Sheffield United sack Paul Heckingbottom; Chris Wilder returns as replacement

  • Sheffield United have parted company with manager Paul Heckingbottom
  • Blades have picked up five points from opening 14 games
  • Heckingbottom becomes Premier League's first managerial casualty of the season

Heckingbottom has left his post
Heckingbottom has left his post / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Paul Heckingbottom has become the first Premier League manager to lose their job this season after being sacked by Sheffield United, with Chris Wilder rejoining the club as his replacement.

The 46-year-old has been given his marching orders after the Blades picked up just five points from their opening 14 matches this season, winning only once - a late and controversial 2-1 victory at home to Wolves last month.

The final straw came on Saturday, with ten-man Sheffield United falling 5-0 at fellow newly-promoted side Burnley, ending the Clarets' run of seven straight losses at Turf Moor, with Sheffield United confirming the news on Tuesday.

A club statement read: "Sheffield United can confirm that football manager Paul Heckingbottom has been relieved of his duties.

"Additionally, coaches Stuart McCall and Mark Hudson, have also left the club."

Sheffield United CEO Stephen Bettis said: "Firstly, on behalf of the board of directors, I'd like to thank Paul for all of his efforts at Sheffield United, firstly as U23s manager before stepping up to take control of first-team duties.

"His professionalism and dedication have been a credit to the club and I'm sure all Unitedites enjoyed the promotion-winning campaign.

"However, after slipping to the bottom of the table and a number of disappointing results and performances, it is felt that a change is needed to give the club a boost and every possible chance of remaining in the Premier League beyond this season."

Chris Wilder
Wilder is back at Bramall Lane / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Wilder has now been reinstated as manager and will take charge of his first match in his second spell on Wednesday at home to Liverpool.

"Chris Wilder is the new manager of Sheffield United," a second club statement read.

"Former Blades favourite Wilder returns on a contract until the summer of 2025. Alan Knill, Matt Prestridge and former Republic of Ireland international Keith Andrews will assist Wilder and all will be in the technical area for Wednesday's home fixture against Liverpool."

Wilder added: "Quite simply it was an opportunity which I just couldn't turn down. Just like in 2016, when this club comes calling, it is not something you pass up.

"This is Sheffield United, it is my team and I am thrilled to be back. We find ourselves in a difficult position, I understand that, but I think I can make a difference.

"When I received the call from Stephen asking if I would consider coming back to try and help, I didn't have to think about it. People know what this club means to me, and the task now is to try and provide a boost to improve our current situation.

"My relationship with Prince Abdullah and the board was repaired a long time ago. After some time passed following my initial departure, we spoke, met in person and there was an amicable ending. Now, coming back as manager, to know there is a united front again is crucial as we look to work together to improve the club's position in the Premier League."