Former Rangers star, Everton FC Reserve Team Coach and sixth most capped Scotland player, David Weir looks set for a tough management baptism at the Blades after turning down the chance to follow David Moyes to Manchester United. That said his contacts, coaching badges, experience and determined winning mentality make him the perfect man for the job.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Despite the rumours doing the rounds, Sheffield United can go up next season. Yes there will have to be cuts and value for money after a £4.5 million pro-budget failed to deliver last year. Indeed Weir will have to move a few on as a huge amount of the budget is taken up by those offered generous long term contracts. He can certainly lead by example, even at 43, as a player manager after continuing to play for the Toffee’s reserves.
In all seriousness Mr Weir, a defensive colossus in his time, will hit the ground running and knows many of the players. David trained with Danny Wilson’s side before choosing to remain at Everton to complete his badges, after leaving Rangers last January. Mr Moyes respected his decision and will be bound to blood a few of the United youngsters with a man he trusted with his reserve team and player development.
Mr Weir’s additional relationship with Ally McCoist at Rangers and, those Everton connections, will provide a platform for loans. This is by far the most cost-effective way to get the Blades back into the Championship, providing quality and a spine around which to blend the youth and experience currently at the club. The youth set-up has an embarrassment of riches who just need a few leaders to back them in their bid to shine.
Weir only needs to get the momentum going at Sheffield United and some of the loyalist fans in football will do the rest. It will not take that much to bring back belief at Bramhall Lane. Optimism and a decent start could easily put 5,000 on the gate. That equates to £100,000 a game which would soon eat into the overdraft and build a warchest to spring board The Blades advance. For a side with so much potential it just needs the right man to take them from a division that has got beyond a joke.
The City of Sheffield deserves a Steel City derby next season at the very least and a Premiership club or two to represent one of football’s forgotten hotbeds.
|Full name||David Gillespie Weir
|Date of birth||10 May 1970 (age 43)|
|Place of birth||Falkirk,|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
||Evansville University (USA)|
|1996–1999||Heart of Midlothian||116||(12)|
Former Leeds United manager Neil Warnock could be a late contender for the Sheffield United job after Former Bradford City and current Motherwell FC manager Stuart McCall turned down the post. Short of Stoke City manager Tony Pulis getting the job, Stuart was the man who could put Sheffield United back into the Championship and beyond. Finances, must have played a part, but he was far worse off at Bradford, who were potless during his 2007-10 stint.
This job needs someone who fight, not just to survive the bearpit, but because the rightful rejuvenation of this club is a just cause. Mr Warnock, like Mr McCall, still has Steel running through his veins. At Motherwell, also known as the Steelmen, Stuart has won 3 manager of the months as well as this season’s SPL manager of the season. He also took Well to the 2011 SFA cup final, so this was a decision he took with a heavy heart, but one very much ruled by his head. Prior to the snub, Gareth Southgate still appears to have been running him close, but he will not have mobile phone millions here and would be an ill-advised and poor second choice. Kenny Jackett may have the strength and mixed ability to do the job, but Wolves appear to have the money to aid their return from League 1. At 35 Chris Morgan certainly lacks the experience for a tough ask, although you have to start somewhere.
Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis meanwhile, have the characteristics, but would they put their reputations on the line. Both are free and, with the Plymouth deal stalling by the day, Mr Warnock might be tempted to finish a managerial career spanning 1300 League games, with 7 promotions and 6 manager of the months . It is too big a risk for Mr Pulis you feel, who has plenty of time to weigh up his options before repairing the long-ball slur. This is a pivotal role for club and manager alike. Certainly whoever comes in will need an interesting skill set, if they are to ensure a fantastic fan base gets what it desires and deserves. The word unlucky cannot continue to wash at a side that should be in the Championship at least. Given a fair wind the momentum would build backed by a fantastic home end and support. Both the Owls and the Blades are blessed with cavernous kops.
The value for money rumours suggest that it will be Pride and turnstile clicks that will turn this club around and Stuart McCall, had it all Bladewise. He has a personality forged through triumph in the face of tragedy and adversity. His time at Bradford included the Bradford fire, when 54 Bantems and two Imps lost their lives. So, although he is one for celebration, it is always tempered, always seen as a step towards another opportunity to progress or triumph. This showed in his play, as the combative all-round midfielder, hid from no-one at Bradford, Everton, Rangers and of course the Blades. His three year stint at the Blades (2002-2005) saw them reach the semi finals of both the FA and League Cup in 2003, but they would not be promoted to the Premier League until the season after he hung up his boots. He understood the heritage of the club, would not have underestimated the ask and relished the task at a club he still holds dear.
