Yesterday was a day many Sheffield United fans have been waiting for, as Chris Wilder finally issued a statement to draw a line under his time at the club.
Wilder’s departure is still stinging for many Unitedites. Paul Heckingbottom’s temporary tenure has been nothing short of a nightmare, while some are still seething at Prince Abdullah for seemingly allowing the greatest United boss of the modern era to walk away.
Indeed, it is Abdullah’s interview a few weeks ago with Sky Sports which has got a number of Blades riled. Many felt some of his comments were uncalled for, unnecessary, and painted Wilder in a bad light.
But whatever the full truth might be, and whatever your own personal thoughts on the whole Wilder V Abdullah situation that’s surfaced, there can be no denying who has come out with their head held higher here.
Wilder’s statement via the LMA yesterday was nothing but dignified.
There were no sly remarks. No dropping people in things. No comments which could be interpreted by fans or the media as being ‘having a dig’ at the board and Prince Abdullah. Instead, Wilder’s statement was one of class, pride, and thanks for being able to live his dream.
Chris Wilder 1 – 0 Prince Abdullah
While Wilder avoided any sense of blame or finger pointing in his statement yesterday, the message was clear. He is leaving a proud man, head held high, and with a clear and open mind on his future.
Wilder has drawn a line under proceedings. For many United fans, this is what was needed and being the loyal fanbase we are, we will move on, support the board, and support the new manager.
But, as we wrote just a few weeks ago on Sheffield United News, talk is cheap from the owner and now, Prince Abdullah must step up.
He’s got a free run of turning what is now his club into the force he wants it to be. To do so, he needs to show fans he means business. The first step in that, of course, is to find the right successor to Wilder.
Never has a managerial appointment felt so important. It simply has to be got right, otherwise catastrophe could strike. Abdullah also needs to ensure he rejects bids for top players. Sure, we might lose some, but he’s said himself the club has positioned itself to be able to say no, so say no he must.
Finally, he needs to back the new manager. United need new players and while a full ‘overhaul’ might not be needed, the club needs at least four or five new faces this summer.
Chris Wilder is a Blades legend. His statement yesterday only entrenching him deeper into supporters’ hearts. But now the onus is on the future, and with Wilder being so noble here, the pressure is on for Prince Abdullah, Stephen Bettis, and their backroom teams.