Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder speaks publicly for first time about sexist chants directed at female relatives
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has spoken for the first time about alleged sexist chants directed at his female relatives during the Steel City derby.
It emerged that vile chants were directed at women family members of the Blades boss during the club's 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Bramall Lane last Friday.
Meanwhile, Blades fans were also heard chanting sexist comments about the wife of Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri.
Speaking at a press conference at Bramall Lane on Thursday, Mr Wilder said: "From a personal point of view, the games and the build-up to them has been great. We had to get the fixture back on the calendar and we have.
"Both clubs have put out statements and I'm very confident they, in conjunction with the police, will get to the bottom of it and sort it out.
"Sheffield United especially pride themselves on being a family club, with the ladies team and all the youth football we play. It's a big operation.
"I know our owners and that's why I've that confidence."
Details of the comments emerged when lifelong football fan Nicola Spencer, the partner of former Sheffield Wednesday interim boss Lee Bullen, said she heard ‘disgusting’ chants aimed at women during match.
Watching from the away end, Ms Spencer said she turned to the men sitting behind her to ask them to stop but then the abuse was directed at her.
She said: "One of them said: ‘have you forgotten where you are? You are at a football match’. Another guy knew me and sort of said to him ‘wind it in’.
"There is always going to be banter but there’s a line when it gets personal.”
The row has led to calls for more to be done to tackle sexism in football.
Former minster of sport Richard Caborn branded the comments ‘unacceptable’ and urged others who heard the chants to report them to the authorities.
Mr Caborn, who was MP for Sheffield Central between 1983 and 2010, said: “They wouldn’t like it if this was being chanted about their girlfriend, their wife, their mother, their sister, their grandmother.”
Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh, shadow policing minister, said: “Chants like this are exactly what gives football fans a bad name, and tars the millions of decent men and women who enjoy football with the same brush as people who can’t behave decently.
"Abusive and misogynistic language normalises the objectification of women and I’m glad other fans saw fit to call it out.”
Both clubs have since issued statements stating that sexism in football will not be tolerated.