Following an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at the hands of Burnley over the weekend and with just five points—and a -28 goal differential—to show for 14 Premier League games so far, speculation was that Sheffield United were set to sack manager Paul Heckingbottom.
Today, that has been confirmed, with the man who got Sheffield promoted and then by most accounts was not backed to strengthen his squad last summer dismissed and bring former player and manager Chris Wilder back in his place ahead of Wednesday’s game against Liverpool.
Wilder, a lower league journeyman as both a player and then manager, had his last job with Watford, where he took over on a short-term contract to end the 2022-23 season that the club chose not to extend. Before that, he spent less than a year at Middlesbrough.
However, he’s a quite familiar face for—and had probably his most successful spell with— Sheffield, as he was in charge from 2016 to 2021, managing the club for 227 games with a 46.7% win rate and taking them from League One to the Premier League.
After a surprise ninth-place finish in the Premier League in 2019-20, they fell off in year two in the top flight and he departed with The Blades set for relegation. Sacking Heckingbottom after he got them back to the top flight might be harsh, but the appeal of a Wilder reunion is understandable.