Sheffield, Dec 5 (IANS): Chris Wilder has returned to Premier League club Sheffield United as manager, replacing Paul Heckingbottom.
Wilder takes the reins after leaving Bramall Lane in March 2021. Saturday's 5-0 defeat at Burnley proved to be Heckingbottom’s final match in charge for the bottom club.
“Yes (I have made the decision)," club owner Prince Abdullah told talkSPORT. "Chris is practically an honour of the club, he’s 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."
"At the end of the day we’re all passionate about what we do and we believe Chris is the right man for the job."
"Chris has done great things for the club and in my opinion he’s the best guy on planet Earth to take over the club right now in these circumstances. Chris is very optimistic he can save the season. He doesn’t think it’s easy, but he thinks it’s still possible.
"When you look at the table it's a very special year, a very weird year when it comes to the standings, so it’s still early, the season is still long and we have every chance to achieve our goals."
Heckingbottom initially replaced Wilder on an interim basis in March 2021, and he then took over permanently when Slavisa Jokanovic departed in November of that year.
Sheff Utd become the first Premier League club to change their manager this season. This time last year Scott Parker (AFC Bournemouth), Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea), Bruno Lage (Wolves), Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa) and Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton) had all departed their respective clubs, according to Premier League website.
The following season, in 2022/23, Heckingbottom led Sheff Utd to a second-place finish and promotion from the Championship.
However, the Blades have struggled on their return to the Premier League this campaign, losing 11 of their 14 matches.
In addition to Saturday’s heavy defeat against Burnley, Sheff Utd were also beaten 8-0 at Bramall Lane by Newcastle United in September, the second-biggest home loss in Premier League history.