As I heard the rumours that Danny Wilson was leaving Sheffield United as I drove to work it didn’t shock as much as I thought it would. After all this season has seen some bizarre changes of manager with some clubs having as manger as 4 different bosses. My only surprise was that this is something Sheffield United rarely does. They removed Kevin Blackwell 2 games into the season but usually the removing of a manager at Bramall Lane comes when the fans have protested with their shoes off in the south stand car park.
It was finally confirmed by the club at 21:45 on April 10 that Wilson had indeed left the club. His assistant Frank Barlow has also left and Chris Morgan has been put in charge until the end of the season. Morgan is a well-liked no nonsense former captain and has been working at the club as a coach since the summer of 2011. He’ll not lack for passion and perhaps the club think he’ll spark some life into the players with only 5 games left of the season and automatic promotion still within reach.
It’s undoubtedly a bit of a gamble if Kevin McCabe has decided to sack Wilson. We don’t know whether he jumped or was pushed just yet but either way it’s very strange timing. Why would Wilson walk with the season still very much alive? Equally why would you sack someone with so little time to spare and employ someone with no managerial experience? I guess these questions will be answered over the next few days.
One thing is for certain, many fans will rejoice at his departure as they simply couldn’t get behind an ex Sheffield Wednesday player and manager. I must admit I was very sceptical when he was employed back in May 2011 to try and get the Blades promoted back the Championship. That summer we were all still reeling from relegation and with Micky Adams having been sacked we wondered where the club would go next. I expected an appointment to excite the fans and someone completely new to the Sheffield region. Instead we employed an ex Owl and all I could think about was what if results started badly? The crowd would turn very quickly and things could get ugly very fast.
However, despite 400 or so idiots protesting in the car park Wilson won me over in his first interview and I grew to like his style of football over the season. United were top scores across all 4 leagues last year but narrowly missed out on promotion as Wednesday over took us with 2 games to go. Left with the play offs and star striker Ched Evans behind bars United lost on penalties to Huddersfield at Wembley leaving everyone on the floor just like the summer before.
As the summer of 2012 wore on the likes of Nick Montgomery, Stephen Quinn, Lee Williamson, and Matt Lowton all left the club. They were replaced with Nick Blackman, Tony McMahon Shaun Miller and John Cofie. The squad still had the spine of last season but the loss of such key players as well as Ched Evans was obviously going to be difficult to overcome. The season started well enough and at Christmas things seems to be falling into place as United went top. They also reached top spot again in February. A run of just 1 win at home since Boxing Day and a recent run of 4 home games without a goal has led to fans patience running out. Certainly home defeats to Yeovil and Crawley have led to the decision taken tonight. The lifeless performances against Carlisle, Leyton Orient and MK Dons are a further factor.
Chris Morgan maybe the man to light a fire in these players bellies and gets them back on track at home. With only 5 games left he must see this as a tremendous opportunity to become a long term solution at the helm of a club he played with for many years. The next few weeks will determine Morgan’s future as well as United’s. Whether he can finish in the top 2 is a long shot now. United’s playoff history is the worst of any club I can think of so winning at Wembley maybe an even longer shot if they get there.
One thing is for certain, he’ll give it one hell of go knowing Morgan!
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