Danny Hall’s View: End of a rocky road for Danny Wilson at Sheffield United

Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson

It was around 11pm on Tuesday when a beleaguered Danny Wilson finally emerged from the home dressing room at Bramall Lane.

The then-Sheffield United manager had kept his players locked in for over an hour, after their 2-0 home defeat to Crawley Town.

A hardy bunch of Press corps had braved the cold and waited for him to emerge, and heard Wilson insist that the lock-in was not an exercise in teacup-throwing and plate-smashing.

Instead, he said, it was a “constructive chat” as to how he could get United’s promotion bid back on track.

Less than 24 hours later, however, it was confirmed that he wouldn’t get the chance.

Official confirmation from United came as late as 10pm last night - well after this newspaper had gone to press.

Today’s Telegraph carries what turned out to be Wilson’s final interview as Bramall Lane manager, where he spoke about persevering and not giving up.

There was no distance - it was ‘we’ throughout.

There was no inkling that Wilson was less than one day away from clearing his desk.

Whether he knew that his fate was sealed or not, is unclear. Being a thoroughly decent and professional bloke, it was unlikely that he’d reveal it anyway.

In the short term, Chris Morgan has been given the unenviable task of ensuring United’s season doesn’t finish with a whimper.

The Bramall Lane club have five games left - starting with Swindon on Saturday.

Morgan’s appointment will fire up United’s crowd - fractions of which, mistakenly, thought that Wilson lacked ‘passion’.

But anyone who had met the man knew that was not the case.

The former Sheffield Wednesday player and manager endured a difficult start to his career across the city, with ‘Wilson Out’ protesters gathering the very same day he was appointed.

But he soon won them round - he invited a section into his press conference to speak to them face-to-face, and saw United score 92 goals and amass 90 points en route to a disappointing Play-Off final defeat last May.

That defeat sparked a mass exodus from Bramall Lane, as stars such as Lee Williamson, Matthew Lowton, Nick Montgomery and Stephen Quinn all left.

But still Wilson’s men came back again, and have been genuine promotion contenders all season.

Their automatic promotion credentials have stalled somewhat of late, of course, and Wilson was the first to acknowledge that his side’s lack of goalscoring threat was a concern.

But with United six points behind second place, with two games in hand, they were far from out of it.

That is why the decision is such a brave one. The ‘new manager’ effect could well see United win their next two games, against top-six rivals Swindon and Brentford.

But it is the games following, away against Portsmouth and Crewe and then at home to Preston, which could prove most problematic for Morgan.

If United win their next two games in hand, they could catapult themselves back into the top two.

That is when the pressure will intensify - and three games against bottom-half opposition are anything but bankers.

Will Morgan have the tactical nous to change the game if his side are struggling at a rowdy Fratton Park? Or struggle to break down a stubborn Crewe side at Gresty Road?

Well, the decision has been made - and only time will tell.

What do you think of the decision? Get in touch via email, or tweet your views to @dannyhall04.

United will hold a press conference at Bramall Lane at 1pm, where Chris Morgan, Kevin McCabe and football club chairman Chris Green will address the media. Visit www.thestar.co.uk for more.