Saturday’s 1-0 win over Cardiff City clinched the Championship’s 2nd automatic promotion spot for Sheffield United. The Guardian’s Alan Biggs writes that manager Neil Warnock will accept a “thank-you” in the form of a very big check.
Another round of brinkmanship could develop between the manager and the Bramall Lane board after the mid-season stand-off that almost prompted the 57-year-old to quit for Portsmouth. Warnock was under no illusions that a failure to win promotion would cost him his job and now, with tables turned, he can use a position of strength to his advantage.
There will be some hard bargaining over the terms of what he expects to be his last contract before retirement. Warnock has already been privately assured of a two-year extension and United are ready to match Portsmouth’s supposedly tabled offer of £800,000 a year. Warnock may push for £1m.
The club’s plc chairman Kevin McCabe will not be pressed too far, having demonstrated his strength of will in refusing to be stampeded by the Portsmouth publicity. McCabe gambled that Warnock would not forsake his beloved Bramall Lane and that remains the board’s trump card. The sixth promotion of Warnock’s career will also earn him a six-figure bonus payment and he can be assured of considerable backing in the transfer market.
McCabe estimates that promotion is worth £20m to United and will plough almost half that figure into team strengthening.