MANAGER Chris Wilder has accused Gary Madine of showing a “lack of respect” after a video emerged of the former Owls striker insulting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp.
Madine – due to play for Bolton Wanderers at Bramall Lane tomorrow in a top-of-the-table encounter in League One – is filmed in a bar calling Sharp a “fat little pig”.
It is unclear when the video clip – which has gone viral on social media – was filmed, but it has cranked up emotions ahead of tomorrow’s game.
Former Wednesday striker Madine – part of the Owls side that pipped the Blades to promotion from League One five years ago – was always destined to get a frosty welcome on his return to South Yorkshire.
But this latest twist means the Wanderers forward will, undoubtedly, be jeered by home supporters.
Wilder believes the outburst shows disrespect towards not only Sharp – the division’s top scorer with 21 goals – but also the Bramall Lane club.
“He’s our captain, it’s a family issue,” said Wilder. “When you criticise someone in our family, he’s criticising all of us.
“It’s a bit of lack of respect for our football club, but you are not surprised, with his track record.
“I am not a lover of social media, some people are, but this is what happens.
“I should imagine their manager (Phil Parkinson) won’t be too pleased on the eve of the biggest match of the season, because I wouldn’t be.
“As a player who is our captain, has scored 21 goals and is the leading goalscorer, it’s a bit of lack of respect.
“But Madine is not my player. I would be very disappointed if any one of my players did something like that. I don’t think our supporters will be too happy about it.
“We have to just concentrate on the game in hand, and go about the match in a professional way.
“We want to come out on the winning side and with our captain walking off with three points.
“He has been outstanding, Billy, it’s a bit harsh calling him that because he’s possibly in the best condition of his life.
“I think Billy is the top player in this division, in everything he does. As a captain, leading the line, scoring and work ethic.
“If anybody can give me a better player in the division, then I would gladly have a beer and a discussion with them.
“It shows a lack of respect criticising any fellow player; it’s tough being a professional footballer.
“He won’t be the first, and won’t be the last. No doubt, along the way, there will be a Sheffield United player who has done something in the same vein.”
The word “pig” is used as a derogatory term by both Wednesday and United fans to describe their rivals.
This season, Sharp posted on Twitter “Buzzing for you @clavery13 you are no longer a pig.. you’re officially a blade” after former Owls striker Caolan Lavery netted for United.
League leaders United have a seven-point gap over third-placed Bolton, who have two games in hand, and Wilder believes tomorrow will be their “biggest test of the season”.
While he admits United are not “paupers in this league”, Wilder believes Bolton have double the budget of any other club in League One.
Despite their off-the-field financial troubles, they still boast “top-class players” and a Premier League set-up.
“I think they (Bolton) go under the radar a little bit, a lot of things off the pitch have deflected from what they have going for them on the pitch,” said Wilder.
“They have support, staff, facilities, and, more importantly, a set of players, 24 really top-class players.
“Look at where they have got them from, they have not really took them out of the youth team – I don’t see a lot of youth team players promoted. They have got a senior group who have played the majority of their football in the Premier League and the Championship.
“This is the biggest test of the season for us and one we are really looking forward to.”
United’s decision to adhere to a more prudent approach to building their squad – refusing to pay big-money transfer fees – is paying off under Wilder’s astute leadership.
“We are not paupers in this league, we should be looking to get out of this division,” he said.
“But we have gone about it in a different way, there has been more control.
“We have put a structure into the club for the long term. Even now, budgets for next season, and the year after, so the structure of the club won’t change. That’s not to say we won’t be ambitious, and we won’t add to it in time.
“There isn’t a boom and bust culture, or a gamble.”
United will be without defender Joe Riley tomorrow, the on-loan Manchester United player having dislocated a shoulder.
He underwent a scan in Manchester yesterday and it is feared the 20-year-old could be ruled out for the season.