Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Warnock likens Wilder exit to his and why Sheffield United fans will fear history could repeat itself

Neil Warnock is one of the few people who can empathise with what Chris Wilder experienced at Sheffield United.

Before Wilder, the current Middlesbrough boss was the last person to manage the Blades in the Premier League.

Along with Dave Bassett, they are the only people to lead the club in the top flight since it was rebranded in 1992.

Unlike Wilder, Warnock was unable to keep United in the division for more than one season. They were relegated on goal difference on the final day of the 2006/07 campaign.

Warnock is also a boyhood Blade and was considered by many at the time to be the best man to try and bring the South Yorkshire side straight back up at the first time of asking.

Yet as Sky Sports reports, there was instead an “acrimonious exit” that summer. Warnock left Bramall Lane by mutual consent – just as Wilder did on Saturday.

After three years flirting with promotion from the Championship and one playoff final, United were relegated to League One in 2010/11. They spent six years struggling in the third tier under a string of different managers before Wilder came along in 2016.

When Warnock got the Blades promoted to the Premier League they had spent 12 years out of the division. It was the same time period before Wilder took them back.

Fans may be fearing history is about to repeat itself. Again.

Warnock on Wilder’s exit from Sheffield United

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

“Everybody knows Chris has done a fabulous job. But managers have to get on with owners, whether you like it or not,” Warnock told The Yorkshire Post.

“You have to feel you can work in a situation and he obviously felt there were certain things that he couldn’t.

“I was there for seven years – probably two more years than Chris – and I felt let down when I left and fell out with the hierarchy like he did.

“But life goes on and when he gets his next club, he will say; ‘wow, this is a breath of fresh air and I can go and enjoy myself again.’ That is what I did and I am sure Chris will.”

Warnock would return to the top flight with QPR, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City, but unlike Wilder never truly made a success of it.

After finishing ninth with the Blades last term, there is a feeling the 53-year-old could go far in the game. Wilder was also named LMA manager of the year in 2019, sandwiched between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

Like Warnock, he will also return in the not too distant future. Wilder will probably enjoy looks more managerial success.

For some United fans, there is a very real sense that this end of an era may only be the start of a downward spiral. After all, they’ve unfortunately seen it play out that way before.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know