Sheffield United manager's suspicions are confirmed by reaction to latest controversy involving his team
Chris Wilder believes the lack of scrutiny surrounding the decision not to award his Sheffield United team a penalty towards the end of their defeat at Fulham - a result which effectively condemned them to relegation from the Premier League - vindicates his decision not to seek an explanation from the match officials.
Wilder was apoplectic with rage when referee Martin Atkinson and VAR Peter Bankes refused to intervene when Jayden Bogle was scythed down by Alphonse Areola during the closing stages, arguing the French goalkeeper should also have received a red card following his “out of control” challenge.
Wilder, who later claimed Bogle was fortunate not be joining the likes of John Egan, Jack O’Connell and Sander Berge on the treatment table ahead of Sunday’s game against Liverpool, described Bankes’ refusal to call for a review as “impossible to understand” - claiming “this would be rumbling on for months” if “it was one of the big boys” involved.
Although former Liverpool and Scotland captain Graeme Souness agreed with Wilder, the matter has received very little coverage beyond South Yorkshire; something which will only serve to strengthen Wilder’s belief that United get a raw deal from the authorities.
“We didn’t try to ask or appeal it, if you know what I mean, because we’ll be out of the division,” he said. “I didn’t ask (about it) too much afterwards, because it wouldn’t change anything and nothing would happen anyway. We’ve been in this position before and got nowhere.”
Although Wilder acknowledges United’s position in the table - they are 14 points adrift of safety with only 13 matches remaining - means his words will be dismissed as sour grapes by some, he expressed similar concerns towards the end of last season, when they finished ninth.
After a technological failure cost United two points during June’s draw with Aston Villa - and potentially around £1m in prize money - Wilder confirmed they had failed to receive a proper exposition into how the error had occurred. The 53-year-old and his coaching staff were also frustrated by John Lundstram’s red card during a visit to Brighton and Hove Albion before Christmas.