Former Sheffield United striker Mick Jones says Chris Wilder is one of the two best managers in the Premier League.
Jones is a legendary player at Bramall Lane. He scored 63 goals in 149 appearances after forming a lethal partnership upfront with Alan Birchenall.
Yet for some Blades fans, his name is tinged with regret and anger. That’s because Jones made the controversial move across Yorkshire in 1967 to join Leeds United.
The forward became the first player in history to move for a transfer fee of six figures. His time at Elland Road was productive, winning the First Division twice, the FA Cup and League Cup.
By coincidence, Wilder was actually born on the day Jones made his switch to Leeds.
What Mick Jones thinks about the current Sheffield United boss
Jones still lives in Sheffield and has always kept up to date with how the Blades have got on since his departure.
There have been tough times since then – none more so than the six years they spent in League One between 2011 and 2017.
Yet the arrival of Wilder has sparked an upturn in form not many fans could have even dreamed of. In less than four years in charge, the 52-year-old has taken them from bottom of the third tier to seventh in the Premier League.
And Jones thinks that Wilder is right up there as one of the two best managers in the top flight. His other pick may surprise a few people.
“In my opinion Sheffield United have one of the best two managers in the Premier League in Chris Wilder,” Jones told the Examiner.
“The other is Eddie Howe, who is doing a fantastic job at Bournemouth – a club with no great following to speak of and no multi-millions of money. How he’s kept them up there is a modern wonder of the world.”
Jones continued: “Chris is really down to earth and he’s doing it without any superstars.
“Where the likes of (Jose) Mourinho can go out and get a £100m player, Chris has moulded a squad that battles for each other and is a great unit. No airs, no graces and just a muck and bullets approach.
“He has put Sheffield United on the map and I am full of admiration for him.”