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  • Dan Tracey

BLADES NO LONGER WALKING ON THE WILDER SIDE


Although the departure has not happened at the time of writing, there is a sense that such a development will happen later that same day and it is a development that involves the Premier League’s basement club.


Because with Sheffield United toiling for little reward this season, it has been an incredibly difficult campaign for Chris Wilder and with his usual chirpy demeanour seemingly ebbing away by the week, it looks as if a weight will soon be removed from his shoulders.


A weight that has come courtesy of the Blades suffering from second season syndrome and with such an ailment pointing them in the direction of the EFL Championship, relegation looks an inevitability.


Of course, such demotion has looked an inevitability for almost the whole of this current league campaign and because positive results have been non-existent, one wonders how and why Wilder stayed in gainful employment for so long.


The logical answer would be the credit that he accumulated at Bramall Lane and with the 53-year-old overseeing such a meteoric rise, it was always going to be difficult to sustain or even improve further.


While although last season’s 9th place finish was always going to be a tall order to replicate this time around, nobody within English football’s fraternity would have envisaged this incredible decline and in such a short amount of time.


A decline that has come about due to both defensive woe and attacking desolation, as last season’s equilibrium has been undone by the return of Dean Henderson to Manchester United and a paucity of goals at the other end.


With Henderson being such a vital cog in the Sheffield United wheel, his departure was always going to be sorely felt and although Chris Wilder had high hopes for replacement Aaron Ramsdale, the former Bournemouth ‘keeper has failed to live up to such lofty expectations.


Which is the same that can be said for Rhian Brewster and with the former Liverpool forward commanding a transfer fee of £23m, there has been absolutely nothing in the way of return in investment.


The 20-year-old may not have had as many minutes as he would like, but Sheffield United fans have had zero in terms of the number of goals they would have wished for and it is this transfer bust, which has worked against the soon to be departing manager.


The question that really needs to be asked, is why now? With a third of the season left remaining and this group of players currently 12 points from safety – while also playing a game more than their relegation rivals, the damage has already been done.


Ultimately this is not just a decision from the Sheffield United board, and it is the friction forming between themselves and the former Northampton manager, which has led us to the final act of this three-season play.


Such is the lack of harmony between the two entities, it seems that they have lost confidence in each other and with the board believing their current incumbent would be unable to get them out of the EFL Championship, Wilder believes he would not be given the suitable tools to do so.


Therefore, the only way out of such collective angst, is to mutually agree on something. A mutual agreement that comes with the departure of the Sheffield United manager and now the search will soon begin for his replacement.

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