Blades chief and the class struggle

New duo: Assistant manager Frank Barlow, left, and chief executive Dave McCarthy.      Picture: Dean Atkins
New duo: Assistant manager Frank Barlow, left, and chief executive Dave McCarthy. Picture: Dean Atkins

DAVE McCarthy, Sheffield United’s new managing director, last night insisted the club must get back to basics after acknowledging it has lost its identity since being relegated from the Premier League.

The former Ferencvaros and Chengdu Blades chief executive, who was handed the Lane post earlier this month, echoed plc chairman Kevin McCabe’s recent assertion that a change of attitude is needed behind the scenes.

Revealing that he wants to bring “a different kind of leadership” to Bramall Lane, McCarthy said: “The culture has changed. There’s no point in denying that we’ve lost much of what supporting Sheffield United is all about.

“This has always been a working-class club. There’s always been a rough edge to football.

“I heard someone describe that time in the top flight as being ‘salad days’ and while that was before I came here that’s not what we should be about.

“We’ve got to get that mutual trust back between the fans, players and staff; make sure there’s no divide.

“That’s what I’ll be trying to do.”

McCarthy, who worked at Sheffield FC before joining United in 2009, added: “We’ve got some great people here and we can develop the club through its people.

“Speaking as a fan, which I’m entitled to do, it’s been a miserable couple of years and the football’s not been great.”

Having dropped out of the Premier League in 2007, United now find themselves in League One after surrendering their Championship status in disappointing fashion last term.

Despite the initial furore surrounding his appointment, McCarthy believes that manager Danny Wilson, who has named Frank Barlow as his assistant, possesses the qualities required to transform United’s fortunes.

“Danny has been great and, within two minutes of his unveiling I thought ‘he looks and sounds like a Sheffield United manager’,” said McCarthy.

“He joins in the banter and, at his own undertaking, is happy to meet fans in the pubs and at forums. He speaks honestly to them.

“There’s an energy and vibrancy about him and he’s willing to lead from the front. Fans appreciate leaders like that, people who will bring players over to them.

“I think the last time we had someone like that, with all respect to Danny’s predecessors, was Neil Warnock.”