Danny Wilson and Dave Jones were plucked from the increasingly massed ranks of the jobless when the two Sheffield clubs made managerial changes in the last year.
Both are proving successful and far-sighted appointments. Yet it is proving the exception rather than the rule for clubs to go down that route.
The League Managers Association have trumpeted a slowing down in the sack race. There were 33 dismissals last season, the lowest number since 2008-09.
But what the figures don’t show is the increasing number of proven bosses who are in danger of being prematurely lost to the game. The so-called “managerial merry-go-round” became such a cliche that the former TV hit show “Fantasy Football League” actually sat out-of-work managers on a carousel and filmed them enjoying the ride.
Now, for many, the wheels have stopped. Look at how long Kevin Blackwell has been out of the game - two years this August. What about Mark Robins, ditched by Barnsley more than a year ago? Blackwell is an experienced coach who twice led teams to play-off finals in the Championship. Robins served a great apprenticeship at Rotherham and kept the Reds well afloat in the Championship.
There is no more successful a manager at that level than Billy Davies. What is he up to these days? Allowing that the combustible Davies started one row too many in his last job at Nottingham Forest, why are these resourceful operators not being re-appointed?
The list goes on. Gary Megson, Mick McCarthy, Alex McLeish, Steve Bruce, Brian Laws, Roy Keane, Phil Brown. And there are plenty more. Men who have won their spurs but don’t have steeds to mount.
There will always be natural wastage in football - but can the game really afford to lose men of this calibre? Not old men, either, but mature managers in their peak years. And why is it happening?
Well, there is the designer appointment, for starters. Or the star player plucked from the dressing room, often for economy reasons. They, and others, fall into the cult of the caretaker. Then there is the oft-repeated mantra of the search for a “young, up and coming manager.”
That’s what Barnsley went for when they took Robins from Rotherham. He advanced his education and his CV at Oakwell. Look where it’s got him.
All of these guys are better for their experiences, not least in learning from their isolated failures. And yet so many are in danger of being piled onto a tip marked “yesterday’s men.” Recently, Ronnie Moore became one of the lucky ones, being handed a second stint at Tranmere. A couple of days earlier there wasn’t a job in sight for Ronnie and he told me in a chance meeting: “You’re lucky if you even get an interview now.”
Ironically, it kind of proved his point that the Tranmere position was then offered out of the blue. Maybe he’s onto something, though.
Clubs have stopped talking to enough people, they go their own way. Often blindly.
And where once journalists helped “place” their managerial pals back in work, that seldom happens now. Like many colleagues, I’ve eased a few in the right direction with a well placed piece of informed speculation. Now many of them are beyond our help - or anybody’s - as they scramble over each other in the struggle to get back.