DANNY Wilson’s exit from Bramall Lane bears a certain similarity to Sheffield Wednesday’s sacking of Gary Megson.
The Owls were third in the table and had just beaten United in the Hillsborough derby.
But Milan Mandaric’s mind had already been made up: he cited a run of three successive defeats before that, part of a period of two wins in 10 games, as a contributory factor.
It was also not in dispute that the relationship between chairman and manager had broken down.
Megson’s departure on February 29 last year attracted sympathy for him from many fans but by the end of the season his successor was the hero of the hour: Dave Jones led the Owls to the remarkable haul of 10 wins and two draws in the final 12 games of the season and took the club past the Blades and into an automatic promotion place.
Mandaric felt vindicated and has repeatedly argued that he is not an impatient chairman: citing Nigel Pearson, at Leicester, and Harry Redknapp, at Portsmouth, as examples where he stuck by the manager.
But inevitably speculation about Jones’ future started after his unbeaten record came to an end in September and Wednesday suffered six successive defeats.
Mandaric’s response was to stick by the manager and tell The Star: “We’ll turn things around.”
This placing of his cards of the table meant that when the team hit later another bad run, of seven defeats in a row, there was little doubt that Jones was going to stay in charge.
Wednesday lost only one of the subsequent 12 games - and Mandaric knew he had been right to keep faith with Jones.
The chairman said in February: “I resisted those who thought maybe I should make the change. A lot of people labelled me as someone who changed the manager easily, but all my changes were done because it was best for the club.
“One of the positive influences on me not to make the change was not only because I thought it was the right thing to do, but the majority of supporters were calm; they didn’t panic, because I think they trusted me. They knew that I know what needs to be done. It was the right thing to do: Dave is a strong, experienced manager; he’s take us where we need to go.”
Wednesday have now taken 38 points from the last 20 games and could even finish in the top 10.
But Mandaric admits that 10 years ago he probably would have replaced Jones, telling the Sheffield Telegraph before the Wilson news broke: “Sometimes, with experience, you do things differently.“