Wilder aiming to do things the Cobblers way at Sheffield United

Chris Wilder admits he is hoping to enjoy success at his new club Sheffield United - by doing things the Cobblers way.

Monday, 23rd May 2016, 4:49 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2016, 5:51 pm
Former Cobblers boss Chris Wilder

Wilder left Sixfields to take over at his hometown club, signing a three-year deal at Bramall Lane.

It is fair to say that Sheffield United are a big fish in the Sky Bet League One pond, with their average home attendance last season an impressive 19,803 - and that was in a campaign that saw them disappointingly finish 11th.

The size of the south Yorkshire club certainly dwarfs Northampton Town, who will be their league one rivals next season after their league two title success, but Wilder says he is intending use the same template that was successful at the Cobblers in his new surroundings.

That template involves 100 per cent effort, team spirit, unity between players and supporters - and a hefty dose of talent.

Wilder believes a look at the success stories across the English leagues in the season just gone proves that just being a big club counts for nothing without the heart, spirit and togetherness showed by clubs like the Cobblers.

And he wants to replicate what happened at Northampton in Sheffield.

Looking back on his time at Sixfields, Wilder said: “In an era where there isn’t any connection, what happened at Northampton was massive.

“You can see the successful teams in all the divisions, there is Burnley (Championship), Leicester City (Premier League), Northampton and to a certain extent, Burton (league one).

“They have all done it without the biggest budgets, but with a bit of togetherness and I think that’s a sign to every club that they do need that.

“It is certainly something I will be trying to do at Sheffield United.

“We did it at Northampton. It is a club with a fantastic staff, a great chairman and, most importantly, a set of players and a group of supporters that care.

“The players care about their performances, and the supporters care about their football club.”

Wilder was a key man in the Cobblers’ success in more ways than one last season.

There was not only the fact he signed the players and put the team together that ended up winning Sky Bet League Two with a massive 99 points, he also acted as ‘leader’ at the club when it was going through its financial woes in the autumn.

Thanfully, as we all know, those problems were sorted with Kelvin Thomas taking over the club, but Cobblers fans will always be grateful for the way Wilder conducted himself throughout that period.

The man himself is playing that down though.

“I have always said that it was a group effort, and that I played a part in that,” said the former Cobblers boss.

“It was never all about me, I was obviously the manager at the football club and had to lead, but it was a big effort from everybody.

“It just shows you what can happen when everybody pulls together, and that is what I am going to be trying to do at Sheffield United.

“To be successful you have to have a lot of things going your way and coming together.”

Wilder’s job is to now bring success to Bramall Lane, with co-owner Kevin McCabe making it clear that he wants the club to be competing in the Premier League.

That target is a long way off as it stands, with the Blades about to embark on their sixth successive season in the third tier of English football, but Wilder is relishing the challenge of progressing a club he has supported all of his life, and also played for more than 100 times.

And he believes he is up to the task after serving a ‘lengthy apprenticeship’ in the lower leagues with the Cobblers, Oxford and Halifax.

“Obviously it is a different challenge to Northampton, but one I am massively looking forward to,” said the 48-year-old.

“I believe I am ready, I think I deserve the opportunity after the work I have done.

“People recognise that I worked within the budget, and the job I did at Northampton.

“While I have connections at Sheffield United and it gives me an insight and a feeling for the club, I would like to believe, and the chairman has said, that I have been given the opportunity due to my record as a football manager and working with the tools I have been given to do the job.”