Chris Wilder has outlined the steps Sheffield United are taking, including the abolition of appearance money, to simplify their recruitment strategy.
Wilder, who also sought to allay fears the club will shortly be forced to negotiate new contracts with several of its leading players, confirmed the changes are designed to prevent administrative issues overshadowing performances on the pitch.
“I’m adjusting the way we do contracts,” he told The Star. “Otherwise, it can put players in bad positions and managers in bad positions too. Going forward, they’ll be more straightforward. If you land on the moon, if you come on after 20 minutes or 40 minutes, there shouldn’t be a clause in there. They’ve got to be more simple than that.”
Although young professionals will be exempt from many of the changes, the United manager added: “One of the things we’ve done is remove appearance money. Unless they are young kids, I expect senior players to be getting in the team. Why should they be getting more money for doing that? If it’s an injury related contract, okay, it’s different. But, I have to say, I’m not a big on doing that anyway. We always look what people have done over a period of time before bringing them in. Appearance money should just be for young kids who are on lower pay anyway.”
United, second in the table ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Charlton Athletic, stretched their unbeaten run in the competition to 14 games following Tuesday’s victory over Bury. Billy Sharp, Paul Coutts, Matt Done and Chris Basham, who all started the game against Chris Brass’ side, are entering the final stages of their present deals while Kieron Freeman is also scheduled to become a free agent this summer.
Revealing their contracts all contain clauses which could tie them to United beyond the end of the season, Wilder (pictured), said: “Billy is triggered on games, Doney is triggered on games, Couttsy is triggered on games, Kieron is triggered on games and Bash is triggered on games. As soon as they hit them, they are automatically here. If we look at those contracts and then adjust them if there’s a reason, then that’s what we’ll do. But those lads will probably hit those games before Christmas. We’re in a more comfortable position that perhaps it looks to some. I’m never going to leave anybody out, unless it’s a ridiculous contract that hurts the club financially.”
Wilder has worked closely with United’s co-owner Kevin McCabe and chief executive Stephen Bettis to ensure there is no repeat of the situation he inherited after taking charge in May when huge swathes of the first team squad were effectively free agents.
“I don’t want to be in that position again,” he said. “Out of the players we inherited, there will always be players who don’t get offered new deals, there will be players who have a bit to go with and we’ll wait and see and there are players we’ll be talking to in January.”