Celtic’s managerial hunt might be about to come to an end, with sources south of the border claiming that Chris Wilder, the current boss at Sheffield United, is locked in talks with both clubs as they seek to thrash out a compensation package which would let him become boss at Celtic Park. This is speculation at the moment, but informed speculation.
So what would we be getting?
Well, he is not as sexy a name as some of those which have been proposed so far, but he has a lot in common with one of the managers we’ve been talking about, and that’s Eddie Howe.
Wilder is another miracle worker.
Here’s the thing; Howe did wonders with one team.
Wilder has done wonders at no fewer than four clubs.
None are sexy football teams, but miracles are miracles regardless.
Alfreton Town won four trophies in the short time he was there. When he left Halifax, his second club, he led unfancied Oxford into League Two and to the brink of the play-offs twice. Northampton were his next port of call; he took over there when they were relegation battlers and within two years he had made them League 2 champions.
But it was at Sheffield United where he really proved himself; they were in disarray when he took over there, a League One struggler.
He started poorly, winning only one point in his first four matches but turned them around so rapidly people were astounded; he won the title that year with a barnstorming 100 points. They were excellent for large parts of the following season, and the year after that they were promoted from the Championship to the EPL.
Remember how shocked you were when you heard that Sheffield United were going to be playing football in the Premier League? That’s down to one man.
In their first full season in the megabucks English top flight he led them to ninth.
His reputation is built on well organised teams; oh how we long for that.
Most exciting is the playing style he prefers; the Martin O’Neill 3-5-2 attacking system which seeks to blow the opposition away.
When he needs a more defensive style he plays the 5-3-2 … which as you can gather is still a very attacking system when it utilises attacking full-backs.
He is famous for spotting unpolished gems, so his transfer market judgement is clearly spot on.
He is not afraid to shake up the teams he takes over either.
Perhaps the most interesting thing, when you look at his tactical approach, is his ability to adapt the team to different circumstances, depending on who they are playing.
His name may have emerged from nowhere, but he cannot be dismissed as an unimaginative choice; indeed, he’s highly rated south of the border and Crystal Palace and others are monitoring developments very closely.
He is one of those guys who will be snapped up by an ambitious club somewhere along the line, and who knows what he can achieve?
This one is worth keeping an eye on.
His record might not be glittering with Champions League final appearances or anything, but this is a guy who knows how to radically improve a team … the problem in his career so far is that he keeps hitting his head on the glass ceiling of what he can do against vastly richer opponents.
Here in Scotland he would have the biggest club in the land to work with … and that might be a very exciting combination indeed.
Let’s see where this story goes.
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