It has been tough for the Blades, a reflection of the unfairness of contemporary life, as well as the inconsistent realities of the people’s game. Long has passed the Cricket ground hereabouts, but if life was played with a straight bat United should not have gone down after one season in the Premiership. The Tevez affair had been sorted with just a financial penalty, when a further points deduction would have been far more just. Narrow relegation ended a great marriage with Mr Warnock, who you felt would have kicked on. Relegation hits an ex-Premiership side hard.
So this job will require contacts, ability and bloody mindedness. If McCall cannot be tempted to eclipse his former guru, could Mr Warnock? Could the Falconer replace the falcon and give the Blades the last of his promotion magic before he decides to become a director of football in the South-West? He can use finances wisely, he will need to with cost cuts and most of the budget gone. Mr Warnock has the infectious drive and hunger needed to motivate or move contracted players on, something he has done time and time again to engineer promotions. He knows more than anyone that Sheffield deserves at least two Championship sides, if not a Premiership one. And, on previous quotes, he would hate it to be the blue half of Sheffield. Go on blades board, swallow your pride for the good of the side.
Mr Warnock’s Record
|Gainsborough Trinity||July 1980||January 1981||—|
|Burton Albion||January 1981||February 1986||—|
|Scarborough||1 August 1986||1 January 1989||78||30||25||23||38.46|
|Notts County||5 January 1989||14 January 1993||209||90||49||70||43.06|
|Torquay United||15 February 1993||2 June 1993||15||5||5||5||33.33|
|Huddersfield Town||15 July 1993||5 June 1995||108||44||34||30||40.74|
|Plymouth Argyle||22 June 1995||3 February 1997||88||35||24||29||39.77|
|Oldham Athletic||21 February 1997||7 May 1998||69||27||22||20||39.13|
|Bury||2 June 1998||2 December 1999||77||29||29||19||37.66|
|Sheffield United||2 December 1999||15 May 2007||388||165||100||123||42.53|
|Crystal Palace||11 October 2007||2 March 2010||129||47||39||43||36.43|
|Queens Park Rangers||2 March 2010||8 January 2012||84||33||27||24||39.29|
|Leeds United||18 February 2012||1 April 2013||63||23||15||25||36.51|
Mr McCall’s managerial record
|Bradford City||6 November 2000||20 November 2000||2||0||0||2||0.00|
|Bradford City||22 May 2007||8 February 2010||133||46||35||52||34.59|
|Motherwell||30 December 2010||Present||116||48||26||42||41.38|
The bad Brammall Lane news that 50 staff have been served voluntary redundancy notices, despite the signing of Blackburn striker Nick Blackman, shows both the harsh realities of football and the changing emphasis within the game. With at least 20 set to go, many clubs are slimming down, but Sheffield United are a big club with big backing, who give as much as take.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Missing out on promotion will have cost them at least £3 million in solidarity payments as well as gate receipts at a ground that always raises the hairs on a visiting neutral fans neck even with 16,000 in a 32,702 capacity Cathedral. But priorities and tough decisions have to be made and the League Cup exit to Burton (4-5 on pens after a 2-2 draw) will doubtless be seen as another body blow. We Imps have some sympathy, particularly as they had offered to play a now cancelled friendly with us that would have netted us a massive £30,000 boost. This in the absence of any historic cup revenue means links between the Imps and the Blades, thanks to Holdsworth’s connections, are vital. Could any of the players he hopes to bring in be young Blades? Hope so!
We have had to cut our cloth on and off the pitch having lost the Football League and youth team grass roots payments that now total £670,000 per year. Were it not for Chris Moyes injection, last year and this, Grant Brown would be looking for a job despite us beating Chesterfield 3-0 to win last years youth cup. We too lost staff, old friends in truth, in a cull that saw Mrs Lincoln City Fran and Matt Carmichael go. Fran is back as a gold member director – back in Bob’s favour but unpaid – after a job at Doncaster Rovers failed to come to fruition.
The Blades will be one of the favourites to go up this year and STMI hope you do. Then maybe that friendly might be back on the agenda as long as the police do not intervene.
Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson looks set to test Chesterfield manager John Sheridan’s resolve over Tommy Lee, despite the Rock star keeper conceding three as the Spirietes lost three nil at home to Huddersfield Town this week.
The brave lad with the rock star haircut would be a big miss for a side looking to bounce back to league 1, but then Sheffield United are a big club who look set to return to the Championship this season.
Here is a quick STMI Biopic for Blades fans
Tommy started off at Manchester United, but failed to break through, before a loan at Macc turned into a permanent deal. He then fell from favour and was loaned to Rochdale until the Spireites signed him in Aug 2008 on a one year deal. The Spireites hero’s career was almost over before it began when his jaw was broken in a nightclub attack, but he battled to earn an additional two year deal at the club. He was ever-present in the Championship season but an injury against Bury in September of the following season seemed to coincide with a slump that took Chesterfield to the bottom of the table, something they would never recover from as relegation ensued. He got his second piece of Spireite silverware with a fabulous performance in last years 2-0 JPT win over Swindon last term.
