Sheffield United: Ex-Blade Beattie a new manager

James Beattie in action in what was to prove his final game for Sheffield United at Exeter in the final league game of the 2011/2012 season

James Beattie in action in what was to prove his final game for Sheffield United at Exeter in the final league game of the 2011/2012 season

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As Sheffield United work their way through the interview process seeking their next manager, one man who has just moved into management never figured on anyone’s radar.

Probably because James Beattie didn’t appear to be contemplating a managerial hot-seat anywhere, not even at the club where he had two spells as a player - the first a pretty successful one too.

Beattie has just taken over at Accrington Stanley having done so after indicating that he’d no plans to be a manager!

He’d gone there in a player-coach role last November having not figured anywhere since leaving the Blades last Summer after a second spell where he was basically used as a late substitute during the second half of the season.

That had been in contrast to his first spell in which his 65 appearances had reaped 34 goals.

Beattie, now 35, helped Accrington avoid relegation from League Two and even when manager Leam Richardson left to join his old boss Paul Cook at Chesterfield, Beattie wasn’t thinking about replacing him.

But it was the departing Richardson who suggested to the club’s chairman that Beattie had the attributes to be a manager. Only then, on receiving a call from the chairman, did Beattie think really seriously about taking it on.

The outcome was a two year contract to take charge of Accrington and the first rung on the managerial ladder. Starting at the bottom which is where plenty of successful managers have started.

For United, risking a total newcomer to management was barely an option. Yes, Chris Morgan hasn’t managed before and he’s in the frame but the difference is that Morgan knows the players and has worked with the youngsters.

It will be the ability to bring through and integrate young players, that will count for plenty amongst those who are vying to be the man to follow Danny Wilson’s name on the United list of managers.

Obviously United will not expect the new man to simply pitch in a whole host of young players. Even expecting one or two relatively untried ‘kids’ to come in and make United a force, in what looks like being a tougher division that last time, looks over-ambitious.

But it is clear that United are now moving in a certain direction and this is a very big decision.