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|