James Phipps, special advisor to Sheffield United co-owner Prince Abdullah bin Mosaas, last night confirmed the process of considering David Weir’s replacement has already begun.
But Phipps, who joined Bramall Lane’s board of directors following the Saudi Royal’s decision to purchase a 50 per cent stake in the League One club, paid tribute to the former Scotland international following his departure as manager yesterday.
Despite refusing to elaborate on the identities of those candidates in the frame, Phipps did outline some of the criteria they would have to meet before being invited to take charge of first team affairs.
He told The Star: “It would have been remiss of us not to consider the future and how it might look before taking this decision so, yes, we have started doing our homework.
“Naturally, given the position we are in, we ideally want someone who possesses a degree of experience and is capable of working with the players we already have here.
“And, on top of that, someone who can produce on the pitch the type of football that all Sheffield United fans want to watch and be associated with.”
Phipps, who described Weir as “an absolutely class guy,” also acknowledged that United’s position towards the foot of the table had prompted the change at the helm.
They prepared for tomorrow’s fixture against Coventry City 22nd in the table having taken five points from 10 games.
“If the maths had been different, even just by a few more points, then it may have been possible to carry on for a while longer,” Phipps said. “Unfortunately, and it is to everyone’s great regret, that isn’t the case.
“People do not need many things to believe in or grasp on to. Even if we had been drawing games but scoring goals, then it would have been there.”
Chris Morgan, who made nearly 300 appearances for United before retiring due to injury, will perform touchline duties at Sixfields Stadium after being placed in temporary charge.
“The first priority for us now is to try and win that game of football and then take things from there.
“Everyone, and not just David, has to take their share of responsibility for what has happened. Even ourselves.
“There has been a lot of change and perhaps, with us coming in, we have tried to help too much.
“The volume of change that has occurred would be difficult for anyone to handle. I appreciate that.
“But we are committed to getting this right and giving supporters something they can identify with and be proud of.”
“David will go on to be very successful,” Phipps added. “I am sure of that and if you could choose someone as your neighbour then he and his family would be right up there at the top of my list without a doubt.
“He is a terrific person and, to his credit, there was no need for any long drawn out or difficult conversations. He has been in football all his life.
“After our game (against Hartlepool) on Tuesday, I know that he remained at the ground until 3am in the morning going over everything with his staff in an effort to get to the root of what had gone wrong.
“That is a testimony to the type of guy he is.”