Chris Wilder vs Sheffield United and his £120m waste

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Chris Wilder might have left Sheffield United due to the club’s poor performance under his tutelage but it seems there was more about his era at the Premier League club.

Chris became a household name at Sheffield United when he helped the club to gain promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2018-2019 season. Due to this achievement, the club decided to award the 53-year-old English tactician with a three years contract.

As if that was not enough, Sheffield United decided to give the coach another four-year contract in January 2020 and the coach paid back the club by ensuring that the club finished 9th on the Premier League table at the end of 2019-2020 season.

However, the outcome of the 2020-2021 season became a bitter experience for Chris Wilder and Sheffield United. The coach who was flying with United last season struggled with the team from the start until it got to a point his relationship with Sheffield United got sour.

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At that point, Wilder had already led Sheffield United to the bottom of the league table with no sign of pushing themselves out of the relegation zone. Hence, he stepped down as the club’s coach.

That was all the outsiders of the club knew until recently the owner of the club, Prince Abdullah revealed that Chris Wilder had attempted to leave the club twice due to how poor things were going for the club this season. But the club insisted that they didn’t plan to sack him.

Yet, the coach wanted to leave and insisted that the club should pay him a £4 million severance fee which ought to be paid to him if the club had sacked him. The club refused to pay the money since they were not ready to sack the English tactician.

After a series of back and forth, Chris Wilder left the club on mutual consent and he was replaced by the former coach of Sheffield United under-23 team, Paul Heckingbottom.

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One of the things Chris Wilder complained about while at the club was the lack of superstar players. He was quoted as saying that he was playing in the Premier League with Championship players.

Chris Wilder vs Sheffield United and his £120m waste
Former Sheffield United coach Chris Wilder and the club’s owner Prince Abdullah.

In an interview with Sky Sports, the owner of Sheffield United, Prince Abdullah revealed that the club gave Wilder £120 million to sign players and the coach who was given a key say in the recruitment process at the club failed to spend the money effectively.

“We also talked about the January transfer window just before the Southampton game (which ended in a 3-0 defeat). I felt good after the meeting and I gave him [Wilder] assurances. I went back to Saudi, I felt good,” the Prince said.

“Then after we lost to [Crystal] Palace at the beginning of January, Stephen [Bettis, Sheffield United CEO] called me and told me Chris wanted to resign. I felt it was my mistake because we recruited how Chris wanted, we spent over £120m.

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“Liverpool and Tottenham have two forwards, we have six. The new coach may not want six forwards and we spent around £60m on them.”

Despite having 6 forwards as the club’s owner claimed, Wilder left Sheffield United when the total number of goals the club scored so far this season was just 16. While they have conceded 50 goals which had sunk them deep at the bottom of the league table.

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