Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder could have ended up in the same team as Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer. Almost.
A Yorkshireman through and through, Wilder was actually first picked up at academy level by Southampton. At the time Le Tissier and Shearer were also in the Saints youth system.
Unfortunately for Wilder, while those two went onto become first team regulars at St Mary’s, he never made a senior appearance.
Released at 19, he ended up back with the Blades – where he finally broke through as a footballer.
Now the two clubs that played the biggest part in his formative years meet in the Premier League this weekend. And Wilder has been reflecting on his time in Hampshire.
“It was a fantastic education working with good people. They were formative years that shaped me not only as a footballer but as a person,” the 51-year-old told BBC Radio Sheffield.
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“If you look at the amount of players that club has produced as professional footballers at different levels.
“At that time the likes of Matt Le Tissier, the Wallace brothers, Alan Shearer (were there). They’ve produced some really good footballers.
“Obviously I was disappointed that I didn’t make a first team appearance. It was the possibly the first disappointing thing I had as a young person, getting released at 19. But these things happen to a lot of players and I had to overcome that.”
From playing with Alan Shearer to being analysed by him
Le Tissier and Shearer may have gone onto have more glittering careers as players, but Wilder is certainly the standout as a manager.
His Blades side host Southampton at Bramall Lane looking to build on a solid start to their first top flight season in 12 years.
The fact they are even back in the Premier League is down to Wilder. Two promotions in three seasons have been masterminded by the former Saints youngster.
Now he has the chance to get one over on the club he joined as a 14-year-old.