HomeWilder's Sheffield United return confirmed by owner as Blades sack Heckingbottom

Wilder’s Sheffield United return confirmed by owner as Blades sack Heckingbottom


Paul Heckingbottom has been replaced as Sheffield United manager by the returning Chris Wilder, the club’s owner Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Al Saud has confirmed.

Sheffield United have endured a miserable start to their first season back in the Premier League and sit bottom of the table with just five points after 14 matches, losing 11 of those games.

Heckingbottom was widely expected to be relieved of his duties this week after the Blades were thrashed 5-0 by fellow relegation candidates Burnley on Saturday, capitulating after striker Oli McBurnie received his second red card of the season.

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Widespread reports suggested Wilder – who led the Blades to a ninth-placed Premier League finish as a newly promoted side in 2019-20 – had been lined up for a second spell in charge of his boyhood club.

Prince Abdullah confirmed that appointment had been finalised when speaking to TalkSPORT on Tuesday, saying: “Chris is practically an honour of the club, he’s part of Sheffield United history.”

The club subsequently confirmed Heckingbottom’s departure in a statement, thanking him for his “professionalism and dedication”.

“One thing I always like to do, not just in football but all of my businesses, is to keep a good relationship with my ex-employees no matter how it ended, I think you should get over it,” Prince Abdullah told TalkSPORT of the decision to approach Wilder.

“At the end of the day we’re all passionate about what we do and we believe Chris is the right man for the job.

“Chris has done great things for the club and in my opinion he’s the best guy on planet earth to take over the club right now in these circumstances.”

Sheffield United are four points adrift of safety ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Liverpool, having conceded 39 goals in 14 league games this season, with their only win coming against Wolves in November.

Wilder, who also had two spells at Bramall Lane as a player, was sacked by Sheffield United in March 2021 amid another torrid Premier League campaign, having overseen a return of 14 points from their first 28 matches of 2020-21. They went on to suffer relegation with Heckingbottom as caretaker manager.

However, Prince Abdullah has faith that all is not yet lost for the Blades this term, saying: “Chris is very optimistic he can save the season, he doesn’t think it’s easy, but he thinks it’s still possible.

“When you look at the table it’s a very special year, a very weird year when it comes to the standings, so it’s still early, the season is still long and we have every chance to achieve our goals.”

Wilder has been out of management since leaving Watford at the end of last season, having spent two months with the Hornets after being sacked by Middlesbrough last October.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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