Sheffield United: Blades confirm Clough as boss

Sheffield United have appointed Nigel Clough as their new boss.
Sheffield United have appointed Nigel Clough as their new boss.
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Nigel Clough is Sheffield United’s new manager, the League One club have confirmed.

The former Derby County and Burton Albion chief will take charge of his first match when Crewe Alexandra visit Bramall Lane this weekend.

Clough, who has been handed a two-and-half-year deal, was among the crowd when Steve Davis’ side beat Bristol City at Gresty Road last weekend.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Clough said: “I am proud and honoured to come here. I will try to build a team and a squad to get promoted. The target is to get stability and a squad together to push for promotion.”

United’s co-chairman Kevin McCabe feels it is a “fantastic coup” for the club to capture Clough. He said Clough has a “fantastic reputation” in the sport.

He said: “Nigel has a tremendous pedigree in the game. He brings undoubted experience and can provide stability, energy and confidence to the playing side drawing on 11 years at Burton Albion followed by four and a half years with Derby County in the Championship.”

As The Star revealed earlier this month, United identified the 47-year-old as a potential successor to David Weir within hours of dismissing the former Scotland international.

Co-chairman Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz, of Saudi Arabia, said: “Nigel was the clear, first choice of the board. He brings an approach to the game that is well suited to what we are trying to achieve at Sheffield United. Nigel has enjoyed managerial success in the game.

“He knows how to inspire first-team players to give their all and has a proven track record of making an academy a key ingredient to the club’s success. We count ourselves lucky to have Nigel aboard.”

Clough is understood to have immediately indicated he was interested in the role but made it plain he could not consider a return to football until talks over compensation from County were resolved.

Those protracted negotiations, which are believed to have been complicated by the fact he had been effectively been placed on gardening leave by the Championship outfit’s owners, finally reached a conclusion last night.

Leyton Orient’s Russell Slade, Karl Robinson of MK Dons and Crawley Town’s Richie Barker were also viewed by United’s board of directors as possible replacement for Weir.

However, Clough’s ability to develop young players, source talent from the lower leagues and prowess in the loan market prompted co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad to place him at the top of their wanted-list.

Clough joined County in January 2009 after effectively securing Albion’s promotion from the Conference.

Despite preserving their second tier status on five separate occasions against a back drop of player sales and reduced wage bills, he departed last month following a defeat by Nottingham Forest.

Clough made over 400 appearances in two spells at Forest before entering management.

An England international, he also represented Liverpool, Manchester City and briefly Sheffield Wednesday ahead of his switch to Albion.