Nasty medicine takes some swallowing. For the Blades that means accepting they are a League One club, irrespective of size and support.
Acting like one too. And without any of the pretence of the past. The signs are that United have taken that painful but essential first step towards long-term recovery.
Speculation that United might be awaiting a play-off final loser is hugely ironic. The fact is that you’d struggle to rule out three of the four competing at Wembley this weekend (Brentford’s Uwe Rosler, Yeovil’s Gary Johnson, Northampton’s Aidy Boothroyd - Bradford’s Phil Parkinson signed a new contract yesterday).
Inescapably, too, the Lane job would be more attractive to a loser rather than a winner. But why should that matter? Could it be the lucky option for once?
Then there is Crawley’s Richie Barker and credible candidates with Lane links. Russell Slade packs a lot of relevant experience and is going well with Leyton Orient. Oxford’s Chris Wilder is in the same frame.
A prime contender and my new favourite would be Motherwell’s ex-Blade Stuart McCall, while Chris Morgan is in there too, minus the experience of others including Gareth Southgate and MK’s Karl Robinson.
Julian Winter, back as chief executive, will work day-to-day with the new man, a development welcomed by this column after highlighting the absence of a solid management structure.