CHRIS DUNLAVY

Danny Wil­son’s sack­ing is so harsh at Sh­effield United

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE -

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.

Free­bies

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.

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