Why relegated Sheffield United aren't going down as a broken football club as boss makes "toxic" point

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Chris Wilder’s defiant Sheffield United vow as he addresses “toxic” point

At full time at Goodison Park on Saturday, after Sheffield United’s latest defeat on their way back to the Championship and their excellent fans roared their defiant support from the archaic away end, Chris Wilder took a moment to stand there and soak it all in. The Blades have been beaten often this season, and sometimes badly. But he is insistent that they aren’t broken.

“This isn’t a broken football club. It isn’t” he said. “It's a connected football club that's had a bad season. It’s a really good football club. I think we all understand what toxic looks like. I’ve seen it at our football club and I’ve seen it right the way through football when it really is toxic. At times [the support] is humbling because you sometimes think, because of the position that we’re in: ‘Do we deserve it?’”

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There is huge disappointment at how this season has panned out, how the Blades have squandered the opportunity to have a go in the Premier League and preferred to bank the millions it brings instead. At how they didn’t manage to take the relegation battle deeper, especially in recent weeks when first-half performances against Burnley, Newcastle and Nottingham Forest deserved much more than zero points and 12 goals conceded.

But, based on the noise coming out of away ends before and since relegation was confirmed, Unitedites are still behind their club and the hope is that the players can give them something to hang on to this weekend, in their final game of a miserable campaign at home to Spurs which will also act as a send-off for their outgoing players.

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“They love their football club,” Wilder added. “So my job now is to rebuild and produce another team that is supported passionately because the supporters are watching a winning team. That's the challenge for me and I think you understand my mindset, and where I am with it. 

“I've had some great, great memories and great moments, and I want to get those moments back. And I want the supporters to get those moments back. And I want the players to feel that, too. So I think everyone understands how we get to that situation. A lot of hard work, a lot of big decisions. A lot of thought will go into what happens and how we go forward.”

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