Relegation fears prompt Sheffield United to axe Weir

GONE: David Weir was sacked by Sheffield United on Friday. Picture: Simon Hulme.
GONE: David Weir was sacked by Sheffield United on Friday. Picture: Simon Hulme.
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Sheffield United’s fear of being dragged into a relegation battle precipitated last night’s sacking of manager David Weir.

The Blades manager had only been in charge for 13 games, but in a season of major changes at Bramall Lane Weir’s side had picked up a paltry five points and sit in the League One drop zone.

United had not won since August 2, the opening day of the League One season, when they beat 10-man Notts County 2-1.

Since then the Blades have failed to win a match inside 90 minutes, succumbing in the Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy to League Two sides Burton Albion and Hartlepool United respectively. Weir’s team delivered a shocking return of just seven goals in 13 matches.

Despite the financial backing of new joint-owner Saudi Arabian Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Weir’s inability to halt the slump ended last night with the axe falling on him and assistant Lee Carsley.

Former Derby County manager Nigel Clough has been made favourite to replace Weir, but Under-21 coach Chris Morgan will take charge for tomorrow’s televised League One trip to Coventry City. Other possible targets include former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis and Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade.

“The decision was informed largely by the maths,” said Blades director Jim Phipps, Prince Abdullah’s principal adviser.

“There are only so many points, so many opportunities to get points, and we are just about a quarter of the way through the season.

“We are on a pace to certain relegation. We are a number of points off the play-off pace and it’s looking very grim. That needs to be addressed and we just weren’t seeing it.

“David really wanted it to work, but try as he might, it didn’t.

“At some point as owners we have to make a very hard decision.

“We wanted David to be the future of the club.

“There’sare a lot of things that he did that were right and going in the right direction.”

Blades’ chief executive Julian Winter said Morgan had been asked to take charge tomorrow along with goalkeeping coach Darren Ward and head of academy coaching Travis Binnion.

“First and foremost all at SUFC, from the board right the way through the club, wish David and Lee all the best for the future,” said Winter.

“None of us wanted to be in this position at this point in the season.

“David’s appointment was made as part of developing a new phase at the club.

“Chris Morgan has been asked and agreed to take an interim role in charge of Sunday’s team. ”

Weir victim of expectation; Players to blame: Page 3.