I want to build and move forward, says Sheffield United chief Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder is hoping his pledge of loyalty will convince Sheffield United's top stars to stay at Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder: Looking ahead.

Two years of hard graft in turning around United’s fortunes – winning the League One title before an impressive first season in the Championship – looked in danger of being undermined.

Blades manager Wilder admitted he could quit last month after growing frustrated with a boardroom power struggle between co-owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

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But faced with the threat of losing a manager who has masterminded United’s revival, the joint owners called a temporary truce to agree an improved summer transfer budget and a 12-month contract extension for Wilder and his backroom staff, taking them to the end of the 2020-21 season.

If Wilder had left – Sunderland were one of several clubs linked with him – then the future of a squad he had largely assembled, like £10m-rated David Brooks, midfielder John Fleck and defender Jack O’Connell would have been thrown into doubt.

Now, Wilder is hoping any uncertainty hanging over Bramall Lane has been removed.

“If you speak to Billy (captain Sharp) and the players, they wanted to know what’s going on,” said Wilder, a former Blades player. “It’s their future. The uncertainty and speculation was there, because of the comments I made – in an open and honest way – to get the right conclusion of what we were after. The players needed that, definitely.

“The better players wanted to see better players coming through the door, to make them better players.

“That’s what we need to do – to show the likes of John Fleck and others that have done exceptionally well, that we mean business and we want to achieve things.

“Hopefully, supporters can get away on holiday, know the players will be here, and we can look forward to another good season.

“It reassured the players here, too. I am not saying I am the most popular person amongst the players – I have got a job to do, and they know I will do it in an honest way – but I think they needed to make sure there was direction, and I was going to be here for those boys to kick on.

“I think we have sent out the right messages in how we have gone about it, how we have concluded it.”

Wales international midfield player Brooks has already been linked with a move to the Premier League and while Wilder is realistic to concede any “head-turning” offer would be difficult to turn down, he is content in the knowledge all of his top assets are tied down on long-term deals.

Wilder was desperate for United’s ownership battle not to destabilise the club and the players, and met both McCabe and the Prince.

“I spoke to both the owners, I had meetings with both of them,” he said.

“There is still ongoing discussions about the ownership of the football club but they recognised that there had to be a couple of tweaks and changes to how to go about things and put that to one side.

“I needed that to work to the best of my ability. I want to build and move forward. I am a planner.

“I am ambitious, of course I am, but I think I can fulfil all of my ambitions here.

“We will do it our way, but there are no guarantees.”

Whoever wins the boardroom battle, Wilder insists he will not allow any outside interference in how he operates.

“I will never work for a football club that interferes in my work,” he said.

“I have got an obligation to work with the owners, the chief executive, and do it a respectful and honourable fashion.

“But I am here to be a manager of the football club. I have to run things past them, of course I do.

“But as soon as people start telling me who to pick, and who to sign, I am down the road.”