WHAT PRICE loyalty? Sheffield United's Chris Basham today sings the praises of his new manager in local newspaper The Star.
Under the headline 'Adkins is the right choice' the paper reported that Basham "has described the appointment of Nigel Adkins as the final piece in Sheffield United's promotion jigsaw."
Nothing wrong with that. I along with many others agree with him. The midfielder's gushing appraisal of the man who picks the team, is somewhat devalued however by his comments on the back page of the same paper just 12 weeks earlier.
'Back the boss' it screamed. "Chris Basham has insisted that Nigel Clough is the manager best equipped to restore Sheffield United's Championship status after confirming that he retains the full support of Bramall Lane's first team squad."
"He deserves to see the job through. We've had a great season," said Basham in the wake of the play-off semi-final defeat. By way of offering an explanation for United's poor form at home, he reached for the old chestnut "teams come to Bramall Lane seeing it as their cup final". Yawn.
Now he says "we've got a manager who has been there, seen it and done it from top to bottom. I think that's really important, I really do".
If Basham was a teenager he might be forgiven for his readiness to sound as enthusiastic about his new boss as he was for the old one. But he is 27. Hardly wet behind the ears. It appears that Basham knows only to well the value of praising the man who is responsible for his continued employment and well-being. We've all worked with them. Blissfully unaware of how transparent they really are. The player, it appears, feels the need to sing the praises of whoever is in charge more loudly than anyone else. There is a reason for that and it impresses nobody.
Basham is set to play an influential midfield role for United this season and is one of a core group of players to have caught the eye of Adkins who describes them as his leadership group. I, for one, will be backing Basham all they way. But I wouldn't want him beside me in the trenches.
The author of both articles, James Shield, who was so upset by Clough's dismissal, he did his job and voiced a strong opinion. Really, I'm not making it up. The wrong one in my view but good journalism all the same.
The same Shield who chose not to report the divisiveness of Clough's regime when he was there. I wonder why? After Clough was sacked, Shield dismissed United as "a club thrashing around in the dark hoping to find an escape route into the Championship".
The "ownership structure" was described as having "a thoroughly lamentable track record of capriciousness and incongruity (oh dear, and he was doing so well) which, more than anything else explains why United are still in League One". He added: "What they don't have is a strategy."
Shield, too, seems to be having a memory lapse. He reported on Monday: "Unless they are about to adopt a completely different approach during Saturday's visit to Gillingham and beyond, the indications are that United will try and blaze the trail into the Championship.
"Be proactive rather than reactive. Attempt to stamp their authority on a division containing some talented squads but very few big names.
"Which bodes well for the future and should ensure after being accused of lacking flamboyance last term, they take their supporters with them too."
That is before a ball has been kicked in anger. How long before we are reading what a bold and courageous decision the 'capricious and incongruous ownership structure' made in ridding the club of Clough's negative, petty and parochial ways in favour of a man who knows how to get the job done?
Basham and Shield should get on well together.