CAST you mind back to April 10, 2013. The previous night Sheffield United had lost 2-0 at home to Crawley, leaving the Blades fifth in the League One table with four matches remaining. The board regarded that a precarious enough position to sack manager Danny Wilson.
Seventy points had been amassed, eight short of leaders Doncaster and four clear of seventh place. Wilson’s record in his final 12 matches read won six, drawn four, lost two. During that run United had kept eight clean sheets. Since arriving at the Lane a little short of one year and 11 months earlier, Wilson’s win percentage was 51.89%. To date that is the best achieved by any manager at the Lane.
I think you probably know where I am going with this. United currently stand fifth in the table with seven matches remaining. Sixty-one points have been collected, 23 behind leaders Bristol City, 13 behind Preston in the second automatic promotion place and five clear of seventh place. In the last 12 matches, Clough’s record reads won five, drawn four, lost four and two clean sheets. Clough’s win percentage stands at 49.47%, to date the second best in United’s history.
In Wilson’s first season in charge, he guided United to a play-off final against Huddersfield at Wembley despite losing goalscoring talisman Ched Evans, jailed for rape, in the final weeks of the season. United had accumulated 90 points and scored 92 goals but still finished third.
Clough began his job in late October 2013 and from a desperate position at the foot of the table took the Blades to seventh, seven points short of the play-offs. United also produced a remarkable FA Cup run which ended in a semi-final at Wembley where they were beaten 5-3 by Hull City.
In their own ways Clough and Wilson have remarkably similar records, yet Wilson wasn’t allowed to see the job through. I’m not advocating the same fate should be met by Clough. But it does beg the question if Clough is allowed to at least see the conclusion to this campaign, by inference is that an admission the Board were wrong to sack Wilson? And if not, why not?
Just a thought.