Danny Hall's Sheffield United Column: Why leading Blades into top-flight is Chris Wilder's biggest achievement to date against backdrop of boardroom in-fighting

As the bitter battle for control of Sheffield United intensifies, the topics of discussion in the High Court have become more and more bizarre.

By Danny Hall
Thursday, 06 June, 2019, 24:54
Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield Utd: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

This week it was the turn of Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to take the stand in front of Mr Justice Fancourt, and face allegations that he ‘cheated’ at fantasy football and tried to convince a member of the Bin Laden family to invest in the Blades by saying he could sell the land the club’s training base is built upon.

At various points over the trial so far, other relatively inconsequential details have been dragged into the public domain. Including, but by no means limited to, who was really behind the signing of John Brayford.

How relevant that is to the overall question, about who will ultimately end up in sole control of United and what they will do with it when that decision is made, is open to interpretation.

But, having observed events in the High Court closely as reported with so much diligence by my colleagues, one thing is more apparent above all the expensive mud-slinging and he said, she said; how good a job has Chris Wilder done?

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In even ordinary circumstances, to drag United into the Premier League – given their budget restraints and six-year spell in League One that only ended two years ago – is an extraordinary feat.

But to do that against a backdrop of boardroom instability, to keep the club well and truly united when events right above him suggested it was anything but?

United co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah

That is why for me, even after acknowleging the extraordinary job Daniel Farke has done at Norwich, Wilder was a worthy winner of the prestigious LMA manager of the year award and why there is no surprise whatsoever that, even as he prepares to lead his boyhood club into the Premier League, admiring glances are still being cast his way from other clubs, including West Brom and Middlesbrough.

He is a man who has shown a remarkable ability to work miracles throughout his career. Taking United into the top-flight, battling against more than just the odds, is by a significant margin his biggest achievement yet. And the story isn’t over.