Former Sheffield United Manager David Holdsworth has finally managed to bag 14 stone 6 foot 5 inch beast of a target man Mark McCammon in time for him to start on the bench against Mansfield Town today.
With the closure of the transfer window coming too quickly for his contract issues at Braintree Town to be resolved a non contract deal became a non-starter. So crafty David Holdsworth used plan B, enlisting the help of Sheffield FC who, as an Evo-Stik League First Division South, are not subject to the transfer window farce.
They have subsequently kindly loaned him to us until the end of the season. He will start on the bench today raring to aid his new boss and team-mates for the Mansfield mission. You can’t miss him but he will be wearing the No 33 shirt – could have sworn we had passed 40 Reg?
Here was our who is dossier on the new Beast of the Bank
First thoughts on the new Bank Beast are that Reg is biting off more than he can chew, once we can actually sign the guy of course. Having played just 3 games for Braintree, scoring once, he had his contract cancelled and moved on – well not quite as it appears they still hold his registration. The 14 stone 6 foot 5 inch beast of a man wins everything in the air and has been a great support striker for some lads who subsequently went on to better things. He takes no prisoners, but he is not just a thug, as he has a good brain and a knack of forcing the issue where it counts in the box.
He started out at Cambridge United before joining Premier League Charlton Athletic, in March 1999. Brentford offered £100,000 in June 2000 where he rewarded them with 15 goals and almost three times as many assists in 89 appearances over three seasons. Millwall (2 goals in 21) then signed him near the end of the 2002/03 season where he spent an in and out year crowned with the Cup Final bow. Mark was loaned to Brighton (4 goals in 27) and then joined permanently before being loaned to Bristol City (4 goals in 11).
The year of our Lord 2006 was a good year for the veteran as he won his first international Cap for Barbados, scoring a hat-trick against Anguilla, the international equivalent of a pub team, in a 7-1 Caribbean Cup Qualifying match. He also joined Doncaster Rovers (6 goals in 54) in time to score the first ever goal at the Keepmoat Stadium. In two seasons at Donny Mark helped Rovers to promotion to The Championship via the play-offs before moving to Gillingham (5 goals in 52) for a season. They released him last summer when his contract expired, although he did have a goalless 4 game loan at Bradford under Jacko.
So on the plus side we have a big strong target man who will win everything in the air, on a try before we buy non-contract basis. So far so good, Mark seems to have bonded sufficiently with the squad during his trial, but he is certainly no slouch off the pitch either. McCammon has a penchent for openly criticising managers, something disciplinarian and social networking nemesis David Holdsworth will not like medium to long term. Dennis Wise and Mark Stimson felt his verbal force and he admitted to ”differences” with Mark McGee. McCammon also called into a radio show after the host stated that he was not worth a place in the Brighton first eleven, telling the host, “Until you kick a ball in professional football, you can’t tell me I’m not good enough for this standard. I think what you said is very disrespectful.”
Not wishing to show any disrespect STMI would like to offer you the best Mark.
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Keep the faith against Gateshead because David Holdsworth deserved better at Mansfield Town. The Stags were pretty eager to hire the popular ex Sheffield United stalwart, very much one of those new up and coming managers at the time and there are shades of his era in Notts now he has crossed the border into Lincs.
Mansfield were lacking money and almost homeless but sent for a low budget rookie wheeler-dealer who, to his credit, had guided Ilkeston Town to sixth place, 10 points off the top spot with two winnable games in hand. He looked a good bet and, to an extent, turned things around . Deja-vous for Holdsworth, who has had to wait for a new dawn to break at both the Stags and now the Imps. A financial wait that will hopefully end at Monday’s press conference.
An anticipated defeat against fourth placed Gateshead FC will not please him or Imps fans, but short of a good hammering and a few moans and, all eyes should quicky move to Monday. Of course we could win and do the double over them to set things up nicely.
Holdsworth’s reputation precedes him of course, but although there have been numerous ins and outs so far, these have been mainly short term stop gaps funded from whatever he can carve from a wasted budget. Conal Platt apart, he has not made any long-term additions to a squad as bereft of quality as it has lacked passion for the cause. His comments on pre-match Red Imps World interview suggest he is as in the dark on team building scope as we are
What Holdsworth does deserve is the backing of the the board and the fans at least until the end of the season. Whether he gets any funds or not will all be revealed on Monday. Good lord it could be like a kid in a sweetshop next week, just perm any 2-3 from a dozen deals due to be done in goal, defence, midfield and up front. Don’t just think Darlington here, Leeds, Chesterfield, Sheffield United and the North-West are among the clubs we have been talking to of late.
|Lincoln||24 Oct, 2011||Present||15||4||3||8|
|Mansfield||29 Dec, 2008||18 Nov, 2010||91||37||20||34|