Danny Wilson’s sacking is so harsh at Sheffield United
WILL the bloodshed never cease? After Danny Wilson was sacked by Sheffield United with just five games to go, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a manager bite the dust at half-time on the final day.
Yes, I know the Blades had won just once in six games. I know they hadn’t scored since February 16 and that automatic promotion was slipping away. But facts is facts. United were well on course to go straight back to the Championship last season before star striker Ched Evans was charged with rape.
Evans, scorer of 35 goals, was jailed on 20 April, with United on a six-match winning streak. They failed to win any of their remaining games, pipped to promotion on the final day by rivals Sheffield Wednesday. That was not Wilson’s fault.
Having lost to Huddersfield in the play-offs,Wilson then saw his budget slashed. He was forced to overhaul the entire squad, offloading the likes of Matthew Lowton, Nick Montgomery and Stephen Quinn and replacing them with kids and freebies. That, too, was not Wilson’s fault.
Set against such difficulties, United’s season has been a success. Rarely out of the top six and often in the top two, promotion has remained a constant possibility.
Had Nick Blackman, scorer of 14 goals by the end of January, not been flogged to Reading for £1.2m, it is highly doubtful that United would be struggling to find the net. Yet again,Wilson has been robbed of a crucial player at a crucial time.
Could United have played better football? Maybe. Could anyone have done better under the circumstances? I’m not so sure.
But the men who run United aren’t daft. They know that Wilson has done an admirable job. Unfortunately, they also know about ‘new manager syndrome’.
They know that players respond to a new face. That tiredness and demoralisation disappear when places are under threat. And they know that if a new manager can have that impact for just five games, they could be back in the Championship.
It’s callous and it’s cruel. It’s not what Wilson deserves. But if the gamble pays off, the money they make will more than pay for his settlement. Such is the tawdry business of football.