By Victor Kanayo
Sheffield United have re-engaged Chris Wilder as replacement for sacked Manager Paul Heckingbottom.
Heckingbottom’s dismissal followed series of defeats in the current Premier League season.
Confirming the latest development in a statement, the club’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Bettis, said, “Firstly, on behalf of the board of directors, I’d like to thank Paul for all of his efforts at Sheffield United, firstly as U23s manager before stepping up to take control of first-team duties.
“His professionalism and dedication have been a credit to the club and I’m sure all Unitedites enjoyed the promotion-winning campaign.
“However, after slipping to the bottom of the table and a number of disappointing results and performances, it is felt that a change is needed to give the club a boost and every possible chance of remaining in the Premier League beyond this season.”
On Wilder’s return, Bettis said: “Following discussions, the board feel that Chris Wilder is the best possible option to give the Blades a change in fortune at this time and everyone at the club is delighted to welcome him back.
“His love for United and desire to improve the current situation is undeniable, added to the fact that he knows the majority of the squad and the club’s DNA, which will help him hit the ground running.”
Responding, Wilder 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.”
Heckingbottom’s future had come under intense scrutiny in the immediate aftermath of the heavy loss at Turf Moor, which came against a Burnley side that went into the match sitting bottom of the table and without a home league win all season.
The defeat, coupled with Everton’s win over Nottingham Forest later in the day, left the Blades rock-bottom of the Premier League with just five points from their 14 matches.
On the other hand, Wilder has put pen to paper on a contract that will keep him at Bramall Lane until the summer of 2025, and he will oversee the first match of his second spell at home to title hopefuls Liverpool on Wednesday.
Alan Knill, Matt Prestridge and former Republic of Ireland international Keith Andrews will join Wilder at the club as his backroom staff.