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DAVE BASSETT: Sheffield United sacking Chris Wilder would be suicide

DAVE BASSETT: Sacking Chris Wilder would be suicide, he knows exactly how to get Sheffield United out of trouble

  • Sheffield United would be foolish if they were to sack manager Chris Wilder 
  • Wilder is best man for the job – the Blades should keep him for as long as possible
  • When he was a player, Wilder helped United to stay in the old Division One

Chris Wilder knows exactly how to get Sheffield United out of this predicament because we did it before, and he was there. It was 1990-91 and we were much deeper in trouble than the Blades are now.

We had only four points from our first 16 games back in the old Division One. We went seven games without scoring. After 22 games we were still bottom. Absolutely nobody was saying we could stay up but we got out of trouble. We finished 13th.

The players, fans and board stuck together. That was the key. Everyone trusted what we were doing and no one went looking for a scapegoat. We trained hard and kept working. We stayed with our beliefs and our formation. 

Sheffield United shouldn’t sack Chris Wilder, he should stay in charge for as long as possible

I couldn’t tell them we’d definitely stay up. But we could either give up and call it a day or keep fighting until our luck turned. And it did. We signed Glyn Hodges from Crystal Palace, he scored against Derby and we won seven in a row. 

Chris played in a lot of those games. I’m confident he can do it again. I can see his players are trying. They were bombing on in the 90th minute at West Brom creating chances, trying to get an equaliser. 

They’ve missed their fans more than any other Premier League team. Bramall Lane can be a ferocious atmosphere, one of those grounds opponents don’t enjoy. It was the same in my time and in Neil Warnock’s. 

It’s been a tougher start in terms of fixtures and they’ve not been so lucky with injuries as last season. Jack O’Connell is a big miss. Enda Stevens and John Fleck have been out, and they’re important. The strikers are not firing. 

It has been a very difficult start to the campaign but Wilder's side can turn things around

It has been a very difficult start to the campaign but Wilder’s side can turn things around

They just need a win to ignite something. There will be a game, and it could be Leicester on Sunday, when they’ll get battered and win 1-0.

A couple of wins and they’re back in the pack. I can’t believe anybody thinks firing Wilder is a good idea.

The biggest factor in our escape 30 years ago was the support from Derek Dooley and the rest of the board. Leading into Christmas, we’d still not won and Derek said, “We’re fully behind you”.

He always had the raging hump about being sacked on Christmas Eve by Sheffield Wednesday. He said they’d never dream of doing that.

I never felt any pressure, nor did I expect any after what I’d done. They were going nowhere when I arrived in 1988, going down into the third division with a poor team and deep in debt. 

Wilder is the best man to keep United up - he helped them to avoid relegation as a player

Wilder is the best man to keep United up – he helped them to avoid relegation as a player

Two years later, we were back in the top league and we didn’t do it by spending big, like Leeds. We started the season against Liverpool, the champions. They had Ian Rush and John Barnes and we finished with John Pemberton in goal because Simon Tracey broke his cheekbone.

Sheffield United spent six seasons in League One before Chris won promotion. That’s a disgrace for a club of their size. He turned them around and brought them success after some miserable times.

It’s true some clubs might have sacked him by now. Watford and Nottingham Forest might have sacked him but Norwich could have got rid of Daniel Farke when they were struggling last season. They didn’t, nobody undermined him and now they’re top of the Championship, and they look like a sensible club who know what’s required to succeed within their limitations.

Sheffield United have a good manager. He’s the best man to keep them up. Tell me someone with better credentials. I hope they’re trying to look after him and support him. They should be trying to keep him for as long as he wants to stay. That’s what I’d be doing. If they sack Wilder, then cheerio. Suicide. Back to the Championship. 

Dave Bassett was talking to Matt Barlow

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