THE MIGHTY BEAN

 

Bean gets mean over Neil deal

Neil Warnock will deserve a new contract if he keeps Sheffield United in the Premiership, according to Blades fan Sean Bean.

Bean was promoting Sheffield United FC - The Biography, a book chronicling the life and times of the Bramall Lane club. And he has been delighted with the work of Warnock, who on Saturday celebrates seven years in charge of the Blades.

Warnock, 58 on Friday, is currently working without the safety net of a long-term deal as his current contract expires at the end of the season. When asked whether he would like to see Warnock stay, Bean said: "If he keeps us up and he is doing a good job, then yeah.

"If we go down, then it's another story. I don't know what the situation would be then.

"But first and foremost, it's about Sheffield United. I'm a great admirer of Neil's, but the club comes first. "If he can get us where we want him to get us, then I'd like to see him stay, and I think most fans would say that.

"Obviously, we want the most successful manager for our club, and who can do the best for our club, regardless of whether he is a Blade or not. "I'm not taking anything away from Neil, but success for the club is paramount. It's not about personalities."

Warnock on Thursday spoke of his vision for the future, of seeing the Blades remain in the Premiership this season, and then next season taking them into Europe.

Bean feels Warnock may be over-reaching, adding: "It's a vision, first and foremost, but I can't see it happening for a few years. "The main thing is to stay in this division, even if we're near the bottom, and gradually build from there.

"To be in Europe is a dream we would all love, but it's going to take some time though. It's Neil's job now to sustain what we have achieved so far, to maintain it, improve on it. "With that comes a lot of responsibility. That's why there's still that pressure on him, which is a good thing. "It's like me, if there's no pressure then I don't perform very well.

"But I have been impressed with what he has done, in conjunction with Kevin McCabe (plc chairman) and the board of directors. "Everything seems to have come together quite nicely. He's been here seven years and he has done a good job, getting us to where we want to be."

Bean at least has faith in Warnock, believing he will keep them in the top flight, and with it stay in a job, although it will not be without a struggle over the next five months. Asked if he thinks United will avoid the drop, ahead of the vital home clash with rock-bottom Charlton, Bean replied: "I do, yeah - just. Fourth or fifth bottom.

"I'm still optimistic and positive, as are the fans and the people at the club. There's certainly no lack of spirit or fight, and that's what I think will keep us up."

Although a director, and proud to be so, Bean's roots remain as a fan - which is why there are divided loyalties on match days. "It's a great honour to be a director," remarked Bean. "I'm kept in the picture about the future - prospects and plans - and that's something I can comment on and contribute towards. It's a good position to be in.

"But I do like to be in with the fans. I sometimes would like to get back to what it used to be - blokes singing, shouting and swearing. I enjoy that on a Saturday afternoon."

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