest from candidates keen on replacing the former Scotland international.

The Star has identified six key criteria they must fulfil before being considered for the post.

1) Experience: United made a bold decision to hand Weir the reins as they entered what, by their own admission, was a transitional period. But, given their perilous predicament, his successor must have a previous track record in the business and be ready to deliver immediate results if they are to avoid becoming embroiled in a relegation battle.

2) Motivational Skills: Recent results have inevitably had a detrimental effect upon confidence within the squad. The ability to repair its self-belief is an absolute must. Members of the playing staff, including Jose Baxter during yesterday’s media briefing at the Redtooth Academy, have attempted to put a brave face on the situation. But it is brittle at best.

3) Presence: The constant churn of coaching staff has chipped away at United’s sense of identity. Whoever takes charge now, must possess distinct ideas, the personality to impose them and character to grab the club by the scruff of the neck. Leadership and the ability to provide a clear sense of direction are an absolute must.

4) Knowledge: With room for manoeuvre in the transfer market limited until January, the next name on the door of the manager’s office must be capable of bringing the best out of the personnel they will inherit. While doubts still persist about some, there can be no doubt that United have some very talented players at their disposal who, if they became available on the market, would be coveted by other teams. Now it is time for them to start realising that potential.

5) Interest in Development: When Weir was first appointed, his brief included improving young players and integrating graduates from its youth system into the senior fold. That template, despite recent developments behind the scenes, has not changed. So Weir’s successor must be a good manager and coach.

6) Staying Power: United need to identify someone capable of providing a quick fix but also the potential to remain in charge for a prolonged period. Otherwise, the managerial merry-go-round will soon be cranking-up again sooner rather than later.