A chat between Chris Wilder and Slavisa Jokanovic that bodes well for Sheffield United - Alan Biggs' Blades Column

Football management being like a revolving door, you can’t enter one without seeing the person in the next compartment.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 1:35 pm

So the most important thing any new manager does before taking a job is speak to his predecessor.

A conversation certainly did take place between Slavisa Jokanovic and Chris Wilder - and well in advance of the former’s slightly protracted appointment by Sheffield United.

We can infer two things from this and both are healthy for the club despite the acrimonious nature of Wilder’s departure.

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Chris Wilder spoke with Slavisa Jokanovic before the new man took charge of Sheffield United. Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder spoke with Slavisa Jokanovic before the new man took charge of Sheffield United. Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The first is that, for all the friction, nothing was said to put off the former Watford and Fulham manager.

The second is Jokanovic’s acknowledgment of the strong squad (for the Championship) he takes over, letting it be known to be the best he has inherited.

As a move-on climate, this has become a pretty settled one. For all the discord and disgruntlement of the recent past, there is an awful lot for everyone to agree on.

Certainly, a conflab with Wilder will have helped Jokanovic fine-tune his conditions for taking the job, much as there are differences between them in mode of operation if not in style of play.

The bottom line for Wilder is that he wants his club, the one he has supported all his life, to do well. Why would he wish it to fail, even out of spite?

Wilder’s dearest wish is for his legacy to be protected and to be seen as a continuingly positive one.

I know for a fact that he regarded Jokanovic as the best man for the job. That is sufficient endorsement right there.

So the healing process is more than underway. Personalities can clash in any walk of life. The new relationship at the top looks workable to me.

And I like also that, despite fears of a selling spree, United appear to be digging in over the £35m contractual release fee for Sander Berge.

With the right manager in charge, one capable of settling the doubts of the many players loyal to Wilder, the Blades board are well placed to maintain a strong stance.

None of this withdraws opinions previously expressed on this page, but this is football and it’s good to see corrective measures in place.