When Chris Wilder was given the chance to manage his boyhood club in 2016 following an incredibly successful spell at Northampton Town, not even the most optimistic of Sheffield United supporters would have predicted the impact that he would go on to achieve at Bramall Lane.
In fact, when you consider that the 58-year-old had never managed at League One level during his managerial career, the Blades knew that they were taking quite a big risk by appointing him.
However, United needn’t have worried as upon his arrival, Wilder transformed the club’s fortunes by revolutionising their style of play. With the Blades employing a 3-5-2 system which gave their central defenders the freedom to launch attacks, they stormed to the third tier title, finishing 14 points clear of second-place Bolton Wanderers.
Whereas the prospect of playing in one of the world’s most competitive leagues would have been daunting for some, Wilder’s side thrived at the opportunity to test themselves in the Championship and enjoyed a very fruitful 2017/18 campaign by securing a 10th-place finish.
With the sense that something special was building in South Yorkshire, the former Oxford United boss brought in the likes of David McGoldrick, Dean Henderson, Oliver Norwood and John Egan last summer as he looked to build a squad to challenge for promotion to the Premier League.
After experiencing a mixed start to the season, United finally clicked into gear during the Christmas period as they closed the gap on the top-two in the second tier.
Although Norwich City would avoid the Blades’ clutches, Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United eventually cracked under the pressure of expectancy, allowing Wilder’s side to clinch a return to the top-flight.
With a busy summer ahead of him, the last thing that Wilder will be thinking of is the prospect of leaving Bramall Lane in the immediate future. Indeed, the rumour from the Daily Mail earlier this week touting him as a potential option for Brighton and Hove Albion just seems so out of whack with the project he has in place in the Steel City.
Undeniably one of the best managers in England, he is living the dream by being in charge of the Blades and will be wanting to help the club prolong their stay amongst some of the world’s biggest club sides.
What do you think United fans? What would it take for Wilder to consider leaving in the future? Is he the greatest manager in the history of your club? Let us know below.
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