Sheffield United: New Lane manager happy to follow the United blueprint

David Weir. 'Pic : Martyn Harrison'.
David Weir. 'Pic : Martyn Harrison'.

Julian Winter, Sheffield United’s chief executive, says David Weir has embraced moves to restructure the club’s footballing operations.

Weir, the former Scotland, Everton and Glasgow Rangers centre-half, was appointed manager a fortnight ago following a protracted search for Danny Wilson’s replacement.

United, who announced a series of efficiency measures after being beaten in last season’s League One play-off semi-finals, have made a series of key additions to their sporting department in recent months with the likes of John Stephenson, Nick Cox and Tony Walmsley handed influential positions at both academy and senior level.

But Weir’s decision to endorse their presence means Bramall Lane will avoid another potentially costly churn in personnel, as well as ensuring relations between dressing room and boardroom remain cordial.

“David has been in a certain environment at Everton,” Winter said. “He wants to operate with a group of people supporting him and we are not a million miles away from that.

“He’s very professional.”

Winter, who revealed Weir had presented a “very similar” framework of ideas during interviews for the post, rubber-stamped Weir’s decision to recruit Adam Owen as an assistant manager last week.

Previously head of sports science at Glasgow Rangers, Owen’s portfolio includes special responsibility for performance.

“David is very methodical,” Winter added. “Including when it comes to areas such as sports science, medical provision and fitness. He sets the bar very high when it comes to standards.”

The construction of a football department, headed by Stephenson, has proven one of the most successful decisions taken by United’s hierarchy of late.

Responsible for recommending signings such as Nick Blackman, Shaun Miller and Darryl Westlake to Weir’s predecessor, its staff have demonstrated an ability to deliver both ability and value for money in an increasingly congested transfer market.

However, Weir, who spent 16 months polishing his coaching skills on Everton’s backroom staff before becoming a manager in his own right, will retain the final say on all acquisitions.

The department merely compiles and then maintains a detailed database on players who might later emerge as targets.

This information is then placed at the manager’s disposal should he decide to recruit externally rather than promote from within.

With Salary Cost Management Protocol, which prohibits United from spending more than 60 per cent of their turnover on salaries, accentuating the loss of revenue caused by May’s defeat by Yeovil Town, Winter recently conceded they must become “more imaginative” in terms of recruitment.

Weir has also signalled his intention to improve “the pathway” into the first team for graduates of United’s Redtooth Academy.

Elliott Whitehouse, Terry Kennedy, Jahmal Smith and Jordan Hodder were among those youngsters offered new contracts last week.

Winter said: “You always want a manager who is able to embrace the football club as a whole. And that’s a very sizeable thing. It’s also why we were so pleased to be able to bring David here.”