Danny Hall, sports writer at The Star, has written ‘He’s one of our own’ - The story of Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United revolution.
Featuring exclusive interviews and contributions from fans, former and current players, members of the media and Wilder himself, the book examines Wilder’s journey into management, United’s season of struggle under his predecessor Nigel Adkins and then how, in the space of a few short months, Wilder transformed the Blades - his Blades - from top to bottom.
Published by Vertical Editions, the book is officially released next month and will be exclusively serialised in The Star over the next fortnight, beginning next Monday.
“The thinking was that I couldn’t tell the story of what has really happened at United since Wilder arrived without contributions from him, obviously, but the players and the supporters as well,” said Hall.
“The story has to be told from every perspective.”
Jake Wright, the defender who has worked with Wilder more than any other player, remembers their time together at Halifax Town in the Conference, before the club went bust.
Kevin Gage, a former teammate at United, recalls Wilder as a player and examines the similarities, and differences between Wilder and ‘Harry’ Bassett.
Paul Coutts talks candidly about the day he broke his leg. Alan Knill jokes how Wilder was doing “rubbish” before he linked up with him. Mark Duffy talks about that Sunday in September when he wrote his name in Bramall Lane folklore.
But the last word, fittingly, goes to Wilder, whose side began their 2018/19 Championship season on Saturday at Bramall Lane: "The author of this book asked me to sum up how it feels to be the manager of Sheffield United, and I have to say that I have loved every single moment of it.
The sun hasn’t always shone since I took the job, but I get a real buzz from driving into work, towards either the training ground or Bramall Lane, or getting on the coach for an away game and seeing the support for us at the ground.
There is no getting away from it - as manager of my club, there are times when it’s like New Year’s Eve after a win and other times when I just want to curl up and go to bed, or retreat to my house, shut the door and the curtains and hide away.
It’s been tough for my family, as well, and they’ve supported me brilliantly. My wife, Francesca, has been a fantastic support for me too. She knows how much it means to me and how I feel, and is there in bad times as well as good; which is the most important thing, really.
It’s quite easy for people to jump on the bandwagon when the sun is shining and things are going well, but I have really good people around me - friends and family - which I really appreciate.
Ever since I started out in management all those years ago it has never left me, but it consumes you and takes hold of you even more when it’s your club. There’s a lot of expectation to do well from my pals! We still sit in the pub on Sunday and have those conversations about United… the only difference being I’m now the one making the decisions when it was someone else before!
I have always given 100 percent for every club I’ve been involved in but I can’t get away from it; the highs are at United are a lot higher but the lows are a lot lower, too.
Being surrounded by people that have followed the club for years, you feel the highs and lows with them.
Something I’ve heard a lot, though - and if I had a pound for every time, I’d be living somewhere else for sure - was that we’d given the fans their club back.
Every time I hear it, it brings a lump to my throat because it’s the most humbling thing anyone can say to me, my staff and the players. All I can say, as a supporter, former ball-boy, ex-player and now manager, is that it’s been an absolute pleasure. I have loved every minute."
'He's one of our own' is published by Vertical Editions. To order a copy, visit www.bladesbook.co.uk.