Yes they lost 3-0 at home, but I am sure they have played much worse and won. The first game of this long and hard season saw United pick up a very good away point at promotion-chasing Cardiff, during which they played the match for an hour with only ten men.
This makes the sudden change at the helm a little baffling and probably hard to swallow for Kevn Blackwell himself, even though the early exit from the League Cup wouldn’t have helped him.
With the club keen to keep his number two, Gary Speed, amidst interest from other suitors, his appointment was far from a surprise. The recent approach from Swansea City earlier in the summer will have highlighted his potential, which probably led to the acceleration in ending the tenure of Blackwell and elevating Speed to the top job.
Speed has all the credentials to be a very good manager if you take into account his time playing the game at the highest level. He has been capped 85 times for Wales and was a member of the successful Leeds title winning team in 1992. He did hold the record for the number of Premier League appearances until only recently, being overtaken by Ryan Giggs and David James.
His experience in the game and also his contacts must surely help. He has been managed by Sir Bobby Robson, Howard Wilkinson and Sam Allardyce, all very good managers in their own right. If these are all markers to success in club management, then he will surely be one of the best.
His young age shouldn’t be a concern, although his experience of actually being in charge of a club may be an issue at first. Every manager has to start somewhere though. I am sure Speed is well aware what it takes to manage a club given his involvement in the game for such a long period.
He has set his stall out for a career in management since a back injury curtailed his playing days, and he is already a popular figure amongst the fans where a rapport has been developed.
The Board are quoted as saying they like his exciting ideas. This might have got him the job but results are what matter now. It is a bold move from the Board which should be applauded but i hope they now back him financially as well as give him time. I am sure he will have his own ideas, some will prove to be wrong, but deep down I can already see he has the club’s best interests at heart.
Patience in football can be severely lacking at times, but it appears that the club and fans have a lot of time for Speed even with the short term demands of football these days. Whilst a defeat away at Middlesbrough wasn't the start he would have been looking for, there were positives to be taken from the 1-0 result.
Kris Boyd's 52nd minute goal was the difference between two 'nervous' sides, as Gordon Strachan put it. The passing style of football was good, although a lack of chances created is a potential concern Limiting Boro to few opportunities was also a positive, although ultimately we're in a results business.
Let’s hope we are not just a stepping stone to Speed's success, and we reap the rewards from his potential.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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