Chris Wilder has left his role as manager of Sheffield United by mutual consent after nearly five years in charge, following weeks of disagreements over the running of the club and plans for next season.
Wilder, who took over at Bramall Lane in May 2016, held meetings with the board on Friday and agreed his imminent departure this afternoon, and it has now been confirmed that his tenure has come to an end after the two sides failed to reconcile their differences.
The 53-year-old and the board were engaged in heated exchanges earlier this year.
Key to the disagreements has been the club’s recruitment policies, with the board wanting Wilder to concentrate on managing the team and less on signing players.
Wilder pushed hard for the signings of Aaron Ramsdale (£18m) and Rhian Brewster (£23m) – and would not consider other options – but the board believes they were not what was needed this season to help them stay in the Premier League.
The Blades have spent almost the entirety of this season bottom of the table and are currently 12 points off safety with 10 games remaining.
Wilder had told friends he wanted to continue managing the club in the same ‘hands on’ way, but felt he would be unable to do so if he agreed to the changes proposed by the club. Sky Sports News understands Wilder has no intention of starting a new job at another club in the immediate future.
Relations between manager and club soured further in January when no loan signings were made, despite the expectation a midfielder and left centre-back would arrive to bolster Wilder’s options.
Wilder had become increasingly frustrated at the club’s refusal to increase the wage structure for the first-team squad and his repeated assertions the club is full of “Championship players” is understood to have upset the club’s owner Prince Abdullah.
United have spent more than £70m since January 2020 and the board has become increasingly frustrated with Wilder playing down the worth of his squad. They feel he is undermining the club’s assets by down-playing the available talents, rather than telling people how good his players are.
There has also been frustration at boardroom level after United missed out on a number of potential signings, believed to include Ollie Watkins and Tomas Soucek, who have made key contributions this season at Aston Villa and West Ham respectively.
The Blades have lost 22 of their 28 Premier League matches but have reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where they travel to Chelsea next weekend.