Gary Speed’s departure in the end was not a shock for the fans especially when the lure of managing your own country is dangled enticingly in front of you. He may have had too many regrets if he turned the job down and he could also see that his current job at Bramall Lane was going to be very difficult if the first half of the season was anything to go by.
The club is now looking forward but not rushing the appointment of a new manager. This in itself is a good thing but it is also dangerous as the often busy Christmas period can be make or break for the future of a club’s season.
Now the dust has settled on Speed’s departure the realists amongst Blades’ fans are looking at his possible replacement and, in truth, there doesn’t seem to be a bottomless pool of managers available. The likes of Sam Allardyce have clearly been ruled out due to the salary he will surely command and Alan Shearer is unlikely to continue his managerial career with us when his beloved Blackburn have a vacancy available at the same time.
At one point last week it was looking as though we could end up with two old Sheffield Wednesday players in the running for the top job. These rumours have since been dampened slightly but I am sure Gary Megson and Paul Hart are not out of the running just yet.
It appears from rumblings at both clubs that United are looking at Doncaster Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll to replace Speed. He has certainly done a fantastic job at the Keepmoat and the fact that they play exciting, passing football may well attract the Sheffield United board to him. Speed, it was no secret, was trying to get the ball down and play more football, so if we are wanting to continue this then O’Driscoll might well be the future for us.
O’Driscoll has only just begun his managerial career himself but may well be a risk worth taking for United as he is very highly thought of in the footballing world and has already led Doncaster in the Championship so would not be venturing into the unknown and may well wish to test his skills at a ‘bigger’ club.
Any risk that United make In our next appointment should be made with caution as the situation in the league is not particularly healthy at present but the weekend’s one nil victory over Swansea gave the board a bit more breathing space. Hopefully this extra time can be used wisely to make sure the new appointment is right.
The Port Vale boss Micky Adams is another man in the frame. He is a Sheffield lad and self-confessed United supporter so being linked with the job is perhaps logical considering his managerial credentials and his success this season with Port Vale. To him it would be a dream job just like managing Wales is for Gary Speed.
Despite leading us to victory over Swansea on Saturday it will be unlikely that John Carver will be promoted to the top job as he has no managerial experience and will probably follow Gary Speed to be part of his newly formed Welsh set-up.
Other managers linked to Bramall Lane have been Gareth Southgate who probably feels it is time for him to return to managerial duties. He still lives in Yorkshire but may think that being a football pundit is the life for him now. Another former Yorkshire based manager – Phil Brown – could also be in line for a return after a relatively successful time with Hull City.
Chris Coleman, it is rumoured, has also applied for the vacant post. The former Fulham and Coventry boss lost out to Speed in the running for the Welsh job and also turned down the chance to manage in Greece. Perhaps he has now turned his attention to Sheffield United.
Certainly the Sheffield United board have their options but making the right choice will be key for this season and our future. They will not want to rush for fear of pushing the Blades further down the table and damaging the club for years to come. Equally though they will want to give a new manager as many games as possible to retrieve what is a very disappointing season so far.
Lets hope that whoever is appointed can get us back to winning ways sooner rather than later and that we have a better second half to the season.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.