Why is Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder rated so highly?
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has added another promotion to his impressive CV after guiding his hometown club to the Premier League.
He has joined an exclusive club of managers to have won promotion to all four divisions in the English Football League.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the Yorkshireman’s achievements and why he is rated so highly.
Why is he one of their own?
Wilder was born in Stocksbridge, Sheffield, and after failing to make the grade as a player at Southampton he returned to his home city and forged a career with the Blades as a defender. He made over 100 league appearances in two spells for the club and more than 130 for Rotherham before stints with Notts County, Bradford, Brighton and Halifax. He is often serenaded with chants of ‘He’s one of our own’ at his beloved Bramall Lane.
Where did he start his managerial career?
He took charge of Alfreton in the old Northern Counties (East) League Premier Division in 2001 and in the 27 weeks he was in charge there he won four trophies before being appointed as Halifax boss in 2002. Wilder took Halifax to within a whisker of a return to the Football League. He moved on to Bury to become assistant boss under Alan Knill when Halifax went into liquidation in 2008.
Who did he win his first major promotion with?
Wilder steered Oxford back to the Football League via the Conference play-offs in 2010 and after three successive mid-table finishes in League Two he resigned to take on the job at Northampton, who were bottom of the Football League when he arrived in early 2014. Wilder rescued the Cobblers from relegation and in his second full season they romped to the League Two title with 99 points.
When did he return to Bramall Lane?
After success with Northampton, boyhood club Sheffield United turned to Wilder in May 2016 after sacking Nigel Adkins. The Blades stormed to promotion as League One champions in his first season in charge, with victory on the final day against Chesterfield securing them a club-record 100 points. After a 10th-placed finish in the Championship last season, Wilder’s side have shown a steely nerve to edge Leeds in the race for automatic promotion.
What makes him such a good manager?
The straight-talking Yorkshireman keeps his messages simple but sets the highest standards and expects complete commitment from his players. Uncompromising defending is the bedrock, but Wilder is a canny tactician, with the use of over-lapping centre-backs to overload the opposition this season proving highly effective. Old fashioned team spirit is a prerequisite in Wilder’s dressing room, but when it comes to modern-day strategy, he will not be left behind.