Sheffield United sack Paul Heckingbottom and appoint Chris Wilder

Sheffield United have sacked Paul Heckingbottom and appointed former manager Chris Wilder as his replacement, the club’s owner Prince Abdullah has confirmed.

The Blades are bottom of the Premier League with five points after losing 11 of their opening 14 games.

Speaking to TalkSport, external, Prince Abdullah said Wilder was “the best guy on planet earth to take over the club right now in these circumstances”.

Heckingbottom, appointed as Wilder’s successor on a permanent basis in November 2021, guided the club back to the top flight with a second-place Championship finish last season.

After the Blades lost 5-0 at fellow strugglers Burnley, who moved off the bottom of the table with their victory on Saturday, the 46-year-old said the club had been “let down” by some players.

“Chris is very optimistic he can save the season, he doesn’t think it’s easy, but he thinks it’s still possible,” Prince Abdullah said.

“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.”

United are four points from safety, have won only once this season and have a goal difference of minus 28.

The Blades host second-placed Liverpool at Bramall Lane on Wednesday (19:45 GMT), although Prince Abdullah did not confirm whether Wilder would be in the dugout.

After the Burnley game Heckingbottom criticised the club for making “financial rather than football decisions” by selling key players in the summer.

The club sold two of last season’s star players shortly before this season as Iliman NDiaye joined Marseille and Sander Berge moved to Burnley.

Prince Abdullah said he had “mixed emotions” about letting Heckingbottom go.

“I really have a lot of respect for Paul and everything he did for the club, he’s a very classy guy,” he added.

“I’ve been at the club for five years and we changed one manager and that was Slav [Slavisa Jokanovic]so we believe in sticking with the manager and supporting him.

“But I felt like after the last few games it was a necessary decision and the replacement has done great things for the clubs and knows the club, so I feel good about the decision in one way but I really have a tremendous respect for Paul.”

2023-12-05 11:42:07
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