Sheffield United are said to be interested in appointing a League One club’s boss, according to the ever reliable website The Athletic.
The Blades are getting ready for life back in the Championship after their relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on Saturday evening following defeat to Wolves at Molineux.
A disappointing season has seen them pick up just 14 points from 32 Premier League fixtures, and they will now look to appoint a permanent successor to Chris Wilder with Paul Heckingbottom unlikely to stay in charge.
Sheffield United caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom insists the Blades need clarity to move forward.
Heckingbottom has been in charge since Chris Wilder left in March, while chairman Prince Musaad Bin Khalid Al Saud made the surprise resignation for personal reasons on Friday and the interim manager knows planning is vital.
“We should have certainly had something out of the game. It typifies our season if i’m honest.”
Paul Heckingbottom’s immediate reaction.pic.twitter.com/l2VFdGsACH
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) April 17, 2021
He said: ‘That’s what you want as a club, the direction comes from above and then everyone falls into line after that. Those decisions are really important. Discussions and decisions are being made and that clarity is important.
‘There will be people knocking the door down to be the man to bring Sheffield United back.
‘Promotion has to be the goal for the club. The journey, of four or five years, started at the bottom end of League One.
‘We are now starting from a better position, financially stronger and with much more experience in the squad. Everyone will be committed to going straight back up.
‘It’s everyone’s careers at stake, personal pride. They have to take control of their own performances. The fight and spirit is there, we have just been short.
‘There has been a lot of hurt in the dressing room for a long time because there have been a lot of games like that this season. It encapsulates the season.’
“It’s a really disappointing day, especially for the fans. It’s their football club, we all try to buy into that.”
John Egan’s reaction. pic.twitter.com/0mI3bcaWa0
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) April 17, 2021
The Athletic claim that the club’s hierarchy are sounding out potential candidates, with Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton said to be attracting admiring glances.
Appleton has been in charge of the Imps since September 2019, steering them to 16th in the 2019/20 League One campaign before the season was curtailed.
This season, however, he’s impressing many, turn Lincoln into promotion contenders with the Championship in sight, his side sitting fourth in the League One table, 10 points off second with a game in hand.
Had it not been for their disappointing home form, they really could have stormed it this season.
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Appleton signed a new four-year deal at Sincil Bank in February and it would require a significant compensation fee to let him leave the club.
The manager had temporary spell in caretaker charge at West Brom following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo back in 2011, before they then went with Roy Hodgson.
He also won promotion from League Two and reached the Checkatrade Trophy Final (lost to Barnsley) in his second season with Oxford United back in 2016.
His third season saw him take the U’s to 8th in League One (four points short of the playoffs) and made another Checkatrade Trophy Final (lost to Coventry).
Back in February 2021, Michael Appleton insisted he is still in the “early stages” of his Lincoln City masterplan as he responded to speculation linking him with the vacant manager’s job at Bristol City. He’s since also been linked with Preston and West Brom.
Appleton insists he has happy at Lincoln and says the speculation should be seen a compliment for the whole club.
“It not just be a compliment for me, but for everyone at the club, in terms of staff, players and board,” he told LincolnshireLive after the 2-1 win at Wigan which kept City at the top of the League One table.
“The reality is, when you get linked to a really good jobs like that, it’s because you’re doing well. Listen, it’s not just about me, it’s about everyone who was out there today, staff included.
“I’m enjoying what I’m doing here with Lincoln. We’re in a fantastic position. That’s not something I’m looking to step away from.
“We are where we are for a reason, because we’ve been very consistent,” added Appleton, whose Imps contract runs until June 2023.
“As I said at the start of the season, it’s a process, a process of getting better and better and progressing through the weeks, the months and the years.
“Hopefully we’re still in the early stages. If that’s the case, we’ve got a lot of growth ahead – and if we’ve got a lot of growth while fighting at the top of the league, it’s shows you how far we can go.”
NEXT MANAGER ODDS:
Alexander Blessin – 2/1
John Terry – 6/1
Paul Heckingbottom – 8/1
Slavisa Jokanovic – 8/1
Eddie Howe – 12/1
Jason Tindall – 12/1
Will Michael Appleton be swayed by offers from other clubs no doubt set to come in this summer or will he stick by his current club?
