Sharp as a blade - 12/12/2001
Born in Sheffield, raised as blade, Bez answers questions about 'his' club and announces that his media career may have to take a back seat in a year or two.
Q: How do you feel Sheffield United as doing at the moment?
A: I don't know what restrictions Neil Warnock is working under so it's not easy to criticise. The supporters think they should be in the Premiership, and think the club should be run like a Premiership club, but they haven't got a chance in hell of getting there unless someone comes in with some big money. We need a Jack Walker type figure to really get the club to take off. The Bosman thing has made it harder, you can buy a player for £10million and then three to five years later he's walking away for nothing. Basically, there's more uncertainty nowadays and the money men don't like uncertainty.
Q: It sounds like you don't envy Warnock's Job?
A: Well I applied for the job when I was at Southampton, it was a bit of tongue in cheek, but I've got my own ideas and I do have ambitions to manage. At the moment I want to sit back and take it all in, I don't think that it's sensible for players to jump in at management. I'm taking stock, watching more football then ever before, and I've still got all my contacts in the game, when the time is right it'll happen.
Q: So do you fancy the Sheffield job?
A: Well not at the minute, but in time I'd like to do it. I'm a really big believer that you need a nucleus of players who are willing to die for the cause, especially in the situation that Shef United are in. If you get that, it goes so far. At one point we had my cousin there; Mitch Ward, there was also Carl Bradshaw, Dane Whitehouse, these kind of Sheffield lads can create a real team spirit that is picked up by the fans and you work the two together. A manager then comes in and brings in new players who they think are better players, but they don't do it over a season. In the end, the club is better off with players who may not have the best technical ability, but you'll be sure that they'll give 100% through rain or shine. The problem is that the crowd want instant success and what I would want to do takes time. Ideally, given a perfect situation, I'd like to bring all the best lads from the Sheffield area together, the cream of the crop, and take them through the youth and reserve teams for three to four years before introducing them to the first team. If you only get the odd coming through, he'll disappear, but if you get a group they want to stay together and this makes it so much easier. I'd love to work with them, not necessarily as a manager, but as a coach. I'd love to bring them through and I think it's the only way a club like Shef United to make the Premiership.
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