March 2021 will be remembered as a bit of a sombre month in the history of Sheffield United, as Chris Wilder left his boyhood club in the midst of a miserable campaign.
The Blades were already all but relegated when Wilder left. The second season syndrome had certainly kicked in at Bramall Lane. And although Wilder did all he could to try and arrest the slide, his frustration was obvious.
Off the field matters were said to have played a big part in his departure from the club. Disagreements with key figures such as Prince Abdullah and Jan van Winkel, at the heart of Wilder’s departure.
Wilder is being linked with a return to management soon. He is openly ready to step back into management, although a rumoured move to Nottingham Forest might not come about thanks to Steve Cooper.
Wilder’s departure split the opinion of Blades fans. Nobody doubted the job he had done. But in one court you had those who thought he deserved the chop after spending big money and coming up so short. On the other side, there were fans who thought Wilder was simply untouchable.
And reflecting on his time with the Blades in an interview for Sky Sports, Wilder admitted he did make some mistakes along the way.
“Of course there are a few situations I could and should have handled differently. Inwardly, I know I’m not arrogant enough to think I got everything right. Relationships, lines of communication, some signings we made. Certain things that, in hindsight, I’d have done differently,” Wilder said.
But rather than look back on his time with United with regret, Wilder believes he got more right than wrong at Bramall Lane.
“During the heat of battle, you’re at the coalface and you have to make those decisions. I’d like to think for that club I made more right than wrong decisions. But that happens in everything in any relationship or any line of work you’re in, no one gets it completely right all the time.”
“I’m incredibly proud to have brought the club back together again, regardless of the incredible experiences we had; the first season getting 100 points, the second season the first time we played our rivals for a bit and then back into the Championship, where the club should be, at a minimum.”
Our View: Wilder has taken his time and will come back stronger for it
Nobody wanted to see Wilder leave Sheffield United the way he did. Since then, Prince Abdullah has had his say and it’s left the whole thing looking a bit messy.
But it’s nice to see Wilder doing a few interviews here and there now. He’ll never fully tell his side of the story you feel. But he seems content with how things happened and ended.
For Blades fans, there probably won’t be another period in time where they enjoy their football so much. From League One to 9th in the Premier League in four seasons is quite remarkable. Only Dave Bassett comes close, or even eclipses Wilder’s efforts.
Wilder will be back. And by the looks of it, he’ll be back soon enough.