Alan Biggs at Large: No guarantees for Wilder at Blades - but he’ll not try and spin it for the fans

Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder at a Sheffield United training session. Picture: Andrew Roe
Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder at a Sheffield United training session. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Being a popular choice only takes you so far at Sheffield United. Nigel Adkins could tell you that. Neither is being a Blade and a former favourite as a player any sort of guarantee of an extended time in the job.

What will give Chris Wilder more tolerance than some managers is his characteristic honesty, a bluntness that football fans appreciate.

They’ll forgive a manager more readily for a bad performance if he’s seen a similar game to them. “There’ll be no spin from me,” he tells this column.

And it’s in that spirit of candour that United’s latest boss shrugs off the threat that will hover over all the club’s managers while ever they are – unacceptably – in the third tier.

Wilder won’t plead for time. Then again, he is desperate to maintain a proud record that has seen him avoid the occupational hazard of his profession in 14 years and more than 700 games.

That is a remarkable record for any boss in 2016.

He insists: “I don’t want the sack – I don’t want it on my CV.” And then, on the lighter side, a spot of gallows humour: “Some managers say it’s the only way you make money!”

Wilder, successful at all his clubs, wouldn’t know. “I’m proud of my record,” he says.

“I’ve got my hands dirty and I believe I’m ready for this challenge. I’m not fearful of this stage or the sack.”

Neither does he flinch from the expectation that will leave him little margin for error if his first season does not coincide with a return to the Championship or, at the least, a near miss.

“Promotion has to be the aim,” he accepts.

“There’s no getting away from that. This club shouldn’t be in this division. I can’t say to the supporters ‘give me time and be patient.’”

In accepting tough demands, you can be sure that Wilder will pass them on to his players when a new-look squad is finally assembled. Not for him the kid gloves treatment or a pandering to egos.

When you read the following comments, you might be thinking of Dave Bassett, Wilder’s Blades boss as a player and a career-long mentor. And of the England team returning in disgrace from France.

“Every time I speak to agents and managers who say they (players) need an arm round them it does my nut in!” raps Wilder.

“It’s a man’s sport. We have to act, behave and play like men. And sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

“Players are always accepting of a pat on the back but sometimes comes a bit of a dig. You have to handle that, the way you handle defeat and victory. It’s part and parcel of being a man in a professional game.”