Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder was recommended to the Blades a year before he actually got the job.
Club legend Dave Bassett was Wilder’s boss at Bramall Lane back when he was a player in the 1980s and 90s. And the duo have remained close ever since.
Wilder described Bassett as a “mentor” on Goals On Sunday earlier this month.
The man affectionately known as “Harry” was in charge of United for seven years between 1988 and 1995. During that time they were promoted twice and spent four seasons in the top flight.
There are clearly some similarities between Wilder and his former boss. Something which Bassett clearly recognised when he suggested the Blades academy product to become the club’s new manager in 2015 – as reported by the Daily Mail.
At the time the South Yorkshire side were about to enter their fifth successive campaign in League One. Wilder was in charge of Northampton Town a division below.
Instead United opted for Nigel Adkins, who guided them to 11th in 2015/16 – their worst league position since 1982. That same term Wilder won the League Two title with Northampton.
Adkins was duly sacked and the Blades finally took Bassett’s advice. Wilder became boss in May 2016 – a year after his initial recommendation.
Chris Wilder and the Blades – a match made in heaven
A boyhood fan and youth product at United, Wilder has a stronger connection with the club than most. Plus, he has overseen two promotions in three seasons and an impressive start to their first Premier League campaign in 12 years.
Going into this Sunday’s home match with Manchester United, they sit two places and a point above their opponents in fifth.
“This team have gelled over three seasons. Don’t underestimate the power of togetherness and work ethic,” said Bassett.
“Chris is experienced. Not with top clubs but he’s been around, listening to ideas and forming his own.
“He and (assistant) Alan Knill know how they want to play, they’ve got belief in it and the players see that, so they feed off it.”