Title-winning Cobblers boss returns to management with Premier League Sheffield United
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The 56-year-old returns to his boyhood club two and a half years after he was sacked. He replaces Paul Heckingbottom who departs with the Blades bottom of the Premier League table after losing 11 of their opening 14 matches, including Saturday’s thumping 5-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Burnley.
The club’s owner Prince Abdullah described Wilder as ‘the best guy on planet earth to take over the club right now in these circumstances’, adding: “Chris is very optimistic he can save the season, he doesn’t think it’s easy, but he thinks it’s still possible.
“When you look at the table it's a very special year, a very weird year when it comes to the standings, so it’s still early, the season is still long and we have every chance to achieve our goals.”
Wilder, who returns to Bramall Lane with Alan Knill, said: "Quite simply it was an opportunity which I just couldn't turn down. Just like in 2016, when this club comes calling, it is not something you pass up.
"This is Sheffield United, it is my team and I am thrilled to be back. We find ourselves in a difficult position, I understand that, but I think I can make a difference.
"When I received the call from Stephen (Bettis) asking if I would consider coming back to try and help, I didn't have to think about it. People know what this club means to me, and the task now is to try and provide a boost to improve our current situation.
"My relationship with Prince Abdullah and the board was repaired a long time ago. After some time passed following my initial departure, we spoke, met in person and there was an amicable ending. Now, coming back as manager, to know there is a united front again is crucial as we look to work together to improve the club's position in the Premier League."
Wilder famously guided Northampton to the League Two title in 2016 before taking over Sheffield United a few weeks after the season had ended. He steered United to two promotions in three years before finishing in the top half in the Premier League in 2019/20, but Wilder departed during the following season as the club were relegated to the Championship.
Heckingbottom, appointed as Wilder's successor on a permanent basis in November 2021, led the Blades back to the top flight with a second place finish in the Championship last season.
After the Blades lost 5-0 at fellow strugglers Burnley, who moved off the bottom of the table with their victory on Saturday, the 46-year-old said the club had been ‘let down’ by some players.