'Del Boy' Hawk-Eye sparks Chris Wilder's anger after Sheffield United are robbed at Aston Villa
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder labelled the technological error which denied his team a goal during their visit to Aston Villa as “farcical”, following Hawkeye’s admission that an unprecedented sequence of events had led to its goal line system failing for the first time in more than 9,000 games.
Wilder, who also criticised the person responsible for leaking the news that John Fleck and Jack O’Connell had suffered injuries before the opening game of the Covid-19 era, refused to blame referee Michael Oliver for failing to spot Orjan Nyland carrying Oliver Norwood’s free-kick into the back of his net just before half-time.
But he expressed incredulity that “seven cameras dotted all around the ground” had not seen Nyland “almost stood at the back of the Holte End” before play was waved on.
“I’m already seeing pictures coming up on social media of Del Boy wearing a Hawkeye watch,” a clearly furious Wilder said. “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The emotion and the feeling of everybody, from both sets of players and staff, was that it was in. Then, when our video analysis guy came running down from the stands to show us the pictures, it certainly had the feeling of a goal.
“Even the ref told me it had the feel of a goal.”
With a post and a defender apparently obscuring Nyland’s position, the first match to be staged in England since March ended in a controversial stalemate. The result leaves United in sixth - four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea - with nine fixtures of the campaign remaining.
Questioning why VAR did not step-in, Wilder continued: “We’ve got Chris Kavanagh (the VAR official) who is one of the best refs in England and we’ve got Michael who is one of the best in Europe. They’ll be scratching their heads wondering what had occurred. We believe it should have been reviewed and that’s what we were asking for.
“I stood out in the rain at Spurs earlier this season waiting for one of our goals to be disallowed and I’ve stood there for five minutes waiting for decisions that have gone for us. I believe a decision should have been made (by VAR) but to be told that’s the first time it’s gone wrong on 9,000 games - well, thanks, I suppose we just have to take it.”
Fleck and O’Connell were both absent after suffering knocks during training and last week’s friendly against Hull City respectively.
“It was a huge blow to lose them both, we’re not a big powerful club and that’s not me pleasing poverty, but we’re not a Manchester City who can just name a team an hour before a game - we have to prepare,” Wilder said. “Flecky could be back and we’re waiting on Jack. But I’d like to say a big thanks to the Sheffield United fan who put it out on social media, because they clearly wanted to help their football club.”
“Flecky goes in for a challenge in the last minute against Hull,” Wilder added. “That’s the competitor he is. Jack collided with Dean (Henderson) in the last minute of a training session.”