MICKY Adams was unveiled as the new manager of Sheffield United yesterday and immediately vowed to stop his dream job turning into a nightmare.
Sheffield-born Adams, a lifelong Blades supporter, has always wanted the top job at Bramall Lane but arrives with the club locked in a battle to avoid relegation from the Championship
After quitting League Two high-flyers Port Vale to sign a two-and-a-half-year deal, Adams will have just over 24 hours to prepare his side for his first game in charge tomorrow at Burnley.
"Ever since I got into management, this has been the job I have wanted the most," he said. "It's well-documented that I am a Blade and, touch wood everything goes well but, if it doesn't go well, I will still be a Blade."
Speaking about the immediate pressures he faces, Adams said: "I hope the fans will realise that, because of my association, I am going to be giving it my all. Maybe my honeymoon period might be slightly longer than a couple of weeks! But I know I am going to be judged on how many games I win, not the fact that I am a Blade.
"Let's not kid ourselves, it's a difficult job and we are in a difficult situation," he added. "But I have always been a trouble shooter or a firefighter. I have been fortunate to have got a few promotions on my CV so that says I can organise people and get them motivated."
Adams, 49, has won promotions with Fulham, Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City but has also been relegated with Brentford and Leicester during a managerial career that began 14 years ago and has taken in nine different clubs.
Released by the Blades as a youngster, Adams succeeds Gary Speed who quit after less than four months in the post to
become the new manager of Wales.
Coach John Carver had been installed as caretaker-manager but was released yesterday along with assistant manager Sam Ellis after suffering two defeats in his three games in charge. Sources close to Carver said he was 'devasted' by the decision last night.
Adams's No 2 will be former Blades striker Alan Cork who he has worked with previously at a number of clubs. Adams will also be calling on former Blades manager Dave Bassett whom he worked alongside at Nottingham Forest and Leicester – for advice.
Bassett, now 66, has been out of the game for two years but is regarded as a legend by Blades supporters due to his success at the club as manager between 1988 and 1995.
Adams said: "'Harry' (Bassett) has been a bit of a mentor for me so it would be foolish of me not to ask his thoughts. He produced a side and left a legacy as did Neil Warnock. People still talk about his team and some of the players and, if I leave this job at any stage, I would want the fans to be talking about my team and my players in the same high esteem.
"With the greatest respect, he is enjoying his life at the moment, without the pressures of football management. But rest assured, he will be up here, and he is always on the end of a phone if I need him. I will be picking his brains as I have done throughout my managerial career."
Adams revealed that he was close to landing the job in the past and was disappointed at missing out. Although he refused to say when, it was probably the summer
after the club's relegation from the Premier League in 2007 when Adams was out of work after being axed by Coventry City when the Blades opted for Bryan Robson.
This time around, Adams has won a race that included Carver, former Hull City manager Phil Brown, Paul Hart and Doncaster Rovers' Sean O'Driscoll – who initially expressed interest then ruled himself out of the running.
Adams was unable to resist a genteel jibe at Steel City rivals Sheffield Wednesday saying: "From my family's point of view, we are lifelong Blades – although we do have family that are in the 'dark side' of the city. We can't help that – but we entertain them at Christmas!"
Chief executive Trevor Birch hailed Adams's arrival as the dawn of an 'exciting new era' for the Blades.
"We received a considerable number of strong applications and interviewed five candidates," he said. "Micky is a top class appointment and the board were unanimous in the decision. He brings enthusiasm and great experience for the job together with a track record for getting the best out of a squad of players.
"We believe he can make an immediate impact this season but he also shares our long-term strategic views on development of homegrown talent.
"It is an added bonus that he is also a passionate Blade. Just as we lost Gary Speed to his 'dream job', we may just have selected a man who has found his."
Although finances are tight at Bramall Lane after losses last season of 18m, Birch 'hopes' that money might be available for loan signings in the New Year transfer window. On-loan midfielder Andy Reid, however, may have played his last game for the club.
Reid has been charged with violent conduct in relation to an incident after Tuesday's game at Norwich City and, if he admits the charge, will receive an immediate three-game ban.
His loan deal expires after the next three games and parent club Sunderland are unwilling to extend the loan. He is available for 500,000 but that is out of the Blades' price range.
The Blades, meanwhile, have been hit with two charges of failing to control their players by the Football Association. The charges relate to incidents in the games against Hull City and Norwich. Both Hull and Norwich have also been charged.