Sunderland have sacked manager Jack Ross after 18 months in the role.

The last time they made a managerial change back in April 2018, Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was in the frame.

When Chris Coleman left the Stadium of Light, The Sun reported Wilder was Stewart Donald’s number one choice to take charge.

The 51-year-old had been left frustrated by an ongoing dispute between the Blades’ owners and it was thought he might leave Bramall Lane. In the end he stayed put, guiding them to promotion from the Championship in 2018/19.

For the Black Cats they’re left wondering what might have been.

Would Wilder have been tempted after Sunderland sacked their manager?

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Wilder didn’t hide that he was exasperated by the ongoing battle between Blades co-owners Prince Abdullah and Kevin McCabe.

In April 2018 he told the Yorkshire Post: “I want to go forward with this club but I can’t do it all on my own. If it stays the same I don’t think anybody would be surprised if I didn’t question where my career was going.”

Not only was Wilder disillusioned, but he also has history with Donald. The pair worked together at Oxford United when the club was promoted to the EFL in 2010.

Wilder guided the Blades out of League One following six years in the division. Clearly the board realised they had a special manager on their hands.

They did enough to convince Wilder to stay, despite the ownership dispute rumbling on. The Blades were promoted to the Premier League, while the owners went to the High Court.

Last month Prince Abdullah won the legal battle. McCabe was ordered to sell his stake to his rival. Wilder, meanwhile, has guided his team to 13th in the table after seven games.

Yet it could all have been so different had a move to the North East materialised.

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