Two very important days in the recent history of Sheffield United came to a pleasing three-point conclusion with a home victory over Peterborough United and the appointment of Trevor Birch as new chief executive.
On Friday, the media and TheBladesOnline were invited to Bramall Lane to meet Birch, who formally takes up his appointment on 1 December.
He sat in the stand the following day alongside chairman Kevin McCabe who, while relinquishing some of the day to day duties, will still hold the leading role at the club.
Birch, an ex-Liverpool trainee and more recently accounting whizz, has been responsible for creating Chelski (introducing Roman Abramovich), saving Leeds and stabilising both Everton and Derby. His quiet but authoritative and confident approach has won many admirers in the game.
The appointment will doubtless fuel rumours of new investment at United and, while the chairman was quick to rule out any immediate possibility of such events, he did say that he hoped a lucrative partnership with wealthy investors could happen in the future.
Kevin Blackwell knew Birch briefly at Leeds, although our manager was assistant at Elland Road during the chief executive’s time in West Yorkshire. Birch, a father of five, has his family living in West London but is enjoying the prospect of what could be his longest stay at a football club, and said that moving to South Yorkshire would be fine, as his Liverpool roots mean he still regards himself as a northern boy at heart.
Watching his first home game of the season, he would have been very impressed by half time with what he saw. Henri Camera's goal eased the pressure on manager Blackwell, as United beat the Posh 1-0 to earn their first Championship win in nine matches.
The second half was harder viewing, with the visitors’ new skipper George Boyd managing to miss a sitter with his head while unmarked on the penalty spot. Worse was to follow when a dubious penalty awarded against Davies saw Boyd this time thwarted by keeper Mark Bunn.
We probably just shaded it, with Camara and Williamson catching the eye on their first home starts for the Blades.
Mr Blackwell now has selection worries of a good sort, as he can choose a team from more than 11 players! A crowd of over 25,000 will reassure Mr Birch as to the size of the outfit he has joined, and the performance will have shown the size of the task that lies ahead for him.
He has an honest manager with an honest team working as hard as they can. We just a little bit extra, be that Russian, Middle Eastern or American; we just need a few million to inspire us back to the top flight.
Bunn 9 - His best game
Walker 8 - Very good
Morgan 7 - Steady
Davies 7 - Steady
Killa 6 - Flighty
Wardy 8 - Inspiring
Williamson 8 – Promising, very promising
Harper 7 - Hard working, very hard working
Quinny 7 - Hard working, very hard working
Camara 9 - Top class
Evans 7 - Getting there slowly but he is only very young