Writing was on the wall for Sheffield United's long-suffering fans even before a ball had been kicked in anger at Bramall Lane


SHEFFIELD UNITED fans were told what to expect. Reading Post journalist Jonathan Low delivered his appraisal ten months ago after observing Nigel Adkins at the Madejski Stadium during 21 months in charge before Reading sacked him. With the benefit of 10 months worth of experience for themselves, Blades fans will find Low's verdict so accurate it's spooky.

1. Endless enthusiasm and positivity.

Whatever the time of day, Adkins' overwhelming positivity on the world shines through even amid the darkest of times.

It's great in one sense, as there are far too many people who complain about this, that and the other. So to come across a person with such a refreshing outlook on the world can only be, well, positive. However, after a while it can get rather tedious to say the least, especially when results aren't going your way. Just ask Reading FC journalists and supporters alike.

2. Lots of words with little substance.

Adkins does like the sound of his own voice and he wants everyone to hear it, no matter what's said. Blades fans expect lengthy interviews and Press conferences when your new manager speaks.

He does like to talk and talk and talk and talk. Unfortunately a lot of the time, it's often very mundane stuff and there's very little to it. So essentially he does have a tendency to divulge into a whole world of footballing matters and issues which are affecting a wide range of people without really quite explaining clearly and succinctly what he's trying to say.

3. A smart, slick appearance.

The former goalkeeper does like a sharp look, no more so than on a match day when he's on the sidelines, urging his team on.

Adkins is certainly no tracksuit manager, he goes all out on the shirt, tie and jacket.
If you do mistake him for a Hugo Boss model, that will be perfectly understandable. Other men's fashion brands are available.

4. A team which will retain the ball at every cost.

Well, they will try to do this a much as possible. Be prepared for lots and lots of passing and expect every player - even the goalkeeper - to attempt a pass along the ground at every opportunity.

None of this hoof-ball stuff. Whether it works or not, only time will tell. It will be down to the players more than anything. It worked for Adkins at Scunthorpe and Southampton, but not at Reading.

5. A decent manager with a proven promotion track record.

For all of his faults, Adkins' track record is pretty decent. It's fair to say things just didn't go for him at Reading but there's no doubting his success with the two clubs before that.

He achieved promotion from League One twice with Scunthorpe United, and took Southampton from League One into the Premier League in successive seasons. So that's three promotions from the third tier which is not bad going.

Blades fans, get your hopes up!