With Sheffield United interested in appointing the League One boss, fans reacted on the club’s relegation…
Pain but get the fuck in, no VAR, no corrupt biased shit, just proper football and proper fans. I’ll love you no matter what happens❤️⚔️
— Emma (@emmautbx) April 17, 2021
@cbabs_90: just 14 pts after 32 games, that’s abysmal sheffield
@vinceandpen: Funniest thing is they have got rid of the manager who could have brought them back up…….
@daisyproperties: Down. No way this set up can come back next season. Need new manager. New owner. New investment. #sufc #twitterblades
@WaynePickerin19: A team who have been really affected by no fans, real shame to lose them great away day and a proper ground.
@hoppo78: Cannot wait to be back in the ground, new start, new manager, new style of play, majority of the best players kept, a few youngsters promoted and a few new signings. An exciting season beckons! #UTB #twitterblades
@levesley_connor: The inevitable has finally happened. Now go and find another manager early doors get him settled in for next season quickly. #sufc
@FPL_Blade: Glad it’s over with finally. Worst year of my life watching Blades but it came after 4 best years ever watching my Blades. Got to take the ups with the downs. Hoping we can get new manager in, fans back, no VAR and bounce back next season. #SUFC #UTB
@ashleynunn_: Fair play to Heckingbottom don’t envy him at all, he obviously wants to go back to U23’s where he’s comfortable and i have no problem with that. Time to get the new gaffer in and treat these last games as a pre season and get ready for next season #twitterblades
@sargeant_carl: And that completes the year of pure misery. When football was meant to be a release from everything we’re dealing with right now,the players and coaching staff including manager have failed to show up,to fight, or give anything back to the club and it’s supporters. Disgrace #SUFC
@Cordeliassmile: Absolutely piss poor season at every level (transfers, boardroom, manager, players). Fucking embarrassing. Oh and I don’t buy this “not in it for the glory” crap. I want glory for SUFC. #SUFC #twitterblades
@scottperrins1: No matter what any fan of Sheffield United says seeing us get relegated hits you hard and if it doesn’t you’re not a proper blade, we don’t know when we’ll be back but I can assure you we all have memories we can share for decades! United through and through! #sufc #twitterblades
@SharonKnowles6: As a Leeds fan I hope you bounce straight back – for me the more clubs from Yorkshire to the top flight the better – & there is nothing better than a Yorkshire derby when the fans are in the ground.
@PaulBramall1: Don’t buy into the ‘proper football’ next season, proper football in my book is played in front of a full ground, watching the best sides in the country n absolutely loving watching your team. Yes VAR is toss but give me Man City over Luton. Hope we get back ASAP #twitterblades
@sclare2805: First relegation that hasn’t felt emotional! Been coming for a long while now but just doesn’t feel the same not being able to be there in person. Didn’t/don’t really care what division I watch us in, I’ll always be there regardless. ALL BLADES AREN’T WE?
@freddiehiggins_: Even as Leeds fan I hope to see Sheffield United back. They actually showed some ambition. Good luck lads
@danbullock: I know PH isn’t the king of charisma but I do like how he stopped himself picking out names, as he nearly did. Showed a lot of professionalism in a really difficult situation. We’ve got to just look ahead now, & get some creativity in this Blades team!
@1LesleyAshford: Someone should have told fleck we are officially relegated then maybe he wouldn’t have been joking and laughing at the final whistle! I mean we all knew it was coming but WTF
@LucaM_FFC: Pretty sad to see Sheffield United relegated, they’re a great club with very passionate fans. In a few weeks this probably will be us…not looking forward to the moment
@ManCitehzen: sheffield united relegated, been a good run from them tbf. Would never have expected them to come up to begin with, and for them to perform like they did last season was immense. good luck to them in the championship, and hopefully they don’t fall into a downward spiral
@hegan_steve: Good riddance!
@BristolOli: Great Club- Haven’t spent what they didn’t have – They will be back
Look on the bright side…
Most Exciting League in the World ✅
No VAR ✅
No Top 6 “Experts” ✅
— Ben Lambert (@benlambert514) April 17, 2021
Congrats! You guys stayed up on the worst call in football history. Blades are going down, thanks Sherlock!!
— Matthew (@MatthewMoscot) April 17, 2021
We’ve not been good enough… but looking on the bright side if it takes us a year, 12 or 20 at least they might have sorted out (binned) VAR by then or at as a minimum made it less blatant that there are a different set of guidelines for 20% of the league🤷🏻♂️ #sufc #twitterblades pic.twitter.com/nj81DLl5TN
— ⒶⓡⓣⓨⒷⓘⓐⓝⓒⓞ (@ArtyBianco) April 18, 2021