Chris Wilder has admitted he is powerless to provide any cast-iron guarantees about his future with Sheffield United, despite acknowledging a dispute between the club’s co-owners means it is inevitable he will be linked with other jobs.
Wilder, who last week urged Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to quickly resolve their differences, is known to feature on a short-list of names being considered by Sunderland for the vacant manager’s position at the Stadium of Light.
Although he is known to have met McCabe at United’s player of the year ceremony five days ago, Wilder confirmed there have been no official meetings between Bramall Lane’s hierarchy and coaching staff since his plea for “clarity”, “harmony” and “direction.”
Insisting he has given no thought to the prospect that Sunday’s visit to Bristol City might be his final match in charge, Wilder said: “What I will say is that I won’t retract anything. We all have choices and options. I don’t know what the future holds. You can’t in football. I had it as a player and I’ve had it as a manager. I had my say. I’ve said my piece. I will do because it’s my football club. I thought it through.”
Prince Abdullah and McCabe are both attempting to gain sole control of United after the partnership they established in September 2013 broke down. Wilder, whose side were chasing play-off qualification until the penultimate fixture of the campaign, explained the impasse has made planning for next season impossible.
Although his decision to go public was partly designed to bring matters to a head, Wilder said: “I’ve not had any dialogue with the owners. That’s their option.
“I don’t drive them or decide for them. It isn’t a war with one or the other. It’s just trying to get things sorted. The owners have the ability and the right to decide what they want to do.”
“There will always be speculation,” Wilder, who said Sunderland have not made an approach for his services, continued. “I can’t do anything about speculation. What I can is try to get clarity for my football club. I’ve not thought about this being my last game. The club might get taken over tomorrow and whoever does it might want to bring their own guy in.”
Wilder, a lifelong United supporter, signed an extended contract after leading them to promotion from League One at the first time of asking last term. Despite refusing to withdraw his comments, privately Wilder’s preferred outcome would be to remain in situ and for McCabe and Prince Abdullah to settle their differences. However, unless one party decides to end its bid for power, the dispute could continue for months.
“When I first came in, I wasn’t looking to dive in and dive out,” Wilder said. “When I extended, did I see this? No.”