Sheffield United manager makes an important financial commitment as football battles coronavirus crisis

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has vowed he will not do anything which threatens the club’s viability as English football attempts to address the financial issues created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 7:00 am

Revealing he has asked to be kept abreast of the situation behind the scenes at Bramall Lane, where United’s hierarchy are plotting their response to problems caused by the suspension of the fixture calendar, Wilder confirmed he is committed to helping them negotiate safe passage through a crisis which the Premier League’s chief executive admits could cost the competition up to £1bn.

United, who were seventh in the table before the shutdown was announced, have not played a fixture since the beginning of last month.

“I’m a huge believer in the financial aspect of this football club,” Wilder, who led United to promotion 12 months ago, said. “I’ve been involved in situations at other football clubs and it is really important for me as a manager to keep my finger on the pulse on what happens from a financial standpoint

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“We’ve come out of the Championship, which I’ve got enough knowledge to talk on, which is at times quite a mess in terms of overspend and in terms of teams chasing the glory, which they have done - and not coming up or coming up and paying for that in the years to come.”

Previously of Halifax, Oxford and Northampton Town, Wilder has delivered huge success on a relatively modest budget since taking charge in 2016. After leading United out of League One at the first attempt, it was not until last summer, after finishing second in the second tier, that he received permission to loosen their purse strings.

Wilder, a lifelong United supporter, has spoken at length in the past about the importance of keeping spending under control.

It is a policy he will continue to adhere to when matches resume, with some predicting it could be until July before the season is finally completed.

Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder has made an important statement: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

“For me, we are the custodians of our particular football club and we are in a completely different league to Liverpool, Manchester United, (and other), established Premier League clubs,” he said. “We’re out of League One, into the Championship and straight into the Premier League based on a lot of other things than getting the chequebook out and putting the club in a difficult situation for years to come.

“Especially, this being my football club as well, I have a huge responsibility to make sure that we spend in a proper, correct way.”

“We have invested in the summer, and at Christmas, through money that we have earned and through achieving Premier League status,” Wilder added. “I think it is important that we look at the situation closely. I am working with the CEO (Steve Bettis) to make sure that if we do invest, that we do it at a sensible level that doesn’t affect the long-term future of this football club.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has vowed to be prudent: George Wood/Getty Images