Even the most pessimistic of Blades fans (and in my estimation most are) can’t have anticipated this.
We were better off under David Weir three years ago.
But the difference is that Weir was a novice manager who after several weeks in the job was visibly unable to comprehend was going on and what he could possibly do about it. I have never heard a man use the word ‘disappointed’ so many times. Chris Wilder, however, is tried and tested and has overcome adversity worse than this at other clubs. That must be me being optimistic, which is unusual.
People will look at the players Wilder has brought in and wonder if they are any better than those his two predecessors signed. It’s actually too early to say, but Jack O’Connell in particular has had a bad week - an own goal (which wasn’t his fault), a defensive howler and a penalty. But he, like Wilder, is tried and tested in the lower divisions. The thing about Wilder’s signings is that they are cheaper than those who went before.
Ever since 2009 United have been downgrading the cost of the squad, and Wilder is now seeing the brunt of that. As well as reducing the wage bill, players have always needed to be sold or, in the case of John Brayford, removed from that wage bill. The problem with being a ‘big’ club at this level is everything is big - the overheads, the ground, the maintenance bill, the rates, the number of staff. Selling a player for a couple of million every year is probably the only way to keep the administrator at arm’s length.
And paying off boss after boss, unwanted players and players signed apparently by accident does not help. A lack of money has not hindered Wilder before. He must do it again, this time from the back of the field. But Mo won gold after falling down!