Lennie Lawrence’s successful return to the dug-out with Crystal Palace begs an obvious question - and who better to answer it than a manager closing in on his own 1,000 game target.
Does football value experience enough these days? “Definitely not,” says Danny Wilson who has brought all of his to bear in the Sheffield United side you see joint top of League One.
Wilson goes further, describing the game’s widespread preference for first-time managers over proven older ones as “a tragedy.” But there are some on the “scrapheap” who can take great heart from the masterly way he has stitched United back together on reduced resources. Which proves emphatically that bosses are better AFTER being sacked than before.
“Too many quality coaches and managers are out of work when they can offer so much and that’s a tragedy,” the 52-year-old Blades boss told me this week. And it is surely no coincidence that Danny is producing some of the best work of his career (boasting a terrific 55% plus win ratio at Bramall Lane) with his seventh club.
Wilson is on 918 games, knowing that another two years with United would see him join an elite band - including 64-year-old Lawrence who has chaperoned new Bolton boss Dougie Freedman.
“I’d love to do 1,000 and it’s a privilege just to get amongst it,” he added. “I’m personally mindful of that goal. If I’m in a job for another 82 games I’ll be doing okay.
“And I’d love to do it here. That would give me a lot of pride.”
Maybe it would also resonate with a few chairmen who promote youth coaches or star players. “I’m sure it’s financial in many cases,” says Wilson. “Of course, young ones have to be given an opportunity at some stage. But if those clubs want these lads to succeed there’s nothing better than having an old hand alongside them.
“Experienced as I am, I’ve still got one here (Frank Barlow). Frank’s been in the game a long time and I value his fantastic knowledge. The young managers get so much thrown at them. Having someone with experience alongside is a great buffer for promising young coaches - and you might see more longevity in the game if that happened more often.”
PS The New York Stadium. Blew me away on a first visit last weekend. See next week’s column.