Chris Wilder is looking forward to fulfilling his footballing ambitions with Sheffield United after officially signing a new contract.
Together with the Championship club’s backroom staff, Wilder has agreed to remain at Bramall Lane until the summer of 2021 following talks with co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Wilder’s decision, which was confirmed last night, ends the speculation surrounding his future in South Yorkshire after previously complaining about a lack of “clarity” behind the scenes.
“We don’t want to just survive, we want to move forward,” Wilder said. “That’s all I ever wanted, to move forward.
“I am hugely ambitious - so are the players - but I am hugely ambitious at this club. I have worked hard in my career to get in this position, and we want to drive the club forward and be involved in the top part of the division.”
Confirming McCabe and Prince Abdullah have also increased his recruitment budget for next season, the United manager added: “There’s always a situation where the owners say ‘this is what we can afford to give, and that’s the maximum’, which I can appreciate. It’s not an open chequebook, but one where we can improve the group.”
Wilder, who led United to the League One title during his first season at the helm, came within a whisker of guiding them into the play-offs last term despite what has been described as a “bottom six” budget.
Reflecting upon his recent call for Prince Abdullah and McCabe to resolve their battle for control of the club and its parent company, the 50-year-old yesterday thanked both men for addressing the situation following talks in London last week.
“I wasn’t done for any personal gain,” Wilder said. “It was a genuine concern. The owners have spoke to me about the future of this football club and that is always what it has to be.
“I made my feelings plain and clear to them. I wanted to be part of an organisation that was together, wanted to move forward, and succeed. I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t think those assurances were going to be met. I am sure they will be.”
“Did I think after the season we had in our first year, coming out of League One in the manner we did, that I would be contemplating my future a year on? No I didn’t,” he continued. “But things happen in football, things get lost and go in a different direction, and it was important things were brought back together. That’s all I have ever wanted, the best for the football club. To lead from the front and bring it together, and have a clear positive message for the supporters.”