Chris Wilder ‘hugely proud’ of his Sheffield United ‘journey’

Chris Wilder has spoken of his pride in the journey Sheffield United have made during his time as manager.

After taking charge of his boyhood club in 2016, Wilder guided them from League One to the Premier League and a ninth-placed finish in 2019-20 before departing last month with the Blades at the bottom of the table.

In a statement published on the League Managers’ Association website on Wednesday, Wilder said: “When I returned to Bramall Lane in May 2016, given the chance to manage the club I have supported all my life, which would be could predict the next four and a half years?

Wilder led the club from League One to the Premier League (Richard Sellers/PA).Wilder led the club from League One to the Premier League (Richard Sellers/PA).

Wilder led the club from League One to the Premier League (Richard Sellers/PA).

“It’s been a journey and one I’m extremely proud of.

“Slowly but surely we went about our business, taking the mistake in stride and remaining humble as we began to build momentum that would take us to the heights of the Premier League and the highest finish in the modern era.

“We were in good shape when Covid hit last year and who knows how far we could have gone? You couldn’t avoid talk of possible European football – hopefully that kept a few Unitedites going through a tough time.

“As this season has shown, football is not the same without supporters and I stand by the comment I have made many times, the club has missed out more than most. United have the ability to turn defeats into draws and draws into wins.

“I can’t stress enough how important the fans are and I’ve been humbled by the unequivocal support, even this season when things haven’t gone so well.”

The 53-year-old, who said he was “enjoying a period of reflection at home in a city I love” before deciding what to do next, added: “I’ve lived every Blades fan’s dream and I hope that each. of them understand that I tried to represent them correctly in “giving them the club back”, a phrase that was said to me many times. And one that I verbally believe I did!”

Wilder also said he “would like to wish everyone associated with the football club and the owners all the best for the future”.

The club announced on March 13 that Wilder had left by mutual consent. Tensions between Wilder and club owner Prince Abdullah Bin Musa’ad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud have risen recently.

Wilder left the Blades bottom of the Premier League (Ben Stansall/PA).Wilder left the Blades bottom of the Premier League (Ben Stansall/PA).

Wilder left the Blades bottom of the Premier League (Ben Stansall/PA).

Later in March, Prince Abdullah claimed in an interview with Sky Sports that Wilder had twice wanted to resign before he left.

The Yorkshire outfit, now with Paul Heckingbottom in charge until the end of the season, are 18 points from safety with seven games to go.

Meanwhile, club captain Billy Sharp has revealed he will miss the rest of the campaign following surgery.

The 35-year-old striker, who has not been involved in the last three games, underwent surgery on a thigh injury sustained in training.

Sharp said in an Instagram post on Wednesday: “He always avoids missing games so it hurts to be out for the rest of the season.

“Unfortunately the injury was worse than we had hoped but the operation went well and he will come back stronger next season to get my 250th goal in front of a packed Bramall Lane.”

Sharp scored the 249th goal of his professional career in a 1-0 FA Cup win over Bristol City in February. He has scored 98 times for Sheffield United since joining them in 2015 for his third spell with the club.

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