FORMER Leeds United boss Howard Wilkinson believes the current uncertainty regarding the club’s off-the-field future will put off many prospective managerial candidates from taking over.
Managerless United are in a state of flux on and off the pitch, with the club just five points clear of the Championship relegation zone after a fourth successive defeat at the weekend and the motives of owners GFH Capital remaining unclear.
A host of names have been linked with the vacant United post following the departure of Neil Warnock eight days – with Brian McDermott and Owen Coyle thought to be among the leading candidates.
But double-title winning ex-Elland Road chief and League Managers Association chairman Wilkinson, 69, feels any future boss will require serious reassurances and clarity regarding United’s long-term plans from the club’s hierarchy before committing to the club.
Offering his take on the managerial situation at United, Wilkinson said: “All you can say is that is very, very difficult at the moment for any manager to contemplate.
“Any manager taking the job, as far as I can see, would not know how he is going to be working for.
“And that matters enormously. That is the most important relationship within the football club.
“The important line of communication in the football club is between the decision-maker or makers and the manager.
“If there’s uncertainty about first of all the people in that line or the way that line works, you are going to have a problem.”
And the man affectionately known as “Sergeant Wilko” by the fans during his time at Elland Road, added: “In old-fashioned military terms, it’s like having a general in the field or the trenches not knowing whose orders he is supposed to be following and sometimes, not being able to talk to anybody to see whether there is an order or not.
“Instability at the top of any organisation is not good news.
“It does not matter if it is business, or the church or government.
“If you get instability at the top, you have got a problem.
“The uncertainty just spreads down a chain and it affects people’s mindset and their performances in any business.”