In October of 1975, Bergara, whilst on the coaching staff at Luton Town, was approached by Derby County Manager Dave Mackay with regard to his side's upcoming game against Real Madrid in the European Cup. The Ram's were England's sole representatives in the tournament having won the First Division the previous season. The competition in those days was between the 32 teams in Europe that had won their respective Leagues. Having beaten Czechoslovakian champions Slovan Bratislava in the first round, thanks to two late Francis Lee goals in the second leg at the Baseball Ground, Derby were drawn against the might of Real Madrid for a place in the last eight. Mackay had asked Luton Town if Bergara, the Luton Town Youth team coach, would be available to help him file a dossier on the Spanish club. Bergara had only left Spain two years previously and the Scot wanted him to give him as much background information on the team and players as possible before the tie. Bergara was allowed to give his help and advice and, having played against Real Madrid many times in his ten years in Spain, proved a good source of information to the Rams Manager and his staff. He provided a detailed breakdown on the probable team and individual players in particular Madrid's most influential player, midfielder José Martínez Sánchez. Sanchez, nicknamed 'Pirri', was in fine form for the Spaniards as the Rams would find out to their costs over the two legs.
After a poor run of results in January, the Sheffield United board brought in Harry Haslam from Luton Town. Haslam was seen as a bit of a 'wheeler dealer' who had successfully managed the Hatters in similar circumstances for nine years. Haslam, who's Luton Town team had completed a league double over the Blades with a three goal victory at Bramall Lane just a few days earlier, brought Bergara in as his assistant manager. He had also offered a role to David Pleat but Pleat had been offered and accepted the first team role vacated by Haslam at Kenilworth Road. Pleat had also offered Bergara the assistant manager role under him. Bergara however felt that his first loyalty was to Haslam who had offered him a start in English football, and so joined him in Sheffield.
On his move to Sheffield United Bergara stated: "I could have stayed behind and worked with David Pleat but I am a great believer in loyalty. Harry was the person who had faith in me when nobody had heard of me and it is part of my make-up to repay loyalty".
Even back in 1978 Bergara was campaigning for a change in the way the English game was being run regarding junior football. He was probably the first FA Coach to recognise that the game in England needed to change: "I think that basically, League clubs receive the youngsters too late on in their development, and I find that many of them are lacking in the basics which are taken for granted in South America. I have also found that the negative aspects are encouraged in this country, the youngsters should be encouraged to learn attacking and positive techniques. It should be a gradual process, they should not learn to run before they can walk. Here many really young kids, the under 12's, are made to go out and play on a full size pitch. It is stupid, the players just get tired and cannot use the pitch fully. They should use pitches designed for their age group, a smaller and narrower pitch which encourages dribbling and makes the player aware of what is going on around him. Unfortunately many of the youngsters who first come to me know more about tactics than they do about playing football. The coaches who have taught them teach to treat the ball as something that should be cleared as soon as possible, instead of realising what alternatives are available. That is what I will try to achieve here at Sheffield United. I hope that my players will become better and more skilful players who will go on to the first team".
United finished in a comfortable mid-table position at the end of Haslam's first season, unfortunately that was to be his highest finish whilst at the club. With a reputation for finding talent, Haslam brought in a number of players, most notably Argentinean Alex Sabella. Haslam had tried to sign the teenage sensation Diego Maradona from Argentinos Juniors but the club wouldn't accept the Blades offer of £400,000. Haslam switched his attention to Sabella who they signed for £160,000 in July 1978. Sabella made his full debut for United at Bramhall Lane in the opening day defeat against Leyton Orient (1-2).
Sabella played for United until 1980 when Haslam agreed a fee of £600,000 with Second Division Sunderland, Sabella however had ambitions to play in the First Division and refused to join the Wearside outfit. The Argentinean eventually joined Leeds United during the close season for £400,000.
One factor during Haslam's reign was that he had to balance the books, forcing him to sell several of the club's promising young players. The likes of Keith Edwards, Imre Varadi and Simon Stainrod were all allowed to leave Bramall Lane in an effort to raise funds.
Bergara became the first ever foreign coach to be involved in an official FA coaching party when he was invited to join the England youth set-up early in 1981 whilst at Sheffield United. Bergara had been moved to Head of Youth following Martin Peters move to manager after Harry Haslam had resigned due to health issues. Bergara had been involved with many FA coaching courses since his first visit to Lilleshall during his Luton Town days. He had often been asked to present coaching sessions during courses and had obviously impressed the on-looking FA officials.
The England Head of Youth, John Cartwright, had come across Bergara on many occasions when his Crystal Palace youth team played Bergara's Luton Town youngsters and liked the way the Uruguayan worked: "I invited Danny along because he can help me to achieve a compromise in our game, I want to carry the better aspects of our game with those of the Latin countries. Danny can show my players certain techniques from another part of the world, such as accurate and powerful finishing from distance. He has introduced another tack, another dimension, and I have enormous respect for his work".
When asked about his call up Bergara said: "I am as chuffed as if I was going to coach my own country. It's a tremendous honour for me, the club and the City. I am delighted for the opportunity to work at this level. John is working along similar lines to me, he is trying to combine the qualities of English and South American football, and he has the perfect stage to demonstrate the kind of football which uses the best of both worlds. I can show the very talented England players things which no English coach can, and they will become a good all-round team if our hopes are fulfilled".
