It can not be described as the deciding factor. That was the release of a transfer budget.
But the response of his squad, after learning he might not be in charge next season, touched Chris Wilder and undoubtedly helped convince him to provisionally agree a new contract.
Billy Sharp, Sheffield United’s captain and spokesperson for the dressing room, revealed how the club’s players had urged their manager to stay following the 3-2 victory over Bristol City earlier this month. Minutes later, inside Ashton Gate’s media suite, Wilder’s refusal to discuss his position raised fears the ownership dispute which a week earlier had prompted him to say “I don’t think anybody would be surprised if I didn’t question where my career was going” could force him out of Bramall Lane.
Although a visibly emotional Wilder had already left the room when Sharp arrived to speak, he is known to have been moved by the reaction of both his team and the travelling supporters who had chanted his name throughout the final game of a season which, despite their bottom six budget, saw United challenge for a top six berth.
With HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe able to provide Wilder with guidance regarding recruitment, despite their on-going battles for sole control, confirmation he is set to remain at the helm for the foreseeable future could not have been more timely. Sunderland had made no secret of their desire to lure Wilder north following Stewart Donaldson’s takeover. With Swansea City and Stoke City also parting company with their managers yesterday, failing to secure his position would have led to renewed speculation and potentially damaging distractions. Having led finished 10th in the the Championship, 12 months after lifting the League One title, United should be focused on building on their recent good work. Not starting almost completely afresh.