Chris Wilder has left Sheffield United by mutual consent after a difficult 2020/21 Premier League season.
The Blades were the surprise packages of last season and ended up finishing in ninth place with 54 points, despite being favourites for relegation before the campaign had got underway.
This season has been an entirely different story though, with United unable to generate any kind of momentum. The Blades became the first team since 1902 to not pick up a top flight win before the new year, and they’ve lost 22 out of the 28 Premier League games they’ve played so far.
Despite that abysmal record, Wilder’s future had not been the subject of intense media scrutiny. But trouble has been bubbling under the surface for some time, and there were rumours of a possible exit in January over a disagreement with the club’s owners in regards to transfer strategy.
After four-and-a-half years in charge, Wilder has now officially left the club – with his departure confirmed in a statement on the club’s official website.
“Being manager of Sheffield United has been a special journey and one I’ll never forget,” Wilder said of his exit.
“I was delighted to be given the opportunity back in 2016 and have been delighted with the success which we have achieved, including two promotions and a highest ever Premier League finish. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Club’s accomplishments along the way, including the players, staff and, in particular, the supporters.”
Wilder departs with Sheffield United rock bottom of the table and 12 points from safety. Most of their difficulties have stemmed from inability to score goals. In fact, the Blades have netted just 16 times – the lowest amounts scored in the Premier League – and their -29 goal difference is the second worst record in the division.
Though this season has been tough, Wilder has achieved great things at the club he’s supported all his life. Promotion from the Championship was one of the obvious highlights, but it’s easy to forget that he also won League One with the Blades in 2016/17 – his first season at the club – after opting to leave Northampton for a team wallowing in ninth place.
Keeping the club in the Premier League may be his biggest achievement though, and is one that the club’s supporters will remember him fondly for.