Some are questioning whether Sheffield United should sack Chris Wilder as manager.
The Blades are bottom of the Premier League table after nine games with just a single point.
They have lost their last four matches, with Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to West Ham United being the latest.
Wilder was asked after the defeat whether he feared for his future.
“I haven’t had the sack in 20 years – 911 games if you hadn’t noticed – I don’t fear it,” the 53-year-old was quoted by Sky Sports.
“I need to be careful because I don’t want to come across as arrogant and look like I think I’m untouchable, but I don’t feel it should be asked given the journey that we have been on over the last four years.”
Talk of the sack is an insult to Chris Wilder
Most United fans probably watched on with despair at the weekend as West Ham became the latest side to leave Bramall Lane with all three points.
It was another case of ‘what if?’ Not for the first time this season, Wilder’s team didn’t play particularly badly.
Oli McBurnie hit the bar, while George Baldock had a decent early effort saved by Lukasz Fabianski. What if they had gone in?
Problem is they didn’t. And they generally haven’t this term. Only Burnley have scored fewer than the Blades’ four league goals in 2020/21 and they have played two games less as things stand.
Yet what’s really galling is the lack of fight. United didn’t score that many last season either, but finished ninth thanks to their organisation and defensive resolve.
That seems to have all but disappeared this time around. Only the three newly promoted teams and Liverpool have conceded more than them this campaign.
Injuries have played their part, for sure, but the way they drift to defeats currently is so far removed from how they performed in 2019/20.
So why shouldn’t Wilder go?
Any United supporters calling for the club to axe Wilder – and it’s admittedly a small minority – clearly have short memories.
When he took charge in the summer of 2016, they had just finished 11th in League One – their lowest position since 1983.
Over the next four years the South Yorkshire side were promoted twice and secured their highest league position in 28 years.
That is an extraordinary turnaround and rise. In many ways, Wilder is now a victim of his own success.
As he says, this doesn’t mean he’s immune from criticism. Ultimately, the buck stops with him and at the moment performances and results aren’t good enough.
But calls for Wilder to be sacked are ridiculous. For starters, who would they replace him with?
Surely he has earned the right to be given time to improve things? And even if – in the worst case scenario – they are relegated, then Wilder still deserves the time to go for promotion once again.
United are in a unique position. They have someone as boss who both supports the club and is one of the brightest coaching minds in English football.
Throwing that away would be a huge mistake.