Neil Warnock on Chris Wilder's exit from Sheffield United

FORMER SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Neil Warnock has offered his take on the departure of Blades chief Chris Wilder - and believes that he and his former club have suffered more than any other due to the absence of fans at matches during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Neil Warnock.
Neil Warnock.

Wilder left United by mutual consent on Saturday evening after almost five years at the Bramall Lane helm.

Like fellow lifelong ‘Blade’ Warnock, his fellow Sheffielder Wilder departed following tensions behind the scenes with the club’s hierarchy, with the Middlesbrough chief having sympathy in that regard.

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But he feels that a big reason for the Blades’ difficulties has been the absence of fans from games during the coronavirus crisis.

Warnock, who managed the club in a successful era from December, 1999 to May, 2007, said: “Of all the teams in the Premier League, I think Sheffield United have suffered more than anybody else because of the lack of fans.

“Bramall Lane is such a special place, bloody hell...It is a goal start and if you look back at their problems, it only started with the pandemic.

“It has been a disaster and they have missed fans more than anybody and whoever takes over will be hoping Bramall Lane is that hotbed (again).

“I have been there on great nights and there is no better place than Bramall Lane with a full house. Some of the games….I smile to myself when I look at (Phil) Jagielka playing in goals against Arsene Wenger and look at Arsene next to me shaking his head! I think of games like that when we beat them (Arsenal) 1-0, even with ‘Jagy’ in goals. The crowd are unbelievable down there.”

Speaking about the exit of Wilder specifically, Warnock commented: “Everybody knows Chris has done a fabulous job. But managers have to get on with owners, whether you like it or not.

"If it gets very stretched, Chris has got his own right to say what he wanted having been there so many years after doing what he has done.

“But you have to feel you can work in a situation and he obviously felt there were certain things that he couldn’t.

"But that is not taking away what he has done and I am sure Chris will walk into a job in the not too distant future. It just shows you how football is.

“We talk about the Championship. But the Premier League? Wow?. You don’t get any escape if you are not right at it. If you can’t score goals, you have not got much chance.

“I was there (at Sheffield United) for seven years, probably two more years than Chris and I felt let down when I left and fell out with the hierarchy like he did.

“But life goes on and when he gets his next club, he will think: ‘wow, this is a breath of fresh air and I can go and enjoy myself again.’ That is what I did and I am sure Chris will.”