List of Sheffield United F.C. managers
United were formed in 1889 as an offshoot of the already existing Sheffield United Cricket Club and committee member and club secretary JB Wostinholm was placed in charge of team affairs, thus becoming their first 'manager' (although his official title was 'Club secretary'.) The Blades have since had a further twenty six full-time managers (discounting those appointed on an interim basis), their most recent manager being Nigel Clough who was appointed in 2013.
The clubs most successful manager was John Nicholson who replaced Wostinholm in 1899 and who remained in the post until his death in 1932. Under Nicholson the Blades won the FA Cup four times and established themselves as one of the dominant forces in English football, although winning the Championship for a second time eluded them during that period.
Since Nicholson's death the club have appointed a succession of managers who have enjoyed varying levels of success while the team has generally remained in the top two divisions of English football. The exception was a period of gradual decline during the late 1970s which ultimately saw United relegated to the fourth tier under Martin Peters in 1981. The club recovered and returned to the top flight in 1990 under Dave Bassett.
After a period of relative stability, a chaotic 2010–11 season saw the Blades go through three managers Kevin Blackwell, Gary Speed and Micky Adams as well as John Carver who took charge as acting manager for a number of games, the ultimate result of which saw the side relegated to League One.
The majority of the club's managers have been English, the only exceptions being John Harris, Ian Porterfield, Billy McEwan and David Weir (all from Scotland), Gary Speed (who was Welsh) and Danny Wilson who has represented Northern Ireland at international football. Wilson is also the only person to have been manager of both United and fierce cross-town rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
At its formation in 1889 United did not employ what would today be termed a manager, the side was coached by a trainer and a football committee selected the team and decided upon tactics (this was a continuation of the structure of Sheffield United Cricket Club from which the football team had been formed.)2 They did appoint Joseph Wostinholm to the position of club secretary and he was responsible for the day to day running of the club, matchday organisation and dealing with players and contracts.2 Wostinholm oversaw a period of rapid growth for the team, culminating in 1899 when United won their one and only First Division championship, after which he retired.2 Wostinholm was replaced by John Nicholson as secretary and he would remain in post for over 30 years until his death in 1932.1 Nicholson presided over the most successful period in the club's history as United became a leading force in English football, winning the FA Cup four times and regularly challenged at the top of the league but a second Division One title for the club eluded him.1
Following the death of John Nicholson, who died whilst travelling to an away match in Birmingham,1 the United board turned to Chesterfield manager Teddy Davison to become the club's first real manager.3 The team were in decline however and were soon relegated for the first time in their history.3 Davison gradually rebuilt the side with astute signings and young players and regained top flight status but the clubs post-war financial problems would hamper team building for years to come.3 Davison retired in 1952 and prompted the club to appoint Rotherham United manager Reg Freeman as his successor.4 Freeman stabilised the team but fell ill and died in 1955,4 after which United turned to the inexperienced Joe Mercer but he struggled to cope with a team in decline and departed for Aston Villa in 1958.5 United then appointed Chester manager John Harris who inherited a talented but under performing side which he transformed into a promotion team, returning to Division One in 1961.6 Harris built a side based on local players and stabilised them in the top flight but financial issues soon prompted the sale of key players and United were eventually relegated once more.6 Harris opted to 'move upstairs' to become 'General Manager',6 and handed the role of team manager to Arthur Rowley but he was sacked after one season following disappointing results.7 Harris returned as manager and guided the side to promotion once more but after a good start back in the top flight Harris' confidence faded and he stepped down in 1973 to 'move upstairs' for the second time.6
Experienced Blackburn Rovers manager Ken Furphy was the man United turned to replace John Harris.8 He initially did well but the team was ageing and there was little money to replace players, but after a good finish in his first season a disastrous string of results the following year led to Furphy being sacked in October 1975.8 Jimmy Sirrel was recruited from Notts County but he proved unpopular with both the players and fans and could not halt the decline, overseeing relegation and then being sacked in September 1977 with United at the bottom of Division Two.7 The ambitious and colourful Harry Haslam was then handed the reins and although many of his ideas were ahead of their time he built an ageing side based on 'star' players at the end of their career.9 Now in the Third Division performances deteriorated still further and Haslam stepped down due to illness in January 1981.9 World Cup winner and then United player Martin Peters was promoted to the position of manager but United were relegated to Division Four at the end of the season and Peters resigned.5
With a new ambitious board in place United recruited Ian Porterfield as manager in June 1981.10 He had an immediate impact, winning the Division Four championship in his first season and taking the club back into the second tier two years later on a meagre budget.10 Despite this many fans were unhappy with the style of football and Porterfield was sacked in 1986 following supporter protests.10 Coach Billy McEwan was promoted to the position of manager but failed to improve the standard of play and with attendances falling and the team in danger of relegation once more he was sacked in January 1988.11 United now turned to the colourful character of Dave Bassett who had most recently had a short, unsuccessful spell as manager of Watford.12 It was to prove an astute appointment as although he could not prevent relegation in his first season he built a solid, hard working team on a small budget and won back to back promotions, returning the club to the top flight and achieving regular mid-table finishes.12 With the formation of the Premier League United's old financial problems and willingness to sell star players without replacing them meant the side eventually succumbed to relegation and when an immediate return was not forthcoming Basset was sacked in December 1995.12
