This weekend, as Sheffield United makes preparations to travel to the capital to face Arsenal, Blades boss Chris Wilder will set a milestone of completing his 200th match in all professional competitions as Sheffield United manager. He could also achieve another milestone by claiming his 100th victory as Blades boss.
United have yet to win a competitive fixture this season having lost their opening three Premier League games to Wolves, Aston Villa, and Leeds, as well as losing out to Burnley on penalties in the League Cup. United will be heading to Arsenal this weekend looking to claim their first points of the season.
His managerial career began in 2001 in non-league with Alfreton Town. He was in charge of the club for 27 weeks but during that time won four trophies: the Northern Counties (East) League Premier Division, the League Cup, the President’s Cup and the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
In 2002 he took charge of former club Halifax Town, taking over the reins from caretaker boss Neil Redfearn, who is now manager of Sheffield United Women’s Team. He was at the Shay until June 2008 when the club went into liquidation, managing over 300 games for the club.
Following his spell at Halifax, he spent six years at Oxford United, winning promotion into the Football League in his second season. In January 2014, with the U’s in a strong position for promotion, Wilder resigned and took charge of relegation strugglers Northampton. It was a bizarre move at the time, but one which has worked out well for Wilder and his assistant Alan Knil, for he would survive relegation from League Two and in the following season mastermind a promotion challenge that saw the Cobblers win the league.
In May 2016, his talents didn’t go unnoticed. He was headhunted by Charlton and had agreed to sign for the London club until Sheffield United approached, following the dismissal of Nigel Adkins. For Wilder, it was a no brainer and was soon announced as Blades manager.
Despite failing to win his first four league matches in charge, he went onto win the League One title at a canter in his first season, and after mid-table obscurity, guided United to automatic promotion in 2019, finishing second behind Norwich. In January 2020, he extended his United contract to take him in charge until 2024.
The 2020-21 season celebrates Chris Wilder’s fifth season as manager of Sheffield United. No doubt he must have wondered what he let himself in for after turning down a move to Charlton, and after losing
Only five players remain from the squad which won promotion from League One in 2017; Simon Moore, Jack O’Connell, John Fleck, Chris Basham, and Billy Sharp.
The Greatest. 👑 pic.twitter.com/Vd7BLeZlWX
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) September 23, 2020
In today’s football world, where managers can come and go as quickly as the change of the wind, it is often an achievement for any manager to last longer than one season, however, the Blades boss, now in his fifth season as boss of Sheffield United. A club whom he supports, represented as a ball boy, sat on the Kop and played over 100 games as a full-back in two spells lasting seven years.
Presently, Wilder is the third-longest standing manager at a Premier League club (at the time of writing). Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who is commonly known for his days at Chesterfield around these parts, has been at Turf Moor since 30 October 2012. For the neutrals, there are just 10 miles separating United and Chesterfield geographically. The second on the list is current Premier League Champion, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, who was appointed on 8 October 2015.