'Statue outside the stadium' - Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole react to Chris Wilder exit shock

Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Chris Wilder could one day have a statue outside Bramall Lane following reports that he is set to leave Sheffield United.
Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is understood that the 53-year-old will part company with the Blades after a difficult spell for the club that has left them facing imminent relegation from the Premier League

On the whole, however, Wilder’s legacy with United has been a promising one, taking the club from mid-table in League One to the top half of the top flight last term.

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And Ferdinand believes that he will be fondly remembered by the Blades’ fanbase. Speaking on BT Sport, the former England defender said: “He leaves with his head completely held high.

"He won the manager of the year award – it speaks volumes of what he’s done. Joined the club in League One and got them to the Premier League, almost got them into Europe.

"This guy, he won’t be scratching around to get a club. I think there’ll be loads of suitors trying to get him.

"Wholehearted Sheffield United fan, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a statue outside that stadium one day. What he did there, he not only lifted the spirits of the club but the city, a local guy, and a salt of the earth type of guy.

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"I think he was disappointed in terms of the lack of investment in the whole club, the infrastructure of creating something that’s sustainable”.

Joe Cole added to Ferdinand’s point, suggesting that Wilder couldn’t be blamed entirely for a series of underwhelming recruitment decisions in the transfer market.

He said: “When you think of the money spent, you look at the transfer fees, but it’s the wages, and Sheffield United don't spend a lot on wages.

"When he’s gone to the owners and said, ‘I want Ollie Watkins, I want Callum Wilson’, he couldn’t compete with Newcastle and Aston Villa wages-wise.

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"Sheffield United were in the doldrums for so many years, and they spent money in League One trying to get up the Championship – you have to spend money to bring the players in.

"He’s got to the Premier League, they’ve not just survived, they’ve thrived in the league playing a brand of football that’s fantastic to watch, got all the plaudits.

"If you’re a sensible owner you back this man, you say, ‘We need to up the wages because he needs people like Ollie Watkins, Callum Wilson, goal scorers to take this team to the next level’. They’ve just not backed him.

"It doesn’t make sense to me.

"I can’t see the plan, and I’d be very concerned and very worried.

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"You got him through the door, he’s proven himself, and then you’ve let him go.

"It’ll be interesting to see what they do in the six months, 12 months, because they probably will go down, we all agree on that, and it’s not like a Brighton or a Norwich – whether there is a sustainability at the core, I don’t know.

"It’ll be interesting to see how it all unfolds, but I’m slightly concerned for Sheffield United”.