Best man to get Blades back up again must be... Chris Wilder
- Credit: Dave Rowntree/PPAUK
I'm not a betting man and never have been, but I wouldn't mind a few bob on the title of the successor to Chris Wilder at Sheffield United. How about 'head coach' instead of 'manager'?
Let's go back a step first. I can't help thinking there's got to be more than meets the eye to Chris' departure from Bramall Lane.
The reason I say that is because, after leaving it this long, it's almost impossible for them to stay up. And if they do go down, surely the best man to get them back up again must be... Chris Wilder.
I know the players respect him, so it's not as if he has 'lost the dressing room', as some pundits like to say.
His record at Sheffield speaks for itself - the bottom half of League One to ninth place in the Premiership in five years. And the reason why the club has had that success is because of him and the players believing in his way of playing.
He may be fed up, or he might not see a future for the club that he believes he can work with.
But whichever way you look at it, I believe it appears he's left because of a breakdown between the owners and the most successful manager that the Blades have had for decades.
- 1 Absolutely ridiculous and selfish
- 2 United visit Woking tonight
- 3 Rowers - and Mr Portillo - in bid to go round world in 80 days and raise money for Rowcroft
- 4 Woking 0 Torquay United 2
- 5 Prince Philip's final resting place will be in tiny chapel
- 6 For our 'rock' as much as anybody, everything is crossed for promotion
- 7 Desperate men killing the game
- 8 Four to battle in Bay by-election
- 9 Josh turns his life around and says: 'It's time for me to give back'
- 10 Overseas players set to boost clubs' promotion bids
This business of 'head coaches' instead of 'managers' may have started with foreign owners here, but that's not the whole story. There are plenty of English owners who are going down the same road.
I've worked abroad, and they just don't like the word 'manager' when it comes to a football club. They see it as a title you give to the man running the whole company, not just the team.
When you're a younger manager maybe you might accept a head coach role.
But if someone said to me: "We're making you head coach instead of manager", I'd probably say 'Really? Thanks very much, but no thanks...'
After all, you can have managing directors and directors of football, but the man who does the job that everybody is interested in, and carries the can if it goes wrong, is the bloke on the touchline, not the ones sitting in the stand.
You do wonder how it might go at Bramall Lane.
Getting to the Premiership, and then finishing as high as they did last season, was a magnificent achievement.
Although they've spent a few bob, it was on quite young players and there's never going to be a budget there to compete at the top of the Premiership.
There's an old saying - 'beware what you wish for'. Good luck to whoever gets the job, whatever it's called.
I have to say that my son Lee's title at Sunderland is 'head coach'. But at least he's gone in there with a new managerial team, including a director of football, but a set-up where he was consulted on all appointments and agreed with them.
Lee had two or three other job offers after he left Bristol City, but Sunderland was the one where he knew he had a really good chance of doing something.
Lee is working with a very enthusiastic, young and wealthy new owner from France who he gets on well with, and he's really enjoying it.
Winning the Football League Trophy at Wembley at the weekend (Tranmere 1-0) has made for a great start, but Lee knows that promotion back to the Championship is the priority.
Lee took Barnsley to the same final in 2016. But the week before the game, Bristol City came in for him, he accepted the job there and he never got the chance to lead Barnsley out at Wembley.
Paul Heckingbottom stepped in, Barnsley beat Oxford United (3-2) and guess where Paul is now - he's just taken over as 'interim manager' at Sheffield United. There's another title for you!
Keep staying safe, everyone...