By Laurie Fitzgerald
As Gary Speed looks set to take the reign as the Welsh national boss in the next few days, it has left Sheffield United looking for their third manager of the season.
However, while it may be seen as a loss by some (losing any manager is disruptive to a team’s campaign) in the cold light of day it might be seen as a blessing in disguise by Blades fans.
Speed took over from Kevin Blackwell after their 3-0 home defeat to QPR in August, and Chairman Kevin McCabe was hoping for some fresh impetus being created by the Welshman.
However, the 41 year-old has not had the desired effect. United currently lie in 20th position, just a point clear of the relegation zone and 11 points away from the play-off positions.
His record at Bramall Lane is unspectacular, with the team losing half of his 18 matches in charge.
Now this is not to say that Speed won’t make a good manager; far from it. He has the capabilities of becoming a very good one. He comes across as an intelligent person, and has the experience within the game to hold him in good stead within his managerial career.
But it is always difficult learning your trade at such a high level to begin with. Many managers start in League 1 or 2, but taking over a side that is struggling for confidence in the Championship is a harsh environment for any manager, and needs someone with the experience in this kind of situation to turn things round.
There is no reason with the right appointment that the Blades can’t get their season back on track. Having the likes of Leon Britton and Andy Reid within your midfield is a fantastic platform to have, while they have goals in their side in the likes of Darius Henderson, Richard Cresswell, Ched Evans and Daniel Bogdanovic – despite scoring just 16 goals so far.
If the new manager can get things right in front of goal and get the very best out of the likes of Britton and Reid (however long his loan spell lasts at Bramall Lane) then Sheffield United should start climbing the table.
While Speed may end up flourishing in charge of his national side, his first managerial challenge did not bring out the best in either himself or the team.
So what are your thoughts? Is Speed a big loss to Sheffield United? Or are you glad to see him go? Who do you want to be the next manager at Bramall Lane? Let us know.