Sheffield United are plotting a ‘Norwich approach’ after Wolves confirmed they would fall back to the championship
Sheffield United plotted a ‘Norwich approach’ after Wolves confirmed to fall back to the Championship … but how did the Blades go from scaring the Big Six to THIS?
- Wolves confirmed Sheffield United’s relegation with a 1-0 victory on Saturday
- Last season, the Blades fought for a Champions League collapse
- They now have to plan for the championship and avoid relegation again
- Caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom wants to copy Norwich City’s strategy
A broken locker room, an aging crew, not a leader-like figure on the sidelines. The investigation started at Sheffield United with many questions to answer. Does anyone have Chris Wilder’s number?
Saturday night’s 1-0 defeat at Wolves, courtesy of a Willian Jose goal, confirmed that the Blades joined Huddersfield (2019), Derby (2008) and Ipswich (1995) after relegating only 32 games – no club is the Premier League has played fewer games.
Relegation is a lonely place at the best of times. But at an empty Molineux it was a rather creepy exit, as if they had left the party without saying goodbye.
Sheffield United’s relegation was confirmed on Saturday-evening with a 1-0 defeat to Wolves
Willian Jose’s goal sent the Blades back to the championship after barely fighting a fight
When the post-mortem on Bramall Lane is completed, they may conclude that it was “ second-season syndrome ” after finishing ninth final term. But it is deeper than that.
How can a team go from playing an exciting soccer game that scared many of the big boys to this mess on and off the field?
“It’s a real shame we didn’t have the fans to help us out,” said Janitor Paul Heckingbottom. “It’s been a sad end to an incredible four or five years.”
It’s a good point. A full Bramall Lane was a scary prospect for any team. Most fans would have played in the Premier League for two seasons if they had offered it a few years ago.
Last season, United caused a headache at the Big Six, but they were a pushover this season
But those supporters will be embarrassed by the way their party went without a fight.
Injuries are another reason – star defender Jack O’Connell missed most of the season after knee surgery, while Sander Berge’s hamstring problems were frustrating.
Dean Henderson’s return to Manchester United was also felt, with Aaron Ramsdale not replacing the impressive presence of Old Trafford’s new No. 1.
Winning the race for £ 23 million Rhian Brewster’s signature was seen by many at the start of the season as a coup. But his target number speaks volumes: a big, fat zero.
“The journey now begins again with the financial advantage of two seasons in the Premier League,” added Heckingbottom. ‘Keeping the selection together is a priority.’
Aaron Ramsdale has made a bad replacement for Manchester United star Dean Henderson
Caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom believes Sheffield United should copy Norwich’s strategy
When Wilder took over, the club languished in League One. Now they are entering the new era in the level playing field of the second tier, as Heckingbottom put it. So from here it goes two ways.
Are the Blades capitulating to the bottom of the championship and beyond, as Sunderland, Huddersfield, Hull and many others have done in recent years? Or are they smart about recruiting and can they bounce back like Norwich has already done and Watford seems ready?
“I wholeheartedly agree with Norwich’s approach,” Heckingbottom said. ‘That’s good management and a good strategy. Any club can do that, maybe not very well, but that must be the goal. ‘
The club will appoint a new boss and will not give Heckingbottom the full-time role, with an announcement set to be made in the coming weeks. “It’s a fantastic club with the ambition to come back,” added Heckingbottom.
“There will be people knocking on the door pretending to be the man who will bring Sheffield United back.”