Sheffield United Sack Slavisa Jokanovic and Appoint Paul Heckingbottom as Manager until 2026 | Football news
Sheffield United sacked Slavisa Jokanovic and appointed Paul Heckingbottom as manager on a contract until the end of the 2025/26 season.
Jokanovic was appointed for three years in May, but has only supervised 22 games during his nearly six-month tenure.
Heckingbottom, who is being promoted from his role as U23 manager, will lead training from Friday ahead of Sunday’s league game against Bristol City at Bramall Lane.
The former Barnsley, Leeds United and Hibernian manager was appointed interim manager for the Blades in March after Chris Wilder left after nearly five years at the helm.
Sheffield United, relegated from the Premier League last season, sit 16th in the league with 23 points, having won at Reading on Tuesday in Jokanovic’s last game in tenure.
In a club statement, they said the decision to part ways with Jokanovic followed “several months of strategic planning and a lackluster start to the season.”
Heckingbottom will work alongside former Blades players Jack Lester, who becomes responsible for player development, and Stuart McCall, who is the new assistant manager.
McCall, who left Blackpool’s coaching staff, was previously deputy manager of Sheffield United, under Neil Warnock between 2004-2007.
The club said further announcements regarding the structure of the football department would be made in due course.
President Yusuf Giansiracusa said: âWe look forward to entering a new era of Blades football with Paul at the helm.
âPaul possesses the personal leadership qualities and technical football skills that the board considers essential to successfully implement the strategic directions of the board.
“He shares our values ââand interest in player development while possessing the ambition and determination to get the most out of our current squad. We are confident that Paul will play a leading role in improving all of them. aspects of football operations. “
Jokanovic, who won a promotion to the Premier League with Watford and Fulham, is the fifth league manager to leave his post this season.
United CEO Stephen Bettis added: “We have enough league games left, we know we have the capacity and the resources within our playing team to start earning points and moving up the rankings. “
What didn’t work for Jokanovic?
Jokanovic was informed of the Sheffield United hierarchy decision to part ways on Thursday morning as the news came as a surprise to the Serbian.
He had recently returned to a returning trio – favored by his predecessor Wilder – who had seen four points won and two clean sheets recorded in their last two league games.
Jokanovic had slowly started the promotion seasons in charge of Watford and Fulham.
He would have expected 50% of sales this summer to reinvest in the team.
However, despite Aaron Ramsdale leaving for Arsenal for up to Â£ 30million, the club only took out loans to Morgan Gibbs-White, Ben Davies, Robin Olsen and Conor Hourihane.
It is not believed that relations with the board of directors have become too difficult, but there was a disappointment that the summer signings were late.
Jokanovic had already made public in early November his desire for “two wingers and a starting midfielder” in January, when there was frustration, like Wilder, with the club’s training facilities.
Club chiefs believed Jokanovic should have made the most of a side that finished ninth in the Premier League in 2019/20, with GM Bettis telling Sky Sports in July “the club’s ambition to come back straight “.