Sheffield United may not be losing one club legend if Chris Wilder leaves his role as manager, but also assistant Alan Knill as well.
It’s more than 24 hours since it was first reported that Wilder’s time as Blades boss is coming to an end.
Yet despite almost every major media outlet since stating this, there has still be no communication from the club.
A press conference scheduled for 5pm on Friday which was expected to announce Wilder’s departure was cancelled.
It’s believed that’s because United are still in talks with the 53-year-old about his severance package. Some say this could be worth as much as £7m.
But Wilder isn’t a one-man band and the great success he has brought to Bramall Lane during nearly five years in charge isn’t solely down to him.
When the boyhood fan and former player took charge in 2016, he was joined by Knill.
The pair have worked together since 2008 when Wilder left Halifax Town. At the time Knill was manager at Bury and there was a role reversal. Wilder became his number two.
However, that became the more familiar setup in 2014 when they took over at Northampton Town. With Wilder as boss and Knill as his assistant, Northampton won the League Two title in 2015/16 and the Blades made their move.
What will happen to Alan Knill if Chris Wilder leaves?
On Friday morning, talkSPORT were the ones to break the news that Wilder would be departing.
At that point they said that Knill had also left the club. Which wouldn’t be wholly surprising considering the close working relationship the pair have.
Yet later in the day, when The Telegraph reported that Wilder hadn’t actually left Bramall Lane, there was an update on Knill.
According to the newspaper, it was the 56-year-old who took first team training on Friday.
Knill is thought of as the tactical mastermind behind United’s success. Wilder’s famed overlapping centre-back tactic is actually said to be the brainchild of his right-hand man.
The duo have a great mutual respect and trust in each other. While they might not be considered friends in the traditional sense, their bond at work is extremely strong.
It would be a surprise if Knill didn’t also leave if Wilder does indeed depart. After all, they’d therefore presumably be looking for their next challenge in the near future. Celtic are interested, for example.
Which would be a double blow for the club and leave two sets of extremely big shoes to fill.