Wilder appeared set to take charge of the Londoners during the close season after leading Northampton Town to promotion from League Two.
But, speaking ahead of today’s match at The Valley, he admitted United were always destined to win the race for his services after Kevin McCabe hijacked the 49-year-old’s talks with Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet.
“I spoke to them, yes,” Wilder, a former United player and lifelong supporter of the club, said. “I thought the time was right to explore what was out there. I had an unbelievable time at Northampton but I thought it was my right to look and that it was the right moment.
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“But, to be fair, I think everybody will understand that when the call from Kevin came through, it was done. That was decision made. People know what this place means to me.”
Charlton, who sacked Russell Slade after only 16 matches at the helm, unveiled Karl Robinson as their new manager on Thursday. Although the former MK Dons chief’s appointment could placate supporters angered by Duchatelet’s regime, Wilder insisted United are prepared to cope if protests against the Belgian continue. Last month’s meeting between Charlton and Coventry City was interrupted when fans threw plastic pigs onto the pitch.
“We don’t know what we’ll be walking into but I imagine there will be something,” Wilder said. “It’s a high profile game. We have to deal with that first and foremost, the match. It’s going to be tough and I think it will be an open game.”
“We’ll be speaking with the boys making sure we are disciplined and focused,” Wilder added. “I should imagine the players at Charlton are ready to deal with it as well. It’s all a little bit higher up than we are.”