Alan Biggs at Large: Why United are still wild about Harry at the Lane

Alan Bigg Telegraph Web Tile
Alan Bigg Telegraph Web Tile

Will Dave Bassett have a bigger role to play than helping to pick Sheffield United’s next manager?

Some fans may have run out of faith in United’s hierarchy but they have no reason to distrust the man who delivered the most successful era in the club’s modern history.

Whoever the Blades finally appoint, it looks certain to be a hard sell following a succession of mistakes on the managerial front.

But Bassett’s involvement is potentially a strong redeeming feature.

United are at their lowest ebb since they sank into the third tier in 1988. That was under the newly-arrived Bassett who then achieved successive promotions leading to four seasons in the top flight.

Those who bemoan a tendency for the club to hark back on past connections are making an understandable criticism.

But surely it is for the good to have some professional input after the amateurish-looking calls of the recent past.

A youthful 68, Bassett’s judgment is to be respected and the board would be foolish not to take his advice after calling for it.

He has been similarly involved before, although this time - though it won’t be his final decision - there is a sense of him being given his head.

Considering that all the main contenders - Rob Page and/ or Wally Downes plus Michael Appleton - are on the younger side, my utopia would be seeing Bassett adopt a Derek Dooley type role as a mentor and bridge to the board.

I believe there has been some consideration of this.

As consultant, Bassett will presumably have a continuing input.

Overall, this has been an inglorious episode for the club.

It has lasted eight weeks from the time of a sudden managerial change that can perhaps best be summed up by the saying:

“Act in haste, repent at leisure.”

United have clearly been intent on not making the same mistake twice!

Not that there has been anything leisurely about their approach.

It is always easier to jeer than to steer.

United did pursue some bigger name contenders: McCall, Jackett, Southgate and Robinson.

Only to find that in scaling down, the club is now considerably less appealing than its supposed stature.