The following years proved a turbulent time for United as they chased the ambition of Premiership football.11 Experienced Howard Kendall was recruited as manager and undertook a complete rebuilding of the side but left in June 1997 to take over at Everton.11 Player-coach Nigel Spackman was promoted to replace Kendall but after initial promise he quit after only eight months citing boardroom interference.13 This was to become a recurring theme and replacement Steve Bruce would leave after only one season citing the same reasons.14 Adrian Heath then proved a disastrous appointment and lasted only six months before being sacked with United looking more likely to be relegated than promoted.9 The Blades then turned to experienced lower league manager Neil Warnock who managed to stave off relegation and began to rebuild the side on a meagre budget.15 Warnock proved a divisive figure with fans but after a number of mid-table finishes he achieved promotion back to the Premiership in 2006 but the side were poor the following season and were relegated, prompting the board not to renew Warnock's contract.15
Just like Adrian Heath, the appointment of Bryan Robson in 2007 proved an unpopular and unsuccessful one and he was sacked after less than a year following poor results and intense fan pressure.10 Former assistant manager Kevin Blackwell was appointed as Robson's replacement,16 but despite reaching the play off finals in his first full season the team was obviously in decline and he was sacked after only two games of the 2010–11 season.17 Worse was to come however as player-coach Gary Speed was briefly promoted to manager,18 but left after only a few months to take over the Welsh national side.19 Micky Adams then became the third full-time manager of the season and oversaw a disastrous run of results which saw United relegated and Adams sacked after only six months in charge.2021 With United in the third tier once more Danny Wilson was appointed as manager in June 2011, despite protests from United fans over his previous association with cross-town rivals Sheffield Wednesday.22 He guided the club to the League One play off final in his first full season in charge, losing to Huddersfield Town. Despite the club challenging for promotion the following season, a poor run of results led to Wilson's departure in April 2013, 23 being replaced by Chris Morgan until the end of the season.23 After a long search for a new boss former Scotland defender David Weir was appointed as Wilson's long-term replacement.24 His tenure was short-lived however, as he was sacked the following October after winning only one game from thirteen in charge.25 After Chris Morgan had overseen the team for a brief time, Nigel Clough was appointed as Weir's permanent successor in October 2013.26
- As of 31 December 2013
|J.B. Wostinholm27 (secretary)||England||22 March 1889||31 May 1899||233||103||54||76||44.21%|
|John Nicholson28 (secretary)||England||1 June 1899||23 April 1932||1,216||486||281||449||39.97%|
|Teddy Davison29||England||15 June 1932||30 June 1952||592||248||139||205||41.89%|
|Reg Freeman30||England||1 August 1952||4 August 1955||132||54||30||48||40.91%|
|Joe Mercer31||England||18 August 1955||25 December 1958||156||64||35||57||41.03%|
|Archie Clark32 (acting)||England||25 December 1958||13 April 1959||20||13||2||5||65%|
|John Harris33||Scotland||13 April 1959||11 July 1968||424||174||102||148||41.04%|
|Arthur Rowley34||England||11 July 1968||6 August 1969||43||16||11||16||37.21%|
|John Harris33||Scotland||6 August 1969||5 December 1973||188||84||45||59||44.68%|
|Ken Furphy35||England||7 December 1973||6 October 1975||80||27||22||31||33.75%|
|Cec Coldwell36 (acting)||England||6 October 1975||16 October 1975||1||1||0||0||100%|
|Jimmy Sirrel37||England||16 October 1975||27 September 1977||81||20||23||38||24.69%|
|Cec Coldwell38 (acting)||England||27 September 1977||26 January 1978||20||9||5||6||40%|
|Harry Haslam39||England||26 January 1978||16 January 1981||158||50||40||68||31.65%|
|Martin Peters40||England||18 January 1981||30 May 1981||16||3||6||7||18.75%|
|Ian Porterfield41||Scotland||6 June 1981||27 March 1986||226||98||58||70||43.36%|
|Billy McEwan42||Scotland||27 March 1986||2 January 1988||86||27||25||34||31.4%|
|Dave Bassett43||England||21 January 1988||12 December 1995||393||150||101||142||38.17%|
|Howard Kendall44||England||13 December 1995||27 June 1997||82||34||27||21||41.46%|
|Nigel Spackman45||England||27 June 1997||2 March 1998||43||20||17||6||46.51%|
|Russell Slade46 (acting)||England||2 March 1998||9 March 1998||2||0||1||1||0%|
|Steve Thompson47 (acting)||England||9 March 1998||2 July 1998||17||5||6||6||29.41%|
|Steve Bruce48||England||2 July 1998||17 May 1999||55||22||15||18||40%|
|Adrian Heath49||England||15 June 1999||23 November 1999||22||7||5||10||31.82%|
|Russell Slade46 (acting)||England||23 November 1999||2 December 1999||2||0||1||1||0%|
|Neil Warnock50||England||2 December 1999||16 May 2007||388||165||100||123||42.53%|
|Bryan Robson51||England||22 May 2007||14 February 2008||38||14||12||12||36.84%|
|Kevin Blackwell52||England||14 February 2008||14 August 2010||125||53||36||36||42.4%|
|Gary Speed53||Wales||17 August 2010||14 December 2010||18||6||9||3||33.33%|
|John Carver54 (acting)||England||14 December 2010||30 December 2010||3||1||2||0||33.33%|
|Micky Adams55||England||30 December 2010||10 May 2011||24||4||15||5||16.67%|
|Danny Wilson56||Northern Ireland||27 May 2011||10 April 2013||106||55||31||20||51.89%|
|Chris Morgan (acting)57||England||10 April 2013||10 June 2013||7||2||2||3||28.57%|
|David Weir58||Scotland||10 June 2013||11 October 2013||13||1||2||10||7.69%|
|Chris Morgan (acting)59||England||11 October 2013||23 October 2013||3||1||1||1||33.33%|
|Nigel Clough60||England||23 October 2013||Present||12||6||4||2||50%|
