'Closest thing to a father figure' - Sheffield United fan's emotional Chris Wilder tribute at Bramall Lane after 'heartbreaking' exit
A Sheffield United fan has left an emotional tribute to Chris Wilder at Bramall Lane, days after the former Blades manager’s controversial departure from the club.
Wilder left United on Friday, with his exit finally confirmed on Saturday night, bringing to an end a hugely successful period in charge, just short of five years since returning to the club he supported as a boy and went on to play for.
The acrimonious parting stirred emotions amongst Blades in the city, much of it anger given Wilder’s immense popularity.
While social media was awash with bitterness from supporters towards the club’s ownership, headed by Prince Abdullah, outside a quiet Bramall Lane sat a heartbreaking tribute to Wilder.
Hung to the fence around the stadium car-park, with fans unable to get any closer due to Covid restrictions, a red flag depicted the manager’s face, between the words ‘Wilder is God’.
Beside it was a bottle of Peroni – the beer which had become synonymous with the manager celebrating glorious seasons.
And next to that was a bunch of flowers, containing a card signed by ‘Jimmy’.
The message summed up how many United supporters had been feeling as perhaps the most popular and successful manager left.
In it, ‘Jimmy’ wrote that Wilder was like a ‘father figure’ and described his leaving as ‘heartbreaking’.
The card read: “Chris, Ever since my dad sadly passed, you’ve been the closest thing to a father figure in my life. I hold you in the hghest regard as a human being, your desire, the way you motivate people and handle yourself in the press is truly inspiring.
"Every week I have heard your words in good times and bad and quietly nodded along, what needed to be said was being said. For the journey to end like this, is heartbreaking. Jimmy x.”
Wilder took over in May 2016 and after six years in the third tier of English football won promotion to the Championship in his first season. In his third season in charge, he incrediblly won promotion to the Premier League where they finished ninth.
A disappointing season followed and tensions began to build behind the scenes with the owners, which evetually led to Wilder’s exit this weekend.
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