Prior to the start of the 1983/84 season Bergara had been helping out with the coaching at his local club Sheffield FC, famously known as the world's oldest football club having been founded in 1857. The club were in turmoil after previous manager Paddy Buckley had moved to Retford Town, taking nine of his established first team players with him. Following his coaching work at the club during the summer, Sheffield FC Chairman Keith Healey had approached Bergara and offered him the role of manager.
The local paper ran the story: Former Sheffield United assistant manager Danny Bergara is poised to take over as manager of Sheffield FC, the world's oldest soccer club. Club Chairman Keith Healey is very hopeful that Bergara, who is currently involved in the making of instructional video soccer films, will accept the voluntary position. Bergara said last night: "I would very much like to give a hand at Sheffield FC in some capacity, whether it is an advisory capacity, or as manager. I have some business affairs to sort out next week but I hope that I can give Keith Healey, and the oldest football club in the world, the answer they want"
Having accepted the voluntary role, Bergara set about building a squad for the forthcoming Northern Counties Eastern League campaign. The attitude of his players really impressed him as he told the local press: "These lads deserve all the respect anyone can give them, they go to work in the morning, come straight home and then out again to attend training. To do that you have got to have the attitude of real pros. Some professionals, when they are asked to go back training in the afternoons, will say they are tired. These lads do a day's work and then train as well, that's real enthusiasm. I'm looking forward to a good season"
Having been without a permanent position since leaving Sheffield United, it was a Bramall Lane connection that saw Bergara back in work in January 1984.
Oil rich Brunei, looking for a coach to lift their standards, hired Bergara on the recommendation of Sheffield United Chairman Reg Brealey. The businessman had previously set up the visit of the Blades two years earlier, as Sheffield United had officially opened the Brunei National Stadium.
Brealey had put the Uruguayan's name forward for the chance to become the national coach for the Brunei national team, a role that would include setting up coaching sessions and courses for the Brunei FA as Director of Coaching.
On the family's return to England in the New Year, Brealey again came to Bergara's aid when he recommended and sponsored the Uruguayan coach to present a two week football course on behalf of the FA of Gibraltar. With the help of several teachers, albeit with limited coaching ability, Bergara provided sessions for under 12's, under 14's, under 16's and under 18's. Although frustrated by the lack of good facilities and basic needs such as balls, bibs, cones at certain venues, Bergara was pleased with the reaction to his methods by all of the players involved. Following his visit to the Rock, Bergara provided a full in depth revue of his findings, including a 10 page advisory document, much of which formed the coaching curriculum still being used many years later.
After another spell out of the game Bergara was given the opportunity to work with one of his former players, Bruce Rioch, at Second Division Middlesbrough. Rioch and Bergara had become acquainted back when the Uruguayan had spent time with Derby County during their European tie with Real Madrid and again when the Scot had spent a brief period at Sheffield United on loan from Derby County several years earlier.
With Boro fighting the threat of administration and also relegation to the Third Division, Rioch and Bergara, who were both working at the club as coaches, were put in charge by Chairman Alf Duffield after the Club had been without a manager for over six weeks following the sacking of Willie Maddren. Duffield promoted the two following a home defeat to promotion chasing Sheffield United, following which the Boro team had received a standing ovation from their supporters. Duffield told the local press: "That is the best display I have seen from a Middlesbrough team this season, they were brilliant even in defeat. I was going to review Rioch's position at the end of the season, but that performance has made me change my mind. Rioch and Danny Bergara have given the players tremendous confidence and I know they will do a first class job for the club"
With a new ambitious board in place United had recruited Ian Porterfield as manager in June 1981. He had an immediate impact, winning the Division Four championship in his first season and taking the club back into the second tier two years later on a meagre budget.
Despite this many Blades fans were unhappy with the style of football and Porterfield was sacked in 1986 following supporter protests. Youth Team Manager Billy McEwan was promoted to be named as Porterfield's replacement in March 1986, and although he restored fans favourite Keith Edwards to the starting eleven the Blades fell away in their push for promotion, finishing seventh in the final table.
One of McEwan's first signings in the summer, before his first full season in charge saw the return of Danny Bergara. The Uruguayan coach had been given a glowing reference from Chairman Reg Brealey and after five years away from the club, he returned as reserve team manager.
Bergara again turning down an opportunity to work alongside his old friend David Pleat, who had offered him a role at Tottenham Hotspur, to rejoin the Blades.
McEwan told the local press: "I have always had a great respect for Danny's work on the technical and skill side of the game. He will be a great asset to us and an important part of our team.
Bergara said: "I am glad to be back at a club I should never have left"
In the Scot's second season, and with his side sitting second bottom of the Second Division, Bergara, who's reserve team were sitting unbeaten at the top of The Central League, had been promoted to work alongside McEwan with the struggling first team,. "this is a step up for Danny. He has done a terrific job with the reserves, and now he will be with the senior side. I have done it all by myself for over a year, but we need to pool all our resources and Danny has an important contribution to make"
The Central League side, under Bergara, were unbeaten this season and sat top of the First Division of the Central League. They had already beaten the reserve sides of Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The fortunes of the first team took an almost miraculous turn for the better, picking up two wins and a draw from their next three games. Bergara's influence was quickly seen with youngsters Tony Daws, Chris Wilder and Clive Mendonca all seeing first team action. Another player to benefit from the Uruguayan coaches methods was the popular winger Peter Beagrie who had followed Bergara from Middlesbrough in the summer. Beagrie saying of his mentor: "I really enjoy working with Danny. The great thing is that he has tremendous skill himself, and can demonstrate what it is he wants you to do"