Manager Chris Wilder believes he can revive Sheffield United’s flatlining season after accepting an SOS call from the club he previously led into the Premier League.
Wilder has returned to Bramall Lane on 18-month contract after Paul Heckingbottom was sacked for taking just five points from the first 14 games, leaving the Blades bottom of the table.
“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,” said Wilder.
“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.”
Despite being sacked in 2021, Wilder remains a popular figure at the club from guiding them from the third tier to the top flight during his five-year spell in charge.
He also played down any lingering bad blood with Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud following his departure two years ago.
“My relationship with Prince Abdullah and the board was repaired a long time ago,” Wilder added. “After some time passed following my initial departure, we spoke, met in person and there was an amicable ending.”
Prince Abdullah earlier told TalkSport: “Chris is part of Sheffield United history. One thing I always like to do, not just in football but all of my businesses, is to keep a good relationship with my ex-employees no matter how it ended, I think you should get over it.”
Wilder will take charge of his first game back at the club at home to in-form Liverpool on Wednesday.
Heckingbottom’s departure was confirmed earlier on Tuesday, a few days after a 5-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Burnley left the Blades rooted to the bottom.
“His professionalism and dedication have been a credit to the club and I’m sure all Unitedites enjoyed the promotion-winning campaign,” said chief executive Stephen Bettis.
“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.”