Chris Wilder tried to quit Sheffield United twice, claims Blades owner

PA Sport Staff
·2-min read

Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah Bin Musa’ad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud claims Chris Wilder tried to resign twice as manager before he left by mutual consent earlier this month.

The 53-year-old ended his successful spell at Bramall Lane – where he led the Blades from Sky Bet League One to the Premier League – midway through March.

However, owner Prince Abdullah claimed in an interview with Sky Sports that Wilder wanted to quit in December and then after a defeat to Crystal Palace in January according to chief executive Stephen Bettis.

Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder led Sheffield United to the Premier League (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said: “In December, Stephen told me that Chris had talked about resigning. I was really worried and I knew that a phone call or a Zoom call would not do the trick, I had to sit with him.

“The problem was, because of Covid, all Saudis were banned from leaving the country. I spent two weeks trying to get permission to leave. As soon as I got that, I flew to London and drove to Sheffield and met Chris before the Southampton game.

“I told Chris, if we lose every game until the end of the season, we are not going to fire you. We need you to be our coach. I am not talking about emotion, I just believe you are the best manager to bring us back to the Premier League.”

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom has been placed in charge as Sheffield United search for a new manager (John Walton/PA)

Wilder continued in his role but speculation over his future continued again after the Blades started 2021 with a 2-0 loss at Selhurst Park and despite their compromised position at the foot of the table, no signings were made during the winter transfer window.

Prince Abdullah added: “We also talked about the January transfer window just before the Southampton game. I felt good after the meeting and I gave him assurances. I went back to Saudi, I felt good.

“Then after we lost to Palace at the beginning of January, Stephen called me and told me Chris wanted to resign. I felt it was my mistake because we recruited how Chris wanted, we spent over £120m.”

On Wilder’s replacement, Prince Abdullah insisted: “We want a coach who will be involved in recruitment but we have to learn from the mistakes we made before.”