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Sheffield United barking mad to sack Danny Wilson, says Jeff Stelling

Jeff Stelling - Jeff Stelling Posted 11th April 2013 view comments

The end of the football season is in sight and when it does arrive I fancy there will be a lot of football managers breathing a sigh of relief to have got there.

I say that after the most barking-mad sacking of a crazy season so far - and there have been a lot of contenders!

The dismissals of Nigel Adkins, Brian McDermott, Martin O'Neill and Michael Appleton (although anything seems to go at Blackburn) were bewildering, but Sheffield United's decision to get rid of Danny Wilson shocked me to my very soul.

Danny Wilson: suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Crawley in his last game in charge

Danny Wilson: suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Crawley in his last game in charge

Danny not only guided the Blades to the play-off final last season - where they lost on penalties - but has steered the club to six points off an automatic promotion spot in League One with two games in hand despite losing the goals of Ched Evans and Nick Blackman, who was sold to Reading in the transfer window.


I know United's results have been indifferent recently and that they are struggling to score goals, but I know Danny and he is one of the most knowledgeable and dignified men in football. He deserves better treatment.

People think football managers earn too much money but, goodness me, their business can be a precarious one. As professions go, it's more high risk than being a trapeze artist.

Jeff Stelling
Quotes of the week


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I also understand the need for clubs of the stature of Sheffield United to get back to a higher level but the simple fact is that not everybody can go up.

There are lots of big clubs in that division and none of them have a divine right to win promotion but United have still got a chance!

I wonder what the players - a lot of whom Danny has brought in - must be thinking because the sacking smacks of panic.

I've got nothing against Chris Morgan, who I hope does really well while he's in charge, but it's hard to see how he's not on a hiding to nothing.

You understand these types of decisions to a degree when a manager in charge of a relegation-threatened team get shown the door, but when it's someone whose side is chasing promotion it's hard to fathom.

It means that outside of Sir Alex Ferguson, virtually nobody is secure in their job as I'm sure Roberto Di Matteo - a Champions League winner - would testify.

People think football managers earn too much money but, goodness me, their business can be a precarious one. As professions go, it's more high risk than being a trapeze artist.


Stoke boss Tony Pulis understands the business as well as anyone and I'm sure he's more concerned for the club than his own position at present.

Last week I suggested that Stoke would be right in the thick of the relegation battle if they lost to Aston Villa and so it has transpired.

Fortunately he's got a hugely-supportive owner in Peter Coates, who has backed him to the hilt and I would be astonished if he didn't continue to do so.

He's said before that 'Stoke have had seven years of success with Tony - you can't cast that aside for the sake of a few difficult weeks', which is what it has been.

I don't expect them to get anything from Manchester United on Super Sunday and there is no doubt that they've got huge problems.

There's also no doubt that a section of the fans have turned against Tony but at this stage of the season they are still in a lot better position than Reading, QPR, Wigan or Sunderland.

Stoke just have to stand by their man and maintain the trust that they've had in him in years gone by because what can any manager truly achieve when they come in at this stage of the season?

Sunderland and Sheffield United have taken that gamble but they are stuck with the players that they've got; it's simply a question of whether the new gaffer can motivate the team more successfully than their predecessors. It's a tough ask.

Stoke's form overall has been cause for concern, but their away form in particular has been desperately poor. They find themselves in a 'Catch-22' because the more they try to shore things up at the back, the more isolated their lone striker becomes.

It strikes me that whoever is playing in that position often finds himself playing 30 yards in front of anybody else. Even if the lone striker was Lionel Messi, he'd struggle to score goals in that sort of system.

For the record I think Tony will resolve what is a difficult situation and Stoke won't go down.

Jeff's Gem of the Week

Let me take you back to last Friday and Port Vale's 7-1 victory over Burton Albion... Port Vale have stuck with Micky Adams even though it hasn't always been easy and the team has suffered some dips in form. But I think his job is secure for a bit longer after such a thumping win over their promotion rivals! You can draw plenty of comparisons between Micky and Martin Allen, not least the fact that both men are feisty, passionate managers who wear their hearts on their sleeve and they are both enjoying their rewards this season. Tom Pope has had a quiet spell for Port Vale over the last couple of weeks but judged on the season as a whole he has been a revelation. I'm pleased to see Micky do well because, like Danny Wilson, he's one of the game's good guys.

To find out more about Jeff's Mount Kilimanjaro climb - in aid of the Finlay Cooper fund - click here .

The easiest way to donate is to visit and search for Jeff's name. Any donations large or small will be more than welcome.

Comments (4)

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Steve Ducker (Sheffield United fan) says...

Totally agree with Jeff as a Blade of 53 years it is one of the worst sackings by United ever. The board should go after all the cuts Wilson was asked to make and the selling of the better players what price the 1.5 million from Reading if we don't make promotion. Same when they sold Walker & Naughton to Spurs 5 million followed by relegation, McCabe you should be sacked for poor judgment.

Posted 21:29 13th April 2013

Martin Waite (Sheffield United fan) says...

Sorry Jeff this article shows you have looked at the league table and a few results and written an article about Wilson's sacking. The nature of the performances, his reticence to change a team that isn't performing and only allowing some of the better players into the team when no other option is available (Long, Miller) have all had the fans banging their heads on the wall in desperation long before Wilson parted company with United. Morgan's appointment isn't ideal for him or the team however it has given the fans a modicum of hope. With Wilson it would've been the play offs and an exit in the first fixture for sure.

Posted 08:40 13th April 2013

Michael Dixon (Sunderland fan) says...

No disrespect to Jeff but I cannot, as a regular supporter, agree with him when he says that Martin O'Neill's dismissal at Sunderland was "bewildering." On the contrary it was essential and I go to most matches. Sad to say because no-one was happier when Martin arrived at the Club and he saved us from likely relegation under Steve Bruce. But something was going terribly wrong and he seemed to have little idea on how to arrest the slump. Sometimes a manager has to go and this was one example. Just ask the fans.

Posted 18:16 12th April 2013

Rowan Thompson (Sheffield United fan) says...

McCabe's decision to sack wilson was purely based on the fans reaction to the tuesday night defeat to Crawley. I went to the match and the fans were calling for Wilson's blood. This happened with Blackwell and Adams; once the manger loses the fans McCabe will beckon to their call and sack whoever is unlucky enough to be manager at the time.(sheffield united fan)

Posted 21:31 11th April 2013

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