Archie Clark was the first person to be officially appointed assistant manager of Sheffield United in 1958.61 Since then United have appointed a further 24 people to the position, with Gary Crosby62 post holder.note 1 Of the club's assistant managers, four of them (Martin Peters, Adrian Heath, Nigel Spackman and Kevin Blackwell) were subsequently appointed to the position of manager on a full–time basis, while a further three (Archie Clark, Cec Coldwell twice and Russell Slade twice) took the role on a caretaker basis. Steve Thompson made the reverse transition, having a spell as acting manager in 1997 before being appointed as joint assistant manager to Steve Bruce a year later.63
- At various points there have been more than one person with the title of assistant manager employed at a single time.
- Adam Owen's full job title was 'Assistant Manager - Performance'. Lee Carsley's full job title was 'Assistant Manager - Technical
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 392.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 396.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, pp. 19–20.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 20.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 24.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 21.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 26.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, pp. 20–21.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 22.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 25.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 23.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 18.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, pp. 26–27.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 19.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 28.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, pp. 18–19.
- "Club statement – Saturday". Sheffield United - The Official Website. 15 August 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Sheffield United announce Gary Speed as new manager". BBC Sport. 17 August 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Gary Speed confirmed as new Wales manager". The Guardian. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Micky Adams confirmed as Sheffield United manager". BBC Sport. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Sheffield United sack manager Micky Adams". BBC Sport. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Danny Wilson's Sheffield United appointment greeted with protests". The Guardian. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Club Statement". Sheffield United F.C. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- "David Weir: Sheffield United appoint Everton coach as boss". BBC Sport. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "Manager Weir departs as Blades Boss". Sheffield United F.C. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
- "Nigel Clough appointed". Sheffield United F.C. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- J.B. Wostinholm management career stats at Soccerbase
- John Nicholson management career stats at Soccerbase
- Teddy Davison management career stats at Soccerbase
- Reg Freeman management career stats at Soccerbase
- Joe Mercer management career stats at Soccerbase
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2012, pp. 406–407.
- John Harris management career stats at Soccerbase
- Arthur Rowley management career stats at Soccerbase
- Ken Furphy management career stats at Soccerbase
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2012, pp. 440–441.
- Jimmy Sirrel management career stats at Soccerbase
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2012, pp. 444–445.
- Harry Haslam management career stats at Soccerbase
- Martin Peters management career stats at Soccerbase
- Ian Porterfield management career stats at Soccerbase
- Billy McEwan management career stats at Soccerbase
- Dave Bassett management career stats at Soccerbase
- Howard Kendall management career stats at Soccerbase
- Nigel Spackman management career stats at Soccerbase
- Russell Slade management career stats at Soccerbase
- Steve Thompson management career stats at Soccerbase
- Steve Bruce management career stats at Soccerbase
- Adrian Heath management career stats at Soccerbase
- Neil Warnock management career stats at Soccerbase
- Bryan Robson management career stats at Soccerbase
- Kevin Blackwell management career stats at Soccerbase
- Gary Speed management career stats at Soccerbase
- John Carver management career stats at Soccerbase
- Micky Adams management career stats at Soccerbase
- Danny Wilson management career stats at Soccerbase
- Chris Morgan management career stats at Soccerbase
- David Weir management career stats at Soccerbase
- Chris Morgan management career stats at Soccerbase
- Nigel Clough management career stats at Soccerbase
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, pp. 388–389.
- "Co-owners praise Morgs". Sheffield United F.C. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 27.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 388.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 393.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 86.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 391.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 108.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 395.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 389.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 394.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 190.
- Clarebrough and Kirkham 2008, p. 95.
- "McCall misses out on Blades post". BBC Sport. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Kidd snubs Sunderland for Blades". BBC Sport. 11 September 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Blackwell in for Robson at Blades". BBC Sport. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Sheffield United name Frank Barlow as assistant manager". BBC Sport. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Promotion is the aim". Sheffield United FC Official Web Site. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Weir recruits assistant". Sheffield United FC Official Web Site. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- "Carsley joins backroom team". Sheffield United FC Official Web Site. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.