Sheffield United prepare to officially confirm Chris Wilder has left Bramall Lane
Sheffield United are preparing to admit manager Chris Wilder has left Bramall Lane, after five years in charge of the Premier League club.
Although the 53-year-old’s departure is yet to be officially confirmed, with two media conferences being cancelled earlier today, sources report he will not be in the dug-out for this weekend’s visit to Leicester City.
Paul Heckingbottom, the head coach of United’s under-23 team, is expected to be handed temporary control of first team affairs before a permanent replacement is identified.
The delay in the announcement is believed to have been caused by negotiations regarding Wilder’s severance package, after he signed a long-term contract extension midway through last season.
Despite enjoying almost unprecedented success at the helm of the team he has followed since childhood and represented as a player, leading them from the third to the first tier of English football after being appointed in the summer of 2016, Wilder’s relationship with members of owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s inner circle has grown increasingly strained in recent months.
After excelling in the top-flight last term, winning an army of admirers en route to a ninth placed finish with their attacking, expansive style, United’s failure to build on that success has exposed the the differences between Wilder and his employers regarding recruitment and transfer strategy.
The situation came to a head in January when, after believing funds would be made available for two loan signings, Wilder discovered a block had been put on new arrivals.
Earlier this month, the former Halifax, Oxford and Northampton Town chief admitted he didn’t know if he would continue in post beyond the end of the campaign.
Although he leaves United at the bottom of the table and seemingly destined for relegation, news of Wilder’s exit has been greeted with dismay by huge sections of a support base which had been reinvigorated by his presence.
United are finalising their preparations for the meeting with Brendan Rodgers’ side 12 points adrift of safety with only 10 matches remaining, following an injury hit campaign which has seen a number of influential players confined to the treatment room.