Sheffield United poised to part company with boss Chris Wilder

Sheffield United are poised to part company with Chris Wilder.

By James Shield
Friday, 12th March 2021, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 11:06 am

An announcement, confirming the manager is leaving after five years in the role, could be made later today.

United had been scheduled to hold the first part of their pre-match media conference ahead of Sunday’s visit to Leicester City this morning, with Wilder set to face journalists via Zoom after lunch.

But the club confirmed a player would not be appearing for interview as planned, suggesting something was going on behind the scenes.

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Chris Wilder: David Klein/Sportimage

Wilder, aged 53, is viewed as one of the most successful managers in United’s history.

After taking charge of the club in 2016, he led them out of League One at the first time of asking before achieving promotion from the Championship two seasons later.

United finished ninth in the Premier League last season, but have endured a miserable run of results this season.

They are preparing to face City at the bottom of the table, 12 points adrift of safety with only 10 matches remaining.

United have yet to officially confirm that Wilder has left. But his relationship with the board of directors is known to have been strained for some time, with cracks beginning to publicly emerge following January’s transfer window.

A month earlier, Wilder heard owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud insist he wanted him in charge whether United were relegated or not. However, tensions between coaching staff and members of United’s hierarchy grew when a block was effectively put on transfers during the January window.

That prompted Wilder, a lifelong United supporter who also represented them more than 100 times as a player, to confess he couldn’t predict whether or not he would be remaining in the role beyond the summer.

“I don’t know,” he confessed, when that question was recently put to him by reporters. “I honestly don’t know.”

Wilder, previously of Alfreton, Halifax, Oxford and Northampton Town, inherited a squad which had just finished mid-table in League One when he replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm.

Although United’s spending increased as they progressed rapidly through the divisions, Wilder’s success in the role has been largely built on his ability to unlock the potential in the previously unfashionable names.

Combined with his interpretation of the 3-5-2 system, involving the use of enterprising wing-backs and attacking centre-halves, that saw Wilder named LMA Manager of the Year in 2020 - beating the likes of Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City to the prize.