If Danny Wilson’s tenure produces as many twists and turns as his appointment by Sheffield United then it will be an eventful ride. Not to say bumpy.
Controversy continues to rumble following Wilson’s surprise edging of Mark Robins for the manager’s job.
The former Sheffield Wednesday player and manager was greeted with a car park demonstration - not unusual at Bramall Lane but unique as a protest against an incoming boss. Or, perhaps more accurately, it was mostly aimed at Kevin McCabe.
Some of those critics questioned how much qualified advice the chairman actually took - for all his need to end a series of managerial mishaps - in forming his choice at an apparently early stage.
But the bottom line surely is that Wilson - the fifth man to take charge inside a calamitous year - MUST remain in situ for the foreseeable future. Promotion or no promotion, protest or no protest. The club’s credibility is on the line.
McCabe, by his own admission, has put himself under pressure. Now he has to be just as stubborn as he was in making the decision. And whatever his detractors might claim, you can’t say McCabe isn’t leading from the front again.
For supporters to gripe on about Wilson’s one-time allegiance to Hillsborough is understandable but it could also prove self-destructive.
Yes, Danny does start with a deficit to make up with the Bramall Lane crowd. That’s not ideal - but then being a Blade did not really count for Micky Adams in the final analysis on his all-too-short reign.
Danny Wilson was born in Wigan, played for a host of clubs including Bury, Luton, Brighton and Barnsley, and won 24 caps for Northern Ireland. Serving the Owls under Ron Atkinson turned out to be just part of that journey.
Following that, he has managed six clubs. Wednesday just happened to be one of them. And he left Hillsborough more than 11 years ago.
That would seem to carry tribalism way too far. Wilson is simply a jobbing manager. So does the protest go deeper?
On the one hand, Wilson gave Barnsley the finest hour in their history with promotion to the Premier League. On the other, he was sacked by Wednesday during their slide from the top flight and has suffered relegations with Hartlepool and MK Dons. Maybe that is what some of the dissenters had in mind.
But he also won promotion at Hartlepool, almost achieved the feat for Bristol City and led Swindon to the 2010 play-off final before being forced to sell his best players. Swindon dropped last season after Wilson was sacked.
Through it all, the 51-year-old has operated at all levels. He will need all that experience for one of the biggest challenges in the game - especially as McCabe appeared to suggest last week that only missing promotion “by a whisker” will be considered acceptable next season.
What Wilson needs most is to be guaranteed at least a two-year shot at winning the League One promotion that has proved so difficult in recent years
lContinued on page 47