Chris Wilder is expected to leave his role as Sheffield United manager, perhaps as early as Friday, after nearly five years in charge of his boyhood club, according to numerous reports out of the UK.
With just 14 points from 28 games, Sheffield United have spent the entirety of the 2020-21 season at the bottom of the Premier League table after shocking the world by finishing 9th in their first top-flight season since 2007 just a year ago.
The most detailed of those reports, from The Athletic, paints a picture of disharmony between Wilder and owner Abdullah Bin Musa’ad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud over the decision-making structure of the club.
Wilder has largely operated in a dual manager-director role, overseeing and dictating much of Sheffield United’s transfer dealings on the scouting and business side of the things while also coaching and managing the first team. The key issue, according to the report, revolves around Prince Abdullah’s desire to hire a director of football in an attempt to modernize the club’s structure — something Wilder had reportedly been “vehemently against.”
The parting of ways comes as little surprise to those close to Wilder, as he nearly left Sheffield United on his own accord a couple months ago.
For the board’s part, Wilder’s public utterances about this perceived financial imbalance towards the end of 2020 did not go down well. Neither, it is understood, did the uncertainty that surrounded the manager’s future right at the start of the year.
There was even a moment during that first week of January when those closest to Wilder felt he was ready to walk, only to then be talked back from the precipice.
Chris Wilder will undoubtedly rebound and move into another job rather quickly — likely in the summer — as he proved in 2019-20 he’s one of the best hands-on coaches in all of England. Whether or not he will be given the same authority on transfer dealings remains to be seen.