Sheffield United’s players are desperate for Chris Wilder to remain as manager next season, captain Billy Sharp has revealed, as the uncertainty surrounding his future at Bramall Lane continues.
Wilder recently admitted he could be forced to consider his position unless co-owners HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe, who are both battling for sole control, can provide “clarity” about the club’s future direction.
The 50-year-old refused to discuss his situation following yesterday’s victory over Bristol City, which saw United finish 10th in the Championship table. But Sharp, who scored his 14th goal of the campaign during the 3-2 win, admitted the visitors’ squad had urged Wilder to stay following the match at Ashton Gate.
“We want him to be the manager,” Sharp said. “We’ve had success this year and we had success under him last year as well. It’s not for me to get involved in anything that’s going on at a higher level. But we want him to be here and I’m sure he wants to stay.”
Wilder, who led United to the League One title at the first time of asking after being appointed in May 2016, admitted he had been moved to tears by sound of United’s supporters chanting his name throughout the meeting with Lee Johnson’s side. Despite acknowledging his team’s failure to reach the play-offs was disappointing, he also spoke of his pride that United had kept their promotion hopes alive until the penultimate match of the campaign.
“He brings so much to the group,” Sharp, who like Wilder is a lifelong United fan, said. “He suits us, he suits this group of players, and I think we suit him as well. We bring out the best in each other.
“He’s got so much drive and desire to do well and, although we’ve got it as well, it certainly helps to have that coming down from the top. We might not agree with everything he says at times but that’s him. It’s because he wants the best, it’s because he demands such high standards from us and because he wants the best for the lads and the club.”
“He spoke to us in the dressing room at the end of the game and he told us he was proud of how we’ve done,” Sharp added. “Because there’s such a connection, that bond is really strong, that meant a lot. We also had a few words with him. He knows what we think.”
Wilder first voiced his concerns about the situation between Prince Abdullah and McCabe following last month’s game against Preston North End before tackling the subject again before the trip to the South-West. Speaking during his pre-match media briefing, Wilder explained the two men had yet to brief him on the progress of their respective takeover bids or, just as importantly, how they planned to ensure continued progress if successful.
But, when the issue was raised again after the clash with City, he responded: “It’s all for another day. I’ve said enough about it. I’ve not wanted to talk about it all season but I had to and I thought the time was right when I did. But I’m not talking about that now. I’d prefer to focus on how well these lads have done and their brilliant performance against tough opposition. All the rest is for another day.”