Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has admitted he confronted Gary Madine about social media footage of him criticising Billy Sharp ahead of the centre-forward's arrival on loan from Cardiff City, before urging supporters to give the club's new signing their full backing.
Wilder accused Madine of lacking "respect" when a video of him insulting United's captain was published ahead of Bolton Wanderers' visit to Bramall Lane in 2017.
Nearly two years later, Madine, then plying his trade in Greater Manchester, could find himself playing alongside Sharp when Queens Park Rangers visit South Yorkshire this weekend after agreeing to help United's push for promotion.
Praising Madine's courage and commitment to his squad's cause after rejecting approaches from Derby County, Millwall and Middlesbrough, Wilder insisted he has no regrets about how the issue was handled at the time.
"I told him (Madine) that, because I thought it was then," he said. "I should imagine he looks at it know and thinks 'why did I do that?' Was he set-up? But what's happened is in the past. Anyone who wanted to come to this club, when he had the b***s to do that because he had easier options, they will do for me."
Madine thanked Sharp for "putting in a good word" with Wilder before his return to Sheffield. The Gateshead-born striker spent four years with United's arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday before moving to Wanderers and then City in a £6m deal.
Admitting he "understands" why some of his team's fans have reservations about Madine's presence, Wilder said: "I genuinely hope supporters put their personal things aside. Because if any group deserves full backing, it's this group.
"The players have been full tilt. We've added, the supporters have added. But the players are the ones who have put us in this position really.
"If you look at the effect the support has had over the last two home league games, if there was ever a snap shot of what support can do, it was then. If we can replicate that, then we'll be in with a shout of winning a lot of those games. Surely, that has to be the over-riding aim of everyone connected with the club?"
Madine joins a squad ranked third in the Championship table and Wilder, a lifelong United fan, added: "I'm not daft. I'm not going to bring someone in who is going to wreck my football club. Especially with the work that has gone in.
"These lads have possibly put more work in that anyone else in the division. I'd like to think they'll be backed individually and collectively.
"One of the biggest things is that he wanted to come here. Other managers will have done their due diligence and they wanted to bring him in too. He's had the b***s to do it when he could have taken an easier option."