The moment Chris Wilder said goodbye to Sheffield United's players

Chris Wilder, the former Sheffield United manager, did say goodbye to Bramall Lane’s first team squad after leaving his position at the Premier League club over the weekend.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 4:10 pm

The Star has learned the 53-year-old spoke with the players on Saturday, as details of his departure were being finalised following a series of well-publicised disagreements with United’s hierarchy.

There had been suggestions that protocols introduced because of the Covid-19 pandemic meant Wilder had been denied the opportunity of a proper farewell.

But a number of sources have denied this was the case, although the exact nature of the meeting that took place remains unclear.

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Former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Paul Heckingbottom who has taken charge on a caretaker basis, also confirmed he spoke in person with Wilder before overseeing Sunday’s 5-0 defeat by Leicester City.

Speaking after that result, which edged United a step closer towards being mathematically relegated back to the Championship following two seasons in the top-flight, Heckingbottom insisted the “emotion of the occasion” had been a factor behind their heaviest defeat in more than a decade.

Previously of Barnsley, Leeds and Hiberbian, Heckingbottom will oversee his second match in charge when United visit Chelsea in FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend.

United, who have beaten Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Bristol City in previous rounds, last reached the semi-finals of the competition in 2014 - when Wilder’s predecessor Nigel Clough was at the helm.

Chris Wilder spent nearly five years in charge of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

United reached the quarter-finals last term, losing to Arsenal at Bramall Lane at the beginning of ‘Project Restart’. The match was among the first in the country to be played behind closed doors, amid the global health crisis.

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